WA Liquor Control Board to Allow Roughly 400 Dispensaries to Become Licensed Outlets

washington-flagOn July 24th, the Washington State Liquor Control Board will be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and will be tasked with deciding which of the state’s currently operating medical cannabis collective gardens – which are forced to close by July 1st, 2016 – will be allowed to become licensed and legal outlets.

According to the Associated Press, the Board will use a merit-based system to decide which outlets to license. The Board estimates that 825 outlets will apply for a license, and they expect to approve about half.

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Nevada Voters Have Opportunity Next Year to Legalize Cannabis; Now’s the Time for Public Outreach

nevAlthough there are several states – including California, Arizona and Massachusetts – that may end up with an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis on their 2016 general election ballots, at this point, there’s only one state where that’s already the case; Nevada.

If approved by Nevada voters in the November, 2016 election, The Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, and the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, for those 21 and older. State-licensed cannabis retail outlets and production centers would also be authorized.

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Study: Cannabidiol Protects Against Cocaine Toxicity

cbdA new study published by the journal Mediators of Inflammation, and published online by the National Institute of Health, has found that cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis, can protect against cocaine toxicity, minimizing inflammatory injury caused by use of the drug.

“Cocaine is a commonly abused illicit drug that causes significant morbidity and mortality”, begins the study’s abstract. “The most severe and common complications are seizures, ischemic strokes, myocardial infarction, and acute liver injury. Considering the protective role of the endocannabinoid system against cell toxicity, we hypothesized that treatment with an anandamide hydrolysis inhibitor, URB597, or with a phytocannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), protects against cocaine toxicity.”

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U.S. House Committee Approves Bill Directing the DEA to Streamline Cannabis Research Approval Process

marijuana2008The United States House Appropriations Committee has voted to approve legislation that would direct the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to determine a plan for accelerating the approval process for those wanting to study cannabis.

Specifically, the provision – which is attached to a federal spending bill – mandates the agency to “review all relevant DEA rules governing research on the medical efficacy of marijuana and determine ways to facilitate further research through streamlining the DEA approval process.”

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Nevada Legislature Unanimously Passes Hemp Bill, Sends it to Governor

Nevada’s full Legislature has unanimously passed Senate Bill 305, a proposal to allow colleges and the state’s Department of Agriculture to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.Plants-from-hemp

Senate Bill 305 was approved 19 to 0 by the state’s Senate, and 41 to 0 by the House of Representatives. There’s no word yet on whether or not Governor Brian Sandoval will sign the bill into law, let it become law without his signature or veto it, though the legislature clearly has enough votes to override a potential veto.

Specifically, the proposal introduced by Senator Tick Segerblom would allow universities in the state, as well as the state’s Department of Agriculture, to grow and produce hemp for the purposes of researching the plant. Read the rest of this entry »

Nebraska Senate Votes 44 to 2 to Study Cannabis Oil

photosource420magazineA legislative proposal that would commission the University of Nebraska to study the effectiveness of low-THC cannabis oil in the treatment of seizure disorders has passed Nebraska’s full Senate with a 44 to 2 vote.

“LB 390 creates the Medical Cannabidiol Pilot Study within the University of Nebraska Medical Center for patients who suffer from severe and untreatable or treatment-resistant epileptic seizures”, according to the legislative intent for the bill, introduced by Senator Sue Crawford. “It allows access to low-THC cannabidiol oil for patients under the supervision of a neurologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Under LB 390, it shall be an affirmative and complete defense to prosecution if the defendant suffers from intractable seizures and is an active participant in the study or if the defendant is the parent or legal guardian of such an individual.”

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Missouri Governor Commutes Sentence of Man Serving Life in Prison for Cannabis

Jeff Mizanskey.

After over 20 years, Jeff Mizanskey has had his sentence commuted by Governor Jay Nixon.

Just days after saying he would consider doing so this summer, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has commuted the sentence of Jeff Mizanskey, a 61-year old man who has been in prison for over 20 years without parole over a cannabis-related charge. This will make him immediately eligible for parole.

“It’s amazing,” says Chris Mizanskey, Jeff’s son. “To be able to talk to him, to be able to sit here and have a conversation with him. To have my son sit on his lap, for him to be a part of his grandkid’s life, our lives, my whole family. I mean really words can’t even describe it.”

