Month: December 2019

It’s Official, Major League Baseball No Longer Considers Cannabis a “Drug of Abuse”

A few days ago, it was reported that Major League Baseball would stop punishing minor league ball players for cannabis use, treating cannabis like alcohol. It was expected that this change would reach the big leagues sooner than later, and it just took a couple of days as MLB has made the dramatic change official. This is a major step in the right direction as baseball is “as American as apple pie” and this move will impact the National Football League and other sports, further mainstreaming cannabis in our culture.

ESPN reports: 

Marijuana will be removed from the list of drugs of abuse and will be treated the same as alcohol as part of changes announced Thursday to the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ association. In addition, suspensions for marijuana use will be dropped from the minor league drug program.

Opioids are classified as a drug of abuse under the joint big league program, which began in late 2002 and until now has limited testing to performance-enhancing substances and banned stimulants.

***

“It is our collective hope that this agreement will help raise public awareness on the risks and dangers of opioid medications,” deputy baseball commissioner Dan Halem said.

The opioid addiction and overdose epidemic is severely impacting families across the United States, and it is good to see baseball taking the issue seriously and making some common sense changes to its drug policy. The road towards achieving true equality for the cannabis community and implementing a sane drug policy is a long one, but it is great to celebrate victories like this today, wherever they occur in our societal landscape. Step by step, person by person, sports league by sports league, common sense is on the march!

Chicago Prosecutor Expunges 1,000 Cannabis Convictions, Let’s Do This Everywhere

Legalizing cannabis is just one part of our battle to end the harmful war against the nonviolent cannabis community. Even after ending arrests and prosecutions, we still need to fight to implement sensible business regulations, worker protections, and parental rights, among other policy reforms. Expunging past criminal convictions is an obvious next step and it’s great that Oregon and other states have passed sensible expungement laws following legalization. However, Oregon, and other legal states, should go a step further and automatically eliminate old cannabis convictions, just as Chicago prosecutor Kim Fox is doing for 1,000 people, as reported by the Associated Press:

“Today, we made history and took the first step in the single largest and most equitable piece of criminal justice reform Illinois has ever seen,” Foxx said in a statement. The effort to expunge records in minor marijuana cases is required by the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Technology developed by a non-profit organization called Code For America is already being used elsewhere, most notably in California, to clear thousands of convictions. Foxx’s office will use the same technology to evaluate eligibility and remove minor marijuana convictions from people’s records at no cost to them and, in many cases, without their knowledge. The defendants will be notified by the court clerk’s office via email or by a letter that the convictions have been expunged.

The people whose cases are being expunged include those who were convicted of misdemeanors, or Class 4 felonies, the lowest category of felony in Illinois. Anyone convicted of possessing more than 30 grams must apply individually if they want to have their records expunged.

In Oregon, and too many states, expungement is too burdensome, confusing and expensive. Once your dues to society have been paid, and you are a nonviolent, law-abiding citizen, expungement shouldn’t depend upon where you live, on your ability to decipher forms, or how much expendable income that you have. While there are helpful expungement clinics in Oregon, they are usually held in Portland, Eugene, or Medford, and those living outside of the I-5 corridor may not have the means to attend.

Call me a dreamer (but I’m not the only one), but your freedom and equality shouldn’t depend upon where you live and how much money you happen to have in the bank. While it may be a difficult task, let’s bring more justice into our society step by step.

“Mystery Machine” A Kind Review by Janice Garrett

“Mystery Machine” cultivated by Big Beard Farms. Photographed by Janice Garrett

Get ready to giggle and unwind with “Mystery Machine,” a super stony 50/50 hybrid.

“Mystery Machine” was cultivated indoors by Big Beard Farms, located in Hood River, Oregon.

The cheesy looking trichomes that coat “Mystery Machine” along with thick, curly, orange hairs make for a gorgeous, eye catching flower. Mix that with a robust earthy and pepper aroma and you get a strain appeals to every cannabis consumer.

“Mystery Machine” is high in caryophyllene and myrcene. Caryophyllene is astonishing because it binds directly with our CB2 endocannabinoid receptors, giving you an intense, relaxed body high. Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis, and promotes a serious calming effect. The combination of these two powerful terpenes make this the perfect blaze and chill strain, decompressing both physical and mental stress.

If smoked alone “Mystery Machine” will have you clear headed, stress free, and forgetting all your trials and tribulations. But, if you consume with friends “Mystery Machine” will have you feeling like the life of the party. Conversations will be filled with jokes and laughter as you feel on top of the world and comfortable in your own skin.

