Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces 2019 Hemp For Victory Act

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced H.R. 3652, the Hemp for Victory Act which lays the foundation for the emerging hemp industry in a manner that incentivizes family farmers and small businesses, protects against corporate monopolies, and studies the benefits of hemp cultivation and hemp-based products while ensuring safe agricultural practices, and environmental and labor considerations.

“The hemp industry is poised to grow rapidly, having a billion dollar impact on the U.S. economy and creating thousands of jobs. Hemp-based materials have the potential to transform industries from health care to domestic manufacturing to affordable, sustainable housing construction, and more. Studies have shown it can play a role in helping remove toxins from our environment and prevent soil erosion, as well as provide alternatives to single-use plastics, which pollute our lands and ocean,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “My bill will lay the foundation for how we can optimize the hemp industry’s potential and ensure this opportunity benefits family farms and small businesses across America — from Hawai‘i to Kentucky and beyond.”

“Congresswoman Gabbard’s commitment to re-energizing the American farmer and delivering on the economic and planetary healing promise of the versatile, valuable hemp plant is exactly what our nation needs, and the time is now to support her bold efforts,” said Joy Beckerman, a board member with the Hemp Industries Association.

“We commend Congresswoman Gabbard for her leadership on introducing the Hemp For Victory Act,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “The fledgling hemp industry can create thousands of farming and manufacturing jobs but needs research and the same support given to other crops which the bill helps provide.”

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Background: H.R. 3652, the Hemp for Victory Act of 2019, named after the World War II-era effort to revitalize the U.S. hemp industry, broadly addresses many aspects of the re-emerging U.S. hemp industry. The legislation’s objective is to build and encourage a national hemp industry, but to ensure that is done correctly, meaning that there are proper labor, consumer, and health standards; investment incentives; safe agricultural practices; environmental considerations; and more. At its core, the bill is aimed at providing opportunities for small businesses, family farms, indigenous populations, and veterans to participate in and prosper from this industry.

The bill will engage the expertise of several U.S. agencies, as well as land-grant universities, in order to lay the foundations of and generate the demand necessary for our hemp industry to ensure domestic economic potential is met across several sectors. Recognizing the potential for this commodity to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry, the bill directs the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Defense, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, and Small Business Administration to conduct research and develop studies on the uses and benefits of hemp. This includes preservation and rehabilitation of our environment through toxic site cleanup and soil erosion control, sustainable and affordable housing, nutritional benefits to our children in school lunches and healthcare benefits to our veterans, alternatives to single-use plastics to reduce our ecological footprint, and the creation of thousands of jobs, among so many more.

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was an original cosponsor of H.R. 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a stand-alone bill in the 115th Congress which would have reclassified hemp as an agricultural crop. She supported H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — more broadly referred to as “the Farm Bill” — which passed both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan majorities and was signed into law. Among its many provisions, the bill legalized the production of industrial hemp and put its regulation under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Rep. Gabbard supports empowering local farmers and expanding their opportunities. She also joined a bipartisan amicus brief asking the Court to recognize and uphold the Congressional intent of prior legislation that allowed states to grow, cultivate, and research industrial hemp under specific conditions.

Incoming House Rules Chairman Pledges To Allow Floor Votes On Marijuana-Related Amendments

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Representative. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) says that he will permit federal lawmakers to debate and vote on marijuana-related amendments when he assumes control of the House Rules Committee in 2019.

New Bill Builds Bipartisan Momentum Behind Federal Marijuana Reform

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), along with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), introduced bipartisan legislation to evaluate states’ marijuana policies. The Marijuana Data Collection Act directs the National Academy of Sciences to create a federally recognized report on state-level marijuana legalization policies, including both medical and non-medical use, and their effects on public health, safety, the economy, the criminal justice system, and more. The information compiled in the report would provide scientific data and statistics on the impact of various marijuana policies on our nation.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also received the NORML Rufus King Sr. Public Leadership Award for her outstanding public leadership in marijuana law reform. The award was presented at the NORML Congressional lobby day, where activists advocate for federal marijuana reforms on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said: “For decades, bad data and misinformation have fueled the failed War on Drugs that has ruined people’s lives, torn families apart, and wasted billions of taxpayer dollars incarcerating Americans for nonviolent marijuana charges. In 2016 alone, nearly 600,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession. Our laws must be informed by facts — not emotion, manufactured stigma and myths. Our bipartisan legislation, the Marijuana Data Collection Act, will lay the groundwork for real reform by producing an objective, evidence-based report on current marijuana laws that exist in 31 states across the country, and their impact on our communities.”

