san francisco

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Colorado: Marijuana Is Legal In Some States - But Only If You're A U.S.Citizen


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana may be legal in a growing number of states, but not many people know that it's still very much against the law for all non-U.S. citizens to use it. In fact, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has penalized and deported more people convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past decade than ever before.

Claudia, a native of Chile, learned this the hard way after being flagged for an in-depth security screening after landing at Los Angeles International Airport on October 8, 2015. "It's normal," she says. "Sometimes the officers review people." Besides, she had never been in trouble in her life.

Agents directed Claudia into a big, open room where she was asked to place her luggage on a table for examination. Officer Torres, a customs agent, asked her about her planned one-week trip to San Francisco and made friendly small talk as he went through her suitcase and purse.

Torres asked Claudia about past trips to the U.S., and she told the agent of visits to Tennessee, Louisiana, New York, and Colorado. At the mention of Colorado, he asked to see her phone. He quickly began scrolling through photos from her last visit to the States from April to June of that year. "Can you do this?" she asked.

"Yes", he replied, which Claudia accepted; she had nothing to hide, after all.

California: Marijuana-laced Candy Sickens 19, Including 6-year-old

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Nineteen people became sick Saturday at a quinceanera in San Francisco, authorities said.

KGO said that 12 of the victims tested positive for THC, marijuana's psychotropic ingredient. They experienced symptoms such as nausea, rapid heart rate, and dilated pupils

Tests showed that gummy bears at the party contained THC.

"These are innocent kids," said Paul Hernandez, security guard in the building where the party was held. "They don't know. They see a candy, they eat it.

Authorities have not been able to determine where the candy cane from.

"We want to make sure from this perspective this wasn't an intentional act by the caterer or anyone who attended the party," San Francisco police officer Grace Gatpandan said in an interview with KGO.

A representative for the Women's Building said "the only thing we include with our rental is space and tables and chairs."

California Democratic Party Endorses Adult Use of Marijuana Act


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.

U.S.: HelloMD Introduces Answers, Q&A Web Service On Medical Marijuana


HelloMD, a digital healthcare platform for medical marijuana patients, on Tuesday announced the launch of Answers, a web-based service that allows cannabis users, or those considering using cannabis, to ask questions to the HelloMD expert community lead by doctors and physicians.

The company said it is the first to launch a service of this kind, providing qualified physicians to address America's questions on cannabis.

Legal marijuana is the fastest growing industry in the United States. According to a new report compiled by researchers from The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in Oakland, more than 1.5 million shoppers purchased legal marijuana from a dispensary, either medical or recreational, in 2014.

This year, the industry is expected to grow by 25 percent, capping at around $7.1 billion in sales. By 2020, the industry is expected to make a giant leap to $22.8 billion.

This type of compounding growth in a relatively new industry brings with it many questions.

According to HelloMD CEO and co-founder, Mark Hadfield, "We routinely receive high praise from our patients, but we also get consistent feedback that patients would like more time with our doctors. Many feel that they have more questions than answers as they begin their journey into the world of medical cannabis.

California: Medical Cannabis Conference Set For May 21-22 In San Rafael


United Patients Group, a medical cannabis information and education website, will host its second annual medical cannabis conference, "Medical Cannabis: The Science. The Truth.," May 21–22 at Dominican University in San Rafael, California.

With the medical cannabis industry rapidly evolving, newly minted "experts" abound. The conference, striving to provide a "university like experience," will be void of exhibitor booths, "weed challenges" and other gimmicks that seem to plague the burgeoning industry, and instead provide attendees the opportunity to listen and learn from the best minds in the medical cannabis industry.

"As our industry matures, we strive to stay true to our mission of providing credible, unbiased information in an area of health and medicine that is still fraught with obstacles and half-truths," said founder John Malanca. "The singular goal of our conference is to further the potential for medical cannabis by providing healthcare providers, mental health professionals, nurses and the general public with information that is void of the hype."

UPG's conference is carefully curated and highly focused, and many of the weekend conference speaker sessions are approved for continuing medical education (CME) credits for healthcare professionals.

U.S.: Ruling Could Limit Federal Marijuana Prosecutions


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A federal appeals court is expected soon to rule on the scope of the law that could point the way to ending or overturning at least six federal marijuana prosecutions and convictions.

