U.S. conservation groups accused the federal Wildlife Services in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday of indiscriminately killing a multitude of wildlife like wolves and mountain lions in Idaho to benefit ranchers and farmers.

The groups asked a U.S. judge in Idaho to force the agency to stop violating federal environmental and wildlife protection laws by conducting campaigns in Idaho such as aerial gunning of wolves without assessing the impacts on public lands and wild animals as required.    

The Center for Biological Diversity and five other conservation groups complained in the lawsuit that Wildlife Services, which operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, kills thousands of Idaho wolves, foxes, cougars, birds and other creatures considered nuisances to farm or ranch operations, all at taxpayer expense.

"This lawsuit will shine a bright light on this rogue agency that spends millions of dollars annually to indiscriminately shoot, poison and trap wildlife species," said Laird Lucas, head of litigation for Advocates for the West, a Boise-based  environmental law firm that was involved in the suit.

The lawsuit also targets the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for what conservationists said was federal wildlife managers’ failure to properly assess the consequences on imperiled animals of Wildlife Services’ activities in Idaho.

The USDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. The Fish and Wildlife Service has a policy of not commenting on litigation or pending litigation.


Idaho.

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Taken from the 50th level of the Pinnacle at Duxton, a residence area in the central part of Singapore. Took me quite a way to edit this photo; around an hour plus a day for the past 3 weeks.
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Washington state cannabis retailer opens in defiance of county ban


Sealed bags of marijuana dangle behind a counter, curved glass pipes glimmer on shelves, and a steady trickle of middle-aged customers gleefully buys cannabis strains nicknamed Charlie Sheen and Godzilla.

"The Gallery" is similar to more than 100 other lawful state-licensed marijuana retail shops and hundreds of medical dispensaries in Washington state, with one exception: It is operating in defiance of local law.

Its opening on Sunday set up a potential showdown with authorities in Pierce County, about an hour outside Seattle, which has effectively banned recreational pot shops in unincorporated areas so long as the drug remains illegal under federal law, even as medical pot businesses flourish virtually unregulated.

"We didn’t do this to pick a fight with the county," said co-owner Tedd Wetherbee, 47, in between chatting up customers in his shop in Parkland, in unincorporated Pierce County.

"But at the same time we are state-licensed legitimate businessmen that want to do what the county seems to let other people do without any license."
Since Washington state legalized recreational marijuana in a landmark 2012 vote that ushered in licensed retail pot shops in July, scores of municipalities have passed laws curbing their operations, from constricted zoning to outright bans.

That has frustrated would-be pot entrepreneurs, such as Wetherbee, who are keen to capitalize on what they call a glut of recreational-use marijuana products with few stores licensed to sell it. Fifty-four percent of Pierce County voters backed marijuana legalization.

"This act of theater will either embolden a bunch of other people to do it, or it will create really great PR for him," said Dominic Corva, executive director at the Center for the Study of Cannabis and Social Policy.

Wetherbee has argued in lawsuits that local pot-business bans that scuttled his retail plans in two other towns violate state law, and says it makes little sense to ban tightly regulated retail establishments while allowing medicinal shops to operate unchecked.

State lawmakers are weighing proposals to license medical-use stores to, among other things, ensure their products are safe, a move entrepreneurs say would help level the regulatory playing field.

NONDESCRIPT

Amid that uncertain landscape, Pierce County authorities say they have visited The Gallery for several inspections and advised Wetherbee he lacked proper permitting.

Pierce County, which had objected to Wetherbee’s application for a state retail pot license but failed to block it, could issue noncompliance and cease-and-desist orders as early as Thursday that could cost up to $1,000 in daily fines if ignored.

Washington state’s top lawyer has said the recreational marijuana law does not prevent local governments from banning pot businesses. But state regulators who grant the licenses do not consider local laws in their review process.
"We have issued other state licenses in places where there are bans and moratoriums, though he is the only retailer that I have heard of, but there may be others," said Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith.

There was no sign of controversy on Tuesday in Wetherbee’s shop, where pot products are displayed beside sculptures and abstract art. Its nondescript entrance contrasts sharply with the bold signage of a gun shop next door.
A cut-out of former President Bill Clinton invites shoppers to “please feel free to inhale.” A security guard checks that patrons are at least 21 years old. Sealed bags of cannabis strains sell for about $14 to $24 per gram.

