Political

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Coalition Nearing Petition Drive Goal

Michigan Signature Gathering

Backers of a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan are approaching the finish line

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Hundreds of petition circulators in Michigan have been busy collecting signatures for the legalization of cannabis.

Josh Hovey, the spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, says the group is pushing forward and their petition drive will collect its 300,000 signature in the coming days.

That 300,000-signature estimate comes close to the total of 252,523 verified signatures organizers must submit by Nov 22, 2017. To be safe, the campaign hopes to collect at least 360,000 signatures before the November deadline.

Oregon: New Plant Limits for Medical Marijuana Program Hurting Patients

Oregon Capitol

New state regulations attempting to address the flow of medical cannabis into the black market leaves patients in painful bind

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Oregon public health officials drafted strict rules for how many plants medical cannabis patients may cultivate at home or at a grow-site registered with the state. Legislators claim the regulations are the result of bi-partisan legislation passed this past session to stop the flow of medical cannabis to the community. A residence may have no more than a dozen mature plants, no matter how many people live there, including recreational plants. The law does not define the size of immature plants.

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.

Utah: Patients Coalition Launches 2018 Signature Drive for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Utah Patients Coalition 2018

Patients, advocates, and dedicated volunteers begin signature drive across the state

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The campaign to place a medical cannabis initiative on the November 2018 ballot has entered their signature gathering phase. The Utah Patients Coalition are collecting signatures throughout the state and are assembling teams on a daily basis. To qualify for the ballot, more than 113,000 valid signatures are required.

On August 10, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act received approval from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox to begin gathering signatures after supporters held 10 public hearings across the state and met with various state departments and stakeholders.

Michigan: Effort To Legalize Marijuana On Pace to Make 2018 Ballot

Michigan Cannabis 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The signature drive to legalize marijuana in Michigan in November of 2018 is swiftly progressing toward making the ballot.

Robin Schneider, the Finance Director for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, told Hemp News, "Last week, we passed the 200,000-signature mark – meaning we’re well on our way to reaching our goal of collecting 366,000 signatures. 252,523 of these signatures need to be validated to get on the ballot in 2018 and end cannabis prohibition once and for all."

If the proposal to end marijuana prohibition is approved by voters, Michigan would become a national leader in cannabis reform by allowing personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older.

U.S.: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Continues to Deny Cannabis Science

Jeff Sessions, Prohibitionist

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions vows medical cannabis has no medicinal value and science still contradicts his stance

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the ever outspoken cannabis prohibitionist, has been pushing for Congressional permission to prosecute medical cannabis providers in states that have legalized the drug for medical use.

AG Sessions, who points to America’s “historic drug epidemic” to justify the crackdown, denies extensive research showing medical cannabis access lowers rates of opioid-related overdose.

Massachusetts: Governor Appoints Senator Flanagan to Cannabis Control Commission

Massachusetts.png

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker named state senator Jennifer L. Flanagan as the gubernatorial appointee to the five-member Cannabis Control Commission, the commission charged with regulating both the adult use and medical marijuana industries.

Maine: State Delays Recreational Cannabis Sales, Governor Urges Cannabis Crackdown

Maine Cannabis

Last November, ballot initiative Question 1 gave Maine lawmakers and regulators nine months to write the rules

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Maine won’t be able to meet its February deadline to allow recreational cannabis sales, according to state officials.

Republican State Sen. Roger Katz said the agencies responsible for the recreational market rollout don’t have sufficient time before the deadline to perform such tasks as licensing growers, writing departmental rules and hiring new inspectors.

Last Month, Gov. Paul LePage stated he wished the Maine Legislature had repealed the referendum-passed law legalizing recreational cannabis use.

Wisconsin: Senator Invests in Canadian Cannabis Farm Creating Conflict of Interest

Sen. Frank Lasee, Profiteer

Earlier this year, when the state senator voted to expand access to medical cannabis in Wisconsin, he was doing so as an investor of a Canadian cannabis farm embroiled in turmoil

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In 2016, Wisconsin State Senator Frank Lasee of De Pere, bought $5,000 to $50,000 in the stock of Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp, according to public disclosures reviewed this week.

Kansas: 16-Year-Old Running for Governor, Plans to Legalize

Jack Bergeson on Kimmel

Jack Bergeson, 16, a Wichita high school student, is running for Kansas governor

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Even though he won’t be able to legally cast a vote, Jack Bergeson, a 16-year-old from Wichita, is running for Governor of Kansas in 2018. His political platform includes legalizing marijuana for social use.

“Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one,” said Bryan Caskey, director of elections at the Kansas secretary of state’s office. “So there’s seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing.”

