Medical Marijuana Debate Heats up in Florida
A proposed amendment that would legalize medical marijuana in Florida has become a central issue in the state this election. With voting only nineteen days away, voters have little time left to consider the issue.
In a heated Tuesday night debate, undecided voters had the opportunity to listen to the pros and cons of Amendment 2. Prominent marijuana advocate John Morgan, who also chairs United for Care, and anti-legalization critic and policy director for No on 2, Dr. Jessica Spencer, went head-to-head.
Much of the debate centered around whether the amendment would be a danger to communities and kids or help people with debilitating medical conditions.
“They’re not going to have gummy bears hanging on a rack next to a school with marijuana in it. It’s preposterous,” said Morgan. He believes that anti-marijuana advocates are using scare tactics rather than fact to strengthen their position.
“The zoning out for the dispensaries will be determined by the cities. What the edibles can be packaged in will be determined by the state,” Morgan added.
“This is de facto legalization of marijuana, simply by the way they wrote it,” Spencer retorted. “If you didn’t want them near schools, and you wanted to protect our communities, you should’ve written it in there. That language actually allows for any of the symptomology associated with those conditions to qualify someone for marijuana.”
Spencer maintains that there are no proven medical benefits to cannabis use. “There’s no conclusive evidence that marijuana as an entire plant works as medicine.”
If Amendment 2 passes in Florida, it will allow patients access to medical marijuana for certain medical conditions as determined by a qualified physician. The Florida Department of Health would regulate dispensaries and issue ID cards to patients and caregivers. The list of illnesses eligible for treatment with cannabis would include glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Amendment 2 requires 60 percent of voters’ support to pass. It failed with 57 percent in 2014.
The Majority of Americans Support Cannabis Legalization
A new survey released by the Pew Research Center indicates that the number of Americans who support marijuana legalization are higher than ever. 57% approve legalization, while only 37% think cannabis should be outlawed. To put the huge shift in opinion in perspective, ten years ago approval was at just 32%, with 60% of adults opposed to cannabis legalization.
The survey found some interesting correlations between people who support cannabis legalization and factors like age, race, education level and political affiliation.
Political affiliation showed the biggest divide in approval, with more Democrats on board with cannabis than Republicans. Pew reports, “By more than two-to-one, Democrats favor legalizing marijuana over having it be illegal (66% vs. 30%). Most Republicans (55%) oppose marijuana legalization, while 41% favor it.”
Within the Republican party, support can be narrowed down even further. “By a wide margin (63% to 35%), moderate and liberal Republicans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. By contrast, 62% of conservative Republicans oppose legalizing marijuana use, while just 33% favor it.”
Among Democrats the difference in approval was less drastic. 78% of liberal-leaning Democrats favor legalization while moderate and conservative Democrats approval is at 55%.
Among generations, Millennials (ages 18-35) are the most likely to support cannabis legalization at 71%, but the approval rating among Gen X (ages 36-51) and Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) is gaining traction. 57% of Gen X supports legalization and approval among Boomers is up from 17% in 1990 to 56% in 2016.
Support for marijuana legalization is equal among blacks and whites at 59%. 49% of Hispanics do not approve of marijuana use, while 46% favor legalization.
The Pew Research Center gathered responses from 1,201 adults between August 23-September 2.
Florida Vote Could Create the Country’s Second Largest Medical Marijuana Market
On November 8th, Floridians will once again vote on a proposed medical marijuana amendment. Amendment 2 would broaden medical marijuana access and expand the number of debilitating conditions eligible for treatment.
A vote in 2014 barely defeated a similar medical marijuana amendment. The measure received about 57% of the vote; 60% support is required to pass a ballot measure in Florida.
Florida has existing legislation that allows compassionate use of cannabis. Cancer, seizures, and people living with epilepsy have access to CDB-only products. Terminally ill patients who have less than one year to live are eligible to use cannabis with THC. However, access to cannabis requires a patient to have a relationship with a prescribing physician for 90-days, especially difficult for patients with a short time left to live.
If Amendment 2 passes, the list of illnesses eligible for treatment with marijuana would include glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
United for Care, supporters of Amendment 2, received a $1 million donation last week from New Approach, an organization that’s donated big money to other supporters of medical marijuana initiatives.
Ben Pollara, the campaign manager of United for Care, said, “We are obviously very pleased to receive such a generous donation. It’s going to be put to good use very quickly, making sure that our message is on television across the state and that Floridians understand this is about putting medical decisions back in the hands of doctors and patients and out of the hands of politicians.”
“According to a September survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute in Saint Leo, Florida, 68.8% of likely voters supported Amendment 2, as the medical cannabis measure is known, up from 65.1% in June.”
If Amendment 2 passes, Florida could become the second largest medical marijuana market in the country, behind California.
Boom Time: Four Cannabis Companies Among Elite Inc. 500 List
Inc. magazine has named four cannabis companies in its annual list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the country. The rankings include companies in mainstream industries and are a subset of the Inc. 5000 list.
- Of the fastest-growing cannabis businesses, Leafly came out on top at number 76. One of the big names in online cannabis information, Leafly provides listings and reviews of strains and dispensaries, as well as knowledge-based cannabis resources. A Seattle-based company, Leafly has had a 3-year growth of 3,861% and a 2015 revenue of $8.5 million.
