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Utah: Prominent Businessman Supports Medical Cannabis Initiative

Utah Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Medicinal cannabis advocates in Utah have a major name stepping in to defend the right to use the plant, Utah businessman Jon Huntsman Sr.

"I'm a very strong advocate for medical marijuana," Huntsman Sr. said.

Huntsman, a four-time cancer survivor, said his support comes from compassion. Huntsman has suffered from Polymyalgia Rheumatica, a disorder that can cause severe shoulder and hip-joint pain, for the past 10 years.

"I won't take the opioids, I'll take the pain," Huntsman says.

The possibility of kidney or bladder failure and constipation turned Huntsman away from opioids entirely.

U.S.: Attorney General Sessions Seeking to Revive D.A.R.E. Program

Jeff Sessions D.A.R.E.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is advocating to reinstate the D.A.R.E. program, an ineffective anti-drug curriculum launched in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department during the Reagan administration.

"Marijuana laws in America are broken," said Sen. Cory Booker, reintroducing a bill that would let some state cannabis laws supersede federal prohibition.

"D.A.R.E. is, I think, as I indicated, the best remembered anti-drug program today," AG Sessions said while speaking at the Drug Abuse Resistance Education International Training Conference in Texas earlier this month. "In recent years, people have not paid much attention to that message, but they are ready to hear it again."

U.S.: Congressman Rohrabacher Applauds Senate Panel for Adopting Cannabis Amendment

Capitol Hill Cannabis

The amendment passed despite a letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent in May asking House and Senate leadership not to block DOJ from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Senate Committee on Appropriations on Thursday adopted an amendment, commonly known as “Rohrabacher-Farr,” that prohibits the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute those in compliance with their state’s medical cannabis laws.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-CA, who co-sponsored the amendment when it first passed in 2014, retired from Congress last year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, stepped in as the lead House Democrat pushing the provision.

U.S.: Willie Nelson On Divisive Politics, Jeff Sessions, Willie's Reserve, and Living a Good Life

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In interview this month with The Washington Post, Willie Nelson urges Americans to bridge what he calls a great divide in politics. The 84-year-old also asks Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open his mind on outdated drug policy.

Nelson, a cannabis advocate and connoisseur, strongly disagrees with Attorney General Sessions' statement that marijuana dependency is “only slightly less awful” than heroin dependency.

Colorado: Thousands of Colorado Springs Jobs Could Be Created, Report Suggests

Colorado Springs

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

If Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in Colorado, allowed recreational cannabis sales, its share of the state’s cannabis market would rise to to 14%, according to an economic impact report by a University of Denver professor.

The study, authored by Jack Strauss, the Miller Chair of Applied Economics at the university’s Daniels College of Business – assumes that all medical cannabis companies in Colorado Springs would transition to the recreational industry.

The study found that allowing recreational sales could create 1,320-1,762 jobs for the city and bring in $25.4 million in revenue from taxes and business fees.

U.S.: Take Action Against Prohibitionist Attorney General Sessions

Jeff Sessions Reefer Madness

By August, states that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis should have a better idea how the Justice Department and Trump Administration plan to act

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the ever outspoken critic of cannabis, issued a recent directive stating he wants to increase asset forfeiture, which would allow the government to seize money and property from people suspected of a crime even before conviction. If the businesses have the means to sue to get their assets back, the case would be time consuming, stressful and expensive and virtually impossible for the entity to survive financially.

Massachusetts: Governor Signs Recreational Cannabis Bill

Mass Cann Law 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an overhaul of the state's voter-passed recreational cannabis law. The governor's signature, which comes 11 days after a legislative conference committee reached agreement on a compromise bill that changed several aspects of the original voter approved measure, is an issue the governor opposes.

U.S.: Senators Introduce Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act to Protect Farmers

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced bipartisan legislation which would allow farmers to use water they own through private water rights to grow hemp, if the crop is grown legally.

In 2014, in a pilot program created by the 2014 Farm Bill, permission was granted to state Departments of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp. However, the Bureau of Reclamation prohibits the use of federally-controlled water for growing hemp, as the plant is listed in the outdated Controlled Substances Act. The conflicting policies are creating confusion for farmers who grow industrial hemp with water from federal reservoirs.

U.S.: Congressmen Introduce Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017

U.S. Capitol - Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017

Bill would legalize production of industrial and research hemp in the U.S.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recent Congressional action, which would move the U.S. closer to legalizing industrial hemp, was introduced by Congressman James Comer (KY-01) today in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, which would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and legalize its production in all 50 states, has four initial co-sponsors.

