Independence Day… a Few Facts

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walalton, Guinett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr, noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.

Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and  education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged:

“For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

They gave you and me a free and independent America.

The history books never told you a lot about what happened in the Revolutionary War. We didn’t fight just the British.

We were British subjects at that time and we fought our own government! Some of us take these liberties so much for granted, but we shouldn’t. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid. Remember freedom is never free!

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Then, Now, Future. Nutshell Version

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Oro Expediton 15… An hour of hard work on the Klamath River, Northern CA

Then…

Was April 2013. That was the month and year I kicked off Oro Expeditions. It was also the year I ended a 30 year career driving a truck across this great country. It was kinda funny and ironic how that all ended and maybe I will tell more of that story someday but for now I am going to start this “nutshell” with a beginning instead of an ending.

The first Expedition kicked off without glamour. I gathered up all of my basic camping gear along with a weeks worth of food and plenty of clean clothes. The last thing to be loaded into the “Nugget Buggy” was everything I owned to prospect for gold. It was a short list. 2 5 gallon buckets, a short-handled round pointed shovel, a home-made 1/2 in. classifier, and my lucky gold pan given to me as a gift for joining a famous gold club. The last thing on the list was the directory of all the places in the US this club had the rights to prospect and mine for gold.

On the 14th of April, 2013, early in the afternoon, two things happened at the same time. I pulled out of the driveway in western Maryland to begin Oro Expedition 13, a dream of mine for sometime come true and at the same time on the same day a cute little puppy was born that would drop into my life 7 months later in central California during a Christmas blizzard.

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I spent 13 months on the gold trail that first year with only one 4 day stay at the house for my wife’s birthday. I traveled to quite a few south-eastern states including North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee all of which were abundant with the shiny yellow stuff along with numerous different semi precious stones of all colors and shapes.

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East Tennessee Gold
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NC & GA Gemstones

After many rain filled days spent working the small streams of the east my operation was able to move to the eleven western states in pursuit of much larger gold and much more plentiful gold.

Starting in Colorado and working my way across to Oregon I was able to prospect and find gold every time I crossed a state line. Landing in southwest Oregon and then working my way south as September turned into November, I followed the gold trail to central California high in the Sierra Nevada.

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Chinese tailings SW Oregon
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Gold Camp in the High Sierra, Central CA

The end of one year and the beginning of a new one also felt like something new for Oro Expeditions was about to start as I made my way back to Maryland in late January of 2014.

Now…

I’m not sure where to start with the “now” part of this story so I will begin with what I know about my physical well-being and how it may or may not affect the 2017 gold and gemstone season and beyond.

I have had a history of back trouble since my early twenties when I was involved in a serious fall from a carnival ride I was working on. Then in 2001 I was struck by lightning and of course the back took the worst of it. Then back in 2006 I injured the lower back bad enough I couldn’t walk or sit up straight for almost a week. Once again somewhere around 2015 while helping a friend I blew multiple disks out and found out what lifetime chronic pain feels like.

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Lumbar Traction… feels great

I have been on a pain program for over a year and the meds I use to get pain relief work well. These are meds I will be on for the rest of my life unless something better is invented. The use of cannabis is a large part of my medical battle with pain along with other problems that use letters to describe them. THC heals them all.

My right shoulder was recently operated on to remove bone spurs and other fun stuff like shortening my collarbone and relocation of my bicep muscle. The good news is it is healing nicely and will be ready for the coming season.

Once again I regress. Back to the season at hand.

Future…

I look ahead to the 2017 gold and gemstone season and I see an Expedition that could be the biggest one yet and also one that could be worthy of a spot on one of the reality TV channels. The plan includes multiple locations in the lower 48 along with plans for at least 1 trip up north to the Yukon and interior Alaska. Thanks to the arthritis in my back it might be my last chance to see the Land of The Midnight Sun.

