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  3. fuego.jacquelyn

    COVID 19 - resources

    —— CO COVID Q&A NOTES from 3/25 —— Not sure if anyone else was on the city council q&a call just now. I actually took notes! ~45k people on the line, most were calling in with questions on the assistance programs/benefits/what the eff is going on. Some were business owners who have had to lay employees off, people who lost their jobs, etc, and they mentioned there are resources to assist. Anyway, enjoy my fast and choppy notes. Main takeaway is to visit your counties web sites since that is where they post their assistance programs. I'll just leave this here if anyone needs it. phone conference line: 8554363656 Colorado labor: • benefits organized by last name • colorado.gov/cdle • reach out to lenders/banks for their plan since most are offering some leniency • local county department webpage • google your counties human services page State wide testing is mostly at smaller facilities but expanding to more locations: • commercial labs • labcore • quest • larger hospitals • other smaller hospitals are coming up with ways to test Medical: • tricountyhealth tchd.org • covid19.colorado.gvo • colorado.gov/peak for human services/programs/general assistance For Adams County: • taking applications remotely. slightly backed up but working to get through applications. go to coloradopeak.org • mailing out ebt cards. • adams county human services web page • coloradopeak, colorado work program to apply for cash benefits. Police not setting up check points. mostly hoping for peer pressure. should only have essential employees on the road or running short errands. Jury duty can be ignored until April 6th. Significant impact on economy. however we are the number 1 economy 3 years running. best job market in america noted in january. Can people access 401k plan without being penalized? Some working with feds for relief, but thats federal tax policy. Shelter in place Can go out for essential services, pharmaceuticals. can run/job/bike, but should not do this with others. mostly trying to avoid large gatherings. Current state of covid in Colorado: • We are in acceleration phase. more and more positive tests. will increase for a while, then leveling off. expect to have a change in life style for a few more weeks. the cases we see today were transmitted 2-3 weeks ago. if we can push the transmission down then we can navigate the upcoming surge. Small business owner who laid off 13 people, employees have had to apply for unemployment- situations similar to this can see these resources: • denverchamber.org- resources available • coloradocbdc is offering loans for economic disaster plan, low interest rates. • colorado.gov/peak to apply for assistance. • food assistance for families, self, and business assistance on each counties web site. • tchg.org for updates on the situation • Walmart is currently hiring 150k extra people
  4. fuego.jacquelyn

    COVID 19 - resources

    Hey ladies! Wanted to open this up with some links to resources as far as COVID19 goes in Colorado. Remember that Alyssa and I are with you 100% of the way and we are more than ready to help with anything you might need. Below are some great resources from all over the web with a wide array of what you might need to get through these times. Feel free to contribute to the resources, but try to keep most of the chatter to a minimum so we can stay organized. Love you all! Fuego
  5. Yesterday
  6. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is finding itself in court over marijuana again after scientists filed a lawsuit against the agency, requesting “secret” documents that they allege DEA used to delay action on expanding cannabis research. The Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) is behind the suit. It’s one of more than 30 organizations that have submitted applications to DEA to become licensed cannabis manufacturers for research purposes. Some background should be noted: In 2016, DEA announced it would expand marijuana research by approving additional growers beyond the sole source that has existed for half a century at the University of Mississippi. But after more than three years, applicants heard silence, and SRI filed an initial lawsuit alleging that the agency was deliberately holding up the process. A court mandated that it take steps to make good on its promise, and that case was dropped after DEA provided a status update. This month, DEA finally unveiled a revised rule change proposal that it said was necessary due to the high volume of applicants and to address potential complications related to international treaties to which the U.S. is a party. A public comment period is now open, after which point the agency says it will finally approve an unspecified number of additional growers. But what really accounted for the delay? According to the plaintiffs in this new suit, after DEA said it would accept more cultivators, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) secretly issued an opinion that interprets international treaty obligations as making it impossible to carry out the 2016 proposed rule while maintaining compliance. The new revised rule aims to address the problem, in part by shifting jurisdiction over the cannabis to a single agency, DEA, which would purchase and technically own all of the cannabis grown by approved cultivators, and would then later sell the product directly to researchers. That OLC document, which is not public, is the basis of SRI’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) complaint. The case was filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on Wednesday and requests that the Justice Department be found guilty of unlawfully failing to make records available related to its interpretation of the Single Convention treaty, including the OLC opinion. It further states that DEA should release those documents and pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees. Matt Zorn, an attorney working the case, told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview that it’s not clear what’s contained in the OLC opinion and that the uncertainty is “entirely the point” of the suit. “I think we all know vaguely what it says—the subject matter of it—but we don’t know what it actually says,” he said. “That’s important because you need to know what that instruction was or what their interpretation of the law is to assess whether what they’re doing now is appropriate.” The suit claims that SRI, “as a non-commercial company dedicated to advancing the state of medical care through clinical research, is directly harmed by this unlawful secrecy.” “Because Defendants have failed to fully disclose their re-interpretation of federal law and treaty obligations as the law requires, Plaintiff lacks information necessary to protect its legal rights, including the right to have its application to manufacture marijuana for research processed in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act and the [Controlled Substances Act],” the filing states. SRI’s research objective for cannabis is to determine potential therapeutic benefits for veterans suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. “While DEA’s unlawful and dilatory conduct harms the public generally, the secrecy and delay have been especially harmful to our nations’ veterans,” the suit says. “We deserve not only to know the scientific truth about medical marijuana use, but candor from our government, which includes