sabato 28 febbraio 2015

USA - Cannabis legalizzata. Colorado: vendute 74 tonnellate di marijuana

In Colorado sono state vendute 74 tonnellate di marijuana di cui solo 19 tonnellate sono state consumate a scopo ricreativo. E' quanto emerge da un rapporto ufficiale diffuso dalla Marijuana Enforcement Division dello Stato americano. Il totale equivale alle dimensioni di circa 12 elefanti africani e circa 148 orsi polari adulti. Coloro che consumano la cannabis a scopo ludico lo fanno mangiandola più che fumandola. In totale sono stati venduti 4,8 milioni di prodotti come biscotti, barre e drink, di cui 1,96 milioni sono stati comprati da pazienti e 2,8 milioni da chi usa la cannabis per divertirsi. Alla fine dello scorso anno, i coltivatori di marijuana a scopo ricreativo contavano oltre 200.000 nuove piante ogni mese contro le sole 25.000 di inizio 2014, quando ci fu la legalizzazione della droga. Dal rapporto emerge che intorno alla cannabis sono stati creati 9.400 posti di lavoro. 

ADUC: USA - Cannabis legalizzata. Colorado: vendute 74 tonnellate di marijuana

Lettera aperta al Governo Italiano: la necessità di dare un indirizzo alle politiche sugli stupefacenti in Italia

Alla cortese attenzione

del Primo Ministro Matteo Renzi,
del Ministro della Sanità Beatrice Lorenzin,
del Ministro della Difesa Roberta Pinotti,

Gentilissimi Membri del Governo, scrivo alla Vostra illustre attenzione al fine di sottoporVi la necessità di un'evoluzione delle politiche sugli stupefacenti.

Da più parti si leva la necessità che il governo prenda le distanze dalla politica repressiva adottata in precedenza.

Dal primo Presidente della Cassazione, alla Direzione Nazionale Antimafia, arrivando ai malati e alle Associazioni che da anni combattono per un cambio di prospettiva nel contrasto alla diffusione di stupefacenti, si alzano voci univoche su un approccio che punti concretamente ad una riduzione dei consumi evitando l' inasprimento delle pene e riconsiderando il ruolo del legislatore.

A livello internazionale, specialmente negli Stati Uniti, l' attenzione della politica al fine di valutare gli indirizzi da seguire, si è concentrata sulla valutazione dei costi e dei benefici e, soprattutto, sulla reale efficacia dei risultati ottenuti.

L' Italia, ora, ha la possibilità di "rincorrere" le politiche che si sono rivelate più efficaci nella reale riduzione della domanda di stupefacenti soprattutto alla luce dell' impegno internazionale della Sessione Speciale dell' Assemblea delle Nazioni Unite sugli stupefacenti del 2016.

L' Italia ha la possibilità di ridisegnare una politica che punti soprattutto alla prevenzione. Una integrazione del protocollo di produzione della cannabis firmato dai Ministri Sanità e Difesa è una grande opportunità.

L' Italia ha la possibilità di puntare ad una politica che guardi alle persone, specialmente ai malati e ad un loro supporto sulla base di una reale collaborazione tra cittadini e istituzioni.

lunedì 23 febbraio 2015

Cosa è un cannabis social club? Parla ENCOD

From Wall Street to moms, business of marijuana attracting diverse set of entrepreneurs


SYOSETT, Long Island (PIX11)– Rachel Jones, 24, is a stay-at-home mother from Syosset, Long Island who quit her six-figure job and started her own business hoping to ride the marijuana wave.

“I see myself as an entrepreneur,” Jones said.

Her business experiment Juana Box launches in just a few weeks, shipping boxes of smoking accessories– glass pipes, rolling papers, vaping pens– across the nation.

However, the one key ingredient missing is marijuana.

This new mom currently markets tobacco use only to those over 19, but she’s poised to blow her business, partnering with marijuana growers and dispensaries, anticipating recreational pot will soon be sold in New York and across the U.S.

“In a few years this could be a factory and I could be hiring other stay-at-home mothers,” Jones said.

From one woman entrepreneurs to well-funded multi-million dollar businesses, marijuana is no longer just a pipe dream. From growers to CEO’s, this business, estimated to be at $46 billion by 2016, is expected to grow 700 percent over the next five years.

Pot bank decision appears headed to Fed board

By David Migoya
The Denver Post

The decision of whether a Colorado credit union created just for the marijuana industry can open its doors ultimately could come from the nation's top financial policymakers.

