[Canniseur: While I love Cheech and Chong, the real story here is the grand opening of a tribal cannabis store…on the reservation! This is important as the industry needs to have all kinds of people as part of the industry infrastructure.]
Pot icons Cheech and Chong will be on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the Puyallup Native American tribe’s new retail cannabis shop this weekend, according to media reports. The Commencement Bay Cannabis store in the Tacoma, Washington area made its debut on April 10 and will celebrate the grand opening this Saturday for the 420 high holiday.
Cheech and Chong to Help Tribal Cannabis Shop Celebrate Grand Opening was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: This is a real, albeit small, study of a disease state where cannabis might be effective in the alleviation of symptoms. The study doesn’t claim cannabis is a cure, but helps manage RA. We love that we’re beginning to see lots of small and preliminary studies of cannabis and how cannabis can help manage symptoms. We need lots more. Lots.]
Cannabis may be an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study published in the journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology. Researchers, who noted that “an increasing number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are using cannabis to treat their symptoms,” wrote that “cannabinoids could be a suitable treatment for RA” and called for further study into the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD.
Dr. Benjamin Caplan, a family physician and cannabis specialist, told Forbes that he has helped thousands of seniors use cannabinoid therapies to treat arthritis.
“I have patients with mild joint pain that can be satisfactorily addressed with a topical cannabis treatment,” Caplan said. “Others are nearly incapacitated, taking multiple medications for incomplete relief, and welcome any additional option that will help them cope with the pain and anxiety associated with their condition, and improve their quality of life.”
Caplan said that researchers were only beginning to learn how cannabis is able to relieve pain safely and effectively.
“We don’t quite understand the all the details of how it works, but we do know that cannabis is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and that it operates in a different way than other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, steroids, or even the biological options available for treating RA and other autoimmune diseases,” he said. “These traditional drug treatments can cause severe side-effects, many of which we do not see with cannabis.”
Cannabis Presents New Options in Health Care
Caplan said that the variety of cannabis products, dosages, and methods of ingestion available make cannabis an attractive option for some patients, noting that “one of the nice things about cannabis is that the wide range of choices at reputable dispensaries creates a lot of opportunity for flexibility and success for many different types of people with a wide range of ailments.”
“Fortunately, all of these options and opportunities for flexibility rest on cannabis’ high safety profile,” he added. “From this foundation of safety, armed with education, the potential benefits to patients often outweigh the risks.”
The doctor said that he believes that many patients are longing for new alternatives to effectively treat their health care challenges naturally.
“We are stuck in a paternalistic medical system that is dehumanizing people,” said Caplan. “We have a broken medical system that strips patients of autonomy and power over their own illness, and that in and of itself is unhealthy. We all know it, but it has been a very difficult thing to fix. Healing with cannabis does not follow a traditional model, where a physician authority decides what the right choice is for a patient. Instead it’s a process undertaken by the patient with the physician’s guidance.”
New Study Suggests Cannabis May Be Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: It’s great driving while stoned is getting researched. My best guess is they find no issues for frequent cannabis users.]
Drunk driving has been the subject of a lot of research. Stoned driving has not.
Researchers in Colorado are investigating the effects of cannabis on driving and are seeking volunteers to get high and drive for the study. Participants in the research will be paid for their time, but they’ll have to bring their own weed to smoke, according to a report in local media. Ashley Brooks-Russell, an assistant professor at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, is the co-director of the research into how daily or less frequent cannabis use affects drivers’ performance behind the wheel.
“The goal is to better understand impaired driving so that we can prevent impaired driving,” said Brooks-Russell.
Micahel Kosnett, an associate clinical professor and medical toxicologist who is also co-directing the study, said that while drunk driving has been the subject of extensive research, the same is not true for marijuana.
“We know that certain drugs really deteriorate people’s performance behind the wheel. Alcohol is the classic example for that,” said Kosnett. “Our understanding of how cannabis affects driving is less well developed.”
To conduct the study, participants will have their driving skills tested before and after cannabis use. They will also be evaluated through other tests including one that tracks eye movements in virtual reality goggles and another which measures hand-eye coordination and decision making with an iPad. Researchers want to learn if such devices could be used to determine impairment by law enforcement officers in roadside sobriety tests.
