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Georgia: Battle Over 'No Buzz' Medical Marijuana Law Turns To Civil Disobedience

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A civil disobedience campaign is now underway in Georgia to try to force legislators to expand the state's weak CBD only medical marijuana law, which left a lot of suffering children without legal access to the medicine they need.

A Georgia mpom is helping lead that fight to expand the state's extremely limited medical marijuana law, which she said unfairly excludes many patients with severe medical conditions, including her five-year-old autistic daughter, who could benefit from the medicinal properties of cannabis.

"There are some pretty tenacious parents who are fighting," said Jennifer Conforti, whose daughter, Abby, isn't covered by the current "CBD-only" law, written by lawmakers who understand neither the medicinal properties of cannabinoids, nor, according to Sue Rusche, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based drug prevention organization National Families in Action,m the process of drug approval.

D.C.: DCMJ Says White House Meeting Was Good First Step

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Legalization Group Seeks Higher Level Sit Down

DCMJ, the cannabis legalization group that successfully worked to pass the Initiative 71 ballot measure legalizing marijuana in the District of Columbia, called their meeting with the White House “a move in the right direction” toward removing marijuana from Schedule One of the Controlled Substance Act.

“This is a good first step, but we hope to continue the dialogue with the White House,” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ. “We thanked the White House for extending the invitation, but it is clear that our work is far from finished.

"This is only the start," Eidinger said. "What we are requesting is a higher level meeting with senior administration officials, ultimately moving toward a cannabis policy reform summit with President Obama and key stakeholders such as patients, patient advocates, business owners, grassroots advocates, the disabled community, scientists, the medical community, veterans and others.”

D.C.: Marijuana Advocates Light Up In Public At Capitol's First Cannabis Fest

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

About 5,000 people attended the inaugural National Cannabis Festival on Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium fairgrounds on Saturday, with the goals of bringing together the District's newly legal marijuana industry and advocating for broader legalization.

"We're going to keep pushing until we get the laws that we want," said NCF organizer Caroline Phillips, reports Joshua Swain at Reason.com.

Revelers bought pipes and bongs, learned best indoor cultivation practices, and picnicked while enjoying an open-air concert at the festival.

NCF had officially banned marijuana use at the event, and public consumption of cannabis is illegal on federal land. But some attendees lit up anyway, and park security looked the other way.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Efforts Differ In Who Can Grow, Who Can Use

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Ohio looks likely approve medical marijuana, and would become the 25th state to do so if either a new state law clears the Legislature, or a constitutional amendment is approved by voters this November.

State lawmakers and two citizen advocacy groups are working simultaneously to bring medicinal cannabis to Ohioans who have qualifying medical conditions, reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch.

Here are some key differences among House Bill 523 (which is the proposed legislation), the Marijuana Policy Project amendment, and the Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp amendment, according to the Dispatch.

Impact: HB 523, the legislation, would change only Ohio law. Both ballot proposals would amend the Ohio Constitution.

Marijuana in smokeable form: HB 523 does not specifically allow it but doesn’t rule it out. Both ballot issues would allow it.

Home-grown pot: The legislation would not allow growing marijuana at home; both ballot issues would allow it in limited quantities.

Growers: The Marijuana Policy Project amendment would allow 15 large growers and unlimited small growers. Neither the legislation nor the cannabis and hemp amendment specify grower numbers.

Colorado: Life Flower Medical Marijuana Recalled Due To Pesticides

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado marijuana regulators on Friday announced a big recall of medicinal cannabis grown with unapproved pesticides. The marijuana in question was sold by a dispensary with storefronts in Boulder and Glendale.

The recall is one of a series in which Guardian, a pesticide that had been sold as "all natural," was found to contain concentrations of a substance banned for use on cannabis, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at .

Colorado in January had removed Guardian from its list of approved pesticides for use on marijuana.

More than 92 lots of cannabis, with each lot containing up to dozens of plants, produced by Life Flower Dispensary at its grow on Arapahoe Road in Boulder and sold at its storefront on Leetsdale Drive in Glendale are subject to the latest recall, according to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.

"We were using Guardian in late September and early October, and there are a couple of those plants still in flower," said Neal Bigelow, general manager at Life Flower. "That's exactly what we're going through."

Colorado regulators found the presence of abermectin, which isn't allowed for growing cannabis.

Wisconsin: Bernie Sanders Says Marijuana Should Not Be A Federal Crime

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Campaigning for President in liberal Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) defended marijuana, saying it should not be a federal crime.

