Tags Posts tagged with "Elizabeth Warren"

Elizabeth Warren

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“Wait did I read that correctly?” you’re probably asking yourself, right? Mr. Sessions has seemingly been the thorn in the side of the legal marijuana movement and he’s been a topic of great debate for days now. But there may be some shining light ahead to put a bit more ease to those looking at this industry and in their favor. Yes, worries about this “great shift” in federal enforcement in states where recreational legalization has been granted may be able to breathe a little easier right now.

There’s been an immense amount of angst and paranoia with regard to what some have understood as a government crackdown on recreational use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has had private discussions with a few Republican senators saying that he doesn’t plan to stray away from the Obama-placed policy of granting states the ability to enact their own marijuana laws for their residents.

Sessions has been a strong force to be reckoned with after he ordered a review of the “hands-off” policy that President Barack Obama previously had. But apparently Mr. Sessions has had a bit of a change of heart and in private conversations, has assured senators before he was confirmed that he didn’t have too much consideration about drastically changing the enforcement laws; even though he’s not a fan of the drug’s use.

Here are a few quotes from these informed senators:

“Nothing at this point has changed,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things. And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not the [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention.”

-Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky)

“We respectfully request that you uphold DOJ’s existing policy regarding states that have implemented strong and effective regulations for recreational use. It is critical that states continue to implement these laws.”

-Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) & Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

“Do they really respect states’ rights? Then you should respect all of them, not just pick and choose the ones that you want to support or not. Many states have gone not only the path of Nevada of recreational marijuana but medical marijuana. How can you pick or choose one or another?”

-Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada)

A group of bipartisan senators also had submitted a letter on Thursday that pushed for Sessions to keep the Obama-era policy intact in order to let states decide on how to implement recreational marijuana laws. Sen. Warren and Sen. Murkowski lead the effort; both of who are from states who’s already put legalized marijuana laws in place.

To date, 8 states and Washington, D.C. have laws in place that legalize marijuana for recreational use. Most senators who signed on the letter are from those states with Murkowski being the only Republican. The others include:

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington
Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts
Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado

The concern isn’t just among senators from those states but is an issue among many conservatives who are nervous about the GOP being selective about allowing the rights of states to supersede federal law.

“We’re concerned about some of the language that we’re hearing. And I think that conservatives who are for states’ rights ought to believe in states’ rights. I’m going to continue to advocate that the states should be left alone,” Paul said.

Sen. Gardner was even more direct with the opinion on Sessions’ comments, “He was talking about if there’s cartels involved in illegal operations, they’re going to crack down on that. That’s what everybody’s saying. I still haven’t heard Jeff Sessions say that. We obviously want to make sure we’re clear on what they’ve said.”

Despite the shake-up that Sessions almost single-handedly ignited with his comments about “not being a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” or how despite him being open to states passing laws that they choose, he made it a point to say, “it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not,” senators like Murkowski seem unshaken. In fact Murkowski said that she wasn’t alarmed and is simply monitoring the DOJ closely, “It’s probably a little premature to try to predict what may or may not be coming out of the administration on this, so I think we just need to sit back and see.”

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Vitality Biopharma ($VBIO)’s 3-Day Rally Set To Continue?

Vitality Biopharma (VBIO) saw a very strong run during most of December. When we first began to pick up coverage it was sitting around $0.98 and during the course of the weeks to follow, we watched as VBIO ran to highs of $4.23. Despite the fact that many thought the excitement was over when VBIO pulled back, we’ve now seen it breakout once again. In fact since bottoming at $1.93 last week, VBIO has maintained a 3 day run that has taken it back to highs of $3.22 yesterday; a 67% rebound.

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In case you missed it this New Years the citizens and tourists got a wonderful welcome when they looked up at Mount Lee in HollyWood, or should we say “HOLLYWEED!” The Iconic Hollywood sign was given a hilarious, yet impactful redesign given that the state of California now has recreational marijuana after a November 8th vote in favor of the law change by its illustrious citizens.


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Senator Warren Is Working on Getting Banks To Do Business With The Marijuana Industry

As marijuana shops start to sprout and grow within states that have legalized the drug, they face a critical stumbling road block – lack of access to the kind of routine banking services other businesses take for granted. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is making a solid attempt at making an effort to ensure vendors working with legal marijuana businesses, from chemists who test marijuana for harmful substances to firms that provide security, don’t have their banking services taken away.

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The Drug Enforcement Administration is preparing to decide whether cannabis should be reclassified under federal law in “The first half of 2016,” the agency stated in a document to senators. When the DEA, replied to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and seven other Democratic senators pushing the federal government to facilitate investigative studies into marijuana’s medicinal benefits, which did not indicate whether it will reclassify marijuana as less harmful to people. The U.S. has five sectors, or schedules, classifying illegal drugs or chemicals that can be used to make them.

Schedule I is identified for drugs the DEA believes to have the highest risk for abuse and no “Current accepted medical use.” Cannabis has been classified as Schedule I for many decades, along with heroin and LSD. Reclassifying marijuana would not make it legal, although it may ease restrictions on investigative research and reduce penalties for marijuana offenses.

“DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolution to these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016.”

The letter, signed by Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, explains in great detail that the cannabis supply accessible at the University of Mississippi is the federal government’s only sanctioned marijuana nursery. The Food and Drug Administration has completed a review of the medical evidence hovering around the safety and effectiveness of marijuana and has forwarded its rescheduling recommendation to the DEA, in reference to the letter. The document did not display what the FDA recommended. If a demand for research into marijuana’s medical potential were to surpass the University of Mississippi’s supply, the DEA has stated it may contemplate registering additional marijuana cultivators. This is not the first time the DEA has been asked to consider rescheduling marijuana’s classification. In 2001 and 2006, DEA considered petitions but decided to keep cannabis a Schedule I substance.

