THURSDAY, JULY 6, 2017 AT 8:03 A.M.
BY MARY CARREON
Although cultivation is a big issue, perhaps the larger obstacle the licensed and unlicensed shops face is related to Weedmaps. Known as the "Yelp for weed," the Irvine-based advertising company provides ads for both the BB and rogue dispensaries. This not only contributes to the licensed shops losing business to the rogue stores, but it also essentially keeps the unlicensed shops open. "I've used most of my savings on getting [New Generation] built; that's why I don't spend $10,000 on a billboard and pay Weedmaps $30,000 in advertising," says Shivley. "I give them $420 a month because I literally have to in order for us to stay on the map, but I won't give them any more than that. It's wrong what they're doing. They're promoting all these other rogue guys at insanely low costs—way lower than what they offer [the licensed shops]. . . . It's bullshit."
Of course, Yelp, Google, Leafly, the Yellow Pages and even the Weekly also offer dispensary listings for licensed and unlicensed shops. That said, when your business is backed by millions (and millions) of dollars—like Weedmaps—your platform automatically becomes the most effective of the lot.
Longwith asserts that Weedmaps shouldn't advertise rogue shops in cities such as Santa Ana that have opened up their borders to licensed shops. "Advertise all you want with regard to dispensaries in cities that do not have ordinances on their books to allow for licensed dispensaries," says Longwith. "But with regard to those cities that do have ordinances, they should respect that and not advertise for businesses that don't have licenses. . . . Weedmaps has an obligation to respect cities that have allowed dispensaries to operate legally."
Those on the rogue side who participated in the lottery feel backstabbed by Weedmaps. Kandice Hawes-Lopez, an Orange County cannabis activist and founder of the Orange County chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) told the Weekly last year that when NORML started working on an initiative to get a measure passed, they initially failed. So Hawes-Lopez and the NORML team talked to the dispensaries—all of which were rogue at the time—and got a group together to approach Weedmaps. They asked them if they wanted to be a part of the group, but Weedmaps said no because they didn't want to get political.
Not long after, Weedmaps allowed OC NORML to hold its meetings at the company's office, saying it supported the initiative Hawes-Lopez and NORML were driving. But several months later, Hawes-Lopez discovered that Weedmaps had actually contributed cash to gather support for the rival, city-supported initiative, Measure BB. "Weedmaps paid $30,000 to the city's campaign instead of ours, which was shocking because we thought they were supporting us the whole time when, in fact, they jumped ship and went behind our backs, on top of still letting us have meetings there," she says. "We felt spied on."
That experience soured many medical-marijuana activists about Weedmaps, Hawes-Lopez explains. "I think that's what first ignited the passion and distrust that revolves around Weedmaps and why groups of people in the medical-marijuana industry and community believe that it's all some kind of conspiracy."
Read more here.
By C. Moon Reed
JUNE 30, 2017
Nearly 43 million tourists visit Las Vegas every year, and they’re all looking to experience freedoms they don’t get back home. For some people, that means outdoing the most clichéd Hollywood version of Sin City excess. But even a staid conventioneer can find excitement here — like, say, a ludicrously expensive steak at one of the many fancy restaurants.
On July 1, when recreational marijuana goes on sale in Nevada, one more thrill will be on offer.
Fremont Street gift shops already are profiting. Shelves of green ceramic ashtrays with the phrase “High from Las Vegas” now compete with the usual gambling-themed tchotchkes.
Visitors should have no problem purchasing marijuana at dispensaries near the Strip. But where will they consume it? Nevada allows for consumption only in private residences with the owner’s permission. Even if you could make the dubious argument that your hotel room is a “residence,” guess who won’t give their permission? Casino owners.
As of now, that means tourists can put their new pot-leaf shaped ashtrays to use exactly nowhere on the Strip. According to the Las Vegas Sun, “Smoking outside dispensaries, at casinos or even in a parked car could result in a $600 fine.” The Nevada Gaming Commission has come out strong against marijuana. And a bill to create consumption lounges went nowhere. Or, put more cutely, it went up in smoke.
