Pot-license “points” systems in Aurora, Thornton invite legal scrutiny

Cities and towns in Colorado have devised all sorts of ways to decide how many pot shops can open and where, but two communities using a points-based system to evaluate and select prospective recreational marijuana businesses — Aurora and Thornton — are running into legal hot water.

Aurora is facing a lawsuit alleging that it didn’t follow its own rules for ranking pot shop applicants for the two dozen licenses it issued. Thornton, which has four available licenses for recreational…

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New studies shine light on cannabis consumers’ spending habits

America’s legal marijuana market topped $6.5 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow to $24 billion by 2025, yet data-driven insights into consumers have remained elusive.

Two new studies are shining a light on the cannabis consumer, providing insight into actual purchase behavior as the industry prepares for four new state recreational markets, including California, and six new medical markets expected to come online in the next eight months.

As the legal recreational and medical cannabis…

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Colorado House votes to bar cops from helping with federal marijuana crackdown

DENVER — Colorado may prohibit law enforcement officers from assisting in a potential federal marijuana crackdown.

The state House voted 56-7 Wednesday to bar public employees from assisting federal agents in “arresting a Colorado citizen for committing an act that is a Colorado constitutional right.”

The Colorado bill doesn’t specifically mention marijuana. But sponsors say it is inspired by threats that federal authorities may try cracking down on the marijuana industry. Federal…

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Creating standards for cannabis industry gets ASTM International board approval

ASTM International, a century-old standards organization, gave the official go-ahead to establish a standards-writing committee for the cannabis industry, officials announced Tuesday.

ASTM’s board of directors approved the formation of Committee D37, a group that will develop standards for cannabis, its products and processes, officials said. The committee, reported on by The Cannabist in March, is scheduled to hold its first meeting on June 11.

“This committee will help meet a need for…

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Colorado bill adding PTSD to medical marijuana list heads to governor’s desk

A bill to add PTSD to the list of Colorado’s medical marijuana qualifying conditions is headed to the governor’s desk.

The Colorado Senate on Tuesday voted 32-2 to re-pass Senate Bill 17, which was amended in the House.

What’s happened to this point:

The state House on Friday passed SB 17 by a vote of 39-25, with one member absent. The vote came a day after the bill was amended in second reading to add a stipulation that one of the two recommending physicians required for minor patients be…

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Here’s how Jeff Sessions has disrupted marijuana industry with words alone

As cannabis enthusiasts celebrate 4/20 across the country, the long shadow of the Trump Administration isn’t just a major buzz kill — it has also has sent chills across a blossoming cannabis industry and the wider decriminalization and legalization movement.

The administration has yet to crack down on enforcement of federal drug laws in its first 92 days, and as the 420 holiday weekend rambles on, the president has remained silent on the issue. Instead, he has allowed new Attorney General…

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Two arrested after gunfire near Denver’s 4/20 celebration; no one hurt

A brief gunfire incident occurred early Thursday evening near the annual 4/20 cannabis celebration in downtown Denver.

Police said nobody was hurt, and officers arrested two people soon after at least one shot rang out near 15th Street and Cleveland Place. It was unclear whether the incident was related to the 4/20 festival.

In all, five people were arrested at the Civic Center event and 20 people were written up with civil citations, police said.

Long lines, some over an hour, greeted…

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Marijuana has truly gone mainstream, survey finds

By Christopher Ingraham, (c) 2017, The Washington Post

Many marijuana users hide their stash in their closets. Most people who use marijuana are parents. There are almost as many marijuana users as there are cigarette smokers in the U.S.

Those facts and many more are among the conclusions of new survey from Yahoo News and Marist University, which illustrates how pot has become a part of everyday life for millions of Americans.

1. Nearly 55 million adults currently use marijuana

More…

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Six essential Colorado cannabis tours, from party buses to free-form adventures

They won’t adorn you with a hemp lei when you step off the plane, but Colorado remains a top destination for travelers looking to celebrate the “high holiday” of April 20.

Whether it’s to see the now seemingly annual Snoop Dogg concert or join thousands for the infamous 420 Rally at Denver’s Civic Center Park, there’s no shortage of marijuana revelry to take part in. It’s no coincidence there has been a big spike in dispensary sales every April in the state’s recreational marijuana era.

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“Marijuana is not a factor” in war on drugs, Homeland Security Secretary says

Two high ranking Trump administration officials; two vastly different positions on marijuana.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to revive the war on drugs, and a crackdown on weed appears to be a major part of that. He is expected to pursue harsher punishments for using and distributing marijuana, which were relaxed under President Trump’s predecessor, as The Washington Post’s Sari Horowitz has reported. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions opined last year.

