Hemp News, a compilation of international news stories about hemp and cannabis, is a public service of Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and THCF Medical Clinics. All material included herein is provided free of charge for political and educational purposes under the US federal "Fair Use Doctrine". This material may only be used for political and educational purposes without express written consent.

West Virginia: Senate Leaders Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill

WestVirginiaMedicalMarijuanaBill

Legislation would allow people with debilitating medical conditions to access and use medical marijuana without fear of arrest

West Virginia Sen. Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley) on Monday introduced a bill that would allow state residents with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, to grow and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The bill, known as SB 546, would establish a state-regulated system of medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to licensed patients. The legislation is cosponsored by Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Kessler (D-Glen Dale) and Senate Majority Whip Daniel Hall (R-Oceana), has been introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources.

“Marijuana has proven effective in treating a number of serious medical conditions and is far safer than many currently prescribed medications,” said Matt Simon, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “No one deserves to be treated like a criminal for using marijuana to treat a serious medical condition.

“West Virginians deserve the chance to use this medicine if their doctors think that it will help,” Simon said. “It's time to stop criminalizing patients for using a treatment option that can dramatically improve their quality of life.”

Maryland: House Committee Hearing Set For Tuesday On Bill To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

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House Judiciary Committee to consider bill at 1 p.m. that would make marijuana legal for adults, establish regulations for cultivation and sale

The Maryland House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in the General Assembly on Tuesday, February 24, to consider a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Supporters of the bill, including representatives of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, are expected to testify.

The hearing will take place in Room 101 of the House Office Building at 1 p.m. ET.

HB 911, the Marijuana Control and Revenue Act of 2015, sponsored by Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes.

The bill requires the Maryland Comptroller to establish rules and regulations for the operation of cultivation facilities, product manufacturers, retailers, and safety compliance labs. It also creates an oversight commission to monitor marijuana businesses and advise the comptroller on regulatory issues.

WHAT: House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Marijuana Control and Revenue Act of 2015 (HB 911)

WHEN: Tuesday, February 24, 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: Maryland House Office Building, Room 101, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis

WHO: Sara Love, ACLU of Maryland
Eric Blitz, Libertarian Party
Tim Lynch, Cato Institute

Alaska: Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect Tuesday

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In First ‘Red’ State to Legalize Marijuana, Possession and Cultivation Become Legal; Commercial Retail Sales to Begin in 2016

Bipartisan Consensus Accelerates Momentum to Legalize Marijuana and End Drug War

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Tomorrow will mark a major step forward in the implementation of Alaska’s marijuana legalization law, as personal cultivation, possession, and consumption become legal. Last November, Alaskans voted 53-47 percent in favor of marijuana legalization, making it the first “red” state to pass such a law.

“First Colorado and Washington, now Alaska and Oregon – and all with levels of support higher than the winning candidates for governor and U.S. Senate achieved in those states,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Legalizing marijuana just makes sense now to voters across the political spectrum and – as we’ll likely see in 2016 – across the country.”

Starting tomorrow, it will be legal for someone 21 years of age or over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes (provided that only three of them are mature at any time), and to share up to 1 ounce of marijuana with someone 21 or over and give them up to six immature marijuana plants.

Private consumption will be completely legal for those 21 and over, though public consumption remains illegal.

Mississippi: Proposition 48 Marijuana Legalization Drive Underway

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

While Mississippi certainly isn't on anyone's short list of states where cannabis legalization is just around the corner, a determined group of activists say they can bring change to the Deep South.

In Ballot Initiative 48's distinct favor is the fact that more and Mississippians are seeing through their state's antiquated marijuana laws, which are both harsh and outdated.

More than 800 volunteers have fanned out across the state seeking the needed 107,000 signatures that would qualify the referendum for the November ballot, reports Barry Bard at Marijuana.com.

Initiative 48 would legalize the "production, sale, and use of recreational and medical marijuana and industrial hemp" much like Colorado had done.

Recreational marijuana would be taxed at 7 percent, with all proceeds would go to the Mississippi Public School System.

Activists believe the first seven months alone of legalization could bring in $17 million in additional taxes to support the state's struggling schools.

U.S.: Earl Blumenauer, Jared Polis Introduce Bills To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) on Friday introduced two bills that together would legalize and tax marijuana at the federal level.

Representative Blumenauer’s legislation, H.R. 1014, the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015, creates a federal excise tax on non-medical marijuana sales and moves this quickly growing industry out of the shadows. Representative Polis’s legislation, H.R. 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, removes marijuana from the schedule set by the Controlled Substances Act; transitions marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulates marijuana like alcohol by inserting into the section of the U.S. Code governing “intoxicating liquors.”

More than 213 million people live in a state or jurisdiction that allows some form of legal use of marijuana. Twenty-three states currently allow for medical marijuana, while four states -- Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska--and the District of Columbia recently legalized the recreational use of small amounts of marijuana. Eleven additional states have passed laws allowing the use of low-THC forms of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions.

