Colorado: Medical Marijuana Company Fires Back At Hershey


TinctureBelle disputes claim its candies resemble giant chocolate maker’s products

A small, family-owned medical marijuana company in Colorado, TinctureBell, on Wednesday responded to allegations made by the Hershey Company in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, that TinctureBelle is selling marijuana-infused candies that resemble Hershey products.

“The lawsuit from Hershey came as a huge surprise to us,” said TinctureBelle President Char Mayes, “because we changed our entire label line approximately six months ago, long before these allegations surfaced last week. Our new packaging looks nothing like Hershey’s or anyone else’s.”

Hershey did not contact TinctureBelle before filing suit, according to Mayes. “The first we heard of it was from a reporter, who called last Thursday for a comment on Hershey’s lawsuit,” said Mayes.

“We were unable to comment because that was the first we had heard of the suit," Mayes said. "We have yet to be served.”

Colorado Springs-based TinctureBelle is licensed by the State of Colorado to manufacture and distribute cannabis-infused products.

“Our mission is simple,” said Mayes: “We wish to contribute to the health and well being of all MMJ patients, as well as assist our beloved MMJ community in building a positive reputation for the community and the many dispensaries in the state of Colorado that carry our quality line of products.”

Colorado: Lawsuit Claims Marijuana Taxes Violate 5th Amendment


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A lawsuit was filed on Monday in Denver District Court by activist attorney Robert J. Corry, Jr., seeking to permanently end Colorado's marijuana taxes on the grounds that paying them violates a citizen's Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination -- since marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Corry goes beyond that, accusing Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock of violating the federal "Kingpin" statute (the federal law against operating "continual criminal enterprises") for collecting taxes on a federally illegal substance, reports Denver Direct.

The complaint was filed on behalf of an unnamed licensed medical and recreational marijuana store, as well as the "No Over Taxation" issue committee, which worked against Proposition AA, a marijuana tax issue approved by Colorado voters last year. Also signing onto the complaint were Kathleen Chippi, Larisa Bolivar, Miguel Lopez and William Chengelis.

Corry is seeking a refund of all marijuana tax monies collected by Colorado, as well as unspecified damages.

In the event that the suit is successful, it could be the basis for overturning all regulations regarding marijuana in Colorado, on the same grounds. As long as marijuana remains illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, states can't require people to give any information about themselves in order to buy or distribute it, Corry claims.

Colorado: Endocan Corporation Changes Name To OmniCanna Health Solutions


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The board of directors of the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based company formerly known as Endocan Corporation, which specializes in cannabis and cannabinoid formulation-based health and wellness solutions, has selected the new name OmniCanna Health Solutions, they announced on Tuesday.

"OmniCanna Health Solutions was chosen by the Board as a direct reference to the latin 'omnis' meaning 'all' and Canna in relation to 'cannabis and cannabinoids'," said Dr. Dorothy Bray, president of OmniCanna Health Solutions, Inc. "The 'health solutions' completes the full meaning and general mission of the Company to provide the wellness solutions using the full spectrum of legal cannabis and cannabinoid extract based products," Dr. Bray said.

The company's website has been changed accordingly to .

According to the company, the name change began with appropriate regulatory filings with the Office of the Nevada Secretary of State, and the next steps are underway with FINRA for a symbol change to match the new name. The new symbol will be announced in the near term.

The company has also hired the accounting firm, Turner, Stone and Company, LLP to review and audit the Company's financials. "The OmniCanna Health Solutions name change will have no effect on the Company's share structure, corporate organization, business model operations, or corporate governance," according to a Tuesday release from the company.

U.S.: Drug Policy Alliance Says Marijuana Edibles Should Be Tested and Regulated


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday released an official statement on marijuana-infused products -- "edibles" -- which it says "are an important part of the burgeoning marijuana market." The DPA recommends laboratory testing, labeling, and regulation of the products.

The statement applies to cannabis-infused foods, drinks, tinctures, "or any other product infused with marijuana that is often consumed orally," according to the DPA.

"For many consumers, these products are a better option than smoking," the statement reads. "Infused products are also vital to people who use marijuana for medical reasons, because their effects last longer and can be manufactured with doses that meet patients' needs in a reliable way. However, proper regulation is necessary to ensure reliability and safety."

According to DPA, the products should be regulated and tested to ensure safety, quality and reliability of information. DPA recommends labeling edibles "with detailed information to ensure that consumers are informed about what they are consuming and educated on how to safely consume, and that all edibles should be kept away from children."

