Congress Protects Medical Marijuana Posted by on March 22, 2018 at 05:47:48 PT By Tom Angell Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- Medical marijuana patients and businesses that follow state laws will continue to be protected from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the federal drug agents that work for him under a provision contained in new must-pass legislation revealed on Wednesday.
The policy, which has been federal law since 2014, bars the U.S. Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. Its continuance was in question, however, after Sessions specifically asked Congress not to extend it and House leaders blocked a vote on the matter. Read More... Outlaw Weed Comes Into The Light Posted by on March 16, 2018 at 20:51:26 PT By Scott Wilson Source: Washington Post Arcata, Calif. -- The quaint town plaza here is lined with locally owned stores, their names and products recalling the post-Flower Power migration from San Francisco decades ago: Moonrise Herbs, Heart Bead, Hemp Recycled Solutions.
The shops trade largely in cash with customers who are paid in cash — the marijuana growers, distributors and “trimmigrants,” seasonal workers who cut back the flowering plants for market each autumn. But business is stalling as marijuana’s dark cash economy comes into the light, pushed by the state’s legalization of the drug earlier this year. Read More... San Francisco One US City With Marijuana Lounges Posted by CN Staff on March 15, 2018 at 05:22:57 PT By Paul Elias, Associated Press Source: Associated Press San Francisco -- The smoke was thick and business brisk at the Barbary Coast Dispensary's marijuana smoking lounge, a darkened room that resembles a steakhouse or upscale sports tavern with its red leather seats, deep booths with high dividers, and hardwood floors.
"There's nothing like this in Jersey," said grinning Atlantic City resident Rick Thompson, getting high with his cousins in San Francisco. Read More... Legal Marijuana Is A Boon To The Economy Posted by on March 14, 2018 at 05:25:38 PT By Mona Zhang Source: Forbes Colorado -- Researchers found that legalizing marijuana had a positive impact on the economy of Pueblo County, Colo. In a landmark report out of the Colorado State University-Pueblo's Institute of Cannabis Research, researchers found that a taxed and regulated cannabis industry contributed more than $58 million to the local economy, reports The Denver Post.
While there was about $23 million in added costs to legalization – including law enforcement and social services – the county still ended up with a net positive impact of more than $35 million. Read More... Plan To Diversify Maryland Med Marijuana Market Posted by on March 12, 2018 at 06:17:07 PT By Erin Cox Source: Baltimore Sun Maryland -- For months, Maryland lawmakers have planned to address the lack of diversity in the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry by offering more licenses. A new round of licensing was supposed to give the black-owned firms that were all but shut out of the first round another chance to gain a foothold in the lucrative industry.
But the legislation lawmakers have now come up with favors companies that already hold licenses to grow and process marijuana. Only one of the 30 licenses awarded two years ago is held by a firm owned by African-Americans. Read More... America Is Giving Away $30 Billion MMJ Industry Posted by on March 08, 2018 at 09:14:21 PT By Josh Dean Source: Bloomberg USA -- Lyle Craker is an unlikely advocate for any political cause, let alone one as touchy as marijuana law, and that’s precisely why Rick Doblin sought him out almost two decades ago. Craker, Doblin likes to say, is the perfect flag bearer for the cause of medical marijuana production—not remotely controversial and thus the ideal partner in a long and frustrating effort to loosen the Drug Enforcement Administration’s chokehold on cannabis research. There are no counterculture skeletons in Craker’s closet; only dirty boots and botany books. He’s never smoked pot in his life, nor has he tasted liquor. “I have Coca-Cola every once in a while,” says the quiet, white-haired Craker, from a rolling chair in his basement office at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he’s served as a professor in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture since 1967, specializing in medicinal and aromatic plants. He and his students do things such as subject basil plants to high temperatures to study the effects of climate change on what plant people call the constituents, or active elements. Read More... Rhode Island: Marijuana On The Ballot Posted by on March 01, 2018 at 18:11:40 PT By Tom Angell, Contributor Source: Forbes Rhode Island -- Voters in the nation's smallest state could have a chance to send a big message about marijuana legalization this fall.
Under a new bill filed in the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, Rhode Islanders would be able to decide on a ballot measure calling for the end of cannabis prohibition. "Do you support the legalization of possession and use of marijuana by persons who are at least 21 years of age, subject to regulation and taxation that is similar to the regulation and taxation of tobacco and alcohol?" the proposed question reads. Read More... Nevada Makes $30 Million In Marijuana Taxes Posted by on February 27, 2018 at 05:38:39 PT By Mona Zhang, Contributor Source: Forbes Nevada -- The Silver State’s marijuana industry is still in its infancy, but the cannabis market has raked in more than $30 million in tax revenue for the state so far. Retailers in Nevada have sold more than $195 million in cannabis during the first six months of its adult-use market.
