Hemp News, a compilation of international news stories about hemp and cannabis, is a public service of Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and THCF Medical Clinics. All material included herein is provided free of charge for political and educational purposes under the US federal "Fair Use Doctrine". This material may only be used for political and educational purposes without express written consent.

Colombia: Fourth Latin American Country To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Colombia House of representatives made a historical decision Wednesday when they approved a law regulating the medicinal and therapeutic use of marijuana nationwide.

The idea, which came from Liberal Senator Juan Manuel Galan, was discussed for ten months, first by the Senate and then by the House. Ultimately, support of the initiative was almost unanimous, passing with a 83-3 vote.

The law passed by Congress regulates the planting, cultivation and distribution of marijuana, which are currently under government monopoly. They establish the necessary means to issue licenses for growing conditions, and distributes harsh penalties for those who contribute to illicit drug trafficking.

Also, the law establishes fees for the granting of licenses and establishes penalties for licensed growers who commit irregularities.

With the decision of Congress, Colombia becomes the fourth country in Latin America to have legislation on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. So far, only three other countries- Chile, Puerto Rico and Uruguay- have taken this step.

In Chile, a law legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2014, and in April this year they harvested the first planting of cannabis for medicinal purposes authorized by the national government, with the aim of benefiting 200 cancer patients.

South Dakota: Medical Marijuana Measure Won't Be On Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill aimed at legalizing small amounts of marijuana for medical use in South Dakota will not appear on the November ballot, Secretary of State Shantel Krebs said Friday.

In a statement, Krebs said a challenge to the number of valid petition signatures submitted with the measure was unsuccessful and it didn't have enough to meet the 13,871 signatures needed to appear on the ballot.

It's not the first failed attempt to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

The measure's sponsors came up short last year in the number of signatures required to get a measure on the ballot.

Another marijuana measure was unexpectedly supported by senators and Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but failed in the Legislature. That bill would have legalized the use of cannabidiol, a marijuana derivative that doesn't give the user a high, for individuals who suffer from disorders with seizures.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Signature Drive Suspended

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Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Friday evening, "after considerable discussion," suspended a drive to place an issue on the November 2016 Ohio ballot.

"We make this decision with a heavy heart as we will surely disappoint our many volunteers, supporters and patient-advocates who invested considerable time and effort in our movement," said Brandon Lynaugh, campaign manager for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. "It had become increasingly clear following the state legislature’s passage of a medical marijuana law on Wednesday that our ballot issue campaign had arrived at a critical juncture.

"With several hundred thousand signatures collected thus far, one option for our movement would have been to continue to pour our resources into obtaining the additional signatures needed to put the issue before voters," Lynaugh said. "But the reality is that raising funds for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult, especially given the improvements made to the proposed program by the Ohio General Assembly and the fact that the Governor is expected to sign the bill.

Oregon: Gov. Kate Brown Appoints Marijuana Policy Adviser

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon Governor Kate Brown created a new position for her administration: a senior adviser on marijuana policy.

Jeffrey Rhoades, a veteran Multnomah County prosecutor, will advise the governor on all marijuana issues.

Rhoades begins his new job on June 2, with an annual salary of $94,448.

"It's not a day too early as far as I am concerned," said Ivo Trummer, the governor's legislative director, speaking to Oregon Cannabis Association members at an event held at the Laurelhust Club in Southeast Portland.

In 2014 Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper created a high-level post dedicated to marijuana policy. Andrew Freedman is Colorado's director of marijuana coordination, which focuses on regulating the state's medical and recreational markets, as well as promoting public health, public safety and keeping marijuana away from kids.

In Washington, cannabis is part of the governor's public safety adviser's job.

In a statement Friday, Brown said Rhoades will help "create responsive regulations in what is still a new industry."

"Jeff will be mindful of my focus on public safety, user awareness and educating youth as this burgeoning new business sector takes root," Brown said.

Trummer said that Brown's administration is eager to work with Oregon's marijuana businesses.

Ohio: New Law Could Lead To Marijuana Plants Growing In The State Within A Year

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Sen. Dave Burke, an originator of Ohio's new medical marijuana law, predicts that marijuana plants could be growing legally in Ohio in a year.

“As soon as 16 months, you would have products tested and available,” the Marysville Republican said.

House Bill 523, the medical marijuana law, completed a difficult journey through the legislature Wednesday. It is now headed to Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich has not indicated whether he will sign the bill into law. He could veto it or allow it to take effect without his signature.

“We expect to receive a number of bills over the next couple of weeks, and we’re going to carefully review each one of them,” Kasich spokesman Joe Andrews said. The governor, a Republican, has expressed general support for medical marijuana but has not addressed the specific bill.

If Kasich signs the bill, it will establish an extensive, regulated system for growing, processing, testing and dispensing marijuana for people with any of 20 specified medical diseases and conditions. Patients could receive a 90-day supply of marijuana edibles, patches, oils and plant material. Vaporizing marijuana would be permitted, but smoking it would not.

