Colorado Delegation Moves Quickly to Stop Sessions’ War on Cannabis

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Political representatives from Colorado are leading the vanguard of Congressional resistance to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement last week that he is rescinding the Justice Department’s Cole memorandum.

That 2013 document from the Obama-era Justice Department established a federal policy of non-interference in cannabis-legal states, and created a political environment that allowed the marijuana legalization movement to spread across the United States.

While senators and representatives from California, Washington, and other legal states have expressed outrage over Sessions’ move, Colorado’s Congressional delegation has combined words with actual deeds.

While lawmakers in other cannabis-legal states have condemned Sessions’ announcement, observers say it makes sense that politicians from Colorado, one of the first states to completely legalize adult cannabis use and a state known for its political diversity, would take the lead on this issue.

Women In Weed Clap Back At Federal Government's Threat To Legal Pot

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Just a few days ago, Raeven Duckett and her partners marked a milestone: the first day of expanding their marijuana delivery service to recreational users.  The company, Community Gardens Oakland Dispensary, was the first adult-use business in the city of Oakland and the third in the entire state of California to obtain a license to dispense edibles, tinctures and cannabis buds to people over 21.  This week, California became the sixth state in the U.S. to decriminalize recreational marijuana and Duckett says she and her cofounders were working hard to "cross the t's and dot the i's" to comply with the state and the city's tough regulations on license holders. As news broke that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed all U.S. Attorneys to strictly enforce existing drug laws, Duckett vowed to keep moving ahead.

Four days after prohibition on recreational marijuana ended in California, Sessions stepped up the federal threat to the industry, stating that current laws "reflect Congress's determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity a serious crime." Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum, Obama Administration rules that had allowed legal marijuana businesses to thrive in states where citizens approved its sale.  Although the timing was surprising for some given California's roll out on January 1st as the country's largest legal market, the Attorney General's stance on marijuana was not. Sessions has expressed anti-marijuana sentiments in the past.

New Hampshire Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Legalization. Jeff Sessions would surely be pissed.

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The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, just five days after the Trump administration moved to rescind federal guidelines protecting state cannabis laws.

Under the bill, which is expected to soon move to the state Senate, people over 21 years of age would be allowed to legally possess three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana and grow up to three mature cannabis plants at home. Retail sales locations would not be allowed.

The noncommercial approach is similar to a bill advancing in neighboring Vermont. There, the House passed a legalization measure on Thursday -- the same day U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions tore up Obama-era marijuana guidance. That state's Senate, which previously OKed similar legislation, is expected to give its final approval on Wednesday, and Gov. Phil Scott (R) has pledged to sign legalization into law.

The swift action by the two states represents a stunning rebuke to the Trump administration's anti-cannabis move, which was also roundly slammed by dozens of members of Congress from both parties.

In New Hampshire, the House voted to amend a broader bill that would have allowed legal, taxed and regulated marijuana sales. The legislation, as introduced, was defeated in committee in November. Opponents argued that because a legislative study commission is currently examining how legalized marijuana commerce might work in the state, passing the bill now would be premature.

On Tuesday, supporters successfully moved a floor amendment to scale the proposal back to only legalize possession and home cultivation.

California Bill Would Ease Erasure of Cannabis Convictions

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A Democratic lawmaker wants to make it easier for Californians with cannabis convictions to reduce or erase their records as the state moves into the next phase of legalized cannabis.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require county courts to automatically expunge eligible records. It’s one of several efforts to build on the choice California voters’ made to legalize cannabis despite fresh threats from the federal government.

Voters approved the ability to wipe criminal cannabis conviction records in 2016 as part of Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis and retroactively erased and reduced some cannabis-related criminal penalties from felonies to misdemeanors.

Existing law requires people with convictions to initiate the process themselves. But many people don’t, either because they’re unaware it’s an option or because it can be complicated and costly. As of September 2017, around 5,000 people had applied for a change to their records, according to state data. That’s a fraction of the people that experts estimate are eligible.

The bill would “give folks who deserve it under the law the fresh start they’re entitled to,” Bonta said, adding that cannabis convictions have disproportionality affected young minorities.

KENTUCKY REALISES THE HIGH TIME FOR HEMP

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Like college basketball, bourbon, and thoroughbred horses, hemp seems to course through Kentucky’s bloodlines. Henry Clay grew it, back in the era when the hardy plant was used for thousands of products, from food and fuel to ropes, canvas, and medicine. Modern industrial hemp, which consumes less water than rival crops like cotton, can be used for an equally impressive range of products, including car dashboards, soaps, industrial absorbents, granola bars, and craft beer. Like cannabis, hemp is a strain of the cannabis plant, but it lacks the psychoactive chemical, THC, that provides weed’s high. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 helped make hemp cost-prohibitive to grow (though the government encouraged growers during the war years), and that situation worsened after the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970.

Then, in 2014, the U.S. Farm Bill cracked open a legislative window: The new law allowed states to develop research programs for industrial hemp, sowing hopes of reviving the long-dormant industry. More than 30 states passed varying companion bills to enable state growing programs. The Bluegrass State embraced the opportunity: Farmers in Kentucky will grow close to 13,000 acres of industrial hemp in 2017, more than triple what it grew last year and surpassing every other state except Colorado.

