Huffington Post

Missouri: Brother, Sister Get 15 Years Each For Growing 20 Marijuana Plants


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A brother and sister who were caught with 12 marijuana plants and eight seedlings inside their home have been sentenced to a total of 37 years in prison.

Natlie DePriest and David DePriest each received 15 years, the harshest possible sentence which can be given for cannabis cultivation in Missouri, reports Daniel Miller at the Daily Mail. The maximum punishment for manslaughter in Missouri is also 15 years.

A maintenance man entered the DePriests' home in the city of Farmington, Missouri, in 2001, in order to "fit a fire extinguisher" while they were out, and photographed what he thought was a "pipe bomb" on the counter.

He informed the police, showing them the pictures, and they conducted a search, considering the photos probable cause. They found the marijuana plants inside a bedroom closet, along with three pounds of dried cannabis, a rifle which was a quarter-inch shorter then the legal limit, two legal pistols and two bulletproof vests.

They also found ledgers they claimed contain sales record totaling up to $8,000 a month. The "pipe bomb," basis of the entire search, turned out to be no such thing, and harmless.

U.S.: DEA Plans Decision On Rescheduling Marijuana By Mid-Year


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Drug Enforcement Administration plans to decide whether marijuana should be reclassified under federal law "in the first half of 2016," according to a letter from the DEA to senators.

The agency was responding to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other Democratic senators urging the federal government to stop blocking research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

If marijuana is reclassified at all, it would have to be moved to a "less dangerous" category, because it is currently considered Schedule I under federal law, the category of drugs considered the most dangerous of all. Schedule I drugs, by definition, supposedly have no medical value and a high potential for abuse. The insanity of including cannabis -- which, of course, can be used to treat hundreds of conditions -- should be obvious.

There are five categories (schedules) classifying illegal drugs. Marijuana has been considered Schedule I since Nixon's War On Drugs kicked off in 1971. That means the federal government officially considers marijuana to be just as dangerous as heroin -- and it means the government thinks pot is less dangerous than either cocaine or methamphetamine, both of which are considered Schedule II drugs.

U.S.: More Than 100 Native American Tribes Consider Growing, Selling Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 100 Native American tribes have reportedly contacted FoxBarry Farms, a company which says it is building the nation's first marijuana cultivation facility on tribal land, over the past month expressing industry in the cannabis industry.

There's been a surge of interest since the federal Department of Justice's announcement late last year that tribes are free to grow and sell marijuana on their lands, as long as they follow specific guidelines, reports Carly Schwartz at The Huffington Post.

"I really underestimated," said FoxBarry CEO Barry Brautman, whose company also works with tribes to build and operate casinos. "So many tribes are wanting to do this right now."

FoxBarry and the Denver-based United Cannabis Corp., recently signed a contract to construct a huge medical marijuana farm on the Pinoleville Pomo Nation's ranch in Northern California. The 2.5-acre, $10 million installation will cultivate, process and sell marijuana under the United Cannabis brand, according to Brautman, who said the operation would employ 50 to 100 people, with preference to tribe members.

Tribes across the country could experience an economic boom, according to Brautman, who's also negotiating with three other California-based tribes, as well as groups in seven other states.

Illinois: Medical Marijuana In Limbo As Hostile GOP Governor Takes Office


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois patients who are still waiting for safe access to medical marijuana were once again left disappointed on Monday when outgoing Democratic Governor Pat Quinn not only failed to award licenses to growers and dispensaries before leaving office, but actually tightened the state's already strict medical marijuana laws in one of his final acts in office.

"I was livid," said state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who originally sponsored Illinois' medical marijuana law, reports Kim Bellware at The Huffington Post. "I think the governor made a serious and grievous mistake today."

Patient advocates had hoped Quinn would get the program off the ground by issuing licenses before incoming Republican Governor Bruce Rauner -- who ridiculed the medical marijuana program during his election campaign -- was sworn in on Monday. While medicinal cannabis has been legal for more than a year now in Illinois, the state violated its own deadline at the end of 2014 to issue licenses.

Patients have yet to benefit from the law.

