Vet suffering from PTSD fights for medical marijuana use after arrest

(FOX 46) – A Web M.D. study shows 69 percent of doctors in America believe marijuana can help certain treatments and conditions. Many states allow medical marijuana, but neither North nor South Carolina.

Perry Parks, 74, is a marijuana user. His backyard is a place of peace.

“This, as opposed to taking a handful of pills every day, makes a lot more sense to me,” he said.

Parks said it’s the perfect thing to help his post-traumatic stress disorder.

FOX 46 Charlotte first interviewed the Vietnam War veteran last fall in 2016. Parks said he uses marijuana for PTSD.

Now, he’s facing a charge of felony possession of marijuana after he was caught with it in his luggage while going through baggage check at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

“I know in my heart and in my prayers that my Lord and Savior does not consider me to be a criminal,” Parks said.

Medical marijuana is legal in more than half the states in the U.S. but the DEA still considers it a schedule 1 drug which according to that definition, means it has no medical value.


Cannabis Lounges Might Be Coming to the U.S. Soon

At a time when the entire scope of the cannabis industry remains uncertain whether the Trump Administration is moving in with the kill switch, Colorado is, once again, on the verge of implementing a progressive reform that will give way to emergence of Amsterdam-style marijuana clubs.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Denver officials are currently at the drawing board in an attempt to figure out how to launch a one-year pilot program designed to bring social marijuana use to life throughout the city. While the program, which was approved by the voters in the election last November, is only a temporary measure, the goal is to further explore methods for treating marijuana similar to alcohol so that more is known when the time comes to draft more permanent legislation.

Interestingly, Alaska was expected to become the first U.S. jurisdiction to experiment with the concept of cannabis lounges, but regulatory officials ended up getting cold feet in the 11th hour and pulled the plug on this development. A couple of other states (California and Maine) have passed laws that include provisions for social use, but none of the rules have been finalized. There is also a push for similar legislation in Oregon, specifically geared toward allowing marijuana consumption during special events.

However, what is on the verge of happening in Denver with respect to social pot consumption could quite possibly be permitted statewide within the coming months.

Reports indicate that bipartisan members of the Colorado Legislature are opening up to idea of cannabis lounges because they say residents have complained about people getting stoned in public. Lawmakers, like Republican Senator Chris Holbert, who believes, “it’s a problem we’ve got to address,” says the time has come to give tourists a place to smoke weed.

But despite bipartisan support for a law of this magnitude, there are still plenty of arguments surrounding the issue to prevent much from getting done. One side doesn’t want medical marijuana users to consume in public, while another group is worried that allowing cannabis lounges might start a war between legal marijuana and the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now,” Democratic state Representative Jonathan Singer told the AP. “I think we need to send a message to him that Colorado’s doing it right.”

Governor John Hickenlooper, who opposed Amendment 64, seems to have changed his attitude a bit regarding legal weed. But he isn’t exactly sold on the concept of social use. The governor has said that he would veto a bill that allows marijuana to be smoked indoors.

“We spent a long time letting everyone know that smoking is bad for you,” Hickenlooper said. “Just cause that smoke makes you happy, and dumb, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”

Meanwhile, the grey area surrounding legal weed has given way to the presence of underground pot clubs. But these establishments have been the targets of raids and other law enforcement shakedowns. It is for this reason that the cannabis industry has a simple message for Colorado’s government: We’ve legalized marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, so let’s act like it.


Houston / Harris County’s New Weed Policy

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Starting next month, people caught with four ounces or less of marijuana in Harris County will not go to jail.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg made the announcement Thursday. The new program goes into effect March 1.

Ogg says that they aren’t decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana. Instead, she says it’s a diversion program that is legal under state and federal law that will keep nonviolent people out of jail, save tax payer money and let law enforcement focus on going after more serious criminals.

According to the DA, this new policy will impact around 10,000 people a year. Whether or not it is a first offense, anyone caught with 4 ounces of marijuana or less will be required to take a $150 class designed to “help them make better choices”. Financial help is available for those who cannot pay for the class. Class attendance is required within 90 days or will result in arrest.