DPA is advocating for four main principles when it comes to cannabis infused products.

1. Edibles must be kept away from children.

2. Edibles must be clearly labeled.

Colorado: Denver Could Lose Bid For Republican Convention Due To Legal Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver would just love to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. It has historically been a popular city for conventions; the Mile High City's scenic vistas and tourist attractions make it a fun place to visit. But that "High" thing is the hang, you see: Denver is also the poster child for legal recreational marijuana since Colorado voters approved Amendment 64.

"Well, big deal," you may be thinking. "The voters expressed their will at the ballot box; isn't that how American democracy works?" Not so fast, Grasshopper. While a majority of Americans now approve of cannabis legalization, just 36 percent of Republicans agree with that position.

That means an overwhelming two-thirds of GOP members are against legalizing pot.

Denver, undeterred, is still trying to sell itself as the perfect site for the RNC, reports Jon Murray at The Denver Post. But when RNC staffers visited the Mile High City in April -- precursor to a larger scouting mission that started today -- the lunch topic turned to marijuana. And the GOP visitors had plenty of questions.

Colorado: Hershey Sues Company Over Lookalike Marijuana Candies


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Hershey Company is suing a Colorado company which makes marijuana edibles, claiming the packaging of TinctureBell's products is so similar to those made by the Pennsylvania-based chocolate and candy company that consumers can't tell the difference.

The trademark infringement lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Denver, claims the Ganja Joy bars made by TinctureBell look too much like Almond Joy bars made by Hershey, reports Daniel Wallis at MSN.

Besides the alleged trademark infringement, Hershey's lawsuit claims TinctureBelle "also creates a genuine safety risk with regard to customers, including children, who may not distinguish between Hershey's candy products and defendants' cannabis" and might eat the cannabis-infused candies by mistake.

Voters in Colorado approved Amendment 64, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults, back in 2012.

Last month, Gov. John Hickenlooper tightened the rules on edibles and concentrates, as media hype increased around sensationalistic press accounts such as Maureen Dowd's ill-advised consumption of an entire 16-dose candy bar. (Dowd was fine, other than the horribly misleading column she wrote about it.)

Colorado: Symphony Invites Supporters To Bring Their Own Weed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Smart move, Colorado Symphony! The struggling musical unit decided the new era of legal marijuana could increase support for the arts. At a Friday fundraiser, the first of three such planned events, people were free to bring their own weed, and to smoke it.

The symphony is billing the events as "Classically Cannabis," but the buzz was almost killed by Denver city officials before the first one could be held. The city send a letter urging the symphony to cancel, claiming that selling tickets to anyone was allowing people to smoke marijuana in public, which is still against the law, even under Amendment 64, Colorado's legalization law approved by voters in November 2012.

So the symphony made access to the event by invitation only, and the city grudgingly gave the go-ahead.

At $100 per person and extra donations from marijuana-business patrons, the symphony raised $50,000 Friday night.

"At least people are speaking about the symphony, and it's creating awareness for our orchestra," said Obe Ariss, director of development for Colorado Symphony. "We've heard from people and we absolutely respect and acknowledge everybody's opinions."

"We saw this and it just seemed like a perfect opportunity to support the symphony, to also show that we support it in light of the recent legalization," said attendee Katie Shives, reports CBS This Morning.

U.S.: Federal Government May Cut Off Water For Legal Marijuana Crops


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Some marijuana farmers may soon find themselves with some thirsty plants if the federal government decides to block the use of federal water for state-legal cannabis cultivation.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is in charge of managing federal water resources, and "at the request of various water districts in the West," the Bureau "is evaluating how the Controlled Substances Act applies in the context of Reclamation project water being used to facilitate marijuana-related activities," according to spokesman Peter Soeth, report Matt Ferner and Mollie Reilley at The Huffington Post.

Local water districts in Colorado and Washington state contract with federal water projects -- and officials from some of those districts said they think the federal government will turn off the water.

"Certainly every indication we are hearing is that their policy will be that federal water supplies cannot be used to grow marijuana," claimed Brian Werner at Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which is in charge of about a third of the water for northeastern Colorado.

Meanwhile, in Washington state, the Roza Irrigation District, which supplies federal water to about 72,000 acres in Yakima and Benton counties, has issued a "precautionary message" to water customers who may be involved in state-legal marijuana grow operations.