Sanders criticized the American War On Drugs, saying that millions of lives have been "ruined" because they got a police record, and sometimes prison sentences, for possessing marijuana, reports Tom Kertscher at Politifact.

"Today, under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed in the same Schedule I as heroin," Sanders said. "That is nuts."

"Now people can argue -- although I suspect in this audience, there may not be much of an argument -- about the pluses and minuses of marijuana," Sanders said, drawing cheers from the crowd of thousands at the Alliant Energy Center. "But everybody knows marijuana is not a killer drug like heroin."

Sanders then pointed out he's introduced legislation which would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act -- as in DEscheduling cannabis, not REscheduling it. (Merely moving marijuana to Schedule II would effectively hand over its control to Big Pharma.)

Global Commission on Drug Policy 'Profoundly Disappointed' With UN

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The Global Commission on Drug Policy on Thursday announced it is "profoundly disappointed" with the adopted outcome document agreed at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on "the world drug problem." According to Commissioners, the document does not acknowledge the comprehensive failure of the current drug control regime to reduce drug supply and demand.

"Nor does the outcome document account for the damaging effects of outdated policies on violence and corruption as well as on population health, human rights and wellbeing," the statement from the Commission reads. "By reaffirming that the three international conventions are the 'cornerstone of global drug policy,' the document sustains an unacceptable and outdated legal status quo."

"UNGASS has not seriously addressed the critical flaws of international drug policy," the statement reads. "It does not call for an end to the criminalization and incarceration of drug users. It does not urge states to abolish capital punishment for drug-related offences. It does not call on the World Health Organization (WHO) to revisit the scheduling system of drugs. It does not advocate for harm reduction and treatment strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness. Finally it does not offer proposals to regulate drugs and put governments – rather than criminals – in control.

Nevada: Medical Marijuana Dispensary To Hold Orientation For Parkinson's Patients

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The+Source, a medical marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas, Nevada, will offer an informational orientation and seminar about the use of medical marijuana for patients battling Parkinson’s disease at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Led by the dispensary’s director of Medical Education, Dr. William Trout, the orientation will provide patients with information about the use of medical marijuana for treating the effects of Parkinson’s disease, along with other qualifying conditions including epilepsy, glaucoma and seizures, among others.

In an effort to educate the Las Vegas Valley about the uses of medical cannabis, The+Source invites everyone, including new medical marijuana cardholders and non-cardholders, to learn more about the medical aspects of marijuana and ask questions in a safe, welcoming environment.

In addition, local organization Friends of Parkinson’s will also have an informational table at the event, and will be available to discuss the disease in more detail.

More information about the upcoming orientation can be found online at www.thesourcenv.com. The+Source is located at 2550 S. Rainbow Blvd., Las Vegas.

Graphic: Medical Jane

Global: Blumenauer Says UN Drug Policy Should Be More Just and Compassionate

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U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) this week joined leaders from around the world in New York at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. Rep. Blumenauer attended the opening day’s events as a Congressional observer.

“There is no better time than now for world leaders to gather to reevaluate international drug policy," Blumenauer said. "The War on Drugs has failed. Instead of escalating the horrific violence of this war, we need a more just and compassionate approach that focuses on public health and harm reduction, rather than punishing drug users.

“I was encouraged to hear a number of countries leading the charge for a different approach, in particular from those countries that have changed or are considering changing their policies surrounding the treatment of marijuana," Blumenauer said. "It was also very promising to hear Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, representing a nation that has experienced horrific violence as a result of the War on Drugs, announce his support for legalizing medical marijuana in Mexico and a call to change a paradigm of prohibitionism that has not yielded results.

U.S.: Senate Committee Prevents DEA From Undermining Medical Marijuana Laws

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Vote Comes Just a Week After Committee Voted to Allow Veterans Administration Doctors to Recommend Marijuana to Veterans

Nationwide Bipartisan Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Grows Stronger

In yet another huge victory for marijuana reform, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted by 21 to 8 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Maryland) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Marijuana reforms are repeatedly winning votes in Congress,” said Bill Piper, senior director of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Letting states set their own marijuana policies is now a mainstream, bipartisan issue.”

After decades of inactivity on marijuana reform, Congress has moved at lightning pace to advance marijuana reform in recent years.

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend marijuana. The Committee approved similar amendments last year as well as an amendment to allow state-legalized marijuana businesses to access banks and other financial services.