- Apeks Supercritical designs, engineers, and manufactures botanical oil extraction systems utilizing subcritical and supercritical CO2. They’re ranked number 236, with a 3-year growth rate of 1,662% and a 2015 revenue of $12.1 million.
- MJBizDaily ranked number 302. A Denver-based publication for medical and recreational marijuana business news and market research, and cannabis-related events. MJBizDaily saw a 3-year growth of 1,288% and a 2015 revenue of $7 million.
- Last but not least at number 313 is Tucson-based GrowersHouse.com. The company is a hydroponics supply and indoor gardening center with a physical as well as online store. In the past 3 years, GrowersHouse has seen an increase of growth at 1,233%. 2015 revenue was 17.3 million.
The inclusion of cannabis companies on the list is an indication that the industry is becoming more mainstream. Cassandra Farrington, co-founder and CEO of MJBizDaily, said,”While being recognized by the Inc. 500 is an honor in and of itself, this means so much more for the marijuana industry in the larger landscape. It is yet another marker to the rest of the world that this is a serious, professional business.”
Cannabis Buyer’s Remorse? Not in Colorado
Four years after voters approved Amendment 64, do Coloradans regret legalizing cannabis? Not according to a new poll that shows the majority of voters in the state, 51 percent, would oppose repealing the amendment if it were to appear on the ballot.
When asked about Amendment 64’s impact on Colorado, 47 percent said legal cannabis has been good for the state while 39 percent said it’s been bad, 9 percent said it’s had no real impact and 6 percent weren’t sure.
Marijuana’s impact on the state’s economy reported higher levels of approval: 61 percent said the impact has been positive — and 19 percent said it’s been negative, 14 percent said there has been no impact and 6 percent weren’t sure.
The poll was commissioned by the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project and conducted by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.
Despite how Coloradoans feel about legal cannabis, anti-marijuana groups and politicians who want to maintain prohibition see marijuana as some kind of doomsday catalyst. In March 2015, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called tax revenue generated from the sale of recreational marijuana “blood money.”
In an interview last year, presidential candidate, Donald Trump, said, “I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about it. They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.”
Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project spokesman and co-director of Colorado’s Yes on Amendment 64 campaign, is used to anti-cannabis rhetoric. “There are a lot of folks trying to make it seem like the sky is falling in Colorado or that voters regret their decision, but this is yet another poll showing that they still support it,”Tvert told the Cannabist.
“It’s easy for opponents of legalization to put words into the mouths of Colorado voters,” Tvert said, “but these results actually let voters speak for themselves, and voters by and large would not want to go back to prohibition.”
Denver Social Cannabis Initiative to Appear on November Ballot
A ballot initiative could solve a longstanding problem in Denver: where to consume legally purchased cannabis.
Although Colorado legalized recreational use in 2012, Amendment 64 does not allow for public use of marijuana. This puts tourists to the city in a bind–outside of the few pot-friendly hotels, there’s not really any legal place to consume marijuana.
The initiative, named the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, would allow businesses to create indoor or outdoor marijuana consumption areas, provided they meet certain requirements. As the name of the initiative suggests, businesses interested in applying for a permit from the City of Denver must also have approval from their local neighborhood association.
The initiative already appears to have popular support. 4,726 valid signatures are required to make the Denver ballot; the social cannabis consumption initiative received 10,800 signatures. So far, at least 50 businesses have pledged support.
If voters approve the initiative in November, a wide range of businesses–like yoga studios, art galleries, coffee shops, or concert venues–could change the social cannabis landscape in Denver.
However, there are a few things that won’t change: cannabis consumption is still 21-and up, and any indoor cannabis use must adhere to the Colorado Clean Air Act, meaning vape only. Smoking in designated areas outdoors is allowed, provided it’s not visible to the public.
Businesses will not be allowed to sell cannabis on site. Social cannabis consumption is strictly bring-your-own weed. Marijuana businesses, including dispensaries, will not be allowed to apply to the program because of state license restrictions.
The initiative is a pilot program meant to last four years, until the end of 2020. At that point, City Council has the option of making changes, making it permanent, or allowing it to expire.
Colorado Marijuana DUI Laws Under Question
In Colorado, the number of people arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis is up by 25% so far this year. However, growing evidence shows that many of these arrests are based on sobriety benchmarks that just aren’t valid when it comes to cannabis.
Marijuana laws got off the ground in Colorado largely because of a campaign to regulate marijuana like alcohol. However, modeling existing DUI legislation in place for alcohol resulted in DUI arrests that may not have been warranted.
For one thing, testing blood or breath hasn’t been effective when measuring cannabis-related impairment.
Tom Marcotte, who runs The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego, says, “Unlike alcohol, which has a generally linear relationship between the amount of alcohol you consume, your breath alcohol content and driving performance, the THC route of metabolism is very different.”
Jay Tiftickjian, a Denver DUI defense attorney, says that even the U.S. Department of Transportation has acknowledged that measuring THC in the body is not a reliable indicator of intoxication. High levels of THC can be present in the body for up to twelve hours, especially among heavy users. Testing positive for any THC in blood or breath tests isn’t an indicator of impairment; it can only indicate THC presence in the body.
