Monday, April 29, 2019

International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) announces its co-founder, Steph Sherer, as President.

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Through her work as Founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Sherer has made medical cannabis available to patients worldwide. During her time as Executive Director of ASA, Sherer was responsible for the drafting of some of the first distribution laws in the United States and has been a leader in bringing patients to the table with lawmakers. Now she comes to Prague to run the International Institute for Cannabis and Cannabinoids (ICCI).

“For the last 17 years, I have worked to break-down societal and governmental barriers for patients who need access to medical cannabis. Now that these barriers are tumbling down it is important that industry evolves to provide products for these populations that are safe, standardized and targeted and that there is the scientific infrastructure to support these efforts. I am excited to extend my advocacy for access to medical cannabis to include the scientific community, investors, and sectors of the industry that are committed to serving the patient community.” – Steph Sherer, ICCI Co-Founder and President.

ICCI was founded as a joint project of patient organizations, scientific societies and American investment company Dioscorides Global Holdings (DGH). The headquarters are located in Prague, and as a center of excellence, it cooperates internationally with governments, universities and research institutes as well as companies in the cannabis, hemp, biotech, and agricultural sectors.

Sherer co-founded DGH, a private equity firm that invests strategically in medical cannabis, with partner Ben Bronfman. Sherer is the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy. In 2002, Sherer founded Americans for Safe Access (ASA) 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.  For seventeen years, Sherer's leadership guided the efforts, with lawmakers across the US and globally, to adapt and improve medical cannabis legislation and regulatory policy across the US and its territories as well as representing patients on Capitol Hill.  Alongside the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacia, Sherer co-created the first medical cannabis industry standards in the areas of Distribution, Cultivation, Analytics, and Manufacturing, Packaging, and Labeling.  

“We are excited that Steph has decided to focus more on ICCI  in this next phase of her career.  She has been a strong patient advocate and has a clear vision of the trajectory of the medical cannabis industry.” – Pavel Kubu MD, ICCI CEO.

“The appointment of Steph Sherer is an important milestone for ICCI. Steph brings her longstanding track record of success in bringing together disparate parties in the cannabis world that have led to major advances in patient access, research potentialities and liberalization of legislation on the local, national and international level. said Ethan Russo MD, ICCI Director of Research and Development. “Her experience and broad knowledge of the field will be well applied to our work going forward on cannabis therapeutics and practical applications of industrial hemp.”
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Friday, April 26, 2019

Understanding the Science of Cannabis: Terpenoids

Image result for cannabis science terpenes

Terpenoids are a diverse class of chemical compounds naturally produced by a large variety of plants and flowers, including cannabis. These compounds are responsible for producing the various aromas these plants produce, and they also possess medically significant characteristics.

The fragrant imprint of each plant is a result of different combinations of terpenes. Cannabis is unique in that each strain has a unique profile of terpenes. Terpenes are believed to exhibit medicinal properties independent from the cannabinoids. Overall, terpenes contribute to a strain's particular influence - a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.

What has been surprising to scientists in recent years is that these terpenoids work synergistically with the cannabinoid compounds that cannabis produces to create a host of therapeutic effects. These terpenoids, in effect, enhance the effects of certain cannabinoid compounds like THC. They also help explain why cannabis provides a wide variety of psychoactive effects as well.

There are a multitude of terpenes that scientists have identified. One common example of a terpenoid would be Linalool, naturally produced in Lavender and in several strains of cannabis. Known for its anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-convulsive attributes, its healing properties are enhanced when combined with CBD. Another common example would be Myrcene, a compound prevalent in mangoes and lemongrass and also produced in some cannabis strains, which has been known to have analgesic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties when combined with THC!


A chart detailing the three forms of cannabis: raw, heated, and aged



Linalool

Linalool is simple terpene alcohol, probably best known for the pleasant floral odor it gives to lavender plants. It is also known as β-linalool, licareol and linalyl alcohol. Linalool has been isolated in several hundred different plants including lavenders, citrus, laurels, birch, coriander and rosewood. Linalool has been used for several thousands of years as a sleep aid. Linalool is a critical precursor in the formation of Vitamin E. It has been used in the treatment of both psychosis and anxiety, and as an anti-epileptic agent. It also grants relief from pain and has been used as an analgesic. Its vapors have been shown to be an effective insecticide against fruit flies, fleas and cockroaches.




Anti-anxiety
Anti-bacterial
Anti-convulsive
Anti-depressant
Anti-insomnia


Terpinolene

Terpinolene is a monoterpene, part of the terpinene subfamily of terpenes. This family of four isomers is known for being anti-oxidant, immune-modulating and anti-biologically (anti-tumor, antibacterial, antifungal). It has also been used, for hundreds of years, in the treatment on insomnia. Terpinolene is found in oregano, marjoram, cumin, lilac, some citrus rind and conifers.




Anti-bacterial
Anti-fungal
Anti-insomnia
Anti-septic


Phytol

When the Chlorophyll molecule degrades, it breaks down into two parts. The ‘tail’ portion is Phytol, an oily diterpene. It is used in the synthesis of vitamins E and K and is known to have anti-oxidant properties.




Anti-insomnia


β-Myrcene 

β-Myrcene is a monoterpene, and for a wide variety of reasons, one of the most important terpenes. It is a precursor in the formation of other terpenes, as well. β-Myrcene is found fresh mango fruit, hops, bay leaves, eucalyptus, lemongrass and many other plants. β-Myrcene is known to be anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and used in the treatment of spasms. It is also used to treat insomnia, and pain. It also has some very special properties, including lowering the resistance across the blood to brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier easier and more quickly. In the case of cannabinoids, like THC, it allows it to take effect more quickly. More uniquely still, β-Myrcene has been shown to increase the maximum saturation level of the CB1 receptor, allowing for a greater maximum psychoactive effect. For most people, the consumption of a fresh mango, 45 minutes before inhaling cannabis, will result in a faster onset of psycho activity and greater intensity. β-Myrcene can be used in this same manner to improve uptake with a wide variety of chemical compounds.

Less well known is that fact that high β-Myrcene levels in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) result in the well known ‘couch lock’ effect of classic Indica strains of cannabis; Sativa strains normally contain less than 0.5% β-Myrcene.





