Tagged: DEA Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • ShereeKrider 12:16 am on June 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Analogues, , DEA, , HR 2851, , , , S. 1327, Schedule A, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, SITSA ACT   

    SITSA creates a new “Schedule A” that gives the Attorney General of the United States the power to ban any “analogue” of an opioid that controls pain or provides an increase of energy. 


    Image may contain: 1 person, plant, nature and outdoor

    Kratom Advocates:

    If you’ve had one of those days that starts with friends calling you with bad news, and the news just gets worse and worse as the day goes on – then that describes my day perfectly.

    On Friday of last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, dropped a bill in the U.S. Senate that our lobbyists believe will give the FDA and DEA a backdoor way of banning kratom completely in the United States.

    S. 1327 is euphemistically called the SITSA Act.  And a companion bill in the US House of Representatives has already been filed, H.R. 2851, by Representative John Katco of New York.

    The SITSA Act stands for the “Stop Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act of 2017.”
    SITSA creates a new “Schedule A” that gives the Attorney General of the United States the power to ban any “analogue” of an opioid that controls pain or provides an increase of energy.

    That is kratom. Because kratom’s 2 primary alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, though not opioids, act similarly in some ways.
    They could of just called this bill the “Schedule Kratom” Act.

    This legislation will allow the Attorney General, and his supporters at the DEA, to add kratom to Schedule A on a “temporary basis” that will last for 5 years.
    And once added to Schedule A, the Attorney General can convert it to a permanent schedule.
    After everything that we’ve fought successfully against and endured together as a movement, our lobbyists are concerned that this is now the perfect storm for banning kratom.

    Under the current Controlled Substances Act, the FDA and DEA have to prove conclusively that kratom is dangerously addictive and unsafe for consumer use. That’s why we were able to stop them in their tracks when they tried to ram through an “emergency scheduling” ban on kratom.

    And it is why the FDA is having such a tough time in finding some justification to schedule kratom under regular rulemaking.

    So now the anti-kratom bureaucrats in Washington want to ban kratom simply by claiming it has the same effects as an opioid – calling it an “analogue” of the opioid.

    And the SITSA Act can enforce a ban on kratom by criminalizing any manufacturer or distributor of kratom. Ten years imprisonment just for manufacturing or selling a kratom product, and a fine of $500,000 if you are an individual, $2,500,000 if the defendant is a company.

    If you import or export kratom, it is a 20-year sentence.

    And then there are harsh penalties for what they call “false labeling” of a Schedule A substance.
    That’s why am writing – because I need your help again.

    We have to convince Sen. Grassley, Sen. Feinstein, and Representative Katko that they have to exempt natural botanical plants from the SITSA Act.
    We have to act quickly, because I learned today that the House Judiciary Committee is looking to schedule a Hearing before they leave for recess next month.

    So I hope you will help by doing three specific things:

    1.    Click on the link below and sign our petition that the AKA will have delivered to every member of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. 

    PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION URGING LAWMAKERS TO REMOVE KRATOM FROM THE SITSA ACT.

    2.    I need you to pick up the phone and call Sen. Grassley’s office, Sen. Feinstein’s office, and Representative Katco’s office. When the staff member answers the phone, tell them that their boss should exclude natural botanicals like kratom products from the SITSA Act.

    Here are the phone numbers you should call:

    Senator Grassley:    (202) 224-3744
    Senator Feinstein:    (202) 224-3841
    Congressman Katco:    (202) 225-3701

    When you call, be polite, but firm.  Kratom should be exempted from SITSA.

    3.    Please click on the donation link below and help us once again to take on this fight with a team of lawyers, lobbyists, and public relations professionals.  Please consider making a monthly contribution to the AKA.

    DONATION LINK TO HELP THE AKA FIGHT THIS LEGISLATION.

    I know I am asking a lot.

    But we need to fight back hard, or they will steal our freedoms from us to make our own decisions about our health and well-being.

    So please, sign the petition, call the the sponsors of SITSA, and please, please, give as generous a contribution as you can to help us put our team on the ground in Washington, D.C.

    With your help, we have established ourselves as a real force in Washington.

    With your continued help – help that I am so grateful for – we can win this battle against the enemies of kratom.

    Your contribution will help us hire the lawyers we need for a brief on why this legislation violates due process and current law; our lobbyists to knock on doors on Capitol Hill; and our public relations team to rally the press to tell our story.

    We will stand up for freedom.

    Thank you for your continued support.

    Sincerely,

    Susan Ash
    Founder and Spokesperson
    American Kratom Association
    http://www.americankratom.org

    http://mailchi.mp/americankratom/new-legislative-attack-on-kratom?e=2709219685

    https://www.facebook.com/kratom.us/photos/rpp.260289027341069/873568049346494/?type=3&theater

     
  • ShereeKrider 6:04 pm on May 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DEA, , , LegitScript   

    AKA Responds to Kratom Businesses Being Targeted 


    aaa432d3-79ff-40e4-935e-acd01c48d905

    May 27, 2017

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    AKA Responds to Kratom Businesses Being Targeted

    The American Kratom Association (AKA) strongly condemns the recent actions taken by LegitScript and hosting providers to shut down the Internet domains of legitimate businesses who are selling safe kratom products to consumers in the United States.

    We have received reports that a trusted Internet vendor had their domain completely shut down by GoDaddy, the web hosting company, based on the LegitScript report.

    Based on our review of the “Red Flag” alerts by LegitScript relating to kratom, it is clear they relied upon outdated and inaccurate information (a 2014 FDA Press Release, and a 2015 DEA publication) from the FDA and DEA that materially misrepresents the pharmacological properties of kratom and kratom’s addiction and safety profile.

