medical marijuana

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U.S.: House Republicans Strip Veterans Of Equal Access To Marijuana In Dead Of Night

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"This isn't right for our veterans, or the American people."
~ Congressman Earl Blumenauer and Senator Jeff Merkley

On Wednesday, in the dead of night, as House Democrats held a sit-in for gun safety, House Republicans stripped language that would make it easier for qualified veterans to access state-legal medical marijuana from legislation to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

With no transparency and little opportunity for Members to review, the House passed the legislation shortly after 3 a.m. local time Thursday. The Senate will vote on the legislation next.

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) released the following statement:

“Our language ensuring fair treatment for our veterans had broad, bipartisan support and passed both Chambers—it’s outrageous that it was removed. To add insult to injury, the legislation was released in the middle of the night, not even giving Members of the House an opportunity to review the language before voting on it. This isn’t right for our veterans, or the American people. We will keep fighting to make sure our wounded warriors have equal treatment and the ability to consult with their VA medical providers about medical marijuana as a treatment option.”

Tennessee: Titans Linebacker Derrick Morgan Joins Eugene Monroe's Marijuana Cause

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan has joined Eugene Monroe in asking the NFL to research the benefits of medical marijuana.

"I feel like the NFL has a responsibility to look into it, to delegate time and money to research this for its players," Morgan told Yahoo Global News. "Given how much influence that the NFL has on society, I think it would help the greater good. There's a lot of people suffering and a lot of people that can benefit from cannabis as a medical treatment."

Monroe had been the only active NFL player to publicly speak out for marijuana policy reform, until appearing with Morgan in an interview with host Katie Couric.

Morgan has played 76 games for the Titans, and has recorded 27.5 sacks. He signed a four-year, $27 million contract in 2015.

Morgan said he's not concerned about the reaction to his position on marijuana as a benefit to NFL players.

"In thinking of the benefits that will come from spreading the awareness and the knowledge about this substance, I think greatly outweighs any backlash or ramifications that might come about it," he told Yahoo. "It's about not only us, but former players, future players and more so society as a whole."

The league has resisted the idea that marijuana could benefit players, clinging to the reality that marijuana is banned under the substance abuse policy.

California: First Crop At Flowering Stage For Maple Leaf Green World

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Maple Leaf Green World on Monday announced that the plants at its California greenhouse facility have been flourishing and most have reached 7 feet in height. Accordingly, the company's greenhouse personnel have started the flowering process.

This crop has four different strains and each strain has a different time frame for flowering. Harvesting is expected to take place in July after flowering, which will be followed by drying and grinding to prepare the finished products for shipment.

The size of the plants is very significant, as the bigger the plant, the higher the yield. In addition, the demand for medical marijuana is expected to be quite high during the summer months as the usual harvest time for most producers is from September onward.

As such, the selling price of the company's product is expected to be considerably higher than the price customarily available for a later harvest.

Continued progress has been made in the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in California. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act has received more than double the required signatures to place the initiative on the ballot in the upcoming November elections.

For more information regarding Maple Leaf Green World Inc., visit www.mlgreenworld.com. The website has been updated with photos of the flowering plants of the California MJ project.

Arkansas: Group Submits 117K Signatures To Get Medical Marijuana On Ballot

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Supporters of medical marijuana in Arkansas turned in thousands of signatures Monday in an effort to put their proposal on the state's ballot this fall.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care submitted 117,469 signatures to the secretary of state's office while calling on backers of a competing ballot to end their campaign.

The secretary of state's office has 30 days to review the petitions and determine whether the group has the 67,887 valid signatures needed to get their act on the ballot. It would legalize marijuana for patients with a qualifying condition with a doctor's recommendation.

“The patients of Arkansas deserve a safer alternative,” Melissa Fults, the group’s campaign director, said at a news conference at the Capitol. “They should not have to choose between treating their illnesses or breaking the law.”

