The Washington Post reported late Monday that the NFL has offered to work with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) to study the effects of marijuana use for pain management. The union has been working on its own marijuana study.
The news about a potential collaborative study comes shortly after a massive study from Boston University on the chances of suffering brain damage in the form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, from playing the sport.
According to the WaPo, the NFL wrote a letter to the players association and offered to work together. Joe Lockhart, NFL executive vice president of communication, told the news outlet, “We look forward to working with the Players Association on all issues involving the health and safety of our players.”
We reached out to the NFLPA for additional comment.
This isn’t an official change in policy or anything close to it. But this is a first step toward the NFL opening up to the possibility of using marijuana for chronic and acute pain management.
As congregations dwindle, a new religion is lighting up Denver, Colorado. Aaron Millar joins the elevationists of the International Church of Cannabis who worship the weed
It started, naturally, with a group of friends smoking a joint. Steve Berke, a graduate of Yale University, was temporarily living in an old church in Denver, Colorado. His estate agent parents had bought the 113-year-old building with the plan to turn it into flats. He and Lee Molloy, as well as a few friends, had just moved from Miami to capitalise on Colorados lucrative marijuana market. But then, in the words of Lee: We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church? So Steve convinced his parents to give him the building and, nine months later, on 20 April 2016 4/20, as its known in the United States, the unofficial potheads holiday (because its 4.20pm somewhere, right?) the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors with its own chapel, theology and video game arcade.
From the outside all appears normal: red-brick towers, blocky turrets, a classic city church in an otherwise leafy suburb of Denver. But there are giveaways. The three front doors and arched window facade have been spray-painted with silver galaxies and bright, happy-face planets. The work of legendary painter and graphic artist Kenny Scharf, who has exhibited in the Whitney and New Yorks Museum of Modern Art, it looks more like the backdrop for an illegal 90s rave than your typical parish church. But its indicative of the coup that Elevation Ministries, the non-profit company that Steve and Lee co-founded to set up the Church of Cannabis, has managed to pull off.
That mural would probably buy you next doors house, Lee says, letting me in. But they got it for the price of an air ticket for Scharf, a few days skiing and the loan of a jacket. People love fantastical ideas.
A small town police department in Louisiana had to jail
In addition to that, Mangham cops searched the bus and found both marijuana and prescription pills — and Feldman ended up being cited with possession of marijuana, speeding, and driving with a suspended license.
Feldman quickly paid a fine and was released to go about his business.
He tweeted about the ordeal (below):
HI #EVERYBODY & HAPPY 22ND! 4 THE RECORD, I WAS NOT ARRESTED OR PUT IN JAIL. I RECEIVED A MISDEMEANOR IN LOUISIANA, DUE 2 A MEMBER OF MY — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
CREW HAVING MEDICAL MARIJUANA, WITH A LEGAL CA PRESCRIPTION, I HAD NOTHING ON ME, BUT WAS CHARGED BECAUSE ITS MY BUS. ALSO 5 OTHERS WERE — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
CHARGED DUE 2 HAVING LEGAL MEDICINES WITHOUT THEIR PARTICULAR BOTTLES. NO ILLEGAL OR STREET DRUGS WERE FOUND ON THE BUS AT ALL! WHICH IS Y — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
NOBODY SPENT THE NIGHT IN JAIL. HOWEVER WE WERE PROMISED THAT THESE CHARGES COULD ALL B DROPPED WITH PROOF OF PROPER SCRIPTS! IT WAS A BIT — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
OF A GOOD OL SHAKEDOWN! AFTER WE PAID THEM IN CASH, THEY ASKED 4 PICS & AUTOGRAPHS, & THEN CALLED THE LOCAL PAPER 2 DO INTERVIEWS! — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
I DO FIND THE TIMING OF ALL THIS IRONIC! BUT HAVE NO FEAR, WE R HEADED 2 HOUSTON, & WE WILL PERFORM THE BENEFIT CONCERT 2NITE 2 HELP RAISE $ — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
Ecstasy – or MDMA, if you prefer its chemical name – is known to have a variety of effects on those that decide to partake in it. In the short term, it gives you an energy “buzz”, an alertness and sense of euphoria that enhances your perception of aural and visual stimuli. Temporarily strong feelings of love and affection for anyone nearby are also common, along with a come down that features paranoia, confusion, and even psychosis.
