Tag Archives: medical marijuana

Young Mother Claims Jailer Raped Her Following Arrest For Half-Gram of Pot

Katy, Texas – A woman is seeking justice after allegedly being raped by a jailer after being arrested for possession of less than a half a gram of cannabis she claims to use medicinally for her epilepsy.

Emma Lopez said that the ordeal began while driving home on March 1 when she was pulled over for suspected speeding by a Katy ISD police officer a few blocks away from her home.

Police bodycam footage of the stop obtained by ABC 13 Eyewitness News showed Lopez complying with the stop and the officer. Within minutes the officer asked her to step out of her vehicle, and stated, “The minute I stopped you, I could smell marijuana on your car.”

Lopez admitted that she uses marijuana to control her seizures and pointed out the small amount in her vehicle to the officer.

“I have seizures and I don’t even smoke very much,” Lopez said in the footage.

At this point the officer informed her that she was going to be arrested and taken to jail for the miniscule amount of marijuana, despite the fact that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office has ceased prosecuting people for possession of small amounts of marijuana. “Unfortunately, you’re going to jail today,” the officer told Lopez.

Katy ISD police claim that Lopez was initially stopped in a school zone, thus making possession of any amount of marijuana an arrestable offense. However, according to ABC 13, Lopez’s lawyers claim that she should not have been arrested in the first place.

In an exclusive interview with ABC 13, Lopez said that after being taken to the Harris County Jail she was moved into a holding cell by herself. Lopez alleges that only a few hours later a male guard entered the holding cell, handcuffed her, and raped her.

After he asked me to get up and put me up against the wall and handcuffed me, he pulled my pants down and pulled his pants down and I froze,” Lopez said. “I asked him not to do it. He said, ‘If I say anything, he would do it again, and I wouldn’t be able to say anything.’


Lopez says she attempted to alert female guards to the sexual assault that had just taken place, but she was told to sit down and stay quiet while being processed.

After she was finally released from jail the next day, Lopez said she went directly to the hospital where a rape kit was collected. Lopez’s attorney, Michael Edwards, says there is evidence that proves Lopez was sexually assaulted while in the Harris County jail.

“There’s surveillance, there’s jail calls, there’s a number of elements that support Mrs. Lopez in her outcry in what happened to her,” Edwards told ABC 13.

A statement was released by the Harris County Jail confirming that there is an active investigation of the incident underway:

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an allegation that a female jail inmate was sexually assaulted by an employee inside the Harris County Jail in early March. Investigators have interviewed the victim, reviewed video recordings from inside the jail, and are taking all other necessary steps to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted. The investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed at this time. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office takes these allegations seriously, and we are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all inmates entrusted in our care.

Lopez, a mother of two, has since filed a lawsuit against the City of Katy and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Sheriff Ed Gonzales, the officer who arrested her, and the unidentified jail guard who allegedly raped her.

FDA Committee Recommends Approval of Pharmaceutical CBD

Washington, D.C. — An advisory committee for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday recommended approval of the first pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD) medicine to treat severe epilepsy. In a unanimous decision, the committee voted to recommend GW Pharmaceuticals drug Epidiolex for approval.

Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabis derivative. The approval of Epidiolex would be limited to treating seizures in patients aged 2 and older caused by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

“Epidiolex represents hope for the many individuals living with intractable seizures and rare epilepsies, who every day face incredible challenges and disabling seizures, and live with the continual risk of serious injury and death,” said Philip Gattone, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation.

[Related: In CBD-Legal Tennessee, Cops Raid Shops Selling Non-THC CBD Gummies]

Taking a natural product such as CBD oil and turning it into a FDA approved drug has the potential to limit the avenues that people have to access the natural product. Motherboard reported last year on the drug industry lobbying for legislation that would outlaw CBD oil by turning it into a drug. South Dakota Senate Bill 95 had sought to exempt CBD from the definition of cannabis, thus taking it off Schedule I controlled substance list and becoming a Schedule IV substance.

GW Pharmaceuticals and its U.S. subsidiary, Greenwich BioSciences, lobbied for an amendment to the legislation to limit CBD rescheduling to only FDA-approved products— in other words, they wanted only CBD drugs to be legally obtainable.

A 2017 report from Motherboard explained:

Not surprisingly, GW Pharmaceuticals has just such a drug in the pipeline. Epidiolex, a ‘proprietary oral solution of pure plant-derived cannabidiol,’ has already been given to epileptic children in the U.S. as part of a federal investigative study documented recently in the New England Journal of Medicine.”

“Since no other pharmaceutical company has a CBD drug anywhere close to market, and the wide range of CBD products already available in medical marijuana states lack FDA approval, if the bill had passed with that amendment intact, patients in South Dakota would have been subjected to a virtual CBD monopoly …

More ominously, The Great CBD Battle of South Dakota appears to be but the opening salvo in a nationwide war between GW Pharmaceuticals and traditional medical cannabis providers …

[U]nder the amendment, South Dakota would … ban myriad CBD products already available in many other states. Even though they cost far less than Epidiolex, and are potentially more effective for patients, since in addition to CBD those ‘full spectrum’ cannabis extracts also contain small amounts of THC and other medicinal components of the plant.

Motherboard also noted that “corporate lobbyists in more than 20 states are currently pushing to make sure the pharmaceutical industry has the only legal supply of CBD.” Thus, it appears the big pharma takeover of CBD is underway.

“It’s incredibly important as a physician prescribing to patients that we know what we’re giving them and we know we give them one month will be the same that we give them three or six months later,” said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Langone Epilepsy Center, attempting to explain the importance of pharmaceutical intervention in the CBD market.

“It’s very important to highlight that the drug used in this study, cannabidiol, was derived from cannabis plants, and purified to 99 percent purity,” Devinsky told NBC News. “This is not something you can get from a dispensary today in the United States. It’s not something that you can get by smoking marijuana. It is a very specific pharmaceutical grade product derived from marijuana, but quite different than what is available anywhere else right now in the United States.”

