California

U.S.: Netflix's 'Disjointed,' Starring Kathy Bates, Offers Laughs in Mad World

Kathy Bates

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Oscar winner Kathy Bates, 69, is lighting up again — only this time it’s cannabis — as Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, the owner of a California medical cannabis dispensary in Netflix's new sitcom “Disjointed”.

“Disjointed”, which showcases Ruth’s old school activism against the business ambitions of her son, Travis (Aaron Moten), a newly minted M.B.A. who wants to grow their dispensary into the Walmart of cannabis, also tackles real world situations from politics to post traumatic stress disorder.

U.S.: NFL Legend Joe Montana Invests in Cannabis Media Business

Joe Montana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recently, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana bought into cannabis technology company HERB.

HERB, a digital media company based in Toronto, Canada geared specifically for the cannabis industry, mixes original how-to videos with hard news and profiles. The company, which boasts 5.3 million unique visitors per month and 2 billion organic video views annually as of June 2017, aims to expand to Los Angeles and New York City, as well as build out new studios to offer online video content.

Liquid 2 Ventures, Montana's venture capital firm, was a part of a group that invested $4.1 million into Herb during the company’s seed-funding round.

California: Court Blocks Federal Prosecution of Cannabis Farmers

California Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court blocked federal prosecutors from moving forward with a conspiracy case against a duo of Northern California cannabis cultivators because the pair was determined to be complying with California medical cannabis laws.

Sonny Moore and Anthony Pisarski, both Humboldt County farmers, plead guilty to federal allegations but sought an evidentiary hearing based on legislation that prohibits the U.S. Department of Justice from cracking down on cannabis suspects who are otherwise following their state laws.

The 2014 Rohrabacher-Farr amendment is a budget rider, co-authored by California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher which prevents enforcement and prosecution in medical cannabis states by halting federal funding for such projects.

U.S.: Congressman Rohrabacher Applauds Senate Panel for Adopting Cannabis Amendment

Capitol Hill Cannabis

The amendment passed despite a letter Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent in May asking House and Senate leadership not to block DOJ from using funds to enforce federal cannabis laws

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Senate Committee on Appropriations on Thursday adopted an amendment, commonly known as “Rohrabacher-Farr,” that prohibits the Department of Justice from using appropriated funds to prosecute those in compliance with their state’s medical cannabis laws.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-CA, who co-sponsored the amendment when it first passed in 2014, retired from Congress last year. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, stepped in as the lead House Democrat pushing the provision.

California: Godmother of Marijuana, Lynette Shaw, Back in Business

Lynette Shaw

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Fairfax, California, a small Marin County town, has a unique business which has been on the forefront of the nascent cannabis industry, Lynette Shaw’s Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) — one of the first medical-marijuana dispensaries in the United States. MAMM, hosted its grand reopening this week, after winning a federal court case that began in the late 1990s. Shaw, “godmother to all the dispensaries”, is cherishing the long-awaited homecoming.

“I never married, I never had children. I birthed this, instead,” Shaw said. “This is my family. And they’re coming back.”

California: Legal Cannabis Potentially a $5-Billion Boon to Economy, Study Finds

Cannabis Boon

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

With the passage of Proposition 64, California’s looming legal recreational cannabis market could total more than $5 billion in annual sales, according to a study by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.

The university’s study, which was contracted by the the state’s Bureau of Marijuana Control, forecast that legal recreational sales will make up 61.5% of California’s total cannabis market and legal medical cannabis about 9%. About 29% of all cannabis consumers may stay in the illegal market.

New Jersey: Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Set To Be Unveiled

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A New Jersey lawmaker will unveil legislation on Monday that would legalize, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana in the state.

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) plans to formally announce the Democratic-sponsored measure at a noon news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton.

If the bill becomes law, New Jersey will be the ninth state to legalize adult-use, recreational marijuana, joining Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

"The national trend is toward legalization," Scutari told NJ Advance Media on Friday. "It's absolutely necessary to save our neighborhoods from drug dealers. And we can use the tax revenue. And people are smoking it anyway."

The bill will need to be passed by both houses of the Democratic-controlled state Legislature and signed by the governor to be enacted.

Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, strongly opposes marijuana, arguing that it's a "gateway drug" that can lead users to try harder substances.

Earlier this month, he said that Democrats who want to pass such legislation are willing to "poison our kids" to receive "blood money" from the tax money it will bring in.

"This is beyond stupidity," he said during a speech in Princeton.

California: Attorney General Becerra Vows To Fight Feds On Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said he would “probably be the 1 millionth person in line” to fight Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he tried to crackdown on California's legal marijuana industry in a recent interview with Politico.

“Cannabis is last century’s argument. We’re beyond that,” Becerra said in the interview. “I suspect if you took a real quick poll here, I bet if we took a poll, who has got cannabis, it’d be pretty — you don’t have to raise your hand, but you know what I’m saying.”

The former Democratic Congressman admitted that he had tried it “at a younger time” when asked by reporter David Siders about his own marijuana use.

“So then it was illegal?” Siders asked the Attorney General.

