2014

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.

Arizona: 7 Marijuana Industry Facts From 2014

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Arizona’s medical marijuana industry has seen significant growth over the last few years, and it is predicted to continue to grow at a very rapid rate.

AZmarijuana.com, a marijuana industry website, released a list of seven significant Arizona marijuana industry statistics from 2014:

1. 85 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries were operating in Arizona as of Dec. 31, 2014.

2. Nearly $112 million of revenue was generated by Arizona’s medical marijuana industry (based on an estimate that the average dispensary price for medical marijuana was $350 an ounce).

3. There are more than 61,000 medical marijuana patients in Arizona.

4. Eleven cards were revoked, which included caregivers with multiple cards.

5. Female qualifying patients and caregivers were usually older than male qualifying patients and caregivers.

6. 18-30 year olds had the most dispensary transactions followed by 31-40 year olds and then 51-60 year olds.

7. 1,563 (approximately 2.5 percent) of the medical marijuana qualifying patients and 371 (approximately 58 percent) of caregivers were authorized to cultivate marijuana.

U.S.: Medical Cannabis Institute Announces Clinical Cannabinoid Medicine Curriculum

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The Medical Cannabis Institute on Wednesday announced what it called " the first online, medical cannabis curriculum." The curriculum presents, in sequential order, a series of 12 courses designed to take a practicing clinician from the basics of the plant, its history and the underlying physiologic (endocannabinoid) system to the pharmacology and clinical practice of medical cannabis.

The curriculum is provided by the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), an educational and scientific society of qualified physicians dedicated to the expansion of knowledge on the medical use of cannabis.

Healthcare professionals can claim up to 12 CME credits (AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™), receiving a certificate of competency in clinical cannabinoid medicine upon curriculum completion.

"To date, there have been workshops or seminars on a variety of medical cannabis topics, but this is the first time that clinicians can find a pre-packaged set of courses that takes the clinician from the fundamentals all the way through clinical case study reviews," said Deborah Malka, MD, PhD, course director at SCC.

This all-in-one, eLearning curriculum can also help clinical staff within a hospital or health system attain a consistent, baseline understanding of the science behind medical cannabis – closing an education gap in today's standard medical training.

U.S.: Weed Websites Available! Ganjapreneur Announces New Cannabis Domain Market

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Ganjapreneur, a website dedicated to cannabis business news and culture, has recently announced the launch of their Cannabis Domain Name Market.

“Ganjapreneur is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs in legal cannabis space optimize and grow their business, and ultimately, a great domain name goes a long way to helping them achieve that through a highly visible online presence and strong brand,” said Andrew Rosener, founder and CEO of Ganjapreneur.com.

"With our background in the domain space and understanding of the importance and value of a great domain name for any entrepreneur, a domain market was a clear next step and perfect fit for Ganjapreneur.com," Rosener said. "We plan to launch many more business services in the near future for our audience as well."

The market consists of hundreds of marijuana keyword and brandable domain names available for immediate purchase, sorted by category, type, and price. The market is designed to be a resource for venture capital firms and start-ups looking to get involved in the cannabis industry, and it is launched in partnership with Escrow.com, the leading escrow service for domain name transactions in order to make transactions safe and easy.

Colorado: New Company Offers Compliance and Inventory Tracking For Marijuana Industry

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Adherence Colorado, a regulatory compliance and inventory management company for the marijuana industry, has announced its formal launch of operations and proprietary software that allows auditors to ensure that licensed marijuana businesses are in compliance with state and local laws.

"We're thrilled to be open in Colorado," said Steve Owens, founder and CEO of Adherence Colorado. "By delivering compliance audit results in hours, compared to days or often weeks, we provide our clients with unprecedented value at an industry leading price.

"If a license is not within compliance limits, the underlying business's value can be reduced significantly," Owens said. "For license owners, investors, and financial services and banking experts, it's imperative to know where the business stands in terms of risk and value. Our state-of-the-art process does this and more."

