2016

Nevada: Ballot Could Add Legal Marijuana To Las Vegas' List Of Vices

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

If Nevada approves a Nov. 8 referendum on legalizing marijuana, Las Vegas could soon add recreational marijuana to its list of vices.

Supporters see cannabis as an attractive alternative to $15 cocktails, but pot proponents will have to win over closely divided voters and a risk-averse gambling industry.

Despite their reputation for debauchery, Nevada's rigorously regulated casinos are known to lean to the conservative side to avoid scandalizing the middle-aged tourists who are their majority clientele.

The ballot initiative would not allow municipalities to put blanket bans on marijuana,and it would also bar consumption in buildings that are open to the public. Local governments could restrict the locations of dispensaries, and city-dwellers would be banned from growing their own pot.

California: San Jose Bans Marijuana Sales Ahead Of Election Day

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

San Jose, California's third largest city by population, has voted to ban recreational marijuana sales in anticipation of the upcoming ballot vote that could legalize pot in the state.

Dozens of cities and counties across California have either imposed or are considering tough restrictions on recreational marijuana sales and cultivation.

However, if Proposition 64 passes, local governments would not be able to prohibit people 21 and older from having up to six marijuana plants for personal use and possessing up to an ounce of pot. Prop 64 is currently leading in the polls.

San Jose City Council members said they passed the temporary ban Tuesday to give city officials time to develop regulations for sales and farming. Its ban includes a prohibition on outdoor gardens.

Tim Cromartie, a lobbyist with the League of California Cities, said cities have months to create their own restrictions and don’t need to hastily pass bans.

"There is no need for a stampede," Cromartie said. "Some are doing it out of an over-abundance of caution."

Many say San Jose's decision means a missed opportunity for tax revenue.

"They can do what they want but they’re going to lose money," said Memo Guerrero, 26, an unemployed National City resident. "And if it passes, they’ll be going against the whole state. It’s kind of weird."

Massachusetts: Harvard Likely To Keep Marijuana Ban On Campus, Regardless Of Question 4 Vote

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Harvard students excited about the possibility of legal marijuana in Massachusetts, thanks to the vote on Question 4, may be disappointed to learn that pot will likely remain banned on campus even if the legalization measure passes.

Other universities have followed this path, due to their relationships with the federal government. Harvard is a private institution, but it receives millions of dollars from the federal government each year for research. The receipt of federal funding is contingent upon colleges and universities’ adherence to federal statutes, including the criminalization of marijuana.

According to Harvard Law School professor Charles R. Nesson, legalizing marijuana on a campus that receives federal funds could potentially jeopardize those funds.

“The operative question I think is whether this acts as an in terrorem effect,” Nesson said, referring to Harvard’s federal funding as a deterrent to permitting cannabis. “I just can’t imagine Harvard taking any step but the most conservative one: go the slowest, stay the closest to the ground.”

Other private colleges in the area, like Boston University, have said they have no plans to alter their current policies that ban pot on campus.

California: Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Monday, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became the latest high-profile politician to endorse an initiative on next week’s ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California.

Villaraigosa is considering running for governor in 2018 amid a field that already includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading proponent of Proposition 64.

“I took my time on this measure because I wanted to make sure it included protections for children and public safety,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “In evaluating the measure in its entirety, I am convinced there are enough safeguards to make it a workable proposition.”

The Proposition 64 campaign welcomed Villaraigosa’s endorsement at a time when a recent poll indicated slightly fewer than half of Latino voters support the measure.

“We’re glad to have it,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for the campaign.

Australia: Medical Marijuana Cultivation Legalized

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Australia has allowed “fit and proper” individuals and entities to cultivate medicinal cannabis crops under strict government license and guidelines in an effort to substitute imports with “domestic supply.”

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 took effect on October 30, 2016. The new regulations allow for the licensing of cannabis cultivation and the production of cannabis and cannabis resins for medicinal and scientific purposes.

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

“These new laws change that situation by providing for a domestic supply of medicinal cannabis products that are not readily available for import.”

While the new law favors pharmaceuticals, recreational smokers are not affected, as consuming marijuana remains a criminal activity.

“I want to emphasize that the changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act do not decriminalize cannabis for recreational use,” Ley said.

Rhode Island: Governor Watching Massachusetts Marijuana Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The governor of Rhode Island says she's positioning her state to be ready for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana by improving state oversight of medical marijuana.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo told the Providence Journal the state will have to look harder and faster at recreational pot legalization if Massachusetts voters approve it across the border in next week's election.

