Recreational

U.S.: Livestream of Major Neill Franklin Explaining Benefits of Marijuana Legalization April 15

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Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Executive Director to Address 2015 Cannabis Symposium at University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado-Boulder is hosting the 2015 Cannabis Symposium to educate students and raise awareness about successful marijuana legalization policies, and to set a new standard for drug and policy education around the country.

The closing plenary speaker is Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals opposed to the Drug War. Maj. Franklin has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, and can attest to the failures of drug prohibition.

He will explain why legalizing marijuana has had a positive impact on reducing violence caused by the Drug War, and improving public safety overall. His speech will be live streamed to campuses throughout the country.

You can watch it here: http://www.colorado.edu/law/live .

What: 2015 Cannabis Symposium: A Teach-In on Ancient Medicinal Plant and Current Drug Policy

Who: Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Other LEAP speakers presenting at this event include former corrections officer Carrie Roberts, and former judge and practicing attorney, Leonard Frieling.

U.S.: WeedWatch Parody of Apple Watch Advocates 'Time For A Change'

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Coinciding with the release of the Apple Watch on April 20, a Seattle-based multimedia company, Higher Ground, has created a parody ad to bring attention to marijuana legalization. The ad, “WeedWatch,” features a photo of the iWatch with the simple text, “Time for a Change: Legalize It.” A variety of marijuana-related icons and apps are featured on the device’s face.

One of the most innovative features of Apple’s Watch is the ability for users to customize the face of the device, and add additional information. In Higher Ground’s parody, they have taken the liberty to do just that!

The watch face is full of humorous and advocacy-related apps including NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), SXSW, Leafly (a Yelp-like mobile app for marijuana), 7-11, Cannabis News Network, and Doritos. The time? 4:20.

“The Apple Watch is a revolutionary product, and the legalization of marijuana in states across the country is also a revolutionary movement,” notes Higher Ground Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Stusser. “The message of our parody is as simple as the solution to the War on Drugs: Legalize It. It’s time to end Prohibition, and legalize, regulate and tax cannabis at the federal level.”

U.S.: New Poll Finds 53% of Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new poll from Pew Research Center finds that 53 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, with 44 percent opposed. As recently as 2006, just 32 percent supported legalization, while nearly twice as many -- 60 percent -- were opposed, according to Pew.

Crucially, the poll finds that people are much more likely to change their minds from opposing legalization to supporting it than vice versa. Among the general public, 21 percent of people support legalization now, but once opposed it. In contrast, just 7 percent of people used to support legalization but now oppose it.

Millennials (currently 18-34) lead the change, with 68 percent in favor. But across all generations, with the exception of the Silent Generation (ages 70-87), support for legal weed has risen sharply over the past decade.

“The more that people learn about marijuana and look at the benefits of legalization, the more likely they are to support reform," Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority told Hemp News on Tuesday. "Our opponents sure do have a lot to say about what they see as the benefits of continuing prohibition, but voters don’t want to hear it."

The most frequently mentioned reasons for supporting marijuana legalization are its medical benefits (41 percent) and the belief that cannabis is no worse than other drugs (36 percent), with many specifically mentioning they think pot is no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco.

New York: Cannabis World Congress Set For June 17-19

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Comprehensive Educational Program Includes 40 Sessions with Top Cannabis Experts

The legal and medical marijuana industry is on track to be the next American gold rush, and organizers of the 2nd Annual Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) in New York, say it will present an in-depth educational program that covers everything from A to Z on how to succeed in this dynamic industry.

Sponsored by the International Cannabis Association (ICA), CWCBExpo, taking place June 17-19 at the Javits Center in New York, provides the latest insight and strategies for the legal, regulatory, financial, operational, retail, marketing and healthcare sectors of the industry.

“The steps to enter the cannabis business can be overwhelming with even just the different state and national mandates,” said Dan Humiston, president of ICA, “And if you are already in the business, you have to be quick and nimble to stay competitive and grow. No matter your point of entry, CWCBExpo in NY has you covered and will give you the knowledge, tools and connections to succeed.”

Sessions being presented during the conference program on Thursday, June 18th and Friday, June 19th include:

• What Physicians Need to Know to Prescribe Medical Marijuana to their Patients
• Will Cannabis be the Next Big Retail Opportunity?
• How to Legally Invest in the Cannabis Industry
• How to Obtain a State License to Sell, Grow or Produce Medical or Recreational Marijuana
• Methods and Devices Used to Extract Cannabis Oil from Plants

U.S.: Just In Time For 4/20, G FarmaLabs Launches Liquid Gold Extracts NUG RUN Tanks

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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."

Oregon: Kaya Farms Marijuana Grow Operation To Supply Kaya Shack

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Kaya Holdings, Inc. on Thursday announced that it has commenced with its own medical marijuana grow operations for the cultivation and harvesting of legal marijuana. The grow operation places Kaya Holdings as the first U.S. publicly traded company to own a majority interest in a vertically integrated legal marijuana enterprise in the United States, according to the company.

