by David Downs
Today's must-reads: 1. Oakland's unprecedented medical cannabis cultivation regulations go before the city council tomorrow. Some in the community like them; others, not so much. ...
2. Can weed be a wedge issue driving Democratic voters to ballot? The Atlantic analyzes. "Political scientists disagree about whether gay-marriage bans helped Republicans, though a growing body of scholarship suggests that they probably did. So far, nobody has measured marijuana's effect at the polls. But Stephen Nicholson, a leading expert on ballot initiatives at the University of California at Merced, told me that he plans to. What's more, he sees an intriguing precedent in the nuclear freeze initiatives of 28 years ago, which he has studied. 'In the 1982 midterms, 10 states had ballot initiatives on the nuclear freeze,' Nicholson told me. 'This had a significant positive effect on Democratic candidates.' In states without them, candidates saw little to no effect.'"
3. This coming weekend the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party will vote on whether to endorse Proposition 19, aka the Tax Cannabis 2010 initiative.
4. The journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior concludes chronic chronic users show no cognitive impairment. "Scientists found that participants' overall performance accuracy on episodic memory and working memory tasks 'was not significantly altered by marijuana. ... The present findings show that smoked marijuana produced minimal effects on episodic and spatial working memory of near-daily smokers, the researchers concluded.'" However, keep it away from kids, as it may exacerbate genetic predispositions to schizophrenia in 10 to 15 percent of youths.
5. Lab-made "synthetic marijuana" drug K2 is now banned in eight states, NYTimes reports. "First developed in the lab of a Clemson University chemist, John W. Huffman, K2’s active ingredients are synthetic cannabinoids — research-grade chemicals that were created for therapeutic purposes but can also mimic the narcotic effects of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. In a statement, Mr. Huffman said the chemicals were not intended for human use. He added that his lab had developed them for research purposes only, and that 'their effects in humans have not been studied and they could very well have toxic effects.'''