“I also drive over the speed limit periodically, so,” Becerra responded.

The federal budget includes an amendment that prevents the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with state-legal medical marijuana regimes and hemp programs but it does not include language preventing a crackdown on recreational programs. Donald Trump recently included a statement in an omnibus spending bill that could allow him to ignore the amendment.

“I would love to see Jeff Sessions come to California and tell us we’re not going to move forward on cannabis,” Becerra said. “Something tells me that it’s not gonna happen.”

Alaska: Feds Block Rainforest Farms From Paying Taxes

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Rainforest Farms, Juneau's first legal marijuana retailer, was turned away late last month by the U.S Postal Service when one of its owners attempted to mail a regularly scheduled tax payment to Anchorage. Anchorage is the only place in the state equipped to take cash deposits.

“Any proceeds from the selling of (marijuana) is considered drug proceeds under federal law, so you can’t mail that,” Postal inspector Aaron Behnen told the Empire from Anchorage.

Ken Alper, Alaska Department of Revenue Tax Division Director, said in an interview that the state needs to find a way for “these legitimate businesspeople to pay their taxes. We thought we had done that, and this throws a tremendous wrinkle into our processes.”

Even though eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, cannabis businesses remain mostly locked out of the banking system.

Marijuana is still illegal federally, so any business that deals with it is in violation of federal law. The U.S. Department of Justice stated in a 2013 memo that it would not interfere with states that have legalized marijuana, but that policy could change at any time.

California: Study Shows Marijuana Decriminalization Associated With Improved Labor Market

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Data compiled by economists at the University of California shows that reducing criminal penalties for marijuana offenses is associated with greater overall employment and higher wages.

Researchers at the Economic Self-Sufficiency Research Policy Institute at the University of California at Irvine assessed the relationship between statewide marijuana decriminalization laws and labor outcomes.

The report says that decriminalization is associated with increased probability of employment, particularly for young males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. The greatest average wage increase was experienced by African-Americans.

"This data provides suggestive evidence that marijuana decriminalization laws improve extrinsic labor market outcomes," the authors concluded. "This result is consistent with existing literature that suggests black adults, especially men, stand to benefit the most from removing these penalties."

Colorado: Lawmakers Back Off Plan To Legalize Social Cannabis Clubs

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

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

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

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

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

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

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

California: Marijuana 'Sanctuary' State Bill Proposed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make the state a "sanctuary" for the marijuana industry and the many residents who legally use the plant.

In an effort to avoid a federal crackdown on the Schedule I classified drug, which Attorney General Jeff Sessions has alluded to considering, lawmakers introduced a new bill that would prevent local and state officers from enforcing certain federal marijuana laws on marijuana businesses, cultivators and consumers unless they obtained a court order signed by a judge.

The measure, known as Assembly Bill 1578, would prohibit “using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person [and/or transfer them to federal authorities] for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by a law in the State of California.”

The law would also protect the private information of marijuana businesses and customers, as it would prohibit local and state authorities from sharing personal records and documents regarding cannabis from the federal government.

The bill, introduced in February, was sponsored by Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer along with three other assembly members and two senators.

California: Cannabis Club In Modesto Provides Cannabis Oil For Kids, Support For Parents

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A cannabis club has opened in Modesto, California for children, where they can obtain CBD oil, and families can network with others using cannabis oil to treat their children. Jason David, the president of Jayden’s Journey, named after his son, said the dispensary is necessary because “when a child is sick the whole family is sick.”

Zya Mao is a six-month old patient of the dispensary who suffers from epilepsy. Her father, Jhoson Mao, believes cannabis oils are a better alternative to prescriptions and his daughter’s doctor is not advising against it.

“We noticed… she feels present, her eye is not as wobbly as it used to be,” Mao said in a report from Fox4KC.

Zoe Poe is an eight-year old patient who suffers from ADHD ADD extreme. Sherry Poe, Zoe's mother, said her daughter “started getting ticks” and “crying all the time” while on prescription drugs, and at one point told her mother “she didn’t want to live anymore.” Zoe has been using cannabis oil for a year and a half.

“She sleeps. She’s gained weight,” Poe said. “She’s happy; she smiles; she laughs.”

“If it doesn’t work, throw it away,” David said for parents considering using cannabis oil treatments for their children. But for many patients, he said, “it changes your life like it changes my son’s life."

U.S.: New Report Shows Marijuana Could Be Legal In All 50 States By 2021

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new report suggests that every state in the nation could have legal marijuana for medical or recreational use by 2021.

The latest research by GreenWave Advisors shows the marijuana legalization movement is expected to expand into a significant number of states in the next few years. There is already momentum to get marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballots in 2018 and 2020, which could lead to marijuana being legal in some form in all 50 states, the Motley Fool reports.

Last year should be noted as one of the biggest ever in the history of marijuana law reform with voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada voting to legalize recreational cannabis. These states joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington in legalizing recreational marijuana and running a regulated and taxed cannabis trade.

