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Big pharma, alcohol fund anti-legalization drives —surprise!

Posted on October 26th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchWho do you think is pouring money into the campaigns against the legalization initiaves that will go before the voters in five states next month? Well, an Oct. 22 exposé in The Guardian newspaper will confirm your most cyniical suspicions. In August, the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics became the biggest donor to the campaign to defeat Arizona's Proposition 205, making a $500,000 donation to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP). In making the donation, Insys cited concerns for child safety. But The Guardian points out the delicious irony: Insys manufactures Subsys, a prescription painkiller derived from fentanyl—a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. And the Phoenix New Times adds that Insys is under investigation in four states, including Arizona, for marketing practices related to Subsys that have allegedly resulted in patient deaths.

WikiLeaks reveals: alcohol industry promotes Congressional concern for cannabis

Posted on August 2nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchIs the alcohol industry spending money to get members of Congress to pay attention to the problem of "marijuana-impaired driving"? That's the case made on the cannabis industry website Marijuana.com, where a blogger seems to have assiduously searched the famous WikiLeaks dump of DNC e-mails for any reference to our favorite herb. What they found was in the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a daily e-newsletter for Capitol Hill insiders produced by the Politico website. That issue included a paid advertisement from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), which read in part:

Contention over THC maximum proposals in Canada, Colorado

Posted on July 10th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , .

CanadaAs Canada prepares to legalize cannabis nationwide, Ottawa is consulting citizens and stake-holders to shape the new policy. Among the proposals floated at a Vancouver Cannabis Hemp Conference this weekend was a measure to cap the THC content of approved strains. Not surprisingly, this met with a resounding negative from industry and advocates. "It's time for us to stop demonizing THC. We need policy that's based on both evidence and expertise," Hilary Black of the BC Compassion Club Society told the CBC.  "We have an opportunity in Canada right now to be leaders on the world stage and to do this right."

Youth cannabis use drops in Colorado —surprise!

Posted on June 22nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Colorado"Colorado teens stubbornly refuse to smoke more weed." That's the smart-alecky headline over a chart of youth cannabis use rates that appeared in the Washington Post June 21. The story cites Colorado Health Department findings that rates of use among the state's teenagers are essentially unchanged in the years since the herb was legalized there in 2012. In last year's figures, 21% of Colorado youths had used cannabis in the past 30 days. That is slightly lower than the national average, and down from 25% in 2009. The findings are based on a random survey of 17,000 middle and high school students. "The survey shows marijuana use has not increased since legalization, with four of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally," the health department stated.

Cannabis interceptions on Mexican border down —again

Posted on March 20th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

MexicoFor a second year running, the US Border Patrol reports drastically reduced cannabis seizures along the Mexican border—and even the mainstream media can't help making the connection to the growing trend toward legalization and tolerance in the United States. In reporting the findings, the Washington Post uses the headline, "Legal marijuana is finally doing what the drug war couldn't." Last year, border agents confiscated some 1.5 million pounds—down from a peak of nearly 4 million in 2009. Increased domestic production in California, Colorado and Washington have driven prices down, especially at the bulk level. "Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90," a Mexican cannabis farmer recently told NPR. "But now they're paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It's a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they'll run us into the ground." 

Cannabis capitalism: America's future?

Posted on December 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

weedThere have been quite a few histories of cannabis culture and politics, but Bruce Barcott's Weed The People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America is the first to examine the cannabis industry and its future prospects at a moment when it taking flight. His opening overview of how we got to this point is engaging if not always strictly accurate (he loans too much credence to the '70s paraquat scare). He notes the litany of US government reports back to the 1920s exculpating cannabis of the calumnies against it—all ignored by the very government that commissioned them. He details the bureaucratic obstacles that have been raised to research on cannabis' medical benefits. And he relates the passing of the torch (or, more literally, the joint) from the jazz scene to the beatniks to the hippies to the mainstream.

Colorado courts uphold worker termination for medical use

Posted on June 16th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColoradoThe Colorado Supreme Court on June 15 unanimously upheld a lower court decision that employers' "zero tolerance" drug policies are not pre-empted by the state's medical marijuana law. The court held that an employee can legally be fired for consuming cannabis off-duty, finding that the state's  statute on "lawful off-duty activitie"s implies that "lawful" is intended to protect only those activities permissible under both state and federal law. The opinion emphasizes that "employees who engage in an activity, such as medical marijuana use, that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute." Colorado law permits employers to implement drug policies of their choosing, with many opting to drop THC from pre-employment drug screening.

Next: 'Jimi Hendrix' brand edibles?

Posted on June 9th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Jimi HendrixWe noted last year that a Seattle-based equity firm is planning to market "Marley Natural" brand cannabis in states where it is legal. Now it seems guitar god Jimi Hendrix is to be thusly immortalized. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Toronto-based Nutritional High International Inc announced this week that it has "entered into an exclusive licensing agreement...under which the Company may manufacture and distribute various marijuana and hemp-based edible products using the song titles and bearing the likeness of iconic guitarist Jimi Hendrix." The products in question, to be marketed under the "Edible Experiences" banner, include "Purple Haze" and "Stone Free" lines. (There's already a Purple Haze cannabis strain developed by Dutch growers, although the song was more likely about the LSD experience.) In a cute twist, the "Stone Free" line is to be a preparation infused with CBD—the cannabinoid that is thought to have medicinal value but doesn't actually get you stoned.

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