One of the disappointing aspects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is that neither state allows the sort of cannabis cafés you will find in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities, which sell marijuana along with food and beverages. Both states ban on-site consumption at licensed pot stores, which are barred from selling anything other than marijuana products and paraphernalia. Furthermore, Colorado’s Amendment 64 says “nothing in this section shall permit consumption that is conducted openly and publicly,” while Washington’s I-502 bans consumption “in view of the general public.” Finally, both states have laws that ban smoking inside bars and restaurants. But there are various possible ways around these restrictions, including the route taken by Cheryl and David Fanelli, who plan to open what KUSA, the NBC station in Denver, describes as “the only legally sanctioned cannabis club in the country” this month in Nederland (elevation: 8,228 feet; population: 1,500)
The Fanellis are taking advantage of an exception to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act for “a place of employment that is not open to the public and that is under the control of an employer that employs three or fewer employees.” The same exception covers VFW posts, Elk’s clubs, and other private, members-only spaces where smoking is allowed. The Fanelli’s establishment, Club Ned, will be open only to dues-paying members, who will have to make appointments and bring their own pot. But Club Ned will have tables and sell refreshments, creating something resembling the convivial, tavern-like atmosphere at Dutch “coffee shops” (which are not legal, strictly speaking, but have been tolerated for decades). Since David Fanelli mentions an “acoustical stage area,” I gather that there will be live music as well.
The Fanellis ran their business plan by the city, the fire marshal, and the local district attorney to make sure they were doing everything legally. It took 14 months. The aim, Cheryl Fanelli explains to KUSA, the NBC affiliate in Denver, is to “keep everybody safe in a nice place where someone can watch over them.” Her husband is bursting with pride. “Is this history?” he asks. “This is history. Are we pioneers? Maybe more than pioneers.”
Club Ned is not the first venue in Colorado to provide a social setting outside the home where people can smoke pot together. That distinction belongs to Club 64, a floating pot party that had its first event at a hemp clothing store in Denver on New Year’s Eve 2012, right after Amendment 64′s provisions protecting possession and noncommercial transfers of up to an ounce took effect. That experiment inspired various imitators. But Club Ned seems to be the first permanent cannabis club to receive explicit approval from local government agencies.
A private club is not the only possible approach. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act does not cover vaping or marijuana-infused foods, so a bar or restaurant should be able to allow those forms of consumption even inside, and the law does not apply to outdoor seating. Depending on how “openly and publicly” is interpreted, outdoor marijuana consumption, including smoking, could be legal on the patios or in the courtyards of Colorado bars and restaurants. It might even be legal in Washington, provided it is shielded from “the view of the general public.”
Original article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/03/11/colorado-couple-to-open-first-officially-approved-cannabis-club/?utm_campaign=DD%203.17.14&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Full%20Story
MONROE, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - It's been a hot topic across the country and after two other states have legalized marijuana, reform is once again scheduled to be discussed in Baton Rouge.
Currently, there are seven bills on the table dealing with marijuana this legislative session.
Four bills would lessen the penalties for marijuana use and remove those convictions from the habitual offenders' law. One bill would change the drug from a Schedule I to a Schedule II. Two others would legalize marijuana for medical use.
But Senator Bob Kostelka said that's a slippery slope.
"It's hard to really control marijuana once you start legalizing it for any purpose. We've always had a law here that doctors can prescribe the ingredients of marijuana, but this law would now set up marijuana farms in each of the congressional districts," Kostelka said.
The state's black caucus supports lessening penalties for marijuana possession.
Representative Marcus Hunter said it's not their goal to legalize marijuana for any reason.
"We believe just like other parties and other persons believe that there should be fairness and equality in sentencing and guidelines as well. And there is no fairness and equality in sentencing relative to marijuana possession," Hunter said.
The issue gained more attention Thursday when a Monroe man was arrested for extortion.
