Friday, November 30, 2018

Alaska's Credit Union 1 Announces Pilot Program to Provide Financial Services to Cannabis Related Businesses

Credit Union 1 has a long history of providing services to the underserved, from helping individuals with lower credit scores get loans and other vital financial services; to being the first financial institution in over 23 years to open a branch in the Mountain View community of Anchorage. Now, we will again provide financial services to those who have nowhere else to go. Credit Union 1 has announced that it will initiate a pilot program to provide financial services to Marijuana Related Businesses (MRB).

Anchorage, AK – November 29, 2018 – James Wileman, President/CEO of Credit Union 1, announced at a Press Conference earlier this morning the credit union will be initiating a pilot program to provide financial services to Marijuana Related Businesses (MRB).

Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana in 2014 and the first licenses were granted in 2016. Since that time, the marijuana industry has grown exponentially in the state. Sales are on-track to total $200 million at the retail level this year. The lack of financial services for MRBs, however, has flooded our streets with cash resulting in a community safety issue. Credit Union 1 seeks to solve this issue by providing financial services to MRBs.

Credit Union 1 does not take a political or moral position on the legalization of marijuana by providing services to these businesses. When it comes to the financial needs of all their Member Owners, Credit Union 1 seeks to meet the needs of everyone where they are at without judgment or prejudice. Credit Union 1 has a history of providing services to the under-served, from helping individuals with lower credit scores get loans and other vital financial services; to being the first financial institution in over 23 years to open a branch in Mountain View in 2010.

Our history, along with being a state-chartered credit union that only serves Alaskans, puts Credit Union 1 in the best position to provide services to the MRB industry. To further support our communities, in 2019, the credit union will donate a minimum of 1% of the profits received from this program to the #CU1LUV Community Fund which helps non-profits and Alaskans in need. In 2018, our Members and employees have given over $207,000, volunteered over 5,100 hours and have been recognized throughout the years for our efforts to support community minded organizations and initiatives from soup kitchens to youth engagement organizations.

Representatives from the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Board, the State of Alaska Tax Division and the MRB industry made statements during the press conference in support of this program and the benefits it will provide to our communities.

Cannabidiol induces a rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effect in rodent model of depression

A substance found in cannabis may be a faster-acting antidepressant than conventional medications. A new study, published in the journal Molecular Neurobiology, has found that cannabidiol (CBD) induces sustained antidepressant-like effects in mice.
“Depression is a serious mental illness which affect more than 300 million people worldwide, being considered the first cause of disability in many developed and undeveloped countries,” said study author Samia Joca of Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies and University of São Paulo.
“The treatments that are currently available, although effective, suffer from partial and lacking response even after weeks of continuous treatment. These issues raise the need for better understanding of depression neurobiology, as well as developing novel and more effective treatment strategies.”
“In this scenario, CBD emerges as an interesting compound, since it has shown large-spectrum therapeutic potential in preclinical models and clinical trials. Therefore, we became interested in evaluating CBD effects in different animal models of depression with the aim to better characterize its potential as an antidepressant drug, as well as study its underlying mechanisms,” Joca explained.
“The results could provide new insights on depression neurobiology and treatment, with easy translation to the clinical scenario, since CBD is used in humans for the treatment of neurological disorders, such as epilepsy.”
The researchers used rodents who had been selectively bred to develop depression-like symptoms. They found that CBD was associated with a reduction in immobility during a forced swim test, which is commonly used as a model of depressive symptoms. Antidepressants shorten the duration of immobility and lengthen the swim time. None of the treatments induced locomotor effects
“We showed that CBD increased animal’s resilience in stress models of depression, thus indicating an antidepressant-like effect. Moreover, this effect developed rapidly, within one hour, and remained for a week after a single administration, which is not the case for conventional antidepressants,” Joca told PsyPost.
Research they published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology “showed that CBD’s effects were associated with increased release of a neurotrophin (brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF) in limbic brain regions that are often associated with depression development. BDNF is recognized for promoting brain neuroplasticity, such as new synaptic formation and cell proliferation, which are process required for the antidepressant effect.”
“Since CBD’s effect is blocked when BDNF signaling is blocked in the brain, our results suggest that CBD promotes fast neurochemical and neuroplastic effects in limbic brain regions, which might favor stress coping strategies and resilience to depression development,” she said.
In another rodent study, Joca and her colleagues also found that the antidepressant-like effect induced by CBD were dependent on levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The study also indicated that CBD could enhance the effectiveness of traditional antidepressant medication.
“We showed that small doses of CBD allowed the effect of small doses of serotonergic antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, to be effective. This indicates that co-administering CBD with serotonergic antidepressants might contribute to the use of smaller doses of the latter, thus decreasing their side effects, without compromising the antidepressant effect. This is a strategy to be further explored in other studies and in the clinical setting,” Joca explained.
Together, the findings suggest that CBD holds promise as a potential aid for depression. However, more research — including studies on human participants — are necessary before it becomes an accepted treatment. The mechanisms behind CBD’s antidepressant effects are still poorly understood.
“It is important to highlight that CBD is only one amongst the many phytocannabinoids present in the plant Cannabis sativa and it is devoid of psychostimulant effects and abuse liability,” Joca added.
“In fact, the main responsible for the psychostimulant effects induced by the plant is THC. Therefore, saying that CBD induces antidepressant effects is not the same as saying that marijuana is an antidepressant. Although there has been evidence for that as well, one should keep in mind that marijuana also contains many other different cannabinoids, such as THC, that can actually represent risks for health.”
The study, “Cannabidiol Induces Rapid and Sustained Antidepressant-Like Effects Through Increased BDNF Signaling and Synaptogenesis in the Prefrontal Cortex“, was authored by Amanda J. Sales, Manoela V. Fogaça, Ariandra G. Sartim, Vitor S. Pereira, Gregers Wegener, Francisco S. Guimarães, and Sâmia R. L. Joca.
The study, “Hippocampal mammalian target of rapamycin is implicated in stress-coping behavior induced by cannabidiol in the forced swim test“, was authored by Ariandra G. Sartim, Amanda J. Sales, Francisco S Guimarães and Sâmia R.L. Joca.
The study, “Antidepressant-like effect induced by Cannabidiol is dependent on brain serotonin levels“, was authored by Amanda J. Sales, Carlos C. Crestani, Francisco S. Guimarães, and Sâmia R.L. Joca.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Zelda Therapeutics Partners with St Vincent’s Hospital on Opioid Reduction Study

