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Pennsylvania: Support for Recreational Cannabis Nears 60%


Nearly six in 10 Pennsylvanians support social cannabis regulation, a dramatic upturn over the past decade, a new poll shows

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Fifty-Nine percent of the roughly 400 voters surveyed approve of adult-use cannabis legalization, according to a poll by Franklin & Marshall College Center for Opinion Research.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the statistic is dramatically up from the 22% who supported legalization in 2006, the first year the Lancaster-based college started polling Pennsylvanians about social cannabis legalization.

U.S.: Trump Intends to Nominate Pennsylvania Congressman Marino as Drug Czar

Tom Marino, Prohibitionist

Trump to name Congressman Tom Marino (R-PA) as White House Drug Czar

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The position of Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), who is responsible for setting broad federal approaches to controlled substance policy and certifying the drug budgets of other agencies, will be given Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino, a former state and federal prosecutor.

Rep. Marino has consistently voted against marijuana law reform measures on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, as a member of Congress since 2011.

Pennsylvania: Hundreds of Doctors Registering for Medical Cannabis Program

Pennsylvania Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In the past month, more than 100 physicians in the Keystone State, have signed up to be involved in the medical cannabis program, according to the Pennsylvania Health Department.

Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement that the physicians have taken the first step to becoming approved medical marijuana providers by completing a practitioner registry on the Health Department’s website.

"Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment," Dr. Levine said. "Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program."

Pennsylvania: Dept of Health Launches Practitioner Registry for Medical Cannabis Program

Pennsylvania Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine announced this week that physicians can now take the first steps to participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program by completing the Practitioner Registry.

“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” Dr. Levine said. “Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program.”

U.S.: PA Governor Vows to Protect Medical Marijuana Patients From AG Sessions

Gov Wolf Letter To Jeff Sessions

"If you [Attorney General Sessions] seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty." Governor Tom Wolf

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said the federal government should not get in the way of Pennsylvania delivering relief via medical marijuana to suffering children, families and veterans. The letter comes after reports that Attorney General Sessions had personally asked Congress to repeal an amendment that protected state-approved medical marijuana programs from disruption by the federal government.

Pennsylvania: Industrial Hemp Plot Planted In Perry County, Harvest To Be Cattle Feed

Perry County Hemp

From 1681 until around 1840 the culture of hemp was nearly universal in Pennsylvania

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Tuesday, an industrial hemp research plot was planted in Perry County, Pennsylvania. If successful, the seeds should germinate in about a week and mature in 100 days.

Pennsylvania: Industrial Hemp Sown For First Time In Decades

Penn Hemp 2017

Industrial Hemp was an important crop and a major industry in Pennsylvania, grown in the Commonwealth until the 1940’s

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

For the first time in over 80 years, researchers and farmers are allowed to cultivate hemp in Pennsylvania, with permits. The new law allows permit holders to grow up to five acres of industrial hemp.

After fifty years of growing acres of various crops at his family's farm near Milton, Abram Ziegler has turned to industrial hemp to help his farm.

Pennsylvania: NFL Hall of Fame Linebacker Jack Ham Working To Strengthen Cannabis Advocacy

Jack Ham Cannabis

One of the greatest outside linebackers in the history of the NFL has become an advocate for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Legendary Pittsburgh Steeler and 1988 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee, Jack Ham plans to serve as a spokesperson and consultant for AgriMed, which is one of several hundred companies vying for one of 12 licenses to grow and provide medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

While Ham is partially advocating for the company because he wants to see jobs return to Greene County, where its operation would be located, he also believes it is time for the NFL to take a more open stance on the drug.

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh To Host Big Medical Marijuana Conference

Lawrence Convention Ctr.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Sponsors who are preparing for next weekend's World Medical Marijuana Conference and Expo are expecting about 1,500 attendees from across the U.S. for the Friday-Saturday event at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, in downtown Pittsburgh.

The conference will feature former NFL players Ricky Williams and Marvin Washington, plus talks by medical, business and legal experts. Workshops on the lengthy schedule range from classes on cooking with cannabis to a look at how technology will shape medical marijuana’s future.

“This conference is for anybody interested in medical cannabis. They could be an investor, someone interested in a new career, a provider or a patient,” said Melonie Kotchey, chief operating officer and co-founder of Compassionate Certification Centers along with Armstrong County physician Bryan Doner.

Compassionate Certification Centers is a medical marijuana marketing and consulting company based in Delaware but whose principals are in southwest Pennsylvania. It currently works with one medical practice in Miami with plans to add three more outside Pennsylvania in coming months.

Admission prices for the World Medical Marijuana Conference range from $50 for an adult exhibit hall only ticket each day up to $698 for Saturday's exhibit hall, workshops and CME credits. Children’s tickets are $10.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Rules For Doctors Released


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pennsylvania has issued proposed rules for doctors practicing under the state's medical marijuana program, which is expected to start up in 2018. The program will cover 17 chronic conditions, allowing cannabis to be dispensed as pills, oils, a liquid that can be vaporized, and topicals.

