Powdered Weed May Change the Ganja Game Forever

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Photo via Mondo Meds

Powdered cannabis edibles have already hit legal marijuana markets along the West Coast. With time, they may completely revolutionize the way we cook with cannabis – or consume weed in general.

Powdered pot is nothing new. Humans have ground cannabis flowers into fine dusts since we first discovered we could get lifted on the stuff. What’s new about powdered cannabinoids is that they’re not flowers. They’re cannabis oils specially prepared to dissolve in water, something thought impossible until recently.

So, how does it work? Although individual manufacturers offer slight variations on the technology, all versions follow the same approach. Cannabinoids, like THC or CBD, are encapsulated with a starch or other carbohydrate. When this happens, the nanoscopic cannabinoid droplet behaves like a sugar, and sugars can dissolve in water, unlike oil.

CBD-infused Instant Coconut Water, image courtesy Oleo

“When you put it in your mouth, it starts absorbing immediately through your carbohydrate uptake pathways. Your body recognizes it as a carbohydrate,” says Skyler Bissell, COO of Oleo Inc in Washington State. Oleo spent years developing a proprietary process to create encapsulated cannabinoids powders that, when mixed with water, can infuse flavored teas, coconut water, and most other edibles.

Bissell confirmed that Oleo’s powdered cannabis products can take as little as 20 minutes to begin binding to the body’s cannabinoid receptors. This contrasts with oils which, like cannabis-infused butters, begin absorbing into the bloodstream only after reaching the small intestines. “By the time a traditional product has begun to dissolve,” Bissell adds, “our product has had a significant amount of time to already do so.”

The science behind Oleo’s products, image courtesy Oleo

With the much quicker reaction time offered by powdered cannabis, consumers greatly reduce their chances of taking too much, which has become an issue with edibles in the age of legalization. Conventional, oil-based edibles can take as long as two hours to take effect, which can lead to overdosing among novice or impatient edibles consumers. In addition to preventing a too-much, too-late scenario, powdered cannabinoids may resolve other issues that currently plague THC-infused food manufacturers.

Josh Held is one of the founders of Made by Science, a California-based technology company that specializes in encapsulation techniques for the cannabis industry. Made by Science has partnered with SoCal canna-company THC Design to launch an entire line of powdered cannabis products tweaked for maximum water solubility, depending on the intended uses. For instance, drink mixes are made with one formula, whereas powders for baking use another. To pull this off, their powders require a greater range of materials to encapsulate cannabinoids beyond carbohydrates, with the resulting encapsulations designed to release cannabinoids on contact with target surfaces, whether they be water or human tissues.

“If you’re trying to stir it into large batches,” Held says of his company’s powdered products, “you have a medium that allows it to create homogenous batches.” In other words, edibles made with powdered cannabinoids spread evenly throughout a food product, ensuring more reliable dosing. Oil-based infusions tend to clump or aggregate, which can lead to some batches possessing higher or lower amounts of THC than intended.

‘Mix’ powdered cannabis from Made by Science & THC Design, courtesty Made by Science

Held also notes that powdered cannabis never has to be cooked, if the chef chooses that route. Since the cannabinoids and terpenes in a powdered product don’t require heat for infusion or activation, these products can achieve a biochemical profile closer to that of the original cannabis strain.

Emily O’Brien — owner of Mondo Meds, another California edibles manufacturer — says consumers of her company’s powdered cannabis often choose to skip the cooking process altogether and eat the powder straight out of the package.

“It has a similar texture to cotton candy,” says O’Brien. “As soon as you put it on your tongue, it just disappears.” She notes there is a slight hint of cannabis in Mondo Meds’ powder, but “the finish is definitely cacao butter. It leaves a creamy taste in the mouth.”

The simplicity of the powder’s use, of course, doesn’t stop at direct applications to the tongue. O’Brien says powdered cannabis makes any edible preparation as easy as adding a condiment. “You can medicate your food after it’s already plated,” she explains. “After everything is on your plate, you can just sprinkle it on like salt.” No culinary skills required.

