2017

Massachusetts: Governor Signs Recreational Cannabis Bill

Mass Cann Law 2017

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

U.S.: Senators Introduce Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act to Protect Farmers

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced bipartisan legislation which would allow farmers to use water they own through private water rights to grow hemp, if the crop is grown legally.

In 2014, in a pilot program created by the 2014 Farm Bill, permission was granted to state Departments of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp. However, the Bureau of Reclamation prohibits the use of federally-controlled water for growing hemp, as the plant is listed in the outdated Controlled Substances Act. The conflicting policies are creating confusion for farmers who grow industrial hemp with water from federal reservoirs.

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

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

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

Tennessee: Hemp Research at Middle Tennessee State University Shows Promise

Middle Tennessee State University

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, graduate students are cultivating cannabis in greenhouses to research potential medicinal uses for the plant.

Shannon Smith, a graduate student at the university, said, "We're not interested in the full plant itself, we're just interested in the compounds the plant can produce."

The university, which has been licensed by the state, also received the approval of the Board of Regents and the Governor.

Minnesota: Industrial Hemp Flourishing in the Midwest Again

Minnesota Hemp, Zabel

Before the federal government banned hemp production in 1957, industrial hemp was a booming cash crop in Minnesota and the plant still grows wild across the state

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In 2015, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture created an industrial hemp research pilot program to study different aspects of industrial hemp production. This is the first year that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has allowed certified seed production and growing seeds from pure seed stock.

Mike Zabel, a 500-acre seed farmer in Grand Meadow, who planted about 200 acres of hemp, grows seed for Ken Anderson, the founder of Original Green Distribution.

Pennsylvania: Dept of Health Launches Practitioner Registry for Medical Cannabis Program

Pennsylvania Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine announced this week that physicians can now take the first steps to participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program by completing the Practitioner Registry.

“Since April 2016, we’ve been working to implement a patient-focused Medical Marijuana Program for Pennsylvanians in desperate need of medication,” Dr. Levine said. “Many physicians treat these patients every day and understand the impact this medication could have on their treatment. Once these physicians register and complete the required continuing education, they can be approved to participate in the program.”

U. S.: In Historic Lawsuit, Constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act Questioned

jeff.jpg

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was named a defendant this week in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act. In an 89-page Complaint, attorneys representing five plaintiffs claims classifying Cannabis as a Schedule I drug violates the U.S. Constitution.

Arkansas: Texarkana Approves Medical Carijuana Regulations

Texarkana

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

Michigan: Recreational Cannabis Initiative Allowing 12 Plants Per Household Moves Forward

Mi Cannabis Cup, Leafly

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

A ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for recreational use in Michigan is gaining momentum as the coalition raises awareness throughout the state. The group, which has gathered half of the signatures needed to put the issue before voters in 2018, is seeking to end cannabis prohibition with a proposal 12 plants per household.

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

Congresswoman Norton

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

AG Jeff Sessions

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

New Hampshire: Governor Signs Cannabis Decriminalization Bill

Cannabis

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

U.S.: Justice Department Planning Cannabis Crackdown

Make America Great Again

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Trump administration’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is scheduled to release a report by July 27 advocating for tougher sentences for those producing, selling and using cannabis.

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz (D), linking to a report on the crackdown, described the plans as “backward and inhumane.

"I hope every third-party voting progressive remembers this, ” Senator Schatz added.

Rhode Island: Bill to Create Cannabis Commission Passes General Assembly

Cannabis

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

United States: LSU, Ole Miss, Southern University, Cultivating Cannabis

Ole Miss Federal Cannabis Plot

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The Louisiana State University (LSU) Ag Center and Southern University Ag Center will soon be joining the University of Mississippi as an official medical cannabis producers.

Recently, the Louisiana Legislature passed a law allowing LSU and Southern University to cultivate and produce medical cannabis. The research will include extensive studies on cannabis to treat HIV, AIDS, cancer and seizure disorders.

“The medical research on this, in terms of marijuana, is lacking in general. We have a lot of antidotal information, but not a lot of real clinical studies of if you do this, you get this outcome,” said vice president of LSU agriculture, Dr. Bill Richardson.

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

Illinois Cannabis Arrests

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

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

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

Massachusetts: Legislature Compromises on Legalization Implementation Bill

Massachusetts: Legislature Compromises on Legalization Implementation Bill

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

Delaware: Governor and Lawmakers Expand Access to Medical Cannabis for PTSD Patients

Delaware Cannabis

Senate Bill 24, signed last week, will improve access to treatment for Delaware veterans

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

On July 12, Delaware Governor John Carney signed into law Senate Bill 24, which will expand access to medical marijuana treatment for Delaware veterans, and other Delawareans, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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

Cannabis

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

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

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

North Carolina: Farmers Think Hemp Offers Great Potential for State's Economy

Hemp

Hemp farmers believe the crop has great potential for North Carolina's economy

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The North Carolina General Assembly passed industrial hemp legislation in 2015, which was signed into law by former Gov. Pat McCrory. After two years of establishing bureaucratic rules, which include licenses to import hemp seed, a license to plant the hemp seed and consent to THC testing and GPS tracking from the Department of Agriculture, farmers are growing the crop in 2017.

Mann Mullen, a Franklin County farmer, is turning to industrial hemp. Mullen's business, Mullen View Farms, one of 75 farms in North Carolina that recently earned state approval to test the crop's viability, is looking forward to the new crop's potential.

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