Kentucky’s production is still only a fraction of its agricultural economy—even if state hemp fields tripled over what they were 2016, and the yields increased 50 percent, hemp would only be 3 percent of the agricultural market, according to University of Kentucky economist Will Snell. But in the country’s fifth-poorest state, where the opiate epidemic is prevalent, the effort by lawmakers and the agriculture department to convert old tobacco farms to hemp production offers an economic ray of sunshine.

"What this industry does is give people an enormous amount of optimism, that there are solutions, and that we’re working on them instead of holding our hands up in despair. The beauty of this plant is that we are all aware of what is possible.”
 
- Chad Rosen, the CEO of Victor Hemp Foods

Rosen argues that hemp’s promise extends beyond rural Kentucky: He and his fellow hemp processors have created close to 100 jobs in Louisville and Lexington, plus the ancillary benefits of contract labor for machinery repairs and parts. Hemp holds particular promise for places like Nashville, which has a few licensed growers already, and Asheville, near the epicenter of North Carolina’s furniture and textile industry. But the industry is hamstrung by hemp’s murky legal status: Farmers can grow it, but farm insurance bureaus won’t sell them crop insurance; companies can market it, but federally backed banks won’t lend them money.

Read the full story on the link given below.

Past pot convicts struggle to find a job in the cannabis industry

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As the cannabis industry continues to grow, a debate is brewing over whether those with drug convictions should be allowed in the industry. Cannabis businesses are in a position of uncertainty amid U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' anti-drug rhetoric. Meanwhile, the fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar industry is drawing investors and entrepreneurs.

Indeed, there is a hypocrisy evident in some corners of the newly legal cannabis market. Earlier this year, Massachusetts medical cannabis provider Patriot Care drew controversy after it opposed a proposal to remove the ban on felony drug convictions from the state's medical cannabis program.

Many states have cannabis laws that bar drug offenders from entering the cannabis industry in an effort to legitimize the trade and help prevent out-of-state diversion. In practice, the ban does not prevent trafficking. But it does shut out individuals with cannabis-related convictions, who are disproportionately black and Latino. And in a twist of absurdity, many of these felony bans apply only to drug-related crimes.

 

Wisconsin congressman supports the bill that allows American farmers to grow industrial hemp

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A Wisconsin congressman is supporting a bill that would allow American farmers to grow industrial hemp. Sixth District congressman Glenn Grothman said he can’t imagine any reasons to object to returning hemp as a crop for Wisconsin farmers.

The Republican congressman has joined 9 other Republicans and 15 Democrats as a co-sponsor of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The bill amends The Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. Industrial hemp contains less than 1 percent of THC and was legal in the U.S. until 1937.

At the state level, an industrial hemp bill from a pair of Republican lawmakers is scheduled for a public hearing next week in Madison. The 2014 federal farm bill cleared the way for hemp research programs, and at least 30 states are allowing the crop, including Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.

Legislation from state Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) and state Senator Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) would legalize production of the crop, with permits issued by the state Agriculture Department.

Ag & Markets conduct workshop to explain the process of growing hemp legally

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The state Department of Agriculture and Markets today will host a workshop for farmers, businesses and institutions interested in joining the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program.

The workshop, which will run from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, 203 N Hamilton St., will guide prospective industrial hemp researchers through the program application process. The Watertown workshop is one of three the department began hosting Monday throughout the state including workshops in Binghamton, Batavia and Albany.

Applications for the program are due Nov. 22.

The program was established in 2016 for educational institutions and partner producers. In April, however, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo expanded the program to include both education institutions and private entities.

Nixon had zero chill!!

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"Nixon had zero chill!!" 

It literally gave me stomach cramps when I saw this video of Adam Ruins Everything.  

Adam Ruins Everything is a show that started as video clips on College Humor before moving to the truTV network. The host, Adam Conover, examines popular myths and misconceptions and “ruins” them for the audience by presenting facts and citing references that refute a particular claim.

Only this time, Adam weeds through the myths of marijuana, exposes the blunt truth about the War on Drugs, and explains how prescription pills are the true gateway drug. 

Check it out while Adam Ruins Drugs

Quebec reduces the legal age to buy pot from 21 to 18

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Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has made the call: the minimum age for the consumption of legal marijuana in Quebec will be 18.

After several intense Liberal caucus meetings where everyone was allowed to express their views on the tricky issue, Couillard Thursday made a final decision, opting for 18 instead of 21 as some wanted, government sources in Quebec City confirmed Friday.

On the other hand, the more conservative elements in the caucus won another battle: the distribution and sales of marijuana will remain under control of the state, the source said.

Quebec plans to create a Crown corporation that will make use of expertise at the Société des alcools to handle sales. As already reported by the Montreal Gazette, employees will act as pot counsellors instead of salespeople, to warn youth of the dangers of weed.

The hearings heard from several health organizations that argued the minimum age for marijuana consumption should be 21.