tom angell

U.S.: DEA Wants Feds To Grow Almost 1,000 Pounds Of Marijuana Next Year

There Is a Truth That Must Be Heard 443,680 grams.

That's how much marijuana the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wants federally-licensed researchers to grow for use in scientific studies in 2018.

That amounts to a little more than 978 pounds of government-cultivated cannabis.

While that may sound like a lot, it's actually a slight decrease from this year's level.

The 2018 aggregate production quotas that DEA laid out in a Federal Register filing slated for publication on Wednesday are amounts the agency thinks will "provide for the estimated medical, scientific, research [and] industrial needs of the United States, lawful export requirements, and the establishment and maintenance of reserve stocks."

United States: Congress Revives Federal Medical Cannabis Legislation with CARERS Act

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A new federal bill, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS), sponsored by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would take four major actions to protect state medical marijuana programs. The bill would prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws, allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend cannabis in legal states, expand research on cannabis, and remove cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

Virginia: Republican Representative Introduces Bill To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Republican representative from Virginia introduced legislation this week to end the federal prohibition of marijuana, allowing states to form marijuana policies on their own.

The bill would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act but would not legalize the sale and use of marijuana in all 50 states. It would only allow states to make their own laws without the possibility of federal interference.

“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California,” Rep. Thomas Garrett (R) said in a statement. Virginia presently does not allow medical or recreational marijuana use.

The bill specifies that transporting marijuana into states where it is not legal would still be considered a federal crime.

“This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia,” he continued in the statement.

Washington, DC: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Warns Of An America With 'Marijuana Sold At Every Corner Grocery Store'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned Tuesday that easing access to marijuana could lead to local markets selling the drug.

Speaking to a group of attorneys at the National Association of Attorneys General Winter Meeting, he said, “States can pass whatever laws they choose. But I’m not sure we’re going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store.”

Sessions went on to criticize a column published by Sam Kamin in the Washington Post Tuesday. Kamin, a professor of marijuana law and policy at the University of Denver, argues in the column that the opioid crisis is “a reason to expand access to marijuana rather than to contract it.” A study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in 2016 found “adverse consequences of opioid use” gradually decreased in states where marijuana had been legalized as individuals switched from opioids to marijuana for pain relief.

“Give me a break,” Sessions said. “This is the kind of argument that has been out there. [It’s] almost a desperate attempt to defend the harmlessness of marijuana or even benefits. I doubt that’s true. Maybe science will prove me wrong. ... My best view is that we don’t need to be legalizing marijuana.”

U.S.: Trump's Attorney General Pick Is Bad News For Legal Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

President-elect Trump announced his pick for Attorney General this morning and it's bad news for the marijuana law reform movement and its recent victories in legalization.

Trump's choice is Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, known to be a militant prohibitionist. Aaron Herzberg, general counsel at real estate focused marijuana company CalCann Holdings, said Sessions “is the worst pick that Trump could have picked.”

“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions said during an April Senate hearing. “We need grown ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger.

“To make it socially acceptable creates increased demand and results in people being addicted and being impacted adversely.”

“It appears that he is intent on rolling back policy to the 1980’s Nancy Regan’s ‘just say no on drugs’ days,” Herzberg said in an email. “With the selection of Sessions as attorney general the legalization or marijuana both for medical in 28 states and recreational marijuana in eight states may be in serious jeopardy.”

Here are some more of Sessions' infamous statements:

U.S.: What Does Trump Presidency Mean For The Marijuana Industry?

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Whether or not you were a supporter for a Donald Trump presidency, everyone wonders what his presidency will mean for his or her beliefs. Marijuana users and supporters wonder how his presidency will affect the marijuana industry.

Election Day 2016 marked a big win for marijuana. Residents voted in nine different states on legalizing some form of marijuana. Five of those states were voting on whether or not to allow recreational use. Eight of those nine states passed their legalization measures, with only Arizona's recreational measure not passing.

California was the largest state to legalize it, making recreational use legal for adults. In addition to California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada legalized recreational marijuana use. Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota approved medical initiatives. Montana passed an additional measure to legalize commercial growing and distribution.

