2016

California: San Diego Supervisors Unanimously Oppose Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The San Diego Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday opposing Proposition 64, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California.

The vote was 4-0, with Supervisor Greg Cox absent.

“It’s a stark public safety reality that legalization of marijuana results in many negative consequences,” Vice Chair Dianne Jacob said. “It’s obvious, extremely obvious, that legalization of marijuana in Colorado has thus far been a disaster, especially for public safety, which has been this board’s priority.”

San Diego county officials say that in the four states where marijuana has been legalized, marijuana-related traffic deaths, youth access to marijuana and related emergency department and hospital admissions have all risen dramatically, along with underground black market distribution and sales.

“As an elected official, I think it’s important that all the facts get out there and we try to educate the public on this very, very important issue that can have long-term ramifications for all of the citizens in the state of California,” Sheriff Bill Gore said. “Let’s learn from what has happened in Washington and Colorado and not make the same mistakes.”

U.S.: Record Number Of States Voting On Marijuana Reform Next Month

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A record number of states will be giving voters the chance next month to approve marijuana legalization and regulation.

Five states will have ballot measures to allow recreational adult cannabis use, and at least two others are considering approval for medical marijuana in various forms.

“One in five states will be able to go to the polls and vote for some level of legalization,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, the nation’s oldest organization advocating for cannabis reform. “It’s important to emphasize that there are an unprecedented number of state initiatives. It’s a significant evolution and maturation of our issue and the way advocates campaign for marijuana reform.”

Armentano says that it is also another indication of the current disconnect between the views of constituents and their elected officials. “It’s not the way the democratic process is supposed to work. When there’s a change in opinion, they [ legislators] should be reflecting on and making that change,” he says. “But they aren’t, and people are taking it into their own hands.”

The five states with votes to approve adult recreational marijuana use are Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.

California: Pro-marijuana TV Ads Air Aimed At Easing Parents' Fears

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California's pro-Proposition 64 campaign launched an ad campaign Tuesday featuring the state's first-ever pro-marijuana TV commercial to air statewide.

Two 30-second spots emphasize how the measure would ban advertising aimed at children, clearly label edible products so as not to confuse children, and only allow marijuana sales in licensed outlets. The marijuana plant itself is never shown in the ads.

California has seen a pro-marijuana TV ad before, but aired it only in select markets and not across the entire state. During the failed campaign to legalize weed in 2010 former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara starred in a 30-second ad for Proposition 19 that used a different approach — emphasizing support among law enforcement for legalization.

Andrew Acosta, a spokesman for the No on 64 campaign, dismissed the ads as representative of a ballot measure “written by and for the marijuana industry. ... They got it wrong for Californians, but right for the folks looking to turn this into the next Gold Rush.”

California: Pro-marijuana TV Ads Air Aimed At Easing Parents' Fears

prop 64.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California's pro-Proposition 64 campaign launched an ad campaign Tuesday featuring the state's first-ever pro-marijuana TV commercial to air statewide.

Two 30-second spots emphasize how the measure would ban advertising aimed at children, clearly label edible products so as not to confuse children, and only allow marijuana sales in licensed outlets. The marijuana plant itself is never shown in the ads.

California has seen a pro-marijuana TV ad before, but aired it only in select markets and not across the entire state. During the failed campaign to legalize weed in 2010 former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara starred in a 30-second ad for Proposition 19 that used a different approach — emphasizing support among law enforcement for legalization.

Andrew Acosta, a spokesman for the No on 64 campaign, dismissed the ads as representative of a ballot measure “written by and for the marijuana industry. ... They got it wrong for Californians, but right for the folks looking to turn this into the next Gold Rush.”

North Dakota: First Industrial Hemp Crop Showing Promise

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

North Dakota's first industrial hemp crop is looking promising, showing better returns than many other commodities.

Three farming operations in three counties grew hemp this year under a federally approved research program. The goal of the program is to determine whether hemp can be a successful crop in North Dakota.

Research program crop yields range from 860 pounds per acre to 1,125 pounds, according to program director Rachel Seifert-Spilde, a plant protection specialist with the state Agriculture Department. The $280 per-acre cost of raising the crop yields a much higher value with hemp being worth about $1 per pound.

“Without a doubt, there was a lot of value in this program,” Seifert-Spilde told The Bismarck Tribune. “There were some good yields and very few hiccups.”

The state research program will be conducted again next year. The Agriculture Department will announce in October when grower applications are due.

“There’s a lot of promise in hemp and potentially big revenue for the farm as we get further into production and development,” said Clarence Laub, a Grant County farmer who grew 10 acres of hemp as part of this year’s program.

U.S.: Congress Extends Prohibition On Government Interfering With State Medical Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Last week, the federal government gave approval to a short-term spending bill that’s designed to prevent an October 1st governmental shutdown. Included in the bill is the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which is the landmark provision passed last year which limits the Department of Justice’s ability to enforce federal cannabis laws in states where’s it’s been legalized for medical purposes.

