2016

Virginia: Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui Cited For Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lauren Jauregui of girl band Fifth Harmony was cited for possession of marijuana on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority told ET that the singer was given a citation at the Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia.

According to Dina LaPolt, attorney for the 20-year-old singer and Fifth Harmony, "Lauren Jauregui was not arrested and detained as reported, but simply given a citation for possession of marijuana and released on her own recognizance."

"She will address the matter appropriately through the legal system," LaPolt continued. "This will not interfere with any future scheduled performances or activities."

Fifth harmony fans took to Twitter after news of Jauregui's citation broke out, using the hashtag "#FreeLauren". Singer JoJo tweeted "#legalizeit".

Fifth Harmony is scheduled to headline Vevo Brasil's FunPopFun Festival by Fanta on Wednesday. That's likely where she was headed when she was cited.

The girl group -- which is also made up of Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei, Dinah Jane and Camila Cabello -- is also scheduled to perform at Power 96.1's Jingle Ball in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday.

California: San Diego May Allow Medical Marijuana Dispensaries To Sell To Everyone 21 And Over

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

San Diego has become the first city in California to introduce legislation to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to everyone 21 and older until the state's new recreational use regulations are finalized.

The ordinance also establishes rules for recreational cannabis outlets, which should be opening sometime in the first half of 2018. The rules are almost identical to those in place for medical cannabis dispensaries, including a requirement of being 1,000 feet from public parks, schools, daycare centers, churches, playgrounds, libraries and residential neighborhoods.

“While we haven’t completed a detailed review of this proposal, the city’s highly restrictive zoning for medical cannabis dispensing has proven effective at protecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and using the existing restrictions as the model for these new regulations is a good starting point,” said Phil Rath of the United Medical Marijuana Coalition. “We look forward to engaging this process moving forward to ensure the regulations are clear, enforceable and allow our members to continue to operate peacefully in our respective communities.”

Thanks to last month's passage of Proposition 64, adults over 21 in California can possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and grow up to six plants at home.

Massachusetts: Marijuana Legal At Midnight Tonight

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

It will be legal for adults 21 and over in Massachusetts to possess marijuana and to grow the plant at home starting at midnight tonight. The Governor's Council recently certified the results of the November election.

“This is a historic day for Massachusetts,” said Jim Borghesani, who was the spokesman of the Yes on 4 campaign. “[W]e urge all residents intending to use or grow marijuana to educate themselves regarding what is and isn’t allowed under the new law.”

Borghesani also argued against changing the law, as some officials have said they intend to do next year. “This law was written with great deliberation and care, and it requires no legislative fixes or revisions. It would be unwise to extend the period where possession is legal but retail sales aren’t in effect. We hope that the Cannabis Control Commission is appointed by the March 1 deadline and that they begin the crucial work of writing the regulations that will control the new industry,” he said.

Massachusetts: Sen. Stan Rosenberg Wants To Raise Legal Marijuana Smoking Age To 25

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said Tuesday that he would be interested in raising the legal smoking age for marijuana under state law to 25.

He did admit, however, that it was his idea alone, and that it would be hard to accomplish in the Legislature.

"I feel obligated to put it on the table and have it discussed even if the decision is to stick with 21," Rosenberg said.

In November, voters passed a measure to make marijuana use and possession legal for adults 21 and over. Although no retail stores are opening yet, pot will be legal to possess in the state on Thursday.

When asked by reporters why he favors the later age for legal pot use, he said that he has seen neurological studies indicating that the brain is not fully developed until age 25, and smoking large quantities of marijuana can affect brain development and have a lifelong impact.

He acknowledged the idea is only his personal opinion, and said "it's not going to be a popular proposal."

Colorado: State Tops $1 Billion In Sales For 2016

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado has passed the $1 billion mark already for cannabis sales in 2016, reaching the milestone after 10 months.

Roughly $1.1 billion in legal sales of legal recreational and medical marijuana were sold by the end of October, according to tax data released from the state's Department of Revenue. 2015 saw total sales of $996 million according to reports from the state.

Colorado has collected more than $150 million in taxes from legal marijuana sales through October 2016, the first $40 million being allocated to school projects.

The state fell just short of the $1 billion mark last year.

It only took Colorado 10 months to pass $1 billion in legal cannabis sales in 2016, one year after the state came up just shy of that milestone revenue figure.

Marijuana businesses in Colorado, which voted to legalize the drug for recreational use in 2012, reported roughly $1.1 billion in legal sales of medical and recreational marijuana and related products this year through the month of October, according to the latest batch of tax data from the state’s Department of Revenue. That number easily tops the roughly $996 million in total marijuana revenue the state reported in 2015.

U.S.: Fewer Teens Are Smoking Marijuana Despite Fears That Legalization Would lead To Increased Use

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A report released Tuesday by The Marijuana Policy Project says that fewer teenagers are smoking marijuana. The report should help invalidate the claims that marijuana legalization and reform lead to increased teen use.

