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Maine: Prohibitionist Governor Vetoes Cannabis Regulation and Implementation Bill

Maine-Flag

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Friday, Gov. Paul LePage followed through on threats to veto legislation that would have started the process of implementing a regulated cannabis market that Maine voters called for when they approved Question 1 in 2016.

The progressive bill, LD 1650, which was supported overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, would have created rules for cultivation, processing, and retail establishments, as well as set tax rates for adult-use and delay cannabis social consumption lounges until summer 2019.

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.

Illinois: High School Newspaper Confiscated For Cannabis Content

ETHS

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last month, prohibitionist administrators at Evanston Township High School confiscated an issue of the student newspaper, declaring it glorified drug use, drug dealing and promoted illegal conduct. Last week, at the meeting of the District 202 school board, the student journalists and first amendment legal advocates argued that the school may have violated state law by failing to show justification before confiscating the paper, which included coverage on cannabis use and policy.

U.S.: Northern Michigan University Offering Cannabis Degree

NMU

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Northern Michigan University in Marquette is offering a cannabis degree. The four-year medicinal plant chemistry degree geared toward the emerging cannabis industry includes classes such as organic chemistry, biochemistry, soils, bio-statistics, genetics, biology, gas and liquid chromatography, accounting, financial management and perspectives on society.

Other colleges and universities in the U.S., namely Harvard, Ohio State University, Vanderbilt University and University of Denver, offer a variety of classes on cannabis policy and law.

Georgia: Atlanta Decriminalizes Marijuana

Atlanta, GA Decrim 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that he signed the historic city council ordinance decriminalizing marijuana.

“I am pleased to sign this ordinance, which eliminates jail time as a penalty for a conviction for possession of less than an ounce, into law,” Reed said. “People of color, young and low-income people are disproportionately jailed – with sentences up to six months – for possessing small amounts of marijuana. An average of 1,000 people are arrested each year in Atlanta for possession only. We needed to change that. I believe our public safety resources are better directed to stopping and preventing violent crime.”

U.S.: Support The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017

USA

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

This legislative session, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced comprehensive cannabis reform legislation, the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017. If passed, the bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

Canada: Quebec Sets Minimum Age for Cannabis Consumption at 18

Quebec Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made the call that the minimum age for the consumption of legal cannabis in Quebec will be 18.

After several caucus meetings, where everyone was allowed to express their views on the hot issue, Couillard made a ultimate decision, opting for 18 instead of 21 as some requested, government sources confirmed on Friday.

The opposition Coalition, led by Avenir Québec, had also been calling for age 21 because they believed smoking cannabis at such a young age can have negative effects on the brain. Health Minister Dr. Gaétan Barrette was pushing for age 21, but voted for 18, after reconsidering.

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.

Washington: Cannabis Freedom Fighter, Rainbow Valley Founder, Gideon Israel Passes Away

Cannabis Freedom Fighter

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Gideon Israel, 68, cannabis activist and winner of the High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year award in 1999, died on September 8 in Olympia, Washington. Born Jeff McMonagle, Israel grew up in Lacey, Washington and attended North Thurston High School, legally changing his name after joining the Love Family.

Israel often held public, utopian gatherings at his 42-acre property, Rainbow Valley, in south Thurston County, Washington, until the authorities shut him down and seized the property. Israel was a polarizing figure in Thurston County for decades because he clashed with local authorities over the festivals he hosted at Rainbow Valley, according to the Olympian.

Colorado: Cultivating Agricultural Hemp on the Western Slope

Colorado Hemp

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Grand Junction, CO - Industrial hemp has only been in the Grand Valley for a few years, but continuous growth in the industry has farmers looking to cultivate a multimillion-dollar industry.

"It's life-changing. Every single day, we're finding more and more uses for it. Hemp was so widely used back in the day, just the amount of paper we can save converting, it's really awesome," said Tanner Willis, Owner of Colorado Hemp Solutions.

This month, at the Industrial Hemp Regional Resource Development Round-table in Montrose, leaders from government and economic agencies from around the Western Slope gathered together to discuss using hemp as an economic development tool.

U.S.: Senators Reintroduce Landmark Criminal Justice Reform Legislation

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, the bipartisan authors of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) reintroduced their comprehensive legislation to review prison sentences for certain nonviolent drug offenders, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer dollars.

The legislation, spearheaded by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), improves judicial discretion at sentencing for low level offenders and helps inmates successfully reenter society, while tightening penalties for violent criminals and preserving key prosecutorial tools for law enforcement.

Texas: State Issues First Medical Cannabis License

Texas Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier this month a Florida company, Cansortium Texas, was granted the historic first Texas license to grow, process and sell a form of medical cannabis in the Lone Star State.

