Let women use medical cannabis to ease period pain, says NY Democrat

Let women use medical cannabis to ease period pain, says NY Democrat

A New York politician is leading a campaign to allow women in the US state to treat menstrual cramps with medical marijuana.

Linda Rosenthal, a member of the New York State Assembly, has called for painful periods to be placed alongside epilepsy and multiple sclerosis on a list of conditions whose sufferers are eligible to buy medical marijuana.

“This is a woman’s health issue,” said Rosenthal in an interview with Newsweek. “Men have really been [the ones] who’ve run state houses, governorships, presidencies, and some issues that are just about women have gotten shortchanged.”

The bill, which already passed the state’s Health Committee in a landslide 21 to two vote, will next be debated on the Assembly floor. Following that, the potentially groundbreaking law will need to be signed off by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo signed New York’s medical marijuana program into law in 2014, but the Democrat has since come in for criticism over what some have perceived as a “restrictive” implementation of the law.

The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that up to 20 percent of women in the US experience intense pain during their periods, with many unable to get out of bed or go to work – a fact Rosenthal thinks may help sway some of her more conservative colleagues.

“Some women can’t leave their bed for a week,” she said. “People are starting to understand that medical marijuana is a useful tool to relieve suffering and women’s suffering from severe menstrual cramps.”

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Minnesota measles outbreak bigger than all cases in 2016… for entire US

Minnesota measles outbreak bigger than all cases in 2016… for entire US

Minnesota’s measles outbreak has surpassed the number of cases in the whole of the US last year. Health officials and imams in the Somali-American community are working to prevent the spread of the deadly disease during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

As of June 1, there were 73 confirmed cases of measles in Minnesota in 2017, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said, compared to a total of 70 recorded measles cases in the entire US in 2016, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least 8,250 Minnesotans have been exposed to measles in day care centers, schools, hospitals and clinics, state health officials said.

The vast majority of victims in the Gopher State ‒ 68 of them ‒ have been unvaccinated, and most are preschool children. A significant number have been hospitalized. Of the 73 cases, 60 are in the Somali community.

The outbreak “has nothing to do with being Somali,” Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease control for MDH, told CNN. “It’s just the sheer fact of being unvaccinated.”

The anti-vaccine movement has targeted Minnesota’s Somali-American community. At a recent community meeting about the outbreak, an anti-vaccine advocate handed out fliers that claimed “some children suffer permanent brain damage from the vaccine, and some die from it,” Public Radio International reported.

The spread of misinformation about the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine’s link to autism has had a devastating effect on the community. Its vaccination rate dropped from 92 percent in 2004 ‒ which was higher than the state average ‒ to just 42 percent.

Much of the disinformation about vaccines in the Somali community comes from British researcher Andrew Wakefield, who first proposed a link between vaccines and autism in a paper which has been widely discredited as fraudulent. Wakefield visited Minneapolis at least three times in recent years, including during a smaller outbreak among the Somali-American community in 2011. During that meeting, he downplayed the severity of the disease, a state health official told the Washington Post.

Autism occurs in about one in 32 Somali children, compared to one in 36 white children, according to a 2013 University of Minnesota report. Citing numerous studies on the MMR vaccine, the CDC states that “there is no link between vaccines and autism.”

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Employers can pay women less based on previous salaries, US court rules

SourceEmployers can pay women less based on previous salaries, US court rules


A ruling from a traditionally left-leaning federal appeals court allows employers to pay women less than men for the same job, as long as a man was paid more at his previous job and the employer’s policies justify using past salaries to determine pay.

On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Aileen Rizo, a female employee who sued the county public schools in Fresno after discovering she was being paid less than her male co-workers for doing the same job.

Rizo sued the school in 2014, arguing that although she was being paid a higher salary than her previous employer, her male counterparts had salaries more than $10,000 higher than hers.

According to the lawsuit, the school “conceded that it paid the female plaintiff less than comparable male employees for the same work.” Rizo complained to the County about the disparity, but they informed her that her salary was determined by a salary schedule known as “Standard Operation Procedure 1440.

When Rizo was hired as a math consultant in 2009, the school determined her starting salary by using a policy where they add 5 percent to the previous salary of any new employee.

The county argued that the pay bump incentivizes potential employees to leave their previous jobs since they are guaranteed to receive a raise. They also said the policy is objective, prevents favoritism and encourages consistency.

A three-judge panel overturned a lower court ruling from February, citing a 1982 ruling by the court that employers could use previous salary information as long as they applied it reasonably and had a business policy that justified it.

In the opinion written by US District Court Judge Lynn Adelman, he said that “prior salary alone can be a ‘factor other than sex’ if the defendant shows that its use of prior salary was reasonable and effectuated a business policy.

This decision is a step in the wrong direction if we’re trying to really ensure that women have work opportunities of equal pay,” Deborah Rhode, who teaches gender equity law at Stanford Law School, said, according to the Associated Press. “You can’t allow prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones or you perpetuate the discrimination.

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Student loan service under investigation for bias – fed watchdog

Student loan service under investigation for bias – fed watchdog

A federal watchdog is investing whether student-loan servicing companies engaged in discrimination against borrowers with outstanding debt based on their race, sex or gender, denying them affordable plans.

“We’re looking at disparities in outcomes… and we believe there may be some,” Patrice Alexander Ficklin, director of the office of fair lending at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said on a call with reporters Friday, according to the Washington Post.

Ficklin said they had identified a student loan company servicing an area with “substantial risk of credit discrimination” but did not disclose how they reached that conclusion or disclose the name of the servicing company.

CFPB has jurisdiction over the largest servicing companies, including Navient, Great Lakes and American Education Services.

Last month, the CFPB reported a 429 percent increase in student loan complaints about providers from December through February compared with the previous year.

Consumers say lenders process payments incorrectly, make it harder for them to enroll in more affordable payment plans, and fail to act when borrowers complain.

The CFPB is already suing Navient – which services 12 million student loan borrowers and over $300 billion in federal and private student loans – for cheating borrowers by making them pay more for their loans than was necessary.

In the suit filed January 19, the CFPB claimed the company steered borrowers into payment options that made borrowers pay more for their loans and made the loan service more money.

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Today In History

Original Black Panther shot dead

Bobby Hutton shot deadBobby Hutton, an orginial member of the Black Panther party was was shot dead by Oakland police at the age of 17.


Little Bobby Hutton was the first to join the newly formed Black Panther Party for Self Defense. He was only 16 years old when he joined but already believed in the ideals that Seale and Newton had outlined in the Ten-Point Program; he was dedicated to serving his community.

On April 6, 1968, Oakland police ambushed a carload of BPP members on a side street. An hour and a half shootout ensued, resulting in the death of BPP member Bobby Hutton and the arrest of all others present on the scene. Bobby Hutton was shot more than twelve times after he had already surrendered and stripped down to his underwear to prove he was not armed. The murder of Bobby Hutton was a major event in the party’s history: it incensed them and inevitably made them stronger.  Source PBS

If your searching for a good read on the Panther, check out:

The Prison Factory

 I stumbled across this documentary on Al Jazeera.  It is definitely worth checking out.  Click in link below in the description to open the player to view the documentary.


Description Al Jazeera:

The US state of Alabama has the fifth highest incarceration rate in the world. Its prison system has become so dangerously overcrowded that in 2016, for the first time, the US Justice Department launched a federal civil rights investigation into the entire state’s prison conditions.

Meanwhile, prisoners have been taking matters into their own hands. In September 2016, inmates at Holman Prison went on strike to protest against what they call cruel and unusual forms of punishment – including labour, for little to no pay. Inmates used smuggled cellphones to spread the word about the strike, which took hold in about two dozen states.

How did a group of prisoners calling themselves the Free Alabama Movement organise the single largest prison strike in US history? Fault Lines’ Josh Rushing travelled to Alabama to find out more about them – discovering two of the group’s leaders are now in solitary confinement. Despite their isolation, through letters and videos they are still finding ways to get their message to the world.

Source: Al Jazeera

DEA approves synthetic marijuana for big pharma company against legalization

DEA approves synthetic marijuana for big pharma company against legalization

A synthetic marijuana product could be available for commercialization after the DEA gave a newly approved drug a schedule II classification.

On Thursday, Insys Therapeutics announced that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued an interim final rule that would put Syndros, their synthetic marijuana drug, on Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Insys is looking forward to bringing this new drug product to chemotherapy patients to help alleviate their nausea and vomiting and AIDS patients with anorexia associated weight loss, respectively,” Dr. Santosh Vetticaden, interim CEO, said in the announcement.

We look forward to interacting with the FDA to finalize the labeling and subsequent launch of Syndros in the second half of 2017,” Vetticaden said.

Syndros is a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in the plant. In July 206, the company announced the FDA approved their liquid form of synthetic THC to treat anorexia associated AIDS patients, and nausea and vomiting induced by cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

The DEA approval placed Syndros and its generic formulations in schedule II of the CSA, which is reserved for drugs that have “a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.

While some Schedule II drugs can be used for medical purposes, like Vicodin, oxycodone, Adderall, and many prescription painkillers, Schedule I drugs are all federally illegal. Non-synthetic marijuana is a Schedule I drug, which is reserved for drugs that have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

In 2011, Insys wrote a letter to the DEA, urging them to maintain the Schedule I status for non-synthetic marijuana, citing “a longstanding policy of the United States to disfavor domestic cultivation of narcotic raw materials because of concerns about the abuse potential from farming of this material.

Insys also opposed legalization in Arizona, donating $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group opposing Proposition 205, an initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona.

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