Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is behind 85 percent of Florida’s anti-pot campaign

Floridians will decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical use in their state next week and, whatever the outcome, two men will deserve most of the credit (or blame) for bankrolling the fight.

The single largest contributor on either side of the fight over Amendment 2, which grants patients with “debilitating diseases” access to medical marijuana, is billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who, new campaign finance filings show, added $1 million to the $4 million he’s already spent in support of the campaign to defeat the measure. Adelson, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands and America’s 12th richest person, is responsible for 85 percent of the $5.8 million raised by Drug Free Florida, the organization leading the charge against the measure and headed by former Reagan drug czar Carlton Turner. For Adelson, that amount of spending is roughly equivalent to a person worth $1 million writing a $157 campaign contribution check.

The man largely behind the yes campaign is personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who mostly through his law firm has contributed more than half of the $7.6 million raised by People United for Medical Marijuana. Morgan has toured the state and participated in debates to advocate for the measure, which he says he supports so people like his brother Tim Morgan, a quadriplegic, can get legal access to marijuana for pain relief.

Because of Adelson’s outsized influence, only about 15 percent of the money raised by the no campaign has come from within the state. In contrast, about 91 percent of the money raised by the yes campaign was raised in-state. Nineteen out of every 20 contributors to People United for Medical Marijuana listed a Florida home address. A review of campaign finance data shows about 80 individuals or organizations have contributed to the no campaign, while roughly 5,600 have donated to the yes campaign. (Note: some may be double-counted due to typos or slight differences in how their names were entered.)

While the results of more than a dozen polls compiled by Ballotpedia and conducted over the last year have all shown support for the measure outweighing opposition, Amendment 2 must receive 60 percent of the vote next Tuesday to pass.

Florida Man Breaks a World Record by Opening 18 Beer Bottles With a Chainsaw in One Minute

Floridian John Nicholson scored his place in the Guinness Book of World Records (previously) by opening up 18 beer bottles with a chainsaw in the space of a minute. The sides of the bottle caps were carefully shaved on each bottle. Any that were chipped or knocked over in the process were disqualified from the final count.

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How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

“Caffeine intoxication” became official in the medical community when the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” known as DSM-5, added the diagnosis last year.

So do cappuccino lovers need to worry about limiting their consumption?

One expert, Matthew Johnson, associate professor in the department of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, explains how caffeine works in the body and when to cut back.

Caffeine works by blocking adenosine, a neuromodulator in the brain that puts the brakes on excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. “Caffeine allows these stimulating chemicals to flow, which can have a rousing effect, even at very low doses,” says Dr. Johnson, a psychopharmacologist who studies the influence of drugs on behavior and mood.

Some people will get edgy from a weak cup of tea. For others, a double espresso is required to get them into the shower in the morning.

Most coffee drinkers are familiar with at least some symptoms of overindulging—nervousness, excitement, insomnia, rambling thoughts. But a large majority of people who consume caffeine don’t experience severe consequences, Dr. Johnson says.

There are some case reports of students experiencing major anxiety after drinking a dozen cups of coffee, Dr. Johnson says. But overdosing would be difficult, “unless folks took multiple caffeine pills or drank many cans of energy drinks” such as Red Bull.

It is possible for a person to die from too much caffeine, “but that would mean about 14,000 milligrams, or around 140 8-ounce cups of coffee in one day,” Dr. Johnson says. Consuming that much would be difficult because of coffee’s self-limiting nature. “One cup makes you feel good and alert, but five cups may make you feel like your stomach is cramping,” he says. “You feel wired and you wouldn’t typically be able to go overboard.”

While clinicians may observe benefits and risks of caffeine intake, the effects are still being debated in academic circles, Dr. Johnson says. “The evidence that unfiltered coffee increases LDL cholesterol levels is convincing,” he says, referring to the “bad” type of cholesterol. “But it’s the mortality studies that count the most,” he says.

One study suggests mortality benefits at up to six cups of coffee a day, Dr. Johnson says. Another suggested mortality risks in people under 55 who drink more than four cups a day. As a result, “I would be hesitant to say that we’ve reached any final answer,” he says.

Current research into depression has looked closely at glutamate, one of the neurotransmitters affected by caffeine, Dr. Johnson says. “In a recent study, those who drank two to four cups of caffeinated coffee had fewer depressive symptoms, and the opposite was true for those who lowered their intake,” he says. That doesn’t mean depressed patients would benefit from a steady diet of triple lattes. “If a patient is depressed and predisposed to panic attacks, for example, caffeine might make the condition worse,” he says.

