Monday, March 27, 2017

Don't let ISP's invade your privacy

From Fight For The Future:

BREAKING: Congress has scheduled a vote TOMORROW to eliminate Internet privacy rules and allow ISPs to sell your data to advertisers without your permission. It already passed the Senate. This is our last chance to stop it.

Just last week, the Senate voted to gut internet privacy rules that prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling your sensitive personal information to advertisers without your consent. [1]

The measure passed the Senate by only two votes. It was close, and there was significant public outcry which means we still have a chance to stop it.

Now the bill moves to the House of Representatives, and we just got word that they scheduled a vote on it TOMORROW. [2] They’re trying to ram it through quickly without discussion or debate. We need to stop them.

Call Congress right now. Tell them to vote NO on repealing the FCC broadband privacy rules.

We’ll connect you with your lawmakers and give you a simple script of what you can say. Here’s the number: (415) 360-0555

Can’t call right now? Help us sound the alarm and get out the word about this urgent assault on all of our Internet privacy rights.

Even creepier, they’ll be able to install software on your phone to track you, and inject undetectable “cookies” into your Internet traffic to record everything you’re doing online. [3]

If this bill passes the House, companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T will be able to constantly (and secretly) collect our online activity and sell our browsing history, financial information, and real-time location, and sell it to advertisers without our permission.

We have less than 24 hours to create enough outcry to delay the vote or stop this bill entirely. There’s so much at stake. Will you call right now?

Call this number and we’ll connect you directly to your representatives: (415) 360-0555

We’ll keep you posted. Thanks for all you do,

-Laila and Evan at Fight for the Future

P.S. We just announced we’re going to put up billboards with the names of every member of Congress who votes for this attack on our privacy. Help us put them up in more districts by chipping in!

Or you can email your representative by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Vote TODAY: Senate rushing to escalate the drug war

From Drug Policy Alliance:

As soon as this afternoon, the U.S. Senate could vote on a bill that would escalate the drug war by expanding the ability of states to drug test people who file for unemployment insurance. If it passes, it will go to President Trump to be signed into law.

This is our last chance to block it before the vote. Urge your Senators to oppose this harmful legislation.

The vast majority of people who receive unemployment insurance and other public assistance do not use drugs. But more importantly, drug testing programs have been proven again and again to accomplish nothing. They often have faulty results and waste millions of tax dollars.

Instead of following the evidence, Congress is stigmatizing vulnerable people looking for jobs to ramp up the failed drug war.

This is shameful, especially considering that members of Congress rushing to pass this legislation have claimed it will help people who struggle with addiction to opioids and other substances.

Yet most states that have tried these kind of drug testing programs don’t even offer or fund treatment for people who struggle with substance use.

In addition to being ineffective, harmful, and a complete waste of money, mandatory drug testing by states has been deemed illegal and unconstitutional by the courts time and again.

Contact your Senators immediately and tell them to oppose this attempt to escalate the drug war.

And follow-up with a call to your Senators. Find their phone numbers here and you can say:

As a constituent, I am calling to urge my Senator to oppose H.J. Res. 42 which would expand state drug testing of people who file for unemployment insurance. The vast majority of people who receive unemployment insurance and other public assistance do not use drugs. But more importantly, drug testing programs have been proven again and again to accomplish nothing. They often have faulty results, and waste millions of tax dollars. Please oppose H.J. Res. 42. Thank you.

We are doing everything we can to stop this bill from becoming law. But we’re counting on you to help us.

Monday, March 13, 2017

On North Korea II

The annual Foal Eagle military drills between the US and South Korea will include some heavy hitters this year — the Navy SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden, Army Special Forces, and F-35s — South Korea's Joon Gang Daily reports.

South Korean news outlets report that the SEALs, who will join the exercise for the first time, will simulate a "decapitation attack," or a strike to remove North Korea's leadership.

Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross later told Business Insider that the US military "does not train for decapitation missions" of any kind.

Yet a decapitation force would fit with a March 1 Wall Street Journal report that the White House is considering military action against the Kim regime.

