D.C.: Council Committee Permanently Bans Marijuana Consumption In Private Clubs


The Council of the District of Columbia Committee on the Judiciary on Wednesday voted to dilute the will of District voters who approved Ballot Initiative 71 by passing unnecessary legislation largely outlawing adult marijuana use in the District.

The passage of the controversial measure occurred under usual circumstances. Almost no notice of the markup of the controversial bill was provided. Notice was not provided to the public until only a few minutes before markup, and even Committee members received less than 24 hours’ notice of bill consideration, in violation of the Committee’s own rules.

In a very rare move, remarked upon by other councilmembers, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson joined the committee for the markup and provided the swing vote to advance the bill.

The bill approved by the Committee would make permanent the current blanket ban on marijuana use in private clubs, which is set to expire on April 15. The bill bars entities from providing adults with private spaces other than a residence to consume marijuana, and requires the Mayor’s office to revoke a business’ license after only one instance of a patron consuming marijuana on the premises.

As written the legislation is needlessly broad and expands the criminalization of marijuana consumption by adults, contrary to the will of District voters who resoundingly rejected marijuana criminalization.

Washington: The Marijuana Show To Hold Auditions In Seattle For Next Weed Millionaire


The Marijuana Show, a reality cable TV show called “Shark Tank for Ganjapreneurs” by CNBC, is holding auditions for Season 3 in Seattle.

According to the show's producers, auditions will be held at the Cannabis Tech Meetup, February 3, at Club Sur at 7:30 PM in conjunction with the Seattle Cannabis Tech group meeting.

The first season offered $5 million and second season offered over $10 million. Producers are interested in cannabis, hemp, technology, ancillary, dispensaries and grows.

“Come pitch or judge to help decide who will get to pitch accredited investors and star in season three," said producer Wendy Robbins. "We wanted to create a power to the people pitch so we can involve the community to find the next marijuana millionaires.”

“This will be our most exciting season since we have access to amazing investors and will search the country finding the most innovative and lucrative businesses," said producer Karen Paull. "This season we also are able to offer loans to established businesses.”

Over the next six months, the show’s producers will be hosting live auditions in select cities including Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Austin, Boston, Washington DC, New York and Florida to find the next group of contenders. Two Minute Online pitches can be uploaded and voted on at

Colorado: Some Companies Encourage Marijuana Breaks At Work


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If you like cannabis, you're going to love the future. At offices in Colorado and other legal states, some companies are encouraging their employees to take marijuana breaks at work.

Denver-based startup Flowhub, which provides software for the cannabis industry, has been a marijuana-friendly workplace since it launched last year, according to founders Kyle Sherman and Chase Wiseman, reports Parija Kavilanz at CNN Money.

"Our philosophy at Flowhub is to get shit done," Sherman said. "If it helps our employees get work done, then we don't care if they consume at work."

Sherman and Chase themselves both consume cannabis at work, either in weekly brainstorming meetings or toward the end of the day. "It definitely surfaces new ideas and a fresh take on things," Sherman said.

Smoking of any kind isn't allowed in the office building, but since recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, Flowhub's 18 employees are free to bring in cannabis-infused edibles, sodas and juices. So far, there haven't been any negative outcomes.

"Our clients are some of the biggest firms in the cannabis industry," Sherman said. "We have to be on point with our work. We've never had a problem yet."

High There! and Mass Roots, two social networking platforms for cannabis users, have headquarters just across the street from each other in Denver. Both startups allow marijuana at work.

Vermont: Coalition To Regulate Marijuana To Launch TV Ad Campaign


Campaign Features State’s Former Top Law Enforcement Official

A new television ad featuring Vermont’s former top law enforcement official speaking out in support of regulating marijuana will begin airing statewide on Tuesday, just as lawmakers are taking a close look at the issue.

The ad — viewable online at — will appear on WCAX, CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC through Sunday.

In the ad, titled “Time to End Prohibition (Again)”, former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney draws a comparison between current marijuana prohibition laws and the failed policy of alcohol prohibition.

“We all know that prohibition was a disaster,” Cheney says as images from the era of alcohol prohibition appear on the screen. “It forced alcohol into the underground market, where it was controlled by criminals, and consumers did not know what they were getting. It made us a nation of hypocrites and lawbreakers.

“Marijuana prohibition has caused a lot of the same problems,” according to Cheney. “That’s why most Vermonters agree it’s time for a more sensible approach,” he says, referencing a September Castleton Polling Institute poll that found 56 percent of Vermonters support — and only 34 percent oppose — legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use.