"This grow begins our path to complete vertical integration where our Kaya Shack stores exclusively sell company produced products," said CEO Craig Frank. "The economics of the industry and our quest for excellence in quality and stability in supply made establishment of this grow an immediate operation imperative. We are proud to have reached it so quickly and with so high a degree of expertise."

"This weekend Kaya employees and contractors will harvest the final round of our first medical marijuana crop rotations which have yielded the company nearly 25 pounds of independently tested-and-certified Oregon connoisseur-grade medical marijuana since January 1, 2015," Frank said. "With planned expansion we are planning to ramp up to much higher production levels."

The grow operation will rotate varieties within the perpetual harvest room to include more than 30 strains of marijuana, according to Kaya Holdings. The company expects to expand the grow operations throughout 2015, enlarging capacity and increasing the number of varieties grown.

About Kaya Holdings, Inc. (KAYS)

U.S.: Medical Cannabis Cooperative Announced For Independent Marijuana Cultivators

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The American Seed & Oil Company Medical Cannabis Cooperative, an organization of independent hemp and marijuana cultivation organizations, was announced on Tuesday. The intent of the cooperative is that by working together, cultivators can more rapidly and soundly expand their respective operations.

American Seed & Oil Company is dedicating its previously announced $1.2 million in secured funding to The Medical Cannabis Cooperative.

"American Seed & Oil Company is committed to establishing a leadership position within the developing U.S. legal cannabis industry," said Steven Rash, CEO of Algae International, Inc. and its operating subsidiary, the American Seed & Oil Company. "We believe our investment of time, talent and resources in a Cooperative Cannabis Cultivation strategy will more rapidly expand our revenues and assets than solely investing in the construction of wholly owned cannabis cultivation operations."

"We are already piloting a number of cannabis consumer products; working to develop a number of cannabis commercial products; contributing to the effort to mature and advance legalization nationwide and at the same time investing in the infrastructure to grow and process cannabis," Rash said. "We continue to evaluate and evolve our overall approach toward all these ends.

U.S.: Rep. Blumenauer, Sen. Wyden Announce Tax Reform For Legal Marijuana Businesses

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Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Thursday announced plans to introduce bicameral legislation next week that would reconcile state marijuana laws and federal tax law.

The Small Business Tax Equity Act, which was introduced last Congress by Congressman Blumenauer, would create an exception to Internal Revenue Code 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.

“More than two-thirds of Americans now live in jurisdictions that have legalized either the medical or adult use of marijuana,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “It’s time for the federal government to catch up."

"Section 280E creates an unequal and unrealistic tax burden on these businesses," Blumenauer said. "I’m excited to work with Senator Wyden in introducing the Small Business Tax Equity Act, which would bring much needed fairness and level the playing field for small businesses that follow state laws and create jobs.”

“Our legislation would provide an overdue update to federal tax law, which has not caught up to the fact that it’s 2015 and Oregonians have voted both to legalize medical marijuana and to regulate marijuana for recreational use,” Senator Wyden said. “This is a question of standing up for the people of Oregon, and ensuring that the federal government respects the decision Oregonians have made at the ballot box.”

Oregon: Marijuana Campaign Hires Lobbyist To Pass Expungement Law

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“We are going to put our political muscle behind this to make sure it gets passed.”

New Approach Oregon has hired a lobbyist to help pass bills in the Oregon Legislature that would reduce marijuana offenders’ jail sentences and clear marijuana-related offenses from criminal records.

The group behind Oregon’s law to legalize marijuana is also teaming up with the Bus Project to organize volunteers, host phone banks and win endorsements for House Bill 3372 and Senate Bill 364. Both bills await hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. SB 364 has already passed the Senate.

“We built a powerful organization to legalize marijuana,” said Anthony Johnson, executive director of New Approach Oregon, “and we plan to use it to make sure these bills are passed. Let’s stop ruining lives by treating marijuana as a crime and start saving money by getting people out of jail and giving them a fresh start.”

Click here to sign up to help the new #FreshStartOregon campaign

Louisiana: Residents' Tolerant Views On Marijuana Not Reflected By Harsh State Laws

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Louisiana residents have a much more relaxed and tolerant approach toward marijuana than is reflected by their state's harsh laws, according to a statewide survey conducted by Louisiana State University this winter.

The university asked about three different marijuana polices, reports Julia O'Donoghue at The Times-Picayune.

First of all, the survey found that a majority of Louisianans oppose legal marijuana for personal use. Fifty-two percent of state residents still oppose legalizing cannabis for recreational use, but the gap between those who don't want to legalize and those who support it -- at 45 percent -- is shrinking.

