marijuana legalization

Delaware: Advocates Push For Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several speakers urged Delaware Gov. John Carney to change his mind and support the legalization of marijuana Wednesday at a roundtable discussion at Delaware Technical Community College's Wilmington campus.

“It’s time for this natural, organic, pure plant to be set free,” said Hector Ortez, a cancer survivor from Camden. “Everyone should have the human right to use cannabis legally. We are not criminals unless the law makes us criminals.”

Carney stayed mostly quiet as legislators, advocates and residents lauded the proposed Delaware Marijuana Control Act.

The governor has voiced his opposition to the bill but says he is willing to hear from all sides. "I'm here to listen," Carney said at the outset of the discussion.

"Times are changing," said state Rep. Helene Keeley, D-South Wilmington, sponsor of the bill that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. "As people become more educated and get past misconceptions, there has been growing support."

tate Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East and the bill's Senate sponsor, said it was an issue of "criminal and social justice."

"If you look at our prison system, there are a lot of people in jail for low-level drug crimes that don't belong there," Henry said. "If this legislation passes, we won't be arresting people unnecessarily."

Connecticut: Marijuana Legalization Hearing Draws Conflicting Testimony

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A hearing on legalizing marijuana for adults in Connecticut Wednesday produced plenty of conflicting testimony about risks and benefits associated with the plant. Topics of concern ranged from health concerns to the state's need for tax revenue.

Very different attitudes toward recreational marijuana were expressed by members of the General Assembly's judiciary committee. Some lawmakers opposed cannabis legalization, while some strongly supported it.

Supporters of marijuana legalization argued that the plant is less addictive than alcohol or nicotine, and that millions of dollars of illegal cannabis is currently being sold in Connecticut every year. Marijuana legalization "would take control of the marijuana market out of the hands of drug dealers," said Joseph LaChance, a medical marijuana patient from Milford.

Martin M. Looney, the Senate's top Democratic leader, testified that prohibiting marijuana use in Connecticut has been as ineffective as alcohol Prohibition was in the 1920s and 1930s.

Looney and others argued that the tax revenue generated by legal marijuana sales could help solve Connecticut's fiscal crisis. Currently, medical marijuana can be sold to patients with a few certain qualifying conditions in Connecticut, but the sales are not taxed.

U.S.: New Report Shows Marijuana Could Be Legal In All 50 States By 2021

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new report suggests that every state in the nation could have legal marijuana for medical or recreational use by 2021.

The latest research by GreenWave Advisors shows the marijuana legalization movement is expected to expand into a significant number of states in the next few years. There is already momentum to get marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballots in 2018 and 2020, which could lead to marijuana being legal in some form in all 50 states, the Motley Fool reports.

Last year should be noted as one of the biggest ever in the history of marijuana law reform with voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada voting to legalize recreational cannabis. These states joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington in legalizing recreational marijuana and running a regulated and taxed cannabis trade.

Phillipines: President Duterte Says Donald Trump Backs His Violent Anti-drug Campaign

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, said Saturday that President-elect Donald Trump had endorsed his brutal anti-drug campaign, saying the Philippines was doing it "the right way."

Duterte spoke with Trump on telephone Friday, and said that Trump was "quite sensitive" to "our worry about drugs."

“He wishes me well, too, in my campaign, and he said that, well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Mr. Duterte said.

Duterte has encouraged the police and others to kill people they suspect of using or selling drugs. Since he took office in June, more than 2,000 people have been killed by police in incidents described by officers as drug raids, and the police say several hundred more have been killed by vigilantes.

The United States, the United Nations, the European Union and others have all condemned Duterte's program for what right organizations are calling extrajudicial killings. Duterte rejected the criticism, calling President Obama "a son of a whore."

“I could sense a good rapport, an animated President-elect Trump,” Mr. Duterte said. “And he was wishing me success in my campaign against the drug problem.”

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.

Maine: Marijuana Ballot Question Recount Could Take Weeks

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Maine Department of the Secretary of State said today that recounts of a pair of ballot questions could take four to six weeks.

Ballot questions that legalized recreational marijuana and approved a tax on high earners to fund public education are both facing recounts. The department is getting ready to announce a schedule for the recounts.

Both measures were narrowly passed by voters on November 8.

The two recounts will likely take place at the same time and may begin as soon as this week.

