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Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Campaign Hits 100,000 Signature Milestone

Michigan Signature Gathering

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

LANSING, MI — Marijuana legalization supporters announced Monday afternoon that the signature collection effort is running ahead of schedule with more than 100,000 signatures collected to-date. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which must collect 252,523 valid signatures over the summer to place the question on Michigan’s Nov. 2018 ballot, plans to submit signatures sometime this fall.

If approved by voters, Michigan would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, license cannabis businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana, and protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail cannabis.

Oregon: Beaver State Celebrates Second Anniversary of Legal Cannabis

Oregon

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 1, 2015, Oregon joined Colorado, Washington, Washington D.C. and Alaska in regulating recreational cannabis for adults over the age of 21. The Oregon law, which allows an individual the ability to carry one ounce of cannabis, possess up to 8 ounces and cultivate four (4) cannabis plants at their residence, was passed in November 2014 as Measure 91.

Mark Pettinger, the spokesperson for the Recreational Marijuana Program with Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), said in a statement, “From January 2016 to now, I’d say we have made pretty good progress with the tools we have and the support we have.”

“Now we’re close to 1,300 licenses that have been issued and close to 3,000 applicants,” Pettinger added.

California: Godmother of Marijuana, Lynette Shaw, Back in Business

Lynette Shaw

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Fairfax, California, a small Marin County town, has a unique business which has been on the forefront of the nascent cannabis industry, Lynette Shaw’s Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) — one of the first medical-marijuana dispensaries in the United States. MAMM, hosted its grand reopening this week, after winning a federal court case that began in the late 1990s. Shaw, “godmother to all the dispensaries”, is cherishing the long-awaited homecoming.

“I never married, I never had children. I birthed this, instead,” Shaw said. “This is my family. And they’re coming back.”

Michigan: Effort to End Marijuana Prohibition Gathering Signatures, Seeking Volunteers

Michigan Cannabis

If passed, Michigan would tax cannabis at retail levels with a 10 percent excise tax and six percent sales tax, which would support K-12 public schools, roads, and local governments

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last month, the Michigan Board of Canvassers approved a petition for a state ballot initiative that would regulate marijuana. If approved by voters, Michigan would legalize personal possession, cultivation, and use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp, license cannabis businesses that cultivate, process, test, transport, and sell marijuana, and protect consumers with proper testing and safety regulations for retail cannabis.

California: Legal Cannabis Potentially a $5-Billion Boon to Economy, Study Finds

Cannabis Boon

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

With the passage of Proposition 64, California’s looming legal recreational cannabis market could total more than $5 billion in annual sales, according to a study by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.

The university’s study, which was contracted by the the state’s Bureau of Marijuana Control, forecast that legal recreational sales will make up 61.5% of California’s total cannabis market and legal medical cannabis about 9%. About 29% of all cannabis consumers may stay in the illegal market.

Connecticut: After Partisan Feud, Recreational Cannabis Bill Tabled Without a Vote

Connecticut Cannabis

In Connecticut, the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated the state could raise $61 million per year under this proposal, beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Tuesday, the Connecticut House of Representatives debated the legalization of recreational cannabis use for 90 minutes without a vote. The bipartisan debate had heated dialogue as lawmakers argued the bill.

“We’re going to get left behind,” Rep. Melissa Ziobron, R-East Haddam said, noting that nine states currently have legalized marijuana and several others have debated such action in recent years.

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.

California: Legalization Allows Californians To Reduce Cannabis Convictions

CannabisJustice

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

New Jersey Cannabis

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.

Vermont: Cannabis Regulation Bill Reaches Governor's Desk

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Governor Scott has until Wednesday to sign or veto S. 22, the bill to legalize cannabis in Vermont for adults over 21 before it automatically becomes law

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Vermont Legislature sent its cannabis regulation bill to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Scott this past Thursday, initiating a five-day countdown during which Scott will have to decide whether to sign the legislation, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

If passed, the measure would allow possession of up to an ounce, two mature plants, and four immature plants, starting in July 2018. A commission would develop a proposal to tax and regulate cannabis for the Vermont Legislature to consider next year.

Michigan: Cannabis Legalization Petition For 2018 Approved For Circulation

MichiganMarijuana2018

The initiative seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan approved to circulate petition for 2018, Revenue would go to K-12 schools, road repairs and participating cities and counties

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Thursday, the Michigan State Board of Canvassers approved the language of a cannabis legalization initiative for the November of 2018 ballot. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RMLA), the group behind the initiative, has 180 days to collect 252,523 valid signatures from registered Michigan voters.

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

USA Leaf

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.

United States: Willie Nelson Tells U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions To Smoke Some Pot

Willie Nelson 2016

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On May 17, singer-songwriter Willie Nelson had some advice for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said marijuana is only “slightly less awful” than heroin.

Sessions has also said in the past that "good people don't smoke marijuana." As the nation's top law enforcement officer, he has signaled a broad crackdown against both social and medicinal uses of the drug, which remains illegal federally.

Global: New Website Caters To Mature Marijuana Enthusiasts

CheriSicard[SeniorStoner.com].jpg

"Our joints never ache" is the slogan... I love that.

The older kids always did have the best weed, and the new website, SeniorStoner.com, believes that still holds true. Designed to appeal to the more mature marijuana user and cannabis curious baby boomer, the site covers all aspects of the marijuana experience, from health and politics, to travel and pop culture.

