U.S.: Edible Marijuana Candy Is Sending Kids To The ER

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Marijuana is now legal in 24 states and the District of Columbia for either recreational or medical use. Marijuana edibles are becoming increasingly popular and kids across the nation are getting hurt.

In Oregon, an 8-year-old boy was rushed to the ER after eating a marijuana cookie he found in a park. Two children in Michigan were taken to the hospital after getting into a man's stash of gummy candies containing THC, tetrahydrocannibinol, marijuana's psychoactive component. Poison control facilities across the country reported 4,000 kids and teens exposed to marijuana just last year.

"This is extremely dangerous," Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital, told TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen in a recent interview. "When young children get ahold of these products, they can have severe reactions, including nausea, vomiting, disorientation, anxiety-like reactions and even psychotic reactions that can make them do things they wouldn't normally do."

Police warn that kids could bring edibles to school and share them with friends without being aware of what they are.

U.S.: Federal Data Shows Marijuana Trafficking Falls Following State Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana prosecutions dropped significantly after the passage of statewide laws legalizing and regulating the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.

According to the new report, the number of cannabis trafficking offenders prosecuted federally fell dramatically after 2012, declining from more than 6,000 a year to fewer than 4,000 in 2015, reports Tom Angell at

"The number of marijuana traffickers rose slightly over time until a sharp decline in fiscal year 2013 and the number continues to decrease," according to the report.

The period of decline matches the passage and enactment of marijuana legalization measures in states including Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Those convicted of marijuana trafficking serve an average of 29 months in prison, according to federal data.

A copy of the USSC report is available here for downloading:

Colorado: Denver Police Issue 18 Citations For Public Marijuana Consumption At Pot Rally


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver Police on Saturday issued 18 citations for public marijuana consumption at the rescheduled 420 Rally in Civic Center Park downtown, according to police spokesman Doug Schepman.

While that's bad enough, at least it's noticeably less than the 60 citations handed out on April 20, when thousands gathered in Civic Center to celebrate Cannabis Day.

Recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Colorado when voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, but smoking weed in public remains illegal, reports Katy Canada at The Denver Post.

Last year's rally -- which lasted for two days -- resulted in more than 150 police citations.

On Saturday, police also issued three citations for driving with a suspended license, and two for flying drones in a public park.

The rally ran from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and brought thousands of cannabis advocates to downtown Denver. Organizers had been forced to postpone the original event, scheduled for April 1t6, because of snow.

Colorado: Governor Who Opposed Marijuana Legalization Now Says It's Working Well

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Colorado became the first state in the union to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. Many were skeptical about the law, including Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who called legalization reckless at the time. Now, about a year and a half since marijuana was first legally sold in the state, Hickenlooper appears to be acknowledging that legalization is, in fact, working well.

Hickenlooper said in a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles that despite opposing the legalization of marijuana, his job was "to deliver on the will of the people of Colorado. It's beginning to look like it might work."

Hickenlooper told Maria Bartirimo of Fox Business several months ago that legal pot was "not as vexing as we thought it was going to be."

And on "60 Minutes" he predicted that Colorado might "actually create a system that could work" in successfully regulating marijuana.

Despite some issues in the early days of legalization, crime is down, unemployment remains low, and about $100 million in revenue has been brought in by the marijuana industry.

Since Colorado legalized marijuana for recreational use, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia have done the same. Maine and California will vote on the issue this November.

Colorado: Denver Cops Combing Craiglist, Facebook For Illegal Marijuana Sales


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver Police are combing Craigslist and Facebook to find black market marijuana dealers who illegally promote their products online, law enforcement said on Thursday.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older, but Denver Police Department spokesman Doug Schepman claimed pot dealers are circumventing state law by using online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook to stimulate sales, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

The Denver-area Craigslist page on Friday had more than 700 postings where marijuana is listed under the "for sale" category. Thousands of people are using the website to sell pot online, according to Kevin Torres at Fox 31 Denver.

"I think the black market in general is still very active and Craigslist is a perfect example of the active black market," said Lauren Harris, owner of Dynama Consultikng, a cannabis consulting firm that helps dispensaries navigate the rules of Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

Colorado: Police Ask For Break In New Marijuana Laws

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Law enforcement officers and top prosecutors in Colorado want a two-year pause on new marijuana laws to give officers a chance to catch up.

In a letter sent to lawmakers last week, leaders of the three main groups of law enforcement officials said local police "cannot keep up with the quantity and speed of constantly-changing marijuana law."

The letter says that there have been 81 marijuana-related bills in just the past four years.

"Regulation seems to change on a daily basis and this process must be slowed down," the groups wrote.

The solution the group proposes is a two-year moratorium on, "any changes to current law with regard to marijuana legalization, unless a strong public safety nexus is established."

The letter was sent by the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, the County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Colorado District Attorneys' Council.