    The DEA published a Notice of Intent for emergency scheduling of kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance on August 31, 2016. On October 13, 2016, the DEA, in an unprecedented regulatory move, withdrew its Notice of Intent, and requested the FDA provide a statutorily-mandated Eight-Factor Analysis on the addiction and safety profile of kratom justifying whether any legal basis exists to schedule kratom at all. The DEA requested the FDA response by December 1, 2016. As of this date, the FDA has not made any subsequent recommendation for the scheduling of kratom, or provided the requested Eight-Factor Analysis.

    On November 28, 2016, the AKA submitted an Eight-Factor Analysis on kratom that was conducted by one of the preeminent scientists in the field of addiction profiles and safety of dietary supplements, Dr. Jack Henningfield of Pinney Associates. This Analysis mirrors the statutorily-mandated criteria for an Eight-Factor Analysis that would be used to support a scheduling recommendation by the FDA for any product they believe should be scheduled as a controlled substance.

    Dr. Henningfield’s analysis concluded: (1) scheduling kratom as a controlled substance is not warranted from a public health perspective; (2) kratom has very low toxicity, and thus a favorable safety profile; and (3) there have been no confirmed reports of death that can be causatively due to kratom overdose.  This Analysis was submitted to the FDA and the DEA and there has been no attempt to schedule kratom in the following six months, despite the initial view that kratom required “emergency scheduling.”

    This updated research is conclusive, and we believe LegitScript should immediately rescind their action, just as the DEA did in October 2016.

    The AKA fully supports appropriate regulatory actions against any adulterated substance that poses a danger to the public health. The demonization of kratom, which appears to have originated in unjustified accusations that kratom is an “opioid” that has led to deaths of consumers. has proven to be completely false.  This outdated and inaccurate information should not be the basis for any regulatory or business decision by any organization.

    The actions taken by LegitScript directly interferes with the freedoms of consumers to make individual choices about their health and well-being, and raises significant concerns about a nongovernmental agency intervening in commerce causing significant economic harm to American businesses.  It also unjustifiably erects barriers to access to the millions of Americans who choose to use kratom as a part of their personal plan for their own health and well-being.

    The AKA will work closely with LegitScript, and appropriate regulatory agencies, to correct this egregious decision.  We will also seek the assistance of the appropriate regulatory agencies to correct the outdated and inaccurate information they have published that has served as the basis for the unwarranted decisions by LegitScript related to kratom.

    Sincerely,

    The AKA Board of Directors

    http://www.americankratom.org

     
  • ShereeKrider 5:24 pm on December 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DEA,   

    Ananda Hemp Comments on Recent DEA Ruling 


    News provided by

    Ananda Hemp

    Dec 19, 2016, 11:26 ET

     

    LEXINGTON, Ky., Dec. 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Last Wednesday, December 14th, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a ruling on the coding of “marihuana extracts.” Many questions have arisen in the marketplace from those concerned that the intention of the agency was to seemingly classify hemp-derived extracts containing Cannabidiol (CBD) Schedule I substances.

    Ananda Hemp and our parent company Ecofibre have sought legal advice and believe the Final Rule published by DEA doesnot change the legal status of CBD as this can only be done by a scheduling action which has NOT occurred. We are within the belief that the ruling was a mere administrative action and not an attempt to bypass any Congressionally imposed laws such as the 2014 Farm Bill, or any other necessary judicial process.

    We strongly believe that our farming operations and products obtained under those operations are, and will continue to be, compliant and legal in all 50 states:

    • Cannabidiol (CBD) is not listed on the federal schedule of controlled substances;
    • Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill defines hemp as distinct from marijuana and is therefore removed from the definition as a controlled substance when grown under a compliant state program;
    • The 2015 Congressional Appropriations act and corresponding 2016 Appropriations Act specifically defunded the DEA and other governmental agencies from interfering with the processing, use, or sale of industrial hemp that was cultivated in compliance with section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill;
    • The code assigned to “marihuana extract” in the rule is “Administration Controlled Substances Code Number” for the purposes of identification of substances on registration forms;
    • Therefore, the Final Rule published on December 14th was not a scheduling action but rather an administrative action related to record keeping

    Ecofibre has been working in the state of Kentucky since 2014 and operated under the full extent of section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill. To date the company has invested millions of dollars in the region and created a broad range of jobs and farming salaries in Central Kentucky. This year we contracted 500 acres of industrial hemp production and have recently completed yet another successful harvest season. Our brand, Ananda Hemp, has recently entered the marketplace in good favor with consumers and channel partners as we now endeavor to enter into the market research phase of our 5-year pilot program.

    Our company will continue to scale our operations in Kentucky and the USA alike by continuing to contract industrial hemp production with American farmers and bringing quality, domestically-produced products to market for sale in all 50 states.

    About Ecofibre

    Ecofibre is an Australian company that maintains one the world’s largest and most diverse seed banks of cannabis sativa germplasm, which includes several certified industrial hemp cultivars.

    Ecofibre has strong research partnerships with several leading Universities and currently utilizes its licenses to grow industrial hemp for the purposes of research and production.

    Ecofibre is privately funded by some of Australia’s leading business leaders as well as Joy and Barry Lambert, the most noted cannabis philanthropists in the industry.

    Contact
    Eric Wang
    +61 (0)403 570 377 
    eric.wang@ecofibre.com.au

    About Ananda Hemp

    Ananda Hemp is a premier provider of health and wellness products that are exclusively derived from industrial hemp cultivated compliantly in Kentucky, USA under the accordance of section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill.

