Trump Wants To Raise The Purchasing Age Of Vape Products To 21

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will pursue raising the age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in its upcoming plans to combat youth vaping.

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details.

“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so,” said Trump, speaking outside the White House.

Currently the minimum age to purchase any tobacco or vaping product is 18, under federal law. But more than one third of U.S. states have already raised their sales age to 21..

Administration officials were widely expected to release plans this week for removing virtually all flavored e-cigarettes from the market. Those products are blamed for soaring rates of underage use by U.S. teenagers.

However, no details have yet appeared, leading vaping critics to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Trump resisted any specifics on the scope of the restrictions.

“We’re talking about the age, we’re talking about flavors, we’re also talking about keeping people working — there are some pretty good aspects,” Trump said.

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other sweet vaping flavors have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users.

On Thursday, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, announced it would voluntarily pull its mint-flavored e-cigarettes from the market. That decision followed new research that Juul’s mint is the top choice for many high school students who vape.

With the removal of mint, Juul only sells two flavors: tobacco and menthol.

Vaping critics say menthol must be a part of the flavor ban to prevent teens who currently use mint from switching over.

Juul and other tobacco companies have lobbied in support a federal “Tobacco 21” law to reverse teen use of both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. The effort also has broad bipartisan support in Congress, including a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The logic for hiking the purchase age for cigarettes and other products is clear: most underage teens who use e-cigarettes or tobacco get it from older friends. Raising the minimum age to 21 is expected to limit the supply of those products in U.S. schools.

Delaying access to cigarettes is also expected to produce major downstream health benefits, with one government-funded report estimating nearly 250,000 fewer deaths due to tobacco over several decades.

Still, anti-tobacco groups have insisted that any “Tobacco 21” law must be accompanied by a ban on flavors, which they say are the primary reason young people use e-cigarettes.

By Johnny Evans 

Louisiana’s Medical Marijuana Patients Are Finding Costs of Cannabis Too High

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Three months after medical marijuana became available in Louisiana, doctors and clinics say some patients are finding the cost for therapeutic cannabis too high for treatment, pricing them out of a medication they waited years to obtain.

Nine pharmacies dispense medicinal-grade pot and set their individual prices. Dispensary owners say their charges reflect an industry with startup charges, small patient numbers and lengthy regulatory hurdles to meet.

In August, Louisiana became the first Deep South state — and one of more than 30 states nationwide — to dispense medical marijuana, four years after state lawmakers agreed to give patients access. Now, the state is grappling with the growing pains of a new medical market and a patient group that can’t use health insurance to cover costs.

Kathryn Thomas, CEO of The Healing Clinics, said a third of the medical marijuana patients across its five clinics in Shreveport, Monroe, Baton Rouge, Houma and Lafayette can’t foot the bill for the product.

“They can’t afford ongoing treatment,” Thomas said. “It’s becoming the program for the elite.”

The only cannabis currently available comes in a flavored liquid tincture, a bottle containing a dropper to use. One bottle can range from about $90 to $220, depending on concentration and pharmacy, according to medical marijuana advocates.

Dr. Victor Chou, who has a medical marijuana clinic in Baton Rouge with more than 600 patients, said many of his patients take a dosage of about one bottle per month and are finding relief from chronic conditions. But one-quarter of his patients, Chou said, can’t afford the medication.

“The average chronic pain patients would be spending maybe $1,000 a month at current prices for what they need,” he said.

About 3,500 people have received medical marijuana since the program began, according to the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Under state law, Louisiana is allowing cannabis to treat a long list of diseases and disorders, such as cancer, seizure disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

“We’re now working through the real kinks of a startup business and industry,” said Jesse McCormick, with the Louisiana Association for Therapeutic Alternatives representing the nine dispensaries. “They’re just like everybody else out here, trying to stay open and keep the lights on.”

Only the agricultural centers at Louisiana State University and Southern University are authorized to grow medical marijuana.

GB Sciences, LSU’s grower, is the only one currently providing product. John Davis, president of GB Sciences Louisiana, wouldn’t disclose its wholesale prices, but said pharmacies determine their own markups.

McCormick said the pharmacies have higher tax liabilities and banking costs than other businesses, and he said some Louisiana dispensaries built facilities and carried costs for months with no income waiting for cannabis products.

“I finally came up with our prices the night before we opened. It really was based on our expenses and what we had spent and lost, and what we needed to recover in five years,” said Doug Boudreaux, a pharmacist and co-owner of the Shreveport medical marijuana dispensary Hope Pharmacy.

Pharmacies say if they get more patients, prices will go down. They say any addition of new products also will help, such as plans to offer dissolving strips taken by mouth and topical creams.

Doctors and patients hope the addition of a second grower would drive down costs.

Southern’s grower, Ilera Holistic Healthcare, is setting up operations, with plans to have medical marijuana on pharmacy shelves next year. Ilera CEO Chanda Macias said the company will have a manufactured-suggested retail price for products and will stress customer affordability to pharmacies.

Chou’s hopeful the cost difficulties some patients are having will be addressed.

“I want to be clear: there are a lot of people who are getting a really, really good benefit out of this. I have many people who tell me they’ve been totally pain free for the first time in years,” he said.

