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U.S.: Congressman Rohrabacher Applauds Senate Panel for Adopting Cannabis Amendment

Capitol Hill Cannabis

The amendment passed despite a letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent in May asking House and Senate leadership not to block DOJ from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Senate Committee on Appropriations on Thursday adopted an amendment, commonly known as “Rohrabacher-Farr,” that prohibits the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute those in compliance with their state’s medical cannabis laws.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-CA, who co-sponsored the amendment when it first passed in 2014, retired from Congress last year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, stepped in as the lead House Democrat pushing the provision.

U.S.: Willie Nelson On Divisive Politics, Jeff Sessions, Willie's Reserve, and Living a Good Life

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In interview this month with The Washington Post, Willie Nelson urges Americans to bridge what he calls a great divide in politics. The 84-year-old also asks Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open his mind on outdated drug policy.

Nelson, a cannabis advocate and connoisseur, strongly disagrees with Attorney General Sessions' statement that marijuana dependency is “only slightly less awful” than heroin dependency.

Colorado: Thousands of Colorado Springs Jobs Could Be Created, Report Suggests

Colorado Springs

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

If Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in Colorado, allowed recreational cannabis sales, its share of the state’s cannabis market would rise to to 14%, according to an economic impact report by a University of Denver professor.

The study, authored by Jack Strauss, the Miller Chair of Applied Economics at the university’s Daniels College of Business – assumes that all medical cannabis companies in Colorado Springs would transition to the recreational industry.

The study found that allowing recreational sales could create 1,320-1,762 jobs for the city and bring in $25.4 million in revenue from taxes and business fees.

Massachusetts: Governor Signs Recreational Cannabis Bill

Mass Cann Law 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an overhaul of the state's voter-passed recreational cannabis law. The governor's signature, which comes 11 days after a legislative conference committee reached agreement on a compromise bill that changed several aspects of the original voter approved measure, is an issue the governor opposes.

Tennessee: Hemp Research at Middle Tennessee State University Shows Promise

Middle Tennessee State University

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, graduate students are cultivating cannabis in greenhouses to research potential medicinal uses for the plant.

Shannon Smith, a graduate student at the university, said, "We're not interested in the full plant itself, we're just interested in the compounds the plant can produce."

The university, which has been licensed by the state, also received the approval of the Board of Regents and the Governor.

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.”

U. S.: In Historic Lawsuit, Constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act Questioned

jeff.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was named a defendant this week in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act. In an 89-page Complaint, attorneys representing five plaintiffs claims classifying Cannabis as a Schedule I drug violates the U.S. Constitution.

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.

New Hampshire: Governor Signs Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

Cannabis

HB 640 will take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire. It will officially take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

U.S.: Justice Department Planning Cannabis Crackdown

Make America Great Again

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Trump administration’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is scheduled to release a report by July 27 advocating for tougher sentences for those producing, selling and using cannabis.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (D), linking to a report on the crackdown, described the plans as “backward and inhumane.

"I hope every third-party voting progressive remembers this, ” Senator Schatz added.

U.S.: Congressman Reintroduces Legislation to Give Students a Second Chance

Illinois Cannabis Arrests

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 14, Illinois Congressman Bill Foster (D) reintroduced legislation to change penalties students face when convicted of minor marijuana offenses. The Second Chance for Students Act would allow students convicted of an offense involving the possession of marijuana to retain financial aid eligibility for six months while they complete a drug rehabilitation program.

Under current U. S. Federal policy, students convicted of drug offenses lose eligibility for federal financial aid for a period of time.

"One mistake should not ruin a student’s future,” Representative Foster said.

Florida: Attorney Sues State Regarding Anti-Cannabis Smoking Legislation

Florida Medical Marijuana

House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, the legislator who sponsored the troublesome legislation and insisted on the smoking ban, defends lawmakers’ actions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, Orlando attorney John Morgan sued the state of Florida stating the new SB 8A law banning smoking medical cannabis is in violation of Amendment 2, the voter-initiated constitutional amendment that passed last November with 71 percent of the vote.

