Cannabis Seeds

2016

U.S.: Study Shows Medical Marijuana Associated With Improved Cognitive Performance, Reduced Opioid Use

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana use is associated with improved cognitive performance and lower levels of prescription drug use, according to data published online in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.

Medical marijuana patients' cognitive performance was observed over a three-month period by investigators from Harvard Medical School, Tufts University, and McLean Hospital.

Participants in the study either were not cannabis users before or had not used the substance for at least 10 years. The patients' cognitive performances were evaluated before cannabis use, then again after treatment.

Researchers reported "no significant decrements in performance" following medical marijuana treatment. Instead, they determined, "[P]atients experienced some improvement on measures of executive functioning, including the Stroop Color Word Test and Trail Making Test, mostly reflected as increased speed in completing tasks without a loss of accuracy."

Participants in the study were less likely to experience depression during treatment, and many reduced their use of prescription drugs. "[D]ata revealed a notable decrease in weekly use across all medication classes, including reductions in use of opiates (-42.88 percent), antidepressants (-17.64 percent), mood stabilizers (-33.33 percent), and benzodiazepines (-38.89 percent)," authors reported

Singapore: Two Convicted Drug Traffickers Executed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two convicted drug traffickers were executed at Changi Prison Complex on Friday (Nov 18), said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). They had made eleventh-hour appeals which were thrown out by the apex court.

The two men were 31-year-old Malaysian national Devendran A/L Supramaniam and 38-year-old Nigerian national Chijioke Stephen Obioha.

Devendran was convicted of importing 83.36g of diamorphine into Singapore and sentenced to death on July 29, 2014. The Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine, or pure heroin, imported is 15g or more.

His appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed by the Court of Appeal last year on May 5. On Thursday, Devendran’s counsel filed two criminal motions in court for a stay of execution and to re-open his appeal. The criminal motions were heard and dismissed by the Court of Appeal on the same day.

Obioha was convicted of trafficking in 2.6kg of cannabis and sentenced to death on Dec 30, 2008. The MDA provides for the death penalty if the amount of cannabis trafficked is 500g or more.

Obioha’s counsel filed a criminal motion in court on Wednesday for a stay of execution and to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. The criminal motion was heard and dismissed by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

U.S.: Trump's Attorney General Pick Is Bad News For Legal Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

President-elect Trump announced his pick for Attorney General this morning and it's bad news for the marijuana law reform movement and its recent victories in legalization.

Trump's choice is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, known to be a militant prohibitionist. Aaron Herzberg, general counsel at real estate focused marijuana company CalCann Holdings, said Sessions “is the worst pick that Trump could have picked.”

“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions said during an April Senate hearing. “We need grown ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger.

“To make it socially acceptable creates increased demand and results in people being addicted and being impacted adversely.”

“It appears that he is intent on rolling back policy to the 1980’s Nancy Regan’s ‘just say no on drugs’ days,” Herzberg said in an email. “With the selection of Sessions as attorney general the legalization or marijuana both for medical in 28 states and recreational marijuana in eight states may be in serious jeopardy.”

Here are some more of Sessions' infamous statements:

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Opponents Request Recount Of Votes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Opponents of marijuana legalization in Maine have filed a formal request for a recount of votes after the recent passage of Question 1 to legalize pot for adults over 21 in the state.

The recount request was filed at Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's office, according to WCSH6.

Question 1 would legalize marijuana cultivation and possession by adults over the age of 21; the measure passed by 4,400 votes.

Petitions seeking recounts were turned in Wednesday afternoon to the Secretary of State’s Office. State officials must verify that at least 100 signatures on each petition came from registered voters who cast ballots in the Nov. 8 election before a recount is scheduled.

Alysia Melnick of the Yes on 1 campaign said the recount is unlikely to change the outcome, given the margin and the accuracy of the state’s voting machines.

“With thousands of votes in the margin, the recount is not going to be successful,” she said, “and it’s unfortunate the opposition would go against the will of the people and use taxpayer dollars for a recount that will not change the outcome.”

Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, agreed there is no way a recount will change the outcome. “I am disappointed that the ‘No’ camp would waste hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars when they have clearly lost,” he said.

Rhode Island: State May Follow Massachusetts And Legalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimonda said Tuesday that she's planning to take a serious look at moving to legalize marijuana for adults in the state following the passing of Massachusetts' pot legalization measure.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello also expressed interest in moving to legalize the plant, saying he’s ready to take up legislation next year because marijuana will become readily available to Rhode Islanders traveling across the Massachusetts border.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio has also announced plans to pursue pot legalization for adults in Rhode Island.

