Virginia Senate Unanimously Approves Bill to Allow Medical Use of CBD and THC-A Oil

A proposal to allow for the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil and tetrahydrocannabinol-acid (THC-A) oil for any medical condition deemed appropriate by a practitioner has been passed unanimously by Virginia’s Senate.

photosource420magazineHouse Bill 1251 was approved today 40 to 0 by Virginia’s Senate, a little over two weeks it was passed 98 to 0 by the state’s House of Representatives.

According to its official summary, the measure; “Provides that a practitioner may issue a written certification for the use of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil for the treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of any diagnosed condition or disease determined by the practitioner to benefit from such use.” Under current law, “a practitioner may only issue such certification for the treatment or to alleviate the symptoms of intractable epilepsy.” The bill also “increases the supply of CBD oil or THC-A oil a pharmaceutical processor may dispense from a 30-day supply to a 90-day supply”, and “reduces the minimum amount of cannabidiol or tetrahydrocannabinol acid per milliliter for a dilution of the Cannabis plant to fall under the definition of CBD oil or THC-A oil, respectively.”

The full text of House Bill 1251, filed by Delegate Benjamin Cline, can be found by clicking here.

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Alaska House Unanimously Approves Bill to Legalize Hemp

Alaska’s House of Representatives has given approval to a bill that would legalize industrial hemp. 

Senate Bill 6 was passed today by the House of Representatives in a unanimous 36 to 0 vote. Filed by Senator Shelley Hughes, the proposal would separate hemp from the definition of marijuana, removing it entirely from the Alaska list of controlled substances. This would legalize the plant, allowing it to be grown an agricultural commodity. The measure has already unanimously passed the state’s full Senate, but needs to go back for a final concurrence vote before it can be sent to Governor Bill Walker for consideration.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with today’s vote, and I thank the House of Representatives for their strong support”, Senator Hughes said following the House’s vote. “As an agricultural crop, hemp has significant economic potential for Alaska as its uses are widespread and varied. It is also quite appropriate that this bill passed on Presidents’ Day. Many of our founding fathers, including Presidents’ George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, grew hemp.”

Senate Bill 6 also clarified that “cannabidiol oil is not included in the definition of “hashish oil””,and clarifies that “adding industrial hemp to food does not create an adulterated food product”.

The full text of Senate Bill 6 can be found by clicking here.

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Study: CBD May Help Treat, and Cause the Death of, Endometrial Cancer

CBD (cannabidiol) and CBD-rich extracts may provide a potential treatment option for endometrial cancer, according to a new study published by the Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

Endometrial cancer,

“Among a variety of phytocannabinoids, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most promising therapeutic compounds”, begins the study’s abstract. “Besides the well-known palliative effects in cancer patients, cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit in vitro growth of tumor cells. Likewise, the major endocannabinoids (eCBs), anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), induce tumor cell death.”

The purpose of the present study “was to characterize cannabinoid elements and evaluate the effect of cannabinoids in endometrial cancer cell viability.” Endometrial cancer is a variety of cancer that begins in the lining of the uterus.

After conducted a series of tests, researchers found that “these data indicate that cannabinoids modulate endometrial cancer cell death. Selective targeting of TPRV1 by AEA, CBD, or other stable analogues may be an attractive research area for the treatment of estrogen-dependent endometrial carcinoma.”

They conclude by stating that; “Our data further support the evaluation of CBD and CBD-rich extracts for the potential treatment of endometrial cancer, particularly, that has become non-responsive to common therapies.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at the Universidade do Porto in Portugal, can be found by clicking here.

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Review: ‘When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir’

This book is powerful, maddening, joyous, sad, romantic, uplifting, humble, honest and true. Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele do a fantastic job telling Khan-Cullers’ amazing and yet all too typical story.

Amazing, because this young, black and queer woman has managed to create a community full of love, respect and activism in a world not created for her. Typical, because the harassment and abuse she and her family have suffered at the hands of overzealous law enforcement officials, underfunded and overwhelmed social programs, and abusive prison authorities happen to black and brown people every day.

