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U.S.: National Cannabis Industry Association, BDS Partner To Serve NCIA Members Industry Data

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NCIA members to receive free access to BDS Analytics' GreenEdge™ cannabis sales dataset

Members of the National Cannabis Industry Association will be getting a new benefit, thanks to a partnership with cannabis market intelligence firm BDS Analytics. Beginning next month, NCIA member-businesses will receive free interactive access to market and category-level sales data compiled and contextualized by BDS, an industry source of market data and business insight.

All NCIA members will have access to data and market intelligence reports through an interactive set of dashboards, spreadsheets, and detailed reporting powered by the GreenEdge™ sales tracking software developed by BDS. Reports will cover crucial insights such as market size and growth, dollar and unit volume, retail price trends, and shifts in category mix.

Sponsoring and Sustaining NCIA members will gain access to even deeper levels of insight and reporting, including monthly executive reports, additional dashboards and reports, and personalized access to BDS Analysts.

According to NCIA, members will be able to make informed strategic decisions and answer critical business questions like:

• What proportion of industry sales come from flower vs. extractions vs. infused products?
• How big is the infused product market, and how fast is it growing?

Colorado: Cannabis Business Accelerator Launches In Denver

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Longtime entrepreneur Patrick O’Malley on Wednesday announced Good Life Colorado, a cannabis industry program that provides entrepreneurs space to develop products in a licensed MIP (Marijuana Infused Products) facility in Denver to develop a wide range of THC products.

“With licensing and space becoming prohibitively expensive along the Front Range, we decided to create a place for cannabis entrepreneurs who have fantastic ideas and solid budgets, but lack the resources for a MIP license and warehouse rent or purchase,” said O’Malley, adding that a basic MIP-oriented business today needs at least $750,000 to even begin experimenting with product development. “Good Life Colorado offers entrepreneurs a cost-effective way to turn their ideas into commercial triumphs.”

One company, Chooze Corp., has already taken part in Good Life Colorado, leveraging the facility to develop its mood-enhancing product LucidMood. Since launching, the pioneering LucidMood has become an industry leader in the field of cannabis mood-crafting, an area of exploration that experts predict will introduce cannabis to a far broader range of consumers.

California: Congresswoman Lee Applauds Federal Decision To End Case Against Harborside

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee on Tuesday praised the U.S. Attorney’s decision to drop its case against Harborside Health Center dispensary.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Attorney is a victory for healthcare access," Congresswoman Lee said. "For decades, Harborside has helped ensure members of our community can access their medicine. It’s past time for the federal government to stop standing between these patients and their medicine.

"I am proud to have played a part in today’s victory by actively encouraging the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to end this unnecessary asset forfeiture case that would restrict my constituents’ access to their prescribed medicines," Rep. Lee said. "While today’s action is a victory for Harborside, other dispensaries, including one in my district, face harassment from the federal government for their state-legal businesses.

"As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to use my position to rein in this federal government overreach," Rep. Lee said. "I will keep working to open banking services to the industry and expand access to medical cannabis for veterans.

D.C.: Leaders On Capitol Hill For National Cannabis Industry Association's Lobby Days

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Cannabis industry leaders from across the country next week will travel to Washington, D.C., for the National Cannabis Industry Association's sixth annual Lobby Days. More than 100 cannabis business professionals will take part in policy discussions and citizen lobby meetings to advocate for fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.

On Thursday, May 12, NCIA leaders, business owners, and members of Congress will hold an 11:30am press conference at the House Triangle to kick off two days of meetings across the Hill between cannabis industry leaders and congressional staffs.

Top priorities for these business owners are a solution to the banking crisis, which prevents many legitimate cannabis businesses from accessing basic financial services, and reform to Section 280E of the federal tax code, which forces cannabis business to pay double or triple the effective federal tax rates of any other industry.

NCIA members will also advocate for the de-scheduling of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would give states the authority to make their own decisions about how to handle cannabis legality, much as they currently do with alcohol.

