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Thread: Trump administration abandons crackdown on legal marijuana

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  1. #1 Trump administration abandons crackdown on legal marijuana 
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    https://www.google.com/amp/www.latim...outputType=amp




    The Trump administration is abandoning a Justice Department threat to crack down on recreational marijuana in states where it is legal, a move that could enable cannabis businesses in California and other states that have legalized pot to operate without fear of federal raids and prosecution.

    President Trump personally directed the abrupt retreat, which came at the behest of Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. White House officials confirmed the policy shift Friday. Trump did not inform Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions in advance of the change in policy, an almost unheard of undermining of a Cabinet official.



    Gardner was incensed in January when the Justice Department announced that it was rescinding an Obama-era policy that directed federal prosecutors not to target marijuana businesses that operate legally under state law. The senator had blocked Justice Department nominees in retaliation.

    In conversation with Trump this week, Gardner said he was assured that the federal government would not interfere with his state's marijuana industry and that Trump would champion a new law that gives states the authority to set their own pot policies. In response, he lifted his remaining holds on nominees.



    "Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the president that the Department of Justice's rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado's legal marijuana industry," Gardner said, referring to the Obama-era policy, named after former Deputy Atty. Gen. James M. Cole, who issued it.

    "Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all."

    White House officials confirmed that Gardner's comments accurately reflect the administration's position.



    "The president did speak with Sen. Gardner yesterday and again today," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Friday at the White House. She said "the president is a firm believer" in states' rights and confirmed Gardner's account of the assurances he received from the president was accurate.

    A Justice Department official who requested anonymity to speak frankly about internal discussions confirmed that Trump did not consult Sessions before talking with Gardner. Sessions, a longtime anti-drug crusader, personally announced the administration's pot crackdown policy in January.

    The attorney general and Trump have had a frosty relationship for months, largely over Trump's continued resentment that Sessions recused himself from any involvement into the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    Trump's decision to undercut a major Sessions initiative without informing the attorney general in advance was a striking example of how low their relationship has sunk.

    California is one of eight states in which recreational marijuana is legal. The administration's announcement in January that it was allowing prosecutors to target businesses selling pot legally under state laws put a cloud of uncertainty over the rapidly growing cannabis industry.

    The talk of a crackdown threatened to slow investment in marijuana companies, which risked shutdown and seizure of their products at the decision of a single U.S. attorney. Under federal law, marijuana remains categorized as among the most dangerous drugs available, and one that has no valid medical purpose.

    Marijuana stocks, which started the day down, surged after word spread of the Trump administration's new posture toward the industry.

    The mixed signals coming out of the administration, however, left some marijuana advocates proceeding with caution.



    Aaron Lachant, an attorney in Los Angeles who represents marijuana businesses, expressed concern that Gardner's deal might apply only to Colorado.

    "The agreement itself appears narrow and only applicable to that state," he said. "Nevertheless, it is an encouraging sign when in the last year all the messages coming from Washington have been about enforcement. This suggests they are finally moving toward policy solutions."

    A leader of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), called the commitment Gardner secured from Trump "another head-spinning moment."

    "We should hope for the best, but not take anything for granted," Blumenauer said. "Trump changes his mind constantly, and Republican leadership is still in our way."

    Blumenauer is championing a measure that would prohibit federal law enforcement from using any money to crack down on recreational marijuana businesses operating legally under state law. That would expand an existing law that prevents federal law enforcement agencies from using their funds to go after companies legally selling medical marijuana, which is permitted in 29 states. The ban is the result of a budget rider Congress approved in 2014, and has renewed multiple times since.

    Persuading Congress to lift the prohibition on enforcement actions against recreational marijuana is proving more challenging. Lawmakers have been reluctant. They have even prohibited sales of recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C., where voters approved it.

    Yet if Trump follows through on his commitment to Gardner, the political equation could change. Trump's support for looser federal marijuana laws could draw other Republicans to join him. A Gallup poll in October found 67% of Americans support marijuana legalization. That support is bipartisan. For the first time, the poll found, most Republican voters favored legalization.

