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This is what a cannabis equity program looks like

Under the leadership of Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title, Massachusetts has revealed the “nation’s first statewide “social equity” program to help minorities and people convicted of drug offenses work in the legal marijuana industry.”

Massachusetts crafts ‘social equity’ program to help minorities and drug offenders enter marijuana industry

Massachusetts state law requires the Cannabis Control Commission to promote full participation in the industry by people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The commission is already giving priority in review of licensing applications to “economic empowerment” applicants who come from areas and groups that have been overly affected by marijuana arrests. […]

There are four tracks in the program: one for owners/entrepreneurs; one for management and executive level careers; one for entry level jobs or people looking to re-enter society after incarceration; and one for people with existing skills that can be transferred to the cannabis business. The final track has separate categories for professional skills like law or accounting and trade skills, like drivers, plumbers or electricians. It is also designed to help inventors of cannabis accessories.

Each track will offer training on industry-specific challenges and skills.

This is impressive work. It’s so much harder to do it this way, but represents a desire to not just legalize, but partially make up for the decades of damage from marijuana prohibition.

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58 comments to This is what a cannabis equity program looks like

  • Dante

    Seems like a great idea.

    So, how long before the “authorities” hijack the program and kill it? For our protection, you understand.

    You can never convince a government employee to derail their own gravy train, and the war on cannabis is the biggest freakin’ government money grab in human history.

  • Servetus

    Massachusetts’ social equity program to assist minorities and drug offenders gain careers in the legal marijuana industry will decentralize the business in a way that supports small business entities while striking back at inequality in the U.S.

    The program strikes back in a uniquely peaceful fashion—an unusual effect when correcting or reversing social inequality. Social equalizations have traditionally included serious violence. The Massachusetts cannabis program may be a rare example of a transformative revolution that doesn’t accrue through forcefulness.

    Walter Sheidel at Stanford published a celebrated book in 2017, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, illustrating the history of income equality and its troubled corrections:

    …Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world.

    Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The “Four Horsemen” of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future.

    An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent—and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon. […]

    https://press.princeton.edu/titles/10921.html

  • darkcycle

    Wow. Now if only Washington had done something like that. Our system included cronyism and financial roadblocks as features. From the outset, that kept most of the old tyme growers and dealers out of the legal market and scrambling for new income streams….which isn’t working out well for many. Others began moving their product straight out of State. That will come as no surprise here, but the State is “‘Shocked to find gambling going on here’ ‘Sir, your winnings'”
    Hope your leg is recovering well, Pete. Next time….don’t do that!

    • Pete

      Thanks, darkcycle! I totally agree that I don’t want to do that again! It’s healing, but it’s such a long process – 13 weeks mostly in a wheelchair so far.

  • thelbert

    best wishes Pete. get well soon

  • Servetus

    The inequality of fortunes is often the result of never-ending war, and all things supporting the war. The so-called drug war has been ongoing for about 2000 years in some form or other, and until recently showed few signs of ending. Scientific investigations of prohibition exposing its true motives and assessments continues to dump sand into the gearbox driving the drug war machine.

    It’s not as if American citizens weren’t forewarned about wars that don’t end. In an excerpt from Political Observations by James Madison, the father of the Constitution, and the fourth president of the U.S. — written on 4/20 no less — in the year 1795, Madison noted:

    Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.

    War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

    In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.

    The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manner and of morals, engendered in both.

    No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

    War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement. In war, a physical force is to be created; and it is the executive will, which is to direct it.

    In war, the public treasuries are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.

    In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle.

    The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace.

    –James Madison, from “Political Observations,” April 20, 1795 in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, Volume IV, page 491.

    http://reclaimdemocracy.org/madison_perpetual_war/

  • Mouthy

    I heard that white landowners in Asia, Mexico, and South America created a gimmick to get their drugs to sell better. And that gimmick was prohibition, since, according to the Bible, every human is enticed by the forbidden fruit and that consumption rates increased under prohibition, as did profits for growers.

    • Servetus

      It still works that way. Increasing the price and/or decreasing the availability of a product makes it more desirable for many people. It’s why we desire Lamborghinis instead of Chevys. It’s how the diamond market operates; diamonds aren’t as rare as they’re made to appear by De Beers, the company that control the diamond market. The behavior is likely an evolutionary remnant of our species’ hunter-gatherer era.

      • Mouthy

        “The behavior is likely an evolutionary remnant of our species’ hunter-gatherer era.”

        That makes since. Hunting and gathering for diamonds.

        On cruise ships, when you dock, you get a little ticket to take into a Diamonds International store and they give you a free little golden charm (each port’s different) with a tiny diamond in it. And does offering bud on cruises subject to the 1961 U.N. Single’s Laws since it’s out in open territory waters? I don’t think it can, since location/grid %$^%&* are non-members of the U.N. I think Virgin should offer a cruise lines that does bud. Ships named: Blue Dream, Acapulco Gold, Sour Diesel, Pineapple Express, etc.