Roy Green allegedly threatened a Louisiana representative's livelihood if the lawmaker did not support marijuana reform.
But whether penalties are reduced or prescriptions are handed out, it looks like the marijuana debate is here to stay.
Twenty states allow medical marijuana use. Colorado and Washington allow recreational use and Colorado cashed out with 1.4-million dollars in tax revenue for the first month marijuana was legal.
(Photo: Cannabis Culture/Flickr)
HB 105 passed the Senate on Tuesday in a unanimous 20-0 vote, and was given final approval by the House on Thursday. The bill has now been handed off to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.
The bill allows patients access to varieties of medical marijuana with low levels of THC (<0.3%), but high levels of CBD (>15%). Parents of epileptic children pushed for the bill in hope of accessing cannabis-based extracts that are widely reported to stop seizures.
HB 105 only allows marijuana to be grown for research purposes, however, so patients must obtain their supply from other states such as Colorado.
State lawmakers now refer to the bill as “Charlee’s Law,” in dedication to six-year-old Utah child Charlee Nelson, who could’ve benefited from cannabis treatment if the bill had passed sooner.
The family of Charlee Nelson, who is now in terminal condition, and Charlee herself were invited onto the Senate floor following Tuesday’s vote.
If the bill receives Gov. Herbert’s signature, which he has indicated is likely, patients who obtain support from a neurologist could apply to the Utah Department of Health for permission to import cannabis extract.
Also, Utah would become the 22nd state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
New York became the 21st state earlier this year when Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled an initiative permitting medical marijuana to be prescribed in 20 hospitals across the state.
Similar cannabis initiatives are also on the verge of passing in Kentucky and Georgia.
A bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri is now being considered by a state house panel.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, would allow anyone over the age of 21 to use, grow and sell marijuana legally. It would also impose a 25 percent tax on pot, as well as set up a system of state licensing for growers and sellers.
Under the system, each county would be allowed to have one retailer for every 2,500 people. If passed, St. Louis County could have 400 retailers, while 127 would be allowed in the city.
The bill would also allow pot users without a license to keep and transport a pound of marijuana, a pound of hashish and more than a half-gallon of hashish oil.
Kelly, a former Boone County judge, said he was against legalizing marijuana use until he changed his mind after serving on the bench.
“I saw too many young people whose lives were ruined by using small amounts of marijuana,” said Kelly.
He adds making pot legal would save government money, while stopping what he called ineffective regulation.
Do you think marijuana should be legalized in Missouri? Share your thoughts.
A preliminary estimate shows that the excise tax will generate more than $200 million in revenue per year once fully implemented in 2016. The money would be divided between pensions for law enforcement officers, education, mental health, substance abuse programs and local governments.
Kelly added that he did not condone marijuana use or advocate for it. But he said the inefficient management of the drug means legalization could save money and stop ineffective government regulation.
Kelly’s proposal already has its fair share of opponents, namely Republicans on the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee who worry legalizing marijuana would make it more attractive to use.
“What I fear is that if we do decriminalize this we are going to make it attractive,” said Rep. Galen Higdon, R-St. Joseph, a former sheriff’s deputy. “I do not want to bring anything else that is going to create a negative impact on our young children.”
While skeptical of overall legalization, committee members were more open to discussion approval of medical marijuana use, which would also be allowed under the bill.
Some parts of Missouri aren’t waiting for lawmakers to change the state’s drug policy.
Columbia and St. Louis have both adopted so-called decriminalization ordinances, reducing a first-time offense for possessing less than 35 grams of marijuana to a low-level misdemeanor similar to a traffic ticket. Instead of being arrested, offenders in those cities get a summons to appear in court and face a fine rather than jail.
Supporters said they would also pursue the initiative petition process during the 2016 election cycle.
The committee on Monday offered no timetable for further action.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said last month he could see legislators considering medicinal marijuana but a move beyond would be “a bridge too far.”