The SEALs boarded the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and should arrive in South Korea on Wednesday, Joon Gang Daily reports.

South Korea has also made efforts toward a decapitation force, and international calls for action have increased in intensity after North Korea's latest missile test, which simulated a saturation attack to defeat US and allied missile defenses.

“It will send a very strong message to North Korea, which is constantly carrying out military provocations,” a ministry official told Joon Gang Daily.

The Foal Eagle exercise includes 3,600 US troops, in addition to the 28,000 US troops permanently stationed in South Korea. The drills include air, land, and sea operations designed to prepare the joint forces in case of a conflict with North Korea.

This year's exercise also integrates preparation for the deployment of US missile defenses to South Korea.

Additionally, the US's newest combat aircraft, the F-35, will fly in to simulate attacks on North Korea's missile infrastructure, Joon Gang Daily reports. The F-35 will accompany many of the US's highest-end platforms, like F-22s and a nuclear-powered submarine.

"A bigger number of and more diverse US special operation forces will take part in this year's Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises to practice missions to infiltrate into the North, remove the North's war command and demolition of its key military facilities," the an unnamed military official told South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.


When I wrote On North Korea I had no idea whom Obama's successor would be. It appears that Trump is not fucking around. It the beginning of this article it stated that SEAL team 6 doesn't train during these exercises. This should be a wake up call to fatboy in North Korea. Trump is not fucking around with fatboy. Trump knows that fatboy is trying to perfect a missile that will reach the western United States. I'm sure fatboy is hoping it's a nuke. Trump is not going to wait until the west coast is destroyed nor does it appear he will tolerate American fatalities. It appears that fatboy and his generals are in bigger trouble than our citizenry is. It doesn't look like fatboy is going to see his 35th birthday.

Tell Congress to pass Audit The Fed

Note: Because of bad weather on the east coast especially Washington DC this meeting has been postponed. We will let you know when the meeting before Congress takes place.

From Campaign For Liberty:

Do you have 5 seconds today to help Audit the Fed?

On Wednesday, I’ll be testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the need to pass H.R. 24, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act.

This is the perfect time for us to flex our muscle and show Congress we mean business when it comes to Fed transparency.

I need your help today: Will you sign your DRAIN THE SWAMP petition urging your representative and senators to cosponsor and seek roll-call votes on Audit the Fed?

Once you've signed, or if you already have, please dig deep with a contribution of $500, $250 or $100 to help Campaign for Liberty ensure we seize the momentum during Wednesday’s hearing.

If that’s simply too much, please consider contributing $50, $25, or even $10.

Time is running out for us to take advantage of this opportunity. The more you can give, the more action we can generate this week.

Dr. Paul and I both truly appreciate whatever you’re able to give.

In Liberty,

Norm Singleton

Sign the petition

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Trump sends mixed message on marijuana, but pot industry pushes ahead

DENVER – America’s marijuana industry isn't sure where President Trump and his attorney general stand on marijuana, but it is forging ahead with expansion plans anyway.

Cannabis businesses are hiring new workers, leasing new space and pushing across state borders. And regulators are drafting rules that will give access to legal recreational pot to tens of millions of adults.

The stakes are high: This is a job-generating industry that cannabis data firm New Frontier Data estimates may be worth $2.3 billion in taxes within three years.

“Far from the punchline of a joke, these are real people and real lives,” said Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat who recently co-founded the pro-legalization Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

The nation’s marijuana industry expanded rapidly under President Obama, whose administration laid out Justice Department priorities for targeting drug dealers. In short, the Obama administration said, it would leave companies alone in states where voters approved recreational pot if the states took solid steps to keep marijuana away from kids and profits away from drug cartels.

Medical marijuana is reserved for people who’ve gotten a doctor’s recommendation to use it to alleviate specific symptoms, while states with that permit recreational use allow any adult to buy marijuana.

