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Canada: Justin Trudeau Makes A Case For Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday made a remarkable argument for the legalization of marijuana, basing his points not on economic benefits, but on the same factors many legalization opponents start from -- concern for the safety of children.

"Look, our approach on legalizing marijuana is not about creating a boutique industry or bringing in tax revenue, it's based on two very simple principles," Trudeau said at an economic conference, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

"The first one is, young people have easier access to cannabis now, in Canada, than they do in just about any other countries in the world," Trudeau pointed out. "[Of] 29 different countries studied by the U.N., Canada was number one in terms of underage access to marijuana.

"And whatever you might think or studies seen about cannabis being less harmful than alcohol or even cigarettes, the fact is it is bad for the developing brain and we need to make sure that it’s harder for underage Canadians to access marijuana," Trudeau said. "And that will happen under a controlled and regulated regime.

Missouri: University Ignores Warnings, Censors Marijuana T-Shirts

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Despite repeated warnings that it is violating the First Amendment rights of its students, the University of Missouri (Mizzou) is continuing to refuse to allow a recognized student group to create t-shirts featuring a cannabis leaf and the university’s name.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has twice warned Mizzou that its treatment of the campus chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (MU NORML) violates the First Amendment.

“Mizzou flatly told MU NORML that it was censoring the group’s T-shirt artwork because of the message it could appear to express,” said FIRE Vice President of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley. "That’s viewpoint discrimination, and it’s prohibited by the First Amendment."

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In the fall 2015 semester, MU NORML sought to sell promotional T-shirts with a design featuring a marijuana leaf in the form of an animal paw, a stylized depiction of the Mizzou campus skyline and a marijuana leaf, and the group’s name. Because the design also included the name “University of Missouri – Columbia,” MU NORML President Benton Berigan applied for official approval on September 5 in accordance with university policy.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By North Coast Congressman

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

North Coast Congressman and longtime environmental leader U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on Wednesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

Prior to his election to Congress in November of 2012, Huffman served six years in the California State Assembly and was co-chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus. He previously served as a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a congressman, he serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

"The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a necessary statewide reform that brings a billion-dollar industry out of the shadows and into a regulated market," said Rep. Huffman, whose district spans from the Golden Gate Bridge north to the Oregon border and includes the Emerald Triangle, the three-county region that produces some of America's best domestically grown marijuana.

"The measure takes historic, first-of-its-kind steps to reverse the devastating environmental and water damage that has been done by illegal marijuana grows in our state," Rep. Huffman said. "AUMA is not just good social justice and public health policy. It's forward-thinking environmental reform as well."

Global: Facebook Waging Weird War On Hemp

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Facebook’s weird and inexplicable history of attacking CBD (hemp oil) pages is well documented. It doesn’t make any sense, but we all know it happens: Facebook routinely shuts down pages for any number of often-unspecified reasons, and evidently CBD falls afoul of one of its labyrinthine, incomprehensible and arrogant policies.

So it was perhaps no surprise that one of the most popular UK CBD pages, Canabidol who produce the CBD Gel-Tab, the UK’s best selling CBD supplement, was last week shut down by Facebook admins.

Facebook is a vital tool for pretty much any business today. If you want to sell anything -- especially if you’re selling a niche product -- a social media presence is vital.

Many businesses, like Canabidol, spend thousands on Facebook advertising. It’s an investment into building an audience of potential customers, so when businesses lost their Facebook pages their profitability takes a hit, especially if they have client information, order details and other vital data stored in the page’s inbox.

Arizona: Cannabis Legal Expert Earns Partnership At Top Law Firm

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The Rose Law Group of Arizona has named marijuana legal expert Laura Bianchi a partner in the firm. According to the firm, "the promotion was based on her demonstrated ability to navigate increasingly complex regulations as well as her pioneering legal efforts in the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry."

Along with her partner promotion, she will continue as director of the Business/Corporate Transactions and Estate Planning and Asset Protection departments.

Since Arizona’s medical marijuana legalization in 2010, Bianchi has been at the forefront, helping to transition the industry from illegality to legitimacy. As an integral part of Rose Law Group’s Medical Marijuana practice, Bianchi and her colleagues configured and instituted legal precedents where no prevailing template existed.

Bianchi’s innovative work and expertise in business transactions and administrative law have allowed her to establish a diverse and loyal client base throughout Arizona and across the country. Her continued success has lead to national recognition. In 2016, she was named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, a rating service that selects and honors outstanding lawyers from across all 50 states.

Ohio: Governor Kasich Signs Medical Marijuana Law

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Ohio Governor John Kasich on Wednesday signed House Bill 523 into law, making Ohio the 25th medical marijuana state.