Cansortium Texas, which sells medical cannabis under the Knox Medical brand, will operate a facility which will be allowed to sell cannabis to epilepsy patients off U.S. 90 in Schulenburg.

Two other companies — Compassionate Cultivation, which is retrofitting a 7,200-square-foot warehouse in Manchaca with customized growing and processing equipment, and Surterra Texas are expected to be awarded state licenses soon after final reviews by the Texas Department of Public Safety, rounding out the three medical cannabis licenses that the agency has said it will issue.

Oregon: New Plant Limits for Medical Marijuana Program Hurting Patients

Oregon Capitol

New state regulations attempting to address the flow of medical cannabis into the black market leaves patients in painful bind

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Oregon public health officials drafted strict rules for how many plants medical cannabis patients may cultivate at home or at a grow-site registered with the state. Legislators claim the regulations are the result of bi-partisan legislation passed this past session to stop the flow of medical cannabis to the community. A residence may have no more than a dozen mature plants, no matter how many people live there, including recreational plants. The law does not define the size of immature plants.

Colorado: City of Boulder Seeks Volunteers for Marijuana Advisory Panel

Boulder, CO

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The City of Boulder is seeking three volunteers to serve as representatives of the community at large on the Marijuana Advisory Panel (MAP). To be considered, you must be a resident of the city of Boulder and have no ties to the marijuana industry. Your letter of interest must include a description of your background and the main reasons you are interested in serving on the MAP.

Illinois: Public Hearing on Cannabis Legalization Next Week in Springfield

Illinois Cannabis

Supporters are invited to hear testimony next week on public safety

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Springfield, IL - State lawmakers are holding a public hearing Wednesday, September 6th from 1pm to 5pm in Room 212 in the Illinois State Capitol on legalization in Illinois and how it relates to public safety. Those testifying in front of the Joint Hearing with House Appropriations Public Safety Committee, include current and former members of law enforcement, academic researchers, and experts from around the country. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Michigan: Effort To Legalize Marijuana On Pace to Make 2018 Ballot

Michigan Cannabis 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The signature drive to legalize marijuana in Michigan in November of 2018 is swiftly progressing toward making the ballot.

Robin Schneider, the Finance Director for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, told Hemp News, "Last week, we passed the 200,000-signature mark – meaning we’re well on our way to reaching our goal of collecting 366,000 signatures. 252,523 of these signatures need to be validated to get on the ballot in 2018 and end cannabis prohibition once and for all."

If the proposal to end marijuana prohibition is approved by voters, Michigan would become a national leader in cannabis reform by allowing personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older.

U.S.: Netflix's 'Disjointed,' Starring Kathy Bates, Offers Laughs in Mad World

Kathy Bates

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Oscar winner Kathy Bates, 69, is lighting up again — only this time it’s cannabis — as Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, the owner of a California medical cannabis dispensary in Netflix's new sitcom “Disjointed”.

“Disjointed”, which showcases Ruth’s old school activism against the business ambitions of her son, Travis (Aaron Moten), a newly minted M.B.A. who wants to grow their dispensary into the Walmart of cannabis, also tackles real world situations from politics to post traumatic stress disorder.

U.S.: NFL Legend Joe Montana Invests in Cannabis Media Business

Joe Montana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana bought into cannabis technology company HERB.

HERB, a digital media company based in Toronto, Canada geared specifically for the cannabis industry, mixes original how-to videos with hard news and profiles. The company, which boasts 5.3 million unique visitors per month and 2 billion organic video views annually as of June 2017, aims to expand to Los Angeles and New York City, as well as build out new studios to offer online video content.

Liquid 2 Ventures, Montana's venture capital firm, was a part of a group that invested $4.1 million into Herb during the company’s seed-funding round.

U.S.: Cannabis Activist, Debby Goldsberry, Publishes New Book for Would-Be Entrepreneurs

Debby Goldsberry

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Berkeley Patients Group co-founder, Debby Goldsberry, recently wrote Idiot’s Guides: Starting and Running a Marijuana Business, a how-to book on establishing a successful cannabis venture.

As the adult recreational use of marijuana becomes fully legal in California on Jan. 1, Goldsberry, now executive director of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, decided it was the perfect time to write the book.

“I had just been reading an article that said the best way to build your brand is to write a book,” Goldsberry said.

Florida: Medical Cannabis Businesses Taking Root

FloridaMarijuana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last month, the Palm Beach County Commission and the Dania Beach Commission agreed to allow medical marijuana dispensaries wherever pharmacies are allowed. Cities across South Florida will decide whether to allow dispensaries within their borders in the coming months.

“I wish it was around, legalized with a doctor’s prescription when my mother was dying,” Dania Commissioner Chickie Brandimarte said.

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