Congress Is Getting Frustrated With the White House’s Pot Policy

Trump’s long said he supports states’ rights when it comes to cannabis, but new reports suggest some in his administration isn’t ready to give up pot prohibition

A bipartisan group of lawmakers fear there are top White House officials actively working to undermine President Trump’s own marijuana policy — a cannabis deep state, of sorts. On the campaign trail back in 2016, Trump advocated allowing each state to craft their own pot policies, and he’s reiterated as much since entering the Oval Office. But that’s not how policy is shaping up.

This week, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) confirmed a report by Buzzfeed that there’s a committee inside the White House devoted to marijuana policy. While they finally admitted the committee exists, they stopped short of confirming that the panel was seeking only to only spread negative information on marijuana to combat the groundswell of support that cannabis has garnered across the nation. Even some of the president’s Republican allies are up in arms, because they say the president has endorsed their efforts to de-schedule marijuana at the federal level. Still, they continue to be stonewalled.

Continue reading the article here.

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Ben Affleck opens up about battle with alcohol addiction

Ben Affleck posted an Instagram statement Thursday in which he revealed that he recently completed a 40-day stay at a treatment center and continues his outpatient care for alcohol addiction.

“The support I have received from my family, colleagues, and fans means more to me than I can say,” he wrote. “It’s given me the strength and support to speak about my illness with others.”

Affleck, 46, entered rehab back in August. He previously sought treatment in 2001 and 2017.

“Battling any addiction is a lifelong and difficult struggle,” Affleck wrote. “Because of that, one is never really in or out of treatment. It is a full-time commitment.”

Read more here.

E-Cigs Continue to Spark Debate Over Health Risks/Benefits

With sales of electronic cigarettes skyrocketing, Americans remain divided on whether the devices are a boon or a threat to public health.

That’s the main finding of a new HealthDay/Harris Poll that surveyed over 2,000 adults on their e-cigarette views.

Vaping has long been promoted as a way to help smokers kick the habit — offering them a route to get nicotine without the carcinogens in tobacco smoke.

But e-cigarettes aren’t harmless, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities. There’s particular concern about young people vaping — in part, because nicotine can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25.

In the poll, most adults did have misgivings about e-cigarettes: 85 percent said they were worried that the long-term health effects of the devices are unknown; and 83 percent were at least “somewhat” concerned about teenagers using e-cigarettes.

In fact, 43 percent of adults felt that e-cigarettes are actually more dangerous than traditional cigarettes.

On the flip side, about as many people (41 percent) viewed e-cigarettes as “healthier” than traditional cigarettes. And 42 percent rated them as an “excellent way” to quit.

It all adds up to differing views, and possibly confusion, about e-cigarettes and their health effects.

There are, in fact, many unknowns.  Continue with the rest of the article here.

I’m a Former Opioid Addict With Chronic Pain. Will CBD Work For Me?

Ten years ago, I was in a horrific ATV accident that nearly cost me an arm. The resulting four surgeries have finally got my bones to mend, but there’s still a massive mess of metal in my left wing, and it still aches a fair amount everyday.

During the bout of surgeries and subsequent rehabilitation, I got hooked on hydromorphone and hydrocodone and was ingesting enough opioids to fell a family of elephants. I knew I was in trouble when I started hitting up multiple doctors when my little orange bottles emptied. I kicked the addiction by detoxing for several weeks and my approach to pain management afterwards was light use of NSAIDs and nothing heavy-duty.

I just assumed I’d have to live with the pain; that finding natural relief wasn’t in the cards. Then I tried CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound derived from cannabinoids, which naturally occur in the cannabis plant. CBD won’t make you high (that’s all THC) but it has been anecdotally shown to help treat a variety of ailments, including pain. Worth a whirl, I surmised, and started sampling an array of products from company called Medix.

Read the rest of the Mens Health article here.

F.D.A. Seizes Documents From Juul Headquarters

The Food and Drug Administration conducted a surprise inspection of the headquarters of the e-cigarette maker Juul Labs last Friday, carting away more than a thousand documents it said were related to the company’s sales and marketing practices.

The move, announced on Tuesday, was seen as an attempt to ratchet up pressure on the company, which controls 72 percent of the e-cigarette market in the United States and whose products have become popular in high schools. The F.D.A. said it was particularly interested in whether Juul deliberately targeted minors as consumers.

“The new and highly disturbing data we have on youth use demonstrates plainly that e-cigarettes are creating an epidemic of regular nicotine use among teens,” the F.D.A. said in a statement. “It is vital that we take action to understand and address the particular appeal of, and ease of access to, these products among kids.”

