Idaho Activist Fights for Medical Necessity Defense

An Idaho cannabis activist is scheduled to appear in the state district court on Thursday for oral arguments in her appeal of three marijuana possession convictions. Serra Frank, a medical marijuana patient from Boise, is fighting to have her convictions overturned on the basis of medical necessity.

Frank has a serious bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis, which causes severe and chronic pain for her. She described in an interview with High Times the effect that the condition has on her health.

“My bladder doesn’t expand properly,” Frank said. “When a [healthy] bladder fills up, it expands like a balloon. Mine doesn’t. Instead, it stiffens and cracks and bleeds, kind of like an inner tube that’s been left out in the sun.”

Interstitial cystitis affects some patients so severely and for so long it is classified as a disability by the Social Security Administration and can have a devastating impact on those who live with the disease.

“The quality of life for people with my condition is so severe that we are three to four times more likely to commit suicide because of the chronic pain,” said Frank. “We’ve lost a lot of people that way.”

There is no known

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Arkansas Officially Licenses 32 Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

Arkansas regulators have announced that they have formally awarded all 32 licenses for cannabis dispensaries that will operate under the state’s medical marijuana program. Officials at the Department of Finance and Administration said on Tuesday that all 32 licensees approved last month paid the required $15,000 licensing fee and have posted a $100,000 performance bond. Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the department, said the dispensaries are now authorized to begin serving patients.

“They have completed everything required of them, so at this point technically they are licensed,” said Hardin. “They will receive a formal piece of paper, a license over the next week to make it official, but really at this point, it is simply a matter of how quickly can these 32 companies open their doors for business.”

Hardin said that some of the approved dispensaries have already begun construction and should be open as soon as this spring.

“You have some companies that were in anticipation of a license, hopeful anticipation, were proactively getting their facilities ready, so some of those, we think, could be open as early as April,” he said. “We think it would be a very limited number. We think it’s really going to start

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Study: Marijuana Consumption Linked to Increased Sperm Count

Men who have consumed marijuana have higher sperm counts than those who have never used it, according to a new study published in the February 6th issue of the journal Human Reproduction.

This longitudinal study “included 662 subfertile men enrolled at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center between 2000 and 2017.” The men “provided a total of 1143 semen samples; 317 men also provided blood samples in which we measured reproductive hormones.”

Researchers found that “Men who had ever smoked marijuana had higher sperm concentration and count and lower serum FSH [follicle stimulating hormone] concentrations than men who had never smoked marijuana; no differences were observed between current and past marijuana smokers.”

The following is the method researchers used to come to this conclusion:

Use of marijuana and other drugs was self-reported at baseline. Standard protocols were followed for measuring semen quality, sex hormones and DNA integrity. We used linear mixed effect models with a random intercept to evaluate the associations of self-reported marijuana smoking at enrolment with semen parameters from subsequently collected samples, and linear regression models for sperm DNA integrity and serum reproductive hormones, while adjusting for confounders including smoking and cocaine use.Below are the main results of

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Colorado Senate to Review Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana Users Access to Guns

On Wednesday afternoon, Colorado Senators will discuss a bill aimed at restoring gun and privacy rights to the state’s 86,000-plus registered medical cannabis patients. Since Colorado became the first state to legalize adult-use cannabis, it has barred many marijuana consumers from obtaining firearm permits. The issue has sharply divided gun rights advocates, prompting several failed campaigns to change the state’s policy on cannabis use and gun ownership.

Now, Colorado lawmakers want to give medical marijuana users access to guns again. And the bill that would restore those rights would also prevent sheriffs—the group that most supports the gun ban on cannabis users—from using the medical marijuana registry during background checks.

Bi-Partisan Bill Aims to Restore Gun Rights to Colorado Medical Marijuana Patients

Since Colorado legalized cannabis in 2012, gun owners have faced a tough ultimatum from local sheriffs: give up your green, or give up your gun. Depending on what county you live in, the application for a firearm permit or a concealed carry permit asks whether the applicant uses marijuana or any other illegal substance. Answer yes, and chances are your permit will be denied.

In Colorado, county sheriffs have the final say on issuing, denying, or revoking concealed

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Texas Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Expand Medical Marijuana Access

After a failed attempt to pass a law expanding medical marijuana access in 2017, Texas state representative Eddie Lucio III has proposed a fresh attempt at growing access to cannabis to Texans with qualifying medical conditions.

The Democrat from Brownsville introduced House Bill 1365 on Tuesday, which would expand 2015’s Compassionate Use Act (limited to low-THC cannabis for patients with intractable epilepsy) to include people with cancer, autism, other forms of epilepsy, and PTSD. The proposal would also open the kinds of cannabis permissible for use to include vaporization, oils, salves, and lotion. Smoking cannabis would still be illegal should the bill pass.

Not everyone was thrilled about the bill’s introduction. “In our efforts to keep the peace, deputy sheriffs routinely encounter persons who appear highly intoxicated on marijuana or marijuana-edible products,” Collin County Sheriff Jim Skinner of Sheriff’s Association of Texas wrote to KXAN in a statement indicating his group’s lack of support for the bill. “These individuals are generally a danger to themselves, and when driving, they are clearly a danger to others.”

