Prohibition

Maine: Prohibitionist Governor Vetoes Cannabis Regulation and Implementation Bill

Maine-Flag

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Friday, Gov. Paul LePage followed through on threats to veto legislation that would have started the process of implementing a regulated cannabis market that Maine voters called for when they approved Question 1 in 2016.

The progressive bill, LD 1650, which was supported overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, would have created rules for cultivation, processing, and retail establishments, as well as set tax rates for adult-use and delay cannabis social consumption lounges until summer 2019.

Illinois: High School Newspaper Confiscated For Cannabis Content

ETHS

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last month, prohibitionist administrators at Evanston Township High School confiscated an issue of the student newspaper, declaring it glorified drug use, drug dealing and promoted illegal conduct. Last week, at the meeting of the District 202 school board, the student journalists and first amendment legal advocates argued that the school may have violated state law by failing to show justification before confiscating the paper, which included coverage on cannabis use and policy.

Georgia: Atlanta Decriminalizes Marijuana

Atlanta, GA Decrim 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that he signed the historic city council ordinance decriminalizing marijuana.

“I am pleased to sign this ordinance, which eliminates jail time as a penalty for a conviction for possession of less than an ounce, into law,” Reed said. “People of color, young and low-income people are disproportionately jailed – with sentences up to six months – for possessing small amounts of marijuana. An average of 1,000 people are arrested each year in Atlanta for possession only. We needed to change that. I believe our public safety resources are better directed to stopping and preventing violent crime.”

Canada: Quebec Sets Minimum Age for Cannabis Consumption at 18

Quebec Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made the call that the minimum age for the consumption of legal cannabis in Quebec will be 18.

After several caucus meetings, where everyone was allowed to express their views on the hot issue, Couillard made a ultimate decision, opting for 18 instead of 21 as some requested, government sources confirmed on Friday.

The opposition Coalition, led by Avenir Québec, had also been calling for age 21 because they believed smoking cannabis at such a young age can have negative effects on the brain. Health Minister Dr. Gaétan Barrette was pushing for age 21, but voted for 18, after reconsidering.

U.S.: FBI Reports 653,249 Arrests for Cannabis in 2016

Cannabis Arrest

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

An estimated 653,249 arrests were made nationwide for cannabis in 2016, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime In the United States (CIUS) report. The staggering data equates to one person being arrested for cannabis approximately every 48 seconds on average in the United States.

In the U.S. today, arresting and citing over half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty that needs to end.

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.

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.

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.

U.S.: Attorney General Sessions Seeking to Revive D.A.R.E. Program

Jeff Sessions D.A.R.E.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is advocating to reinstate the D.A.R.E. program, an ineffective anti-drug curriculum launched in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department during the Reagan administration.

"Marijuana laws in America are broken," said Sen. Cory Booker, reintroducing a bill that would let some state cannabis laws supersede federal prohibition.

"D.A.R.E. is, I think, as I indicated, the best remembered anti-drug program today," AG Sessions said while speaking at the Drug Abuse Resistance Education International Training Conference in Texas earlier this month. "In recent years, people have not paid much attention to that message, but they are ready to hear it again."

U. S.: In Historic Lawsuit, Constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act Questioned

jeff.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was named a defendant this week in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act. In an 89-page Complaint, attorneys representing five plaintiffs claims classifying Cannabis as a Schedule I drug violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S.: Justice Department Planning Cannabis Crackdown

Make America Great Again

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Trump administration’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is scheduled to release a report by July 27 advocating for tougher sentences for those producing, selling and using cannabis.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (D), linking to a report on the crackdown, described the plans as “backward and inhumane.

"I hope every third-party voting progressive remembers this, ” Senator Schatz added.

U.S.: Congressman Disputes Anti-Cannabis Organization’s ‘Lie’

Representative Earl Blumenauer

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In June, the loudest prohibitionist cheerleader committed to continuing the failed War on Drugs sent out a press statement showing they are continuing to try and roll back progress on cannabis reform.

Kevin Sabet and his organization, SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) falsely claimed that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision prohibiting the Department of Justice from enforcing federal laws against state-legal medical marijuana programs was removed from the Congressional spending bill.

U.S.: Federal Bills Seek To Reclassify Drug Possession Felonies as Misdemeanors

U.S. Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On June 27, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison (D) reintroduced the Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment Act of 2017, known as the RESET Act. The bipartisan legislation would reclassify specific low-level, non-violent drug possession felonies as misdemeanors. On May 27, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced the original bill, S. 1252 in the United States Senate.

U.S.: Vice President Pence Ramps Up Drug War Rhetoric

Pence - Trump

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

This week at the National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, Vice President Mike Pence added fuel to the issue of recreational and medicinal of cannabis in the United States.

During his summit speech on June 21, Vice President Pence, said, "At the President’s direction, the Department of Justice will no longer let the worst offenders off easy. We’re once again pursuing the most serious readily available, provable charges for drug traffickers and violent criminals.... This is about stopping drugs from entering our schools so that our children can shape their future."

U.S.: Attorney General Jeff Sessions War On Cannabis Needs To End, Says ALCU

Attorney General Sessions, Prohibitionist

Our top law enforcement official is a criminal justice dinosaur who has a history of endorsing ineffective policies and racist political rhetoric, says American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Forty-six years ago, when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be “America’s public enemy number one”, decades of harmful and misguided rhetoric began. In an op-ed last Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions touted misleading statistics and called for tougher sentencing. The propaganda is AG Sessions latest effort to escalate the War on Drugs and undo medical and recreational cannabis laws.

Global: Uruguay and Canada Moving Forward on Cannabis Legalization

International Cannabis

Canada and Uruguay currently honor the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Uruguay‘s Ambassador to Ottawa, Martin Vidal, is working with Canada on the implementation of global cannabis regulations. To do so, Canada and Uruguay must comply with three United Nations drug control treaties, since they honor those treaties.

In April, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational cannabis by July 2018.

United States: Attorney General Sessions Asked Congress To Allow DOJ To Prosecute Medical Cannabis Providers

Jeff Sessions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

According to a recent letter to Congress, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections within The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, a bill which has significant bipartisan support in Congress.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment protections prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

United States: Federal Appeals Court Quashes States’ Attempt To Halt Colorado’s Recreational Cannabis Law, Allows RICO Suits

Court Quashes States’ Attempt To Halt Colorado’s Recreational Cannabis Law, Allows RICO Suits

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Wednesday, a three-judge panel for 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court’s dismissal of Nebraska and Oklahoma's attempt to overturn Colorado’s recreational cannabis law, according to the Denver Post.

Florida: Governor Scott Vetoes Funding Cancer Center And University For Cannabis Research

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a budget funding of more than $3 million to the Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Florida. In the untimely budget veto, Gov. Scott said the university and the cancer center had plenty of money to fund the research on their own.

Cannabis is included in the Controlled Substances Act, which means research on cannabis is stifled by many politicians.

“I want to know the real effects,” State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton said “What are the negative effects? What are the downsides?”

United States: Trump Administration Rhetoric Against Cannabis Includes Mandatory Minimums

Sessions Trump

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In May, the Trump Administration upped its tough-on-crime rhetoric, which would put in place policies that would take our country back into the dark era of the 1980's. A memo last month from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which directed federal prosecutors to pursue the severest penalties possible for any crime, including drug offenses, sought mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes.

Sessions, recently proclaimed, “We know that drugs and crime go hand-in-hand. Drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t file a lawsuit in court. You collect it by the barrel of a gun.”

One of the key architects of Sessions' sentencing memo was Steven Cook, a former federal criminal justice prosecutor.

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