Unlike other states (including California, Maine and Massachusetts) that legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, Nevada implemented its program a full six months ahead of the new year. The state charges a 15% tax on wholesale marijuana and a 10% tax on retail sales. That netted the state nearly $3.7 million in tax revenue for July 2017 – its first month of recreational sales. Tax revenue hit a peak of nearly $5.84 million in October 2017. Read More... Governor Says DOJ Wants To Sow Doubt on Marijuana Posted by on February 24, 2018 at 05:38:23 PT By Alexis Simendinger Source: Hill Colorado -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s tough stance on legalized marijuana could lead to federal closure of some facilities in states where it’s legal, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) predicts in a new interview.
“He does not think in any way that it’s a good thing for this country to have legal marijuana, so when he rattles his saber, I wouldn’t be surprised if he closes down one or two of these facilities just to make that statement,” Hickenlooper told The Hill’s Power Politics podcast. Read More... Senator Calls Out Big Pharma On Opposing Marijuana Posted by on February 23, 2018 at 11:41:41 PT By Tom Angell, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- A prominent Democratic U.S. senator is slamming pharmaceutical companies for opposing marijuana legalization. "To them it's competition for chronic pain, and that's outrageous because we don't have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said. "It's not the same thing. It's not as highly addictive as opioids are."
"On the federal level, we really need to say it is a legal drug you can access if you need it," she said. Read More... Joint Committee Chair: Draft Regs Ignore Law Posted by on February 19, 2018 at 09:24:42 PT By Donna Goodison Source: Boston Herald Massachusetts -- The state rep who helped write the state’s legal marijuana law is blasting several of the Cannabis Control Commission’s draft regulations, saying they appear to have “disregarded” key provisions.
State Rep. Mark J. Cusack (D-Braintree), co-chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, wrote to the commission that he has “grave concerns” about draft regulations dealing with licenses for on-site social consumption establishments such as cafes and movie theaters, local control over them and minors’ access to those businesses, as well as licenses for delivery-only retailers, and micro-businesses that would be allowed to cultivate, manufacture and deliver pot to consumers. Read More... Lawsuit Could Be The One To Legalize Marijuana Posted by on February 15, 2018 at 05:55:27 PT By Mona Zhang, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- On Wednesday, advocates and professionals in the cannabis industry descended on a federal court in New York to watch Justice Department lawyers try to dismiss a case against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The suit involves a motley crew of plaintiffs: Alexis Bortell and Jager Cotte, both pediatric medical marijuana patients, Jose Belen, an Army combat veteran who uses cannabis to treat his PTSD, Marvin Washington, a former New York Jet-turned cannabis entrepreneur, and the Cannabis Cultural Association, a non-profit dedicated to ending the war on drugs and promoting people of color in the cannabis industry. Read More... Democrats Forming Marijuana Legalization Consensus Posted by on February 15, 2018 at 05:45:36 PT By Tom Angell, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- Support for marijuana legalization is quickly becoming a mainstream consensus position in the Democratic Party. Two of the party's leading potential 2020 presidential candidates joined together this week in support of far-reaching legislation that would end the federal prohibition of cannabis and encourage states to legalize the drug.
“Legalizing marijuana isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when," Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said about the legislation, the Marijuana Justice Act, which he introduced last August. Read More... Sessions Opposes Plan To Reform Prison Sentencing Posted by CN Staff on February 14, 2018 at 16:09:39 PT By Sarah N. Lynch Source: Reuters Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday warned the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to not approve a draft criminal sentencing reform bill that he claims would reduce sentences for “a highly dangerous cohort of criminals.”
In a letter seen by Reuters, Sessions told Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and fellow Republican Charles Grassley that he feared passage of the legislation would be “a grave error.” Read More... Calif. Poised To Become Largest Jobs Creator Posted by on February 14, 2018 at 11:11:31 PT By Julie Weed, Contributor Source: Forbes California is poised to become the largest recreational cannabis market in the world. It’s also a great place to get a job helping marijuana growers, processors, and sellers or work in adjacent services including legal advice, marketing and security for the nascent industry.
