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 The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation (THCF). 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.

Washington: Liquor Board Issues First Recreational Marijuana Licenses

KouchlockProductions

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Washington State Liquor Control Board on Wednesday issued the state's first licenses to produce and process recreational marijuana during a Board meeting at its headquarters in Olympia.

The licenses were issued to Sean Green of Spokane, who will be doing business as Kouchlock Productions.

"This is a historic day," said Board Chair Sharon Foster. "The hard work and preparation this agency has done has laid the foundation to make this pioneering endeavor a success."

Kouchlock Productions is licensed to produce and process -- but not sell -- recreational marijuana. It holds a restricted tier-three license to produce marijuana initially up to a maximum of 21,000 square feet.

The company is one of more than 2,800 producer license applications that the WSLCB is currently processing. Licenses will be continuously issued as they are ready.

The WSLCB will update weekly its list of pending and active marijuana licenses on the Frequently Requested Lists page of the public records section of its website.

U.S.: Here's The First Medical Marijuana Ad To Run On Major Networks

MarijuanaDoctors.comAdSushiDealer

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new one-minute television commercial from MarijuanaDoctors.com is set to become the first medical marijuana ad to appear on major networks, according to the company.

In the ad, a stereotypical "dealer" pushes sushi in the street, opening up his coat to display a selection of raw fish, reports Katy Steinmetz at Time.

"This area's dry, man," the sketchy-looking dealer tells the camera. "You know that. I know that. Ain't nobody selling but me. You want sushi? I got sushi. I got the best sushi," he says. "You need me and I need you. Let's make this work."

"You wouldn't buy your sushi from this guy," a female voiceover eventually says. "So why would you buy your marijuana from him?" The narrator suggests an alternative: "The only website that links patients with real doctors" who authorize medical marijuana. "Book your appointment today!" the voiceover concludes.

"We felt the viewing public would agree that in the states providing safe access, continuing to obtain medicine illegally is as absurd as purchasing raw fish from a drug dealer," MarijuanaDoctors.com CEO Jason Draizin said in a press release. Of course, while 20 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal uses, the pot dealer down the street is the only choice for recreational users in 48 states -- that is, everywhere except Colorado and (possibly this summer) Washington state.

Minnesota: House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

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HF 1818 would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee approved a bill in an overwhelming bipartisan vote on Tuesday that would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), PTSD, glaucoma, and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The bill is now expected to go to the House Government Operations Committee for review.

“Seriously ill Minnesotans who could benefit from medical marijuana are one step closer to receiving the relief they deserve,” said Heather Azzi, political director for Minnesotans for Compassionate Care. “Medical marijuana has been proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of debilitating conditions.”

Oregon: 289 Apply To Operate Medical Marijuana Dispensaries On Opening Day

OregonCannabis

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon's medical marijuana dispensary registration program got off to a "robust" start on Mondasy, with 289 applications, according to state officials.

Program director Tom Burns said there was heavy traffic at the state's medical marijuana dispensary application website, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. The state is issuing registrations on a first come, first served basis.

The rules require dispensaries to have at least 1,000 feet between them, leading to competition among already existing locations which are closer than 1,000 feet. That competition is likely what drove relatively high numbers of Multnomah County registrations on Monday, according to Burns.

Multnomah County saw the most applications, with 135 dispensaries starting the registration process. Lane County had 41, Jackson County had 18, Deschutes had 17, and Lincoln and Marion each had 11. A few counties, including Washington and Clackamas, had fewer than 10 each.

Oregon's existing medical marijuana dispensaries had until now operated in a legal gray area, relying on the tolerance of local police. Washington County and a few other localities had taken steps to shut down dispensaries, while Portland and Multnomah County generally let them operate.

D.C.: U.S. Capital Decriminalizes Adult Marijuana Possession

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Criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession will be replaced with a $25 civil fine, similar to a parking ticket; penalties in the nation’s capital will be among the lowest in the country

The District of Columbia Council approved a bill 10-1 Tuesday that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana in the nation’s capital. D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has voiced support for the bill and is expected to sign it promptly.

“This is a big step forward for our nation’s capital, as well as our nation as a whole,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which supported the bill. “Clearly, marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered in the United States.”

“For far too long, people of color have been disproportionately and unfairly arrested and marginalized for marijuana possession in the District of Columbia,” said Grant Smith, policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “D.C. Councilmembers took the first critical step today toward ending the selective enforcement of marijuana prohibition policies that have perpetuated racial disparities in the criminal justice system for decades.”

United Nations Condemns Marijuana Legalization As Treaty Violation, 'Grave Danger'

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UN Wants US Federal Government to Crack Down On Colorado and Washington

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United Nations drug watchdog group, the International Narcotics Control Board, on Tuesday released its 2014 Annual Report, in which it "deeply regrets" the states of Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana and said that cannabis legalization poses a "very grave danger to public health."

