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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pot: How Responsible Is ResponsibleOhio?

Ohio investors continue to light up for ResponsibleOhio's proposed constitutional amendment. Some wonder which way the smoke will blow if the plan to legalize marijuana and purchase commercial growing sites makes the ballot and passes. Questions remain unanswered.

"Investors contributed $4 million to each of nine limited liability corporations tied to ResponsibleOhio last year, according to securities offering filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filings list James, ResponsibleOhio consultant Chris Stock and investor James Gould as promoters.

"ResponsibleOhio officials have said they expect to spend more than $20 million to get their constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot and passed by a majority of voters in November.

"ResponsibleOhio's proposed constitutional amendment would establish a legal marijuana industry fueled solely by marijuana grown at 10 sites, which would be owned and operated by investor groups."

(Jackie Borchardt. "$36 million raised for Ohio marijuana legalization proposal.
Plain Dealer Publishing Company. March 03, 2015)

It is reported that ten state-registered limited liability corporations have contributed $1.7 million to Responsiblehio's political action committee before the end of January, according to a campaign finance filing with the Ohio secretary of state. The group had spent $1.3 million at that point, mostly on political consulting from The Strategy Network, run by ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James, and attorneys.

Jackie Borchardt of the Plain Dealer says funneling campaign contributions through LLCs isn't illegal, but it adds another layer of mystery to a plan criticized for its secrecy. She reports Jon Allison of Drug Free Action Alliance said ...

"The almost complete lack of transparency that we've seen from this group makes it hard to comment intelligently on whatever they're trying to accomplish here. When they could come out and explain to the public exactly what they intend to do with these proposed sites and who's going to be involved, they choose instead not to do that."

ResponsibleOhio estimates the industry would reach $2 billion by the fourth year of operations, with $554 million in annual tax revenue for local governments, marijuana research and drug treatment by the fourth year of operation.

Spokesperson Lydia Bolander said changes reducing the tax paid by retail customers from 15 to 5 percent lowers the effective tax rate from between 30 and 35 percent to 22 percent -- lower than the effective rates on recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington state.

And, one Columbus-area investor named by the group, Alan Mooney, speculated a stampede of possible investors in a "green rush" with marijuana business opportunities "beyond your imagination." Mooney said, "Let's hop on this tsunami of money and ride the top of that wave to some enrichment for us."

Mooney told the Daily News he supported legalization in part because of his time serving as a prison minister, saying enforcing marijuana laws are "costly and unjust." Mooney also appears to be an enterprising man of the cloth -- evidently in love with the "green" fabric, an affection he freely professes.

His online video promoting the amendment has been taken down. "Its content was not approved by the campaign, and it is not representative of the numerous other responsible investors who are working to increase safety, create jobs and offer adults the freedom to access marijuana for medical and personal use," Spokesperson Bolander said.

Well ...

Is the ResponsibleOhio plan mainly "responsible" to wealthy investors while concentrating on milking astronomical profits from those recreational toking middle class and poor "independence and liberty" decrying Buckeyes who claim their right to get high on a natural weed? Pulling huge clouds of smoke into Ohio lungs will certainly increase individuals' hospital costs and insurance premiums. Any and all negative consequences of Ohio legalization will most likely be absorbed by those underlings with limited funds.

Investors want huge returns. They employ every method in the book to draw supporters. They don't take a lot of time to consider the fallout of a promising investment opportunity. Their mission, in this case, is to turn the public tide into a flood of approval by concentrating on a campaign spearheaded by vague promises of increasing State coffers, and you can bet they possess significant greed that drives them to invest in order to greatly increase the gold in their own pocketbooks.

Here are a few key takeaways of the proposed amendment:

-The Marijuana Control Commission will oversee the manufacturing, selling, distributing and taxing of marijuana.
-Marijuana will be grown at 10 sites in Ohio to ensure the product is tightly regulated, and tested for safety and potency. These sites must be at least 1,000 feet from a school, public library, church or licensed day care.
-Anyone over 21 who passes a criminal background check can own and operate a store selling marijuana.
-The drug will be taxed at 15 percent. Medical marijuana will be sold at a wholesale price to patients with a doctor recommendation.
-85 percent of the tax revenue will go to municipalities, townships and counties.

Then ...

On February 18, ResponsibleOhio released a revised plan that would allow Ohioans to grow smaller amounts of marijuana at home. This is the proverbial olive branch to other pro-marijuana legalization groups in Ohio. Meanwhile, some wonder if this isn't more rhetoric to cloud the real intent of the issue.

The revised amendment allows adults over age 21 to own up to four flowering plants and possess up to 8 ounces of dried marijuana for personal use -- as long as they first obtain a homegrower's license from a yet-to-be created commission. Homegrown marijuana could not be sold and would have to be kept in an "enclosed, locked space inaccessible to persons under the age of 21." The proposal does not include any regulations regarding where people obtain their homegrown marijuana plants.

A license would cost $50, but all other requirements would be left up to the commission to decide.

Jon Allison, a spokesman for Ohio's Drug-Free Action Alliance, questioned ResponsibleOhio's commitment to helping local governments, which under the amendment, would not be allowed to block construction of the grow facilities and receive less revenue with the group's newly proposed lower retail tax.

"It's a mystery to me how they think they can build trust with Ohio's voters when they're not only playing hide the ball, but they're on their second round of language and who knows if that will stick," Allison said.

(Jackie Borchardt. "ResponsibleOhio adds homegrow, changes grow site in marijuana legalization proposal." Plain Dealer Publishing Company. February 19, 2015)

Now ...

Amassing fortunes and appeasing personal recreational desires represent part of the outcome of legalization. Responsible citizens must also consider the potential of negative physical and mental health outcomes and dangerous work consequences such as loss of productivity and an increase in hazardous conditions. Then, of course, there is the acceptance of the need just to "get high" and the effect of that philosophy on future generations.

America is a unique nation in that comparisons with other cultures hold little value in terms of the country's insatiable appetite for drugs, for pleasure, and for pain relief. No one knows if adding legalization to a current health epidemic will help produce better, more responsible citizens or just put more "fire" on the "fire."

