Marijuana

U.S.: New Federal Bill Would Reschedule Marijuana As Schedule III

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new bill introduced to Congress would reschedule marijuana as a Schedule III substance, a classification it would share with Tylenol and codeine.

Two Florida congressmen, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, introduced legislation Thursday that would transfer marijuana from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications, to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

In an interview with The Cannabist, Gaets said that having marijuana on a lower rung would uphold the rights of states that have legalized the medical use of cannabis, allow for banking activities and create a clearer path for research,

“I have supported cannabis reform as a state legislator, and I want to see the people that I fought for in my state have access to a legal, high-quality product that’s been well-researched,” Gaetz said.

If it passes, the yet-to-be-named House Bill 2020 would not affect recreational cannabis businesses in operation.

Virginia: Governor Amends Mandatory Driver's Suspension Law

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has signed legislation into law amending the state's mandatory driver's suspension law.

Under existing law, defendants convicted of a marijuana violation lose their driving privileges for six months, even if the offense was not driving related.

Under the new legislation, SB 1091, the mandatory suspension will no longer apply to adults convicted of simple marijuana possession offenses.

The new law takes effect July 1, 2017.

States like Virginia enacted drivers' suspension laws due to the direction of the federal government decades ago. Members of Congress introduced legislation this week, 'The Better Driver Act,' to eliminate federal provisions that encourage states to suspend drivers' licenses in situations involving non-traffic related minor drug violations.

Missouri: Kansas City Passes Measure To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Kansas City voters approved a measure on Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana possession within the city's limits.

Nearly 75 percent of voters decided 'yes' on Question 5 which reduces penalties for the possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil violation punishable by a $25 fine. The measure also eliminates penalties for the possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia.

The era of reefer madness in Kansas City has come to an end and no longer will otherwise law abiding citizens be targeted or arrested for the mere possession of marijuana," said Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of KC NORML.

The new ordinance takes effect when signed by the mayor or within five days.

Uruguay: Legal Marijuana Sales Set To Begin In July

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legal marijuana sales are set to begin in Uruguay in July, more than four years after the South American nation fully legalized the cannabis trade. Marijuana will be available under the law to citizens and permanent residents 18 years of age and older at pharmacies for $1.30 per gram. Buyers will be limited to purchasing no more than 40 grams per month and will be required to sign up with a national registry. Home growers and cooperative clubs will be allowed to cultivate up to 99 plants.

Presidential Aide Juan Andres Roballo said the registry would be up and running by May 2

The government currently has 16 pharmacies on board, but many pharmacists have doubted the financial benefits of selling cost-controlled cannabis. Some Uruguayans have also expressed privacy concerns over the national registry.

Roballo said that before the registry is launched there would be a public health campaign. He said that he does not believe there will be “an avalanche of users” signing up for the registry.

Uruguay legalized the sale and cultivation of marijuana in 2013 under former President José Mujica in an effort to combat homicides and crime associated with drug trafficking.

North Carolina: N.C. Hemp Commission Considers Joining Lawsuit Against DEA

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission is considering joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association.

The commission announced its support of the lawsuit verbally last week and plans to announce Thursday whether it will become a party to it.

The lawsuit would be filed by Founder’s Hemp of Asheboro – the first company to register in North Carolina as an industrial hemp producer. Founder's Hemp said that it intends to sue the DEA over its ruling that products made with CBD or cannabidiol hemp, which are in the same cannabis family as marijuana, are illegal and cannot be transported across state lines.

“We cannot let this stand as an industry,” Bob Crumley, president of Founder’s Hemp, said during a meeting of the Industrial Hemp Commission last week. “If we let what the DEA is currently doing stand, we need to fold our tents and give everybody their money back.”

Through the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, Congress allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research, and more than 30 states, including North Carolina, have passed laws allowing hemp research and pilot programs.

However, the DEA has maintained that the transportation of hemp seeds across state lines is illegal, and that it is illegal for farmers to sell their finished hemp products in other states within the U.S.

California: Marijuana 'Sanctuary' State Bill Proposed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make the state a "sanctuary" for the marijuana industry and the many residents who legally use the plant.

In an effort to avoid a federal crackdown on the Schedule I classified drug, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions has alluded to considering, lawmakers introduced a new bill that would prevent local and state officers from enforcing certain federal marijuana laws on marijuana businesses, cultivators and consumers unless they obtained a court order signed by a judge.

The measure, known as Assembly Bill 1578, would prohibit “using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person [and/or transfer them to federal authorities] for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by a law in the State of California.”