The Monitoring the Future Survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) made the following points:

-Among 8th-graders, the rate of past-year marijuana use dropped significantly from 11.8% in 2015 to 9.4% in 2016, its lowest level since 1993. Past-month marijuana use also dropped significantly, from 6.5% in 2015 to 5.4% in 2016, and daily use dropped from 1.1% in 2015 to 0.7% in 2016.

-Among 10th- and 12th-graders, rates of past-year, past-month, and daily marijuana use remained relatively stable compared to last year.

-Rates of use among 12th-graders appear to be higher in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without them, but previous studies have found that rates of use were already higher prior to the adoption of such laws.

-Students’ perception of risk surrounding marijuana remained relatively stable from 2015 to 2016. The perception that marijuana is very easy or fairly easy to access declined slightly for 8th- and 10th-graders, and it increased slightly for 12th-graders.

Colombia: President Santos Uses Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech To Call For A 'Rethink' In War On Drugs

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia, recently used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech as an opportunity to call for the world to 'rethink' the war on drugs.

He said the zero-tolerance policy might be "even more harmful" than all the other wars being fought worldwide.

Santos said it was "time to change our strategy" on drugs, and that Colombia had "paid the highest cost in deaths and sacrifices" in the so-called war on drugs.

"We have moral authority to state that, after decades of fighting against drug trafficking, the world has still been unable to control this scourge that fuels violence and corruption throughout our global community," he said.

"It makes no sense to imprison a peasant who grows marijuana, when nowadays, for example, its cultivation and use are legal in eight states of the United States. The manner in which this war against drugs is being waged is equally or perhaps even more harmful than all the wars the world is fighting today, combined."

Mexico: Officials Voting To Expand Medical Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Officials in Mexico are set to vote on expanding medicinal marijuana laws today. The measure, if passed, would broaden the allowed import and use of cannabinoids in medicine.

Mexico's three political parties came to an agreement last week on their opinions surrounding the use of medical marijuana. Today's voting will determine what happens with the reform to the General Health Act.

The new laws are not meant to completely open the medical marijuana but to increase access to CBD and other beneficial aspects of the plant through cannabis-derived products.

“No it is not legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, what we are creating is a specific regulatory system for certain substances in the plant that has positive effects on the health of those who have some diseases or illnesses,” said PAN Senator Roberto Gil, a supporter of the reform.

But THC will not be a part of the reform. The lawmakers agreed that all regulations will focus on cannabis derivatives with a concentration of 1 percent THC or less.

If the measure does pass, the United States could soon have two neighboring countries with some form of legal medical marijuana.

Italy: Legal Marijuana Could Come Soon Despite Pope's Disapproval

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new movement to legalize marijuana is taking place in Italy and the Pope is not happy about it. Although the Italian government has abolished its state religion, the people are still heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church, so it will be interesting to see how much influence his opinion will have when the issue is voted on soon.

The Italian parliament is already discussing what legal marijuana would be like in their country. The bill being considered is supported by many groups on the left side of Italian politics. The bill would allow Italian citizens to grow up to five plants at a time, and carry up to five grams in public and be in possession of up to fifteen grams at home.

Pope Francis is still firmly against legalizing marijuana, seeing it as a drug and a risk for addiction, and not a gift from God as some people see it. In 2014 the pope said there should be no yielding or compromise on the ban of marijuana. He has said that legalization of cannabis would not solve the real problems surrounding the drug.

Hopefully the Italian people will lead the way in Europe to establishing progressive marijuana policies and other countries will begin to follow suit.

Maine: Marijuana Opponents Start Recount, But Fail To Staff Enough Volunteers

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The State of Maine passed Question 1 on Election Day with a narrow margin of just under 3,000 votes, legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Opponents of legal marijuana in the state have called for a recount, a process that could take a month and cost the state an estimated half a million dollars. But opponents didn't provide enough volunteers to recount the votes for the first two days.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the The Yes on 1 campaign, which backed the initiative that appears to have legalized recreational marijuana, criticized the No on 1 side and said the shortage of counters had slowed the tedious process of hand counting ballots.

State elections officials said Wednesday the process is back on track after a slight delay at the beginning, and that state staff and other volunteers filled in when necessary. While the state asks each side to provide equal numbers of volunteer counters, there is no state law requiring the No on 1 campaign to provide a certain number of volunteers in order to proceed with the recount.

While the law doesn't require a certain number of volunteers, it would only seem logical for opponents to provide enough volunteers to actually perform the recount they want to happen.

Massachusetts: Pot To Be Legal Thursday

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin had warned last week that a delay in the measure legalizing marijuana may be necessary, but says now that will not be the case.

