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Florida: Attorney Sues State Regarding Anti-Cannabis Smoking Legislation

Florida Medical Marijuana

House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, the legislator who sponsored the troublesome legislation and insisted on the smoking ban, defends lawmakers’ actions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, Orlando attorney John Morgan sued the state of Florida stating the new SB 8A law banning smoking medical cannabis is in violation of Amendment 2, the voter-initiated constitutional amendment that passed last November with 71 percent of the vote.

Utah: Poll of Likely Voters Shows 73% Support for a Medical Cannabis Ballot Initiative

Utah Medical Marijuana Poll - February 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A February poll of 402 Utahns found that 73% of voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative, with only 20% opposed and 7% undecided.

“The poll results show overwhelming and broad support for medical cannabis in Utah,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients Coalition, a political campaign committee formed to support a 2018 ballot initiative to establish a medical cannabis program in Utah. “Voters believe that patients should be able to safely and legally access the medicine they need.”

U.S.: Senators to Attorney General Sessions: Reassure Hemp Industry You Will Uphold the Law

Jeff Sessions Uphold Law

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently, U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to address their constituents’ concerns regarding the hemp industry’s access to financial services by confirming the Department of Justice will respect Congress’ recent actions on industrial hemp pilot programs.

U.S.: Congressman Disputes Anti-Cannabis Organization’s ‘Lie’

Representative Earl Blumenauer

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In June, the loudest prohibitionist cheerleader committed to continuing the failed War on Drugs sent out a press statement showing they are continuing to try and roll back progress on cannabis reform.

Kevin Sabet and his organization, SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) falsely claimed that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision prohibiting the Department of Justice from enforcing federal laws against state-legal medical marijuana programs was removed from the Congressional spending bill.

U.S.: Nevada Representative Kihuen Asks U.S. Attorney General Sessions To Honor Will of Voters

Representative Kihuen / U.S. Attorney General Sessions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 30, Nevada Representative Ruben J. Kihuen (D - 4th District) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking that the Department of Justice continue to not prosecute cannabis-related cases where the alleged crime is legal under state law.

Science: Cannabidiol Administration Reduces Blood Pressure, Study Says

Cannabidiol

A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

According to clinical trial data published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Oral CBD administration is associated with reduced blood pressure in healthy volunteers.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Campaign Hits 100,000 Signature Milestone

Michigan Signature Gathering

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

LANSING, MI — Marijuana legalization supporters announced Monday afternoon that the signature collection effort is running ahead of schedule with more than 100,000 signatures collected to-date. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which must collect 252,523 valid signatures over the summer to place the question on Michigan’s Nov. 2018 ballot, plans to submit signatures sometime this fall.

If approved by voters, Michigan would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, license cannabis businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana, and protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail cannabis.

New York: Industrial Hemp Farmer Promotes Crop As Sustainable Option

Hemp Chart

New York hemp farmer believes industrial hemp could be crop that puts the North Country on the map

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

An Ellisburg company, one of six around the state to be awarded a permit to grow industrial hemp for research, believes hemp will flourish in New York.

Mark Privitera, an industrial hemp farmer, believes hemp can be used as house insulation and the wood core can be carbonized to store energy. Privitera's ultimate goal would be an industrial hemp processing plant in Watertown within 3-5 years, which would produce industrial hemp products for commercial sale.

Oregon: Beaver State Celebrates Second Anniversary of Legal Cannabis

Oregon

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 1, 2015, Oregon joined Colorado, Washington, Washington D.C. and Alaska in regulating recreational cannabis for adults over the age of 21. The Oregon law, which allows an individual the ability to carry one ounce of cannabis, possess up to 8 ounces and cultivate four (4) cannabis plants at their residence, was passed in November 2014 as Measure 91.

Mark Pettinger, the spokesperson for the Recreational Marijuana Program with Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), said in a statement, “From January 2016 to now, I’d say we have made pretty good progress with the tools we have and the support we have.”

“Now we’re close to 1,300 licenses that have been issued and close to 3,000 applicants,” Pettinger added.

Wisconsin: Bills to Decriminalize Possession of 10 Grams of Cannabis Introduced

Wisconsin

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On June 27, Rep. Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake), Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison), unveiled Assembly Bill 409, a bill that would decriminalize possessing small amounts of cannabis, but acknowledged the bill's potentially grim fate in a conservative controlled Wisconsin Legislature.

On June 23, Senate Bill 318, a similar cannabis decriminalization bill introduced into the Wisconsin Senate, was referred to Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.

U.S.: Federal Bills Seek To Reclassify Drug Possession Felonies as Misdemeanors

U.S. Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On June 27, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison (D) reintroduced the Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment Act of 2017, known as the RESET Act. The bipartisan legislation would reclassify specific low-level, non-violent drug possession felonies as misdemeanors. On May 27, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the original bill, S. 1252 in the United States Senate.

