3 Deadly Pharmaceuticals that Could Be Replaced by Marijuana 1. Opioid-Based Painkillers So why is Big Pharma investing millions of dollars every year in researching and creating its own marijuana-based pain killers? Because Big Pharma recognizes medicinal marijuana outshines typical medications in many ways, and the prescriptions drug companies do not want to be left behind when this is recognized on a national level. Medicinal marijuana is indisputably beneficial in its comparative safeness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “opioids killed more than 33,000 people in 2015, and nearly half of all opioid deaths involved a prescription drug.” Since the recent Marijuana Boom in America, which began nearly a decade ago with the legalization of medical marijuana in several states such as Colorado and California, the misconception that marijuana is “a dangerous street drug” is being questioned more and more. Currently, opioids such as Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Hydrocodone, among others, are used to treat both chronic and acute pain. Acute pain being immediate, sharp pain, while chronic pain refers to long-term, reoccurring pain. Foreign prescription drug companies, such as Israel-based Intec Pharma Ltd, Nemus Bioscience, and Axim Biotechnologies Inc. are all currently testing non-psychoactive Cannabidoil (CBD) in laboratories to see if these types of pain can be mitigated through the use of CBD. With the results yet to be published, we patiently wait to see if marijuana is the next breakthrough in replacing dangerous opioids. 2. Sleeping Aids According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported by the New York Daily News, “nearly 9 million US adults resort to prescription sleeping pills.” Sleeping aids like Ambien and Zolpidem are not only addictive, but can lead to ER visits and possibly even death. They become especially dangerous when paired with alcohol or other medications. There is also the risk of overdosing on sleeping pills, where no such risk exists with marijuana. Insomnia affects individuals’ ability to function normally throughout the day. Sufferers experience drained energy, impaired mental acuity, and altered moods. Marijuana comes in two major strains: sativa and indica. Sativa strains tend to worsen insomnia, indica strains tend to relax the body and mind, and result in drowsiness. For prolonged sleep, we recommend taking indica edibles, rather than smoke or vapor. Although smoking or vaporizing makes effects immediate, the high tends to wear off after 3-4 hours, and could result in waking up in the middle of the night. Edibles, on the other hand, take longer to kick in, but last up to 6-8 hours; so restless patients have a better chance of staying asleep throughout the whole night. Please be cautious if you are new to edibles. Do not re-dose if their effects are not felt in the assumed timeframe. 3. Anti-Anxiety Drugs Anxiety disorders are often misunderstood and poorly treated… with benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium. Although not physically addictive, this class of drugs can cause serious dependency issues. According to the American Public Journal, reported by the New York Times, in 2013 nearly 5.6 percent of Americans filled a benzodiazepines prescription, and approximately 3 of every 100,000 people died from overdose. In March 2014, Vanderbilt University led a study on the effectiveness of treating anxiety through medical marijuana. They found that the cannabinoid receptors in the brain are pivotal in regulating anxiety and triggering the flight or fight responses that are essential to human survival. Those suffering from anxiety disorders often accidently trigger these cellular responses in the cannabinoids’ communication (in the amygdala), which can then create “fake” fight or flight scenarios, resulting in unnecessary anxiety. Since marijuana produces endocannabinoids and affects the same receptors in the brain, its use can help regulate anxiety and alleviate anxiety disorders.
(5 Marijuana Strains for Anxiety) It should be noted, the same study also found that some of the heavy, habitual users actually incurred the opposite effect, and showed increased levels of anxiety. Big Pharma is predicting a giant increase in the number of Americans wanting marijuana-based painkillers, sleeping aids, and calmers. When the laws change, they expect to be ready.
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has recently introduced legislation to legalize marijuana at the federal level. His bill will no doubt inspire the standard criticisms, one of which is that legalization does not eliminate the black market. Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute, claims that “[e]ven under legalization, there’s a black market.” This view contains a kernel of truth, but it misses the bigger picture.
Most consumers prefer, other things equal, to purchase from legal suppliers. This allows them to resolve disagreements about quality, service, and payment with lawsuits or by reporting to private and public watchdogs; it facilitates repeat shopping from a high-quality seller, and it avoids the risks of adulterated or excessively potent goods. Thus despite the costs created by regulation and taxation for most legal goods, black markets do not often arise.
Instead, black markets arise only when government policy forces markets underground by outlawing them or by imposing excessive regulation or taxation. After the United States repealed Alcohol Prohibition in 1933, most of the market returned to the legal sphere, except in states that continued prohibition or imposed excessive taxes.
