California voted last November to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana. Its largest city, Los Angeles, decided early in the legalization process that it would implement its own local regulations on top of California’s already extensive set of cannabis laws.


Mayor Eric Garcetti

Last week, the Los Angeles city council voted unanimously to pass regulations that dictate how recreational Los Angeles marijuana sales will be implemented, which will become legal in the state of California on January 1st, 2018. Once Mayor Eric Garcetti signs these regulations into law, Los Angeles will become the largest city in the United States to allow the regulated sales of recreational cannabis.


City Council President Herb Wesson

Los Angeles hopes to lead by example with these new marijuana regulations and become a guiding light for other cities in California and across the country. City Council President Herb Wesson said, “There are cities throughout this country that are looking at us today.”

The process of creating regulations for a new product that is moving from the black market to a regulated market are extensive and complicated in nature. It is expected that Los Angeles’ new marijuana regulations will undergo a series of revisions once they have been tested within the marketplace. While changes are expected, the regulations do provide strict directions as to how and where marijuana businesses will be able to operate within city limits.

Retail recreational marijuana stores will only be allowed in specific industrial and commercial zones and are prohibited within 750 feet of a school or public libraries. Growers and producers of cannabis products will be relegated to the same industrial zones as retail shops and are prohibited within 600 feet of schools. Marijuana businesses will also be forced to have strict video surveillance and verification systems that make sure patrons are over 21. While full details have not yet been released, Los Angeles will be placing a cap on the number of marijuana businesses allowed within city limits.

To help counteract some of the negative effects the war on drugs has had on the city, Los Angeles will give cannabis business application preference to people who have been convicted of low-level marijuana offenses and potential business owners from low-income communities.


The California legal marijuana industry is expected to generate nearly $7 billion in 2018. With seven other states now having legal recreational marijuana programs and many more expected to follow suit in the coming years, major California cities like Los Angeles will be key in proving to the rest of the U.S. that a well regulated legal marijuana program is indeed possible and good for the economy.

Success in Los Angeles and California will also be key in proving to the Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department that pursuing legal actions against states and their citizens who support marijuana legalization is futile if the state and its major cities are operating safely, securely, and up to code.

Backlash will only continue to mount if the Sessions DOJ  goes after businesses that are following the extensive laws instituted at the state and local levels.





Drunk driving 11 times more dangerous than driving high

Several studies in recent years suggest an increase in car accidents following cannabis legalization, but the data typically lacks enough detail to provide a proper analysis. For example, the primary studies do not account for other substances, who was at fault or when the driver smoked cannabis.

The latter is key since a person can test positive for cannabis several weeks after consumption. Nevertheless, a new study reconfirms what many others have, namely that driving drunk is significantly more dangerous.

“Cannabis, alcohol and fatal road accidents,” published by the PLoS One journal in November 2017, examined details from the Metropolitan France police force that included more than 4,000 drivers involved in car accidents.

“Drivers under the influence of alcohol are 17.8 times more likely to be responsible for a fatal accident,” the study concluded, while “drivers under the influence of cannabis multiply their risk of being responsible for causing a fatal accident by 1.65.”

That’s an elevenfold difference in terms of who caused the accident. Moreover, the study found that 28 percent of fatal accidents could be prevented if no drivers exceeded the legal alcohol limit compared to four percent for cannabis. The study added, “Alcohol remains the main problem in France.”

The researchers also compared their findings to a similar one conducted in France nearly a decade earlier. The study noted, “The overall number of deaths from traffic accidents has dropped sharply during this period, and the number of victims attributable to alcohol and/or cannabis declined proportionally.”


This is obviously good news, and it highlights the benefits of education-based programs (which increased over the decade) designed to decrease drunk and stoned driving.





New Mexico Medical Cannabis Enrollment Sees Record 77 Percent Increase

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Dec. 11, 2017 /Weed Wire/ — Patient enrollment in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program reached 45,347 as of November 30, 2017, a 77 percent increase and a 19,650 net patient gain over the same period last year.