Rep. Carlos Curbelo

Rep. Carlos Curbelo

“Federal lawmakers have long ignored the issues of our outdated federal marijuana policy,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo said.“In recent years, however, voters across the country – including in my home state of Florida and overwhelmingly in my district – have called for modernized marijuana policies in their states. This bill takes a commonsense step toward allowing unbiased research into the impacts that marijuana has had in states that have chosen to legally regulate it. I am proud to support the bipartisan Marijuana Data Collection Act to ensure the federal government is no longer an obstacle to legal, regulated marijuana and starts being part of the discussion for a new federal policy.”

Justin Strekal, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Political Director, said: “We appreciate Representative Gabbard for her tremendous leadership in the fight to reform our nation’s failed policy of prohibition. From emphasizing that marijuana policy be evidence-based, to tasking the National Academies with this important work, to her role as a lead on HR 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, Rep. Gabbard has been one of the most prominent voices in calling for a new sensible approach to cannabis.”

On the House Floor, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:

“For decades, bad data and misinformation have fueled the failed War on Drugs that’s wasted billions of taxpayer dollars incarcerating Americans for non-violent marijuana charges. Our outdated marijuana policies have turned everyday Americans into criminals, strained our criminal justice system, cost taxpayers tremendously, and torn families apart – all for a substance that’s proven to be far less harmful and dangerous than alcohol.

“Our federal policies should be based on actual science and fact, not misplaced stigma and outdated myths. However, the fact that marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug –the same category as heroin and cocaine – restricts and even discourages scientific research on marijuana, limiting our ability to create science-based policies. I’ll be introducing the bipartisan Marijuana Data Collection Act with my colleague Congressman Carlos Curbelo so that we can create a study to set the record straight. Our bill would authorize a non-partisan, evidence-based report that analyzes current marijuana policies across the country, and their effects on our communities. I urge my colleagues to support our bipartisan legislation.”

Background: The Marijuana Data Collection Act would:

  • Require data collection and study with regard to the impact of state-regulated marijuana legalization on public health, safety, the economy, and criminal justice, among other issues.
  • Require the Secretary of HHS to coordinate with the DOJ, DOL, and States (to the greatest extent possible) and direct the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to publish a biennial study on the health, safety, and economic effects of state legalized marijuana programs.
  • The Report would also outline best practices for state-led data collection, as well as recommendations to overcome any barriers preventing data collection and gaps in data.

As part of her commitment to common sense criminal justice reform, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has long called for sensible marijuana policies. She is the lead Democratic co-sponsor of H.R.1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list. She has called for closing the gaps between federal and state law to resolve current contradictions and provide legally abiding marijuana businesses with clear access to financial services. She is also a cosponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act (H.R. 4815) to reform unjust federal marijuana laws and empower minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the failed War on Drugs, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 2215) to allow equal banking access and financial services for marijuana-related businesses, the RESPECT resolution (H.Res. 943) to encourage equity in the marijuana industry, and more.

Giambra Says Marijuana Tax Revenues Could Deliver $500 Million A Year

New Revenue Stream Could Help Rebuild State, Says Gubernatorial Candidate

NEW YORK:  “Conservative projections of an estimated $500 million a year in initial marijuana tax revenues for New York State could leverage enormous economic impact across the board and help rebuild our state,” says former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, an independent candidate for governor who believes the time has come to legalize the sale of marijuana.

“Nine other states have taken this step and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states,” says Giambra, who is seeking the Reform Party line for governor.  “Other states are poised to take action and according to Arcview Market Research, one of the top market research firms for the cannabis industry, legal marijuana sales were expected to hit $9.7 billion in North America in 2017 (final numbers not available yet).  We need to take marijuana off the black market and cultivate an entrepreneurial economy in New York State instead of crushing our citizens with more onerous taxes to feed the Albany political pipeline.”

Giambra said that based on research he has commissioned that he is releasing today, an excise tax of 13 percent in addition to the existing state and local sales taxes on legal adult marijuana would generate $500 million a year and could finance state bonding of $12.2 billion over five years.

“The money generated from legalizing marijuana would go a long way toward dealing with our state’s crumbling roads and bridges and help with the equally daunting challenge of fixing the broken New York City metropolitan transit system,” said Giambra.  “Legalizing the adult use of marijuana is a cornerstone of my campaign for governor.  I pledge that if I win election, it will be one of my major priorities because of the immediate economic benefits it can produce.”