Analgesic
Anti-cancer
Anti-inflammatory
Anti-insomnia
Anti-spasmotic


Citronellol

Citronellol is a monoterpenoid, closely related to Geraniol, and is found in geraniums, rose, some citrus rind. It has been used as a natural mosquito repellent for over 2,000 years, and to preserve fabric from moths. Like many other terpenoids, it is anti-biological, anti-inflammatory, immuno-regulating. As an anti-biological, it is well known for being aggressively anti-tumor. Also like many other terpenoids, it has a very low toxicity, having a high level of GRAS status and a high LD50 of 2650mg/kG of body weight.




Anti-cancer
Anti-inflammatory
Anti-insomnia
Anti-spasmotic


Caryphyllene Oxide

Caryophyllene oxide is the oxidation product of beta-Caryophyllene. It is well known for it’s anti-biological activity against fungus and tumors. It is also anti-oxidant. It may well play a roll in improving uptake of CBD/CBC in the CB2 receptor.




Anti-fungal
Anti-ischemic


α-Pinene

α-Pinene is one of the principle monoterpenes, and is important physiologically in both plants and animals, and to our environment. α-Pinene tends to react with other chemicals, forming a variety of other terpenes (like D-Limonene) and other compounds. α-Pinene has been used for centuries as a bronchodilator in the treatment of asthma; ever notice how your lungs seem to open up when hiking through a pine forest in the warm summer? α-Pinene is also anti-inflammatory. It’s found in conifer trees, orange peels among others, and known for it’s sharp sweet odor. α-Pinene is a major constituent in turpentine.




Anti-bacterial
Anti-fungal
Anti-inflammatory
Bronchodialator



Limonene

D-limonene is a cyclic terpene of major importance with a strong citrus odor and bitter taste. D-limonene was primarily used in medicine, food and perfume until a couple of decades ago, when it became better known as the main active ingredient in citrus cleaner. It has very low toxicity, and humans are rarely ever allergic to it. Medicinally, Limonene is best known for treating gastric reflux and as an anti-fungal agent. It’s ability to permeate proteins makes it ideal for treating toenail fungus. Limonene is also useful in treating depression and anxiety. Limonene also assists in the absorption of other terpenoids and chemicals through the skin, mucous membranes and digestive tract. It’s also been shown to be effective anti-tumor while at the same time being an immunostimulant. Limonene is one of two major compounds formed from α-Pinene.




Anti-anxiety
Anti-bacterial
Anti-cancer
Anti-depressant
Anti-fungal
Bronchodialator


β–Caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene found in many plants including Thai basils, cloves and black pepper, and has a rich spicy odor. Research has shown that β–Caryophyllene has affinity for the CB2 endocannabinoid receptor. β–Caryophyllene is known to be anti-septic, anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory.




Anti-bacterial
Anti-cancer
Anti-fungal
Anti-inflammatory
Anti-septic


Humulene

Humulene is a sesquiterpene also known as α-humulene and α–caryophyllene; an isomer of β–caryophyllene. Humulene is found in hops, cannabis sativa strains, and Vietnamese coriander, among others. Humulene gives beer its ‘hoppy’ aroma. It is anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (suppresses appetite). It has commonly been blended with β–caryophyllene and used as a major remedy for inflammation, and is well known to Chinese medicine.




Anti-cancer
Anti-inflammatory
Anti-insomnia
Anti-spasmotic




The diverse palate of cannabis flavors is impressive enough, but arguably the most fascinating characteristic of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, like cannabinoids. In the past few decades, most cannabis varieties have been bred to contain high levels of THC, and as a result, other cannabinoids like CBD have fallen to just trace amounts. This has led many to believe that terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains.

Each individual terpene is associated with unique effects. Some promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others promote focus and acuity. Linalool, for example, is believed to be relaxing whereas limonene elevates mood.

The effect profile of any given terpene may change in the presence of other compounds in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to understand each terpenes effect when used in harmony with others.

Their differences can be subtle, but terpenes can add great depth to the horticultural art and connoisseurship of cannabis. Most importantly, terpenes may offer additional medical value as they mediate our body’s interaction with therapeutic cannabinoids.

Many cannabis analysis labs now test terpene content, so you may have a better idea of what effects a strain might produce. With their unlimited combinations of synergistic effects, terpenes will certainly open up new scientific and medical terrains for cannabis research.

Leafly cannabis terpene wheel infographic


Sources: 
Project CBD 
Elemental Wellness Center
Steep Hill Labs
Leafly (images)


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Understanding the Science of Cannabis: The Entourage Effect


What is the entourage effect?

The Entourage Effect is the synergy between medicinal compounds known as cannabinoids and terpenes that are produced with in the cannabis plant.

The phrase entourage effect was introduced in 1998 by S. Ben-Shabat, and by Raphael Mechoulam, to represent a novel endogenous cannabinoid molecular regulation route.
“An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity.” 

The phrase refers to the compounds present in cannabis supposedly working in concert to create “the sum of all the parts that leads to the magic or power of cannabis”, according to Chris Emerson (Chemist, Stanford Post-Doc, Oregon State Ph.D.). Other cannabinoids', terpenoids', and flavonoids' contribution to clinical cannabis effects has been espoused as an “entourage effect”.

In short, and as we will see in more detail below, it is a principle whereby the association between the different compounds present in cannabis can enhance (or mitigate) the effect of each one of them, in many cases improving the results given when administering isolated cannabinoids. A classic example of this is found in the potentiation of the effects of phytocannabinoids when THC and CBD are administered jointly, in which a level of effectiveness is reached that would be impossible by using the two compounds separately, besides avoiding some of the adverse or undesirable effects of THC. For this reason, more and more patients are looking for cannabis strains with a wider range of cannabinoids and terpenes, to ensure this interaction between the various molecules and, therefore, more potent and effective results from a medicinal point of view.


Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis plants.

They are a subset of the 80-100 terpene-derived molecules found only in cannabis plants. Thus, all cannabinoids are terpenoids, but not all terpenoids are cannabinoids. They all have similar structures, but have been shown to have very different effects. Cannabinoids, are found in highest concentrations within the trichomes (or resin glands) found predominantly on the female flowers. Most cannabinoids are found in both acid and neutral forms, and majority are prevalent in acids.


Terpenoids are the chemical compounds responsible for a plant’s fragrance.