On an annual basis, this is the highest percentage gain and the greatest net patient increase since the inception of the program in 2007.

Concurrently, the program’s patient count has also experienced ongoing enrollment adjustments by New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) officials, which has been attributed by the NMDOH to “legacy data” being removed from the database. The department has disenrolled thousands of patients from September 2017 to October 2017 for the third consecutive year.

Based on documents obtained through an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) request, it is believed more patient data was removed than indicated by the net month-to-month differences. Written communication between NMDOH and the vendor responsible for program data confirm ongoing reporting concerns

“The challenge we run into, as we have stated several times, is these reports keep having staggering changes in numbers,” Andrea Sundberg, NMDOH Patient Services Manager, stated in an e-mail obtained by an IPRA. “Last year we had a change of 5,000 active enrollees in a one month period that nobody could ever explain. Then last month [September 2017] we ran the report and the numbers by county and condition were different than the active count by over 7,000,” Sundberg continued. “These type of issues two years into the system are not appropriate and only lead to greater confusion about our valid data.”

Despite the frequent restatement of data by the NMDOH, the rapidly expanding Medical Cannabis Program continues to exceed projections and show significant year-over-year growth. The program remains on track to reach near 50,000 patients by December 31, 2017.

Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health

“Tremendous growth is never by mere chance,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “Fortunately, the impressive growth of the medical cannabis program is the result of the industry’s effort to improve the convenience, quality and affordability of cannabis to all qualified New Mexicans.”



A compilation of the Medical Cannabis Program Patient Statistics Reports from 2012 to November 2017 can be found here and verified here on the NMDOH website.




Lifetime Marijuana Use and Subclinical Atherosclerosis: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.

Unlike tobacco, the effect of marijuana smoke on subclinical atherosclerosis, a surrogate measure for cardiovascular disease, is not known. This study aimed to determine the association between lifetime exposure to marijuana and measures of subclinical atherosclerosis in mid-life.


We used data from the US-based Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study, a cohort of black and white men and women aged 18-30 years at baseline in 1985-86, with up to 7 follow-up exams over 25 years. The number of CARDIA participants included in this study was 3,498.


Cumulative years of exposure to marijuana (expressed in ‘marijuana-years’, with 1 marijuana-year equivalent to 365 days of use) using repeated assessments every 2-5 years, over 25 years. Abdominal artery calcium (AAC) and coronary artery calcium (CAC) scores measured by computed tomography at Year 25 exam.


Among 3,117 participants with AAC and CAC measurements, 2,627 (84%) reported past marijuana use and 1,536 (49%) past daily tobacco smoking. Compared with tobacco smokers, of which 46% reported 10 or more pack-years of use, only 12% of marijuana users reported 5 or more marijuana-years of use and only 6% reported having used marijuana daily. We found a significant interaction between never- and ever- tobacco users on the association between cumulative marijuana use and AAC (p=0.05). Among those who never smoked tobacco, cumulative marijuana-years were not associated with AAC or CAC in models adjusted for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, licit and illicit drug exposure and depression symptoms. However, among ever tobacco smokers, marijuana exposure was associated with AAC and CAC. At 5 marijuana-years of exposure, using AAC=0 and CAC=0 as a reference group, the odds ratio (OR) was 1.97 (95%CI:1.21-3.21,p=0.007) for AAC>0/CAC=0 and 1.83 (95%CI:1.02-3.31,p=0.04) for CAC>0, regardless of AAC. Tobacco smoking was strongly associated with both AAC and CAC.


Marijuana use appears to be associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, but only among ever tobacco users.



Why Hemp Could Be The Future Of Plastics

Leslie Bocskor

Leslie Bocskor, investment banker and president of cannabis advisory firm Electrum Partners, is one of the most passionate people in the cannabis industry Benzinga has come across. In a recent chat, Benzinga asked him to discuss a topic he was passionate about, an issue he found particularly interesting.

