New Hampshire

New Hampshire: Governor Signs Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

Cannabis

HB 640 will take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire. It will officially take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

New Hampshire: Decriminalization Bill Passes In Senate, Moves Back To House

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The New Hampshire Senate has passed a marijuana decriminalization bill, but the measure must now go back before the House after the Senate amended the measure to drop the cannabis possession limits from 1 ounce to three-quarters of an ounce. The bill would eliminate jail time for possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of cannabis and up to five grams of "hashish" and reduce the fine from $350 to $100 for adults 18-and-older.

Rep. Renny Cushing, a decriminalization proponent, said he was confident that the House would agree with the measure amended by the Senate, and so make its way to the desk of Gov. Chris Sununu, who has indicated that he would sign it.

“I want to thank the legislature for passing common sense marijuana reform,” Sununu said following the Senate vote. “I look forward to signing House Bill 640 into law.”

Fines will increase to $300 for a third offense and a fourth offense would result in a Class B misdemeanor charge under the measure. Minors convicted of possession of less than the law allows would be subject to a delinquency petition.

The bill forbids law enforcement officers from making arrests for marijuana possession violations.

Connecticut: Marijuana Legalization Hearing Draws Conflicting Testimony

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A hearing on legalizing marijuana for adults in Connecticut Wednesday produced plenty of conflicting testimony about risks and benefits associated with the plant. Topics of concern ranged from health concerns to the state's need for tax revenue.

Very different attitudes toward recreational marijuana were expressed by members of the General Assembly's judiciary committee. Some lawmakers opposed cannabis legalization, while some strongly supported it.

Supporters of marijuana legalization argued that the plant is less addictive than alcohol or nicotine, and that millions of dollars of illegal cannabis is currently being sold in Connecticut every year. Marijuana legalization "would take control of the marijuana market out of the hands of drug dealers," said Joseph LaChance, a medical marijuana patient from Milford.

Martin M. Looney, the Senate's top Democratic leader, testified that prohibiting marijuana use in Connecticut has been as ineffective as alcohol Prohibition was in the 1920s and 1930s.

Looney and others argued that the tax revenue generated by legal marijuana sales could help solve Connecticut's fiscal crisis. Currently, medical marijuana can be sold to patients with a few certain qualifying conditions in Connecticut, but the sales are not taxed.

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.

New Hampshire: Legislature Takes One Step 'Sideways' On Marijuana Decriminalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Matt Simon, New England Political Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, released the following announcement regarding yesterday's failure to pass a bill to decriminalize marijuana in the state:

The prohibitionists in the New Hampshire Senate, led by gubernatorial candidate Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), succeeded yesterday in preventing any meaningful progress on decriminalization in 2016. The committee of conference on SB 498 removed House changes that would have decriminalized a quarter-ounce of marijuana. As was the case in the original Senate bill, the conference committee’s report would instead reclassify the penalty for possessing one ounce or less of marijuana from a class A misdemeanor to an unspecified misdemeanor.

Union Leader reporter Garry Rayno accurately described this as a “sideways” step for marijuana policy reform. Police and courts will continue to waste time on low-level marijuana possession cases, and people who are caught with marijuana will continue being dragged through the criminal justice system. The small change made by SB 498 may end up having a small positive effect on marijuana policy, or it may have no practical effect at all.

New Hampshire: House Committee Approves Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Tuesday voted 12-7 to approve a bill that would make possession of less than one-quarter ounce of marijuana a violation similar to a speeding ticket.

The proposal changes Senate Bill 498, which would allow prosecutors and judges to use discretion in charging and sentencing first-time offenders by reducing the penalty from a class A misdemeanor to an unspecified misdemeanor.

Last week the Senate voted down a House-passed bill that would have made possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana a violation.

SB 498 now resembles a compromise between the House and Senate that fell apart at the end of last session.

The amendment’s sponsor, Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, said under the Senate bill possession of a small amount of marijuana remains a criminal offense, while his proposed change would bring New Hampshire in line with the other New England states.

Under the bill, only the first possession would be a violation with a fine of not more than $500. A second conviction within three years would be a misdemeanor.

Someone under 18 years old would have to perform 35 hours of community work and could be ordered to attend a treatment program.

Anyone under 21 years old could lose their driver’s license if convicted for a first-time offense.

New Hampshire: House Approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

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The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday evening in a voice vote that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and replace them with a civil fine. The measure will now be considered in the Senate.

HB 1631 would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Under current state law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

“This is commonsense marijuana policy reform,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “It is irrational to brand people as criminals simply for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol.”