It’s a far cry from…

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Colorado lawmakers pass measure allowing counties to levy, collect marijuana taxes

State lawmakers approved a bill Monday that would allow counties to levy and collect sales tax on recreational marijuana, a move inspired by a standoff between Adams County and three of its cities that could wind up in the state Supreme Court.

The measure, if signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper, would allow counties to impose a pot tax in unincorporated areas without challenge but would have to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with cities and towns to tax weed there.

Adams…

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Dispute over marijuana taxing authority in Colorado may continue — despite state bill designed to defuse it

A bill designed to resolve a high-stakes standoff over taxing authority between Colorado counties and cities when it comes to recreational marijuana sales is expected to pass out of the legislature Monday.

But the measure, if signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper next month, may not stop a protracted legal battle between Adams County and three of its cities from winding up at the state’s high court.

House Bill 1203, sponsored by Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, authorizes counties to…

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Wanted: cannabis tracking system for billion dollar market

DENVER — Washington state regulators have begun accepting bids for a new seed-to-sale tracking system to keep tabs on marijuana commerce, a deal with an initial value of about $3 million.

The competition likely will be fierce, given that the contract involves one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets.

But businesses won’t be squaring off against the provider of the state’s current seed-to-sale system, BioTrackTHC. The company said it has no plans to bid for the new contract, saying it is…

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Jared Polis: Leave cannabis regulation to the states, President Trump

Editor’s note: The Denver Post opinion pages solicited commentary from various marijuana policy and industry leaders, as well as the public, for a special cannabis-themed edition of the Sunday Perspective section the weekend before 4/20. The Cannabist will be presenting these op-eds throughout the week.


It turns out we are more the rule than the exception here in Colorado: A majority of Americans now live in an area that allows legal access to recreational or medical marijuana. You only…

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Digging into the details of Canada’s new law legalizing marijuana nationwide

Canada on Thursday released a plan to legalize recreational marijuana use across the country by July 2018. With a solid Liberal majority in government the plan is widely expected to become law, but it would leave the details of implementation, including commercial regulations, to individual provinces.

The bill’s backers framed it as an effort to reduce adolescent drug use and take profits out of the black market. “Criminal prohibition has failed to protect our kids and our communities,” said…

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Colorado ends plans for pot clubs over Trump uncertainty

By KRISTEN WYATT

DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawmakers on Thursday backed off plans to become the first U.S. state to regulate marijuana clubs, saying approval of Amsterdam-style pot clubs could invite a federal crackdown.

It was perhaps the starkest display yet of legal pot states’ uncertainty on how to regulate the drug under President Donald Trump. Alaska marijuana regulators recently delayed planned rules for on-site pot consumption at dispensaries.

Colorado’s measure, which would have…

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Erie should keep ban on retail marijuana sales, committee says

Erie should uphold a year-and-a-half-long ban on recreational marijuana sales, according to a recently unveiled report by the Retail Marijuana Ad-Hoc Committee, a task force created by the town last year to examine if such an option would be viable.

The committee on Tuesday night cited a number of factors that could be set in motion if such an embargo were lifted, including a net revenue drain on the town; limited demand as surrounding towns eat away at potential profits; limited allowable…

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Denver officials scrutinizing out-of-state CBD products sold in local pot shops

Denver is clamping down on CBD products that originate outside of Colorado.

A bulletin issued Wednesday by Denver Environmental Health’s Public Health Inspections Division outlines a policy prohibiting out-of-state-made cannabidiol (CBD) products intended for human consumption.

“It has come to DEH’s attention that some CBD products originate from unregulated manufacturing facilities, have been illegally shipped across state lines, contain unapproved ingredients, or have been made in unsafe…

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This is how Colorado could help pot shops under a federal marijuana crackdown

Concerned about a potential crackdown from President Donald Trump’s administration, Colorado lawmakers are advancing a bill that would allow recreational pot to be reclassified as medical marijuana so that it could not be seized by federal authorities.

The legislation would allow a one-time transfer prompted by a change in law or a shift in federal enforcement policy and drew no debate as it won final approval in the state Senate on a 28-7 vote Wednesday.

The effort comes after the White…

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So how do you get marijuana through TSA when traveling?

Cannabis users had a brief but intense moment of euphoria this week after the Transportation Security Administration seemed to give a green light to air travelers to pack medical marijuana in checked or carry-on luggage.

