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domenica 18 settembre 2016

Patients may soon be able to use medical marijuana in California hospital

In a first-ever for California, patients at Marin General may soon be allowed to consume medical marijuana in the hospital.
If members of the Marin Healthcare District approve the resolution introduced by Dr. Larry Bedard at Tuesday’s meeting, the hospital’s staff would begin a review process examining the legal and medical implications of using medical pot at the acute-care center.
Patients, however, would not be allowed to smoke the drug, which doctors have been legally prescribing in California since the late 1990s because smoking is banned in the state’s hospitals.
Last month, Bedard told Media News about his plan.
“I want to have Marin General be the first hospital in California to openly and transparently allow patients to use medical cannabis,” said Bedard, a retired emergency medicine physician who used to work at Marin General and is now a member of the district board.
Last year, the pro-marijuana activist group California NORML reported that more than 1,500 physicians in the state had recommended medical marijuana under Prop. 215. The so-called Compassionate Use Act of 1996 effectively legalized the medicinal use of cannabis by seriously ill Californians. A federal court decision later established that California physicians who follow certain guidelines in recommending or approving the medical use of marijuana are immune from sanction or criminal prosecution.
Under the law, physicians are free to recommend marijuana for their patients, so long as they don’t actually assist them in obtaining it.
Bedard is no stranger to the often controversial subject of medical marijuana. He helped author the rebuttal to the argument against Proposition 64, an initiative appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. If voters pass the measure, California would join a handful of states and cities that already allow the practice, including Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, as well as Portland and South Portland, Maine, and Keego Harbor, Michigan.
Proposition 64 would make the recreational use of marijuana legal for adults age 21 and older in California; adults would be allowed to grow small amounts at home for personal use. The initiative would limit the sale of non-medical marijuana to be regulated as licensed businesses that only adults 21 and older would be permitted to enter.
Bedard said he is passionate about legalizing marijuana because he believes people of color are suffering disproportionately under existing law.
“Four times as many blacks and Latinos get arrested as whites with virtually the same use rates,” Bedard said. “If you want to reform the justice system, this is by far the easiest and most effective way.”
He also believes that adults should be able to choose whether they want to use cannabis or alcohol, which he considers to be far more harmful.
“As an emergency physician, I know that marijuana is safer than alcohol,” Bedard told Media News.
Bedard served on a California Medical Association task force on marijuana that led to the association recommending the legalization of cannabis.
Last month, after Bedard had sent his resolution to the administrators at Marin General, along with his fellow board members and other interested parties, the reaction was mixed.
“I think it is a fantastic idea,” said Frederick Mayer, a retired Marin pharmacist who heads Pharmacists Planning Services Inc., a nonprofit pharmacy education organization.
Mayer said hospitals in Israel have pioneered the use of cannabis for palliative care. He said in some cases marijuana can be substituted for the more dangerous narcotics used for pain management, which are leading increasingly to addiction problems.
Others, though, are more cautious, a reflection of the public’s mixed feeling about legalizing all uses of pot. District board member Jennifer Rienks said last month that she still has “a lot of questions” about Bedard’s proposal.
“At this point, I really need to hear more about it,” Rienks said.
In his resolution, Bedard acknowledges that Marin General administrators are “concerned that the federal government could/would retaliate by lifting the hospital’s Medicare provider number and the state could withhold Medi-Cal funding.”
But he says such fears are overblown since a federal budget amendment authored by California Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican and Democrat Sam Farr prevents the government from using federal funds to penalize patients, physicians and hospitals that are complying with state law.

