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Find out what you need to know about the week in cannabis/marijuana news, in just 22 minutes!

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New York Governor, Legislature Announce Medical Marijuana Program; No Smoking Allowed

(Hemp News)

The New York Assembly, Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced a deal to move forward on a limited medical marijuana program, which makes New York the 23rd state to adopt such a program. The new law will provide relief to thousands of New Yorkers suffering from debilitating illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, as well as children struggling with seizure disorders.

Although the final bill language has not yet been released, advocates were pleased to hear that there had been a breakthrough in Albany. As recently as yesterday, it was unclear that an agreement could be reached between the Governor and legislative leaders on behalf of thousands of patients and their caregivers who have demanded passage of the Compassionate Care Act, which recently passed the Assembly.

Information currently available about the bill suggests that it has some serious limitations and restrictions. For example, the bill would prohibit smoking, restrict any access to the raw plant form of marijuana. The number of producers and dispensaries is also reportedly extremely limited, raising questions about whether the system will be able to meet the needs of patients in New York.


U.S. Senate To Vote On House-Approved Amendment To Protect Medical Marijuana States

(Hemp News)

The Senate is expected to vote — possibly as soon as Friday — on a measure that is intended to shield medical marijuana patients and providers from enforcement of federal laws in states where medical marijuana is legal.

The amendment to S. 2347, the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, to be offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), is intended to prohibit the Department of Justice, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from spending funds to raid and arrest state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers. It will be the first time the amendment has been offered in the Senate.

The House medical marijuana amendment was offered by six Republicans and six Democrats: Reps. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Farr (D-CA), Young (R-AK), Blumenauer (D-OR), McClintock (R-CA), Cohen (D-TN), Broun (R-GA), Polis (D-CO), Stockman (R-TX), Lee (D-CA), Amash (R-MI) and Titus (D-NV). 170 Democrats and 49 Republicans voted for the amendment. It was approved on May 30 by a vote of 219-189.


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Says Medical Marijuana ‘A Front For Legalization’

(Hemp News)

If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind about just how ignorant New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is when it comes to medicinal cannabis, the big guy has put those doubts to rest. Following reports that patient enrollment in the state’s medical marijuana program is low (due largely to his own foot-dragging and ineffective implementation), Christie called the New Jersey program and others like it across the nation “a front for legalization.”

The New Jersey Legislature passed the state’s medical marijuana law back in 2009, and former Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, signed it just before he left office. The Christie Administration, since then, has been notably slow in implementing the program; the first dispensary didn’t open until December 2012, reports Brent Johnson at The Star-Ledger.

Only 2,342 patients have signed up for New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, after initial predictions had estimated tens of thousands of patients might be helped. Last week, the president and CEO of Compassionate Care Foundation, Inc., in Egg Harbor — one of only three operational dispensaries in the state — announcedhe is quitting because, he said, he couldn’t keep working for no pay.


Nevada’s Clark County Approves 101 Applications For Medical Marijuana Developers

(Hemp News)

Clark County, Nevada commissioners on Tuesday approved 101 applications from medical marijuana developers who want to open cultivation, production (processing), and laboratory facilities from Laughlin to Las Vegas.

Commissioners approved the vast majority (more than 90 percent) of the applications with unanimous votes, reports Ben Botkin at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, rejecting only five applications from a pool of 106. They had started the day with 112 applications, but six applicants withdrew.

In the seven-hour hearing, the commission approved 58 permits for cultivation facilities, 38 permits for production facilities and five permits for laboratory testing. The applicants will still need approval from the state.


Oregon Officials Now Inspecting Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

(Hemp News)

This weekend will mark the first month of medical marijuana dispensary inspections by officials with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program. The Oregon Legislature formally legalized dispensaries last year.

The agency hired three inspectors, according to Karynn Fish, spokeswoman for the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees the medical marijuana dispensary program, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. Inspectors in the field make unannounced visits to the dispensaries, according to dispensary program director Tom Burns.

Oregon had issued licenses to 90 medical marijuana dispensaries as of last month.


Albania: Police Storm ‘Lawless’ Marijuana Village

(Hemp News)

The Albanian government is sending hundreds more police to what they call a “lawless” southern village where suspected marijuana growers fired rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns in response to a police drug raid.

Police said on Tuesday they are adding reinforcements around Lazarat, upping their numbers from 500 to 800, after sporadic shooting continued overnight, wounding one special forces officer, reports Llazar Semini of the Associated Press.

Six men were arrested on suspicion of participating in the shootout and of attacking a local television crew, according to Albanian authorities.


Toke Signals Must Read of the Week

Yes, We DO Give Life Sentences For Marijuana in the USA

(Toke Signals)

“What country are these men incarcerated in?”
The question posed to film maker Amy Povah (420, the Documentary), while standing in front of the White House carrying signs calling for the release of prisoners serving life sentences for nonviolent marijuana crimes, came from a government worker.

The government worker was shocked to learn that the men pictured on the signs, Paul Free, Randy Lanier, Craig Cesal, John Knock, and Larry Duke, are all serving LIFE SENTENCES for marijuana right here in the good old USA, and they are not the only ones.

While the country celebrates legalization in Colorado and Washington and loosening of marijuana laws nearly everywhere, activist Adela Falk has identified 29 men (and still counting) serving sentences of life without possibility of parole for nonviolent marijuana crimes.  Some, like 1986 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Randy Lanier, were first offenders and have been behind bars for nearly 30 years!

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