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The First Obituary of Steven Hager

Steven Hager

By Paul Krassner

It’s a sad irony. When Steven Hager was the editor of High Times magazine, he was contacted by the Waldos -- a group of high school students who coined 4:20 as the time to toke at the intermission between their classes each day. He became the first journalist to interview them. However, he chose to commit suicide today, on Mount Tam, at 4:20 a.m. on the 20th of April, sort of like a contemporary marijuana boomerang.

New York: Longtime High Times Editor Sues Magazine Over Ouster

There Is a Truth That Must Be Heard MANHATTAN – The former editor of High Times magazine claims in court that he was defrauded of his shares in the counter-culture monthly.

Represented by the Clancy Law Firm, Steven Hager brought his Jan. 9 suit in Manhattan Supreme Court some six months after Adam Levin’s Oreva Group bought a majority stake in the once family-owned magazine for $42 million.

Hager notes that he had been editor of High Times since 1998 but that his relationship with the magazine soured in 2013. As explained in a recent blog post, Hager at the time was nursing plans to enter the Sundance Film Festival.

Vermont: Senate Passes Recreational Cannabis Bill, Governor Expected to Sign

vermont-cannabis-marijuanamoment.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

MONTPELIER — Today, Vermont's state Senate passed a bill which would legalize social cannabis use for adults over the age of 21.

Under the Vermont legislation, an earlier version of which passed the Senate last summer, commercial sales of cannabis would not be allowed. But if the proposal is enacted, as is expected, the state would become the first to legalize marijuana by an act of lawmakers.

Gov. Phil Scott (R), who is expected to sign the bill, vetoed a social cannabis bill last May, stating he wasn't opposed to social cannabis but wanted to form a committee to study the issue's implementation in Vermont.

Global: Oregonian Being Held In El Salvador for 36 Grams of Cannabis

Free Clay Pierce

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Clay Pierce, an Oregon medical marijuana cardholder, is imprisoned in the notorious Mariona prison in El Salvador for 36 grams of cannabis. This story is an important notice to all Oregonians: just because you are traveling from one legal cannabis location to another, we must be aware of the laws in our connecting flight locations.

In October, Mr. Pierce sold everything he had in Oregon and was moving to Colombia when his flight to Colombia had a brief scheduled stop in San Salvador, the capitol of El Salvador.

U.S.: Attorney General Sessions to Rescind Memo on State Cannabis Laws

Jeff Sessions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier this morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind Obama-era guidance, aka the Cole Memo, which has generally allowed states to implement their own cannabis laws without federal interference.

The Obama Justice Department deputy attorney general, who authored it in 2013, set out certain criteria that would allow states to implement their own laws mostly without intervention, if followed. The focus of the memo was interstate trafficking and abuse.

Michigan: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Submits 360,000 Signatures to Place Issue on 2018 Ballot

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

LANSING, MI — The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 360,000 signatures earlier this month calling for its marijuana legalization initiative to be placed on Michigan’s November 2018 ballot. The state Board of Canvassers approved ballot language on May 18 of this year. Shortly afterward, the campaign began its 180-day statewide signature collection effort using both volunteer and paid signature collectors.

Connecticut: Hartford City Council Unanimously Endorses Marijuana Legalization

Cannabis Hartford

Resolution urges support for legislation that would regulate and tax marijuana for adults in Connecticut

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

HARTFORD, Conn. — At a meeting Monday evening, the Hartford Court of Common Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution in support of making cannabis legal and regulated for adults in Connecticut.

The resolution specifically recommends that the Hartford Delegation of elected representatives support the passage of state legislation to legalize and tax cannabis in 2018 and insist on measures to ensure racial equity in ownership and employment in the resulting cannabis industry. It also directs the city to conduct an economic impact study for a potential cannabis industry in Hartford and hold public forums to hear from residents.

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.

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