When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (St. Martin’s Press) is not a long read, but it took me a while to finish, mostly because I had to stop occasionally to process and think about the many points the authors make. Like how, in the aftermath of the Columbine shootings in 1999, it wasn’t predominantly white schools like the one she attended that installed metal detectors, even though mass shootings are much rarer in predominantly black schools. Like how the young men in her neighborhood would be terrorized by the cops and strip-searched on suspicion of minor infractions, even though the white weed dealer at her high school had no fear of getting arrested.

One scene describes police coming into Khan-Cullors’ home without a warrant to arrest her activist boyfriend. He hadn’t broken any laws. How did the cops know where he was? His name wasn’t on the lease. It reminded me of when Chicago police assassinated 21-year-old Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, in 1969. How many young activists are targeted before they even really get started?

Legal Marijuana Sales Delayed in Canada

Despite Canada’s longstanding plan to begin legal marijuana sales in July, a Canadian official has conceded that they won’t actually begin until August, maybe a little later.

As recently as last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was insistent that it was still on track to begin legalization in July, which has been the plan for quite a while now. However,  Health Minister Ginette Petitpas said Thursday that this simply won’t happen, and sales aren’t going to begin in July. Instead, sales are likely to begin in August, or potentially shortly thereafter. The change in time-frame is based on the Senate’s updated timetable for considering the issue, which has already been passed by the House of Commons.

Petitpas Taylor says that provincial and territorial governments need eight to 12 weeks following senate passage and royal assent (final approval) to prepare for legal marijuana sales. This means that there won’t be enough time to begin sales in July. However, it looks as if September should be the latest that sales start, unless things are pushed back once again.

Once Canada’s legalization law takes effect, Canada will become just the second nation to allow recreational marijuana sales following Uruguay.

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Netflix Cancels Disjointed, Exemplifying that People Are Over Stoner Stereotypes

The marijuana-focused Netflix series Disjointed has been cancelled, and it only has itself to blame.

Disjointed had everything going for it. It’s a marijuana-themed show in an era where marijuana is legal for medical or recreational purposes in dozens of states, and its usage is quickly losing its stigma and becoming more and more mainstream. It had Netflix as a platform, which allows for more creative freedom than most cable networks. It was created by Chuck Lorre, who also created The Big Bang Theory (which has been one of the most popular shows for years), and David Javerbaum, a former head writer for the Daily Show. To top it all off, the show was able to cast Kathy Bates in the lead role as an LA-based dispensary owner; Bates has won two Emmy Awards, and has been nominated over a dozen times dating back to 1996.

Despite having all this going for it, the show failed to make it past season 1. Netflix recently announced that the show has been cancelled after a 20-episode initial run (10 episodes released in August, followed by 10 more in January). Given Netflix doesn’t release viewer counts for their shows, there’s no way of  knowing if it was cancelled more for a lack of viewers, or for its poor critical reception (it has a score of 43 on Metacritic an 23% on Rotten Tomatoes). What is clear, is that there simply wasn’t a large enough appetite for the type of comedy that Disjointed offered, which too often relied on the “dumb stoner stereotype”.

Disjointed could have taken a more intellectual approach to the show’s subject matter (and being focused on a dispensary gave them the perfect setup), but instead they harkened back to the days of Cheech & Chong. Though this may have worked a decade or two ago, people are looking for a more nuanced approach to marijuana use. Most …

Pensylvania Medical Marijuana Sales Now Underway

The legal distribution of medical marijuana began today in Pennsylvania, with six dispensaries opened throughout the state (and 81 planned to open in the coming months).

The new law, which officially took effect today, allows certified patients to obtain their medicine legally for the first time. Six out of the 10 dispensaries that have been approved to operate have opened their doors, and up to 81 more dispensaries are expected to open across the state over the next few months. Nearly 4,000 patients are certified to purchase medical marijuana products at these locations, and more than 13,000 are awaiting approval to participate in the program. This stage of the implementation process is taking place ahead of schedule, less than two years after Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 16 into law.

“Seriously ill Pennsylvanians will be able to get relief earlier than expected thanks to the diligent efforts of regulators and operators,” said Becky Dansky, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project who helped lead the medical marijuana effort in the state legislature. “There is still a lot of work to be done before implementation is complete. We are hopeful that the medical marijuana program will continue to be refined and improved to ensure patients have safe, reliable, and affordable access to their medicine.”

