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California bill would automatically erase prior marijuana convictions

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 23:32
A Democratic lawmaker wants to make it easier for Californians with marijuana convictions to reduce or erase their records as the state moves into a new era.

If the U.S. legalizes marijuana, what happens to its international drug treaties?

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 21:52
The U.S. currently only partially complies with international conventions that unequivocally prohibit recreational marijuana use as part of the global fight against drug trafficking.

Vermont Senate Approves Bill to Legalize Marijuana, Already Passed House, Governor Expected to Sign

The Joint Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 21:32
Legislation that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older has been approved by Vermont’s full Senate.

H. 511 has already been approved by the state’s House of Representatives, meaning it will soon be sent to Governor Phil Scott, who’s expected to quickly sign the measure into law. If he does, the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and the personal cultivation of up to two mature (or four immature) plants would be legal for those 21 and older. H. 511 would make Vermont the ninth state to legalize marijuana, and the first to do so through the legislature (all other states have legalized through the initiative process).

“This is a big step forward for Vermont,” says Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Vermonters should be proud that their state is becoming the first to do this legislatively, rather than by ballot initiative.”

57% of Vermont voters support legalizing marijuana, with just 39% opposed, according to a statewide survey conducted in March by Public Policy Polling.

“This will be an important milestone for the legalization movement”, says Matthew Schweich, interim executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “When Gov. Scott signs this legislation, Vermont will become the first state in the country to end marijuana prohibition through legislative action.” Schweich says that; “Now that yet another state has rejected marijuana prohibition, there is even more pressure for Congress to take action to prevent any federal interference from Attorney General Jeff Sessions. It’s time for the federal government to respect the authority of states to determine their own marijuana policies.”

Vermont isn’t the only state currently attempting to legalize through the legislative process, as just yesterday New Hampshire’s House of Representatives approved a similar measure.

The post Vermont Senate Approves Bill to Legalize Marijuana, Already Passed House, Governor Expected to Sign appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Vermont Likely To Become The 9th State To Legalization Marijuana

Weed News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 20:16
Vermont made history last year when its legislature passed a marijuana legalization measure. Unfortunately, that measure was vetoed by Vermont’s Governor, who requested some tweaks to the...

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Vermont Senate Approves Legalization of Marijuana Possession and Cultivation, Awaits Governor’s Signature

NORML Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 18:30

Today, the Vermont state Senate approved a measure that would legalize the possession and limited home cultivation of marijuana. Under this legislation, H. 511, individuals 21 years of age or older would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a limited amount for personal use.

“While prohibitionists like Attorney General Jeff Sessions desperately try to force our country to return to the dark ages, his flailing seems to be for naught, as Vermont is now positioned to be the first state to legalize marijuana possession by legislative action,” said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, “The American people have made their position clear, it is time to move away from the failed policies of the past and to move in the sensible direction of legalization. Vermont will likely be the first state to take such an action this year, it is unlikely to be the last with New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire, Connecticut and others likely to give legalization legislation serious consideration during the 2018 legislative session.”

H. 511 was approved by the state’s lower chamber last week in a 81-63 vote. Now that it has passed the state Senate, the bill will be sent to Governor Phil Smith for his signature. Despite vetoing a similar effort last year, Governor Scott has stated he would likely sign this renewed effort.

Passage of legalization in Vermont in 2018 would be a legislative first. To date, all eight states that have enacted legalization of the adult use of marijuana, as well as the District of Columbia have done so by a direct vote of the people.

One in five Americans reside in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute, and the majority of citizens reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized. As is evidenced by Vermont lawmakers’ actions, it is clear that the Trump administration is not going to be able to cease this momentum in favor of the enactment of rational marijuana policies.

“For the second time in two years, Vermont lawmakers have rejected the failed Flat Earth policies of marijuana prohibition,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said,”The majority of Vermonters, like the majority of the American public, desire to live in a community where responsible adults who choose to consume cannabis are no longer criminalized or stigmatized. Governor Scott would be wise to provide Vermonters with this path forward, rather than cling to the failed policies of the past.”

