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The mythology of marijuana

Over the course of my 52-year professional career as a forensic pathologist and medicolegal consultant, I have been involved in numerous civil and criminal lawsuits dealing with various kinds of drugs — prescription, over-the-counter and illicit. Some of these cases have been quite significant, including a few that have been the subject of congressional hearings.

Product liability and medical malpractice lawsuits involving drugs frequently result in multimillion-dollar verdicts. In other instances, the determination of which drugs may have led to someone’s death may provide the evidentiary basis for charging the provider with homicide.

Occasionally, some questions and doubts remain among medical practitioners as to the effectiveness of a particular drug and when it should be prescribed. However, almost all drug-related issues of this sort eventually get resolved. Some dangerous drugs have been removed from the marketplace, while others have been modified. Many times, pharmaceutical companies have been obliged to issue more definitive warnings about potential adverse drug reactions. There have been few long-lingering debates of a highly contentious, emotional nature.

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Can Marijuana Kill You?

A recent headline reads: “Can Marijuana Kill You? German Scientists Say Yes.” The article focuses on a study of two (count ’em, two!) young men who died while they had detectable levels of THC in their blood. I take a lot of pleasure in this kind of melodrama. If prohibitionists are stooping this low, we must really be frightening them. (It’s not completely pharmacologically ridiculous. Marijuana does increase heart rate. In fact, it can jack up heart rate almost as much as an espresso or energy drink. Maybe if you already had a weak heart and a coffee and a bong hit, well, something might happen.)

But I want to point out that we should actually expect literally thousands of reports like this. We should hear about lots of people who have heart attacks on the same day that they commune with the plant. It’s not because cannabis causes heart attacks. It’s simple chance.

I hate for my first blog as Chair of The Executive Board to be this nerdy, but I’ve been teaching statistics for more than 20 years. If that doesn’t make me a nerd, I’m not sure what would. But given how many people use cannabis daily and how many heart attacks occur in the United States, it’s actually a miracle that we haven’t heard about this kind of thing before. We also should expect to hear it a lot more often.

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Jerry Brown Afraid Marijuana Legalization Will Make Too Many Potheads

California Governor Jerry Brown is afraid that widespread marijuana legalization could lead to the creation of too many “potheads.” California has had a medical marijuana program since 1996 and it was one of the first states to pursue such a program. More expansive programs have been adopted by states such as Colorado and Washington in recent years however and this has reignited the debate regarding the legal status of marijuana overall. Advocates have been calling for a broader legalization of the drug beyond the medical uses that are permitted by programs such as the one in California. Colorado and Washington have taken a step in that direction but it is still not full legalization.

Brown was confronted with the question regarding marijuana during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday. Brown was on the program to discuss running for a fourth term as California governor, but host David Gregory posed the marijuana question. He asked Brown if the programs in states like Colorado and Washington made him consider the possibility of legalized recreational use in California. Brown replied that the world is a dangerous and competitive place in an economic sense and questioned whether a state could remain great if too many people were getting stoned.

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The 7 States Slamming the Door on Legalized Marijuana

Colorado’s newly legal recreational marijuana industry is creating quite a buzz – particularly when it comes to visions of a new tax revenue stream for cash-strapped states. With the Centennial State’s successful rollout, it seemed certain that others, in addition to Washington state, would follow.

But, there are major headwinds that may keep the budding industry from spreading across the nation – one of which is that state governors are coming out against recreational pot, despite its revenue-producing potential.

Too risky?
Shortly after Colorado’s new law took effect on January 1, governors of other states began weighing in on the subject. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley stated in a radio interview several weeks ago that he is “not much in favor of” legalizing pot for recreational use, citing concerns about drug abuse.

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Medical marijuana bill limits who can prescribe pot

SACRAMENTO – Law enforcement groups and municipalities have switched tactics in the debate over regulating medical marijuana in California, and are pushing a bill that protects local bans and limits who can recommend the drug.