Massachusetts: Town Tries To Ban Tobacco


The small town of Westminster, Massachusetts, made national headlines recently when local health authorities tried to make it the first place in the United States where no one would be allowed to buy cigarettes, e-cigs, cigars and chewing tobacco.

"The Board of Health permitting these establishments to sell these dangerous products than, when used as directed, kill 50 percent of its users, ethically goes against our public health mission," claimed Andrea Crete, chairwoman of the Board of Health, reports Katharine Seelye of The New York Times.

The plan resulted in what The Times called "white-hot fury" among the townspeople. Although only 17 percent of Westminster residents smoke -- many say they have never touched tobacco and find the habit disgusting -- they see the ban as an attack on individual liberties. It would also cripple eight retailers in town who primarily sell tobacco products.

A petition sits on the front counter at Vincent's Country Store in Westminster; it attracts more signatures every day. At last count, 1,200 people had signed, in a town of 7,400.

Alaska: Marijuana Legalization Would Generate Millions In Taxes


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Millions of dollars in state tax revenue would be generated if Alaska's voters decide in next week's election to legalize marijuana sales to adults, according to a comprehensive report released on Monday by the Marijuana Policy Group, made up of Colorado researchers and economic experts.

The first year of recreational cannabis sales in Alaska would generate about $7 million in state taxes, according to the group, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. Legal recreational sales of marijuana would account for about 22 percent of total demand in that first year, about four metric tons, according to the report.

"Previous studies incorrectly assume that all demand will quickly shift to regulated markets," the researchers noted. "In our experience, such assumptions are naive." That conclusion would certainly jibe with the legalization experience in Washington state, where scant supplies have driven prices past $30 a gram and have driven many consumers back to the black market.

"If retail prices increase significantly, then most heavy users will avoid this supply mode and buy marijuana from black or grey market sources as possible," the researchers wrote.

Adult Alaskans use nearly 18 metric tons of marijuana, according to the researchers, a demand which is now satisfied through the state's black market, as well as a network of medical marijuana caregivers and home cultivators.

Rhode Island: Unlikely Trio Asks For Life-Or-Death Medical Marijuana Reform


Anne Armstrong, Rhode Island’s Compassion Party’s write-in Gubernatorial candidate, seems almost like a normal Rhode Island mother, bustling about her living room, readying for a French TV News interview.

She speaks and dresses with unpretentious New England charm; you wouldn’t know just by looking at her that just last month, she was a viral video star, covered by CNN, AP, broadcast networks and Huffington Post. It’s hard to imagine that the woman gently mixing tiny doses of cannabis oil into a baking dish with coconut oil has an international cult following.

Armstrong on Tuesday gave hope to many of her followers who are in desperate life-or-death need of medical cannabis, by filing and serving a Constitutional complaint against Rhode Island’s cannabis ban and medical exemption restrictions. The candidate says those restrictions are catching the most gravely ill patients in chokepoints that threaten human life directly, while not even achieving any real purpose.

Ask Armstrong’s media outreach coordinator why he volunteers for her, and he points to the tiny dose of cannabis oil on the counter.

“See that stuff? Anne saved my friend’s life with that oil,” said activist Alan Gordon, who is also a plaintiff in the legal action along with unnamed female cancer patient "Jane Doe," who relies upon the cannabis oil to live. Gordon said Rhode Island law bans him from growing medical cannabis for patients in life-or-death need because he was once felonized for cultivation in Georgia.

Oregon: Rick Steves Kicks Off Tour Promoting Marijuana Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Rick Steves, the mild-mannered travel guru who was a key supporter of Washington state's flawed but successful marijuana legalization initiative in 2012, arrived in Oregon on Tuesday to kick off a nine-city tour promoting Measure 91, a measure on November's general election ballot which would legalize cannabis in Oregon.

Steves, in a recent commentary on Measure 91, called it a "smart law" designed to address the reality of marijuana use, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

"Marijuana is a drug," wrote Steves, a NORML board member who is seemingly eager to court the anti-pot crowd. "It's not good for you. It can be addictive. But marijuana is here to stay. No amount of wishing will bring us a utopian 'drug-free society.'"

