Category Archives: Drug Policy

Get A Free Bag Of Marijuana With Your Covid-19 Vaccine

By A.J. Herrington Via Forbes



Cannabis activists in Washington, D.C. are planning to offer a free bag of marijuana to those receiving the vaccine for Covid-19, the group DC Marijuana Justice announced this week. The free cannabis giveaway, dubbed Joints for Jabs, is being arranged to coincide with vaccine clinics expected to open in the nation’s capital soon, DCMJ wrote in a press release on Monday.

With Joints for Jabs, the DCMJ activists hope to highlight the need for further cannabis policy reform at the national and local level while bringing awareness to the importance of equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. Once local health officials begin offering vaccines to the general public, dozens of home cannabis cultivators will celebrate the occasion by handing out free bags of marijuana outside vaccination centers. Locations and times of the Joints for Jabs giveaways will be announced after DCMJ has more information about local vaccination sites.



“We are looking for ways to safely celebrate the end of the pandemic and we know nothing brings people together like cannabis,” said Nikolas Schiller, the group’s co-founder. “DCMJ believes that cannabis should be consumed safely and responsibly, and the pandemic has made this incredibly difficult for many adults to share their homegrown cannabis. When enough adults are inoculated with the coronavirus vaccine, it will be time to celebrate – not just the end of the pandemic, but the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition in the United States.”

A Teachable Moment For Pot People

Adam Eidinger, another DCMJ co-founder, said that he hopes that the marijuana giveaways increase traffic to the city’s vaccination centers. He would also like to see Joints for Jabs serve as an educational opportunity for those unconvinced of the medical value of marijuana as well as members of the cannabis community, many of whom are skeptical of today’s medicine.

“If you believe in the science that supports medical cannabis, you should believe the science that supports the efficacy of the vaccine,” Eidinger told DCist.



Local cannabis growers have already pledged three pounds of marijuana for the giveaways, and organizers are hoping to have amassed five pounds of pot by the time the events begin. The group will also be offering cannabis seeds named “Grosso’s Green” in honor of marijuana patient, activist and former D.C. Councilmember David Grosso, who left the city council last year.

“I think it’s totally cool” to have a strain of marijuana named for him, Grosso said.

Inauguration Weed Giveaway Postponed

Plans for a DCMJ marijuana giveaway to be held in honor of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden have been put on hold until more people have been vaccinated and the coronavirus pandemic begins to be brought under control. In 2017, the group handed out thousands of joints during the inauguration of the now outgoing president in a gesture that Eidinger characterized as an “olive branch to Trump supporters.”

DCMJ hopes to reschedule the event for July, when a public inaugural celebration is reportedly being planned for the National Mall in place of the traditional January festivities. This year, however, activists will be passing out bags of loose marijuana instead of joints, many of which were fired up immediately last time around, in violation of local laws. Nixing the joints is also an effort to make the giveaway more hygienic.

“Four years ago, we handed out over 10,000 joints — and we licked those joints,” Eidinger said. “Today, we think that’s an issue.”

A History Of Creative And Effective Activism

DCMJ was founded in 2013, leading to the drafting of an ordinance to legalize possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults the following year. The group has continued to advocate for cannabis policy reform through a variety of creative demonstrations, including the deployment of giant inflatable faux joints more than 50 feet long at the Capitol, White House and the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The group is now advocating for Senate passage of the MORE Act, a landmark bill that would legalize marijuana at the federal level that was approved by the House of Representatives last month.

“While no legislation is perfect, the MORE Act addresses many demands that DC Marijuana Justice has been making for years,” Eidinger said in Monday’s statement from the group. “We asked Presidents Obama and Trump, and now we are asking President-elect Biden to take executive action on cannabis reform within the first 100 days.”

A dose of madness

Forty years ago, two psychiatrists adminstered history’s largest dose of LSD. Johan Jensen reports on the epoch-defining experiment

By Johan Jensen (via The Guardian)



Mystified by the new wonder drug LSD, the psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West and his colleague at the University of Oklahoma, Chester M Pierce, were looking for a new way to investigate the drug in 1962. They came up with an idea so outlandish it could only happen in the world of experimental psychology.

Male elephants are prone to bouts of madness; LSD seems to cause a temporary form of madness; perhaps if we combine the two, they reasoned, we could make an elephant go mad. Their research paper about this venture is a tragicomedy of high hopes and lessons not learnt. For only mindless optimism and blind faith can account for the events that unfolded on a hot summer day in Oklahoma City’s Lincoln Park Zoo 40 years ago. 