People who are fighting federal marijuana charges say that a recent act of Congress should have stopped the U.S. Department of Justice from prosecuting them, because their activities were legally allowed in their states. Cannabis is still illegal under federal law for any purpose.

"It's been the hardest thing I've ever hard to deal with in my life when you see the government coming down on you for simply trying to be healthy," said Rolland Gregg, who along with his family has fought federal marijuana charges, reports the Associated Press. Gregg said the cannabis plants found on his property in Kirkland, Washington were for medicinal use and in compliance with state law.

California: Nug Run Announces "World's First Curated Cannabis Experience"


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Just ahead of California's legalization vote in November, medical marijuana entrepreneurs are breaking new ground in California.

Nug Run, a Sacramento based startup, is offering "a curated approach on the cannabis experience." Known as "the NatureBox for cannabis," Nug Run's subscription service allows patients to sign up, obtain medical verification and have their "NugBoxes" delivered to them at home.

NugBoxes pair natural cannabis with edibles, by pairing naturally occurring terpenes in the cannabis with food, according to the company.

Nug Run's partnerships with The Emerald Growers' Co-op, Meadow Care, and Lifted Edibles provide patients with the fairest trade and organic ingredients, according to the company, which says their product "is ethically farmed and sourced for craft, healthy cannabis products."

Nug Run's first subscription box the #420Box, launches on a big day for cannabis enthusiasts, 04/20/2016 (

Edible pairings are available for delivery for up to three times a month. Doctor's notes are validated by HelloMD, the leading digital platform for the cannabis industry. All patient information is stored on HIPPA Compliant servers, according to Nug Run.

California: SF Bay Cannabis Career and Job Fair Set For April 10


Bloom Farms™, a San Francisco based medical cannabis company, will present its fourth SF Bay Area Cannabis Career & Job Fair, Sunday, April 10, at City Nights, 715 Harrison St, San Francisco, from 12 pm - 4 pm PT.

“The last SF Bay Area Cannabis Career and Job Fair in July helped hundreds of job seekers take their first step toward a new career in the medical cannabis industry," said Bloom Farms Director Michael Ray. "This will be our fourth industry specific career fair for cannabis job seekers.

"This career fair represents a shift in the way people view the medical cannabis industry," Ray said. "We’re chipping away at the negative social stigma that exists around marijuana by helping great job candidates find great companies to work for.”

“Bloom Farms’ Cannabis Career and Job Fair is one of the only recruiting events that truly caters to the cannabis industry,” said Harborside Health Center HR Recruiter Mistie Jung. “Since participating in the last two fairs, we’ve hired four qualified and quality applicants to our team.”

Last year’s event hosted 1,800 attendees, including 26 employers that hired 125 workers, according to Bloom Farms. This year’s event is expected to be even bigger.

"This will be an opportunity for those who are just getting started in their professional careers to find actionable advice from medical cannabis industry experts," reads a March 30 press release from Bloom Farms. "In an effort to support motivated job seekers the Bloom Farms team will also host a resume workshop the week prior; space is limited."

California: S.F.'s First Boutique Style Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens


Harvest, which is calling itself "San Francisco’s first boutique-style cannabis dispensary and private member lounge," opened in January, and according to its owners, the shop "offers a new style of shopping experience for those who are seeking a wide variety of high quality, chemical-free, tested medical cannabis products."

Harvest, which is located on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond District, offers, according to management, "expertly curated artisanal products sourced from California’s craft cannabis artisans."

The retail store and members-only lounge interiors "were imagined by top designers from San Francisco and Chicago, reflecting a completely innovative approach to cannabis merchandising and consumption," we learn from a Wednesday press release.

"Harvest serves a growing number of San Franciscans who are seeking a retail experience that transcends the counter-culture industry reputation," the prepared release reads. "With windows open to Geary Boulevard, the bright and airy atmosphere features modern wood detail, contemporary lighting, polished concrete floors, and open shelving.

"Customers can freely interact with cannabis consultants and carefully chosen selections of cannabis flowers, concentrates, cosmetics, edibles, accessories, pet supplies and other products," the release reads.