In states with licensed cannabis stores, it’s easy to forget those businesses sell a plant that remains an illegal Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law. Federal prosecutors, if they chose, could easily arrest tens of thousands of people who have state licenses to grow and sell the drug, or even anyone walking out of a pot shop with a purchase. But they haven’t.

Trump’s administration may take a different tack, but so far, it has delivered conflicting messages.

Last month, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Justice Department would not use federal laws to prosecute medical marijuana users, in part because Congress has already banned it from doing so. But he drew a distinction between medical and recreational use.

“I do believe you'll see greater enforcement” of federal laws against recreational marijuana use, he said. Then, in the same press conference, he suggested the matter wasn’t settled and referred reporters to the Justice Department for comment.

Shortly after, Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a speech seemed to suggest there’d be stricter enforcement in states with recreational marijuana. Members of Congress, including Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., say Sessions has reassured them privately that is not the case.

Cannabis industry roiled by White House comments on enforcement
The whiplash from the shifting positions jostled the market. Marijuana stocks tracked by Viridian Capital Advisors had generally risen steadily all year – up about 25% – until the day Spicer spoke. Then, in the hours after his press conferences, 80% of those marijuana-related stocks dropped. The next day, the first full day of trading following the comments, it got worse: 92% of the stocks dropped, said Viridian, which provides financial and data-analysis to the cannabis industry.

Those stocks are now recovering, said Viridian’s president, Scott Greiper: “I think the industry is very comfortable operating in a harsh, uncertain environment. It’s just what we’re used to.” Viridian tracks the movement of 50 publicly traded cannabis companies that are either worth more than $10,000 each or see trading volume of $20,000 daily.

Decriminalizing marijuana has widespread support.

Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, the District of Columbia and California voters have all approved laws allowing adults to grow and possess small amounts of recreational pot, though not every state has a functioning marketplace. And a Quinnipiac University poll released last month found 71% of Americans would oppose efforts to enforce federal marijuana laws in those eight states. The poll also found that 93% of voters support allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes and 59% support making it legal for all purposes.

Congress has prohibited the Justice Department from interfering with states’ medical marijuana programs, but has remained silent about recreational marijuana.

Many marijuana businesses had hoped Trump would at least maintain the Obama-era attitude, if not relax restrictions even further in a nod to states’ rights, job creation, personal liberty. Trump on the campaign trail said he’d respect state laws that permit recreational pot.

Smoke, because you can: Inside a legal marijuana dinner
Troy Dayton, CEO of the ArcView Group, which offers cannabis industry investment services and research, says the pot business also plays into Trump's "America First" policy.

“This would be a really huge missed opportunity if we let other countries get ahead of us in something that is really our ours to lose," Dayton said. "The question is whether we want these to be American jobs, do we want these to be American companies, or do we want Canada and Germany and Columbia take that market share."

Dayton said it's hard to imagine the Trump administration would shut down a widely popular industry: “I have a feeling they get to see the same polls we do.”

Still the broad uncertainty is enough to keep some cannabis businesses cautious. In California, marijuana grower CANNDESCENT has given its products soothing names like "Calm" and "Connect," instead of relying of more typical names like AK-47 or Durban Poison or Day Wrecker.

“We literally changed our product names in order to better educate the public and seem less ominous to government officials,” said CANNDESCENT CEO Adrian Sedlin.

In states with recreational marijuana marketplaces, many front-line marijuana business say they think the country has come too far to ever roll back recreational pot, and regulators in California and Nevada continue drafting the rules necessary to implement their voter-approved cannabis marketplaces. Polis, the congressman from Boulder, said he plans to re-introduce federal legislation to regulate marijuana like alcohol, which would give states the power to create legal marijuana marketplaces if they choose. Previous measures haven't received enough support to pass.

Marijuana business owners say they'll stand tall despite the potential threat to their livelihoods.

“We employ 24 full-time people. It gives us a tremendous sense of pride,” said Amy Andrle of L’Eagle Services, a Denver-based marijuana store specializing in pesticide-free cannabis. “I’m very proud of the work we are doing. This is our small business we are running in this great country.”


