Laws permitting the sale and personal use of recreational marijuana come into force Sunday in Massachusetts and Vermont, respectively.
In Massachusetts, adults 21 and over can legally purchase recreational marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries starting Sunday, July 1, when parts of a pot law approved by voters in November 2016 take effect.
In Vermont, meanwhile, adults can legally posses, use and grow the plant for personal use beginning Sunday because of a first-of-its-kind recreational law passed by the state legislature in January.
Both marijuana laws will take effect as efforts intensify on Capitol Hill to federally decriminalize the plant, potentially removing obstacles affecting the cannabis industry in the swelling number of states where the plant is allowed for either recreational or medicinal purposes.
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. Controlled Substance Act and prohibited under federal law. Most states have passed legislation permitting the plant for medicinal purposes, however, and nine including Massachusetts and Vermont have approved recreational, or “adult use” marijuana laws.
Massachusetts will become the seventh of the nine recreational marijuana states to permit retail sales once dispensaries start operating in accordance with the rules taking effect this weekend, but would-be customers may have to wait another day or longer before purchasing the plant from any legal pot shops: the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission hasn’t authorized any dispensaries to start recreational sales, but will consider issuing its first retail license during its meeting this Monday, July 2, according to its online agenda.
Vermont became the first state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana via its legislature rather than a ballot referendum in 2017, but Gov Phil Scott, a Republican, vetoed the bill over safety concerns, spurring lawmakers to draft a revised version subsequently signed into law in January letting adults possess up to an ounce of cannabis and up to four plants starting Sunday.
Similar aspects of the Massachusetts law letting adults possess, grow and use the plant previously took effect in Dec. 2016.
Legislation proposed Wednesday, meanwhile, would effectively decriminalize the plant at the federal level by removing it from the government’s list of controlled substances.
“The time to decriminalize marijuana is now,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and the bill’s main sponsor. “This legislation is simply the right thing to do, and I am hopeful that the balanced approach it takes can earn bipartisan support in Congress and across the country.”
President Trump said earlier this month that he would “probably” support a separate proposal that would protect states with marijuana laws from federal intervention.
The Washington Times Comment Policy
The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday found that pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc used sham litigation to illegally prevent generic versions of testosterone replacement drug AndroGel from getting to market and ordered the drugmaker and its partner to pay $448 million.
FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the share price for pharmaceutical maker AbbVie on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle in Philadelphia came in an antitrust lawsuit filed in 2014 by the Federal Trade Commission against AbbVie and its partner Besins Healthcare Inc.
The decision followed a non-jury trial that tested the ability of the U.S. regulator to fight efforts by major pharmaceutical companies to prevent the sale of cheaper generic versions of their drugs.
“The FTC has established the actual market reality that defendants possessed monopoly power and illegally and willfully maintained that monopoly power through the filing of sham litigation,” Bartle wrote.
Chicago-based AbbVie did not respond to a request for comment, but it denied the allegations at trial. A lawyer for privately-held Besins had no immediate comment.
The FTC has long fought against so-called “pay for delay” settlements, in which a brand-name drugmaker pays a generic rival to delay releasing a cheaper version of its product in exchange for resolving patent lawsuits.
In its lawsuit, the FTC accused AbbVie and Besins of filing baseless patent infringement lawsuits in 2011 against generic drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Perrigo Company to delay the launch of their generic versions of AndroGel.
The regulator alleged that as part of that effort, AbbVie and Besins entered into a pay-for-delay settlement with Teva, which helped delay generic drug competition.
Bartle in his ruling agreed the lawsuits were baseless and said that absent the litigation and settlement agreements stuck in the cases, Perrigo would have released a generic version of AndroGel in June 2013 rather than December 2014.
The judge ordered the companies to pay $448 million, representing their profits from June 2013 to August 2017.
He apportioned liability between AbbVie and Besins according to their agreed royalty rates. According to the ruling, Besins received 8 percent of U.S. net sales of AndroGel through March 2015, at which point the rate dropped to 5 percent.