Arkansas voters narrowly missed approving a proposal to legalize medical marijuana four years ago. Fults said she believes the support for medical marijuana is still strong, but urged backers of a competing proposal to drop their campaign and join her group’s effort.

Putting both measures on the ballot “will absolutely cause both to fail,” Fults said.

U.S.: House, Senate Bills Aim To Remove Barriers To Marijuana Research

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Bipartisan, Bicameral Medical Marijuana Research Legislation Introduced in House and Senate

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

There's a major development in federal cannabis legislation this week. Congressmen Andy Harris, M.D. (R-MD), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Sam Farr (D-CA) will be introducing the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016. This bill heeds the calls of the medical research community to address the burdensome processes that currently impede legitimate medical research on marijuana.

The bill is a bipartisan and bicameral solution that removes barriers inhibiting medical marijuana research. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are introducing a similar bill in the Senate.

“As a physician who has conducted NIH sponsored research, I can’t stress enough how critical this legislation is to the scientific community," said Dr. Harris. "Our drug policy was never intended to act as an impediment to conducting legitimate medical research.

California: Care By Design Medical Marijuana Facilities Prepare to Resume Operations

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Early Wednesday morning the Care By Design (CBD Guild) production facilities in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County were searched and temporarily closed by the Santa Rosa Police Department and the DEA (Federal Drug Enforcement Administration). Law enforcement seized equipment, computers, product, payroll, payroll taxes and financial paperwork, and detained Dennis Franklin Hunter, a founding patient-member of CBD Guild.

Initially, the court set Dennis’ bail at $5 million. However, he was released within 48 hours and no charges have been filed at this time. Employees were granted re-entry to the facilities this morning, where an all-employee meeting was held.

“The company will work closely with government officials and law enforcement to swiftly resolve the investigation and address any and all concerns regarding our operations," said Nick Caston, spokesman for CBD Guild. "We maintain our strong commitment to operating with full transparency.

"Our main focus is resuming operations and providing our thousands of patients with the medicine that they depend on," Caston said. "For some of our patients this is truly a matter of life or death.”

New York: Giants Coach McAdoo Has No Problem With Free Agent Eugene Monroe's Advocacy For Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Eugene Monroe, now a free agent tackle for the NFL, says he will not back down from his stance that the NFL should allow players to use medical marijuana. The New York Giants hope to sign him, and it appears they have no problem with that.

Giants coach Ben McAdoo said he has absolutely no problem with any of his players, or potential players, expressing their opinions, even on controversial subjects. And while he declined to address the Giants’ interest in Monroe or his own feelings on medical marijuana, McAdoo said Monroe’s stance isn’t an issue for him at all.

“I think everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” McAdoo said. “Myself, I haven’t done any research. I don’t have a great answer for you there. That’s probably more of a political question, something that I’m not necessarily willing to jump into at this point, or ever. But every player, every coach, every person has their own opinion and is entitled to it.”

Monroe was released from the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday; he indicated that his stance on medical marijuana is why the Ravens fired him with three years and $20 million left on his contract.

He has been very vocal about his opinion that medical marijuana is a safer alternative to the opioids and painkillers prescribed to so many NFL players.

Washington: Microsoft Is Starting A Marijuana Software Service

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Washington-based Microsoft Corp., one of the nation's largest tech companies, plans to offer software for governments to track marijuana in states where it's legal.

The New York Times reported the news, calling Microsoft "the first big company to say it's serving the legal marijuana trade."

The software is designed to help states where pot is legal track marijuana plants from “seed to sale” — a service known as track-and-trace.

The Times says that large companies have shied away from any involvement in the marijuana industry until now, with the drug still illegal in most states and under federal law.

A number of states have legalized recreational marijuana, like Washington, Microsoft's home, and half of the states have legalized medical marijuana in some form. California, Arizona and several other states will vote on legalization this fall.

State-legalized marijuana sales are expected to climb to $6.5 billion this year, up from $4.8 billion last year, according to marijuana-industry analyst Matthew A. Karnes of Green Wave Advisors.

