Marijuana

California: Sacramento City Council Approves Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Sacramento City Council voted late Tuesday night after much debate, approving an ordinance allowing the licensed cultivation of marijuana within the city limits.

The meeting was well attended by local residents, who joined council members in the debate.

The ordinance passed by a 5-3 vote, and will allow growers to apply for conditional use licenses to legally grow cannabis in the city.

The ordinance passage comes less than a month after Proposition 64 was passed by California voters, making recreational marijuana use legal for adults over 21.

Councilman Jay Schenirer created the ordinance and urged other council members to approve the plan, saying it was a necessary step needed to ensure the city regulated the industry and protected local communities.

“What we are doing I think, is choosing to be responsible,” Schenirer said. “Choosing to regulate an industry that currently exists, and as some of the speakers said, is not going away.”

Council members Allen Warren, Angelique Ashby and Jeff Harris made up the three "no" votes, with Harris calling the plan "half-baked". They called for more detailed criteria about where cultivation businesses would be allowed.

“I just don’t see this equation turning out well for the communities across our city,” Ashby said.

England: Madonna's 16-year-old Son Arrested For Marijuana Possession

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Madonna's son, Rocco Ritchie, was arrested for marijuana possession in London nearly two months ago, ET just confirmed.

The Metropolitan Police in London released a statement saying that Ritchie, 16, was detained by officers from the Camden police department on September 28th.

Ritchie was dealt with by Camden borough's Youth Offending Team at a North London police station before being released on bail.

Rocco has been in the middle of a long-running custody battle between Madonna, 58, and director father Guy Ritchie, 48. A judge allowed Madonna to dismiss her custody case in New York City and settle out of court in September.

Virginia: First Hemp Crop Harvested In Decades

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Virginia is harvesting its first hemp crop grown since the plant was banned 70 years ago.

“People think it was tobacco that started this colony, but it was also hemp,” Jason Amatucci, founder and executive director of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition explained to the Richmond Times.

Virginia farmers were actually required to grow hemp during the Colonial Era, some of which was used to provide fiber for the Royal Navy's rope, according to Republican Delegate Joseph R. Yost, a sponsor of Virginia’s hemp research bill. “It’s funny that we had to pass legalization just to do research,” Yost said.

Virginia, along with 30 other states, began establishing hemp research programs after Congress passed the farm bill in 2014, allowing the Virginia Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

“It seemed far-fetched to me,” Yost admitted, “But the more research and study you do about it, the more you see the possibilities.” Yost is a proponent for the economic-boosting potential of industrial hemp, especially in states hurt by the loss of jobs in the dying tobacco industry.

Tennessee: Attorney General Says Cities Cannot Enact Marijuana Decriminalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Th Tennessee Office of the Attorney General issued an opinion this week that recently approved marijuana decriminalization ordinances in Memphis and Nashville conflict with state drug laws, and therefore may not be enforced.

City council members in both cities voted this fall to impose local ordinances giving municipal police the option of issuing citations for minor marijuana offenses in lieu of making criminal arrests.

The opinion reads, "[T]he ordinance[s] cannot stand because [they] impede the inherent discretion and responsibility of district attorneys general to prosecute violations of the Drug Control Act."

The opinion was requested by state Republican senators Brian Kelsey and Ron Lollar.

Under Tennessee state law, first-offense marijuana possession violations are classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Singapore: Two Convicted Drug Traffickers Executed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two convicted drug traffickers were executed at Changi Prison Complex on Friday (Nov 18), said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). They had made eleventh-hour appeals which were thrown out by the apex court.

The two men were 31-year-old Malaysian national Devendran A/L Supramaniam and 38-year-old Nigerian national Chijioke Stephen Obioha.

Devendran was convicted of importing 83.36g of diamorphine into Singapore and sentenced to death on July 29, 2014. The Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine, or pure heroin, imported is 15g or more.

His appeal against conviction and sentence was dismissed by the Court of Appeal last year on May 5. On Thursday, Devendran’s counsel filed two criminal motions in court for a stay of execution and to re-open his appeal. The criminal motions were heard and dismissed by the Court of Appeal on the same day.

Obioha was convicted of trafficking in 2.6kg of cannabis and sentenced to death on Dec 30, 2008. The MDA provides for the death penalty if the amount of cannabis trafficked is 500g or more.

Obioha’s counsel filed a criminal motion in court on Wednesday for a stay of execution and to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. The criminal motion was heard and dismissed by the Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Opponents Request Recount Of Votes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Opponents of marijuana legalization in Maine have filed a formal request for a recount of votes after the recent passage of Question 1 to legalize pot for adults over 21 in the state.

The recount request was filed at Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap's office, according to WCSH6.

Question 1 would legalize marijuana cultivation and possession by adults over the age of 21; the measure passed by 4,400 votes.

