Marijuana

Missouri: Kansas City Marijuana Decriminalization Measure Draws Enough Signatures

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Kansas City Star reports that enough signatures were gathered in a petition initiative to allow voters to decide on decriminalizing marijuana possession during the city’s next election cycle in April.

The proposal intends to change current the law to treat 35 grams or less of marijuana as a city ordinance violation with a fine of $25. NORML KC spokeswoman Jamie Kacz said that this would be similar to decriminalization laws passed in St. Louis and Columbia.

The initiative, which was supported by the Kansas City chapter of NORML, gathered over 2,000 signatures of registered voters. The City Council must review and approve the measure before it goes up for a vote. All reviews must be made before January 19, leaving the City Council with less than their allowed 60 days for approval. This means it’s possible they won’t get through their review before the deadline.

Kacz said last week her group wants to work together with the Kansas City Law Department to craft a measure that can pass legal muster and be placed on a city ballot.

Washington: Pot Harder For Kids To Buy Than Booze, Cigarettes Despite Falling Prices

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Washington state agents recently learned that minors may have a slightly easier time buying booze or cigarettes than pot at state-licensed stores.

State agents doing checks for all three restricted products say that licensed marijuana stores passed tests for selling to underage buyers 90 percent of the time. The compliance rate was slightly less in stores that sell liquor, at 86 percent. The compliance rate for tobacco sales was slightly lower than that, according to Justin Nordhorn, enforcement chief for the Liquor and Cannabis Board, which oversees all three products.

The state currently has more than 1,200 licensed growers and processors and 462 licensed marijuana stores, according to Board Director Rick Garza. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, it recorded almost $1 billion in sales. For the current fiscal year, that’s expected to hit $1.3 billion, even though the price of marijuana is falling.

When state-licensed marijuana stores first opened in 2014, pot was selling for about $30 a gram, he said. The current price averages $8.61 a gram.

The board's staff continues to develop regulations as the industry grows. In January the state Agriculture Department will begin spot testing marijuana for pesticides. In February, marijuana edibles will be required to carry a red sticker with a hand that says: "Not For Kids."

Canada: Pot Smokers Feel 'Cheated' By Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana users who helped Justin Trudeau get elected as Canada's Prime Minister now feel "cheated" by his support of a police crackdown on storefront dispensaries, according to a cannabis industry spokesperson.

Abi Roach, a director with the Cannabis Friendly Business Association, said that marijuana advocates and users helped the federal Liberals to gain a majority government because of the expectation that Trudeau would allow small businesses to legally sell cannabis to recreational users.

Trudeau has promised to legalize recreational marijuana this spring.

The crackdown under Trudeau has been stricter than under any previous government, Roach said.

“All we’ve seen is raids and arrests and more criminal records and more issues and more problems,” Roach said. “When Trudeau was elected, I cried ... We campaigned our butts off for Trudeau because we wanted him to win so bad because we believed what he was saying ... Wow, was I cheated or what. I think that’s the way most cannabis consumers feel.”

Trudeau supported the legal crackdown in a recent editorial board meeting with the Toronto Star.

Uruguay: Marijuana Museum To Open Soon

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize cannabis three years ago, and will soon be host to a new, unique museum totally dedicated to marijuana.

This Friday, the Cannabis Museum will open its doors in the capitol city of Montevideo for the first time. Organizers say the project is part of “continuing the rich history of freedoms that Uruguay has always adopted in an avant-garde way.”

Amsterdam, which also has a museum dedicated to marijuana, is contributing items for display, according to museum Director Eduardo Blasina.

The museum will be the first one dedicated to marijuana in Latin America and the southern hemisphere. Its mission, in part, is to promote “biological and cultural diversity,” according to the museum’s Facebook page, while also serving as a “cultural club.”

“It’s a way to connect people who love nature, art and science,” Blasina said.

Uruguay fully legalized production, use and sale of recreational marijuana in 2013, including allowing users to grow up to six pot plants for personal use.

The region is seeing a movement toward legalizing marijuana. Just last year, Columbia legalized medical marijuana, and Chile harvested its first medical marijuana crop.

Massachusetts: Senate President Says Parts Of Marijuana Law May Be Delayed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A top Massachusetts lawmaker said on Monday that legislators are talking about delaying some aspects of the recently-passed marijuana legalization measure.

Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg said, “We’ve had discussions about delaying some of the dates to give us more time to fine-tune the bill and, in the next few weeks, we have to make final decisions on that.”

Rosenberg, A Democrat who supported legalization, said that if lawmakers implement a delay of the ballot measure, “it’s going to be a very time-limited delay.”

