Is Your Weed Buying History Safe from the Feds?

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved
by Erik Muenker D.C. |  Exclusive

Federal Marijuana Crackdown Coming?

Is a federal crackdown on marijuana coming in 2017? After all, the Feds locked up over 3,500 people for marijuana related drug offenses, in 2016 alone. No one knows for sure what the new administration will do.

Should you be worried that your marijuana buying history could end up in the wrong hands?

Just think about all of the potential conflicts:

– You could be denied purchase of a firearm!
– It could jeopardize your health insurance coverage?!
– You could be denied employment!
– You might even be denied citizenship!
– Involved in a child custody proceeding?

Well Oregon legislators aren’t waiting around to find out. Oregon legalized recreational cannabis in July of 2015, and a new Oregon Bill that just passed the legislature (53-5) will prohibit marijuana retailers from keeping information collected from their customers for more than 48 hours.

Perhaps it’s time to start asking some questions.

Continue reading “Is Your Weed Buying History Safe from the Feds?”

Is GOP led 115th Congress Shifting Views on Marijuana with new Legislation?

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved
by Erik Muenker D.C. |  Exclusive

Breaking News: Multiple Marijuana Legislative Bills could Signal Shift IN GOP

At least two bills have been introduced by Republican lawmakers in the past 6 weeks, that would end federal marijuana prohibition.

I’m Just a Bill – H.R. 715

On January 27th, 2017 – House Republican Rep. Griffith Morgan from Virginia introduced H.R. 715 to the 115th Congress. Legislation that would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, AND exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana

Read more by clicking the image below.

HR715 De-schedules CBD


I’m Just a Second Marijuana Bill!

On February 27th, 2017 – House Republican Rep. Thomas Garrett of Virginia introduced legislation entitled, Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.

Rep. Garrett’s legislation, if it becomes law, would end federal prohibition by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. This would in effect, leave marijuana legality/policy up to the states.

Rep. Garrett has been a vocal Trump Supporter and the timing of his bill is worth noting. AG Sessions himself suggested during his confirmation hearings – that if congress didn’t like his approach to marijuana law enforcement, they should change the laws accordingly.

Perhaps the Republicans are attempting to do just that?! First with a stick, then with a carrot?

Garrett’s office released a press release to coincide with the legislation’s introduction:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today 5th District Congressman Tom Garrett introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana.

The short title for this legislation is cited as the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.” If passed, this bill would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list – joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco.

Garrett went on to say,

“this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue.”

Senators on Marijuana in 2017

Take a listen to Senator Schatz as he blasts AG Sessions on the Senate floor, February 8th, 2017 – over his comments disparaging marijuana.

According to the Associated Press (article), Senators from eight states with legal recreational marijuana (Washington, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maine, Alaska), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 2nd, 2017 – asking him to uphold the Department of Justice’s existing enforcement policy toward marijuana.

Among those who signed this letter where Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey.

United States Marijuana Map Twitter
2017 Election  Marijuana Map

Related: Election 2016 – Marijuana Legalization Spreads Across the U.S.

Trump on Marijuana

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald speaks in front of a crowd in Reno, Nevada on October 29th, 2015.

Listen to Trump’s answer, when asked how he would approach medical and recreational marijuana.

Continue reading “Is GOP led 115th Congress Shifting Views on Marijuana with new Legislation?”

Election 2016: Marijuana Legalization Spreads Across the U.S.

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved
by Erik Muenker D.C. |  Exclusive

2016 Election – A Game-Changer for marijuana

Voters across 5 states considered ballot measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults. Prior to Nov. 8th, just four states in the U.S. had decriminalized marijuana and setup a regulatory system for its legal production and sale – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Cannabis measures rocked the vote in 2016!

Four states passed measures legalizing recreational marijuana for adults over 21 – California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine, bringing the total in the U.S. to eight states!

Arizona defeated Proposition 205, which would have legalized recreational marijuana. Better luck next time!


