Marijuana

Colorado: Denver's Social Marijuana Measure Declared Winner After Updated Results

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Updated election results released Tuesday morning showed that Denver's ballot on social marijuana use has won passage.

Results released Tuesday morning showed that Initiative 300 won with the support of 53.3 percent of the 302,505 Denver voters who weighed in on the issue, according to a results update that reflected 19,657 more ballots counted late Monday. Not all votes are in yet, but There are too few ballots remaining to flip the result.

Roughly 10,000 to 12,000 ballots remain to be counted in the main processing of mail and in-person ballots from the Nov. 8 election, Denver Elections spokesman Alton Dillard estimated.

That is less than Initiative 300’s current winning margin of 20,055 votes, or 6.6 percentage points.

“We are truly grateful to the people of Denver for approving this sensible measure to allow social cannabis use in the city,” lead proponent Kayvan Khalatbari, co-owner of Denver Relief Consulting, said in a statement issued Monday evening, when Initiative 300’s backers declared victory. “This is a victory for cannabis consumers who, like alcohol consumers, simply want the option to enjoy cannabis in social settings.”

The measure would allow businesses, from bars to cafes and even yoga studios, to seek permits to create “consumption areas” if they obtain backing from a local neighborhood or business group.

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Legal In First Bible Belt State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arkansas officially legalized marijuana for qualifying medical patients on Tuesday in a vote of 53.2% to 46.8%, according to the New York Times, making it the first Bible Belt state to legalize the plant.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, or Issue 6, is an amendment to Arkansas' state constitution that officially legalizes the distribution and possession of medical marijuana. The new amendment is specifically meant for patients who have any of 17 qualifying conditions, which include cancer, Tourette's syndrome, Chrohn's disease, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV/AIDS. Patients with a written statement from a doctor certifying they have a qualifying condition will be able to purchase medical marijuana from dispensaries, and will not be permitted to grow their own marijuana plants.

Arkansas voted on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Question in 2012, but it was struck down in a vote of 51.4% to 48.5%. A separate medical marijuana proposal, the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, or Issue 7, was also initially slated to be on the ballot in 2016, but was later disqualified due to invalid signatures.

Massachusetts: Senate Leader Says Lawmakers Shoudn't "Dilly Dally" Looking At New Marijuana Law

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said on Thursday the initiative to legalize Massachusetts marijuana for recreational use that voters approved this week will need improvements to address such issues as taxes on marijuana sales, driving while high, and edible pot products.

Rosenberg, a supporter of Question 4, said issues related to the new law could be addressed soon after the Legislature begins its new session in January.

He told reporters he believed most voters approved of legalization “in principle.” He noted the measure was drafted more than a year ago, well before a report produced by a special Senate committee that visited Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.

“The Legislature has the right to revisit policy matters that were unaddressed or not addressed as well as they could,” he said.

But the group that spearheaded the ballot question pushed back, arguing that lawmakers shouldn’t move too quickly to make revisions to the law.

“I think this is too rushed,” said Jim Borghesani, a spokesman for Yes on 4, in a telephone interview. “The Legislature has a role to play, but I think they should respect the will of the voters, let regulators do their jobs and then determine what should be done, if anything.”

U.S.: What Does Trump Presidency Mean For The Marijuana Industry?

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Whether or not you were a supporter for a Donald Trump presidency, everyone wonders what his presidency will mean for his or her beliefs. Marijuana users and supporters wonder how his presidency will affect the marijuana industry.

Election Day 2016 marked a big win for marijuana. Residents voted in nine different states on legalizing some form of marijuana. Five of those states were voting on whether or not to allow recreational use. Eight of those nine states passed their legalization measures, with only Arizona's recreational measure not passing.

California was the largest state to legalize it, making recreational use legal for adults. In addition to California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana use. Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota approved medical initiatives. Montana passed an additional measure to legalize commercial growing and distribution.

The Motley Fool declared marijuana a big winner on Election Day, but pointed out that how the marijuana industry could change under the Donald Trump presidency is open to a lot of interpretation. No-one knows what decisions Trump and Congress will make regarding the marijuana industry between now and January 2020.

Nevada: When Will Recreational Pot Be Available For Sale?

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

It will be legal for adults in Nevada to use and possess marijuana at the start of 2017, but there will be no place to legally buy it for most citizens.

Some, including state Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, are concerned that Nevadans will turn to the black market to buy the legal substance.

