federal law

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U.S.: Veterans Increasingly Turning To Marijuana For PTSD Relief

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More and more states and considering allowing military veterans and others with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to use medical marijuana for relief. But many veterans aren't waiting for permission.

Military veterans are increasingly using medicinal cannabis, although it remains illegal in most states and is frowned upon by the Department of Veterans Affairs, reports the Associated Press.

Marijuana does a lot better managing anxiety, insomnia and nightmares than the harsh pharmaceuticals approved by the federal government and handed out by the VA, according to many former members of the military. Prescription drugs such as Zoloft and Klonopin are often ineffective and make them feel like zombies, many veterans said.

"I went from being an anxious mess to numbing myself with the pills they were giving me," said 39-year-old former Marine Mike Whiter of Philadelphia, where marijuana is still illegal. "Cannabis helped me get out of the hole I was in. I started to talk to people and get over my social anxiety."

After Andy Zorn got home from serving with the Army in Iraq, he suffered from PTSD and self-medicated with cannabis. The VA diagnosed him with "marijuana dependence" as well as depression and bipolar disorder, according to his mother, Sally Schindel of Prescott, Arizona.

New Hampshire: House Kills Bill That Would Have Legalized Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New Hampshire House on Thursday killed a bill that would have legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana.

House Bill 1964 would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older, and would impose a $15 tax per ounce on leaves, and a whopping $530 per ounce tax on flowers, reports Garry Rayno at the Union Leader.

The bill would allow adults to grow up to six plants; three could be mature plants.

“(HB 1694) would provide adult New Hampshire citizens with a controlled, tested, labeled, and less harmful alternative to alcohol,” said the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Geoffrey Hirsch (D-Bradford).

“How much more available can it be,” Hirsch said. “It's hard to imagine an environment where students have greater access to marijuana then they already do.”

But. Rep. John Tholl (R-Whitfield) wasn't having any of this marijuana business. "This is not the New Hampshire way, to say 'Yes you should use this federally illegal drug, while we are trying to stop the use of opioids," a nonsensical Tholl blathered.

The New Hampshire House several years ago approved a bill legalizing marijuana, but the bill died in the Senate. The House has approved decriminalization several times, but the more conservative Senate has also methodically killed all those bills.

U.S.: Democratic Congressman Wants To Defund DEA's Marijuana Eradication Program

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) is backing legislation to end funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration's wasteful marijuana eradication program.

“This is a ridiculous waste of precious federal resources, especially when multiple states and jurisdictions have already legalized marijuana,” Lieu said in a statement on Wednesday, reports Fox News. “It is time for the federal government to stop making marijuana use or possession a federal crime.”

Lieu's proposed amendment to a 2016 fiscal spending bill would cut in half the DEA's $18 million budget for eradicating cannabis grows, according to the report.

The $9 million in savings would fund domestic and sexual abuse support programs for children, reports Mark Hensch at The Hill.

Rep. Lieu on Wednesday said he intends to completely end the DEA's marijuana eradication program by fiscal 2017.

"Next year, I will bring another amendment to eliminate the program completely," he said.

Lieu called the program wasteful, given growing support for cannabis legalization nationwide.

Under the eradication program, DEA provides your tax dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies to confiscate and destroy growing marijuana plants. The program goes after both outdoor and indoor operations.

Washington: Cannabis Testing Lab Founder Dr. Michelle Sexton Interviewed

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As marijuana legalization has spread to new states and regions, the regulatory framework of the industry has struggled to adapt. How to ensure product safety via scientific testing has been a popular debate, and some legal markets have mandated testing for cannabis producers and retailers.

Ganjapreneur, a cannabis industry publication focused on business news and culture, recently published an interview with Dr. Michelle Sexton of PhytaLab about her take on cannabis testing regulations.

Dr. Sexton founded PhytaLab in 2010, and she has also served as a consultant to the Washington State Liquor Control Board on the implementation of I-502, the state’s bill which led to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. She is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, and she is also an avid surfer and rock climber.

In the interview, Sexton explains how the lack of federal recognition of legal cannabis markets has made scientific research very difficult. "Due to the federal status, crowd-sourced science has virtually replaced clinical research, being 'loosely' conducted without the usual controls or theoretical frameworks," Dr. Sexton said.

Washington: Military Department Paying $110K To Settle Marijuana Activist's Suit

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington state Military Department has agreed to pay $110,000 to a King County marijuana activist and a Seattle attorney to settle a long-running public records lawsuit centered around the Washington National Guard's counterdrug task force.

Activist John Worthington of Renton and attorney William Crittenden sought the release of flight records and other documents, reports Adam Ashton at the Tacoma News Tribune.

Worthington, 51, had tried to get the records since 2008 under Washington's Public Records Act, which applies to state agencies. King County Sheriff's deputies seized six marijuana plants from Worthington's home in 2007.

"They went after me because I'm an activist, and I've been terrorized out of growing," Worthington told the Seattle PI at the time, reports Curtis Cartier at Seattle Weekly. "I can't have my kids frisked like they're criminals. That was disgusting. I'm not Al Capone -- I'm a dad."

The National Guard wasn't involved in that raid, but Worthington views the Guard's involvement as a federal entity in a state counterdrug task force as a violation of federal law prohibiting military authorities from participating in domestic law enforcement.

