drug enforcement administration

U.S.: State Leaders Challenging Marijuana Election Results

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Political leaders in several states are acting to challenge election results regarding regulation of marijuana.

"Voters spoke clearly on election day. They believe that cannabis should be legal and that its sale ought to be regulated accordingly," said NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri. "Politicians should respect these outcomes, not undermine them."

Massachusetts voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent to legalize the use and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and over. Lawmakers are trying to move the date on which adults can begin growing marijuana from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified later time. They also want to delay retail sales of pot until late 2018.

Although Maine voters narrowly approved a similar ballot measure, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that he will seek federal guidance before moving forward with the law's implementation. Gov. LePage said that he "will be talking to Donald Trump" about how the incoming administration intends to address the issue, and said that he "will not put this (law) into play" unless the federal government signs off on it.

U.S.: Leaked Documents Expose Why The FDA Says Marijuana Is Not Medicine

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New uncovered documents give an insider's look at why the federal government does not recognize marijuana as medicine despite the reality that 25 states have legalized the plant for medical use so far. The 118-page document contains memos between the DEA's chief, two FDA officials, the governors of Rhode Island and Washington and several other government officials.

According to the documents, one of the reasons the FDA came to their decision is because “Individuals are taking the substance on their own initiative rather than on the basis of the medical advice from a practitioner licensed by law to administer such substances,” officials wrote in a summary.

The Drug Enforcement Administration rejected two petitions to reschedule marijuana last August. The DEA ruled that the marijuana that millions of Americans rely on in 25 states has “no currently accepted medical use.”

U.S.: Bernie Sanders Calls The DEA Decision On Marijuana 'Absurd'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bernie Sanders and other Democrats have been unhappy with the DEA's recent decision to refuse to reschedule marijuana. The Drug Enforcement Administration had said earlier this year that they would make a decision on whether or not to reschedule marijuana. The decision was made to change nothing, and so marijuana remains grouped with the most harmful substances in America.

The DEA claims that there is “no currently accepted medical use in the United States” for marijuana and so it will remain on the list of Schedule I drugs. Bernie Sanders and many other Americans believe this is a big fat lie. A majority of Americans now believe the substance should be made legal, and the DEA is clearly ignoring the wants and needs of the American public.

Sanders tweeted after the DEA's announcement that “keeping marijuana in the same category as heroin is absurd. The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana.”

He followed up with another tweet, saying “if we are serious about criminal justice reform, we must remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substance Act.”

U.S.: Clinton Campaign Says She Would Reschedule Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Hillary Clinton's campaign issued a statement today, saying she plans to reschedule marijuana if elected in November.

The Drug Enforcement Administration today announced its decision to keep marijuana on the list of Schedule I drugs, in the same category as heroin and LSD, but the Clinton campaign thinks the drug serves a higher purpose.

“Marijuana is already being used for medical purposes in states across the country, and it has the potential for even further medical use,” Maya Harris, a senior policy advisor to Clinton’s campaign, said in a statement, reported by The Denver Post. “As Hillary Clinton has said throughout this campaign, we should make it easier to study marijuana so that we can better understand its potential benefits, as well as its side effects."

Clinton seems to disagree with the DEA's decision to keep marijuana on the Schedule I list, and the campaign said if she is elected she would reclassify the drug to a Schedule II substance, which would mean acceptance that marijuana has a medical use for treatment.

“As president, Hillary will build on the important steps announced today by rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance. She will also ensure Colorado, and other states that have enacted marijuana laws, can continue to serve as laboratories of democracy,” Harris continued.

Oregon: Senators Criticize DEA For Refusal To Reclassify Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both Oregon Democrats, criticized a DEA decision today to keep marijuana on the list of Schedule I controlled substances.

"The DEA's decision flies in the face of choices made freely by voters in Oregon and many other states about the legality of marijuana," Wyden said in a statement. "The bottom line is the DEA is keeping federal law behind the times."

Merkley accused the DEA as interfering with Oregon's economy.

"The federal government shouldn't force Oregon's legal marijuana businesses to carry gym bags full of cash to pay their taxes, employees and bills," Merkley said.

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon congressional delegation's loudest voice for ending marijuana prohibition, released his outraged statement on Wednesday, before the official decision was officially announced

The DEA's decision, just announced will keep marijuana in the same category as drugs such as LSD and heroin, also considered Schedule I, drugs with no medical value but with a high potential for abuse.