    "It has been a long and difficult process, but we may now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel," said an email from Mason Tvert, who co-directed the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Colorado. "This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado, but throughout the country."
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  2. #2  
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    'Marijuana stocks, which started the day down, surged after word spread of the Trump administration's new posture toward the industry.'

    i was wondering what caused the spike, lol

    MJ

    3 mth daily





    look at that volume!!!!!!






    Preconceived stereotypes are melting, slowly ................. money talks.
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  3. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricboff View Post
    'Marijuana stocks, which started the day down, surged after word spread of the Trump administration's new posture toward the industry.'

    i was wondering what caused the spike, lol

    MJ

    3 mth daily





    look at that volume!!!!!!






    Preconceived stereotypes are melting, slowly ................. money talks.
    John Boehner joined the advisory board of a marijuana company, despite being anti-legalization when he was in the Speaker of the House in Congress.

    Boehner got a boner when he saw all the money he could make on legal weed......as do most politicians, its all about the money.

    Sessions should just resign, because his cause was great in the 1980's for over zealous politicians, but it does no good in 2018. Pandoras box was opened, & it can't be closed.
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  4. #4  
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    LA times?

    Lol. Why not post something from NY Times or WaPost.
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  5. #5  
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    wonder when the feds will re-classify pot from a type 1 narcotic ( I believe that's the term)
    to a more accurate portrayal of a drug with actual medical benefits?
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  6. #6  
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    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.for...marijuana/amp/




    Boehner And Trump And Cannabis, Oh My! Big Changes Coming To Legal Marijuana




    President Trump has confirmed a deal with Colorado Senator Cory Gardner to let Colorado make its own cannabis legalization decisions in exchange for the Senator not holding up Department of Justice nominations. John Boehner joined the advisory board of a marijuana company, despite being anti-legalization when he was in the Speaker of the House in Congress. Pennsylvania recently said it will allow university hospitals to participate in clinical trials of cannabis.




    Marijuana industry entrepreneurs are hoping they are on the cusp of a significant national transformation. These are “major breakthroughs” said Acreage Holdings chief executive Kevin Murphy. Acreage is the company Boehner joined, and it has ownership of marijuana growing, processing and retail facilities in eleven states.

    Trump’s agreement to let Colorado, and presumably other states, decide on their own cannabis laws, goes directly against the actions of his attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions had rescinded the Cole memorandum which protected cannabis companies operating legally under their own state regulations, from federal prosecution.




    Previously, on the campaign trail, Trump had said he supported states’ rights to create their own cannabis laws, and that he was in favor of medical marijuana legalization, but had not taken any actions in these areas. Instead, he had appointed an attorney general who was moving in the opposite direction.

    Andy Williams, founder Medicine Man Technologies a consulting company in the cannabis industry said, “The next step from here should be making law out of Cole memo, so it’s legislation instead of a referendum. I believe this also has potential to fix banking and 280e.” He is referring to a significant lack of banking available to the multi-billion dollar industry and the fact that business expenses deducted by other types of business, like equipment purchases, cannot be deducted by cannabis businesses.




    Kris Krane, co-founder of 4Front which helps entrepreneurs pursue cannabis cultivation, retail distribution, production, technology, and other ancillary services said, it was encouraging that president Trump “has agreed to a legislative solution that would protect state legal cannabis businesses and uphold the overwhelming will of the voters in those states.”

    Krane said he appreciated that Senator’s Gardner was making the defense of his state’s marijuana laws a priority for his federal agenda.

    Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and Former US House Speaker John Boehner, recently joined the advisory board of Acreage Holdings cannabis company. Boehner’s views on de-scheduling the substance and its possibilities as a medicine changed as public opinion did, according to Weld. Press materials said he witnessed the positive effect of medical marijuana on a friend. (Boehner was not made available on the press call)

    Weld said 94% of adults in the US believe medical marijuana should be legal. He said his function and Boehner’s at Acreage Holdings would be “publicity and persuasion, not operational.”