According to Adherence Colorado, this is the first enterprise risk management (ERM) platform designed specifically for licensed medical and retail (recreational) marijuana businesses, providing license owners, banks and investors with valuable information about where the business is most at risk. Adherence Colorado says its software is scalable and can be customized to any state's regulatory compliance and inventory tracking system.

Mississippi: Town Hall Meeting On Marijuana Legalization Initiative Friday In Jackson

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group which is gathering signatures to legalize marijuana in Mississippi has scheduled a town hall meeting for 2-3 p.m. on Friday, January 9, at the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson. At the meeting, representatives of Mississippi For Cannabis will answer questions about the group's ballot initiative, and the petition will be available for signatures.

The ballot initiative would allow the use, cultivation and sale of marijuana and industrial hemp for adults 21 years or older, reports Jimmie E. Gates at The Clarion-Ledger.

The group needs more than 107,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot. The deadline for the 2016 ballot is October 2, 2015, according to sponsor Kelly Jacobs. If they miss that deadline the group plans to shoot for the November 2017 ballot, for which the deadline is December 29, 2015.

"If the ballot initiative gets the necessary signatures and is approved by voters in a referendum, it would make it legal for adults to possess cannabis in unlimited quantities, to use as they wish, just like alcohol or cigarettes," Jacobs said. "However, it would have to be kept from minors.

"We want to legalize marijuana and decriminalize it," she said. "It's an adult discussion we should be having."

Colorado Tries 'Good To Know' Education Campaign About Legal Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado is launching a major, $5.7 million campaign to educate both residents and tourists on how to responsibly use marijuana.

The "Good To Know" campaign will begin hitting the airwaves, newspapers and the Net this month, one year after recreational marijuana sales began in the Rocky Mountain State, reports Trevor Hughes at USA Today.

The "bright, neighborly" approach is designed to educate without alienating, and is not an aversion campaign, according to Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado's chief medical officer and director of the state Department of Public Health and Environment.

The friendly tone of the ad campaign is illustrated by the spot that points out you can't legally drive a car after smoking pot -- it adds what "walking, hopping and skipping are allowed," reports the Associated Press.

The campaign appears to be the first comprehensive effort by any state to educate consumers and marijuana use and regulations after legalization. "This is still uncharted territory for us, and really for everyone in the United States," Wolk said on Monday.

Virginia: New Poll Shows Voters Strongly Support Marijuana Law Reform

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Approximately three out of four voters think seriously ill people should have legal access to medical marijuana; more voters support regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol than oppose it

A strong majority of state voters support reforming Virginia marijuana laws, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released on Tuesday.

Three out of five (60 percent) of respondents support removing criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and designating it a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine with no possibility of jail time. Under current Virginia law, possession of small amounts of marijuana is a criminal offense punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

The Virginia Senate is expected to consider a proposal this year that would replace criminal penalties for personal possession of marijuana with a civil fine of $100.

“Most voters do not support laws that saddle people with criminal penalties just for possessing a small amount of marijuana,” said Rachelle Yeung, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “These antiquated prohibition laws are causing far more problems than they solve.”

Rhode Island Highest In The Nation In Marijuana Use: Survey

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Rhode Islanders use marijuana at the highest rates in the United States, according to a recently released annual survey.

The report originates from a national survey on drug use and health sponsored each year by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reports Alison Bologna at NBC 10.

In Rhode Island, 14 percent of those 12 and older -- up from 13 percent the previous year -- report having used marijuana in the past month, the highest rate in the nation, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health, reports Richard Salit at the Providence Journal. Rhode Island also led the nation in those who reported having used marijuana in the past year, at 20 percent, up from 19 percent.

Rhode Island is one of 23 states and the District of Columbia that now allow medical marijuana for authorized patients, and a coalition is forming in the state to make it the fifth to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes.

The survey "is probably an accurate portrayal, and one we've seen trending for a long time," said Rebecca Boss, deputy director of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. "The why is really hard to answer. I don't necessarily have the answers to why."