Galvin's office said Friday that he will submit official results of the voter-passed legalization measure to the Governor’s Council Wednesday for certification. Possessing, growing, and using marijuana at home will be legal Thursday if no unforeseen obstacle comes up.

“This closes the door on an era that was marked by hysteria, by injustices, and by ineffective public policy,” said Jim Borghesani, who helped lead the legalization effort. “This opens up an era that may take a bit of getting used to, but as in many other social transformations, people will look back and say: What were we so worried about?"

Adults 21 and over in Massachusetts will be allowed to use, posses, and purchase up to one ounce of pot beginning Thursday.

Marijuana use will still be prohibited in public places and anywhere tobacco smoking is not allowed.

People will be allowed to have up to 10 ounces of pot in their primary residence, and grow up to 12 plants per household.

Marijuana accessories, such as pipes, bongs, and grow lights, also become legal on Thursday.

But there will be no retail stores until January 2018.

Alaska: First Retail Cannabis Outlet In Anchorage To Open This Month

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Alaskans voted to legalize marijuana more than two years ago, allowing adults to possess up to an ounce of pot, cultivate up to six plants, and to open retail cannabis stores. This month Anchorage will finally see its first cannabis retail outlet open its doors.

Alaska Fireweed’s General Manager William Ingram has announced that they are the first to pass their final inspection and plan to open the store on December 17 at "high noon"

“I couldn’t be more excited to finally open our doors; it’s been a grueling process”, Ingram said. He said it’s taken over 8 months of inspections to get to this point. “I think people expected things to be further along by now, but we’re glad to be where we are”, he says.

Ingram said the clinic will offer nine strains of marijuana on opening day, each grown by licensed cultivator Greatland Ganja. Dried bud, pre-rolled joints, and some devices such as pipes and bongs will be available for purchase.Ingram said customers should expect "a long line", and should remember to bring cash, as it will be the only form of payment they can accept.

Canada: Restrictions On Hemp Are Eased

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Newly-elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made marijuana legalization a campaign promise, and is slowly working towards fulfilling that promise. Health Canada has announced that it has made the process simpler for people to be permitted to grow hemp, marijuana's non-psychoactive cousin, in the country.

The cultivation of industrial hemp has been exempted from the nation’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The minimum acreage requirement has been removed as part of that change, allowing hemp to be grown in even very small fields.

Health Canada says the move “better aligns regulation of industrial hemp with the demonstrated low public health and safety risk of the crop.”

Changes being made are listed here:

--Planning sites no longer will need to be pre-approved, and applicants will no longer need to submit GPS and map coordinates.

--One hemp license will cover all cultivation sites, removing the requirement of obtaining multiple licenses for multiple crops.

--THC testing is no longer required for those growing hemp for grain and fiber.

--Applications will be accepted via e-mail, rather than exclusively in-person.

U.S.: Trump Homeland Security Pick Is Opponent Of Legal Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

President-elect Donald Trump announced on Wednesday his pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security: retired Marine general John F. Kelly, another opponent of marijuana legalization.

Kelly regularly testified before Congress that U.S. marijuana policy reforms make it harder to seek cooperation from Latin American countries in the international war on drugs.

“Most of the states — countries — I deal with were in utter disbelief that we would, in their opinion, be going in that direction, particularly after 25 years of encouraging them to fight our drug problem in their countries,” he told the House Armed Services Committee in 2014. “They’re very polite to me, but every now and again when they’re not so polite, the term ‘hypocrite’ gets into the discussion… It is hard for me to look them
in the eye and tell them, ‘You really need to, you know, stay shoulder to shoulder with us,’ because they see us in a sense giving in.”

He argued that marijuana policy reform would lead to increased crime and health care costs. “It’s astounding to me that we are — we’ve just kicked off — the federal government has just kicked off a $100 million program to try to get people to stop smoking tobacco, yet we’re opening up other areas of substance abuse,” Kelly said.

Arizona: Medical Marijuana Patients File Lawsuit Against State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two registered medical marijuana patients have filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona with the goal of reducing the annual registration fee for patients. Yolanda Daniels and Lisa Becker both claim the state is hoarding the funds and failing to reduce fees as the 2010 law that legalized medical marijuana required.

The lawsuit claims that the state's Department of Health's account balance was $11.5 million at the end of 2015. The Department collected $2.6 million more than is necessary to run the program from caregivers, patients, and dispensaries, according to attorney Sean Berberian.

“In a time when medication is more expensive than ever, the state should be helping to make it cheaper for Arizonans,” says Berberian. “The state is deliberately squatting on the excess fund instead of refunding it to patients or using it in furtherance of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, such as to help patients.”

Berbarian says that former-Governor Jan Brewer “influenced the setting of the initial patient and caregiver card prices to keep many qualifying patients from accessing legal medication.” He notes that current Governor Doug Ducey remains opposed to medical cannabis.

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