U.S.: Senate Committee Allows Banks To Provide Services To Legal Marijuana Stores


Fourth Straight Senate Victory for Marijuana Reform

Senate Bill Would Also Allow D.C. to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted 16 to 14 to allow banks to provide services to marijuana businesses. Currently, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, both medical and non-medical marijuana businesses are unable to access banking services like any other business. The amendment was offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon).

Consequently, many marijuana businesses operate on a cash-only basis, leading to huge public safety issues as businesses become the target of robberies, and are forced to hire armed security to protect their takings.

“One of the motivations for legalizing marijuana is to eliminate the illicit market and put marijuana in the hands of a legitimate regulated market,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Whether you are for or against legalization, you have to recognize that having marijuana businesses handling huge amounts of cash with nowhere to deposit the money is a public safety concern that Congress has to tackle.”

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


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, 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.

Colorado: New Cannabis Investment Law Allows Out-Of-State Money Next Year


Passage of SB 16-40 allows out-of-state cannabis investments in Colorado to begin in 2017.

The new law removes the two-year residency requirement previously mandated for equity holders. Investors will still be required to meet other current ownership criteria, including criminal and financial background checks. Passive owners of less than 5 percent will be subjected to less extensive and more cost-effective screening.

LivWell Enlightened Health, a Colorado cannabis retailer, was part of an industry coalition composed of private businesses and major industry groups that lobbied and secured the passage of a bill that will allow out-of-state investors to have ownership interests in Colorado cannabis businesses.

“This levels the industry playing field a bit,” said Dean Heizer, chief legal strategist of LivWell Enlightened Health. “It puts us closer to competitive par with the many other states that don’t have residency requirements by freeing up capital for compliance investment, industry growth and by making it easier for small operators to access capital to survive.”

Oregon: Oregrown Brings One-Of-A-Kind Cannabis Cultivars To Eugene


Oregrown Industries, a farm-to-table cannabis company based in Bend, Oregon, has partnered with TJ's Organic Provisions to offer four of Oregrown's exclusive flower cultivars at TJ's signature dispensary in Eugene.

"It's an incredible honor to see our flower on the shelves at TJ's, just has it has been an honor to carry their products in our own dispensary," said Oregrown co-founder Aviv Hadar. "TJ's has served Oregonians for many years with some of the finest organic cannabis in the world. They produce and carry only the very best."

Oregrown's handcrafted edibles, extracts and transdermal patches are available in dozens of quality dispensaries, Hadar said, but the partnership with TJ's Organic Provisions marks the first time Oregrown has distributed flower beyond the company's flagship dispensary in Bend.

"Oregrown's flower is very popular, and we sell out too quickly to share it beyond our own dispensary," Hadar said. "That makes this a special milestone. We set aside a limited quantity our core flavors and we are so excited to share them with TJ's loyal customers."

Exclusive Oregrown cultivars available at TJ's include Oregon Afghan, The One, Golden Ticket Chernobyl, and Oregon Diesel.

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


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


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.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By North Coast Congressman


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

North Coast Congressman and longtime environmental leader U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on Wednesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

Prior to his election to Congress in November of 2012, Huffman served six years in the California State Assembly and was co-chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus. He previously served as a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a congressman, he serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

"The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a necessary statewide reform that brings a billion-dollar industry out of the shadows and into a regulated market," said Rep. Huffman, whose district spans from the Golden Gate Bridge north to the Oregon border and includes the Emerald Triangle, the three-county region that produces some of America's best domestically grown marijuana.

"The measure takes historic, first-of-its-kind steps to reverse the devastating environmental and water damage that has been done by illegal marijuana grows in our state," Rep. Huffman said. "AUMA is not just good social justice and public health policy. It's forward-thinking environmental reform as well."

Oregon: Marijuana Business Bans Could Cost Counties Millions Of Dollars


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

County bans on licensed recreational marijuana businesses in Oregon could result in millions of dollars of lost economic activity, according to a new report.