Although the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C., typically does not involve itself with local issues handled by the nation's 12 regional reserve banks, a bank solely for marijuana money appears to be a different matter.

For more see: Pot bank decision appears headed to Fed board

sabato 21 febbraio 2015

From Oaktown to The OC, Drug War opposition builds

By Debra J. Saunders

Published 3:00 pm, Friday, February 20, 2015

The times they are a-changin’. This week, a Republican congressman from Orange County joined Oakland medical marijuana dispenser Steve DeAngelo to urge President Obama, a Democrat who started out as a critic of the War on Drugs, to curb his Department of Justice. They want Obama to make his prosecutors stop trying to shut down honest marijuana establishments in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Rep. Dana Rohrabacherof Costa Mesa and the left-leaning DeAngelo have found common cause in calling out the one area where the federal government can and should do less.

They’ve got the law on their side. For a decade, Rohrabacher and Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, pushed for legislation to prohibit the Department of Justice from using federal funds to go after medical cannabis operations in states that have legalized them. California became the first state in the nation to do so in 1996.

At first, that bipartisan effort failed spectacularly. But as the number of states that legalized medical marijuana approached 32, the political calculus changed. In May, the House passed the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment by a 219-189 vote to prohibit the use of federal funds to block state-authorized medical cannabis. Congressional leaders included the amendment in the $1.1 trillion “Cromnibus” bill, which the president signed in December. Now Congress and the White House are on the record opposing federal prosecutions against marijuana operations in states that sanction them.

“The intent of Congress was pretty clear,” Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell noted. California voters also sent an unmistakable message that they want the feds “to knock it off. It’s a waste of taxpayer resources.”

Photo: Morgan Flores
Yet U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag has refused to pull back a 2012 lawsuit designed to shutter Oakland’sHarborside Health Center by seizing the assets of a facility that serves 108,000 patients. This month, Haag’s office went to court to push the effort in spite of the new law. “Why have you picked this fight?” a federal judge asked.

Rohrabacher, Farr and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, signed a joint statement telling the administration they believe the Department of Justice “is not acting within the spirit or the letter of the law.” The feds have gone so far that three members of Congress are standing up for the pot guy.

On the phone, Rohrabacher admitted that his amendment lacks teeth. There’s no criminal penalty for prosecutors who go rogue. The former Reagan speechwriter argued that federal enforcement of marijuana laws represents “a huge waste of limited law enforcement resources to prevent people from smoking weed in their backyard.” Yes, Rohrabacher supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use as well.

How did he sell 48 other Republicans on the bill? Rohrabacher pushed the states’ rights angle pursuant to the Tenth Amendment. But also, “Republicans are supposed to believe in limited government and individual responsibility and especially a doctor-patient relationship,” quoth Rohrabacher, “and I convinced my fellow Republicans to stick by their principles.”

Rohrabacher also has a strong civil libertarian streak. On his blog last month, the congressman has hit civil asset forfeiture as “among the most disturbing, even tyrannical, federal programs of the last decades.” The practice “means officers of the law can confiscate a private citizen’s property — cash, bank accounts, a car, a boat, a house, whatever — and not return it even if the citizen is innocent of any crime. Conceived as a major weapon in the misbegotten drug war, the practice has done little if anything to eliminate dangerous drugs from society. Rather, it has taken deadly aim at the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans, and it has proven especially harsh on the poorest Americans. It has deeply corrupted too many of our police forces, taking their eyes off best practices and incentivizing them to seize property against the clear meaning of our Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.”

Rohrabacher posted that blog after Attorney General Eric Holder announced his department would end the “equitable sharing” program that partnered state and local law enforcement with federal law enforcement and allowed locals to share as much as 80 percent of seized assets. “Holder understands this diabolical, Prohibition-created relationship,” Rohrabacher posited, “and I urge him, consulting his better angels, to work toward removing marijuana from Schedule I and reschedule it at a more appropriate level, or remove it from the scheduling framework altogether. I also predict that a good many of my fellow Republicans, silent now, will applaud his removing this incubus from our lives.”

Incubus? That’s strong language — yet appropriate when you consider the means the U.S. Attorney is using to go after Harborside. Haag hasn’t charged DeAngelo with breaking federal drug laws. There are no criminal charges. She instead has gone after Harborside’s assets. Actually her office leaned on DeAngelo’s landlord to run him out of a property for which he has been paying rent since 2006. Rather than go after the marijuana operation alone, the feds set their sights on a third party. The federal government has all the power, and still it seeks to get private citizens to do its dirty work.

