Over 25,000 Free Cannabis Seeds Distributed in Washington D.C.

On March seeds26th and March 28th, the D.C. Cannabis Campaign – the group responsible for legalizing cannabis in the nation’s capital – held events where they distributed thousands of free cannabis seeds to anyone 21 and older. According to estimates from the group, there was over 25,000 seeds distributed over the course of the two-day, 5-hour event.

In D.C., thanks to the passage of Initiative 71 in 2014, the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, and the private cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, is entirely legal for those 21 and older. However, a legal method of obtaining cannabis or cannabis seeds has yet to be established, meaning these events will allow thousands of individuals to begin cultivating their first legal cannabis plant.

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North Dakota Governor Signs Bill Legalizing Industrial Hemp

North Dakota hempGovernor Jack Dalrymple signed into law Friday House Bill 1436, a proposal to legalize the production and cultivation of industrial hemp.

The proposal, which passed the state’s Senate with a 46 to 1 vote, and was approved by the House of Representatives with an 87 to 5 vote, will legalize the production and cultivation of hemp, which will be defined as having 0.3% THC or less. The measure establishes a regulatory framework that will allow farmers wanting to grow the crop to become licensed with the state.

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American Academy of Pediatrics Opposes School Drug Testing

SchoolsAAP should not use random, suspicionless drug tests to catch or deter drug users, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says in an updated policy statement. The Academy came out in opposition to such policies in the new issue of the journal Pediatrics.

“School-based drug testing is a controversial approach to preventing substance use by students”, says the AAP’s report. “Although school drug testing has hypothetical benefits, and studies have noted modest reductions in self-reported student drug use, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes widespread implementation of these programs because of the lack of solid evidence for their effectiveness.”

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Initiative to Legalize Cannabis Filed in Arizona

A group cannabiscalled Arizonans for Responsible Legalization has filed an initiative with the state to legalize recreational cannabis, with a goal of putting the issue to a vote next year.

“Arizonans for Responsible Legalization is committed to common sense regulation of the marijuana industry and ensuring the greatest benefit to taxpayers,” says Gina Berman, an emergency room physician who will lead the effort.

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Willie Nelson Launching Own Brand of Cannabis Strains and Stores

Willie Nelson enjoying a joint.

Willie Nelson enjoying a joint.

County-singer and activist Willie Nelson has announced plans to launch a chain of recreational cannabis stores around the United States, which will feature his own brand of cannabis strains and smoking accessories. The new line will be labelled Willie’s Reserve.

“Willie has spent a lifetime in support of cannabis, both the industrial hemp side and the marijuana side”, says Willie’s Reserve spokesperson Michael Bowman. “He wants it to be something that’s reflective of his passion. Ultimately, it’s his. But it was developed by his family, and their focus on environmental and social issues, and in particular this crazy war on drugs, and trying to be a bright light amongst this trail as we’re trying to extract ourselves from the goo of prohibition.”

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New Jersey Assembly Approves Medical Cannabis Improvement Bill

A measurenewjersey to improve upon New Jersey’s medical cannabis program has passed the state’s Assembly with a 44 to 20 vote.

The proposal – ACR 224 – would add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a condition that qualifies someone to become a legal medical cannabis patient. Currently nine states – Michigan, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona and Oregon – allow the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of PTSD.

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Justice Department: DEA Agents had ‘Sex Parties’ with Prostitutes Paid for by Drug Cartels

By John Bresnahan and Lauren French, Politico.com

A sign with a DEA badge marks the entrance to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington, VirginiaAgents of the Drug Enforcement Administration reportedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by drug cartels in Colombia, according to a new inspector general report released by the Justice Department on Thursday.

In addition, Colombian police officers allegedly provided “protection for the DEA agents’ weapons and property during the parties,” the report states. Ten DEA agents later admitted attending the parties, and some of the agents received suspensions of two to 10 days.

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Virginia Governor Signs Hemp Legalization Bills Into Law

Virginia Governor virghempTerry McAuliffe has signed into law legislation to legalize the production and cultivation of industrial hemp.

House Bill 1277 and Senate Bill 955 would redefine hemp as an agricultural commodity and allow for the plant’s cultivation by licensed growers as part of a university-managed research program.

“Hemp is good for agriculture, it is good for the environment and is good for jobs”, says Delegate Joseph Yost, the bill’s primary sponsor.  “[The bill] sets up the necessary framework for Virginia to begin immediately moving forward on researching industrial hemp and eventually moving towards full commercialization.”

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Study Finds Cannabis Use Linked With Lower Diabetes Risk In HIV/HPC Patients

By Paul Armentano, NORML

Marseille, Francediabetes2: A history of cannabis use is positively associated with a lower risk of insulin resistance (IR) in HIV/Hepatitis C co-infected patients, according to a longitudinal analysis published online ahead of print in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Insulin resistance is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes.

French investigators evaluated the association between cannabis use and IR in a nationwide cohort of HIV/HCV co-infected patients over a 60-month period. Researchers reported that patients with a history of cannabis use – irrespective of frequency – were nearly three times less likely to be insulin resistant compared to non-users.

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Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis Approved by Iowa’s Senate Ways and Means Committee

A proposal toiowa legalize the medical use of cannabis, and to establish a system of dispensaries to distribute the medicine, has been approved by Iowa’s Senate Ways and Means Committee. The measure was approved earlier this month by the state’s Senate Human Resources Committee.

If approved into law, the Senate Study Bill 1243 would allow for the possession and use of medical cannabis by those with a qualifying medical condition who have received a recommendation from a physician. Qualifying conditions would include cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, post traumatic stress disorder, hepatitis C, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately the proposal would prohibit patients from actually smoking cannabis, meaning they’ll need to consume their medicine through tinctures, oils and vaping.

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Ohio: Advocates Begin Collecting Signatures on Initiative to Legalize Cannabis

ohio

ResponsibleOhio announced today that they’ve starting collecting signatures on their petition to legalize cannabis.

ResponsibleOhio, a group attempting to put an initiative to legalize cannabis on this year’s general election ballot, has officially starting collecting signatures for their proposal.

The group is required to submit 305,591 signatures from registered voters by July 1st, with the signatures gathered from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties; in each of the counties the total gathered must amount to 5% of the 2014 gubernatorial vote.

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California to Hold Public Forums on Legalizing Cannabis

By Daniel Wallis, Reuters

(Reuters) – CaliforniaWhite-Berry-Marijuana-Bud officials will hold forums starting next month across the most populous U.S. state to seek public input on proposals to legalize marijuana under a strict tax and regulatory system, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday.

California became the first U.S. state to allow medical marijuana at a ballot in 1996, and it was followed by several other states, some of which also later legalized recreational use of the drug by adults.

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