As with all drugs, it’s a complex mixture – but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long been intrigued by the positive effects more than the negative ones. That’s why they’re now going to try to use it in a regulated way to treat victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
This means that “preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies,” as per the FDA. Essentially, the evidence of multiple peer-reviewed clinical trials supports the use of this drug in treating PTSD.
Practically, this means that the development of a version of MDMA designed for widespread commercial use for those afflicted by the life-threatening psychological condition has now been expedited. Funding will increase, and trials will up the ante to Phase 3 experiments – those that are cutting-edge, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research projects involving multiple teams.
In sum, the US government is taking ecstasy very seriously as a medical option.
According to MAPS, the trials will combine psychotherapeutic techniques – such as counseling – with three separate doses of MDMA. Only time will tell how successful they will be, but it’s an exciting step forwards that suggests that when it comes to treating unhealthy people, pretty much nothing should be off the table.
The FDA, as long as the evidence is there to support it, is almost always happy to try new and arguably “controversial” techniques when it comes to treating diseases or conditions.
Just recently, the first use of a gene-editing technique designed to tackle an aggressive form of cancer was approved by the agency. Medical marijuana has been considered as a potential source of pain relief, as well as a psychological curative, for some time now – and in some states, as you probably know, it’s legally defined as a medical treatment.
So the appearance of MDMA shouldn’t come as a surprise. Yes, it’s a mind altering drug, and when consumed it carries with it certain risks. If it’s used to alter the minds of those suffering from a terrible psychological impairment, however, it actually has the potential to save lives rather than ruin them.
There’s one bummer question haunting all the marijuana businesses popping up between British Columbia and Newfoundland.
How much do Canucks like weed, eh?
A year before recreational cannabis is expected to become legal in Canada, there’s an explosion in companies cultivating the stuff. At least 10 marijuana outfits have new listings this year on the TSX Venture Exchange and Canada Securities Exchange. Some 51 enterprises have gotten the green light to grow pot, and 815 applicants are in the queue. All told, it could be enough to raise the country’s raw-weed output more than tenfold.
This is where skeptics see froth. “If you ask people today why they don’t use, it’s a small percentage who say ‘because it’s illegal,”’ said Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. “In many respects there might be an overestimation of demand.”
Long-time users and growers insist he’s wrong, but investors aren’t so sure. Producer MedReleaf Corp. tumbled as much as 28 percent last month in the worst debut for a Canadian IPO in 16 years amid concern pot stocks are overvalued. Shares of Canopy Growth Corp., the country’s first billion dollar marijuana start-up, are down 21 percent in the past three months.
The North American Medical Marijuana Index, which tracks leading cannabis stocks in the U.S. and Canada, has plunged 21 percent since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in April unveiled its plan to legalize the drug by next July, 16 years after Canada permitted it for medical use.
Of course, some of the decline may be attributed to the situation in the U.S. Many in the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular, are no friends to the industry. For Canadian companies, the risk isn’t political.
“There seems to be a little bit of investor fatigue,” said PI Financial Corp. analyst Jason Zandberg. He said they’re having trouble differentiating between the producers, new and old, and what might give them competitive advantages.
That’s to be expected, according to marijuana bulls, in a brand-new market that hasn’t even arrived yet. Parliament still has to pass the recreational law (though there’s little question it’ll do so). Then the federal government will have to write rules on taxation, and each province will have to decide how to regulate distribution.
