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.

U.S.: Former Race Car Driver Randy Lanier To Be Released From Life In Prison For Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana prisoner Randy Lanier, 60, a former race car driver, will be released from prison after serving 26 years of a life sentence at the high-security Federal Correction Complex of Coleman in Florida for a 1988 conviction on leading a marijuana drug ring.

U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert has granted a motion by the federal government to reduce Lanier's life sentence and has approved his pending release, reports Jon Saraceno at Autoweek.com. Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. endorsed a proposal to reduce sentencing for convicted drug dealers, while seeking to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

"He has served his time with dignity and respect," said Stephen Ross Johnson, lead attorney for Lanier since 2002. "He has helped mentor young people in the prison system."

The brief order issued by Judge Gilbert gives no reason for the sentence reduction. In addition to his life sentence, Lanier was given an additional maximum of 40 years on a distribution charge and another five years on an IRS fraud charge.

Lanier's release comes with heavy restrictions, including drug-and-alcohol tests, no consumption of alcohol or patronizing of establishments that sell it, no firearms, and no lines of credit without approval from his probation officer.

Spain: Basque Parliament Urges Government To Legalize, Regulate Cannabis Clubs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Basque Parliament on Wednesday urged the Basque Government to legalize and regulate the activity of cannabis clubs, and give legal support to marijuana cultivation for club members' collective consumption.

The Basque Chamber is concluding two years of work on a study of the clubs with adoption of a recommended solution towards regulating them. The recommendations approved "will place Basque Country at the head of the regulation of these places," the group said.

The political parties PNV (Basque Nationalist Party), EH BILDU (Basque Country United) and PSE-EE (Socialist Party of the Basque Country) have all advocated taking steps towards non-confrontational legal existence for the cannabis clubs, and have urged the Basque Government to devise a system which offers regulation, legal guarantees and security for the clubs.

These groups said that until there is such governmental regulation, cannabis clubs should establish their own self-regulation and standards of good practice. Also, it is expected that medicinal and therapeutic uses of cannabis will be excluded from the regulations governing the clubs.

U.S.: Medical Marijuana Advocates Survey Candidates Ahead of November Elections

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The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has produced a new 30-second online advertisement to launch its survey drive for for this year's election-cycle educational campaign. (You can view the ad at the bottom of this article.)

The ad will also air on this Sunday's morning TV cable news programs in Detroit, Philadelphia, Sacramento, South Florida, and Washington State. As part of its groundbreaking "Vote Medical Marijuana" campaign, ASA has sent out more than 2,000 candidate surveys to help patients and the general public make more informed electoral decisions based on candidates' positions on medical marijuana.

More than 100 candidates in federal and state races across the country have sent in responses so far. The "Vote Medical Marijuana" campaign will focus on as many as 435 U.S. House races, 36 U.S. Senate races, 36 gubernatorial races, and 31 state attorney general races, as well as more than 360 state legislative races in California, Florida, and Washington.

"We want to better educate supporters and the general public about casting their ballot for candidates who have their best interests in mind," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "We hope this outreach effort will show our country’s leading politicians how significant medical marijuana is to their election campaigns."

'Iowa Marijuana Company' Posters Just A Prank

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Posters advertising an "Iowa Marijuana Company" which appeared on buildings this week in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are apparently just a merchandising prank, according to authorities.

Two posters appeared on Tuesday on the outside of a storefront in Cedar Rapids showing ears of corn in the shape of a cannabis leaf, reports Dave Franzman at KCRG-TV9. The posters were on an empty building currently for lease, and hate the date 10/01/15, implying the Iowa Marijuana Company would start operations then.

John Wasta, who owns the building with his brother, said they were told about the posters on Tuesday; the posters were removed from the front glass. Wasta said he kept one in his office as a souvenir.

"I've got all my employees running around looking at websites," Wasta said. "But it's just cute."

The pranksters created an Iowa Marijuana Company website complete with photos of the stores supposedly coming soon to Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and even Clinton. One of the same posters appeared on an outside door at a building in Iowa City.