Colorado: MPP Calls For Boycott of Holiday Inn After Hotel Operator Files Federal Lawsuit To Shut Down Marijuana Legalization

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Suit filed Thursday by New Vision Hotels Two, LLC claims its Frisco Holiday Inn location — which sells alcohol, a more harmful substance than marijuana — would lose business if a state-licensed marijuana retail store opens across the street

If you enjoy legal cannabis, you may want to avoid giving your business to Holiday Inn.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) on Friday called for a nationwide boycott of Holiday Inn after a hotel operator in Colorado filed a federal lawsuit intended to shut down the state’s marijuana regulatory system.

New Vision Hotels Two, LLC is the primary plaintiff in a suit filed Thursday that claims its Frisco Holiday Inn location would lose business if a state-licensed marijuana retail store opens nearby. The operators of the hotel, which sells alcohol — a more harmful substance than marijuana — on its premises, say the presence of a marijuana business will hurt the hotel’s image and deter visitors.

In messages to its approximately 200,000 email subscribers and 414,000 combined followers on Facebook and Twitter, MPP urged supporters of legalizing and regulating marijuana to stop staying at Holiday Inn hotels until the lawsuit is dropped. It also launched a Change.org petition targeting New Vision Hotels and Holiday Inn’s parent company, InterContinental Hotels Group.

The petition is online at http://chn.ge/1w4Fqls.

Washington: Ribbon Cutting Set For Higher Leaf, Recreational Marijuana Store In Kirkland

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The Ribbon Cutting for Higher Leaf, a recreational marijuana store based in Kirkland, Washington, will be held on Thrursday, February 26.

"We are thrilled to announce the Grand Opening Celebration for Higher Leaf, Kirkland’s premiere Recreational Marijuana Store," reads an prepared press release from Higher Leaf's Molly Honig. "The official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, which will be co-hosted by the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce is on Thursday, February 26th at 5:30 pm. Representatives from both the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkland City Council will be in attendance."

"We will have product specials and demonstrations at the main event and throughout the weekend of February 26th-March 1st," the release promises. "Representatives from Zoots, Craft Elixirs, Verdelux Chocolates, Liberty Reach, Confidence Labs, and several growers will be on hand for product demonstrations and some will provide non-infused samples of their products."

"We will also have a full menu of of marijuana flower, marijuana infused products, edibles, concentrates and paraphernalia available for purchase," Higher Leaf spokesperson Molly Honig confirmed to Hemp News Thursday evening.

Consumption of marijuana or marijuana infused products on the premises is not permitted so demonstrations will be done with non-infused products or household spices. Snacks will be available at the ribbon cutting event for anyone with a case of the munchies, according to Higher Leaf.

Florida: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Senate Bid Strongly Opposed By The Cannabis Community

FloridaSenateCandidateDebbieWassermanSchultz(IsThatBaloney)

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s interest in running for U.S. Senate has encountered strong resistance from a traditional ally of her party: medical marijuana activists.

Because of her bad congressional votes and her ham-fisted criticisms of a Florida medical marijuana initiative last year, four political groups that advocate prescription cannabis and drug decriminalization vowed to campaign against Wasserman Schultz if she were to seek a Senate seat in 2016, reports Marc Caputo at Politico. (<-- The entire piece, at that link, is really worth reading.)

“She’s voted repeatedly to send terminally ill patients to prison. And we’re certainly going to make sure Floridians know that — not to mince words,” said Bill Piper, national affairs director with the Washington-based Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

“This issue is evolving very quickly, and hopefully she will evolve,” Piper said. “But if she doesn’t, you can expect medical marijuana patients and supporters to dog her on the campaign trail.”

Wasserman Schultz’s office declined to comment.

Vermont: Bill Introduced To Legalize, Regulate, Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

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Sen. David Zuckerman (P-Hinesburg) introduced a bill Tuesday night that would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Vermont.

“Marijuana prohibition has worn out its welcome in Vermont,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is part of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. “This is an opportunity for state lawmakers to demonstrate leadership on this issue and set an example for other states to follow in coming years.

"It’s not often that legislators have the chance to improve public safety, bolster the economy, and enhance personal liberties all in one piece of legislation,” Simon said.

The bill, S. 95, would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. They could grow up to two flowering marijuana plants and seven non-flowering plants in a secure indoor location, and they would also be allowed to possess the marijuana grown from those plants at the same location.

It would remain illegal to consume marijuana in public or drive while impaired by marijuana.

The Department of Public Safety would be directed to license and regulate marijuana retail stores, lounges, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing laboratories. Localities would have the ability to regulate or prohibit marijuana businesses within their borders.

Texans For Responsible Marijuana Policy Hold Citizen Lobby Day On Wednesday

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy are holding a Citizen Lobby Day at the Texas State Capitol on Wednesday, February 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT.

Attendees will be urging their elected officials to support HB 507, which would reduce penalties for marijuana possession, and asking them to support the establishment of a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Texas.