NBC News reported that the FDA has indicated that it will likely approve Epidiolex. Although the recommended use for this particular product is very limited, doctors may prescribe it at their discretion.

“Both by Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome are rare, severe, refractory epilepsy syndromes with onset in early childhood,” the FDA stated.

“The results from these three studies provide substantial evidence of the effectiveness of CBD for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (LGS and DS),” the FDA said in briefing documents given to the advisory committee ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

“In general, the risks associated with CBD treatment appear acceptable, particularly given the findings of clinical efficacy in LGS and DS, which are serious, debilitating, and life-threatening disorders.”

In Surprising About-Face, John Boehner Becomes Medical Pot Lobbyist

Republican John Boehner, who had always maintained that he was “unalterably opposed” to marijuana legalization back when he was serving as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, announced on Wednesday that his position has changed and he has signed on to the advisory board of Acreage Holdings, one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States. He is joined on the board by former Republican Massachusetts Governor and 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Bill Weld.

A news release by Acreage Holdings said, “As members of the Board, Speaker Boehner and Governor Weld will bring an immense, collective and unique set of experiences in government affairs, unmatched leadership and guidance to help drive Acreage towards its strategic mission.” The first phase in this strategic mission appears to be an effort to take down the federal government’s Schedule 1 categorization of cannabis as a hardcore narcotic with no medical use, which prevents scientists from studying potential medical benefits.

[Related: Health and Human Services Secretary: ‘No Such Thing As Medical Marijuana’]

“The effect of marijuana being a Schedule class 1 narcotic in Washington is a seriously flawed idea. Descheduling is the most constructive step that could be taken,” Bill Weld told The Boston Herald.

A Wednesday joint statement by Weld and Boehner read, “While we come at this issue from different perspectives and track records, we both believe the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy. Over the past 20 years a growing number of states have experimented with their right to offer cannabis programs under the protection of the 10th amendment. During that period, those rights have lived somewhat in a state of conflict with federal policy. Also, during this period, the public perception of cannabis has dramatically shifted, with 94 percent of Americans currently in favor of some type of access, a shift driven by increased awareness of marijuana’s many medical applications.”

It continued, “We need to look no further than our nation’s 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments. Yet the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend its usage. There are numerous other patient groups in America whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis. While the Tenth Amendment has allowed much to occur at the state level, there are still many negative implications of the federal policy to schedule cannabis as a Class 1 drug: most notably the lack of research, the ambiguity around financial services and the refusal of the VA to offer it as an alternative to the harmful opioids that are ravishing our communities.”

David Schnittger, spokesman for John Boehner, told The Washington Post that the former speaker changed his mind on the issue after studying it closely upon leaving office.

Weld said that though it was believed that marijuana was a gateway drug when he was a prosecutor under President Reagan, “Now there’s some evidence that it can become an exit drug” for individuals addicted to opiates.

According to The Hill, some Republican members of Congress are optimistic that cannabis legalization may take place during 2018.

“I’m fairly optimistic that this year will be the year that we can make great progress on this. We had 68 Republicans vote with us last time, and I think it’ll probably be 75 or more next time around,” said California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.

“Today’s constituency within the Republican Party has changed. I think that we will be able to have this and expand on this change among Republicans and that’s what’s going to give us the leverage to actually change the law,” he added.



Legal Pot Linked to Reduced Opioid Use in Two New Scientific Studies

While many patient anecdotes have suggested that medical marijuana may be effective for chronic pain and that it could be used as an alternative to opioid pain medications, the U.S. government’s categorization of cannabis as a hardcore Schedule I narcotic with no medical use has hamstrung the ability of scientists to test that theory in clinical trials. Government-ordered studies on pot have only sought to associate it with negative externalities, and clinical trials on the safety or medical benefits of pot are effectively banned under current law.

However, pot-legal states have begun to produce volumes of data that can be analyzed by researchers, and two new scientific studies released this month in JAMA Internal Medicine have linked cannabis legalization laws with a significant reduction in opioid prescriptions filed in the state.

In the study, Association of Medical and Adult-Use Marijuana Laws With Opioid Prescribing for Medicaid Enrollees, University of Kentucky’s Hefei Wen and Emory University’s Jason Hockenberry examined “all-capture Medicaid prescription data for 2011 to 2016” between states and found that “medical marijuana laws and [recreational] adult-use marijuana laws were associated with lower opioid prescribing rates (5.88% and 6.38% lower, respectively).”

“Medical and adult-use marijuana laws have the potential to lower opioid prescribing for Medicaid enrollees, a high-risk population for chronic pain, opioid use disorder, and opioid overdose, and marijuana liberalization may serve as a component of a comprehensive package to tackle the opioid epidemic,” the study concluded.

A second study in JAMA Internal Medicine, Association Between US State Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Prescribing in the Medicare Part D Population by Ashley Bradford, David Bradford, and Amanda Abraham of the University of Georgia, examining “longitudinal analysis of Medicare Part D” found that “prescriptions filled for all opioids decreased by 2.11 million daily doses per year from an average of 23.08 million daily doses per year when a state instituted any medical cannabis law.”

That study also suggested that laws focused on improving medical marijuana access reduced opiate prescription rates further than other types of legalization schemes.

“The type of medical cannabis laws [MCLs] implemented in these states was important as well, with greater reductions in opioid prescriptions observed in states with more structured MCLs that increased access to medical cannabis. Prescriptions for opioids fell by 3.74 million daily doses per year (95% CI, −5.95 to −1.54) when medical cannabis dispensaries opened, but only by 1.79 million daily doses per year (95% CI, −3.36 to −0.22) when states only offered allowances for home cultivation,” read the research.

“Medical cannabis policies may be one mechanism that can encourage lower prescription opioid use and serve as a harm abatement tool in the opioid crisis,” Bradford et al concluded.

