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Maine: Police Department's Post About Misplaced Marijuana Goes Viral

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

"If you've lost a baggie of marijuana at the Rite Aid store, please give us a call. We would like to speak with you."

This brief statement, which the Madawaska Police Department posted on its Facebook page on Sunday, hasn't led to anyone coming forward, but it had been Liked more than 1.3 million times, generated 756 shares, and triggered a storm of comments.

With no other evidence, there hasn't been any further police investigation, according to Office Jamie Pelletier, who was on duty at the time, reports Tory Jones Bonenfant at the Fiddlehead Focus.

When employees opened the Madawaska Rite Aid pharmacy on Sunday, March 20, they found a small baggie near the cash register and entryway. It contained a couple of marijuana buds.

The department claimed it posted the information to "raise awareness," but also to shed some police-style "humor" on the situation.

The Facebook post stirred up a discussion about drug use, parenting, legal growing and medicinal use, current federal laws, community drug awareness, and police priorities and resources.

Even if no charges arise from the incident, Madawaska Police Chief Carroll Theriault said, it is still good that people are discussing drug use in the community.

U.S.: Emergency National Mobilization April 2 To Reschedule Cannabis

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Citizens, Activists and Leaders Rally and Roll Up to the White House with 51 foot “Joint” on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.

Mass Consumption of Cannabis to Occur at 4:20 p.m.

On Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m., DCMJ — the organization that played a critical role in passing Ballot Initiative 71, which legalized marijuana in our nation’s capital — along with leaders, activists, advocacy groups and citizens will gather along Pennsylvania Avenue directly north of the White House to demand that President Obama use his authority to reschedule cannabis now.

Why on April 2? According to the organizers, the Obama Administration has been a big ZERO on cannabis reform, so DCMJ is rescheduling and actively removing the “ZERO” from “4/20.”

DCMJ has officially requested that President Obama reclassify cannabis as a less harmful substance multiple times since he has taken office in January 2009. However, no action has been taken to reschedule cannabis to date.

Meanwhile, the placement of cannabis in the same category as drugs like heroin — which kills thousands of Americans each each year — remains not only irresponsible, unjust and unfitting, but also makes a continued mockery of the Controlled Substances Act.

California: Marijuana and Athletics Converge at Santa Monica Pier Saturday

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A new demographic and category in sports has emerged. Created to de-stigmatize cannabis and the people who use it, The 420 Games brings a message of fitness, wellness and health.

This Saturday, March 26, this new paradigm of athletics and medical cannabis use will be celebrated by more than 1,000 participants at The Santa Monica Pier. Having kept their cannabis use a secret for fear of judgement or persecution, athletes are now stepping out, inspired by this newly found 'CannaAthletics' movement.

Activists will walk, run, bicycle or skateboard to “Go the Extra Mile for Cannabis” in this 4.20 mile race; wheelchairs are welcome! Out in the water stand-up paddle boarders will follow course along the beach.

"In 2014, I stepped out and created this new genre of athletics and cannabis use in order to inspire the rest of the world to step out with me," said Jim McAlpine, founder of the 420 Games. "The 420 Games is humbled and honored to be credited with the creation of 'CannaAthletics'.

"The 420 Games' purpose is to emphasize that highly functional people, even professional athletes, use cannabis and are hardly the lazy stoners the world has portrayed," McAlpine said. "Fostering a new, positive mindset about those who use cannabis is going to be absolutely critical for the national legalization of marijuana.”

Colorado: Cannabis Industry Preparing For A Big 4/20 In Denver

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With just under a month to go until the biggest day of the year in cannabis, preparations are already underway for the most celebratory 4/20 ever in Denver.

Marijuana businesses in the Mile High City are working hard to get ready for the big crowds of people wanting to get high on April 20, reports KDVR.

With more than 125,000 revelers anticipated, this year's celebration could bring in a record number of tourists, according to local business owners. Savvy merchants have now extended the celebration, declaring April 15-21 "World Cannabis Week."

Love's Bakery in Denver is turning out double the usual amount of marijuana candies, compared to last year. Many dispensaries are working around the clock to stock up with triple their normal inventories.

Educational efforts are greater than ever before, as well; officials want people to use cannabis responsibly, especially when it comes to how much they consume in edible form.