disclosure of the ‘secret law’ the agency continues to rely on as a basis to delay and ultimately revamp the process for researching and manufacturing marijuana in this country,” the filing says. “Plaintiff brings this FOIA action so can understand the legal basis—if there is one—for the government’s conduct surrounding the Growers Program.” While SRI acknowledged that DEA last week announced its revised rule change proposal, the suit states that the explanation about how it arrived at its determination “leaves Plaintiff and the public in the dark with respect to several critical considerations.” For example, it alleges, the notice doesn’t account for how the Justice Department advised the agency on the matter and which parts of the amended proposal would make the action compliant with international treaties. “The answer to these questions and others presumably lies in the undisclosed OLC Opinion and related records that animated DOJ’s decision to sideline the Growers Program and prompted DEA to embark on this notice-and-comment rulemaking in the first place… In sum, using a secret OLC Opinion interpreting the CSA and a 1961 international treaty, DEA delayed processing applications to cultivate marijuana for research and now proposes to radically revamp federal law through rulemaking—rules which will loom large over the future of medical marijuana research, manufacture, and distribution going forward.” The plaintiffs argue that DEA violated federal statute that prohibits the creation of a “secret law.” The statute says that federal agencies must make records—including final opinions and policy interpretations not published in the Federal Register—public. “To block the Growers Program, DOJ formulated—through the OLC Opinion and related records—and DEA adopted to an undisclosed interpretation of the Single Convention and federal law contrary to the view espoused and published by DEA in the August 2016 Policy Statement, and contrary to the view of the State Department,” it continues, apparently referencing a letter the State Department sent to a senator in response to questions about the role of international treaties as it concerns expanding cannabis cultivation facilities. In that letter, the department said nothing about the Single Convention prevents member nations from increasing the number of such facilities. “If a party to the Single Convention issued multiple licenses for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, that fact alone would not be a sufficient basis to conclude that the party was acting in contravention of the Convention,” it read. Read the State Department’s responses on international treaties and marijuana below: State Dept Response on Single Convention by Marijuana Moment on Scribd If the new lawsuit’s allegations prove accurate, it could help explain the role of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the anti-marijuana official who was reportedly involved in blocking research expansion. The suit, which was first reported by Politico, goes on to say: “For more than three years, Defendants relied on this undisclosed interpretation, contained in the OLC Opinion and related records, to make an end-run around the Administrative Procedure Act by unlawfully withholding and unreasonably delaying agency action on marijuana cultivation applications. The OLC Opinion has guided DEA’s actions—and its inaction… The government’s unlawful conduct under FOIA prevents Plaintiff and those similarly situated from timely and effectively vindicating legal rights under the Administrative Procedure Act, effectively rendering its protections and judicial review provisions meaningless.” To resolve the issue, SRI said it wants DEA to be held accountable for violating federal law, release the documents and compensate them for the legal action. While this is a FOIA-related suit, the institute didn’t first seek the documents through a standard document request but instead filed the case under the law’s “Reading Room provision” that allows courts to force federal agencies to put records online, according to a Ninth Circuit ruling last year. Sue Sisley, a researcher with SRI, told Marijuana Moment that the institute has generally had a good relationship with DEA over the years and doesn’t expect that it would unduly deny their application in retaliation for the institute’s repeated legal actions against the agency. “I couldn’t fathom that that would happen, but I hope that the merits of our application are so clear that it would carry us forward,” she said. However, these licensing agreements are “not always a merit-based process so it is possible that if politics get deeply involved here that there could be a situation where licenses are awarded to friends of the government. We’re still praying that there is some merit-based system.” Researchers and lawmakers have made clear that the current availability of federally authorized cannabis for research raises questions about the accuracy of tests that rely on it, as the quality is insufficient. As of now, there’s only one facility at the University of Mississippi that’s authorized to grow cannabis for researchers. The products developed at the university have been widely criticized by scientists and lawmakers. A study indicated that the facility’s cannabis is chemically more similar to hemp than marijuana available in state-legal markets. “If adopted, these proposed rules would radically overhaul how medical marijuana manufacture and research will proceed in this country,” the plaintiffs wrote. “Better supply is needed for better research, and better research is needed not only because millions use medical marijuana every day, but also to facilitate informed policymaking at the federal and state levels, including legislation and drug scheduling decisions.” Read the full lawsuit against DEA below: SRI FOIA Complaint by Marijuana Moment on Scribd Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer. The post Scientists Sue DEA Over Alleged ‘Secret’ Document That Delayed Marijuana Research Expansion appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  7. For the first time, people in Colorado will be able to legally have marijuana products delivered directly to their homes starting on Friday. The launch of the limited program focused on medical cannabis patients comes one week after the dispensary chain Native Roots announced that its Boulder location The Dandelion had received the state’s first marijuana delivery license. And while the license wasn’t related to the coronavirus outbreak, the timing is opportune, as officials have increasingly cautioned against leaving home to avoid catching or spreading the virus. The delivery service will be limited to patients living in either Boulder or Superior. They must also be registered with the dispensary, and those who are not already signed up must do so in-person for the time being—though Native Roots said it is “looking into a compliant, remote solution for patient registration.” Native Roots said there is a $100 minimum purchase, and they’re encouraging patients to pay with a debit card rather than cash, presumably because drivers could be targets of burglaries if they’re transporting large amounts of cash or because of concerns that money changing hands could further the spread of COVID-19. Cannabis delivery services are a new feature of Colorado’s legal marijuana program. Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed legislation last year allowing the option, though individuals jurisdictions must proactively opt-in, so as of now that number of cities permitting deliveries is limited. Native Roots said it’s been engaging with local governments about the issue for months. Deliveries for recreational cannabis consumers won’t begin until January 2021 under the law. As more businesses shutter as a result of the pandemic, there’s growing demand for alternative means of obtaining marijuana products, and several states have taken steps to address that concern by encouraging deliveries and curbside pickup, for example. For patients and reform advocates, that represents an ideal solution compared to closing dispensaries altogether. Numerous legal states have categorized cannabis shops as essential services that are exempt from mandates to close down. And according to a poll released this week, a majority of Americans agree with that decision. But while the market remains largely operational in the midst of this health crisis, reform advocates across the U.S. are feeling the impact and struggling to continue campaign activities, including in-person signature gathering. Campaigns to change state marijuana programs, legalize psilocybin mushrooms, legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes, legalize medical and recreational cannabis, decriminalize psychedelics and broadly decriminalize drug possession have all faced challenges amid the pandemic, and several have implored officials to allow electronic signature gathering to overcome the barrier. An exception to this appears to be Arizona, where activists recently said they’ve collected more than enough signatures at this point to qualify for the state’s November ballot. Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan. The post First Legal Marijuana Home Deliveries Begin In Colorado appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  8. The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) is celebrating the potential of hemp and is urging federal regulators to address concerns from farmers before rules for the crop are finalized. At the same time, however, it is maintaining that it cannot service marijuana businesses due to ongoing federal prohibition. In a blog post published on Tuesday, SBA’s Office of Advocacy described the wide range of uses for hemp, including rope and CBD oil, and detailed the crop’s evolution from a federally controlled substance to an agricultural commodity that was legalized through the 2018 Farm Bill. “From rope to clothing, biodiesel to hempcrete, plant-based ingestible protein to CBD balm, the uses of hemp are far-reaching.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) now has jurisdiction over the plant, and it released an interim final rule last year outlining guidelines for a domestic hemp program. In the time since the crop’s legalization, SBA says it has “embarked on an ambitious and lengthy outreach effort to hear from small businesses” and heard feedback from farmers about how USDA’s proposed rules could impact their operations. “Advocacy staff were first introduced to the concerns that many other producers would later echo” during those outreach events, the post states. “Advocacy also learned about the concerns that educational institutions have with the program, and the wide reach the rule would have if left as-is without modification.” During a trip to a Virginia hemp farm, for example, the agency “learned about the various non-CBD uses for hemp, and that the rule as written would stifle the ability of small producers to grow for purposes other than manufacturing CBD products.” “The one commonality that all stakeholders expressed was the ‘chilling’ effect the rule would have on the hemp industry.” SBA also hosted its own forum on hemp issues in Pennsylvania “where concerns were raised about the length of time between testing and harvest, especially for those growers that do not use technology, such as Amish communities,” the agency reported. To address such issues, SBA was one of numerous organization to submit feedback on USDA’s interim final rule during a public comment period. In its letter, the agency identified several potentially problematic provisions of the proposed rule, including the THC testing window, maximum THC limit and restricted authorized testing methods. USDA took much of that feedback and announced last month that it would temporarily suspend enforcement of certain policies, including the requirement that test be conducted by Drug Enforcement Administration-registered labs. However, it said it couldn’t make other changes such as raising the THC threshold because that it a statutory matter that must be resolved by Congress. “At this stage, Advocacy and the regulated community are eagerly awaiting further action from the agency including additional guidance, and the publication of a final rule by fall of 2021,” SBA said in the new blog post. “The hemp community is hopeful that the agency will consider some key modifications to the rule so that hemp can blossom into a successful industry.” While SBA evidently is standing strong with the legal hemp industry, cannabis reform advocates have expressed frustration that the agency’s services—particularly concerning disaster relief loans—are unavailable to marijuana businesses who might be in need of additional support amid the coronavirus outbreak. SBA confirmed in tweet and a statement this week that it cannot provide those services so long as marijuana remains a federally controlled substance, unlike hemp. Photo courtesy of Pixabay. The post Federal Agency Touts Hemp Progress While Refusing To Serve Marijuana Businesses appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  9. CBO: Vets marijuana measure won’t cost anything; Study: Teen treatment admissions down after legalization; Poll: Dispensaries are essential Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images. The post Arizona legal cannabis campaign says it has enough ballot signatures (Newsletter: March 27, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  10. This month asks us to take advantage of opportunities for creative communication, and to get grounded and grow through solitude. The post High Horoscopes: April Needs You To Connect Now More Than Ever appeared first on Miss Grass. View the live link on MissGrass.com
  11. Last week
  12. At a time when drug policy reform campaigns across the country are suspending efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, marijuana activists in Arizona say they’ve already collected more than enough signatures to qualify a legalization measure for the state’s November ballot. The Smart and Safe Arizona campaign to legalize cannabis for adult use said it has gathered more than 320,000 signatures—about 80,000 more than is required to make the ballot. “We’re confident that we’re over the number that we need,” Campaign Manager Stacy Pearson told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Thursday, adding that while the state only verifies signatures after they’re submitted, internal validation by the campaign signals that they’re well ahead of where they need to be to qualify the measure. In the meantime, the campaign is putting a pause on further signature collection, citing concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak. “We got started collecting signatures Labor Day last year so we’re in a position where not much has changed,” Pearson said. “We were significantly ahead of where we planned to be for signatures and we have until July 2 to continue to gather.” The proposed initiative would allow