Cynical locals suspect that casinos want to ban marijuana because it doesn’t create the right kind of high. Alcohol produces a devil-may-care insouciance that’s conducive to gambling. Marijuana, on the other hand, will only help the bottom line of all-you-can-eat buffets. A paranoid stoner won’t dare to gamble — he’ll think the face cards are watching him.
While there might be some truth to the theory that casinos are reluctant to embrace a drug that causes giggles and sedation, the industry has a bigger reason to steer clear. Even though the American public views marijuana as (more or less) benign, the feds still classify it as a Schedule I drug. As long as it’s in any way illegal, casinos won’t hazard the ire of Big Brother. There’s too much money in the long-established vices — gaming, alcohol and tobacco — to risk everything on upstart entertainment.
The grand resort chains don’t want to risk losing their gaming licenses. That would destroy this town. And if that sounds like hypocrisy from an industry that encourages risk-taking, just remember that it’s the gamblers, not the house, who take on all the risk. (It’s perfectly true that the house always wins.)
But the Vegas mythology has always been about personal freedom, and my guess is that the casinos eventually will fall in line (even if only after the feds indicate they’ll turn a blind eye).
This isn’t the first time our state has defied federal prohibition. In 1923, Nevada repealed its alcohol ban, and Las Vegas saloons openly served booze. Every so often, feds would come up from Los Angeles to roust the lawbreakers, but that wasn’t much of a deterrent.
And so long as casino owners won’t, tourists surely will protect Nevada’s free-spirited values by breaking the rules. Many will get away with it. A suspicious skunky smell already wafts through Strip parking garages. Discrete and odorless edibles likely will be the most ubiquitous, followed by nearly odorless vape pens. Joints will pass anonymously through concert crowds, as they always have.
For visitors from Colorado and Washington — and let’s face it, California, even though full legalization won’t come into effect until January — the Strip’s continued prohibition might enhance the thrill-seeking experience. They’ll come to Vegas to remember how fun it was to smoke pot when it was still illicit.
Read more here.
Trump’s Pick For Drug Czar Hauled In Thousands Of Dollars From Drug Distributors He Wrote Bill To Protect
BY JOSH KEEFE @THEJOSHKEEFE ON 04/14/17 AT 5:00 AM
President Donald Trump recently launched a high-profile White House initiative to combat the growing problem of opioid drug abuse in America. Yet his expected selection to oversee the nation’s drug laws is a congressman from an opioid-ravaged district whose signature legislative accomplishment is a bill that shielded prescription opioid distributors from law enforcement scrutiny.
The White House is expected to name Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa, to be the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — a position often referred to as the nation’s “drug czar.” Marino is a former prosecutor who has represented a rural district in northeastern Pennsylvania since 2011. The ONDCP declined to comment for this story and Marino’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment as well.
If appointed, Marino would be the first member of Congress to become drug czar. He would come to the job after pulling in big money from an industry that is producing and distributing the nation’s most deadly legal drugs. Marino has received more than $150,000 in donations from the pharmaceutical industry in his political career, including $71,000 for the 2016 election, according to records at Maplight.org and Opensecrets.org. The data show Marino has received more money from the pharmaceutical industry than any other sector.
As the nation faces an opioid crisis fueled by the mass production and marketing of addictive prescription drugs, some physicians fighting the epidemic view Marino’s possible ascent to drug czar as a betrayal of rural communities ravaged by opioids — many of which voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump.
“This is the opposite of draining the swamp,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University and co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), told International Business Times. “In the midst of a public health crisis [Trump] is putting at the helm of the ONDCP someone who has worked for the opioid lobby against efforts to bring the epidemic under control.”
It’s hard to overstate how deadly the opioid epidemic has been for Americans. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths from opioids has quadrupled, as did deaths from prescription opioids like oxycontin, fentanyl and hydrocodone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many experts blame this rise on the makers of opioid prescription drugs, like Purdue Pharma, the creator of oxycontin, which pled guilty to misleading doctors about the drug’s addictiveness and agreed to pay $600 million in fines in 2007. Three Purdue executives also agreed to pay a total of $34.5 million in fines.
“This epidemic was created by pharmaceutical companies,” Georgetown University’s Dr. Adrian Fugh-Berman told IBT. He is the director of PharmedOut, a group that advocates for responsible prescribing practices. “That’s not too strong to say.”
