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: 420careers.com To Help Find Fired Legal Marijuana User Find New Job

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A marijuana industry job board website, 420careers.com, has reached out to Mike Boyer, the first Washington state citizen to purchase recreational marijuana and to get fired for using recreational marijuana, find a new job in the marijuana industry.

Boyer was the first person to purchase recreational marijuana in Washington’s new marijuana industry and was fired hours later after his employer recognized him on multiple TV stations that aired interviews of him and the historic moment.

Boyer said he’s “been officially terminated for violation of the drug use policy,” but that he hopes he can “spin this and get a job in the marijuana industry… It’s a new industry, they need qualified people.”

“The marijuana industry is one of the few industries creating large quantities of job opportunities in the US, and businesses are in need of qualified, law-abiding employees like Mr. Boyer," said Dan Kingston, president of 420careers.com.

"More than 10,000 marijuana industry jobs have been created in Colorado alone," Kingston said. "And hundreds, if not thousands, of more jobs will be created in Washington and other states that legalize marijuana for medical and/or recreational use."

Currently trending marijuana jobs offered on 420careers.com range from marijuana writers to advertising sales people, budtenders to cultivation experts, security to administrative positions, and more. Presently, marijuana jobs are in the highest demand in Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona, where the marijuana industries are booming.

Nevada: Marijuana Initiative Backers Launch Bathroom-Themed Ad Campaign

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Bathroom-Themed Ads in Las Vegas Restrooms Highlight the Costs of Prohibition and the Benefits of Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol

One ad design features toilet paper made of money and says law enforcement’s ‘limited resources should be reserved for serious matters’ instead of punishing adult marijuana consumers; a second ad design features a toilet full of money and asks why Nevada is flushing revenue from marijuana sales down the toilet into the underground market

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Friday launched its first ad campaign in support of a 2016 ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Nevada. The bathroom-themed ads, which are scheduled to appear in restrooms at more than two dozen restaurants and bars across Las Vegas throughout July and August, highlight the costs of marijuana prohibition and the benefits of replacing it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

“A lot of people know alcohol prohibition failed but have yet to realize marijuana prohibition is just as big of a disaster,” said Joe Brezny, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “These ads will reach folks at a time when we know they have a few minutes to put some thought into it.”

Colorado: Tourists Loving Legal Marijuana In Ski Resort Towns

Colorado-WelcomeToCannabisCountry

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Tourists are responsible for up to 90 percent of recreational marijuana sales in some Colorado ski resort towns, according to a new analysis from the state. Those visitors are infusing tens of millions of dollars into the Mile High marijuana economy.

The study was prepared for state marijuana regulators by the Marijuana Policy Group, which is a collaboration between private consultants and the University of Colorado-Boulder Business Research Division, reports Trever Hughes at USA Today. It says that about 9 percent of Colorado residents are using cannabis at least once per month.

According to the study, which was released on Wednesday, 22 percent of users consume about 70 percent of the marijuana sold in Colorado. The study defines a "heavy marijuana user" as someone consuming a gram or more a day at least 21 days monthly.

Colorado residents will consume about 121.4 metric tons of weed each year, while tourists will buy nearly 9 metric tons, according to the study. Earlier this year, state tax officials estimated the market at just 91 metric tons, and a separate study released last year estimated it at just 64 metric tons.

U.S.: New Poll Shows Young Adults Favor Marijuana Legalization

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A new Reason-Rupe study and survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old finds 57 percent of this demographic -- known as the millennials --believe the government should allow the recreational use of marijuana. Just 39 percent were opposed.

More than 8 of every 10 millennials -- 83 percent -- think that marijuana users should either face no penalties, be fined, or have to attend rehabilitation. Just 14 percent say marijuana users should go to jail.

The Reason-Rupe report finds 74 percent of millennials say government has a responsibility to guarantee every citizen has a place to sleep and enough to eat. Seventy-one percent favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and 69 percent say it is government's responsibility to provide everyone with health care insurance.

Sixty-eight percent say government should ensure everyone makes a living wage; 66 percent say raising taxes on the wealthy would help the economy, and 58 percent say the government should spend more on assistance to the poor even it means higher taxes.

Sixty-two percent of millennials describe themselves as socially liberal, while 27 percent say they are socially conservative. The gap is much narrower on economic issues, with 49 percent of millennials identifying themselves as economic liberals and 36 percent labeling themselves as economic conservatives.

Iowa: Dying Cancer Patient, Wife, Son Convicted of Growing Marijuana For Medicine

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The unthinkable has happened in Iowa, where a dying cancer patient -- along with his wife and son -- has been convicted for growing marijuana.

Benton Mackenzie, 48, faces a probable prison sentence after his Wednesday conviction on drug charges, which he views as a "death sentence," reports Grant Rodgers at The Des Moines Register. "I knew that's what they were going to do," Mackenzie said as his wife pushed him in a wheelchair leaving the courthouse, reports Brian Wellner at the Quad-City Times.

The unbelievable guilty verdict on four felony drug charges was delivered by Scott County jurors; Mackenzie's wife and son were also convicted alongside him.