Nearly three out of four New Hampshire residents (72 percent) think the legislature should decriminalize marijuana possession or make it legal for adults, according to a WMUR Granite State Poll released earlier this month. The full results are available at http://bit.ly/1Xdt8j9.

“New Hampshire citizens want the legislature to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy,” Simon said. “House members have done their part, and we hope their colleagues in the Senate will join them in supporting this measure.”

New Hampshire: House Kills Bill That Would Have Legalized Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New Hampshire House on Thursday killed a bill that would have legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana.

House Bill 1964 would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older, and would impose a $15 tax per ounce on leaves, and a whopping $530 per ounce tax on flowers, reports Garry Rayno at the Union Leader.

The bill would allow adults to grow up to six plants; three could be mature plants.

“(HB 1694) would provide adult New Hampshire citizens with a controlled, tested, labeled, and less harmful alternative to alcohol,” said the bill's main sponsor, Rep. Geoffrey Hirsch (D-Bradford).

“How much more available can it be,” Hirsch said. “It's hard to imagine an environment where students have greater access to marijuana then they already do.”

But. Rep. John Tholl (R-Whitfield) wasn't having any of this marijuana business. "This is not the New Hampshire way, to say 'Yes you should use this federally illegal drug, while we are trying to stop the use of opioids," a nonsensical Tholl blathered.

The New Hampshire House several years ago approved a bill legalizing marijuana, but the bill died in the Senate. The House has approved decriminalization several times, but the more conservative Senate has also methodically killed all those bills.

New Hampshire: Primary Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession

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Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents Oppose Arresting People for Simple Possession of Any Drug, Want Health Insurers to Provide Treatment and Support Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Non-Violent Drug Offenders

With the nation’s attention shifting from Iowa to New Hampshire, a recent poll shows a substantial majority of presidential primary voters in the Granite State support decriminalizing drug possession outright.

Sixty-six percent of voters in the first-in-the-nation primary, including half of all Republicans and 68 percent of independents, think people caught with a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use should be evaluated for drug issues, offered treatment but not be arrested or face any jail time.

These findings come in the midst of escalating overdose deaths across the country and unprecedented focus by presidential candidates on alternatives to harsh, ineffective drug policies. Eighty percent of New Hampshire primary voters consider addressing prescription drug and other drug abuse and the recent surge in overdose deaths an important or urgent issue. Sixty-nine percent, including 56 percent of Republicans, say drug abuse should be treated primarily as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem.

New Hampshire: Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession

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A substantial majority of New Hampshire presidential primary voters support decriminalizing drug possession, according to a new poll released by the Drug Policy Alliance. Sixty-six percent of voters in the first-in-the-nation primary, including half of all Republicans and 68 percent of independents, think people caught with a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use should be evaluated for drug issues, offered treatment but not be arrested or face any jail time.

These findings come in the midst of escalating overdose deaths across the country and unprecedented focus by presidential candidates on alternatives to harsh, ineffective drug policies. Eighty percent of New Hampshire primary voters consider addressing prescription drug and other drug abuse and the recent surge in overdose deaths an important or urgent issue. Sixty-nine percent, including 56 percent of Republicans, say drug abuse should be treated primarily as a health problem rather than a criminal justice problem.

“Now is the time for policymakers to show leadership by laying out clear plans to move our country from a failed criminal justice approach to drugs to a health-based approach,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Their goal should be reducing the role that criminalization and the criminal justice system play in dealing with drugs and drug use as much as possible.”

New Hampshire: Legislature Moves To Add PTSD To Medical Marijuana List

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill introduced on Thursday in the New Hampshire Assembly would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of ailments eligible for medical marijuana authorizations. Medicinal cannabis was legalized in New Hampshire in 2013, but remains hard to get.

The proposed legislation comes as New Hampshire struggles with opioid and heroin addiction and an overdose crisis, reports Wilson Dizard at Al Jazeera. Medical marijuana advocates argue that safe access to cannabis would offer an alternative to people now using harsh narcotic painkillers or heroin.

Additionally, adding PTSD to the list of illnesses for which cannabis can be authorized could provide another option to those who haven't found relief with Big Pharma's anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications, according to advocates.

There's strong backing for both medical and recreational marijuana in the state, according to a University of New Hampshire poll last year.

Joe Lachance, the Republican Assemblyman who co-sponsored the PTSD bill, is one of just 62 medical marijuana cardholders in a state of 1.6 million people. A military veteran and former police officer, Lachance said he suffers from chronic pain and PTSD, which only marijuana has helped relieve. He said cannabis had also helped him kick an opiate habit.

Maine: Terminally Ill N.H. Woman Will Finally Access Medical Marijuana On Friday

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A terminally ill woman who successfully sued the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to obtain the state’s first medical marijuana patient ID card will visit a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Maine on Friday.