The epidemic has only intensified since Purdue’s guilty plea in 2007, and now cities and counties are bringing lawsuits against drug distributors — the companies that sell drugs wholesale. The three largest distributors — McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, which together generated $430 billion in 2015 and account for 85 percent of the drug distribution market — have agreed to pay $230 million in fines to the federal government and opioid-plagued West Virginia since late December. The fines were connected to charges that the companies failed to report suspicious orders of pharmaceuticals.
According to Maplight.org, all three companies have given multiple campaign donations, totaling between $13,000 and $15,000, each to Marino who wrote legislation that made it harder for the DEA to take companies off a registry that allows them to distribute controlled substances. If the companies were dealt this penalty, they could potentially incur a far greater financial hit than fines.
Marino introduced three versions of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act between 2014 and 2015 before H.R. 471 passed the House. In the Senate, Orrin Hatch, R-Ut, who received more money from the pharmaceutical industry than anyone in Congress between 2010 and 2016, introduced a companion bill. The legislation was eventually signed by President Barack Obama last year, but not before DEA Deputy Assistant Administrator Joseph Rannazzisi had a conversation with congressional staffers that provoked the ire of Marino, who said Rannazzisi told staffers the bill’s sponsors were “supporting criminals.” (Rannazzisi told the Washington Post he said the bill would “protect defendants in our cases.”)
During a congressional hearing, Marino told Rannazzisi’s boss the comments offended him “immensely,” and the congressman even asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Rannazzisi had tried to “intimidate” members of Congress. Rannazzisi was eventually replaced at the DEA in 2015 and retired shortly after. He did not reply to multiple requests for comment for this story.
“Rep. Marino has made it very clear he is on the side of opioid manufacturers,” PharmedOut’s Fugh-Berman told IBT. “The bill he supported made it hard for the DEA to go after distributors and wholesalers of drugs. The DEA was having its hands tied even before Trump got into office but this appointment will make things much worse.”
Read more here.
APRIL 10, 2017 BY DOUG PORTER 2 COMMENTS
By Doug Porter
It turns out that Making America Great Again involves rolling back drug policy and enforcement to the 1960s.
The first step in such a reversal involves denying science. The second step involves ginning up the racism. The final step involves reviving mass incarceration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it clear in a speech in Richmond, Va on March 15, that enforcement is now the primary tool in responding to drug abuse, and, apparently, casual use.
I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.
While nobody I’m aware of is advocating for selling pot in corner stores, there is evidence, via a UCSD study suggesting medical marijuana legalization can reduce opioid-related hospitalizations. A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that states with medical marijuana laws have lower death rates from opiate overdose.
The Trump administration’s approach to this sort of research–and research in general–has been proposals to cut funding.
He wants to cut NIH funding by $1.2 billion this year. Next year, under his proposed budget, the agency’s budget would be slashed by another $5.8 billion. Trump’s aides have defended the cuts, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the government has long been wasting money on overhead for universities and other institutions that receive NIH grants. But researchers across the country have warned of devastating consequences if Trump’s proposed cuts were actually enacted.
A Bi-Polar Approach
As the Atlantic’s City Lab points out, the Trump administration appears to have a “split personality” where it comes to drug policy.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has been appointed to head up a commission on combating drug addiction. For all his other faults, Christie does have a track record for a humane approach toward dealing with drug addiction.
This contrasts with the tough guy attitude embodied in Sessions’ pronouncements.
City Lab quotes the Wall Street Journal:
The tug of war in the new administration reflects its two different constituencies: traditional conservatives, who favor a crackdown on crime that the president frequently links to illegal immigration and urban areas, and the white, working-class and rural communities who welcome a compassionate focus on the opioid epidemic that has ravaged their neighborhoods.
…And goes on to say:
Translation: White people will get rehabilitation. Black and Latino people will get incarceration.
Or, as the Drug Policy Alliance deputy director Michael Collins said in the WSJ article: “We’re seeing the beginning of a new war on drugs.”
While origins of the “other” narrative in drug disparagement go all the way back to the middle ages, it is bound up in US history with responses to immigration and racial subjugation.
Read more here.
