Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies

Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies

Original Post: High Times: Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies

[Canniseur: In New Mexico water is a major issue, especially in the south. Cannabis is an agricultural product and as such must be grown on land zoned for agricultural uses. Although water isn’t currently a major issue in New Mexico, cannabis is a water intensive crop … mostly. Mostly is because there’s a method called dry farming. Dry farming is more difficult and somewhat more labor intensive. Maybe dry farming makes better cannabis, but I don’t know this for a fact. As cannabis becomes legal through out the U.S. the industry will need to find a better way to make the best use of agricultural water and resources.]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More medical marijuana plants are being grown in New Mexico than ever, and the crop could be straining local water supplies.

Two rural water systems in Sandoval County say the crop may be depleting local water supplies, and they say they have been left powerless to stop it, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The Peña Blanca Water and Sanitation District and Sile Mutual Domestic Water and Sewer Association sent a letter last month to state agencies and legislators describing their concerns over their disappearing water resources.

The water system representatives say New Mexico’s patchwork of medical marijuana regulations has not kept up with the increased strain on rural water supplies.

“The (cannabis) companies may think that the water rights were already taken care of when they purchased the property,” Peña Blanca district president John Gurule said. “We see the potential for these farms to bring economic growth to a rural community, so how do we support that growth while bringing water to our residents?”

The groups are asking that all producers applying for a medical cannabis license prove a valid water right for commercial agriculture with the Office of the State Engineer.

The Sile water system serves 154 people west of the Rio Grande between Cochiti and Kewa pueblos. The Peña Blanca system is responsible for delivering water to 448 people on the east side of the river between the same pueblos.

An average household in the Peña Blanca system uses about 3,000 gallons of water a month, president John Gurule said.

A cannabis farm with greenhouses in Peña Blanca that began operating last year is logging 20,000 gallons of domestic water use per month.

The board members say the increases could point to treated drinking water being used for cannabis irrigation.

New Mexico legalized medical cannabis in 2007. Domestic well water may not be used for agriculture in the state. Farmers must irrigate cannabis or other crops with another water source by acquiring a valid water right.

John Romero, director of the Water Rights Division and the Resources Allocation Program for the Office of the State Engineer, said the affected mutual domestic water systems have a history of poor infrastructure, limited revenue, too many connections, and water overuse. The increase in cannabis production and alleged improper water use may be exacerbating those issues.

“Cannabis hasn’t helped this situation. It is illegal to use domestic well water for agriculture, but it is up to (Sile and Peña Blanca) to enforce that,” Romero said. “We can’t police every mutual domestic water association, but we will work with them and help to see if these properties have a valid water right for what they want to do.”

Cannabis Crops Could Be Straining New Mexico’s Water Supplies was posted on High Times.

Federal Government Funds Nine Research Grants To Study CBD

Federal Government Funds Nine Research Grants To Study CBD

Original Post: High Times: Federal Government Funds Nine Research Grants To Study CBD

[Canniseur: This is a great start. We need more scientific research funding on cannabis. Even though none is going to THC, there are other aspects to the cannabis plant that deserve our attention as well.]

The Unites States government is spending $3 million to research the health benefits of cannabis, yet it remains illegal on the federal level.

The U.S. government will spend $3 million to find out if marijuana can relieve pain, but none of the money will be used to study the part of the plant that gets people high.

Nine research grants announced Thursday are for work on CBD, the trendy ingredient showing up in cosmetics and foods, and hundreds of less familiar chemicals. THC research was excluded.

The federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug, but more than 30 states allow it use for a range of medical problems, some without good evidence.

The science is strongest for chronic pain, the most common reason people give when they enroll in state-approved medical marijuana programs. But little is known about which parts of marijuana are helpful and whether the intoxicating effects of THC can be avoided.

“The science is lagging behind the public use and interest. We’re doing our best to catch up here,” said Dr. David Shurtleff, deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is funding the projects.