The initiative legalizes possession, use, and homegrowing of marijuana on December 15, a week from Thursday. It requires the state treasurer to appoint a three-person Cannabis Control Commission to regulate the industry by March 2017. Retail stores would be authorized to sell pot starting in January 2018.

“It’s encouraging that these leaders seem to be indicating that there will be no attempt to delay the December 15 possession and homegrow provisions,” said Jim Borghesani, who helped lead the effort to pass Question 4.

Delaware: Rally For Marijuana Legalization Held In Newark

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Dozens attended a rally Sunday in Newark, Delaware, calling for the legalization of marijuana on the eve of the 83rd anniversary of the end of alcohol prohibition.

The rally was hosted by the Cannabis Bureau of Delaware, and was aimed to inform the public how marijuana legalization can come to be in Delaware.

Zoe Patchell, co-chairman of Cannabis Bureau of Delaware, said it begins with contacting state representatives and legislators in support of legalization.

"Cannabis prohibition is just as ineffective and problematic as alcohol prohibition and it's causing negative consequences to our communities here in Delaware and wasting millions in resources and police manpower," she added.

"Right now we have 61 percent of Delawareans that support taxing regulated cannabis like alcohol," Patchell said.

The group has bipartisan support in the General Assembly to pass a taxation and regulation bill in 2017, Patchell said. Delaware is not a voter-initiative state, so supporters are trying to make Delaware the first state to legalize marijuana through legislation.

The legalization of marijuana use in Arkansas, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, California, Nevada, and Maine was voted upon. Marijuana is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol and tobacco in all those states.

U.S.: Serving Life Without Parole For Pot, Man Denied Clemency

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Ferrell Scott was sentenced to life in prison for possession and conspiracy to distribute marijuana, a drug that's now legal in many states. Scott, a black man with no hope for parole despite an exemplary behavior record, appealed to President Obama for clemency. He learned his appeal was denied when he received an e-mail about "bad news" from a friend. He called home, worried that something had happened to his 93-year-old mother.

His daughter answered the phone, crying, and told him the news. “She cried like a baby and she was telling me that she didn’t know what she was supposed to do now. Couldn’t understand it,” Scott told The Watch in a phone interview.

“Why haven’t I been contacted? I hope this is a mistake. My God I’m f—–!” he wrote to Amy Povah, who runs CAN-DO, an advocacy group for prisoners incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses.

His name was on the list of clemency denials published on the Justice Department’s website on Tuesday.

“I don’t know what I’m gonna do, what’s gonna happen,” Scott says. “Well, I kind of know what’s going to happen. I’m going to be here for the rest of my life. I don’t know, man, I’m so depressed and shaken. I honestly thought I would get it.” Scott then brings up a good point: Obama has admitted to using the drug that landed Scott in prison for life.

Arizona: Phoenix Suns Coach Earl Watson Challenges Steve Kerr's Views On Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson disagrees with Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr on his views that marijuana should be recognized as a pain reliever.

In an interview Saturday, Watson told ESPN that Kerr's remarks about pot being a valid alternative to prescription drugs could be a "slippery slope" for young fans of the league.

“I think our rhetoric on it has to be very careful because you have a lot of kids where I’m from that’s reading this, and they think (marijuana use is) cool,” Watson said following his team’s 138-109 loss to the Warriors. “It’s not cool. ... So when we really talk about it and we open up that, I call it that slippery slope.”

He said that Kerr should leave the treatment of a players pain to a doctor.

“I think it would have to come from a physician — not a coach,” Watson said, according to ESPN. “And for me, I’ve lived in that other life (of crime and drugs). I’m from that area, so I’ve seen a lot of guys go through that experience of using it and doing other things with that were both illegal. And a lot of those times, those guys never make it to the NBA, they never make it to college, and somehow it leads to something else, and they never make it past 18.”

California: NBA Coach Of The Year Kerr's Marijuana Admission Could Be A Start

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Steve Kerr, head coach of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and reigning NBA Coach of the Year, has admitted to trying marijuana for medical reasons, and now some of his players believe that his words can help start a serious dialogue in professional sports about using pot for pain relief.

''You look at something that comes from the Earth. Any vegetable that comes from the Earth, they encourage you to eat it,'' Draymond Green, power forward for the Warriors, said at shootaround Saturday. ''It does make a little sense as opposed to giving someone a manufactured pill. If something takes your pain away like some of these pills do, it can't be all good for you. ... He talked about Vicodin. Toradal, you can be completely hurting and then take a Toradal shot and go through a game and feel nothing. Is that really good for you over the course of time? I doubt it.''

Green thinks the option of using medical marijuana "makes a lot of sense."