Patients may soon be able to use medical marijuana in California hospital

mercoledì 14 settembre 2016

Degrado e droghe per strada. Cosi' in tutte le citta'. Come farsi meno male

Comunicato di Vincenzo Donvito
5 settembre 2016 14:43

 Non passa giorno che sulle cronache locali -e non- di tutti i media, si parli del degrado urbano, quasi sempre associato allo spaccio di droghe illegali. Immagini di persone che bivaccano, meglio se con una qualche bottiglia in mano e una sigaretta che possa essere scambiata per spinello, e seduti nei luoghi piu' significativi della citta', chiese e piazze storiche, giardini frequentati anche di giorno da bambini, etc. Immagini su cui talvolta i media provvedono ad oscurare i volti delle persone, ma non se queste sono manifestamente con la pelle non-bianca: dando cosi' il loro contributo al discutibile legame, tipico di chi ragiona con la pancia invece che con la testa, tra non-bianco e spacciatore di droga, e quindi responsabile del degrado.
Lasciando ad ogni media la propria responsabilita' nell'alimentare disordine pubblico, cio' che ci preme sottolineare e' che il metodo per cercare di farsi meno male e' a portata di mano, ma sembra che il nostro legislatore non sia interessato. Stiamo parlando della legalizzazione delle droghe, cioe' il controllo del mercato da parte dello Stato per un prodotto che oggi -pur se illegale- e' capillarmente diffuso e consumato si' da rendere libero il suo mercato: le forze dell'ordine non ce la fanno a seguire il ritmo dello spaccio per strada e, nonostante gli ingenti sequestri che vengono operati ogni giorno, la presenza e l'offerta di queste sostanze e' sempre maggiore, soprattutto per strada. Le proposte di legge in Parlamento ci sono, ma sono al momento bloccate nonostante si sia manifestato un ampio schieramento trasversale che le sostiene. In prospettiva si vede solo il buio. E lo spinello, che e' consumato da quasi tutti i giovani e non solo, continua ad essere venduto clandestinamente per strada da spacciatori che -in virtu' di un potenziale loro maggiore guadagno- non esitano a proporre anche l'acquisto di sostanze piu' pericolose e che creano facilmente dipendenza, come eroina, cocaina o metamfetamine varie.
Al momento, nonostante le positive esperienze in merito registrate in diversi Stati europei e degli Usa e delle Americhe, la legalizzazione e' una chimera. E il risultato sono queste immagini e queste quotidianita' di cui dicevamo prima. Certamente il problema non sara' risolto, ma sicuramente sara' contenuto ed arginato, con meno spacciatori e meno clienti per le strade.
Ci viene spontanea una domanda che rivolgiamo ai media, soprattutto locali, che sono giustamente preoccupati del degrado delle citta' per le quali si impegnano a svolgere un servizio di informazione: tante volte avete fatto campagne nell'interesse dei cittadini, promosso petizioni, sostenuto progetti di legge... perche' in questo caso vi limitate solo ad indicare coi volti scoperti non-bianchi i presunti colpevoli e non vi fate partigiani di una politica di riduzione del danno, sulle droghe e sulle nostre citta'?
Degrado e droghe per strada. Cosi' in tutte le citta'. Come farsi meno male

lunedì 12 settembre 2016

ITALIA - Cannabis terapeutica. Caso Pellegrini. Civati: ministro Orlando si lava le mani

"Avevamo chiesto al ministro Orlando di intervenire sul caso Pellegrini promuovendo una riforma del Codice penale che consentisse alle persone affette da patologie che necessitano di cure palliative, come quelle che richiedono l'uso della cannabis e dei suoi derivati, di non dover incorrere in denunce e pene detentive. Pellegrini, lo ricordiamo, affetto da fibromialgia, si trova ora agli arresti domiciliari dopo essere stato in carcere per molti giorni, nonostante le sue condizioni di salute". Lo dichiarano in una nota i deputati di Possibile, Pippo Civati e Andrea Maestri, che aggiungono: "La risposta del ministro Orlando alle nostre richieste si e' dimostrata ancora una volta pilatesca: mentre il Governo non esita a invadere il campo riservato al Parlamento con decreti-legge, leggi delega in bianco e voti di fiducia sui temi piu' vari, sull'autoproduzione e la detenzione di cannabis per uso terapeutico, ancora sanzionato penalmente nel nostro paese, il ministro della Giustizia si limita a ricordare la giurisprudenza piu' favorevole (ci pensi la Magistratura) e a rimettersi alle forze politiche che hanno assunto l'iniziativa parlamentare (ci pensi il Parlamento)". "Una questione- concludono Civati e Maestri- che dovrebbe spingere tutti a riflessioni e azioni di buon senso e' lasciata ancora una volta da questo Governo nell'ambiguita', senza coraggio e nell'ignoranza totale delle leggi e delle procedure". 