Legal Cannabis Is Safer

Cannabis legalization, like most things, isn’t perfect, but it is certainly still better than the alternative of prohibition. Instead of arresting and citing thousands of people every year, ruining lives and wasting taxpayer dollars, Oregon is creating thousands of jobs and generating millions of dollars. In addition to addition to the societal benefits, legalization coupled with regulations help make cannabis safer. As someone who helped write Oregon’s legalization law, I certainly support home gardens and threatened to walk away from the project unless Oregonians were able to cultivate their own cannabis. However, as the recent nationwide vape cartridge scare has shown, the licensed and regulated market is much safer than the illegal market as Jean-Gabriel Fernandez writes in the Shepherd Express:

The recent outbreak of what has been dubbed “vaping illness” perfectly illustrates this. Many people across the country have been victims of similar symptoms after vaping. After a swift investigation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified vitamin E acetate as the culprit; vitamin E acetate is a thickening agent popular in THC-containing vaping products in particular.

The CDC announced its findings on Thursday, Nov. 21, and, almost immediately, actions were taken to protect vaping aficionados, and the chemical compound was banned in several states within days—which is the same event that led to the Trump quote shared at the beginning of this article. In places where vaping marijuana is still illegal, however, users can only use illicit and unregulated products that may still contain vitamin E acetate, thus gravely endangering their lives.

When marijuana is legal, products go through an extensive testing process to ensure their composition, safety and potency are all in line with regulations. In Colorado, for instance, all marijuana retail products must go through these tests and be clearly labeled in accordance with the law to ensure there are no nasty surprises for customers. The legality of it enables states to have licensed marijuana testing labs that meet standards agreed upon by industry experts, with qualified, educated employees, quality control, security, sample tracking and massive oversight.

Unfortunately, too many communities in legal states ban licensed and regulated businesses, pushing people into the illicit market. The better policy is to allow legal businesses to flourish with sensible regulations and taxation. By supporting craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf you are not only better ensuring your safety, but also supporting the legal economy and important services like public schools and drug treatment programs. By embracing legal cannabis and improving upon our system, we help remove the stigma that still hurts the cannabis community across the country, including folks in legal states that can still face unfair persecution.

Major League Baseball OKs Cannabis Use in the Minors, More Big Changes to Come

Whether or not you are into Major League Baseball (MLB) or any other type of sportsballs, it cannot be denied that sports are huge in America. The NFL, NBA, and MLB are gargantuan business ventures and impact the overall culture of the United States. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball had a momentous impact on U.S. race relations, for instance. Today, we’re seeing more and more current and former professional athletes speaking about the need to legalize cannabis, especially for medicinal purposes, as opioid abuse and overdoses have become a nationwide crisis.

Minor league players will now be allowed by MLB to utilize cannabis in a new agreement. Baseball has been rocked by the tragic overdose death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs this year and it is expected that big league players will also be officially allowed to utilize cannabis, as part of an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, as the Boston Globe:

Tony Clark, the MLB players’ union chief, is optimistic an agreement could be reached before the year’s end. The deal also includes opioid testing and a recovery plan. Minor league players who test positive for opioids would be “put into a treatment program rather than suspended,” CBS Sports reported.

The Los Angeles Times first reported in October that changes may be coming to the MLB at the behest of the players’ union. Testing for opioids and easing marijuana penalties is one way the league is responding to the opioid crisis following the overdose death of 27-year-old Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs earlier this year. Oxycodone, fentanyl, and alcohol were found in Skaggs’ system at the time of his death.

While the MLB is known for being progressive when it comes to cannabis use, many other major league sports in the United States have been slow to reform their stances on marijuana and CBD.

This move by Major League Baseball is just another step forward in the mainstreaming of cannabis and should be applauded. Hopefully, other sports leagues follow suit and our nation can continue our march towards finally implementing a sane cannabis policy from coast to coast.

 

Get Your Kind Leaf Kind Tree Nominations in Today!

As I’ve been blogging about recently, Kind Leaf has set up a fantastic holiday program that has helped more than twenty families enjoy great Christmas celebrations over the last two years. The good folks at Kind Leaf are hoping to make each and every Kind Tree event bigger and better than the previous one, so please nominate a family in need and/or come on into Kind Leaf and pick out a tag from the Kind Tree to purchase a children’s gift this Christmas. Your generosity will be rewarded with a matching Kind Leaf gift certificate to use during your next trip into Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique. It is encouraged that you spend $25 or more for each gift.

Today, Monday, December 9th, is the last day of nominations, so email kindtreefamily@gmail.com with a paragraph as to why this family should get a Santa’s bounty of gifts to brighten up the holiday. Please hurry and spread the word and help make some big smiles this Christmas!

