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.

Colorado: Teen Marijuana Use Down Since Legalization

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Rates of current and lifetime marijuana use among Colorado high school students has dropped since the state's voters made marijuana legal in 2012, according to a Thursday press release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Thirty-day marijuana use fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013, and lifetime use declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years,” according to the release. It has dropped nearly five points since 2009 (24.8 percent), when hundreds of medical marijuana stores began opening throughout Colorado.

The state began regulating medical marijuana in 2010. The CDPHE release says the drop from 2011 to 2013 is not statistically significant, but it appears the drop from 2009 to 2013 could be. In either case, it is clear that use among high school students has not increased.

Nationwide, the rate of current teen marijuana use increased from 20.8 percent in 2009 to 23.1 percent in 2011 and 23.4 percent in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The national rate of lifetime use increased from 36.8 percent in 2009 to 39.9 percent in 2011 and 40.7 percent in 2013.

Maine: Citizens To Submit Petition To Support Lewiston Marijuana Legalization Initiative

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Citizens for a Safer Maine on Friday will submit its final batch of petitions in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older within Lewiston city limits.

The group has collected more than 1,250 total signatures, and just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters are needed to qualify for the ballot. The city clerk has 10 days to certify the petition. Then it must submit it to the city council for consideration at its next regular meeting, at which time council members can enact the measure or refer it to city voters.

“I hope council members will join us in supporting this commonsense measure,” said David Boyer, spokesperson for Citizens for a Safer Maine and Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “If they don’t enact the measure, it should be placed on the November ballot for Lewiston voters to decide.”

Citizens for a Safer Maine has qualified a similar measure for the ballot in South Portland, and it is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

“Law enforcement officials have better things to do than punish adults for using a less harmful substance than alcohol,” said Boyer. “If the council or voters approve this measure, we expect police to respect the decision.

"Police can refrain from citing adults they find in possession of marijuana, just as they can refrain from citing someone they find driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit,” Boyer said.

Russia: Bees Attack Police Who Were Destroying Marijuana Plot

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

I guess it makes sense that bees don't like buzzkills. Russian police suddenly found themselves in a "sting operation" on Tuesday when they were attacked by hundreds of angry bees as they attempted to destroy a marijuana plot close to Kostroma, northwest of Moscow. The officers fled in disorder from the scene.

It turns out that a number of bee hives were cleverly located in the middle of a plot of cannabis, reports RT.com. Many of the officers were stung repeatedly, but none reportedly suffered allergic reactions.

"As part of an operation, the police arrived at the scene to see whether rumors that a large amount of cannabis was growing were true," said Valery Vekhov, one of the officers involved the the raid. "When we got to where the cannabis was growing, there were a number of beehives.

"When we tried to remove the cannabis plants, the bees started to attack us aggressively," Vekhov said. "We had to leave in order to get protective gear from the owner."

The owner of the beehives, who helpfully provided the protective gear so that the cops could go back and destroy the rest of the plants, claimed he didn't know anything about the cannabis, saying it must have grown wild there. Then again, he would say that, since growing cannabis in Russia can get you eight years in prison.

New Mexico: Veteran Sues Employer For Wrongful Firing For Medical Marijuana

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Physician’s Assistant Donna Smith Was Legally Enrolled in State’s Medical Cannabis Program

DPA: Presbyterian Health Care Services Is Ignoring State Law

Donna Smith, a veteran who served our country with distinction, is a licensed physician’s assistant who was recently terminated from her position with Presbyterian Health Services due to her enrollment in the state’s medical marijuana program. She is now suing her former employer for wrongful termination.

“As both a patient and a healthcare provider, I am deeply disappointed by Presbyterian Healthcare Systems’ decision to terminate me for nothing more than my enrollment in New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Program," Smith said.

Smith was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) in 1997 while serving in the military, reports Robert Lowes at Medscape. Traditional treatment regimens brought her no comfort. In November 2013, her physician recommended that she begin treating her condition with medical marijuana, which New Mexico legalized in 2007.

On February 17, Smith was hired by Presbyterian Health Care Services. Four days later, Presbyterian fired her for testing positive for marijuana.

