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 THCF Medical Clinics. 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.: Marijuana Businesses Access To Banking Act Reintroduced

BanksMarijuanaMoney

U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) and Denny Heck (WA-10), along with a bipartisan group of 16 other Republicans and Democrats, on Wednesday re-introduced H.R. 2076, the Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 to resolve the banking crisis marijuana-related businesses are facing.

By updating federal banking laws and regulations to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws, the legislation allows marijuana-related businesses to access the banking system, ensuring these businesses do not have to operate on a cash-only basis. In addition, a similar companion bill in the Senate is expected to be introduced soon.

“First and foremost this is an issue of public safety,” said Rep. Perlmutter. “Not only are the proprietors at risk, but the employees and customers are also at risk of serious and violent crimes.

"It is estimated that 40 percent of the marijuana-related businesses in Colorado are unbanked," Rep. Perlmutter said. "This means hundreds of millions of dollars in cash are moving around the streets of Colorado. There are now some 213 million Americans who live in the 23 states plus the District of Columbia where the voters have allowed for some use of marijuana, and it is coming to a state near you soon.”

“The federal government can’t keep an eye on business practices if they are forcing them offline and underground,” said Rep. Heck. “Forcing businesses into cash-only territory is a dangerous step away from legitimacy, transparency, and regulation and a huge step towards crime, tax evasion, and access to minors.

U.S.: Hillary Clinton Calls For End To 'Era of Mass Incarceration'

Hillary2016[Frontline]

2016 Presidential Candidates United on Need for Major Criminal Justice Reforms

From Rand Paul to Hillary Clinton, Candidates Seek to Reduce Number of People Behind Bars

Hillary Clinton on Wednesday became the latest Presidential candidate to embrace criminal justice reform. In her first major policy speech since announcing her candidacy, Clinton called for an end to the “era of mass incarceration.”

“There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison in their lifetimes, and an estimated 1.5 million black men are ‘missing’ from their families and communities because of incarceration and premature death,” Clinton said. “The consequences are profound. … It’s time to change our approach,” she added, citing the fact that 1 out of every 28 American children have a parent locked up behind bars.

“The fact that the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for president chose the subject of mass incarceration as the focus of her first major policy address since she announced her candidacy is of great significance politically,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drug Policy Action. “So is the fact that all of the other Democratic candidates and most of the Republican ones agree that something needs to be done to reduce incarceration in our country.”

U.S.: House Voting On Amendment Allowing VA Doctors To Discuss Medical Marijuana

AmericanFlagBarbedWireMarijuanaLeaf[KottonmouthKings]

36 States Allow Use of Some Form of Marijuana for Medical Reasons, but VA Doctors Prohibited from Recommending Medical Marijuana to Patients

Amendment Comes as Support for Medical Marijuana Increases in Congress

As early as this Wednesday afternoon the U.S. House could vote on an amendment that would allow doctors that work for the Veterans Administration to discuss medical marijuana and recommend its use in states where it is legal.

The bipartisan amendment is being offered by Reps. Blumenauer (D-OR), Heck (R-NV), Farr (D-CA), Rohrabacher (R-CA), Reed (R-NY), Titus (D-NV), Gabbard (D-HI), Lee (D-CA) and Gallego (D-AZ).

“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor and use it if it’s medically necessary,” said Michael Collins, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “They have served this country valiantly, so the least we can do is allow them to have full and open discussions with their doctors.”

A similar amendment narrowly failed on the House floor last year, 195 to 222. The House subsequently went on to vote five times in favor of letting states set their own marijuana policies.

One of the amendments, prohibiting the Justice Department from spending any money in Fiscal Year 2015 undermining state medical marijuana laws, made it into the final spending bill signed into law by President Obama. Advocates of the veterans amendment believe it has a very good chance of passing this year.

New York: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition To Lead Cannabis Parade In NYC May 2

NYCCannabisMarch

Want to participate in a revolution?

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is leading the Cannabis Parade in NYC on this Saturday, May 2, reports Jack A. Cole of LEAP. "The first 60 people to signup to be part of the LEAP contingent for that parade will be given free LEAP T-shirts and badges," Cole announced on Facebook Tuesday.