The FTC, which had sought $1.35 billion, said the order was the largest award ever in an antitrust case that it litigated in court.
“It sends a clear signal that pharmaceutical companies can’t use baseless litigation to forestall competition from low-cost generics,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement.
Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Richard Chang
Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the UK, primarily because so many people have sedentary lifestyles that include hours hunched over a desk each day.
It is so common that even if you haven’t experienced back trouble, it’s still worth taking steps to ensure that remains the case. For help in that regard we enlisted Alex Clark, physiotherapist at orthopaedic support specialist Neo G, for his advice.
Back pain can either manifest as an acute episode or chronic pain. Most causes of back pain are due to an acute strain of a muscle, ligament or pain from the facet joints in the spine [the ones that allow you to twist and bend]. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent these types of injuries from developing.
What are good ways to prevent back pain?
More of us than ever before are living sedentary lifestyles and spending large portions of the day sitting at a desk, so perfecting your posture from the outset is going to have a big effect on your likelihood of developing back problems.
Review your desk space and office chair first and foremost. Set up your keyboard to be in front of you when you are typing and leave a gap of around 10-15cm between the front of the desk and your keyboard. If there is not enough space between the desk edge and your keyboard then extra pressure can be put on joints and back muscles, which can lead to problems over time.
When it comes to your seated position, try not to slouch because this will increase tension in your muscles and lead to pain. Sit up straight by imagining a piece of string pulling you up from the top of your head, pulling your stomach in and drawing your shoulders back at the same time. Getting into the habit of sitting this way might feel strange at first but it will help prevent problems in the long run.
Does exercise increase or reduce the risk of back pain?
Rest and recovery used to be the usual advice when it came to treating back pain, but these days it’s much more advisable to keep active – prolonged periods of rest actually make pain worse. This is because exercise stretches and strengthens the back muscles, making it less likely that you’ll have flare-ups of pain. Try low-intensity activities such as swimming, walking, yoga and Pilates.
What can you do to prevent and treat back pain yourself?
Alongside regular exercise, strengthening the muscles in your back can be beneficial in preventing problems from developing. Try adding 15 minutes of stretching to your daily routine, using exercises such as a knee-to-chest stretch, a bridge hold and the cat/cow yoga pose to develop back strength.
Back pain can also originate from a weak core, so exercises that strengthen your abdominal muscles will also help prevent back problems. Researchers in Brazil found that after cyclists with lower back pain completed a core-strengthening programme, 44% reported less pain afterwards, so try building planks and other abs exercises into your routine.
If you need to treat back pain, heating pads can help reduce muscle and joint pain or stiffness by improving the blood flow and circulation to the back. Back supports can support and stabilise an injured, weak or arthritic back during sports or other activities.
What symptoms indicate that your back pain is serious enough to see a doctor?
Always see a professional if the pain doesn’t improve after a few weeks or if it’s preventing you from doing your day-to-day activities. The best option is always to see a GP or chartered physiotherapist, who will be able to tailor a treatment plan to you.
For more information about Neo G’s back supports and rehabilitation therapy products visit neo-g.co.uk
Here at Coach we’ve made no secret of our belief that an active commute is just about the best way to fit exercise into even the busiest of lives, because the benefits extend well beyond improving your physical health. By running, walking or cycling to work, you’ll also save yourself some cash and quite possibly some time, as well as arriving at work full of endorphins and ready to win the day.
Those who engage in an active commute this July will also have the chance of winning prizes if they join the Red Bull Million Mile Commute through the fitness app Strava. This is the second year of the initiative, which challenges people all over the world to log their runs and rides to work on Strava with the aim of hitting a cumulative million miles.