While a growing chorus of patient anecdotes have been cited by medical marijuana activists suggesting that medical cannabis has allowed them to discontinue the use of potentially-deadly opiates, the lack of scientific studies confirming this, partly due to the government’s ban on clinical research on cannabis, has often been cited by health officials in discouraging the passage of such bills.

For example, prior to the publication of these two studies, Tennessee Department of Health officials testified in a hearing on the state’s Medical Cannabis Only bill that there was not enough scientific evidence available to link medical cannabis to reduced opioid use rates or to suggest that it is effective for relief of chronic pain. On the heels of that testimony, Medical Cannabis Only died in the Tennessee Senate on Tuesday, according to The Tennessean.

Medical Cannabis Patients in Israel Will Now Be Allowed to Drive

Tel Aviv, Israel – The Israeli Health Ministry, on Tuesday, introduced a new amendment that will allow individuals to drive after using medical cannabis, after many patients complained that their freedom of movement was being restricted.

Currently, Israel recognizes more than 30,000 medical cannabis users who have a government-issued permit, but these patients were previously not allowed to drive since the government classified cannabis and all its derivatives as a dangerous drug under Israeli law, classifying anyone with a dangerous drug in their system as being “drunk,” according to Haaretz.

The Israeli permit to use medical cannabis specifically states: “While using the dangerous drug it is completely forbidden to carry out acts requiring concentration, including driving and operating heavy equipment.”

According to a report from Haaretz:

The new amendment, which will come into effect in about 30 days, stipulates that patients will be permitted to drive three hours after smoking cannabis. If they consumed it in the form of edibles or as oil, they will have to wait six hours before getting behind the wheel, while those who also consumed alcohol will have to wait 12 hours after taking cannabis before being allowed to drive.

The amendment puts further restrictions on drivers who use cannabis, requiring them to be under the supervision of the doctor who signed their medical cannabis permit and to refrain from consuming other substances classified as dangerous at the same time. The amendment also limits the cannabis dosage for drivers to 50 grams a month with an active ingredient concentration below 15 percent, or up to 40 grams a month with an active ingredient concentration below 20 percent.

Health ministers had previously refused to make an exception for the medicinal use of cannabis, requiring patients to acknowledge that they understood they were not allowed to drive if being treated with cannabis. Under the new amendment, individuals will be allowed to drive three hours after taking the drug, but critics note that there is no way to enforce the amendment due to being unable to verify when a patient last used cannabis.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Jeff Sessions Wages War on Cannabis]

The amendment decriminalizes patients who had become “offenders against their will,” according to the Health Ministry. Despite the progress, the Medical Cannabis Association, which advances patients’ rights, was critical of the amendment, highlighting the fact that amendment doesn’t apply to many patients using medical cannabis.

“There’s no way to ascertain the percentage level of active ingredients in each and every flower, so there’s no way to determine what active ingredient percentage a patient consumed in the hours before he got behind the wheel,” the Medical Cannabis Association noted.

“On top of that, the number of patients who take more than 40 grams of cannabis a month is significant, as is the percentage of patients who use another narcotic medicine as well. The amendment doesn’t apply to at least a quarter of medical cannabis users,” the non-profit group added.

Health and Human Services Secretary: ‘No Such Thing As Medical Marijuana’

Kettering, OH— While speaking on March 2nd at a press conference on opioids at an inpatient facility that treats newborns suffering from prenatal drug exposure, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar proclaimed that “there really is no such thing as medical marijuana” in response to a question regarding what he sees as the role of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain management. Azar went on to say, “There is no FDA approved use of marijuana, a botanical plant. I just want to be very clear about that.”

Azar, who was the president of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly & Co. from 2012 to 2017, added that the government will invest hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into “next generation pain therapies” as an alternative to opioids.

“We are devoting hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of research at our National Institutes of Health as part of the historic $13 billion opioid and serious mental illness program that the President and Congress are funding,” Azar said. “Over $750 million just in 2019 alone is going to be dedicated towards the National Institutes of Health working in public-private partnership to try and develop the next generation of pain therapies that are not opioids.”

Numerous recent scientific studies in states with medicinal cannabis programs have found that marijuana has drastically reduced opioid dependence. A recent study published by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis revealed that among patients known to be taking opiate painkillers upon their enrollment into the program, 63 percent “were able to reduce or eliminate opioid usage after six months.”

The results from Minnesota’s program align with numerous studies conducted in other states with active medical marijuana programs. In a 2016 report, using data gathered from patients enrolled in Michigan’s medical cannabis program, indicated that marijuana treatment “was associated with a 64 percent decrease in opioid use, decreased number and side effects of medications, and an improved quality of life.”

An investigative report by Politico revealed that during Azar’s tenure at Eli Lilly, the company used erectile dysfunction drug Cialis on boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy to increase profits from the drug and extend its exclusive patent for another six months using a process often referred to as “pediatric patent extension”. While the move reportedly profited the company a billion dollars, critics noted that it crossed ethical lines and had no effect on the children’s condition.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), during Azar’s confirmation hearings in November, appears to predicted the former pharmaceutical executive’s allegiance to big pharma, stating:

I told you in my office you’ve got some convincing to make me believe that you’re going to represent the American people and not big pharma…And I know that’s insulting…because I’m sure you’re an honest and upright person…But we all have our doubts, because big pharma manipulates the system to keep prices high…We have to really fix it, and I — you need to convince those of us who are skeptical that you’ll be part of fixing it and won’t beholden to big pharma.

[WATCH: Ben Swann’s Reality Check: Jeff Sessions Wages War on Cannabis]

Cronos Becomes First Marijuana Producer Listed on U.S. Stock Exchange

New York, NY— On February 27th, the Cronos Group Inc., a major Canadian medical marijuana producer, began trading on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol “CRON” — making it the first cannabis company to attain a listing on any major U.S. stock exchange.

