Oklahoma: Governor Signs Bill Changing 'Marijuana' Definition To Exclude Fed-approved CBD


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed a bill removing any federally approved CBD product or drug from the state’s definition of “marijuana.” The move does little in helping to provide access to CBD therapies since no CBD-based drug or product has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

State Rep. Jon Echols said the measure “is the next logical step to expanding the state’s highly successful CBD program” and has helped “hundreds if not thousands” of Oklahoma citizens.

“In the history of the program there have been no reported incidents of abuse,” the Republican said in the report. “This non-intoxicating substance has literally changed the lives of many Oklahomans.”

“This makes it clear that if the FDA does approve a cannabidiol drug for use for medical treatment, that it would be legal,” Echols said.

Florida: Smoking Marijuana Not Allowed Under New Medical Marijuana Law


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Florida's House and Senate are making changes to the state's medical marijuana constitutional amendment enacted by voters last November, but neither body has any intention of allowing smoking, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Michael Minardi, a lawyer and medical marijuana advocate in Florida, said that the legislature ignores the wishes of the more-than 70 percent of voters who approved the law during the General Election.

“These are veterans. These are the elderly. These are seniors, and people with ALS or PTSD, who benefit [from] and use cannabis in a smoked form,” he said in the report. “What you are doing here, by creating this legislation when 71 percent of the people support it, is going against their will.”

State Sen. Rob Bradley, a Republican who has supported marijuana legislation in the state, said smoking provisions will not be included in the final version of the bill.

“There is agreement between the majority of the House and Senate that the smoking of cannabis is not an act that is consistent with a healthy life and not consistent with consuming medicine,” he said.

House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, who has proposed banning marijuana-infused edibles, called the current bill “a work in progress.”

Oregon: Rep. Blumenauer Says Marijuana Has 'Come Of Age Politically'

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Oregon Congressman Rep. Earl Blumenauer spoke with reporters in a conference call today, and said that “marijuana has gone mainstream” and “has come of age politically.”

“We’re continuing to watch the evolution of the issue as more and more people are involved, as the industry grows and as the consensus that this ought to be something that the federal government ought not to try and suppress, regardless of peoples’ individual feelings about marijuana,” he said. “The overwhelming number appeared not to want the federal government to interfere with what states do.”

When asked about the possibility of the Trump administration cracking down on states with legalized marijuana, Blumenauer said that “one thing has been consistent and that is we’ve received inconsistent signals from this administration on a wide variety of issues.”

“I think what is important is, first of all, what the candidate Trump said on the campaign trail that the state ought to be able to pursue with what the states are doing – I think that’s consistent with what most people I know who have some familiarity with Donald Trump think is his actual opinion,” he said. “…Marijuana got a lot more votes than Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.”

Colorado: America's First Drive-Thru Marijuana Store Opens 4/20


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

America's first drive-thru marijuana shop is opening on April 20, the unofficial marijuana holiday celebrated across the country.

Sitting on the site of a former car wash in Parachute, a small town in western Colorado, the Tumbleweed Express Drive-Thru will allow cars to actually pull into the building so it complies with the law stating pot must be sold indoors. No-one under 21 will be allowed on the premises, even if they are in the back seat of a car.

“I didn’t set out thinking this would be national news,” CEO Mark Smith told the Post Independent. “I didn’t have some big epiphany. I just saw a need for our customers.”

Smith’s customers will be able to drive through and make purchases from 4 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Sunday.

Canada: No Relief For Past Marijuana Convictions Under Legalization Plan


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Canada's federal marijuana legalization plan does not include a provision providing general amnesty for past convictions of low-level marijuana possession, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a Canadian Press report.

“That’s not an item that’s on the agenda at the moment,” he said, adding that until the legalization bill is passed current laws pertaining to cannabis possession, use, and sale “need to be respected.”

In a policy paper released last year, the C.D. Howe Institute, a Canadian public policy think tank, said that legalization could initially result in an increase in cannabis consumption, and the need for more police enforcement and monitoring, which could force more government spending.

“This discussion suggests that dropping charges against individuals for illegal possession who have no other Criminal Code convictions or charges, would save considerable government resources without other significant offsetting adverse spillovers,” the paper stated. “Similarly, the federal government should consider pardoning individuals who have been convicted for illegal possession but have not been convicted or charged for any other Criminal Code offense.”

Wisconsin: Governor Signs Bill Expanding CBD Program

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed legislation legalizing the use of CBD oil for any medical condition if the patient is certified by a doctor, the Journal Sentinel reports.

“Today, we’re making it easier for people in our state to obtain CBD oil without a psychoactive effect to treat a medical condition as advised by their doctor,” the Republican governor said in the report.

The move expands the state's limited medical marijuana program enacted in 2014, which allows families and individuals to obtain CBD oil in extremely limited cases.

