Cannabis

U.S.: Record-High Support for Legalizing Cannabis Use, Gallup Poll Finds

2017 Gallup Poll

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Americans are warming up to legalizing cannabis, with 64% now saying its use should be made legal. This is the highest level of public support a Gallup poll has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement.

The latest figure, based on an Oct. 5-11 Gallup poll, follows shifts in the U.S. legal landscape regarding marijuana since Gallup's 2016 measure. While still illegal at the federal level, the issue was featured on a number of state ballot initiatives in 2016, and with eight states and the District of Columbia having fully legalized marijuana, more than one in five Americans live in a state where they can legally enjoy use of the drug.

Georgia: Atlanta City Council Votes To Decriminalize Cannabis

Atlanta Cannabis Decriminalization

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council voted to decriminalize cannabis in an unanimous decision. After the historic 15-0 vote from the City Council, the proposed ordinance was sent to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to either sign or veto the legislation. If the mayor signs it, which he said he intends to, the ordinance will become city law.

After the vote, Mayor Reed indicated that he was interested in signing the legislation. In a tweet, the mayor thanked council members for their "leadership on marijuana reform."

Lesotho: Kingdom Becomes First African Country to Legalize Cannabis

Roma_Lesotho.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Lesotho, a country of two-million people surrounded by South Africa, is perfectly situated to produce large volumes of high quality, low cost cannabis due to its expertise in high altitude cultivation.

For many years, Lesotho’s farmers have been growing cannabis for consumption at home and exporting their harvest across the border in South Africa. Similarly, in Swaziland, growing cannabis and exporting the herb to South Africa has provided for many families, despite the plant being outlawed.

Cannabis is not yet fully legal in South Africa, so citizens cannot legally cultivate, sell or smoke, and how the court ruling applies is still somewhat obscure, but it seems, globally, cannabis culture is becoming more tolerated.

U.S.: FBI Reports 653,249 Arrests for Cannabis in 2016

Cannabis Arrest

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

An estimated 653,249 arrests were made nationwide for cannabis in 2016, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime In the United States (CIUS) report. The staggering data equates to one person being arrested for cannabis approximately every 48 seconds on average in the United States.

In the U.S. today, arresting and citing over half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty that needs to end.

Massachusetts: Advocates Seek Assurances From Cannabis Control Commission

Mass Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Many advocates in the cannabis industry feel the newly appointed Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) members who opposed Question 4, the state's recreational cannabis law, should make clear that their personal positions will not impact their board responsibilities in implementing the law.

Advocates are asking CCC Chairman, Steven Hoffman, to request that the governor and the Legislature provide adequate funding to get the legal sales system up and running on the current schedule.

U.S.: National Conference of State Legislatures Urges De-Scheduling Cannabis

NCSL

Resolution approved by state lawmakers from around the nation expresses support for amending the Controlled Substances Act to enable financial institutions to provide banking services to state-legal marijuana businesses; would give states control of their own marijuana policies without federal interference

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

U.S.: Senator Booker Introduces ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ to Legalize Cannabis

US Capitol

For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for cannabis-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Today, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that if passed will legalize cannabis at the federal level and go even further in an effort to remedy many of the failures of the War on Drugs.

Pennsylvania: Dept of Health Launches Practitioner Registry for Medical Cannabis Program

Pennsylvania Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine announced this week that physicians can now take the first steps to participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program by completing the Practitioner Registry.

“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” Dr. Levine said. “Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program.”

Alabama: Congressman Running For Sessions’s Senate Seat Backs Medical Cannabis

Congressman Mo Brooks

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a fierce opponent against states to set their own cannabis laws without federal interference, but new Alabama Senate seat hopeful endorses cannabis legislation

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A leading candidate for Sessions' former seat representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate, Congressman Mo Brooks (R), is making support for cannabis law reform an important part of his platform.

“Medical cannabis should be treated like any other treatment that saves lives or eases pain and symptoms. In a land of freedom and liberty, that decision is best kept between a doctor and a patient,” Congressman Brooks said at a press conference. “That is what I believe. That is how I will vote in the Senate. That is how I have voted in the House.”

Arkansas: Texarkana Approves Medical Carijuana Regulations

Texarkana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Texarkana, the first municipality in Arkansas which has granted formal approval to local rules that will govern medical cannabis businesses that operate within its borders, has approved the historic first business license fees for dispensaries and medical cannabis growers, according to MJBiz .

Growers must pony up $50,000 for a business permit, while dispensaries will have to pay an initial $7,500 and then $11,000 for yearly license renewals, reports KSLA, the Shreveport, Louisiana TV station.

