2016

Massachusetts: Legislature Delays New Legal Marijuana Law

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Guam: Governor Wants Territory To Legalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Guam voters legalized medical marijuana in 2014. Governor Eddie Calvo (R) now wants the island territory to look at legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use.

“We’re talking about cutting what would be red tape and concerns about funding for required enforcement on the new marijuana legislation that became law” Governor Calvo said in a Faceook post made Monday. “I want us to look at how states navigated into recreational marijuana; let’s figure it out and then tax the heck out of it and use those taxes to help fund our hospital, public safety and education.”

A poll conducted earlier this year by Pacific Daily News found that 80 percent of Guam citizens support pot legalization, but the poll's validity can be questioned because it was conducted online with little safeguards in place to ensure accuracy.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Is Finally Confirmed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The opposition for Maine's measure to legalize recreational marijuana, Question 1, finally dropped their request for a recount last weekend, meaning Maine residents can look forward to enjoying the plant legally.

According to the Press Herald:

“Unofficial results of the vote released on Election Day showed the measure passed by 4,073 votes, 381,692 to 377,619. The anti-legalization campaign gave notice to the director of the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections on Saturday afternoon to end the recount, which was on hold for a holiday break until January. Under the measure, the Legislature has nine months to establish rules to deal with such issues as child-proof packaging, restricting advertising to minors, and licensing.

Officials on both sides of the recount were critical of their opponents during the process, with Yes on 1 accusing opponents of slowing down the recount by not providing enough volunteers. No on 1 criticized legalization proponents of rushing to enact the law.”

The approval of Question 1 makes it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana, purchase marijuana at retail outlets, and grow a limited number of plants at home.

China: Hemp-seed Eating Village Has Oldest, Healthiest People In The World

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bama Yao is a village in China that can boast that its citizens live to be far older than the global average and suffer from few health problems. Scientists believe the secret is in their diet, which includes lots of hemp seed.

It's true that Bama Yao has very clean air and water, and their diet doesn't include the fat, animal proteins, salt, and sugar that are so common in the American diet. But many experts believe the villagers' consumption of a superfood high in essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) is the secret to their longevity, and their primary source of receiving these fatty acids is through a diet rich in hemp seed.

Life expectancy in Bama Yao is well over 100 years. Its inhabitants have a mostly plant-based diet and typically exercise moderately on a daily basis. Hemp seed, which makes up a major portion of their diet, contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which contribute to a healthy brain. Hemp seed are also rich in calcium, iron, vitamins A, E, D, many B vitamins, and dietary fiber. The fiber in hemp seed helps to prevent overeating by making a person feel more full.

Colorado: Governor Has Advice For Other States About Legalizing Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Four years ago Colorado became one of the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults. Governor John Hickenlooper opposed the law, but voters overwhelmingly approved the measure.

Now the Democratic governor finds that he is the first one other governors call for advice on pot. “You don’t get to choose what your legacy is,” he said.

California Governor Jerry Brown, who opposed his state's measure to legalize recreational marijuana, called Hickenlooper in the weeks before that measure was voted on.

Hickenlooper said he gives the same, specific advice to anyone who calls him. "We didn’t regulate edibles strongly enough at first,” he said in an interview this week at a gathering in Coronado of the Western Governors’ Assn. He referred to a spike in emergency room visits by children who had eaten marijuana products.

“Ingestion of edible products continues to be a major source of marijuana exposures in children and poses a unique problem because no other drug is infused into a palatable and appetizing form,” wrote Dr. Sam Wang, a physician at Children’s Hospital Colorado and the lead author of a report about the increased number of emergency room visits published in July.

U.S.: Hemp Industry Association Says DEA Ruling Does Not Make CBD Illegal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Hemp Industry Association has made an announcement that a recent ruling by the U.S. DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) did not make cannabidoids (CBD) illegal.

The following statement was issued by the Hemp Industry Association:

Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a Final Rule on the coding of marijuana extracts. Unfortunately some misleading media stories and social media postings lead quite a few people to panic at reports that CBD was being banned under this new rule.

The Sky is NOT Falling. The Final Rule published by DEA did not change the legal status of CBD. This can only be done by a scheduling action which has NOT occurred.

HIA has carefully reviewed this with our legal advisors and discussed it with industry experts. While there are some differing opinions on the effect of the rule, there is general agreement that yesterday's ruling did not change the status of CBD. Here are some important facts to know:

Cannabidiol is not listed on the federal schedule of controlled substances
Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill defines hemp as distinct from marijuana and does not treat it as a controlled substance when grown under a compliant state program.

