U.S.: DuBe Hemp Energy Shot Introduced In Texas And Kentucky


The DuBe Hemp Energy Shot will be distributed in Texas and Kentucky, Algae International Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiary American Seed & Oil Company, announced on Tuesday.

The DuBe Hemp Energy Shot is a berry flavored, all natural, zero calorie, sugar free, gluten free, GMO free energy shot infused with Hemp Pro 70 Protein Powder "providing smooth energy for hours," claims a company press release. A DuBe CBD Energy Shot is coming soon.

DuBe Hemp Energy Shot Products are herbicide and pesticide free, peanut-free, vegetarian approved, kosher certified, THC-free (NO THC, 100 percent Legal), and tryspin inhibitor free, according to the company.

American Seed & Oil Company said it is developing a comprehensive line of cannabis infused products targeting the health and fitness conscious consumer. "The product line is expected to include products developed in house as well as products from partners like DuBe that compliment the overall product line," according to a prepared statement from the company.

In partnership with an established health and fitness recognized brand name partner, American Seed & Oil plans to open later this year, a pilot retail store in Dallas to market cannabis infused beverages and food. The initial products will be infused with hemp to include CBD which the company said is legal in all 50 states.

Cannabis including THC is also planned for when and where laws permit, according to the company.

U.S.: Study Says Florida Is Worst State For Marijuana Smokers


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An informal study by has shown Florida is the worst state in the Union for marijuana smokers.

Reporter Evan Anderson became curious about cannabis citations around the United States after reading a MuckRock piece by Beryl Anderson on citation data from California marijuana arrests after decriminalization. Copying the language used by MuckRock user Dave Maass to get California's numbers, Anderson requested the same data from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, Vermont and Washington. Data from Washington and Colorado, both of which have legalized pot, were unavailable at the time of the requests, and the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice never acknowledged his request.

The number of marijuana citations given in Florida "blows the rest of the states out or the water," Anderson reports in MuckRock.

Part of that is due to the unfortunate fact that possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis in Florida is a felony with a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Texas: Decrim Bill Introduced In Legislature; Sheriffs Say No Way


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Could change be coming to the Lone Star State? A new bill which would decriminalize marijuana has just been introduced in the Texas Legislature, but the Texas Sheriff's Association has already publicly opposed the measure.

"The Sheriff's Association position is that we are going to oppose any effort to decriminalize marijuana, or legalize medical marijuana or any of the components of marijuana," Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk flatly stated, reports News Radio WOAI.

The proposed legislation, House Bill 507, would reduce impose civil fines rather than criminal penalties for marijuana possession. Texas law currently punishes possession with fines of up to $2,000 and jail terms of up to six months.

If passed, the new bill would fine users up to $100 for possession of amounts smaller than an ounce. It will be considered by the lawmakers when the holiday period ends on January 13.

"It's a good government measure that will save taxpayers lots of money and free up law enforcement resources for more serious offenses," said state Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), reports Haley Jennings at KBTX.

Texas: Lawmaker Introducing Bill To Reduce Penalties For Marijuana Possession


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Texas state Rep. Joe Moody introduced a bill Monday morning that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession in Texas. The bill would remove the threat of arrest, jail time and a criminal record for possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, reducing the penalty to a $100 civil fine.

Rep. Moody announced the details of the bill at a news conference hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy at 11:30 a.m. CT at the Texas State Capitol.

Rep. Moody was joined by retired Texas District Court Judge John Delaney, Matt Simpson of the ACLU of Texas, Ann Lee of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition, Heather Fazio of the Marijuana Policy Project, and other representatives of the coalition, including the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.

“Our current marijuana policy in Texas just isn’t working,” Rep. Moody said. “We need a new approach that allows us to more effectively utilize our limited criminal justice resources. This legislation is a much-needed step in the right direction.”

"The War on Marijuana is a failure and has needlessly ensnared hundreds of thousands of people in the criminal justice system, at tremendous human and financial cost,” said strategist Matthew Simpson of the ACLU of Texas, reports Mark Reagan at the San Antonio Current.

