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Marijuana news from around the world

north dakota

Higher education: Colleges add cannabis to the curriculum

As a green gold rush in legal marijuana and its non-drug cousin hemp spreads across North America, a growing number of colleges are adding cannabis to the curriculum to prepare graduates for careers cultivating, researching, analyzing and marketing the herb.

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Michigan becomes 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana; other measures pass in Missouri and Utah

In midterm elections that saw Democrats gain control of the House and reaffirmed Republican control of the Senate, more states also voted to legalize marijuana.

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Where marijuana is on the ballot Tuesday – and where it’s most likely to win

It has been a big year for marijuana policy in North America. Mexico’s supreme court overturned pot prohibition last week, while Canada’s recreational marijuana market officially opened its doors in October.

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North Dakota Debates Medical Marijuana Program Implementation

Medical marijuana has been officially legalized in North Dakota since the passage of Measure 5 (also called the North Dakota Compassion Care Act) last November. However, now the implementation and regulation is being debated and has been since early this year. After the election results, an 81-page bill called the North Dakota Compassion Care Act in the ND […]

The post North Dakota Debates Medical Marijuana Program Implementation appeared first on The Weed Blog.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 10, 2012

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Ten Dispensaries in Colorado Warned to Shut Down by Federal Government….

U.S. Attorney John Walsh has issued a new round of threatening letters to marijuana dispensaries.  This time the letters are targeted at 10 collectives in Colorado.  The ten dispensaries targeted by Walsh are in violation of state law with many being closer than 1,000 feet to a school.  The collectives have 45 days from when they received the letters to either close or move their business.  California dispensaries have dealt with a crackdown on their medical marijuana industry as well, however, since Colorado has more defined laws there have been far fewer closures.  In November Colorado residents will have the opportunity to legalize medical marijuana due in large part to the efforts of Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.


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North Dakota Residents May Get to Vote on Medical Marijuana

Much of the success of the marijuana reform movement is linked to ballot initiatives votes by the people.  North Dakota may also see its people vote on legalizing medical marijuana this November.  The group North Dakotans for Compassionate Care helped collect the required 20,000 signatures.  The signatures were recently submitted to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office.  Only 13,500 signatures were required, however the signatures will be reviewed to determine if they are valid.  If the signatures are valid voters in North Dakota will have the chance to legalize medical marijuana.  If voters pass the proposed measure then patients will be able to possess up to 2½ ounces of pot for medical reasons and grow their own supply.

 

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Governor of Vermont Seeks Help From NORML in Re-Election Effort

It used to be that groups such as NORML struggled to acquire funding.   Apparently the tables turned with politicians seeking help from marijuana activists.  Recently, Governor Shumlin of Vermont decided to contact NORML’s executive director Allen St. Pierre.  He pledged his support for NORML’s cause be a national spokesperson for the national marijuana reform movement.  Of course no political favor comes without a price tag and the governor asked for a contribution toward his re-election campaign.   This shows cannabis reform has reached the highest level of politics.  Governor Shumlin vowed to push for a decriminalization law if Allen St. Pierre and NORML donate the money.  Shumlin is known to support a new approach toward cannabis law and the election for Vermont’s Governorship should interesting as Shumlin’s Republican opponent, Randy Brock said he was against any decriminalization message and was worried about the message it sends to children.

 

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Legal Updates On Medical Marijuana

legal updates

Marijuana.net is hopeful that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.  Getting together with friends and family is always important, as is remembering those who have fought hard for our freedom, and those who are less fortunate.  We would like to take this time to mention some of the legal updates that came to light toward the end of last week, over the weekend and yesterday.

While North Dakota is often more recognized for the Coen Brother’s classic film “Fargo”, marijuana activists are trying to have the state join a very high profile group.  Activists are attempting to run a ballot initiative, which would see North Dakota become the 18th state to permit marijuana use for patients.  State Rep. Steve Zaiser (D-Fargo), is chairman of the campaign and recently stated “Marijuana has proven that it has helped people, and doctors will testify to that effect, I don’t want any more North Dakotans to suffer unnecessarily.”  The initiative was submitted to Secretary of State Al Jaeger last week.  There will have to be 13,452 signatures collected from eligible voters in North Dakota in order for the issue to come to a vote in November.

We also learned about some good news coming out of Arizona.  Unfortunately, Arizona often provides negative or legally baffling news, however we are pleased to see that after a tumultuous start the medical marijuana program there is looking to help even more patients.  The law passed in 2010 actually requires that the Department of Health Services officially considers requests to expand the programs coverage.  The law may soon allow medical cannabis to be used for migraines and PTSD.  Other states, such as Colorado have declined to expand their programs for PTSD.  However, as more studies and testimonials are revealed that show PTSD symptoms being aided by cannabis, the momentum seems to be mounting.

Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer has taken a great deal of political heat over the past few years.  Thankfully, their medical marijuana laws are more progressive than other states in certain areas.  Our duty to provide compassion to one another is taking a deeper hold on us than our blue and red politics.  Relief is unaware of what side of the political aisle it sits on.  Only a few years ago many would have laughed at the prospect of medical marijuana in North Dakota.  It is not clear if the law will pass there (voters in South Dakota have previously voted down the issue previously) but it seems no longer possible to assume that any state will just downright dismiss marijuana reform.

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Moving to Legalize Domestic Hemp

GW sow hemp

As the movement for the legalization of marijuana marches on people often forget about the Mary’s sister plant, industrial Hemp.  Both plants are members of the cannabis genus and both are illegal to grow or possess under Federal law.  They are two genetically distinct species with different properties.  Marijuana contains as much as 27% THC in its buds, leaves and trichomes.  Whereas hemp generally contains 0.3% or less THC (although some places do allow for it to contain 1% and remain classified as industrial hemp).  Furthermore the two plants are unsuited to be used interchangeably.  Marijuana is unsuited for industrial purposes such as paper, clothing and building goods due to the nature of growth of the plant fibers.  Similarly, industrial hemp will not get have the effects of smoked marijuana. It is very similar to the way that poppy seeds can make a person test positive for opium, but would produce get them “doped up”.

Since 1937 it has been illegal to cultivate both marijuana and hemp plants, aside from a special dispensation in WW2 (see “Hemp for Victory“).  Today many states have passed laws allowing for compassionate use of medical marijuana, but it is still illegal to domestically grow and distribute industrial hemp products.  This continues despite growing demands for hempen clothing, building supplies, fossil fuel substitutes, and food products.  However, it is legally allowed to import foreign hemp products.  To meet this demand, American companies must purchase goods from Canada, China and a few European countries.  This is a farce.  America (from the time of the colonies) was built on money provided by Hemp cash crops.  At this time we are relegated to sending hard-earned American dollars overseas (OK, Canada is not overseas) to buy raw seed and fiber and end-products that could easily be made here, at an economic benefit for Americans.  This market has nowhere to go except upward, especially as more Americans become aware of the many benefits (nutritional, agricultural, industrial, economical) presented by Hemp.

Currently, eighteen states have recent laws (within the last 20 years), bills, or amendments on the books or pending legislation seeking to allow for domestic cultivation of Industrial Hemp.  Many of those states have only first stage laws that require studies by state boards looking into economic and agricultural benefits.  Many of these studies are underway, but none have been completed.  Part of this is due to the political insecurity that arises from dabbling in marijuana laws.  Although attitudes have shifted greatly in the last several years, many politicians are still wary of endorsing anything marijuana-related.  Regardless of those studies, every bill has language reflecting the worries about Federal prosecution.  The caveats in the bills all mention that Federal statutes must either be overturned, rewritten, or researchers and farmers will require permits or dispensations from the DEA, DOJ or even IRS in order to grow hemp crops and be in compliance of state and federal laws.

The most recent states to challenge this Federal ban include Kentucky, Vermont, North Dakota, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana.  Members of Congress have also sought to change the laws.  In 2007, 2009, and 2011 they have introduced “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act” so that low potency cannabis crops would be exempted from the Federal ban.  The current measure, House Bill 1831 has numerous co-sponsors but has not received a Congressional hearing.  If passed, states would have the power to approve and regulate hemp cultivation and trade.  Last year, Hemp imports were valued at over four hundred million dollars.  This number is expected to increase this year and more in the future.  Hemp production could soon be valued at over $1 billion.  Taxed revenues from this business would do well to help offset American debt and trade deficits, if it was a domestic product.  Not only is this an incredibly useful plant, it is hardy and grows in poor soils that are unsuited for other crash crops.  Additionally, rotating hemp through poor soils helps to lock nutrients back into the earth so that other crops can grow better.  It also is a prime source for photosynthesis and carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate the problems posed by increased amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse chemicals present in the atmosphere.

As more information comes to light about hemp it seems that the cultivation of this plant is a win-win situation for the environment, the economy, and the people of our country.  Unfortunately, the same special interests (tobacco lobby, Big Pharma, Alcohol, fossil fuels) who secured the ban over seventy years ago still have enormous political clout.  Combined with the inordinate amount of false information and prejudice against the cannabis plant, those in favor of legalization face a stiff uphill battle.  More than ever it is incumbent upon us, we the people, to take an active role in our nation’s future and declare that this plant should not be denied to us.

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