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.: Marijuana Use Increases As Concern Over Health Risks Declines

AmericanFlagMarijuanaLeaf

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More Americans are using marijuana as their concerns over its health risk declines, according to a report released on Thursday from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Data in the 2014 World Drug Report reveals that more people in the United States are bucking a global trend towards less cannabis use, reports Reuters.

UNODC said it's still too early to understand the impact of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, as well as in the South American country of Uruguay, but research suggests that perceptions of risk have declined.

Worldwide cannabis use seems to have decreased, according to the report, mainly reflecting a decline in some countries in western and central Europe.

"However, in the United States, the lower perceived risk of cannabis use has led to an increase in its use," the UNODC report said.

The number of Americans aged 12 and older who used marijuana at least once in the past year increased from 10.3 percent in 2008 to 12.1 percent in 2012, according to the report.

U.S.: Some Police Stop Ripping Up Marijuana Plants In Medical States

UprootingMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Police in some medical marijuana states -- who once ripped up marijuana plants by the roots without a second thought, or just stashed them away to die -- are now reevaluating the practice.

Police departments from Colorado and Washington to Hawaii and California are being sued by people who want their cannabis back after prosecutors chose not to charge them, or they were acquitted, reports Sadie Gurman at The Associated Press.

Some former suspects are asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash compensation to replace dead plants that the cops either uprooted, or left to die in evidence rooms.

Police departments in some municipalities have, therefore, either stopped rounding up the plants, or have started collecting just a few samples and photographing the rest to use as evidence in court.

"None of us are really sure what we're supposed to do, and so you err on the side of caution," claimed Mitch Barker, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

The evolving paradigm under which cannabis is now viewed as medicine rather than as a dangerous scourge which must be wiped out is responsible for the changing ways police departments deal with the question.

"Law enforcement is going to have to think more carefully about what their procedures are and how those procedures might need to change in light of changes in the law," said University of Denver law professor Sam Kamin.

Global: Day of Action Sees More Than 80 Cities Protest The Drug War

Support.Don'tPunish.

Citizens Take to the Streets on June 26 to Protest Current Drug Policies and to Call for an End to the Senseless Criminalization of Drug Users

Thousands of activists will take to the streets in more than 80 cities on June 26 to fight harmful drug laws that have caused health crises, instability and mass incarceration around the world.

Mass demonstrations and other actions are planned in New York, London, Paris, Warsaw, Mexico City, Kathmandu, Rome, Phnom Penh, Tbilisi, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and more than 70 other cities. The actions include peaceful demonstrations, street performances, public meetings and workshops, social media campaigns and advertisements on public transportation and billboards.

The events are scheduled for June 26, which is the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The U.N.’s anti-drugs day is used by many governments to justify violent crackdowns and to promote harsh punishments. It has even been marked with public executions and beatings of drug offenders in some countries.

The “Support. Don’t Punish: Global Day of Action” seeks to reclaim this day and promote a more effective and humane approach to drugs that is based on public health and human rights.

Texas: Austin City Council To Consider Resolution Supporting Medical Marijuana

TexasMedicalMarijuana-QuitaCulpepperKVUE

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The city council in Austin, Texas this week will consider a resolution supporting medical marijuana in the Lone Star State.

Two council members, Bill Spelman and Mike Martinez, are supporting the resolution, reports Quita Culpepper at KVUE, and some Austin parents and patients are rallying behind the cause.

The resolution supports legislation that would provide a legal defense for Texas patients using cannabis medicinally and being treated by a doctor. It also supports the legalization of medical marijuana.

Thalia Michelle believes medical cannabis could help her nine-year-old son, Lance, who is autistic. "It could help with his hyperactivity, cognition, focus, even speech," she said. "This isn't just about smoking for nausea and pain anymore."

Michelle is executive director of a group called Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism. She said that parents in states where medical marijuana is legal are giving cannabis oil to their autistic children, which she said is giving many families hope for the future.

"We found that it wasn't only helping with seizures and life-threatening epilepsy but with a host, a myriad, of special-needs conditions," Michelle said. "We're simply asking the council to add this to our legislative priorities as a bill we would support."

U.S.: House Committee Votes To Block Marijuana Decriminalization In Washington DC

AndyHarris(R-MD)

Advocates prepare for vote to remove Republican amendment on House floor

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday passed a Republican-sponsored amendment to the 2015 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill intended to prevent the District of Columbia from implementing its recently passed law decriminalizing the possession of marijuana. It also has the potential to end the District’s medical marijuana program.

The amendment, offered by GOP Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), passed by a vote of 28-21. It prohibits D.C. from spending federal funds or even its locally raised funds to carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana.

The District of Columbia City Council passed a law in March replacing its criminal penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana with a nominal $25 fine. It is scheduled to take effect July 17.

The law was largely a response to an ACLU report showing blacks in the District of Columbia are roughly eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than whites, despite similar use rates. In 2010, 91 percent of all marijuana arrests in D.C. were of African Americans.

The District’s medical marijuana law is the product of a 1998 initiative. It was not implemented until 2010 due to a provision in federal law, similar to the amendment offered by Rep. Harris, which was not repealed until 2009.

