U.S.: Historic Bipartisan Support to Remove Industrial Hemp from the Controlled Substances Act in both the House and SenateSubmitted by restore on Sat, 01/24/2015 - 09:14
By Amy Peradotta, Special to Hemp News
Hopefully you have heard a thing or two in the news lately about industrial hemp. If so, it is because it is finally gaining political traction again after a very insidious yet successful smear campaign lasting nearly 80 years, equating it to marijuana. If you haven’t heard about hemp in the news lately, keep your eyes and ears peeled because big changes are on the way!
As of 2015, twenty-one states have defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed barriers to its production (CA, CO, DE, HI, IL, IN, KY, ME, MI, MO, MT, NE, NY, ND, OR, SC, TN, UT, VT, WA, WV). These are highly regulated pilot projects that must be administered in accordance with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and an institution of higher education. Despite the legality of hemp in these states, only two states (CO and KY) successfully planted and harvested a crop in 2014. This was the first legal crop grown and harvested on American soil since WWII. If you are wondering why that might be, it has to do with our good friends at the DEA.
By Steve Elliott
A group which is gathering signatures to legalize marijuana in Mississippi has scheduled a town hall meeting for 2-3 p.m. on Friday, January 9, at the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson. At the meeting, representatives of Mississippi For Cannabis will answer questions about the group's ballot initiative, and the petition will be available for signatures.
The ballot initiative would allow the use, cultivation and sale of marijuana and industrial hemp for adults 21 years or older, reports Jimmie E. Gates at The Clarion-Ledger.
The group needs more than 107,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot. The deadline for the 2016 ballot is October 2, 2015, according to sponsor Kelly Jacobs. If they miss that deadline the group plans to shoot for the November 2017 ballot, for which the deadline is December 29, 2015.
"If the ballot initiative gets the necessary signatures and is approved by voters in a referendum, it would make it legal for adults to possess cannabis in unlimited quantities, to use as they wish, just like alcohol or cigarettes," Jacobs said. "However, it would have to be kept from minors.
"We want to legalize marijuana and decriminalize it," she said. "It's an adult discussion we should be having."
The National Marijuana News Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of DigiPath, Inc., has just released its sixth cannabis news show. Hosted by Todd Denkin and Jen Gentile, the program explores the ways filmmakers, activists, and entrepreneurs shape marijuana public opinion and policy.
Guests include Israeli film producer Lati Grobman, Marijuana Policy Project co-founder Rob Kampia; Seattle Hempfest founder Vivian McPeak; and "pot-trepreneur" Guy Marsala, chairman, CEO, and president of Medbox, Inc.
Russian-born film producer Lati Grobman kicks off the lineup. She describes her transformation from being an opponent of cannabis legalization to becoming an advocate while producing her documentary Legalize It, which chronicles Proposition 19 and the 2010 campaign to legalize marijuana in California.
"It's a social problem," says Grobman, a mother of five children whose film producer credits include The Iceman and Righteous Kill. "I saw the injustice that is happening. There are people in jail for smoking pot who should not be in jail."
Grobman suggests that resistance to legalizing marijuana partly stems from economic benefits that come with a high rate of incarceration.
“The Empty Chair at the Holiday Table” Campaign Highlights Those Not With Us Because of Incarceration, an Overdose Death or Prohibition Violence
Each holiday season, A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and moms from around the country share their stories of loss while calling for an end to the War On Drugs -- which has been so disastrous for tens of millions of families. Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the War On Drugs.
The holidays are a particularly painful time for families – whether they are separated because of a loved one’s incarceration, lost on the streets due to drug problems, in danger because of drug war violence, or have lost a loved one to accidental overdose.
“I have painful memories of holidays when my son was absent because he was locked behind bars for drug use, and of family celebrations when one of my sons wasn’t included because he was lost in the maze of his addiction,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman of San Diego, founder of A New PATH, Moms United lead organizer and the mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and incarceration.
“We haven’t celebrated the holidays since 2008, when my son died of an accidental overdose," said Denise Cullen of Palm Desert, California. "We can’t escape the emptiness.”
OBA Error Makes Pain Patients Suffer Delayed Relief
Just weeks after Attorney General Trevor Moniz announced that Marinol (synthetic pure THC pills), and not herbal cannabis, would be allowed for medicinal use in Bermuda, a new Harvard study has confirmed the complaints of activist Alan Gordon -- Marinol simply does not work as well as real inhaled cannabis for pain management, because the former takes 60-90 minutes to reach peak effect, whereas real cannabis effects are achieved much more quickly.
Gordon said this allows patients not to overdose on herbal cannabis, whereas Marinol overdoses are common.
The activist, who has dogged the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) incessantly on the cannabis issue, feels that due to a cultural war between government and Rastafarian ideals, government has gone to great lengths to ignore his perspectives at any length, even if that means the OBA is running roughshod over scientific facts and punishing patients.