Delaware: Governor and Lawmakers Expand Access to Medical Cannabis for PTSD Patients

Delaware Cannabis

Senate Bill 24, signed last week, will improve access to treatment for Delaware veterans

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 12, Delaware Governor John Carney signed into law Senate Bill 24, which will expand access to medical marijuana treatment for Delaware veterans, and other Delawareans, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Oregon: Beaver State Celebrates Second Anniversary of Legal Cannabis

Oregon

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 1, 2015, Oregon joined Colorado, Washington, Washington D.C. and Alaska in regulating recreational cannabis for adults over the age of 21. The Oregon law, which allows an individual the ability to carry one ounce of cannabis, possess up to 8 ounces and cultivate four (4) cannabis plants at their residence, was passed in November 2014 as Measure 91.

Mark Pettinger, the spokesperson for the Recreational Marijuana Program with Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), said in a statement, “From January 2016 to now, I’d say we have made pretty good progress with the tools we have and the support we have.”

“Now we’re close to 1,300 licenses that have been issued and close to 3,000 applicants,” Pettinger added.

New York: State Department of Health Announces Enhancements to Medical Marijuana Program

New York Cannabis

Certified Patients Increase By More Than 7,500 Since Addition of Chronic Pain

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On June 22, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) announced several new enhancements to the state's Medical Marijuana Program as the number of certified patients continues to rise since the late March addition of chronic pain as a qualifying condition. Enhancements will streamline and simplify the registration process for practitioners, making it easier to certify patients for the medical marijuana program.

U.S.: Attorney General Jeff Sessions War On Cannabis Needs To End, Says ALCU

Attorney General Sessions, Prohibitionist

Our top law enforcement official is a criminal justice dinosaur who has a history of endorsing ineffective policies and racist political rhetoric, says American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Forty-six years ago, when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be “America’s public enemy number one”, decades of harmful and misguided rhetoric began. In an op-ed last Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions touted misleading statistics and called for tougher sentencing. The propaganda is AG Sessions latest effort to escalate the War on Drugs and undo medical and recreational cannabis laws.

Ohio: Former NFL Linebacker, Reggie Williams, Says Cannabis Saved Leg

Reggie Willams, Cincinnati Bengals

Former NFL linebacker Reggie Williams has joined the growing list of former pro-athletes advocating for cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Reggie Williams, who played 14 seasons from '76 to '89 with the Cincinnati Bengals, has been using a cannabis Cannabidiol (CBD) patch to fight chronic leg pain. Williams decided against treating the pain with opioids that could lead to a lifetime of drug addiction while undergoing treatment for the leg injury. Williams stated, "I didn't want to go from all those surgeries to being an addict for the rest of my life in order to stay sane" while dealing with chronic pain.

Colorado: Cannabis Tax-Funded Program Awards Scholarships Totaling $420,000

Cannabis Tax-Funded Program

Each of the recipients will be getting $2,000 for the 2017-18 school year

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation (PHEF) and Pueblo County Commissioners have awarded scholarships totaling $420,000 for the 2017-18 school year. The program, believed to be the world’s first cannabis tax-funded scholarship program, will award approximately $2,000 of it to 210 students on June 20.

The scholarship, which was made possible through cannabis revenue, raised an additional $50,000 by utilizing grant-matching from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.

Global: Uruguay and Canada Moving Forward on Cannabis Legalization

International Cannabis

Canada and Uruguay currently honor the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Uruguay‘s Ambassador to Ottawa, Martin Vidal, is working with Canada on the implementation of global cannabis regulations. To do so, Canada and Uruguay must comply with three United Nations drug control treaties, since they honor those treaties.

In April, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational cannabis by July 2018.

United States: Cannabis Is Safer Than Opioids, According To Several Studies

Cannabis Vs. Opioids

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In the midst of an opioid epidemic in the United States, research studies show that using cannabis to treat chronic pain is a safer, less addictive alternative to narcotics.

In 2014, in a study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers found that “in states where medical cannabis is legal to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where cannabis use is illegal. The study was published in the Aug. 25th issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Rhode Island: Legislative Allies Propose Incremental Cannabis Legalization

Rhode Island Cannabis

Sen. Joshua Miller and Rep. Scott Slater announce a proposal to legalize possession of small amounts of cannabis on July 1, 2018, and establish an advisory board to provide recommendations to the General Assembly on regulating sales and cultivation

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The compromise legislation would legalize possession of an ounce or less for adults 21 and older on July 1, 2018 and establish a six-person advisory board comprised of two state officials selected by the governor, two state senators, and two state representatives to study outcomes of legalization in other states.

New Mexico: McDonalds Cannabis Billboard Near Colorado Border Goes Viral

Marijuana Is Safer Than McDonalds

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A cannabis billboard near Raton, New Mexico has a lot of people talking on the Internet. The billboard, which has since been taken down, stated, “Usually, when you roll something this good, it’s illegal,” and showed a Bueno green chile breakfast burrito.

The billboard, was for a McDonald's on Clayton Road in Raton, just off exit 451 of Canam Highway.

Melissa Grubelnik, the Tourism Coordinator of the Raton Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber “sees the humor” in the sign, considering the city’s proximity to Colorado. “We do not have a problem with it,” Grubelnik said. “We hope it encourages people to stop at our newly renovated McDonald’s.”

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