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Wildfires destroy 34 cannabis farms in California as state aims to legalize drug

The California wildfires have left numerous marijuana farmers wondering how they will recover without the help of federal aid.

At least 34 cannabis farms in northern California were either partially damaged or completely destroyed in the blazes and unlike wine and agriculture farms, marijuana growers don't qualify for loans or federal aid because the drug is still illegal on the federal level, CNN Money reports.

The state is preparing to legalize marijuana on Jan. 1, but some businesses are not likely to be able to open by that date.

"We might be facing a much smaller harvest than we were anticipating, which could potentially drive the price up" a spokesman for the California Cannabis Industry Association told the Washington Post. "We still don't know how much has survived, how much has been lost."

To help offset the cost of saving farms Hezekiah Allen, the executive director of the California Growers Association, launched a YouCaring page hoping to raise $25,000.

Allen told CNN Money that more than $13,000 had been donated before the page was shut down. The money is being refunded to people who donated.

YouCaring said its payment providers, WePay and PayPal, are not permitted to accept funds being used for marijuana-related purposes.

"Our payment providers are unable to process payments connected to the production or sale of cannabis, even in situations where such payments would be permitted under State Law," YouCaring's Camelia Gendreau said.

Farmers are now left to come up with the funds on their own.

"I'm not going to sit here in my burnt-down house and cry about it," Ashley Oldham, the owner of Frost Flower Farms, told Rolling Stone.

Oldham's farm wasn't completely destroyed by the fires, but she said she's worried how the ash will affect her product.

"The only thing I can do is keep my chin up and put one foot in front of the other," she said. "This will be like starting over but I think with the support of my community, I can pull it off."

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/wildfires-destroy-34-cannabis-farms-california-article-1.3583105

Contribute here: https://emeraldgrowers.nationbuilder.com/wildfire

Trump’s opioid agency fails to cite marijuana’s benefits, despite mounting evidence

Despite the growing body of scientific evidence showing that cannabis access is associated with reductions in opioid abuse and mortality, President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis remains mum on the subject. Their silence is unacceptable. It is time for the administration to stop placing political ideology above the health and safety of the American public.

Just last week, data published online in The American Journal of Public Health reported a 6.5 percent decrease in monthly opioid deaths in Colorado following the enactment of retail cannabis sales. “This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado,” authors concluded.

Their conclusion was hardly unique. Data published in 2014 in JAMA Internal Medicine reports that medical cannabis regulation is associated with year-over-year declines in overall opioid-related mortality, including heroin overdose deaths. Specifically, medicalization states experienced a 20 percent decrease in opioid deaths as compared to non-medicalized states within one year.

This decrease climbed to 33 percent by year six. A 2015 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research linked the establishment of state-licensed  dispensaries to reductions in opioid deaths. Traffic fatalities involving opioid-positive drivers have also fallen in states that have implemented medical marijuana laws.

Cannabis medicalization is associated with a reduction in opioid-related hospitalizations. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, legal medical cannabis states experienced a 23 percent drop in hospitalizations related to opioid dependence and a 13 percent decline in hospitalizations due to overdose.

Patients in states where marijuana is legal use far fewer prescription drugs than do those in jurisdictions where it is prohibited. According to a pair of recent studies published in the journal Health Affairs, the passage of medical cannabis regulations results in a significant drop in Medicare and Medicaid-related prescription drug spending.

Separate studies find that many registered medical cannabis patients diminish their use of pharmaceuticals. For instance, a 2017 University of New Mexico study reported that state registrants often reduced or even eliminated their prescription drug intake over time, while non-registrants with similar medical conditions did not. A study assessing state-qualified patients in Illinois concluded that many subjects consumed cannabis “intentionally to taper off prescription medications.”

A 2017 analysis of Canadian-registered cannabis patients reported that a majority of subjects self-reported substituting marijuana for prescription drugs, particularly opioids, benzodiazepines, and anti-depressants. A separate review of over 1,500 state-qualified patients in New England similarly determined that patients typically used medical cannabis as a replacement for opioids, anti-anxiety drugs, and sleep aids.

Another recent study finds that the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries is associated with a “20 percentage point relative decrease in painkiller treatment admissions over the first two years of dispensary operations.”

To date, over 10,000 communications have been sent to Trump’s Opioid Commission asking its members to consider this growing and compelling body of scientific literature. Yet, to date, the Commission’s sole response to these requests has been to suggest that marijuana “is associated with higher rates of opioid-abuse disorder and prescription drug misuse” — an allegation that was recently rejected by the National Academy of Sciences, which, in a January 2017 review of some 10,000 peer-reviewed studies, failed to identify even one “good or fair-quality systematic review that reported on the association between cannabis use and the initiation of use of opioids.”

No one is opining that cannabis is the sole cure-all for America’s ongoing opioid crisis. Nonetheless, the available data indicates that it may play a potentially valuable role in mitigating this public health emergency. It is time for the administration must set aside its canna-bigotry and to stop placing politics ahead of American lives.

