OLYMPIA, WA — On Tuesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill that, among other things, will allow the state to soon certify organic marijuana products. According to the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Ann Rivers (R), marijuana that is state certified as organic is likely to be on dispensary shelves in about a year and a […]
OLYMPIA, WA — Lawmakers in Washington state have sent a comprehensive marijuana reform bill to the desk of Governor Jay Inslee (D), making several changes to the state’s cannabis regulation policies. The bi-partisan Senate Bill 5131 was sponsored by Sens. Anna Rivers [R] Steven Conway [D], and received overwhelming support in both chambers of the legislature. […]
Washington Governor Vetoes Hemp Legalization Bill
industrial hemp farming bill obama Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. More and more states are reforming their hemp laws to either allow full cultivation, or at least cultivation for research purposes. Right now the United States …
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State to certify industrial hemp seeds in an initiative touted as first in the …
Blane Krumpe, left, listens as Patrick King talks about the hemp products sold by Advanced Plant Processing on Saturday at the 2nd Annual Colorado Industrial Hemp Awards and Festival in Longmont earlier this month. (Not Provided / Daily Camera).
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Sipp Industries Signs Hemp Beer Agreement with Ute Pass Brewing Company
COSTA MESA, CA — Sipp Industries, Inc. (OTC: SIPC), a diversified conglomerate corporation specializing in technology, manufacturing and distribution of commercial and consumer products, announces a new agreement with Ute Pass Brewing Company …
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Washington hemp bill grows in scope, cost
Beckerman Maher argued for a state role in protecting the low-THC purity of hemp seeds and crops. Now, she says, the proposed oversight has become unnecessarily expensive, citing a provision that would require a WSDA employee to personally collect …
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Whole Hemp expanding in La Junta
On Tuesday, April 21, Whole Hemp Company, announced that it is going to expand its operation to La Junta, Colorado, where it will be converting an empty building into a grow Center and processing/ production facility. "This building has been empty for …
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TOTALLY HEMP CRAZY (OTCMKTS:THCZ) Makes Public Third Production Run …
The popularity of hemp has been increasing in U.S. quite swiftly; TOTALLY HEMP CRAZY (OTCMKTS:THCZ)'s success is a clear evidence of that. As per the reports, the company has decided to start the third production run of all the hemp beverages infused …
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Bill to Effectively Nullify Federal Ban on Industrial Hemp Passes Washington …
OLYMPIA, Wa., Feb. 10, 2015 – By a unanimous 7-0 vote today, a Washington state House committee approved a bill that would authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on …
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Industrial hemp in Oregon: Department of Agriculture accepting applications to …
In this Oct. 5, 2013 photo, volunteers harvest hemp at a farm in Springfield, Colo. during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. America is one of hemp's fastest-growing markets, with imports largely coming from China …
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How Did Hemp Become D.C.s Bipartisan No-Brainer?
A bipartisan coalition from both the Senate and House of Representatives has rallied behind complementary bills S. 134 and H.R. 525, dubbed the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which would require the federal government to respect state laws on …
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VA General Assembly Approves Industrial Hemp Farming Act 2015
"We are poised to be able to allow our state universities and Department of Agriculture to approve the growing and cultivation and processing of industrial hemp in Virginia for the purposes of pilot programs," said Chase Milner, Shenandoah Valley …
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The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees management of federal water resources, “is evaluating how the Controlled Substances Act applies in the context of Reclamation project water being used to facilitate marijuana-related activities,” said Peter Soeth, a spokesman for the bureau. He said the evaluation was begun “at the request of various water districts in the West.”
Local water districts in Washington state and Colorado, where recreational marijuana is now legal, contract with federal water projects for supplies. Officials from some of those water districts said they assume the feds are going to turn off the spigots for marijuana growers.
“Certainly every indication we are hearing is that their policy will be that federal water supplies cannot be used to grow marijuana,” said Brian Werner at Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which handles approximately one-third of all water for northeastern Colorado and is the Bureau of Reclamation’s second-largest user in the number of irrigated acres.
Washington state’s Roza Irrigation District, which supplies federal water to approximately 72,000 acres in Yakima and Benton counties, has already issued a “precautionary message” to water customers that may be involved in state-legal cannabis growing.
“Local irrigation districts operating federal irrigation projects have recently been advised that under Federal Reclamation Law, it is likely project water cannot be delivered and utilized for purposes that are illegal under federal law,” wrote Roza district manager Scott Revell in letters to the Yakima and Benton county commissioners. “Presumably growing marijuana would fall into this category.”
