Monthly Archives: January 2018

Slowly But Surely, Cannabis Licenses Are Being Issued in Jamaica

Though many have the perception that Jamaica is all about free-flowing cannabis, that’s not officially the case. It’s true that the country’s tropical climate and fertile soil provide perfect conditions to grow ganja, and that reggae music and Rastafarian religious practices exalt the herb. But Jamaica’s government has opposed its use throughout most of the country’s history.

Cannabis was originally brought to Jamaica by East Indian laborers (who called it ganja) in the mid-1800s. By the 1930s, the plant had become widely used in the culture and a foundation of Rastafarian religious practices, even though the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1913 (a.k.a. the Ganja Law) made possession, cultivation and trafficking of marijuana illegal, with harsh prison sentences for violators.

Cultural perceptions became more permissive in the 1960s and 1970s, especially as Rastafarian and outspoken spliff-lover Bob Marley became Jamaica’s best-known citizen abroad, his music bringing the island nation’s culture to the world. But with Jamaica becoming a major exporter of ganja to Europe and North America, officials rejected attempts to relax the laws, for fear of violating international treaties.

It wasn’t until 2015 that the Dangerous Drugs Act was amended to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis for personal use. Now, possession of up to two ounces is a petty offense, and cultivation of five or fewer plants per household is legal. Adult Rastafarians are permitted to use cannabis for religious purposes. The 2015 amendment also made medical cannabis legal and …

Review: Prophets of Rage’s Debut Album

If you’re one of those nostalgic counterculture revolutionaries wondering where all the protest music has gone, Prophets of Rage is for you. It’s an old-school supergroup formed by members of three of the most radical, politically outspoken acts of the ’80s and ’90s: Rage Against the Machine’s guitar-slinging Harvard alum Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk; Public Enemy’s Chuck D and DJ Lord; and Cypress Hill’s B-Real.

The result marries Rage’s heavy-metal/hip-hop hybrid, fueled by Morello’s turntable-esque guitar stylings, and the OG rap of East Coast rabble-rouser Chuck D and West Coast bud-banger B-Real. Multiracial (like Morello himself) and politically to the left, Prophets of Rage—the name comes from a Public Enemy track on their groundbreaking It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back album from 1988—hark back to both the ’60s rock’n’roll call for rebellion and the ’70s punk howl for anarchy.

They first teamed up to make a political statement during the 2016 presidential campaign, touring from May to October. Without an album out or any new material, the tour featured a mix of Rage, PE and Cypress songs, with a few covers like the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn” sprinkled in. Now they have their eponymously titled debut album to play and promote.

Prophets of Rage

From left: Tim Commerford, Tom Morello, B-Real, Chuck D, DJ Lord and Brad Wilk (Photo by Travis Shinn)

On Prophets of Rage, Chuck D and B-Real form …

Raw Cannabis Benefits

CANNABIS CULTURE – Many people focus on the benefits of smoking marijuana for its psychoactive “high” effect that calms the brain, helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and more. But are you aware of how beneficial the raw cannabis plant is on its own? Just like many other leafy greens, the cannabis plant contains many antioxidants and nutrients. The seeds of the plant contain protein, fatty acids, various minerals and multiple vitamins. The leaves…

Source: http://www.cannabisculture.com/content/2018/01/17/raw-cannabis-benefits…

Just Introduced: The Marijuana Justice Act is in the House

Today, Representative Barbara Lee of California along with over a dozen original co-sponsors have introduced the Marijuana Justice Act into the House of Representatives.

“I’m proud to introduce the Marijuana Justice Act – bold, progressive legislation to address the legacy of racial bias in marijuana enforcement and to end the failed War on Drugs,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “Today, we are asking Congress to turn the page on decades of unjust marijuana prohibition and forge a new path forward. It’s past time that we take decisive action to right the wrongs from decades of misguided policies.”

This marks the first time that companion legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

This robust legislation not only removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, it also provides a path forward for the individuals and communities that have been most disproportionately targeted by our nation’s failed war on marijuana consumers. As you may be aware, throughout the country African Americans are arrested for violating marijuana possession laws at nearly four times the rates of whites, yet both ethnicities consume marijuana at roughly the same rates.