In 2017, Red Bull allowed three months for the million miles, but this year it’s just one so it will take as many participants as possible to reach the target. As an extra incentive there will be prizes available based on hitting certain individual distance targets. The first 2,500 people to log one mile will be sent a Red Bull sample pack and hitting longer distance targets will enter you into a draw for more substantial prizes:
Ten miles: limited-edition Strava socks (ten available)
100 miles: limited-edition Red Bull fridge for your office with a year’s supply of the drink (five available)
250 miles: Marin Fairfax SC3 2018 bike provided by Cycle Surgery (one available)
Anyone who picks up a can of Red Bull during the event will also be a winner, because each can will have a 30-day code for free access to Strava premium. Only one code per person will work, so don’t over-caffeinate yourself chugging Red Bull in the hope of nabbing a lifetime supply of premium access.
To take part in the Million Mile Commute, join the Red Bull UK club on Strava and then register for the Million Mile Commute itself. Once that’s done, tag any human-powered trips to the office as commutes on Strava for them to contribute to the overall target. Your other running and cycling doesn’t count, so don’t be tempted to claim that your 150km Sunday ride was actually a commute – no-one is going to be impressed.
Britain’s National Health Service has proposed cutting back on operations including breast reductions and anti-snoring treatments as part of plans to save money and reduce “unnecessary or risky procedures.”
National medical director Stephen Powis said the health agency could save an estimated 200 million pounds ($264 million) a year by tightening the criteria for treatments where the risks could outweigh the benefits.
The list of 17 treatments under consideration to be halted or reduced includes tonsil removals and procedures for carpal tunnel, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Authorities will discuss the proposals next week.
The announcement came as demonstrators marched Saturday in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS and demand an end to funding cuts under the Conservative government.
Protesters carried placards and banners reading “Standing together for the NHS” and “NHS SOS” as they streamed toward Parliament.
Valerie Bossman-Quarshie said she wanted to give the NHS a “really good cheer” as she held a birthday card aloft to be signed by passing protesters.
“They’ve been there for me when I was sick and I just want to be there for them,” she said.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged the marchers to have the “absolute determination that we will go to the end of the earth and beyond to defend our National Health Service.”
Black pepper, once a highly prized spice for which kingdoms fell and men died, originates in India’s Malabar coast, where it’s one of the main spices of the local cuisine. When used as more than just a seasoning, as in this istoo (a corruption of the word ‘stew’), pepper adds a gentle, rounded heat, unlike the sharp hit you get from fresh chillies. The result is one of the most gentle-natured and elegant curries I’ve come across in all my travels across India.
Jersey royal and green bean istoo with tamarind shallots
Prep 15 min Cook 50 min Serves 4
For the tamarind shallots 1½ tsp rapeseed oil ½ tsp mustard seeds 5 curry leaves 8 shallots, peeled and cut lengthways into quarters 200g vine tomatoes (ie, 2 medium ones), chopped 1 green chilli, very finely chopped 1-1½ tsp tamarind paste ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp ground turmeric
For the potato istoo 2 tbsp rapeseed oil 10 curry leaves 4cm cinnamon stick, broken in two 1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 1 green finger chilli, slit 650g small jersey royal potatoes, quartered 1 tsp each salt and black pepper 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk 250g green beans, tailed and halved
For the shallots, heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium flame. Once hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and, when the seeds pop and the leaves crackle, lay in the shallots cut side down and leave to cook for five minutes, until browned. Now stir the shallots, encouraging the “petals” to break loose, and cook for another five minutes or so, until soft enough to cut with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, chilli and two tablespoons of water, and cook until the tomatoes go jammy and break down into a paste (you may need to add more water). Add the tamarind, salt and turmeric, cook for two minutes, then take off the heat and set aside.
In a casserole dish for which you have a lid, heat the oil for the istoo on a medium flame and, once hot, add the curry leaves, cinnamon and onion. Cook for eight to 10 minutes, until the onion is as soft as possible without colouring, then stir in the ginger, garlic and chilli, and cook for two minutes. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper, stir in the coconut milk, then fill the empty tin with 100ml water, swirl it around and add to the casserole – you want just to cover the potatoes, so add more water, if need be. Bring to a boil on a medium heat, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the beans, cover with the lid and simmer until both the beans and potatoes are tender – around five to six minutes (longer, if you prefer your beans soft).
