Political

Utah: Congresswoman Love Expresses Support for Medical Cannabis Initiative

Rep. Mia Love

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

At a town hall meeting with constituents on Wednesday, Utah Congresswoman Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) responded to questions about her support for medical cannabis.

“I know a lot of parents out there where their children suffer from epilepsy, or they suffer from other things, and if it’s prescribed by a doctor, then I’m fine with it,” Rep. Love said.

Rep Love continued, “I mean we have an opioid epidemic here. Not just here, but all throughout the country, there are things I believe are far more harmful.”

New York: Dept of Health Adds Organizations to Medical Marijuana Program

New York Cannabis - Times Union

As of August 1, 2017, there are 25,736 certified patients and 1,139 registered practitioners participating in the program and the number of certified patients has increased by 10,744 or 72 percent since the addition of chronic pain in late March

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The New York State Department of Health yesterday announced that it has authorized five additional registered organizations to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in New York State, an initiative aimed at improving patient access and the geographic distribution of dispensing facilities across the state. The newly approved organizations are Citiva Medical, Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, New York Canna, PalliaTech NY and Valley Agriceuticals.

Texas: Bill Introduced to Decriminalize Cannabis

Texas Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 27, Texas Representative Joe Moody introduced, HB 334, a bill calling for the decriminalization of cannabis possession. The proposed legislation would also create an exception to prosecution for possession of associated drug paraphernalia in the Lone Star State.

Under the proposed law, possession of over one ounce of marijuana would still be punishable with a misdemeanor, while five pounds or more would still garner a felony charge.

U.S.: Senator Booker Introduces ‘Marijuana Justice Act’ to Legalize Cannabis

US Capitol

For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for cannabis-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, torn apart families and communities, and taxpayer dollars

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Today, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act, a bill that if passed will legalize cannabis at the federal level and go even further in an effort to remedy many of the failures of the War on Drugs.

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.

U.S.: Take Action Against Prohibitionist Attorney General Sessions

Jeff Sessions Reefer Madness

By August, states that have legalized recreational and medical cannabis should have a better idea how the Justice Department and Trump Administration plan to act

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the ever outspoken critic of cannabis, issued a recent directive stating he wants to increase asset forfeiture, which would allow the government to seize money and property from people suspected of a crime even before conviction. If the businesses have the means to sue to get their assets back, the case would be time consuming, stressful and expensive and virtually impossible for the entity to survive financially.

Massachusetts: Governor Signs Recreational Cannabis Bill

Mass Cann Law 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed an overhaul of the state's voter-passed recreational cannabis law. The governor's signature, which comes 11 days after a legislative conference committee reached agreement on a compromise bill that changed several aspects of the original voter approved measure, is an issue the governor opposes.

U.S.: Congressmen Introduce Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017

U.S. Capitol - Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017

Bill would legalize production of industrial and research hemp in the U.S.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Recent Congressional action, which would move the U.S. closer to legalizing industrial hemp, was introduced by Congressman James Comer (KY-01) today in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, which would remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and legalize its production in all 50 states, has four initial co-sponsors.

"I'm glad to file the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 after getting a bipartisan consensus of Congressmen on board,” said Congressman Comer. “This will be my priority legislation."

Alabama: Congressman Running For Sessions’s Senate Seat Backs Medical Cannabis

Congressman Mo Brooks

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a fierce opponent against states to set their own cannabis laws without federal interference, but new Alabama Senate seat hopeful endorses cannabis legislation

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A leading candidate for Sessions' former seat representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate, Congressman Mo Brooks (R), is making support for cannabis law reform an important part of his platform.

“Medical cannabis should be treated like any other treatment that saves lives or eases pain and symptoms. In a land of freedom and liberty, that decision is best kept between a doctor and a patient,” Congressman Brooks said at a press conference. “That is what I believe. That is how I will vote in the Senate. That is how I have voted in the House.”

Arkansas: Texarkana Approves Medical Carijuana Regulations

Texarkana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Texarkana, the first municipality in Arkansas which has granted formal approval to local rules that will govern medical cannabis businesses that operate within its borders, has approved the historic first business license fees for dispensaries and medical cannabis growers, according to MJBiz .

Growers must pony up $50,000 for a business permit, while dispensaries will have to pay an initial $7,500 and then $11,000 for yearly license renewals, reports KSLA, the Shreveport, Louisiana TV station.

U.S.: Congresswoman Challenges Trump Administration on Its Support of D.C. Marijuana Rider

Congresswoman Norton

Congresswoman Norton Stands Up to Trump Administration Regarding Harmful D.C. Cannabis Rider

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Yesterday, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) used an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which primarily focused on opioid policy, to challenge the Trump Administration’s support of the anti-home-rule rider that bars the District of Columbia from using its local funds to regulate and tax cannabis sales. Possession of cannabis remains legal in D.C. because Norton found a loophole in the rider, which tried to block the District’s voter-passed referendum that legalized cannabis altogether.

U.S.: Senate Committee OKs Medical Cannabis Protections In Rebuke to AG Sessions

AG Jeff Sessions

Although the common sense amendment must pass as part of the final appropriations bill, the Appropriations Committee vote is seen as a strong signal that Republican leaders are dismissing AG Sessions’ draconian request

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier today, in an effort to protect state medical cannabis patients, the Senate Appropriations approved an amendment to strengthen states rights, despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions stance on the issue.

New Hampshire: Governor Signs Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

Cannabis

HB 640 will take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire. It will officially take effect in 60 days, making New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation — and the last of the New England states — to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

Rhode Island: Bill to Create Cannabis Commission Passes General Assembly

Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Rhode Island Rep. Dennis Canario (D-Dist. 71) and Sen. Cynthia Coyne’s (D-Dist. 32) legislation (2017-H 5551A / 2017-S 277A) that would create a 19-member special legislative commission to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island recently passed the General Assembly.

U.S.: Congressman Reintroduces Legislation to Give Students a Second Chance

Illinois Cannabis Arrests

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 14, Illinois Congressman Bill Foster (D) reintroduced legislation to change penalties students face when convicted of minor marijuana offenses. The Second Chance for Students Act would allow students convicted of an offense involving the possession of marijuana to retain financial aid eligibility for six months while they complete a drug rehabilitation program.

Under current U. S. Federal policy, students convicted of drug offenses lose eligibility for federal financial aid for a period of time.

"One mistake should not ruin a student’s future,” Representative Foster said.

Massachusetts: Legislature Compromises on Legalization Implementation Bill

Massachusetts: Legislature Compromises on Legalization Implementation Bill

The House had previously voted for far-reaching changes to the law passed by voters in November 2016; compromise bill more closely reflects ballot initiative

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

After weeks of talks and missed deadlines, legislators in Massachusetts have reached an agreement on legislation that will make changes to Question 4, the law to regulate marijuana for adults that was approved by voters in November 2016.

United States: Senators Stand Up To Protect Veterans, States' Rights

Cannabis

Amendment Would Provide Veterans the Opportunity to Discuss Medical Marijuana with their Doctor

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

U.S. Senators Steve Daines (MT-R) and Jeff Merkley (OR-D) successfully included an amendment, which passed committee 24-7 vote, in the FY 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that protects veterans’ ability to discuss with VA physicians the use of medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

Florida: Attorney Sues State Regarding Anti-Cannabis Smoking Legislation

Florida Medical Marijuana

House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, the legislator who sponsored the troublesome legislation and insisted on the smoking ban, defends lawmakers’ actions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last Thursday, Orlando attorney John Morgan sued the state of Florida stating the new SB 8A law banning smoking medical cannabis is in violation of Amendment 2, the voter-initiated constitutional amendment that passed last November with 71 percent of the vote.

Utah: Poll of Likely Voters Shows 73% Support for a Medical Cannabis Ballot Initiative

Utah Medical Marijuana Poll - February 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A February poll of 402 Utahns found that 73% of voters support a medical cannabis ballot initiative, with only 20% opposed and 7% undecided.

“The poll results show overwhelming and broad support for medical cannabis in Utah,” said DJ Schanz, director of Utah Patients Coalition, a political campaign committee formed to support a 2018 ballot initiative to establish a medical cannabis program in Utah. “Voters believe that patients should be able to safely and legally access the medicine they need.”

U.S.: Congressman Disputes Anti-Cannabis Organization’s ‘Lie’

Representative Earl Blumenauer

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In June, the loudest prohibitionist cheerleader committed to continuing the failed War on Drugs sent out a press statement showing they are continuing to try and roll back progress on cannabis reform.

Kevin Sabet and his organization, SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) falsely claimed that the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer provision prohibiting the Department of Justice from enforcing federal laws against state-legal medical marijuana programs was removed from the Congressional spending bill.

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