Debra J. Saunders is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. E-mail: Twitter: @DebraJSaunders

giovedì 19 febbraio 2015

Cannabis: Promise, risk and controversy

Cannabis is bad for you, cannabis is good for you - confused?

That's not surprising. Complicated and controversial, cannabis is revealed by recent science to have a dual personality, with a dark side and a more positive one. Radio 4's PM programme is this week running a whole series on cannabis, and the debate surrounding it.

Key to understanding this strange plant are two of the ingredients that make it up, known by their initials as THC and CBD.

I asked Professor Val Curran of University College London to describe how they work and she came up a memorable answer:

"In a way, THC and CBD are a bit like yin and yang. The THC makes you stoned, but it can also make you anxious. It can also make you feel a bit psychotic, and it will seriously impair your memory.

"The other side of the yin/yang is CBD, which has almost the opposite effects. CBD calms you down, it has anti-psychotic properties and it also offsets the effects on memory, so that on CBD-containing cannabis you're less likely to forget what's going on."

So the first step to understanding cannabis is to realise how it can vary, how different types contain very different quantities of these polar opposites, with dramatically different outcomes.

Changing risks
The weed so familiar to many of my generation was characterised by a relatively balanced amount of THC and CBD.

Today, the vast majority of cannabis on sale on the streets is unrecognisably stronger.

Known as skunk, it contains a far higher proportion of THC - as much as 15% - which produces a much more powerful high, making it more appealing for users.

But, at the same time, because it hardly contains any of the CBD that might lessen its effects, the risks are correspondingly greater.

Prof Curran is among those worried about its potency.

"What concerns me is that on this high-THC skunk, people will experience more memory problems, which could affect how well they do at school. And in terms of addiction, 10% of people who use it will become addicted to the drug."

According to a study by two researchers at UCL, Dr Tom Freeman and Dr Adam Winstock, the strongest cannabis increases the risk of addiction, along with memory loss and paranoia.

And in a trial to explore ways of helping addicts, they are giving drug users medication based on cannabis itself. The hope is that administering doses of CBD, the more benign ingredient of cannabis, might make it easier for habitual users to wean themselves off the lure of the more potent element, THC.

Dr Freeman told the BBC: "We think that CBD can reverse long-term changes which happen when you smoke cannabis repeatedly, and in people who smoke a lot of cannabis it'll help them quit.

"It blocks the effects of THC and it reduces anxiety and paranoia. If this trial is successful, then we will have found the first effective drug treatment for cannabis dependence."

Meanwhile, new evidence has surfaced that will stir the long-running debate over whether - or to what extent - cannabis can trigger psychosis.

New research published this week in the Lancet Psychiatry suggests a connection, a finding which is most relevant to people already vulnerable to mental illness.

The study, conducted in south London, involved some 800 people - about half of them users, the rest not.

One of the authors, Prof Sir Robin Murray of King's College London, says it's clear that regular use of highly potent skunk has a real impact.

"We found that smoking cannabis, particularly of the high-potency forms, was associated with an increased risk.

"If you smoke high-potency skunk at all, then you are three times more likely to be psychotic. If you smoke high-potency cannabis every day, you are five times more likely to be psychotic."

Cautious optimism
And at this point we come back to that yin and yang of cannabis. While this new research finds that the strongest cannabis, laden with THC, can be linked to psychosis, it turns out that the gentler twin, CBD, might possibly be useful in treating it.

Prof Murray, though cautious, highlights recent studies.

"If you give THC to normal volunteers, you can make them psychotic, but if you pre-treat them with CBD, you can prevent that happening.

"So this made us think - would it be possible to actually treat psychosis with CBD? So there's one encouraging study, which suggests that CBD is useful in the treatment of psychosis, but it's still very early days yet."

So running in parallel with concerns about cannabis is another world of optimism about its uses.

In Colorado, there is much excitement about a medication called Charlotte's Web, derived from cannabis and named after a girl who took it as a treatment for her epilepsy.

Such is the potential of what's seen as a wonder drug that the Mattison family sold up their business in Tennessee and moved to Colorado purely so that their daughter Millie, who's two years old and epileptic, could receive Charlotte's Web.

Her seizures, soon after birth, were so severe that she had been given very little chance of surviving.

