Hawaii: House Judiciary Committee Approves Marijuana Decrim Bill

Photo: Care2By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana continues to advance through the Hawaii House of Representatives.

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the bill, SB 472 SD1 HD1 over predictable objections from law enforcement officials who claimed the proposal would "undermine their work," reports Anita Hofschneider of The Associated Press.

The Senate version of SB 472 SD 1 decriminalized up to one ounce of cannabis. It passed on the floor of the Hawaii Senate last week by a unanimous 25-0 vote. At that point, it already had been amended from the bill's original form, with higher fines (raised from $100 to $1,000) intended to make the bill "more acceptable" to the House, reports Thomas H. Clarke at The Daily Chronic.

The House version of the bill, approved by the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, lowered the fine back to $100, similar to fines in other decriminalized states. But House Judiciary Committee Chairman Kari Rhoads amended the measure to decrease the amount to seven-tenths of one ounce, or 20 grams.

Rhoads also added language making clear that marijuana possession by minors is still criminal, and emphasizing the supposed "negative effects" of pot on young people.

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries May Open This Summer

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts could have safe access through dispensaries by this summer. State public health officials plan to approve final regulations for the shops this spring.

Draft regulations will be issued March 29 by the Department of Public Health, reports Josh Stilts at the The Berkshire Eagle. If approved by the Public Health Council, which reviews all health policies in the state, the rules could go into effect May 24.

Massachusetts cities are not allowed to completely ban local medical marijuana dispensaries, according to a recent ruling by Attorney General Martha M. Coakley. They can, however, regulate and/or delay them through zoning and other measures.

The attorney general's ruling, prompted by a dispensary ban enacted last fall by the town of Wakefield, says that local bans would conflict with the intent of the state's medical marijuana law, approved by 63 percent of state voters in November. Wakefield's dispensary ban came just one week after medical marijuana was legalized.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had written Coakley last month, urging her to rule against Wakefield's bylaw which banned dispensaries.

Nevada: Lawmaker Wants To Legalize Marijuana

Nevada: Lawmaker Wants To Legalize MarijuanaBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One Nevada lawmaker wants to make it legal for adults to possess marijuana. Assemblyman Joe Hogan plans to introduce his bill in Carson City on Friday.

"From seeing the types of crimes that come across my desk, marijuana generally isn't the basis of any of these crimes," said criminal defense attorney Vicki Greco, reports Rikki Cheese of 13 Action News. "I feel like that I've seen alcohol destroy more families and homes than I have marijuana," Greco said.

But legalization is an uphill battle, according to Greco, who said laws would have to address how marijuana would be supplied, potency levels and where and how it could be smoked and sold.

"I think if it's recreational and people aren't getting into trouble with selling and you know, they just want to sit home and relax? I really don't see any harm in it," said Kristy Haslett of Las Vegas.

Another bill in the works would create a system of safe access for Nevada's medical marijuana patients. Although it's already legal to use cannabis in Nevada for medicinal purposes with a doctor's authorization, there is, under current law, no legal way to actually get it.

U.S.: Congressmen Take Aim At Federal Marijuana Ban

Photo: THC FinderBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been 43 years since the Nixon Administration kicked off the modern War On Drugs with the federal Uniform Controlled Substances Act -- and a few members of Congress have begun a push to finally overturn the ban on marijuana.

About 10 lawmakers, mostly liberal Democrats, are writing bills they say will serve as legislative guideposts for the future if, as expected, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives ignores their proposals during this Congress, reports Raju Chebium of USA Today.

It's time to end the federal prohibition on cannabis, according to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), because 18 states have legalized medical marijuana and many others are also exploring that option due to growing public support.

"Maybe next year, maybe next Congress, but this is going to change," Blumenauer said. "And the federal government will get out of the way."

"I'm very patient," Blumenauer explained. "I've been working on this one way or another for 40 years, and I think the likelihood of something happening in the next four or five years is greater than ever."

Meanwhile, the old guard of prohibitionists keeps beating the drum for the status quo in the War On Drugs.

Massachusetts: Medical Marijuana Experts Host Boston Educational Event

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) will host the Northeastern CannaBusiness Symposium on March 16 in downtown Boston. Prior to the release of the Massachusetts medical marijuana regulations slated for March 28, stakeholders in Massachusetts' future medical marijuana market and others engaged in medical marijuana business in the northeast will gather for this trade association symposium.

