2016

U.S.: Public Support For Marijuana Legalization Surged In 2016

graph.png

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Public support for marijuana legalization surged in 2016, according to data just released from the General Social Survey.

57 percent of Americans told the survey's pollsters last year that they “think the use of marijuana should be legal,” up from 52 percent in 2014.

The numbers from the General Social Survey agree with other national surveys last year, which found support ranging from the upper 50s to low 60s.

The survey indicates different attitudes toward marijuana legalization, divided mainly by age and political party. Two-thirds of respondents ages 18 to 34 supported legalization in the survey, as well as majorities of those ages 35 to 49 and 50 to 64. But seniors 65 and older stood apart, with only 42 percent supporting legalization.

Support for legalization among Democrats and independents has risen much faster than among Republicans. In 2016, more than 60 percent of the former two groups supported legal marijuana. Among Republicans support stood at only 40 percent.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been outspoken in his criticism of legalization, but the Trump administration has been noncommittal in its approach to marijuana enforcement

U.S.: Pharma Company That Spent $500,000 To Fight Marijuana Legalization Just Got DEA Approval For Synthetic Marijuana

Insys.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Insys Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that was one of the chief financial backers of the opposition to marijuana legalization last year in Arizona, just received DEA approval for Syndros, a synthetic marijuana drug.

Insys donated $500,000 to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy last year, the group opposing marijuana legalization in Arizona. The donation amounted to roughly 10 percent of all money raised to fight marijuana legalization in Arizona, a fight which they ultimately won.

Syndros is a synthetic formulation of THC, marijuana's psychoactive component. It was approved by the FDA last summer to treat nausea, vomiting and weight loss in cancer and AIDS patients. The DEA approval places Syndros and its generic formulations in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, indicating a “high potential for abuse.” Other Schedule II drugs include morphine, cocaine and many prescription painkillers.

Insys was the only pharmaceutical company known to be giving money to oppose legalization last year. “It appears they are trying to kill a non-pharmaceutical market for marijuana in order to line their own pockets,” a spokesman for Arizona's marijuana legalization campaign said last year.

Vermont: New Bill Proposed To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

big bud.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont saw a complicated bill to legalize recreational marijuana fail last year. A new, simpler bill is proposed that would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and allow Vermonters to grow several plants at home.

“The more conservative it is, the more appealing it will be to people outside this room,” said Republican Rep. Tom Burditt, one of the bill’s sponsors at the House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday. Burditt voted against last year’s bill.

The former bill, which passed the Vermont Senate, but failed in the House, would have created a commercial market for marijuana in the state, much like the system established in Colorado.

The new bill is much shorter, and would be more like the system in Washington, DC, where there are no provisions for sales but people can possess and grow small amounts of marijuana.

Republican Governor Phil Scott will be the new bill's biggest obstacle. He opposed the bill last year when he was lieutenant governor, and has raised concerns against legalization.

Rebecca Kelley, Scott's spokeswoman, said the Governor wants any marijuana legalization law to address public safety concerns, including law enforcement’s ability to test for impairment and keep roads safe.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Cultivation Licensing Fee Set At $100,000

Arkansas.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has decided on a fee of $100,000 for those wanting to obtain a license to legally grow medical cannabis. This is in addition to the $15,000 fee just to apply for the license.

Commissioner Dr. Carlos Roman argued for a much lower fee of $15,000, saying he didn't want to keep a large part of the population from being able to obtain a license because of the $100,000 fee.

On the other hand, Commissioner Travis Story pushed for an even higher fee to be set at $185,000. His argument was that he wanted to ensure that businesses wouldn’t quickly go under and shut down.

Arkansas passed a law legalizing medical marijuana in November. It allows patients with certain qualifying conditions to receive a recommendation for medical cannabis from a physician.

Medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to be open in the state sometime next year.

Missouri: New Medical Marijuana Law Submitted

Missouri.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill has been filed in Missouri to allow access to medical marijuana throughout the state. House Bill 437 was introduced yesterday by Republican Jim Neely. The initiative would add marijuana to a list of experimental drugs, products and devices that can be prescribed to eligible terminally ill patients under the “Right to Try Act.”

Missourians fighting for their lives don’t have time to wait for the FDA to approve investigational treatments that contain cannabis,” said Neely, a Republican Representative and physician who lost his daughter to stage four cancer in 2015.

Missouri attempted to get medical marijuana on the ballot in November 2016 with an initiative backed by New Approach Missouri. The initiative fell short of making it on the ballot by 23 signatures.