• Zelda to expand clinical trial program to include opioid reduction study
• Working with world-class pain and addiction medicine researchers at
prestigious St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne
• Study to investigate potential to use cannabinoids to reduce the use of opioids
in patients on chronic, high dose regimen for pain management
• Clinical trial protocols being finalised with near term submission to human
ethics committee
• Chronic pain and addiction management is a large market opportunity

Zelda Therapeutics Ltd (ASX: ZLD, OTCQB: ZLDAF, Zelda): has expanded its human clinical trial program in a clinical trial partnership with the prestigious St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne to examine the potential to use certain cannabinoid medications in patients on
chronic, high dose opioid pain management therapy.

Prescription opioids are used to treat chronic pain and these drugs can have serious side
effects including physical dependence, which is a global crisis. Research shows a growing
number of Australians receiving treatment for dependence on painkillers 1. The rate of
accidental deaths due to opioids has doubled for Australians aged 35 to 44 since 2007.
More than two thirds of these deaths have been due to pharmaceutical opioids 2.

This joint clinical trial program is aimed at assisting patients who have become dependent
on opioids for chronic pain management. 

The clinical team will be led by Associate Professor Yvonne Bonomo, and includes Dr Jane Trinca, Professor David Castle and Dr Nigel Strauss. An initial pharmacokinetic study will inform a small scale 20 patient double-blinded, randomised, placebo-controlled study, with the potential to expand into a larger trial depending on results.

The clinical trial protocols are being finalised and are expected to soon be lodged with the
human ethics committee for review. Subject to approvals, the trial would be expected to
start in early 2019.

Medication for the trial will be sourced from HAPA Medical, Zelda’s strategic partner for
manufacture and supply of pharmaceutical-grade medicinal cannabis.

Should the trial results show benefits then Zelda expects to be able to supply these
medicines to Australian patients via specialists registered under the Authorised Prescriber

Managing Director of Zelda Dr Richard Hopkins said, “Zelda is delighted to work with the team at St Vincent’s, which continues our partnership activities with world class institutes across the globe. While similar studies have been conducted in other countries with promising results, we believe that local medical community participation in these studies will accelerate acceptance of the potential of cannabinoid-based medicines.”

About Zelda Therapeutics (
Zelda Therapeutics Ltd is an Australian-based bio-pharmaceutical company that is focused on developing a range of cannabinoid-based formulations for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. The Company is undertaking;
• Human clinical trials focused on insomnia, autism and opioid reduction with activities in Australia and the USA.
• Pre-clinical research examining the effect of cannabinoids in breast, brain and pancreatic cancer as well as research examining the potential for cannabinoids to treat diabetes-associated cognitive decline.

Zelda has partnered with HAPA Medical BV to manufacture GMP-grade cannabis formulations for clinical trials and to distribute Zelda products in Germany, one of the world’s largest cannabis markets. Zelda is also collaborating with the world’s leading cancer cannabis researchers at Complutense University Madrid in Spain to test the efficacy of cannabis-based formulations against human cancers in order to generate data packs acceptable to regulators and the pharmaceutical industry. Similar programmes are underway with the Australian Telethon Kids Institute, targeting paediatric brain cancer,
and Curtin University, targeting pancreatic cancer and cognitive decline.

About St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne (
St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne is a a recognised leader in the area of Addiction Medicine providing clinical services and contributing to research, education and training, and advocacy around alcohol and drugs. St Vincent’s Health Australia is a tertiary
public healthcare group providing a range of services, including acute medical and surgical services, emergency and critical care, aged care, diagnostics, rehabilitation, allied health, mental health, palliative care and residential care. The hospital works with a
vast network of collaborative partners to deliver high quality treatment, teaching, education and research. St Vincent’s has more than 5,000 staff and 880 beds in daily use across its services. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne is at the forefront of innovative
research and a premier site for medical research and clinical trials in Australia.