According to Nick Phillips of the Marijuana Times; “Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, the co-author of the historic legislation, recently made an unscheduled appearance at the State of Marijuana Conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. He sat on a panel where he wore a “Make Cannabis Great Again” hat in support of states’ rights and individual freedoms to consume and operate legal cannabis businesses.”

On stage, Rohrabacher stated that “the momentum is on our side”, and stressed the need for supporters of marijuana law reform to contact their lawmakers and let their voice be heard.

U.S.: Pro-marijuana Campaigners Launch TV Ads Ahead Of November Votes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana use in Maine and Massachusetts launched their first television ads today, hoping to boost public awareness and support ahead of November votes on the issue.

Voters in five U.S. states will determine whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this Election Day, following the lead of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

The Massachusetts ads feature Tom Nolan, a former Boston Police Department officer and current professor of criminal justice at Merrimack College, promoting legalization as a way to better regulate marijuana use.

"Question 4 requires strict product labeling and child-proof packaging and bans consumption by kids," Nolan says in the 30-second spot, citing the question's position on the Nov. 8 ballot, the start of a $650,000 ad campaign.

The Maine ad also features an ex-law enforcement official, former Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion. He argues that legalizing the use of the drug by adults would free up police resources to investigate violent crimes. The Maine group has budgeted $1 million for its ad spending.

The campaigns launch a week after the group Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona launched its first blast of TV ads. Voters in California and Nevada will also face ballot questions on the issue this year.

Wisconsin: Marijuana Harvest Festival Draws Big Crowd In Downtown Madison

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of Wisconsin's capitol building over the weekend to rally in support of legalizing marijuana.

The protest was part of the 46th annual Madison Hemp Festival, where many pro-marijuana activists spoke, sending a message to Wisconsin lawmakers.

"I very much believe that marijuana is not the most dangerous thing that people are walking around in their pockets, but we're treating it as it is," said 48th District State Representative Melissa Sargent. "We need to change our laws so that people can take care of their illnesses in a way that they deserve to."

Sargent has proposed several bills to legislators that would legalize marijuana in Wisconsin for both medical and recreational purposes.

The movement has its opposition, however.

"Melissa and I have discussed her position on legalization on marijuana, and I disagree with her," said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who says while he would consider supporting the legalization of medical marijuana, under no circumstances will he support recreational use. "I don't believe that we are at a point that we know that marijuana is not an entry drug and I don't think we are at the point that marijuana has no lasting effects."

So far, all of Sargent's proposed bills have been shut down by Wisconsin legislators.

New Jersey: State Sees Renewed Push To Make Marijuana Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Following Gov. Chris Christie's surprising reversal on expanding the medical marijuana program, a new batch of bills to allow recreational pot in New Jersey are being proposed.

Christie is not likely to change his strong opposition to legalizing marijuana, even though he signed a bill last month to add post-traumatic stress syndrome to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana. It was the first time a mental-health condition had been added to the list.

But lawmakers say three legalization bills are being introduced this year to get discussions started, in anticipation of the end of Christie's term in 2018.

The newest proposal was introduced last month by Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R., Morris). It would allow cannabis to be sold the same way as tobacco, to anyone over 19. Carroll, a Libertarian, admits the measure is bold and more "far-reaching" than other marijuana bills.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D., Union), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a municipal prosecutor, introduced the state's first legalization bill in November.

His proposal called for cannabis to be regulated the same way as alcohol, sold by stores with a state license, and restricted to those 21 and over. The product would be taxed under his bill, and the revenues used for education and other public purposes.

West Indies: Jamaica, Formerly Opposed To Marijuana, Now Wants To Cash In On It

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jamaica has long been considered the land of ganja, but has worked hard to fight that reputation.

Despite strict drug laws and spending millions on public education to diminish its image as a pot mecca, its role as a major supplier of illegal weed to the United States and its international image led by the likes of Bob Marley have been impossible to overcome.

After watching states like Colorado and California generate billions of dollars from marijuana, Jamaica has decided to accept the plant and is looking to promote "wellness tourism", having legalized medical marijuana. The nation also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of pot just last year.

A recent conference at a luxury hotel in Montego Bay attracted government leaders, Rastafarian leaders, business leaders, and pot farmers.

Rastafarian leader First Man kicked off the conference with a speech on the global benefits of marijuana.

“We are talking about a plant that bridges the gap between all of our relationships,” First Man, barefoot with a Rasta scarf around his neck, said to a packed room. “Our planet needs this relationship to happen.”

First Man was speaking at the first CanEx conference, a gathering of government and local leaders trying to figure out just how the country can most effectively make this turn-around, without neglecting international law.

