Female Forward: Periods, Hormones and THC

Hormones are powerful chemicals that are constantly fluctuating and influencing the ways in which our bodies respond to our environments. Sex hormones, and in particular those produced in the ovaries, have been shown to play prominent roles in regulating cognitive and behavioural functioning of cisgender women.*

There are two studies that examine the relationship between cannabis and the menstrual cycle, both of which were done in the 1980s. Neither study satisfies the ‘gold standard’ of scientific inquiry: a randomized double-blind placebo study, large sample groups and few limiting and/or confounding factors.

The first study was on self-reported cannabis use during the menstrual cycle. The sample size was small with only 28 women included. Further, the nature of the study design did not account for the different ways in which women consume cannabis.

The second study was at least randomized and double-blind, but still does not reflect modern cannabis use: the potency of THC used was 1.8% and the sample size was, again, small. Currently, the average percentage of THC per strain is 7-10% and some strains can go as high as 25%!

The study found that there were no significant relationships between THC and sex hormones in women. However, based on the potency of THC used, take these results with a grain of salt.

Instead, let’s examine the specific effects THC has shown to have on ovarian hormones and vice versa.

Like Hormones, Tolerance Can Fluctuate

Women generally have higher tolerances for THC compared to men, for a few reasons.

Consider the chemical properties of THC. It is lipophilic, meaning that when it crosses paths with fat cells, it will attach itself to them. You may have heard that THC can stay in your system for weeks to months beyond abstinence–this is why.

For evolutionary purposes, women have higher fat percentages than men, resulting in higher amounts of THC going to fat cells rather than the bloodstream when ingested by women versus men. The result? Not as much THC circulates to get to your brain for that ‘high’ effect to take hold.

Another reason women have a higher tolerance to THC is ovarian hormones. However, which ovarian hormone we are talking about matters. The amount of tolerance you experience depends on which phase of your menstrual cycle you’re in.

The Estrogen (Estrus) Phase

A menstrual cycle is typically 28 days long. The two weeks is called the estrus phase, or how I like to call it, the ‘sexy’ phase: it builds up until you release your egg and ovulate. Those two blissful weeks where acne and pimples lay to rest and B.O. remains a non-issue is evolutionarily, on purpose.

During this phase your ovaries are producing estrogen, the ‘come hither’ hormone– it’s meant to find you a mate, among other things. It heightens your sexual prowess, which includes your sensitivity. Greater awareness generally indicates an animal-like ‘on the hunt’ state.

Studies using rat models have shown that during the estrus phase, females were more sensitive to THC compared to the diestrus phase, the last two weeks of your cycle. Studies conducted on humans examining the effects of caffeine, alcohol, and stimulants found similar results: during the estrus phase, women felt they were more sensitive to the effects of these substances.

During the diestrus phase (ie. after ovulation), sensitivity to cannabis decreases, along with everything else. Progesterone becomes your ovaries’ best friend and you are left feeling cranky, tired, and agitated when these levels are high.

The Progesterone (Diestrus) Phase

The dynamics between THC and female sex hormones can vary. So far, estrogen and THC seem to have a cordial relationship where they build each other up–but what about progesterone?

Poor progesterone, nobody likes them. No surprise there: it’s the major culprit for PMS.

High progesterone levels are correlated with mood swings, tender/sore breasts, fatigue and acne, among others.

Luckily, studies conducted on rhesus monkeys (at least we’re in the primate category!) show that THC reduced the amount of progesterone produced in the diestrus phase. This was not a direct inhibition, which means it ‘modulated’ the production of progesterone–a safer version than simply arresting its production directly.

It’s no wonder that many women are turning to cannabis products during PMS and menses: it helps to level out the effects of progesterone and satisfy a physiological need for cannabinoids.

What I mean by ‘physiological need’ is that studies have shown that CB1 receptor increases in the hypothalamus during the diestrus phase. This means that your body is in demand for cannabinoids–whether you are producing them yourself or ingesting them through cannabis.

Additional studies are needed on the subject of female sex hormones and cannabis. Hormones are highly complex: there are layers to which they affect cognitive functioning (short-term and long-term), physiological changes (CB-1 receptor fluctuation), and their role in the female reproductive system.

