[Editor’s Note: Very Important Lesson: Never spike someone’s food without their knowledge. Just don’t do it.]
Four people in Australia were hospitalized after a man served a birthday cake with cannabis-infused chocolate to family members at a recent gathering. The man, who is in his late twenties, “thought it would liven up the family birthday party,” according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
One woman who was hospitalized told a radio station on Monday that the family had gathered for lunch and to celebrate a birthday.
“Everyone was having a lovely time and cake was passed around at dessert with fruit and cream and some nice little chocolate chunks sprinkled over it,” she said. “And it turns out the chocolate chunks contained marijuana.”
The woman, who is in her fifties, said that the group started feeling the cannabis a while later.
“The effect was not immediate which I now know is the case with edibles,” she said. “I’ve learned all about marijuana and edibles. Within an hour I was experiencing throat swelling and dizziness, within three hours myself and four other family members were hospitalized with overdose.”
The woman said that she had even gone into anaphylactic shock and had to be treated with adrenaline.
“Apparently, I’m allergic to cannabis or whatever it was in that very high dose,” she said.
‘We Didn’t Really Know We Were High’
Three other party-goers, including the woman’s octogenarian parents, suffered “really nasty vomiting.”
“One was vomiting, the other had an extremely high heart rate,” she said. “We were all terrified because we didn’t know for some hours what was going on.”
After emergency services responded and transported the stricken members of the family to the hospital, healthcare workers were at first unsure just what they were dealing with.
“[The hospital staff] were frustrated because we were all talking nonsense. Everyone who was at the event was calling one another and we didn’t really know we were high.”
The man who had laced the cake with the cannabis-infused chocolate confessed hours later, saying that he had obtained the marijuana edible from “a mate who gets it in the US.”
“The prankster fessed up which was great, in the end, as we were able to pass the information onto the hospital and the ambulance,” she said.
The woman said that the family had been told at the hospital not to drive for 24 hours, but she felt the effects of the cannabis for three days. She and her partner ended up taking off a few days from work to recover completely. She is still not sure how much THC she had ingested.
“My point is we don’t know the quantities in it,” she said. “It’s very unusual to have such severe reactions and no one ate a lot of chocolate, it was just sprinkled over the dessert.”
Four Hospitalized After Man Serves Weed-Infused Cake at Family Party as a Prank was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: The attitude of cannabis legalization happening sooner or later, seems to make it happen sooner, rather than later. Go Pennsylvania!]
Rep. Jake Wheatley announced his plans to introduce the legislation Sunday on Twitter.
A Pennsylvania lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults in the state. Democratic Rep. Jake Wheatley announced in a tweet on Sunday that he would be introducing a recreational cannabis legalization bill at the state capitol on Monday. Under the measure, adults at least 21 years of age would be permitted to purchase and cultivate marijuana.
“Tomorrow in Harrisburg I’ll introduce House Bill 50, my plan to legalize adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania. HB 50 is more than legal cannabis—it’s a social justice framework to rectify decades of injustice,” Wheatley said.
If successful, Wheatley’s bill would also expunge convictions for marijuana crimes, release inmates currently behind bars for such offenses, and return drivers’ license revoked or suspended for cannabis crimes. Public consumption of cannabis and driving under the influence would still be prohibited.
A regulated retail cannabis infrastructure would be created that “would require that diverse groups have equal opportunity in the permitting process to be growers/processors and dispensaries,” according to the tweet.
Wheatley’s bill calls for some state tax revenues to be invested in affordable housing, school-loan debt forgiveness, and after-school programs. County governments would be allowed to enact an optional tax of 3 percent on cannabis sales to fund public defender and children’s programs.
Governor Considering Legalization
Wheatley praised Gov. Tom Wolf when he announced in December that it was time to consider cannabis legalization in Pennsylvania.
“Today I join with many Pennsylvanians to applaud our governor for finally publicly recognizing that our commonwealth needs to take a hard look at the numerous social, economic and medical benefits legal adult-use cannabis would bring to our state,” Wheatley said in a press release.
“Pennsylvanians have spoken,” he continued. “They want the commonwealth to progress and for legislators to be creative and forward thinking. The legalization of cannabis with social justice reforms and investments in our future will strengthen the people and bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century.”
In August, Wheatley launched an online petition to support cannabis legalization and listed some of the benefits of the end of marijuana prohibition.
