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.

Alaska: Marijuana Legalization Would Generate Millions In Taxes

AlaskaMarijuanaUSFlag

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Millions of dollars in state tax revenue would be generated if Alaska's voters decide in next week's election to legalize marijuana sales to adults, according to a comprehensive report released on Monday by the Marijuana Policy Group, made up of Colorado researchers and economic experts.

The first year of recreational cannabis sales in Alaska would generate about $7 million in state taxes, according to the group, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. Legal recreational sales of marijuana would account for about 22 percent of total demand in that first year, about four metric tons, according to the report.

"Previous studies incorrectly assume that all demand will quickly shift to regulated markets," the researchers noted. "In our experience, such assumptions are naive." That conclusion would certainly jibe with the legalization experience in Washington state, where scant supplies have driven prices past $30 a gram and have driven many consumers back to the black market.

"If retail prices increase significantly, then most heavy users will avoid this supply mode and buy marijuana from black or grey market sources as possible," the researchers wrote.

Adult Alaskans use nearly 18 metric tons of marijuana, according to the researchers, a demand which is now satisfied through the state's black market, as well as a network of medical marijuana caregivers and home cultivators.

Oregon: Jeff Merkley Becomes First U.S. Senator To Support Marijuana Legalization

JeffMerkley(USSenatorOregon)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has said he plans to vote for Measure 91, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon, which would make him the first sitting U.S. Senator to support legalization.

"I lean in support of it," Sen. Merkley told Talking Points Memo's Sahil Kapur last week. Reporter Jeff Mapes reported on Sen. Merkley's stance earlier this month, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.)

"I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case," Merkley said. "And there is concern about a series of new products -- and we don't have a real track record from Colorado and Washington.

"But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure," Merkley said.

A Merkley staffer said her boss had stopped short of officially endorsing the ballot initiative, reports Courtney Sherwood at Reuters. "The senator has not endorsed the ballot measure, but he has said he will vote for it," said Courtney Warner Crowell, Merkley's deputy communications director.

Colorado: Denver Police, Federal Agents Conduct Large Raids On Marijuana Grows

DEARaidsMarijuanaGrow

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Tuesday morning conducted large raids on multiple marijuana growing operations near Denver.

One Denver police officer seen in a blue hazmat suit entering a building on North Bryant Street told The Denver Post that he and other officers were executing a search warrant, and that several other raids were being conducted around town.

"It's a very large and successfu investigation," claimed James Gothe, group supervisor of the DEA's special support unit in Denver. "We're assisting."

Gothe called it an "ongoing operation" and wouldn't comment other than to say it involved the Denver Police Department and the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

The Denver Police Department announced at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on Twitter that area law enforcement officers were conducting "an ongoing investigation into drug activity," but claimed no further information was available.

Denver police spokesman Ron Hackett said officers are investigating illegal drug activity at "multiple locations," reports The Denver Channel. Hackett said the department "may" provide more information about the raids later Tuesday or on Wednesday.

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Backers Unveil Halloween-Themed Mobile Billboard

MarijuanaLessToxic!LessAddictive!(MobileBillboard)

Mobile Billboard Highlights the Relative Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol

Billboard satirizing ‘Reefer Madness’-style propaganda calls Question 2 ‘[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston’ because it would allow adults to use a substance that is ‘Less toxic! Less addictive! Less scary than ALCOHOL!’

Backers of the initiative to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston unveiled a Halloween-themed mobile billboard Tuesday that highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.

The orange and black billboard, which will run through Halloween, satirizes “Reefer Madness”-style propaganda and calls Question 2 “[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston” because it would allow adults to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer. It features a screaming face and reads, “MARIJUANA: LESS toxic! LESS addictive! LESS scary than ALCOHOL!”

Facts regarding the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol are available at http://www.MarijuanaIsSafer.org .

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

The measure also expresses support for ending marijuana prohibition in Maine and regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

Rhode Island: Unlikely Trio Asks For Life-Or-Death Medical Marijuana Reform

AlanGordonAndAnneArmstrong

Anne Armstrong, Rhode Island’s Compassion Party’s write-in Gubernatorial candidate, seems almost like a normal Rhode Island mother, bustling about her living room, readying for a French TV News interview.

