Jump to content

Company Wants To Grow Quality Medical Marijuana In Old Mine, Someone Is Out For Our Growing Rights.


Recommended Posts

Company wants to grow quality medical marijuana in old mine

 

WHITE PINE -- In this hard-luck town in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula rumors persist of a company growing pot deep in the bowels of a former copper mine nearby.

 

In 2010, the rumors got so bad, the State Police contacted the owners and asked to inspect the White Pine Mine sometime in the next couple of days.

 

"No, right now," SubTerra official Mark Pierpont said he told them, not wanting lingering suspicions that he had spent a day hiding a stash of marijuana.

 

Trooper Timothy Rajala later reported how he "entered the mine in a vehicle which we drove approximately 1 mile underground" before reaching a sealed and brightly lit chamber he could only enter after washing down his feet and putting on clean clothes.

 

Inside, Rajala "noted several plants that were not narcotic," he wrote. "There was no evidence of marijuana nor any signs of suspicious activity."

 

Still, Rajala's tip had a grain of truth.

 

The mine's owners want to use its underground chambers to create the state's largest pot farm with a potential market of 131,000 Michiganders (about 1 in every 75 residents) who hold medical marijuana certificates. The company, Prairie Plant Systems (PPS), already has a contract to supply medical marijuana in Canada.

 

Michigan voters legalized medical marijuana in 2008, but few people think the regulatory system is working. "Chaos" is a word frequently used by editorial writers and other critics.

 

Officials with PPS and its Michigan subsidiary, SubTerra, which now uses the White Pine Mine for other plant-based pharmaceutical research, granted exclusive access to the mine and the company's plans to a Free Press reporter and photographer. They say their methods would stress security, safety and science, treating pot as a pharmaceutical, rather than a street drug.

 

"There's a need to bring this under the proper reins of appropriate manufacturing for patient safety and for public safety," said Brent Zettl, president and CEO of PPS, a plant-based biopharmaceutical company based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

 

But Zettl acknowledges he has major state and federal hurdles to clear before he can convert the mine, which closed in 1996.

 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder would all have to sign off, and in the case of the first two agencies, reverse direction on policy. Federal agencies consider marijuana illegal. DEA agents have not cracked down on small operations to supply licensed patients but almost certainly would view SubTerra as a major bust opportunity.

 

The FDA supports research to capture marijuana's benefits in tablet form, but opposes "the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes," spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said.

 

Growing marijuana hundreds of feet underground -- the same way the company started its Canadian operations in 2001 -- provides security, constant temperature, controlled light and humidity, and protects the plants from bugs and diseases, eliminating the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides, Zettl said. He said any medical marijuana sold in Michigan should be subject to the same regular and rigorous testing as is found in Canada.

 

To help get around a federal ban on the sale of controlled substances, state law relies on the legal fiction that licensed caregivers provide patients with marijuana for free and get paid for helping patients register.

 

Canada, with a population of 34 million, has 17,000 patients approved for medical marijuana. Michigan, with less than a third as many people, has nearly eight times more cannabis patients, and a few physicians have been accused of indiscriminately approving patients to use the drug.

 

An explosion in medical marijuana dispensaries caused control headaches for cities. The shutdown of most dispensaries as a result of a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in August broke the supply chain.

 

But Zettl says there is a more fundamental problem in Michigan.

 

With no testing or standards, nobody knows what Michigan patients are smoking. In Canada, Zettl's cannabis is tested not just for active ingredients such as THC, but for mold, fungus, pathogens -- including bacteria -- and metals, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic.

 

"We've breached the first cardinal rule of pharmaceutical manufacturing," Zettl said. "It doesn't have any safety bells or whistles."

 

PPS began in 1988 developing disease-free berry trees and other products aimed at farmers. It later moved into medical cannabis and plant-based pharmaceutical research. The company had to leave the leased facility where it grew its medical cannabis in Manitoba in 2008 because the owner wanted to resume mining. It now grows the plants above ground at a location kept secret at the request of the Canadian government.

 

Zettl, who has a farming background and a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan, said the company had 2011 sales of $7.6 million, about 75% of which came from medical cannabis contracts with the Canadian government. Its SubTerra subsidiary acquired the White Pine Mine in 2003.

 

A bill is expected to be introduced in the Legislature before summer to establish testing standards similar to Canada's that would go into effect if and when medical marijuana is approved for sale in Michigan. SubTerra hired former House Speaker Chuck Perricone, a Republican, as its lobbyist.

