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U.S.: PA Governor Vows to Protect Medical Marijuana Patients From AG Sessions

Gov Wolf Letter To Jeff Sessions

"If you [Attorney General Sessions] seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty." Governor Tom Wolf

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said the federal government should not get in the way of Pennsylvania delivering relief via medical marijuana to suffering children, families and veterans. The letter comes after reports that Attorney General Sessions had personally asked Congress to repeal an amendment that protected state-approved medical marijuana programs from disruption by the federal government.

Colorado: Cannabis Tax-Funded Program Awards Scholarships Totaling $420,000

Cannabis Tax-Funded Program

Each of the recipients will be getting $2,000 for the 2017-18 school year

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation (PHEF) and Pueblo County Commissioners have awarded scholarships totaling $420,000 for the 2017-18 school year. The program, believed to be the world’s first cannabis tax-funded scholarship program, will award approximately $2,000 of it to 210 students on June 20.

The scholarship, which was made possible through cannabis revenue, raised an additional $50,000 by utilizing grant-matching from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative.

United States: Prosecution of Cannabis Attorney May Impact Industry

Cannabis Law

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In May, California attorney Jessica McElfresh was charged with multiple felonies, including conspiracy to commit a crime, obstructing justice, and manufacturing a controlled substance, by the San Diego County district attorney.

The 15-page felony complaint, filed by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, accuses James Slatic, two of his executives, and McElfresh (Slatic's attorney) of conspiracy and manufacturing a controlled substance, alleging the attorney helped Slatic cover up a cannabis concentrate manufacturing operation.

Illinois: Industrial Hemp May Become State's Newest Cash Crop

Hemp Field, 2009

Illinois farmers may soon be able to add hemp to their rotation

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

SB 1294, an industrial hemp bill sponsored by Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, which passed unanimously in the Illinois Senate, would allow the Illinois Department of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp.

United States: Congress Revives Federal Medical Cannabis Legislation with CARERS Act

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A new federal bill, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS), sponsored by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), would take four major actions to protect state medical marijuana programs. The bill would prohibit the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws, allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend cannabis in legal states, expand research on cannabis, and remove cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

Survey: 87 Percent of NFL Players Support Medical Cannabis Use

NFL Cannabis

The majority of NFL players use opiate-based painkillers, and most would rather try medical cannabis for pain relief, according to survey

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A recent survey sent to current and former National Football League (NFL) players shows 87 percent of players think the league should change its stance on cannabis and allow players to utilize the herb for medical purposes.

The 38-page survey, which includes answers from 152 respondents, reveals 89 percent of players think medical cannabis could be used to effectively treat pain if the league allowed it. Approximately 45 percent of players surveyed said they felt pressured into using chemical painkillers by team doctors, staff, and teammates.

North Dakota: Industrial Hemp Production Expands, Farmers Excited For Future

National Hemp Association

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Over the past few years, North Dakota's hemp production has grown into the third-largest in the nation behind Kentucky and Colorado. This year, there were 3,124 acres accepted for North Dakota’s 2017 industrial hemp program. In 2016, 70 acres of hemp were planted. The boom brought interest from processing plants, with several scheduled to open by harvest.

At the moment, Healthy Oilseeds, located in Carrington, is the only processing plant certified to handle hemp in the state. The processing plant offers milling, roasting and cold press. "There’s a possibility the new plant could be built yet this year in an effort to get in on part of this season’s production", according to Healthy Oilseeds President Roger Gussiaas.

Global: Uruguay and Canada Moving Forward on Cannabis Legalization

International Cannabis

Canada and Uruguay currently honor the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Uruguay‘s Ambassador to Ottawa, Martin Vidal, is working with Canada on the implementation of global cannabis regulations. To do so, Canada and Uruguay must comply with three United Nations drug control treaties, since they honor those treaties.

In April, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation with a goal of legalizing and regulating the use of recreational cannabis by July 2018.

Europe: Czech Republic and France Have More Cannabis Users Than Anywhere Else in Europe, Study Suggests

Cannabis In Europe

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Most people think of Amsterdam’s coffee shops when it comes European cannabis, but new data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) says Paris and Prague have higher rates of cannabis consumers with 11% of respondents in each country admitting to cannabis use in the past year.

United States: Four NFL Players Ask Jeff Sessions To Fix The Justice System

Justice

The war on drugs is a war most of the country, unlike Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would like to end

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Current National Football League (NFL) players, Johnson Bademosi (Detroit), Anquan Boldin (Detroit), Malcolm Jenkins (Philadelphia) and Glover Quin (Detroit), have written a column that advocates against what could be a renewed war on drugs. The op-ed piece, posted at CNN.com, is a response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions request for prosecutors to seek the strongest possible sentences in all situations, including non-violent drug offenses.