Mondo’s powdered cannabis, courtesy Mondo Meds

For now, powdered cannabinoid mixes are primarily available only on U.S. west coast, but the companies interviewed here plan to expand eastward into legal markets in coming months. Yet the powdered cannabis method is catching on internationally, extending as far as the U.K., where cannabis remains illegal even for medical use.

ToKe, who requested anonymity for this story, belongs to the Hemel Hempstead Cannabis Club — an underground medical cannabis collective in England. Because commercial cannabis products from the U.S. are unavailable, marijuana patients and their caregivers there must resort to making their own.  

ToKe has provided powdered cannabinoid and terpene mixes, made from scratch, to the collective’s patients for the past year. He says he got the idea from a friend who is a molecular gastronomist, a type of culinary artist that prepares dishes using cutting-edge chemistry techniques. But you don’t have to be a trained chef to make powdered weed at home, he says.

“There’s a lot of food-grade emulsifiers you can buy,” ToKe told MERRY JANE over the phone. “Ingredients that turn oil into a powder, to create a powdered chocolate. I thought maybe that would work with cannabis oil. I tried it, and it did.”

Due to the legal situation in the U.K., ToKe reports that more and more persons using marijuana for medical purposes are seeking out powdered cannabis. Because of its form and lack of odor, there’s much less risk associated with possessing or using it. Although he believes powdered weed will gain more popularity because of its versatility, he cautions others to treat powdered cannabis as a medical product with broad but not quite universal applicability.

“Because it’s a complex carbohydrate, it contains sugars — in terms of using it for cancer it’s probably not great,” warns ToKe. Some cancers may be exacerbated by high carbohydrate intake, a phenomenon dubbed the Warburg effect. “But using it for any other medical condition,” he claims, “it works well for.”

Back in the U.S., Held foresees a future where powdered weed products like those offered by Made by Science “will replace oil-based ingredients in edibles.” He “strongly believes [that] better dispersion and ingredient integrity will substantially increase shelf life. It will also allow for a more compliant product that delivers on consistent experience.” Now that the industry has spoken, it’s time for avid marijuana consumers in legal states to put powdered cannabis to the test.

Massachusetts Celebrates Legal Weed as Regulators Seek to Make Amends for Drug War

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As of last Friday, the first phase of Massachusetts’ voter-approved legalization ballot measure went into effect, allowing adults to possess up to 10 ounces of weed at home, and one ounce on their person. Legal retail sales are expected to begin in July 2018, once state officials have established regulations for the legal market. To celebrate, weed enthusiasts, industry insiders, and cannabis advocates came out in force this past weekend at the inaugural Harvest Cup.

The two-day Harvest Cup, held at the DCU Center in Worcester, featured a trade-show exhibition of cannabis growers, vendors, and advocates, a competition offering awards in six categories, and a variety of speakers discussing everything from cannabis history and infused cooking to business advice. But the highlight of the show was a 100-foot-long joint rolled with 1,000 grams of weed. The mammoth joint required 40 people, 3,000 yards of rolling paper, and over a month of work, CBS Boston reports.

Peter Bernard, president of the Massachusetts Grower Advocacy Council, one of the event’s sponsors, told The Telegram & Gazette that he was hoping to have “a little bit of celebration to bring this out of the shadows and let the average Joe know this is not just some room that stinks like patchouli and is filled with hippies. We’re coming out of the ‘pot closet,’ so to speak.” Sellers of cannabis products, including bongs, grow lights, and merch came out to the event to hawk their wares, and cannabis advocates and attorneys set up booths to offer their services, too.

“People are going to need legal services [due to the] regulatory maze that is still being developed as we speak,” attorney George Richards said to MassLive. The state’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) recently put the current draft of this “maze” of regulations up for public comment, after which they will be updated and made into law by March. In addition to regulations concerning cannabis cafes, home delivery, and research facilities, legislators are also working on regulations that would provide equal opportunities in the industry for the economically disadvantaged.

The CCC has created the framework for a priority review process for applicants from communities who have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs. In order to qualify for this priority review process, the applicant must meet two of the following criteria: the majority of the business owners have lived in a disproportionately-impacted community for five of the last ten years; the majority of owners have economic empowerment experience; the majority of employees reside in disproportionately-impacted communities, or that the majority of employees have prior drug-related convictions.

