Three More States Enact Hemp Production Laws

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Governors in Alaska, Kansas, and Oklahoma have each signed legislation in recent days establishing programs to permit the cultivation of industrial hemp.

In Alaska, Independent Gov. Bill Walker signed legislation into law establishing a pilot program “to study the growth, cultivation, [and] marketing of industrial hemp.” Senate Bill 6 creates a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana under state law and seeks to develop and promote a hemp industry within the state. The law also excludes oils containing cannabidiol from the legal definition of hashish oil.

In Kansas, Republican Gov. Jeff Colyer signed Senate Bill 263: The Alternative Crop Research Act. It excludes industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under the state’s criminal codes, and it permitsthe Department of Agriculture to license farmers to “cultivate industrial hemp and [to] promote the research and development of industrial hemp.”

In Oklahoma, Republican Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2913, which creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. The program permits university-affiliated licensees to cultivate hemp for “plant research” and “marketing development purposes.”

All three new state laws are compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 federal Farm Bill, which permits states to legally authorize hemp cultivation as part of academic research pilot programs. Over 35 states have established regulations permitting limited hemp cultivation under this provision.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

EXCLUSIVE: Cannabis Oil Activist Shona Banda, Now Facing Felony Charges, Speaks Out

KANSAS:  In April, Truth in Media published an exclusive interview with Shona Banda, a cannabis oil activist and Crohn’s disease survivor whose home was raided by Garden City, KS police and 11-year-old son was seized by the Kansas Department for Children and Families after her son spoke out about medical marijuana during an anti-drug presentation in school.

Banda’s ordeal became a national issue after her interview with Truth in Media was picked up by Radley Balko at The Washington Post and discussed on a wide range of mainstream media outlets and television talk shows including ABC’s The View. Truth in Media has been covering Banda’s activism since 2014, when she went public in an interview with Ben Swann about how she uses cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s disease.

Meanwhile, The Garden City Telegram is reporting that Finney County Attorney Susan Richmeier announced on Friday that five criminal charges are being filed against Shona Banda pursuant to the April raid by Garden City police. The charges, three of which are felonies, include distribution or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of school property, endangering a child, unlawful manufacture of a controlled substance, and two drug paraphernalia infractions. The Garden City Telegram notes that Banda could be facing anywhere between 138 to 204 months behind bars.


Vote To Decriminalize Marijuana Passes In Wichita

KANSAS:  Voters in Wichita went to the polls on Tuesday and approved easing penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The final results came in at 9:15 p.m.

Wichita Question

YES …… 20075 / 54%
NO …… 17091 / 45%

Precinct Reported 0153, Eligible Precinct 0153

The proposed ordinance does not legalize marijuana. It makes first-time possession a criminal infraction with a $50 fine. Under state law, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail.

Voters want to send the Legislature a message.

Wichita Voters Asked To Decide On Marijuana Ballot Issue

KANSAS:  Voters in Wichita will decide whether to approve a ballot that seeks to ease penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

The issue is on the ballot for Tuesday’s municipal election in Wichita.

The proposed ordinance does not legalize marijuana. It makes first-time possession a criminal infraction with a $50 fine. Under state law, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail.

Opponents contend the city has no legal authority to adopt an ordinance that conflicts with state law. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has said he would sue the city if it passes.


Vote This Week Could Put Marijuana Petition On April Ballot

KANSAS:  We will know on Tuesday whether or not Wichitans will vote on a marijuana petition in April. The petition looks to lesson the fines and eliminate jail time for marijuana possession within the city.

The Wichita City Council will vote at its next meeting to put the issue on the ballot or not.

Council members have three options: Pass the issue outright and make it a city ordinance without a public vote. They could put the petition up for a legal challenge or let the voters decide this April.

The group who started the marijuana petition held an emergency meeting Sunday to go over plans for Tuesday. That’s their last chance to convince the city council to put the issue on the ballot.


Kansas Mulls Joining Marijuana Lawsuit Against Colorado

KANSAS:  Kansas hasn’t decided whether to join a lawsuit filed by other states against Colorado over its legalization of marijuana even though the two states share a border.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Rapp said Friday that Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has been considering legal action against Colorado for months.

But she said in an email that his office is still weighing its options.

Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a lawsuit Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to declare Colorado’s legalization of marijuana unconstitutional. They argue it’s a public safety issue.

Marijuana Decriminalization Petition 47 Signatures Short, Election Commissioner Certifies

KANSAS:  A petition to let voters decide whether to decriminalize marijuana has fallen 47 signatures short of forcing its way onto the Wichita city ballot, the county’s election chief certified Friday.

Backers of the petition plan to challenge that count, saying some legitimate voters appeared to have improperly excluded over registration and timing technicalities.

There also was a mathematical error that had to be corrected in the official certification document.

Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman’s initial report to the city clerk said “The petition pages contain the signatures of 2,887 qualified electors of the City of Wichita, 47 short of the required 2,928.”



Advocates For Wichita Decriminalization Of Marijuana Turn In Petitions

KANSAS:  Advocates of reducing penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Wichita turned in petitions to the city seeking to have the question put on the November ballot.

Petition organizers say they collected more than 5,800 signatures, more than twice the number needed to put the issue to a vote.

The proponents want to reduce the penalty for possession from the current maximum of a year in jail and a $2,500 fine to a $25 fine with no jail time. They also want to change possession of pot or paraphernalia from a criminal misdemeanor to a minor civil offense like a building code violation.


Group Installs Billboard Backing Legal Marijuana In Kansas

KANSAS: A local group has taken to a very public way to push for legalized marijuana.

Fire It Up Kansas recently paid for an ad on a digital billboard near the Kansas Star Casino demanding the state legislature to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of marijuana. [Read more…]