Although recreational marijuana becomes legal in Massachusetts on December 15, retail sales won’t begin until at least 2018.

Japan: Actress Saya Takagi Arrested In Okinawa After Drug Raid

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Former actress Saya Takagi was arrested Tuesday at her home in Okinawa Prefecture for alleged possession of pot, the health ministry said. Takagi ran an unsuccessful campaign in the July Upper House election on a platform to legalize medical marijuana.

Takagi, 53, whose real name is Ikue Masado, claimed the confiscated substance found "was not hers", the Japan Times reported. Marijuana is illegal and banned in Japan.

Narcotics officers from the ministry’s Kanto-Koshinetsu health bureau had searched her home, car and the inn she operates on Ishigaki Island. They allegedly found and seized several grams of dried marijuana as well as rolling papers and pipes. Officers claimed the pipes were used

Takagi debuted as an actress in 1982 and has been active as an environmentalist for several years. Originally from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, she ran for a seat representing Tokyo as a candidate for Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party), pledging to work on legalizing use of marijuana for medical purposes if elected.

Massachusetts: Towns May Try To Block Local Pot Shops

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Less than a week after Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana for adults, cities and towns across the state are exploring ways to limit or even snuff out marijuana shops in their communities.

“I’m dead set against it,” said Mayor Stephen N. Zanni of Methuen, who wants to ban marijuana retailers from opening in his city, where 52 percent of local voters opposed the ballot question. “I don’t think it’s an appropriate fit here for our community.”

Marijuana advocates worry that municipal officials are acting rashly to restrain sales of the drug, even though voters statewide just approved Question 4 by a decisive 54 percent to 46 percent.

“I would not want to see a handful of town officials controvert the vote of the people of Massachusetts,” said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the legalization campaign. “What we don’t support is rushing out of the gate out of paranoia and hysteria."

Under the new law, recreational use of the drug will become legal on Dec. 15, and marijuana shops can open in January 2018.

The law also gives cities and towns several options to push back, however.

Texas: Legislators File Bills To Decriminalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Less than a week after several other states approved measures to weaken restrictions on marijuana, Texas lawmakers are aiming to do the same.

On Monday, the first day of bill filing for the 2017 legislative session, Texas legislators submitted several proposals to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Bills were submitted that would create a specialty court for certain first-time marijuana possession offenders, reduce criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and re-classify convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

On Nov. 8, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives, adding them to a growing list of states — including Alaska,Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — that have already approved the drug for recreational use. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota also approved medicinal marijuana initiatives.

The National Conference of State Legislators reports that 28 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

Arizona: Proposition 205 Campaign Concedes Marijuana-legalization Loss

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arizona's Prop 205 campaign finally conceded Tuesday afternoon, ending the high hopes of hundreds of thousands of residents that the state would legalize marijuana.

From the first voting results reported, the initiative's future looked bleak. The Associated Press called it a "no" vote later that night. But marijuana supporters and election watchers remained hopeful, knowing that the final votes could make a difference, like they did in the 2010 election, when legal medical marijuana was approved.

California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voters legalized recreational marijuana. Voters in North Dakota and Florida said "yes" to medical marijuana. But Arizona's Prop 205 was rejected 52-48.

The initiative would have given adults 21 and older the freedom to possess and use up to an ounce of dried marijuana, up to five grams of concentrated resin like hashish, and up to six live plants with a maximum of 12 per household. It would also have created a system of retail stores, giving preference to existing, nonprofit medical-marijuana dispensary companies. The campaign submitted about 259,000 signatures to the state in July to make the ballot.

Here's the entire statement just released from J.P. Holyoak, chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona and a local dispensary operator:

Florida: Medical Marijuana Bans Popping Up Across State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Florida became the 26th state to legalize medical marijuana last week. Amendment 2 was on the ballot in 2014 but failed to pass, receiving 58% of the vote (Florida requires 60% or more for constitutional amendments). The second time it successfully passed, as the 2016 version of the initiative received 71% of the vote. Medical marijuana was so popular in 2016 that Amendment 2 won in county in Florida.

Some people still oppose medical marijuana in Florida, however. Bans and moratoriums have been popping up across Florida which will prevent medical marijuana businesses from opening where the bans and moratoriums exist. Per the Sun Sentinel:

Places like Deerfield Beach and Boca Raton have temporarily banned marijuana dispensaries and treatment centers until they can assess the effects on the community and establish zoning regulations.

Boca extended its temporary ban on Tuesday, the same day that more than 70 percent of Florida voters agreed to expand the use of medical marijuana. Boca’s freeze is one of at least a half-dozen across South Florida.

“We owe it to our residents and the people of our city to understand the implications of it,” said Christine Thrower, the manager for the village of Golf.

