Medical Marijuana Sold In Oregon Dispensaries Must Be Tested For Pesticides, Mold, Says New Law

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in hearing room F at the Oregon State Capitol. The panel, a mix of advocates, lawyers, law enforcement officials and state administrators, has an agenda packed with thorny legal and technical issues as the state figures out how to regulate Oregons already booming medical marijuana retail industry. The committee is expected to wrap up its work by Dec. 1. Tom Burns, the committee facilitator who oversees the state’s pharmaceutical drug program, asked the Oregon Department of Agriculture for advice on how to proceed with crafting testing standards. Theodore Bunch, coordinator of the states Pesticide Analytical and Response Center, is heading up that effort and expects to report to the committee on Friday. Among the issues being considered: How often should marijuana be tested and who should perform the tests? Should third-party labs or the dispensaries themselves perform the tests? Should labs have to register with the state? Should those conducting the tests be required to undergo criminal background checks, similar to the ones required of dispensary owners? What standards should the labs follow? Are any levels of mold, mildew and pesticide acceptable? Also, Burns wondered, should the results simply be posted alongside the drug or should the state prohibit marijuana contaminated with pesticide from being sold? This testing thing is really going to be very complicated, he said. Marijuanas outlaw status under federal law complicates states efforts to draft testing rules. For instance, there arent any pesticides registered for use on cannabis since its illegal federally. And unlike labs that test for water quality or other environmental concerns, those that focus on marijuana testing dont fall under any national accrediting body. Whether to allow pesticide use at all when cultivating marijuana is a key question for Oregon policy makers, said Bunch. The long-term health implications of pesticide, mold and mildew exposure from smoking marijuana arent known, he said. From an inhalation standpoint, I dont believe there are any tolerances or benchmarks that say this level of mold is acceptable or this level of mildew is acceptable, Bunch said.

Marijuana dispensaries to be allowed in 3 zones

The vote is only a proposal for the Board of Selectmen to incorporate when setting warrant articles for next years annual Town Meeting, when RMD plans are scheduled for discussion. The selectmens and Board of Healths recommendations for local RMD application proposals and policy for operation will also be part of the warrant article. The Planning Board still has time to make changes to its proposal, as the warrant will not close until December. A two-thirds majority at Town Meeting must support the zoning regulations before they are adopted. The map for where registered marijuana dispensaries (RMD) would be allowed is taking shape in Lexington. During their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 9, the Planning Board unanimously approved a proposal for zoning to allow different types of dispensaries in three districts around town. The proposed zoning would allow all-purpose RMDs – growing, production and distribution – in the manufacturing district, while distribution-only RMDs would be allowed in retail shopping centers and the central business district. The board also decided not to propose any regulations for the buildings that house dispensaries other than those already regulated in the zoning. The state Department of Public Health prohibts dispensaries within 500 feet of a place where children congregate; cities and towns my increase this setback but may not reduce it. Planning Board members did not think there were many reasons for public conern over the distribution of medical marijuana.

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The Sober Way To Legalize Marijuana

