Recreational

Washington: Adult Cannabis Cultivation Bill, HB 2559, Seeking Public Comment

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HB 2559 would allow non-medical home cultivation of marijuana in Washington state

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, January 15, the Washington state legislature will discuss the adult home grow bill, HB 2559, in the Commerce and Gaming Committee. The hearing, which is scheduled to be in House Hearing Rm C at 1:30pm in the John L. O'Brien Building in Olympia, WA, is sure to bring cannabis advocates from across the state to the Capitol.

Vermont: Senate Passes Recreational Cannabis Bill, Governor Expected to Sign

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

MONTPELIER — Today, Vermont's state Senate passed a bill which would legalize social cannabis use for adults over the age of 21.

Under the Vermont legislation, an earlier version of which passed the Senate last summer, commercial sales of cannabis would not be allowed. But if the proposal is enacted, as is expected, the state would become the first to legalize marijuana by an act of lawmakers.

Gov. Phil Scott (R), who is expected to sign the bill, vetoed a social cannabis bill last May, stating he wasn't opposed to social cannabis but wanted to form a committee to study the issue's implementation in Vermont.

U.S.: Attorney General Sessions to Rescind Memo on State Cannabis Laws

Jeff Sessions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier this morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind Obama-era guidance, aka the Cole Memo, which has generally allowed states to implement their own cannabis laws without federal interference.

The Obama Justice Department deputy attorney general, who authored it in 2013, set out certain criteria that would allow states to implement their own laws mostly without intervention, if followed. The focus of the memo was interstate trafficking and abuse.

Michigan: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Submits 360,000 Signatures to Place Issue on 2018 Ballot

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

LANSING, MI — The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in more than 360,000 signatures earlier this month calling for its marijuana legalization initiative to be placed on Michigan’s November 2018 ballot. The state Board of Canvassers approved ballot language on May 18 of this year. Shortly afterward, the campaign began its 180-day statewide signature collection effort using both volunteer and paid signature collectors.

Connecticut: Hartford City Council Unanimously Endorses Marijuana Legalization

Cannabis Hartford

Resolution urges support for legislation that would regulate and tax marijuana for adults in Connecticut

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

HARTFORD, Conn. — At a meeting Monday evening, the Hartford Court of Common Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution in support of making cannabis legal and regulated for adults in Connecticut.

The resolution specifically recommends that the Hartford Delegation of elected representatives support the passage of state legislation to legalize and tax cannabis in 2018 and insist on measures to ensure racial equity in ownership and employment in the resulting cannabis industry. It also directs the city to conduct an economic impact study for a potential cannabis industry in Hartford and hold public forums to hear from residents.

U.S.: Delaware on track to legalize recreational marijuana next year

There Is a Truth That Must Be Heard Delaware could very well live up to its nickname and become the first state to legalize marijuana through legislation, as the Adult Use Cannabis Task Force continues the effort to study the possibility.

The task force, comprised of several state agencies, was formed earlier this year through a concurrent resolution passed by the General Assembly to study the outcome of regulating and taxing marijuana for recreational use in Delaware for adults 21 and older.

The task force, co-chaired by State Senator Margaret Rose-Henry and State Representative Helene Keeley, has met once a month since its inception to discuss and study the possibility of legalizing marijuana recreationally.

Illinois: Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (Economic Development)

Illinois Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Chicago, IL - State lawmakers continued their in-depth look at cannabis policy reform earlier this week as they heard testimony on the economic boost Illinois could expect following the end of cannabis prohibition. Travel icon Rick Steves, Colorado State Rep. Dan Pabon, economist Adam Orens, and several Illinois business owners discussed the benefits and challenges Illinois could expect upon adopting a better law.

Maine: Prohibitionist Governor Vetoes Cannabis Regulation and Implementation Bill

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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.

U.S.: Record-High Support for Legalizing Cannabis Use, Gallup Poll Finds

2017 Gallup Poll

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Americans are warming up to legalizing cannabis, with 64% now saying its use should be made legal. This is the highest level of public support a Gallup poll has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement.

The latest figure, based on an Oct. 5-11 Gallup poll, follows shifts in the U.S. legal landscape regarding marijuana since Gallup's 2016 measure. While still illegal at the federal level, the issue was featured on a number of state ballot initiatives in 2016, and with eight states and the District of Columbia having fully legalized marijuana, more than one in five Americans live in a state where they can legally enjoy use of the drug.

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.

Lesotho: Kingdom Becomes First African Country to Legalize Cannabis

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Lesotho, a country of two-million people surrounded by South Africa, is perfectly situated to produce large volumes of high quality, low cost cannabis due to its expertise in high altitude cultivation.

For many years, Lesotho’s farmers have been growing cannabis for consumption at home and exporting their harvest across the border in South Africa. Similarly, in Swaziland, growing cannabis and exporting the herb to South Africa has provided for many families, despite the plant being outlawed.

Cannabis is not yet fully legal in South Africa, so citizens cannot legally cultivate, sell or smoke, and how the court ruling applies is still somewhat obscure, but it seems, globally, cannabis culture is becoming more tolerated.

Pennsylvania: Support for Recreational Cannabis Nears 60%

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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.

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.

"We're around 80 percent toward our goal, which puts us at about 280,000 signatures. If we can keep our fundraising up the we'll be pushing 300k very soon and wrapping up the signatures in the next month," Hovey told Hemp News.

Colorado: City of Boulder Seeks Volunteers for Marijuana Advisory Panel

Boulder, CO

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The City of Boulder is seeking three volunteers to serve as representatives of the community at large on the Marijuana Advisory Panel (MAP). To be considered, you must be a resident of the city of Boulder and have no ties to the marijuana industry. Your letter of interest must include a description of your background and the main reasons you are interested in serving on the MAP.

Illinois: Public Hearing on Cannabis Legalization Next Week in Springfield

Illinois Cannabis

Supporters are invited to hear testimony next week on public safety

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Springfield, IL - State lawmakers are holding a public hearing Wednesday, September 6th from 1pm to 5pm in Room 212 in the Illinois State Capitol on legalization in Illinois and how it relates to public safety. Those testifying in front of the Joint Hearing with House Appropriations Public Safety Committee, include current and former members of law enforcement, academic researchers, and experts from around the country. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

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.

Massachusetts: Governor Appoints Senator Flanagan to Cannabis Control Commission

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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.

Oregon: Governor, State Police Superintendent Stand Up for Legal Cannabis

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In a letter Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Oregon Governor Kate Brown defended Oregon's cannabis regulations by publicly discrediting an Oregon State Police analysis which declared the state remains a top black market producer of cannabis.

Criticizing the analysis, Gov. Brown detailed steps the state has proactively taken to establish strict rules. Gov. Brown and Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said that draft report was invalid and had incorrect data and conclusions. Gov. Brown noted that she also recently signed into law legislation that makes it easier to prosecute the unlawful import and export of marijuana products.

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.: American Legion Calls on Feds to Increase Veterans’ Medical Cannabis Access

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The new American Legion resolution, adopted at the organization’s national convention, builds off a similar measure it approved in 2016 calling on the federal government to reschedule cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Today, the largest military veterans organization in the country, with more than 2.4 million members, called on the Trump administration to allow government doctors the right to recommend medical cannabis through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.).

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