Among the patrons was a construction worker who uses marijuana to “kick back” and a 29-year-old former U.S. Army medic battling insomnia and anxiety since returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

"I was going to a store down in the city (Tacoma), but this is a lot closer to my house," said the former soldier, who gave his name only as Josh. "I like the environment a lot better too, the gallery feel."

CBD Oil Licenses Granted By The Missouri Department Of Agriculture

(WeedBlog) For the first time since World War II, Missourians are allowed to legally grow marijuana. This week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced licenses for two recently created non-profits — Beleaf and Noah’s Arc — which will allow them to grow cannabis, produce a low-THC oil, and distribute that oil to an estimated 950 Missouri patients suffering from intractable epilepsy.

Each non-profit will be charged with the responsibility of tracking the cannabis from “seed to sale” and having oversight each step of the way in an effort to minimize potential holes in the system where cannabis might be used for any other purpose. A good idea in theory, Colorado attempted the same thing until the state quickly realized the impracticality of such a process. First, costs increase drastically with every piece of the puzzle required. Farming, oil extraction, and sales are all very different processes which all exist as separate industries in their own right. Not only is it difficult to be an expert in everything, creating such a rigorous standard pretty much guarantees that there will be quality control issues as there is no competition for who is the best at these services at the individual level.

Marijuana’s Medical Future

As more states legalize treatment, scientists are learning how the plant’s chemicals may help conditions ranging from brain injuries to cancer

Edward Maa did not plan to become a marijuana researcher. But a few years ago, when the neurologist and epilepsy specialist surveyed his patients about their use of alternative medicines, he discovered that more than a third had turned to marijuana to try to control their seizures. “I had no idea,” says Maa, who is chief of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Denver Health.

Now he is trying to impose some scientific rigor on what has become a very big and unscientific ad hoc experiment in his state, where medical marijuana use is legal. According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, the widely reported case of Charlotte Figi, a child whose nearly constant seizures were dramatically curtailed with cannabidiol, a marijuana ingredient, has helped trigger an influx of families from around the U.S. seeking similar treatment for their children with seizure disorders. Maa wants to move beyond anecdote and into data. He is monitoring 150 epilepsy patients who all take a product derived from the same strain of marijuana that Figi used, provided by the same source. Over the course of a year, he intends to compare dosage to seizure activity and side effects, as well as patient characteristics, to see if any patterns suggest the drug is effective—or not—in particular situations. “My position is, let’s see what’s going on,” Maa says. “Let’s see if this is helpful and try to understand what we are seeing.”

Understanding the biology and chemistry behind marijuana’s claimed medical benefits is becoming extremely important now that 23 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana to treat some medical conditions, including pain, nausea and glaucoma. Other states are expected to follow suit. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for recreational use as well. Although the federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, a class “with no currently accepted medical use,” a body of recent research—most of it done in test tubes and animals, but some done in people—suggests that cannabinoids, which are the active ingredients in marijuana, may have medicinal uses even beyond the approved ones. They might protect the brain from the effects of trauma, ease the spasms of multiple sclerosis and reduce epileptic seizures. Further preliminary work indicates that the chemicals may slow the growth of tumors and reduce brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease.

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON POT

The chemical that induces marijuana’s trippy effects, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), was isolated in 1964. Several other components have been described since, including cannabidiol, the compound used by the epilepsy patients, which does not make people high. In the late 1980s and early 1990s scientists began to identify and map two groups of molecules, known as receptors, in the central nervous system and immune system that help cannabinoids bind to cells. That interaction appears to play a critical role in marijuana’s various effects. (The brain contains small amounts of its own, naturally occurring cannabinoids, which also bind to these receptors.)

CB1, the more common of the two main receptors, is widely distributed in the brain, with high concentrations in the cortex and the hippocampus (a region important to forming new memories). CB1 receptors also occur in parts of the brain involved in pain perception. There are low levels of CB1 in the brain stem, where cardiac and respiratory functions are regulated; their relative scarcity in this region may explain why, unlike opioids, even heavy doses of cannabinoids do not pose acute threats to the heart or your ability to breathe.