Both Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use more than a decade ago. Pot remains illegal under federal law. Reclamation’s Soeth said that the issue of cutting off water supplies for marijuana has never come up before.
A Department of Justice official told HuffPost it has no comment on the water issue. The Bureau of Reclamation is likely to announce a decision this month. “We’re going to work with our water districts once that decision is made,” Soeth said.
Marijuana advocates condemned the possibility of a federal water ban for state-legal crops. Mason Tvert, communications director for Marijuana Policy Project and key backer of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in Colorado, criticized the hypocrisy of a federal government that would prevent water access to some legal businesses and not others.
“If water is so precious and scarce that it can’t be used for state-legal marijuana cultivation, it shouldn’t be used for brewing and distilling more harmful intoxicating substances like beer and liquor,” Tvert said.
The impact on Washington may be more severe, since the state’s marijuana laws allow for outdoor growing and, according to McClatchy, the Bureau of Reclamation controls the water supply of about two-thirds of the state’s irrigated land. In Colorado, marijuana businesses can only grow indoors.
Indoor growing in Denver, home to the majority of Colorado marijuana dispensaries, likely wouldn’t notice a shortage if the Bureau of Reclamation cuts off federal water.
“Because we are not a federal contractor, we would not be affected,” said Travis Thompson, spokesman for Denver Water, the main water authority for the state’s capital and surrounding suburbs.
But many other regions of the state rely on federal water. In Pueblo, about two hours south of Denver, about 20 percent of regional water is Reclamation-controlled. Although the remaining 80 percent of the region’s water is locally controlled, it passes through the Pueblo Dam, operated under Bureau of Reclamation authority.
“Yes, they come through a federal facility, but the federal facility is required to let those water right to pass,” Pueblo Board of Water Works executive director Terry Book said to southern Colorado’s NBC-affiliate KOAA.
The St. Charles Mesa Water District, another Pueblo-area water facility, has already imposed a moratorium on supplying water to marijuana businesses until the Bureau of Reclamation settles the issue.
The Bureau of Reclamation said its facilities deliver water to 1.25 million acres of land in Colorado and 1.2 million acres in Washington state. About 1.6 million acre-feet of water is delivered to Colorado’s agricultural sector from Reclamation and about 5 million acre-feet is delivered to agriculture in Washington.
As McClatchy reported last month that there are several viable alternatives to using federal water. Small-scale marijuana-growing operations may be able to use city-controlled water sources, or drill a well. Greenhouse growers are allowed to use up to 5,000 gallons of well water per day under state law. Any use beyond that requires a permit from the state. While some marijuana plants can require an average of six gallons of water per day, growing operations in the state are likely to fall well within that limit.
However, in areas of the state where much of the water is controlled by Bureau of Reclamation contracts, these alternatives aren’t as accessible.
The potential water ban has already set off local opposition. The Seattle Times’ editorial board urged the Bureau of Reclamation to allow federal water contracts to be used by marijuana farmers.
“The bureau has never had — nor should it have — a stake in what crop is planted. That’s a basic tenet of the 1902 National Reclamation Act, which created the bureau and transformed the arid American west,” read the May 4 editorial. “Yet the federal government is now threatening to forget that history, because some regulators are queasy about Washington and Colorado’s experimentation with marijuana legalization.”
As the Times’ board points out, there is some precedent for the Justice Department to stand down on the water issue. Last August, Attorney General Eric Holder told the governors of Washington and Colorado that the DOJ wouldn’t intervene in the states’ legal pot programs. And earlier this year, federal officials issued guidelines expanding access to financial services for legal marijuana businesses, so long as the business doesn’t violate certain legal priorities outlinedby the Justice Department.
“While we appreciate how the Obama administration has made some administrative concessions to the majority of voters who support legalization by issuing banking guidelines and having the Justice Department largely stand out of the way of state implementation, this water issue highlights the urgent need to actually change federal law,” Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, told The Huffington Post. “There are bills pending in Congress that would solve this and other state-federal marijuana policy discrepancies, but so far the support from elected officials doesn’t even come close to matching the support from the public. I expect that gap will shrink with each passing election cycle as politicians start to see just how popular this issue is with voters.”
Marijuana users really enjoy strong weed, but would prefer that it came without paranoia, memory loss and impaired ability to function. That’s according to a new report from the Global Drug Survey in partnership with The Huffington Post, which anonymously surveyed more than 38,000 users around the globe.
All marijuana is not created equal. Effects can vary depending on the plant variety, cultivation, processing and blending. Cannabis has two major plant types — indica and sativa — and hundreds of hybrid strains with different characteristics. It’s produced in forms that include dried flowers, oil and wax.