"[Marijuana] does not have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," wrote Chuck Rosenberg, acting DEA administrator. "There is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse."

Vermont: Bernie Sanders Slams DEA For Not Reclassifying Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bernie Sanders responded to the Drug Enforcement Administration's decision not to reclassify marijuana on Thursday, taking to Twitter to make it clear that he was dissatisfied.

The tweet reads:

"People can argue about the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but everyone knows it's not a killer drug like heroin. https://twitter.com/USATODAY/status/763727086573920256 …"

Sanders introduced legislation last November while seeking the Democratic nomination for president that would entirely de-schedule marijuana or remove it from the Controlled Substances Act, decriminalizing it at the federal level. His legislation is modeled after a bill introduced in 2013 by Rep. Jared Polos (D-Colo.) and would allow states to decide how to regulate marijuana.

U.S.: DEA Ignores Science, Refuses To Reshedule Marijuana

The DEA announced there will be no rescheduling of marijuana; it's still Schedule I.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp news

The Drug Enforcement Administration's much-anticipated decision on rescheduling marijuana came a bit early, late on Wednesday instead of Thursday as promised. Perhaps they were eager to reveal their plan -- to change nothing.

In spite of the fact that half of our 50 states in the U.S now recognize medical marijuana as a useful, beneficial substance for multitudes of people, the DEA will not reschedule the plant.

Contrary to the clear wishes of a majority of American citizens, as many recent polls have shown, the DEA will not reschedule this plant.

In total disregard of the recommendations and advice of scientists, doctors, and researchers, the DEA is not rescheduling marijuana.

It remains a Schedule I drug in the eyes of the federal government, a drug with no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD. Cocaine, methamphetamines, and opioids are classified Schedule II because they have some accepted use in medication.

"This decision isn't based on danger," DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg told NPR. "This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it's not."

Clearly it's a decision not based on science or the wishes of the American public.

U.S.: DEA To Make Announcement Thursday On Resceduling Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A decision from the Drug Enforcement Administration is expected Thursday on the rescheduling of marijuana in the U.S.

The DEA said late Wednesday it would answer a congressional petition to reschedule marijuana in the Federal Register on Thursday morning.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and has no accepted medical value.

The DEA’s response could move the drug to a less-restrictive schedule, which would allow more research on the plant. It could also completely remove it from the agency’s regulation, or take no action. The DEA’s email didn't indicate which course the agency might select.

Rescheduling marijuana would mean that in states where medical cannabis is legal it could be prescribed by a doctor, rather than just recommended, as it is presently. Pharmacies could offer it instead of only dispensaries.

Half the states in the country have legalized medical marijuana, and four states plus the District of Columbia have made recreational use legal. Five states are voting this November for recreational marijuana legalization and four more for medical cannabis legalization.

U.S.: DEA's Marijuana Rescheduling Announcement May Not Come In 2016

The DEA has not followed through on their plans to release an announcement in 2016 on rescheduling marijuana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

In April this year the Drug Enforcement Administration sent a letter to lawmakers saying the agency would release an announcement on rescheduling marijuana in the first half of this year. But no announcement was made come July 1, and the DEA has refused to set a new deadline.

A Colorado attorney spoke with a senior executive at the DEA last week and was told that the agency will not be rescheduling marijuana in 2016. "The DEA is not going to reschedule marijuana this year.... They aren't issuing a public announcement about the change," the attorney said he was told.

Marijuana advocates and many legislators have been hoping that the DEA would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance. The reclassification would allow for more research and would acknowledge that the substance has medical value.

"We do not have a date set to make an announcement about that one way or another," a representative in the DEA's public-affairs office said today, August 2.

It does not seem likely that the date will be anytime this year.

Arizona: DEA Agent Echoes Message of Billboard Supporting Marijuana Initiative

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The Independence Day-themed ad highlights benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana in Arizona: ‘Adults could buy American and support schools, not cartels’

A 23-year veteran of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who spent years investigating Mexican drug cartels is throwing his support behind the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona and echoing the message of a billboard supporters launched this week at Tempe Marketplace.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana, adults could buy American,” reads the Independence Day-themed ad, instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona.