More than three out of five Texas voters (61 percent) support limiting the punishment for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana to a fine of $100 with no possibility of jail time, according to a September 2013 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. Nearly three out of five (58 percent) support changing state law to allow seriously ill people to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

“Most Texas voters support reforming our state’s current marijuana policies,” said Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Legislators need to hear from their constituents on this issue, and events like this will ensure that they do. Texans are fed up with failed prohibition policies, and they’re speaking out for a more a sensible approach.”

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy

New Hampshire: Supporters Of Marijuana Legalization Bill Hold Press Conference

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Bill sponsors joined by attorneys Paul Twomey and Jonathan Cohen, and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, at event prior to House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing on HB 618

Supporters of a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Hampshire held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. ET in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building prior to a hearing on the bill by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

The bill sponsor, Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), was be joined at the event by bill cosponsor Rep. Joe Lachance (R-Manchester), attorney Paul Twomey, attorney Jonathan Cohen, and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project.

The committee hearing followed, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET in Room 204 of the Legislative Office Building.

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Schroadter and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of up to $100. It would also make cultivation of up to six marijuana plants a Class A misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

U.S: Ganjapreneur Adds Search Feature To Marijuana Job Feed Site, Business Directory

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Ganjapreneur, a website dedicated to cannabis business news and culture, has announced the addition of a search engine to their marijuana job feed and their business directory for cannabis companies. The new feature is intended to help aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals in the industry find and connect with cannabis-focused companies who are hiring.

Ganjapreneur launched their Marijuana Job Feed, a live feed of job listings from the leading cannabis industry job boards, in fall 2014. The feed refreshes throughout the day to reflect the most recently-posted job opportunities on the internet.

Ganjapreneur's Business Directory also launched in 2014, and serves as a resource for professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs who wish to find and connect with companies that have specialized in cannabis. Categories of these companies include lawyers, consultants, web designers, and accountants.

Since their official launch in July 2014, Ganjapreneur has also published a large volume of news articles and editorials related to the cannabis and hemp industries. They offer a weekly cannabis industry newsletter, and have published a news-reader app which is available for Android and Apple devices.

They also publish in-depth interviews with cannabis entrepreneurs and investors, and have announced that they are developing a "Freelancer Network" designed to help independent workers find gigs with cannabis industry businesses.

Maryland: Bill To Legalize, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Introduced In Legislature

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Bill would make marijuana legal for adults, establish regulations for cultivation and sale

A bill that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol was introduced in the Maryland General Assembly on Friday. HB 911, the Marijuana Control and Revenue Act of 2015, sponsored by Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes.

The bill requires the Maryland Comptroller to establish rules and regulations for the operation of cultivation facilities, product manufacturers, retailers, and safety compliance labs. It also creates an oversight commission to monitor marijuana businesses and advise the comptroller on regulatory issues.

The fiscal note for similar legislation proposed in 2014 estimated about $95.6 million per year in revenue from the $50/ounce excise taxes and about $39 million in new revenue from sales taxes. State expenditures would be exceeded through the estimated $1.995 to $3.985 million in yearly revenue in licensing fees from wholesalers, retailers, and safety compliance facilities.

A companion bill, SB 531, was introduced by Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) earlier this week.

Marijuana businesses would not be permitted to operate within 1,000 feet of a school, and localities would be able to enforce additional regulations. Using marijuana in public and driving under the influence would remain illegal.

U.S.: New Marijuana Industry Site WikiWeed.com Launched

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Northsight Capital, Inc. on Friday announced the launch of their latest marijuana-industry website, WikiWeed.com.

WikiWeed.com is an informational, user-driven Wiki focused on both recreational and medical marijuana topics and information that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users.

There is a plethora of words and definitions for and related to marijuana. Topics for WikiWeed.com include everything from encyclopedia definitions about marijuana to slang street terms. All are invited to help edit WikiWeed.com but must first apply to become a moderator, which can be done on the site.

WikiWeed.com currently has more than 350 articles of information and various definitions relating to marijuana. The public is welcome and encouraged to contribute to the site.

New Mexico: Marijuana Legalization Resolution Passes Out Of Senate Rules Committee

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Public Opinion and Wasted Tax Dollars Push Legislator to Fix Broken Marijuana Policies

For the first time in history, a legislative committee on Thursday voted in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico. On a vote of 5-4, New Mexico State Senator Ortiz y Pino’s (D-12-Bernalillo) Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) passed the Senate Rules Committee.

SJR2 would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and older and for the regulation of the production, sale and taxation of marijuana in New Mexico.

“Today’s vote sets in motion the process to put the issue on a 2016 statewide ballot for voters,” said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Marijuana prohibition in New Mexico has clearly failed.

"It hasn’t reduced use and instead has resulted in the criminalization of people, gross racial disparities, and enormous fiscal waste," Kaltenbach said. "Senator Ortiz y Pino’s resolution will allow our legislature rethink how we can enhance the health and safety of all New Mexicans through sensible reforms.”

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