[Canniseur: The retro medical board has ruined this doctor’s career because he is a consumer of cannabis and in their antiquated view, you cannot work if you’ve consumed cannabis. They would not have revoked his license if he had been an alcoholic. And alcoholics have a disease; alcoholism. We need to stop conflating the concept of being stoned or being drunk. The two are completely different.]
The Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine revoked a pot doctor’s medical license because he smokes weed.
According to state officials, Dr. Matthew Roman was “unable to practice the profession with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or addiction to drugs,” The Inquirer reported on Wednesday. The report did not list any instances of Roman’s alleged malpractice hurting patients, however.
Roman, who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, is a registered medical marijuana patient in Pennsylvania. He often tokes on camera on his YouTube channel, so his cannabis use isn’t exactly a secret.
Dubbed “America’s Medical Marijuana Doctor” by the pot clinic Nature’s Way, Roman has a reputation for liberally writing recommendations for medical weed. He’s also the plaintiff for a lawsuit charging the US government for violating marijuana patients’ constitutional rights by denying them access to firearms.
Roman is currently on probation as part of a consent decree with the Department of State. The decree ordered him to stop using controlled substances, which may include medical marijuana.
According to The Inquirer, an email from the Pennsylvania Department of Health informed his patients that their medical weed recommendations are still effect, and they can still buy and possess cannabis for medical purposes.
A Pot Doctor Got His Medical License Revoked for Smoking Weed was posted on Merry Jane.
[Canniseur: In all probability, this is fake news. It doesn’t make economic sense to mix fentanyl in weed. The anti-cannabis sheriff is obviously looking for some publicity, but why does he feel the need to exploit his anti-cannabis stance this way? Doesn’t he realize it hurts his credibility when he makes statements like this? Apparently not.]
A sheriff’s department in New York claimed its officers found fentanyl-laced marijuana.
Last Friday, the Facebook account for the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office announced its first alleged case of weed mixed with the deadly opioid.
“With fentanyl laced marijuana now confirmed to be in New York State, I am extremely concerned for the safety of anyone using marijuana,” said Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, according to the post. “Everyone needs to be aware that the potential of getting fentanyl-laced marijuana is possible and the side effects can be deadly.”
“We have seen the tragic results of what heroin and fentanyl mixed together can do, and I fear for what will be happening now that it’s being mixed into marijuana,” Maciol said in the announcement.
Sheriff Maciol has openly opposed marijuana legalization in the past. In February, he hosted an anti-weed press conference with other New-York-based law enforcement officials.
Maciol’s February press conference included representatives from the anti-legalization organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which has claimed that “Big Marijuana” companies are trying to make weed more addictive and are actively marketing cannabis products to children.
Earlier this month, Maciol also defended a department policy of publicly releasing mugshots of booked weed suspects after New York state passed a law barring the practice.
Members of the Trump Administration have also alleged that black marketeers are lacing marijuana with fentanyl. Both Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s opioid crisis czar, and Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute of Drug Abuse cited Canadian police reports as their sources. The Canadian police later retracted their statements, admitting they never found weed laced with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an opioid medication that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Police departments around the world have discovered samples of cocaine, meth, and heroin laced with fentanyl, and mixing the opioid with other drugs can be lethal.
Earlier this month, Chinese officials announced a ban on fentanyl and its derivatives after being issued demands during the White House’s ongoing “trade war” with Beijing.
Fentanyl-Laced Weed Found in NYC, Says Anti-Legalization Sheriff was posted on Merry Jane.
[Canniseur: People’s medical conditions are helped by cannabis. This story illustrates the potential legal problems when people with only the best intentions try to help those in medical need.]
Paul Koren has been dubbed ‘Santa Claus’ meets ‘Walter White,’ but instead of selling meth, he gave out medicinal weed. For free.
One Ohio resident may spend the last years of his life in prison for growing medical weed.
Paul Koren, 70, is a retired engineer. He began growing a few years ago when his nephew grew ill from a neurodegenerative disease. After helping his nephew, word got around, and Koren eventually set up a 17-bed grow operation in the basement of his Miami Township home.
On the night of Jan. 7, robbers broke into his house, assaulted him, and demanded money and drugs. According to The Enquirer, Koren didn’t have a pile of cash on-hand because he never sold marijuana. He lives off his retirement fund, so he always gave away the meds for free, he said.