Microsoft has branded its cannabis-compliance software Kind Government Solutions, and will offer the software to government and regulatory agencies via its cloud-computing Azure Government platform.

New Jersey: Assembly Advances Bill Adding PTSD To Medical Marijuana List

The NJ Assembly passed legislation Thursday adding PTSD to the list of conditions treatable with medical marijuana.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Assembly passed legislation on Thursday to allow qualified New Jersey residents to use medical marijuana for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Democratic-led Assembly voted 55-14, with 7 abstentions, sending the bill to the Senate for consideration.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, ignored advocates of the bill who asked him to sign the measure as he walked into the statehouse Thursday. He has often been critical of marijuana legalization in other states.

Jim Miller, the co-founder of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, said he has asked the governor at least four times previously to support the measure, but Christie has never answered him.

Although cannabis is illegal in most states and not approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs for PTSD treatment, Miller said he supports the bill.

“They shouldn’t have to fight their government for the inherent right to health,” Miller said.

Marijuana is currently approved in New Jersey to treat multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and terminal cancer, among other medical diseases. It’s also approved for seizures and glaucoma if those conditions are resistant to conventional treatment.

California: Santa Rosa Medical Marijuana Company Raided By Federal DEA Agents

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Care By Design (CBD Guild) production facilities in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County were searched and temporarily closed on Wednesday morning by local law enforcement and the federal DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). Law enforcement seized equipment, computers, product, payroll, and financial paperwork.

Care By Design produces an array of medical marijuana products for thousands of patients in California, including patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, PTSD and other intractable medical conditions.

Care By Design products are CBD-centric. CBD is a therapeutically beneficial compound that does not get people high, and can moderate the intoxicating effects of THC. Care By Design products are available in non-smokable formulations such as gel caps and oral sprays, and available in a variety of CBD:THC ratios so that patients can manage the psychoactive effects of medical marijuana.

Maryland: Baltimore Ravens Cut Eugene Monroe, Mention His Marijuana Advocacy

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Baltimore Ravens released offensive tackle Eugene Monroe Wednesday, mentioning his outspoken marijuana advocacy on their website afterwards.

“Monroe had surgery to repair a torn labrum (shoulder) this offseason, and used the time off to become the first active NFL player to openly campaign for the use of medical marijuana. The Ravens did not rally behind the cause,” the Ravens’ website says.

After that, the Ravens’ site included a quote from head coach John Harbaugh, saying, “I promise you, he does not speak for the organization."

There usually are more than one reason when a player is cut. Monroe was due a $6.5 million salary this year and had a history of injuries.

But Monroe's outspoken push for the NFL to consider changing its position on marijuana is probably one of thee reasons for him getting dropped.

That would be unfortunate if true. Players should be able to speak their mind when it comes to matters of public policy without it costing their position in the organization.

Hawaii: Marijuana Activist Sues, Says Licensing Medical Pot Violates Federal Law

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A longtime activist in Hawaii who is facing criminal charges of selling pot for running a now-defunct medicinal cannabis collective is suing to try to stop the opening of state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

The suit was filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court by Mike Ruggles of Mountain View, naming as defendants Hawaii Governor David Ige, state Health Director Virginia Pressler, state Attorney General Douglas Chin, and the four companies which have been awarded state licenses to grow and sell marijuana, along with those companies' owners, reports West Hawaii Today.

Ruggles' suit alleges that Hawaii's medical marijuana dispensary law is a violation of federal racketeering and drug laws.

“The state cannot license people to break federal law and that’s exactly what they’ve done with these dispensaries," Ruggles claimed. "How does California do it? You’ll notice Act 228 (Hawaii’s medical marijuana law passed in 2000) mirrors California’s medical marijuana law word for word. Dispensaries in California are not regulated, and that’s how they get around (federal law). You see, the state cannot give citizens a license to break federal law. What they can do is ignore federal law being broke.”

Macedonia: Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana-derived medicines became legal in Macedonia on Monday, making the country one of over a dozen in Europe that have already authorized the products for certain patients.