“There are tremendous benefits to legalizing marijuana and few downsides,” Wheatley said. “It’s estimated that legalization would generate more than $580 million in annual tax revenue for Pennsylvania. That’s money to balance our budget, strengthen our economy, bolster our workforce, and improve our schools.”
Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program was signed into law in 2016, with legal sales beginning in February 2018.
Pennsylvania Lawmaker to Introduce Bill to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: Tennessee elected a conservative Governor in 2018. Still, there is plenty of motivation to legalize medical cannabis for Tennessee citizens.]
Two marijuana decriminalization bills have been introduced by lawmakers in the Tennessee legislature, according to media reports. One would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of pot, while the other would protect holders of medical marijuana identification cards from other states. Both bills were sponsored in the Tennessee Senate by Democratic Sen. Sara Kyle and in the House of Representatives by fellow Democrat Rep. Gloria Johnson.
The first measure, SB256/HB235, would amend state statute to decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of cannabis. The second bill, SB260/HB234, would permit holders of medical marijuana program identification cards from other states to possess up to one-half an ounce of cannabis. The bill also removes criminal penalties for medical marijuana cardholders who transfer cannabis to other cardholders.
Johnson told local media that she decided to sponsor the bills, which were written by Kyle, partly due to the personal experience of her father, who had multiple sclerosis.
“I still believe he would have benefited from medical marijuana in treating the tremendous pain he was in,” Johnson said. “And if we have something who can benefit folks visiting family in Tennessee, they shouldn’t be punished for taking their medication.”
Johnson also believes that decriminalizing marijuana is a matter of criminal justice reform and treating simple possession appropriately.
MMJ Bill Also Pending
The bills from Kyle and Johnson come less than three weeks after two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Janice Bowling and Rep. Ron Travis, announced plans to introduce legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Tennessee.
After introducing the measures, Bowling said in a press release that she believes cannabis can be part of the solution to the nationwide epidemic of opioid overdose deaths.
“I have been in the fight against opioids and pill mills. Opioids have become a tragedy for Tennesseans,” Bowling said. “Our constituents can use a natural and effective option for pain relief that is not controlled or pushed by Big Pharma. When I see medical studies showing that states with medical cannabis programs had an average 23 percent drop in opioid prescription use and overdoses, I see a real option we can use.”
If the bill succeeds, patients with certain qualifying health conditions would be able to obtain a medical marijuana identification card to allow them to legally purchase cannabis. A commission would be created to regulate patient access and license cultivators and retailers. Bowling said the experience of other states was called upon to draft this medical cannabis solution for Tennessee.
“I wanted a new bill that is Tennessee-specific and takes the best of what worked in other states and leaves out what did not. This bill delivers what I wanted,” Bowling added. “The legislature has not yet had that kind of bill to consider. The Bowling-Travis bill creates a fully functioning framework to license growing, producing and dispensing operations.”
All four cannabis bills are now pending before the Tennessee legislature.
Two Marijuana Decriminalization Bills Introduced in Tennessee was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: With Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s support of legal cannabis, Michigan could lead the way and right this wrong.]
A coalition of activists are trying to remove cannabis from the state’s list of controlled substances.
A group of cannabis activists in Michigan has filed a lawsuit against the government to remove marijuana from the state’s list of controlled substances. Despite being legalized for medical purposes in 2008 and the beginning of legal recreational sales last year, cannabis is still listed in the Michigan Public Health Code as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This classification indicates that a drug has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse.
Michael Komorn, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said cannabis should not remain as a scheduled drug.
“This is not a controlled substance,” Komorn said. “The idea that someone would be growing an opioid … and bringing it to a pharmacy because they were running low on their meds is the scenario that would have to exist in order for marijuana to remain as a scheduled drug.”
“It’s intellectually dishonest,” Komorn said.
The lawsuit was filed last week in the Michigan Court of Claims against Michigan Board of Pharmacy and its chairwoman Nichole Cover. The suit maintains that with the state acknowledging through legislation the medical efficacy of cannabis, the State Board of Pharmacy should remove the Schedule 1 designation. The suit also claims that Cover should not be serving as both a member of the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board and the chair of the Board of Pharmacy, which does not recognize cannabis as a medicine.
State spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said in a statement that “the Michigan Department of Attorney General is in the process of reviewing and preparing a response to the” lawsuit, according to media reports.
