Wednesday, January 22, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Rumors Are That MedMen Is Unable To Pay Vendors (Green Market Report)

// New Mexico Governor Says It’s ‘High Time’ To Legalize Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

// Arizona climate blamed for ‘off the charts’ THC failure in first hemp crops (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// New York Governor Includes Marijuana Legalization In New Budget Plan (Marijuana Moment)

// Colorado Tries to Beckon Tourists With Buy-and-Try Pot Lounges (Bloomberg Government)

// 1 in 13 Oklahoma Adults Are Now Using Medical Marijuana Legally (Merry Jane)

// New Zealand to overturn cannabis vaporizer ban, clearing the way for imports (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Free Weed: Sicily Is No Longer Charging Patients for Medical Cannabis (Merry Jane)

// Pete Buttigieg wants to end the war on weed- but not in South Bend (Leafly)

// Chart: Florida sales of smokable marijuana topped 22,000 pounds in less than six months (Marijuana Business Daily)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Chris Goldberg/Flickr

Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis

If local officials no longer want to enforce anti-marijuana laws, Indiana Republicans want the state to step in. 

That is the gist of the legislation that was approved Tuesday by a panel in the state senate. The bill would allow the Indiana attorney general’s office to intervene if a county prosecutor were to not enforce a particular law—a direct response to a policy announced last year by the prosecutor of Marion County, where the capital and largest city Indianapolis is located, to no longer pursue simple marijuana possession cases.

The bill, introduced by Indianapolis GOP state Sen. Michael Young, was endorsed by a 6-3 vote by a state Senate committee.

“It’s because of the social justice prosecution phenomena that’s going on throughout the country,” Young said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I wanted to try to head it off in Indiana.”

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, a Democrat, announced in September that his office would “no longer prosecute possession of marijuana cases involving approximately one ounce or less of marijuana when the charge is the only or most serious charge against an adult.”

“I have come to this decision as a veteran prosecutor. I have seen the resources devoted to these prosecutions and believe those resources can be used more effectively to promote public safety, ensure justice for victims, and reduce recidivism,” Mears said at the time. “When faced with the choice between prosecuting this and prosecuting acts of violence, my priority is clear.”

“Too often, an arrest for marijuana possession puts individuals into the system who otherwise would not be. That is not a win for our community,” Mears added. “The enforcement of marijuana policy has disproportionately impacted people of color, and this is a first step to addressing that.”

But Indiana Republicans—from the state’s governor to the attorney general to legislators like Young — are not on board with legalization, which has arrived in neighboring states, most recently Illinois.

Pot as a Partisan Issue

Young’s proposal is yet another example of the partisan divide on the issue in the Hoosier State. Just last month, one of his Young’s Democratic colleagues in the state Senate, Karen Tallian, filed legislation to decriminalize pot. 

On Tuesday, Mears told the IndyStar that Republicans like Young were avoiding addressing the issue head on.

“I would like to think that the constituents of those elected representatives want to know where their elected officials stand on the issue of marijuana and whether or not medical marijuana is appropriate, or decriminalization is appropriate,” Mears told the newspaper. “Especially given what our neighboring states are doing as it relates to the regulation of marijuana.”

The post Indiana GOP Lawmakers Seek to Override Relaxed Marijuana Laws in Indianapolis appeared first on High Times.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, January 22, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Rumors Are That MedMen Is Unable To Pay Vendors (Green Market Report)

// New Mexico Governor Says It’s ‘High Time’ To Legalize Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

// Arizona climate blamed for ‘off the charts’ THC failure in first hemp crops (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// New York Governor Includes Marijuana Legalization In New Budget Plan (Marijuana Moment)

// Colorado Tries to Beckon Tourists With Buy-and-Try Pot Lounges (Bloomberg Government)

// 1 in 13 Oklahoma Adults Are Now Using Medical Marijuana Legally (Merry Jane)

// New Zealand to overturn cannabis vaporizer ban, clearing the way for imports (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Free Weed: Sicily Is No Longer Charging Patients for Medical Cannabis (Merry Jane)

// Pete Buttigieg wants to end the war on weed- but not in South Bend (Leafly)

// Chart: Florida sales of smokable marijuana topped 22,000 pounds in less than six months (Marijuana Business Daily)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Chris Goldberg/Flickr

Indiana State Senator Files Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession

An Indiana lawmaker took the first steps this week toward decriminalizing marijuana in the state. 

Karen Tallian, a state senator in Indiana, filed legislation on Monday to do just that. Under Tallian’s bill, possession of less than an ounce of pot would only be a ticketable offense accompanied by a small fine and, crucially, no jail time. 

“We all know the governor does not want to legalize marijuana, but there is no longer any justification for arresting people for possession,” Tallian said, as quoted by NWITimes.com. “I am hopeful that decriminalization is something the whole Legislature can finally get behind this year.”