1 National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, “Changing the Face of opioid Dependency Australia, 2015:

2 Drug and Alcohol Research Connections,” More Australians dying of accidental overdose of pharmaceutical opioids”, 2017:

Saturday, November 24, 2018

CBD Hemp and Cannabis Oil Producers Are Improving, Risks For Customers Remain

Image result for International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) 

[Prague, November 21, 2018] The International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) has performed the second independent test in the history of the quality of retail-available cannabinoid CBD (CBD - cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic substance in cannabis) concerning so-called CBD oils produced from technical cannabis. The results have proven the need for this independent testing (using methods accredited according to ISO 17025) and for greater public awareness.
ICCI performed the assessment in cooperation with the first European laboratory certified by the program PFC, operating at the Department of Food Analysis and Nutrition of the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (VŠCHT).
The team led by Professor Jana Hajšlová tested 35 oils containing the non-psychotropic biologically active substance from cannabis CBD (cannabidiol) purchased in a retail store. This was the second assessment of its type. The Czech public was made aware of the results of the first assessment in April 2017. That time 29 oils were evaluated, of which only 9 have "remained" on the market. This shows the dynamic nature of the field and the interest of new investors and producers
"We were interested in the quality and authenticity of used oils and the possible content of environmental contaminants - - polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAUs), for which maximum limits have been anchored in legislation for protecting the health of their consumers. PAUs may accumulate in oils for various reasons, most frequently resulting from incorrect drying procedures due to contamination from combustion gases. It may involve components of smoke during drying - incomplete combustion products," says Professor Hajšlová explaining the key point.Pavel Kubů, managing director of ICCI, adds: "Among CBD oils, we also examined the conformity of determined contents of CBD with the producer's stated values and potential THC content (tetrahydrocannabinol - the main psychotropic substance in marijuana).''
Mainly an excessive THC content in the blood after using CBD oils represents unexpected risks for customers all too often. THC is another medicinally active substance from cannabis, but it is psychoactive as opposed to CBD. Even relatively low amounts can cause changes in perception among more sensitive individuals, and that can threaten their capacity to drive and make decisions in general - especially in case of being unaware of the possibilities of having one's psyche influenced by an external substance. Another problem may be drivers testing positive for THC during traffic stops, which can lead at the very least to losing one's driving privileges at least temporarily. Generally speaking: any psychoactive substance unknowingly present in one's body is always a problem.
It is therefore important for customers to be informed accurately and truthfully about THC content right on the product packaging. "People don't know that they have in their bodies a strictly controlled substance, and may, therefore, run into problems not only during traffic accidents but also in employment relationships," emphasizes Pavel Kubu.
Of the 35 tested samples, 9 had a THC level involving risk. For correct labeling on packaging, the situation was more complicated: Ten samples fulfilled requirements concerning THC content. Thirty samples fulfilled requirements concerning CBD content.
Of 9 samples that passed the previous assessment, originally 4 did not fulfill the CBD declaration. After consulting with ICCI, they all made improvements. This shows the importance of not only independent testing but also of the consequent education of producers.
As opposed to the previous assessment, the current interpretation of EFSA was applied - i.e. how much THC can a person take daily without risk. Twenty samples were in compliance with the limit of 1 microgram per kilogram of body weight.
ICCI innovation director Steph Sherer underscored the importance of complex assessment so that products would comply with qualitative demands for the given category of products.
"ICCI is not a regulator. We offer public data and information; we are concerned with providing consumers with a service and with their safety. We meanwhile care about increasing the quality of the offer on the part of the cannabis industry, which has grown dramatically in recent years across the globe. We are contacting all manufacturers of tested products, we share the results and we offer help when checking the safety and increasing the quality of the product. The list of these products that satisfied limits valid for dietary supplements will be available to all consumers at the Website PFC International. Information will be provided to members of patient organizations associated in the international association IMCPC by means of the society KOPAC regarding the quality of a specific oil they are using. They will find out whether it was among those tested, and if so, with what results," adds Steph Sherer.

Also available at the same address will be the summarized, more detailed results of how the analyzed products comply with the declared quality.

ICCI (International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute) was established as a common project of patient organizations, Czech scientific societies and the American investment firm Dioscorides Global Holdings. It is headquartered in Prague, and as a so-called center of excellence, it cooperates for example with the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Charles University, Czech Technical University, the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Masaryk University in Brno, Mendel University in Brno, Palacký University in Olomouc and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
PFC (Patient Focused Certification) is an independent program for certification of the quality of cannabis-based products designed for consumption either as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food supplements, food or cosmetics.
The Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program offers a variety of services designed to prepare businesses for excellence in the medical cannabis industry. PFC is what patients, healthcare providers, companies, and regulators can depend on to identify reliable, high-quality medical cannabis, businesses, products, and services. PFC offers company certification, consultation services, and industry training for any business regardless of its stage of development or role in the supply chain.
PFC was developed by Americans for Safe Access using the Cannabis Monograph created with the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)  and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP). These standards have been directly adopted by nearly half the medical cannabis programs in the US. PFC business certification and professional training are available in all medical cannabis states including the District of Columbia. PFC can help you no matter which state you are in, what you do, or what stage your business is in.

ÚAPV (Department of Food Analysis and Nutrition), a part of the Faculty of Food and Biochemical Technology of the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, has the best equipment available, and its implemented tests are accredited according to ISO 17025. Research projects mainly focus on the issue of quality, authenticity and chemical safety of foods, feeds, food raw materials, dietary supplements, etc. In recent years, in the framework of interdisciplinary research, so-called "omics" technologies have been applied when assessing in vivo/in vitro effects evoked by biologically active substances (both beneficial and toxic). Interdisciplinary cooperation involves a series of medical institutions.

