Senate Panel Advances Measure to Protect MMJ State Posted by on July 27, 2017 at 15:27:12 PT By Lydia Wheeler Source: Hill Washington, D.C. -- The Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to a budget bill on Thursday to protect medical marijuana programs from federal interference in states that have legalized the drug for medical use.
The amendment to the 2018 Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill passed by a voice vote and prohibits the Justice Department from using funds to prevent states from "implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana." Read More... How Sessions Could Crack Down on Marijuana Posted by on July 27, 2017 at 12:08:45 PT By Tessa Berenson Source: Time Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is an outspoken critic of recreational marijuana, and he has the power to hobble cannabis sales in states where it's legal. But for now, business owners and advocates say they don't think he'll actually do it.
As the head of the Justice Department, Sessions has a few strategies he could use to go after marijuana which, while legalized for recreational use in 8 states and D.C. and legalized medicinally in 29, remains a federal crime. Read More... Medical Marijuana for Veterans Blocked Posted by on July 27, 2017 at 11:58:07 PT By Conor Gaffey Source: Newsweek Washington, D.C. -- Republican lawmakers have blocked an amendment to a bill that would have allowed veterans to access medical marijuana through federal doctors in states where the medicinal use of the drug is legal. The House Rules Committee removed the so-called “Veterans Equal Access” amendment from the Veterans Affairs (VA) department’s funding bill for the next year, McClatchy DC reported.
The amendment proposed that VA doctors should consider medical marijuana as a form of pain relief for interested patients in states that have legalized the drug’s use in medicine. VA physicians are currently proscribed from recommending medical marijuana, since the drug is illegal under federal law. Veterans can seek out medical cannabis but have to pay for it out of their own pocket. Read More... Should California Start Its Own Bank to Serve MJ Posted by on July 27, 2017 at 05:55:05 PT By James Rufus Koren Source: Los Angeles Times California -- With recreational marijuana sales set to become legal in California next year and most banks unwilling to open accounts for cannabis companies, pot entrepreneurs are desperate to figure out what to do with their piles of cash. Now, some want the state or cities to get involved.
Over the last year, there has been increasing interest among cannabis businesses and public officials in the idea of public banks: government-owned institutions that would take deposits, make loans and, in California at least, be willing to work with marijuana companies. Read More... Former Jets Player is Suing Jeff Sessions Posted by on July 25, 2017 at 11:30:27 PT By Matt Bonesteel Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Former NFL player Marvin Washington is one of five plaintiffs who are suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration in federal court to legalize marijuana, the New York Post reported Monday night.
Washington, a defensive lineman known mostly for his time with the New York Jets over his 11-year NFL career, is the co-founder of a company that sells hemp-based sports performance products that do not contain THC, the component of cannabis that causes a high in marijuana users. In the lawsuit, he claims that the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug — in other words, a substance that has a high potential for abuse and one that has no accepted medical use — prevents him from receiving federal grants to open a business that “would allow pro football players to use medical marijuana for pain management in lieu of more addictive opioids,” the Post reports. Read More... Trump's DOJ Gears Up for Crackdown on Marijuana Posted by on July 23, 2017 at 17:36:29 PT By Lydia Wheeler Source: Hill Washington, D.C. -- The Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. President Trump’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, is expected to release a report next week that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling and smoking the plant.
Sessions sent a memo in April updating the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice Department (DOJ) component heads on the work of the task force, which he said would be accomplished through various subcommittees. In the memo, Sessions said he has asked for initial recommendations no later than July 27. Read More... Trump Wages War on MJ Veterans Side With Pot Posted by on July 21, 2017 at 06:36:56 PT By Evan Halper and Lauren Rosenblatt Source: Los Angeles Times Washington, D.C. -- The Trump administration’s attack on legal marijuana, already stymied by large states determined not to roll back the clock, is increasingly confronting an even more politically potent adversary: military veterans.
Frustrated by federal laws restricting their access to a drug many already rely on to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and opioid addiction, veterans have become an influential lobbying force in the marijuana debate after sitting on the sidelines for years. Read More... CO MJ Tax Revenue Exceeds Half A Billion Dollars Posted by on July 19, 2017 at 15:37:40 PT By Ryan Grenoble Source: Huffington Post Denver -- These days, cannabis is Colorado’s cash crop. (Ciao, corn!) In the three-and-a-half years since the state began allowing adults to purchase marijuana for recreational use, cannabis has contributed more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue to both state and local coffers.