Missouri would join Washington and Colorado as the only states to legalize recreational marijuana use. Colorado began allowing commercial sales on Jan. 1, and imposes a 15 percent tax on retail buys.
In the early 1960s, a young postdoctoral student stumbled onto something that puzzled him.
After reading the literature on cannabis, he was surprised to see that while the active compound in morphine had been isolated from opium poppies 100 years before and cocaine isolated from coca leaves around the same time, the active component of marijuana was still unknown.
This simple observation launched his life's work.
That young Israeli researcher, Raphael Mechoulam, is now a heavily decorated scientist, recently nominated for the prestigious Rothschild Prize. More than 50 years ago, however, he had trouble starting his scientific journey.
For starters, he needed cannabis to study and didn't know how to obtain it. Eventually, he obtained his research supply from friends in the police department. The young scientist was in a hurry, and didn't want to wait to cut through the red tape required by Israel's Health Ministry.
"Yes, I broke the law," he told me when I met with him in Tel Aviv last year, "but I apologized and explained what I was trying to do."
It's a good thing the Israeli government didn't stall his progress, because Mechoulam was moving at breakneck speed.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "Doubling down" on medical marijuana
By 1963, he determined the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), an important component of marijuana. A year later, he became the first person to isolate delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Over the ensuing decades, Mechoulam and his team continued to isolate numerous compounds from the cannabis plant.
Their work also went a long way toward illuminating how the drug works in the brain. When Mechoulam's team identified the first known endogenous cannabinoid, a chemical actually made by the brain itself, he named it "anandamide." In the Sanskrit language, ananda means "supreme bliss," which gives us some insight into what Mechoulam thinks of cannabinoids overall.
It was halfway through our long afternoon discussion that Mechoulam, now 83, pulled out a paper he had written in 1999, describing something known as "the entourage effect."
Think of it like this: There are more than 480 natural components found within the cannabis plant, of which 66 have been classified as "cannabinoids." Those are chemicals unique to the plant, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols. There are, however, many more, including:
-- Cannabigerols (CBG);
-- Cannabichromenes (CBC);
-- other Cannabidiols (CBD);
-- other Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC);
-- Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL);
-- other cannabinoids (such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabitriol (CBT) and other miscellaneous types).
Other constituents of the cannabis plant are: nitrogenous compounds (27 known), amino acids (18), proteins (3), glycoproteins (6), enzymes (2), sugars and related compounds (34), hydrocarbons (50), simple alcohols (7), aldehydes (13), ketones (13), simple acids (21), fatty acids (22), simple esters (12), lactones (1), steroids (11), terpenes (120), non-cannabinoid phenols (25), flavonoids (21), vitamins (1), pigments (2), and other elements (9).
Here is the important point. Mechoulam, along with many others, said he believes all these components of the cannabis plant likely exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone.
While science has not yet shown the exact role or mechanism for all these various compounds, evidence is mounting that these compounds work better together than in isolation: That is the "entourage effect."
Take the case of Marinol, which is pure, synthetic THC. When the drug became available in the mid-1980s, scientists thought it would have the same effect as the whole cannabis plant. But it soon became clear that most patients preferred using the whole plant to taking Marinol.
Researchers began to realize that other components, such as CBD, might have a larger role than previously realized.
To better understand the concept of the entourage effect, I traveled to the secret labs of GW Pharmaceuticals, outside London. In developing Sativex, a cannabis-based drug to treat multiple sclerosis, the company's chairman, Dr. Geoffrey Guy, told me the company ran into some of the same obstacles that Marinol faced.
More than a decade of experiments revealed that a whole plant extract, bred to contain roughly the same amounts of THC and CBD in addition to the other components in the plant, was more effective in reducing the pain and spasms of MS than a medication made of a single compound.
It could be that multiple individual compounds play a role, or it could be due to their interaction in the body; it could also be combination of both, Guy said.
