Hemp Industries Association stands against Jeff Sessions' rescission of hemp

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Hemp and marijuana are one and the same, at least under the broad brush of the Controlled Substance Act. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded five Obama administration memoranda on Jan. 4, related to marijuana prosecution guidelines, the industrial hemp industry took note of the implications to federal non-interference practices.

In a statement released Jan. 11, in response to Sessions’ actions, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) emphasized that hemp farming programs remain legal: “…industrial hemp remains protected under exemptions to the Controlled Substances Act, per §7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the “Farm Bill”), which permits the cultivation of industrial hemp by institutions of higher education and under state agricultural pilot programs, as defined for purposes of research.”

Medical cannabis makes small steps in EU. Italy Suffers from the serious medical cannabis shortage.

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As of 1 January, Denmark now allows the use of medical cannabis for patients suffering from various illnesses.

The four year-trial was authorised on 18 December by the parliament in Copenhagen, in a move which also licensed some companies to grow and produce the drug in the Scandinavian country.

Capsules, cannabis extract as a mouth spray, and dried cannabis flowers for vaporising or teas are the main authorised medicines in the EU, a 2017 report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drug and Addiction (EMCDDA) states.

By contrast, no country authorises the smoking of cannabis for medical purposes – given the risks that smoking poses to health, especially if combined with tobacco.

In the EU, only Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Spain currently authorise marijuana's use as a medicine - while a few other states are planning legislation on the issue.

In fact, Italy is currently experiencing a serious medical cannabis shortage, since not enough marijuana plants for medical use are grown, patients and NGOs report.

Patients had to resort to the "black market and self-cultivation" as a result of the shortage, the Italian Association for Civil Liberty & Rights (CILD) reported in December.

To tackle the lack of plants, the Italian ministry of defence (responsible for the secure growing of medicinal cannabis) was forced to look abroad to buy some 100 kilos of marijuana in November.

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.

Calgary Cannabis Community appreciates the responsible behaviour of the government on drafting pot rules

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Members of Calgary's cannabis community are excited to see the proposed framework for Alberta's cannabis legislation, and they're giving it a resounding thumbs up despite many questions remaining unanswered. 

On Wednesday, the government released the draft rules, which reference a legal age limit of 18, as well as other details such as how much can be purchased at once — 30 grams — and where people will be permitted to smoke and vape. 

"If it's about getting rid of the black market, the NDP and the province of Alberta just did a much better job than any other province,"

Jeff Mooij, owner of the 420 Clinic in Inglewood called the rules "the best framework for legalization" he had seen so far.

Cannabis producers suggest private retailers over the government for selling pot. Say that government should rely on the expertise of the cannabis producers.

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On Thursday, a day after the Alberta government unveiled its cannabis framework for when new laws legalizing recreational cannabis come into effect, a group of 12 medical cannabis producers has come forward with a plan that they say will take some of the pressure off the province.

Karasiuk said the group’s 12 co-op members have “robust” e-commerce platforms already in place and are operating in a highly regulated medical cannabis market.

On Wednesday, the province said it hadn’t decided whether to sell cannabis through government-run stores or private operators.

“Coming together as a group [and] providing a rich diversity of product … is only going to further the odds of that happening.”

But Karasiuk suggested the government should lean on the expertise of medical cannabis producers.

He said the members created a cannabis co-op because they believe an e-commerce platform is necessary to ensure all Albertans have access to safe cannabis and to keep them from turning to black market dealers.