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.: 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.

Connecticut: Panel Recommends Medical Marijuana For ALS, Ulcerative Colitis

ConnecticutRxMarijuana[ReLeaf]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A board of physicians on Wednesday recommended adding Lou Gehrig's disease and ulcerative colitis to the list of conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Connecticut.

The Medical Marijuana Program Board of Physicians voted 3-1 to recommend including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and ulcerative colitis, but they split 2-2 on including Fabry disease, reports Matthew Sturdevant at the Hartford Courant.

Consumer protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris will review the board's recommendations and make the final decision.

"The commissioner may choose to accept or reject any or all of the board's recommendations with regard to choosing to promulgate a regulation to add any condition," said Claudette Carveth, spokeswoman for the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.

Any change to the program is also subject to a process that includes a hearing and public comments, review by the state Attorney General, and a vote by the General Assembly's regulation review committee.

Illinois: House Approves Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

DecriminalizeMarijuana!

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Illinois House on Thursday approved a decriminalization measure under which possession of small amounts of marijuana would result in a fine instead of arrest.

Minor cannabis possession would go from a crime with up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,500 to become more like a traffic ticket, with no court time and a fine maxing out at $125, reports Jessie Hellmann at the Chicago Tribune.

House Bill 218 would apply to people caught with 15 grams or less of marijuana, just over half an ounce.

The legislation would create a uniform penalty throughout the state, and eliminate the option for police to arrest people carrying small amounts of cannabis, according to sponsor Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

"We currently have a patchwork of local ordinances where there is the possibility of getting a ticket but not a given that you'll get a ticket, so it's an open question where you go whether you're going to get arrested or get a ticket," Rep. Cassidy said.

"That creates a system whereby it depends on where you live, and what you look like, and unfortunately more often than not, it is folks who are black and brown who are being arrested, who are being pulled off the streets, pulled away from their jobs and their families and put into our jails and prisons," she said.

New Mexico: Dept. of Health Awards Medical Cannabis Software Contract

BioTrackTHC

The New Mexico Department of Health's Medical Cannabis Program has awarded BioTrackTHC™, a division of Bio-Tech Medical Software, Inc., a contract for the provision and deployment of an integrated patient and provider tracking software application.

This makes BioTrackTHC the cannabis industry's first company with marijuana regulatory technology contracts in two states, according to a company press release, following the company's existing contract for the state of Washington's Marijuana Seed-to-Sale Traceability System.

"I commend the New Mexico Department of Health on its comprehensive RFP process in securing the right technology and team for the state's needs," said Steven Siegel, CEO, BioTrackTHC. "Our experience implementing compliance technology in this sector will serve the state and the public well in maintaining a reliable and efficient regulatory infrastructure."

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act to allow for the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system. In pursuit of its mission, the MCP issued an extensive RFP on July 22, 2014 for a software solution to maintain regulatory compliance.

After extensive proposal evaluations and live software demonstrations, BioTrackTHC achieved a marijuana industry first: back-to-back government contract wins.

Alabama: Key Senator Blocks Medical Marijuana Bill; Says State 'Not Ready'

JaboWaggonerAlabamaStateSenator(AndMoron)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana may have been passed by an Alabama Senate committee this week, but a powerful politician quickly blocked the way for further progress, declaring the state is "not ready" for such legislation. The full membership of the Senate won't even get the chance to debate the bill unless he changes his mind.

Sen. Jabo Waggoner, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, displayed the arrogance of power in disregarding both the Senate Judiciary Committee, which on Wednesday approved the bill on a 4-3 vote, and popular opinion in the state.

"It is bad legislation," Waggoner said, ignoring both the scientific evidence of marijuana's medical effectiveness and the wishes of his own constituents. "We don't need that in Alabama."

A whopping 97 percent of more than 1,300 respondents to an online poll said the state should allow medicinal cannabis. More than a decade ago, back in 2004, 75 percent of respondents said medical marijuana should be legal in the Heart of Dixie, according to a Mobile Register/University of South Alabama survey.

Waggoner, a relic of the 20th Century and career politician who has served in the Alabama Legislature for 49 years, said he didn't think anything would change his mind about the medical marijuana bill this year.

U.S.: Presidential Candidate Rubio Wants To Enforce Federal Law In Marijuana States

MarcoRubioScratchingHead[MotherJones]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Prospective candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination continued their baffling verbal assault on cannabis this week, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio joined Chris Christie in pledging a federal crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana.

Asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if he would "enforce the federal drug laws and shut down the marijuana trade," Rubio answered: "I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws. Now do states have a right to do what they want? They don’t agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don’t have a right to write federal policy as well…

"I don’t believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you’re sending a message to young people is it can’t be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be legal," said Rubio, revealing his distressingly murky thought process around the subject.

"In addition to enforcing the rest of the Controlled Substances Act, U.S. Attorneys are still pursuing marijuana cases in Colorado and Washington, just not in a way that shuts down the state-legal industry," said Jacob Sullum at Reason. "Rubio apparently opposes that policy of prosecutorial forbearance."

