By Steve Elliott
A public hearing on the legalization of marijuana in Vermont is scheduled for Wednesday. The hearing will be held statewide via Vermont Interactive Television.
Earlier this year, the Vermont Legislature ordered the administration to study marijuana legalization, with a report due in January, reports the Associated Press.
The state contracted with the RAND Drug Policy Research Center to study the production, distribution, and possession of cannabis.
Wednesday's hearing will be held by Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding and Beau Kilmer, who co-directs the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
Spaulding and Kilmer will make brief presentations, after which people attending the meeting will be allowed to ask questions and make comments.
By Steve Elliott
With the number of states where marijuana is now legal reaching four (plus the District of Columbia), the United States military is still trying to enforce 20th Century drug policies of zero tolerance towards cannabis, despite the shifting sands of public opinion.
With Alaska, Oregon and D.C. joining Colorado and Washington as legal havens for weed, the army has gone to great pains to remind troops that state law doesn't help servicemen who smoke pot, reports RT.com.
The military is governed by federal laws, under which marijuana possession remains a criminal offense; use or possession of cannabis also remains a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and can result in court martial.
Each branch of the military claims to keep troops off marijuana by frequent drug testing and stiff penalties for those who test positive.
According to Army testing data recently obtained by the Washington Times, 30,836 of the 41,000 soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state were tested in fiscal 2014; that's about 75 percent. Meanwhile, at Fort Carson, Colorado, all 26,000 active duty personnel were tested.
Individuals Would Instead be Ticketed and Ordered to Court
Advocates Cautiously Optimistic, But Key Questions and Concerns Remain
An article on the front page of Monday's New York Times outlines a plan by the de Blasio Administration to end low-level marijuana possession arrests in New York City. According to the article, those found with small amounts of marijuana would be issued a court summons and immediately released.
This would be a shift from the current arrest practice, wherein police charge people with a misdemeanor – the person is then handcuffed, taken to the precinct and held for hours, fingerprinted and photographed, and eventually released with a court date and a virtually permanent arrest record. Ending arrests for marijuana possession is a constructive step towards reform, yet many questions and concerns about the new proposal remain.
The new proposal comes on the heels of a recently released report by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, which analyzed marijuana arrest and income data. It shows that low-income and middle class communities of color face dramatically higher rates arrests for marijuana possession than do white communities of every class bracket.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News
Musician Jim Klahr, an activist working to establish cannabis as an option for healthcare providers in the United States and a pre-transplant patient at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU), passed away awaiting a liver donor at OHSU on November 9, 2014.
Days earlier, on November 4, 2014, Oregon residents voted to end marijuana prohibition with Measure 91. In the campaign's declaration of victory, Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner of the measure, thanked Klahr for his dedication and commitment to the issues surrounding cannabis.
As a long-time Oregon medical marijuana activist Klahr continually expressed the need for cannabis advocates to run for political office to have their voice and views represented within the legislature.
Klahr was a founder of Oregon Green Free – to help those who utilize the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to become self-sufficient under the law of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. He believed medicinal, social and sacramental cannabis all have their place in society.
As an eight-year member of the Oregon Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana (OACMM), the committee established to implement rules for the state's medical marijuana program, he fought tirelessly for cannabis freedom, eventually serving two-terms as OACMM Co-Chair.
A chief petitioner on Oregon Measure 74, the 2010 initiative to improve safe access for medical marijuana patients, Klahr was also an instrumental spoke in the campaign to elect Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in 2012.
Cannabis is big business and CannaBranders, announcing the launch of their website this week, is positioning itself to be a leader in the medical marijuana branding and web services market.
The web and branding company dedicated solely to the (legal) marijuana/cannabis industry, has announced they will be attending the National Marijuana Business Conference and Expo in Las Vegas on November 12-14.
CannaBranders will be sponsoring NCIA’s 4th Anniversary Banquet, "Vive la Révolution," on Thursday, November 13. The conference is produced by Marijuana Business Daily and will have more than 1,500 cannabusiness pros and major investors from more than 30 US states and 10 countries such as Medical Marijuana, Inc (OTCPK:MJNA), HEMP, INC (OTCPK:HEMP), Cannabis Science, Inc (OTCQB:CBIS), Growlife, Inc (OTC:PHOT) and GreenGro Technologies (OTCPK:GRNH).
CannaBranders has assisted many marijuana business organizations through specialized cannabis industry marketing in order to achieve their targeted goals. They offer marijuana website design, marijuana graphic design, cannabis industry marketing, medical marijuana marketing and even how to open a marijuana dispensary.
Poll Conducted Weeks Before Oregon, Alaska and D.C. Voters Decide to Legalize Marijuana
A new Gallup poll has found that a majority of Americans still support the legalization of marijuana. The Gallup poll found a slim majority of Americans -- 51 percent -- favor legalizing the use of marijuana - similar to the 50 percent who supported it in 2011 and 2012, but down from a reading of 58 percent last year.