California: Medical Marijuana Companies Help Fire-Ravaged Calaveras County Survivors


Bloom Farms™, a San Francisco based medical cannabis company, has partnered with Magnolia Wellness, an Oakland dispensary, and raised $25,000 this past holiday season for Calaveras County Butte fire relief efforts.

On Friday, March 4, Bloom Farms Director Michael Ray made the donation at The Resource Connection in San Andreas to the following organizations focused on post-event recovery and supporting affiliated local nonprofits:
• Mountain Ranch Fire Relief Fund ($10,000 to support individual and emergency family needs)
• CalaverasGROWN ($5,000 to support soil erosion prevention efforts)
• Mountain Ranch Resource Center ($5,000 to support local community feeding program)
• The Resource Connection ($5,000 to support countywide food insecurity efforts)

The Valley and Butte fires of 2015 were two of the most destructive blazes in California history and were declared federal disasters by President Obama. Californians are already forgetting the devastation created by the fires, but with the cold, wet winter months, many people in rural Calaveras County still need help.

Bloom Farms and Magnolia Wellness worked together to raise $25,000 this past holiday season for fire relief. Bloom Farms provided its HIGHLIGHTER™ cannabis vapor pens to Magnolia Wellness free of charge.

U.S.: Former Surgeon General Calls For Acceptance Of Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, 82, who served a short-lived tenure with President Bill Clinton, built a reputation for being willing to speak openly about medicinal uses for marijuana. On Saturday morning, Elders opened the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco with a ringing condemnation of America's drug enforcement policies.

Elders called for an end to the federal policy which classifies cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance with no accepted medical uses, reports Peter Hecht at The Sacramento Bee. That officially makes weed worse than meth or cocaine, according to the federal government.

The former Surgeon General called for increased federal marijuana research, and decriminalization of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use, heralding a shift from a law enforcement approach to a public health approach.

"We know that prohibition laws did nothing but waste money, waste lives and destroy opportunities," said Elder. "It is not working. And marijuana has been the engine driving the drug war."

Elders spoke at length on the medical benefits of marijuana for pain and nausea, and called for more studies on whether "one of the oldest domesticated crops in the world" could also offer benefits to those suffering from ailments such as shingles and emotional disorders.

She urged more research -- "a health-centered approach for looking at drugs" -- instead of more law enforcement.

Colorado: Some Companies Encourage Marijuana Breaks At Work


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If you like cannabis, you're going to love the future. At offices in Colorado and other legal states, some companies are encouraging their employees to take marijuana breaks at work.

Denver-based startup Flowhub, which provides software for the cannabis industry, has been a marijuana-friendly workplace since it launched last year, according to founders Kyle Sherman and Chase Wiseman, reports Parija Kavilanz at CNN Money.

"Our philosophy at Flowhub is to get shit done," Sherman said. "If it helps our employees get work done, then we don't care if they consume at work."

Sherman and Chase themselves both consume cannabis at work, either in weekly brainstorming meetings or toward the end of the day. "It definitely surfaces new ideas and a fresh take on things," Sherman said.

Smoking of any kind isn't allowed in the office building, but since recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, Flowhub's 18 employees are free to bring in cannabis-infused edibles, sodas and juices. So far, there haven't been any negative outcomes.

"Our clients are some of the biggest firms in the cannabis industry," Sherman said. "We have to be on point with our work. We've never had a problem yet."

High There! and Mass Roots, two social networking platforms for cannabis users, have headquarters just across the street from each other in Denver. Both startups allow marijuana at work.

California: Conference To Cover What To Do If Marijuana Regulations Suck


Business and politics: At San Francisco’s International Cannabis Business Conference in February, entrepreneurs will learn about California’s new marijuana policies — and how to change the bad ones

California is on the verge of becoming the world’s largest marijuana market, and the newly-passed medical regulations will make or break businesses. If legalization passes, the market will transform even more.

That’s why business and politics are the themes of February’s International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco. Entrepreneurs will learn about California’s new policies, how they can prepare their businesses for future policy changes and how to back fight back against policies that don’t make sense.

“California’s industry is in the washing machine,” said Alex Rogers, producer of the conference. “Businesses better buckle up because some of the new rules will suck.”

The conference is about more than simply featuring the biggest names in the business. “The industry is constantly getting more sophisticated, and just educating people on policies is no longer enough,” said Debby Goldsberry, a conference organizer and the executive director of Magnolia Wellness, a medical cannabis collective. “Now business leaders want to influence policies, lead the movement and make history.”

