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Global: Uruguay Becomes First Country To Allow Open Cannabis Use

Uruguay Cannabis

Uruguay has never criminalized personal possession of drugs, and a 1974 law allowed judges to determine whether a given case of possession was personal or commercial

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In August 2014, Uruguay legalized the formation of growing clubs, a state-controlled marijuana dispensary regime and created a cannabis regulatory institute. A new law makes the South American country the first in the world to sell the herb over the counter.

There was a gray area in the law where consumption was legal but cultivation was not, so every time a marijuana-grower was taken prisoner it was reinforcing the message that the only place to obtain access to a legal substance was on the illegal market.

Rhode Island: Legislative Allies Propose Incremental Cannabis Legalization

Rhode Island Cannabis

Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Scott Slater announce a proposal to legalize possession of small amounts of cannabis on July 1, 2018, and establish an advisory board to provide recommendations to the General Assembly on regulating sales and cultivation

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The compromise legislation would legalize possession of an ounce or less for adults 21 and older on July 1, 2018 and establish a six-person advisory board comprised of two state officials selected by the governor, two state senators, and two state representatives to study outcomes of legalization in other states.

New Mexico: McDonalds Cannabis Billboard Near Colorado Border Goes Viral

Marijuana Is Safer Than McDonalds

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A cannabis billboard near Raton, New Mexico has a lot of people talking on the Internet. The billboard, which has since been taken down, stated, “Usually, when you roll something this good, it’s illegal,” and showed a Bueno green chile breakfast burrito.

The billboard, was for a McDonald's on Clayton Road in Raton, just off exit 451 of Canam Highway.

Melissa Grubelnik, the Tourism Coordinator of the Raton Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber “sees the humor” in the sign, considering the city’s proximity to Colorado. “We do not have a problem with it,” Grubelnik said. “We hope it encourages people to stop at our newly renovated McDonald’s.”

Global: Chilean Pharmacies Start Offering Cannabis, A First In Latin America

Chile Cannabis

Cannabis has a long history in Chile, possibly the longest in the New World, as hemp production for fiber was introduced in the Quillota Valley as early as 1545

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Increasingly, Chileans are cultivating their own cannabis for medicine as the South American nation starts to loosen its prohibition on the once illegal herb. Chile began clinical trials on medical marijuana in 2014, and in 2015 a decriminalization bill successfully passed the lower house of the Chilean Congress. Later that year, following a wave of other Latin American nations allowing the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of cannabis, Chile legalized the use of medical marijuana.

United States: Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Escalating War On Cannabis

Jeff Sessions - War On Drugs

It's time for smart criminal justice reforms – not regressive, recycled policies

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is spouting reefer madness rhetoric and promoting policies that pragmatic Americans have been working hard to put in the past. With near-consensus that the War on Drugs was a failure on every level, the country is ready to move to smart and commonsense reforms to our criminal justice system.

From state legislatures to the ballot box, the American people want common-sense sentencing policy reform – and the policies AG Sessions has proposed are anything but sensible.

United States: Supreme Court Rejects Missouri Tech College Drug Test Bid

Supreme Court

This case establishes -- once and for all -- that under the Fourth Amendment, every person has the right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure, including college students

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, The US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the State Technical College of Missouri regarding an appeals court ruling that its mandatory drug testing policy is unconstitutional when applied to all students. With the refusal to intervene, the nation's highest court brought an end the six-year legal dispute with State Technical College of Missouri, formerly known as Linn State Technical College.

Colorado: Governor Signs SB 17, Adds Post Traumatic Stress Disorder To Medical Cannabis Program

Colorado Medical Marijuana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed SB 17, a medical cannabis bill sponsored by Senator Irene Aguilar and Representative Jonathan Singer, which creates a statutory right to use medical marijuana for a patient with acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. The bill creates the same rights, limitations, and criminal defenses and exceptions as the constitutional right to use medical marijuana.

Washington: New Law, SB 5131, Allows Sharing Of Cannabis, Creates Organic Standards, Prohibits Advertising To Youth

Seattle Hempfest 2015

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On May 16, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5131 into law. The new law, which goes into effect July 23, allows anyone 21 years or older to “deliver” to another adult up to one-half ounce of flowers, eight ounces of infused solid edible, 36 ounces of infused liquid, or three and one-half grams of concentrates, as long as they don’t charge money. Previously in Washington state, possession with the intent to pass the joint/bong/edible held a penalty of 5 years in jail and $10,000, and disqualification from federal programs.

Pennsylvania: Industrial Hemp Plot Planted In Perry County, Harvest To Be Cattle Feed

Perry County Hemp

From 1681 until around 1840 the culture of hemp was nearly universal in Pennsylvania

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Tuesday, an industrial hemp research plot was planted in Perry County, Pennsylvania. If successful, the seeds should germinate in about a week and mature in 100 days.

Georgia: Medical Cannabis Oil Law Expands

Gov Nathan Deal

Since the latest expansion law took effect, 185 people registered as caregivers bringing the statewide total to 2,248

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law a measure that expands the state’s medical cannabis program. Senate Bill 16 adds six more conditions eligible for treatment with a limited form of cannabis oil in Georgia. The conditions include: AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, epidermolysis bullosa, peripheral neuropathy and Tourette’s syndrome. Patients in hospice care are also allowed to possess the oil.

