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Archive for May, 2014


Putting the “Grass” in Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Hi. I’m Neil deGrasse Tyson. And I’m here to tell you how fuckin’ rad space is.”

Planet Earth. Life. Blue Planet. Into the Universe. Cosmos.

The mysteries of the universe are absolutely incredible, and while you don’t need drugs to appreciate them, there’s obviously something extra fascinating about watching these scientific, visually stunning documentary TV series after toking up. (Where it’s legal…of course.) The phrase “documentary TV series” doesn’t SOUND cool, but we promise it is. Is it because ganja connects us with the universe, and allows us to better understand and appreciate our role in the grand scheme of life? Who knows?

 
Pot Brownies and Wiz Khalifa

Two very interesting drug arrests recently occurred here in our great state.

First of all, a 19-year old named Jacob Lavoro may be facing life in prison for baking and selling pot brownies. Last month, police officers in Round Rock, just north of Austin, found 1.5 pounds of brownies along with an additional pound of cannabis, digital scales, and over $1,500 in cash at Lavoro’s apartment. Possible consequences? Five years to life in prison.

Apparently Lavoro made his brownies with hash oil rather than plain old marijuana plant. Under Texas law, hash oil is treated like a serious narcotic. To determine the amount of hash oil included in the brownies, the police weighed the entire batch and charged him with 1.5 pounds of marijuana.

Fair? Probably not. This is just another example of how our drug laws are failing the people they are meant to protect. Lavoro pleaded not guilty, and his defense attorney believes there’s a good chance his charge will be downgraded. We’ll find out next month when he’s back in the court room.

But guess who else was arrested for marijuana possession in Texas? WIZ KHALIFA. That’s right, he was leaving a musical festival in El Paso that he had just headlined, stopped at an inspection checkpoint in the El Paso airport, didn’t have any identification (because he’s WIZ KHALIFA, idiots), and had to undergo a search. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) found a canister of marijuana, and off he went to jail, where he posted a selfie on Twitter. No joke.

Of course, Wiz Khalifa was only charged with a misdemeanor and was released after posting $300 bail. Lavoro remains in jail, charged for a felony. Different “crimes,” of course, but still…

What are your thoughts on these recent arrests? Let’s hear ‘em. Find us on Facebook!

Sources:

http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/music/headlines/20140525-rapper-wizkhalifa-arrested-in-texas-for-marijuana-possession.ece

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/05/22/how-a-batch-of-hash-brownies-can-get-you-a-life-sentence-in-texas/

 

Memorial Day seems like an appropriate time to think about marijuana in terms of United States veterans and current soldiers. In Colorado today, Operation Grow4Vets hosted the first ever free marijuana giveaway event for veterans. Each veteran attending received a gift bag containing cannabis, cannabis oils, cannabis infused products, and seeds for growing their own supply.

Why?

Operation Grow4Vets shares some interesting facts:

  • More than 49,000 U.S. servicemen and women have been physically injured in recent military conflicts
  • More than 400,000 service members currently battle depression, combat-related stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Over 9.2 million Americans served in Vietnam between 1964 and 1975, and many are receiving care for wounds, injuries, or illness.
  • 31% of Vietnam veterans live with PTSD
  • Approximately 10,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans pour into VA medical facilities each month
  • Countless veterans suffer from debilitating chronic pain
  • Over 20% of these veterans suffer from PTSD
  • Overall, suicides now outnumber combat fatalities by a ratio of more than 25-to-1

Studies continue to confirm that marijuana is a safe, effective treatment for pain, PTSD, and TBI, and can provide our veterans with the relief they need, whether physical or psychological.

Currently, 7 of the 20 states that have legalized medical marijuana include PTSD as a qualifying condition. In those 7 states, cannabis has proven to be a successful treatment, and has allowed many vets to discontinue or cut back on their other prescription medications.

You can read more about medical marijuana and its impact on veterans on Ladybud.com or on the Grow4Vets website, grow4vets.org.

 
Any Weed Yet in Washington?

What’s going on in Washington state? We know all about Colorado’s marijuana industry – how they license growers and dispensaries, what their pot tracking system looks like, and how they define any special rules and regulations.

But Washington? Crickets. At least for the past several months.

The state seems confused. What are the laws? What does it mean for something to be legal when there are no legal means of using it? Then again, what does it mean for something to be legal at the state level but not the federal level? There are no easy answers in the “budding” marijuana industry.

Due to the confusion, and the waiting period between recreational legalization and actual licensing, many Washington cities and counties passed temporary bans on selling marijuana. This has led to confusion regarding medical marijuana dispensaries, which have been operating since the early 2000’s.

According to Roger Roffman, one of the sponsors of Initiative 502, “Many people in the medical marijuana community would ask why they can’t continue to grow on their own or on collective gardens. The other side of the argument is that the way to drive out the illicit market out of business is to close off any routes of access other than the licensed retail outlets, essentially push the illegal and quasi-legal sellers out of business.”

