Alaska: Army Says Troops Are Banned From Attending Marijuana Fairs

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Army stated Thursday that soldiers in Alaska are officially banned from attending marijuana fairs, even though pot is now legal in the state.

The ban applies to fairs and conventions and goes so far as to include hemp products, the Associated Press reported.

According to a letter from Army Maj. Bryan Owens, the reason that 11,000 Alaska-based soldiers are banned from these sorts of events is because the events may negatively affect the health and discipline of troops. Authorities say the letter is necessary since the military expects cannabis-related events to increase in the state, since the drug has been legalized there for recreational purposes. In addition, some suppliers have started offering marijuana discounts to troops.

Moreover, marijuana itself is still banned in the military, as it remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act.

As of today, 25 states and the District of Columbia have some form of legal marijuana.

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Therefore Alaska, being one of those four states, allows adults over 21 to purchase up to an ounce of pot and to grow up to six plants.

Florida: New Ad Campaign Says Marijuana Isn't Medicine

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The anti-marijuana group Drug Free Florida released a 30 second ad Thursday which opens with a prescription for Marinol, which the group says offers the same benefits as medical marijuana.

Marinol is a pharmaceutical tetrahydrocannabinol, a drug which contains the principal psychoactive component of cannabis. 

The ad then goes on to slam medical marijuana for not being regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and for not being prescribed by a doctor.

The group says amendment 2 is a “scam” which would make medical marijuana legal. “You don’t smoke medicine,” the ad says, while pictures of young people smoking marijuana flash on the screen. 

The ad is the latest in the fight against Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida for patients with “debilitating conditions.”

Conditions covered under the amendment would include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and for other conditions which a physician feels using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient. 

There are differences between Marinol and marijuana. Marinol contains only THC, and can take about an hour to take effect, while smoked or vaporized THC takes effect in a matter of seconds or minutes. Marinol is often used to treat cancer patients, HIV/AIDS patients, and people undergoing chemotherapy.

Arizona: 3 Phoenix Cops Resign After Forcing Man To Eat Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Authorities said Thursday that three police officers in Arizona have resigned after they allegedly forced a motorist to eat marijuana during a traffic stop.

Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner announced the resignations of the officers, who have all served less than a year on the police force, and condemned their actions as “appalling” and “unacceptable” during a news conference. “The conduct alleged by our resident is contrary to everything we stand for as community servants,” Yahner said.

The officers found about a gram of marijuana during the search of a 19 year-old's car last week. They allegedly told the motorist to eat the pot to avoid going to jail, the police chief said. The driver, who said he fell ill afterwards, filed a complaint with the police department, which prompted an internal investigation.

The officers involved were identified as Richard Pina, Jason McFadden and Michael Carnicle.

Yahner said the officers were wearing body cameras but that they had turned the cameras off before the incident.

Kentucky: U.S. Attorney General Admits Marijuana Is Not A Gateway Drug

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appeared at a recent town hall meeting in Richmond, Kentucky where she admitted that cannabis is not a gateway drug, probably the most prominent argument made in opposition to legalizing marijuana.

During the town hall meeting, Lynch was asked by a Madison Central High School student whether she believes that the use of cannabis among students will lead to opioid abuse.

“There a lot of discussion about marijuana these days”, Lynch stated. “Some states are making it legal, people are looking into medical uses for it, and I understand that it still is as common as almost anything. When we talk about heroin addiction, we unusually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin. It isn’t so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids.”

Lynch followed up this statement by being a bit more specific; “It’s not as though we are seeing that marijuana is a specific gateway”.

The National Institute of Health published the results of a study in July which agree with Lynch's statement, saying that cannabis use is not directly associated with an increased use of other drugs.

Ontario: Hamilton Teacher Is Jailed In Abu Dhabi

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A teacher from Hamilton, Ontario is serving time in an overcrowded prison in Abu Dhabi after airport screeners found traces of marijuana in her bag. Heather Augustyn's family is very worried about her, but don't want to talk publicly about her case. They are afraid that any attention that casts the United Arab Emirates in a negative light could affect her chances of release.

27 year-old Heather Augustyn's social pages show a love of travel and numerous messages from her students show how much she is appreciated as a teacher. She graduated from Western's Faculty of Education in 2015. She was headed back for her second term teaching English to students at Abu Dhabi International School when she was chosen for random airport screening. The search yielded traces of marijuana in her bag, one which she shared with others on a recent camping trip. Her family says only a few flakes of pot were found.

She was then forced to sign a confession in Arabic which she didn't understand, and was sent to Al Wathba prison, notorious for overcrowding and human rights abuses.

Oregon: Portland Marijuana Shop Robbed By At Least 4 People With Guns

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several people, some carrying guns, robbed a Portland marijuana dispensary Sunday night, Portland Police officials said.