The Future of Cannabis in Indiana

The bill, which will be taken up by Tallian’s colleagues in the Indiana legislature next year, is one of three pieces of legislation filed by the Democratic lawmaker this week aimed at overhauling the state’s marijuana laws. 

One of the bills would reverse what her office called a “misstep” in last year’s legislative session that made smokable hemp illegal, while the other proposal would establish a regulatory agency for any cannabis-related products. 

“Indiana has to address its outdated and confusing cannabis laws,” Tallian said in a press release this week. “This legislature has been afraid to confront the entire cannabis question and takes every opportunity to stop debate. We need to move to the next level.”

The proposal addressing smokable hemp stems from a bill passed and signed into last year that made hemp a legal crop in Indiana — a step that a number of rural, agricultural states have taken in response to hemp being made legal on the federal level in 2018. Farmers in those states are eager to exploit the CBD craze that has taken off in the last few years.

Tallian said that her bill “cleans up this hemp mess.”

Her effort to decriminalize marijuana may yield the most consequential change, however. The Marijuana Policy Project says that Indiana “has some of the most draconian marijuana penalties in the country,” with possession of a mere joint punishable by a year in jail and a fine of several thousand dollars. In 2012, according to MPP, Indiana “law enforcement devoted valuable time and resources to either arresting or citing over 9,000 individuals for marijuana-related offenses, 86% of which were for possession.” 

If Tallian’s decriminalization bill were to become law, Indiana would join more than 20 other states, plus the District of Columbia, that have at least partially decriminalized marijuana for various possession offenses. In her press release this week, Tallian said “there is no longer any justification for arresting people for possession.”

The post Indiana State Senator Files Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession appeared first on High Times.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Marijuana Arrests Increased Again Last Year Despite More States Legalizing, FBI Data Shows (Forbes)

// Lawmaker says Pennsylvania should sell marijuana at state stores (ABC 27 News)

// Congressional Bill Would Protect Students From Losing Financial Aid Over Drug Convictions (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 150,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// The vaping crisis won’t bring down pot stocks: Raymond James (CanTech Letter)

// Chart: Marijuana vape sales rebounding in some key markets – for now (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Poll suggests Californians want more adult-use marijuana stores (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Nevada governor names head of new cannabis regulatory panel (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Indianapolis Will Stop Prosecuting Minor Pot Crimes Immediately (Merry Jane)

// NJ Announces First Vaping-Related Death in State (NBC 10 Philadelphia)

// Michigan roadside drug testing pilot program expands to all counties (Michigan Live)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Rulenumberone2/Flickr

Indianapolis’ Chief Prosecutor Nixes Future Simple Possession Cases

The prosecutor for the biggest county in Indiana just announced his office will no longer pursue simple marijuana possession cases. 

The decision from Marion County’s Prosecutor Ryan Mears was one of the first from his Indianapolis office since he took over last week after his former boss left for medical reasons. 

According to the announcement by Mears on Monday, the policy change will impact cases involving approximately one ounce or less of marijuana when the charge is the only or most serious charge against an adult. 

The experience Mears had as a deputy prosecutor and the rapidly changing marijuana policy in neighboring states were the leading factors in his decision. 

“I have come to this decision as a veteran prosecutor. I have seen the resources devoted to these prosecutions and believe those resources can be used more effectively to promote public safety, ensure justice for victims, and reduce recidivism,” Mears said, “When faced with the choice between prosecuting this and prosecuting acts of violence, my priority is clear.”

The statement also noted regardless of the new policy, recent years have seen a downward trend in the number of simple possession cases prosecuted in Marion County. 80 percent of the possession of marijuana charges in the county this year have already been dismissed. But the decision is retroactive to cases still on deck. Mears said his office will review those pending cases involving only possession of marijuana charges to see if any are impacted by the new policy.

Mears went on to speak about the impact the move would have in the communities hit the hardest by the war on marijuana. 

“Too often, an arrest for marijuana possession puts individuals into the system who otherwise would not be. That is not a win for our community,” Prosecutor Mears continued. “The enforcement of marijuana policy has disproportionately impacted people of color, and this is a first step to addressing that.”

A Start in a Harsh State

The Marijuana Policy Project notes that despite African Americans making up only 9.8 percent of Indiana’s population, they often bear the brunt of enforcement. MPP pointed to the ACLU’s 2013 report on the racial dynamics of marijuana enforcement that showed African Americans make up 27.6 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession in Indiana. 

The new rules do not apply to minors under the age of 18 and the more obvious stuff like cases involving trafficking or dealing of marijuana and driving while under the influence. Those cases “will continue to be filed and prosecuted in Marion County.”