“And innocent people are and will continue to be convicted, based on that,” says Tiftickjian, “That’s unconstitutional.”
AAA released a study this spring that says current THC blood limits have no scientific basis and urged states to hold off on setting marijuana impairment limits until more reliable testing could be developed.
Colorado State Patrol (CSP) is testing technology using saliva to determine the amount of marijuana in the system. The program uses volunteers–those under suspicion of driving under the influence–to pilot test the technology. The CSP program began testing five different saliva-based technologies in March.
CSP will gather data for two years before making its recommendations.
Employees in States with Medical Marijuana Take Fewer Sick Days
A recent study published in the journal Health Economics, found that in states with medical marijuana laws, workplace absenteeism has decreased. The research found that, “respondents were 8% less likely to report being absent from work due to health issues after medical marijuana laws” were passed.
Darin F. Ullman, an economist, decided to research before-and-after sick-day data from 24 states that had medical marijuana laws. Ullman drew on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey (CPS).
According to the Washington Post, “the CPS numbers also suggest that states with fewer restrictions on the use of medical marijuana, such as on the number of conditions it could be recommended for, had more of a decrease in sick-day use than states with stricter regulations.” On average, employers in these states saw a 13% reduction in in employees calling in sick to work. Those in the 30 to 39 age group called in sick 15% less.
Ullman said that one possible reason for the decrease in sick days is that, “Individuals experience relief from disabling symptoms, absence from work could decline.”
Ullman concludes, “The results of this paper therefore suggest that [medical marijuana laws] would decrease costs for employers as it has reduced self-reported absence from work due to illness/medical issues.”
The study is a departure from the typical stereotype that marijuana users are apathetic and unmotivated. The Post reports that the current thinking of the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace is that cannabis is bad for the workplace. From the Institutes website, “The impact of employee marijuana use is seen in the workplace in lower productivity, increased workplace accidents and injuries, increased absenteeism, and lower morale,” the institute writes. “This can and does seriously impact the bottom line.”
Court Rules that Cops Can’t Search Motorists Based on State Residency
On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that law enforcement officers cannot stop and search vehicles belonging to motorists with out-of-state license plates that have legalized marijuana.
The ruling comes after a civil lawsuit filed by Peter Vasquez against two Kansas Highway Patrol officers. Vasquez, who was driving alone on I-70 at night, was pulled over by officers in December 2011 on the basis of his license plates and Colorado being a known “drug source.”
By a 2-1 vote, the court ruled that the officers had violated Vasquez’s Fourth Amendment rights by stopping and searching his car, adding that the officers’ reasoning would justify the search of citizens from more than half the states in the country.
“It is time to abandon the pretense that state citizenship is a permissible basis upon which to justify the detention and search of out-of-state motorists, and time to stop the practice of detention of motorists for nothing more than an out-of-state license plate,” Circuit Judge Carlos Lucero wrote.
“Absent a demonstrated extraordinary circumstance, the continued use of state residency as a justification for the fact of or continuation of a stop is impermissible,” he added.
The 10th Circuit decision applies in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
This isn’t the first time that a neighboring state has taken umbrage at Colorado’s marijuana laws. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court denied a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado. The suit cited the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), saying that marijuana can’t be regulated at the state level. Additionally, the two states claimed that marijuana purchased in Colorado and brought over state lines was a burden on law enforcement and their criminal justice systems, as well as a danger to the health and safety of children.
By a 6-2 majority, the Supreme Court declined to hear the suit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado. Two conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, said they would have heard the case.
DEA Rejects Petition to Reclassify Marijuana
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has denied a petition that would have reclassified cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. The petition was filed by two former state governors, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and New Mexico nurse practitioner Bryan Krumm.
Cannabis is currently a Schedule I drug, classified as a substance that has no medical use and a high likelihood of abuse and dependence. Other Schedule I drugs include LSD, heroin, and mescaline. Possessing any one of these drugs is considered a criminal act under federal law.
Schedule II drugs–deemed to have medicinal value–include highly addictive methamphetamine and opioids like morphine and oxycodone. Opioid addiction kills 80 Americans every day, yet the FDA and DEA maintain that marijuana is less medically useful and more addictive.
In an interview with NPR, Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg said that, “This decision isn’t based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” he said, “and it’s not.”
The DEA’s report stated that there is “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and that there’s “high potential” for marijuana abuse that can lead to “severe psychological or physical dependence.”
However, there’s a growing amount of anecdotal and scientific evidence that marijuana has the potential treat symptoms of a variety of medical conditions and to serve as an “adjunct to or substitute for opiates in the treatment of chronic pain.” Cannabis is also being used to treat heroin and opioid addiction.
Tom Angell, chairman of the lobbying group, Marijuana Majority, released a statement following the DEA’s announcement. “President Obama always said he would let science — and not ideology — dictate policy, but in this case his administration is upholding a failed drug war approach instead of looking at real, existing evidence that marijuana has medical value,” he wrote.
Although state and federal law grow increasingly apart, most everyday Americans have reached consensus on the issue. 61 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization, and it is currently legal for medical and recreational use in four states; 20 states have medical marijuana programs, with more expected after November’s elections.