Something I want to focus on this year is a program that involves teaching people, especially children, how to prospect and pan for gold. We will be promoting this wherever we may go and will be posting locations and dates as early as possible. If you check the upcoming schedule we will be posting and we are in your area you will be able to come hang out with us in Gold Camp and learn the basics of finding the shiny yellow metal.

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We will be focusing on creating two permanent spaces which will allow us to work year round depending on the season. One will be located on our desert claims located in central Arizona. The other will be somewhere in the northwest with possibilities in Canada and Alaska. Returning back to a plan from 2013 and the first Expedition, I would like to have the whole north south program located in the lower 48 states with future Expeditions expanding northward and also world-wide to exotic locations like “down under”, and also South America. Big ideas or BIG plans to be turned into reality? You decide. For me and my lovely wife we believe it is all doable and more.

I started out calling this piece a “Nutshell” version but I always get a little carried away with excitement when it comes to warm weather and the pursuit of gold and other shiny things so bear with me …  hehe

More later…

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Jeff Sessions: “Medical Marijuana has Been Hyped, Maybe too Much”, Marijuana “Slightly Less Awful” than Heroin

Maryland, hampered by lawsuits and legislation, struggles to get medical marijuana program off the ground

By Natalie Schwartz, Capital News Service

Patient registry begins this month, but concerned residents are worried that bills may push back the rollout date even further

Source: The Cannabist

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — After Carey Tilghman’s 6-year-old daughter, Paisley, suffered from a stroke, doctors drafted a plan to use a round of Botox injections and muscle relaxers to treat her condition.

Searching for an alternative for her daughter, Tilghman found that a transdermal patch filled with cannabis, which has been linked to shielding the brain from stroke damage, could possibly be helpful to her daughter, but she hasn’t been able access the drug in Maryland’s stalled medical cannabis industry.

Maryland has had one of the slowest rollouts of medical marijuana in the country.

The Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, which grants the licenses to growers, processors and dispensers, has been hampered by legal battles and pending legislation in the Maryland General Assembly since the state legalized medical cannabis in 2014.

This legislative session, state lawmakers are considering a spate of bills outlining different solutions intended to address a lack of diversity in licenses, and two lawsuits that have delayed the rollout of Maryland’s nascent medical cannabis industry.

The commission expects medical cannabis to be available to patients this summer, according to Vanessa Lyon, a spokeswoman for the group. Patient registry for the drug begins this month, but concerned residents are worried that bills may push back the rollout date even further.

“We can’t delay access,” Tilghman said. “(Paisley) deserves to have a transdermal patch and play like a kindergartener can play. They want her on muscle relaxers; they want her to have surgery. How do you be a kindergartner on muscle relaxers?”

“You can’t,” she added, choking up.

The commission was tasked with ensuring racial and geographical diversity in their selection process, and on Dec. 9 it announced pre-approvals for 102 businesses to sell medical cannabis, which broke down into 15 growers, 15 processors, and 72 dispensaries.

However, preference for minority business owners may violate the Constitution, said Cheryl A. Brown Whitfield, principal counsel of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The state would need to conduct a study to evaluate whether discrimination does exist in the medical cannabis industry before it could take race-conscious measures in awarding licenses, said Zenita Hurley, the attorney general’s director of legislative affairs and civil rights. This study could take up to two years.

The commission used Towson University’s Regional Economic Studies Institute to rank the company applicants. RESI used a double-blind system that did not take into account the race of owners, which resulted in the commission failing to award licenses that ensure adequate minority representation, said Delegate Cheryl Glenn, D-Baltimore.

While the commission has listed the rankings of each company, it has not released the scores and the criteria for which they were ranked, said Darrell Carrington, policy director for the medical cannabis division of Greenwill Consulting, a government relations firm.

“We’re all flying blind right now because the commission refuses to release the scores,” Carrington said. “The rankings are meaningless if we don’t have the scores. How do we know how to move forward properly and know if we’re really making corrections to increase diversity and the like, if we don’t know the difference between (the companies) was 5, 10, or 30 (points).”

Maryland includes a black or African-American population of 30.5 percent, a white population of 59.6 percent, and 9.9 percent who identify as another minority, according to data collected by the U.S. Census as of 2015.