Colorado: New Rule Requires Marijuana Edible Labeling

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new rule takes effect in Colorado Saturday, requiring that edible marijuana products come with a diamond-shaped stamp and the letters T-H-C — not just on the packaging but on the brownies, candies and other edibles themselves.

The rule referencing marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) was added after complaints that the treats look too much their non-intoxicating counterparts. It is the first such requirement in any state with legal weed.

The stamping requirement comes in addition to extensive labeling and packaging rules that include childproof zippers and lids, along with warnings that the product should be kept away from children and not eaten before driving or while pregnant or nursing.

“We want to ensure that people genuinely know the difference between a Duncan Hines brownie and a marijuana brownie, just by looking at it,” said state Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Democrat who sponsored the law requiring stamped edibles.

Andrew Schrot, founder of BlueKudu, a company which makes marijuana-infused chocolates, said that when he started his company in 2011 for medical marijuana customers, his pot treats looked like any other chocolate bars. But he said the switch to a recreational market in which new marijuana users were trying his products necessitated change.

Vermont: Thieves Mistaking Hemp For Pot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont State Police say three men stole hemp from a farm in Shaftsbury because they thought it was pot.

Troopers responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint in Shaftsbury and found Leon Lovelace, 21, Brett Stone, 24, and Cody Smith, 20, all of Hoosick Falls, New York. The three men had plants that looked like marijuana; they were cited for possession and released.

A follow-up investigation revealed that two of the men had given false names, and that the plants were in fact hemp, not pot.

Police say the hemp was stolen from a farm in Shaftsbury. They also say that farm has had a lot of plants stolen recently because people think it is marijuana.

The suspects still face charges for theft and providing false names to police.

New York: SNL Star Pete Davidson Says Medical Marijuana Helps Him Perform

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pete Davidson, star of "Saturday Night Live", told High Times magazine this week that he became a pothead at the age of 17 because of his Chron's disease.

"I found that the things the doctors were prescribing me, and seeing all these doctors and trying new things, weed was the only thing that would help me eat," he explained.

Chron's disease is a chronic bowel disease that can cause weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anemia, and fatigue. It can't be cured but various treatments can help relieve the symptoms.

"I wouldn't be able to do 'SNL' if I didn't smoke weed. I wouldn't be able to do anything," the 22-year-old said.

Davidson said smoking pot helps him perform and although he says he could take the stage without getting high, it wouldn't be that much fun for him because of the pain.

He said he gets offended by people who assume he's just a pothead who wants to sit around and watch cartoons.

"I work really f---ing hard and I take care of my s--t and I need weed in order to do that," he explained.

Davidson is an outspoken advocate for legalizing medical marijuana in all states and has stated that the New York State medical marijuana program is inadequate and difficult, according to High Times.

Washington, DC: Mayor To Propose Doubling Marijuana Possession Limit For Patients

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The possession and use of medical marijuana is legal in Washington, D.C. for those who receive a recommendation from a physician. Patients can purchase their weed from a licensed dispensary, although they can only purchase and possess up to two ounces in a given month. However, that may soon change as the district’s mayor will soon introduce a proposal that would double this limit.

Mayor Muriel Bowser “will propose doubling to 4 ounces how much weed medical marijuana patients can buy a month,” according to Aaron C. Davis, a reporter for the Washington Post.

Medical marijuana legalization was approved by voters in 1998 in the District of Columbia, just two years after the first state (California) legalized the medicine. However, the law wasn’t implemented, and the first dispensary didn’t open, until 2013 due to Congress continually blocking it. Now the system is up and running smoothly, though many patients and patient advocates do consider many portions of the law to be too restrictive, including the two ounce limit.

The possession and personal cultivation of recreational cannabis is legal for everyone 21 and older in D.C., in addition to the medical marijuana being legal, thanks to an initiative approved by voters in 2014.

Idaho: Marijuana Activists Launch New Campaign For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Idaho Secretary of State's Office has approved a petition that could create a medical marijuana program in the state.

Current marijuana laws in Idaho are harsh, especially when compared to neighboring states which allow some sort of medical use of the drug or have outright legalized it like Washington and Oregon. In Idaho, possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense and the state doesn’t approve the medical use of the drug.

If the initiative qualifies for the ballot and is passed, Idaho will join 25 other states that have a medical marijuana law. The initiative includes a long list of qualifying conditions that encompasses cancer, glaucoma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and others. Patients that qualify for the program would be allowed to legally possess 24 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 plants.

“We didn’t want to leave anything out,” says Angela Osborn, board secretary for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Association, or IMMA, the group sponsoring the petition. “We didn’t want to leave a patient out; we didn’t want to leave a disease out. We want it super simple and to help as many people as possible.”