Morocco: Hash-Producing Nation Considers Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new law being considered in Morocco that would legalize marijuana cultivation for medical and industrial uses, finally bringing the North African Islamic nation's thriving hashish industry into the open.

The proposal, however, faces stiff opposition in this conservative nation, despite a centuries-old tradition of growing cannabis in the north, where the Rif Mountains have long been a center of hash production, reports Paul Schemm of the Associated Press.

Some farmers like Abdelkhalek Benabdallah openly grow marijuana, despite its illegal status. "We are regularly subject to blackmail by the gendarmes," he said as he prepared his September harvest.

The new law could alleviate widespread poverty and unrest; suspicious farmers, accustomed to an adversarial relationship with government authorities, don't believe the government will do anything to help them. The farmers fear that legalization might lower the already cheap price of $8 a kilogram they receive for their product.

"If legalization happened for all of Morocco, we could never compete with the other farmers that have lots of land and the price of cannabis wouldn't be any different from that of carrots," said Mohammed Benabdallah, an activist in the village of Oued Abdel Ghaya.

U.S.: Leafstrain Medical Marijuana Mobile App Approved By Apple, Ready For Download

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Earth Science Tech, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on nutraceuticals, bioceuticals and dietary supplements, on Tuesday announced that its Leafstrain.com mobile application, for use on iOS devices including iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, is now available for immediate free download in the iTunes App Store using this link (click here).

Users can also find it by simply searching the iTunes App store using the key word search "Leafstrain.com."

"ETST is extremely enthusiastic to be approved and now listed in Apple iTunes as an approved developer and now having its first iOS mobile application 'Leafstrain.com' ready for download," the company announced in a prepared statement. The new Leafstrain.com mobile iOS app can be downloaded free of charge and installed in the user's mobile device of choice.

Using the Leaftsrain.com app, users can leverage the power of iOS mobile devices by searching, finding, sharing, reviewing, commenting and mapping the best cannabis strains and dispensaries, plus more, according to ETST. Right from a mobile device, users can search the Leafstrain.com social network and online community as well as its large online database of 3,000+ medical marijuana dispensaries and 300+ cannabis strains.

Users can use their zip code or city and state names to search for dispensaries, which are then displayed on a map of the area. The dispensary profiles contain store locations, hours, photos, reviews and much more.

Colorado: Mary's Medicinals Gets Exclusive License To 40:1 CBD:THC Cannabis Strain

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Mary's Medicinals, a producer and distributor of transdermal cannabis patches, gels and compounds, on Tuesday announced a licensing agreement with Green Natural Solutions (GNS) of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, for exclusive access to its proprietary 40:1 CBD:THC marijuana strain, known as Mary's Healing Heart.

Mary's Healing Heart has a significantly higher cannabidiol (CBD) level and lower THC level than the most well known high-CBD strains available today, according to the company.

A recent media blitz has highlighted the extraordinary benefits of CBD for epilepsy and many other ailments. Families have flocked to Colorado with hopes of obtaining CBD treatments, but many have encountered roadblocks, left on waiting lists or procuring low quality hemp materials imported from China.

"After 18 months of searching for a reliable source of locally grown CBD, we are delighted to have secured this oppotunity to team with GNS," said Nicole Smith, CEO of Mary's Medicinals. "GNS is an ideal partner to work with to deliver on our shared vision of patient care through plant-based medicine."

"We feel that by providing Mary's Healing Heart to us, GNS is ensuring that the best possible use is made of the limited top quality CBD resources currently available," Smith said. "As more states and the federal government consider CBD and whole plant legislation, Mary's is poised to expand the availability of its offerings to ensure patients have access to reliable, pharmaceutical grade medicine."

Washington: Exploding Bottles of Marijuana Soda Removed From Shops

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legal Pomegranate marijuana-infused soda has more bang for the buck than its manufacturers and distributors realized. The drink has been removed from three Washington marijuana stores after bottles started exploding on the shelves.

Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham took delivery of 330 bottles of the soda on September 28; employees said they were excited to promote it to their customers, reports Matt Markovich at KOMO News. They sold 10 bottles of the soda, made by Mirth Provisions of Longview, on the first day.