Here’s what the good folks at Kind Leaf have to say about their amazing Kind Tree program:

In our community there are many children who are excited for the holiday season, all around them, people are cheerful, kind and gathering together. This is a time of happiness, connection, giving and making memories. There are some local children that don’t feel the same way about the holidays inside, even though on the outside they seem strong, resilient and happy even though they may not be finding much under their tree. Life happens so fast and parents sometimes need help this time of year, the cold makes the utilities rise, extra layers means buying extra clothes and all of the other expenses can leave the tree rather empty. This is where we step in.

The Kind Leaf team has has helped gather support for over 20 families two years in row by putting up the Kind Tree.

What is the Kind Tree?

The Kind Tree is uniquely decorated each year with beautiful ornaments and tags with children’s age and gender on them. Our visitors have the option to participate by selecting a tag from the tree and returning with a gift suitable for the gender and age listed on the tag. We encourage gifts of $25 or more as we kindly return the participants generosity with a Kind Tree credit to use in our store during their next visit. –

We are officially accepting nominations for the 2019 Kind Tree.

Who qualifies:
1. Local Families with children under the age of 18.
2. Families that have not been included on any other local giving trees.

How does one nominate a family?

Friends and loved ones send an email consisting of one paragraph about the family being nominated. Tell us a little bit about why the children should be selected for the a kind Tree. Emails can be sent to kindtreefamily@gmail.com – if the family you nominated is selected we will reach out for more information.

The children of selected families will have a “Santa’s worth” of presents delivered to their home in time for the children to open them on Christmas morning.

Nominations are being accepted until 12/9/19

#BeKind #KindTree #KindLeaf

Nominate a Kind Tree Family by Monday, December 9th!

I don’t have any children myself, but I imagine that raising kids as the most rewarding but frightening task that people can undertake in their lives. There is no love like the love between parent and child and the responsibility of caring for, protecting and educating these young beings so full of promise and potential has to feel overpowering at times. To help parents struggling with bills and providing a great Christmas for the kids, Kind Leaf has set up their Kind Tree program that ensures that some deserving family has an amazing holiday. Kind Leaf, thanks to the generosity of their team and customers, has helped over 20 families over the last two years. Nominations are open until Monday, December 9th.

How to nominate a family for the Kind Leaf Kind Tree program 

If you know of a family that could use help, send an email to kindtreefamily@gmail.com with one paragraph about the family being nominated. Tell Kind Leaf a little bit about why the children should be selected for the a Kind Tree.  If the family you nominated is selected someone at Kind Leaf will reach out for more information. The children will have a “Santa’s worth” of presents delivered to their home in time to open them on Christmas morning.

How can you help families in need enjoy Christmas?

You can donate to the Kind Tree program by visiting Kind Leaf in Pendleton at 1733 SW Court Avenue during regular business hours (8 am to 10 pm) and selecting a tag from the Kind Tree and returning with a gift suitable for the gender and age listed on the tag. Kind Leaf encourages gifts of $25 or more as Eastern Oregon’s preeminent craft cannabis boutique will then kindly return your generosity with a Kind Tree credit to use in the store during your next visit.

This holiday season, you can support a small local Oregon business and help out a deserving family in need while earning store credit at the cannabis retailer with the biggest and best selection in Oregon. It’s a win-win-win! Happy holidays, everybody!

 

Willie Nelson Isn’t Smoking, but He’s Still Using Cannabis

If there was a Mount Rushmore for cannabis cultural icons, Willie Nelson would definitely have his visage carved into the granite structure, along with Bob Marley. Those two spots are easy in my opinion, the next two are tougher, because with Mount Rushmore debates you only get to choose four. Do the spots go to Cheech and Chong or can we break the rules and make Cheech and Chong one person? Do we just go with Tommy Chong, since he’s stayed within the cannabis community and industry? What about Carl Sagan who wasn’t a known member of our tribe until after his death? Jimi Hendrix? Snoop Dogg? Sorry, I digress, this post is about Willie Nelson.

Headline after headline stated that Willie gave up smoking cannabis as the 86-year-old musician has been having health and lung problems. This was seen as a big news story as the legendary musician had smoked at the White House and proclaimed that marijuana “saved his life.” Experienced cannabis consumers understood that you can ingest cannabis and receive its benefits without smoking. Cannabis edibles, tinctures, capsules, topicals, and beverages are just some of the ways to consume cannabinoids. As those in the know expected, Willie Nelson is still using cannabis, he’s just not smoking it, as Vice reported:

Looking at the article all these publications are aggregating, the piece says nothing about Nelson cutting off marijuana for good and doesn’t include whether or not he still indulges in jazz cabbage in other ways. If Willie Nelson, of all people, told you he quit smoking weed, you’d ask a couple of follow-up questions. But, fortunately and unsurprisingly, none of those headlines are entirely accurate: It seems Willie Nelson is still getting high and using marijuana products like edibles, capsules, tinctures, and other non-smokeable items.