The home invaders wrecked the farm and left him with no cash. After a noisy getaway, neighbors called the cops.
When the authorities arrived, they seemed more concerned with what remained of Koren’s weed plants and not so much with the armed intruders who pistol-whipped him.
A search of Koren’s home discovered 36 weed plants and over an ounce of psychedelic mushrooms, according to a police affidavit. The cops also discovered what they thought was a dead body locked in his freezer, but it just turned out to be one of the suspected robbers, Kyle Hughes, hiding inside.
Regardless of Koren’s allegedly good intentions, the police charged him with drug trafficking and cultivation of marijuana. Ohio decriminalized marijuana way back in 1975, but possession of more than 100 grams will catch someone 30 days in jail and a small fine.
In Koren’s case, cops claim he possessed 45 pounds of weed, or just over 20,000 grams, well above the permitted limits.
“I’m not a drug lord,” he told The Enquirer. “I am an advocate for the positive benefits and use of marijuana. I help sick people.”
Despite Koren’s affirmative defense, that may not be enough under the state’s newly launched medical marijuana program, which officially went live in Sept. 2018. In order to legally cultivate and distribute medical weed, growers must obtain a license from the state, and their facilities must pass stringent regulatory inspections.
Koren had neither a state license nor did the government greenlight his basement for growing weed.
On Friday, a judge will deliver Koren’s sentence. He could walk scot-free, or he could end up spending up to six years in prison.
In 2015, Ohio voters shot down a bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis.
Ohio Weed Grower Faces 6 Years in Prison After Giving Away Free Pot was posted on Merry Jane.
[Canniseur: This AG isn’t much different than our former AG. Another prohibitionist in a cabinet office even though he sounded like he’d support the STATES act that essentially legalizes cannabis in the U.S.]
Attorney General William Barr publicly stated that he supports federal laws prohibiting cannabis, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana,” Barr told a Senate Appropriations committee on Wednesday, according to Newsweek. “But if there is not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can, you know, make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law.”
Barr made the statement after being questioned by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski about the recently-introduced STATES Act. Murkowski’s state legalized recreational weed in 2015, and the bill’s lead sponsors, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), both represent states with legal weed programs.
Under the STATES Act, the federal government would be — ahem — barred from interfering with state-legal weed programs. That would mean so long as medical cannabis patients and retail weed shops remain compliant with state laws, the feds can’t use tax funds to go after them.
Essentially, the STATES Act would (sort of) legalize weed at the federal level. Last summer, President Trump said he’d sign the bill if Congress approved it.
In previous weeks, the media lauded Barr’s appointment to the US Department of Justice as good news for the cannabis legalization movement. During his confirmation hearings, he said he would respect the Cole memorandum, an Obama-era guideline that kept federal law enforcement out of legal weed states.
But Barr’s recent statements illustrate that his position on cannabis is otherwise identical to Jeff Sessions’, who resigned last year over internal conflicts related to the FBI’s now-closed Russia probe. Sessions rescinded the Cole memo during his first few months in office.
Like Barr, Sessions said the Attorney General’s job is to enforce the law as it’s currently written. If Americans no longer support prohibition, “Congress should pass a law to change the rule,” Sessions told the US Senate in 2017.
Currently, the federal government can’t mess with medical marijuana patients in legal states due to the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, formerly known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. The amendment protects state medical marijuana programs from federal interference. But since it’s been attached as a rider to Congress’s annual spending bills, it risks being omitted from future budget plans.
Although the Trump Administration has largely left legal cannabis alone, agencies under the administration’s direction have quietly exploited federal weed laws to deny citizenship to legal immigrants and to block indigenous tribes from opening pot businesses on tribal lands.
Attorney General Barr Just Made the Ultimate Narc Statement was posted on Merry Jane.
[Canniseur: We’ve always thought delivery methods made for different effect states of stoned. If you have a preferred method of consumption or just like to go from method to method for variety, the same flower makes for a different buzz.
Most tokers usually have a preferred method for smoking weed. Some folks like to take their time sharing a joint, while more hardcore smokers may prefer choking on a massive bong rip.
But why do these different methods lead to varying qualities of highs?