“Patients have known for decades that Marinol doesn’t dissolve properly, and other studies have shown the same thing, over and over again since the 1990s,” said Gordon from Rhode Island early Monday morning, where he is lawfully assisting cancer patients grow their own medicine.
By Steve Elliott
When this reporter attended September's Hempstalk Festival in Portland, I saw a well-organized, orderly event, where plenty of information about the cannabis hemp plant and its many uses was disseminated by activists and speakers, along with bands, vendors, and bounteous opportunities for people-watching. What I did not see -- and I attended the entire two-day festival -- was people smoking or selling weed inside the event.
Portland parks officials, who seemed to have attended an entirely different event, waited only a day after Oregon's historic vote to legalize marijuana under Measure 91 to mail a letter to Hempstalk organizer Paul Stanford, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.. It wasn't a nice congratulatory note, either -- it was a firm denial of his request to hold next year's Hempstalk Festival at Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park, or any other public property, next year.
"The passage of ballot measure 91 makes no difference in the City's decision," reads a prissy statement from Parks Bureau customer service center manager Shawn Rogers. The denial "stems only from the inability of organizers to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions."
City officials claim attendees smoked marijuana at the event -- but again, I was there the entire time, and I never saw a single joint torched, even backstage.
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.
By Steve Elliott
Forty-eight Wisconsin medical marijuana patients this year got their Oregon medicinal cannabis authorizations at the annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest. "But wait," you may be thinking. "They live in Wisconsin, not Oregon." That's entirely true -- but according to those in the know, having an out-of-state medical marijuana authorization gives these patients some legal cover should the police come calling.
The authorizations were issued by THCF Medical Clinics at the Harvest Fest as part of something called The Ben Masel Project. Masel was a famous Yippie activist based in Madison who started the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest; he died suddenly from cancer three and a half years ago.
"The Oregon permit has saved several people in Wisconsin from arrest," THCF founder Paul Stanford told Hemp News. The fact that Oregon issues permits to out-of-state patients has been helpful to those in Wisconsin and other non-MMJ states, according to Stanford.
"This weekend, we helped 48 patients in Wisconsin get Oregon medical marijuana permits, bringing in almost $10,000 in state fees for the Oregon Health Authority," Stanford told us. "Really, the Wisconsin Legislature should act to help its sick and dying patients, and keep those funds in Wisconsin."
Stanford said speaking at the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest, the 44th annual event, "is an old tradition" for him. "I first spoke here in Madison 25 years ago, in 1989, and I came back and spoke again in 1990 and many years since," he told us.
A dedicated group of national cannabis activists, advocates and patients has announced their intent to create The National Cannabis Patients Wall -- a major mobile “wall” memorial in support of medical cannabis.
“The National Cannabis Patient's Wall not only signifies our solidarity as patients in need of a safer and effective alternative to harsh pharmaceuticals, but also the barriers we must overcome, our current State and Federal laws, which keep us from the medicine we desire and need," said project founder Dana Arvidson of Tennessee.
"We are thousands of patients that are publicly standing together in solidarity, in support of what should be our right to safe access of medical cannabis therapies," Arvidson said. "We hope this wall be a symbol of hope to cannabis patients and their supporters all over the world.”
Currently the mobile project has produced a Tennessee State "Wall", that has more than 80 patient photos, 88 panels, 1,163 type blocks and a current size of 5 1/2 feet x 82.33 feet. The goal is to produce a 100-foot Wall for each State, to be presented at a major rally in Washington D.C. creating a MILE long wall against prohibition. Then each wall will travel to its respective state to be presented at that state's capital.
You can become a Patient on The National Cannabis Patient's Wall here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_vIKana0v306HD4UBHvcfbm1L6UWu2wStwU_3Qe...
City of Portland Issues Permit
It's a go for the 10th annual Portland Hempstalk Festival; after months of delay, city officials have finally issued a permit for this weekend's event.
"Event coordinators for the Portland Hempstalk annual festival are proud to announce the City of Portland has issued our permit for this weekend's event (September 27-28) at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon," a press release from the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) reads.
Hempstalk advocates decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal, industrial, and recreational use. Founded in 2005 by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, the festival features live music, guest speakers, food and goods vendors and information booths.
This public event has always been free to attend, with a suggested donation of $10 per person.
Featuring three stages, the Jack Herer Main Stage, the newly added Green Goddess Stage, and the Elec-Chronic DJ Stage, the bands, music and informational guest speakers are sure to inspire and inform attendees.
Already confirmed on the musical bill for 2014 are Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, John Trudell and Bad Dog, Herbivores, Los Marijuanos, Poet and Cannabis Advocate John Sinclair, The Sindicate, J Mack and Big Dub, Bad Habitat and more. To view the complete line-up, check out http://hempstalk.org/festival/lineup
By Steve Elliott
If you're a television news reporter and you decide to quit, you might as well do it live on the air and in a spectacular fashion -- at least, that was apparently the thinking of Charlo Greene, who outed herself as the owner of a medical marijuana club and told viewers she was quitting her job to focus on legalization.