The head of Macedonia's agency for medicines, Marija Darkovska-Serafimovska, told reporters that medicines containing less then 0.2 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant's main psychoactive ingredient, can now be prescribed by doctors and bought in pharmacies.

"This will help a huge number of Macedonian citizens that are fighting serious illnesses and have a need for treatment with nature-based products," Darkovska-Serafimovska said.

The medicines are available to patients suffering from health problems such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

The products are only available to patients with a prescription and only under a doctor's supervision.

"This is not a replacement for medical treatment," Health Minister Nikola Todorov said.

Other marijuana use is still illegal in Macedonia.

So far 13 European Union nations have legalized marijuana-derived medicines including Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

Colorado: CSU-Pueblo Getting $270,000 For Marijuana Research

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado State University-Pueblo will be receiving $270,000 in marijuana excise tax revenue for research following a unanimous vote Monday by The Pueblo County Board of Commissioners.

Research will be on how medicinal marijuana can relieve certain health conditions and what communal effects come with legalized recreational use.

Commissioner Sal Pace said $220,000 will go to medicinal marijuana research and $50,000 will be used for societal impact studies.

There's been a real dearth of research on cannabis in general in the last 50 years," Pace said. "Anecdotally, there's a lot of evidence that there are real medical conditions that can be helped by cannabis, such as glaucoma, Crohn's disease and epilepsy."

On June 6, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill that awarded $900,000 to the university. The state and county money will be used to establish a research institute to study the effects of legal marijuana on both individual health and communities as a whole.

"We want to find out whether there are positive or negative impacts (of marijuana use) in terms of medical breakthroughs," CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare said. "We also want to understand what sort of impact marijuana has on communities where it is legal."

Arkansas: Medical Marijuana Advocates Scramble To Collect Signatures To Legalize

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates in Arkansas are scrambling to meet a July 8 deadline to submit petitions for medical marijuana legalization. They worry that competing measures may divide support for the issue.

"It will be enough to split the vote and both will fail," said Melissa Fults, campaign director for Arkansans for Compassionate Care.

Fults says her group has gathered over 70,000 valid signatures from registered voters, well over the 67,887 required to get the act on the ballot. They plan to continue gathering signatures to ensure that any duplicate or invalid signatures are taken into consideration.

The Arkansans for Compassionate Care had their initiative approved by former Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in September of 2014, and the group has been gathering signatures and support ever since.

David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer behind a competing medical marijuana proposal, says he's not worried about the prospect of both measures being on the ballot. Couch said he's gathered support from more than 40,000 registered voters, nearly half of the 84,859 required to put his plan on the ballot. Because his proposal would be a constitutional amendment, it requires more signatures.

New York: Report Finds Too Few Patients Can Access Medical Marijuana

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77% of Patients and Caregivers Surveyed, Who Accessed the Program, Say They Cannot Afford the Medicine They Need

Advocates Call On New York Legislature to Pass Bills to Increase Patient Access to Medical Marijuana

The Drug Policy Alliance on Monday issued a report assessing the first four months on the state’s medical marijuana program. The report is in response to demand for information in the face of the absence of all but the most limited public information from the New York State Department of Health. The report, the first systematic assessment of the program so far and its impact on patient access, found patients and caregivers face significant barriers to accessing medical marijuana.

On January 7, New York became the 23rd state to rollout its medical marijuana program. The law, which was passed in June of 2014, took eighteen months to implement and has been criticized as being one of the most restrictive and burdensome programs in the country.

Since the program was launched, patients and advocates have been frustrated by numerous barriers to accessing the program, including difficulty finding participating physicians, trouble accessing dispensaries and medication, and affordability.

Michigan: Melissa Etheridge Smokes Weed On Stage For The First Time

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rock star Melissa Etheridge performed at the High Times Medical Cannabis Cup in Clio, Michigan recently, where she fired up a joint on stage for the first time ever.

