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Cannabis goes legal in Washington state


Hundreds of marijuana enthusiasts huddled near Seattle’s famed Space Needle tower last night with pipes, bongs and hand-rolled joints to celebrate Washington’s new status as the first US state to legalise the drug for adult recreational use.

The public gathering at the downtown Seattle, like a smaller turnout at a nearby spot hours earlier, defied a key provision of the state’s landmark marijuana law, which allows possession of small amounts of cannabis but forbids users from lighting up outside the privacy of their homes.

Police kept their distance from both gatherings, underscoring mixed law enforcement messages about the new statute, known by its ballot designation as Initiative 502. The measure took effect yesterday.

Seattle’s city attorney issued a stern warning that public marijuana puffing would not be tolerated and that violators faced citations with $100 fines.

But the Seattle police department said its officers had been directed to limit any enforcement actions related to Initiative 502 to verbal warnings only, at least for now.

The new law, passed by voters last month in a move that could set the state up for a showdown with the federal government, removes criminal sanctions for anyone 21 or older possessing 1 ounce (28.5 grams) or less of pot for personal use.

Colorado voters likewise chose to legalise marijuana for personal recreational use, but that measure is not due to take effect until next month. Both states are among 18 that have already removed criminal sanctions for medical use of marijuana.

The Washington law also legalizes possession of up to 16 ounces of solid cannabis-infused goods – such as brownies – and up to 72 ounces of weed in liquid form.

But driving under the influence of cannabis or imbibing in public places where the consumption of alcohol is already banned remain illegal.

The new law ultimately will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system to be modeled after those in many states for alcohol sales. The state Liquor Control Board, along with agriculture and public health officials, have until next December to set up such a system.

For now, it remains a crime to sell, cultivate or even share one’s own stash, even though the law allows individuals to purchase a limited amount for personal possession.

Ironically, the first known court challenge of the law came from a medical marijuana patient in Olympia, who filed suit last week seeking to block enforcement of a new standard for marijuana impairment while driving, similar to the blood-alcohol standard for drunken driving.

The plaintiff, Arthur West, says the new legal limit – five nanograms per milliliter of blood of THC, pot’s active ingredient – would unfairly subject him to prosecution for a THC level at which he routinely drives without impairment. A hearing on his request for an injunction was set for today.

Little if any of the law’s fine points seemed to matter to the mellow group of about 300 people – from college-age tokers to middle-aged Baby Boomers – who assembled at the Seattle centre fountain, a short distance from the Space Needle.

Convivial laughter, laid-back conversation and occasional coughing filled the air as the pungent smell of marijuana wafted through the crowd, many wearing sweatshirt hoodies to ward off the chill, on a cold, crisp evening.

Convivial laughter, laid-back conversation and occasional coughing

via Cannabis goes legal in Washington state – The Irish Times – Fri, Dec 07, 2012.

via Cannabis goes legal in Washington state – The Irish Times – Fri, Dec 07, 2012.

How Marijuana Works


Rumour has it that marijuana has some pretty interesting effects on the human brain, but how could plant smoke affect our physiology? Well, it’s all to do with a case of mistaken identity. Logan Wright goes in search of cells that get duped by dope into having a high old time.

Known variously as marijuana, ganja, cannabis, pot, jays, joints and Mary Jane, the product derived from the cannabis plant is undoubtedly the most popular illicit recreational drug in the world; hence its countless pet names. It can be taken in a variety of creative ways including smoking, eating and drinking, even has incarnations in gum or brownies form.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol if you prefer, is a compound within the cannabis plant that, like nicotine or caffeine, may have evolved to ward off herbivores. Its strong psychoactive properties, however, have proven rather seductive to the international drugs scene.

The parts of the brain most affected by marijuana. Click to enlarge.

Once it reaches the bloodstream, THC takes only a few seconds to reach the brain, where it passes itself off as a neurotransmitter – the chemicals which carry messages between neurons in the brain. THC is shaped much like a neurotransmitter called anandamide, which means it can sneak itself into the brain’s anandamide receptor proteins and start to cause mischief. With THC’s spanner in the works, some of the brain’s normal functions really begin to waver.

The receptor proteins are located primarily in three areas of the brain: the hippocampus, responsible for short term memory; the cerebellum, an area controlling coordination; and the basal ganglia, which manages unconscious muscle movement. These are the functions that are altered by THC’s presence, which is why a marijuana user will typically experience impaired coordination, memory lapses, paranoia and altered perception, as well as feeling their heart quicken.

THC’s chemical structure. Click to enlarge. Why don’t you download the structure,  draw a picture and enter it to the THC gallery?