Green Buds, a dispensary located at Northeast 109th Ave and Sandy Boulevard, was entered by several people about 8:50 pm who robbed the shop at gunpoint.

Police say up to six people were involved in the robbery, both men and women, with at least four of them carrying guns.

Police officers arrived at the dispensary within minutes of the 911 call. They observed two suspects leaving the property to the north towards some railroad tracks.

Special Emergency Reaction Team officers searched the area, but had been unable to locate any suspects as of Monday morning. Detectives released one man detained near the dispensary after determining that he was not involved in the robbery.

Chris Schaaf, owner of the dispensary, said the robbers took all the cash and all the marijuana, but his employees are all safe and unhurt.

Portland Police spokesman Pete Simpson said they are “actively searching for suspects in the area.” Investigators said they aren't sure if any of the suspects fired a gun, or whether anything was taken in the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Portland Police Department by calling 911.

Montana: Initiative On Ballot To Improve Medical Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Most states have relaxed restrictions on marijuana in recent years. Some have legalized it for recreational use; half the states have legalized some form of medical marijuana. But Montana has gone backward.

Although Montana adopted medical marijuana in 2004, a law was passed in 2011 that severely limited the reach of marijuana providers. The Supreme Court affirmed the law in February.

Today, marijuana advertising is banned, marijuana dispensaries cannot have more than three registered users and doctors who prescribe marijuana to more than 25 patients annually will be reviewed by the state. Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries closed when the restrictions took effect the end of August.

But supporters of medical marijuana are hoping to be back in business come November with Montana I-182, a ballot initiative that would repeal the law that effectively killed the medical marijuana industry. A "yes" vote would repeal the limit of three patients per dispensary, which estimates say cut off at least 12,000 medical marijuana users when it was put into effect — the vast majority of those were using marijuana as medication.

Ohio: Board's Timeline Concerns Medical Marijuana Advocates

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Advocates are concerned over the length of time it will take Ohio's medical board to draft rules governing how doctors can recommend to patients they use medical marijuana.

The medical board met Wednesday for the first time since the medical marijuana law went into effect and says it plans to study laws and practices in other states before drafting Ohio's regulations.

The medical board has a September 2017 deadline for establishing rules for medical doctors. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana spokesman Aaron Marshall says advocates want the board to act sooner.

Marshall says those who need the drug therapeutically are "seriously ill people" who should know how to defend themselves in court if caught with marijuana before the state's physician rules are established.

New Jersey: Gov. Chris Christie Signs Bill Approving Marijuana For PTSD Treatment

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

People in New Jersey can now legally treat their post-traumatic stress disorder with marijuana.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a measure Wednesday allowing people to use marijuana if their PTSD is not treatable conventionally, a move actively sought by combat veterans.

Christie noted in a statement sent with the announcement that federal officials estimate up to 20 percent of veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with PTSD.

"The mere potential of abuse by some should not deter the state from taking action that may ease the daily struggles of veterans and others who legitimately suffer from PTSD," Christie wrote.

New Jersey is the 18th state to allow PTSD to be treated with medical marijuana.

Medical marijuana in New Jersey is also approved to treat multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, and muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and any terminal disease with a prognosis of less than one year. It's approved for seizures and glaucoma also if those conditions resist conventional treatment.

Lawmakers praised his decision.

Kentucky: Agriculture Commissioner Objects To USDA Rules On Industrial Hemp

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Kentucky's Agriculture Commissioner is asking the United States Department of Agriculture to reconsider its latest set of rules regarding industrial hemp.

A provision in the 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to grow hemp for research purposes, but did not remove the marijuana-related plant from the controlled substances list, giving federal agencies authority over restrictions.

Ryan Quarles said last month that he would be reviewing the USDA's 'Statement of Principles' to see how it relates to Kentucky's own pilot hemp research program.

Quarles sent a letter yesterday to the USDA, saying he now has several objections in that several aspects of the principles contradict Congress' original intent and "could hinder industrial hemp's economic potential" in Kentucky.

Quarles says the new rules name the only economically viable parts of the hemp plant as the "fiber and seed" to only be used for industrial applications. Quarles says that over half of Kentucky's hemp acreage harvests cannabidiol - a hemp oil that comes from neither the fiber or seed, and that the 'industrial application' provision would also mean hemp could not be used in a drug, as a food ingredient or for artistic purposes.

He also takes issue with the USDA’s declaration that hemp seeds and plants may not be transported across state lines.

U.S.: NFLPA Will Research Marijuana For Pain Management

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Derrick Morgan, outside linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, announced Friday that the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) will begin researching alternative pain methods like cannabis for pain treatment.

During a radio interview with Nashville’s The Midday 180, Morgan said, “We have some things in the works with the NFLPA, getting some research going for players.” Morgan explained that it wasn’t anything “too clinical,” however players were going to develop a committee to look at alternative treatments for managing pain.