That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the Denver-based marijuana consulting firm VS Strategies. Based on data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the firm tabulated that cannabis-related taxes from 2014 through mid-2017 totaled $506,143,635. Read More... Ohio Senator Wants Feds to Lift Prohibition on MJ Posted by on July 19, 2017 at 14:41:11 PT By Laura A. Bischoff, Columbus Bureau Source: Dayton Daily News Columbus, Ohio -- The state senator who helped push through Ohio’s medical marijuana law wants to ask U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Congress to re-classify cannabis. State Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, introduced a resolution in the Ohio Senate on Wednesday that would make a formal request to the feds to drop marijuana from the list of controlled substances.
The resolution, which would have to pass both the Ohio House and Senate, doesn’t carry much clout. It is a mechanism for sending a message on an issue. Read More... Sessions Turns Asset Forfeiture Spigot Back On Posted by on July 19, 2017 at 12:53:09 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it will be restarting a federal asset forfeiture program that had been shut down by the previous administration.
Known as "adoptive forfeiture," the program -- which gives police departments greater leeway to seize property of those suspected of a crime, even if they're never charged with or convicted of one -- was a significant source of revenue for local law enforcement. In the 12 months before Attorney General Eric Holder shut down the program in 2015, state and local authorities took in $65 million that they shared with federal agencies, according to an analysis of federal data by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that represents forfeiture defendants. Read More... Sessions Turns Asset forFeiture Spigot Back On Posted by on July 19, 2017 at 12:51:22 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that it will be restarting a federal asset forfeiture program that had been shut down by the previous administration.
Known as "adoptive forfeiture," the program -- which gives police departments greater leeway to seize property of those suspected of a crime, even if they're never charged with or convicted of one -- was a significant source of revenue for local law enforcement. In the 12 months before Attorney General Eric Holder shut down the program in 2015, state and local authorities took in $65 million that they shared with federal agencies, according to an analysis of federal data by the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that represents forfeiture defendants. Read More... NH Governor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Posted by on July 19, 2017 at 12:36:13 PT By Reid Wilson Source: Hill New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has signed a new law decriminalizing marijuana, making the Granite State the 22nd in the nation to eliminate the possibility of jail time for those convicted of simple possession.
The measure passed the Republican-led legislature with huge majorities in May and June. When it takes effect in about two months, the new law will reduce fines for possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana from $2,000 to just $100 for a first or second offense. Read More... Marijuana Sales Give Nevada a Taste of Green Rush Posted by on July 15, 2017 at 05:29:21 PT By Amy Westervelt Source: Washington Post Reno -- Nevada’s fast-developing experiment with legal sales of recreational marijuana was an instant hit, and the July 4th weekend gave the Silver State a taste of the green rush.
In the first few days of sales, dispensaries reported more than 40,000 recreational transactions, a push that created two situations here: A rudimentary distribution system meant there wasn’t enough marijuana to stock the shelves, and high demand confirmed state officials’ sense that weed sales could help bolster state coffers. Read More... Why Are States Running Out of Weed? Posted by on July 11, 2017 at 15:10:00 PT By Janice Williams Source: Newsweek USA -- Nevada officials may have underestimated the high level of anticipation for the state’s new recreational marijuana law, because in its second weekend after launching the adult-only program, Nevada nearly ran out of pot. The shortage isn’t all that surprising, though, because other states have also suffered from low weed supplies shortly after rolling out recreational laws.
The state had its first weekend of recreational sales on July 1, finally allowing adults 21 and up to legally purchase marijuana products at certified dispensaries across Nevada. Read More... MMJ Patients Need an Antidote for Jeff Sessions Posted by on July 11, 2017 at 06:14:18 PT By Steph Sherer Source: Hill Washington, D.C. -- Medical cannabis is currently legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia and there are approximately 2 million medical cannabis patients in the United States overall. In the coming weeks before the August recess, these patients will be watching closely as Congress is expected to vote on the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment for the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill, which prohibits the Department of Justice from spending federal funds to prosecute states acting in accordance with their own medical cannabis laws.