The most convincing evidence indicates you’re probably not at risk for major side effects if you consume up to about four 8-ounce cups of filtered coffee, or around 400mg, early in the day, Dr. Johnson says. “If you’re drinking under four cups a day and not having any side effects, then you’re probably OK,” he says.

Source: Coffee & Bean (Part of the TwinStar Media Network)

Marijuana Industry Could Be Worth $35 Billion In 2020, If All States And Feds Legalize It

If all 50 states legalized marijuana and the federal government ended prohibition of the plant, the marijuana industry in the United States would be worth $35 billion just six years from now.

That’s according to a new report from GreenWave Advisors, a research and advisory firm that serves the emerging marijuana industry in the U.S., which found that if all 50 states and the federal government legalized cannabis, combined sales for both medical and retail marijuana could balloon to $35 billion a year by 2020.

If the federal government doesn’t end prohibition and the trajectory of state legalization continues on its current path, with more, but not all, states legalizing marijuana in some form, the industry in 2020 would still be worth $21 billion, GreenWave projects.

In its $21 billion 2020 model, GreenWave predicts 12 states plus the District of Columbia to have legalized recreational marijuana (besides Colorado and Washington, which legalized it in 2012). Those states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to data GreenWave provided to The Huffington Post from the full report. By that same year, the model assumes, 37 states will have legalized medical marijuana. To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use.

“Our road map for the progression of states to legalize is very detailed –- our assumptions are largely predicated on whether a particular state has legislation in progress,” Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner of GreenWave as well as author of the report, told HuffPost. “We assume that once legalization occurs, it will take a little over a year to implement a program and have product available for sale. So for example, for Florida, we expect the ballot measure to pass [this year] yet our sales forecast starts in year 2016. We think the time frame will lessen as new states to legalize will benefit from best practices.”

As Karnes noted, some of these states are already considering legalization this November — voters in Oregon, Alaska and D.C. are considering measures to legalize recreational marijuana, while Florida voters will weigh in on medical marijuana legalization.

GreenWave isn’t the first group to suggest the federal government may end its decadeslong prohibition of marijuana. One congressman has even predicted that before the end of the decade, the federal government will legalize weed. And as outlandish as it may sound, it’s already possible to observe significant shifts in federal policy toward pot.

The federal government allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s historic marijuana laws to take effect last year. President Barack Obama signed the 2014 farm bill, which legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in the states that permit it, and the first hemp crops in U.S. soil in decades are already growing. And in May, the U.S. House passed measures attempting to limit Drug Enforcement Administration crackdowns on medical marijuana shops when they’re legal in a state.

The GreenWave report also projects a substantial shift in the marijuana marketplace — the merging of the medical and recreational markets in states that have both.

“In the state of Colorado, we are beginning to see the sales impact — i.e., cannibalization of medical marijuana sales by the adult-use market — when the two markets co-exist,” Karnes said. “We expect a similar dynamic to unfold in those states that will implement a dual marijuana market.”

Beginning in July, recreational marijuana sales in Colorado began to outpace medical for the first time, according to state Department of Revenue data.

Karnes writes in the executive summary that just what the marijuana industry will look like in 2020 will largely depend on how the industry is regulated and how it is taxed by that time.

“Since ‘chronic pain’ is the most common ailment among medical marijuana users, it is likely that recreational users can already purchase marijuana without great difficulty in states where medicinal use is legal,” the report reads. “Accordingly, it can be argued that a merged market already exists in medical marijuana states. Less currently popular, but arguably providing more economic stimulus, would be a regulatory regime providing for only adult recreational use.”

Source: Greener Culture (Part of the TwinStar Media Network)

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Ingredients:

  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt And Pepper
  • ¼ cups Thinly Sliced Celery
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cups Hot Sauce
  • 6 ounces, weight Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 6 Taco-sized Corn, Brown Rice, Or Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • ½ Small Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 cup Mild Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Instructions:

  1. Fire up an indoor grill pan or charcoal grill.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a work surface. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat, for 4 minutes on each side, rotating 90 degrees halfway through cooking to get a nice crosshatch. Allow the chicken to rest until cool enough to touch. Finely chop the chicken and add to a mixing bowl along with the celery, coconut oil and hot sauce. Toss to combine and taste for seasoning.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon sea salt. Whisk until smooth.
  4. To assemble the quesadillas, arrange the tortillas on a clean work surface. Slather one side of each with a scant tablespoon of the yogurt sauce. Arrange a thin layer of the chicken mixture on one half of the tortillas. Top with the onions and cheese. Fold the tortillas in half.
    Grill the tortillas until crispy and charred, about 2 minutes per side, rotating 90 degrees halfway through to get a nice crosshatch. Cut in half and serve alongside the remaining yogurt sauce.

Recipe Source: Grilled Magazine (TwinStar Media Network)