Click here to send a message to your lawmakers in support of The Marijuana Justice Act now

The Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 would:

  • Remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances making it legal at the federal level;
  • Incentivize states through federal funds to change their

Diversity in the New Marijuana Economy

Diversity Black Marijuana

The Hood Incubator in Oakland focuses on increasing the participation of black and brown communities in the cannabis industry.

There have been plenty of stories, blogs and social-media posts about the “whitewashing of the Green Rush.” For years, the Minority Cannabis Business Association and other groups have sounded the alarms about how this new wave of ganjapreneurs is distressingly monochromatic. Is anything actually being done?

Yes, things are being done. Oakland, California, which continues to be far ahead of any other municipality when it comes to cannabis, has approved a program that gives half of new city cannabusiness licenses to people with lower incomes or who live in the neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the War on Drugs. 

diversity

Boston Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley is for equity in cannabis.

Massachusetts’ new adult-use pot law has a provision mandating outreach programs to the historically disenfranchised, and Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley has introduced legislation that would direct 20% of unspent revenues from state and local marijuana taxes toward programs aimed at social justice and creating more opportunities for people of color. Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have all enacted legislation designed to create more diversity in the cannabis industry. In fact, Pennsylvania requires businesses applying for medical-cannabis licenses to spell out their plan for ensuring a diverse workforce.

Women are taking the lead in cannabis industry in terms of diversity. They fill 36% of the executive positions, according to a

10 Ways to Reduce Mold in Your Grow

Regardless of whether your grow is indoor or in a greenhouse, mold is a factor that all cultivators must consider.

Photo credit: Steep Hill- a petri dish of mold growth from tested cannabis

After weeks of careful tending, pruning and watering to encourage a strong harvest, all cultivators are looking to sell their crop for the highest market value. A high mold presence, measured through a total yeast and mold count (TYMC), can cause a change of plans by decreasing crop value. But it doesn’t have to.

There are simple steps that any cultivator can take that will greatly eliminate the risk of mold in a grow. Below are some basic best practices to incorporate into your operation to reduce contaminants and mold growth:

  1. Isolate dirty tasks. If you are cleaning pots, filling pots or scrubbing trimming scissors, keep these and other dirty tasks away from grow and process areas. Dirty tasks can contaminate the grow area and encourage mold growth. Set up a “dirty room” that does not share heating, ventilation and air conditioning with clean areas.
  2. Compartmentalize the grow space. Mold can launch spores at speeds up to 55 miles per hour up to eight feet away without any air current. For this reason, if mold growth begins, it can become a huge problem very quickly. Isolate or remove a problem as soon as it is discovered- better to toss a plant than to risk your crop.
  3. No

Will the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment Survive?

Rohrabacher

Reps. Rohrabacher (right) and Blumenauer in 2014. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers Fight for Federal Marijuana Protections

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinding the Cole Memo on Jan. 4, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment is the only federal law standing in the way of a potential crackdown on medical marijuana.

First passed in 2014, Rohrabacher-Blumenauer (then known as Rohrabacher-Farr) is an amendment to the annual appropriations bill that prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to crack down on medical marijuana programs in the 29 states where it’s legal. In December, President Trump signed a stopgap funding bill that would extend these protections until Jan. 19.

For example, last August, a federal judge in San Francisco cited the amendment in a ruling that two California medical-marijuana growers who’d pleaded guilty to cultivation charges could not be sentenced to prison due to the amendment. And on Oct. 18, federal prosecutors in Washington State admitted that it prohibited them from prosecuting a group of medical growers known as the Kettle Falls Five.

Rep. McClintock and Polis Re-Introduce Their Amendment

Sessions’ decision to revoke federal protections in the eight legal recreational marijuana states has prompted a backlash in Congress. On Jan. 12, a bipartisan group of 69 members sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging them to include the McClintock-Polis amendment in the appropriations bill as well. Introduced by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), its language is similar …

Cypress Hill and Bhang Form Company, Plan Joint Products

Cypress Hill

DJ Muggs at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Kaua’i, Hi. on Dec. 3. Photo by Matt Emrich

With Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong and the Bob Marley family already making cannabis products, Cypress Hill has decided to join the Green Rush, inking a deal with Bhang Chocolates. Their company is called CHB.