By Sari Horwitz April 8 at 8:32 PM
When the Obama administration launched a sweeping policy to reduce harsh prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, rave reviews came from across the political spectrum. Civil rights groups and the Koch brothers praised Obama for his efforts, saying he was making the criminal justice system more humane.
But there was one person who watched these developments with some horror. Steven H. Cook, a former street cop who became a federal prosecutor based in Knoxville, Tenn., saw nothing wrong with how the system worked — not the life sentences for drug charges, not the huge growth of the prison population. And he went everywhere — Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox News, congressional hearings, public panels — to spread a different gospel.
“The federal criminal justice system simply is not broken. In fact, it’s working exactly as designed,” Cook said at a criminal justice panel at The Washington Post last year.
The Obama administration largely ignored Cook, who was then president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys. But he won’t be overlooked anymore.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought Cook into his inner circle at the Justice Department, appointing him to be one of his top lieutenants to help undo the criminal justice policies of Obama and former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. As Sessions has traveled to different cities to preach his tough-on-crime philosophy, Cook has been at his side.
Sessions has yet to announce specific policy changes, but Cook’s new perch speaks volumes about where the Justice Department is headed.
Law enforcement officials say that Sessions and Cook are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration.
Crime is near historic lows in the United States, but Sessions says that the spike in homicides in several cities, including Chicago, is a harbinger of a “dangerous new trend” in America that requires a tough response.
“If there was a flickering candle of hope that remained for sentencing reform, Cook’s appointment was a fire hose,” said Ring, of FAMM. “There simply aren’t enough backhoes to build all the prisons it would take to realize Steve Cook’s vision for America.”
Sessions is also expected to take a harder line on the punishment for using and distributing marijuana, a drug he has long abhorred. His crime task force will review existing marijuana policy, according to a memo he wrote prosecutors last week. Using or distributing marijuana is illegal under federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin, and considered more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine.
In his effort to resurrect the practices of the drug war, it is still unclear what Sessions will do about the wave of states that have legalized marijuana in recent years. Eight states and the District of Columbia now permit the recreational use of marijuana, and 28 states and the District have legalized the use of medical marijuana.
But his rhetoric against weed seems to get stronger with each speech. In Richmond, he cast doubt on the use of medical marijuana and said it “has been hyped, maybe too much.”
Read more here.
By MATT RICHTEL MARCH 27, 2017
LOS ANGELES — Nine days after Nikolas Michaud’s latest heroin relapse, the skinny 27-year-old sat on a roof deck at a new drug rehabilitation clinic here. He picked up a bong, filled it with a pinch of marijuana, lit the leaves and inhaled.
All this took place in plain view of the clinic’s director.
“The rules here are a little lax,” Mr. Michaud said. In almost any other rehab setting in the country, smoking pot would be a major infraction and a likely cause for being booted out. But here at High Sobriety — the clinic with a name that sounds like the title of a Cheech and Chong comeback movie — it is not just permitted, but part of the treatment.
The new clinic is experimenting with a concept made possible by the growing legalization of marijuana: that pot, rather than being a gateway into drugs, could be a gateway out.
A small but growing number of pain doctors and addiction specialists are overseeing the use of marijuana as a substitute for more potent and dangerous drugs. Dr. Mark Wallace, chairman of the division of pain medicine in the department of anesthesia at the University of California, San Diego, said over the last five years he has used marijuana to help several hundred patients transition off opiates.
“The majority of patients continue to use it,” he said of marijuana. But he added that they tell him of the opiates: “I feel like I was a slave to that drug. I feel like I have my life back.”
Dr. Wallace is quick to note that his evidence is anecdotal and more study is needed. Research in rats, he said, supports the idea that the use of cannabinoids can induce withdrawal from heavier substances. But in humans?
A report published in January from the National Academy of Sciences on the health effects of cannabis “found no evidence to support or refute the conclusion that cannabinoids are an effective treatment for achieving abstinence in the use of addictive substances,” said Dr. Marie McCormick, a Harvard professor who was the chairwoman of the report committee.
The group’s research did find strong evidence to support that cannabis or its main psychoactive compound, cannabinoid, can be used to treat chronic pain in adults. But that is different from using it safely and effectively to wean people off drugs, and some experts in the addiction field are highly skeptical.