The survey asked users what they’d like in a “perfect cannabis.” The results show that the “global dominance of high potency [marijuana] leaves many users far from satisfied,” the researchers say.
So what would the effects be of perfect pot — or “balanced bud” as the Global Drug Survey calls it?
Users want their cannabis to be strong and pure. And they want it to have a distinct flavor, and to impart a high marked by greater sensory perception, allowing them to “comfortably” speak to others with more giggles and laughs, while giving them the “ability to function when stoned,” according to the Global Drug Survey report.
Users report they don’t like some side effects of strong marijuana, including hangover feelings, paranoia, harmful effects on the lungs, feelings of becoming forgetful, an urge to use more, and feelings of being distracted or preoccupied, according to the survey.
Responses to the Global Drug Survey:
“There appears to be a paradox in the way people describe their perfect cannabis,” the Global Drug Survey report says. “This is because most the effects of being ‘high’ are due to THC, but higher doses of this drug are associated with more negative psychological effects. So while they want a preparation with overall more pleasurable effects, they also describe wanting less of the negative effects that are also due to THC such as sedation, munchies, memory impairment, restlessness. It might well be what they are describing is a high potency THC containing preparation balanced by CBD which is missing from many current strains.”
Currently, 21 states have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use and more than a dozen other states are considering legalization in some form. With all that interest and all those regulated marketplaces, growers and sellers can tap into users’ preferences with the Global Drug Survey data and help design a better plant.
The Global Drug Survey bills itself as the world’s biggest annual survey of drug users. This year, 79,322 people from more than a dozen countries participated in the anonymous online questionnaire.
Because the Global Drug Survey does not involve a random sample of participants, its results cannot be considered representative of any larger population. “Ultimately, the only people that this study (like so many others) can definitively tell you about are those who have participated,” the researchers say.
Source: Huffington Post (NY)
Author: Matt Ferner, The Huffington Post
Published: April 14, 2014
Copyright: 2014 HuffingtonPost.com, LLC
Contact: [email protected]
A steep drop in charges filed against adults over 21 in Washington state after legalization of marijuana shows the new law is freeing up court and law-enforcement resources to deal with other issues, a primary backer of the law said Wednesday.
The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found that such low-level charges were filed in just 120 cases in 2013, down from 5,531 cases the year before. “The data strongly suggest that I-502 has achieved one of its primary goals — to free up limited police and prosecutorial resources,” Mark Cooke, criminal-justice policy counsel with the state ACLU, said in a news release.
Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff at the King County Prosecutor’s Office, said that hasn’t been the case in his office. He said prosecutors handled only a few misdemeanor pot cases a day before the law went into effect.
“There’s no great relief of workload,” Goodhew said. “All this has meant is maybe our calendar in District Court in the Seattle division is maybe, instead of 46 cases in a day, 44 or 43 or 42. We’re no longer filing misdemeanor marijuana cases, but we were not expending any significant resources on those cases at the time I-502 passed.”
Cooke conceded the law hasn’t fundamentally changed what prosecutors do every day but said when considered more broadly, I-502 has saved resources, from basic investigation and filing of paperwork to court time. He noted King County’s adult misdemeanor pot cases fell from 1,435 in 2009 to 14 last year.
“I can’t fault their logic,” said Mitch Barker, executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “If we took speeding off the books, that would free up time. If we took robbery off the books, that would free up time.
“The question we all have to look at is, is it good public policy? My sole concern is that when you expand access to marijuana for adults, you expand access for underage people.”
The pot cases that were filed in the state last year likely involved people caught with more than an ounce of weed, or the 28 grams, they’re allowed to have under Washington’s Initiative 502, but less than the 40 grams that can trigger felony possession charges.
The data, which came from Washington’s Administrative Office of the Courts, also suggest racial disparities remain a concern in marijuana charges, Cooke said.
Before I-502’s passage in 2012, blacks were nearly three times as likely as whites to face misdemeanor marijuana-possession charges in Washington, and that remained true among the 120 cases filed last year, he said.
Of the 120, white defendants accounted for 82 cases and blacks for 11. That equated for whites to 2 cases per 100,000 residents; for blacks, to 5.6 per 100,000.
The number of misdemeanor filings for those older than 21 had been dropping for several years, the group said, from 7,964 in 2009 to 5,531 in 2012.
Court filings for all drug felonies, including marijuana growing and selling, have remained fairly constant since 2009, at about or slightly under 20,000.
