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How Denver's Mayor Plans to Use Legal Marijuana to Create Affordable Housing

Alternet - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:56
It's a solid blueprint for the rest of the country.

In April 2016, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions was still merely a senator from Alabama, the politician made a declaration on marijuana:

This drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about... and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.

As politically informed potheads throughout America honor Sessions by firing up a big one, it's important and appropriate to look at one way in which Sessions' attitude toward marijuana is counterintuitive — namely, in how it deprives our society of programs that could be subsidized by marijuana-derived taxpayer revenue.

In Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock has proposed earmarking recurring marijuana taxes as a way to help pay for affordable housing for low-income residents, according to The Denver Post. By increasing the municipal tax on recreational marijuana from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent, Hancock hopes to generate roughly $8 million each year. That money, combined with another $7 million spent each year from Denver's operating budget, could then be used to either build or preserve 6,400 income-restricted apartments and housing units in the city to provide more affordable housing.

It's a valuable idea, one that helps victims of poverty lead more bearable lives while reminding opponents of marijuana legalization that taxes on the drug can bring about unrelated social benefits.

"While marijuana taxes are not necessarily going to solve state budget problems, they could be extremely useful for helping localities deal with many of the smaller-scale issues they face in addition to benefiting education and public health services," Morgan Fox, Director of Communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Salon by email. "It is likely that localities that have banned cannabis businesses will start to reconsider their policies when they see the financial benefits their neighbors are reaping. On top of taxes, these businesses create jobs and support ancillary industries, both of which improve local economic environments."

Fox added, "Another factor to consider is that many marijuana businesses go out of their way to support local charities and social programs because they realize there is still a stigma associated with the industry and they want to bring positive change to their communities while dispelling some of the unfortunate stereotypes some people still hold."

Attorney Zarah Levin-Fragasso of the Lanier Law Firm, Chair of the Committee on Drugs and the Law at the New York City Bar Association and am the President of The Lenox Hill Democratic Club, had a similar observation.

"In recent years, some states have moved towards full legalization and have seen massive economic gains from tax revenue from legal marijuana," Levin-Fragasso told Salon, stressing that these were her personal beliefs. "This revenue, in turn, has been put to positive use — use that includes funding public education. Unfortunately, many individuals originally harmed or at higher risk of the marijuana arrest and conviction are not reaping the benefits of this newly legalized industry in the states that have opted for full legalization of the adult consumption of cannabis."

She added, "Activists are seeking ways to incorporate communities of color and/or indigent communities into the state legalized business process but are reporting mixed and often disappointing results. The historically disenfranchised continue to be economically disenfranchised and while profits soar for some, others continue to rot in jail for these non-violent offenses."

Fox made the same point, telling Salon that "ending marijuana arrests, wisely using tax revenue, and ensuring that the marijuana industry is equitable and the people who have been most hurt by prohibition have a fair shot at getting involved, are all going to have a positive impact on public health and social justice issues."

It is also necessary to point out that using marijuana-based taxes to achieve unrelated social ends, while laudable, should not be used as a primary justification for legalizing pot.

"Historically, taxation is rarely a pathway to social justice," Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, told Salon by email. "Politicians possess the discretion to spend tax revenues as they wish, virtually irregardless of the public’s priorities. By contrast, ending the prosecution, incarceration, discrimination, and stigmatization of responsible adult cannabis consumers is a pathway toward social justice."

He added, "The ongoing enforcement of marijuana prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, and disproportionately impacts young people and communities of color. It makes no sense from a public health perspective, a fiscal perspective, or a moral perspective to perpetuate the prosecution and stigmatization of those adults who choose to responsibly consume a substance that is safer than either alcohol or tobacco."

Levin-Fragasso emphasized that any meaningful attempt to address marijuana policy must start with acknowledging the inherent injustice in the fact that it is illegal in the first place.