Gently reheat the shallots, transfer, with the curry, to big bowls, and serve with basmati rice or appams.
If you’re a Gmail user, you’re probably aware by now of a major redesign – currently optional, soon to be compulsory – that aims to tackle the problem of email overload by using artificial intelligence. One of the most annoying aspects of living alongside other humans is the way they’re constantly making demands on your emotions and attention: you have to figure out when to sacrifice your own priorities in order to help them; you’ve got to empathise with them when they’re sad or ill, and so on.
Traditionally, antidotes for email overload work by filtering out messages from people you don’t care about. But the new Gmail focuses on messages from people you do care about – and promises to do some of that caring on your behalf. A new “nudge” feature will automatically decide whether your friend Belinda’s lunch invite is important enough to prompt you to hurry up and reply. The “high-priority notifications” feature will decide whether to interrupt your meeting by pinging you when your kids get in touch. And “smart replies” offers entire pre-written messages, so you can respond to news of Uncle Norbert’s latest gastrointestinal infection with a single click: “Oh no! Feel better soon!”
If I’ve any criticism, it’s Google’s lack of ambition. Why stop at nudges and common brief phrases? Why can’t Gmail write whole emails, scouring my message archive for what I’ve been up to, then sending long, chatty updates on it all to far-flung friends? What about sweet little “thinking of you” messages to my partner? Or couldn’t you somehow link Gmail to databases of births, marriages and deaths, so my contacts could automatically receive missives of celebration or condolence as appropriate? I’m reminded of Flaneur, a hypothetical app imagined by the writer Curtis Brown, aimed at those who disdain “corporeal connection of any kind”. Flaneur would locate a potential match – that woman at the bar, that guy across from you on the train – then start chatting with their phone, dispensing ever more intimate titbits about your life, receiving similar titbits in return, gradually forging a deepening bond, leaving you free to concentrate on what really matters. Namely work. And maybe Twitter.
Of course, “smart” communication does have its downsides. One of them is what’s known in economics as the Jevons paradox: as the use of a resource gets more efficient, demand for it increases. Just as widening motorways often attracts more cars, making it faster to reply to emails will almost certainly lead to more emails. The overload problem won’t be solved at all.
But then again, will we truly care? Once smart email gets good enough, it’ll have served its real existential purpose, which is to let you dodge the question of whether you need to make some radical change in your life – terminating friendships, shedding commitments, quitting your unreasonably demanding job. With automated replies, there’s no limit to the number of social relationships you can have – and it’s not even really you who has to have them. Leave that job to your devices. You get to focus on being productive and meeting your goals, unburdened by others’ demands, calm and undistracted in your pristine bubble of loneliness.
The Most Human Human, by Brian Christian, asks what artificial intelligence can teach us about being human – and shows how AI risks turning us into “banalised”, average, too-similar versions of each other.
More than a decade ago, Joanne Francis was in Edinburgh primarily to sample Scotch whisky when she stumbled on another beverage that changed her worldview.
The drink was “Kelpie,’’ a local beer brewed with seaweed that didn’t taste as aggressively like the ocean as she first feared.
“It was just such a beautiful profile, and not at all what you think it would taste like,’’ Francis says now.
Francis, who is cofounder of the Portsmouth Brewery, has been running that brew through her mind ever since, and three years ago she took action, commissioning a seaweed beer to be brewed right in New Hampshire.
“Selkie’’ is the product of her memory and the efforts of head brewer Matt Gallagher and researchers at the University of New Hampshire, who have been growing sugar kelp as part of their aquaculture program. The kelp grows on a floating farm, along with mussels and pens full of steelhead trout. The idea is that the species act to diminish the biological impact of one another, therefore acting as sustainable food sources.
The seaweed-averse might be surprised to know that most of the kelp humans harvest ends up as food.
