Californians for Sensible Reform (CSR), a new political organization founded by Weedmaps entrepreneur Justin Hartfield in support of common-sense fixes to California's marijuana laws, on Monday announced the formation of a new general-purpose ballot measure committee ("Californians for Sensible Reform") and a candidate political action committee ("Californians for Sensible Reform PAC").
In addition, the group announced the first $1 million contribution from Weedmaps Media, LLC, to the new ballot-measure committee -- dedicated to supporting politically-viable, consensus-supported ballot measures in 2016 -- pledged additional support for political candidates with pro-decriminalization voting records, and called on other members of this rapidly maturing industry to make similar commitments.
"Decriminalization of adult marijuana use in California is bigger than any business -- it's a generational cause and an economic imperative," said Justin Hartfield, founder of CSR and CEO/Founder of Weedmaps Media, LLC. "And, as California's Attorney General has indicated, there's 'certain inevitability about it' -- especially since California is now falling behind other states."
With Bipartisan Support in U.S. Congress and Buoyed By New Mexico’s First-of-Its-Kind Law That Ends Civil Forfeiture, Momentum Accelerates for Reform
The Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday launched Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses in California, a multi-year, comprehensive look at asset forfeiture abuses in California that reveals the troubling extent to which law enforcement agencies have violated state and federal law.
Civil asset forfeiture law allows the government to seize and keep cash, cars, real estate, and any other property – even from citizens never charged with or convicted of a crime. Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have led to a perversion of police priorities, such as increasing personnel on the forfeiture unit while reducing the number of officers on patrol and in investigation units.
While civil asset forfeiture was originally conceived as an effective way to target and drain resources away from powerful criminal organizations, Above the Law discloses how these strategies and programs have now become a relied-upon source of funding for law enforcement agencies all across the state.
On Monday morning at the State Capitol, Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Candace Lightner from Mothers Against Drugged Driving (MADD) are sponsoring a demonstration of a new roadside drug test that uses oral samples instead of blood, and that could be adopted by CA law enforcement agents if pending Assembly Bill 1356 is passed.
Dr. Christine Moore, a toxicologist with the manufacturer of the roadside Alere™ DDS®2 Mobile test, will test a medical marijuana user on-site, and will be available for questions. The Alere DDS2 screens for marijuana and other drugs of abuse in only 5 minutes using oral fluids.
Since there is no "per se" limit in California for levels of THC in the blood -- and since the new bill doesn't specify one -- AB 1356 would effectively be a "zero tolerance" law, meaning lots of non-impaired folks who may have smoked marijuana hours or days before will be ensnared in the trap.
The problem is that there isn’t a reliable test -- like breath testing for alcohol -- that can measure impairment for cannabis. The saliva tests used for roadside drug testing in only detect the presence of particular substances – a driver who tests positive is quite likely not impaired. (It’s also the case that many drugs that are known to cause impairment to driving ability are not tested for – including pharmaceutical medications like benzodiazepines and opiates.)
WHO: Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale
By Steve Elliott
If you've ever doubted that the deck is stacked, you can safely lay those doubts to rest. A federal judge in California on Wednesday unexplainably declined to remove marijuana from a list of the most dangerous drugs, ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued the nonsensical ruling in response to a motion by defense lawyers to dismiss charges in a case the authorities claim involves a marijuana growing operation, reports Don Thompson at the Associated Press.
Marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act means the U.S. federal government officially considers cannabis to be roughly on par with heroin (also on Schedule I) in terms of danger. Schedule I drugs are considered to have no accepted medical uses and a high potential for abuse.
It was the first time in decades that a federal judge seriously considered marijuana's classification. To rule that cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance means ignoring the vast body of medical evidence that has accumulated in recent decades, including hundreds of clinical studies and thousands of patient testimonials.