Colorado: Marijuana Sales Up; Crime Down


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When Colorado made history by becoming one of the first two U.S. states to legalize marijuana, opponents claimed this would cause an increase in crime, but as legal sales of cannabis have increased, crime has gone down in the state.

Sales of recreational marijuana reached almost $19 million for the month of March, an increase of almost $5 million from February, reports Joseph Chisarick at Liberty Voice. The first three months of recreational cannabis sales have brought in about $7.3 million in taxes for Colorado; add in the taxes from medical marijuana and the total goes to $12.6 million.

The state also gets fees through the licensing of growers and sellers; that revenue stream has brought in another $903,000 in the first three months of legal sales.

Meanwhile, compared to the same period in 2013, 2014 has seen an overall reduction in both violent and property crimes in Denver since marijuana legalization. Notable reductions were seen in homicide, down by more than 52 percent, and theft from motor vehicles, down by 36 percent.

All forms of violent crime saw a reduction over the same period. Meanwhile, Colorado is seeing job growth; at least 13 different positions have been created by the industry, from marijuana writers to grow-site operators.

Colorado: Symphony Tries To Calm Denver's Concerns Over Classical Cannabis Concerts


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Colorado Symphony now says a series of marijuana-friendly classical fundraising concerts will be by invitation only, in an attempt to calm concerns from Denver city officials that audiences were going to break the law by smoking pot in public.

The symphony also said, in a Tuesday statement, that it was taking information about the three events off its website and refunding the money for tickets already purchased, reports 7 News Denver. The events, "Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series," had been scheduled to begin later this month at Denver's Space Gallery. The concerts will now be open only to a list of VIP guests, by invitation.

"We provide you with this letter to dissuade you from hosting the event," reads the letter signed by Stacie Louks, director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. "[H]owever, if you go forward, we will exercise any and all options available to the City of Denver to halt the event and hold the business owners, event organizers responsible for any violations of law."

"We are also ready to hold individual attendees responsible for any violations of City ordinances or state law prohibiting public consumption of marijuana," the letter states.

Colorado: Under the 'Positive Influence' of a Marijuana Dispensary


Recreational marijuana has created an influx in tax dollars -- millions of dollars, in fact -- since January, which are being used to benefit Colorado’s public school system. This altruistic notion has carried over to one of Denver’s own recreational and medical dispensaries, Walking Raven.

Walking Raven says it is on a mission to give back to the local community by participating in donation campaigns. For the past four months the dispensary has been collecting goods, including toothbrushes, deodorant, and clothing, which are then donated to the Harm Reduction Action Center (HRAC), according to management.

HRAC is a local organization in Denver that uses harm-reduction principles to reduce the negative consequences of drug use impacting individuals, families and the greater community. The non-profit depends solely on donations from individuals and organizations like Walking Raven.

"We are just like any other business in the area, and we care about the well being of our neighborhoods and the folks living in them," said co-owner and Managing Director Luke Ramirez. "By participating in volunteer groups and supporting donation drives, we hope to make a positive impact on all citizens in our area, regardless if they consume cannabis or not."

Since the first of this year, Walking Raven has already collected more than 200 items, which they will be donating directly to HRAC. More than 60 Walking Raven patrons have already been participating in the donation process, and continue to do so on a daily basis.

Colorado: Denver Warns Symphony To Cancel Bring-Your-Own-Marijuana Concert


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It seems as long as there are any laws at all against marijuana, there are going to be buzzkills looking to make sure nobody has a good time. The Colorado Symphony Orchestra may abandon its plans for bring-your-own-cannabis performances after Denver city officials on Thursday threatened to cancel the events.

The letter, hand-delivered and prepared by city attorneys, along with licensing and police officials, "urges" the CSO to cancel the concerts, report Jon Murray and Ray Mark Rinaldi at The Denver Post. In the city's view, the three planned "High Note Series" concerts risk violating state and city laws banning "public consumption" of marijuana.

The letter is addressed to CSO President Jerry Kern, and is signed by Stacie Loucks, director of Denver's Excise & Licenses Department.

The series, scheduled for the Space Gallery in Denver's Art District, was scheduled to kick off on Friday, May 23.

Should the orchestra ignore the city's advice, the letter says, "We will exercise any and all options available to the city of Denver to halt the event and hold the business owners (and) event organizers responsible for any violations of law."

Loucks also warned that concert attendees would be "held accountable" for using marijuana in public. "With the foregoing in mind, we advise that you cancel the effort," the letter reads.

