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

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

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

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

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

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

New York: Jim McMahon Thinks Marijuana Can Help Retired NFL Players

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jim McMahon, quarterback for the Super Bowl XX-winning Chicago Bears, had a career plagued with injuries and still suffers with several injuries in retirement. But he says he has found help for that suffering with marijuana.

McMahon was on a panel of former NFL players at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo in New York City, and he said there that NFL players need to get off opioid painkillers and instead use marijuana.

“There’s so many uses to this plant,” McMahon said, in an interview with the New York Daily News. “Hundreds of thousands of people are dying from [painkillers] and there’s not one case of people dying from the hemp plant.”

Former Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall agreed with McMahon.

“My quality of life has improved because of this,” Marshall said.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the league doesn't plan to change its marijuana policy, despite many former players — as well as at least one current player, Eugene Monroe — advocating for marijuana use.

“It’s an NFL policy and we believe it’s the correct policy, for now, in the best interest of our players and the long-term health of our players,” Goodell said in February. “I don’t foresee a change in that clearly in the short term.”

Arizona: Cannabis Retail Designer Receives 3rd National Recognition

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The awards keep coming for cannabis retail designer Megan Stone of The High Road Design Studio. The young entrepreneur is lighting up the billion-dollar cannabis industry by creating award winning dispensary environments catering to the modern consumer.

This month Stone was announced as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by design:retail magazine for her luxury dispensary designs. Stone was selected for the national recognition from more than 140 nominees for the award, one of three major awards recognizing the Tempe, Arizona based retail designer in 2016. Winners for the retail magazine award were honored in New York City in May.

“I design the way I do because, for many people, cannabis has been a miraculous plant. Buying it should be an experience that reflects that,” Stone said.

Stone’s revolutionary designs have established a new cannabis aesthetic transcending long-standing clichés of tie-dye tapestries and peace-sign motifs. Along with the Top 40 Under 40 Award, Stone was named a finalist for the prestigious 23rd Annual A.R.E. (Association for Retail Environments) Design Awards Competition alongside CHANEL, Target and Nordstrom, and was named Technical Professional Marketer of the Year by SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) Arizona.

New York: Police Commissioner Blames Violence In NYC On Pot

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton blamed marijuana for "the vast majority" of violence in the city yesterday in an interview on talk radio.

“Here in New York, the violence we see associated with drugs, the vast majority of it, is around the issue of marijuana, which is ironic considering the explosion in use of heroin now in the city,” Bratton said Sunday on John Catsimatidis’s radio show.

“Interestingly enough, here in New York City most of the violence we see – violence around drug trafficking – is involving marijuana and I have to scratch my head as we are seeing many states wanting to legalize marijuana, and more liberalization of policies,” he said.

In fact, as contributor Johann Hari noted in a recent article in Influence, it’s the inherent instability of illegal markets that causes the vast majority of violence associated with drugs. Case in point, alcohol prohibition. As Hari explains:

"The worst aspect of the war on drugs—I believe—is the violence caused by drug prohibition, in precisely the way that alcohol prohibition created Al Capone. When a substance is illegal, dealers are forced to resort to violence to protect their turf.

New York: More Than 1,500 Visit Opening Day of the Museum of Drug Policy

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The Museum of Drug Policy in New York City opened up to long lines and more than 1,500 people attending events all day long on Tuesday, including a sold-out #NerdlandForever: Melissa Harris-Perry Live show.

Special guests included The Wire's Michael K. Williams, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Orange Is The New Black's Piper Kerman, Comedian Cristela Alonzo, 12 Years A Slave's Adepero Oduye and many members of the international community.

The Museum of Drug Policy, supported by The Open Society Foundations, is an immersive art experience and pop-up cultural hub with special live programming looking at the impact of current drug policies on populations around the world.

The Museum will be open on Park Avenue in New York City for three days this week, during the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem.

More than 70 works of international art will be on display, including special installations, and the Museum will feature daytime discussions and evening performances with a powerful lineup of speakers, panels, performances and keynote addresses that will take attendees on a journey exploring the real impact and human cost of drug policy in communities around the world.