California: Militarized Cops Seize Assets of Legal Medical Marijuana Company

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Police High Five Each Other as Cannabis Industry Leader’s Assets Frozen, $324,000 in Cash Taken, Family Bank Accounts Frozen

Med-West CEO Speaks Out for First Time Since Raid

“It was like a scene from a bad movie.”

That’s what James Slatic, the CEO of Med-West Distribution, LLC and a leader in the national effort to legalize medical cannabis products, remembers thinking when he first viewed the footage from his security cameras.

For the first time, Slatic is speaking out about the raid mounted by local law enforcement against his company, a legal medical cannabis company, on January 28, at 7:30 a.m.

His comments, contained in a video on the Indiegogo account he is using to raise money for his legal defense, raise serious issues about the role of local law enforcement in California, a state where a new law just went into effect regulating the medical cannabis industry and where a statewide ballot initiative will be held this November to legalize the adult use of recreational cannabis.

In the video, Slatic offers disturbing details from the raid: “Our two employees were put on the floor with guns to their heads. All of our assets were frozen, all of our bank accounts, all of my wife’s accounts, all of our daughters’ accounts have been frozen.”

U.S.: New Slate of Cannabis Lifestyle Programming Announced

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Studio Releases Three New Original Web Series Including “Get LOUD” Starring Adult Swim’s Black Jesus Star Gerald “Slink” Johnson

PRØHBTD, the cannabis-lifestyle destination and branded content studio, on Tuesday announced their 2016 slate of programming with three new shows and five more in development.

"Get LOUD!" is the first show starring Gerald “Slink” Johnson (Black Jesus/Adult Swim), and all shows are distributed online through the PRØHBTD website and on roku, appleTV, amazon fire and FilmOn, with additional OTT distribution coming soon.

The PRØHBTD destination site features original programming, storytelling and hand-selected products for modern cannabis enthusiasts. “We have a young progressive audience who embrace the trends across every aspect of modern cannabis culture from fashion to music,” said co-founder Drake Sutton-Shearer. “They have been asking us for specific types of programming so we’re responding to their requests by delivering content not previously seen anywhere else.”

PRØHBTD’s shows currently scheduled for release, include:

“Get LOUD!” is an entertainment-travel show starring Gerald “Slink” Johnson of Adult Swim/Black Jesus fame. Hang out with Slink as he travels around the world in the search of the loudest people, place, things and activities—not to mention the cannabis.

Florida: Marijuana Business Conference Coming To East Coast May 9-11

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The publishers of Marijuana Business Daily will host their annual Spring Marijuana Business Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida, May 9-11.

"This is going to be an epic year for the cannabis industry after a nearly two-year lull in state initiatives being passed," said George Jage, president of Marijuana Business Daily. "Starting with Pennsylvania becoming the 24th state to allow medical cannabis, there is also a surge of state ballot initiatives in place that will open more medical and recreational markets come November.

"Most notably, we are going to see a big change in the center of gravity of the industry from being West Coast focused to nationally focused with major markets in the Midwest, New England and Mid-Atlantic regions opening for business," Jage said.

The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo will host more than 200 exhibitors and 60 speakers. Attendance is expected to exceed 3,000 entrepreneurs, executives, and major private investors from all 50 states, Canada and Europe, according to organizers.

All seven key industry sectors will be fully represented, according to the sponsors: dispensaries and recreational retailers, wholesale growers, professional and financial services, infused product makers, private equity investors, ancillary products and tech, and testing labs.

Alabama: Four Auburn Football Players Arrested For Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Four Auburn University football players were arrested Saturday night on misdemeanor marijuana charges, according to police records.

Sophomores Carlton Davis III, Byron Cowart, Jeremiah Dinson and Ryan Davis face second-degree misdemeanor marijuana possession charges after being arrested by Auburn police about 11 p.m. Saturday night, reports Mark Schlabach at ESPN.