The half-day educational program will present investors and entrepreneurs interested in Massachusetts' emerging medical cannabis market with an opportunity to glean information from cannabusiness professionals and experts in the fields of regulatory models, operations and ancillary businesses. The event will feature individual and panel presentations, question and answer periods, and an evening networking reception.

"NCIA is honored to have the opportunity to ensure development of the most well-educated and sophisticated local medical cannabis market by connecting Northeastern entrepreneurs with the best and brightest minds in the national industry," said Aaron Smith, NCIA's executive director. "Collectively, the symposium speakers represent decades of experience in the legal medical cannabis industry and can provide unique insight to those looking to contribute to the Commonwealth's nascent industry."

What: Northeastern CannaBusiness Symposium

Maine: Municipal Marijuana Legalization Measure Circulating In Portland

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than a decade ago, Maine set a precedent for the acceptance of marijuana use, when in 1999, state voters decided to exercise their right to approve medicinal cannabis; there have been no serious federal repercussions.

Overall legalization is inevitably coming to Maine. Citizens favor the idea statewide, but support is especially strong in Portland, where more than 70 percent of voters have twice in the past 14 years supported contradicting federal law regarding marijuana, reports Tom MacMillan at The Portland Daily Sun.

An ordinance being circulated by the Portland Green Independent Committee, chaired by MacMillan, is designed to protect otherwise law-abiding citizens of the city from police action, and free the Portland Police Department from enforcing an unjust law, allowing them to focus all their efforts on actually protecting and serving the community.

"The Portland Green Independent Committee has taken up this issue because of the lack of action on the state and federal level," MacMillan said. "Passing this ordinance here in Portland will be an historic step forward for marijuana legalization efforts both in Maine and nationwide."

Arizona: Rights of Medical Marijuana Patients Are Under Attack

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act -- a voter-approved initiative -- has been law for more than three years. But several state and county officials have tried to usurp the wishes of the voters, and these efforts continue.

The medical marijuana program falls under the protection of the Arizona Voter Proposition Act, Prop 105. Based on this provision legislators who try to work against the spirit of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act are violating the loyalty oath they signed when entering office.

In the past three years, the Arizona Legislature has made it legal for employers to look up which of their employees use medical marijuana, and has simplified the process for law enforcement officers to track sick patients.

"Legally, the Arizona State Legislature may only advance the intent of the ballot measure passed by voters, but citizens have been set up for disappointment," states a Wednesday press release from a group called the American Council for Patient Liberty (ACPL).

"The new Senate Bill 1441 enables destruction of all medical marijuana in the state of Arizona without due process and is a hindrance to patient liberty," the group's press release states.

Florida: DEA Says Marijuana Growth 'Rampant' Throughout Sunshine State

Photo: Kottonmouth KingsBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana growth is "rampant" throughout Florida, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, but the DEA says it is cracking down on cannabis cultivation in the Sunshine State.

The DEA allocated $500,000 to Florida's Domestic Marijuana Eradication Program last year, an increase of $50,000 over 2011, reports Ben Bornstein at WUFT.

That tax money paid for something called "marijuana-growth detection training" for law enforcement agents throughout the state, according to Judith Ivester, program coordinator for domestic marijuana eradication.

Ivester said that 87 percent of the money was used to "reimburse investigative costs" for local law enforcement, which she said provided an incentive to identify, investigate and eradicate the plant.

According to the report, 772 marijuana cultivation sites were discovered in 2012, resulting in 723 arrests and 37,388 plants being destroyed.

North Central Florida is a hotbed for cannabis cultivation, Ivester said. She claimed indoor growth is more prevalent in South Florida "because the area is more urban." Growers in heavily populated counties like Dade and Broward move their grow-ops inside to avoid detection, according to Ivester.

Michigan: Medical Marijuana Is Not A Fringe Issue

Photo - Michigan: Medical Marijuana Is Not A Fringe IssueBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If medical marijuana is a fringe issue, as some in Michigan claim, then "that's one large fringe," according to Michigan op-ed writer Brad Flory.

"It is fashionable to write off the medical-marijuana movement as a fringe group, a fact I discovered two weeks ago in feedback from upstanding citizens annoyed by my soft-on-weed views," Flory wrote on on Thursday.

