2016

U.S.: Leaked Documents Expose Why The FDA Says Marijuana Is Not Medicine

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New uncovered documents give an insider's look at why the federal government does not recognize marijuana as medicine despite the reality that 25 states have legalized the plant for medical use so far. The 118-page document contains memos between the DEA's chief, two FDA officials, the governors of Rhode Island and Washington and several other government officials.

According to the documents, one of the reasons the FDA came to their decision is because “Individuals are taking the substance on their own initiative rather than on the basis of the medical advice from a practitioner licensed by law to administer such substances,” officials wrote in a summary.

The Drug Enforcement Administration rejected two petitions to reschedule marijuana last August. The DEA ruled that the marijuana that millions of Americans rely on in 25 states has “no currently accepted medical use.”

Oregon: 2 Injured In Explosion At Astoria Marijuana-extraction Business

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two people were injured in Astoria, Oregon in an explosion and fire at a marijuana extraction company.

The Daily Astorian reported that three people were working at Higher Level Concentrates when an explosion occurred Wednesday night, sparking a fire. All three people escaped but two suffered burn injuries and were taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

Astoria Deputy Police Chief Eric Halverson said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

U.S.: Medical Marijuana Doesn't Cause More Teenage Stoners

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Researchers say that legalizing medical marijuana doesn't make more teenagers into stoners.

The study was published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. It found that people over 25 were slightly more likely to have used marijuana in the past month after their state legalized it for medical purposes. That number grew to 7.15 percent from 5.87 percent of that group.

This is the first study to look at how medical marijuana laws have affected actual use. Columbia University researchers used annual survey data from people who responded to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health between 2004 and 2013. This includes data from over 50,000 people each year, in all 50 states, and asks if someone has used marijuana in the past month. It didn’t ask whether it was for recreational or medical purposes.

The study showed that legalizing medical marijuana didn’t make teens think the drug was more readily available. “Before medical marijuana laws changed there was a concern that this type of legislation could potentially increase recreational marijuana use in adolescents and adult populations,” said study co-author Silvia Martins, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia, in a university statement. “At least for now, we do not see an increase in use among adolescents.”

Massachusetts and Nevada: Legalization Campaigns Roll Out TV Ads On Same Day

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Nevada Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, and the Massachusetts’ campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, both unveiled new television ads Tuesday in support of their initiatives to legalize recreational cannabis.

“Our opponents are attempting to scare Nevadans into opposing Question 2?, says Joe Brezny, a spokesperson the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

“What our opponents would like the public to forget is that our current system poses the greatest danger to our communities. We currently have criminals profiting from selling marijuana on streets to people of all ages.”

Brezny continues; “They draw teens in with marijuana and offer them other drugs. We need to take marijuana out of the criminal market and place it in regulated stores that are prohibited from selling to minors. Regulating marijuana will make Nevada communities safer.”

“Doctors and patients shouldn’t fear that they are committing a crime by discussing marijuana as a treatment option”, the Yes on 4 campaign said in a press release, which focused on the medical qualities of marijuana.

“Numerous scientific studies have shown that marijuana is an effective alternative to many prescription drugs, including opioids. But our current laws make it difficult for patients to access marijuana for serious medical issues.”

U.S.: 60 Percent Of Americans Say Pot Should Be Legal

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By Derrick Stanleyout
Hemp News

With recreational marijuana use up for legalization on the ballot this election in several states, a new Gallup poll shows that support for legal pot is at its highest in nearly 50 years.

The poll found that 60 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana use should be legal for adults. Gallup has been asking the question for 47 years, and that is the highest level of support seen in that time.

Gallup first surveyed Americans in 1969 to see whether they thought marijuana should be legal; only 12 percent said yes. Support during the 1980s and 1990s was steady at about 25 percent. But support for pot legalization has been on the rise since 2000.

Five states are voting on marijuana legalization this November 8: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia.

Support for legalizing marijuana has increased more among younger people than those in older age groups, Gallup said. From 2005 to 2016, support for legalizing marijuana increased 33 percentage points among adults ages 18 to 34, compared to 26 percentage points among those ages 35 to 54, and 16 percentage points among those ages 55 and older. Currently, 77 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 support legalizing marijuana, compared with 45 percent of adults ages 55 and older.

Ohio: Wendy's Customer Finds Marijuana In Her Daughter's French Fries

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Ohio resident Dezeray Risner says she got a little something extra in the kid's meal she bought. She claims that the kid's meal she bought for her four-year-old daughter recently contained marijuana.

She said her daughter complained that the food was "nasty", so she told her to spit it out in her hand. She claimed her daughter spit out a blunt along with the fries.