Burke said the legislation does not establish specific numbers for marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries.

Ontario: Anger After Dozens Of Marijuana Shops Raided By Toronto Police

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is legal in Canada but only licensed providers can sell it to people who are approved by a doctor to use it.

Police made 90 arrests Thursday while raiding 43 Toronto marijuana shops.

The raids come just as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Government is on the verge of making marijuana legal for recreational use.

Protesters gathered outside police headquarters Friday, calling the marijuana dispensaries essential.

People held up signs reading "Bad Laws, Bad Cops" and "Save Our Dispensaries."

Toronto police chief Mark Saunders held a news conference addressing the storefront raids on Friday but was shouted down by protesters.

He said the crackdown was on stores that police believe are selling marijuana to recreational users.

There are 83 known unlicensed marijuana dispensaries in Toronto.

He said the raids, which collected 269 kilograms of dried marijuana and many edibles such as cookies and candies, came in response to "significant complaints" from community members.

The stores had been selling marijuana products with "inaccurate information" about the amount of THC they contain, he said, calling it a "genuine health concern".

Arizona: Cannabis Retail Designer Receives 3rd National Recognition

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The awards keep coming for cannabis retail designer Megan Stone of The High Road Design Studio. The young entrepreneur is lighting up the billion-dollar cannabis industry by creating award winning dispensary environments catering to the modern consumer.

This month Stone was announced as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by design:retail magazine for her luxury dispensary designs. Stone was selected for the national recognition from more than 140 nominees for the award, one of three major awards recognizing the Tempe, Arizona based retail designer in 2016. Winners for the retail magazine award were honored in New York City in May.

“I design the way I do because, for many people, cannabis has been a miraculous plant. Buying it should be an experience that reflects that,” Stone said.

Stone’s revolutionary designs have established a new cannabis aesthetic transcending long-standing clichés of tie-dye tapestries and peace-sign motifs. Along with the Top 40 Under 40 Award, Stone was named a finalist for the prestigious 23rd Annual A.R.E. (Association for Retail Environments) Design Awards Competition alongside CHANEL, Target and Nordstrom, and was named Technical Professional Marketer of the Year by SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) Arizona.

Oregon: Oregrown Cannabis Company Brings Beauty To Downtown Bend

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Oregrown Industries, a farm-to-table cannabis company, teamed up with the Downtown Bend Business Association on Thursday to turn an overgrown patch of land near the company's flagship store into a landscaped pocket park.

"Oregrown is committed to being a positive force in our community," said Oregrown co-founder Aviv Hadar. "This goes beyond creating jobs and local ownership. This pocket park is a small project, but it's an authentic expression of who we aspire to be."

A dozen volunteers from Oregrown and the Downtown Bend Business Association removed weeds and plant lavender beds and other landscaping purchased by Oregrown. The new plants will be watered and maintained through the business association's Flower Basket Program, a project that provides more than 100 hanging flower baskets throughout the downtown area.

"This spot is the gateway to downtown Bend on the north side, and we are so happy to be partnering with Oregrown to improve it," said Rod Porsche, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association. "The area has needed attention for some time. It's great that the folks at Oregrown saw the need and are stepping up to keep downtown Bend beautiful."

Hadar says Oregrown will continue to seek out opportunities be good neighbors.

Pennsylvania: Wizard's Forward Markieff Morris Detained At Airport, Questioned About Marijuana In Luggage

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris was detained Thursday at Philadelphia International Airport after marijuana was found in his party's luggage. Morris was with family, and was released after interrogation.

An investigation is ongoing, according to CSN Philly.

“We spoke with Markieff earlier today and will continue to gather more details about the situation, but we will not have any further comments at this time,” a Wizards spokesman said.

Calls to Morris’s agent and the Tinicum Township Police Department were not returned. The Tinicum PD oversees the terminal Morris’s party was supposed to depart from for its international flight.

The Wizards acquired Morris from the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 18. Morris, 26, appeared in 27 games for Washington and made 21 starts. He averaged 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds after the trade.

Arizona: VA Hospital Blocks Presentation On Cannabis, PTSD

Dr. Sue Sisley is upset that the Phoenix VA hospital blocked her presentation about marijuana and PTSD despite DEA approval.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix blocked a doctor from giving a lecture about marijuana's effect in veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, although her study is approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dr. Sue Sisley is conducting a study on PTSD and medical marijuana that is funded by a Colorado research grant. The Phoenix VA Medical Center denied Sisley the opportunity to give a presentation there, despite having her work approved by the DEA.

“The notion that the Phoenix VA hospital refuses to allow that information to be shared with their medical staff is really shameful,” Sisley told KTAR-FM.

Medical marijuana is legal in Arizona, but possession of pot is still a federal crime. Dr. Samuel Aguayo, associate chief of staff for research at the Phoenix hospital, said the VA center isn't allowed to promote or recruit veterans for marijuana research.