Giambra said according to his analysis, every $1 billion spent on infrastructure will create 13,000 jobs directly in construction and among suppliers and thousands more indirectly, leading to more than 244,000 new jobs over seven years.

“This is a plan to rebuild New York without continuing to raise taxes,” said Giambra.  “There’s another billion dollars in taxes and fees already projected in the Albany pipeline this year to deal with a deficit estimated of at least $4.4 billion.  I think the citizens have had enough.  Let’s take marijuana off the black market, like other states have, and begin to phase in that new revenue stream and put that money to work for the people of New York.”

Legalization of marijuana also has strong public support as a 2017 Gallup Poll showed that 64 percent of Americans favor legalization, with a majority of Republicans backing it for the first time.

Upon the enactment of the cannabis regulation, Governor Giambra will ensure – if need be, by the power of the pardon – that all non-violent marijuana convictions are expunged and all individuals currently incarcerated for non-violent marijuana crimes are released as immediately as is practicable. Minorities in New York continue to face marijuana arrests nearly 10 times the rate of whites.

 

 

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Latest Pew Poll Finds Record Support In Favor Of Legalization

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to polling data compiled by the Pew Research Center. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by the firm, which has polled Americans’ views regarding legalization since 1969.

Support is strongest among African Americans (71 percent), Democrats (69 percent), and Independents (65 percent). Support was weakest among Republicans (43 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (38 percent). However, among self-identified Republicans under 40 years of age, 62 percent favor legalization.

Pew’s results are similar to those of other recent national polls. For instance, an October Gallup poll found that 64 percent of the public support making adult cannabis use legal. A Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday reports that 58 percent of voters nationwide back adult use legalization, and 91 percent believe that medical cannabis should be legal. That poll also reports that 70 percent of voters oppose federal interference in state marijuana policies.


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

NORML: Medical Marijuana Must Be Part Of Solution To Opioid Crisis

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: NORML ( National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) released the following statement regarding the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis first meeting this on June 16.

Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director said: “Tens of thousands of lives have been adversely impacted by the nation’s opioid epidemic. We must use every tool at our disposal to fight this crisis. Marijuana provides a safe and effective alternative for many of these patients and it is vital that the Committee does not ignore this important evidence in its discussions.”

“Given the make-up of the commission – which includes a number of longtime drug warriors such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, and former Office of National Drug Policy Control staffer Bertha Madras, it is crucial that citizens, advocates, doctors, and researchers alike elevate the science and data which shows marijuana is an effective tool in combating the opioid crisis, not the rhetoric of the failed War on Drugs.”

“Permitting marijuana sales to be regulated by licensed, state-authorized distributors rather than the black market run by criminal entrepreneurs and pushers of various other illicit drugs including opioids would likely result in fewer, not more, Americans abusing other illicit substances.”

Armentano’s latest op-ed is “Can marijuana help mitigate America’s opioid crisis?” published today in The Hill.

 

Mentor Capital Discusses Opioids Vs. Cannabis at Congressman Rohrabacher Reception

CALIFORNIA: Mentor Capital  met with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of Newport Beach at his reception by the Cannabis Host Committee in San Diego, March 6th, 2017. Mentor CEO Chet Billingsley, nicknamed “The Doc” by the Congressman, outlined in discussion how 20% of the opiate crises and 6,000 annual deaths could be avoided by the projected 20% substitution to legal cannabis from other illegal drugs that would follow a national marijuana legalization. Too much cannabis puts the user to sleep, but too much opiate, heroin or even alcohol can “relax” breathing to zero and overdose death. An additional 6,000 lives are saved by an observed 7% shift from alcohol.

Congressman Rohrabacher spoke to the exclusive group of major cannabis leaders on freedom as a cornerstone American value that is violated whenever a peaceful cannabis user is dragged off to be caged. He jokingly held a Moscow Mule drink in hand and asked how even in this time of Russian hysteria how could this rowdy alcohol be accepted and mellowing cannabis not be. The Congressman also railed against the practice of asset forfeiture being applied against legal cannabis firms without trial or even charges being levied. Reporting on his own Washington, DC cannabis prognosis, he felt that the campaign promise by now President Trump that cannabis use should be governed by the choices of each state, would prevail.

