The History of Hemp News

D Paul Stanford CCS

This publication, Hemp News, is the oldest online news service. In 1991, Paul Stanford began posting Hemp News on the Internet, back prior to the creation of the web. The worldwide web wasn't created until 1994. Stanford began posting news stories about marijuana on Usenet newsgroups, or bulletin boards that are text only computer sites with names like alt.hemp, misc.activism.cannabis, alt.politics.marijuana, alt.drugs.pot. Usenet newsgroups still exist and are archived in perpetuity.

Starting in 1988, Stanford subscribed his Commodore 64 computer to Compuserve, the first national Internet Service Provider, at speeds of 1200 baud over the telephone landline, or about 50 alphabet/numeric characters per second. Stanford first subscribed to Compuserve's Executive News Service, which searched the printed news media's information, like the Associated Press and New York Times, and dropped news stories that matched selected keywords into an online folder, which cost $16 an hour to access. After reading the latest international news stories about marijuana, Stanford realized that most people, even those who were interested in marijuana and ending its prohibition, didn't have access to this news. When Stanford began posting these stories to Usenet newsgroups, no other online compilation of news had been posted about anything to the Internet.

Maine: Ballot Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In Portland One Step Closer


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A measure to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults in Portland, Maine, is likely to be on the ballot this fall.

A coalition led by the Portland Green Party on Thursday morning handed in petitions with more than 3,200 signatures to city officials, the first step in getting the proposal on the November ballot, reports the Portland Press Herald. The city requires 1,500 valid signatures for citizen initiatives to qualify for the ballot.

The proposal would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, while prohibiting its use in public spaces such as parks, schools, and sidewalks.

The law is vague on how adults could actually get marijuana, but according to Tom MacMillan, chair of the Portland Green Independent Committee, it's "likely" to be available through existing medicinal cannabis dispensaries (which we don't see as likely at all, unless and until the law changes on a statewide level). Distribution would be left up to the Portland City Council if the ordinance passes, MacMillan said.

Legalizing pot could lead to less use by young people, because it could eliminate the black market and make buying cannabis subject to the same type of age checks as alcohol purchases, MacMillan said.

New York: Man Hands Out Marijuana Lollipops On The Street


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Oakland, California man has been handing out marijuana lollipops on the streets of New York City since April.

"Marijuana has had a bad rap for too many years, man," activist Judah Izsraael, 44, co-owner of Weed World Candies, said on Wednesday, reports Shane Dixon Kavanaugh of the New York Daily News. "Its time is now."

Izsraael, driving a Ford Econoline van painted with pot leaves and ganja babes, said he has handed out weed lollipops along St. Marks Place and West 4th Street, Times Square and Union Square for a month now. The candies have strain names such as White Widow, O.G. Kush and Blueberry Dream.

"We just set up wherever," Izsraael said. "We're all about educating people."

A handful of attractive women in denim shorts and tank tops working for Izsraael stood on 14th Street near University Place on Wednesday night, offering passersby handfuls of the pot-laced lollipops. While most ignored the spectacle, others were agape.

"Is this for real?" asked one wide-eyed woman. "How do you not get caught?"

"Izsraael claims his candies contain only a small, yet legal, amount of THC -- the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gets you stoned," reports the Daily News, but of course that's nonsense, since there is no "legal amount" of THC under federal law.

"We're not giving out blunts," Izsraael said. "We can't guarantee that everyone is going to get high."

Illinois: Senate Approves Medical Cannabis Bill, Governor Urged to Sign Into Law

Illinois Seal

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Yesterday, the Illinois Senate voted 35-21 in favor of an historic bill that would allow people with certain ailments to use cannabis to ease their symptoms, if recommended by their doctor.

The bill, HB 1, which would allow Illinois residents with qualifying conditions the right to obtain 2.5 ounces every two weeks from a licensed dispensary, is expected to be signed by an "open-minded" Governor Quinn.

"We are embarking here on a way to achieve relief, compassionate relief, consistent with the law (with) a system which avoids abuse," according to the bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Bill Haine of Alton. "It's the tightest, most controlled legislative initiative in the United State related to medical cannabis."

"This is about individuals that are having a difficult time finding solutions to their cancer pains, that are finding other solutions and are going to the black market buying it anyway. We must find these solutions," Senator William Delgado, 2nd Legislative District (D), proclaimed on the Senate floor.

Proponents say cannabis can relieve continual pain without detrimental side effects of other pharmaceutical drugs.

