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US – German Cannabis Producers Can’t Do Business Together, Here’s Why – by Michael Knodt @ marijuana.com

US, German Cannabis Producers Can’t Do Business Together, Here’s Why


BY MICHAEL KNODT ON

Bureaucratic hurdles and an unexpectedly high demand for medical cannabis in Germany have created a bottleneck that’s plagued cannabis patients and producers alike. It would seem as though working with the United States could alleviate some of the pressure, but the federal government in Germany has avoided working with the country’s producers for fear of violating the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Until Germany can develop a robust cannabis cultivation industry, its patients will continue to receive their medicine sporadically from Canada or the Netherlands. While 18 varieties of cannabis are supposed to be available, patients are lucky to find four strains at their local pharmacy — a significant issue when German doctors are required to prescribe a specific strain for patients. If that strain’s not available, the prescription is worthless.

Once the Israeli government has defined their guidelines for cannabis export, their medical cannabis will find its way into German pharmacies to help alleviate the recent bottlenecks. Israel is expected to develop a cannabis export system in the next couple of years.

Cannabis farmers in the U.S. West Coast, Nevada, Colorado, and Alaska might welcome the opportunity to expand into international markets, and patients in Germany could benefit from the new, highly effective selection of U.S. cannabis strains. But the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs labels cannabis on par with cocaine and opium — therein lies the problem for Germany doing business with U.S. cannabis producers.

The Single Convention on Narcotics and Drugs of 1961 is still the foundation of worldwide drug legislation. It includes the coca, opium poppy, cannabis, the opium plant’s raw materials, opiates, heroin, and some synthetic opioids such as methadone. The Convention on Psychotropic Substances of Feb. 21, 1971 extended the list of controlled substances to include psychotropic substances such as amphetamines, barbiturates, and LSD and came into force on Aug. 16, 1976.

Only the medical use of narcotics for pain relief is excluded from the Convention but has to be enacted in compliance with the measures deemed necessary by the United Nations (UN). Member nations must report their produced, exported, stored, and used narcotics to the Narcotic Control Council.

A State Must Purchase All Medical Cannabis Crops

Article 23 of the Single Convention states:

A Party that permits the cultivation of the opium poppy for the production of opium shall establish, if it has not already done so, and maintain, one or more government agencies (hereafter in this article referred to as the Agency) to carry out the functions required under this article.

Article 23 (2) (d) says: “All cultivators of the opium poppy shall be required to deliver their total crops of opium to the Agency. As soon as possible, but not later than four months after the end of the harvest.”

According to Articles 26 and 28 of the Single Convention, the same control system applies to coca and cannabis. Health Canada is in violation of Article 23, paragraph 2d for allowing producers to sell directly to patients. Unlike the Office of Medical Cannabis (OMC) in the Netherlands, the Canadian agency does not purchase and sell the licensed producers’ crops.

The establishment of such an agency is independent of whether government institutions or licensed private providers take over the cultivation. Such agencies only exist in the few states where opium, coca, and cannabis are grown legally: The Turkish Grain Board (for Opium in Turkey), Health Canada’s Office of Controlled Substances, the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the U.S., the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) in Germany, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, the Office of Medicinal Cannabis in the Netherlands, the Czech State Agency for Medical Cannabis, and the Medical Cannabis Unit in Israel.

The U.S. government would have to recognize the medical benefits of cannabis and remove the drug from Schedule 1 of the narcotics act before the NIDA could offer medical cannabis for export to the German BfArM.

Ways Around the Single Convention

It is almost impossible for a member of the United Nations to legalize cannabis without coming into conflict with the international community. Uruguay, Bolivia, and Canada have already had to deal with the issue and have each taken different approaches to reconciling new national policy with existing international agreements.

Out and Back In

In 2009, the Bolivian government proposed deleting some provisions regarding the coca leaf, but the proposal was rejected by the other member nations. On June 29, 2011, Bolivia withdrew from the Single Convention through Jan. 1, 2012 and rejoined with an objection to Article 50 on Jan. 10, 2012.

Bolivia stated that it would allow the cultivation, trade, and consumption of coca leaves in its country. Within one year, 15 contracting nations filed an objection, well short of the one-third quorum required to reject Bolivia’s objection. Bolivia was reclassified as a contracting party on Jan. 11, 2013.

Ignore the Issue

Uruguay was reprimanded shortly before the legalization of cannabis by the UN Drug Administration’s International Narcotic Control Board (INCB). The former INCB-president Raymond Yans accused Uruguay’s then-president Jose Mujica of having an “attitude of a pirate” because his government legalized cannabis. Mujica fiercely resisted the allegations repeatedly made against his country and publicly responded to the criticism of the former INCB chairman:

“Tell the old man to stop lying. We can meet whenever he wants in Uruguay. […]. He sits in a comfortable position on the International stage and believes he can tell nonsense.”

Despite the dramatic exchanges, the international community has not sanctioned Uruguay for being the first country in the world to legalize cannabis. Incidentally, a similar complaint was addressed to the United States after the legalization ballots in Colorado and Washington State. In November 2012, Yans stated the legalization of the cultivation and possession of cannabis in Colorado and Washington violated the treaty and asked the U.S. government to restore conformity with the single convention.

Recreational cannabis is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia, and the international community is far from sanctioning the U.S. However, ignoring the treaty also means missing out on access to the international market and the opportunity to take part in international research efforts.

