Marijuana

California: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom Asks Trump To Cooperate With State On Marijuana Regulation

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter to President Trump on Friday asking him to not increase federal enforcement of laws against recreational marijuana use.

The letter was copied to Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, and follows yesterday's comments made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who told reporters, "I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement” against recreational-use marijuana.

“The war on marijuana has failed,” Newsom wrote in the letter. “It did not, and will not, keep marijuana out of kids’ hands.”

“The government must not strip the legal and publicly supported industry of its business and hand it back to drug cartels and criminals,” Newsom wrote to Trump. “Dealers don’t card kids. I urge you and your administration to work in partnership with California and the other eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use in a way that will let us enforce our state laws that protect the public and our children, while targeting the bad actors.”

Newsom was a leading supporter of Proposition 64, approved by voters last November, which made recreational marijuana use legal in California for adults 21 and over. The state plans to begin issuing licenses to growers and sellers early next year.

Newsom also had an issue with comments made by Spicer linking marijuana use to opioids.

U.S.: New Poll Shows Americans Want Feds To Respect State Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday morning, a vast majority of U.S. citizens believe in legalizing marijuana, and think the federal government should respect state marijuana laws.

Ninety-three percent of Americans surveyed in the poll support legal medical marijuana, and 59 percent support legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and all age groups are opposed to the government enforcing federal prohibition laws in states where marijuana is legal for medical or adult use.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The nationwide survey included 1,323 voters. The results reflected trends similar to those indicated in national polls released by Gallup and the Pew Research Center in October.

Washington, DC: Spicer Says Expect To See 'Greater Enforcement' On Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday that states should expect to see greater federal enforcement of laws against the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

While taking questions from reporters at the daily briefing, Spicer was asked if the government would take action on recreational marijuana use. Spicer replied: "Well I think that's a question for the Department of Justice. I do believe you'll see greater enforcement of it. Because again there's a big difference between the medical use ... that's very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into."

President Donald Trump “understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases, and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them,” he said, also noting previous action by Congress not to fund the Justice Department “go[ing] after those folks.”

As for “recreational marijuana, that’s a very, very different subject,” Spicer said.

Ignoring recent studies which suggest marijuana can help ease the opioid addiction crisis affecting some areas, Spicer went on to actually connect marijuana to the opioid crisis.

U.S.: GW Pharma Moves To Monopolize CBD Market

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bruce Barcott of Leafly has exposed some actions taken by GW Pharma (NASDAQ: GWPH) that seem to attempt to limit competition from suppliers of CBD.

Lobbyists have been engaged in several states by the company and its U.S. subsidiary, Greenwich BioSciences, companies which are both supporting legislation in South Dakota and Nebraska that would “effectively give GW/Greenwich a temporary monopoly on legal CBD products” in those states for its Epidiolex.

If given FDA approval, Epidiolex could be on the market in early 2018. Legislation advancing in both South Dakota and Nebraska suggests that CBD would be permitted only from FDA-approved providers.

Barcott says GW Pharma and Greenwich BioSciences have hired lobbyists in Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin and possibly in California. Barcott attempted to contact GW Pharma for comment but has not yet received a reply. Should GW Pharma succeed in stifling competition, it could have a serious impact on hopeful in-state poducers of CBD, as well as companies both foreign and domestic who extract CBD from industrial hemp.

California: Gunmen Rob San Diego Marijuana Dispensary Delivery Driver

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A marijuana dispensary delivery driver in San Diego was robbed at gunpoint Monday evening in Point Loma Heights by two men who got away with his stash, police reported.

Officers responded at about 7:30 pm to the 3900 block of West Point Loma Boulevard where the suspects had ordered the marijuana to be delivered, according to Officer John Buttle.

The first suspect was described as a Hispanic male about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a slender build wearing dark clothing, Officer Buttle said. The second suspect was described only as a black man in his mid-20s.

No further information is yet available.

Colorado: Parachute Getting State's First Drive-through Marijuana Shop

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The town of Parachute in western Colorado will soon be home to what is almost certainly the state's first drive-through marijuana shop.

The business will open in a former car wash in March.

The new store, named Tumbleweed Express, had their business license application approved by the Parachute Board of Trustees last week.

"We think the drive-through is a very creative and innovative idea," Parachute Town Manager Stuart McArthur said. "The really good news is that other businesses are benefiting from it," he added.

He said that travelers stopping to buy marijuana in Parachute are more likely to stop at restaurants and other shops.

The store had already received an approval from the state Marijuana Enforcement Division. No-one under the age of 21 will be allowed on the premises -- not even in the back seat of a car or van.