Kasisch's communications team announced the signing without any comment, simply including in a list of other bills the governor also signed on Wednesday, reports Jackie Borchardt of Cleveland.com.

"This is a joyous day for the thousands of Ohioans who will finally be able to safely access much-needed medicine," said Ohioans for Medical Marijuana spokesman Aaron Marshall. "As we continue this movement to bring medical marijuana to all Buckeyes who need it, we will remember today as a huge step forward."

The new law goes into effect 90 days after the bill is officially filed with the Ohio Secretary of State, making medical marijuana legal sometime in early September. Patients will then have an "affirmative defense" against prosecution for marijuana possession charges if they have written authorization from their doctor to use marijuana in a form allowed under the law.

It could be a year or more until Ohioans can actually walk into a storefront dispensary and buy medical marijuana. The program must be operational within two years, according to the law, but lawmakers said it will probably be up and running sooner than that.

Colorado: Proposed Ballot Initiative Would Eliminate 80% of Cannabis Products

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A proposed initiative to install a new cannabis-related measure into the Colorado Constitution would effectively end Colorado’s successful first-in-the-nation effort to permit the sale of recreational cannabis to adults, according to industry experts BDS Analytics.

The initiative would impose limits on cannabis product format and would restrict all cannabis products to a maximum 16 percent THC content. Drawing from its database of more than 10,000 products in Colorado and its wealth of data analysis professionals, BDS Analytics concludes that products on the market today that generate more than 80 percent of cannabis revenue would be banned.

In addition, almost every edible product (which account for 11.5 percent of sales) would have to be repackaged, according to the company.

“When we first encountered the proposed language we quickly understood it would have a dramatic effect on the market, and so we immediately began a meticulous analysis of how it might change the landscape for commercial cannabis,” said BDS Analytics CEO Roy Bingham. “Unfortunately, our instincts were correct.

"Should the initiative become a part of the Colorado Constitution, it would hobble Colorado’s fastest-growing industry,” Bingham said.

Kansas: August Hearing Set In Cancer Patient's Felony Medical Marijuana Case

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A motions hearing for a Kansas cancer patient facing felony marijuana charges has been scheduled for August to provide more time for review of his medical history.

Retired science teacher Terry Lynn Rugg, 64, of Ottawa, Kansas, is charged with marijuana cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of drug paraphernalia, all of which are felonies, reports Doug Carder at the Ottawa Herald. He was arrested on October 29, 2015.

Rugg's attorney, John Boyd, had already said he would provide the Franklin County Attorney's Office with Rugg's medical history, in hopes of reaching a plea bargain.

The prosecutor's office has indicated it wants to review Rugg's full medical records, which would require more time, Boyd said at his client's status conference on Monday morning.

Rugg has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bladder cancer and urethral cancer, according to Boyd.

Oregon: Marijuana Business Bans Could Cost Counties Millions Of Dollars

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

County bans on licensed recreational marijuana businesses in Oregon could result in millions of dollars of lost economic activity, according to a new report.

Marion County alone could lose $110 million in economic activity in 2016 as business goes elsewhere because of its nonsensical ban, said Beau Whitney, an economist and vice president of government and compliance at Toronto-based Golden Leaf Holdings, reports Gordon Friedman at the Statesman Journal.

Nineteen Oregon counties and 86 Oregon cities have banned marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers entirely.

Oregon citizens voted at the ballot box to legalize marijuana via Measure 91 in 2014. State legislators allowed local municipalities to ban cannabis businesses if their voters opposed legalization.

In counties with less than 55 percent rejecting legal sales -- like Marion County -- the bans are only temporary and must be put to the voters. In counties which rejected legalization by more than 55 percent, local governments can ban cannabis businesses outright.

California: Humboldt County Sheriff's Vehicles Show Unusual Activity Tuesday

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At about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7, “at least eight” Humboldt County Sheriff’s vehicles gathered at the River Lodge Conference Center in west Fortuna, according to reports from witnesses.

On Monday, June 6, a similar group of Humboldt County Sheriff vehicles had congregated in the Carlotta area, reports Kym Kemp on her website Redheaded Blackbelt. "Several reports noted they had a chipper," Kemp reported. "One reader insisted she saw several different convoys."

The information posted on Tuesday by the Sheriff’s Office indicates that three were arrested on Monday by Humboldt County’s Drug Task Force for growing/cultivating marijuana. These were likely related to the law enforcement convoy/s out Highway 36, according to Kemp.

"In what may be a totally unrelated development, Southern Humboldt is buzzing about what appeared to be a series of low flying helicopter recognizance flights–reports have come in from Shelter Cove, Blue Slide, and Salmon Creek," Redheaded Blackbelt reports.

"We have requested more information from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and will update when possible," Kemp posted.