California, the sixth largest economy in the world (larger than France or India) just legalized recreational marijuana! Prop 64 passed by 56% of the vote.

What does this mean to California residents?

CA Prop 64 establishes a legal limit of one ounce of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. It also allows residents to grow as many as 6 marijuana plants at home (indoors). Rules regarding outdoor cultivation will be up to local governments.

No public consumption of marijuana will be allowed. However, consumption will be allowed in private clubs and at private events, given the event is permitted and licensed properly.

Learn more about California’s new law by checking out this article in The Sacramento Bee.


With the passage of Question #2, Nevada also legalized the adult recreational use of marijuana. Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, residents can posses up to an ounce of marijuana. Sales at recreational dispensaries are expected to begin operations before Jan. 2018.

Learn more by reading the Las Vegas Review Journal.


The referendum to legalize recreational marijuana in Maine passed – but just barely. And its future is not at all certain. It took 2 days to count all of the ballots, with the measure ultimately passing by less than one percentage point.

According to the Portland Press Herald, opponents of legalization are moving ahead with a request for a recount. The “No on 1” campaign has until next Wednesday to collect the signatures needed in order to formally request the Secretary of State’s office to undergo an official recount and tally of the votes – something that would likely take weeks.

Read more about Maine’s new law and the politics surrounding the recount at The Washington Times.


Voters in Massachusetts broke new ground last week by becoming the first New England state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Maine’s delayed tally and potential recount place it as the second New England state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Massachusetts has an opportunity to become a bellwether for Marijuana decriminalization and commercialization on the east coast. Residents of Massachusetts have the winds at their back and all of the east coast is watching to see how this new industry unfolds – in a state not unlike their own.

The new Massachusetts law allows adult residents to possess up to an ounce of marijuana AND keep up to 10 ounces of marijuana at home and grow up to six plants!

In short, the law proposes that Massachusetts legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcoholic beverages.

What about D.C.?

The residents of the District of Columbia (D.C.) also decriminalized marijuana back in 2014 – take a look at the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Facts on DC Marijuana Laws.

dcmj_legalization_ends_discriminationHowever, Congress has (each year) re-introduced a provision to the Omnibus Spending Bill – that effectively blocks the District of Columbia from taxing or regulating its marijuana sales. The Omnibus spending bills of 2014, 2015 and 2016 all maintained this provision and the trend is unlikely to improve with our next session of Congress.

About the Author
Erik Muenker D.C. – Portland, OR
Founder and Editor of CBD Business Blog |  Twitter: @CBDbusinessBlog

CBD-BB Logo and URLDr. Erik Muenker D.C. is the Publisher and Editor of the CBD Business Blog, an online blog and journal – your source for exclusive business, scientific, health and political news impacting the recreational and medical marijuana industries.

Our focus is on cannabidiol (CBD), a non-addictivenon-psychotropic and medically powerful cannabinoid found in marijuana and hemp. 

Damian Marley Converting Prison To Pot Farm

CBD News Pick – Billboard

The musician, along with business partner Ocean Grown Extracts, has created a poetic metaphor and multi-million dollar business model in one.

Damian Marley has announced that he, in partnership with Ocean Grown Extracts, is converting a former 77,000 square foot California State prison into a cannabis grow space that will cultivate medical marijuana for state dispensaries.


“Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up,” says Marley, 38, noting the poetic justice of turning a prison that once housed non-violent drug offenders into a cannabis cultivation facility. “If this [venture] helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.”

Damian Marley Opening Colorado Weed Dispensary

By that measure, the prison-to-pot farm initiative is already a triumph. With their purchase of the Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga, CA for $4.1 million, Marley and his partners instantly relieved the economically-challenged Central Valley town of its roughly $3.3 million debt. The venture will also generate 100 jobs — in an economically stagnant region plagued by an ongoing, historic drought and descending oil prices, both of which have damaged the region’s traditional farming and oil industries — and will generate an estimated million dollars in annual tax revenues for Coalinga.