The legislation would require patients to go through their primary-care doctors – or someone their primary doctor refers them to – to get documents to purchase medical marijuana.

The provision has raised concerns from patients’ advocates that it would make it too difficult for some to access treatment. It’s among a number of changes sought by the California Police Chiefs Association and the League of California Cities.

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Marijuana Decriminalization in U.S. Capital Passes Council

The Washington city council voted to decriminalize marijuana consumption in private homes, adding the nation’s capital to a growing list of states that have loosened sanctions for using the drug.

The council today approved reducing the punishment for possession of as much as an ounce of marijuana to a fine, instead of potential jail time. The bill goes to Mayor Vincent Gray, a Democrat, who has said he will sign it, and the U.S. Congress, which can reject it.

At least 17 states have legalized or decriminalized recreational use or possession, putting them at odds with federal law. Washington state and Colorado have legalized the sale of the drug for recreational use, and advocates are pushing similar measures in other states.

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MPP’s Rob Kampia Discusses the Future of Texas Marijuana Policy Reform

MPP’s Rob Kampia Discusses the Future of Texas Marijuana Policy Reform


On March 1, MPP officially began lobbying for marijuana policy reform directly in the Texas legislature. Over the next several years, we will be working with supportive lawmakers and local advocates to remove the threat of jail for simple possession of marijuana, and eventually end marijuana prohibition altogether in the Lone Star State.

Here is MPP’s executive director, Rob Kampia, discussing the future of marijuana policy reform on KXAN:

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JAMAICA DRUGS-Report says Jamaica largest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States

WASHINGTON, Mar 4  – The United States says Jamaica remains the largest Caribbean supplier of marijuana to the United States and Caribbean islands and that even though cocaine and synthetic drugs are not produced locally, Jamaica is a transit point for drugs trafficked from South America to North America and other international markets.

But in its just released “2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” the US State Department said Jamaica continued to make “slow but steady progress” in combating narcotics trafficking, corruption and organized crime in 2013.

It said success stories included the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Anti-Corruption Branch, which continued to make progress in eliminating corrupt and unethical police officers; the National Forensic Sciences Laboratory, which showed dramatic improvement in its ability to process crime scene ballistic evidence; the JCF Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force, which significantly reduced Jamaica lottery scam operations that targeted retirees and the elderly in the United States.

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Kuboo, Inc. and Northsight Capital to Acquire Approximately 7,000 Marijuana Related Domains

Kuboo, Inc., (OTC Pink: SGTB) dba Safe Communications, Inc. (“Safe”), and Northsight Capital, Inc.(OTCBB: NCAP)(OTCQB: NCAP), announced today that Northsight Capital (“NCAP”), Safe’s 80% owned subsidiary, has signed a letter of intent to acquire approximately 7,000 domains, all in the marijuana/cannabis/hemp space. NCAP is expected to change its name to “The Marijuana Advertising Group” after completion of the transaction. Safe is expected to retain approximately ten percent of the fully diluted equity of NCAP, after giving effect to the acquisition and related transactions, including anticipated initial funding in the amount of $1 million, while the seller of the Domains is expected to own about 80% of NCAP after completion of these transactions. Following completion of the proposed acquisition, Safe anticipates spinning off to its shareholders all of its shares of NCAP, subject to compliance with applicable securities and other laws.

The closing of the acquisition is subject to satisfaction of certain conditions, including NCAP raising a minimum of $

750,000 to fund the build out of the website, among other things. The letter of intent is non-binding, except as to confidentiality and similar non-transactional provisions.

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Gupta: ‘I am doubling down’ on medical marijuana

It’s been eight months since I last wrote about medical marijuana, apologizing for having not dug deeply into the beneficial effects of this plant and for writing articles dismissing its potential. I apologized for my own role in previously misleading people, and I feel very badly that people have suffered for too long, unable to obtain the legitimate medicine that may have helped them.

I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even it means having to say “sorry.”

It is not easy to apologize and take your lumps, but this was never about me.

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