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Vermont Legislature Legalizes Marijuana

Marijuana Moment - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 18:23

Vermont lawmakers took final action on Wednesday to make the state the first in U.S. history to legalize marijuana by an act of lawmakers. Gov. Phil Scott (R) has pledged to sign the bill into law.

Vermont Governor “Comfortable” Legalizing Marijuana In Early 2018

While eight other states and Washington, D.C. have also ended cannabis prohibition for adults over 21, they did so with voter-approved ballot initiatives.

Vermont’s legislative move signals a milestone in the evolving politics of marijuana. Polls consistently show majority voter support for legalization, and more politicians are beginning to see the issue as a winning one they should embrace rather than run away from.

In neighboring New Hampshire, the House of Representatives approved a similar legalization bill on Tuesday.

The marijuana victories come just days after the Trump administration rolled back Obama-era guidance that generally allowed states to implement their own legalization laws without federal interference.

Both New England states’ proposed laws provide for a noncommercial approach to marijuana under which possession and home cultivation of relatively small amounts would be allowed, but storefronts and sales would not.

In Vermont, the bill would allow people over 21 years of age to legally possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow as many as two mature and four immature cannabis plants.

Once legislative counsel finalizes the bill formatting and it is officially transmitted to the governor’s desk, he will have five days to act on it.

Last year, the state fell just short of legalizing marijuana. The legislature passed a bill to legalize personal cannabis possession and homegrow, but Scott vetoed it. However, in doing so, he laid out a few small changes he wanted legislators to make in order to win his support. The Senate quickly acted to make the requested revisions, but the House was not able to overcome procedural hurdles to get it done in time during a short special session over the summer.

The House approved the bill last week, making a minor amendment, necessitating Wednesday’s final Senate vote to send the measure to Scott’s desk. Final passage was accomplished via a voice vote.

Legalization supporters appear ready to keep pressing toward full-scale commercial legalization as soon as the governor signs the current proposal, which is set to take effect on July 1.

“It’s up to citizens across the state whether or not we see a bill like that pass this year with their participation in the process,” Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (Progressive) said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I would like to see that. I think every year we go by not doing it, we are perpetuating the underground, unregulated, unjust system that we have today while other states are moving forward.”

The Senate approved bills to allow legal marijuana sales last year and in 2016, but they didn’t gain traction in the House, which favored the noncommercial approach.

Advocates believe that New Jersey is also poised to end marijuana prohibition via the legislature this year. Phil Murphy (D), who will be sworn in as governor next week, campaigned on full-scale commercial legalization, and the Senate president says he is ready to pass a bill.

A number of other states are expected to vote on ballot initiatives to legalize recreational or medical cannabis later this year.

These States Are Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2018

The post Vermont Legislature Legalizes Marijuana appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Colo. Sen. Gardner meets with Jeff Sessions on marijuana, neither giving ground

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 18:22
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said Wednesday that a morning meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions did little to settle their disagreement over marijuana policy.

California couple busted in Nebraska last month with weed "gifts" arrested again on way home

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 18:06
A California couple arrested in Nebraska last month for carrying 60 pounds of marijuana they described as family Christmas gifts have again been arrested in Nebraska.

Op-ed: Jeff Sessions is a hypocrite on states' rights. But so is everyone else

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 17:16
As a former senator from the South known for trumpeting the sovereignty of state power over federal overreach, Sessions' defense of overturning practices that had been initiated by state ballots seems contradictory, even hypocritical.

Alaska lawmakers seek to separate federal, state marijuana regs

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 16:59
Alaska lawmakers are rewriting a resolution pertaining to the separation of federal marijuana regulations and the state's legal cannabis industry.

Report: Cannabis Industry Could Generate $132 Billion In Taxes, Create 1.1 Million Jobs By 2025

Weed News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 16:20
New Frontier Data, the authority in data, analytics, and business intelligence for the cannabis industry, released a new study, Cannabis In the U.S. Economy: Jobs, Growth and Tax Revenue, examining...