The amendment, introduced by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calf.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), was originally passed in the House in 2014 and 2015, and has remained on the current budget through the continuing resolution, but is set to expire this September. Read More... D.C. Arrests for Public Use of Marijuana Posted by on July 11, 2017 at 06:02:37 PT By Justin Wm. Moyer Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Arrests for the public use of marijuana in the District nearly tripled in 2016 and are on track to remain high in 2017, public records show. More than 400 people were arrested in 2016 for public consumption of marijuana, according to D.C. police arrest records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Records show 78 had been arrested as of April 5.
That compares with 142 people arrested in 2015, the year that marijuana use — but not the sale of marijuana — became legal in the city. Read More... John Morgan Sues State for Blocking Smoking of MMJ Posted by on July 06, 2017 at 07:03:17 PT By Mary Ellen Klas, Tallahassee Bureau Source: Miami Herald Tallahassee -- Arguing that Florida legislators violated voters’ intent when they prohibited smoking for the medical use of marijuana, the author of the state's medical marijuana amendment sued the state on Thursday to throw out the implementing law.
John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who spearheaded the successful campaign to make medical access to cannabis a constitutional right, filed the lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court Thursday morning, asking the court to declare the law implementing the 2016 constitutional amendment unenforceable. Read More... What’s That Smell in The Air? Posted by on July 04, 2017 at 20:07:02 PT By Beth Teitell, Globe Staff Source: Boston Globe Massachusetts -- Bonnie Sashin smelled it wafting on State Street. Cathy Kleinbart gets a daily whiff on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Asya Partan encountered it while waiting to cross the BU Bridge. “A couple of guys opened a window and a cloud blew out,” she said.
Samantha Shapiro’s children smell it so often that her 9-year-old recently posed a question: “Why are there so many more skunks around?” Sorry, kid, it’s not skunks. Read More... Marijuana Dos and Don’ts for the Fourth of July Posted by on July 04, 2017 at 09:29:04 PT By Dan Adams, Globe Staff Source: Boston Globe Massachusetts -- Independence Day is a celebration of freedom. But on this July Fourth, for the first time in more than a century, our freedoms in Massachusetts include the ability to legally buy, possess, and use marijuana. These privileges took effect in December, after voters approved a ballot question on recreational pot use. And that measure remains the law of the land, despite state legislators’ ongoing debate over a rewrite of the rules.
But it’s worth remembering that this freedom is heavily qualified. So, after consulting with law enforcement experts and studying guidance issued by state officials, here are some recreational marijuana do’s and don’ts. Read More... It’s Summer and Washington Smells Like Weed Posted by on July 03, 2017 at 10:26:12 PT By Maia Silber Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Arash Shirazi is a pretty cosmopolitan guy. A music agent and filmmaker, he hangs out with creative types and bohemians. He’s lived in L.A., and spent time in cities such as, yes, Amsterdam, so it’s fair to say that he’s not particularly prudish in his social life.
And yet. . . leaving a Washington parking lot recently, he took pause when a distinctively skunky scent passed under his nostrils. Of course he’d smelled marijuana before. But this was a weekday afternoon — in Georgetown! “I was surprised,” he explained. “Georgetown’s a bit more buttoned-up.” Read More... Senator Buys Recreational Marijuana Posted by on July 03, 2017 at 07:07:26 PT By Julie Weed Source: Forbes Nevada -- On July 1, Shango Premium in Las Vegas opened its doors for recreational customer sales one minute after midnight. The+Source dispensary welcomed State Senator Tick Segerblom to make the store's first purchase, a pre-rolled joint of his namesake strain, Segerblom Haze. Nevada’s cannabis market is open for business and entrepreneurs are navigating the evolving landscape.
New businesses spring up and grow quickly when legal marijuana comes to a state. In Colorado 18,000 jobs related to the cannabis industry were created in 2015. In Washington state, a new Seattle company, Pacific Century Holdings, has established a $50 million investment fund to buy commercial real estate assets that meet the regulatory requirements of Washington's legal marijuana industry. Nevada entrepreneurs should expect to see both opportunities and competition immediately. Read More... You Can Now Buy Legal Marijuana In Nevada Posted by on July 01, 2017 at 05:30:08 PT By Matt Ferner and Nick Wing Source: Huffington Post Nevada -- Adults who are at least 21 years old can now legally purchase recreational marijuana from select retail shops in Nevada. Sales began just after midnight on Saturday. There are a total of 44 licensed dispensaries around the state open for business so far, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation, which oversees the industry. Thirty-three shops in Las Vegas and four shops in Reno are among those that have licenses.