“As far as I can tell, we are not aware of this business model ever coming up before,” said Robert Goulding, spokesman for the state Marijuana Enforcement Division.

The shop is required to have security and surveillance. Marijuana is not allowed to be seen outside of the store.

Parachute Mayor Roy McClung said the town's economy would have been in serious trouble without legalized recreational marijuana.

Vermont: New Bill Proposed To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont saw a complicated bill to legalize recreational marijuana fail last year. A new, simpler bill is proposed that would allow possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, and allow Vermonters to grow several plants at home.

“The more conservative it is, the more appealing it will be to people outside this room,” said Republican Rep. Tom Burditt, one of the bill’s sponsors at the House Judiciary Committee meeting Wednesday. Burditt voted against last year’s bill.

The former bill, which passed the Vermont Senate, but failed in the House, would have created a commercial market for marijuana in the state, much like the system established in Colorado.

The new bill is much shorter, and would be more like the system in Washington, DC, where there are no provisions for sales but people can possess and grow small amounts of marijuana.

Republican Governor Phil Scott will be the new bill's biggest obstacle. He opposed the bill last year when he was lieutenant governor, and has raised concerns against legalization.

Rebecca Kelley, Scott's spokeswoman, said the Governor wants any marijuana legalization law to address public safety concerns, including law enforcement’s ability to test for impairment and keep roads safe.

Wisconsin: Governor Walker Still Thinks Marijuana Is A Gateway Drug

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker told reporters Thursday that he would support a CBD oil bill, but he is opposed to any measure that would bring marijuana into his state. He still thinks marijuana is a gateway drug.

Walker was promoting his new budget package in a visit to Western Technical College in La Crosse when he went as far as to link marijuana use with harder drugs.

“I do not, however, support measures that would open the door with legalized use of marijuana in state,” Walker said, “because law enforcement, increasingly, from one end of the state to another, from democrats as well as republican sheriffs, have told me, ‘Do not legalize marijuana, it is a gateway drug to other drugs.'”

Clinton Gallagher wrote a letter to the editor of The Cap Times, a local media outlet for Madison, Wisconsin, upset with the Governor resurrecting the 'gateway theory', which has been debunked.

“We must stop allowing hypocritical vote-seeking politicians to refer to marijuana as the gateway drug when everybody that was once a teenager knows it’s alcoholic beverages that cause death and destruction, insidiously sanctioned by all who oppose legalization of marijuana,” he wrote.

Arizona: Border Patrol Seizes Catapult Used To Launch Marijuana Into U.S.

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Border Patrol agents in Arizona recently discovered and seized a drug catapult being used to launch marijuana into the United States from Mexico. The agents dismantled the catapult after it was seized by Mexican authorities.

The catapult was found attached to the top of a border fence near Douglas Port of Entry about 120 miles southeast of Tucson, according to a statement released Tuesday by Customs and Border Protection officials. The device was constructed using square tubing welded to a heavy spring, with rope tied around it.

The device was used to launch two bundles of pot into the United States from Mexico. The bundles weighed 47 pounds combined.

The discovery was made by agents February 10, after they approached several people standing near the fence. The agents found the weed nearby after the people ran away.

The catapult was seized by Mexican authorities, after the CBP alerted them. The CBP dismantled the catapult soon after.

The US federal agency punned by tweeting: “#USBP agents spring into action dismantling catapult used to launch #Marijuana”.

Virginia: Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam Publicly Announces Support For Marijuana Decriminalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam wrote on Medium and in a press release yesterday afternoon that he supports decriminalization of marijuana.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk and hopeful candidate for Governor wrote in Medium, "As a doctor, I’m becoming increasingly convinced by the data showing potential health benefits of marijuana, such as pain relief, drug-resistant epilepsy, and treatment for PTSD, By decriminalizing it, our researchers can better study the plant so doctors can more effectively prescribe drugs made from it.”

“We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana,” he wrote. “African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement—money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.”

Texas: Former NFL Players Advocate For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several former NFL players are hoping to change the league's ban on marijuana.

A cannabis convention was held at the Revention Music Center in Houston Wednesday night ahead of Super Bowl LI. Jim McMahon, former NFL quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion, was one of several former players in attendance.

“Marijuana is not a drug,” said McMahon. “It’s a medicinal herb. Drugs happen only when man puts their hands on it.”

McMahon and other former players shared stories of how marijuana saved their lives.