"The history of marijuana criminalization is intimately interwoven with social justice concerns," Levin-Fragasso said. "It would be remiss to review marijuana criminalization and subsequent legalization efforts without first looking at the racial disparity in the application of the marijuana arrest and conviction. According to the ACLU, despite approximately similar usage rates between black and white cannabis users, black cannabis users are over three times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white consumers of the substance. The cost on primarily non-white and/or indigent communities from marijuana convictions is unmeasurable by any true metric."

At a time when roughly three out of five Americans support legalizing marijuana, there are fewer reasons to think like Sessions and more reasons to approach the substance like Denver is doing. Legalizing it is going to help lower-income Americans. Not only will it prevent the prison trap that ensnares the poorest Americans — and overwhelmingly minorities — but the revenue from selling it can actually help more people. The fact that so many innocent lives are being ruined because of the prohibition against pot — and that so many more could be helped if it were legalized — underscores why ending the ban is such a morally compelling issue in 2018.

 

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The growth of cannabis culture could be bad news for beer: Analyst - CNBC

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 09:38

CNBC

The growth of cannabis culture could be bad news for beer: Analyst
CNBC
The cannabis industry is growing, which may mean bad news for the beer industry, said Vivien Azer of Cowen, an investment firm. "We view the interaction with alcohol as being the most obvious to us as we think of these products as substitute social ...

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Former Overstock president: Cannabis will be as big as e-commerce - CNBC

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 08:17

CNBC

Former Overstock president: Cannabis will be as big as e-commerce
CNBC
The legal cannabis industry, currently worth about $8 billion, is predicted to triple in size to $22.6 billion in total annual sales by 2021, and it's catching the attention of powerful leaders around the world. In 2015, Alan Gertner left his role as ...

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Is This The Most Expensive Marijuana In The World? - Forbes

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 08:13

Forbes

Is This The Most Expensive Marijuana In The World?
Forbes
Correction: (April 20th 2018, 5:20pm) Loud Dream, at $800 an ounce, is not the most expensive marijuana like I originally reported. Instead, the top spot goes to Cannabis Caviar, priced at a staggering $1,400 an ounce! The Colorado cannabis retail ...
It's Up to Republicans to Legalize MarijuanaBloomberg
A look at each province's rules for marijuana legalizationCTV News
Why it can be okay to call it 'marijuana' instead of 'cannabis'The Verge
Quartz -Vox -Globalnews.ca
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Why Marijuana Fans Should Not See Approval for Epilepsy Drug As a Win for Weed

Alternet - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 07:24
Healing, but no high?

A Food and Drug Administration panel recommended approval of a drug made of cannabidiol on April 19 to treat two types of epilepsy. The FDA is expected to decide in June whether to accept the panel’s 13-0 recommendation to approve Epidiolex, which would would become the first drug made of cannabidiol, a compound in the cannabis plant, to gain approval from the FDA.

While the panel’s unanimous decision is not binding, the action will no doubt heighten public debate about the use of cannabidiol, medical marijuana, medical cannabis and hemp oil. Should cannabidiol, or CBD, or marijuana be legalized for medical purposes? What is the evidence that these products are beneficial? Are these products safe to use?

Those who support the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes might have found the timing of the panel’s ruling interesting. National Weed Day is April 20.

But weed is not cannabidiol, even though both come from cannabis.

As a professor of pharmacy with a special interest in epilepsy, I find it important that CBD may be a new option for the treatment of epilepsy. This new use has led me to carefully study published literature on CBD and discuss it as an option with patients who have epilepsy. Additionally, I have been involved with the American Epilepsy Society’s ongoing review of CBD as a possible treatment for epilepsy. From this perspective, I believe that CBD may offer benefits for patients with some types of epilepsy and possibly other disorders.

The cannabis plant produces hundreds of different compounds, many of which have differing effects in the body. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the substance that is most known for its psychoactive effects, or the “high” associated with marijuana.

However, there are many other substances from the cannabis plant that also produce effects in the body. Many of these differ from THC in that they are not psychoactive – and they do not produce a “high.” Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of those substances.