    Acreage Holdings has already aligned with a university hospital in Pennsylvania to collaborate on cannabis research, but hasn’t announced which one yet, said Murphy.
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  7. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by niltes View Post
    wonder when the feds will re-classify pot from a type 1 narcotic ( I believe that's the term)
    to a more accurate portrayal of a drug with actual medical benefits?
    They're gonna have to, the FDA should have when Obama was in office but didn't, I think they will within a couple of years.
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  8. #8  
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  9. #9  
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    I've never even tried Marijuana, but to try & enforce keeping people from using it is ignorant...
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  10. #10  
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    I just received my card in the mail yesterday
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  11. #11  
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    published last summer (everyone is watching Colorado....they're the test tube)

    Colorado passes a milestone for pot revenue



    Colorado has harvested half a billion dollars in taxes and fees since it legalized recreational weed.

    VS Strategies, a pro-legalization research company in Denver, says the state has pulled in $506 million since retail sales began in January 2014. That includes taxes and fees from medical marijuana, which was legalized years earlier, but the vast majority of the revenue came from recreational.

    Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational weed, so its market is the most mature. And lawmakers and entrepreneurs in other states, and other countries, look at Colorado as a measuring stick.
    Revenue from taxes and fees has increased each year, from $76 million in 2014 to $200 million last year, and the state is on track to beat that this year, according to VS Strategies, which used state revenue data in its report Wednesday.


    Colorado has spent most of the money on schools, the research company says. Smaller chunks have gone to drug prevention and treatment programs and to regulating the marijuana industry.
    State revenue officials told CNNMoney they had not calculated their own total revenue summary since recreational pot became legal.


    Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000. The state applies a 2.9% sales tax to those sales, plus license and application fees.
    Recreational marijuana, also known as adult-use, is taxed more aggressively. In addition to the sales tax of 2.9%, the state charges an excise tax of 15% and a special sales tax of 10%, plus license and application fees.
    Marijuana advocates often tout tax revenue as justification for making the drug legal. But because legal recreational pot is so new, it's been difficult for states to project how much tax revenue will result from legal sales.


    Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Nevada also have retail markets for marijuana, but they lag behind Colorado's.
    Pot shops opened in Washington in July 2014, and in Oregon in October 2015. Last year, pot tax revenue totaled $256 million in Washington and $60 million in Oregon, in the same year that Colorado brought in $200 million, according to VS Strategies.
    Alaska opened its market in October last year, and Nevada just started selling recreational marijuana on July 1. California, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have also legalized recreational marijuana, but retail sales have not begun.
    ......................

    New York?


    Cuomo lays groundwork for legalizing marijuana

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid the groundwork Thursday for legalizing marijuana in New York, saying neighboring states already have, or are about to, so “for all intents and purposes it is going to be here anyway.”
    The governor’s comments were his strongest to date in favor of legalization


    “The facts have changed,” Cuomo said during a stop in Brooklyn to spotlight new subway equipment.
    “You have states that have legalized it now…. It is no longer a question of legal or illegal. It’s legal in Massachusetts. It may be legal in New Jersey. Which means for all intents and purposes it’s going to be here anyway.”
    The governor went on to say the question now is “do you not legalize it when it is legal 10 miles from both sides of your border,” assuming the Garden State becomes the ninth in the nation to make recreational pot legally available. It is also legal in Washington, DC




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  12. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by niltes View Post
    wonder when the feds will re-classify pot from a type 1 narcotic ( I believe that's the term)
    to a more accurate portrayal of a drug with actual medical benefits?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remova...Substances_Act
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  13. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by niltes View Post
    wonder when the feds will re-classify pot from a type 1 narcotic ( I believe that's the term)
    to a more accurate portrayal of a drug with actual medical benefits?