The ad ends with Cheney urging viewers to contact their state senators and telling them, “It’s time to end prohibition and start regulating marijuana in Vermont.”

Washington: Blue Dream Most Popular Strain In State According To Analysis


Flower is booming, concentrate sales are growing at an even more rapid pace and Blue Dream is the No. 1 flower strain in Washington state. This represents a small look at the sweeping range of insights released on Thursday by BDS Analytics, the cannabis industry’s most reliable source of data analytics.

Among other things, today’s in-depth analysis of the Washington State cannabis market between Q3 2014 and Q4 2015 finds:

• Sales in Q4 2015 were up a whopping 430 percent compared to the same quarter in 2014

• Ten of Washington’s 31 counties account for 81 percent of cannabis sales

• Concentrate sales vaulted from less than $2 million in Q3 2014 to $15 million in Q3 2015

• Among all edible categories, candy is the most popular, capturing 30 percent of sales

“We have now normalized and categorized millions of transactions in Washington State in our GreenEdge™ database and that forms the basis of this report,” said Roy Bingham, BDS Analytics founder and CEO. "We are very impressed by the rapid pace of sales growth and fascinated with a wide range of valuable data points.

“The flower strain Cherry OG, for example, barely registered in popularity until July of 2015, when it began a steady climb to second place, just behind Blue Dream, which has held a commanding lead for much of the past 18 months," Bingham said. "For analytics nerds like us, cannabis data is absolutely engrossing, especially because it provide actionable insights for our clients.”

Washington: Adult Home Grow Bill Would Allow Up To 6 Plants


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new bill has been filed in the Washington Legislature would allow adults in the state to lawfully grow up to six marijuana plants. Washington is currently the only state with legal marijuana which doesn't allow any home cultivation; under the state's I-502 legalization law, all recreational cannabis must be grown by state-licensed commercial producers.

It's a chance for Washington to finally join the states where cannabis has been more fully legalized, because as any thinking person realizes, if you can't grow your own, it's not really legal yet.

HB 2629, filed by Rep. Brian Blake, a Democrat representing Washington's 19th Legislative District, would make the following amendments to current state marijuana laws:

• Authorizes individuals to lawfully engage in non-commercial (i.e., without an exchange of money) transfers of small amounts of cannabis and cannabis seeds;

• Authorizes adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home and to possess up to 24 ounces of marijuana harvested from the home-grown plants;

• Makes the possession of up to the three times the current legal limit for cannabis products (i.e., useable cannabis, infused products, and concentrates) a civil infraction rather than a felony offense;

• Makes the possession of more than three times the legal limit for marijuana products, but not more than 12 times the limit, a misdemeanor offense;

• Makes the possession of more than 12 times the legal limit for cannabis products a felony offense;

Oregon: Ex-Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson Is Now Blazing Weed


Uncle Cliffy Becomes "Uncle Spliffy"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson is getting into the marijuana business, advocating the use of marijuana as a medical treatment for athletes.

Robinson, who just turned 49, is back in Portland, Oregon, and will be a featured speaker at the Cannabis Collaborative Conference next month, reports Ken Boddle at KOIN 6.

"I think I've always been an advocate for cannabis," Robinson said. "(It's) calming, calm my stomach, calm my nerves, so from that standpoint I see a lot of positives."

Robinson's 18-year NBA career lasted from 1989 through the 2006 season; he said he smoked marijuana while he was in the league, even though it was both illegal and against NBA rules.

"When I did it, it was wrong," Robinson said. "I paid the penalty. But now we're in a new time and we're trying to move forward."

Uncle Cliffy is getting into the marijuana business under the name Uncle Spliffy. He's urging team doctors to consider treating sports-related pain and other ailments with cannabis instead of harsh, dangerous pharmaceuticals.

"I think we definitely have to continue looking into cannabis and the benefits that it has, the health benefits that it has, because I think it's come leaps and bounds," Robinson said.

The Cannabis Collaborative Conference is scheduled for February 3-4 at the Expo Center in Portland. Cliff Robinson's keynote speech will be on Feb. 4.

Colorado: Denver Attorney Named To Boulder Cannabis Advisory Board


Robert Hoban, the managing partner of the Denver law firm Hoban and Feola LLC which specializes in the cannabis industry, has been named as a member of the newly-formed Boulder City Council’s marijuana advisory panel.