The rules require physicians to complete a four-hour training program on medical marijuana but they cannot advertise their ability to make recommendations. The rules are designed to dissuade doctors from becoming “stereotypical pot docs” that will issue recommendations to almost anyone for a set price, according to Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Participating doctors must also sign up to the state registry, which could limit participation.

“Asking them to put their name on a list increases the odds of those doctors not participating,” she said in the report. “And when doctors don’t participate, patient access is hindered. A better option would have been to require registration of doctors who are submitting a significant number of recommendations per month.”

The Department of Health is seeking comments on the proposals.

Pennsylvania: Auditor General Supports Legalizing Marijuana


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (D) said Monday he strongly supports legalizing marijuana in the state, and said it is a taxable asset the state needs.

"Cities in Pennsylvania and some towns have started their own decriminalization process," DePasquale pointed out.

He cited states that have legalized marijuana and have been reaping the benefits of legalizing and taxing the plant.

"The regulation and taxation of marijuana train has rumbled out of the station across the United States," DePasquale said. "The question is whether Pennsylvania is going to miss its stop as the train moves its way across the country and allow other states to pick up the business opportunities."

"I'm a hundred percent behind him," Dan Skaggs of Lords Valley told WNEP16. "Looking at the revenue that alone Colorado has generated, we could get Pennsylvania out of bankruptcy."

But State Representative Sid Kavulich, a fellow Democrat, says the state shouldn't be so quick to follow Colorado's lead.

"It's still too early, Colorado certainly," said Kavulich, who represents the 114th District. "Let's wait a few years, see what kind of revenue comes in, what develops over a few years with the general legalization."

Pennsylvania: Ex-Philly Mayoral Candidate Cited For Pot At Airport


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Former Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz was recently cited at the airport after security officers found a small amount of marijuana in his luggage.

Katz told the Philadelphia Inquirer he was at Philadelphia International Airport on Thursday morning, heading to Florida for a weekend fishing trip. He said he hasn’t smoked marijuana in years and thought the trip would be a good opportunity to do it again.

Katz said he put pot in his suitcase and the TSA agents found it as he passed through security. He says the officers seized the pot and gave him a $25 ticket. He also missed his flight and had to make alternate travel arrangements.

He said it’s not “one of the smart moves” he’s made.

Katz ran for mayor three times in the 90s and early 2000s.

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Attorney Challenges Marijuana's Schedule I Classification

Pat Nightingale.png

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pittsburgh marijuana reform activist and attorney Patrick K. Nightingale has filed a motion challenging the constitutionality of marijuana’s Schedule I classification.

He filed the motion with the Court of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

Schedule I substances are considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

Pennsylvania recently joined 25 other states with legal medical marijuana programs.

Nightingale released the following statement regarding his challenge of marijuana's Schedule I classification:

“Both medicinal consumers and recreational consumers are faced with potential prosecution for possession of a Controlled I substance despite the fact that we have a law demonstrating its efficacy for treating any of 17 qualifying conditions. I believe this amounts to a denial of equal protection and the Court is in a position to address this contradiction.”

Congress has so far been unable or unwilling to address this issue affecting all Americans and their right to equal protection under the law.

Hopefully the Court will be forced to finally take action on this issue, amending a violation of our Constitutional Rights.

Pennsylvania: Marijuana Activists March To Democratic Convention With 51-Foot Joints


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two 51-foot inflatable joints were marched up Broad Street in Philadelphia yesterday to celebrate the Democratic National Committee's progressive platform on marijuana.

About two dozen members of the Philadelphia branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) carried the blow-up joints about 3.5 miles from Philadelphia City Hall to the Wells Fargo enter, where the convention is taking place.

Marijuana is a central issue at the convention this year, and pro-legalization groups are pleased with the progress being made. Activists have been joined by some members of Congress, fighting for marijuana reform, hoping that federal laws will soon mirror those of states that have legalized marijuana.

One joint read "Legalize" and "Hillary, Deschedule Cannabis Now".

The other read "End the Racist Drug War" and Berned by the DNC", referring to the leaked e-mails that showed high-ranking party members had favored Hillary Clinton. Sanders became an advocate for marijuana reform during his campaign, and had a lot to do with why the issue made it part of the DNC platform at all. He refrained from endorsing Clinton until certain issues from his campaign, including marijuana reform and free college tuition, were added to the party's platform draft.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Temporary Guidelines Completed


Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy on Friday announced that temporary guidelines for the Safe Harbor provision of the state's Medical Marijuana Program are complete and can be viewed online or in the June 25 edition of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

The department announced that it developed the Safe Harbor temporary guidelines "to thoroughly and carefully outline the specific requirements that must be followed when a parent, legal guardian, caregiver, or spouse is applying to obtain medical marijuana to administer to minors who have a physician-documented serious medical condition."

