The post Should America Start Executing Drug Dealers? (Spoiler: No) appeared first on High Times.

Amy Shemberger and her boyfriend, Peter Kucinski, were together for 18 years. They had a five-year-old son together. They also had a heroin habit.

On August 10, 2014, Shemberger went out to pick up $20 worth, the couples’ daily opiate dose. She snorted her $10 bag on her way home. Upon returning, she handed Kucinski his share. He snorted his and stopped breathing.

Shemberger did what anyone should do when their partner is having a health crisis—she called 911. This is also what landed her in prison for seven years. Two months after Kucinski fatally overdosed, Shemberger was charged with murder.

She’d handed her lover drugs—an act that qualified as a “delivery,” which in turn made her eligible for prosecution as a “drug dealer” under Illinois’s “drug-induced homicide” laws, a method of waging the drug war that’s becoming increasingly popular in recent years, despite little evidence that it works—and plenty of evidence that it makes things worse.

The notion of punishing people who sell drugs with murder charges is gaining new currency “thanks” to the opiate crisis, but it is not a new or original idea.

Drug-induced homicide laws started appearing on the books of states and the federal government during the drug-induced hysteria of the 1980s, as prosecutors and lawmakers, unsatisfied with all the extant methods to put a drug-seller in prison for decades, searched for ever-stiffer methods of punishment.

As the Drug Policy Alliance points out, 20 states now have drug-induced homicide laws on the books—including Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. As it happens, these are the same areas with the most ghastly body counts related to opiate overdoses.

Thus, you could look at the results in those states and conclude that, just maybe, these laws aren’t doing anything to halt the flow of opiates. They certainly aren’t dissuading people from using opiates, and as long as there are users, there will be drug dealers.

What drug-induced homicide laws do, the DPA argues, is create more victims. Shemberger is a good example: A nonviolent drug user who certainly had no intent to kill her lover and the father of her child.

In Massachusetts, lawmakers are considering making anyone found guilty of “trafficking” heroin or fentanyl that later led to a fatal overdose eligible for a manslaughter charge.

“The people who are selling these drugs have to at least know the consequences of what happens to the people that they’re selling it to,” said state Rep. Jim Lyons of Andover, Massachusetts, in an interview with the Lowell Sun. “And if we’re serious about shutting down the drug dealers we’ve got to make sure that they know they’re going to go to jail.”

Somehow, Lyons is the reasonable actor. Another proposal, from Massachusetts Minority Leader Brad Jones, a Republican, would create a mandatory minimum of five years for anyone caught “distributing a drug causing death.” The maximum penalty for that crime would be life in prison.

Prospects for Massachusetts joining the 20 other states with drug-induced homicide laws look good. Gov. Charlie Baker proposed similar laws in August—and the state senate’s crime bill, not yet law, makes anyone selling drugs who lead to death eligible for second-degree murder.

Taking a step back, it’s clear that there needs to be a disincentive to selling drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil, minute doses of which can lead to a fatal overdose. But you know all of this. It’s simple profit motive-driven economics.

It’s also abundantly clear what impact drug-induced homicide laws have on drug use and sales.

Nothing—the opiate crisis has become steadily worse with these laws on the books.

And it doesn’t exactly encourage the kind of policing that leads to harm reduction. In some states, police carry overdose kits. In states where the person who called the cops to report their friend overdosing risks going to prison, you have cops who dress up and make videos as if they’re auditioning for ISIS.

Examples of this approach’s total, tragic failure abound.

A Rhode Island man is serving 20 years in prison for selling $40 worth of heroin cut with fentanyl. He was sentenced in 2014. More people have died since then.

“We’re going to be ruthless,” prosecutor Joseph Coronato of Ocean County, New Jersey, told the AP in 2013. “We’re looking for long-term prison sentences.”

In the years since, opiate-related overdose deaths in New Jersey doubled.

Any reasonable person would look around and conclude that drug-induced homicide laws clearly aren’t working. Fatal drug overdoses have become the leading cause of accidental death for 25-to-64-year-olds with these laws on the books. Opiate use steadily climbs. So do deaths.

But instead of changing course, other states are doubling down—and cooking up ways to execute someone who dealt fatal drugs rather than just locking them up.

In Florida, someone found guilty of selling any amount of fentanyl that leads to a fatal overdose can now be charged and found guilty of first-degree murder. As the Daily Beast reported, there are two penalties for first-degree murder: Life without parole, or the death penalty. In this case, the drug dealer doesn’t even need to know whether or not the drugs involved had fentanyl.

In practice, Florida’s law seems doomed to reserve the stiffest punishments available for the lowest-level dealers, while doing nothing to staunch the flow of fentanyl—or warn drug users that their stashes are tainted.

There are proven methods of dissuading people from using drugs that will kill them. You can help drug users test their bag before they use too much and die. You could even try to treat the underlying causes—get someone in detox, address their trauma or pain or existential dread, maybe even fund preventative healthcare or get them a job.

Or not. You could dissuade Good Samaritan laws and leave someone weighing whether or not to call 911 as their friend, lover, mother or son lies convulsing in the throes of an overdose. You could do nothing to deter drug use. You could also compound a national tragedy, and fill prisons along with graveyards.

The post Should America Start Executing Drug Dealers? (Spoiler: No) appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.


11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.