When she provided them with her state-issued medical marijuana card, they informed her that they did not recognize it and that her termination would stand. The lawsuit has been filed in state court for violation of the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NM Statute § 28-1-7).

D.C.: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Qualifies For November Ballot

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Drug Policy Alliance Kicks Off “Legalization Ends Discrimination” Campaign

Campaign Sets Stage for Washington DC to be First Jurisdiction to Legalize Marijuana in Racial Justice Context

The Washington, DC Board of Elections on Wednesday ruled that Initiative 71, an measure reforming DC’s marijuana laws, has enough valid signatures in order to qualify for the November ballot. One month ago, the DC Cannabis Campaign submitted 57,000 signatures, more than twice the number needed to qualify for the ballot.

According to an ACLU report released last year, Washington, DC has the highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in the country, with blacks more than 8 times as likely as white to be arrested, despite similar rates of use.

“It is clear from the number of signatures the campaign was able to submit that citizens want a major change in DC’s marijuana laws,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, DC policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The policies of prohibition in the District have been borne on the backs of people of color for decades; District residents can put an end to this discrimination.”

Colorado: NCIA Launches Food Safety Training For Marijuana Edibles Makers, Responsible Selling For Budtenders

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Edibles makers to learn proper hygiene, prevention of food contamination, emergency procedures, and more

“Budtenders” to learn responsible selling practices based on lessons of alcohol industry

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) has announced that it will launch the first ServSafe© Food Safety Basics course specifically for cannabis industry professionals. Participants in the course, based on a curriculum developed originally by the National Restaurant Association, will learn about the significance of food-borne illness, proper personal hygiene, time and temperature control, how to prevent cross-contamination, cleaning, sanitizing and emergency procedures, and more.

“The interest in edibles and other infused products keeps growing,” said NCIA deputy director Taylor West. “We know our industry is under a microscope, and we want to make sure cannabis product-makers continue developing the highest quality and safest products possible.”

NCIA also announced a new Sell-SMaRT™ Responsible Cannabis Vendor course that will teach marijuana dispensary employees, or “budtenders,” responsible selling practices, such as how to check ID, educate customers about responsible consumption, and handle tricky situations.

These courses are developed and facilitated by Maureen McNamara, founder of Cannabis Trainers™, an NCIA member business. McNamara has been teaching the ServSafe© course to traditional food industry professionals for the last 18 years, but this will be her first course geared solely for makers of marijuana edibles.

Colorado: Staffing Agency to Offer Payroll and HR Solutions to Cannabis Businesses

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Ms. Mary Staffing LLC, a full-service staffing agency for the marijuana and hemp industries, has officially launched a much needed payroll solution using what's commonly referred to as a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) co-employment model.

All HR responsibilities are outsourced to the PEO company, Ms. Mary Staffing, while the client company continues to direct the day to day operations of the business. According to the company, this allows business owners to focus on the growth and operations of their business while Ms. Mary's assumes responsibilities for administrative tasks such as payroll and payroll tax management, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, employee benefits, and recruiting and hiring.

With recent news of the IRS fining marijuana businesses a 10 percent penalty fee for paying Federal withholding taxes in cash this couldn't come at a better time. The IRS requires all businesses to pay quarterly tax by bank wire which has become difficult for hundreds of medical and recreational marijuana businesses that are unable to obtain banking services.

"There are enough risks evolved in running a business in this industry," said Stephen Sullivan, president of Ms. Mary Staffing LLC. "Having to pay out your employees' payroll and payroll taxes in cash shouldn't be one of them."

Colorado: Highway Fatalities Reach Near-Record Lows Since Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The "stoned driving" laws that accompany recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington were sold to us as being necessary for public safety; the specter of stoned drivers was presented as something dangerous and potentially deadly. Many weed-hating cops were quite happy to find there's still legal reason to arrest potheads. Reality, meanwhile, is telling another story, as highway fatalities in Colorado are nearing record lows since pot was legalized.

Marijuana opponents have darkly warned of a scourge of "high drivers," but the fact is, we can only test for the presence of marijuana metabolites, not for being actually high on cannabis, reports Radley Balko at The Washington Post. Because everyone metabolizes marijuana (and other substances) differently, all a positive test tells us for sure is that the driver has smoked pot at some point in the past few days or weeks. (This reporter once tested positive for THC metabolites 63 days after last using marijuana.)