New York: Artists Announce 'The Museum of Drug Policy' On Park Avenue, NYC

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The Museum of Drug Policy is a popup cultural hub that includes an immersive art experience and special live programming looking at the impact of current drug policies on populations around the world . The Museum will occupy space on Park Avenue for three days this month, during the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem.

Through art, conversations and experiential events, the Museum will showcase that the moment is now for drug policy reform and that damage caused by the War On Drugs is evident across the world. The Museum will uplift the voices of people most impacted by the global drug policy: people who use drugs, crop growers, people who are incarcerated, people who have saved lives or lost loved ones to drug overdose, people on death row for drug offenses, doctors who can’t prescribe adequate pain relief to their patients, and other voices of the international drug policy reform movement.

The Museum of Drug Policy will feature 70+ works from artists around the world, with interactive art installations, keynote addresses, panels, and community discussions that take attendees on a journey exploring the real impact and human cost of drug policy in communities around the world.

New York: Victims of the War On Drugs Call For Abolishing The DEA

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Decades of violence, corruption, support for authoritarian governments, and illegal spying on Americans leave DEA unfit for service

Ahead of major United Nations meeting on global drug policy, activists call for new approach focused on public health and safety

What: Banner drop & protest at the NYC Drug Enforcement Administration Office.
When: This Friday (3/18) @ 11 AM
Where: Drug Enforcement Administration, New York City office, 99 10th Ave, NYC 10011

Details: People with a history of drug use, the formerly incarcerated and people living with AIDS, all identifying as “victims of the Drug War,” will protest the Drug Enforcement Administration for its role in perpetuating the worst of drug war policies, including mass incarceration of people of color, fueling violence abroad, and fighting scientific evidence and public health needs in order to wage the Drug War at all costs.

Protesters will do a banner drop off the High Line Park reading "Just Say NO to the DEA", followed by blocking traffic in front of the office.

For more background on DEA abuses, click here to read the fact sheet.

New York: Women's Visionary Congress To Host Weekend of Events March 11-13

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Research Scientist Katherine MacLean, PhD, Artist Allyson Grey, and Psychiatrist Julie Holland, MD, Will Discuss How To Integrate Insights From Non-Ordinary Consciousness

In two weeks, a formerly underground women's psychedelic organization will host a weekend of events in New York City that will examine how to integrate insights from non-ordinary states of consciousness.

The Women's Visionary Congress (WVC) invites interested participants to a salon featuring Katherine MacLean PhD, Allyson Grey, and Julie Holland MD who will share their thoughts on how these experiences can have a lasting impact on our lives.

The event will take place March 12 from 11 am to 5 pm at The Alchemist's Kitchen, 21 East 1st Street, New York, NY. People of all genders are welcome to attend. Tickets are $50 and benefit WVC which is a 501C3 nonprofit organization.

The WVC salon will be preceded by a party on Friday, March 11, from 6-10 pm at the Rubin Museum at 150 W 17th Street in New York City. Admission is free.

The salon will be followed on the evening of Saturday, March 12, by a visionary storytelling gathering co-hosted by the WVC and Symposia which will take place from 8 pm to midnight at the Hell Phone at 247 Varet St. in Brooklyn. There is no charge for admission.

New York: Man Returns Lost Wallet Contents, Keeps Cash For Weed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Last week a Brooklyn-area man received a package in the mail containing the contents of a wallet he had lost at a Wilco concert two weeks previously. Well, most of the contents: the package included a note explaining how the culprit kept the cash because he "needed weed".

Reilly Flaherty, 28, was surprised to find the plain white envelope contained his driver's license, credit cards and the handwritten letter signed "Toodles, Anonymous".

“I found your wallet and your drivers license had your address so here’s your credit cards and other important stuff,” the note read. "I kept the cash because I needed weed, the metrocard because well the fare’s $2.75 now, and the wallet cause it’s kinda cool. Enjoy the rest of your day."

Flaherty burst out laughing at first, he told the New York Post. "I quickly went from being hysterical to like, this guy is selfish.”

He said the two of them could have probably been friends under other circumstances. “I would say, ‘Man, we would’ve gotten along — we’re both into Wilco — but you turned out to be super selfish,” he said. “It speaks to the New York mentality: I’m going to be nice but there’s going to be an asterisk.”