Mueller's move to hold a hearing last year to look at the issue is considered a significant step reflecting growing skepticism about federal marijuana laws, according to Sam Kamin, an expert on cannabis regulation at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Cannabis Company Debuts Cannabis Vape Cartridge Using Co2 Extracted Oil from Indoor Marijuana Flowers
G FarmaLabs, a producer/processor of medical and adult use marijuana-based products, on Monday announced the launch of Liquid Gold Extracts NUG RUN Tanks, which contain what the company calls "the purest form of cannabis oil currently available within the medical/adult use marketplaces."
The brand has officially timed the product’s debut in observance of 4/20 to be made available on store shelves of all participating dispensaries carrying G FarmaLabs products.
The company’s NUG RUN oil is produced using a 100 percent blend of indoor marijuana flowers, thus breaking the status quo of traditional oil extraction processes. While most oils are created using the extracted byproducts of cannabis plants, NUG RUN uses the richest part of the plant, which carries the greatest amount of trichomes and terpenes. These are released into the oil during refinement and purification, resulting in much higher potency and longer lasting effect.
“We’re super excited about the launch of NUG RUN as a brand new flagship offering for our Liquid Gold Extracts line,” said Ata Gonzalez, CEO, G FarmaLabs Limited. "When we began development on the product, we were determined to set the bar higher than any other cannabis company currently operating in the market, and we’re confident that our NUG Run extraction process, which uses the actual flowers of the cannabis plant, will provide patients with an unprecedented option in terms of medical and adult lifestyle quality products."
By Steve Elliott
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is preparing for a 2016 gubernatorial campaign, and if an expected ballot measure to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana meets his criteria, he will endorse it and effectively become the public face of the campaign, betting his political future on the popularity of cannabis in the Golden State.
Newsom, a Democrat, is the highest-ranking official in California to support recreational legalization, reports Seema Mehta at The Los Angeles Times.
Although legalization will almost certainly be popular with liberal and young voters, some political analysts believe his support for legalization could present a challenge.
"He could motivate large numbers of young people who aren't regular voters to turn out for him," said director Dan Schnur, of the University of Southern California's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. "But taking a leadership role on this could make older swing voters nervous, even if they agree with him on the issue. It's a potentially risky play."
Voters in California legalized medical marijuana in 1996 but in 2010 voted against recreational use, 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent. Since then, polling has shown that public support for legalizing pot has grown, reaching 53 percent in a March survey by the Public Policy Institute of California — a record high in that organization's surveys.
Cannabis industry website findmybud.com on Friday launched with its dispensary management tools, MyBud Tools.
FindMyBud.com’s management team said it expects that this launch will help shape the medical marijuana industry and the way that both consumers and dispensaries utilize the internet and online resources to support their needs.
MyBud Tools is a an online management system that allows dispensaries to manage the business needs of their cooperatives, including online membership enrollments, patient verifications, online orders, fulfillments, documentation and product auditing along with communication tools.
MyBud Tools also allows patients to submit and track orders online, maintain account ledgers and provide research and resources, while giving them an easy and efficient method of selecting and joining their favorite dispensaries.
FindMyBud.com promised to give back to the marijuana community through donations to and promotions for various non-profits, including NORML, American Cancer Society, Glaucoma Research, and the Epilepsy Foundation, among others. The company said it also intends to maintain its commitment to environmentally friendly business practices.
FindMyBud.com began seven months ago as an idea to help patients find local legal medical marijuana in the state of California. Finding that the industry was vastly lacking in affordable business tools and resources, the company expanded into a full service industry partner.
By Steve Elliott
Medical cannabis freedom fighter Dr. Marion "Mollie" Fry, 58, who was incarcerated on May 2, 2011 after more than six years of litigation and three years of appeals, and sentenced to five years in federal prison for "manufacturing and distributing marijuana" in California, a medically legal state, has finally learned of her release date -- and it's Tuesday, March 31, 2015, according to the website Can-Do Justice Through Clemency.
At the time of the raid on her family home, she was growing, along with her husband, Dale Schaefer, 34 plants in a small greenhouse on her rural property just north of Sacramento, medicating from a double mastectomy and subsequent chemotherapy treatments. She was also shearing her harvest with needful patients at no charge.
