Political

Rhode Island: Judge Rules Company Discriminated Against Medical Cannabis Patient

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Tuesday, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Richard Licht ruled against Darlington Fabrics, a Rhode Island textile company accused of discriminating against a woman when she was denied an internship because she used medical marijuana. The initial complaint said Christine Callaghan, a former graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, negotiated a paid internship with Darlington Fabrics in 2014 but lost it after disclosing she held a medical marijuana card for migraine headaches.

Vermont: Gov. Phil Scott Vetoes Social Cannabis Bill, Offers ‘Path Forward’

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

MONTPELIER, VT. - Gov. Phil Scott announced Wednesday he is vetoing a bill that would have made marijuana legal for adults in Vermont, but offered “a path forward” for passing it later this year. He specified a handful of changes that would need to be made for him to support the measure and said he believes the legislature has time to incorporate them and enact a revised version during the summer veto session.

Colorado: Governor Hickenlooper Signs Hemp Bill Protecting Water Stored In Federal Reservoirs

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Senate Bill 117, which will protect hemp farmers who use water stored in federal reservoirs, passed 99-1

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Sunday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 117, the Recognize Industrial Hemp Agricultural Product for Agricultural Water Right, into law. The bill, which was introduced in the state Legislature by Sen. Don Coram, and sponsored by Rep. Marc Catlin, will ease complications when water from a federal project is used.

California: Legalization Allows Californians To Reduce Cannabis Convictions

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Anyone who has been charged with a cannabis-related crime in California has a chance to have their record reduced or expunged

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Thousands of cannabis convictions in California are being expunged because of state's new cannabis law. Cannabis regulation advocates, including the Drug Policy Alliance, have worked with convicts to have their records changed.

“Many DA’s offices are still in the process of working on the mechanics on how to handle these people. But in effect, the courts are receptive to making sure people get a second chance,” San Jose attorney and legal analyst Steven Clark told KCBS San Fransisco.

New Jersey: Highly Regulated Social Cannabis Bill Introduced In The Garden State

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New Jersey residents would not be allowed to cultivate cannabis for personal use

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The measure introduced by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D., Union) would only allow licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis for medical or recreational use. Cannabis products would be subjected to a sales tax of seven to 25 percent over the course of five years if the proposal is approved.

Under the bill, adults in New Jersey would be able to consume cannabis legally. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana flower would also be permitted, along with 16 ounces of solid cannabis-infused products like edibles, 72 ounces of liquid marijuana tinctures, drinks and oils and seven grams of concentrates.

Washington, DC: Cannabis Legalization Bill Receives Bipartisan Support On Capitol Hill

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Representative Tom Garrett of Virginia held a press conference Wednesday urging Congress to pass H.R.1227, Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. The legislators are renewing their efforts as the Trump administration pushes to go after non-violent drug crimes. The bill currently has 11 sponsors.

The bipartisan bill, if approved, would remove cannabis from the federal government’s list of controlled substances and put cannabis in the same category as alcohol and tobacco.

Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Poised To Appear On November Ballot

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 258,582 petition signatures to the Secretary of State on Thursday; 150,642 valid signatures needed to qualify

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee released a report Wednesday that estimates passage of the initiative will generate nearly $82 million in annual tax revenue, including more than $55 million for Arizona schools

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A citizen initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona is poised to appear on the November ballot after proponents turned in their petition Thursday with more than enough signatures to qualify.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) submitted 258,582 total signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State. With 150,642 valid signatures of Arizona voters needed to place the measure on the ballot, that appears to be a comfortable margin. The secretary of state is expected to determine whether the initiative has qualified by late August.

“We are very encouraged by the strong levels of support and enthusiasm we found among voters during the petition drive,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “Arizonans are ready to end the antiquated policy of marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

Arizona: Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Submitting Signatures

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On Thursday, June 30, at 10:30 a.m., campaign leaders and supporters will hold a news conference just prior to handing over more than 100 boxes of petitions to state officials

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) will submit more than 100 boxes of petitions to state officials on Thursday to place an initiative on the November ballot that would end marijuana prohibition in Arizona.