The new business began “in a very organic way,” says Dan Dalton, Marley’s longtime manager. “Cannabis is something that’s around Damian every day with friends, family and with his Rastafarian faith. We’ve watched people who have sacrificed their lives for it. That injustice has motivated us to be advocates as well as knowing that there are healing properties in cannabis.” 

Marley today also announced the introduction of Speak Life, a proprietary strain of cannabis he created with Ocean Grown. The strain is based on the company’s lauded OG Kush, but altered genetically with the help of a Ph.D trained chemist at who helped cultivate the unique breed.

“The OG has always been my favorite,” says Marley, who met with the chemist while making Speak Life. “When they introduced this strain of OG I really loved it and loved its consistency.” The bud is a hybrid made of 70 percent indica and 30 percent sativa, and is hand-watered and trimmed.

Marley and his partners are prepared for the “green rush” should California’s Proposition 64 — which would legalize cannabis for adult recreational use — passes in November, as the polls seem to indicate. And California isn’t alone in reconsidering marijuana’s legality, either. Voters in seven other states will choose whether to legalize recreational and/or medical marijuana — Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada could approve the use of recreational pot; Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota will decide on legalizing medical marijuana, which a status the plant has been assigned in 25 states and the District of Columbia. 

Marley’s Coalinga facility will begin producing oil extracts in sixty days, and by this January will harvest its first crop. But Marley, like America, isn’t limiting himself to California. Two weeks ago, in partnership with Colorado-based TruCannabis, he also launched Stoney Hill, a 3,000-square-foot dispensary in downtown Denver, just across from Mile High Stadium, along with a 30,000-square-foot grow space (pictured above), complete with RFID tags for each plant.   

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Make Cannabis Great Again – Republican Lawmaker’s Hat at Marijuana Conference

CBD News Pick – Los Angeles Times

I couldn’t find a single person at the State of Marijuana Conference ’16 on the Queen Mary this week willing to predict anything other than success for Proposition 64, the measure that could legalize cannabis in California for adult recreational use.

Polls continue to show that almost two-thirds of California’s likely voters support passage, though things could tighten up closer to election day.

No question, a pungent wind is blowing across America.

Already, adult use of marijuana is legal in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska.

In November, voters in eight other states will be making choices about legalizing recreational and medical marijuana. Like California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada could approve the use of recreational pot. Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota voters will consider legalizing medical marijuana (already the standard in 25 states, plus the District of Columbia). Montana voters will consider easing restrictions on the state’s medical marijuana law.

In California, communities up and down the state are scrambling. City councils and boards of supervisors are passing ordinances, moratoriums and bans. Some are courting industry, getting ready to capitalize on what has been described as a coming “green rush.” Others are sticking their heads in the sand.

In the last few years, a virtual mini-industry of cannabis conferences has sprung up, featuring not just the latest on legislation and research but tons of discussion about investment, innovation, branding and, inevitably, the coming clash between the legacy cannabis world — “the dreadlocked warriors, the rainbow revolutionaries, the radical faeries, the wise earth mothers,” in the words of Oakland dispensary owner Steve DeAngelo — and the forces of commercialization.

“We are seeing the first signs of what is going to be a monumental collision,” said DeAngelo, founder of the state’s largest dispensary, Harborside, and president of ArcView Group, a cannabis investor network. “It’s going to be wrenching, it’s going to be jarring, it’s going to be shocking.”

He urged his legacy cannabis colleagues to embrace the changes, to take advantage of the capital infusion and the expertise offered by techies and established entrepreneurs.

“Their presence is powerfully dampening the stigma associated with cannabis,” he said. “And the financial success of the industry is encouraging and motivating ever-increasing numbers of businesses, individuals and organizations who were opposed to us a few years ago, or at their best, neutral. And now they are turning into our best friends. Why? Because America loves a winner, and we are winning now.”

There is another collision coming as well, one to which he only briefly alluded during his speech Monday.