California: 420 Games Invade L.A. As Activism, Fitness Converge At Santa Monica Pier

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The 420 Games’ first event of 2016 takes place March 26 at the Santa Monica Pier. For the first time ever, according to organizers, this southern California landmark will host an organized cannabis-related event, one that is expected to gather more than 1,000 participants.

Created to de-stigmatize cannabis and the people who use it, The 420 Games brings a message of wellness, fitness and health. Activists will walk, run, bicycle or skateboard to “Go the Extra Mile for Cannabis” in this 4.20 mile race. Out in the water, stand-up paddle boarders will follow course along the beach!

"The 420 Games were created to emphasize that highly functional people, even professional athletes, use cannabis and are hardly the lazy stoners the world has portrayed," said creator and producer Jim McAlpine, founder of SnowBomb, a source for ski and snowboard lifestyle and culture. "Fostering a new, positive mindset about those who use cannabis is going to be absolutely critical for the legalization of marijuana.”

Special guest speakers will include LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) member and former Redondo Beach Police Officer Dianne Goldstein; as well as national cannabis thought leader and author of The Cannabis Manifesto Steve DeAngelo. Look for special appearances by UFC fighter Kyle Kingsbury, NFL Pro-Bowler Kyle Turley and former NFL players from the Gridiron Coalition who will have their own team of other ex NFL players in attendance.

New York: Victims of the War On Drugs Call For Abolishing The DEA

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Decades of violence, corruption, support for authoritarian governments, and illegal spying on Americans leave DEA unfit for service

Ahead of major United Nations meeting on global drug policy, activists call for new approach focused on public health and safety

What: Banner drop & protest at the NYC Drug Enforcement Administration Office.
When: This Friday (3/18) @ 11 AM
Where: Drug Enforcement Administration, New York City office, 99 10th Ave, NYC 10011

Details: People with a history of drug use, the formerly incarcerated and people living with AIDS, all identifying as “victims of the Drug War,” will protest the Drug Enforcement Administration for its role in perpetuating the worst of drug war policies, including mass incarceration of people of color, fueling violence abroad, and fighting scientific evidence and public health needs in order to wage the Drug War at all costs.

Protesters will do a banner drop off the High Line Park reading "Just Say NO to the DEA", followed by blocking traffic in front of the office.

For more background on DEA abuses, click here to read the fact sheet.

Uruguay: Wide World of Cannabis Explores First Country To Legalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabis and pop culture media platform Merry Jane is investigating cannabis globally in their new original series, "Wide World of Cannabis," which premieres Wednesday.

The first episode, "Uruguay Part 1," travels to South America to explore the first country in the world to completely legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana.

"This is just the start of Merry Jane's deep dive into cannabis use around the world," publicist Katie Jang told us on Wednesday.

Merry Jane was recently launched by entertainment icon Snoop Dogg and media entrepreneur Ted Chung.

The website, including partners Seth Rogen, Guy Oseary and Miley Cyrus, features the latest news on cannabis, business and entertainment, as well as a location mapping service for dispensaries, and an encyclopedia of all things cannabis.

Vermont: State's First Cannabis-Dedicated Media Platform Launched

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Two Vermont-based entrepreneurs have founded what they say is the first cannabis-dedicated media platform in the state, starting with the launch of Heady Vermont, a news and culture site that analyzes and follows pot developments in Vermont and the surrounding region.

“The Vermont media's done a fantastic job of covering statehouse developments and cannabis news,” said Monica Donovan, managing partner and publisher.

“We sensed a need for deeper coverage that can evolve with the interests and needs of Vermonters as we move towards legalization,” added Editor-in-Chief Eli Harrington.

Heady Vermont produces and publishes daily news and media content on its site HeadyVermont.com — including in-depth features, guest op-eds and third party listings. In addition to content and media creation, Heady Vermont promotes community cannabis events and education.

"Heady Vermont is all at once newsworthy, enjoyable and thought-provoking, calling for accountability and fairness in a growth industry that frequently needs to check in with itself," said Donovan. "There exists a highly diverse variety of interests and positions at stake in the cannabis community. I think this is a great chance to give voice to the chorus making up the emerging cannabis scene in Vermont."

California: Vouchers For 2,000 Grams Of Weed To Be Given Away Friday At San Jose City Hall

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A California activist today announced he will be giving away vouchers for free weed at San Jose City Hall, Friday, February, 19, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Dave Hodges, founder of Weed4Votes, and the All American Cannabis Club, will give away vouchers for 2,000 grams of weed to California residents today, Friday, February 19, in San Jose, California, at San Jose City Hall.