“If an applicant can show they meet the criteria the commission puts in place, the applicant will move ahead in line so hopefully they can open their doors sooner,” Commissioner Shaleen Title said to the Worcester Business Journal. The CCC will meet in January to further expand the precise definition of “communities that have previously been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement,” using arrest and economic data.

The commission also approved an equity program that would provide eligible applicants with fee waivers as well as technical assistance with taxes, employee training, accounting, and other issues related to starting up a business.

What Are These Creepy Creatures In This Dude’s Attic?

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Have you ever been hanging out, minding your own business and all of a sudden, you see some creepy creatures in the crawlspace? Your mind immediately goes to some dark and twisted places. You swear that you have some sort of cryptid or monster in your house. Or maybe, you think for sure that you’ve just made first contact with an alien species. You hope that, whatever the situation really is, you make it out alive. That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago in a city in India. Was this a Close Encounters of the Third Kind situation? Or was it much more benign and terrestrial?

First Contact?

In the Indian port city of Visakhapatnam, a shipyard worker stumbled upon a terrifying site. Two strange, creepy creatures with huge dark eyes, pointed faces and stiff, upright postures in the crawlspace of the employees’ lavatory. They’re striking, for sure. But what are they? The shipyard worker who made this wild discovery did what most of us would do in our era of “pics or it didn’t happen”. He took a video.

The video by itself is fairly chilling. The creatures, standing upright, stare down the worker with the camera. They’re small—remember, the worker found them in the crawlspace— but the way they stare unflinchingly at the camera is entirely unnerving. The grainy quality of the video adds to the horror-sci-fi vibe. Unsurprisingly, the video went viral in India. People who watched it were convinced that aliens were hanging out in a bathroom in a Visakhapatnam shipyard.

Final Hit: What Are These Creepy Creatures?

So what were these creepy creatures in the ceiling? Were they aliens? Were they interdimensional creatures sent through some portal to wreak havoc and destruction? The truth isn’t all that earth-shattering. As it turns out, the creatures that the shipyard worker filmed were owls. Barn owls, to be exact. They were severely malnourished, which is why they vaguely resembled Roswell Greys. Since Indian law protects the barn owl species, locals have speculated that animals were safely removed so that they could be nursed back to health and rehabilitated to go back into the wild.

Or is that explanation too convenient? Check out the video below and decide for yourself: alien or owl?

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Germany Is Burning Marijuana For Heat

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When it comes to combating the wicked war on weed, it is typical for law enforcement agencies all across the globe to destroy seized marijuana. It is sort of a chubby middle finger buried in the sphincter of the culture of all highness, a combustible sacrifice to the proverbial gods of government, just to let them know that pigs are still running the farm.

But in Germany, where President Trump’s version of American politics was born and bred through occult magick, incestuous orgies and good old-fashioned brute force, police are apparently using the marijuana confiscated from large black market busts to heat the homes of Munich residents.

That’s right, the pigs are turning pot into power.

According to a recent report from Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s customs officials spent the majority of last week trying to devise a quicker method of getting rid of more than 1,200 pounds of Albanian Kush, rather than simply tossing it on the fire pit out behind the station.

The shepherds of all things imports and exports had been storing the sizeable load for some time. The shipment, which was confiscated just south of Nuremberg last December, contained enough green mamba to roll nearly 3.8 million joints, the report showed—about $6 million worth of weed.

It was evident that the agency’s more traditional means of doobie destruction were going to be subpar in this particular case. There just wasn’t enough time in the day to have customs agents standing around a fire trying to wipe 60 moving boxes full of weed off the face of the planet.

That’s when someone in the department proposed the idea of trucking the exceptionally large stash over to the waste-incineration plant where it could be turned into power.

The report goes on to say that the seized marijuana, which was shown to have a THC content of 16 percent, was incinerated at temperatures between 900 and 1,000 degrees Celsius.

This means we are roughly 100 percent sure that there isn’t even enough left in the incinerator to get a resin hit.