Mackenzie said he used the plants to extract cannabis oil to treat a painful tumor on his buttock caused by angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer. The tumor has grown to the size of a grapefruit.

The case has drawn national attention to the barbarity of arresting cancer patients for treating themselves with cannabis. This year, Iowa legislators passed one of those "CBD-only" bills, narrowly crafted to allow parents with epileptic children to use cannabis oil as treatment, but that won't help the Mackenzies.

Massachusetts: Smell Of Marijuana Cannot Justify Search of Car

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Police officers in Massachusetts can no longer rely on the odor of unburnt marijuana as probable cause to justify a vehicle search, the state's Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday -- even if the smell is "strong" or "very strong," the justices said.

The court had already ruled in the Commonwealth v. Cruz decision in 2011 that the smell of burnt marijuana was not, in itself, sufficient evidence to stop pedestrians or search vehicles, reports John R. Ellement at The Boston Globe. The court said in that ruling that it would be "legally inconsistent" to allow the cops the make warrantless searches after they smell burned marijuana, when citizens had decided through a statewide referendum that law enforcement should "focus their attention elsewhere."

The court on Wednesday said it is now extending that same reasoning to cases where the owner has not yet started smoking the marijuana. The justices acknowledged that cannabis has a pungent aroma, but said that odor, by itself, does not allow police to determine whether a person has more than an ounce with them. Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is not a crime in Massachusetts, where voters chose to decriminalize pot in 2008.

New York: Brooklyn DA Won't Pursue Low-Level Marijuana Arrests

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Brooklyn district attorney's office on Tuesday announced that it will immediately stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana cases. The policy change comes after months of resistance from the New York Police Department.

"This new policy is a reasonable response to the thousands of low-level marijuana arrests that weigh down the criminal justice system, require significant resources that could be redirected to more serious crimes and take an unnecessary toll on offenders," DA Kenneth P. Thompson said in a release.

Those caught with under 25 grams of pot will have their cases dismissed prior to arraignment, which has been happening more and more often anyway, reports Christopher Robbins at Gothamist. "Given that these cases are ultimately—and predictably—dismissed, the burdens that they pose on the system and the individual are difficult to justify. We are pouring money into an endeavor that produces no public safety benefit," Thompson said.

The change was proposed in a confidential memo in April, report Stephanie Clifford and Joseph Goldstein at The New York Times, but was delayed as police officials resisted the efforts of prosecutors to convince them to enter the 21st century.

Colorado: Man Offers Obama a Toke of Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bar patron in Denver Tuesday night offered President Obama a joint, asking, "Do you want to hit this?" The President laughed and smiled, but didn't answer as he shook hands with other patrons.

Matt Anton, the man who offered marijuana to the President, posted footage of Obama on his Instagram account with the caption, "Asked him if he wanted a hit of pot ... he laughed! #legalizeit #inhaled," reports Dave Boyer at The Washington Times.

As the President's motorcade came into Denver from the airport, someone had held up a sign reading, "Free Weed for Obama."

After the President greeted a supporter outside the bar who was wearing a horse's head mask, a Time magazine reporter tweeted a Photoshopped picture of Obama confronting an entire group of people with horse heads, with the caption, "The moment POTUS remembered Maureen Dowd's warning about the Denver cookies."

The President has expressed support for allowing legalization to proceed in Colorado and Washington. "It's important for it to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished," Obama told an interviewer in January.

Washington: First Day of Legal Marijuana Sales Sees High Prices, Long Lines

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Twenty months after Washington's voters approved limited marijuana legalization measure Initiative 502, the first licensed recreational cannabis stores in the state opened on Tuesday to long lines. With only four shops open statewide of 24 that received licenses on Monday, prices were high and competition was nonexistent.

Thomas Snyder of Richland went to Altitude in Prosser at 9 a.m. for Tuesday's grand opening. "I didn't actually go inside," Snyder told Hemp News on Wednesday. "I decided we couldn't afford two grams (at $30 each), so I let my wife go in while I watched the kids in the car."

"The place was very professional," Snyder told us. "The line was maybe an hour and a half wait when we got there an hour after they opened. Twice while I was waiting, the staff came outside and handed out bottled water and soda."

But inquiring minds want to know: Was the marijuana any good?

"Not too bad at all," Snyder said of the weed's quality. "It could have used a longer cure, but that's what happens when it's all rushed to get to market."

Altitude is only serving 300 customers a day until later this month, when the supply catches up with the demand, according to Snyder, who is an authorized medical marijuana patient.

U.S.: White House Releases 2014 Drug Control Strategy: Kinder, Gentler Drug War?

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Strategy Addresses Important Health Issues, Such as Rising Overdose Deaths, HIV/AIDS, and Stigma, But Support for Drug Courts and Criminalization Belies Claims to Treat Substance Misuse as a Health Issue

Drug Policy Alliance: Stop Arresting People for Simple Drug Possession

Marijuana Policy Project: Administration 'Tone Deaf When It Comes To Marijuana Policy'

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (more commonly known as the Drug Czar’s office; ONDCP) on Wednesday released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases, while also reducing the harms associated with punitive drug policies, such as reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentencing.