“I like to eat it when it’s about 6 feet long,’’ says Michael Chambers, an aquaculturist at UNH. “The smaller stuff is more tender. . . . It’s got an ocean taste. Some people crumble it up and use it as a salt alternative.’’
To make the beer, Gallagher and the brewery crew took a boat out to the floating farm to harvest about 60 pounds of kelp.
“When we were out harvesting we were picking and eating it right away,’’ says Gallagher. “It kind of has this amazing mouthfeel where it’s crunchy and slimy at the same time.’’
Back at the brewery, Gallagher crafted a beer to balance out the salinity, brewing a malt-forward red ale that has a kind of salty-sweet thing going on.
“What I didn’t want was to make this beer and have it taste like low tide smelled,’’ says Gallagher. “It really just tastes like a super balanced, sweet ale. And when you finish your pint and you lick your lips there’s a little salinity. Maybe you even burp an hour later and go, ‘Ooo, that tastes like the ocean.’ ’’
The Portsmouth Brewery plans to keep making “Selkie’’ every year, after the kelp harvest in early June. Gallagher says he’s even fiddling with making something with green crabs, which are a local pest.
“Selkie’’ is available at the brewery (56 Market St, Portsmouth, N.H.) for a limited time, on draft and in bottles until it’s gone.
Chanda Gunn listened as her coaches grew increasingly frustrated.
“This was your fault,” they told her. “This game was your fault. You let this goal in.”
The goaltender tried to explain that she hadn’t been able to see the puck before it flew past her. Gunn was convinced another player had screened in front of the net, but the coaches pointed to a replay which proved that wasn’t the case. The coaches knew she should have been able to see the puck. Gunn knew she hadn’t seen the puck.
They were both right.
There was nothing but clean ice between Gunn and the shooter, but she suffered a lapse of consciousness during an epileptic seizure as her opponent let fly. Her epilepsy was neither properly diagnosed nor treated at the time, so Gunn simply threw herself even harder into training to try and improve her performance. The extra hours of on- and off-ice workouts had the opposite effect, ramping up her stress levels and contributing to even worse seizures.
Eventually, she was forced to leave the ice and the University of Wisconsin. But not for long. Gunn got on the phone until she found a place where she could play — Northeastern University — and play she did. She won the 2003-04 Hockey East Player of the Year Award with the Huskies, then led Team USA to two Olympic Games and a World Championship in 2005.
When asked if her experiences opened the door for young athletes today, Gunn demurred. But Pam Higgins, who’s 11-year-old daughter Julia has epilepsy, stepped in.
“I can answer that,” Higgins said.
Pam and her husband decided to pull Julia off the ice when she was first diagnosed, then changed their minds after learning about Gunn’s career and receiving medical permission. Julia should have missed about 30 days of school this year, Pam says, but she didn’t miss one. Her mother attributes some of that determined mindset to the game.
“For that alone, we’ll make the sign of the cross and let her go on the ice,” Higgins said.
The Higgins family are far from the only ones to draw strength from Gunn’s story. She’s been a spokesperson for the Epilepsy Foundation since she was an Olympic athlete and spends an incredible amount of time meeting with families affected by the disease. When she meets them, Gunn makes sure they’re welcomed into the fold. Her biggest trophy is that bittersweet moment when she finds out one of her new contacts has built up their own circle in the community and outgrown her assistance.
The Higgins’s aren’t there just yet. On Saturday at Phillips Academy in Andover, they joined Gunn for the Slap Out Epilepsy Hockey Clinic. The event took months of planning by Pam and Chanda, and culminated in a buzzing day on the ice alongside college, NHL, and NWHL stars.
Pam’s nephew, Chris Kreider, is a forward for the New York Rangers. The idea for Slap Out Epilepsy came from Thanksgiving at his house, when Julia had multiple seizures over the course of the weekend and his eyes were opened to the disease.
“It’s amazing when you come to an event like this and you see how many people are affected by epilepsy — how many people have epileptic seizures or episodes,” Kreider said Saturday. “Obviously, every person’s is a little bit different, but every single one of them is scary, regardless of what age. Having your baby cousin struggle with it is really scary.”