Photographic documentation of oils meeting all tested parameters: Download Powerpoint
CBD oils, the second series of test samples: Download PDF
CBD oils, comparing identical samples from both test series: Download PDF

More information:
Prof. Ing. Jana Hajšlová CSc.,
Ing. Marie Fenclová,
Jakub Večerka, 603 185 441,

Friday, November 23, 2018

Colorado issues $2.7 million in medical cannabis research grants

Department logo with the words Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
DENVER – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has awarded $2.7 million in grant funding for two research studies to investigate the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis.
 Both research studies are random controlled trials, the type of research considered to be the “gold standard” in the scientific community. One study will research cannabis as a treatment for chronic spine pain and will evaluate its use as a therapy to reduce prescription opioid use. The other will research the efficacy and safety of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat children with autism spectrum disorder.
 The state already has funded $9 million in medical marijuana research grants and an additional $2.35 million in grants for seven marijuana public health research studies. Earlier this year, the General Assembly authorized the department’s Medical Marijuana Research Grant Program to fund and oversee a new round of medical cannabis research grants through June 2023. In an executive order, Gov. John Hickenlooper directed the department to prioritize fiscal resources to research the use of medical cannabis by patients experiencing autism spectrum disorder. In addition, the reduction or elimination of long-term opioid use for chronic pain has been an ongoing priority for the department, and important questions remain about whether marijuana can be an effective substitute for opioids.
 The grants were awarded following scientific review and scoring of 13 preliminary applications that were received. Each study will be awarded $1,350,000 to fund the research over three years. The approved grants are:
Approved medical marijuana research grants
Project title
Principal investigator(s)
Project duration
Grant amount
Colorado Cannabis Research Consortium (C2RC): Research Program for the Management of Chronic Spine Pain and Reduction of Prescription Opioid Use
Emily Lindley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedics, University of Colorado Anschutz
Rachael Rzasa Lynn, M.D.
Assistant Professor,
Department of Anesthesiology,
University of Colorado Anschutz
3 years
A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Efficacy and Safety Study of Cannabidiol (CBD) for the Treatment of Irritability in Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Nicole Tartaglia, M.D., M.S.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics,
University of Colorado Anschutz
3 years

Friday, November 16, 2018

Most Medical Schools Don’t Cover the Endocannabinoid System, They All Should

The endocannabinoid system is the second largest neurotransmitting system in the body, so why aren’t medical schools teaching it?

When will more medical schools include the second largest neurotransmitter system, the endocannabinoid system (ECS), into medical school curriculum? In 2013, Cardiologist Dr. David Allen did a preliminary survey to determine which schools teach the ECS and found that only a total of 13 percent of U.S. medical schools even mentioned it. Now, we’re not talking about cannabis here, but a neurotransmitter system that was discovered in the late 1980s, almost 30 years ago. We know that it is critical for homeostasis, yet few medical schools have seen fit to train medical students about it.

If a physician is unaware of the ECS, its constituents such as the neurotransmitters anandamide, 2AG and dopamine and/or the role of dopamine in retrograde inhibition, how will doctors ever understand how and why cannabis treats migraines, seizure disorder, Crohn’s Disease, arthritis, and the myriad of other conditions cannabis has been shown to treat?

The federal government has gone out of its way to discourage the discussion of even the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the ECS. Strangely, the government has been particularly active in its efforts to falsely debunk the medical utility of cannabis and cannabinoids— even though the Department of Health and Human Services has a patent on the popular cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD). The U.S. government has known since 1974 that cannabis kills cancer cells. 

A case that illustrates this point is the way the federal government dealt with important research done by the distinguished University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) pulmonologist and frequent recipient of National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) grants, Dr. Donald Tashkin. Tashkin was tasked with proving the link between smoking cannabis and lung cancer; his study proved the opposite. What Tashkin found amazed him and dismayed the feds.

Tashkin’s team interviewed 1,212 cancer patients from the Los Angeles County Cancer Registry. His control group was 1,040 cancer-free citizens matched for age, gender, and neighborhood. Smoked cannabis use was measured in “joint years” (number of years smoked times number of joints per day). Tashkin found that increased use of smoked marijuana did not result in higher rates of lung and pharyngeal cancer. In fact, they had a lower risk than those who smoked nothing at all. Tobacco smokers, of course, were at greater risk the more they smoked. Tobacco smokers who also smoked marijuana were at slightly lower risk of getting lung cancer than tobacco-only smokers.

Ever since his results were reported the government has been very quiet on Dr. Tashkin’ s findings . They have dissembled and tried to undermine his credibility. Rather than publicize his findings the government seized on a much smaller study done in New Zealand. The NZ study had exactly the same findings as the Tashkin study except for a handful of very heavy users. However, there were so few in this category that the cohort was not statistically significant. The federal government seized on this statistically insignificant outlier and gave it widespread publicity. They misrepresented the findings of the NZ study saying it contradicted Tashkin’s. This was a complete misreading of the results. “Heavy cannabis users may be at greater risk of chronic lung disease - including cancer - compared to tobacco smokers,” is how BBC News summed up the New Zealanders’ findings .

The New Zealand study looked at use levels of cannabis and all but the statistically insignificant heavy user cohort had similar results to Tashkin. The media ignored the very small size of the entire study - 79 smokers took part, 21 of whom smoked cannabis only. According to the mainstream media, the New Zealand study represented the latest word on this subject.

Talk about fake news! In a talk he gave at Asilomar in 2008, Tashkin criticized the New Zealanders’ methodology. According to O’Shaugnessy’s Fred Gardner, Dr. Tashkin said, “There’s some cognitive dissonance associated with the interpretation of their findings. I think this has to do with the belief model among the investigators and - I wish they were here to defend themselves - the integrity of the investigators.”