U.S.: New Marijuana Industry App Launched By Weed Depot

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Weed Depot has launched its new marijuana industry app that it says allows users to access its huge database of marijuana strains, dispensaries, doctors, head shops, and more.

Weed Depot said its app "makes it possible for users to easily find all sorts of marijuana-related information from any mobile device." The app also consists of listings for national and international businesses that operate in the legal (medical and recreational) marijuana industry.

A Weed Depot spokesperson said that they are “working to develop even more functionality and information into the app in the future” so that it becomes the “go-to app for anything marijuana-related.” They want the app to become “the world’s destination for marijuana information.”

The company plans to incorporate a marijuana jobs section, marijuana press releases section, marijuana-infused recipes section, and more into the app.

Businesses can get listed on the Weed Depot app and website for under $200 per month, according to the company. Weed Depot and its sister businesses, listed on The Marijuana Companies’ website (www.TheMarijuanaCompanies.com), in the marijuana industry help to make it one of the largest marijuana industry advertising network platforms currently available.

The Weed Depot app can be downloaded for free on Google Play and on the iTunes App Store.

Weed Depot is owned and operated by Northsight Capital, Inc. (OTCBB: NCAP).

Washington: Marijuana Potency Testing Accuracy Challenged

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The rules of Washington state's recreational marijuana legalization law, I-502, require a sample tested from every lot of marijuana. But how useful is that testing?

The program is having some success detecting substances like yeast, mold and bacteria, reports Evan Bush at The Seattle Times. About one out of every 10 batches of marijuana fails and can't be sold in recreational pot shops, according to Washington State Liquor Control Board data.

Potency testing, meanwhile -- which measures levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component, shows Washington weed is widely variable. Recreational marijuana averages about 16 percent THC in the state, but about 2.5 percent of samples test above 28 percent.

Laboratory directors from the state's 12 licensed pot-testing facilities said they are forming working groups to lobby the Liquor Control Board for more oversight of lab methods.

"Part of it is to invite more regulation," said Brad Douglass, scientific director at the Werc Shop, one of the 12 labs licensd by the state.

Randy Simmons, with the Liquor Control Board, claimed that the system is off to a good start. "The majority of what's out there on packages is correct," he said.

"The lab side is emerging," Simmons said. "As it matures, I think all those things that have been missed ... or things we find out we should be looking for, will all be changed."

Montana: Judge Blocks Enforcement of Key Parts of Medical Marijuana Law

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Montana judge on Friday permanently banned enforcement of key provisions of the state's restrictive medical marijuana law.

District Judge James Reynolds blocked several provisions, including a ban on advertising medical marijuana and the prohibition of commercial sales for profit to authorized patients, reports Charles S. Johnson at the Billings Gazette.

The prohibition on for-profit marijuana sales, passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature after Montana voters legalized medicinal cannabis, essentially meant that medical marijuana patients in Montana had to grow their own supply.

Judge Reynolds also struck down provisions that restrict medical marijuana providers from helping more than three authorized patients obtain marijuana -- again, remember, without them being able to be paid, under the old rules struck down by the judge on Friday.

The judge also struck down a part of the law that required the state to provide the Board of Medical Examiners with the names of any doctors who, within a one-year period, authorized more than 25 patients for medical marijuana. The law would have required the physician in question to pay for an automatic review of his practices by the Board of Medical Examiners.

U.S.: Visit By Mexican President Sparks National Week Of Protests Demanding End To Drug War

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As President Barack Obama meets with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday, January 6, thousands of Latinos in Washington D.C. and other major American cities will protest to demand an end to the deadly “Plan Mexico” – a billion-dollar program to aid Mexico’s corrupt and notoriously violent security forces, ostensibly in the name of fighting the War On Drugs.

The main protest of the day will take place in Lafayette Square in front of the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500) starting at 10 AM.

In September 2014, 43 students were disappeared from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. It was quickly discovered that, at the behest of the regional governor, the students had been kidnapped by local police and then handed over to a drug cartel.

