2017

Wisconsin: Senator Invests in Canadian Cannabis Farm Creating Conflict of Interest

Sen. Frank Lasee, Profiteer

Earlier this year, when the state senator voted to expand access to medical cannabis in Wisconsin, he was doing so as an investor of a Canadian cannabis farm embroiled in turmoil

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In 2016, Wisconsin State Senator Frank Lasee of De Pere, bought $5,000 to $50,000 in the stock of Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp, according to public disclosures reviewed this week.

Virginia: VSU to Host Industrial Hemp Field Day on August 17

VSU Industrial Hemp Field Day

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A first-of-its kind industrial hemp field day at Virginia State University (VSU) will provide a forum for potential growers, researchers, marketing experts and hemp product users to discuss the future of the crop in Virginia and neighboring states.

The event, which is scheduled for Thursday, Aug 17 from 8am-3pm at VSU's Randolph Farm located at 4415 River Road in Petersburg, VA, will showcase an industry overview, discuss markets for industrial hemp products, industrial hemp research at VSU, and an industrial hemp plot tour.

Vermont: First Ever Vermont Hemp Festival to be Held at Burke Mountain on Sept 9

Vermont Hemp Festival

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The first-ever Vermont Hemp Festival is planned for Sept. 9 at Burke Mountain Resort in rural, remote Northeast Kingdom. Eli Harrington and Monica Donovan, co-founders of Heady Vermont, chose to have their inaugural hemp conference in the because Northeast Kingdom has hemp history.

Harrington said, “Heady Vermont covers everything from statehouse happenings to artists to investigative reporting and the identities of the individuals who are changing the face of Vermont’s cannabis culture.”

Kansas: 16-Year-Old Running for Governor, Plans to Legalize

Jack Bergeson on Kimmel

Jack Bergeson, 16, a Wichita high school student, is running for Kansas governor

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Even though he won’t be able to legally cast a vote, Jack Bergeson, a 16-year-old from Wichita, is running for Governor of Kansas in 2018. His political platform includes legalizing marijuana for social use.

“Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one,” said Bryan Caskey, director of elections at the Kansas secretary of state’s office. “So there’s seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing.”

New York: Department of Health Proposes Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program

NewYorkMedicalMarijuana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

This month, the New York Department of Health announced the issuance of new proposed regulations that would make changes to the state’s medical cannabis program. The department would reduce some of the burdensome security requirements for registered organizations, shorten the length of the medical cannabis course certifying practitioners must take, and allow additional types of medical cannabis products to be sold, among other things.

New York’s Medical Marijuana Program, has been criticized by patient advocate groups as unnecessarily restrictive, and initial patient registration numbers were extremely low compared to other state medical cannabis programs.

Utah: Initiative Approved to Begin Collecting Signatures for Medical Cannabis in 2018

Utah Patients Coalition 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Utah Patients Coalition has received approval from Lt., Governor Spencer Cox, to begin gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. After holding 10 public hearings across the state and meeting with various state departments and stakeholders, Utah Patients Coalition will now proceed to collect the more than 113,000 required signatures to place doctor-approved access to medical cannabis on the ballot for Utah voters to approve.

Texas: Congressman Hosts Public Hearing on Reducing Penalties for Cannabis

Texas

HB 334, which was introduced in the special legislative session, would replace criminal penalties for low-level cannabis possession with a civil citation

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Wednesday, Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Joe Moody held a public hearing to discuss reducing state cannabis possession penalties to support HB 334, which Rep. Moody introduced in the special legislative session in July.

U.S.: Congressmen Urge AG Sessions to Reconsider DOJ Policies on Asset Forfeiture

U.S.: Congressmen Urge AG Sessions to Reconsider DOJ Policies on Asset Forfeiture

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On August 4, Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) sent the following letter to United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to express concerns and objections to his proposal to expand the Department of Justice’s civil asset forfeiture program. The letter also urges AG Sessions to reconsider his newly-announced policies.

Washington: Governor Inslee Gives Statement on AG Sessions’ Reefer Madness

jay-jeff-02.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 24, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated that “Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a crime.” The AG singled out Washington state and said it was not following the law and fueling a war.

Massachusetts: Governor Baker Names Five to Cannabis Advisory Board

Massachusetts Cannabis Advisory Board

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker named five gubernatorial appointees to Massachusetts’ Cannabis Advisory Board, charged with studying and making recommendations to the Cannabis Control Commission on the regulation and taxation of marijuana.

Minnesota: PTSD Patients Allowed to Obtain Medicinal Cannabis

Minnesota

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Minnesota residents who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are permitted to buy medical cannabis from the state’s dispensaries, as of August 1st, under the state's medical marijuana program.