Australia: Mother Fears For Her Toddler's Life After Police Raid Medical Marijuana Supplier

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An Australian other who was treating her two-year-old daughter with medical marijuana says the child probably has just months to live after police raided her cannabis supplier, who was turned in to authorities by Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

Last year, physicians told Cherie that her daughter Abbey had only a few months to live as a result of a rare genetic disorder called CDKL5, report Kate Lyons and Leesa Smith at the Daily Mail. The condition results in uncontrolled, violent seizures, sometimes lasting up to 45 minutes, as well as mental and physical disabilities.

After months of ineffective, failed treatments, Cherie bought some liquid medical marijuana (in tincture form) from a supplier in Canberra, sneaking it into the hospital and putting in Abbey's feeding tube. The result on the two-year-old girl's health was immediate and extraodinary.

"The seizures were less intense, they weren't as long and she wasn't having as many of them," Cherie said. "I started her on it without the knowledge of the staff at the hospital. They were quite surprised because they didn't know what was going on. The pediatrician commented on how well she was looking."

Peter McWilliams Still Inspires Activists: Today Would Have Been His 65th Birthday

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The cannabis movement has plenty of heroes, but none are more inspiring than the great Peter McWilliams -- a man of fame and influence who dared tell the truth about medical marijuana, before it was fashionable to do so. McWilliams paid the ultimate price, dying after the federal government forbade him to continue using cannabis to control his nausea. He would have been 65 years old today.

McWilliams was many things: author, publisher, photographer, poet and activist, among others. But one of the most important things McWilliams was, was an inspiration. His courage and charisma were and continue to be a source of strength to many who are struggling with illness and with the injustice of our marijuana laws.

He had a remarkable career starting in the 1970s, writing more than 40 books, including works on depression, losing a loved one, computers, and poetry. Several of Peter's books made The New York Times Top 10 nonfiction bestseller list.

Peter's 1993 book Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do remains one of the greatest affirmations of the right of citizens to act and live in any peaceful, honest lifestyle, including their inalienable right to drugs and especially cannabis. It is regarded by many as a "libertarian Bible," with its emphasis on personal freedom and responsibility.

In 1995, Peter was diagnosed with depression, after having suffered from it all his life. Along with coauthor Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D. -- who treated Peter for his depression -- he'd authored How To Heal Depression the previous year.

Washington: Herban Legends Gets A Gift of CBD-Rich Medical Cannabis Tincture

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The Herban Legends Collective scholarship fund announced on Monday that it has received a donation of CBD-­rich tincture from LeBlanc CNE.

Located in White Center, Seattle, Washington, Herban Legends in a prepared statement said it has "a strong commitment to making medical marijuana available to as many patients as possible."

LeBlanc CNE is a grower and broker of medical cannabis with a firm belief that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. To that end, LeBlanc tithes itself and donates medical cannabis to Herban Legends.

LeBlanc's most recent donation was of a tincture, Batch #5, rich in cannabidiol (CBD), the non­-psychoactive compound responsible for many of marijuana's healing effects.

CBD has been used with children suffering from seizures, PTSD, Crohn's disease, chronic pain, and a number of other conditions.

"LeBlanc is proud to support Herban Legend Collective's goal of bringing medical marijuana to an otherwise underserved neighborhood," said Jerry Whiting, founder of LeBlanc CNE. "How can anyone say ‘no' to alleviating the pain and suffering of others?"

According to Whiting, Batch #5 is an alcohol­-based tincture made with cannabis strains like Harlequin and Cannatonic, as opposed to strains of marijuana high in THC favored by recreational users.

Batch #5 was made using 190-proof Everclear. LeBlanc CNE said its whole plant extraction method captured a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes.

New Jersey: Parents Say Medical Marijuana Brought Back Their Daughter's Ability To Speak

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A New Jersey family says that medical marijuana brought back their daughter's ability to speak.