She called the manager of the Huber Heights restaurant where she bought the meal to complain. She filed a police report after that proved to be unhelpful.

The officer working with Risner believes her story, and wrote in the report that the “leafy green substance” found in the bag of French fries smelled strongly of marijuana. The officer got permission to search the Wendy’s location, but was unable to find any marijuana on the premises.

Risner’s daughter took a drug test at the local hospital, and Risner is awaiting the results. Though investigations are ongoing, local authorities acknowledged that it’s unlikely they’ll be able to prove the marijuana originated from the Wendy’s restaurant.

“We’re certainly aware of the claim that was reported three days ago and we’re actively investigating it,” a Wendy’s spokesperson told Fortune in an email. “We have taken this situation very seriously, and have been in touch with the customer.”

California: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Explains Why He Supports Legalizing Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California’s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom participated in a one-hour meeting with the Press Democrat editorial board on October 11. He admitted that there he doesn’t like pot, and has never used it, but still sees a lot of benefits to be gained from legalizing cannabis through Proposition 64. “I’m not pro-marijuana. I’m just vehemently anti-prohibition,” he said to the board.

Newsom began working on a committee in 2013 that was formed specifically to study the possibilities of marijuana legalization in California. “We began our work by saying ‘we don’t believe this should be California’s next Gold Rush,” he mentions about the committee’s original goals, explaining that legalizing marijuana shouldn’t be mainly about generating revenue. “This is not what we should be doing with a drug that is of concern, particularly for our children and youth and as it relates to public safety. We shouldn’t be promoting it as a government entity and revenue generation.”

He told the Press Democrat that Prop 64 will protect and preserve the growing high-quality cannabis, rather than resulting in “the cannibalization and monopolization, large multi-national folks coming and destroying that,” Newsom stated.

Indiana: Large Majority Of Voters Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new WTHR/HPI Indiana Poll has found that a vast majority of likely Indiana voters are in support of legalizing medical marijuana in the state. The poll focused specifically on likely voters and strongly indicates that an initiative effort to legalize marijuana as a medicine would be approved with overwhelming support.

According to the poll, 73% of likely voters in the state are in support of medical marijuana. Only 25% are opposed to the move, and want to keep medical narijuana illegal.

Only 2% of likely voters were found to be undecided.

The survey found Democrats to be the most likely to support medical cannabis with 82%, support followed by independents at 77%. Support among Republicans was lower, but still a strong majority was in support at 59%.

There are lawmakers in the state who are working to make a change in the law. Last year Indiana State Senator filed Senate Bill 284, a proposal to legalize medical cannabis, including personal cultivation and dispensaries. Unfortunately the measure failed to advance, but the conversation is already underway.

Utah: LDS Leaders Ask Mormons To Oppose Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The LDS Church's First Presidency is asking the church's members in three western states to oppose bills that would legalize recreational marijuana.

In letters sent Wednesday to Arizona, California, and Nevada, Church President Thomas S Monson and his counselors said, "We urge church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use."

"Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions," the First Presidency noted, "and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented. Recent studies have shed light particularly on the risks that marijuana use poses to brain development in youth. The accessibility of recreational marijuana in the home is also a danger to children."

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use for adults over 21. On Nov. 8, Nevada residents will vote on Question 2, Arizona residents will consider Proposition 205 and Californians will decide on Proposition 64. Maine and Massachusetts also have recreational marijuana on voters' ballots next month.

Maine: Governor LePage Warns Against 'Deadly' Marijuana In Over-the-top Video

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Maine Governor Paul LePage released a false and misleading video Thursday attempting to convince voters to vote "no" on "Question 1", the state's marijuana legalization referendum up for a vote on the upcoming ballot.

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” LePage warns, before falsely claiming traffic fatalities have gone up in Colorado since the state legalized recreational pot.

He makes a claim that “people addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.” He predicts a future where children and pets die from accidentally consuming “marijuana snacks,” and in which drug culture impinges on “schools, daycare centers and churches.”

“They will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs,” he adds. “Businesses could not fire employees for using marijuana.”

According to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance, marijuana has had no noticeable effect on traffic deaths in either Colorado or Washington.

And marijuana has been proven to reduce opioid deaths. In the 23 states where medical marijuana was legal in 2014, there were nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Maine State Rep. Diane Russell (D) of Portland believes the video could actually help the campaign for legalization.

Utah: State To File Marijuana Charges Against Wife Of Gubernatorial Candidate

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Federal prosecutors will not file criminal charges against the wife of Mike Weinholtz, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Utah. A state prosecutor will take the case instead.

