Jun 052014

420RADIO News for 2014-06-05 (Thursday)

The Republican Party of Texas just got one step closer to endorsing medical marijuana as a part of the official party platform.  The Temporary Platform Committee of the Texas GOP passed an amendment to their proposed 2014 platform endorsing the right of doctors to “prescribe marijuana as a controlled narcotic”.  Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (or RAMP), which is the activist group founded by Ann Lee, the mother of 2010’s California Prop 19 chief petitioner, Richard Lee, said the narrow vote by this conservative committee represents the GOP’s principles of individual liberty and medical privacy.  RAMP’s Assistant Executive Director, Zoe Russell, told Brietbart Texas that, “Our belief is that the doctor-patient relationship should be private and if marijuana can be palliative it should be allowed to be prescribed.”  Ann Lee and RAMP will be well-represented at this weekend’s Texas Regional NORML Conference in Fort Worth, which features Texas political figure Kinky Friedman, Canadian activist Jodie Emery, and 420RADIO’s own “Radical” Russ Belville.  We will have highlights of the event for you on next week’s shows.

The Arkansas Attorney General has approved the ballot title of an initiative to legalize marijuana in 2014.  Under the initiative, known as the Arkansas Hemp and Cannabis Amendment, “cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant and all products derived from the cannabis plant are permitted.”  The deadline for turning in over 78,000 registered voters’ signatures on the initiative petition is July 7, just a month away, but initiative author Robert Reed claims he has 300,000 people ready to begin gathering signatures immediately throughout the state.  Under current Arkansas law, possession of any amount of marijuana or paraphernalia is a misdemeanor with a potential one year in jail and $2,500 fine.  Possession of a quarter-pound or more, delivery of a half-ounce or more, or possession of growing equipment is a felony subject to 6 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.  That delivery felony can be proven is the suspect also possesses a scale, a gun, two other drugs, or marijuana in separate baggies.

Seattle police uncovered the largest marijuana growing operation in the department’s history… and arrested nobody.  Responding to complaints by neighbors about “an overwhelming smell” of fresh marijuana, the Seattle police searched two homes and a warehouse, finding 2,663 marijuana plants and 86 pounds of processed marijuana.  The owner claimed the grows were all part of a medical marijuana collective, which are only allowed 45 plants collectively for ten people under Washington law.  However, police made no arrests in the case and actually allowed the grower to keep the 45 plants at each house and the warehouse that he was allowed for the medical collective grows, for a total of 135 plants.  In a press release, Seattle Police explained, “Detectives were interested only in bringing the operation back under the limits of state law, and in addition to leaving plants and equipment at the scenes, also opted not to book anyone involved in the operation into jail.”

A new study in the journal Human Reproduction suggests that marijuana use may indeed affect the size and shape of men’s sperm.  The study tracked over 2,000 men from 14 fertility clinics in the United Kingdom and surveyed them on their lifestyle and medical histories.  To their surprise, researchers discovered that cigarettes and alcohol showed no effect on male fertility, but cannabis use was the only factor they found that did.  There were reliable data on the sperm of 1,970 of the men and found that 318 of them had problems with sperm morphology, defined as a sample where less than 4% of the sperm are of normal size and shape.  Of those 318 men, they were more likely to have abnormal sperm if they smoked marijuana within the past three months.  However, researchers also found twice the likelihood of abnormal sperm when those men ejaculated in the summer months.  Researchers also noted the number one factor affecting male fertility is testicle size.  Dr. Alan Pacey, lead author of the study, explained, “If you’re blessed with big testicles, you’ll produce more sperm.”

Researchers from the University of South Carolina have discovered what numerous multiple sclerosis patients could have told them from experience.  The findings, published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, note that marijuana has the potential to treat autoimmune diseases like arthritis, colitis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.  This study looked at whether THC could affect DNA expression to alter the group of molecules called histones, which regulate inflammation throughout the body.  The researchers found that, indeed, THC can alter DNA to reduce inflammation, adding that healing property to a list that already includes pain relief, reducing nausea, and appetite building.

PolitiFact Oregon agrees that marijuana is less addictive than alcohol and tobacco.  The political watchdog group had targeted such statements by Rep. Earl Blumenauer on his campaign website and sought to determine the truth of those assertions.  PolitiFact spoke with Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a recognized expert on addiction issues, who agreed with Rep. Blumenauer’s statement.  Dr. Boyd cited the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s own figures showing 9% of pot smokers, 15% of alcohol drinkers, and 32 percent of tobacco smokers develop dependence on those drugs, leading PolitiFact Oregon to rate the claim “true”.