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UPDATE: Vermont Senate passes recreational marijuana bill, gov has said he'll sign

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 16:10
The state may become the first in the county to authorize the recreational use of marijuana by an act of the Legislature rather than via a citizen referendum.

California Cannabis Advisory Committee To Hold First Meeting Of 2018

Weed News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:50
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (Bureau) today announced that the Cannabis Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting of the year on Thursday, January 18, in Sacramento. The Meeting Notice and...

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Free temporary licenses help California transition

The Leaf Online - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:22

California has a complex situation to navigate during 2018, and the agencies that are overseeing the rollout of legal commercial production and access to cannabis are trying to ease the culture shock of moving above ground. This includes a grace period to move cannabis supplies from the medical to the adult use markets. Chief cannabis […]

The post Free temporary licenses help California transition appeared first on The Leaf Online.

Colorado Politicians Ask Sessions To Leave Legal Marijuana States Alone

Weed News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 15:20
Members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation; led by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.; sent a bipartisan letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to reverse his decision on the Cole...

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4Front Raises Six Million Dollars To Fuel Its Rapid Growth

Weed News - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 14:49
4Front Holdings, LLC (“4Front”), a leading investment and management firm in the cannabis industry, today announced it has raised approximately $6 million to help it continue to...

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New Hampshire House approves legal cannabis (Newsletter: Jan. 10, 2018)

Marijuana Moment - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 12:53

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VT Senate voting today; 2nd biggest VA city backs state decrim; Congressional bills get lots of new cosponsors

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a marijuana legalization bill.

Norfolk, Virginia, the second-largest city in the commonwealth, is calling on state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana and expand the limited medical cannabis program.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will meet to discuss marijuana policy on Wednesday, as Gardner has already placed holds on numerous Department of Justice nominations over the issue. On Tuesday, Gardner led a meeting of a bipartisan group of senators to plan a pushback. U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) attended the meeting, reportedly with about ten other senators.

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner will host a listening session on prison reform at the White House on Thursday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she’s working on legislation to protect state marijuana laws from federal interference.

Marijuana reform champion U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has been appointed as a new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who tweets a lot about cannabis lately but hasn’t yet cosponsored any legislation, was also named to the panel.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is concerned that medical cannabis is at risk under the new federal marijuana enforcement policy.

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio said, “We’re going to still continue to be in a position to prosecute those cases, and marijuana’s still illegal under federal law just like it was last week, so that doesn’t change.”

Four members of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent a letter asking Sessions to rethink his marijuana policy decision. Members of Congress from the state also held a meeting to plot strategy on Tuesday.

Nevada’s congressional delegation pushed back against the federal cannabis change as well. Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) wrote a letter telling congressional leaders she will oppose a big spending bill unless it includes protections for state marijuana laws. In an interview, she suggested the Trump administration change could spur legislative action. Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV) sent a letter urging Sessions to reverse his marijuana directive. Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV), who also opposes the federal shift, nevertheless  said, “I don’t think there’s a reason for panic.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) gave a House floor speech pushing back against the Trump administration’s marijuana move.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted about marijuana’s health benefits.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got four new cosponsors, bringing the total to 19.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got 11 new cosponsors, bringing the total to 35.

The U.S. House bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol got four new cosponsors, bringing the total to 21.

The U.S. House bill to create a federal tax structure for legal marijuana got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to nine.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) sent a letter to President Trump requesting he support extending state medical cannabis protections.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said that federal prosecutors should not focus on marijuana.

Vermont’s Senate is set to vote on sending a House-passed marijuana legalization bill to the governor on Wednesday. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (VPP) suggested lawmakers might pass full-scale legal marijuana sales legislation this year after the noncommercial bill is signed into law.

Maine marijuana legalization supporters and opponents reportedly reached a deal on an implementation plan.

Michigan’s House speaker and other candidates for state attorney general are criticizing the federal marijuana policy change.

A Kansas representative who made racist comments about marijuana has stepped down from committee leadership positions following criticism.

New Jersey’s Senate Republican whip has “major concerns” about marijuana-impaired driving under legalization.

The State of New York is providing funding to open a hemp processing facility.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wakely supports legalizing marijuana.