    The only thing that will happen, if anything, will be to re-schedule it to 2. That way the fda will have a choke hold
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekeyman View Post
    I just received my card in the mail yesterday
    Were both in pa do you mind me asking what the qualification was? I read its something like 10 specific conditions but wondering if its legit or they are lenient with it like in some of the other states
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  15. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekeyman View Post
    I just received my card in the mail yesterday
    Do you know what kind of price you will pay? Just curious how it compares to what Im paying illegally.
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  16. #16  
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    Dispensary weed is trash
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  17. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shub View Post
    Dispensary weed is trash
    Pot meet kettle. You're garbage, a piece of crap.
    If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain.
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  18. #18  
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    https://www.google.com/amp/wnep.com/...-patients/amp/



    Pa. Health Secretary Approves Dry Leaf for Medical Marijuana Patients




    HARRISBURG, Pa. — Big changes are coming to Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

    Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced Monday she will approve the recommendations of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board that includes allowing the sale of medical marijuana in dry leaf or flower form. It will also expand the list of qualifying conditions.



    The decision means Pennsylvanians will soon be able to buy dried flower medical marijuana for vaporization. The law forbids residents from smoking it. Dry leaf marijuana is said to be a less expensive option for patients.



    The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board made the recommendations last week.

    Additionally, the number of qualifying medical conditions will be expanded from 17 to 21, including neurodegenerative disease, spastic disorders, and patients with a terminal illness whose life expectancy is one year or less.

    Another recommendation included adding medical marijuana as addiction substitute therapy to reduce opioid use.

    Dr. Levine said patients should be able to purchase dry leaf marijuana in dispensaries sometime this summer.



    The Health Department said so far, more than 30,000 patients have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, with more than 10,000 already receiving their identification cards and received medical marijuana at a dispensary.
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  19. #19  
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    ''Another recommendation included adding medical marijuana as addiction substitute therapy to reduce opioid use.''

    ......

    would be huge. Being a schedule 1 drug makes it hard to study Cannabis, get funding for. That's changing despite its label, wow


    https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/can-medical-marijuana-help-combat-pennsylvanias-opioid-crisis/Content?oid=7667623


    Can medical marijuana help combat Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis?

    Studies have shown marijuana can be an effective and safe drug to treat chronic pain, but getting doctors to recommend it over opioids is the next step

    According to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control, of U.S. counties with more than one million residents, Allegheny County had the highest drug-overdose death rate. In 2016, Allegheny County lost about 50 lives to drug overdoses per 100,000 residents. These deaths were primarily caused by residents overdosing on opioids like fentanyl and heroin. And in 2017, according to the Pennsylvania Opioid Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center, the amount of overdose deaths in Allegheny County only increased.
    But 2017 is also the year that patients in Pennsylvania have legal access to medical marijuana to treat some types of chronic pain. And medical-marijuana proponents believe the drug can be a game-changer in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Doctors, advocates and medical-marijuana business owners feel marijuana should be recommended after patients complete their regiment of prescribed opioids. They believe it is a safer way to manage chronic pain and can keep many people from getting addicted to opioids.
    Preliminary studies back up this case, as states that have allowed medical marijuana as a pain treatment have seen some drop-off in opioid-related deaths. However, getting the Pennsylvania medical community fully on board may be a struggle, as marijuana as medicine hasn’t been studied as much as other pain-relieving drugs. But Pennsylvania officials recently passed a small change to the state’s medical-marijuana statute, which could encourage more doctors to recommend medical cannabis and hopefully keep patients from forming an addiction to opioids. Dr. George Anastassov is the CEO of Axim Biotechnologies, a company focusing on the research and development of pharmaceutical products created from marijuana. Anastassov has a background in surgery and pain management, and is bullish on the idea that medical marijuana can be used to treat chronic pain.
    Anastassov says opioids are still necessary to treat acute pain, or a short-term pain that resolves as patients heal. But, he says medicine derived from marijuana would be better suited to treat any longstanding pain that remains as a result of surgery or a traumatic event, also known as chronic pain.