individuals 21 and older to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. People could possess up to an ounce of marijuana at a time and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. The measure also contains several restorative justice provisions such as allowing individuals with prior marijuana convictions to petition the courts for expungements and establishing a social equity ownership program Cannabis sales would be taxed at 16 percent. Resulting revenue would cover implementation costs and then would be divided among funds for community colleges, infrastructure, a justice reinvestment and public services such as police and firefighters. The Department of Health Services would be responsible for regulating the program and issuing cannabis business licenses. It would also be tasked with deciding on whether to expand the program to allow for delivery services. “We know that voters in Arizona want a taxed, tested, regulated market for legalized marijuana,” Pearson said. Another campaign spokesperson previously told the website AZ Marijuana that the effort is “in good shape” regardless of the coronavirus. Members of the Arizona ACLU, Drug Policy Alliance and Law Enforcement Action Partnership helped to draft the initiative. Should the measure go before voters, it’s not entirely clear how it would fare, as a 2016 legalization proposal was soundly rejected. But in the four years since, more states have opted to legalize and public opinion has continued to shift in favor of reform. If enough of the signatures that Smart and Safe Arizona collected are valid, it would put the effort in a much better position compared to other reform campaigns across the country. The coronavirus has shuttered businesses, with the public increasingly warned to stay at home, and so activists from California to Washington, D.C. have suspended signature gathering at a pivotal time. Campaigns to change state marijuana programs, legalize psilocybin mushrooms, legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes, legalize medical and recreational cannabis, decriminalize psychedelics and broadly decriminalize drug possession have all faced challenges amid the pandemic, and several have implored officials to allow electronic signature gathering to overcome the barrier. Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen. The post Arizona Marijuana Activists Have More Than Enough Signatures To Put Legalization On Ballot, They Say appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  13. Another drug policy reform campaign has suspended signature gathering amid the coronavirus. This time, Oregon activists hoping to put a drug decriminalization and substance misuse treatment initiative on the state’s November ballot announced that they have ended in-person signature collections for the time being. But the campaign stressed there are other means for supportive voters to help qualify the measure. The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act places an emphasis on expanding drug treatment programs through the use of funds derived from existing marijuana tax revenues. At the same time, it would promote treating drug addiction as a health issue by decriminalizing illegal substances. Low-level possession would instead be considered a civil infraction punishable by a maximum $100 fine and no jail time. Since signatures can’t be collected in person, the campaign is urging residents to visit their website, enter their contact information, download the petition and mail it back. “The good news is that we are already very close,” the group said in an email to supporters on Thursday. “The response from Oregonians has been overwhelmingly positive. But because of the coronavirus, we had to stop collecting signatures in public and on the doorstep.” While the suspension is the “right thing to do,” advocates said they still “need to gather 8,000 more signatures by other means.” “It has been part of our campaign strategy all along to move to digital signature gathering at some point. COVID just accelerated that transition,” Devon Downeysmith, communications director for the campaign, told Marijuana Moment. “We want to make sure we have more than enough valid signatures so that there’s absolutely no question as to whether or not we’ll be on the ballot.” The campaign has already made significant progress to date, with activists announcing earlier this month that they’d already secured 125,000 signatures, which is about 10,000 more than is required to qualify for the ballot. However, they haven’t been verified so it’s unclear how many may be deemed invalid. To be safe, the group emphasized that voters should continue to print and mail their petitions to ensure success. “Once again, this is quick, easy and incredibly important,” the campaign’s email said. “Please add your name to help qualify IP 44 today. Let’s get the job done for more treatment and a better Oregon!” The drug decriminalization and treatment campaign is just one of many examples of reform efforts that have had to revise their strategy during this pandemic. Earlier this week, for example, another Oregon group working to put therapeutic psilocybin legalization on the ballot said it is similarly exploring alternative ways for individuals to sign the petitions remotely. In California, campaigns to amend the state’s cannabis program and legalize psilocybin mushrooms are also suspending in-person activities and asking state officials to allow for electronic signature gathering. Activists in Washington, D.C. requested that officials allow alternative signature collection for a measure to decriminalize a broad range of psychedelics. Additionally, a campaign to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska is putting a temporary pause on its activities in accordance with guidance from health officials. In neighboring South Dakota, activists are urging voters to consider requesting absentee ballots to ensure that already-qualified measures to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes are successful in November. And in New York, plans to legalize cannabis through the budget appear to have been derailed as the state prioritizes a coronavirus response. This story has been updated to include comment from the campaign. The post Oregon Drug Decriminalization And Treatment Campaign Impacted By Coronavirus appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  14. Does legalizing marijuana for adults lead to a tidal wave of teens going to treatment? Not according to a new study out of Temple University, where researchers in fact found decreases in youth admission rates for problem cannabis use in two legal states. The findings, published this month in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, run counter to speculation from legalization opponents, law enforcement and some public health experts, who have warned that relaxing cannabis laws could lead to an explosion in cannabis use disorders among children. If that’s happening, the study found, treatment admissions data so far show no sign of it. Examining data from publicly funded substance use treatment facilities, researchers from Temple’s geography and urban studies department, found that youth treatment admissions rates for cannabis use disorder fell sharply between 2008 and 2017, nationally as well as in Colorado and Washington State, which both passed legalization laws in 2012. “Our results indicate that [recreational marijuana legalization] in Colorado and Washington was not associated with an