The Mikulski Amendment is expected to pass the full Senate as well as the House. Similar amendments were passed by Congress last year and the year before.

Washington: LCB Says Patients Can Grow 4 Plants Each, Up To 15 Per Household

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Multiple authorized medical cannabis patients living in the same residence in Washington state can grow up to four plants each, up to a total of 15 plants, without being on the patient registry, according to information received from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on Thursday.

In answers to a Washington state medical marijuana patient advocate, Brian E. Smith of the WSLCB clarified the home growing rules for patients in the state. Only medicinal patients with a physician's authorization are allowed to cultivate cannabis in Washington without an I-502 cultivation license.

A qualifying patient not entered in the medical marijuana authorization database (Washington's euphemism for a patient registry) is allowed to grow up to four plants and possess up to six ounces of useable marijuana in his or her domicile, according to the LCB. This possession limit is per patient (RCW 69.51A.210) (3)).

Global: Medical Cannabis Institute Launches Online Curriculum For Nurses

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI) on Thursday announced today that it has been rebranded as TMCI Global (TMCI). The change, according to the company, reflects the Institute’s mission to become the hub for international cannabinoid professional education reaching healthcare professional around the world.

“Our newly designed and branded website continues to serve the global healthcare community, but now we have expanded our content, functionality and deepened our author contributor and affiliate programs so that TMCI Global can provide the best online medical cannabis learning experience for healthcare professionals,” said Vicky Mossman, VP Partner Development at Scitent, the parent company for TMCI Global.

As part of the new website unveiling, TMCI launched Medical Cannabis Curriculum for Nurses, the first comprehensive online medical cannabis curriculum for nurses. The program, at $369, has 8 hours' credit available for Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hours, according to TMCI.

Colorado: Cannabis Critics Announce New Grow Competition

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two cannabis critics for The Denver Post’s "The Cannabist" on Wednesday announced the launch of a new marijuana cultivation competition.

Jake Browne and Sohum J Shah, writers for The Cannabist, made the announcement with event partners and sponsors Dark Horse Genetics, Cultivate Colorado, and Pazoo, Inc., licensing partners to analytical laboratory, Steep Hill Colorado.

With local authorities in Adams County denying the annual High Times Cannabis Cup a permit in 2016, a unique opportunity to provide an alternative competition presented itself for the first time in years. Browne and Shah's revolutionary new grow competition is based on quantitative analysis as opposed to qualitative rating thanks to their strategic partner, Steep Hill Labs.

Unlike other competitions, the inaugural Grow-Off is limited to licensed Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities in Colorado and will be fully compliant with state laws and regulations.

New York: More Than 1,500 Visit Opening Day of the Museum of Drug Policy

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The Museum of Drug Policy in New York City opened up to long lines and more than 1,500 people attending events all day long on Tuesday, including a sold-out #NerdlandForever: Melissa Harris-Perry Live show.

Special guests included The Wire's Michael K. Williams, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Orange Is The New Black's Piper Kerman, Comedian Cristela Alonzo, 12 Years A Slave's Adepero Oduye and many members of the international community.

The Museum of Drug Policy, supported by The Open Society Foundations, is an immersive art experience and pop-up cultural hub with special live programming looking at the impact of current drug policies on populations around the world.

The Museum will be open on Park Avenue in New York City for three days this week, during the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem.

More than 70 works of international art will be on display, including special installations, and the Museum will feature daytime discussions and evening performances with a powerful lineup of speakers, panels, performances and keynote addresses that will take attendees on a journey exploring the real impact and human cost of drug policy in communities around the world.

Global: World Leaders Call For Decriminalization and Regulation of Drugs

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Former Presidents of Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland together with Sir Richard Branson, US Former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker and members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy call for reducing the harms caused by failed drug policy

On Thursday, April 21 – the last day of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs – several members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy will hold a press conference in New York. The Global Commission will evaluate the outcome of the UN meeting and call for concrete steps to ensure more effective drug policy reform in the years ahead.

The UNGASS is taking place in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such gathering of governments in 18 years.

"Globally, we’re wasting too much money and precious resources on criminalizing people and sending them to jail when we should be spending this money on helping people - through proper medical care and education,” said Global Commission Member Sir Richard Branson. “From the perspective of an investor, the war on drugs has failed to deliver any returns. If it were one of my businesses, I would have shut it down many many years ago."

Global: Iceland Tops The World In Marijuana Use; U.S. Comes In #2

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization has been a political issue in the United States for some time, and while it remains illegal in most states, others have softened their stance in recent years.