However, some things are beginning to be clear. The estrus phase can cause a heightened state of awareness, which tends towards greater sensitivity towards mind-altering substances. The diestrus phase produces progesterone and increases CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus–both of these changes can be helped by a spoonful of THC in the diet.

That being said, consume in moderation and consult your physician if you experience severe symptoms associated with PMS.

*This article uses the terms women, females, men, and males in reference to biological sex.

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Hey, Officer! Stop Arresting Grandma for Her CBD Oil

‘The Haymaker’ is Leafly Deputy Editor Bruce Barcott’s opinion column on cannabis politics and culture.

Hester Burkhalter is my new hero.

Burkhalter is the 69-year-old North Carolina great-grandmother who was arrested last month at an Orlando Disney World security checkpoint after a guard found a small bottle of CBD oil in her purse.

Cops in Orlando opened a new front in the CBD wars when they arrested this badass great-grandmother at Disney World.

Instead of returning grandma’s arthritis medicine to her purse, like a decent person, the guard alerted the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies came a-running.

Burkhalter began her morning expecting to enjoy the Magic Kingdom with her family. Instead she spent 12 hours experiencing all the pleasures the Orange County Jail has to offer. Prosecutors ultimately dropped the cannabis possession charge against her, saying the case wasn’t suitable for prosecution.

Before she left Orlando, though, Hester Burkhalter laid down one of the greatest mug shots I’ve ever seen.

Hester Burkhalter, 69, gives the Orange County Sheriff’s Department a healthy dose of F-you in her mug shot. She’ll see you in court, Orlando.

Smile for the Camera

That is one badass great-grandma. Giving the camera nothing but Blue Steel, pursed lips, no apologies, ready to rip the entire county a new one. And she will–Burkhalter has hired Benjamin Crump, the high-profile lawyer who represented Trayvon Martin’s family. A multimillion-dollar lawsuit is expected to be filed within days. Her gaze at the camera says: I am not wrong.

I wish Hester Burkhalter’s case was an outlier. Sadly, it’s not. The only reason she made the national news is because she was arrested at Disney World.

There are plenty of other grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters being arrested for CBD possession who don’t have the option of retaining the services of Benjamin Crump.

Confusion Reigns Nationwide

Back in December, when Congress ended the federal prohibition of hemp via the farm bill, we here at Leafly worried about the fallout. Hemp is legally defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC, which means it could register as marijuana on a law enforcement field test. Would drivers of delivery trucks loaded with hemp get arrested as drug smugglers? Would people seeking pain relief with hemp-derived CBD get popped for “cannabis oil” possession?

The answer: Yes they would. The cases are piling up:

  • Oklahoma: Andrew Ross, a Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, is facing 18 years to life for providing security for a tractor-trailer load of state-certified hemp from Kentucky.
  • Idaho: An Oregon truck driver was charged with drug trafficking for hauling hemp through Idaho in early April.
  • Ohio: Robert Faulker, 31, was charged with a felony for possessing a half-ounce of CBD oil he takes for anxiety.
  • Nebraska: A mother and her son who opened a CBD shop days after passage of the 2018 farm bill were arrested in Scottsbluff for selling the products.
  • North Carolina: A 16-year-old high-school student was handcuffed and taken to jail when a Gaston County Police Department resource office, conducting a random search, found her medicinal CBD in her backpack.
  • Louisiana: The owner of a Lafayette CBD store was arrested in a raid last month and charged with drug trafficking.

I could go on. (I haven’t even touched on Texas. Hoo boy.)

Well, Is It Legal or Illegal? Yes.

In 2019, we’re living through a transitional phase. Psychologists would call it a liminal state between legality and illegality. It’s a period in which hemp-derived CBD is simultaneously allowed nationwide and prohibited locally.

Today, CBD oil is legal as lemonade in Rapid City, but it’s a felony in Sioux Falls.

Those laws are so confusing that they can vary wildly even within a single state. In South Dakota’s Pennington County, the prosecutor recently declared that he would not prosecute any CBD cases because the products “are not scheduled and are not marijuana under our statutes.” Meanwhile, last month in Minnehaha County, police arrested 57-year-old Bernard Davis, a visiting Alaskan, for having a small bottle of CBD oil in his carry-on bag at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. So basically, CBD oil is legal as lemonade in Rapid City, but it’ll earn you a felony charge in Sioux Falls.