One obstacle to moving the marijuana market fully above ground is that all state legalizations to date — and the regulatory frameworks imposed at the state or city level — impose substantial restrictions on the marijuana market. Details vary, but regulations generally limit the number of retail outlets, the specific products they can sell, the amount customers can purchase per visit, and the location of stores. Much regulation also restricts or bans home delivery, bars some individuals from obtaining retail licenses, and imposes a minimum purchase age of 21. Apart from this over-regulation, some states impose a tax burden that prices legal marijuana well above illegal marijuana.
Additionally, regulation currently protects those lucky enough to already have licenses. In Oregon owners of legitimate marijuana businesses are losing customers to the black market. They blame “delays in the state’s permitting process for new entries into the recreational marijuana market, which acts as an artificial control on supply, which… in turn pushes customers to explore cheaper options.”
All these factors encourage continued black markets even under legalization.
The critics are therefore right that partial legalization will not eliminate the black market, but the solution is trivial: full legalization. Most importantly, federal law must legalize marijuana so that marijuana businesses can access the legal banking sector and comply with federal tax codes without putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
More broadly, the desire to control the marijuana market via regulation is misguided.
If regulation is mild, it has no meaningful effect. Consider a rule that limits purchases to one ounce per customer per month. For most users an ounce lasts at least a month anyway. And consumers who want more can purchase at multiple stores or have friends or family purchase for them
If regulation is instead strict, it promotes continuation of the black market. Consider a requirement for registration of every purchase and enforcement of the rule of only one ounce per month across all stores in a state. This would be expensive and would place real barriers to using retail stores, ultimately resulting in less tax revenue, more need for enforcement, and perpetuation of the illegal market.
Thus legalization without excessive regulation or taxation is the only way to eliminate the black market. And this approach has the added virtue of maximizing tax revenue from legalized sales, minimizing enforcement costs, and respecting the freedom of those who wish to consume marijuana.
Jeffrey Miron is director of economic studies at the Cato Institute and the director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University.
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Do you want to be a better budtender? Then go to Amsterdam. Working in the industry in America with knowledge of the old world is priceless and it can be a good way to reconnect with cannabis if you are a long-time budtender. After a time, so much weed goes through your hands that it can start to become just another commodity. It is easy to get in a rut, and it is easy to forget how much you love this plant when you find yourself cranking it out daily at work. Visiting the city of Amsterdam can provide a memorable and immersive learning experience that can provoke imagination, introduce unknown subject matter, and offer unique environments that may never be seen stateside. A journey to Amsterdam will provide a budtender the opportunity to be exposed to new experiences and explore new things. This unique exposure can provide the foundation for creativity as well as critical thinking in the workplace. I have been twice and I am already thinking ahead to my next trip.
The 1960’s brought a heady lifestyle into this city and it has remained ever since. Amsterdam has been a place where weed smokers can go and openly discuss and use cannabis without fear of imprisonment. The city is a modern-day salon for cannabis revolutionaries and it has played an integral role in the cultural and intellectual development of cannabis for us here in the west. It is a cultural hub for spreading ideas. You will find that most influences for western cannabis culture began in Amsterdam. The city combines a mixture of the contemporary and the historical. The entire place can be enjoyed on foot, so sampling the different coffee shops is safe and easy.
The cannabis capital has restaurants that allow you to sit down with a cup of coffee and smoke a joint. Although we have legal cannabis on both coasts there is not anywhere to socially smoke or consume cannabis like you can in Amsterdam. Weed is not social here, although I do believe that is the next stage in our evolution. I mean, you can order breakfast and weed off the same menu in Amsterdam. The concerns that lawmakers have for the public is cranked up to eleven here in the states and as a result, it can take some of the fun out of it. Packaging and restrictions are such that you must take your products to a small dark room with no windows and get high alone. Not in Amsterdam!
Nowadays we go out to dispensaries and purchase cannabis strains most Americans never heard of twenty years ago which is wonderful, but cannabis capital has the classics. I was a child of the 90’s so when I think of weed strains I think of White Widow, White Russian, Northern Lights, Blueberry, Acapulco Gold, Haze #1, and Matanuska Thunderfuck just to name a few. You just cannot find these strains in the states right now, everyone wants the new stuff. Visiting Amsterdam is like going back in time, similar to what it must be like for a car aficionado when visiting Cuba. You are seeing history alive and breathing right in front of you. For a budtender, knowledge is the best thing you could ask for, and it is not like there is a graduate school for cannabis.