This is part of Weed4Votes project called Weed4Voters, according to Hodges. The Weed4Voters program promotes awareness of the Marijuana Legalization efforts in the state for 2016.

During the Weed4Voters event, a voucher for 1 free gram of weed will be given to any California resident who provides their contact information to Weed4Votes.com.

What:
Weed4Voters will be passing out 2,000 vouchers for free grams of marijuana today, Friday.

When:
TODAY
February 19, 2016
2pm - 8pm

Where:
Across the street from San Jose City Hall
200 E Santa Clara St.
San Jose, CA 95112

Recreational marijuana users can redeem their vouchers for free pot after legalization passes. Medical marijuana patients may not have to wait for legalization to redeem their vouchers. "Patients are encouraged to ask their favorite cannabis collectives and delivery services if they are participating in the Weed4Voters voucher program," Hodges said.

U.S.: New 'Rolling With Rogen' Cannabis Series Sparks Up On MerryJane.com

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Merry Jane, a media platform combining cannabis and pop culture, on Wednesday launched a new original series produced and created by Point Grey, “Rolling with Rogen,” starring actor Seth Rogen. The series will include Rogen's personal perspective and helpful tips for enjoying cannabis.

A hilarious and informative tongue-in-cheek how-to video tutorial on successfully consuming cannabis in its various forms. New episodes of “Rolling with Rogen” will be available on Merry Jane.

Merry Jane, recently launched by entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg, and media entrepreneur Ted Chung, represents the new reality of cannabis as part of our daily lives. The website features the latest news on cannabis, business and entertainment, as well as a location mapping service for dispensaries and an encyclopedia of all things cannabis.

Merry Jane also boasts a variety of original series, including:

GGN: Everyone’s favorite “hood news” talk show hosted by Snoop Dogg, where he interviews a variety of entertainers, such as Jimmy Kimmel, Kendrick Lamar, Larry King and more.

Deflowered: An intimate look into the lives of influential people where each episode spotlights a “first time” moment with our guests.

Seed to Strain: A behind-the-scenes look into some of the most well-known cannabis strains.

Wide World of Cannabis: Profiling far flung parts of the world and how they have cultivated their own unique relationship with cannabis.

Jamaica: Oaksterdam Sponsoring Stepping High Festival March 5-6

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The Stepping High Festival, also known as the Jamaican Ganja Cup, is scheduled for March 5 and 6, 2016, in Negril, Jamaica. Offering an authentic Jamaican cultural experience built on the foundation of Rastafari culture and spirituality, family, community, friendship and love. The Stepping High Festival will feature exhibitions, entertainment and education—including seminars conducted by Oaksterdam University.

"Oaksterdam has partnered with Stepping High because of its focus on cannabis, the community, the Jamaican people, and the local jobs available because of the festival," said Dr. Aseem Sappal, provost and dean of faculty for Oaksterdam University. "Now is an exciting time. In addition to partnering with Stepping High, we're also working with the Jamaican government and the University of West Indies, where we are involved in helping lead important cannabis research and development."

Stepping High began in 2003 as an underground event promoted primarily by word of mouth and has become an enviable brand showcasing the finest strains of cannabis and a musical extravaganza that attracts thousands of people from around the world annually.

This year's event will feature two cannabis competitions to judge the highest quality Jamaican marijuana. The Best in the West contest entries will be from Western Jamaica, and the Nation's Best contest will include entries from ganja farmers island-wide.

New York: NYC Marijuana Possession Arrests Drop Under 17K; First Time Since '96

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67% Drop from 51,000 Arrests in 2011

Still A Tale of Two Cities: Young Black and Latino People Arrested at Higher Rates, Despite Young White People Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

According to data just released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York City marijuana arrests in 2015 dropped to under 17,000 for the first time since 1996. The 16,590 arrests for low-level marijuana possession in 2015 is a 42 percent decline from the 26,386 in 2014 and a 67 percent drop from the nearly 51,000 arrests in 2011.

“New York is finally starting to shed its embarrassing distinction of being the marijuana arrest capital of the world,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York state director at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Over the last twenty years, more than 700,000 lives were irrevocably harmed by our draconian marijuana arrest policies. We must repair the harms of marijuana prohibition and end the biased policing practices that have ruined the lives of so many young Black and Latino New Yorkers.”