And that is the one between the states and the federal government — specifically the Drug Enforcement Administration — which rejected petitions this summer calling on the agency to change how marijuana is classified. Despite the fact that millions of Americans are prescribed cannabis for pain, for nausea, for post-traumatic stress issues, for epilepsy and so on, the plant remains a Schedule 1 drug, considered as dangerous as cocaine and heroin, devoid of medicinal value.

“And of course,” said DeAngelo, “Big Pharma is right there by their side.”

This point came up quite repeatedly during the two-day conference.

Suzanne Sisley, an Arizona physician, is one of the few cannabis researchers to receive marijuana from the federal government (which maintains one grow, in Mississippi). She noted that Insys Therapeutics Inc., which produces Dronabinol, a synthetic cannabinoid for cancer patients with nausea, has donated half a million dollars in the fight against marijuana legalization in Arizona.

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Anchorage Reporter Faces 24 Years in Jail – for Marijuana??

CBD News Pick – The Guardian

Reporter who quit on air to fight for pot legalization could face decades in prison

Charlo Greene did not plan to curse on live television, but on 22 September 2014, the words came pouring out.

Then a reporter for KTVA, a station in Alaska, Greene ended her segment on marijuana by revealing that she was a proponent of legalization – and was the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, the subject of her news report.


“Fuck it, I quit,” she said, before abruptly walking off camera. The 26-year-old’s stunt shocked her colleagues and made her a viral sensation overnight.

Greene quickly became a full-time cannabis advocate, working to help Alaskans access pot after the state became the third in the US to legalize recreational pot in November 2014.

But despite the voter-approved initiative, Alaska has not helped her start a legitimate marijuana operation. On the contrary, the state launched a series of undercover operations and raids at her club, ultimately charging her with eight serious criminal offenses of “misconduct involving a controlled substance”.

If convicted, she could face 24+ years behind bars.

“It’s almost dizzying when you try to make sense of it,” Greene said in an exclusive interview with the Guardian about her upcoming trial. “It could literally cost me the rest of my adult life.”

TV news reporter quits live on air over Alaska Cannabis Club

The 28-year-old’s case – which she has called a “modern day lynching” – has raised a number of questions about the ongoing war on drugs and could have broader law enforcement implications as more US states move to legalize cannabis and regulate it like alcohol.

charlo-greene-facebook-800x430While reporters across the globe rushed to interview the activist after her comical on-air resignation, the Anchorage woman has struggled to get people to pay attention to her prosecution. Advocates say the charges against Greene, who is black, are particularly alarming given the government’s history of disproportionately targeting people of color for minor marijuana offenses with tough-on-crime policies that fueled mass incarceration.

Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Egbe, said she first became interested in marijuana in college when she discovered that it was a much healthier alternative to alcohol. After working at news stations in Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia, Greene returned to her hometown in Alaska to work for the CBS affiliate where she was assigned to cover crime and courts – and eventually marijuana.

After meeting activists in Colorado and Washington, the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, Greene became passionate about its medicinal value.

“It was something I had been taking for granted – that this could literally be changing these people’s lives.”

Alaska has a complicated history of confusing and contradictory marijuana rules. The state was the first to legalize cannabis for in-home use in the 1970s and passed a formal medical law in 1998. Officials, however, never created a system for licensing medical dispensaries, meaning users had few legal options.

“No one could ever agree on what the state of the law in Alaska actually was,” said Robert MacCoun, a Stanford law professor.

But once weed became legal, Greene grew determined. She was particularly moved after meeting an older woman with a neurological disorder who was forced to buy marijuana on the streets – at one point leading her to be robbed at gunpoint.

The reporter organized a private patients’ association, which soon became more than just a hobby. Eventually, she decided to use her media job to unveil her cannabis club.

“I just spoke from my heart for the first time,” Greene recalled, noting that the infamous “fuck it” line was unplanned.

The 2014 measure – which legalized the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana – went into effect in February 2015. The state, however, had not yet finalized its regulations for retail operations and in the interim, the Alaska Cannabis Club allowed people to purchase “memberships” – supplying marijuana when members made “donations”.