Read more here.
By Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker March 26 at 10:00 PM
President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.
The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.
“All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognize that government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function, often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and delays,” Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government.”
In a White House riven at times by disorder and competing factions, the innovation office represents an expansion of Kushner’s already far-reaching influence. The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.
The work of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has drawn considerable attention, especially after his call for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” But Bannon will have no formal role in the innovation office, which Trump advisers described as an incubator of sleek transformation as opposed to deconstruction.
The announcement of the new office comes at a humbling moment for the president, following Friday’s collapse of his first major legislative push — an overhaul of the health-care system, which Trump had championed as a candidate.
Kushner is positioning the new office as “an offensive team” — an aggressive, nonideological ideas factory capable of attracting top talent from both inside and outside of government, and serving as a conduit with the business, philanthropic and academic communities.
“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner said Sunday in an interview in his West Wing office. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”
The innovation office has a particular focus on technology and data, and it is working with such titans as Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff and Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk. The group has already hosted sessions with more than 100 such leaders and government officials.
“There is a need to figure out what policies are adding friction to the system without accompanying it with significant benefits,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chief executive of the investment firm Blackstone Group. “It’s easy for the private sector to at least see where the friction is, and to do that very quickly and succinctly.”
Some of the executives involved have criticized some of Trump’s policies, such as his travel ban, but said they are eager to help the administration address chronic problems.
“Obviously it has to be done with corresponding values and principles. We don’t agree on everything,” said Benioff, a Silicon Valley billionaire who raised money for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
But, Benioff added, “I’m hopeful that Jared will be collaborative with our industry in moving this forward. When I talk to him, he does remind me of a lot of the young, scrappy entrepreneurs that I invest in in their 30s.”
Kushner’s ambitions for what the new office can achieve are grand. At least to start, the team plans to focus its attention on reimagining Veterans Affairs; modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency; remodeling workforce-training programs; and developing “transformative projects” under the banner of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, such as providing broadband Internet service to every American.
In some cases, the office could direct that government functions be privatized, or that existing contracts be awarded to new bidders.
The office will also focus on combating opioid abuse, a regular emphasis for Trump on the campaign trail. The president later this week plans to announce an official drug commission devoted to the problem that will be chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). He has been working informally on the issue for several weeks with Kushner, despite reported tension between the two.
Read more here.
By David Garrick Contact Reporter
MARCH 24, 2017
Crafting comprehensive state marijuana regulations this year will likely be a turbulent process of trial and error, California’s top marijuana official told a few dozen San Diego industry leaders during a forum this week.
Lori Ajax, chief of California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, also said that once new regulations are in place in January the state may crack down on illegal marijuana operations that local jurisdictions have struggled to close.
Ajax also expressed some optimism the state could help marijuana businesses get access to banks despite the drug still being illegal under federal law, but said any changes to local tax rates would need to start at the grass roots level.
On some issues unique to San Diego, such as U.S. Border Patrol agents possibly blocking transportation of marijuana that is allowed under state law, Ajax said she didn’t have any answers yet.
Ajax assured the audience, however, that her staff is moving full speed ahead despite recent comments from the Trump administration that enforcement of the federal marijuana ban could resume.
"We have so little time to wring our hands about that," she said. "We have to get this done so I'm focusing on what's in my control, and that's not in my control."
The main theme of her hour-long question-and-answer session at San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce headquarters on Thursday was that crafting regulations will be a work in progress followed by a period of awkward transition once they’re in place.
She’s facing time pressure because Proposition 64, which was approved by 57 percent of state voters on Nov. 8, requires the new regulations be in place by Jan. 1.
Her agency plans to unveil proposed regulations for medical marijuana in late April and then, after the state Legislature sorts out which of nearly four dozen proposed bills under consideration will become law, propose recreational regulations in late summer or early fall.
Ajax urged the group of local industry leaders, which included attorneys, dispensary owners, cultivators and operators of delivery services, to take an active role in commenting on the proposals during a 45-day period after they are unveiled.
"They are proposed regulations — not final," she said. "The whole reason we have a 45-day comment period is for you to comment, and we expect we may be changing stuff."