A number of state legislatures have attempted to deal with the new reality thrown at them by the farm bill. Louisiana, among other states, recently tried and failed to agree on regulations surrounding hemp and CBD. In other states, like South Dakota, the British company GW Pharma has successfully lobbied to keep CBD illegal while creating a loophole for its own FDA-approved CBD product, Epidiolex. (For what it’s worth, that’s the exact position the DEA has taken on CBD extracts: Epidiolex is now Schedule IV, while all other extracts remain Schedule I.)

Police: Exercise Common Sense

As we wait for state laws to catch up to the federal farm bill, it falls on individual police officers to carry out the most single most important part of their job: exercising discretion and common sense.

Here’s a tip, officer: Read a damn newspaper. Take five minutes to learn what CBD is.

Many of the cases cited above made news because the officer on the scene simply hadn’t taken the time to read up on CBD and hemp. They went into robocop mode: If the oil smells like weed, cuff ’em and book ’em.

Here’s a tip, officer: Read a damn newspaper. Keep up on what’s happening in the world. Take five minutes to learn what CBD is and how it differs from marijuana. And put that knowledge into action. Police exercise discretion and judgment every minute they’re on the job. Some drivers get warnings, others get tickets. Some beer-drinking kids get sent home to their parents, others get taken to juvie. (The well-documented racial inequities that result from this discretion is a national outrage, of course. But that’s a column for another day.) When cops throw up their hands and say “I don’t write the laws, I just enforce them,” they’re lying.

Sadly, the substance we’re dealing with here is a form of cannabis, and police departments have spent the past 80 years treating people who possess cannabis as if they’re street thugs preying on grandmothers. That’s a lot of institutional culture to combat. But it’s got to happen. Because in 2019, the police are now the ones preying on the grandmothers.

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New Washington Law Will Erase Old Cannabis Convictions

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill Monday aimed at erasing old misdemeanor marijuana convictions, seven years after voters in the state approved an initiative that legalized the drug.

Under the new law, judges are required to grant requests to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession charges that occurred before the drug was legalized, provided the defendant was 21 at the time.

The measure goes further than an earlier marijuana pardon process announced by Inslee, which had stricter eligibility requirements.

“This is a matter of fairness and justice,” Inslee said. “We should not be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in this state.”

The new law will take effect 90 days after the end of this year’s legislative session, which finished up on April 28.

When a conviction is vacated, it is generally removed from a person’s criminal record, and isn’t used as part of the sentencing considerations for any future crime. People with vacated convictions are also not required to mention them on employment or housing applications.

Advocates have called having to list a prior misdemeanor conviction a major barrier to housing and employment, and part of a system of barriers that can make it difficult for people with even minor crimes to escape a cycle of joblessness and housing issues.

After a conviction has been vacated, a person is allowed to state that they were never convicted of that crime, according to an analysis of the bill prepared by nonpartisan legislative staff.

Monday’s signing followed Inslee announcing in January a streamlined pardon process.

But while the pardons were accessible via a simple online form, they had stricter eligibility requirements: Applicants could only apply for the pardon of a single conviction, it had to be the only conviction on their record, and it applied only to state ordinances.

The bill also covers municipal ordinances, and doesn’t require an otherwise clean record.

Some disagreed with the change, however.

State Rep. Brad Klippert, a Kennewick Republican who is also a sheriff’s deputy in Benton County, voted against the bill in the state House, and said Monday that he still opposed it.

“At the time they committed the crime, it was a crime,” said Klippert, adding that consequences should be attached to the decision to break the law, even if the law later changed.

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Leafly Study Debunks Dispensary Myths Around Crime & Teen Use

Evidence-Based Studies Refute Dispensary Fears

When a state legalizes cannabis, local municipal officials are put in a tough spot. They have the power to allow or prohibit cannabis stores from opening in their jurisdiction. It’s done through property zoning.