Cypress cofounder DJ Muggs says he met with a lot of people in the industry before deciding on a partnership with Bhang, the popular California edibles company. “When I sat down with Scott (Van Rixel) and Richard (Sellers) it was organic,” he says of Bhang’s CEO and COO. “They understood the band. Scott’s a big fan. He knew our history and all of our lyrics. Plus, he’s a chocolatier. It was like I was meant to meet these guys.”

The plan is to roll out CHB strains in conjunction with the release of Cypress’ first new album in eight years, Elephants on Acid, in April. The title refers to a strain (Elephant Acid) grown by Muggs’ team.

DJ MUGGS on Cypress Hill“We’re still brothers.”

“We’re going to have super-unique packaging that celebrates the music and incorporates the band,” Muggs tells Freedom Leaf. “It’s going to be a way to distribute our music through our cannabis products. A lot of the songs will solely be distributed this way, since there aren’t record stores anymore. There are more headshops and …

Pennsylvania Residents And NORML To Rally In Harrisburg For Marijuana Legalization

Allentown, PA – Residents of the Keystone State will gather in Harrisburg on January 23, 2018 to speak with legislators about legalizing marijuana in an event co-sponsored by local NORML chapters, the ACLU-PA and the Keystone Cannabis Coalition.

A press conference is planned at 10:00 a.m. that will feature elected officials, advocates, medical marijuana patients and cannabis consumers.

Lehigh Valley NORML is spearheading the event with NORML chapters from Pittsburgh, South Philly and Lancaster sending volunteers to supply education tables and make office visits.

“Considering our current political climate, we have a unique opportunity to assemble the voices of cannabis advocacy from across this state to show legislators that we are united in our resolve for reform,” said Jeff Riedy of Lehigh Valley NORML, “We will arrive in Harrisburg determined to persuade our policymakers to follow the strong sentiment of Pennsylvania voters by ending our  prohibition on marijuana.”

This will be the first of several planned marijuana rally days in Harrisburg with NORML chapters in 2018.  A demonstration of a typical cannabis home cultivation setup, with a small indoor garden and LED lights, will be on display.

“With Delaware and New Jersey poised to legalize cannabis in 2018 we think Pennsylvania is ready to join the conversation,” said Chris Goldstein of South Philly NORML, “We can save more than 70 million tax dollars every year by stopping marijuana possession arrests alone, and we can see more than 300 million in …

Slowly But Surely, Cannabis Licenses Are Being Issued in Jamaica

Though many have the perception that Jamaica is all about free-flowing cannabis, that’s not officially the case. It’s true that the country’s tropical climate and fertile soil provide perfect conditions to grow ganja, and that reggae music and Rastafarian religious practices exalt the herb. But Jamaica’s government has opposed its use throughout most of the country’s history.

Cannabis was originally brought to Jamaica by East Indian laborers (who called it ganja) in the mid-1800s. By the 1930s, the plant had become widely used in the culture and a foundation of Rastafarian religious practices, even though the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1913 (a.k.a. the Ganja Law) made possession, cultivation and trafficking of marijuana illegal, with harsh prison sentences for violators.

Cultural perceptions became more permissive in the 1960s and 1970s, especially as Rastafarian and outspoken spliff-lover Bob Marley became Jamaica’s best-known citizen abroad, his music bringing the island nation’s culture to the world. But with Jamaica becoming a major exporter of ganja to Europe and North America, officials rejected attempts to relax the laws, for fear of violating international treaties.

It wasn’t until 2015 that the Dangerous Drugs Act was amended to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis for personal use. Now, possession of up to two ounces is a petty offense, and cultivation of five or fewer plants per household is legal. Adult Rastafarians are permitted to use cannabis for religious purposes. The 2015 amendment also made medical cannabis legal and …

ASA Activist Newsletter – 2017 Year in Review

In the January 2018 Issue

  • DOJ Memo on Prosecutions Rescinded; Temporary Protections Remain
  • ASA Launches Campaign on Cannabis as a Tool in Opioid Crisis
  • Veterans Administration Loosens Cannabis Policy
  • WHO Initial Report Says CBD Needs No Restrictions
  • DEA Yields to Pressure, Removes Misinformation on Cannabis
  • ASA National Unity Conference a Success
  • ASA’s Annual Report on State Medical Cannabis Programs Finds Improvements
  • State & International Developments
  • ASA’s Patient Focused Certification Going Global
  • ACTION ALERT: Send Congress Your Story Today!