Detectives immediately targeted the operation, with six undercover purchases and two raids in a five-month period, records show.

“The fact that they were watching us for so long, I kind of felt violated,” said Jennifer Egbe, Greene’s 26-year-old sister, who helped out at the club. “I was really just heartbroken. I never assumed it would go this far.”

The raids, which brought armed officers to their property, were especially stressful for Greene, who was worried police might shoot one of her four siblings at the club.

“I saw all my siblings … with these guns that my tax dollars paid for pointed at them for what was now legal.”

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CA Legal Marijuana Market Set to Explode (Updated)

CBD News Pick – Business Insider

California is the world’s sixth largest economy, only outpaced by the US as a whole, China, Japan, Germany, and the UK. The Golden State’s economic output for 2015 came in at $2.46 trillion.

Let’s be clear: We’re talking about a single US state economy compared with those of entire countries. California, on that scale, is number six.

And that’s why it’s such a tremendously big deal that California is on the edge of fully legalizing marijuana, just like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon before it.

We’re not talking about de-criminalization, or police de-prioritization.

We’re talking about alcohol-style regulation and sale of marijuana to adults, age 21 and up. We’re talking about legally allowed personal cultivation, state/local taxation of retail sales/distribution, and re-evaluation of sentences/records for people charged with marijuana offenses.

We’re talking about outright, full-on legalization of marijuana. And in the world’s sixth largest economy, that means billions of dollars.

If California’s Proposition 64 passes on November 8, and sales begin by January 1, 2018, California’s looking at an additional $1.5 billion flooding into the marijuana market. That number swells to just shy of $3 billion in 2019, and nearly $4 billion by 2020, based on the latest report from New Frontier Data and ArcView Market Research.

And to be clear, that’s on top of the already booming medical marijuana market — the total size of the cannabis market would reach $4.27 billion in 2018, and would grow to $6.45 billion by 2020.

The ballot initiative has overwhelming support in California: Over 60% of respondents support Prop. 64, compared to just 34% opposed, according to Ballotpedia’s average of polls.

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Hanford Mulls $14M Cannabis Offer

CBD News Pick – The Fresno Bee

Keith Stephenson, owner of a Bay Area medical marijuana distribution company, is currently in escrow on an industrial park in Hanford, the former site of Pirelli Tire, that he wants to turn into one of the state’s largest medical marijuana cultivation and distribution operations.

It was a big week for pot in the Valley. As the state counts down to the likely approval of recreational marijuana use in the November election, three city governments examined their current guidelines.

The Hanford City Council dealt with a bomb dropped in its lap at its Tuesday meeting. Keith Stephenson, owner of a Bay Area medical marijuana distribution company, is in escrow on an industrial park – formerly a Pirelli tire plant – in south Hanford. He wants to turn it into one of the state’s largest medical marijuana cultivation and distribution operations, which he said would provide $14 million per year to a city whose annual general fund totals $24 million. He will need Hanford to adjust its city laws – and fast – to make that happen.

In Clovis and Lemoore, city councils opted for a more cautious approach. Both decided to extend their current ordinances governing medical marijuana – legal in California since 1996 – to include recreational use should Proposition 64 pass. However, both closed the door for commercial operations – at least, for now.

Hanford doing its homework

Hanford Mayor Justin Mendes was blown away by the proposal from Stephenson’s company, Purple Heart Patient Center.

“The $14 million a year grabs your attention. That’s for sure,” Mendes said. “But (the council) had some questions as to how to make it work.”

Among those questions, Mendes said, were things such as how do the licensing and legal stipulations work? What are the levels of taxation, and how would Hanford put them in place? What are the difficulties coming from Washington, D.C., given that marijuana remains federally illegal? Would other businesses leave town if pot moved in?

Stephenson is also promising the council around 1,100 new jobs with wages ranging from $15 per hour to six-figure salaries. Attempts to reach Stephenson through Purple Heart’s Oakland office were not successful.

