Legal Hemp Spurring Nascent Industry in Alaska

Denali Hemp’s Ember and Chris Haynes

The Denali Hemp Company in Talkeetna, Alaska is a family affair. Ember and Chris Haynes, along with their 18-year old daughter, have been making and selling hempseed-oil-based products like balms, oils, butters and soaps since 2014.

Denali Hemp grew out of their other business, Silverbear Sundries, a retail store in Willow where part of their Extreme Alaskan product line includes a handful of hempseed-oil items. Their customers loved those products so much that the Haynes’ decided to start a second business solely devoted to hemp.

The Haynes family got a boost on April 18 when Gov. Bill Walker signed Senate Bill 6 into law, which legalizes industrial hemp production separate from marijuana (0.3 THC threshold). It sets up regulations for hemp farming, and clarifying that adding hemp to food “does not create an adulterated food product.” The program should be up and running by the 2019 growing season.

Until now, they  sourced their hemp from Colorado. They make and package their hemp products by hand and use organic and fair-trade ingredients, most grown on their own land. “We make products with hemp seed oil and we’re proud of it,” Ember tells Freedom Leaf. “Cannabis is a safe product and there’s no reason for it to be a Schedule I drug.”

Poll: 85% of Americans Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana, 57% Support Recreational Legalization

According to a new HealthDay/Harris Poll, an overwhelming majority of adults in America support legalizing medical marijuana, with a strong majority also in support of legalizing the plant for recreational purposes.

The survey found that 85% of Americans believe that marijuana “should be legalized for medical use”, while 57% support legalizing and regulating the plant for anyone 21 and older, for any use. Among younger respondents (those ages 18 to 44), 68% agree that cannabis should be legal.

“Voters believe that ending America’s failed marijuana prohibition laws is a common-sense issue, not a partisan one,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano told HealthDay, which commissioned the poll. “It’s time for their elected officials to take a similar posture, and to move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that comports with public and scientific consensus, as well as with marijuana’s rapidly changing cultural and legal status.”

The results of the HealthDay/Harris Poll are similar to those of a Pew Research Center survey released in January, which found that 61% of voters in the U.S. support legalizing marijuana.

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Colorado Reps Create First State Cannabis Caucus

Colorado Assembly and Cannabis Caucus members Leslie Herod and Chris Hansen

Inspired by Congress’ Cannabis Caucus, Colorado lawmakers have launched the first-ever cannabis caucus in a state legislature.

While Colorado voted to legalize marijuana in 2012 and implemented a tax-and-regulate program 14 months later, the debate over various aspects of the law and its impact has continued. From job creation to law-enforcement priorities and public education to health care, the Colorado Cannabis Caucus will facilitate discussions among lawmakers about how to address matters such as social consumption, product testing and the use of medical cannabis on public campuses.

The staff of Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver) was the first to show interest in creating the caucus. They talked up the idea up with other lawmakers, while Denver NORML focused on recruiting and providing educational materials. The first six members, all Democrats in the state’s General Assembly, also include Leslie Herod and Chris Hansen of Denver, Matt Gray of Broomfield, Jonathan Singer of Longmont and Dylan Roberts of Steamboat Springs. Its first meeting took place at the state capitol in Denver on March 16. Discussion focused on leadership, taxation, regulations, enforcement and the need for consumer advocacy.

Letter from Colorado General Assembly members: “It’s time for members of Congress from Colorado and other states where marijuana has been legalized to step up and defend the rights of their constituents.”

Creating a formalized structure makes it easier for constituents and advocates to have influence. This streamlined system enables them to suggest policy ideas to many lawmakers at once, reducing the burden of persuading legislators individually. NORML stresses the need for state-level elected officials to create incubators for thoughtful debates and policy discussions.

Oklahoma: Enough Signatures Gathered to Put Recreational Marijuana Initiative on November Ballot

A nonprofit organization aiming to put a marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot in Oklahoma announced Sunday that it has collected enough signatures to do just that.