Petitions seeking recounts were turned in Wednesday afternoon to the Secretary of State’s Office. State officials must verify that at least 100 signatures on each petition came from registered voters who cast ballots in the Nov. 8 election before a recount is scheduled.

Alysia Melnick of the Yes on 1 campaign said the recount is unlikely to change the outcome, given the margin and the accuracy of the state’s voting machines.

“With thousands of votes in the margin, the recount is not going to be successful,” she said, “and it’s unfortunate the opposition would go against the will of the people and use taxpayer dollars for a recount that will not change the outcome.”

Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, agreed there is no way a recount will change the outcome. “I am disappointed that the ‘No’ camp would waste hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars when they have clearly lost,” he said.

Rhode Island: State May Follow Massachusetts And Legalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimonda said Tuesday that she's planning to take a serious look at moving to legalize marijuana for adults in the state following the passing of Massachusetts' pot legalization measure.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello also expressed interest in moving to legalize the plant, saying he’s ready to take up legislation next year because marijuana will become readily available to Rhode Islanders traveling across the Massachusetts border.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio has also announced plans to pursue pot legalization for adults in Rhode Island.

Although recreational marijuana becomes legal in Massachusetts on December 15, retail sales won’t begin until at least 2018.

Japan: Actress Saya Takagi Arrested In Okinawa After Drug Raid

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Former actress Saya Takagi was arrested Tuesday at her home in Okinawa Prefecture for alleged possession of pot, the health ministry said. Takagi ran an unsuccessful campaign in the July Upper House election on a platform to legalize medical marijuana.

Takagi, 53, whose real name is Ikue Masado, claimed the confiscated substance found "was not hers", the Japan Times reported. Marijuana is illegal and banned in Japan.

Narcotics officers from the ministry’s Kanto-Koshinetsu health bureau had searched her home, car and the inn she operates on Ishigaki Island. They allegedly found and seized several grams of dried marijuana as well as rolling papers and pipes. Officers claimed the pipes were used

Takagi debuted as an actress in 1982 and has been active as an environmentalist for several years. Originally from Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, she ran for a seat representing Tokyo as a candidate for Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party), pledging to work on legalizing use of marijuana for medical purposes if elected.

Texas: Legislators File Bills To Decriminalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Less than a week after several other states approved measures to weaken restrictions on marijuana, Texas lawmakers are aiming to do the same.

On Monday, the first day of bill filing for the 2017 legislative session, Texas legislators submitted several proposals to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Bills were submitted that would create a specialty court for certain first-time marijuana possession offenders, reduce criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and re-classify convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

On Nov. 8, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved recreational marijuana initiatives, adding them to a growing list of states — including Alaska,Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — that have already approved the drug for recreational use. Voters in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota also approved medicinal marijuana initiatives.

The National Conference of State Legislators reports that 28 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs.

Arizona: Proposition 205 Campaign Concedes Marijuana-legalization Loss

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Arizona's Prop 205 campaign finally conceded Tuesday afternoon, ending the high hopes of hundreds of thousands of residents that the state would legalize marijuana.

From the first voting results reported, the initiative's future looked bleak. The Associated Press called it a "no" vote later that night. But marijuana supporters and election watchers remained hopeful, knowing that the final votes could make a difference, like they did in the 2010 election, when legal medical marijuana was approved.

California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voters legalized recreational marijuana. Voters in North Dakota and Florida said "yes" to medical marijuana. But Arizona's Prop 205 was rejected 52-48.

The initiative would have given adults 21 and older the freedom to possess and use up to an ounce of dried marijuana, up to five grams of concentrated resin like hashish, and up to six live plants with a maximum of 12 per household. It would also have created a system of retail stores, giving preference to existing, nonprofit medical-marijuana dispensary companies. The campaign submitted about 259,000 signatures to the state in July to make the ballot.

Here's the entire statement just released from J.P. Holyoak, chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona and a local dispensary operator:

Australia: Providers Can Now Apply To Grow Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana providers may now apply to grow medical cannabis in Australia.

New legislation passed earlier this year licensed cultivation and production of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes. A vote on October 30 opened up the cultivation of medical marijuana in Australia.

“Until now, it has been difficult for patients to access medicinal cannabis products from overseas sources,” Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley said.

New medical marijuana cultivators will have to comply with a set of legislations and classify their harvest with the Therapeutic Goods Administration. States and territories will also retain control over licensing and product output.

In order to qualify, cultivators must also pass “strict fit and proper persons requirements and other legislative tests relating to security.”

According to spokesman from an Australian investment group, “the [Australian] domestic medicinal cannabis market could be worth more than $75 million a year.”

“The US has a well established cannabis markets and there’s no reason to suppose consumer demand or product pricing in Australian will be any different relative to the two countries population difference,” he also said.

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.

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