        I just proved your point, Servetus. Cruises are luxury and I don’t mind wallowing in it from time to time. All the food you can eat is a hunter gather’s wet dreeam, plus the shopping to simulate hunting. One day, they’ll use hemp diesel from the seeds to power such leviathans of leisure.

  • Will

    .
    .
    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

    Trump to appoint White House lawyer as next DEA chief

    https://tinyurl.com/ybk8jwdc

    […] Uttam Dhillon, who currently works as deputy White House counsel, is likely to take over at the agency as soon as next week. Dhillon previously worked at the Justice Department and as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles.

  • Servetus

    Dr. Shaotong Zhu at the UT Southwestern Medical Center and colleagues have deduced the structure of the GABAA receptor:

    27-JUN-2018 –…Many drugs – both legal and illegal – work on the GABAA receptor. Particularly well-known are the benzodiazepines, which are used for anesthesia during surgery and prescribed to treat epilepsy, anxiety, and insomnia, he said, adding that solving the structure of the receptor could someday lead to better treatments for those conditions. […]

    The GABAA receptor binds to GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid), the major inhibitory, or calming, neurotransmitter in the adult brain. To function properly, the brain needs a balance of stimulating and calming signals, said Dr. Hibbs. Dysfunction of the GABAA receptor is found in conditions marked by excessive excitation in the brain, such as epilepsy. In addition to the benzodiazepine class of sedatives, the GABAA receptor is a common target for barbiturates, anesthetics, and alcohol, he added. All of these drugs act on the brain by increasing the activity of the GABAA receptor, which in turn further dampens, or calms, brain activity.

    “This receptor is a pharmacological gold mine. However, where these drugs bind and how they exert their effects had not been understood at the structural level, forcing scientists to base their understanding of this receptor on computational modeling,” Dr. Hibbs said.

    The GABAA receptor has been notoriously resistant to X-ray crystallography. That method – long considered the gold standard of structural biology – requires the crystallization of proteins so that structures can be determined based on X-ray diffraction patterns, explained Dr. Hibbs, an Effie Marie Cain Scholar in Medical Research. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Structure of major brain receptor that is treatment target for epilepsy, anxiety solved

  • Mouthy

    Help Send the FBI to Rogers County Oklahoma.

    https://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/man-removed-from-meeting-by-rogers-county-sheriff-wants

    If this goes favorably, it will break down the small town cop mentality in regards to citizens and their views on cannabis and use of unnecessary force. These kinds of members of LE are the biggest threat to our new law–bigger than our politicians. This could reduce them harassing lawful growers/vendors/patients.

    • Mouthy

      I sent this to Senator Elizabeth Warren:

      I have no trust in my representatives and senators to act, so I’m writing to you, an Oklahoma native. I am writing as a concerned resident in regards to an incident involving Chip Paul and Rogers County Sheriff, Scott Walton. During a meeting about a medical marijuana vote coming up, cell-phone footage caught Sheriff Walton with his hands on the back of Mr. Paul’s neck, forcing him out of the building. Sheriff Walton stated the man was disruptive and told to leave, though there appears to be no evidence to suggest it. The UCLA claims the Sheriff was using his authority to silence those who supported the medical marijuana bill coming to a vote at that time, as does Mr. Paul. Mr. Paul would like the FBI to investigate since he and a lot of others would never be able to trust any Oklahoma investigators and DAs. I like Mr. Walton for helping a veteran with a roof (I’m one too-Iraq), but I don’t want law enforcement to control political speech with their authority, therefore my oath to the United States Government still stands and this kind of force on a citizen during political speech is a domestic threat to my nation. Please help Oklahoma and Mr. Paul secure a proper investigation. We cannot allow law enforcement to keep undermining the rights of citizens when they feel that their bottom line is being threatened. I ask that you pay attention to this problem and monitor it. If the FBI comes, then it would tell the rest of Oklahoma Law Enforcement that they cannot do that or harass citizens and it would protect Oklahoma’s new Medical Marijuana law from law enforcement harassing those in compliance with the law. You know all about Oklahoma Mrs. Warren, which is why I’ve entrusted you to jump on board. And who better than you, a heavy weight champion, hailing from Oklahoma.

      • Servetus

        More good news is that is that Luxembourg and Vermont have also legitimized weed.

        Luxembourg is too rich to give a damn about trivialities such as legality, so its current medical cannabis legalization is merely a symbol or a statement meant to reflect the reality of the situation that already exists. Vermont, too, fits this category.