California: Legal Cannabis Potentially a $5-Billion Boon to Economy, Study Finds

Cannabis Boon

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

With the passage of Proposition 64, California’s looming legal recreational cannabis market could total more than $5 billion in annual sales, according to a study by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.

The university’s study, which was contracted by the the state’s Bureau of Marijuana Control, forecast that legal recreational sales will make up 61.5% of California’s total cannabis market and legal medical cannabis about 9%. About 29% of all cannabis consumers may stay in the illegal market.

United States: Attorney General Sessions Asked Congress To Allow DOJ To Prosecute Medical Cannabis Providers

Jeff Sessions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

According to a recent letter to Congress, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections within The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, a bill which has significant bipartisan support in Congress.

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment protections prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

North America: Individuals Using Cannabis To End Drug, Alcohol Addiction

Cannabis - Booze - Pills

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 21.5 million Americans struggled with a substance abuse disorder in 2014. Nearly 80 percent of those individuals specifically battled alcohol use disorder. Interestingly, cannabis may be a way to help those who are struggling.

Connecticut: After Partisan Feud, Recreational Cannabis Bill Tabled Without a Vote

Connecticut Cannabis

In Connecticut, the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated the state could raise $61 million per year under this proposal, beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Tuesday, the Connecticut House of Representatives debated the legalization of recreational cannabis use for 90 minutes without a vote. The bipartisan debate had heated dialogue as lawmakers argued the bill.

“We’re going to get left behind,” Rep. Melissa Ziobron, R-East Haddam said, noting that nine states currently have legalized marijuana and several others have debated such action in recent years.

United States: Federal Appeals Court Quashes States’ Attempt To Halt Colorado’s Recreational Cannabis Law, Allows RICO Suits

Court Quashes States’ Attempt To Halt Colorado’s Recreational Cannabis Law, Allows RICO Suits

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Wednesday, a three-judge panel for 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court’s dismissal of Nebraska and Oklahoma's attempt to overturn Colorado’s recreational cannabis law, according to the Denver Post.

United States: Cannabis Is Safer Than Opioids, According To Several Studies

Cannabis Vs. Opioids

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In the midst of an opioid epidemic in the United States, research studies show that using cannabis to treat chronic pain is a safer, less addictive alternative to narcotics.

In 2014, in a study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers found that “in states where medical cannabis is legal to manage chronic pain and other conditions, the annual number of deaths from prescription drug overdose is 25 percent lower than in states where cannabis use is illegal. The study was published in the Aug. 25th issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Kentucky: Hemp Grown In Commonwealth Used As Insulation In Lexington Housing Project

Kentucky Hemp Insulation

Kentucky's first hemp crop was grown in 1775, and Kentucky went on to become the nation's leading hemp-producing state in the mid-19th century with peak production of 40,000 tons in 1850

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

This weekend, to commemorate Hemp History Week, a two day "Building with Hemp" workshop brought community members together in Lexington, Kentucky to begin insulating a house with Kentucky-grown hemp. Kris Nonn, a construction director at North Limestone Community Development Corporation who organized the workshop, believes it is important to understand “how something that grows really well here can be used for construction.”

Oklahoma: Veteran Facing Life Sentence For Medicinal Cannabis Set Free After Public Outcry

Lewandowski Family, MassRoots

After the public outcry of support, the Marine veteran was treated with regard rather than disdain in the courtroom

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The state of Oklahoma was pursuing life in prison against Kristoffer Lewandowski, a 10 year Marine Corps Veteran who was a member of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Lewandowski, an honorably discharged Marine who served his country for over a decade, was facing ten years to life in prison for growing 6 cannabis plants in 2014, to treat his PTSD and combat injuries after Pharmaceuticals failed him.

Maryland: Expungement Bill Becomes Law Minus Governor's Signature

Maryland Cannabis Arrest

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On May 27, legislation permitting certain marijuana offenders to petition for an expungement of criminal convictions became law, without Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's signature.

Senate Bill 949, sponsored by Senator William C. Smith, Jr. of District 20, permits individuals previously convicted of a marijuana possession an opportunity to petition to have their criminal record expunged.

In 2014, the Maryland legislature decriminalized offenses involving the possession of up to ten grams of cannabis.

Global: Uruguay Becomes First Country To Allow Open Cannabis Use

Uruguay Cannabis

Uruguay has never criminalized personal possession of drugs, and a 1974 law allowed judges to determine whether a given case of possession was personal or commercial

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In August 2014, Uruguay legalized the formation of growing clubs, a state-controlled marijuana dispensary regime and created a cannabis regulatory institute. A new law makes the South American country the first in the world to sell the herb over the counter.

There was a gray area in the law where consumption was legal but cultivation was not, so every time a marijuana-grower was taken prisoner it was reinforcing the message that the only place to obtain access to a legal substance was on the illegal market.

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