    Contact
    John Ryan
    +1 858 405 8615
    john@anandahemp.com

    SOURCE Ananda Hemp

     
  • ShereeKrider 7:28 pm on December 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: authority, , , DEA, Marketwired,   

    DEA Hurts Growing Industry and Exceeds its Authority Regarding Scheduling Controlled Substances; Enacts Final Rule Seeking to Make Any Extract of the Cannabis Plant a Schedule 1 Drug 


    Hoban Law Group

    December 14, 2016 19:29 ET

    DEA Hurts Growing Industry and Exceeds its Authority Regarding Scheduling Controlled Substances; Enacts Final Rule Seeking to Make Any Extract of the Cannabis Plant a Schedule 1 Drug

    DENVER, CO–(Marketwired – December 14, 2016) – On December 13, 2016, the DEA issued its Final Rule, “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” which serves to potentially devastate developing businesses and consumer, textile and manufacturing industries related to cannabinoids. Robert Hoban, a cannabis, cannabinoid and hemp lawyer and expert as well as an adjunct professor of law at The University of Denver, states the DOJ and DEA cannot unilaterally make law and schedule controlled substances, thus causing this Final Rule to exceed the DEA’s authority. Instead, such actions require an act of Congress.

    As is the case here, the DEA is an agency that has previously sought to exceed its authority contrary to applicable law. It is anticipated that this “final ruling” and determination will be challenged both in court and administratively across the country. With 28 states that already have medical cannabis laws on the books, 8 states passing adult use laws in the November election, and numerous other states enacting industrial hemp legislation, the industry is up for the challenge of litigation against any government agency that operates contrary to prevailing law and enforcement policies.

    The DEA’s Final Rule seeks to broadly expand and override existing definitions of controlled substances by newly creating a “Marihuana Extract” classification. The effect of this Final Rule appears to be incorporation of any and all cannabinoids from the Cannabis plant as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, despite the fact that many such cannabinoids are naturally occurring derived from non-“marihuana” portions of the plant or or from entirely different plants altogether. Problematically, the Final Rule fails to acknowledge there exist certain parts of the plant, and certain types of the plant — namely, industrial hemp — which cannot and should not be treated as a “Marihuana Extract.” Notably, the DEA has sought to unilaterally create laws before, and has lost, when challenged.

    Hoban surmises, “The feeling is that this is an action beyond the DEA’s authority and we believe this is unlawful and we are taking a course of action for our clients. This Final Rule serves to threaten hundreds, if not thousands, of growing businesses, with massive economic and industry expansion opportunities, all of which conduct lawful business in reliance upon the Federal Government also acting pursuant to law, and as ordered by the Ninth Circuit in 2003 and 2004. We will see the Federal Government in court.”

    Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2016/12/14/11G125277/Images/Hoban_Photo-82fa3561cc6d93ea991b06d3c4c27235.jpg

    Contact Information

     
  • ShereeKrider 4:39 am on November 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DEA, , , ,   

    Petitioning to keep Kratom OUT of the Controlled Substance Act and Schedule I – We only have until December 1st! 


    kratom-plant

    Recently I published an article with information pertaining to the rescheduling of Kratom by the U.S. Government via the DEA into Schedule I Status.

    Fortunately the change was at least held off long enough for people to be able to make their comments on the subject.

    The link to REGULATIONS.GOV where the DEA/Federal Government is accepting comments is only going to be active until December 1st so don’t forget to make your comment soon!

    Additionally there is another petition to keep Kratom off the Controlled Substance list.  The link to that petition is here:

    Do not place Kratom on the Controlled Substance List

    Please sign this petition as well!

    We are anti-prohibitionist’s!

    sk

     
  • ShereeKrider 6:48 pm on October 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DEA, , , ,   

    The DEA is withdrawing a proposal to ban another plant after the Internet got really mad 


    By Christopher Ingraham October 12 at 10:42 AM

    The Drug Enforcement Administration is reversing a widely criticized decision that would have banned the use of kratom, a plant that researchers say could help mitigate the effects of the opioid epidemic.

    Citing the public outcry and a need to obtain more research, the DEA is withdrawing its notice of intent to ban the drug, according to a preliminary document that will be posted to the Federal Register Thursday.

    The move is “shocking,” according to John Hudak, who studies drug policy at the Brookings Institution. “The DEA is not one to second-guess itself, no matter what the facts are.”

    The DEA had announced in August that it planned to place kratom in schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive regulatory category, as soon as Sept. 30. But since announcing their intent to ban kratom, the “DEA has received numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action,” acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote in the notice, “and requesting that the agency consider those comments and accompanying information before taking further action.”

    A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    [What it’s like to be high on kratom, according to the people who use it]

    Kratom is a plant from southeast Asia that’s related to coffee. It contains a number of chemical compounds that produce effects similar to opiates when ingested.

    People who take it have have said kratom helped them overcome addiction to opiates or alcohol and treat otherwise intractable pain. Researchers say that their work with kratom could eventually lead to the development of nonaddictive alternatives to powerful opiate painkillers. Placing kratom in schedule 1 would cripple researchers ability to study the drug, they say.

    U.S. lawmakers were among the groups expressing their displeasure with the DEA’s intent to ban kratom. A group of 51 U.S. representatives wrote to the DEA saying that the DEA’s move “threatens the transparency of the scheduling process and its responsiveness to the input of both citizens and the scientific community.”

    Another group of nine senators said the DEA’s “use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented,” and urged the administration to reconsider.

    The DEA will now open up a period for public comment until Dec. 1 of this year. It is also asking the FDA to expedite a “scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation” for the active chemical compounds in kratom.

    At the close of the comment period, a number of things could happen. The DEA could decide to permanently place the plant in a schedule of the Controlled Substances Act, which would require an additional period for lawmakers and the public to weigh in. It could also decide to temporarily schedule kratom, which would not require any additional comment.

    It could also decide to leave kratom unregulated.

    [Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes — combined]

    Advocates for kratom use, who say the plant has helped them treat pain and stop taking more powerful and deadly opiate painkillers said they are elated.

    “I am in tears,” Susan Ash of the American Kratom Association said in an email. “Our voices are being heard, but we still have a long road ahead of us.