“This is my first time ever, smoking while performing,” Etheridge stated, just before lighting up the spliff. Etheridge whipped out a 'doob tube', complained about the difficulty of opening it, shared with the crowd that she prefers a sativa strain, then lit up and blew smoke into the air.

Etheridge performed on stage at the Auto City Speedway, where hundreds of vendors and thousands of patients braved temperatures as high as 96 degrees to enjoy the first day of the annual High Times celebration.

Before her performance she took the time to discuss her battle with cancer and how she used medicinal marijuana as a treatment option and as a way to control side effects of other treatments in a Q and A session.

The Medical Cannabis Cup continues on Sunday, ending with an awards ceremony which should take place without the rain which has plagued past Cup events. It should also take place in more moderate temperatures, as the high for the day is anticipated to not exceed 76 degrees.

Photo courtesy the Compassion Chronicles

Colorado: Weed Sales Set New Monthly Record At $117.4M

April 2016 set a record for highest monthly total marijuana sales in Colorado.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado's monthly cannabis sales broke a record with their highest total yet: $117.4 million worth of flower, edibles, and concentrates sold in April 2016.

The state Department of Revenue reported that marijuana shops sold almost $76.6 million in recreational cannabis for April, significantly passing the previous high-water mark of $62.2 million for December 2015.

In comparison, recreational sales increased more than 80 percent from $42.4 million in April 2015. Medical marijuana sales for the month also were going strong at $40.8 million, which is a 22 percent increase from the previous month.

The record-setting sales also meant a healthy revenue payoff for the state. There are three different taxes on Colorado’s recreational cannabis — the standard 2.9 percent state sales tax, a special 10 percent sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale transfers, which is earmarked for school construction projects. The more than $5.5 million collected in excise tax is a monthly record from when recreational sales began in January 2014, and brings the yearly total to $16.7 million.

Michigan: Lions Linebacker Levy Speaks Out For Medical Marijuana Reform

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, has been the only active NFL player to speak out for reform in the league's marijuana policy for a long time. But he was joined recently by DeAndre Levy, linebacker for the Detroit Lions, who spoke out about medical marijuana research for NFL players.

He spoke to the Detroit Free Press about using medical marijuana as a substitute for opioid drugs: “I think it’s something that needs to be addressed,” Levy said. “I know players, former, current and it was a time where it was very, very easy to get as many painkillers as you needed, as many sleeping pills as you needed. And if we’re talking about the health of our players, past their playing career, I think it’s definitely something that needs to at least be acknowledged and something looked into as there’s a lot of viable and growing body of research supporting it.”

Levy has been outspoken on a number of social issues since his injury, taking aim at the NFL for the way it’s handled concussions and penning an essay for The Players Tribune on sexual assault and the objectification of women.

Suffering a hip injury last season that resulted in surgery, Levy made a conscious decision to rehab himself back to good health without the use of opioid pain-killing pills that are commonly prescribed in the NFL.

Alabama: Colbert County Agents Bust Medical Grade Marijuana Grower

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Law enforcement agents in Colbert County, Alabama recently made a significant bust, finding what they say is some of the highest grade marijuana they have seen.

“We’ve been getting information over the years, and we just got enough information to obtain a search warrant,” stated Colbert County Sheriff Frank Williamson.

Sheriff Williamson said his department and the Colbert County Drug Task Force have worked this case a long time.

The agents found 161 medical grade marijuana plants inside an old mobile home on LaGrange Mountain. Williamson said they are finding more and more grow operations moving indoors.

“It makes it more of a challenge for us because you can’t see what they’ve got inside,” Williamson explained. “And that’s what a lot of people are doing, moving them inside.”

Williamson said the suspected grower fully cooperated with agents, even helping them disassemble the grow house.

With more operations expected, Williamson said they will continue the fight. “Something you will probably never completely do away with,” said Williamson. “But we can do our best to try and slow it down.”

Sheriff Williamson said a single seed for the type of marijuana which was found runs about $70.

Drug agents also found various illegal prescription pills and guns on the property.

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