Source: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/2017_year_in_review…

Vermont Is the First State to Legalize Marijuana Through Legislation

Vermont made national headlines and was the subject of late-night talk show jokes on Jan. 10 when the state Senate approved a bill to legalize adult use of marijuana. While the measure would not allow legal sales, the Green Mountain State is poised to make history as the first in the nation to legalize marijuana by legislation instead of popular vote.

It will become the ninth state in the country to allow recreational marijuana when Republican Gov. Phil Scott signs the bill this week, as he’s promised. The only thing standing in the way of Vermont legalizing weed would be an unforeseen technical error in the bill’s drafting.

The legislation would let adults over 21 possess up to one ounce of marijuana or five grams of hash, and cultivate up to two mature and four immature plants at home. It would remain illegal to smoke pot in a public place or while driving.

However, the bill doesn’t permit commercial sales. Still, entrepreneurs there think a regulated market is inevitable. In fact, Gov. Scott’s Marijuana Advisory Commission has been studying cannabis sales and is set to issue a report on Jan. 15.

Marijuana Law Reform Efforts Advance in States Despite a Hostile Attorney General

As tensions between AG Sessions and federal lawmakers continues to grow, proponents of marijuana legalization are finding new allies in state legislatures around the country. Despite last week’s move by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind the Cole Memo, a 2013 DOJ memorandum that allowed state sanctioned marijuana business to thrive despite the quagmire between state and federal laws, lawmakers in several states are advancing marijuana reform legislation.

Reject AG Sessions’ Efforts to Revert to the Failed Criminal Policies of the ‘Just Say No’ Era.

Within hours of the rollout of the DOJ’s new policy, lawmakers in Vermont passed a depenalization bill out of the House and Senate with overwhelming support and it’s now headed to Governor’s office. With Governor Scott already promising to sign the measure into law, it’s safe to say that Vermont will surely be the newest thorn in the side of an already agitated Sessions. As if the news from Vermont isn’t frustrating enough for the Attorney General, House lawmakers in New Hampshire also passed legislation that would legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 and up. And Thursday, members of the New York State Assembly heard hours of testimony in support of adult use regulation.

In addition to the advancement of marijuana law reform legislation in Vermont and New Hampshire, a number of other states such as Kentucky, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, Missouri and New …

Rev. Al Sharpton: ‘Weed Must Be Decriminalized’

It took a while for the Rev. Al Sharpton to jump aboard the legalization movement’s soul train. The founder of the National Action Network and MSNBC talking head had long protested pretty much every issue that affects people of color, except for the drug issue.

I’ve known Sharpton since the late ’70s, when I was a young music journalist and he was one of the great R&B star James Brown’s best friends. After writing a cover story about the Godfather of Soul for New York’s Soho Weekly News in 1979, I had terrific access to Soul Brother No. 1. I met Sharpton on many occasions in the company of Brown, and wrote about it in my 1988 New York magazine article, “The Reverend and the Godfather.”

That same year I started working for High Times. Marijuana had become my beat.

Al Sharpton James Brown

James Brown and Rev. Al Sharpton in the late ’70s

About 12 years ago, I ran into Sharpton in New York’s Hilton Hotel. He was heading up an escalator and asked what I was up to when he saw me. I told him I now had a job as an editor at High Times.

Sixty-nine Members Of Congress Sign Letter To Congressional Leadership

Official_Photo_Congressman_Jared_Polis_1-27-2009

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO)

Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. The amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

In the wake of Attorney General Jeff Sessions recent actions, it is time to expand similar protections to states that have also legalized the use and sale of marijuana to all adults now that one in five Americans resides in a jurisdiction where the adult use of cannabis is legal under state statute.

Known as the McClintock-Polis amendment, after Representatives Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO), the amendment would simply remove the word medical from the current Rohrabacher-Blumenauer language.

