A bill at the Arizona Legislature would mandate state-regulated testing for medical cannabis, lower patient registration fees, and make other improvements to the 2010 law.
Arizona rips off medical-marijuana patients by collecting fees that are much higher than what it costs for the state Department of Health Services to run the program.
Last year, for instance, DHS could have funded its $11.7 million in expenditures by collecting $5.7 million from patients. Instead, the state agency collected $18.9 million from them. The extra money went into a useless overflow account that now sits at more than $33 million.
“I wish I would have thought about writing the rule to include a variable fee.” — Former Arizona DHS Director Will Humble
A bill co-sponsored by nearly the entire Legislature, Senate Bill 1420, would change the equation. It would bring down the cost of a medical marijuana card from $150 a year to something more reasonable — something lower-income or fixed-income people could afford.
For many people, the best part is that it would also mandate state-regulated testing for mold and other contaminants in medical marijuana.
But would the bill trade the state program’s high annual surpluses for annual deficits that could end up costing taxpayers?
The Trump administration doesn’t want to see hemp expanded nationwide in the next Farm Bill because of concerns about overproduction, an official said Wednesday.
Greg Ibach, undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said current hemp regulations are “fairly narrow” and that the Trump administration doesn’t necessarily want to see that change when the Farm Bill is rewritten this year.
The 2014 Farm Bill allowed hemp production for the first time in a generation – but only in states with authorized hemp research projects.
“Opening the door wide open nationwide, with no restrictions, may not be in the best interests of the hemp industry,” Ibach said, providing the most thorough comments yet from the Trump administration about hemp.
“One of the challenges we maybe have in the hemp industry is to make sure that demand and production coincide,” he told the media, including Marijuana Business Daily, after speaking at the Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture in Denver.
Asked how the USDA and Trump administration envision hemp being regulated, Ibach said there’s danger to opening up the market to all states.
“We need to be careful so that we don’t kill the market for hemp by overburdening the market with supply before there is demand for it,”Ibach added.
He said oversight of hemp should belong to the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, not the USDA.
The DEA appeared in court last week to argue that CBD, a molecule derived from hemp and marijuana, is an illegal drug and not authorized by the Farm Bill.
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Kristen Nichols can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cannabis reform has been arguably the biggest public policy topic of this decade. Cannabis reform touches on law, social justice, economics, and a number of other areas in public policy.
You will be hard-pressed to find a public policy topic that is as dynamic as cannabis reform. A recent poll from April of this year found a record level of support for ending federal cannabis prohibition – 61%!
This record level of support is not surprising given cannabis’ ability to help treat a number of conditions, and the fact that cannabis is safer than many legal substances.
With so many obvious reasons to end cannabis prohibition in America, it begs the question, ‘why was cannabis ever prohibited in the first place?’
Cannabis was legal in America for a long time. It was not uncommon for cannabis to be found in products that were in homes across America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Cannabis was a common ingredient in medicines that were widely distributed all over the country, and it was seen as being a safe substance to use.
That changed during the 1910’s and 1920’s when America saw an influx of immigrants from Mexico and the growing popularity of genres of music that were associated with minority communities.
Authorities were looking for a way to search, and/or detain and/or deport immigrants and people of color, and they found exactly what they were looking for via cannabis prohibition.
Harry Anslinger, the driving force behind federal cannabis prohibition in the 1930’s, was quoted as saying at the time, “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
The Hearst and DuPont theory
In his groundbreaking book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, legendary cannabis activist Jack Herer offered up the theory that cannabis prohibition was also driven by the financial interest of William Randolph Hearst and the DuPont company.
Humans have used cannabis for over 10,000 years, dating our relationship to the plant at the start of the Neolithic era.
The Neolithic era marked the very beginnings of modern agriculture. However, some experts speculate that the cannabis-human connection began earlier than that.
The herb is one of a handful of plants that has been used for millennia in a variety of different ways, including as food, fiber, medicine, and as a spiritual aid.
It’s also thought to be one of the oldest plants traded for economic value.
Cannabis seeds dated as old as 10,000 years have been found in fossilized Japanese pottery relics, along with scraps of woven cannabis fabrics.
Yet, Japan isn’t the only prehistoric location to show evidence of cannabis remains and cultivation.
The multitude of uses for the plant meant that it was likely an extremely valuable herb to have handy.
The archeological evidence thus far suggests that cultivated cannabis likely originated in Central Asia, spreading to many different regions and continents with human migration.
Access to cannabis not only gave people the means to make durable housing materials and clothing, but nutrient-rich hemp seed provided a brain-healthy dose of essential omega fatty acids. Oils from the herb were possibly even used as some of the first cooking oils.
In medical applications, some of the earliest records of cannabis as a healing aid come from ancient China.
