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Uruguay: Wide World of Cannabis Explores First Country To Legalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabis and pop culture media platform Merry Jane is investigating cannabis globally in their new original series, "Wide World of Cannabis," which premieres Wednesday.

The first episode, "Uruguay Part 1," travels to South America to explore the first country in the world to completely legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana.

"This is just the start of Merry Jane's deep dive into cannabis use around the world," publicist Katie Jang told us on Wednesday.

Merry Jane was recently launched by entertainment icon Snoop Dogg and media entrepreneur Ted Chung.

The website, including partners Seth Rogen, Guy Oseary and Miley Cyrus, features the latest news on cannabis, business and entertainment, as well as a location mapping service for dispensaries, and an encyclopedia of all things cannabis.

U.S.: New TV Show Chronicles Emerging Cannabis Economy

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VICELAND, VICE’s new TV network, has shared the first trailer for its show "Weediquette," hosted by Krishna Andavolu. The show premieres on Tuesday, March 1, at 11 p.m., on VICELAND.

In the show, VICE correspondent Krishna Andavolu chronicles the science, culture, and economics of the emerging “green” economy.

Each episode explores the impact of marijuana legalization across the United States and internationally, examining how people on all sides of this issue are dealing with the growing popularity and acceptance of this remarkable plant.

"There are many players in this weed revolution, and each one has a story to tell," "Weediquette announced in a press release.

Watch the trailer here: https://youtu.be/RYAqnLonzIw

Oregon: Portland Mayoral Candidate Says He Would Lead On Cannabis Policy

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Portland mayoral candidate and Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler said at a roundtable this week that as mayor, he would lead on cannabis policy.

"First of all, let's acknowledge that this is a legal and regulated industry," Wheeler said. "Some of the issues I'd like to see resolved include banking.

"Right now, the cannabis industry does not have access to a legal banking framework," Wheeler said. "That means it's a high volume cash industry. That creates some public safety issues.

"It certainly makes it more difficult for the industry to be regulated the way people expect the industry to be regulated and frankly it makes it a very difficult proposition for those in the cannabis industry whether they're growers or whether they're suppliers or whether they're at the retail level," Wheeler said.

Wheler took a refreshing stand against the trend towards over-regulation of legal cannabis. Oregonians need only look north at their neighbor Washington to see the implementation of a wildly over-regulated legal marijuana industry, leading to unnecessarily high prices and over-taxation (a special 37 percent cannabis tax).

Global: National Cannabis Patients Wall Humanizes Patients In 40 Countries

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The National Cannabis Patients Wall, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to humanize and change medical marijuana laws founded in 2014 in Tennessee, now reaches 40 countries around the world and has more than 17,000 members, organizers announced on Tuesday.

"We endeavor to help patients find support, encourage and support activism while educating the public about medical cannabis and its advantages, and raising funds to build display walls to represent patients from every state," explained NCPW founder Dana Arvidson of Nashville, Tennesseee.

“The National Cannabis Patient's Wall not only signifies our solidarity as patients in need of a safer and effective alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals, but also the barriers we must overcome, our current State and Federal laws, which keep us from the medicine we desire and need," Arvidson said.

Arvidson said the group, which maintains a prominent social media presence including on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+, aims to help patients in every state and country reverse the prohibition of cannabis this year, "and to end the needless suffering, before more people die."

"We work daily to assist the repeal of marijuana prohibition, opening the door to common sense regulation," Arvidson said.

According to Arvidson, one of the best parts of NCPW is letting patients know they aren't facing illness and often legal persecution all alone.

"We provide patients with a place to gather with others who feel the same way," she said. "It truly helps when a patient knows they are not along in their struggle.

U.S.: Susan Burton Is A Voice From The Front Lines Of The Drug War

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After her son was killed by the Los Angeles Police Department, Susan Burton medicated her grief with alcohol and drugs. Instead of receiving the support and services she needed, she cycled in an out of the criminal justice system for nearly 15 years.

In 1998, Susan gained her freedom and sobriety and founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project. Named a CNN Hero in 2010, Susan’s organization provides support and resources for women recently released from prison.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) works to end the Drug War by supporting organizations like A New Way of Life. Susan’s video is the second installment of a new video series, "Voices from the Front Lines of the Drug War," chronicling the people and organizations addressing the worst harms of the Drug War and creating new policies based in science, compassion, health and human rights.

