Washington: Cannabis Freedom Fighter, Rainbow Valley Founder, Gideon Israel Passes Away

Cannabis Freedom Fighter

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Gideon Israel, 68, cannabis activist and winner of the High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year award in 1999, died on September 8 in Olympia, Washington. Born Jeff McMonagle, Israel grew up in Lacey, Washington and attended North Thurston High School, legally changing his name after joining the Love Family.

Israel often held public, utopian gatherings at his 42-acre property, Rainbow Valley, in south Thurston County, Washington, until the authorities shut him down and seized the property. Israel was a polarizing figure in Thurston County for decades because he clashed with local authorities over the festivals he hosted at Rainbow Valley, according to the Olympian.

Colorado: Cultivating Agricultural Hemp on the Western Slope

Colorado Hemp

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Grand Junction, CO - Industrial hemp has only been in the Grand Valley for a few years, but continuous growth in the industry has farmers looking to cultivate a multimillion-dollar industry.

"It's life-changing. Every single day, we're finding more and more uses for it. Hemp was so widely used back in the day, just the amount of paper we can save converting, it's really awesome," said Tanner Willis, Owner of Colorado Hemp Solutions.

This month, at the Industrial Hemp Regional Resource Development Round-table in Montrose, leaders from government and economic agencies from around the Western Slope gathered together to discuss using hemp as an economic development tool.

Virginia: Researchers Seek to Expand Hemp Industry, Farmers Seek New Cash Crop


Virginia Tech researchers hoping to expand hemp industry, farmers hope hemp will become new cash crop

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Every year, the U.S. imports hundreds of millions of dollars in industrial hemp. However, industrial hemp cannot legally be grown in the U.S. because of an unscrupulous outdated law.

Hemp proponents looking to change the law say thousands of jobs would open up and hundreds of millions of dollars could be generated.

"We're talking tens of thousands of jobs," says Kimley Banks, Agriculture Marketing Director for Halifax County.

Massachusetts: Advocates Seek Assurances From Cannabis Control Commission

Mass Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Many advocates in the cannabis industry feel the newly appointed Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) members who opposed Question 4, the state's recreational cannabis law, should make clear that their personal positions will not impact their board responsibilities in implementing the law.

Advocates are asking CCC Chairman, Steven Hoffman, to request that the governor and the Legislature provide adequate funding to get the legal sales system up and running on the current schedule.

U.S.: Senators Reintroduce Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, the bipartisan authors of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) reintroduced their comprehensive legislation to review prison sentences for certain nonviolent drug offenders, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars.

The legislation, spearheaded by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), improves judicial discretion at sentencing for low level offenders and helps inmates successfully reenter society, while tightening penalties for violent criminals and preserving key prosecutorial tools for law enforcement.

Texas: State Issues First Medical Cannabis License

Texas Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier this month a Florida company, Cansortium Texas, was granted the historic first Texas license to grow, process and sell a form of medical cannabis in the Lone Star State.

Cansortium Texas, which sells medical cannabis under the Knox Medical brand, will operate a facility which will be allowed to sell cannabis to epilepsy patients off U.S. 90 in Schulenburg.

Two other companies — Compassionate Cultivation, which is retrofitting a 7,200-square-foot warehouse in Manchaca with customized growing and processing equipment, and Surterra Texas are expected to be awarded state licenses soon after final reviews by the Texas Department of Public Safety, rounding out the three medical cannabis licenses that the agency has said it will issue.

Pennsylvania: Support for Recreational Cannabis Nears 60%


Nearly six in 10 Pennsylvanians support social cannabis regulation, a dramatic upturn over the past decade, a new poll shows

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Fifty-Nine percent of the roughly 400 voters surveyed approve of adult-use cannabis legalization, according to a poll by Franklin & Marshall College Center for Opinion Research.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the statistic is dramatically up from the 22% who supported legalization in 2006, the first year the Lancaster-based college started polling Pennsylvanians about social cannabis legalization.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Coalition Nearing Petition Drive Goal

Michigan Signature Gathering

Backers of a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan are approaching the finish line

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Hundreds of petition circulators in Michigan have been busy collecting signatures for the legalization of cannabis.

Josh Hovey, the spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, says the group is pushing forward and their petition drive will collect its 300,000 signature in the coming days.

"We're around 80 percent toward our goal, which puts us at about 280,000 signatures. If we can keep our fundraising up the we'll be pushing 300k very soon and wrapping up the signatures in the next month," Hovey told Hemp News.

Australia: Olivia Newton-John Advocates For Medical Cannabis Down Under

Olivia Newton-John

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Entertainer Olivia Newton-John has become an unlikely champion for the use of medicinal cannabis in Australia.

"I will do what I can to encourage it. It's an important part of treatment, and it should be available," the iconic singer, said.

Newton-John said she uses the drug – which is legal in her home state of California – and it's helped her during her second fight against cancer.

"I use medicinal cannabis, which is really important for pain and healing," Newton-John said. "It helped me a lot with pain, because, you know, I don't like taking prescription drugs, so it's kind of a no-brainer," Newton-John added.

Oregon: New Plant Limits for Medical Marijuana Program Hurting Patients

Oregon Capitol

New state regulations attempting to address the flow of medical cannabis into the black market leaves patients in painful bind

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Oregon public health officials drafted strict rules for how many plants medical cannabis patients may cultivate at home or at a grow-site registered with the state. Legislators claim the regulations are the result of bi-partisan legislation passed this past session to stop the flow of medical cannabis to the community. A residence may have no more than a dozen mature plants, no matter how many people live there, including recreational plants. The law does not define the size of immature plants.