Customers can legally be in possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of cannabis-infused edibles or extracts. Read More... Legalized MJ Makes It Harder for Police to Search Posted by on June 26, 2017 at 12:33:46 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post USA -- Drug policy experts often say that the health risks of marijuana use are relatively minor compared to the steep costs of marijuana enforcement: expensive policing, disrupted lives, violence and even death.
Law enforcement agencies, however, have often been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana legalization. One reason is that the drug, with its pungent, long-lasting aroma, is relatively easy to detect in the course of a traffic stop or other routine interaction. It's an ideal pretext for initiating a search that otherwise wouldn't be justified — even if that search only turns up evidence of marijuana use and nothing more. Read More... What MJ Legalization Did to Car Accident Rates Posted by on June 26, 2017 at 06:22:26 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post USA -- Last week, a pair of studies came to seemingly opposite conclusions on whether rising marijuana use is causing an increase in car crashes in states that have legalized the drug.
The first, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzed insurance claims for vehicle collisions filed between January 2012 and October 2016. The IIHS researchers compared claims in states that had recently legalized marijuana (Colorado, Washington and Oregon) with claims in similar neighboring states that hadn't. Read More... Americans Want Trump to Respect State MJ Laws Posted by on June 22, 2017 at 18:58:45 PT By Kelly Cohen Source: Washington Examiner Washington, D.C. -- A majority of Americans want the Trump administration to leave state marijuana laws alone. Seventy-six percent of American adults want President Trump to leave state marijuana laws as they are, according to a new poll from Survey USA. Reform group Marijuana Majority commissioned the poll.
Currently, legal recreational marijuana has been approved in eight states plus Washington, D.C. A total of 29 other states, including the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana in some form. Read More... Six Senators Lead The Fight For Legal Weed Posted by on June 22, 2017 at 11:32:12 PT By Matt Laslo Source: Rolling Stone Washington, D.C. -- The United States Senate is an intentionally slow moving body when it comes to passing laws, but the nation's upper legislative chamber is even slower when it comes to catching up with the popular will of the American people. That's especially been on display when it comes to the nation's pot laws, but now there's a growing core group of senators who are vocally crying out for the federal government to catch up with the states, at least when it comes to medical marijuana.
Usually House members take the lead on marijuana policy, but last week a bipartisan and ideologically diverse group of six senators introduced legislation that would allow the laws legalizing medical marijuana in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam to supersede the current federal prohibition on weed. It also would make it easier for epilepsy patients and veterans to access medical marijuana, while loosening restriction on researching weed. The proponents think they’ll gain more support than ever before for the effort, and they hope to keep pressure on Senate leaders to allow the bill to come to the floor. Read More... Mexico Just Legalized Medical Marijuana Posted by on June 22, 2017 at 09:42:50 PT By Amanda Erickson Source: Washington Post Mexico -- Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree this week legalizing medical marijuana. The measure also classified the psychoactive ingredient in the drug as “therapeutic.” The new policy isn't exactly opening the door for medical marijuana dispensaries on every corner.
Instead it calls on the Ministry of Health to draft and implement regulations and public policies regulating “the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol.” It also tasks the ministry with developing a research program to study the drug's impact before creating broader policies. Read More... Medical Marijuana Bill Aims to Fight Jeff Sessions Posted by on June 16, 2017 at 10:47:05 PT By Matt Laslo Source: Rolling Stone Washington, D.C. -- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow state medical marijuana laws to supersede the current federal prohibition on weed. The bill is dubbed the CARERS Act, which stands for the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act.
"The fact is our marijuana laws in America are broken," Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said at the bill's unveiling at the Capitol. "They are savagely broken, and the jagged pieces are hurting American people." Read More... Organic Weed? Marijuana Growers Go Green Posted by on June 16, 2017 at 07:14:51 PT By Austa Somvichian-Clausen Source: National Geographic USA -- In the U.S., one square foot of indoor marijuana cultivation uses four times more energy than the same space in a hospital, eight times more energy than a commercial building, and 20 times more energy than a center for religious worship, according to a study by Lewis and Clark College.
But a rising number of people in the fast-growing cannabis industry are trying to reduce their environmental footprint, from energy to water to pesticides. Still, a lack of research and regulation has left an industry that is on track to post $20.2 billion in sales by 2021 in a tough position. Read More... Sessions Asked Congress To Let Him Prosecute MMJ Posted by on June 13, 2017 at 05:04:00 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday.
The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana." Read More...
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