The US government can brand you a terrorist based on a Facebook post. We can’t let them make up the rules

 

Innocent people’s lives are being ruined. Why isn’t anyone watching the watchlist?

Arjun Sethi

theguardian.com, Saturday 30 August 2014 09.00 EDT

 

facebook surveillance illustration

Reasonable suspicion is based on a circular logic – people can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being suspected terrorists – that is ultimately backwards, and must be changed. Illustration: Joelle L / Flickr via Creative Commons Illustration: Joelle L / Flickr via Creative Commons

The US government’s web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.

As we were reminded again just this week, you can be pulled into the National Security Agency’s database quietly and quickly, and the consequences can be long and enduring. Through ICREACH, a Google-style search engine created for the intelligence community, the NSA provides data on private communications to 23 government agencies. More than 1,000 analysts had access to that information.

This kind of data sharing, however, isn’t limited to the latest from Edward Snowden’s NSA files. It was confirmed earlier this month that the FBI shares its master watchlist, the Terrorist Screening Database, with at least 22 foreign governments, countless federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, plus private contractors.

The watchlist tracks “known” and “suspected” terrorists and includes both foreigners and Americans. It’s also based on loose standards and secret evidence, which ensnares innocent people. Indeed, the standards are so low that the US government’s guidelines specifically allow for a single, uncorroborated source of information – including a Facebook or Twitter post – to serve as the basis for placing you on its master watchlist.

Of the 680,000 individuals on that FBI master list, roughly 40% have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation”, according to the Intercept. These individuals don’t even have a connection – as the government loosely defines it – to a designated terrorist group, but they are still branded as suspected terrorists.

The absurdities don’t end there. Take Dearborn, Michigan, a city with a population under 100,000 that is known for its large Arab American community – and has more watchlisted residents than any other city in America except New York.

These eye-popping numbers are largely the result of the US government’s use of a loose standard – so-called “reasonable suspicion” – in determining who, exactly, can be watchlisted.

Reasonable suspicion is such a low standard because it requires neither “concrete evidence” nor “irrefutable evidence”. Instead, an official is permitted to consider “reasonable inferences” and “to draw from the facts in light of his/her experience”.

Consider a real world context – actual criminal justice – where an officer needs reasonable suspicion to stop a person in the street and ask him or her a few questions. Courts have controversially held that avoiding eye contact with an officer, traveling alone, and traveling late at night, for example, all amount to reasonable suspicion.

This vague criteria is now being used to label innocent people as terrorism suspects.

Moreover, because the watchlist isn’t limited to known, actual terrorists, an official can watchlist a person if he has reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is a suspected terrorist. It’s a circular logic – individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being suspected terrorists – that is ultimately backwards, and must be changed.

The government’s self-mandated surveillance guidance also includes loopholes that permit watchlisting without even showing reasonable suspicion. For example, non-citizens can be watchlisted for being associated with a watchlisted person – even if their relationship with that person is entirely innocuous. Another catch-all exception allows non-citizens to be watchlisted, so long as a source or tipster describes the person as an “extremist”, a “militant”, or in similar terms, and the “context suggests a nexus to terrorism”. The FBI’s definition of “nexus”, in turn, is far more nebulous than they’re letting on.

Because the watchlist designation process is secret, there’s no way of knowing just how many innocent people are added to the list due to these absurdities and loopholes. And yet, history shows that innocent people are inevitably added to the list and suffer life-altering consequences. Life on the master watchlist can trigger enhanced screening at borders and airports; being on the No Fly List, which is a subset of the larger terrorist watchlist, can prevent airline travel altogether. The watchlist can separate family members for months or years, isolate individuals from friends and associates, and ruin employment prospects.

Being branded a terrorism suspect also has far-reaching privacy implications. The watchlist is widely accessible, and government officials routinely collect the biometric data of watchlisted individuals, including their fingerprints and DNA strands. Law enforcement has likewise been directed to gather any and all available evidence when encountering watchlisted individuals, including receipts, business cards, health information and bank statements.