Those is favor of legalizing pot love to speculate how this freedom will solve a million ills -- from finance to pain relief to some kind of liberty to be stoned just like beer drinkers' present freedom to get drunk. A beer ... a pill ... a joint ... where in this mix is moderation and the courage and responsibility to face reality while sober? Children, please don't take up any vice: Your lives will be so much better without doing so. It must be said despite arguments to the contrary.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Suboxone: Effective Opioid Treatment or Merely "Trading Addictions"

The Suboxone debate is typically divided into two strong camps with very different opinions:

(1) The drug is a favored agonist–antagonist used as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support in the effective management of opioid dependence. It is very valuable in such plans, especially since there are not enough addiction treatment centers to help all patients seeking treatment.

(2) The drug is an addictive treatment that amounts to "trading one substance for another." Since it contains a synthetic opiate, it has a street value for abuse. When a person is tapered off Suboxone but does not receive effective help to recover from the need to abuse drugs, he may return to drug abuse later since it does nothing to help a person stop craving the high of opiate abuse.

What Is Suboxone?

Buprenorphine is an opioid, a semi-synthetic derivative of thebaine. It is a mixed agonist–antagonist opioid receptor modulator that is used to treat opioid addiction in higher dosages, to control moderate acute pain in non-opioid-tolerant individuals in lower dosages and to control moderate chronic pain in even smaller doses. Since buprenorphine has the advantage of being a partial antagonist, it also negates the potential for life-threatening respiratory depression in cases of abuse.

And then enters Suboxone ...

In October 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States approved Suboxone for detoxification and long-term replacement therapy in opioid dependency. The drug is now used predominantly for this purpose -- in the treatment of those addicted to opioids, such as heroin and oxycodone.

Suboxone, a controlled substance, contains both buprenorphine (an opioid) and naloxone (blocks the effects of opiates) to deter the use of the substance by intravenous injection. Controlled trials in human subjects suggest that buprenorphine and naloxone at a 4:1 ratio will produce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if taken intravenously by people who are addicted to opioids.

In addition to the form of a sublingual tablet, Suboxone is now marketed in the form of a sublingual film. The makers of Suboxone, Reckitt Benckiser, claim that the film has some advantages over the traditional tablet in that it dissolves faster and, unlike the tablet, adheres to the oral mucosa under the tongue, preventing it from being swallowed or falling out.

Also, patients favor its taste over the tablet, stating that "more than 71% of patients scored the taste as neutral or better"; that each film strip is individually wrapped in a compact unit-dose pouch that is child-resistant and easy to carry and that it is clinically interchangeable with the Suboxone tablet and can also be dosed once daily.

Reckitt Benckiser also states that the film discourages misuse and abuse, as the paper-thin film is more difficult to crush and snort. Also, a 10-digit code is printed on each pouch which helps facilitate medication counts and therefore serves to deter diversion into the illegal drug market

How Suboxone "Works"

Buprenorphine blocks the euphoric effects of drugs like heroin by binding to the same opiate receptors in the brain used by heroin. Thus, people who use buprenorphine are not able to get a "high" from their original drug of choice (heroin, morphine, OxyContin, etc.).

Furthermore, although buprenorphind and depression are not clinically related, brain chemicals affect mood. So buprenorphine can make people feel better as they detox from opiate addiction.

The idea behind adding naloxone to Suboxone is to create a drug that is less likely to be abused. In fact, the 4:1 ratio of buprenorphine to naloxone in Suboxone helps create a “ceiling effect” without producing significant signs of withdrawal after long periods of taking the drug. To explain this another way, at moderate doses, the euphoric effects of buprenorphine reach a plateau and no longer continue to increase with higher doses, known as the “ceiling effect.”

As an added effect, high doses of Suboxone can cause withdrawal symptoms. Thus, buprenorphine carries a lower risk of abuse, addiction, and side effects compared to full opioid agonists. Therefore, the DEA currently rates Suboxone as a Schedule III drug, having relatively low abuse and addiction potential.

Getting "High" on Suboxone

Because one of the main ingredients in Suboxone (buprenorphine) is an opioid, it can produce side effects such as euphoria. And, even though the maximum effects of buprenorphine are less than those of full agonists like heroin and methadone, drug abusers have learned to get high on Suboxone. How? By crushing the sublingual tablets and either snorting or injecting the extract, which gives an effect similar to equivalent doses of morphine or heroin.

People who choose to abuse Suboxone are likely to have abused opiates over a long period of time. They may simply abuse Suboxone as a way of preventing withdrawal symptoms from heroin or other opiate addiction, or they may wish to get high or simply be curious about the effect of the drug, based on surveys done in 2006.

If buprenorphine and methadone are abused together, the effects of both drugs are enhanced. This is another reason the buprenorphine contained in Suboxone may be attractive to people currently using methadone, inhibiting methadone maintenance effectiveness.

Some people may abuse buprenorphine in conjunction with even other substances to increase the effects. This can be dangerous. These substances include benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, sleeping pills such as Ambien, alcohol, tranquilizers, other opiate medications and some antidepressants.

Combining these drugs could cause extreme sedation and drowsiness, unconsciousness and death. This is especially true if patients use injection as their method of administration. The misuse of buprenorphine medications, especially when combined with benzodiazepines and other central nervous system depressants, can lead to respiratory depression and death.

Since the Suboxone formulation still has potential to produce an opioid agonist "high" if injected by non-dependent persons, this may provide some explanation to street reports indicating that the naloxone is an insufficient deterrent to injection of suboxone.

Is Suboxone addictive?

Federal regulators now acknowledge that some users seem to be injecting the crushed tablets to get high, so there exists a thriving street market for the drug. They conclude certain doctors seem to be prescribing the drugs outside of the bounds of good medical practices.

When taken other than prescribed (crushed, snorted or injected), a person may become addicted to Suboxone. However, the naloxone contained in Suboxone guards against abuse. The opiate antagonist does nothing when the drugs are taken as directed, but should a user crush and snort or inject the medication, it blocks the effects of the buprenorphine - and, in fact, sends the user into immediate withdrawal sickness while reversing the effects of the high, requiring medical help.