Few were able to benefit from the program because the law was so restrictive. The law bars in-state medical marijuana production and requires patients to obtain the oil either online or in a neighboring state with a more comprehensive medical cannabis program, such as Michigan.

There are proposals in both houses of the state legislature that would legalize a more complete medical marijuana program in Wisconsin, including in-state production and a system of dispensaries.

Iowa: Legal Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Iowa Senate


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill legalizing medical marijuana for several ailments passed Monday night by the Iowa Senate, although it's not expected to win approval in the Iowa House.

Senate File 506 was passed on a 45-5 vote. It would allow patients with a variety of medical conditions to receive a medical marijuana card after getting written approval from a doctor. The card would enable patients to get medical marijuana from a dispensary in Iowa.

Sen. Thomas Greene, R-Burlington, a pharmacist who was the bill's floor manager, urged support for the measure. An estimated 12,555 Iowans have medical conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana, he said.

"We want Iowans to know we care about them here," Greene said.

Medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana would include: cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, AIDS or HIV, hepatitis C, glaucoma, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, any terminal illness subject to certain conditions, intractable pain, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, complex regional pain syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and any other chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its medical treatment approved by state officials.

U.S.: DHS Chief Kelly Reverses Marijuana Comments

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly reversed comments he recently made on marijuana Tuesday in his first major speech since being sworn in.

Just two days before, in an interview on "Meet the Press", Kelly said that marijuana is not “a factor in the drug war.”

“Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,” Kelly told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s Sunday show, saying that meth, heroin and cocaine are the three main drugs that have played a role in the U.S. drug crisis that killed more than 52,000 people in 2015.

But during his speech Tuesday, Kelly vowed that Department of Homeland Security staff would continue to investigate and arrest those involved in illegal trade of the drug and called marijuana “a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.”

"... Its use and possession is against federal law and until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress we in DHS are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books," he added.

"DHS personnel will continue to investigate marijuana’s illegal pathways along the network into the U.S., its distribution within the homeland, and will arrest those involved in the drug trade according to federal law. [Customs and Border Protection] will continue to search for marijuana at sea, air and land ports of entry and when found take similar appropriate action.

Missouri: Kansas City's New Marijuana Law

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Kansas City voters overwhelmingly approved reducing penalties for marijuana possession on 4/4/17, and the new city law has already taken effect. Voters approved an initiative that reduces the maximum fine in city court from $500 to $25 and eliminates possible jail time as a penalty for possessing 35 grams or less of pot, about 1 1/4 ounce.

However, marijuana possession is still illegal, and a guilty plea would involve a drug conviction.

The law took effect the day after the election, on 4/5/17. It affects any Municipal Court case that was open or active at that time. It limits the maximum fine to $25 for a single count of simple pot possession, but court costs of $48.50 per count still apply.

Julita Lattimer is a board member of the Kansas City chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (KC NORML), the organization that advocated and petitioned for this law. Latimer explained, “Our whole point was to keep people out of jail for a non-violent infraction. One of the best things that has come out of this , is its getting people to talk about cannabis. More people are wanting to hear about the benefits of cannabis. It will help as we work to bring medical cannabis to Missouri. ”

U.S.: New Poll Shows More Than Half Of American Adults Have Tried Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new Marist poll that was conducted in partnership with Yahoo shows that more than half of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives.

The poll found that 52 percent of U.S. adults have tried marijuana at least once and 56 percent of Americans find the drug "socially acceptable."

While eight out of 10 Americans strongly support legalizing medical marijuana, the poll shows that forty-nine percent of American adults support legalization for recreational adult use while forty-seven percent oppose it.

"As marijuana has been accepted medically, it's less about the marijuana high," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the non-profit Drug Policy Alliance. He pointed out that people may now increasingly see elderly family members use the drug to help cope with a variety of ailments.

The poll shows that fifty-one percent of Americans think consumption of marijuana is a health risk. However, far more Americans say drinking alcohol regularly (72 percent) is a threat to health over regular marijuana use (20 percent.)

More Americans also think that regular tobacco use (76 percent) is far more risky than regular marijuana use (18 percent.)

The poll was done by surveying 1,122 adults between March 1 through March 7 of this year. The Marist Poll was sponsored and funded in partnership with Yahoo.

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh To Host Big Medical Marijuana Conference

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Sponsors who are preparing for next weekend's World Medical Marijuana Conference and Expo are expecting about 1,500 attendees from across the U.S. for the Friday-Saturday event at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, in downtown Pittsburgh.

The conference will feature former NFL players Ricky Williams and Marvin Washington, plus talks by medical, business and legal experts. Workshops on the lengthy schedule range from classes on cooking with cannabis to a look at how technology will shape medical marijuana’s future.