Watchlisting is an awesome power, and if used, must be exercised prudently and transparently.

The standards for inclusion should be appropriately narrow, the evidence relied upon credible and genuine, and the redress and review procedures consistent with basic constitutional requirements of fairness and due process. Instead, watchlisting is being used arbitrarily under a cloud of secrecy.

A watchlist saturated with innocent people diverts attention from real, genuine threats. A watchlist that disproportionately targets Arab and Muslim Americans or other minorities stigmatizes innocent people and alienates them from law enforcement. A watchlist based on poor standards and secret processes raises major constitutional concerns, including the right to travel freely and not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law.

Indeed, you can’t help but wonder: are you already on the watchlist?

CONTINUE READING…

The US government can brand you a terrorist based on a Facebook post. We can’t let them make up the rules

Innocent people’s lives are being ruined. Why isn’t anyone watching the watchlist?

Arjun Sethi

theguardian.com, Saturday 30 August 2014 09.00 EDT

 

facebook surveillance illustration

Reasonable suspicion is based on a circular logic – people can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being suspected terrorists – that is ultimately backwards, and must be changed. Illustration: Joelle L / Flickr via Creative Commons Illustration: Joelle L / Flickr via Creative Commons

The US government’s web of surveillance is vast and interconnected. Now we know just how opaque, inefficient and discriminatory it can be.

As we were reminded again just this week, you can be pulled into the National Security Agency’s database quietly and quickly, and the consequences can be long and enduring. Through ICREACH, a Google-style search engine created for the intelligence community, the NSA provides data on private communications to 23 government agencies. More than 1,000 analysts had access to that information.

This kind of data sharing, however, isn’t limited to the latest from Edward Snowden’s NSA files. It was confirmed earlier this month that the FBI shares its master watchlist, the Terrorist Screening Database, with at least 22 foreign governments, countless federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, plus private contractors.

The watchlist tracks “known” and “suspected” terrorists and includes both foreigners and Americans. It’s also based on loose standards and secret evidence, which ensnares innocent people. Indeed, the standards are so low that the US government’s guidelines specifically allow for a single, uncorroborated source of information – including a Facebook or Twitter post – to serve as the basis for placing you on its master watchlist.

Of the 680,000 individuals on that FBI master list, roughly 40% have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation”, according to the Intercept. These individuals don’t even have a connection – as the government loosely defines it – to a designated terrorist group, but they are still branded as suspected terrorists.

The absurdities don’t end there. Take Dearborn, Michigan, a city with a population under 100,000 that is known for its large Arab American community – and has more watchlisted residents than any other city in America except New York.

These eye-popping numbers are largely the result of the US government’s use of a loose standard – so-called “reasonable suspicion” – in determining who, exactly, can be watchlisted.

Reasonable suspicion is such a low standard because it requires neither “concrete evidence” nor “irrefutable evidence”. Instead, an official is permitted to consider “reasonable inferences” and “to draw from the facts in light of his/her experience”.

Consider a real world context – actual criminal justice – where an officer needs reasonable suspicion to stop a person in the street and ask him or her a few questions. Courts have controversially held that avoiding eye contact with an officer, traveling alone, and traveling late at night, for example, all amount to reasonable suspicion.

This vague criteria is now being used to label innocent people as terrorism suspects.

Moreover, because the watchlist isn’t limited to known, actual terrorists, an official can watchlist a person if he has reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is a suspected terrorist. It’s a circular logic – individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being suspected terrorists – that is ultimately backwards, and must be changed.

The government’s self-mandated surveillance guidance also includes loopholes that permit watchlisting without even showing reasonable suspicion. For example, non-citizens can be watchlisted for being associated with a watchlisted person – even if their relationship with that person is entirely innocuous. Another catch-all exception allows non-citizens to be watchlisted, so long as a source or tipster describes the person as an “extremist”, a “militant”, or in similar terms, and the “context suggests a nexus to terrorism”. The FBI’s definition of “nexus”, in turn, is far more nebulous than they’re letting on.