THC has been investigated extensively, Shurtleff said, and its potential for addiction and abuse make it unsuitable for treating pain.

Other federal agencies have supported marijuana research, but much of the focus has been on potential harms. Shurtleff said the grants answer the call in a 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, which concluded a lack of marijuana research poses a public health risk.

Another driver is the nation’s opioid addiction crisis, with its roots in overuse of prescription painkillers. The crisis has sparked new scientific interest in marijuana’s pain-easing properties.

Dr. Judith Hellman, a grant recipient from University of California San Francisco, said scientists need to better understand pain and to find more ways to treat it. “It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to do that,” she said.

Hellman’s research involves the body’s ability to produce signaling molecules similar to marijuana’s ingredients. Her and Dr. Mark Schumacher’s work involves human immune cells in the lab, then tests on mice.

Human test subjects will be involved in only one of the grant projects. University of Utah researcher Deborah Yurgelun-Todd will scan the brains of human volunteers with lower back pain to see how CBD extract — mixed with chocolate pudding — affects pain-signaling pathways. Half the volunteers will get pudding without CBD as a control group.

Two more human studies may be funded in a second round of grant awards, NCCIH said.

In July, the National Institute on Drug Abuse said it would grow 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds) of marijuana this year at the University of Mississippi, which holds the sole federal contract for producing research cannabis. Those plants won’t be used in many of the new projects, which instead will use lab-made versions of the chemicals.

Researchers in Illinois hope to create a library of useful compounds found in cannabis plants.

“We make them from scratch and test them one by one,” said David Sarlah of the University of Illinois. Marijuana contains such tiny amounts of the interesting ingredients that it’s too costly and time consuming to isolate enough for research, Sarlah said.

Sarlah, an organic chemist, will make the chemicals. His colleague Aditi Das will run tests to see how they react with mouse immune cells.

“There are so many beneficial effects that patients report. We need to know the science behind it,” Das said.

Federal Government Funds Nine Research Grants To Study CBD was posted on High Times.

More Pot Stores Expected in B.C. in Coming ‘Weeks and Months’: Attorney General

More Pot Stores Expected in B.C. in Coming ‘Weeks and Months’: Attorney General

Original Article: Puff Puff Post: More Pot Stores Expected in B.C. in Coming ‘Weeks and Months’: Attorney General

Editor’s Note: All good things come to those who are patient? This is a good article relaying why the retail store status is the way it is, and what we can expect in the near future.

More Pot Stores Expected in B.C. in Coming ‘Weeks and Months’: Attorney General

VANCOUVER — British Columbia cabinet ministers defended the provincial government’s pace in approving marijuana stores as they toured the only brick-and-mortar shop in Kamloops Friday.

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior. The Liquor Distribution Branch is currently engaged with a number of municipalities about opening additional stores, Eby said.

“The key for them is what we found in Kamloops, which is a municipality with clear guidelines, with an intent to work with the (branch) in establishing a store. There’s no question that over the next period of weeks and months, they’re going to see more and more stores coming online, both public and private.”

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The managers of two illicit pot shops that were raided by RCMP in Port Alberni on Wednesday have criticized the province for not processing applications more quickly. Both stores have applied for provincial licenses and are waiting for approval.

While B.C. only has one legal store and a website, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick have 20 stores each and Alberta has 17. Ontario, on the heels of a recent provincial election, has no physical stores.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said other provinces established stores with very little community consultation, but B.C. made clear that local governments could decide what kind of stores, if any, they wanted.

The province also has local government elections on Saturday and many communities have said they want to deal with licenses and locations afterward, Farnworth added.

“We’ve taken an approach that was very much collaborating with local governments and we believe that was the right approach to take.”

Farnworth also said the province could not legally issue private retail licenses until after the federal Cannabis Act came into force on Wednesday. He wouldn’t explain when asked why the act was a roadblock for B.C. but not for other provinces.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said in an email that the province could legally create the regulatory framework to allow provincial licensing before legalization.