        For Oklahoma it’s different. What Oklahomans can now expect in their communities that medicate with medical or recreational pot will be ongoing reductions in suicides, traffic deaths, wife beatings, and homicides. Flowers will bloom. People will develop a better appreciation for nature and its gifts.

  • Mouthy

    Obrador is now President of Mexico. “Hugs not bullets” . . . amnesty to drug dealers and the idea that crime cannot be fought if the government is corrupt and a part of human rights violations.

    I hope this is a good thing.

  • Servetus

    Australians are encountering bottlenecks in the implementation of Australia’s medical cannabis program. Training of general practitioners in the use of cannabis is lacking, as is access to specialists for those who require prescription cannabinoids.

    Despite the current setbacks, physicians are taking a lead in recommending marijuana for patients who inquire about treatment:

    3-JUL-2018 – “A majority of GPs believe medicinal cannabis should be available by prescription, with the preferred model involving trained GPs being able to prescribe independently of specialists,” she said. […]

    ●Most GPs support the use of medicinal cannabis for:

    ○chronic cancer pain (80.2%)
    ○palliative care (78.8%)
    ○intractable epilepsy (70.3%)

    ●Of those who had an opinion about whether medicinal cannabis was less hazardous than other prescription medicines, a majority believed medicinal cannabis was safer than chemotherapy drugs (78.1%), opioid analgesics (75.6%), benzodiazepines (74.5%) and antipsychotics (68.3%), and over 50% for antidepressants and statins.

    ●Almost one in 10 GPs (7.5 percent) reported more than five enquiries in the three months prior to the survey.

    …”Despite recent policy announcements, fewer than 800 patients have accessed legal medicinal cannabis in Australia.”

    “Part of the problem is the specialist-based model that largely excludes GPs from prescribing; most Australians know how hard it is to access specialist medical care, let alone a specialist with an interest in cannabis-based medicines.”

    “This situation continues to frustrate patients, many of whom simply continue to access illicit cannabis to self-medicate,” […]

    AAAS Public Release: Survey shows Australian GPs cautiously supportive of medicinal cannabis access: Need for GP training also highlighted

  • WalStMonky

    .
    .

    It appears that Election Day 2018 in Colorado will be another referendum on regulated re-legalization. Jared Polis has the Democratic nomination for Governor. Of course Rep. Polis is a staunch supporter of regulated re-legalization. Walker Stephenson is the Republican nominee but if you’re rooting for a knock down drag out contest between the forces of good and evil it appears he’ll be a disappointment. While it does appear that he wants to muck up the medicinal cannabis side he appears to have no concern about cannabis intended for enjoyment. His problem with medical appears to be a problem with the lack of revenue generated. Perhaps now that he has won the nomination his position will become less opaque. But at this point it sure appears that Mr. Stephenson doesn’t think that an attack against the law previously known as Amendment 64 is a good bet.
    Stage is set for an ‘angrier’ governor’s race than Colorado has seen in past years

    PS: FWIW Rep. Polis was not the candidate endorsed by the Colorado Democratic Party.

  • DdC

    Despite shifting attitudes and changing laws about cannabis, there remain people—and entire industries—that staunchly oppose marijuana legalization.

    The Industries That Oppose Marijuana Legalization

    Five Years into Marijuana Legalization: What Didn’t Happen
    Never before had any prohibitionist had to fight back against an actual legalization regime. For years, Sabet and his kind had issued dire forecasts of the bleak hellscape America would become under the seductive addiction to the devil’s lettuce. Now those predictions would be put to the test in the real world.

    California Dispensaries Must Destroy $350 Million Worth of Weed
    Across California, compost bins are fuller and dispensary shelves are a little emptier than usual. If you knew the signs, you’d sense that something dramatic had just happened. And you’d be right.

    How Police Are Preparing to Catch Drivers Under the Influence of Cannabis
    With recreational marijuana set to become legal on Oct. 17, police forces across Canada are stepping up efforts to train officers to detect drivers under the influence of the drug.

    Ex-Drug Czars Bill Bennett, John Walters:
    Mr. Trump, please don’t legalize marijuana at the federal level

    President Trump has spoken out forcefully about defeating the illegal drug problem—as powerfully as any recent president, including Ronald Reagan. Now he is urged to support marijuana legalization in the midst of the most deadly drug abuse epidemic in American history. President Trump should refuse—it’s a bad deal with unsustainable consequences.