Among people younger than 21, misdemeanor marijuana-possession charges have also fallen in the past two years from 4,127 in 2011 to 3,469 in 2012 and 1,963 last year. People younger than 21 aren’t allowed to have pot under the state law.
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Author: Gene Johnson, The Associated Press
Published: March 19, 2014
Copyright: 2014 The Associated Press
The House Budget Committee isn’t the most august room in Congress, but it commands respect, what with its oil portraits of former chairmen including Leon Panetta, who went on to be Defense Secretary and CIA director.
But it was the site on Tuesday of a briefing by the National Cannabis Industry Association, which you can think of as the pot trade group. So it’s probably not surprising that one of the questions asked of Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat leading the fight for reform of federal marijuana laws, was how many of his colleagues smoked pot.
Five or 10, he guessed. But he noted he’d never seen any smoke. And besides, since the House is made up of so many old members, the number was bound to be small.
It’s a sign of how far the cannabis industry has grown that their leaders are here in Washington, chatting up reporters and fanning out to meet their representatives the same way, say, onion growers might. With marijuana decriminalized in Washington state and Oregon and medical marijuana allowed in 20 other states and the District of Columbia, those who sell and distribute legal weed need a voice in Washington where any number of laws and regulations still treat them like outlaws.
For instance, because of laws designed to keep drug cartels from protecting their financial assets, it’s almost impossible for cannabis dealers to use regular banks for their business, forcing them to carry around bundles of cash as if they were, um, drug dealers.
What’s worse, some dispensaries have had to segregate their cash so it doesn’t smell like pot. Making payroll, buying goods from suppliers, all with cash, is like something from the Middle Ages. The Obama administration has tried to ease some federal banking regulations, but it’s not clear whether that’ll be enough to convince skittish banks — loathe to run afoul of Dodd-Frank, let alone this — to let cannabis dealers open checking accounts or give them loans.
To boot, cannabis dealers are not allowed to deduct their business expenses because of IRS regulations aimed at drug dealers. With an effective tax rate that can run as high as 85 percent, the cannabis industry has won the support of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, which has joined in the fight to repeal the regulation. Any number of other laws are keeping cannabis dealers in the doghouse even as voters have made their voices clear across the country.
While public attitudes about marijuana have moved sharply in recent years — as a group, only voters over 65 believe it should remain illegal — the political climate hasn’t caught up with public opinion. Only a modest number of Congressmen have instituted support for the many bills and laws aimed at treating cannabis sales like any other business.
One of them is Dana Rohrabacher, one of President Ronald Reagan’s White House speechwriters, who represents the beautiful coastline of southern Orange County, Calif. (The Oliver Stone drug movie, Savages, was set in Laguna Beach, part of Rohrabacher’s district.)
Rohrbacher is a longtime surfer, even at age 66, a firebrand conservative and an outspoken critic of “communist China,” who suggested this week that Obama could be impeached over executive actions on health care and immigration. Still, criminalizing marijuana, Rohrbacher said, “is an absolute waste.” He added: “What is freedom all about? It’s about your right to make decisions.” But he concedes his colleagues will likely prove slow to embrace an issue they think would hurt them politically.
To help soften the mood on Capitol Hill, the cannabis trade association asked Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, to test public attitudes about marijuana. She found a widespread and growing acceptance of pot legalization, one reflected in other polls and also in popular culture where stoner comedies are blockbuster movies.
The data, though, show that the same forces that suggest the Democrats will do poorly in the midterm elections in November — low turnout among all groups save for the elderly, who lean right — create a climate that could spook some Congressmen from backing a change in the marijuana laws.
Asked if his GOP colleagues might be sympathetic to the argument, Rohrabacher says his fellow Republicans would favor pot reform if it were a secret ballot. Getting them out in the open won’t be easy.
With little fanfare in a drab conference room, the state Liquor Control Board adopted rules for a legal marijuana system after 10 months of research, revisions, wrangling with the federal government and wrestling with who-would’ve-imagined questions.
In a unanimous vote Wednesday, state officials charted the course for an experiment that seeks to undercut illegal dealers and launched the next leg of the journey: licensing a recreational-pot industry serving customers with 334 retail stores.
Adults will be able to walk into stores between 8 a.m. and midnight beginning next year to buy small amounts of marijuana products, including buds and brownies produced with state-certified safe levels of pesticides and other chemicals.
“The Washington state Liquor Control Board just built the template for responsible legalization of marijuana,” said Alison Holcomb, chief author of the legal-pot law. Holcomb is traveling to England, Poland and the Netherlands in coming weeks to discuss Washington’s law and rules, and is part of a new panel studying the idea in California.
