• Woody Harrelson denied license to open marijuana dispensary in Hawaii

    May 02, 2016

    Hollywood star and a vocal proponent of recreational marijuana usage, Woody Harrelson has been denied a license recently to open a first ever medical marijuana dispensary in Hawaii.

    The 54-year-old Oscar-nominated actor applied for the license on behalf of his company—‘Simply Organic Living LLC’ in Honolulu County in February.

    Harrelson, best known for his roles in the film “Hunger Games”, was among 66 Hawaii residents who applied to open medical-marijuana dispensaries.

    The Hawaii Department of Health released the list of approved applicants last week. Among the successful applicants, three are from Honolulu, two from the Big Island, two more from Maui while one is from Kauai.

    Applicants in Hawaii were required to have USD 1 million plus USD 100,000 for each of their planned dispensary locations. Also, one must be resident of Hawaii for more than five years.

    The approved applicants are allowed to have two production centers and two retail dispensaries, for a total of 16 dispensaries statewide. And, the facilities can be open for business as early as July 15.

    Hawaii was the first US state to legalize medical marijuana 16 years ago.

  • Maine to vote on Marijuana Legalization in November Ballot

    April 29, 2016

    In a significant development, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced on Wednesday that the ‘Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’ had garnered enough signatures to place the initiative on the ballot this November.

    The Campaign originally submitted 99,229 signatures on Feb. 1, but only 51,543 of the signatures were deemed to be valid. A review was ordered after a judge set aside Dunlap's decision to reject thousands of signatures because the notary's signature didn't match the signature on file in Augusta.

    While it’s unlikely that lawmakers in Maine will pass the proposed legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use, the voters of the state will decide on the issue in November.

    “This November, Maine voters will have the opportunity to adopt a more sensible marijuana policy. We are thrilled to finally start transitioning into the more substantive phase of this campaign." said David Boyer, Campaign Manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Marijuana legalization will take the industry out of the hands of drug dealers, he believes.

    The initiative would allow people 21 years or older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for recreational use. It would also allow state-regulated businesses to sell the substance and would impose a 10 percent tax on recreational marijuana sales.

    If the ballot initiative passes, Maine would join states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

    However, medical marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1999. As many as 24 states in the U.S. A. and District of Columbia currently allow medical marijuana use.

  • Oakland Museum to open first-ever Marijuana Exhibition in U.S.

    April 17, 2016

    In a first-of-its-kind incident in the USA, the Oakland Museum in northern California is all set open a unique exhibition dedicated to marijuana, titled "Altered State: Marijuana in California", from April 16, 2016. The marijuana exhibition ends on September 25, 2016.

    The first ever museum exhibition devoted to marijuana in the country will showcase the history of weed from scary predictions of Reefer Madness to the stoner comedy of Cheech and Chong, and the point when America began discussing the issue of medical marijuana in a more serious way.

    The months-long exhibition on marijuana will also display every imaginable aspect of the complex issue — from medical claims and the “War on Drugs” of the ‘80s, to recreational use, conflicting laws, economics, environmental concerns, sacred uses of the plant and, even stoner movies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

    The associate curator of the museum Sarah Seiter believes that the exhibit will not take a position on legalization, or whether recreational use is good or bad. Instead, the show will examine the science, economics, politics, history, and spirituality surrounding the marijuana, she points out.

    The museum show on marijuana certainly draws national attention as part of the institution’s ongoing effort to serve as a forum for debate on different aspects of marijuana use.

    Currently, the use, sale, possession, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana is illegal under federal law in the USA. However, more than twenty states have marijuana laws, while four states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

    California voters may face a ballot initiative this year to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

  • DEA conducts massive marijuana raids across Colorado Front Range

    April 17, 2016

    The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on Thursday raided numerous warehouses and homes across the Front Range as part of a multi-state investigation into the illegal distribution of marijuana outside Colorado. More than forty people were arrested in this regard, while lots of marijuana plants were pulled at many locations and piles of pot plants were seized.

    The massive raids are the culmination of a year-and-a-half long investigation by the North Metro Drug Task Force, the DEA, U.S. Postal Inspectors and the Colorado Attorney General’s office. Officers searched about 30 properties during the raids, which spanned from the Denver area south to Colorado Springs.

    According a DEA spokesman, the raids are tied to one illegal operation and many were executed in the Denver metro area. The suspects allegedly came from Texas to grow marijuana in Colorado and they bought houses to grow the plants, and then ship them out of state to sell the drugs for a big financial gain.