They are found within the resin glands of the cannabis plants (or trichomes). They interact with cannabinoids, called ‘entourage effect’ which helps define a given strain’s unique quality. Humankind has been infatuated with terpenes for thousands of years, enjoying the aromas and flavors in beer, candy, perfumes, fruits, incense and much more. In addition to the smells and tastes, we have continuously benefited from the diverse array of the medicinal and nutritional aspects found in terpenes. Terpenoids likely make up the single largest family of chemical compounds available, from across the planet, to herbalists and apothecaries alike for use in compounding remedies and medicine.
Entourage effect and cannabinoid-based medicines

More than twenty years ago, in 1985, a medicine based on pure THC, commercially called Marinol and intended to combat the symptoms of chemotherapy, was marketed in the US and made available by medical prescription. However, both doctors and patients soon realised that this drug was much less effective than the combination of several cannabinoids and terpenes which many experienced when consuming the whole cannabis plant. As a result. the research focused on the interaction between primary and secondary compounds based on different proportions, which often, as witnessed by researchers such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta, offered much more promising results than isolated cannabinoids in pure form.


Israeli professor Raphael Mechoulam, the first to isolate THC

Although research is progressing and more and more products with CBD can be found, some with added terpenes extracted from cannabis or other plants (to increase the permeability of tissues and mucous membranes, improving the assimilation of other compounds), thousands of patients globally cannot fully benefit from this effect if they are unable to also use THC, which according to studies appears to be one of the fundamental ingredients for creating this synergy between molecules.

Ethan B. Russo, an eminent American neurologist and passionate student of cannabis, is another of the many researchers who bet on the entourage effect as a way to get the true benefits that cannabis can offer to thousands of patients. According to his studies, the entourage effect can be very useful to treat a large number of ailments, such as pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, various cases of addiction, epilepsy, cancer or infections caused by fungi or bacteria. Although careful, he also emphasises the following: THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is still essential to achieve the best results, regardless of the combination of compounds concerned. According to Dr. Russo, the administration of CBD together with THC mitigates ostensibly the possible psychotic effects (or anxiety/paranoia) that the THC can cause when administered in isolation.


THC and CBD enter into synergy when jointly administered


Examples of Cannabinoids, terpenes and the entourage effect:

Limonene + pinene + linalool: effective to treat acne and increase the effects of THC

Limonene + linalool: enhance the effects of CBD

Linalool + caryophyllene + myrcene: potentiate the activity of cannabinoids to treat sleep problems

Caryophyllene + myrcene + pinene: suitable for treating addictions

THC + CBD: cannabinol (CBD) would enhance the beneficial effects of THC while reducing adverse effects and modulating its psychoactivity, also contributing its own therapeutic effects.


As can be seen with these few examples, and given the enormous amount of cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds (ketones, esters, lactones, alcohols, fatty acids, steroids, etc.) found in cannabis, it’s not hard to imagine the huge amount of possible combinations that might be achieved, each with a series of specific and determined effects. Remember that each plant has its own unique profile of cannabinoids, terpenes and other molecules, so the effects of each plant can vary depending on that profile, or chemotype.

Related image


Studies and publications on cannabinoids and terpenes:An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity. ShimonBen-Shabat, Ester Fridea, Tzviel Sheskina, Tsippy Tamirib, Man-Hee Rheec, Zvi Vogelc, Tiziana Bisognod, Luciano De Petrocellise, Vincenzo Di Marzod and RaphaelMechoulam

Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Ethan B. Russo

A tale of two cannabinoids: the therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Ethan B. Russo and Guy, GW

Cannabis is more than simply D9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Ethan B. Russo and John M. McPartland

The entourage effect: Synergistic actions of plant cannabinoids. Juan Sanchez-Ramos

Medicinal cannabis: is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol necessary for all its effects? JD Wilkinson, BJ Whalley, D. Baker, G. Pryce, A. Constanti, S. Gibbons, Williamson MS

The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Franjo Grotenhermen, Kirsten Müller-Vahl

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Douglas County Colorado Parents Want School District To Change Medical Cannabis Policy

After a law is made, what happens next? There was applause last year for a Colorado law allowing school personnel to administer medical cannabis to kids. This year, we've found few school districts are letting nurses help students under the new law.


Image result for Colorado Medical Cannabis

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colorado — Amber Wann lives only moments away from her son’s school, but she still feels it's too far. Benjamin Wann, her son and a student at Mountain Vista High School, has epilepsy.


“There is also the fear that if he has a seizure at school it would be an emergency situation and we live 15 minutes away,” Amber Wann said.

Wann said Benjamin is allergic to the pharmaceutical form of a rescue drug for a severe seizure.



cannabis oil
Credit: 9 News

“He uses medical cannabis on a daily basis to control his epilepsy and seizures associated with his epilepsy,” Wann said.

Right now, her son takes a hemp oil supplement in the morning and evening and doesn’t need a dose at school. Should he need a dose of it there though, the district would only allow his parents to administer it.

They were granted that right in 2016 with a law called “Jack’s Law,” which allows parents and other caregivers to administer the drug. It was a huge step forward for parents of children who use medical cannabis.

Then in 2018, state lawmakers passed an amendment to that law, allowing qualified school personnel to administer the drug. Though the updated law allows school districts to do this, the districts have the right to make their own policy.

Since the law passed, only one district in Eagle County has adopted it.

Douglas County School District decided to opt out, citing the fact that cannabis is still considered an illegal controlled substance under federal law.

“Right now we’re asking for an update of the policy so that school personnel could feel comfortable and know that they are protected by their school districts to do so,” Wann said.




Author: Steve Staeger for 9 News 
Published: 8:15 PM MDT April 15, 2019

Updated by Jason Barker for Cannabis News Journal 


The Green Crayon Campaign — 
Compassionate Care for Medical Cannabis Patients at School


About Us
Current Green Crayon Campaign Info:

Only one school district in the state of Colorado has adopted HB18-1286 which is an amendment to the 2016 Jack’s Law. This amendment gives permission for “School Personnel” to administer non-smokeable forms of medical cannabis to student patients who have an official medical recommendation. Efforts with the Douglas County School District are stalled to update their JLCDB for Administering Medical Marijuana, Hemp Oil and/or Cannabinoid Products Policy. A “Green Crayon Campaign” project is being launched to encourage the school district to update the medical cannabis policy.

We are reaching out to parent’s who can benefit from this update of policy, so they can remain at work without disrupting their child’s day. Supporters as well, who want to see any pediatric medical cannabis student benefit from this update can press the issue and get an update to the policy accomplished.

The school district’s current position is to not update the policy at this time. They say at least parents and/or caregivers are still allowed to come on school grounds to administer. However, this belief does not work for a student with epilepsy who might need an emergency dose of their medical cannabis in the event of a seizure. By the time a parent could get to the school to administer the cannabis medicine could be too late. This is forcing some children to be home-schooled even if they want to attend their local school with neighborhood friends. Also in the case of extreme weather, some children will not get their medical cannabis dose if parents cannot make it to the school on time, thus they suffer. By having medical cannabis accessible at school in a secured lock box, it will aid a student in the case of an emergency.