"I'm aware of the situation and we will handle the matter appropriately," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said in a concise statement.

Second degree marijuana possession is a Class A misdemeanor in Alabama, carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine, reports Wesley Sinor at Al.com.

Carlton Dabvis, a 6'1", 190-pound cornerback from Miami, Florida, is an expected starter in Auburn's secondary for the coming season. He was a freshman All-American after totaling 56 tackles and three interceptions last year.

Cowart, of Seffner, Florida, was ranked the top prospect in the 2015 ESPN 300. He struggled as a freshman last season, finishing with six tackles and playing as a reserve defensive lineman.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Panel Suggests 12 Health Conditions; Criticizes Governor

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Doctors, nurses and patients on a state panel that recommends whether to expand Illinois' medical marijuana test program on Monday suggested 12 additional health conditions for inclusion, and complained that their suggestions are routinely ignored by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

A doctor who leads the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board said she isn't optimistic about the chances of expanding the program based on previous decisions by the Rauner Administration, reports Celeste Bott at the Chicago Tribune.

Board Chair Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple said the advisory board is moving forward anyway. The board met on Monday in Springfield, and suggested that 10 previously recommended ailments receive approval, as well as two new ones, Type 1 diabetes and panic disorder.

Currently, 39 conditions and diseases can qualify patients to use medicinal cannabis in Illinois. The state's medical marijuana law allows people to suggest new diseses for the program twice a year.

Some at the hearing celebrated the diabetes recommendation, but board member and pediatrician Dr. Nestor Ramirez cautioned them to "wait for what the governor says."

Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Backers Launch Mother's Day Billboards

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Backers of an initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona launched a pair of Mother’s Day-themed billboards in Phoenix and Tucson on Monday. An image of the billboard is attached, and a high-resolution version is available at http://bit.ly/1N3OkrX.

The ads, which are targeted at younger voters, feature a young woman sitting with her mother and ask: “Have you talked to your parents about marijuana?” The goal of the ads is to flip the script on marijuana education and encourage younger voters to start conversations about marijuana with their family members — especially older generations who have been led to believe marijuana is more harmful than it actually is.

The billboards direct viewers to a website — http://TalkItUpArizona.org — that allows them to send a message about marijuana to their parents or other relatives. The billboards will run through Sunday, which is Mother’s Day.

“For decades, the federal government distributed anti-marijuana propaganda to parents and encouraged them to share it with their children,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “It’s time for younger folks to start sharing the facts about marijuana with their parents and other older relatives.

Spain: Basque Parliament Urges Progress On Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Basque Parliament has asked the Spanish Government, the Parliament and the Justice Administration for "solid progress" on marijuana legalization and regulation, criticizing the "setback" that led to Supreme Court judgments against Basque cannabis clubs.

The House defended a "regulated solution" to allow the operation of cannabis clubs, passed as the Basque Addictions Act on April 7. The text adopted on Monday invites cannabis clubs and associations existing in the Basque Country to go ahead and "establish self-regulatory mechanisms, good practices" and work with the Administration, even though no specific regulations yet exist.

Acting Health Minister Alfonso Alonso last June said the central government is studying an appeal against the Law on Addictions with the possibility that legalizing and regulating the cannabis clubs exceeded the authority of the Basque Country.

It was pointed out that these cannabis clubs have already been operating for some time in Basque Country, and, in general, are pretty good at regulating themselves in an "orderly and responsible" fashion.

California: Napa Jury Finds Vallejo Marijuana Dispensary Owner Not Guilty

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Napa County Superior Court jury on Tuesday acquitted the owner of a Vallejo medical marijuana dispensary of several cannabis-related charges.

Hakeem Mwata Brown, CEO of Life Enhancement Services, was charged with possessing marijuana for sale and cultivation of marijuana in Napa County, reports Maria Sestito at the Napa Valley Register. He was arrested in 2013, months after he was allegedly found on the site of a large marijuana grow in rural Napa County, according to court documents.