But the TSA’s apparent new acceptance of THC – which appeared on its website – went up in smoke almost as fast as news of the supposed change zipped through social media. In 24 hours or so, the TSA’s website went from green to red.

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Sessions’ right-hand man, Steven Cook, thinks Holder DOJ was “soft on crime”

When the Obama administration launched a sweeping policy to reduce harsh prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, rave reviews came from across the political spectrum. Civil rights groups and the Koch brothers praised Obama for his efforts, saying he was making the criminal justice system more humane.

But there was one person who watched these developments with some horror. Steven Cook, a former street cop who became a federal prosecutor based in Knoxville, Tennessee, saw nothing…

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Colorado bill making it a crime to grow recreational weed for others heads to gov’s desk

DENVER — Colorado was set Monday to outlaw marijuana growing co-ops soon after the state Senate unanimously approved a bill (HB17-1221) making it a crime for people to cultivate recreational pot for other people.

The bill supported by the office Gov. John Hickenlooper passed 35-0 but it was unclear when he would sign it.

There are no state estimates on how many collective recreational marijuana growing operations exist in Colorado, though they are popular among users who share the cost of…

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44 in Congress support effort to keep DOJ handcuffed in medical cannabis states

A bipartisan collection of nearly four-dozen U.S. House members want the feds to maintain their hands-off enforcement position toward states that have legalized medical marijuana.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican lawmaker from California, has spearheaded spending bill amendments that prevent the Justice Department from meddling in medical marijuana states. On Monday, he announced that he is urging the Commerce, Justice and Science committee chiefs to continue that path.

In a letter…

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Colorado set to prohibit marijuana co-op growing operations

DENVER — Colorado was set Monday to outlaw marijuana growing co-ops soon after the state Senate unanimously approved a bill making it a crime to for people to cultivate recreational pot for other people.

The bill supported by the office Gov. John Hickenlooper passed 35-0 but it was unclear when he would sign it.

There are no state estimates on how many collective recreational marijuana growing operations exist in Colorado, though they are popular among users who share the cost of…

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New federal bill would reschedule marijuana as Schedule III

The latest marijuana-centric bill before Congress would place cannabis as a Schedule III substance, a classification shared by Tylenol with codeine, ketamine and dronabinol.

Two Florida congressmen, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, introduced legislation Thursday that would transfer marijuana to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications.

Read the complete story at The…

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Bay Area company gives free cannabis products to cancer patients

OAKLAND — After Alex Lee had surgery for brain cancer in 2013, he had to take a chemotherapy capsule that made him nauseous. Ron Gershoni, a college buddy who was just getting into the cannabis extraction business, brought him a big jar of cannabis oil.

“As soon as I took the the pill I would feel nauseous,” said Lee, a 37-year-old San Francisco resident who works in technology sales. “I would immediately do a dab (a marijuana oil extract that users vaporize and inhale) or several dabs to…

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Jeff Sessions has created a task force to review federal marijuana policies

In a memo sent this week to the U.S. attorneys, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a task force within the Justice Department will evaluate marijuana policy as part of a larger review of crime reduction and public safety.

The Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety will “identify ways in which the federal government can more effectively combat illegal immigration and violent crime, such as gun crime, drug trafficking, and gang violence,” according to the memo issued…

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California police not down with Gov. Brown’s marijuana plan

LOS ANGELES — California law enforcement officials objected Wednesday to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed streamlining of the state’s marijuana regulations, saying his plan could endanger public safety.

Brown’s administration released documents late Tuesday outlining proposed changes to square the state’s new recreational pot law with its longstanding law on medical marijuana.

But the California Police Chiefs Association representing all of the state’s municipal police forces said the governor’s…

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“Godfather of Grass” John Robert Boone deported from Canada

A runza (also called a bierock, fleischkuche, or kraut pirok) is a yeast dough bread pocket with a filling consisting of beef, pork, cabbage or sauerkraut, onions, and seasonings.[2][3][4] They are baked in various shapes such as a half-moon, rectangle, round (bun), square, or triangle. In Nebraska, the Runza is usually baked in a rectangular shape. The bierocks of Kansas, on the other hand, are generally baked in the shape of a bun.

History[edit]

The Runza sandwich originated in Russia…

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Why you shouldn’t be surprised that Trump loyalist Roger Stone is a champion of legal marijuana

Roger Stone caused an internet sensation last week when he wrote a blog post on his website imploring the Trump administration not to interfere with marijuana legalization efforts.

In doing so, he criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions while invoking individual and states’ rights, industry growth and even the Bible.