We need to have science dictate policy, not people like former Attorney General Jeff Sessions who clearly lied under oath before Congress. One can only ask what other lies have we been fed to justify avoiding using cannabis as medicine. Medicine needs to be directed by intellectual curiosity, a thirst for knowledge and truth and science. I urge medical school faculty who share these values to give your students the tools they need to survive in the twenty-first century medical environment.

By Dr. David Bearman,  HuffPost Contributor
Dr. Bearman is a California M.D. who specializes in pain management, harm reduction and medical cannabis.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program News, Legislation, and Advocacy

This past week has been big for cannabis in electoral politics. Thanks to Tuesday’s election we have now have a favorable Democratic trifecta in control of state politics with very strong support for medical cannabis expansion, and thirty-three states now have a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Ballot victories in Missouri and Utah transitioned these states’ low-THC CBD programs to significantly broader access.

The year is not over yet and this is a crucial time for advocating for medical cannabis patient rights and to advocate for policies that expand the rights of our medical cannabis producers, dispensaries, manufacturers, and labs.

Lawmakers in the Roundhouse are preparing legislation for the upcoming 2019 Regular Session and now is the time to speak out and advocate for the changes the Patient’s Medical Cannabis Program needs as it has been severely neglected by the state over the last several years. 

As you may know my name is Jason Barker, advocate for Safe Access New Mexico a Chapter of Americans For Safe Access, a freelance writer for Cannabis News Journal and a medical cannabis patient in New Mexico. With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.

Legislation to please review and consider emailing or mailing to your New Mexico Representatives for Medical Cannabis Program Expansion:

Find and Email Your New Mexico Legislators Any of These Bills Here:

1. AN ACT: Safe Access To Medical Cannabis in SchoolRecent articles of supporting this Policy Change:
Allow medical cannabis at school | Santa Fe New Mexican

Mothers unite at Roundhouse to allow medical cannabis in schools | KRQE

Moms argue for cannabis oil | ABQ Journal

This legislation will allow reasonable accommodations for safe access to medical cannabis at school. Nothing in this bill requires any school personnel to administer medical cannabis.
Schools can opt out of this policy if the school loses federal funding as a result of implementing this policy; and the school can reasonably demonstrate that lost federal funding was a result of implementing this policy. This bill will also protect parents and pediatric patients as an individual's participation in the state's medical cannabis program established pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act shall not in itself constitute grounds for removal and placement into state custody of a child in that individual's care pursuant to the Abuse and Neglect Act; or the provision of state prevention, diversion or intervention services to that individual's family pursuant to the Family Services Act. This bill also exempts certain approved entities and employees and agents from criminal and civil liability involving medical cannabis.

Link to this Proposed Legislation:

And since speaking out and advocating for this change both mothers are now experiencing retaliation and harassment from the school district, both Albuquerque Public Schools and Estancia Public Schools, such retaliation as contacting law enforcement and seeking civil actions in court.

Please Speak Up and Advocate for these Mothers and other Families!

In addition to support from the Legislative Human Health and Services interim committee, these mothers advocating for this change also have the support of Governor-Elect Michelle Lujan Grisham; The change in the law is coming and at this point what APS and Estancia Public Schools are doing to these children is causing them harm...

Currently there are six other states with comprehensive medical cannabis programs (New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Illinois) that have successfully set forth rules and regulations for allowing school-age children to have safe access to medical cannabis while attending public schools.

No school or school district has ever lost any federal funding for allowing safe access to medical cannabis at school, nor has there been any problems.

2. MEMORIAL- LHHS Medical Cannabis Subcommittee (Was also provided at the start of the 2018 Session to Rep. Deb Armstrong and Sen. Ortiz y Pino which lead to the creation of Drug Policy Alliances Medical Cannabis Task Force; a permanent subcommittee is needed for program longevity.)

The New Mexico legislative council be requested to charge the chair of the legislative health and human services committee with convening and chairing the medical cannabis program advisory subcommittee and with appointing to the subcommittee: The Eight members of the current New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, who are to be practitioners and representing the fields of neurology, pain management, medical oncology, psychiatry, infectious disease, family medicine and gynecology. The practitioners shall be nationally board-certified in their area of specialty and knowledgeable about the medical use of cannabis. In Additional members of the medical cannabis program advisory subcommittee shall consist of; at least one person who is from the University of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Research Fund, at least two members of the House of Representatives, one each from the majority party and the minority party; at least two Senators, one each from the majority party and the minority party; and a member of the legislative finance committee staff; and one member who is a representative of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture; one member who is a representative of the New Mexico State Pharmacy Board; one member who is a representative of the New Mexico Department of Health, at least two persons who possesses a qualifying patient's registry identification card; at least one person who is an officer, board member, or other responsible party for a licensed medical cannabis dispensing facility; at least one medical professional who is a medical cannabis provider, and at least one qualifying patient who is either a Armed Forces Veteran or prior Law Enforcement/Fire/EMT Veteran status.

Link to this Proposed Legislation:

3. AN ACT: Veterinary Medicine Access To The Medical Cannabis Program
(The New Mexico Veterinary Medical Board does Support seeing this change take place.) *This is especially important to me personally as my dog, Tecumseh, has a extremely severe and rare form of canine idiopathic epilepsy.

Article about Tecumseh: ‘Medical Cannabis and Veterinary Medicine’

This legislation will allow cannabis to be discussed for medical purposes on animals. This bill will not allow a veterinary practice to sell or administer cannabis.
Passage into law would then enable Veterinary Medical Doctors to recommend medical cannabis and complete the necessary paperwork as required by the state’s medical cannabis law, Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007.