Colorado and Washington both passed initiatives by popular vote to decriminalize and legalize cannabis in 2012. In 2014, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., followed suit.

Many states including Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Ohio have flirted with legalization for a few election cycles, with buzz growing.

The United States isn't the only country where people use marijuana legally or illicitly. In fact, it isn’t even the country with the highest reported marijuana use.

To determine the countries with the highest marijuana use, HealthGrove used data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which covers reported use of cannabis for each country in the last year. Although HealthGrove included the most recent data available, the year collected varies by country.

"We've ranked the list from least to most reported usage, and provide legality information for each country," according to HealthGrove.

Iceland tops the list. The Top 5 is rounded out by the United States, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Canada.

Missouri: Brother, Sister Get 15 Years Each For Growing 20 Marijuana Plants

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A brother and sister who were caught with 12 marijuana plants and eight seedlings inside their home have been sentenced to a total of 37 years in prison.

Natlie DePriest and David DePriest each received 15 years, the harshest possible sentence which can be given for cannabis cultivation in Missouri, reports Daniel Miller at the Daily Mail. The maximum punishment for manslaughter in Missouri is also 15 years.

A maintenance man entered the DePriests' home in the city of Farmington, Missouri, in 2001, in order to "fit a fire extinguisher" while they were out, and photographed what he thought was a "pipe bomb" on the counter.

He informed the police, showing them the pictures, and they conducted a search, considering the photos probable cause. They found the marijuana plants inside a bedroom closet, along with three pounds of dried cannabis, a rifle which was a quarter-inch shorter then the legal limit, two legal pistols and two bulletproof vests.

They also found ledgers they claimed contain sales record totaling up to $8,000 a month. The "pipe bomb," basis of the entire search, turned out to be no such thing, and harmless.

Global: UN Orders Security To Confiscate Open Letter Calling For End To Drug War

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Letter Signed by Over 1,000 Leaders and Celebrities, Distributed by Performers Dressed in Prohibition Era Costumes, Seized from Attendees Entering the UN

Hillary Clinton Latest to Sign Letter, Joining Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Richard Branson, More Than a Dozen Former Heads of State, and Hundreds of Other Legislators, Cabinet Ministers, Former UN Officials, and Celebrities

On the opening day of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) gathered more than 60 performers dressed in costumes from the era of U.S. alcohol prohibition to greet attendees at the entrance to the United Nations and hand them copies of the “Post-Prohibition Times,” a newspaper printout of a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging him to set the stage “for real reform of global drug control policy.”

UN Security was apparently ordered to confiscate the letter, and attendees were ordered to hand over their copies upon entering the building. According to a number of participants in the UN Special Session, they were told that the document was not allowed in the building.

Pennsylvania: Governor Says Medical Marijuana Doesn't Mean Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, but Governor Tom Wolf has rushed to say that doesn't mean full legalization, or even a pathway there.

"This is not a gateway to anything other than ... reinforcing what we've always done and that is allow doctors, encourage doctors, to do what they can do to make the lives of their patients more comfortable," Gov. Wolf told KDKA Morning News.

Implementing the newly legal medicinal cannabis programs is expected to take from 18 to 24 months, but Gov. Wolf said patients should get relief long before that.

"People should be able to start using these medicines quickly," Gov. Wolf said. "If someone were to go to another state and buy it legally and bring it back for medicinal purposes, I kind of doubt that most prosecutors would pursue a case."

States that have effective medical marijuana laws have a 24.8 percent lower opioid overdose death rate, according to a 2014 study done by researchers at the Philadelphia VA. While Gateway Medical Director Neil Capretto called that study "tentative," he said he hopes it's true.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By Congressman Ted Lieu

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Congressman and military veteran U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Monday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Lieu has won awards as a military prosecutor, an advisor to U.S. Air Force commanders and as a law student and private attorney. As a congressman, he serves on the House Budget and Oversight Committees.

Last year, Lieu introduced bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer dollars by blocking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program through civil asset forfeitures.

“I’ve reviewed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and believe it creates a legal, responsible and regulated framework for adult use of marijuana that is fiscally responsible, smartly builds on what California has already done with medical marijuana and provides necessary protections for children, workers, local governments, law enforcement agencies and the environment,” said Rep. Lieu.

“As a policy, marijuana prohibition has wasted taxpayer resources while failing to protect our communities,” Lieu said. “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act represents a vastly superior and long overdue new approach.”

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