    “We are acutely aware of the opioid problem,” says Anastassov. “Opioids are here to stay, for acute pain, but not for chronic pain.”
    Anastassov says historically many doctors prescribed opioids for chronic pain and were encouraged to do so by the large pharmaceutical companies that developed, studied and distributed opioids. He says this contributed to Pennsylvania’s growing opioid crisis, particularly in rural areas were medical options are limited. Anastassov recognizes other medicines can also replace opioids, but he believes medical marijuana is the best choice to help patients suffering from chronic pain. He says patients taking pharmaceutical cannabis products instead of opioids could play a role in keeping patients from developing addiction to opioids.
    “I think pharmaceutical cannabis is the frontrunner,” says Anastassov. “We can dramatically reduce the number of opioids.”


    Recent studies support that claim. A paper published April 2 in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found a 14 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions among Medicare patients in states that allow easy access to medical marijuana. Another study also published in April in JAMA Internal Medicine found Medicaid enrollees filled nearly 40 fewer opioid prescriptions per 1,000 people in states that passed medical- or recreational-marijuana laws.
    Patrick Nightingale is a lawyer who represents clients with drug addictions and is the director of marijuana-advocacy group Pittsburgh NORML. He says many of his clients enter the criminal-justice system due to interactions with opioid-related drugs and, over the years, he has seen an increase in clients whose first interaction with opioids was a prescription for legitimate pain.


    Nightingale believes providing patients with medical marijuana to deal with chronic pain could be a better solution. “For someone new to pain treatment, these are the type of people to steer to medical cannabis, instead of giving them two to three months of opioids,” says Nightingale. “We are going to see less people with opioid addiction if they have access to medical cannabis in early stage treatment.”
    Anastassov agrees, but also says a pharmaceutical-cannabis chewing gum he is developing at Axim can help those already suffering from substance-abuse issues. He says the physical exercise of chewing helps people who are addicted, like how nicotine gum has been shown to help people quit smoking cigarettes. Anastassov believes a medical-marijuana chewing gum can help wean people off opioid addiction. The product has yet to hit the market, but Anastassov is confident Pennsylvania officials will welcome it as a way to combat the opioid crisis.


    Nightingale says the biggest obstacle in treating Pennsylvania patients who would normally use opioids with medical marijuana, is convincing prescribing physicians to recommend cannabis. Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, and Nightingale says this has limited the amount of medical studies completed on marijuana, which has increased doctors’ skepticism of marijuana as medicine.
    But there has been progress. On April 9, Pennsylvania’s medical-marijuana advisory board broadened the definition of chronic-pain patients who qualify for access to medical marijuana. The decision still needs to be cleared by the Department of Health, but marijuana-advocate Chris Goldstein, of Philly NORML, says Pennsylvania physicians will be able to recommend medical marijuana as the first option for chronic pain, if the change is approved.
    Dr. Adam Rothschild is thrilled about this news. Rothschild practices family medicine in East Liberty and is a certified to recommend medical marijuana through Pennsylvania’s medical-marijuana law.
    He says cannabis is much safer than opioids in treating chronic pain, and it should be much higher on our list of chronic-pain medications. According to Rothschild, the current rule about recommending medical marijuana for chronic pain has a caveat that states “in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective.” With that caveat likely to be removed soon, Rothschild believes more prescribing physicians in Pennsylvania will be open to recommending medical marijuana.
    “For the people worried about legal aspects of recommending medical marijuana,” says Rothschild, “this will make them more comfortable.”
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  20. #20  
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    https://www.google.com/amp/s/nypost....marijuana/amp/




    Schumer announces plan to decriminalize marijuana




    Sen. Chuck Schumer channeled his inner Peter Tosh on Friday — aka 420, a day weed lovers get wasted to celebrate pot — and called on Congress to “Legalize it, don’t criticize it,” to quote the late reggae legend and devoted Rastafarian.

    “It’s official. Today, I am formally announcing my plan to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. It’s time we allow states, once and for all, to have the power to decide what works best for them,” the Senate minority leader wrote Friday morning on Twitter.

