While neighboring states Washington and likely Oregon will be deciding whether marijuana should be legal for all adults, my birth state of Idaho is still trying to put people in cages for selling pieces of glass.
District of Idaho U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said she was not sure how much Spice was seized from shops that sell tobacco and smoking paraphernalia in Boise, Kuna, and Nampa Thursday but did say additional state or federal drug charges are possible against the 16 people indicted on paraphernalia charges.
Olson said the Boise-area “headshops” were selling drug paraphernalia to drug users and traffickers under the guise of tobacco products, which allowed a federal grand jury to return the felony charges of conspiracy to sell, offer for sale and transport drug paraphernalia; offering drug paraphernalia for sale; and sale of drug paraphernalia. Those crime are punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Olson said at least nine of the 13 shops were openly selling Spice, and several of those stores sold the synthetic marijuana to undercover officers.
Idaho has some of the toughest statutes in the nation regarding paraphernalia and simple pot smoking. Merely being in a place where people smoke pot is a misdemeanor worth 3 months in jail. If you are found to be stoned in public, you can get 6 months in jail. Being caught with a pot pipe (with no pot) can get you a year in prison. If you’re caught with some pot, there’s another year in prison. If you do any of this around a child, the crimes rise to a felony with 5 years in prison. Selling pipes, bongs, grinders, and kief boxes in Idaho is a felony worthy of nine years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
But what happens if you don’t smoke pot and instead impregnate your underage girlfriend and then abuse your infant so severely it dies at the age of three months from blunt force trauma?
RUPERT • The father of an infant who died in 2008 from multiple injuries was sentenced Monday to serve 3 1/2 years in prison for felony injury to a child.
Three-month-old Nivea Lopez died Dec. 19, 2008, in a Pocatello hospital after receiving injuries that included skull fractures and healed rib fractures.
Monday’s sentence will run concurrent with a two- to 10-year prison term Lopez received for violating his probation on a rape conviction, stemming from the statutory nature of his relationship with Martinez.
Got that? Beat your baby to death = 3.5 years. Smoke pot around your baby = 5 years. Sell someone a bong = 9 years.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom… but I hope you understand why I don’t visit often.
Brought to you by Cannabis Fantastic
Groovin’ Thursday: Brought to you by The Ganja Jon Show
(Hat tip to Huffington Post on the initial report…)
Mitt Romney was interviewing with a reporter from Colorado who asked a series of questions, including his opinions on civil unions or marriage equality for gay people, in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants, and Colorado’s state recognition of medical marijuana. Frustrated by the questions not leading to his preferred talking points, Gov. Romney, exasperated, asks “Aren’t there issues of significance you’d like to talk about? The economy?…”
Funny, it seems like just a couple of election cycles ago that Republicans couldn’t stop talking about “gay marriage”, “anchor babies”, and “Cheech & Chong medicine”. Now that those wedge social issues lose votes for the GOP among the rapidly-growing Hispanic population and the growing acceptance of equal rights for gay people and support for the medicinal use of marijuana, it looks like the GOP has retreated to the Clinton-era “It’s the Economy, Stupid” talking points.
But did you catch that part at the end of the interview where Gov. Romney jokes about the inclusion of those topics, dismissing them as “states issues, right, aren’t they, really?” Did we just hear the presumptive GOP nominee express that medical marijuana is an issue that states should be allowed to decide?
Enjoy this 60-sec PSA on the issue – feel free to download and share.
Download audio file (Mitt-Romneys-Issues-of-Significance.mp3)
Brought to you by Cannabis Fantastic
Irie Wednesday: Brought to you by NorCalPurps in the California Bay Area
(Denver Post) A bill making it easier to convict people of driving high on marijuana was among the more than two dozen bills sacrificed in the Colorado House Tuesday night during a gridlocked debate over civil unions.
Earlier in the day, the controversial bill surmounted its final legislative committee, when the state House Appropriations Committee approved it 9-4.
The proposal would have made it illegal to drive with more than a certain amount of THC — the psychoactive chemical in marijuana — in your system. The limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood that the bill proposed would have been similar to the .08 blood-alcohol standard for drunk driving.
Wow. A bill proposed and passed by ignorant people who are intolerant of marijuana consumers was left to die because ignorant people who are intolerant of homosexuality had to kill a bill to recognize even a second-class marriage right for gay people.