“It’s very significant for the company and the whole industry,” said Mike Gorenstein, Cronos founder and CEO, according to Bloomberg. “It’s a huge moment— just shows the stigma is continuing to erode on cannabis.”

The Toronto-based Cronos Group, which is listed in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange, is the first company that produces and sells marijuana to be approved for trading on Wall Street, although other businesses with indirect ties to cannabis are traded.

“We’re the only pure play marijuana company” to be traded on a U.S. exchange, Gorenstein told CNN.

[RELATED: U.S. Marijuana Legalization Weakens Mexican Cartels]

The listing was seen by some analysts as a milestone for the entire marijuana industry.

“The fact that Cronos was able to have its application approved speaks volumes regarding the company’s governance and the ability of its management team to think outside the box and execute,” said Beacon Securities’ analyst Vahan Ajamian in a note to investors.

“We imagine the SEC would have gone through a very thorough review/vetting process before allowing a cannabis company to list on a major U.S. exchange,” he wrote.

The process to gain a listing however, was long and arduous, Gorenstein told VICE Money.

“It’s complicated and intense because of their securities rules. We started building a relationship with the NASDAQ sometime last year, and we had to go through many audits and reviews by different independent committees to make sure that our governance was up to snuff,” he said.

Gorenstein added, “It’s more than just getting on the exchange. We wanted to be the first company that went about this the right way.”

According to a report by Investopedia:

Cronos has an edge over many of these small startups in that it serves an international market. It ships its products to Germany, is building a facility in Israel and has a license through a joint venture in Australia. So far, it does not have a presence in the U.S. because of legal issues.

CNN Money reports that Canada is expected to legalize the retail sale of recreational marijuana in August. Gorenstein said his company will begin producing recreational cannabis for the Canadian market once legalized.

In the U.S. recreational marijuana has been legalized in 9 states and in Washington, D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in 30 states. The U.S. federal government continues to maintain prohibition of cannabis, denoting it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance with no known medical usage, thus companies like Cronos maintaining a holding pattern on the U.S. market until federal legality is established.

Medical Pot Bill Clears TN House Subcommittee with GOP Speaker’s Support

Tennessee’s proposed Medical Cannabis Only bill, House Bill 1749, cleared the state’s House Criminal Justice Subcommittee with a vote of 4-3 on Tuesday after Republican House Speaker and gubernatorial candidate Beth Harwell cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill.

The bill would legalize the use of non-smokable, marijuana-derived medical cannabis products containing THC for individuals with qualified medical conditions ranging from schizophrenia, chronic pain, and PTSD to cancer and HIV. The bill would not legalize the sale and possession of marijuana flower for smoking purposes.

According to The Tennessean, Reps. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), Sherry Jones (D-Nashville), and Tilman Goins (R-Morristown) joined Harwell in supporting the measure, and Reps. Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough), William Lamberth (R-Cottontown), and Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) cast no vote.

Speaker Harwell told WGNS, “I believe it is time for us to take action on the state level with regards to medical marijuana. I am in favor of this legislation, which does not allow for the smoking of medical marijuana— I am not in favor of that approach. However, the federal government continues to be a roadblock for legitimate research or medical uses of medical cannabis, but other states have enacted laws to help patients, and Tennessee should do the same.”

She added, “States that have enacted a medical cannabis program have seen a decrease in opioid use. While I don’t see this as a cure-all for the opioid epidemic, I do see a true medical cannabis program, such as is being proposed, as another tool for the medical community in this fight.”

[RELATED: In CBD-Legal Tennessee, Cops Raid Shops Selling Non-THC CBD Gummies]

Though Harwell had opposed medical marijuana in the past, she announced in 2017 according to The Associated Press that she had changed her position on the issue after her sister who lives in Colorado claimed to have been able to discontinue opiate medications for back pain after switching to medical marijuana.

The Medical Cannabis Only bill was originally introduced by Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) in the House and Sen. Dr. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) in the Senate. The bill also boasts Chairman of the House Health Subcommittee Dr. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro) as a co-sponsor.

“Adding a non-opioid modality, such as cannabis extracts, to the arsenal of treatment options for pain can certainly be beneficial in the war on opioid abuse, but there are other conditions that the bill addresses like Crohn’s Disease and seizure disorders which can help Tennesseans. Cannabis oils are not a panacea, but for some patients it can make all the difference in their quality of life. As opposed to the unknown of recreational or pseudo-medical cannabis, this bill is structured with the patient and true medical therapies in mind,” Dr. Terry told WGNS.

Tennessee Department of Health’s chief medical officer David Reagan claimed that marijuana is addictive and leads to impaired judgment. “We do not support the passage of House bill 1749,” he told The Tennessean.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation official Tommy Farmer claimed that passing the bill could cause the state to lose federal funding for law enforcement, though this has not happened to other states that have legalized medical marijuana.

The bill now moves on to face a vote before the full House Criminal Justice Committee at an as-yet unscheduled date in the future. The bill has not yet been scheduled for a subcomittee vote in the Senate.

Treasury Department Considering Removal of Marijuana Banking Protections

Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration is weighing the removal of an Obama-era protocol that permitted banks to open accounts for marijuana-related businesses without being considered in violation of law, according to a recent report by Forbes.

In the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to overturn the Cole Memo, which had previously laid a hands-off federal policy towards state marijuana policy under the Obama administration, federal prosecutors will now be allowed to decide how to prioritize enforcing federal cannabis prohibition in relation to possession, cultivation or distribution in states that have legalized the drug.

With Sessions’ revocation of three Obama-era memos last month, which had provided guidance that allowed banks to provide their services to marijuana businesses without the risk of federal prosecution, the Treasury Department is now “reviewing the [banking] guidance in light of the Attorney General’s announcement and are consulting with law enforcement,” Drew Maloney, the U.S. Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, wrote in a letter to members of Congress.

The letter from the Treasury Department was in response to an inquiry last month from a  bipartisan group of 31 House members, that included a request for the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) agency to carry on with the cannabis banking guidance.