Linda Horan of Alstead, who suffers from Stage 4 lung cancer, will visit Wellness Connection of Maine, where she will be accompanied by New Hampshire State Rep. Renny Cushing and several of her supporters.

“I feel better already, knowing that I will not have to spend my final days in a narcotic stupor,” Horan said. “I look forward to visiting the dispensary, learning about which products would be best for treating my symptoms. I will finally receive the medicine I need, and I won’t need to fear being treated like a criminal for it.”

Horan filed a lawsuit against DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas on November 5, asking the agency to immediately issue her a medical marijuana ID card so that she could begin obtaining medical marijuana legally in Maine and using it without fear of arrest in New Hampshire. On Nov. 24, a Merrimack County Superior Court Judge ordered the DHHS to issue her a card.

DHHS is responsible for administrating the state’s medical marijuana program, which has experienced several delays since Gov. Maggie Hassan signed it into law in July 2013. The agency began accepting applications from patients interested in participating in the program, but patients remain at risk of arrest and prosecution until they receive program ID cards.

New Hampshire: Judge Orders Health Dept. To Issue Medical Marijuana Card To Terminal Cancer Patient

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With an ID card, Linda Horan will be able to obtain medical marijuana legally in Maine and use it without fear of arrest in New Hampshire; Horan sued DHHS after it refused to issue ID cards until dispensaries open next year

A Merrimack County Superior Court Judge on Tuesday ordered the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to issue a medical marijuana ID card to a woman with terminal cancer in order to expedite her access to medical marijuana.

Linda Horan of Alstead filed a lawsuit against DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas earlier this month, asking the agency to immediately issue her a medical marijuana ID card so that she can begin obtaining medical marijuana legally in Maine and using it without fear of arrest in New Hampshire.

DHHS is responsible for administrating the state’s medical marijuana program, which has experienced several delays since Gov. Maggie Hassan signed it into law in July 2013. The agency began accepting applications from patients interested in participating in the program, but patients remain at risk of arrest and prosecution until they receive program ID cards. DHHS is refusing to issue ID cards until dispensaries open, which is not expected until 2016.

Horan, who suffers from stage IV lung cancer, filed an application with DHHS after receiving approval from all five of her physicians.

New Hampshire: Thursday Hearing Set For Terminal Cancer Patient Seeking Medical Marijuana

LindaHoran[InDepthNH]

Merrimack County Superior Court will hold a hearing this week on a lawsuit against New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services Nicholas Toumpas filed by a terminal cancer patient seeking access to medical marijuana.

Linda Horan of Alstead, who is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer, filed a pre-registration application to participate in New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program after receiving approval from all five of her physicians. She wants to receive a medical marijuana ID card that will allow her to obtain medical marijuana legally in Maine and protect her from arrest and prosecution in New Hampshire.

A lawsuit asking that she be able to do so was filed by her attorneys on November 5.

The hearing for an “expedited temporary order” will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, November 12, at the Merrimack County Courthouse.

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program into law on July 23, 2013, but patients are still at risk of arrest and prosecution because program ID cards have not been issued. Horan pled her case directly to Gov. Hassan on September 7 after receiving a lifetime achievement award during the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.

A video of her statement is available at https://youtu.be/KNj_SwYtWe8?t=3m20s.

When: Thursday, November 12, 10 a.m. ET

Where: Merrimack County Courthouse, 163 N. Main St., Concord

Who: Linda Horan, Alstead woman with Stage 4 lung cancer
Paul Twomey, Ms. Horan’s attorney

New Hampshire: Terminal Cancer Patient Seeking Access To Medical Marijuana To File Lawsuit

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Linda Horan of Alstead wants a New Hampshire medical marijuana ID card, which would allow her to obtain medical marijuana legally in Maine and protect her from arrest and prosecution in New Hampshire

A terminal cancer patient seeking access to medical marijuana will file a lawsuit Thursday in Merrimack County Superior Court against New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services Nicholas Toumpas.

Linda Horan of Alstead, who is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer, filed a pre-registration application to participate in New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program after receiving approval from all five of her physicians. She wants to receive a medical marijuana ID card that will allow her to obtain medical marijuana legally in Maine and protect her from arrest and prosecution in New Hampshire.

Horan will hold a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. in front of the Merrimack County Courthouse just prior to filing the lawsuit. She will be joined by her attorney, Paul Twomey, as well as State Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) and New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett.