ITALIA - Cannabis terapeutica. Caso Pellegrini. Civati: ministro Orlando si lava le mani

domenica 4 settembre 2016

Peter Thiel-backed Marley Natural Enters Cannabis Distribution Game

By Chris Roberts on August 26, 2016@cbloggy


One of the first state-approved cannabis distributors in California will carry the red, gold, and green flag.

Marley Natural — the venture capital-backed cannabis brand licensed by the heirs of reggae legend Bob Marley — received approval to open a cannabis processing and distribution center in Santa Rosa this week.

California’s Medical Marijuana Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act requires all cannabis products to pass through a state-licensed distribution center before reaching retail shelves. On Tuesday, city officials in the Sonoma County city gave the green light to Marley Natural to open a “processing, manufacturing, and distribution center” in a business park, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

With its easy access to cannabis-producing regions via US-101 and its proximity to population centers in the Bay Area, Santa Rosa is an ideal center for cannabis commerce. At least, city officials hope so.

Marley Natural is the first cannabis business to receive city approval under interim zoning rules meant to encourage marijuana businesses. Other major cannabis brands, including Cannacraft’s Care By Design and AbsoluteXtracts, also do business in the city — despite a June raid by local law enforcement on its property.

Marley Natural’s move represents a push to control several stages of the supply chain.



Various strains of cannabis and other cannabis- and hemp-derived products under the Marley Natural label went on sale in California in April. The brand launched in Oregon earlier this week, and there are plans to expand to Washington.

The company licenses existing growers to produce outdoor cannabis under the Marley Natural label.

Privateer Holdings, the cannabis venture capital fund launched following a $75 million investment from Peter Thiel‘s Founders Fund, is based in Seattle. In addition to investing in Marley Natural, Privateer has also sunk capital into cannabis information website Leafly.

For now, Santa Rosa is the planned headquarters of its California operations. The company plans to employ up to 40 people there, the newspaper reported, and obtain state license as soon as they become available in 2018.

Have you tried the Marley Natural strains? Tell us about your experience.
Chris Roberts has written about medical cannabis, drug policy, and legalization ever since spending a few months in Humboldt County in 2009, with bylines for the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, and SF Weekly. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @cbloggy.


Peter Thiel-backed Marley Natural Enters Cannabis Distribution Game

lunedì 29 agosto 2016

Patent No. 6,630,507: Why the U.S. government holds a patent on cannabis plant compounds


It’s about technology transfer, not legalization


By ALICIA WALLACE | awallace@denverpost.com
PUBLISHED: August 28, 2016 at 12:01 am | UPDATED: August 27, 2016 at 10:03 pm


It may not have quite the same ring to it as a certain seven-digit phone number made famous by a 1980s pop hit, but 6,630,507 has become internet-famous since the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration opted not to reschedule marijuana, leaving it in the category of drugs with no legitimate medical uses.


Since then, proponents of legalization have responded with a storm of social-media posts highlighting U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507, granted in 2003 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and covering the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain diseases, such as cirrhosis. They’re telling the DEA to “talk to the hand,” writing “6,630,507” on their palms, hashtagging the number and linking to past articles on the topic.


The intent of the posts is symbolic, said Sam Mendez, an intellectual property and public policy lawyer who serves as the executive director of the University of Washington’s Cannabis Law & Policy Project.