Because the watchlist designation process is secret, there’s no way of knowing just how many innocent people are added to the list due to these absurdities and loopholes. And yet, history shows that innocent people are inevitably added to the list and suffer life-altering consequences. Life on the master watchlist can trigger enhanced screening at borders and airports; being on the No Fly List, which is a subset of the larger terrorist watchlist, can prevent airline travel altogether. The watchlist can separate family members for months or years, isolate individuals from friends and associates, and ruin employment prospects.

Being branded a terrorism suspect also has far-reaching privacy implications. The watchlist is widely accessible, and government officials routinely collect the biometric data of watchlisted individuals, including their fingerprints and DNA strands. Law enforcement has likewise been directed to gather any and all available evidence when encountering watchlisted individuals, including receipts, business cards, health information and bank statements.

Watchlisting is an awesome power, and if used, must be exercised prudently and transparently.

The standards for inclusion should be appropriately narrow, the evidence relied upon credible and genuine, and the redress and review procedures consistent with basic constitutional requirements of fairness and due process. Instead, watchlisting is being used arbitrarily under a cloud of secrecy.

A watchlist saturated with innocent people diverts attention from real, genuine threats. A watchlist that disproportionately targets Arab and Muslim Americans or other minorities stigmatizes innocent people and alienates them from law enforcement. A watchlist based on poor standards and secret processes raises major constitutional concerns, including the right to travel freely and not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law.

Indeed, you can’t help but wonder: are you already on the watchlist?

CONTINUE READING…

Grow Marijuana for the Government, a New Job Listing Says

Do you have a green thumb, at least 12 acres of land and a lot of time on your hands?

You may be eligible to grow pot for the federal government. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted a listing on Tuesday night requesting proposals from people fit to “cultivate, grow, harvest, analyze and store” cannabis for research.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an NIH branch specializing in researching drug abuse and addiction, will lead the project. It is looking for growers who can help them manufacture new methods for growing cannabis plants modified with different doses of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, the psychoactive and medicinal components of marijuana, respectively.

But in order to grow cannabis for the feds, farmers must comply with many stipulations. First, you must officially register with the DEA in order to be eligible to develop and manufacture marijuana. You must also have at least 12 acres of a “secure and video monitored outdoor facility” to grow pot on and a greenhouse at least 1,000 square feet in size to grow and sustain cannabis plants.

To be eligible, you must also demonstrate to the Food and Drug Administration and the DEA that you have a storage vault capable of storing roughly 400 to 700 kilograms of cannabis materials. The listing also says that participants might be required to "design, develop, manufacture, analyze, store and distribute" cannabis extracts for clinical research, and manufacture cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) cannabis cigarettes. Potential vendors must live in one of the two states where farmers can grow marijuana legally in the United States, Washington or Colorado.

In 18 states cannabis has been decriminalized, while 23 states have laws allowing eligible residents to purchase medical marijuana.

The agency said that it made the listing into a bidding competition because its marijuana farm contract will be expiring soon. It “anticipates” that vendors will receive a one-year contract with four-year options following a successful first year. “It’s a free and open competition—we will consider proposals from any responsible offers,” NIDA told Newsweek.

By Paula Mejia

Filed: 8/28/14 at 5:45 PM

Cannabis plant

CONTINUE READING…

Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager quits in the wake of Iowa Ron Paul scandal

The campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has resigned as a result of the ongoing scandal involving the 2012 presidential campaign of former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Jesse Benton joined the McConnell campaign for the 2014 cycle, after several years as an important member of the political organizations of Ron Paul and his son, Kentucky’s other U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Benton previously managed Rand Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign, and then served as political director for Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. In addition, he is married to one of Ron Paul’s granddaughters.

This past week, a former Iowa state senator pled guilty to accepting payments of $73,000, which were laundered by members of the Ron Paul campaign, to switch his endorsement away from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and over to Paul. However, no individuals have actually been charged as of yet with making the payments.