In November, three states Colorado, Oregon, and Washington had marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot, two of which passed. Though Oregon voters chose not to legalize marijuana last fall, they will likely get another chance to do so in 2014. Alaska and Arizona could be the next states to follow suit. Support for marijuana legalization isn’t just growing in libertarian-minded western states. In April, the Pew Research Center found that a narrow 52 percent majority of Americans support marijuana legalization. This represents an impressive increase since 2002, when only 32 percent supported legalization. Support among adults born after 1981 has reached 65 percent, and as this cohort comes to represent a larger share of the electorate, it is easy to imagine that the pressure to legalize marijuana will grow. And while there remains a partisan divide over marijuana legalization, with fewer Republicans in favor of legalization (37 percent) than Democrats (59 percent), a majority of Republicans (57 percent) and Democrats (59 percent) believe that the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that permit its use. But the deeper shift is not so much political as cultural. Pew has found that the stigma against marijuana use is quickly evaporating. In 2006, 50 percent of Americans maintained that smoking marijuana was “morally wrong,” a share that has fallen to 32 percent as of 2013. Not surprisingly, marijuana use has increased as the stigma against it has faded. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime reports that the annual prevalence of cannabis use has increased from 10 percent of the general population (persons 15-64 years of age) in 2007 to 14.1 percent in 2010. By way of comparison, the annual prevalence of cannabis use is less than half as high in Uruguay. Marijuana is no longer seen as a drug for people on society’s fringes, or the exclusive preserve of hippies and hip-hop devotees. It is used by an impressively wide range of Americans, many of whom use it for banal purposes like reducing stress. For better or for worse, voters are far more likely to favor marijuana legalization if they think of marijuana users as “people like us” and not “people like them.” So I’d guess that marijuana legalization in some form is all but inevitable. The question is what form it will take. Will we see a marijuana industry akin to the alcohol or tobacco industries, or will we try to keep marijuana production small-scale? One common objection to marijuana legalization is that it represents a violation of American treaty obligations. Back in March, the International Narcotics Control Board, an independent agency that monitors drug control policies across countries, raised concerns about the new marijuana legalization initiatives in Washington and Colorado, which it sees as being in violation of United Nations drug control conventions. Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA who is widely regarded as one of America’s leading experts on the regulation of narcotic drugs, suggests that while international drug control treaties limit the scope of federal efforts to tax and regulate marijuana, state governments have considerable leeway. Kleiman and his consulting firm, BOTEC Analysis Corporation, are helping Washington state implement its new marijuana regulations, and one assumes that other states will learn from Washington’s experience.

Oklahoma woman won’t give up trying to reform state’s marijuana laws

Marijuana legalization activist Norma Sapp poses for a photo at her home Monday in Little Axe. Sapp has been an advocate for marijuana legalization for the past 26 years in Oklahoma. CHRIS LANDSBERGER – CHRIS LANDSBERGER

She drove a motor home across the United States, serving as the support vehicle for a friend who was riding his one-eyed paint horse, Misty, across the country to raise awareness of a message: Cops say legalize marijuana, ask me why. Marijuana legalization activist Norma Sapp poses for a photo at her home Monday in Little Axe. Sapp has been an advocate for marijuana legalization for the past 26 years in Oklahoma. CHRIS LANDSBERGER – CHRIS LANDSBERGER She has walked the marble hallways of the state Capitol more times than she can remember to advocate for changes in Oklahoma’s marijuana laws. And she ran for a state House office in the 1990s and quickly learned she didn’t want it. Sapp is a walking encyclopedia for her cause. And still, nothing. Despite the failures, Sapp stays motivated by thinking about what impact a prison sentence can have on a family. We’ve ruined the next generation and the next generation by taking mothers away from their children, Sapp said. When you take a child and affect them like that, they’ll never grow out of it. Oklahoma has some of the strictest marijuana laws in the nation, and marijuana advocates such as Sapp have seen little success in getting lawmakers to discuss much of anything. This past session, Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, got an Oklahoma Senate committee to hear her bill on medical marijuana. Sen. Brian Crain, a Tulsa Republican who chaired the committee, told The Associated Press that although he personally opposes the idea, he agreed to hear Johnson’s bill because of her persistence. Johnson recently requested an interim study on the status of policies in Oklahoma regarding marijuana use, possession and punishment. It has yet to be heard. Few other attempts Beyond Johnson’s efforts, few lawmakers in recent state history have made many attempts at marijuana reform. When Sapp ran for office in 1996, she wanted to educate Oklahoman s on the agricultural benefits of hemp. She quickly learned that the Capitol was not a place she felt she could make change, though. I did it to speak, Sapp said. I didn’t think I was going to be elected. That would have shocked me. I don’t know what I would have done. I wanted to be able to go to all of these campaign stops, and I have some hemp rope and some hemp soap, and I would take those with me and speak about the hemp. Instead of holding office, Sapp serves as the state director of Oklahoma NORML, a branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a nonprofit lobbying organization working to legalize marijuana. She regularly takes calls from people throughout Oklahoma who are experiencing some form of legal trouble because of marijuana. There was the couple in their 60s that lived in southeast Oklahoma. They faced prison time after someone grew marijuana on their land without them realizing it, she said. Another couple in Cleveland County faced similar charges. And another man that Sapp talked to was growing pot for his arthritis in Tulsa and got 93 years in prison, she said.