The poll was conducted in mid-October but released just days after voters in Alaska, Oregon and D.C. voted to legalize marijuana. In Alaska, 52 percent voted in support, in Oregon it was nearly 56 percent and in D.C., the number was a whopping 69 percent.
Building off of the successes of 2014, advocates for marijuana legalization will be putting legalization on multiple ballots in 2016, including California.
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced that the sixth annual Hemp History Week will be held June 1-7, 2015. Surging with momentum following a monumental year in 2014, wherein hemp was both legally cultivated and harvested in Kentucky, Colorado and Vermont, this year's campaign will focus on the increased acreage of hemp on U.S. farms with the theme Sow the Seed.
Throughout all 50 states, more than 1,100 grassroots events will bring documentary film screenings, cooking demonstrations, retail promotions, educational outreach, spring plantings and hemp home building courses to the public, catalyzing movement on the issue of hemp legalization nationwide.
To learn more about Hemp History Week, visit: www.HempHistoryWeek.com.
Spring Hemp Plantings
HIA and Vote Hemp will work with farmers in states that have legalized the cultivation of hemp, to coordinate events this spring to celebrate the planting of hemp crops. The events will be open to both community and media attendance.
An environmentally sustainable crop, hemp helps restore nutrients to soil via phytoremediation, and does not require chemical inputs of pesticides and herbicides to flourish. As farmers open their hemp fields to the public, grassroots activists will offer educational events about industrial hemp—its history, agronomy, health and ecological benefits—as we join together to sow the seed.
The Health Benefits of Hemp
DigiPath, Inc., an independent cannabis testing and media firm, on Thursday announced that it has received approval from the state of Nevada for its DigiPath Labs subsidiary to open and operate a cannabis testing laboratory at 6450 Cameron Street, Suite 113, in Las Vegas.
DigiPath Labs is in the process of applying for construction permits, ordering equipment, and hiring staff in anticipation of opening the Cameron Street laboratory. To expedite construction, the company is working with a local architectural firm it engaged during the application process. The lab is expected to open its doors to customers in early 2015.
"We are grateful to the State of Nevada for helping to advance our goal of setting a new benchmark for medical cannabis testing and safety screening," said Todd Denkin, CEO of DigiPath, Inc.
"DigiPath Labs is dedicated to increasing transparency of the ingredients inside cannabis-based products," Denkin said. "We believe that this information will benefit patients and dispensaries by providing them with important information regarding the products being sold for consumption."
DigiPath Labs will screen medicinal cannabis for potentially harmful contaminants, including:
• Heavy metals, including mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium
• Biological toxins, such as aflatoxin, ricin, and botulinum toxins
• Residual organic chemicals used in extraction
• Microbial contaminants including E. coli, salmonella, and Aspergillus
Both Companies to Exhibit at the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas from Nov. 12 to 14
G FarmaLabs, a producer and processor of cannabis products, on Friday announced that is has entered into a production agreement with MedMen, a full service cannabis management firm. G FarmaLabs officials said the company "will bring its full line of award winning cannabis infused products to MedMen’s offerings as the management company gears up for a substantial footprint in the two newest cannabis markets, Nevada and Illinois."
“While the marijuana industry has seen tremendous growth over the past couple of years, there still remains a frustrating amount of regulatory hurdles that make expanding a marijuana producing and processing company a challenge,” said Ata Gonzalez, founder and CEO of G FarmaLabs. “With this unique partnership, which took a tremendous amount of time and effort to structure, G FarmaLabs is able to expand nationally, while MedMen is able to offer its clients the best cannabis products on the market.”
This announcement marks the latest in a number of big announcements for both companies, both of which will be exhibiting at the Marijuana Business Conference in Las Vegas from Nov. 12-14.
For G FarmaLabs, in early October, the company announced a Private Offering to raise $5 million in capital for a stake in the future of the company’s California territory.
By Steve Elliott
A flock of sheep in England got an unexpected treat last month when they munched on thousands of dollars worth of marijuana dumped in their field.
The animals were happily stumbling about after eating seven bags of cannabis, with a reputed valued of £4,000 (about $6,300 American), reports Nicola Fifield at The Telegraph.
The flock reportedly found the marijuana stash at the edge of Fanny's Farm in Merstham, Surrey.
"My sheep, being inquisitive, had an interesting feast on it," said farm manager Nellie Budd. "They weren't quite on their backs with legs in the air, but they probably had the munchies.
"They haven't had any other side effects, but I'll tell you about the meat next week," Budd added.
"At first I thought it was someone's hedgerow rubbish," Budd said. "I went down to collect the bags so the sheep weren't eating black plastic.
"When I got there I realized it was a form of herbal cannabis plant," Budd said. "They were very strong in scent."
"I have no idea how they got there," Budd said, reports Harry Readhead at Metro.co.uk. "It’s right next to a road and the footpath is quite open."
Steep Hill Labs, Inc., which specializes in cannabis testing and analytics, on Thursday announced that its licensee M.A. & Associates, LLC has been awarded one of the first licenses issued in the state of Nevada to test and analyze medical marijuana for the newly-legal industry in the state.