    Schumer pointed out that the feds now consider marijuana — already legal for medicinal use in 29 states and for recreational use in eight — a drug more dangerous than cocaine.

    “Under existing law, the federal government considers marijuana as dangerous as heroin and treats it less favorably than cocaine. That has to change,” he tweeted.



    Even teetotalling and presumably cannabis-free President Trump endorsed letting states decide how to regulate pot last week, Bloomberg reported.

    Schumer’s stance on decriminalization adds to a bipartisan effort in the Senate, led by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado — the first state to legalize recreational marijuana — to decriminalize the drug.

    But the legalization movement goes against the beliefs of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an anti-pot zealot whose views harken back to those advanced in the 1936 agit-prop flick “Reefer Madness,” which depicted potheads as violence-prone maniacs and has subsequently acquired cult status for herb devotees.

    “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” said the former Alabama senator, who had vowed to crack down on states that had legalized weed, an effort that now seems in doubt.
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    I hope it becomes legal in a non smok-able form. I smoked Winston ciggies for 30 plus years and am damm lucky my lungs survived... Did get emphazema _ wrong spelling), but very very lucky it has had no real bad effects on my life..Quit 15 years ago...
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Computer Group View Post
    They're gonna have to, the FDA should have when Obama was in office but didn't, I think they will within a couple of years.
    The decision to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 is not that of the FDA, but rather the DEA in tandem with the U.S. Congress
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  23. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shub View Post
    The only thing that will happen, if anything, will be to re-schedule it to 2. That way the fda will have a choke hold
    The multi-billion dollar per year legal cannabis industry is rocking along just fine without any consideration whatsoever of the FDA. They were never even remotely going to be a player.
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  24. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricboff View Post
    ''Another recommendation included adding medical marijuana as addiction substitute therapy to reduce opioid use.''

    ......

    would be huge. Being a schedule 1 drug makes it hard to study Cannabis, get funding for. That's changing despite its label, wow


    https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/can-medical-marijuana-help-combat-pennsylvanias-opioid-crisis/Content?oid=7667623


    Can medical marijuana help combat Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis?

    Studies have shown marijuana can be an effective and safe drug to treat chronic pain, but getting doctors to recommend it over opioids is the next step

    According to 2016 data from the Centers for Disease Control, of U.S. counties with more than one million residents, Allegheny County had the highest drug-overdose death rate. In 2016, Allegheny County lost about 50 lives to drug overdoses per 100,000 residents. These deaths were primarily caused by residents overdosing on opioids like fentanyl and heroin. And in 2017, according to the Pennsylvania Opioid Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center, the amount of overdose deaths in Allegheny County only increased.
    But 2017 is also the year that patients in Pennsylvania have legal access to medical marijuana to treat some types of chronic pain. And medical-marijuana proponents believe the drug can be a game-changer in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Doctors, advocates and medical-marijuana business owners feel marijuana should be recommended after patients complete their regiment of prescribed opioids. They believe it is a safer way to manage chronic pain and can keep many people from getting addicted to opioids.
    Preliminary studies back up this case, as states that have allowed medical marijuana as a pain treatment have seen some drop-off in opioid-related deaths. However, getting the Pennsylvania medical community fully on board may be a struggle, as marijuana as medicine hasn’t been studied as much as other pain-relieving drugs. But Pennsylvania officials recently passed a small change to the state’s medical-marijuana statute, which could encourage more doctors to recommend medical cannabis and hopefully keep patients from forming an addiction to opioids. Dr. George Anastassov is the CEO of Axim Biotechnologies, a company focusing on the research and development of pharmaceutical products created from marijuana. Anastassov has a background in surgery and pain management, and is bullish on the idea that medical marijuana can be used to treat chronic pain.
    Anastassov says opioids are still necessary to treat acute pain, or a short-term pain that resolves as patients heal. But, he says medicine derived from marijuana would be better suited to treat any longstanding pain that remains as a result of surgery or a traumatic event, also known as chronic pain.