“FinCEN’s stated priorities have allowed such businesses to conduct commerce more safely through financial institutions which reduces the use of all cash, improves public safety, and reduces fraud,” the House lawmakers wrote in their letter. “Leaving your guidance unchanged will continue to encourage small companies to make investments by freeing up access to capital. It will also further provide for well regulation and oversight through suspicious activity reports. Rescinding this guidance would inject uncertainty in the financial markets.”

According to the report by Forbes:

“The FinCEN document, issued in 2014, laid out a process for how banks can open accounts for marijuana businesses and avoid triggering federal enforcement actions.

The FinCEN policy, which requires financial institutions to regularly file reports on their cannabis customers, was intended to provide clarity and assurances to banks, but many have remained reluctant to work with marijuana businesses because of overarching federal prohibition laws.

Nonetheless, documents released by FinCEN late last year showed that the number of banks willing to work with the marijuana industry has steadily grown over time, though those figures were collected prior to Sessions’s move to revoke the broader Justice Department guidance.”

While cannabis use has been legalized or decriminalized in a majority of U.S. states, it is still considered a Schedule 1 substance— denoting no accepted medical use— under federal law, which has created a conflict between state and federal law.

[RELATED: Truth in Media: Feds Say Cannabis Is Not Medicine While Holding The Patent on Cannabis as Medicine]

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal:

A significant chunk of the financial system—including most credit-card companies and all banks that have access to the Fed’s payments highway—is regulated by the U.S. government, which considers distribution and use of marijuana a crime. As a result, marijuana dispensaries have had to rely mainly on cash, raising security and logistical concerns.

Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued legal guidance indicating that its priorities in combating illegal drug trafficking didn’t include the sale and purchase of state-legalized marijuana. It said it would crack down on the marijuana industry only in cases tied to other criminal activities, such as distribution to minors, firearm violence or trafficking of other drugs.

Last month, in testimony before the U.S. Senate, Sigal Mandelker, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department, said that the FinCEN memo is still in effect while the Trump administration considers its revocation. On Wednesday, Maloney confirmed in his letter that prior guidance “remains in place” for now, and vowed to inform Congress of any policy changes.

Marijuana Shows Potential in Treating Painkiller Addiction

Could marijuana be just what the doctor ordered to kick an addiction to opioid painkillers, the most widely prescribed class of drugs in America today?

Two reputable studies published in the last year point to this conclusion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving painkillers in 2014. That’s roughly 40 individuals per day.

When heroin is thrown into the mix, the death toll from opiates surpassed 28,000 people in 2014, a 14 percent increase year over year.

The rise in heroin use corresponds with an increase in prescription drug abuse over the last decade.

Prescription painkillers, for example, are involved in 68 percent of opioid overdoses treated in emergency rooms, according to the CDC and Federal Drug Administration.

The toll does not discriminate, impacting all major demographics, including women, inner-city racial minorities and suburban white youth. Sales of opioids reached nearly $2 billion in 2014.

Earlier this month, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the rate of death related to painkillers is 25 percent lower on average in states where medical marijuana use is legal compared with states where it remains prohibited.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia allow the marijuana plant to be used for medicinal purposes. And 16 states allow the use of cannabis oil without psychoactive effects to be used for certain medical conditions like epilepsy and Crohn’s disease.

And last summer, a Columbia University study found that among 60 patients, smoking marijuana was associated with successful completion an opioid detoxification program.

“Post-hoc analysis showed that the 32 percent of participants who smoked marijuana regularly during the outpatient phase had significantly lower ratings of insomnia and anxiety and were more likely to complete the 8-week trial,” the study extract reports.

Meanwhile, several states are moving to limit the prescribing of opioid painkillers like Hydrocodone and Oxycontin in an effort to limit abuse and dependence.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts, for example, passed a bill this month to restrict painkiller prescriptions to a 7-day supply. Vermont and Maine are exploring similar proposals.

And in Kentucky, opioid prescriptions dropped 8.6 percent in 2012 after doctors were required to check databases designed to weed out pill mills and doctor shopping.

Most states now have similar monitoring programs in place.

GOP-led Pa. House Passes Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania’s Republican-led House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 3 on Wednesday by a vote of 149-43. If it becomes law, the legislation would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, leaders in the state’s GOP-led Senate have said that the bill is expected to pass the Senate as well.

I applaud the Pennsylvania House for passing legislation to legalize medical marijuana, and I look forward to the Senate sending the bill to my desk. We will finally provide the essential help needed by patients suffering from seizures, cancer, and other illnesses,” said Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf in a statement cited by FOX 43.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cannabis Oil Activist Shona Banda, Now Facing Felony Charges, Speaks Out]

Debating in favor of the bill, Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong), a cancer survivor, said, “We have a chance today to improve the lives of kids – and old people like me.

Fox News notes that Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga) argued against the bill, saying, “I can not remember the last time a body voted on a bill in direct violation of federal law.

The bill would allow the use of cannabis in oil, pill, or ointment form, but would not legalize smoking. Up to 25 growers would be permitted across the state, and licenses would be issued to up to 50 dispensaries, each of which being allowed to serve patients at up to 3 locations.

The Daily Chronic published a list of medical conditions, seen below, that would qualify a patient to obtain a medical marijuana card under the legislation. The law would require patients to renew their cards annually.


Put aside philosophy, put aside agendas, and think for a moment of giving a moment of relief to the afflicted,” said Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Philadelphia).

In September of 2014, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode tackling the federal government’s mixed messages on medical cannabis. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz Opposes Legal Cannabis, Cites Heroin Epidemic

Democratic National Committee chair and U.S. Congresswoman from Florida Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on Wednesday that she opposes legalizing marijuana.

In an interview with The New York Times, Wasserman Schultz said that she does not oppose medical marijuana, but added, “I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.