The plan demonstrates the Obama Administration's position that adults should continue to be punished for using marijuana, despite the President's acknowledgement earlier this year that it is a safer substance than alcohol, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. In an interview published in January by the New Yorker, Obama said marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."

Maryland: Montgomery Council Urges Assembly, Governor to Decriminalize Marijuana Paraphernalia

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Representatives of Maryland’s most populous county say possession of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia should be among its lowest law enforcement priorities

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Maryland General Assembly and Governor to decriminalize possession of marijuana paraphernalia. Montgomery is the state’s most populated county.

Specifically, the resolution urges them to “make adult paraphernalia possession a civil offense, no more serious than adult possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana.” In April, the General Assembly adopted a bill decriminalizing possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, and Gov. Martin O’Malley signed it into law.

The council resolution also expresses the opinion that “possession of small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia by adults should be among the County’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”

"Good cops don't want to waste their time arresting adults for marijuana possession," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and a 34-year veteran of the Maryland State Police. "They want to focus on serious threats to our community.

"Each marijuana arrest takes up time and resources that could be used to keep our neighborhoods safe,” Franklin said.

New York: Elected Officials, Community Groups Announce Legislation To End Racist Marijuana Arrests

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Comprehensive Legislation would also Address Racial Bias, Collateral Consequences, and Fix Loopholes in NY Marijuana Laws

Despite Dramatic Drop in Stop and Frisk, NYPD on Track to Arrest as Many People in 2014 as Previous Year... and Racial Disparities Persist

Elected officials, community members and the coalition, New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety, will rally on Wednesday, July 9, on the Steps of New York City Hall, to call for comprehensive reform to address racially biased marijuana arrests and devastating collateral consequences.

Last year, there were nearly 30,000 marijuana possession arrests in New York City alone. Based on first-quarter data obtained from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, the NYPD is now on track to make nearly as many marijuana possession arrests in 2014 as it did in 2013, with similarly shocking racial disparities.

Proposals to fix New York’s marijuana possession law have stalled in Albany the past few years. With the continued staggering racial disparities and Governor Cuomo’s recommitment to ending marijuana arrests, Assembly member Camara and Senator Squadron along with community members and advocates are calling for reforms that not only end racially bias marijuana arrests but also address the racial bias in the NY criminal justice system and deal with the devastating collateral consequences of these racially biased arrests.

What Does the Fairness and Equity Act Do?

Florida: Medical Marijuana Initiative Popular With Seniors

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana has found its natural audience in Florida -- senior citizens. A big majority of the Sunshine State's older residents say they will vote yes this November on the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, which will appear on the ballot as Amendment 2. It would legalize the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in Florida.

Among those older than 65, a whopping 84 percent support the initiative, according to Quinnipiac University poll this spring, reports Florida Today. Support across all age groups is even higher, at 88 percent.

The same survey found that 62 percent of respondents ages 50 to 64 have admitted to smoking pot at one time, the largest of any demographic, according to Phil Ammann at SaintPetersblog.

To amend the state constitution, the measure needs at least 60 percent of the vote in November.

Floridians have come a long way in the past few years when it comes to knowledge about marijuana, according to Robert Platshorn, who hosts Meet the Experts medical marijuana seminars.

U.S.: Senators To Introduce Groundbreaking Criminal Justice Reform Bill

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REDEEM Act Helps Formerly Incarcerated Seal Conviction Records, Eliminates Barriers to Employment, Public Assistance, and Re-Entry

Drug Policy Alliance: Criminal Justice Reform is Good Policy and Good Politics

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday will introduce the REDEEM Act, groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that makes it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to reintegrate into society and provides greater rights to juvenile offenders.

The amendment comes on the heels of an amendment offered several weeks ago by Senators Booker and Paul that would prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from arresting and prosecuting people in compliance with their state medical marijuana laws. Senator Paul also has a bill with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that would provide federal judges more discretion in sentencing.

A bipartisan bill reforming mandatory minimums introduced by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting floor action.

“The fact that two young and rising stars of both parties, both rumored to be considering future White House runs, are so passionately embracing criminal justice reform shows how politically popular these issues have become,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Voters want reform and smart elected officials know that. This legislation is good policy and good politics.”

Caribbean Leaders Agree to Establish Commission to Review Regional Marijuana Policy

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Commission Will Assess Whether Marijuana Should Be Reclassified

At the semi-annual summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which concluded in Antigua this weekend, CARICOM leaders agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy in the region in order to assess the need for reforms to marijuana laws.

The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting stated that “Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Region and to advise whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for a range of users.”

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines -– who was instrumental in getting the issue on the agenda during his chairmanship of CARICOM -– expects the commission to study reforms taking place around the world on marijuana policy, including Jamaica, the United States, Sweden and Uruguay. “It seems to me counterproductive to ignore the potential of an industry in respect of medical marijuana and to continue to expend police, national security, court resources on persons who consume a minuscule amount of marijuana in the privacy of their homes,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.

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