Marijuana Legalization Raises Safety Questions 
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Marijuana Legalization Raises Safety Questions 
Posted by CN Staff on February 12, 2013 at 16:02:33 PT
By Kristen Wyatt,  Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Denver -- Marijuana may be coming out of the black market in Colorado and Washington state, but the drug, at least for now, will retain a decidedly underground feel: Users may not know what's in it. Less than a year away from allowing pot sales, regulators are grappling with how to ensure that the nation's first legal marijuana industry will grow weed that delivers only the effects that pot smokers want.
Whether it is establishing rules to govern the growing of marijuana, including the use of pesticides and fungicides, or accurate product labeling, officials know they will be doing it alone. Federal agencies that regulate food and drugs are staying out because pot remains illegal under federal law. That means the states are starting from scratch to protect consumers from pot that could be tainted by mold, mildew or unwanted chemicals. Whatever regulatory scheme officials in the states choose, there is little reliable product history to even know where to begin identifying marijuana safety risks, said David Acheson, a food safety consultant. When it was illegal, few users could come into the health department to complain that a stash of weed they bought was bad, said Acheson, a former assistant commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration. "As it becomes legal, we could see many problems emerge. We just don't know," he said. Medical marijuana product safety has long been a concern in Colorado. Critics say the regulations were too loosely lax, and that any new regulations for pot should be stringent, and rigorously enforced. Colorado has one operational product testing facility for marijuana potency and content. Product testing is voluntary and paid for by interested pot consumers and sellers, not state regulators. "I've seen stuff in grow houses - oh my God, you don't even want to know about," said Genifer Murray, the owner of CannLabs, a Denver lab that tests marijuana. She said she has seen cans of bug spray next to marijuana, plants covered with powdery mildew and lax sanitation. "There's no other plant like this that you smoke and eat and use as medicine," Murray said. "Everybody's entitled to a safe and effective product, and right now it's completely hit and miss. What exactly are you buying?" Colorado requires labels on edible pot, including an ingredient list and recommended expiration date. Potency and dosing, though, are currently left to the buyer to figure out. Labels read, "Levels of active components of medical marijuana reported on product labels are not subject to independent verification and may differ from actual levels." The state has detailed production safety guidelines and a three-page list of pesticides and other chemicals that can't be used on marijuana, including arsenic and mercury. But in Colorado's three-year history regulating medical-marijuana production, the state has levied no enforcement actions for a safety or sanitary violation. Colorado and Washington officials are considering going further when it comes to marijuana for sale to all adults, though neither has decided what to do. The states will first have to decide whether to treat marijuana like something that is smoked or something that is eaten. Colorado currently copies tobacco pesticide regulations to apply to medical marijuana. But regulators rejected a proposal to certify "organic" pot grown without any pesticides, leaving consumers with no way to verify organic processing claims. Other blank spots facing marijuana product safety: - Sanitation. Marijuana is a crop difficult to insure, giving unscrupulous growers an incentive to hide moldy or otherwise foul pot rather than throw it away. - Edible marijuana. There are no food-safety inspections on cannabis-infused food products. Some in the marijuana industry say the public is at risk from ingredients not related to pot, and that salmonella or E. coli outbreaks should be of concern. - Workplace safety. Marijuana producers say the industry is overdue for worker-safety protections. Of special concern is the production of concentrated marijuana, or hashish, which is frequently produced using butane or other explosive solvents. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the nation's oldest marijuana-legalization advocacy group, wants to see marijuana treated like an herbal supplement. Federal law doesn't require rigorous testing of supplements to prove they are safe, or even that they work. NORML says pot should be treated like echinacea or vitamin C pills, with government product intervention only if consumers get sick or a safety issue comes to light. "Look at lettuce. Look at cantaloupe. They're regulated a whole lot more than cannabis, but the reality is even with those regulations, you can still have outbreaks. That doesn't mean lettuce and cantaloupe themselves are dangerous," said Paul Armentano, a California-based deputy national director for NORML. The group doesn't mind that federal agencies aren't helping. Noting that liquor regulations vary from state to state and even town to town, Armentano said a patchwork of marijuana safety regulations is likely. Dr. Alan Shackelford, a Denver physician who helped write Colorado's medical marijuana safety regulations, said that the absence of federal oversight gives Colorado and Washington big jobs in pioneering consumer safety standards for marijuana. "Anything that is going to be offered for sale to the public needs to have safety and health standards," Shackelford said. "Time will tell what those should be for marijuana."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Kristen Wyatt,  Associated PressPublished:  February 12, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Associated PressCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by museman on February 14, 2013 at 17:42:24 PT
re: Experts
Oh yes, Dr.s are probably the most blatant abusers of their 'profession.' As far as I can tell, they all work for the pharmaceutical companies, and are probably the biggest actual Drug Dealers in the world!And "BOSTONA jury has awarded a Massachusetts teenager and her parents $63 million ...
Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil-PPC Inc. subsidiary should pay Samantha Reckis and her parents a total of $109 million, including interest, ...How much of those 'millions' goes to the "Law Experts" for their few hours of court-room role playing?Oh yes, the wool over the people's eyes -in general- seems still pretty thick when it comes to recognizing the basic flaws in the program, and ultimately because they must also recognize their own complicity in the game.The prohibition house of cards is finally beginning to collapse, yet it is only being transferred to the control of legal thieves and other corruptions, -like incompetent 'experts'- from the current cannabis culture with all of its good and bad. Ultimately, if one does not play by all the rules of the Law Game-which has all but done away with Constitutionally defined Liberty- the results are indistinguishable from prohibition.There are more ways to penalize and make people suffer than just jail or prison! Taking their time and resource again and again for a plant that was created along with us on this one-and-only-planet-we-know-of with so many Human uses it is a Crime of Biblical Proportion to keep us from it and an even greater crime to punish us for using it!Some mighty battles have been won. But it is not time to compromise with the enemy. They do not dictate terms to us. If we allow that, we have lost. Cannabis is a crux issue. It is the pinnacle and epitome of the human struggle for equal rights and a peaceful world. There is purity, and then there is impurity. The examples in our struggles with cannabis prohibition, and the lying, inhumane, life-destroying essence of the prohibition mind set exemplifies not only cannabis prohibition, but every other issue that we find ourselves at odds with in our pursuit of peace and happiness.IMOLEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #8 posted by Sam Adams on February 14, 2013 at 16:15:17 PT
Museman you are SO on target, this is something I notice all the time, mostly in doctors. Many children in wealthy families have a lot of pressure on them to become doctors, apparently.I have seen so many doctors that are just inherently clueless at talking to people, listening, understanding, touching and examining patients, etc. It's so obvious they just wanted the standing of being a "doctor".And our system basically rewards those people who are able to memorize enormous amounts of information for 3 straight years. IMO that has very little correlation with being an effective professional in ANY discipline (unless your profession is memorizing stuff all day long).This panic over cannabis safety is one of the most laughable element of prohibition I've seen. The media says medical MJ safety in Colorado has been a big "concern". But not a problem, difficulty, or actual sickness for any patients of course - just "a concern". We've had 40 years of college students growing the stuff in dorm rooms without any fatalities!  And these govt. officials and others DARE to ridicule taking cannabis for an ache or pain.......take a look at this story for perspective on Cannabis safety:$63m-to-samantha-reckis-girl-who-lost-skin-after-taking-motrin/excerpt:BOSTONA jury has awarded a Massachusetts teenager and her parents $63 million nearly a decade after she suffered a life-threatening drug reaction that caused her to lose most of her skin after taking Johnson & Johnson's children's pain reliever Motrin.Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil-PPC Inc. subsidiary should pay Samantha Reckis and her parents a total of $109 million, including interest, a Plymouth Superior Court jury decided on Wednesday.Samantha was 7 when she was given Motrin brand ibuprofen, family attorney Brad Henry said. She suffered a rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) and lost 90 percent of her skin and was blinded, he said.
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Comment #7 posted by museman on February 14, 2013 at 10:27:39 PT
once upon a time...