Although the seized weed can no longer bring holiday cheer to the locals; over the next few days, it will provide them with light and a warm place to lay their heads while they scour the neighborhood for a new dealer.

“The incineration of the material is used to generate heating and electricity for the people in the region,” plant manager Thomas König told the news source.

On the upside, maybe Munich residents are catching a fiendish buzz every time the heat kicks on.

Germany made the decision last year to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, but it is still illegal at the recreational level. However, the average stoner doesn’t really have much to worry about in the grand scheme of legal troubles. It is considered “self harm” to smoke pot in Germany rather a crime, according to a recent report from Newsweek.

Some believe this policy is the best version of decriminalization, as it really only leaves hardcore dope slingers open to have their skulls cracked against the walls of the criminal justice system. Because of this, there is a substantial black market in Germany for recreational reefer. In fact, the latest cannabis cremation was reportedly pulled out of a big rig driven by a 61-year-old driver from Serbia. That cat is still sitting in jail because he has, so far, refused to reveal the exact origin of the herb.

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Cory Booker Finds Co-Sponsor For Marijuana Legalization Bill

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New Jersey Senator Cory Booker remains at the forefront of cannabis legalization, not only in the state of New Jersey but on a federal level.

Back in August, Booker introduced a progressive new policy to federal lawmakers called the Marijuana Justice Act, which would effectively remove cannabis from the controlled substances list, amongst a plethora of other things.

This week, his endeavor, once again, picked up steam as the New Jersey senator received the support of  U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, who became the first U.S. Senator to officially co-sponsor the marijuana legalization bill.

A Dynamic Duo: Cory Booker Finds Co-Sponsor For Marijuana Legalization Bill

On Monday, the senators took to Facebook Live to express their excitement over the new team-up. Booker noted that their conjoined effort is necessary to stop the broken prohibition system the U.S. currently employs.

“I’m thrilled that my colleague, Senator Wyden, has joined me on this groundbreaking bill,” Senator Booker said.“It’s long past due that we fix our nation’s deeply broken drug laws, which disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color. This is more than a bill—it’s about ensuring equal justice for all, and I won’t stop fighting until our criminal justice system is reformed.”

Wyden echoed Booker’s sentiments and noted that with the Trump administration in place, it’s more important than ever to fight for change.

“Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are still trying to fight a 1980s drug war that is socially unjust, economically backward and against the will of the American people,” Wyden said. “I’m proud to join forces with Senator Booker to fight this administration’s attempts to shift our country into reverse when it comes to federal marijuana policy. It’s more important now than ever to update outdated policies, right the wrongs against communities of color, and continue our work to lift up the voices of the many Americans who are speaking out in favor of legalization.”

Final Hit: Cory Booker Finds Co-Sponsor For Marijuana Legalization Bill

Booker, who took office back in 2013 after serving as the mayor of Newark from 2006-13, has been an outspoken critic of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration’s attempts to double down on cannabis prohibition, despite the progress made over the past several years.

To combat Sessions, Booker proposed the aforementioned Marijuana Justice Act, which, according to his website, will do as follows:

·         Remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances, making it legal at the federal level;

·         Incentivize states through federal funds to change their marijuana laws if marijuana in the state is illegal and the state disproportionately arrests or incarcerates low-income individuals and people of color for marijuana-related offenses;

·         Automatically expunge federal marijuana use and possession crimes;

·         Allow an individual currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana use or possession crimes to petition a court for a resentencing;

·         Create a community reinvestment fund to reinvest in communities most impacted by the failed War on Drugs and allow those funds to be invested in the following programs:

o   Job training;

o   Reentry services;

o   Expenses related to the expungement of convictions;

o   Public libraries;

o   Community centers;

o   Programs and opportunities dedicated to youth; and

o   Health education programs.

Booker also noted that he believes the federal government is behind the eight ball when it comes to marijuana policy and should reform policy to mirror that of incumbent state laws in pot-friendly regions. He pointed to the rescheduling of cannabis as a solid step in the right direction.

“Descheduling marijuana and applying that change retroactively to people currently serving time for marijuana offenses is a necessary step in correcting this unjust system,” Booker said. “States have so far led the way in reforming our criminal justice system and it’s about time the federal government catches up and begins to assert leadership.”

