Marijuana

Nevada: State's Largest Labor Union Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Coalition to Regulation Marijuana Like Alcohol announced yesterday that Question 2, which would legalize and regulate the production and sale of marijuana in Nevada, has been endorsed by the state’s largest labor union – Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents more than 57,000 workers.

“We are excited and proud to have the support of the Culinary Union,” said Joe Brezny, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “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.”

Many elected officials expressed enthusiasm about the endorsement.

Quote from State Senator Aaron Ford:

Arizona: Marijuana Measure Fate Uncertain As More Money Pumped In To Defeat It

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Foes of Arizona's measure to legalize marijuana are collecting a huge amount of cash in a last-minute bid to defeat it.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy has collected more than $2.7 million so far, the latest figures show. More than $900,000 of that has come in the past three weeks as different polls have shown the fate of Proposition 205 could swing either way.

The most recent survey was released Monday, and it shows 43 percent of those questioned in support and 47 percent opposed. That could leave the outcome up to the 10 percent who told OH Predictive Insights they had not made up their mind.

Less than a week ago the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry poured $498,000 into the anti-205 measure.

Virginia-based SAM Action, short for Smart Approach to Marijuana, a group that has opposed legalization efforts in many other states, recently made a new $115,000 donation.

The pro-205 effort benefitted from a $110,000 donation two weeks ago from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. That company makes cleaning products, including those that use hemp oil. But various restrictions on growing hemp have forced the company to look elsewhere for its supplies.

Maine: Marijuana Referendum Campaign Intensifies

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

With less than a month to Election Day, the campaign to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maine is intensifying.

Proponents have spent more than a half-million dollars on TV ads in Maine. A recent poll showed that 10 percent of respondents are still undecided on the issue. Referendum supporters hope Maine and Massachusetts will become the first New England states to legalize marijuana for adults for recreational use. Law enforcement groups have spoken out against the states' initiatives.

Maine legalized medical marijuana in 1999. California, Nevada and Arizona also have marijuana legalization questions on the ballot this year. Four other states have medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot.

China: 2,500-year-old Marijuana Found In Ancient Tomb

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A team of archaeologists recently discovered a 2,500-year-old stash of marijuana plants in an ancient tomb in northwest China.

The team, led by Hongen Jiang with the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, discovered 13 marijuana plants that were still mostly intact, although yellowed and dried up after thousands of years underground. The plants were found lying like a burial shroud atop the body of a man who had died in his mid-30s. The plants' roots lay below the man’s hips and the tips — which had been trimmed to remove the flowers — extended up around his face, according to the publication of the find in the journal Economic Botany.

The stash was found during the excavation of 240 tombs in a desert region of the Turpan Basin in northwest China. The plants were probably grown locally, since the burial shroud was made with whole, uprooted plants.

Ancient people in Siberia and northwest China have been putting cannabis in tombs since at least the first millennia BCE. It is not known whether the plants were used as fruit, for fiber to make rope and clothing, or to get high.

U.S.: Marijuana Legalization Is Leading In Every State Where It's On The Ballot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

As Election Day 2016 nears, marijuana legalization measures are favored by voters in all five states that have them on their ballot.

As recently as a month ago, polling showed that voters were wary of legalization measures in Arizona and Massachusetts. The races are close in all states, however, meaning the contests could still go either way.

In Arizona, an Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll of 784 registered voters taken in late August found that 50 percent supported marijuana legalization, 40 percent opposed it, and 10 percent remain undecided. That result is a big change from the results of a July poll of likely voters showing that only 39 percent said they favored the measure.

A post-debate SurveyUSA poll of 751 likely voters in California found that Proposition 64, which would legalize, tax and regulate the sale of recreational marijuana, is supported by 52 percent of the electorate and opposed by 41 percent, with 6 percent undecided. This is a lower margin than other recent polls there, which have shown support of 60 percent or more.

In Maine, a late September poll of 505 likely voters found 53 percent support for the legalization measure, 38 percent opposed to it and 10 percent undecided. This number has been fairly constant since early this year.

U.S.: Record Number Of States Voting On Marijuana Reform Next Month

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A record number of states will be giving voters the chance next month to approve marijuana legalization and regulation.

Five states will have ballot measures to allow recreational adult cannabis use, and at least two others are considering approval for medical marijuana in various forms.

“One in five states will be able to go to the polls and vote for some level of legalization,” says Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, the nation’s oldest organization advocating for cannabis reform. “It’s important to emphasize that there are an unprecedented number of state initiatives. It’s a significant evolution and maturation of our issue and the way advocates campaign for marijuana reform.”