    Lawmakers who criticized the initial announcement to ban kratom are also pleased. “Concerned citizens across the country have made it clear, they want the DEA to listen to the science when it comes to the potentially life-saving properties of kratom,” said Mark Pocan (D.-Wis.) in an email.

    Researchers are welcoming the move, but they point out that the future of their work with the plant is an uncertain one.

    “It’s certainly a positive development,” said Andrew Kruegel of Columbia University in an email. Kruegel is one of the researchers working to develop next-generation painkillers based on compounds contained in kratom.

    Kruegel says that the FDA’s evaluation of the drug will carry a lot of weight in the DEA’s decision. But the kind of rigorous, controlled trials that the FDA typically refers to in situations like this simply don’t exist for kratom.

    “Unfortunately, in the United States I don’t think we have a good regulatory framework for handling this situation or taking perhaps more reasonable middle paths” between banning the drug outright or keeping it unregulated, Kruegel says.

    Still, he says, “the FDA is a scientific agency rather than a law enforcement agency, so I am encouraged that they will now be having more serious input on this important policy decision.”

    Marc Swogger, a clinical psychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who has published research on kratom use and earlier called the decision to ban the plant “insane,” said in an email that “I’m happy to see this. It is a step in the right direction and a credit to people who have spoken out against scheduling this plant.”

    CONTINUE READING…

     
  • ShereeKrider 9:54 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DEA, , , , protesters,   

    Kratom Advocates Sip Tea and Seethe at White House Rally Against DEA Ban 


    One user plans to move to Canada. Another plans to quit. Many more don’t know what to do.

    By Steven Nelson | Staff Writer Sept. 13, 2016, at 6:20 p.m.

    Several protest attendees brought their own bottle of kratom tea Tuesday to the White House. Those who did not were offered a Solo cup.

    Several protest attendees brought their own bottle of kratom tea Tuesday to the White House. Those who did not were offered a Solo cup. Steven Nelson for USN&WR

    Hundreds of passionate protesters gathered Tuesday near the White House to demand that the popular plant product kratom remain legal. It was jointly a business industry conference, a tea party and a desperate consumer lobbying effort — but the clear-eyed crowd appears to have little chance of near-term victory.

    A comprehensive U.S. ban likely will take effect on Sept. 30, just a month after the Drug Enforcement Administration surprised users by saying it would invoke emergency powers to make leaves from the tree grown in Southeast Asia illegal by labeling two main constituents Schedule I substances.

    In the face of long odds and silence from Capitol Hill, the event called by the American Kratom Association sought to pressure officials to reconsider while laying the groundwork for what may become a protracted re-legalization campaign.

    A large jug of brewed kratom sat in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, with red Solo cups offered to anyone who wanted some. At least one reporter sipped the brew, which tasted like astringent green tea. Another journalist took a pill offered as a free sample by a businessman.

    Kratom users who attended the rally said it’s wrong for them to lose legal access to what they say is an effective treatment for pain, addiction, depression and other conditions.

    Though many said they were angry, chant-leaders asked the crowd of a couple hundred to stay on message and favored reason over rage, which often is a leading emotion at White House protests staged by marijuana reform advocates who say decades in Schedule I has stalled medical cannabis research amid millions of arrests.

    “I’m usually very quiet but felt the need to come out and speak,” says Veronika Bamford-Conners, a kratom-selling store owner from Sullivan, Maine, where, she says, most of her customers are older than 55.

    “If they don’t have insurance and can’t afford medications, they find a cheaper alternative in kratom,” she says, though some seem to prefer relief from the leaf to painkillers, such as a 73-year-old man who she says called her weeping “because pharmaceuticals were killing him” before.

    Chants at the rally advertised the death toll from accidental overdoses of opioids – more than 28,000 in 2014 alone, including legal painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin – with the low or nonexistent U.S. toll from kratom.

    The DEA says it believes 15 deaths were caused by kratom, though American Kratom Association founder Susan Ash says the group hired a toxicologist who concluded each case could be attributed to other drugs.

    Many kratom users say the plant has helped them abstain from substances they formerly were addicted to, often heroin or prescription painkillers.

    “Kratom saved me, I was a bad heroin addict,” says David Allen, who traveled from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “It keeps cravings away and helped me not drink. I came because I don’t want to lose my medicine.”

    Allen says that although the DEA – and even some former kratom users – say the drug can lead to dependence, it’s nothing like the grasp of opioids. He says he believe it’s about as abusable as coffee, which comes from a related plant, and that like coffee withdrawal, ending kratom can cause minor headaches.

    Brad Miller, a physics teacher at Spotsylvania High School in Virginia, says he drinks small amounts of kratom tea between three and five times a day to treat arthritis in his knees. He says the effects are “very mild” and “just enough to take the edge off so I can get through my day standing.”

    Miller says prescribed painkillers from his rheumatologist were too strong and that unlike opioids he hasn’t developed an addiction to kratom. He says he went on a weeklong camping trip and – unlike the experiences of some users – felt no withdrawal symptoms.

    “I didn’t have withdrawal symptoms, but I did have arthritis pain,” he says. “I’d be surprised if anyone has experienced strong withdrawal symptoms.”

    Though Miller and others at the event said they aren’t sure what they will do at the end of the month, Heather Hawkins says she’s made up her mind to move to Canada, where kratom remains legal.

    Hawkins, a journalist with northern Florida’s Pensacola News-Journal and owner of the Kratom Literacy Project, says she has an incurable bladder disease and is eyeing Vancouver after already moved to the Sunshine State from Alabama in reaction to a local kratom ban.

    Talk about moving abroad often is spouted unseriously by political partisans around election time, but Hawkins says she’s completely serious after living in a painkiller-induced haze that left her depressed and unable to get out of bed.

    “I’m not going to stay here [if the ban takes effect] because I’m not going back to that life,” she says.

    Hawkins says she’s in addiction recovery from cocaine, which she says she used as self-medication to give her the energy to power through her pain and despair, and that if she regarded kratom as a drug she would not take it.