Expertise was decided by experience and knowledge. People chose 'careers' and trades according to their aptitudes and interest.A person who built houses and other buildings out of wood was called a 'master carpenter.'One who grew all manner of edible and non-edible plants was called a 'master gardener.'Nowadays 'mastery' is equated to a piece of paper awarded to successful 'students' who have met the criteria (money, social status, and proper grooming) set out in the 'Higher Slave Training' called 'Universities.'They are 'experts' and what they say goes. An 'expert gardener' can quote all manner of textbook techniques for growing, and therefore gets the credibility, while one how has been doing it all their life, without 'formal education' is rejected out of hand simply because they do not fit in the status quo standards (not based in reality in any way shape or form these days). So instead of seasoned growers who started growing -not for profit- but just to grow quality herb, we get 'experts' without a clue, and greedy profit mongers who see no issue in using toxic chemicals as long as the product looks good, smells good, and 'gets you high' -even if the 'high' is chemically induced through poison.Major corporate 'farming' involves hand-in-pocket relationships with other 'family' businesses like Dow, and Dupont -they haven't used up all that Agent Orange yet (now sold under the label of 'Roundup.') So when these companies make their bids to enter into the cannabis business they will outbid the experienced and move in their 'educated' experts to grow under the same conditions they grow all their fake food for general consumption.Under the conditions of a 'regulated' market, only the money gets the contracts, not the experienced, not the well-intentioned, not the gardeners, but the suits and ties.All this hype about 'legalization' as if it actually happened (in Colorado and Washington) is driving the cannabis liberty into the hands of entrepreneurs who will sell you the privilege for the highest price they can get away with. And if you try to circumnavigate that established  'legality' just see how much 'liberty' you are allowed!Apparently the dictionary re-writers have everyone convinced that freedom and liberty are precisely measured by your assets and nothing else.I guess I read too much when I was young. I remember a different set of definitions and meanings than the BS hype every Lawyer, Politician, Corporate Lobbyist, and Status-Quo 'expert' has re-invented to support their lies and obfuscations.I remember freedom as a birthright, not a regulated privilege. I lost friends who believed in freedom in a little war called the 'VietNam Conflict'. Apparently they just lied to us from the moment we entered into the modern slave academies called 'public schools' and in their other controlled and regulated institutions; religions and media.Apparently as long as people got their internet, electricity and fossil fuels, they will just ignore the veils of deceit and mock those who try to get them to see the 'man behind the curtain' and that the emperor is truly naked. Comfort prisoners.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on February 13, 2013 at 16:11:12 PT
Sam Adams #4 
Funny! Your comment made me chuckle out loud.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on February 13, 2013 at 11:41:54 PT
Sam Adams.
Well said... and funny.I was just recently thinking, as I was reading some prohibitionist clamor, "It really does make them insane and they don't even consume it". They get irrational, crazy, fearful, agitated, murderous, mean, trigger happy and cruel, just from thinking about cannabis and cannabis users.It's amazing... and very dangerous.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on February 13, 2013 at 09:46:16 PT
direct link to AHP
American Herbal Products Association: remember....we have NO IDEA how to do this!!!)
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on February 13, 2013 at 09:13:14 PT
updated propaganda
Always interesting to see how the propaganda evolves! I've been wondering what it would focus on after legalization, now we're starting to see. Looks like we're going from "Marijuana will turn you into a bat" to "Marijuana will turn you into a communist" to "we've NEVER done ANYTHING like this before! Oh no! Mold! Pesticides! It's just TOO DIFFICULT! We'll never be able to make this a safe product for consumers. The FEDS AREN"T HELPING!!!! Oh my GOD!""Does that about cover it? Now, as always, time for a visit to the world of REALITY.  There are THOUSANDS of herbal products out there, being regulated and sold safely.In fact, an expert organization that's been doing PRECISELY this type of regulation for YEARS has already offered help, for free, to these state regulators, read on:
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on February 13, 2013 at 06:08:07 PT
What about hemp?
Colorado ethanol producer begins shift from corn to woody biomass A Colorado ethanol producer is set to employ a landmark technology that could help resolve the food vs. fuel controversy swirling around corn-based ethanol.Front Range Energy in Windsor successfully has tested a new process to make ethanol from waste wood. The facility plans to begin commercial production next year.Front Range is the second ethanol producer in the nation to use a newly patented technology for making fuel from biomass, in place of corn.Cont. -0-Could this lead to using hemp?
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on February 12, 2013 at 19:08:05 PT
Double Standards
"Anything that is going to be offered for sale to the public needs to have safety and health standards,"I agree, but what about alcohol and cigarettes? Alcohol and cigarette companies are not required to disclose their ingredients.
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