"I'm glad to file the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 after getting a bipartisan consensus of Congressmen on board,” said Congressman Comer. “This will be my priority legislation."

Tennessee: Hemp Research at Middle Tennessee State University Shows Promise

Middle Tennessee State University

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, graduate students are cultivating cannabis in greenhouses to research potential medicinal uses for the plant.

Shannon Smith, a graduate student at the university, said, "We're not interested in the full plant itself, we're just interested in the compounds the plant can produce."

The university, which has been licensed by the state, also received the approval of the Board of Regents and the Governor.

Minnesota: Industrial Hemp Flourishing in the Midwest Again

Minnesota Hemp, Zabel

Before the federal government banned hemp production in 1957, industrial hemp was a booming cash crop in Minnesota and the plant still grows wild across the state

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture created an industrial hemp research pilot program to study different aspects of industrial hemp production. This is the first year that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has allowed certified seed production and growing seeds from pure seed stock.

Mike Zabel, a 500-acre seed farmer in Grand Meadow, who planted about 200 acres of hemp, grows seed for Ken Anderson, the founder of Original Green Distribution.

Pennsylvania: Dept of Health Launches Practitioner Registry for Medical Cannabis Program

Pennsylvania Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine announced this week that physicians can now take the first steps to participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program by completing the Practitioner Registry.

“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” Dr. Levine said. “Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program.”

Alabama: Congressman Running For Sessions’s Senate Seat Backs Medical Cannabis

Congressman Mo Brooks

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a fierce opponent against states to set their own cannabis laws without federal interference, but new Alabama Senate seat hopeful endorses cannabis legislation

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A leading candidate for Sessions' former seat representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate, Congressman Mo Brooks (R), is making support for cannabis law reform an important part of his platform.

“Medical cannabis should be treated like any other treatment that saves lives or eases pain and symptoms. In a land of freedom and liberty, that decision is best kept between a doctor and a patient,” Congressman Brooks said at a press conference. “That is what I believe. That is how I will vote in the Senate. That is how I have voted in the House.”

U. S.: In Historic Lawsuit, Constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act Questioned

jeff.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was named a defendant this week in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act. In an 89-page Complaint, attorneys representing five plaintiffs claims classifying Cannabis as a Schedule I drug violates the U.S. Constitution.

Arkansas: Texarkana Approves Medical Carijuana Regulations

Texarkana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Texarkana, the first municipality in Arkansas which has granted formal approval to local rules that will govern medical cannabis businesses that operate within its borders, has approved the historic first business license fees for dispensaries and medical cannabis growers, according to MJBiz .

Growers must pony up $50,000 for a business permit, while dispensaries will have to pay an initial $7,500 and then $11,000 for yearly license renewals, reports KSLA, the Shreveport, Louisiana TV station.

Michigan: Recreational Cannabis Initiative Allowing 12 Plants Per Household Moves Forward

Mi Cannabis Cup, Leafly

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for recreational use in Michigan is gaining momentum as the coalition raises awareness throughout the state. The group, which has gathered half of the signatures needed to put the issue before voters in 2018, is seeking to end cannabis prohibition with a proposal 12 plants per household.

U.S.: Congresswoman Challenges Trump Administration on Its Support of D.C. Marijuana Rider

Congresswoman Norton

Congresswoman Norton Stands Up to Trump Administration Regarding Harmful D.C. Cannabis Rider

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Yesterday, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) used an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which primarily focused on opioid policy, to challenge the Trump Administration’s support of the anti-home-rule rider that bars the District of Columbia from using its local funds to regulate and tax cannabis sales. Possession of cannabis remains legal in D.C. because Norton found a loophole in the rider, which tried to block the District’s voter-passed referendum that legalized cannabis altogether.

U.S.: Senate Committee OKs Medical Cannabis Protections In Rebuke to AG Sessions

AG Jeff Sessions

Although the common sense amendment must pass as part of the final appropriations bill, the Appropriations Committee vote is seen as a strong signal that Republican leaders are dismissing AG Sessions’ draconian request

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier today, in an effort to protect state medical cannabis patients, the Senate Appropriations approved an amendment to strengthen states rights, despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions stance on the issue.

New Hampshire: Governor Signs Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

Cannabis

HB 640 will take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire. It will officially take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

U.S.: Justice Department Planning Cannabis Crackdown

Make America Great Again

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Trump administration’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is scheduled to release a report by July 27 advocating for tougher sentences for those producing, selling and using cannabis.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (D), linking to a report on the crackdown, described the plans as “backward and inhumane.

"I hope every third-party voting progressive remembers this, ” Senator Schatz added.

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