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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

National News for April 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

Research WeedMississippi: In the late 1960s the government mandated that all research on marijuana must be done using the government cannabis supply grown exclusively at the University of Mississippi. The giant manufacturing operation is overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Recently the DEA has allowed other suppliers to submit samples for research purposes but none have received approval for use. The problem using this government grown marijuana, supplied by one facility, comes from the lack of potency in their crop. The maximum THC content in the Mississippi facility is 13 percent, while the average commercial weed in Colorado is around 19 percent.
     For researchers to preform tests that apply to real world situations they need real world material to work with. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the government given marijuana does not even resemble retail products. Sue Sisley, a researcher beginning a clinical trial to test the efficacy of medical marijuana for veterans suffering from PTSD, told PBS NewsHour, “It doesn’t resemble cannabis. It doesn’t smell like cannabis.” The marijuana she was given is stringy and light in color with many stems and leaves still attached. Rick Doblin, founding director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, claims that the marijuana his team received contained levels of mold and yeast that were higher than allowed in many of the legalized states.

     However, as the strains of mold and yeast were not harmful to humans they had to proceed with their trials. The National Institute on Drug Abuse stated, “There has been some emerging interest from the research community for a wider variety of marijuana and marijuana products. ... NIDA does plan on growing some additional marijuana this year and harvest some high THC material that will likely be above 13 percent THC.”

Mailing Marijuana Iowa: A 25-year old Davenport man is facing charges of distributing marijuana after postal inspectors discovered 10 pounds of marijuana in a package with his name. Charles Simpson was expecting the package, mailed to him by his brother, which he intended to sell to multiple customers. According to the Davenport Police Department, Simpson would receive $100 and free marijuana for every pound he was able to sell. Simpson is being charged with possession with intent to deliver less than 50 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to possess and deliver less than 50 kilograms of marijuana, and failure to affix an Iowa drug tax stamp. Each charge carries a possible prison sentence of 5 years.

Recreational Weed Coming to Illinois?Illinois: Legislation to legalize marijuana use for adults 21 years and older have been introduced by Senator Heather Steans and Representative Kelly Cassidy. The proposals, Senate Bill 316 and House Bill 2353, would allow adults to possess up to 28 grams of marijuana while also creating facilities to sell cannabis products, which would be taxed similar to alcohol. The bills state the plant would be regulated like alcohol, products sold in the state would be tested, labeled, and regulated to protect consumers, and driving under the influence would still be illegal. The officials that presented the bills would like to see the taxes collected from marijuana sales help ‘plug holes in the state budget’. Steans stated, “Legalizing and taxing marijuana will not and should not solve all of our budget woes, but it should be a part of the conversation about resolving Illinois’ worsening budget problems. Every bit of new revenue will help to close the governor’s $5 billion budget gap.” Steans previously introduced legislation to decriminalize possession of marijuana, which became law in late 2016.

Recall AlertOregon: An immediate health and safety advisory was issued by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission last month when pesticide was found on retail plant material. The OLCC claims the marijuana, produced by Emerald Wave Estate, LLC, failed a pesticide test for permethrins. According to the Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) there were 82.5 grams sold to 31 customers before the failed results were noticed and the recall was issued. The affected flowers, labeled Blue Magoo, were sold between March 8th and March 10th, 2017. They have a label with the following OLCC License numbers: 050-1002850B56E, 060-100301304FE, or 050-1002850B56E.

     While there have been no reports of illness associated with the oversight, the short and long term health impacts of consuming unapproved pesticide residue is unknown. Consumers who are in possession of the recalled products are urged to discard them or return them to the original retailer.

Taking the First StepWisconsin: The city council in Monona voted to reduce the fine of an adult caught in the possession of marijuana. Mayor of the city, Bob Miller, has wanted to get his laws to get up to speed with those in neighboring communities, but stresses that this new ordinance does not legalize marijuana. Instead it states that an adult 21 years or older possessing marijuana in public or private spaces is no longer subject to a fine. Using the plant in a private residence is also allowed, but smoking in public is punishable with a $200 fine.

Power Plant FitnessCalifornia: A new gym coming to the San Francisco area will encourage patrons to use marijuana as part of their workout regimen. The gym will allow clients to bring their own marijuana to use, though the gym would prefer customers to order an edible while at the gym. Any edibles ordered will be delivered within 15 minutes. Patrons that choose to smoke cannabis will be required to use a designated space, while those choosing an edible will have more freedom.

     Currently marijuana use in California is legal for adults 21 years or older, but only licensed dispensaries are allowed to sell it and its use in public is still illegal. Owner of the gym, Jim McAlpine, stresses the point that while it will be the world’s first cannabis gym, it will not be a “stoner gym”. He states the main focus of Power Plant Fitness will be on fitness, using marijuana as a drug for pain, focus, and meditation. McAlpine realizes that some clients enjoy their work out more when under the influence of cannabis, but as this is not the case for everyone, patrons will be given a cannabis performance assessment when joining the gym. The cannabis performance assessment involves PPF staff monitoring clients during a sober workout and a workout after using marijuana.

     The director of medical services at Delphi Behavioral Health in Florida, Dr. Marc J. Romano, stated that using marijuana at the gym could cause people to feel more relaxed when working out but also pointed out that it could impair a person’s ability to lift weights or operate the equipment. McAlpine, who already hosts Power Plant boot camps, plans to open the gym by early fall.

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