U.S.: Gary Johnson Promises Not To Get High In The White House If Elected President

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson on Monday promised he won't use marijuana if he's elected president in November.

Johnson, who won the Libertarian nomination for the second time on May 29, picked former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld as his running mate, reports Guy Bentley at The Daily Caller.

The candidate freely admitted in a Monday interview with Jonathan Easley at The Hill that he'd used cannabis as "recently as a month ago," but for some reason promised he wouldn't use it if he is sworn into the Oval Office in 2017.

"The notion of getting that call at midnight or two o'clock -- people need to know there's a firm voice on the other side," he said.

Johnson said he hasn't touched alcohol for 30 years. Before launching his current presidential bid, he was CEO of the marijuana company Cannabis Sativa Inc.

He added that legalizing cannabis would lead to less substance abuse overall, because people would find it to be a "safer alternative than everything else out there, starting with alcohol."

Alaska: Fairbanks Groups On Mission To Stop Marijuana Commercialization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Efforts are underway in Alaska to stop cannabis businesses from opening in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

A Salcha man is launching an initiative that he hopes will keep the legal marijuana trade out of the borough, while the president of a strip mall condominium association is claiming pot shops are banned in the River Mall under condo association rules, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, reports Amanda Bohman at the Daily News-Miner.

The borough has already issued more than 40 land use permits for marijuana businesses, mostly cultivation. Another six applications for land use are pending, according to the borough Department of Community Planning.

Eleven of the 40 cannabis related permits are for marijuana retail storefronts.

The initiative which would prohibit cannabis commerce in the borough is pending review by Borough Clerk Nanci Ashford-Bingham, who said she got the application on last week.

Jim Ostlind of Salcha said he plans to get enough signatures to get a question on the local ballot asking voters to stop "marijuana commercialization."

Montana: Medical Marijuana Initiative 182 Surpasses 30,000 Signatures

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A whopping 64 percent majority of Montana voters in 2004 approved Initiative 148, creating a state medical marijuana program, but in 2011 the conservative GOP-controlled Legislature repealed that law in a fit of reefer madness.

Initiative 182, currently gathering signatures and with just two weeks to go, aims to create a new medical marijuana program to assist the 12,000 Montanans who will lose safe access to cannabis on August 31 following the spring ruling by the Montana Supreme Court to uphold the 2011 repeal, reports Dustin Klemann at KPAX.

Organizers on Monday said they've gathered 30,000 signatures, more than enough to qualify for the November ballot.

"We want to take that law they passed in 2011, and the intention behind that law was to create a program that didn't work," said Kate Cholewa, spokesperson for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, which is funding the effort. "We've been able to just function due to the court case that has enjoined several provisions of the law passed in 2011."

U.S.: National Poll Shows Majority Supports Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A majority of American registered voters nationwide support the legalization of marijuana, according to the results of a new Quinnipiac Poll released on Monday.

Just more than half -- 54 percent -- said cannabis use should be made legal across the United States, while 41 percent said it should not, reports Nick Gass at Politico.

The results showed partisan polarization, with Democrats favoring legalizing 65 percent to 30 percent, and Republicans opposing legalization 62 percent to 36 percent. Independent voters backed legalization 61 percent to 36 percent, as did men (60 percent to 37 percent) and women, but just by 48 percent to 46 percent, within the margin of error.

Possession of cannabis is already legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia, with a couple of dozen other states having decriminalized the herb.

Majorities of voters younger than 65 said they would support legalization, while 57 percent of those 65 and older said they would oppose it.

U.S.: President Obama Commutes Sentences of 42 More Individuals For Drugs

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Drug Policy Alliance: President Must Do More Before His Term Ends and Congress Needs to Act Now

President Barack Obama on Friday commuted the sentences of 42 people incarcerated in federal prison for drug offenses. This follows the commutation of 58 people in May 2016 and 61 individuals on March 30, 2016. To date, Obama has granted clemency to 348 individuals.

President Obama has been under significant public pressure from advocacy groups and family members of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses who are serving long, mandatory minimum sentences.

"It’s great to see the President step up the number of commutations he grants, but he should do so many more before his term ends," said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "The greatest relief for people behind bars will happen when Congress passes legislation.

"Right now there is legislation in the House and Senate to reduce mandatory minimums that would a significant impact on the prison population," Collins said. "Senator Mitch McConnell needs to bring the bill up for a vote now."

Oregon: Clackamas County Sheriff Warns About 'Driving On Marijuana'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Clackamas County, Oregon Sheriff's Department on Thursday -- the first day of commercial sales to adults of cannabis concentrates, edibles and topicals under state legalization -- warned drivers not to operate motor vehicles while "impaired on marijuana."

"The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind people to use marijuana in a responsible manner," the department's prepared statement reads. "Additionally, operating a vehicle after consuming marijuana in any fashion is just as dangerous and illegal as driving while drunk.