We can’t emphasize enough how harsh the pot laws are in Indiana, and this local change will go a long way in a place where a single joint can get you up to a year in jail and a fine of $5000. Indiana NORML was quick to point out how bad things still are in the rest of the state when we reached out; Chairman Neal Smith called the move a local flavor of “deprioritization.” 

“This is the first one we’ve been able to crack,” Smith told High Times in an email. “We’ve been talking with Prosecutor Terry Curry, who has stepped down due to health reasons. Curry and Mears are Progressive Democrats. Indiana Dems have been backing reform for a couple of years now. Our biggest roadblocks is the Republican stranglehold on state gov’t…House, Senate and Governor under GOP control. Our Attorney General, Curtis Hill, is an extreme prohibitionist.” 

Smith said the upshot of the Marion County news is the fact that it is the first affront to Republican rule in the cannabis arena. 15 cannabis bills were shot down in the legislative session earlier this year. 

“We’ve been talking to these and other counties for several years, and it’s finally paying off,” Smith said.

The post Indianapolis’ Chief Prosecutor Nixes Future Simple Possession Cases appeared first on High Times.

Federal Judge Says Indiana’s Ban On Smokable Hemp Is Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Indiana ruled last week that the state’s law banning smokable forms of hemp is unconstitutional and has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the statute. In a ruling issued on September 13, Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana said that Indiana’s law prohibiting the manufacturing, financing, delivery, and possession of smokable hemp is preempted by federal law.

Barker wrote in her ruling that enforcing the law would cause “irreparable harm in the form of a credible threat of criminal sanctions” without a preliminary injunction.

The federal government legalized hemp and removed the crop and all hemp products from the nation’s list of controlled substances with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December. But when Indiana passed Senate Bill 516 earlier this year to regulate hemp agriculture in the state, it included the ban on smokable forms of hemp flower.

Smokable Hemp Confusing Cops

The legalization of hemp has led to a proliferation of smokable products that are generally rich in CBD, including dried hemp flower and pre-rolled joints. But the immense popularity of the products has led some states to ban smokable forms of hemp, arguing that law enforcement cannot readily determine if a substance is hemp or marijuana.

Barker ruled that the confusion was not a legal justification for treating some forms of hemp as a controlled substance, writing that “the fact that local law enforcement may need to adjust tactics and training in response to changes in federal law is not a sufficient basis for enacting unconstitutional legislation”

The judge also issued an immediate injunction to block enforcement of the smokable hemp provisions in Senate Bill 516, saying that the plaintiffs, all but one of whom are Indiana businesses that sell hemp products, should not have to wait to determine how much business was lost to the smokable hemp ban and file a lawsuit later.

“The likely unconstitutional portions of the statute cannot be easily measured or reliably calculated, given the novelty of the hemp industry in Indiana and the dearth of historical sales data to use as a baseline for calculating lost revenues,” Barker wrote.

Jim Decamp, the owner of Owlslee CBD in downtown Indianapolis, told local media that while he understands the concerns of law enforcement, he supports Judge Barker’s ruling.

“I don’t know the answer to that problem, but I feel like the benefits that clients get from THC-free hemp flower is something that they really want and need,” Decamp said.

Two other states, Louisiana and Texas, have also banned smokable forms of hemp and North Carolina is considering a similar measure. Tennessee has banned the sale of smokable hemp to minors.

The post Federal Judge Says Indiana’s Ban On Smokable Hemp Is Unconstitutional appeared first on High Times.

Thursday, September 19, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, September 19, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Beto O’Rourke proposes ‘drug war justice grants’ for marijuana offenders (Politico)

// Pot rules: DC mayor changes how the district handles marijuana use among employees (WUSA 9 CBS)

// Key Congressional Chair Says Marijuana Banking Vote Will Happen Over Groups’ Objections (Marijuana Moment)


Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at Eaze.com, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to Eaze.com to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.


// New Hampshire House Overrides Governor’s Veto and Approves Home Cultivation Bill (Cannabis Business Times)

// Chicago Mayor Wants to Keep Cannabis Out of City’s Core (Leafly)

// Ontario spent at least $10 million on cannabis stores that never opened (Global News)

// California Says Nearly All Cannabis Businesses Will Be In Statewide Tracking System By End Of October (Capital Public Radio)

// Federal judge rules that Indiana’s smokable hemp ban is unconstitutional (Hemp Industry Daily)

// Marijuana board considers Outside investment in testing labs (Alaska Journal of Commerce)

// Mattress Start-Up Casper Is Now Slanging CBD Gummies to Help You Sleep (Merry Jane)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Luke Harold/Flickr

Indiana State Rep Charged with Trying to Buy Cocaine, Impersonating a Police Officer

A note: don’t do this.

The “this” in question? Approaching strangers in a bar to buy blow. Maybe we didn’t have to lecture you on that particular point, but then again, maybe you’re a rather brash young state legislator from Indiana and you were planning on going out tonight. Of course, if that was the case, you probably already know about what happened to Rep. Dan Forestal of Indianapolis a few weekends ago.