For his own part, Benton is denying any allegations that he may have known about the payments. "I hope those who know me recognize that I strive to be a man of integrity," Benton said in a statement. "The press accounts and rumors are particularly hurtful because they are false."

Benton also said that the reelection of McConnell, who is in a close race against Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes, was the most important political cause for Kentucky and the country: "I believe this deep in my bones, and I would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way. That includes myself."

– – Eric Kleefeld

CONTINUE READING…

DEA Ratifies Spike in Marijuana for Research

 

 

Production is going from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – but it’s unclear where the extra pot is going.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

By Steven Nelson Aug. 26, 2014

The federal government affirmed Tuesday a large increase in the amount of marijuana it plans to grow for research this year.

The Drug Enforcement Administration offered the production bump – from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – for public comment on May 5.

One person submitted a comment, which was supportive.

“The DEA appreciates the support for this adjusted 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana which will provide for the estimated scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States,” a Tuesday notice in the Federal Register says.

“The DEA has taken into consideration the one comment received during the 30-day period and the administrator has determined,” the notice says, the increase is appropriate.

[READ: Former Republican Governor Looks to Build the ‘Microsoft of Marijuana’]

The DEA gave preapproval to the increase in late April, citing urgent need for National Institute on Drug Abuse-facilitated research. But, the DEA said in a May notice, all comments from the public would be taken into consideration.

NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, grows marijuana for approved research in partnership with the University of Mississippi.

The increase was necessary because the DEA underestimated researchers’ need when it calculated the initial annual quota in September.

In its May notice the DEA said it simply couldn’t wait for public comment before making the correction.

“Due to the manufacturing process unique to marijuana, including the length of time and conditions necessary to propagate and process the substance for distribution in 2014, it is necessary to adjust the initial, established 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana as soon as practicable,” the DEA said. “Accordingly, the administrator finds good cause to adjust the aggregate production quota for marijuana before accepting written comments from interested persons or holding a public hearing.”

A spokesman for the DEA referred questions about the increase to NIDA. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the uptick in demand. It’s unclear how much marijuana has been produced to date this year.

A NIDA official told The Washington Post in May the agency was funding more than 100 grants for marijuana research, including 30 studies of the plant’s “therapeutic uses.” Critics say the agency disproportionately funds research into the downside of pot use.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who signed the Tuesday notice, is a critic of liberalizing marijuana laws. Leonhart refused to say during a June 2012 congressional hearing if marijuana is less harmful than crack or heroin. In January she criticized President Barack Obama for saying smoking pot is less harmful than drinking alcohol.

“Marijuana is so popular these days with voters, lawmakers and researchers that even the DEA can’t continue to ignore it,” says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell.

But Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access, isn’t cheering. He finds the increase “very fishy” and says he cannot recall a previous time the quota was offered for public comment.

[RELATED: House Votes to Protect Medical Pot From Feds]

Hermes also notes the annual pot-production quota was once higher.

In fact, throughout the Bush administration the quota was much higher. From 2005-2009 the annual quota was about 9,920 pounds, according to DEA fact sheets. Before that, from 2002-2004, the quota was about 1,852 pounds and in 2001 it was 1,100 pounds.

The quota hovered at 46.3 pounds beginning in 2010. Hermes says he doesn’t know why the quota dropped so dramatically that year.

Editorial cartoon on pot

See Photos

Editorial Cartoons on Pot Legalization

“They still aren’t divulging why the quota is increasing and why it’s not increasing how much it has in the past,” Hermes says. “It’s shrouded in secrecy.”

