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Drug detecting dogs have been used for decades by law enforcement all over the world. That will continue to be the case when it comes to searching for many substances. But only months away Oregon experienced marijuana legalization. Due to the fact, most police agencies are no longer using them to detect marijuana. That is a huge shift in enforcement policies.

“I think we saw the writing on the wall after marijuana became legal in Washington and Colorado," said Springfield Sgt. Rich Charboneau, who helped train the drug dog and the department's other four patrol dogs. “We thought it could possibly happen here, so we decided we probably should not even train for it."

Sometimes it takes police decades to get their own drug detection dog. And when they finally arrive, they can sniff out heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, but not marijuana.

I have been on the receiving end of a drug dog search on multiple occasions. With the exception of one instance, there was no marijuana in the vehicle I was riding in (although there was a lot of residual marijuana odor in the car). Those were scary experiences, and all ended with my friend's cars being completely torn apart.

When nothing is found, the officers don't help put the car back together or even apologize. That is their work but I'm glad that in the future I will never have to endure and experience like that ever again.

Source: The Weed Blog
  Feb 05, 2015

DENVER — A new pot spray promising to help women have better sex will hit the shelves in Colorado next week.

Foria, which contains marijuana extract, claims the relaxing properties of cannabis will help women have better and more satisfying sex. It's been available for a few months in California, but only to people with a medical marijuana card and doctor's recommendation. The edible coconut oil-based spray — users spritz it on their genitals about 30 minutes before sex — goes on sale to the general public in Colorado next week at an Aspen marijuana boutique.

"Cannabis is an aphrodisiac," said Genifer Murray, CEO of CannLabs, one of the nation's largest marijuana-testing companies. "And there's a lot of nerves down there."

What sets Foria apart, industry experts say, is its slick marketing campaign that's driving significant interest from customers. The company is launching Foria in Colorado at the X Games in Aspen, which begin Jan. 22. A video on the company's website features women speaking openly about how they use it and its effects. Foria claims to be the first sexual lubricant designed specifically to improve sex for women.

"We definitely have patients coming in for it, requesting it specifically. ... A-list celebrities that come in specifically for it. You'd be surprised who comes in for it," said Matthew Rosen of the CannaSutra co-op in Studio City, Calif. "Most people have been giving positive feedback on it."

Foria isn't cheap. In California, medical marijuana patients "donate" money instead of buying products, and they donate about $44 for a 10ml bottle. Each spritz contains about 2mg of THC, the component of marijuana that normally gets people high. But marijuana plants contain dozens of other chemical compounds, and Foria's makers say their proprietary blend generates heightened sensation but doesn't get the user high.

Murray said there's been an explosion in marijuana-infused product offerings, many of them little more than snake oil trading on the trendiness of legal marijuana.

Colorado and Washington state both allow recreational sales and use of marijuana, and Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia also have legalized but not yet started recreational sales. Because Foria is a marijuana product but not a prescription medicine, anyone 21 or older can buy it over the counter from a legal pot shop. Initially, Foria will be offered only at the Native Roots chain of marijuana stores in Colorado.

In Colorado, many of those recreational marijuana stores carry marijuana-infused lotions, including the "Legalize Lotion" line from Apothecanna. Users say the lotions can ease pain and relax muscles, which is pretty much what Foria claims to do. Some massage therapists in Denver are even offering "Mile High" massages with pot-infused oil, which customers say is incredibly relaxing.

Murray said she's tried out several different kinds of pain rubs, along with Foria.

"If this can help women have orgasms, I'm all about that," Murray said.

And did it work for her? "No comment," she said with a laugh.


  Jan 15, 2015

The deaths of two men in central Queensland after they smoked synthetic cannabis highlight the need to regulate marijuana and allow its controlled sale, the president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation says.

Dr Alex Wodak said it was extremely difficult to determine the substances in synthetic cannabis, making its effects unpredictable and treatment for unwanted reactions difficult.

The men died after smoking a product called Full Moon, sold in sex shops as herbal tea. One of the men collapsed after taking just one draw of smoke and never regained consciousness, Queensland police told reporters on Thursday.

Wodak, an addiction specialist, said people were drawn to synthetic drugs because they could be easier to obtain and because of the misguided perception they were legal and safe.

“This is for me a strong argument for accepting the futility of current approaches to tackling drugs and trying to do something that will be effective," Wodak said.

“That means undermining the black market by having a regulated approach to cannabis that includes taxing it."

Wodak said regulation could make it an offence to sell to people under a certain age and to pregnant women. Packaging should carry warning labels alerting people the product might cause schizophrenia and information on where to find help for consumers who felt they might be addicted, he said.

Full Moon synthetic cannabis

The Full Moon brand of synthetic cannabis, which police believe is responsible for the deaths of two men in Queensland. Photograph: ABC

Allowing cannabis to be sold in this way would push users away from synthetic drug use, which has unpredictable side effects, Wodak said.

Researchers said the substances had caused problems throughout the country.