The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is still in the process of making recommendations for changes to the program. The Board met this week to discuss allowing patients to access medical marijuana flowers at dispensaries as a way to increase treatment options and lower costs for patients.

Pennsylvania was the 24th state to pass and implement an effective medical marijuana law. There are 29 states with effective medical marijuana laws and more than a dozen states are expected to have medical marijuana bills introduced this year.

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Kentucky Senate Votes 93 to 2 to Urge Federal Government to End Hemp Prohibition

A Kentucky resolution that urges the U.S. Congress to legalize industrial hemp has been passed by an overwhelming vote in the state’s Senate.

Kentucky House Concurrent Resolution 35 was approved yesterday through its third and final reading in the Senate by a vote of 93 to 2.

The resolution states that the “General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky urges the United States Congress to take action by enacting legislation that:

(1) Encourages large-scale commercial cultivation of hemp by removing it from the list of controlled substances under the federal Controlled Substances Act;

(2) Prevents the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from sending DEA agents onto farms and other sites where hemp is being grown, stored, and processed;

(3) Creates legal protections for depository institutions that provide financial services to legitimate hemp businesses; and

(4) Instructs the federal Food and Drug Administration to accelerate clinical trials and other research on the health effects of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids found in hemp.

The full resolution can be found by clicking here.

Thanks to a law passed by state lawmakers, Kentucky currently has an active industrial hemp program. Last month the state’s Department of Agriculture approved 12,018 acres of industrial hemp for the year. The hemp will be used for research purposes.

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Judge Offers Hope in New York Marijuana Scheduling Hearing

Supporters of a lawsuit to strike down federal marijuana prohibition were heartened Feb. 14 when the judge hearing the case said it was clear that cannabis had accepted medical use.

“Your clients are living proof of the medical appropriateness of marijuana,” U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein told Michael Hiller, the plaintiffs’ lead lawyer, during a hearing in Manhattan on the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case. “How could anyone say that your clients’ pain and suffering has not been alleviated by marijuana? You can’t.”

The suit, filed last July, seeks an injunction to prevent the federal government from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 “as it pertains to cannabis.” It argues that the law’s placing marijuana in Schedule I as a drug with “no currently accepted medical use” has no rational basis; that it violates users’ rights to due process and equal protection because it was enacted based on “illegal racial and ethnic animus”; and that it violates patients’ rights to free speech and travel because medicine they need is wrongly prohibited.

The five plaintiffs are Marvin Washington, a former defensive lineman who now works for a medical-marijuana company; Alexis Bortell, a 13-year-old girl whose family moved from Texas to Colorado so she could get marijuana to treat her multiple daily seizures; Jose Belen, an Iraq-war veteran who uses it to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder; Jagger Cotte, a seven-year-old boy who uses it for a congenital disease that few kids survive long enough to see their fourth birthday; and the New York-based Cannabis Cultural Association, a pro-legalization group comprised mainly of African-Americans and Latinos. (Note: The CCA’s Jake Plowden, Nelson Guerrero and Leo Bridgewater are featured in the photo above.)

Berkeley Council Votes Unanimously to Become a Sanctuary City for Marijuana

Berkeley’s Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution making the city a sanctuary city for marijuana.

The proposal, put forth by Mayor Jesse Arreguin along with two councilmembers, prohibits all local officials and city employees from assisting federal officials in the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

“I believe we can balance public safety and resisting the Trump administration,” says Mayor Arreguin. In a tweet made after the council’s vote, Arreguin said the move was in response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “misguided crackdown on our democratic decision to legalize recreational cannabis.”

According to Arreguin, the approved resolution doesn’t prevent the city from assisting the feds in other drug-related crimes.

A statewide measure (Assembly Bill 1578) that would make California a sanctuary state for marijuana was passed last June by the state’s Assembly in a 41 to 33 vote, but has yet to pass the Senate.

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The lesser known benefits of cannabis

By Stephen M.