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Purdue Pharma Looking To Settle Opioid Lawsuits

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In a desperate attempt to avoid being sued into the pits of bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the rock star painkiller OxyContin, is on the move to settle opioid lawsuits all over the country. A recent report from Bloomberg suggests the company could offer states “payoffs” to keep from being implicated in the U.S opioid epidemic.

It seems the orders coming down from the boardrooms of Big Pharma is to throw money at those states affected by the opioid crisis and hope that it is enough to keep the situation out of court. Apparently, Purdue has sent a legal team out into the field to see how well received the concept of a settlement is to state attorneys general. The goal is to strike up a preliminary deal and prevent more states from launching investigations.

The company has to do something to stop the bleeding.

Earlier this year, a number of cities and county jurisdictions filed lawsuits against opioid manufactures in a manner that has been compared to the litigation that once surrounded the tobacco companies.

As it stands, there are more than 40 attorneys general elbow deep in the probe, all of whom are searching for someone to blame for allowing prescription opioids to spiral into a national death rattle.

Some of the latest data shows that 64,000 people died in 2015 as a result of an opioid overdose—a large portion of these deaths have been attributed to prescription painkillers, like OxyContin and Percocet.

However, multi-billion dollar corporations like Purdue argue that they should not be held responsible for the demise of those tens of thousands of American because the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved their product, as well as its safety warnings.

In these cases, judges are saying that they must look to the findings of the FDA in order to determine whether painkillers, like OxyContin, were branded with the appropriate risks.

But the problem here is not with the fact that these drugs are manufactured and sold. These lawsuits suggest that the opioid situation became a public health crisis because of the way Purdue and other pharmaceutical companies were allowed to market the drug.

The drug companies are frightened by the prospect of losing this fight, which is why they have come, loaded for bear.

The word on the street is that Purdue has brought in attorney Sheila Birnbaum to handle the settlement issue. Birnbaum is the 76-year-old shark credited with winning a number of high-dollar mass tort cases, including the $765 million NFL concussion settlement. There is very little doubt that she will go for the jugular in an attempt to resolve this matter.

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Coast Guard Intercepts Submarine-Like Boat With 3800 Lbs Of Cocaine

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A self-propelled, semi-submersible vessel that was smuggling more than 3,800 pounds of cocaine was intercepted by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, off the coast of Texas, according to a statement released on December 8, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels are low-profile vessels designed to navigate low in the water to avoid detection.

However, on November 13, a CBP and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) crew, in coordination with interagency partners, pursued a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel engaged in cocaine smuggling.

CBP and AMO apprehended the three-person crew during joint operations in international waters. All three suspects will face charges in the U.S.

Allen Durham, the National Air Security Operations Center Corpus Christi Director, said in a statement that drug cartels are “relentless and extremely innovative” and that “interdicting self-propelled, semi-submersible vessels requires expertise and the right aircraft.”

“Air and Marine Operations will continue to beat the cartels at their own game to protect our borders,” Durham added.

The multi-day operation from surveillance to interception, according to CBP, involved several interagency sea-faring partners including the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.

Marine Operations controls maritime patrol aircrafts from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida. They conduct long-range aerial patrols and surveillance missions along the U.S. borders and in drug transit zones in Central and South America, according to CBP. The aircrews are trained to detect and disrupt drug smugglers before they reach the U.S. borders

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Haiti: Narco-Compromised Army To Be Unleashed On Drug Gangs

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After 13 years of occupying the country—during which they fired on protesters and accidentally introduced cholera to the island, setting off an epidemic—UN “peacekeepers” were finally withdrawn from Haiti in October. To take up the slack in fighting drug gangs in the capital Port-au-Prince, the United Nations has called for increased international support for the 15,000-strong Haitian National Police.

But this call is cast in a dubious light by a harrowing November 18 Al Jazeera report on what appears to have been a police massacre during a supposed anti-gang raid on a Port-au-Prince school. The raid ended in at least seven dead—including students and teachers, all evidently unarmed. Local residents are saying the number of dead may actually be higher and assert that there were no armed men inside the school when National Police troops charged in and opened fire.