Right now, Ogg says that the county spends $26 million a year prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases with no real difference in public safety.

There are several exceptions to the law, including people dealing drugs, committing a crime while in possession and people on bond or probation.

If anyone is caught with marijuana before March 1, the record won’t be cleared.


Nation’s Leading Cannabis and Drug Policy Reform Advocates Commend Congressional Members on Formation of Congressional Cannabis Caucus

The bipartisan group of representatives will develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws

Joint statement below from the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Cannabis Industry Association, NORML, Americans for Safe Access, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, and Clergy for a New Drug Policy

WASHINGTON — The nation’s leading cannabis and drug policy reform organizations commended Congressional members Thursday on the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. See below for a joint statement from the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Cannabis Industry Association, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Americans for Safe Access, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, and Clergy for a New Drug Policy.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus to develop and promote sensible cannabis policy reform and work to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

They represent constituents in four of the eight states that have enacted laws regulating cannabis for medical and adult use. Twenty additional states have enacted comprehensive medical cannabis laws, and 16 additional states have enacted limited or unworkable medical cannabis laws. In total, 44 states have adopted laws rolling back cannabis prohibition at the state level, representing 95% of the U.S. House of Representatives and 88% of the Senate.

Joint statement on the formation of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus:

“We commend Representatives Blumenauer, Rohrabacher, Polis, and Young for their leadership on the issue of cannabis policy. The establishment of a Cannabis Caucus will allow members from both parties, who represent diverse constituencies from around the country, to join together for the purpose of advancing sensible cannabis policy reform. It will also facilitate efforts to ease the tension between federal prohibition laws and state laws that regulate cannabis for medical and adult use.

“The formation of this caucus is a testament to how far our country has come on the issue of cannabis policy. There is a growing consensus that cannabis prohibition has failed, and it is time for a more sensible approach. A strong majority of Americans support making cannabis legal for medical and adult use, and an even stronger majority believes states should be able to establish their own cannabis policies without interference from the federal government. We look forward to working with caucus members to translate this growing public sentiment into sound public policy.”


DEA website refresh? Document on marijuana health risks no longer listed

Advocacy group Americans for Safe Access argued DEA’s information about marijuana directly influenced “the action — and inaction — of Congress.”

A document that put the DEA under fire for disseminating misinformation about marijuana’s health effects has disappeared from the agency’s website.

As of Monday, “The Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana Abuse,” a nearly 45-page publication on the various ramifications of cannabis use, no longer was available on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s website.

The document last year was at the center of a legal petition by Americans for Safe Access claiming the DEA’s publishing of “scientifically inaccurate information about the health effects of medical cannabis” directly influenced “the action — and inaction — of Congress.”

In December, the medical marijuana advocacy organization alleged that the DEA website’s inclusion of 25 false statements about marijuana violated the Data Quality Act, also known as the Information Quality Act, which is meant to ensure the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information that government agencies provide to the public.

Some of those statements — that cannabis plays a significant role in psychosis; marijuana smoking causes tumors of the head, neck and lung; and marijuana is a precursor to illicit drug use and heroin addiction — have been contradicted by the DEA’s own statements in its August 2016 Denial of Petition to Initiate Proceedings to Reschedule Marijuana, according to ASA.

Agencies have 60 days to respond to requests to correct information, ASA said in its statement.

On Monday, the group hailed the document’s absence as a victory.

“The DEA’s removal of these popular myths about cannabis from their website could mean the end of the Washington gridlock,” Steph Sherer, ASA executive director, said in a statement. “This is a victory for medical cannabis patients across the nation, who rely on cannabis to treat serious illnesses.”

DEA spokesman Russell Baer, citing pending litigation, told The Cannabist on Tuesday that he could not comment on the matter.

In its statement, ASA said “the fight is not over,” claiming that the DEA’s website continues to include false or misleading statements about marijuana.