Marijuana associated with three-fold risk of death from hypertension

Marijuana use is associated with a three-fold risk of death from hypertension, according to new research.

House Committee Blocks Veterans Equal Access Amendments

3410000930_95fc2866fa_zTwo weeks ago, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 24-7 to include the Veterans Equal Access amendment, introduced by Senator Daines (R-MT) as part of the 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which would expand much needed medical marijuana access to our nation’s veterans.

Yet House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) decided that he did not want the full House to be able to vote on this critical amendment.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the amendments lead sponsor, testified before the committee that it was “a critical area of literally life and death.”

Veterans are increasingly turning to medical cannabis as an effective alternative to opioids and other conventional medications to treat conditions like chronic pain and post-traumatic stress. A retrospective review of patients’ symptoms published in 2014 in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported a greater than 75 percent reduction on a scale of post-traumatic symptom scores following cannabis therapy. This is why, in recent months, two of the largest veterans’ rights groups — AMVETS and the American Legion —  have resolved in favor of patients’ access to cannabis therapy.

Last year, majorities in both the US House and Senate voted to include similar language as part of the Fiscal Year 2017 MilCon-VA bill. However, Republicans sitting on the House Appropriations Committee elected to remove the language from the bill during a concurrence vote.

It is time that lawmakers stop playing politics with veterans’ health and pass and enact this amendment. There is still the possibility of the Senate’s amendment making it through the conference committee so make your voice heard.

You can send a message to your elected officials in support of veterans having access to medical marijuana by clicking HERE.

So-called ‘synthetic marijuana’ linked to serious health problems

Synthetic marijuana compounds are marketed as safe, legal alternatives to marijuana that cannot be detected by standard drug testing, but these substances differ chemically from marijuana; are linked to dangerous side effects, including seizures, psychosis, dependence, and death; and are not safe substitutes, research shows.

Senate Judiciary Advances the Nomination of Marijuana Prohibitionist Jeff Sessions to be the Attorney General

sessfb2Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the confirmation of Jeff Sessions to be the next US Attorney General on a party line vote of 11 to 9.

There a numerous groups in the criminal justice advocacy space, ranging from the NAACP to the ACLU who are opposed Senator Sessions becoming the nation’s top law enforcement officer for various reasons, ranging from his positions on voting rights, capital punishment, and sentencing reform.

Sessions has a storied history of supporting marijuana prohibition, as NORML has well documented. This includes previously declaring that “good people do not smoke marijuana” and  supporting legislation that would have allowed defendants to receive the death penalty if they had received multiple convictions for marijuana distribution.

His confirmation by the full Senate is not certainty, but should the chamber vote along party lines as the committee has, Sessions will likely be confirmed.

Click here to email your Senators TODAY.

The work of NORML to protect the fragile progress that states have made on marijuana policies will be more crucial than ever and we will continue to stand up for marijuana consumers. We still have time to make our concerns about Senator Sessions known and ask our Senators to further question him on the topic when he appears for questioning on the Senate floor.

Whether he gets confirmed or not, it is imperative that we raise our voices loud at this crucial time. Our Senators need to know that not only do we have concerns over Sessions’ record on this issue, but are willing to stand up for our shared beliefs and defend our marijuana reform victories.

Take one minute and email your Senators NOW.

JUST IN: Sessions Evades Firm Answer on State Marijuana Laws, Leaves Door Open for Federal Enforcement

marijuana_gavelDuring his confirmation for the position of Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions failed to give a straight answer with regard to how the Justice Department should respond to states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.

The Alabama Senator was questioned by both Sens. Leahy (D-VT) and Lee (R-UT) with respect to whether the principles of federalism ought to apply to state marijuana laws.

Senator Leahy: “Would you use our federal resources to investigate and prosecute sick people using marijuana in accordance with state law even though it might violate federal law?”

Senator Sessions: “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law, Senator Leahy, but absolutely it is a problem of resources for the federal government. The Department of Justice under Lynch and Holder set forth some policies that they thought were appropriate to define what cases should be prosecuted in states that have legalized, at least in some fashion marijuana, some parts of marijuana.”

Senator Leahy: “Do you agree with those guidelines?”

Senator Sessions: “I think some of them are truly valuable in evaluating cases, but fundamentally the criticism I think that is legitimate is that they may not have been followed. Using good judgment on how to handle these cases will be a responsibility of mine I know it wont be an easy decision but i will try to do my duty in a fair and just way.”