Utah: Medical Cannabis Initiative Moves Forward Towards 2018 Ballot

Utah Medical Cannabis

The ballot initiative would set up state-regulated cannabis growing and dispensing operations and allow the drug to be consumed in edible forms, in topical forms or as an oil, however, smoking cannabis would not be allowed, but vaping would

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Medical cannabis activists in Utah have filed the necessary paperwork to get the issue before voters in 2018. The Utah Lt. Governor's Office will review the language for legality and fiscal impact to taxpayers. Before qualifying for the November 2018 ballot, the Utah Patients Coalition must hold seven public hearings throughout Utah and collect 113,143 signatures from registered voters around the state.

New York: Former NFL Star Marvin Washington Advocating for Cannabis

Marvin Washington Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Former NFL Defensive End Marvin Washington, who played 11 years in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 1999, wants the NFL and the Players Association to embrace cannabis as a safe alternative to treat debilitating sports injuries.

United States: Toby Keith, Willie Nelson Celebrate Cannabis In New Hit Single

Wacky Tobaccy

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In 2003, country music artist Toby Keith sang his tribute “Weed With Willie,” and in the song, Keith sings “My party’s all over before its begins...I’ll never smoke weed with Willie again.”

This month, Keith released the song, “Wacky Tobaccy,” a song featuring Willie Nelson. Keith claims Red Hair Sinsemilla, a strain of cannabis from California, is his all-time favorite in his new song.

The song, which was co-written with his longtime songwriter Scotty Emerick, celebrates cannabis. The official video, shot on Nelson's bus before a Merle Haggard tribute in April, has become a viral hit.

Take Action: Support New Federal Legislation To Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws

Take Action: Support New Federal Legislation To Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws

CARERS Act would ensure patients have access to lifesaving care without fear of federal prosecution

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to Congressional leadership demanding that Congress set aside the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which protects states that have lawfully enacted medical marijuana programs from federal interference.

Last week, medical cannabis proponents in the US House and Senate introduced The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act of 2017, which would codify Rohrabacher-Blumenauer protections into law and forbid the Justice Department from overriding them.

Oklahoma: Medical Marijuana Qualifies for November 2018 Ballot

Oklahoma Cannabis

Oklahoma will become next state to vote on medical marijuana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

State Question 788, a measure which would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, will be on Oklahoma ballot in 2018.

Oklahomans for Health collected enough valid signatures in 2016 to qualify for a statewide vote, but the measure was disputed by Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) over the wording in the ballot measure's title.

Oklahomans for Health filed litigation against AG Pruitt in the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In March 2017, the court ruled in favor of Oklahomans for Health, restoring the original ballot title. Since the dispute extended past the 2016 election date, the measure is being placed on the November 8, 2018 ballot.

U.S.: Federal Bill Seeking To Reschedule Marijuana To Schedule III Gains Prominent Co-Sponsor

US Capitol

Rescheduling cannabis to Schedule III in the Controlled Substances Act would uphold states rights, allow for cannabis banking and create a path for research, says bill's sponsors

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On April 6, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz (R) and Congressman Darren Soto (D) joined forces in a bipartisan effort to make it easier for ill-patients and scientific and medical researchers to obtain marijuana by introducing H.R. 2020, a federal bill rescheduling marijuana to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act. On May 24, California Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R), a member of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, joined on to co-sponsor the bill.

U.S.: Country Artist Jason Isbell Thinks Attorney General Sessions Should Smoke Marijuana

Jason Isbell

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Grammy Award-winning Country music artist Jason Isbell, who some consider the best talent in Nashville, thinks U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should smoke marijuana. In a recent interview with Indy Weekly, a Raleigh-Durham publication, Isbell said, "I don’t know where to start with Sessions. I mean, his idea of marijuana, first of all. I think if maybe he would smoke some of the marijuana he would realize that people are all the same and that smoking a joint once is not going to kill you. There’s no crack rock in a joint."

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