  • Servetus

    Researchers at the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics have demonstrated that CBD extracts alone may not be responsible for all the anti-epileptic effects achieved by ingesting herbal cannabis with its multiple ingredients and entourage effect:

    5-JUL-2018 — A pioneering study has found Australian parents who turned to medicinal cannabis to treat children with epilepsy overwhelmingly (75 percent) considered the extracts as “effective”. Contrary to parental expectations, extracts generally contained low doses of cannabidiol (CBD) – commonly considered to be a key therapeutic element and that has been successfully used in recent clinical trials to treat epilepsy. […]

    The study found that the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), and the closely related compound THCA, were present in most extracts, although the quantity was generally not enough to produce intoxicating effects. Just over half the extracts were associated with a seizure reduction of 75-100 percent, which reinforces observations from animal studies and case reports of anticonvulsant effects of THC and THCA. As well, 65 percent were associated with other beneficial effects like improved cognition (35 percent) and language skills (24 percent). […]

    Lead author and PhD candidate with the Lambert Initiative at the Brain and Mind Centre, Ms Anastasia Suraev, said just under half the families who used medicinal cannabis reduced their antiepileptic medication. […]

    Corresponding author and academic director of the Lambert Initiative, Professor Iain McGregor, said: “Although the illicit extracts we analysed contained low doses of CBD, three in four were reported as ‘effective’, indicating the importance of researching the cannabis plant in its entirety for the treatment of epilepsy.

    “And despite the overwhelming presence of generally low levels of THC, concentrations did not differ between samples perceived as ‘effective’ and ‘ineffective’.

    “Our research indicates there is a potential role for other cannabinoids, alone or in combination with conventional drugs, in treatment-resistant epilepsy – and this warrants further investigation so we can hopefully develop safer and more effective medicines.”

    AAAS Public Release: Content of illicit cannabis extracts used to treat children with epilepsy revealed: Families who turned to black market did not get CBD-rich products; majority reduced seizures

    • NCN

      This study introduced me to the concept of “Placebo by proxy.” It seems parents giving cannabis oils to their children can sometimes bias their epileptic kids into a reduction of seizures.

      Second-hand hope can be as good as dope. Who knew?

      • Servetus

        There is an intriguing opposite effect of a placebo, called a nocebo, that happens when taking a perfectly harmless but unknown substance such as a sugar pill triggers adverse symptoms simply because the person expects symptoms or harm to occur.

        The nocebo effect can show up when cops clear out marijuana in a grow bust and later claim they experienced symptoms of being high just from inhaling the aroma of the plants. It’s also why some officers choose to wear hazmat suits when they’re near weed.

  • 76 Trombones

    Scott Pruitt. Lest we forget:

    “While attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt sued Colorado over the state’s decriminalization of marijuana. The suit alleged that Colorado’s marijuana industry harmed neighboring states by “draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems.
    The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.”

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/pruitt-confirmation-adds-another-strong-anti-marijuana-voice-to-trump-cabinet

  • If I Had a Rocket Launcher

    Very glad to see this asshole, Christian Imperialist protector of Big Oil crawl home to his red state.

  • Servetus

    Scott Pruitt’s attitude toward drugs never wavered. He belongs to a religious sect that sees illicit drugs as demonic. It has nothing to do with biology or health—it’s aimed at soul saving and the persecution of drug heretics, except when it comes to executions.

    Pruitt the polluting prohib began his legal practice after law school in Tulsa where he focused on defending Christians in religious liberty cases. His consequent interactions with drugs as a politician included:

    [Pruitt] … sat as the chair of a task force for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There, he worked to put limits on workers’ compensation and sponsored a reform bill that sought to impose drug tests on workers who were involved in job injuries or accidents. […]

    In 2013, Pruitt supported the Oklahoma legislature’s bid to join four other states trying to restrict medical abortions by limiting or banning off-label uses of drugs, via House Bill 1970. After the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the abortion law was unconstitutional, Pruitt requested that the United States Supreme Court review the case. Pruitt was unhappy with the United States Supreme Court’s rejection of the Oklahoma case.[…]

    In April 2014, an Oklahoma trial court found the state’s execution drug supply law was unconstitutional, and after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals refused to order a stop to executions, the Oklahoma Supreme Court did. Pruitt then filed a motion arguing that the Supreme Court was acting outside its authority, complaining it was causing a “constitutional crisis”. After the Supreme Court refused Pruitt’s motion, Governor Mary Fallin faced conflicting court orders, so she issued a declaration rejecting the Supreme Court’s authority and scheduling executions. After the state then botched the execution of Clayton Lockett, and the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently approved of Oklahoma’s method in Glossip v. Gross, Pruitt asked to delay all scheduled executions in Oklahoma upon discovering executioners had accidentally used the wrong drug in a lethal injection.[…] [Wiki]

  • strayan

    Oh look, they want the war-mongering to continue under the pretext of the drug war:

    https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/08/obama-afghanistan-drug-war-taliban-616316

  • Servetus

    Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society is the man who stacks the courts for the extreme Catholic right. Among the many social disasters that result, one is he packs the courts with prohibidiots and prohibitches. Jay Michaelson has the story at the Daily Beast:

    07.09.18 – Leo is a member of the secretive, extremely conservative Knights of Malta, a Catholic order founded in the 12th century that functions as a quasi-independent sovereign nation with its own diplomatic corps (separate from the Vatican), United Nations status, and a tremendous amount of money and land.