In addition to the moratorium, the letter asks lawmakers to fund two law enforcement work groups that the organizations formed to keep track of marijuana legalization's impacts and to train police officers. The letter also asks the legislature to create a state marijuana liaison to law enforcement.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Alliance Applauds 2016 Legislative Session


As the 2016 legislative session comes to a close in Colrado, The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) on Thursday applauded legislators for what it called "the hard work and the goals achieved during the 2016 session."

“The 2016 legislative session has been eventful for the cannabis industry,” said Mark Slaugh, CBA executive director and iComply CEO. “Many of the bills that were up for discussion this session will have a major impact on our industry, and we are looking forward to seeing how some of these bills and laws change the landscape of the cannabis industry in Colorado for the better.”

“Consumer and public safety are CBA’s top priorities, which is why we are working to bring best practices to the industry to ensure consumers are educated about how and when to consume cannabis,” Slaugh noted. “CBA’s goal is to provide our members and the industry with insight to the bills being proposed, as well as sensible legislation for the industry. The industry has embraced many of the bills up for discussion this session and will work with the state to promote industry best-practices.”

The Retail Marijuana Sunset Bill (HB 1261)

"The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) applauds the Assembly for its prudent review of the Sunset Bill."

Purchasing Regulations

Colorado: Pot Shop Sales Already Total $270 Million In 2016

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Colorado Department of Revenue just released figures that show pot shops in the state have sold more than $270 million in marijuana and related products in the first three months of 2016.

The licensed stores sold more than $33 million in medical cannabis and more than $55 million in recreational marijuana in March, the latest month for which the department has released tax figures.

March 2016 recreational marijuana sales are up 30 percent from March 2015.

"Marijuana sales remain strong," said Christian Sederberg, an attorney for the cannabis industry. "As the regulated system continues to work, we're also on pace to have over $40 million in excise taxes, meaning there could be additional taxes available from the excise tax to be used for something beyond the public school construction fund."

Colorado marijuana shops sold more than $699 million of product in 2014 and over $996 million in 2015. Totals for taxes and license fees have grown as well, from $76 million in 2014 to $135 million in 2015.

Colorado: Since Marijuana was Legalized, Arrests Fell For White Kids But Rose For Black Kids

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A new report by the Colorado Department of Safety shows that black kids are more likely to be arrested since marijuana was legalized, while white kids are less likely to face arrest.

Between 2012, the last year pot was illegal in Colorado, and 2014, the first year of legal pot sales, the marijuana arrest rate for white kids age 10 to 17 fell by 9 percent. Black kids of the same age saw a 52 percent increase in arrests. Arrests rose by 22 percent for Hispanic kids.

A 2013 survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment determined that black and Hispanic kids are slightly more likely to use marijuana than white kids. But the disparities in arrests are so huge that the differences in use rates don't explain the full difference in arrest rates: although black students are 1.5 times as likely to use pot, they're 2.2 times as likely to be arrested for the drug.

Colorado voters legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over in 2012. While pot remained illegal for anyone under 21, it was expected that law enforcement officers would spend less time enforcing marijuana laws in general, but enforcement varies at the local level and on the basis of race, apparently.

Colorado: Suit Filed Against Marijuana Businesses After Fatal Shooting

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A lawsuit has been filed against two recreational marijuana businesses after a shooting left three boys with their mother dead and their father charged with murder.

The lawsuit claims that the marijuana-infused candy sold to the father did not have a disclosure from the manufacturer about its potency and possible side effects, including psychotic behavior.

The suit was filed on the boys' behalf by their grandparents, Wayne and Marti Kohnke and aunt, Tamara Heman, who are their guardians now.

Richard Kirk is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his wife, Kristine Kirk, which occurred on April 14, 2014. Kristine Kirk called 911 before she was shot and told a dispatcher that her husband was hallucinating and was going to get a gun.

Richard Kirk pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Dr. Andrew Monte, a defense expert, submitted a report to the court saying that Kirk was intoxicated with THC, the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high. He said the THC had led to delirium.

Low levels of THC were found in his blood, authorities reported.

The lawsuit names Gaia's Garden LLC and Nutritional Elements Inc, and it says Gaia's Garden made the candy and Nutritional Elements sol it to Kirk.

Colorado: Loopr Launches Mobile Cannabis Lounge and Mobile App


Colorado’s 'first upscale cannabis-friendly transportation service' combines Uber-like app with luxury 44-seat buses running routes around a curated selection of Denver dispensaries, bars, restaurants, and nightlife destinations

Visiting Denver's many dispensaries, restaurants, bars, clubs, sporting venues and other destinations while enjoying cannabis becomes a premium, but accessible, legal experience with the introduction of Loopr transportation service and application.