Armentano says that it is also another indication of the current disconnect between the views of constituents and their elected officials. “It’s not the way the democratic process is supposed to work. When there’s a change in opinion, they [ legislators] should be reflecting on and making that change,” he says. “But they aren’t, and people are taking it into their own hands.”

The five states with votes to approve adult recreational marijuana use are Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.

California: Pro-marijuana TV Ads Air Aimed At Easing Parents' Fears

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California's pro-Proposition 64 campaign launched an ad campaign Tuesday featuring the state's first-ever pro-marijuana TV commercial to air statewide.

Two 30-second spots emphasize how the measure would ban advertising aimed at children, clearly label edible products so as not to confuse children, and only allow marijuana sales in licensed outlets. The marijuana plant itself is never shown in the ads.

California has seen a pro-marijuana TV ad before, but aired it only in select markets and not across the entire state. During the failed campaign to legalize weed in 2010 former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara starred in a 30-second ad for Proposition 19 that used a different approach — emphasizing support among law enforcement for legalization.

Andrew Acosta, a spokesman for the No on 64 campaign, dismissed the ads as representative of a ballot measure “written by and for the marijuana industry. ... They got it wrong for Californians, but right for the folks looking to turn this into the next Gold Rush.”

California: Pro-marijuana TV Ads Air Aimed At Easing Parents' Fears

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California's pro-Proposition 64 campaign launched an ad campaign Tuesday featuring the state's first-ever pro-marijuana TV commercial to air statewide.

Two 30-second spots emphasize how the measure would ban advertising aimed at children, clearly label edible products so as not to confuse children, and only allow marijuana sales in licensed outlets. The marijuana plant itself is never shown in the ads.

California has seen a pro-marijuana TV ad before, but aired it only in select markets and not across the entire state. During the failed campaign to legalize weed in 2010 former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara starred in a 30-second ad for Proposition 19 that used a different approach — emphasizing support among law enforcement for legalization.

Andrew Acosta, a spokesman for the No on 64 campaign, dismissed the ads as representative of a ballot measure “written by and for the marijuana industry. ... They got it wrong for Californians, but right for the folks looking to turn this into the next Gold Rush.”

North Dakota: First Industrial Hemp Crop Showing Promise

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

North Dakota's first industrial hemp crop is looking promising, showing better returns than many other commodities.

Three farming operations in three counties grew hemp this year under a federally approved research program. The goal of the program is to determine whether hemp can be a successful crop in North Dakota.

Research program crop yields range from 860 pounds per acre to 1,125 pounds, according to program director Rachel Seifert-Spilde, a plant protection specialist with the state Agriculture Department. The $280 per-acre cost of raising the crop yields a much higher value with hemp being worth about $1 per pound.

“Without a doubt, there was a lot of value in this program,” Seifert-Spilde told The Bismarck Tribune. “There were some good yields and very few hiccups.”

The state research program will be conducted again next year. The Agriculture Department will announce in October when grower applications are due.

“There’s a lot of promise in hemp and potentially big revenue for the farm as we get further into production and development,” said Clarence Laub, a Grant County farmer who grew 10 acres of hemp as part of this year’s program.

U.S.: Pro-marijuana Campaigners Launch TV Ads Ahead Of November Votes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana use in Maine and Massachusetts launched their first television ads today, hoping to boost public awareness and support ahead of November votes on the issue.

Voters in five U.S. states will determine whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this Election Day, following the lead of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

The Massachusetts ads feature Tom Nolan, a former Boston Police Department officer and current professor of criminal justice at Merrimack College, promoting legalization as a way to better regulate marijuana use.

"Question 4 requires strict product labeling and child-proof packaging and bans consumption by kids," Nolan says in the 30-second spot, citing the question's position on the Nov. 8 ballot, the start of a $650,000 ad campaign.

The Maine ad also features an ex-law enforcement official, former Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion. He argues that legalizing the use of the drug by adults would free up police resources to investigate violent crimes. The Maine group has budgeted $1 million for its ad spending.

The campaigns launch a week after the group Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona launched its first blast of TV ads. Voters in California and Nevada will also face ballot questions on the issue this year.

Wisconsin: Marijuana Harvest Festival Draws Big Crowd In Downtown Madison

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Hundreds of protesters gathered on the steps of Wisconsin's capitol building over the weekend to rally in support of legalizing marijuana.

The protest was part of the 46th annual Madison Hemp Festival, where many pro-marijuana activists spoke, sending a message to Wisconsin lawmakers.