North Carolina: Greensboro Woman Receives 4 Pounds Of Marijuana In Mail by Mistake

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Greensboro Police Department says it has seen an influx of marijuana deliveries by mail since it was legalized in California. Mrs. Watson of Greensboro found this out first-hand Monday afternoon when 4 pounds of marijuana were delivered to her home by mistake.

“I just cannot believe that someone would send that amount of drugs to my house! I just cannot believe it,” Watson told WFMY News2. “I'm very frightened. I still am a little.”

Watson said she was decorating her Christmas tree and expecting her husband home from work when she saw the package.

“I glanced out the side door because I always look out before I open the door,” said Watson. “And I noticed this big package was sitting here on my porch. So I opened the box up and my first thought was somebody was sending me a Christmas gift.”

The package was addressed to Watson's house, but it had someone else's name on it.

“I unwrapped it and there was this big round ball of something that was in a vacuum sealed bag with duct tape on it and then I started to wonder,” said Watson.

Police said that amount had a street value of $2,000 to $6,000, depending on the potency.

U.S.: 4 States Most Likely To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Next

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legalized recreational marijuana has been a big news headline ever since the Election Day, when the number of states with legal pot going from 4 to 8. Several other states are getting closer to seeing legal recreational pot legalized, with some being closer than others.

In Arizona, Proposition 205 was defeated by a margin of just 2 percent. Cannabis advocacy groups encouraged by the close defeat will focus their attention on remaining hesitant voters. They expect to see legal recreational weed passed very soon. California just passed Prop 64, but similar measures in 2010, 2012, and 2014 were defeated. Oregon voted “No” on legal cannabis in 2012, then “Yes” in 2014.

Recreational marijuana becomes officially legal in Massachusetts on December 15, 2016, allowing adults to possess as much cannabis as they can grow. Otherwise, individuals can have up to 1 ounce, including 5 grams of concentrate. Neighboring states Rhode Island and Vermont are likely to follow suit, since citizens of those states could easily cross the border to take advantage of legal pot in Massachusetts. Both states are interested in the tax revenue the legal cannabis industry generates.

U.S.: Trump's Attorney General Pick Is Bad News For Legal Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

President-elect Trump announced his pick for Attorney General this morning and it's bad news for the marijuana law reform movement and its recent victories in legalization.

Trump's choice is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, known to be a militant prohibitionist. Aaron Herzberg, general counsel at real estate focused marijuana company CalCann Holdings, said Sessions “is the worst pick that Trump could have picked.”

“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions said during an April Senate hearing. “We need grown ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger.

“To make it socially acceptable creates increased demand and results in people being addicted and being impacted adversely.”

“It appears that he is intent on rolling back policy to the 1980’s Nancy Regan’s ‘just say no on drugs’ days,” Herzberg said in an email. “With the selection of Sessions as attorney general the legalization or marijuana both for medical in 28 states and recreational marijuana in eight states may be in serious jeopardy.”

Here are some more of Sessions' infamous statements:

Massachusetts: Towns May Try To Block Local Pot Shops

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Less than a week after Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana for adults, cities and towns across the state are exploring ways to limit or even snuff out marijuana shops in their communities.

“I’m dead set against it,” said Mayor Stephen N. Zanni of Methuen, who wants to ban marijuana retailers from opening in his city, where 52 percent of local voters opposed the ballot question. “I don’t think it’s an appropriate fit here for our community.”

Marijuana advocates worry that municipal officials are acting rashly to restrain sales of the drug, even though voters statewide just approved Question 4 by a decisive 54 percent to 46 percent.

“I would not want to see a handful of town officials controvert the vote of the people of Massachusetts,” said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for the legalization campaign. “What we don’t support is rushing out of the gate out of paranoia and hysteria."

Under the new law, recreational use of the drug will become legal on Dec. 15, and marijuana shops can open in January 2018.

The law also gives cities and towns several options to push back, however.

Germany: Berlin To Trial Legal Marijuana Sales

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Berlin is moving ahead with a plan to at least semi-legalize marijuana after a cross-party movement agreed on a ground-breaking pilot scheme.

The capital’s Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party have agreed on a “controlled distribution of cannabis to adults” project.

Marijuana possession is illegal in Germany, although people found with less than 15 grams are often not prosecuted.

Various German newspapers cited Green politician Benedikt Lux, on Election Day in the U.S., as saying “a scientifically accompanied pilot project for the controlled delivery of cannabis” was planned.

Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district has previously tried to legalize controlled cannabis dealing, but has been stopped by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices.

The city is one of 16 federal states in Germany with the authority to introduce its own laws.

The move follows marijuana legalization measures that passed in California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, making marijuana possession of up to an ounce legal for adults over 21 years of age.

Max Plenert of the German Hemp Association, quoted by broadcaster Deutsche Welle, said: “The legal code is decided at the federal level, and this is about a local attempt to try to do things differently.

California: Recreational Marijuana Now Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana is now legal in California. Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts also legalized recreational marijuana, but the size and population of California puts its decision in a different league and it could lead the way to figuring out policy around the drug.

While the recreational marijuana initiative in Arizona failed, several other states voted on medical marijuana. North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas and Florida all approved medical marijuana.

60 percent of Americans support legalizing weed, up from 31 percent in 2000. California is the state with the largest economy and — now that it has legalized cannabis — the national weed industry has tripled in size.

California’s marijuana industry could be bigger than its famed wine businesses. The market for both recreational and medicinal marijuana is now projected to grow to $22 billion by 2020, up from $7 billion this year.

This may also put a lot more pressure on the federal government to lift its ban of the drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration has long classified cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive classification. This means it’s in the same category as heroin and LSD. Just this August, the DEA rejected an appeal to stop classifying cannabis as Schedule I drug.

Maine: Final Results Are In, Recreational Marijuana Is Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Final results of Maine's referendum to legalize recreational marijuana were tabulated Thursday, declaring recreational marijuana legal in the state. The count took nearly two days because of how close the race was, with victory coming within a fraction of a percentage point.

Supporters had already claimed victory and predicted home cultivation of marijuana would be legal by around Christmas.

The Maine people have passed it, and we should work on implementing it," said Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey, of Auburn, who supported the ballot issue.

People 21 or older will now be allowed to possess and use up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana, and retail marijuana shops and social clubs could open around the state. Some municipalities have balked at allowing such businesses to open in their communities.

The campaign that pushed for legalization turned immediately toward the implementation process on Thursday. They said they hope marijuana will be available in retail establishments by 2018.

"We're excited that Maine is going to join many other states that have decided to have a smarter marijuana policy — a policy that no longer punishes adults for smoking marijuana," said David Boyer, campaign manager for Yes On 1.

California: San Jose Bans Marijuana Sales Ahead Of Election Day

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

San Jose, California's third largest city by population, has voted to ban recreational marijuana sales in anticipation of the upcoming ballot vote that could legalize pot in the state.

Dozens of cities and counties across California have either imposed or are considering tough restrictions on recreational marijuana sales and cultivation.

However, if Proposition 64 passes, local governments would not be able to prohibit people 21 and older from having up to six marijuana plants for personal use and possessing up to an ounce of pot. Prop 64 is currently leading in the polls.

San Jose City Council members said they passed the temporary ban Tuesday to give city officials time to develop regulations for sales and farming. Its ban includes a prohibition on outdoor gardens.

Tim Cromartie, a lobbyist with the League of California Cities, said cities have months to create their own restrictions and don’t need to hastily pass bans.

"There is no need for a stampede," Cromartie said. "Some are doing it out of an over-abundance of caution."

Many say San Jose's decision means a missed opportunity for tax revenue.

"They can do what they want but they’re going to lose money," said Memo Guerrero, 26, an unemployed National City resident. "And if it passes, they’ll be going against the whole state. It’s kind of weird."

Massachusetts: Harvard Likely To Keep Marijuana Ban On Campus, Regardless Of Question 4 Vote

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Harvard students excited about the possibility of legal marijuana in Massachusetts, thanks to the vote on Question 4, may be disappointed to learn that pot will likely remain banned on campus even if the legalization measure passes.

Other universities have followed this path, due to their relationships with the federal government. Harvard is a private institution, but it receives millions of dollars from the federal government each year for research. The receipt of federal funding is contingent upon colleges and universities’ adherence to federal statutes, including the criminalization of marijuana.

According to Harvard Law School professor Charles R. Nesson, legalizing marijuana on a campus that receives federal funds could potentially jeopardize those funds.

“The operative question I think is whether this acts as an in terrorem effect,” Nesson said, referring to Harvard’s federal funding as a deterrent to permitting cannabis. “I just can’t imagine Harvard taking any step but the most conservative one: go the slowest, stay the closest to the ground.”