Link to this Proposed Legislation:

4. An Act: Relating to Amending LECUA, 2007(Was also provided at the start of the 2018 Session to the Committee Chair & other members) (And this bill written last year, already has all the recommendations made by the DPA Task Force for the medical cannabis program.)
The bill, within the LECUA provision for exemption from criminal and civil penalty, adds a paragraph providing for immunity for approved entities, Department of Health (DOH) employees, or agents for the possession of cannabis, or for other activities, as may be permitted by department rule. The bill would also permit the department to extend the enrollment period of a patient or caregiver in the program if the department believes the individual’s enrollment might lapse as a result of a delay in the processing of the enrollment application. Overall enrollment periods would be increased from one year to two years.
Provisions would be added to LECUA requiring the secretary of health to adopt rules to allow for interstate reciprocity, publish a patient census on the DOH website, and notify licensed producers of the current census. The adds substance use disorder, for which the applicant or qualified patient is currently undergoing treatment for the applicant's or qualified patient's condition; And allows any Qualifying Medical Provider per department rule to add any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical, or mental health; as approved by the department.
The bill would also require the secretary of DOH to notify localities of the secretary’s intent to issue a new producer license to include the name and address of the new licensee.
Also, the bill would not allow children to be removed and placed into state custody based solely on an individual’s participation in the medical cannabis program. The bill would also not allow someone to be precluded from receiving an anatomical gift due to that person’s participation in the program.

Link to this Proposed Legislation:

And on Friday December 7 @ 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Hearing for the Medical Cannabis Program
Harold Runnels Building
1190 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505

I did also get a letter from the Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program about the upcoming MCAB Meeting Dec. 7th and the Doctors will review and vote on the Petition: Degenerative Neurological Disorders And Neuroprotective Applications (that was provided to them back on the Nov. 2017 MCAB Meeting), there should be the final decision on the Autism Petition as well, and Medical Cannabis in Schools will be discussed.

Petition: Degenerative Neurological Disorders And Neuroprotective Applications

Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Autism Spectrum Disorders []

Safe Access New Mexico ~ A Chapter of Americans For Safe Access
(All Rights Reserved 04/20/2018)

Resources for Policy Makers, Medical Professionals & Researchers:

Find and Email Your New Mexico Legislator’s These Bills:
Find My Legislator:

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In Honor of Veterans Day, A Story Everyone Should Listen To -"We’ve Never Been The Same: A War Story"

We’ve Never Been The Same: A War Story
by Adam Piore and Jay Allison with Viki Merrick | 2.16.15

Intro from Jay Allison: All wars are the same, it is said, only the scenery changes. And the repercussions are pretty much the same too.

Over the last five years, Adam Piore has gathered the stories of the surviving members of Delta Company, a Vietnam-era paratrooper unit; I joined him for the last two years when it turned from a book into a radio story. We're proud now to feature the finished hour on Transom.

At Fort Campbell before deployment, Delta was a ragtag bunch, the “leftovers” as one of their fellow soldiers put it, but on the night of March 18th, 1968, they became heroes. Their leader earned the Congressional Medal of Honor and two others were awarded the nation’s second highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, for their valor that night when the company endured a long and devastating battle—not as long or as devastating, however, as the years that followed, after the men of Delta Company came home separately to live alone with the memories.

Adam Piore became dedicated to this group of guys and to their common story of trauma, guilt, courage, heartbreak, and reunion. This is Adam’s first work for radio and his notes about the transition from print can be found below.

Listen To "We’ve Never Been The Same: A War Story"

The Advantages of Radio

I hadn’t thought about telling Delta’s story as a radio piece. But I think you have to actually hear the voices of these men to really get a sense of the drama of their battle and how present it still is for many of them today.

Even after listening to these interviews countless times, I am still deeply moved by their voices. These guys have something to say. But for years they’ve been convinced that nobody wants to hear it. To amplify the actual voices of these guys—to help them share a message, connect with the world—I just had no idea it could be so satisfying to do radio. Now I get it.
Building Trust and Interviewing Vets with PTSD… Over and Over and Over Again

In the fall of 2013, Jay Allison came down from Cape Cod to gather some tape with me, and show me a few tricks. By then, I already had hours and hours of tape on microcassette. But since none of it was radio quality, we decided to interview everyone again. (In the end we did use a small piece of the microcassette tape. It had a nice archival feeling to it that Jay and Viki Merrick, who also worked on the piece, liked.)

It was a bit of a challenge having to interview everyone multiple times, but I learned that as long as the quotes had energy it made for good tape.

By the time Jay and I sat down to tape the Delta guys, most of them had known me for years and felt comfortable speaking candidly about their experiences, which is important, of course, in doing a story like this.

It’s not always easy to get vets to talk about their experiences, especially if the vets have PTSD. You need trust. And to get trust you need to put in the time.
Paul Bucha on the front page of The Screaming Eagle

At the outset, I think the main reason the men of Delta decided to trust me is because they trusted each other. I started with their former Company Commander Bud Bucha. He was the gatekeeper of sorts. As a Medal of Honor recipient, Bud has had plenty of attention over the years. But the idea that I wanted to tell the story of the whole unit appealed to him. He thought his men deserved recognition. Bud’s judgment that I could be trusted was enough for Dave Dillard. And once I had Bud and Dave in my corner, most, though not all, of the other guys were willing to speak with me.