Marijuana StudiesMarijuana consumption – a controversial topic that divides people into two categories, those that are pro and those that are against it. Although it still remains illegal in many countries and states around the globe, cannabis has been proven repeatedly to bring amazing benefits, health wise. If the topic is rather unfamiliar to you, learning a few insights might help you decide if smoking, vaping or utilizing cannabis in other ways is something that you should consider doing. Here are the benefits of cannabis that you might not be aware of:

Relives stress – combats anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression mainly triggered by a high level of stress have become aggravating problems for people nowadays. If you are confronted with issues of this kind yourself, it can be difficult to find solutions that can actually provide you with effective and noticeable results. Well, cannabin’s hybrids, such as Gorilla Glue 4 cannabis strain can actually help you effectively fight against depression and anxiety, showing results even after the first usage. Because it gives you the chance to truly unwind and obtain a deeper relaxation, you can reduce your stress level considerably. The recreational use of marijuana might appeal to you, but being able to combat issues such as anxiety and depression, which are lowering your quality of lie, are certainly prospects that will make you think more about this possibility.

Fighting insomnia

Dealing with insomnia or unrestful sleep can affect your work performance and other sectors of your life. Finding the root of the problem is often difficult, and instead of resorting to certain medications that come with a long list of potential side effects, choosing the cannabis alternative is far safer. If you discuss with marijuana consumers, they will be able to tell you how much this weed has managed to help them in this department. Sleeping peacefully will no longer be a problem for you.…

Federal Spending Deal Keeps Medical Marijuana Protections in Place… For Another Few Weeks

After a government shutdown lasting only a few hours, Congress passed yet another temporary spending bill on Friday that will keep medical marijuana patients and providers safe for a little while longer. The bill includes the amendments that has been part of the spending budget since 2014, which prevents the Department of Justice from spending resources to prosecute people or businesses that are in compliance with state laws. This deal is set to expire on March 23.

Congress will need to pass another spending bill before then in order to continue keeping state medical marijuana programs safe. In the event of a government shutdown, there will be nothing to stop federal prosecutors from targeting medical marijuana programs around the country.

However, supportive lawmakers are using the temporary reprieves to push for even more comprehensive protections, including amendments that would extend protections to businesses in the adult-use market.

Please contact your lawmakers and ask them to support state marijuana protections in the final spending bill.

 

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Travel Guru Rick Steves Talks Up Legal Pot on Capitol Hill

When Rick Steves isn’t touring Europe or writing and producing travel guides, he’s trying to legalize marijuana. The PBS host and NORML board member visited Washington to speak with members of Congress on Feb. 13.

After a press conference attended by NORML’s Keith Stroup and the Marijuana Policy Project’s Don Murphy, Steves went to briefings with House and Senate reps. The Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a bipartisan organization founded in 2017 by Reps Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), organized the House briefing.

His next stops were Maryland and Delaware, where he called on the state legislatures to regulate cannabis.

“I’m not for pot,” he told Freedom Leaf. “I’m for common sense. I’m anti-legislating morality and anti-incarceration.”

RELATED: Celebrities Bringing Cannabis Brands to the Market

Steves contributed $50,000 to Maine’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in 2016, and helped legalization efforts in his home state of Washington by donating $350,000 in support of Initiative 502 in 2012. He also supported the passage of Measure 91 in Oregon in 2014.

“What I do is a …

Review: Shira Adler’s ‘The ABC’s of CBD’

CBD is the unsung hero of the cannabis plant, while the psychoactive THC takes the spotlight. Shira Adler dispels myths about cannabidiol and highlights its many benefits in The ABC’s of CBD: The Essential Guide for Parents (And Regular Folks Too).

Author Shira Adler

Best-known for treating inflammation, CBD’s properties range from antibacterial to anti-nausea and anti-convulsive. Adler traces CBD to 8,000 BCE, when hemp was cultivated in East Asia, and then to the American Revolution, when George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were the country’s most famous hemp farmers.

Adler uses “cannabis” to denote the marijuana cultivar of the cannabis plant and distinguish it from hemp, and is quick to explain that “CBD can be derived from both cannabis and hemp plants. Hemp doesn’t flower and cannabis does.” She further delineates that “far less THC exists in the hemp plant” and, in a comical discussion about CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, compares the body’s endocannabinoid system to the Oompa-Loompas and a set of bowling pins.

