Cannabis

Oregon: Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Marijuana Merchants From Keeping Buyer Information

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon lawmakers approved a bill Monday to ban sellers of marijuana for recreational use from keeping information from their customers to protect buyers from possible penalties under federal law.

Although more than two dozen states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medical use, the drug remains illegal at the federal level.

The bill, passed by the Oregon House of Representatives 53-5, bans merchants who sell recreational marijuana from keeping information for more than 48 hours that they collect from identification, such as a driver license.

The state Senate approved the bill in March. It now goes to the desk of Oregon Governor Kate Brown for her to sign into law.

"I personally am very concerned that we give as much protection to Oregon citizens to ensure that their personal identification information is not somehow compromised," Senator Floyd Prozanski told a committee last month.

Recent comments from members of the Trump administration indicate that federal anti-marijuana laws might be stepped up.

Brown and the governors of Alaska, Colorado and Washington - states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized - sent a letter in early April to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin requesting to work with the administration if they planned to enforce federal marijuana laws.

Arizona: Phoenix Medical Marijuana Dispensary Robbed At Gunpoint

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Police in Phoenix, Arizona are looking for three suspects for the armed robbery of a medical marijuana dispensary.

According to police, the robbery occurred around 10:00 p.m. on March 26 at Bloom Dispensary near 44th Street and Washington in Phoenix.

One suspect walked through the business and attempted to leave a door unlocked for two accomplices that were seen waiting behind the dispensary. Employees were able to re-lock the door, preventing the suspects from being able to enter.

About one hour later one of the suspects that had been waiting behind the business returned and confronted employees with a gun.

Police say the employees were taken to the back room and forced to surrender money from the business. That suspect then fled in an unknown direction with the money.

All three suspects are described as black men aged between 25-35, 6 feet tall and weighing 180-200 pounds.

Phoenix police are asking anyone with information to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Oregon: Marijuana Workers Face Difficulties Applying For Personal Loans

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon's recreational marijuana industry has had a huge impact on the local economy. But employees of cannabis-related businesses are finding it difficult to obtain financial assistance for things like mortgages and car payments.

Since marijuana remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug, most federally-regulated banks and credit unions shun marijuana-related businesses. But these obstacles have also carried over to affect a number of cannabis-business employees, who are finding it equally difficult to obtain financial assistance.

Banks and credit unions in Oregon are allowed to deny loan applications for pretty much any reason, as long as discrimination against race, gender or national origin doesn't play a role in the decision. A recent story published by Oregon Public Broadcasting shared the story of Melissa Johnson, who works as a customer service representative at the retail cannabis shop Bloom Well.

Virginia: Governor Amends Mandatory Driver's Suspension Law

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed legislation into law amending the state's mandatory driver's suspension law.

Under existing law, defendants convicted of a marijuana violation lose their driving privileges for six months, even if the offense was not driving related.

Under the new legislation, SB 1091, the mandatory suspension will no longer apply to adults convicted of simple marijuana possession offenses.

The new law takes effect July 1, 2017.

States like Virginia enacted drivers' suspension laws due to the direction of the federal government decades ago. Members of Congress introduced legislation this week, 'The Better Driver Act,' to eliminate federal provisions that encourage states to suspend drivers' licenses in situations involving non-traffic related minor drug violations.

Missouri: Kansas City Passes Measure To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Kansas City voters approved a measure on Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana possession within the city's limits.

Nearly 75 percent of voters decided 'yes' on Question 5 which reduces penalties for the possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine. The measure also eliminates penalties for the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia.

The era of reefer madness in Kansas City has come to an end and no longer will otherwise law abiding citizens be targeted or arrested for the mere possession of marijuana," said Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of KC NORML.

The new ordinance takes effect when signed by the mayor or within five days.

Uruguay: Legal Marijuana Sales Set To Begin In July

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legal marijuana sales are set to begin in Uruguay in July, more than four years after the South American nation fully legalized the cannabis trade. Marijuana will be available under the law to citizens and permanent residents 18 years of age and older at pharmacies for $1.30 per gram. Buyers will be limited to purchasing no more than 40 grams per month and will be required to sign up with a national registry. Home growers and cooperative clubs will be allowed to cultivate up to 99 plants.

Presidential Aide Juan Andres Roballo said the registry would be up and running by May 2

The government currently has 16 pharmacies on board, but many pharmacists have doubted the financial benefits of selling cost-controlled cannabis. Some Uruguayans have also expressed privacy concerns over the national registry.

Roballo said that before the registry is launched there would be a public health campaign. He said that he does not believe there will be “an avalanche of users” signing up for the registry.