“Tens of millions of Liberty minded Americans… (are) fully expecting (Trump) to end the ineffectual and wasteful War on Weed,” Stone wrote in the post titled, “Mr. President:…

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Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke introduces federal bill to curb driver’s license suspensions for drug offenses

Just five days after announcing his longshot bid to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke introduced a bill that seeks to repeal a federal law encouraging states to suspend or revoke driver’s licenses of people convicted of drug offenses.

The bipartisan Better Drive Act introduced Wednesday would repeal Section 159 of Title 23 in the United States Code, which reduces states’ highway funding by 8 percent per year if they—don’t automatically suspended the…

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Four governors team up, urge feds to keep marijuana enforcement status quo

Governors in four states have joined forces with a marijuana message for two top officials in the Trump administration.

In an open letter, the governors on Monday asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to “engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems.”

The signatories of the letter are Gov. Bill Walker of Alaska; Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado; Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon; and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington. They…

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Thousands attend Ann Arbor’s annual Hash Bash

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Several thousand people gathered Saturday on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor to celebrate marijuana.

The annual Hash Bash started Saturday afternoon on the school’s Diag and has become a rallying effort for legalizing marijuana use.

The Ann Arbor News reports that attorney and activist Jeffrey Hank released a pair of white doves Saturday as symbols of the fight to legalize pot.

Read the full story on The Cannabist.

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Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones’ NFL agenda topped by lifting ban on marijuana

What a fun little way to refer to AT&T Stadium is now becoming true of the NFL as a whole. It is, increasingly, becoming Jerry World.

Just look at the recent owner’s meeting in Arizona. The Dallas Cowboys’ owner, in an owners-only meeting, Jones reportedly raised several significant topics near and dear to his heart, including lifting the NFL’s ban on marijuana use, ending off-the-field investigations and the future of Commissioner Roger Goodell. And that was the subtext. The story of the…

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Exclusive: Here’s how Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper really feels about marijuana

In 2012, when Colorado voters wanted their state to legalize weed for adult recreational use, Gov. John Hickenlooper was thrust into an interesting predicament.

The moderate Democrat had stood in opposition to Amendment 64, a measure he felt would send the wrong message to kids, create public health risks, detract from Colorado’s desirability, and, not to mention, stoke the ire of the feds.

But voters’ will spoke and Hickenlooper became an extremely reluctant figurehead and participant in…

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Prosecuting pot: Differing views of nation’s DAs and the quest for consensus

With legal marijuana taking root across the United States and a new White House administration mulling over how to approach the matter, a collective of the nation’s prosecutors is aiming to find consensus.

The National District Attorneys Association, a 67-year-old organization based in Arlington, Va., earlier this year formed a 27-member internal working group on cannabis-related issues.

The working group brings together prosecutors who have widely differing views about state-level…

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Bipartisan “Path to Marijuana Reform” bills introduced to decriminalize, protect, regulate cannabis industry

U.S. lawmakers on Thursday introduced a package of marijuana reform bills aimed at protecting and preserving existing state-based programs while laying framework for the federal regulation of cannabis.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, announced the “Path to Marijuana Reform,” a bipartisan package of three marijuana-related bills that address issues such as taxation, banking, civil forfeiture, de-scheduling, decriminalization, research, individual protections—and…

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Colorado Rep. Jared Polis introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana and regulate like alcohol

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis’ has introduced a bill that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it like alcohol.

U.S. Rep. Polis, D-Colorado, on Thursday reintroduced the Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act, a bill that would allow for the federally legal existence of state-based marijuana legalization programs without opening the door for interstate commerce.

The bill — similar in format to Polis’ Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act introduced in 2015 — is part…

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Why sling pizza when you can sling weed? Denver restaurants face labor competition

It’s hard to think of an American city that isn’t experiencing a restaurant boom these days. Put Denver at the top of that list: By some accounts, 30 new spots will open this spring, among them an outpost of the beloved New York bar, Death & Company, and Departure Denver, a popular Asian small-plates spot transplanted from Portland, Ore.

However, the city is facing a major problem as a result of one of its biggest recent tourism drivers. The pot industry is taking a toll on local restaurant…

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Senator demands docs from big pharma as she probes their role in opioid epidemic

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri demanded information Tuesday from five top opioid manufacturers, saying she would investigate their alleged role in the drug epidemic responsible for more than 200,000 overdose deaths since 2000.