“I can own an ounce, and the cops can’t do anything to me. But I can’t buy an ounce, so where am I gonna buy it?” Segerblom, a marijuana legalization advocate, said Thursday.

Question 2 passed on Election Day, so adults will be allowed to possess up to announce of pot or one eighth ounce of marijuana concentrate as of January 1. But there is not yet an answer to the question of when retail stores will be able to sell marijuana to adults without a medical marijuana card.

“If you have a situation where it’s legal to possess and use marijuana, but there’s no legal mechanism to purchase it, you are creating a bigger black market by definition,” said Andrew Jolley, co-owner of medical marijuana company The+Source. “The sooner we can allow retail sales, the better the outcome for the community, and the faster the transition away from the black market to the regulated market.”

The taxation department appears on board with getting things rolling before its 2018 deadline.

Colorado: Voters Approve, Reject Marijuana Sales Ballot Measures

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Voters approved retail pot sales in Englewood and Palisade, but said no in Federal Heights, Del Norte, Palmer Lake and four other Colorado towns and cities on Tuesday.

Elections officials were still counting ballots late last week on Denver's measure to permit limited cannabis consumption inside certain businesses. Denver’s Initiative 300 was leading opposition 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent updated results were released Wednesday evening.

Approval in Englewood came nearly three years after the City Council kept a ban on pot shops in place. Voters in Federal heights voted no to recreational marijuana sales, repeating the no vote that was decided two years ago.

Nevada: Ballot Could Add Legal Marijuana To Las Vegas' List Of Vices

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

If Nevada approves a Nov. 8 referendum on legalizing marijuana, Las Vegas could soon add recreational marijuana to its list of vices.

Supporters see cannabis as an attractive alternative to $15 cocktails, but pot proponents will have to win over closely divided voters and a risk-averse gambling industry.

Despite their reputation for debauchery, Nevada's rigorously regulated casinos are known to lean to the conservative side to avoid scandalizing the middle-aged tourists who are their majority clientele.

The ballot initiative would not allow municipalities to put blanket bans on marijuana,and it would also bar consumption in buildings that are open to the public. Local governments could restrict the locations of dispensaries, and city-dwellers would be banned from growing their own pot.

California: Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

On Monday, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became the latest high-profile politician to endorse an initiative on next week’s ballot that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California.

Villaraigosa is considering running for governor in 2018 amid a field that already includes Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading proponent of Proposition 64.

“I took my time on this measure because I wanted to make sure it included protections for children and public safety,” Villaraigosa said in a statement. “In evaluating the measure in its entirety, I am convinced there are enough safeguards to make it a workable proposition.”

The Proposition 64 campaign welcomed Villaraigosa’s endorsement at a time when a recent poll indicated slightly fewer than half of Latino voters support the measure.

“We’re glad to have it,” said Jason Kinney, a spokesman for the campaign.

Rhode Island: Governor Watching Massachusetts Marijuana Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The governor of Rhode Island says she's positioning her state to be ready for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana by improving state oversight of medical marijuana.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo told the Providence Journal the state will have to look harder and faster at recreational pot legalization if Massachusetts voters approve it across the border in next week's election.

If Question 4 on the Massachusetts ballot passes, it would allow retail pot shops to open after January 2018, giving some time for Rhode Island to catch up.

Raimondo says medical marijuana reforms she signed into law this year improve oversight of a flawed system. She says they also create a regulatory framework so the state is prepared if recreational pot is legalized.

She says she remains concerned about keeping kids safe.

Colorado: Officials Ask Arizona Group To Pull Marijuana Political Ads

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Legislators in Colorado say the group Arizonans For Sensible Drug Policy are airing misleading political advertisements that oppose the legalization of marijuana in the state of Arizona.

Proposition 205, if passed, aims to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

The group opposed to Proposition 205 began airing "No on 205" television ads that claim Colorado schools did not receive the millions of dollars promised and that politicians spent more on regulating the industry.

However, the Colorado officials who played a central role in the budgeting of marijuana taxes say this is not true and that more than $138 million went to schools and less than 10 percent of pot tax revenues were spent on regulation.

Colorado Senator Pat Steadman and Representatives Millie Hamner and Jonathan Singer emailed Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk, the leaders of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, citing what they say are multiple incorrect claims on their "No on 205" ads talking about marijuana tax revenue spending and rates of teen pot use in Colorado.

They counter the ad's statements with information drawn from three state government documents they attached to the email.