Kerr told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Warriors Insider Podcast with Monte Poole on Friday that he used medicinal marijuana. He admitted he tried marijuana twice in the past 18 months while dealing with debilitating back pain that still affects him this season. He said it really didn't help, but painkillers have been much worse.

Massachusetts: Study Shows Legal Medical Marijuana Not Predictive Of Increased Teen Use

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

State laws regulating the use and dispensing of medical marijuana do not contribute to increased use of marijuana by teens, according to a new study published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brandeis University assessed marijuana use patterns among adolescents from 45 states between 1991 and 2011. Authors reported "little evidence for an increase in past-30-day marijuana use, or past-30-day heavy marijuana use, among adolescents in response to state-enacted MMLs (medical marijuana laws), regardless of most provisions."

The conclusions agree with several other studies that find changes in the statewide legal status of cannabis are not predictive of greater use by teens.

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.

Colorado: Hunter S. Thompson's Marijuana Strain To Be Sold As Gonzo

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Hunter S. Thompson's widow, Anita, took over ownership of the writer's longtime home, Owl Farm, this summer. In addition to making it a writer's retreat and a private museum, she will be launching a new brand of cannabis products from there.

"I'm excited," she said. "It's a lot of fresh starts."

Anita recently posted on Facebook that she had found a way to extract the DNA from marijuana and hashish that Hunter S. Thompson actually used, which she saved after his suicide 11 years ago.

She intend to offer the pot for sale in states where recreational pot is legal, such as her home state of Colorado.

“Since it became legal I get approached probably once a month by cannabis growers, dispensaries,” Thompson said. “I’ve had probably 10 meetings in the last three years and I always ended up saying ‘No’ because it’s the same story every time: somebody wants to slap Hunter’s name on their strain.”

She said she was glad that she held off on partnering on a marijuana brand until it could be done right.

“If I put Hunter’s name on somebody else’s strain I can never go back and say, ‘No, this is the authentic one,’” she explained.

"Celebrity pot" is already a common thing, including Marley Natural, created by a Silicon Valley-based company that licensed Bob Marley's likeness.

U.S.: Report Says Beer Volumes Declining In Markets Where Recreational Marijuana Is Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to a new report from Cowen and Company, beer sales are declining in three longtime craft beer meccas.

Vivien Azer, Cowen and Company’s managing director and senior research analyst specializing in the beverage, tobacco and cannabis sectors, said that the beer business is underperforming in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, where recreational marijuana is now legal.

“While (marijuana) retail sales opened up in these markets at different points of time, with all three of these states now having fully implemented a retail infrastructure, the underperformance of beer in these markets has worsened over the course of 2016,” Azer wrote.

Craft beer sales are slowing in those markets but the “biggest drag” is on mainstream beer producers. Economy beer volumes are down 2.4 percent and premium domestic volumes, such as Bud Light and Coors Light, are down 4.4 percent, Azer wrote.

Craft beer growth has also slowed in the three markets analyzed by Cowen. Colorado is “in decline” while Oregon and Washington are still seeing some growth, Azer noted.

Meanwhile, import beer sales seem unaffected by legal marijuana, although volumes in those three western states are still lagging “meaningfully” behind the growth seen nationally.

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New Mexico: Pilot Arrested After Emergency Landing Leads To Big Marijuana Discovery

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A California pilot was arrested in New Mexico after mechanical problems forced him to make an emergency landing resulting in authorities finding nearly 118 pounds of marijuana in the small plane.

Roswell police say 37-year-old Michael Armando Teixeira, of Gilroy, is being held at the Chaves County Detention Center on suspicion of distribution of controlled substances.

Teixeira made the emergency landing at the Roswell International Air Center last Friday night.

Federal Aviation Administration officials at the airport discovered the plane didn’t have a flight plan on file.

After detecting a marijuana odor, police obtained a search warrant which led to the discovery of 117.9 pounds of high-grade marijuana packaged in several large bags inside the plane.

Police say Teixeira is not the registered owner of the aircraft.

As of Tuesday, it was not known if he has a lawyer yet.

U.S.: Obama Comments On Marijuana In Exit Interview

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Obama criticized the DEA for being behind the times on marijuana in his recent exit interview with Rolling Stone, saying that pot should be treated like cigarettes and alcohol.

“If you survey the American people, including Trump voters, they’re…in favor, in large numbers, of decriminalizing marijuana,” Obama said in the interview conducted the day after Election Day and published on Tuesday. “I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”

Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner pressed Obama on marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug in the interview, which his administration decided not to change in August.

“Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA,” Obama answered. “As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.”

The president also stressed his belief that federal prohibition enforcement is not acceptable in states that have legalized marijuana.

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