Marijuana News

12-Year-Old Medical Marijuana Patient Is Suing Jeff Sessions, DEA and DOJ

Marijuana Court

12-year-old Alexis Bortell has epilepsy. She is joined by her father and former NFL player Marvin Washington in filing a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Bortell family moved from Texas to Colorado to have access to medical marijuana for Alexis’ epilepsy, according to ABC News.

Traditional treatments and medical procedures did not provide any relief for Alexis’ form of epilepsy. When the Bortells tried medical marijuana, Alexis had immediate relief for the first time in her life. Before marijuana, she was having multiple seizures daily.

“This lawsuit stands to benefit tens of millions of Americans who require, but are unable to safely obtain, cannabis for the treatment of their illnesses, diseases and medical conditions,” states part of the lawsuit. “Since being on whole-plant medical cannabis, Alexis has gone more than two years seizure-free.”

The restrictive medical marijuana law in Texas doesn’t allow Alexis access to potent enough marijuana that she needs.

Canadian Government Proposes Marijuana Tax of $1 Per Gram

Canada Marijuana Tax

The Department of Finance (DOF) is on-board with the Canadian government’s proposed recreational marijuana tax $1 Canadian dollar per gram, which is roughly a 10% tax.

Canadian marijuana businesses are quite happy about this news, CNN Money reports. The new tax will apply to both medical and recreational marijuana. The recreational marijuana market should be in operation by July 2018.

The DOF said that, “The proposed level of taxation is intended to keep prices low to eliminate the black market.”

The news of the low tax rate has already sent Canadian marijuana stock prices soaring. Some stocks have already risen as much as 15%.

Feedback regarding the proposed rate is being accepted till December 7. The funds received from tax revenue will be “divided equally between the province or territory and the federal government.”

The DOF said, “Revenues raised from the taxation regime will help support investments in public education, enforcement, research and other activities integral to the effective system of legalization and regulation of cannabis.”

Photo: flickr (goo.gl/hUXrBF)

10 Well-Known Female Celebrities That Publicly Use Vaporizers

Vaping

Many Americans are familiar with male celebrities – like Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy, Snoop Dogg and John Cusack – that frequently vaporize, but not many know about the females. Here’s a list of some famous female vaporizer aficionados:

Kate Moss – Supermodel

Katherine Heigl – Actress

Christina Milian – Singer & Actress

Chelsea Handler – Comedian

Rihanna – Singer

Michelle Rodriguez – Actress

Lindsay Lohan – Actress

Whoopi Goldberg – Actress & TV Host

Katy Perry – Singer

Sarah Silverman – Comedian

Lyft Is Providing Special Discounts to Reduce Stoned Driving

Lyft Marijuana

The 320 Movement in Colorado wants to keep marijuana-consuming drivers off the roads. The Marijuana Industry Group (MIG), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Lyft are collaborating on the project that will have Lyft providing special discount codes for marijuana users throughout the state.

This isn’t their first crack at helping marijuana users get home safely; Lyft did participate in last year’s 4/20 festivities in Denver with 1,200 discount codes being redeemed for safe rides home, according to Westword.

Sam Cole, Traffic Safety Communications Manager for CDOT, said, “Despite the fact that marijuana impairs judgment, coordination, decision-making and reaction time, an alarming number of users – 55% – still believe that it’s safe to drive under the influence of marijuana,” so we “have partnered with Lyft and MIG in an effort to combat this belief while also providing marijuana users with a safe ride, so they don’t even have to consider driving high.”

MIG Executive Director Kristi Kelly said, “The reduction of impaired driving is a shared priority, and state government and Colorado’s cannabis industry are united in their ongoing commitment to raising awareness of, and reducing the incidence of, any impairment while driving.”

The 320 Movement began this November and will last through April 2018. Toolkits will be delivered to about 125 Colorado marijuana retailers.

Toolkit contents include:

  • Postcards for display and distribution
  • Social media hashtags to promote the movement
  • Window clings for store displays

The pilot program was only available in Denver, but the new 6-month program will be available to marijuana users statewide.

Gabe Cohen, general manager for Lyft Colorado, said, “Helping reduce the number of Coloradans driving high is an important and long-term goal for Lyft. We are excited to accelerate our work with CDOT to help educate the community about the dangers of driving high, and we are absolutely committed to continue to provide a safe and affordable alternative through Lyft.”