You know what to do. Contact the usual suspects in the House,Senate
Yes,even President Trump himself. The more of us they hear from the better.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Trump’s proposed pot crackdown is out of step with voters

Recent comments from the Trump administration indicating a potential federal crackdown in states that regulate the adult us of cannabis is out of step with most voters, including those among the President’s base.

Outside of the Beltway, Americans’ support for enacting regulatory alternatives to cannabis prohibition is uniquely bipartisan. According to the latest national polling by Gallup, six out of 10 Americans believe that the adult use of marijuana “should be made legal.” By party, Gallup pollsters found that legalization was most likely to be favored by Independents and Democrats, but also that support among Republicans had more than doubled over the past decade.

Support among Republicans for legalizing medical marijuana is even higher, with 85 percent of GOP voters endorsing its therapeutic use, according to recent nationwide survey data by Quinnipiac University. But perhaps most strikingly, Quinnipiac pollsters also reported that nearly three-quarters of voters – including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – “oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana.”

Nonetheless, the Trump administration appears to be planning on doing just that. In fact, on the same day that Quinnipiac released its latest survey data, White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the Justice Department was intending to pursue the “greater enforcement” of federal anti-marijuana laws states like Californian that permit its adult use.

Such a move by the federal government would be a stark departure from the position of the prior administration, which largely let these voter-initiated laws move forward unfettered. It also represents an about-face in Trump’s own position, as he previously said that he would not use federal authority to target adult use laws. For instance, while campaigning in Colorado in August, Trump responded to the question “[Do] you think Colorado should be able to do what it’s doing?” by stating, “I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”

And so it should be. According to a 2016 report by the CATO think tank, these adult use regulatory schemes are working largely as voters intended. They are not associated with increased marijuana use among young people, or rising rates of crime or accidents in the workplace. “The absence of significant adverse consequences is especially striking given the sometimes dire predictions made by legalization opponents,” the report’s authors concluded. Further, tax revenue derived from the regulated markets now exceeds initial expectations.

Rather than picking an unnecessary fight with the majority of American voters, the administration should consider embracing common-sense marijuana law reforms. Endorsing bipartisan legislation, HR 975: The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act” or HR 1227: The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017,” would be a good place to start. In accordance with the electorate’s wishes, passage of these acts would prevent the federal government from criminally prosecuting individuals or businesses that are engaging in state-sanctioned activities specific to the possession, use, production, and distribution of marijuana.

Despite more than 70 years of federal marijuana prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time for politicians to acknowledge this reality and amend federal marijuana laws in a manner that comports with majority public opinion and the plant’s rapidly changing legal and cultural status. The Trump administration has the opportunity to take the lead on this issue. It would be an enormous political misstep for them to do otherwise.


Let's tell President Trump about this and ask him to sign the aforementioned bills when they come before him. The more of us he hears from the better.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Scientists say the government’s only pot farm has moldy samples — and no federal testing standards

Sue Sisley, a primary care physician in Scottsdale, Arizona, recalls the moment she picked up the carefully wrapped package fresh from the delivery truck. Nearly two years after Sisley and her colleagues were awarded a grant to study marijuana as a treatment for 76 military veterans suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, her shipment of the drug was finally in hand.

But minutes later, as she opened the packets to weigh the drug – as required by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration – her enthusiasm turned to dismay. It didn’t look like marijuana. Most of it looked like green talcum powder.

“It didn’t resemble cannabis. It didn’t smell like cannabis,” Sisley says. What’s more, laboratory testing found that some of the samples were contaminated with mold, while others didn’t match the chemical potency Sisley had requested for the study.

There’s only one source of marijuana for clinical research in the United States. And “they weren’t able to produce what we were asking for,” Sisley says.

It’s unclear whether mold, lead or discrepancies in potency has been a problem in prior cannabis studies, because until now, it appears that no one looked.

In January — four months and three rounds of testing after that first delivery — Sisley and researchers working with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) were finally able to enroll their first subjects. But the delay and the reasons behind it have raised questions about the reliability of the facility responsible for supplying marijuana to every clinical study in the country.