"In July, parents, legal guardians, caregivers, and spouses will be able to apply to the department for a Safe Harbor Letter that will allow them to administer medical marijuana obtained from outside of Pennsylvania to minors in their care," said Secretary Murphy. "Once approved, the letter should be carried whenever medical marijuana is being transported outside of an individual's home."

Pennsylvania: House Bill Would Raise Fines For Marijuana Possession

Philly bell.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on a bill, House Bill 1422, that would massively increase fines for marijuana possession.

The bill downgrades possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less from a misdemeanor to a summary offense, but those convicted will carry a criminal record.

Chris Goldstein, a member of the Board of Directors at PhillyNORML, has thoroughly researched marijuana arrest statistics in Pennsylvania.

“Young people, low income residents and people of color will suffer greatly under an increase in possession fines,” said Goldstein.

The Pennsylvania Controlled Substances and Cosmetics Act describes that offenders can be “sentenced to imprisonment not exceeding thirty days, or ordered to pay a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or both.”

HB 1422 would change “not exceeding” to “not less than”, turning the old maximum fine for marijuana into the new mandatory minimum fine. That is just for the first offense. The bill then proposes graduated fines: $750 for the second offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

Pennsylvania: Some Patients Could Get Medical Marijuana This Summer


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is one step closer for patients in Pennsylvania. Some will be able to gain access to cannabis this summer, but others will have to wait a lot longer.

The wait will be over soon for patients under age 18, reports Mark Roper at Fox 43.

"The mothers are the ones who fought for this law, so their kids should come first," said medical marijuana attorney Gabe Chorno. "I have no problem with that. Unfortunately for vets and adult patients, we have to continue to wait."

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy on Wednesday morning announced the details on the first phase of regulations. Once the first temporary regulations are established, parents will be able to get medicinal cannabis for their children in other states before it is grown and available in Pennsylvania.

Parents will be required to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and receive an identification card for their child.

"The drafters of the legislation, as well as the governor, as well as the Department of Health, wanted to be sure that we assisted these parents that really were instrumental in supporting this legislation," said Dr. Murphy.

Pennsylvania: Wizard's Forward Markieff Morris Detained At Airport, Questioned About Marijuana In Luggage

Markieff Morriss.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris was detained Thursday at Philadelphia International Airport after marijuana was found in his party's luggage. Morris was with family, and was released after interrogation.

An investigation is ongoing, according to CSN Philly.

“We spoke with Markieff earlier today and will continue to gather more details about the situation, but we will not have any further comments at this time,” a Wizards spokesman said.

Calls to Morris’s agent and the Tinicum Township Police Department were not returned. The Tinicum PD oversees the terminal Morris’s party was supposed to depart from for its international flight.

The Wizards acquired Morris from the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 18. Morris, 26, appeared in 27 games for Washington and made 21 starts. He averaged 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds after the trade.

Pennsylvania: Harrisburg Considers Plan To Decriminalize Marijuana

marijuana plants.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Pennsylvania's capitol city should hear a proposal tonight (Wednesday) that would decriminalize marijuana.

Harrisburg council members are scheduled to discuss Mayor Eric Papenfuses's proposal which would lower the penalties for marijuana possession.

Marijuana possession is currently a misdemeanor that stays on an offender's criminal history. Papenfuse's proposal would reduce marijuana possession to the same level as a traffic ticket.

Under the plan, a third arrest for marijuana possession would be considered a misdemeanor. Fines are proposed to begin at $100 and increase incrementally.

The public will be able to talk to council members at the meeting Wednesday.

The proposal could be voted on as early as next week.

Pennsylvania: Marijuana Advocacy Group Partners For Business Seminars


Pittsburgh NORML endorses US Cannabis’ seminars coming to Pittsburgh June 11 & 12

US Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development has announced a "strategic partnership" with Pittsburgh NORML for sponsorship of the US Cannabis Medical Marijuana Business Seminar Series being held in Pittsburgh June 11 and 12.

"We only work with the best, and NORML sets the standard for professionalism and results," said Michael Patterson, CEO of US Cannabis. "They are the best marijuana advocacy group in the country. It's an honor to have them on our team.

"NORML has fought tirelessly for adults to have access to marijuana without persecution," Patterson said. "We want to implement their mission through educating Pennsylvania's best and brightest on the new Medical Marijuana law to facilitate successful marijuana commerce in the Keystone state."

"It's a win-win," said Pittsburgh NORML Chairman Isaac Holeva. "We want to give our supporters and all persons interested in this new legal industry the best chance to succeed.

"By attending this seminar, they will get expert advice and analysis from US Cannabis detailing both sides of the business: growing and producing marijuana and also medical regulation and compliance,” Holeva said.

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