Those wishing to use the service can do so once a month for a 32% discount, or up to $5 total.

Photo: cdot

O.penVAPE Launches Vaporizer Cartridge Distillate Product Line

OpenVape ISH

O.PenVAPE just launched a new flavored distillate vape cartridge product line. The new product line, called ISH, is designed for novice marijuana users.

The ISH vape cartridges do not use terpenes for flavor, instead they distill the solvent-extracted concentrates to purify them. Distillates are said by many to be smoother than other concentrates like shatters, waxes and resins.

The ISH pens are designed for users that want to taste a flavor that is something other than marijuana.  Currently there are three flavors: Blue Raspberry, Watermelon and Bavarian Cream.

Chris Driessen of Organa Brands, O.PenVAPE’s parent company, said, “We had lots of feedback that people wanted a flavored cartridge, as it appeals to a totally different market than say, the Craft Reserve. Plus, the addition of flavoring sets it apart in this category. The consumer is someone who is perhaps not a strain aficionado – someone looking for rich flavor, without a strong marijuana taste.”

Driessen also said, “I didn’t know how much I would love these flavors until I tried them, but once I did, I was really impressed with the work of our R&D team. It’s not your typical cartridge, and is definitely a refreshing take on flavored distillate.”

The ISH product line is currently available in Colorado. But O.PenVAPE is expected to expand the product to other markets, like Arizona, Nevada and California. The suggested retail price for the ISH cartridges range from $20 for a 250 mg option to $30 for 500 mg.

Photo: BusinessWire

Luxembourg Moves Closer to Legalizing Medical Marijuana Program

Luxemburg Marijuana

Luxembourg officials plan to embark on a two-year medical marijuana test program. The intention is to determine how many people would qualify for medical marijuana in the country and what the qualifying conditions would be.

A press conference was held by Health Minister Lydia Mutsch, and she indicated it’d be a rather restricted program, Digital Journal reports. She hinted that cancer, multiple sclerosis and a few other serious health conditions would be considered. Doctors that could recommend medical marijuana would probably be limited to internists, oncologists and neurologists.

If the medical marijuana pilot program is approved, it would begin rather quickly. Some expect as early as 2018.

Mutsch said, “This must be an exception in a controlled and secure setting.”

The social security minister and health minister will have a chat about potential reimbursement for those who use medical marijuana, which would involve adopting specific terms and conditions.

A draft of potential regulations is expected to be presented to the Luxembourg government by the end of 2017. The parliament is responsible for debating and voting on the topic.

Public Banks Offer High Hopes for Marijuana Industry Businesses

Public Bank Marijuana

State-compliant marijuana businesses still can’t use traditional banking services due to federal regulations. But that may be changing, thanks to public banking, a form of state-regulated banking with minimal oversight by the fed.

Cities in California are currently leading the efforts to get these financial institutions up and running, CT Post reports. Arizona and Maryland also want to establish public banks.

Dan Kalb, an Oakland City Council Member supporting the idea, said, “It’s important for local jurisdictions to do what they can to facilitate a successful cannabis industry. It’s important for local governments to help their success, and the lack of banking services is a gap that no other industry faces. So, it’s important for local governments and elected leaders to step up and try and solve that problem.”

One public bank exists in the United States: Bank of North Dakota. It was founded in 1919 for in-state farmers and small businesses. The state of North Dakota insures deposits at the bank instead of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), and the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions oversees the bank instead of the fed.

Herb Wesson, Los Angeles City Councilman, said, “We have to figure out a way to make this industry work.”

California is also exploring in cities like Oakland, Richmond, Alameda County and Berkeley are exploring the possibility together. So far, the municipalities interested in the public banks have provided $130,000 for a feasibility study.

Another California organization, Commonomics USA, supports the creation of public banks. The company is working on templates for how this public banking system would work. They’d like for the template to become a law to allow public banks to form.

Marc Armstrong of Commonomics said, “If such a license exists, then a lot of governance problems go away.”

But there’s a catch: although the public banks would be overseen by in-state officials, they still require a master account with one of the nation’s 12 federal reserve banks. Master accounts are required by financial institutions to open accounts and operate as a bank.

Efforts to create Fourth Corner Credit Union in Colorado were hindered due to this issue. Armstrong said, “The reason Fourth Corner didn’t get (a master account) is because they were too concentrated in one industry, and the risk associated with that went way up.”