"I very much believe that marijuana is not the most dangerous thing that people are walking around in their pockets, but we're treating it as it is," said 48th District State Representative Melissa Sargent. "We need to change our laws so that people can take care of their illnesses in a way that they deserve to."

Sargent has proposed several bills to legislators that would legalize marijuana in Wisconsin for both medical and recreational purposes.

The movement has its opposition, however.

"Melissa and I have discussed her position on legalization on marijuana, and I disagree with her," said Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney, who says while he would consider supporting the legalization of medical marijuana, under no circumstances will he support recreational use. "I don't believe that we are at a point that we know that marijuana is not an entry drug and I don't think we are at the point that marijuana has no lasting effects."

So far, all of Sargent's proposed bills have been shut down by Wisconsin legislators.

West Indies: Jamaica, Formerly Opposed To Marijuana, Now Wants To Cash In On It

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jamaica has long been considered the land of ganja, but has worked hard to fight that reputation.

Despite strict drug laws and spending millions on public education to diminish its image as a pot mecca, its role as a major supplier of illegal weed to the United States and its international image led by the likes of Bob Marley have been impossible to overcome.

After watching states like Colorado and California generate billions of dollars from marijuana, Jamaica has decided to accept the plant and is looking to promote "wellness tourism", having legalized medical marijuana. The nation also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of pot just last year.

A recent conference at a luxury hotel in Montego Bay attracted government leaders, Rastafarian leaders, business leaders, and pot farmers.

Rastafarian leader First Man kicked off the conference with a speech on the global benefits of marijuana.

“We are talking about a plant that bridges the gap between all of our relationships,” First Man, barefoot with a Rasta scarf around his neck, said to a packed room. “Our planet needs this relationship to happen.”

First Man was speaking at the first CanEx conference, a gathering of government and local leaders trying to figure out just how the country can most effectively make this turn-around, without neglecting international law.

Colorado: New Rule Requires Marijuana Edible Labeling

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new rule takes effect in Colorado Saturday, requiring that edible marijuana products come with a diamond-shaped stamp and the letters T-H-C — not just on the packaging but on the brownies, candies and other edibles themselves.

The rule referencing marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) was added after complaints that the treats look too much their non-intoxicating counterparts. It is the first such requirement in any state with legal weed.

The stamping requirement comes in addition to extensive labeling and packaging rules that include childproof zippers and lids, along with warnings that the product should be kept away from children and not eaten before driving or while pregnant or nursing.

“We want to ensure that people genuinely know the difference between a Duncan Hines brownie and a marijuana brownie, just by looking at it,” said state Rep. Jonathan Singer, a Democrat who sponsored the law requiring stamped edibles.

Andrew Schrot, founder of BlueKudu, a company which makes marijuana-infused chocolates, said that when he started his company in 2011 for medical marijuana customers, his pot treats looked like any other chocolate bars. But he said the switch to a recreational market in which new marijuana users were trying his products necessitated change.

Vermont: Thieves Mistaking Hemp For Pot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Vermont State Police say three men stole hemp from a farm in Shaftsbury because they thought it was pot.

Troopers responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint in Shaftsbury and found Leon Lovelace, 21, Brett Stone, 24, and Cody Smith, 20, all of Hoosick Falls, New York. The three men had plants that looked like marijuana; they were cited for possession and released.

A follow-up investigation revealed that two of the men had given false names, and that the plants were in fact hemp, not pot.

Police say the hemp was stolen from a farm in Shaftsbury. They also say that farm has had a lot of plants stolen recently because people think it is marijuana.

The suspects still face charges for theft and providing false names to police.

Washington, DC: Mayor To Propose Doubling Marijuana Possession Limit For Patients

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The possession and use of medical marijuana is legal in Washington, D.C. for those who receive a recommendation from a physician. Patients can purchase their weed from a licensed dispensary, although they can only purchase and possess up to two ounces in a given month. However, that may soon change as the district’s mayor will soon introduce a proposal that would double this limit.

Mayor Muriel Bowser “will propose doubling to 4 ounces how much weed medical marijuana patients can buy a month,” according to Aaron C. Davis, a reporter for the Washington Post.

Medical marijuana legalization was approved by voters in 1998 in the District of Columbia, just two years after the first state (California) legalized the medicine. However, the law wasn’t implemented, and the first dispensary didn’t open, until 2013 due to Congress continually blocking it. Now the system is up and running smoothly, though many patients and patient advocates do consider many portions of the law to be too restrictive, including the two ounce limit.

The possession and personal cultivation of recreational cannabis is legal for everyone 21 and older in D.C., in addition to the medical marijuana being legal, thanks to an initiative approved by voters in 2014.

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