The majority of the companies selected for pre-approvals for growing and processing are led by white owners.

Of the 11 companies with pre-approved growing licenses that reported demographic data to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, about 85 percent of the owners are white, about 8 percent are black, and about 7 percent identify as another racial minority. The nine pre-approved processing companies that reported data showed similar numbers, with 73 percent white ownership, about 15 percent black ownership, and about 12 percent other minority ownership.

The companies selected have about 76 percent male ownership and 24 percent female ownership.

Moreover, after complaints surfaced that the commission didn’t fairly include representation in areas of southeastern Maryland, the commission revised their original unanimous decision on the 15 companies slated to receive growing licenses by bumping two higher-scoring applicants and replacing them with two lower-scoring applicants in the underrepresented areas.

GTI, one of the companies originally awarded a coveted pre-approval license, had already picked out a site in Washington County and began developing a plan to produce medical cannabis when they were replaced, said Delegate Brett Wilson, R-Washington. The company has since joined the other business bumped from the list, Maryland Cultivation and Processing LLC, in suing the commission.

The commission has been operating without oversight or transparency, Glenn said. “They can’t answer why they made the decisions they made.”

To address the lack of ownership diversity, the Legislative Black Caucus, which Glenn heads, has proposed two emergency bills that would overhaul the 15-member commission and reinstate it with members who reflect the racial and geographical diversity of the state.

Sarah Hoyt, director of government affairs for the commission, wrote in testimony that this emergency legislation would “substantially delay the availability of medical cannabis to qualifying patients” by as much as two years.

But Glenn said her legislation would not slow the arrival of the medical cannabis industry.

“The commission operated in an arbitrary, opaque and misleading fashion,” said Pete Kadens, CEO and director of GTI, adding that overhauling the “inefficient” commission would actually speed the rollout of the long-awaited industry.

Kadens said he supported the 15 companies who have been pre-approved to start operating immediately.

“Even though we were displaced for the purpose of geographic diversity, even though we scored higher on merit than five of the companies that now have pre-approvals for the state, even though we feel we were wronged, we do not want the patients of the state to be further distressed,” Kadens said.

One of Glenn’s bills would issue five to seven more licenses for both growers and processors. The bill would also give heavier consideration to businesses with majority black ownership.

The second bill would disband the current commission to create a nine-member Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Cannabis Licensing Unit. This new group would award new grower licenses in future years and would have a fund to provide minority- and women-owned medical cannabis businesses with loans.

Wilson has proposed a separate bill that would increase the number of growers from 15 to 17 to reinstate the two geographically bumped companies’ on the list. This could fix what he called a “fairness issue,” adding that it will likely immediately stop any pending litigation, he said.

Wilson said he doesn’t oppose the other bills and that it’s possible a number of the five bills may merge into “one bill that accomplishes everything.”

“We’re not in conflict with other bills,” Wilson said. “We don’t stand against the other proposals in any way.”

Delegate David Vogt, R-Carroll and Frederick, has also proposed a bill that attempts to squash the pending lawsuits, while also increasing minority and women ownership. His solution would accept the commission’s next 10 ranked applicants, which have been selected as alternates should any of the 15 growing businesses that have been pre-approved fall through.

This bill wouldn’t impact how the commission measures any of the businesses that have been tentatively approved, but it would impact any new ones that haven’t been measured by requiring the commission to give extra weight to minority- and women-owned businesses.

Vogt’s bill also proposes to distribute grant money to the businesses’ local communities. The money would be used for infrastructure improvements, increased security and community development. He added that the amount, $250,000 for each area, is a “nominal amount” and that “ultimately, (the state is) going to get that impact money back — 10, 20 times over — with the tax revenue.”

Vogt, like Wilson, noted that he thinks it’s likely to create one bill that combined components from each to address the problems in the long-awaited industry.

However, Glenn said she only supports the bills she is sponsoring.