Green The Vote says it’s collected 132,527 for State Question 797, which would legalize marijuana for everyone  21 and older. This is over the 124,000 signatures required to put the initiative to a vote of the people this November 6. However, the group will be continuing to collect signatures in order to reach their goal of 150,000 in order to ensure that enough of the signatures are valid (from registered Oklahoma voters).

If the proposal is put on the ballot, and subsequently passed by voters, the possession of up to four ounces of marijuana, and the cultivation of up to eight seedlings and four mature marijuana plants, would be legal for those 21+. The possession of up to two ounces of marijuana concentrates and up to 72 ounces of marijuana-infused products would also be legal, with a system of licensed marijuana retail outlets authorized to sell the plant.

Under State Question 797 marijuana would be taxed at no more than 7% at the state level, with localities allowed to place an addition tax of up to 2%. The majority – 75% – of the tax revenue garnered would go to the Department of Education, with the remaining 25% going to the Department of Health for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.

If the proposal is successfully put on the November ballot, Oklahoma voters will be deciding the fate of recreational marijuana less than five months after voting to legalize medical cannabis.

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Oklahoma medical cannabis law takes effect; revisions to problematic regs proposed

Yesterday, the penalty-reduction piece of Oklahoma’s medical marijuana initiative became operational. Individuals possessing up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis face a reduced penalty — a misdemeanor fine of up to $400 — if they “can state a medical condition.”

Meanwhile, regulators made application materials available online for patients and caregivers, along with information for businesses and physicians. It will begin accepting applications on August 25.

In another encouraging development, regulators released proposed revisions to many of the problematic final regulations. The Board of Health will meet on August 1 at 3:00 p.m. to consider them.

Draft revisions (summarized here) would make several welcome changes, including:

• Removing the ban on selling smokeable cannabis and edibles;
• Removing the THC cap;
• Removing the requirement that pharmacists dispense cannabis;
• Making the physician registration optional;
• Removing the requirement that doctors subject all “females of childbearing age” to a pregnancy test before recommending cannabis; and
• Removing the limitation on hours of operation, which banned Sunday sales.

However, we still have some concerns, including that:

• Patients who are tenants must obtain their landlords’ written permission to cultivate. Given federal law, even landlords who are open to cultivation may be unwilling to assent in writing.
• Physicians must to “ascertain” if a female is pregnant or likely to become pregnant before recommending cannabis. This strong language may essentially require pregnancy tests for many women, which is patronizing and invasive and drives up costs.
• Physicians must provide an in-person medical exam within 30 days of the certification. Oklahoma allows telemedicine for most medications.

Comments can be submitted to

These proposed revisions follow a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma ACLU on behalf of advocates, and advice from Attorney General Mike Hunter that some regulations exceeded the department’s authority.

If you live in Oklahoma, please speak out and spread the word. Congratulations again to everyone who worked to pass …

Vermont: Primary election voter guide published

Early voting is already underway for the Vermont state primary election, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14.

This year, we sent candidates a survey consisting of only one question: “Do you support regulating and taxing the production and sale of cannabis in Vermont for use by adults 21 and older?”

Our voter guides include responses from candidates for state representative, state senator, and governor, in addition to public statements and incumbent legislators’ votes on the legalization bill. If a candidate in your district has not responded to the survey, we encourage you to reach out to them directly and ask their position!

For information on where and how to vote in Vermont, click here.

If you are a Vermont resident, please take time to read our voter guide for state legislative races and our gubernatorial voter guide before you vote in the August 14 primary. Then, please share the voter guides with your family and friends!

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Maine Legislature overrides Gov. LePage on medical marijuana reform

Earlier this month, the Maine Legislature overrode Gov. LePage’s vetoes of LD 238 and LD 1539, bills to improve Maine’s medical marijuana program. LD 238 allows for third-party extraction of medical marijuana. LD 1539 is the culmination of the Health and Human Services Committee’s session-long work reforming the medical marijuana program.

