The 21st annual conference of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) will be held Sunday, September 21 and Monday, September 22 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
Business leaders and farmers in the hemp industry in North America and from abroad will meet during the two-day event to discuss strategies and plans to legalize industrial hemp and return hemp to the American agrarian landscape once again.
The conference will include expert speakers, hemp exhibits and sales, luncheon, silent auction, networking dinner, presentations, panel discussion and updates on industry developments and expanding markets for hemp products.
Speakers from the hemp industry and movement will present at the conference including Doug Fine, author of Hemp Bound, John Roulac, President of Nutiva, Steve Allin, featured speaker and author of Building with Hemp, Christina Volgyesi, Marketing Director of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, and other leaders in the hemp industry.
The 21st conference occurs at a significant moment in hemp history, as the first legal hemp harvests in the U.S. in decades will be taking place in Colorado, Kentucky and Vermont this fall. Exceeding $581 million in 2013 annual sales according to SPINS market data and HIA estimates, hemp is among the fastest growing categories for food and consumer products in the U.S.
In addition to presentations on hemp manufacturing, agronomy, and other industry issues, a special panel discussion focusing on new cannabidiol (CBD) research and its market potential will take place on Sunday.
Citizens for a Safer Maine will submit its petition Wednesday in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older in the Town of York. York Selectman Ronald Nowell will join initiative backers at a media availability at 2 p.m. ET in front of York Town Hall prior to submitting the petition to the Town Clerk’s Office.
Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 900 total signatures, and just 641 valid signatures of registered town voters are needed to qualify for the ballot.
In July, the group submitted more than 100 signatures in order to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, it voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving Citizens for a Safer Maine 30 days to collect the additional 600-plus signatures.
The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.
The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level. A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and one is expected to be placed on the ballot in Lewiston following a city council hearing next week.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana advocates might have an extra reason to celebrate if Florida voters approve a proposed constitutional amendment which would legalize cannabis for medicinal use: Passage of Amendment 2 would also preempt Florida's "bong ban," which forbids the sale of pipes or paraphernalia used to smoke pot, according to the head of the organization which backs the amendment.
Amendment 2's definition of marijuana's medical use includes "related supplies," points out Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United For Care, reports James L. Rosica at The Tampa Tribune.
Anything currently outlaws as "drug paraphernalia" in Florida, including "metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic or ceramic pipes," may be legally sold if used to smoke cannabis to treat medical conditions, Pollara said.
That would even include "2-liter-type soda bottles," which Florida lawmakers somehow found it necessary to ban when used with a controlled substance.
The former University of Florida Levin College of Law dean who drafted the language for Amendment 2 didn't disagree with Pollara's interpretation, but said it would probably be sorted out in the courts.
By Steve Elliott
Critics of Nevada's laws on driving under the influence of marijuana want the Legislature to change the test from one which detects cannabis, to one which measures performance.
A state legislative panel on Thursday agreed with a 9-3 vote that a bill draft request be modeled after California's law and submitted for the 2015 session, reports Arnold M. Knightly at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In California, police must first determine with a field sobriety test that you might be impaired, then request a blood test if they think you are.
If marijuana is found in a person's system in California, the prosecution must prove that the person in question was too impaired on cannabis to drive safely.
State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), who chairs the Advisory Commission of the Administration of Justice's Subcommittee on the Medical Use of Marijuana, said if a bill draft isn't submitted by the committee, he will probably propose it himself. Segerblom authored the 2013 law formally legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada.
"If it's good enough for 40 million people, it is probably good enough for us," Segerblom said of California's marijuana DUI law.
The global fight to reform drug laws and put an end to the war on drugs gained a powerful new communications tool -- a three-minute stop-motion animation movie from Brazil entitled, WAR ON DRUGO.
In a fairytale setting, the movie explains the disastrous War On Drugs by telling the story of a dragon banished from an ancient kingdom, and how people that spent time with the dragon were thrown in jail. The visually appealing metaphor uses a simple narrative that is likely to help break the taboo on this complex subject and disseminate the argument to an even wider international audience.
The key messages of the movie are: prohibition does not mean control, and criminalization generates violence and suffering. A society with less violence is something that can be achieved.
WAR ON DRUGO is part of an ongoing effort by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) to highlight the need for more humane, evidence-based policies to deal with drugs in our society. The GCDP is the most distinguished group to call for broad reform of drug policies, and includes seven former presidents, the entrepreneur Richard Branson, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and other international leaders.
By Steve Elliott
States which have legalized medical marijuana for chronic pain have significantly fewer overdose deaths from prescription painkillers, according to a new study published on Monday in the JAMA Internal Medicine, the journal of the American Medical Association.
Scientists looked at medicinal cannabis laws and death certificate data in all 50 states between 1999 and 2010, reports Saundra Young at CNN. During that period, 13 states had medical marijuana laws in place.
"We found there was about a 25 percent lower rate of prescription painkiller overdose deaths on average after implementation of a medical marijuana law," said lead study author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber.
In 2010 alone, marijuana saved 1,700 lives in states which permit its medicinal use, based on the number of overdose deaths that would have been expected before such laws were passed, according to the study.