Brian Bickerton, chairman of Mazey Farms, an alternate growing company ranked twentieth by the commission, said while he supports Vogt’s bill, he’s in favor of any legislation that moves the industry forward. His company has been waiting to officially launch its business for over two years.

“(It’s) been a long and arduous process,” Bickerton said. “There’s been a lot of tears on our end, but we believe in what we do, we believe in this industry, and we believe in the much-needed medicine that needs to get to the patients.”

Mazey Farms is majority minority-owned, Bickerton said, adding that he thinks the best way to address the lawsuits and the diversity issues is to allow the commission’s next 10 alternative businesses to obtain licenses.

Carrington said it’s hard at this point to know which bill will be “the vehicle that will move (the industry) forward.”

However, taking the next 10 growing alternates, as Vogt’s bill proposes, would significantly address the diversity problem without a delay, Carrington said.

“I can’t stand another delay,” Tilghman said, her daughter, Paisley, leaning on her. “If another delay is put in place (Maryland will) lose a lifelong resident.”

 

Study: Cannabidiol (CBD) May Help Treat Anxiety-Related and Substance Abuse Disorders.

Study: Cannabinoids May Help Treat Traumatic Brain Injury

Study: Kids with High Academic Scores More Likely to Use Cannabis, Less Likely to Smoke Cigarettes | The Joint Blog

New research has found that adolescents with high academic scores are considerably more likely to consume cannabis than those with low scores.

The study was published by the British Medical Journal. According to its abstract, the study’s aim “was to determine the association between childhood academic ability and the onset and persistence of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use across adolescence in a representative sample of English schools pupils.” Researchers wanted to conduct the study because “Previous research has produced conflicting findings.”

For the study, data from “7 years of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE)” was used; in total there were 6,059 participants “with information on academic ability around age 11 and health behaviours from age 13/14 to 16/17 (early adolescence) and from age 18/19 to 19/20 (late adolescence).” Researchers used “Self-completion questionnaires during home visits, face-to-face interviews and web-based questionnaires” to determine the results.  […]

Entire blog post at the Source:  Study: Kids with High Academic Scores More Likely to Use Cannabis, Less Likely to Smoke Cigarettes

Vermont Marijuana Legalization Bill to Receive Public Hearing on Thursday

A bill that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older will receive a public hearing in Vermont’s House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 23rd.

Vermont Marijuana LegalizationThe committee will hold their public hearing on House Bill 170 at 1pm on Thursday. The measure would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and the personal cultivation of up to two cannabis plants, as well as a regulated system of cannabis retail outlets.

Below is a list of speakers that have been invited by lawmakers to either support or oppose the measure:

  • Michele Childs, Legislative Counsel, Office of Legislative Council
  • Matt Simon, Legislative Analyst, Marijuana Policy Project
  • Major Glenn Hall, Commander, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Vermont State Police
  • Robert Sand, Vermont Law School
  • Greg Nagurney, Attorney, Department of State’s Attorneys & Sheriffs
  • Laura Subin, Director, Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana
  • Tim Trevithick, Student Assistance Program, SAM-VT 
  • George Merkel, Chief of Police, Vermont Police Association
  • Cary Giguere, Agrichemical Program Manager, Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
  • Robin Weber, Senior Research Associate, Crime Research Group
  • Jay Diaz, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union – Vermont
  • David Cahill, State’s Attorney, Windsor County
  • Dr. Jill Rinehart, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics, Vermont Chapter
  • Barbara Cimaglio, Deputy Commissioner, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program,Vermont Department of Health
  • Shayla Livingston, Public Health Analyst, Department of Health
  • Marshall Pahl, Appellate and Juvenile Defender, Defender General’s Office
  • Monique McHenry, Executive Director, VT Patients Alliance

Legislation receiving a public hearing is a necessary step to it being passed out of committee; the vast majority of bills never receive a hearing.

Vermont is one of the five states we believe could legalize cannabis by next year.

New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis and hash possession.

New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis and hash possession.