California: Lawmakers Push To Outlaw Driving While Impaired By Marijuana

smokin and driving.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two lawmakers from the San Francisco Bay area are proposing a new law that would make it illegal to use marijuana and drive.

California voters passed Proposition 64 in November, making recreational marijuana use legal for adults 21and over. The new law only makes it illegal to have an open container of marijuana in a car, however.

Sen. Jerry Hill says the new law doesn't go far enough.

"It didn't say anything about if you were driving and smoking a marijuana cigarette or joint while driving or ingesting a brownie at the same time," Hill said in an interview with KGO-TV.

Hill and state representative Evan Low have proposed Senate Bill 65, which would close what they call a loophole.

"This legislation now makes it consistent with alcohol use in a vehicle," Hill said. . "Consistent in the sense now when you drive a vehicle and you have a marijuana cigarette that will be either an infraction or a misdemeanor."

New Jersey: Child, 3, Tests Positive For Marijuana

positive.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale announced Saturday afternoon that police are investigating a report that a 3-year-old child tested positive for marijuana early Saturday morning.

Speziale said that police were met at 3 a.m. Saturday, December 31 by child protective services at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center because "a 3-year-old had tested positive for marijuana."

"It is an unfortunate situation," Speziale said. "We don't know if it is because of contact or ingestion. We take these situations as serious."

He said the situation could lead to the child being removed from family. Information was limited according to Speziale. He was not sure if the child was male or female.

The Paterson Police Department is working to complete an offense report about the incident. The matter will be referred to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

Massachusetts: Governor Signs Measure To Delay Opening Of Retail Pot Shops

Massachusetts post card.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a measure Friday that delays the opening of marijuana retail outlets by six months in the state. Groups of protesters gathered outside the State House in protest of the move.

Retail dispensaries were supposed to be allowed to open in January 2018, but that won't happen.

The bill was proposed by lawmakers earlier this week. It will not affect the new laws on possession or growing at home, but the openings of retail pot shops will be delayed, as well as the deadline for regulations from the Cannabis Control Commission.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition reacted strongly to the governor's decision. In a statement, it said it was "appalled at this arrogant and cowardly move, whose effect will be to give the black market another six-month monopoly." It added that the delay would deprive Massachusetts "of the considerable revenue that it might generate in taxes from January to July."

Coalition members and supporters protested outside the State House Friday, urging Baker to not sign it.

"This bill, S2524, not only flies in the face of the will of the voters who voted for the January 2018 deadline, it shows contempt for the legislature itself," the coalition wrote online.

Nevada: Recreational Marijuana Legal Sunday

Nevada.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The recreational use of marijuana will become legal in Nevada on Sunday, January 1, following the passage of Question 2 in the last election.

Adults 21 and over will be allowed to possess up to one ounce of marijuana or up to one-eighth ounce of cannabis concentrate as of Sunday, but it will be a while before individuals can buy pot without a medical marijuana prescription card, due to Nevada's need to establish a licensing and taxation infrastructure.

“A lot of them seem to think that when Jan. 1 hits, everything’s going to be legal and open. … But it’s going to take a while to set a template,” said Jim Bergen, a dispensary manager at Mesquite’s Deep Roots Harvest medical marijuana outlet.

The Department of Taxation is responsible for developing licensing qualifications and procedures, as well as the regulation of businesses that deal in the drug’s cultivation, distribution and retail sales in Nevada.

“The Department is already working to develop temporary regulations,” Deonne Contine, the agency’s executive director, stated in a news release following last month’s elections. “We intend to hold a public workshop very early in 2017 and then have our temporary regulations adopted so we can begin issuing licenses.”

The law allows the agency until January 2018 to finalize the rules for legal sales.

Oregon: Dispensaries, State Work To Continue Recreational Marijuana Sales

Oregon.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New rules affecting recreational marijuana retailers in Oregon take effect January 1.

Saturday will be the end of limited retail sales from the Oregon Health Authority, which began in October 2015, following the passing of Measure 91. Recreational sales and licenses will be governed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission starting January 1. Medical dispensaries that wanted to continue selling recreational are working to beat a Sunday deadline to pay fees and file applications.

Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program, said the organization is processing hundreds of applications from around the state.

“It’s a challenging time right now,” Pettinger said. “There are a lot of moving parts to all of this.”

Kayla Dunham, owner of The Agrestic In Corvallis, is planning a grand opening of a second location Sunday under the new law. She just received approval from the OLCC on Tuesday.