$14 million
The annual revenue to the city of Hanford in a proposal from a medical marijuana business

The tire plant closed in 2001. It was bought and rebranded as a business center in 2006, but most of the building has remained vacant. The Kings County Economic Development Corp. lists the price of the entire plant as $12 million.

Law enforcement weighed in on the issue. Kings County Sheriff David Robinson offered fierce opposition to the proposal, noting the federal laws. Hanford police Chief Parker Sever suggested the council take its time, as a marijuana operation this big is something very few people in the country have experience with. He added that the city’s staff may want to visit Colorado or Washington state, where recreational use is legal, to gather more information.

Taking all of this in, the council directed city staff members to start working on finding some answers to these questions and concerns. The council members must also reach out to their constituents to get a feel for public sentiment.

Hanford must do all of this in an extremely tight window. The offer from Purple Heart – not to be confused with a Reedley company looking to bring medical cannabis to Huron – could expire in late October if sufficient progress isn’t made before the Nov. 8 election. That’s a tall order given that Coalinga – a small Fresno County city about 50 miles west of Hanford – took about seven months to formalize ordinances allowing commercial cultivation.

Here are the specifics of the Purple Heart proposal, according to Mendes: The 1 million-square-foot facility would produce 180,000 pounds of marijuana per year once it gets going. For perspective, the Manchester Mall in central Fresno offers about 1 million square feet in retail space. A football field, counting end zones, is about 57,600 square feet, so the operation would likely hold dozens of football-field-sized plots of marijuana plants.

The new facility would be a sort of one-stop shop for marijuana operations – with cultivation, lab testing and sale to customers happening all under one roof.

The $14 million figure seems a stretch, but it’s possible. The going rate for property taxes in cities to embrace cultivation like Coalinga and Desert Hot Springs in Southern California is $25 per square foot for the first 3,000 square feet and $10 per square foot for anything beyond that. At 1 million square feet, the annual property taxes could be as high as $10 million.

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Dr. Bronner’s – Soap Maker – Makes Huge Donation to Support Legal Weed

CBD News Pick – The Huffington Post

Dr. Bonner’s plans to give over half a million to nonprofits campaigning for this change.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps wants to see laws legalizing marijuana get puff-puff passed.

The endearingly quirky organic soap-maker said Monday it plans to donate $660,000 to two nonprofit groups ― New Approach and the Marijuana Policy Project ― campaigning for legal weed in California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada. In November, all five states are set to vote on ballot measures that could make recreational marijuana use legal.

“The expected sweep of these states will exert enormous pressure on federal lawmakers to end the racist, outdated policy of cannabis prohibition, that shreds productive citizens’ lives and families for no good reason, and focus law enforcement resources instead on actual crime,” the Vista, California-based company, which operates as a family business, said in a statement.

Dr. Bronner’s has long supported ending prohibition laws on cannabis. In 2012, CEO David Bronner was arrested in Washington, D.C., after he locked himself in a cage full of hemp plants to protest laws banning the plant.

The company’s latest move comes as part of a broader push to tout the $1.01 million it’s spending to assert its credibility as a for-profit ally of politically progressive causes.

Dr. Bronner’s said it plans to contribute $250,000 to the nonprofit Fairness Project to back campaigns to hike the minimum wage in Arizona, Colorado and Maine to $12 and in Washington to $13.50 in the next four years.

The company said it already gave another $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States to support the animal rights group’s push for a ballot measure in Massachusetts that would end confinement of veal calves, egg-laying hens and pigs.

The firm announced the donations on Monday, when it resigned from the Organic Trade Association, an industry group, over its support for a bill that undermines efforts to label products containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

About 88 percent of Americans support mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs, according to a survey released in July by the University of Pennsylvania. Just 39 percent of those polled agreed that “GMO crops are safe to eat,” while 27 percent disagreed with the statement and 30 percent abstained. GMOs remain a lightning rod issue in the U.S., despite study after study debunking the fearmongering and myths surrounding them.