    The Knights, which recently have tussled with Pope Francis and resisted his calls for reform, take their own set of vows, as monks do. […]

    Leo has spent a career shaping the federal judiciary to reflect rigid, conservative religious dogmas.

    Those include the notions that human life begins at conception and that homosexuality is immoral. The reason is that the moral “natural law” is as part of the fabric of the universe as the laws of nature, and it trumps any secular law that humans (or legislatures) might dream up. As developed by St. Thomas Aquinas and a millennium of subsequent philosophers, everything has its “natural” function and its “unnatural” misuse. Food is for nourishment, not gustatory delight; sex is for procreation, not pleasure; sensual enjoyment is luxuria, a sinful diversion of pleasure from its intended purpose of reproduction. […]

    Leo is most closely associated with the Federalist Society, which he joined in the 1990s. Sometimes thought of as a legal association, the Federalist Society is actually a large right-wing network that grooms conservative law students still in law school (sponsoring everything from free burrito lunches to conferences, speakers, and journals), links them together, mentors them, finds them jobs, and eventually places them in courts and in government. It’s like a large-scale fraternity, knitted together by ideological conformity. […]

    The Federalist Society network is now estimated to include over 70,000 people. In 2016, they reported $25 million in net assets.

    Leo played the decisive role in the appointments of Justice Alito (whom few people had heard of before Leo first promoted him), Chief Justice Roberts, and Justice Gorsuch—as well as in the unprecedented stonewalling of would-be Justice Merrick Garland.

    Now, of the 25 people on Trump’s Supreme Court list, all but one are Federalist Society members or affiliates. Justice Gorsuch was the speaker at the 2017 Federalist Society gala. And when Gorsuch was asked how he had come to Trump’s attention, he told Congress, “On about December 2, 2016, I was contacted by Leonard Leo” […]

    Finally, thanks to a huge $30 million donation made in 2016, Leonard Leo is the most powerful individual at the newly renamed Antonin Scalia School of Law, formerly the George Mason University School of Law.

    When the donation was made, all that was stated publicly is that $10 million came from the Koch brothers and $20 million from an anonymous donor brought to the law school by Leonard Leo. This was an obfuscation. Since then, however, it has emerged that the $20 million came from a shell corporation called the BH Fund, of which Leo is president.

    In other words, it was money that Leo raised (from a still-unknown source, hiding behind the shell corporation) and donated himself.

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-secrets-of-leonard-leo-the-man-behind-trumps-supreme-court-pick?ref=home?ref=home

    Leo’s current job is to pick the next member of the Supreme court for Trump and his political base. Within Federalist Society dogma, “there is no right to privacy implied by the due process clause of the Constitution”, which means that anyone engaging in luxuria, i.e., smoking recreational marijuana, must be prohibited from doing so to comply with Catholic catechism 2291.

    For the psychologically damaging cannabis disinformation being levied upon hapless Catholic children, see:

    https://www.nwcatholic.org/spirituality/ask-father/catholic-belief-smoking-marijuana.html

    https://lifeteen.com/blog/marijuana-is-it-wrong-to-light-up/

  • Servetus

    Dr. Mel Gurtov, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University, assesses U.S. world standing as a human rights advocate under the Trump regime. Not surprisingly, the nation’s standing on human rights has tanked:

    Among the extraordinary backward steps Donald Trump is taking America, none is more shameful, than his disregard for—in fact, his calculated trampling on—human rights at home and abroad. To my mind, the two are interrelated: A government that does not respect the human rights of its own citizens will also show no respect for human rights in other countries—and will help other governments that seek to repress their citizens’ rights. […]

    On the home front, two survey sources show how the US has declined as a repository of human rights, in particular adherence to political rights and civil liberties. These sources are the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, whose ranking is based on 44 indicators of lawfulness; and Freedom House, which makes annual assessments based on implementation (not claims) of rights enumerated in the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The WJP ranks the US 19th of 113 countries surveyed. Among the weakest dimensions for the US are labor rights, effective correctional system, discrimination, respect for due process, and accessibility and affordability of the legal system. For comparison sake, note that Germany (6th), Canada (9th), and Britain (11th) all rank higher than the United States. Freedom House ranks the US 86th of 100 countries; Canada (99), Germany (94), and Britain (94) again rank higher. Trump’s corruption, evasion of legal and institutional norms, and low regard for certain human rights help account for a lower Freedom House ranking of the US than in previous years. [emphasis added] […]