The Loopr buses are 45’ Freightliner luxury coaches that include comfortable seating for 44, a glassware and dab bar, granite countertops on the four booths, more than a dozen video monitors for entertainment and route information, free WiFi, a lavatory and refrigerator, laser light show(!) and more.

The robust transportation app allows users to geo-target the Loopr bus location on its circuit around the city and receive accurate pickup and dropoff times. Whenever Loopr customers are ready to move around the city, or if they just want to spend time in the mobile lounge, they can purchase a day pass or subscription to always enjoy their favorite cannabis products with onboard service.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Accelerator Launches In Denver


Longtime entrepreneur Patrick O’Malley on Wednesday announced Good Life Colorado, a cannabis industry program that provides entrepreneurs space to develop products in a licensed MIP (Marijuana Infused Products) facility in Denver to develop a wide range of THC products.

“With licensing and space becoming prohibitively expensive along the Front Range, we decided to create a place for cannabis entrepreneurs who have fantastic ideas and solid budgets, but lack the resources for a MIP license and warehouse rent or purchase,” said O’Malley, adding that a basic MIP-oriented business today needs at least $750,000 to even begin experimenting with product development. “Good Life Colorado offers entrepreneurs a cost-effective way to turn their ideas into commercial triumphs.”

One company, Chooze Corp., has already taken part in Good Life Colorado, leveraging the facility to develop its mood-enhancing product LucidMood. Since launching, the pioneering LucidMood has become an industry leader in the field of cannabis mood-crafting, an area of exploration that experts predict will introduce cannabis to a far broader range of consumers.

Colorado: Marijuana-in-schools Bill Sent To Governor

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A bill was sent to the governor of Colorado Tuesday that would guarantee students' ability to use medical marijuana at school.

The Senate gave unanimous approval to the bill,which earlier passed the House wit a vote of 56-9.

“I have a niece that has epilepsy and needs to use cannabis to take care of that problem, so I understand,” said Rep. J. Paul Brown of Ignacio, who had initially opposed the bill.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, has said that he will sign the bill.

“My son, if he needed medical marijuana and he needed it during the day while he was in school, I’d want him to have that opportunity,” Hickenlooper said.

“Those kids have every right and expect that they should be able to have access to those medicines, and they haven’t. My hope is that this bill... motivates those schools to make sure these kids can get the medication they apparently need.”

Some districts worry that marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, which could result in a loss of federal funding.

The bill was amended to allow schools to opt out if they can prove that they would lose federal money, though supporters of the bill say it is highly unlikely that federal officials would pull funding.

Several other states have required schools to create policies allowing medical marijuana, which has not resulted in a loss of federal funds.

Colorado: Advocates Collecting Signatures For Ballot Initiative To Allow Pot Clubs In Denver

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana advocates in Denver have begun collecting signatures to place an initiative on November's ballot to allow cannabis consumption at private social clubs and private events with a permit.

The Denver chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws filed the proposed ballot measure with the Denver Elections Division last week.

To place it on the ballot, the Responsible Use Denver committee organized by NORML must submit at least 4,726 verified voter signatures by mid-August.

"Denver voters want this, and we are going to make it happen," Jordan Person, the NORML chapter's executive director, said in a news release. "Denver residents and visitors deserve the right to enjoy legal marijuana with like-minded adults in social settings."

Denver NORML's initiative would restrict entry to licensed clubs and permitted events to people 21 or older. Cannabis clubs could not double as bars or restaurants, and existing bars and restaurants could not play host to permitted events allowing marijuana use.

City officials have not been receptive to the idea of sanctioning social consumption of marijuana, but have been in talks with activists and business groups since last summer. Those talks have not resulted in a public proposal.

Colorado: Nebraska And Oklahoma's New Tactic To Overturn Marijuana Legalization

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The states of Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking to intervene in an ongoing court case in their newest effort to overturn marijuana legalization in Colorado.

The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a proposed lawsuit brought against Colorado by the two states last month. Earlier this month, Nebraska and Oklahoma responded by asking to be added to a case at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

That case is the consolidation of two separate appeals filed by legalization opponents whose lawsuits were dismissed by a lower court. Nebraska and Oklahoma's motion means that all of the ongoing challenges against Colorado's legalization of marijuana have merged into a single court case.

Since Colorado became the first state in country to allow licensed stores to sell marijuana to anyone over 21 years old, the state has faced a number of lawsuits seeking to overturn the law. None of them have succeeded.

One lawsuit was brought by a group of county sheriffs and another was brought by the owners of a rural property next to a marijuana grow. In both cases, the plaintiffs — backed by national anti-legalization organizations — argued that federal laws criminalizing marijuana should override state law. Federal judges in Colorado dismissed both earlier this year, prompting the appeals, which were later consolidated into a single case.