Believe it or not, science hasn’t quite reached a consensus here, despite more than half of American adults saying they’ve tried pot at least once. That said, it may have something to do with water filters found in water pipes and bongs. Let’s explore.
Kyle Boyar, the vice chair of the American Chemical Society’s cannabis division, told MERRY JANE he was unaware of any ongoing studies into why pipes, bongs, and the like cause different kinds of buzzes. He did, however, point to one 1996 MAPS study that could provide some clues.
In the study, researchers measured how much THC came out of the business ends of various smoking devices. Surprisingly, unfiltered joints provided more THC than water pipes, as the water filters trapped some THC while allowing cannabis tar to pass through.
“Counterintuitive results, for sure,” Boyar said. “The chemist in me wonders how do cannabinoid components that are insoluble in water end up getting trapped in the water more than the tar,” which is also insoluble.
The MAPS study, unfortunately, didn’t evaluate how high people got from different smoking methods, since there were no human subjects. It only measured how much THC could transfer from the weed to the smoker.
“The dose is certainly the key issue,” wrote Mitch Earleywine, a cannabis researcher and professor of psychology at the State University of New York-Albany, in an e-mail to MERRY JANE. “Unfortunately, funding for an experiment comparing these methods is pretty scarce.”
For blunts, Earleywine noted that tokers aren’t just inhaling cannabis. They’re inhaling nicotine, too, as blunts are wrapped with tobacco paper or leaves.
“I’ve seen a blunt or two that has more tobacco than folks might guess, so nicotine ends up adding a bit of stimulation to the mix,” he wrote. “So the blunt would end up being less sedating than the joint, even though it’s the same marijuana.”
Blunts are often much larger than joints, so they “often deliver a bigger hit,” he added.
Additionally, THC may not be the only factor. Some evidence indicates terpenes, the aromatic compounds in weed that make it smell like skunk, berries, wood, or dirt, could alter THC’s effects.
Or Could the Differences Be Due to Terpenes?
To illustrate how terpenes could play a role, Earleywine chose the terpenes linalool and limonene as examples.
“With the bong, we run the smoke through water,” he told MERRY JANE. “Linalool is water-soluble, but limonene is not. So some of the linalool is going to end up in the bong water — not in the smoke.”
Because linalool may induce sleepiness, smoking weed through a bong could contribute to more energetic highs, at least in this case.
Water also cools the smoke, allowing tokers to draw in much bigger hits through bongs than they could with joints or blunts. Even if water filtration absorbs some of the THC, the sheer amount of smoke produced by a bong could off-set any losses of cannabinoids or terpenes, Earleywine wrote.
Can We Even Reliably Test the Question?
Scientifically determining the differences among smoking methods isn’t clear-cut, either.
How much weed someone consumes at once can vary depending on the individual. For example, Sally may pack her blunt with two fat grams of weed, whereas Billy only twists a gram in his Philly wraps.
The amounts of weed loaded into a joint, blunt, or bong will obviously affect how much smoke someone inhales. One 2011 study looked at self-reports for weed use, and the researchers discovered some consistency between methods.
“Participants reported that they placed 50 percent more marijuana in blunts than in joints and placed more than twice the amount of marijuana in blunts than in pipes,” the researchers wrote.
So maybe it’s really just a matter of how much weed goes into a pipe or joint. Maybe.
It gets more complicated with bongs.
Most bongs feature a “female” stem at the base, which holds a smaller “male” stem attached to the removable bowl. Sometimes the stems form air-tight seals between both the stems and the bong’s base, but not always. If there are gaps, the toker will draw in extra air which could significantly dilute the smoke, ultimately altering her or his heady experience, reported Mic.
Even within a single method, there’s a lot of variability. Too much variability to base the research on self-reports or uncontrolled methods.
Does It Even Matter?
Just as every approach to smoking weed is different, individual consumers are different, too.
How one person feels blazing a joint may not resemble the high a buddy feels from smoking on the same joint.
And for some tokers, the question of why bongs, joints, and blunts feel different doesn’t apply.
“I don’t feel any difference” between various smoking methods, said Edgar Robles, a long-time smoker based in Colorado. “Weed is weed. It all gets me stoned the same.
Why Do Pipes, Bongs, Joints, and Blunts Give Different Highs? was posted on Merry Jane.