But when employees opened up the following day, they found broken bottles and shards of glass throughout the store. During the night, the bottles had begun to explode. The employees said they didn't realize just how dangerous was the situation until they saw and heard bottles randomly blow up.

"It sounded like a shotgun going off," said Top Shelf Cannabis manager Zach Henifin. "You can actually feel it; it was that explosive."

Henifin donned a face shield and protective garb and placed cartons of the unexploded soda in a dumpster-sized steel box outside the store. The "pot pop" continued to explode, inside the steel container, for the next 10 days.

"It's almost like a bomb box because they randomly go off during the day," Henifin said.

Oregon: Rick Steves Kicks Off Tour Promoting Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Rick Steves, the mild-mannered travel guru who was a key supporter of Washington state's flawed but successful marijuana legalization initiative in 2012, arrived in Oregon on Tuesday to kick off a nine-city tour promoting Measure 91, a measure on November's general election ballot which would legalize cannabis in Oregon.

Steves, in a recent commentary on Measure 91, called it a "smart law" designed to address the reality of marijuana use, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

"Marijuana is a drug," wrote Steves, a NORML board member who is seemingly eager to court the anti-pot crowd. "It's not good for you. It can be addictive. But marijuana is here to stay. No amount of wishing will bring us a utopian 'drug-free society.'"

Steves explains that owning his own business has given him the freedom to express his personal views about marijuana without fear of being fired.

"When it comes to America's prohibition on marijuana, I can consider lessons learned from my travels and say what I really believe when I'm back home," Steves said.

The travel writer last year was named one of the 50 most influential consumers by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Wisconsin: Patients Receive Oregon Medical Marijuana Authorizations at Harvest Fest

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Forty-eight Wisconsin medical marijuana patients this year got their Oregon medicinal cannabis authorizations at the annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest. "But wait," you may be thinking. "They live in Wisconsin, not Oregon." That's entirely true -- but according to those in the know, having an out-of-state medical marijuana authorization gives these patients some legal cover should the police come calling.

The authorizations were issued by THCF Medical Clinics at the Harvest Fest as part of something called The Ben Masel Project. Masel was a famous Yippie activist based in Madison who started the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest; he died suddenly from cancer three and a half years ago.

"The Oregon permit has saved several people in Wisconsin from arrest," THCF founder Paul Stanford told Hemp News. The fact that Oregon issues permits to out-of-state patients has been helpful to those in Wisconsin and other non-MMJ states, according to Stanford.

"This weekend, we helped 48 patients in Wisconsin get Oregon medical marijuana permits, bringing in almost $10,000 in state fees for the Oregon Health Authority," Stanford told us. "Really, the Wisconsin Legislature should act to help its sick and dying patients, and keep those funds in Wisconsin."

Stanford said speaking at the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest, the 44th annual event, "is an old tradition" for him. "I first spoke here in Madison 25 years ago, in 1989, and I came back and spoke again in 1990 and many years since," he told us.

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Stalls; Unlikely To Get Vote This Year

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Leaders of the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania House have roadblocked a bill which would have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes in the Keystone State.

The GOP caucus does want to take a look at the medicinal cannabis bill that passed the Pennsylvania Senate last week, including holding public hearings, according to staffers for House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County), reports Charles Thompson at The Patriot-News. But that means there is almost no chance the bill, which passed the Senate on an overwhelming 43-7 vote and is being referred to the House Judiciary Committee, will reach the House floor this year.

That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been watching, according to Turzai's press secretary, Steve Miskin, who noted the Senate took nearly a year to develop the bill. It would be unrealistic "and irresponsible to just rubber-stamp a bill that creates an entire new bureaucracy" in less than two weeks, he said.

Turzai doesn't like to run bills that don't have support of the majority of the GOP caucus in the House, and it's not yet clear that a majority of Republicans support the bill. Additionally, with Gov. Tom Corbett preferring a much more limited version of "medical marijuana trials," House leaders reportedly don't want to drop a controversial bill in his lap in the last month of his reelection campaign.