I guess reactionary Colorado legislators are more afraid of gays than stoners. (Shhh… don’t tell them there are plenty of gay stoners!)
See, Oregon’s medical marijuana law allows patients and caregivers to freely exchange medicine and plants. So, in one novel interpretation of the law, caregivers are merely “donating” their medicine and plants to a patient. Then, in a completely separate and uncoordinated transaction, the patient, out of the goodness of his or her heart, merely “donates” some cash to the caregiver, which randomly happens to always be $10/gram or $200/ounce. It’s kind of like now under Citizens United, Super PACs can run attack ads for a candidate, but they are completely separate and uncoordinated activities (*wink*).
In another creative reading of the statutes, some places charge a “membership fee” or an “entry fee” to enter a club designed for patients to medicate within. It’s explained that shut-in patients need a place to recreate where they can medicate. Never mind that anyone with a card can come in: patients, caregivers, and growers, and nobody bothers to determine which of those cards are held by the people smoking the bongs and hitting the vaporizers. Inside, one can visit the various growers who pay a “vendor fee” to rent a cubicle there within the club.
The growers in the club, as well as growers throughout the state, make use of another flexible part of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Law that states a patient can reimburse a caregiver/grower for the expenses incurred in growing marijuana, but not for labor. The key words there are “a patient” and “a grower”, which is notably not “the patient” and “the grower”. The latter (“the”) would mean the patient could only reimburse the person they had specifically designated to be their grower when they filled out their Oregon Medical Marijuana Program paperwork. The former (“a”) means any patient can reimburse any grower. So the electricity, soil, lights, ballasts, water, nutrients, etc. incurred during this harvest are all tallied up by the grower, then that figure is divided by the total yield, and the patient reimburses the grower that amount based on how much weight of medicine is dispensed… or, at least, that’s how you’d think the law’s dictates would force you to figure reimbursement.
Yet whether you grow two plants hydroponically under a single 600W lamp in Portland, or you grow 24 plants under massive indoor soil grows with thousands of watts of lights in Eugene, or you grow 96 plants outdoors in the ideal weather of Medford, somehow everybody’s expense reimbursements with no labor costs always tally up to $10 / gram and $200 / ounce. And nobody bothers to check any grower’s power or water bills or garden supply receipts. Weird, huh? Where in the world do people like Dwight Holton get off calling this program a “train wreck”? How in the world do opponents of medical marijuana come up with this meme of “abuse”?
So the dispensaries voters shot down twice are here, as we all knew they would be eventually, because you cannot have 60,000 legal consumers and 0 legal retail suppliers. The voters mistakenly thought it was a vote between “dispensaries” or “no dispensaries”; in reality it was a vote between “regulated taxpaying dispensaries” and “unregulated gray-market dispensaries” and we chose the latter. It would be nice if the “Mother Teresa” model worked and every patient could be matched with an altruistic caregiver and grower, but it just ain’t so. So people who have always made money growing and selling marijuana continue to do so and the state continues to miss out on huge economic opportunities. A state, by the way, with no sales tax and brutal property taxes to make up for it, where revenues are short, and there is one growing (pardon the pun) industry begging to be legal and taxed.
Brought to you by Cannabis Fantastic
Electric Tuesday: Brought to you by “Radical” Russ
You want medical marijuana? Big Pharma is more than willing to sell it to you…
International expansion of UK firm GW Pharma’s cannabis-based spray Sativex is well underway after a further 10 European countries recommended approval of the drug for multiple sclerosis patients.
Health Authorities in Belgium, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia have now given the go-ahead for Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol), completing its Mutual Recognition Procedure in Europe.
This means that Sativex can be marketed in these countries as an add-on therapy for the treatment of moderate to severe spasticity due to MS in patients who have not responded adequately to other medication, and launches are expected from the end of this year onwards.
Sativex has already been approved in the UK, Spain, and Germany and other European countries:
GW says marketing partner Almirall expects to introduce the drug in the German market in July and before the end of 2011 in Denmark and Sweden. Sativex is scheduled to be launched in Italy, Czech Republic and Austria in 2012.