 

"Neither the physician nor the patient have a clue what it is that is being ingested," and high mold content and pesticide residue is common, Perricone said. "Michigan needs to protect its citizens. Proper testing will do that."

 

Tim Beck of Detroit, a leader of the movement to legalize medical marijuana in Michigan, said PPS may offer "the gold standard in an ideal world," but "until federal law changes, it's just not viable."

 

Also, "to some degree, this testing issue is overblown," Beck said. "There is a free market, and people tend to know who the good" suppliers are.

 

Even if the bill is approved, SubTerra would be far from the starting gate.

 

Experts may differ on the therapeutic use of morphine, but they at least agree it's a medicine. Not so with marijuana.

 

"We don't give people a plant and call it medicine," said Joel Hay, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Southern California. "You've got a product with thousands and thousands of compounds, some of which are unknown what their effects are," he said.

 

"It's lunacy to call this medicine. It's like going back 100 years."

 

But Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said in a 2006 article that marijuana "will one day be seen as a wonder drug," as penicillin was in the 1940s. It's "remarkably nontoxic (and) has a wide range of therapeutic applications," he said in a column in the Los Angeles Times.

 

Before the FDA approves new drugs, it requires clinical trials with blind tests in which some patients receive a placebo. Because it's smoked, finding a marijuana placebo is tougher than using a salt tablet to replace a pill.

 

Some complain of a Catch-22. The FDA won't approve the drug's use without more research, but researchers face legal obstacles and a lack of support because the drug is banned.

 

Dr. Mark Ware, associate medical director of the McGill University Health Centre Pain Clinic in Montreal, one of a small number of experts who has published extensive cannabis research, said many doctors don't take medical pot seriously and physicians like him must "deal with the perception that you're really just looking to get people stoned and high."

 

But "there has to be a mechanism for patients with genuine medical needs to have access to cannabis until such time as something better comes along," Ware said, adding that other treatments should be explored first.

 

Those include certain marijuana compounds that have been approved in tablet form, but have significantly different properties from smoked cannabis.

 

The approach used by PPS gives patients comfort because the cannabis has been standardized and "tested and been shown to be free of impurities that may be hazardous to health," whereas Michigan patients have "no way of knowing what they're getting," Ware said.

 

But cannabis is generally safe. The extra safety standards are positive, but not essential to producing safe cannabis, he said.

 

PPS is the only authorized mass supplier of medical marijuana in Canada, but serves only about 2,000 of the 17,000 approved patients. Others can grow their own or get their cannabis from small growers.

 

Particularly in the early years, the company was dogged by complaints from patients who said they didn't like the taste or the quality.

 

Zettl said a court ruling forced the Canadian government to rush medical cannabis onto the market sooner than it wanted. The company's product had a THC content of about 14%, but the government ordered it to dilute it with leaf material to bring the THC content down to what the Canadian government believed was the norm for street marijuana: 10%.

 

It was that required blending, which has since been relaxed so that PPS can provide marijuana with 12.5% THC content, combined with the fact that the Canadian government would allow the company to supply only one variety of cannabis, despite a wide range of needs, that led to complaints, Zettl said.

 

"In 12 years, we've made several evolutionary changes."

 

Ted Smith, founder of the Cannabis Buyers' Club of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, said quality concerns persist: "It doesn't smell very good; it doesn't look very good."

 

But Adrienne Baker-Hicks, 53, of Warkworth, Ontario, said the PPS product has been "wonderful" for her because the company irradiates it to ensure it is germ-free.

 

"I have autoimmune deficiencies, quite a few," said Baker-Hicks, who uses medical cannabis to help with a spinal condition, a blood disorder and tremors. "If I smoke something that isn't clean, it can make me really sick."

 

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com

 

More Details: Coming Monday

 

Since its copper mine closed in 1996, the small town of White Pine in the Upper Peninsula has held on for the day when someone would figure out how to make money -- and create jobs -- at the vast, 35-square-mile mine.

 

 

http://www.freep.com...ana-in-old-mine

Link to post
Share on other sites

But Zettl says there is a more fundamental problem in Michigan.

 

With no testing or standards, nobody knows what Michigan patients are smoking. In Canada, Zettl's cannabis is tested not just for active ingredients such as THC, but for mold, fungus, pathogens -- including bacteria -- and metals, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic.

 

"We've breached the first cardinal rule of pharmaceutical manufacturing," Zettl said. "It doesn't have any safety bells or whistles."

 

"Neither the physician nor the patient have a clue what it is that is being ingested," and high mold content and pesticide residue is common, Perricone said. "Michigan needs to protect its citizens. Proper testing will do that."