“I went through a real bad depression and laid down on the railroad tracks and tried to commit suicide myself so it was just by the grace of God that I found God and found cannabis as well,” said Boo Williams, former NFL tight end.

“[I had] constant thoughts of suicide and depression and rage and all these things that were neurologically disrupting my life and I can’t say enough about making that transition,” former NLF offensive lineman Kyle Turley said.

He continued, “I don’t take an aspirin to this day, an Aleve, an Advil, nothing. I have a strict cannabis regimen that I use.”

McMahon hopes to help remove the stigma related to marijuana and promote its benefits to the general public as well as former NFL players.

Massachusetts: Million-square-foot Marijuana Growing Facility To Open This Fall

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A million-square-foot facility for growing marijuana is scheduled to open this fall in a small town in Bristol County, Massachusetts.

The Freetown, MA property will feature a state-of-the-art medical cannabis cultivation facility known as the Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center.

The center will be one of the largest marijuana cultivation facilities in the United States.

The first phase of construction will begin in March and will include a 130,000 square-foot facility for the cultivation and processing of marijuana plants and a 30,000 suare-foot space for the research and development of marijuana goods.

AmeriCann, a publicly traded company based in Denver, purchased the land this fall for $4,475,000 from Boston Beer Company, the makers of Samuel Adams.

"This is a project that has been in the works for quite a while," said AmeriCann CEO Tim Keogh.

All marijuana cultivated in the Freetown facility will be available for sale only in Massachusetts, as required by state law.

Vermont: Governor Pardons 192 Marijuana Offenders

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont governor Peter Schumlin (D) announced pardons Tuesday for 192 people with former convictions for marijuana possession. All but 15 of those pardoned were residents of Vermont.

The state decriminalized pot in 2013, but has not yet legalized and regulated the plant as eight other states have, including Vermont's neighbors Massachusetts and Maine.

Although laws and attitudes toward marijuana have changed a lot in the past several years, few governors have issued pardons to marijuana offenders.

“What he’s [Governor Shumlin] doing is, it’s almost unimaginably safe [from criticism] if you think in terms of 40 years ago,” P.S. Ruckman, Jr., a professor of political science at Rock Valley College in Illinois, told The Christian Science Monitor in an interview. “It’s highly significant. I think it’s likely we'll see more of it.”

Gov. Shumlin’s pardon applied only to people convicted of possessing less than an ounce of pot who had no violent criminal histories, felony convictions, or record of driving under the influence or reckless driving.

“When you look at the Vermonters who are sitting out there with criminal records because they had an ounce or less of marijuana — could have happened in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s – there’s thousands of them,” he said in early December.

Washington, D.C.: Marijuana Legalizations Supporters To Hand Out 4,200 Joint At Trump Inauguration

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization activists plan to hand out thousands of joints during President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration to raise awareness about the fragility of legal marijuana under his administration.

The advocacy group behind the ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in Washington, DC in 2014 plans to take to the streets to hand out 4,200 joints on January 20, or roughly 40 ounces of weed.

“We are forced to do this type of publicity stunt because the Trump administration hasn’t mentioned marijuana once since he was elected,” said DCMJ founder Adam Eidinger. “It reminds people that the public wants change, and the politicians aren’t doing it.”

Despite the fact that voters legalized marijuana in D.C. in 2014, it remains illegal to buy or sell the drug in the nation’s capital because of action taken by Congress that bans local lawmakers from passing new marijuana laws. Activists hope to align with Trump supporters who also support marijuana legalization in their home states so they can work together to push the Republican administration to expand legalization.

Eidinger said the marijuana protests are not meant to shut down the celebration or to alienate Trump supporters.

U.S.: Sen. Elizabeth Warren Works To End Banking Limbo For Pot Shops

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

As more marijuana shops open in states that have legalized the drug, they struggle with no access to the banking services that other businesses routinely enjoy.

Democratic Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading an effort to make sure legal marijuana businesses don't have their banking services taken away.

Warren and other leaders are working to bring the growing $7 billion marijuana industry in from a fiscal limbo in which they deal solely in cash, making them easy targets for criminals.

After voters in Warren's home state of Massachusetts approved a measure to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, she and nine other senators sent a letter to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, asking it to issue additional guidance to help banks provide services to marijuana shop vendors.

Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said there are benefits to letting marijuana-based businesses move away from a cash-only model.

"You make sure that people are really paying their taxes. You know that the money is not being diverted to some kind of criminal enterprise," Warren said recently. "And it's just a plain old safety issue. You don't want people walking in with guns and masks and saying, 'Give me all your cash.'"

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