Hoban was chosen as the only attorney on the 11-person panel whose mandate is to provide recommendations on making the city’s cannabis regulations more comprehensive and easily implemented.

The panel will review sections of Boulder's cannabis code that may need revision in order to make them more workable and coordinated with the state’s cannabis regulations. Among the issues that the panel may consider will be regulations related to packaging, transportation, advertising, chain of supply, and security.

“The advisory panel serves as an important source of information from key segments of the medical cannabis industry, the community and the general public,” Hoban said.

“The city of Boulder and Colorado have been on the leading edge of passing and enacting legislation in the cannabis industry and the Boulder advisory panel is an important link to make sure effective public policy is developed and enacted at the community level," Hoban said. "The city of Boulder is to be commended for establishing this panel so all interested parties can be confident that their various concerns are being heard.”

The group is advisory, and any ordinance changes the panel recommends would require the approval of the Boulder City Council. Panel meetings will be open to the public and their input is invited, according to city officials.

U.S.: Most Americans Support Marijuana Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new poll released on Friday by YouGov shows that more than half of Americans -- 52 percent -- now support marijuana legalization, with just 34 percent opposing it. This is up from 48 support legalization when YouGov last asked the question in March 2015.

More than half of all adults under age 65 support legalization, according to YouGov, but more people over 65 (49 percent) oppose legalization than support it (39 percent).

Two-thirds of Democrats (66 percent) and half o independents (51 percent) want to legalize weed, but just over a third of Republicans (36 percent) are down with that plan.

Two-third of Americans as a whole believe government efforts to enforce the marijuana laws cost more than they are worth. A big majority of those favoring legalization (86 percent) agreed with that sentiment, but even legalization opponents narrowly agree that current efforts aren't worth the cost (42 percent to 33 percent).

Last October, Gallup found that 58 percent of Americans want marijuana to be legalized. Pew measured the level of support at 53 percent in an April survey.

The new YouGov poll was conducted December 16-17, 2015 and included 1,000 web-based interviews with American adults. The margin of error is ± 4.6 percent.

Washington: Seattle City Attorney Promises Crackdown On Black Market Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization gets rid of the black market, and makes it obsolete, right? Wrong, if your legalization law is written as badly as Washington state's.

I-502, the clunky cannabis legalization measure, was made even worse by SB 5052; last year, that execrable piece of legislation assisted the original measure in completing a coup de grace on medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets in the state.

The onerous taxation scheme and miles of red tape forced upon marijuana retailers by state rules -- along with a healthy dose of old fashioned greed -- mean that, ironically enough, cannabis costs more in legal marijuana stores than on the black market, thus ensuring that the illegal market continues to flourish, even as the state desperately tries to prop up its anointed retailers by arresting their competition.

That's right: in the eyes of recreational marijuana retailers, not just black market dealers, but medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets represent unwelcome competition. You can really see their point when you realize that I-502 store prices average roughly twice the going rate in dispensaries and three times that in farmers markets.

Most patients are on limited incomes as they struggle with chronic illness, and the I-502 store prices, along with the 37 percent tax, makes medicine just about unaffordable.

Canada: Trudeau Says He Needs Permission From Other Countries To Legalize Weed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked a good game during the election campaign, promising voters he was not only going to legalize marijuana, but he was going to "get started on that right away," in a clear departure from the anti-cannabis policies of his Conservative predecessor, Stephen Harper.

But now Trudeau's back pedaling, citing international treaties, reports Mike Blanchfield at The Canadian Press. Now, of course, these treaties were already in place -- and had been for decades -- during the campaign, but somehow ol' Justin never saw fit to mention them until now.

Trudeau is now faced with figuring out how Canada can legalize weed and still be in compliance with three international treaties which it has signed, all of which require the criminalization of marijuana possession and production.

The Liberals plan to remove marijuana consumption and possession from the Criminal Code, while creating new laws heavily punishing those who give cannabis to minors or operate motor vehicles while under its influence. Trudeau has promised to set up a task force to design a new system of marijuana sales and distribution.

His plan to legalize and regulate cannabis is proving thorny, as it requires working with all the provinces as well as walking an international tightrope, being in the position of essentially telling the United Nations and the world at large how it plans to conform to its treaty obligations.

Arizona: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Nearing Signature Goal


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A campaign to legalize marijuana in Arizona is nearing its goal of 150,000 valid signatures to qualify for this November's ballot, supporters announced on Wednesday.