Survivor testimonies and a UC Berkeley investigation confirm that members of the Federal Police and 27th Army Battalion stationed very near the scene of the crime were present and had knowledge of the attacks before, during and after. The scandal set off an unprecedented crisis of legitimacy for Peña Nieto’s administration – and all levels of government in Mexico – as scores of mass graves and evidence of other such gross human rights violations surfaced during the course of the search for the 43 kidnapped students.

Since the students’ kidnapping, Peña Nieto has done little to ameliorate the crisis, and his administration has in fact lied and tried to cover up this hugely emblematic case.

Survey: Americans More Concerned About Driving Effects of Alcohol Over Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, there's a scare campaign by drug war advocates who want the American public to be afraid of the supposed menace of pot-impaired drivers. Many Americans, however, aren't really buying it, according to a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Despite the inclusion of per-se impairment levels for blood THC in Washington state's Initiative 502, for example, the Foundation's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index reveals that, compared to alcohol, Americans are significantly less concerned about the thread of marijuana impairment behind the wheel.

The survey found that while two-thirds feel that those who drive after drinking pose a "very serious" threat to their personal safety, just over half feel the same way about pot use. In fact, one in six Americans repoprt that, where they live, "most people" feel it's acceptable to drive one hour after using cannabis.

The scare campaigns are, unfortunately, having some effect. The survey found that nearly half of Americans reported feeling that drug-impaired drivers are a "bigger problem" today than compared to three years ago. Fully 85 percent support some form of marijuana-impairment laws when it comes to operating motor vehicles.

But Americans are quite unclear on impairment thresholds (naturally, since there's no convincing science showing a "bright line" cutoff point for THC), as well as on safety implications and legal ramifications.

U.S.: Founder of Marijuana Investment Group Interviewed by Ganjapreneur

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As public support for the legalization of marijuana has grown, so has the speculation that the cannabis industry could be poised for a major boom if the U.S. federal government changes its policy toward the drug. Like any other emerging market, the cannabis industry has piqued the interest of many venture capital and investment firms around the globe.

Recently, Ganjapreneur, a website dedicated to the growing industry, published an interview with Douglas Leighton, founding partner of Dutchess Capital, an investment group which has recently focused its investments on cannabis start-ups.

In the interview, Leighton discusses how Dutchess Capital came to view the cannabis industry as an opportunity and what led to their eventual decision to invest in several start-ups.

"It took us about 10 months of due diligence before we were comfortable to make the first investment," Leighton said. "We joined ArcView, the angel network for the cannabis industry, in the summer of 2013 and met Isaac Dietrich of MassRoots and subsequently made the first investment." MassRoots is a popular, pseudo-anonymous social network for cannabis users.

U.S.: Top 6 Moments In The Historic First Year of Marijuana Legalization Listed By NCIA

Legalized ... 2014

“There’s no superlative that could adequately describe the impact that 2014 has had on the cannabis industry.”
~ Aaron Smith, NCIA

In honor of the one-year anniversary of Colorado’s history-making opening of legal adult-use sales of marijuana, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is looking back at the most monumental year in the history of the cannabis industry.

“There’s no superlative that could adequately describe the impact that 2014 has had on the cannabis industry,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “The success of adult-use legalization in Colorado and Washington, the overwhelming public opinion in favor of medical marijuana, and the steady march of policy change at both the state and federal levels have created an entirely new world.

“NCIA is proud to work on behalf of the businesses, consumers, patients, and advocates all striving to build a cannabis industry that is successful, responsible, engaged in our communities, and treated fairly by policy-makers,” Smith said.

Nearly every week brought new ground-breaking developments, but here are NCIA’s top six moments in a year that has changed the industry forever.

1. Legal adult-use sales begin in Colorado.

U.S.: 'Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom' Premieres On CNBC Jan. 5

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“Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom,” reported by NBC News Correspondent Harry Smith, premieres on Monday, January 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. A year after Colorado passed one of the most permissive pot laws in the world and total sales of recreational and medicinal pot are on track to top $650 million, CNBC and correspondent Harry Smith return to the state to chart the rise of a new American industry and report on the results of this unprecedented social experiment.