Oregon: What Legalization? Police Want $5 Million For Marijuana Enforcement

OregonMarijuanaTrafficStop[NigelDuara-AP]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalization? What legalization? Advocates may rightly be asking this question after the Oregon State Police requested a $3.9 million budget increase to go after marijuana.

The OSP wants the money for 2015-20176 to pay for 11 full-time troopers and detectives to go after pot, reports Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week.

Since that's in addition to the $1.3 million the state police already requested for a legal marijuana enforcement budget earlier this year, one can't help asking oneself, where are the savings in marijuana enforcement that supposedly come with "legalization"?

The state police have declined comment.

The OSP request comes after a proposal by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission -- put in charge of implementing cannabis legalization -- to create "peace officers" to patrol legal cannabis, investigate black market sales, enforce weed taxes, and stop sales to minors.

The OLCC is aware of the state police's request, and expects the two agencies to "work together" on enforcing the state's marijuana laws, claimed Liquor Control spokesman Tom Towslee.

"We can see the need to have somebody from the state police here in the OLCC to handle to the dispatch," Towslee said, referring to an officer who could field calls from state troopers checking the licenses of people found with large quantities of marijuana.

U.S.: Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch For Attorney General

LorettaLynchAttorneyGeneral[ScottApplewhite-AP]

The U.S. Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed the nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General in a 56-43 vote. The results of the vote have been highly anticipated, as significant partisan bickering had stalled her appointment for months.

Lynch is the first African-American woman to hold the office of Attorney General, the nation’s top law enforcement position and head of the Department of Justice. Her statements made in the Senatorial confirmation hearing indicate she intends to follow Holder’s legacy of prioritizing civil rights.

Criminal justice experts hope this means she will continue and expand the drug policy reforms enacted by her predecessor.

“Loretta Lynch will hopefully continue the more positive aspects of Eric Holder’s legacy,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group opposed to the Drug War. “We hope she continues to restore sanity and dignity to the profession of policing by de-escalating the War On Drugs and allowing states to proceed with marijuana legalization.”

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Senate Committee

PennsylvaniaMedicalMarijuana(MedicalJane)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bill which would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in the Keystone State unanimously passed a Pennsylvania Senate committee on Tuesday.

The bill, which would allow cannabis use for those with qualifying medical conditions, will likely face two more hurdles in early May, reports Tim Marcin at the International Business Times.

A bipartisan committee passed Senate Bill 3, proposed by Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach and Republican Sen. Mike Folmer, on a 10-0 vote, moving it on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, reports Tony Romeo at KYW Newsradio.

If it passes through that committee, the bill would move to the Senate floor, both of which should happen in early May, according to Sen. Leach.

SB 3 easily made it through the state Senate in 2014, passing with a 47-3 vote, but stalled after the House didn't take it up. Lawmakers in support of legalizing medical marijuana said they are more optimistic this time.

Folmer said he hopes the bill can reach the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf before lawmakers take their summer recess. That likely means convincing House members to get on board before the scheduled time off this summer.

"I know I'm being optimistic," Sen. Folmer said. "I get that ... I believe there are good people over there."

U.S.: Cannabis Business Leaders To Make Their Case To Congress

NationalCannabisIndustryAssociation(logoJPG)

Tues., Apr. 28: Symposium highlighted by ‘fireside chat’ with Grover Norquist and Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Wed., Apr. 29: Morning press conference kicks off fifth annual fly-in lobby days for the legal marijuana industry

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

The events will begin with a policy symposium on Tuesday, April 28, highlighted by a “fireside chat” between Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist.

On Wednesday, April 29, 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
NCIA Policy Symposium, 9 am - 6 pm
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm - Fireside Chat with Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Grover Norquist
20 F Street NW Conference Center
Additional speakers include industry leaders and policy experts. Click here to see the full agenda.

Wednesday, April 29
Press Conference and Lobby Days

Ohio: Group Close To Getting Legalization On Ballot; Accused Of Sabotaging Grassroots Effort

OhioMarijuanaLeaf

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The group ResponsibleOhio claims it is more than halfway towards its goal of getting marijuana legalization on the state ballot. But advocates trying to put a rival initiative on the November 5 ballot have accused founders of the well-financed ResponsibleOhio of sabotaging its smaller, weaker competitor last year before launching its own effort.

"We have over 160,000 signatures," said Ian James of ResponsibleOhio, reports Elizabeth Faugl at ABC 6. "By the end of this week, we'll have over 200,000. We are shooting for over 700,000 signatures."

But in an April 14 complaint to the Ohio Elections Commission, Ohio Rights Group said the people who went on to create ResponsibleOnhio infiltrated the ORG to get information and talk potential donors out of making contributions, reports Anne Saker at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The complaint accuses Ian James and David Bruno of promising help to ORG then using the knowledge gained to form their own group.

According to the complaint, Bruno used his childhood friendship with ORG Executive Director John Pardee to gain knowledge, and Bruno was taking consultant's fees from ORG while planning ResponsibleOhio.

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