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Kentucky: State Senator Proposes Bill To Legalize Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana use would become legal in the Bluegrass State in 2016 under if a new bill in the Legislature becomes law.

The Cannabis Freedom Act is being sponsored by state Senator Perry Clark (D-Louisville), and it would legalize cannabis use for those 21 and older, decriminalize growing, distribution, and public consumption, and place an excise tax on weed, reports Jackson French at the Bowling Green Daily News.

"Originally what inspired me was a group of retired Teamsters," said Clark. The union members knew that using cannabis was a cheaper and healthier alternative to costly pharmaceutical prescription painkillers, he said.

"They didn't want to be criminalized for something that shouldn't have been criminalized in the first place," Clark said.

His bill is heavily based on Colorado's Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana there in 2012, when it was approved by 55 percent of the state's voters. Colorado raised $100 million in taxes during the 2014-2015 fiscal year on recreational marijuana sales.

In addition, Colorado's marijuana arrests and citations have dropped 80 percent, and the state's tourism has increased by 10 percent, according to Clark.

"Since they legalized cannabis, everything's gotten better," he said.

Texas: Trooper Ordered Into Counseling After Being Photographed With Snoop Dogg


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Texas state trooper has been reprimanded and forced to undergo "counseling" after being photographed with music legend Snoop Dogg.

Trooper Billy Spears, who was pictured in uniform beside the rapper at the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, is now fighting back, according to his lawyer, arguing that while he agreed to be photographed, he didn't realized the famed rapper had marijuana convictions, or that they'd affect him, reports Nina Golgowski at the New York Daily News.

"Martha Stewart, she's a convicted felon," said Spears' attorney, Ty Clevenger. "What about Randy Travis? He's had run-ins with the law."

Snoop Dogg posted the photo, taken last month, on Instagram after apparently requesting the photo himself while serving as the keynote speaker at SXSW. Spears' superiors in the department eventually saw the photo, that didn't identify Spears or the department by name, and were not amused.

"Me n my deputy dogg," Snoop captioned the shot on Instagram.

"While working a secondary employment job, Trooper Spears took a photo with a public figure who has a well-known criminal background including numerous drug charges," reads the counseling reprimand, obtained by The Daily News. "The public figure posted the photo on social media and it reflects poorly on the Agency."

New York: Brooklyn DA Won't Pursue Low-Level Marijuana Arrests


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Brooklyn district attorney's office on Tuesday announced that it will immediately stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana cases. The policy change comes after months of resistance from the New York Police Department.

"This new policy is a reasonable response to the thousands of low-level marijuana arrests that weigh down the criminal justice system, require significant resources that could be redirected to more serious crimes and take an unnecessary toll on offenders," DA Kenneth P. Thompson said in a release.

Those caught with under 25 grams of pot will have their cases dismissed prior to arraignment, which has been happening more and more often anyway, reports Christopher Robbins at Gothamist. "Given that these cases are ultimately—and predictably—dismissed, the burdens that they pose on the system and the individual are difficult to justify. We are pouring money into an endeavor that produces no public safety benefit," Thompson said.

The change was proposed in a confidential memo in April, report Stephanie Clifford and Joseph Goldstein at The New York Times, but was delayed as police officials resisted the efforts of prosecutors to convince them to enter the 21st century.

Turkey: 9,000-Year-Old Hemp Fabric Found


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Archaeological excavations in Turkey have revealed a 9,000-year-old hemp-linen fabric in the ground at the site of a burned house. The fabric was wrapped around the skeleton of a baby.

The dig, in the central Anatolian province of Konya at the settlement of Çatalhöyük, is being called one of the most important finds of 2013, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. More than 120 people from 22 countries worked on the excavations.

"The fire warmed up the ground and platforms of the building and created a kiln drying effect," said Professor Ian Hodder of Stanford University. "Therefore the pieces and this piece of cloth underground have been so far protected."

"Examinations in the laboratory show that this piece of cloth is linen weaved with hemp," Professor Hodder said. "This is a first in the world and one of the best preserved examples."

"This piece of linen, which is weaved very thin, most probably came from the eastern Mediterranean from the central Anatolia," Hodder said. "It is already known that obsidians and sea shells had been exchanged in long-distance trade in the Middle East during the Neolithic era. But this fabric may have revealed another side of the trade."

A report on the Çatalhöyük excavations is available at www.catalhoyuk.com.

California: Marijuana First Banned In State 100 Years Ago


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been 100 years since California became the first states in the U.S. to ban marijuana. Weed historian and cannabis legalization advocate Dale Gieringer says the key date is August 10, 1913, when the state Board of Pharmacy was authorized to add "loco-weed" to the state's Poison Act.

"They began launching raids," said Gieringer, state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), reports Christina Villacorte at the Los Angeles Daily News. "Law enforcement would pose as addicts who needed a fix but didn't have a doctor's note, then arrest the druggist."

"The 1913 law received no public notice in the press, but was passed as an obscure technical amendment by the State Board of Pharmacy, which was then leading one of the nation's earliest and most aggressive anti-narcotics campaigns," Gieringer reports on CA NORML's website. "Inspired by anti-Chinese sentiment, California was a nationally recognized pioneer in the war on drugs."

The bill passed with no public debate, according to Gieringer. It was opposed by the state's druggists, but the Legislature passed it unanimously, and it went into effect on August 10, 1913.

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