Massachusetts: Study Shows Legal Medical Marijuana Not Predictive Of Increased Teen Use


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

State laws regulating the use and dispensing of medical marijuana do not contribute to increased use of marijuana by teens, according to a new study published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brandeis University assessed marijuana use patterns among adolescents from 45 states between 1991 and 2011. Authors reported "little evidence for an increase in past-30-day marijuana use, or past-30-day heavy marijuana use, among adolescents in response to state-enacted MMLs (medical marijuana laws), regardless of most provisions."

The conclusions agree with several other studies that find changes in the statewide legal status of cannabis are not predictive of greater use by teens.

U.S.: State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Political leaders in several states are acting to challenge election results regarding regulation of marijuana.

"Voters spoke clearly on election day. They believe that cannabis should be legal and that its sale ought to be regulated accordingly," said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. "Politicians should respect these outcomes, not undermine them."

Massachusetts voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent to legalize the use and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and over. Lawmakers are trying to move the date on which adults can begin growing marijuana from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified later time. They also want to delay retail sales of pot until late 2018.

Although Maine voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law's implementation. Gov. LePage said that he "will be talking to Donald Trump" about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and said that he "will not put this (law) into play" unless the federal government signs off on it.

Colorado: Hunter S. Thompson's Marijuana Strain To Be Sold As Gonzo

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Hunter S. Thompson's widow, Anita, took over ownership of the writer's longtime home, Owl Farm, this summer. In addition to making it a writer's retreat and a private museum, she will be launching a new brand of cannabis products from there.

"I'm excited," she said. "It's a lot of fresh starts."

Anita recently posted on Facebook that she had found a way to extract the DNA from marijuana and hashish that Hunter S. Thompson actually used, which she saved after his suicide 11 years ago.

She intend to offer the pot for sale in states where recreational pot is legal, such as her home state of Colorado.

“Since it became legal I get approached probably once a month by cannabis growers, dispensaries,” Thompson said. “I’ve had probably 10 meetings in the last three years and I always ended up saying ‘No’ because it’s the same story every time: somebody wants to slap Hunter’s name on their strain.”

She said she was glad that she held off on partnering on a marijuana brand until it could be done right.

“If I put Hunter’s name on somebody else’s strain I can never go back and say, ‘No, this is the authentic one,’” she explained.

"Celebrity pot" is already a common thing, including Marley Natural, created by a Silicon Valley-based company that licensed Bob Marley's likeness.

U.S.: Report Says Beer Volumes Declining In Markets Where Recreational Marijuana Is Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to a new report from Cowen and Company, beer sales are declining in three longtime craft beer meccas.

Vivien Azer, Cowen and Company’s managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors, said that the beer business is underperforming in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, where recreational marijuana is now legal.

“While (marijuana) retail sales opened up in these markets at different points of time, with all three of these states now having fully implemented a retail infrastructure, the underperformance of beer in these markets has worsened over the course of 2016,” Azer wrote.

Craft beer sales are slowing in those markets but the “biggest drag” is on mainstream beer producers. Economy beer volumes are down 2.4 percent and premium domestic volumes, such as Bud Light and Coors Light, are down 4.4 percent, Azer wrote.

Craft beer growth has also slowed in the three markets analyzed by Cowen. Colorado is “in decline” while Oregon and Washington are still seeing some growth, Azer noted.

Meanwhile, import beer sales seem unaffected by legal marijuana, although volumes in those three western states are still lagging “meaningfully” behind the growth seen nationally.


New Mexico: Pilot Arrested After Emergency Landing Leads To Big Marijuana Discovery


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A California pilot was arrested in New Mexico after mechanical problems forced him to make an emergency landing resulting in authorities finding nearly 118 pounds of marijuana in the small plane.

Roswell police say 37-year-old Michael Armando Teixeira, of Gilroy, is being held at the Chaves County Detention Center on suspicion of distribution of controlled substances.

Teixeira made the emergency landing at the Roswell International Air Center last Friday night.

Federal Aviation Administration officials at the airport discovered the plane didn’t have a flight plan on file.

After detecting a marijuana odor, police obtained a search warrant which led to the discovery of 117.9 pounds of high-grade marijuana packaged in several large bags inside the plane.

Police say Teixeira is not the registered owner of the aircraft.

