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U.S.: 'Cannabis Damages DNA' Claims Debunked By Leading Researcher

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When a study was released last week claiming that marijuana use damages DNA, and that damage could be passed to one's children, of course it made headlines around the world. For many of us who have been acquainted with cannabis for a long time, the study sounded like nonsense, and now one of the field's leading researchers is calling "reefer madness" on the flawed study from Australia.

While the study from the University of Western Australia claims that smoking pot will give your kids cancer, cannabis has been shown in cell, animal, and limited human trials to prevent, halt, or kill cancer, researchers note, reports David Downs at East Bay Express. The study, released last week by Associate Professor Stuart Reece and Professor Gary Hulse at UWA, had the lengthy, scientific-sounding title, “Chromothripsis and epigenomics complete causality criteria for cannabis- and addiction-connected carcinogenicity, congenital toxicity and heritable genotoxicity,” and was published in the July 2016 issue of the journal Mutation Research.

California: National Tech and Cannabis Influencers Convene In SF At New West Summit

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Tommy Chong’s “Choice” Cannabis Brand, Upper Playground, SPARC, Christopher Willits, Lynette Shaw Added to San Francisco’s Cutting-Edge Disrupt Conference

This Friday, nationally-renowned technologists, venture capitalists, media publishers, entertainment brands, and leaders in the multi-billion dollar marijuana industry will converge at the groundbreaking New West Summit.

Tommy Chong’s cannabis brand Chong’s Choice, the iconic San Francisco apparel brand Upper Playground, the award-winning SPARC dispensary, musician Christopher Willits, iconic activist Lynette Shaw, and California Assemblyman Rob Bonta are among the many highlights at New West Summit, this Friday and Saturday Nov. 20-21 at the Parc 55 Hotel San Francisco.

New West Summit’s complete program, curated by David Downs, editor of "Smell the Truth" on SFGate.com, includes 30 panels or keynotes, and approximately 80 panelists from across the spectrum of tech, finance, media and the $10 billion marijuana sector.

“The event’s tight focus and expert programming has garnered us significant buzz, and we’re ecstatic at how well this first Summit has come together," said Summit co-organizers Dean Arbit and Jim McAlpine in a press release. "There’s no better time or place in the world to be discussing the intersection of these industries.”

Summit Highlights:

• Special guest and Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana founder Lynette Shaw will receive Lifetime Achievement Honors Friday.

California: HUGE VICTORY For Medical Marijuana Dispensary In Federal Court

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana providers across the United States scored a major victory in federal court on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer ordered the lifting of an injunction against one of California's oldest medicinal cannabis collectives, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM), reports David Downs at SF Gate.

The injunction can no longer be enforced in the wake of a Congressional spending amendment passed by Congress last year.

Judge Breyer ruled that the newly enacted Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment prevents the federal government from prosecuting MAMM and it founder Lynette Shaw. The ruling, in federal District Court for the Northern District of California, will have a huge legal impact, according to attorneys.

The medical marijuana industry in California and other states has faced a federal crackdown since 2011. Big dispensaries like Harborside Health Center and Berkeley Patients Group are facing federal forfeiture actions.

Congress in December de-funded the Department of Justice's war on state-legal medical marijuana, but the DOJ has continued to narrowly interpret Congressional law to continue to crackdown.

The law's authors say that DOJ is breaking Congressional law by going after state-legal medical marijuana providers.

Shaw's attorney, Greg Anton, in June motioned for the Court to dissolve the injunction against Shaw, citing the new Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, Section 538.

California: Gov. Brown Vetoes New Hash Crimes Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday vetoed a bill which would have created new penalties for making hash oil with flammable chemicals like butane. Brown said the state already has enough laws, and a prison overcrowding problem, and doesn't need to make the problem worse.

The Golden State has seen a rise in explosions and fires caused by the extraction of cannabis concentrates using volatile solvents like butane, reports David Downs at East Bay Express. But it's already against the law to make butane hash oil (BHO) in Cali. Arson and criminal negligence are also already crimes there.

Assembly Bill 849, from East Bay Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, would have created a new crime carrying prison sentences of up to six years for BHO blasters who hurt others. The bill passed the California Assembly -- unanimously! -- on August 31.

But Gov. Brown vetoed AB 849 and eight others for good measure, blasting reationary, "get tough" laws that result in prison overcrowding but don't do a damn thing to improve public safety.

"Each of this bills creates a new crime -- usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed," Brown said. "This multiplication and particularization of criminal behavior creates increasing complexity without commensurate benefit.

California: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom Says Golden State Will Legalize Marijuana In 2016

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California voters will legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults in the 2016 general election, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom predicted on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday. "I'm leading the effort," Newsom added.

"As some folks may know, we're very likely to have a ballot initiative in 2016 and we have strong confidence that we'll win," Newsom said, reports David Downs at SF Gate.

"We gotta do it right and be thoughtful and deal with the legitimate concerns folks have about our children, and not allowing Big Tobacco come in and do Big Marijuana," Newsom said. "So we want to do it in a very thoughtful way and we want to have that opportunity next year."

Lt. Gov. Newsom has been working with a Blue Ribbon Commission on legalization; its findings were released this summer. An initiative is expected soon.

A winning marijuana legalization initiative campaign could cost half a million dollars or more, and that's just for paid signature gatherers, never mind the ads. Those will run a cool $10 million or so -- and that's assuming no major opposition.

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