Australia: Providers Can Now Apply To Grow Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana providers may now apply to grow medical cannabis in Australia.

New legislation passed earlier this year licensed cultivation and production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes. A vote on October 30 opened up the cultivation of medical marijuana in Australia.

“Until now, it has been difficult for patients to access medicinal cannabis products from overseas sources,” Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said.

New medical marijuana cultivators will have to comply with a set of legislations and classify their harvest with the Therapeutic Goods Administration. States and territories will also retain control over licensing and product output.

In order to qualify, cultivators must also pass “strict fit and proper persons requirements and other legislative tests relating to security.”

According to spokesman from an Australian investment group, “the [Australian] domestic medicinal cannabis market could be worth more than $75 million a year.”

“The US has a well established cannabis markets and there’s no reason to suppose consumer demand or product pricing in Australian will be any different relative to the two countries population difference,” he also said.

Colorado: Denver's Social Marijuana Measure Declared Winner After Updated Results

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Updated election results released Tuesday morning showed that Denver's ballot on social marijuana use has won passage.

Results released Tuesday morning showed that Initiative 300 won with the support of 53.3 percent of the 302,505 Denver voters who weighed in on the issue, according to a results update that reflected 19,657 more ballots counted late Monday. Not all votes are in yet, but There are too few ballots remaining to flip the result.

Roughly 10,000 to 12,000 ballots remain to be counted in the main processing of mail and in-person ballots from the Nov. 8 election, Denver Elections spokesman Alton Dillard estimated.

That is less than Initiative 300’s current winning margin of 20,055 votes, or 6.6 percentage points.

“We are truly grateful to the people of Denver for approving this sensible measure to allow social cannabis use in the city,” lead proponent Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief Consulting, said in a statement issued Monday evening, when Initiative 300’s backers declared victory. “This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings.”

The measure would allow businesses, from bars to cafes and even yoga studios, to seek permits to create “consumption areas” if they obtain backing from a local neighborhood or business group.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Legal In First Bible Belt State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arkansas officially legalized marijuana for qualifying medical patients on Tuesday in a vote of 53.2% to 46.8%, according to the New York Times, making it the first Bible Belt state to legalize the plant.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, is an amendment to Arkansas' state constitution that officially legalizes the distribution and possession of medical marijuana. The new amendment is specifically meant for patients who have any of 17 qualifying conditions, which include cancer, Tourette's syndrome, Chrohn's disease, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV/AIDS. Patients with a written statement from a doctor certifying they have a qualifying condition will be able to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries, and will not be permitted to grow their own marijuana plants.

Arkansas voted on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Question in 2012, but it was struck down in a vote of 51.4% to 48.5%. A separate medical marijuana proposal, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was also initially slated to be on the ballot in 2016, but was later disqualified due to invalid signatures.

Massachusetts: Senate Leader Says Lawmakers Shoudn't "Dilly Dally" Looking At New Marijuana Law

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said on Thursday the initiative to legalize Massachusetts marijuana for recreational use that voters approved this week will need improvements to address such issues as taxes on marijuana sales, driving while high, and edible pot products.

Rosenberg, a supporter of Question 4, said issues related to the new law could be addressed soon after the Legislature begins its new session in January.

He told reporters he believed most voters approved of legalization “in principle.” He noted the measure was drafted more than a year ago, well before a report produced by a special Senate committee that visited Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.

“The Legislature has the right to revisit policy matters that were unaddressed or not addressed as well as they could,” he said.

But the group that spearheaded the ballot question pushed back, arguing that lawmakers shouldn’t move too quickly to make revisions to the law.

“I think this is too rushed,” said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for Yes on 4, in a telephone interview. “The Legislature has a role to play, but I think they should respect the will of the voters, let regulators do their jobs and then determine what should be done, if anything.”

Germany: Berlin To Trial Legal Marijuana Sales

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Berlin is moving ahead with a plan to at least semi-legalize marijuana after a cross-party movement agreed on a ground-breaking pilot scheme.

The capital’s Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party have agreed on a “controlled distribution of cannabis to adults” project.

Marijuana possession is illegal in Germany, although people found with less than 15 grams are often not prosecuted.

Various German newspapers cited Green politician Benedikt Lux, on Election Day in the U.S., as saying “a scientifically accompanied pilot project for the controlled delivery of cannabis” was planned.

Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district has previously tried to legalize controlled cannabis dealing, but has been stopped by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices.

The city is one of 16 federal states in Germany with the authority to introduce its own laws.

The move follows marijuana legalization measures that passed in California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, making marijuana possession of up to an ounce legal for adults over 21 years of age.