The INCB is in charge of enforcing international drug treaties, so it's no surprise that the body would take a dim view of moves towards cannabis legalization in the United States and Uruguay, because such moves are technically in violation of international drug treaties, reports Alan Travis of The Guardian.

The annual report claims that marijuana in Colorado has led to increases in car accidents involving "drug drivers" (the statistics actually show otherwise), and that marijuana-related treatment admissions are on the rise.

"Drug traffickers will choose the path of least resistance, so it is essential that global efforts to tackle the drug problem are unified," said INCB President Raymond Yans. "When governments consider their future policies on this, the primary consideration should beg the long-term health and welfare of the population."

New Hampshire: House Committee Approves Bill To Remove Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

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Measure with bipartisan support would replace criminal penalties and potential jail time with a civil fine of up to $100 for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana

The New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday approved a bill 12-5 that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure is expected to pass in the House when it comes to a vote later this month.

HB 1625, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven cosponsors including Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D-Dalton), 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 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.

"There is no good reason to continue criminalizing people for possessing marijuana," said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the bill. "Nobody should be saddled with a criminal record simply for possessing a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol. This should be the year New Hampshire brings its penalties into line with neighboring states."

Minnesota: House Committee To Hold Public Hearing On Medical Marijuana Bill Tuesday

MinnesotaWithCannabisLeaf

HF 1818 would allow people with specific debilitating medical conditions to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, March 4 at 2:15 p.m. CT on a bill that would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), PTSD, glaucoma, and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Testimony on this bill should begin at 6 p.m. CT. The hearing will be held in Room 10 of the State Office Building in St. Paul.

Dr. Sue Sisley, a medical marijuana expert from Arizona, is scheduled to testify in support of the bill. Representatives from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, as well as several seriously ill patients who would benefit from passage of the measure, also plan to testify.

HF 1818, introduced last year by Rep. Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), would allow patients suffering from specific debilitating conditions to access and use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients and establish a tightly regulated system of non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries and quality control labs.

Licensed patients who do not reside within 15 miles of a dispensary would be allowed to grow a limited amount of marijuana in their homes.

New York: Patients, Family Members Launch Month of Actions in Support of Medical Marijuana Bill

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“March for Compassion” Includes Actions and Events Across New York in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Capitol Region, Westchester, New York City, and Long Island

Major Push by Patients and Families to Pass Compassionate Care Act

Patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers gathered in Albany on Monday to launch March for Compassion, a month of activities and events held around New York to demand the State Senate to past the Compassionate Care Act by April 1. The patients are living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions, and the families include parents of children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet’s syndrome.

While Albany dithers and delays on A.6357-A (Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino), patients are suffering and families are leaving the state. A major Monday story in the Buffalo News by Tom Precious illustrates how many families and patients in New York are leaving the state for places like Colorado, where they can access medical marijuana.

Patients, caregivers and healthcare providers, tired of waiting for Albany to take action, launched March for Compassion, a month-long series of events across the state, on Monday. Events include public educational seminars, lawmaker education meetings, lobby days in Albany, and press conferences.

California: Gov. Jerry Brown Opposes Marijuana Legalization, Says 'We Need To Stay Alert'

CaliforniaGovernorJerryBrownPointsFinger

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California Governor Jerry Brown said on Sunday that he isn't convinced this marijuana legalization business is such a good idea, because folks need to "stay alert."

"The problem with anything, a certain amount is OK," "Moonbeam" Brown said on NBC's "Meet The Press," reports The Huffington Post. "But there is a tendency to go to extremes.

"And all of a sudden, if there's advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?" Brown asked. (Our answer is a hell of a lot of them, Governor.)

"The world's pretty dangerous, pretty competitive," Brown said. "I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."

A recent poll showed that a majority of Californians support marijuana legalization.

The Governor noted that California already allows medical marijuana, but said he isn't sold on the idea of recreational legalization until he sees how that works out for Colorado and Washington. "I'd really like those two states to show us how it's going to work," he said.

Wisconsin: Gov. Walker Says 'Not Right Now' To Marijuana Legalization

WisconsinGovernorScottWalker

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Democratic representative has introduced a bill into the Wisconsin Assembly to legalize marijuana, and the bill has attracted six Democratic co-sponsors, but Republican Governor Scott Walker says not so fast.

LRB 3671 would legalize marijuana for recreational and medical purposes in Wisconsin. Its sponsor, Rep. Melissa Sargent, said the bill is a "good start" to bringing better cannabis policies to the state.