Campaign leaders and initiative supporters will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. in a temporary office located on the second floor of 77 E. Weldon Ave. in Phoenix, where representatives of the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office will be accepting and reviewing the petitions.

Initiative backers need at least 150,642 valid signatures of Arizona voters to qualify the measure for the November ballot. At Thursday's news conference, they will announce the total number of signatures they will be submitting.

The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana; establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol; and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.

U.S.: 11 Lawmakers Urge Congress To Include Medical Marijuana In Funding Bill

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U.S. Senator Steve Daines, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and nine members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday urged Congressional leadership to include a provision in the final funding bill sent to the president that protects veterans’ ability to discuss the use of medical marijuana with VA physicians in states where it is legal.

Although the provision passed both chambers of Congress, it was removed in the conferenced appropriations for Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act Conference Report failed to include Senators Daines and Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) and Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) amendments that would allow for parity between VA and non-VA facilities in 26 states which have medical marijuana programs. The amendment does not change current laws preventing the possession or dispensing of marijuana on VA property, but simply allows veterans to discuss all options that are legally available in their state with their VA doctor.

Maine: Initiative To Legalize Marijuana Will Appear On Ballot As Question 1

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Secretary of State Matt Dunlap on Monday announced that the initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine will appear on the ballot as Question 1.

The secretary of state set the final wording of the ballot question last week. It reads, “Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

“The wording of our ballot question is far more important than the order in which it will appear," said Yes On 1 Campaign Manager David Boyer. "It conveys to voters that the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use will be subject to regulation, taxation, and local control.

"We are pleased, as those themes comprise the core of our initiative and help explain the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition," Boyer said. "Residents of Maine will be hearing a lot more about regulation, taxation, and local control as we spend the next four months encouraging them to vote ‘Yes’ on Question 1.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Temporary Guidelines Completed

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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."

U.S.: NCIA Calls On Congress To Restore Commonsense Marijuana Proposals To Bills

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Despite bipartisan, majority support in both the House and Senate, the GOP "leadership" has blocked a fix to the dangerous banking crisis, and also stripped a provision allowing V.A. doctors to discuss medical marijuana with patients.

Recent actions by Congressional leadership have derailed two commonsense, majority-favored marijuana policy reform proposals that had been expected to pass through the appropriations process. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) on Friday called on members of Congress to work to restore those provisions as the budget negotiation process continues.

"Bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate have supported the commonsense, compassionate ideas that law-abiding cannabis businesses shouldn't be forced into dangerous all-cash operations, and that veterans who have put themselves in harm's way for our country should be able to learn about how medical marijuana could help them deal with the physical and psychological aftermath of their sacrifices," said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith.

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.”

California Democratic Party Endorses Adult Use of Marijuana Act

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November ballot measure becomes the first marijuana legalization initiative in state history to receive the official endorsement of a major political party

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which will appear on the November 2016 statewide ballot in California, on Monday announced that it has received the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party (CDP).

The largest statewide Democratic Party organization in the nation, the CDP joins the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation, and the San Francisco Democratic Party in endorsing AUMA.

While the CDP has long had as part of its official platform putting an end to the failed and costly policy of marijuana prohibition in California, this is the first time in state history that a major political party has officially endorsed a specific cannabis legalization ballot measure.

“This landmark action by the California Democratic Party underscores the responsible and consensus approach of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and strengthens what is already the largest, most enthusiastic and most diverse coalition ever assembled in support of a marijuana legalization effort,” said Brian Brokaw, AUMA campaign manager.

Arizona: Congressman Ruben Gallego Endorses Initiative To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

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Congressman Ruben Gallego on Monday announced that he is endorsing an initiative poised for the November ballot that would end marijuana prohibition in Arizona and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

“Forcing sales of this plant into the underground market has resulted in billions of dollars flowing into the hands of drug cartels and other criminals,” Rep. Gallego said. "We will be far better off if we shift the production and sale of marijuana to taxpaying Arizona businesses that are subject to strict regulations. It will also allow the state to direct law enforcement resources toward reducing violence and other more serious crimes.

