Marijuana

U.S.: Leaked Documents Expose Why The FDA Says Marijuana Is Not Medicine

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New uncovered documents give an insider's look at why the federal government does not recognize marijuana as medicine despite the reality that 25 states have legalized the plant for medical use so far. The 118-page document contains memos between the DEA's chief, two FDA officials, the governors of Rhode Island and Washington and several other government officials.

According to the documents, one of the reasons the FDA came to their decision is because “Individuals are taking the substance on their own initiative rather than on the basis of the medical advice from a practitioner licensed by law to administer such substances,” officials wrote in a summary.

The Drug Enforcement Administration rejected two petitions to reschedule marijuana last August. The DEA ruled that the marijuana that millions of Americans rely on in 25 states has “no currently accepted medical use.”

Oregon: 2 Injured In Explosion At Astoria Marijuana-extraction Business

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two people were injured in Astoria, Oregon in an explosion and fire at a marijuana extraction company.

The Daily Astorian reported that three people were working at Higher Level Concentrates when an explosion occurred Wednesday night, sparking a fire. All three people escaped but two suffered burn injuries and were taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

Astoria Deputy Police Chief Eric Halverson said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

U.S.: 60 Percent Of Americans Say Pot Should Be Legal

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By Derrick Stanleyout
Hemp News

With recreational marijuana use up for legalization on the ballot this election in several states, a new Gallup poll shows that support for legal pot is at its highest in nearly 50 years.

The poll found that 60 percent of Americans now believe that marijuana use should be legal for adults. Gallup has been asking the question for 47 years, and that is the highest level of support seen in that time.

Gallup first surveyed Americans in 1969 to see whether they thought marijuana should be legal; only 12 percent said yes. Support during the 1980s and 1990s was steady at about 25 percent. But support for pot legalization has been on the rise since 2000.

Five states are voting on marijuana legalization this November 8: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in four states and the District of Columbia.

Support for legalizing marijuana has increased more among younger people than those in older age groups, Gallup said. From 2005 to 2016, support for legalizing marijuana increased 33 percentage points among adults ages 18 to 34, compared to 26 percentage points among those ages 35 to 54, and 16 percentage points among those ages 55 and older. Currently, 77 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 support legalizing marijuana, compared with 45 percent of adults ages 55 and older.

Ohio: Wendy's Customer Finds Marijuana In Her Daughter's French Fries

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Ohio resident Dezeray Risner says she got a little something extra in the kid's meal she bought. She claims that the kid's meal she bought for her four-year-old daughter recently contained marijuana.

She said her daughter complained that the food was "nasty", so she told her to spit it out in her hand. She claimed her daughter spit out a blunt along with the fries.

She called the manager of the Huber Heights restaurant where she bought the meal to complain. She filed a police report after that proved to be unhelpful.

The officer working with Risner believes her story, and wrote in the report that the “leafy green substance” found in the bag of French fries smelled strongly of marijuana. The officer got permission to search the Wendy’s location, but was unable to find any marijuana on the premises.

Risner’s daughter took a drug test at the local hospital, and Risner is awaiting the results. Though investigations are ongoing, local authorities acknowledged that it’s unlikely they’ll be able to prove the marijuana originated from the Wendy’s restaurant.

“We’re certainly aware of the claim that was reported three days ago and we’re actively investigating it,” a Wendy’s spokesperson told Fortune in an email. “We have taken this situation very seriously, and have been in touch with the customer.”

Utah: LDS Leaders Ask Mormons To Oppose Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The LDS Church's First Presidency is asking the church's members in three western states to oppose bills that would legalize recreational marijuana.

In letters sent Wednesday to Arizona, California, and Nevada, Church President Thomas S Monson and his counselors said, "We urge church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use."

"Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions," the First Presidency noted, "and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented. Recent studies have shed light particularly on the risks that marijuana use poses to brain development in youth. The accessibility of recreational marijuana in the home is also a danger to children."

Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use for adults over 21. On Nov. 8, Nevada residents will vote on Question 2, Arizona residents will consider Proposition 205 and Californians will decide on Proposition 64. Maine and Massachusetts also have recreational marijuana on voters' ballots next month.

Maine: Governor LePage Warns Against 'Deadly' Marijuana In Over-the-top Video

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Maine Governor Paul LePage released a false and misleading video Thursday attempting to convince voters to vote "no" on "Question 1", the state's marijuana legalization referendum up for a vote on the upcoming ballot.

“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” LePage warns, before falsely claiming traffic fatalities have gone up in Colorado since the state legalized recreational pot.

He makes a claim that “people addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin.” He predicts a future where children and pets die from accidentally consuming “marijuana snacks,” and in which drug culture impinges on “schools, daycare centers and churches.”

“They will smoke weed and sell pot at state fairs,” he adds. “Businesses could not fire employees for using marijuana.”

According to a recent report from the Drug Policy Alliance, marijuana has had no noticeable effect on traffic deaths in either Colorado or Washington.

