Marijuana V. Opioid Addiction – An Easy Choice

Columbia, SC – Many patients who would benefit from medical marijuana have no viable treatment for their pain and suffering other than highly addictive, cost-prohibitive pharmaceuticals such as opioids. Treating chronic pain and illness with opioids often results in a devastating, family-wrecking, life-ending addiction.

This is a tragedy playing out daily across our state, and it is one that can be, and should be, avoided.

For six and a half years I served as the chief federal law enforcement officer for South Carolina. I have seen firsthand the devastating effect the opioid epidemic has had on our citizens, and I can report that we will never incarcerate our way out of this public health crisis.

The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of medical marijuana for the treatment of a wide array of illnesses has been recognized and endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences. And The American Journal of Public Health has found that opioid use and deaths associated with opioid abuse dropped dramatically in states that legalized access to medical marijuana. Because of the opioid epidemic facing our country, it is important to note that medical marijuana has a history of zero fatalities due to overdose.

Until Feb. 23, the only legitimate issue of concern to S.C. legislators in deciding whether to pass a medical marijuana bill was the lingering uncertainty regarding the Trump administrations position on medical marijuana. Thats when President Donald Trumps press secretary Sean Spicer said the president sees a big difference between use of marijuana for medical purposes and for recreational purposes. The administration indicated that, while it plans to increase enforcement of laws prohibiting recreational use of marijuana, it will allow states to legalize medical marijuana without federal government interference.

The bills pending in the Legislature would make medical marijuana available to patients facing specific diagnoses, and access to this medication would be limited by law to patients who have a prescription from a licensed physician.

The Academy of Sciences has documented something that patients have known for a long time: Medical marijuana helps ease the suffering and pain of those with illnesses, and it does so without the highly addictive pitfalls of opioids. Now we have learned that the last rational objection to legalizing medical marijuana has been cleared.

Soldiers who have served our country and returned with post-traumatic stress disorder and adults and children who, through no fault of their own, are suffering with pain and illness deserve the right to treatment prescribed by their physician that is a non-addictive, cost-effective medicine.

With the Trump administrations endorsement of medical marijuana, only irrational fear with no data or facts to back it up stands between patients and the treatment they need in South Carolina.

It is time for democracy to work. The State reported in October that 78 percent of South Carolinians supported medical marijuana. That means 78 percent of South Carolinians Republicans, independents and Democrats believe that unfounded fears should not stand in the way of effective treatment in the form of medical marijuana.

We must demand that the officials we have elected to represent us and our values approve medical-marijuana legislation that reflects a fact-based understanding of this effective treatment and compassion for those in need. We must encourage our legislators to be brave, to have faith in the facts and to not succumb to irrational, non-fact-based fear.

Call your legislators today and encourage them to vote for the medical marijuana bill pending in the Legislature.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Marijuana V. Opioid Addiction – An Easy Choice
Author: Bill Nettles
Contact: 1.800.888.5353
Photo Credit: Tracy Glantz
Website: The State

CA: States Should Decide Marijuana

SANTA ANA, Calif. Were disappointed that White House press secretary Sean Spicer recently said greater enforcement of federal drug laws, including prohibition of marijuana, is coming.
Theres a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature, he said. This, at a time when a majority of Americans support not only limiting federal enforcement of marijuana laws but outright legalizing the drug.

Such a move would run counter to multiple statements by Donald Trump on the campaign trail. (In) terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state, he said, for example, during a campaign rally on Oct. 29, 2015.

From a constitutional perspective, this is the most sensible and pragmatic approach to marijuana. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is there a provision granting the federal government the authority to prohibit intoxicants.
In Americas prior engagement with the folly of prohibition, that of alcohol, proponents of prohibition at least had the decency to seek and obtain a narrowly worded constitutional amendment, the 18th Amendment, to justify federal intervention. This hasnt been true of marijuana or other drugs.

Voters in most states that have been presented a ballot initiative on marijuana legalization have opted to approve it. Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have approved outright legalization for medicinal and recreational use, while a majority of states have approved marijuana for medicinal use.

Most Americans are simply ready to be done with the issue. A Quinnipiac poll released last month found 71 percent of Americans opposed to the enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized it for recreational or medicinal purposes. This includes 55 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 80 percent of Democrats. On the question of legalization, pollsters found support from 59 percent of respondents.

A renewal of a failed and constitutionally dubious federal crackdown on marijuana is simply not a priority of the American public. Gone are the days of reefer madness and even Just Say No, with legalization, taxation and regulation seen as a more efficacious and just means of combating the harms of marijuana use, while respecting the freedom of individual choice.

We encourage the federal government to take a hands-off approach toward marijuana. Meanwhile, we support efforts in Congress to remove marijuana from federal control.