 

 

 

 

I'd like to hear some opinions about this part of the story from some of the members here. Isn't there places to get or meds tested? Do they test for all the same stuff?

Edited by Jreaper_07
Link to post
Share on other sites

But Zettl says there is a more fundamental problem in Michigan.

 

With no testing or standards, nobody knows what Michigan patients are smoking. In Canada, Zettl's cannabis is tested not just for active ingredients such as THC, but for mold, fungus, pathogens -- including bacteria -- and metals, such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic.

 

"We've breached the first cardinal rule of pharmaceutical manufacturing," Zettl said. "It doesn't have any safety bells or whistles."

 

"Neither the physician nor the patient have a clue what it is that is being ingested," and high mold content and pesticide residue is common, Perricone said. "Michigan needs to protect its citizens. Proper testing will do that."

 

 

 

 

I'd like to hear some opinions about this part of the story from some of the members here. Isn't there places to get or meds tested? Do they test for all the same stuff?

 

Some of the meds were tested at the Farmers Market in Jackson but most are micro grown by patients who are candid about what they use in their grows . Testing costs money microgrowers and many patients cannot afford nor require , many were only testing for THC potency yet we know THC alone is not the only measure of relief . Anyone following the evolution of MM in our State knows there is a effort to take away individual and caregiver grows to replace them with private contracted ones who will most defenitely will not meet the stricter requirements of many patients . Law enforcement sees patients and caregivers as a risk to distribute .

 

I find it interesting they are ok with these large scale private operations who would not meet the DEA Federal plant counts and we have all been told that is not a grey area . If they were to do a about face that would show how corrupt the Government is if they denied individuals their grows as a consequence . They would be forcing patients to pay monopoly prices knowing most live under 150% of poverty and no insurance covers the costs regardless of the high personal benefits many patients with severe suffering that was killing them are experiencing . Including the abillity to tolerate treatments like radiation and chemo . It is simply amazing on certain types of nueropathic pain just ask patients who many never do .

Edited by Croppled1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here we go! Large scale operations, we can only purchase at a pharmacy with Rx and would have to see a Dr monthly for the Rx. Large scale taxed government controlled operation. We have had home grown for years so don't hand me that crap we don't know what we are using. Oh, nothing other than pill form, we already have that, Marinol. Sorry, this just isn't my cup of tea not to mention they will be allowed to skirt our current law!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here we go! Large scale operations, we can only purchase at a pharmacy with Rx and would have to see a Dr monthly for the Rx. Large scale taxed government controlled operation. We have had home grown for years so don't hand me that crap we don't know what we are using. Oh, nothing other than pill form, we already have that, Marinol. Sorry, this just isn't my cup of tea not to mention they will be allowed to skirt our current law!

 

Not to mention Health Canada lets Prarie Plant Systems have 1 strain (M39) than they grind the bud and mix it w shake or sugar leaf to make the THC max out to 12.5 %, Health Canada is a joke just like this Zetti character who owns PPS and is throwing millions at the legislatures right now. I mean cmon hes got a friggen Bachelors degree from Saskatchawan U.....

 

"Zettl said a court ruling forced the Canadian government to rush medical cannabis onto the market sooner than it wanted. The company's product had a THC content of about 14%, but the government ordered it to dilute it with leaf material to bring the THC content down to what the Canadian government believed was the norm for street marijuana: 10%.

 

It was that required blending, which has since been relaxed so that PPS can provide marijuana with 12.5% THC content, combined with the fact that the Canadian government would allow the company to supply only one variety of cannabis, despite a wide range of needs, that led to complaints, Zettl said."

 

If PPS cared about people over profit they would not be diluting their product and blaming it on gov't red-tape, and your right Dizz this goes completely against the spirit and intent of the MMMA

Link to post
Share on other sites

Testing is wondeful, especially on drugs that can kill you, unlike Medical Marijuana.

 

 

Don't unblinkingly put your faith in Pharma Companies to ensure their drugs will not kill you.

