55 Years For Pot: John Oliver Exposes The Horrors Of Sentencing Guidelines (Video)

By Alan Clifton for Forward Progressive

Over the last few years I’ve become a fairly staunch advocate for a complete overhaul of our criminal justice system. In particular, the way we treat drug and other non-violent offenses. While I’m not saying those who distribute, sell or traffic drugs shouldn’t face punishment, I just think it’s absurd how we’re literally ruining lives because of mistakes often linked to a person’s socioeconomic upbringing, which is often tied to poverty and the lack of a quality education. To hear about stories where some 20-year-old gets sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for selling a minuscule amount of drugs is appalling.

Just think about this for a moment: There are people serving longer prison sentences for minor drug offenses than some murderers, terrorists and rapists received. Then there are those who don’t even sell drugs, they just use them. One of the most idiotic things we do in this country is treat addicts like criminals. There’s a difference between a criminal and someone who breaks the law. Someone buying and using an illegal substance is breaking the law, no doubt, but that doesn’t immediately make them a dangerous criminal who shouldn’t be on our streets. That just makes them someone we need to help beat a psychological addiction to something that could be doing damage.

Well, last night John Oliver addressed one of the most controversial aspects to our criminal justice system – mandatory minimum sentences. These are laws that are put in place which doom people to ridiculously long prison sentences based on predetermined factors involved in a crime rather than the actual context of whatever crime(s) they commit.

One specific case Oliver pointed out concerned Weldon Angelos, a man who was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana. Now, am I saying Angelos shouldn’t have faced some sort of punishment for illegally selling drugs? Of course not.

But I think 18 months to 2 years is more than an adequate punishment for someone unlawfully selling something that’s now legal in four states in our country. Angelos’ sentence was so absurd that even the judge who issued it disagreed with its length when he handed it out – but because of mandatory sentencing laws, he didn’t have a choice.

But he’s just one of tens of thousands of inmates currently serving prison sentences that essentially equate to cruel and unusual punishment. I’ll put it to you this way: My half-sister’s father was murdered just a couple of years ago – but because of a plea deal, his murderer will be out before Weldon Angelos, who was sentenced 13 years ago for selling marijuana.

These mandatory sentencing laws have been ruining lives since the 1980′s with countless people getting extremely lengthy or life sentences for non-violent crimes.

It’s disgusting.

This is an issue that’s become so archaic that it’s done the unthinkable – it’s brought both Republicans and Democrats together in Congress. And while it’s nice to see some rare bipartisanship in Congress (though some idiots still oppose it), the change our judicial system needs as it pertains to these sentences is moving far too slowly. Not only that, but as Americans we must demand these individuals who’ve fallen victim to mandatory minimums be allowed to have their sentences reviewed so that they can be given the freedom so many of them deserved a long time ago.
And while I would like to help every single person suffering because of these unjust laws, let’s try to at least help one. Here are various ways in which we can all pester the heck out of President Obama, the White House and other elected officials for a good cause:
I’d recommend calls, emails, Twitter messages – any way you can think of or are comfortable using to contact them. Tell them it’s time Weldon Angelos, and many others like him, are given new sentences or set free for crimes they’ve already paid for tenfold. These are human lives we’re talking about, many of them parents, and it’s time we put an end to these draconian and unjust punishments.

No Bones About It: Cannabis May Be Used to Treat Fractures

Editor’s note: We’ve copied this directly from Tel Aviv University, though it contains an error with regard to the belief that cannabis is dangerously addictive, as has been noted in the comments section below.

TAU researcher finds non-psychotropic compound in marijuana can help heal bone fissures

From Tel Aviv University

Cannabis — marijuana, hashish — was used as a go-to medical remedy by societies around the world for centuries. But the therapeutic use of marijuana was banned in most countries in the 1930s and ’40s due to a growing awareness of the dangers of addiction. The significant medical benefits of marijuana in alleviating symptoms of such diseases as Parkinson’s, cancer, and multiple sclerosis have only recently been reinvestigated. Continue reading

Cannabis Promotes Healthy Bone Metabolism

Excerpt and image from Halcion Organics

A 2010 experimental study concluded that cannabinoids may be an effective treatment for multifaceted bone diseases like osteoporosis.  This was an in vivo study performed on mice.  At a clinical level, humans and mice have a lot in common!

This study determined that endocannabinoids and their receptors are involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.  It found that pharmacological and genetic inactivation of the CB1, CB2, and GPR55 receptors in adult mice increase bone mass, suppress bone resorption, and protect against bone loss.  This means that CB1 and CB2 agonists and antagonists may prevent or even reverse the pathology of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

Here are the two studies that were referenced in this article.