Amsterdam is not only the cannabis capital, but a state of mind, it is a place where you can lose yourself and find yourself. It is a place where you will assert focus, and regain consciousness, like a pilgrim making a journey to the homeland. It is a city where millions of people set aside differences of race, economic status, and nationality to get a little high. Visiting Amsterdam will open your eyes to different ideas and perspectives that are not relevant in the United States. The cannabis culture in America still treats marijuana like it is illegal, they do not do that in Amsterdam, it is just another thing. A trip to the Dutch capital will help develop awareness for our industry and your job. Go to Amsterdam, smoke a joint in the park then again at a restaurant, go to the Heineken museum, stop in a smart shop, walk through the red-light district, try Amstel beer, and have dinner at ten o’clock because the sun stays out late. Man, I love Amsterdam and I cannot wait to go back. So, when are you going?
Cannabis products are designed for adults 21 and older. Please consume responsibly.
• While Denver works out how to enact its first-of-its-kind voter-approved social marijuana use initiative, some spaces are finding ways to be 420-friendly in the meantime.
• Vaping vs smoking, the debate rages on: Should one be allowed indoors while the other is sequestered to the open air?
• Getting the munchies while enjoying edibles: A tale of imbibing too much.
TOP MARIJUANA NEWS
Upcoming solar eclipse causing record demands for weed: Next month there will be a solar eclipse that some people are calling “The Great American Eclipse” because such large swaths of people across the United States will be able to see it. Since this is such a rare occurrence, many people are planning to trek around the country for the occasion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most popular destinations for viewing the eclipse is Oregon, and it all has to do with marijuana. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission estimates that one million people will visit Oregon to view the solar eclipse, and predicts that demand for marijuana will be at an all-time high. They’re also recommending that business begin stocking up on product so they don’t run out the day of the eclipse. –Report by Civilized’s Joseph Misulonas
Opinion: Employers testing for weed will increasingly miss out on good workers: In Youngstown, Ohio, the employment problem is not a shortage of jobs. Nor is it a shortage of workers. The problem is not stingy employers who don’t want to pay enough to attract good workers. Nor is the problem that potential workers are too busy playing video games to show up for their job interviews. So what’s the trouble? The only thing standing between willing employers and willing workers is a drug test. Unfortunately, these aren’t jobs where you can say uptight, moralizing employers are prying too deeply into the private lives of their employees. They’re industrial jobs where the risk of accidents — potentially fatal accidents — is high. Employers cannot run the risk of people showing up intoxicated and killing themselves or their co-workers. Even if they were willing to run their workplace that way, safety inspectors and insurers wouldn’t let them. –Report by Bloomberg Views’ Megan McArdle
Scientists go through trouble to research if regular weed users are more relaxed than others: Recreational marijuana use is now legal in eight states plus the District of Columbia, giving public health researchers more leeway than ever to investigate some of the foundational underpinnings of cannabis culture: How much weed is in a joint? What happens to your brain when you get high? And now: Are chronic marijuana users really more relaxed than everyone else? You might be surprised to learn that the research to date on this question is mixed. One recent study found that while low doses of THC (the active chemical compound in pot) helped people cope with stressful situations, moderate to higher doses actually made people stress out even more. –Report by The Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham
Willie Nelson video interview: America’s political divide, Jeff Sessions and marijuana: In an interview with The Washington Post aboard his tour bus, Willie Nelson urged Americans to bridge what he calls a great divide in politics. At 84 years old, Willie Nelson still has a strong voice as one of America’s leading songwriters. He sat down in his tour bus with The Washington Post’s Libby Casey to talk politics, pot, and what Americans can do to come together. He even sang The Washington Post’s new motto. –Report by The Washington Post’s Libby Casey
Blue Dream: I’m not sure which I’ve recommended more over the past five years: Blue Dream or “Breaking Bad.” The former is seemingly ubiquitous in Colorado, and there’s something fitting about such an active, uplifting strain bearing our standard. The latter is a cable show and not marijuana, for those of you too cool to own a television but who can still afford a giant rock to live under. If I had cataloged the most common request at dispensaries where I’ve worked, it wouldn’t be, “What’s going to get me the highest?” but rather, “What can I smoke that won’t knock me out?” Then I’d recommend something with the word “dream” in the name and they’d look at me like I was high. –Review by The Cannabist’s Jake Browne
Gorilla Glue #4: When I talk about self-medicating with cannabis it’s with trepidation, as if I’m an illicit drug user and not one of the millions of Americans who choose something like coffee or seconds at dinner instead. It’s that pesky “self” in there. Diagnosis is fine when it comes from a medical professional, not Google. So when I say that tonight I’m treating the mild obsessive-compulsive disorder that I’m fairly sure I have, and I’m doing so with Gorilla Glue #4, I’m painfully aware of the potential reactions. Then, I get to exhale them away until they vanish into the yellow light below my ceiling fan. And I don’t need to clean the ceiling fan. –Review by The Cannabist’s Jake Browne
The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a group of prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials, has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views. The group’s report largely reiterates the current Justice Department policy on marijuana.
It encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the Obama administration’s hands-off approach to enforcement — a stance that has allowed the nation’s experiment with legal pot to flourish. The report was not slated to be released publicly, but portions were obtained by the AP.
Sessions has been promising to reconsider that policy since he took office six months ago. He has assailed marijuana as comparable to heroin and blamed it for spikes in violence. His statements have sparked support and worry across the political spectrum as a growing number of states have worked to legalize the drug.
Eight states and the nation’s capital have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Threats of a federal crackdown have united liberals, who object to the human costs of a war on pot, and some conservatives, who see it as a states’ rights issue. Some advocates and members of Congress had feared the task force’s recommendations, which have not been released publicly, would give Sessions the green light to begin dismantling what has become a sophisticated, multimillion pot industry that helps fund schools, educational programs and law enforcement.
But the tepid nature of the recommendations signals just how difficult it would be to change course on pot.
Some in law enforcement support a tougher approach, but a bipartisan group of senators in March urged Sessions to uphold existing marijuana policy. Others in Congress are seeking ways to protect and promote pot businesses.
The vague recommendations may be intentional, reflecting an understanding that shutting down the entire industry is neither palatable nor possible, said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies marijuana law and was interviewed by members of the task force.
“If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney general that the recommendations are the best they can do without embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails,” he said.
The task force suggestions are not final, and Sessions is in no way bound by them. The government still has plenty of ways it can punish weed-tolerant states, including raiding pot businesses and suing states where the drug is legal, a rare but quick path to compliance. The only one who could override a drastic move by Sessions is President Donald Trump, whose personal views on marijuana remain mostly unknown.
The Justice Department declined to comment.
Rather than urging federal agents to shut down dispensaries and make mass arrests, the task force puts forth a more familiar approach.
The report suggests teaming the Justice Department with Treasury officials to offer guidance to financial institutions, telling them to implement robust anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious transactions involving businesses in states where pot is legal. That is already required by federal law.
And it tells officials to develop “centralized guidance, tools and data related to marijuana enforcement,” two years after the Government Accountability Office told the Justice Department it needs to better document how it’s tracking the effect of marijuana legalization in the states.
Most critically, and without offering direction, it says officials “should evaluate whether to maintain, revise or rescind” a set of Obama-era memos that allowed states to legalize marijuana on the condition that officials act to keep marijuana from migrating to places where it is still outlawed and out of the hands of criminal cartels and children, among other stipulations. Any changes to the policy could impact the way pot-legal states operate, but the task force offers no further guidance on how to do that.
The recommendations are not surprising because “there’s as much evidence that Sessions intends to maintain the system and help improve upon it as there is that he intends to roll it back,” said Mason Tvert, who ran Colorado’s legalization campaign. He pointed to Sessions’ comment during his Senate confirmation hearing that while he opposed legalization, he understood the scarcity of federal resources and “echoed” the position of his Democratic predecessors.
It remains unclear how much weight Sessions might give the recommendations. He said he has been relying on them to enact policy in other areas. Apart from pot, the task force is studying a list of criminal justice issues and the overall report’s executive summary says its work continues and its recommendations “do not comprehensively address every effort that the Department is planning or currently undertaking to reduce violent crime.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions says Colorado isn’t making good on its promises to stop marijuana from spilling over its borders, nor is the state keeping it out of the hands of kids.
Sessions raised “serious questions” about the state’s marijuana regulation and called on Gov. John Hickenlooper to remedy the situation in a letter obtained by The Cannabist. It is dated July 24 and arrived at the Colorado Capitol late Thursday, officials said.
The governors of at least two other states that have legalized adult-use cannabis also received letters from the attorney general addressing the efficacy of their respective state marijuana regulatory structures.
In his letter to Hickenlooper, Sessions cited data from a September 2016 report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), a federally funded agency operated by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The report on the impact of marijuana legalization in Colorado claimed increases in highway patrol seizures, youth use, traffic deaths and emergency department visits since the state legalized adult-use sales of cannabis in 2014.