Don’t Comply, Justify

At the 59th meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2016, Undersecretary for Health of Canada Hilary Geller expressed Canada’s interest in international cooperation and made it clear, “the Government remains committed to strong international cooperation to combat the world drug problem and wherever possible, will seek to align its objectives for a new marijuana regime with the objectives of the international drug control framework and the spirit of the Conventions.”

Canada is the first to take the position of “non-compliance.” With Geller’s announcement, Canada has laid the foundation for an ongoing debate on how to regulate cannabis at the national level without violating international legal obligations.

Change

Even if the 1961 Single Convention could be amended, that would involve a complex, years-long process.

Canada could set a precedent in July 2018, by forcing the U.N. to rethink the position of cannabis for the first time since 1961. The aim of the process would be to give all member nations the opportunity to regulate recreational and medical cannabis in the future. Legislation in international agreements is never set in stone, it can be changed any time the democratic will of the member nations demands it.
ABOUT AUTHOR
Michael Knodt is an expert on cannabis politics and cannabis culture across Europe. Born in North Germany, Michael has been living in Berlin since 1990. He initially studied history and journalism before receiving his certification as a carpenter. Since then, Michael has made regular visits to countries where cannabis is cultivated, such as Jamaica and Morocco. He has worked as a freelancer for Weedmaps, Vice Magazine Germany, Sensi Seeds and numerous German-language cannabis magazines since 2004. From 2005 to 2013, Michael was the Editor-in-Chief of Germanys biggest cannabis periodical. He also is the face and presenter of the most popular program on cannabis prohibition and just launched a new channel called “DerMicha.” Aside from his journalistic work, Michael is a cannabis patient, activist, sought-after speaker on conferences and congresses, and a father of two.

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Kai-Friedrich Niermann has a really good update on the potential for legal cannabis here in Germany…….news on the “Jamaica Coalition” is expected within hours,……..more later. – Phil

https://www.kfnplus.de/jamaica-current-german-coalition-and-cannabis-control-act/#comment-2

Jamaica [Current German Coalition) and Cannabis Control Act

Annotation on practical implementation by Kai-Friedrich Niermann, Attorney, Paderborn [Germany]

Let‘s say the coalition partners part this evening and determine the uptake of coalition negotiations. And let us furthermore assume The Green Party with tie-in of FDP achieve Cannabis liberalisation in full as well as pushing through their Cannabis Control Act in the negotiations going on from mid December until shortly before Christmas. And also let’s assume the Cannabis Incorporate Act is then voted in by Bundestag in May or June [2018]; then Germany will be faced with even more massive changes and the latter in various sectors.

The Cannabis Law includes the option of applications for cultivation licences (farming), wholesale trade licences as well as retail licences such as specialist shops. In addition to this import and export licences can be applied for. Expert prior knowledge is not required and simply personal trustworthiness as demanded within public-houses law is stipulated. Business owners must not have previous convictions.

Assuming a conservative estimate of 10 t of Cannabis per week being consumed in Germany this results in an annual demand of 520 t. The production of Cannabis is deemed to result in a harvest of 440 g per m² within a harvest cycle of 52 days which allows for 7 harvests per year. To cover 107% consumption of Germany an acreage of 180.000 m² would be prerequisite.

Breaking down and allocating these figures to an average municipality such as Paderborn with a population of 140.000 this would result in a required cultivation acreage of 307 m².

With the scheduled Cannabis Control Act tax of 4€/g provided by statute, 1€/g for production costs, 2€/g for wholesale trade and also 3 €/g for specialist shops this results in a price of 10€ in total per gram which is equivalent to the current black market price. It will be a balancing act not to drive the price to high to enable draining the black market effectively as intended.

For Paderborn alone and at this retail price it would amount to a turnover for cultivation/farming of approx. 890.000 €, 1,8 million € for the wholesale trade and 2,6 million € for specialist shops.

However the Cannabis Control Act provides for numerous regulations as to Quality Assurance, protection of production lines, safeguarding of youth protection and prevention. Consequently production facilities must be secured with fences and alarm systems. Transport of Cannabis is governed by specified security restrictions, the specialist shops must train their personnel and deliver proof for consistent follow-up trainings as well as a substantial social concept. Also packaging has to be secured to a high extent and must feature comprehensive warning and reconnaissance information.

It remains doubtful that the current illegal Cannabis producers will meet these requirements in full and step out from illegality. For this reason it is to be expected that capital investors who with their capacity are able to administer the task more economically will edge into the market.

Then within the 2nd half of 2018 the race for the desired licences for farming, wholesale trade, import, export and specialist retailers would begin.

Restrictions as to numbers of licence permits are not scheduled within Cannabis Control Act so any desired number of farming facilities or specialist retailers could operate. Indeed we may assume that the Authorities will initially be totally snowed under and will authorise thoroughly drawn up applications at first which are based on convincing technical programmes and a business plans.

Any potentially interested party striving to be a player in this new and strictly regulated market is to focus on the new situation just in time and develop technical and operational concepts, investment concepts as well as calculations of overall return on investment as well as liquidity calculations. And just in time could „slip into gear“ as from tomorrow morning!