Following the political overview by Congressman Rohrabacher, the founders of the larger cannabis companies met with CEO Billingsley to explore how Mentor may provide public market liquidity and funding for their long-established medical marijuana and adult use cannabis enterprises.

Taking The High Road: Roger Tilton’s Notes On Democracy

by Roger Tilton

In “Notes on Democracy,” H. L. Mencken wrote:  “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

You’d think our 240-year-old experiment with democracy hit a rough patch this past Tuesday, or as we learned after “establishing ‘democracy’ in Iraq,” that you don’t always get the democracy you want.  Oddly fitting I guess is that the President Elect ended his racist, xenophobic rallies with the Rolling Stones’ song “You Don’t Always Get What You Want.”

I say praise democracy and all of its shortcomings.  We, the American voting public, had a chance to make history by electing a female president.  Instead, for the first time in generations we had a racist on the presidential ballot, a racist who also happens to be a misogynist.  The adage that if we elect a woman after an African-American man, we’re “losing our country” appealed (according to exit polls) to 53% of white women!  That candidacy also appealed to white supremacists.  And enough pluralities of voters (wins by one point or less in five crucial “battleground” states) pushed this candidate to an Electoral College victory.

Though more of us voted for the supremely qualified woman, she lost the job to the supremely unqualified man (sound familiar?).  Through it all, our democracy worked.  The political pros on both sides targeted the swing states to win the Electoral College vote  The “voter suppression” campaign won out over the “ground game, the get out the vote” campaign.  We all played by the rules and democracy prevailed.  Now even though this year’s Republican candidate won the election, he received about 1.5 million votes less than the losing Republican candidate four years ago.  Voters did not turn out, and that too, is our democratic right.

It is also our democratic right to make or change laws.  And voters in eight states did just that regarding cannabis:  Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California voted to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska in repealing marijuana prohibition; Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical marijuana laws; and Montana expanded its medical marijuana program.  The results mean that once all these new laws are implemented, more than a quarter of Americans aged 21+ can walk into a store and buy weed just like they go into a store and buy beer!  And more than 60% of Americans will have access to medical marijuana!

Now that’s democracy I can believe in!

Editor’s note:  Mr. Tilton, a longtime, strong and loud cannabis legalization activist, lost his bid for a New Hampshire State Senate seat by 12 points, 56-44, a 7-point improvement over his first bid two years ago.  “Even though I lost,” he told me, “I’m now sandwiched between two legal states!  Count me very bullish on the cannabis industry.  The 2016 national vote shows prohibition has reached a tipping point, and the end of prohibition is nearly at hand.  And on a personal level, I’m totally jazzed about my Seattle-based venture fund’s investments into cannabis-related startups!”  (Mr. Tilton is also a canna-pranuer.  You can check out his full_tiltON ventures website at fulltilton.com.)

 

Freedom Leaf and Cannabis Radio Present Live 2016 Presidential Election Coverage

FreedomLeaf.com/Election will be broadcasting the coverage live

NEVADA: Freedom Leaf, “The Marijuana Legalization Company™”  and Cannabis Radio will joined forces on Election Day, November 8, for historic real-time updates of marijuana reform results in nine states.

 Watch the votes go down while posing live questions to a line-up of TV and radio commentators and personalities from the movement. The six-hour narrowcast #MJElectionNight event offers the latest results for this watershed day in cannabis reform. The legal recreational market could more than double as a result of this election.

Our coverage is anchored live from Los Angeles by Cannabis Radio News Director and podcast host Russ Belville and will feature live reports from the heads of all 9 statewide marijuana reform initiatives on the ballot. Cannabis Radio’s correspondents will report from all nine states where major initiatives are up for a vote: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana.

There will be two Freedom Leaf executives who will be featured speakers in the evening’s broadcast. They are strong cannabis proponents, Allen St Pierre, who is Freedom Leaf’s vice president of communication and advocacy and Chris Thompson, Freedom Leaf’s community and non-profit manager.

CannabisRadio’s comprehensive line-up of speakers will tackle every aspect of the plant, its medical use, implications, societal and economic impact. You’ll hear from opponents, proponents, industry stakeholders, legislators, not-for-profits and celebrities.

When: November 8, 6pm EST-12pm EST (3pm PST-9pm PST)

Where: Viewers may tune in live at FreedomLeaf.com/Election. The live coverage will also be streaming on Facebook Live, LiveStream, television news affiliates and hundreds of websites. The viewing audience will chat live and pose questions to our guests using the hashtag #MJElectionNight on social media sites to keep up with and comment on the latest news.