Cannabidiol is a complex molecule that is produced by the cannabis plant. Cannabis has been proposed for centuries as a medicinal plant. Only recently has CBD been studied scientifically for various disorders.

Compared to THC, CBD works at different receptors in the brain and other parts of the body. In this way, CBD is very different from THC and may offer new mechanisms of treatment. For this reason, CBD has received a great amount of attention as a possible treatment for many different disorders.

CBD has been proposed as a cure or treatment for many disorders and diseases, including epilepsy, chronic pain, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and insomnia. Some of these uses are based on science, but others are proposed by advocates of CBD and medical marijuana. Several anecdotal reports, case reports, case series and small studies have reported on CBD for many of these disorders. Information from these reports is conflicting. Case reports, case series and small studies are considered insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the safety and efficacy of a drug or treatment. This is because these studies are usually unable to distinguish between the effect of a drug and a placebo effect, or the patient thinking the drug is working when it really is not providing benefit.

However, there are two well-designed, large studies that indicate CBD is effective in two different epilepsy syndromes. In these studies, about 40 percent of patients taking CBD had a significant reduction in specific types of seizures.

Epilepsy is the only disorder where there is solid scientific evidence demonstrating that CBD is safe and effective. This does not mean that CBD will not work for other disorders, but epilepsy is the only one where we have clear, well-documented evidence that CBD helps.

Results from these studies show that CBD does have side effects. The most common ones are drowsiness, nausea, intestinal cramping, bloating and diarrhea. More serious side effects can occur. In one of the studies in epilepsy, about 10 percent of patients taking CBD had an increase in laboratory tests of liver function. These tests commonly indicate damage to the liver. About 2-3 percent of patients taking CBD had to discontinue it due to large increases in certain liver enzymes in laboratory tests, showing possible liver damage.

We are also learning about drug interactions that occur with CBD. In these studies, CBD slowed the metabolism of several drugs that are commonly given to individuals with epilepsy. The interactions between CBD and other drugs patients were taking caused side effects. It is unclear if these side effects were due to CBD, the other drugs, or a combination. Doses of the other drugs were reduced, due to the interactions.

The mechanism for these interactions indicate that there are likely several other interactions between CBD and other common medications. Cannabidiol needs to be used cautiously in combination with other medications.

Issues beyond effectiveness.

There are several other factors to consider in regards to CBD. Cannabidiol does not dissolve well in water. For this reason, oral products of CBD are made with an oil, often some type of vegetable oil. It is important that the right oil is used.

Also, less than 20 percent of an oral dose of CBD is absorbed. This makes it difficult to produce a CBD product where CBD is reliably and consistently absorbed.

An FDA study of unregulated CBD products available on the market shows these products are frequently contaminated with things like pesticides, herbicides, fungus or bacteria. Additionally, the FDA found that over 50 percent of CBD products may not contain the amount of CBD on the label. This is especially true in states where CBD products are not regulated by the state. In 17 states where there is regulation, there is much better control on product quality and purity.

Finally, there are two pharmaceutical-grade CBD products that have been studied for production by a pharmaceutical company. One is Epidiolex, approved by the FDAD panel on April 19, and the other is still being studied. Epidiolex would be approved only for use in two types of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

So far, the evidence is that CBD is safe and effective for specific epilepsy syndromes. There is insufficient scientific evidence to indicate that it is effective or ineffective for other disorders. Information from well-designed studies do indicate that CBD causes important side effects and drug interactions that must be considered. Individuals who wish to use CBD should be managed and monitored by health care professionals familiar with its use.

Timothy Welty, Professor of Pharmacy Practice, Drake University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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How Seniors Joined the Cannabis Craze - The New Yorker

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 07:00

The New Yorker

How Seniors Joined the Cannabis Craze
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Seniors are America's fastest-growing population of new cannabis users. Ten thousand people turn sixty-five each day, according to the Pew Research Center, and more and more are trying the drug for their health and well-being. Even conservative ...
Here are the types of marijuana best for stress and anxiety ...Ars Technica
Milk, bread, hemp oil? On 4/20, a dietitian's guide to the cannabis items in your grocery storeChicago Tribune
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Globalnews.ca -Willamette Week -HuffPost
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Two Cannabis Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets For Success - Forbes

Google - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 05:03

Forbes

Two Cannabis Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets For Success
Forbes
Today is April 20, the unofficial cannabis culture holiday. As marijuana gains broader legal status each year (recreational use is currently legal in nine U.S. states plus the District of Columbia; medical marijuana is legal in another 29 states), the ...

