Do Podesta’s Hacked Emails Reveal Clinton’s Cannabis Policy? 🔨

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** Do Podesta’s Hacked Emails Reveal Clinton’s Cannabis Policy? (

Political reporters have been rummaging through the Russian-hacked ( emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign director, looking for evidence of dastardly acts and questionable ethics. Wikileaks ( has been posting the Podesta files a batch at a time for the past few days in order to either extend Julian Assange’s time in the spotlight or maximize the damage to the Clinton campaign, depending on your preferred theory.

So far, Podesta and Clinton seem to be surviving this unkind exposure fairly well. A smoking gun has yet to emerge. The Podesta files are, for the most part, a massive record of a political campaign in the midst of a multiyear grind. Aides and advisers suggest tweaks to the candidate’s message. They swap suggestions about going after Bernie Sanders’s weak points. They bicker about proper email etiquette.

Here at Leafly, we were curious about the place of cannabis in all these messages. Is there insight to be gained about Hillary Clinton’s plans for legalization, or lack of same, somewhere within the Podesta Files?

There is.

A thorough search of the files turns up a few hints here and there. An overall picture emerges of a candidate and a campaign that do not take the issue of cannabis legalization seriously. Which means that once Clinton is elected, cannabis advocates will have some serious work to do.

** How to win over millennials?

Podesta’s emails reveal a consistent concern about millennial voters and how to woo them away from the sweet, sweet authenticity and progressive beliefs of Bernie Sanders.

In July 2015, Teddy Goff ( , the Clinton campaign’s digital media director and 31-year-old “friendly neighborhood millennial” (as Goff good-naturedly referred to himself), sent a note about how Clinton’s speaking affect and reaction to attacks plays with younger voters.

“I think we are at risk of failing a kind of smell test,” Goff wrote, “even if our talking points are all spot on, if we don’t figure out how to project legitimacy and authenticity and a little bit of (credible, non-forced) cool factor to this crowd.”

Almost exactly one month later, Hillary Clinton wrote campaign manager Robby Mook, following a conversation Clinton had with US Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, the leading cannabis legalization advocate on Capitol Hill:

“[Blumenauer] wants to support me on policy and fundraising specifically by helping on how to talk about marijuana and the need for fair taxes and banking and on animal welfare concerns which he says are the sleeper issues that will turn out young people and motivate voters,” Clinton wrote. “He has a lot of ideas about what I could do which would be the first time these interests are organized for a presidential campaign. And several states—NV, OH, and FL—will have marijuana initiatives on the ballot in 2016.”

Clinton ended the note by asking Mook to “please follow up and let me know what develops.” Mook agreed to do so. “He’s a super delegate,” he wrote, “so we definitely want his endorsement!”

Blumenauer eventually endorsed Clinton—five months later—but there’s no indication she ever took him up on the offer to help her understand and talk about cannabis issues.

That’s a shame. Apparently nobody on Clinton’s campaign team was aware of the work done by the Pew Research Center ( , which for the past six years has tracked the eye-popping spike in support for cannabis legalization among millennials. An overwhelming 71 percent of millennials now support legalization. That’s not medical. That’s adult use.

Millennials believe strongly in legalization. It’s one of the few issues that actually drives them to the polls. Whether it’s Colorado in 2012 or Florida in 2014, legalization measures trigger a spike in young voter turnout. The data ( doesn’t lie. And yet Clinton’s advisers either ignored the trend or knew something about their candidate’s reticence to address the subject in a legitimate and authentic way.

** Allies in Boston are against legalization

One particularly enlightening email exchange came on Sept. 29, 2015, when Clinton’s policy team sent her a brief prior to an event with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. At the time, Walsh was a popular political figure in the Northeast. He hadn’t yet committed to a presidential candidate, and his endorsement was coveted by both Clinton and Sanders. “Hillary Clinton could certainly use support from a popular urban mayor with close ties to labor and the recovery community,” the Boston Globe reported ( earlier that week.

In the brief, Clinton’s staff emphasized the “areas of overlap between [Walsh’s] priorities and YOUR substance abuse initiative.”

Here’s one of the keys to Hillary Clinton’s discomfort with cannabis legalization: She sees it largely as a substance-abuse issue.