Steves explains that owning his own business has given him the freedom to express his personal views about marijuana without fear of being fired.

"When it comes to America's prohibition on marijuana, I can consider lessons learned from my travels and say what I really believe when I'm back home," Steves said.

The travel writer last year was named one of the 50 most influential consumers by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Rhode Island: Gubernatorial Candidate Takes A Hit Of Weed In Campaign Ad


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Some political candidates seem to be in denial about their marijuana use, but a write-in candidate for governor of Rhode Island wants to make sure voters know she uses cannabis every day for both cooking and medicinal purposes.

"Yes, I do smoke cannabis, and yes, I do inhale," says Anne Armstrong in a campaign video posted online this month, reports Sam Levine at The Huffington Post. "It helps me. It helps me to focus, it helps to facilitate communication."

Armstrong posted on her Facebook page that she wants a state where "common sense, compassion, and cooperation can recreate Rhode Island into a place where everyone can live in abundance."

"It doesn't make people crazy, the way you've been told," Armstrong says of marijuana in the ad. "I hope that you will read and open your eyes and realize the truth that we've been lied to for a long time by our government."

Armstrong said in a speech earlier this month at Boston Hempfest that if she were elected governor, she would eliminate all penalties for growing, sharing and using cannabis in Rhode Island.

"I'm gonna site and use cannabis as I govern from my office," Armstrong said. "And I am gonna have my cannabis in the rotunda of the Statehouse and it is gonna be a people's cannabis garden."

Rhode Island permits the cultivation and use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.

U.S.: Marijuana Legalization Supported By Growing Majority of Americans


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new survey shows that a growing majority of Americans continue to support marijuana legalization in the United States.

The CivicScience survey, released last week, asked more than 450,000 adults over the last two years: "Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol?"

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they support cannabis legalization, with 39 percent saying they "strongly support" and 19 percent saying they "somewhat support" it, reports Matt Ferner at the Huffington Post. Thirty-five percent oppose marijuana legalization, with 29 percent "strongly opposing" and 6 percent "somewhat" opposing the move. Seven percent were too wishy-washy to even express an opinion on the issue.

When breaking out the data from the last three months of responses, from May to August this year, CivicScience saw an increase in support and a decrease in opposition to marijuana legalization. Of those who responded most recently, 61 percent said they strongly or somewhat support cannabis legalization, while just 30 percent said they were opposed.

Sixty percent of men and 55 percent of women support legalization, according to the survey. Support was strongest among those between 25 and 34 years old; the only age group which opposed legalization was people over 65.

Australia: Flight Attendant Warns Passengers To Flush Their Drugs Before Landing


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Most of us would appreciate such a warning, but an Australian airline on Wednesday is apologizing for a flight attendant's tip to passengers that there were drug-detecting dogs waiting for them at a Sydney airport.

Many of the 210 passengers on a Sunday night Jetstar Australia flight from Canberra were coming home from the "Splendour in the Grass" weekend music festival at Byron Bay, reports Jonathan Pearlman at the Daily Telegraph.

"We have been told there are sniffer dogs and quarantine officers waiting in the domestic terminal," the flight attendant reportedly told passengers via the Airbus A320's public address system. "If you need to dispose of anything you shouldn't have, we suggest you flush it now."

The advice reportedly prompted a rush on the airliner's bathrooms -- one passenger said several others aboard "suddenly made for the toilets with things clenched in their hands" -- and later resulted in expressions of gratitude on social media from some who had been passengers on the flight.

"I was shocked. Why would you tip off people about this?" the ill-tempered passenger complained. "If they have got something illegal, let them get caught."

But the response on Jetstar's Facebook page was overwhelmingly positive.

"What a good Samaritan, Jetstar Australia this guy deserves a promotion," posted Rohit Dwivedi.

Florida: Wow! 88% Support Medical Marijuana; Majority Also Favors Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

As Floridians get ready to vote on medical marijuana in November, months of campaigning by both sides hasn't moved the numbers at all. A new poll shows 88 percent support for medicinal cannabis, the exact same level of support shown in May.