U.S.: Award-Winning Filmmaker to Discuss Drug War, Mass Incarceration with Drug Policy Expert

EugeneJarecki(TheHouseILiveIn)

Eugene Jarecki, Award-Winning Filmmaker, and Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele Discuss Impact of The House I Live In and the Next Steps to Take in Ending the Drug War and Mass Incarceration

Eugene Jarecki, the award-winning filmmaker and director of the The House I Live In, on Monday will join the Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele for a discussion on the film’s impact. DPA says its quarterly town hall-style conference calls are designed to ensure that the organization is bringing before the widest audiences, the most influential members in our community and allowing for an open discussion with those who are on the ground and reforming Drug War policies.

The teleconference with Jarecki is the second in DPA's national webinar series, and follows an initial discussion which was held in March with Michelle Alexander and can be heard here. The conversation was picked up by national media including CNN, The Huffington Post, Upworthy and AlterNet.

U.S.: Republicans In Congress May Try To Block Washington, DC From Reforming Marijuana Laws

GOPvsPot-handcuffs

Congressional Interference Comes After D.C. Lawmakers Decriminalize Marijuana to Ease Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System

Republicans may offer an amendment to a federal appropriations bill on Wednesday morning that would prevent the District of Columbia from implementing the marijuana decriminalization law recently passed by the D.C. City Council and signed into law by the mayor in March.

The amendment would prohibit D.C. from spending federal funds or even its locally raised funds to carry out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana.

Advocates quickly decried this possible attempt by Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee that would interfere and potentially block efforts by D.C. lawmakers to eliminate racial disparities that have long persisted in the enforcement of D.C.’s marijuana laws. In 2010, 91 percent of all marijuana arrests in D.C. were of African Americans.

“D.C. lawmakers recently decriminalized marijuana possession because the people of the District of Columbia demanded an end to the disproportionate arrest of African Americans for small amounts of marijuana,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, D.C. policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Any effort by Congress that would block D.C.’s efforts to reform its marijuana laws denies the people of the Nation’s Capital the democratic right to pursue racial and social justice.”

U.S.: Comparing Marijuana Prices Gets Easier, Thanks To Wikileaf

Wikileaf

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A website known as the "Priceline of pot" allows medical marijuana patients to compare cannabis costs at 1,100 dispensaries in six states, according to Wikileaf founder Dan Nelson.

Nelson, a financial blogger, said based the site on the interest rate comparison model for banks, reports Jolie Lee of the USA TODAY Network. "I thought the same dynamic could be applied to the medical and legal marijuana businesses," Nelson said.

Users of the site can set how much they want to pay, and how many miles they can travel for marijuana. They have to actually travel to the listed dispensaries to complete the purchase. Favorite strains can also be located.

Sites such as Wikileaf, along with competitors Weedmaps, Leafly and THC Finder, give dispensaries the opportunity for exposure. Nelson said Wikileaf is different, because the other sites are focused on user ratings.

His site, Nelson said, is the first to offer price comparisons. "I'd go to a dispensary that offered me a strain for this amount of money, and I'd walk two blocks down, and a dispensary would offer me twice as much for the same amount of money," Nelson said.

Washington: Retail Marijuana Stores Expected To Open On July 8

OpenCannabis

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The first group of about 20 retail marijuana stores will open in Washington state on July 8, if all goes according to plan. Of course, we were also told that the first stores would already be open by now, so a wait-and-see attitude might be best.

The Washington State Liquor Control Board plans to issue the first retail marijuana licenses on Monday, July 7, and the new licensees will use the first 24 hours to get the cannabis into their store tracing program, reports Jake Ellison at the Seattle P.I. Once that's done, the stores can open on July 8, according to Brian Smith, communications director for the LCB.

Pricing at the stores, opening as part of the implementation of limited legalization measure I-502, isn't expected to be very consumer-friendly. "I would assume $20 to $25 a gram until the producers reduce their prices," said Michael Perkins, who said he expects to open a store in Seattle on July 8.

Perkins said that even at those prices, "I expect to run out of product."

Maryland: Gubernatorial Candidate Supports Marijuana Legalization

HeatherMizeurMarijuanaLegalization

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's Primary Election Day in Maryland, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur says marijuana should be legalized and taxed. None of the other candidates in the race, from either party, share that position.

"Marijuana prohibition makes our communities less safe and wastes valuable law enforcement resources," Mizeur said, reports Jayne Miller at WBAL-TV. "Why should we treat something less toxic and addictive any differently than alcohol or tobacco?"

Mizeur said she'd use the funds to help pay for education. "Legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana will provide Maryland with a dedicated revenue stream to make overdue and critical investments in early childhood education," she said.

Both other candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination said they support the Maryland Legislature's move this year to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, but neither Attorney General Doug Gansler nor Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown is willing to support legalization.

"I do not support the legalization of marijuana at this time," Brown said. "The states of Colorado and Washington -- two states that have legalized it -- will provide an example of the socioeconomic challenges and pitfalls to marijuana legalization.

"We will learn from their experiences and assess whether addition changes to Maryland's law are warranted," Brown said.