If Question 4 on the Massachusetts ballot passes, it would allow retail pot shops to open after January 2018, giving some time for Rhode Island to catch up.

Raimondo says medical marijuana reforms she signed into law this year improve oversight of a flawed system. She says they also create a regulatory framework so the state is prepared if recreational pot is legalized.

She says she remains concerned about keeping kids safe.

Colorado: Officials Ask Arizona Group To Pull Marijuana Political Ads

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legislators in Colorado say the group Arizonans For Sensible Drug Policy are airing misleading political advertisements that oppose the legalization of marijuana in the state of Arizona.

Proposition 205, if passed, aims to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

The group opposed to Proposition 205 began airing "No on 205" television ads that claim Colorado schools did not receive the millions of dollars promised and that politicians spent more on regulating the industry.

However, the Colorado officials who played a central role in the budgeting of marijuana taxes say this is not true and that more than $138 million went to schools and less than 10 percent of pot tax revenues were spent on regulation.

Colorado Senator Pat Steadman and Representatives Millie Hamner and Jonathan Singer emailed Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk, the leaders of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, citing what they say are multiple incorrect claims on their "No on 205" ads talking about marijuana tax revenue spending and rates of teen pot use in Colorado.

They counter the ad's statements with information drawn from three state government documents they attached to the email.

Here is the transcript of the email:

Dear Mr. Leibsohn and Ms. Polk:

Arizona: Susan Sarandon Endorses Prop 205 With Phone Messages

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol recently announced that Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon has officially stated she endorses Prop 205 in Arizona to legalize cannabis for those 21 and older.

In addition to Sarandon’s endorsement, the campaign is sending out a message from her to the phones of thousands of voters in the state. The message encourages them to “vote for taxing and regulating marijuana by voting ‘yes’ on Prop. 205.”

Proposition 205, similar to measures on the ballot in four other states this election, would allow those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, grow up to six cannabis plants, and purchase cannabis and cannabis products from a licensed retail outlet.

“[W]hether someone uses marijuana or not we probably all prefer for law enforcement to spend their time preventing and investigating serious crimes rather than marijuana offenses”, the message starts. “Also regulating marijuana will take it out of the hands of criminals and instead generate jobs and tax revenue”.

The message ends with Sarandon saying “Please vote for taxing and regulating marijuana by voting yes on Prop 2015 on November 8th. Thank you.”

“Ms. Sarandon is one of the most widely recognized and well-respected actresses in the nation,” says J.P. Holyoak, Chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

California: Prop 64 Gains Major Newspaper Endorsements

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The campaign behind California’s Proposition 64 to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older announced that they’ve received the official endorsement of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

According to the Yes on Prop 64 campaign, this means that “every large-circulation daily newspaper in Southern California has now endorsed Proposition 64.”

The paper opposed Proposition 19 to legalize cannabis in 2010. The Union-Tribune joins the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register and Riverside Press Enterprise as outlets that opposed Prop 19 in 2010. All publications support Proposition 64 in this year’s election.

The Union-Tribune went directly after one of the primary attacks used by opponents of the measure: that it decreases road safety.

“The recent increases in those states of the number of people in fatal accidents found to have THC in their systems may reflect a greater emphasis on drug testing instead of a spike in stoned motorists,” the paper says.

“Marijuana use has barely increased among Washington teenagers and somewhat increased among Colorado teens, reflecting a trend in the Rocky Mountain State that predated adult legalization.”

A list of newspaper endorsing Prop 64:

Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News

Nevada: 10 Labor Unions Endorsing Question 2 Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Nevada’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol received official endorsements from ten labor unions recently, all listed later in this post.

The announcement came just two weeks after the group announced the endorsement of Culinary Local 226, the largest labor union in the state.

“This is a tremendous show of support from the labor community,” says Joe Brezny, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group behind Nevada’s Question 2.

“Their support demonstrates that the working people of Nevada want to take marijuana out of the criminal market and shift production and sales into regulated, tax-paying businesses.”

“Some powerful individuals and groups are attempting to scare Nevadans into keeping marijuana prohibition in place. The people who care about good jobs, safer communities, and money for schools believe that voting Yes on Question 2 to regulate marijuana is the far more sensible choice,” Brezny continued.

Here is the list of labor unions endorsing Question 2:

Culinary Local 226
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 720
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 396
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 14
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 631
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 986

Canada: Study Suggests Marijuana Improves Night Vision

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study conducted at Montreal's McGill University suggests that marijuana has the strange benefit of improving night vision. Researchers at the university based their study on a pharmacologist's observation in the 1990s that Jamaican fishermen who smoked or consumed cannabis had "an uncanny ability to see in the dark."

