300-Page MJ Bill Would Heal Illinois Broken by Drug War


300-Page Marijuana Legalization Bill Would Heal Illinois Communities Broken by Drug War

Lawmakers in Illinois are dead serious about ensuring the  legalization of marijuana for adult use. With only five weeks remaining  in the legislative session, the majority-Democrat group of pro-pot  politicos hopes to release their full 300-page draft legislation within  the week.

This time, however, the highly-anticipated law would go a great  distance in terms of enshrining social justice aspects of marijuana  legalization that often go by the wayside in other locales where  cannabis prohibition has ended.

The legislation, drafted by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Heather Steans, was written in a way “that centers equity and inclusion in the industry, that centers  restoration of records and social justice components and restoration of  communities,” Cassidy told the Chicago Sun-Times. The proposed law already has the support of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.



2018 report by the Drug Policy Alliance found that, even in states where marijuana  had been legalized, people of color still faced a far greater rate of  arrests on charges of marijuana possession than did their white  counterparts.

The proposed law would ensure that all misdemeanor pot convictions  would be expunged from criminal records, while those with cannabis  convictions would be allowed to work in the industry while firms in the  industry would be expected to achieve diversity hiring goals.

The legislation would also grant support to minority-owned businesses  by offering technical assistance and access to loans, capital, and  protection from fees that are often used to place barriers to entry to  smaller businesses. Cannabis licensing categories would also protect  “craft” grow operations and those companies that process and transport  the plant.

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Cassidy explained:

“I’ve said for a long time that other states that  have tried this have tended to try with a solution, but that presumes  there’s a singular barrier to minority engagement in the industry … And  that’s simply not the case. These conversations have been about the best  way to set up sort of a buffet of responses to the array of problems.”

In 1996, California became the first state to legalize cannabis for  medical use, and over than 30 states have since done the same. Ten  states along with Washington, D.C. have freed the herb almost entirely,  allowing adults over 21 to partake in the recreational use of cannabis.  However, cannabis remains illegal under U.S. federal law.

A recent poll by  the Pew Research Center also found that 62 percent of U.S. residents,  including 74 percent of millennials, favor an end to the prohibition of  cannabis.

The law faces opposition from a range of special interests groups,  including the Catholic Conference of Illinois, the Illinois Chiefs of  Police Association, and the Illinois Drug Enforcement Officers  Association. The Illinois Chapter of the NAACP has also tagged along  with anti-legalization force to chip away at support for the law in the  state’s legislative black caucus.


Last month, Vermont-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, marked  April 20—a day traditionally celebrated by cannabis users—with a call  for lawmakers to expunge “everybody’s cannabis convictions.”

The company took aim at the disparity between the large number of  white people who are making money from the legal marijuana industry  versus the significant numbers of black people who continue to face  arrest for the possession and usage of the pant.

In a video posted to Twitter, the company said:


“It’s hard to celebrate 4/20 when so many people of color are still being arrested for pot.”

If successfully passed, the Illinois law will hopefully become a  model of anti-prohibitionist legislation for other states to follow.


Thanks to: https://themindunleashed.com

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Senator Files 420 Marijuana Bill To Legalize It Federally


Senator Files '420' Marijuana Bill To Legalize It Federally

For the second time so far this year, marijuana legislation in Congress has been officially designated with the bill number 420. It seems to be an obvious nod to the increasingly mainstream cannabis culture from lawmakers on Capitol Hill Photo by Tom SydowPhoto by Tom Sydow Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) proposal, S.420,  would deschedule marijuana by removing it from the Controlled  Substances Act (CSA), establish a federal excise tax on legal sales and  create a system of permits for businesses to engage in cannabis  commerce. Marijuana enthusiasts, of course, celebrate their favorite plant on April 20, also known as 4/20. “S.  420 may get some laughs, but what matters most is that it will get  people talking about the serious need to end failed prohibition," Wyden  said in an emailed statement.  

The new Senate bill, filed on  Thursday, is far from the first time that the number 420 has  officially been attached to cannabis legislation. Just last month, another federal lawmaker from Oregon, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), filed a congressional bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol, numbered H.R. 420. Also last month, Minnesota state lawmakers introduced a marijuana legalization bill designated as HF 420.