Marion County alone could lose $110 million in economic activity in 2016 as business goes elsewhere because of its nonsensical ban, said Beau Whitney, an economist and vice president of government and compliance at Toronto-based Golden Leaf Holdings, reports Gordon Friedman at the Statesman Journal.

Nineteen Oregon counties and 86 Oregon cities have banned marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers entirely.

Oregon citizens voted at the ballot box to legalize marijuana via Measure 91 in 2014. State legislators allowed local municipalities to ban cannabis businesses if their voters opposed legalization.

In counties with less than 55 percent rejecting legal sales -- like Marion County -- the bans are only temporary and must be put to the voters. In counties which rejected legalization by more than 55 percent, local governments can ban cannabis businesses outright.

Alaska: Fairbanks Groups On Mission To Stop Marijuana Commercialization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Efforts are underway in Alaska to stop cannabis businesses from opening in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

A Salcha man is launching an initiative that he hopes will keep the legal marijuana trade out of the borough, while the president of a strip mall condominium association is claiming pot shops are banned in the River Mall under condo association rules, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, reports Amanda Bohman at the Daily News-Miner.

The borough has already issued more than 40 land use permits for marijuana businesses, mostly cultivation. Another six applications for land use are pending, according to the borough Department of Community Planning.

Eleven of the 40 cannabis related permits are for marijuana retail storefronts.

The initiative which would prohibit cannabis commerce in the borough is pending review by Borough Clerk Nanci Ashford-Bingham, who said she got the application on last week.

Jim Ostlind of Salcha said he plans to get enough signatures to get a question on the local ballot asking voters to stop "marijuana commercialization."

U.S.: National Poll Shows Majority Supports Legalizing Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A majority of American registered voters nationwide support the legalization of marijuana, according to the results of a new Quinnipiac Poll released on Monday.

Just more than half -- 54 percent -- said cannabis use should be made legal across the United States, while 41 percent said it should not, reports Nick Gass at Politico.

The results showed partisan polarization, with Democrats favoring legalizing 65 percent to 30 percent, and Republicans opposing legalization 62 percent to 36 percent. Independent voters backed legalization 61 percent to 36 percent, as did men (60 percent to 37 percent) and women, but just by 48 percent to 46 percent, within the margin of error.

Possession of cannabis is already legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia, with a couple of dozen other states having decriminalized the herb.

Majorities of voters younger than 65 said they would support legalization, while 57 percent of those 65 and older said they would oppose it.

Oregon: Clackamas County Sheriff Warns About 'Driving On Marijuana'


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Clackamas County, Oregon Sheriff's Department on Thursday -- the first day of commercial sales to adults of cannabis concentrates, edibles and topicals under state legalization -- warned drivers not to operate motor vehicles while "impaired on marijuana."

"The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to use marijuana in a responsible manner," the department's prepared statement reads. "Additionally, operating a vehicle after consuming marijuana in any fashion is just as dangerous and illegal as driving while drunk.

"Marijuana is a substance that can adversely impair a person’s ability to safely drive a motor vehicle and can contribute to crashes, often resulting in serious injuries and even death," the release from Sheriff Craig Roberts' office claims. "Marijuana can impair the user for a period of up to 24 hours — so please plan ahead to have a sober driver or a place to stay the night.

"During this upcoming weekend, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will be joining other law-enforcement agencies in providing enhanced patrols in order to ensure the continued safety of the citizens we serve," the release reads. "Between June 2 and June 5, deputies assigned to this DUII task force will have an emphasized focus on enforcing traffic safety laws, while also detecting and arresting impaired drivers.

Oregon: Oregrown Offers Guided Tour of Cannabis Edibles, Extracts and Topicals


Oregrown Industries, a farm-to-table cannabis company, invites the public to a "guided tour" of cannabis extracts, edibles and other products at their flagship dispensary in downtown Bend. Beginning June 2, these products are available for the first time to Oregon's adult recreational customers.