    Though kratom is widely known for claims that it can help keep opioid addicts clean, it’s also credited with sapping desire for other substances.

    Jeremy Haley, owner of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Kratom, says he began using kratom in 2012 after a drunk driving arrest, and that it has helped veer him away from his alcoholism, which runs in the family.

    Although the ban hasn’t yet taken effect, Haley says local officials have shut down his shop for what he views as dubious reasons, making him unable to sell the remaining inventory – the latest in what he says has been a constant regulatory headache that featured him asking Yelp reviewers to delete positive reviews to placate federal officials who wanted proof he was not marketing kratom for human consumption.

    Haley plans to open a totally legal apothecary shop if the ban takes effect.

    CONTINUE READING…


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  • ShereeKrider 1:07 pm on July 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DEA, descheduling, , , , Medical Maijuana   

    Is pot as dangerous as heroin? Feds’ decision on rescheduling marijuana coming soon 


    El Monte Police Lt. Christopher Williams looks over a portion of about 500 marijuana plants in various stages of growth after serving a search warrant at a home at 4300-block of Huddart Avenue in El Monte on Monday March 9, 2015.

     

    By Brooke Edwards Staggs, The Orange County Register

    Posted: 07/09/16, 8:37 PM PDT

     

    At the same time Californians are preparing to vote on the legalization of adult marijuana use, the federal government is weighing whether pot should continue to be classified as a top-tier narcotic on par with heroin.

    Within a month, the Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to release a much-anticipated decision that could alter cannabis’ ranking in the hierarchy of controlled substances — a formal listing that affects everything from medical research to taxing policy.

    Since the list was created in 1970, marijuana has been ranked in Schedule I — the most restrictive category ­alongside heroin, LSD and peyote. The designation is reserved for drugs the DEA says have no proven medical use and are highly addictive.

    What about Congress?

    Even if the Drug Enforcement and Food And Drug administrations don’t recommend changing where marijuana falls on the controlled substances list, Congress could.

    Elected officials are more likely to be influenced by growing public acceptance of marijuana — particularly if they represent one of 25 states with legal marijuana programs.

    “I think that’s probably an easier sell than the decision coming from doctors and police,” said John Hudak, a deputy director with the Brookings Institution.

    Some members of Congress support rescheduling marijuana, including Sen. Barbara Boxer. Some have even pitched descheduling it, including presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. But none of those efforts gained traction, and Paul Armentano with the advocacy group NORML isn’t optimistic Congress will act on the issue anytime soon.

    “I’m not aware of a single hearing much less a vote even in a subcommittee that has ever taken place at the Congressional level specific to the notion of reclassifying marijuana,” he said.

    “We’re bound by the science,” said Melvin Patterson, spokesman for the DEA.

    But many experts and advocates say the current classification is increasingly at odds with scientific studies on marijuana, which suggest the drug has medical value in treating chronic pain, seizures and a number of other conditions, with a lower addiction rate than alcohol.

    The DEA ranking also lags behind a growing public consensus. Roughly 80 percent of Americans believe medical marijuana should be legal, according to recent polls, while some 60 percent support legalizing the drug for all adults.

    “In 2016, this notion that cannabis possesses potential harms equal to that of heroin … simply doesn’t pass the smell test,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

    Medical marijuana is now legal in 25 states. Recreational use is allowed in four states plus Washington, D.C. If California green-lights recreational use this November, one in six Americans would live in a state where adults would be allowed to freely use cannabis.

    The question of how cannabis should be ranked has been hotly debated since Congress placed it in the Schedule I group when it passed the Controlled Substances Act nearly 46 years ago. The drug’s classification has been reviewed periodically, with the latest reexamination prompted by a petition filed with the DEA five years ago by the then-governors of Rhode Island and Washington.

    In April, the DEA advised Congress that it expected to announce a decision in the first half of 2016.

    Patterson said officials now “clearly anticipate something happening in the next month.”

    The agency has several options: keep cannabis as a Schedule I drug; reclassify some or all of its compounds to a lower schedule; or remove the plant from the controlled substances list altogether.

    There is a greater chance than ever that marijuana will be rescheduled, said John Hudak, who studies the topic as a deputy director with the Brookings Institution. But he still expects pot to remain a Schedule I drug.

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    “It needs to cross a threshold that says it has an accepted medical value,” Hudak said. “While there are plenty of patients and doctors who do believe it has medical value, that’s not a universal belief in the medical community.”

    Leslie Bocskor, president of Las Vegas-based cannabis advisory firm Electrum Partners, thinks the odds slightly favor a reclassification of marijuana to Schedule II. That category includes morphine and cocaine, which the DEA says are highly addictive but have some medical value. A form of cocaine, for example, is used by some dentists as a local anesthetic.

    The least restrictive of the five schedule categories, Schedule V, includes cough syrup with a bit of codeine.

    Alcohol and tobacco aren’t included on the DEA’s controlled substances list, even though federal studies have found both are associated with higher dependency rates than marijuana.

    Patterson said the DEA frequently hears from people frustrated that marijuana hasn’t been rescheduled sooner.

    “They have their mind made up on what marijuana does in the short term,” he said. “But what about different strains? What about 10 years from now or even 20 years from now? Long-term effects matter.”

    For the medical marijuana community, even reclassifying cannabis as a Schedule II drug would offer some vindication.

    “At a minimum, it would bring an end to the federal government’s longstanding intellectual dishonesty that marijuana ‘lacks accepted medical use,’ ” Armentano said.

    Such a shift by the DEA also might offer a small boost to at least half-a-dozen states with medical or recreational marijuana initiatives on the ballot this November.

    That potential to give some credence to legalization efforts is one of the reasons a few members of Congress, including Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and the organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, cite in arguing against reclassifying marijuana.