“However, it could not issue a license to sell cannabis (which is an official instrument of government) while it was still federally illegal,”


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Alberta issued interim licenses to 17 retailers by early October that allowed them to order product and get stores ready for legalization. Stores with interim licenses that fulfilled all conditions were issued a sales license on Wednesday so they could open to the public.

In B.C., the provincial government forwards applications to municipalities, which review them and make a recommendation to the province. The province then decides whether to issue a license. Some municipalities have also established their own business licenses in addition to that process.

Jag Sandhu, a City of Vancouver spokesman, said the province has notified it of eight applications for stores. Seven applicants have previously been issued development permits, the first step that needs to be completed and must now post a sign on site for 14 days notifying the public they intend to obtain a provincial retail license.

Once the provincial license is granted, the operator can apply for a municipal business license, he said.

“We do not have a timeline on when the first store will open as it will depend on the applicant completing the process and fulfilling all provincial and municipal requirements,”


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The City of Surrey has banned any business growing, producing or storing cannabis, and plans to tackle retail marijuana after the local election.

“Council endorsement of the specific details of a Surrey framework, including retail sales, has not occurred. This will be an issue that the new Council will review once they are in office. Until then the existing bylaw is in place,” said Terry Waterhouse, general manager of public safety.

Most B.C. residents who purchased legal weed this week did so online. There were 9,175 sales online and 805 purchases at the province’s only physical store in Kamloops on Wednesday, according to the Liquor Distribution Branch.

But on Thursday, sales slid nearly 70 percent, with 2,563 online transactions and 521 at the BC Cannabis Store.

The branch is not releasing the total value of the sales, which it says is its policy for liquor store sales as well.

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press


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The post More Pot Stores Expected in B.C. in Coming ‘Weeks and Months’: Attorney General appeared first on Puff Puff Post.

Original Article: Puff Puff Post: More Pot Stores Expected in B.C. in Coming ‘Weeks and Months’: Attorney General

Customers Raise Concerns Over ‘Excessive’ Legal Cannabis Packaging

Customers Raise Concerns Over ‘Excessive’ Legal Cannabis Packaging

Original Article: Puff Puff Post: Customers Raise Concerns Over ‘Excessive’ Legal Cannabis Packaging

Ed. Note: We haven’t seen the newly ‘legal’ packaging in Canada, but it’s reported to be difficult to open and you can’t actually see the product without opening it. Consumers generally like to see what they’re purchasing. We predict these are initial, overly protectionist packaging laws will evolve into more reasonable and environmentally aware regulations, in time.

Customers Raise Concerns Over ‘Excessive’ Legal Cannabis Packaging

HALIFAX — Some buyers are complaining the bulky packaging for newly legalized cannabis is environmentally unfriendly, but producers say government guidelines are to blame.

Greg MacLean, who bought marijuana from the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation last week, says he was shocked to see how much packaging was used for four grams: two plastic containers, two cardboard boxes, and clear plastic casing, all enclosed in a brown paper bag.

The 37-year-old medical user says the packaging is overkill, and he never saw this amount of packaging when he ordered online from dispensaries.

Health Canada’s cannabis guidelines dictate that packaging must prevent contamination, be tamper-proof and be child-resistant.

Allan Rewak of the Cannabis Council of Canada says the industry has been concerned about potential waste diversion problems but also understands Health Canada’s caution in requiring enough warning signs on the packaging.

Rewak says over time the industry would like to work with the government to reduce the packaging, saying many of the warnings can be included on an insert.

Original Article: Puff Puff Post: Customers Raise Concerns Over ‘Excessive’ Legal Cannabis Packaging

New Rulings on Medical Marijuana Use Go Against Employers

New Rulings on Medical Marijuana Use Go Against Employers

Original Article: Puff Puff Post: New Rulings on Medical Marijuana Use Go Against Employers

HARTFORD, Conn. — Health care worker Katelin Noffsinger told a potential employer that she took medical marijuana to deal with the effects of a car accident, but when a drug test came back positive, the nursing home rescinded her job offer anyway.A federal judge last month ruled that the nursing home, which had cited federal laws against pot use, violated an anti-discrimination provision of Connecticut‘s medical marijuana law.