That becomes painfully clear through the briefing, as Clinton’s staff ties Massachusetts prescription drug and heroin epidemic into a discussion of Mayor Marty Walsh’s opposition to cannabis legalization. “The issue is expected to be put to a state referendum in Massachusetts in 2016,” her staff wrote, “and Walsh has said he will lead a crusade against it.” Walsh, who is very open about his status as a recovering alcoholic, views cannabis as a gateway drug, despite decades of scientific evidence debunking that theory.

The briefing says nothing—not a word—about cannabis legalization. Her aides do prepare her to answer a hostile question about the 1980s drug-prevention program DARE being “widely seen as a failure.”

Clinton’s answer? “We cannot give up on preventive education and early intervention,” says the briefing paper. Besides, “DARE itself has been undergoing an overhaul in recent years to update its curriculum according to evidence-based models. We cannot give up on prevention.”

To anyone, of any generation, who’s even the slightest bit familiar with the debacle of DARE ( —and who also supports fact-based drug abuse prevention—that is a depressing answer. Any public official who mentions DARE in 2016 is profoundly out of touch with the current conversation about drug abuse prevention, racial inequities, criminal justice reform, mass incarceration, the opioid epidemic, and cannabis legalization.

** Cannabis may enhance night vision (

25 years ago, pharmacologist M. E. West of the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, noted that local fisherman who smoke cannabis or drink rum made with the leaves and stems of the plant had “an uncanny ability to see in the dark,” which enabled them to navigate their boats through coral reefs. “It was impossible to believe that anyone could navigate a boat without compass and without light in such treacherous surroundings,” he wrote ( after accompanying the crew of a fishing boat one dark night, “[but] I was then convinced that the man who had taken the rum extract of cannabis had far better night vision than I had, and that a subjective effect was not responsible.”

Some of these crew members told West that Moroccan fishermen and mountain dwellers experience a similar improvement after smoking hashish, and in 2002, another research team travelled to the Rif mountains in Morocco to investigate further. They gave a synthetic cannabinoid to one volunteer, and hashish to three more, then used a newly developed piece of kit ( to measure the sensitivity of their night vision before and after. Confirming West’s earlier report, they found thatcannabis improved night vision ( in all three of their test subjects.

Now, another study provides hard evidence for the claim, revealing a cellular mechanism by which cannabis might improve night vision. The findings, published ( recently in the open access journal eLife, could eventually be applied to the treatment patients with degenerative eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa.

West had suggested that cannabis might improve vision by acting on the eye muscles to dilate the pupils, so that more light falls on the retina, but other experiments ruled this out by showing that marijuana constricts the pupils ( . It’s also possible that the drug can influence activity in the visual cortex at the back of the brain, but the CB1 receptor protein ( , which binds the psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, is found at far higher levels in the eye ( than in the visual cortex ( , suggesting that any effects the drug has on vision are likely due to its actions on retinal cells.

Lois Miraucourt ( of the Montreal Neurological Institute and his colleagues looked not to stoned fishermen, but to tadpoles of the African clawed toad, Xenopus laevis, which are transparent and, therefore, amenable to all sorts of experiments that cannot be performed in humans or other lab animals.

In one set of experiments, they applied a synthetic cannabinoid to eye tissue preparations from the tadpoles, and used microelectrodes to measure how retinal ganglion cells, whose fibres form the optic nerve, respond to light. The researchers found that this made the cells more sensitive, increasing the rate at which they fired to both bright and dim light stimuli. Closer investigation revealed that this occurred due to inhibition of a protein called NKCC1, via its actions on the CB1 receptor.

NKCC1 is a co-transporter protein that normally shuttles sodium, potassium, and chloride ions in and out of cells, and their concentrations determine the electrical properties of nerve cells. Overall, these experiments show that cannabinoids reduce the concentration of chloride ions inside the retinal ganglion cells, making them more excitable and more sensitive to light.

Miraucourt and his colleagues then carried out another set of experiments to determine if the cellular responses they observed could contribute to vision. Tadpoles have a natural tendency to avoid dark moving dots, and the researchers exploited this by putting some tadpoles into a Petri dish, showing them dark dots under various lighting conditions, while using specially designed video-tracking software to track the movements of the tadpoles and the dots, and to measure the tadpoles’ avoidance responses.

Under normal lighting conditions, they observed no differences between tadpoles treated with a synthetic cannabinoid and untreated ones. In the dark, however, tadpoles given the cannabinoid avoided significantly more dots than untreated ones, which only responded to the dots as if by chance. Thus, the researchers conclude that the enhanced cellular responses observed in their first set of experiments improved the tadpoles’ sensitivity to contrast under low-light conditions.