On an August Saturday, Marion County Sheriff’s Office received 911 reports that a man was pretending to be a police officer. More precisely, this man was visibly drunk at a bar, brandishing a badge on a silver chain, and interrogating innocent bargoers about the location of the “people selling drugs,” ostensibly so he could go bust them. He had previously made a round inquiring after “party favors.” Neither tactic worked for him.

Little did the cops know they were dealing with an elected state official. In an announcement last Thursday, they said that they found out as soon as they could get Forestal out of his car where he had holed up, apparently to clutch the steering wheel and try to avoid arrest for a brief period of time. Once he exited the vehicle, the 36-year-old correctly identified himself to the police officers as “a firefighter, a state representative, and the nephew of the Marion County Sheriff,” according to The Hill. Forestal has been an active firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department for 12 years.

Forestal was eventually charged with impersonating a public servant, resisting law enforcement, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated—a low-level felony and two misdemeanors. The Fire Department says he’s been suspended without pay for 240 working hours, after which a decision will be made about his employment and responsibilities going forward.

The Assistant Democratic Caucus Chair’s court hearing has been scheduled for August 27, and will be attended to by a special prosecutor, as the county’s full-time prosecutor Terry Curry has made campaign donations to Forestal in the past, and has even volunteered for the guy.

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time Forestal has been charged with drunk driving. In 2007, he told his bosses at the fire department that he had reached a plea deal in a matter of a DUI. “I apologize for putting myself and the Fire Department in this situation,” he wrote in an email. “Nothing like this will ever happen again.”

Though Forestal’s supporters may have been surprised to hear that he was caught soliciting blow from fellow bar patrons, he is by no means the only politician to be associated with the drug this summer. In England, then-candidate for leader of the Tory Party Michael Gove admitted to the press that he had done cocaine on several occasions as a young journalist. “It was a mistake,” he told the press. “I look back and I think, I wish I hadn’t done that.”

Of course, past cocaine usage is hardly a disqualifier for a political career. Just ask Barack Obama, who copped to using the drug multiple times in his memoir Dreams From My Father. “It was reflective of the struggles and confusion of a teenage boy,” he later said. “Teenage boys are frequently confused.”

The post Indiana State Rep Charged with Trying to Buy Cocaine, Impersonating a Police Officer appeared first on High Times.

Founder of Indianapolis’ First Church of Cannabis Running for Governor of Indiana

Bill Levin, the founder of the Indianapolis First Church of Cannabis, announced on Monday that he is running for governor of Indiana. Levin will seek the nomination of the state’s Libertarian Party in his bid for the statehouse, according to a report in local media.

The legalization of cannabis will be a central theme of Levin’s campaign for governor. Currently, all cannabis products with the exception of CBD, which was legalized last year, are illegal under Indiana State law.

Levin said in a phone interview with High Times that he is running for governor because he believes that he can win.

“It’s real simple,” he said. “It’s love and human compassion versus greed and selfishness. It’s an easy win. Our state needs love, compassion, and good health right now.”

Politics As Usual Thwarts Legalization

According to Levin, the people of Indiana support cannabis legalization. Prohibition would have ended long ago if the question had been put to the voters, he believes. If elected, he plans to seek a path to cannabis legalization, either through the legislature or by giving the people the power to make the decision through a statewide election.

“If we were a ballot initiative state we would’ve had cannabis legal 10 years ago,” he said. “But unfortunately, the GOP controls the state and nobody is talking about ballot initiatives. When I’m elected governor, ballot initiative is one of the things I am going to put on point. We will have it so the people of this state can decide what their future is, rather than the corporations who buy our politicians.”

Levin said he will also make industrial pollution and Indiana’s environment an issue in the race for governor.

“We’re the bottom of the barrel when it comes to polluted states,” said Levin. “We’re number 48. We’re poisoning our people. Our rivers, our air quality are poisoning people here and our state is letting these companies run.”

Church Challenged Prohibition with Lawsuit

Levin founded the First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis in 2015 in response to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill widely seen as an attack on LGBTQ rights that was signed into law by Vice President Mike Pence, who was governor of Indiana at the time.

After registering with the I.R.S. as a nonprofit organization, the First Church of Cannabis sued for the legalization of cannabis under the RFRA, claiming that the prohibition of marijuana violated the religious freedom of the church’s members to use cannabis sacramentally. The suit was unsuccessful, however, and a final appeal in the case was denied in January.

The Libertarian Party of Indiana will hold its statewide convention next spring. In 2016, Libertarian candidate Rex Bell ran for governor of Indiana, pulling in 1.34 percent of the votes cast in the contest.

The post Founder of Indianapolis’ First Church of Cannabis Running for Governor of Indiana appeared first on High Times.