California: Medical Marijuana Legalization Associated With Fewer Hospitalizations From Opioids

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to data published online ahead of print in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen a reduction in the number of opioid-related hospitalizations.

A researcher from the University of California at San Diego, assessing the association between medical marijuana laws and hospitalizations related to opioid use, reported both immediate and long-term reductions in opioid-related hospitalization following changes in law.

"This study demonstrated significant reductions on OPR- (opioid pain reliever) related hospitalizations associated with the implementation of medical marijuana policies. ... We found reductions in OPR-related hospitalizations immediately after the year of policy implementation as well as delayed reductions in the third post-policy year."

The author also dismissed the argument that liberalized marijuana were associated with an increase in marijuana-related hospitalizations, saying "While the interpretation of the results should remain cautious, this study suggested that medical marijuana policies were not associated with marijuana-related hospitalizations. Instead, the policies were unintendedly associated with substantial reductions in OPR related hospitalizations."

Connecticut: Lawmakers Debate Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Connecticut lawmakers debated Tuesday on recreational marijuana legalization, and found only disagreement.

“It is time to consider legalizing marijuana for adults,” said State Rep Melissa Ziobron, R-East Haddam, and sponsor of a bill to legalize recreational use during testimony before the General Assembly public health committee.

“I realize this is a difficult issue for many,” Ziobron said. “But legal marijuana is safer than alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana has never caused a fatal overdose in the 7,000 years of reported human use.”

Carolyn Dennis of Milford told the committee she opposes legalizing marijuana, especially under the guise of raising revenue.

"Do not threaten our state’s future by endangering the future welfare of our citizens’ health for a dollar,” Dennis said. “I expect that unlike the supporters of this proposed bill, you will not let budget woes take a front seat over the health of the residents and workers, children and adults in the state.”

Massachusetts and Maine voters last year authorized recreational use and the sale of weed is expected to begin next year. Weed is also legal for recreational use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, California, Nevada and Oregon.

Virginia: Republican Representative Introduces Bill To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Republican representative from Virginia introduced legislation this week to end the federal prohibition of marijuana, allowing states to form marijuana policies on their own.

The bill would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act but would not legalize the sale and use of marijuana in all 50 states. It would only allow states to make their own laws without the possibility of federal interference.

“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California,” Rep. Thomas Garrett (R) said in a statement. Virginia presently does not allow medical or recreational marijuana use.

The bill specifies that transporting marijuana into states where it is not legal would still be considered a federal crime.

“This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia,” he continued in the statement.

California: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom Asks Trump To Cooperate With State On Marijuana Regulation

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter to President Trump on Friday asking him to not increase federal enforcement of laws against recreational marijuana use.

The letter was copied to Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, and follows yesterday's comments made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who told reporters, "I do believe that you'll see greater enforcement” against recreational-use marijuana.

“The war on marijuana has failed,” Newsom wrote in the letter. “It did not, and will not, keep marijuana out of kids’ hands.”

“The government must not strip the legal and publicly supported industry of its business and hand it back to drug cartels and criminals,” Newsom wrote to Trump. “Dealers don’t card kids. I urge you and your administration to work in partnership with California and the other eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use in a way that will let us enforce our state laws that protect the public and our children, while targeting the bad actors.”

Newsom was a leading supporter of Proposition 64, approved by voters last November, which made recreational marijuana use legal in California for adults 21 and over. The state plans to begin issuing licenses to growers and sellers early next year.

Newsom also had an issue with comments made by Spicer linking marijuana use to opioids.

U.S.: New Poll Shows Americans Want Feds To Respect State Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Thursday morning, a vast majority of U.S. citizens believe in legalizing marijuana, and think the federal government should respect state marijuana laws.

Ninety-three percent of Americans surveyed in the poll support legal medical marijuana, and 59 percent support legalizing recreational marijuana use.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and all age groups are opposed to the government enforcing federal prohibition laws in states where marijuana is legal for medical or adult use.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

The nationwide survey included 1,323 voters. The results reflected trends similar to those indicated in national polls released by Gallup and the Pew Research Center in October.

U.S.: GW Pharma Moves To Monopolize CBD Market

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Bruce Barcott of Leafly has exposed some actions taken by GW Pharma (NASDAQ: GWPH) that seem to attempt to limit competition from suppliers of CBD.

Lobbyists have been engaged in several states by the company and its U.S. subsidiary, Greenwich BioSciences, companies which are both supporting legislation in South Dakota and Nebraska that would “effectively give GW/Greenwich a temporary monopoly on legal CBD products” in those states for its Epidiolex.

If given FDA approval, Epidiolex could be on the market in early 2018. Legislation advancing in both South Dakota and Nebraska suggests that CBD would be permitted only from FDA-approved providers.

Barcott says GW Pharma and Greenwich BioSciences have hired lobbyists in Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin and possibly in California. Barcott attempted to contact GW Pharma for comment but has not yet received a reply. Should GW Pharma succeed in stifling competition, it could have a serious impact on hopeful in-state poducers of CBD, as well as companies both foreign and domestic who extract CBD from industrial hemp.

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