Ohio: Four Proposals to Legalize Cannabis Take Root

Ohio Seal

There are four proposals in Ohio to either legalize medicinal cannabis or decriminalize altogether

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Earlier this month, Ohio State Rep. Bob Hagan (D), introduced two bills in the state legislature. The first, HB 153, would legalize cannabis for medicinal use by those with qualifying conditions. The second, HJR 6, would have the legislature put full decriminalization of cannabis on the ballot for Ohio voters.

“We need to admit that we’ve lost the war on drugs. By taxing the sale of marijuana at a reasonable rate, revenue can be used to implement programs that target more harmful drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. We could be making money to hire more police and fire, pull up our education system, put more money toward local government funding," Hagen explained.

Hagen added, "I've watched a lot of people come through my office suffering with maladies that regular prescriptions just didn't help. They asked me to do it, I said fine. It's the second time I've introduced it and it flies in the face of the pharmaceutical industry, but those who asked me to do it really need it because they've tried everything else."

In addition to the legislative bills, a group of grassroots activists in Ohio is also working to get an amendment on the ballot that would change the state constitution and legalize medicinal cannabis and restore industrial hemp.

U.S.: Marijuana Majority Launches Online Tool To Contact Mayors


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The online cannabis activism site Marijuana Majority has launched a new tool which makes it easy for people to contact their mayors in support of marijuana reform.

"We've seen a number of individual mayors speaking up in recent months about the negative impact that prohibition has on their cities and towns, and we thought a focused action trying to get more mayors to add their voices to the debate might be fruitful," Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority told Hemp News.

"After people send a letter using our tool, they are then prompted to tweet to their mayor and also given the option to be connected with the mayor's office by phone," Angell told us.

To use the tool for contacting your mayor, visit

Petition President Obama: Let American Farmers Grow Hemp

Naturalized Hemp 1975

Our farmers need this valuable crop to be returned as an option for commercial agriculture

By D. Paul Stanford, Hemp News Director

Hemp is the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet. According to the Notre Dame University publication, The Midlands Naturalist, from a 1975 article called, "Feral Hemp in Southern Illinois," about the wild hemp fields that annual efforts from law enforcement eradication teams cannot wipe out, an acre of hemp produces:

1. 8,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre.

* When cold-pressed, the 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yield over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of
* 6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.

These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently, the most productive seed oil crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Each of these three seed oil crops produce between 100 to 120 gallons of oil per acre. Hemp seed produces three times more oil per acre than the next most productive seed oil crops, or over 300 gallons per acre, with a byproduct of 3 tons of food per acre. Hemp seed oil is also far more nutritious and beneficial for our health than any other seed oil crop.

In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other byproducts and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.

2. Six to ten tons per acre of hemp bast fiber. Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers.

Oregon: 14th Annual Global Cannabis March in Portland this Saturday, Thousands Expected

Come out and support what has become a staple of local Portland culture, the Global Cannabis March.

By Michael Bachara, Oregon NORML/CRRH

Free Dana Beal! Portland, Oregon – Nearly three hundred cities worldwide, including Portland, will participate in the fourteenth annual Global Cannabis March on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort. Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Oregon NORML are sponsors of this event.

Musicians Justin James Bridges, Tim Pate and John Cornett have joined the roster for the rally, which runs from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Speakers for the rally include Leland Berger, Portland Attorney and advocate for the group Compassionate Oregon, Russ Belville of 420 Radio, Madeline Martinez of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and more.

“Cannabis proponents agree; the war on the cannabis plant is a farce, the drug war is taking a last gasp. No political movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, it's just a matter of time.” according to Michael Bachara, Executive Director of Oregon National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Washington: Inaugural Cannabis Awareness Event Set For State Capitol

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

The first-ever Hempseed Festival, a cannabis awareness event at Heritage Park in Washington's state capitol city of Olympia, will be held August 3.

"Now that cannabis has been legalized for adults 21 and older, SONshine Organics has decided to do their part in helping to entertain and educate people on the benefits of this plant becoming legal," said Sarena Haskins of SONshine Organics.

To do so, Haskins and the rest of the SONshine crew have put together Hempseed, a cannabis music, education and awareness event.

Featured will be speakers from the Cash Hyde Foundation, Sarena Haskins, Lacey City Councilman Ron Lawson, Hemp News and Toke Signals Editor Steve Elliott, Cat Jeter, and Grandma Hemp.

