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​Scientists have discovered that blocking a marijuana-like chemical in the brain drastically increases fat burn, allowing people (OK, in the study it was mice) to eat more and exercise less without gaining weight.

University of California Irvine pharmacology professor Daniele Piomelli and his colleagues found a way to breed mice who had naturally low levels of the endocannabinoid 2-AG, reports Dennis Romero at LA Weekly. “These modified mice ate more and moved less than typical mice, but did not gain any weight, even when they were fed a high-fat diet,” the researchers noted.
Now, while that may sound as if a cannabinoid-blocking pill would allow you to eat all the junk food you want, not exercise, and still not gain any weight, you might wanna hold off just a minute before stocking your freezer with Klondike bars.

Break The Matrix

​The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on two bills that would escalate the War On Drugs.

One bill scheduled to be voted on Wednesday (HR 1254) would criminalize possession and sales of chemical compounds found in products such as “K2,” “Spice,” and “bath salts.” A second bill which is expected to be voted on next week (HR 313) would make it a federal crime to engage in an activity in another country that would violate U.S. drug laws if committed in the United States — even if the activity is actually legal in the other country.
Both bills are expected to pass and would subject more Americans to lengthy federal prison terms — while increasing already-skyrocketing prison expenses that taxpayers have to pay. This comes at a time when members of Congress are cutting drug education, treatment and prevention, citing the need to “reduce federal expenses.”

Toke of the Town editor Steve Elliott: You’ve come to the right place if you wanna talk about marijuana.

​Two years ago today — actually two years ago tonight, at 7:08 p.m. — fingers trembling with excitement, I hit the “Post” button for the first-ever story on Toke of the Town.

“The good thing about a free marketplace of ideas is,” I wrote, in the first sentence ever to appear on this site, “despite the best efforts of prohibitionists and their fear-mongering propaganda, the truth eventually prevails.”

Thousands of stories, joints, medibles, and bongloads later, I’m still loving this gig, and judging by pageviews, so are more than half a million of you every month.
Toke didn’t just happen. If it hadn’t been for Village Voice Media’s then-social media talent scout, John Boitnott, spotting my personal blog Reality Catcher making the front page of social news-sharing site Digg, I wouldn’t have had the chance, starting early in 2009, to write “Chronic City.” That was a twice-weekly cannabis column for S.F. Weekly‘s online blog, “The Snitch.”
And if it hadn’t been for Boitnoitt and Bill Jensen, then in charge of VVM’s web presence worldwide, that well-received column would not have opened the door for Toke of the Town about six months later.

Seattle Weekly

​Today’s weirdness comes courtesy of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which quoted one of my “Toke SignalsSeattle Weekly medical marijuana dispensary reviews in the search warrant affidavit for a Seattle collective which was raided on Tuesday.
The review, which was a positive one for Seattle Cannabis Co-Op, was printed in the Weekly back in March. It’s not apparent why the DEA would choose to quote the review in their search warrant affidavit, since none of the alleged improprieties mentioned elsewhere in the warrant were even hinted at in the review.
But there it was to greet me this morning, before I’d even had time to fortify myself with a cup of coffee: “DEA Medical-Marijuana Dispensary Search Warrant Quotes Seattle Weekly Toke Signals Column.”

Cannabis Therapy Institute
I could surely do without that big ‘CRIMINAL’ up there at the top of the badge, but it’s still good news that the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue has issued the first medical marijuana business licenses in the United States.

​The great state of Colorado has started issuing the first state medical marijuana business licenses in the nation, bringing to fruition an application process that lasted more than a year for dispensaries and makers of cannabis-infused products.

The state issued 11 licenses to businesses in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Littleton, said the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division of the state Department of Revenue, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.
Another seven shops have been told they’ll probably get a license. The state has sent out letters to local governments regarding an additional 467 dispensaries and products-makers, double-checking that those businesses have local approval, which is one of the final steps in the licensing process.

Graphic: Seattle Weekly

​Tomorrow night at 7, I’ll be onstage in Seattle with seven other panelists to discuss what’s next for marijuana in Washington State.

The event, sponsored by Seattle Weekly and KCTS 9, is called “Toke Signals: The Future of Marijuana in Washington State.”
And there’s still time to submit questions for the panel, reports Curtis Cartier at Seattle Weekly.
The forum will be at KCTS 9’s studio near Seattle Center and will feature:
• John McKay: Former U.S. Attorney and Seattle University Law Professor who prosecuted Marc Emery
• Rick Steves: Author, PBS travel correspondent and marijuana law reform advocate
• Steve Elliott: Seattle Weekly’s Toke Signals” medical marijuana dispensary review columnist and Toke of the Town blog editor

Photo: Steve Elliott
Dream Cream founder Jim Chaney, left, and BOTH Collective expert budtender Valerie restock the cooler in Capitol Hill, Seattle.

​A joint or bowl with a cup of coffee is a daily ritual for many of us. And now, with Seattle being well-known for the quality of both its coffee and cannabis, it’s no surprise that a local entrepreneur has found a delicious and effective way to combine both.

Dream Cream, a medicated iced mocha latte made in pot-friendly Seattle neighborhood Capitol Hill and available in local medical marijuana dispensaries, goes down smooth and leaves a long-lasting medicated glow.

The cannabis-infused beverage comes in both sativa and indica varieties. Sativa is medicated with “White Lady,” an exclusive White Widow hybrid that, according to Dream Cream, “yields excellent ratios of the most uplifting and analgesic cannabinoids,” while the Indica version is infused with “High Planes Drifter,” an exotic Skunk hybrid the company says “promises an enriching experience with sedative inclinations.”

Photo: Cheryl Shuman
From left, Jason Gann (Wilfred), medical marijuana consultant Cheryl Shuman, Elijah Wood (Ryan) and David Zuckerman (executive producer)

​​Ever noticed how often TV shows get it wrong when it comes to the telling little details of marijuana culture? Inaccuracies, large and small, can diminish our enjoyment of a show because they call our attention to artifice rather than art.

Well, I can assure you those kinds of details are going to be correct in “Wilfred,” a new pot-based comedy debuting tonight on the FX television network. How am I so sure? Because, in what appears to be a first, the producers had the good sense to hire Cheryl Shuman (yes, the well-known cannabis activist and Kush Magazine media director) as medical marijuana consultant.

Graphic: Break The Matrix

​Name one government program that for 40 years has failed to achieve any of its goals, yet receives bigger and bigger budgets every year. If you said “the War on Drugs,” you’ve been paying attention.

The Obama Administration is unable to show that the billions of dollar spent in the War On Drugs have significantly affected the flow of illicit substances into the United States, according to two government reports and outside experts.

The reports specifically criticize the government’s growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate coca fields, and operate surveillance equipment in the battle against the expanding drug trade in Latin America over the past five years, reports Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times.
“We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote one of the reports, which was released on Wednesday.

Photo: Excel K-9 Services, Inc.
Cops can’t tell by smell alone whether you have an ounce or multiple pounds of weed. Neither can police dogs.

​​(A recent Massachusetts case has brought attention to the growing haze of confusion around the state’s marijuana laws, as one high-profile case was thrown out when a judge said police cannot tell by smell alone whether an ounce or multiple pounds of pot are present. One ounce and under, of course, has been decriminalized in the state.
Repercussions from the case may mean that police are wasting their time using drug-sniffing dogs as the basis for pot arrests, according to an opinion piece from GateHouse News Service.