When the issue comes up for vote, the discussion is often dominated by imagined fears. Law enforcement leaders warn about crime increases. Parents worry about their kids having easier access to cannabis. Real estate agents forecast doom for any neighborhood surrounding a cannabis store. Pew Research has found a 25 point gap between support for legalization (75%), and support for a store nearby (50%).

A review of the research finds that cannabis dispensaries improve public safety, health, and nearby property values–contrary to previous fears.

All too often, the result is a complete ban on cannabis stores–which has the unintentional effect of propping up the local illicit market. Here’s the rub: Cannabis stores actually improve public safety, health, and property values. The research proves it.

In a review of 42 key studies, Leafly’s team of data analysts, researchers, and editors found that the broad body of published research suggests crime near licensed dispensaries has generally stayed flat or decreased. Teen cannabis use in legalization states has fallen since legalization. And property values near cannabis outlets generally are not affected or even rise.

Leafly’s report examined 42 published studies on the effects of cannabis medical dispensaries and adult-use stores. (Click to download.)

Click Here to Download ‘Debunking Dispensary Myths’

That literature review, Debunking Dispensary Myths, is intended to better inform civic debate at the city, state, and national levels. Leafly is sharing the report with elected officials, legislative aides, activists, industry groups, and researchers nationwide, as well as presenting the findings at upcoming events.

Fears surrounding local cannabis stores have prompted many communities to prohibit cannabis companies in their towns, cities, and counties. Millions of adult consumers now living in legal states find it impossible to purchase legally in their own towns. Leafly found that as of May 1, 2019:

  • In California, 75% of jurisdictions have banned cannabis stores.
  • In Colorado, 65% of cities and counties have similar bans.
  • In Massachusetts, 54% of the state’s 351 municipalities have banned cannabis stores.
  • In Washington, 35% of cities and 20% of counties have banned cannabis stores.
  • In Nevada, 75% of counties and 42% of cities prohibit cannabis stores.

Clean Stores, Good Neighbors

In Colorado and Washington, where data is now available from five years of adult-use cannabis sales, many local officials have switched from hesitance to confidence in the positive benefits of well-regulated stores. Cannabis companies “are tremendous employers and socially responsible members of the communities in which they operate,” said Ron Kammerzell, former senior director of enforcement at the Colorado Dept. of Revenue.

The Lux cannabis store in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood is the cleanest, brightest property in a transitional business district. (Photo courtesy of Lux)

Dispensaries Add 6% to 8% to Home Values

Some of the data backing up that conclusion:

  • Crime rates unaffected: An overwhelming majority of studies–including one from the journal Preventive Medicine in 2018, and a Federal Reserve Bank 2017 paper–found no increase in crime related to the location of medical marijuana dispensaries or adult-use retail stores.
  • Teen use unaffected specifically, declines generally: Colorado and Oregon state health reports show teen cannabis use flat or down since licensed adult-use stores opened. In Washington, a 2018 JAMA Pediatrics study concluded use had fallen. Federally administered surveys show the 2016 teen use rate was the lowest in more than 20 years.
  • Property values increase: A 2016 study in the journal Economic Inquiry concluded allowing stores added 6% to city home prices, compared to ban towns. A 2018 study in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy found home prices went up by 7.7% within a half-mile of a new cannabis store

Debunking Dispensary Myths identifies and examines the most reliable studies on medical and adult-use cannabis stores. In the report, Leafly editors David Downs and Bruce Barcott worked with cannabis policy expert Dominic Corva, co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA.

Over the coming years, virtually every city council and county supervisorial board will eventually have to weigh the pros and cons of cannabis retail.”We can all have different opinions, but we have to work from the same set of facts,” said Leafly CEO Tim Leslie. “These discussions should be informed by the best available research, not imagined fears and archaic mythology.”

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Louisiana House Unanimously Approves Bill to Allow CBD Sales

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lawmakers have broadened a proposal to legalize the growing of industrial hemp in Louisiana to also create a regulatory framework for CBD product sales.

State officials have suggested CBD products and sales are illegal in Louisiana.

CBD is a non-intoxicating molecule found in cannabis that some believe is beneficial to their health. State officials have suggested CBD products and sales are illegal in Louisiana.

Language added to the bill by Republican Rep. Clay Schexnayder would prohibit sales of alcohol or food containing CBD, unless the FDA approves the substance for such use. It outlines a process for selling other CBD products.