Big Pharma just doesn't have that great of control on its supply chain to ensure the safety of its customers:

 

 

"After his first in-center dialysis in January 2008, Randy Hubley of Toledo, Ohio suffered

severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and shortness of breath. Two days later, Randy collapsed

and did not regain consciousness. Investigations attributed his death to heparin, an

anticoagulant that treats blood clotting during kidney dialysis. According to reports,

the heparin used before his treatment was counterfeit— the drug was contaminated with

oversulfated chrondroitin sulfate, a compound that is structurally similar to heparin,

rendering detection of the false substance extremely difficult. Counterfeit heparin induces

severe allergic reactions; in 2008, the FDA documented 81 deaths and about 600 allergic

reactions linked to the tainted drug. Its origin was traced back to a production plant in

Changzhou, China, which also exports pharmaceuticals to Germany, Canada, France,

Italy, and other countries."

http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/Full_-_Counterfeit_Drugs_and_National_Security.pdf

Link to post
Share on other sites

Plan would grow marijuana in former Mich. mine

 

WHITE PINE, MICH — . A Canadian biotechnology company wants to cultivate medical marijuana in a former copper mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where it has been growing plants for more than a decade.

Prairie Plant Systems Inc., which has a contract to supply medical marijuana in Canada, would need approval from state and federal officials to convert the mine in White Pine, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday (http://on.freep.com/I8Cvhr ). Brent Zettl, the company’s president and CEO, said there’s demand despite major regulatory hurdles.

“There’s a need to bring this under the proper reins of appropriate manufacturing for patient safety and for public safety,” Zettl said.

Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008, but the law does not explain where people are supposed to get marijuana if they don’t grow it themselves or have a caregiver who grows it for them. That issue is before the courts. Federal law still prohibits the sale and cultivation of the drug.

The idea would be to supply Michigan medical marijuana users. A Detroit Free Press reporter and photographer recently toured the mine, which shut down in the 1990s.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company and its Michigan subsidiary, SubTerra, currently use the mine for plant-based pharmaceutical research. Prairie Plant Systems said that it could employ 200 to 300 workers at the site if the plan to grow marijuana there succeeds.

The company said it would stress security, safety and science, treating marijuana as a pharmaceutical at the Michigan grow site. Growing marijuana underground provides security, constant temperature, controlled light and humidity, and protects the plants from bugs and diseases, Zettl said.

Approval, however, likely would require the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to change their stances about the use of medical marijuana.

The FDA supports research to capture marijuana’s benefits in tablet form, but opposes “the use of smoked marijuana for medical purposes,” spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said.

Others argue that the Ontonagon County should reopen for its original use instead of growing medical marijuana. An increase in the price of copper since the time that the mine closed has renewed interest in mining at Michigan sites that previously were shut down.

Philip Kolehmainen, an area real estate broker and chairman of the Michigan Works! workforce development board, said growing marijuana would be a limited prospect for the mine. There are no plans yet announced to reopen the mine in White Pine for mining, but he said that’s a hope.

“We want to get some jobs here,” Kolehmainen said.

Link to post
Share on other sites

He wants to supply all of Michigan... In CA they estimate the value of all medical MJ there at 4.5 Billion a year... This guy says he is doing it for safety, but in reality, he just wants all of the money, to create a monopoly that could be worth billions.

 

While there is truth to testing and making sure there is no mold, pesticides, etc, quit treating us like criminals, open up more labs for testing, and the price will all of a sudden come within reach of a lot of CG's, I think some places are already around $50 and you don't need to test 10 samples from each plant, more like 1 sample from a grow.

 

Open access to testing labs and I bet a lot more would get tested.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did anyone else read this in Sundays Detroit Free Press???

Has anyone HEARD about it at all?

 

A Canadian Pharmecutical Company has teamed-up with the owner of an old unused mine in Michigan's U.P (Oh-- a way to make some $$ on the old hole in the ground?!) to try to regulate the manufacture and disbursement of Medical Marijuana so that THEY would be the ONLY legal producer of Cannabis in the State.

 

SO- yet another way to outsource??

 

What you want to BET that Shutte and Schneider try to go for it IF there is Corporate $$ heading their way!?

 

Wouldn't fly unless it get's FEDS approval.. but it IS a Pharmesutical Company... they just might pull it off....

 

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012204220533

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please folks, put a stop to this immediately. I have a bunch of friends who are Canadian Medical Cannabis users and they simply will not use the medicine that the governments grow facility supplies. They consider it to be real bunk weed and considering that there were no real controls as far as their beginning genetics are concerned it is little wonder. The government used seed which had been confiscated in raids, who knows what quality genetics were in the mix? Likely most of the seeds came from unknown pollen chuckers that used no real method in making the seeds and not from quality growers. Do you want to smoke schwag again, if the answer is yes, then let the government and big business get involved (once again) in supplying your meds for you. As for me, I will continue (legally or not) to produce cannabis that I grew for myself, knowing exactly what the genetics are and how it is grown... Peace ... j.b.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...