And marijuana has been proven to reduce opioid deaths. In the 23 states where medical marijuana was legal in 2014, there were nearly 25 percent fewer deaths from opioid overdoses, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Maine State Rep. Diane Russell (D) of Portland believes the video could actually help the campaign for legalization.

Utah: State To File Marijuana Charges Against Wife Of Gubernatorial Candidate

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Federal prosecutors will not file criminal charges against the wife of Mike Weinholtz, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Utah. A state prosecutor will take the case instead.

"We recieved a call from the U.S. Attorney's Office, asking us if we would take the case on a conflict," said Gary Searle, Chief Deputy Tooele County Attorney. "The district attorney in Salt Lake evidently is friends with the Weinholtz's or has a social relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Weinholtz."

Mike Weinholtz, currently running for Governor against incumbent Gary Herbert, made a surprising announcement during the state's Democratic Convention in April. He declared that his wife, Donna Weinholtz, was being investigated for using medical marijuana. A statement from his campaign said she "uses marijuana to seek relief from chronic neck, back and knee pain brought on by arthritis."

"I thought it was necessary to be open and honest with the delegates," he said at the time. "I thought it would be dishonest if I didn't disclose it."

On Wednesday a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office read: "After reviewing the case carefully and consulting with the Tooele County Attorney, we determined that the best venue for the case would be on the county level rather than pursuing a federal case."

Arizona: Former DEA Agents Rally In Support Of Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A pair of retired agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stopped by Arizona State University Wednesday to campaign on behalf of Proposition 205, the state’s initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana.

They encouraged some of ASU’s 80,000 college students to vote “yes” on Prop. 205. Their appearance was organized by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and timed to coincide with the beginning of early voting in the state.

Finn Selander and Michael Capasso, former special agents, were on hand to speak to students and explain why they support an initiative that runs counter to their former careers as drug warriors.

“It was a huge success,” Capasso told The Huffington Post. “They were interested, and they liked my perspective — coming from the DEA. Most of the people I spoke to were thumbs-up on Prop. 205.”

Capasso said he supports legalizing marijuana because it doesn’t have the “collateral damage” that other drugs do, like addiction and overdose. Because of that, he thinks it’s practical to regulate marijuana like alcohol and use the tax revenue to fund state programs.

“I think it makes sense, I really do,” he said. “And I think it’s going to happen. It’s about time.”

U.S.: Legal Marijuana Hasn't Caused Any Of The Problems Opponents Said It Would

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Opponents of the measures to legalize marijuana in 2012 in Washington and Colorado said that doing so would wreak havoc on society, and that children would end up using the drug and high drivers would terrorize the roadways. They said the fiscal benefits associated with taxed and regulated marijuana wouldn’t be worthwhile.

According to a new report by the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit that lobbies for progressive reform of drug laws, those dire predictions have not come true. In fact, legalization has had a negligible effect on rates of youth marijuana use and traffic fatalities in Colorado and Washington, and in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., which have all since approved marijuana for recreational use. In addition, marijuana arrests have plummeted and total revenue from legal weed has surged past $500 million.

“This report shows that a lot of those fears don’t come to fruition in the case of legalization,” said Joy Haviland, staff attorney at DPA. “It’s clear that prohibition has not worked, so states need a new solution going forward.”

Th report finds that marijuana legalization has made no discernible mark on traffic fatalities in Washington and Colorado, and total arrests for driving while impaired have declined in both of those states.

U.S.: Study Finds Marijuana Arrests Outnumber Those For Violent Crimes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new study has found that arrests for possessing small amounts of marijuana exceeded those for all violent crimes last year, even though more and more cities and states have decriminalized or legalized the plant and attitudes toward it have changed.

And even though African-Americans smoke pot at rates similar to whites, black adults were found to be arrested at more than two and a half times the rate of whites.

Th report was released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

"Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime," the report finds, citing FBI data. "More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year."

The report says that on any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 men and women sit behind bars on simple drug possession charges.

Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. Most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime, the report says. They're sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court which may be months or even years off, because they can't afford to post bail.

Arizona: Prison Food Provider Donates To Keep Marijuana Illegal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The marijuana legalization initiative in Arizona has its foes, including drug companies, the Chamber of Commerce, and the alcohol industry. These groups have donated millions of dollars to the campaign to defeat Proposition 205, a ballot measure that would make pot legal for adults over 21. As opinion polls show a tight race in the state, another industry joins the fray: prison food providers.

Services Group of America, whose subsidiary Food Services of America sells meals to correctional facilities, devoted $80,000 to defeat the measure in late September.

Arizona is one of five states -- including California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada -- where marijuana legalization is on the ballot in November. With polls in Arizona showing an extremely tight race, money is pouring in from groups trying to tip the balance in the final weeks before Election Day.

The main anti-legalization group, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, has raised nearly $2.7 million $900,000 of that in the last three weeks alone. Pro-legalization groups raised more than $3 million — including over $100,000 last week from the company that makes Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap.

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.

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