Now, maybe this all sounds obvious. After all, eating real fruits, vegetables and other plants provides better nutrition than just taking vitamin pills with one nutrient or mineral in each. Science is showing us that we can likely say the same about cannabis.
As we move forward with creating medicines, like Charlotte's Web, for the patients who can benefit from cannabis -- this is an important point to keep in mind.
Unlike other drugs that may work well as single compounds, synthesized in a lab, cannabis may offer its most profound benefit as a whole plant, if we let the entourage effect flower, as Mechoulam suggested more than a decade ago.
He rocked the medical-marijuana world last year and drew attention from Congress when he apologized for giving short shrift to medical marijuana.
At 10 p.m. Tuesday, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be at it again, airing “Weed 2,” his second, hour-long special on the health benefits of cannabis.
Michigan’s medical-pot advocates say it could be a second bombshell in the national debate on pot.
“We think it’ll be another big deal across our country, and hopefully even in other parts of the world where they are thinking about changing their laws,” said Heidi Parikh of Romulus, founder of the Michigan Compassion education groups that meet in Royal Oak and Southgate.
Gupta, who grew up in Novi and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Medicine, will narrate the show, which will include sick youngsters and their parents struggling to obtain cannabis against legal barriers placed by state and federal authorities.
“If you want to understand the science, this is something you’ll want to watch,” Gupta told the Free Press on Monday. “The drug continues to be unfairly rejected by most of the American medical establishment and by government drug regulators,” he said.
“My sense as a doctor is that people have an option now, something that actually was an option up until the 1940s (when the federal government made marijuana illegal).
“There’s a lot of evidence now that this not only works for many ailments but it often works where nothing else has,” he said. The show will discuss how cannabis can ease symptoms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cancer and other diseases.
As a father as well as a brain surgeon and medical professor, Gupta said he remains opposed to exposing young people to marijuana. And he hedged when asked about legalization for recreational use, calling that an issue for a future show. But he said medical cannabis clearly has a key role to play in seizure disorders, the safe alleviation of pain and numerous other health applications.
Last week, the Medical Marijuana New Conditions Review Board in Lansing approved one new use for medical marijuana, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while denying applications that it be allowed for insomnia and bipolar disorder.
“If you look at the science, you don’t see the longer-term side effects (in adults who use marijuana) that you see in someone whose brain is still developing,” Gupta said. He said brain development is still incomplete in most young adults all the way to age 25, so marijuana and alcohol use should be strictly limited before then.
“Traditionally, we consider 21 to be the age of adulthood. But research clearly shows that our brains are still developing at 21,” he said.
Gupta said he’d reviewed reams of medical studies in preparation for the show, delving into the regulatory hurdles of getting medical marijuana accepted over the vested interests of giant drug companies, the medical colleges that teach doctors how to prescribe it, and the government regulators who are wedded to caution and the war on drugs.
Many illnesses don’t respond well to existing, FDA-approved drugs, he said.
“The American Epilepsy Foundation says there’s about a million patients out there who aren’t getting relief from their seizures,” Gupta said.
The show tells the story of many patients who had to move to Colorado to get the medical pot they need. Voters in Colorado, along with those in Washington state, voted to fully legalize marijuana last year.
“We’re all very excited” about Gupta’s second show, said Robin Schneider, legislative chairwoman for the Detroit-based National Patients Rights Association, an advocacy group for medical-marijuana laws.
“We thought his first show raised a lot of awareness about medical marijuana, particularly for children,” Schneider said. The timing is good because two bills that relate directly to Gupta’s program are getting fresh attention in Lansing this week, she said.
At a hearing scheduled for today, lawmakers will receive the first testimony on House Bill 4271, which would let each community in Michigan decide for itself whether to allow dispensaries where state-approved patients could buy tested medical pot, she said.
At the same hearing, lawmakers will discuss House Bill 5104, which would allow non-smokable forms of marijuana in Michigan, which are essential to treating children, Schneider said.