Uruguay legalized the sale and cultivation of marijuana in 2013 under former President José Mujica in an effort to combat homicides and crime associated with drug trafficking.

West Virginia: Medical Marijuana Legislation Passes House, Goes To Governor

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana legislation has passed the House of Delegates in West Virginia and has been sent to Gov. Jim Justice who is expected to sign the bill, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports. The bill does not allow smoking or edibles, however, and the state will not begin to issue industry licenses until at least July 1, 2019.

The measure, which passed 74-24, allows access to the medical marijuana program for patients suffering from wasting syndrome, anorexia, cachexia, chronic pain for which standard medication does not relieve, severe nausea and muscle spasms, seizures, “refractory generalized anxiety disorder,” post-traumatic stress disorder, and those admitted to hospice care.

Patients would be required to be certified by the Bureau for Public Health and could obtain a 30-day supply of medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary. Under the measure, the state would permit 10 cultivators and 30 dispensaries. Growers would be subject to a $50,000 initial fee and $5,000 renewal fee. Dispensaries would be required to pay a $10,000 fee per dispensary location and a renewal fee of $2,500. A 6 percent tax will be added onto sales.

If Governor Justice signs the bill, West Virginia will become the 29th state with access to medical marijuana.

North Carolina: N.C. Hemp Commission Considers Joining Lawsuit Against DEA

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission is considering joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association.

The commission announced its support of the lawsuit verbally last week and plans to announce Thursday whether it will become a party to it.

The lawsuit would be filed by Founder’s Hemp of Asheboro – the first company to register in North Carolina as an industrial hemp producer. Founder's Hemp said that it intends to sue the DEA over its ruling that products made with CBD or cannabidiol hemp, which are in the same cannabis family as marijuana, are illegal and cannot be transported across state lines.

“We cannot let this stand as an industry,” Bob Crumley, president of Founder’s Hemp, said during a meeting of the Industrial Hemp Commission last week. “If we let what the DEA is currently doing stand, we need to fold our tents and give everybody their money back.”

Through the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, Congress allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research, and more than 30 states, including North Carolina, have passed laws allowing hemp research and pilot programs.

However, the DEA has maintained that the transportation of hemp seeds across state lines is illegal, and that it is illegal for farmers to sell their finished hemp products in other states within the U.S.

California: Marijuana 'Sanctuary' State Bill Proposed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make the state a "sanctuary" for the marijuana industry and the many residents who legally use the plant.

In an effort to avoid a federal crackdown on the Schedule I classified drug, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions has alluded to considering, lawmakers introduced a new bill that would prevent local and state officers from enforcing certain federal marijuana laws on marijuana businesses, cultivators and consumers unless they obtained a court order signed by a judge.

The measure, known as Assembly Bill 1578, would prohibit “using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person [and/or transfer them to federal authorities] for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by a law in the State of California.”

The law would also protect the private information of marijuana businesses and customers, as it would prohibit local and state authorities from sharing personal records and documents regarding cannabis from the federal government.

The bill, introduced in February, was sponsored by Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer along with three other assembly members and two senators.

West Virginia: Watered-down Medical Marijuana Bill Passes House

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill making the use of medical marijuana legal in West Virginia was approved by the House of Delegates on Tuesday.

The bill, SB386, passed the Senate last week. It would have created a West Virginia Cannabis Commission charged with overseeing medical marijuana regulation in the state.

On Monday, the House of Delegates amended the bill so that instead of a commission, it would create an advisory board within the state Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health.

Several other changes were made by the House as well. In a 51-48 vote, delegates approved an amendment by Delegate John Shott, R- Mercer and House Judiciary chairman, that would prohibit smoking, ban people from growing their own plants, and charge $100,000 annual fees for growers and processors.

While proponents of the original bill spoke against Shott’s amendment Monday, saying the Senate may not concur with it, and that it benefited pharmaceutical companies at the expense of low-income West Virginians, on Tuesday morning, proponents in the House were saying they supported the amended legislation.

“It really is a good first step,” said Delegate Mike Pushkin, D- Kanawha. “We can fix it later.”

Nebraska: Lawmakers Consider Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Nebraska are considering a bill that would make medical marijuana legal in the state, which would make it the first midwest state to do so.

Nebraska and Oklahoma together sued the state of Colorado in 2014 after it approved adult-use recreational marijuana. The two states argued that growers in Colorado were illegally selling marijuana in their states.

Nebraska now could potentially be joining the list of states that have legalized medical marijuana, however. Lawmakers are currently considering a bill from State Senator Anna Wishart called the Medical Cannabis Act, which would allow use of medical marijuana in certain cases.