New York: State Department of Health Announces Enhancements to Medical Marijuana Program

New York Cannabis

Certified Patients Increase By More Than 7,500 Since Addition of Chronic Pain

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On June 22, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) announced several new enhancements to the state's Medical Marijuana Program as the number of certified patients continues to rise since the late March addition of chronic pain as a qualifying condition. Enhancements will streamline and simplify the registration process for practitioners, making it easier to certify patients for the medical marijuana program.

California: Godmother of Marijuana, Lynette Shaw, Back in Business

Lynette Shaw

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Fairfax, California, a small Marin County town, has a unique business which has been on the forefront of the nascent cannabis industry, Lynette Shaw’s Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) — one of the first medical-marijuana dispensaries in the United States. MAMM, hosted its grand reopening this week, after winning a federal court case that began in the late 1990s. Shaw, “godmother to all the dispensaries”, is cherishing the long-awaited homecoming.

“I never married, I never had children. I birthed this, instead,” Shaw said. “This is my family. And they’re coming back.”

Utah: Medical Cannabis Initiative Moves Forward Towards 2018 Ballot

Utah Medical Cannabis

The ballot initiative would set up state-regulated cannabis growing and dispensing operations and allow the drug to be consumed in edible forms, in topical forms or as an oil, however, smoking cannabis would not be allowed, but vaping would

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Medical cannabis activists in Utah have filed the necessary paperwork to get the issue before voters in 2018. The Utah Lt. Governor's Office will review the language for legality and fiscal impact to taxpayers. Before qualifying for the November 2018 ballot, the Utah Patients Coalition must hold seven public hearings throughout Utah and collect 113,143 signatures from registered voters around the state.

Rhode Island: Senate Approves Cannabis Study Commission

Rhode Island Cannabis Commission

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On June 22, the Rhode Island Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator Cynthia Coyne (D) to create a 19-member joint legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational cannabis in Washington and Colorado. The bill, 2017-S 0277A, moves to the House, which has already approved identical legislation sponsored by Rep. Dennis M. Canario (D).

The partisan legislation, cosponsored by Sen. James A. Seveney (D), Sen. Harold M. Metts (D), Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D) and Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D), seeks to educate legislators on pragmatic cannabis policy.

Oregon: Industrial Hemp Restrictions Eased In Beaver State

Oregon State Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, the Oregon House approved SB 1015A, bipartisan legislation which opens the door for industrial hemp to become the state’s newest agriculture industry. SB 1015, which eases restrictions on the sale of industrial hemp products by allowing growers to sell their crops to OLCC-licensed processors, permits industrial hemp products to be sold at licensed retail locations.

North Dakota: Despite Drought Conditions, Industrial Hemp Thriving

Industrial Hemp

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In North Dakota, farmers have found a great drought resistant crop in 2017: industrial hemp. Clarence Laub, a second-year North Dakota hemp farmer altered his seeding technique and is producing significant results using a third of the water as other cash crops.

"There's still a lot of hope for it. It should be one of the last things not to make it," said Laub. He continued, "This is also a very new crop, too. We just grew it. Last year was the first year, so this year is new and also with the dryer conditions that's new with it too."

New York: Former NFL Star Marvin Washington Advocating for Cannabis

Marvin Washington Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Former NFL Defensive End Marvin Washington, who played 11 years in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 1999, wants the NFL and the Players Association to embrace cannabis as a safe alternative to treat debilitating sports injuries.

United States: Toby Keith, Willie Nelson Celebrate Cannabis In New Hit Single

Wacky Tobaccy

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In 2003, country music artist Toby Keith sang his tribute “Weed With Willie,” and in the song, Keith sings “My party’s all over before its begins...I’ll never smoke weed with Willie again.”

This month, Keith released the song, “Wacky Tobaccy,” a song featuring Willie Nelson. Keith claims Red Hair Sinsemilla, a strain of cannabis from California, is his all-time favorite in his new song.

The song, which was co-written with his longtime songwriter Scotty Emerick, celebrates cannabis. The official video, shot on Nelson's bus before a Merle Haggard tribute in April, has become a viral hit.

U.S.: Vice President Pence Ramps Up Drug War Rhetoric

Pence - Trump

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

This week at the National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, Vice President Mike Pence added fuel to the issue of recreational and medicinal of cannabis in the United States.

During his summit speech on June 21, Vice President Pence, said, "At the President’s direction, the Department of Justice will no longer let the worst offenders off easy. We’re once again pursuing the most serious readily available, provable charges for drug traffickers and violent criminals.... This is about stopping drugs from entering our schools so that our children can shape their future."

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