Jun 232014

420RADIO News for 2014-06-23 (Monday)

The head of the campaign to place two initiatives on the November ballot to legalize marijuana in Oregon has thrown in the towel.  Paul Stanford, head of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp made the announcement Friday on his television show, Cannabis Common Sense.  Stanford said he’d raised 50,000 signatures for each measure, but would not have the 87,213 signatures needed for his Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (or OCTA) or the 116,284 signatures needed for his Help End Marijuana Prohibition (or HEMP) constitutional amendment by the July 3rd deadline.  Stanford placed OCTA on the 2012 ballot and failed on Election Day with 46.5% of the vote.  Big national funders would not back Stanford back then and they preferred New Approach Oregon’s campaign this time around.  “I liked [our initiatives] better,” Stanford said in his video, “but the big multimillionaire funders didn’t.”

The first recreational pot shops are set to open next week in Washington State, but the few shops that open will be struggling to meet consumer demand.  While 334 pot shops can be licensed statewide, only about a dozen will be ready to open in the first week of July.  The Washington State Liquor Control Board must first inspect the shops and their limited staff will delay the rollout of many of the licensed retail facilities.  Those that do open may face a supply crunch.  Only 61 of the 2,554 applications for grower licenses have been approved by the board and most of those licenses were approved recently enough that they won’t have any legal marijuana to sell to the stores next week.  Some stores are admitting they will not have any product until August and others are bidding up the price of what little marijuana will be available.

A North Dakota hemp activist was stopped at the Canadian border and his 350 pounds of hemp seeds were seized by Customs.  Tom McClain has appealed to his congressman to intervene in the situation, pointing out that the latest federal Farm Bill allows states to proceed with industrial hemp research and development.  North Dakota is one of the fifteen US states with laws allowing the production of industrial hemp.  A spokesperson for US Immigration & Customs Enforcement said “The shipment is currently undergoing scientific evaluation, as hemp seeds can look much like marijuana seeds.”  This seizure of non-psychoactive hemp seeds is the second such case we’ve reported on; the first required the state of Kentucky to sue the federal government for the return of hemp seeds imported from Italy.  Despite the Farm Bill’s hemp amendment, those wishing to import hemp seeds must still get permission from the DEA, a process that is hindering further development of the industry.

The North Carolina Senate is expected this week to debate the Hope 4 Haley & Friends bill that would make the Tarheel State the 12th to pass CBD-Only medical marijuana legislation.  Last Thursday, the bill was rushed through committees after fears it would be placed on hold until the next session, passing the full House on a 111-2 vote.  The bill would only allow use of CBD oil that is less than 0.3 percent THC and would be restricted to children with epilepsy who do not respond to any other treatment.  The bill would also allow three university research hospitals – Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest – to participate in clinical trials of CBD.

A business-to-business magazine publisher has learned that even in a state where cannabis is legal, the mere word “marijuana” can threaten your bank accounts.  Greg James publishes Marijuana Venture in Washington State and he has learned that Wells Fargo Bank would not take any deposits from the magazine’s publishing company.  Marijuana Venture is no dope magazine, explains James, who says, “We are simply running stories on how to navigate the industry and promoting best of breed business practices.”  A spokesperson for Wells Fargo explained that the federally-regulated bank has “a long-standing policy of not banking marijuana-related businesses whose activities violate federal law.”  But James’ magazine doesn’t violate any federal laws, as it only reports on marijuana businesses and doesn’t promote marijuana use or advertise marijuana sales.