But KXAN also interviewed four-time cancer survivor Mike Thompson, who has become a medical cannabis advocate after spending years on harmful painkillers to mitigate the

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New Harvard Study Suggests Smoking Weed is Associated with Higher Sperm Count

If you’re a testicle-having person who smokes weed, you’ve probably heard that you’re harming your reproductive health. You’ve probably heard that smoking weed lowers your sperm count or reduces the quality or DNA integrity of your sperm. If you’re not trying to have a kid, maybe that sounds just fine. But a new study by Harvard medical researchers, published today in the journal Human Reproduction, is challenging this oft-repeated conventional wisdom. According to researchers, smoking weed may actually make a person’s testicles more fertile, not less.

Men Who Had Ever Smoked Weed Had Significantly Higher Sperm Count, Study Finds

The idea that consuming marijuana lowers sperm count may not just be wrong, but the exact opposite of the truth. That’s according to a new peer-reviewed article, “Marijuana smoking and markers of testicular function among men from a fertility centre.” Researchers say that smoking weed—at all, ever—could increase not only sperm count but also sperm concentration in semen. In short, smoking weed may increases male reproductive fertility, not reduce it.

The conclusion flies in the face of what people have said and thought about cannabis and fertility for years. And no wonder. Newspapers, magazines and websites (even!) have published articles on the

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Florida Judge Rejects Limits on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Following Governor Ron DeSantis’ efforts to get the Florida legislature to lift its ban on smokable marijuana, the state is facing another challenge to laws limiting its medical marijuana program. For the second time, a circuit judge has challenged a 2017 Florida law that placed a cap on the number of dispensaries that are allowed to open.

Both the smokable cannabis ban and dispensary cap were created in a 2017 law that looked to regulate Amendment 2, Florida’s Medical Marijuana Legalization measure, which passed with the support of more than 71 percent of voters in 2016.

On Feb. 2, Karen Gievers, Leon County’s Circuit Judge, definitively sided with the state’s largest chain of dispensaries: Trulieve. Gievers upbraided the state legislature and Florida health officials for ignoring the voters’ will and limiting patients’ access to medical cannabis.

The state’s health department suggests that the dispensary cap works to avoid over-saturation of the medical marijuana market. But Judge Gievers ruled out that theory. “Handicapping existing, performing, competitive businesses to help less competitive businesses, at the expense of consumer efficiency and choice, is not rationally related to a legitimate public purpose,” she wrote.

Republican Governor DeSantis’ push to legalize smokable cannabis made headlines

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NYC Health Department Announces Ban on CBD in All Bars and Restaurants

The New York City Department of Health has announced that bars and restaurants in the city are not permitted to serve CBD products. Despite the legalization of hemp and CBD in the 2018 Farm Bill, a health department spokeswoman said in a statement that the cannabinoid has not yet been approved for use in food and beverage products.

“Restaurants in New York City are not permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat,” she said. “The Health Department takes seriously its responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health. Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.”

Dorothy Stepnowska, the owner of Flower Power Coffee House in Ridgewood, Queens, which has been selling CBD products, said that she disagreed with the ban and is considering a fight against it.

“It makes no sense,” she said. “It has no THC, no psycho-additive. It’s a plant, it comes from the ground… it helps a lot of people.”

She added that she had expected regulation, but believes that the health department has gone too far.

“I was waiting for them to regulate it to

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CA’s Tribal Nations Are Shut Out of The Legal Cannabis Industry

The former tribal hall for the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel is disintegrating; its stucco walls sloughing off like the skin of diamondback rattlesnakes, a slithering native to these rolling hills in rural San Diego County. The decay is a stark contrast to the Native American tribe’s economic development venture two miles down the highway: a state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and manufacturing campus. The facility sits atop a chapparal-covered hill, overlooking a pastoral valley with grazing cattle and farmland plowed into neat rows. The hub of the tightly secured compound is the former casino building, now the home of cannabis industry tenants and the Mountain Source dispensary the tribe opened last week.

Like many other Native American communities, the tribe at Santa Ysabel hoped to create jobs and a source of revenue through gaming. But when the gamblers didn’t come, opting instead for larger, flashier casinos closer to metro San Diego, the tribal community was left with 50 million dollars of debt and an empty building. Santa Ysabel then turned to cannabis as a solution to its financial woes. With the guidance of the 2014 Wilkinson memorandum from the Obama administration, the tribe drafted California’s first comprehensive cannabis regulations the following year. The

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The Cons 2019 Highlights Power Of Overlapping Industries And Vertical Integration

Fans of tattoos, models, and weed will be able to spend the last four days in May networking poolside at the SLS Hotel in Miami, as the Cons (co-founded by Clinton Cox and Stacey Havoc) returns to South Beach for their 2nd annual hybrid event, uniting brands from three different industries for a fun and innovative show.

With an expected attendance of more than 4,000, the alternative lifestyle convention which consists of a Cam Con, an Ink Con, and a Cannabis Con, is hoping to follow up last year’s success, by returning with an impressive lineup of panelists, vendors, and an extra day that includes the shows first ever comedy night, with performances by Dirt Nasty and Chris D’Elia.

What started out six years ago as an alternative modeling convention known as the Cam Con—which brought out the industry’s top social media models, fans and aspiring models for an opportunity to build relationships and network with top brands like Camsoda— has grown into a successful forum that’s expanded seamlessly into the ink and cannabis markets. 

Courtesy of the Cons

“When we started our show six years ago, it was only for web and social media models,” Clinton tells High Times in

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