“Nothing is going to be perfect right off the hop,” said Jon Bent, a licensed medical marijuana grower who has been cultivating plants on his 11-acre farm outside Winnipeg for five years. “It’s baby steps — and the industry is moving quickly.”
The question is whether it’s going too quickly, considering the variety of estimates about how much recreational weed Canadians will end up regularly ingesting. Some educated guesses are that about 15 percent of Canadians partake now, legally and otherwise. That’s around 5.4 million people, roughly the population of Colorado, which gave the nod to recreational marijuana in 2014. Medical and recreational sales there rose 56 percent last year, to nearly $1 billion, according to Cannabase, operator of the state’s largest market.
One projection, from the Canadian Parliamentary Budget Officer, is that 4.6 million people age 15 and over will use cannabis at least once and consume 655,000 kilograms next year, and that 5.2 million will be doing so by 2021. Other reports peg future recreational consumption at 420,000 kilograms a year with sales reaching C$6 billion by 2021, Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. said in November. For its part, the government agency Health Canada anticipates a mature medical marijuana market will be around C$1.3 billion.
That could underestimate the number of Canadians who will refuse to buy from corporate weed growers, said Chad Jackett, 38, who runs a medical marijuana dispensary in Squamish, British Columbia, and uses cannabis oil everyday to treat nerve pain. His concern is that new regulations will sideline the independent farmers who advocated for the plant for years, and grow small amounts. “I will definitely not be using anything” from one of the big outfits, Jackett said. “If I don’t have enough of my own then I’ll be getting it from somebody else whom I trust.”
Underscoring how confusing it all is, a few alarms are being sounded that there won’t be enough to pass around on Day One. In fact, Colorado faced some shortages of legal supplies in the first year. A similar rush emptied shelves in Nevada, where sales started on July 1.
By 2015, Colorado had the opposite problem, according to Denver-based researcher Marijuana Policy Group, with supplies approximately 51 percent larger than demand. The average price sought by wholesalers for recreational flower has fallen 52 percent since lawful sales began, according to Cannabase.
None of this has dampened enthusiasm in some quarters in Canada. MedReleaf has raised C$100 million, all of which is going toward expanding capacity, said Chief Executive Officer Neil Closner. He said the disappointing IPO was due to a general market slowdown and “not a reflection of demand for our product.” Likes others in the business, he is confident Canadians will be keen enough to lawfully imbibe that the blossoming industry will be supported.
Bent, the pot farmer outside Winnipeg, is just as upbeat. Surveying part of his crop, in a room brimming with 30 bushy plants ripening under the glow of hot lamps, he said the oft-misunderstood reefer is definitely going mainstream. Even his cousin, a “religious librarian,” became a convert after experimenting in Denver, he said. “These are people who would never, ever try it” if it were illegal.
“It’s really gaining popularity and really starting to lose that stigma,” Bent said. “I see a lot of money being spent.”
Runaway youth have always fled to cities but they now find themselves adrift in much costlier cities, where even the fully employed are barely scraping by
The first thing Zach Hicks did after he was run over in Roanoke, Virginia, was to write a Facebook post. He kept it simple: I just got ran over by a truck. The first commenter was his mother, hundreds of miles away in the midwest, who also kept it simple: WTF!?!?!?!?
He was retrieving a dog, Sobaka, that hed been given by a band of Hells Angels. The dog had bolted and was cowering beneath an 18-wheeler truck. Against his better judgment, Hicks crawled under to pull Sobaka out, and was hit.
The wheel started going over my leg, and then my side and then the side of my face, he says. I know what tire treads look like from underneath.
That was August 2015, two years after hed left home in Oregon. Today he is resting in a secluded alley on Masonic Avenue, a stones throw from Haight Street in San Francisco. Fifty years ago, the children with windy feet ran to this very block from parts unknown, in search of something anything during the Summer of Love.
