2017

Wisconsin: Medical Cannabis Advocate, Jacki Rickert, Passes Away

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Wisconsin medical marijuana patient and activist, Jacki Rickert, passed away on December 26 at the age of 66. Rickert, who suffered from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective-tissue disorder in which her joints become dislocated easily, was a determined Midwest activist who fought for her right to treat her condition with cannabis.

Rickert was an active swimmer, gymnast and horseback rider before being diagnosed with the syndrome at the age of 21, and discovered that cannabis could help her control the dislocations and keep her other medications down.

South Carolina: Twenty Farmers Selected for Industrial Hemp Pilot Program

HempFarmer-2017-WashPost

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In South Carolina, twenty farmers from fifteen counties will participate in South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s (SCDA) 2018 Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. Throughout the state, 131 applications were submitted for the pilot program. Participants were selected based on agriculture experience, geographic balance across South Carolina, accredited college/university partner, purpose of the crop, processor experience and the ability to secure needed equipment and financing.

Farmers in the pilot program will be working with the University of South Carolina, Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Clemson University and USC Beaufort.

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

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

Connecticut: Hartford City Council Unanimously Endorses Marijuana Legalization

Cannabis Hartford

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

U.S.: Is hemp the next big cash crop?

There Is a Truth That Must Be Heard ITHACA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Some New York farmers believe they’ve found the state’s next big cash crop: hemp.

A Florida woman posted a video using Facebook Live where she exclaimed at how excited she was to find hemp at a Whole Foods Market. But the product was from Upstate New York.

The hemp was from JD Farms in Eaton, N.Y. It’s the state’s first legal hemp farm in decades.

“We had the idea of hemp as an organic cover crop, initially,” Daniel Dolgin said.

Dolgin left the White House for the farm house. After working in counterterrorism for many years, he now co-owns JD Farms with his business partner Mark Justh.

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

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

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

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

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."

Illinois: Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (Economic Development)

Illinois Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

Maine: Prohibitionist Governor Vetoes Cannabis Regulation and Implementation Bill

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Friday, Gov. Paul LePage followed through on threats to veto legislation that would have started the process of implementing a regulated cannabis market that Maine voters called for when they approved Question 1 in 2016.

The progressive bill, LD 1650, which was supported overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, would have created rules for cultivation, processing, and retail establishments, as well as set tax rates for adult-use and delay cannabis social consumption lounges until summer 2019.

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

2017 Gallup Poll

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

Illinois: High School Newspaper Confiscated For Cannabis Content

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last month, prohibitionist administrators at Evanston Township High School confiscated an issue of the student newspaper, declaring it glorified drug use, drug dealing and promoted illegal conduct. Last week, at the meeting of the District 202 school board, the student journalists and first amendment legal advocates argued that the school may have violated state law by failing to show justification before confiscating the paper, which included coverage on cannabis use and policy.

U.S.: Northern Michigan University Offering Cannabis Degree

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Northern Michigan University in Marquette is offering a cannabis degree. The four-year medicinal plant chemistry degree geared toward the emerging cannabis industry includes classes such as organic chemistry, biochemistry, soils, bio-statistics, genetics, biology, gas and liquid chromatography, accounting, financial management and perspectives on society.

Other colleges and universities in the U.S., namely Harvard, Ohio State University, Vanderbilt University and University of Denver, offer a variety of classes on cannabis policy and law.

Georgia: Atlanta Decriminalizes Marijuana

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced that he signed the historic city council ordinance decriminalizing marijuana.

“I am pleased to sign this ordinance, which eliminates jail time as a penalty for a conviction for possession of less than an ounce, into law,” Reed said. “People of color, young and low-income people are disproportionately jailed – with sentences up to six months – for possessing small amounts of marijuana. An average of 1,000 people are arrested each year in Atlanta for possession only. We needed to change that. I believe our public safety resources are better directed to stopping and preventing violent crime.”

U.S.: Support The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

This legislative session, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced comprehensive cannabis reform legislation, the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017. If passed, the bill would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

Canada: Quebec Sets Minimum Age for Cannabis Consumption at 18

Quebec Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard made the call that the minimum age for the consumption of legal cannabis in Quebec will be 18.

After several caucus meetings, where everyone was allowed to express their views on the hot issue, Couillard made a ultimate decision, opting for 18 instead of 21 as some requested, government sources confirmed on Friday.

The opposition Coalition, led by Avenir Québec, had also been calling for age 21 because they believed smoking cannabis at such a young age can have negative effects on the brain. Health Minister Dr. Gaétan Barrette was pushing for age 21, but voted for 18, after reconsidering.

Georgia: Atlanta City Council Votes To Decriminalize Cannabis

Atlanta Cannabis Decriminalization

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council voted to decriminalize cannabis in an unanimous decision. After the historic 15-0 vote from the City Council, the proposed ordinance was sent to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to either sign or veto the legislation. If the mayor signs it, which he said he intends to, the ordinance will become city law.

After the vote, Mayor Reed indicated that he was interested in signing the legislation. In a tweet, the mayor thanked council members for their "leadership on marijuana reform."

Lesotho: Kingdom Becomes First African Country to Legalize Cannabis

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By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

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

U.S.: FBI Reports 653,249 Arrests for Cannabis in 2016

Cannabis Arrest

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

An estimated 653,249 arrests were made nationwide for cannabis in 2016, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Crime In the United States (CIUS) report. The staggering data equates to one person being arrested for cannabis approximately every 48 seconds on average in the United States.

In the U.S. today, arresting and citing over half a million people a year for a substance that is objectively safer than alcohol is a travesty that needs to end.

Washington: Cannabis Freedom Fighter, Rainbow Valley Founder, Gideon Israel Passes Away

Cannabis Freedom Fighter

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Gideon Israel, 68, cannabis activist and winner of the High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year award in 1999, died on September 8 in Olympia, Washington. Born Jeff McMonagle, Israel grew up in Lacey, Washington and attended North Thurston High School, legally changing his name after joining the Love Family.

Israel often held public, utopian gatherings at his 42-acre property, Rainbow Valley, in south Thurston County, Washington, until the authorities shut him down and seized the property. Israel was a polarizing figure in Thurston County for decades because he clashed with local authorities over the festivals he hosted at Rainbow Valley, according to the Olympian.

Colorado: Cultivating Agricultural Hemp on the Western Slope

Colorado Hemp

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Grand Junction, CO - Industrial hemp has only been in the Grand Valley for a few years, but continuous growth in the industry has farmers looking to cultivate a multimillion-dollar industry.

"It's life-changing. Every single day, we're finding more and more uses for it. Hemp was so widely used back in the day, just the amount of paper we can save converting, it's really awesome," said Tanner Willis, Owner of Colorado Hemp Solutions.

This month, at the Industrial Hemp Regional Resource Development Round-table in Montrose, leaders from government and economic agencies from around the Western Slope gathered together to discuss using hemp as an economic development tool.

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