Here is the transcript of the email:

Dear Mr. Leibsohn and Ms. Polk:

Arizona: Susan Sarandon Endorses Prop 205 With Phone Messages

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol recently announced that Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon has officially stated she endorses Prop 205 in Arizona to legalize cannabis for those 21 and older.

In addition to Sarandon’s endorsement, the campaign is sending out a message from her to the phones of thousands of voters in the state. The message encourages them to “vote for taxing and regulating marijuana by voting ‘yes’ on Prop. 205.”

Proposition 205, similar to measures on the ballot in four other states this election, would allow those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, grow up to six cannabis plants, and purchase cannabis and cannabis products from a licensed retail outlet.

“[W]hether someone uses marijuana or not we probably all prefer for law enforcement to spend their time preventing and investigating serious crimes rather than marijuana offenses”, the message starts. “Also regulating marijuana will take it out of the hands of criminals and instead generate jobs and tax revenue”.

The message ends with Sarandon saying “Please vote for taxing and regulating marijuana by voting yes on Prop 2015 on November 8th. Thank you.”

“Ms. Sarandon is one of the most widely recognized and well-respected actresses in the nation,” says J.P. Holyoak, Chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

California: Prop 64 Gains Major Newspaper Endorsements

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The campaign behind California’s Proposition 64 to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older announced that they’ve received the official endorsement of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

According to the Yes on Prop 64 campaign, this means that “every large-circulation daily newspaper in Southern California has now endorsed Proposition 64.”

The paper opposed Proposition 19 to legalize cannabis in 2010. The Union-Tribune joins the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register and Riverside Press Enterprise as outlets that opposed Prop 19 in 2010. All publications support Proposition 64 in this year’s election.

The Union-Tribune went directly after one of the primary attacks used by opponents of the measure: that it decreases road safety.

“The recent increases in those states of the number of people in fatal accidents found to have THC in their systems may reflect a greater emphasis on drug testing instead of a spike in stoned motorists,” the paper says.

“Marijuana use has barely increased among Washington teenagers and somewhat increased among Colorado teens, reflecting a trend in the Rocky Mountain State that predated adult legalization.”

A list of newspaper endorsing Prop 64:

Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News

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 Suggests Marijuana Improves Night Vision

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study conducted at Montreal's McGill University suggests that marijuana has the strange benefit of improving night vision. Researchers at the university based their study on a pharmacologist's observation in the 1990s that Jamaican fishermen who smoked or consumed cannabis had "an uncanny ability to see in the dark."

They applied a synthetic cannabinoid to the eye tissue of tadpoles of an African toad and found that it made particular retinal cells more sensitive to light. It improved the speed at which the eye responded to even dim stimulus, researchers reported.

"We didn't believe what we were seeing," a study author told the Montreal Gazette. "The cannabinoids were increasing the excitability of cells in the eye that connects to the brain."

Researchers then tracked tadpoles, some of which had been given the cannabinoid, while showing them dark moving dots, which the tadpoles naturally avoid.

All tadpoles performed well in the experiment while in the light. But the tadpoles that had been given the cannabinoid performed significantly better. If the same effect occurs in humans, as a study completed in 2004 reported in "Science Alert" suggested, some scientists believe that cannabis could theoretically be used to treat retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma by protecting retinal cells.

California: Marijuana Being Smuggled From U.S. To Mexico

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A recent report by KPBS.org suggests there’s an unexpected development in the story that is the war on drugs. The report says that there is a demand in Mexico for potent California strains of marijuana. Cannabis attorney Matthew Shapiro states that “there is no such thing as high-quality Mexican weed.”

Although equally as unlawful as smuggling contraband from Mexico into the U.S., the process of entering Mexico is a lot easier due to the lack of attention paid to the reversed ideology. A smuggler can cross the border into Tijuana without ever speaking to an official, making the process nearly risk-free.

Dr. Raul Palacios, clinical director at the Centro De Integracion Juvenil drug rehabilitation facility in Tijuana, says his patients prefer the potent California weed as opposed to the marijuana being grown in Mexico. Marijuana in Mexico averages a level of 2 percent THC, pot's psychoactive ingredient. marijuana grown in California, on the other hand, can reach a THC concentration level of 30 percent or higher.

Mexico is closely following the laws being passed in the U.S. regarding the marijuana industry. The $1 billion in tax revenue that California has generated makes it tempting for the Mexican government to follow its example.

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