When Kreider reached out to the tight-knit hockey community, the response was immediate. On Saturday, there were two Olympic gold medals glittering in the Phillips Academy hockey rink, courtesy of Cayla Barnes and Kali Flanagan. Kreider’s teammate Rob O’Gara was also helping out at the clinic, as were members of the Boston Pride and Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy.
“It’s an opportunity for me to learn something about epilepsy — something I didn’t know too much about,” McAvoy said. “It’s under-researched and underfunded.”
For all the hype over the star-studded guest list, the organizers didn’t lose sight of the event’s mission.
“As much as this event is really exciting,” Gunn said. “Awareness and education is a big part of it as well, because it is a very, very serious and devastating disease that people suffer from. And that includes Julie and that includes me.”
There are times when Gunn’s son will say goodnight, then ask whether he’ll see her in the morning. The question exists because one uncommon but tragic consequence of epilepsy is SUDEP, or sudden unexpected death in epilepsy patients. Gunn never tells her children, “Goodnight.” Instead, she says, “I love you.”
“Because, you know, you just don’t know,” she said.
It’s the same reason Julia refuses to go to bed until she tells every member of her family, “See you in the morning,” and hears the words in reply.
One hope with Slap Out Epilepsy (and Higgins and Gunn have no intention of letting this be a one-off event) is that the players at the clinic who don’t have epilepsy asked their parents about the disease on the ride home. Conversations like that raise awareness — and there is a desperate need for awareness. Emergency responders and school nurses, never mind the general public, can be woefully uneducated about the symptoms of the disease.
To address those concerns, Gunn runs a social service organization called the Young Leader’s Network, while her wife, Susan Linn, is the president of a research organization, the Epilepsy Foundation of New England. They believe strongly in both approaches. Higgins hopes that the NHL players’ involvement in Saturday’s event might nudge the league’s charity arm towards giving to the cause. Either way, Gunn — and Slap Out Epilepsy — won’t be slowing down. There are families to help, children to meet, lives to change.
One of those families found out about the event late last week. Their son had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy and his favorite player just so happened to be Kreider. They live in upstate New York, but they were the first ones in the door Saturday morning.
“It’s that type of story that we’ve been just amazed at,” Higgins said. “…We surpassed our expectations. It’s been really wonderful for our family, and for a lot of families out there who suffer from dealing with epilepsy on a daily basis.”
Mangoes are everywhere in South Florida. There are so many on my trees that only half of the ones in my driveway have been nibbled on by squirrels. A friend once visited and ate so many her hands turned orange. This is a benign condition called carotenemia, caused by elevated circulating beta carotene. Carotenemia is most commonly seen in babies eating lots of sweet potatoes and carrots.
A recent article in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research compared mangoes with fiber for relief of constipation. It is estimated that 20 percent of U.S. adults suffer from constipation. This study out of Texas A&M recruited 48 subjects with constipation. Everyone continued on their same diet. Half the group ate about 3½ ounces of mango a day. The other half added one teaspoon of fiber to their diet, the equivalent of the natural fiber in the mango.
At the end of the four-week study, both groups had less constipation but the mango group had more improvement. The polyphenol-rich mangoes have the added benefit of reducing intestinal inflammation. And no surprise: There was better compliance with the group eating mangoes.
Mangoes, like most foods, impact multiple body systems. The polyphenol in mangoes might be protective against certain types of cancer. The beta carotene can help with asthma. The zeaxanthin is protective against cataracts and macular degeneration. The vitamin A in mangoes can add a sheen to your hair. This is just a small taste of what mangoes offer.
One cup of mangoes is 100 calories and provides 100 percent of vitamin C, 20 percent of folate, 35 percent of vitamin A and a smattering of calcium, copper and iron. Mangoes are terrific in sauces, salads and smoothies. For great recipes head to www.mango.org.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.