She speaks and dresses with unpretentious New England charm; you wouldn’t know just by looking at her that just last month, she was a viral video star, covered by CNN, AP, broadcast networks and Huffington Post. It’s hard to imagine that the woman gently mixing tiny doses of cannabis oil into a baking dish with coconut oil has an international cult following.

Armstrong on Tuesday gave hope to many of her followers who are in desperate life-or-death need of medical cannabis, by filing and serving a Constitutional complaint against Rhode Island’s cannabis ban and medical exemption restrictions. The candidate says those restrictions are catching the most gravely ill patients in chokepoints that threaten human life directly, while not even achieving any real purpose.

Ask Armstrong’s media outreach coordinator why he volunteers for her, and he points to the tiny dose of cannabis oil on the counter.

“See that stuff? Anne saved my friend’s life with that oil,” said activist Alan Gordon, who is also a plaintiff in the legal action along with unnamed female cancer patient "Jane Doe," who relies upon the cannabis oil to live. Gordon said Rhode Island law bans him from growing medical cannabis for patients in life-or-death need because he was once felonized for cultivation in Georgia.

California: Cops Wear 'FUCK THE GROWERS' Shirts During San Diego Pot Raids

FuckTheGrowers...Marijuana'sStillIllegal

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana for medicinal purposes was legalized by California voters at the ballot box back in 1996 -- but some law enforcement types apparently still haven't gotten the message. Police routinely terrorize thousands of patient-cultivators every year with warrantless, no-knock raids, willfully ignoring established law, and now a San Diego narcotics officer has been photographed wearing a t-shirt reading "FUCK THE GROWERS... MARIJUANA'S STILL ILLEGAL -- while raiding patients.

Advocacy group Reform California on October 24 posted pictures of a San Diego Narcotics Task Force officer wearing the profane shirt during a Wednesday raid in Imperial Beach, reports David Downs at SF Gate. The photo was reportedly snapped by a 10News photojournalist.

While marijuana is still illegal under federal law for any purpose, state law enforcement officers are supposed uphold state laws. California residents with a doctor's authorization can possess or grow any amount of marijuana deemed medically necessary by their physician.

Ohio Residents Join Legal Hemp Harvest In Kentucky, Touting Jobs Creation, Brain Food

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For the first time in two generations, the Industrial Hemp crop has been legally harvested in Kentucky. The hemp plots were grown in compliance with Kentucky state law and in accordance with Sec. 7606 of the 2014 US Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) that authorized hemp cultivation for research purposes in states that permit Hemp farming.

The agricultural excitement spurred some of Ohio's long-time hemp advocates to travel south to meet the farmers and gain first-hand experience with the plant that cannabis prohibition has kept out of American fields until very recently.

In votes often favoring Hemp by wide margins, 20 states have legalized the crop, defining it as Cannabis Sativa L., having .03 percent THC or less (no drug/narcotic value). The reforms are welcome in Kentucky, where tobacco growers are hurting for alternative crops.

Even with the non-drug status being declared federally, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized viable hemp seed en route to Kentucky from Italy, as outdated policy under the Controlled Substances Act doesn't recognize the scientifically-demonstrated chemical distinctions between "marihuana," a Schedule I narcotic, and hemp, a viable agricultural cash crop commodity. Kentucky sued the DEA to release the seeds, and prevailed in federal court, allowing the research plots to proceed.

Maine: Backers of Lewiston Marijuana Initiative To Launch Mobile Billboard

MarijuanaLessToxic!LessAddictive!LessScaryThanAlcohol!

Halloween-themed Mobile Billboard Highlights the Relative Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol

Billboard satirizing ‘Reefer Madness’-style propaganda comes as opponents ramp up efforts to scare voters into keeping marijuana illegal for adults; ad calls Question 2 ‘[a] safer marijuana policy’ because it would allow adults to use a substance that is, ‘Less toxic! Less addictive! ‘Less scary than ALCOHOL!’

Backers of the initiative to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston, Maine, will launch a Halloween-themed mobile billboard on Tuesday that highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) will hold a news conference in front of the billboard at 10 a.m. ET in Heritage Park. The ad will run through Halloween.

The orange and black billboard, which satirizes “Reefer Madness”-style propaganda, comes as opponents of Question 2 are ramping up efforts to scare voters into keeping marijuana illegal for adults. It features a screaming face and reads, “MARIJUANA: LESS toxic! LESS addictive! LESS scary than ALCOHOL!”

It calls Question 2 “[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston” because it would allow adults to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer. Facts regarding the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol are available at http://www.MarijuanaIsSafer.org .

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

D.C.: Community Organizations, Advocates and Faith Leaders Call For Marijuana Legalization

DCCannabisCampaign-Legalize.RefocusPoliceResources.

A diverse group of community organizations, policy reform advocates and faith leaders is calling for an end to marijuana prohibition in the nation’s capital which has resulted in gross racial disparities in the arrests of marijuana users. They are also emphasizing the need to repair the damage done to many African-American communities as a result of this policy.

The group of pastors and advocates emphasized that they do not take this decision lightly and “do not condone the use of marijuana.” But they are resolved that the current system of controlling drug use is ineffective and destructive of families and communities.

They are calling for that destruction to end, and for a reinvestment of resources from taxation and regulation of marijuana into the communities that have suffered the most from its criminalization.

“We believe that when we support a person’s self worth and dignity, the person can make more responsible choices and be accountable to the larger community,” the group said in a prepared statement.

The ACLU estimates that the District has spent as much as $43 million per year since 2010 on marijuana possession enforcement, more per capita than any state in the nation. “This money could otherwise be invested in our community to enhance public health and safety, extend drug treatment programs and to improve police-community relations,” the report concludes.

What: Press Conference

Where: Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M Street, NW, Washington, DC

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 28th, 2014

Time: Noon

Speakers:

New Jersey: Voters Have Opportunity To Fix State's Broken Bail System

ReformBail

Public Question No. 1 Would Usher in Comprehensive Bail Reform To Increase Public Safety and Improve Justice for All

Advocates across the New Jersey have launched a campaign to support Public Question No. 1 on November 4. Public Question No. 1 asks voters to change the New Jersey Constitution to give judges the ability to deny bail to dangerous suspects and will usher in comprehensive bail reform in New Jersey.

The proposed Constitutional Amendment also authorizes the Legislature to pass laws to operationalize the amendment — an important action that the Legislature has already accomplished. At the same time that the Legislature passed the resolution to put the bail reform question to the voters, it also passed, with bi-partisan support, groundbreaking legislation to comprehensively reform New Jersey’s broken bail system.

This legislation only goes into effect if the Constitutional amendment on the ballot wins a majority on November 4.

A report released early last year found that on any given day, nearly 75 percent of the 15,000 individuals in New Jersey jails are awaiting trial rather than serving a sentence. The average length of pretrial incarceration for these individuals is more than ten months.

D.C.: Leaders, Advocates To Discuss Impact of Marijuana Laws on African Americans

DCCannabisCampaignLegalize.YesOn71

Shiloh Baptist Church and The Washington Informer to host a community forum to inform and educate

WHAT: On Monday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Social Justice and Community Outreach Ministry of Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, in partnership with The Washington Informer, will host a community forum on the impact of Ballot Initiative 71 and D.C. marijuana laws on African Americans.

Nationally acclaimed economist and author Dr. Julianne Malveaux will moderate the event held at Shiloh Baptist Church located at 9th and P Streets, NW. Panelists will include representatives from law enforcement, academia, community advocates, members of the business community, and members of the clergy.

Washington D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests, doubling that of any U.S. state. Ninety-one percent of all marijuana arrests are of black people.

Between 2001 and 2010, while the number of white people arrested for marijuana has stayed about the same, the number of black people arrested increased to 4,908 from 3,228. Young black men are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones, even though whites are more likely to both use and sell marijuana.

This community forum will gather nearly 500 District residents to raise awareness of this important topic and bring to the forefront the importance of voting on November 4.

WHO: Pastor Wallace Charles Smith, Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church

Uruguay: Presidential Candidate Wants To Roll Back Marijuana Legalization

Uruguay-LuisLacallePou

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Uruguay's leading opposition candidate for President said he would try to repeal much of the country's historic marijuana legalization law which allows the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis if he wins Sunday's election.