That’s according to ZipRecruiter, an online employment marketplace, whose data shows that Los Angeles and San Francisco advertised the most marijuana-focused jobs in the legal marketplace. “When it comes to growth in this industry, we see the most significant growth in states that recently loosened their marijuana laws,” said the report. California’s recreational cannabis market just opened, but it’s already topping the list of marijuana-related help-wanted postings. The next biggest employment centers are Denver and Seattle, major hubs in the longer-established recreational markets of Colorado and Washington. Read More... Seattle To Vacate Hundreds of MJ Convictions Posted by on February 09, 2018 at 05:30:04 PT By Daniel Beekman and Christine Clarridge Source: Seattle Times Seattle -- When your crime is no longer considered a crime, should it still count against you? Not when the crime is small-time marijuana possession, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Attorney Pete Holmes said Thursday. Since Washington legalized marijuana in 2012, some people have been stuck with criminal records for misdemeanor pot convictions while watching others make killings off the business of selling legal weed.
So Seattle will move to go back and vacate misdemeanor marijuana-possession convictions prosecuted by the city before legalization, Durkan and Holmes said. Read More... Marijuana Can Save Lives Posted by on February 08, 2018 at 12:58:46 PT By Richard A. Friedman Source: New York Times USA -- This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions paused a discussion of the opioid epidemic to, once again, go after marijuana. He suggested that addictive pain medication wasn’t the only problem and that many heroin addicts start out “with marijuana and other drugs.”
There is a relationship between cannabis and opioids, but Mr. Sessions has it backward. Marijuana isn’t a gateway drug to opioid addiction; it’s a safer alternative to pain medicines. Mr. Sessions’s vow to crack down on marijuana will only make the opioid epidemic worse. Read More... Sessions Says Marijuana Fuels the Opioid Epidemic Posted by on February 08, 2018 at 12:40:42 PT By Julia Lurie Source: Mother Jones Washington, D.C. -- At a Heritage Foundation event celebrating Ronald Reagan’s birthday this week, Jeff Sessions made a familiar argument: Easy access to marijuana is helping fuel the opioid epidemic. The Drug Enforcement Agency says that the vast majority of heroin addiction starts with prescription painkillers, he acknowledged, but “We think a lot of this is starting with marijuana and other drugs, too.”
Quote: A 2016 study found that marijuana use was associated with a 64 percent reduction in opioid use among patients with chronic pain. Read More... Marijuana is Now Legal in California Posted by on February 06, 2018 at 10:54:22 PT By The Times Editorial Board Source: Los Angeles Times California -- Marijuana is now legal under California law, but hundreds of thousands of Californians have criminal records for possessing or selling the drug when it was still banned. Those records can make it harder for people to get a job, obtain a loan, go to college, rent an apartment or otherwise become productive members of their community — even if their marijuana arrest happened decades ago.
Proposition 64 not only allowed the sale and adult use of marijuana going forward, subject to state and local regulation, it applied the law retroactively and created a process for people to have certain pot convictions reduced or expunged entirely from their records. Yet few people — about 4,900 — have filed for expungements in the first year. Perhaps they don't know that this relief is available. Perhaps it's too expensive or intimidating; the process requires hiring a lawyer, filing a petition and going to court. Read More... Governor Looking Into Dismissing MJ Convictions Posted by on February 05, 2018 at 14:10:52 PT By Rebecca Savransky Source: Hill Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said he is looking into the idea of dismissing convictions for nonviolent marijuana offenders. During an interview on the news network Cheddar, Hickenlooper said "it's roughly about 40 cases where we can be absolutely sure there was no violence involved in the sentencing."
"For several of the people, a number of them, it was multiple times that they'd been arrested and prosecuted for marijuana or marijuana sales," he said.
"So we're going to go back and look at those and I think it's legitimate to at least go case by case and say, alright, if we can get these people out of jail and take some of the pressure, the cost." Read More... California Makes Marijuana a Wellness Industry Posted by on February 01, 2018 at 15:11:12 PT By Dana Goodyear Source: New Yorker Magazine California -- By the time recreational marijuana usage became legal in California, on New Year’s Day, the government’s official permission seemed, for many Californians, like a belated, nearly irrelevant formality. Twenty-two years of ready access to medical marijuana had made casual consumption—a pull off a vape pen on the walk to dinner, post-prandial pot chocolates circulating in the living room, a THC strip tucked under the tongue—no more remarkable than an aperitif. Actually, less remarkable than a drink, because everyone knows that alcohol is bad for you (kills your stem cells, gives you cancer, makes you grouchy, paunchy, gray), whereas, increasingly, the industry is equating conscious marijuana use with sublime good health. Read More... San Francisco Will Wipe Out Marijuana Convictions Posted by on January 31, 2018 at 14:35:30 PT By Sarah Parvini and Rong-Gong Lin II Source: Los Angeles Times California -- San Francisco will retroactively apply California's new marijuana legalization laws to prior convictions, expunging or reducing misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975, the district attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Nearly 5,000 felony marijuana convictions will be reviewed, recalled and resentenced, and more than 3,000 misdemeanors that were sentenced prior to Proposition 64's passage will be dismissed and sealed, Dist. Atty. George Gascón said. The move will clear people's records of crimes that can be barriers to employment and housing. Read More... Marijuana Sanctuary State? Posted by on January 26, 2018 at 05:32:13 PT By Linley Sanders Source: Newsweek Massachusetts -- Democrats in Massachusetts are pushing their state to become the first so-called sanctuary from marijuana prosecution as Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushes a crackdown on the legalized drug.