The bipartisan omnibus reform bill:

  • removes the qualifying condition list so that any Mainer can use medical marijuana so long as their doctor thinks it would be helpful for them;
  • eliminates the requirement that a patient must designate a caregiver or dispensary as their sole provider, allowing for more patient choice;
  • adds two more dispensaries to the existing eight dispensaries and removes the cap on the dispensaries after January 1, 2021;
  • allows for caregivers to open storefronts, if the town approves; and
  • much more…you can read a summary of the changes here.

These reforms are a win for the patients and the industry, and a hearty “Congratulations!” is in order for everyone that worked hard to make this happen.

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Study: Cannabis Use Associated With Increased Survival Rates in Heart Attack Patients

Those with a history of marijuana use who suffer a heart attack are less likely to die during hospitalization than those who don’t have marijuana in their system, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS One, and epublished by the National Institute of Health.

For the study researchers analyzed the hospital records of over 3,854 heart-attack patients who acknowledged that they’ve recently consumed cannabis or had tested positive for it, and compared the data with 1,273,897 individuals who were similarly matched but hadn’t recently consumed marijuana. Researchers found that cannabis use was not associated with adverse short-term health outcomes; this was found after they controlled for potential confounders such as tobacco use.

In addition, “marijuana-using patients were significantly less likely to die, experience shock, or require an IABP (intra-aortic balloon pump) post AMI (acute myocardial infarction) than patients with no reported marijuana use”, states the study. “These results suggest that, contrary to our hypothesis, marijuana use was not associated with increased risk of adverse short-term outcomes following AMI.”

Researchers state that “these findings suggest that additional study is warranted to further investigate these discoveries and to identify potential mechanisms by which marijuana is associated with improved short-term outcomes following AMI.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

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SSDP Establishes International Activities Fund

In 2014, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy international chapter network consisted of Ireland, Mexico and Nigeria. Four years later, we’re in 30 countries on every habitable continent.

During that time, we’ve taken action on regional issues, such as the Ayotzinapa student massacre and extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, co-hosted youth drug policy activists in Bangkok and organized dozens of workshops in West Africa, as well as four annual conferences in Ireland, the most recent of which in April included an announcement from the Green Party of Ireland that they would back cannabis legalization.

Juana Boateng founded the first SSDP chapter in Ghana—a country where defendants facing drug charges are stripped of due process. “We started advocating for the rights of people who use drugs by taking to the streets and talking to people about our cause,” Juana explains. “It’s been a tough road for us as we had minimal funds to accomplish this work. But the love, support and encouragement I received from amazing, intelligent SSDPers gave me a sense of belonging. I feel confident, bold and privileged because I know I belong to a family, a team of change makers and a group not scared to fight for what’s right.”

Marisa Morales’ sign reads: “Support. Do not punish.”

Estudiantes por una Política Sensata de Drogas México was founded in 2010 and has since grown to support students in 14 states. “The current prohibitionist drug policies in México only focus on security instead of health,” says Marisa Morales. “It’s been gratifying to be able to influence drug policy in México, especially because we’re the only youth organization working on this issue. Currently, we’re advocating for cannabis regulation. México took a promising first step last year by approving the use of medical cannabis. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re moving forward.”

How To Use Hemp Oil: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide

Hemp oil

Hemp oil is quickly becoming all the rage thanks to its myriad uses and its health and nutritional benefits. But with all the information floating around out there, you may be wondering exactly how to use hemp oil.

Don’t fret! The hemp oil experts at Honest Marijuana are here to help. In this article, we’ll show you how to use the different forms of hemp oil so you can find the one that’s right or you.

Before we get to that, though, we’ll explain what hemp oil is, what benefits it has to offer, and what side effects to look out for.

What Is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil — or hemp seed oil, to be more accurate — is an oil (duh!) produced from the seeds (as opposed to the flowers) of the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Astute readers will notice that the genus and species of the hemp plant are identical to the genus and species of strains such as Sour Diesel, Ghost Train Haze, and Super Lemon Haze.

The difference between the two lies in the fact that the hemp plant is bred to be low in cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBG, CBN. The percentage of cannabinoids in hemp is so low as to be almost zero.

That means that you can’t use the hemp plant — or hemp oil — the same way you would use other higher-percentage-of-cannabinoid strains of Cannabis sativa.