Emperor Shen Nung Pen Ts’ao Ching was one of the first to write about the uses of cannabis as medicine. It’s estimated that he lived sometime between 3494 and 2857 BCE. His manuscripts are dated as early as an estimated 4700 years before present time.
According to these writings, cannabis was used to treat ailments like menstruation, constipation, rheumatism, and absentmindedness.
Throughout ancient history, the herb was also frequently used as a women’s medicine in many different cultures.
Other ancient uses of the plant include pain relief, an anesthetic, an antibiotic, migraine relief, antiparasitic, sedative, and many more.
Doctors used to prescribe cannabis
Fast forward several thousand years.
Cannabis continued to be used in the form of hemp in countries all over the world. The first U.S. President, George Washington, even grew hemp on his plantation, Mount Vernon.
Washington used the hemp for industrial purposes, particularly for fishing nets and perhaps rope and cloth sails for boats.
Several countries around the world, such as India, had fully integrated the cannabis plant into medical practice.
In Western countries, cannabis tinctures and preparations were frequently used and prescribed by doctors.
Since not all Americans are intimately familiar with patents — and because of the reams of misinformation out there regarding this patent in particular — here’s a handy explainer about Patent No. 6,630,507:
U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507 was granted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2003.
The recent social media flurry has consisted of posts varying in allegations and accuracy — some have claimed that the government patented the marijuana plant in its entirety. But the overall intent is one that is symbolic in nature, said Sam Mendez, an intellectual property and public policy lawyer who serves as the executive director of the University of Washington’s Cannabis Law & Policy Project.
“Naturally, it shows that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy that there is ‘no accepted medical use’ for cannabis according to federal law,” Mendez said. “And yet here you have the very same government owning a patent for, ostensibly a medical use for marijuana.
“It’s certainly hypocritical, but there’s no laws against doing so.”
Mendez, patent lawyers, the research arm of the HHS and the New York biopharmaceutical firm that’s working as an exclusive licensee under the patent also caution that the existence of Patent No. 6,630,507 isn’t necessarily so black and white.
“(The federal government is) a very large organization with hundreds of thousands of federal employees and innumerable number of departments,” he said. “It’s much more complicated than to think about them as a single organism. … The government is allowed to file and obtain patents, and that has no bearing on the Controlled Substances Act.”
More broadly, the existence of Patent No. 6,630,507 shines a light on what could result from legalization — an explosion of marijuana-related patents, he said.
No. 6,630,507’s inception
The National Institutes of Health has roughly 6,000 doctoral-level scientists in its employ, working mostly in Maryland, said Mark Rohrbaugh, who holds doctorates in biochemistry and law and is special adviser for technology transfer at the NIH. When one of those scientists invents a new technology or makes a new discovery, the NIH evaluates the result and determines whether to file for a patent.
Over the years, the NIH has conducted and funded research involving cannabis — both as a drug of abuse and for its potential therapeutic properties, said Renate Myles, an NIH spokeswoman.
In this case, the researchers discovered that non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis may potentially have antioxidant properties that could be beneficial in the treatment of certain neurological diseases, she said.
“This patent describes the therapeutic potential for cannabinoid chemical compounds that are structurally similar to THC, but without its psychoactive properties, thereby treating specific conditions without the adverse side effects associated with smoked marijuana,” Myles wrote via e-mail. “It should be noted that the patent is for the use of cannabinoid compounds similar to and including those that naturally occur in marijuana (cannabis), but not for the whole marijuana plant.”
The DEA’s decision has nothing to do with the NIH’s cannabis-related patent, Rohrbaugh said. The patent doesn’t yet prove the chemical compound is effective in the stated treatment, he said, adding that the compound would have to be purified, synthesized in a lab setting, subjected to extensive testing in animals and humans, and ultimately require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to show that it’s safe and effective for the intended purpose.
The intent behind patenting and licensing NIH discoveries is to not have technology that could potentially benefit the public sit idle, he said.
To ensure this, it sometimes requires looping in the private sector, he said. Laws in the 1980s further established the technology-transfer capabilities of entities such as the federal government and universities to have discoveries accessible to others who are in a better position to progress research and potentially commercialize the developments. The entities behind the discoveries typically receive payments as part of the licensing agreement.
After Jeff Sessions stepped up his attack on state-legal cannabis, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner decided to retaliate by freezing the Trump administration’s Justice Department nominees. It’s now a month into the blockade, and Sessions is steaming.
“It’s just getting to be frustrating!” the attorney general said in a speech to the National Sheriffs Association on Monday. “We’re trying to confirm a number of important component heads at the Department of Justice,” but “we can’t even get a vote!”