Deaths have been reported in 2009 and 2010 of a father and son in Maine, two young adults in Milwaukee, a Maryland teen and a Wisconsin prison inmate, all as a result of mixing this drug with alcohol or other drugs.

The Bottom Line

Almost any drug can be abused. For example, we could discuss the harmful effects of alcohol and the devastating statistics of its abuse. Alcohol is responsible in the world for 1.8 million deaths and results in disability in approximately 58.3 million people. And then, of course, there is naltrexone (Vivitrol), developed for treatment of alcohol dependence and now also used for opioid addiction. Some people even oppose the administration of Vivitrol, an expensive drug that runs about $1,100 a month, for the treatment of these addictions.

(M.T. Moreira, L.A. Smith, et al. (2009). "Social norms interventions to reduce alcohol misuse in university or college students." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009)

The key issue for treatment centers using Suboxone is the exacting monitoring of their patients. That has be so tough considering different lengths of treatment, proper effective doses, tolerance levels, and many other variables. That said, addicts will continually find new ways to abuse drugs, even those substances employed in detoxification and in long-term replacement therapy.

Just consider ...

* Without Suboxone, heroin addicts and prescription opioid addicts will continue to find their products on the street.

* Some who legally take Suboxone will still get high -- by abusing it or by mixing it in deadly cocktails with other substances.

* Others who are prescribed Suboxone will even sell it -- drug dealers sell any substance to make money. But, buyers will include addicts who are unable to get into a treatment center or people who purchase the substance to keep from experiencing withdrawal from not being able to attain illegal opiates.

When considered against the reality of having heroin addicts in our communities ...

who steal to finance their addictions,
who commit violent crimes while high, 
who recklessly drive their autos while under the influence,
who ignore the proper care of their children and other loved ones,
who lose job after job until they settle for living on welfare for the rest of their lives, and
who ultimately influence the next generation of addicts,

the proper administration of Suboxone that includes counseling and psychosocial support in the effective management of opioid dependence gets my approval.

No treatment is perfect, and I realize everyone has their own reasons for either supporting the use of Suboxone or for wishing it were never formulated. And, that choice is the prerogative of all citizens who must live with the effects of a crippling drug epidemic. My only hope is that thorough research and study of the use of Suboxone leads people to a learned opinion, not a view based on hearsay and the inevitable examples of times when the drug didn't work as prescribed.

Isn't it our duty and our responsibility to be receptive to methods that change the overall sad state of affairs we find ourselves currently enduring? No perfect answer to opioid addiction exists. Maybe it is on the far horizon somewhere over the rainbow, but until we find better answers, we must work to save every life we can. That is a mighty tall order, but a challenge we must be willing to accept.

Sources Include:

Laura McNicholas. "Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction." Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 40.  US Department of Health and Human Services.
E.C. Strain, K. Stoller, S.L. Walsh SL. G.E. Bigelow. "Effects of buprenorphine versus buprenorphine/naloxone tablets in non-dependent opioid abusers". Psychopharmacology 148 (4) 2000.
Narconon International

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sex Trafficking Case in Athens County

Human Trafficking takes the form of many faces. Labor exploitation, bonded labor, involuntary servitude, and child sex trafficking occur in the United States. Trafficking crimes can be conducted by large-scale operations or by individuals.

Sex trafficking is so offensive. As many as two million children are lured, sold, or kidnapped for the purpose of sexual exploitation in hotels, night clubs, brothels, massage parlors, private residences, on sex tours, and online services. Sex trafficking has devastating consequences for minors, including long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possible death.

Read one story from 2014 that involved Athens County, Ohio, residents ...
An Athens County woman was sentenced for using a 16-year-old girl as a prostitute in exchange for money and drugs. Aileen M. Mays had been facing three indictments, with charges of compelling prostitution, trafficking in persons, aggravated drug possession and theft.

The prostitution and trafficking charges stemmed from an incident late last year in which she allegedly took money and drugs from a 69-year-old Athens man, who is a convicted sex offender, in exchange for a 16-year-old (and Mays herself, apparently) having sex with the man, Fred W. Kittle, Sr. The other charges stemmed from alleged shoplifting and being caught with prescription pills in her possession.
According to the Athens County Prosecutor's Office, Aileen Mays, age 27, the mother of two young girls, was sentenced to five years in prison for compelling prostitution.

Mays allegedly made arrangements for the 16-year-old female to have sex with this Kittle. She is said to have received "drugs and/or money" in exchange for the girl performing sex acts with him. At the time, Kittle was already a registered sex offender in Athens County, according to the sheriff's office. He was convicted of attempted rape in 1996.

In an exclusive interview with NBC4's Denise Alex-Bouzounis, Mays said she and the teen girl, who lived with her, walked to the home of Kittle on Rock Point Road to borrow money to buy drugs.

There, she says "she saw the 69-year-old man have sex with the 16-year-old girl."

"She never said 'no.' She never said 'stop.' I didn't force her. I never asked her. He did," said Mays.

But, Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said Mays apparently went to Kittle's home intending to rob him, but somehow ended up instead selling him sex in exchange for money and drugs. Kittle supposedly had sex once with Mays, and twice with the 16-year-old girl.
Blackburn said Mays "clearly has a drug problem," which helped lead to the criminal charges.

(Denise Yost. "Athens County Woman Sentenced To 5 Years For Using Teen As Prostitute." March 19, 2014)

Upon her release from prison, Mays will be subject to five years of mandatory post release control.

The 16-year-old girl has been placed in custody of children services.

In a plea agreement with the Athens County Prosecutor's Office, Fred Kittle pleaded guilty to one count of importuning. Judge L. Alan Goldsberry sentenced Kittle to the mandatory one-year prison term with five years post-release control and registration as a Tier I sex offender.

The complications of this trafficking make me sick at my stomach. Mays and Kittle conspired to ruin the life of an innocent young girl. After using her, they had no apparent remorse. I'm sure some will say, "A 16 year-old who consented to having sex in such circumstances deserves what she gets. After all, drugs and possibly robbery were involved." And, that kind of talk makes me violently ill.