They applied a synthetic cannabinoid to the eye tissue of tadpoles of an African toad and found that it made particular retinal cells more sensitive to light. It improved the speed at which the eye responded to even dim stimulus, researchers reported.

"We didn't believe what we were seeing," a study author told the Montreal Gazette. "The cannabinoids were increasing the excitability of cells in the eye that connects to the brain."

Researchers then tracked tadpoles, some of which had been given the cannabinoid, while showing them dark moving dots, which the tadpoles naturally avoid.

All tadpoles performed well in the experiment while in the light. But the tadpoles that had been given the cannabinoid performed significantly better. If the same effect occurs in humans, as a study completed in 2004 reported in "Science Alert" suggested, some scientists believe that cannabis could theoretically be used to treat retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma by protecting retinal cells.

Florida: New Poll Says Majority Of Voters Support Legalizing Medical Marijauna

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Election Day 2016 is coming soon, now less than two weeks away. Nine statewide marijuana initiatives are on the ballot this year, five for recreational pot legalization and four for medical marijuana. Florida's Amendment 2 is one of these; it would legalize medical cannabis for those who receive a recommendation from a physician.

A similar measure failed to pass in 2014, when United For Care failed to pass into law despite receiving over 50% of the vote. This year’s initiative also requires 60% of voter support to pass.

New polling shows that well over 60% of voters support the constitutional amendment. The new shows that well over 60% of voters support the constitutional amendment. The new Anzalone Liszt Grove Research poll found that 74% of voters in Florida are in favor of Amendment 2.

“Despite the No on 2 campaign spending millions of dollars in advertising, Amendment 2 support is still holding strong,” Kevin Akins says, a pollster for Anzalone Liszt Grove.

“Voters across racial, gender, and geographic divides support the Amendment 2 ballot language by a winning margin.”

Akins notes that; “Importantly, support today is +13% greater than internal surveys taken three weeks from the 2014 election. Amendment 2 looks poised to finish strong this year”.

Canada: Study Shows Recreational Marijuana Could Generate More Money Than Booze

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legalized recreational marijuana in Canada could generate a nearly $23 billion industry, a new study shows.

According to the Toronto Star, sales would surpass the combined totals that come from beer, wine and liquor purchases. The Star quoted a soon-to-be-released Deloitte report on Thursday.

The newspaper said the report found that the base retail market alone would be worth $4.9 billion to $8.7 billion yearly, while the ancillary market would jump to about $22.6 billion.

Last November Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked federal officials to set up a plan to legalize recreational pot, and the country appears to be headed in that direction.

California: Marijuana Being Smuggled From U.S. To Mexico

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A recent report by KPBS.org suggests there’s an unexpected development in the story that is the war on drugs. The report says that there is a demand in Mexico for potent California strains of marijuana. Cannabis attorney Matthew Shapiro states that “there is no such thing as high-quality Mexican weed.”

Although equally as unlawful as smuggling contraband from Mexico into the U.S., the process of entering Mexico is a lot easier due to the lack of attention paid to the reversed ideology. A smuggler can cross the border into Tijuana without ever speaking to an official, making the process nearly risk-free.

Dr. Raul Palacios, clinical director at the Centro De Integracion Juvenil drug rehabilitation facility in Tijuana, says his patients prefer the potent California weed as opposed to the marijuana being grown in Mexico. Marijuana in Mexico averages a level of 2 percent THC, pot's psychoactive ingredient. marijuana grown in California, on the other hand, can reach a THC concentration level of 30 percent or higher.

Mexico is closely following the laws being passed in the U.S. regarding the marijuana industry. The $1 billion in tax revenue that California has generated makes it tempting for the Mexican government to follow its example.

U.S.: Big Pharma's Fight To Block Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to television ads that began running last month in Arizona, marijuana legalization would be a disaster for the state. The advertisements feature lawmakers and teachers who paint a bleak future for Arizona’s children if voters approve Proposition 205, a measure that would allow people aged 21 and over to possess an ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants for recreational use.

“Colorado schools were promised millions in new revenues” when the state approved recreational pot use, the voiceover says in one ad. Instead, schoolchildren were plagued by “marijuana edibles that look like candy”.

What's surprising is who is sponsoring the ads. In August, the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics cited concerns for child safety when, with a $500,000 contribution, it became the largest donor to Arizona’s anti-legalization drive.