The initiative would give Arizona voters the opportunity to legalize cannabis for recreational use, reports Yvonne Wingett Sanchez at The Republic. It would establish a network of licensed marijuana stores where sales would be taxed.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is just a few thousand signatures short of the 150,642 needed to qualify, according to spokesman Barrett Marson. The group is aiming for 225,000 signatures to make up for those which are likely invalid, Marson said.

"Arizonans are clearly excited about this initiative," Marson said.

A whackjob anti-cannabis group calling itself "Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy" is opposing the measure, pointing to a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey showing Colorado leading the nation in past-month marijuana use now that weed is legal there.

Under Arizona's proposed Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, adults 21 and older could possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants in their homes without a license, as long as the plants are in a "secure area."

U.S.: Congressman Blumenauer Writes Open Letter To President About Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday wrote an open letter advocating marijuana legalization to President Obama in advance of the President's State of the Union speech.

"As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances," Rep. Blumenauer wrote to the President.

The language chosen by Rep. Blumenauer is very significant, politically speaking. "Removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances" is, of course, the only way forward that avoids cannabis being immediately co-opted and controlled by Big Pharma, which is assuredly what will happen if it is moved from Schedule I to Schedule II or III on the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act.

Following is Rep. Blumenauer's letter in its entirety.

An Open Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

A State of the Union speech is a unique opportunity to address Congress and the nation about priorities and accomplishments, as well as to highlight critical issues.

I remember another speech in May 2008 when you spoke to over 70,000 Portlanders. The overwhelming feeling of hope coming from the crowd was palpable.

California: NAACP Endorses Adult Use of Marijuana Act


Proponents of a California ballot measure to legalize, control, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana announced today that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) has been formally endorsed by the state NAACP, comprised of 52 branches and more than 30 youth chapters statewide and part of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.

NAACP – which voted to endorse over the weekend -- joins a coalition which already includes physicians, environmental leaders, business owners, small farmers and social justice advocates.

“Creating a legal, responsible and regulated framework for marijuana is a predominant civil rights issue and it’s long overdue,” said Alice Huffman, longtime president of California State NAACP. “The current system is counterproductive, financially wasteful and racially biased, and the people of California have repeatedly called for it to be fixed.

“This measure will ensure that California is not unjustly criminalizing responsible adults while also ensuring that our children are protected while the State receives hundreds of millions of new dollars for vital government and community-based programs,” Huffman said.

Last week, the AUMA was cleared for circulation. The official title and summary are available at:

Massachusetts: Judiciary Committee To Hold Hearing On Marijuana Legalization Bill


The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use.

Dick Evans, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting a 2016 ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Massachusetts, assisted in drafting H.1561 and will join lead House sponsor Rep. David Rogers to testify in support of the measure.

Rogers and Evans will hold a media availability at 12:30 p.m. ET just outside of the hearing room in the State House, where they will discuss the details of the legislation and the benefits of replacing marijuana prohibition with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

“It’s time for Massachusetts to replace the failed policy of marijuana prohibition with a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated similarly to alcohol,” Evans said. “We support this legislative effort, but we are also committed to moving forward with the initiative so that voters can take over if the Legislature fails to act.

“Whether it happens in the legislature or at the ballot box, the result will be the same,” Evans said. “Our communities will be safer because marijuana will be produced and sold by licensed businesses instead of criminals in the underground market.

Vermont: Former Attorney General Throws Support Behind Marijuana Legalization


Former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney, a Republican, will throw his support behind the effort to end marijuana prohibition in 2016 and appear in online ads set to launch Tuesday that highlight the benefits of regulating marijuana.

The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana (VCRM) will hold a news conference Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET in the Cedar Creek Room of the Vermont State House to formally announce Cheney’s endorsement, display one of the ads, and express support for the vision Gov. Peter Shumlin laid out last week during his state of the state address.

On Thursday, Gov. Shumlin said Vermont “[has] the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right” in 2016, and he promised state lawmakers he will work with them to “craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.”

The coalition’s first ads of the session feature Cheney and highlight the benefits of replacing prohibition with a system in which marijuana is legal for adults and regulated similarly to alcohol. Cheney served as Vermont attorney general from 1973 to 1975. Previously, he served as an assistant attorney general and was elected Washington County states attorney. He has held a variety of other civic positions and is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

Oregon: Marijuana Shoppers Adjust To 25% Sales Tax


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Recreational marijuana shoppers in Oregon are taking a new 25 percent sales tax in stride, according to many dispensary owners and industry observers.