Here is the direct link to the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UjR_8nAURA

Global: Original Series 'Four Twentysomethings' Premieres Monday, April 20

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They toke. They smoke. They joke. They’re “Four Twentysomethings.” Hardworking slackers Robert Kaval, Steven Hugh Nelson, and Steve Scapardine premiere their original series on YouTube on Monday, April 20 at 4:20 a.m. CT. "Please, don’t call it a web series," the ask. "It sounds more professional this way."

Combining the wit and idiocy of all three creators, “Four Twentysomethings” follows four friends in their twenties who work at a marijuana dispensary, which means the title is also the logline. Like “Clerks,” but with weed, the characters talk, complain, and pretty much do anything but actually work.

Sometimes, they put up with the antics of Skater Dave, their stoner friend, or Sonny, the official "Owner and Stoner." Always, they put up with an empty store because the creators couldn’t afford to pay extras.

“This is honestly one of the greatest shows I’ve ever watched, and certainly the best I’ve ever created,” said one of the Steves. “This is also the only show I’ve ever created. Or watched.”

Faint, untrustworthy praise could also be found elsewhere.“Yeah, I guess it’s alright, but I wish he would’ve gone to law school,” said Sheila, the other Steve’s mother. A stranger who walked past me in the coffeehouse said, “What? You want a quote for what?”

Utah: Sick Mormon Mother Pleads For Legalized Medical Marijuana In Video

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Mormon mother's YouTube video pleading for legalization of medical marijuana in Utah went viral on the Internet on Wednesday.

In the video, Tenille Farr of Spanish Fork tells how she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma last summer while she was pregnant with her fifth son, Gabe, reports Kristen Moulton at The Salt Lake Tribune.

The video, posted by the Illegally Healed website and on its Facebook page, got hundreds of shares within hours on Wednesday.

Illegally Healed is for personal stories of people who have used medicinal cannabis, according to Angela Bacca, media and public relations director for the Drug Policy Project of Utah. That group is working with Illegally Healed to post stories about Utah residents who want to be able to use medical cannabis; Farr's was the first such video.

Farr was also one of the Utah residents who shared their stories with lawmakers debating SB 259, a medical marijuana bill, during the recent session. The bill, proposed by state Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs), would have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, but the Utah Senate rejected it 14-15.

U.S.: Obama Predicts More States Will Legalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

President Barack Obama on Thursday said he expects more states to legalize marijuana.

In a YouTube interview, Obama discussed cannabis policy and the contrasts between federal and state law, reports Niraj Chokshi at The Washington Post. Four states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska) plus the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana.

“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” Obama said in response to a question from Hank Green, who with his brother runs a YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers.

“The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue,” Obama said, about 11 minutes into the video embedded below. “My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”

Israel: Green Leaf Party Offers Marijuana (In The Future) For Campaign Donations (Now)

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One political party in Israel is offering marijuana for campaign donations. The only catch is, it's marijuana in the future for campaign donations now.

The gimmick, launched in a YouTube video on Saturday, helped the Green Leaf (Aleh Yarok) party get more than NIS 100,000 ($25,000 US) in donations this week, reports The Jerusalem Post.

Donors who give campaign donations are promised they will receive cannabis if and when the day comes that the plant is legalized in Israel.

The party on Monday morning opened a Headstart fundraising campaign with a range of options for donors. The page includes a sliding scale of hypothetical amounts of marijuana along with corresponding contribution levels.

A donation of NIS 50 ($12.50) entitles the donor to a savings bond redeemable for one gram of marijuana, once it's legalized. That's significantly less than the black market street value of weed in Israel, where it runs NIS 80 to 100 ($20 to $25 US) a gram. By Wednesday, all 56 available for that donation had been purchased.

Oregon: Activists Release Comedy Video Series Urging Voters To Legalize Marijuana

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Crowdsourced Videos Feature Comedians and Actors Showing How Easy it is to Vote in Oregon and End Marijuana Prohibition

A new get-out-the-vote video campaign has been launched by Drug Policy Action, a related organization of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. The series of videos, entitled "In the Time It Takes,” show how easy it is to vote and to support Measure 91, a measure on the November ballot that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.

In the videos, supporters of Measure 91, including actor Tate Donovan and comedian Rob Cantrell, demonstrate something that can be done in the same amount of time it takes to vote for measure 91 and mail a ballot in Oregon. From the mundane to the ridiculous, each “In the Time It Takes” video emphasizes the fact that it only takes a minute to fill out and mail a ballot. Drug Policy Alliance and the local Yes on 91 campaign are counting on this new initiative to rally younger voters to get out and vote.