The kids are still coming, along with legions of tourists who ensure this neighbourhoods street signs are among the worlds most photographed. But this is a side of San Francisco few will ever see.
Hicks is joined by a dozen tattooed and pierced young men and women wearing luminescent orange vests. They smoke, sip Gatorade, and all but inhale three donated pizzas between shifts sweeping the pavement and wiping graffiti off the walls. Some of these young people ran away from home, some were abandoned, and some experienced a bit of column A and a bit of column B. Christian Calinsky, the founder of Taking it to the Streets, a work and housing programme for young homeless people, considers it largely a difference without a distinction in his mind they simply left home.
Theyre both on the same playing field, man. I really cant distinguish, says Calinksy, 44, a former runaway who was homeless for large stretches between ages 12 and 34. All their traumas are the same in my mind. But I dont see people as their trauma. I see them as their potential.
Hicks, 22, has plenty of both. He sports a beard like a rhododendron bush and a rugby players build. He has piercing blue eyes, a ready smile, and the phrase 25 Jokes tattooed across his knuckles. Thats how I make my bread when Im on the road. And its five for a dollar; when you buy in bulk you get the extra joke.
(CNN)Several African governments are considering tapping a lucrative natural resource.
More than 10,000 tons of cannabis are produced on the continent each year, according to a UN survey, which advocates believe could be worth billions of dollars in a rapidly expanding global market for legal weed.
African governments have not yet followed the trend of legalization seen in Europe and the Americas. But Lesotho’s recent announcement of the continent’s first legal license to grow marijuana is part of a wider shift toward more liberal policies.
From Morocco to South Africa, there is growing interest in cashing in on a valuable crop. But in each case there are unique challenges to face.
The tiny, landlocked nation has few natural resources. But Lesotho is a giant of the marijuana trade.
“Cannabis is grown almost everywhere in the country,” a UNESCO report found, noting the industry is a leading contributor to the economy in a country plagued by poverty. Much of this comes through illicit trade with Lesotho’s larger, richer neighbor, South Africa.
The government has now signaled its intentions to bring the business out of the shadows by awarding the first license for cultivation and sale to South African alternative medicine company Verve Dynamics.
However, no formal steps have been taken to legalize or regulate the vast network of existing farmers and traders.
The North African state is famous for its hashish and is second only to Afghanistan as a producer of the substance, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Such dizzying numbers have underpinned a growing movement for legalization. In 2014, an opposition party in the Moroccan parliament with close ties to the monarchy proposed a bill to legalize marijuana production for medical and industrial use.
But the bill failed, and the movement suffered a further setback with the resignation of leading advocate Ilyas El Omari. There has also been opposition to legalization from conservative religious groups, and even cannabis farmers who are concerned their crop might lose value.
Malawi is well known for the prevalence and quality of marijuana production within its borders, including the sought after “Malawi Gold” strain.
The government is now cultivating hemp on a trial basis, ahead of potential legalization of the non-psychoactive cannabis strain for industrial uses such as fabric and food products. This represents a major development after a lengthy battle with drug control groups and religious leaders that fiercely opposed any softening of policy.
Both advocates and critics of legalizing hemp have suggested that marijuana could be next, a longstanding demand of the country’s Rastafarian minority, which claims that smoking ‘chamba’ is integral to their culture.
Ghanaians are heavy consumers of marijuana, according to the UNODC, which is prohibited but widely tolerated.
A pro-legalization campaign has been gathering momentum in recent years, with support from the former head of the Narcotics Control Board. The movement recently received another boost when the executive director of the Ghana Standards Authority suggested that state-led cultivation and export of marijuana could generate valuable income.
But a vociferous backlash from government officials and mental health experts showed this will not be easily achieved. The influential Christian Council of Ghana has also spoken out against legalization, warning this would “destroy the future of our young people.”
The continent’s last absolute monarchy is plagued by poverty, but boasts an abundance of marijuana.