The marijuana came from a 12-acre farm at the University of Mississippi, run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Since 1968, it has been the only facility licensed by the DEA to produce the plant for clinical research. While eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana — and all but a handful allow at least some medical cannabis — growing the plant in large quantities remains forbidden under federal law. For all practical purposes, that means that any medical study that wants to use marijuana on human subjects must go through the University of Mississippi.

Rick Doblin, MAPS’ director, says this recent episode “shows that NIDA is completely inadequate as a source of marijuana for drug development and research.”

“They’re in no way capable of assuming the rights and responsibilities for handling a drug that we’re hoping to be approved by the FDA as prescription medicine,” he says.

The demand for the facility’s product has surged in the past year, mirroring interest from medical researchers. Through mid-October 2016, the agency says it had fulfilled 39 requests for marijuana, from 10 different researchers. That’s a jump from the 23 requests it filled in 2015, the most recent numbers available, according to an April letter from the DEA to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).

It’s unclear whether mold, lead or discrepancies in potency has been a problem in prior cannabis studies, because until now, it appears that no one looked.

NIDA says this is the first time researchers have expressed concern about mold or potency testing. Neither the agency nor the University of Mississippi tests samples for mold before they’re shipped.

Sisley says researchers have taken too much for granted. “There’s no telling how many subjects in past studies were exposed,” she says.

The uncertainty highlights a broader challenge in the growing field of cannabis research: there’s little consensus on what testing is appropriate or on what findings constitute a hazard.
The uncertainty highlights a broader challenge in the growing field of cannabis research: there’s little consensus on what testing is appropriate or on what findings constitute a hazard. Scientists and officials say they would love to have more guidance.

“Our biggest concern is patient safety,” says Mike Van Dyke, chief of toxicology with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which is funding the MAPS-sponsored study on PTSD. “The lack of a federal regulatory structure makes it a huge challenge. We don’t have all the information we’d like to have.”

Mixed signals on standards

A researcher in Dr. Sue Sisley’s lab prepares to weigh a sample of marijuana received from the federal facility responsible for growing marijuana for clinical research. Photo courtesy of MAPS.
A researcher in Dr. Sue Sisley’s lab prepares to weigh a sample of marijuana received from the federal facility responsible for growing marijuana for clinical research. Photo courtesy of MAPS.

As part of the original study protocol, the marijuana that Sisley received was tested at an independent laboratory in Colorado, which found a high level of total yeast and mold (TYM) in several samples. The tests also found that the potency of some samples didn’t match what study organizers had ordered, or what it says on the certificate of analysis from the federal supplier.

One sample, billed as having a 13 percent level of THC — the main psychoactive compound in marijuana — had just 8 percent when tested at the independent facility in Colorado. Other samples were off by lesser amounts. Subsequent testing at the University of Illinois-Chicago confirmed the presence of total yeast and mold.

The Chicago tests also found all four samples contained trace amounts of lead, though well below the levels generally considered to be hazardous, at least for adults.

On the state level, testing requirements for recreational and medical marijuana vary widely. Most states require some testing for heavy metals such as lead, but not for pesticide residue. Yeast and mold testing is required in most states where cannabis is sold legally. The failure rate – frequently defined as a total mold and yeast count higher than 10,000 “colony-forming units” per gram (CFU/g) — is not officially tracked in Colorado. But state records show that approximately 7 percent of samples tested last year did not pass “microbial” standards, a category that includes bacterial contamination as well as TYM. Colorado only requires microbial testing for marijuana sold on the recreational market, not for medicinal use.

The Chicago tests found total yeast and mold (TYM) counts in Sisley and team’s samples ranging from 23,000 to 64,000 CFU/g.

NIDA says it suspects the mold problem was introduced on the receiving end, when the Colorado lab accidentally left samples in a refrigerator for two days, instead of keeping them frozen at -10 to -25 degrees Celsius, as called for by handling instructions.