Whether the findings are applicable to humans remains to be seen but, if so, they could pave the way to treatments for diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma, which cause blindness by killing off cells in the retina. Cannabinoids are known to have a neuroprotective effect on retinal cells ( , so treatments based on the drug may, in theory, not only improve vision for patients with deteriorating eyesight, but also slow down the progression of such diseases.

** References

Miraucourt, L. S., et al. (2016). Endocannabinoid signaling enhances visual responses through modulation of intracellular chloride levels in retinal ganglion cells. eLife, 5: e15932. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.15932 [Full text ( ]

Russo, E. B., et al. (2004). Cannabis improves night vision: a case study of dark adaptometry and scotopic sensitivity in kif smokers of the Rif mountains of northern Morocco. J. Ethnopharmacol., 93: 99–104 [PDF ( ]

** New Initiatives and Elections in Cannabis Legalization (

NEW YORK, October 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

The legalization of cannabis will take a leap during Election Day if California along with four other states decide to allow the use of recreational consumption. Many have fought to pass the laws for medical intentions that may help aid illnesses or symptoms. IfCalifornia passes the law this November, it could put pressure on other states to legalize the drug as well. MassRoots Inc. (OTC: MSRT), American Cannabis Company Inc. (OTC: AMMJ), United Cannabis Corp. (OTC: CNAB), Insys Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY ( ), GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH).

By the end of 2016, the regulated cannabis sector in the U.S. is anticipated to rise over $7 billion if California says yes, as reported by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier. This evaluation is an astounding 26 percent improvement compared to last year, compelled mostly by recreational sales and demand of cannabis. Regulated recreational cannabis sales had surpassed nearly a billion dollars in 2015 compared to $351 million in 2014.

If the medical or recreational cannabis laws were passed, technology platform for cannabis consumers like MassRoots Inc. (OTCQB: MSRT) will be able to utilize this opportunity and begin registering consumers and specific businesses within the state at minimal cost. MassRoots is not associated with the production or sale of cannabis, rather the company is one of the largest and most active technology platforms for cannabis consumers, businesses and activists with over 900,000 registered users.

Canadian licensed producers of medical cannabis, Aphria Inc. and MassRoots had entered into one of the very first international partnerships between two cannabis companies. Under the agreement, MassRoots will assist Aphria to build its brand amongst its Canadian user base. Aphria will reimburse MassRoots a cash fee in dollars for every patient that was referred. "We are thrilled to partner with Aphria to help expand their patient base while opening a new revenue stream for our business," stated Isaac Dietrich, MassRoots CEO. "As a technology platform, MassRoots is available in every state and country that regulates the production of cannabis and we could not be more excited to have a partner of Aphria's caliber in the Canadian market."

"We are confident that the current political climate coupled with increasing demand in regulated cannabis markets presents a tremendous growth opportunity for MassRoots. Going forward, MassRoots will remain focused on introducing new monetization channels within our mobile applications while exploring strategic partnerships to expand our platform's capabilities." stated MassRoots CEO Isaac Dietrich.

American Cannabis Company Inc. (OTCQB: AMMJ) has a new design and consulting contract with a Canadian firm to produce a cannabis Licensed Producer facility within the provinces of the Atlantic. Creating an indoor facility will be the start of the project. Next, operations related to this project will launch with the cultivation of a substitute crop, and then switch to cannabis production as soon as operational licensing is tenable. Upcoming plans call for the creation of green houses and further indoor development.

United Cannabis Corp. (OTCQB: CNAB) has announced that its joint venture with Jamaica-based Cannabis Research & Development, will commence a trial program in partnership with the Rastafari Studies Centre for Cannabis Research, University of West Indies, Mona, to create protocols for the growth of Ital Standards that in turn be used as a monitor for the processing, cultivation and consumption of marijuana. The Joint Venture's original task will be to take note and confirm the genetics of the Centre's preliminary plantings, and to provide an outlook in the development of suitable standards and training approaches for the future.