The law would also protect the private information of marijuana businesses and customers, as it would prohibit local and state authorities from sharing personal records and documents regarding cannabis from the federal government.

The bill, introduced in February, was sponsored by Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer along with three other assembly members and two senators.

Texas: Cowboys' Owner Jerry Jones Wants NFL To Drop Its Marijuana Ban

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jerry Jones spoke up at the Annual League Meeting for NFL team owners last week, telling the group that he wants the NFL to "drop its prohibition on marijuana use."

His fellow owners reminded him that a change won’t be coming anytime soon because it’s something that would have to be collectively bargained.

Jones is certainly not alone in the NFL in questioning the league's ban on marijuana use. Former Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said in an interview for Sportsday a few months ago that he compared it to alcohol.

"I see guys that partake in marijuana are calmer, cooler than guys that drink", Carr said. "I haven't really seen too many people get in jams or binds with their emotions or losing their cool off of marijuana."

Several other retired NFL players, such as former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, have spoken out in recent months encouraging the NFL to consider new information available, and to drop its ban on medical marijuana. Some players feel that using medical marijuana is safer than using prescription painkillers, which can be addictive.

The NFL told Pro Football Talk it is "willing to listen to the medical community" regarding the use of marijuana.

U.S: Governors From Four Marijuana States Ask Trump Administration To Leave Cannabis Alone

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Governors from the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana want the Trump administration to leave marijuana research alone.

In a letter sent Monday, the governors of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington say that marijuana legalization has expanded their economies.

The governors also say in the letter that legal marijuana can be regulated to protect public safety and that legalization reduces "inequitable incarceration," or people of color being disproportionately jailed for cannabis crimes.

The letter was addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The governors say they opposed legalization at first, but warn that a federal pot crackdown at this point "would divert existing marijuana product into the black market."

U.S.: Roger Stone Calls For Trump To Back Legal Marijuana, Hits Sessions For 'Outmoded Thinking'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Roger Stone, a long-time enthusiastic surrogate of President Donald Trump, has publicly implored the president to back marijuana legalization. Quoting Thomas Jefferson and The Bible to justify his position, he also blasted U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his "outmoded thinking" on cannabis.

Stone published a blog post on Friday calling on Trump to remain true to sentiments he expressed as a presidential candidate, when he said that marijuana legalization should be left to the states. His administration has suggested in recent days that it would err on the side of stricter enforcement of marijuana laws.

Stone said the president should "honor his word and keep his promise, irrespective of what his Cabinet members may say." The Republican added that "there are so many other ways that law enforcement can be put to good use rather than to persecute harmless farmers and shopkeepers who are abiding by state law."

Stone took aim at Sessions on his website, saying the former Alabama Senator was "far from the mainstream" in his opposition to marijuana.

"Perhaps Attorney General Sessions has forgotten his Genesis from the Old Testament," wrote Stone, a veteran political operative who often is seen defending Trump on news shows.

California: Cannabis Club In Modesto Provides Cannabis Oil For Kids, Support For Parents

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A cannabis club has opened in Modesto, California for children, where they can obtain CBD oil, and families can network with others using cannabis oil to treat their children. Jason David, the president of Jayden’s Journey, named after his son, said the dispensary is necessary because “when a child is sick the whole family is sick.”

Zya Mao is a six-month old patient of the dispensary who suffers from epilepsy. Her father, Jhoson Mao, believes cannabis oils are a better alternative to prescriptions and his daughter’s doctor is not advising against it.

“We noticed… she feels present, her eye is not as wobbly as it used to be,” Mao said in a report from Fox4KC.

Zoe Poe is an eight-year old patient who suffers from ADHD ADD extreme. Sherry Poe, Zoe's mother, said her daughter “started getting ticks” and “crying all the time” while on prescription drugs, and at one point told her mother “she didn’t want to live anymore.” Zoe has been using cannabis oil for a year and a half.

“She sleeps. She’s gained weight,” Poe said. “She’s happy; she smiles; she laughs.”

“If it doesn’t work, throw it away,” David said for parents considering using cannabis oil treatments for their children. But for many patients, he said, “it changes your life like it changes my son’s life."

West Virginia: Amendment To Bill Would Legalize Hemp-Derived CBD In The State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in West Virginia have explained language in a bill that would add substances to the drug schedule that would allow the sale, distribution, and prescription of hemp-derived CBD oils, according to a Herald-Dispatch report. The amendment differentiates between CBD products derived from hemp and CBD derived from marijuana plants containing more than the .3 percent THC allowable under federal law.

