restore's blog

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

US House of Representatives

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

U.S.: DOJ Task Force Recommends Against Sessions Targeting Legal Marijuana Providers

doj.jpg

Recommendations would preserve current policy of not interfering with medical and adult-use businesses that comply with state law and federal guidelines

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A Dept. of Justice task force subcommittee on marijuana policy is not recommending any policy changes that would target state-legal marijuana programs or businesses operating in compliance with state laws, according to a report by the Associated Press. The task force asked for continued study and dialogue on the issue.

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

Smith - Metcalf

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

Utah: Congresswoman Love Expresses Support for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Rep. Mia Love

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

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

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

Cards Against Humanity

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

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

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

New York Cannabis - Times Union

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

Texas: Bill Introduced to Decriminalize Cannabis

Texas Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

U.S.: Senator Booker Introduces ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ to Legalize Cannabis

US Capitol

For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for cannabis-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Today, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that if passed will legalize cannabis at the federal level and go even further in an effort to remedy many of the failures of the War on Drugs.

Utah: Prominent Businessman Supports Medical Cannabis Initiative

Utah Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

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

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

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

U.S.: Attorney General Sessions Seeking to Revive D.A.R.E. Program

Jeff Sessions D.A.R.E.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is advocating to reinstate the D.A.R.E. program, an ineffective anti-drug curriculum launched in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department during the Reagan administration.

"Marijuana laws in America are broken," said Sen. Cory Booker, reintroducing a bill that would let some state cannabis laws supersede federal prohibition.

"D.A.R.E. is, I think, as I indicated, the best remembered anti-drug program today," AG Sessions said while speaking at the Drug Abuse Resistance Education International Training Conference in Texas earlier this month. "In recent years, people have not paid much attention to that message, but they are ready to hear it again."

U.S.: Congressman Rohrabacher Applauds Senate Panel for Adopting Cannabis Amendment

Capitol Hill Cannabis

The amendment passed despite a letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent in May asking House and Senate leadership not to block DOJ from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Senate Committee on Appropriations on Thursday adopted an amendment, commonly known as “Rohrabacher-Farr,” that prohibits the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute those in compliance with their state’s medical cannabis laws.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-CA, who co-sponsored the amendment when it first passed in 2014, retired from Congress last year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, stepped in as the lead House Democrat pushing the provision.

U.S.: Willie Nelson On Divisive Politics, Jeff Sessions, Willie's Reserve, and Living a Good Life

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In interview this month with The Washington Post, Willie Nelson urges Americans to bridge what he calls a great divide in politics. The 84-year-old also asks Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open his mind on outdated drug policy.

Nelson, a cannabis advocate and connoisseur, strongly disagrees with Attorney General Sessions' statement that marijuana dependency is “only slightly less awful” than heroin dependency.

Colorado: Thousands of Colorado Springs Jobs Could Be Created, Report Suggests

Colorado Springs

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

If Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in Colorado, allowed recreational cannabis sales, its share of the state’s cannabis market would rise to to 14%, according to an economic impact report by a University of Denver professor.

The study, authored by Jack Strauss, the Miller Chair of Applied Economics at the university’s Daniels College of Business – assumes that all medical cannabis companies in Colorado Springs would transition to the recreational industry.

The study found that allowing recreational sales could create 1,320-1,762 jobs for the city and bring in $25.4 million in revenue from taxes and business fees.

U.S.: Take Action Against Prohibitionist Attorney General Sessions

Jeff Sessions Reefer Madness

By August, states that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis should have a better idea how the Justice Department and Trump Administration plan to act

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the ever outspoken critic of cannabis, issued a recent directive stating he wants to increase asset forfeiture, which would allow the government to seize money and property from people suspected of a crime even before conviction. If the businesses have the means to sue to get their assets back, the case would be time consuming, stressful and expensive and virtually impossible for the entity to survive financially.

Massachusetts: Governor Signs Recreational Cannabis Bill

Mass Cann Law 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an overhaul of the state's voter-passed recreational cannabis law. The governor's signature, which comes 11 days after a legislative conference committee reached agreement on a compromise bill that changed several aspects of the original voter approved measure, is an issue the governor opposes.

U.S.: Senators Introduce Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act to Protect Farmers

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced bipartisan legislation which would allow farmers to use water they own through private water rights to grow hemp, if the crop is grown legally.

In 2014, in a pilot program created by the 2014 Farm Bill, permission was granted to state Departments of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp. However, the Bureau of Reclamation prohibits the use of federally-controlled water for growing hemp, as the plant is listed in the outdated Controlled Substances Act. The conflicting policies are creating confusion for farmers who grow industrial hemp with water from federal reservoirs.

U.S.: Congressmen Introduce Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017

U.S. Capitol - Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017

Bill would legalize production of industrial and research hemp in the U.S.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recent Congressional action, which would move the U.S. closer to legalizing industrial hemp, was introduced by Congressman James Comer (KY-01) today in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, which would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and legalize its production in all 50 states, has four initial co-sponsors.

"I'm glad to file the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 after getting a bipartisan consensus of Congressmen on board,” said Congressman Comer. “This will be my priority legislation."

Tennessee: Hemp Research at Middle Tennessee State University Shows Promise

Middle Tennessee State University

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, graduate students are cultivating cannabis in greenhouses to research potential medicinal uses for the plant.

Shannon Smith, a graduate student at the university, said, "We're not interested in the full plant itself, we're just interested in the compounds the plant can produce."

The university, which has been licensed by the state, also received the approval of the Board of Regents and the Governor.

Minnesota: Industrial Hemp Flourishing in the Midwest Again

Minnesota Hemp, Zabel

Before the federal government banned hemp production in 1957, industrial hemp was a booming cash crop in Minnesota and the plant still grows wild across the state

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture created an industrial hemp research pilot program to study different aspects of industrial hemp production. This is the first year that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has allowed certified seed production and growing seeds from pure seed stock.

Mike Zabel, a 500-acre seed farmer in Grand Meadow, who planted about 200 acres of hemp, grows seed for Ken Anderson, the founder of Original Green Distribution.

Pennsylvania: Dept of Health Launches Practitioner Registry for Medical Cannabis Program

Pennsylvania Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine announced this week that physicians can now take the first steps to participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program by completing the Practitioner Registry.

“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” Dr. Levine said. “Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program.”

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