However, Washington has finally pushed ahead in licensing some retailers. More than 2,000 people initially applied for licenses. These were pre-screened in February, and of that number, 1,174 applicants were included in a lottery in 75 jurisdictions in the state. 47 jurisdictions didn’t require lotteries for licensing.

The state Liquor Control Board named 334 legal marijuana retail licenses at the beginning of this month, but some applicants may have additional requirements to complete in order to open their shops this summer – probably beginning mid-July.

We’ll keep watching and waiting, but it seems the pot industry may be picking up in Washington state.

Ryan Herring and Molly Herring stand amid their first crop of recreational marijuana plants on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, near Port Angeles, Wash. Doing business as Peninsula Cannabis, the couple received a license from the Washington State Liquor Control Board to grow and process marijuana for retail sale. The first retail sales are expected to begin in July. (AP Photo)

Sources:

http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2014/05/marijuana_legalization_remains.html

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2014/05/washington_posts_list_of_marij.html

 
Medical Marijuana Bill Passes First Step in New York

New York, New York! Yesterday, the state Senate’s Health Committee passed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients suffering from any of twenty ailments, including Parkinson’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Cue a sigh of relief from thousands of advocates watching in awe as the bill passed 9-8, with only one Republican voting in favor.

Some believe this first step was the most difficult – now the bill goes to the Finance Committee, and if it passes, the state Senate. Depending on how quickly it passes in the Finance Committee, it could be brought to a full Senate vote as early as this month.

Critics of the bill worry that it will become too much like California’s program, where pretty much anyone can get a prescription for pot. Some Republicans state they would be in favor of medicinal marijuana in the form of edibles and oils, but not smoke. Although, if patients are suffering from cancer or AIDS, it hardly seems like medium matters.

New York State Senator Diane Savino sponsored the bill, and has answered every critical question it’s encountered so far. She said the bill “would create the tightest, most-regulated program in the nation” and would require every pot plant to have a bar code to prevent it from being swept up by the black market. The legislature would also create an age limit of 21 for consumption of the drug.

Savino has garnered at least 39 “yes” votes for the bill in the Senate, enough for it to pass. Here’s hoping!

 
The “Green” Mountain State

In Vermont, you can buy a T-shirt that says “Eat More Kale.” The gay ice cream duo Ben and Jerry have their corporate home in Vermont, and you can tour the Ben & Jerry’s facilities. Given that Vermont loves the gays, you’d think they would be proud, but they actually think Ben and Jerry sold out. Yep, they prefer their own homemade ice cream. Also in Vermont, community gardens and co-ops are as popular as grocery stores.

This week, the state’s Governor Pete Shumlin signed a bill into law that requires any foods with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) to be labeled as such. At the signing ceremony, Gov. Shumlin stated,

“Vermonters take our food and how it is produced seriously, and we believe we have a right to know what’s in the food we buy. I am proud that we’re leading the way in the United States to require labeling of genetically engineered food. More than 60 countries have already restricted or labeled these foods, and now one state – Vermont – will also ensure that we know what’s in the food we buy and serve our families.”

The law does have some exceptions (like meat and milk), and it does not apply to to food served at restaurants…yet. You can bet the state is still doing research, and this is a huge jumping off point for them.

The food industry is PISSED at Vermont right now, as you can imagine. But they don’t care who is pissed. They care about the environment, about the food they eat, and about buying local.

That’s why we’re actually feeling good about Vermont’s new commitment to studying the possible impact of legalizing marijuana. The state legislature recently tasked Gov. Shumlin’s administration with studying the anticipated fiscal and other impacts of legalization in Vermont, and their report is due January 15, 2015.

The Shumlin administration hasn’t developed a plan of action yet as to how they’ll carry out their directive, but for now, they’re observing Colorado and Washington. They are analyzing what those states may have failed to consider before legalization, like how edibles and infused products factor in. They’re also open to hearing suggestions from advocates on either side of the issue.

All in all, we believe something great could come from Vermont’s study. Given their history and values, we have confidence that they’ll conduct thorough and unbiased research, and we’re pretty excited to see what they come up with by January 15.

Sources:

http://associationsnow.com/2014/05/food-industry-threatens-lawsuit-vermont-passes-gmo-labeling-bill/

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Vermont-to-study-marijuana-legalization-5480994.php

 
Summer Options for Smoking and Toking

Summer is the season of vacations, bonfires, impromptu road trips, lazy days by the pool or beach, and weekend festivals and events. You might be on the road a lot, or you might be staying local, but either way you’ll want to plan for your smoking and toking needs ahead of time.

During the winter months, maybe your tabletop vaporizer or water pipe covers all your bases. But now, as the weather warms and your friends are waiting for you to come outside and play, it’s time to consider more portable, discreet options.