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Nashville May Loosen Up On Pot

CBD News Pick – New York Times

NASHVILLE — Willie Nelson’s famous habit of smoking marijuana is not seen as a badge of outlaw courage here anymore, so much as the frivolous foible of an eccentric uncle.

A popular FM station disgorging the Boomer rock hits of yesteryear calls itself Hippie Radio 94.5; one of its sponsors is a smoke shop that incessantly hawks glass pipes and detox kits. Even mainstream country acts mention smoking marijuana now and again among the litany of acceptable American pastimes.

So perhaps it is not surprising as much as telling that this city, which residents often refer to as the Buckle of the Bible Belt, may be on the cusp of joining the long roster of American cities, including New York, that have decriminalized the stuff.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Council, the legislative body for the consolidated city-county government here, will vote on a proposed ordinance that would give the police an alternative to criminally charging people caught with a half-ounce of marijuana or less.

Under the ordinance, officers will have the discretion to forgo a misdemeanor charge for marijuana possession, and instead issue a civil citation with a $50 fine. A judge could then suspend the civil penalty if the person cited agrees to perform up to 10 hours of community service. The goal here, as elsewhere, is to keep minor drug offenders from clogging the court system, and relieving them of the stigma of a record.

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Colombia Cannabis Growers Keen to Come out of the Shadows

CBD News Pick – The Guardian

When night falls on this south-central Colombian town, the hills above light up like a Christmas tree. Clusters of white lights glow in the darkness, marking the crops that have made Corinto synonymous with Colombian marijuana.

Half of all Colombia’s cannabis production is concentrated in the northern part of Cauca province, and 50% of that is grown in Corinto alone. Police estimate 100 hectares of land in the municipality are dedicated to growing weed; local farmers reckon the real number could be twice that.

So when Colombia recently legalised marijuana for medical and scientific purposes, farmers in Corinto figured they had a corner on the cultivation market.

A group of farmers came together in July to create Caucannabis, a cooperative that aims to be a prime supplier to companies hoping to cash in on Colombia’s new legal marijuana business.

“In this region we have been deeply affected by illegal drugs and terrorism. This is an opportunity for us to make a change,” says cooperative leader Héctor Fabio Sánchez, one of 52 members of the cooperative, most of whom have or have had marijuana crops.

Betania Rodríguez, a cooperative member who asked that her real name not be used, says that marijuana and coca – the raw material for cocaine – are just about the only options for farmers to make a living in this isolated area. Her husband tends the bushes next to their home made of thick bamboo and wooden planks, while she works as a day labourer for other growers trimming the buds to prepare them for sale.

“It’s illegal but it’s all we’ve got,” she says, wiping the sticky resin the buds leave on her hands with a cloth dipped in alcohol.

Since late June, the government has issued licences to three companies to process cannabis-based medicinal products that can be used to treat ailments such as cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Through the licences the government hopes to cash in on the new but growing medical marijuana industry. “Colombia could be the winner of this emerging global market,” said Alejandro Gaviria, the health minister who spearheaded efforts to legalise it in Colombia.

But the industry has not kicked off yet. The licences granted so far are solely to extract the oils and resin from the marijuana, not to grow it.

The three companies who have won the licences plan to grow their own marijuana but farmers in Corinto say that for the new industry to have any real impact in the country, traditional marijuana growers should be the suppliers.

“We are the ones who know the most about growing marijuana in Colombia, so we want to be involved,” says Edward García, mayor of Corinto, who encouraged the growers in his municipality and four other nearby towns to form the cannabis cooperative.

The government has yet to grant anyone a licence to grow marijuana legally and Caucannabis wants to be the first. Companies from Canada and Germany have expressed an interest in possibly building an extraction plant in or near Corinto to buy up local production and produce the resin for export.
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NJ Cannabis News x2: PTSD Added + Who is Eligible in NJ for Pot?

CBD News Pick –

Christie to let PTSD sufferers get medical marijuana in NJ

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill into law Wednesday that would add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that would qualify people for medical marijuana, a move actively sought by combat veterans.