“I am proud to support this initiative, as it represents a far more sensible approach to marijuana for our state,” Gallego said. “It will make Arizona communities safer, while also generating some much-needed tax revenue for our schools.”

Gallego, a Democrat who represents Arizona’s 7th Congressional district, which includes central and south Phoenix as well as western Maricopa County communities, announced his endorsement at a news conference on the House Lawn of the Arizona State Capitol. He was joined by leaders of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting the initiative.

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.

Arizona: Parents Launch Father's Day Billboard In Support Of Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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A group of concerned parents, organized for the purpose of highlighting the benefits of regulating marijuana to protect teens, will launch a Father’s Day-themed billboard Thursday in support of the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona.

Parents for Responsible Regulation (PRR) will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. MST in front of the billboard in downtown Phoenix (two blocks south of Chase Field on the southwest corner of 7th and Lincoln Streets).

The billboard, which will be up through Father’s Day on Sunday, features a man embracing his teen son and stating: “Please, card my son. Regulate the sale of marijuana and help me keep it out of his hands.” It directs viewers to RegulationWorks.org, which details several ways in which regulating marijuana like alcohol would help protect teens.

“Our current system of marijuana prohibition has failed to keep marijuana out of the hands of teens," said PRR co-chair Sonia Martinez, a Gilbert-based attorney, past president of the Native American Bar Association of Arizona, and mother of two children, ages 9 and 10. "It forces marijuana sales into the underground market, where customers are never asked for ID and often exposed to other illegal products.

U.S.: Senate To Hold Homeland Security Hearing On Alternatives To Drug War

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The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold an unprecedented roundtable hearing on Wednesday morning, June 15, 2016, entitled "America's Insatiable Demand for Drugs: Examining Alternative Approaches." The hearing comes at a time where the country is struggling to tackle the opioid epidemic, and policy makers are in search of innovative solutions that avoid the mistakes of the War On Drugs.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), will lay out his vision for ending the war on drugs and forging ahead with new policies based on science, health and human rights. In his written testimony, Nadelmann affirms that "A new approach is needed, one that reduces both the harm caused by drugs and the harm caused by current drug control policies."

“I’ve waited a very long time to be invited by Congress to testify on these issues,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “I think it’s a positive sign that political leaders, not just in the states but even on Capitol Hill, now recognize both the failure of the drug war and the need to think outside the box in addressing our country’s drug problems.”

Nevada: Largest Paper Used To Support Pot Legalization -- Then Adelson Bought It

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Las Vegas Review-Journal supported legalization last year. It opposes it this year. The difference? Pot-hating conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson bought the paper last December.

As recently as last summer, the Review-Journal published an editorial strongly proclaiming that paper's stance "supporting the decriminalizing, regulating and taxing the sale of currently illegal drugs," including marijuana. The paper went on record as supporting an effort to legalize cannabis in the state that will go before voters this November, and just last year called for all presidential candidates to support "removing marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act."

Canada: Justin Trudeau Makes A Case For Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday made a remarkable argument for the legalization of marijuana, basing his points not on economic benefits, but on the same factors many legalization opponents start from -- concern for the safety of children.

"Look, our approach on legalizing marijuana is not about creating a boutique industry or bringing in tax revenue, it's based on two very simple principles," Trudeau said at an economic conference, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

"The first one is, young people have easier access to cannabis now, in Canada, than they do in just about any other countries in the world," Trudeau pointed out. "[Of] 29 different countries studied by the U.N., Canada was number one in terms of underage access to marijuana.

"And whatever you might think or studies seen about cannabis being less harmful than alcohol or even cigarettes, the fact is it is bad for the developing brain and we need to make sure that it’s harder for underage Canadians to access marijuana," Trudeau said. "And that will happen under a controlled and regulated regime.

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