Help Fight MS with Mountain High Suckers
Mountain High Suckers is thrilled to be a sponsor of the 7th Annual Clinic Charity Classic Golf Tournament.
Since 2009, the annual event has raised approximately $300,000 for the Colorado-Wyoming chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Proceeds are used to benefit MS patients and to fund research dedicated to finding a cure for the disease.
“Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body,” according to the National MS Society. While MS is not necessarily fatal, it decreases life expectancy by an average of seven years because of complications from the disease.
Ryan Cook, the Clinic’s general manager, said, “Cannabis has been show to have a profound effect on MS patients including muscle spasms, speech and eyesight. Some of our wheelchair-bound patients have said that they can walk unaided when they take cannabis. That is extremely encouraging and we want to make sure that we are doing all that we can to help our patients and friends. Whether that be product advancements or fundraising efforts to support research.”
The tournament has grown so much that this year includes a move to a larger course, the Arrowhead Golf Club in Littleton.
Golf slots are booked, but there are still spectator tickets available for $50.
Come see us on the green August 26, 2016 at Arrowhead Golf Club or visit our booth and help end MS!
Americans are Smoking More Weed Than Ever
A new Gallup poll shows that one in eight Americans smoke marijuana–a number that’s doubled in the last three years.
In 2013, only 7 percent of adults said they were marijuana smokers. Gallup’s July poll this year reported that 13 percent currently use marijuana, equating to more than 33 million cannabis users in the U.S. About half of adults between the ages of 30 and 49 (50%) and between 50 and 64 (48%) report having tried it.
The poll reports that a major contributing factor in the increase of marijuana use is due to more states legalizing cannabis for medical and recreational use. Medical marijuana programs exist in half of U.S. states, with four more voting on the issue this November.
There appears to be a regional difference in attitudes and willingness to try marijuana. “Gallup finds residents in the West — home of all four states that have legalized recreational marijuana use — are significantly more likely to say they smoke marijuana than those in other parts of the country.” The percentage of people who have experimented with marijuana is slightly below the national average in the East, Midwest and South.
Conversely, income and education levels did not have a strong correlation with an individuals likelihood of having tried marijuana, although households that make less than $30,000 are slightly more likely to report using cannabis, at 14%.
Other factors that influence marijuana use are age and religiosity. Almost one in five adults (19%) under the age of 30 report currently using it — at least double the rate seen among each older age group. Only 2% of weekly churchgoers and 7% of less frequent attenders say they use marijuana, but this rises to 14% of those who seldom or never attend a religious service.
At the federal level, marijuana is still illegal, and a 2014 report from the FBI shows that there are more than 1,700 marijuana arrests per day.
7 Healing Benefits of Cannabis
There’s a mountain of anecdotal evidence about the healing benefits of marijuana. As acceptance of the drug increases nationwide, new research will only enhance our knowledge of cannabis and its use in treating various conditions and diseases.
In no particular order, here are 7 healing benefits of cannabis:
1. Dravet’s Syndrome
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who made news nationwide after reversing his stance on medical marijuana and issuing a public apology, changed his opinion after meeting Charlotte Figi, a 5-year-old girl with Dravet’s Syndrome. In his documentary, “Weed,” Dr. Gupta chronicled Charlotte’s struggle with a severe form epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. Charlotte “started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.” The high-CBD strain, Charlotte’s Web, is named after her and is used to treat other children with Dravet’s Syndrome.
For some people, especially those who have never smoked marijuana before, large doses of THC can actually heighten anxiety and paranoia. But for a large majority of those who suffer from daily anxiety, the THC and CBD found in cannabis actually reduces symptoms. A group of researchers at Vanderbilt University discovered cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala–a region of the brain that is responsible for regulating anxiety and our fight, flight, or freeze response. “The discovery may help explain why marijuana users say they take the drug mainly to reduce anxiety,” said Sachin Patel, M.D., Ph.D., the paper’s senior author and professor of Psychiatry and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Those prone to panic attacks or anxiety after consuming a high-THC sativa should stick with more relaxing indica and high-CBD strains.
PTSD isn’t an approved medical condition in every state with a medical marijuana program, but in states like New Mexico, PTSD is the number one reason for people to get a medical marijuana card. THC and other cannabinoids help control the system that causes fear and anxiety in the body and brain. This is particularly important for veterans–an estimated 11% to 20% of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom) have been diagnosed with PTSD in a given year. Many veterans and medical professionals “believe that smoking pot is a better treatment for PTSD than the slew of opiates, benzos, and antidepressants that the VA uses to medicate the disorder.”
4. Protects the brain from concussions and other trauma
Football players in the NFL sustain repeated concussions throughout their career, often resulting in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE causes brain degeneration that is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and progressive dementia.
The NFL prohibits players from using marijuana, but some players are asking them to reconsider their position, citing the benefits cannabis has on chronic pain and in healing the brain after a concussion or other traumatic brain injury. In an open letter to the NFL, Harvard Professor Lester Grinspoon wrote, “Already, many doctors and researchers believe that marijuana has incredibly powerful neuroprotective properties, an understanding based on both laboratory and clinical data.”