"This is a very exciting time," says Oregrown founder Aviv Hadar. "90 percent of Oregon's non-medical cannabis consumers have never encountered these products. We know everyone has questions.

"That's why we want Oregrown to be a place where people can ask questions and make informed decisions," Hadar said. "We are so excited to about the expanded variety of locally grown, handcrafted cannabis products now available to all adult customers."

Hadar says well-made extracts offer a combination of excellent flavor, convenience and ease of use that make them a favorite among discerning consumers.

"Oregrown's hash oil is made with a sophisticated process that results in higher potency and an incredible flavor profile," Hadar says. "At the same time, depending on your delivery method, you can really dial in your dose with much greater precision than you can with flower."

Adult-use customers may purchase a single unit of extract containing up to 1,000 mg of THC per day.

Washington: Willie Nelson Partners With Spokane Marijuana Grower/Processor


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Spokane marijuana processor has partnered with country music legend and cannabis connoisseur Willie Nelson on his new company, Willie's Reserve.

Willie's Reserve is working with growers and processors in Washington and Colorado, including Growing Like A Weed, an I-502 cannabis producer/processor located in Spokane's Mountain Dome Winery building, to grow product to be packaged under the Willie's Reserve brand, reports Azaria Podplesky at Inlander.

"Willie and his family and a few close friends, developed the brand with emphasis on environmental and social issues, to lend support to the gradual end to marijuana prohibition across America," announced a 2015 press release from Willie's Reserve.

Master gardener Fred Renteria of Growing Like a Weed (GLW) said a Willie's Reserve represented contacted him a couple of months back, shortly after GLW switched from the medical marijuana sphere to the recreational I-502 market.

The representative liked GLW's organic approach to growing.

Oregon: Recreational Marijuana Edibles, Topicals, Extracts On Sale June 2


While recreational marijuana customers in Oregon have been able to buy up to 7 grams of flower since last October, edibles, topicals and extracts haven't been available to them until now. That all changes on Thursday, June 2, when all of the above will be available -- albeit in limited amounts -- to adults 21 and older.

"Licensed and regulated sales have already created jobs and generated revenue for our great state, and the sky hasn't fallen like our opponents predicted," said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91, which legalized marijuana in the state.

Starting on June 2nd, Oregon will take the next step as adults 21 and over will be able to purchase:

• One marijuana-infused edible per day containing up to 15 mg of THC
• Any amount of cannabis-infused topical products containing no more than 6 percent THC
• One receptacle of cannabis extract containing up to 1,000 mg of THC

California: Marijuana Enforcement Nearly 4 Times More Severe For Blacks


Black and Latino Boys and Young Men at Particular Risk, Despite Similar Marijuana Use Rates Across Racial Lines

California to Vote on Removing Criminal Penalties and Legal Regulation of Marijuana This November

New data analyses conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California find that racial disparities in marijuana policing have persisted, following the reduction of low-level marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction in 2011.

Possession of under an ounce of marijuana is punishable in California by a base fine up to $100 (plus substantial fees).

Despite marijuana usage rates being similar across racial and ethnic lines, data provided by the Los Angeles and Fresno Police Departments show that black and Latino people in those cities were issued marijuana possession citations at higher rates than white people in the years immediately following the penalty change from misdemeanor to infraction.

The data also reveal that marijuana possession enforcement falls mostly on young people. In both cities, the majority of infractions were issued to persons 29 years of age and younger.

U.S.: Federal Numbers Show Marijuana Smuggling Plummets After States Legalize


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana trafficking offenses are on a steep decline nationwide as more states legalize recreational cannabis.

According to the latest drug trafficking statistics from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), such offenses have fallen sharply since 2012, the year that Colorado and Washington residents decided at the ballot box to legalize weed, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

The decline continues through 2015, the most recent year for which numbers are available.