RA Kai-Friedrich Niermann

http://www.kfnplus.de

k@kfnplus.de

+491773108923

Jamaika und das Cannabiskontrollgesetz

English Version

Einige Anmerkungen zur praktischen Umsetzung, von Rechtsanwalt Kai-Friedrich Niermann (Paderborn)

Nehmen wir einmal an, die Jamaika-Koalitionäre gehen heute Abend auseinander und beschließen die Aufnahme von Koalitionsverhandlungen. Nehmen wir weiter an, dass die Grünen im Verbund mit der FDP es schaffen, die vollständige Freigabe von Cannabis zu erreichen und ihr Cannabiskontrollgesetz in den Verhandlungen von Mitte Dezember bis kurz vor Weihnachten durchbringen. Nehmen wir weiter an, dass das Cannabiskontrollgesetz dann vom Bundestag im Mai oder Juni beschlossen wird, dann stehen Deutschland große Änderungen und in vielen Bereichen noch größere Herausforderungen bevor.

Das Cannabisgesetz sieht die Möglichkeit der Beantragung von Anbaulizenzen, Großhandelslizenzen sowie Einzelhandelslizenzen, sogenannte Fachgeschäfte, vor. Ferner können Einfuhr und Ausfuhrlizenzen beantragt werden. Besondere Vorkenntnisse sind nicht erforderlich, es muss lediglich die üblicherweise zu verlangende Zuverlässigkeit, wie im Gaststättenrecht zum Beispiel, vorliegen und beim Geschäftsinhaber dürfen keine einschlägigen Vorstrafen bestehen.

Geht man nach konservativen Schätzungen davon aus, dass pro Woche 10 t Cannabis in Deutschland konsumiert werden, ergibt dies einen Jahresbedarf von 520 t. In der Produktion von Cannabis geht man davon aus, dass ein m² einen Ertrag von 440 g erbringen kann, was bei einem Erntezyklus von 52 Tagen ca. 7 Ernten pro Jahr ermöglicht. Man benötigt also allein 180.000 m² reine Anbaufläche, um dem Bedarf von Deutschland zu 107% zu decken.

Bricht man diese Zahlen auf eine durchschnittliche Kommune wie Paderborn mit einer Einwohnerzahl von 140.000 herunter, ergäbe dies eine benötigte Anbaufläche von 307 m². Bei einer im Cannabiskontrollgesetz vorgesehenen Steuer von 4 €, bei Produktionskosten von 1 €, bei Kosten für den Großhandel von 2 € sowie bei Kosten für die Fachgeschäfte von 3 € pro Gramm ergebe sich ein Grammpreis von insgesamt 10 €, der dem Preis auf dem derzeitigen Schwarzmarkt entspricht. Der Spagat wird sein, den Preis nicht zu hoch zu treiben, um auch tatsächlich, wie beabsichtigt den Schwarzmarkt austrocknen zu können.

Allein für Paderborn ergebe sich bei diesem Verkaufspreis ein Umsatz beim Anbau in Höhe von ca. 890.000 €, beim Großhandel von 1,8 Millionen €, und bei den Fachgeschäften von 2,6 Millionen €.

Das Cannabiskontrollgesetz sieht allerdings zahlreiche Vorschriften bezüglich der Qualitätssicherung, der Sicherung der Produktionsanlagen, der Sicherung des Jugendschutzes und der Prävention vor. So müssen die Produktionsanlagen mit Zäunen und Alarmanlagen gesichert werden, der Transport von Cannabis unterliegt bestimmten Sicherheitsauflagen, die Fachgeschäfte müssen ihr Personal am Beginn schulen und regelmäßige Nachfolgeschulungen nachweisen sowie ein umfangreiches Sozialkonzept erstellen. Ferner müssen die Verpackungen umfangreich gesichert und mit zahlreichen Warn- und Aufklärungshinweisen gestaltet werden.

Ob es für die zahlreichen, bisher illegalen Cannabisproduzenten möglich sein wird, diese Anforderungen in Gänze zu erfüllen und aus der Illegalität herauszutreten, bleibt zu bezweifeln. Es ist daher zu erwarten, dass große Investoren mit größeren Anlagen auf den Markt drängen werden, die allein aufgrund ihrer Kapazität in der Lage sind, kostengünstiger zu wirtschaften.

Sodann würde im 2. Halbjahr 2018 ein Wettlauf um die begehrten Lizenzen für Anbau, Großhandel, Import, Export und Fachhandel beginnen. Eine zahlenmäßige Beschränkung der Erlaubnisse ist vom Cannabiskontrollgesetz nicht vorgesehen, es können also beliebig viele Anbauflächen oder Fachgeschäfte betrieben werden. Allerdings ist davon auszugehen, dass die Behörden zunächst völlig überlastet sind und die Anträge zuerst genehmigen, die vollständig ausgearbeitet sind und denen ein in technischer und betriebswirtschaftlicher Hinsicht überzeugendes Konzept zu Grunde liegt.

Es ist somit allen Interessenten, die in diesem neuen, strikt regulierten Markt agieren wollen, sich rechtzeitig auf die neue Situation einzustellen und bereits jetzt technische Betriebskonzepte, Investitionskonzepte und Rendite- und Liquiditätsberechnungen zu entwickeln. Die Zeit könnte ab morgen früh zu laufen beginnen.