Seniors are America’s fastest growing demographic and the fastest growing subgroup among marijuana users. It only makes sense that the Baby Boomer generation would be open to marijuana use; after all this is their second “dance” with Mary Jane as they grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, when getting high was the norm.

While in development stages, Senior Stoner publisher Mitch Mandell and editor Cheri Sicard were questioned about the wisdom of branding the new venture with the word “stoner.” The pair emphatically defends the position saying no other word so clearly denotes a person who enjoys marijuana.

“We don’t see the word stoner as a negative,” says Sicard, “in fact we feel using the S-word can do a lot of good towards forcing people to re-examine their preconceived notions and prejudices about marijuana and the people who use it. Let’s face it, Grandma and Grandpa are not who typically come to mind.”

Oregon: Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax Begins Jan. 4

OregonMarijuanaLeaf[CannabisIndustryToday]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

All good things must come to an end, it seems, and it's the same with the Oregon weed tax holiday. Recreational marijuana consumers in the state will have to pay a 25 percent sales tax starting Monday, January 4.

The Oregon Legislature earlier this year approved allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational pot to adults 21 and older, tax-free, starting on Oct. 1, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. But tax-free sales end on Monday, when the state imposes a tax that will last until the end of 2016.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission isn't expected to open state-licensed recreational marijuana stores until late 2016; once that program is up and running, the 25 percent tax at dispensaries will be replaced with permanent 17 percent sales tax at recreational pot stores.

The Oregon Department of Revenue on Tuesday said they are prepared to deal with large sums of cash from dispensaries paying the new tax. Cameras have been added, employees have gotten security training, and a new "cash handling location" has been set up to accept large payments, according to the agency.

Marijuana's Schedule I classification under federal law has kept most traditional banks away from the business, fearing conspiracy charges and money laundering investigations. That means most marijuana transactions must be handled in cash.

Oregon: Marijuana Dispensaries Report Massive Recreational Sales

OregonLegalMarijuanaSales[KATU.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon remained busy throughout the weekend after opening their doors to recreational customers on Thursday. The Oregon Legislature approved tax-free recreational sales through medicinal cannabis dispensaries through the end of the year.

Many of the shops opened at the stroke of midnight Thursday morning and were greeted with long lines of excited customers, reports Ted Shorack at The Bend Bulletin. Those lines continued all weekend, with thousands of customers checking out the shops.

"It was amazing," said Ben Hebert, owner of Dr. Jolly's in Bend. "We were totally busy all the time. I think we had a lot of happy people coming out of here."

Sales reached $55,000 on the first day alone, according to Aviv Hadar, cofounder of Oregrown Industries, which has a dispensary in Bend. As many as 2,000 customers shopped at his dispensary on the first day, according to Hadar.

"Our day two is bigger than most people's day one," Hadar said, reports Reed Andrews at KATU News.

Brothers Cannabis in Portland was one of the shops which opened at midnight; co-owner Nyno Thol said the shop is serving 600 people a day, about 20 times more than they usually do. "We're getting a lot of out of town folks and from Vancouver," he said.

Oregon: Activists, Consumers Welcome Historic First Day of Legal Cannabis Sales

PaulStanfordLegalizationOctober1,2015

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon's historic first day of legal cannabis sales on Thursday was a success, as marijuana consumers 21 and older statewide were, for the first time ever, able to legally buy retail weed without a medical authorization.

Lines snaked out the doors of many collectives at mid-day; the Tree House Collective on NE Sandy Boulevard in Portland had line of 8 to 10 customers out the door at around 1 p.m. By 5 p.m., the line was only a couple of people, and the wait had been reduced to around five minutes.

THC owner Nathan Roszina told Hemp News that creating separate queue and retail area for recreational customers was key in keeping down waiting times. Roszina said the shop wanted to address concerns from some patients that they might be subjected to long wait times due to the influx of recreational customers.

According to Roszina, the normal number of medicinal cannabis patients showed up for medicine; add to that all the first-time recreational customers, and it was a busy day. "It's been very steady all day long," Nathan told me. Many of the recreational customers, though, were curiosity seekers, according to Roszina, and only wanted to buy a gram or two.

Oregon: Legalization Drive Rents 20 Billboards Across The State

HelpEndMarijuanaProhibitionBillboard

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Activists in Oregon have rented 20 billboards in prominent positions across the state in support of their campaign to end criminal penalties for cannabis.

The billboards, found in Portland, Eugene, Beaverton, Roseburg, and Salem, carry the messages "Help End Marijuana Prohibition," or "Prohibition is the Problem, Hemp is the Answer!"

"Of course, ending prohibition is the goal, but energizing Oregon and showing a solid outreach and grassroots effort is key," said activist Michael Bachara of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), which is behind Initiatives 21 and 22.

Oregon's 2014 Initiative 21 is a constitutional amendment to end prohibition and stop imposing criminal penalties for marijuana. It needs 116,284 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures by July 3rd to qualify for the November 2014 ballot.

Initiative 22 is a proposed statute to regulate and tax marijuana, and allow farmers to grow hemp for fuel, fiber and food. It needs 87,213 valid registered Oregon voters' signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

"These measures are going to be on the ballot," said chief petitioner Paul Stanford. "Prohibition doesn't work. Filling our jails with nonviolent marijuana prisoners is a waste of public resources and people's future."

"We will end prohibition and criminal penalties for marijuana," Stanford said. "Our initiatives are designed to move Oregon ahead of both Washington and Colorado, so Oregon's economy can reap the benefits of these rapidly growing industries, sooner rather than later."

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