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STEVE ELLIOTT

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U.S.: Cannabis Market Reaches New Heights

(Hemp News)

A recent report by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research has revealed some very impressive numbers. Sales of legal cannabis products increased by 17 percent in 2015, reaching $5.4 billion, and sales are expected to increase by 25 percent more in 2016, reaching a total value of $6.7 billion.

This is quite an achievement for an industry in which the first legal dispensaries opened just two years ago. By 2020, total legal sales across the U.S. are expected to reach $22 billion.

According to ArcView projections, Washington state is expected to be the largest legal sales market by 2020, with estimated $2.3 billion of total sales. In 2015 alone, legal sales of marijuana products totaled more than $709 million in Washington, which is an increase of an amazing 242 percent over 2014.

It is a rare opportunity when a market that is potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars is virtually untouched by large companies. While the number of states where the growth and sales of cannabis products remains limited, the majority of the population in the United States approves the end of federal marijuana prohibition nationwide.

Alabama: Governor Signs Leni’s Law, Increasing Access To Medical Cannabis Oil

(Hemp News)

Patients in Alabama will have greater access to medical cannabis oil after Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday signed HB 61, also know as Leni’s Law, as passed by the Alabama Legislature.

Gov. Bentley’s signature decriminalizes possession of medical marijuana CBD oil with THC content of up to 3 percent. The bill is named for a four-year-old girl whose family moved to Oregon to legally access cannabidiol cannabis oil to treat her severe epilepsy, and was hailed as a victory by Leni’s mother, Amy Young, reports Paul Gattis at Al.com.

“We are incredibly grateful to the state of Alabama for giving families like ours the opportunity to find relief from life altering and debilitating conditions, and hope for a better quality of life,” Young told Hemp News Wednesday afternoon. “Access to medical treatment shouldn’t be determined by your zip code.”

“I’ve got this smile glued to my face,” said Young, who revealed she’d already received calls from lawmakers in Iowa, South Dakota and Tennessee since the Leni’s Law was signed.

 

Vermont: Lawmakers Seen Drinking In Hallway Just Before Voting No On Marijuana

(Hemp News)

When the Vermont House on Tuesday soundly rejected a Senate proposal to legalize marijuana and create a regulated retail market for it — and even failed to decriminalize possession and cultivation of just two cannabis plants — their unfortunate lack of political courage didn’t shock many political observers.

What was a bit more upsetting, though, was that at least two of the politicians who voted “No” on legalization were seen (and photographed!) drinking alcohol in the hall shortly before the vote, according to multiple sources. Photos tweeted by reporter Neil Goswami depict Rep. Gary Viens (R-Newport) and Rep. Corey Parent (R-St. Albans City) enjoying alcholic beverages at the State House during a 15-minute recess from the marijuana debate.

“Drinking in the State House is cool, according to these people who voted against legal pot,” Goswami tweeted.

Both Viens and Parent are widely grinning in the photos, apparently believing themselves to be quite clever in taking a drink in the hall before batting down a bill that would have treated marijuana similarly to alcohol.

 

Ohio: Patients Still Lose Under Latest Medical Marijuana Plan From Legislature

(Hemp News)

As state lawmakers unveiled a revised version of HB 523, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Wednesday released a statement expressing disappointment with the narrow and restrictive substitute bill.

“The latest version fails to address the critical flaws in the bill that significantly restrict patient access,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “Very few doctors will be willing to enter into a system that doesn’t trust them to make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients and ties their hands with regulatory red tape. With so few doctors participating, patients will not have access to the medicine they need.”

Provisions in the revised legislation require doctors to recommend specific THC levels and strains of medical marijuana for patients. “These kinds of provisions risk putting doctors at odds with federal law, and have significantly hindered the two-year-old medical marijuana program in New York,” said Marshall.

A similar provision in the state of New York has been a key factor in why only 556 doctors out of 90,000 in the state have agreed to see medical marijuana patients, as reported by David Robinson and Patti Singer at the Democrat & Chronicle.

 

California: Congresswoman Lee Applauds Federal Decision To End Case Against Harborside

(Hemp News)

Congresswoman Barbara Lee has praised the U.S. Attorney’s decision to drop its case against Harborside Health Center dispensary.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Attorney is a victory for healthcare access,” Congresswoman Lee said. “For decades, Harborside has helped ensure members of our community can access their medicine. It’s past time for the federal government to stop standing between these patients and their medicine.

“I am proud to have played a part in today’s victory by actively encouraging the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to end this unnecessary asset forfeiture case that would restrict my constituents’ access to their prescribed medicines,” Rep. Lee said. “While today’s action is a victory for Harborside, other dispensaries, including one in my district, face harassment from the federal government for their state-legal businesses.

“As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to use my position to rein in this federal government overreach,” Rep. Lee said. “I will keep working to open banking services to the industry and expand access to medical cannabis for veterans.

 

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Panel Suggests 12 Conditions; Criticizes Governor

(Hemp News)

Doctors, nurses and patients on a state panel that recommends whether to expand Illinois’ medical marijuana test program on Monday suggested 12 additional health conditions for inclusion, and complained that their suggestions are routinely ignored by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

A doctor who leads the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board said she isn’t optimistic about the chances of expanding the program based on previous decisions by the Rauner Administration, reports Celeste Bott at the Chicago Tribune.

Board Chair Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple said the advisory board is moving forward anyway. The board met on Monday in Springfield, and suggested that 10 previously recommended ailments receive approval, as well as two new ones, Type 1 diabetes and panic disorder.

Currently, 39 conditions and diseases can qualify patients to use medicinal cannabis in Illinois. The state’s medical marijuana law allows people to suggest new diseses for the program twice a year.

 

New Jersey: Police Sergeant Accused Of Selling Marijuana

(Hemp News)

A New Jersey cop has been charged with dealing marijuana; the officer’s father is a captain in the same police department in the city of Linden.

Sgt. William Turbett III has been suspended from the police force due to an unrelated case involving Internal Affairs, but now the 30-year-old faces marijuana possession and distribution charges, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, reports Anthony Johnson at ABC 7.

There was police activity on Wednesday night at the South Amboy home of Sgt. Turbett, according to neighbors, with multiple agencies involved in the investigation.

Sayreville police and the Prosecutor’s Office Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force executed a search warrant on Turbett’s home and reportedly found a small amount of marijuana, according to prosecutors, reports CBS New York. Turbett’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Nicolette Hendrickson of Sayreville, was arrested along with him and charged with marijuana possession. Both were released on recognizance bonds, according to prosecutors, reports New Jersey News 12.

 

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