RA Kai-Friedrich Niermann
http://www.kfnplus.de
k@kfnplus.de
+491773108923


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Germany’s largest legal cannabis plantation – by VICE Magazine

https://www.vice.com/de/article/qvjge5/weed-aus-dem-atombunker-dieser-typ-baut-deutschlands-grosste-legale-cannabis-plantage

http://www.bunker-ppd.de/

Germany’s largest legal cannabis plantation
Tim Geyer
Oct. 17 2017, 3:20 pm
Because of grass dealings, Christoph Roßner had already been in prison for five months. Today he works with Bavarian politicians.

This is not really a loose work place, even if grass is to be cultivated, says Christoph Roßner. The Atombunker, before which he stands, is squeezed between car parks and fields in the Allgäu countryside like a stranded oil tank. Here, from the former Fliegerhorst Memmingerberg NATO would have led the nuclear counterattack, had the Cold War escalated. Today the entrepreneur wants to breed cannabis in the bunker. Green haze instead of black rain – within sight of a federal police station and with the blessing of the Bavarian government. Since the beginning of the year, cannabis is legal on prescription in Germany and Rossner’s sentiment is that of a brewer’s owner after the end of the prohibition: “We have the chance to become one of the biggest players in the international cannabis market.”

Alone for 2015, the German Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Abuse (DBDD) counts almost five million Germans who have consumed cannabis at least once during the last twelve months. The dark figure should be even higher. Activists and businessmen have taken this first step towards legalization. Christoph Roßner is both. And also looks like this: black jacket over black sweater, the gray hair tamed to the horse tail. Business in the front, party in the back.

One of the many lock gates between the individual bunkers
From the war machine to the grass factory

The bunker, a 50-meter-long, 15-meter high colossus, with its aerial storms acts like a medieval fortress. From 1985, the Luftwaffe soldiers of the Jagdbombersgeschwader 34 were sitting here, servicing the control systems for the nearby rocket silos. “This bunker is safer than a nuclear waste disposal site, but we want to grow plants here,” says the 47-year-old. He has previously registered with the neighboring Federal Police Station on the visit of the journalists.

The Panzertor groans aside. 175 tons of hardened steel, eight meters wide, nearly one meter thick. A siren howls like a submarine on a dive. Through the opening one reaches the actual bunker, which surrounds the outer wall as the reactor coherent of Chernobyl. Then another lock door, another 30 centimeters of steel. Later, 15 employees of Roßner’s company Bunker PPD, which he wants to adjust, will change the street clothes against overalls without bags and scan their fingerprints. The few, the income, will be nothing to take with. Roßner leads past former team rooms and the radio center, a five-meter-thick steel-concrete ceiling above us. You go ducked, even though you do not have to.

But no matter how many nights Roßner is working on his business plans, in the end others decide: the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and the Bundespiumstelle, which is subordinate to him. Anyone who wants to produce or use drugs in Germany must either talk to them or seek a good lawyer. But once the TÜV seal of the Panzertür has expired, once the officials discover a tiny mistake in a request: the bureaucrats are editing Roßner, the changing Würgreiz for CSU politicians, so meticulously as if they Franz Josef Strauss’ last will.

Where the radio had previously been monitored, a cannabis laboratory could soon be available
From activist to cannabis entrepreneur

Roßner knows this. For the last three decades he has been working on the legalization of cannabis. Two key experiences are the reason: at 17 he smokes his first joint. He notes: Kiffen helps him to curb his hyperactivity. A year later a steel carrier crushed his left shoulder during his training as an industrial mechanic. Against the chronic pain smokes Roßner cannabis. To this day, now on recipe. “If you like, I’m just tight,” he says. In 1994, a friend of Roßner, who suffers from epilepsy, finds out that marijuana dampens his attacks. Roessner’s sister also suffered from epilepsy. For them, this knowledge comes too late. Two years before, she committed suicide. “I could have helped her,” says Rossner.

From this moment on, he is on a mission: He is worried about marijuana to help others, he says. “Illegal research” he calls this. At that time, as today, cannabis is prohibited by law in Germany. It is only since 1 March 2017 that doctors can prescribe – even without the hard-to-obtain exemption. Although in 1994, the Federal Constitutional Court ruled that a small quantity of cannabis can be carried with no prescription – depending on the federal state, between five and ten grams – this verdict does not, however, protect against criminal prosecution. This is what the courts alone decide. Roessner also knew about the risk, especially in Bavaria, When it is rumored that he is running a kind of private hemp pharmacy, more and more people are coming. Rheumatics, neurodermatitis, chemotherapy patients. And some policemen.

If at any time the electricity should fail, Roßner can take advantage of four diesel generators to supply his cannabis lantern with light
Roßner is sentenced: two years and one month. He spends five months in prison and four in therapy. It’s been 17 years now. When he rages, he knocks again at his doorstep. Still, people who have pain are coming. Roßner does not do any illegal business, he continues to believe in the medical benefits of cannabis. Together with the Chair of Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich and the University of British Columbia, he is currently preparing a study to investigate the effects of the most important medicinal hemp varieties and to develop quality standards for them. 150 patients he wants to provide cannabis from his bunker. Will the study and the necessary hemp cultivation be approved, this would be his first decisive step to enter the medical cannabis market. The study is intended to prove that he, the ex-prisoner, is serious.