This Senator Is Blocking DOJ Nominees Until Jeff Sessions Backs Off
After Sessions stepped up his threats against state-legal cannabis by rescinding the Cole memo in early January, Gardner vowed to block Trump administration appointments to the Justice Department. As of last week, he had successfully prevented as many as 11 nominations from going to a Senate floor vote. Sessions said Monday that those positions include the heads of the department’s criminal, civil rights, and national security divisions.
The pressure to move those nominees into their positions increased last week with the resignation of Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, the department’s third-ranking official after Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The candidates are “outstanding nominees”, Sessions added, complaining that Gardner’s blockade was over “unrelated issues.”
“As attorney general, I don’t have the authority to say that something is legal if it’s not legal,” he said.
Jeff Sessions’ (Unfounded) Love Letter to DARE
You can read Sessions’ complete prepared remarks on the Justice Department website or watch the speech on CSPAN. It’s worth watching the video of Sessions’ speech, but mostly to see the look of comic incredulity on his face when he talks about “reversing federal law against marijuana.” Skip to 13:36 or so.
Here’s the section of Sessions’ speech that pertains to cannabis:
Right now, we’re trying to confirm a number of important component heads at the Department of Justice. That includes a new head of our Criminal Division, our Civil Rights Division, and our National Security Division. These are critically important components—and outstanding nominees. Our nominee to lead the National Security Division was approved unanimously in committee. But because of one senator’s concerns over unrelated political issues—like legalizing marijuana—we can’t even get a vote.
I’m Attorney General of the United States. I don’t have the authority to say that something is legal when it is illegal—even if I wanted to. I cannot and will not pretend that a duly enacted law of this country—like the federal ban on marijuana—does not exist. Marijuana is illegal in the United States—even in Colorado, California, and everywhere else in America.
We need our nominees confirmed. Safety and security are just too important.
Many people can’t help but laugh the first time they hear the phrase “cannabis suppository.” But don’t be mistaken: This method of accessing the active ingredients in the cannabis is no joke. And the benefits are convincing a growing number Europe’s medical patients to make the switch from more traditional methods of consumption.
Until about five years ago, the vast majority of Europeans who treated their ailments with cannabis either smoked or vaporized the plant. But thanks largely to Rick Simpson, a Canadian who treated his cancer with cannabis oil and lived in exile in Eastern Europe between 2009 and 2013, more and more people started to discover the amazing properties of extracts. There was one big problem: Consuming extracts that had a high THC percentage—up to 90 percent in some cases—was overwhelming for many patients, especially those without previous experience with cannabis.
The benefits of suppositories—combined with how easy it is to make them at home—has made them quite popular.
“Some six years ago, after meeting with Rick Simpson, I started to produce extracts and provide them to many sick people. Illegally, of course,” said a producer in the Czech Republic who asked to go by Martin T. “But lots of them could not bear the psychoactive effects of THC.”
This prompted some patients and their caregivers to look for another way of ingesting the medicine. “I tried to infuse cocoa butter—with a little bit of shea butter and coconut oil—with the extract and made rectal suppositories,” Martin said. “Patients immediately loved them, especially those with digestive and urinary issues.”
Rectal suppositories seemed promising for at least two reasons. First, they go to work quickly. Suppositories exert systemic effects when they enter the rectal mucosa, spreading healing compounds quickly through nearby organs and into the bloodstream. Second, it’s an effective way of diminishing the “head-high” psychoactive effects of THC.
The benefits of suppositories—combined with how easy it is to make them at home—has made them quite popular, especially in Central Europe.
Despite the emergence of vaginal suppositories in the U.S., the suppositories Martin makes are for rectal use only. “A vagina has a very sensitive and specific environment, requiring a special gel carrier, which is pretty hard to get,” he explained. About 90 percent of his patients are now using only suppositories, he said, and the results have been amazing.
Do Cannabis-Infused Suppositories Actually Work? We Tried One to Find Out
One notable case is that of Václav Novák, 67, who suffers from prostate issues. In 2013, doctors found signs of cancer, measuring a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of more than 10. They scheduled him to begin chemotherapy three months later.
Immediately after the diagnosis, Novák began using 1-gram suppositories, each containing one-tenth of a gram of cannabis extract with more than 70 percent THC and around 5 percent CBD. “I did not feel any high, which was a big difference from oral consumption, when 0.1 gram would get me couch-locked for half a day,” he said.
“I just felt pretty relaxed and slept much better. And the best thing was, when I went to the hospital after three months, there was no need for chemotherapy or any other treatment. Much to my doctor’s surprise, my PSA was back to zero.”
At NHCC, We have personally seen this help people and allow them to take high amounts of THC, without the psychoactive effects. For more information, please follow Leafly.com and contact Natural Healing Care Center (click) or Call 520-323-0069