Other private colleges in the area, like Boston University, have said they have no plans to alter their current policies that ban pot on campus.

Nevada: 10 Labor Unions Endorsing Question 2 Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Nevada’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol received official endorsements from ten labor unions recently, all listed later in this post.

The announcement came just two weeks after the group announced the endorsement of Culinary Local 226, the largest labor union in the state.

“This is a tremendous show of support from the labor community,” says Joe Brezny, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group behind Nevada’s Question 2.

“Their support demonstrates that the working people of Nevada want to take marijuana out of the criminal market and shift production and sales into regulated, tax-paying businesses.”

“Some powerful individuals and groups are attempting to scare Nevadans into keeping marijuana prohibition in place. The people who care about good jobs, safer communities, and money for schools believe that voting Yes on Question 2 to regulate marijuana is the far more sensible choice,” Brezny continued.

Here is the list of labor unions endorsing Question 2:

Culinary Local 226
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 720
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 396
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 14
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 631
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 986

Canada: Study Shows Recreational Marijuana Could Generate More Money Than Booze

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legalized recreational marijuana in Canada could generate a nearly $23 billion industry, a new study shows.

According to the Toronto Star, sales would surpass the combined totals that come from beer, wine and liquor purchases. The Star quoted a soon-to-be-released Deloitte report on Thursday.

The newspaper said the report found that the base retail market alone would be worth $4.9 billion to $8.7 billion yearly, while the ancillary market would jump to about $22.6 billion.

Last November Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked federal officials to set up a plan to legalize recreational pot, and the country appears to be headed in that direction.

U.S.: Big Pharma's Fight To Block Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to television ads that began running last month in Arizona, marijuana legalization would be a disaster for the state. The advertisements feature lawmakers and teachers who paint a bleak future for Arizona’s children if voters approve Proposition 205, a measure that would allow people aged 21 and over to possess an ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants for recreational use.

“Colorado schools were promised millions in new revenues” when the state approved recreational pot use, the voiceover says in one ad. Instead, schoolchildren were plagued by “marijuana edibles that look like candy”.

What's surprising is who is sponsoring the ads. In August, the pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics cited concerns for child safety when, with a $500,000 contribution, it became the largest donor to Arizona’s anti-legalization drive.

Although child safety is a legitimate concern, critics say the Insys contribution in Arizona is a ploy to protect market share. Insys manufactures Subsys, a prescription painkiller derived from fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

U.S.: Medical Marijuana Doesn't Cause More Teenage Stoners

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Researchers say that legalizing medical marijuana doesn't make more teenagers into stoners.

The study was published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. It found that people over 25 were slightly more likely to have used marijuana in the past month after their state legalized it for medical purposes. That number grew to 7.15 percent from 5.87 percent of that group.

This is the first study to look at how medical marijuana laws have affected actual use. Columbia University researchers used annual survey data from people who responded to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health between 2004 and 2013. This includes data from over 50,000 people each year, in all 50 states, and asks if someone has used marijuana in the past month. It didn’t ask whether it was for recreational or medical purposes.

The study showed that legalizing medical marijuana didn’t make teens think the drug was more readily available. “Before medical marijuana laws changed there was a concern that this type of legislation could potentially increase recreational marijuana use in adolescents and adult populations,” said study co-author Silvia Martins, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia, in a university statement. “At least for now, we do not see an increase in use among adolescents.”

Massachusetts and Nevada: Legalization Campaigns Roll Out TV Ads On Same Day

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Nevada Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, and the Massachusetts’ campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, both unveiled new television ads Tuesday in support of their initiatives to legalize recreational cannabis.

“Our opponents are attempting to scare Nevadans into opposing Question 2?, says Joe Brezny, a spokesperson the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

“What our opponents would like the public to forget is that our current system poses the greatest danger to our communities. We currently have criminals profiting from selling marijuana on streets to people of all ages.”

Brezny continues; “They draw teens in with marijuana and offer them other drugs. We need to take marijuana out of the criminal market and place it in regulated stores that are prohibited from selling to minors. Regulating marijuana will make Nevada communities safer.”

“Doctors and patients shouldn’t fear that they are committing a crime by discussing marijuana as a treatment option”, the Yes on 4 campaign said in a press release, which focused on the medical qualities of marijuana.

“Numerous scientific studies have shown that marijuana is an effective alternative to many prescription drugs, including opioids. But our current laws make it difficult for patients to access marijuana for serious medical issues.”

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