    “Rescheduling would simply be a symbolic victory for advocates who want to legalize marijuana,” SAM wrote in a policy paper on the issue.

    But both the California and American medical associations say rescheduling pot could lower the barriers a bit for federally sanctioned drug research.

    The DEA has never turned down a marijuana research request that met federal criteria, Patterson said. But experts say red tape related to Schedule I drug research is so formidable that it discourages applications. So while there are tens of thousands of peer-reviewed studies on marijuana, there are few costly and rigorous double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving cannabis.

    Moreover, researchers say, marijuana studies are saddled with restrictions that don’t apply to other Schedule I drugs.

    Since 1968, for example, the federal government has said only a tightly controlled stock of high-quality marijuana grown under contract by the University of Mississippi can be used for FDA-approved studies. Armentano said that restricts the supply available for research.

    If marijuana were reclassified to at least Schedule III — alongside Tylenol with codeine and anabolic steroids — it would mean the nation’s rapidly growing number of cannabis-related businesses could begin deducting operating expenses from their federal taxes.

    Under a tax rule imposed during the Reagan Administration’s 1980s anti-drug war, businesses dealing in Schedule I or II substances are prohibited from writing off common expenses such as rent, utilities or advertising.

    Harborside Health Center, a large Oakland dispensary, has been battling the IRS over the rule for five years, after being assessed $2.4 million for illegal deductions. A decision in that case is expected soon.

    Even if cannabis was moved down the controlled substances list to the least-restrictive category, the industry would still be likely to face business and regulatory hurdles.

    Armentano likened such a change, should it come, to the first stride in a marathon.

    “Technically, it gets you closer to the finish line,” he said. “But you still have a whole hell of a long way to go.”

    Pot would remain an illegal substance under federal law. Reclassification wouldn’t necessarily open access to banking services, Hudak said. And doctors wouldn’t automatically switch to writing prescriptions, as opposed to “recommendations,” for medical marijuana, since that’s only allowed for FDA-approved drugs.

    “There are certain people who play up rescheduling as an earth-shattering reform,” Hudak said. “It is not.”

    He said sweeping changes would only come in the unlikely event that cannabis was completely descheduled, putting it on par with alcohol.

    That would allow local governments to create cannabis policies free from federal interference, Armentano said, the way they can set their own hours for when bars stop serving alcohol or make entire counties “dry.”

    Armentano isn’t optimistic the DEA will move marijuana to a less restrictive category, but he said there’s been one positive result from the current review.

    “There’s attention being paid to how they handle this situation in a way that just wasn’t there before,” he said. “If the DEA goes down the same path as it has in the past, I think they’re going to have some explaining to do.”

    CONTINUE READING…

     
  • ShereeKrider 8:36 pm on February 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DEA, DTF, , Nevada, , obama, Operation Chronic Problem, , , prisons for profit, ,   

    From Organizing America to Operation Chronic Problem, How Cannabis Prohibition Ruins Lives 


     

     

    My Bust

     

    Katree Darriel Saunders is a 30 year old mother, cannabis activist, and an active member of her community. Katree was living in Las Vegas, NV when she was arrested during a DEA sting called Operation Chronic Problem on the charges of: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana and hashish. For 10 grams of hashish and 3.5 grams of marijuana Katree has had her life as she knew it ended. This dedicated mother lost her family and job for trying to help. Trying to help what turned out to be a lying, conniving, scheming, weasel of a DEA Agent posing as a medical cannabis patient desperate for relief. This is Katree Darriel Saunders story. Her loss, her pain, and what many consider a major injustice as well as a violation of her constitutional rights.

    Katree has been addicted off and on to prescription pain pills since the age of 15. In 2007, seeking pain relief from multiple car accidents, Katree Saunders became a medical cannabis patient. Knowing the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, plus their lack of effectiveness, Saunders chose medical cannabis. Not only did cannabis end Saunders pain, she was able to stop using prescription drugs all together. As a hardworking mother, Saunders put herself through college and became a positive and active member of her community.

    Nevada’s laws prohibited the sale of cannabis in 2007, which forced Saunders to seek it through the black market, known for unsavory individuals who traffic anything from people to weapons to stolen merchandise. Once when Saunders sought cannabis from the black market she was sexually assaulted. This devastating incident convinced Saunders she had to do something. There had to be a way for her to legally and safely obtain her medication.

    She contacted the state of Nevada and spoke with Jennifer Barlett, who referred her to Michael McAuliffe of Nevada’s Compassionate Care (NCC). It was there Saunders found her place. She began working with NCC and was helping others away from the black market.

    Things were going well for Saunders in February of 2010. She volunteered for a political event called Organizing America where President Barack Obama spoke about healthcare reform. Saunders was chosen to be on stage. She sat in the front row behind the president as he gave his speech. Upon the close, Katree was able to shake hands with the President. While doing so, Saunders said ‘We needed to talk about medical patient’s rights.’ Then, according to Saunders, Obama looked at her and said ‘I’m not prosecuting.’

    image (4)

     

    Feeling confident and empowered after this Saunders then became active in helping patients obtain their medical cannabis cards from the Nevada state program. Unfortunately, while Saunders was working for NCC, she was set up by undercover DEA agents. They were conducting what was known as Operation Chronic Problem. A federal DEA agent posed as a sick patient asking for help obtaining medical cannabis.

    Saunders, being a compassionate person, facilitated this lying individual’s request. Later she was indicted on distribution of a controlled substance. Saunders served four months in prison as well as a lengthy probation since she did not offer up the names of her medical patients.

    While on pretrial Saunders was in another motor vehicle accident. This accident totaled her husband’s vehicle and left Saunders with a fractured foot as well as a back injury. She was placed on morphine, Xanax, and MARINOL®. The morphine began to make her heart hurt, so she opted to stop taking it in exchange for MARINOL®. MARINOL® is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring compound known as delta-9-THC. However, since Saunders was on probation, the state of Nevada told her that she could not take MARINOL® since they would not be able to determine if she was consuming cannabis or simply taking the medication.