Senator Leahy: “The reason I mention this, is because you have some very strong views, you even mandated the death penalty for second offense on drug trafficking, including marijuana, even though mandatory death penalties are of course unconstitutional.”

Senator Sessions: “Well I’m not sure under what circumstances i said that, but I don’t think…”

Senator Leahy: “Would you say it‘s not your view today?”

Senator Sessions: “(laughs) It is not my view today.”

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) followed up with questions regarding how marijuana policy factors into federalism and asked if the way the Obama Administration has handled marijuana laws created any issues with separation of powers and states rights. Sessions replied that, “One obvious concern is the United States Congress has made the possession in every state and distribution an illegal act. If that’s something that’s not desired any longer Congress should pass a law to change the rule, it is not the Attorney General’s job to decide what laws to enforce.”

So, after finally being put on the spot and questioned on the issue, we are no closer to clarity in regards to Sessions plans for how to treat state marijuana laws than we were yesterday. If anything, his comments are a cause for concern and can be interpreted as leaving the door open for enforcing federal law in legalized states. If Sessions wants to be an Attorney General for ALL Americans, he must bring his views in line with the majority of the population and support allowing states to set their own marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention.

Clearly, the battle is just beginning to protect state legalization and medical marijuana laws. Can you contribute today to help us keep up our federal political actions and advance our efforts for state-level law reform?

Who Is This Anti-Marijuana Zealot Sheldon Adelson?

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I am writing today about a somewhat mysterious man who has spent tens of millions of dollars to try to prop up marijuana prohibition.

In fact, he has become the big fish in the anti-marijuana funding world. His name is Sheldon Adelson, and he is an 82-year-old Las Vegas casino owner (The Sands, The Venetian, and The Palazzo). He is reportedly worth $29 billion, making him the 12th-richest person in America.

Adelson once made the late website Gawker’s “Billionaire Shit List,” which called him “evil” for “spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get extreme right-wingers in office.” And he should be on our “sh*t list” as well for spending funds on prohibition, which as a policy has resulted in the needless arrest of more than 26 million Americans over the last 40 years.

Adelson was also the principal financial backer of Freedom Watch, a now-defunct political advocacy group founded to counter the influence of George Soros, the largest pro-legalization funder in the country, and liberal groups such as MoveOn.org. Freedom Watch spent $30 million of Adelson’s money in 2008 before fading into oblivion.

In 2014, Adelson gave $5.5 million to the Drug Free Florida campaign to help defeat the medical use initiative and has given another $1.5 million to fight the pending medical use initiative this year, with more likely to follow. He also just donated $1 million to the group opposing the legalization initiative on the ballot in Massachusetts.

In his home state of Nevada, where a full legalization initiative is on the ballot for this upcoming election, Adelson has donated $2 million to oppose the initiative. He recently purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million, since then the paper withdrew its prior endorsement of marijuana legalization for the state.

One cannot help but wonder what would motivate an individual to want to continue a failed public policy that results in the needless arrest of so many of our fellow citizens. In Adelson’s case, it was apparently a personal family tragedy. His 48-year-old son, Mitchell, died in 2005 of a drug overdose involving cocaine and heroin. Another son, Gary, has also struggled with drug addiction and is allegedly estranged from his father altogether. Adelson has said he sees marijuana as a “gateway drug” that led to his sons’ problems.

Of course, the so-called “gateway theory” has long since been refuted by serious scientists, including the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (“There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other drugs.”) and the Rand Corporation (“While the gateway theory has enjoyed popular acceptance, scientists have always had their doubts. Our study shows that these doubts are justified.”)

And the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction recently reached this same conclusion: “As for a possible switch from cannabis to hard drugs, it is clear that the pharmacological properties of cannabis are irrelevant in this respect. There is no physically determined tendency towards switching from marijuana to harder substances. Social factors, however, do appear to play a role. The more users become integrated in an environment (“subculture”) where, apart from cannabis, hard drugs can also be obtained, the greater the chance that they may switch to hard drugs. Separation of the drug markets is therefore essential.”

In addition, those drug users who do end up using heroin or other far more dangerous drugs seldom start with marijuana. Rather recent research shows it is alcohol that is the first drug used in string of drugs leading to eventual addition, not marijuana.

One can surely sympathize with the sense of loss for any parent who experiences the death of a child, regardless of the cause. But these and other scientific findings suggest that If more jurisdictions legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol — thereby allowing its sale to be governed by licensed, state-authorized distributors rather than by criminal entrepreneurs and pushers of various other, hard drugs — even fewer marijuana users will progress to other illicit drugs.

