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NBA Players Push League To Allow Medical Marijuana

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The union that represents professional basketball players thinks they should be able to use medical marijuana without being punished for it by the NBA.

“My own view is that there are substantial signs that support its efficacy and the value that it has for us, especially pain management,” National Basketball Players Association (NPBA) Executive Director Michele Roberts said in an interview SB Nation published on Monday. “We’re in talks with the league to see where we can go with it.”

While Roberts is optimistic that public policies and league rules on cannabis will eventually be changed, she worries that the anti-legalization position taken by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions complicates things.

“The obvious future is that marijuana will be decriminalized probably throughout the country in short order,” she said. “It is a banned substance in our league right now. If we do go down that road, we have to protect our players from — my words — a crazed attorney general who says he will prosecute violations of the law involving marijuana and he doesn’t care what individual states say. In other words, I don’t want my guys being arrested at airports in possession of a cannabinoid by some Fed.”

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern endorsed removing league penalties for players’ cannabis use last year.

“I’m now at the point where personally I think it should be removed from the banned list,” he said.

Roberts said that after the video of Stern’s comments came out, she “got some phone calls and we began discussions internally with our players and to some extent with the league to at least look at it.”

Current Commissioner Adam Silver is open to considering a change.

“I would say it’s something we will look at. I’m very interested in the science when it comes to medical marijuana,” he said recently. “My personal view is that it should be regulated in the same way that other medications are if the plan is to use it for pain management. And it’s something that needs to be discussed with our Players Association, but to the extent that science demonstrates that there are effective uses for medical reasons, we’ll be open to it.”

In a separate interview with The Undefeated last week, Roberts said there “has been a lot of buzz from the start of the year about medical marijuana,” and “a lot of players are interested in knowing what that is all about, so we will have some conversations about that.”

She also revealed that the players’ union is examining “independent research” on cannabis’s medical uses.

“I have certainly taken a look at what the current scientists are saying about this. And we are looking to have conversations with the league,” she said. “The thought is that we don’t have the same pain management issues as football does. It is true because their injuries are much more significant. But we do have pain issues.”

Roberts believes, based on reviewing data about cannabis, that it can help basketball players deal with injuries related to the sport.

“I go to meetings, and I’ve gotten used to it now, but eight of the guys will come into the meetings wearing ice on their knees,” she said. “I couldn’t stand that for 12 seconds. But they need to do that to be able to walk. Joint issues. Running up and down the court. The cardiovascular nature of the game. Jumping. Pain is an issue in the game. It’s a matter of allowing guys to use what science to me is suggesting is effective.”

But she didn’t reveal how close the league might be to agreeing to policy changes.

“We’re exploring it,” she said. “I think there is some movement toward accepting it as an appropriate use to address pain. But we’re not there yet.”

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Doctors Find Marijuana In Man’s Nose That He’d Forgotten Smuggling Into Prison 18 Years Ago

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After a man attempted to smuggle a small amount of marijuana inside a balloon stuffed in his nose into prison, he thought he accidentally swallowed it and that the cannabis ended up passing through his body.

But that turned out not to be the case, because 18 years later doctors inadvertently discovered the marijuana—calcified in his right nostril—during a head scan.

The odd occurrence was highlighted in a report published in the journal BMJ Case Reports last week. Doctors said the patient presented with the rhinolith, which is essentially a stone lodged in the nasal cavity that can develop internally or through external factors like a child sticking a Lego in their nose.

But this incident proved unique and caught the attention of the medical journal. A 48-year-old man went to the hospital for a CT scan after complaining of headaches and, upon questioning, said that he had a history of nasal obstruction and infections. The scan turned up a 19mm by 11mm rhinolith, which was then removed endoscopically.

“The histopathology report noted a ‘rubber capsule containing degenerate vegetable/plant matter,’” doctors from Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia wrote. “On follow-up and specific questioning, the patient was able to recall an incident that occurred 18 years prior, while he was incarcerated.”

“During a prison visit, the patient’s girlfriend supplied him with a small quantity of marijuana, inside a rubber balloon. In order to evade detection, the patient inserted the package inside his right nostril,” they continued. “Despite effectively smuggling the package past the prison guards, the patient then accidentally pushed the package deeper into his nostril and mistakenly believed he had swallowed it. He remained unaware of the package’s presence until presented with the unusual histopathology report.”