In 2015, with the continuous advocacy of community members, advocates, and elected officials – the New York Police Department made 16,590 arrests for low level marijuana possession, down from a high of 26,386 in 2014. This continues a four year trend of declining marijuana possession arrest by the NYPD.

Maine: Considering Legislation Increasing Drug Penalties, Escalating Drug War

EndTheDrugWarNow[TheFreeThoughtProject]

Advocates Say Increasing Penalties Will Frighten People Away from Seeking Treatment, Increase Incarceration, and Exacerbate Racial Disparities and the “New Jim Crow”

The Maine Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on legislation backed by the Attorney General that could roll back groundbreaking reforms passed last session that reduced drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The proposed legislation (LD 1554) would make possession of 30 milligrams (often less than one single pill) or more of prescription opioids and any amount of certain other drugs into felony offenses, continuing the criminalization of drug users and wasting scarce resources on incarceration instead of treatment and prevention.

Under this proposed bill, users not engaged in any other type of illegal conduct would face mandatory felony prosecution for possessing even minuscule amounts of certain substances.

“Addiction should be treated by healthcare professionals rather than the criminal justice system and, as a taxpayer and citizen of Maine, I would prefer our tax dollars go to prevention, treatment, and recovery, rather than mounting costly felony prosecutions against the users actively facing addiction,” said Chris Poulos, a person in long term recovery who overcame addiction and federal incarceration to attend law school and work on criminal justice policy reform at the local, state, and federal levels.

U.S.: New TV Show Chronicles Emerging Cannabis Economy

WeediquetteStill2016[Viceland]

VICELAND, VICE’s new TV network, has shared the first trailer for its show "Weediquette," hosted by Krishna Andavolu. The show premieres on Tuesday, March 1, at 11 p.m., on VICELAND.

In the show, VICE correspondent Krishna Andavolu chronicles the science, culture, and economics of the emerging “green” economy.

Each episode explores the impact of marijuana legalization across the United States and internationally, examining how people on all sides of this issue are dealing with the growing popularity and acceptance of this remarkable plant.

"There are many players in this weed revolution, and each one has a story to tell," "Weediquette announced in a press release.

Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/RYAqnLonzIw

California: Leo Vapes at SAG Awards

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By Derrick Stanley, Hemp News

Leonardo DiCaprio,star of the critically acclaimed movie " The Revenant", was spotted indulging in a few puffs on a vape pen at Saturday's SAG Awards in Los Angeles, Shortly afterward, he was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding male Actor in a Leading Role.

This would not be the first time that Leo has been known to enjoy a pull in public. In a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Miley Cyrus commented to Jimmy Fallon about being seated near Leo at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special. "He was hitting a vape pen," she said."But it wasn't him that was making me kinda nervous--I was feeling this emotion because there's an etiquacy [sic] of, when you're there, that you pass that s**t Leo! And he never did, so that was weird to me."

Leo's chances are looking good for taking home his first ever Oscar for best actor this year, just another reason he will be remembered as a great actor. Just like Bogart.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather In Amarillo, Lubbock For Training

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform advocates will gather Saturday (in Amarillo) and Sunday (in Lubbock) for advocacy training events.

The Amarillo event, on Saturday, January 9, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Amarillo Southwest Library, 6801 SW 44th Ave. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-amarillo/.

The Lubbock event, on Sunday, January 10, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites South, 6506 I-27 South. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-lubbock/.

The events, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, are the sixth and seventh in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a miserable failure, and we want to give concerned Texans the tools to help enact sensible marijuana policy reform,” said Heather Fazio, a spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “Our communities should not be using their limited law enforcement resources to criminalize adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life. (Honoring John Trudell)

John Trudell

Celebrate Love, Celebrate Life. (Honoring John Trudell)

On December 8, 2015, the earth lost a dedicated freedom fighter, friend and poet, John Trudell.

This Friday, January 8, from 7pm to 9pm at Portland Community Media (2766 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, Portland OR), the cable access programs "A Growing Concern" and "Cannabis Common Sense" will be combined and co-hosted by Jim Lockhart and Paul Stanford for a two-hour tribute to the late, great Santee Sioux artist, John Trudell.

John's long-time Bad Dog bandmates, Mark Shark (guitar/vocals) and Milton Sahme aka Quiltman (vocals), will perform and join the panel to reminisce and celebrate the life of a dear friend.