F.D.A. officials described the surprise inspection as a follow-up to a request the agency made for Juul’s research and marketing data in April. Kevin Burns, Juul’s chief executive officer, said the company had already handed over more than 50,000 pages of internal documents to the F.D.A. in response to that request.

See full article here.

Teens are smoking, vaping and eating cannabis

Adolescents who try marijuana are not just smoking it. Many are also vaping or eating cannabis, a U.S. study suggests.

Almost one in three teens have smoked cannabis at least once, the survey of 3,177 Los Angeles high school students found. More than one in five adolescents have consumed edible cannabis, and more than one in 10 have vaped it.

In the study of 10th-graders, two-thirds of teen cannabis users had tried at least two forms of the drug, and about 8 percent had tried all three methods of consuming cannabis.

“This raises the question whether teens who have traditionally been at lower risk for use of cannabis and other drugs in traditional smoked forms may be drawn into cannabis in alternative forms that may lack some of the deterrents . . . like the smell, taste, and harshness of inhaling cannabis smoke and difficulty concealing use of smoked cannabis to authority figures,” said senior study author Adam Leventhal, director of the University of Southern California’s Health, Emotion, and Addiction Laboratory in Los Angeles.

Read more here.

UN: Tobacco kills not just people, but the environment

The World Health Organization says smoking not only kills about 7 million people every year, but has a devastating impact on the environment — contributing to deforestation, water and soil damage and acidification.

In a new report released on Tuesday, experts warned that the environmental footprint left by tobacco production is comparable to that of entire countries. It said producing the 6 trillion cigarettes made every year hurts the planet more than the mass production of food crops.

Nicholas Hopkinson, one of the report’s authors, said cigarettes should be considered an “unethical product” given its toll on the environment.

Experts calculated that a single person smoking a pack of 20 cigarettes per day for 50 years is responsible for 1.4 million liters of water depletion.

See full article here.

Buckeye Relief expects to harvest Ohio’s first medical marijuana in December

Stepping into the small vestibule, visitors are immediately struck by a slightly musty, slightly skunky odor that provides a redolent clue about what’s happening there.

The next clue: An employee takes your identification from behind bulletproof glass and doesn’t give it back until you leave.

Welcome to Eastlake-based Buckeye Relief LLC, the first large marijuana cultivator granted permission by the state to begin growing pot for Ohio’s fledgling medical marijuana industry. The company expects to harvest Ohio’s first legal marijuana at newly built, multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility sometime in December.

Visitors allowed access to Buckeye Relief’s equally secure growing rooms must wear plastic Tyvek suits to prevent plants from being contaminated. Employees don medical scrubs before entering.

“I’m at the front end of a fascinating and exciting business,” majority owner Andy Rayburn said last week. “The bottom line is, it is actual, helpful medicine. The stories are in abundance.”

Read more here.

Inside Ohio’s first licensed Level 1 medical marijuana processing plant

An hour outside of Columbus, nestled between corn and dairy farms, lies Grow Ohio.

It’s a 60,000 square foot greenhouse designed to supply a growing need for medical marijuana.

The plant is the first to be licensed as a Level 1 processing plant.

Inside, there are quadrants of rooms designed to grow the plans from seedlings to adult flowers. Only female plants will grow here because that’s where the medical marijuana is produced.

These tiny marijuana seedlings hold the promise of helping Ohioans find the medical relief they want without having to use pharmaceutical drugs.

“I’ve never said this will be a panacea for all health problems but what we can do to curb the opioid epidemic,” says Josh Frebus Sales Representative for Grow Ohio.

This is Grow Ohio located an hour outside of Columbus.

At a cost of $20 million, this processing plant is projected to grow 16-thousand pounds of medical grade marijuana a year.

Continue reading here.

Medical marijuana is being harvested in Ohio now but it won’t be available in stores for a while

Ohio’s first legal medical marijuana crop is being harvested this week, but it could be several months before any will be in the hands of patients.

Agri-Med Ohio LLC in Meigs County is in the middle of its first harvest. Wellspring Fields in Ravenna completed its harvest earlier this week. Both are smaller, “level II” medical marijuana cultivators.

Flowers from Ohio’s first mature plants will be dried and ready for sale in early November. But when that marijuana is sold depends on when the first testing lab and dispensaries open.

As of today, none of the five state-licensed testing labs are operating and none of the 56 licensed dispensaries have opened their doors. No patients have been registered for the program, but the Ohio Board of Pharmacy says the patient and caregiver registry can be turned on as soon as Ohio’s market nears operation.

The state’s first testing lab could open at Hocking Technical College in early November, and dispensaries could be ready in December, state regulators told the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Board on Thursday.

Read more here.