Greene reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club during TV station KTVA's Sunday night news broadcast, but didn't reveal her connection to the club until a live shot at the end of her report, according Laurel Andrews at the Alaska Dispatch News.
"Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalization of marijuana here in Alaska," Greene said live on the air. "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice, but fuck it, I quit."
With that, Greene walked off camera.
Alaska Cannabis Club had earlier urged its Facebook followers to tune in to the news broadcast Sunday evening. Greene later said KTVA had no idea she was going to quit, or how, or that she was connected to the dispensary.
Greene said she quit so dramatically "Because I wanted to draw attention to this issue. And the issue is medical marijuana.
Groups Come Together to End Marijuana Prohibition, Increase Cannabis Research and Promote a Compassionate Health Care Response to Drug Use and Addiction
Moms, Cops, Nurses & Docs Present a Panel Discussion at the Marijuana for Medical Professionals Conference in Denver, Colorado on Sept. 11
Moms United to End the War on Drugs is bringing together a coalition of family members, health care professionals and criminal justice professionals to end cannabis prohibition that has been so destructive to our families and communities.
Moms, Cops, Nurses & Docs will be holding a panel discussion at the Sherman Street Event Center in Denver, Colorado (1770 Sherman Street) on Thursday, September 11, at the Exhibit Hall Stage at 12:30 pm. Speakers include Mary Lynn Mathre from American Cannabis Nurses Association; Dr. Jeff Hergenrather from the Society of Cannabis Clinicians; Theresa Daniello from Moms United to End the War on Drugs; and Leonard Frieling from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
In 1937, laws were put into place prohibiting the use of cannabis in the United States. In the past decade, more than six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges. For several decades, people who use drugs and people with addictive illness have been banished to the criminal justice system.
Nearly half of all prisoners in state prisons are locked up for a non-violent offense. Every year 750,000 people are arrested for marijuana, wasting law enforcement resources and throwing non-violent offenders into the criminal justice system.
By Steve Elliott
Cannabis advocates in the United Kingdom plan to openly smoke marijuana during a protest picnic in Exeter later month.
The Devon Cannabis Club plans its annual Harvest Picnic at Flowerpot Playing Fields in Exeter on Saturday, September 27, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., reports the Exeter Express & Echo.
Last year's protest in Exeter was attended by about 60 activists.
This year's event is being promoted on Facebook, where the page states, "Come and join us for a picnic and to consume herb to lift the blanket of stigma and these ridiculous laws." So far, 92 people have indicated on the Facebook event page that they will be attending.
"Our aim is to raise awareness of the benefits of cannabis and to address the bias and misinformation so often seen in the mainstream media," said Daryl Sullivan, South West regional admin for The United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs. "To this end we have, for the past two years, been holding public 'protest picnics' around the country."
By Steve Elliott
Organizer Paul Stanford, who owns Hemp News and directs the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), still expects the two-day Hempstalk festival to occur in downtown Portland, but the free event is still waiting for a city permit, with just three weeks to go.
It's been eight months now since Portland Mayor Charlie Hales directed city staff to try and find a way to accommodate the festival, which advocates the legalization of marijuana and hemp for all uses, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.
"It's outrageous," Stanford said on Friday from Spain, where he's speaking at an international cannabis festival. "They're yanking us around," he said of the city's handling of Hempstalk's permit.
Hempstalk Festival is marking its 10th anniversary this year, and Stanford has planned a downtown showcase for the event. Musical acts including Lukas Nelson (Willie's son) are slated to perform, and the event, scheduled for September 27 and 28, has been extensively promoted.
Portland city officials initially denied Stanford's application for an event permit back in December, claiming past Hempstalks at Kelley Point Park in Northy Portland have featured lax security and marijuana use.
Activists plan to engage ruling party in discussion following caucus meeting
Back in January, then-Minister Michael Dunkley told the public that compassionate cannabis permit applications could be filed with his office, with a doctor’s support. This has proven to be untrue, with the Permanent Secretary as well as the Health Ministry Chief Medical Officer denying the program’s very existence./ (Please see below attachments for proof of the license program’s cancellation).
“Gravely ill and dying patients took the Premier at his word, and scurried from doctor to doctor, sapping their final reserves of time and energy, only to find out that Government had secretly cancelled the program, despite taking public credit for their alleged compassion,” Gordon explained.
Gordon called the government’s gambit a “dirty trick” to play on the gravely ill and dying. At least two Bermudian patients have died while waiting for access to medical cannabis, needlessly suffering, according to Gordon.
Patients are now insisting on face-to-face talks with the Premier, outside the formal time-limited caucus meeting guidelines, because, Gordon says: “The time for sound bites and stock answers is over. We want direct, honest talks with follow-up questions because we were lied to, and we don’t trust these guys anymore.”