I started by just getting details about the big battle, but the conversations almost invariably moved on to the aftermath of war and the trauma. I admitted my ignorance up front. I know that someone who hasn’t gone through combat can never understand what it is like. But that doesn’t mean I can’t attempt to understand, or at least try to help them translate some of that experience into language someone like me might understand—at least a small part of it. And if they don’t want to talk about it, then fine. I’m not forcing anyone. I’m just there to listen.

At first, we went slowly into the details. And later, I knew so much about the battle that I could discuss it in a level of complexity that I think the men appreciated. It helped that a lot of time had passed, and some of the guys had come to the realization that the only way to heal was to talk. Many, though not all, had talked with each other and professional counselors.
Calvin Heath at basic training.

I have spent a lot of my career speaking with people about trauma and am comfortable doing so. I’ve found that the best way to talk with others about difficult experiences is to behave, while acting as a journalist, in much the same way I would behave as a human being—with respect, compassion, openness, curiosity and honesty. I don’t try to force people to talk about things they don’t want to talk about. But I’m also not shy about asking questions. I don’t really flinch when people tell me terrible things. I try to be present, to get a sense of how the person I am speaking with feels and is experiencing their story, not just the words they are telling me. What does this story mean to them? What was it like for them?

If I have a difficult question, I often preface it by telling the person beforehand that I’m going to ask a difficult question, which they don’t have to answer if they don’t want to. Probably what helps the most is simply making sure the person I am interviewing understands exactly what I’m trying to do, why I want to know the answer to something, and how I think it might help others understand their experience. I admit when I worry I am crossing a line, or wonder if I am pushing too hard. An interview is a collaboration.

I also will talk about myself, things I have been through, or heard about, or wondered about, or thought about. I was moved by the stories the men of Delta told me. And I let them know. I was surprised by how much some of them seemed to appreciate that. A lot of them thought nobody cared. But these guys wanted to talk once they knew someone wanted to listen. Once they understood that their stories mattered to me, and that I thought they would matter to a lot of other people too.

Here, stories always matter.

Help Transom get new work and voices to public radio by donating now.
Getting the Story on Tape… When the Bathroom is Down the Hall

I used an H4n tape recorder, which I purchased at Best Buy, to gather audio, and relied on tips from the Transom website and Samantha Broun on what microphone to buy and what headphones to use, as well as how to get good tape.

In the end, good radio writing and reporting relies on the same thing as good magazine writing and reporting: Getting the details, being specific, showing instead of telling. I report and write a lot by getting people to tell me stories, and then slowing them down and getting them to describe the scenes. What did it look like? What did it smell like? What were you feeling at that point? What was that like?

One thing that surprised me was just how much stray noise popped on the tape. During one particularly emotional interview, you could hear the toilet flushing in the bathroom down the hallway, even though the door was closed. Talk about a mood killer!

I also learned that some of the most powerful moments of my interviews didn’t translate into the tape—moments that I would definitely have written into a magazine story. At one point we were talking about a particularly raw and harrowing part of one man’s story, something I’m not sure the soldier had spoken about for 40 years. To me the moment was positively electric, his reaction to my question struck me as so raw and real and powerful. But Jay later told me, “It was all in his eyes.” On tape it sounded dull, emotionless, and we didn’t end up using it.
Story Telling

I would have preferred not to insert myself into this story. But Jay and I agreed that the younger audience, people who hadn’t been around for Vietnam, probably needed a guide. And so I tried to come up with a theme that would serve as a touchstone to the present, a thread that we could weave in and out of the real story. I began by sending emails to Jay and getting his feedback. I didn’t want to compare anything I have ever experienced with what the men of Delta went through. But Jay kept pushing me to explain why I was so intrigued by their story. For a while, I couldn’t articulate why. But by the end, I think I got pretty close. I found the whole experience deeply moving. And capturing their voices was a much more potent way to tell the men from Delta’s tale than it would have been in print.

I’ll definitely do more radio in the future.

You can find out more about those Delta Co. 3rd Battalian, 187th Infantry (Airborne), 101st Airborne Division who served in Viet Nam here.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Medical Cannabis in the 2018 Midterm Elections

This week has been big for cannabis in electoral politics. Thanks to Tuesday’s election, thirty-three states now have a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Ballot victories in Missouri and Utah transitioned these states’ low-THC CBD programs to significantly broader access. Voters in eleven Wisconsin counties and one city approved non-binding referendums supporting medical cannabis legislation. Michigan passed an initiative that legalized the adult use of cannabis.

In addition to the big results on Tuesday, Wednesday brought news of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation. Since his appointment as Attorney General (and for a considerable time beforehand as a U.S. Senator), Sessions made no efforts to hide his dislike for cannabis and those who used it, even for medical purposes.

Democrats won control of the House of Representatives (as of this writing, Democrats had 225 seats and Republicans have 197, with 14 seats still being counted) and Republicans maintained control of the Senate by holding onto 51 seats--Democrats currently hold 44 seats. The two independent Senators who caucus with Democrats--(Bernie Sanders (VT) and Angus King (ME))--won reelection. The results of three Senate seats are still being counted.

Ballot Initiatives
Perhaps the biggest victory for medical cannabis advocates came in the form of two ballot initiatives in Utah and Missouri.