    “We are acutely aware of the opioid problem,” says Anastassov. “Opioids are here to stay, for acute pain, but not for chronic pain.”
    Anastassov says historically many doctors prescribed opioids for chronic pain and were encouraged to do so by the large pharmaceutical companies that developed, studied and distributed opioids. He says this contributed to Pennsylvania’s growing opioid crisis, particularly in rural areas were medical options are limited. Anastassov recognizes other medicines can also replace opioids, but he believes medical marijuana is the best choice to help patients suffering from chronic pain. He says patients taking pharmaceutical cannabis products instead of opioids could play a role in keeping patients from developing addiction to opioids.
    “I think pharmaceutical cannabis is the frontrunner,” says Anastassov. “We can dramatically reduce the number of opioids.”


    Recent studies support that claim. A paper published April 2 in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine found a 14 percent reduction in opioid prescriptions among Medicare patients in states that allow easy access to medical marijuana. Another study also published in April in JAMA Internal Medicine found Medicaid enrollees filled nearly 40 fewer opioid prescriptions per 1,000 people in states that passed medical- or recreational-marijuana laws.
    Patrick Nightingale is a lawyer who represents clients with drug addictions and is the director of marijuana-advocacy group Pittsburgh NORML. He says many of his clients enter the criminal-justice system due to interactions with opioid-related drugs and, over the years, he has seen an increase in clients whose first interaction with opioids was a prescription for legitimate pain.


    Nightingale believes providing patients with medical marijuana to deal with chronic pain could be a better solution. “For someone new to pain treatment, these are the type of people to steer to medical cannabis, instead of giving them two to three months of opioids,” says Nightingale. “We are going to see less people with opioid addiction if they have access to medical cannabis in early stage treatment.”
    Anastassov agrees, but also says a pharmaceutical-cannabis chewing gum he is developing at Axim can help those already suffering from substance-abuse issues. He says the physical exercise of chewing helps people who are addicted, like how nicotine gum has been shown to help people quit smoking cigarettes. Anastassov believes a medical-marijuana chewing gum can help wean people off opioid addiction. The product has yet to hit the market, but Anastassov is confident Pennsylvania officials will welcome it as a way to combat the opioid crisis.


    Nightingale says the biggest obstacle in treating Pennsylvania patients who would normally use opioids with medical marijuana, is convincing prescribing physicians to recommend cannabis. Marijuana is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, and Nightingale says this has limited the amount of medical studies completed on marijuana, which has increased doctors’ skepticism of marijuana as medicine.
    But there has been progress. On April 9, Pennsylvania’s medical-marijuana advisory board broadened the definition of chronic-pain patients who qualify for access to medical marijuana. The decision still needs to be cleared by the Department of Health, but marijuana-advocate Chris Goldstein, of Philly NORML, says Pennsylvania physicians will be able to recommend medical marijuana as the first option for chronic pain, if the change is approved.
    Dr. Adam Rothschild is thrilled about this news. Rothschild practices family medicine in East Liberty and is a certified to recommend medical marijuana through Pennsylvania’s medical-marijuana law.
    He says cannabis is much safer than opioids in treating chronic pain, and it should be much higher on our list of chronic-pain medications. According to Rothschild, the current rule about recommending medical marijuana for chronic pain has a caveat that states “in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective.” With that caveat likely to be removed soon, Rothschild believes more prescribing physicians in Pennsylvania will be open to recommending medical marijuana.
    “For the people worried about legal aspects of recommending medical marijuana,” says Rothschild, “this will make them more comfortable.”
    Just consulted w my old pal, Dr Lanquel and he is five thumbs up on all of this
    If your mouth gets dry, You Plenty High
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  25. #25  
    2009 RX Death Pool Champion Buster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barman View Post
    The decision to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 is not that of the FDA, but rather the DEA in tandem with the U.S. Congress
    Oh boy...You guys dragged resident senior citizen PILLHEAD with this thread...So tell us PILLHEAD letter to the editor writer with bull dyke sister where you have been?
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