Texas: Houston Police Chief Says Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed


Chief Charles McClelland Says Feds Should Take the Lead; Interview with LEAP Speaker and Radio Show Host Dean Becker To Air This Friday

In an interview with "Cultural Baggage," a radio show hosted by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker and former Air Force Security Policeman Dean Becker, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said marijuana prohibition is a failed public policy.

During the interview, Chief McClelland highlighted pilot programs within his department and others in the state to reduce marijuana possession penalties for first-time offenders. He also discussed the necessary role of the federal government in changing national drug laws.

Because many state-legal marijuana businesses cannot safely use banks and because illegal markets still exist in most states, those markets can still flourish by undercutting the dispensaries, according to the Chief. McClelland also acknowledged the racism inherent in drug enforcement practices which results in the incarceration of a disproportionate number of young black men.

The 30-minute interview covering a variety of law enforcement issues including the rights of protestors, the immense power of drug cartels and why so many Americans use substances will air this Friday, at 4:30 pm CT, on KPFT 90.1 FM in Houston and streaming online.

Texas: Woman Thrown Out of Church For Using Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A woman in Beaumont, Texas says she was cast out by her church for using medical marijuana.

Faith Bodle said she uses cannabis oil extracted from marijuana to treat degenerative spine disease, congestive heart failure and arthritis, reports Brittany Rainville at KBMT-TV.

Fellow church members at Beaumont Seventh Day Adventist Church became concerned after Bodle publicly supported the medicinal use of marijuana on a TV news report.

12News had first spoken to Bodle at the arraignment of Jeremy Bourque, who is facing marijuana charges. Bodle was there to show her support for cannabis legalization and medicinal use.

She said she got a letter from her pastor telling her to stop using and promoting marijuana, and six weeks later the congregation decided to revoke her church membership.

Bodle's son, Jason Falconbridge, said cannabis is the only pain relief his mom can find. "She's got a beautiful heart and to see her ostracized makes me angry," Falconbridge said.

Falconbridge read a letter from his mother's physician which mentioned, "She takes the extract for medicinal and not recreational purposes ... She has benefited from taking this supplement and it has improved her quality of life."

"It's about bringing relief from pain and suffering and that's what Jesus wants; he doesn't want to see his children suffer and that's why he created this awesome plant," Bodle said.

Texas: New Marijuana Offender Program Begins In Houston


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Law enforcement officials in the most populous county in Texas on Monday started a new program giving nonviolent first time offenders caught with small amounts of marijuana a chance to avoid a criminal conviction.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office, Houston Police and the Harris County District Attorney's Office is offering a new initiative called the "First Chance Intervention Program," D.A. Devon Anderson announced on Wednesday, reports KFOR-TV.

"Our goal is to keep these individuals from entering the revolving door of the criminal justice system," Anderson said. "This program is not for everyone. We are targeting people we believe are self-correcting, those who will be scared straight."

"I think it, overall, will improve people's lives," Anderson said.

Under the new program, first-time marijuana offenders with no prior criminal history who are caught with up to two ounces of marijuana can avoid being charged if they successfully complete eight hours of community service or an eight-hour class.

"Better education, as to where it can lead them, is a whole lot better than putting them in the federal pen, prison systems, where they become hardened, repeat offenders," said Charlotte Farmer.

"Too often, we see young people, with the promise of an incredible future in front of them, make mistakes that then begin a spiral downwards," said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Texas: Dallas County To Experiment With Not Arresting People Caught With Weed


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

People caught with small amounts of marijuana in Dallas may soon be able to avoid going to jail.

County criminal justice officials will pilot a cite-and-release program early next year allowing those caught with less than two ounces of marijuana, a Class B misdmeanor, avoid a trip to jail, reports Matthew Watkins at The Dallas Morning News.

If applied countywide, the change in enforcement policy could result in hundreds fewer arrests each month. The goal, according to officials, is to reduce jail crowding and free up police resources.

"This is about not toying up officers and bringing them back out onto the street," said Ron Stretcher, director of criminal justice for Dallas County.

A Texas law enacted back in 2007 makes the ticket approach possible. The measure, which received little attention when it passed, has been largely ignored since.