“This conference is for anybody interested in medical cannabis. They could be an investor, someone interested in a new career, a provider or a patient,” said Melonie Kotchey, chief operating officer and co-founder of Compassionate Certification Centers along with Armstrong County physician Bryan Doner.

Compassionate Certification Centers is a medical marijuana marketing and consulting company based in Delaware but whose principals are in southwest Pennsylvania. It currently works with one medical practice in Miami with plans to add three more outside Pennsylvania in coming months.

Admission prices for the World Medical Marijuana Conference range from $50 for an adult exhibit hall only ticket each day up to $698 for Saturday's exhibit hall, workshops and CME credits. Children’s tickets are $10.

Colorado: Lawmakers Back Off Plan To Legalize Social Cannabis Clubs

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Lawmakers in Colorado have backed down from a plan that would have legalized social cannabis clubs after Governor John Hickenlooper expressed disapproval, saying that the move could attract a crackdown from the Trump Administration, according to an Associated Press report.

The proposal was approved last month, after it originated in the Colorado Senate with bipartisan support. House lawmakers ultimately turned down the measure, however.

Gov. Hickenlooper said last month that he would veto any cannabis club measure allowing indoor smoking that came across his desk, saying that “given the uncertainty in Washington … this is not the year to be out there carving off new turf and expand markets and make dramatic statements about marijuana.”

There currently are about 30 cannabis clubs operating in Colorado, all private clubs operating under local laws.

The social use measure would have been the first statewide acceptance of social cannabis clubs.

The legislature's retreat demonstrates the uncertainty felt by lawmakers in legalized states about the Trump Administration, who has so far refrained from making a firm statement one way or another about its stance on the marijuana legalization laws that have been passed in Alaska, California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington D.C.

U.S.: John Kelly Says Marijuana 'Not A Factor' In Drug War

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuana is "not a factor" in the war on drugs. He added that solving the nation's drug problem does not involve "arresting a lot of users."

Kelly appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" and discussed his work to stop the flow of drugs into the United States from Central America and Mexico. Host Chuck Todd asked whether legalizing marijuana would help or hurt his work.

"Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war," Kelly responded, adding later: "It's three things. Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south." He said that in 2015 those three drugs, plus opiates, were responsible for the deaths of 52,000 people in the United States and cost the country $250 billion.

Kelly said the solution is to lower demand in the United States.

"The solution is a comprehensive drug demand reduction program in the United States that involves every man and woman of goodwill. And then rehabilitation. And then law enforcement. And then getting at the poppy fields and the coca fields in the south."

Kentucky: Officials Burn Commercial Hemp With Too Much THC


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Kentucky agriculture officials say the hemp destroyed Thursday for containing too much of the psychoactive compound THC was a fraction of the hemp crop being grown in the state.

The state agriculture department says the THC level exceeded 0.3 percent, which is more than the legal limit set by Congress.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound that gives marijuana users a high.

Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp usually has a very small amount of THC.

Lyndsey Todd grew the hemp in greenhouses in Pulaski County. Todd cultivated most of the hemp so it could be turned into medicine. Todd says her product is not psychoactive and that the 0.3 percent THC limit is an "unrealistic number."

Brent Burchett, director of plant marketing for the state agriculture department, says the state was bound by law to destroy the 100 pounds (45 kilograms) in question because four separate tests concluded its THC level exceeded 0.3 percent, the limit set by Congress and followed by the state.

Arizona: Appelate Court Strikes Medical Marijuana Campus Ban


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

An Arizona appellate court has ruled that a 2012 law amending the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) to prohibit the use of medical marijuana on college campuses is unconstitutional. NORML Legal Committee member Tom Dean represented the patient-defendant in the case pro bono.

"By enacting A.R.S. § 15-108(A), the Legislature modified the AMMA to re-criminalize cardholders' marijuana possession on college and university campuses," the Court opined. "The statute does not further the purposes of the AMMA; to the contrary, it eliminates some of its protections."

The Court argued that campuses and universities possess the authority to enact their own individual policies restricting medical marijuana use, but that lawmakers cannot do so.

The decision overturned a medical-marijuana cardholder's 2015 felony conviction for the possession of a small quantity of marijuana while attending Arizona State University.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office has not yet publicly stated whether they intend to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Tennessee: Governor Signs Law Repealing Voter-backed Decriminalization For Marijuana Possession In Memphis And Nashville

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, has signed into law a bill that undoes recent marijuana decriminalization measures in the state’s two largest cities, the Tennessean reports.

Voters in Memphis and Nashville last year approved the decriminalization of marijuana, both of which gave police officers the option of issuing tickets for small-time marijuana possession in place of making arrests. However, Republican state lawmakers pushed a bill to the governor’s desk that says state law overrides local law in regards to Class B misdemeanors and above, under which marijuana possession falls.