The jury trial began on April 18 before Judge Elia Ortiz, and drew marijuana supporters who picketed outside Criminal Courthouse on Third Street.

Brown was growing legally and the case should never have gone to trial, according to his lawyer, Scot Candell. "It was a complete waste of taxpayer money to put everybody through this," he said.

The prosecution believed this was a matter that needed to be determined by a jury, claimed District Attorney Gary Lieberstein. "We respect the jury's decision and their time and effort in reaching it," he said.

Canada: WeedMD Gets LicenseTo Grow Medical Marijuana

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Medical cannabis to be produced at re-purposed Aylmer tobacco plant - with a focus on the Long Term Care Industry

WeedMD Rx Inc. on Thursday announced that Health Canada has officially licensed the company to cultivate medical cannabis for patients in Canada. The approval is in accordance with the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), a set of regulations enacted by parliament in July 2013 concerning the production, distribution and use of medical cannabis in Canada and also pursuant to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of Canada.

The license will allow the company to immediately begin cultivation of medical marihuana in its fully expandable 25,000 square foot facility located at the former Imperial Tobacco plant in Aylmer, Ontario.

“The next phase is to establish a WeedMD standard in producing and selling the highest quality cannabis and also providing unparalleled customer service to all of our future patients," said Bruce Dawson-Scully, CEO of WeedMD. “In particular, we look forward to working with seniors in long-term care, palliative care, and respite care.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Informational Seminars Set For Philly, Pittsburgh

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The cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in America. “If done well, Pennsylvania has the chance to become one of the best medical marijuana markets in the country,” according to Michael Patterson, CEO of US Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development.

New York has 20 medical marijuana dispensaries in operation. New Jersey has just five. Pennsylvania has just recently passed a law to permit 175 licensed businesses.

US Cannabis will be hosting four, one-day informational seminars in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offering information on all areas of medical marijuana business (licensure, legal, accounting/taxes, staffing, plant production, profitability, liability, etc). “Attendees can learn from our personal experience and research to decide if they would like to become involved with the medical marijuana industry,” Patterson said. They will get the facts to begin on the road to success.”

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana System: What you need to know

• Saturday June 4 Philadelphia Marriott Downtown
1201 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

• Sunday June 5 Philadelphia Marriott West
111 Crawford Avenue West Conshohocken, PA 19428

• Saturday June 11 Pittsburgh Marriott City Center
112 Washington Place Pittsburgh, PA 15219

• Sunday June 12 Pittsburgh Marriott North

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Qualifies For November Ballot; Poll Shows Solid Support

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Maine state officials on Wednesday announced that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine has officially qualified for the November ballot.

After a court-ordered review of petitions it had previously invalidated, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office determined the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than the 61,123 signatures that were needed to qualify.

Last month, the secretary of state informed the campaign that the initiative had been disqualified because only 51,543 valid signatures had been submitted. The campaign filed a lawsuit challenging the decision, and a Kennebec County Superior Court judge ruled in their favor earlier this month after learning state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question.

The petition was then remanded to the Secretary of State’s Office to review all of the disputed petitions and determine whether enough valid signatures were collected.

U.S.: New Study Shows Natural Marijuana Superior To Synthetic Cannabinoids

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study called “Comparison of Outcome Expectancies for Synthetic Cannabinoids and Botanical Marijuana,” in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, shows that negative effects are significantly lower for natural, botanical cannabis than for synthetic cannabinoids.

In the study, 186 adults who had previously used both the synthetic and natural forms of marijuana, as well as 181 who had previously used only natural (botanical) marijuana, were surveyed about their expected outcomes of using either type of cannabinoid. The results showed that the expected negative effects were significantly higher for synthetic marijuana than for natural marijuana across both categories of use history.