The the idea has gained support in recent years, and not just from marijuana advocates. Some conservatives have touted it as a way to save law enforcement money. It costs about $63 a day to house an inmate in the Dallas County Jail.

But the measure is getting some predictable resistance from law enforcement. Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston said he'd rather see the Legislature address changes in marijuana laws at the state level; police officers should enforce the laws that are on the books, he said.

Texas: Austin City Council To Consider Resolution Supporting Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The city council in Austin, Texas this week will consider a resolution supporting medical marijuana in the Lone Star State.

Two council members, Bill Spelman and Mike Martinez, are supporting the resolution, reports Quita Culpepper at KVUE, and some Austin parents and patients are rallying behind the cause.

The resolution supports legislation that would provide a legal defense for Texas patients using cannabis medicinally and being treated by a doctor. It also supports the legalization of medical marijuana.

Thalia Michelle believes medical cannabis could help her nine-year-old son, Lance, who is autistic. "It could help with his hyperactivity, cognition, focus, even speech," she said. "This isn't just about smoking for nausea and pain anymore."

Michelle is executive director of a group called Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism. She said that parents in states where medical marijuana is legal are giving cannabis oil to their autistic children, which she said is giving many families hope for the future.

"We found that it wasn't only helping with seizures and life-threatening epilepsy but with a host, a myriad, of special-needs conditions," Michelle said. "We're simply asking the council to add this to our legislative priorities as a bill we would support."

Texas: Man Faces 5 Years To Life In Prison For Making Marijuana Brownies


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Texas man could get five years to life in prison for making marijuana brownies and cookies.

Jacob Lavoro of Round Rock is accused of making and selling the pot-infused treats; if convicted he could get a longer term than many murderers in Lone Star State prisons, reports WGME.

Since Lavoro's recipe included hash-oil infused coconut oil in addition to marijuana, the longer sentences kick in, according to Jamie Spencer, legal counsel for the Texas chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

"Possession of the smallest amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor," Spencer said. "Possession of the tiniest amount of hash, even a gram, is a state jail felony."

Texas law stupidly allows law enforcement to include the weight of the sugar, butter and other ingredients when calculating the total weight of the marijuana. With about 660 grams -- or about 1.5 pounds -- of brownies in question, Lavoro's case is a first degree felony punishable by five years to life in state prison.

"That's higher than the punishment range for sexual assault, higher than the punishment range for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon," Spencer said. "It's kind of crazy."

"This case is the perfect example of the insanity of Texas' drug laws," Spencer said. "Especially when it comes to marijuana or anything where the active ingredient is THC."

Texas: Woman Jailed After Calling Cops To Complain About Low Quality Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

There aren't many good options when you buy a bad sack of black market marijuana. As Evelyn Hamilton of Lufkin, Texas, found out on Monday, calling the cops is one of the worst.

Lufkin Police arrested Hamilton, 37, after she called them to complain about some low-quality marijuana she had bought from a dealer, reports The Associated Press.

An officer went to Hamilton's home after she called the police objecting that her cannabis was substandard, according to Lufkin Police Sgt. David Casper.

When the officer asked if Evelyn still had the weed, she pulled it out of her bra, according to Sgt. Casper, just like she didn't have a care in the world.

Hamilton told the officer she had just spent $40 on "seeds and residue." When she got no satisfaction from the dealer or his family, she said she called the cops.

She was arrested on Friday on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Photo of Evelyn Hamilton: AP/Angelina County Jail

Texas: Research Confirms Legalizing Medical Marijuana Does Not Increase Crime


Yet More Proof Fears of Legalization Remain Unfounded in Science

Researchers at the University of Texas Dallas on Wednesday published an article in PLOS ONE that indicates that despite opponents’ fears, legalizing medical marijuana does not increase crime and may actually lower some types of violent crime.

The study examined FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics on murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny and auto theft from all 50 states, including 11 states that legalized medical marijuana during the course of the study, over a 17 year period from 1990-2006. Controlling for confounding factors, they found no increases in any category of offense and even saw a slight decrease in homicides and assaults.

The study is reminiscent of a University of Chicago study that came out last year showing that, despite opponents’ warnings about increases in unsafe driving behaviors, legalizing medical marijuana was associated with a drop in traffic fatalities.