One thing scientists do not thoroughly understand is how THC interacts with dopamine, the chemical that is well known for generating feelings of pleasure and motivation. It’s thought that when THC activates receptor proteins a signal is sent to nearby dopamine terminals in the brain. These then begin to produce inordinate amounts of dopamine, triggering that contented feeling known to so many politicians.

The health effects of marijuana are hotly contested. There is good evidence that it is effective a treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and is used by many people as a treatment for a variety of ills and aches.

However, although it’s generally accepted to be safer than heroine or cocaine, marijuana may have several potential long term effects, which are less helpful. The drug has been linked to an increased incidence of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. It is also referred to as a “gateway drug” because many marijuana users move from it to more dangerous drugs in search of a more powerful experiencer. For those particularly enamored with the drug’s effects, however, there is consolation: some believe that marijuana use may lead to an eventual perma-high.

Cannabis trivia:

Archaeologists have reported that marijuana was one of the first plants cultivated by humans. It was being used 10,000 years ago for linen, paper, and garments. In China and India, it was being smoked as early as 2700 BC.

The Ancient Greek historian Herodotus mentions that Scythian tribes used to pile cannabis leaves on to bonfires during wild festivals.

George Washington, the first US president, grew cannabis, declaring “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

In Vietnam, where cannabis grows wild and free, people rarely smoke it themselves. Instead they feed it to their pigs, who get the serious munchies. The result is that the farmers produce some very fat, and very chilled out, pigs.

via Null Hypothesis | How Marijuana Works.

via How Marijuana Works.

Uruguay plans selling cannabis cigarettes to ‘stamp out black market drugs trade’


The Uruguayan Government has reportedly planned to start selling cannabis cigarettes to people in bid to stamp out black market drugs trade.

Smokers will be able to purchase up to 40g (1.4oz) per month, enough for 20 cannabis cigarettes.

uruguay marijuana cigarettes legalAccording to the Daily Mail, the drug will be regulated by the state and sold at the market price, currently around 21.60 pounds.

Cannabis smokers will be given cards with a bar code allowing them to buy up to the legal limit per month, the report said.

According to the paper, the move comes as the government hopes to eliminate the black market in cannabis through the radical proposal.

President Jose Mujica had earlier announced plans to grow up to 150 hectares of cannabis for sale to users.

The Uruguayan Government has reportedly planned to start selling cannabis cigarettes to people in bid to stamp out black market drugs trade.

Smokers will be able to purchase up to 40g (1.4oz) per month, enough for 20 cannabis cigarettes.

According to the Daily Mail, the drug will be regulated by the state and sold at the market price, currently around 21.60 pounds.

Cannabis smokers will be given cards with a bar code allowing them to buy up to the legal limit per month, the report said.

According to the paper, the move comes as the government hopes to eliminate the black market in cannabis through the radical proposal.

President Jose Mujica had earlier announced plans to grow up to 150 hectares of cannabis for sale to users.

“We are losing the battle against drugs and crime in South America. Somebody has to be the first,” he had said.

According to the paper, the Uruguayan government estimates there are around 18,500 people who use cannabis every day in the country. (ANI)

By By ANI

Source: news.yahoo.com

via Uruguay plans selling cannabis cigarettes to ‘stamp out black market drugs trade’ | Cannabis N.I..

via Uruguay plans selling cannabis cigarettes to ‘stamp out black market drugs trade’ | Cannabis N.I..

Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters


With less than one week before we find out how voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington will decide on ballot measures to regulate marijuana like alcohol, polls indicate there’s a very good chance at least one of these states will make history by enacting the world’s first-ever marijuana legalization law.

While the movement to reform marijuana laws has been steadily picking up steam in recent years, with rising national polling support and a growing number of states allowing for the medical use of marijuana, having the voters of a state opt to legalize and tax marijuana for adult use would propel the issue to the forefront of the mainstream political scene like never before.

The three legalization initiatives on state ballots are not only drawing support from a large number of voters, but are garnering endorsements from newspaper editorial boards, civic groups, civil rights leaders, celebrities and even some members of law enforcement.

But guess who else is speaking out in support of changing marijuana laws? Check out the slideshow below for a top 10 list of the most unexpected allies in the fight against marijuana prohibition.

These quotes are sourced from the new website http://www.MarijuanaMajority.com, which compiles quotes and videos from prominent people across the political spectrum who support reforming marijuana laws.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

via Tom Angell: 10 Most Unexpected Marijuana Reform Supporters.