RELATED: FDA Warns Four CBD Companies About Making Medical Claims

Although there’s a heavy dose …

New Hampshire Committee Passes Legislation to Allow Annulment of Marijuana Convictions

Legislation that would allow for the annulment (invalidation of) of charges related to possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana has been passed 14 to 4 by its initial committee. 

House Bill 1744, filed by Representative Robert Cushing along with 12 bipartisan cosponsors, was given approval today by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The proposal states that; “Any person who was arrested or convicted for knowingly or purposely obtaining, purchasing, transporting, or possessing, actually or constructively, or having under his or her control, 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana or less where the offense occurred before September 16, 2017 may, at any time, petition the court in which the person was convicted or arrested to annul the arrest record, court record, or both.” This is made possible by a law that took effect on September 16, 2017; which decriminalized the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana.

Going into specifics, the measure’s official text clarifies the process for annulling a marijuana conviction:

The petition shall state that the amount of marijuana was 3/4 of an ounce or less.  The petitioner shall furnish a copy of the petition to the prosecutor of the underlying offense.  The prosecutor may object within 15 days of receiving a copy of the petition and request a hearing.  If the prosecutor does not object within 15 days, the court shall grant the petition for annulment.  If the prosecutor timely objects, the court shall hold a hearing.  In a hearing on the petition for annulment, the prosecutor shall be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the petitioner knowingly or purposely obtained, purchased, transported, or possessed, actually or constructively, or had under his or her control, marijuana in an amount exceeding of 3/4 of an ounce.  At the close of the hearing, the court may grant or deny the petition.  If the petition is granted,

Sister Summit: Women Grow Meets Up in Denver

On February 1-2, more than 500 people gathered at the Westin Hotel in Denver for the fourth annual Women Grow Leadership Summit. The theme, “Change-Transition-Evolution,” addressed shifts in the cannabis industry.

Speakers included 12-year-old patient Alexis Bortell, who’s among the plaintiffs in a suit to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act; medical-marijuana pioneer Alice O’Leary; Michelle Dumay, a courageous mother who gave an emotional talk about being an African-American Muslim woman that treats her daughter’s seizures with cannabis; and Annie Nelson, wife of Willie Nelson and proprietor of Annie’s Edibles.

RELATED: Woman Grow and the New Rules of Diversity

TED-style “Lightning Talks” drew the likes of Hope Wiseman, the youngest African-American dispensary owner (Mary and Main in Capitol Heights, Md.) in the country; Caela Bintner, who discussed the #TimesUp movement and sexual harassment in the workplace; Dasheeda Dawson, who segued from her show-stopping hip-hop dance (a Summit first) to a discourse on facing adversity; Lynnette Shaw, one of California’s first dispensary owners; and Cannabis Cultural Association’s Jake Plowden, Nelson Guerrero and Joe Bondy.

One of the most popular breakout sessions, “Know …

Two Missouri Committees Approve Measure to Legalize Hemp

Legislation to legalize industrial hemp in Missouri has been given overwhelming approval by two House committees.

House Bill 2034, filed by Representative Paul Curtman (R), was approved last week by the Standing Committee on Agriculture Policy with a vote of 10 to 1. Today, the bill was passed by the Rules- Legislative Oversight Committee by an 8 to 1 vote. The proposal will now be up for a vote by the full House of Representatives, where passage would place it before the state’s Senate.

According to its official summary, “This bill exempts industrial hemp, which is defined as Cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than 0.3% THC, from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances. In addition, it is legal for any person who has received an industrial hemp license to grow, harvest, cultivate, and process industrial hemp.”

The bill “creates an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture and specifies the requirements for an applicant of an industrial hemp registration and agricultural hemp seed production permit”,and states that “The department must issue a license or permit to an applicant who meets the statutory requirements and upon satisfactory completion of a fingerprint criminal history background check. Upon issuance of a license or permit, information regarding all license and permit holders must be forwarded to the State Highway Patrol.”