In case you don’t know, Sativex is a whole-plant extract of cannabis. So it’s not like Marinol, the synthetic THC-only pill that many cancer and MS patients dislike because of extreme psychoactivity and difficulty in dosing (it’s hard to swallow a pill when you’re wretching from chemo and it takes 45 minutes of digestion before you know if you took the right amount.)
Nope, this is the real thing, the whole plant, with all the THC, CBD, terpenoids, flavinoids, reduced to an spray. It goes under the tongue, where your mucous membranes absorb the cannabis medicine quickly, almost like smoking or vaporizing plant cannabis, so there are no issues with swallowing difficulty or delayed effect like Marinol. It comes in guaranteed dosage, potency, and purity. It may be more expensive than growing pot, but insurance companies will likely cover the cost of the drug for cancer and MS patients.
And it’s coming to a medical marijuana state near you:
(CBS/AP) A marijuana-based mouth spray may get FDA approval as soon as 2013 – at least that’s what British manufactuer GW Pharma hopes. The company is in advanced clinical trials on the world’s first pharmaceutical developed from raw marijuana plants.
Other marijuana-based drugs currently on the market use synthetic equivalents of pot, but this stuff’s made from the real deal. Its makers want to market the drug in the U.S. as a treatment for cancer pain.
The spray, called Sativex, contains marijuana’s two best known components – delta 9-THC and cannabidiol. The medication has already been approved in Canada, New Zealand and eight European countries for relieving muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis.
This is nothing new. A decade ago, US firms were investigating an inhaler delivery device to combat the swallowing/delayed-effect issue with Marinol:
The makers of the synthetic THC capsule Marinol – the only legal cannabinoid drug available in the United States – are developing a metered dose inhaler so that patients may consume the drug in ways other than oral administration, according to a Business Wire report released this week. Many doctors and patients criticize the effectiveness of Marinol because the drug doesn’t take effect until two to four hours after administration. Patients also complain that they have difficulty self-regulating Marinol and that the drug’s psychoactivity is enhanced when it is swallowed.
Now I have nothing against Sativex or other cannabinoid pharmaceuticals. For the truly sick and disabled, any advance that makes the medicine more reliable, easier to use, and more effective gets a thumbs up from me.
But if your strategy to legalize the use of plant cannabis by all people for any reason is to preach “All use is medical/wellness”, cannabinoid pharmaceuticals is where you’ll end up. There exists a paradigm for the medical / wellness use of substances, and it lies in the realm of doctors and pharmacists and prescriptions and manufactured drugs. However, there also exists a paradigm for the recreational use of substances, and it lies in the realm of taverns and bartenders and DUI laws and ID checks and home brewing.
In which paradigm do you think marijuana fits better?
Huffington Post analyzes the 2012 electoral vote race between President Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney:
The push against the Colorado businesses and the patients they serve is just the latest in the Obama administration’s bizarre action against a plant that was at one point a cultural flash point, but which now religious leader Pat Robertson says should be legal.
The timing is also curious given the upcoming November election. Colorado’s nine electoral college votes are up for grabs, and Obama’s path to reelection gets very steep without the state in his corner. The legalization amendment on the ballot in November could drive otherwise complacent voters to the polls, but they may not end up backing Obama. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is not ashamed to tout his support of pot legalization, threatening to syphon protest votes that otherwise would have gone to Obama.
Looking at that map, I can only imagine that President Obama’s campaign strategists are happy that medical marijuana states California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, New Mexico, Michigan, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Delaware are solidly in his camp. However, I’m guessing that Democratic strategists for the other races on the ballot aren’t happy that Obama’s anti-medical marijuana stance may depress voter turnout among some disillusioned Dems (who are likely disillusioned over more than just medical pot). Gary Johnson and Jim Gray are probably happy that Dems in those states can lodge a protest vote for the anti-drug-war Libertarian ticket, knowing that vote won’t cost Obama their states.
But I wonder how the Obama strategists feel about medical marijuana states Arizona and Montana? Any chance Obama might have at swinging Arizona seemed remote with the immigration debate that tears apart that state; now add to that a nascent medical marijuana movement that sees Justice Department threats all over their state that have stymied the voter approved dispensaries. And Montana, one of the few too-close-to-call states, is likely to swing back hard to the GOP by at least the 20,000 votes of sick people who used to be legit medical marijuana patients, forced out of the program by the draconian SB 423, a medical marijuana repeal that could have been written by Obama’s DoJ.