“Naturally, it shows that there is a certain amount of hypocrisy that there is ‘no accepted medical use’ for cannabis according to federal law,” Mendez said. “And yet here you have the very same government owning a patent for, ostensibly, a medical use for marijuana.”


Mendez — like patent lawyers, the research arm of the HHS and the New York biopharmaceutical firm that’s working as an exclusive licensee under the patent — cautions that the existence of Patent No. 6,630,507 doesn’t signal that legalization is on the horizon.


“The government is allowed to file and obtain patents, and that has no bearing on the Controlled Substances Act,” Mendez said.


But it does indicate what could result if cannabis were rescheduled: an explosion of marijuana-related patents, Mendez said.

No. 6,630,507’s inception


The National Institutes of Health employs roughly 6,000 Ph.D.-level scientists, said NIH special adviser for technology transfer Mark Rohrbaugh, who holds doctorates in biochemistry and law. When one of those scientists invents a new technology or makes a new discovery, the NIH evaluates the result and determines whether to file for a patent.


Over the years, the NIH has conducted and funded research involving cannabis — both as a drug of abuse and for its potential therapeutic properties, NIH spokeswoman Renate Myles said.


In the case of No. 6,630,507, the researchers discovered that non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis may have antioxidant properties that could be beneficial in the treatment of certain neurological diseases, she said.


“This patent describes the therapeutic potential for cannabinoid chemical compounds that are structurally similar to THC, but without its psychoactive properties, thereby treating specific conditions without the adverse side effects associated with smoked marijuana,” Myles said in an e-mail.


The patent doesn’t prove the chemical compound is effective in the stated treatment, Rohrbaugh said. The compound would have to be purified, synthesized in a lab setting, subjected to extensive testing in animals and humans, and ultimately require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to show that it’s safe and effective for the intended purpose.


The intent behind patenting and licensing NIH discoveries is to keep technology that could potentially benefit the public from sitting idle, he said.


This sometimes requires looping in the private sector, he said. Laws made in the 1980s help entities such as universities and the government to make their discoveries accessible to others who are in a position to further the research and potentially commercialize the developments. The entities behind the discoveries typically receive payments as part of the licensing agreement.


NIH’s Technology Transfer Office advertises patents — including those related to cannabinoids — available for licensing on its website, and officials sometimes conduct outreach as well. The licenses often are packaged with some elements of exclusivity, Rohrbaugh said.

“It’s like a piece of land,” he said. “You wouldn’t build a million-dollar house on a piece of land you wouldn’t have some title to.”


Five years ago, the NIH granted New York-based Kannalife Sciences Inc.an exclusive license for the part of the technology outlined in the patent to develop cannabinoid- and cannabidiol-based drugs for the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy — brain damage that could result from conditions such as cirrhosis. Kannalife also has a non-exclusive license to develop drugs to treat chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a rare and progressive degenerative brain condition likely caused by repeated head trauma, Myles said.


“Other companies may also apply for licenses to use this patented technology to develop drugs to treat other neurological diseases where antioxidant properties of cannabinoid drugs may be beneficial,” she said. “The patent expires on April 21, 2019, after which anyone would be free to develop drugs based on these cannabinoids that, like all drugs, would require FDA approval to demonstrate safety and effectiveness in humans.”


No other companies have licensed portions of the 6,630,507 patent, she said.


Kannalife CEO Dean Petkanas did not disclose the specific terms of the licensing agreement, but he told The Cannabist that the deal includes milestone payments, a percentage of sales as well as royalties in “the six figures” to the government. The patent is valid in several jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom and Australia, he said.


Petkanas said his company “could not have gotten a better ruling” from the DEA.


“We’ve been building our business from the pharmaceutical side from Day One,” said Petkanas, a former executive at the investment firm depicted in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” “We want to be on the pharmaceutical side; everything we do has to be by the book.”