This call to action will send a powerful visual message with a simple green crayon to the School District Superintendent. The green represents medical cannabis. The crayon represents the students.

Either mail a green crayon in a padded envelop with Green Crayon Campaign logo inserted with message to “UPDATE THE JLCDB POLICY!!!”

Dr. Thomas S. Tucker ~ DCSD Superintendent 
620 Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO. 80104

Or email the Green Crayon Campaign logo with message to “UPDATE THE JLCDB POLICY!!!” and request a reply….

Dr. Thomas S. Tucker ~ DCSD Superintendent
tstucker@dcsdk12.org

Since Jack’s Law was passed in 2016 allowing parents to bring their child’s medical cannabis on school property, no school has lost Federal Funding as a result.

This campaign is about care and compassion for students who use medical cannabis as medicine and to support their desire to have an equal educational opportunity!


Please share this far and wide…most importantly ACT!!!

#GreenCrayonCampaign  

Link to the Green Crayon Campaign: http://thegreencrayoncampaign.com/about-us/

Link to Colorado Safe Access, a Chapter of Americans For Safe Access
https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoForSafeAccess/


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Health Insurance For Medical Cannabis? Florida lawmakers, Agriculture Commissioner Pushing For It

Image result for Florida Medical Cannabis Program
Gather up all the people legally allowed to smoke medical cannabis in Florida and they would be the state’s seventh largest city, with more people than Tallahassee, Fort Lauderdale or Cape Coral.

But the 212,000 people on Florida’s medical cannabis patient registry cannot get health insurance to cover the cost of their medicine. 

“Our constitution recognizes that cannabis is medicine, and if it is in our constitution then companies that provide health insurance to Florida patients should be covering it,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried told the Democrat.


Nikki Fried (Photo: Betsy Hansen)

Florida lawmakers first authorized the use of low-THC cannabis in 2014. Upset with the limitations the Legislature imposed on the drug, voters two years later overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized the cannabis plant to treat a wide range of illnesses from epilepsy to anxiety and chronic pain.

But while Florida as a government may recognize cannabis as a medicine, the state as an employer does not.

The health insurance plan offered to 162,000 state employees provides no cannabis coverage. A Department of Management Services spokesman said the state has no cannabis policy for coverage because none of the state’s medical dispensaries are part of the group insurance network.


VidaCann, a Jacksonville-based flowering plant nursery specializing in medical marijuana, is opening a new Tallahassee location. The Midtown store is located at 1212 N. Monroe St. (Photo: Jessica Keller, Adrenaline Films)

Rep. Ramon Alexander, D-Tallahassee, agrees with Fried: That needs to change.

“We need to have a comprehensive review to allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes for health insurance coverage,” said Alexander. “The therapeutic value of medical marijuana may be able to treat and alleviate symptoms of a variety of serious medical conditions … that many of our state employees face."

Sun Life Financial of Canada, which provides health insurance to more than 20 percent of Canadians, offers cannabis coverage. And insurers in Germany covered $83 million in medical cannabis products in 2018.

But private insurers deny coverage in the U.S. by citing IRS regulations, the lack of FDA approval of cannabis as medicine and a federal classification as a Schedule 1 drug, on par with heroin and cocaine.

A look at how to get a medical cannabis card in Florida. Additional information can be found at floridahealth.gov.

By James Call, Tallahassee Democrat Published 8:30 a.m. ET April 15, 2019
Source: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2019/04/15/medical-marijuana-insurance-florida-constitutional-medicine-no-insurance-recognizes/3434101002/

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Status of CBD


With passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the framework was put in place for states to pass laws legalizing the production and distribution of industrial hemp. But what does that mean for CBD and products containing CBD? A search for “CBD” on the website of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) brings up a list of warning letters that have been issued to companies. In 2015, the FDA issued 18 warning letters and conducted a study on label claims for CBD content. This study showed that only one product came close to the labeled CBD content, while a number contained no cannabinoids, and many contained THC despite not advising so on the label.

More recently, the FDA issued three warning letters on March 28, 2019 to companies marketing their products as nutritional or dietary supplements, listing them as having healing or curative properties on their website, and/or marketing new drugs to animals. Even though the Farm Bill has passed, CBD is still prohibited from being labeled or marketed as a nutritional or dietary supplement and no compound may be called a drug unless it has gone through the FDA’s review process and has been approved as such (e.g., Epidiolex).

Related Article: Inadequate Regulation Contributes to Mislabeled Online Cannabidiol Products | Cannabis New Journal

Businesses must be aware of how they are marketing and labeling their products to ensure that they are in compliance with the FDA requirements for CBD and CBD products until the FDA changes its position. In an announcement in the Federal Register on April 3, 2019, the FDA has said that it will be hosting a public hearing and taking comments to obtain scientific data as it relates to the safety, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and product quality of cannabis and cannabis-derived products.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) recently issued a guidance document to assist herbal companies in evaluating their products and encourages compliance in the following areas:
  • Food facility registration
  • cGMP and cGAP practices
  • Labeling, including:
    • Nutritional information
    • Allergen information
    • Contact information
    • Absence of drug claims
  • New dietary ingredient and food additive provisions
  • Adverse event reporting
Americans for Safe Access created the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program and worked with AHPA to develop clear and comprehensive regulations. PFC is a third-party certification program that works with all aspects of the industry, including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and laboratory operations and has recently begun certifying industrial hemp businesses in addition to cannabis businesses.

From Americans For Safe Access | April 11, 2019 | By Heather Despres

About: Heather Despres, M.Sc., PFC Director
email: heather@safeaccessnow.org phone: (202) 857.4272 x. 6

Heather Despres, M.Sc. is serving as the Director of the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program. Her prior experience in cannabis testing laboratories, as well as environmental and pharmaceutical labs, brings with it years of working to ensure that the products made for medical marijuana patients is safe. Heather has degrees in chemistry and bio-molecular science from Clarkson University as well as a Master’s in Chemistry from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has recently relocated to California with her family and is looking forward to continuing to grow the Patient Focused Certification Program.

PFC Webinar

About Patient Focused Certification:
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.

PFC Homepage image

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Knowing Your Rights


Medical cannabis patients and their providers are vulnerable to federal and state raids, arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. As a result, these individuals may suffer pervasive discrimination in employment, child custody, housing, public accommodation, education and medical care. Laws protecting patients and their providers vary from state to state and, in some cases, may vary from county to county. Many individuals choose to break outdated state laws that do not account for medical use or their access. And no matter what state you are living in, medical cannabis patients and their providers are always violating federal law.