5. Stops cancer from spreading
In 2007, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco found that CBD may help prevent cancer from spreading. CBD works by turning off a gene called Id-1. Id-1 copies itself at a rate faster than non-cancerous cells in the body, allowing the cancer to metastasize. Additional research done by the American Association for Cancer Research has found that marijuana works to slow down tumor growth in the brain, breast, and lungs.
6. Improves the symptoms of lupus and other autoimmune disorders
Lupus is a chronic disease in which the immune system becomes hyperactive and starts attacking the body, resulting in inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs. Marijuana helps alleviate symptoms of lupus, calming the immune system and reducing nausea and inflammation.
7. Reduces pain and nausea from chemo, and stimulates appetite
One of the most well-known uses of cannabis is to help treat the side effects of chemotherapy. Cancer patients suffer from pain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. According to the American Cancer Society, people who took marijuana extracts in clinical trials tended to need less pain medicine. In fact, the only FDA approved use of cannabinoid drugs that contain THC to treat the side-effects and symptoms of chemotherapy and AIDS.
Small Colorado Town Reports False Positive of THC in Water Supply
Hugo, a small town located on the Eastern Plains of Colorado, made headlines last week after county officials released a warning not to drink, cook, or bathe with local local tap water because of suspected THC contamination.
Almost immediately, scientists and cannabis experts were skeptical of the news, pointing out that cannabinoids, including THC, are highly insoluble in water. “It would take more product than any of us could afford to contaminate a city water supply to the extent that people would suffer any effects,” Dr. John Fox, Lincoln County’s health officer, said in a statement Thursday.
Although marijuana is legal in Colorado, Hugo and the rest of Lincoln County have banned commercial growing, production, and retail, making THC contamination even more unlikely.
In an interview with the Denver Post, Peter Perrone, who owns Wheat Ridge cannabis testing facility Gobi Analytical, said, “There is zero possibility that there’s anything like THC in the Hugo water. You know how oil and water separate? It’s the same with cannabinoids. They’re lipophilic, which means they’re fat-loving. They would never be soluble in water. In order for people to solubilize these cannabinoids in their drinks it takes a lot of work. It takes so many steps to get a fat-soluble thing like a cannabinoid into something like a drink.”
Initial reports indicated that one of the town’s wells showed “signs of tampering” and that multiple field tests were positive for THC. The water advisory was canceled Saturday after further testing by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation revealed no traces of THC in the town’s water supply. “We are happy to report that the water advisory is canceled immediately,” the sheriff’s office wrote. “Please resume any and all water activities.”
Medical Marijuana Saves Medicare Millions of Dollars
A new study has found that states with a medical marijuana program have reduced costs to Medicare Part D, as well as reduced prescription drug use. The study, published in Health Affairs, looked at drugs like antidepressants, muscle relaxants, opioids, and sedatives for which marijuana is used as an alternative treatment.
Researchers examined Medicare Part D spending from 2010 to 2013 and found that medical marijuana saved Medicare about $165 million in 2013–if medical cannabis was legal nationwide, it would save the program about $470 million per year. 25 states and the District of Columbia currently have medical marijuana laws, a number that’s expected to increase in November elections.
As well as saving taxpayer money, the study found that the annual number of daily doses prescribed by doctors for conditions like anxiety, depression, pain, nausea, and sleep disorders, was also greatly reduced. Medical marijuana use reduced the number of painkiller prescriptions, including opioids, by about 1,800 daily doses filled each year per doctor. Unlike opioids, marijuana doesn’t carry the same risk of addiction and/or overdose.
Critics say that while medical cannabis may be saving Medicare money, patients still have to pay for the drug out-of-pocket. As cannabis is still considered a Schedule I drug–considered to have a high potential for abuse without medical benefits–insurance companies don’t cover the cost. Veterans with PTSD and other conditions risk having their benefits revoked by the VA if they choose to use medical marijuana as an alternative treatment.
In an interview with NPR, one of the authors of the study, W. David Bradford, said that should “marijuana become a regular part of patient care nationally, the cost curve would bend because marijuana is cheaper than other drugs.”
At Mountain High Suckers, our goal has always been to give patients safe access to our medical marijuana products!
Mountain High Suckers: THC Magazine Review
Earlier this year, in their April 4/20 addition, THC Magazine wrote a great review of our Pineapple Toasted Coconut Sucker. Check it out below:
“The Pineapple Toasted Coconut sucker from Mountain High Suckers is potent in both THC and CBD. First off, this lollipop looks amazing. The toasted coconut flakes are suspended in pineapple infused deliciousness. While the pineapple flavor dominates, the toasted coconut flakes are a tasty reward the more you suck. This discreet treat can be taken anywhere and is perfect for the on-the-go cannabis consumer. It takes a while for the lollipop to dissolve in your mouth, creating what I’d call a “slow-release” effect. The CBD provides a pleasant body high, while the 28 mgs of THC will leave you with more of the lingering, yet enjoyable, stoney-baloney type high. I would recommend this sucker for when you are hung-over and want to take a two-hour nap during the day. It comes on slow, but it’s strong, and it lasts the better part of a day. I enjoyed this edible, and I am excited to try the other unique flavors available from Mountain High Suckers.”
-Sam Ruderman, THC Magazine
Check out our review in the magazine right here: Download PDF
Read more THC Magazine at: http://www.thcmag.com.