Wounded Veterans the Next Wave of “Marijuana Refugees”

Christie said he supported the bill because an estimated 20 percent of veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from this “debilitating” illness.

Other means of treatment would have be tried first before a doctor could recommend cannabis, to prevent “misuse,” according to the governor’s bill-signing statement.

“The mere potential of abuse by some should not deter the state from taking action that may ease the daily struggles of veterans and others who legitimately suffer from PTSD,” Christie wrote.

Christie has been reluctant in the past to broaden admissions to the medical marijuana program. The law creating the program gives the state health commissioner the authority to decide whether new medical conditions should be added to the list. The governor has resisted many attempts to deviate from the law, which he has complained is too lax and a gateway to legalization.

Lawmakers praised his decision.

“I am pleased that Gov. Christie agreed with our legislation that finally empowers doctors to treat veterans and other PTSD patients with this indisputably effective medicine,” Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), a lead sponsor of the bill.

“Veterans – especially post-9/11 veterans – are the group most affected by PTSD,” Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “The VA has stated that it wants each veteran to find the medication with the least amount of side effects that allows them the optimum level of independence. For many, medical marijuana is the drug that best fits that criteria and the only one to provide veterans with significant relief from the anxiety associated with PTSD.”

State law recognizes six diseases that qualify patients for medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease; multiple sclerosis; terminal cancer; muscular dystrophy; inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease; and any terminal illness with a prognosis less than a year.

People with seizure disorders, including epilepsy, intractable skeletal muscular spasticity and glaucoma also qualify if conventional medicine has failed. People with HIV and AIDS and cancer qualify, too, if they suffer from severe and chronic pain, vomiting and nausea and wasting syndrome.

Ken Wolski, a nurse and the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of New Jersey, expressed his gratitude to the governor and lawmakers who listened to the veterans’ pleas for help.

“As many veterans testified during the hearings in Trenton, marijuana can help control the destructive symptoms of PTSD better than any drug,” Wolski said.

american-flag-leaf-294x300The Joint Blog, which bills itself as a “cannabis news and information website,” created an online petition last month to push Christie to sign the legislation advocates say will help New Jersey’s veterans.
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CBD News Pick –

Who is Eligible to Get Pot Legally in N.J.?

TRENTON — There are 9,000 people in New Jersey who are registered to receive medical marijuana, a number that is likely to grow with Gov. Chris Christie’s decision Wednesday to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying illnesses for the program.

ptsdandcannabisVeterans and patient advocacy groups created petitions and offered emotional pleas at public hearings to encourage the governor to sign the PTSD bill. They’ve argued marijuana helps relieve pain, muscle spasms and anxiety associated with their emotional and physical injuries.

People diagnosed with one of six diseases qualify for medical marijuana with their physician’s recommendation:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Terminal cancer;
  • Muscular dystrophy;
  • Inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s disease;
  • Any terminal illness with a prognosis less than a year

Other patients with these illnesses qualify if a doctor verifies that traditional medical treatment has failed:

    • People with seizure disorders including epilepsy,
    • Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity;
    • Glaucoma;
    • PTSD;
    • HIV, AIDS and cancer if people suffer from severe and chronic pain, vomiting and nausea and wasting syndrome.

The program is also likely to draw more participants because the first cannabis-infused topical products went on sale at a dispensary in Camden County last Friday. Patients have long said they want an alternative to smoking or making their own cannabis oil.

Compassionate Sciences in Bellmawr offers two lotions, and “sales are brisk and promising,” according to George Schidlovsky, the executive director. The nonprofit dispensary will begin selling lozenges later this month.

The list of diseases and conditions could expand. A newly-appointed medical review panel will consider other suggestions and make recommendations to Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett, who has the final say whether any illnesses are added.
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For original content on the cannabis industry, plus news articles and insider views | handpicked by the CBD Business Blog Editor to keep you informed on cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) industry news:

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