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California: SpeedWeed Responds To LA City Attorney's Injunction

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LA City Attorney Mike Feuer's office on Friday issued a statement that "SpeedWeed has ceased operations" because the company was allegedly in violation of zoning ordinance Measure D ("Proposition D"). "SpeedWeed is presently open and fully operational," the company responded on Tuesday, in a prepared statement.

"We have been working with the City Attorney on a 'wind down' period to pause operations within the City Limits," the statement reads. "Because of the City-imposed injunction, we are forced to put 40 good people out of work. With a heavy heart, we requested time to give our employees the chance to make new arrangements for work and do what is best for their families and to insure safe access for our members. The City agreed.

"SpeedWeed continues to operate and expand," according to the prepared statement from the company. "This is not end of SpeedWeed in the City of Los Angeles. This is only the first chapter. We intend to have our day in court. Win or lose, it is important that a judge, jury and the Los Angeles voters understand the insidious way Proposition D was drafted, passed and enforced. LA citizens are unaware of the unintended consequences of this unjust, obscure and very dangerous zoning rule.

U.S.: TV Pot Show 'Marijuana Straight Talk' Soars To Top Of Ratings

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A woman-owned media company has launched a national TV show focused on one of America’s hottest and most controversial topics: marijuana.

The show, Marijuana Straight Talk, soared to the top of the ratings with its “420 special” episode last month, making its debut at a time when support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. has never been stronger. A recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 61 percent of Americans now support legalizing cannabis.

“Now, more than ever, this country is ready for Marijuana Straight Talk,” said host Becca Williams, a noted media entrepreneur and TV producer.

The growing interest among Americans is evident when it comes to Marijuana Straight Talk’s reception. Based on the show’s “420 special” episode, it became the most popular weekly program in 2016 to date on Free Speech TV network, which garners about 1.2 million viewers per month based on Rentrak ratings service.

U.S.: HelloMD Introduces Answers, Q&A Web Service On Medical Marijuana

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HelloMD, a digital healthcare platform for medical marijuana patients, on Tuesday announced the launch of Answers, a web-based service that allows cannabis users, or those considering using cannabis, to ask questions to the HelloMD expert community lead by doctors and physicians.

The company said it is the first to launch a service of this kind, providing qualified physicians to address America's questions on cannabis.

Legal marijuana is the fastest growing industry in the United States. According to a new report compiled by researchers from The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm based in Oakland, more than 1.5 million shoppers purchased legal marijuana from a dispensary, either medical or recreational, in 2014.

This year, the industry is expected to grow by 25 percent, capping at around $7.1 billion in sales. By 2020, the industry is expected to make a giant leap to $22.8 billion.

This type of compounding growth in a relatively new industry brings with it many questions.

According to HelloMD CEO and co-founder, Mark Hadfield, "We routinely receive high praise from our patients, but we also get consistent feedback that patients would like more time with our doctors. Many feel that they have more questions than answers as they begin their journey into the world of medical cannabis.

California: One In 10 People Say Police Took Cash, Property Without A Conviction

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Two new surveys find overwhelming public opposition in California to laws allowing law enforcement to seize and keep a person’s cash and property without a conviction

California Legislature considers reform to rein in abuse

In a recent survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, a startling 10 percent of adults living in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties said that they had had their property taken by a police officer without being convicted of a crime. Nearly one in five (19 percent) of those living in these three counties also stated that they know someone who had experienced the same.

One of the ways in which law enforcement can legally take property or money from people in the absence of a conviction is through civil asset forfeiture, a highly controversial policy that allows law enforcement officers to seize cash or property that they suspect has been involved in criminal activity, such as drug sales.

While California law offers greater protections, federal forfeiture laws do not require that police arrest or charge a person with a crime, or convict them. If the owner does not file a claim in civil court and prevail in the case, the property is permanently lost, and the majority of the funds go to the same law enforcement agency that seized the cash or property in the first place.

Germany: True Leaf Brings 'True Hemp' Pet Treats To Europe

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True Leaf collaborates with Pet Horizons to unveil product for European distribution at Interzoo®, world’s leading pet supply show

With successful US and Canada launches under its belt, True Leaf International Ltd. on Tuesday announced it will soon offer its True Hemp pet treats for sale in Europe, unveiling the product – ready for sale – at the upcoming Interzoo pet supply exhibition May 26 - May 29, in Nuremberg, Germany.

Interzoo®, the world’s largest bi-annual exhibition of supplies for pets, including dogs, cats, horses and birds is renowned for showcasing innovation in the industry. In 2014, more than 37,000 visitors caught up with the latest in pet care at over 1,700 exhibitors from more than 60 countries.

True Leaf’s product line, already available in North America, appears to be well positioned for the European market.