Texas: Cop Arrested For Groping Detained Woman Who Had A Joint In Her Pocket


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After a woman who was arrested for having a joint in her pocket reported inappropriate groping, several more women in Odessa, Texas, now say that a local police officer there detained them and groped their breasts.

Local station CBS 7 reports warrants were issued for officer Salvador Becerra, who allegedly brought at least three and up to six women back to his patrol car, where he talked to them and then put his hands under their bras and felt their breasts, according to the Texas Cannabis Report.

While groping the women, Officer Becerra reportedly turned off audio on his squad car's recording equipment, but cameras corroborated the women's stories.

Becerra detained a woman on March 9 who admitted having a joint in her pocket. According to the affidavit, Officer Becerra told her that "if she made an exception then they would not go to jail." It was then that the woman reluctantly allowed him to touch her breasts, but she reported the incident on March 10.

That resulted in an internal affairs investigation headed by Chief Timothy Burton which found the claims held merit, after reviewing Officer Becerra's camera footage. Chief Burton ordered a concurrent criminal investigation and requested the Texas Rangers take the lead in the case.

Texas: 77% Support Medical Marijuana; 49% Support Legalization


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An overwhelming 77 percent of Texans, more than three of every four, support legalizing medical marijuana, according to a poll released on Wednesday.

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune survey, which polled 1,200 voters, found just 23 percent of respondents said cannabis should remain illegal in all cases in Texas, reports Kolten Parker at My San Antonio. Almost half of those polled -- 49 percent -- said marijuana should be legal for all adults, including for recreational uses, either in small quantities (32 percent) or any amount (17 percent).

"I'm not surprised at the poll results because people in general understand arresting someone for the use of marijuana is more likely to waste taxpayer dollars and law enforcement's time than to deter use," said Ana Yañez-Correa, executive director of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. "That's why you see a national trend of addressing a person's choice to smoke pot in different ways."

"When people look at the negative financial ramifications for marijuana possession arrests, they see millions of dollars wasted," Yañez-Correa said. "That's why you see libertarians, members of the Tea Party and Democrats all saying the same thing.

"How can we, as a society, deny people who need marijuana for medical treatment?" Yañez-Correa asked.

Texas: Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition Schedules Inaugural Meeting In Houston


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group in Texas called Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP) will hold their inaugural meeting in Houston on March 15. According to RAMP, the group "serves as a voice for all Republicans who opposed the failed policy of prohibition."

The meeting, which will be held at King Street Patriots, "will highlight the fundamentals of marijuana policy," according to the group. "RAMP will explore the four major initiatives gaining traction nationwide: medical marijuana, decriminalization, industrial hemp, and the legalization model to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol," according to a press release.

RAMP says its mission is to "work within the GOP to educate and connect with lawmakers, party leadership, and grassroots activists."

According to the group's founder and executive director, Ann Lee, the conservative principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and individual liberty are the focal point of RAMP's message. "RAMP believes these core Republican ideals have been greatly eroded by government policies that criminalize responsible adults for using cannabis," a statement from the group reads.

Lee, the group's founder, is a lifelong Republican, octogenarian, and mother of five sons. She changed her viewpoint on marijuana after a workplace accident left her son, Richard Lee, as a paraplegic.

Texas: Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis Supports Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis on Tuesday said she supports medical marijuana, as well as easing the Lone Star State's harsh legal consequences for possession.

Davis said the approach of current Gov. Rick Perry, who said he supports reducing penalties for marijuana in Texas, is "reasonable," according to an interview with Rodger Jones of The Dallas Morning News.

"I do believe that Governor Perry's approach is a reasonable approach, that we as a state need to think about the cost of incarceration and, obviously, the cost to the taxpayers as a consequence of it, and whether we're really solving any problem for the state by virtue of incarcerations for small amounts of marijuana possession," David said, reports Dana Davidsen at CNN.

Under Texas law, possession of even small amounts of cannabis is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by jail time and fines.

Asked about medical marijuana, Davis said she personally supports it, but would gauge the mood of the voters on the issue.