Restrictive Drug Laws Censor Science, Researchers Say

Gun Laws and Drug Laws Aren’t Working

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett By Kate Kelland LONDON | Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:19am EDT LONDON (Reuters) – The outlawing of drugs such as cannabis, magic mushrooms and other psychoactive substances amounts to scientific censorship and is hampering research into potentially important medicinal uses, leading scientists argued on Wednesday. Laws and international conventions dating back to the 1960s have set back research in key areas such as consciousness by decades, they argued in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience. “The decision to outlaw these drugs was based on their perceived dangers, but in many cases the harms have been overstated,” said David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. In a statement accompanying the Nature Reviews paper, he said the laws amounted “to the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo”. “The laws have never been updated despite scientific advances and growing evidence that many of these drugs are relatively safe. And there appears to be no way for the international community to make such changes,” he said. “This hindering of research and therapy is motivated by politics, not science.” Nutt and Leslie King, both former British government drugs advisers, and co-author David Nichols of the University of North Carolina, called for the use of psychoactive drugs in research to be exempted from severe restrictions. “If we adopted a more rational approach to drug regulation, it would empower researchers to make advances in the study of consciousness and brain mechanisms of psychosis, and could lead to major treatment innovations in areas such as depression and PTSD,” Nutt said. Nutt was sacked as a government adviser in 2009 after publicly criticizing the government for ignoring scientific advice on cannabis and ecstasy. He has conducted a small human trial using psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms. His study, using volunteers, suggested the drug had the potential to alleviate severe forms of depression in people who did not respond to other treatments. But in April, Nutt said his plans to conduct the first full clinical trial to explore psilocybin as a treatment had stalled because of stringent rules on the use of illegal drugs in research.

ET The federal government said Wednesday that its enforcement of drug laws “remains unchanged” following voters’ approval of ballot initiatives in two states allowing recreational marijuana use. Play Video Wa. legalizes recreational use of marijuana Voters in Colorado and Washington passed similar initiatives on Election Day legalizing marijuana as well as regulating and taxing it. In response, Justice Department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre said in a statement: “The department’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. We are reviewing the ballot initiatives and have no additional comment at this time.” The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. attorneys in Denver and Seattle issued identical statements. Earlier, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed the initiative in his state, also indicated that legalization was far from a reality. “Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug,” he said, according to The Associated Press, “so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.” Oregon voters also considered a legalization initiative but rejected it. 2012 CBS Interactive Inc.

Justice Department: Drug laws “remain unchanged” following passage of marijuana ballot initiatives

Do more restrictions equal less accessibility? Some conservatives opine that gun control does not work because people will get guns illegally, but in the same breath they’ll argue that drug laws prevent drug access. Similarly, some liberals opine that the drug war is a failure since people will continue to get drugs illegally, then inexplicably argue that gun laws prevent bad guys from accessing guns. Why the disconnect in logic? It reminds me of the joke: “A conservative is a liberal that just got mugged and a liberal is a conservative that just got arrested.” Sometimes people are more focused on political or personal agendas than consistency in viewpoints. This post isn’t about whether gun ownership reduces or increases crime, or whether recreational drug use is benign or harmful. It also isn’t about whether certain drugs should be criminalized and certain guns banned. I aim to keep it simpler and more to the point: Are drug and gun laws proven to be effective at preventing access? The quick and disheartening answer is no. CBSNews reported that even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes that the War on Drugs does more to hurt our nation than help. “In the grand scheme, it has not been successful,” Kerlikowske told The Associated Press. “Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified” … At the same time, drug abuse is costing the nation in other ways.