It was the latest in a series of clashes between U.S. and state laws around the country that came out in favour of medical marijuana users trying to keep or obtain jobs with drug-testing employers.

The Connecticut decision was the first ruling of its kind in a federal case and followed similar recent rulings against employers by state courts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Earlier rulings had gone against medical pot users in employment cases by state supreme courts including those in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington over the past few years.

Advocates hope new the new decisions are a signal of growing acceptance of cannabis’ medicinal value.

“This decision reflects the rapidly changing cultural and legal status of cannabis, and affirms that employers should not be able to discriminate against those who use marijuana responsibly while off the job, in compliance with the laws of their state,”

said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, a pro-marijuana group.

Noffsinger, of Manchester, sued Bride Brook Health & Rehabilitation Center in Niantic in 2016. She had been offered, and accepted, a job as recreation therapy director at the nursing home, contingent on her passing a drug test.

She told the nursing home that she took synthetic marijuana pills — legally under state law and only at night — to treat the post-traumatic stress disorder she developed after the 2012 car accident. But the company rescinded the job offer after the drug test came back positive for THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets people high.

As a federal contractor, the nursing home worried that it could be cut off from that revenue if it employed somebody who tested positive.

On Sept. 5, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer in New Haven ruled Bride Brook discriminated against Noffsinger based solely on her medical marijuana use in violation of state law. He denied her request for punitive damages. The case is now heading to a trial on whether Noffsinger should receive compensatory damages for lost wages from not getting the job.

A lawyer for the nursing home, Thomas Blatchley, declined to comment.

Noffsinger’s attorney, Henry Murray, said Noffsinger would not comment on the lawsuit. He said Noffsinger has taken another job in the health care industry that doesn’t pay as much as the Bride Brook job.

In his ruling, Meyer said the federal Drug Free Workplace Act, which many employers including federal contractors rely on for policies on drug testing, does not actually require drug testing and does not prohibit federal contractors from employing people who use medical marijuana outside the workplace in accordance with state law.

The decision will likely be used in arguments in similar cases elsewhere, said Fiona Ong, an employment attorney with the Baltimore firm of Shawe Rosenthal.

“This is a very significant case that throws the issue in doubt for many of these federal contractors. It’s certainly interesting and may be indicative of where the courts are going with this.”

Thirty-one states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam now allow medical marijuana, while 15 others have approved low-THC-level products for medical reasons in certain cases, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational pot.

Only nine states including Connecticut, however, specifically ban employment discrimination against medical marijuana users, who could continue to face difficulties in obtaining or keeping jobs in the 41 other states, employment lawyers say.

In Massachusetts, the state’s highest court ruled last year that a sales and marketing company wrongly fired a worker after her first day on the job after she tested positive for marijuana, which she used under the state’s medical marijuana law to treat her Crohn’s disease. Also last year, in Rhode Island, the state Supreme Court said a college student was wrongly denied an internship at a fabric company where officials refused to hire her after she acknowledged she could not pass a drug test because she used medical marijuana.

In both cases, the two women told the companies during the hiring process that they used medical marijuana, but would not consume it while on the job.

The American Bar Association called the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island cases “an emerging trend in employment litigation” and cautioned employers to consider state medical marijuana laws when analyzing their drug use and testing policies.

Several bills are pending before Congress that would undo marijuana’s classification as a controlled substance with no medicinal value. But Armentano, of NORML, said it is unlikely they will go anywhere while Republicans control Congress.

Some employers, though, have dropped marijuana from the drug tests they require of employees, saying the testing excludes too many potential workers in a challenging hiring environment.

Dave Collins, The Associated Press

Original Article: Puff Puff Post: New Rulings on Medical Marijuana Use Go Against Employers

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