Colorado: Life Flower Medical Marijuana Recalled Due To Pesticides


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado marijuana regulators on Friday announced a big recall of medicinal cannabis grown with unapproved pesticides. The marijuana in question was sold by a dispensary with storefronts in Boulder and Glendale.

The recall is one of a series in which Guardian, a pesticide that had been sold as "all natural," was found to contain concentrations of a substance banned for use on cannabis, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at .

Colorado in January had removed Guardian from its list of approved pesticides for use on marijuana.

More than 92 lots of cannabis, with each lot containing up to dozens of plants, produced by Life Flower Dispensary at its grow on Arapahoe Road in Boulder and sold at its storefront on Leetsdale Drive in Glendale are subject to the latest recall, according to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division.

"We were using Guardian in late September and early October, and there are a couple of those plants still in flower," said Neal Bigelow, general manager at Life Flower. "That's exactly what we're going through."

Colorado regulators found the presence of abermectin, which isn't allowed for growing cannabis.

U.S.: DEA Approves PTSD Marijuana Study

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Drug Enforcement Agency has approved a study on the effect of medical marijuana on post traumatic stress disorder. It will be the first randomized, controlled research in the U.S. for PTSD that will use the actual plant, and not just oils or synthesized marijuana.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, say the DEA's approval gives researchers the OK to purchase marijuana for the study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

The group should begin recruiting and enrolling participants as early as June, MAPS spokesman Brad Burge said.

"The contract with the state of Colorado was signed on April 20 — an unofficial national holiday in some circles — meaning the funds are en route to MAPS. We are now preparing to place the order for the marijuana for the study," Burge said in an email to Military Times.

Colorado in 2014 awarded a $2 million grant to MAPS for the research and at the same time gave an additional $5.6 million to several other organizations to support medical marijuana studies.

Colorado: Cannabis Critics Announce New Grow Competition


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two cannabis critics for The Denver Post’s "The Cannabist" on Wednesday announced the launch of a new marijuana cultivation competition.

Jake Browne and Sohum J Shah, writers for The Cannabist, made the announcement with event partners and sponsors Dark Horse Genetics, Cultivate Colorado, and Pazoo, Inc., licensing partners to analytical laboratory, Steep Hill Colorado.

With local authorities in Adams County denying the annual High Times Cannabis Cup a permit in 2016, a unique opportunity to provide an alternative competition presented itself for the first time in years. Browne and Shah's revolutionary new grow competition is based on quantitative analysis as opposed to qualitative rating thanks to their strategic partner, Steep Hill Labs.

Unlike other competitions, the inaugural Grow-Off is limited to licensed Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facilities in Colorado and will be fully compliant with state laws and regulations.

Colorado: Report Says More Adults Using Marijuana, But Not Kids

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A report released Monday shows that Colorado kids are not smoking more pot since the drug became legal in 2012, but their older siblings and parents sure are.

The report released Monday by the state detailed changes in everything from pot arrests to calls to Poison Control and tax collections. Middle-schoolers and high-schoolers indicated that youth marijuana has not risen significantly since the legalization of recreational use in 2012.

"No significant change" in marijuana use by children under 18 was the result of anonymous surveys given to about 40,000 Colorado students before and after legalization.

Use among high school students actually decreased, going from about 23 percent in 2005 to about 20 percent in 2014.

While use of marijuana did not increase significantly among children, it did jump among adults.

The survey showed a rise in marijuana use among adults in Colorado aged 18 to 25 of about 5 percent from the year before recreational pot was legalized.

A similar spike was indicated in adults over 26, from 7.6 percent in 2012 to 12.4 percent in 2014.

The report showed a marked drop in arrests, but racial disparities in enforcement appear to have not gone away.

U.S.: Free Tool Launched To Help Consumers Assess High Quality Marijuana


“Whether novice or aficionado, knowing how to assess cannabis flower quality is key to having the best possible experience.”

All Cannabis isn't created equal, and just as wine enthusiasts enjoy a user friendly tasting system and diamond buyers employ the “Four C’s.” Good Chemistry Nurseries, one of the industry’s most experienced cannabis producers, has now created a stylish, easy-to-use free consumer cannabis evaluation guide for assessing quality cannabis flower.

Whether novice or aficionado, knowing how to assess cannabis flower quality is key to having the best possible experience. Good Chemistry Nurseries on Thursday announced it has developed a five-step process for identifying high quality, remarkable flower, similar to the multi-step process for evaluating wine.

The S.T.A.T.S. method (Sight, Touch, Aroma, Taste, and Sensation) is a guide to helping consumers evaluate essential aspects of the flower in order to make the most informed and satisfying purchase decisions.

“Just as American consumers have become more knowledgeable about quality wine and craft beer, Good Chemistry Nurseries’ S.T.A.T.S. guide will help consumers quickly and easily assess high quality cannabis,” said Matthew Huron, CEO, Good Chemistry.

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