Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Your Fingertips are your Worst Enemy

via Gizmodo
Smokers now have a reason to be paranoid. Using new fingerprint technology developed by researchers at Intelligent Fingerprinting, your fingertips can be tested for metabolites. In only minutes results more accurate than a breathalyzer could be obtained.

Paul Yates and his team at Intelligent Fingerprinting are behind the breakthrough. Their findings show that the byproducts of chemicals processed by the body are secreted in your sweat and build up on your fingertips. They figured out a pretty ingenious way to detect these byproducts or metabolites.

"The device applies gold nanoparticles coated with antibodies to a fingerprint. The antibodies stick to antigens on specific metabolites in the fingerprint. Fluorescent dyes attached to the antibodies will highlight the presence of any metabolites. The technique was first used to detect nicotine, but now works on a range of drugs, including cocaine, methadone and cannabis."

If adapted for mobile use this could be a much more accurate and less invasive way to test impaired drivers. Just start carrying super-glue in the car to apply to your fingertips in an emergency! Or better yet, don't drive impaired.

In Arizona, You Can Buy Marijuana, but Not Sell It

story via NYtimes / pic via HailMaryJane
Voters narrowly approved a ballot initiative last November allowing medical marijuana in the state, but the result has been just the opposite of an orderly system of dispensing cannabis to the truly sick. Rather, police raids, surreptitious money transfers and unofficial pot clubs have followed passage of the new law, creating a chaotic situation not far removed from the black-market system that has always existed.

“There’s confusion,” said Ross Taylor, who owns CannaPatient, a newly formed company that helps patients get the medical certification required to receive state-issued medical marijuana cards. “There are a lot of unsure people, and not just because of what happened to me.”

The police raided Mr. Taylor’s home in June, one of several instances in which the authorities in the state have showed signs of resisting carrying out the new law, which took effect at the start of the year.

Gov. Jan Brewer — who campaigned against the law, then signed it with reluctance — said in May that the state, which has issued more than 7,500 cards to medical marijuana patients, would delay issuing licenses to marijuana dispensaries, as the law requires. Instead, she filed suit in federal court seeking a ruling on whether the state’s medical marijuana law conflicted with federal prohibitions on marijuana. So the patients have their cards permitting them to buy marijuana in Arizona, but no official place to do so.

Arizona is not just another state when it comes to marijuana. More Mexican-grown marijuana enters this state than any other, according to federal government data. On June 8, the authorities recovered more than 1,200 pounds from an S.U.V. that led them on a 20-mile chase through dirt roads near the border.

The police operation that took place the next day in Gilbert, a community outside Phoenix, netted a considerably smaller haul: about two ounces. In that case, the police executed a search warrant on Mr. Taylor’s house after getting a tip from the cable man. The officers, Mr. Taylor said, did not appear interested in his medical marijuana card, which permits him to grow up to a dozen marijuana plants in his home or obtain up to 2.5 ounces from a caregiver or a dispensary.

The police said they were pursuing those taking advantage of the new marijuana law.

The law does not permit the sale of marijuana outside of nonprofit dispensaries. But because the state has yet to approve any such outlets to sell marijuana, other ways of getting the drug are being tried.

Last month, the police raided the offices of a group in Tempe that was growing marijuana and selling it to cardholders. Garry Ferguson, founder of the organization, the Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group, told reporters that he understood the law to allow the sale of marijuana from one cardholder to another.

Unofficial cannabis clubs, not mentioned in the law, are also emerging. They purport to offer free marijuana to cardholders, albeit for a membership fee. For now, they are unregulated.

“In lieu of a regulated industry, we’re now creating an environment in which patients are growing their own with limited oversight, and these private clubs of questionable legality are popping up,” said Joe Yuhas of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association, which led the medical marijuana campaign.

Ms. Brewer, a Republican, recently lamented “the dreadful situation” the state now finds itself in with marijuana legal for some.

Marijuana users consider the uncertainty dreadful as well, with some fearful that applying for cards might lead to police scrutiny. “I have friends who are afraid to get cards,” said Brad Scalf, 55, a disabled veteran. “I figured that when I’m smoking out on the back porch and the neighbors complain, I don’t have to worry. It’s like a get out of jail free card.”