“This is one more tool they could bring to the roadside to understand impairment,” said Brooks-Russell.
Are THC Limits Fair?
Unlike alcohol, levels of THC in the blood may not be an accurate indicator of driving impairment. Despite this, Colorado currently has a limit of 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in effect for drivers. Medical marijuana patient Tyler Prock believes that such arbitrary restrictions are unjust.
“It’s not fair for the medicinal patients. Because cannabis stays in your system for about 30 days and if you use marijuana every day, the amount in your body is going to compound,” Prock said. “You might not have used cannabis that day, but there is still cannabis in your system, so that could cause you to be positive on a test where you weren’t inebriated at all.”
Prock said that while he regularly drives after using cannabis, he would never do so while impaired.
“Well, I’ve used it almost every day for the past seven years,” he said. “I feel like I’m a safe driver. I had one ticket in the past ten years ago and I’ve never had an accident.”
He even believes that he is safer behind the while after using cannabis “because back pain is tough, and it can be as distracting as anything else,” Prock said.
Participants in the cannabis driving study will be required to make two visits in a period of one week to the research lab in Aurora and will be paid $140 upon completing both sessions. For more information and to complete an eligibility survey, visit the Colorado School of Public Health website.
Colorado Researchers Seeking Volunteers to Get High and Drive was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: Technology has gotten advanced, making it extremely difficult to get illegal cannabis (or any other illegal shipment) into the country. They measured the density of the shipment!]
The 614-pound shipment was one of the largest marijuana busts in the Philadelphia port.
Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seized more than 600 pounds of marijuana at the Area Port of Philadelphia last week, according to media reports. The pot was discovered on March 7 in a shipping container that had been transported to the City of Brotherly Love from Puerto Rico. Agents found approximately 614 pounds of weed, with an estimated street value of $2.5 million, in the container.
“This is one of the largest seizures of marijuana that Customs and Border Protection have encountered in the Area Port of Philadelphia,” said Casey Durst, the director of field operations for Customs and Border Protection in Baltimore. “This is an outstanding example of how CBP keeps our communities safe from illegal drugs.”
Customs agents found 252 bricks of cannabis in the container, which was bound for New Jersey. Steve Sapp, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, confirmed that the seizure was unusual for the port.
“Philadelphia is not a common drug trans-shipment port, but we do get an occasional ‘ripload’,” said Sapp. “A baggage handler may have a friend in the Dominican Republic or Jamaica or Puerto Rico put a load on a plane. When it arrives here, they’ll have someone divert it from the international baggage belt to the national belt, then send somebody out from the street to run in and pick it up. Something like this is not common.”
High Tech Bust
The shipment of pot was discovered after sensitive Customs and Border Patrol x-ray scanners determined that the density of the cargo in the container was not consistent with what would be expected for the reported contents.
“All containers get some level of scrutiny,” Sapp said.
A drug-sniffing dog was then brought to investigate the shipping container further and alerted to officers. When agents then searched the shipment they found the bricks of cannabis hidden under the floor in the container. Officers then extracted a “green leafy substance” from one of the packages. The sample was analyzed and tested positive for marijuana.
Sapp noted that despite the continued reform of marijuana laws, interstate cannabis commerce is still not legal.
“Marijuana may be legal for medicinal use in Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” Sapp said. “But it’s not legal federally and it’s certainly not legal to smuggle in 614 pounds.”
The investigation into the illegal marijuana shipment has been turned over to the Department of Homeland Security Investigations and the confiscated marijuana will be destroyed. Customs and Border Protection seizes an average of 4,657 pounds of narcotics every day in the United States. The agency announced on Tuesday that it had confiscated 3,200 pounds of cocaine worth $77 million in a shipping container at the Port of New York and New Jersey in Newark on February 28. The bust was the largest seizure of drugs at the port in more than 25 years.
$2.5 Million Worth of Marijuana Seized at Philadelphia Port was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: Bringing cannabis into the light of day demands changes in day-to-day life. One necessary component is teaching our children to respect the cannabis plant. This book will start the dialogue.]
What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden was written to help parents start a dialogue about responsible cannabis use.
A Southern California cannabis activist has written a book, titled What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden, that she hopes will help parents talk with their kids about cannabis and is currently raising the funds necessary to publish the book and offer it to the public. Susan Soares, in an interview with High Times, said she has dedicated her life to educating people about cannabis.