As of Tuesday, it was not known if he has a lawyer yet.

U.S.: Obama Comments On Marijuana In Exit Interview

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Obama criticized the DEA for being behind the times on marijuana in his recent exit interview with Rolling Stone, saying that pot should be treated like cigarettes and alcohol.

“If you survey the American people, including Trump voters, they’re…in favor, in large numbers, of decriminalizing marijuana,” Obama said in the interview conducted the day after Election Day and published on Tuesday. “I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”

Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner pressed Obama on marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug in the interview, which his administration decided not to change in August.

“Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA,” Obama answered. “As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.”

The president also stressed his belief that federal prohibition enforcement is not acceptable in states that have legalized marijuana.

Tennessee: Loretta Lynn Admits To Trying Marijuana At 84

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Loretta Lynn stood up for her pot-smoking friend Willie Nelson recently in an interview with People.

In addition, the legendary singer/songwriter admitted to trying marijuana herself for the first time at age 84.

"[Willie is] one of the greatest people in the whole world. I know he smokes pot, by my goodness, there's a lot [of] people doing a lot worse than smoking pot," Lynn said.

She said that she had tried marijuana for the first time a few months ago.

"I got glaucoma and they gave me one of these cigarettes. I took one smoke off of it and it hit me right here in the chest. I like to have died! Glaucoma is just going to have to take over."

Lynn was hospitalized in August after taking a fall, but she's not slowing down.

"They tell me to rest all the time," she said. "But I'm not tired!"

Maryland: Medical Marijuana Commission Awards Preliminary Dispensary Licenses


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has received 882 dispensary license applications, and has awarded licenses to 102 dispensaries so far, a WBAL-TV report states. Officials also said they were in the process of hiring a diversity consultant to address the lack of diversity claims in the licensing process.

“The commission is in the process and plans to hire an expert consultant who specializes in minority business affairs to do a disparity evaluation and provide future guidance on minority business enterprise initiatives and make recommendations to the commission,” Patrick Jameson, executive director of the commission, said in the report.

Members of the Black Legislative Caucus made allegations that the commission had “ignored race and ethnicity throughout the licensing process in clear contravention of its authorizing statute,” which led to the decision to add a diversity consultant.

The agency has met with members of the Black Legislative Caucus and the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs to discuss the concerns of stakeholders.

Commissioner Paul Davies says the program has experienced delays, but only because of its early success.

“This program has had more applications that we are aware of than any other state in the country,” he said.

Michigan: Police Say 3 Grand Rapids-area Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Operate Illegally


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Three medical marijuana dispensaries were searched by police in the Grand Rapids area because police say they are in violation of the state's Medical Marijuana Act.

The three businesses were investigated Monday, Nov. 28, by the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, according to a news release. The dispensaries are Relief Hub dispensary at 4920 Plainfield Ave. NE, Third Day dispensary at 4981 Plainfield Ave. NE, and Red Jasper dispensary at 3926 West River Drive NE.

A new tax on dispensaries was signed into law by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in September.

Police say there is evidence the businesses continue to operate illegally despite the new law. The release states that officers purchased marijuana from the dispensaries, confirming their illegality.

Public tips helped to lead investigators to the dispensaries.

New York: NFL Suspends Player Who Uses Marijuana To Treat Chronic Illness

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Th NFL has suspended Buffalo Bills tackle Seantrel Henderson for 10 games for violating the league's substance abuse protocol, despite the fact that he was using medical marijuana to treat a chronic illness.

Henderson's agent, Brian Fettner, said that he had used marijuana to treat his pain from Chron's disease because he had no other option.

Chron's disease is an incurable, often painful ailment that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. It caused Henderson to miss five games last season and he has had to have 2.5 feet of his colon removed.

Many football players use opioids to treat pain, an option Henderson doesn't have because those painkillers can damage the intestines -- damage that Henderson can't afford.

It's possible that Henderson could sue the NFL to get back in the game. He may have some legal recourse, since medical marijuana is legal in New York where the Bills play.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act in 2014, which says, in part, patients "shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner … by a business" just for taking medical marijuana.

Maine: Marijuana Ballot Question Recount Could Take Weeks

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Maine Department of the Secretary of State said today that recounts of a pair of ballot questions could take four to six weeks.