The DEA’s response is signed by Rosenberg, Sylvia Burwell, secretary of HHS, and Michael Botticelli, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In addition to Warren, the letter was sent to Democratic Sens. Jeffrey Merkley (Ore.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (Md.), Edward Markey (Mass.), Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Cory Booker (N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.). Those senators, with the exception of Warren, are co-sponsors of a sweeping bill introduced in 2015 which was structured to dramatically reduce the federal government’s ability to crackdown on state-legal medical marijuana programs while also encouraging more research into the substance.

Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, a marijuana reform group, said there was “Absolutely no reason marijuana should remain in Schedule I.”Almost half the states in the country have medical cannabis laws and major groups like the American Nurses Association and the American College of Physicians are on board,” Angell said in a statement.

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Many people are becoming increasingly addicted to prescription painkillers. As a result, lawmakers have been working harder to stop it. However, the focus which typically arises from a flawed federal policy has led to a slippery slope which could become the push needed to pull marijuana out of prohibition.

One of the first actions to be thrown upon federal health officials from above came from Senator Elizabeth Warren. The federal lawmaker sent a letter in February to the leaders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking that the agency starts experimenting on cannabis to decipher whether or not it could be used to fight the prescription addictions spreading throughout the United States.

The letter was made out to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden. It asks that the agency makes the regulations physicians have more strict regulations to stop them from giving painkillers to patients so easily. Warren stated that she strongly believes that the agency should finish the CDC guidelines for prescribing painkillers to patients suffering from chronic pain and focus on finding new treatments, including medical cannabis that could be prescribed to stop the country from joining the opiate craze.

“I hope that the CDC continues to explore every opportunity and tool available to work with states and other federal agencies on ways to tackle the opioid epidemic and collect information about alternative pain relief options,” Warren said. “Your agency has produced an enormous amount of scientific and epidemiological data that has helped inform stakeholders on the breadth of this crisis — however, there is still much we do not know.”

In the letter, Warren tells the CDC to co-work with other federal health agencies in order to learn the “effectiveness of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain treatment in states where it is legal,” and “the impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths.”

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American political leaders around the country are casting about for a policy response to the widespread abuse of opioid painkillers that doesn’t replicate the mistakes of past punitive approaches to drug use.
Now, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has thrown her clout into that push for solutions – and in a way that underscores the injustices of the War on Drugs over the past several decades.

Warren is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research how medical and recreational marijuana might help alleviate the opioid epidemic. In a letter sent Monday to CDC head Dr. Thomas Friedan, Warren urged the agency to finalize its guidance to physicians on the dos and don’ts of prescribing oxycodone, fentanyl, and other popular drugs in this category.

She also went further, asking Friedan “To explore every opportunity and tool available to work with states and other federal agencies on ways to tackle the opioid epidemic and collect information about alternative pain relief options.” Those alternatives should include pot, Warren wrote. She went on the ask Friedan to collaborate with other federal health agencies to investigate how medical marijuana is or isn’t working to reduce reliance on highly addictive prescription pills, and to research

“The impact of the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on opioid overdose deaths.” Researching marijuana is fraught for federal agencies because the drug remains a schedule 1 controlled substance, the most restrictive category within American drug law.

The classification is reserved for drugs with “No medically accepted use,” a designation that makes less and less sense as more and more states legalize marijuana for medical use.

The federal scheduling also makes it onerous for researchers to work on answering the kinds of questions Warren raised in her letter, a reality that helped drive the centrist Brookings Institute to call for the drug to be reclassified as a schedule 2 drug in a report last October – a schedule that includes prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

It’s a sign of progress compared to the mandatory minimum sentencing laws and focus on aggressive law enforcement that marked past drug panics, but it’s also got racial overtones that are hard to ignore.

Regardless of the rationale behind the shift toward more benevolent anti-drug policies related to opioids, the crisis will probably help advance the fight to loosen America’s pot laws too. The attention now being paid to opioid abuse “Has been a key factor in opening previously closed minds,” Cannabis Now notes – including Warren’s own.

Rising scrutiny of opioid use is having other, stranger effects too.
With the high-powered painkillers booming in popularity, drug makers have little need to advertise them. Super Bowl viewers were treated to a very expensive promo Sunday night for a drug designed to alleviate the constipation that heavy opioid use can cause. The drug, an AstraZeneca invention called Movantik, may be a sign that doctors are not just overprescribing opioid painkillers in general, but specifically dishing them out to the wrong kind of patients.

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    Elizabeth Warren – U.S. senator and democratic darling – said that she has changed her mind about marijuana legalization. 

    Warren reportedly told Joshua Miller, a writer at The Boston Globe, that she is now in support of and even open to ballots seeking to legalize marijuana.

    Miller asked, “you were opposed to legalization in 2012. As a Massachusetts voter, what’s your position today?”

    “I’m open to it,” Warren replied. “I think we’ve learned more. A couple of states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Frankly, I think we ought to be learning what we can from those states.”

    She also stated that she is a in support of cannabis research and has been urging the Federal Government to “step up its game.”
    The Massachusetts attorney general voted in support of a ballot calling for the legalization of recreational marijuana this week. In order to secure a spot on the 2016 ballot, those that sponsor this need to accumulate almost 65,000 signatures by November 28.

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