Morgan has been vocal for some time about the need for more research into how cannabis can benefit NFL players. He and Eugene Monroe both urged the NFL to study medicinal cannabis to help players in the league over the summer.

Morgan did an interview with ESPN in July, where he called out the NFL. “I just take the NFL for their word: If they say that long-term health and player safety are top priorities of the league, then why aren’t you looking into all the options for health care that are out there?” Morgan said, “It’s definitely incumbent upon them to really delegate some time and some resources to look into it.”

Morgan will continue to fight for professional athletes everywhere who are banned from using cannabis to treat their ailments.

Nebraska: Marijuana Groups Already Petitioning For 2018 Ballot


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

With 54 days left until November's election, a group of marijuana advocates pushing to eliminate Nebraska's penalties for those caught with small amounts of pot has already begun gathering signatures to put the issue before voters in 2018.

A second group seeking a broader constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana entirely has also filed 2018 petition language with the Nebraska Secretary of State's Office.

Volunteers started gathering signatures for the more limited proposal Aug. 5, targeting high-traffic areas and events such as last week's Omaha rally by Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein.

"We're in Lincoln three times a week," said Mark Elworth Jr., a perennial candidate for elected office from Omaha who drew up the petition language and is leading the campaign.

Nebraska decriminalized marijuana in the 70s, but anyone caught with an ounce or less is still subject to a fine.

Elworth said the most significant consequence for people who are caught with pot, particularly teenagers, is the permanent record it creates.

"We're trying to protect people," he said. "Those minor possession tickets ... they can ruin people's lives."

California: Costa Mesa Police Want To Make It A Federal Case

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Attorneys representing the Costa Mesa Police Department filed a motion Monday to have a pending lawsuit moved from state to federal court. The lawsuit comes from claims that the Costa Mesa P.D. overstepped the lawful authority of their inspection warrant during a January raid of the now-closed Costa Mesa Collective marijuana dispensary.

In surveillance footage of the raid, CMPD officers can be seen busting through the clinic’s doors with their guns drawn, yelling at patients and caregivers alike to get on the ground. After interrogating the patients and arresting the staff, the officers proceeded to remove surveillance equipment and various elements of the storefront, including items secured in safes.

Matthew Pappas, the Long Beach attorney representing Costa Mesa Collective, says osta Mesa Police crossed the line.

“These guys were doing this to shut down a business without due process because they don’t like it,” said Pappas. “They became judge, jury and executioner.”

Five employees were arrested during the raid, and detained on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute marijuana — a felony offense in California. Pappas said the five individuals spent four days in lockup before being released without charges.

Florida: Port Richey Council Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Port Richey City Council just became the first government body in Pasco County, Florida to decriminalize the possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

After many weeks of debate, the council passed an ordinance Tuesday night on a 3-2 vote that will allow police the discretion to issue a $155 civil citation in lieu of an arrest on a criminal misdemeanor charge for possessing less than 20 grams of pot, as long as the offender is age 18 or older and not engaged in any other simultaneous crime.

Marijuana activist and local businessman Garyn Angel spearheaded the lobbying effort that led to the council's consideration of the ordinance. He stood in front of City Hall with Port Richey's seal behind him to celebrate the vote, making a speech to a two-man video crew he employs. It went out on Facebook live to his followers, who he said number in the hundreds of thousands.

Dozens of people spoke for or against the ordinance during previous hearings, and there was contentious debate. Ultimately, the council vote was split, with Mayor Dale Massad and council members Jennifer Sorrell and Will Dittmer in favor.

Vice Mayor Terry Rowe and Nancy Britton opposed the vote, afraid that it will encourage drug dealing and use in the city.

There was little debate by Tuesday night; no one from the public or on the council spoke

Colorado: Marijuana Is Legal In Some States - But Only If You're A U.S.Citizen


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana may be legal in a growing number of states, but not many people know that it's still very much against the law for all non-U.S. citizens to use it. In fact, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has penalized and deported more people convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past decade than ever before.

Claudia, a native of Chile, learned this the hard way after being flagged for an in-depth security screening after landing at Los Angeles International Airport on October 8, 2015. "It's normal," she says. "Sometimes the officers review people." Besides, she had never been in trouble in her life.

Agents directed Claudia into a big, open room where she was asked to place her luggage on a table for examination. Officer Torres, a customs agent, asked her about her planned one-week trip to San Francisco and made friendly small talk as he went through her suitcase and purse.

Torres asked Claudia about past trips to the U.S., and she told the agent of visits to Tennessee, Louisiana, New York, and Colorado. At the mention of Colorado, he asked to see her phone. He quickly began scrolling through photos from her last visit to the States from April to June of that year. "Can you do this?" she asked.

