Marijuana

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.'"

California: Lawmakers Push To Outlaw Driving While Impaired By Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two lawmakers from the San Francisco Bay area are proposing a new law that would make it illegal to use marijuana and drive.

California voters passed Proposition 64 in November, making recreational marijuana use legal for adults 21and over. The new law only makes it illegal to have an open container of marijuana in a car, however.

Sen. Jerry Hill says the new law doesn't go far enough.

"It didn't say anything about if you were driving and smoking a marijuana cigarette or joint while driving or ingesting a brownie at the same time," Hill said in an interview with KGO-TV.

Hill and state representative Evan Low have proposed Senate Bill 65, which would close what they call a loophole.

"This legislation now makes it consistent with alcohol use in a vehicle," Hill said. . "Consistent in the sense now when you drive a vehicle and you have a marijuana cigarette that will be either an infraction or a misdemeanor."

New Jersey: Child, 3, Tests Positive For Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale announced Saturday afternoon that police are investigating a report that a 3-year-old child tested positive for marijuana early Saturday morning.

Speziale said that police were met at 3 a.m. Saturday, December 31 by child protective services at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center because "a 3-year-old had tested positive for marijuana."

"It is an unfortunate situation," Speziale said. "We don't know if it is because of contact or ingestion. We take these situations as serious."

He said the situation could lead to the child being removed from family. Information was limited according to Speziale. He was not sure if the child was male or female.

The Paterson Police Department is working to complete an offense report about the incident. The matter will be referred to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

Oregon: Dispensaries, State Work To Continue Recreational Marijuana Sales

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New rules affecting recreational marijuana retailers in Oregon take effect January 1.

Saturday will be the end of limited retail sales from the Oregon Health Authority, which began in October 2015, following the passing of Measure 91. Recreational sales and licenses will be governed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission starting January 1. Medical dispensaries that wanted to continue selling recreational are working to beat a Sunday deadline to pay fees and file applications.

Mark Pettinger, spokesman for the OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program, said the organization is processing hundreds of applications from around the state.

“It’s a challenging time right now,” Pettinger said. “There are a lot of moving parts to all of this.”

Kayla Dunham, owner of The Agrestic In Corvallis, is planning a grand opening of a second location Sunday under the new law. She just received approval from the OLCC on Tuesday.

“There is always worry when what you’re trying to do is in the hands of someone else,” she told the Corvallis Gazette-Times. “And especially with these bureaucratic agencies, but every experience I’ve had so far with the OLCC has shown us they are motivated.”

“They’ve been extremely fast with their processing,” Dunham said. “They seem to have a lot of devotion to making sure things happen in the right way.”

Florida: Senator Wants State To Pay For Marijuana Research

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana is still classified by the federal government as a dangerous drug with no medicinal benefit, making research on the drug difficult. But a powerful state senator in Florida wants to change that.

Senator Bill Galvano said we need to know more and wants the state of Florida to pay for research.

"We are relying on anecdotal evidence," Galvano said. "We have a dearth of research from the feds for a variety of reasons, and it's important for us to understand both the benefits and potential hazards of this plant and drug as we go forward."

Galvano said he would send money to Moffitt Cancer Center at USF. Other universities, such as Florida A&M, may get some as well.

Legislation was expanded earlier this year to include legal medical marijuana for terminally ill patients and that expansion specifically allowed research in Florida universities.

"We have a product that has some medical relief that comes with it, so we'll be looking at what are the actual features of the plant that may be more medicinally important for the pharmaceutical industry," said Tim Moore, FAMU VP for research.

Oregon: UO Professor's Work Cited In Recent Stories On Marijuana Research

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A study which was recently released showing that traffic fatalities have declined in states with legal medical marijuana agrees with earlier work done by a University of Oregon economist.

UO economics professor Benjamin Hansen had concluded the same in a much earlier study.

“Public safety doesn’t decrease with increased access to marijuana, rather it improves,” Hansen told Reuters Health when contacted about the new research. The latest study came from researchers at Columbia University, a study in which Hansen was not involved.

He warned, however, that the studies did not prove that marijuana was the reason for the drop in fatalities and that marijuana can impair driving.

Photo courtesy Around the O

U.S.: Marijuana Deliveries Expected To Spike New Year's Eve

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana deliveries are expected to spike New Year's Eve, repeating what occurred last year.

Deliveries on New Year's Eve last year increased 71 percent over the typical yearly average for Saturdays, and increased by 41 percent on New Year's Day, according to Forbes.

Weed deliveries jumped by 23 percent from the average on Fridays on December 23rd, and by 6 percent on Christmas Eve.

Experts attribute the increase to holiday stress possibly. Perhaps more people are giving pot as a gift this holiday season. Maybe it's distress over the recent election.

You might be advised to order early to beat the rush.

U.S.: Marijuana Deliveries Expected To Spike New Year's Eve

Happy New Year.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana deliveries are expected to spike New Year's Eve, repeating what occurred last year.

Deliveries on New Year's Eve last year increased 71 percent over the typical yearly average for Saturdays, and increased by 41 percent on New Year's Day, according to Forbes.

Weed deliveries jumped by 23 percent from the average on Fridays on December 23rd, and by 6 percent on Christmas Eve.

Experts attribute the increase to holiday stress possibly. Perhaps more people are giving pot as a gift this holiday season. Maybe it's distress over the recent election.

You might be advised to order early to beat the rush.