It also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.” The proposed initiative would initially generate $64 million in annual state tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

Arizona: 4th of July Themed Billboard Highlights Benefits of Marijuana Legalization

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Backers of the ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona have launched an Independence Day-themed billboard to highlight the benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana,” the billboard reads, “adults could buy American,” instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona. The ad also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.”

The proposed initiative would initially generate an estimated $64 million in annual tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

U.S. DEA Probably Not Reclassifying Marijuana This Summer

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A report by the Santa Monica Observer had marijuana advocates excited over the weekend after it quoted an anonymous lawyer who said the Drug Enforcement Administration was ready to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug.

The report said that this would essentially legalize marijuana in the United States on August 1. The story said that drugs classified as Schedule 1 will not be made legal. Drugs labeled Schedule 2 are available with a prescription. This supposed federal preemption would make marijuana legal in all 50 states.

The story quotes lawyers as saying state and local laws will be overridden.

Marijuana proponents were circulating the story over the weekend on Facebook and Twitter.

The lawyer told the reporter that smoking marijuana would not be allowed, but that edibles would be available at pharmacies.

According to a DEA statement on the anonymous, single-source Santa Monica Observer article, the reporter doesn’t quite have it right and neither does the anonymous lawyer.

The statement from the DEA this afternoon does say that the government entity expects to soon be able to announce the outcome of a review of two petitions it’s received to reschedule marijuana. The past few times they’ve ruled against reclassification when faced with similar petitions.

California: Care By Design Medical Marijuana Facilities Prepare to Resume Operations

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Early Wednesday morning the Care By Design (CBD Guild) production facilities in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County were searched and temporarily closed by the Santa Rosa Police Department and the DEA (Federal Drug Enforcement Administration). Law enforcement seized equipment, computers, product, payroll, payroll taxes and financial paperwork, and detained Dennis Franklin Hunter, a founding patient-member of CBD Guild.

Initially, the court set Dennis’ bail at $5 million. However, he was released within 48 hours and no charges have been filed at this time. Employees were granted re-entry to the facilities this morning, where an all-employee meeting was held.

“The company will work closely with government officials and law enforcement to swiftly resolve the investigation and address any and all concerns regarding our operations," said Nick Caston, spokesman for CBD Guild. "We maintain our strong commitment to operating with full transparency.

"Our main focus is resuming operations and providing our thousands of patients with the medicine that they depend on," Caston said. "For some of our patients this is truly a matter of life or death.”

California: Santa Rosa Medical Marijuana Company Raided By Federal DEA Agents

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Care By Design (CBD Guild) production facilities in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County were searched and temporarily closed on Wednesday morning by local law enforcement and the federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). Law enforcement seized equipment, computers, product, payroll, and financial paperwork.

Care By Design produces an array of medical marijuana products for thousands of patients in California, including patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, PTSD and other intractable medical conditions.

Care By Design products are CBD-centric. CBD is a therapeutically beneficial compound that does not get people high, and can moderate the intoxicating effects of THC. Care By Design products are available in non-smokable formulations such as gel caps and oral sprays, and available in a variety of CBD:THC ratios so that patients can manage the psychoactive effects of medical marijuana.

Colorado: Crackdown Coming For Illegal Marijuana Grows In Colorado Springs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A crackdown is coming in Colorado Springs, according to Mayor John Suthers, who said he expects hundreds of busts of illegal marijuana growers in the coming months.

Those busts are targeting unregistered, commercial-sized operations run by out-of-state residents, mainly from Florida and with ties to cartels, according to law enforcement officials, reports Kaitlin Durbin at The Gazette.

What that hopefully means is that the focus won't be on small-time home grows, where average stoners cultivate a few more plants than 12 legally permitted under Amendment 64, the legalization initiative approved by Colorado voters back in 2012.

"If you look at who is being busted in Pueblo and who will be busted in Colorado Springs over the summer, you can tell: These are organized crime," Suthers claimed. "A lot of them Cubans coming up from Central America, and they're buying or leasing homes, making huge amounts of money (and) trashing the homes."

"There's no question, in Colorado Springs we have large illegal grow operations in several hundred homes," Suthers said.

Wisconsin: Judge Dismisses Menominee Hemp Lawsuit

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit against the DEA for raiding Menominee tribal hemp grow and destroying crop.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A federal judge Monday dismissed a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration for destroying an industrial hemp crop on the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin's tribal land.