    Meantime, the Trump administration has continued the sordid US practice of supporting authoritarian regimes, making the US party to repression of human rights abroad and, on occasion, a collaborator in crimes against humanity and war crimes…[that includes support of] the Philippines despite its unrestrained drug war. […]

    http://www.peacevoice.info/2018/07/07/at-home-and-abroad-trump-abandons-human-rights/

  • Study funded by Oxycontin-maker finds marijuana doesn’t work for chronic pain
    https://twitter.com/maiasz/status/1017022838438531072

  • Servetus

    A coke addiction gene has been discovered. Alban de Kerchove d’Exaerde at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and colleagues have discovered that Maged1 is required for cocaine addiction:

    12-JUL-2018 – …published today in EMBO Reports, [the finding] opens the door to further investigations into the molecular mechanisms underlying addiction-associated adaptations in the brain. […]

    De Kerchove d’Exaerde and colleagues observed that mice lacking the Maged1 gene were entirely unresponsive to cocaine and that the release of dopamine in the NAc is diminished. They did not show any reaction normally observed after cocaine treatment, such as drug sensitization, an increased effect of the drug following repeated doses or addictive behavior like seeking up places where the animal expects a cocaine reward or auto-administration of the drug. In a subsequent set of experiments, the researchers scrutinized the role of Maged1 in different brain areas and found that it is specifically required in the prefrontal cortex and not in the neurons producing dopamine in the VTA for the development of cocaine sensitization and dopamine release.

    Only very few mutations are known to induce a complete lack of behavioral response to cocaine. Other members of this small group are established components of the reward system. Maged1 thus serves as a promising new entry point into the analysis of the mechanisms underlying drug addiction.

    AAAS Public Release: A gene required for addictive behavior: Researchers show that mice lacking the Maged1 gene are unable to acquire cocaine addiction

    Read the article: doi: 10.15252/embr.201745089

  • Tom Angell has an opinion article at the LA Times worth reading:
    “Democrats still haven’t figured out that legal weed is a winning issue” https://t.co/j21imb20cV

    Is it ignorance or conflict of interest? Sheer stupidity?

    I think servetus is right on with the reference to the Federalist Society.

  • “There’s No Rational Way to Justify America’s Drug Laws”
    By Maia Szalavitz
    https://t.co/RTeJnuZTeA

    • Mouthy

      True, but without these laws, we wouldn’t be allowed to wage war in Afghanistan against a drug money funded enemy armed enough to keep us there long enough to open up lithium and copper mines (A round of applause for the 1961 U.N. Single Laws). Persia, Greece, Mongolia, Great Britain, Russia, and now America. It set up oil contracts with Iraq when she was destabilized by America fighting drug money . . . after we took out their leader and opened up shop for organized crime to roam the streets of Baghdad. If we legalized drugs, we’ll never justify a scenario in which America saves the day again. Venezuelan is crying for our intervention. How dare we let that oil drip through our fingers and slowly through the embargo loopholes of Curacao. Let’s face it, in the words of HR Clinton, “There is just too much money in it”. Russia drops drug dollars onto Ukrainian separatists . . . Georgia as well. His BFF in Chechnya uses it to oil the machine and tighten the screws of his ‘country’.

      • …and without these laws how could the federal government exercise control over states yearning to grow and modernize their police departments – at the expense of states rights and the bill of rights. Drug wars act like built in immigration controls amongst minority populations (all non whites).

        And more control and power to the feds over the states, and their commerce. Now the perfect excuse for class controls.

  • DdC

    California regulators released proposed marijuana rules. Separately, officials released guidance saying that “the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited.” Meanwhile, State Controller Betty Yee was injured in a car crash involving a driver suspected of being under the influence of marijuana.

  • Servetus

    In 1974, US researchers A. E. Munson, L. S. Harris, M. A. Friedman, W. L. Dewey, and R. A. Carchman observed that cannabis had anti-cancer properties. The results were published a year later. Hysterically fearful that someone might have something good to say about marijuana that could lead to outing cannabis prohibition as a mere tool of social repression, the Ford administration buried the results.