Review: Mountain High Suckers in Culture Magazine
Earlier in April, Mountain High Suckers had the privilege of being reviewed and featured in Culture Magazine!
Check out the reviews below from Culture and download a special sample of the April edition.
Butterscotch Toffee Sucker
“Mountain High Suckers is known for their array of creative suckers, like this Butterscotch Toffee Sucker. The butterscotch sucker head is a translucent light-brown color with a green hue. There are tiny toffee chunks embedded in the sucker. This medical sucker is packed with 38.49mg of active cannabinoids consisting of CBD,CBC and CBN along with just the right amount of THC. The butterscotch lollipop is sweet and syrupy and the toffee chunks help hide the cannabis flavor. Note that the small sucker has nearly four times the recreational dosage, so it’s important to make sure you don’t overdo it. The high-quality wrapping is great for sliding the sucker back into its packaging so you can enjoy the rest another time.”
Edibles manufacturers have been going through a lot in Colorado lately— to put it lightly—in dealing with new regulations from the state. In some cases, though, it’s ultimately been for the better. Case in point: Mountain High Suckers, who have been making a great product for years. Their new packaging, however, is as stunning as it is functional. Our THC/CBD Tangerine Sucker was a blast, and at 10mg, we were totally functional when we ate the whole thing. Those who wanted to wait could simply toss it back in the convenient new holder that comes with. The effect was exceptionally balanced yet quick acting, as most were feeling the effects within the first half hour. Reviewers with stomach issues noted how quickly it relieved symptoms while also stimulating hunger. Usually, hunger that involved more suckers.
Mountain High Sucker Lozenges
For years, the only time you heard about lozenges were from a strange man in the Alps. Fast forward to 2015 and Mountain High Suckers are making them the coolest—and not in a mentholated way. Our pack had three flavors, our favorite being the mouthwatering tangerine that didn’t leave a noticeable weedy aftertaste. Now offered for recreational users, the 10mg packs even boast a little CBD, although you’re predominantly feeling a nice head effect and body relaxation. We had two reviewers split a pack, both noting that it made them feel much better—and different—than the Ricolas they tried earlier.
Honey Dew Melon Sucker
Just about everything is better when you have a sucker, part of the reason they give them to you at the bank as they take all your money. Instead of waiting until payday, we’d recommend heading to just about any dispensary to pick up the affordable, brand new and refreshing Honey Dew Melon Sucker. While other lozenges on the market can make you feel like you’ve been sucking on hash oil for an hour, we loved its clean taste with barely any “green” flavor. With little psychoactive effect, these are perfect for someone who is looking for the healing benefits of cannabis but might be nervous trying an edible.
No one wants to be referred to as a sucker. Not even octopii. The only good scenario is if you’re Mountain High Suckers, purveyors of fine candy treats for years, or you picked up their 10mg Cherry Sucker. Providing both THC and CBD, the cherry flavor is on point and tastes like a fresh bing cherry, masking cannabis flavor so the first lick is as great as the last. We found that one was our magic number, as the dose was a huge mood booster that had reviewers giggling half an hour later. Those with colitis and intestinal issues also heaped praise on the quick relief they felt.
Check out a special preview of our reviews in Culture:
And visit Culture Magazine at: www.ireadculture.com.
Ballot Initiative Could Limit THC Potency in Colorado
The Colorado Supreme Court gave approval for a petition that would limit the amount of THC in Colorado marijuana. Anti-pot supporters of the initiative must gather 98,000 signatures by August 8 for the proposal to appear on the November ballot.
Supporters believe that marijuana–both medical and recreational–is too potent and that current packaging and warning labels are insufficient. The proposed changes to the marijuana industry would ban marijuana products with a THC potency of more than 16%. In addition, the amendment would mandate warnings printed on cannabis packaging that say marijuana’s health risks include “permanent loss of brain abilities” and “birth defects and reduced brain development.”
The average potency of Colorado pot products are 17.1 percent for cannabis flower and 62.1 percent for marijuana extracts.
Should voters approve the amendment, the new rules would effectively put concentrate and edible manufacturers out of business, as well as making many strains of flower illegal. According to a report by BDS Analytics, the proposed changes would make 80% of cannabis products in the current Colorado market obsolete.
Medical and recreational sales generated almost $57 million in taxes and fees during the first four months of 2016. Marijuana has been a boon to Colorado, funneling thousands of dollars into state tax revenue, with much of the money earmarked for schools.
Legalization opponent Frank McNulty, Colorado’s former Speaker of the House and the official counsel to the citizens who first brought on the measure, said the amendment’s potential impact on the state’s marijuana industry “doesn’t matter.”
The Colorado Health Research Council (CHRC), opposes the proposed amendment limiting THC potency, and describes itself as “a coalition of cannabis patients, caregivers, scientists, cannabis industry leaders, the business community and ordinary citizens.” The CHRC is concerned that the amendment could have a huge impact on medical marijuana patients, who often need higher THC content.
The proposed amendment is written to impact only recreational cannabis, but the CHRC claims it could also apply to the state’s medical sales — including non-resident refugees and those with conditions such as PTSD that aren’t on the state’s list of MMJ-qualifying conditions who still buy at retail pot shops.