Prominent public figures have suggested using the cannabis crop to boost the economy, including Swaziland’s housing and development minister, while the national commissioner of police has called for a study.
The Swazi House of Assembly has now appointed a committee to explore the possibility of legalization, according to recent reports.
However, similar proposals have been discussed for several years without moving forward, and police continue to make regular arrests for cultivation of marijuana.
One of the continent’s largest economies is also among its leading markets for marijuana, or “dagga” as it is locally known. South Africa produces around 2,500 tons a year, according to a UN report.
Several legal battles are ongoing over the future of the drug in South Africa. The Dagga Party won a landmark ruling this year to permit smoking in the home on privacy grounds, without changing the legal status of the herb.
The so-called “dagga couple” Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke are going further in seeking the right to grow and consume marijuana, which could establish a far-reaching precedent.
The South African government has already published guidelines for medical marijuana, paving the way for legal licenses.
But medical authorities have warned that potential health risks may not be well understood, and public access will likely depend on the outcomes of clinical trials.
Pastor Shawn Berkebile says he remembers when two parishioners told him they were going to break the law.
They came to me as a confession, said Berkebile, a pastor of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Abbotstown, Pa.
In 2013, Matt and Angie Sharrer told him they were using medical marijuana as a treatment for their daughter, Annie, then 9, who suffered from epileptic seizures.
They were gonna do it to save their daughter, and they wanted me to know as pastor, Berkebile told Fox News.
At the time, medical marijuana use was illegal in Pennsylvania. Berkebile said the Sharrers were getting their doses of medical cannabis from out of state where its use was legal. The parents did what they could to be discrete about bringing it back home, he added.
“There was nothing that was going to help [Annie] pharmaceutical-wise,” Berkebile said, noting that her condition had worsened over the years.
Berkebile saw no need to notify authorities because the Sharrers, he said, were doing what they could to help their daughter.
If this was my child, I would do it the same way, Berkebile said. “I would jump in and I would go through every hoop imaginable. I would break the law.
Now Pennsylvania is one of 29 states and that allows medical marijuana use. Before that though, Berkebile asked the Sharrers if they would go public to the congregation with their story. They shared their story, Berkebile said, even though they knew they risked arrest.
Berkebile said he too took a stand.
To say it has no medical value is sinful, Berkebile said. “Its just abusive. Itsas one of my colleagues said in the Pennsylvania legislatureits legislative child abuse. And I agreed.”
Permits were issued in June for medical marijuana facilities to open in Pennsylvania. Berkebile says it’ll still be a long time before companies who have received permits to be fully operational. But he believes Annies story played a role in passing medical marijuana legislation in the state.
“She was barely a child, he remembers of Annie. “She was doped out. She was not able to go to school.
Today, Berkebile says Annie, now 13, has controlled seizures, an improvement from what she used to experience.
The use of medical marijuana remains controversial, but Berkebile hopes Annie’s story can shine a light on a potential benefit of its use.
“I see medical cannabis as a way of giving hope to families that lost hope a while ago, he said.
Berkebile hopes the rest of the country will one day get on board with the use of medical marijuana just as his congregation did when the Sharrers told their story.
Michelle Chavez is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Pittsburgh.
A former California congressional aide promised to “make things happen” to keep an illegal Compton pot shop in business — for a price, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Michael Kimbrew, 44, pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles federal court to attempted extortion and receiving a bribe.
Kimbrew was working in the Compton field office for Rep. Janice Hahn, D-Los Angeles, in March 2015 when he approached a marijuana shop that was operating illegally and told an employee it would be shut down if he couldn’t reach a deal with the owners, according to the indictment.
He then met with the owners of the unnamed shop at Compton City Hall, where Hahn had a district office. He told them he was working with state and federal agencies, including the FBI, and for $5,000 could “make things happen” to get the proper medical marijuana permits.