But her mother Nicole told me that the drug proved immediately beneficial, transforming Millie's life almost at a stroke.

"It's miraculous. The first time we gave her oil, within 15 minutes her eyes were open, and I almost felt like I was in a movie.

"It was crazy, you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it."

Here in the UK, the only legal medicine derived from cannabis is for sufferers of multiple sclerosis (MS), a product called Sativex made by GW Pharma.

But now the company, the only one with a licence to grow cannabis in the UK, has developed another formulation which is being tested to treat epileptic conditions like Millie's.

Early days
The trial, with 80 patients, is now in its second stage and is being run by the University of Edinburgh.

The scientist in charge of the process, Dr Richard Chin, says that so far the results look promising, not just to control seizures but - remarkably - to prevent them as well.

"One of the interesting things about cannabidiol (CBD) is that it shows not just anti-seizure effects, but it also curiously seems to have an effect on cognitive and behavioural problems, which are very highly represented in people with epilepsy.

"So it doesn't seem, on preliminary data, as if it's just an anti-seizure medication. It may actually be an anti-epilepsy medication in its wider sense, and what I would hope is that it may open up a completely new avenue of treatment options for patients with epilepsy."

For thousands of years cannabis was used medically. But only now is research revealing why that's possible and how it can be put to best use.

These are relatively early days but, on the horizon, researchers see potential for the CBD in cannabis to help with everything from easing the pain of cancer to tackling autism.

At the same time, science is also unpicking the full implications of the potent stuff being dealt on our streets.

BBC: Cannabis: Promise, risk and controversy

sabato 14 febbraio 2015

Pot legalization backers discuss next steps in Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Marijuana legalization proponents are gathering in San Francisco this weekend to hear about efforts to add the nation’s most populous — and arguably most pot-infused — state to the four others where it is now legal for adults to buy and use the drug recreationally.
The International Cannabis Business Conference on Sunday and Monday is expected to draw about 1,000 investors, entrepreneurs and activists from California and elsewhere for an overview of the legalization landscape.

For more: - Pot legalization backers discuss next steps in Calif.

giovedì 12 febbraio 2015

Lettera aperta alla Dot.ssa De Rose, Coordinatrice dell'Ufficio tecnico-scientifico e affari generali del Dpa

Alla cortese attenzione della Coordinatrice dell'Ufficio tecnico-scientifico e affari generali del Dpa, dott.ssa Patrizia de Rose, in merito alle dichiarazioni rilasciate sulla necessità di una "raccolta di dati qualitativi e quantitativi e a una loro lettura obiettiva" sul fenomeno droga.

Alla luce dell'attuale dibattito sulla necessità di una modifica della normativa sugli stupefacenti, sottopongo alla Vostra attenzione un "progetto e una visione" per il DPA.

L'accordo tra i ministeri della Sanità e Difesa, le necessità di una raccolta di dati puntuale, gli spunti introdotti nei progetti di legge in commissione giustizia (in particolare il concetto di cannabis social club), possono essere gli ingredienti di una nuova politica sugli stupefacenti, in attesa di una revisione della normativa.

lunedì 9 febbraio 2015

Legal US Weed Is Killing Drug Cartels

The growth of the U.S. marijuana industry has devastated drug cartels in Mexico, evidenced by fewer seizures of cannabis at the border and, according to Mexican security forces, a drop in total homicides and domestic marijuana production rates.

Mexican drug cartels are finding it difficult to compete in the cannabis market not only in terms of price, but also quality, given that the U.S. industry is starting to label products according to THC content, CNBC reports. According to The ArcView Group, a cannabis research firm, the marijuana industry in the U.S. grew 74 percent in just one year, up from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014.

Marijuana from Mexico, on the other hand, is often mass-produced in less than ideal conditions, with no guarantee as to the safety of the product.

Advocates who initially pushed for legalization in Washington and Colorado have argued strenuously in the past that increased access to marijuana in the U.S. would mean a decline in drug-related violence and revenue for the cartels in Mexico.

Homicides in Mexico have dropped from 22,852 in 2011 to 15,649 as of 2014, which tracks relatively closely with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, although the link between the two events is not conclusive.

Last year, agents from the U.S. Border Patrol seized just 1.9 million pounds of marijuana. While that may seem like a large amount, it actually constitutes a 24 percent reduction from the 2.5 million pounds seized in 2011. On the domestic side, Mexican authorities in 2013 seized just 1,070 tons, which marks the lowest amount since 2000.

“Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” Nabor, a 24-year-old pot grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa, 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.

Another nail in the coffin for drug cartels is the gradual trend of leniency towards marijuana in Mexico. As of 2009, the country decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

But cartels have adapted and shifted to the U.S. side of the border, bringing in high-quality marijuana to Mexico, rather than producing the crop themselves before exporting for illicit sale to U.S. consumers.

“Traffickers who are operating in the U.S. are securing marijuana in the U.S. that is much higher quality and more expensive for the purpose of smuggling back into Mexico for sale and distribution,” DEA spokesman Lawrence Payne told U.S. News back in December.

Cartels have also diversified by moving into illegal mining and sex trafficking, as well as harder drugs like meth.

“In the long run, it looks like the US market for illegal Mexican marijuana will keep shrinking,” said Mexico drug expert Alejandro Hope. “The logic of the legal marijuana market is that it will force prices down. This would take out the big profits from the illegal market. A good way to make some money could be to short the prices of marijuana.”; Legal US Weed Is Killing Drug Cartels

domenica 8 febbraio 2015

USA - Cannabis terapeutica contro la depressione. Studio

Marijuana per contrastare i sintomi della depressione. Lo suggerisce uno studio dell'Università di Buffalo pubblicato sul 'Journal of Neuroscience'. I ricercatori sottolineano come alcune molecole presenti nella cannabis (in particolare uno dei più noti principi attivi, il delta-9-tetraidrocannabinolo o Thc) possono alleviare la depressione associata allo stress cronico. E questo agendo sugli endocannabinoidi, molecole prodotte all'interno delle cellule neuronali che influenzano il controllo motorio, la cognizione, l'umore e alleviano lo stress. Proprio lo stress "è una delle principali cause della depressione - spiega Samir Haj-Dahmane, autore del lavoro - Usando composti derivati dalla cannabis è possibile ripristinare la normale funzione degli endocannabinoidi e contribuire a stabilizzare gli stati d'animo e la depressione". Tuttavia Haj-Dahmane ha sottolineato come "la ricerca è in fase molto precoce. Per le nostre sperimentazioni abbiamo utilizzato modelli animali, e c'è ancora molto da fare prima di stabilire che l'uso della cannabis può essere un'efficace arma contro la depressione umana". Altre ricerche sul tema hanno infatti dimostrato che nei soggetti che abusano di cannabis c'è un aumento del rischio di depressione e ansia. Il tema delle proprietà e degli effetti della cannabis, anche dal punto di vista scientifico, rimane dunque molto controverso.

USA - Cannabis terapeutica contro la depressione. Studio

Snoop Dogg raising $25m for cannabis start-ups

Rapper and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg wants to be the toke of the legal weed business by trying to raise $25m to invest in cannabis start-ups.

Details are scarce because the artist is still in the process of raising funds, according to Techcrunch.

The marijuana connoisseur hopes to exploit the fast growing legal cannabis industry in the US, where many states have either legalised marijuana or decriminalised its possession. Last year, Factobook publisher Cannabusiness Media estimated that between $1.6bn and $1.9bn of legal weed was sold for medical in the US and another $600m to $700m was sold for legal, recreational use.

Should Snoop Dogg achieve his $25m target then the venture would sit alongside his other investments including Reddit.

He is not the only celebrity to looking to make money from the drug. Last year, it was announced that the Bob Marley estate had agreed to allow the late legendary musician’s face to be used to front the world’s first international marijuana brand. The company is to be based in New York and will sell creams, lotions and accessories all inspired by marijuana and Marley.

domenica 1 febbraio 2015

New York City Cannabis Arrests Drop 75%

Cannabis arrests in New York Citynewyorkcity are down over 75% in December compared to the same time last year. In total there were 460 cannabis arrests last month, compared to 1,820 in December, 2013. The arrest are down due to a change in the way the city handles minor cannabis possession cases, which was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio in November.
“Since the inception of our policy in 2014, marijuana enforcement activity is trending down in all categories”, Deputy Chief Kim Royster told the Associated Press.
The new policy has police ticketing individuals if they’re found in possession of up to 25 grams of cannabis – even in public display  – rather than arresting them and charging them with a misdemeanor. Consuming cannabis in public, however, remains an arrestable offense.

TheJointBlog: New York City Cannabis Arrests Drop 75%