"It can be challenging for people to control chronic pain, so I think the more options we have, the better," Bachhuber, who has treated many chronic pain patients as a primary care doctor at Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, said. "But I think it's important, of course, to weigh the risks and benefits of medical marijuana."
The marijuana industry is one of the few bright spots in today's economic forecast, according to the president of cannabis jobs website, 420careers.com.
“The marijuana industry is one of the few industries in the US that is creating huge quantities of job opportunities,” said Dan Kingston, president and co-founder of 420careers.com. "Hundreds, if not thousands, of marijuana-related jobs will be created in Washington state and other states that legalize marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.
"Businesses are in need of qualified and law-abiding employees to work in the marijuana industry," Kingston said.
The industry is expected to grow by 68 percent this year, to $2.57 billion, and could grow to $10.2 billion over the next five years, according to Kaja Whitehouse of the New York Post.
According to Kingston, 420careers.com provides a free place for job-seekers to browse and apply for marijuana industry jobs as well as a free place where marijuana-related businesses can post available jobs and/or browse job-seekers’ resumes for qualified personnel. For $25, businesses can upgrade their job posting with a Featured Job Listing that is displayed and highlighted near the top of 420careers.com’s homepage.
Popular marijuana jobs offered on 420careers.com range from marijuana writers to advertising sales people, budtenders to cultivation experts, security to administrative positions, and more.
By Steve Elliott
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) on August 20, at its annual meeting in Toronto, voted on and approved a delegate resolution opposing the smoking of medical marijuana and other other plant material. Now Bedrocan Cannabis Corp., a licensed Canadian producer of medicinal cannabis, has come out in support of the CMA motion.
"The CMA is quite right to point out that there are particular hazards associated with smoking any plant material, including medical cannabis," Bedrocan Canada's statement reads. "While some patients, particularly those who use small quantities, choose to smoke medical cannabis, the preferred method of delivery is via the use of a vaporizer -- a device that heats cannabis to release the cannabinoids (the active ingredients), but does not burn it.
"There is good clinical evidence to show that vaporized cannabis contains significantly lower levels of toxins and harmful chemicals," Bedrocan's statement reads.
"In addition, there is one medicinal cannabis vaporizer, the Vapormed Volcano Medic®, approved in Canada as a class 2 medical device," Bedrocan's statement reads. "The use of a vaporizer allows patients to use cannabis to manage the symptoms of health conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, insomnia and other conditions, while avoiding the degree of risk involved in smoking a plant product.
The third annual International Conference on Cannabinoids, a multilingual conference bringing together industry experts and stakeholders, will be held at the Faculty of Medicine of Strasbourg, France, on October 22.
Cannabis Science, Inc., a U.S. company specializing in cannabis formulation-based drug development and related consulting, on Friday announce its sponsorship of the conference, hosted by L'Union Francophone pour les Cannab inoides en Medecine (UFCM iCare). Researchers, health professionals, and patients will discuss the development of medical cannabis in Europe and North America.
"Cannabis Science is delighted to contribute to the UFCM iCare initiatives to encourage discussion and promote innovation in the medical cannabis arena as the company strives to move forward in bringing cannabinoid-based medicines to patients on a global basis," said Dorothy H. Bray, Ph.D., director, president and CEO of Cannabis Science, Inc.
French law provides for a regulatory framework for the research and development of cannabinoid-based medicine that will then be available to patients in mainstream pharmacies. The upcoming conference of international experts is intended to facilitate patient-driven dialog with the researchers and with the industry.
UFCM, the leading medical cannabis charity in France, has assembled a team of prominent speakers including Professor Raphael Mechoulam from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in Israel and Professor Jerome Sèze from Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Strasbourg in France.
By Steve Elliott
A taxpayer-funded anti-drug group has canceled an October summit in Madras, Oregon, after complaints were raised by sponsors of Measure 91, a ballot measure which would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. The event, like 12 other local appearances, was scheduled just before the November vote.
The summit was to feature Kevin Sabet, a prominent opponent of cannabis legalization, reports Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian. Sponsors of Measure 91 this week charged that it was wrong for organizers to use federal funds to help pay for an appearance by Sabet, a former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) adviser who has formed Smarter Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), an anti-pot organization.
The taxpayer-funded "Oregon Marijuana Education Tour" was billed as a supposedly non-political event, since it would likely violate campaign rules for funds to be used for political purposes -- and this was flagrantly scheduled for just before the marijuana vote. Sabet had claimed that he wouldn't talk about the ballot measure on the tour.
The summit was canceled because he "could see from an outside perspective that it could look like a conflict," admitted Rick Treleaven, executive director of BestCare Treatment Practices and organizer of the event.
By Steve Elliott
A Minnesota mother has been charged with child endangerment for giving her son medical marijuana to treat his pain.
Cannabis oil has been a lifesaver for 15-year-old Trey Brown, according to his mother Angela Brown, reports Liz Collin at WCCO.
"No mother should have to hold their child so they don't hurt themselves," Angela said, "He didn't want to live."