The changes were made by the Senate Judiciary Committee after the Director of the West Virginia Hemp Industries Association Morgan Leach said the original version would cause confusion regarding CBD.

Leach said that making the “cash crop” available will help the state become “a catalyst for entrepreneurship and innovation.”

“This revision protects West Virginia hemp farmers’ ability to cultivate and process hemp for CBD. This is one of our biggest revenue streams that will help make our farmers more money as they begin to develop this crop in West Virginia,” Leach said in the report. “Our goals are to (build) industries around food products, dietary supplements, cosmetics and topicals, paper, textiles, bio-plastics, advanced battery technologies and much more.”

The measure has been sent to the Senate with a recommendation to pass it.

Oregon: Clean Cannabis Possibly Coming To An End

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon currently has the toughest pesticide testing laws of all the states with legal adult-use marijuana, but that could be about to change. A newly proposed revision would reduce the restrictions on pesticides, causing the allowable limits of pesticides in marijuana to be increased.

The two major changes being proposed to Oregon’s pesticide testing:

1 - Lessening the regulations on concentrate testing — instead of every batch being tested for pesticides, processors would only need to submit a single random sample per year.

2 - Reducing the required amount of cannabis flower needed per test batch from 33% to 20%.

Proponents of the changes claim the lack of edibles and concentrates on recreational shelves is a result of the long turnaround time for lab results. They say that these proposed changes will allow processors to get their products to retail faster.

But “after delving deeper into the issue, it appears the current shortage is being driven by pesticide contaminated cannabis,” reports Keith Mansur with the Oregon Cannabis Connection.

Canada: Broadcasters Deny Cannabis And Hemp Expo Ads

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Some of Canada’s largest television broadcasters have denied ad buys by the Cannabis and Hemp Expo scheduled to take place in Calgary, Ontario in May, CTV News Calgary reports. Bell Media, owner of CTV, and Rogers Communications rejected the ads due to laws that outlaw cannabis advertising in Canada. The logo for the expo also contains a hemp leaf and the word “cannabis.”

“CTV attempted to work with the client to ensure their creative conformed with statutes pertaining to promoting directly or indirectly the sale or disposal of a drug…however the client chose not to move forward with the campaign,” Bell Media said in a statement.

Terra Connors, a representative for Canwest Production, sponsor of the event, said there won’t be any actual cannabis at the expo but it counts licensed producers, dispensaries, and headshops among the exhibitors.

“We understand to a point. I mean, nobody wants to portray illegal activity or anything but that’s not the case,” Connors said in the report. “We’re a legitimate business, promoting a legitimate trade show and we are not doing anything illegal.”

Broadcasters who break the cannabis advertising laws could be fined between $250,000 and $5 million.

South Africa: High Court Says Laws Barring Private Adult Marijuana Use Are Unconstitutional

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

South Africa’s Western Cape Town High Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to prohibit marijuana use by adults in private homes, opening the door for reforms that will allow adults to privately cultivate, possess, and use cannabis, according to a News24 report.

Judge Dennis Davis also directed Parliament to change sections of the Drug Trafficking and Medicines Control acts within 24 months as part of the decision.

The suit was filed by Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and Rastafarian Garreth Prince, the duo who has been obtaining stays of prosecution for people arrested for possession pending the outcome of their case. They argued that some of the sections of the Drug Trafficking and Medicines Control acts are discriminatory, outdated, or unfair, and applied disproportionately to black individuals.

The judgment will legalize sales, according to News24.

Delaware: Lawmakers Confident They Have Enough Votes To Legalize Marijuana For Adults

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Delaware lawmakers say they have enough votes to pass legislation to make marijuana legal for adult use, and to set up a regulated and taxed marijuana industry in the state. They are opposed, however, by the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council and Democratic Gov. John Carney, the News Journal reported.

State Rep. Helene Keeley (D) and state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry (D) estimated that a legal and regulated cannabis market could generate $22 million in tax revenues for the state during its first year.

“As the only state in a seven-hour drive to have legalized marijuana, we would become a destination that would attract out-of-state sales, which would have a benefit to our Delaware businesses,” Keeley said in the report.

Henry said legalizing cannabis is “a social justice issue” rather than budgetary, indicating that the measure works to that end by legalizing “something that people always have done and are doing.” Delaware currently faces a $386 million budget deficit.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of negatives that also come with it, and we’re against the bill,” said Jeffrey Horvath, executive director for the Delaware Police Chief’s Council. He added that law enforcement officials in Colorado have told him “the black market is stronger” than before legalization and “teen marijuana use also has increased.”

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