"After researching this issue extensively, I believe that this bill will benefit Wisconsin and its citizens in many ways, including: addressing racial disparities in arrests, providing medical benefits, time and cost savings to law enforcement, and additional revenue for the state," Rep. Sargent posted on her website.

But Gov. Walker remains unconvinced. "I don't think you're going to see anything serious anytime soon here, but if other states did, maybe in the next Legislative session there'd be more talk about it," he said.

Walker said he spoke with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper at last week's National Governor's Association Meeting, where Hickenlooper said his state would see $134 million in sales tax revenue from marijuana this year -- a much higher figure than expected, reports WITI.

"He talked about the upsides of the revenue," Walker said. "He also talked about how they weren't rushing to spend that on other things because, he said, it's early and they're still concerned about the side effects."

Pennsylvania: Poll Shows 85% Support For Medical Marijuana Legalization

PennsylvaniaMMJ

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, according to a poll released on Monday.

The Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters found that an overwhelming 85 percent of Pennsylvanians support the legalization of cannabis for medicinal uses, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Just 14 percent were opposed. Even voters more than 65 years old support medical marijuana 84 to 14 percent, the poll found.

Voters were evenly divided on the legalization of marijuana for recreational uses. Although 48 percent of voters support recreational legalization, 49 percent oppose it, according to the poll.

"Pennsylvanians think overwhelmingly that marijuana is equal to or less dangerous than alcohol, and join the American trend toward tolerance for both medical and recreational use," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Men support recreational legalization of cannabis by 55-42 percent, while women oppose it 54-42 percent. Democrats support it by 58-39 percent, while Republicans oppose it by 66-31 percent (independents weigh in with the Democrats on this one, support legalization by 53-44 percent).

Voters from 18 to 29 years old support recreational legalization by 64-34 percent, and voters over 65 oppose it by 66-29 percent.

D.C.: Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession Expected To Get Final Approval Tuesday

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Eight of 13 D.C. Council members are sponsoring the measure, which would replace criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession with a $25 civil fine, similar to a parking ticket

A bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia is expected to receive final approval from the District Council at its meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET.

The measure, sponsored by Ward 6 Council Member Tommy Wells, is supported by eight of the council's 13 members, as well as D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray. If it is approved in its current form, the penalties for adult marijuana possession in the nation’s capital will be among the lowest in the country.

The bill would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for individuals 18 years of age and older and replace them with a civil fine of $25, similar to a parking ticket. It would also remove penalties for possession of paraphernalia in conjunction with small amounts of marijuana, and it specifies that individuals cannot be searched or detained based solely on an officer’s suspicion of marijuana possession.

Public use of marijuana would remain a criminal offense punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a criminal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Maryland: Lawmakers Vow Workable Medical Marijuana Program This Year

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers on Friday vowed to pass legislation this year that will create a workable medical marijuana program in the state, 34 years after the idea was first proposed in the General Assembly.

Delegates Cheryl D. Glenn (D-Baltimore) and Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), sponsors of two bills that would replace legislation passed last year which is now widely regarded as a failure, said they would combine their two bills into a single measure, reports Michael Dresser at The Baltimore Sun.

"We're going to get a bill passed this year," said Glenn, adding that Maryland should join 20 other states which give suffering patients the option to access cannabis, which is considered a Schedule I prohibited drug at the federal level.

The Maryland Legislature last year passed, and Gov. Martin O'Malley signed, a badly written medical marijuana bill which restricted its distribution to academic medical centers. Since then, unsurprisingly, none of the state's medical centers has volunteered to operate such a program, meaning serious ill Marylanders still have no safe access to cannabis.

Some pain experts told a legislative work group that marijuana is safe and effective in relieving symptoms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, the side effects of cancer treatment, and other conditions.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Supporters Consider CBD-Only Legislation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes has resurfaced in Minnesota, with supporters considering a new approach, a CBD-only bill, for the 2014 legislative session. The potential changes are winning the backing of some law enforcement groups this time around. Both the Minnesota House and Senate passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana in 2009, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"It helps with end of life issues and nausea and pain related to chemotherapy," said Dr. David McIntyre, M.D., a family physician at Allina Clinic in Faribault, Minnesota, report Tim Pugmire of Minnesota Public Radio News and Camey Thibodeau of Faribault Daily News. "If we consider the sales and abuse of prescription narcotics now, I don't think medical marijuana will be any worse that what is currently on the streets."

But predictably, Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen is against it -- he thinks people should take pills instead. "The average medical marijuana user is a 32-year-old white male with a history of drug abuse," said Chief Bohlen, who imagines himself to be a drug expert. "If there are chemicals that can be extracted in a pill form, that's the right way to do it." Good thing God made those pills for us, instead of those silly plants, eh, Chief? Wait a minute...

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