The patient checked back in with the doctors three months after the rhinolith was removed and reported that the nasal issues had gone away.

The case report emphasizes that rhinoliths are generally rare, accounting for an estimated 1 in 10,000 nose doctor outpatient visits. It’s possible that the number may be higher, as many instances do not present symptoms but, generally speaking, it’s uncommon.

The 18-year-old marijuana shoved into the nose of a formerly incarcerated person that subsequently calcified is a next-level medical finding, the doctors said.

“To the best of our knowledge, our case represents the first report of a prison-acquired marijuana-based rhinolith,” they wrote.

The medical team speculates that the reason doctors don’t see more cases of prison-related rhinoliths is because most smuggling attempts “involve ingestion of the foreign body that acts as a bezoar to be retrieved after passage through the gastrointestinal tract, while insertion into the nasal cavity for this purpose is relatively rare.”

“Nevertheless, an index of suspicion of rhinolith should be maintained in all cases of unilateral nasal symptoms,” they concluded.

Medical Marijuana Laws Improve Health And Reduce Alcohol Use For Certain Groups, Study Finds

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SXSW Announces Two Dozen Marijuana Panels For 2020 Festival

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South by Southwest (SXSW) revealed the festival’s 2020 lineup this week, and it includes 24 panels dedicated exclusively to cannabis issues.

The sessions are part of SXSW’s “Cannabusiness” convergence track, which will invite attendees to learn about “the technological, cultural, financial, legal and political ecosystems that are defining the cannabis-focused enterprises of both today and tomorrow,” according to a description on the event site.

In July, the Austin-based festival announced that it was soliciting panel ideas from the public. More than 150 marijuana-related panel proposals were submitted—more than double the submissions for this year’s event—and SXSW invited individuals to vote on their top choices throughout August. Ultimately, 24 cannabis-focused panels made the final cut, including one that isn’t in the Cannabusiness Track.

Here are some examples that stand out: 

Descheduling Cannabis: Be Careful What You Wish—Leading cannabis industry stakeholders discuss how removing cannabis from the list of federally banned substances could be destructive to the market as it exists today by allowing for a corporatized marijuana model. Panelists including The Arview Group CEO Troy Dayton will address how descheduling could “decimate the dispensary system and see the destruction of millions of dollars of investment.”

Duty Bound: Why the DoD Should Embrace Cannabis—Active duty military members and veterans stand to greatly benefit from marijuana, this panel argues, by “alleviating both mental and physical traumas” while at the same time saving tax dollars. “During our panel we’ll dive into the specific individual, national, and even global benefits of allowing for active duty cannabis use in the US military,” a description states.

Featured Session: Cat Packer—Top Los Angeles marijuana regulator Cat Packer will talk about her role in the “licensing and regulation of commercial cannabis activity” as well as managing “the implementation of the City’s cannabis related policies and programs.”

Cannabis in Canada: What We’ve Learned—Panelists from Leafly, Spiritleaf, Tilray, 48North and Hill+Knowlton will discuss the impacts of marijuana legalization in Canada, including talks about the impact on local economies and industry innovation.

Can Social Equity Help Heal The War On Drugs?—This panel will look at the disproportionate impact of cannabis prohibition on disadvantaged communities, efforts to enact restorative justice policies and how those measures have affected the business community.

The Future of the Cannabis Industry is Colored—Another social justice-focused panel, this event will look at actionable things that people can do to ensure that the legal marijuana market is equitable. “The right and just thing to do for racially equity industry is also the profitable thing to do in business,” a description of the panel states. Kris Krane of 4Front Investments, Simply Pure CEO Wanda James and representatives of the People’s Dispensary will participate.

Frenemies: Cannabis Activists & Cannabis Industry—Krane, who also previous served as executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), will also lead a session that explores the complicated relationship between the reform advocacy world and the marijuana industry. He will take a “deep dive into this relationship, examining how the two can support each other, where they clash” and why he thinks “the industry is obligated to support the drug policy reform movement.”

Boutique Cannabis Needs Appellations—Individuals fighting to get a designation for cannabis products that reflect where they were produced will discuss the importance of the business move.