Flaherty had already replaced his driver's license and canceled the credit cards, so the good gesture was futile.

Flaherty didn't disclose how much cash was in the wallet. “Whether it was a dollar or a thousand, [this person] is a pot-smoking, modern-day version of Robin Hood,” he said.

New York: NYC Marijuana Possession Arrests Drop Under 17K; First Time Since '96

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67% Drop from 51,000 Arrests in 2011

Still A Tale of Two Cities: Young Black and Latino People Arrested at Higher Rates, Despite Young White People Using Marijuana at Higher Rates

According to data just released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York City marijuana arrests in 2015 dropped to under 17,000 for the first time since 1996. The 16,590 arrests for low-level marijuana possession in 2015 is a 42 percent decline from the 26,386 in 2014 and a 67 percent drop from the nearly 51,000 arrests in 2011.

“New York is finally starting to shed its embarrassing distinction of being the marijuana arrest capital of the world,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York state director at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Over the last twenty years, more than 700,000 lives were irrevocably harmed by our draconian marijuana arrest policies. We must repair the harms of marijuana prohibition and end the biased policing practices that have ruined the lives of so many young Black and Latino New Yorkers.”

In 2015, with the continuous advocacy of community members, advocates, and elected officials – the New York Police Department made 16,590 arrests for low level marijuana possession, down from a high of 26,386 in 2014. This continues a four year trend of declining marijuana possession arrest by the NYPD.

New York: City Council Holds Hearing On Synthetic Cannabinoids

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Amid Disappointing Conversations around Criminalization, Advocates Push for a Comprehensive Public Health Strategy to Deal with Synthetic Drugs

The New York City Council Committee on Public Safety on Monday held hearings about the growing concern surrounding synthetic cannabinoids. The hearings were held jointly with the Committees on Health and the Committee on Mental Health; Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services; and the Committee on Consumer Affairs

Recently, there have been several media reports of public drug use involving synthetic cannabinoids, such as spice and K2. Synthetic cannabinoids are a class of cannabinoid chemicals typically sprayed over plant matter and packaged with names like “K2,” “Spice” and “Green Giant.”

These are only the latest “legal highs” to come on the market that simulate the effects of prohibited drugs like marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine. In the past, as these kind of substances have been banned, manufacturers have simply invented new variations of the same substances to skirt the bans as well as for legitimate scientific purposes.

While synthetic cannabinoids are used by a wide range of people, media accounts have focused on their use by people who are homeless and/or criminal justice involved. The substances usually do not show up in drug tests that are sometimes required for people to access shelters or social services that require abstinence from illicit drugs, like marijuana.

New York: Sen. Gillibrand, State Sen. Savino To Headline Cannabis Business Summit

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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will deliver a noon keynote address on Monday, Sept. 21, at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Fall Regional Cannabis Business Summit, taking place at the Wyndham New Yorker in New York City, Sept. 21-22.

New York State Senator Diane J. Savino (D-Staten Island) will also speak at the Summit, delivering the morning keynote on Tuesday, Sept 22. Other speakers at the event include two of the first licensed medical marijuana providers in the state of New York.

NCIA’s Fall Regional Cannabis Business Summit provides a platform for cannabis business professionals throughout the East Coast - including New York’s emerging medical marijuana market - to discuss best business practices and patient care, while also building a regional community and gaining valuable education on relevant policy issues.

NCIA brings its Cannabis Business Summit series to New York City at an essential time. New York is about to become the newest state to bring critically ill patients legal and safe access to life-changing medical marijuana therapies. Recently, the state awarded the first five licenses for medical marijuana providers, and two of the successful applicants - Hillary Peckham of Etain and Collete Bellefleur of Bloomfield - will share their insights in an intimate discussion at 9:15am on Monday.

New York: Group Wants NYC To Set Up Its Own Medical Marijuana Program

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group of patients who are disappointed with the much criticized, heavily regulated medical marijuana program and its glacial pace in New York state has drafted a bill to make medicinal cannabis more accessible in New York City.