Making the choice to participate in a medical cannabis program or to resist current laws should be done with thoughtful consideration. Following the law in your local area may not always protect you from law enforcement encounters, and the more you know about your rights, the more likely you will be to have a successful encounter with law enforcement. It's important to also remember that the best law enforcement encounter is the one that never happens.

The information found in this section is meant to educate patients and their providers about the existing federal laws, how to avoid law enforcement encounters, how to be prepared for encounters, how to understand your rights during encounters, and how to navigate the legal system after an encounter. After you understand this material, be sure to share this information with your family, friends, or anyone who may be at risk.

A. Know the Laws State Laws

Medical cannabis laws vary from state to state. The section on state laws summarizes some of the key information, with links to more details. If you live in a medical cannabis state, consult 'Medical Cannabis States, Decriminalization, Legalization, and Hemp Laws', to find out about your state's medical cannabis program. Finally, consult local laws and regulations to make sure that you are adhering to any guidelines developed by your county or city. Following each law to the letter may not prevent you from having a law enforcement encounter, but it will help you have a successful one.

In the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, the Department of Health states that;


New Mexico State LawNew Mexico became the 12th state to allow medical cannabis with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act in 2007 (Senate Bill 523).

• The purpose of the Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.
• The Department’s objective is to provide patients with safe access to safe medicine.

What enrollment provides
• Possession of no more than 230 units (approximately eight ounces) over a three month period.
• The right to purchase from a Licensed Non-Profit Producer
• The right to possess any paraphernalia in connection with their use of medical cannabis
• If the patient is not in possession of their card, they shall be given time to produce the card before arrest or criminal charges (Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act)
• The right to apply for a personal production license (PPL), to allow enrollee to grow
for personal use. If approved, patient can have up to sixteen plants, four mature (flowering) and 12 seedlings.

Prohibitions/restrictions
Participation in the medical cannabis program by a qualified patient or primary caregiver does not relieve the qualified patient or primary caregiver from:
A. criminal prosecution or civil penalties for activities not authorized in this rule and act;
B. criminal prosecution or civil penalties for fraudulent representation to a law enforcement officer about the person’s participation in the program to avoid arrest or prosecution;
C. liability for damages or criminal prosecution arising out of the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis or cannabis-derived products; or
D. criminal prosecution or civil penalty for possession, distribution, transfer, or use of cannabis or a cannabis-derived product (1) in a school bus or public vehicle; (2) on school grounds or property; (3) in the workplace of the qualified patient's or primary caregiver's employment; (4) at a public park, recreation center, youth center, or other public place; (5) to a person not approved by the department pursuant to this rule; (6) outside New Mexico or attempts to obtain or transport cannabis, or cannabis-derived products from outside New Mexico; or (7)that exceeds the allotted amount of usable medical cannabis, or cannabis-derived products. NMAC 7.34.3.15

24-Hour Hotline
The MCP operates a 24-hour hotline for law enforcement only. Only questions from law enforcement are answered on the line. (505) 231-6740



Federal Laws

Every year, the federal budget in the US Congress (“omnibus” appropriations bill) includes a rider that continues to bar the DOJ from enforcing the federal marijuana ban in some circumstances pertaining to states who enact their own medical cannabis laws. This rider is also known as the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment.
Here is the full text of the rider:
“SEC. 538. None of the funds made available under 4 this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

In United States v. McIntosh, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted the quoted language to bar the DOJ from prosecuting individuals who manufacture, distribute, or possess marijuana in strict compliance with state medical cannabis laws.


Despite the promises made by the Obama campaign and the memo issued in 2009 by the Department of Justice, medical cannabis remains illegal at the federal level and carries severe penalties. Federal interference with state medical cannabis programs can happen in every state, and there is no "medical" defense within the federal justice system. If you're participating in your state's medical cannabis program, you are in direct violation of federal law. It is important to remember that even though the media has hyped the meager promises made by different parts of the federal government, patients have no federal protection and are still at risk. Until federal law changes, patients across the country face dire choices between violating the laws of their country and treating their illness with the medication deemed most appropriate by their physician.

The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811), which places every controlled substance in a schedule, according to its relative potential for abuse and medicinal value. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means that the federal government views cannabis as being highly addictive and having no medical value. Doctors may not "prescribe" cannabis for medical use, though they can "recommend" or "approve" its use under the First Amendment. This recommendation or approval does not provide patients with any sort of legal protection under federal law, but it may be the basis for legal protection under state law. Under federal law, you and your doctor are free to discuss the possible benefits and side effects of medical cannabis.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), charged with enforcing federal drug laws, has taken a substantial interest in individual medical cannabis patients and caregivers, particularly those involved in large cultivation and distribution operations. Over the past decade, hundreds of people have been the targets of federal enforcement actions. Many of them have been arrested and had property seized. More than a hundred medical cannabis providers are currently in prison or are facing charges.

Federal cannabis laws are very serious, and punishment for people found guilty is frequently severe. Federal judges have ruled that medical necessity cannot be used as a defense. In fact, medical cannabis cannot even be mentioned during a federal trial. Patients may not use evidence related to their state's medical cannabis program, their doctor's recommendation, their illness, or anything else related to medical cannabis.

Federal sentencing guidelines take into account not only the amount of cannabis but also past convictions. Not all cannabis convictions require jail time under federal sentencing guidelines, but some do and all are eligible for imprisonment. If convicted and sentenced to jail, a minimum of 85% of that sentence must be served. The greater the quantity of cannabis involved, the more likely one is to be sentenced to jail time, as opposed to probation or alternative sentencing.

In addition to the sentencing guidelines, there are statutory mandatory minimum sentences, which primarily target offenses involving large quantities of cannabis. There is a five-year mandatory minimum for cultivation of 100 plants or possession of 100kgs, and there is a ten-year mandatory minimum for these offenses if the defendant has a prior felony drug conviction. Cultivation of 1,000 plants or possession of 1,000kg triggers a ten-year mandatory minimum, with a twenty-year mandatory sentence if the defendant has one prior felony drug conviction, and a life sentence with two prior felony drug convictions.

The 2005 US Supreme Court decision in US v. Booker altered the mandatory minimums to make them effectively advisory, requiring a sentencing court to consider Guidelines ranges. Nonetheless, to avoid a five-year federal sentence, it is advisable to cultivate well below 100 plants, including any rooted cuttings or clones.