Paul Armentano is the Deputy Director of NORML — the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is the co-author of the book, Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? and the author of the book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws.

BY PAUL ARMENTANO, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 10/23/17 12:00 PM EDT 242

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL

Source: http://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/356702-trumps-opioid-agency-fails-to-cite-marijuanas-benefits-despite-mounting

Support The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act)

Update: HR 2215 was referred to committee on 9/21/17.

Update: A bipartisan group of 9 Senators introduced a Senate version of the SAFE Banking Act on May 17, S.1152. It has been refereed to committee.

A bipartisan coalition of more than two dozen co-sponsors have introduced legislation in Congress, The Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (SAFE Banking Act), HR 2215, to allow state-licensed marijuana-related businesses to engage freely in relationships with banks and other financial institutions.

If enacted, banks would no longer face the threat of federal sanction for working with marijuana-related businesses and entrepreneurs.

Currently, hundreds of licensed and regulated businesses do not have access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. This situation is untenable. No industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. Congress must move to change federal policy so that these growing number of state-compliant businesses, and their consumers, may operate in a manner that is similar to other legal commercial entities.

“With the majority of states now allowing for some form of recreational or medical marijuana, we have reached a tipping point on this issue and it’s time for Congress to act,” says Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, one of the bill’s lead sponsors.. “Allowing tightly regulated marijuana businesses the ability to access the banking system will help reduce the threat of crime, robbery and assault in our communities and keep the cash out of cartels.”

Please enter your information to the right to urge your members of Congress to support The SAFE Banking Act by going to the link below. 

Source: http://norml.org/action-center/item/support-the-secure-and-fair-enforcement-banking-act-safe-banking-act

EFFECTS OF CANNABIS ON POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE

 

OVERVIEW OF POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder that causes clusters of cysts to grow in the kidneys. The cysts are filled with fluid and can enlarge the kidneys, replacing much of their normal structure. The abnormal shape leads to chronic kidney disease, which can then over time lead to reduced kidney function and even kidney failure. While most cysts develop in the kidneys, PKD cysts can also develop in the liver and elsewhere throughout the body.

Polycystic kidney disease is caused by genetic defects that are inherited. In rare cases, a mutated gene can be the cause of the disease. There are two types of polycystic kidney disease, each of which is caused by different genetic flaws. The most common type is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), which typically develops between the ages of 30 and 40 and requires only one parent to have the abnormal gene. Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) is a less common type of PKD that typically develops shortly after birth or during childhood. Both parents must have abnormal genes for this type of disease.

PKD commonly causes high blood pressure. Other symptoms caused by the disease include back or side pain, headaches, blood in urine, an increase in abdomen size, frequent urination, kidney stones, urinary tract or kidney infections and kidney failure. Brain aneurysms, heart valve abnormalities, colon problems and chronic pain can also develop from the disease.

There is no cure for polycystic kidney disease, but lifestyle changes and medical treatments can help reduce kidney damage and manage blood pressure. By controlling high blood pressure, the progression of the disease and subsequent kidney damage can be delayed. Medication is often used to manage chronic pain. Additional treatments are necessary if bladder or kidney infections, blood in the urine, kidney failure or aneurysms, develop.

FINDINGS: EFFECTS OF CANNABIS ON POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE

While clinical studies on cannabis’ effect on polycystic kidney disease are lacking, findings in preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids found in cannabis could offer therapeutic benefits for treating kidney disease. One animal study found that a major cannabinoid found in cannabis, cannabidiol (CBD) effectively reduced oxidative stress, inflammation and cell death in the kidney and improved renal function, causing the researchers to conclude CBD may be effective at preventing kidney disease (Pan, et al., 2009). These protective effects of CBD are likely due to its activation of the endocannabinoid system’s CB2 receptors, which another study found was effective at protecting the kidney from damage by minimizing inflammation and oxidative stress (Mukhopadhyay, et al., 2010).

Cannabis may also limit kidney damage caused by polycystic kidney disease by potentially lowering blood pressure. Both animal and human studies have found that cannabinoids cause blood vessels to vasodilate, which in turn improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure (Stanley & O’Sullivan, 2014a) (Stanley & O’Sullivan, 2014b) (Herradon, Martin & Lopez-Miranda, 2007) (Batkai, et al., 2004). CBD specifically has shown provide vasodilation, which researchers found allowed for greater blood flow and reduced damage (Stanley, Hind & O’Sullivan, 2013).

In addition, cannabis can help polycystic kidney disease patients manage their chronic pain levels. Cannabis has been shown to significantly lower both neuropathic and nociceptive pain; even managing chronic pain that had previously proven refractory to other treatments (Boychuck, Goddard, Mauro & Orellana, 2015) (Wallace, et al., 2015) (Lynch & Campbell, 2011). Because of cannabis’ effectiveness, surveys have found that use is prevalent among those experiencing chronic pain (Ware, et al., 2003). In one study, 12 of 15 chronic pain patients who smoke herbal cannabis reported an improvement in pain (Ware, Gamsa, Persson & Fitzcharles, 2002). Cannabis has also been shown to offer a therapeutic role for headaches, which are common in those with polycystic kidney disease (Baron, 2015).