New York Times reporter Ana Marie Cox then pressed the DNC chair on the connection between legally-prescribed opiate painkillers and heroin abuse, prompting Wasserman Schultz to reply, “There is a difference between opiates and marijuana.

[RELATED: O’Malley Says Debates Are ‘Rigged’ For Hillary, Gets Hit With DEATH STARE From DNC Chair]

Speaking on the origins of her anti-pot views, Wasserman Schultz said, “They’re formed by my personal experience both as a mom and as someone who grew up really bothered by the drug culture that surrounded my childhood — not mine personally. I grew up in suburbia.

According to The Intercept, beer, wine, and liquor industry companies are the fifth-leading donor group funding her congressional reelection effort. Contributors include the National Beer Wholesalers Association, Bacardi USA, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, and Southern Wine and Spirits.

[RELATED: Truth In Media Accelerates National Cannabis Discussion]

Wasserman Schultz also said that her record on criminal justice reform is “not as progressive as some of my fellow progressives.

Philosophically, she described her approach to public service as an effort to protect citizens from themselves. “I guess I’m protective. Safety has been my top legislative priority. I’m driven by the idea that safety is really a core function of government,” she said. “I don’t think we should just let things happen to people and let them be stupid and the victims of the consequences of their actions. I think we can put enough obstacles in the path of poor decision-making.

Tenn. GOP State Rep. to Draft Bill Decriminalizing Pot Possession Among Vets with PTSD

Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) said last week that he is drafting a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession by military veterans in the state who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rep. Faison told the Knoxville News-Sentinel, “Pills have side effects. … The No. 1 side effect is suicide. Twenty-eight veterans a day in America are committing suicide.

Aside from a bill legalizing low-THC cannabis oil that Gov. Haslam signed in May of this year, marijuana legalization and decriminalization advocates in the state have struggled to gain support for their initiatives.

[RELATED: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam Signs Cannabis Oil Legalization Bill into Law]

Faison, who claims to have never tried an intoxicant and whose sister was killed by an inebriated driver, says it takes “a special kind of stupid” to fail to recognize the medical benefits of marijuana in the case of war veterans who suffer from PTSD.

He said that his wife, who holds a master’s degree in nutrition, often says, “For most ailments man has, God has a remedy,” and added that he believes that marijuana can sometimes be used as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for certain ailments.

Faison’s bill will only decriminalize pot possession by veterans dealing with PTSD. Critics, such as Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville), who relayed an anecdote about a police officer who is wheelchair-bound by seizures, say that the effort is unfair because it does not allow non-veterans with PTSD and other ailments to seek treatment. However, Rep. Jones said that she would be willing to support Faison’s bill as an incremental step to allow a “little piece of the population” to obtain medical marijuana.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Judge Orders State of NH to Issue Medical Marijuana Card to Dying Cancer Patient

Concord, New Hampshire- While the state of New Hampshire continues to deal with delays in its implementation of a medical marijuana program approved in 2013, a Merrimack County Superior judge has ruled in favor of a woman suffering from late-stage lung cancer seeking access to a medical marijuana card.

Linda Horan, an Alstead resident suffering from stage 4 lung cancer, is seeking to obtain marijuana in the neighboring state of Maine because New Hampshire has yet to open any marijuana dispensaries despite approving a medical marijuana program. The Maine Medical Marijuana Act was passed in 1999 and the program was further expanded by voters in 2009.

New Hampshire, a state governed by Democrats for over a decade, appears to be experiencing much more difficulty approving and implementing medical marijuana than its neighboring states. While Democrat Governor Maggie Hassan signed a limited medical marijuana program into law in 2013, the program becoming a reality for patients in New Hampshire has been a lengthy process. Patients are continuing to wait for access as the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has just begun accepting applications for cards. No cards will be issued until dispensaries are opened, which is not expected to happen until early next year.

The Marijuana Policy Project provided an overview pointing to certain actions taken by the state which have led to delays, including the attorney general’s office “postponing its implementation of the patient registry process” in 2014.

In addition, rather than appointing “a member of the public” and “a qualifying patient” to an advisory council tasked with overseeing the law’s implementation, MPP noted that Gov. Hassan appointed Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, as well as a patient described by MPP as “completely unknown to the patients who had supported the bill” who has not attended any meetings. On the council, Chief Shagoury represents the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, an organization which has been a longtime and vocal opponent of medical marijuana legalization.

Before filing the lawsuit, Horan addressed Gov. Hassan during a NH AFL-CIO lifetime achievement award speech, asking the governor in an emotional plea to open dispensaries “not just for me, but for all the other sick people in this state.”

Shortly after Horan filed her lawsuit, MPP’s New England Political Director Matt Simon told Truth In Media that “the fact that a terminal cancer patient like Linda Horan still can’t be protected from arrest in New Hampshire is appalling and downright insane.”

Simon noted that “Governor Hassan signed the law creating this program on July 23, 2013, but somehow, patients today are still criminals if they choose to use marijuana as a substitute for prescription painkillers. This lawsuit shouldn’t even be necessary, but patients all over New Hampshire will be watching closely and hoping for a successful result.“

Horan showed frustration over the fact that New Hampshire has had multiple delays in providing patients with access to medical marijuana. “The state simply needs to issue me an ID card so that I can access the medicine that I need,” said Horan, according to the Union Leader. “It’s hard to imagine why it would take more than two years for that. There are seriously ill people throughout New Hampshire who are suffering every day they go without it.” 

“I want the state to stop dragging your feet over a technicality when you’re dealing with sick people,” she was also quoted as saying. “We don’t have the time to fool around.” 

Although Horan had expressed urgency in seeking medical marijuana and has been given a few months to live, state officials argued against the lawsuit.

Earlier this month, Gov. Hassan argued in a statement that “the law that we have put in place- as approved by the legislature- requires ID cards to contain the ‘registry identification number corresponding with the alternative treatment center (dispensary) the qualifying patient designated,’ which prevents the issuance of these cards until the ATCs are open.”