Three years ago, Trey suffered a traumatic brain injury at a baseball game. "It's been a very, very rough three years," said David Brown, Trey's father.
One pitch at a game of baseball with friends changed Trey's life forever.
"It just hurts my brain everywhere," Trey said. "I really can't explain the pain."
Trey gets headaches, muscle spasms and seizures. His condition got so bad, he wasn't able to go to school, and started to punch and cut himself.
"I was afraid to go to the bathroom; he'd be harming himself," Angela said.
Minnesota doctors seemed unable to help. Last winter, the Browns went to Colorado, where they found something that worked.
"Within an hour of him taking it, we could tell a difference," Angela said. They brought some cannabis oil back with them from Boulder, Colorado.
"I felt better -- the pain went away," Trey said. But when he school asked why Trey was doing so much better, teachers didn't like his parents' answer.
By Steve Elliott
A Canadian man who was one of New York's biggest marijuana suppliers, and who was known as the "Pot Playboy," was sentenced on Wednesday to 27 years in prison for leading a $1 billion international drug trafficking enterprise, according to prosecutors.
Jimmy Cournoyer pleaded guilty in May 2013 to money laundering charges, along with conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and cocaine, reports the Associated Press. The 34-year-old native of Laval, Quebec was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court.
Gerald McMahon, Courtnoyer's lawyer, said prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of being a drug kingpin which carries an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, reports Allan Woods at The Star.
His sentence will also involve him forfeiting $1 billion to the U.S. government along with $11 million in drug proceeds, prosecutors said in a statement which thanked 19 police departments including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Cournoyer's organization, based in Montreal, had ties to international drug cartels and organized crime, prosecutors claimed. His lifestyle of hanging out with celebrities like Leonard DiCaprio included a Brazilian supermodel girlfriend and a super-expensive Bugatti Venyon automobile.
CannaSearch, which is being billed as the nation's first and largest cannabis career and educational fair is scheduled for Denver on September 16.
CannaSearch, LLC says it designed the event to help match career seekers with cannabis employers from all over the United States.
"Currently, we are observing numerous states preparing for cannabis business and are seeing companies become increasingly more sophisticated around the hiring process," said Todd Mitchem, co-organizer of the event. "This includes a desire to hire more employees for traditional career roles such as management, retail, sales, marketing, accounting, IT, quality control, administration and horticulture."
"The added educational component to this job fair was designed to guide job seekers who lack understanding of what it takes to work in this budding industry," Mitchem said (nice pun, by the way). "Participants will be able to sit in on one-hour presentations, which will cover a broad range of topics spanning from bud tending to executive leadership advice."
CannaSearch says it is "securing 50 of the country's top cannabis brands as well as a collection of major sponsors" who will participate in the event, which, the company says, is "a project that is certain to gain global attention."
By Steve Elliott
Connecticut's first medical marijuana dispensary opened on Wednesday night in South Windsor, and the state's other five dispensaries reportedly won't be far behind.
The grand opening of Prime Wellness of Connecticut gave potential patients and the public a chance to see the facilities, meet pharmacists and growers, and get information, reports Amanda Cuda at Ctpost.com. There's just one thing, though: The dispensary won't have any actual marijuana until next month, though staff members have been consulting with patients since last week, according to Director of Operations Brett Sicklick.
"I think people have been really shocked and surprised when the enter the facility for the first time," Sicklick said. "We really took as much of a medical approach as we possibly could."
Prime Wellness is one of six dispensaries in Connecticut approved for a license from the state Department of Consumer Protection. The others are in Hartford, Branford, Bethel, Uncasville and Bristol. Sicklick said Prime Wellness will serve patients from all over the state.
Some patients have already been registered for about two years, according to Sicklick, and are looking forward to finally receiving treatment through the dispensary. He said the shop expects from 200 to 300 patients seeking marijuana when the medicine arrives.
By Steve Elliott
An opposition campaign to Oregon's Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative is taking shape -- and it's being funded with taxpayer money.
You'd think voting on a public policy initiative wouldn't require tax money to advocate one side or the other; after all, the voters are supposed to be able to decide for themselves on questions like cannabis legalization, without having to fund the "no" sign of things. But a taxpayer-funded tour will usher notorious anti-pot zealot Kevin Sabet on a 13-city tour around the state, reports Kate Willson at Willamette Week.
Sabet, on his taxpayer-funded tour, will be spreading ridiculous "reefer madness" myths and outright lies about cannabis around Oregon. Do you feel as if you're getting your money's worth, Oregon taxpayers?
A recent poll showed eight of 10 Oregonians believe it's a matter of when, not if, marijuana is legalized. Many of them believe that will happen on November 4, when pot legalization initiative Measure 91 appears on the ballot.
Measure 91 enjoys support from donors and middle-of-the-road endorsements, including from a retired Oregon Supreme Court judge and the City Club of Portland; it's similar to measures that voters in Colorado and Washington approved two years ago. New Approach Oregon, the pro-Measure 91 campaign, has already spent $1.1 million, and the group announced this week it'll be spending an additional $2.3 million on TV ads.