The state’s legal case has been assigned to the same federal judge who found parts of Arizona’s immigration law to be unconstitutional. In that dispute, Arizona argued against the idea that the state should be hamstrung by federal immigration law. In this instance, the state seems to be seeking a ruling that federal law ought to prevail.

“The state has been beating the drum on states’ rights, but all of a sudden it has taken a 180-degree turn,” said Ken Frakes, a lawyer for the Rose Law Group, which represents a number of marijuana dispensary applicants.

Ms. Brewer said the decision to go to court was made to protect state employees from prosecution after Dennis K. Burke, the United States attorney for Arizona, sent a letter to state officials warning that the federal government still considered marijuana an illegal drug and would go after those who ran large marijuana production operations. Mr. Burke has subsequently said he had no intention of prosecuting state employees.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey held up carrying out his state’s medical marijuana law, one of 17 across the country, over similar concerns, but he announced this week that he would allow the program to go ahead.

In Arizona, some of the cannabis clubs are operating surreptitiously to avoid the notice of law enforcement. But not the 2811 Club, named for the provision of the law allowing state-approved marijuana patients to share marijuana among themselves.

Allan Sobol, the club’s marketing manager, has invited reporters in and offered instruction on the ins and outs of the new law to a group of Phoenix police officers. Everyone who enters must have a state-issued card, and no smoking is allowed on the premises, to prevent people from driving under the influence.

The dimly lit club offers classes and has computers and books available to research the many plant varieties, and comfortable chairs to enable patients to chat among themselves. It is the marijuana counter, though, that brings people in.

Club members, who pay a $25 application fee, also must pay $75 every time they walk through the door. Once inside, they are entitled to about 3 grams of marijuana, which is grown by other cardholders and donated to the club. Those growers, according to the law, can be compensated only for the cost of their supplies. On a recent afternoon, there were a number of varieties available, including Master Kush, Blue Dream and Granddaddy Purple.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you come in,” said Mr. Sobol, who has emerged as a spokesman for the embattled industry, but says he tried marijuana for the first time last week when he ate a salad made with marijuana dressing. “We want people to come in with dignity and get this medicine that is now legal.”

Mr. Sobol said he is convinced that the club, which is planning to expand throughout the Phoenix area, is on solid legal ground. But the club does not comply with the strict regulatory requirements for dispensaries, which has prompted state officials to order an inquiry. Mr. Sobol said that given the uncertainty surrounding the program, he would be foolhardy not to look over his shoulder. “We have to be concerned,” he said. “I have lawyers on call. They may arrest me, but if that day comes and they come barging through the front door, I’m convinced they’ll never convict me.”

Wrongful Arrest: 37 Months in Federal Prison for Working at Dispensary

 via KTKZ / FRESNO, Calif. (AP)
A federal judge has sentenced a Bakersfield medical marijuana dispensary worker to 37 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute marijuana. Federal prosecutors said Monday that Jonathan Michael Chapman worked at Nature's Medicinal Co-Op between 2005 and 2007. Federal agents arrested the 32-year-old and seven other employees in a 2007 raid that also netted nearly 190 pounds of pot.A U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman says dispensaries are often targeted when they are not run as nonprofits as required under California law. Prosecutors say Nature's Medicinal Co-Op logged $9.6 million in sales from January 2006 to September 2006. The dispensary's owners are still awaiting trial.California law permits patients and caregivers to cultivate marijuana for medical use, but the drug remains banned under federal law.

Wrongful Arrest is a StonerWay Feature. Submit your stories of the man messin with smokers or those who help smokers to

San Diego Votes Down Strict Medical Marijuana Regulations

story via CBS8 / San Diego, CA
The City Council Monday repealed recently approved regulations on marijuana dispensaries, and, in doing so, rejected the alternative of putting the issue to a public vote. By a 6-2 count, the council overturned laws the panel passed in April that set zoning restrictions and public safety guidelines. Among the provisions were keeping the dispensaries at least 600 feet from residences and other sensitive locations, and requiring owners to apply for expensive permits.

Medical marijuana advocates who opposed the regulations -- calling them too restrictive -- gathered enough signatures to force today's action. However, Councilman Todd Gloria said the victory would have "unintended consequences" because the city now is back to having no operating guidelines, exposing collectives to potential police or code enforcement actions. Gloria also said he has "severe doubts" that successor ordinances would be more to the liking of dispensary supporters.