The Motley Fool declared marijuana a big winner on Election Day, but pointed out that how the marijuana industry could change under the Donald Trump presidency is open to a lot of interpretation. No-one knows what decisions Trump and Congress will make regarding the marijuana industry between now and January 2020.

U.S.: Big Alcohol Is Working To Undermine Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Wikileaks' recent dump of Democratic National Committee's e-mails might prove an agenda against both Bernie Sanders and marijuana legalization.

Many major news outlets shared that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other officials received e-mails questioning Bernie Sanders' religion in an attempt to undermine his support among voters.

However, Marijuana.com's Tom Angell uncovered a daily e-newsletter that included a paid advertisement from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) warning against the dangers of marijuana.

In the May 24, 2016 edition of Huddle, a newsletter produced by the Politico website, the WSWA’s advertisement reads:

"While neutral on the issue of legalization, WSWA believes states that legalize marijuana need to ensure appropriate and effective regulations are enacted to protect the public from the dangers associated with the abuse and misuse of marijuana.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medicinal marijuana while Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and D.C. have legalized possession and recreational use. In the years since the state legalized medicinal use, Colorado law enforcement officials have documented a significant increase in traffic fatalities in which drivers tested positive for marijuana.

Pennsylvania: Dems Become First Major Party To Back A Path To Legalize Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Democratic Party made history in Philadelphia Monday by voting to approve a national platform endorsing a "pathway" for marijuana legalization.

The platform calls for removing marijuana from the federal government's list of Schedule 1 drugs. That list includes LSD and heroin; Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most dangerous with a high potential for abuse and no medical purpose.

“The fact that one of the country’s two major parties has officially endorsed a pathway to legalization is the clearest sign we’ve seen yet that marijuana reform is a mainstream issue at the forefront of American politics,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, a pro-legalization group.

“A clear and growing majority of voters want to end prohibition.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton does not back full legalization at the federal level. She has often said that marijuana legalization should be left to the states, allowing them to be “laboratories of democracy.”

Legal marijuana could see a huge expansion this year.

Voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will vote on marijuana legalization in November, and voters in Florida and Arkansas will have the opportunity to vote for medical marijuana.

U.S.: Democratic Party Officially Includes Marijuana Reform In Its 2016 Platform

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Democratic National Committee has officially made the decision to include marijuana reform in the party's 2016 platform.

The DNC announced over the weekend that the party wants to eliminate the criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession, increase studies into the plant's therapeutic benefits, and eliminate prohibition affecting states where cannabis is now legal.

In a statement, the party said: “We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research to be done on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African-Americans far outstripping arrest rates among whites despite similar usage rates.”

The DNC's new stance on pot reform is not as deep as what presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for. Sanders last week pushed for the DNC to embrace the total elimination of pot prohibition in the United States.

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

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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."

U.S.: Gary Johnson Predicts Obama Will Take Marijuana Off Schedule I

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former New Mexico Governor and 2016 Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson on Tuesday said he thinks President Barack Obama, on his way out of office, is going to reschedule marijuana, taking it off the federal government's Schedule I list of narcotics considered the most dangerous of all drugs.

"It's going to be just like alcohol," Johnson told David Sherfinski of The Washington Times. "I'm going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he's going to do that going out the door. That's a positive."

Marijuana is currently on the Schedule I list with heroin and LSD. Methamphetamine, cocaine, and oxycodone, on Schedule II, are both officially considered safer than cannabis by the United States federal government.

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wants to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug, effectively handing control of it over to Big Pharma. Her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, wants to deschedule cannabis entirely, taking it off the list of controlled substances, and leave its regulation up to the states.

U.S.: Support For Marijuana Legalization Hits All Time High Of 61%

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new survey released on Friday by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago shows record support for marijuana legalization in the United States, at 61 percent.

The survey asks, "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?", which is the same wording as previous Gallup surveys, which had shown a previous high of 58 percent support for legalization last October, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

The AP asked a follow-up question which showed that 24 percent of legalization supporters said cannabis should be made available "only with a medical prescription." Another 43 percent wanted to restrict purchase amounts. One-third of legalization supporters said there should be "no restrictions" on purchase amounts.

"This is yet another demonstration of just how ready Americans are for the end of marijuana prohibition," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "The growing level of support for legalization that we see in poll after poll is exactly why we're not in a situation -- for the first time in history -- where every major presidential candidate on both parties has pledged to let states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference."