"We recieved a call from the U.S. Attorney's Office, asking us if we would take the case on a conflict," said Gary Searle, Chief Deputy Tooele County Attorney. "The district attorney in Salt Lake evidently is friends with the Weinholtz's or has a social relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Weinholtz."

Mike Weinholtz, currently running for Governor against incumbent Gary Herbert, made a surprising announcement during the state's Democratic Convention in April. He declared that his wife, Donna Weinholtz, was being investigated for using medical marijuana. A statement from his campaign said she "uses marijuana to seek relief from chronic neck, back and knee pain brought on by arthritis."

"I thought it was necessary to be open and honest with the delegates," he said at the time. "I thought it would be dishonest if I didn't disclose it."

On Wednesday a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office read: "After reviewing the case carefully and consulting with the Tooele County Attorney, we determined that the best venue for the case would be on the county level rather than pursuing a federal case."

Connecticut: Minors Can Now Become Medical Marijuana Patients

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Connecticut House Bill 5450, signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy earlier this year, is now in full effect. This means that those under 18 with certain qualifying conditions can legally use medical marijuana if they receive a recommendation from a physician. Nurses are also now authorized to recommend medical marijuana to both adults and minors. Previously that authority was exclusive to physicians.

The new law was approved 152 to 24 by the state’s legislature. It means that children with a wide variety of ailments would be allowed to use non-smokeable forms of cannabis, such as tinctures, for medical use, so long as the minor has approval from their parent or guardian and receives a recommendation from a physician or registered nurse (under current Connecticut law medical cannabis is already legal for those 18 and older).

Qualifying conditions include terminal illness, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, irreversible spinal cord injury with intractable spasticity, severe epilepsy and intractable seizure disorders.

“We introduced this bill to support those who need it – this is a deeply emotional issue for many families,” says Chris Collibee, a spokesperson for Governor Malloy. “Delivering access to ease illness is something many states have passed. It’s the right thing to do.”

Arizona: Former DEA Agents Rally In Support Of Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A pair of retired agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stopped by Arizona State University Wednesday to campaign on behalf of Proposition 205, the state’s initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana.

They encouraged some of ASU’s 80,000 college students to vote “yes” on Prop. 205. Their appearance was organized by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and timed to coincide with the beginning of early voting in the state.

Finn Selander and Michael Capasso, former special agents, were on hand to speak to students and explain why they support an initiative that runs counter to their former careers as drug warriors.

“It was a huge success,” Capasso told The Huffington Post. “They were interested, and they liked my perspective — coming from the DEA. Most of the people I spoke to were thumbs-up on Prop. 205.”

Capasso said he supports legalizing marijuana because it doesn’t have the “collateral damage” that other drugs do, like addiction and overdose. Because of that, he thinks it’s practical to regulate marijuana like alcohol and use the tax revenue to fund state programs.

“I think it makes sense, I really do,” he said. “And I think it’s going to happen. It’s about time.”

U.S.: Legal Marijuana Hasn't Caused Any Of The Problems Opponents Said It Would

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Opponents of the measures to legalize marijuana in 2012 in Washington and Colorado said that doing so would wreak havoc on society, and that children would end up using the drug and high drivers would terrorize the roadways. They said the fiscal benefits associated with taxed and regulated marijuana wouldn’t be worthwhile.

According to a new report by the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit that lobbies for progressive reform of drug laws, those dire predictions have not come true. In fact, legalization has had a negligible effect on rates of youth marijuana use and traffic fatalities in Colorado and Washington, and in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., which have all since approved marijuana for recreational use. In addition, marijuana arrests have plummeted and total revenue from legal weed has surged past $500 million.

“This report shows that a lot of those fears don’t come to fruition in the case of legalization,” said Joy Haviland, staff attorney at DPA. “It’s clear that prohibition has not worked, so states need a new solution going forward.”

Th report finds that marijuana legalization has made no discernible mark on traffic fatalities in Washington and Colorado, and total arrests for driving while impaired have declined in both of those states.

U.S.: Study Finds Marijuana Arrests Outnumber Those For Violent Crimes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study has found that arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana exceeded those for all violent crimes last year, even though more and more cities and states have decriminalized or legalized the plant and attitudes toward it have changed.

And even though African-Americans smoke pot at rates similar to whites, black adults were found to be arrested at more than two and a half times the rate of whites.

Th report was released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

"Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime," the report finds, citing FBI data. "More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year."

The report says that on any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 men and women sit behind bars on simple drug possession charges.

Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. Most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime, the report says. They're sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court which may be months or even years off, because they can't afford to post bail.

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