Low-level federal offenders, even with multiple prior convictions, may end up with probation for the entire sentence of one to twelve months and no jail time required. Possession of over one kg (2.2 lbs.) of cannabis with no prior convictions carries a sentence of six to twelve months with a possibility of probation and alternative sentencing. Over 2.5 kg with no criminal record carries a sentence of at least six months in jail; with multiple prior convictions, a sentence might be up to two years to three years in prison with no chance for probation.

Keep in mind that even though medical cannabis protections may exist in your state, the federal government allows no medical defense to possession, cultivation, or distribution charges. Even though the Obama administration and the Department of Justice have made statements that prosecuting patients is a low priority, patients and providers are still being harassed, raided, arrested, and convicted throughout the U.S. Until federal law changes, participating in your state's medical cannabis program still carries some risk.


Other Applicable Laws
School Zones
Patients and providers should avoid possession and cultivation of cannabis in school zones—a 1,000-foot radius around any school, including any daycare facility—as there are typically additional penalties for the possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis near schools, whether it is for medical or recreational use. Some state medical cannabis laws have limitations on "sensitive use" areas, limiting cultivation, use, and possession of medical cannabis within a specific amount of space of a school, playground, etc. Most use the federal 1,000-foot radius but some mandate up to 1,500 feet. In addition, keep in mind that Drug Free School Zone laws can double the maximum sentences in federal court, where the mention of "medical cannabis" is prohibited.

Firearms
Firearms can result in harsher federal sentencing and may draw attention to patients. Even if your state protects patients' right to safe access to medical cannabis, the presence of firearms may increase the chances of an adverse state or federal law enforcement encounter, and harsher sentences if convicted. Again, the best law enforcement encounter is the one that never happens.

Under federal law, "any person who, during any drug trafficking crime for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall:
Be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 5 years;
If the firearm is brandished, not less than 7 years; and
If the firearm is discharged, not less than 10 years."

Although the U.S. Constitution confers a right to carry firearms, we have seen many patients face extreme legal consequences for having firearms in addition to plants.

In addition, the memo issued by the Department of Justice in 2009, which was intended to provide the U.S. Attorneys' Offices with guidance on the prosecution of medical cannabis patients and providers, specifically mentions the presence of firearms as an example of "potential federal interest" that probably falls outside of "clear and unambiguous compliance" with underlying state law. In other words, beyond the sentencing enhancements, the presence of firearms makes patients and providers a more likely target for federal prosecution.

ASA strongly advises that, if you are a medical cannabis patient, do not carry firearms or keep them on your property or allow others to do so.

Civil Asset Forfeiture
Federal law provides for the forfeiture of property and profits obtained through or used in the commission of felony drug offenses. Prosecutors have incentives to include forfeiture offences in all drug indictments. Forfeiture can apply to landlords who rent to people considered in violation of federal law, and therefore can also be used to intimidate the landlords of patients who cultivate or use their medicine on the premises. It should be noted, however, that landlords do have defenses available to them in these types of civil actions, and that they are rarely targets of forfeiture if they themselves were not participating in the use, possession, or cultivation of medical cannabis.





Best Law Enforcement Encounter is the Encounter that Never OccursWhile your state may have extensive laws that protect your right to use medical cannabis, many law enforcement officers still believe that medical cannabis is a "sham" and that all use of cannabis is recreational use. Law enforcement officers often seize medicine, harass patients, issue citations, and even arrest patients for exercising their rights. Carry your doctor's written recommendation and/or state-issued ID Card (following your state's requirement) at all times, but do not present it to law enforcement unless accused of a cannabis-related crime. Dealing with criminal charges and/or getting your medicine back can be stressful and costly, and may cause you to be "outed" as a medical cannabis patient. That's why we say that the best law enforcement encounter is the one that never occurs. If you follow these tips, you will be that much less likely to be harassed by law enforcement.
1. Use Common Sense
Consider safety when and where you choose to medicate; cannabis smoke and vapor have very distinctive smells. You will attract less attention if you do not consume cannabis in plain view or near open windows.

Do not drive your car while medicating. If law enforcement officers smell cannabis, they have probable cause to search your vehicle. If you are going somewhere, medicate after you arrive. Please note that no medical cannabis laws protect you from charges of driving under the influence of cannabis, and cannabis can impair motor skills. Every state has the ability to prosecute patients for driving under the influence if they are impaired while driving.

Although it may help with dosages and rationing, packaging your medicine in multiple bags looks suspicious. Cannabis stores best in glass jars or airtight plastic containers in cool dark places, so carry only what you need.

Fewer plants attract less attention from thieves and others who may wish you harm, so be realistic about the amount of cannabis you will need.

Try to limit the amount of cannabis you have with you at any given time. While you may seal your medication in airtight containers, there is still a distinctive odor that is hard to prevent and can lead to law enforcement encounters. The less medicine you have with you, the less smell there is.

2. Be a Good Neighbor
A common cause of trouble for both patients and caregivers is complaints from neighbors. This problem might begin with an unpleasant personal confrontation, or the neighbors may notice your cannabis use and report concerns about nuisance and safety to landlords or police. Subsequent investigations can lead to the arrest of patients and caregivers and to the closure of medical cannabis dispensing centers.

Neighbors and nearby businesses may or may not share your opinion about medical cannabis, but they will be much more likely to respect your right to safe access if you are not causing them problems. By being conscious of neighbors' rights, privacy, and property, patients and dispensing centers can establish and maintain harmonious relationships.


Other issues with your neighbors can lead to law enforcement encounters. Domestic disputes, loud music, illegal parking, barking dogs, and other nuisances should be kept to a minimum. Police are required to investigate these reports, and they will come to your location, giving them an opportunity to find grounds for a search. When neighbors complain to law enforcement, citations or criminal charges for nuisance violations can be difficult to deal with, and investigation into these types of charges may lead to charges related to your medical cannabis use. Being a good neighbor can help you avoid these types of encounters.

3. Sensible Medical Cannabis Use
Patients and caregivers should educate themselves about medical cannabis and understand the benefits and potential side effects of their medicine. If you are new to using medical cannabis, or are trying a new strain, strength, or route of administration, it might be best to do so when you have no other responsibilities or plans. New routes of administration in particular may cause somnolence, or tiredness. By being a sensible medical cannabis user and making informed decisions, you can not only be as healthy as possible and help change the way people think about medical cannabis use, but also limit your chances of a law enforcement encounter.