In California, the first move to establish statewide medical cannabis regulations was through 2003 legislation numbered SB 420. In 2017, a Rhode Island senator introduced bill to legalize marijuana that was designated as S 420. And back  on Capitol Hill, the first House vote on an amendment to prevent the  Department of Justice from interfering with state medical cannabis laws  was via 2003's Roll Call 420. “The  federal prohibition of marijuana is wrong, plain and simple. Too many  lives have been wasted, and too many economic opportunities have been  missed,” Wyden said in a press release. “It’s time Congress make the  changes Oregonians and Americans across the country are demanding.” NORML  Political Director Justin Strekal called the new bill "a thoughtful and  thorough approach to how the federal government could ultimately end  prohibition." “Hailing from the first state to decriminalize  marijuana back in 1973, Senator Wyden has a unique and much-needed  perspective that his colleagues in the nation’s upper chamber would be  wise to follow,” he said. Aside from S.420,  which would also authorize regulations on packaging and labeling of  cannabis products and apply alcohol advertising guidelines to the  product, Wyden introduced two separate pieces of marijuana legislation  in the Senate this week. One of the bills, S.421,  seeks to "reduce the gap between Federal and State marijuana policy."  It proposes a number of changes such as exempting state-legal marijuana  activity from the CSA, allowing banking access for cannabis companies,  eliminating advertising prohibitions, expunging criminal records,  shielding immigrants from deportation over marijuana and allowing  Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to issue medical cannabis  recommendations. The other piece of legislation, S.422,  would exempt state-legal cannabis businesses from the federal provision  known as 280(E), which prevents them from taking normal business tax  deductions that are available to operators in other industries. This  third bill is the only one of Wyden's new proposals that comes with  initial cosponsors. Also signing on to the legislation are Sens. Rand  Paul (R-KY), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Wyden filed previous versions of all three bills during the last Congress, but none were brought to a vote. The  new cannabis legislation comes at a time when legalization advocates  are more hopeful than ever before about the prospects for federal  marijuana reform. Next week, the new House Democratic majority will hold a hearing on marijuana businesses' lack of access to banks,  part of a plan Blumenauer proposed in a memo to party leaders that  entails moving a number of incremental reform bills leading up to the eventual federal legalization of marijuana in 2019. “Oregon  has been and continues to be a leader in commonsense marijuana policies  and the federal government must catch up,” Blumenauer in a press  release. “The American people have elected the most pro-cannabis  Congress in American history and significant pieces of legislation are  being introduced. The House is doing its work and with the help of  Senator Wyden’s leadership in the Senate, we will break through.” A  number of bills with differing approaches to end federal marijuana  prohibition have been filed in Congress in recent years, and it remains  to be seen which formation House leaders will choose to advance, if any,  and whether the Republican-controlled Senate would go along. President Trump, for his part, has signaled support for moves to end federal marijuana prohibition. In  the meantime, activists are reacting to the increasing interest in  marijuana reform on Capitol Hill and lawmakers' nods to cannabis culture  with a mixture of lighthearted optimism. “With 420 legislation  pending in both chambers of Congress, the next logical step is for  lawmakers to sit in a circle and finally hash out their differences,”  NORML's Strekal joked. Tom Angell publishes Marijuana Moment. Follow him on Twitter for breaking news, subscribe to his daily newsletter and support cannabis journalism on Patreon. 

 Thanks to: https://www.forbes.com 

Families Become Outlaws to Treat Epilepsy with Cannabis


As Families Become Outlaws to Treat Epilepsy with Cannabis, Colorado Kids Can Now Bring It To School