Washington Sheriff Endorses Oregon Marijuana Regulation Measure

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Second sheriff endorses Measure 91: “The evidence keeps coming in: Our new approach is working”

The Sheriff of King County, Washington, which includes the greater Seattle area, has taken the unprecedented step of endorsing a marijuana regulation measure on the ballot in the state next door.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart supported I-502, Washington state’s successful 2012 initiative to regulate marijuana, and he said he supports Oregon’s Measure 91 because, he said, Washington state’s regulated approach to marijuana is working.

“Month by month, tax dollars are going to schools and police, not the drug cartels,” Urquhart says in a new ad from Oregon’s Yes on 91 campaign (you can view the ad at the bottom of this article). “Wasteful arrests are way down. DUIs are down. Drug prevention programs are getting funds. Strict regulations are working.”

Oregon: 'Yes On 91' Video Illustrates Marijuana Regulation In 45 Seconds

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A newly released 45-second motion graphic shows why it's time to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana in Oregon. You might recognize the narrator's voice from radio and telelvision.

Rick Steves, travel guru, narrates this animated video that explains how our current marijuana policies are failing us. Steves is launching a six-day, 11-city tour around Oregon in support of Measure 91.

Oregon's Measure 91 would create a regulated system that would refocus police time on serious crimes, hobble the black market cartels, and direct millions of dollars to education, drug treatment and prevention, and law enforcement.

Learn more at www.VoteYESon91.com .

New Mexico: Albuquerque Mayor Vetoes Marijuana Decrim Bill

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico's biggest city, on Friday vetoed a measure that would have allowed voters to decide whether to decriminalize marijuana possession in much the same way that the Santa Fe City Council did in the state's capital city two days earlier.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said in a video message posted on YouTube that he vetoed the bill because marijuana is illegal, and decriminalizing it would pose conflicts with state and local laws, reports Russell Contreras of the Associated Press.

"The original form of this bill actually has several measures that I really want to see the voters of Albuquerque weigh in on," Mayor Berry claimed. "Unfortunately, at the last minute there were measures added that I, in good conscience, cannot sign, including flying in the face of federal and state law."

Berry claimed he didn't want to get Albuquerque into a legal fight. Decrim supporters criticized the mayor for his decision.

"We're disappointed to see the mayor turn away from the opportunity to let city voters have a [say in] how our city deals with crime and justice issues," said Pat Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico, one of the organizations that sponsored the campaigns to reduce marijuana penalties in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Proposal To Receive House Floor Vote Wednesday

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As lawmakers prepare for vote, second TV ad hitting Gov. Mark Dayton for obstructing the medical marijuana proposal will begin premiering tonight across Minnesota

The Minnesota House of Representatives is expected to hold a floor vote Wednesday on a proposal that would allow people with serious illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

Specifically, the House will vote on an amendment offered Tuesday by State Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) that would add the medical marijuana program to a broader health policy bill, HF 2402. Unlike the medical marijuana bill currently being considered in the legislature, HF 1818, Rep. Garofalo's proposal would prohibit smoking and home cultivation of medical marijuana.

The Republican lawmaker's proposal comes as medical marijuana advocates are working to develop a legislative compromise on HF 1818. Gov. Mark Dayton continues to refuse to support the measure, which would actually provide patients with legal access to medical marijuana, because law enforcement associations oppose it. In March, the governor proposed alternative legislation that would fund medical marijuana research, but would not provide patients with access to medical marijuana or protect them from arrest and prosecution.

Global: Marijuana Activist/Writer Peter McWilliams' Last, Unfinished Book Released In Video Form

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Self-help author and poet Peter McWilliams never got the chance to finish his last book, A Question of Compassion, because he died after the government arrested him and took away his medical marijuana, which the author used to control the nausea associated with AIDS and cancer. But now a special reading of the unfinished book is available on YouTube, thanks to Julia (she prefers to go by her first name only), the young lady behind the website PeterMcWilliams.org and the Facebook page Peter McWilliams Remembrance.

McWilliams, a New York Times best-selling author of books including How To Survive The Loss of a Love, How To Heal Depression and the Libertarian manifesto Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, inspired millions worldwide. After he started experiencing health problems in the mid 1990s, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1996.

In 1997, the author was arrested for possession and cultivation of marijuana and was released on $250,000 bail with the condition that he not use marijuana. He died on June 14, 2000, before he was able to go to trial or complete A Question of Compassion. Some say he choked to death on his own vomit, unable to control his nausea once the medicinal cannabis was taken away.

New Hampshire: Man Gets Year In Jail After Being Spotted In 'How To Grow Marijuana' Videos

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A New Hampshire man was busted after accidentally appearing in "How to Grow Marijuana" videos he uploaded to YouTube.