"Marijuana is a substance that can adversely impair a person’s ability to safely drive a motor vehicle and can contribute to crashes, often resulting in serious injuries and even death," the release from Sheriff Craig Roberts' office claims. "Marijuana can impair the user for a period of up to 24 hours — so please plan ahead to have a sober driver or a place to stay the night.

"During this upcoming weekend, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will be joining other law-enforcement agencies in providing enhanced patrols in order to ensure the continued safety of the citizens we serve," the release reads. "Between June 2 and June 5, deputies assigned to this DUII task force will have an emphasized focus on enforcing traffic safety laws, while also detecting and arresting impaired drivers.

U.S.: Groundbreaking Cannabis TV Show Delivers National Network Highs

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Free Speech TV’s "Marijuana Straight Talk" is topping national cable network ratings as a journalistic news outlet covering the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry.

Hosted by media entrepreneur and former NPR news anchor Becca Williams, the national TV show’s “420 special” which aired on April 20 received record viewership, becoming the most popular weekly program to date on Free Speech TV network in 2016.

Based on Rentrak ratings service, Free Speech TV garners approximately 1.2 million viewers per month and reaches nearly 40 million households. The station airs on DirecTV and DISH channels, as well as 200 part-time cable affiliates.

Host Williams is a long-time cannabis advocate and consumer who recognized the potential of a broadcast medium devoted to the controversial subject of marijuana. With riveting candor and hard-hitting commentary, Williams rips through fact, fiction and folly to get to the truth behind America’s misconceptions about the “Green Rush.”

"Marijuana Straight Talk"'s episodes tackle the realities of a rapidly expanding cannabis community. From educational and wellness segments to in-depth interviews and historical narratives, the show creates a cannabis culture that is socially conscious, sustainable and prosperous.

Arizona: Judge Rules DHS Wrongly Denied Hearing On Medical Marijuana For Parkinson's

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Arizona judge has ruled that the state Department of Health Services wrongly denied a hearing to petitioners who want people with Parkinson's disease to qualify for medical marijuana.

"In a desire for professionalism, the department has utilized a standard of proof that is higher than the rules call for," Administrative Law Judge Dorinda Lang wrote in an eight-page ruling signed May 24 and released publicly on Tuesday, reports Ray Stern at Phoenix New Times.

Arizona voters in 2010 approved a list of ailments that qualify state residents to legally use cannabis. Last year, the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association submitted eight petitions to add new qualifying ailments to the state's medical marijuana law, all of which were denied.

The group, led by Heather Manus, a registered nurse, appealed the denials for patients suffering from Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. They got the pro bono help of San Diego attorney and former Tucson dispensary owner Ken Sobel.

Oregon: Oregrown Offers Guided Tour of Cannabis Edibles, Extracts and Topicals

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Oregrown Industries, a farm-to-table cannabis company, invites the public to a "guided tour" of cannabis extracts, edibles and other products at their flagship dispensary in downtown Bend. Beginning June 2, these products are available for the first time to Oregon's adult recreational customers.

"This is a very exciting time," says Oregrown founder Aviv Hadar. "90 percent of Oregon's non-medical cannabis consumers have never encountered these products. We know everyone has questions.

"That's why we want Oregrown to be a place where people can ask questions and make informed decisions," Hadar said. "We are so excited to about the expanded variety of locally grown, handcrafted cannabis products now available to all adult customers."

Hadar says well-made extracts offer a combination of excellent flavor, convenience and ease of use that make them a favorite among discerning consumers.

"Oregrown's hash oil is made with a sophisticated process that results in higher potency and an incredible flavor profile," Hadar says. "At the same time, depending on your delivery method, you can really dial in your dose with much greater precision than you can with flower."

Adult-use customers may purchase a single unit of extract containing up to 1,000 mg of THC per day.

U.S.: 7th Annual Hemp History Week Features Events June 6-12

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The 7th annual Hemp History Week will be observed June 6-12, 2016, marked by several special events during the campaign. Hemp History Week is the national effort of grassroots organizers, leading hemp product manufacturers, farmers and advocates from all walks of life, working to change federal policy on industrial hemp in the United States.

This year promises to be an historic time in the movement to legalize hemp farming, as more farmers than ever before are planting hemp in states that have lifted prohibition on the crop. The 7th annual campaign will include grassroots events across the country, nationwide retail events and promotions, hemp plantings (in some states where hemp farming is legal under Section 7606 of the U.S. Farm Bill), documentary screenings, farmer outreach, and more.

In addition to its sponsorship of the national program, CV Sciences, via their PlusCBD Oil™ brand, will also be hosting and participating in a number of events focused in California and Kentucky.

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