Missouri: The voters of Missouri had three medical cannabis initiatives on which to to vote. Of the three, Amendment 2 passed with 65.5% of the vote (1,572,592 votes). Under Amendment 2, medical cannabis would be legalized and taxed at a rate of 4%. The tax revenue from Amendment 2 would be dedicated to providing healthcare services for veterans. It also would allow for nine qualifying medical conditions to be eligible for medical cannabis and the opportunity to add other conditions with a doctor’s approval. Patients would be allowed to possess a minimum of four ounces of cannabis for 30 days, though this may be increased by the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Patients will begin to receive the protections of Amendment 2 starting on December 6, 2018. According to the language of the initiative, the State must be ready to begin to accept licenses for medical cannabis businesses by July 6, 2019. Amendment 2 is a constitutional amendment, meaning that any changes to its text by the legislature must be approved by a simple majority in the state legislature then put to a public vote.

Utah: Like Missouri, the State of Utah also passed a medical cannabis ballot initiative called Proposition 2. As of writing, the initiative passed with 53.15% of the vote (404,427 votes), though there are some precincts still reporting. Proposition 2 would legalize medical marijuana for individuals with certain qualifying conditions and would allow patients to possess two ounces of cannabis for each 14-day period. Proposition 2 would exempt cannabis from state and local sales taxes. Unlike Amendment 2, which requires the legislature and a public vote to enact change, it appears as though the provisions of Amendment 2 can be changed by the state legislature upon a simple majority vote.

In response to Proposition 2, opponents of the initiative and other stakeholders had previously drafted a series of bills intended to be viewed as compromise legislation for implementing medical cannabis in Utah. However, It appears as though many patient advocates had been largely left out of these discussions, but this may change in the coming weeks. You can read more about the process of a possible legislative medical cannabis program to supersede Proposition 2 here.

There were thirty-six gubernatorial races around the country that were decided on Tuesday, with Democratic candidates gaining seven total seats. Many of these races occurred in states that already have strong medical cannabis programs, but four races of note are the ones that occurred in Kansas,Wisconsin, Georgia, and Colorado

Kansas: Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelley has publicly expressed support for the state implementing a medical cannabis program. She particularly supports the development of a medical cannabis program that can help the state with its opioid crisis. Kansas has long been considered by advocates as one of the last places where medical cannabis would become legal, so having a top government official supporting the movement could be enough to turn the tide.

Wisconsin: Another important race was in Wisconsin. Democrat Tony Evers replaced Scott Walker. Although Scott Walker signed a limited CBD bill into law while Governor, he largely subscribed to prohibitionist ideals including the gateway theory. With eleven counties in Wisconsin voting favorably for medical cannabis advisory referendums,Tony Evers’ campaign website has the following statement indicating that the future of medical cannabis in the state may be improving:

“For many Wisconsinites, medical marijuana will alleviate chronic pain, which is why organizations like the American Legion support legalization because of the documented health benefits for our veterans. It’s no secret that Wisconsin, like red and blue states across the country, is battling an opioid and painkiller crisis that is killing thousands of Americans every year. The fact remains that states that have legalized medical marijuana have observed double digit decreases in both opioid abuse and overdose related hospitalizations. Tony would support and sign medical marijuana legalization legislation”

Georgia: The race in Georgia is still too close to call, could could result in a Governor favorable to legalization of medical cannabis in the Southeast.

Colorado: Long time medical cannabis supporter and friend of Americans for Safe Access, Jared Polis, became the Governor of Colorado.

U.S. House of Representatives
As of writing this post, Democrats have gained thirty seats giving them the majority in the House of Representatives. Perhaps the most significant outcome for medical cannabis advocates is the loss of Pete Sessions. Pete Sessions, formerly the chairman of the House Rules committee, Lost his race to Democratic challenger Colin Allred. Sessions was notorious for blocking cannabis amendments from coming to the house floor. Many advocates view his departure as the window of opportunity to pass permanent legislation. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), who was the chairman of House Judiciary also lost his seat.

Unfortunately, medical cannabis advocates also suffered the loss of a key advocate. Dana Rohrabacher of California, long known for his support of patients and a reform of the federal cannabis laws lost his seat. Rohrabacher was instrumental in securing protections for patients from the justice department in the annual CJS appropriations amendment. Fortunately, beginning in 2017, Republican Dave Joyce from Ohio agreed to be the Republican lead sponsor on this amendment, allowing for this amendment to be continued through subsequent appropriations processes.

Other medical cannabis champions who lost their seats include Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Tim Walz (D-MN), Scott Taylor, (R-VA) and Tom Garrett (R-VA).

Despite losses of some of our champions, the future for medical cannabis legislation in the House looks bright. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has laid out a potential blueprint for House Democrats to follow to federally legalize cannabis. His proposal is broadreaching and ambitious, and not guaranteed to pass with Republican controlled senate and White House, but it provides important insight as to how the Democrats may choose to use their majority to move cannabis policy forward.

U.S. Senate
The path to moving cannabis legislation through the Senate has never been an easy one. The Republicans have maintained control of the Senate and nearly all of our regular champions on cannabis legislation have retained their seats. However, many of our opponents in the Senate were not up for reelection including Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

This is what we know about the newly elected Senators: ]

Senator-Elect Mike Braun (R-IN) appears to support letting states set their own policies when it comes to cannabis.

Senator-Elect Josh Hawley (R-MO): He has indicated he is “inclined to support” medical cannabis.

Jacky Rosen (D-NV) actively supported medical cannabis legislation in the House and will likely continue to do so in the Senate.

Mitt Romney (R-UT) supports medical cannabis… sort of.

ASA is excited and ready to use our momentum to work with the new Congress to protect patient access to medical cannabis.

November 09, 2018 | David Mangone