According to parents Shawnea and Ernie Estrella, brain surgery and severe, repeated seizures took away their 22-year-old daughter Sara's speech for 17 years, reports New Jersey News 12. Sara has Lennox Gastaut Synedrome, or LGS, which results in severe seizures.

Over the past month, Shawnea and Ernie said medical marijuana brought back Sara's voice. She started on cannabis on June 27. Her seizures decreased drastically, going 48 hours seizure-free at a time.

"We decreased one of her medications, Depakote, by 750 milligrams a day," Shawnea said. "She is more alert and happy than she's been in a long time. Her appetite is increased and she is up to 95 pounds."

According to her parents, Sara hadn't spoken since her brain surgery at age 5, then for the first time in 17 years, used two words, "no" and "out." "I think she's working on a third: 'home,'" Shawnea said.

The Estrellas said they hope to someday get access to pills and oils, because even with Sara's medical marijuana recommendation, they have to concentrate marijuana into oil, a process which can take hours.

Spain: Cannabis Club Rules Being Drafted In Catalonia; Would Allow Cultivation, Transportation

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Public Health Agency of Catalonia (a region of Spain) is drafting rules to regulate the cannabis sales associations which have become popular in the region. Cannabis clubs in Catalonia already have more than 165,000 members and take in about five million euros per month, according to published reports.

The ambitious proposal aims to regulate to entire process surrounding the cultivation and transportation of marijuana by cannabis clubs, and access requirements for members, reports Escofet Mumbru Jordi at El Pais Catalonia. One of the main rules is that cannabis club members can only be residents, to end the "cannabis tourism" that is increasingly popular in cities like Barcelona.

Cannabis club members will be required to be at least 21 years old. To regulate cultivation, the rules specify that cannabis production has to be provided upon prior request of partners, i.e., only marijuana which has previously been charged to a specific member may be planted.

Cultivation records will be required, and once a year, crops will be appraised by professional associations. In no event may cannabis clubs acquire marijuana on the black market; that way, the government has records of all legal cannabis production in the market, which is now impossible.

Transportation of cannabis will also be regulated. Drivers must be on staff and must carry documentation proving they are distributing cannabis which belongs to the association.

Australia: Norfolk Island Gives Go Ahead To Grow, Import, Export Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Tasmanian company has been given the go-ahead to grow, import and export medical marijuana on Norfolk Island, an external territory of Australia which is not part of Australia's taxation or welfare system.

The island's government has given permission to Tasman Health Cannabinoids (THC) to grow medicinal cannabis, with a view to it becoming a multi-billion dollar exporting industry, reports Airlie Ward at ABC News.

While Norfolk Island has historically struggled financially, and, like Tasmania, has been dependent upon assistance from Australia, the island's Health Minister Robin Adams explained that they are ready to turn that around.

"We are open for investment, we are open for business on Norfolk Island," Adams said. "We see this as a great opportunity both for the economy of Norfolk Island whilst providing a much needed medical product for export."

"The Health Minister on Norfolk Island, Robin Adams, has now given us a production license to go ahead and progress to grow on Norfolk, medical cannabinoids," said THC chairman Dr. Mal Washer.

Heavily dependent on tourism to boost its economy, Norfolk Island was hit hard by the global financial crisis. Visitors on the island dropped from 40,000 a year to 20,000.

Washington: State Attorney General Defends Marijuana Legalization Law Against Cities

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Back in January, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson released an opinion which concluded that, as drafted, limited legalization measure I-502 does not prevent cities and counties in the state from banning marijuana businesses. But on Thursday, Ferguson moved to join three cannabis lawsuits filed against the cities of Wenatchee and Fife for doing exactly that -- banning marijuana businesses.

"As attorney general, my job is to make sure the will of the people is upheld," the Attorney General said, reports the Kent Reporter. "If any party to these lawsuits seeks to overturn state laws, my office will be there to defend the law."

Businesses that applied for marijuana licenses are suing the cities in Chelan County and Pierce County Superior Courts to challenge ordinances that block them from opening. Attorney General Ferguson's office is intervening to defend I-502 as the law.

The Attorney General's Office is authorized by law to intervene in lawsuits to protect the interests of the people of the state, according to Ferguson's press release. The office frequently intervenes, for example, in environmental and consumer protection cases.

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