Guidelines for Sensible Medical Cannabis Use: Always listen to the advice of your doctor and use good judgment when using medical cannabis.
Carefully determine the amount of cannabis that is right for you. Start with a small amount and slowly increase your dosage to find the proper level for symptomatic relief.
Be informed about the side effects of cannabis. It is also important to be aware of the possible risks of using medical cannabis.
Think carefully and in detail about the benefits of cannabis and relief that its use provides you. Being able to explain your use of medical cannabis can help you be an effective advocate, and you can be an example that helps your friends, family, and community forum their own opinions of medical cannabis.
Avoid medical cannabis use that puts you or others at risk, such as using it while driving, at work, or in public places. Remember, you can still be arrested for cannabis use and penalties can be stiff. As with any other medication, it remains illegal to drive while under the influence.
Always carry a copy of your physician's recommendation, caregiver's agreement, and/or ID card when in possession of medical cannabis.
Travel Safely

Many arrests for cannabis possession arise from traffic stops. Do not medicate and drive. If you travel with cannabis, make sure your vehicle is up to code and your cannabis is concealed—preferably in your trunk.

Recently, news outlets have reported that some TSA and airport officials have relaxed their policy regarding flying with medical cannabis; please note that these officials may still turn patients over to local law enforcement. It's also important to remember that airports and planes are under federal jurisdiction, so you are much more likely to interact with federal law enforcement when flying, and there is NO medical defense to possession, transportation, or trafficking charges at the federal level. Federal fines are steep, and these types of charges may also lead to jail time. In addition, some states' medical cannabis protections do not extend to people who intend to leave the state with their medicine, so even if you are arrested in the state where you are a qualified patient, you may still face state criminal charges and conviction. It's best NOT to fly with medicine, EVEN if your flight never leaves your home state.

Also, keep in mind that most medical cannabis states do NOT recognize patient status for travelers (except Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Montana, and Rhode Island). Being a qualified medical cannabis patient in your home state, does NOT always make you a qualified patient elsewhere.





Being Prepared in Advance for Successful Law Enforcement Encounters
Fortunately, many patients and caregivers never have law enforcement problems. Even those who do regularly report successful interactions with local and county police; many municipalities offer strong protection to medical cannabis patients. Yet even in friendly jurisdictions, qualified patients are still being harassed and arrested for medical cannabis, despite proof of their patient status.

Any patient or caregiver can become the target of a law enforcement action. Each person who decides to use medical cannabis or help a patient to do so should be prepared to successfully maneuver through these encounters. You might not be able to avoid arrest in each instance, but chances of successfully fighting charges are greatly improved by education and careful planning.

There are many measures you can take before legal problems occur. You should carefully study the Law Enforcement Encounters section of this manual and, if possible, attend an ASA "Know Your Rights" training to most effectively learn this detailed information.

The first step is to stay on top of the basics. This includes maintaining a current doctor's recommendation and having a clearly defined patient/caregiver relationship. Keep a copy of your recommendation or ID Card or both (depending on the state) in your wallet or purse at all times. You may want to memorize your physician's and lawyer's phone numbers, or write them down to keep with your doctor's recommendation or identification.

It is very important to inform the people in your life, such as family, friends, and roommates, about your medical use of cannabis. They should be prepared to assist if you are harassed or arrested. They should also be educated about their own legal rights (see the "Know Your Rights" information), as they may be questioned in an investigation about your cannabis use. Also, be aware of how to get out of jail if you are arrested. You may want to make a plan for bail, bond, or being released from jail on your own recognizance. You may want to protect and organize your personal belongings and financial data, as well as make a plan for emergency child, pet, and plant care. Lastly, always stay alert for signs of surveillance and be aware of potential conflicts with the neighbors to avert problems early.

1. Safe Gardening
Have Your Paperwork Together
Post a copy of patient medical cannabis recommendation(s) and/or caregiver paperwork and/or other required paperwork prominently at any place where cannabis is cultivated. Keep a copy of all of your paperwork at an off-site location; if a raid occurs, your paperwork may be destroyed or seized.

In the Garden
Don't be sloppy. Compost or eliminate trash off site. The larger the garden appears, the more likely you are to attract the attention of thieves or others who wish to cause you harm. Cultivating indoors is generally considered safer because it helps avoid nosy neighbors and reduces the risk of theft. Use extra odor control methods during harvest to avoid offending neighbors. The plants smell especially pungent during harvest, as they are particularly resinous, and you may find the smell lingering in the air, on your clothes, and in your hair.

Be Smart: Be discreet
Be mindful about hauling grow equipment, tools, and plants into your home or grow site in view of neighbors. In the same vein, as tempting as it may be to talk about, tell as few people as possible about the location of the site.

2. Create Security Culture in Your Community
"Security Culture" refers to the importance of developing unbreakable unity within the medical cannabis community. If everyone involved maintains this unity, the entire community will be safer. Law enforcement agents rely on turning people against each other and disorganize or disband the community.

Implement a Security Culture
Take care of yourself and your community. Don't gossip, brag or ask for compromising or unnecessary information about medical cannabis operations and activities. Although such behavior may be entertaining, it puts you at greater risk of arrest and law enforcement officers may use personal splits to divide the community. When you are about to discuss your personal involvement in any medical cannabis activity, consider the following:

Would this person repeat what you are about to tell them to anyone else? When you share information about your use or cultivation of medical cannabis, you are providing evidence that may be used against you in court if this person is ever interrogated as a witness. You should also be cautious of theft. Patients and providers have been robbed, so it's best to limit the dissemination of sensitive information.

Would you want this person to have to perjure him or herself? Think carefully: you may be giving people information that may cause harm to you or to them.

If someone you know is giving out sensitive information, talk to him or her in private about why such talk can be hazardous. Someone who repeatedly engages in gossip, bragging or seeking unnecessary information about inappropriate topics after repeated educational talks is a grave risk at best, and an informant looking to incriminate others at worst.

Keeping an Eye Out for Surveillance
Take precautions. 
Assume you are under surveillance if you are in any way involved in cultivating medical cannabis for yourself or other patients. Do not discuss sensitive matters on the telephone, through the mail, by email, or in your home, car, dispensing collective, or office. Be cautious with whom you discuss sensitive information. Keep written materials and lists of other patients in a secure place. If you are arrested, law enforcement officers may investigate all of your contacts. Law enforcement officers have the right not only to go through your address book, but can also answer any calls made to your phone. Keep in mind that electronic data such as emails and text messages still exist even after they've been deleted, and your phone company or service provider may turn them over to law enforcement.