And even after the regulations become law, Ajax predicted there would be changes based on how the rules perform in real-world situations.
"This industry evolves very, very quickly so we have to be ready if some of our regulations aren't working the way we thought they would — we need to be ready to make changes,” she said. "Not everything is going to be OK on Day 1 — there's going to be a transition."
Her chief concerns, she said, are whether there will be enough licensed labs to test all of the marijuana — which will be a requirement under state law — and whether cities and counties will approve enough distributors to get the drugs to dispensaries.
Testing labs need expensive equipment and rigorous certifications, creating significant barriers to entry, she said.
Read more here.
A synthetic marijuana product could be available for commercialization after the DEA gave a newly approved drug a schedule II classification.
On Thursday, Insys Therapeutics announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued an interim final rule that would put Syndros, their synthetic marijuana drug, on Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
“Insys is looking forward to bringing this new drug product to chemotherapy patients to help alleviate their nausea and vomiting and AIDS patients with anorexia associated weight loss, respectively,” Dr. Santosh Vetticaden, interim CEO, said in the announcement.
“We look forward to interacting with the FDA to finalize the labeling and subsequent launch of Syndros in the second half of 2017,” Vetticaden said.
Syndros is a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in the plant. In July 206, the company announced the FDA approved their liquid form of synthetic THC to treat anorexia associated AIDS patients, and nausea and vomiting induced by cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
The DEA approval placed Syndros and its generic formulations in schedule II of the CSA, which is reserved for drugs that have “a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
While some Schedule II drugs can be used for medical purposes, like Vicodin, oxycodone, Adderall, and many prescription painkillers, Schedule I drugs are all federally illegal. Non-synthetic marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which is reserved for drugs that have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
In 2011, Insys wrote a letter to the DEA, urging them to maintain the Schedule I status for non-synthetic marijuana, citing “a longstanding policy of the United States to disfavor domestic cultivation of narcotic raw materials because of concerns about the abuse potential from farming of this material."
Insys also opposed legalization in Arizona, donating $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group opposing Proposition 205, an initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona.
In a statement, Insys said it opposed Prop 205, "because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children,” according to the Arizona Republic.
Read more here.
California lawmakers want to block police from helping federal drug agents take action against marijuana license holders
Patrick McGreevyContact Reporter
With federal authorities hinting at a possible crackdown on state-licensed marijuana dealers, a group of California lawmakers wants to block local police and sheriff’s departments from assisting such investigations and arrests unless compelled by a court order.
A bill by six Democratic legislators has drawn strenuous objections from local law enforcement officials, who say it improperly ties their hands, preventing them from cooperating with federal drug agents.
“It really is quite offensive,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn., who said he objected to lawmakers “wanting to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.”
But proponents say the measure is needed to assure marijuana growers and sellers that applying for state licenses will not make them more vulnerable to arrest and prosecution under federal law, which designates cannabis as an illegal drug.
“Prohibiting our state and local law enforcement agencies from expending resources to assist federal intrusion of California-compliant cannabis activity reinforces … the will of our state’s voters who overwhelmingly supported Proposition 64,” said Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), the lead author of the new bill.
The act of resistance is similar to legislation that would prevent California law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration officials in the deportation of people in the country illegally. Senate Bill 54 would address that concern and make California a so-called sanctuary state for immigrants, while Jones-Sawyer’s legislation would similarly make the state a sanctuary for the marijuana industry.
The immigration and marijuana issues have been given new focus by the administration of President Trump, who state officials fear is breaking from the policy of former President Obama, who took a more hands-off approach to both issues.
U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has indicated in public comments that he thinks marijuana is a danger to society. Last month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer caused a stir when he said, “I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement” of laws against the sale and use of recreational marijuana.
Read more here.
Susan has been an entrepreneur all of her adult life. She had a clothing company for 10 years, Weeds & Doilies, opened a hair salon in Newport Beach, produced a feature film, created an alternative content program with a national theatre chain and currently is the Executive Director of C.A.R.E. (Cannabis Awareness, Research & Events). As a serial entrepreneur, she has worn many hats including expertise in digital media, marketing, social media, start ups, advertising, business development, public policy, market research, film production and cannabis cultivation.