May 082015

The Kansas House passed a bill Thursday that would decrease penalties for marijuana possession, allow the limited production and sale of hemp oil and study uses for industrial hemp. The chamber’s 81-36 vote Thursday sends the marijuana bill to the Senate for consideration. First- and second-time marijuana offenders without serious prior convictions would avoid jail time under the measure. That would decrease the population in the state’s overcrowded prisons and save more than $1.7 million over the next two fiscal years, according to state estimates. Two amendments to the bill on marijuana penalties added language that would legalize the sale and production of hemp oil for seizure treatments and initiate a state study into industrial hemp. The bill would allow only state-licensed producers to make hemp oil and would regulate the products to ensure they do not contain more than 3 percent THC.

In the United Kingdom, the Conservatives won the General Election, but they were beaten by a pro-cannabis party in a few choice constituencies. Many Brits will have come across the Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol (CISTA) party for the first time when they looked at their ballot paper on Thursday. Others will still probably never have heard of this niche party. But though they’re small and – yes – focused on one single issue, they notched up a couple of triumphs in the 2015 General Election. This party beat the British National Party in terms of votes, this year. The Cannabis party is also more popular than the Conservatives in Northern Ireland. The Cannabis party had candidates in 33 constituencies – 19 in England, 4 in Northern Ireland, 8 in Scotland, and 1 in Wales. However the Cannabis party failed to win any of the 650 seats up for grabs in the Parliament.

The Texas Senate has approved a limited medical marijuana bill, authorizing the sale to eligible patients of cannabidiol oil. The upper chamber voted 26-5 to support limited legalization of what’s also known as CBD oil. It’s an extract from the marijuana plant that doesn’t produce the high. The oil is used to help control seizures associated with intractable epilepsy, which advocates say affects about 150,000 Texans. Tyler Republican Sen. Kevin Eltife’s measure now heads to the House. A companion House bill has cleared committee, making it potentially eligible for a lower chamber floor vote.

The new state laws collapsing the medical market as we know it in Washington has claimed its first victim … the High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup in Seattle. High Times has put on the cannabis competition/vender expo/party here for three years — twice in Fremont and last year in Everett. The problem is, in short, if you have a liquor licenses no marijuana use is permitted at all. Secondly, Washington’s recreational marijuana laws don’t allow for sampling or selling marijuana outside of a licensed brick-and-mortar store. And, there’s no cannabis consumption on the store’s property.

A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana and hemp in Ohio has cleared the first step on the path to making the ballot. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says it certified Thursday that the group Better for Ohio provided a fair and truthful summary of the proposal and had 1,000 required signatures for its petition. It still would have to be evaluated by the Ohio Ballot Board and meet a broader signature-collection requirement to appear on the ballot. It’s one of five marijuana-related constitutional amendment proposals submitted to the attorney general in the past few months. Only two so far have cleared the initial hurdle. The other certified petition is a for-profit marijuana legalization effort from a group called ResponsibleOhio.

The state agency charged with running Maine’s medical marijuana system wants more oversight of the more than 1,700 people who cultivate small amounts of medicinal marijuana for patients. The Department of Health and Human Services argues that it has no means of enforcing rules that require caregivers to follow the medical marijuana law. DHHS would like to be able to perform random inspections of caregiver facilities, the way it can with other medical facilities. They also wish to enact civil and criminal penalties for violations.

Two political action committees, Mississippi Alliance for Cannabis and Team Legalize, are now traveling across Mississippi in a joint effort to legalize marijuana by gathering signatures in support of Ballot Initiative 48. Passage of Proposition 48 would also see all those convicted of nonviolent marijuana crimes pardoned.