increase in treatment admissions,” the study concluded. “Rather, we observe a substantial decline in admissions rates across US states, with evidence suggesting a greater decline in Colorado/Washington following RML as compared to non-RML states, though this difference was not significant.” Co-author Jeremy Mennis, a Temple professor, told Marijuana Moment that the “national decline is pretty dramatic,” noting that on average, youth admissions rates for marijuana fell by nearly half. “It declined more in Colorado and Washington, but the difference between them and other states was not statistically significant,” he said. In other words, at least so far, legalization doesn’t seem to have made a particularly big impact on youth admissions rates one way or the other. “Adolescent treatment admissions for marijuana use did not increase in Colorado and Washington following [recreational marijuana legalization].” “The admissions rate is initially higher in Colorado/Washington at the beginning of the study period,” Mennis and co-author Gerald Stahler wrote, “but declines more rapidly following [legalization] as compared to the other states.” As the study notes, if legalizing cannabis for adults were to increase the prevalence of cannabis use disorder among youth, “one potential consequence would be an increased need for treatment.” But that increased need hasn’t been reflected in actual admissions rates. Still, the researchers are quick to caution that a drop in treatment admissions doesn’t necessarily mean a decrease in problem marijuana use. “We’re not sure whether cannabis use disorder is declining or just treatment admissions are declining” for some other reason, Mennis said. Youth cannabis consumption in the U.S. “has not substantially increased over the last 10 years,” he said, but it’s not drastically fallen, either. Yet since about 2011, treatment admissions have steadily declined. Why the drop in admissions rates? “I don’t know why,” Mennis acknowledged. “This is speculative on my part.” One possibility is that changing attitudes toward the potential dangers of marijuana have shifted in recent years, making individuals and their loved ones less likely to seek treatment. “The perception that using marijuana is harmful has declined across the U.S. among youth and adults,” Mennis said, “and this may affect how people view whether their marijuana use is problematic or requires treatment.” If fewer parents see cannabis as a harmful drug, for example, “they’re probably a lot less likely to see the use of marijuana among their kids as warranting treatment,” he said. “That’s a possibility.” Reduced stigma around cannabis generally could also be playing a role, he said, with parents perhaps less likely to refer their kids to treatment for simply experimenting with the drug absent other problems connected to such use. Perhaps the worst-case scenario, the paper says, is that the need for treatment still exists but somehow isn’t being met: “If [cannabis use disorder] remained stable following [recreational marijuana legalization], or increased, as recent research indicates, the dramatic decline in adolescent treatment admissions we observe in states enacting [recreational marijuana legalization] would suggest an increase in unmet need for treatment, i.e. it may be the case that admissions rates are falling because an increasing proportion of adolescents with CUD are not entering treatment.” “Cannabis use disorder is a thing, and I think a lot of people are resistant to the idea that it can be a thing. The question is whether cannabis use disorder is actually decreasing,” Mennis said. “If cannabis use is staying the same, then there’s a bigger and bigger gap.” Studies on cannabis use disorder have arrived at mixed conclusions about whether it’s becoming more or less common as legalization spreads to more states. A study published last year found that, contrary to the expectations of some health experts, the prevalence of cannabis use disorder among frequent cannabis users has actually decreased in recent decades. Cannabis use disorder “decreased significantly across all ages reporting daily/almost daily cannabis use between 2002-2016,” that study found. “Cannabis dependence prevalence decreased for adolescents and young adults and was stable only among adults ages 26+ reporting daily/almost daily cannabis use.” Photo courtesy of Martin Alonso The post Youth Marijuana Treatment Admissions Fell After Legalization, Study Finds appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  15. A bill that would allow doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend medical marijuana to military veterans would have zero fiscal impact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said on Wednesday. Two weeks after the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved the Veterans Equal Access Act, sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), CBO released its score of the legislation. The office estimates that there would be no additional expenses associated with allowing VA doctors to issue cannabis recommendations. That’s largely because VA doctors already “discuss various treatment options with their patients in the course of providing health care” and so including conversations about filling out medical cannabis recommendation paperwork would not be a significant departure from current policy. “Additionally, VA encourages physicians to discuss marijuana use with patients who participate in state-approved marijuana programs,” the agency said. “Thus, CBO estimates that providing information on medical marijuana would not increase VA’s costs to provide health care to veterans.” Another bill the committee approved at the same hearing earlier this month would require VA to conduct clinical trials exploring the therapeutic potential of cannabis in the treatment of conditions that commonly afflict veterans such as chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. That legislation would presumably involve some additional costs to VA, though CBO has yet to score it. It’s not clear when the full House will get to vote on either bill, but advocates expect it to pass when it arrives on the floor. Similar provisions in annual spending bills have cleared both the House and Senate in years past but have never been enacted into law. That doesn’t mean the change is without resistance, however, as VA officials testified on a wide range of marijuana-related proposals—including the two measures that cleared the committee this month—last year and voiced opposition to each of them. For the medical cannabis recommendations legislation, VA said it was advised by the Drug Enforcement Administration that its doctors could be held liable for violating federal law by providing a means for veterans to obtain a controlled substance, a contention that advocates dispute. The department also characterized the marijuana studies bill as excessively ambitious. Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily. The post Letting VA Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana To Veterans Won’t Cost Anything, Congressional Analysts Say appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  16. A majority of Americans believe that medical cannabis dispensaries should be kept open as “essential services” amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll. The survey asked simply: “Do you believe medical marijuana dispensaries should or should not be considered essential services?” Fifty-three percent said the cannabis providers should be regarded as essential, 26 percent said they shouldn’t and 21 percent said they didn’t know. YouGov. As state governments across the country grapple with the COVID-10 outbreak, officials have had to make difficult decisions about which businesses are critical enough to remain open and which should be forced to temporarily shut down. In many states with legal cannabis—including California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey—officials have determined that medical marijuana dispensaries are, in fact, essential services that can continue to operate. Many states have also given the “essential” designation to recreational marijuana stores, though some have enacted policies stipulating that consumers can only obtain cannabis products through curbside pickup or delivery services to encourage social distancing. It’s a trend that has reflected the mainstreaming of marijuana in U.S. society, with governments increasingly recognizing that the medicine is valuable and that dispensaries should be treated like other necessary businesses like pharmacies. YouGov conducted the new online poll, which involved nearly 5,400 people on Wednesday. A breakdown of demographics shows that, as in generally the case with cannabis reform issues, Democratic respondents were more likely (62 percent) than Republicans (43 percent) to agree that dispensaries should be considered essential services exempt from business closure requirements. Fifty-two percent of those who identify as independent said the shops should stay open for patients. A majority of people across all age groups except those 55 and older said dispensaries are essential. YouGov. But while dispensaries in many states can continue to serve patients, COVID-19 has had a deleterious impact on drug policy reform efforts across the country. In California, campaigns to amend the state’s cannabis program and legalize psilocybin mushrooms are suspending in-person activities and asking the state to allow for electronic signature gathering. Activists in Washington, D.C. similarly requested that officials allow alternative signature collection for a measure to decriminalize a broad range of psychedelics. More recently, a campaign to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska put a temporary pause on its activities in accordance with guidance from health officials. In neighboring South Dakota, activists are urging voters to consider requesting absentee ballots to ensure that measures to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes are successful. In New York, plans to legalize cannabis through the budget appear to have been derailed as the state prioritizes a coronavirus response. And in Oregon, activists working to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes said their signature collection efforts have hit a snag amid the pandemic. Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily. The post Americans Want Medical Marijuana Dispensaries To Stay Open As ‘Essential Services,’ Poll Finds appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  17. Mayor accidentally posts pic of marijuana vape?; OR psilocybin campaign hits COVID snag; NORML builds database of politician legalization positions Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: The post GOP senator says cannabis firms aid coronavirus response (Newsletter: March 26, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  18. Looking for someone reliable, professional and efficient for cannabis business. We operate in a small team and rapidly expanding with a lot of room for growth… $13 an hour From Indeed - Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:07:55 GMT - View all Portland, OR jobs View the live link
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  21. A North Carolina mayor was probably only trying to highlight best social distancing practices and support for local businesses when she posted photos of her takeout dinner on Twitter. But by failing to crop out what appears to be a marijuana vape pen, she sparked a different conversation entirely. “Here is what we did tonight to support our local restaurants,” Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin (D) wrote earlier this month. “Take out from Garland. And we left a 35 percent tip. Please do the same.” As residents in more jurisdictions around the country have been encouraged to stay at home amid the spread of the coronavirus, delivery and takeout food orders have become popular ways of supporting small businesses. Baldwin’s tweet included two photos of her group’s Indian dinner spread, still in its to-go packaging. In one photo, just north of the tandoori poussin, is what appears to be a cannabis vape pen. The apparent slip-up immediately drew fire on Twitter. “More like Mary-Jane Baldwin am I right,” quipped one commenter in the replies. “So the Mayor is allowed to have weed pens??” asked another, tagging the Raleigh Police Department’s account. “If you or I get caught w marijuana in N.C. we get thrown in jail,” replied a third, “while the mayor posts pictures telling you how much to tip with her weed pen in the picture.” Others correctly pointed out that it’s not clear from the picture that the vape pen contained marijuana at all. Devices like the one in Baldwin’s photo can contain a number of legal or illegal substances, including nicotine, THC, CBD or even psychedelic drugs. “Everyone is assuming that [it] is a weed pen,” Jon Lubecky, veterans and government affairs liaison for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, posted in a reply. “It very well [may] not be a weed pen. It might be DMT,” a powerful hallucinogen. Lubecky later clarified to Marijuana Moment that he was being facetious: “It was tongue in cheek due to NC’s and Raleigh’s draconian drug laws,” he said. “Whether it was DMT, Cannabis, or some other substance, she would have anyone else arrested for it.” To Baldwin’s credit, however, she has previously indicated that punitive policing of cannabis offenses may not be productive and called for a debate over the appropriate approach to marijuana. Neither Baldwin nor a mayoral spokesperson replied to Marijuana Moment’s requests for comment on Wednesday. Messages left with the Raleigh Police Department also went unreturned. Much of the critical response focused on the hypocrisy of the mayor allegedly having a marijuana product at home while others in the city face arrest and criminal punishment. Arrests for cannabis vape pens in Wake County, where Raleigh is located, climbed from six arrests in 2018 to at least 33 last year, according to a CBS 17 report in November. The county sheriff’s office also last year broke up an operation where individuals allegedly put the psychedelic DMT into vape pens, according to deputies. Between January 31, 2017 and July 7, 2019, the Raleigh Police Department made 3,154 cannabis-related arrests, according to documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. If the vape pen indeed contained THC, it’s likely to be less than 0.05 ounces. Possession of that amount of cannabis concentrate in North Carolina is a misdemeanor and carries a punishment of $200 and up to 10 days in jail. Baldwin herself has called for leniency in cannabis arrests, telling the local publication Indy Week during her mayoral campaign last year that there were likely better ways of dealing with marijuana possession than sending people to jail. Asked how she would improve police relations with the city’s black community, then-candidate Baldwin