“This epidemic is the direct result of a calculated sales and marketing strategy major opioid manufacturers have allegedly pursued over the past 20 years to expand their market share and increase dependency on powerful – and often deadly – painkillers,” McCaskill,…

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Report: Canada to legalize marijuana by July 2018

The frenzy surrounding Canada’s marijuana market intensified Monday after a report the government will unveil plans to legalize sales for recreational use in April.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government will introduce legislation the week of April 10 to legalize marijuana by July 1, 2018, according to a report from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. David Taylor, a spokesman for Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, declined to comment on the reported timelines. He reiterated a…

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Week in Review: New York’s MMJ changes, RI committee finally meets & advocacy group forms

By John Schroyer and Omar Sacirbey

New York tweaks its medical marijuana program, a Rhode Island MMJ committee meets eight years after its formation, and a new cannabis advocacy group is born.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Not enough change?

New York’s medical marijuana program implemented two major reforms in recent weeks: Chronic pain is now a qualifying condition, and physician assistants are permitted to certify patients for…

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Powerhouse cannabis firms form lobby group to protect state-based weed laws

Some big-name firms in cannabis have formed a national advocacy and lobbying organization with an aim of turning big bucks into big changes for marijuana on Capitol Hill.

Denver-based dispensary powerhouse LivWell Enlightened Health and lawn-and-garden giant Scotts Miracle-Gro are among the founding board members of New Federalism Fund, a non-partisan 501(c)4 organization backing state-based regulatory systems for marijuana and policies to change federal tax and banking laws to better those…

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Colorado Senate committee sets marijuana plant limit to 12, or 24 with registration

DENVER — A Colorado plan to crack down on homegrown pot is rapidly heading to the governor’s desk after lawmakers changed the bill to give pot patients more leeway.

A Senate committee vote 5-0 to set a statewide limit of 12 plants per residential property. That’s down from 99 plants under current law.

The bill was changed to give medical marijuana patients and their caregivers up to 24 plants, if they register with the state and with local authorities. Currently, registration is required…

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New cannabis advocacy group aims to sway federal government

A group of cannabis companies has banded together to form a nonprofit political advocacy group designed to protect the legal marijuana trade – and it includes the unit of a major mainstream company that is a relative newcomer to the MJ industry.

The organization, called the New Federalism Fund (NFF), is made up of industry heavy hitters that include:

  • Scotts Company LLC, a subsidiary of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., a lawn and garden company that has been investing heavily in the cannabis…

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Colorado pot clubs bill passes through House committee, showdown with governor likely

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers moved closer Monday to a showdown with the governor over pot clubs.

A House committee voted 8-3 to approve a bill giving local governments a roadmap to allowing private marijuana clubs. The clubs could allow indoor smoking, if they have fewer than three employees.

“The goal here is to give folks a space where they can consume” marijuana, said Rep. Dan Pabon, a Denver Democrat and sponsor of the bill.

The bill also has Republican supporters who say clubs would keep…

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Map: How do state medical marijuana laws compare? Advocates give report card

The majority of U.S. states now have a medical marijuana law in place, but the laws don’t yet go far enough, a national medical marijuana patient advocacy group says.

Americans for Safe Access recently released the latest iteration of its “Medical Marijuana Access in the United States” annual report card, in which the organization conducts a state-by-state analysis of medical marijuana laws and programs.

A total of 19 states received a grade from B-minus to B-plus in the report, up from 12…

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Is Jeff Sessions at odds with President Trump on medical marijuana?

RICHMOND, Va. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly condemned the recreational use of marijuana. On Wednesday he went a step further, casting doubt on medical marijuana use.

Related: Sessions triples down on marijuana as dangerous drug, not opioid crisis solution

“I think medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much,” he told reporters after an event addressing violent crime in Richmond. “Dosages can be constructed in a way that might be beneficial, I acknowledge that, but if…

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Sessions triples down on marijuana as dangerous drug, not opioid crisis solution

RICHMOND, Va. – Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday pledged aggressive criminal prosecution of drug dealers and gun-toting felons to combat what he described as a troubling rise in violent crime.

“I am determined that this country will not go backwards,” Sessions said as he addressed law enforcement officials in Richmond. “President Trump gave us a clear directive. It’s the policy of this administration to reduce crime in America, not preside over an increase in crime, but reduce…

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Government research-grade marijuana is not exactly fire

Most marijuana consumers are used to seeing their product as chunks of pungent green plant material coated in sticky, crystallized THC-rich resin.

But if you’re a researcher looking to work with marijuana – to say, investigate how it impairs people, or how it could help people suffering from certain ailments – you don’t have access to the weed that everyone else is using. Since the late 1960s the federal government has mandated that all marijuana used in research has to come through the…

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