Here it is, folks! VICE reached out to Nelson’s representatives and received a short but sweet statement: “Willie has not quit cannabis.”

Willie Nelson, the lifelong cannabis activist, is still using cannabis. Some things in this world are still certain.

Just to make sure that people get the full picture, Nelson’s son took to Twitter to inform folks how far our society has come with the many ways that we can enjoy cannabis:

So have no fear folks, all is right in the world. Willie Nelson is still utilizing cannabis. You too can enjoy the many different ways that cannabis can now be consumed by venturing into Kind Leaf or the many cannabis retail stores across Oregon and other legalized states. Cannabis products also make great gifts and if you do come into Kind Leaf, please consider donating to the Kind Leaf toy drive to help families in need provide a great Christmas for their children. If you know of a family that could use some assistance this holiday season, nominations are open until December 9th.

Federal Government Okays Hemp Banking Regulations. Setting the Stage for Cannabis Businesses?

Cannabis legalization has created thousands upon thousands of jobs, generating billions of revenue overall, and putting millions into states’ bank accounts. While the overall numbers look great and the future is bright, there are entirely too many many obstacles blocking the industry from truly flourishing. The hurdles placed in front of cannabis businesses hurt small businesses and mom and pops the most, as big corporations have the deep pockets to wait for better policies to be enacted.

One of the first obstacles that needs to be knocked down is our nation’s current banking regulations that prevent regular access to banking services. The federal government just released guidance for the hemp industry, mandating that banks treat hemp companies the same as any other business. This move should be a stepping stone for Uncle Sam to move onto sensible banking regulations for all cannabis businesses.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has been a leader on hemp, and KTVZ reported on his reaction to news:

“Hemp was legalized almost a year ago, yet Oregon farmers and producers have been forced to ride the roller coaster of uncertainty,” Wyden said. “Slowly but surely, federal regulators are starting to catch up, and these new banking guidelines are an important step toward giving hemp businesses the certainty they need.

“The work doesn’t stop here, however, and more must be done to make sure hemp businesses are treated fairly and allowed to fully realize this legal crop’s economic potential in our state and nationwide.”

Earlier this year, Wyden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote several federal banking and financial regulatory institutions, requesting timely guidance and clarification to ensure lawful hemp farmers and producers in Oregon and nationwide have access to financial services.

Cannabis and hemp policies will likely always be intertwined in some ways. One good step forward for hemp often provides momentum for more progress for the cannabis industry and vice versa. Hopefully, the federal government will get on the ride side of cannabis banking. The SAFE Banking Act is awaiting the United States Senate to do the right thing. Tick tock, senators.

Report: Alcohol-Related Car Crashes Decreased in Idaho After Cannabis Legalized by Its Neighbor

Ever since the days of Reefer Madness, prohibitionists have found various ways to provoke fear about cannabis cannabis, from saying that it makes all of its users crazy to claiming that legalization will cause mayhem on our highways. As most of us now know, these “the sky is falling” stories have been debunked one by one, including the prediction of the extreme dangers on our roads. Somewhat surprisingly however, a new report out of the Utah State University’s Center for Growth and Opportunity, authored by economist Benjamin Hanson, found that legalization in Washington State led to a decrease in alcohol-related car crashes in neighboring Idaho.

Marijuana Moment reported:

Two key dates, Hansen noted in his paper, were September 2015 and March 2016: That’s when recreational marijuana sales began in Walla Walla, Washington, and in Huntington, Oregon, respectively. Both are located within driving distance of the Idaho border, thus making it easy for residents to drive across state lines to purchase cannabis. Additionally, the paper states, Idaho law enforcement report “consistent increases in trafficking and seizures following Washington’s and Oregon’s legalizations.”

Hansen confirmed that searches for the term “dispensaries” increased “dramatically” in Idaho after Washington legalized marijuana. “This suggests that interest in marijuana—specifically, marijuana available in Washington and Oregon—increased significantly as stores opened nearby and that the trend break is not due to random chance,” he writes.

The author also found that access to recreational marijuana was associated with a 21 percent decrease in accidents involving alcohol in Idaho counties directly bordering Washington. Counties located one hour away from Washington saw a reduction of 18 percent, while counties three hours away saw a reduction of 10 percent. When the driving distance from Washington was four hours or more, the effect was insignificant, the author writes.

As cannabis moves more and more mainstream, with Michigan just starting regulated sales, it will be interesting to see if these results are replicated across other states. One thing is for certain–Reefer Madness fearmongering gets debunked each and every time and it is time to stop criminalizing patients and responsible adults all across our great nation.