"There will be local bands, vendor booths, tons of great speakers, and lots more!" Haskins said. "This is the first event of its kind and something that SONshine Organics is working to make a yearly fun/walk fundraising event."

Oregon: Petition to Rename Kelley Point Park to Herer Point Park Underway In Portland

There is a truth that must be heard! To: Mike Abbaté, Director of Portland Parks and Recreation
Attention: Assistant to the Director
April 15, 2013

Dear Mr. Abbaté,

We understand the naming or renaming of a park is complex and emotionally evocative, as assigning a name is a permanent identity for a public space, and often requires significant resources in terms of changing names on signs, maps, and literature to avoid confusion.

Our park renaming request is in reference to Kelley Point Park at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. We understand the current naming of the park after Hall Jackson Kelley has historical reasoning, as Kelley was a vocal advocate for Oregon in the 19th century.

The Proposed Name:

Our group would like to propose the renaming of Kelley Point Park to Herer Point Park, in honor of Oregon author, activist, and icon, the late Jack Herer. We have reached the third anniversary of Herer’s passing and believe his significance to Portland culture, our Oregon community, and the international impact of his work and his best known book, which was a best seller in Germany and printed in over 20 languages, which he wrote and published here in Portland warrants this memorial within our city.


Jack Herer registered tens of thousands of Oregonians to vote over the course of his lifetime and collected hundreds of thousands of signatures for a variety of state petition drives.

Florida: Longest Serving Marijuana Prisoner Gets Permission To Travel; Needs Funds

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

Robert Platshorn became the longest serving marijuana prisoner in United States history, doing almost 30 years in federal prison for importing Colombian pot in the 1970s. When he got out five years ago, Platshorn -- a weed warrior through and through -- didn't take the easy way out and opt for a quiet retirement. Instead, he took up the cause of medical marijuana, launching The Silver Tour to bring the good news about cannabis to senior citizens.

Platshorn did his time, and when he got out, he started trying to make the world a better place and to help sick and aging people. But last May, even though he'd been officially released from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Parole Commission, the federal government moved to silence him, ordering travel restrictions -- effectively, if temporarily, ending The Silver Tour.

That's where things have stood for almost a year now, but finally, Platshorn, a Florida resident also known as The Tuna (from his '70s smuggling group, The Black Tuna Gang), got some good news this week: permission to travel to state capitol Tallahassee to help push for medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.

California: Lawsuit Alleges Long Beach Police Brutalized Marijuana Dispensary Employee

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

A lawsuit filed on Tuesday alleges that Long Beach police who were raiding a medical marijuana dispensary brutalized one of the employees.

Security camera footage of the incident, which happened June 19 of last year, show employee Dorian Brooks, a young African-American with no prior arrests on his record, lying on the ground when an LBPD officer steps on his neck, reports Nick Schou at OC Weekly.

The footage also shows police officers trying to destroy a security camera after the attack.

When Brooks -- who posed no visible threat to the officers -- cried out in pain from the weight of the cop standing on his neck, officers roughly handcuffed him, according to the complaint, and said, "You're a black drug dealer; you should be used to this."

When officers battered down the security camera -- allegedly trying to destroy evidence of their misbehavior -- debris from the camera fell on Brooks, and he again cried out in pain. At that point, one of the officers told him, "Shut up, you dumb nigger," according to the complaint.

Officers refused to loosen Brooks' handcuffs, according to the lawsuit, and they made racially insulting and otherwise insensitive remarks to two overweight Latino dispensary employees. They allegedly loosened the handcuffs on two white workers.

Colorado: Prominent Marijuana Activist Damien LaGoy Dies At 53

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

Prominent cannabis activist Damien LaGoy of Colorado, who was battling AIDS and hepatitis C, died at age 53 on Saturday, advocates from the group Sensible Colorado announced this week.

LaGoy became "the public face of medical-marijuana patients in Colorado," reports John Ingold of The Denver Post.

"Damien LaGoy was pound for pound the toughest individual I have ever known," said Dan Pope, a longtime friend and caregiver. "He was very genuine in his compassion and sense of fairness, yet he could be tenacious as hell when pushed."

LaGoy won court battles in 2007 and again in 2009, securing victories that laid the foundation for Colorado's earliest medical marijuana dispensaries.

He had, with both cases, challenged state Health Department rules that limited the number of patients a caregiver could serve. The limit had been set at five, but LaGoy said that would have leeft him without a provider, because he was Pope's sixth patient.