Nevada Looks to Expand Legal Cannabis Market
This November, voters in Nevada will consider whether or not to approve the sale of recreational marijuana. The state already has a medical cannabis program, which includes eight specific conditions that qualify patients for a medical marijuana card: cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and conditions that include muscle spasms, seizures, severe nausea, severe pain or wasting.
Currently, Nevada is one of two states that allow the possession and purchase of medical marijuana from out-of-state residents. Maine recognizes medical marijuana cards from other states as long as the patient has their physician fill out a form for the state regulatory agency. Hawaii will allow qualifying patients from out of state to purchase medical marijuana on January 1, 2018.
Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire and Rhode Island allow patients from other states to use marijuana, but generally not to purchase it.
Polls in Nevada show widespread support for legalizing recreational marijuana. If approved, the Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana would be similar to laws adopted in Washington and Colorado, which tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol. Legalization in the Silver State would permit anyone 21 or over to purchase recreational cannabis.
Proponents of the measure believe that legal recreational cannabis could create millions of dollars in tax revenue, as well as saving money spent on marijuana enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses. Joe Brezny, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, estimates that the U.S. spends about $78 billion in marijuana prohibition efforts.
Tourism is big business in Nevada, but because marijuana is still federally illegal, don’t expect to be able to light up in casinos. Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said, “people who have a gaming license in Nevada are forbidden from violating not just Nevada law, but all other laws, including the laws of other states and federal law.” Casinos cannot currently participate in the medical marijuana industry for that same reason.
Mountain High Suckers is expanding into Nevada in 2016. Look for our THC-and CBD-enriched hard candies at your favorite Silver State dispensary.
Colorado Bans Cannabis Infused Gummy Bears
Starting July 1, cannabis-infused gummy bears and other marijuana edibles shaped like animals, fruits or humans will be banned in Colorado.
After approval by the state House and Senate, Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1436 into law on June 10. Colorado already requires edible pot sold on the recreational market to come in serving sizes of 10 milligrams of THC, with a maximum of 10 total servings.
Supporters of the measure say the new guidelines will make pot candy less appealing to kids, as well as lowering the number of children who accidentally ingest THC-infused edibles. Michael DiStefano, the medical director of the Children’s Hospital Colorado emergency department, says that the hospital saw eight children in its emergency room who accidentally ate marijuana in 2014. Between 2005 and 2013, only eight children were admitted at the hospital for unintentional marijuana ingestion.
Opponents point out it’s the responsibility of parents and guardians to keep cannabis products out of reach of children. They say that banning certain shapes doesn’t necessarily make cannabis-infused candies any less appealing to kids, and the measure doesn’t mention other shapes, like hearts and stars. For instance, between 2012 and 2013, more than 17,000 children under 6 years old nationwide were injured due to ingestion of the candy-colored detergent packets.
High Times reports, “With many millions of edibles being sold each year in the state, the number of calls to Rocky Mountain Poison Control concerning marijuana-infused foods is markedly less when compared to other products, such as dangerous pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and household cleaning products.”
At Mountain High Suckers, as a “candy” style edible supplier, it has always been our goal to be clear and up front about what our products contain and to help parents, patients and recreational easily identify our suckers and lozenges/pieces as for-adult or medicinal grade products!
Cannabis Sales Hit New $117M High in Colorado
Colorado medical and recreational cannabis sales reached a new high in April, totaling $117.4 million worth of flower, edibles and concentrates. This is the highest monthly total since recreational sales began in 2014.
Based on 2015 sales, an analytics company found that three of the most profitable days of the year for cannabis sales are during the four days leading up to, and including, 4/20.
Despite a snowstorm that forced rescheduling the annual 4/20 rally, cannabis enthusiasts didn’t let the unexpected weather put a damper on the holiday. Marijuana dispensaries sold almost $76.6 million in recreational cannabis, an 80 percent increase from $42.4 million in April 2015. Medical cannabis sales also saw an increase in sales by 22 percent, for a total of $40.8 million.
In addition, the demand for marijuana edibles and concentrates is higher than ever. Retail sales of concentrates in the state’s medical and recreational markets surged 125% in the first quarter of this year from the same period in 2015, according to BDS Analytics. Cannabis edibles sales rose to 53%.
The record sales also mean a huge boost to state tax revenue. Colorado has three taxes on sales of recreational marijuana: the standard 2.9 percent state sales tax, a special 10 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers, which is earmarked for school construction projects. The more than $5.5 million collected in excise tax is a monthly record from when recreational sales began in January 2014, and brings the yearly total to $16.7 million.
Medical and recreational sales generated almost $57 million in taxes and fees during the first four months of 2016.
Mountain High Suckers Sweet Pieces Cannabis Edibles On Sale Now!
There’s been a lot of attention in the media lately about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, but for many people the idea of smoking cannabis is a real turn off. For new users who are interested in exploring the benefits of cannabis, edibles are a great alternative.
Mountain High Suckers have been making infused hard candies since 2009, and we were one of the first edibles companies to include CBD in our products. Once recreational markets opened up, we wanted to offer the same canna-benefits that our medical customers receive to the recreational market.