The bill passed out of committee in March and will now go before the Senate, where it is expected to face opposition. A representative of the state attorney general's office and the head of the Nebraska State Patrol have already testified against the bill.

Governor Pete Ricketts also opposed a similar measure last year.

Nevertheless, Wishart told the Omaha World Herald she is “optimistic that members will listen to their constituents who are desperately asking them to legalize this form of treatment.”

The Nebraska bill would allow those suffering from certain chronic or severe diseases and conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.

Texas: Cowboys' Owner Jerry Jones Wants NFL To Drop Its Marijuana Ban

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jerry Jones spoke up at the Annual League Meeting for NFL team owners last week, telling the group that he wants the NFL to "drop its prohibition on marijuana use."

His fellow owners reminded him that a change won’t be coming anytime soon because it’s something that would have to be collectively bargained.

Jones is certainly not alone in the NFL in questioning the league's ban on marijuana use. Former Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said in an interview for Sportsday a few months ago that he compared it to alcohol.

"I see guys that partake in marijuana are calmer, cooler than guys that drink", Carr said. "I haven't really seen too many people get in jams or binds with their emotions or losing their cool off of marijuana."

Several other retired NFL players, such as former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, have spoken out in recent months encouraging the NFL to consider new information available, and to drop its ban on medical marijuana. Some players feel that using medical marijuana is safer than using prescription painkillers, which can be addictive.

The NFL told Pro Football Talk it is "willing to listen to the medical community" regarding the use of marijuana.

U.S: Governors From Four Marijuana States Ask Trump Administration To Leave Cannabis Alone

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Governors from the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana want the Trump administration to leave marijuana research alone.

In a letter sent Monday, the governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington say that marijuana legalization has expanded their economies.

The governors also say in the letter that legal marijuana can be regulated to protect public safety and that legalization reduces "inequitable incarceration," or people of color being disproportionately jailed for cannabis crimes.

The letter was addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The governors say they opposed legalization at first, but warn that a federal pot crackdown at this point "would divert existing marijuana product into the black market."

U.S.: Roger Stone Calls For Trump To Back Legal Marijuana, Hits Sessions For 'Outmoded Thinking'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Roger Stone, a long-time enthusiastic surrogate of President Donald Trump, has publicly implored the president to back marijuana legalization. Quoting Thomas Jefferson and The Bible to justify his position, he also blasted U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his "outmoded thinking" on cannabis.

Stone published a blog post on Friday calling on Trump to remain true to sentiments he expressed as a presidential candidate, when he said that marijuana legalization should be left to the states. His administration has suggested in recent days that it would err on the side of stricter enforcement of marijuana laws.

Stone said the president should "honor his word and keep his promise, irrespective of what his Cabinet members may say." The Republican added that "there are so many other ways that law enforcement can be put to good use rather than to persecute harmless farmers and shopkeepers who are abiding by state law."

Stone took aim at Sessions on his website, saying the former Alabama Senator was "far from the mainstream" in his opposition to marijuana.

"Perhaps Attorney General Sessions has forgotten his Genesis from the Old Testament," wrote Stone, a veteran political operative who often is seen defending Trump on news shows.

California: Cannabis Club In Modesto Provides Cannabis Oil For Kids, Support For Parents

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A cannabis club has opened in Modesto, California for children, where they can obtain CBD oil, and families can network with others using cannabis oil to treat their children. Jason David, the president of Jayden’s Journey, named after his son, said the dispensary is necessary because “when a child is sick the whole family is sick.”

Zya Mao is a six-month old patient of the dispensary who suffers from epilepsy. Her father, Jhoson Mao, believes cannabis oils are a better alternative to prescriptions and his daughter’s doctor is not advising against it.

“We noticed… she feels present, her eye is not as wobbly as it used to be,” Mao said in a report from Fox4KC.

Zoe Poe is an eight-year old patient who suffers from ADHD ADD extreme. Sherry Poe, Zoe's mother, said her daughter “started getting ticks” and “crying all the time” while on prescription drugs, and at one point told her mother “she didn’t want to live anymore.” Zoe has been using cannabis oil for a year and a half.

“She sleeps. She’s gained weight,” Poe said. “She’s happy; she smiles; she laughs.”

“If it doesn’t work, throw it away,” David said for parents considering using cannabis oil treatments for their children. But for many patients, he said, “it changes your life like it changes my son’s life."