Some of the victims may have been killed execution-style in retaliation for the slaying of two police agents elsewhere in Port-au-Prince earlier that day.

Deja Vu For Dictatorship

Amid all this, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise is moving to re-establish the country’s army after 22 years—in the name of fighting the narco-gangs, of course.

On November 16, he named former army colonel Jodel Lesage as acting commander-in-chief, moving troops closer to full operation, Reuters reported. The appointment still needs to be approved by Haiti’s Senate But two days later, Moise welcomed the army’s anticipated return with a parade featuring dozens of camouflaged soldiers toting rifles in the northern coastal city of Cap-Haitien

Haiti has been without an army since 1995, when populist president Jean-Bertrand Aristide disbanded the military after returning to power following a coup. But veteran officers of the disbanded army were behind the 2004 coup that ousted Aristide for a second and final time. And some of these same veteran officers are themselves implicated in the narco trade.

But the most notorious of these is Guy Philippe, a former paramilitary enforcer for the gang behind the 2004 coup, who was arrested by the DEA in Port-au-Prince in January and flown to Miami to stand trial on cocaine trafficking charges. In June, he was sentenced to nine years in prison after copping a plea—admitting to a money laundering charge in exchange for the dropping of a trafficking charge that could have sent him to prison for life.

And, as National Public Radio noted, Moise is bringing back the army just as angry protests are breaking out, demanding his ouster over his unpopular plan to hike taxes on Haiti’s already suffering poor.

So with the National Police already unleashing tear-gas and water-cannons on protesters, the army will once again be on hand to apply yet greater repression—as under the old regime of dictator-for-life Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, overthrown by a popular revolution in 1986. Baby Doc died in 2014 a free man, without ever facing charges for the long reign of terror by his army and paramilitary forces.

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How The U.S. And Mexico Plan To Stop The Flow Of Illegal Drugs

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Despite the fact that federal leaders have spent decades unsuccessfully trying to take down their chosen bogeymen of the illegal drug trade, the United States and Mexico now believe they have what it takes to stop what has been called  “transnational criminal organizations” (TCO) from capitalizing on the junkie mentality. Take a look at how the U.S. and Mexico plan to stop the flow of illegal drugs across the border.

It was a laughable scene in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, set up to convince the sheeple of both nations that neighboring governments are working together to open a can of whoop-ass on cartel operations and prevent thousands of people from dying each year from overdoses and gang-related violence. But the new agreement signed between the U.S. and Mexico, enhancing cross-border communications, is really nothing more than a masturbatory ritual designed to show that Trump is serious about preventing a doomsday drug culture.

He’s not. And he can’t. But it sounds good to the 50 or so people who still support his presidency.

“This administration refuses to ignore the problem. The United States will no longer turn the other way or sweep this issue under the rug,” said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. “That is why President [Donald] Trump has made a commitment to fight the opioid epidemic that has destroyed the lives of so many individuals and families throughout our country.”

It was just a few months ago that the Trump administration finally got off their fat cans and decided it was time to declare the opioid problem a “national health crisis.” The president spewed a lot of ideas over how he plans to “Make American Sober Again,” but he and his opioid commission have stopped short of coming up with anything revolutionary.

Supposedly, part of the plan is to make it easier for people to enter into drug rehab programs.

But research has proven that treatment really only has a 30 percent success rate. So, in order for the other 70 percent to having a fighting chance at getting clean, they will either have to learn to “Just Say No…again,” or rely on the federal governments to stop the flow of drugs.

Realistically, neither is ever going to happen.

One of the major culprits in this new drug war is fentanyl. This super strong opioid is being used with a variety of illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine.

Just last month, Trump rattled the cage of Chinese officials, calling the country the choke point of fentanyl production. But now, the Department of Justice says this high-powered opioid, which can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine, is also coming up from the south.

“Fentanyl is—originally started mostly from China. It’s being sent in by mail directly to the United States,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters. “A considerable amount has been shipped to Mexico and then enters across the border in some fashion from Mexico.”