The director of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre, Professor Jan Copeland, said clinicians had seen patients suffering cardiovascular effects such as high blood pressure and racing heart; seizures; kidney failure and severe mental health effects such as hallucinations, psychosis, panic and anxiety.

About 230,000 Australians – 1.2% of the population – tried synthetics cannabinoids in 2013, but many never used them again after experiencing unwanted effects, Copeland said.

In 2012, Western Australia attempted to tackle the problem by identifying the substances in synthetic cannabis and banning them by name, when it became apparent workers on mine sites were avoiding detection during drug tests by using synthetic cannabis instead of marijuana.

“Once researchers identified more than 20 substances, they realised they were never going to get the job done," Copeland said.

Each time a substance was banned, manufacturers would simply replace it with a new one.

“The Commonwealth then made a modification to the relevant legislation to make illegal anything mimicking the effect of cannabis and other illegal drugs, so that police didn't have to test synthetic drugs and find out what was in them to justify seizing and prosecuting," she said.

But manufacturers and retailers still attempt to bypass the law. Synthetic cannabis is sold in sex shops, online and by tobacconists as everything from incense to potpourri and herbal tea. But no matter what the packaging, the substance was not safe or legal, Copeland said.

“What is marketed as synthetic cannabis is essentially unspecified organic plant material that has been sprayed with chemicals and is then smoked in order to produce a feeling of being high," Copeland said.

As a result, doctors have no way of knowing what patients are reacting to. Because of a lack of toxicological data, it is difficult to directly attribute deaths to synthetic cannabinoids, but anecdotally, emergency presentations related to the drugs are increasing.

Professor Jennifer Martin, chair of clinical pharmacology at the University of Newcastle in NSW, said hundreds of distinct potential synthetic cannabinoids had now been identified and more are released frequently.

She and her colleagues are in the process of establishing a national database listing the substances found in synthetic cannabinoids, which can be used to help treat the adverse reactions they cause as well as monitor the chemical composition of the synthetics being sold in Australia.

Using new technology, Martin will be able to test marketed samples and samples from patients to determine both what chemicals have been ingested and how much.

Previous technology only allowed for pre-determined substances to be identified and quantified.

“If you overdose on morphine for example, we know what to look for," Martin said.

“With synthetic drugs, we don't know exactly what we're looking for, we just know there are a range of things you shouldn't have in your body and we need to somehow find out what they are and how much of it there is."

She and her team has been working with emergency departments throughout Australia and a US team based at the National Institutes of Health and hopes the first data will be available on the database for clinical use within nine months.


  Jan 15, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. – Supporters of medical marijuana in Kansas are joining two Democratic state lawmakers at a Statehouse rally in favor of the Cannabis Compassionate Care Act.

Rep. Gail Finney, of Wichita, and Sen. David Haley of Kansas City filed medical marijuana bills prior to the start of this year's legislative session.

Similar measures have been filed since 2009, but none of them have made it to the discussion stage in committee.

In addition to Thursday's rally, several medical cannabis groups are lobbying state lawmakers on behalf of patients and caregivers throughout the day.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of medical marijuana.

  Jan 15, 2015

Colorado's neighbors are not happy about marijuana legalization.

The attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska filed a lawsuit on Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Colorado's commercialized marijuana system violates the constitution.

“Oklahoma and states surrounding Colorado are being impacted by Colorado's decision to legalize and promote the commercialization of marijuana which has injured Oklahoma's ability to enforce our state's policies against marijuana," Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement on Thursday, referring to Colorado's Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in that state.

In the lawsuit, the states argue that Colorado's law violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution, which states that federal laws takes precedence over state law.

“In passing and enforcing Amendment 64, the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress," they write in the suit. “Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems."

Law enforcement along Colorado's border have long voiced concerns over the impact that legalization will have for them, as The Post reported in July:

In Scotts Bluff County, Neb., Sheriff Mark Overman says Colorado is exporting trouble to its neighbors. “They're promoting marijuana tourism," he said. “The message is: Come to Colorado, smoke the marijuana. Then people bring some home. We don't go after it — we don't have anybody sitting on the border — but this Colorado marijuana is very potent, very aromatic, and we often trip over it if somebody's speeding and we pull them over."

In a statement, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers vowed to defend the state's law.

The Washington Post

  Jan 14, 2015

The medical marijuana issue got a big boost in Kentucky this week when a bill was introduced by House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg). The bill, HB 3, would make medical marijuana legal for Kentucky patients who are certified by a physician. It would task the Department of Public Health with establishing a patient registry, issuing ID cards to patients who qualify, and licensing and regulating dispensaries that would produce and sell medical marijuana for patients' use.

Unfortunately, the bill is very restrictive in many respects. Although it covers a broad range of medical conditions, it does not allow patients to cultivate their own plants, and it only allows medical marijuana to be used in a non-smoked form. However, HB 3 is a much better bill than the very limited CBD-only bill that passed in 2014, and if implemented, it would bring great relief to many patients who are suffering needlessly.

Stumbo said he does not expect the bill to become law this year, but he told reporters that he sees the issue gaining support in Frankfort. “I think it's one of those issues … that the more people learn about it, the less they fear it," he said.