An industrial hemp license or agricultural hemp seed production permit would be “nontransferable except to a spouse or child who otherwise meets the requirements for a license or permit; is valid for a three-year term unless revoked by the department; and may be renewed as determined by the department.”

More information on House Bill 2034, including a link to its full text, can

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Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalty, Allow Marijuana Expungements

Legislation that would reduce the penalty for, and allow for the expungement of, first time marijuana possession charges has been passed by Virginia’s full Senate.

marijuana terminologyThe Senate voted 38 to 2 today to pass Senate Bill 954, which was filed by Senator Tommy Norment (R). The measure “Reduces the penalties for possession of marijuana to a fine of not more than $500”, whereas currently such a charge can result in up to 30 days in jail. The bill also provides that a first offense for possession of marijuana is eligible for expungement, given the individual charged pays a $150 fee (which would  go to the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic Fund)

Senator Norment says that although the measure is far from perfect and isn’t as large of a law change as he’d prefer, it still “makes a substantial step forward.”

The proposal will now be sent to the House of Representatives. Passage in the House would send the bill to Governor Ralph Northam for final consideration. If signed into law by Governor Northam, or allowed to become law without his signature, the portion of the measure reducing the marijuana penalty would take effect July 1 of this year, while the remainder of the bill would take effect on January 1, 2019.

According to a Wason Center for Public Policy poll released this month, 76% of Virginia voters support decriminalizing marijuana possession.

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Trump Administration Names Jim Carroll as New Drug Czar

The Trump Administration has named White House deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll as the nation’s new drug czar.

Drug czar is the unofficial title for the director of the ONDCP.

Drug czar is the unofficial but often used term for director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). According to CNN, Carroll was named deputy director of the ONDCP on Friday, a position he will retain until confirmed by the Senate as director.

“We have full confidence in Jim to lead ONDCP to make significant strides in combating the opioids crisis, reducing drug use, and coordinating US drug policy,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a public statement. “Fighting the opioid crisis and drug addiction is a priority for this administration. We greatly appreciate Jim for his counsel and leadership during his tenure at the White House and look forward to the future contributions he will make in this new role.”

It’s unknown what Carroll’s personal opinion is on the legalization of marijuana, though it’s rather inconsequential given that the drug czar is legally required to oppose the legalization of any substance that’s currently outlawed.

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Over $1.5 Billion in Legal Marijuana Sold in Colorado in 2017

According to data released by Colorado’s Department of Revenue, there was $1.51 billion in legal marijuana and marijuana products sold in 2017.

The $1.51 billion sold is an increase over the $1.3 billion sold in 2016. In 2015 there was $995 million sold, and in 2014 – the first year of legal sales – $683 million in marijuana was sold.

According to the new data, which was released today, there was $1.09 billion in recreational marijuana sold in 2017. As for medical marijuana, licensed dispensaries sold $416 million worth. These sales resulted in roughly $250 million in new taxes for Colorado.

In Washington State – which legalized marijuana in the same election as Colorado – at least $1.2 billion in legal marijuana was sold in 2017, though data for November and December isn’t available yet. Based on current trends, the state will end with just shy of $1.5 billion sold for the year, closely mirroring Colorado’s total.

In both states those 21 and older can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana from a licensed marijuana retail outlet, while also being allowed to purchase marijuana products such as edibles and tinctures.

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Aaron Smith Rips Articles Critical of NCIA at Denver Expo

The National Cannabis Industry Association’s Seed-to-Sale Show at the Denver Convention Center on Feb. 7-8 attracted more than 3,000 registrants and hundreds of vendors to the Mile High City. In addition to the large turnout, the event was marked by debate over criticisms of the NCIA’s personnel policies and operations published by Cannabis Business Executive (CBE) in January that singled out executive director Aaron Smith (pictured above).

CBE’s first NCIA article, posted Jan. 9, focused on the resignation of NCIA board member Kayvan Khalatbari. The second article, posted Jan. 16, asked why the NCIA had fired chief of staff Genifer Murray.

Writer Rob Meagher—CBE’s founder, president and editor-in-chief—published leaked internal emails about employees and board members getting fired or resigning. These reports created an ominous cloud of uncertainty as the NCIA prepared for its expo.