Legislation proposed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives would prohibit state and local police from contributing resources to marijuana-related investigations, said Massachusetts Representative David Rogers. He told Newsweek that the bill is in response to Sessions's recent shift in an Obama-era policy that said The Justice Department would not interfere with marijuana businesses and use in states where it was allowed. Read More... Trump Administration Should Back Off of Marijuana Posted by on January 25, 2018 at 15:19:32 PT By Melina Delkic Source: Newsweek Washington, D.C. -- Bipartisan lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to back off of marijuana, they wrote in a letter on Thursday.
The letter, an effort spearheaded by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and Representative Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado, urged the president to stand in Attorney General Jeff Sessions' way as he attempts to roll back protections for marijuana in the United States, focusing on the president's campaign promises to leave marijuana alone. Fifty-four members of Congress signed. Read More... Pharmaceutical Industry Brings Cannabis to FDA Posted by on January 25, 2018 at 12:00:37 PT By Kate Sheridan Source: Newsweek Washington, D.C. -- A prescription medication made from marijuana might be approved by the Food and Drug Administration this summer. The advance could be a huge step forward for people with epilepsy, which this drug treats. And it would signal a new—some would say long-delayed—embrace of cannabis-based medications in the U.S.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the company behind the drug, started the approval process with the FDA last year, and a study published this week offers more encouraging signs. Read More... Marijuana Legalization is Succeeding Posted by on January 25, 2018 at 05:14:40 PT By Jolene Forman Source: Hill USA -- Recently Governor Phil Scott signed H.511 into law, making Vermont the ninth state to legalize marijuana, and the first to do so through a state legislature.
Vermont’s new law comes only weeks after Attorney General Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance limiting federal interference with state marijuana programs. Whether Sessions likes it or not, the federal government cannot prevent states from legalizing marijuana. Even if he could stop them, it would be bad policy — and bad politics. Read More... About That Joint: Marijuana Start-Ups Pass Posted by on January 24, 2018 at 13:07:11 PT By Farhad Manjoo Source: New York Times California -- The streets of San Francisco have always smelled of marijuana. Yet it’s worth noting that the city doesn’t seem to have gotten much smellier in the new year, after the recreational use of marijuana became legal in California under a law approved by voters in 2016.
Well, obviously: because nobody smokes marijuana anymore. Everyone’s vaping it. Or eating, drinking, sipping, dabbing, sucking on lozenges, chewing on gum, applying unguents or administering a drop or two of a cannabis-infused tincture under one’s tongue, where it is absorbed into the sublingual artery, within minutes producing an invisible, odorless, private high. Read More... Vermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Posted by on January 23, 2018 at 13:18:32 PT By Reid Wilson Source: Hill Vermont will become the latest state to allow the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes under a new measure signed into law Monday by Gov. Phil Scott (R).
The measure brings the number of states where recreational marijuana is legal to seven. But the Vermont bill is notable because it is the first time a state legislature has voted to legalize the drug. Read More... Murphy To Expand Access To Medical Marijuana Posted by on January 23, 2018 at 13:11:14 PT By Nick Corasaniti Source: New York Times New Jersey -- Having campaigned on a pledge to fully legalize marijuana, Gov. Philip D. Murphy took the first step toward expanding access to the drug in New Jersey on Tuesday, signing an executive order that would ease regulations on the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
New Jersey legalized medical marijuana in 2010, but Mr. Murphy’s predecessor, Chris Christie, a Republican, kept tight limits on the drug, including on which conditions could qualify for prescriptions. Read More... Bills Would Defund Federal Civil Forfeiture Posted by on January 20, 2018 at 16:03:08 PT By Nick Sibilla , Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- Amid relentless partisan bickering, it can be downright surprising when Members of Congress actually agree on a major policy reform. Multiple bills currently pending on the Hill would defund or eliminate many federal civil forfeiture programs. This notorious power enables law enforcement to permanently confiscate cash, cars, real estate and other valuable property without ever charging the owner with a crime. In a Kafkaesque twist, the property is the defendant in civil forfeiture cases, while owners must prove their innocence to recover what was taken. Read More...
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