"Send me an email at jackacole@leap.cc or text me at 617-792-3877, with your name, cell phone, email address, and T-shirt size to reserve a shirt," Cole said. "The LEAP contingent will walk behind our 'End the Drug War-Stop the Killing' Banner."

"The marchers in our contingent will be very visible and the back's of their T-shirts read, 'Cops Say Legalize Drugs, Ask Me Why,'" Cole said. "The participating LEAP speakers will also be wearing our T-shirts and a LEAP hat so they can be easily referred to reporters who want interviews."

According to Cole, there are supposed to be more than 40 organizations participating.

At 11:30 a.m. the LEAP contingent will assemble for the parade at the Martinique Café, located on the east side of Broadway just north of 32nd Street (across from Greeley Square Park). Participants will pick up your shirts there.

The parade starts at Broadway and 32nd Street and proceeds to 14th Street where there will be a rally at Union Square.

Global: Justice, Rights Groups Condemn Execution of Nonviolent Drug Offenders By Indonesia

IndonesianDrugExecutions2015

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A number of U.S.-based and international criminal justice reform, human rights and public health groups on Tuesday are joining together to condemn the execution of nonviolent drug offenders by the Indonesian government that just took place.

“Wherever they occur, executions for nonviolent offenses violate human rights,” a sign-on letter from the groups says.

Despite repeated pleas for mercy from family members, citizens, human rights organizations, the United Nations, and governments around the world, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Nigerians Martin Anderson, Raheem Agbaje Salami, Okwuduli Oyatanze, and Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, and Indonesian Zainal Abidin faced a firing squad at just past midnight Indonesia-time. Serge Atlaoui from France has been given a temporary reprieve and Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines was given a last-minute reprieve.

New York: Bipartisan Legislation Introduced To Expedite Medical Marijuana Access

NewYork-SupportMedicalMarijuanaInNewYork

Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb Join as Co-Sponsors

Patients & Families Rally in Albany to Demand Emergency Access Before More Loved Ones Die

Patients, family members and activists stood with legislators on Tuesday as they announced the introduction of Assembly bill A. 7060, which would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill, introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb, comes 298 days after Governor Cuomo signed the medical marijuana bill into law on July 5, and nine months after the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy.

To date, not one patient has received any medical marijuana, and at least three children who might have benefitted from medical marijuana have died since the bill was passed.

“This bill would create emergency access to medical marijuana for patients with the most urgent needs – including children suffering from severe epilepsy,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the original medical marijuana bill. “Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and I introducing this bill shows the broad, bipartisan support for emergency access.

U.S.: Marijuana Policy Project To Celebrate 20th Anniversary Wednesday With Capitol Hill Gala

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The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) will celebrate its 20th anniversary Wednesday evening with a gala on Capitol Hill.

Members of Congress and the marijuana business community will be among those in attendance to recognize the gains that have been made by the organization, which is responsible for most major state-level marijuana policy reforms since 2000.

MPP executive director Rob Kampia, Chuck Thomas, and Mike Kirshner launched the organization out of their apartments in Washington, D.C. in 1995. It now has nearly 30 full-time staff members and an annual budget of more than $3 million. MPP monitors policy in all 50 states, lobbies in state legislatures and in Congress, coordinates state and local ballot initiatives, and carries out public education activities at the local and national levels.

“For 20 years, our focus has been on changing the debate, changing public attitudes, and changing the laws surrounding marijuana in the United States,” Kampia said. “MPP has evolved right alongside the issue. As support has increased and public dialogue has grown, the organization has expanded and played an increasingly larger role in the discussion.

“Ultimately, the facts speak for themselves; we just make sure people are listening,” Kampia said.

D.C.: Marijuana Business Leaders Make Their Case To Congress

NCIAPresentsNCIAPolicySymposiumandMemberLobbyDays

Tuesday: Symposium highlighted by ‘fireside chat’ with Grover Norquist and Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Wednesday: Morning press conference kicks off fifth annual fly-in lobby days for the legal marijuana industry

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabis industry leaders from across the country have traveled this week to Washington, D.C., for the National Cannabis Industry Association’s fifth annual Lobby Days. About 100 cannabis business professionals will take part in policy discussions and citizen lobby meetings to advocate for fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.

The events will begin with a policy symposium on Tuesday, highlighted by a “fireside chat” between Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist.