If public banks are created to help the legally operating marijuana businesses in this country, it could be at least two to three years before they can open. There are dozens of hurdles to cross and hoops to jump through. If it takes too long, commercial banks may jump ahead to offer services to marijuana businesses.

Lance Ott of Guardian Date Systems said, “Public banks are a good idea, but by the time anyone gets around to opening one, you’re going to have – as far as California goes – more financial institutions for marijuana businesses to choose from. Public banking process could take years. By the time they launch it, they’re going to be too far behind to make a large impact unless they offer some very attractive incentives to potential customers to come on board.”

Professor Says Marijuana Is 5-times Stronger Now Than in 1980s

Weed

Professor of psychiatry at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Christian Hopfer, says that today’s marijuana is 5-times stronger than marijuana from the 1970s and 1980s. He’s one of the leading authors on a $5.5 million marijuana study that is expected to be the longest “analysis of cannabis to date.”

For research purposes, Hopfer visited Colorado dispensaries and found strains boasting 25% THC, Business Insider reports.

Since 1995, THC content in marijuana has tripled. Samples seized by the DEA reveal that in 1995, marijuana averaged 4% THC, and samples from 2014 indicate 12% THC on average.

Hopfer said, “It used to be 2 – 5%, so this stuff is potent.”

Research also indicates that the CBD percentage in marijuana has decreased from 1:14 CBD/THC ratio in 1995 to 1:80 ratio in 2014. Although, data will vary due to strain and growing techniques. Furthermore, THC degrades over time, so if a sample sits a while, the THC percentage indicated may be incorrect.

In 2014, a study published in the journal Addiction, indicated that marijuana users adjust their dosing based upon potency. They’ll use less when the strain is stronger.

Hopfer says that dosing needs to be addressed. He said, “I think we’ve dealt with marijuana historically from a criminal justice perspective, but if you switch to an environment where it’s legal, you switch to a public health perspective. And to do that right, we need more scientific research.”

Researchers Map Hemp’s DNA to Reveal Its Full Potential

Hemp DNA

Hemp’s full potential remains largely unknown, but researchers have just mapped the DNA of hemp and hope it’ll begin to reveal it’s full potential.

UC Davis, which is performing the DNA sequencing, has mapped genomes of grapes and coffee beans in the past, Newsweek reports. UC Davis is not the first to attempt genomic mapping of hemp. Their approach, however, is different and aims to provide clarity regarding the plant’s medicinal benefits.

Dario Cantu of UC Davis said, “We have successfully applied cutting-edge DNA sequencing technologies and computational approaches to study challenging genomes of diverse crops and associated microorganisms. We are now excited to have the opportunity to study the genome of hemp. Decoding the genome will allow us to gain new insight into the genetic bases of complex pathways of secondary metabolism in plants.”

Jonathon Vaught, CEO of FRB, said, “UC Davis is renowned as the leading agricultural university in the world and we are excited to work with Dr. Cantu’s team to improve this crop to reduce pesticide residues and excessive application of fertilizers, in preparation for production targeting medically beneficial compounds.”

Hemp has tremendous commercial potential, so the research may lead to worldwide commercialization improvements.

Photo: PollyHillard/BenDroz

Alcohol Company Spends $191M for 10% Stake in Marijuana Company

Corona Marijuana

Constellation Brands Inc., an international alcohol producer and distributor that is known mostly for the brands Svedka and Corona, is spending $191 million to purchase a nearly 10% stake in Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp., a company that sells medical marijuana products throughout the country.

Demand for alcohol in the U.S. is slowly decreasing, so Constellation wants its piece of the growing legal marijuana pie, Portland Press Herald reports. Constellation has no plans to participate in the legal marijuana market other than with its financial investment.

Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands said, “Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early-stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction.”

Recently, the value of Canopy’s stock rose 23%. Other industry stocks also saw increases in value with this new investment.

Constellation and Canopy will work together to create a marijuana-based beverage to be sold to adults in Canada. The beverages would only be sold where they are legally permitted, such as in legally operating marijuana industry businesses.

Vahan Ajamian, an analyst at Beacon Securities, said, “We see this transaction as a game-changer for Canopy, as well as the industry at large. We suspect more alcohol companies may look to accelerate plans to enter the industry – as well as the pharmaceutical and tobacco companies.”

Photo: Bloomberg