Who: #MJElectionNight is produced by CannabisRadio.com in partnership with Freedom Leaf, “The Marijuana Legalization Company ™”, the leading go-to resource in the cannabis, medical marijuana, and industrial hemp industry. Cannabis Radio is the premier online/podcast radio destination for all things cannabis. All of Cannabis Radio’s original programming is distributed through the world’s largest podcast platforms including iHeartRadio, iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker and TuneIn. If you are an activist, enthusiast, cannabusiness owner, politician or policy maker looking to keep your fingers on the pulse of what is important to all the major stakeholders of cannabis, then the Cannabis Radio network and Freedom Leaf the multi-media platforms are for you.

Freedom Leaf Magazine, The Good News in Marijuana Reform publishes current information about the emerging industry, and related news, arts, entertainment, politics and business.

Subscribe to Freedom Leaf Magazine and 10 copies will be mailed to you annually: http://www.freedomleaf.com/subscribe/

Download to the free Freedom Leaf mobile app to your smart phone at iTunes or Google Play.

 

UPDATE: EVENT CANCELLED: The Politics of Pot, A Symposium On Cannabis Legislation And Regulation

UPDATE: Organizers have cancelled this event.

“Due to a number of scheduling conflicts around many of the intended political speakers with regards to other necessary obligations resulting from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, we at Emerald Live Events have decided to postpone  ‘The Politics of Pot’ symposium to a later date,” Jason Santos, Chairman and CEO of Burn Entertainment Corporation, one of the partners in the event told MJ News Network.

“The entire purpose and agenda of this event is to bring political leaders together to discuss the successes and challenges around legalization to help further those efforts at both State and Federal levels.  Unfortunately, many of the great political speakers who wanted to speak at the event were unable to confirm in time due to changing agendas around other political events and obligations with regard to the RNC and DNC.  So we felt identifying another time would best serve the purpose of the event and deliver the best possible symposium to our attending guests.”

PENNSYLVANIA:  Timed to coincide with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, The Politics of Pot, A Symposium on Cannabis Legislation and Regulation will take place July 23rd at The University of the Arts Gershman Hall: The Elaine C. Levitt Auditorium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

According to organizers, the symposium is designed to provide a forum for legislators, delegates, regulators, and industry participants to share information on the realities of the legalization of medical cannabis, and to discuss the positives and the negatives of decriminalization and legalization of recreational cannabis in states such as Colorado, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

The public opinion and perception of cannabis is undergoing significant changes. Numerous legislative and regulatory changes have occurred in the last few years, and various initiatives are currently being considered in over half of the states. Faced with these changes, legislator must find a more nuanced and informed approach to cannabis than just con, or just pro. Therefore, it is critical for legislators understand the numerous issues involved with cannabis legislation and regulation — to define and refine their positions on these issues

Approximately 400-600 attendees expected to attend the event. The Symposium is priced right to provide the best value for each dollar spent, and Convention Delegates attend Free of Charge.

A full agenda is planned, including 6 featured panel discussions:

RECREATIONAL VS. MEDICAL

Panelists at the Symposium will discuss the myriad of issues that arise from regulation of Recreational Cannabis versus those issues related to the regulation of Medical Cannabis. We will learn from those closest to the issue and discover how the different states are currently tackling this difficult regulatory challenge.

CRIME STATS AND DRUG TESTING

The Symposium will explore the myths and realities of crime levels as they relate to legalized recreational and medical marijuana. Additionally, the issues related to current technologies and methodologies for testing cannabis blood levels will be analyzed, including implications for DUI and employment law.

REGULATORY ISSUES

The Symposium will delve into the complications and complexities both regulators and Cannabis industry professionals face defining and maintaining compliance with both state and federal regulatory regimes, including: taxation; licensing; and consumer protection, quality assurance, and product safety.

INVESTMENT

The Symposium will provide detailed insight into the current state of investment into the Cannabis industry. We will hear both from those currently investing and those on the sidelines, and gain an understanding what primarily drives the decision to invest.

DRUG RESCHEDULING

The Symposium will analyze the issues, timing, and ramifications of reclassification of Cannabis from CSA 1. The implications of reclassification will have on the medicinal advancements of the industry will be broad and far reaching.

BANKING

Banking in the Cannabis industry requires companies to navigate complicated and contradictory state and federal regulations. The Symposium will provide deep insight into current industry best practices and how baking regulation may evolve in the next year.