Colorado: City of Boulder Seeks Volunteers for Marijuana Advisory Panel

Boulder, CO

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The City of Boulder is seeking three volunteers to serve as representatives of the community at large on the Marijuana Advisory Panel (MAP). To be considered, you must be a resident of the city of Boulder and have no ties to the marijuana industry. Your letter of interest must include a description of your background and the main reasons you are interested in serving on the MAP.

U.S.: Trump Intends to Nominate Pennsylvania Congressman Marino as Drug Czar

Tom Marino, Prohibitionist

Trump to name Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA) as White House Drug Czar

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The position of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), who is responsible for setting broad federal approaches to controlled substance policy and certifying the drug budgets of other agencies, will be given Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino, a former state and federal prosecutor.

Rep. Marino has consistently voted against marijuana law reform measures on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, as a member of Congress since 2011.

Illinois: Public Hearing on Cannabis Legalization Next Week in Springfield

Illinois Cannabis

Supporters are invited to hear testimony next week on public safety

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Springfield, IL - State lawmakers are holding a public hearing Wednesday, September 6th from 1pm to 5pm in Room 212 in the Illinois State Capitol on legalization in Illinois and how it relates to public safety. Those testifying in front of the Joint Hearing with House Appropriations Public Safety Committee, include current and former members of law enforcement, academic researchers, and experts from around the country. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Utah: Patients Coalition Launches 2018 Signature Drive for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Utah Patients Coalition 2018

Patients, advocates, and dedicated volunteers begin signature drive across the state

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The campaign to place a medical cannabis initiative on the November 2018 ballot has entered their signature gathering phase. The Utah Patients Coalition are collecting signatures throughout the state and are assembling teams on a daily basis. To qualify for the ballot, more than 113,000 valid signatures are required.

On August 10, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act received approval from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox to begin gathering signatures after supporters held 10 public hearings across the state and met with various state departments and stakeholders.

Michigan: Effort To Legalize Marijuana On Pace to Make 2018 Ballot

Michigan Cannabis 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The signature drive to legalize marijuana in Michigan in November of 2018 is swiftly progressing toward making the ballot.

Robin Schneider, the Finance Director for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, told Hemp News, "Last week, we passed the 200,000-signature mark – meaning we’re well on our way to reaching our goal of collecting 366,000 signatures. 252,523 of these signatures need to be validated to get on the ballot in 2018 and end cannabis prohibition once and for all."

If the proposal to end marijuana prohibition is approved by voters, Michigan would become a national leader in cannabis reform by allowing personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older.

U.S.: Netflix's 'Disjointed,' Starring Kathy Bates, Offers Laughs in Mad World

Kathy Bates

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Oscar winner Kathy Bates, 69, is lighting up again — only this time it’s cannabis — as Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, the owner of a California medical cannabis dispensary in Netflix's new sitcom “Disjointed”.

“Disjointed”, which showcases Ruth’s old school activism against the business ambitions of her son, Travis (Aaron Moten), a newly minted M.B.A. who wants to grow their dispensary into the Walmart of cannabis, also tackles real world situations from politics to post traumatic stress disorder.

U.S.: NFL Legend Joe Montana Invests in Cannabis Media Business

Joe Montana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana bought into cannabis technology company HERB.

HERB, a digital media company based in Toronto, Canada geared specifically for the cannabis industry, mixes original how-to videos with hard news and profiles. The company, which boasts 5.3 million unique visitors per month and 2 billion organic video views annually as of June 2017, aims to expand to Los Angeles and New York City, as well as build out new studios to offer online video content.

Liquid 2 Ventures, Montana's venture capital firm, was a part of a group that invested $4.1 million into Herb during the company’s seed-funding round.

U.S.: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Continues to Deny Cannabis Science

Jeff Sessions, Prohibitionist

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions vows medical cannabis has no medicinal value and science still contradicts his stance

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the ever outspoken cannabis prohibitionist, has been pushing for Congressional permission to prosecute medical cannabis providers in states that have legalized the drug for medical use.

AG Sessions, who points to America’s “historic drug epidemic” to justify the crackdown, denies extensive research showing medical cannabis access lowers rates of opioid-related overdose.

U.S.: Cannabis Activist, Debby Goldsberry, Publishes New Book for Would-Be Entrepreneurs

Debby Goldsberry

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Berkeley Patients Group co-founder, Debby Goldsberry, recently wrote Idiot’s Guides: Starting and Running a Marijuana Business, a how-to book on establishing a successful cannabis venture.

As the adult recreational use of marijuana becomes fully legal in California on Jan. 1, Goldsberry, now executive director of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, decided it was the perfect time to write the book.

“I had just been reading an article that said the best way to build your brand is to write a book,” Goldsberry said.

Florida: Medical Cannabis Businesses Taking Root


By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last month, the Palm Beach County Commission and the Dania Beach Commission agreed to allow medical marijuana dispensaries wherever pharmacies are allowed. Cities across South Florida will decide whether to allow dispensaries within their borders in the coming months.

“I wish it was around, legalized with a doctor’s prescription when my mother was dying,” Dania Commissioner Chickie Brandimarte said.

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