The state on January 1, after a three-month tax holiday, imposed the tax on recreational cannabis sales, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. The tax will eventually be replaced with a 17 percent sales tax, once the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes control of the new recreational marijuana industry later this year.

While some customers have shrugged off the tax, "we have people that say they would rather go back to their 'guy,' so to speak, and walk out," said Matt Price, who owns the Cannabliss chain of dispensaries.

General manager Nathan Krytenberg at Glisan Buds and Foster Buds took the unusual step of absorbing the tax. He says his "strategic decision" should generate enough additional sales to cover the 25 percent hit.

Krytenberg said he hopes his move generates customer loyalty. More than 100 shops compete for cannabis customers in Portland, and there's a well-established black market, as well.

"To be quite honest with you, if we even take a small hit, I believe the fact that we are doing this will put us in a better market position," said Krytenberg. His Glisan Buds and Foster Buds shops sell marijuana for $9 and $15 a gram.

Vermont: Governor Calls For Marijuana Legalization In State of the State Address


Gov. Peter Shumlin Declares Drug War a Failure and Calls for Expanded Overdose Prevention and Treatment Access

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin on Thursday, in his final State of the State address, called on lawmakers to pass legislation legalizing and regulating marijuana.

The Governor also declared the Drug War a failure and expressed desire to continue emphasizing a health-based approach to drug policy by expanding treatment and overdose prevention programs, as well as by removing the stigma associated with drug use and addiction.

"The outdated war on drugs has also failed," said Shumlin, "and there is no greater example than our nation’s marijuana laws."

“Pete Shumlin is providing just the sort of leadership we need to see from other governors around the country,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Indeed, it’s a bit surprising, with a majority of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization, that he’s the only sitting governor to actively call for it. I’m hopeful this is the start of a new trend.”

Gov. Shumlin stressed that a marijuana legalization measure should contain the following:

• A legal market to keep marijuana and other drugs out of the hands of underage kids;
• Tax imposed must be low enough to wipe out the black market and get rid of illegal drug dealers;
• Revenue from legalization must be used to expand addiction prevention programs;
• Strengthened law enforcement capacity to improve our response to impaired drivers

California: Adult-Use Marijuana Initiative Cleared For Circulation


Coalition announces formation of official committee: Californians to Control, Regulate & Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children

Proponents of a statewide ballot measure to "control, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana while protecting children" on Wednesday announced that they have received an official title and summary for their proposed November measure, have been cleared for circulation and intend to “hit the ground running” to qualify their measure for the ballot.

They also announced the formation of an official political committee in support of the measure: “Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children.” (I know! "Is it a committee name or a NOVEL?")

The coalition in support of this measure includes business people, physicians, farmers, environmental leaders and social-justice advocacy organizations, according to the group.

The new committee announced $1.25 million in initial contributions, including from co-chairs and respected advocacy organizations such as Drug Policy Action, Marijuana Policy Project of California, New Approach PAC and Californians for Sensible Reform.

Joint Statement of Co-Proponents

Dr. Donald O. Lyman, MD, former chief of the Division of Chronic Disease & Injury Control at the CA Department of Public Health and
Michael Sutton, former president of the California Fish and Game Commission and former vice president of National Audubon Society:

Washington: Cannabis Board Adopts New Rules; Bans Infused Products Requiring Cooking


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Following six public hearings held throughout the state, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on Wednesday voted to revise the draft rules to accommodate public input it received on its original draft rules.

The draft rules are necessary to implement SB 5052, 2015 legislation which "aligns" (actually, mostly subsumes) the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market.

Under the revised rules timeline, a public hearing would be held Feb. 10, with the Board being asked to adopt the rules on Feb. 24. If adopted, the rules become effective March 24.

“We spent many hours listening to and reviewing public comment,” claimed Board Chair Jane Rushford. “Since the beginning, this has been an open and transparent process.

"Today’s revised rules reflect the Board’s continued commitment to transparency and the willingness to listen and make adjustments that may improve the rules,” Rushford claimed.

A year ago, the Board paid $192,000 to make public records gadfly Arthur West of Olympia go away, reported Gene Johnson of the Associated Press. West, known for filing records requests and complaints of open meetings law violations at various public agencies, accused the board of breaking the state's open meetings law as it began working on rules for the new legal marijuana industry.

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