Despite these facts, DEA has stated that CBD is a controlled substance previously.

Montana: Judge Rules To Reopen Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Voters ended the Montana Marijuana Act last month, renaming it the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. One change that came with the renaming was a three-patient limit on providers, a change that closed medical dispensaries all over the state, leaving thousands of patients with no provider.

The limit, which took effect in August, was overrruled last week by District Judge James Reynolds.

"The folks that are maybe the most in need are the least able to provide, to grow their own," Reynolds said about his ruling, as reported by the Associated Press. "I think speed is more important than niceties."

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association expected the three-patient limit to be eliminated with the passing of the new initiative, but it was not.

"It punished the patients and the sickest people in the state," Bobby Long, owner of the Flower dispensary in Missoula, told the Missoulian. "It helped the black market and hurts people who were trying to do the right thing."

"The people who work providing marijuana in Montana were — let's face it — they were jerked around quite a bit," lobbyist Kate Cholewa told the AP. "They are somewhat used to it, and very good at coming back."

U.S.: New DEA Rule Bans CBD

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Update 12/16/2016: Although widely reported by many news sources that the DEA has banned cannabidiol (CBD), the Hemp Industry Association has made it clear that the DEA has, in fact, not banned CBD.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) just banned cannabidiol (CBD), placing it on its list of Schedule 1 drugs. CBD is a chemical found in marijuana that won't make you high, but will stop seizures and help people with debilitating conditions.

Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have no medical benefit and to be highly addictive. The DEA banned the herbal pain reliever Kratom earlier this year, another alternative to dangerous prescription opioids.

DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said this code “will allow DEA and DEA-registered entities to track quantities of this material separately from quantities of marihuana.”

The rule reads, “For practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. However, if it were possible to produce from the cannabis plant an extract that contained only CBD and no other cannabinoids, such an extract would fall within the new drug code.”

Mexico: Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Mexico may soon have legal medical marijuana available after its senate passed new legislation Tuesday to approve cannabis use for qualified patients. The bill, which was submitted to congress by President Enrique Pena Nieto early this year, still must be approved by the lower house before medical marijuana becomes legal in Mexico.

Mexico started allowing medicine with cannabidiol, an active chemical ingredient of marijuana, in 2015. The medicine was only granted on a case-by-case basis, however. The new law would allow patients with a variety of medical issues to use the plant and cannabis products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana's psychoactive ingredient.

"It's been years that we've been fighting for acknowledgment and approval and recognition of the medical and therapeutic uses of cannabis, and today we finally have something,” Lisa Sanchez of Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia, a crime-stopping organization, told Reuters.

The measure was approved by the Mexican senate with a vote of 98-7.

California: Antioch Extends Moratorium On Non-medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The new city council in Antioch, California agreed Tuesday to extend a moratorium on non-medical marijuana.

Council members unanimously approved the temporary ban for up to ten and a half months while they what kind of restrictions they want to impose under the new state law legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and over.

The passage of Proposition 64 last month means those over 21 can possess a certain amount of marijuana, and can grow up to six plants at home.

But Proposition 64 also allows cities to ban the outdoor cultivation of non-medical marijuana as well as regulate — although not outlaw — indoor grows. In addition, although the new state law allows businesses to sell marijuana, it gives cities the right to trump that power by limiting or prohibiting commercial sales.

Resident Mark Jordan encouraged the council to consider what marijuana-based businesses could do for the city financially.

Ohio: Some Patients Already Receiving Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Even though Ohio is not ready to open its first medical marijuana dispensaries yet, some patients in the state are already receiving medical marijuana.

Patients are going to the Holistic Center in Toledo where they are issued an affirmative defense card, which protects them from prosecution if stopped with marijuana in Ohio. They are then able to head north to Michigan to get medical marijuana.

We have doctors who are actually very passionate about providing alternative solutions to opioids," said Louis Johnson, of Omni Medical Services. “The state is still working out their infrastructure but the law says patients have the right to use marijuana and as long as a doctor certifies such then they have that right to do so," said Johnson.

There are several conditions that can qualify a patient in Ohio to use medical marijuana:

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Alzheimer's disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Cancer
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Crohn's disease
Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
Fibromyalgia
Glaucoma
Hepatitis C
Inflammatory bowel disease
Multiple sclerosis

Pain that is either of the following:
Chronic and severe
Intractable.

Parkinson's disease
Positive status for HIV
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Sickle cell anemia
Spinal cord disease or injury
Tourette's syndrome

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