U.S.: Dab Kits Stands Behind Product with Lifetime Warranty

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Dab Kits, the retailer of high-end premium wax vaporizers, on Tuesday announced that they will offer a lifetime warranty on their product. The company said its decision to extend the warranty from six months of coverage to a lifetime guarantee "is part of Dab Kits’ ongoing commitment to customer satisfaction and service."

With the growing popularity of wax vape pens, it is more important now than ever to provide people with high-quality affordable vaporizers that they can depend on, according to Matt Cheatle, cofounder of Dab Kits.

“At Dab Kits, we stand firmly behind the quality of our products and strive to ensure that our customer service is second to none,” Cheatle said.

Confident in the durability and excellence of their cannabis vaporizers, Dab Kits now offers lifetime coverage on all manufacturer defects of the housing unit and battery by either replacing or repairing the parts. Atomizers will be covered, as before, under a 30-day warranty.

Though the heating element itself is not covered under Dab Kits’ warranty, replacements are available for purchase at www.dabkits.com.

In order to repair or replace a part of Dab Kits’ wax vaporizers, customers need to contact support@dabkits.com for a Return Material Authorization form (RMA). All exchange requests should be sent with a completed RMA form, proof of purchase, and the item to be repaired/exchanged.

Australia: Researcher Claims Marijuana Causes Mental Disorders, Loss of Intelligence

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Surprise, surprise: When you summarize the results of 20 years' worth of the most anti-marijuana studies you can find, you get anti-marijuana conclusions. In what is being touted in sensationalistic press accounts as a "definitive study," an Australian is claiming that his investigation into 20 years of marijuana research shows that cannabis is addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway to hard drug use.

Professor Wayne Hall, a drug advisor to the World Health Organization and specialist in addiction at the University of Queensland in Australia, said that heavy, daily use of pot can also lead to car crashes and unhealthy babies. He arrived at this conclusion by hand-picking the most anti-marijuana studies from the past 20 years and passing them off as a "definitive new study."

Maine: City Leaders Support Initiatives To Make Marijuana Legal For Adults

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Lewiston City Councilor Leslie Dubois and Lewiston School Committee Member Matthew Roy joined the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) at a Tuesday news conference to kick off the campaign in support of initiatives on the November ballot to make marijuana legal for adults in Lewiston and South Portland.

The event was held at 10 a.m. ET in Kennedy Park, across from Lewiston City Hall on the corner of Park Street and Pine Street.

In Lewiston, Question 2 would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston. It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

The measure also expresses support for regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol in Maine. A similar proposal will also appear on the ballot in South Portland (the city will not provide it with an identifying number or letter).

“Law enforcement resources would be better spent addressing serious crimes instead of adults possessing small amounts of marijuana,” Councilor Dubois said. “Question 2 will make our communities safer.”

“Our laws should reflect the facts, and it’s a fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol,” Roy said. “It’s irrational to treat adults like criminals simply for possessing it. Question 2 just makes sense.”

Texas: New Marijuana Offender Program Begins In Houston

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Law enforcement officials in the most populous county in Texas on Monday started a new program giving nonviolent first time offenders caught with small amounts of marijuana a chance to avoid a criminal conviction.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office, Houston Police and the Harris County District Attorney's Office is offering a new initiative called the "First Chance Intervention Program," D.A. Devon Anderson announced on Wednesday, reports KFOR-TV.

"Our goal is to keep these individuals from entering the revolving door of the criminal justice system," Anderson said. "This program is not for everyone. We are targeting people we believe are self-correcting, those who will be scared straight."

"I think it, overall, will improve people's lives," Anderson said.

Under the new program, first-time marijuana offenders with no prior criminal history who are caught with up to two ounces of marijuana can avoid being charged if they successfully complete eight hours of community service or an eight-hour class.

"Better education, as to where it can lead them, is a whole lot better than putting them in the federal pen, prison systems, where they become hardened, repeat offenders," said Charlotte Farmer.

"Too often, we see young people, with the promise of an incredible future in front of them, make mistakes that then begin a spiral downwards," said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

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