    In the post-Nixon era, the US continues to bureaucratically obstruct or willfully disrupt meaningful scientific research on cancer and treatments of other illnesses that are remediable using marijuana. Fortunately, saner foreign nations are not so predisposed. In Germany, at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Rostock University Medical Center, Burkhard Hinz and Robert Ramer just published a summary on the “Anti‐tumoural actions of cannabinoids” in the British Journal of Pharmacology:

    ABSTRACT: The endocannabinoid system has emerged as a considerable target for the treatment of diverse diseases. In addition to the well‐established palliative effects of cannabinoids in cancer therapy, phytocannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoid compounds as well as inhibitors of endocannabinoid degradation have attracted attention as possible systemic anticancer drugs. As a matter of fact, accumulating data from preclinical studies suggest cannabinoids elicit effects on different levels of cancer progression, comprising inhibition of proliferation, neovascularisation, invasion and chemoresistance, induction of apoptosis and autophagy as well as enhancement of tumour immune surveillance. Although the clinical use of cannabinoid receptor ligands is limited by their psychoactivity, nonpsychoactive compounds, such as cannabidiol, have gained attention due to preclinically established anticancer properties and a favourable risk‐to‐benefit profile. Thus, cannabinoids may complement the currently used collection of chemotherapeutics, as a broadly diversified option for cancer treatment, while counteracting some of their severe side effects.

    British Journal of Pharmacology: https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bph.14426

    First published: 17 July 2018

  • Servetus

    At Wolters Olters Kluwer Health, headquartered in the Netherlands, reporting 2017 annual revenues of €4.4 billion, a company serving customers in over 180 countries, maintaining operations in over 40 countries, employing approximately 19,000 people worldwide, today fired another silver bullet into the coffin of the opioid industries:

    18-JUL-2018 — Patients who take prescription opioids for more than 60 days before total knee or hip replacement surgery are at significantly higher risk of being readmitted to the hospital and of undergoing repeat joint-replacement surgery, compared to patients with no preoperative opioid use, reports a study in the July 18 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio in partnership with Wolters Kluwer. […]

    “Opioid use should be considered yet another risk factor for surgeons and patients to consider prior to elective primary joint arthroplasty,” write Hue H. Luu, MD, and colleagues of The University of Chicago. They note that more than half of patients in their national database study had at least one opioid prescription filled before undergoing total knee or hip arthroplasty (TKA or THA). […]

    The study included approximately 324,000 patients who underwent TKA (233,000 patients) or THA (91,000) between 2003 and 2014. All patients had at least one year of follow-up data, while about 160,000 patients had three years of follow-up. […]

    Prolonged opioid use was associated with an increased risk of both adverse outcomes. For TKA patients, the hospital readmission rate was 4.82 percent among those with no preoperative opioid use versus 6.17 percent for those with more than 60 days of opioid use. For THA patients, the rates were 3.71 versus 5.85 percent, respectively.

    At one-year follow-up, the rate of revision TKA was 1.07 percent for patients with no preoperative opioids versus 2.14 percent for those with prolonged opioid use. For THA, the revision rates were 0.38 versus 1.10 percent, respectively.

    The increased risks associated with prolonged preoperative opioid use were also significant in the three-year follow-up group. In both groups the opioid-related increases in risk remained significant after adjustment for age, sex, and a “comorbidity index” reflecting other medical conditions. The authors note some limitations of their study, including a lack of data on the cause of repeat surgery or the reason for readmission.

    Amid the ongoing opioid epidemic, studies have linked preoperative opioid use to worse clinical outcomes after various types of surgery. Total knee and hip arthroplasty are two of the most common surgical procedures in the United States, with more than one million procedures performed each year. These findings add to those from previous studies linking chronic opioid use to worse outcomes after TKA and THA, including higher rates of complications, implant failure, and death. […]

    AAAS Public Release: Prolonged opioid use before knee or hip replacement surgery increases risk of poor outcomes

    • NorCalNative

      I used morphine for several years prior to hip replacement in 2004. No problems and still going strong. I could use another hip replacement on my non-operated side, but have decided to avoid surgery as long as possible by exercising and physical therapy.

      When I was in the recovery room I thought I’d move things along by removing my breathing tube. I have no recollection of doing it cuz I was still sedated. Apparently hospital staff thought I still needed it, and when they replaced it in haste one of my vocal chords suffered nerve damage and remains paralyzed.

      I asked why my throat was so damn sore after having hip replacement surgery. Before surgery I recall that a nurse seemed distracted from taking my BP. I asked her about it and she admitted she was actually counting my respirations. How much dope-juice could they apply during surgery and still keep me breathing?

      Did my doc’s fear of over-sedation (based on opiate tolerance) result in under-sedation instead? Is that why I removed my breathing tube before a nurse could do it?

      Tobacco smoke inhibits bone healing and my doc told me not to smoke after surgery. I only smoke weed and asked him about it. He said don’t do it but couldn’t provide any evidence to support his claim. Of course I ignored his advice.

