Kansas Senate Passes Bill to Reduce Penalties for Possessing Up to 450 Grams of Cannabis

cannabudKansas’ full Senate has given approval to legislation that would reduce the penalties for the possession of up to 450 grams of cannabis. The vote was an overwhelming 38 to 1.

If passed into law, House Bill 2049 would reduce the penalty associated with someone’s first cannabis possession offense (as long as it’s under 450 grams) to a class B misdemeanor, down from a class A misdemeanor. This reduces the maximum potential jail sentence to six months, down from the possibility of a full year.

House Bill 2049 would also defelonize second cannabis possession offenses, reducing them to a class A misdemeanor, bringing the maximum sentence to a year, down from three and a half years as it currently stands.

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North Dakota Committee Votes 11 to 2 to Legalize Hemp

hemphemphempThe North Dakota House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has voted 11 to 2 to give approval to House Bill 1054, to legalize industrial hemp.

The proposed law, which now moves towards a full House vote, is sponsored by Representative Mike Verchio (R-Hill City) with a bipartisan coalition of 39 cosponsors. If passed into law, it would explicitly legalize the cultivation and production of industrial hemp for commercial purposes.

Specifically, the bill states that “any person in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, and buy industrial hemp (cannabis sativa l.) having no more than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol.

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Over $5.4 Billion in Legal Cannabis Sold in the United States in 2015

cannabismoney1Legal cannabis sales in the United States passed $5.4 billion in 2015, according to a new report released by the ArcView Group, which is a cannabis investment network.

According to the report, the $5.4 billion represents an $800 million increase from 2014, when total sales of legal cannabis reached $4.6 million.

“Many in the business and financial sector have taken a ‘wait and see’ approach to the legal cannabis industry”, says ArcView Group CEO Troy Dayton. “The new data confirms what pioneer investors and entrepreneurs suspected.  Legalization of cannabis is one of greatest business opportunities of our time and it’s still early enough to see huge growth”.

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Arizona: Over 150,000 Signatures Collected to Place Cannabis Legalization on November Ballot

arizonaThe Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona has announced that they’ve collected over 150,000 signatures on their initiative to legalize recreational cannabis. The group needs to collect 150,642 signatures for their measure to be officially placed on the November ballot, though they’re aiming for 230,000 to account for any invalid signatures (any duplicate signatures, or any signatures from those who aren’t registered Arizona voters).

If palced on the ballot and passed into law, the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act 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 cultivation centers would also be authorized, similar to Colorado’s Amendment 64 which was approved by voters in 2012.

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Poll: New Hampshire Voters Strongly Support Decriminalizing Drug Possession

By Drug Policy Alliance

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and Independents Oppose Arresting People for Simple Possession decriminalizing drug possesssionof Any Drug, Want Health Insurers to Provide Treatment and Support Eliminating Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Non-Violent Drug Offenders

CONCORD, NH — A substantial majority of New Hampshire presidential primary voters support decriminalizing drug possession, according to a new poll released by the Drug Policy Alliance.

Sixty-six percent of voters in the first-in-the-nation primary, including half of all Republicans and 68% of independents, think people caught with a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use should be evaluated for drug issues, offered treatment but not be arrested or face any jail time.

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Study: CBD Oil ‘Highly Promising’ as Treatment for Pediatric Epilepsy

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Cannabis oil.

Cannabis oil.

The administration of cannabis oil extracts high in cannabidiol reduces seizure frequency in children with intractable epilepsy, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the journal Seizure.

Israeli researchers retrospectively evaluated the effects of CBD oil in a multicenter cohort of 74 patients with intractable epilepsy. Participants in the trial were resistant to conventional epilepsy treatment and were treated with CBD extracts for a period of at least three months. Extracts in the study were provided by a pair of Israeli-licensed growers and were standardized to possess a CBD to THC ratio of 20 to 1.

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Enough Signatures Collected in Maine to Put Cannabis Legalization to a Vote

maineThe Maine Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol will submit more than 100,000 signatures to state officials on Monday in support of a ballot initiative to end cannabis prohibition. The campaign needs to submit 61,123 valid signatures from registered Maine voters to qualify for the November ballot.

State Representative Diane Russell will join the campaign for a news conference at 10 a.m. ET in front of the campaign’s headquarters in Falmouth (183 U.S. Route 1) on Monday. Campaign leaders and volunteers will then load boxes of petitions onto a truck and deliver them to the Maine Secretary of State in Augusta (111 Sewall St.) at approximately 12 p.m. ET.

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Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

vermontIn a decisive 4 to 1 vote, the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill today that would end cannabis prohibition in the state and regulate the plant for adult personal use.