Smith responded to CBE’s charges in an exclusive interview with Freedom Leaf during the Seed-to-Sale Show. “CBE is a third-rate event company that’s probably not too happy that we’re having this successful event right now,” he stated. “There is really no story here. CBE is editorializing on their blog. It’s a First Amendment right to express their opinion. It’s an opinion based on very biased and incomplete information that’s been taken out of context.”

Recreational Legalization in California: How’s It Going?

Weed sales have been legal in California since January 1. People can buy recreational cannabis in places that used to provide marijuana just for patients, so business is booming. Lines are long and spirits are high.

Jobs are being created. Cannabis businesses are hiring. Billboards are chock-full of pot-themed ads. Lawyers and consultants and marketers and packaging suppliers and all kinds of folks are making money on the new green industry.

RELATED: The Future of Weed Sales in California

During a recent visit to A Therapeutic Alternative on H Street in midtown Sacramento, the joint was jumping. Store owner Kim Cargile (pictured above) told me that while she was happy to have the extra customers, the new regulations have made doing business twice as expensive than it used to be, though it’s still worthwhile.

However, simply put, the taxes are too damn high. After the excise tax, the state tax, the city tax and whatever other random fees that get added on, cannabis taxes are in the area of 25%-30%. Exorbitant taxes will not make the black market go away.

Berkeley is …

Virginia Subcommittee Unanimously Passes Bill Allowing Anyone to Grow and Sale Hemp Without a License

A Virginia House subcommittee passed a bill Wednesday that would allow anyone to grow and distribute hemp without being required to first receive a license from the state.

A subcommittee of the House Commerce, Agriculture, Natural Resources & Technology Committee voted 8 to 0 to pass House Bill 532, which was filed by Delegate Nicholas Freitas (D).

Under current Virginia law hemp cultivation is legal for licensed growers participating in a hemp research program. House Bill 532 removes the restriction that hemp must be grown for research, and “Eliminates the licensure requirement for growing industrial hemp and allows any person to sell industrial hemp”. In other words, hemp would be treated like any other agricultural commodity, such as tomatoes or corn.

The proposal will now be up for a vote by the full Commerce, Agriculture, Natural Resources & Technology Committee. It must be passed by both the full House of Representatives and Senate before it can be sent to Governor Ralph Northam for consideration.

The full text of the proposed law can be found by clicking here.

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Study: Marijuana Crackdowns Are a Form of Structural Violence, Have Negative Effects on Health, Social and Economic Well-Being

Law enforcement crackdowns on marijuana are a form of “structural violence”, and have negative effects on health, social and economic well-being, according to a new study published by the International Journal of Drug Policy and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health.

“There is abundant literature on the impact of law enforcement on cannabis markets, but scant literature on the effects of law enforcement on cannabis users”, begins the abstract of the study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Uyo Post Office in Nigeria. “This study undertook a qualitative exploration of police crackdowns as a form of structural violence and examined their impact on the well-being of street cannabis users in a Nigerian city.”

The study was “qualitative and descriptive”, and was carried out in Uyo, southern Nigeria. 97 frequent cannabis users (78 males and 19 females) took part, aged between 21 and 34 years old. Data were collected through in-depth, individual interviews, conducted over six-months. Data analysis was thematic and data-driven, involving identifying themes, assigning codes, revising codes and verification by independent qualitative methodology experts.

“Police crackdowns are commonly experienced by street cannabis users”, states researchers. “These do not reduce cannabis use, but displace cannabis markets. Crackdowns are associated with police brutality, confiscation of funds, drugs and belongings, stigma and discrimination, arrest and incarceration, which impacts negatively on the health, livelihoods and well-being of cannabis users. Cannabis users try to escape arrest by running from police, disposing of cannabis, disguising themselves and, when caught, bribing officers to secure release.”

The study concludes by stating that; “Crackdowns constitute a form of structural violence in the everyday life of cannabis users, and have negative effects on their health and social and economic well-being. Cannabis use should be decriminalized de facto and arrested users directed to treatment and skills training programmes. Treatment and social services for users should be expanded and legal aid interventions should be …