Cannabinoid Receptors as Target for Treatment of Osteoporosis

Endocannabinoids regulate bone metabolism


CBD may therefore recruit MSCs to sites of calcifying tissue regeneration and subsequently support bone regeneration via an osteoanabolic action on MSCs. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24304686

10 Reasons Why Federal Medical Marijuana Prohibition Is About to Go Up in Smoke


By Steph Sherer / Huffington Post

Photo Credit: Matthew Benoit

When I first opened the D.C. office for Americans for Safe Access (ASA) in 2006, to bring representation of medical marijuana patients to our nation’s capitol, I was told by many it was not worth the effort.  A quick skim of the political landscape back then showed we would be facing a steep slope. Sure, twelve states had passed medical marijuana laws and  80% of Americans supported medical cannabis access, but the federal government refused to admit that medical cannabis patients existed.  The talking points from federal agencies were always “there is no such thing as medical marijuana,” and most members of Congress were paralyzed by fears of backlash or were dug into to refer madness. Continue reading

Seniors Are Seeking Out States Where Marijuana is Legal


The top moving destination in 2014 was Oregon, which voted to legalize marijuana last November.

When choosing retirement locales, a few factors pop to mind: climate, amenities, proximity to grandchildren, access to quality healthcare.

Chris Cooper had something else to consider – marijuana laws.

The investment adviser from Toledo had long struggled with back pain due to a fractured vertebra and crushed disc from a fall. He hated powerful prescription drugs like Vicodin, but one thing did help ease the pain and spasms: marijuana.

So when Cooper, 57, was looking for a place to retire, he ended up in San Diego, since California allows medical marijuana. A growing number of retirees are also factoring in the legalization of pot when choosing where to spend their golden years.

“Stores are packed with every type of person you can imagine,” said Cooper who takes marijuana once or twice a week, often orally. “There are old men in wheelchairs, or women whose hair is falling out from chemotherapy. You see literally everybody.”

Cooper, who figures he spends about $150 on the drug each month, is not alone in retiring to a marijuana-friendly state.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing medical marijuana use. A handful – Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and D.C. – allow recreational use as well.

The U.S. legal marijuana market was $2.7 billion in 2014, a figure expected to rise to $3.4 billion this year, according to ArcView Market Research.

Figuring out how many people are retiring to states that let you smoke pot is challenging since retirees do not have to check off a box on a form saying why they chose a particular location to their final years.

But “there is anecdotal evidence that people with health conditions which medical marijuana could help treat, are relocating to states with legalized marijuana,” said Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy at University of California, Los Angeles who studies retiree migration trends.

He cited data from United Van Lines, which show the top U.S. moving destinations in 2014 was Oregon, where marijuana had been expected to be legalized for several years and finally passed a ballot initiative last November.

Two-thirds of moves involving Oregon last year were inbound. That is a 5 percent jump over the previous year, as the state “continues to pull away from the pack,” the moving company said in a report.

The Mountain West – including Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2000, and recreational use in 2012 – boasted the highest percentage of people moving there to retire, United Van Lines said. One-third of movers to the region said they were going there specifically to retire.

Lining Up for Pot

The image of marijuana-using seniors might seem strange, but it is the byproduct of a graying counterculture. Much of the baby boom generation was in college during the 1960s and 70s, and have had much more familiarity with the drug than previous generations.

Many of the health afflictions of older Americans push them to seek out dispensaries for relief.

“A lot of the things marijuana is best at are conditions which become more of an issue as you get older,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the Denver-based National Cannabis Industry Association. “Chronic pain, inflammation, insomnia, loss of appetite: All of those things are widespread among seniors.”

Since those in their 60s and 70s presumably have no desire to be skulking around on the criminal market in states where usage is outlawed, it makes sense they would gravitate to states where marijuana is legal.

“In Colorado, since legalization, many dispensaries have seen the largest portion of sales going to baby boomers and people of retirement age,” West said.

The folks at the sales counters agree: Their clientele has proven to be surprisingly mature.