West Virginia: Amendment To Bill Would Legalize Hemp-Derived CBD In The State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in West Virginia have explained language in a bill that would add substances to the drug schedule that would allow the sale, distribution, and prescription of hemp-derived CBD oils, according to a Herald-Dispatch report. The amendment differentiates between CBD products derived from hemp and CBD derived from marijuana plants containing more than the .3 percent THC allowable under federal law.

The changes were made by the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Director of the West Virginia Hemp Industries Association Morgan Leach said the original version would cause confusion regarding CBD.

Leach said that making the “cash crop” available will help the state become “a catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation.”

“This revision protects West Virginia hemp farmers’ ability to cultivate and process hemp for CBD. This is one of our biggest revenue streams that will help make our farmers more money as they begin to develop this crop in West Virginia,” Leach said in the report. “Our goals are to (build) industries around food products, dietary supplements, cosmetics and topicals, paper, textiles, bio-plastics, advanced battery technologies and much more.”

The measure has been sent to the Senate with a recommendation to pass it.

Oregon: Clean Cannabis Possibly Coming To An End

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon currently has the toughest pesticide testing laws of all the states with legal adult-use marijuana, but that could be about to change. A newly proposed revision would reduce the restrictions on pesticides, causing the allowable limits of pesticides in marijuana to be increased.

The two major changes being proposed to Oregon’s pesticide testing:

1 - Lessening the regulations on concentrate testing — instead of every batch being tested for pesticides, processors would only need to submit a single random sample per year.

2 - Reducing the required amount of cannabis flower needed per test batch from 33% to 20%.

Proponents of the changes claim the lack of edibles and concentrates on recreational shelves is a result of the long turnaround time for lab results. They say that these proposed changes will allow processors to get their products to retail faster.

But “after delving deeper into the issue, it appears the current shortage is being driven by pesticide contaminated cannabis,” reports Keith Mansur with the Oregon Cannabis Connection.

Canada: Broadcasters Deny Cannabis And Hemp Expo Ads

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Some of Canada’s largest television broadcasters have denied ad buys by the Cannabis and Hemp Expo scheduled to take place in Calgary, Ontario in May, CTV News Calgary reports. Bell Media, owner of CTV, and Rogers Communications rejected the ads due to laws that outlaw cannabis advertising in Canada. The logo for the expo also contains a hemp leaf and the word “cannabis.”

“CTV attempted to work with the client to ensure their creative conformed with statutes pertaining to promoting directly or indirectly the sale or disposal of a drug…however the client chose not to move forward with the campaign,” Bell Media said in a statement.

Terra Connors, a representative for Canwest Production, sponsor of the event, said there won’t be any actual cannabis at the expo but it counts licensed producers, dispensaries, and headshops among the exhibitors.

“We understand to a point. I mean, nobody wants to portray illegal activity or anything but that’s not the case,” Connors said in the report. “We’re a legitimate business, promoting a legitimate trade show and we are not doing anything illegal.”

Broadcasters who break the cannabis advertising laws could be fined between $250,000 and $5 million.

South Africa: High Court Says Laws Barring Private Adult Marijuana Use Are Unconstitutional

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

South Africa’s Western Cape Town High Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to prohibit marijuana use by adults in private homes, opening the door for reforms that will allow adults to privately cultivate, possess, and use cannabis, according to a News24 report.

Judge Dennis Davis also directed Parliament to change sections of the Drug Trafficking and Medicines Control acts within 24 months as part of the decision.

The suit was filed by Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and Rastafarian Garreth Prince, the duo who has been obtaining stays of prosecution for people arrested for possession pending the outcome of their case. They argued that some of the sections of the Drug Trafficking and Medicines Control acts are discriminatory, outdated, or unfair, and applied disproportionately to black individuals.

The judgment will legalize sales, according to News24.

West Virginia: Legislature Fast Tracks Medical Marijuana Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in West Virginia has passed the Senate and been fast-tracked through a first reading in the House of Delegates. The measure passed the Senate on Wednesday with a vote of 28-6. Republican Del. Michael Folk motioned to skip sending the bill to House committees on Thursday, based on supporters saying that would have been a death sentence for the measure this late in the session.

Folk’s motion passed the House 54-40, allowing it to move to a second reading and making it eligible for amendments today.

Opponents of the motion said that it was reckless to move the bill forward without a committee hearing and would prevent the implementation of medical marijuana laws in a responsible manner. Delegates say they have been overrun by calls about the bill.

“Like every member of this body, I can’t count the number of emails and phone calls I received on this subject today,” Del. Mike Pushkin (D) said in the report.

The measure would allow patients with approved conditions to access medical marijuana in the state and grow up to two plants at home. The measure would also set up a Medical Marijuana Commission. The program could be rolled out as early as September 2018.

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