“First and foremost, I’m an advocate for the cannabis plant,” says Soares. “It saved my life and completely turned my life around.”
Soares explained that in 1993 she was a young mom with three children. She was an active leader in the Mormon Church and an Orange County conservative Republican. She was so anti-cannabis, she had once called the police on some neighborhood teenagers simply for smoking pot.
But then during a church broom hockey game, Soares was tripped by an opponent and crashed headfirst into a cinderblock wall. She was knocked unconscious, suffering a ruptured eardrum and a concussion.
“As a result, I had a migraine headache that lasted two years,” she says.
When coupled with the stress of a divorce from an abusive and unstable husband, the constant pain Soares suffered left her desperate. When she was at her lowest, her young children were the only thing that kept her going.
“I would have killed myself if I didn’t have those kids,” Soares remembers.
But then a friend who she gardened with, who was growing a few cannabis plants in her back yard, suggested that the herb might offer Soares some relief from her constant pain. She says she was tempted and intrigued, but afraid as well.
“It scared me because I knew that if it worked, that my family would turn their backs on me and the Church would turn their backs on me, and when you’re a Mormon that’s your entire community. That’s your life. You’re not supposed to hang out with anybody that’s not a Mormon unless you’re trying to bring them into the Church. But I didn’t have any choice. I was at the end of my rope.”
Despite her reservations about cannabis, Soares had to do something to find relief.
“So I tried it. And I kept using it for about six weeks and my migraine went away—never, never to return.”
After her amazing success with cannabis, Soares says she decided that once her children were grown, she would dedicate herself to cannabis education, eventually founding the nonprofit CARE (Cannabis Awareness Rallies and Events). As she had feared, she was rejected by her family and church over her medicinal use of marijuana. She moved to Long Beach and is now a self-proclaimed liberal Democrat.
Advocate Becomes Author
Soares says she was first inspired to write a book about cannabis for children after she appeared as a guest on a radio program. When she asked how she talked about cannabis to her kids, she confessed she had kept it from them. The exchange got her thinking, and she began asking parents who currently had young kids how they approached the subject. She couldn’t find anyone who talked about cannabis with their children.
“It’s crazy, even people in the industry, I think especially people in the industry, they don’t really want to talk their kids about it because they still want it to be a secret.”
Soares found the strong taboo against cannabis interesting since so many of the same parents had no problem drinking around their kids.
“Alcohol has enjoyed many decades of marketing to the point where it’s almost obligatory to have alcohol at holidays and celebrations. But cannabis doesn’t have that luxury.”
She decided that a children’s book could help overcome that stigma.
“Cannabis is mainstream now, we need to have a conversation about it,” Soares says.
So she wrote What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden. The story, she says, is told from the point of view of a young boy.
“He comes over and he loves Grandma’s garden. They plant together, he loves pulling out carrots and eating them while they’re so fresh. And they talk about good bugs and bad bugs and they go roly-poly hunting.”
Grandma also has a greenhouse with cannabis plants. Grandma explains that “you can look but not touch.”
Of course, the lad wants to know why, so Grandma explains that just like the plants in the garden, his brain is still growing. So, he has to wait until he is grown up to try cannabis. Like most books for kids, Soares story has a happy ending.
“Then they have a family barbecue, and they’re in the backyard, in the garden, and they’re eating the fresh veggies. And someone’s drinking a beer and somebody else has some wine. And Grandma is sitting downwind with the wind blowing in her hair and she’s smoking a joint.”
Soares has found an artist, Gustav Davies of Switzerland, to illustrate the book. She’s currently raising the money via Facebook to hire Davies to complete the art, with a goal of $10,000. With another $20,000, she’ll be able to have the first 1,000 “beautiful, hardbound” books self-published. She’s hoping the cannabis community will help her and is offering a free copy of the book when it is published to those who donate $50 or more. Once the first run is produced, she plans to have the book carried at licensed cannabis dispensaries to encourage dialogue about cannabis.
“It’s time for this conversation,” Soares says. “Nobody’s talking to their kids. And the kids are aware of what’s going on and you hide it, you’re giving them such a bad message.”
Children’s Book Aims to Start the Conversation About Cannabis was posted on High Times.