Although child safety is a legitimate concern, critics say the Insys contribution in Arizona is a ploy to protect market share. Insys manufactures Subsys, a prescription painkiller derived from fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Arkansas: Court Disqualifies Issue 7 Medical Marijuana Proposal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Arkansas Supreme Court has disqualified a medical marijuana proposal from the November ballot, but voters will still be able to consider a different plan.

The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was the disqualified proposal. Issue 6 remains on the ballot.

Issue 7 was invalidated because the court determined that supporters did not gather enough qualified signatures. The court disallowed more than 12,000 signatures, leaving 65,412 valid signatures. That was 2,465 short of the required number.

The court cited five reasons for five listed reasons:

1. Some of the petition gatherers did not comply with Arkansas laws on who can become a canvasser.
2. The signatures did not include an address, or included only a P.O. Box address.
3. The canvasser verified the petition before the voter signed it.
4. The canvasser checked an improper box.
5. Canvassers did not specifically witness the signatures.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care said Thursday it will fight the decision by the state Supreme Court to disqualify Issue 7. It was not clear how the group would fight the move since the decision took effect immediately.

Utah: Gubernatorial Candidate Unveils Medical Marijuana Plan

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In the wake of his wife pleading guilty to a misdemeanor marijuana charge, Utah gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz has rolled out a plan to legalize medical marijuana.

"There have been people suffering long enough, and we know this would help those people, so now is the time," Weinholtz said on Thursday.

His wife has said she uses marijuana to deal with chronic pain. Feds declined to prosecute her case and sent it to the Tooele County Attorney. On Tuesday, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor pot possession charge.

“It's bigger than just my wife and my family,” Weinholtz said. “There are thousands of Utahns that are struggling with these many different types of conditions.”

Weinholdts's plan includes: -Legalizing medical marijuana, with reasonable safeguards.

-Funding pain management programs, to cut down on opioid abuse.

-Expanding education and police department supply of Naloxone, used to save drug overdose patients.

"The increase in opioid addiction in the state has been dramatic, has been 400 percent since the year 2000, and medical cannabis would help with the reduction of opioids as well," Weinholtz said.

Pennsylvania: Ex-Philly Mayoral Candidate Cited For Pot At Airport

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz was recently cited at the airport after security officers found a small amount of marijuana in his luggage.

Katz told the Philadelphia Inquirer he was at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday morning, heading to Florida for a weekend fishing trip. He said he hasn’t smoked marijuana in years and thought the trip would be a good opportunity to do it again.

Katz said he put pot in his suitcase and the TSA agents found it as he passed through security. He says the officers seized the pot and gave him a $25 ticket. He also missed his flight and had to make alternate travel arrangements.

He said it’s not “one of the smart moves” he’s made.

Katz ran for mayor three times in the 90s and early 2000s.

Arizona: Jim McMahon Appears In Ad For Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon has appeared in a political advertisement supporting legalizing marijuana in Arizona.

McMahon currently lives in Scottsdale, and says he has used marijuana to treat severe headaches and other lingering effects from his days playing in the NFL.

"When I had my first injury, that's when I used my first painkiller and I was using them daily pretty much the rest of my career. It takes its toll; taking too many of those things," he says in the ad for Proposition 205. "Once I retired I got rid of those, I moved out here to Arizona, I got my medical card, I've been using marijuana ever since. Someone like me can afford to be a medical marijuana patient, but others aren't so lucky. Marijuana should be available to all adults who need it. I'm voting yes on Prop 205 and hope you will too."

McMahon's ad first appeared during the "Thursday Night Football" game between the Bears and Packers at Lambeau Field last night.

A recent poll of registered voters found 50 percent of them favored Prop 205. About 42 percent opposed it and 8 percent were undecided.

California: Actor From Famous Anti-drug Ad Now Pro Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The actor from the famous (or perhaps infamous) "This is your brain on drugs" public service announcements now says he's pro-marijuana. Actor John Roselius told Rooster magazine he has already voted yes on California's Adult Use Of Marijuana act, which seeks to legalize marijuana for recreational adult use.

Five states in all will be voting on marijuana legalization this November. Recreational pot use is already legal in four states and the District of Columbia. The latest Gallup poll shows that 60 percent of Americans favor cannabis legalization.

Roselius eventually became a star in the TV show "JAG". He says he used to smoke pot on the 60s and admitted he did the commercial because he needed the money.

Although the iconic commercial ran for fourteen years, Roselius only received $360 in payment. It's ironic that that one of the strongest voices in the war against drugs is now speaking out in favor of pot legalization.

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