This is where we come in. At the Glass House, we offer a variety of portable vaporizers, small glass pipes, and rolling papers. Depending on where you’re headed this summer, we highly recommend looking into portable vaporizers, or vape pens. Not only are they gentler on your lungs by cooling smoke into vapor, but they generally fit comfortably into a pocket or purse. And, if you’ll be in public, vape pens are more discreet – they look like electronic cigarettes and don’t emit much of a scent.

Rolling papers are another handy medium to have with you on the go. We recommend RAW rolling papers, which come in a variety of types and sizes depending on your preferences. RAW rolling papers are also natural, unbleached, and unrefined, making them much better for you and the environment. Plus, RAW is dedicated to helping others, and often participates in fundraising projects for non-profits like Wine to Water.

As you plan for your summer smoking and toking needs, don’t forget to stop by The Glass House! And tell us all about your favorite on-the-go piece by finding us on Facebook or using the Comment section below.

 

 
Texas Tides are Turning

It looks like Rick Perry changed his mind. News outlets have been publishing marijuana facts and figures listing Gov. Rick Perry as supporting decriminalization in Texas, while many of the statements he made in January were undeniably negative towards it. Is he talking out of both sides of his mouth? Maybe it’s all about politics, not really about the drug at all?

We posted some of the comments he made at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland back in February – when he called the public’s changing opinion a marijuana “parade,” surmised that marijuana legalization could directly affect murder rates, and worried that decriminalization will send a negative message to “young, influenceable people.”

But apparently, despite his seemingly clear anti-marijuana stance, he really does support decriminalization and least softened criminal sentences for drug penalties. Maybe this is because he sees the landscape in Texas changing.

According to a recent post by Forth Worth Weekly, libertarian, liberal, and Tea Party groups are coming together for the first time ever in their views on nonviolent drug offenders. Since Perry publicly acknowledged his support for decriminalization, several Texas legislators have begun working on bills to change treatment of marijuana users in court.

The article states,

State Rep. Elliott Naishtat of Austin, who has worked unsuccessfully for years to legalize medical uses of marijuana in this state, said he will try again in the legislative session that starts in January.

“There is ample evidence that marijuana is beneficial to people suffering from the chronic and debilitating pain associated with cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis,” he said. “I’ve introduced this bill six times, so I’m hoping seven will be the charm.”

Last year the medical marijuana bill was considered by the House Public Health Committee. Afterward, two Republicans on the panel came to him and said they were considering the proposal with open eyes for the first time.

Texas, your collective voices are being heard. Keeping working for what you believe in. Keep supporting NORML’s DFW Chapter. Step by step, we’re getting there.

A woman blows smoke rings with marijuana smoke during the 4/20 Rally at the Civic Center in Denver, Colorado, April 20, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Leffingwell.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/22/the-strange-political-bedfellows-of-the-pot-debate/

http://www.fwweekly.com/2014/05/01/norml-izing-drug-laws/

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/11/not-joining-the-pot-parade-texas-gov-rick-perry-links-marijuana-legalization-to-murder/

 
Synthetic Marijuana vs. Cannabis

If you’ve been watching the news this weekend, you know our great state of Texas has seen a wave of overdoses on synthetic marijuana. In just five days last week, over 120 in Dallas and Austin have experienced signs of overdosing on K2, a synthetic drug created to feel like marijuana.

Pot activists aren’t big fans of the synthetic stuff anyway, since most of them love cannabis for its natural qualities, and the effects of K2 aren’t anything like those of marijuana. According to scientists, synthetic marijuana is just that – synthetic cannabinoids. A similar compound to marijuana, created in a lab, but more extreme.

K2 isn’t just annoying for people who are passionate about the real deal, but it’s also dangerous. And it’s not that all synthetic marijuana is dangerous, but it’s nearly impossible to know how the K2 you’re getting was prepared – how thickly it was mixed, how thickly it was sprayed onto the plant material, etc.

Synthetic marijuana is said to give users a stronger high than THC and can lead to seizures, hallucinations and convulsions as well as profoundly negative psychological effects. Rumor has it that the latest batches of K2 responsible for so many hospitalized in Texas may contain not just a strange compound mixture of cannabinoids, but also PCP. Of course, that may or may not be media fear-mongering, but it’s certainly a possibility.

At the end of the day, here’s another friendly reminder to our legislators that no one has ever overdosed on marijuana, or died of its effects. It won’t send its users to the hospital with seizures and convulsions. It’s another reminder that the legal sale of cannabis would allow for regulation and quality control. How many reminders do we need to make some changes around here?