The growing and processing of hemp, a relative of the marijuana plant used in textiles and fuels, would comply with the 2018 federal Farm Bill.

The House voted 102-0 for the measure, sending it to the Senate.

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Cannabis Lounges Are Coming to Las Vegas–but Not the Strip

In October 2017, just a few months after legal cannabis sales kicked off in Nevada, dispensary owner John Mueller sat down with Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo for an hourlong chat about the next step forward for cannabis in the Silver State.

“We had over 40 million tourists coming to Las Vegas, a growing number of them buying marijuana, and absolutely nowhere for them to legally use it,” Mueller said. “People were consuming illegally on the streets, in their cars, parking garages, and hotel rooms.”

Cannabis customers, Mueller told the sheriff, needed a place to legally consume.

More than 18 months after that early meeting, Mueller took his plea to the Las Vegas City Council this week. Nevada’s Legislature had axed a bill to permit state-licensed cannabis lounges, so it was up to city officials to give the green light.

“We want to get in a controlled environment,” he explained. “We’ve got to give people a legal way to go out and consume something we’re selling to them and we’re collecting taxes on.”

His mission was a success. After a slew of public meetings, council workshops, and hearings over the past year and a half, the City Council on Wednesday voted 4-1 to approve an ordinance allowing cannabis lounges.

The 11-page final ordinance, amended several times since it was first proposed in December 2017, allows for on-premises food and non-alcoholic beverage sales. The lounges themselves are required to be separate indoor facilities–no windows or outdoor access–and can’t be located within a cannabis retail space. To appease the resort and gaming industry, which began lobbying late in the process, lounges can’t be located within 1,000 feet of a Las Vegas property that offers gaming. Just about everything else is fair play.

Local licensing for the lounges will be available only to licensed cannabis retailers located on city property–currently 12, plus an additional 10 stores slated to open in Las Vegas by the end of the year.

The additional 38 dispensaries located outside city bounds, such as in North Las Vegas, Henderson, and unincorporated Clark County–which includes the Las Vegas Strip–are excluded from the ordinance. Those marijuana stores will have to wait until their respective local governments approve social consumption.

For Mueller, who owns Acres Cannabis, a retailer located on city land just north of the Strip, the near-exclusive opportunity represents a chance to lead, he said. While the new lounges won’t open for at least four months, according to city spokesman Jace Radke, Mueller said he’s ready to hit the ground running.

An 8,000 square-foot room located at the back of Acres has been set aside for social consumption for months now, and it will soon be turned into a lounge–not to mention a makeshift concert venue, massage parlor, yoga studio, and private event center–where cannabis consumers of all walks of life can enjoy the plant together, Mueller said.

Because the lounges can’t be located in the same facility as a dispensary, Mueller, like other retailers owners planning to open an associated lounge, will have a separate address for the consumption facility–something as simple as labeling it “Suite B.”

Mueller said that’s “just the beginning” of his plans for the lounge. For competition’s sake–at least seven to eight other dispensaries are expected to open their own lounges–he said he’s keeping most of the details under wraps until the venue opens to the public.

Frank Hawkins, a former Super Bowl-winning running back, is another owner planning to open a lounge. Hawkins’s 7,800-square-foot facility, just up an elevator from Nevada Wellness Center‘s shopping area, features over a dozen separate rooms with private areas for playing virtual reality games and dominoes, a recording studio, a CBD product store, and even a boardroom for groups that have expressed interest in holding meetings there. A shuffleboard table, a room with a giant white wall and projector, and an area for vending machines and microwaves are among other planned amenities for Hawkins’ lounge.

“We wanted this to be upscale,” he said, “so when athletes and entertainers come, they can have their own private rooms.”

The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, which operates the 15,800-square-foot NuWu Cannabis Marketplace on tribal land near downtown Las Vegas, may be the lone group outside city limits to benefit from the ordinance. The tribe can play by its own rules thanks to a special pact with the Nevada governor’s office that allows the Paiutes to bypass federal law on negotiations related to marijuana commerce.