“There is always worry when what you’re trying to do is in the hands of someone else,” she told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “And especially with these bureaucratic agencies, but every experience I’ve had so far with the OLCC has shown us they are motivated.”

“They’ve been extremely fast with their processing,” Dunham said. “They seem to have a lot of devotion to making sure things happen in the right way.”

Florida: Senator Wants State To Pay For Marijuana Research

pot leaf 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana is still classified by the federal government as a dangerous drug with no medicinal benefit, making research on the drug difficult. But a powerful state senator in Florida wants to change that.

Senator Bill Galvano said we need to know more and wants the state of Florida to pay for research.

"We are relying on anecdotal evidence," Galvano said. "We have a dearth of research from the feds for a variety of reasons, and it's important for us to understand both the benefits and potential hazards of this plant and drug as we go forward."

Galvano said he would send money to Moffitt Cancer Center at USF. Other universities, such as Florida A&M, may get some as well.

Legislation was expanded earlier this year to include legal medical marijuana for terminally ill patients and that expansion specifically allowed research in Florida universities.

"We have a product that has some medical relief that comes with it, so we'll be looking at what are the actual features of the plant that may be more medicinally important for the pharmaceutical industry," said Tim Moore, FAMU VP for research.

Oregon: UO Professor's Work Cited In Recent Stories On Marijuana Research

ben-hansen-2012.jpeg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A study which was recently released showing that traffic fatalities have declined in states with legal medical marijuana agrees with earlier work done by a University of Oregon economist.

UO economics professor Benjamin Hansen had concluded the same in a much earlier study.

“Public safety doesn’t decrease with increased access to marijuana, rather it improves,” Hansen told Reuters Health when contacted about the new research. The latest study came from researchers at Columbia University, a study in which Hansen was not involved.

He warned, however, that the studies did not prove that marijuana was the reason for the drop in fatalities and that marijuana can impair driving.

Photo courtesy Around the O

U.S.: Marijuana Deliveries Expected To Spike New Year's Eve

Happy New Year.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana deliveries are expected to spike New Year's Eve, repeating what occurred last year.

Deliveries on New Year's Eve last year increased 71 percent over the typical yearly average for Saturdays, and increased by 41 percent on New Year's Day, according to Forbes.

Weed deliveries jumped by 23 percent from the average on Fridays on December 23rd, and by 6 percent on Christmas Eve.

Experts attribute the increase to holiday stress possibly. Perhaps more people are giving pot as a gift this holiday season. Maybe it's distress over the recent election.

You might be advised to order early to beat the rush.

U.S.: Marijuana Deliveries Expected To Spike New Year's Eve

Happy New Year.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana deliveries are expected to spike New Year's Eve, repeating what occurred last year.

Deliveries on New Year's Eve last year increased 71 percent over the typical yearly average for Saturdays, and increased by 41 percent on New Year's Day, according to Forbes.

Weed deliveries jumped by 23 percent from the average on Fridays on December 23rd, and by 6 percent on Christmas Eve.

Experts attribute the increase to holiday stress possibly. Perhaps more people are giving pot as a gift this holiday season. Maybe it's distress over the recent election.

You might be advised to order early to beat the rush.

New Hampshire: Republican Lawmakers Pre-file Bill To Legalize Hemp

hemp field.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Republican lawmakers have pre-filed a bill to legalize hemp for the 2017 legislative session in New Hampshire. The legislature will discuss the bill next month when it reconvenes.

The proposed law, House Bill 51, would remove hemp from the state's Controlled Drug Act, allowing it to be treated like any other agricultural commodity. The proposal was filed by State Representatives Daniel Itse, J.R. Hoell, and James Spillane; it also has the support of Senators Harold French and John Reagan.

The House Committee on Environment and Agriculture will need to pass the bill by March 3rd before it can move to a vote in the full House of Representatives. If passed by the committee and the House, the bill will then go to the Senate. If the Senate passes the bill it goes before Governor Maggie Hassan for final approval.

The United States currently imports about a half billion dollars annually from other countries, mainly Canada and China, while the plant remains illegal for its own farmers to cultivate.

According to a poll released earlier this year, 61% of voters in New Hampshire support legalizing marijuana for all purposes, not just hemp or medical; just 24% oppose the move.

Massachusetts: Legislature Delays New Legal Marijuana Law

Massachusetts 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several provisions of the new law that legalized recreational marijuana in Massachusetts were delayed for six months by the Legislature on Wednesday, angering backers of the measure approved by voters last month.