“We are also seeing precursor chemicals in Mexico and manufacturing labs begin to develop in Mexico,” he continued. “So one of the priorities I would like to see us do is to nip that in the bud, stay very intensely focused on those laboratories, and make sure that it does not become a big problem in the future.”

But Sessions doesn’t really have a clue how his department will accomplish this. As you can imagine, a brainstorm in this administration is somewhere between a light sprinkle and a drought.

As for Mexico, officials there officered the same vague explanation for how the latest agreement between the U.S. will actually work to prevent death and destruction at the hands of drug cartels.

“Thousands of Americans die due to overdoses. Thousands of Mexicans die due to the violence generated by illegal drug trafficking. And we will only be able to solve this problem by working together,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.

All that is known, at least according to a letter sent to United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, is the countries have now made a “conscious decision” to stop the flow of drugs. Ah, color us… impressed?

In the mind of President Trump, he still believes crippling the dope slinging operations is as simple as building an enormous wall separating the U.S and Mexico. But the orange-haired goon has been in office for almost a full year and the government still has very little figured out with respect to implementing this ridiculous, multi-billion dollar plan.

The latest word is that the budget will do away with some border security technology to build more physical barriers between the two countries.

Experts argue the wall will have no affect on drug smuggling.

Mexican officials say that despite Trump’s backward agenda, it will not prevent them from working with the U.S. to save the lives of people caught up in illegal drugs.

“There is more that unites us than what divides us. The security of our people is the higher good for both administrations,” said Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong.

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VA Rolls Out New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

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There has always been some disconnect between veterans and medical marijuana.

Although there has been plenty of evidence to suggest cannabis would be beneficial to veterans for a wide array of ailments, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been reluctant to allow their doctors to formally recommend it as a treatment option. However, as the VA rolls out a new medical marijuana policy tor vets, it appears doctors are now permitted to at least discuss potential use with their patients.

A New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

No, VA doctors are still not permitted to recommend medicinal cannabis to their veteran patrons. However, under the new guidelines, doctors can discuss the possibility with their patients, who can then get a formal recommendation from another doctor.

Essentially, the VA is saying it will not be responsible for providing veterans with medical marijuana, but it won’t disallow patients from getting medical pot from private practitioners.

“Veterans must not be denied VHA services solely because they are participating in State-approved marijuana programs,” the new policy states.

However, the policy continues the VA’s longstanding “prohibition on recommending, making referrals to or completing forms and registering Veterans for participation in State-approved marijuana programs.”

Under the new set of guidelines, doctors are also required to closely monitor and record their patients’ use of medical marijuana.

“Clinical staff may discuss with Veterans relevant clinical information regarding marijuana and when this is discussed it must be documented in the Veteran’s medical record,” the policy, which was originally reported on by Forbes, states. “Providers need to make decisions to modify treatment plans based on marijuana use on a case-by-case basis, such decisions need to be made in partnership with the Veteran and must be based on concerns regarding Veteran health and safety.”

Final Hit: VA Rolls Out New Medical Marijuana Policy For Vets

While the new policy urges VA doctors to “discuss with the Veteran marijuana use, due to its clinical relevance to patient care, and discuss marijuana use with any Veterans requesting information about marijuana,” the department claims to still be in compliance with federal law, which still considers cannabis a Schedule I narcotic.

V.A. Secretary David Shulkin reiterated as much during a White House briefing back in May.

“Until time the federal law changes, we are not able to be able to prescribe medical marijuana for conditions that may be helpful,” he said.

However, the VA’s interpretation of the country’s medical marijuana laws could be considered misguided.

According to a 2003 Supreme Court ruling, doctors own the First Amendment right to recommend medical cannabis to patients, as long as they don’t actually give their patients the cannabis themselves. Under the current federal law, doctors are not permitted to prescribe patients marijuana like other drugs, but they are allowed to provide recommendations that allows patients to purchase it themselves at medical dispensaries.

So while Shulkin and the rest of the VA may cite federal law for their staunch policy, in reality, it’s their own doing. The brand new policy is set to run through the end of 2022. Hopefully, by then, veterans will have an even easier time getting their hands on the plant. But for now, this is a step in the right direction.

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