Kittle's sentence of a one year prison term is particularly disturbing. How can a convicted sex offender -- one still openly preying upon children with lures of illegal drugs for sex -- receive such a slight sentence? I think the judgment must reflect the sad fact that a prevalent belief in society is that a teen who is physically able to have sex is understood to have sufficient thinking skills to resist evil sexual predators. This just is not so -- the consent (even if it is, indeed, that on the part of the minor) has been carefully manipulated by adults.

Young girls need maximum protection from those involved in trafficking and sex crimes. They are vulnerable victims at great risks to criminals like Mays and Kittle.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"The Hope and Terror of the Gospel" by Pastor Gary Chaffins

Pastor Gary Chaffins is a friend who stands firmly behind his beliefs. Gary and I have talked about concerns and patterns in our community. A gracious, patient man, I have learned to listen carefully to the pastor's words. We enjoy speaking freely about many subjects as they relate to a Christian's life, and I value his friendship and his advice so much.

Gary messaged me recently about a poem he had writen. He said, "I hope you sense the heart behind it. Please feel free to use it on your blog if you find it beneficial to your audience." Well, I do find it very beneficial. I want to share that poem with you today.

Gary Chaffins, is co-pastor at The Grace Community Church at Bigelow in Portsmouth, Ohio. Gary tells us he has a beautiful wife, two rotten kids, a big-white dog, and he carries a large NASB (New American Standard Bible).

Here is the verse:

The Hope and Terror of the Gospel
The Gospel, the message of hope.
Come, be washed by His cleansing soap.
His death, burial and resurrection
Made ours by His sovereign election.
From dead in sin, to born again.
Once the enemy, now made a friend.
Gracious forgiveness, life everlasting.
Justified freely, no more blame-casting.
The Gospel, the message of terror
In unbelief, you’re the sin bearer.
The result of His Holiness, justice and wrath
Made yours by the sin of your path.
In darkness you live, you smile and you laugh
Your days are passing away like windblown chaff.
Angry with the wicked, He is everyday.
His all-consuming fire will be yours to pay.
Will you turn, repent and confess?
Be washed clean, in His righteous dress.
Terror or Hope, which will you choose?
The responsibility is on you, you’ll have no excuse.
Whoever believes in the Son, eternal life He gains
Whoever does not, on him, the wrath of God remains.

--Gary Chaffins

The poet's use of opposition is clear in direct distinction between two choices: the eternal life versus the wrath of God. Gary does not mince words when he asks: "Will you turn, repent and confess?" We, in the human condition, are all sinners, and Gary reminds us that the "cleansing soap" available to all was provided through "a sovereign election" by Jesus's "death, burial and resurrection."

I cannot read these lines without thinking about the second verse of the Christian hymn "Amazing Grace."

"T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed."

The incredible message is that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of the sins we have committed and that our souls can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God. Yes, this is simply divine "Amazing" grace. 

Of course, being wretched is a terrible obstacle to attaining the grace of God -- today people must overcome so many physical, social, and spiritual obstacles that many lose faith as they follow unfulfilled pathways. 

According to Steve Turner, author of Amazing Grace: The Story of America's Most Beloved Song, when John Newton composed "Amazing Grace" in 1772, and put the internal rhyme "amazing grace" together, it wasn't purely for poetic reasons. Newton understood grace to mean God's unmerited favor to lost souls. Turner says it was a meaning Newton -- with his sordid history and personal tale of redemption -- could take to heart. He had been a slave trader full of wretchedness until ...

In 1747, as captain of the "Greyhound, a Liverpool ship on its homeward journey, Newton found himself and his vessel overtaken by an enormous storm. Newton then recalled a passage in Proverbs: "Because I have called and ye have refused, … I also will laugh at your calamity."

He converted during the storm, though Newton admitted later, "I cannot consider myself to have been a believer, in the full sense of the word."

Newton then served as a mate and then as captain of a number of slave ships, hoping as a Christian to restrain the worst excesses of the slave trade, "promoting the life of God in the soul" of both his crew and his African cargo.

After leaving the sea for an office job in 1755, Newton held Bible studies in his Liverpool home. Influenced by both the Wesleys and George Whitefield, he adopted mild Calvinist views and became increasingly disgusted with the slave trade and his role in it. He quit, was ordained into the Anglican ministry, and in 1764 took a parish in Olney in Buckinghamshire. His life became true to the gospel. 

In 1787 Newton wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade to help William Wilberforce's campaign to end the practice—"a business at which my heart now shudders," he wrote. Recollection of that chapter in his life never left him, and in his old age, when it was suggested that the increasingly feeble Newton retire, he replied, "I cannot stop. What? Shall the old African blasphemer stop while he can speak?"

("John Newton: Reformed Slave Trader. August 08, 2008)

Gary Chaffins reminds us of choices: terror or hope? We, vulnerable in a raging storm, must submit to the will of our maker. Only then will our imperfections be taken away as we believe in the Son. It's a wonderful promise for redemption, and everyone must face the fork in their lives where the decision is clearly up to them: Hope or Terror in the Gospel.

I want to thank Gary for his beautiful poem. He is a wonderful friend. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Legalization of Marijuana in Ohio: Fight for Profits

We can never learn too much about controversial issues, especially those that stir our emotions and awaken our bias. It seems the more I read about the attempts to legalize marijuana in Ohio, the more I feel I need to consider the logic and the motives behind the proposition. What seems to be a humanitarian move may be much, much more.

ResponsibleOhio's amendment to the Ohio Constitution would legalize pot for medical use (with proper certification by the person's doctor) and personal use in amounts of an ounce or less by people 21 and over.

The most controversial aspect of the ResponsibleOhio amendment is that it tightly regulates who can grow and sell marijuana, as well as conduct research on it, and hands over the keys to 10 Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction facilities across the state to wealthy investors.