"With regard to medical marijuana, I personally believe that medical marijuana should be allowed for," Davis said. "I don't know where the state is on that, as a population. Certainly as governor, I think it's important to be deferential to whether the state of Texas feels that it's ready for that."

Texas: Sen. Ted Cruz Says Not Enforcing Federal Marijuana Laws 'Dangerous To Liberty'


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has once again blasted President Obama for not enforcing federal marijuana laws in states which have legalized cannabis.

Sen. Cruz said he supported an "intelligent conversation" about drug policy in a new interview with the libertarian magazine Reason, reports Eric W. Dolan at The Raw Story. But Cruz certainly didn't provide any intelligent conversation, himself.

"I will say one thing that's been dismaying about the Obama Administration," Cruz said. "The Obama Administration's approach to drug policy is to simply announce that across the country, it is going to stop enforcing certain drug laws.

"Now, that may or may not be a good policy, but I would suggest that should concern anyone -- it should even concern libertarians who support that policy outcome -- because the idea that the President simply says criminal laws that are on the books, we're going to ignore," Cruz said. "That is a very dangerous precedent."

Cruz claimed Obama overstepped his authority by declining to arrest marijuana users and sellers in Colorado and Washington. Only Congress could enact such a policy, he said.

Texas: Republican Candidates For Lieutenant Governor Debate Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor of Texas took the stage Monday night for a live debate hosted by public television station KERA in Dallas. Asked for their positions on marijuana laws, three of the four voiced opposition to any change in the state's current laws concerning both recreational and medical marijuana.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick all said they didn't want to change the marijuana laws, reports Mark Wiggins at KVUE.

"I would not legalize it," said Dewhurst. "I would not decriminalize it. I think marijuana can be an addictive drug and cause problems for people who are suffering from that addiction."

"We do not need to lower our standards," Staples said. "I think that those that are receiving government assistance should not be eligible if they're illegally using narcotic substances in our state, and our laws need to reflect that fully."

"We know the medical research proves, without question, that marijuana does impact young people more than older people," claimed Patrick. "So it's a nonstarter with me."

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson staked out his own position, however. While opposed to recreational marijuana legalization, Patterson explained his support for medicinal cannabis by comparing its active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to other pharmaceutical agents.

U.S.: NY Sen. Chuck Schumer and TX Gov. Rick Perry Support Right To Legalize Marijuana


Growing Bi-Partisan Support on Heels of Obama Calling New Laws Legalizing Marijuana in Colorado and Washington ‘Important’

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) on Monday expressed his support for allowing states to move forward with taxing and regulating marijuana, telling MSNBC that “having the states experiment is a good idea.”

Schumer, the senior U.S. Senator from New York and the third ranking Democrat in the Senate, made the statement just days after similar comments by Texas Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Perry defended the right of Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana and said that Texas had implemented “policies that start us toward a decriminalization.” Perry was speaking on a panel about drug policy along with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, who both spoke out in favor of significant drug policy reform.

While Schumer and Perry do not as yet support legalizing marijuana either in their own states or nationally, both now support the rights of individual states to enact and implement such laws free from federal interference, according to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Texas: Gov. Rick Perry Says States Should Be Allowed To Legalize Marijuana


Possibly positioning himself for another attempt at the White House, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that he believes states should be allowed to legalize marijuana and that, as governor, he has helped move Texas in the direction of decriminalizing marijuana.

"I am a staunch promoter of the 10th Amendment," Perry said, reports US News and World Report. "States should be able to set their own policies on abortion, same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, then people will decide where they want to live.'"

"On marijuana legalization," Perry said twice, "States should be allowed to make those decisions."

According to a report by the Austin American-Statesman, Perry said:

"[A]fter 40 years of the war on drugs, I can’t change what happened in the past," Perry said, reports the Austin American-Statesman. "What I can do as the governor of the second largest state in the nation is to implement policies that start us toward a decriminalization and keeps people from going to prison and destroying their lives, and that’s what we’ve done over the last decade."

"We applaud Gov. Perry for standing up in support of states' rights to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use," said Chris Lindsey, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Our marijuana prohibition policies have failed, and it is time to adopt a more sensible policy.

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