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U.S.: Marijuana Deliveries Expected To Spike New Year's Eve

Happy New Year.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana deliveries are expected to spike New Year's Eve, repeating what occurred last year.

Deliveries on New Year's Eve last year increased 71 percent over the typical yearly average for Saturdays, and increased by 41 percent on New Year's Day, according to Forbes.

Weed deliveries jumped by 23 percent from the average on Fridays on December 23rd, and by 6 percent on Christmas Eve.

Experts attribute the increase to holiday stress possibly. Perhaps more people are giving pot as a gift this holiday season. Maybe it's distress over the recent election.

You might be advised to order early to beat the rush.

U.S.: Marijuana Deliveries Expected To Spike New Year's Eve

Happy New Year.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana deliveries are expected to spike New Year's Eve, repeating what occurred last year.

Deliveries on New Year's Eve last year increased 71 percent over the typical yearly average for Saturdays, and increased by 41 percent on New Year's Day, according to Forbes.

Weed deliveries jumped by 23 percent from the average on Fridays on December 23rd, and by 6 percent on Christmas Eve.

Experts attribute the increase to holiday stress possibly. Perhaps more people are giving pot as a gift this holiday season. Maybe it's distress over the recent election.

You might be advised to order early to beat the rush.

Great Britain: Marijuana Extract Proven To Treat Rare Forms Of Epilepsy

A form of marijuana extract has again proven to be an effective treatment for several different types of epilepsy.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A pharmaceutical-grade form of marijuana extract has again proven to be an effective treatment for several different types of epilepsy.

The British company GW Pharmaceuticals has released successful results from the latest clinical trial of Epidiolex, a form of CBD-rich medication, Forbes reported.

It was the second trial for a rare type of epilepsy called Lennox Gastaut Dyndrome. Epidiolex was given to 86 patients who suffer from the disorder, while 85 patients received a placebo medication. Patients given the Epidiolex saw their seizures reduce by 44%, compared to a 22% reduction for those in placebo.

“Between the plant itself and the processing steps which are being taken, the product ends up being pure CBD,” said GW’s chief executive Justin Gower to Forbes.

GW Pharmaceuticals plans to file for FDA approval in the first half of 2017, although many similar CBD-based formulations are already available in states with legal medical marijuana laws, such as California and Colorado.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Program In Danger Of Failure

IllinoisMedicalMarijuana[RebootIllinois]

By Steve Elliott

Strict rules governing which patients qualify for the Illinois medical marijuana program, seen by some as the most restrictive such program in the nation, mean a low number of approved patients, and this could force some medicinal cannabis businesses to close just as the program is starting to get underway.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has approved only a small amount of illnesses meeting the requirements for using medical marijuana in the state, reports Debra Borchardt at Forbes. Despite the fact that the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board for the program had recommended that 11 additional conditions be added to the list, in September the IDPH refused to expand the list.

The advisory board came back in October with a list of eight conditions; if the new list is approved, it would lead to a much larger number of patients, and would ensure the success of the medical marijuana program and the viability of the businesses. Several chronic pain conditions, osteoarthritis, autism, irritable bowel syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are on the latest list the board has recommended.

Arizona: Marijuana Initiative Backers Encourage Business Leaders To Consider Economic Benefits

ArizonaRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol2016

Prior to an annual Chamber of Commerce event on Wednesday, backers of a 2016 ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona will encourage business leaders to consider the economic benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana in the state.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. MST on January 6, outside the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry Legislative Luncheon in Phoenix (northeast corner of N. 3rd and E. Van Buren streets).

Campaign leaders will have a sign and distribute handouts that invalidate opponents’ claims that regulating marijuana for adult use will be bad for business in Arizona.

“Regulating marijuana like alcohol would bolster our state’s economy with new tax revenue, new jobs, and new business opportunities,” said campaign chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Business leaders typically recognize the value of a legal and regulated alcohol market for adults. Our initiative would establish a similar system but for an objectively less harmful product.

“Since Colorado made marijuana legal for adults, its economy has improved dramatically and at a far greater rate than most other states,” Holyoak said. “Opponents of that law claimed it would be bad for business, and that claim has proven to be entirely unfounded.”

The following facts will be included in the handout distributed to attendees:

U.S.: New Bill Would Cut Off Federal Forfeiture Funds For DEA Marijuana Raids

CivilAssetForfeitureIWantYourPropertyUncleSam[TheDailySheeple]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new bill with bipartisan support would eliminate one controversial source of funding for a federal marijuana seizure program.

The "Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act," introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration from using federal forfeiture funds to pay for its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, reports Nick Sibilla at Forbes. The bill would additionally ban transferring property to federal, state or local agencies if that property "is used for any purpose pertaining to" the DEA's marijuana eradication program.