While cannabis legalization is very popular among Democrats (70 percent) and independents (65 percent), just 47 percent of Republicans support it.

Washington, DC: Supreme Court Ruling Could End Legal Colorado Marijuana Sales

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A lawsuit brought forth by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado's legal marijuana market will be discussed by the Supreme Court on March 4. The suit has the potential to shut down Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

The controversial lawsuit, 'Nebraska and Oklahoma Vs. Colorado', suggests the two states “are suffering a direct and significant detrimental impact” as a result of the retail pot market in Colorado. The Court’s final verdict could have “devastating implications for marijuana legalization.”

The plaintiffs are requesting that the Supreme Court put an end to Colorado's marijuana industry because Amendment 64 conflicts with the Controlled Substances Act while violating the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. They claim that legalization has “created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system” that is leading to marijuana being smuggled into neighboring states.

The complaint asserts that the federal government is creating a difficult environment for law enforcement and Oklahoma and Nebraska citizens.

The Supreme Court gatekeeper, US Solicitor general Donald Verilli, Jr. says the case should be dropped because the dispute is not “an appropriate case for the exercise of this Court’s original jurisdiction.” He filed a briefing last year advising the court to dismiss the case, since the criminal actions defined by the complaint are being committed by individuals and not by the State of Colorado.

U.S.: Former Attorney General Eric Holder Says Reschedule Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former Attorney General Eric Holder -- who once had the power to unilaterally begin the process of rescheduling marijuana, but didn't use it -- now says he agrees that cannabis should be reclassified under federal law.

"I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled," Holder said in a newly published interview with PBS. "You know, we treat marijuana in the same way that we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate."

“It’s nice to have Holder’s support for this sensible policy change, but it would have been a lot better if he’d exercised the power to get marijuana rescheduling done while he was still in office," Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, told Hemp News on Wednesday morning. "We know that Holder and President Obama are good friends, so I hope the former attorney general encourages his former boss and his successor Loretta Lynch to follow through during these final months of the administration and get the job done.

"There’s absolutely no reason marijuana should be in Schedule I, and it would be absurd to keep passing the buck to Congress when federal law clearly gives the administration the power to act," Holder said.

U.S.: Obama Says Marijuana Reform Is Not On His Agenda For 2016

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It seems that cannabis activists who had hoped for a big shift in federal marijuana policies from the Obama Administration in its last year are likely to be disappointed.

White House press secretary John Earnest on Friday said any progress on cannabis law reform would have to come from Congress, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post. President Obama had, a day earlier, said marijuana reform isn't on his list of end-of-term priorities, according to Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee).

Cohen said he'd asked the President whether he wanted to reschedule marijuana; the federal government considers cannabis a Schedule I substance, the most dangerous category, under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs are considered to have a "high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence."

Many lawmakers want to move pot to Schedule II, which would acknowledge the plant's medicinal potential, but would also effectively hand over control of it to Big Pharma, since prescriptions would be required.

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants to DE-schedule marijuana, which means removing it from the federal list of controlled substances altogether.

Illinois: Change.org Petition Lauched To Add Conditions To Medical Marijuana Law

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The medical marijuana program in Illinois just officially came online in November. Now a push to get the state to allow people with a growing number of medical conditions to legally qualify is picking up steam.

Late last year, the state Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended letting people suffering from PTSD, chronic pain and autism, among other conditions, legally use medical cannabis. The state Department of Public Health is expected to make a decision by the end of this month.

A change.org petition calling on state officials to approve the added conditions is gaining momentum, with nearly 10,000 signatures right now:

https://www.change.org/IllinoisCannabis

"As the nation's fifth most populous state, Illinois could see its medical marijuana program grow significantly by adding the new conditions (especially chronic pain), representing one of the most important developments for the cannabis industry this year so far," Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority told Hemp News on Thursday.

Patients in Illinois who stand to benefit from the new conditions being added have added their voices to the debate on the Change.org petition page.

"I have osteoarthritis and suffer from the pain daily," said Debra R. of Round Lake. "I find it hard to even walk through a grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner and have to have help putting things away. Please approve the condition as I am only 55 and would like to have some pain free life of what I have left."