The group's proposed legislation, which responds to the state's Compassionate Care Act, establishes a "medical marihuana users' bill of rights" and asks the New York City Council to support creation of a "users cooperative," reports Madison Margolin at The Village Voice.

Longtime marijuana activist Dana Beal, one of about 10 contributors ot the bill, said the group hopes to establish a five-borough patients' cooperative "for people with serious maladies, including ones that aren't on the state list."

"The law and the regulations don't cover people who are [also] legitimate patients," Beal said. "We believe that under home rule, we can extend better availability and better prices to more people."

New York's Compassionate Care Act, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July 2014, is scheduled to take effect in January. Many have criticized it for being among the most restrictive, and least patient-friendly, in the country. The law doesn't allow for any smoking of marijuana, nor the use of any cannabis flowers, nor the use of infused edibles, but only allows oils, concentrates, dissolvable strips, patches, and tinctures.

New York: First Medical Marijuana Dispensary To Open In January

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York City's first legal medical marijuana dispensary will open just off Union Square in January 2016.

The dispensary, on 14th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, will be run by Columbia Care, a New York City-based company that won one of the state's five licenses to open, reports Kate Rogers at NBC News. The licenses were awarded in July.

New York state allows for medical marijuana use -- but no smoking and no cannabis flowers -- under the 2014 Compassionate Care Act.

Forty-three companies from across the U.S. competed for the five licenses in New York state. Each allows for the operation of one manufacturing facility and four dispensaries, all of which must be based in New York state.

The New York Department of Health awarded the licenses; all five were granted to companies that will be growing marijuana in the state.

"We hope to move as closely to a pharmaceutical manufacturing process as we can," said Nicholas Vita, CEO of Columbia Care.

The other four license winners are Bloomfield Industries, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain, and Pharmacannais.

"The New York program is a symbolic step forward in terms of visibility and awareness," said founder Matthew Karnes of Greenwave Advisors, a marketing research firm.

New York: Medical Marijuana Facility Set To Open In Long Island City

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana in New York State won't be sold in the conventional form of flowers; instead, due to the way the state's medicinal cannabis law is written, it will primarily be sold in pill form. A new facility in Long Island City will be one of those which will grow, manufacture and package the cannabis in pill form.

Bloomfield Industries isn't yet releasing the exact locations of the dispensaries where authorized medical marijuana patients will be able to buy cannabis, but we do know there will be one in Manhattan, one in Nassau County and two upstate, reports Kristin Thorne at ABC 7.

The 230,000-square-foot facility in Long Island City will have one unit dedicated to research and production, and will employ about 100 people. It's expected to be up and running within six months.

The company will be doing community outreach, according to Julie Prom. "The first step will be to get out into the communities," Prom said. "To educate leaders that we are coming to the community and how they can help us help patients."

Bloomfield Industries is partnering with EPIC Long Island, which helps epilepsy patients, to raise awareness about the effectiveness of cannabis in treating seizures.

The state has approved 10 illnesses for which people can receive medical cannabis, including epilepsy, cancer and HIV/AIDS.

New York: Families Demand Emergency Access To Medical Marijuana, One Year After Bill Signing

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An Emergency Access Bill Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law

Advocates: Not One Patient Has Yet Received Medical Marijuana; Cuomo Must Sign a Bill or Take Other Action to Provide Relief to Suffering Patients

On the one year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families on Tuesday gathered in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill to expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients.

Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana, and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.

“It’s a year and a half since Governor Cuomo announced in the State of the State message that he would re-activate the 1980 Olivieri Law to make medical marijuana available to patients in need, and a year since he signed the Compassionate Care Act," said Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of last year’s medical marijuana legislation. "In July 2014, he wrote to Health Commissioner Zucker about ‘the urgent help children with epilepsy desperately need,’ and said ‘I look forward to hearing of any progress you can make to provide relief to the children of our state living with epilepsy.’

Global: June 26 Rally At UN In New York Part of Global Day of Action To End Drug War

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Actions To Take Place In Over 100 Cities Around The World

Events Offer Alternative Vision To United Nations’ Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

A rally will be held on Friday, June 26 at 1 pm in New York City in front of the United Nations Headquarters as part of the global Support. Don’t Punish campaign, where thousands of activists in over 100 cities around the world will make their voices heard.