“Europeans have always had an appreciation for high-quality natural products,” said Darcy Bomford, True Leaf CEO. “In addition, hemp has been grown in some regions of Europe for generations and we’re excited to use European hemp as a key component of our product lines.”

The company announced it has "already seen interest in the product line leading up to the show and expects significant demand as it rolls out across the European Union."

Pennsylvania: Marijuana Advocacy Group Partners For Business Seminars

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Pittsburgh NORML endorses US Cannabis’ seminars coming to Pittsburgh June 11 & 12

US Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development has announced a "strategic partnership" with Pittsburgh NORML for sponsorship of the US Cannabis Medical Marijuana Business Seminar Series being held in Pittsburgh June 11 and 12.

"We only work with the best, and NORML sets the standard for professionalism and results," said Michael Patterson, CEO of US Cannabis. "They are the best marijuana advocacy group in the country. It's an honor to have them on our team.

"NORML has fought tirelessly for adults to have access to marijuana without persecution," Patterson said. "We want to implement their mission through educating Pennsylvania's best and brightest on the new Medical Marijuana law to facilitate successful marijuana commerce in the Keystone state."

"It's a win-win," said Pittsburgh NORML Chairman Isaac Holeva. "We want to give our supporters and all persons interested in this new legal industry the best chance to succeed.

"By attending this seminar, they will get expert advice and analysis from US Cannabis detailing both sides of the business: growing and producing marijuana and also medical regulation and compliance,” Holeva said.

California: NCIA Hosts 3rd Annual Cannabis Business Summit In Oakland June 20-22

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The National Cannabis Industry Association, a national trade association representing the businesses of the legal marijuana industry, will hold its third annual national conference, the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo, in Oakland, California, on June 20-22, at the Marriott City Center.

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will deliver the policy keynote address on Tuesday, June 21. Newsom, who is running for Governor of California in 2018, is a key supporter for marijuana reform and legalization and a high-profile advocate for the benefits of embracing a legitimate cannabis industry.

Numi Organic Tea CEO and co-founder Ahmed Rahim will deliver the business keynote on June 21, sharing insights into his company's embrace of the "triple bottom line" approach, best practices in moving toward organics and fair trade, and the importance and benefits of connecting with the local community.

This year the Cannabis Business Summit moves to California from Denver, bringing business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and policy influencers to the largest legal marijuana market in the U.S. This move comes at a crucial time in history, with California's Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) ballot initiative expected to be certified for November voting, and the campaign fully underway.

Alabama: Man Serving Life In Prison For Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

While the cannabis industry proceeds merrily along its profit-strewn path to the mainstream, a man in Alabama last year got sentenced to life in prison for selling the stuff.

It makes a big difference, you see, if you are a minority male in the Deep South selling marijuana, or if you are a monied entrepreneur in, say, Washington state or Colorado doing the same thing. If you were of the latter class and geography, you'd get a license from the state allowing you to carry on your business; if you were of the former, you'd get thrown in a cage until you die.

Houston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Conaway in February 2015 sentenced 39-year-old Richard Bolden of Dothan, Alabama, to life in prison for "trafficking marijuana." He gave Bolden an additional eight years for a felony first-degree bail jumping charge, to be served consecutively (not concurrently) with the life sentence, reports Matt Elofson at the Dothan Eagle.

Nevada: Experts, Leaders To Discuss Breaking Barriers To Medical Marijuana Research

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As the new medical marijuana industry takes shape in Nevada, the most often asked questions of patients are “Will cannabis help me?” and “Which strain works best for my illness?” Many regulatory barriers exist for the medical community to conduct the research needed to answer these questions.

Nationally recognized experts and state leaders will discuss the regulatory challenges, necessary reforms and the possibilities these changes will create for patients on Wednesday, May 25 in Las Vegas.

Panelists include John Hudak of The Brookings Institution, Sue Sisley, MD, The Grove Medical Director, Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley, and Eugene Monroe, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle and Gridiron Cannabis Coalition. This event will be moderated by Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom.

“More than 160 million Americans live in states with approved medical marijuana systems," said Hudak. "Each year, millions use marijuana with the hope of therapeutic and medicinal benefit. Yet, the federal government has constructed and continues to reinforce a series of barriers that prevent the scientific and medical community from studying the medical efficacy of marijuana.

"This event will explore those regulatory roadblocks and discuss solutions that reclaim the integrity of science and give sound answers to patients and doctors,” Hudak said.

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Veterans Equal Access Amendment For Medical Marijuana

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Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon this week will offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana, when the U.S. House of Representatives considers the FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. This forces veterans out of the VA system to seek a simple recommendation for treatment for eligible conditions as granted to them by state laws.