In 2016, Minnesota approved PTSD as a qualifying condition, but patients weren’t permitted to obtain medical cannabis to treat their disorder until August 1st.

Only 105 patients with PTSD had started or completed the registration process in the month leading up to legal sales, despite the addition of the illness to Minnesota’s list of qualifying conditions, according to state data.

Michigan: Proposal to Legalize Cannabis on Pace to Make 2018 Ballot

Michigan Cannabis 2018

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for recreational use in Michigan is gaining momentum as the group raises more money and claims to have gathered more than half of the signatures needed to put the issue before voters in 2018.

The proposed law would decriminalize the possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana in public and allow for up 12 plants to be grown per household.

U.S.: National Conference of State Legislatures Urges De-Scheduling Cannabis

NCSL

Resolution approved by state lawmakers from around the nation expresses support for amending the Controlled Substances Act to enable financial institutions to provide banking services to state-legal marijuana businesses; would give states control of their own marijuana policies without federal interference

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

U.S.: Congresswoman Introduces Bill Allowing States to Effectively Regulate Cannabis

US House of Representatives

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalized some form of cannabis and more are expected to vote on legalization in 2018. Yet, cannabis possession or use for any purpose is still prohibited under the federal Controlled Substances Act, leaving every participant in the state markets — including cancer patients — at risk of prosecution.

On July 28, Rep. Suzan Delbene (D-WA) reintroduced the State Marijuana And Regulatory Tolerance (SMART) Enforcement Act (H.R. 3534) to protect medical patients, recreational users and small businesses in states that have legalized and regulated cannabis from being prosecuted now or in the future.

Ohio: Former NFL Players, Troy Smith, Eric Metcalf, Look to Open Cannabis Dispensary

Smith - Metcalf

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Former NFL players Troy Smith and Eric Metcalf are pursuing one of the 60 dispensary licenses that Ohio will be issuing later this year. Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner who was a fifth-round pick of the Ravens, has said that head trauma he suffered while playing football is one reason he’s involved in cannabis dispensaries.

"Sports is a great thing to watch when you're snacking on chicken wings, but it's dead serious. We need to pay more attention to it and be more delicate," Smith said, adding that he is certain medical cannabis can be helpful to people with brain injuries.

Utah: Congresswoman Love Expresses Support for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Rep. Mia Love

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

At a town hall meeting with constituents on Wednesday, Utah Congresswoman Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) responded to questions about her support for medical cannabis.

“I know a lot of parents out there where their children suffer from epilepsy, or they suffer from other things, and if it’s prescribed by a doctor, then I’m fine with it,” Rep. Love said.

Rep Love continued, “I mean we have an opioid epidemic here. Not just here, but all throughout the country, there are things I believe are far more harmful.”

Illinois: Cards Against Humanity Donates $70K To Legalize Cannabis

Cards Against Humanity

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Cards Against Humanity, a popular adult-themed party card game company out of Chicago, is putting some cash behind efforts to legalize recreational cannabis use in Illinois.

To date, Cards for Humanity has donated $70,000 to the Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) efforts to legalize cannabis in Illinois.

Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D), Sponsor of a bill to regulate cannabis for adult use, is a fan of the card game.

New York: Dept of Health Adds Organizations to Medical Marijuana Program

New York Cannabis - Times Union

As of August 1, 2017, there are 25,736 certified patients and 1,139 registered practitioners participating in the program and the number of certified patients has increased by 10,744 or 72 percent since the addition of chronic pain in late March

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The New York State Department of Health yesterday announced that it has authorized five additional registered organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in New York State, an initiative aimed at improving patient access and the geographic distribution of dispensing facilities across the state. The newly approved organizations are Citiva Medical, Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, New York Canna, PalliaTech NY and Valley Agriceuticals.

Texas: Bill Introduced to Decriminalize Cannabis

Texas Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 27, Texas Representative Joe Moody introduced, HB 334, a bill calling for the decriminalization of cannabis possession. The proposed legislation would also create an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia in the Lone Star State.

Under the proposed law, possession of over one ounce of marijuana would still be punishable with a misdemeanor, while five pounds or more would still garner a felony charge.

Utah: Prominent Businessman Supports Medical Cannabis Initiative

Utah Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Medicinal cannabis advocates in Utah have a major name stepping in to defend the right to use the plant, Utah businessman Jon Huntsman Sr.

"I'm a very strong advocate for medical marijuana," Huntsman Sr. said.

Huntsman, a four-time cancer survivor, said his support comes from compassion. Huntsman has suffered from Polymyalgia Rheumatica, a disorder that can cause severe shoulder and hip-joint pain, for the past 10 years.

"I won't take the opioids, I'll take the pain," Huntsman says.

The possibility of kidney or bladder failure and constipation turned Huntsman away from opioids entirely.

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