The campaign calls on governments to put an end to the expensive and counter-productive War On Drugs. This war has failed to reduce drug use or supply, it costs in excess of $100 billion each year to enforce, it has led to the mass incarceration of the vulnerable and the poor, and it fuels human rights violations and HIV epidemics.

June 26 is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which coincides with the release of the United Nations’ annual World Drug Report. It is also a day which has traditionally been used by governments to ‘celebrate’ drug arrests, seizures and even executions.

The Support. Don’t Punish “Global Day of Action” aims to change the narrative, and to highlight the need for a better approach.

New York: NYC Council Holds Hearing On Bill To Reorient Drug Policy Toward Health, Safety

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A new New York City drug policy agency would focus as much on health as on policing under a proposal a lawmaker has introduced to shift how the nation's biggest city approaches illegal drug use.

The proposed legislation would create an office to coordinate drug strategy between dozens of city agencies and the community. It emphasizes evidence-based policy making to promote health and public safety and reduce the negative impact of past or current policies.

The drug strategy office would advise city leaders on lowering drug-related deaths and disease along with crime, reports Jennifer Peltz at ABC News. It also would coordinate answers to a problem that sometimes seems to pit one set of government objectives against another, supporters say.

WHAT: Press conference and rally in support of Intro 748, which would create an Office of Drug Strategy, to be immediately followed by a NYC Council hearing on the bill.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 23, 9:00 am EST

WHERE: Steps of New York City Hall

WHO: NYC elected officials and community groups representing public health, drug treatment, mental health, and legal aid providers, and individuals directly affected by current NYC drug policy.

New York: Viridian Capital Hosts 'First Ever' NYC Cannabis Investor Briefing

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An entrepreneurial investment opportunity in a new industry is unfolding as more and more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana. “Investing in the Emerging Cannabis Industry While Managing Risk," on June 18 in New York, will explore and discuss the opportunities and risks in this growing multi billion-dollar industry.

Hosted by Viridian Capital Advisors, which describes itself as "the first investment banking and strategic advisory firm dedicated to the cannabis market," this invitation-only morning briefing is open to attendees of the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo). Taking place June 17-19 at the Javits Center in New York, the 2nd Annual CWCBExpo is the largest business event on the East Coast for the cannabis industry, according to organizers.

“The legal Cannabis industry is not just a social movement, but also a business and financial revolution, with the industry generating $2.7 billion in sales in 2014 and more than 300 public companies in the sector,” said Scott Greiper, president of Viridian Capital Advisors. “With this opportunity, however, come risks that are particular to the nature of the cannabis industry.

"This briefing, taking place in Wall Street’s backyard, will provide a tutorial about how to identify investment opportunities in the sector while properly managing risk,” Greiper said.

New York: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition To Lead Cannabis Parade In NYC May 2

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Want to participate in a revolution?

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is leading the Cannabis Parade in NYC on this Saturday, May 2, reports Jack A. Cole of LEAP. "The first 60 people to signup to be part of the LEAP contingent for that parade will be given free LEAP T-shirts and badges," Cole announced on Facebook Tuesday.

"Send me an email at jackacole@leap.cc or text me at 617-792-3877, with your name, cell phone, email address, and T-shirt size to reserve a shirt," Cole said. "The LEAP contingent will walk behind our 'End the Drug War-Stop the Killing' Banner."

"The marchers in our contingent will be very visible and the back's of their T-shirts read, 'Cops Say Legalize Drugs, Ask Me Why,'" Cole said. "The participating LEAP speakers will also be wearing our T-shirts and a LEAP hat so they can be easily referred to reporters who want interviews."

According to Cole, there are supposed to be more than 40 organizations participating.

At 11:30 a.m. the LEAP contingent will assemble for the parade at the Martinique Café, located on the east side of Broadway just north of 32nd Street (across from Greeley Square Park). Participants will pick up your shirts there.

The parade starts at Broadway and 32nd Street and proceeds to 14th Street where there will be a rally at Union Square.

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