Source: https://www.medicalmarijuanainc.com/polycystic-kidney-disease-medical-marijuana-research-overview/

Los Angeles Cannabis Laws: "Californians will soon be able to buy marijuana; they need legal places to smoke it"

Published October 9, 2017

Adults in California 21 and older will soon be able to buy marijuana legally for recreational use. But where will they smoke it?

Under Proposition 64, approved by state voters last year, it will be legal to grow, buy and sell marijuana beginning in January. However, the ballot initiative included strict limits on where that marijuana could be consumed.

Not in public places, such as streets or in parks. Not in a car. Not in any space — such as a bar or office building — where tobacco smoking is already banned. Not on the premises of any business where tobacco or alcohol is sold. Landlords and property owners also can ban smoking in apartments and hotel rooms.

This page has supported California’s strict restrictions on smoking tobacco in public places so that adults who choose to endanger their own health don’t inflict harm on others in the process. We’ve also supported the right of landlords to ban tobacco smoking in their buildings to protect people from secondhand smoke. But tobacco smokers always have the option of going outside to smoke.

It’s neither rational nor fair for the state to legalize marijuana and then make it nearly impossible for people to use it without running afoul of the law. Getting caught smoking pot in public can result in fines of up to $250.

The lack of legal places for people to use marijuana puts a particular burden on renters, who may not be allowed by their landlords to smoke cannabis in their homes. That also could have a disproportionate effect on low-income people and people of color. After marijuana was legalized in Colorado, blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be arrested for using it in public.

If city and state rules make it impossible to find a place to smoke marijuana legally, that also undermines one of the key arguments for Proposition 64, which was that it’s ultimately better for public health and safety to bring marijuana out of the shadows and allow it to be used in a legal, regulated and controlled way. But without licensed locations for consumption, there is a big gap in the controlled marketplace.

Marijuana entrepreneurs are a creative bunch, and some have come up with a workaround: members-only marijuana clubs, where people can bring their own weed and smoke it in a private space. They are increasing in number, but they may or may not be legal.

But, again, the goal of Proposition 64 was to legalize and regulate marijuana. It makes sense to set standards for where on-site consumption may occur (for example, away from schools and day care centers,) to establish rules for the responsible operation of such venues and to issue licenses that can be revoked if a business becomes a nuisance.

There’s also something a bit hypocritical about permitting and collecting taxes from marijuana growers and sellers, but then refusing to license on-site consumption for fear of encouraging drug use.

There are legitimate concerns about marijuana users driving while high. That is a problem, like the scourge of drunk driving, that needs to be addressed through public education and robust enforcement of DWI laws.

Cities across California are confronting tough decisions about how to manage the legalization of marijuana. Even states with longer experience with legal cannabis, like Colorado, are only now beginning to experiment with allowing what they’re calling “social use” of marijuana.

Last year, Denver voters supported a pilot program in which approved businesses could let customers bring their own pot to consume on site. Supporters of the ballot initiative said it was an attempt to treat marijuana more like alcohol — as a legal product that adults should be able to consume responsibly in a more social setting, like a bar.

With the passage of Proposition 64, Californians also said they wanted to treat marijuana more like alcohol. Cities should be open to creating legal spaces for adults to use legal marijuana.

Basically, the only place, other than a private home, where one could legally smoke marijuana would be at a business licensed for on-site consumption, such as a marijuana lounge or an Amsterdam-like cafe. Proposition 64 gave local governments the option to permit or ban that sort of on-site consumption. But so far, many California cities, including Los Angeles, have no proposals to allow for such places.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-marijuana-smoke-20171009-story.html

 

Product Review: Wildflower CBD + Cool Stick

This this CBD + Cool Stick by Wildflower is a must have for minor aches and dry skin patches. 

Tested areas: Minor neck ache, dry itchy skin 

Tested duration: Neck= 1 day, Dry itchy skin= 1 week 

Results: I felt relief in my neck pain within 15 minutes of applying the cool stick. It has a similar feeling to icy hot, but without all of the added chemicals. I could apply as much or a little as I wanted without feeling guilty about what my skin was absorbing.  When used to hydrate and treat my itchy skin, I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Within 5 minutes of applying the cool stick I had a relief I hadn't felt in a while. I was no longer itching. Instead my itching was calmed and my dry skin was moisturized. The only downside was the potent odor of the product. My boyfriend said I was burning his eyes and that I smelled like a senior citizen home. 

Overall, this is a great product to keep in your medicine cabinet for minor aches and a MUST HAVE for itchy skin. I give this product a 8 out of 10.  

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