The bill was passed by both the House and Senate without a public hearing and without debate.

The ballot initiative making pot legal for adults over 21 took effect on December 15, and that does not change. The action taken by lawmakers yesterday will delay the opening of marijuana retail stores from the beginning of 2018 until the middle of that year.

For the moment, it's only legal to sell marijuana in Massachusetts to registered medical marijuana patients.

“The Legislature has a responsibility to implement the will of the voters while also protecting public health and public safety,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

A joint statement from Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo said that delaying key deadlines for six months will give legislators more time to “improve” the current law by considering issues that were not included in the ballot question.

The group that sponsored the ballot measure, Yes On 4, said it was “very disappointed” in the Legislature’s vote, noting it came with little advance notice or public input.

Canada: Next Step Taken Towards Legalizing Marijuana

Canada weed.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Canadian leaders have started moving closer towards legalizing marijuana.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau created a committee in the summer of 2016 to look into the possibility of making recreational marijuana use legal for the entire country.

The panel, chaired by former Canadian Deputy Primate Minister Anne McLellan, recently submitted its findings. The panel calls for a tightly regulated recreational market for adults while cracking down on the black market.

The report said their recommendations will “strike a balance between implementing appropriate restrictions, in order to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use, and providing adults access to a regulated supply of cannabis while reducing the scope and scale of the illicit market and its social harms.”

Trudeau has said he expects to file legislation based on the recommendations of the panel in the spring of 2017.

The Canadian Liberal Party website states: “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

“Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work,” the site states. “It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.”

Recommendations of the report include:

Maryland: Officials Warn Of Medical Marijuana Scammers

bud 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Scammers are taking advantage of medical marijuana patients in Maryland that are still months away from being able to legally obtain cannabis, according to industry officials and regulators.

There are reports of companies selling "marijuana cards" or offering exams to "preapprove" medical marijuana patients.

Officials say neither of these is legitimate.

“They are telling patients that they have the ability to preapprove them for the medical cannabis program, and that is a lie,” said Darrell Carrington, executive director of the Maryland Cannabis Industry Association. “There is no such thing as preapproval.”

No physicians in Maryland have yet been authorized to issue certifications for legal medical marijuana. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has issued preliminary licenses to businesses to grow and dispense marijuana, but none have received final licenses or begun operation.

“We know there are already attempts at fake patient identification cards being promulgated,” Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission, said in a statement. “This type of fraudulent activity preys against the most vulnerable people in society and we will do everything possible to stop this behavior. Only patient identification cards issued by the Commission are legitimate. At this point no ID cards have been issued.”

U.S.: Study Says States With Medical Marijuana Have Lower Traffic Fatality Rates

pot in jars.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study shows that states with legal medical marijuana have fewer traffic fatalities than those without.

Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health reported that states with legal medical marijuana laws have an 11 percent reduction in traffic fatalities on average. The report is based on the researchers examining 23 states with medical marijuana laws, and the District of Columbia.

Silvia Martins, an associate professor and physician, was the senior author of the report. She theorized that the lower traffic fatality rates could be because people are substituting pot for booze, especially younger people, and therefore these states are seeing less alcohol-impaired driving.

The report indicated that there was little indication of a reduction in traffic in drivers 45 and older. The age group of 15 to 44 experienced the largest drop in traffic fatality rates in states.

“We found evidence that states with the marijuana laws in place compared with those which did not, reported, on average, lower rates of drivers endorsing driving after having too many drinks,” Martins said in a written statement. She said other factors that might help explain the correlation could be the “strength of public health laws related to driving, infrastructure characteristics, or the quality of health care systems.”

Montreal: 'Prince Of Pot' Arrested When Police Raid Cannabis Culture Stores

Marc Emery.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A day after opening, some Cannabis Culture stores selling recreational marijuana were raided last Friday, resulting in the arrest of owner Marc Emery. The British Columbia-based self-described 'Prince of Pot' was expanding his chain of of dispensaries, despite the fact that pot is still illegal.

The Mount-Royal store had sold out its stock, leaving only cash for the authorities to find.

“It’s despicable and it’s an injustice, but we will win,” Emery said while being escorted to a police cruiser. “This arrest is wrong and prohibition is wrong. The prime minister is a disgrace and so is the mayor,” he said.

Hundreds of clients had showed up at the Mount-Royal location to make their first weed purchases.

Police say that they have made 10 total arrests so far, none of which were clients. They also seized 40 pounds of cannabis at other Cannabis Culture locations.

Syndicate content