Senate Bill 241 would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and would establish a tightly controlled system of licensed cannabis cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores. It would also create a study commission to examine issues such as edible cannabis products and home cultivation, which would not be allowed under the bill.

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Study Finds THC Inhibits Weight Gain

By NORML

budcannabisCalgary, Canada: THC administration prevents weight gain in mice fed a high fat diet, according to preclinical trials data published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Investigators at the University of Calgary and at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario assessed the impact of small, daily doses of THC in diet-induced obese mice. They reported that THC intake inhibited increased fat. They concluded, “Chronic THC treatment … prevented high fat diet-induced increases in body weight.”

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Cannabis Would be Legal Under New Hawaii Bill

hawaiiNew legislation has been introduced in Hawaii’s Senate that would legalize recreational cannabis for everyone 21 and older. The proposal – Senate Bill 2581 – has four sponsors and has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.

If approved into law, the proposal would make it so that the “possession, use, display, purchase, transfer, or transport of marijuana, marijuana accessories, or marijuana paraphernalia for personal use shall be immune from criminal prosecution”. The “possession, growing, processing, or transporting” of up to six cannabis plants (no more than three flowering) would also be legal, as would the “transfer or sale of one ounce or less of marijuana with or without remuneration”.

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Florida: Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis Officially Qualifies for November Ballot

floridamedcanThe Florida Division of Elections has confirmed that United for Care’s initiative to legalize medical cannabis has exceeded the 683,149 signatures required to be placed on the 2016 presidential election ballot. The initiative is nearly identical to a 2014 medical cannabis initiative which received 58% of the vote in the general election but failed to become law due to a 60% requirement in Florida for constitutional amendments. As with the 2014 measure, this new measure will be Amendment 2.

“Compassion is coming,” said United for Care chairman, John B. Morgan, who largely funded the signature collection campaign for the initiative. “This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief. What Tallahassee politicians refused to do, the people will do together in this election.”

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Virginia House Votes 98 to 0 to Legalize Hemp

Plants-from-hempYesterday Virginia’s full House of Delegates passed a bill to legalize the cultivation and production of hemp. The vote was a unanimous 98 to 0.

House Bill 699, introduced by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-Norge), would end the state’s prohibition on industrial hemp farming, while mandating that the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services “adopt regulations as necessary to license persons to grow and process industrial hemp for any purpose.”

In Virginia, thanks to a law passed last year, cultivating hemp for research purposes is legal; HB 699 would expand this to allow cultivating hemp for commercial and personal purposes.

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NORML Announces Denver Initiative to Legalize Cannabis Clubs/Coffee Shops

By Keith Stroup, NORML Founder

cannabis clubsThis past Friday, Denver NORML announced a new effort to enact a municipal voter initiative this year in Denver to legalize the social use of marijuana in certain venues within the city. The initiative will be known as “Responsible Use Denver,” and will seek to legalize private marijuana clubs for those 21 and up, as well as protect businesses that permit responsible adult marijuana use.

There are a number of important fixes needed to the initial legalization laws, but none impact more smokers than the current ban on marijuana smoking outside a private home.

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Kansas Senate Committee Votes to Lower Cannabis Penalties, Legalize Medical Cannabis Oil

kansasKansas’ Senate Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee has given approval today to two cannabis-related bills. One of the proposals would legalize the possession and use of low-THC cannabis oil for medical use, and the other would lower the penalties associated with someone’s first and second cannabis possession offense.

The proposal reduces the charge for first-time cannabis possession to a class B misdemeanor, down from a class A misdemeanor. This reduces the maximum sentence to 6 months, rather than a full year. A person’s second cannabis possession offense would be reduced to a class A misdemeanor, whereas it’s currently a felony.

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Bipartisan Washington State Bill Would Legalize Cannabis Cultivation for Everyone 21 and Older

cannabis cultivationInitiative 502, approved by Washington State voters in 2012, legalized the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis in dried form, up to 16 ounces in edible form, and up to 72 ounces in liquid form, for those 21 and older. The initiative also legalized cannabis retail outlets. What it didn’t legalize, however, was personal cultivation, which remains a felony.

Now, legislation – House Bill 2629 – has been filed in the state’s House of Representatives which would fix this, legalizing the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants, and up to 24 ounces of cannabis harvested from said plants (currently the possession of over an ounce but under 40 grams is a misdemeanor; anything over 40 grams is a felony). The proposal was filed by Representatives Brian Blake (D), Cary Condotta (R), and Jessyn Farrell (D).

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