Despite the more commonly expected negative effects of synthetic cannabinoids, the most cited reasons for using these compounds were wider availability, avoiding a positive drug test for cannabis, curiosity, perceived legality, and cost. For instance, synthetic cannabinoids are popular among members of the armed services, and in other occupations where a positive test for marijuana might get you fired, but synthetic cannabinoids would remain undetected.

Oregon: Pro-Cannabis Group Endorses Ted Wheeler For Portland Mayor

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Approach Oregon, the pro-marijuana group which was behind the successful Measure 91 legalization campaign, on Tuesday endorsed candidate Ted Wheeler for mayor of Portland.

"I want to strongly urge you to consider casting your vote for Ted Wheeler, an ally of the marijuana law reform movement and someone who understands the importance of the cannabis industry and implementing the will of the voters," reads a letter from New Approach Oregon's Chief Petitioner, Anthony Johnson.

"When the Oregon Financial Estimate Committee met to determine the amount of revenue Measure 91 would generate for the state, our campaign became very concerned when the state's Legislative Revenue Office projected that legalizing marijuana would only bring in about $17 million in new revenue to the state," Johnson's letter reads. "One elected official on the committee cooly and calmly considered all of the evidence and wisely advocated that the state project a range of revenue. That official was Ted Wheeler, at the time serving on the committee as our state's treasurer.

"Ted advocated for a range of $17 million to $40 million," Johnson said. "And as we just saw the state collect about $7 million in the first two months of taxes, the upper end of the range is looking like a pretty good call.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

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Longtime GOP congressman U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) on Tuesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

He is the second California Congressman to endorse the measure in as many weeks. U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) announced his support last Monday.

"Rohrabacher is a 13-term Congressman who is a powerful voice for libertarian values," the AUMA campaign announced in a prepared statement. He is the co-author of the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Farr amendment which has been passed as part of the Federal Budget and prevents the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state.

“As a Republican who believes in individual freedom, limited government and states' rights, I believe that it's time for California to lead the nation and create a safe, legal system for the responsible adult use of marijuana,” said Rohrabacher.

“I endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act for the November 2016 ballot,” the Congressman continued. “It is a necessary reform which will end the failed system of marijuana prohibition in our state, provide California law enforcement the resources it needs to redouble its focus on serious crimes while providing a policy blueprint for other states to follow.”

Michigan: Woman Who Ran 2 Marijuana Dispensaries Sentenced To Jail

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A woman arrested two separate times for running medical marijuana dispensaries in Kent County, Michigan, was sentenced to jail on Monday by a judge who lectured her, telling her "ignorance of the law is no excuse."

Eileen Dee Shaw, 52, said she did everything possible to operate within Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act while running the dispensaries, which were located in Cascade and Plainfield townships, reports John Hogan at WZZM.

“I made every effort to try to understand the law and comply with it," Shaw said. "I truly just wanted to help people,’’ she told Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Quist on Monday. “It was with every good intent that I approached this. I truly just wanted to help medical marijuana patients.’’

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse; you’ve probably heard that old adage and it’s true,’’ Judge Quist said.

The Michigan Supreme Court in February 2013 ruled that dispensaries are not protected under Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act, although enforcement varies county to county. Kent County law enforcement in the last two years have conducted more than a dozen raids, including February and May 2014 raids at Eco Options dispensaries operated by Shaw.

U.S.: Study Shows Opioid Overdoses Fell With Medical Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Using state-level death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, a group of researchers discovered that the annual rate of opioid overdose deaths decreased substantially -- an average of 25 percent -- following the passage of medical marijuana laws, compared to states still under cannabis prohibition.

The increase of opioid prescriptions in the United States has had devastating public health consequences, including addiction, organ damage, and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently urged physicians to be "very cautious" in prescribing these drugs, reports Colleen Barry in an op-ed at The New York Times.

Marijuana, as pointed out in the comments to Barry's article, "is infinitely safer than any prescription opioid, and it certainly should be available as an option ... if it can save one life from an overdose it is worth it, never mind a massive 25% reduction."

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