Date: September 29, 2018Author: Nwo Report   

Eagle,  CO — Fourth-grader Quintin Lovato suffers from epilepsy and Tourette’s  syndrome, and for most of his life, these conditions have made living a  normal life nearly impossible for him. Quintin had trouble with basic  functions, and could barely walk until his family discovered the healing  power of cannabis oil. Luckily, Quintin lives in Colorado, where  cannabis is legal and considered medicine, and he has been able to treat  his debilitating conditions with the herb legally. Quintin has seen  radical improvements in his condition thanks to cannabis, and it has  helped him to start living a normal life. Quintin has even been able to  take his medicine to school this year so that he can be in his best  shape for class “It’s the first day of school where Quintin gets to take his cannabis to school,” his mother Hannah Lovato told KDVR. “I  honestly think if he wasn’t taking cannabis for his seizures and  Tourette’s he probably… I don’t know if he’d be going to public school  to be honest with you,” Hannah added. Quintin’s reading teacher Terry Plain is now a believer, after seeing the results in her student for herself. “Q was so sluggish all the time. He would come to school not ready to learn at all,” Plain said. However, now that he is on the cannabis oil, Plain says that the results are “miraculous.” “He lit up. He was wide-eyed. He was noticing things. He was engaged in learning,” Plain said. Unfortunately,  some of the state’s regulations are putting Quintin and his family in a  bit of an awkward situation. Quintin needs his medication a few times a  day so it can remain active, but due to state regulations, his mother  has to be the one to give him the medication. Hannah needs to take her  son out of class on a regular basis to give him his medicine, but this  type of constant parental involvement has led to teasing and bullying. “A lot of bullying. Why can’t you go through the school day without your mommy?” Hannah said. The  teasing has gotten so bad that the family has decided to skip their  mid-day dose, even though it has a noticeable effect on his class  performance. “It prevented me from having friends,” he said. The  Lovato family has now taken their fight to Colorado state lawmakers, in  hopes of changing the laws to allow children to take this medication at  school without their parents. They received support from Rep. Dylan  Roberts, who put forward a bill that amended the existing law to allow  school nurses to administer cannabis as they do with any other  medication. “It’s going to be life-changing. Nobody is even going to know he’s gone for five seconds to take his medicine,” Hannah Lovato said. Quintin  says that he is no longer treated like the “weird kid” or a “mommas  boy” and is now able to make friends without that added stigma that he  carried before. Individual schools will have the ability to decide whether they want to adopt this policy or not. Delivered by The Daily SheepleWe encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).  

Thanks to: https://nworeport.me


Senate Votes to Legalize Hemp After 80YRS of Prohibition


Senate Votes to Finally Legalize Hemp After 80 Years of Prohibition

By Carey Wedler
(CW) — On Thursday, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to legalize hemp, an industrial crop that has been banned for decades.
In April, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) submitted a separate bill to legalize hemp, and those provisions were then incorporated into the broader farm bill.  The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved  that version before the upper house of Congress voted to approve it this  week by a margin of 86-11. The bill would legalize the cultivation,  processing, and sale of hemp.
“Consumers across America buy hundreds  of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp,” McConnell  said Thursday. “But due to outdated federal regulations that do not  sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin,  American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves.  It’s left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp  products from foreign-produced hemp.”

According to Wyden:

Legalizing  hemp nationwide ends decades of bad policymaking and opens up untold  economic opportunity for farmers in Oregon and across the country.

Hemp  is a versatile crop that can be used in everything from construction  material to clothing, and it has long been a staple in the United States  and around the world. In fact, in the 17th century, the government encouraged people to grow it.
Though  hemp was eventually banned amid the widespread attack on cannabis in  the 1930s, ironically, it then had to be imported to sustain the war  effort during World War II.
Farmers across the country have expressed  relief and excitement that hemp has come this close to legalization.  “It’s super big,” Dani Billings, who owns LoCo farms in Longmont  Colorado, said, as reported  by an NBC affiliate station in Colorado . “We have people who  understand agriculture, that understand this is for farming and it’s not  to get people high.”

Bruce Perlowin, CEO of NC-based Hemp Inc., which worked with veterans, said in a press release:

With  Veteran Village Kins Community B-Corporations set up in 8 states so  far, the legalization of industrial hemp will now allow these future  veteran villages to be built and to flourish – creating more support for  our veterans than anyone can possibly imagine.

The  bill still must be approved by the House, which has expressed opposition  to hemp legalization, though McConnell is expected to campaign heavily  in favor of the bill in the lower house of Congress. A list of concerns  about the bill handed down from the White House reportedly did not  include any objections to hemp legalization, meaning that if the bill  makes it through the House, it’s likely President Trump will sign it  into law.
Some states have passed legislation in recent years legalizing hemp, but the latest legislation would make it national policy.
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By Carey Wedler / Republished with permission / Steemit / Report a typo

Thanks to: https://www.naturalblaze.com 



These 5 Orgs Are The Reason Cannabis is Still a Crime


These 5 Organizations Are The Reason Cannabis is Still a Crime

 These 5 Organizations Are The Reason Cannabis is Still a Crime It’s  often half-jokingly said that if there was one thing that could bring  Americans together, it would be cannabis. That might seem a little  farfetched at first, but once you discover how many people want cannabis  legalized, it will make sense. As of 2018, nine states allow recreation use in  some form, while 30 allow medicinal use and 16 allow only CBD, an  active component of the cannabis plant which aids in pain relief and  sleep.  According to a poll from the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, 52% of American adults have tried marijuana at some point in their lives, while 44% of those adults who have tried it are also current users. To bring it all together, a Gallup poll from 2016 sums up the situation by showing that roughly 60% of Americans support legal use of marijuana.  However, these numbers are likely to only rise as people better  understand the safety and medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant. So,  if for years most people have agreed on legal cannabis, why does it  remain a federal crime? As you may have guessed, several powerful  interests are playing gatekeeper over our rights as citizens to use  cannabis. Here are the top five offenders.  