Rep. Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

“It’s wrong and unfair to force our veterans outside of the VA system to simply seek a recommendation on whether or not medical marijuana is a good treatment option," said Congressman Blumenauer. "And, our VA physicians should not be denied the ability to offer such a recommendation if they think it may meet the needs of their patient.”

U.S.: AAA Says There's No Scientific Basis For Laws Against Driving On Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Six states that allow marijuana use in one form or another have legal tests which supposedly serve to determine who is driving while impaired -- but those tests have no scientific basis at all, according to a study done by the largest auto club in the United States. AAA, as a result, has called for scrapping those laws.

The study was commissioned by AAA's safety foundation, and it discovered that it's not possible to determine impairment by setting a blood-test threshold for the level of THC, the main component of marijuana responsible the high. Yet the laws in five of those six states automatically presume a driver is guilty of driving while impaired if he or she tests higher than the limit, not not guilty if the level is lower, reports the Associated Press.

The AAA foundation recommends replacing those faulty laws with ones that actually rely on science, using specially trained police officers to determine if a driver is impaired on pot, backed up by a test for the presence of THC rather than a specific level. The officers would be responsible for screening for dozens of supposed indicators of marijuana use.

Canada: Unlicensed Marijuana Dispensaries Thriving In Toronto

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 100 unlicensed marijuana dispensaries have sprung up in Toronto, most in the past six months, since the election of Justin Trudeau, who won on a legalization platform, among other progressive issues

Only a few dozen medicinal cannabis producers have a license from the Canadian federal government to sell marijuana; all other outlets are considered illegal, reports Jacob Templin at Quartz.

A few medical marijuana dispensaries have existed for years in Toronto, catering to a smallish clientele, requiring doctor's prescriptions, and operating out of undisclosed locations. The new breed of dispensaries, however, tend to have storefronts and are open to the public, according to Adam Verk, a project manager at The Big Toke, which consults with and collects data on cannabis-related businesses in Toronto.

"In the past six months it's gotten crazy, and a lot of them aren't following protocols," said Amy Brown, who has operated CannDo, a Toronto-based medical marijuana dispensary, since 2014.

It's unclear whether new federal laws will legalize the dispensaries. The Liberal government isn't unveiling its proposed legislation until Spring 2017.

Colorado: Denver Cops Combing Craiglist, Facebook For Illegal Marijuana Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver Police are combing Craigslist and Facebook to find black market marijuana dealers who illegally promote their products online, law enforcement said on Thursday.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older, but Denver Police Department spokesman Doug Schepman claimed pot dealers are circumventing state law by using online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook to stimulate sales, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

The Denver-area Craigslist page on Friday had more than 700 postings where marijuana is listed under the "for sale" category. Thousands of people are using the website to sell pot online, according to Kevin Torres at Fox 31 Denver.

"I think the black market in general is still very active and Craigslist is a perfect example of the active black market," said Lauren Harris, owner of Dynama Consultikng, a cannabis consulting firm that helps dispensaries navigate the rules of Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

D.C.: Congresswoman Lee Joins National Cannabis Industry Association Press Conference

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee on Thursday joined several of her colleagues and members of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) for a press conference on Capitol Hill demanding respect for state laws and fairness for the industry.

“Today, I’m pleased to join my colleagues and the National Cannabis Industry Association in making one simple request to Congress: 'Treat the industry just like any other business,'” Lee said. "It’s past time for the federal government to end its counterproductive overreach into state-legal cannabis markets.

"Last week, I was proud to join Harborside Health Center in celebrating the U.S. Attorney’s decision to end its unnecessary case against this health center," Lee said. "While it was victory for Harborside, there are still centers in my district and around the country that continue to face harassment.

"Additionally, outdated laws continue to prevent many state-legal businesses from thriving, including our arcane banking laws," Lee said. "These laws serve only to trap these businesses in the cash-only market, restrict their access to capital and prevent them from engaging in simple business-to-business transactions.

"This industry is just like any other, and Congress needs to ensure it has access to banking, just like any other industry," Congresswoman Lee said.

Washington: Study Says Licensed Grows Can Meet Recreational, Medical Marijuana Needs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study released on Thursday performed for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board by the University of Washington supposedly shows that the amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed I-502 producers in the state "is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets," while ignoring the challenges of price, pesticides, and access which I-502 stores present for patients.

The study, "Estimating Canopy Size for the Washington Medical Marijuana Market," seems tailor-made to be used as political ammunition in the fight led by many I-502 recreational cannabis merchants to finish the shutting-down of Washington's medical marijuana community, which is already slated for extinction, at least as we know it, on July 1. After that date, any medical marijuana dispensaries which don't have an I-502 license will be required to shut down under penalty of law.