"The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease," according to the report. This, mind you, while trafficking in other drugs -- particularly meth and heroin -- appears to be on the rise.

The USSC's numbers show that at the federal level, marijuana trafficking is becoming less of a problem. Legalization could be reducing demand for black market sales, state prosecutors could have changed how they charge defendants, or there could be another explanation altogether. The data doesn't provide enough details to draw a conclusion, according to researchers.

Oregon: Oregrown Cannabis Company Brings Beauty To Downtown Bend


Oregrown Industries, a farm-to-table cannabis company, teamed up with the Downtown Bend Business Association on Thursday to turn an overgrown patch of land near the company's flagship store into a landscaped pocket park.

"Oregrown is committed to being a positive force in our community," said Oregrown co-founder Aviv Hadar. "This goes beyond creating jobs and local ownership. This pocket park is a small project, but it's an authentic expression of who we aspire to be."

A dozen volunteers from Oregrown and the Downtown Bend Business Association removed weeds and plant lavender beds and other landscaping purchased by Oregrown. The new plants will be watered and maintained through the business association's Flower Basket Program, a project that provides more than 100 hanging flower baskets throughout the downtown area.

"This spot is the gateway to downtown Bend on the north side, and we are so happy to be partnering with Oregrown to improve it," said Rod Porsche, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association. "The area has needed attention for some time. It's great that the folks at Oregrown saw the need and are stepping up to keep downtown Bend beautiful."

Hadar says Oregrown will continue to seek out opportunities be good neighbors.

Oregon: Marijuana Edible Makers Launch 'Try 5' Public Education Campaign


The Oregon Responsible Edibles Council on Thursday announced the launch of their initial public education campaign, “Try 5.”

OREC, formed in late 2015, is a non-profit trade association of Oregon edible marijuana processors, with a mission of educating the public regarding the safe and responsible usage of edible marijuana products for adults 21 and over. Through the much needed and timely campaign, “Try 5”, OREC will be able to teach the public about proper dosage levels and help prevent accidental over-ingestion for consumers new to cannabis-infused edibles.

The “Try 5” campaign encourages new and first time edible consumers to “Know Your Dose” and start with no more than 5mg of THC. "Edibles often come in multi-serving packages and newer consumers need to know not to ingest the contents of the entire package," OREC's prepared statement reads.

The campaign features educational posters distributed to licensed dispensaries throughout the state, and will include informational booths at Oregon universities, magazine and newspaper advertisements, as well as t-shirts, hats and buttons to be worn by dispensary employees.

U.S.: Federal Data Shows Marijuana Trafficking Falls Following State Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana prosecutions dropped significantly after the passage of statewide laws legalizing and regulating the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.

According to the new report, the number of cannabis trafficking offenders prosecuted federally fell dramatically after 2012, declining from more than 6,000 a year to fewer than 4,000 in 2015, reports Tom Angell at

"The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease," according to the report.

The period of decline matches the passage and enactment of marijuana legalization measures in states including Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Those convicted of marijuana trafficking serve an average of 29 months in prison, according to federal data.

A copy of the USSC report is available here for downloading:

New Jersey: Legalization Would Boost Tax Revenues By $300 Million, According To Report


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana for adult sin New Jersey would generate at least $300 million in new tax revenues each year, according to a new report released Tuesday morning.

The report calls the $300 million estimate "conservative," basing it on a 25 percent tax on retail marijuana sold only to adults, reports the Philly Voice. The overall economic impact would be far greater once other benefits, including job creation, additional income and business tax revenue, related accessories, and property and agricultural taxes, according to the report, by New Jersey Policy Perspective and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform.

Around 365,000 adults in New Jersey use marijuana on at least a monthly basis; they use about 2.5 million ounces of marijuana a year, according to the report. That represents 4 percent of the state's population, which sounds like a rather low estimate to us.

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