Big Alcohol

As  it turns out, alcohol companies are deadly afraid of competition from  cannabis, which is a much safer and therapeutic drug than alcohol. From  the National Beer Wholesalers Association to the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, these organizations have spent more money on political candidates as the demand for legal cannabis goes up. So  far in 2018, the Beer, Wine & Liquor industry spent a total of  roughly $7.7 million on lobbying efforts and super PAC’s, with the  biggest offenders being Anheuser-Busch InBev and Distilled Spirits Council. Ironically, that number is down greatly from a peak of over $30 million in 2017.  

Big Police

In  order to meet the proper quotas, police need to arrest a certain number  of people each week. Without proving their necessity with these  numbers, police departments don’t have the same ability to gain funding  than they otherwise would. Because a significant number of arrests come  from cannabis, this makes them afraid of legalization. In 2012, the National Fraternal Order of Police spent a peak $110.2k on lobbying and super PAC spending, while the National Association of Police Organizations have spent a consistent $160k from 2008-2017. When you take into account statistics from the ACLU such as the fact that 52% of all 2010 drug arrests were from cannabis while  making a pot bust every 37 seconds on average, the situation looks more  like a government subjugation of the people than “protect and serve”.  

Big Prison

As  prisons gain prisoners, they also gain profit and the prison-industrial  complex is no stranger to this controversy. These are the corporations  and state facilities which are most likely to lobby for stricter  enforcement, longer sentences, and overall greater criminalization of  innocuous activities such as smoking cannabis because it means higher  profits for them.  Although cannabis is not proven to be heavily  addictive and much of the violent drug-related crime problem in America  is due to prohibition, prisons still lobby for the criminalization of  cannabis under false pretenses of addiction and violence. Not to mention  the fact the illegality of marijuana has created a massive black market  and has never been proven to reduce its use. In the face of all this, organization such as the GEO Group (a “Florida-based company specializing in privatized corrections, detention, and mental health treatment,”) the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, and the Association of Administrative Law Judges have all spent large sums lobbying for greater criminalization.  

Big Pharma

Perhaps  the most unsurprising is Big Pharma. Due to a growing awareness of the  medicinal benefits of cannabis oils and cannabis-derived CBD, pharmaceutical companies are having a frenzy trying to suppress its use. For the full fiscal year of 2017, Pharmaceutical Health Product companies spent a combined $280 million on annual lobbying. More specifically in the realm of pharmaceuticals, Pfitzer Inc spent $10.5 million, Eli Lilly & Co spent $7.4 million, Express Scripts spent $2.8 million, Merck & Co spent $6.3 million, and AstraZeneca PLC spent $2.8 million.  

Big Government

Last but not least comes big government. According to the Economist,  prohibition has essentially become a $20 billion federal jobs project.  In 2010, Jeffrey Miron, a senior lecturer at Harvard University studies  the impact that drug legalization would have on the American economy.  What he found was that roughly $8.7 billion could be saved on law  enforcement spending, while another $8.7 billion would be obtained  through taxes on cannabis alone. After inflation, that number would add  up to more than $20 million today. However, the current bloated  government does not take this situation lightly. As government overreach  is often fueled by drug war policies, government bureaucrats are  spending a lot of money to keep cannabis illegal. These include the American Federation of Government Employees who in 2016 spent $1.6 million on lobbying and the National Active & Retired Federal Employees Association who spent $1.2 million.  

Cannabis Liberty Could Bring America Back Together

As  both big government and big business are behind the trampling of a  right which most people agree we should have, if the answer to America’s  division problem lies in any one issue, it is most likely cannabis.  This article (These 5 Organizations are the Reason Cannabis is Still a Crime) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Phillip Schneider and WakingTimes.com.  Thanks to: https://themindunleashed.com


Why legalizing marijuana is stuck in legal limbo


Published on May 16, 2018

Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. More than a quarter century later, a section of that law helped states to legalize marijuana.