About half of U.S. states currently allow marijuana for medical use. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated recreational marijuana markets. Alaska and Oregon voters may legalize pot under state law in November and Florida voters may adopt medical marijuana. Despite liberalizing state laws, marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

TAGS:

marijuana

medical marijuana

Drug Enforcement Administration

National Institute on Drug Abuse

CONTINUE READING…

DEA Ratifies Spike in Marijuana for Research

Production is going from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – but it’s unclear where the extra pot is going.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in cooperation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Marijuana is seen in this 1999 photo at the University of Mississippi. The school cultivates and supplies research-grade cannabis in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

By Steven Nelson Aug. 26, 2014

The federal government affirmed Tuesday a large increase in the amount of marijuana it plans to grow for research this year.

The Drug Enforcement Administration offered the production bump – from 46.3 pounds to 1,433 pounds – for public comment on May 5.

One person submitted a comment, which was supportive.

“The DEA appreciates the support for this adjusted 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana which will provide for the estimated scientific, research and industrial needs of the United States,” a Tuesday notice in the Federal Register says.

“The DEA has taken into consideration the one comment received during the 30-day period and the administrator has determined,” the notice says, the increase is appropriate.

[READ: Former Republican Governor Looks to Build the ‘Microsoft of Marijuana’]

The DEA gave preapproval to the increase in late April, citing urgent need for National Institute on Drug Abuse-facilitated research. But, the DEA said in a May notice, all comments from the public would be taken into consideration.

NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, grows marijuana for approved research in partnership with the University of Mississippi.

The increase was necessary because the DEA underestimated researchers’ need when it calculated the initial annual quota in September.

In its May notice the DEA said it simply couldn’t wait for public comment before making the correction.

“Due to the manufacturing process unique to marijuana, including the length of time and conditions necessary to propagate and process the substance for distribution in 2014, it is necessary to adjust the initial, established 2014 aggregate production quota for marijuana as soon as practicable,” the DEA said. “Accordingly, the administrator finds good cause to adjust the aggregate production quota for marijuana before accepting written comments from interested persons or holding a public hearing.”

A spokesman for the DEA referred questions about the increase to NIDA. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the uptick in demand. It’s unclear how much marijuana has been produced to date this year.

A NIDA official told The Washington Post in May the agency was funding more than 100 grants for marijuana research, including 30 studies of the plant’s “therapeutic uses." Critics say the agency disproportionately funds research into the downside of pot use.

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who signed the Tuesday notice, is a critic of liberalizing marijuana laws. Leonhart refused to say during a June 2012 congressional hearing if marijuana is less harmful than crack or heroin. In January she criticized President Barack Obama for saying smoking pot is less harmful than drinking alcohol.

"Marijuana is so popular these days with voters, lawmakers and researchers that even the DEA can’t continue to ignore it,” says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell.

But Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the pro-medical marijuana group Americans for Safe Access, isn’t cheering. He finds the increase "very fishy" and says he cannot recall a previous time the quota was offered for public comment.

[RELATED: House Votes to Protect Medical Pot From Feds]

Hermes also notes the annual pot-production quota was once higher.

In fact, throughout the Bush administration the quota was much higher. From 2005-2009 the annual quota was about 9,920 pounds, according to DEA fact sheets. Before that, from 2002-2004, the quota was about 1,852 pounds and in 2001 it was 1,100 pounds.

The quota hovered at 46.3 pounds beginning in 2010. Hermes says he doesn’t know why the quota dropped so dramatically that year.

Editorial cartoon on pot

See Photos

Editorial Cartoons on Pot Legalization

"They still aren’t divulging why the quota is increasing and why it’s not increasing how much it has in the past," Hermes says. "It’s shrouded in secrecy."

About half of U.S. states currently allow marijuana for medical use. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated recreational marijuana markets. Alaska and Oregon voters may legalize pot under state law in November and Florida voters may adopt medical marijuana. Despite liberalizing state laws, marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

TAGS:
marijuana
medical marijuana
Drug Enforcement Administration
National Institute on Drug Abuse

CONTINUE READING…

Think Before You Smoke: 7 Things to Know About Marijuana Tourism

 

 

Fox News.com Aug 28, 2014

Think Before You Smoke: 7 Things to Know About Marijuana Tourism

By Mark Murphy

When you think about green travel, it usually means an eco-friendly resort or destination.