"We weren't selling the medical cannabis to my patients," Dr. Fry said. "We had staff and were charging $10 for delivery only, and that's a common practice today."
According to Schafer, the couple had never grown more than 44 plants in a given year -- well below the 99 plant limit set forth by the State of California for medical use -- and never sold a leaf. But under a little known facet of federal law, more than 100 plans grown in a five-year period -- accumulatively -- is cause for a mandatory five-year sentence.
By Steve Elliott
The deputy police chief of Fresno, California, was arrested on Thursday and charged with multiple conspiracies to distribute heroin, oxycodone and marijuana, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Keith Foster, 51, was arrested along with three other Fresno residents, according to a statement from the FBI, reports Eric M. Johnson at Reuters.
Foster had always appeared just behind the police chief at press conferences.
"It is important that we do everything we can to maintain and enhance the trust that our citizens have in us," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said in a "he must be kidding" kind of statement at a news conference after Deputy Chief Foster's arrest. "When things of this nature happen, it does serve to erode that trust," the Chief admitted.
"This is a very sad day for the Fresno Police Department, the citizens of Fresno, and the law enforcement profession," Chief Dyer said, report Rick Montanez, Corin Hoggard and Sontaya Rose at ABC 30.
Dyer claimed he was "just made aware" of the case" after Foster was arrested n Thursday. Federal investigators were authorized to use wiretaps on telephones.
To help pay for its upcoming legal battle with the City of Los Angeles, medical marijuana delivery service Nestdrop has launched a GoFundMe campaign to seek donations from medicinal cannabis patients, fellow tech companies, dispensaries and supporters across the country.
After sending a letter to the City Attorney’s office offering to work with them on sensible medical marijuana enforcement -- which went unanswered -- Nestdrop has moved forward with appealing the injunction.
The City Attorney’s injunction has done absolutely nothing to stop medical marijuana deliveries in Los Angeles; a quick search online search will bring up dozens, if not hundreds, of medical marijuana delivery services that are still operating to this day in the city. Nestdrop was targeted simply for being a technology company that received national attention.
Since they are a small tech company, Nestdrop said it doesn't have the budget for a long legal fight and are seeing donations from supporters at http://www.gofundme.com/freenestdrop. Nestdrop has a goal of $70,000 and any funds raised over its final legal bill will be donated to local L.A. causes that tax payer dollars could have gone to instead of this lawsuit.
Nestdrop, which descrinbes itself as "the technology company behind the country’s first in-App, on-demand medical marijuana service," launched the GoFundMe campaign to help raise $70,000 in funds for its legal fight.
By Steve Elliott
The ultra-respectable BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) on Monday gave serious coverage to the wave of reports on the effectiveness of cannabis oil in fighting cancer and other serious diseases.
Chemotheraphy doesn't work for many cancer patients, and once the doctors say there's nothing more they can do, patients often turn to cannabis oil as a last resort, as a chance at life.
"Left with no options, everybody speaks about cannabis oil," said Sarah Amento, a California cancer patient. "I want to live. I have to live."
Cannabis has been used for centuries as a medicine; Britain's leading cancer research group is interested, according to spokeswoman Kat Arney. "Turning that into treatments is a long road, and certainly it's not going to be 'the one cure' for cancer, because nothing is," Arney said.
"The cannabis works," said Stefanie Larue, a cancer patient who used cannabis oil -- and only cannabis oil -- to fight her disease. "No chemo, and I only used cannabis. The tumors are gone, and the scans I have are evidence and proof of that. It's kind of like, what more do you need?"
Mary's Medicinals on Tuesday announced that its entire product line is now available through medical cannabis dispensaries in Northern California.
To meet the growing need for accurately dosed, discreet medical cannabis options, Mary's offers a variety of isolated and blended cannabinoids that have been reported to treat a number of conditions.