In some ways it reminds one of former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the youngest son of longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy ( D-Mass.). Patrick Kennedy became addicted to pharmaceutical opioids, alcohol, and other illegal drugs before finally embarrassing himself and the Congress when he was arrested in 2006 after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill. At the time, he was high on OxyContin and drunk from alcohol. In Patrick Kennedy’s own words, “OxyContin was what I used for years, but I’m an addict, so it doesn’t matter what it is. I used benzodiazepines, alcohol, stimulants, Adderall, cocaine, you name it.”

In 2009 Kennedy again checked himself into a drug rehabilitation program.

Kennedy then co-founded Project SAM, the principal anti-marijuana organization working in the country to maintain marijuana prohibition. While that strategy may be therapeutically useful for the (hopefully) recovering addict, it places the burden for his problems unfairly on the rest of us.

In fact, recent studies have shown that in states in which medical marijuana have been legalized, the use of opioids has significantly declined.

It is a sad reflection on these two individuals that they use their wealth and fame to punish the rest of us, by working to slow the inevitable end of marijuana prohibition.

About 60 percent of Americans now support marijuana legalization, despite the efforts of Adelson and Patrick Kennedy to try to defend prohibition. Nonetheless, there is naturally some concern that this influx of big money might sway a sufficient number of voters to defeat some of the pending legalization initiatives. The defeat of the medical use initiative in Florida in 2014 (it had the support of 58 percent of those voting, but fell short of the 60 percent required for a constitutional amendment) is attributed by many observers to the out-of-state funding from Adelson.

In the end, our nation’s marijuana policy must be based on science and common sense, not on the tragic examples of those who were unable to control their addictions. I’m confident the pro-legalization forces, with our positive message of the benefits to society from legalization, will carry the day and that we will both out-raise funds and outspend our opponents in these upcoming voter initiative campaigns, not just this year, but for as long as it takes to finally end marijuana prohibition.

________________________________________________________________

This column was originally published on ATTN.com.

http://www.attn.com/stories/12217/sheldon-adelson-opposes-legalization-marijuana

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: Hemp Production Would Be a Positive Development

In a statement published Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a previously outspoken opponent of marijuana law reform, did something surprising. He came out in support of allowing the production of industrial hemp.

“I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy,” McConnell’s statement read, “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times that sounds like a good thing to me.”

The Senator cited his discussions with fellow Ketucky Senator Rand Paul and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Come as being influential in his new position.

It is worth noting, that as recently as last year, Senator McConnell was vociforus in his opposition to marijuana law reform. Replying to a constituent’s letter in 2012, McConnell stated that he was opposed to legalizing marijuana due to the “detrimental effects of drugs..[such as] short-term memory loss, loss of core motor functions, heightened risk of lung disease, and even death.”

While he makes clear that he wants hemp regulated in a way “that does not compromise Kentucky law enforcement’s marijuana eradication efforts or in any way promote illegal drug use,” perhaps his new found support for hemp will become his “gateway” to supporting further rational marijuana policies.

EXECUTE THE CORPORATIONS

The permanent people, as I like to call corporations, are immortal, unlike the temporary citizens: that is, flesh and blood people. And as I facetiously discussed, they thus have more interest in America’s long-term than the temporaries. But in the past few months a number of corporations including Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have paid large fines for law-breaking, that is, cheating their customers. Had these corporations been people they would have gone to jail or prison for their activities, How can we give them equal treatment, since we can’t put them behind bars?

 

One solution is to suspend their fiscal activities for periods of time that a temporary would be imprisoned.  The one rogue Goldman Sachs executive prosecuted by the government for insider trading just received a prison tem of two years. Let’s say GS had been found guilty and all of its trading and activities for its own and its clients’ accounts were suspended for two years. Clients of course could move their accounts, but the Goldman accounts could only be liquidated for two years. No new deals. Corporations could soon learn how disruptive even a short sentence can be and some of the big wrongdoers would be broken.

 

Every so often every corporate charter comes up for renewal. Up to now this has been a routine procedure. Wouldn’t it be better for the government to determine whether re-incorporation of some some of these big felon corporations should take place. “Wells Fargo, you’ve messed up so many families that we are not renewing your charter and not allowing you to transfer funds to an associated entity, You can disburse your assets to your shareholders but you are out of business. We are executing you by not renewing your charter and you will die a legal death. You are no longer immortal”.

 

Sounds good to me. Too big to fail? No the biggest corporations are just stopping cleaner, more innovative companies from getting started.