“These findings are relevant to the policy debate concerning marijuana legalization,” Sessions wrote. “… please advise as to how Colorado plans to address the serious findings in the Rocky Mountain HIDTA report, including efforts to ensure that all marijuana activity is compliant with state marijuana laws, to combat diversion of marijuana, to protect public health and safety, and to prevent marijuana use by minors.”
The letter’s structure and message were practically identical to that of a separate letter Sessions sent to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a correspondence that the Huffington Post obtained and reported late Thursday evening. Officials for Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office told The Cannabist late Friday that they also received a letter from Sessions, but declined to immediately provide it.
Notable passages in both the Colorado and Washington letters highlight where Sessions sees flexibility for federal enforcement actions under the 2013 Cole Memorandum — Obama-era guidance for how prosecutors and law enforcement could prioritize their marijuana-related enforcement efforts. Both letters cited bullet-pointed data from each region’s respective HIDTA.
“What is interesting here, however, is that Sessions’ accusations (are) that states are not complying with the Cole Memo, perhaps suggesting he is fine with the Cole Memo just not the previous administration’s enforcement of it,” said John Hudak, a drug policy expert and senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.
Colorado officials are taking the issues Sessions raised in the letter “very seriously,” said Mark Bolton, Hickenlooper’s marijuana adviser, adding that state officials share the attorney general’s concerns.
But as to whether he thinks Sessions is hinting at any forthcoming federal enforcement actions on marijuana in this new letter, Bolton said, “We don’t take it that way.”
“We want to engage in a dialogue with the attorney general, the White House, the Justice Department about the most effective ways that the state and the federal government can work together to protect our priorities of public safety, public health and other law enforcement priorities,” he said.
It’s unclear whether Alaska received similar correspondence to those received by Colorado, Washington and Oregon; inquiries from The Cannabist to the governor Bill Walker’s office were not immediately returned.
Sessions has taken a hard-line stance against state-level marijuana legalization efforts since his appointment as attorney general. His bellicose language has generated concern among legalization advocates that the Trump Administration might abandon the hands-off approach of the previous administration and increase enforcement actions of federal marijuana laws.
The Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, created earlier this year, was expected to review existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing and marijuana. As of last week, Sessions received the recommendations from the task force, some on a rolling basis, and plans to announce policy changes “when appropriate,” Justice Department officials have told The Cannabist.
Any Justice Department interference in state-regulated marijuana regimes would be “unacceptable,” Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a statement posted Friday:
I was disappointed by Attorney General Sessions’ letter, which relies on incomplete, inaccurate and out-of-date information on the status of Washington’s marijuana regulations. I’m also disappointed that he has yet to accept my repeated invitations to meet in person to discuss this critical issue face to face. If he does accept, I look forward to providing him with a more complete picture of the robust regulatory program that exists in our state.
Any action from the Department of Justice short of allowing our well-regulated, voter-approved system to continue is unacceptable. I will continue to defend the will of Washington voters.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said she will continue to defend Colorado’s marijuana laws.
“But at the same time, I have always said that legalized marijuana presents significant challenges and public officials need to remain vigilant,” she said in an emailed statement. “That’s the message I gave to officials from the White House and Justice Department when they visited our state last month, and that’s why my office has been responsible for some of the most significant marijuana busts in recent history. We cannot allow bad actors to use our laws as a shield.”
She added she is hopeful that Colorado can work in concert with federal officials.
“In recent years, Washington, D.C., has offered little leadership on this issue. Attorney General Sessions’ letter suggests new interest in a strong federal-state law enforcement partnership aimed at protecting public safety in this area, something I look forward to exploring.”
When Hickenlooper met with Sessions in Washington, D.C., in late April, the governor explained Colorado’s regulatory structure, and how officials are tracking data related to public health and safety concerns. Likewise, Hickenlooper outlined how state marijuana tax revenue is supporting enforcement efforts against illegal activity.
Two weeks ago, officials from the Justice Department and other federal agencies met with about 20 representatives from a variety of Colorado agencies involved in marijuana regulation. Colorado officials presented a slew of charts, data and information about marijuana regulation and how the state is addressing public health, safety and law enforcement concerns, according to presentation materials provided by Hickenlooper’s office in response to a public records request made last week by The Cannabist.
Sessions’ latest letter is a continuation of the dialogue between Colorado and federal officials, Bolton said.
“We take (this letter) as an opportunity to continue the conversation that we’ve worked on for the past several months,” Bolton said.
Data questions remain
Colorado officials are preparing a response, which will include a comprehensive review of the relevant data, Bolton said.