ResponsibleOhio just recently released the names of key investors. The investors, along with other supporters, are members of the investment groups that will own and operate the 10 marijuana grow sites to be specified in the group's proposed constitutional amendment.

While Ian James, ResponsibleOhio's executive director, said in a press release, "The campaign is honored to have such well-respected businesswomen and men, as well as patient advocates supporting our effort to offer a common-sense solution to Ohio's failed drug policies," I wonder what part huge profits play in the mix.

The ResponsibleOhio plan would create a system where marijuana would be grown at only 10 locations and then sold to manufacturers to turn into candies and other products or consumers at retail shops and medical dispensaries. The proposal does not change Ohio's laws against individuals growing marijuana, either for sale or personal use, which marijuana advocates have criticized.

Here is a list of investors:
  • Oscar "The Big O" Robertson, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member, played for the Cincinnati Royals
  • Frostee Rucker, defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals, formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns
  • Nanette Lepore, fashion designer born in Youngstown
  • Rick Kirk, Columbus-area real estate developer
  • Frank Wood, CEO of Secret Communications, a radio company turned venture capital firm
  • Barbara Gould, Cincinnati philanthropist
  • Sir Alan Mooney, an investor and board member of the Ohio Council of Churches
  • William Foster, entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • William "Cheney" Pruett, president and CEO of DMP Investments, which specializes in providing products and consultative services in the area of consumer finance
  • John Humphrey, Chief Financial Officer of DMP Investments
  • Bobby George, real estate developer
ResponsibleOhio's scheme would tax marijuana at 15 percent from grower to manufacturer to retail store, with revenues funding public services in counties, townships and municipalities.

All five elected constitutional officers including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Treasurer Josh Mandel have opposed the plan, which they said would wrongly grant a constitutional monopoly on the marijuana industry in Ohio. And, of course, ResponsibleOhio has pushed back on these claims, noting the system allows thousands of entrepreneurs to manufacture marijuana products or sell the drug in stores and medical dispensaries.

ResponsibleOhio has yet to submit the actual language of its proposed constitutional amendment to the attorney general. Once the ballot language is cleared, the group will have until July 1 to collect more than 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters to put the issue on the November ballot.

At least three other plans are in the works to legalize marijuana use that do not limit where cannabis can be grown.

(Jackie Borchardt. "Ohio marijuana legalization investors include Frostee Rucker,
Oscar Robertson." January 30, 2015)

A leader in opposing efforts by ResponsibleOhio and a supporter of a competing amendment effort is Don Wirtshafter, an Athens area lawyer who has been involved in national cannabis legalization efforts for 40 years. He serves on the five-member committee representing petitioners for the Ohio Cannabis Right Amendment, which is already circulating petitions for a vote next November.

Although Wirtshafter has made it clear that he's not an official spokesperson for the Ohio Rights Group, he, when asked about James' plan, responded: "If ResponsibleOhio's amendment gets on the ballot, I would feel a responsibility to campaign against it, strongly. Nothing in it is geared toward what I would like to see in a reform of our laws. This is going in the wrong direction, locking up the plant rather than setting it free. We're trying to free the plant; they're trying to make it expensive."

James, asked about critics of ResponsibleOhio's planned petition drive, said: "What Don Wirtshafter wants is for hundreds of thousands of people across the state to grow (marijuana), unregulated. With it impossible to regulate, and without the funding to regulate it, Ohio will become the wild west of weed. Ohio voters flat out do not support that."

The proposed amendment by ResponsibleOhio lists 10 counties where "growing sites" for marijuana would be located. The counties are Butler, Clermont and Hamilton (all in the Cincinnati metro area), Licking and Franklin counties (Columbus metro area), Lucas (Toledo), Summit (Akron), Stark (Canton), Montgomery (Dayton-Springfield) and Lorain (Cleveland metro area).

Four other our proposed research sites -- called Marijuana Testing, Research and Development Facilities -- would be located in Lorain, Mahoning, Scioto and Wood counties -- all of which have colleges or universities -- in order, Oberlin, Youngstown State, Shawnee State and Bowling Green State University.

James noted having a Testing, Research and Development facility means the sites will be getting "white lab coat" jobs to test potency, chemical compounds of marijuana grown in the state of Ohio, as well as providing necessary research and development on strains of plants, and medical uses derived from the strains.

And, under the proposal, the Testing Facilities could "own and operate their own retail stores and manufacturing facilities as well as work within the emerging post-prohibition marijuana industry created by this Amendment."

Finally, James made the pitch that taxes generated from marijuana sales will be distributed back to each county, along with municipalities and townships, on a per capita basis. "That's new money for roads, bridges, economic development as well as safety services - all paid for through tight regulation and taxation of marijuana in a post-prohibition Ohio."

On the other hand, Wirtshafter explained that the Ohio Rights Group is focused on medical marijuana because "we think it's important to set down the rights of medical patients before those motivate for the big bucks come in with monopoly moves and roll over those people who need the herb for medicine."

"This is why the ORG petition all of a sudden is looking really good," he continued. "Medical initiatives are getting passé to the funders of these initiatives. But a real medical initiative to oppose the ResponsibleOhio publicity machine makes a lot of sense."

He repeatedly condemned the ResonsibleOhio amendment as something that's bad for the state and marijuana reform. "I think it's extremely divisive and clearly a monopoly power grab… It's exactly the opposite of what I want. The whole idea - calling these 'investors' - putting up something and placing it in the Ohio Constitution is repugnant to me."

(Terry Smith. "Pot players have Athens roots." The Athens News. February 11, 2015)

My Take

Legalization of marijuana in Ohio? Different motives for consumption, for growth, and for huge profits are pushing proponents in many directions. Make no mistake no matter the direction of any group supporting legalization, their self-interest is full of dollar signs and speculation of control. It is so with any consumable substance in America.

My guess is that the rich will get richer while the poor will remain exploited, no matter the outcome of the frenzied efforts to legalize weed. It is unfortunate because some real medical advantage may be buried deep in an amendment. Yet, the public pays exorbitant prices for drugs now, and why should anyone needing the possible medicinal benefits of cannabis expect anything new? Money and greed are part of the equation for any pain-relieving substance.