Politicians, investors and business bosses listen to him

By working with the universities, Roßner hopes that the newly established state-owned cannabis agency will choose him to produce state-certified grass. The agency is to provide patients with marijuana from Germany and is looking for producers all over Europe. In addition to Rossner, other German entrepreneurs are also applying, for example SensHemp from Berlin and Hanf AG from Hamburg. 2,000 kilograms per year, the agency estimates, would have to grow on German plantings in 2021 and 2022 to supply all patients. Roßner believes that German patients need six times a year: over 12 tonnes of grass. If no one has to apply for an exemption, but only needs a prescription, more patients will take this step, he is sure. In addition, it would not be worth it to build a plant worth several million euros. But without permission for the study, he could set up his bunker to a very unpleasant country house.

Plantation air could soon flow through the ventilation towers
Just a strong CSU conservative helps him with his plan. Franz Josef Pschierer, State Secretary in the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, will bring him together with entrepreneurs and politicians from Bavaria in 2016. Roßner tells them about the unused economic potential, possible tax revenues and savings in the police and courts. “Without the help of the Bavarian government, no one would listen to me,” he says. He is now planning his cannabis breeding plant with ThyssenKrupp – and is holding talks with internationally active hedge funds. If they invest in it, the Free State of Bavaria could subsidize its business with about a quarter of a million euros. From tax money. Marijuana sponsored by Horst Seehofer.

In many places in the bunker the soldiers have left something behind
While Roßner sketched his battle plan for the next months, we descend deeper into the airtight crypt. There is neither mobile phone reception nor spiderwebs. Comic paintings on the walls testify to what the soldiers were busy with when they were bored to wait for the Third World War. In one room there are vault chambers, large as overseas containers. Here the mother plants could grow. “Lamps clean, connect ventilation, let’s go,” says Roßner, “more perfect conditions than here you will find nowhere.” A high-security laboratory is to move into the former squadron headquarters. Here, chemists could clone potent cannabis varieties. Next to it stands an industrial furnace, in which former toxins were destroyed at 900 degrees. In the future, the most serious of these will be burned. A few security doors: the space for the cuttings. “We start with 80 different varieties,” Roßner says self-confidently, as if he had the approval already.

In these cabinets Roßner wants to breed young plants
Race with the Dutch

Sometimes Christoph Rossner would ask the same as the early fans of Cherry Coke or anal whitening: When will the backward-looking Germans finally understand what the Americans have long been celebrating? In 29 out of 50 US states , medical cannabis has been allowed or grass has been fully legalized. In 2016, the industry generated sales of 6.7 billion US dollars . Until it is so far in Germany, Rossner will still have to smoke a few blunts on the recipe.

At the beginning of the year, he was sitting with his lawyers to prepare a lawsuit against the Federal Institute for Drugs, he tells us as we step out of the darkness of the bunker. The agency has asked potential medical producers that they have already grown, processed and delivered at least 50 kilograms over the last three years. How is he to apply, if exactly that in Germany so far was illegal, Roßner curses. It is not easy to get a mission in Germany for something that does not really exist at all.

Meanwhile, the authorities want to improve – a small victory, but Rossner is running out of time. The Dutch company Sensi Seeds systematically purchases small cannabis producers in the USA and is now pushing into the German market. Roßner does not want to be bought up. His research project will start in March, followed by commercial operations. He wants to make money himself and make the world a bit better with nothing but a few plants from a Bavarian atomic bomb.

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“10 diseases where medical marijuana could have impact”

Medical reporter Jen Christensen of CNN authored an article “10 diseases where medical marijuana could have impact” detailing the 10 ailments most commonly treated with medicinal marijuana. I have listed them here, exactly as she had written to maintain the accuracy and links she provided.

AIDS/HIV

In a human study of 10 HIV-positive marijuana smokers, scientists found people who smoked marijuana ate better, slept better and experienced a better mood. Another small study of 50 people found patients that smoked cannabis saw less neuropathic pain.

Alzheimer’s

Medical marijuana and some of the plant’s chemicals have been used to help Alzheimer’s patients gain weight, and research found that it lessens some of the agitated behavior that patients can exhibit. In one cell study, researchers found it slowed the progress of protein deposits in the brain. Scientists think these proteins may be part of what causes Alzheimer’s, although no one knows what causes the disease.

Arthritis

A study of 58 patients using the derivatives of marijuana found they had less arthritis pain and slept better. Another review of studies concluded marijuana may help fight pain-causing inflammation.

Asthma

Studies are contradictory, but some early work suggests it reduced exercise-induced asthma. Other cell studies showed smoking marijuana could dilate human airways, but some patients experienced a tight feeling in their chests and throats. A study in mice found similar results.

Cancer

Animal studies have shown some marijuana extracts may kill certain cancer cells. Other cell studies show it may stop cancer growth, and with mice, THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, improved the impact of radiation on cancer cells. Marijuana can also prevent the nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy treatment used to treat cancer.

Chronic pain

Some animal and small human studies show that cannabinoids can have a “substantial analgesic effect.” People widely used them for pain relief in the 1800s. Some medicines based on cannabis such as Sativex are being tested on multiple sclerosis patients and used to treat cancer pain. The drug has been approved in Canada and in some European countries. In another trial involving 56 human patients, scientists saw a 30% reduction in pain in those who smoked marijuana.

Crohn’s disease

In a small pilot study of 13 patients watched over three months, researchers found inhaled cannabis did improve life for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. It helped ease people’s pain, limited the frequency of diarrhea and helped with weight gain.