U.S.: Senators And Congressmen Who Support Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) this week released its 2016 congressional scorecard on marijuana policy. Twenty U.S. representatives and two senators received an 'A' grade, indicating that "this member has publicly declared his/her support for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults," according to NORML.

But NORML goes on to point out that Congress lags far behind the public when it comes to support for marijuana reform. Four states plus D.C. have already legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and this fall voters in five more will decide whether to legalize recreatiional weed.

"It is apparent that voters' views regarding marijuana policy have evolved significantly over the past decades," said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, in an email. "Yet, the positions of their federally elected officials have not progressed in a similar manner."

Of the 22 congressmen supporting full marijuana legalization only one, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.-Calif.) is a Republican. Conversely, among the 32 most vocal opponents of marijuana reform only one, Sen. Tom Carper (D.-Del.) is a Democrat.

Here is the list of representatives and senators who support marijuana legalization:

Mike Honda (D.-Calif.)
Jared Huffman (D.-Calif.)
Barbara Lee (D.-Calif.)
Ted Lieu (D.-Calif.)

Massachusetts: Another Poll Shows Support For Recreational Marijuana Is High

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A second poll on Question 4, the Massachusetts initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for adults, suggests support for the initiative is high.

A new poll conducted by WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio and UMass-Amherst shows a 53 percent. majority of voters surveyed support the statewide ballot initiative legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts. Seven percent of the 700 people polled remain unsure.

Passing the initiative this November would allow the use, cultivation, possession and distribution of recreational marijuana for individuals at least 21 years old.

According to WBZ, "Support for the measure (in the new poll) cuts across all demographic categories, with only voters over 55 years old and self-described conservatives opposing the measure."

The support does not come without some concerns, however.

WBZ reports:

41% of those polled say they'd be bothered if a pot store opened up in their neighborhood
52% didn’t like the idea of pot ads on TV or radio
61% expressed alarm over the prospect of people using in public.
25% claimed people growing pot in their homes would be troubling

California: Nurses Association Endorses Proposition 64

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the nation’s largest state organization of nurses, announced today that it has endorsed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which will be on the statewide ballot in November.

“California Nurses believe strongly that the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana has ruined generations of lives, wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer of dollars and failed to protect the public health and safety,” said Deborah Burger, President, California Nurses Association/NNU.

“California needs a new approach and Proposition 64 is carefully crafted to strictly regulate adult-use marijuana while funding critical youth programs and safeguarding children, workers and local communities,” Burger said. “On balance, Proposition 64 is significantly better for public health and safety than the broken status quo, and we are pleased to endorse it.”

The California Medical Association and the California Academy of Preventative Medicine have already endorsed Proposition 64.

Mexico: Police Find Van With Cannon Used To Shoot Drugs To US

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Mexican federal police said in a statement last week that they found a van parked on a street in Agua Prieta equipped with a 10-foot (3 meter) air cannon which smugglers used to shoot drugs into the U.S.

Agua Prieta is situated just across the border from Douglas, Arizona.

It was reported stolen from the city of Hermosillo in the Mexican state of Sonora over the summer.

U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Vicente Paco said Tuesday that agents regularly see numerous methods used by smugglers to send contraband over the border fence.

The most common is lobbying softball-sized marijuana packages over the fence and into the U.S., often in residential backyards, Paco said in a statement. Smugglers pay someone on the U.S. side to retrieve the packages, which are then distributed around the country.

Paco said high-pressure air cannons can be used to launch heavier packages, up to 60 pounds. The Border patrol has also seen smugglers use trebuchets, a type of catapult that can be made out of wood.

Smugglers have even been seen using ladders and heavy equipment to hoist trucks loaded with marijuana over the border fence, which in parts of Arizona reach 26 feet (7.9 meters) in height.

Nevada: New Poll Finds Majority Of Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New polling shows that a majority of voters in Nevada are in favor of legalizing cannabis. The poll’s release comes less than 50 days before voters will get their say on Question 2 to legalize recreational cannabis for everyone 21 and older.

The new KTNV-TV 13 Action News/Rasmussen Reports poll shows that 53% of voters in Nevada support legalizing cannabis. Just 39% oppose the move, with 8% undecided.

The results mark a modest but steady increase from a KTNV-TV 13 poll released in July which found support for legalization to be at 50%, with opposition at 41%; the percentage of undecided voters was roughly the same, though slightly higher, at 9%.

“We will be spending the next seven weeks educating all Nevadans about the benefits of regulating marijuana,” says Joe Brezny, a spokesperson for the Yes on Question 2 campaign. “We have no doubt that once we do, a solid majority of Nevada voters will choose to regulate marijuana so that we can take the market away from criminal actors.”

If Question 2 is passed into law, it will be legal for those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot. They’ll also be allowed to cultivate up to six marijuana plants, and marijuana retail outlets will be authorized to distribute the plant.

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