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Alaska: Fairbanks Groups On Mission To Stop Marijuana Commercialization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Efforts are underway in Alaska to stop cannabis businesses from opening in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

A Salcha man is launching an initiative that he hopes will keep the legal marijuana trade out of the borough, while the president of a strip mall condominium association is claiming pot shops are banned in the River Mall under condo association rules, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, reports Amanda Bohman at the Daily News-Miner.

The borough has already issued more than 40 land use permits for marijuana businesses, mostly cultivation. Another six applications for land use are pending, according to the borough Department of Community Planning.

Eleven of the 40 cannabis related permits are for marijuana retail storefronts.

The initiative which would prohibit cannabis commerce in the borough is pending review by Borough Clerk Nanci Ashford-Bingham, who said she got the application on last week.

Jim Ostlind of Salcha said he plans to get enough signatures to get a question on the local ballot asking voters to stop "marijuana commercialization."

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Advocates Cheer Governor's About-Face On Expanding Program

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are applauding Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's about-face on expanding the state's medicinal cannabis pilot program, saying it will allow time to show the program is working and help more suffering patients.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang on Friday announced an agreement with the Republican governor to extend the state's four-year medical marijuana pilot program to 2020, reports the Associated Press.

The program had been set to expire in 2018, but advocates said more time is needed because medicinal cannabis sales only began in November 2015.

The agreement, which still must be approved by the Illinois Legislature, adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Governor Rauner had previously balked at adding any conditions, despite recommendations from the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Chairwoman Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple of the board said she's "thrilled" that more patients will now benefit from the program.

Photo of Gov. Bruce Rauner: Chicago Now

U.S.: TV Pot Show 'Marijuana Straight Talk' Soars To Top Of Ratings

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A woman-owned media company has launched a national TV show focused on one of America’s hottest and most controversial topics: marijuana.

The show, Marijuana Straight Talk, soared to the top of the ratings with its “420 special” episode last month, making its debut at a time when support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. has never been stronger. A recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 61 percent of Americans now support legalizing cannabis.

“Now, more than ever, this country is ready for Marijuana Straight Talk,” said host Becca Williams, a noted media entrepreneur and TV producer.

The growing interest among Americans is evident when it comes to Marijuana Straight Talk’s reception. Based on the show’s “420 special” episode, it became the most popular weekly program in 2016 to date on Free Speech TV network, which garners about 1.2 million viewers per month based on Rentrak ratings service.

U.S.: AAA Says There's No Scientific Basis For Laws Against Driving On Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Six states that allow marijuana use in one form or another have legal tests which supposedly serve to determine who is driving while impaired -- but those tests have no scientific basis at all, according to a study done by the largest auto club in the United States. AAA, as a result, has called for scrapping those laws.

The study was commissioned by AAA's safety foundation, and it discovered that it's not possible to determine impairment by setting a blood-test threshold for the level of THC, the main component of marijuana responsible the high. Yet the laws in five of those six states automatically presume a driver is guilty of driving while impaired if he or she tests higher than the limit, not not guilty if the level is lower, reports the Associated Press.

The AAA foundation recommends replacing those faulty laws with ones that actually rely on science, using specially trained police officers to determine if a driver is impaired on pot, backed up by a test for the presence of THC rather than a specific level. The officers would be responsible for screening for dozens of supposed indicators of marijuana use.

U.S.: Ruling Could Limit Federal Marijuana Prosecutions

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A federal appeals court is expected soon to rule on the scope of the law that could point the way to ending or overturning at least six federal marijuana prosecutions and convictions.

People who are fighting federal marijuana charges say that a recent act of Congress should have stopped the U.S. Department of Justice from prosecuting them, because their activities were legally allowed in their states. Cannabis is still illegal under federal law for any purpose.

"It's been the hardest thing I've ever hard to deal with in my life when you see the government coming down on you for simply trying to be healthy," said Rolland Gregg, who along with his family has fought federal marijuana charges, reports the Associated Press. Gregg said the cannabis plants found on his property in Kirkland, Washington were for medicinal use and in compliance with state law.

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