The fix would literally be that simple to give breathing room to state-lawful programs.

In a letter to Congressional leadership authors by McClintock and Polis, co-signed by 67 other Representatives from both political parties, the members call for the amendment to be included in any future spending bill.

In the one day that the letter was going around the hill, NORML members and supporters drove in nearly 5,000 messages to Congress and countless phone calls in support of their Representative signing on.

“For several …

New House Legislation To Stop Jeff Sessions

Representative Barbara Lee

Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK today filed a resolution, HR 4479, prohibiting the federal government from taking punitive action against those operating in states where the use and distribution of marijuana is legal.

NORML is pleased to have worked with Rep. Lee’s office in drafting the language of HR 4779, which “protects individuals in states that have laws which permit the use of cannabis” for either medical or recreational purposes. Specifically, HR 4779 bars federal funding for any efforts that seek to “detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against an individual, business or property that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or the use of cannabis in accordance with the law or regulation of the state or unit of local government in which the individual is located.”

It also prohibits the federal government from taking any punitive action against a financial institution “solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity” that is involved in state-sanctioned marijuana-related activities.

Take action today to tell Congress to support HR 4779!

With the Justice Department having rescinded Obama-era directives limiting the federal government’s involvement in marijuana states, and with the future of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment uncertain, it is pivotal that you urge your elected officials to act on HR 4779.

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/01/12/new-house-legislation-to-stop-jeff-sessions/…

Vermont: Governor Announces He Will Sign Marijuana Depenalization Measure

thumbs_upRepublican Gov. Phil Scott publicly announced at a news conference that he intends to sign legislation into law legalizing the use and cultivation of personal use quantities of marijuana by adults. The Governor vetoed similar legislation last year.

House Bill 511 eliminates existing civil penalties specific to the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and also removes criminal penalties with regard to the private cultivation of six marijuana plants (two mature and up to four immature). Those who cultivate marijuana for their own personal use may possess at home the total quantity of their harvest.

The measure also imposes new civil penalties for consuming cannabis while driving, and imposes additional penalties for those who operate a motor vehicle impaired with a minor in the vehicle.

“We’ll take a look at it to make sure it’s technically correct, and then I’ll sign the bill,” Scott said during a Statehouse press conference yesterday. “This is a libertarian approach. I’ve said I’m not philosophically opposed to it. I know there are diverse opinions … as to whether we should move forward, but I still firmly believe that what you do in your own home should be your business, as long as it doesn’t affect someone else.”

Vermont will be the first state to legislatively act to eliminate both criminal and civil penalties for personal marijuana possession and growing.

Once signed, the new law will take effect July 1, 2018.

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2018/01/12/vermont-governor-says-he-intends-to-sign-marijuana-depenalization-measure/…

Sunrise Genetics Partners With RPC, Begins Genetic Testing in Canada

Sunrise Genetics, Inc., the parent company of Marigene and Hempgene, announced their partnership with New Brunswick Research & Productivity Council (RPC) this week, according to a press release. The company has been working in the United States for a few years now doing genomic sequencing and genetic research based in Fort Collins, CO. This new partnership, compliant with Health Canada sample submission requirements, allows Canadian growers to submit plants for DNA extraction and genomic sequencing.

Sunrise Genetics researches different cannabis cultivars in the areas of target improvement of desired traits, accelerated breeding and expanding the knowledge base of cannabis genetics. One area they have been working on is genetic plant identification, which uses the plant’s DNA and modern genomics to create authentic, reproducible, commercial-ready strains.

Matt Gibbs, president of Sunrise Genetics, says he is very excited to get working on cannabis DNA testing in Canada. “RPC has a long track record of leadership in analytical services, especially as it relates to DNA and forensic work, giving Canadian growers their first real option to submit their plant samples for DNA extraction through proper legal channels,” says Gibbs. “The option to pursue genomic research on cannabis is now at Canadian cultivator’s fingertips.”

Canada’s massive new cannabis industry, which now has legal recreational and medical use, sales and cultivation, previously has not had many options for genetic testing. Using their genetic testing capabilities, they hope this partnership will better help Canadian cultivators easily …