By Green Miles Buds

Cannabis and Art: A Unique Relationship that Inspires Creativity

Beyond the occasional boosted appetite or case of the funnies, there’s seems to be one domain that improves with the addition of a little dank bud: art. The cannabis plant is most well-known for its ability to heighten common sensory experiences such as film, music, performance, and other facets of human expression, so there’s no question as to why the two interests have been long correlated. And if you’re a cannabis lover, you can probably recall your first time listening to a song or viewing a film after enjoying (mainly due to tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) a smoke being one for the books.

When considering cannabis’ effect on creativity, though, a few questions may come to mind: can the plant evoke a response great enough to fuel your creative bits following a smoke? And will it turn you into a sort of prodigy enlightened beyond your years, or is it all a part of your greater imagination? In this article, we will dive deep to answer all of your burning questions.

Cannabis: A Source of Inspiration?

Historically, cannabis has been used to complement inspiration in all forms of art, but before we get down to the nitty-gritty of this topic, what exactly is creativity?

Basically, you could define creativity as the ability to transform something ordinary into something extraordinary. Due to their use of divergent thinking (one of many keys to creativity and what makes creative people…well, creative), highly creative types seemingly have this ability, which in turn, often allows them to reach some pretty heightened levels of imagination and ingenuity.

Now, if we consider that cannabis alters our perceptions and thought processes, cannabis is more than likely to influence your perceived reality and, therefore, your creative process. Cannabis, though, need not be seen as the main source of inspiration — art comes from the person, not from the ingestion of any substance. In other words, cannabis does not function as a direct source of inspiration or creativity; rather, it influences the mental processes that lead us to produce art. Despite the abundance of experiential evidence, there is actually some scientific backing on the influence of the cannabis plant on art. In fact, cannabis has an inherent neurological relationship with both art and creativity.

Behind the Science of Things

Though research regarding cannabis’ relationship to creativity is scant, there have been several studies that have investigated if and how cannabis might affect creativity. One study claims that high-potency cannabis impairs divergent thinking – an epiphany in the art world. [1] Another study reports that acute cannabis use increases divergent thinking through augmented “verbal fluency in low creatives.” [2] In other words, after smoking cannabis, those labeled as having low trait creativity were brought to the same level as those participants exhibiting high creativity through their ability to generate words. So, research results, are, well, divergent.

THC may produce an effect on the brain that can help stimulate creativity. Terpenes may be involved in aiding creativity as well, since they can help drive one’s experience. Usually, your brain experiences pause (or breaks) between neural transmission to not overwhelm the mind. However, THC has been shown to interrupt these breaks, thus, keeping neural transmissions flowing via the inhibition of GABA. [3} This action essentially increases glutamate production, which amplifies the “go” signal for neural transmission.

The collection of glutamate causes an increased release of neurochemical called dopamine, which typically gives feelings of blissful euphoria and calmness. [4] It also helps reduce your inhibitions and this turns off your “inner-editor”, so to speak while doing anything creative. Cannabis consumers have described themselves feeling happier and being able to move and think more creatively, almost as if peaceful gusts of wind were flowing right through them.

History’s Most Creative Cannabis Advocates

From musicians to painters, actors, and philosophers, cannabis has been involved in the creative process of countless artists and thinkers. Its influence is evident in ancient and modern culture. Until recently, many artists of all creative backgrounds have kept their cannabis use under wraps. But with the expansion of public acceptance and legalization, more and more artists are publicly embracing their cannabis usage. Aside from the greats like Bob Marley and Hunter S. Thompson, here are a few artists and creators that are no strangers to cannabis and admit, or have admitted, to use cannabis in their creative processes and who publicly defend its consumption.

Louie Armstrong

As stated in his autobiography, pot is “a thousand times better than whiskey…it’s an assistant — a friend”.

Lady Gaga

“I smoke a lot of pot when I write music.”

Steve Jobs

“The best way I would describe the effect of the [cannabis] and the hashish is that it would make me relaxed and creative.”

Alanis Morissette

“As an artist, there’s a sweet jump-starting quality to [cannabis] for me. I’ve often felt telepathic and receptive to inexplicable messages my whole life. I can stave those off when I’m not high. When I’m high… well, they come in and there’s less of a veil, so to speak. So, if ever I need some clarity… or a quantum leap in terms of writing something, it’s a quick way for me to get to it.”

Willie Nelson

“I think people need to be educated to the fact that [cannabis] is not a drug. [Cannabis] is an herb and a flower. God put it here.”

Oliver Stone

“I went to Vietnam, and I was there for a long time. [Using cannabis] made the difference between staying human or, as Michael Douglas said, becoming a beast.”

Brian Wilson (of Beach Boys)

“[Cannabis] helped me write Pet Sounds.” (which is #2 best album of all times on the list of Rolling Stone magazine)

In Conclusion

While cannabis has helped many expand their creativity, only time will tell how its relationship with art will progress. Maybe creativity is harder to define or more complicated than we think. The big idea is, cannabis affects everyone differently. Data doesn’t necessarily suggest you can smoke your way into a massive breakthrough. However, if you’re looking to consume a substance as a creative outlet, you may find a little bud helpful for kickstarting your right-brain and getting those creative juices flowing.

Written by Mell Green,