Smith profiles the most successful marijuana merchant in Denver, who hopes to expand his family-run business to other states as they follow Colorado’s lead and legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. He explores the new world of cannabis-infused edibles and the sale of pot brownies, chocolates and even soda, which has led to some confusion and controversy over dosing and portion size.

CNBC cameras also follow two pot dealers – one of them a U.S. Army veteran – who profit from a black market that funnels the drug across state lines and continues to thrive despite the new law.

This CNBC original documentary examines the issue of pot in the workplace, as Colorado employers work to reconcile a more open marijuana culture with workplace rules that enforce zero tolerance.

Smith talks to Brandon Coats, who awaits a State Supreme Court ruling that could ripple across the country. Coats was fired from his job when he tested positive for THC – the result of an act that was legal according to the state.

Arizona: MariMed’s Sara Gullickson Named Co-Chair of Cannabis Industry’s Women Grow Phoenix Chapter

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Women are working together to stake a claim in the legal marijuana industry that is projected to generate $21 billion by 2020. The marijuana industry’s rapidly growing Women Grow has named Sara Gullickson as co-chair of its Phoenix Chapter, the second largest chapter of this new organization that connects, educates and empowers cannabis business leaders.

Gullickson, executive director of the DispensaryPermits.com division of MariMed Advisors (a subsidiary of Worlds Online), brings four years of experience as a leader in the medical marijuana (MMJ) industry and nearly a decade of experience strategizing and executing online and traditional marketing campaigns for the health, beauty, medical, dental, fitness and spa industries. She has assisted clients in seven states through the medical marijuana license application process, laying out every aspect of their business strategy from identifying locations all the way through developing product and tracking customer results.

Her work has helped clients earn MMJ cultivation and/or dispensary licenses across the country. In addition, Gullickson launched a free weekly CannaBusiness Webinar series that is a source of information to both novice and experienced MMJ entrepreneurs.

Georgia: New Push For Medical Marijuana

HopeForSilentSufferers-TimeForRealMedicalMarijuanaInGeorgia.PleaseJoinUs.

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Almost a year after the first medical marijuana bill -- and a rather mild one, at that -- failed in Georgia, suffering patients and those fighting to relieve their pain hope that won't happen again.

As lawmakers prepare for the next General Assembly in January, a poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that 80 percent of Georgians support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, reports Anita Oh at WMAZ.

Since Congress just approved, and President Obama signed into law, a spending measure that eliminated funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct medical marijuana raids on complying businesses in states where medicinal cannabis is legal, those favoring a change of law at the state level have more rhetorical ammunition.

After testifying in September before a medical marijuana study committee led by Republican state Rep. Allen Peake, Katie Crosby, 26, started a Facebook group called Hope For Silent Sufferers. "Imagine, before you even have a thought in the morning, you wake up, just in agony," she said. "A living hell, a living nightmare to be honest."

The group, which advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana in Georgia, has nearly 20,000 supporters. Through it, Crosby has connected with people like Pamela Skinner, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1996.

Kentucky: Medical Marijuana Doubtful In Legislature Despite Popular Support

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he plans to file a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session to allow medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State, but he says its chances are slim.

Outright opposition to medicinal cannabis among lawmakers has softened, reports Gregory A. Hall at The Courier-Journal, but many lawmakers just haven't yet discovered the courage to vote for it.

"I think it's going to get some play this session; I don't know how much," said Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg).

The steady progress of medical marijuana legislation in other states is seen as increasing the likelihood for positive change in Kentucky. State residents expressed support for medical marijuana in Bluegrass Polls for the past two years.

Last session, timid lawmakers passed a no-risk "CBD-only" law that allows non-psychoactive cannabidiol oil to be used to control seizures. Two bills to allow broader medical marijuana use died, including one in the House that made it out of the Health and Welfare Committee before dying in the Judiciary Committee.

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