Congressional Committee Approves Legislation To Expand Pool Of Federally Licensed Marijuana Growers

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Members of the US House Judiciary Committee last week voted in favor of legislation, HR 5634: The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018, to facilitate FDA-approved clinical trials involving whole-plant cannabis. The Act mandates the federal government to license multiple providers of research-grade marijuana, among other changes.

The vote marks the first time that lawmakers have ever decided in favor of easing existing federal restrictions which limit investigators’ ability to clinically study marijuana in a manner similar to other controlled substances. The measure now awaits further action on the House floor.

Under current US policy, investigators can only administer cannabis provided by the University of Mississippi during the course of an FDA-approved trial. However, many of those familiar with their product have criticized its quality, opining that it possesses subpar potency, is often poorly manicured, and that it does not accurately reflect the wide variety of cannabis products and strains available to consumers.

In 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Administration amended its regulations to permit additional applicants to seek federal licensure to grow marijuana for use in clinical research. However, to date, neither the DEA nor the Justice Department have taken action on over two-dozen pending applications. Passage of HR 5634 would mandate federal agencies approve at least two new applicants within a year’s time.

This week, clinical investigators with the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego received federal permission to import cannabis products manufactured in Canada for use in human trials. The products, which are high in cannabidiol and low in THC, are unavailable from the University of Mississippi program, which currently provides only six distinct cannabis strains – none of which contain more than 0.08 percent CBD.

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For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org or NORML Political Director, Justin Strekal, at (202) 483-5500. Read NORML’s op-ed on the pending legislation, “The federal government must stop stifling medical marijuana research.”

‘Kettle Falls Five’ Members Get Prison Time In Federal Marijuana Case

WASHINGTON: The marijuana grow that netted jail time for four members of a self-proclaimed medicinal farming family out of Stevens County may have started with good intentions, but ended as a “distribution center,” said the federal judge who handed down their sentences Friday.

“Maybe that was a byproduct of being so successful,” said U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice, ruling the members of the so-called Kettle Falls Five grew more than 150 pounds of marijuana in the hills of Stevens County between 2011 and 2012.

Rice sentenced Rolland Gregg to 2 years and 9 months in prison. He gave Gregg’s wife, Michelle, and his mother, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 1 year and 1 day in federal custody. All will remain out of prison pending an appeal, a notice of which will be filed in the next two weeks, said lead defense attorney Phil Telfeyan.

Marijuana Growers Warned Not To Use Illegal Pesticides – Which Is Nearly All Of Them

OREGON: The Oregon Department of Agriculture is warning marijuana growers to stop using illegal pesticides, while the state scrambles to put together a list of acceptable chemicals.

The federal government puts pesticides through tests that determine in what context a chemical may be used in agriculture and how much may be used. Those accepted uses are then listed on the label of the pesticide.

However, because cannabis is an illegal substance according to federal laws, there are no approved pesticides to use in marijuana cultivation. So, while many growers use pesticides, the application is technically against the law.

 

Sonoma County Marijuana Growers Urged To Form United Front

CALIFORNIA:  Sonoma County marijuana growers came together Sunday near Sebastopol to talk about how their industry can come out of the shadows, flex some political muscle and position itself for a day when its product becomes legalized for all adults.

About 200 people gathered at the Sebastopol Grange for the first fundraiser of the newly formed Sonoma County Growers Alliance.

Speakers exhorted listeners to get involved in both lobbying the Legislature and in electing local officials who are sympathetic to their industry. They pointed to the wine industry, the county’s top legal crop, as a model to follow in developing a high-quality cachet and in influencing both state and local politics.

 

Marijuana And Hemp Growers Duke It Out In Oregon Legislature

OREGON:  Depending on who’s talking, a 20-acre hemp farm about 10 miles south of Grants Pass is either the harbinger of a new industry that could help save rural Oregon – or an existential threat to local marijuana farmers just as they’re anticipating boom times.

Hemp, the non-intoxicating version of cannabis sativa, has long been a big part of the marijuana culture, celebrated for its wide variety of uses and status as a fellow victim of federal prohibition.

But now that both hemp and marijuana are coming out of the legal shadows in Oregon, they’re suddenly in conflict – and state legislators may be about to side with the much more well-established marijuana industry.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would temporarily halt hemp production and force that farm near Grants Pass to yank its plants out of the ground, albeit with compensation from the state. The bill would also put stricter controls on hemp in areas of the state – such as southern Oregon – where marijuana farms are plentiful.

Uruguay’s Year In Marijuana: 3 Successes, 3 Burning Questions

URUGUAY:  It’s been just over a year since Uruguay‘s President Jose Mujica signed a law creating the world’s first nationalized market for the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana.

The implementation of this historic law was part of a landmark year for cannabis. Recreational pot stores opened in Colorado and Washington State, while three other US states voted to approve sweeping pro-marijuana legislation. And back in South America, a middle-age housewife in Chile received possibly the region’s first legal medical marijuana prescription.

But along with the successes of Uruguay’s weed experiment are some notable hold-ups.

For starters, a year into the new paradigm, it’s still impossible to buy marijuana legally here. To date, the government still hasn’t chosen the companies that will grow its cannabis. A new president, taking office in March, who formerly has been skeptical of marijuana use will inherit much of the hard work of implementing the law.

The Government Wants To Buy 12 Acres Of Marijuana — For Research

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Calling all pot farmers: Uncle Sam is looking to buy.

An arm of the National Institutes of Health dedicated to researching drug abuse and addiction “intends” to solicit proposals from those who can “harvest, process, analyze, store and distribute” cannabis, according to a listing posted Tuesday night on a federal government website.

A successful bidder must possess a “secure and video monitored outdoor facility” capable of growing and processing 12 acres of marijuana, a 1,000-sq.-ft. (minimum) greenhouse to test the plants under controlled conditions, and “demonstrate the availability” of a vault approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration to maintain between 400 and 700 kg of pot stock, extract and cigarettes.

Back-up plans in case of emergency required.

 

Dutch Maker Of Medical Marijuana Considers Supplying Canada

CANADA:  A Dutch company is interested in supplying marijuana to Canada’s medical pot users, a service currently provided by a Saskatoon company with an operation in Flin Flon, Man., near the Saskatchewan border.

Bedrocan B.V. has been producing medical-grade marijuana for the government of the Netherlands for six years. The company is contemplating bidding for a similar contract with Canada. [Read more…]

Connecticut City Offers Hand To Budding Medical Pot Business

CONNECTICUT: If all goes as planned, one of the state’s first legal marijuana farms will be growing and harvesting plants on Burr Court in buildings tucked between Fairfield Avenue and Interstate 95.

And Councilwoman Susan Brannelly, D-130, who represents the neighborhood, isn’t just OK with the project. She’s enthusiastic about it.

“It would be a real benefit for the city,” said Brannelly, who toured the site when owner Joe Palmieri was successfully seeking his zoning approvals in October. “I hate to see people turn their backs on a legitimate business. We could be on the ground level of something that’s really very revolutionary in our world.”