The DEA gets millions of dollars annually under this program; the take was $18 million in 2013. It then funnels the cash to more than 120 state and local agencies to "eliminate marijuana grow sites" nationwide.

Last year, the program was responsible for more than 6,300 arrests, eradicating more than 4.3 million marijuana plants, and seizing $27.3 million in assets. More than half of all those plants were destroyed in California, which also accounted for more than a third of the seized assets and nearly 40 percent of the arrests.

Colorado: Overcapacity Drives Down Marijuana Prices

WelcomeToColoradoMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

There's lots of weed in Colorado, man. In fact, there's so much marijuana, overcapacity in dispensaries is driving down prices. Retail cannabis prices have dropped for a year now, but seem to be stabilizing in the third quarter, according to a marijuana store survey by chief market strategist Nicholas Colas and Jessica Rabe, both with Convergex.

Colas surveyed retail pot stores in Colorado and fought that cannabis fell from $50-$70 for an eighth-ounce to $30-$45, reports Debra Borchardt at Forbes. An ounce fell from $300-$400 to the lower end of $300 an ounce. According to Colas, all his contacts said that more competition was the reason for the downward pricing pressure, as more dispensaries and grow facilities open.

Colas said there were 156 retail marijuana stores and 204 retail cultivation facilities at the start of 2014, according to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division. "At the end of December 2014, there were 322 retail stores and 397 retail cultivations respectively," he said, representing roughly double the number at the beginning the year.

As of August 3, those numbers have increased to 385 retail stores and 496 retail cultivations, a 20 percent and 25 percent increase respectively.

Prices seem to be stabilizing, but Colas said some stores sell ounces for $200. The survey participants told him they had to lower prices to compete.

U.S.: Federal Appeals Court Says Marijuana Businesses Cannot Deduct Expenses

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a huge blow to the newly legal marijuana industry, the IRS has convinced the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that marijuana dispensaries can't deduct business expenses, and must pay taxes on 100 percent of their gross income, reports Robert W. Wood at Forbes.

Almost every business in the United States pays taxes only on net profits, after expenses. But marijuana businesses are different -- they must pay taxes on gross profits, according to a Ninth Circuit federal court decision on Thursday, reports Paul L. Caron at the TaxProf Blog.

The court affirmed than the Internal Revenue Service's Section 280E prevents a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary from deducting ordinary or necessary business expenses because its Vapor Room is a "trade or business ... consist[ing] of trafficking in controlled substances ... prohibited by Federal law." [Olive v. Commissioner, No. 13-70510 (July 9, 2015)

Australia: Researcher Claims Marijuana Causes Mental Disorders, Loss of Intelligence

Australia-ProfessorWayneHall(UniversityOfQueensland)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Surprise, surprise: When you summarize the results of 20 years' worth of the most anti-marijuana studies you can find, you get anti-marijuana conclusions. In what is being touted in sensationalistic press accounts as a "definitive study," an Australian is claiming that his investigation into 20 years of marijuana research shows that cannabis is addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway to hard drug use.

Professor Wayne Hall, a drug advisor to the World Health Organization and specialist in addiction at the University of Queensland in Australia, said that heavy, daily use of pot can also lead to car crashes and unhealthy babies. He arrived at this conclusion by hand-picking the most anti-marijuana studies from the past 20 years and passing them off as a "definitive new study."

U.S.: Marijuana Use Changes The Brain, New Study Says

MarijuanaLeafBrain

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Young adults who smoke marijuana occasionally show changes in two key areas of their brains related to emotion, motivation and decision making, with the degree of changes related to the amount of cannabis used per week, according to a new study by researchers in Boston. Other scientists quickly pointed out that the research was partially sponsored by the federal agency charged with keeping marijuana illegal.

The study is believed to be the first which indicates such changes in the the brains of young, casual marijuana users, reports Kay Lazar at The Boston Globe.

The scientists did not study whether the brain changes were related to any declines in brain function. Any speculation by the scientists themselves, therefore, or especially by journalists who sensationalize the findings, about declines in cognition or functionality is therefore completely unsupported by any evidence.

But the scientists, unfortunately including lead author Jodi Gilman, did exactly that.

U.S.: Fewer Than One Third of Americans Oppose Marijuana Legalization

LegalizeIt(Leaf)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Fewer than one third of Americans oppose the legalization of cannabis, according to a new poll from the Associated Press. Just 29 percent of respondents said they opposed "legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use."

The number opposing legalization has fallen dramatically since 2010, when 55 percent were opposed, notes Jacob Sullum at Forbes. The AP numbers are consistent with other recent surveys in finding increased acceptance of marijuana, and increased resistance to its prohibition.