5 + 4:20 Is It Cruelty To Be Beaten To Death With A Hockey Stick In Canada?

Legal Medical Marihuana / Marijuana vs Illegal MJ / Pot www.facebook.com Pot Clubs & Off Sales Coast To Coast, “BC Prison Pot Farms”, Where “Crime Is Permitted To Grow”? www.youtube.com That’s right I do NOT support the Prince or His Minions who Profit from the Sick by selling us Street Dope that the Criminals in Government support, for cash and votes, cause to think we lost 4 Mounties at a Grow-Op that was supported by ANY Member of ANY Government would be MURDER!! CBC Fith Estate MP / MLA Supported RCMP POT Murders! www.cbc.ca Free The Weed! But it is already! That’s what makes the Pot Heads look so stupid man! Don’t you get it? The Government “US” invest like M in a Product that sucks! Do you know why? Cause the Freedom Of Pot Idiots want the SICK using Dirty Street Dope as Medications! Yes the Pot Prince crumbles? See that’s what? the SICK need SEE!! We suffer every day and TRUST our Leaders would do the same if put in our place! What a freaking Joke eh? They give up who suffers? The SICK! Introducing The Leader Of Canada’s Official Opposition in OUR House Of Commons, & Friend! Yes this means Every Canadian will soon have Jack fighting for thier RIGHT to have a Grow-op and every street have it’s very own Drug House!! This will cut down the NEED for Doctors as Canadians Self Medicating with what ever they wish!! Let us see if Jack still Demands Freedom Of POT be a VOTE, or a DIN# so Medical MJ may be “Prescribed” so the SICK not need support the Criminals! To bad
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Senator Mitch McConnell Thinks Pot Kills – Time for a #RealityCheck

“Because of the harm that substances like marijuana and other narcotics pose to our society, I have concerns about this legislation. The detrimental effects of drugs have been well documented: short-term memory loss, loss of core motor functions, heightened risk of lung disease, and even death.”

No, that is not a quote from 1936′s Reefer Madness, it came from the mouth of current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and it happened in 2012.

Prohibitionist arguments have always been quite laughable, the government originally warned of the dangers of reefer addicted jazz musicians and immigrants corrupting our youth and harming women. However, we’ve come a long way since the 1930′s and the fact that a high ranking elected official in the 21st century can say something so blatantly untrue with a straight face is disturbing at best. Centuries worth of use and countless volumes of research prove Senator McConnell’s statement to be nothing more than lies and scaremongering. Perhaps the good Senator should do some research of his own, if he did he’d find that inhaled cannabis has been shown safe and effective in trials using FDA’s own ‘gold standard’ method.

As long as our representatives in Congress hold such archaic, patently false views on marijuana our efforts to end prohibition will forever be stymied. We need to hold our politicians accountable and if they continue to make statements such as these, they will lose our support come election time. Help us give Senator Mitch McConnell a #RealityCheck by tweeting your displeasure with his recent statements:

@Team_Mitch: Centuries of use and decades of research say you’re wrong. Deaths from marijuana = 0. #RealityCheck

More info and a link to the original constituent letter are available here.

Pot Activist and 5-Time Governor Candidate Gatewood Galbraith Dies

Gatewood Galbraith, a lawyer and five-time candidate for Kentucky governor known as an advocate for limited government and legalizing marijuana, has died, officials said Wednesday. He was 64.

Galbraith was pronounced dead Wednesday morning at his Lexington home of complications from chronic emphysema after suffering for several days with congestion in his lungs, according to the Fayette County coroner’s office.

He died in his bed surrounded by family members, a statement from the coroner said.

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Suspect Busted for Smoking Pot Dies After Fighting With Cop

A drug suspect was busted for smoking pot at the College of Staten Island – but later died after a violent struggle with a cop whose gun he had wrested away, The Post has learned.

The suspect, Cory Holmes, 39, suffered a fatal heart attack at Richmond University Medical Center shortly after the 12:15 p.m. incident on the college’s campus in Willowbrook, sources continued.

The drama unfolded when a police officer using a campus bathroom near an athletic field sniffed marijuana emanating from a stall, sources said.

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Mexican Interior Minister Dies in Helicopter Crash

A top official in Mexico’s drug war and its second-highest leader after President Felipe Calderon was killed along with seven other people after their helicopter crashed south of the capital.

Foggy conditions may have caused Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora’s helicopter to crash en route from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, Calderon said in a televised speech. Blake Mora was traveling to the city for a meeting with judicial officials.

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