In other words, hemp oil is more akin to olive oil (in the way it’s produced, in its benefits, and in its side effects) than it is to CBD oil or THC oil. The bottom line is that hemp oil is primarily a foodstuff, as opposed to a medicine or a recreational drug.

Will Hemp Oil Get You High?

No, hemp oil will not get you high. As we mentioned above, the THC content in …

Rhode Island Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Bill Into Law

Legislation allowing those with past marijuana convictions to have the charges expunged (removed) from their criminal record has been signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo (D).

House Bill 8355 and companion measure Senate Bill 2447 allows those with past convictions for crimes involving the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to petition the court for an order of expungement. It states, “[W]here the court has determined that all conditions of the original criminal sentence have been completed, … the court [will] order the expungement without cost to the petitioner.” The law took effect immediately upon passage,

In Rhode Island, the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized since 2013.

“If an act has been decriminalized since a person was charged and paid their price for it, that person shouldn’t have to keep paying the price in the form of being denied jobs and other opportunities because of their criminal record,” bill sponsor Senator Harold Metts said in a statement. “Let them move on, and they can better support themselves and their families and contribute to our communities and our state.”

Delaware lawmakers passed similar legislation this month permitting the expungement of marijuana-related offenses that have since been decriminalized. That bill is awaiting action from the Governor. Maryland enacted a similar law in 2017.

Both Massachusetts and Oregon have enacted legislation vacating the convictions of marijuana-related crimes that are now defined as legal under state law. In California, where voters elected to legalize the adult use of marijuana in 2016, District Attorneys in various cities and counties – including San Francisco and San Diego – are automatically reviewing and dismissing thousands of past marijuana-related convictions.

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N.J. hits pause on low-level marijuana prosecutions

It was a confusing news cycle, with Jersey City’s municipal prosecutor, Jake Hudnut, releasing a memo effectively decriminalizing marijuana locally and state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal declaring that action invalid. Now, AG Grewal has told all prosecutors to “adjourn” (postpone) marijuana prosecutions in municipal court until at least September 4, when his office will issue new guidance.

Hopefully, the state will legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana prior to that, and people with pending cases will never be prosecuted. If you are a New Jersey resident, your lawmakers need to hear from you! Please click here to ask them to end New Jersey’s failed policy of marijuana prohibition today, before one more person is branded with a criminal conviction for choosing to use a substance safer than alcohol.

In other good news, Asm. Jamel Holley announced plans to propose amendments to improve upon Sen. Nick Scutari’s bill to tax and regulate marijuana, such as making it easier to expunge prior marijuana convictions. We hope the final bill will also include small business opportunities and provisions that ensure that people harmed by prohibition have an opportunity to participate in all aspects of the industry.

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CBD Water: What It Is And Why It’s So Awesome

CBD water

It’s a wonderful time to be alive! Sure, the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket faster than ever. We can’t ignore that. But there is a bright spot amidst all the chaos: cannabis is finally getting the attention and credit it rightly deserves.

And because the world is finally starting to see what cannabis can do other than get you high, an exciting set of events are occurring: people are coming up with novel and unique ways to get cannabis (or cannabinoids, to be more specific) into your system. Case in point: CBD water.

Yes, you read that right. CBD water is actually a thing. You can buy it right now if you want to. But just because it’s available to anyone with a few bucks in their pocket, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions first.

If you’re new to the ganja game (or even if you’re not), you may be wondering:

  • What is CBD?
  • What is CBD water?
  • Why is CBD water so awesome?
  • Will CBD water get you high?

In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana will answer all those questions so you can make an informed decision. We’ll also investigate whether CBD water has any side effects and whether or not you can make your own CBD water at home.

So let’s start with the most basic question in this discussion.

What Is CBD?

CBD Molecule

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of a group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is probably the best-known cannabinoid, but CBD is rapidly growing in popularity and notoriety. Other cannabinoids include:

And that’s just for starters. Scientists have isolated 113 different cannabinoids so far. Who knew the cannabis plant held such a wealth of ingredients, right? But back to the topic at hand.