"Softness on weed was not my intention," he wrote. "I didn't say anything good, bad or indifferent about marijuana or its medicinal value.

"What I said was this: Medical marijuana is only kinda-sorta legal four years after the voters of Michigan legalized it, which is not the way things should work in a healthy democracy," Flory wrote.

"The problem is, state government has created no legal method for selling medical marijuana to people who qualify for it," Flory wrote. "That is not my definition of legalizing something."

Medical marijuana was passed by an overwhelming 63 percent of Michigan's voters.

"For every 37 voters in Michigan who opposed legalization of medical marijuana, 63 supported it," Flory wrote. "It passed in all 83 counties, including ones always described as Republican, conservative and religious."

New Hampshire: Marijuana Legalization Dies In House; Industrial Hemp Bill Passes

New Hampshire: Marijuana Legalization Dies In House; Industrial Hemp Bill PassesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill which would have legalized marijuana in New Hampshire died in the House on Wednesday without any debate. The Democratic-majority House voted 239-112 to kill the bill. On the same day, the House passed a bill to legalize industrial hemp.

It wasn't a party-line vote, reports Ben Leubsdorf of the Concord Monitor. While 135 Democrats and 104 Republicans voted to kill the legalization bill, 61 Democrats and 51 Republicans voted to pass it.

The legislation would have removed all references to marijuana from the state's drug control laws as of January 1, 2014. Marijuana would remain illegal under federal law, but New Hampshire would have followed Colorado and Washington state, where voters in November approved ballot measures to allow the use of marijuana by adults 21 and older.

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, on a 12-8 vote, recommended the full House kill the legalization bill. Opponents complained that it would run counter to federal law, while supporters pointed out that cannabis prohibition is not working.

The hemp legalization bill was approved by the full House on a voice vote. Hemp can be used to make rope, fabric, paper, fuel and other products. Like marijuana, it is a variety of the cannabis plant.

Global: Hemp: The Oldest and Most Productive Crop

By Paul Stanford, CRRH

Hemp: The Oldest and Most Productive CropIt's time to restore hemp, the oldest & most productive crop. Hemp, also known as marijuana, has been cultivated for over 12,000 years. Hemp, by every measure, makes more fuel, fiber, food and medicine than any other plant. An acre of hemp on an annual basis produces 300 gallons of seed oil, 3 tons of high protein hempseed meal, 10 tons of bast fiber for canvas, rope lace and linen, 25 tons of hurd fiber for paper and building materials, and, from its leaves and biomass, ethanol for fuel too. The reason hemp, or marijuana, was prohibited in the 20th century was to suppress hemp fuel and fiber production.

Hemp produces more fiber than any other plant. There are two types of fiber in a marijuana stalk or stem, the bast fiber, which is the outer bark, and the hurd fiber, or the inner woody core. According to the US Department of Agriculture's Bulletin 404, a waste product from making canvas, rope,lace and linen from hemp bast fiber, this hemp hurd fiber alone, makes over 4 times more paper than trees. Hemp paper is acid free, for a long shelf life, and produced without toxic chemicals. According to Washington State University's Wood Sciences Lab, hemp fiber board is stronger than steel.

U.S.: Web Marketing Service Offered To Medical Marijuana Businesses

U.S.: Web Marketing Service Offered To Medical Marijuana BusinessesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new service,, says it is the marketing solution to dispensaries, collectives, delivery services and safe access providers.

The launch of the new service is designed to allow medical marijuana safe access providers to advertise their brand, to provide more transparency and search engine visibility while increasing traffic, conversion rates and patient referrals, according to the .

According to its creators, will allow dispensaries to buy a professionally designed website, a search engine optimization tune-up, a syndicated press release, a social media blast to 50,000 fans, geo-targeted coupons, newsletter blasts to key consumers and inclusion in the Medical Cannabis Network's web linking program of 300 cannabis related web properties. also said it offers brand image consultation, marketing placement, logo development, and blog marketing content.

MCN said it created the service for medical marijuana businesses looking for search engine optimized websites with visually appealing designs.

Massachusetts: AG Says Towns Cannot Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Photo - Massachusetts: AG Says Towns Cannot Ban Medical Marijuana DispensariesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Towns and cities in Massachusetts cannot elect total bans on medical marijuana dispensaries, the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley said on Wednesday.

The decision, released in a response to the town of Wakefield passing a bylaw banning dispensaries, said such bans would "frustate the purpose" of the medical marijuana law voters overwhelmingly approved on the November ballot, with 63 percent voting yes.

The law's legislative purpose "could not be served if a municipality could prohibit treatment centers within its borders, for if one municipality could so so, presumably all could do so," reads the decision, written by Assistant Attorney General Margaret Hurley, director of the Municipal Law Unit.

Cities are, however, allowed to regulate dispensaries through zoning bylaws, according to Hurley.

In a separate decision, responding to a bylaw passed by the town of Burlington, Hurley said towns can adopt temporary moratoriums on marijuana dispensaries.

Marijuana dispensaries wouldn't be "in keeping with the vision" for the communities of Wakefield, Reading and Melrose, according to Ruth Clay, health director for the three municipalities, although she claimed she and other local officials weren't "morally opposed" to medicinal cannabis.

Colorado: Marijuana Legalization Task Force Issues Recommendations

Illustration: The Denver ChannelBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado's marijuana task force issued 58 recommendations on Wednesday regarding how legal marijuana should be grown, sold and taxed in the Mile High State.

The government regulators, cannabis advocates and law enforcement officials on the Amendment 64 Task Force were appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper to recommend how to implement the constitutional amendment passed by voters in November which legalized marijuana use for adults 21 and older, reports Alan Gathright at The Denver Channel.

The task force's 165-page report now goes to the governor's desk and to the Legislature, which will consider its recommendations as laws are written to regulate legal marijuana.

The Legislature will have to then go back to voters for approval of sales and excise tax rates for cannabis, according to task force leaders.

While agreeing that there should be a special cannabis sales tax, the task force left it up to the Legislature to set the taxation rate.

A 25 percent sales tax was recommended by a task force working group, according to Task Force Co-Chair Jack Finlaw, the Gov. Hickenlooper's chief legal counsel. But some members worried that imposing such a high tax would make legal marijuana too expensive, feeding the black market.

Massachusetts: State Regulators To Unveil Medical Marijuana Rules March 29

Illustration: The Daily ChronicBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Regulations for the use of medical marijuana in Massachusetts will be unveiled on march 29, state public health regulators said on Wednesday morning.

The draft regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State's office that day and also posted on the health department's website, according to Interim Deputy Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett, reports Kay Lazar at the Boston Globe.

The regulations will be presented on April 10 to the Public Health Council, an appointed group of doctors, policy specialists, and educators, for a "comprehensive discussion that will serve as our primary opportunity to engage in substantive deliberation" about the policy, Bartlett said.

Massachusetts voters, with 63 percent in favor, overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure allowing patients with certain medical conditions to be authorized by the doctors to use cannabis medically. The new law required the health department to issue medical marijuana regulations by May 1.

Health officials have already admitted they're going to miss the target date. The timeline announced on Wednesday morning has the council approving final regulations on May 8, after a public hearing scheduled for April 19.

Minnesota: Nearly Two-Thirds of Voters Support Medical Marijuana Law

Photo: Weed Street JournalBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Minnesota voters support changing state law to allow people with serious and terminal illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it, according to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.

"A vast majority of Minnesota voters agree that people suffering from conditions like cancer and multiple sclerosis should be able to use marijuana in the treatment of their conditions," said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. "Criminalizing seriously and sometimes terminally ill people who use marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering is not a popular idea."

The results of the statewide survey come as state lawmakers prepare a bipartisan bill that would make it legal for Minnesota residents with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to access and use medical marijuana if advised to do so by their physicians. Its introduction is expected within the next two weeks, at which time details of the proposal will be made available.

The poll found a strong majority (54 percent) of voters in the state would disapprove of their county sheriff or county attorney working to defeat such a bill, while only 24 percent would approve. Two-thirds (66 percent) think Gov. Mark Dayton should sign it if it is approved by the Legislature.

Arizona: House Panel Says Cops Can Destroy Marijuana, Even If Patients Had Right To Possess It

Photo by Howard Fischer, Capitol Media ServicesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Arizona House panel voted on Tuesday to let police destroy marijuana they have seized, even if it was seized from legal medical marijuana patients who had a right to possess it.