"If I lose my caregiver, I don't know what I'll do," LaGoy said in 2009. "I'll have to find someone on Colfax or by the Civic Center and get it off the street."

Oregon: Billboard, Press Conference to Highlight Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol

Regulate Marijuana in 2014!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Just days before one of Oregon’s largest and most celebrated beer and wine festivals, a provocative new billboard highlighting the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol will be the centerpiece of a press conference to be held in downtown Portland on Thursday.

The Marijuana Policy Project will hold the news conference, Thursday, March 28, at 10:30 a.m. in front of the billboard at the intersection of SW 13th Avenue and SW Alder Street.

Noting that April is Alcohol Awareness Month, the billboard features a glass of beer, a glass of wine, and a marijuana leaf below the words "Beer," "Wine," and "Safer," respectively. It encourages Oregonians who will be drinking at upcoming beer and wine festivals to think about how marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol to consumers and the community.

"Our goal is to make this year's beer and wine festivals as educational as they are enjoyable," said Roy Kaufmann, Oregon representative of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "We simply want attendees who are drinking to think about the fact that marijuana is objectively less harmful than the pint of beer or glass of wine they have in their hands."

United States: Oregon State University to Offer Class on Industrial Hemp, First in the Nation

Hemp Chart

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News

Beginning Spring 2013, Oregon State University will be offering its groundbreaking course on industrial hemp. The online course, WSE 266, is being spearheaded by the College of Forestry’s department of wood science and engineering. The department believes hemp is an extremely useful renewable resource which is worthy of exploration.

Described in the course material as “an introduction to the botany, biology and agronomy of the hemp plant, its origins, historical contexts and implications of contemporary legal and social issues surrounding its use for food, fiber and building products,” the course will be led by hemp consultant Anndrea Hermann, M.Sc, B.Gs, P.Ag, an instructor at the university. Hermann is the President of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), and has recruited several guest lecturers in order to bring a multi-dimensional view to the curriculum.

Hermann has a wide range of hemp knowledge, from fiber and seed agronomy to building applications. She is also a partner at Hemp-Technologies, a North Carolina based company who produces eco-friendly hemp houses in the region.

“It’s an up and coming crop in the United States and we are going to need professionals coming out of academia who are experts in multiple areas,” according to Hermann. "Oregon can become a recognized leader in the environmentally conscience fiberboard manufacturing of the twenty first century."

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

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.

California: Poll Shows Voters Favor Marijuana Legalization

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

A poll released last week shows a solid majority of Californians surveyed in February -- 54 percent -- support allowing marijuana to be legalized, sold and taxed like alcohol.

The level of support has risen four percentage points since Field Poll last posed the question to the state's registered voters in 2010, reports A few months after that poll, Proposition 19, which would have made California the first state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis, got only 46 percent of the votes cast, losing by just under 700,000 votes.

Voters in Washington and Colorado last year ignored federal marijuana laws, passing initiatives which permit adults 21 and older to possess small amounts of cannabis. Tellingly, opinion polls in those two states, taken just ahead of the November election, showed less support for legalizing marijuana than voters in the new California poll are expressing.

Marijuana legalization got the most support in the San Francisco Bay area, where almost 70 percent of voters endorsed the idea.

A group of marijuana activists has already announced plans to put another initiative on the 2014 ballot.

Washington: Judge Orders Cops To Return Tacoma Man's Marijuana

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

In what could be a precedent-setting case in Pierce County, Washington, a judge on Thursday ordered police to return marijuana that was seized from a Tacoma man during a traffic stop last year.

Municipal Court Judge Jack Emery agreed with Joseph L. Robertson's that the cops had no right to seize the cannabis -- less than 40 grams -- because he is a designated provider of medical marijuana, reports Adam Lynn at The News Tribune.

This might be the first such ruling in Pierce County history, according to Robertson's lawyer, Jay Berneberg. Two owners of a medical marijuana dispensary in the county lost a Superior Court bid to get back the cannabis seized from them during a case which was later thrown out of court.

"As far as that goes, it's a big deal," said Berneberg, who specializes in medical marijuana cases.

Robertson hoped to get his marijuana back from the police property room within a week.

"I feel great," he said outside court. "You've got to stand up for people's rights sometimes."

Police had confiscated the marijuana in May 2012 after stopping Robertson for speeding. The officer who made the traffic stop claimed he smelled cannabis inside Robertson's car and later found a small amount, according to court records.

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