"Yes", he replied, which Claudia accepted; she had nothing to hide, after all.

California: New Poll Shows Majority Favor Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Tuesday shows a majority of Californians support a state measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults.

The poll reports that 58 percent of the state's voters favor the legalization measure and that the support spanned "most lines of age, race, income, and gender."

The measure is doing best among younger voters: 67 percent of those 18 to 24 years of age said they would vote for Proposition 64. About 50 percent of voters 65 years and older support the measure.

In 2010, the last time California voted for pot legalization, nearly 54 percent of voters opposed the measure.

The LA Times reported :

"Some of the change appears to have come from the ability of Californians to watch what has happened in other states that legalized recreational pot use: Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska," said Jon Cohen, an executive for SurveyMonkey, the firm that conducted the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

"Some of the calamitous predictions of legalization opponents haven't come to pass" in other states, Cohen said.

Florida: New Polling Shows Medical Marijuana Initiative At 70 Percent Support

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New polling released by Public Policy Polling shows that 70 percent of voters in Florida support Amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana with just 23 percent opposed. Seven percent remain undecided.

“Poll after poll has us winning this race in November and finally allowing Florida’s doctors to make the recommendations they feel are best for thousands and thousands of suffering patients in Florida”, says Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager for United for Care, the group behind Amendment 2. “Still, the No On 2 Campaign is doing everything it can to provoke fear and obstruct this important access. And they have a lot of money to do it.”

According to Pollara, they know from their 2014 campaign that “things can change very quickly when you’re out spent”. Knowin that, the group is continuing to build their advertising fund to “make sure we have enough to adequately communicate the truth to undecided (or easily swayed) voters.”

“We have 60 days. Mail ballots drop in roughly 30. Please urgently contribute here.”, says Pollara. "It doesn’t have to be a big donation.”

Oregon: Recreational Marijuana Sales Exceed $100 Million For The Year

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

It was reported Tuesday that recreational sales in Oregon surpassed $100 million between January and July. Data provided by the state's Department of Revenue estimated recreational sales at $102 million, bringing the state about $25.5 million in marijuana taxes.

Oregon legalized adult use marijuana legalization in 2014. The law took effect on July 1, 2015 and dispensaries began sales on October 1, but sales were tax-free until January 4 of this year. Since then, a 25 percent sales tax has been imposed on recreational marijuana sales.

Oregon had taken in about $60 million in May. The significant bump in sales is probably due to the marijuana market expanding to edibles, extracts, and topicals in early June.

“We know some people would embrace [edibles] because they don’t like smoking, for example, so it would be an easier thing to go to,” said Mazen Malik, senior state economist with the Office of Legislative Revenue. “Others would just want to try them because they are new and different and they want to see how they work.”

California: Cops Testing New Marijuana Breathalyzer

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Hound Labs, an Oakland-based scientific-device company announced Tuesday that law enforcement officers have begun testing a new hand-held marijuana breathalyzer, the first of its type to be able to detect edible pot products on a driver's breath.

Hound Labs was founded in founded in 2014 by Dr Mike Lynn, an emergency room doctor and reserve deputy sheriff with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and company CEO.

The company dubbed its marijuana detector The Hound, and say it promises to give law enforcement immediate measurements for the few hours that tetrahydrocannabinol - the principal ingredient in marijuana - is present in a person's breath.

Until now, police had been forced to rely on blood, saliva, or urine tests. Hound Labs said in a press release that these tests are 'unhelpful' because these results measure the presence of marijuana for days after the suspect is impaired.

Dr Lynn explained in a phone interview that his invention would prevent unfair arrests of people who may have smoked marijuana, or ate a pot brownie, legally the night before, and who were no longer impaired when they were pulled over, but still had traces of THC in their bloodstream.

Michigan: Marijuana Vote Kept Off Ballot With Federal Court Ruling


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A federal judge denied a court motion today meant to stop the printing of election ballots in Michigan until signatures supporting marijuana legalization could be counted.

The decision came at noon today, September 13, in U.S. District Court Judge Linda V. Parker's courtroom in Flint.

Plaintiffs Sean Michael Myers and Dakota Blue Serna both signed and circulated petitions to place a ballot question asking voters to legalize marijuana in Michigan and filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, Sept. 8.

Parker ruled after a hearing that lasted over an hour that there is not enough time to stop the process of Michigan's election to place the issue on the ballot.

"...It's really too late to have an effect," she said while ruling on the plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order to pause election processes. She noted a Sept. 24 deadline to send ballots to overseas voters, and a 40-day window that the state legislature has to be given to look at the ballot initiative before the election.

MI Legalize turned in 354,000 signatures for the ballot issue -- well over the total needed to qualify for the November ballot — but state rules made signatures older than 180 days void, blocking it from being added to the ballot.

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