Colorado: Army Veteran Wants To Give Away Marijuana To Others Who Have Served


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Vietnam-era Army veteran wants to give away marijuana to others who have served in the military. It's a simple matter, the way Roger Martin sees it.

"True patriots support cannabis for heroes," he said, reports CBS Denver.

Martin, 61, said he's on a mission to help veterans in Colorado -- and by helping them, he means giving them free cannabis. "To help them be in a position where they can lessen the drug use they're taking and hopefully live a more productive life," he said.

He's the executive director of Operation Grow4Vets, a nonprofit that gives away free marijuana and growing supplies to Colorado veterans who are hooked on prescription drugs or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Martin said that years ago, he was hooked on Oxycontin. He said that his life changed when another doctor switched him to cannabis.

His website,, says cannabis is a "safe alternative to deadly drug cocktails." The group only went online for the first time on Tuesday night, and by Wednesday morning more than 200 veterans had already applied for free marijuana.

Veterans and companies are donating marijuana, edibles, cannabis oil, and grow supplies, according to Martin.

"We owe these veterans," Martin said. "When you enlist in the military they promise to take care of you. A lot of times they don't."

Colorado: Senate Rejects Regressive Bills That Would Have Removed Kids From Parents Suspected of Drug Use


Vote Signals Emerging Trend Toward Addressing Drug Use as a Public Health Issue

Bills aimed to amend the Colorado criminal and civil code with an expansive definition of drug endangered children were killed on the Senate floor on Tuesday by a vote of 15-20. The proposals attempted to expand the criminal definition of child abuse to include even attempts at drug use and/or possession.

The Drug Policy Alliance has opposed and organized against the legislation since last year when a similar proposal failed to move forward. The organization spearheaded an opposition coalition that includes the ACLU of CO and National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

“The proposals do little to protect children but will be effective at criminalizing parents, and tearing apart families,” said Art Way, senior Colorado drug policy manager of the Drug Policy Alliance. "These bills would have done nothing but provide a way for law enforcement to threaten parental rights and further drug investigations.

"It is clear with this vote that Colorado lawmakers realized these bills would not address any actual concerns about child welfare — and would make it worse," Way said.

According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 82 percent of people who use illegal drugs in the past year did so non-problematically. Opponents feared these bills would create barriers for parents trying to access substance abuse treatment by increasing the stigma and consequences for those struggling with substance misuse or use issues.

U.S.: Republicans Assail Obama Administration's Tolerance of Marijuana Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Republicans on a House Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday assailed the Obama Administration's tolerance of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, but Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defended the decision to let banks provide services to legal cannabis businesses.

Secretary Lew said the Department of the Treasury's financial crimes division issued the guidance to banks in February to lend more clarity to the emerging licensed, legal marijuana trade in Colorado and Washington state, reports David Lawder at Reuters.

But Rep. Harold Rogers, the Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, assailed Lew, claiming the move was a "rubber stamp" for marijuana dealing, which is still illegal in most of the United States.

Rep. Rogers hysterically claimed that it would "encourage illegal drug gangs" to try and exploit the U.S. banking system, even asking "What about cocaine dealers? Shouldn't we give them the same break?"

"If they aren't licensed or regulated by the state, how are they different from a drug dealer on the street corner?" Rep. Rogers asked, displaying a spectacular, nay majestic cluelessness, since the topic of discussion was licensed, regulated marijuana businesses in states which have legalized and regulate cannabis.

Colorado: Veterans Suffering From PTSD Absurdly Denied Legal Marjuana


Veterans With PTSD Who Use Legal Marijuana in Colorado Can Lose VA Medical Care and Benefits

Legislation to Add PTSD As Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Rejected By Colorado Legislature

A bill on Monday failed to pass the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee that would have added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of ‘debilitating medical conditions’ that qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation.

This timely bill (HB14-1364) would have addressed a major gap in access to medical marijuana in Colorado for veterans and all those suffering from PTSD. The bill sought to ensure that veterans won’t lose their VA benefits for following their physician’s recommendation to use medical marijuana.

On average a veteran commits suicide every hour in the United States -– and medical marijuana has been proven to reduce suicide. But Colorado veterans who use marijuana to manage their symptoms of PTSD risk losing their Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. VA policy permits veterans in compliance with their state medical marijuana law to continue to receive all their benefits and remain eligible for care in the VA medical system.