But Rebecca Matthews, who oversees clinical trials for MAPS, says the elevated TYM counts were found in samples that never left the freezer before testing. In the samples that were inadvertently defrosted, TYM counts were even higher, as much as 110,000 CFU/g.

Nevertheless, Sisley and the team ultimately concluded after months of research that it was safe to proceed with the study. They began in January. In an internal memo that outlines their reasons for moving forward, they wrote that there’s no agreement on whether tests for TYM should be required, and no guidance from NIDA or the FDA.

One reason for that is a high TYM count does not always constitute a health risk, says Kevin McKernan, an entrepreneur and geneticist who is looking to improve the quality of testing in the realm of cannabis research. Certain types of fungus, notably a group of species known as aspergillus, can cause a variety of health problems when smoked, especially in people with compromised immune systems. But, many other mold varieties are considered harmless, McKernan says.

Immunocompromised patients were already excluded from Sisley’s MAPS-sponsored study.

NIDA says its own tests show THC levels closer to what was expected – in the 10 to 12 percent range, instead of the 8 percent that MAPS found. It says it’s reviewing MAPS’ results and protocols to try to understand the discrepancy. NIDA also says it tested for heavy metals before shipping the material, and found nothing above acceptable levels.

Tighter control, broader playing field

NIDA is also taking some steps to tighten oversight. In January, it announced a grant to McKernan’s two Massachusetts-based companies, Medicinal Genomics and Courtagen, to develop a DNA-based test that would identify specific types of harmful mold and bacteria in marijuana.

Beyond quality control issues, some critics say the Mississippi farm doesn’t provide researchers with enough options. For example, the potency of marijuana in NIDA’s collection tops out at 13 percent THC. That’s less than half the level in the most potent strains sold in states where the drug is legal and regularly tested.

That means “if you’re trying to do a study where you imitate what patients do in the real world, you can’t,” Sisley says.

“If you’re trying to do a study where you imitate what patients do in the real world, you can’t.” – Dr. Sue Sisley

Van Dyke echoes her concern. “It’s an important issue. The products in Colorado are different from the products produced by NIDA, and there’s untapped demand to study those products that people are really using.”

In an email to NewsHour, the agency says it’s growing new material that will likely contain higher THC levels. NIDA officials insist they’re keeping up with demand, and in 2014, increased its production and diversified the strains of marijuana it grows.

Another criticism stems from NIDA’s practice of achieving higher THC concentrations by mixing different strains together, rather than growing new plants.

In its April 2016 letter, the agency told Warren the Mississippi facility has “approximately 185” batches of cannabis, at varying concentrations of THC and CBD. Different varieties, the letter says, “may be blended to achieve specific cannabinoid concentrations of interest to researchers.”

Critics, including Sisley, say that mixing strains is a lost opportunity. Every cannabis plant contains several hundred unique compounds, which some believe may significantly alter the drug’s effects. If different plants are mixed together, scientists have a harder time tracking those effects.

Many scientists were heartened this summer when the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced that it would license additional bulk growers, ending NIDA’s monopoly.

According to the DEA, 16 organizations have submitted the paperwork to launch the application process, which comes with a $3,047 fee. None of those applications have been approved, however, and the agency says there is no set timeline to take action.

The delays in Sisley’s study are energizing those who say the federal government needs to speed things up.

Frustrated by her experience, Sisley is hoping to take a more hands-on approach. One of the DEA applicants is the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI), where she is the principal investigator. SRI has submitted a proposal to grow cannabis from tissue culture rather than seedlings, a more sterile method of producing the plant.

She doesn’t mince words about the setback.

“We waited 20 months to get going, and then we got this sub-optimal study drug,” she says. “The longer we allow this monopoly to continue, the more efficacy [of the] research will continue to be thwarted.”


Don't our elected officials: those in the House and the Senate and President Trump tell us that more research needs to be done. Let's tell them that the samples they have are subpar and because of the contaminants the past studies that showed negative results could be false. The more of us they hear from the better.