Sources:

http://www.wcnc.com/news/crime/258117041.html
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2014/05/04/rash-of-texas-overdoses-linked-to-synthetic-marijuana/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/synthetic-marijuana_n_3908171.html

 
The Cannabis Industry: Now Hiring

Looking for a job? Would you consider a career in the cannabis industry? We expect to see a huge increase in employment opportunities in the next few years, as more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana use. Yesterday at 4:20 p.m., NPR posted a list of jobs for people who want to get in on the ground floor of the “budding” cannabis industry.

Some of the highlights that you may not have expected:

  • Instead of a bartender, you can be a “budtender,” inspecting quality and making knowledgeable suggestions to customers.
  • Like writing? Become a marijuana journalist. If Whoopi can do it, you can too.
  • Grow sites, distributors, and dispensaries will need plenty of employees, from agriculture to production to sales.
  • Someone has to plan the Cannabis Cup, Seattle Hempfest, and Kush Expo. Sounds better than planning weddings, y’all.
  • Marijuana needs more advocates across the nation – educators to teach the public about the medical benefits of marijuana and petitioners to gather signatures for advocacy groups.

The best job opportunities in this NPR article, though….they’re in the comment section. Of course.

  • “They forgot all the jobs that will be created at Taco Bell.”
  • Hippie Chick Hula Hoopers. Lookin’ at you, ladies.
  • An Archivist to collect, categorize, and thoroughly document the characteristics of each strain. Don’t everyone apply for this one at once, okay?

In other news, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill Tuesday legalizing medical marijuana. The legislation will allow patients to use marijuana in the form of pills, oil and vapor to help with symptoms, but it prohibits them from smoking it. That’s kind of weird, but at least it’s another small victory!

 
More weed for the Obama administration

The Obama administration wants more weed! The DEA is placing the order, but they won’t pretend they like it.

That’s right, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is responsible for obtaining marijuana and handing it over to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for medical research. This fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the DEA met a production quota of about 46 pounds. But it wasn’t enough!

The NIDA is now requesting some additional bud. Like, 1,420 pounds. That’s 3,095 percent more. They’re increasing testing regarding treatment of autoimmune diseases, cancer, inflammation, pain, seizures and psychiatric disorders.

In case you were wondering, the federal government’s official contracted grower since 1968 is grown on part of the 4-acre Medicinal Plant Garden in Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart is NOT excited about the Obama administration’s penchant for legalization. Last Wednesday, she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to warn of the dangers of marijuana legalization and make clear her support for mandatory minimum sentences.

Leonhart worries a lot. She worries that marijuana will seep into the states surrounding Colorado and Washington. She worries that minors will get their hands on it and that marijuana use will increase overall. And she’s all about mandatory minimums, despite the fact that her immediate boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, has said they create cruel, disproportionate punishments and contribute to federal prison overcrowding.

We’re curious to see how long Leonhart, a holdover from the Bush administration, will be able to stick around in an administration that appears ready to move forward on drug policy reform.

Sources:

http://www.thedailychronic.net/2014/30893/dea-head-warns-of-risks-of-marijuana-legalization-supports-mandatory-minimum-sentences/

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/dea-federal-governments-dealer-goes-shopping-more-pot-n97586

 
Global Marijuana March

Last Saturday, May 3, at least 160 cities in 35 countries participated in the Global Marijuana March (GMM), marching in support of marijuana legalization and against “the failed war on cannabis.”

The GMM was created in 1999 by New Yorker Dana Beal, and typically takes place on the first Saturday of May. Despite directly following the fanfare of 4/20 celebrations everywhere, these marches are still pretty successful and draw a hefty crowd.

What else is cool about the Global Marijuana March? The Dallas Fort Worth chapter of NORML used it to unveil the first pro marijuana billboard in North Texas. Maybe you saw it – about .1 mile west of Anglin Drive, and visible from the Westbound lanes. So on Saturday, tons of DFW citizens came to celebrate cannabis at the festival featuring live music, food, speakers, and vendors, then marched to the courthouse at 4:20 p.m.

Take some time to check out the Facebook page for the 2014 Global Marijuana March hosted by DFW NORML. Not only will you find a slew of photos from the event to get you even more psyched about legalization efforts in Texas, but you’ll also find inspiring stories posted by all kinds of supporters – from hippies to soccer moms.

If you were there on Saturday, we’d love to see your photos and hear your stories. Feel free to post them to our Facebook page and share them with our friends and followers!

 
Summer Events Lineup

It’s officially May, and summer is practically here! You know what that means…a few glorious months of outdoor festivals and events. We’ve compiled some of the “greenest” events of summer 2014. Let us know which ones you’ll be checking out!

May 8-10: Eighth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, Portland, OR

Conference sponsored by Patients Out of Time and the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine

May 23-25: Sasquatch Festival, Gorge, WA

You know what’s legal in Washington, don’t you?

Featuring: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, MIA, Foster the People, Kid Cudi, HAIM, and more!