One of the bill’s primary sponsors was Rep. William Lamberth, a Republican from Cottontown. He said of the decriminalization measures, “You can’t allow an officer at their whim to treat two different individuals who have potentially committed the same crime in drastically different ways depending on what that officer feels like at a given time.”

“You just can’t have cities creating their own criminal code, willy-nilly,” Lamberth said.

Despite their popularity among the cities’ voters, reports have indicated that police in Nashville and Memphis did not take much advantage of the change in local laws, which are now no longer valid.

Guam: Measure To Legalize Adult-use Marijuana Pulled Due To Trump Administration Fears


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Guam’s gubernatorial administration has pulled a bill that would have legalized marijuana possession and use by adults in the U.S. territory due to federal uncertainty. Eric Palacios, special assistant to Gov. Eddie Clavo, says the move doesn’t necessarily mean the plan is dead but just temporarily on hold.

“We are suspending our efforts, and we are not terminating what we originally intended to do via the introduction of the bill,” Palacios said in the report. “And so, until we get a clearer picture of where things stand on the federal side, especially in light of the Attorney General’s pronouncement, we don’t feel it would be prudent moving forward.”

According to the governor’s Communications Director Oyal Ngirairkl, the suspension “is meant to give lawmakers time to better understand the Trump administration’s still evolving stance on this and the result of actions other U.S. jurisdictions are taking.”

Oregon: Warm Springs Tribes Hope To Enter The Cannabis Market

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Like the states, native American tribes in the US received a memo in 2014 (the "Wilkinson memo") which gives them the authority to experiment with marijuana if they follow federal priorities: keeping weed from kids, cartels, inter-state commerce, etc.

Several tribes have explored the option to experiment with cannabis under the watch of federal attorneys. State-level officials have been observing as well, but their ability to interfere is different. Public Law 280 is a federal statute which allows certain states to “assume jurisdiction over reservation Indians.” The statute transferred federal law enforcement authority within tribal nations to six state governments, including Oregon, but somehow the Warm Springs reservation was exempted.

Therefore, Warm Springs doesn’t have to worry about the state attempting to stop its cannabis program. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs want to sell marijuana off the reservation, and has received the needed permission from the state to do so.

Warm Springs also approached the feds, responded that what they were doing is illegal and illegitimate, unlike the state of Oregon, which at least has Measure 91. According to Pi-Ta Pitt from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the tribe subsequently held a referendum on growing cannabis, which passed with 86 percent approval.

Texas: Dallas Approves Cite And Release Program For Marijuana


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Possession of marijuana in Dallas, Texas might not automatically land someone in jail anymore.

Dallas city council members voted 10-to-5 to approve a “cite and release” program for simple marijuana possession.

Although strongly supported, some people, like former officer Pete Schulte, think the program does not go far enough.

“In a perfect world, if people were cited, they were released and they showed up to court and took care of their case, perfect,” said Schulte, who’s now a defense lawyer. “Chances of that happening maybe 10 percent of the time are slim to none.”

Schulte thinks it would put more stress on the criminal justice system. He said if someone does not show up for their date in court, a warrant will be issued and served for their arrest, which he said would just tax law enforcement weeks or months later.

“I think it’s just pushing the ball down the court,” said Schulte. “It’s not going to help anything.”

Council member Philip Kingston, the man behind the initiative, strongly disagrees.

“That’s boneheaded,” said Kingston. “Our cops are smart.”

Kingston believes cite and release will help free up officers to focus on more serious crimes.

“I think what we’ve done at this point is made this crime such a hassle for police to mess with, that they’ll simply quit,” said Kingston.

Ohio: Madeira Says 'No' To Medical Marijuana Dispensaries


By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The city of Madeira, Ohio - a suburb of Cincinnati - has decided to allow no medical marijuana dispensaries within its limits.

Madeira City Council passed an ordinance by emergency to prohibit the sale of medical marijuana within the city at its April 10 meeting.

“Medical marijuana may or may not have its merits but I don’t think Madeira would be ... appropriate for a dispensary to be located,” said Councilman Scott Gehring.

The ordinance goes into effect immediately since Council passed it by emergency. State laws regulating medical marijuana in Ohio go into effect on September 8.

A moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries was approved within the city in August. Law Director Brian Fox advised against continuing the moratorium and drafted the legislation for the prohibition. He also drafted legislation to limit dispensaries to certain areas.

“I am not outright opposed to medical marijuana dispensaries and the possibility that we might have residents that would very much appreciate and value having close access to that. But it seems that there are still a lot of unknowns in how this will be enforced and what that would mean,” Councilwoman Nancy Spencer said.

Mayor Melisa Adrien said she would like to see how dispensaries operate in other communities before allowing them in Madeira.

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