Epilepsy

Medical marijuana extract in early trials at the NYU Langone Medical Center showed a 50% reduction in the frequency of certain seizures in children and adults in a study of 213 patients recently.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. Scientists have looked at THC’s impact on this disease on the optic nerve and found it can lower eye pressure, but it may also lower blood pressure, which could harm the optic nerve due to a reduced blood supply. THC can also help preserve the nerves, a small study found.

Multiple sclerosis

Using marijuana or some of the chemicals in the plant may help prevent muscle spasms, pain, tremors and stiffness, according to early-stage, mostly observational studies involving animals, lab tests and a small number of human patients. The downside — it may impair memory, according to a small study involving 20 patients.

On November 1 at the Hilton Naples MyFloridaGreen.com is hosting an unprecedented Educational Symposium: CANNABIS SPEAKS. Featuring the most sought-after industry experts to discuss the profound benefits cannabis offers for conditions like Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or Multiple sclerosis.


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“The unjust prohibition of marijuana has done more damage to public health than has marijuana itself.” – former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders

In a new article appearing in next month’s American Journal of Public Health, a number of leading doctors and health experts, including former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, are calling for the total legalization of cannabis.

“The war on marijuana exacerbates poverty, which is strongly correlated with— among other problems—reduced access to health care,” Elders writes. “The unjust prohibition of marijuana has done more damage to public health than has marijuana itself.”

According to Marijuana Moment, Elders has advocated for drug reform since serving as Surgeon General under the Clinton administration. In 1993, she said that she believed that the country would “markedly reduce our crime rate if drugs were legalized.” Twenty-four years later, Elders notes that “times are changing. In 2017, even physicians who oppose legalization generally believe that marijuana should be decriminalized, reducing penalties for users while keeping the drug illegal.”

Elders, along with co-authors Dr. David L. Nathan and former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration H. Westley Clark, used their space in the Journal of Public Health to make clear their belief that decriminalization alone is not an effective solution to the problems caused by cannabis prohibition. “Although decriminalization is certainly a step in the right direction, [it is] an inadequate substitute for legalization and regulation for a number of reasons,” they wrote.

“Decriminalization does not empower the government to regulate product labeling and purity, which leaves marijuana vulnerable to contamination and adulteration,” the doctors explain. “This also renders consumers unable to judge the potency of marijuana, which is like drinking alcohol without knowing its strength. Moreover, where marijuana is merely decriminalized, the point of sale remains in the hands of drug dealers, who will sell marijuana— as well as more dangerous drugs—to children.”

“Contrary to popular belief, decriminalization does not actually end the arrests of marijuana users,” the article continues. “Despite New York State decriminalizing marijuana in the 1970s, New York City makes tens of thousands of marijuana possession arrests every year, with continuing racial disparities in enforcement.”

The doctors also describe how the prosecution of illegal cannabis growers and sellers constricts the supply chain, increasing the price of illegal cannabis as well as “making the untaxed illegal product more lucrative, the market for it more competitive and violent, and purchasing it more dangerous.”

While legalization is spreading up and down the coasts, decriminalization is still the highest point of marijuana reform for municipalities in states with strong anti-cannabis leadership.

Elders was ousted from her position as Surgeon General in 1994 because of her progressive ideas about drugs and sex, and now, with cannabis closer to the mainstream than ever before and sex-positive attitudes prevalent across American culture, hopefully, 23 years later, the country’s decision makers will finally realize that she’s been right all along.

Published on October 14, 2017
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
https://merryjane.com/news/former-surgeon-general-joycelyn-elders-legalization-support