The cries of growing marijuana in the name of freedom and liberty are old, old battle cries of those who really just want to get high. In the recent drive for support of legislation, marijuana legalization is being touted as being so beneficial for health and for economic reasons when, in truth, most proponents merely want to employ a vehicle of pleasure and escape without being arrested or fined.

Let's be brutally realistic. Who will be spending all the money to indulge? My guess is mainly those who can ill afford the habit. Why? Profiteers care little about the true costs to the society or the true costs to the poor people who seek escape. The weed is a cash crop backed by wealthy individuals looking for more fortune. Whether the FDA, the state government, legalization groups, or private investors control the market, no one really expects great advantage for those who may need medical help -- any such help will come with a large price tag.

In the world of democratic pain killers, more is the key word. Damn it, people everywhere in Ohio are smoking pot now with very little risk. Here is Ohio law:

Possession of up to 100 grams (or up to five grams hashish) -- Ohio has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Violations are considered minor misdemeanors, which incur a $150 fine but no jail time, and do not become part of the defendant’s criminal record

Cultivation and sale of up to 20 grams without payment -- Like possession of small amounts of marijuana, Ohio has decriminalized giving someone up to 20 grams of marijuana. Violations are considered minor misdemeanors, which incur a $150 fine but no jail time, and do not become part of the defendant’s criminal record.

Trafficking of up to 200 grams (or up to ten grams hashish) -- Penalties include a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both.

Thinking about all of the fallout from any state legalization, perhaps it would be better to forget about passing any bill in the State of Ohio and waiting on Federal legislation that would allow medicinal manufacture in all fifty of the United States. Those who want to smoke to get high are doing it now, and maybe now they are doing so cheaper than with proposed legislation. Meanwhile, lots of people here in Ohio are busy blowing cannabis smoke up voters' asses. Be careful not to get the fabled "contact buzz" in the fog.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Legalization? Growing and Consuming Weed in Ohio

With efforts like that of the pro-pot group ResponsibleOhio, legalization of marijuana is a hot topic in the Buckeye State. ResponsibleOhio is currently lobbying to allow adults age 21 and older to grow marijuana at home in a revised proposal to legalize the drug in Ohio for personal and medical use.

The group is pushing for retail customers to pay 5 percent tax on pot and edible pot products instead of the previously proposed rate of 15 percent.
"After extensive conversations with experts and concerned citizens across the state and nation, ResponsibleOhio has decided to include regulated and limited home growing as a part of our amendment," ResponsibleOhio Spokesperson Lydia Bolander said in a press release.

"Combined with a lower tax rate for consumers, these changes will make our communities safer by smothering the black market," she claimed.

Bolander said the revised amendment will follow Oregon's model, which allows adults over age 21 to obtain a license to grow up to four marijuana plants in a secure space.

If certified by the attorney general and deemed a single issue by the Ohio Ballot Board, petitioners must then collect more than 305,591 valid signatures by July 1 for the issue to appear on the November ballot.

(Jackie Borchardt. "ResponsibleOhio to revise marijuana legalization proposal to allow home grow." Plain Dealer Publishing. February 17, 2015)

Proponents of legalization in Ohio are pointing towards states like Colorado and Washington, where marijuana has been legalized to exhort positive data about the impact of legalized, recreational marijuana.

But, Ohio citizens must remember the short history of such data as they read about the effects of legalization on public health, public safety, traffic safety, crime, and enforcement. The whole story is yet to come, and over time, we will have a better idea about the impact of legalized, recreational marijuana on key societal indicators.

Legalization has become a highly emotional, polarized issue, and people are prone to consider only data that agrees with their stand, which often is not based on solid, unbiased, empirical data collected over a sufficient period of time.

One certainty is that legalization will not stop criminal activity involving the substance or any other substance offering a quick "high." The black market crime will continue. Jason Tama, reporter and federal executive fellow of The Brookings Institution writes ...

"Assuming state-by-state commercial legalization continues, illicit marijuana markets will persist until legal and black market prices converge and interstate arbitrage opportunities disappear. Neither of these outcomes is likely in the near-term.

"States face the very difficult task of managing consumption levels via unique regulatory regimes that promote scarcity, while simultaneously trying to price out illicit suppliers. Further, with no regulatory harmonization among states – and no credible movement to legalize federally – interstate arbitrage opportunities persist and are ripe for exploitation by illicit traffickers.

"This is not necessarily an argument against experimenting with legalization, but rather an acknowledgement of market dynamics and the agility of modern criminal networks. The good news is marijuana traffickers should face shrinking profit margins in commercially regulated states that progress toward competitive pricing....

"Let’s also acknowledge that well-established illicit economies have staying power. If marijuana legalization sufficiently erodes market share for transnational criminal networks, they will migrate toward more profitable segments of the illicit market, not just drop out, and will continue to threaten stability in the Western Hemisphere. 

"For example, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines continue to cross our borders via robust networks, and in most cases, cocaine being the exception, consumption in the United States is on the rise."

(Jason Tama. "Despite Push to Legalize, 'War on Drugs' Still Matters."
Brookings. January 29, 2015) 

Drug cartels and drug dealers are in the business of addicting clients and making profits, not caring one iota about ill effects on society. If they can't make sufficient money on marijuana, they certainly will increase their efforts to sell other, more potent and dangerous illicit substances. There is no guarantee that legalization of marijuana will decrease the terrible toll of drug addiction. That, at the time, is mere speculation.

Some Ohioans choose to look at legalization as an economic issue, not a health concern. They claim the great benefits of taxing marijuana will improve state government. NBC News reports (January 2, 2014) on the first day of legal weed sales in Colorado retailers were selling top-shelf marijuana to recreational users at prices close to $400 per ounce, not including taxes. For comparison, medical marijuana users, who’ve been able to buy weed from Colorado dispensaries since 2010, were currently paying around $250 an ounce plus taxes.

And taxes? Prices were also increased by the new 25 percent tax -- 15 percent excise and 10 percent sales -- on all marijuana purchases in the state that voters approved, along with any other local jurisdictional taxes on top of that. Marijuana sales were expected to generate nearly $70 million in tax revenue annually for Colorado.