New York: Company Wants To Produce Marijuana's Cannabinoids In Tobacco Plants

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Wait, what? In another development on the fast-breaking front regarding the corporate takeover of cannabis, a New York-based company wants to produce cannabinoids in plants other than marijuana, particularly in tobacco.

22nd Century Group, Inc., a plant biotechnology company that calls itself "a leader in tobacco harm reduction and cannabis research," on Thursday announced that it is launching a major new initiative to produce medically important cannabinoids in plants other than cannabis – including tobacco plants.

In support of this initiative, the company also announced that has opened its own fully outfitted molecular biology laboratories in the Cleveland BioLabs building on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. 22nd Century said its new laboratories will host cutting-edge research in industrial hemp/cannabis and tobacco biotechnology.

Paul J. Rushton, Ph.D., the Company’s recently appointed Cambridge and Max Planck Institute-educated Vice President of Plant Biotechnology, will manage the Company’s research efforts at the new laboratories.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Alliance Applauds 2016 Legislative Session

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As the 2016 legislative session comes to a close in Colrado, The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) on Thursday applauded legislators for what it called "the hard work and the goals achieved during the 2016 session."

“The 2016 legislative session has been eventful for the cannabis industry,” said Mark Slaugh, CBA executive director and iComply CEO. “Many of the bills that were up for discussion this session will have a major impact on our industry, and we are looking forward to seeing how some of these bills and laws change the landscape of the cannabis industry in Colorado for the better.”

“Consumer and public safety are CBA’s top priorities, which is why we are working to bring best practices to the industry to ensure consumers are educated about how and when to consume cannabis,” Slaugh noted. “CBA’s goal is to provide our members and the industry with insight to the bills being proposed, as well as sensible legislation for the industry. The industry has embraced many of the bills up for discussion this session and will work with the state to promote industry best-practices.”

The Retail Marijuana Sunset Bill (HB 1261)

"The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) applauds the Assembly for its prudent review of the Sunset Bill."

Purchasing Regulations

Oregon: Wednesday, May 11 Is Last Day Voters Can Mail Their Ballots

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Today, Wednesday, May 11 is the last day Oregon voters can mail their ballots and expect them to be received by Election Day. After today, voters will need to drop their ballots off at a drop box location.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91, the ballot initiative responsible for legalizing recreational marijuana in Oregon, is encouraging voters to take part in the democratic process, and he's made three specific endorsements.

"We have made great progress in Oregon and we can make even more by electing candidates that understand the need to implement sensible cannabis regulations," Johnson said on Wednesday. "We have made a couple of voting recommendations, but the most important thing is that you vote.

"Cannabis law reform, and candidates that support reasonable marijuana laws, do better when turnout is high, so let's continue to lead the nation, not just with our marijuana laws, but also with our voter participation," Johnson said.

California: Medical Cannabis Conference Set For May 21-22 In San Rafael

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United Patients Group, a medical cannabis information and education website, will host its second annual medical cannabis conference, "Medical Cannabis: The Science. The Truth.," May 21–22 at Dominican University in San Rafael, California.

With the medical cannabis industry rapidly evolving, newly minted "experts" abound. The conference, striving to provide a "university like experience," will be void of exhibitor booths, "weed challenges" and other gimmicks that seem to plague the burgeoning industry, and instead provide attendees the opportunity to listen and learn from the best minds in the medical cannabis industry.

"As our industry matures, we strive to stay true to our mission of providing credible, unbiased information in an area of health and medicine that is still fraught with obstacles and half-truths," said founder John Malanca. "The singular goal of our conference is to further the potential for medical cannabis by providing healthcare providers, mental health professionals, nurses and the general public with information that is void of the hype."

UPG's conference is carefully curated and highly focused, and many of the weekend conference speaker sessions are approved for continuing medical education (CME) credits for healthcare professionals.

U.S.: Former Lineman Eben Britton Discusses Marijuana Use In The NFL

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Former NFL lineman and current writer Eben Britton this week discussed marijuana use in the National Football League.

Cannabis media platform MERRY JANE sat down with Britton on "Deflowered," a MERRY JANE original series that unveils an intimate look at the lives of artists and society's influential figures that have been touched by cannabis and its culture.

Each episode poses a unique look into a monumental "first time" for guests -- a vital moment to their careers, inspirations and outlook. "Deflowered" brings new light to the vast array of people within cannabis culture.

To watch the new episode of "Deflowered" featuring Eben Britton, visit: https://www.merryjane.com/culture/deflowered-with-eben-britton

MERRY JANE was recently launched by entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg, and media entrepreneur, Ted Chung. The website, including partners Seth Rogen, Guy Oseary and Miley Cyrus, is a media platform at the crossroads of pop culture, business, politics, health, and the new generation of normalized, sophisticated cannabis culture for all.

Photo of Eben Britton: Leafly

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