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OR: Our Favorite Cannabis Products Available in Oregon Right Now - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) So it was probably only a matter of time until Portland's weed-friendly. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Willamette Week -- Portland News, Movies, Music, Restaurants, Arts - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) These Are the Nine Cannabis Products We're Excited About Right Now Our Favorite Cannabis Products Available in Oregon Right Now Oregon Grew More Cannabis Than Customers Can Smoke. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Willamette Week -- Portland News, Movies, Music, Restaurants, Arts - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) Five Essential Weed Products For Under 50 Dollars Product recommendations on the Weed Internet tend to be about the newest newb the most current iteration of semi-innovative smoking devices or novel accoutrements like golden rollin... (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Five Essential Weed Products For Under 50 Dollars - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) Arc lighters were expensive and poorly optimized for pipes. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Slabtown Cannabis Proprietors - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) Slabtown Cannabis Proprietors - Willamette Week Slabtown Cannabis Proprietors 6 Ways Oregon is Building a Better Cannabis Industry From Farm to Doorstep. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Serra - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) The Anthropologie of pot.b Serra is often referred to as "the Anthropologie of pot.". (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Nectar - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) Itb s safe to say Nectar is the McDonaldb s of Portland cannabis. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Zion Cannabis - Willamette Week

Bot - Cannabis - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) Zion Cannabis - Willamette Week Zion Cannabis Zion fulfills all expectations for the unofficial pot shop of the Portland State campus. (Zion Cannabis, Henry Cromett) With a smart, modest selection of heavy-hitting products and glass pieces worthy of bragging rights, Zion fulfills all expectations for t... (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT)
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OR: Our Favorite Cannabis Products Available in Oregon Right Now - Willamette Week

Drug News Bot - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) So it was probably only a matter of time until Portland's weed-friendly. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme5(100%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $cannabis(100%), $hashish(100%), $tobacco(100%), $various_illegal_drugs(70%), $incarceration(100%), $youth(100%), $school(100%)]
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OR: Willamette Week -- Portland News, Movies, Music, Restaurants, Arts - Willamette Week

Drug News Bot - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
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OR: Willamette Week -- Portland News, Movies, Music, Restaurants, Arts - Willamette Week

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wweek.com (US) Five Essential Weed Products For Under 50 Dollars Product recommendations on the Weed Internet tend to be about the newest newb the most current iteration of semi-innovative smoking devices or novel accoutrements like golden rollin... (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme5(100%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $cannabis(100%), $incarceration(100%), $youth(100%), $school(100%)]
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OR: Five Essential Weed Products For Under 50 Dollars - Willamette Week

Drug News Bot - Fri, 04/20/2018 - 01:29
wweek.com (US) Arc lighters were expensive and poorly optimized for pipes. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme1(100%), $propaganda_theme2(65%), $propaganda_theme5(100%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $cannabis(100%), $cannabis_industry(85%), $paraphernalia(100%), $incarceration(100%), $youth(100%), $school(100%)]
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OR: Slabtown Cannabis Proprietors - Willamette Week

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wweek.com (US) Slabtown Cannabis Proprietors - Willamette Week Slabtown Cannabis Proprietors 6 Ways Oregon is Building a Better Cannabis Industry From Farm to Doorstep. (Fri Apr 20 22:29:49 2018 PDT) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme1(100%), $propaganda_theme2(65%), $propaganda_theme3(50%), $propaganda_theme5(100%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $cannabis(100%), $cannabis_industry(85%), $incarceration(100%), $youth(100%), $school(100%)]
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