Washington: Historic Industrial Hemp Crop Planted In Moses Lake

HempLogic at Moses Lake, WA

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last year, the Washington Legislature voted to permit industrial hemp. Today in Moses Lake, industrial hemp seeds were planted. This historic event, which was presented by the Washington Hemp Industries Association and sponsored by HempLogic USA and Hemp Ace International, celebrated the first legal planting of the versatile, valuable industrial hemp crop in Washington State in approximately 90 years.

The commemoration featured agronomic and regulatory guidance from experts, hemp industry leaders and the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Florida: Governor Scott Vetoes Funding Cancer Center And University For Cannabis Research

cannabisresearch-2017.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a budget funding of more than $3 million to the Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Florida. In the untimely budget veto, Gov. Scott said the university and the cancer center had plenty of money to fund the research on their own.

Cannabis is included in the Controlled Substances Act, which means research on cannabis is stifled by many politicians.

“I want to know the real effects,” State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton said “What are the negative effects? What are the downsides?”

Pennsylvania: Industrial Hemp Sown For First Time In Decades

Penn Hemp 2017

Industrial Hemp was an important crop and a major industry in Pennsylvania, grown in the Commonwealth until the 1940’s

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

For the first time in over 80 years, researchers and farmers are allowed to cultivate hemp in Pennsylvania, with permits. The new law allows permit holders to grow up to five acres of industrial hemp.

After fifty years of growing acres of various crops at his family's farm near Milton, Abram Ziegler has turned to industrial hemp to help his farm.

Kentucky: Industrial Hemp Processing Plant Expands In Louisville

Sunstrand

The processing plant fibers are being developed to create furnace filters and filaments for 3D printing

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Sunstrand, a Louisville-based hemp processing plant, is a biomaterials company that processes hemp, kanaf, flax, and bamboo for industrial and technical applications. In 2014, the business started in Okolona, after Kentucky allowed industrial hemp. The company's new 25,000-square-foot plant is more than four times larger than its original location. The company has contracts with several Kentucky farmers to grow hemp, and their fibers are being developed to create furnace filters and filaments for 3D printing.

United States: Trump Administration Rhetoric Against Cannabis Includes Mandatory Minimums

Sessions Trump

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In May, the Trump Administration upped its tough-on-crime rhetoric, which would put in place policies that would take our country back into the dark era of the 1980's. A memo last month from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which directed federal prosecutors to pursue the severest penalties possible for any crime, including drug offenses, sought mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes.

Sessions, recently proclaimed, “We know that drugs and crime go hand-in-hand. Drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t file a lawsuit in court. You collect it by the barrel of a gun.”

One of the key architects of Sessions' sentencing memo was Steven Cook, a former federal criminal justice prosecutor.

Pennsylvania: NFL Hall of Fame Linebacker Jack Ham Working To Strengthen Cannabis Advocacy

Jack Ham Cannabis

One of the greatest outside linebackers in the history of the NFL has become an advocate for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Legendary Pittsburgh Steeler and 1988 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee, Jack Ham plans to serve as a spokesperson and consultant for AgriMed, which is one of several hundred companies vying for one of 12 licenses to grow and provide medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

While Ham is partially advocating for the company because he wants to see jobs return to Greene County, where its operation would be located, he also believes it is time for the NFL to take a more open stance on the drug.

United States: Veterans Affairs Secretary Shulkin: "We’re Interested In Looking At Medical Marijuana For Vets"

VA 2017

"If there is compelling evidence that this is helpful, I hope that people take a look at that and come up with the right decision." Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday he's open to expanding the use of medical cannabis to help service members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but cited the VA is limited by strict federal law.

In the United States, it is estimated that 22 veterans take their lives each day. “That should be unacceptable to all of us,” Shulkin said.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Campaign Seeks To Gather 252,523 Valid Signatures To Qualify For November 2018 Ballot

MichiganCannaLawBlog

Personal grow limits and cultivation of hemp are included in the bill

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On May 18, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the language of a cannabis legalization initiative for the November of 2018 ballot. If passed, the progressive initiative would legalize personal possession, cultivation and use of limited amounts of cannabis for adults 21 and older. It would also tax cannabis with a 10 percent excise tax and 6 percent sales tax.

The proposal sets up three classes of cannabis growers: those who can grow up to 100 plants, 500 plants and 2,000 plants.

Study: Cannabis Component Reduces Seizures For Some Epilepsy Patients, According To Research

NYU Langone Center

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

An oil derived from the cannabis plant sharply reduces violent seizures in young people according to a study published last Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study focused on patients with Dravet syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy.

"This is the first solid, rigorously obtained scientific data that a marijuana compound is safe and effective for this problem," said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist at New York University Langone Medical Center and primary author of the study.

United States: Brooklyn District Attorney Tells Attorney General Jeff Sessions 'Brooklyn's Decriminalization Is A Success'

AG Sessions DA Gonzalez

While the Trump administration advocates for a draconian stance on drugs by pushing for harsh criminal penalties, Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez's declaration advocates for a pragmatic approach to the war on drugs.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a return to federal drug policies of the 1980’s, policies which end in mass incarceration.

In an opinion piece published on Sunday for City and State New York, Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez as was critical of AG Jeff Sessions for his barbaric stance regarding the failed drug war.

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