Gov. Maggie Hassan signed New Hampshire’s medical marijuana program into law on July 23, 2013, but patients are still at risk of arrest and prosecution because program ID cards have not been issued. Horan pled her case directly to Gov. Hassan on September 7 after receiving a lifetime achievement award during the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Labor Day Breakfast.

A video of her statement is available at https://youtu.be/KNj_SwYtWe8?t=3m20s.

U.S.: Voters In Early 2016 Primary States Want Feds To Respect State Marijuana Laws

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Supermajority Support From Democrats & Republicans in Iowa & New Hampshire

New polling data reveals that voters in early presidential primary states overwhelmingly support ending federal prosecutions of people acting in accordance with state marijuana laws.

Among respondents, 71 percent in Iowa and 73 percent in New Hampshire agree that "states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference." Just 13 percent of Iowans and 15 percent of New Hampshirites think that "the federal government should arrest and prosecute people who are following state marijuana laws."

"Politicians running to become our next president should take note of just how uniformly voters in these key states want to end federal marijuana prohibition," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, which commissioned the poll. "Candidates who say they would send in the DEA to shut down legal, taxpaying marijuana businesses are effectively announcing that they're out of the mainstream and out of touch with the voters they need support from in order to get elected.

"That type of rhetoric is just not going to score any points in 2016," Angell said.

The new data shows that support for letting states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference is especially high among Democrats and independents in both states, although there is at least 60 percent support across all demographics, including Republicans, 2012 Mitt Romney voters, people older than 65 and those who identify as very conservative.

U.S.: 600 Churches Call For End To Drug War

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Conference Uses Christian Ideals to Argue for New System

The New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, a group representing 600 congregations in six Northeastern states, on Saturday voted in favor of Resolution 15-203, which uses Christian principles to call for an end to the War on Drugs.

The resolution begins:

“In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.”

It goes on to detail how the Drug War has failed to achieve its intended goal of reducing drug abuse and has resulted in numerous unintended consequences such as the creation of violent and dangerous underground markets, countless lost lives from gang violence and unregulated products, increased dangers posed to law enforcement, prison overcrowding, the rapid spread of needle-borne illnesses due to a lack of sterile syringes, and the disparate impact that these laws have had on poor communities of color.

New Hampshire: Senate Blocks Widely Supported Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

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Despite overwhelming approval in the House — and a poll released last week that found 63% of New Hampshire voters support such legislation — the Senate tabled HB 618 on Thursday evening

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday evening blocked a widely supported bill that would have removed criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

After Senators voted 9-15 to overturn the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that the bill be killed, Sens. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and David Pierce (D-Etna) proposed a compromise floor amendment to HB 618. Four senators argued strongly against the bill and the amendment: David Boutin (R-Hooksett), Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Gary Daniels (R-Milford), and Jeannie Forrester (R-Meredith).

Senators were unable to agree on the language and the bill was tabled.

HB 618, which the House approved 297-67 in March, would have made possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Under current state law, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

New Hampshire: Former Narcotics Officer To Testify In Support Of Marijuana Decrim Bill

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A former narcotics officer will testify at a New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday in support of a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

At 9 a.m. ET, immediately prior to the hearing, Maj. Neill Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), will join Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project at a news conference in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9: 40 a.m. ET in Room 100 of the State House.

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Schroadter and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third and subsequent offenses. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

The House of Representatives approved the measure 297-67 on March 11.

“New Hampshire is the only state in New England that still doles out criminal records and jail time for simple marijuana possession,” said Simon, a Goffstown resident and New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “People’s lives should not be turned upside down just for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.

U.S.: DuBe Hemp Energy Shot Now Available In Colorado, New Hampshire and Vermont

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Algae International Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiary American Seed & Oil Company, on Friday announced an expansion of the previously announced distribution agreement of the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot in Texas and Kentucky. American Seed & Oil will now be selling the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot in Colorado, New Hampshire and Vermont.

"The response to the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot from our distribution network has been extremely positive," said Steven Rash, CEO of Algae International Group and American Seed & Oil. "We went back and asked to expand our distribution network into the additional states because we had unsolicited demand from those states.

"In addition to expanding our retail distribution network, we will soon be adding ecommerce to our website and selling the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot online with other organically certified hemp infused consumer products," Rash said.

The DuBe Hemp Energy Shot is a berry-flavored, all natural, zero calorie, sugar free, gluten free, GMO free energy shot infused with Hemp Pro 70 Protein Powder, "providing smooth energy for hours," according to the company. A DuBe CBD Energy Shot is coming soon, according to the company.

DuBe Hemp Energy Shot Products are herbicide and pesticide free, peanut-free, vegetarian approved, kosher certified, THC-free (NO THC, 100 percent Legal), and tryspin inhibitor free, the company said.

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