“Our demographic is not punk kids,” added Karl Keich, founder of Seattle Medical Marijuana Association, a collective garden in Washington State. “About half of the people coming into our shop are seniors. It’s a place where your mother or grandmother can come in and feel safe.”
From TIME/Reuters

Muscle knots (and much more) treated with topical cannabis cream

From a comment made to the NYT article Ask Well: Muscle ‘Knots’

On the West Coast we have another solution – Oil based whole plant cannabis creams work surprisingly well. The CBD in cannabis has anti-spasmodic properties (think of how it helps kids with epilepsy). Skeletal muscles have the needed receptors (CB1 and CB2) to benefit from this. The unknotting happens within 10 minutes. Rub it in well but you don’t need to do the trigger point massage. ‘Comfort Cream’ is one brand that works particularly well. Avoid the alcohol based versions – they don’t seem to penetrate the skin to the muscle as well.

(Hat tip: Wings)

Via Toke of the Town ~

Salves_SLetts (2)sized.jpg
All photos by Sharon Letts
The Bud Sister’s Pain Relief Salve, infused with lemongrass
Lotions, Salves & Oils… Oh, my!
By Sharon Letts
“Why would you put something in your mouth, you can’t swallow?” my friend asked, showing me the label of a trusted tube of toothpaste.
It was 1975. I was 16, she was 17, and the “Clean Air & Water Acts” were in effect, opening up a whole new topic of conversation at home…. How would we make our own difference? Shortly after that conversation I bought my first tube of “Tom’s of Maine” (Fennel) toothpaste, and have not looked back.
Around that same time my mom gave me my first bottle of fancy face lotion – “Oil of Olay.” The glass bottle of thin, pink cream with its black cap seemed elegant and French to my young, impressionable mind. It smelled good, was soft on my face, and I had seen it in magazines. It must have been alright, right?
Humans: Putting Things in our Mouths from the Day we are Born
The thing is, up until this past year, I’ve spread that shit all over my face since — not knowing what it’s made of — never making the correlation between ingesting and skin as a sponge — which is really, the same thing.

Continue reading

Now is the time to ask your burning questions about Cannabis – upcoming interview with Christina Sánchez, molecular biologist & cannabinoid researcher

Sometime next week medicalmarijuana.com.au will have the honour of interviewing the esteemed molecular biologist Dr Cristina Sánchez PhD.

Dr Sanchez has devoted the past 10 years to cannabinoid research, and most recently ” new cannabinoid receptors and their possible involvement in cannabinoid antitumoral action in breast cancer and other type of tumors.”

Now with this honour comes great responsibility! What do I ask a such an educated person on the subject of medical cannabis?

Then my friend Dennis Hill came to mind. I put the question to Dennis and he quickly replied with these two pertinent questions: (Thanks Dennis)

Question 1;

We know that CBD inhibits the mental effects of THC, but does this action also inhibit any of the therapeutic capabilities of THC? Do you know the mechanism of how CBD inhibits the mental effects of THC?

Question 2;

Please explain the entourage effect of how phytocannabinoids and other cannabis enzymes work cooperatively to efficiently and effectively treat cancer?

So now I have two great questions for Cristina, but I want more!

Hence, I’m giving you bloggers and supporters of Patients for Medical Cannabis the opportunity to ask Dr Cristina Sánchez a question related to her research. No guarantees the questions will be used, but all questions are much appreciated.

Please email steve@medicalmarijuana.com.au before 19/7/15 or 7/19/15 ….. by next Sunday.

About Dr Cristina Sánchez;

Cristina Sánchez (Madrid, Spain, 1971) graduated in Biology at Madrid Complutense University in 1994.

She started her scientific career as an undergraduate student at the laboratory of Dr. Ramos and Dr. Fernández­ Ruiz  (School of Medicine, Complutense University), where she first took contact with the field of cannabinoid research. Once graduated, she moved to Dr. Guzmán’s laboratory (School of Biology, Complutense University), where she studied the effect of cannabinoids on lipid and carbohydrate intermediate metabolism first and on cancer cell proliferation later. She obtained her PhD with Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Complutense University in 2000.

During her postdoc at Dr. Piomelli’s laboratory (University of California Irvine, 2000­2003) she studied the involvement of another group of bioactive lipids (lysophosphatidic acid and related compounds) on pain initiation.

In 2004, Cristina returned to Spain with a “Ramón y Cajal” contract (aimed at repatriating Spanish researchers from abroad) and she started coordinating a new line of research within Dr. Guzmán’s laboratory. In particular, the goal of her research is to understand and exploit cannabinoids as potential antitumoral agents in breast cancer. More recently, she has also focused her attention on new cannabinoid receptors and their possible involvement in cannabinoid antitumoral action in breast cancer and other type of tumors.

reference: http://www.bbm1.ucm.es/cannabis/cristinasanchezinicio_en.htm

recent publications Dr Cristina Sánchez has been involved with can be viewed here: