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.

New Mexico: House Narrowly Approves Bill To Reduce Marijuana Penalties

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

Under a bill passed 37-33 on Monday by the New Mexico House, adults possessing less than eight ounces of marijuana would no longer receive any jail time. House Bill 465 now goes to the Senate, which only has four and a half more days to act on it.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane (D-Albuquerque), would reduce penalties for possession of up to four ounces to a civil penalty with increasing fines, while eliminating the potential for jail time for possession of any amount up to eight ounces, reports Steve Terrell at The New Mexican.

"Spending $5 million a year to arrest people with small amounts of marijuana is a waste of resources," Rep. Kane said during the three-hour debate on her bill. "We could put that money to better use."

"Why on God's green Earth would we want to spend money throwing college kids in jail for having a few joints when we could be spending that money on early childhood education?" said Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) during the debate.

Rep. Egolf called New Mexico's current marijuana laws "institutional state stupidity."

Iowa: Rodeo Clown Convicted For Growing Marijuana; Faces 20 Years In Prison

Photo by Dan Williamson, Iowa Press-CitizenBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Iowa man who worked as a rodeo clown in local and national rodeos faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison after being convicted Friday of conspiracy to "manufacture marijuana."

Federal prosecutors claim Rory Meeks, 55, of Marion, Iowa, planted cannabis along corn and soybean fields in rural areas of Jones County, tending the plants all summer, reports the Iowa Press-Citizen.

Authorities claim Meeks and others harvested and dried the plants each fall, then sold the marijuana for several years in a row.

Jurors found Meeks guilty, after a three-day trial, of growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants between 2004 and 2011. He had been acquitted of one count of manufacturing marijuana in April 2011.

Meeks performed as a clown for prominent Iowa City-area charities. He now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $20 million fine, and at least 10 years of supervised release following imprisonment.

(Photo of Rory Meeks by Dan Williamson, Iowa Press-Citizen)

Maryland: Health Secretary Backs Medical Marijuana Bill

Maryland: Health Secretary Backs Medical Marijuana BillBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maryland's health secretary has expressed support for a measure to allow medical marijuana in the state.

Secretary Joshua Sharfstein told lawmakers on Friday that Governor Martin O'Malley's administration has changed its position since last year, when it opposed a medical marijuana bill because, it said, it could expose state employees who administered such a program to being federally charged.

Sharfstein said the O'Malley administration is changing its position because the federal government has not brought charges against any state employees in other states who are involved in administering medical marijuana programs.

Sharfstein said the administration is now behind the bill sponsored by Delegate Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), with some amendments.

Morhaim's bill would create a commission to oversee the medical marijuana program at academic medical centers. It would be "the tighest and most controlled of any state" medical marijuana program, according to Morhaim.

Colorado: CU Officials Say 4/20 Gathering Is Unwelcome On Campus

Colorado: CU Officials Says 4/20 Gathering Is Unwelcome On CampusBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Officials with the University of Colorado at Boulder said they still firmly oppose a large-scale marijuana party that traditionally takes place on campus every 4/20. With April 20 falling on Saturday this year, the party could be huge.

Despite the fact that Amendment 64, approved by voters in November, made marijuana use legal for all adults in the state, it is still illegal to smoke pot in public, CU-Boulder officials said, reports Brittany Anas at the Boulder Daily Camera.

"4/20 is most certainly an unwelcome gathering on the campus," sniffed CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard.

CU officials said the smoke-out "disrupts academics," and they'll be making a stern announcement as early as next week about what the school's plans are to squelch the 4/20 celebration.

Last spring, CU took the unprecedented step of actually shutting down the Boulder campus to outside visitors on April 20. Norlin Quad -- the location of the party, which had grown to 12,000 pot-smokers -- was completely shut down.

University officials even put a foul-smelling fertilizer on the Quad to deter crowds. As a result, a far smaller crowd of only about 300 people gathered on a smaller campus field.

New York: Minority Caucus Joins Community Groups Calling For Fix To Broken Marijuana Possession Law

New York: Minority Caucus Joins Community Groups Calling For Fix To Broken Marijuana Possession LawBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus on Tuesday will gather to urge an end to the biased and costly practices of falsely arresting tens of thousands of people in New York for low-level marijuana possession.

They will be joined by dozens of advocates and impacted people from around the state to urge passage of Governor Andrew Cuomo's marijuana decriminalization proposal. The proposal, outlined in his 2013 State of the State Address, would decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis in public view, but smoking in public would remain a misdemeanor.

Fixing the law would help end the practice of arresting tens of thousands of young people every year for possessing marijuana in public view -- after police have misleadingly demanded they "empty their pockets" during a stop-and-frisk encounter.

The reform proposal outlined by Gov. Cuomo is supported by dozens of community organizations throughout the state, state legislators, the NYC Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Additionally, the reforms are supported by law enforcement leaders from across the state, including NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelley, all five NYC district attorneys (Democrat and Republican), district attorneys from Long Island, Buffalo and Albany, and police leaders like the Albany sheriff and Rochester police chief.

Washington: Shooting At Growhouse Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Critical

Washington: Shooting At Growhouse Leaves 1 Dead, 1 CriticalBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One person is dead and another is critically wounded after a shooting at a marijuana grow house in SeaTac, Washington, early Monday morning.

A woman called 911 just before 3 a.m. to report the shooting, according to King County Sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West, reports Kelly Koopmans at KOMO.

Deputies discovered one person dead inside the home in the 3000 block of South 146th Street in SeaTac. Another person who had been shot was taken in critical condition to Harborview Medical Center.

There were two attackers, and both escaped, according to Sgt. West. No description was immediately available.

About 50 cannabis plants were inside the House, according to West. Officers are trying to determine if the shooting happened during a robbery attempt.

The name of the person who was killed had not been released as 9 a.m. on Monday.

Montana: Medical Marijuana Advocates Push Bill To Amend Strict 2011 Law

Montana: Medical Marijuana Advocates Push Bill To Amend Strict 2011 LawBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are making what is being called a final try this legislative session to fix the 2011 law that imposed such tight restrictions on what was then a booming industry that it has been called a defacto legislative repeal of the 2000 law approved by 62 percent of voters.

Senator Dave Wanzenreid (D-Missoula), who has consistently been a friend to medical marijuana patients in the Big Sky state, recently introduced Senate Bill 377 on behalf of a group called Montana Association for Rights, reports Charles S. Johnson at The Missoulian.

A hearing date hasn't yet been set for the bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Business and Labor Committee. Wanzenreid hopes to get the bill switched to the Judiciary Committee.

Political analysts believe SB 377 may have a tough time getting any traction; it would expand the 2011 medical marijuana law in some ways.

The 2013 Legislature, controlled by Republicans, has so far opposed changing the current strict law, killing, so far, six other bills that sought to soften it. The 2011 law was intended by the Legislature to make it harder for people to get medical marijuana cards, and to profit from the industry.

California: Company Wants To Bring Marijuana Dispensing Machines To San Diego

Photo - California: Company Wants To Bring Marijuana Dispensing Machines To San DiegoBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One New York City-based company says they have the solution to controlling medical marijuana purchases: vending machines selling the herb in dispensaries.

Far from being as shocking as it might appear at first blush, Dr. Bruce Bedrick said his cannabis vending machine, called a MedBox, could actually help regulate medical marijuana sales, reports Fox5.

"Our technology is not a vending machine that is sitting out on the street corner," explained Bedrick. "These are 800-pound, armor coated machines that are sitting in dispensaries."

Patients would first be required to show their medical marijuana card to an employee at the dispensary before using the machine. They would then get a card which would allow them to make future purchases from the MedBox.

"This type of technology really helps regulate the industry," Bedrick said. "The software and the way the system is set up can limit the actual dispensing to patients."

"In our case, there's no free-wheeling marijuana around," Bedrick said. "There's no marijuana in big glass jars that's unaccounted for."

New Jersey: Lawmakers Want To Keep Marijuana Patients From Being Kicked Off Organ Transplant Lists

(Photo: Think Progress Health)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill which would ensure that medical marijuana patients' use of cannabis would not prevent them from getting needed medical care such as organ transplants was approved Tuesday by a New Jersey state Senate committee.

The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee took action to prevent patients from getting kicked off transplant lists due to their physician-authorized medicinal cannabis use, reports Sy Mukerjee at Think Progress.

The panel passed S-1220, sponsored by New Jersey state Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Nicholas P. Scutari. The legislation "would provide that a registered, qualifying patient's authorized use of medical marijuana would be considered equivalent to using other prescribed medication rather than an illicit substance and therefore would not qualify the person from needed medical care, such as an organ transplant."

"We are hearing of cases in other states of sick and dying patients being kicked off organ transplant waiting lists for their legal use of medical marijuana," said Sen. Vitale (D-Middlesex), who is chairman of the Senate Health Committee. "This practice is unconscionable as the patients have followed their doctors' orders and have taken a legal medication to reduce the pain and suffering associated with their illness.

California: $1 Million Worth of Camouflaged Marijuana Found at Vandenberg Air Force Base

Photo of Col. Nina Armagno by Janene Scully/Santa Maria TimesBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vandenberg Air Force Base officials say that marijuana smugglers crashed a 20-foot boat onto the beach on base property, leaving behind at least $1 million worth of marijuana just after 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

The marijuana was found near an overturned boat north of Wall Beach, according to Vandenberg officials, and was removed by Homeland Security investigators, who "took over" the investigation around 5:40 p.m. on Thursday, reports The Los Angeles TimesZ.

The cannabis was camouflaged, according to Col. Nina Armagno, a 30th Space Wing Commander, reports Janene Scully at the Santa Maria Times.

"What it looks like to me are large bags, kind of like dark-colored trash bags, wrapped up and stacked, and actually they have been covered in what looks like an attempt to camouflage them with brush," Armagno said.

"We immediately secured the scene and started searching the beaches and the local area," Armagno said. "I ordered all facilities to be searched and secured."

Washington: Residents Seek Answers About Legal Marijuana At Final Public Forum

Photo - Washington: Residents Seek Answers About Legal Marijuana At Final Public ForumBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

About 200 people attended a marijuana forum Thursday night in Bremerton, Washington, the last of eight meetings the state Liquor Control Board has held around the state as it prepares licensing regulations for the newly legal cannabis industry.

Speakers overwhelmingly supported rules that would allow a marijuana cottage industry, rather than a market dominated by a few large corporate producers and a black market, reports Josh Farley at The Kitsap Sun.

"My biggest fear is that Big Agra, Big Pharma, and other corporations, having had no real great investment, interest or sacrifice, will lobby hard to seek control and dictate to those who are now in this historic position," said Christy Stanley, a Kingston mother of four who wants a future in the cannabis industry.

Stanley focused her support on the cottage industry that could develop and asked that no barriers be erected that could hinder that type of development, rather than a big corporate takeover.

Some of those attending expressed concerns about high taxes, the scientifically unsupported low marijuana blood limit for driving included in the legalization measure, and "exposing drug use to children."

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