In 2013, 56 percent said they opposed legalization, and 42 percent said they supported it, a gap of 14 points. Now, that gap has shrunk to just a seven-point difference.

Young adults ages 18-29 in Louisiana support legal marijuana, with 68 percent supporting and 32 percent opposed.

One state lawmaker has filed legislation to put possession, distribution and dispensing of cannabis on the Louisiana ballot on November 8, 2016. Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) said voters should get to decide whether pot becomes legal.

Secondly, the survey found that most Louisiana residents support medical marijuana. Sixty percent support medicinal pot, but for some reason that number has shrunk since last year, when 79 percent said they supported it.

California: Gubernatorial Candidate Gavin Newsom Supports Marijuana Legalization

GavinNewsomeChinInHand[420Magazine]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

Washington: Spokane Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Wins Fight Over Taxes, For Now

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Spokane woman who owned a medical marijuana dispensary has, for now, come out on top in a long fight with the Department of Revenue over taxes.

Rhonda Duncan, who owned Club Compassion, was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration four years ago. They warned her to shut down, but she refused, reports Shawn Chitnis at KREM.

Duncan then became embroiled in a struggle with the Department of Revenue over whether she owed the agency sales tax from her dispensary.

"It's been rough; my bank accounts have been seized, I can't have a bank account until this has been resolved," Duncan said.

The agency said that medical marijuana needed to be taxed; Duncan believes it shouldn't be taxed because it is medicine. She said she had lost $60,000 in the fight, and has struggled to make ends meet.

"It was just a witch hunt and it put me through so much stress," she said.

But a Superior Court ruling said medical marijuana sales are exempt from retail sales tax, reversing what the Department of Revenue had told her for years.

Duncan hopes to get back into the medical marijuana business, and she's hoping other dispensaries can make the same argument when also faced with tax challenges from the Department of Revenue.

The Department of Revenue is expected to appeal the decision.

U.S.: Presidential Swing States Support Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Voters in three critical swing states -- Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- support legalization of medical marijuana by margins of 5-1 or more and also support legalization of recreational marijuana use by smaller margins, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released on Monday.

Support for medical marijuana is 84 - 14 percent in Florida, 84 - 15 percent in Ohio and 88 - 10 percent in Pennsylvania, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds. The Swing State Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960, no candidate has won the Presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.

Support for allowing adults "to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use" is 55 - 42 percent in Florida, 52 - 44 percent in Ohio and 51 - 45 percent in Pennsylvania.

But swing state voters say they don't plan to use marijuana themselves:

• 17 percent of Florida voters say they "definitely" or "probably" would use it, while 81 percent say they "probably" or "definitely" would not;

• 14 percent of Ohio voters say they "definitely" or "probably would use it, while 84 percent say "definitely" or "probably" not;

• 15 percent of Pennsylvania voters say they are likely to try, while 83 percent say no.

Arizona: MPP Director Threatens Dispensaries Over Legalization Battle

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia reportedly threatened to spend thousands of dollars to disrupt two Arizona dispensaries, threatening that a key staffer at the shops who also formerly headed up MPP's recreational legalization push in the state will "pay a price" if she leads a competing ballot measure.

The rift leaves the future of recreational marijuana in Arizona in doubt, reports John Schroyer at Marijuana Business Daily, pitting a prominent pro-cannabis organization against a dispensary executive and many of her peers in the medical marijuana industry.

The dispute grew from disagreements between MPP and several dozen Arizona dispensaries over the language of a proposed 2016 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Negotiations between the two factions reportedly fell apart last week. Gina Berman, who at the time was chairwoman of MPP's Arizona legalization campaign, is the medical director at The Giving Tree Wellness Center dispensaries.

Photo of Rob Kampia: Reason TV

U.S.: 'Hempster Clothing' To Begin Online Sales April 20; Profits Go To Legalization

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The 'Hempster Clothing' line was introduced on Thursday by Algae International Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiary American Seed & Oil Company.

The company is introducing the first clothing items it plans to start selling through an e-commerce site by April 20. The introduction of the first clothing items will be combined with a campaign to fund efforts to legalize marijuana nationwide.

American Seed & Oil Company will introduce four t-shirts bearing various designs specific to the 'Hempster Clothing' line brand. One hundred percent of the profit from the sales of these first four t-shirts over the course of the next year will be donated to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), an organization dedicated to ending the federal prohibition of marijuana and empowering states to regulate their own marijuana policy.

American Seed & Oil's overall mission is to create a variety of market competitive, environmental conscious, consumer and commercial products utilizing various forms of cannabis. A clothing line was conceived as part of American Seed & Oil Company's original business plan.

Hemp requires half the water and half the land required by cotton to produce equal quantities of fiber for clothing production. While cotton accounts for a major portion of agricultural pesticides, hemp requires no pesticides at all.

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