The Concord Monitor reported that “state officials, including Gov. Maggie Hassan, have maintained patients could not get ID cards until dispensaries, or Alternative Treatment Centers, in the state are open, which is expected to happen early next year.”

Judge Richard McNamara disagreed with the state’s argument. “Nowhere does the statute say that a qualifying patient can only obtain cannabis from a New Hampshire ATC,” wrote McNamara.

Hassan did not provide comments after McNamara’s ruling. Horan is expected to receive a card on Wednesday.

Ben Swann released a Truth In Media episode in 2014 which exposed the government’s hypocrisy in publicly treating marijuana as a health hazard while it holds two patents on cannabis for medical use.


Colo. Prosecutors Complain Juries Are Refusing to Convict Pot-Influenced Drivers

Prosecutors in pot-legal Colorado are expressing frustrations that they are having a tough time finding juries willing to convict some suspects who have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

According to CBS Denver, Colorado District Attorneys’ Council head Tom Raynes said that juries are in some cases refusing to convict individuals who have been found driving with levels of pot in their system exceeding the 5 ng/ml THC legal limit.

You are putting lives in danger. I want the message to be understood. It’s about driving while under the influence of drugs — it’s not about recreational or medical, it’s about being impaired when you drive,” he said. “I don’t believe anyone can drive better under the influence of any substance.

[RELATED: Ron Paul Calls for Jury to Nullify Cannabis Oil Mom Shona Banda’s Criminal Charges]

CBS Denver pointed to the case of medical marijuana patient Melanie Brinegar as an example. Brinegar was charged with driving under the influence of pot during a June traffic stop over an expired license plate. Though she admitted to having used marijuana and was found over the legal limit, officers did not witness her driving erratically.

Brinegar claimed that marijuana use improves her ability to drive and that she was neither high nor impaired. She was acquitted by a jury of her peers.

[RELATED: Indiana County Introduces Marijuana Goggles to Curb Teen Use]

The Free Thought Project characterized the jury’s refusal to convict as “jury nullification.” However, it appears that a component of the law allows juries to find defendants not guilty even if they are above the legal limit.

Brad Wood, a foreman on the jury that acquitted Brinegar, said, “The law allows you to infer that the person was impaired if they have over 5 ng/ml. But you may also feel free not to infer that and in any case use all the evidence to make your judgement… If the law says we strongly encourage you to weigh this as the biggest factor, I think it would have been a whole different story… If the officer said, ‘We saw her weave,’ it probably would have been a different story.

Wood referred to the law as poorly written and said that the jury believed Brinegar’s claim that marijuana does not impair her driving.

[Activist Charged with Jury Tampering for Promoting Jury Nullification Outside Courthouse]

During the trial, Brinegar’s attorney Colin McCallin argued that the pot driving impairment law differs from driving under the influence of alcohol laws that require juries to convict simply on the basis of the suspect’s blood alcohol content. McCallin said that this argument might not work in other incidences in which an individual has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

Are we sending a message it’s okay to smoke and drive? I don’t like that message. In [Brinegar’s] case maybe its fine,” Wood said.

Exclusive: Tommy & Shelby Chong on Career, Cancer and Cannabis


Tommy and Shelby Chong join Kurt Wallace to talk about the failed war on drugs, they discuss how the fight with cancer has effected their lives. Tommy shares why Shelby is the reason for his successful career.

We talk about dancing with the stars, their greatest comedic influences and their secret to a happy 40 year marriage – raising three children.

Subscribe to us on iTunes: http://bit.ly/TIM-Podcasts



Exclusive Interview: Medical Cannabis Patient Facing Prison Sentence Speaks Out

Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook recently interviewed Rolland Gregg, a Washington medical marijuana patient who was charged by the federal government for growing and consuming cannabis along with others in a group now known as the Kettle Falls Five. Gregg and four others were federally charged in spite of a rider within the 2014 “cromnibus” federal spending bill that forbids the Department Of Justice from undermining states that have legalized marijuana. Gregg is facing 33 months in federal prison.

The Kettle Falls Five- consisting of Washington medical marijuana patients Larry Harvey (now deceased); his widow, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey; Rhonda’s son, Rolland Gregg; Rolland’s wife, Michelle Gregg; and friend Jason Zucker- established a cannabis collective on a northeastern Washington property owned by Rhonda and Larry. The collective was operated in accordance with Washington law before they were raided by federal agents in 2012.

[Read More: Legal Medical Cannabis Growers on Trial: “Obama Admin is a Lie”]

Despite Washington’s law allowing for the cultivation and consumption of medical cannabis, the federal government superseded the state and pursued a case against the Kettle Falls Five, arguing that the Five were growing cannabis to distribute. During the trial, no one was allowed to discuss the group’s use of cannabis for medical purposes or the fact that they had obtained doctors’ recommendations.

Charges were dropped against Larry Harvey due to the progression of his pancreatic cancer. Larry passed away in August. Jason Zucker took a plea deal ahead of the trial and received a 16-month sentence. Following the trial, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey and Michelle Gregg each received a one-year sentence; Rolland Gregg received the strictest sentence of 33 months.

Gregg, who runs a technology development company outside of Seattle, shared his story in an exclusive interview with Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook. Gregg explained how cannabis changed his life as well as others in the Five, the details of the cannabis collective in which the group focused on adhering to state regulations, and the legal battles that have ensued.

Listen to Gregg’s exclusive interview with Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook below.


A Whitehouse.gov petition has been launched seeking a pardon for the remaining Kettle Falls Five defendants; click here to view. Gregg and his mother have also created an Indiegogo campaign to help with funding for their appeals process.

‘Gas and Grass’ Cannabis Dispensary Gas Stations Coming Soon to Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colo. medical cannabis dispensary company Native Roots is launching a new type of marijuana business called “Gas & Grass.

According to 7NEWS Denver, the gas stations, which Native Roots hopes will open for business by mid-October, will feature a medical marijuana dispensary in addition to the usual provisions typically found in convenience stores.