Utah: Initiative Approved to Begin Collecting Signatures for Medical Cannabis in 2018

Utah Patients Coalition 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Utah Patients Coalition has received approval from Lt., Governor Spencer Cox, to begin gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. After holding 10 public hearings across the state and meeting with various state departments and stakeholders, Utah Patients Coalition will now proceed to collect the more than 113,000 required signatures to place doctor-approved access to medical cannabis on the ballot for Utah voters to approve.

U.S.: Congresswoman Introduces Bill Allowing States to Effectively Regulate Cannabis

US House of Representatives

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalized some form of cannabis and more are expected to vote on legalization in 2018. Yet, cannabis possession or use for any purpose is still prohibited under the federal Controlled Substances Act, leaving every participant in the state markets — including cancer patients — at risk of prosecution.

On July 28, Rep. Suzan Delbene (D-WA) reintroduced the State Marijuana And Regulatory Tolerance (SMART) Enforcement Act (H.R. 3534) to protect medical patients, recreational users and small businesses in states that have legalized and regulated cannabis from being prosecuted now or in the future.

U.S.: DOJ Task Force Recommends Against Sessions Targeting Legal Marijuana Providers

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Recommendations would preserve current policy of not interfering with medical and adult-use businesses that comply with state law and federal guidelines

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A Dept. of Justice task force subcommittee on marijuana policy is not recommending any policy changes that would target state-legal marijuana programs or businesses operating in compliance with state laws, according to a report by the Associated Press. The task force asked for continued study and dialogue on the issue.

Utah: Congresswoman Love Expresses Support for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Rep. Mia Love

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

At a town hall meeting with constituents on Wednesday, Utah Congresswoman Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) responded to questions about her support for medical cannabis.

“I know a lot of parents out there where their children suffer from epilepsy, or they suffer from other things, and if it’s prescribed by a doctor, then I’m fine with it,” Rep. Love said.

Rep Love continued, “I mean we have an opioid epidemic here. Not just here, but all throughout the country, there are things I believe are far more harmful.”

New York: Dept of Health Adds Organizations to Medical Marijuana Program

New York Cannabis - Times Union

As of August 1, 2017, there are 25,736 certified patients and 1,139 registered practitioners participating in the program and the number of certified patients has increased by 10,744 or 72 percent since the addition of chronic pain in late March

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The New York State Department of Health yesterday announced that it has authorized five additional registered organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in New York State, an initiative aimed at improving patient access and the geographic distribution of dispensing facilities across the state. The newly approved organizations are Citiva Medical, Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, New York Canna, PalliaTech NY and Valley Agriceuticals.

Texas: Bill Introduced to Decriminalize Cannabis

Texas Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 27, Texas Representative Joe Moody introduced, HB 334, a bill calling for the decriminalization of cannabis possession. The proposed legislation would also create an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia in the Lone Star State.

Under the proposed law, possession of over one ounce of marijuana would still be punishable with a misdemeanor, while five pounds or more would still garner a felony charge.

U.S.: Senator Booker Introduces ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ to Legalize Cannabis

US Capitol

For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for cannabis-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Today, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that if passed will legalize cannabis at the federal level and go even further in an effort to remedy many of the failures of the War on Drugs.

U.S.: Congressman Rohrabacher Applauds Senate Panel for Adopting Cannabis Amendment

Capitol Hill Cannabis

The amendment passed despite a letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent in May asking House and Senate leadership not to block DOJ from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Senate Committee on Appropriations on Thursday adopted an amendment, commonly known as “Rohrabacher-Farr,” that prohibits the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute those in compliance with their state’s medical cannabis laws.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-CA, who co-sponsored the amendment when it first passed in 2014, retired from Congress last year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, stepped in as the lead House Democrat pushing the provision.

U.S.: Take Action Against Prohibitionist Attorney General Sessions

Jeff Sessions Reefer Madness

By August, states that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis should have a better idea how the Justice Department and Trump Administration plan to act

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the ever outspoken critic of cannabis, issued a recent directive stating he wants to increase asset forfeiture, which would allow the government to seize money and property from people suspected of a crime even before conviction. If the businesses have the means to sue to get their assets back, the case would be time consuming, stressful and expensive and virtually impossible for the entity to survive financially.

Massachusetts: Governor Signs Recreational Cannabis Bill

Mass Cann Law 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an overhaul of the state's voter-passed recreational cannabis law. The governor's signature, which comes 11 days after a legislative conference committee reached agreement on a compromise bill that changed several aspects of the original voter approved measure, is an issue the governor opposes.

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