Global: More Than 80 Cities Worldwide To Protest Drug War On June 26

Support.Don'tPunish.

Citizens Take to the Streets on June 26 to Protest Current Drug Policies and to Call for an End to the Senseless Criminalization of Drug Users

Thousands of activists will take to the streets in more than 80 cities on Thursday, June 26, to fight harmful drug laws that have caused health crises, instability and mass incarceration around the world.

Mass demonstrations and other actions are planned in New York, London, Paris, Warsaw, Mexico City, Kathmandu, Rome, Phnom Penh, Tbilisi, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and more than 70 other cities. The actions include peaceful demonstrations, street performances, public meetings and workshops, social media campaigns and advertisements on public transportation and billboards.

The events are scheduled to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is also June 26. The U.N.’s anti-drugs day is used by many governments to justify violent crackdowns and to promote harsh punishments. It has even been marked with public executions and beatings of drug offenders in some countries.

The “Support. Don’t Punish: Global Day of Action” seeks to reclaim this day and promote a more effective and humane approach to drugs that is based on public health and human rights.

Pope Says Nope To Dope: Pontiff Opposes Marijuana Legalization

PopeVsDrugs

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's Hail Mary, but hold the Jane, according to Pope Francis, who just proved that there are definite limits to how cool the "Cool New Pope" is willing to be. Could he who is without sin cast out the stoners?

The Pope has been taking social media by storm, bringing the Roman Catholic Church into the 21st Century, and has garnered an enormous amount of good publicity in doing so, reports Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post. But he isn't willing to endorse the legalization of marijuana.

The Pontiff told members of a drug enforcement conference meeting in Rome on Friday that even limited attempts to legalize recreational drugs "are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects," reports the Associated Press.

"Let me state this in the clearest terms possible," the Pope said. "The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs. Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise." This dude sounds as bad as Nancy Reagan.

Pope Francis has frequently railed against the "evil" of drugs, and has met with recovering addicts on several occasions.

U.S.: Christie Says He Wouldn't Treat Marijuana States Well As President

ChrisChristieShakesFinger

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said on Friday that states which have legalized marijuana "probably" wouldn't be treated well if he is elected President.

The governor was campaigning with New Hampshire GOP gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein when he was asked by Brinck Slattery, a Republican running for state representative: "I know that you have some ambitions for D.C., perhaps. If you were President, how would you treat states that have legalized marijuana?"

"Probably not well," Christie responded, walking away from the conversation, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. "Not well, but we'll see. We'll have to see what happens." Christie's statement was captured in a video shot by Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

"It's one thing for Governor Christie to say he doesn't like what's happening in Colorado; quite another thing for him to threaten federal interference if he became President," Slattery said.

"Widely and generally speaking, that reflects his philosophy on marijuana, legalization and restrictions for medically based programs," said Michael Drewniak, Christie's press secretary, of the governor's comment.

Twenty-three states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, with New York being the latest; Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational use as well. Alaska votes on legalization in August.

North Carolina: Group Walks Through State In Support Of Medical Marijuana

NorthCarolinaMarchAgainstFear

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A group supporting medical marijuana is walking across North Carolina with the aim of convincing lawmakers to act on the issue.

The group, March Against Fear, has been walking across the state since June 6, reports Steve Sbraccia at WNCN News. They started in Asheville, highlighting their journey with clips on YouTube.

One of the members is shown carrying a plastic marijuana plant in the videos. The others carry signs and stop along the way to raise support for House Bill 1161, which would create a constitutional amendment to legalize the medical use of cannabis in North Carolina.

In the meantime, the North Carolina House last week passed another measure, HB 1220, which would allow the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, an extract of medical marijuana that's been known to quell epileptic seizures in children.

HB 1220 now moves to the North Carolina Senate. If it's approved there, it will go to the desk of Governor Pat McCrory, who can either sign the bill or veto it.

Some families have moved from North Carolina to Colorado, where CBD oil is already legal. But those families said they would move back home to North Carolina if the use of CBD oil is legalized there.

Pennsylvania: Philly City Council Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana

PhilliesBlunt

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If you have a Phillies Blunt, fire that thing up, man. The Philadelphia City Council, with a veto-proof 13-3 majority, on Thursday voted to decriminalize marijuana. The Philadelphia Police Department could stop arresting people for possessing small amounts of cannabis under the bill, with every Democrat on the council voting in favor of it, and every Republican against it.

Democratic Michael Michael Nutter has until September to make a decision, reports WPVI-TV; even if he chose to veto it, there are enough votes to override his veto.

Mayor Nutter doesn't have to take any action at all on the bill, according to Councilman Jim Kenney's director of legislation, Jim Engler, until the Council is back in session in September. The mayor could either sign the bill, veto it, or do nothing, which would result in the bill becoming law without the mayor's endorsement, reports Dan McQuade at Philadelphia Magazine.

The mayor's spokesman, Mark McDonald, wouldn't immediately say if Nutter plans to sign the bill.

Under the measure, the police would no longer be required to arrest adults 18 and older for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana. Possession of such amounts would still be punishable by a $25 fine.

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