One of our best-selling candies for recreational users are Sweet Pieces, our THC and CBD infused hard candies. Each package contains a variety of sugar free, fruit-flavored pieces. It’s an easy, discrete way to medicate, with moderate psychoactive effects and a relaxing body high, ideal for pain relief and sleep. Plus, you’ll never get too much or too little with our easy-to-dose, bite-sized pieces. Each 10 mg dose includes 8 mg THC and 2 mg CBD, totaling 100 mg in each package.
So what exactly are the benefits of THC and CBD?
There are over 60 chemical compounds in cannabis, called cannabinoids, including THC and CBD.
While THC is responsible for psychoactive effects associated with marijuana, it also has therapeutic benefits in the treatment of various conditions, including pain relief, neurodegenerative disorders, depression, and PTSD.
CBD reduces inflammation, reduces anxiety, inhibits cancer cell growth, and may even help curb addiction. By combining THC and CBD, the therapeutic benefits are increased synergistically–the total effect is greater than the sum of individual effects.
Sweet Pieces are on sale for a limited time–visit your favorite recreational dispensary, or go to: www.mountainhighsuckers.com/where-to-buy
Cannabis Industry Entrepreneurs Get Together at 3rd Annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is hosting the 3rd annual Cannabis Business Summit and Expo June 20-22 in Oakland, CA. As the nation’s only trade association supporting the legal cannabis industry, the event will bring together policy makers, growers, dispensaries, edible manufacturers, and ancillary cannabis businesses. Over 3,000 attendees are expected at the event, including entrepreneurs from Canada, Japan, Australia, Colombia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden.
Mountain High Suckers are excited to visit the Summit and network with other cannabis professionals and industry leaders. The people who go to the event aim to “gain exposure to the highest concentration of legitimate buyers and sellers in America’s fastest growing industry, all in one place.”
There will be over 30 sessions and 75 speakers, bringing attendees up to speed on topics like industry reform, cultivation management, retail management, legal issues, infused and extracted products, and more. Scheduled events include educational workshops, including: The Fine Print: Money, Law, and Your Business; Cultivation and Processing; Running Your Cannabusiness; Policy and Reform; Medical Applications of Cannabis; and Leading Edge: Emerging Topics in the Cannabis Industry.
Speakers at the event will include:
- California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will deliver the policy keynote address on Tuesday, June 21. Newsom, who is running for Governor of Californiain 2018, is a key supporter for marijuana reform and legalization and a high-profile advocate for the benefits of embracing a legitimate cannabis industry.
- Numi Organic Tea CEO and co-founder Ahmed Rahim will deliver the business keynote on June 21, sharing insights into his company’s embrace of the “triple bottom line” approach, best practices in moving toward organics and fair trade, and the importance and benefits of connecting with the local community.
Look for Mountain High Suckers at the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, say hi, and visit our website, www.mountainhighsuckers.com.
More information about the Cannabis Business Summit, including a full list of speakers and a detailed agenda, can be found at www.cannabisbusinesssummit.com.
Oregon Set to Sell Rec Cannabis Edibles and Extracts June 2
Starting June 2, marijuana-infused edibles, extracts and non-psychoactive topical products will be available for recreational sale in Oregon. Medical cardholders in Oregon already have access to marijuana edibles. Since October, marijuana flower, starter plants, and seeds have been available for recreational sale.
The Oregon Health Authority issued a bulletin detailing guidelines for edible sales:
- Retail customers, who must be over 21, can buy one low-dose marijuana infused edible per day at medical marijuana dispensaries that sell to recreational customers. “Low dose” means an edible with no more than 15 milligrams of THC.
- Non-psychoactive marijuana-based topical products, like lotions and balms, that contain no more than 6 percent of THC.
- One pre-filled cartridge or container of marijuana extract per day. This type of product is typically consumed using a portable vaporizer device. The container may not contain more than 1,000 milligrams of THC.
The health authority’s directive expands the sale of the products to the new legal recreational marijuana market. Extracts and edibles sold recreationally are subject to the same 25 percent state sales tax that is applied to marijuana flowers. Agency officials said that residency would no longer be a factor for people who own a marijuana company under proposed rules the commission will take up next month.
A separate state law passed earlier this year removed the original 2-year residency requirement for recreational marijuana licensees. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) will begin issuing licenses under this law starting June 2.
Currently, more than 300 medical dispensaries are participating in the state’s early recreational marijuana sales. The OLCC has yet to issue a license for a recreational marijuana dispensary. The agency said it plans to issue its first dispensary licenses in October. By Jan. 1, 2017, all recreational sales will have to take place at OLCC-licensed dispensaries.
While we do not currently sell our products in Oregon, we support legalization and safe medical access to cannabis everywhere.
Mountain High Suckers Featured on BBC News
Recently, Mountain High Suckers products were featured in a BBC News article focused on explaining the legal cannabis market in Colorado to a British audience. The author begins at a Colorado based, cannabis friendly bed and breakfast and is surprised to see the scale of the amount and diversity of cannabis based products.
Other than CLEAR, a UK based cannabis advocacy group looking to legalize cannabis and modernize how its viewed in Europe, cannabis is widely unused and clearly illegal in England and the rest of the United Kingdom. Our local residents may have to forgive the sometimes amazed tone the article takes, but it can also remind us of how much our Colorado legal cannabis industry has accomplished!
Check out the full article on BBC.com here: