Recreational

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

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Longtime GOP congressman U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) on Tuesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

He is the second California Congressman to endorse the measure in as many weeks. U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) announced his support last Monday.

"Rohrabacher is a 13-term Congressman who is a powerful voice for libertarian values," the AUMA campaign announced in a prepared statement. He is the co-author of the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Farr amendment which has been passed as part of the Federal Budget and prevents the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state.

“As a Republican who believes in individual freedom, limited government and states' rights, I believe that it's time for California to lead the nation and create a safe, legal system for the responsible adult use of marijuana,” said Rohrabacher.

“I endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act for the November 2016 ballot,” the Congressman continued. “It is a necessary reform which will end the failed system of marijuana prohibition in our state, provide California law enforcement the resources it needs to redouble its focus on serious crimes while providing a policy blueprint for other states to follow.”

Pennsylvania: Governor Says Medical Marijuana Doesn't Mean Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, but Governor Tom Wolf has rushed to say that doesn't mean full legalization, or even a pathway there.

"This is not a gateway to anything other than ... reinforcing what we've always done and that is allow doctors, encourage doctors, to do what they can do to make the lives of their patients more comfortable," Gov. Wolf told KDKA Morning News.

Implementing the newly legal medicinal cannabis programs is expected to take from 18 to 24 months, but Gov. Wolf said patients should get relief long before that.

"People should be able to start using these medicines quickly," Gov. Wolf said. "If someone were to go to another state and buy it legally and bring it back for medicinal purposes, I kind of doubt that most prosecutors would pursue a case."

States that have effective medical marijuana laws have a 24.8 percent lower opioid overdose death rate, according to a 2014 study done by researchers at the Philadelphia VA. While Gateway Medical Director Neil Capretto called that study "tentative," he said he hopes it's true.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By Congressman Ted Lieu

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Congressman and military veteran U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Monday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Lieu has won awards as a military prosecutor, an advisor to U.S. Air Force commanders and as a law student and private attorney. As a congressman, he serves on the House Budget and Oversight Committees.

Last year, Lieu introduced bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer dollars by blocking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program through civil asset forfeitures.

“I’ve reviewed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and believe it creates a legal, responsible and regulated framework for adult use of marijuana that is fiscally responsible, smartly builds on what California has already done with medical marijuana and provides necessary protections for children, workers, local governments, law enforcement agencies and the environment,” said Rep. Lieu.

“As a policy, marijuana prohibition has wasted taxpayer resources while failing to protect our communities,” Lieu said. “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act represents a vastly superior and long overdue new approach.”

U.S.: Former Surgeon General Among Physicians Launching Doctors For Cannabis Regulation

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Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil, and professors from some of the country’s top medical schools are teaming up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.

"The potential for marijuana abuse is a serious issue, especially among our nation’s youth," said Dr. H. Wesley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. "And especially at a time when very powerful strains of cannabis and concentrates are available that simply didn’t exist in the past.

"But the consequences of being convicted under current marijuana laws are lifelong and severe, and it is beyond dispute that African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately affected," Dr. Clark said. "Legalizing and regulating cannabis goes a long way towards addressing the incarceration epidemic in this country, as well as enabling research into the public health ramifications of this wide variety of cannabis."

U.S.: Prominent Physicians Launch Pro-Marijuana Legalization Group

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Some of the most prominent physicians in the United States have teamed up to launch the nation’s first organization of doctors formed to advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis for adult use.

"Given that decriminalization has proven to be an inadequate alternative to legalization, now is the time for physicians to begin advocating for effective government regulation of cannabis," Doctors For Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) states on its website.

Until recently, many physicians have been reluctant to publicly voice their opposition to the war on marijuana, lest they appear to condone recreational cannabis use and violate their ethical responsibility to “do no harm,” according to DFCR. But through daily immersion in anecdotal patient experience and scientific evidence, many knowledgeable American physicians recognize:

• Occasional use of cannabis by healthy adults is generally benign, making its prohibition unnecessary.
• Cannabis is far less harmful for adults than alcohol and tobacco, which are both legal because of the impracticality of prohibiting so-called ‘soft’ drugs.
• Cannabis can be harmful to minors, but prohibition doesn’t prevent children and teens from accessing the drug.
• The burden of cannabis prohibition falls disproportionately upon communities of color and the nation’s poor.

Massachusetts: Marijuana Initiative Backers' Campaign Highlights Alcohol Hypocrisy

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Backers of a ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts are launching a campaign Friday to highlight the hypocrisy of elected officials who oppose the initiative but promote the use of a more harmful substance — alcohol.

Leaders of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol held a news conference Friday morning in front of the Massachusetts State House. They showcased a large, provocative sign featuring their first two targets, Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who just announced they have formed a committee to oppose the proposed initiative because they believe marijuana is too dangerous to regulate for adult use.

Baker has proposed legislation to loosen the state’s liquor licensing regulations and expand the number of locations in which alcohol can be served. He also supported repealing the state alcohol tax and opposed a Boston alcohol tax. Walsh proposed legislation to allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., providing an extra two hours of drinking time.

Arizona: Drive For Initiative To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Reaches 200K Signatures

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The campaign needs to collect 150,642 valid signatures of Arizona voters to qualify for the November ballot

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Tuesday announced it has collected more than 200,000 signatures in support of a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona. The campaign needs to collect 150,642 valid signatures of registered Arizona voters to qualify the initiative for the November ballot.

“Voters want to have their say on whether Arizona should end marijuana prohibition,” said Campaign Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “It’s appearing more and more likely that they are going to have that opportunity. We’re finding that most Arizonans agree marijuana should be regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.”

The proposed initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess limited amounts of marijuana, establish a system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol, and enact a 15 percent tax on retail marijuana sales, from which a majority of the revenue would be directed to Arizona schools and public education programs.

Rhode Island: House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Marijuana Legalization Bill

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The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and replace it with a system in which adults can purchase marijuana from licensed businesses, similarly to alcohol.

Shortly before the hearing, marijuana market researchers, business owners, and entrepreneurs joined Regulate Rhode Island for a news conference to discuss the legislation’s potential to foster new businesses and create thousands of jobs in Rhode Island.

“This bill would provide a tremendous economic boost for our state, which is one of several reasons why our state legislators should not delay voting on it,” said Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat. “This proposal would create dozens of new businesses and thousands of new jobs across Rhode Island. Our state’s unemployment rate is still significantly higher than our neighbors’, and this legislation will put many Rhode Islanders back to work.”

H 7752, known as the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, would make possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older, and it would establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores.

Maine: Court Rules In Favor Of Marijuana Legalization Supporters, Orders Review Of Signatures

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A Kennebec County Superior Court judge on Friday ruled that state officials may have improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on a proposed ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Justice Michaela Murphy found that state officials invalidated more than 5,000 petitions —which included more than 17,000 signatures from Maine voters that were validated by town clerks — without actually reviewing every petition in question. The Secretary of State’s Office must now review all of the disputed petitions and place the initiative on the November ballot if it determines enough valid signatures were collected.

On March 2, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap informed the campaign that its proposed initiative did not qualify for the November ballot. With 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

In a document explaining his determination, the secretary of state said his office invalidated more than 5,000 petitions, which included more than 26,000 total petition signatures, solely due to its finding that the signature of a single notary did not “match” the signature the state has on file.

On March 10, supporters of the initiative filed a lawsuit challenging the decision.

U.S.: Detailed Forecast Released For 4/20 In Colorado And Washington

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Hallmark hasn’t leveraged its formidable marketing muscle to promote 4/20 — not yet, at least. Nevertheless, an analysis by a cannabis industry source of data intelligence finds that April 20 and the days surrounding it have clearly, and emphatically, emerged as the cannabis industry’s principal holiday, with dramatically boosted sales.

One thing 4/20 has in common with more traditional holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day — lots and lots of candy!

BDS Analytics’ close analysis of cannabis sales during last year’s festivities, based on hundreds of thousands of retail transactions worth millions of dollars in Colorado and Washington, draws a range of fascinating 4/20 conclusions. Among them:

• The four days leading up to, and including, 4/20 in Colorado captured three of the most lucrative cannabis sales days during all of 2015.

• Washington’s sales were less dramatic, at least when compared to the months following 4/20. But 4/20 sales did spike, and BDS Analytics anticipates sales this year tripling or even quadrupling last year’s numbers.

• Sales in Colorado this year should exceed $5 million per day from Friday, April 15 to Wednesday, April 20. One of the days should exceed $6 million.

U.S.: Senate Hearing Reminds Americans That 'Good People Don't Smoke Marijuana'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Tuesday's hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control was light on actual facts and fully of heavy-handed rhetoric. At one point -- and I'm unfortunately serious in reporting this -- Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) said "this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it's not something to laugh about ... good people don't smoke marijuana."

This seems to be a new low even for the dim-witted Sessions, who says stuff his constituents back in the Heart of Dixie really should be embarrassed about -- in 2014, he said providing healthcare to veterans is an "entitlement" we "can't afford" -- but who knows; they keep electing his dumb ass.