The share in favor of legalization was about the same as in 2010, but more repeated "feeling neutral" on the issue this time, reports the Associated Press. Pollsters typically see an increase in "neutral" responses in surveys conducted online (as in 2013) compared with those conducted by phone (as was the case in 2010).

Public opinion has been gradually softening towards cannabis since anti-pot hysteria peaked during the "Just Say No" Reagan 80s. Opposition to legal marijuana peaked in 1990 at 84 percent, according to the General Social Survey conducted at the University of Chicago.

Colorado: Denver Considers Limiting Home Cultivation of Marijuana

JeanneRobb

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Denver City Council, busily making rules around marijuana use ever since Colorado voters decided to legalize cannabis with the Amendment 64 vote last year, will next week decide whether to limit the number of pot plants that can grown at home.

The ordinance would allow up to six marijuana plants per adult for recreational use to be grown in a home, but set a maximum of 12 plants per dwelling unit, reports Jeremy Mayer at The Denver Post.

Some cannabis advocates say the plan would disproportionately affect veterans and medical marijuana patients, but Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, who sponsors the ordinance, claimed it comes from "safety concerns."

"The police are very worried about the homegrows and the problems they could cause, fires, pesticide use, the mold, structural damage, children who might be living in these areas and THC on surface areas," Robb claimed. "They really want to be able to go in and have law enforcement ability to do our zoning."

Robb's supposed concerns, which echo the talking points of an anti-pot group called Smart Colorado, "seem pretty weak," according to Jacob Sullum at Forbes.

Florida: Billionaire Marijuana Philanthropist, Progressive Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis Dies

PeterLewisProgressive

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Peter Lewis, the billionaire chairman of Progressive Insurance and a prominent donor to marijuana legalization, died Saturday afternoon at age 80 at his home in Coconut Grove, Florida, according to his adviser Jennifer Frutchy.

Lewis was a high-profile backer of drug-law reform, reports Luisa Kroll at Forbes. He spent almost $3 million on the November 2012 election, contributing $2 million to the I-502 marijuana legalization drive in Washington state and another $1 million to the medical marijuana effort in Massachusetts; both were successful.

"We were, of course, incredibly grateful for Mr. Lewis's significant contributions that made Initiative 502 possible," I-502 author Alison Holcomb told David Holley of Bloomberg News. "We're very hopeful that others will follow in the example he set."

Cynics pointed out that Progressive Insurance is the chief source of the auto insurance policies that those convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana in Washington (cannabis DUI) under I-502 will be forced to buy; 502, in addition to legalizing possession of up to an ounce of pot, created a whole new crime in Washington state, that of driving with more than 5 ng/ml of THC in the blood (previously, law enforcement had to prove actual impairment to make a DUI stick).

U.S.: Feds Have No Viable Legal Challenge To Marijuana Legalization, Admits Deputy A.G.

JamesColeDeputyAttorneyGeneral

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. Justice Department doesn't have a viable legal basis on which to challenge marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington, Deputy Attorney General James Cole admitted on Sunday.

"It would be a very challenging lawsuit to bring," Deputy Attorney General Cole said while testifying at the first Congressional hearing on cannabis legalization in the two states, reports Jacob Sullum at Forbes.

Cole said that simply repealing state penalties for growing, possessing, and selling marijuana does not create a "positive conflict" with the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

He argued that the feds would be on firmer legal ground if they tried to preempt state licensing and regulation of cannabis businesses which are newly legal under state law. But the deputy attorney general said that approach would mean that if such litigation were successful, it would leave the industry unregulated.

That's why the Department of Justice decided on the approach summarized in the memo Cole issued on August 29, limiting federal enforcement to cases that involve eight "federal concerns," including sales to minors, drugged driving, and diversion of marijuana to other states.

"We have reserved quite explicitly the right to go in and preempt at a later date," Cole said, summarizing the DOJ's policy as "trust, but verify."

U.S.: NFL Under Pressure To Ease Harsh Penalties For Marijuana Use

MarijuanaFootball

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The National Football League has fallen behind the times, when it comes to acceptance of marijuana. The NFL, so far, has stubbornly refused to follow the lead of the public's shifting opinion about recreational cannabis use.

The Marijuana Policy Project highlighted this discrepancy recently when it paid $5,000 for a 48-foot-wide billboard in Denver prior to the Broncos' season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, reports David Lariviere at Forbes. The billboard urged the league to "stop driving players to drink" with harsh marijuana penalties, noting "a safer choice is now legal (here)" after Colorado voters in November approved legalization measure Amendment 64.

The MPP has also launched a petition on Change.org directed at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, calling on the league to change its harsh penalties for marijuana.

"For years, the NFL has been punishing players for using marijuana despite the fact that it is far less harmful than alcohol, a substance widely embraced by the league," said Mason Tvert, director of communications at MPP.

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