But, by the way, the 2014 figures are in, and recreational pot reportedly took in only $44 million, a figure lower than what was first predicted. "Everyone who thinks Colorado's rollin' in the dough because of marijuana? That's not true," said state Senator Pat Steadman, a Denver Democrat and one of the legislature's main budget-writers.

So, if you are arguing for legalization and increased revenue for Ohio, consider that the legitimate industry in Colorado may already be forced to slash taxes considering high prices and that consumption is not going to inflate state coffers.

Also, long-term tax money may further decline with decreased usage. One study's authors foresee a decline in the rate of growth of consumption as the ‘wow’ factor erodes over time, and any marijuana tourism begins to decline, particularly as other states follow Colorado and Washington and legalize marijuana.

Analysts for Time magazine (Brad Tuttle reporting May 20, 2013) did some speculative research and assumed each pot enthusiast in Colorado would smoke or otherwise use 3.53 oz. (100 g) of marijuana annually, for a total of 2,268,985 oz. (about 64,320 kg) per year. (That seems like pretty low consumption to me, by the way.)

(I wonder in Ohio how much welfare money designated for serious needs -- food, shelter, childcare -- would go towards buying legalized pot?)

Even if the retail price settled to $185 per oz. -- the total comes to $653 annually average per person spent on pot. An addiction to cigarettes is far more costly than that according to health officials, so much more tax money would be generated by encouraging people to smoke.

I know I'm being horribly facetious, but if money is your big argument for legalization of marijuana, the direction is clear. Tobacco, not marijuana, is what you want to see wrapped in the papers. Smoking a pack a day at $7 a pack will leave you $2,555 lighter in the wallet per year.

Governor Kasich has proposed increasing Ohio's cigarette tax from $1.25 to $1.85 per pack, more than double the tax on cigars and other tobacco products, and imposing the other tobacco product tax on electronic cigarettes over two years. Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols confirmed the governor will propose at least the same amount -- if not more -- this year.

Last year's proposed increases would have generated an estimated $635 million in additional revenue over two years, according to the Legislative Service Commission, which would have partially offset income tax cuts. And, believe it or not, Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio, said a $1-per-pack increase would cause an estimated 73,100 adult smokers to quit, prevent 65,000 youth from becoming smokers, and prevent 40,100 future deaths from smoking.

(Jacki Borchardt. "Cigarette tax increase to be proposed in Gov. John Kasich's state budget, reopening debate." Plain Dealer Publishing. January 30, 2015)

Here is the real "cost effective" question Ohio residents should consider about the legalization of marijuana: "Will the costs from health and mental wellness problems, accidents, and damage to the economic productivity far outstrip any tax obtained?"

Tama points out another problem to consider is that as more states legalize marijuana, the federal government’s continued prohibition posture will become increasingly problematic in the foreign policy arena, especially in Western Hemisphere nations with a history of supporting the fight against drugs.

How will these countries respond to the perceived softening in America? Tama believes the United States must be ready for difficult dialogue here, including acknowledging the historic costs borne by partner nations in the fight against illicit marijuana. Keeping the focus on criminal networks vice a specific commodity will be critical to sustaining productive engagement.

(Jason Tama. "Despite Push to Legalize, 'War on Drugs' Still Matters."
Brookings. January 29, 2015)

Finally, for a more opinionated approach, read what U.S. News and World Report contributor David Evans, special adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation, speculates about marijuana legalization ...

"Increased marijuana use will mean millions more damaged young people. Marijuana use can permanently impair brain development. Problem solving, concentration, motivation, and memory are negatively affected. Teens who use marijuana are more likely to engage in delinquent and dangerous behavior, and experience increased risk of schizophrenia and depression, including being three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Marijuana-using teens are more likely to have multiple sexual partners and engage in unsafe sex."

(David G. Evans. "Marijuana Legalization's Costs Outweigh Its Benefits."
U.S. News and World Report. October 30, 2012)
Still more negatives could become reality. Evans believes the following will result if legalization occurs:
* Marijuana use already accounts for tens of thousands of marijuana-related complaints at emergency rooms throughout the United States each year. This number would surely increase.
* Already, 13 percent of high school seniors said they drove after using marijuana while only 10 percent drove after having several drinks. Marijuana legalization means more drugged driving.
* Employees who test positive for marijuana had 55 percent more industrial accidents and 85 percent more injuries, and they had absenteeism rates 75 percent higher than those that tested negative. Legalization will increase these percentages.

The Bottom Line

Legalization in the Buckeye State is a matter that effects all citizens in Ohio. Merely considering private interests and generated profits is not enough for a proper perspective on the issue. So much false information and half-truths are being touted by people now that a real danger exists for voters to make a premature, emotional decision at the polling places.

I hear the words freedom and liberty being used to secure minds for legalization. Also proponents are quick to talk about increased revenue, decreased crime, and long historical reference to sway emotions of those still undecided. In fact, very little evidence -- sound, sufficient, and 360 degree -- exists to prove anything about what legalization will accomplish.

If legalization is all about getting high and recreational use, it must also be about paying the costs for this hedonistic pleasure and escape. Like alcohol, tobacco, gambling, prostitution, and many other artificial roads to so-called "happiness," the dues will remain, and, I suspect they will be costly. I, personally, am much more inclined to support the medicinal legalization of marijuana first before letting a weed lose in Ohio.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Coffee Drinkers Rejoice: "The Healthy Java"

Doesn't it seem everything we love is bad for our health? Well, I have some good news for coffee lovers like me.

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which makes recommendations to the Food and Drug Administration and other federal agencies, just released a report that points to the health benefits and minimal risks of drinking three to five cups of coffee a day, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

 Here is a brief summary of some findings:

"No previous DGACs have reported on coffee/caffeine consumption and health. Currently, strong evidence shows that consumption of coffee within the moderate range (3 to 5 cups per day or up to 400 mg/d caffeine) is not associated with increased long-term health risks among healthy individuals.