The tribute will feature video clips of historic performances from John Trudell and Bad Dog and memorable spoken word from lectures John gave in Portland throughout the years.

If you would like to be a part of the live studio audience, please arrive before 6:45pm to ensure your spot. If you would like to participate in the tribute but do not live in Portland, we will be streaming the event globally at: http://ustream.tv/channel/cannabis-common-sense

What: A Growing Concern/Cannabis Common Sense - Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life. (Honoring John Trudell)

When: Friday, January 8, 2015 7pm-9pm

Where: Portland Community Media - 2766 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, Portland OR 97212 - Studio A

Online: http://ustream.tv/channel/cannabis-common-sense

Oregon: Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax Begins Jan. 4

OregonMarijuanaLeaf[CannabisIndustryToday]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

All good things must come to an end, it seems, and it's the same with the Oregon weed tax holiday. Recreational marijuana consumers in the state will have to pay a 25 percent sales tax starting Monday, January 4.

The Oregon Legislature earlier this year approved allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot to adults 21 and older, tax-free, starting on Oct. 1, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. But tax-free sales end on Monday, when the state imposes a tax that will last until the end of 2016.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission isn't expected to open state-licensed recreational marijuana stores until late 2016; once that program is up and running, the 25 percent tax at dispensaries will be replaced with permanent 17 percent sales tax at recreational pot stores.

The Oregon Department of Revenue on Tuesday said they are prepared to deal with large sums of cash from dispensaries paying the new tax. Cameras have been added, employees have gotten security training, and a new "cash handling location" has been set up to accept large payments, according to the agency.

Marijuana's Schedule I classification under federal law has kept most traditional banks away from the business, fearing conspiracy charges and money laundering investigations. That means most marijuana transactions must be handled in cash.

California: Emerald Cup Marijuana Festival Draws 21,000 To Sonoma County

EmeraldCup2015[PressDemocrat]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Emerald Cup, now in its third year in Santa Rosa, California, on Sunday wrapped up its two-day run at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds with its biggest attendance ever. The event showcased outdoor, organically grown marijuana the the culture which has grown around the plant.

More than 21,000 people were drawn by the weekend event, according to organizer Tim Blake, compared to 13,000 last year and 7,000 in 2013, the first year it was relocated from Mendocino County, where it had begun 12 years ago, reports Clark Mason at The Press Democrat.

The event draws many cannabis cultivators from the "Emerald Triangle" of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties in California, reputed to be home of the largest and best cannabis crop in the state.

The Emerald Cup isn't just a contest to choose the best flowers; it's also a community event for growers and cannabis enthusiasts, with business exhibits, educational seminars and music.

More than 420 entries were submitted to this year's contest, with the winner getting a trip for two to Jamaica, along with the sudden ability to charge a premium price for the chosen pot strain and its seeds and clones.

This year, Jackson Zenter, a.k.a. "Mean Jean" of Laytonville, won with his Cherry Limeaid flowers, described as sweet and fruity, but with a "paint thinner and Bain de Soleil" undertones.

Illinois: New Bill Announced To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana

IllinoisMarijuana[KTRS]

Rep. Kelly Cassidy will hold a Thursday news conference to announce that she will introduce new legislation for 2016 that would replace criminal penalties with a civil fine for possession of a personal amount of marijuana in Illinois.

The news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT in the Blue Room of the James R. Thompson Center. Rep. Cassidy will be joined by Rev. Alexander Sharp of Clergy for a New Drug Policy and other members of the Illinois faith community who believe the state’s current criminal penalties for marijuana possession are causing harm to their communities.

The new proposal will include provisions Gov. Bruce Rauner and a majority of the members of the General Assembly agreed to earlier this year. It will largely mirror legislation previously introduced by Rep. Cassidy that was approved in the Senate (37-19) on May 21 and in the House (62-53) on April 23, as well the amendments proposed by the governor when he vetoed the bill and returned it to the legislature on August 14.

WHAT: News conference to announce the introduction of new legislation to remove criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession and replace them a civil fine

WHERE: James R. Thompson Center, Blue Room, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago

WHEN: Thursday, December 10, 11 a.m. CT

WHO: Rep. Kelly Cassidy
Rev. Alexander Sharp, Clergy for a New Drug Policy
Members of the Illinois faith community

Graphic: KTRS

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