California: National Tech and Cannabis Influencers Convene In SF At New West Summit


Tommy Chong’s “Choice” Cannabis Brand, Upper Playground, SPARC, Christopher Willits, Lynette Shaw Added to San Francisco’s Cutting-Edge Disrupt Conference

This Friday, nationally-renowned technologists, venture capitalists, media publishers, entertainment brands, and leaders in the multi-billion dollar marijuana industry will converge at the groundbreaking New West Summit.

Tommy Chong’s cannabis brand Chong’s Choice, the iconic San Francisco apparel brand Upper Playground, the award-winning SPARC dispensary, musician Christopher Willits, iconic activist Lynette Shaw, and California Assemblyman Rob Bonta are among the many highlights at New West Summit, this Friday and Saturday Nov. 20-21 at the Parc 55 Hotel San Francisco.

New West Summit’s complete program, curated by David Downs, editor of "Smell the Truth" on, includes 30 panels or keynotes, and approximately 80 panelists from across the spectrum of tech, finance, media and the $10 billion marijuana sector.

“The event’s tight focus and expert programming has garnered us significant buzz, and we’re ecstatic at how well this first Summit has come together," said Summit co-organizers Dean Arbit and Jim McAlpine in a press release. "There’s no better time or place in the world to be discussing the intersection of these industries.”

Summit Highlights:

• Special guest and Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana founder Lynette Shaw will receive Lifetime Achievement Honors Friday.

California: Tech, Media Industry Gathering With Marijuana Investors and Start-Ups


New West Summit Scheduled for November 20-21, 2015, at Parc 55

New West Summit, which calls itself "the first conference to focus exclusively on the game-changing, disruptive developments in technology, investment and media within the cannabis industry," has announced initial speakers, panelists and sponsors for their November event. in San Francisco.

“The Summit could not occur in a better time or place for our attendees,” said Dean Arbit, co-founder of New West Summit and publisher of Smell The Truth, a cannabis-news outlet in partnership with Hearst Media on “Interest in the cannabis industry is breaking all-time record highs, and San Francisco is ground zero for the world’s digital economy.”

The legal cannabis space has an estimated $10 billion economic impact in 2015 in the U.S., and the field is rapidly professionalizing and specializing, according to organizers. "There is an immediate, unmet need for a marijuana industry conference tightly focused on the most dynamic, and disruptive segments: applications of high technology, deep capital, and professional branding and content," reads a press release from New West.

Jim McAlpine, co-founder of New West Summit and successful entrepreneur in the Internet and tech space for almost 20 years, said, “it’s a natural fit to establish a disruptive technology conference in this rapidly growing marketplace. I’m proud to be part of the team doing it.”

California: 4.20 Mile Veterans March To De-Stigmatize Marijuana Set For Saturday, Oct. 17


The 420 Games -- a series of competitive athletic events founded to de-stigmatize cannabis and the people who use it -- will bring its first Veterans March to Santa Monica on Saturday, October 17. The march starts at 8 am.

Registration is free and includes cannabis sampling (for those over 21 with medical recommendation), Lagunitas beer sampling (for those over 21), and an official 420 Games t-shirt with a $20 donation.

The 420 Games features marathons, golf tournaments, mountain bike races, and stand-up paddle board events, among other formats, with multiple events planned for California, Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Recently, the city of San Francisco hosted their second 420 Games in Golden Gate Park with over 500 participants competing in a 4.20 fun run, followed by a recovery beer garden hosted by Lagunitas Brewing Company, and a special concert from reggae superstar Pato Banton.

"The 420 Games were created to emphasize that highly functional people, including professional athletes, use cannabis and are hardly the lazy stoner as the world has portrayed," said event founder Jim McAlpine, who is also the founder of SnowBomb, producer of ski/snowboard lifestyle events. “Fostering a new positive mindset about those who use cannabis is going to be absolutely critical for the legalization of marijuana,” McAlpine said.

Some highlights of the event include:

• For those with doctor’s recommendations, brands such as Kiva Confections, Pure Cure, VapeXhale and many others will be offering medical cannabis samplings.