The South American nation became the first in the world to officially allow the production and use of cannabis, but almost two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose the experiment which aims to take control of the marijuana trade away from drug gangs, reports Esteban Farat at Thomson Reuters.

But notably, even the candidate in question, Luis Lacalle Pou of the centrist National Party, would still allow home cultivation and cannabis clubs.

"I will keep the law's articles that allow users to grow their own cannabis at home and authorize smoking clubs and repeal the rest, in particular the state's commercialization of the drug," Lacalle Pou said.

"I will send a bill to Parliament to repeal it," he said. "We will need a majority in Parliament, and I will look for support.

Polls show Lacalle Pou trailing the left-wing candidate for the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) party, Tabare Vazquez, who has backed the legalization law.

Photo of Luis Lacalle Pou: Xinhua News Agency/Rex

Michigan: Court Rules Medical Marijuana Law Trumps Unemployment Law

MichiganMedicalMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Michigan appeals court ruled on Friday that workers who've been fired solely for failing a drug screen because of their legal use of medical marijuana qualify for unemployment benefits, upholding lower court rulings that the state's medical marijuana law preempts its unemployment law.

The three-judge panel found that three state courts were right to reverse a decision by the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission to deny three workers unemployment payments after they were fired for testing positive for marijuana.

The judges ruled that a provision of the state's medical marijuana law forbids penalties "in any manner" for those who use medical marijuana legally.

Because the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act trumps the Michigan Employment Security Act, the circuit courts were right to reverse the MCAC's ruling that claimants were not entitled to unemployment benefits, according to the opinion.

The decision stems from three cases in which between 2010 and 2012 three employees were fired from their jobs after allegedly violating their employers' "drug free" policies by testing positive for medical marijuana. All three had state issued cards authorizing them to legally use cannabis to treat specific medical conditions.

An administrative law judge in each of the three cases had upheld the unemployment eligibility of the employees, forklift operator Rick Braska, CT technician Jenine Kemp and furniture repair technician Stephen Kudzia.

U.S.: Federal Court To Hear Evidence On Whether Marijuana Is Misclassified As Dangerous Drug

MarijuanaGavelCourt

Meanwhile, federal Drug Enforcement Administration carries out latest raid on Los Angeles area medical marijuana dispensaries

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California will hold rare formal hearings beginning Monday, October 27, to determine whether an indictment against Brian Justin Pickard and others for conspiracy to grow more than 1,000 marijuana plants violates the U.S. Constitution, and whether marijuana is misclassified by the federal government as a dangerous Schedule I drug with no medical value.

What: Evidentiary hearing with several expert witnesses to review the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance

When: Starting Monday, October 27, 9 am and continuing to Wednesday, October 29

Where: Sacramento Federal Court, 501 I Street, Sacramento, Californbia

U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller will preside over the three-day hearing, which includes expert testimony from Drs. Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City, Greg Carter, medical director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington, retired physician Phillip Denny, as well as author, consultant, and expert witness Chris Conrad.

U.S.: Hundreds of Marijuana Store ATMs Shut Down

MarijuanaATMBanking

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Hundreds of automatic teller machines in medical marijuana dispensaries were shut down on Wednesday, just days after ATMs were turned off in recreational cannabis shops.

The machines in Colorado and Washington were part of a network served by MetaBank, a South Dakota company which in January had warned ATM providers that machines located in marijuana shops violated federal banking rules, reports David Migoya at The Denver Post.

The machines, both cashless and the traditional ATMs which dispense cash, continued to work until this week, according to owners of cannabis shops impacted by the shutdown.

"Just like that, it was out of commission," said Andy Williams, owner of Medicine Man, a Denver recreational and medical marijuana dispensary that has an on-site cash-dispensing ATM. "I got a warning the night before saying they'd lost their bank, and that was it.

The ATM machines are the lifeblood of many marijuana shops, which are forced by federal banking rules to otherwise work in cash only rather than accepting credit and debit cards from their customers.

A number of trade organization Marijuana Industry Group's clients lost ATMs, both of the cash-dispensing and cashless variety, according to executive director Michael Elliott.

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