The hearing, hosted by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) was ostensibly held to investigate whether the Department of Justice has been enforcing federal marijuana laws harshly enough. What these yahoos did was bring forth a parade of anti-marijuana witnesses, not bothering to counter their testimony with anyone who actually knew what they were talking about.

U.S.: Senate To Hold Sham Hearing On Marijuana Legalization Tuesday

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Reform Advocates Denounce Hearing as One-Sided “Prohibitionist Party”

Senator Grassley Stacks the Deck with Known Anti-Legalization Zealots and Ignores Benefits of Legalization, Such as Massive Drop in Marijuana Arrests and Prohibition-Related Violence, as well as New Tax Revenue

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will hold a hearing in the Caucus on International Narcotics Control titled “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?” The hearing is ostensibly a response to a recent GAO report that criticized DOJ for a lack of oversight of states that have legalized marijuana. However, the hearing is likely to be nothing more than a prohibitionist party.

Vermont: Governor Says Marijuana Legalization Is 'Enlightened' Thing To Do

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vermont could make history this spring. As Governor Peter Shumlin nears the end of his term in office, he wants the state to become the first in the union to legalize marijuana through its Legislature.

In an interview with Katy Steinmetz of Time Magazine, Gov. Shumlin said "I think the more enlightened states are trying to get ahead of this one" when it comes to cannabis legalization.

"There is no question America is going to move to a more sensible policy, state by state," Shumlin said.

"We’re all spending huge amounts of energy focusing on the evils of pot smoking and we hardly talk about the fact that in 2010, we sold enough drugs legally through our pharmacies in the form of Oxycontin to keep every adult American high for a month," the Governor pointed out. "That has led to death, destruction, addiction to heroin that’s affecting every state in America. And then we flip out about the possibility that we could move to a more sensible approach to marijuana."

"Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has also talked openly about using marijuana," Steinmetz asked Gov. Shumlin. "Have you ever tried it?" "Yes," Shumlin replied. "I was in Vermont in the '70s... We inhaled."

"I'm hoping that Vermont will be the first state that does it legislatively because we have learned from the states that have made mistakes doing it by referendum," Gov. Shumlin said. "We are trying to pass the first cautious, sensible marijuana legalizing bill in the country."

Washington: Steep Hill Labs Releases Open Letter To Cannabis Community

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Steep Hill Labs on Wednesday released an open letter to the Washington State cannabis community encouraging a call to action to prevent contaminated cannabis from entering the patient and consumer supply chain.

"In a recent third party audit of certified I-502 laboratories in Washington State, cannabis contaminated with pesticides and microbiological organisms like E. coli are being passed by certain disreputable labs, which means unsafe products are getting onto shelves," said Steep Hill CEO Jmîchaele Keller. "This is unacceptable when technology and the proper science are in place to insure safety to prevent health risk to consumers and patients."

Recent independent third party testing, including that done upon the initiative of Ian Eisenberg of Uncle Ike's Pot Shop in Seattle, showed many samples of I-502 recreational weed had traces of pesticides, causing concern in the community, especially among medicinal users with compromised immune systems and liver function.

Keller said Steep Hill stands with other leading labs in the industry, like Trace Analytics, who apply scientific best practices to put public health first.

"Together we are here to uphold standards of quality in this industry for consumer protection, and we cannot succeed if other laboratories cheat the system," said Keller.

U.S.: Support For Marijuana Legalization Hits All Time High Of 61%

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new survey released on Friday by the Associated Press and the University of Chicago shows record support for marijuana legalization in the United States, at 61 percent.

The survey asks, "Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?", which is the same wording as previous Gallup surveys, which had shown a previous high of 58 percent support for legalization last October, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

The AP asked a follow-up question which showed that 24 percent of legalization supporters said cannabis should be made available "only with a medical prescription." Another 43 percent wanted to restrict purchase amounts. One-third of legalization supporters said there should be "no restrictions" on purchase amounts.

"This is yet another demonstration of just how ready Americans are for the end of marijuana prohibition," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "The growing level of support for legalization that we see in poll after poll is exactly why we're not in a situation -- for the first time in history -- where every major presidential candidate on both parties has pledged to let states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference."

While cannabis legalization is very popular among Democrats (70 percent) and independents (65 percent), just 47 percent of Republicans support it.

Uruguay: Cannabis Sales Stuck In Limbo Two Years After Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than two years after Uruguay became the first nation in the modern world to legalize and regulate marijuana, citizens are still waiting to buy the first legal cannabis at pharmacies.

Although Uruguay legalized in December 2013, the government has yet to implement a plan for mainstream cannabis commercialization, reports Ladan Cher at Foreign Policy, because they argue they can't rush such a complicated task. What was initially ballyhooed as the world's first controlled experiment of a nationwide marijuana economy is now stuck in limbo.

Uruguay has, rather than serving as a model for other countries hoping to legalize, become a cautionary tale about the difficulties which can be encountered on the way to creating a legal cannabis market.

The legalization law, passed with the support of groups like Regulación Responsable, permits Uruguayans who registered with the government to get cannabis in one of three ways: growing it at home, joining cannabis clubs (in which members grow a collective garden), or buying it from pharmacies.

But pharmacy sales are still unavailable, leaving only the 6,000 Uruguayans who grow their own plants with legal access to marijuana.

U.S.: Emergency National Mobilization April 2 To Reschedule Cannabis

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Citizens, Activists and Leaders Rally and Roll Up to the White House with 51 foot “Joint” on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.

Mass Consumption of Cannabis to Occur at 4:20 p.m.

On Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m., DCMJ — the organization that played a critical role in passing Ballot Initiative 71, which legalized marijuana in our nation’s capital — along with leaders, activists, advocacy groups and citizens will gather along Pennsylvania Avenue directly north of the White House to demand that President Obama use his authority to reschedule cannabis now.

Why on April 2? According to the organizers, the Obama Administration has been a big ZERO on cannabis reform, so DCMJ is rescheduling and actively removing the “ZERO” from “4/20.”

DCMJ has officially requested that President Obama reclassify cannabis as a less harmful substance multiple times since he has taken office in January 2009. However, no action has been taken to reschedule cannabis to date.

Meanwhile, the placement of cannabis in the same category as drugs like heroin — which kills thousands of Americans each each year — remains not only irresponsible, unjust and unfitting, but also makes a continued mockery of the Controlled Substances Act.

Massachusetts: Attorney General Asks Voters To 'Wait' On Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is asking state voters to "wait" to legalize marijuana.

Voters could be faced with a ballot question in November to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use. Atty. Gen. Healey is asking residents to vote no, reports Ashley Afonso at WWLP.

"Not now, not at this time," Healey said. "We're in the midst of his opioid crisis." (Evidently, the Attorney General doesn't know that cannabis is an exit drug out of opiate addiction.)

"I think it's really important that we talk about the public health aspects which haven't really been talked about," Healey said. "Legalizing recreational marijuana I think is a really bad idea for many reasons, but to me most important is the health and well-being of young people."

Massachusetts already has legalized medicinal cannabis, and has decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce for adults. The new measure would legalize recreational weed for adults 21 and older. It would also add taxes on cannabis sales and a commission that would oversee the regulation of the industry.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association wrong-headedly opposes legalization, claiming "safety concerns" including "greater youth accessibility." What they don't seem to realize is that black market dealers don't ask for ID, and legal marijuana stores do.

U.S.: Supreme Court Rejects Other States' Lawsuit Over Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado over its marijuana legalization law. Oklahoma and Nebraska had claimed the Colorado law had created an increased law enforcement burden in neighboring states.

The suit, filed by Nebraska Attorney General John Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, claimed that federal marijuana prohibition preempts the law that Colorado voters decisively adopted in 2012. The Federal Government filed a brief urging the high court to reject the case.

"There is no question about it: This is good news for legalization supporters," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "This case, if it went forward and the Court ruled the wrong way, had the potential to roll back many of the gains our movement has achieved to date. And the notion of the Supreme Court standing in the way could have cast a dark shadow on the marijuana ballot measures voters will consider this November.

U.S.: Company Offers BernOneDown.com Website Domain For $150K

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The website domain name BernOneDown.com is on the market for sale, a Denver-based company announced on Friday. The asking price is $150,000.

Todd Mitchem Companies announced it is selling off that domain and several more of their cannabis related domain names such as MainStreamCannabis.com, VapeAndVinyasa.com, and PeopleAgainstTrump.com.

Todd Mitchem, CEO of TMC, believes the BernOneDown domain will be one of the company's biggest hits yet.

"We all sat around and just realized it was time," Mitchem said. "We have been storing many domains for a long time and with Bernie's latest successes and the fact that he moves to Northern states with a path to the nomination, we knew now was the time to sell this domain to a team that will want to do something amazing and special with it."

Mitchem's team, which developed such brands as High There!, CannaSearch, Mindful, and IONvape.com (clean vape technology for the e-cig industry), believes the BernOneDown.com domain will go fast, and they believe it will resonate with people.

"Cannabis is going mainstream and Bernie's view on legalization is proof that it is time to offer his supporters a great domain to utilize," Mitchem said.

To find out more about this domain, visit www.BernOneDown.com.

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