questioned Raleigh’s existing approach. “You get kids busted for a little bit of marijuana, where we’re sending people to jail for something that is legal in other parts of the country,” she said. “Is that really how we should be policing? Are there ways that we can help kids, help young people, instead of just busting them? What are we doing to facilitate conversations in the community between the police? We have a great police department. At the same time, I know that there’s opportunity for improvement.” Baldwin stopped short, however, of saying she would ask police to end such arrests. “That’s where I would need feedback from the police chief,” she said. Legalization advocates said they didn’t want to judge Baldwin for having what may have been cannabis as depicted in the tweet, which was first noted by The Daily Dot. But they hoped it would be a lesson to the mayor about the importance of treating everyone equally under the law. “Some mayors consume cannabis just like many of their constituents,” Justin Strekal, political director for NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “Hopefully this tweet will represent a teachable moment and Mayor Baldwin will immediately direct law enforcement to halt marijuana related arrests and be an advocate to legalize it at the state level.” Photo courtesy of Twitter/Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin. The post Is That A Marijuana Vape Pen In This North Carolina Mayor’s Take-Out Dinner Pic? appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  22. A Republican senator said in a floor speech on Wednesday that the marijuana and hemp industries in Colorado are helping the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who returned to the Senate following a 14-day self-quarantine after being informed he came into contact with someone infected with the virus, said residents in his state “have stepped up in every way possible.” “In a uniquely Colorado way, you have hemp businesses that are now producing cotton swabs for medical needs. You have whiskey distilleries that are producing hand sanitizers for hospitals for home health care,” he said. “We have protective equipment that’s being donated by the Denver Broncos and by marijuana industry and by so many other businesses across the state of Colorado who are stepping up in ways that make all of us proud.” While Gardner didn’t offer specifics about which companies are behind these contributions, health experts have emphasized that there are significant shortages of medical necessities—cotton swabs, face masks and ventilators, for example—in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s spurred some private companies to get involved and help address those shortages. Gardner, who is one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans heading into the November election, has made much of his advocacy for marijuana reform and his support for the industry. He gave hemp and marijuana businesses credit for contributing to the coronavirus response earlier this week as well. “We’ve been working with the marijuana industry for instance, on personal protective equipment,” he told Colorado Public Radio. “We found some hemp manufacturers that can make cotton swabs.” The pandemic has put a variety of drug policy reform efforts on hold, from the local to federal level. With legislative priorities shifting, it remains to be seen when the Senate might take up a Gardner-sponsored bill to protect banks that service the cannabis industry from being penalized by federal regulators. Passing that bill, a version of which the House approved on a bipartisan basis last year, would represent a much-needed victory for Gardner to bring home to Colorado amid his reelection campaign. The senator said last month that the chamber was “close” to making a deal with Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) concerning changes to the House-passed legislation. But in the weeks since, the COVID-19 has eclipsed a wide range of issues and so its prospects of passage in the short-term are dubious. Meanwhile, Gardner isn’t the only official crediting cannabis for aiding in efforts to combat coronavirus. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said earlier this month that regional talks among Northeast governors to coordinate marijuana legalization plans have inadvertently enabled them to more effectively communicate during this crisis. The post GOP Senator Says Marijuana Industry Is Stepping Up To Help With Coronavirus Response appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  23. A campaign to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic purposes in Oregon is one of the latest drug policy reform efforts to say it’s hit a hitch amid the coronavirus outbreak. Activists have collected almost 128,000 signatures for the proposed initiative, which would allow individuals to access the psychedelic under medical supervision to aid in the treatment of mental health conditions. That raw total is more than the required number to qualify for the November ballot, but the campaign says it still wants to collect about 15,000 more signatures by July to be certain it has enough valid submissions to make the cut. Sam Chapman, campaign manager for the Psilocybin Services Initiative, said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the group is “incredibly close” to making the ballot, but the pandemic “puts all of our progress in jeopardy.” In order to ensure that the initiative prevails under current circumstances, Chapman said the group is asking residents to fill out an electronic form to receive an official ballot petition they can sign. Organizers are consulting with the secretary of state’s office to “find responsible ways to mail petitions to potential supporters.” “Together, we can put IP34 on the ballot and make history this November by creating the first ever statewide program for regulated psilocybin therapy in the country,” he said. Drug policy reform campaigns across the U.S. have experienced setbacks as businesses are increasingly shuttered and the public is being encouraged to shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. In California, campaigns to amend the state’s cannabis program and legalize psilocybin mushrooms are suspending in-person activities and asking the state to allow for electronic signature gathering. Activists in Washington, D.C. similarly requested that officials allow alternative signature collection for a measure to decriminalize a broad range of psychedelics. More recently, a campaign to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska putting a temporary pause on its activities in accordance with guidance from health officials. In neighboring South Dakota, activists are urging voters to consider requesting absentee ballots to ensure that measures to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes are successful. And in New York, plans to legalize cannabis through the budget appear to have been derailed as the state prioritizes a coronavirus response. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Workman. The post Oregon Campaign To Legalize Psilocybin Mushrooms For Therapeutic Use Hits Snag Amid Coronavirus appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  24. The national marijuana advocacy group NORML is launching a revamped online tool to help voters figure out where their representatives stand on cannabis policy. And they’re inviting people to help contribute to the comprehensive database. In an email to supporters on Tuesday, the organization said that while it recognizes the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak, voters must not lose track of the November elections. That’s because consequential cannabis reform issues are set to appear on ballots across the country and it remains important to hold lawmakers accountable for their positions on marijuana policy. To that end, NORML’s “Smoke the Vote” tool—a guide showing how federal and state officials have voted on reform issues and documenting their comments on the issue—is designed to help voters make informed decisions when they arrive at their polling places. “With the 2020 election only just over seven months away, NORML is gearing up to have the most expansive database ever assembled on the cannabis policy positions for those running for legislative office,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal told Marijuana Moment. “The successes of the legalization experiments now operational in states from Massachusetts to California result in a stark contrast for voters in prohibition states: which side are their lawmakers on?” But while the group has built out a thorough guide upon launch, there are still gaps that can be filled in. NORML said that supporters can help by submitting information about legislative actions or comments from their representatives through an online form it created. At the bottom of a given candidate’s profile, there’s an option to enter their position and link to the source. “We’re calling upon supporters of reform to help us source this data to create the wikipedia of candidates’ marijuana positions,” Strekal said. “It is our goal that once the database is complete, we will aggressively educate the broader public on their options for public servants in regards to support for marijuana reform.” Separately, the group has been involved in promoting commonsense cannabis consumer practices to protect public health amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also urging lawmakers to ensure that individuals working in the marijuana industry are not discriminated against when it comes to unemployment benefits at a time when an increasing number of businesses are shuttering and the public is being encouraged to stay at home. Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer. The post Top Marijuana Reform Group Wants Help Holding Lawmakers Accountable On Legalization appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
  25. Small Biz Admin: No COVID aid for marijuana firms; Denver psilocybin panel sets decrim enforcement tracking; SD legalization campaign alters plan Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day. Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: The post Fed cannabis prosecutions decline legalization era (Newsletter: March 25, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
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  27. The nation’s first government panel focused on psychedelics policy reform held its second meeting on the implementation of a Denver decriminalization law on Tuesday, reaching an agreement on law enforcement reporting criteria for activity related to psilocybin mushrooms. The Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel was established last year after voters approved a ballot measure making the city the first in the U.S. to classify offenses related to the psychedelic fungus among the lowest law enforcement priorities. It held its first meeting last month, with city officials, law enforcement and advocates deciding on largely technical matters related to the policy’s enactment. This time around, the group made a significant decision about various factors that should be included in reports about enforcement of psilocybin laws as the city tracks implementation of the measure. The meeting was initially set to be held in-person, but plans shifted amid the coronavirus pandemic and the panel met remotely via a livestream. The list of enforcement data that the panel agreed should be tracked, which was shared with Marijuana Moment, includes: a. age (adults and juveniles) b. location of offense c. offense (possession, distribution, cultivation) d. quantity involved e. prosecutions – resolutions f. race g. other drugs involved h. current mental health data i. behavioral data around police encounter (including status of intoxication) j. encounters that did not result in an arrest This is one of the first steps in ensuring that the city is complying with the voter-approved initiative, which has since set off a ripple effect of jurisdictions across the country pursuing psychedelics reform. During the two-hour meeting, there were some questions about whether various city agencies would be able to produce such data. However, panel members agreed that they would submit the request for the information to relevant parties and see what kind of details they could obtain from psilocybin cases going back to the initiative’s passage in May of last year. Kevin Matthews, a key member of the committee who also led the Denver campaign to decriminalize psilocybin, said he plans to send a letter to officials and request both that prior data and ask that they consider the agreed-upon criteria as they track these cases moving forward. Later in the meeting, members also discussed a proposal to train first responders—law enforcement, mental health officials or otherwise—in how to effectively use harm reduction principles to deal with people who are under the influence of psilocybin or other psychedelics. “It’s going to take a little bit of conversation and research to decide where we want to target this,” Sara Gael, a panel member and director of harm reduction for the Zendo Project, said. “This is something that I really support,” Matthews added. “And I think, overall, the more that we can inform and educate first responders—or really anybody who comes into contact with folks who may be under the influence of psilocybin or other psychedelics—if they have this specific harm reduction toolkit or training available to employ, I think it could be pretty valuable.” The plan going forward is to consult with agencies and mental health professionals to determine the best path forward to provide for that training. A working group will be established to offer recommendations to that end, the group decided. The panel’s next meeting will be determined at a later date, though members are aiming for early May. Denver’s decision to decriminalize psilocybin created a domino effect across the U.S. Months later, the Oakland City Council unanimously approved a measure to make a wide range of psychedelics among the city’s lowest law enforcement priorities. Santa Cruz later followed suit. Since then, activists in more than 100 cities have opted to pursue the policy change. However, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been some setbacks. In Washington, D.C., advocates working to decriminalize psychedelics are requesting that officials allow electronic signature gathering. A California campaign to legalize psilocybin made a similar request. Organizers for an initiative to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes in Oregon also announced they would be amending campaign activities in light of the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer. The post Denver Government Psilocybin Panel Sets Criteria To Track Decriminalization’s Impact appeared first on Marijuana Moment. View the live link on MarijuanaMoment.net
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