Kannalife, recently featured in a football-related Sports Illustrated reportregarding its research into therapies for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is about to begin raising $15 million in private investments. The money would allow it to start clinical trials related to hepatic encephalopathy as soon as the first quarter of 2018. Petkanas said Kannalife anticipates eventually seeking orphan drug status — a special FDA designation for treating rare conditions. The company also contemplating conducting chronic traumatic encephalopathy-related trials in Europe.


“Does marijuana have medicinal benefit? Well, yeah,” Petkanas said. “But it can’t be targeted and qualified for repetitive use (without the FDA-approved research).”


That one arm of the federal government is poised to make money from cannabis-derived compounds, and another has approved synthetic cannabinoid drugs such as Marinol and Syndros, tells a story different from the one told by the DEA, which lumped together the hundreds of chemical compounds of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, said Gregory F. Wesner, a Seattle-based patent and trademark attorney for Lane Powell PC.


“The interesting thing here is basically the government being two-faced,” Wesner said.


If and when national legalization comes, it’ll trigger a swarm of new patent applications, said the UW Cannabis Law Project’s Mendez.

“That’s massive growth that does not occur every day or every year That’s the kind of growth you’re talking about once in a generation,” he said of the potential sales growth in the industry. “As part of that, you’re going to see many people and many businesses research this far more intensely and file for patents.”


An analysis conducted by Christopher Freerks, a Lane Powell patent administrator, shows that the PTO already has granted at least four dozen cannabis-related utility patents, including No. 6,630,507. The analysis does not include plant patents, which have been tougher to come by for some cultivators.


San Diego patent attorney Dale C. Hunt, an Open Cannabis Project board member who has degrees in botany, genetics and biology, said one would need to develop a completely new strain in order to land a patent.


If marijuana is rescheduled, it’s realistic to believe that the innovation could carry on in the laboratories of NIH scientists, he said. But for now, the federal government’s technology transfer and patenting actions around cannabis do not appear to be widespread.


“(Tech transfer) happens all the time,” Hunt said. “It obviously doesn’t happen all the time in cannabis.”



Patent No. 6,630,507: Why the U.S. government holds a patent on cannabis plant compounds

sabato 27 agosto 2016

Four Cannabis Entrepreneurs Share Their Strangest Moments


Carrie Roberts, Senior Consultant at Medicine Man Technologies(MDCL:OTC US)
We had a potential client approach us wanting to  retrofit an abandoned mine (18,400,000 sq. ft.), capable of producing 3 millions pounds of cannabis annually for domestic and international exportation.  This would be the largest cultivation facility in Western Canada.  They didn’t actually have funding for this “envisioned” project, so they also wanted us to write their business plan and do all of the design work for free.  Half the battle of consulting in the cannabis industry is managing client expectations.

Steve Gormley, Managing Partner/CEO at Seventh Point LLC
I would say that one of the craziest experiences I’ve had in a meeting with some cannabis industry entrepreneurs occurred in LA last winter.  I was in a meeting where the dispensary license holder was speaking to me in Mandarin, the cultivator was speaking to me in Spanish, the landlord in Russian and the real estate agent was speaking to me in French.  They all wanted to keep information from the other and were all talking at once. 

Anthony Franciosi, Founder of Honest Marijuana
When doing the initial planning for the growery, we needed to conduct some research to determine which strains to include. Strain selection is critical to the success of our business, so we took a trip to Jamaica to inspect a number of potential specimens in person. When returning to the United States, I got a little too close to a drug dog which must have smelt some smoke on me from before I left Jamaica. After spending an entire night explaining to the police that I had no reason to traffic drugs into the country as I had my own growery in Colorado, they finally let me go with no charges pressed.

Rob Hunt, President at Teewinot Life Sciences
The moments that stick out are the captive audiences I have had the unique opportunity to educate. These include the Joint Committee on Taxation at the U.S. Senate, the Conference of Western Attorney Generals or even the Government of Colombia. Ten years ago I would never have imagined that parties such as these would actively be seeking information around how cannabinoid based compounds may lead to monumental medical breakthroughs.

Four Cannabis Entrepreneurs Share Their Strangest Moments