"In fact, consistent evidence indicates that coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in healthy adults. Moreover, moderate evidence shows a protective association between coffee/caffeine intake and risk of Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern, along with other healthful behaviors.

"However, it should be noted that coffee as it is normally consumed can contain added calories from cream, milk, and added sugars. Care should be taken to minimize the amount of calories from added sugars and high-fat dairy or dairy substitutes added to coffee.

"Unfortunately, only limited evidence is currently available to ascertain the safety of high caffeine intake (greater than 400 mg/day for adults and undetermined for children and adolescents), that may occur with rapid consumption of large-sized energy drinks. The limited data suggest adverse health outcomes, such as caffeine toxicity and cardiovascular events. Concern is heightened when caffeine is combined with alcoholic beverages.

"Limited or no consumption of high caffeine drinks, or other products with high amounts of caffeine, is advised for children and adolescents. Energy drinks with high levels of caffeine and alcoholic beverages should not be consumed together, either mixed together or consumed at the same sitting."

("Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee." Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Office
of the Secretary. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of
Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. February 21, 2015)

I can hardly believe my eyes. One of my life's little pleasures seems to be helping control my type 2 diabetes and my heart concerns. This is cause for celebration! The Mayo Clinic reports coffee also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression.

People used to say drinking coffee stunted your growth and even caused heart disease and cancer. Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn't always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time.

When people think of coffee, they usually think of it just as a vehicle for caffeine. But scientists say it’s actually a very complex beverage with hundreds and hundreds of different compounds in it, many of which are health-promoting antioxidants. Since coffee contains so many different compounds, drinking coffee can lead to very diverse health outcomes.

Coffee can be good for some things and bad for some things, and that statement is not necessarily flip-flopping or inconsistent. Few foods are good for everything, and studies are still being conducted on the health effects of coffee. For example, drinking too much caffeinated coffee may raise blood pressure, and there has been quite a bit of controversy over whether high intake of coffee or caffeine may increase the risk of miscarriage. The jury is still out.

And, for my friends with diabetes who have trouble controlling their blood glucose, it may be beneficial for them to try switching from caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee. Making the switch from caffeinated to decaf may be better than quitting coffee altogether, because some research suggests that decaffeinated coffee actually reduces the glucose response.

But if it's brain power you want, researchers at the University of South Florida. Say skip the decaf and go for straight caffeine coffee. Coffee might help protect against Alzheimer’s disease -- as long as it’s the caffeine-loaded kind. The study found that the regular coffee increased the levels of a brain-boosting hormone -- which reduced symptoms of the disease.

This hormone, granulocyte colony stimulating factor, spurs the production of new neurons and creates connections between existing ones, says Gary Arendash, Ph.D., professor at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and co-author of the study. Alzheimer’s patients are known to have low levels of the hormone.

(Andrew Katz. "The Best Coffee for Your Brain." Men's Health. July 12, 2011)       

Here is another caution: for people who have high cholesterol levels or who want to prevent having high cholesterol levels, it is better to choose paper filtered coffee or instant coffee, since they have much lower levels of cafestol, the oily fraction of coffee, than boiled or French press coffee. Espresso is somewhere in the middle; it has less cafestol than boiled or French press coffee, but more than paper filtered coffee.

(Dr. Rob van Dam. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Cited E. Lopez-Garcia E, R.M. van Dam, et al. "The Relationship of Coffee Consumption with Mortality."
Ann Intern Med. 2008: 148) 

What roast of coffee seems to be preferred for its health benefits? There is evidence that dark roast is better. Coffee roasting is actually a very complex art that requires the beans to be brought to high temperatures very quickly, and then cooled off just as fast when the desired roast is reached.

It's often the case that foods with the darkest pigments also offer the most robust benefits to health, and dark roast coffee, such as French Roast or that used to make espresso or Turkish coffee, may be no exception.

New research in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research found that dark roast coffee restored blood levels of the antioxidants vitamin E and glutathione (an important antioxidant) more effectively than light roast coffee. The dark roast also led to a significant body weight reduction in pre-obese volunteers, whereas the light roast did not.

Separate research also showed that dark roast coffee produces more of a chemical called N-methylpyridinium. This chemical is produced during the roasting process, and the darker the roast, the more N-methylpyridinium it contains. Interestingly, this chemical also appears to prevent your stomach cells from producing excess acid, which means dark roast coffee may be easier on the stomach, whereas lighter roasts might give drinkers the acid-like stomach irritation that coffee drinkers sometimes experience.

(C. Kotyczka, U. Boettler, et al. "Dark roast coffee is more effective than light roast coffee in reducing body weight, and in restoring red blood cell vitamin E and glutathione
concentrations in healthy volunteers." Mol Nutr Food Res. October, 2011:55)

So, java drinker, smile, enjoy, and indulge. But, don't take my word for it -- do some research about coffee yourself. If the benefits of drinking coffee outweigh the risks, you too have finally found something that tastes great and can be a beneficial part of your daily diet. Thank you, Lord.

To close, here is another tip or two for coffee lovers ...

* Cinnamon is a tasty herb that mixes particularly well with the flavor of your coffee. Studies show that cinnamon can lower blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetics.

(Alam Khan, MS. PhD. "Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes." American Diabetes Association)

* Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants and associated with all sorts of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease. To add some extra flavor to your coffee, try adding a little organic unsweetened cocoa to your cup.

(Eric L. Ding, et al. "Chocolate and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease:
A Systematic Review. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2006:3)

* Choose organic. Coffee beans are one of the most heavily sprayed crops with pesticides. So, you should select only coffee beans that are certified organic. Remember, you will obliterate ANY positive effects if you consume coffee that's been doused in pesticides or other chemicals.

* Whole Bean: You'll want to purchase whole bean coffee that smells and tastes fresh, not stale; if your coffee does not have a pleasant aroma, it is likely rancid. Grind it yourself to prevent rancidity as pre-ground coffee may be rancid by the time you get it home.

("Mounting Evidence Suggests Coffee May Actually Have Therapeutic Health Benefits." September 16, 2012)