Insys Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY ( ) focuses on developing and commercializing advanced and innovative drug delivery systems that helps increase the quality of the lives of patients. The company uses its sublingual spray technology along with its ability to able to develop pharmaceutical cannabinoids. Their product pipeline is concentrated on developing medicines that directly address regions of unmet medical necessities, which include pain, opioid dependence, the reversal of opioid-induced respiratory depression, prevention of nausea and vomiting, and ovarian and gastric cancer. Furthermore, its product addresses the substantial unmet needs of severe pediatric epilepsies such as Dravet Syndrome, infantile spasms, and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Biopharmaceutical company, GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH ( ) announced positive results of the second randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 3 clinical trial of its medicine, Epidiolex®. Epidiolex handles seizures linked with a rare and severe form of childhood-onset epilepsy, the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. In this trial, Epidiolex was added to the patient's current treatment and achieved the primary endpoint for both dose levels with high positive impact. According to the trial, patients taking Epidiolex 20mg/kg a day reached a median reduction in monthly drop seizures of 42 percent compared with a reduction of 17 percent in patients taking placebo and patients taking Epidiolex 10mg/kg a day showed a median reduction in monthly drop seizures of 37 percent compared with a reduction of 17 percent in patients taking placebo.

** What is Hash and How Does It Relate to Cannabis? (

o understand what hashish is means to realize the duality that exists with the female cannabis Sativa plant. First, there is the physical structure of the plant itself, which is this rich fibrous leafy material complete with essential amino acids and a myriad of benefits. Second, you have the essence of the cannabis plant, otherwise known as trichomes ( , which are responsible for producing the aromatic terpenes ( and medicinal cannabinoids ( that facilitate our therapeutic experiences.

Hashish is the moment at which the essence of cannabis (the trichomes) parts ways with the plant material itself. This is achieved when the ripe and resinous gland heads that line the surface of female cannabis plants are separated and collected. Processes to achieve resin separation have been practiced for centuries; however, the rapid rise of cannabis legalization in the western world has brought new methods in hash preparation that are sweeping legal markets by storm.

** Where Does Hash Originally Come From?

The word “hashish” originates from the Arabic language, roughly translating to mean “grass.” It is believed that the popularization of hash originated around A.D. 900, although some argue methods such as “charas,” or the collection of resin from the hands of cannabis farmers, are believed to have existed prior to written documentation.

As a result of early European exploration into Africa, hashish made its appearance in the western world at the turn of the 19th century. For years, European doctors imported hashish to conduct research, which led to the introduction of various extraction methods that allowed for further refinement into medications.

By the turn of the 20th century, cannabis extractions were accounting for a large majority of western pharmacopeia. It wasn’t until U.S. prohibition ( in the early 20th century that hashish products were eradicated from western medicine and pushed back into the black market.

** Different Types of Hash

With the reemergence of cannabis enthusiasm culminating in the 1960’s, hashish found its way back into the limelight. Countries such as Nepal, Afghanistan, and Morocco saw an increase of hashish exportation into western countries as a result of cannabis interest hitting the mainstream for western tourists. At this time the varieties of hash being imported were old world varieties, mainly hard-pressed, brick-like solids made from heat and pressure.

It wasn’t until the late 1980’s when gland separation was introduced to the west through a machine called the “master sifter.” According to Ed Rosenthal and his book Beyond Buds ( , this breakthrough machine by John Gallardi used vibration to separate the gland heads from the plant material.

During this time, Neil Schumacher and Rob Clarke began experimenting with water extraction methods, the early precursor for what we now refer to as water hash, or IWE (ice water extract). The equipment used to popularize the ice water extraction method was first introduced to the public in 1997 by Reinhard C. Delp at the High Times Cannabis Cup. His patents would later be adapted and modified by Mila Jansen with her “pollinator” isolation bags. This design would be further improved upon by Canadian hash enthusiast Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson and his popular line of BubbleBags ( , one of only a handful of companies worldwide who have leased permissions to use methods from the original patent that was filed in 1999.

** How to Make Hash

Legalization efforts ( in the U.S. over the last half decade has significantly impacted the emergence of hashish enthusiasm. The Internet’s mass proliferation and dissemination of free information has also made previously proprietary hashish making techniques readily available.

Making hash at home today is as easy as purchasing a few inexpensive ingredients from a hardware store. You can even purchase ready-made screens for dry extractions, presses for old school brick hash preparations, or even bags for water extractions all online. Learning how to make hash at home today is incredibly easy with the availability of information through the internet and social media. To learn how hash is made, check out our Cannabis Craftsmanship video onhow to make hash ( featuring the experts at Funky Skunk Extracts.

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