US District Judge William Griesbach dismissed the tribe's request for a ruling that the College of the Menominee Nation's industrial hemp crop was being legally grown and federal agents could not seize it.The DEA raided the tribe's hemp operation last fall and destroyed the plants. Tribal officials said the raid cost the tribe millions of dollars.

Industrial hemp has very little THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the component in marijuana that causes a euphoric feeling, or a "high". It has many commercial uses from health and beauty products to construction materials.

Griesbach wrote in his decision that the tribal land's location in the state means the tribe has to adhere to state law.

U.S.: Senate Committee Prevents DEA From Undermining Medical Marijuana Laws

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Vote Comes Just a Week After Committee Voted to Allow Veterans Administration Doctors to Recommend Marijuana to Veterans

Nationwide Bipartisan Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Grows Stronger

In yet another huge victory for marijuana reform, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted by 21 to 8 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Maryland) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Marijuana reforms are repeatedly winning votes in Congress,” said Bill Piper, senior director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Letting states set their own marijuana policies is now a mainstream, bipartisan issue.”

After decades of inactivity on marijuana reform, Congress has moved at lightning pace to advance marijuana reform in recent years.

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend marijuana. The Committee approved similar amendments last year as well as an amendment to allow state-legalized marijuana businesses to access banks and other financial services.

The Mikulski Amendment is expected to pass the full Senate as well as the House. Similar amendments were passed by Congress last year and the year before.

U.S.: $18 Million Spent Last Year Destroying Marijuana Plants

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New numbers released by the Drug Enforcement Administration show that their controversial marijuana eradication program continued in full force last year. In 2015, roughly 4.1 million cultivated marijuana plants were uprooted by local, state, and federal authorities in all 50 states. The number was slightly less than the 4.3 million plants destroyed in 2014.

Federal spending on the program was $18 million, similar to the level spent in previous years.

The DEA program provides funding to law enforcement agencies to aggressively search for, seize, and destroy illegal marijuana grow across the country.

A group of lawmakers led by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA tried to pass legislation last year to redirect marijuana eradication funds to more productive uses, such as domestic violence prevention programs.

The effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and Lieu is dismayed to see the program continue. "Marijuana needs to be removed from Schedule I classification, and DEA should stop this wasteful program," he said via email.

The DEA did note that two states, Alaska and Colorado, declined to accept federal funds last year. Those states, where marijuana is now legal, conducted their own enforcement efforts against illegal marijuana grows.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By Congressman Ted Lieu

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Congressman and military veteran U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Monday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Lieu has won awards as a military prosecutor, an advisor to U.S. Air Force commanders and as a law student and private attorney. As a congressman, he serves on the House Budget and Oversight Committees.

Last year, Lieu introduced bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer dollars by blocking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program through civil asset forfeitures.

“I’ve reviewed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and believe it creates a legal, responsible and regulated framework for adult use of marijuana that is fiscally responsible, smartly builds on what California has already done with medical marijuana and provides necessary protections for children, workers, local governments, law enforcement agencies and the environment,” said Rep. Lieu.

“As a policy, marijuana prohibition has wasted taxpayer resources while failing to protect our communities,” Lieu said. “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act represents a vastly superior and long overdue new approach.”

U.S.: DEA Plans Decision On Rescheduling Marijuana By Mid-Year

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Drug Enforcement Administration plans to decide whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law "in the first half of 2016," according to a letter from the DEA to senators.

The agency was responding to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other Democratic senators urging the federal government to stop blocking research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

If marijuana is reclassified at all, it would have to be moved to a "less dangerous" category, because it is currently considered Schedule I under federal law, the category of drugs considered the most dangerous of all. Schedule I drugs, by definition, supposedly have no medical value and a high potential for abuse. The insanity of including cannabis -- which, of course, can be used to treat hundreds of conditions -- should be obvious.

There are five categories (schedules) classifying illegal drugs. Marijuana has been considered Schedule I since Nixon's War On Drugs kicked off in 1971. That means the federal government officially considers marijuana to be just as dangerous as heroin -- and it means the government thinks pot is less dangerous than either cocaine or methamphetamine, both of which are considered Schedule II drugs.

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