Reached Friday, a Las Vegas Paiute representative said the tribe was not ready to comment. But this past March, tribal Chairman Chris Spotted Eagle said that a vacant, 11-acre plot of tribal land next to the dispensary will become a consumption lounge “when the time is right.”

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It’s a $130 Fine for 3 Grams, Under Hawaii’s Decrim Bill

Hawaii, the cradle of Maui Wowie, Kona Gold and other classic strains, may soon become the 23rd state (along with Washington D.C.) to decriminalize low-level possession of cannabis.

The decriminalization bill now sits on Gov. Ige’s desk. No word yet on whether he’ll sign it or veto.

Earlier this week, the state’s House and Senate passed a final vote on a measure that will decriminalize the possession of up to three grams of marijuana starting on Jan. 11, 2020.

The bill now moves to Hawaii Gov. David Ige for his signature or veto. Ige hasn’t signaled which way he’ll go. Cindy McMillan, Ige’s communications director, told Leafly that the bill “will undergo departmental and legal review before the governor will make a decision on it.”

If he vetoes the bill, Ige must notify the Legislature by June 24. He has until July 9 to sign the bill into law. After that date, the bill will become law without his signature.

What’s Decriminalized, Exactly?

Under current law, people in Hawaii found in possession of an ounce or less of marijuana can be prosecuted on misdemeanor charges. They could face 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

But under the new legislation a person found in possession of three grams of cannabis or less would receive a $130 fine, with no arrest or jail time. The measure would also expunge criminal records in the state for those who have been prosecuted for three grams or less.

‘Misunderstanding the Drug’

There was some opposition to the decriminalization measure at the state house in Honolulu.

State Rep. Sharon Har said the bill “demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the drug.” She also expressed concerns that the decriminalization measure did not require minors to attend drug rehab programs-and that it didn’t take into account the different THC levels in different strains of marijuana.

But supporters of decriminalization in Hawaii point to the how the current laws on marijuana possession can have wide-ranging and negative impacts.

“In Hawaii we spend about $146 per day incarcerating people, often for substance abuse convictions,” State Rep. Chris Lee, who helped to introduce the bill, told Leafly

Having costly penalties and jail time for people possessing small amounts of cannabis, he added, “sends people further into poverty and further away from jobs and a productive future–for something which is clearly far less harmful than alcohol or any number of other things that are already legal.”

Mixed Emotions From Activists

Some supporters of the measure, while welcoming the change, also expressed doubts.

In a statement issued earlier this week Carl Bergquist, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, said the bill “marks a long overdue turning point for the Aloha State.”

But he added that his organization remains “concerned that the low threshold of three grams, with its relatively high fine, will foil the good intentions of the bill. There are sound reasons that all other states-including Alabama, Missouri and Texas which are currently contemplating decriminalization-have set their threshold at ten grams, or half an ounce, or higher.”

Gov. Ige Previously Voted in Favor

Bergquist noted that Gov. Ige has a voting record that might lean toward signing the bill–or at least not killing it with a veto. Ige voted for an unsuccessful decriminalization bill in 2013 while he was a state senator.

“We would urge the governor to sign this bill into law as soon as possible,” Bergquist said. “There’s no reason to delay this small reform for even a second, because people are being criminalized on a daily basis. We have hundreds of people being arrested each year for cannabis possession.”

Bergquist said about 200-plus bills are arriving on the governor’s desk this week as the annual legislative session winds down, so it might take some time before Gov. Ige actually gets to the decriminalization measure.

Is Adult-Use Legalization Next?

While decriminalization may not be a pathway to adult-use legalization, Rep. Lee believes such legalization is inevitable everywhere in the U.S.

“It’s just a matter of time, both at the federal level and with the states,” he said. “So I think that applies here in Hawaii just as it would in any other state.”

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The First Arkansas Medical Marijuana Dispensary Just Got Its License

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Officials have formally signed off on Arkansas’ first medical marijuana dispensary, about one week before cultivators expect to have product ready for sale.

Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said Friday that Hot Springs dispensary Doctor’s Orders RX has been officially awarded the state’s approval.

The dispensary had been inspected by Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates medical marijuana, and the fire marshal.

Hardin says Green Springs Medical, another Hot Springs dispensary, is scheduled for inspection May 9.