According to the City Attorney's Office, the council has to wait one year before adopting a new ordinance regulating medical marijuana unless it is substantially different from what was repealed. Councilwoman Sherri Lightner said a moratorium or "outright ban" on collectives is the only viable future alternative.

Marti Emerald and Tony Young cast the dissenting votes. Emerald said the 31,000-plus gathered signatures meant little in a city with more than 621,000 registered voters. "I think we ought to give the citizens of San Diego a chance to weigh in," Emerald said. However, Councilman Carl DeMaio said both advocates and opponents of medical marijuana wanted the laws repealed for various reasons, so an election the city clerk estimated would cost up to $841,000 "would not be instructive." Most of the speakers who addressed the council called for repeal of the laws.

Many of them want council members to reconsider the findings of the city's Medical Marijuana Task Force, which issued a report calling for less restrictive guidelines than those that were adopted. The task force's recommendations previously did not find widespread support from the council.

A Healthy Dose of Reality

Medicinal cannabis is available in
many different forms and can be
taken in a number of different ways.
MedMar Healing Center in San Jose
offers advice for healthy consumption.
Some medical marijuana medicating methods can be potentially hazardous to patients’ health, says San Jose medical marijuana dispensary MedMar Healing Center. The South Bay cannabis club’s staff makes it their business to educate their patients and the community about the importance of safe and responsible consumption practices, and offers a wide range of alternatives to the traditional method of smoking marijuana.
Although medical marijuana is nontoxic, smoking it can be hazardous because toxic compounds are created in the combustion process, and certain methods of creating fire contain harmful chemicals.
“If you smoke, what you use to light your medication can be harmful to your lungs,” said MedMar representative Doug Chloupek. “It is best to stay away from lighters and instead use items such as bee-line honey wicks. And if you must use a lighter, stay away from butane gas and torch lighters.”
A healthier option for those who prefer inhaling their medicinal cannabis is to use a vaporizer instead of a traditional bong or pipe because vaporization heats the plant matter enough to release the medicinal compounds, but not to the point of combustion.
A Cal NORML/MAPS vaporizer study determined that vaporizers that heat medicinal cannabis to temperatures between 266° to 446° Fahrenheit (the point where medically active vapors are produced, but below the threshold of combustion where smoke is formed) generally produce a healthier inhalant than smoking devices. Vaporizers allow the patient to inhale the therapeutic cannabinoids without any of the harmful smoke and carbon monoxide that pipes and bongs produce.
But buyer beware—choosing a poorly designed vaporizer can lead to the emission of toxic fumes, result in combustion and even create a fire hazard. Tim Morrissey, CEO of Head Change Distributors, a national vaporizer manufacturer and distributor based in San Francisco, says to avoid vaporizers made with plastic parts, unnecessary bells and whistles, and poorly designed whips. A faulty whip can result in back-flow and cause the medicine to fall back into the heating element and burn.
“To ensure your vaporizer doesn’t become a fire hazard, look for vaporizer models that have a three-prong grounded electrical plug and are UL certified,” said Morrissey. “Those are indications the manufacturer took the time to design an electrically safe product with the end consumer in mind—not just dollar signs.”
Likewise, butane-fueled vaporizers can impose health risks, as inhalation of butane can cause euphoria, drowsiness, asphyxia or cardiac arrhythmia. Butane is an odorless tasteless gas, so gasses to like methyl mercaptan are added so they can be smelled, but it doesn’t affect the taste. People using butane vaporizers may smell the butane but disregard it because they can’t taste it, and end up suffering health consequences.
Patients who wish to avoid inhalation altogether may enjoy [medical cannabis edibles, which range from lollipops to brownies, and have the added benefit of being easy to transport and consume discreetly. MedMar recommends that patients follow the same guidelines as they do when purchasing other food products. That means monitoring the ingredients and calories shown on the label. Gluten-free and low-sugar options are available for many different edibles at MedMar.
Another consumption choice is cannabis concentrates. Indica Lullaby Tinctures are fast-acting and allow patients to drink their medication with none of the harmful effects of smoke or calories involved in edibles. Tincture dosages are typically one to two teaspoons dissolved in a cup of water.
For patients who feel most comfortable taking their medication in pill form, God Med Capsules are the answer. God Med is well known for producing its medical marijuana capsules using the highest quality, fully tested, organic cannabis flower.
For more information about the medicinal cannabis consumption options, or to learn more about any of MedMar Healing Center’s products and services, call (408) 426-4400 or visit MedMar is located at 170 South Autumn Street, San Jose, CA 95110.
About MedMar Healing Center