U.S.: Snoop Dogg Launches Merry Jane Media Platform For Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Music legend Snoop Dogg on Monday announced the upcoming launch of, a new digital media business dedicated to marijuana.

The rapper/investor said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference that the media platform, Merry Jane would be an online destination for cannabis users and the industry that serves them, reports Jessica Guynn at USA Today. will feature celebrity interviews, marijuana news coverage, and tips on subjects such as identifying the best strains. The platform will feature several different video series, including "Deflowered," which focuses on first-time cannabis experiences, and a cooking show on how to make pot-infused edibles.

"We're providing the industry with something that's void right now," Snoop said, reports Ryan Parker at The Hollywood Reporter. "We are the information hotline for cannabis. We are what's missing."

"There are few companies out there that have attempted to enter into the marketplace, and their download apps total and page views total are really numbers that we're going to crush within the first six months," said cofounder, media entrepreneur Ted Chung.

California: Gov. Jerry Brown Says Little, Does Lots On Medical Marijuana Regulation


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California voters legalized medical marijuana via Prop 19 back in 1996, but in the almost two decades that have followed, state politicians have either criticized the state's cannabis trade or ignored it.

But with the Legislature now crafting rules to govern the medicinal cannabis industry, Governor Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown looks to be the most powerful man in the state when it comes to that industry's future, reports Chris Roberts at SF Weekly.

Back when Gov. Brown was mayor of Oakland, that city became the first in the state (closely followed by San Francisco) to regulate the nascent medical marijuana trade. That city crafted its rules back in 2004, but the rule-making process had become deadlocked, with nobody able to agree on the number of dispensaries allowed in the city -- until Mayor Brown entered the room.

There would be four dispensaries, Brown said, and then rattled off what would become Oakland's precedent-setting dispensary ordinance, before abruptly exiting the meeting.

"He said, 'Here's what you need to do,' -- and then he left the room," said Dale Sky Jones, chairwoman of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, a group pushing to legalize recreational marijuana on California's 2016 ballot.

California: Legislature Takes A Look At Medical Marijuana Ahead Of Recreational Legalization Vote


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The likelihood of a 2016 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is prompting lawmakers in the Golden State to take a serious go at "regulating" the state's large medical marijuana industry, which has existed for 19 years.

Two bills in the California Legislature would create the first statewide regulations for medical cannabis growers, manufacturers of infused products, dispensaries, and delivery services, reports Lisa Leff at the Associated Press.

California voters approved medical marijuana with a 1996 ballot measure allowing doctors to authorize patients to use cannabis for any ailment, deliberately leaving out specifics to allow wider latitude. With advocates now working to qualify recreational adult use initiatives for the November 2016 ballot, the state's medical marijuana industry may soon be losing some of the latitude it has enjoyed for almost two decades.

Last month the Assembly approved a licensing scheme on an overwhelming 62-8 vote. a compromise measure to create a Governor's Office of Medical Cannabis Regulation, AB 266, is endorsed by both the California Cannabis Industry Association and the California Police Chiefs Association, which, as you might imagine, don't often find themselves agreeing.

California: The Green Exchange Launches Online Marijuana Store


The Green Exchange, Inc. has launched the world's first online marijuana store. This innovative portal allows California dispensaries or collectives to view available cannabis inventory, connect with growers, make purchases direct from the farm, or place a bid via a unique online auction platform.

The Green Exchange is free to use, and there are no contracts, fees or obligations. Dispensary owners or managers are invited to visit the website and try it out.

The new system also provides an automatic social media notification, so when a dispensary obtains cannabis, a message can automatically be sent to the dispensary's Twitter and Facebook followers, notifying them that a new selection of cannabis is available.

In this regard, the website also functions as a sales and marketing tool that gets the word out to dispensary patients and potential patients – all free of charge.

The Green Exchange was developed by a group of cannabis industry veterans, who have been growing in Mendocino County for more than 10 years.

"We think it's important for everyone to know that we are not Wall Street outsiders or Silicon Valley Executives, looking to make a fast buck in the marijuana industry," said Joshua Artman, cofounder and CEO of The Green Exchange, Inc. "We get our hands dirty every day.

"We know how to grow a quality product," Artman said. "And now, through an innovative, web-based system, we are able to offer this product directly to dispensaries, with no middleman or markup."

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