Ballot questions that legalized recreational marijuana and approved a tax on high earners to fund public education are both facing recounts. The department is getting ready to announce a schedule for the recounts.

Both measures were narrowly passed by voters on November 8.

The two recounts will likely take place at the same time and may begin as soon as this week.

North Carolina: Greensboro Woman Receives 4 Pounds Of Marijuana In Mail by Mistake

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Greensboro Police Department says it has seen an influx of marijuana deliveries by mail since it was legalized in California. Mrs. Watson of Greensboro found this out first-hand Monday afternoon when 4 pounds of marijuana were delivered to her home by mistake.

“I just cannot believe that someone would send that amount of drugs to my house! I just cannot believe it,” Watson told WFMY News2. “I'm very frightened. I still am a little.”

Watson said she was decorating her Christmas tree and expecting her husband home from work when she saw the package.

“I glanced out the side door because I always look out before I open the door,” said Watson. “And I noticed this big package was sitting here on my porch. So I opened the box up and my first thought was somebody was sending me a Christmas gift.”

The package was addressed to Watson's house, but it had someone else's name on it.

“I unwrapped it and there was this big round ball of something that was in a vacuum sealed bag with duct tape on it and then I started to wonder,” said Watson.

Police said that amount had a street value of $2,000 to $6,000, depending on the potency.

U.S.: 4 States Most Likely To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Next

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legalized recreational marijuana has been a big news headline ever since the Election Day, when the number of states with legal pot going from 4 to 8. Several other states are getting closer to seeing legal recreational pot legalized, with some being closer than others.

In Arizona, Proposition 205 was defeated by a margin of just 2 percent. Cannabis advocacy groups encouraged by the close defeat will focus their attention on remaining hesitant voters. They expect to see legal recreational weed passed very soon. California just passed Prop 64, but similar measures in 2010, 2012, and 2014 were defeated. Oregon voted “No” on legal cannabis in 2012, then “Yes” in 2014.

Recreational marijuana becomes officially legal in Massachusetts on December 15, 2016, allowing adults to possess as much cannabis as they can grow. Otherwise, individuals can have up to 1 ounce, including 5 grams of concentrate. Neighboring states Rhode Island and Vermont are likely to follow suit, since citizens of those states could easily cross the border to take advantage of legal pot in Massachusetts. Both states are interested in the tax revenue the legal cannabis industry generates.

Japan: 22 Arrested In Nagano Prefecture 'Marijuana Community'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Twenty-two people were arrested in Japan's rural Nagano Prefecture for their participation in what investigators called a "marijuana community". Investigators announced on Nov. 25th that the individuals were arrested for possession of pot and other violations of the Cannabis Control Act, The Mainichi of Japan reports.

Those arrested range in age from 27 to 64, and all moved from other prefectures to Nagano Prefecture municipalities like Ikeda and Omachi. They are believed to have gathered and smoked pot at music events and other activities.

The arrested include Yutaka Arata, 48, a self-employed man in Ikeda, and Junko Nakano, 46, an unemployed woman in Omachi. The Nagano and Kanagawa prefectural police departments searched locations including the 22 suspects' homes, where they found about eight kilograms of marijuana and seven drying cannabis stalks.

The Narcotics Control Department says the 22 people have been living in sparsely populated municipalities in the mountains in Nagano Prefecture for at least the past few years. It is believed the 22 people were growing and heavily using marijuana, and department investigators think it was highly likely the area had turned into a gathering place for cannabis users.

Massachusetts: Renters May Not Be Able To Use Marijuana At Home

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana becomes legal in Massachusetts on December 15 for adults over 21 years of age. Possession of up to one ounce will be allowed outside of your residence.

People can posses up to 10 ounces in their residence, and will be allowed to grow up to six plants per person, with a maximum of 12 per household.

But if you're a renter, like 829,000 other Massachusetts citizens, you should not expect the right to possess or consume marijuana in a leased property without your landlord's permission.

"Some landlords might be fine with it, and others would say absolutely not," says Adam Fine, an attorney who helped craft the marijuana legalization law that was on the November 2016 ballot.

Massachusetts may have legalized pot, but it remains illegal under federal law. Landlords who deal with federal funding -- such as Section 8 housing – have to comply with federal law.