CBD interacts with neurons (or receptors) in your brain — and in your body itself — …

Over $122 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in Colorado in May

Those in Colorado purchased over $122 million worth of  marijuana and marijuana products in May, according to new data released by the state’s Department of Revenue.

All together there was $122,868,216 worth of marijuana and marijuana products purchased legally in Colorado in May. This is a slight decrease from the $124 million sold in April.

Of the $122 million in marijuana sold in May, around $26.2 million came from the sale of medical marijuana, while the other $96.6 million came from those 21 and older purchasing marijuana for recreational purchases. From these sales, Colorado garnered nearly $20 million in tax revenue.

The new data brings the state’s total marijuana sales for 2018 to around $610 million. This puts Colorado on track to sell around $1.5 billion in legal marijuana for 2018, which would be on par with the $1.5 billion sold in 2017, and slightly higher than the $1.3 billion sold in 2016.

Marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012, with marijuana retail outlets opening for business in 2014.  Marijuana is taxed at 15% (plus the standard 2.9% statewide sales tax), with the revenue going towards schools, hospitals and roads.

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Study: States Decriminalizing Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Youth Usage Rates, Decreases Drug-Related Arrests by 75%

In a study of five states that have decriminalized marijuana, it was found that decriminalization did not increase usage rates among children in any state, and it led to a massive decrease in drug arrests.

“A number of public health professional organizations support the decriminalization of cannabis due to adverse effects of cannabis-related arrests and legal consequences, particularly on youth”, begins the abstract of the study, published by the  International Journal of Drug Policy. “We sought to examine the associations between cannabis decriminalization and both arrests and youth cannabis use in five states that passed decriminalization measures between the years 2008 and 2014: Massachusetts (decriminalized in 2008), Connecticut (2011), Rhode Island (2013), Vermont (2013), and Maryland (2014).”

Data on cannabis possession arrests were obtained from federal crime statistics; data on cannabis use were obtained from state Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) surveys, years 2007-2015. Using a “difference in difference” regression framework, researchers “contrasted trends in decriminalization states with those from states that did not adopt major policy changes during the observation period.”

According to the study, decriminalization was associated with a 75% reduction in the rate of drug-related arrests for youth with similar effects observed for adult arrests. Decriminalization was “not associated with any increase in the past-30 day prevalence of cannabis use overall or in any of the individual decriminalization states.”

The study concludes by stating that; “Decriminalization of cannabis in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maryland resulted in large decreases in cannabis possession arrests for both youth and adults, suggesting that the policy change had its intended consequence. Our analysis did not find any increase in the prevalence of youth cannabis use during the observation period.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine, The Ohio State University, the University of Illinois and Eastern Virginia Medical School, can be found by clicking here.

North Dakota May Have Recreational Legalization on the November Ballot

Michigan and Utah already have marijuana-law reform initiatives on the ballot in November. North Dakota may just join them.

On July 9, Legalize ND submitted 18,000 signatures (4,500 more than required) to get the North Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative on the ballot.

The measure is purposefully vague; it doesn’t call for specific amounts that would be legal or how to create a commercial market for cultivation, processing, testing and sales. That’ll be up to the legislature, says Legalize ND’s Cole Haymond:

“This bill is by far the most progressive yet most conservative marijuana legalization bill that will be on any ballot across the country. We leave our bill wide open so the legislature can do their job—regulations, taxes, zoning, whatever.”

There’s a precedent for such an initiative in North Dakota: In 2016, voters passed Measure 5, which legalized medical marijuana by a 64% margin. That bodes well for recreational legalization in the Peace Garden State.

Possession is currently a misdemeanor punishable by maximums of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. All other marijuana offenses are felonies. In addition to …

Oregon Garners $9 Million in Marijuana Taxes in May

Oregon garnered $9 million in marijuana taxes in May.

According to the state’s Department of Revenue, Oregon garnered $8,868,932 in marijuana sales taxes in May.  Only one time in the state’s history has more marijuana tax revenue been garnered in a single month (January of this year with $9.3 million).