Forbidden Territories: Women & Children First!—This panel will focus on the use of cannabis in the treatment of conditions that afflict women and children. “This session will explore this taboo topic, explore the science that supports the use of cannabis for these populations as well as what we as physicians have learned from our patients about cannabis.”

Hemp: Game Changers—Representatives from Canopy Growth, Vincente Sederberg LLP and outdoor apparel company Patagonia will discuss marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin, hemp, as part of a panel centered on the “rapidly evolving new industry.”

Is Cannabis Media Coverage Fair or Biased?—Panelists including Business Insider reporter Jeremy Berke and Rolling Stone contributor Amanda Chicago Lewis will look at the media landscape for marijuana coverage. “They’ll delve into how media coverage has changed for cannabis companies and discuss the high bar companies need to achieve to gain media attention,” as well as addressing “how misinformation persists and how the careful art of semantics—such as using the word dope vs. cannabis—changes reader perceptions.”

Marijuana Today: Live Podcast Recording—The weekly podcast Marijuana Today will record live for a segment that “will focus on the status of efforts to reform federal law and to promote equity in the cannabis industry.” SSDP Executive Director Betty Aldworth will participate in the event.

Medical Cannabis: From Rogue to Recovery to Riches—A Texas state senator will join a panel to discuss the evolution of the cannabis reform movement as well as future “business and social opportunities” for the industry. The panel of “government, medical and family activists will uncover the unexpected alliances formed—and strategies for collaboration for commercial success in a complex marketplace.”

Navigating an Emerging Cannabis Beverage Market—While federal regulators are playing catchup, a market for cannabis-infused beverages has exploded. This panel will explore the business and “share insights and lessons learned as they navigate the rapidly changing landscape in hopes of bringing world-class cannabis beverages to market.”

“Cannabusiness Track includes content that will appeal to more experienced professionals in this rapidly evolving industry, as well as to newcomers who are just starting to enter this space,” SXSW said.

At this year’s SXSW event, in March, social equity activists protested an appearance by former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who opposed legalization while in Congress but now sits on the board of a large cannabis company.

Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation Urges Congress To Pass Three Marijuana Research Bills

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Snoop Dogg Has A Salaried Marijuana Blunt Roller On Staff

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Snoop Dogg pays a person between $40,000-$50,000 per year to roll blunts for him, he said during a recent appearance on The Howard Stern Show.

Comedian Seth Rogen confirmed that he’s watched the employee practice his craft during sessions with Snoop.

“He knows how to gauge the look on somebody’s face when it seems like they want a blunt, and if they do, he gives you one,” Rogen said.

“Timing. That motherfucker’s timing is impeccable,” Snoop said.

Stern asked Snoop to clarify if this person was actually hired by him and the rapper replied “that’s his J-O-B, his occupation.”

“On his resume, it says, ‘what do you do? I’m a blunt roller,” he said. “P-B-R, professional blunt roller.”

“If you’re great at something I need, I’m hiring you.”

Not only does Snoop pay him upwards of $50,000 to roll blunts, the employee also gets perks: he’s welcome to smoke the marijuana he rolls, goes on all-expense-paid trips while Snoop is traveling on tours and gets free items like clothing whenever companies give their products to the artist.

That seems like a pretty good deal compared to an opening within the federal government to mass produce joints for research purposes. The contractor who secures that position is subject to drug testing and presumably isn’t touring the world on the government’s dime.

That said, the job with Snoop likely isn’t a walk in the park. In a Reddit AMA in 2012, the rapper said he smokes 81 blunts per day.

Rogen said he’s spent hours smoking with Snoop and has found himself mesmerized by the worker’s craft.

“There’s been like 40 minutes where I’m like, ‘I’m just watching this guy and I’m just going to see what is going on here,'” he said, “As someone who smokes a lot of weed, it’s fucking fascinating.”

“Honestly, the amount of time I spend rolling joints, it might be worth my while financially to hire someone to do that,” Rogen said.

A video of the comments, released on Tuesday, is more cannabis content from the same Stern interview where Snoop and Rogen also offered advice on smoking marijuana for novices.

Seth Rogen And Snoop Dogg Offer Marijuana Advice To First-Time Consumers

Photo courtesy of YouTube/The Howard Stern Show.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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