The Rise Of A Hemp-Ire

Bocskor recently became fascinated with hemp. Not cannabis, but good old-fashioned hemp, the kind that was used to make fabrics in the nineteenth century.

“I have been talking to some scientists and there is a conversation about hemp for plastic,” he began, pointing out that Henry Ford — Ford Motor Company

— had built one of his first cars using hemp plastic. In fact, that car even ran on hemp fuel.

“This could potentially create the largest carbon-negative industry in the world,” he continued.

But, what does carbon negative even mean?
Nowadays, most plastics are hydrocarbon-based, which means they use fossil petrochemicals pulled out of the Earth to be made. Leaving any discussions about climate change, global warming and carbon emissions aside, it does not take much scientific knowledge to understand why the process of making plastics out of petrochemicals implies pollution.

Hemp plastic, on the other hand, is extremely useful or convenient for several reasons, Bocskor went on.

1. “I’m told it doesn’t have any of the ‘ene’s.’ Toluene, benzene, things like that, which are the most toxic byproducts of plastics that are produced from hydrocarbons.”

2. “I’m told that hemp can be engineered for biodegrade that will reduce it into much less harmful compounds than the ones that can be done with hydrocarbon-based plastics.”

3. “We can have fields, acres and acres, hectares of hemp farms that are pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere – as plants do. Then, that carbon from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere gets used to make the plastics, and the plastics, when they are going into a landfill and they are no longer usable, will biodegrade bringing carbon back into the soil [anecdotal data and initial research have suggested]. So, it’s essentially carbon negative, pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the soil.”

Better Understanding Hemp

It’s important to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana. Although they both belong to the same genus and species, they characteristics differ widely. The main difference: hemp does not have enough THC to have significant psychoactive properties; this basically means it cannot be used to get high.

“Hemp is far less controversial than marijuana. So, it’s hard to understand why it isn’t supported by the U.S. government, to help remediate the soil and add to the crop rotation, and even help the farmers in states like West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia, who have been seeing reducing crops for tobacco — which so much of their economies have been based on,” Bocskor pointed out. “This is a crop that is not only able to replace tobacco, but it even grows more easily, remediates the soil and has so many other potential areas that we can go with it besides hemp plastic, and hemp paper.

“In fact, this is a crop that would not even need subsidies, unlike so many other crops that we grow,” he supplemented. “So, this is an opportunity to not only bring economic benefit back to those regions I mentioned before but to do it in a way that has so many more positives.”

Betting On The Future

Companies in the industrial hemp industry include:

Hemp Inc
HempAmericana Inc
FutureLand Corp
However, the valuations of these companies are pretty low. We wondered why.

“You have to say converging market forces,” the expert explicated. “On the one hand, hemp is potentially disruptive to the paper industry, to the textile industry, and to the plastics industry. And, disruption is not something that anybody in any industry that has an established, long-running, well-entrenched business likes.”

As Albert O. Hirschman points out in his book “The Rhetoric of Reaction,” defenders of the status quo conceive change as risky, and thus use this argument to fight it.

“The disruption potential of hemp combined with the fact that it’s not as glamorous, interesting or immediately profitable as marijuana makes it difficult for the industry,” Bocskor continued, calling for increased research to back the growth of the environmentally-friendly industry.

“I happen to think that the global hemp market could easily be bigger than the cannabis market in 10 years,” the specialist concluded. “When you start to look at the paper market, the textile market for cotton, the plastics market on a global scale, you realize that these are industries that dwarf what could be the cannabis market on a global basis.”









In a newly released video, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said to a Department of Justice intern, “Look, there’s this view that marijuana is harmless and does no damage . . . Marijuana is not a healthy substance in my opinion. The American Medical Association is crystal clear on that. Do you believe that? [The intern said no.] Well, you can write the AMA and see why.” See the full video at ABC.

We wrote the AMA and received their most up-to-date policies on cannabis.