"The power of cannabis as a treatment for many conditions has been clearly established," said Nicole Smith, CEO of Mary's Medicinals. "But, many patients are hesitant to use the traditional cannabis products on the market today. Not everyone wants to smoke joints or associate their medication with lollipops and gummy bears.
"With Mary's clinical grade extractions and accurate dosing mechanisms, patients are finding relief that is more effective, more reliable and more targeted than anything else available," Smith said. "We're thrilled to have found an amazing team of professionals with expertise in both chemistry and patient care to bring our products to California."
Mary's Medicinals has already established itself as one of the most trusted and innovative producers of canna-based products in Colorado and Washington. Mary's was first to offer THCa and CBN products; discovered harvesting techniques for the isolation of CBC, and continues to develop cutting edge approaches for isolating, manufacturing and delivering medicinal cannabis.
Grass Roots Organization Prepares for September Signature Drive While Gaining Momentum and Support
Rob Van Dam, world famous professional wrestler, is also an advocate for the legalization of cannabis. He recently created a video that describes his opinion on this subject which can be found on Hashbar TV HERE.
"Marijuana should be legalized and taxed like beer and wine," Van Dam said.
The 2016 California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI 2016), a grass roots organization endorsed by the California Green Party, is seeking financial donations to pay for signature gathering and to promote the initiative. Volunteers are also needed, according to CCHI 2016.
Signatures will be gathered beginning around Sept. 10 this year. The signatures of more than 600,000 registered voters will be needed to qualify for the 2016 ballot within 150 days of signature gathering.
The California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative permits the use of marijuana by adults 21 and older and regulates, enforces and taxes recreational marijuana sales like beer and wine.
The organization hopes to collect donations of $5, $10 and $20 as well as large donations to raise almost $1 million so that Californians to be able to vote on the initiative in 2016.
According to organizers, it's the first-ever annual Cannabis Film Festival in the United States -- and they could hardly have picked a more appropriate location in Garberville, the heart of the Emerald Triangle.
"The action starts on Friday, May 1, with a full weekend of activities until we yell, 'Cut' on Sunday, said organizer Jack Rikess. "Be part of history as we usher in a new era with bright lights, a smoking red carpet and other assorted treats and surprises. The event is open to the public."
Tickets are on sale now, according to Rikess.
Jack told Hemp News that the Cannabis Film Festival provides a means for filmmakers to share their work with both distributors and the general public. "The CFF is designed to enable 'cream of the crop' film projects to gain exposure to larger and more mainstream audiences," Rikess said.
"The festival is also an amazing opportunity for a broad range of organizations to help further the cause of enlightening the general public about cannabis," Rikess said. "The Cannabis Film Festival is a full weekend event that provides a venue for cannabis-related businesses and local artisans to expose their goods and services to festival attendees in between the viewing of film submissions.
"Our mission is to increase public awareness of all aspects of the cannabis industry through educational and entertaining film media with the intention of raising consciousness regarding the many uses and applications of cannabis," Rikess said.
By Steve Elliott
With laws taking effect last week legalizing recreational marijuana in both Alaska and Washington, D.C., a researcher into the history of cannabis has predicted the next five U.S. states where voters will likely approve the use of pot for relaxation and enjoyment.
University of Kansas geography professor Barney Warf, author of "High Points: An Historical History of Cannabis," published in the peer-reviewed Geographical Review in September 2014, said legalization can be "hard to predict," but he made his forecast of the next states expected to legalize, "based on current laws and voter leanings."
"All five of these states have legal medical marijuana and tend to be liberal or libertarian in voting patterns," Warf said.
The Next Five States Where Recreational Marijuana Could Be Legal
1. California: "Recreational cannabis almost was legalized in the past, and California voters are sure to do so in 2016," Warf said.
2. Nevada:: "Nevada shares the libertarian sentiments of Alaska."
3. Vermont: "There's a strong liberal tradition there in Vermont."
4. Illinois: "The Land of Lincoln is surprisingly progressive on this issue."
5. New York:: "New York legalized medical marijuana last year."