Rep. Blumenauer introduced H.R. 1855, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2015, which would create an exception to Section 280E to allow marijuana businesses operating in compliance with state law to take deductions associated with the sale of marijuana like any other legal business. The bill was endorsed by Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform.

On announcing the bill, Rep. Blumenauer noted it “would bring much needed fairness and level the playing field for small businesses that follow state laws and create jobs.”

On Wednesday, NCIA leaders, business owners, and members of Congress will hold a 9 am press conference at the House Triangle to kick off two days of meetings across the Hill between cannabis industry leaders and congressional staffs.

Tuesday, April 28

U.S.: The Travel Joint Offers Booking Site For Cannabis Travel, Tourism

TheTravelJoint-TheTravelSiteForCannabis

New website is one-stop shop for booking travel, hotels, restaurants and activities as well as news on cannabis products, tips on cooking with cannabis and more

With a rise in the number of states that have legalized recreational marijuana use -- and with more likely on the way in 2016 -- cannabis tourism is becoming an important, but mostly untalked-about market segment. To help bring this market out of the shadows, The Travel Joint has launched a new website that is a one-stop shop for booking cannabis travel.

The Travel Joint allows medical and recreational cannabis users to book every aspect of their travel itineary, including hotels, flights, concert tickets, cannabis tours and more. The Travel Joint's concierge team is also able to arrange for over-the-top luxury experiences like private jet travel and top of the line suites in destinations like Coloardo, Washington and Nevada.

The cannabis travel-booking source and leisure site on Monday launched a revamped, easy-to-use website. The Travel Joint allows medical and recreational cannabis users to book every aspect of their travel itinerary, including hotels, flights, concert tickets, cannabis tours and much more.

“The amount of information related to cannabis tourism and lifestyle that’s spread across multiple websites can be overwhelming,” said The Travel Joint Founder Brannon Zimbelman. “With The Travel Joint, we wanted to have all of the information in one place that is easy to use, easy to understand and easy to book.”

New York: Bill Would Create Emergency Access To Medical Marijuiana

NewYorkFamiliesAreSeekingEmergencyAccessToMedicalMarijuana[Leafly]

Patients & Families Hold Press Conference in Albany as Bill Reviewed by Assembly Health Committee

The 2014 limited medical marijuana law leaves many New Yorkers continuing to suffer from severe and debilitating conditions that could be made better by use of marijuana under medical supervision.

As the Compassionate Care Act (CCA) will not take effect until at least 2016, new legislation has been introduced to create an emergency access program for patients with the most urgent needs – including children suffering from severe epilepsy.

The new bill – A.7060 – is sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb.

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) will hold a press conference announcing the bill, which is also scheduled for a vote in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

Press conference on the introduction of emergency medical marijuana legislation

Who:

• Patients

• Healthcare providers

• Representatives of the Drug Policy Alliance

• Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried

• Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb

Tuesday, April 28, 11 AM

Where: LCA Hallway (Assembly side)

NYS Capital

Assembly Health Committee meeting including emergency medical marijuana legislation

When:

Tuesday, April 28, at the call of the Speaker

(Meeting will be held off the floor)

Where:

Speaker’s conference room

342 Capital

U.S.: Profile Solutions Names Cannabis Expert Dr. Gerry Bedore To Its Scientific Advisory Board

GerryBedore[Facebook]

PSI to Develop Biometric Security Solutions for Cannabis Markets

Profile Solutions, Inc., a solution provider of access control and security systems, on Monday announced that cannabis expert Dr Gerry Bedore has joined the company as a consultant and member of its scientific advisory board.

Gerry Bedore is widely known as a thought leader in technology-enhanced learning models. He was a co-founder of Socrates Distance Learning Technology Group, and has published studies and books focused on online student success and completion rates.

Bedore is recognized as having developed many of the most successful higher education online programs in the world. As a horticulturist for the State of Georgia, Dr. Bedore was recognized for his expertise in entomology and pathology in the care of plant life in the state.

He has authored one book, co-authored two books, and has served as a research chair and committee member for more than 200 studies in education, psychology and business disciplines.

Dr. Bedore served in roles ranging from institutional President to Assistant Dean for Doctoral Programs. He is a member of the Cannabis Career Institute, is involved with cannabis agricultural development with Global Hemp Group, is serving in a leadership role for Cannabis State University, and is a U.S. disabled veteran.