New Hampshire: Republican Lawmakers Pre-file Bill To Legalize Hemp

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Republican lawmakers have pre-filed a bill to legalize hemp for the 2017 legislative session in New Hampshire. The legislature will discuss the bill next month when it reconvenes.

The proposed law, House Bill 51, would remove hemp from the state's Controlled Drug Act, allowing it to be treated like any other agricultural commodity. The proposal was filed by State Representatives Daniel Itse, J.R. Hoell, and James Spillane; it also has the support of Senators Harold French and John Reagan.

The House Committee on Environment and Agriculture will need to pass the bill by March 3rd before it can move to a vote in the full House of Representatives. If passed by the committee and the House, the bill will then go to the Senate. If the Senate passes the bill it goes before Governor Maggie Hassan for final approval.

The United States currently imports about a half billion dollars annually from other countries, mainly Canada and China, while the plant remains illegal for its own farmers to cultivate.

According to a poll released earlier this year, 61% of voters in New Hampshire support legalizing marijuana for all purposes, not just hemp or medical; just 24% oppose the move.

Massachusetts: Legislature Delays New Legal Marijuana Law

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several provisions of the new law that legalized recreational marijuana in Massachusetts were delayed for six months by the Legislature on Wednesday, angering backers of the measure approved by voters last month.

The bill was passed by both the House and Senate without a public hearing and without debate.

The ballot initiative making pot legal for adults over 21 took effect on December 15, and that does not change. The action taken by lawmakers yesterday will delay the opening of marijuana retail stores from the beginning of 2018 until the middle of that year.

For the moment, it's only legal to sell marijuana in Massachusetts to registered medical marijuana patients.

“The Legislature has a responsibility to implement the will of the voters while also protecting public health and public safety,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

A joint statement from Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert DeLeo said that delaying key deadlines for six months will give legislators more time to “improve” the current law by considering issues that were not included in the ballot question.

The group that sponsored the ballot measure, Yes On 4, said it was “very disappointed” in the Legislature’s vote, noting it came with little advance notice or public input.

Canada: Next Step Taken Towards Legalizing Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Canadian leaders have started moving closer towards legalizing marijuana.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau created a committee in the summer of 2016 to look into the possibility of making recreational marijuana use legal for the entire country.

The panel, chaired by former Canadian Deputy Primate Minister Anne McLellan, recently submitted its findings. The panel calls for a tightly regulated recreational market for adults while cracking down on the black market.

The report said their recommendations will “strike a balance between implementing appropriate restrictions, in order to minimize the harms associated with cannabis use, and providing adults access to a regulated supply of cannabis while reducing the scope and scale of the illicit market and its social harms.”

Trudeau has said he expects to file legislation based on the recommendations of the panel in the spring of 2017.

The Canadian Liberal Party website states: “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

“Canada’s current system of marijuana prohibition does not work,” the site states. “It does not prevent young people from using marijuana and too many Canadians end up with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug.”

Recommendations of the report include:

Montreal: 'Prince Of Pot' Arrested When Police Raid Cannabis Culture Stores

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A day after opening, some Cannabis Culture stores selling recreational marijuana were raided last Friday, resulting in the arrest of owner Marc Emery. The British Columbia-based self-described 'Prince of Pot' was expanding his chain of of dispensaries, despite the fact that pot is still illegal.

The Mount-Royal store had sold out its stock, leaving only cash for the authorities to find.

“It’s despicable and it’s an injustice, but we will win,” Emery said while being escorted to a police cruiser. “This arrest is wrong and prohibition is wrong. The prime minister is a disgrace and so is the mayor,” he said.

Hundreds of clients had showed up at the Mount-Royal location to make their first weed purchases.

Police say that they have made 10 total arrests so far, none of which were clients. They also seized 40 pounds of cannabis at other Cannabis Culture locations.

Guam: Governor Wants Territory To Legalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Guam voters legalized medical marijuana in 2014. Governor Eddie Calvo (R) now wants the island territory to look at legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use.

“We’re talking about cutting what would be red tape and concerns about funding for required enforcement on the new marijuana legislation that became law” Governor Calvo said in a Faceook post made Monday. “I want us to look at how states navigated into recreational marijuana; let’s figure it out and then tax the heck out of it and use those taxes to help fund our hospital, public safety and education.”

A poll conducted earlier this year by Pacific Daily News found that 80 percent of Guam citizens support pot legalization, but the poll's validity can be questioned because it was conducted online with little safeguards in place to ensure accuracy.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Is Finally Confirmed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The opposition for Maine's measure to legalize recreational marijuana, Question 1, finally dropped their request for a recount last weekend, meaning Maine residents can look forward to enjoying the plant legally.

According to the Press Herald:

“Unofficial results of the vote released on Election Day showed the measure passed by 4,073 votes, 381,692 to 377,619. The anti-legalization campaign gave notice to the director of the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Elections on Saturday afternoon to end the recount, which was on hold for a holiday break until January. Under the measure, the Legislature has nine months to establish rules to deal with such issues as child-proof packaging, restricting advertising to minors, and licensing.

Officials on both sides of the recount were critical of their opponents during the process, with Yes on 1 accusing opponents of slowing down the recount by not providing enough volunteers. No on 1 criticized legalization proponents of rushing to enact the law.”

The approval of Question 1 makes it legal for adults 21 and over to possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana, purchase marijuana at retail outlets, and grow a limited number of plants at home.

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