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Physician Guide to Cannabis-Assisted Opioid Reduction Prepared by Adrianne Wilson-Poe, Ph.D. Distributed by Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Physician Guide to Cannabis-Assisted Opioid Reduction
Prepared by Adrianne Wilson-Poe, Ph.D.
Distributed by Congressman Earl Blumenauer
Cannabis reduces opioid overdose mortality.
• In states with medicinal cannabis laws, opioid overdoses drop by an average of 25%. This effect gets
bigger the longer the law has been in place. For instance, there is a 33% drop in mortality in California,
where compassionate use has been in place since 1996 (1).
• This finding was replicated by Columbia’s school of public health, using a completely different analysis
strategy (2).
Cannabis reduces opioid consumption.
• Cannabis is opioid-sparing in chronic pain patients. When patients are given access to cannabis, they
drop their opioid use by roughly 50%. This finding has been replicated several times from Ann Arbor to
Jerusalem (3, 4).
• This opioid sparing effect is accompanied by an enhancement of cognitive function once patients begin
cannabis therapy: this effect is most likely due to the fact that patients reduce their opioid use (5).
• Cannabis use is associated with a reduction in not only opioid consumption, but also many other drugs
including benzodiazepines, which also have a high incidence of fatal overdose. In states with medicinal
cannabis laws, the number of prescriptions for analgesic and anxiolytic drugs (among others) are
substantially reduced (6). Medicare and Medicaid prescription costs are substantially lower in states
with cannabis laws (7).
Cannabis can prevent dose escalation and the development of opioid tolerance.
• Cannabinoids and opioids have acute analgesic synergy. When opioids and cannabinoids are
coadministered, they produce greater than additive analgesia (8). This suggests that analgesic dose of
opioids is substantially lower for patients using cannabis therapy.
• In chronic pain patients on opioid therapy, cannabis does not affect pharmacokinetics of opioids, yet it
still enhances analgesia. This finding further supports a synergistic mechanism of action (9).
• Pre-clinical models indicate that cannabinoids attenuate the development of opioid tolerance (10, 11).
Cannabis, alone or in combination with opioids, could be a viable first-line analgesic.
• The CDC has updated its recommendations in the spring of 2016, stating that most cases of chronicpain
should be treated with non-opioids (12).
• The National Academies of Science and Medicine recently conducted an exhaustive review of 10,000+
human studies published since 1999, definitively concluding that cannabis itself (not a specific
cannabinoid or cannabis-derived molecule) is safe and effective for the treatment of chronic pain (13).
• When 3,000 chronic pain patients were surveyed, they overwhelmingly preferred cannabis as an opioid
alternative (14).
o 97% “strongly agreed/agreed” that they could decrease their opioid use when using cannabis
o 92% “strongly agreed/agreed” that they prefer cannabis to treat their medical condition
o 81% “strongly agreed/ agreed that cannabis by itself was more effective than taking opioids
Cannabis may be a viable tool in medication-assisted relapse prevention
• CBD is non-intoxicating, and is the 2nd most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD alleviates
the anxiety that leads to drug craving. In human pilot studies, CBD administration is sufficient to
prevent heroin craving for at least 7 days (15).
• Cannabis users are more likely to adhere to naltrexone maintenance for opioid dependence (16).
Bibliography and References Cited
1. Bachhuber MA, Saloner B, Cunningham CO, Barry CL. Medical cannabis laws and opioid analgesic overdose
mortality in the United States, 1999-2010. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(10):1668-73. doi:
10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.4005. PubMed PMID: 25154332; PMCID: 4392651.
2. Kim JH, Santaella-Tenorio J, Mauro C, Wrobel J, Cerda M, Keyes KM, Hasin D, Martins SS, Li G. State Medical
Marijuana Laws and the Prevalence of Opioids Detected Among Fatally Injured Drivers. Am J Public Health.
2016;106(11):2032-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303426. PubMed PMID: 27631755; PMCID: PMC5055785.
3. Boehnke KF, Litinas E, Clauw DJ. Medical Cannabis Use Is Associated With Decreased Opiate Medication Use in a
Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey of Patients With Chronic Pain. J Pain. 2016;17(6):739-44. doi:
10.1016/j.jpain.2016.03.002. PubMed PMID: 27001005.
4. Haroutounian S, Ratz Y, Ginosar Y, Furmanov K, Saifi F, Meidan R, Davidson E. The Effect of Medicinal Cannabis
on Pain and Quality-of-Life Outcomes in Chronic Pain: A Prospective Open-label Study. Clin J Pain.
2016;32(12):1036-43. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000000364. PubMed PMID: 26889611.
5. Gruber SA, Sagar KA, Dahlgren MK, Racine MT, Smith RT, Lukas SE. Splendor in the Grass? A Pilot Study
Assessing the Impact of Medical Marijuana on Executive Function. Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:355.
doi:10.3389/fphar.2016.00355. PubMed PMID: 27790138; PMCID: PMC5062916.
6. Bradford AC, Bradford WD. Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Prescription Medication Use In Medicare Part D. Health
Aff (Millwood). 2016;35(7):1230-6. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1661. PubMed PMID: 27385238.
7. Bradford AC, Bradford WD. Medical Marijuana Laws May Be Associated With A Decline In The Number Of
Prescriptions For Medicaid Enrollees. Health Aff (Millwood). 2017;36(5):945-51. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1135.
PubMed PMID: 28424215.
8. Roberts JD, Gennings C, Shih M. Synergistic affective analgesic interaction between delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and
morphine. European journal of pharmacology. 2006;530(1-2):54-8. Epub 2005/12/27. doi:
10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.11.036. PubMed PMID: 16375890.
9. Abrams DI, Couey P, Shade SB, Kelly ME, Benowitz NL. Cannabinoid-opioid interaction in chronic pain. Clinical
pharmacology and therapeutics. 2011;90(6):844-51. Epub 2011/11/04. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2011.188. PubMed PMID:
22048225.
10. Wilson AR, Maher L, Morgan MM. Repeated cannabinoid injections into the rat periaqueductal gray enhance
subsequent morphine antinociception. Neuropharmacology. 2008;55(7):1219-25. doi:
10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.07.038. PubMed PMID: 18723035; PMCID: 2743428.
11. Smith PA, Selley DE, Sim-Selley LJ, Welch SP. Low dose combination of morphine and delta9- tetrahydrocannabinol
circumvents antinociceptive tolerance and apparent desensitization of receptors. European journal of pharmacology.
2007;571(2-3):129-37. Epub 2007/07/03. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2007.06.001. PubMed PMID: 17603035; PMCID:
2040345.
12. Dowell D, Haegerich TM, Chou R. CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain – United States, 2016.
MMWR Recomm Rep. 2016;65(1):1-49. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.rr6501e1. PubMed PMID: 26987082.
13. NASEM. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for
Research. Washington (DC) 2017.
14. Reiman A, Welty M, Solomon P. Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self Report.
Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):160-6. doi: 10.1089/can.2017.0012. PubMed PMID: 28861516; PMCID:
PMC5569620.
15. Hurd YL, Yoon M, Manini AF, Hernandez S, Olmedo R, Ostman M, Jutras-Aswad D. Early Phase in the Development
of Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Addiction: Opioid Relapse Takes Initial Center Stage. Neurotherapeutics.
2015;12(4):807-15. doi: 10.1007/s13311-015-0373-7. PubMed PMID: 26269227; PMCID: PMC4604178.
16. Raby WN, Carpenter KM, Rothenberg J, Brooks AC, Jiang H, Sullivan M, Bisaga A, Comer S, Nunes EV. Intermittent
marijuana use is associated with improved retention in naltrexone treatment for opiate-dependence. Am J Addict.
2009;18(4):301-8. doi: 10.1080/10550490902927785. PubMed PMID: 19444734; PMCID: PMC2753886.