A document from the American Medical Association House of Delegates shows that these policies have changed slightly since September 2016, when the organization resolved to scratch that the “sale of cannabis should not be legalized.”AMA

Latest Gallup poll: Americans favor marijuana legalization more than ever


AMA Policy on Cannabis 2017:

Cannabis Legalization for Recreational Use

Our AMA: (1) believes that cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a serious public health concern; (2) believes that the sale of cannabis for recreational use should not be legalized; (3) discourages cannabis use, especially by persons vulnerable to the drug’s effects and in high-risk populations such as youth, pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding; (3) believes states that have already legalized cannabis (for medical or recreational use or both) should be required to take steps to regulate the product effectively in order to protect public health and safety and that laws and regulations related to legalized cannabis use should consistently be evaluated to determine their effectiveness; (5) encourages local, state, and federal public health agencies to improve surveillance efforts to ensure data is available on the short- and long-term health effects of cannabis use; (6) supports public health based strategies, rather than incarceration, in the handling of individuals possessing cannabis for personal use.

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

(1) Our AMA calls for further adequate and well-controlled studies of marijuana and related cannabinoids in patients who have serious conditions for which preclinical, anecdotal, or controlled evidence suggests possible efficacy and the application of such results to the understanding and treatment of disease. (2) Our AMA urges that marijuana’s status as a federal schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product. (3) Our AMA urges the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop a special schedule and implement administrative procedures to facilitate grant applications and the conduct of well-designed clinical research involving cannabis and its potential medical utility. This effort should include: a) disseminating specific information for researchers on the development of safeguards for cannabis clinical research protocols and the development of a model informed consent form for institutional review board evaluation; b) sufficient funding to support such clinical research and access for qualified investigators to adequate supplies of cannabis for clinical research purposes; c) confirming that cannabis of various and consistent strengths and/or placebo will be supplied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to investigators registered with the DEA who are conducting bona fide clinical research studies that receive FDA approval, regardless of whether or not the NIH is the primary source of grant support. (4) Our AMA supports research to determine the consequences of long-term cannabis use, especially among youth, adolescents, pregnant women, and women who are breastfeeding. (5) Our AMA urges legislatures to delay initiating the legalization of cannabis for recreational use until further research is completed on the public health, medical, economic, and social consequences of its use.

Cannabis Legalization for Medicinal Use

Our AMA: (1) believes that scientifically valid and well-controlled clinical trials conducted under federal investigational new drug applications are necessary to assess the safety and effectiveness of all new drugs, including potential cannabis products for medical use; (2) believes that cannabis for medicinal use should not be legalized through the state legislative, ballot initiative, or referendum process; (3) will develop model legislation requiring the following warning on all cannabis products not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: “Marijuana has a high potential for abuse. This product has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for preventing or treating any disease process.”; (4) supports legislation ensuring or providing immunity against federal prosecution for physicians who certify that a patient has an approved medical condition or recommend cannabis in accordance with their state’s laws; and (5) believes that effective patient care requires the free and unfettered exchange of information on treatment alternatives and that discussion of these alternatives between physicians and patients should not subject either party to criminal sanctions.





New York State Department of Health Announces New Medical Marijuana Regulations

ALBANY, N.Y., Dec. 8, 2017 /Weed Wire/ — The New York State Department of Health today announced the filing of regulations for adoption that will improve the state’s Medical Marijuana Program for patients, practitioners and registered organizations. These regulations, which will go into effect on December 27, 2017, allow for the sale of additional medical marijuana products, an improved experience for patients and visitors at dispensing facilities and the ability for the Department to approve new courses that will allow prospective practitioners to complete their training in a shorter amount of time.

The Department previously announced the introduction of these regulations in August 2017.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker

“Ensuring access to medical marijuana for eligible patients is central to the Department’s efforts to responsibly grow New York’s Medical Marijuana Program,” said New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “The new regulations will benefit current and prospective patients and practitioners, as well as registered organizations, and continue to build on the progress the program has made since its launch nearly two years ago.”