Liquor-board members predicted a bumpy ride for the next year or so, with further tweaking of the rules likely.
“We might not have it exactly right today,” said board member Chris Marr of the 43 pages of rules. “But we’re in an excellent position to open stores in the middle of next year.”
State officials expect stores to open as early as May. Farms would start growing several months earlier.
In those stores, marked by a single sign that can’t be much bigger than 3 feet by 3 feet under the rules, consumers won’t be able to sample products. They will be able, however, to smell samples through screened containers that do not allow them to touch pot.
Childproof packaging will be required for edible products. All packages will contain warning labels saying marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming. Labels will warn consumers of health risks, particularly the risks for pregnant women.
They also will show potency, as measured in percentage of THC, the key psychoactive chemical in pot.
In what state officials hope will be a competitive edge for the recreational system, retail stores will stock only products determined to have safe levels of pesticides, bacteria, moisture and metals.
Randy Simmons, the state marijuana project director, said he’s heard of growers who have added sand to pot to give it additional weight, who have painted pot to make it more desirably purple, and who have spiked buds with hash oil to make them more potent.
Labels will disclose all pesticides used in the growing of the product. Consumers can ask retailers for full test results of chemicals and foreign matter found in products.
State-regulated pot can’t be labeled organic, Simmons said, because the federal government bestows that standard and it still considers marijuana a dangerous drug. But the state is using federal standards for organic products as a model for its rules, he said.
Prices in stores will be determined by the market, not state officials. But state consultants have written about scenarios in which prices could range between $6 and $17 per gram depending on wholesale farm prices and markups.
Consumers will be able to buy pot grown under the sun in outdoor farms, as well as weed grown indoors, which uses more electricity and has a larger carbon footprint.
The rules give an advantage to indoor growers, Simmons acknowledged. That’s because rules limit all farms to a maximum of 30,000 square feet and indoor farms can produce four harvests a year compared with two for outdoor growers in Washington state.
Jeremy Moberg, an Okanogan County activist, and Holcomb, criminal-justice director for the ACLU of Washington, both argued for a more equitable system. They proposed limiting indoor farms to half the size of outdoor farms as one way to level the playing field.
But Simmons said the state wants to make sure it meets the estimated demand for 80 metric tons of pot next year. It might not if it cut the size of indoor farms, he said, and if it doubled the size of outdoor farms it might antagonize federal watchdogs.
Simmons believes demand will increase in time, and when the state expands its supply that will provide an opportunity for outdoor growers to make up ground.
State officials believe the 334 pot stores, which are allocated similarly to the state’s defunct liquor stores, will be enough. But Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes has asked the state to consider allocating more stores to the city than the 21 it has planned.
If there are more qualified applicants in a city than stores allotted, the state will use a lottery system to pick winners, literally by drawing names, Simmons said.
The state can’t use a merit system to award licenses, Simmons said. Unlike contracts, which can rely on merit, state licenses are threshold-based, he said; if applicants meet the standards they qualify for licenses.
There appear to be more than enough entrepreneurs eager to meet the state’s requirements for growers, processors and retailers.
The Liquor Control Board is holding licensing seminars in seven cities this month to inform and advise entrepreneurs about the rules and application process.
Seminars in five cities already are fully booked. In all, of the 2,440 seats available at all seven seminars, 1,991 were taken by Wednesday.
The state on Nov. 18 will open a 30-day window for accepting applications for growing, processing and retail licenses, and expects to start issuing them, after background checks, in December at the earliest.
Some cities remain resistant to pot commerce and have adopted moratoriums and other restrictions that would effectively keep pot merchants away.
But others such as Seattle, Bainbridge Island and Bellevue are moving ahead with zoning and other regulations for permitting pot commerce.
Several lawyers who advise pot entrepreneurs said cities seem to be warming to pot commerce now that the state has adopted rules and the federal Department of Justice has said it won’t try to stop Washington’s legal system — approved by voters last November — provided it is tightly regulated.
“It’s not happening quickly, but I do have a sense there’s been a bit of a shift,” said Candice Bock of the Association of Washington Cities.
Officials in some of the reluctant cities have said they’re worried about the impact of legal pot commerce on community character. But the Liquor Control Board’s Marr said that excluding legitimate pot businesses only promotes the illicit pot market that already exists within those communities.
To keep store ownership from concentrating in the hands of a few, the rules do not allow a person or company to own more than three retail stores in the state.
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Author: Bob Young, Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Published: October 16, 2013
Copyright: 2013 The Seattle Times Company
Contact: [email protected]