That’s not the case anymore, as “green” has taken on a new meaning with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington – and the corresponding increase in tourism to both states. For the purpose of this story, I’ll focus on Colorado, but many tips cover both states.

Travelers looking for a ski vacation later this year may want to skip Utah or Tahoe, and head to Colorado instead. We are already seeing a direct spike in visitors tied exclusively to the legalization of marijuana, but the lure of legal marijuana could end up increasing tourism to all areas of the state.

Entrepreneurs are actively going after this market by packaging tours around the idea of getting high, but you can just as easily do it on your own. Land in Denver and the information desk will direct you to any one of the numerous outlets where you can legally purchase marijuana and enjoy a hazy break from the ordinary without worry of arrest.

Related: In Aspen, Even the Weed is Luxurious

Here are the seven things you need to consider before you head out on that stoner trip:

marijuana tourism

Know there is a limit: If you come from out of state you must be 21 years of age and hold a valid form of identification, most often a driver’s license or passport. If you have that covered, the limit for your purchase is a quarter of an ounce. For in-state residents it is a full ounce.

Find a quiet spot to light up: You cannot smoke in public or in most hotels, so finding a legal spot to light up may be your biggest challenge. Ask your hotel front desk or concierge for smoking clubs, lounges, or a safe spot to smoke. If you are out in the mountains, find some open space and go about your business. It may be illegal and land you a fine, but there is a good chance you won’t have any issues. Never smoke in your rental car since any intent to drive would lead to a DUI arrest, even if the car is not turned on.  

Related: Where’s the Weed? Amsterdam’s New Breed of Coffeehouses

Don’t overdo it: You can smoke it, but you can also eat it in packages resembling protein bars they sell at many health food stores. Instead of giving you a nutritional lift, they’ll send you to a very different place. Look at the equivalent dose you might get from any pot bar to avoid getting yourself in trouble. Some bars have 10 times the average dose you might get from smoking a joint, sending you into an uncomfortable state or even the hospital.

Don’t drive, period: Driving under the influence of pot can lead to arrest, even if you exhibit no indications of impairment. The express consent law in Colorado details that drivers automatically give consent to have their blood or breath tested if an officer has any probable cause to believe he or she is impaired.

Don’t leave the state with any marijuana: Enjoy your legal marijuana experience in Colorado or Washington, but leave whatever you don’t use in those states. If you bring back excess pot, it could result in a steep fine or, depending on the amount and any previous convictions, actual jail time.

Related: Smoke on a Plane: E-Cigarettes Ignite Controversy

Don’t even think about selling your excess stash: Are you ready to head back home even though you are still sitting on some great weed? Give it away, but don’t try to sell it. Trade it for a Rockies jersey or anything else. Asking for money in exchange of the drug is illegal and could result in fines or worse.

Look up state rules before heading out on your marijuana tour. These laws are subject to change, so make sure you have the latest information to make a safe, and legal, trip.

First Marijuana edibles store opens in Washington State

  • First Marijuana edibles store opens in Washington State

CONTINUE READING…

Think Before You Smoke: 7 Things to Know About Marijuana Tourism

 

 

Fox News.com Aug 28, 2014

Think Before You Smoke: 7 Things to Know About Marijuana Tourism

By Mark Murphy

When you think about green travel, it usually means an eco-friendly resort or destination.

That’s not the case anymore, as “green” has taken on a new meaning with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington – and the corresponding increase in tourism to both states. For the purpose of this story, I’ll focus on Colorado, but many tips cover both states. 

Travelers looking for a ski vacation later this year may want to skip Utah or Tahoe, and head to Colorado instead. We are already seeing a direct spike in visitors tied exclusively to the legalization of marijuana, but the lure of legal marijuana could end up increasing tourism to all areas of the state. 