  Jan 14, 2015

Richmond, VA: The majority of Virginians oppose criminalizing minor marijuana possession offenders, according to statewide polling survey data compiled by Public Policy Polling and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Sixty percent of those surveyed responded favorably to the notion of amending state law so that the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana would be reduced from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil fine of no more than $100.00. Only 32 percent of those polled disagreed with depenalizing marijuana possession offenses.

Virginia police annually arrest some 19,000 individuals for marijuana possession offenses. Only 11 other states make more annual marijuana possession arrests.

Legislation (Senate Bill 686) prefiled in the state seeks to amend state law to reclassify cannabis possession as a non-criminal offense.

  Jan 13, 2015

Is cannabis as dangerous as heroin? Or is that part of "Schedule I" a 45-year old work of fiction?

A federal judge in Sacramento, California, is weighing the constitutionality of the 45-year-old Controlled Substances Act, and specifically the part of it which classifies the marijuana plant as a drug that is as dangerous as LSD or heroin.

Final arguments in a federal case with the Controlled Substances Act at its core will be held next month in Sacramento, reports the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller held a five-day fact-finding hearing on the classification question late last year. Her ruling is expected later this year.

The case marks the first time in decades that a judge has agreed to consider marijuana's designation as a Schedule 1 drug under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the newspaper said. Under the act, Schedule I drugs have no medicinal purpose, are unsafe even under medical supervision and contain a high potential for abuse.

Mueller's decision to hold the hearing came in response to a pretrial defense motion in a federal case against alleged marijuana growers. Prosecutors unsuccessfully opposed the fact-finding effort.

A ruling against federal cannabis law would apply only to the defendants in the case and almost certainly would be appealed, the newspaper said. If the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined the law was unconstitutional, all the Western states would be affected.

Attorneys for the defendants have argued that the federal marijuana law violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law. They contend the government enforces marijuana law unevenly, by allowing distribution of marijuana in states where it is legal and cracking down elsewhere.

The prosecution countered that Congress legally placed the cannabis plant in Schedule 1.

Zenia K. Gilg, a lawyer for the growers, told the Times that scientific understanding and public acceptance of marijuana have grown substantially since courts last examined the federal classification. She cited the November election, when voters in Alaska and Oregon decided to join Colorado and Washington in making marijuana legal for recreational use. Most states already provide some legal protection for its use as medicine.

  Jan 13, 2015

OLYMPIA—Two years after Washington voters ended cannabis prohibition, lawmakers are wading through a thicket of proposed reforms that aim to stabilize an industry struggling to get off the ground, reports Cooper Inveen of WNPA Olympia Bureau.

“Right now I call it the wild, wild west," Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, said during the Jan. 8 annual Associated Press Legislative Preview. “We've got incongruities in this law that we need to solve."

With seven new cannabis-related bills pre-filed so far come seven new opportunities to shape Washington's unprecedented cannabis experiment. From a complete overhaul of medical marijuana to giving those charged with misdemeanor pot crimes a chance at a clean slate, little related to the marijuana issue seems to be off the table.

One of the larger challenges the Legislature may face is finding a balance between establishing a fully state-regulated system and not infringing on the rights of legitimate medical-marijuana users. However, finding that balance becomes even more complicated when discussing how to properly incorporate medical dispensaries into the system voters authorized two years ago with the passage of Initiative 502.

  Jan 12, 2015

Last year, Colorado's health officials attempted to educate the public about responsible marijuana use through the much hated “Don't Be a Rat" campaign. Ads featured huge human sized rat cages and discouraged people from being human lab rats by experimenting with marijuana. The ads soon became targets for graffiti and one even became a local hotspot where people would pose for selfies with friends while smoking weed. Obviously, the ads were not working so this year, Colorado is taking a different approach.

This week, Colorado announced they will launch a new $5.7 million campaign that doesn't encourage people to avoid marijuana completely, but only to use it responsibly and safely. This new spin on old advertising methods will focus on positive pot education and take a cheerful, “neighborly" approach to getting the word out about marijuana safety concerns.

Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado's Chief Medical Officer, said the ads would be bright and friendly rather than dark and ominous. One pad will show a park bench and remind people not to smoke weed in the park. Others will point out that it's not safe to smoke pot while driving, but it's fine to puff away while walking or “skipping" down the sidewalk. “This is not an aversion campaign," Wolk said.

The ads will be funded through tax revenue from recreational pot sales. Health officials plan to distribute flyers and post advertisements in key places to influence young people, the Latino population, and pregnant or nursing mothers.

It's a step in the right direction according to Rep. Jonathan Singer. “We need to start treating marijuana like the drug it is, not the drug some fear it to be," he said. Rep. Singer is an advocate for marijuana use in the right circumstances and he has even sponsored legislation to tax pot and use revenue to support education.

What do you think of this new positive advertising approach? Will people pay attention to bright, friendly ads or will they just ignore them like they did with past public education efforts?

  Jan 12, 2015