Of the $9 million in taxes garnered in May, $7.8 million came from a 17% statewide sales tax, with the remaining $1.2 million coming from citywide taxes (which under law can be as high as 3%).

Oregon is currently on tract to garner roughly $100 million in marijuana taxes for all of 2018. This would mark a 47% increase from the $68 million in taxes the state brought in from legal marijuana sales in 2017.

In Oregon the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana is legal for those 21 and older, thanks to a citizen’s initiative passed in 2014. The state has a licenses and regulated system of marijuana businesses, including retail outlets.

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Study: Cannabis May Help Treat Sickle Cell Disease

Cannabis may be a potential treatment option for those with sickle cell disease, according to a new study published on the website of the National Institute of Health.


“Legal access to marijuana, most frequently as “medical marijuana,” is becoming more common in the United States, but most states do not specify sickle cell disease as a qualifying condition”, states the study. “We were aware that some of our patients living with sickle cell disease used illicit marijuana, and we sought more information about this.” Sickle cell disease, according to Mayo Clinic, is “A group of disorders that cause red blood cells to become misshapen and break down.”

For the study, researchers “practice at an urban, academic medical center and provide primary, secondary, and tertiary care for ∼130 adults living with sickle cell disease. We surveyed our patients with a brief, anonymous, paper-and-pen instrument.” They “reviewed institutional records for clinically driven urine drug testing” and “tracked patient requests for certification for medical marijuana.”

Among 58 patients surveyed, 42% reported marijuana use within the past 2 years. Among users, “most endorsed five medicinal indications; a minority reported recreational use.” Among 57 patients who had at least one urine drug test, 18% tested positive for cannabinoids only, 12% tested positive for cocaine and/or phencyclidine only, and 5% tested positive for both cannabinoids and cocaine/phencyclidine.

“Our findings and those of others create a rationale for research into the possible therapeutic effects of marijuana or cannabinoids, the presumed active constituents of marijuana, in sickle cell disease”, states researchers. “Explicit inclusion of sickle cell disease as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana might reduce illicit marijuana use and related risks and costs to both persons living with sickle cell disease and society.”

More information on this study, including its full text, can be found by clicking here.

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Oklahoma AG Says Board of Health Doesn’t Have Authority to Ban Smoking Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter sent out a press release today stating that the Board of Health’s recent ban on smoking medical marijuana was beyond their authority.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter.

“The current rules contain provisions that are inconsistent with the plain language of State Question 788 and the State Board of Health acted outside of its authority when it voted to implement them,” Hunter said in a Wednesday press release, referencing the Board’s recent vote to alter the voter-approved initiative to ban smoking  medical marijuana despite the initiative clearly allowing  it.

“Although I didn’t support State Question 788, the people of the state have spoken and I have a legal duty to honor the decision made by the electorate”, says Hunter. “My advice today is made pursuant to that responsibility as attorney general.”

Hunter has called on the Board of Health to convene a special meeting in order to amend the rules to be in line with the will of State Question 788.

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Will France’s Post-World Cup Economic Boon Come from Hemp?

Since 1970, the winners of the World Cup have seen economic growth after their country’s victory. France’s boon could include CBD, if the government would allow it.

France, who defeated Croatia in the championship match on July 15, was the third-largest producer of hemp in the world in 2017 with 40,000 acres in cultivation, just after Canada (138,000 acres) and China (116,000 acres). In the US, acreage reached 25,000, doubling 2016’s output.

Industrial hemp is grown in France for its seeds and fibrous stems. Only a few strains of the plant, listed in article R.5132.86 of France’s Public Health Code for cannabis, are allowed for cultivation provided they contain less than 0.2% THC.

“France produces the lion’s share of Europe’s pulp and paper,” according to “It’s the most important hemp market in the EU, accounting for over 50% of fiber applications. French hemp cultivars are suited for grain and fiber production, the specific varieties that industry trends demand.”