"No smoking" policies inside buildings would remain in effect, too.

Landlords can ban smoking, growing, production and displays of marijuana on any premises they own or manage.

"The bottom line is people need to understand it's not their property, it's someone else's and they have lease obligations and this is something the landlord can restrict," Fine said.

Tenants in affordable housing should be careful, according to Fine.

California: Sacramento City Council Approves Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Sacramento City Council voted late Tuesday night after much debate, approving an ordinance allowing the licensed cultivation of marijuana within the city limits.

The meeting was well attended by local residents, who joined council members in the debate.

The ordinance passed by a 5-3 vote, and will allow growers to apply for conditional use licenses to legally grow cannabis in the city.

The ordinance passage comes less than a month after Proposition 64 was passed by California voters, making recreational marijuana use legal for adults over 21.

Councilman Jay Schenirer created the ordinance and urged other council members to approve the plan, saying it was a necessary step needed to ensure the city regulated the industry and protected local communities.

“What we are doing I think, is choosing to be responsible,” Schenirer said. “Choosing to regulate an industry that currently exists, and as some of the speakers said, is not going away.”

Council members Allen Warren, Angelique Ashby and Jeff Harris made up the three "no" votes, with Harris calling the plan "half-baked". They called for more detailed criteria about where cultivation businesses would be allowed.

“I just don’t see this equation turning out well for the communities across our city,” Ashby said.

England: Madonna's 16-year-old Son Arrested For Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Madonna's son, Rocco Ritchie, was arrested for marijuana possession in London nearly two months ago, ET just confirmed.

The Metropolitan Police in London released a statement saying that Ritchie, 16, was detained by officers from the Camden police department on September 28th.

Ritchie was dealt with by Camden borough's Youth Offending Team at a North London police station before being released on bail.

Rocco has been in the middle of a long-running custody battle between Madonna, 58, and director father Guy Ritchie, 48. A judge allowed Madonna to dismiss her custody case in New York City and settle out of court in September.

Virginia: First Hemp Crop Harvested In Decades

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Virginia is harvesting its first hemp crop grown since the plant was banned 70 years ago.

“People think it was tobacco that started this colony, but it was also hemp,” Jason Amatucci, founder and executive director of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition explained to the Richmond Times.

Virginia farmers were actually required to grow hemp during the Colonial Era, some of which was used to provide fiber for the Royal Navy's rope, according to Republican Delegate Joseph R. Yost, a sponsor of Virginia’s hemp research bill. “It’s funny that we had to pass legalization just to do research,” Yost said.

Virginia, along with 30 other states, began establishing hemp research programs after Congress passed the farm bill in 2014, allowing the Virginia Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

“It seemed far-fetched to me,” Yost admitted, “But the more research and study you do about it, the more you see the possibilities.” Yost is a proponent for the economic-boosting potential of industrial hemp, especially in states hurt by the loss of jobs in the dying tobacco industry.

Arkansas: Lawmakers Consider Launch Delay, Taxes For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arkansas lawmakers are considering a delay in the launch of the state's medical marijuana program as well as a plan to impose additional taxes on the drug. These are some of the ideas being considered as they move to implement the medical marijuana measure approved by voters earlier this month.

The ideas are among several being discussed for next year's session.

Republican Rep. Doug House is working on legislation giving agencies until early May rather than early March to adopt rules for medical marijuana. He said it would also change the deadline for the state to begin accepting dispensary applications from June 1 to July 1.

Republican Sen. Bart Hester says he's looking at legislation to impose an additional tax on medical marijuana, a move he says will help with income taxes.

Tennessee: Attorney General Says Cities Cannot Enact Marijuana Decriminalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Th Tennessee Office of the Attorney General issued an opinion this week that recently approved marijuana decriminalization ordinances in Memphis and Nashville conflict with state drug laws, and therefore may not be enforced.

City council members in both cities voted this fall to impose local ordinances giving municipal police the option of issuing citations for minor marijuana offenses in lieu of making criminal arrests.

The opinion reads, "[T]he ordinance[s] cannot stand because [they] impede the inherent discretion and responsibility of district attorneys general to prosecute violations of the Drug Control Act."

The opinion was requested by state Republican senators Brian Kelsey and Ron Lollar.

Under Tennessee state law, first-offense marijuana possession violations are classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

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