Under the new regulations, registered organizations (ROs) are allowed to manufacture and distribute additional products including topicals such as ointments, lotions and patches; solid and semi-solid products, including chewable and effervescent tablets and lozenges; and certain non-smokable forms of ground plant material. All products are subject to rigorous testing, and the Department reserves the right to exclude inappropriate products or those which pose a threat to public health.

The new regulations also allow prospective patients and practitioners to enter dispensing facilities to speak directly with RO representatives, learn about products and get information about the medical marijuana program. In addition, people other than designated caregivers may accompany patients to dispensing facilities.

Under these regulations, practitioners will soon be able to take a shortened version of the currently available four-hour courses required to certify patients for medical marijuana. The Department will work with course providers to offer a two-hour course, which is a typical length for other medical education courses.

The regulations also streamline the manufacturing requirements for medical marijuana products, broaden the capability of registered organizations to advertise, amend security requirements and clarify laboratory testing methods.

Other recent enhancements to New York’s Medical Marijuana Program include authorizing five additional registered organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana, adding post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain as qualifying conditions, empowering nurse practitioners and physician assistants to certify patients and permitting home delivery.

As of December 8, 2017, there are 38,642 certified patients and 1,358 registered practitioners participating in the program.

For more information on New York’s Medical Marijuana Program, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/.




Woman cuts off cop, parks in police chief’s spot while smoking weed and talking on phone

By The Associated Press

NORTHPORT, N.Y. Authorities say a woman arriving at a Long Island court to answer a marijuana possession summons was smoking pot when she parked her vehicle in the local police chief’s spot.

Newsday reports that the 26-year-old woman had been ticketed in May for unlawful possession of marijuana. Police say she was arriving for her court appearance in Northport on Monday night when she cut off an unmarked police car in the parking lot while talking on her cellphone.

Police say she then pulled into the parking spot clearly marked as reserved for the village’s police chief, Bill Ricca. He says when the officers asked the woman to roll down her window, pot smoke billowed out.

Police issued the woman another appearance ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana. She was also ticketed for using her cellphone while driving.

Information from: Newsday








In attempt to help small farmers, Humboldt reps call for one-acre cap on cannabis cultivation

By Will Houston, The Cannifornian

The North Coast’s two state representatives are calling on the state to cap commercial cannabis farms to one acre per person, saying it will protect small farmers from being outcompeted by larger companies.

However, some in the industry are saying reinstating the cap so close to the planned New Year’s Day rollout of the state’s marijuana market would be inappropriate timing, with some farms having already been permitted at the local level to grow more than one acre.

Second District Sen. Mike McGuire

Second District Sen. Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood  sent a letter to the Office of Administrative Law earlier this week that called for the cap to be included in the state’s cannabis regulations, which are currently being finalized.

Assemblyman Jim Wood

Wood said not having the cap goes against previous efforts by the Legislature to limit cultivation in the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which limited cultivation to one acre with an exception for a dispensary license that allowed up to four acres of cultivation

“It undermines the work that we were doing to protect the smaller growers at least at the outset,” Wood said outside of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors chambers in Eureka on Tuesday. “We know that five years from now all bets are off, but we’ve got to give the people who are the real pioneers in this industry an opportunity to be successful and a way to bring them out of the shadows and into the regulated market.”

After the passage of recreational marijuana laws through Proposition 64 in November 2016 and the Legislature combining the medical and recreational rules through Senate Bill 94 earlier this year, the one-acre cultivation limit was left out.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture then released its emergency cannabis cultivation rules last month, which also did not include the one-acre cap. However, an environmental review of the rules released a few days earlier had included the cap.

The Department of Food and Agriculture told the Times-Standard at the time that it “left out” the cap from the final rules “after careful consideration, including input from stakeholders.”

California Growers Association Executive Director Hezekiah Allen said he met with staff from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office on Tuesday who he said told him that there never was going to be a cumulative cap on cultivation. Allen said he walked away from the meeting with the impression that the governor’s office was disowning the Department of Food and Agriculture’s November statement to the Times-Standard.

“I’m a bit confused frankly. It just seems inconsistent,” Allen said.