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Full Illinois Senate Passes Measure to Decriminalize Cannabis

thcannabisThe Illinois Senate has voted 37 to 19 to approve legislation that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

The measure, which passed the House of Representatives last month with a 63 to 53 vote, would remove the possibility of criminal charges for the possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis, reducing the offense to a civil infraction (ticket) of no more than $125. Under current Illinois law, the possession of any amount of cannabis can result in a misdemeanor charge with a potential year-long jail sentence.

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U.S. Senate Committee Votes to Allow VA Doctors to Recommend Medical Cannabis

vaIn a historic vote, the U.S Senate Appropriation Committee has approved an amendment to a federal spending bill that would allow Veteran Affairs (VA) physicians to recommend medical cannabis to their patients in states where the medicine is legal. The vote was 18 to 12.

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment, added to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, is sponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Specifically, it would undo a 2009 directive barring VA doctors from recommending medical cannabis, even in states where its legal.

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Oregon Court of Appeals Rules Police Intercepting Mail for Drug Dog Test is Unlawful

dogsniffIt’s illegal for police and U.S. postal inspectors to intercept packages and have a police dog test it simply because they believe it contains contraband, according to a new ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals.

The ruling, which will likely put an end to a long-standing police practice of intercepting mail without first obtaining a search warrant, came forth over a case where Portland police and a U.S. postal inspector intercepted a package headed to a Southeast Portland home because they believe it contained contraband, something a drug dog later confirmed. This led to the arrest of 26 year old Max Barnthouse.

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Washington: Only 22% of Voters Believe Cannabis Legalization Has Had a Negative Effect

wapicSupport for cannabis legalization has increased among Washington voters since they approved Initiative 502 in 2012, and a vast majority feel that the change in law has been a positive one, according to a new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey.

“[I]n 2012 Washingtonians voted to legalize marijuana usage by 12 points”, says Tom Jenson of PPP in a Wednesday press release. “Now voters in the state say they support marijuana being legal by 19 points, 56/37. 77% of voters say marijuana being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with likewise only 22% claiming marijuana legalization has affected them negatively.”

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Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Bill to Reduce Cannabis Penalties, Allow Expungement of Cannabis Convictions

prettybudsIn a unanimous vote, Louisiana’s Senate Judiciary Committee has given approval to legislation that would drastically reduce the penalties associated with an individuals second and third cannabis possession offense, while allowing those with just one offense to have the charge expunged from their record.

The proposal, sponsored by Senator J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans), would save the state up to $16 million a year by reducing the penalty for a second cannabis possession offense to a misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of 6 months; under current law an individuals second offense is a felony with a potential 5 year prison sentence. The measure would reduce the penalty for a third cannabis possession offense to a felony with a maximum sentence of 4 years, rather than a maximum of 20 as it currently stands.

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Colorado Legislature Passes Legislation to Establish Hemp Seed Program, Sent to Governor for Consideration

seedsColorado’s full Legislature has given approval to Senate Bill 196, a proposal to establish a certified hemp seed program. The measure has been sent to Governor John Hickenlooper, who’s expected to sign it into law.

If signed by Governor Hickenlooper, or allowed to become law without his signature, Senate Bill 196 would establish a hemp seed program through the state’s Department of Agriculture, allowing farmers to apply with the Department to receive hemp seeds which they could then use for legally cultivating industrial hemp.

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Missouri Governor to Consider Freeing Man Serving Life in Prison for Cannabis This Summer

Jeff Mizanskey.

Jeff Mizanskey.

Jeff Mizanskey, a 61-year old Missouri man who has been in prison for over 20 years without parole over a cannabis-related charge, could be freed as soon as “relatively early summer”, according to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

Jeff was arrested in 1993 on his third nonviolent, cannabis-related charge. As part of the state’s controversial three-strike law, Jeff was sentenced to life in prison, without parole, despite having no history of violence and no criminal record other than the three cannabis charges.

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Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Supports Decriminalizing Cannabis, Legalizing Cannabis for Medical Use

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2016 presidential candidate.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2016 presidential candidate.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a 2016 candidate for President of the United States, says that he supports decriminalizing cannabis, and supports legalizing it for medical use.

“Let me just say this,” Sanders said during a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) interview. “The state of Vermont voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and I support that. I have supported the use of medical marijuana. And when I was mayor of Burlington, in a city with a large population, I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana. Our police had more important things to do.”

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