Mothers Little Helper


Pot-smoking moms tired of being judged by wine drinkers

Mother’s little helper? Moms who use marijuana to take the edge off say they’re tired of being looked down upon by the Mommy Wine Brigade.

By Corey Binns

Every night, Margaret’s two boys fly into the house after sports practice and flip on the TV, while she races to the kitchen to get dinner cooking. “It’s that tedious witching hour when I feel incredibly frazzled,” says the Tennessee singer/songwriter mom of a 6- and an 8-year-old. But instead of pouring herself a glass or two of merlot, she heads to the standalone garage next to their house for a few puffs of Humboldt Kush, one of the four strains of pot she smokes seven days a week.

The drug helps her keep focus on the giant statue of popsicle sticks she’s building with her kids and relaxes her so she can get through the rest of the night without stressing. “It can make folding a pile of laundry fun,” says Margaret, 45, who asked that we not use her last name for fear of getting in trouble with the law. “If I didn’t smoke, that’d be three piles later in the week.”

Still, she doesn’t flaunt her marijuana use. Her sons aren’t allowed to go into the room where she keeps the drugs locked up, and she hides it from other moms who would keep their kids away if they knew she smoked pot.

“Being judged for doing something nontoxic and totally organic, enjoying a god-given plant, by moms who suck back two bottles of Chardonnay like sports drinks feels like s—,” complains Margaret. “Any hypocrisy is hard to swallow. A drunk mother is pathetic and I often leave parties when I experience other mothers tying one on.”

Margaret isn’t the only pot-smoking mom tired of being judged by moms who religiously drink glasses of wine or “mommy juice.” Recently, one mom stirred up some controversy when she admitted to parenting while stoned in an essay on Jezebel.com. Today, the group Moms for Marijuana International has more than 18,000 likes on Facebook.

“No matter what you use, you shouldn’t be judged if it works for you, you’re productive, and you do no harm,” says Diane Fornbacher, co-vice chair of the Women’s Alliance at NORML, the non-profit lobbying organization working to legalize marijuana. “Marijuana parents aren’t perfect, but they’re far less imperfect than parents who use alcohol irresponsibly. Cannabis can influence people to be nicer to one another. You rarely find a story that says two stoners beat each other up outside of a bar.”

Sharon Letts, a California mom who brewed Cannabis tea for her 16-year-old daughter when she was stricken with pain from fibromyalgia, agrees. “Cannabis takes the edge off your day, in the same way wine does. But it’s not addictive, it is habitual. It doesn’t ruin your body like alcohol. I would much rather see parents using cannabis than alcohol — hands down.”

Of course, pot is illegal and alcohol is legal. Letts and her daughter felt paranoid that the tea’s smell would alert their neighbors. The price for getting caught is high. In some states, moms risk getting arrested and incarcerated, as well as having their kids taken away from them.

“If I wanted to, I could sit with a glass of wine in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other, with a cigarette pressed between my lips, under the influence of prescription narcotics — all the while holding my child in my lap,” says Serra Frank, founding director of Moms for Marijuana and mother of two, ages 9 and 12.

via Measure 80 – The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.

via Measure 80 – The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.

IRISH HEALTH DEPT HOPES TO SANCTION CANNABIS-BASED MEDICINE


The Department of Health has said it hopes to bring forward legislative proposals later this year, or early in 2013, to allow cannabis-based medicinal products to be prescribed in Ireland.

The Department said that notwithstanding the reluctance to loosen current controls on cannabis generally, its expert clinical advice is that the cannabis-based drug Sativex, “is a valid treatment option”.

sativex cannabis drug ireland medicinalSativex is used in other countries for treating symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.

The Irish Medicines Board has received a market authorisation request from GW Pharma, the makers of Sativex and the agency has recommended the approval of the product for the Irish market based on an analysis of its quality, safety and efficacy.

However, a change in the law to the Misuse of Drugs Act would be needed to allow the drug to be prescribed, as cannabis-based medicines are currently Schedule 1 controlled substances.

The Department said its officials have been engaging with experts on how best to legally describe cannabis-based medicinal products, while maintaining existing controls on cannabis and cannabis substances.

Sativex is available in Britain, Germany, Denmark and elsewhere for the relief of symptoms of spasticity for patients with MS, where other treatments have failed to provide adequate benefit.

It said that while the legislative amendments required can be made by means of statutory instrument, the legal issues are complex.

Dr David Finn, Lecturer in Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the Centre for Pain Research NUI Galway, said the issue was about developing therapeutic agents targeting the body in a specific way for a specific purpose.

He said it was not about smoking and inhaling cannabis as a drug of abuse.

Source: rte.ie

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