Jun 102014

420RADIO News for 2014-06-10 (Tuesday)

The DEA is threatening doctors in Massachusetts with an ultimatum: resign from dispensary boards or lose prescription privileges.  The Boston Globe caught up with physicians from the boards of firms that were granted some of the first twenty state dispensary licenses.  Dr. Samuel Mazza, CEO of Debilitating Medical Conditions Treatment Centers in Holyoke, said DEA’s Gregory Kelly told him “You either give up your [DEA] license or give up your position on the board . . . or you challenge it in court.”  When Dr. Mazza contacted the DEA, three officials on speakerphone told him, “You are chairman of an organization that is going to distribute a product that is against federal law.”  Dr. Mazza gave up his prescribing license, as he’s no longer in private practice.  Dr. Walter Panis, chief medical officer for Alternative Therapies Group in Salem, does still see private patients and hopes he’s not forced to choose, explaining, “Practicing medicine is the soul of my life.  The dispensaries need good medical information and how else are they going to get it except through physicians that are able to give that information?”  DEA would not answer requests for comment on the ultimatums or whether they are limited to Massachusetts only.

Motorists in Washington State are being bribed to submit to alleged “research” on impaired driving, then nabbed by cops down the road if their saliva or blood tests positive.  Pacific Research Institute and Evaluation (or PIRE) has received funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to set up roadside sampling of drivers’ saliva and blood to determine how many impaired drivers may be on the roads at all times of the day.  Volunteers receive $10 for their saliva and $50 for their blood and if their sample shows evidence of drug or alcohol impairment, PIRE will provide a ride home.  But PIRE also pays the overtime for law enforcement officials to monitor their survey and the roads beyond the checkpoint in case an impaired driver decides to reject the free ride home.  The same survey was recently conducted in Pennsylvania, which led to a lawsuit that suggested while PIRE employees claimed to be independent researchers, they were actually working under the supervision of the Reading, Pennsylvania Police Department. The lawsuit claims that PIRE forced a man, Ricardo Nieves, to submit to a cheek swab even though he refused on three separate occasions.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Representative and chair of the Democratic National Committee, is taking increasing criticism over her anti-medical marijuana views.  Rep. Wasserman Schultz was one of only sixteen Democrats who voted against the recent House amendment to defund DEA raids in medical marijuana states.  She also recently voted against allowing VA doctors to discuss medical marijuana with veterans seeking relief from pain, injury, and post-traumatic stress.  Regarding Florida’s pending medical marijuana vote in November, Rep. Wasserman Schultz said, “I do not believe we should make it easier for those seeking to abuse the drug to have easy access to it,” putting her in opposition to 88 percent of the state’s voters and 93 percent of Democrats, according to the most recent Quinnipiac poll.  Americans for Safe Access has begun running TV ads in her district explaining that Rep. Wasserman Schultz, “thinks it’s okay for marijuana patients to go to federal prison.”  John Morgan, the millionaire backer of Florida’s constitutional amendment to legalize medical cannabis said, “I will never give a penny or raise a penny for the national party while she’s in leadership. And I have given and helped raise millions.”

One man attending a Juicy J concert in Tampa, Florida, was surprised to find that his customized work truck was broken into and damaged.  But far from being the work of criminal vandals and thieves, this was the work of the Tampa Police, who left a note explaining that they had broken into and searched his truck “for marijuana due to the strong odor coming from the passenger side of the vehicle.”  The cops claimed that a drug-sniffing dog alerted to his truck, which is an enormous crew-cab pickup that sits three feet off the ground.  Given the nature of Juicy J and his fans’ love of marijuana, it is likely there was a “strong odor” all throughout the parking lot.  Tampa Police say, “While the search is legal, it is not typical.”  The man, who sells the big rig air horns mounted in his truck, found “The horns weren’t working, all the electronics were ripped out.”  Of course, police found no marijuana whatsoever in the man’s truck.

Recreational marijuana sales in Colorado brought in the most monthly tax revenue yet in April  According to data released Monday, the state reaped $3.5 million in sales and excise taxes and sold $22 million worth of recreational marijuana products in the month that included the popular 4/20 marijuana holiday that brought in thousands of tourists.  Medical marijuana tallied another $31 million in product sales in April.  For the first third of 2014, this makes $11 million in tax revenue brought in from recreational marijuana alone, with another $7 million from the lower-taxed medical marijuana.

Assemblyman Al Graf succeeded in getting a ban on “confections, carbonated beverages and products that are marketed to children” in New York’s proposed medical marijuana law.  Graf voted no on medical marijuana on May 27 but hasn’t indicated how he’ll vote if the amended bill makes it back to the Assembly floor.  The Assembly adjourns on June 19 and Senate Sponsor Diane Savino said she is “very confident” medical marijuana will reach a vote before then.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who once virulently opposed any medical marijuana a law, has now said he’d back a program that has controls that “make sense”.