U.S.: Blumenauer To Offer Amendment To Remove Restrictions Preventing VA From Recommending Marijuana

EarlBlumenauerSmiling[KATU]

When the U.S. House of Representatives this week is expected to consider the FY 2016 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon plans to offer an amendment to make it easier for qualified veterans to access medical marijuana.

Currently, the Veterans Administration (VA) specifically prohibits its medical providers from completing forms brought by their patients seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. Congressman Blumenauer’s amendment ensures that no funds made available to the VA can be used to implement this prohibition, which would, in effect, strike it down.

The amendment is currently co-sponsored by Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY), Sam Farr (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

“While there is no single approach to aiding our nation’s veterans, medical marijuana is proven to help in treating post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries frequently suffered by veterans,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “States are listening to their residents on the benefits of medical marijuana, including veterans, and are changing their laws.

Rhode Island: New Poll Finds Record High 57% Support Marijuana Legalization

JamesKeller[RegulateRhodeIsland]

Clergy, Political, Environmental, and Women’s Organizations Join the Coalition Backing S 510/H 5777

A record-high 57 percent of Rhode Island voters support changing state law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol, according to a survey conducted this month by Public Policy Polling. Only 35 percent were opposed.

S 510/H 5777, the “Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act,” would allow adults 21 and older to possess of up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space. It would create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities and direct the Department of Business Regulation to create rules regulating security, labeling, and health and safety requirements.

It would also establish wholesale excise taxes at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store, as well as a special sales tax on retail sales to consumers.

“From Cumberland to Narragansett, there is exceptionally strong support for ending marijuana prohibition in Rhode Island this year,” said Regulate Rhode Island Director Jared Moffat. “The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act creates a responsible alternative that proactively controls for public health concerns while allowing adults 21 and older the freedom to legally use marijuana if they choose.

Alabama: Senate President Wants Medical Marijuana Debate

DelMarsh-AlabamaSenatePresidentProTem[BusinessCouncilOfAlabama]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Del Marsh, president pro tem of the Alabama Senate, on Friday said he would like to see the chamber at least debate the merits of a medical marijuana bill, one day after Senate Rules Committee Chairman Jabo Waggoner -- a gatekeeper through which bills make it to the floor -- said the bill was "bad legislation" for which Alabama was "not ready."

"I would like to get it to the floor for debate," said Marsh (R-Anniston), reports Bryan Lyman at the Montgomery Advertiser. "There's some good debate to be had on it. There are issues out there I think need to be discussed."

Marsh admitted that chances of passing the medical marijuana bill are low in the heavily Republican Alabama Senate, but he said he believed there are valid arguments to be made for medical marijuana.

"You have a lot of people many times who are prescribed prescription drugs that lead to addiction," Marsh said. "The argument is medical marijuana prevents that issue. My point is I think it should be open for debate."

Marsh suggested that the bill could make it the floor if there was "a gentleman's agreement not to take action except for discussion."

Washington: Gov. Inslee Signs Bill Eliminating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

JayInsleeFrowns[GreenTechMedia]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Friday signed into law regulations which essentially eliminate medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, along with the medicinal cannabis system as it's been known there since voters approved it back in 1998.

Purportedly an "overhaul" measure to subject medicinal cannabis to the licensing, testing, inspection, and tax requirements of the recreational side, the bill's actual intent and effect is to get rid of the pesky medical marijuana community, which has consistently outperformed the recreational I-502 cannabis outlets with better product and lower prices.

Patients who have for years enjoyed the ability to visit medical marijuana dispensaries where the employees themselves were also facing medical challenges, and had bothered to inform themselves about medicinal applications of cannabis, will now be forced into the recreational market, where the focus isn't on medicine and in fact where I-502 store employees are forbidden by law from even mentioning the medical applications of marijuana.

Plant counts for patients, in one fell swoop, are being reduced from 15 to 6. Dried marijuana limits are similarly being slashed from 24 ounces to 3 ounces per patient. Ironically, the 15 plants/24 ounces limits were themselves compromises reached a few years ago when the best scientific studies available showed more appropriate limits would be 71 ounces and 99 plants.

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