Colorado Attracting More Visitors Following Marijuana Legalization; 4/20 Bookings Skyrocket


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The state of Colorado and especially Denver have seen a spike in travel interest and tourism since recreational marijuana sales to adults 21 and older have been legalized, according to data from Denver has seen a 25 percent increase in hotel searches in the first three months of 2014 compared to 2013, according to the data.

Denver, ranked as the 17th most popular domestic destination for Americans in 2013 according to the Hotel Price Index™, the Mile High City is also expected to see an influx of visitors around April 20, nudge nudge, wink wink. Hotel searches for the weekend of April 18-20, when the city will host a number of organized events and music festivals, have increased by 73 percent compared to the same timeframe last year.

Tourists traveling to Colorado should remember a few basics:

Airport Travel: Cannabis remains on the Transportation Safety Administration's list of prohibited items, and marijuana possession is illegal at most airports in Colorado. Colorado Springs Airport and Aspen/Pitkin County Airport have installed "amnesty boxes" in terminals, where travelers can get rid of any marijuana still in their possession. But Denver International Airport has taken a hard line, banning cannabis possession anywhere on its premises.

Visiting Parks and Federal Landmarks: It is illegal to possess marijuana on federal land, even in Colorado. This includes national parks, national forests, national monuments and ski areas.

Colorado: Marijuana Vending Machine Starts Operation


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A marijuana vending machine was unveiled in Colorado on Saturday, ushering in a new era of selling cannabis to customers from vending machines. Its creators call it "an automated, age-verifying, climate-controlled marijuana dispensing machine."

The machine, called the ZaZZZ, uses biometrics to verify a customer's age, according to its creators, reports Bill Chappell at NPR. The climate-controlled machine also keeps the cannabis fresh, according to the company.

For now, the machine will be used only in medical marijuana dispensaries, not for recreational marijuana, which is also legal in Colorado. It will serve a purpose much like that of an automated checkout line at a grocery store, according to American Green, which company which built it.

American Green spokesman Stephen Shearin acknowledged that the idea of buying marijuana from a machine will probably have a "wow factor" that could boost business. He said the machine could also cut down on employee pilferage of pot.

"We're gonna eliminate the middle man," said Herbal Elements owner Greg Honan, reports Denver's Fox 31. "It'll go straight from the budtender right into our machine. There's no room for theft by patients, employees ... there's no way to lose track of the inventory."

Alabama: Coloradans Say 'Marijuana Profiling' Prompts Traffic Stop


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Does the fact that marijuana is legal in Colorado mean motorists from the Centennial State are subject to traffic stops merely because of their license plates? A couple who were headed for a stay on the Florida coast when they were pulled over on an Alabama highway say they were the victims of "marijuana profiling."

Sandra Lenga, 65, and her husband, 71, were driving to St. Augustine, Florida, at the end of January when their route took them through northeast Alabama, heading towards Birmingham, reports Kelsey Stein at When they saw blue lights flashing and moved into the left lane, two law enforcement vehicles followed them and pulled them over "for changing lanes too slowly," reports Michael Roberts at Denver Westword.

But the deputies said they weren't going to write a traffic ticket. What they did do, was walk their drug-detecting dogs around the couple's car. One dog supposedly alerted on the gas cap, prompting a more aggressive search, during which deputies went through the bags and boxes in the trunk.

Lenga and her husband were separated for questioning by the deputies. She told one of them that she hadn't touched marijuana "since college in the 1960s."

As they were apparently being detained, one deputy let it slip that the Lengas "matched the profile of drug smugglers," to Sandra Lenga's chagrin.

Colorado: Student Dies In Fall After Eating Pot Cookie


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A 19-year-old college student from Wyoming on spring break in Colorado fell to his death after eating a marijuana-laced cookie, the Denver coroner said on Wednesday. It was called "the state's first death linked to marijuana" since recreational legalization was implemented with the opening of cannabis stores in January.

The heavy attention the death got in the press serves to highlight just how rare and unusual "deaths linked to marijuana" really are, and also the fact that even when deaths are supposedly "linked" to cannabis, they aren't caused by the herb itself, but by human errors of judgment. Of course, that doesn't prevent it from being labeled a "marijuana death" in sensationalistic press accounts.

Leva Thamba Pongi, a student at the University of Wyoming, died after falling from a Holiday Inn balcony on March 11, reports Carlo Dallaverson at NBC News. Denver Police claim they are still investigating the death, but the autopsy lists the cause of accidental death as "multiple injuries due to a fall from height," and says "marijuana intoxication is a significant contributing factor."

Syndicate content