    In 2015, local, state and federal authorities uprooted roughly 4.1 million cultivated marijuana plants in all 50 states, down slightly from the haul of 4.3 million plants in 2014.

    Following the massive raids, Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh says that one of his priorities is to ensure the state doesn’t become like northern California, which he believes, is known for producing pot sold across the nation.

    Notably, Colorado has legalized the use of medical and recreational marijuana. It also allows people at the age of 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants, while the capital city has a cap of 12 plants.

  • Senate Panel approves Medical Marijuana for Military Veterans

    April 17, 2016

    In a major step forward, a key U.S. Senate panel on Thursday voted to provide the military veterans a hassle-free access to medical marijuana as a potential medical treatment in states, where it is legal.

    By a bipartisan vote of 20 - 10, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would allow Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to discuss and recommend medical marijuana for various health issues, under the same rules as civilian physicians in medical marijuana states. The bill would also prevent federal funds from being used to drop the hammer on VA doctors who operate medical marijuana with their patients

    The measure, sponsored by Senators Steve Daines, R-Montana, and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, is attached to the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which now needs to be passed by the Senate.

    It is the second time that senators have tried to enhance the accessibility of medical marijuana for military veterans who are treated at VA medical facilities and want to use marijuana for various medical issues.

    Last November, the Senate approved the 2016 version of the spending bill, with the medical marijuana amendment attached, but the provision was not included in the final omnibus appropriations package signed into law by President Obama in December.

    “Veterans should not be denied access to a medicine that can help alleviate their condition, and doctors must be able to discuss and recommend all treatments,” Michael Collins, deputy director for the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs, said in a statement. “They have served this country, and shouldn’t be discriminated against.”

    Many claim medical marijuana is useful for issues like chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, depression and more. As many as twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, although it is illegal at the federal level in the U.S.

  • Grenade-shaped Marijuana Grinder creates chaos at Bellingham Airport

    April 14, 2016

    A chaotic scene occurred at Bellingham International Airport in Washington, when security officers spotted a grenade in a man's luggage while passing through screening equipment at about 8.30 am local time on Saturday.

    Transportation Security Administration personnel at the airport identified the man who owned the luggage, who said all that was inside were clothes. Yet, the officers searched the luggage to find a camouflage object that looked like a grenade, said airport spokeswoman Lorie Danker.

    The Bellingham Police Department’s Bomb Squad was called to investigate further on the suspected object. However, the bomb squad confirmed that grenade-shaped object was a device used to break up marijuana.

    Following the standard procedure, the screening and boarding areas were evacuated by the airport security personnel for few hours and around four departing flights were delayed.

    However, the owner of the luggage was released and allowed to board his flight, though it was unclear whether the person faced any charges or not.

    In such situations, the security officers can't just rely on a passenger's claim about what an object they possess, Danker said. TSA personnel aren't typically on the lookout for illegal items like drugs or paraphernalia, but rather objects that pose a threat to travelers, she added.

    Medical marijuana, which is legalized in more than twenty states in the US, is still illegal at the federal level.

  • Victoria becomes 1st Australian State to legalize Medical Marijuana

    April 14, 2016

    In a historic development, Victoria has become the first state in Australia to legalize medical marijuana, allowing people to have the drug safely and securely in exceptional circumstances.

    The Victoria government passed the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2015 in parliament on April 12, which enables to grow, manufacture, supply and access safe and high quality medical marijuana products in the state as early as 2017.

    Children suffering severe epilepsy will be among the first to be treated using a range of non-smoking marijuana products including oils, sprays and vaporizers.

    “Children with severe epilepsy will now be able to legally access this life-saving treatment from as early as 2017”, Victoria's Health Minister Jill Hennessy said, after the Access to Medicinal Cannabis Bill passed Parliament. “It is absolutely heart-breaking to see families having to choose between breaking the law and watching their children suffer – and now, thanks to our ground-breaking legislation, they won’t have to”, she added.

    The state government has now decided to establish separate office for medical marijuana in order to oversee manufacturing and all clinical aspects of the marijuana framework.

    The office will work with doctors, clinicians and general practitioners to help them understand their role in prescribing medicinal marijuana. It will also educate the patients and families about various aspects of medicinal marijuana use.

    The government has also planned to form an independent medical advisory committee to provide advice regarding different prospects of medicinal marijuana.

    Medical marijuana is being legalized in some states of the USA, Spain and Israel to treat more than a dozen of health problems, including cancer, epilepsy, chronic pain, AIDs and sickle cell anemia.