Having established that “one of the strangest things about elephants is the phenomenon of going ‘on musth’,” a form of madness that sees the animal “run berserk for a period of about two weeks, during which time he may attack or attempt to attack anything in his path,” West and Pierce enrolled the assistance of Warren D Thomas of the local zoo. 

Thomas volunteered the services of Tusko, a 3,200kg, 14-year-old male elephant. They were all set to establish what an elephant on acid would get up to. One crucial point had to be decided – how much LSD would it take to make him run amok? Research had established that lower animals are less susceptible to the mind-altering effects of LSD than humans. It would be a waste to have an elephant ready to go and then miss out on the unique opportunity by giving it an insufficient dose.

West and Pierce decided to go for it. While 297mg might not sound a lot, it is enough LSD to make nearly 3,000 people experience hours of “marked mental disturbance,” to use the researchers’ phrase. This was the record-breaking quantity of the most potent psychoactive substance in existence fired into one of Tusko’s rumps with a rifle-powered dart at 8am on August 3. What happened next is captured with an oddly moving economy of expression in the clinical voice of the research paper:

“His mate (Judy, a 15-year-old female) approached him and appeared to attempt to support him. He began to sway, his hindquarters buckled, and it became increasingly difficult for him to maintain himself upright. Five minutes after the injection he trumpeted, collapsed, fell heavily on to his right side, defecated, and went into status epilepticus.” An hour and 40 minutes later, Tusko was declared dead. Surely a more anticlimactic moment or a greater tragedy was never recorded by scientists.

The animal they had hoped would stomp around its pen in mad fury had fallen to the ground and slowly expired in the dust. But they drew something positive out of what in anyone else’s view would be considered an abject failure. West and Pierce’s conclusion, a staggering feat of positive thought, sums up an era’s belief in the infallibility of science: “It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD – a finding which may prove to be valuable in elephant-control work in Africa.” 

· West, LJ, Pierce, CM, Thomas, WD (1962) Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: Its effect on a Male Asiatic Elephant. Science, 138, 1100-1102

• More on the Impact of Research on the Higher Education Network

Cannabis and the Law: No Evidence, No Crime? A Seed our Future Campaign Report

Guy Coxall, Trev Coleman and Steve Harrison

Seed Our Future

Sunday 18 Oct 2020
Cannabis and the Law –No Evidence, No Crime?
A ‘Seed our Future Campaign’ Report
Oct 2020
Written by Guy Coxall, Trev Coleman and Steve Harrison 
With contributions from Alun Buffry, Phil Monk and Mand Tuszy 

Cannabis and the Law –No Evidence, No Crime

New Zealand to vote on legalising cannabis and euthanasia

Friday 16 Oct 2020
New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election Saturday: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia

New Zealanders are poised to decide on two landmark social issues during an election Saturday: whether to legalize recreational marijuana and whether to legalize euthanasia

A “yes” vote on both referendums would arguably make the nation of 5 million one of the more liberal countries in the world. Polls indicate the euthanasia referendum is likely to pass while the result of the marijuana measure remains uncertain.

The two referendums are being held at the same time as people cast votes for lawmakers and political parties. As a result, the referendums have been somewhat overshadowed both by the political campaigns and this year’s coronavirus outbreak. 

In the political race, popular Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears set to win a second term in office, with her liberal Labour Party polling far ahead of the conservative National Party led by Judith Collins.

The euthanasia measure, which would also allow assisted suicide, would apply to people who have terminal illnesses, are likely to die within six months, and are enduring “unbearable” suffering.

Countries that allow some form of euthanasia include The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Belgium and Colombia.

The marijuana measure would allow people to buy up to 14 grams (0.5 ounce) a day and grow two plants. Other countries that have legalized recreational marijuana include Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, Georgia plus a number of U.S. states.

Lara Greaves, a lecturer in New Zealand politics at the University of Auckland, said she thinks the marijuana referendum is destined to fail.

“I think the problem is that we would be going from criminalization, and a bit of medicinal use, to full-on recreational use,” she said. “Probably what needed to happen to get the public on board was to have a phase of decriminalization.”

She said a large turnout of younger voters would be necessary for the measure to have any hope of passing but that was far from certain.

Another factor is that Ardern has declined to say how she intends to vote, saying she wants to leave it for people to decide. Greaves said that made a big difference, as people tend to follow their leaders. The prime minister did admit during the campaign to smoking marijuana when she was younger.