The panel ignored the pleas of Arizona's former top federal prosecutor, who told members of the Judiciary Committee that SB 1441 -- supposedly meant to "tighten up" the state's medical marijuana law -- is an improer end-run around the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, approved by voters in 2010, reports Howard Fischer at Capitol Media Services.

McDonald said he is more than an idle bystander to the medical marijuana debate. He told lawmakers of the seizures endured by his stepson, Bennett Black, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 1997 accident and had to have part of his brain removed. McDonald said both the seizures and the pills which were supposed to control them made Bennett sick and nauseous.

It was only when McDonald's wife, Cindy, began to get marijuana for their son -- illegally, until the state's medical marijuana law was passed -- that he actually was able to eat and reverse the weight loss which had seen him shrink from 180 pounds to just 118.

Global: The Difference Between Hemp, Marijuana and Cannabis

By Paul Stanford, CRRH

There is a truth that must be heard! There is a lot of confusion about the difference between hemp, cannabis and marijuana. Hemp, cannabis or marijuana all are scientifically denoted by the Latin term, cannabis sativa; hemp, cannabis or marijuana are all the same plant species, cannabis sativa. According to US law, hemp is the stalks, stems and sterilized seeds of cannabis sativa, and marijuana is the leaves, flowers and viable seeds of cannabis sativa. Male or female cannabis has no differentiation by law or science, beyond sex. Of course, you can't get any cannabis or hemp seeds except via female flowers. Just as there are different varieties of corn, there are different varieties of cannabis. The varieties of cannabis that are over-regulated but legal in Canada & Europe are those that produce less than 0.3 percent THC. Since most THC is in the flowers, this low THC variety is a patented French variety which has been specifically bred to have very few flowering sites, thus little THC. Unfortunately, this patented French 'low THC but legal in Canada & Europe' variety also, conversely, produces very little seed compared to varieties of cannabis with more flowering sites, and thus more THC. The seeds of cannabis produce the most productive and nutritious vegetable oil and protein for humans on our planet. Hemp is our oldest crop sown, for over 12,000 years, and produces more fuel, fiber, food and medicine than any other plant.

Washington: Lawmaker Wants To Increase Legal Marijuana Licensing Fees

Washington: Lawmaker Wants To Increase Legal Marijuana Licensing FeesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Well, that didn't take long.

Months before any marijuana stores have even opened, one Washington state lawmaker is already proposing that license fees required to grow, process, or sell cannabis be increased.

Rep. Christopher Hurst (D-Enumclaw), who chairs the House committee in charge of marijuana, said Washington will be leaving "money on the table" unless it increases the cannabis licensing fees, reports The Associated Press.

Hurst wants to create a new "certificate" to be issued by the Liquor Control Board, which was put in charge of marijuana under Initiative 502, the cannabis legalization measure approved by Washington voters in November.

His bill would make the certificate a required precursor to obtaining marijuana licenses, and it would require the Liquor Control Board to set the price of the certificate and of the licenses.

Under I-502, those wishing to grow, process or sell marijuana legally must already pay a $250 application fee and a $1,000 annual renewal fee. Hurst says that's too cheap.

Vermont: Town May Allow Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Vermont: Town May Allow Medical Marijuana DispensaryBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vermont's newest medical marijuana dispensary may have found a home after the town of Brandon's Development Review Board changed the conditional use of permit of a building to allow for the cultivation and dispensing of cannabis.

The board issued its decision on March 6 for the application by Alexandra Ford, on behalf of Rutland County Organics, to use a 6,700-square-foot building located at 84 Lovers Lane, as allowed by the state, reports Lucia Suarez at the Rutland Herald. The board approved the change by a unanimous 5-0 vote.

"The board finds the proposed development as submitted meets the requirements of the Brandon Zoning Bylaw and is in accordance with the Performance Objectives and Standards of the Brandon Land Use Ordinance," the March 6 decision read.

The building is owned by Chuck Mitchell Properties, and formerly housed a wood furniture manufacturing facility until last year.

Zoning Administrator Tina Wiles said people with interested party status have until April to appeal the board's approval. She said any appeals would need to prove that the board's decision results in "undue adverse effects" to the capacity of the building, the character of the area, traffic in the vicinity, Brandon's bylaws and ordinances, and impacts.

"A person cannot appeal just because they don't like the project," Wiles said.

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