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute's numbers are significant, reports Dan Sweeney at the Sun Sentinel, because two well-funded opposition groups have formed since the May poll -- "Don't Let Florida Go To Pot," a disinformation campaign from the Florida Sheriffs Association and the Drug Free America Foundation, and Vote No On 23, a project of Drug Free Florida.

As a constitutional amendment, Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Florida, needs 60 percent of the vote to pass in November.

An incredible 95 percent of voters age 29 and younger support the measure in the new poll.

Notorious anti-pot activist Calvina Fay, executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, claims the amendment would result in an explosion of medical marijuana dispensaries, shady doctors authorizing it for almost any ailments, and access for minors. But supporters say the amendment is specific about ailments that can be treated with marijuana, and that there are already state laws in place which would require parental consent before minors could be authorized.

U.S.: Rand Paul Files Measure To Protect Medical Marijuana States From Feds


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) on Thursday filed an amendment to Senate Bill 2569, the "Bring Jobs Home Act," that would explicitly allow states to pass medical marijuana laws despite the federal Controlled Substances Act. The amendment would also bar prosecutions of patients and doctors involved in medical marijuana when they are in compliance with state laws.

Amendment 3630 allows states to "enact and implement laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use" without federal prosecution," reports Phillip Smith at

The amendment then lists 33 states and the District of Columbia that have medical marijuana laws at variance with the federal Controlled Substances Act, including 10 states that allow only for the use of CBD oil (cannabidiol), which, unlike THC, isn't psychoactive, reports Matt Ferner at the Huffington Post.

"What we're trying to do is look at the law and allow states that have changed their laws and have allowed medical marijuana to do so, for doctors to be able to prescribe and for people to be able to get those prescriptions without being worried about the federal government coming in and arresting them," said Brian Darling, Sen. Paul's communications director.

U.S.: Bill Clinton Says States Should Experiment With Marijuana Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former President Bill Clinton, who once infamously said he "didn't inhale" when he tried marijuana, said on Sunday that he thinks states should be able to legalize cannabis regardless of federal law.

"Look, I think there's a lot of evidence to argue for the medical marijuana thing," Clinton said in a "Meet the Press" interview with NBC's David Gregory, after being asked if it's time to "give pot a chance." "I think there are a lot of unresolved questions."

"This really is a time when there should be laboratories of democracy, because nobody really knows where this is going," Clinton said, reports Dylan Stableford of Yahoo News. "Are there adequate quality controls? There's pot and there's pot; what's in it? What's going to happen? There are all these questions."

States like Colorado and Washington, where voters in 2012 chose to legalize marijuana, should be allowed to experiment with their cannabis laws, Clinton said.

"I think we should leave it to the states," Clinton said. "If the state wants to try it, they can. And then they'll be able to see what happens."

Back in 1992, Clinton was a Democratic candidate for President when he commented on his own marijuana use during a campaign forum in New York. "When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two and didn't like it," Clinton said of his time as a student at Oxford University in the late 1960s. "I didn't inhale, and I didn't try it again."

U.S.: Christie Says He Wouldn't Treat Marijuana States Well As President


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Friday that states which have legalized marijuana "probably" wouldn't be treated well if he is elected President.

The governor was campaigning with New Hampshire GOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein when he was asked by Brinck Slattery, a Republican running for state representative: "I know that you have some ambitions for D.C., perhaps. If you were President, how would you treat states that have legalized marijuana?"

"Probably not well," Christie responded, walking away from the conversation, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. "Not well, but we'll see. We'll have to see what happens." Christie's statement was captured in a video shot by Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"It's one thing for Governor Christie to say he doesn't like what's happening in Colorado; quite another thing for him to threaten federal interference if he became President," Slattery said.

"Widely and generally speaking, that reflects his philosophy on marijuana, legalization and restrictions for medically based programs," said Michael Drewniak, Christie's press secretary, of the governor's comment.

Twenty-three states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, with New York being the latest; Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational use as well. Alaska votes on legalization in August.