However, the state has been cautious about drawing hard conclusions about the correlation of marijuana to various public health and safety issues, he said. The data are still quite new and there needs to be greater points of comparison.
“I think we need to give it some time,” he said.
The HIDTA reports Sessions cited in his letters to Colorado and Washington have come under criticism in the past, and the law enforcement agencies compiling them are “notorious for using data out of context or drawing grand conclusions that data ultimately do not support,” Hudak said.
“This is an inappropriate use of data from the attorney general and shows an obvious disinterest in seeking the right answer that can advance effective public policy,” he said. “Instead, Mr. Sessions is committed to cherry-picking information that fit into his worldview. When it comes to Mr. Sessions and marijuana, ignorance seems to be a pre-existing condition, and he has no interest in seeking treatment for that ailment.”
Washington Gov. Inslee also criticized Sessions’ approach — and use of HIDTA data.
“While Washington has been successful in creating a tightly regulated marketplace and generating needed revenue for the state, challenges do remain,” he said in a statement. “Most importantly, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government. This determination affects all aspects of our state systems, from banking to research to consumer safety.
“It is clear that our goals regarding health and safety are in step with the goals AG Sessions has articulated. Unfortunately, he is referring to incomplete and unreliable data that does not provide the most accurate snapshot of our efforts since the marketplace opened in 2014.”
Officials for the Rocky Mountain HIDTA did not return multiple queries for comment.
Alicia Wallace joined The Cannabist in July 2016, covering national marijuana policy and business. In her 14 years as a business news reporter, her coverage has spanned topics such as the economy, natural foods, airlines, biotech, retail,…
The National Football League wrote a letter to it’s players association outlining steps to work with them to study the potential use of cannabis to help in the treatment of pain for NFL players. Currently, marijuana is completely banned from the NFL but this letter is the first sign of a possible cooperation between the NFL and allowing for the plants use for pain management.
“We look forward to working with the Players Association on all issues involving the health and safety of our players,” said Joe Lockhart, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications.
According to The Washington Post, DeMaurice Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director said in January that the union was preparing a proposal to the league that would result in a “less punitive” approach to recreational marijuana use by players.
“I do think that issues of addressing it more in a treatment and less punitive measure is appropriate,” Smith said to the Washington Post in January. “I think it’s important to look at whether there are addiction issues. And I think it’s important to not simply assume recreation is the reason it’s being used.”
The NFLPA is the players’ union and they have a specific pain management committee tasked with finding tools for players, including marijuana.
Over the past few years there’s been a backlash by former football players against the use of opioids for pain management. Athletes like Kyle Turley, Jim McMahon and Ricky Williams have joined the fight to lobby for the right for players to use it through the nonprofit group called Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR). DFCR believes that cannabis is a safer form of pain relief than the currently pervasive use of opioids and it can help prevent brain damage, as well as treat the condition.
“There is some early data that cannabis does play a role in neuroprotection. This is the kind of science we’ve put in front of the NFL, hoping they would reconsider their antiquated policies,” Dr. Sisley told The Chronicle. “The bottom line is that cannabinoids are clearly neuroprotective. We have preclinical data at the receptor level that cannabinoids and cannabis are not only involved with brain repair but neurogenesis, the development of new neural tissue. It’s one of the most exciting discoveries of modern neuroscience.”
Dr. Suzanne Sisley, is a member of DFCR’s board and president of the Scottsdale Research Institute. She’s studying the safety and efficacy of marijuana with clinical studies.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is introducing a comprehensive bill on Tuesday to deschedule marijuana, provide incentives for states to legalize, and create mechanisms to address racial justice concerns.
The federal prohibition of marijuana has had a “devastating impact” on the nation, Booker said, noting that enforcement has negatively and disproportionately affected minorities and people of lower incomes.
“These are charges that follow people for the rest of their lives,” Booker said on a Facebook Live video in which he announced the details of the Marijuana Justice Act legislation.
Removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act;
Retroactively expunging federal marijuana use and possession crimes;
Incentivizing states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws, if illegal;
Withholding federal funds for prison construction or staffing in states that have disproportionate arrest rates for minority and low-income individuals arrested for marijuana offenses;
Allowing individuals currently serving a term in federal prison for marijuana use or possession to petition a court for resentencing;
Creating a reinvestment fund for communities most affected by the war on drugs with grants in areas such as job training, reentry services, expenses related to the expungement of convictions, public libraries, and health education programs, among others.