A Florida judge ruled in favor of a black farmer in a medical cannabis licensing case.

A Mississippi representative introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

A California assemblyman is filing a bill to make it easier to expunge past marijuana convictions. Separately, regulators proposed a timeline and strategy for cannabis rulemaking.

A New Mexico representative filed a resolution calling on the state’s congressional delegation to “create new legislation protecting medicinal cannabis users in New Mexico from the threat of being sent to federal prison.”

A Nebraska senator introduced a bill to exempt substances containing ten percent or less CBD by weight and three-tenths of one percent or less THC by weight from the definition of marijuana.

The parents of a Vermont prosecutor who were arrested transporting 60 pounds of marijuana across the country last month were busted again, this time on suspicion of carrying drug money.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner approved more than 12,000 acres for industrial hemp research in 2018.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Paraguay President Horacio Cartes signed medical cannabis regulations.

Canadian Prime MInister Justin Trudeau answered questions about marijuana legalization at a town hall meeting.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox will host a marijuana conference at Centro Fox facilities in May.

/ ADVOCACY

Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos says he’s conflicted about the federal anti-marijuana move.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A survey found that 60% of adults in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area support legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.

The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

The News & Observer editorial board isn’t happy with the change either.

The Toledo Blade editorial board wants Congress to amend federal marijuana laws.

The Washington Times editorial board wants Sessions to “take the lead” in resolving the federal-state marijuana conflict.

/ BUSINESS

Medical cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been shut off from debit card processing in the wake of federal changes.

Iowa State University has agreed to pay more than $300,000 in damages and legal fees after a federal court found it improperly prevented a student group from making t-shirts that featured school mascot and a marijuana leaf.

/ CULTURE     

Jimmy Kimmel Live visited the MedMen marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles.

The post New Hampshire House approves legal cannabis (Newsletter: Jan. 10, 2018) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.

Kentucky Approves Over 12,000 Acres of Hemp for 2018

The Joint Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 09:43
Kentucky officials have approved the cultivation of over 12,000 acres of hemp for 2018.

In total the Kentucky Department of Agriculture approved 12,018 acres of industrial hemp for the year. The hemp will be used for research purposes.

The over 12,000 acres will be grown by 225 approved farmers. The number is up from the 209 farmers approved last year.

Of the 225 farmers, 185 stated that their focus will be research on floral material. 103 said their primary focus will be grain or seed research, and 66 said fiber research.

The 12,018 approved acres is far more than roughly 3,200 acres of hemp grown in 2017.

According to congressional research, the U.S. imports half a billion dollars in hemp each year from other countries despite the plant being illegal for farmers in the nation to grow themselves. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist of over 25,000 various products.

The post Kentucky Approves Over 12,000 Acres of Hemp for 2018 appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Hemp Processing Plant Receives State Funding in New York, First in U.S. to Receive Government Assistance

The Joint Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 09:29
New York is funding a $3.2 million hemp processing plant, starting with a $650,000 initial investment.

The facility is the first such venue in the U.S. to receive government assistance. According to WIVT, a local TV station in Binghamton where the plant will be located, the state is giving an initial investment of $650,000. The funding is coming as part of an initiative by Governor Andrew Cuomo to start a hemp processing plant in the Southern Tier.

“The emerging industrial hemp industry has the power to transform the agricultural economy,” Governor Cuomo said following the announcement of the investment.

“[I]t’s a very important development that we are promoting”, says,Assemblymember Donna Lupardo.

The $650,000 is the first of New York’s $5 million fund designated to boost the industrial hemp industry.

The post Hemp Processing Plant Receives State Funding in New York, First in U.S. to Receive Government Assistance appeared first on TheJointBlog.

Colorado Rep. DeGette convenes delegation to respond to Sessions, discuss federal marijuana protections

Cannabist - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 01:27
Attorney General Jeff Sessions' rescission of the Cole Memo has brought together Colorado delegates with otherwise "widely divergent philosophies" to take action and plan future moves on marijuana, Rep. Dianna DeGette told The Cannabist.
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