U.S.: DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Dismiss Suit Against Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. Solicitor General, on behalf of the federal Department of Justice, on Wednesday filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that the neighboring states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed against Colorado's marijuana legalization law.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., in the brief, argues that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) "does not preempt a 'State law on the same subject matter' as the CSA's control and enforcement provisions 'unless there is a positive conflict' between federal and state law 'so that the two cannot consistently stand together.'

"Here, for example, it is conceivable that the Court could conclude that whether Colorado's scheme creates a 'positive conflict' with the CSA ultimately turns on, among other factors, the practical efficacy of Colorado's regulatory system in preventing or deterring interstate marijuana trafficking," the Solicitor General -- whose duty it is to represent the federal government before the Supreme Court -- wrote.

“This is the right move by the Obama administration," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "Colorado and a growing number of states have decided to move away from decades of failed prohibition laws, and so far things seem to be working out as planned.

U.S.: Jeb Bush Expresses Support For Decriminalizing Marijuana

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Bush Receives Upgrade in Marijuana Policy Project’s Presidential Candidate Report Card

The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization upgraded Bush — who had not previously expressed support for decriminalization — from a ‘D’ to a ‘C-’ following a Friday interview on a Boston radio station

The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization upgraded Jeb Bush from a “D” to a “C-” in its 2016 presidential candidate report card on Friday following a radio interview in which the former Florida governor expressed support for decriminalizing marijuana.

“It’s one thing to say we should have decriminalization of marijuana. I support that,” the former Florida governor said in an interview with Joe Mathieu of Boston’s WBZ NewsRadio, reports Tom Angell at Marijuana.com.

Bush had not previously endorsed a removal of criminal penalties for cannabis possession.

Bush, however, didn't waste any time in proudly displaying his vast ignorance on the subject of cannabis.

He referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug” during the interview, referencing a theory that was thoroughly debunked by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in a 1999 report commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He also said “the new marijuana” is “highly, highly toxic,” despite researchers consistently finding that marijuana is among the least toxic drugs and incapable of producing a fatal overdose.

U.S.: Medical Marijuana Patients Deliver Petition Demanding DEA Head's Firing

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100,000+ Petition Signers Outraged That Obama Administration Official Called Medical Cannabis a "Joke"

A group of medical marijuana patients and their supporters on Friday delivered more than 100,000 petition signatures demanding the resignation or firing of the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after he called the medical use of cannabis a "joke."

The petition -- http://change.org/nojoke -- has more than double the amount of signatures garnered by an earlier petition that helped lead to the ouster of the previous DEA head, who also opposed medical marijuana. The current petition was started just two weeks ago.

“There is no doubt in my mind that my son Jagger is still alive today because of medical cannabis," said Sebastien Cotte, who participated in the petition delivery. "Cannabis has tremendously decreased the pain and seizures caused by his mitochondrial disease, while improving his quality of life. For our family, that’s no joke.”

Numerous scientific studies show that marijuana is beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of serious conditions like cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and many others.

"My mom uses medical marijuana to deal with the severe pain caused by multiple sclerosis,” said Tom Angell, founder and chairman of Marijuana Majority, the organization that started the petition. “This issue is not a laughing matter for her and millions of other people who have seen the benefits of cannabis for themselves."

U.S.: DEA Chief Called Medical Marijuana A Joke; Patients Calling For His Resignation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Last week, acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg of the Drug Enforcement Administration called medical marijuana "a joke" while talking with reporters. Medicinal cannabis patients are now calling for Rosenberg's resignation, with an online petition getting more than 16,000 signatures on Change.org.

"What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal -- because it's not," Rosenberg said in a Q&A with reporters, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post. "We can have an intellectually honest debate about whether we should legalize something that is bad and dangerous, but don't call it medicine -- that is a joke."

"There are pieces of marijuana -- extracts or constituents or component parts -- that have great promise" medicinally, he said, obeying his masters in Big Pharma who seem to want to market individual cannabinoids, but not the whole, organic plant itself. "But if you talk about smoking the leaf of marijuana -- which is what people are talking about when they talk about medicinal marijuana -- it has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine."

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