He says if they meet the qualifications they could receive approval before May 12, when cultivator BOLD Team expects to have their first harvest ready for sale. Two other cultivators expect to harvest by the summer.

Voters approved a medical marijuana amendment to the state’s constitution in November 2016.

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5 Cannabis Moms Who Changed the Game

Like every other mother on this list, Dr. Marsha Schuchard, PhD, never set out to become a cannabis activist, never mind one capable of changing the game. Her call to action came in the form of a birthday party that she and her husband hosted at their suburban Atlanta home in 1976. The guest of honor was their thirteen-year-old daughter, who’d lately been “moody” and “indifferent” towards her parents–both liberal-leaning English professors.

Other parents stepped forward, at great personal risk, to tell a different story about cannabis and children, one about profound healing.

Concerned by these recent behavioral changes and the raucous nature of the celebration, Marsha decided to monitor her daughter’s backyard birthday party from an upstairs bedroom window and noticed what looked like little fireflies occasionally flickering at the outskirts of the festivities. So when the last guest left, she went out on the lawn with a flashlight, where she quickly found empty beer cans, wine bottles, and a few stubbed out joints.

Dr. Schuchard didn’t worry too much about the underage drinking, because despite its obvious dangers, alcohol felt culturally familiar. But she most definitely freaked out about the pot-smoking. At the time, cannabis was going mainstream for the first time in America, certain states were starting to decriminalize, and many people believed it was about to be legal nationwide.

So Schuchard decided to spearhead a backlash.

She co-founded Families in Action, widely recognized as the country’s first “anti-drug” parents’ group. Before finally sending a fateful letter to Robert DuPont, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), who at the time supported cannabis decriminalization and wanted to focus the majority of his resources on tackling heroin addiction.

Dupont read the letter skeptically, but agreed to meet in person with Families in Action, who in turn told him their horror stories of upper-middle-class white suburban adolescents experimenting with marijuana and back-talking their parents.

DuPont would soon after drop his support of decriminalization, in favor of serving as a field general and a profiteer in the war on cannabis. He also convinced Dr. Schuchard to write Parents, Peers, and Pot, an eighty-page booklet published by NIDA that was printed more than a million times. It portrayed cannabis as a deadly scourge pushed on the nation’s youth by an immoral drug culture hell bent on destroying society.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the presidency, and immediately enlisted parents’ groups across the nation as frontline soldiers in an all out assault on cannabis. “But what about the children?!” became such a constant rallying cry among these forces that it was a meme before the internet. And the tactic worked. After rising rapidly in the late 1970s, support for cannabis legalization in America stagnated throughout the 1980s.

So how did we ever turn the tide against these parents’ groups and their well-meaning but misguided efforts? Other parents stepped forward, at great personal risk, to tell a different story about cannabis and children, one about profound healing.

Here are the stories of five incredible mothers whose advocacy for their children’s right to access cannabis changed the game–for the better!

Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Marie Myung-Ok Lee is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and a successful novelist. She’s also the mother of a severely autistic son, who underwent two major spinal-cord tumor surgeries as a toddler, plus countless other pharmaceutical, nutritional, and behavioral treatments.

Despite all this, he still suffered as many as 300 violent rages per day, as his mother explained in a 2009 essay titled “Why I Give My Nine-Year-Old Pot

“He would bang his head, scream for hours and literally eat his shirts. At dinnertime, he threw his plates so forcefully that there was food stuck on the ceiling. He would punch and scratch himself and others, such that people would look at the red streaks on our bodies and ask us, gingerly, if we had cats.”

When doctors suggested moving on to a prescription drug commonly known as a “chemical lobotomy,” Lee decided to take matters into her own hands instead. First, she signed up her son as the youngest ever medical cannabis patient in the state of Rhode Island, then she “got busy figuring out which type of marijuana would best work for him and how to get him to ingest it.”

After some trial and era, she found that properly dosed cannabis cookies worked like a “miracle.” So she put her writing talents to work on an essay that made waves and inspired many other parents to follow her example.

Paige Figi

When CNN aired its documentary Weed in 2013, the conversation around children and medical cannabis changed overnight. That’s because the global news network’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta not only admitted that he’d been all wrong about cannabis, he also introduced the world to Paige Figi and her daughter Charlotte.