Excerpted from "Security Culture," Slingshot Issue #72, http://slingshot.tao.ca/ with modifications by ASA.





Successful Law Enforcement EncountersWhen dealing with law enforcement officers, keep your hands in view and don't make sudden movements. Avoid passing behind them. Nervous officers are dangerous officers. Also, never touch law enforcement officers or their equipment—you can get injured and/or charged with assault and battery.

Law enforcement officers do not decide your charges; they can only make recommendations. The prosecutor is the only person who can actually charge you. Remember that law enforcement officers have no power to negotiate or charge; promises of leniency or threats of harsher penalties are all lies and are designed to get you to start talking.

1. Types of Law Enforcement Encounters
Conversation
When law enforcement officers are trying to get information, but don't have enough evidence to detain or arrest you, they'll try to coerce information from you. They may call this a "casual encounter" or a "friendly conversation." If you talk to them, you may give them the information they need to arrest you or your friends. In most situations, it is not advisable to volunteer information to law enforcement officers. During a law enforcement encounter that involves an officer asking you questions or trying to engage you in conversation, ask "Am I being detained or Arrested?" If you are not being detained or arrested, walk away. If you are being detained or arrested, let the officer know that you do not consent to a search and that you wish to remain silent and want a lawyer.

Detention
Law enforcement officers can detain you only if they have reasonable suspicion (see below) that you are involved in a crime. Detention means that, though you aren't arrested, you can't leave. Detention is supposed to last a short time, and they are not supposed to move you. During detention, law enforcement officers can pat you down and go into your bag to make sure you don't have any weapons. They aren't supposed to go into your pockets unless they feel a weapon.

If law enforcement officers are asking you questions, ask if you are being detained. If not, leave and say nothing else to them. If you are being detained, you should ask why, and remember their answer. Then you should say the Magic Words: "I am going to remain silent. I want a lawyer" and nothing else. Remain silent. Anything you say to law enforcement may be used against you, and sometimes it's hard to recognize that the information you are volunteering might harm you. It is always better to say nothing at all. If they ask to search your person or belongings, say, "I do not consent to a search." They may say, "Empty your pockets." You are within your rights to refuse. If you do empty your pockets, it is considered consent and anything they find in your pockets may be used against you.

A detention can easily turn into arrest. If law enforcement officers are detaining you and they get information that you are involved in a crime, they will arrest you, even if it has nothing to do with your detention.

For example, if someone is pulled over for speeding (detained) and the officer sees drugs in the car, the officer may arrest her for possession of the drugs, even though it has nothing to do with her being pulled over. Law enforcement officers have two reasons to detain you: 1) they are writing you a citation (a traffic ticket, for example), or 2) they want to arrest you but they don't yet have enough information to do so.

Arrest
Law enforcement officers can arrest you only if they have probable cause (see below) that you are involved in a crime. When you are arrested, the officers can search you to the skin and go through your car and any belongings. By law, an officer strip-searching you must be the same gender as you. If arrested, you should still say, "I do not consent to a search" to preserve your rights. After that, say, "I choose to remain silent and I want a lawyer." After that, remain silent. Law enforcement will try to get you to give them information about the crime(s) they are holding you for. Keep in mind that denying things that they say is NOT remaining silent.

Reasonable Suspicion vs. Probable Cause
Reasonable suspicion must be based on more than a hunch—law enforcement officers must be able to put their suspicion into words. For example, an officer can't just stop someone and say, "She looked like she was up to something." They need to be more specific, such as, "She was standing under the overpass staring up at graffiti that wasn't there two hours earlier. She had the same graffiti pattern written on her backpack. I suspected that she had put up the graffiti."

Law enforcement officers need more proof to say they have probable cause than to say they have a reasonable suspicion. For example, "A store owner called to report someone matching her description tagging a wall across the street. As I drove up to the store, I saw her running away spattered with paint and carrying a spray can in her hand."

Searches
Never consent to a search. If police try to search your house, car, backpack, pockets, etc. say the Magic Words: "I do not consent to this search." This may not stop them from forcing their way in and searching anyway, but if they search you illegally, they probably won't be able to use the evidence against you in court. You have nothing to lose from refusing to consent to a search and lots to gain. Do not physically resist officers when they are trying to search, because you could get hurt and/or charged with resisting arrest or assault and battery. Just keep repeating the Magic Words "I do not consent to a search" so that the officers and all witnesses know that this is your stance.

Be careful about casual consent. That is, if the officers stop you and you get out of the car but don't close the door, they might search the car and claim that they thought you were indicating consent by leaving the door ajar. Also, if you say, "I'd rather you didn't search," they can claim that you were reluctantly giving them permission to search. Always just say the Magic Words: "I do not consent to this search."

Questioning
Interrogation isn't always bright lights and rubber hoses—usually it's just a conversation. Whenever law enforcement officers ask you anything besides your name and address, it's legally safest to say these Magic Words:

"I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer." This invokes legal rights, which protect you from interrogation. When you say this, all law enforcement officials are legally required to stop asking you questions. They probably won't stop, so just repeat the Magic Words or remain silent until they catch on. If you forget your decision to remain silent and start talking to the officers, you can and should re-invoke the Magic Words, then remain silent. Do not raise your status as a medical cannabis patient, unless you are specifically asked about this or the medicine has already been found.

Remember, anything you say to the authorities can and will be used against you and your friends in court. There's no way to predict what information law enforcement officers might try to use or how they will use it. Plus, law enforcement officers often misquote or lie altogether about what was said. So say only the Magic Words and let all the cops and witnesses know that this is your policy. Make sure that when you're arrested with other people, the rest of the group knows the Magic Words and promises to use them.

One of the jobs of law enforcement officers is to get information out of people. Law enforcement officers are legally allowed to lie when they're investigating, and they are trained to be manipulative. The only thing you should say to law enforcement officers, other than identifying yourself, are the Magic Words: "I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer."

Here are some lies they may tell you:
"You're not a suspect—just help us understand what happened here and then you can go."

"If you don't answer my questions, I'll have no choice but to arrest you. Do you want to go to jail?"

"If you don't answer my questions, I'm going to charge you with resisting arrest."

"All of your friends have cooperated, and we let them go home. You're the only one left."

Law enforcement officers can be sneaky, and there are lots of ways they can trick you into talking. Here are some scams they may pull:

"Good Cop, Bad Cop": "Bad cop" is aggressive and menacing, while "good cop" is nice, friendly, and familiar (frequently the "good cop" will be the one who is the same race and gender as you

Source: Americans For Safe Access