    The State of Nevada Probation Department obtained a court order preventing Saunder’s doctor from prescribing MARINOL® to her. Now, not only was Saunders in trouble for selling 3.5 grams of cannabis and 10 grams of hash, she also lost her job, family and right to medicate.

    During her incarceration, her husband divorced her, took the kids and moved away. While in custody at the prison, Saunders says she was ‘sexually assaulted and harassed by US Marshals’.

    During Saunders’ trial, her attorneys advised her not to mention anything about her encounter with President Obama. For the 4 months Katree Saunders was incarcerated, the state split her time between a private prison corporation (Corrections Corporation of America – CCA) and a state prison, and earned a minimum of $5,000 for hosting her. The state of Nevada spent an estimated $20,656 per inmate in 2012, and reported 267.9 million in costs. They also claimed to have 15 million dollars in prison related costs outside of the state budget. This is where states and private prison corporations make big dollars housing criminals. In the case of cannabis consumers, these corporations make out like bandits.

     

    Imagine charging $21,000 a year to house someone who was busted selling or possessing cannabis. In Saunders case, that 13.5 grams of cannabis, with a street value of $150, cost taxpayers over $20,000 to put her through the system. That doesn’t include the cost of the actual arrest, which stands at $1,500 to $3,500 with booking, paperwork, police officers fees, donuts, etc.

    Saunders fought hard to break away from prescription drugs, but in the end they were her only option. Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, has been making billions off victims. Purdue Pharma is involved in countless lawsuits and their officials have admitted to deceitful and immoral medical practices, yet they are still making money. These are the ones that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks out about when he refers to the top one-tenth of 1%.

    In 1993 the DEA allowed pharmaceutical companies to produce 3520 kilos of a drug known as oxycodone. Twenty-two years later they are manufacturing 137.5 thousand kilos of the same drug. That is an increase of 39 times in the manufacturing of this controlled substance. Since President Nixon founded the DEA in 1973, they have done nothing but prosecute those who attempt to possess, grow, or in any way affiliate themselves with cannabis.

    Medical cannabis helps millions of people across the United States and world to find relief from pain and suffering. Cannabis helped Saunders break her addiction and take back control of her life. Cannabis is a safe treatment alternative for many illnesses, as well as the management of symptoms associated with a broad array of medical complications. Prescription drug addiction, of course, is a problem that is not only plaguing the United States, but the whole world.

    Saunders’ battle with a prescription drug addiction from a young age illustrates the carelessness of the medical industry in allowing doctors to over-prescribe dangerous medications. It has also enabled them to receive substantial kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies in the process.

    According to ABC News, America consumes over 90% of the world’s hydrocodone and 80 percent of the planet’s opioids. The United States of America makes up only 4.6 percent of the planet’s population. This opioid problem has destroyed mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Children and soldiers suffer horrendously because of our country’s support for the pharmaceutical industry. Children suffer by being denied medication that could in fact actually help them, and at times even cure them. Children also suffer by losing parents who are consumed by prescription drug addiction. Soldiers who protect our freedom, often with their own lives, suffer from illnesses such as PTSD. They are sometimes denied a natural treatment, such as cannabis, to help with their symptoms.

    The Doctors Enforcement Agency

    The DEA licenses more than 600,000 surgeons, doctors, and podiatrists to administer prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers. According to NORML (National Reform of Marijuana Laws), in 2011 there were an estimated 1.5 million registered medical cannabis patients living in the United States of America. The sad side of this is that the laws pertaining to medical cannabis forced so many to seek their medication on the black market.

    The public seems to believe that we think cannabis is the new cure-all, and other medications should be eliminated. This is not true. Common sense will tell you that there are many medical advancements today which have led us to the most sophisticated and advanced techniques and cures. During this evolution we have managed to de-evolve at the same time, through the abuse of prescription drugs, as much the fault of patients as it is the doctors doing the prescribing. Some individuals get prescription pain pills in large quantities because the doctors will prescribe them. Some individuals do not even take their medication. Instead they sell them on the street. When doctors prescribe as much as 100 to 300 pills at a time, with an average price of $10 a pill, some people can make an extra $3,000 a month.

    Prohibition Has Failed and it’s Hurting America

    The prohibition of cannabis that began in the late 1930s has devastated countless numbers of American lives and destroyed families across the country. The FDA will approve OxyContin for 6-year-olds but will not support cannabis oil. This is an absurd violation of human rights. The United States of America has held the patent for medical cannabis since 2003. This means that they knowingly have information that solidifies and validates medical cannabis as an effective treatment. This also means that the DEA and FDA know, and have evidence, that cannabis is medicine.

    For the past 12 years the DEA has left cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic. This puts it in the same class as heroin and cocaine, that it has no medicinal value. They have lied to the American people kept the public sick, and now some laugh at us while the cannabis community is trying to change laws to better the world around us.

    The Dogs of the Feds

    The DEA regularly raids medicinal cannabis facilities and Indian tribal lands. They arrest, abuse, neglect and destroy the lives of countless cannabis consumers. Medical patients and recreational consumers alike suffer the wrath of the DEA everyday. There are no public benefits from cannabis prohibition! The medicinal aspects combined with potential taxes are unquestionably positive. The simple implementation of taxation on cannabis will help to eliminate the black market. This puts a lot of politicians, local sheriffs, and other individuals out of extra income they have enjoyed for years.

    Katree Saunders felt the wrath of the DEA during Operation Chronic Pain and now you know her story. From being hooked on prescription drugs at 15, to meeting the President of the United States, to prison, to an avid cannabis activist, Saunders’ struggle is all too familiar to many Americans, except for meeting Mr. Barack Obama.

    Help support America by being a seed. One seed can tip the scales of injustice. Are you that seed?