As of Tuesday morning, the bill did not have any co-sponsors, but Booker said he planned to drum up bipartisan support for the first-time legislation.
“I’m hoping that we work toward bipartisan support,” he said. “None of that’s possible, though, unless people are demanding it. We the people must make that demand and insist upon it.”
Marijuana advocates hailed the new legislation. Tom Angell, who heads the organization Marijuana Majority, called it “the single most far-reaching marijuana bill that’s ever been filed in either chamber of Congress.
“More than just getting the federal government out of the way so that states can legalize without DEA harassment, this new proposal goes even further by actually punishing states that have bad marijuana laws,” Angell said in a statement. “Polls increasingly show growing majority voter support for legalization, so this is something that more senators should be signing on to right away.”
Booker said the legislation went beyond the issue of descheduling marijuana and its removal from the Controlled Substances Act.
“We need to seek not just to change the law, but be agents of restorative justice,” Booker said.
Cannabist digital producer Aleta Labak contributed to this report.
Alicia Wallace joined The Cannabist in July 2016, covering national marijuana policy and business. In her 14 years as a business news reporter, her coverage has spanned topics such as the economy, natural foods, airlines, biotech, retail,…
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog regarding the differences between addiction and dependence. I published it on social media and received some negative comments. That is what people on social media like to do but it got me thinking: they were accusing me of talking the talk but not walking the walk. In the article I mentioned how quitting weed was not very hard for me and I do it every now and then just to be able to continue to prove that to myself. Also, if you want to get higher take a break. I thought I had offered a pretty decent article and I was encouraging anyone who did not think they could quit to just try it, to breathe, to drink green tea (because that has been helpful for me), and to exercise. I was attempting to convey to hardcore smokers that it may not be easy at first but they could do it if they really wanted to (which is something TWB has posted about before).
Basically, the negative comments said I was talking down to you guys. So, you know what I did? I took a break on smoking weed this week, not for good, but just to do it for a bit. In addition to the negative comments I also decided to take a break because I had a very stressful and hectic week. Some negative things happened to me that will affect my life for years to come. I decided that while I was dealing with these events it would be best to take a break because I need a clear head. I do not want to distract myself with getting high while dealing with some very personal things. It might amplify my emotions to get high right now so I thought it would be a good idea to chill out.
Not smoking can be nice sometimes. Cannabis and I have a special relationship, something I am sure many of you also have. Cannabis has been there for me in times of pain and stress, in times of depression or anxiety. The thing that happens though is that cannabis does not make those problems go away, so if you continue to puff down when you are in a negative mood it really tends to only have a momentary effect. You feel better for the moment, well maybe a few hours, but it does not fix things permanently. It only puts those issues on the back burner for a bit. Getting yourself in a cycle like this can also lead to using cannabis as a crutch in those times, which also does not help those negative feelings and emotions. It is best to work through any issues you are having today rather than delay them until tomorrow.
So, I have not smoked weed now for five days, or one hundred and twenty hours and I feel alright. You know someone smokes a fair amount of weed when they can tell you exactly how long it has been since they smoked last. My appetite has dwindled a bit in that time and I have also slept a little less than usual, but I do not feel bad. My stomach has been rumbling quite a bit, my heart has been beating a little faster. I consider smoking, but I do not. I feel like any uncomfortable effects will be done in the next day or so, but they are not uncomfortable enough to make me feel like I should burn one down. I have made it this far right, why give up now?
Cannabis is like anything, it should be taken in moderation.The things that make cannabis great are what I am feeling a lack of in my body right now. Cannabis is an anti-nausea medication so obviously that is where my stomach issues are coming from. It is a reaction to not having my anti-nausea medication. I am a little bored here and there, but I am attempting to stay busy. I know that when I have nothing going on and I puff a little it just makes the mundane manageable. Exercise is a fantastic option when coming off anything that is a dependence because it takes your mind off things, and it focuses your attention elsewhere. When you are pedaling your bicycle up a steep hill you do not have any time to be thinking about weed. You are only thinking about the task at hand. Your mind is clear. Exercise is a good type of meditation, something that may come in very handy when you are trying to remove yourself from a dependence. Also remember that exercise offers a natural high, we have all heard of the “runner’s high” right? That buzz can be a nice supplement.
One thing I do not recommend you do is try to replace your cannabis dependence with another “drug”. Alcohol is not a good substitute for cannabis, and other substances are even worse. Remember that cannabis is a soft drug, so replacing it with hard drugs does no good and may leave you with a new dependence. Plus, let us not forget the best part of laying off weed for a little bit is lowering that tolerance for when you come back to puffing. Think about how high you will get when your body has been clean for a few days! Holy cow that will be nice, it will be like smoking for the first time again, who knows you may even get attacked by the giggles. Low tolerance is not something I am all that used to so having one can be nice.