Entrepreneurs are actively going after this market by packaging tours around the idea of getting high, but you can just as easily do it on your own. Land in Denver and the information desk will direct you to any one of the numerous outlets where you can legally purchase marijuana and enjoy a hazy break from the ordinary without worry of arrest.

Related: In Aspen, Even the Weed is Luxurious

Here are the seven things you need to consider before you head out on that stoner trip:

marijuana tourism

Know there is a limit: If you come from out of state you must be 21 years of age and hold a valid form of identification, most often a driver’s license or passport. If you have that covered, the limit for your purchase is a quarter of an ounce. For in-state residents it is a full ounce.

Find a quiet spot to light up: You cannot smoke in public or in most hotels, so finding a legal spot to light up may be your biggest challenge. Ask your hotel front desk or concierge for smoking clubs, lounges, or a safe spot to smoke. If you are out in the mountains, find some open space and go about your business. It may be illegal and land you a fine, but there is a good chance you won’t have any issues. Never smoke in your rental car since any intent to drive would lead to a DUI arrest, even if the car is not turned on.   

Related: Where’s the Weed? Amsterdam’s New Breed of Coffeehouses

Don’t overdo it: You can smoke it, but you can also eat it in packages resembling protein bars they sell at many health food stores. Instead of giving you a nutritional lift, they’ll send you to a very different place. Look at the equivalent dose you might get from any pot bar to avoid getting yourself in trouble. Some bars have 10 times the average dose you might get from smoking a joint, sending you into an uncomfortable state or even the hospital. 

Don’t drive, period: Driving under the influence of pot can lead to arrest, even if you exhibit no indications of impairment. The express consent law in Colorado details that drivers automatically give consent to have their blood or breath tested if an officer has any probable cause to believe he or she is impaired.

Don’t leave the state with any marijuana: Enjoy your legal marijuana experience in Colorado or Washington, but leave whatever you don’t use in those states. If you bring back excess pot, it could result in a steep fine or, depending on the amount and any previous convictions, actual jail time. 

Related: Smoke on a Plane: E-Cigarettes Ignite Controversy

Don’t even think about selling your excess stash: Are you ready to head back home even though you are still sitting on some great weed? Give it away, but don’t try to sell it. Trade it for a Rockies jersey or anything else. Asking for money in exchange of the drug is illegal and could result in fines or worse.

Look up state rules before heading out on your marijuana tour. These laws are subject to change, so make sure you have the latest information to make a safe, and legal, trip.

First Marijuana edibles store opens in Washington State

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana compound may slow, halt progression of Alzheimer’s

 

 

Neuroscientists found that extremely low doses of a compound found in marijuana may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that neuroscientists using a cellular model of Alzheimer’s found low doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reduced the production of amyloid beta, and prevented abnormal accumulation, which is one of the early signs of the memory-loss disease.

“Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future,” said lead author Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist and PhD at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy.

Neuroscientists also found THC enhanced mitochondrial function which is needed to supply energy, transmit signals and maintain a healthy brain.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” Cao said.

The research noted that the therapeutic benefits of THC at low doses appear greater than the associated risks of toxicity and memory impairment.  

“Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No,” study co-author Neel Nabar said. “However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

As many as 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with the numbers projected to reach 14 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana compound may slow, halt progression of Alzheimer’s

Neuroscientists found that extremely low doses of a compound found in marijuana may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that neuroscientists using a cellular model of Alzheimer’s found low doses of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) reduced the production of amyloid beta, and prevented abnormal accumulation, which is one of the early signs of the memory-loss disease.

“Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future,” said lead author Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist and PhD at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute and the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy.

Neuroscientists also found THC enhanced mitochondrial function which is needed to supply energy, transmit signals and maintain a healthy brain.

“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, but this is the first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function,” Cao said.

The research noted that the therapeutic benefits of THC at low doses appear greater than the associated risks of toxicity and memory impairment. 

“Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No,” study co-author Neel Nabar said. “However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

As many as 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, with the numbers projected to reach 14 million by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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