Max Plenert of the German Hemp Association, quoted by broadcaster Deutsche Welle, said: “The legal code is decided at the federal level, and this is about a local attempt to try to do things differently.

U.S.: What Does Trump Presidency Mean For The Marijuana Industry?

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Whether or not you were a supporter for a Donald Trump presidency, everyone wonders what his presidency will mean for his or her beliefs. Marijuana users and supporters wonder how his presidency will affect the marijuana industry.

Election Day 2016 marked a big win for marijuana. Residents voted in nine different states on legalizing some form of marijuana. Five of those states were voting on whether or not to allow recreational use. Eight of those nine states passed their legalization measures, with only Arizona's recreational measure not passing.

California was the largest state to legalize it, making recreational use legal for adults. In addition to California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana use. Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota approved medical initiatives. Montana passed an additional measure to legalize commercial growing and distribution.

The Motley Fool declared marijuana a big winner on Election Day, but pointed out that how the marijuana industry could change under the Donald Trump presidency is open to a lot of interpretation. No-one knows what decisions Trump and Congress will make regarding the marijuana industry between now and January 2020.

Nevada: When Will Recreational Pot Be Available For Sale?

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

It will be legal for adults in Nevada to use and possess marijuana at the start of 2017, but there will be no place to legally buy it for most citizens.

Some, including state Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, are concerned that Nevadans will turn to the black market to buy the legal substance.

“I can own an ounce, and the cops can’t do anything to me. But I can’t buy an ounce, so where am I gonna buy it?” Segerblom, a marijuana legalization advocate, said Thursday.

Question 2 passed on Election Day, so adults will be allowed to possess up to announce of pot or one eighth ounce of marijuana concentrate as of January 1. But there is not yet an answer to the question of when retail stores will be able to sell marijuana to adults without a medical marijuana card.

“If you have a situation where it’s legal to possess and use marijuana, but there’s no legal mechanism to purchase it, you are creating a bigger black market by definition,” said Andrew Jolley, co-owner of medical marijuana company The+Source. “The sooner we can allow retail sales, the better the outcome for the community, and the faster the transition away from the black market to the regulated market.”

The taxation department appears on board with getting things rolling before its 2018 deadline.

Colorado: Voters Approve, Reject Marijuana Sales Ballot Measures

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Voters approved retail pot sales in Englewood and Palisade, but said no in Federal Heights, Del Norte, Palmer Lake and four other Colorado towns and cities on Tuesday.

Elections officials were still counting ballots late last week on Denver's measure to permit limited cannabis consumption inside certain businesses. Denver’s Initiative 300 was leading opposition 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent updated results were released Wednesday evening.

Approval in Englewood came nearly three years after the City Council kept a ban on pot shops in place. Voters in Federal heights voted no to recreational marijuana sales, repeating the no vote that was decided two years ago.

California: Recreational Marijuana Now Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana is now legal in California. Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts also legalized recreational marijuana, but the size and population of California puts its decision in a different league and it could lead the way to figuring out policy around the drug.

While the recreational marijuana initiative in Arizona failed, several other states voted on medical marijuana. North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas and Florida all approved medical marijuana.

60 percent of Americans support legalizing weed, up from 31 percent in 2000. California is the state with the largest economy and — now that it has legalized cannabis — the national weed industry has tripled in size.

California’s marijuana industry could be bigger than its famed wine businesses. The market for both recreational and medicinal marijuana is now projected to grow to $22 billion by 2020, up from $7 billion this year.

This may also put a lot more pressure on the federal government to lift its ban of the drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration has long classified cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive classification. This means it’s in the same category as heroin and LSD. Just this August, the DEA rejected an appeal to stop classifying cannabis as Schedule I drug.

Maine: Final Results Are In, Recreational Marijuana Is Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Final results of Maine's referendum to legalize recreational marijuana were tabulated Thursday, declaring recreational marijuana legal in the state. The count took nearly two days because of how close the race was, with victory coming within a fraction of a percentage point.

Supporters had already claimed victory and predicted home cultivation of marijuana would be legal by around Christmas.

The Maine people have passed it, and we should work on implementing it," said Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey, of Auburn, who supported the ballot issue.

People 21 or older will now be allowed to possess and use up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana, and retail marijuana shops and social clubs could open around the state. Some municipalities have balked at allowing such businesses to open in their communities.

The campaign that pushed for legalization turned immediately toward the implementation process on Thursday. They said they hope marijuana will be available in retail establishments by 2018.

"We're excited that Maine is going to join many other states that have decided to have a smarter marijuana policy — a policy that no longer punishes adults for smoking marijuana," said David Boyer, campaign manager for Yes On 1.

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