One vocal proponent of the marijuana referendum has been former Prime Minister Helen Clark. A position paper from her foundation argues that indigenous Maori have faced disproportionate and excessive punishment from the legal system when caught with the drug.

“Cannabis use is a reality in New Zealand, and the results of our current policy approach damage our health, worsen social equity, and drive crime,” Clark’s foundation said. 

Arguing against the referendum is a number of community and religious groups who have formed the “Say Nope to Dope” campaign. They say today’s marijuana is strong, addictive and harmful, and that keeping it illegal deters people from using it.

If the euthanasia referendum is approved, it would become law, whereas if the marijuana referendum is approved, it would still require lawmakers to pass matching legislation. The results from both referendums will be announced Oct. 30.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/australasia/new-zealand-cannabis-referendum-weed-legal-marijuana-jacinda-ardern-euthanasia-polls-general-election-b1066403.html

Sapphire Medical Clinics First to Offer More Affordable UK Manufactured Medical Cannabis Products

Roland Sebestyén

Cannabis Exchange

Friday 16 Oct 2020
According to recent reports, more than a million UK patients buy cannabis illegally to treat themselves. While on the streets, patients can never be sure what they’ve got for their money, the BBC reports that Sapphire Medical Clinics are first in the UK to offer access to a new range of low-cost UK manufactured medical cannabis products.

While medical cannabis is still deemed illegal in almost 150 countries globally, it’s been legal in the UK since 2018. Over the past two years, more people suffering from severe conditions turned to medical cannabis as an alternative treatment. 

More than 1.4 million people in the UK are believed to use cannabis from the black market to tackle a large variety of conditions, including depression, chronic pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, or Multiple sclerosis (MS).  

The most common reason for this is the availability and ease of access. In addition, it is widely perceived that black market cannabis is more financially viable for many people.  

According to the statistics, a person can easily find a gram of cannabis for £10 on the streets. Moreover, if someone wants to buy an ounce (which is estimated to cost around £180), cannabis becomes even cheaper. 

However, cannabis from the black market has its risks. For the money, a person might get cheap, inefficient, contaminated cannabis.  

Sapphire Medical Clinics, the first UK medical cannabis clinic registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), announced that a number of their patients have now started treatment with a new UK manufactured medical cannabis range. 

This range of products has resulted in achieving a significant cost reduction for patients while continuing treatment with cannabis-based medicines with equivalent levels of major cannabinoids. 

Treatment with medical cannabis aims to keep patients off the black market and provide them with high quality and affordable cannabis-based medicines.  

A review by Sapphire Medical Cannabis Clinics found that the typical patient with chronic pain for treatment with medical cannabis will pay only £4.76 a day. 

Furthermore, in comparison to the black market, Sapphire offers a professional environment and consultation, on-going support with treatment and a safe, consistent supply.  

With this announcement, experts believe the UK’s medical cannabis market has made the next giant step forward.  

Dr Michael Platt, Medical Director, and Consultant Pain Physician at Sapphire Clinics, said that affordability had been a significant barrier for many patients. 

He added: “As treatment becomes more affordable, we hope this provides an immediate solution for those patients who would otherwise benefit from medicinal cannabis but have previously been unable to afford the associated costs of treatment.  

“At Sapphire Clinics, all patients are added to the UK Medical Cannabis Registry and our Real-World Data platform contributing to the growing evidence base.  

“This data will ultimately help guide the availability of free treatment on the NHS in appropriate conditions.” 

Carl Holvey, Chief Pharmacist at Sapphire Clinics, added: “It is very welcome to see the UK produced medical cannabis products finally available to patients that meet the high regulatory standards and consistent availability that we expect.  

“Patients that resort to sourcing cannabis illicitly face more than just the legalities of self-medicating, but also the unknown strength, contaminants, and unpredictability of this way of medicating.” 

This morning, Laura Drummond, 40, from Farnborough, talked about her treatment with medical cannabis on BBC.

She said: The condition changed my life. Since I started [treatment] in May 2020, I have seen a dramatic effect and the pain levels have reduced. I have accessed this [treatment] through Sapphire Medical Clinics’’.

Mrs Drummond has a 2-year-old daughter and previously worked as a midwife and nurse before her diagnosis of Fibromyalgia in 2015, a condition that causes widespread pain and extreme tiredness.

https://canex.co.uk/sapphire-medical-clinics-first-offer-more-affordable-medical-cannabis-products/