Dec 012014

420RADIO News for 2014-12-01 (Monday)

Legal Pot In The U.S. May Be Undercutting Mexican Marijuana.  “Two or three years ago, a kilogram of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” says Nabór, a 24-year-old pot grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa. “But now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”  Two years ago, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness, in a study entitled “If Our Neighbors Legalize,” predicted the drug cartels would see their cannabis profits plummet 22 to 30 percent if the United States continued to decriminalize marijuana.  “This is dangerous work to cultivate it and to sell it. If the army comes, you have to run or they’ll grab you,” Nabór explains. “The day we get $20 a kilo, it will get to the point that we just won’t plant marijuana anymore.”

Uruguay’s national marijuana program is safe after runoff election.  Tabare Vazquez’s victory in Uruguay’s presidential election is a show of support for the leftist coalition that has governed the country for the past decade and allows the government to proceed with its plan to create the world’s first state-run marijuana marketplace.  Vazquez, a 74-year-old oncologist who was president from 2005 to 2010, topped center-right rival Luis Lacalle Pou of the National Party 53 percent to 40 percent in Sunday’s vote.  The runoff vote drew international attention after Lacalle Pou promised to undo much of the pioneering plan to put the government in charge of regulating the production, nationwide distribution and sale of Uruguay marijuana. Vazquez, meanwhile, said he would proceed with it, unless it produced negative results.  In the first round of voting in October, Vazquez fell just short of an outright victory, getting 48 percent support against 31 percent for Lacalle Pou.

A Virginia state senator has introduced a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Under the proposal, the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would be decriminalized. Currently, that’s punishable by a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.  Among other things, the bill also would reduce the criminal penalties for distribution and possession with the intent to distribute by creating a presumption that a person who grows no more than six plants would be raising them for personal use. The bill would also soften some laws concerning marijuana paraphernalia and limit the forfeiture of property from the sale or distribution of 1 pound or more of marijuana. Currently, there is no minimum amount.  Virginia State Police figures show that in 2013, there were more than 24,000 marijuana arrests in the state.

After her research team secured preliminary approval this week for a $2 million grant from the state of Colorado to study how marijuana affects veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a metro Phoenix doctor said she no longer needs an Arizona university to house the study.  Dr. Sue Sisley was ousted from her University of Arizona position earlier this year for what she believes were political reasons after she clashed with state lawmakers over medical-marijuana research. Northern Arizona University refused to hire her, and Arizona State University has not said whether it will offer a position.  Sisley wants to keep her part of the research project in Arizona because she said she’s committed to local veterans suffering PTSD. She said a private donor has offered her free lab space in north Scottsdale, and she may seek an academic appointment at an out-of-state university while conducting the research in Arizona.

Six months after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana extracts in Minnesota, makers are poised to start growing.  State officials on Monday announced the two companies that will grow, process and sell medical cannabis to Minnesotans next year under the state’s new law.  LeafLine Labs and Minnesota Medical Solutions were chosen from among 12 applicants. They’ll distribute the medication through eight sites across the state, the Minnesota Health Department said.  State officials hope to have the products ready for sale by July. Minnesota Medical Solutions said its cannabis greenhouse in Otsego will be up and running this week.  Lawmakers passed the strictest medical marijuana law in the country earlier this year. It prohibits smoking of the drug and requires instead that it be manufactured in pill or oil form.  Medical marijuana will only be available to patients suffering from about 10 conditions including ALS and cancer.