     
  • ShereeKrider 4:29 am on November 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Darren Smith, DEA, , , Kettle Falls Five, lawful marijuana, , Washington State, Wordpress   

    Three Individuals Growing Medical Marijuana In WA State Convicted And Sent To Prison 


    By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

    Entreating the Godfather

    Nearly a year and a half ago we featured a story describing the plight of the “Kettle Falls Five” who were arrested by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency on charges relating to marijuana cultivation and firearms violations.  I am reprinting here portions of my previous article which has many details of the original case. Now, three of these defendants were sentenced to federal prison.

    The confusion as to what constitutes lawful medical marijuana grows with federal deference and ten year punishments for doing so, the United States Department of Justice prosecuted five rural Eastern Washington residents accused of growing seventy-four medical marijuana plants in a private collective. Washington State is a Medical Marijuana State. The accused include a seventy year old man who states he uses the medicine to treat pain from a job related injury, his wife for her arthritis, and their son.  The patriarch of the family, the accused Larry Harvey, had the charges dropped but has since died of cancer.

    While state law at the time permitted the cultivation of up to forty-five plants, federal law prohibits any cultivation.  Originally confusion of the numbers of plants that might be permissible under state law (in aggregate) should take into consideration that multiple individuals had separate grows and this led to a misunderstanding.  While the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office told the accused to remove those plants in excess of the amounts allowed, the DEA later arrived and raided their farms.

    What compounds the severity for these five individuals is that within the thirty-three acre property, two of the defendants’ residence had inside several firearms, including rifles which are used by the family to hunt and for protection from wild animals. Firearms are very common in residences in rural Eastern Washington. Yet, the firearms in relation to the marijuana grow add an additional five year minimum sentence, adding to the defendants’ minimum of ten years imprisonment, something the senior defendant claimed to be a “death sentence.”

    What is rather extraordinary in this effort by the department of justice, despite guidelines in not allocating resources to prosecute medical marijuana patients, the defendants claim it was a misunderstanding of Washington’s medical marijuana laws that caused them to go from legal users to being potentially imprisoned for ten years.  Many viewed this case as necessitating jury nullification.

    At the federal trial, the defendants were not permitted to mention that medical treatment was the reason for these grows, though it was allowed during closing arguments.

    Federal prosecutors alleged the five were conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana and possession of firearms in relation to drug trafficking. The defendants deny they intended to distribute the marijuana and claim they grow the marijuana for their own usage. They faced a minimum of ten years imprisonment if convicted on all charges.  Though the prosecution attempted to convince the jury that one hundred plants were being grown, and therefore necessitating a greater penalty, the jury did not agree yet found them however guilty in the growing of less than one hundred.

    Larry Harvey

    Larry Harvey

    According to Americans for Safe Access, a group that advocates cannabis for medicinal and research use, 100,000 Washingtonians use medical marijuana. Presently there are about thirty state licensed retail marijuana growers who are permitted under state law to grow thousands of plants for distribution to eventually several hundred licensed marijuana retailers.

    But there has been irregular enforcement and ambiguity with regard to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the Office of the US Attorney. The office posted guidelines in August of 2013 listing priorities and what resources the federal government would consider in whether to prosecute marijuana grows or uses. A copy of this guideline can be found HERE

    Within this memorandum one of the guidelines seems to be permissive on this incident:

    The Department’s previous memoranda specifically addressed the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in states with laws authorizing marijuana cultivation and distribution for medical use. In those contexts, the Department advised that it is likely was not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on seriously ill individuals, or on their individual caregivers. In doing so, the previous guidance drew a distinction between the seriously ill and their caregivers, on the one hand, and large-scale, for-profit commercial enterprises, on the other, and advised that the latter continued to be appropriate targets for federal enforcement and prosecution. In drawing this distinction, the Department relied on the common-sense judgment that the size of a marijuana operation was a reasonable proxy for assessing whether marijuana trafficking implicates the federal enforcement priorities set forth above.

    The memorandum does not confer any rights or defenses, according to its wording, but purports itself to be a guide to prosecutions and delegation of federal resources.

    The underlying incident that brought about this prosecution, reportedly ready for trial in June, allegedly happened in August of 2012 when a sheriff’s deputy arrived at the home of 70 year old Larry Harvey to cut down SOME of his marijuana plants, telling the patients state law only allows forty five plants among a collective grow. The plants originally were alleged to have been sixty eight in number. Mr. Harvey stated he believed he was in compliance because under Washington’s Medical Marijuana Laws, a medical marijuana patient is permitted to grow fifteen plants themselves and among the five of them, they should have been permitted to grow seventy five plants.

    Apparently, the sheriff’s office then notified the federal DEA which then arrived at Larry’s home, seized his marijuana plants along with eight of his firearms.

    Larry Harvey

    Essentially Larry was put into this jeopardy of his freedom because of numbers. According to Washington Law he could not have more than forty five plants in one collective but if he had instead divided the garden into three areas, perhaps leasing the land to the other defendants, he would have been in compliance. But, since he was allegedly out of compliance the DEA went after them. If the deputy in this case would have recognized this was simply a misinterpretation of the law, according to Larry, a teachable moment might have corrected the matter. Why the DEA was called is unknown. But along with this alleged numbers game, the DEA drew in to the firearms issue to rack up another potential five year penalty. There is a strong possibility the government will seize their farmland.

    Here are the sentences of the remaining defendants as handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice:

    • Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, One year and one day in federal prison
    • Rolland Gregg, Thirty-three months imprisonment
    • Michelle Gregg, One year and one day imprisonment

    Scapegoats of the empire

    By Darren Smith

    Sources:

    USNews
    KREM News
    KXLY
    NextNewsNetwork
    US Department of Justice

    The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

    PLEASE CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE AND COMMENTS THROUGH THIS LINK!

     
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