Historic Activist Named As Plaintiff in Lawsuit
The plaintiffs in the legal action are NORML of Michigan, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, Dr. Christian Bogner, a researcher studying the effect of cannabis on autism, medical marijuana patient Josey Scoggin, pharmacist Paul Littler, and poet and activist John Sinclair.
Sinclair has been a cannabis activist in Michigan for more than 50 years. In 1967, his arrest for possessing two joints led to an outcry that resulted in the annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor. He said at the Cannabis Counsel Office in Detroit on Wednesday that it is time to stop prosecuting people in Michigan for using cannabis.
“For 80 years they’ve been locking people up and taking their possessions and harassing and terrorizing us as citizens because we like to smoke weed,” said Sinclair. “I want to be part of every effort to completely remove the police from our lives regarding marijuana. They’ve got nothing at all to do with marijuana.”
The Michigan Supreme Court overturned Sinclair’s conviction in 1972, writing in its decision that “not only that there is no rational basis for classifying marijuana with the ‘hard narcotics’, but, also, that there is not even a rational basis for treating marijuana as a more dangerous drug than alcohol.”
Advocates Sue Michigan to Remove Cannabis from Controlled Substances List was posted on High Times.
[Editor’s Note: This could be a cannabis landmark case regarding consumer education of cannabis benefits.]
Cannabis advocates who wanted to set up an informational booth at the state fair were met with restrictions that have been deemed unreasonable.
A federal judge has ruled that a New Mexico medical cannabis cultivator’s rights were violated when tight restrictions were imposed on its state fair application. United States District Court Judge James Parker said in a ruling released last week that Expo New Mexico, the venue for the state fair, violated the First Amendment rights of Ultra Health Inc. by placing unreasonable limits on the items the company could display in its booth at the state fair.
“The State Fair’s restrictions … as applied to Ultra Health’s 2017 State Fair application were unreasonable in light of the purpose of the forum and the surrounding circumstances and therefore violated Ultra Health’s First Amendment right to free speech,” Judge Parker stated in his ruling, according to a press release from the company.
Duke Rodriguez, the CEO for Ultra Health, said that that the court’s ruling “is a clear victory for cannabis advocates in New Mexico and across the nation. Judge Parker’s recognition that medical cannabis producers’ free speech should be protected is a first-of-its-kind ruling defending the right to fully educate and inform the public on the benefits of cannabis.”
Ultra Health had applied for a booth at the 2017 New Mexico State Fair in order to share information with the public about the benefits of medical cannabis. The company did not plan to display or sell any cannabis or cannabis products at the fair. In 2016, the company’s booth included a live cannabis plant and the company was told to leave on the first day of the event by state police.
Raina Bingham, the fair’s concessions director, emailed the company and wrote that Ultra Health would not be permitted to have cannabis plants or products in its booth and would be prohibited from displaying any items used to “plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body any type of cannabis or other controlled substance” or images of any of those items, according to a report from the Albuquerque Journal.
The company decided not to participate in the fair and filed a lawsuit against Bingham, Larry Kennedy, the chairman of the New Mexico State Fair Commission, and Dan Mourning, the general manager of Expo New Mexico.
“By the plain language of Ms. Bingham’s statement,” the company wrote in its court filing, “Ultra Health would be precluded from bringing a shovel to its informational booth, and would also be precluded from bringing a picture of a shovel, since a shovel may be used to ‘cultivate’ or ‘plant’ a cannabis plant.”
Parker found that the restrictions were subjective, arbitrary, and overbroad and violated the company’s First Amendment right to free speech. While the judge agreed with the defendants’ right to promote a family-friendly event, it had exercised “unfettered discretion to conclude what constitutes ‘family friendly’ by relying almost entirely on their subjective sensibilities and respective personal opinions.”
“For example, Ms. Bingham approved Cutco Cutlery’s 2017 State Fair applications despite an explicit prohibition on knives,” Parker wrote. “Ms. Bingham testified that even with a prohibition on firearms, the State Fair would allow a hunting and fishing store to display photographs of its merchandise, including shotguns sold in its store.”
The judge found that the state fair is a “limited public forum” and organizers have a right to exercise discretion in the selection of vendors.
“However, they must do so reasonably,” he wrote.
Federal Judge Sides With Cannabis Grower in Free Speech Case was posted on High Times.