House Bill 640 was approved with an overwhelming 14 to 2 vote. The measure would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, and up to five grams of hash, for those 21 and older.

If police do catch someone possessing cannabis or hash within those limits, it would be “a fine of $100 for a first offense under this paragraph, a fine of $200 for a second offense within three years of the first offense, or a fine of $350 for a third or subsequent offense within 3 years of 2 other offenses.” Under current law the possession of even a minuscule amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

House Bill 640 is sponsored by a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of a dozen lawmakers including Representatives Robert Cushing (D), Keith Murphy (R), Frank Sapareto (R), William Pearson (D), Carol McGuire (R), Chuck Grassie (D), Daniel Eaton (D), Patricia Lovejoy (D), as well as Senators Martha Clark, John Reagan, Daniel Innis.

Last year New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives passed a similar bill with a 289 to 58 vote, but it failed to pass the Senate.

According to a WMUR Granite State Poll released July of last year, 61% of New Hampshire voters support legalizing cannabis.

The full text of House Bill 640 can be found by clicking here.

Source:  New Hampshire Committee Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis and Hash appeared first on TheJointBlog.com.

Congressmen to launch Cannabis Caucus in 2017

It’s a joint political effort to pass marijuana reform

Two members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle are joining forces to create the Cannabis Caucus.

Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., are creating a caucus in hopes of improving the odds to passing federal marijuana reform bills.

“There needs to be more strategy between us, those of us who are engaged in this. More of a long-term strategy,” Rohrabacher told DecodeDC . “[And] we need to have a vehicle in which people on the outside will be able to work through and sort of have a team effort from the inside and the outside.”

Rohrabacher says Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., is likely to emerge as the spokesman for the caucus, which he said will begin meeting in January.

The caucus will be made up of members of Congress who see marijuana reform as an important issue and it will focus on a bipartisan effort to pass bills, Rohrabacher said. He did not name lawmakers he expects to join.

“We want to make the states’ rights issue the core of what we are doing,” Rohrabacher said, referring to the argument that states should be able to choose for how to regulate and classify marijuana. “Republicans don’t see this as something that their constituents want and they may not be positive towards legalization of marijuana. But with the states’ rights issue, that’s how we’ve won the necessary votes from the Republican side in order to win the battle.”

Rohrabacher and Blumenauer have been vocal champions for years of marijuana decriminalization and a state’s right to choose how to regulate the drug.

Rohrabacher has admitted in the past that he used marijuana to help with arthritis pain. He introduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015.

Blumenauer also visited many states this year, campaigning for ballot measures that would legalize medical marijuana or recreational marijuana for adults.

The congressman introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016, a bi-partisan bill that aimed to “cut through the red tape” that currently makes it very hard for scientific researchers to obtain marijuana for clinical trials. Additionally, he co-sponsored the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015, which would have allowed marijuana businesses to stop functioning in all-cash.

According to Blumenauer, the two biggest issues currently facing the marijuana industry are that companies aren’t fairly taxed because federal law won’t allow them to fully deduct their business taxes — and that cannabis businesses can’t work with banks. Currently marijuana companies have to be all-cash businesses largely thanks to marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug, which puts it in the same category as heroin.

“We’ve had the movement crest,” Blumenauer told DecodeDC. “Two hundred and fifty million people have access to medical marijuana, a quarter of the population has access to adult use. We’re watching an industry now where 60 percent believe marijuana should be legalized, and public opinion mirrors what happened at the ballot box.”

Marijuana currently is legal for adult recreational use in eight states and medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and Washington, D.C.

Blumenauer says he has hope that marijuana reform will become a stronger bi-partisan effort on Capitol Hill in 2017.

“People who have been ambivalent about this before, all of a sudden just inherited constituents who care deeply about it,” he said. “Florida just passed an initiative for medical marijuana which makes it the second largest marijuana market in the United States. All of a sudden there are lots of legislators who just had their constituents vote more strongly for marijuana than they did for them.”

Source:  Decode DC: Congressmen to launch Cannabis Caucus in 2017