I promise that I will not become one of those people who gets on their high horse about quitting weed. I mean hell, I write a weed blog. I am going to have to keep you interested, it is not like I can turn this into a movie blog or cycling blog. Plus, I am going to a show at Red Rocks soon and I will definitely be chiefin some doobs with my pals there.
I love cannabis. I love the way it smells, I love the way it tastes, I love the way it makes me feel. If you love something you should set it free. I am doing that right now because I know when we meet again our passion for each other will not have dwindled one bit. It may have even made it stronger- if you want to get higher take a break.
Lastly, if you are really having a hard time, I would always welcome you to contact me in the comments here and we can private message each other. It always helps to have someone to talk to when you feel like you are going through something alone. We got this homie, deep breaths.
Your behavior might change a little, you may have some thoughts or dreams come flooding back a little more than usual but that part is already over for me.
Once you make it through about forty eight hours you have made it, so why not try to go a little longer?
And if you are really struggling I have one more piece of advice. Go get some straight CBD cannabis. Avoid the CBD and THC if possible. CBD will still give you the effect of smoking you are missing, but it will also relax your body a little, without any psychoactive effects.
Cannabis products are designed for adults 21 and older. Please consume responsibly.
Author Bio: Chris grew up in Dover, Delaware with his sights set on the wild west. Inspired by 80’s and 90’s- era ski movies Chris found his way to Gunnison, Colorado in 1999 to attend Western State College, now Western State University, and to ski Crested Butte. In this little mountain town in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains Chris also found a lovely little plant called cannabis. Chris still lives in Colorado, having moved to Steamboat Springs after graduating to follow his love of skiing, mountain biking, and all things outdoors. Currently working as a budtender with 7 years experience in the cannabis industry Chris has a passion for cannabis, a desire to write, and a love for Colorado. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chrisher929
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment to protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference, despite a written request from Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year that they not do so.
The amendment, put forward Thursday by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), adds a clause to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018 that prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent any “State or jurisdiction from implementing a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and territories Puerto Rico and Guam have passed laws legalizing various forms of medical marijuana.
In his letter, Sessions argued that the amendment inhibits the Justice Department’s “authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. … It would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”
Last August, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the language of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment bars the federal government from taking legal action against any individual involved in medical marijuana-related activity absent evidence that the defendant is in clear violation of state law.
In May, Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced into the omnibus congressional spending bill a similar amendment that prevents the Justice Department from using funds to interfere with the implementation of medical marijuana laws in U.S. states and territories.
The CJS budget now moves to the full Senate. If approved, the bill and its included amendments will go to a special conference committee to reach a compromise with the House version of the budget. If no budget is approved by Sept. 30, the previous amendment will be automatically renewed for another year.
In response to the vote, Blumenauer tweeted: “No surprise! This effort has overwhelming bipartisan support. Now, it’s time for the House act.”
No surprise! This effort has overwhelming bipartisan support. Now, it’s time for the House act. https://t.co/e6qih8zu9C
Here’s a look at some of the reactions from advocacy groups on both sides of the marijuana debate:
Erik Altieri, executive director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said in a statement: “Attorney General Sessions thinks that medical marijuana patients are no better than members of illegal drug cartels. It is imperative that our elected officials remove any potential bite from Sessions’ bark by taking away his ability to use the full force of the federal government to go against the will of over 90 percent of American citizens who support medical marijuana access and, in the process, endangering the well-being of millions of medical marijuana patients.”
Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said: “No one wants to deprive chronically ill patients of medication that could be helpful for them, but preventing the Justice Department from enforcing federal law is fueling black market activity and pushing patients toward an unregulated market proven to be hawking contaminated products as medicine.” He said efforts should be directed to fund more research on marijuana compounds that would go through the Food and Drug Administration approval process.
Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement: “More than half the states have taken a stand and said they want their seriously ill residents to have safe and reliable access to medical marijuana, and today the Senate Appropriations Committee listened. We strongly urge the rest of Congress to do the right thing and include this amendment in the final budget.”
Watch Colorado Rep. Jared Polis talk about medical marijuana
Polly joined The Cannabist in December 2016 as a digital producer. She has been creating print, web and video content for a couple of decades. She returned to her home town of Denver in 2012 after living in eleven other cities in four countries, and…