      • Servetus

        Big Pharma’s opioid anti-solutions and the US federal government’s anti-cannabinoid stance fall under Lysenkoism, a doctrine “that…promised a biology based on a plastic view of life that was consistent with the plastic view of human nature insisted upon by Marxist-Leninist dogma.” [Wiki]

        Whatever may be the scientific value of a doctrine, from the moment that it becomes governmental, interests of State will cease to allow it the possibility of impartial inquiry; and its scientific certitude will even lead it first to intrude into education, and then, by the methods of guided thought, which is the same as suppressed thought, to exempt itself from criticism. The relationships between error and true understanding are in any case too abstruse for anyone to presume to regulate them by authority. […]

        Our great Marxists of Russia, nurtured on Science, would not admit any doubt concerning the dialectical conception of Nature–which is, however, no more than a hypothesis, and one difficult to sustain at that. – Victor Serge, Memoirs of a Revolutionary, p. 441, 2012.

  • WalStMonky

    .
    .

    Well here’s an instant classic:

    New Jersey state senator fears ‘sex toy oils with marijuana’ after pot is legal

    While highly annoying it’s still fascinating to see the prohibitionist brain at work. Just when you think that they have reached the outer limits of stupidity they manage to push the envelope even further.

  • Servetus

    A University of North Carolina Chapel Hill study reveals excessive opioid fatalities among released NC prisoners:

    19-JUL-2018 — A recent study in North Carolina found that in the first two weeks after being released from prison, former inmates were 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than someone in the general population.

    When restricted to heroin overdoses only, formerly incarcerated individuals’ likelihood of overdose death increased to 74 times the norm within the first two weeks after release. Even an entire year after release, overdose death rates remained 10-18 times higher among formerly incarcerated individuals as compared to the general North Carolina population.

    These findings, published online July 19 by the American Journal of Public Health, were co-authored by five researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and two representatives of the North Carolina Division of Public Health and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. […]

    In North Carolina, between 22,000 and 27,000 individuals are released from prison each year. These individuals are particularly vulnerable to the opioid epidemic for three key reasons. First, two-thirds of them already have a substance use disorder, which is classified as a mental health condition. In fact, many former inmates initially were imprisoned for offenses that stemmed from substance use.

    Second, formerly incarcerated individuals undergo forced withdrawal during incarceration, and therefore have a very low tolerance when released from prison. Finally, there are few support systems in place for most inmates upon release – this includes a lack of access to health care.

    “A host of other problems like stigmatization, loss of dignity, loss of family for some, and discrimination in housing and employment only compound existing substance use problems,” Ranapurwala explained. “This leads to premature deaths.” […]

    AAAS Public Release: Former inmates at high risk for opioid overdose following prison release

    The authors cite a number of potential remedies, but avoid the obvious ones.

    Former prisoners in South Carolina are likely under some kind of conditional release that restricts their access to cannabinoids; a prohibition enforced through drug testing. Opiates, by contrast, are available through legitimate doctor prescriptions, making the drug an allowable medical treatment for appeasing probation or parole authorities.

    The medical paradigm must change. Cannabis, as well as magic mushrooms, should be viewed as exit drugs for imprisonment, especially for drug offenses.

  • Shadwell

    .

    .

    Mama take this badge off of me
    I can’t use it anymore
    The end is near and I just can’t believe
    That I can’t break down a pothead’s door

    Can’t go breaking down pothead doors
    Can’t go breaking down pothead doors

    Mama put my guns in the ground
    I can’t shoot dogs anymore
    That skunkweed cloud is all around
    And I can’t break down a pothead’s door

    Can’t go breaking down pothead doors
    Can’t go breaking down pothead doors
    Can’t go breaking down pothead doors
    Can’t go breaking down pothead doors

    Do you want YOUR child to end up in a marijuana lube rainbow party?

    https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/20/dispensaries-will-sell-sex-toy-oils-with

    • WalStMonky

      .
      Then again let’s not lose sight of the fact that dispensaries are already selling not just THC infused lube but also a CBD infused lube. While it isn’t sold as sex toy lube per se I think that’s because the cost would be prohibitive.
      Foria FAQ

      We should send some to Sen. Ron Rice’s SO and see if that doesn’t make him flip flop on this issue.

  • Mouthy

    The Motley Fool publicly endorsed marijuana investing on Consuelo Mack’s Wealth Track. I think they are going to open up a portfolio and stick it in with one of their funds or make it into a fund/etf. Canopy Growth has a good balance sheet.

  • WalStMonky

    Coloradans haven’t got any problems with the law. It’s not even an issue in the 2018 gubernatorial race. Colorado’s Democratic voters snubbed the Party’s preferred nominee by a vote count of 2:1 in the primary, giving the nod to Jared Polis. US Representative Polis is an outspoken proponent of ending the stupidity of cannabis prohibition. Walker Stapleton is the Republican nominee and doesn’t even mention cannabis in his list of issues on his campaign’s web site:
    https://www.stapletonforcolorado.com/issues/

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