The Real Reason Big Pharma Wants to Own the Patents to Cannabis


The Real Reason Big Pharma Wants to Own the Patents to Cannabis

Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer
Waking Times
The  race is on to own cannabis, and companies like Bayer, Monsanto and  Scotts Miracle-Gro are working feverishly to devise ways of patenting  this natural medicinal plant. If they succeed, the landscape of legal  weed will change forever in favor of corporate monopolies and quality  control empires which will crush diversity in this thriving cash crop.
For  lawn, garden and agrochemical companies to want in on the growing  cannabis market is no surprise, for it’s the fastest growing trend this  industry has ever seen, as even noted by the CEO of Scotts.

“Jim  Hagedorn, CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro, has even said that he plans to  “invest, like, half a billion in [taking over] the pot business… It is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in lawn and garden.”
He  has also invested in companies such as Leaf, which grows cannabis in an  electronically regulated indoor terrarium accessible via smartphone.” [Source]

The cannabis industry is already enormously profitable for government in states like Colorado where 2017 sales have already topped $1 billion by the month of October and are expected to rise dramatically through the holidays. And this is just one state out of a potential 50 U.S. markets.

We  know there is big, big money involved here, which certainly accounts  for such big-corporate interest in cannabis, but there is another reason  that pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to get their hands in this  honey pot.

Medical  and scientific studies are frequently coming out and showing that  medical marijuana is drastically changing the landscape of dependency on  pharmaceutical pills and products. Not only is there a ton of money to  be made in legal cannabis, but there is also a ton of money and market  share to be lost in medical cannabis, and this fact has the pharmaceutical giants scrambling for an angle to take back this power.
For example, a major study recently found that over half of all people who try cannabidiol (CBD) medicines stop taking traditional medicines, like prescription painkillers, over-the-counter pain relievers and sleeping aids.

“The most common reasons people used CBD were to treat insomnia, depression, anxiety and joint pain,  according to Dr. Perry Solomon, the Chief Medical Officer of HelloMD.  Forty-two percent of the CBD users said they had stopped using  traditional medications like Tylenol pain relievers or prescription  drugs like Vicodin and had switched to using cannabis instead. Eighty  percent said that they found the products to be “very or extremely  effective.” Only 3% or less found the product to be either ineffectual  or only slightly effective.” [Source]

Another  report issued earlier this year quantified the potential losses to the  pharmaceutical industry should they be unable to capitalize and seize a  significant portion of market share of medical cannabis.

“It seems the pharmaceutical trade has more than enough reasons to fear the legalization of marijuana, as an analysis conducted by the folks at New Frontier Data predicts the legal use of  cannabis products for ailments ranging from chronic pain to seizures  could cost marketers of modern medicine somewhere around $4 billion per  year.” [Source]

Patents  related to cannabis and cannabis products are increasingly being filed  with the U.S. Patent Office, both both large companies and smaller  ventures. In a recent article on this topic, Forbes magazine answered the question of whether or not cannabis can be patented:

“Yes,  this is presently a small area of activity, but may also represent  opportunity. Plants can be patented in two ways, by way of “utility  patents” (like 95% of all patents) or by way of a separate “plant  patent” category. Utility patents are much stronger; plant patents are  narrowly focused on a single “parent” plant and its direct descendants.  By my count, there are currently only 5 US plant patent cases (4 pending  applications, 1 issued patent), and 11 utility plant-directed patent  cases (8 pending applications, 3 issued patents). Two companies are  currently the main players in plants: the plant-focused Biotechnology  Institute (Los Angeles CA) has 3 issued patents as well as 2 pending  applications, and GW Pharmaceuticals (UK) has two plant-focused  applications. GW is notable for having the largest cannabis-directed  portfolio (80+ US cases) of all companies in the space, and is  particularly focused on methods of treating diseases.” [Source]

Final Thoughts

Pharmaceutical drugs kill more people each year than do illegal drugs. The  big corporations know this and work to avoid liability for their harm,  even in the face of such an overwhelming crisis like the opioid epidemic.
The  main thing to note here is that this goes far beyond economic terms. It  is a matter of personal freedom and a very effective means of  protesting and bypassing the medical-pharmaceutical corporate cartels  which now have the world hooked on dangerous chemical drugs.
If a person such as Tommy Chong can cure his own cancer by growing plants on his rooftop then having a friend process these plants into  consumable, natural oils to save his life, we have effectively found a  way to overcome the dominance of big pharma.

Thanks to: http://www.wakingtimes.com