Native Roots plans to start by opening two locations and has purchased two Conoco stations in Colorado Springs with the intention of converting them into Gas & Grass businesses. The convenience store and medical marijuana dispensary portions of the business will reportedly have separate entrances.

Company spokesperson Tia Mattson said in comments to KOAA-TV, “We definitely are leaders and we’re visionaries. It’s just one more thing for us to pair up the shopping and convenience of gas with a stop for somebody who is a patient, to knock off both errands at one time.

She added, “I believe we’ll have lottery tickets, beverages, cigarettes and similar things that you would pick up in a convenience store.

[RELATED: Truth In Media Accelerates National Cannabis Discussion]

A manager for Native Roots said that medical marijuana patients who shop at Gas & Grass will receive discounts on fuel under a rewards program modeled after those offered by grocery stores that feature gas pumps.

Local business owner Trevor Field criticized the business model and told KRDO-TV, “It’s a gateway to smoking and driving. People are getting way too laid back with marijuana. Oh let’s go to the gas station and buy our pot, roll it up while we’re fueling up and out the parking lot we go.

I lived up in the mountains and we had a gas station, a convenience store and a liquor store right next to each other. What’s the difference?” said local resident Beth Van Eaton who lives near one of the planned Gas & Grass locations.

Representatives from the Colorado Springs City Clerk’s Office said that Native Roots, a licensed medical cannabis provider, has obtained approval from the city and state.

The announcement of the new Gas & Grass business idea has raised questions as to whether the model will become a trend inspiring recreational marijuana providers to follow suit.

Back in September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Twenty22Many Campaign Promotes Cannabis As Treatment For PTSD Veterans In Washington

When Patrick Seifert learned the number of American veterans that commit suicide daily, he knew he had to do something.

The numbers are staggering: “Twenty-two American veterans will kill themselves today. They did it yesterday, and they’re going to do it tomorrow, and they’re going to keep doing it,” explained Seifert.

So Seifert established Twenty22Many, an organization that advocates medical marijuana and holistic therapy for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Beginning July 24, PTSD sufferers in Washington will be able to receive medical marijuana. On July 22, Seifert and company will be hosting a march to raise awareness of medical marijuana for the treatment of PTSD.

“We’re not claiming to heal anything, but it helps for us, it helps for our veterans. We know the other way is not working,” said Seifert of this alternative to pharmaceuticals.

And that accomplishment in Washington is something to celebrate, he said. Not all states recognize PTSD as a marijuana-treatable condition.

“Colorado just voted it down. They have a lot of work cut out for them. I feel sorry for the veterans in Colorado,” he added.

Events on July 22, 2015 will include a march from noon to 1 p.m. from the Capitol in Olympia, Washington to a nearby park. In the park, veterans will be giving testimony about how medical marijuana has helped them.

From there, the event includes a free screening of “Star Leaf,” a locally made feature film, a free barbecue dinner and a series of talks from marijuana advocates and professionals at the Urban Onion Ballroom located across from Sylvester Park at 116 Legion Way in Olympia.

For more information on the event, contact Twenty22Many’s Patrick Seifert at (360) 545-7849 or at Twenty22Many@gmail.com. Click here to listen to Truth in Media’s Joshua Cook’s full interview with Seifert.

Shona Banda’s Lawyers File Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against State of Kansas

Attorneys Sarah Swain and Matthew Pappas have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the State of Kansas and its Department for Children and Families on behalf of cannabis oil activist and Crohn’s disease patient Shona Banda, whose 11-year-old son was taken by authorities in April of this year after he spoke out about his mother’s successful medical marijuana treatment during a public school anti-drug presentation. After Banda’s son was seized by the state, Garden City, KS police raided her home on the basis of an unauthorized interrogation of her son, allegedly finding cannabis oil constituents and paraphernalia used to make it, and charged her with 5 criminal charges. Banda faces over 30 years in prison if convicted.

Swain, who said last month that she intends to attack cannabis’ classification as a hardcore Schedule 1 narcotic with no medical use as a part of Banda’s defense, teamed up with attorney Matthew Pappas and announced the lawsuit on Banda’s behalf at a July 3 press conference in Los Angeles, according to The Garden City Telegram. The federal civil rights suit alleges that the State of Kansas and the Department for Children and Families violated Banda’s rights by taking her son.

There’s a fundamental right in our country that if you’re doing something that is to help a condition you suffer from, and that’s the purpose of what you’re doing, then it would be inappropriate [to seize a parent’s child over the substance], unless there is an extremely important interest and a narrowly-tailored law. It would be necessary to have that situation before you would ever take a child out of somebody’s custody,” said Pappas in an interview with The Garden City Telegram. He continued, “In Kansas the issue comes down to whether or not there is a justification that the law prohibiting marijuana is narrowly tailored given the fact that she’s using it to alleviate serious pain and symptoms related to Crohn’s disease and not to get high.

Authorities claim that DCF seized Banda’s son because evidence related to her alleged use and manufacture of cannabis oil was found within reach of her child. Banda’s legal team will reportedly argue that her use of cannabis was medicinal in nature and that the substance is less toxic than other legal household items and medications. In his interview with The Garden City Telegram, Pappas cited prior case law that upheld a parent’s right to custody of a child as fundamental under the Civil Rights Act of 1871.

Truth in Media has covered Shona Banda’s cannabis oil activism since March of 2014, as she first gained notoriety after producing her own inexpensive cannabis oil extraction method in an effort to create a home treatment for Crohn’s disease and other ailments. Truth in Media’s exclusive interviews with Banda about her custody battle and the criminal charges she faces were cited by mainstream media outlets like The Washington Post and ABC’s The View and sparked a national discussion over medical marijuana and cannabis prohibition.

To find out more about Banda’s story, click here.

Truth In Media’s latest Consider This episode takes a look at the drug war and non-violent offenders. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.