U.S.: New Marijuana Market Research Report Predicts $21 Billion Legal Cannabis Market By 2020

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GreenWave Advisors, LLC, a newly established independent research and advisory firm serving the burgeoning marijuana industry, on Tuesday released its inaugural research report, “The GreenWave Report: State of the Emerging Marijuana Industry – Current Trends and Projections.” The firm estimates that retail marijuana industry sales could reach $21 billion by 2020 and separately, suggests that if marijuana is legally sold in all states and D.C. by 2020, the consolidated market for retail medical and adult use sales could total $35 billion in the first full year of a federally legalized market.

The firm is the first to provide a state by state bottom up fundamental analysis of the U.S. medical and adult use marijuana retail markets. The analysis also provides a first glimpse of the similarities in reported results in the legalized markets thus far.

“We are pleased to offer investors the first independent, comprehensive, detailed and transparent look at the market potential of the retail marijuana industry,” said Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner at GreenWave Advisors, LLC.

In the upcoming election, Florida residents will vote on a measure to legalize medical marijuana and the citizens of Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will decide on full legalization. “We want investors to be ready for the imminent changes that will profoundly impact investment strategies in the marijuana industry”, Karnes said.

Illinois: Chicago Hospital Wants To Sell Medical Marijuana, But Stymied By Federal Law

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If officials at Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital get their wish, authorized medical marijuana patients could one day buy their cannabis at a hospital dispensary, just like patients buying antibiotics or pain relievers at the hospital's pharmacy.

"We have professionals who very much would like to prescribe these drugs, we have the system in place to manage it and we have the patient population that needs it," said Marcia Jimenez, director of intergovernmental affairs at Swedish Covenant Hospital, reports Becky Schlikerman at the Chicago Sun Times. "It just made a lot of sense."

The hospital would like to be the first in Illinois to take advantage of the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state. Illinois has agreed to issue 60 permits to sell medical marijuana, 13 of which will be in Chicago.

Swedish Covenant would really like one of those, but is hamstrung by federal law, under which marijuana is illegal for any purpose, classified as a dangerous Schedule I controlled substance with no medical uses.

"If the hospital were to become a dispensary at this point, we would be violating the federal law and jeopardizing reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid, Jimenez said. Hospital administrators are also worried they could be targeted for "criminal activity" and get in tax trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.

Washington: Five Medical Marijuana Patients Headed To Federal Trial; Prosecutors Seek 10 Years

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Prosecutions Contradict Obama Administration Statements, Policy Against Targeting Sick Patients

Family members from a rural area of eastern Washington are expected to go to trial next month on federal marijuana charges, despite the Obama Administration's repeated claims that it does not target seriously ill patients. The federal trial of the "Kettle Falls 5" is scheduled for May 12, pending several pretrial motions which will be heard on April 22 before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane.

Because of marijuana's illegal status under federal law, patients like the "Kettle Falls 5" are typically prohibited from raising a medical necessity or state law defense in federal court.

Federal agents raided the property of Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012. In addition to seizing 44 premature marijuana plants, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscated the family's 2007 Saturn Vue, $700 in cash, medicated cookies and marijuana stored in the family freezer, along with legally owned firearms.

The five federal defendants, including Mrs. Firestack-Harvey’s son, Rolland Gregg, and daughter-in-law, were all qualified patients in compliance with Washington state law. Defense attorneys say the cannabis being cultivated on a remote corner of the family's 33-acre property was strictly for personal use.

U.S.: TSA May Let You Carry Marijuana On Airplane, Depending On Flight

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is reportedly allowing passengers to bring both medical and recreational marijuana aboard commercial airliners, depending on where they are flying and what the law allows in the departing and arriving states.

Since the TSA is a federal agency, it doesn't involve itself with state laws such as the general cannabis legalization recently passed by voters in Colorado and Washington, reports Chris Weller at Medical Daily. While flying with any amount of marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the current protocol for agents who find cannabis during the screening process is to defer to local law enforcement officials.

If the passenger can show sufficient proof of medical use -- or is flying between states where marijuana is legal -- officials will often let it slide.

"I hear reports from people flying from one medical use site to another or flying from one part of California to another, and they generally report that if they carry their authorization, they simply show the letter and are sent on their way and are allowed to keep their medicine," said Keith Stroup, the attorney who founded the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), reports Aaron Kase at Lawyers.com.

U.S.: Hemp, Inc. Educates On Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hemp, Inc., which works in the industrial hemp industry as a publicly traded company, is engaged in an effort to educate consumers, shareholders and others on the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana.

"It is important to note that Industrial Hemp products are completely legal for consumers to purchase in the United States," the company stated in a Tuesday press release. "Marijuana, while medically legal in many states and recreationally legal in Colorado and Washington, is deemed illegal on the Federal level, and thus the reason Hemp, Inc., focuses on our various Industrial Hemp products and not marijuana."

Hemp products such as hemp milk, hemp cereal, and hemp oil and purchased by American consumers every day, and, obviously, are legal.

Hemp, Inc., focuses strictly on industrial hemp products, since it is allowed to market in all 50 states and worldwide without any ambivalence between state and federal laws, "giving us a distinct advantage from the limited medical marijuana markets," the press release states. "By getting a foothold ion, what many see as the next American Industrial Revolution, the Industrial Hemp Industry, Hemp, Inc., (the only publicly traded company of its kind in the sector) will continue to be the avant-garde of every category of industrial hemp products."

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