France has the highest rates of cannabis consumption in Europe. Among France’s 67 million people, there are 800,000 regular cannabis users and

New Jersey announces it’s doubling the number of medical marijuana businesses

Good news! Today, the New Jersey Department of Health announced that it will begin accepting applications for six additional businesses that can grow, process, and sell medical cannabis in the state. The winning businesses are supposed to be announced on November 1. Unfortunately, there is no provision yet for equity applicants, although applicants may be awarded up to 50 (out of 1,000) points for diversity.

With the tiny number of existing businesses, patients have experienced supply shortages and high prices due to a lack of competition. Today’s expansion should help begin to address these problems, although more will need to be done. Separating the licenses for growing, processing, and selling cannabis will help make many more types of products available to patients, and the health department plans to consider additional applications for these licenses beginning in the fall.

In other news, while the June 30 budget deadline came and went without legislative action on any of the pending marijuana bills, Senate President Steve Sweeny has said he believes there could be a vote on legalizing and regulating this summer.

If you are a New Jersey resident, click here to ask for your lawmakers’ support.

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Study: CBD May Be Useful In Treating Breast Cancer

CBD may be a useful treatment for various breast cancer subtypes, according to a new study published by the journal The Breast.

“Studies have emphasized an antineoplastic effect of the non-psychoactive, phyto-cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD)”, begins the study’s abstract, which was epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health. “However, the molecular mechanism underlying its antitumor activity is not fully elucidated. Herein, we have examined the effect of CBD on two different human breast cancer cell lines”.

In both cell lines, “CBD inhibited cell survival and induced apoptosis in a dose dependent manner as observed by MTT assay, morphological changes, DNA fragmentation and ELISA apoptosis assay.”

The results “suggest that CBD treatment induces an interplay among PPARγ, mTOR and cyclin D1 in favor of apoptosis induction in both ER-positive and triple negative breast cancer cells, proposing CBD as a useful treatment for different breast cancer subtypes.”

The full study, conducted by researchers at Alexandria University in Egypt, can be found by clicking here.

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Task Force Recommends Regulating Recreational Cannabis in New York

Bordered by several states (Massachusetts, Vermont) and one country (Canada) that have legalized marijuana, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in January, requested that a task force look into doing the same in the Empire State. That task force, under the auspices of the state’s Department of Health, issued its report on July 13. The findings are stunning:

“The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.”

• “Areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations. Incorporating proper metrics and indicators will ensure rigorous and ongoing evaluation.”

• “Numerous New York State agencies and subject matter experts in the fields of public health, mental health, substance use, public safety, transportation and economics worked in developing this assessment.”

“No insurmountable obstacles to regulation of marijuana were raised.”

• “Regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The creation of a regulated marijuana program would enable New York State to better control licensing, ensure quality control and consumer protection, and set age and quantity restrictions.”

Study: Eating Raw Cannabis Associated With Significant Improvements in Insomnia Patients

Consuming “raw, natural medical cannabis flower” is associated with “significant improvements” in insomnia patients, finds a new study published by the open access journal Medicines.

For the study 409 people with a specified condition of insomnia completed 1056 medical cannabis administration sessions using the Releaf AppTM educational software during which they recorded real-time ratings of “self-perceived insomnia severity levels prior to and following consumption, experienced side effects, and product characteristics, including combustion method, cannabis subtypes, and/or major cannabinoid contents of cannabis consumed.” Within-user effects of different flower characteristics were modeled using “a fixed effects panel regression approach with standard errors clustered at the user level.”

Researchers found that “Releaf AppTM users showed an average symptom severity reduction of -4.5 points on a 0⁻10 point visual analogue scale.” Use of pipes and vaporizers was associated with “greater symptom relief and more positive and context-specific side effects as compared to the use of joints, while vaporization was also associated with lower negative effects.” Cannabidiol (CBD) “was associated with greater statistically significant symptom relief than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but the cannabinoid levels generally were not associated with differential side effects.”

The study concludes; “Consumption of medical Cannabis flower is associated with significant improvements in perceived insomnia with differential effectiveness and side effect profiles, depending on the product characteristics.”

For the full study, click here.

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