U.S.: Hillary Clinton Supports Medical Marijuana In New Interview


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hillary Clinton supports the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes "under appropriate circumstances" and thinks medical marijuana should be researched, she said in a Tuesday interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Clinton said she's taking a "wait and see" approach to recreational use.

"At the risk of committing radical candor, I have to say I think we need to be very clear about the benefits of marijuana use for medicinal purposes," Clinton said on CNN. "I don't think we've done enough research yet, although I think for people who are in extreme medical conditions and who have anecdotal evidence that it works, there should be availability under appropriate circumstances."

"But I do think we need more research because we don't know how it interacts with our drugs," she said. (Actually, we know quite a bit about how cannabis reacts with other drugs, as it's one of the most studied substances in history.)

"On recreational, states are the laboratories of democracy," Clinton said. "We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is."

Clinton said she'd never personally tried marijuana, nor did she plan to. "Absolutely not," she said. "I didn't do it when I was young; I'm not going to start now."

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.

Florida: Governor Says He Would Sign CBD-Only Bill Allowing Marijuana Derivative


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Florida Governor Rick Scott, running for reelection in November, on Thursday said he would sign legislation allowing a non-psychoactive medical marijuana extract low in THC but high in CBD to treat children and other patients suffering from seizures.

Despite his firm opposition to an actual medical marijuana law, Gov. Scott said he would sign the so-called Charlotte's Web bill, which passed the Republican-controlled House with bipartisan support on Thursday, reports Andrew Perez at The Huffington Post.

Charlotte's Web is one of many high-CBD strains of marijuana, but in a development that undoubtedly makes the Stanley Brothers of Colorado very happy (and quite rich), it seems to be the one that gets all the media attention. Ill-informed state lawmakers such as those in Florida who want to appear to care about patients, and of course want to therefore get a lot of votes, know just enough about medical marijuana to have maybe watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta's "Weed" specials, and they learned from it, or from second-hand accounts of the show, that "Charlotte's Web" doesn't get kids stoned and helps quell seizures.

So then they pass restrictive legislation, sometimes even requiring the specific strain, Charlotte's Web, which enriches the Stanley Brothers while leaving out in the cold other high-CBD strains such as Cannatonic and Harlequin.

U.S.: Atty. Gen. Holder 'Cautiously Optimistic' About Legalization; Admits He's Tried Weed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he is "cautiously optimistic" about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington state, but added it's tough to predict where legalization will be in 10 years. In the same interview, Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, admitted he had tried pot in college.

"I think there might have been a burst of feeling that what happened in Washington and Colorado was going to be soon replicated across the country," Holder told Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post. "I'm not sure that is necessarily the case.

"I think a lot of states are going to be looking to see what happens in Washington, what happens in Colorado before those decisions are made in substantial parts of the country," he said.

The Department of Justice has allowed marijuana legalization to go forward in the two states where votes chose that course back in November 2012, and has issued guidance to federal prosecutors that is intended to open up banking services for cannabis businesses that are legal under state law.

Illinois: Senate Committee Approves Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana For Children


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Illinois is considering expanding its medical marijuana law to include children suffering from conditions like epilepsy. The Senate Public Health Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would legalize such treatment for minors in a 8-0 vote.

"Letters have been sent by so many parents who suffer watching their children have seizures -- and not just one or two seizures: 100, 200, 1,000 seizures a week," said bill sponsor Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), reports Elise Dismer at the Chicago Sun-Times. "This could be a life-saving solution for children suffering from epilepsy."

Nicole Gross said her 8-year-old son, Chase, lost his ability to speak due to his seizures. "Following his dose of the cannabis oil, we started to see one to two seizures in two minutes, and then two minutes seizure free, five minutes seizure free, then eight ... and when we hit 20, I cried," Gross said, reports Craig Wall at Fox Chicago.

"As a mom, too, it's fun to see his personality, we're seeing more of his personality, we're seeing more of a sense of humor, he wants to tease and play, he likes to make jokes, he likes to hide things from us now and run away, and he knows what he's doing and he thinks it's funny," Nicole said. "And before, we did not really see that."

Syndicate content