To be clear, the Figi’s were not the first family to go public about the potential benefits of cannabis in treating serious pediatric ailments. They themselves actually heard about high-CBD cannabis as an option on a reality TV show called Weed Wars.

At the time Charlotte, though just six years old, had been through endless cycles of dangerous, potentially deadly pharmaceutical drugs and had suffered through a series of incredibly painful procedures. She was left unable to walk, talk, or eat.

Trying high-CBD cannabis oil changed Charlotte’s life (taking her down from 300 seizures per week to just two or three in a month). And her mother’s decision to go public in turn changed the world.

Shona Banda

In 2010, Shona Banda’s Crohn’s disease symptoms were so intense she needed a cane to walk. But then she tried cannabis, and like magic, so much of the pain and discomfort just melted away.

The authorities visited Banda’s home with a warrant where they found a couple of ounces of cannabis and cannabis oil. They took her son away.

Five years later, her fifth-grade son, who’d witnessed her transformation firsthand, spoke up in school, telling a “drug education” presenter that he was all wrong about marijuana because that’s what helps his mom not hurt all the time.

Soon after, the authorities visited Banda’s home with a warrant where they found a couple of ounces of cannabis and cannabis oil. They took her son away.

From that point on, she fought them tooth and nail, including pleading not guilty to all charges and filing a lawsuit against the school district, the police department, the state of Kansas, the governor, and the Kansas Department for Children and Families. As the story of her arrest spread, Banda’s public campaign to overturn this gross injustice became a rallying cry for parents nationwide who use cannabis medicinally but have no law to protect them.

Ultimately, Banda pled no-contest to one minor charge as part of a sentencing deal that included a year of “mail in” probation, allowing her to move to Washington state, where cannabis is legal.

Ann Lee

Ann Lee is a lifelong conservative and Texan, who has been a leader and activist in the Republican Party since 1970. In 1990, her 28-year-old son Richard Lee was injured in a workplace accident that left him a wheelchair-bound paraplegic. At the time, Anne Lee adamantly opposed cannabis, believing it to be a dangerous “gateway” drug, but when her son reported that it worked wonders in treating his severe nerve pain she began to do her own research, and “came to the conclusion that the plant was good medicine and ought to be legal.”

Richard Lee would go on to become one of the world’s leading medical cannabis activists and entrepreneurs, founding several businesses in Oakland including Oaksterdam University, and serving as the primary backer of a 2010 ballot initiative that aimed to legalize cannabis in California. Ann Lee has supported him fully, including by forming Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition in 2012, which has since grown into a leading conservative legalization advocacy group.

Ana Alvarez

Ever since 2013, when CNN’s Weed documentary began airing internationally, parents of children with severe seizure disorders from all over the world have been seeking access to medicinal cannabis. Many have had to break the law to do so.

In Peru, Ana Alvarez’s son Anthony had been suffering with epilepsy since he was three years old. By age sixteen, she says he was in a “psychiatric crisis.” He’d tried a litany of pharmaceuticals, some of which had worked for a little while, all of which came with serious side effects. By 2015 her son was taking sixteen different prescription drugs to treat his epilepsy, and another six to treat psychiatric problems.

She wondered if his painful life was worth living.

But after watching the CNN special, she scored some cannabis on the underground market and made a mate. When she gave it to her son, the results were profound, as she explained to High Times:

“Anthony’s eyes turned red and he slept and slept–almost 72 hours. His pulse and breathing became relaxed. He went two days without a fit for the first time in years. And I began investigating.”

After joining forces with other families facing the same circumstances, Alvarez organized a series of public marches and a vigil outside the Ministry of Health. She told the press her heartbreaking story. And then she co-founded a collective to cultivate cannabis for her son and other pediatric seizure patients in Peru.

The police raided while the collective’s first harvest was still drying. Alvarez found herself charged with crimes that could land her fifteen years in prison, but still didn’t back down. In time, the public outcry about her unjust punishment led to a successful push to pass a medical cannabis law in Peru. Alvarez was an honored guest for the signing ceremony at the presidential palace, even though she still faced charges.

Five months later, in April 2018, charges against Alvarez and her two co-defendants were formally dropped.

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