Kyle Berry, 40, didn't want to appear in the 35 anonymous clips he posted, not realizing that his face was reflecting off a shiny surface in his grow room, and that his name was on a package from a marijuana seed company, reports Lee Moran of the New York Daily News.

Berry said that was was growing the cannabis for his own use after undergoing 17 surgeries, reports Ray Brewer at WMUR-TV. But on Tuesday he pleaded guilty to "manufacturing a controlled substance" and was sentenced to a year in jail, with four months suspended, and fined $500.

"Showing how to grow it, how to set it up, what chemicals he uses, where he gets his seeds," said Assistant Rockingham County Attorney Jerome Blanchard. "He's very detailed about how he is doing it."

After being tipped off to the video's, authorities started watching them for clues; that's when they saw Berry's face and also noticed that he showed his name on a package addressed to him.

"In a video dated Oct. 17, 2012, the defendant showed a package received from the United Kingdom containing marijuana seeds that shows the postage from the Royal Mail," Blanchard said. "The package had the defendant's name on it."

Uruguay: How Will the Regulation of Legal Marijuana Work?

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Regulación Responsable’s new animated video (with English subtitles; just turn closed captioning on, on YouTube) is now available online, in which it explains the marijuana regulation bill approved on July 31 in the House of Representatives. The bill is currently being discussed in the Uruguayan parliament and will be signed into law within the next two months.

Regulación Responsable is a coalition of prominent Uruguayan organizations and individuals that support marijuana regulation, made up of LGBT, women’s rights, health, student, environmental and human rights organizations, as well as trade unions, doctors, musicians, lawyers, athletes, writers, actors and academics.

The group aims to enrich the public debate on marijuana regulation through providing real information, creating spaces to disseminate material on the subject, and by making support for the initiative to legally regulate marijuana visible.

"The support received from former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Colombian president César Gaviria, 65 Mexican legislators, and more than 100 organizations around the world, along with the recent reports delivered by the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, encourages us to continue working to make Uruguay the ­first country to approve and implement marijuana regulation, a policy grounded in public health, public safety, and human rights," Regulación Responsable said in a press release.

Colorado: Marijuana Legalization Debate Monday Between Former DEA Head and DPA's Nadelmann

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Marijuana Legalization Continues Rapid Shift From Fringes to Mainstream of U.S. and International Politics

Debate Will Be Live-Streamed on YouTube on July 1

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic are hosting their ninth annual Aspen Ideas Festival from June 26 through July 2. More than 300 insightful thinkers and leaders from around the country and beyond are gathering in Aspen, Colorado, to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. The week’s programming will cover a variety of important issues, including the economy, the Middle East, energy, space, mobility, design – and marijuana legalization, among other topics.

The public dialogue will engage, over seven days, a festival audience of more than 4,000 attendees between the campus at the Aspen Meadows and the town of Aspen, as well as those following the festival online throughout the world.

On Monday, July 1 (10:20 am-11:20 am Mountain Time / 12:20-1:20 Eastern), Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will debate former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) head and U.S. Congressman Asa Hutchinson on marijuana legalization. Nadelmann and Hutchinson have previously debated on a national stage, such as this segment on CNN’s Crossfire.

New Hampshire: Warrant Issued For Man Arrested In YouTube Marijuana Case

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A New Hampshire man who was arrested for showing off his marijuana-growing operation on YouTube could be jailed for failing to show up for a Tuesday court hearing.

A judge issued a warrant for Kyle Berry, 40, for failing to appear at a bail-revocation hearing stemming from another pot-growing arrest in Lawrence, Massachusetts, last month, reports James A. Kimble at the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Prosecutors want Berry held without bail until his trial on charges he grew $16,000 worth of marijuana plants at his Auburn, N.H., in November, chronicling his progress on YouTube. Rockingham County deputies said they used the videos -- which accidentally captured Berry's face reflected on a foil-covered wall -- to get arrest and search warrants in the case.

Berry's public defender, Charles O'Keefe, asked the judge to cancel Berry's warrant, saying his client had simply mixed up the court date. Assistant County Attorney Michael Zaino responded on Wednesday by asking a judge to reject that request and schedule a new hearing date.

A Lawrence, Mass., police lieutenant came to court on Tuesday to testify about Berry being arrested in Massachusetts for "manufacturing marijuana" while he was free on bail on the YouTube case from New Hampshire, according to Zaino.

The hearing had to be canceled, Zaino said, because of Berry's failure to appear. He was arrested at his daughter's Massachusetts home on April 22.

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