Reps. Tom Garrett, R-Va., and Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, recently introduced the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, which would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and thus grant states the flexibility to deal with it. This bill should bring together those who believe in states rights, individual freedom and a sensible justice system.

The pretense of federal marijuana prohibition that arresting users, growers and sellers of marijuana will prevent use of the drug has long been shown to be nothing more than a harmful delusion that has criminalized far too many people. We encourage President Trump to do the right thing and allow states to make their own choices.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: States Should Decide Marijuana
Author: Staff
Contact: Watertown Daily Times
Photo Credit: Jim Wilson
Website: Watertown Daily Times

California Gym Will Welcome Marijuana Use During Workouts

A San Francisco gym slated to open this fall will encourage clients to use cannabis as part of their fitness routine.

Power Plant Fitness clients will have the option to bring their own cannabis or order edibles, the gyms preferred form of cannabis, while they are at the gym. A delivery service will bring desired edibles to the gym within 15 minutes after clients place orders, owner Jim McAlpine told USA TODAY. Adult-use, recreational marijuana is legal in California, but only dispensaries can sell it. Using marijuana in public is banned. The gym will have a designated space for those inhaling marijuana.

The gym, which advertises itself as the world’s first cannabis gym, touts using the drug for pain, focus and meditation.

McAlpine, who is already hosting Power Plant boot camps, wants people to know this isnt going to be a stoner gym. While cannabis use is welcome, the focus is on fitness, he said.

For the people that it affects the right way, cannabis can make working out fun, McAlpine said. If you make it more fun, people are going to do it more.

McAlpine said personally, cannabis helps him control his weight and focus during workouts. But, he said this isnt the case for everyone.

When clients join the gym, McAlpine said they will complete a cannabis performance assessment. That means staff will assess clients during a sober workout and a workout after using cannabis.

McAlpine, who also founded the 420 Games, said he anticipates at least half of the clients wont be a good fit for cannabis-influenced workouts.

This isnt something where we are telling someone to do this, McAlpine said. Its an option to consider.

Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York, said the option is dangerous.

I worry that the philosophy of the country is going towards health, happiness, smoke weed, Krakower said. "You are glorifying weed and saying its this agent thats going to cure everything. I dont think thats going to be the case.

He said that message can be especially damaging to children and young adults.

Ingesting compounds at a younger age 19 and 20 years old, brains are still forming, he said. I worry that they could be exposed to something that could be potentially negative to them.

Dr. Marc J. Romano, director of medical services at Delphi Behavioral Health in Florida, said people could feel more relaxed when using and working out. The World Anti-Doping Agency actually cites research saying cannabis can give athletes an advantage by decreasing anxiety, allowing users to perform better under pressure. But, in the same vein, Romano said that feeling could impair users’ ability to lift weights and operate gym equipment.

If your awareness cognition is in any way impaired, you could be a danger to those around you, Romano said.

Cannabis in adolescence and young adulthood has been linked to developing psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia. Marijuana smoke can also cause respiratory problems, elevated heart rate and mental illness, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports. But, cannabis research is hazy.

Dr. Sue Sisley, who has conducted FDA-approved clinical trails on cannabis and recently served on a panel at SXSW with McAlpine, said doctors have to be skeptical.

"Weve never been exposed to the idea of cannabis as medicine," Sisley said. "We have been systematically misled."

While Sisley said she wouldn’t advise adolescent use of cannabis for fitness, she said trying cannabis later in life would pose little risk.

Bottom line is the plant is very benign, she said. It has a very mild side effect profile. Its far less toxic than many of the prescriptions I write every day.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: California Gym Will Welcome Marijuana Use During Workouts
Author: Ashley May
Contact: USA Today
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Website: USA Today

$1.1M From Maine Pot Bust Goes To 8 Law Enforcement Agencies

BANGOR, Maine – Federal officials are set to announce how $1.1 million in forfeited money from a massive marijuana grow operation will be distributed to Maine law enforcement agencies.

The marijuana operation was concealed in the woods and bogs in Washington County. Drug agents in 2009 seized nearly 3,000 plants and 40 pounds of processed marijuana valued at $9 million.
Five men were either convicted or pleaded guilty.

On Thursday, the acting U.S. attorney for Maine and the IRS special agent in charge of criminal investigations in Boston will recognize the distribution of proceeds.

The money is being divvied up among the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency; the Maine State Police; the Maine Warden Service; the Washington County Sheriff’s Department; and the Brewer, Biddeford, Scarborough and Gorham police departments.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: $1.1M From Maine Pot Bust Goes To 8 Law Enforcement Agencies
Author: Associated Press
Contact: 207.797.1313
Photo Credit: None Found
Website: 13 WGME