M.A. & Associates, which will conduct business as Steep Hill Nevada, selected the testing technology and protocols of Steep Hill Labs in applying for the license.
"We are excited that our Nevada licensee M.A. & Associates was chosen by the State of Nevada as a safe, verified and licensed testing facility," said Steep Hill's cofounder and CEO David Lampach. "We believe our testing technology gave them a clear and competitive advantage in Nevada, and we are looking forward to working with our new partners to bring our industry-leading services to the patients in the state."
"We wanted to offer the absolute best possible cannabis testing services to the state of Nevada, which is what led us to Steep Hill," said Antonio Del Hierro, CEO of M.A. & Associates d/b/a Steep Hill Nevada. "They are the industry leaders, and at the top of their field. There is simply no better technology or science partner available."
"Steep Hill's technology is recognized as the highest standard in science and technology for the industry," said Dr. Donald Land, Steep Hill's chief scientific consultant. "We are fortunate to be sought out by many new partners in other states looking to insure best practices are followed to maximize health and safety in these newly regulated states."
Guru of Ganja Ed Rosenthal's newest book, Beyond Buds, spreads the word on what the inner circle of marijuana aficionados knows about how to take their medicine. The book covers the rapid shift from smoking buds to vaping and dabbing concentrates or using marijuana infused products such as edibles and tinctures.
Whether you want to produce them or sample them, Beyond Buds is a guide for all -- what to look for, how to make them, and how to use them safely.
Way before the "Green Rush" that is accompanying current legalization, Rosenthal was one of the original marijuana entrepreneurs. Quick Trading, his publishing company, was always the first to provide the latest information on marijuana gardening, use and social policy. Its Big Book of Buds series delineated the differences of more than 400 varieties of cannabis.
Quick Trading is celebrating 40 years of changing marijuana policy one book at a time. True to their vision of justice, the anniversary and book release event is a fundraiser to support the early wave of medical marijuana reformers who are incarcerated in federal and state prisons.
By Steve Elliott
One House Republican said on Wednesday that he will do all he can to block implementation of the marijuana legalization measure approved by District of Columbia voters on Tuesday.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) said marijuana's federal classification as a Schedule I drug should be enforced in the District, reports Aaron C. Davis at The Washington Post.
Harris, a doctor by training, blasted the legalization vote as detrimental to adolescents. "Actions by those in D.C. will result in higher drug use among teens," Harris told the Post. "I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action, so that drug use among teens does not increase."
The Congressman seems a little confused about how things work; currently, of course, black-market drug dealers don't ask teens for ID when selling marijuana; licensed cannabis retail outlets would.
Residents of and visitors to the nation's capital 21 and older will be allowed under Initiative 71 to legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana, and to grow up to three cannabis plants at home.
D.C. Mayor-Elect Muriel E. Bowser said she would vote for the measure, and would see to its implementation. She agreed with the D.C. Council that the District must now take the next step of writing a measure establishing a system of retail sales and taxation.
On the heels of an election which decided marijuana policy in several states, Ganjapreneur, a website dedicated to the legal cannabis industry, has announced a business-focused directory to help aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs and companies connect with business service providers.
Ganjapreneur's new directory includes archives of lawyers, accountants, web development agencies, security firms, and general business consultants who specialize in serving marijuana businesses.
The business directory currently has 12 categories, although a representative from the website said the scope of the project is growing.
"Right now we're focusing on B2B services," the Ganjapreneur rep added, "so our directory is geared toward companies who provide a business service such as marketing or accounting."
Ganjapreneur recently announced that they are preparing to launch a "Freelancer's Network" for creative professionals who want to take on marijuana-related projects. The network currently has a landing page explaining the concept, and an email sign-up form to receive a notification when the network is officially launched.
The website launched over the summer, and has rapidly published a large volume of unique content including news coverage, business editorials, interviews with cannabis industry entrepreneurs, an industry job feed which aggregates classified ads from around the web, and even a dictionary of slang vocabulary terms related to marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Alaska on Tuesday became the fourth U.S. state to legalize marijuana, joining Oregon, where voters had approved a legalization measure earlier the same day, and Colorado and Washington, both of which legalized in 2012.
Measure 2, which was approved by 52 percent of Alaska voters, allows adults 21 and older and possess up to an ounce of cannabis, grow up to six plants at home, and transfer up to an ounce at a time to other adults "without remuneration," reports Jacob Sullum at Reason. State-licensed growers, cannabis product manufacturers, and marijuana retailers will be regulated by the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or a separate agency created by the Legislature.
"Now that it's been shown that putting marijuana legalization on the ballot can succeed even in midterms, we can expect to see a huge surge of additional states voting to end prohibition during the 2016 presidential election," Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority told Hemp News early on Wednesday. "And because the issue has been proven to be mainstream as far as voters are concerned, we may even see lawmakers in several states jumping ahead to legalize marijuana legislatively in the meantime."