In May 2015, Kimbrew met at City Hall with an FBI agent who was posing as the owners’ business partner, and said he worked for the federal government and oversaw all activities in the city.
According to the indictment, in May 2015 Kimbrew went up to an employee of the marijuana shop and told the clerk that the store was in violation of the law and that it would be shut down unless the owners reached an agreement with him, LosCerritosNews.Net reported.
The former aide then met with owners of the shop at Compton City Hall and claimed that he worked with the FBI and that he could “make things happen” by securing the proper permits for the store in exchange for $5,000.
In exchange for the bribe, he promised not to send authorities to shut down the shop, would help it get the required permit to operate and wouldn’t notify the congresswoman, which he said would eliminate the possibility of her informing the FBI, according to authorities.
An undercover FBI agent posing as a business partner with the shop met with Kimbrew, who reiterated his claims he could prevent a shutdown in exchange for $5,000, according to the indictment.
The undercover agent later met with Kimbrew at a restaurant and handed him a menu with the cash inside, the indictment said. The aide allegedly pocketed the money.
Hahn, who is now a Los Angeles County supervisor, was not named in the indictment and was unaware of her former staffer’s alleged wheeling and dealing until she was notified by a reporter Wednesday.
“If these charges are true, Mr. Kimbrew abused his power as a representative of my office and violated both my trust and the trust of the public,” Hahn said in a statement.
A public defender representing Kimbrew did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Kimbrew, of Carson, could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said. He was freed on a $15,000 bond and trial was scheduled Sept. 26.
Political consultant Roger Stone was every bit his controversial self Saturday night at the Politicon event in Pasadena, California.
During a session titled Weed Nation, Stone threw verbal bombs at the Trump administration, accusing it of wanting to re-fire up the war on drugs.
But during a separate session on Watergate — which was really about the Trump-Russia probe Stone seemed more ready to defend the president and his team.
For example, Stone said there was one key difference between the scandal that brought down Richard Nixon and the current media frenzy surrounding the White House.
Watergate started with a crime, Stone said, referring to the burglary that launched the case. But he said he saw no evidence of crime in contacts between Trumps team and Russians.
In fact, Stone said he saw more parallels between the Nixon era and the Obama years than between Nixon and Trump, asserting the Obama administration had conducted surveillance on tens of thousands of Americans.
He also said the charge that Russians had hacked computers of the Democratic National Committee was entirely unproven.
What was Stones answer for the media lynch mobs and others going after Trump and Co.?
You dont have any evidence to impeach Trump, Stone said, and your motivation is entirely political.
“You don’t have any evidence to impeach Trump, and your motivation is entirely political.”
– Roger Stone, political consultant
Stone said Russia lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya had entered the U.S. without a visa and had posted photos online from an anti-Trump rally and from inside the office of Republican Sen. John McCain, a frequent Trump critic.
I find that troubling, Stone said. I smell a set-up.
Other Stone barbs:
On Sean Spicer: He shouldnt let the door hit him in the ass on the way out.
On George W. Bush: Bush snorted so much cocaine, he had a personal thank-you note from Pablo Escobar.
On Trumps military transgender ban: I disagree with that entirely.
Regarding marijuana, Stone said Trump needed to stick to his campaign position of leaving pot policy to the states, adding he didnt think the president was truly aligned with the drug warriors on his team anyway.
Stone warned that Trump could lose voter support by taking a hard line on marijuana. Medical marijuana, for example, was a consensus issue, he said, with lots of voter support.
The war on drugs, meanwhile, was largely an expensive racist failure, Stone said. He charged that the Clinton administration had incarcerated an entire generation of young black men for mostly small amounts of pot.
Politicon, billed as an independent forum, unaffiliated with any political organizations, parties or political action committees, was scheduled to conclude Sunday at the Pasadena Convention Center.
Newly hired White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci had been scheduled to appear at the event, but canceled following his recent interview with the New Yorker magazine, according to the Hollywood Reporter.