CB2, the other main cannabinoid receptor, is found mostly in the immune system. Its presence there interests scientists because the immune system triggers inflammation, and studies show marijuana can have an anti-inflammatory effect.

In the brain, when the psychoactive component THC links up with CB1, it slows down or blocks the release of a variety of neurotransmitters—signaling molecules released by neurons—including glutamate and dopamine. The result is the high that marijuana is best known for, often along with temporary impairment of short-term memory. Two other well-known effects of the THC-CB1 linkage are the stimulation of appetite, a boon for AIDS patients and others who need to maintain body weight, and the suppression of nausea, a benefit for some cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. THC has also been shown to disrupt the transmission of pain signals.

Recent research suggests that THC might also protect neurons from trauma. Early test-tube studies pointed to this effect, and so has one clinical trial published last October. In it, trauma surgeon David Plurad and his colleagues did a retrospective review of 446 traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases treated at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center from January 2010 through December 2012. Their study, reported in the journal American Surgeon,found that 82 of those patients tested positive for THC and two of them died, for a mortality rate of 2.4 percent. The mortality rate among the 364 patients who did not have THC in their system was 11.5 percent, nearly five times higher. After taking into account other factors, such as age, severity of injury and blood alcohol level, the researchers concluded that the link between THC and a lower death rate in these patients stood up. Although the mechanisms are not fully understood, previous research suggests that both THC and cannabidiol may increase blood flow in the brain, bringing needed oxygen as well as nutrients to endangered neurons. Because they inhibit glutamate, they may also prevent toxic effects that occur after brain trauma, when neurons can get overstimulated by the neurotransmitter.

Marijuana, of course, impairs perception and reaction time, so it may have contributed to the accidents that Plurad studied at the same time that it helped some people survive them. The irony is not lost on the surgeon. “There is never going to be one answer for marijuana,” Plurad says. “It’s good for you, it’s bad for you. It will never be one or the other. It will always be somewhere in between.” Some research, including a recent study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has shown that heavy use of marijuana (at least four times a week for the past six months in the paper) can lead to adverse changes in parts of the brain associated with reward and decision making. Plurad warns against such heavy use and use by teenagers. “As a clinical person,” he says, “what’s interesting to me is that when you get down to the nitty-gritty of taking care of patients, it’s cheap. And if it has valuable applications, then we should pursue it.”

Keep reading

Missouri awards licenses for medical marijuana

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A type of medical marijuana is one step closer to cultivation in the state of Missouri, and soon, a treatment option for certain patients.

This week, the Missouri Department of Agriculture issued two licenses for hemp cultivation and production. These are the first such licenses issued since lawmakers passed a bill last year, permitting patients suffering from seizures to use hemp oil for treatment.

The two recipients are non-profit organizations based in the St. Louis area: Noah’s Arc Foundation, listed with a Chesterfield address, and BeLEAF Corporation, to be located on a piece of land in St. Peters.

Learn your facts because hemp is making a comeback in America. Its a major cash crop that many don’t know about. It has many uses that would be beneficial to our daily lives and health. Try to look more into it and see for yourself. Photo credit to facebook.com/educationnotmedication for the facts. #hempoil #hemp #cannabis #cbd #cannabidiol #marijuana #itsgoodforyou #vape #paid2smoke #health #wellness #Instagood #ihatemyjob #facts #entrepreneur #education #legal #legalize #natural #betterliving #hemplifestyle #wax #ineedmoney #goodvibes

Florida names its medical marijuana rule-makers

(BizJournals) Five nurseries will be part of a 12-member panel announced Friday to hammer out rules on who can grow medical marijuana and how it will be distributed to patients.

The rule-makers selected by the state Office of Compassionate Use will meet the first week of February in Tallahassee to set up the regulatory structure for the five nurseries eventually selected to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana in Florida.

Under a marijuana law passed last spring, nurseries that have been in business for at least 30 continuous years in Florida and cultivate at least 400,000 plants are eligible to be one of five “vertically-integrated” entities that will grow, process and distribute strains of cannabis that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD, for patients who suffer from severe spasms or cancer.

Under the new law, doctors were supposed to begin ordering the substance for certain patients on Jan. 1. But after a legal challenge from a group of nurseries and other businesses, an administrative law judge in November struck down the health department’s first proposal for a regulatory framework.