MedMar Healing Center, a San Jose cannabis club, is a medical marijuana dispensary that provides high quality medical marijuana to San Jose Prop 215 patients. The comfortable San Jose marijuana dispensary features a large selection of strains and edibles, and their friendly staff can help find the right medication option to suit patients’ varying preferences.
Acting as an easily accessible resource for Bay Area medical marijuana patients, MedMar is centrally located in downtown San Jose, only blocks from the San Jose Sharks’ home, HP Pavilion. They are close to major freeways and thoroughfares, and are located near all the major public transit options, including Diridon Station.
# # #
via San Jose, CA (PRWEB) July 24, 2011

Republicans are Endorsing Marijuana Legislation

The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 is being spurred by Republican former federal prosecutor James Grey. As the HMJ resident bleeding-heart liberal and standard-bearer for government that helps people (much to the chagrin of all my Republican leading friends) I'm as excited and shocked as you. Check out more after the jump.

From the Orange Country Register of all places (since it's a bastion of progressive thinking and news coverage):
As a former federal prosecutor, he says, “I saw we weren't winning the war against drugs.”
There are six groups who will continue to win if this legislation isn't passed, he says:
Drug lords making millions – if not billions – annually.
Juvenile gangs whose main source of funding is drug sales.
Law-enforcement officials who make big money fighting the drug lords and juvenile gangs.
Politicians who run on anti-drug platforms and keep getting reelected because of it.
Businesses that build prisons and staff them – and the state's powerful prison guard union.
Terrorists who globally fund their operations through drug sales and say, “Drug prohibition is the Golden Goose of terrorism.”
If this act passes, it could bring cash-strapped California an estimated $1.3 billion in revenue in sales tax alone, Jim says. It could also make pot less available to children than it is today, he says, mainly because it would be regulated like wine is.
You can learn more about this stunning turn of events, but keep in mind it's just the one Republican that's leading the cause on that side of the politcal aisle.
But you can find out more at Regulate Marijuana Like Wine.
Bi-lateral cohesion is an incredible step in this important legislation. We commend Jim Grey, and hope others follow suit from both the Democrats and Republicans.

[OC Register; pic via uncoverage] via HailMaryJane

“Thanks for Marijuana Prohibition” Says Mexican Marijuana Gangster to U.S. Leaders

Remember when Pablo Escobar was ranked on Forbes' list of wealthiest people in the world? Now there's a Mexican Drug Cartel Leader worth over a billion dollars, and he wants to send his regards to our politicians in the U.S. It's not just Bush either, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman wants to thank 'Senor Obama' as well for continuing to wage a losing war against drugs. Loera made a clear case for continued marijuana prohibition, so he could line his coffers fron the blood of rivals and citizens splashing down in the streets. Too much? Ah hell, he's right!

Via the Huffington Post
Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman Loera reported head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, ranked 701st on Forbes' yearly report of the wealthiest men alive, and worth an estimated $1 billion, today officially thanked United States politicians for making sure that drugs remain illegal. According to one of his closest confidants, he said, 'I couldn't have gotten so stinking rich without George Bush, George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, even El Presidente Obama, none of them have the cajones to stand up to all the big money that wants to keep this stuff illegal. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, Gracias amigos, I owe my whole empire to you.'

A billion dollars this guy has made! Lucky Luciano, Mayer Lansky, Ace Rothstein, and Al Capone all got organized the moment this country decided to make hooch illegal. Mexican President Felipe Calderone is exasperated at our continued inability to just open up the harmless trade, and tax the crap out of it to help get this country out of debt. '''Why don't they make this sh*t legal already! You're killing me here!''

A Mexican drug leader is starting to make more sense then our federal government.

story via Huffington Post; pic via hempbeach] via HailMaryJane

I Love Bongs

Gotta love this "I <3 Bongs" Popart

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It’s 4:20 Somewhere

Shout out to Greenie James for catching this 42nd St./Grand Central 420!

'It's 4:20 Somewhere' is a new feature via HMJ.
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