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German Medical Marijuana patients continued suffering despite the new law – from Hemp Magazine

After a small request from the federal government that the health insurance funds have to approve a therapy with medical cannabis before the statutory health insurance takes over the costs for the treatment, Frank Tempel, a sign of the drug policy of the left fraction, gives answers Questions that could be asked by those concerned. Meanwhile, the draft of a cannabis control law of the Green Bundestag fraction of March 2015 was rejected.
As beautiful as the new “Act on the Amendment to Narcotic Drugs and Other Provisions”, which came into effect on March 10, 2017, it raises a few dark shadows that could have a negative impact on the patient in the future. One of the central problems is the cost of a cannabis therapy by statutory health insurance. While pain patients receive the treatment in most cases, the world looks quite different in mental disorders, for example cases of ADHD or depression, Tempel reports on his website.
Requests for reimbursement would often be rejected in these patients. This also applies to patients who had already received a special permit from cannabis therapy from the “Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices” prior to the entry into force of the Act. Because of this, it was already the first complaints of patients against the health insurance companies, it goes on. Temple also drew attention to the fact that there are some tips and hints to be able to claim the right to the costs.
The right to therapy with cannabis may be to patients if “a generally accepted medical standard” is either “not available” or “can not be used”, as well as “a not distant prospect perceptible positive effect on the course of the disease or on serious symptoms, “the Federal Government said in response to the small request from the left. According to the government, the treating physician must confirm these criteria and justify his decision against the health insurance company. But what helps if the cash registers?
Support the doctor
Tempel points out that it is easy for health insurance funds, especially through the second criterion, to refuse an application for the costs. This would be due to the lack of studies on the use of cannabis as a medicine, explains the deputy chairman of the Committee on Internal Medicine of the Bundestag. The 48-year-old, therefore, recommends “to refer to the introduction of a companion for which the patients have to participate if the costs of the therapy are to be reimbursed.”
In addition, he advises the physicians to assist in the completion of the application, since the health insurance companies would reject it at the smallest form defect. A sample application that could make life easier for the doctors offers the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis as medicine” on their website http://www.cannabis-med.org . In order to take the perhaps still inexperienced doctor in this area further, the politician recommends in a discussion with the doctor also, professional-medically-based information to these to pass.
Where can I find a suitable doctor?
But already the search for a supervising doctor prepares the patient difficulties. The doctors would have little desire for more of the unpaid work and the effort they have to do, so temples. This is understandable. In addition to disputes with the health insurance companies, the treating physician must collect information about his patient and then pass it on to the “Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices”. Temple once again refers to the “Cannabis as a medical community”, which can be asked for a doctor from the region who already has experience in prescribing medicinal hemp.
What to do if the cash office refuses?
If the applications, which are usually processed by the health insurance company within three weeks, but which can be withdrawn at the time the medical service is examined for examination of the application for five weeks, Tempel recommends that the supervisory authority, the relevant cash register. A protest may also be filed against the decision. A generator can also be found on the website of the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin”.
By a contradiction, the patient can also provide additional time, so that further advice can be brought into the boat, informs Tempel and writes to the following: “Do you have only courage to protest against the refusal of the health insurance company. There are cases in which the health insurance funds have approved it after the objection and a new application for reimbursement. “As a last option, the politician is considering taking legal action before the Social Court. The “Cannabis Consortium for Medicine” is even considering the support of the patient in court cases, provided that good prospects for success would exist, Tempel continues.
The Greens fail with a bill
Even though Germany has taken a clear step in the handling of marijuana through the “Act for the Amendment of Narcotic Drugs and Other Provisions” in the recent past, there are, of course, still sets-up parameters that can be worked on. The Greens tried their luck already two years ago in March 2015.
At that time, the Bundestag’s party draft a cannabis control law and presented it to the health committee of the Bundestag, which was voted on Wednesday. Although the Greens had the left fraction on their side, they failed with their draft, however, to the factions of the Union and the SPD, who opposed it.
The Greens drew attention to the fact that the cannabis control law had been an alternative to the prohibiting policy which had taken place here because it was “completely failed.” In the case of marijuana, which is the most widely used illegal drug in Germany, the criminal law provisions of the Narcotics Act should no longer apply , so the desire of the Greens. Instead, they pleaded in their template for a controlled, legal market with a regulated cannabis trading chain.
“The no from the Union and the SPD to our cannabis control law is a no to youth and consumer protection,” the “Ärtzeblatt” cites Greens Group spokeswoman Katja Dörner and the spokesman for drug and addiction policy, Harald Terpe. Cannabis is not harmless, the party made clear, precisely because of this, youth and consumer protection should not be left to the dealer.