“VA medical staff are not authorized to make a decision on whether marijuana and marijuana research is appropriate for veterans,” he explained.

Sisley argued that the VA has a duty to support research that could uncover new treatment for veterans with PTSD.

“If they refuse to do that, I think that is negligent and it’s an abomination,” she said.

New Hampshire: Legislature Takes One Step 'Sideways' On Marijuana Decriminalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Matt Simon, New England Political Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, released the following announcement regarding yesterday's failure to pass a bill to decriminalize marijuana in the state:

The prohibitionists in the New Hampshire Senate, led by gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), succeeded yesterday in preventing any meaningful progress on decriminalization in 2016. The committee of conference on SB 498 removed House changes that would have decriminalized a quarter-ounce of marijuana. As was the case in the original Senate bill, the conference committee’s report would instead reclassify the penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana from a class A misdemeanor to an unspecified misdemeanor.

Union Leader reporter Garry Rayno accurately described this as a “sideways” step for marijuana policy reform. Police and courts will continue to waste time on low-level marijuana possession cases, and people who are caught with marijuana will continue being dragged through the criminal justice system. The small change made by SB 498 may end up having a small positive effect on marijuana policy, or it may have no practical effect at all.

Massachusetts: Federal Prison Sentence For Southwick Man Busted With 111 Pounds Of Pot, $1 Million In Cash

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In 2014, federal and local investigators discovered a stash with 111 pounds of marijuana and just over $1 million in cash in an "Uncle Bob's" storage unit in Agawam, Massachusetts. The find resulted in a sentence Thursday for Connor Cipolla, 31, for one year and one day in a federal prison camp, handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni.

With good behavior, that should shake out to 10 months behind bars under federal sentencing guidelines.

Investigators stumbled across the stash of contraband when they went to the site to investigate two unrelated subjects. Cipolla sped off in his car when he saw the police cars, leading them on a high-speed chase through Agawam, Southwick, and across the Connecticut border.

Police finally found the car abandoned in a nature preserve in Suffield. Cipolla had fled through the woods on foot.

Investigators obtained a search warrant for the storage unit and found a "massive" amount of drugs and money stacked up inside, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deepika Shukla said during Cipolla's sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court.

"I think pictures lend some insight to the court," the prosecutor told Mastroianni. "Because of the colossal amount of cash found."

North Carolina: Bill Seeks Medical Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

North Carolina legislators have introduced a bill which would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

In 2014, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law an act that made CBD oil legal for use in treating epilepsy. The measure included a sunset clause to end the program in 2021 if studies failed to prove the effectiveness of the oil.

Representatives say it's time to make medical marijuana available to patients.

House Bill 983 is solely focused on making marijuana legal for medical purposes. Many are optimistic that it will pass this time around.

“I think we’re at a point where we need to start looking at alternative methods,” said Annie Hernandez, a medical marijuana advocate whose mother has multiple sclerosis.

Pitt County Representative Greg Murphy, a Republican and a medical doctor, is co-sponsoring the bill.

“What I would like to see happen is the ability of a small number of certified physicians be able to prescribe medical marijuana when other interventions have failed,” said Murphy.

He said marijuana can be used as a tool to help patients suffering with chronic pain from certain cancers and diseases.

“When it gets to the point when there’s not anything else you can do, I think she’d definitely be open to the idea,” Hernandez added.

She said the legalization of medical marijuana could help her family.

Canada: Toronto Police Raiding Marijuana Dispensaries For Non-Medical Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Toronto police are currently raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, charging people for trafficking non-medical cannabis.

The drug squad is reportedly working with several police divisions, along with the Toronto Licensing and Standards division in conducting the raids, reports 680 News.

The dispensaries which have been raided are:
• 600 Church St.
• Eden Medicinal Society (Queen Street location)
• Cannabis Connoisseur
• The Green Room (Spadina and Nassau)
• Weed, Glass and Gifts
• Cannawide in Kensington Market

Toronto police claim this is a criminal investigation. The drug squad officers claim they are enforcing Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Police claim they handed out cautions on May 18, and if the dispensaries were still operating illegally, they will be fined.

U.S.: House Judiciary Committee Unanimously Approves Law Helping Fight Asset Forfeiture

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Legislation Eases Burden of Contesting a Government Forfeiture and Raises Government’s Burden to Keep Property

Advocates Caution that the Bill Will Not End Policing-for-Profit

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary on Wednesday unanimously approved asset forfeiture reform legislation.

Known as the DUE PROCESS Act (H.R. 5283) and sponsored by Crime Subcommittee Chairman Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI), Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) and others, the bill makes important procedural reforms that will help give property owners fighting a federal civil asset forfeiture action greater leverage to contest a government seizure and increases the federal government's burden of proof in civil forfeiture proceedings.

The DUE PROCESS Act, however, currently does not address the “policing for profit” incentive issue.

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