This Weed in News, June 30: US Senate Backs Hemp Big Time; Marijuana OK’d in OK; CA Whacks Untested Weed

America’s cannabis-centric headlines had something for everyone last week. As the U.S. Senate voted to legalize industrial hemp, Oklahoma’s voters choose medicinal cannabis over continued prohibition. Meanwhile, voters in Maryland and Colorado nominated marijuana reformers as their Democratic gubernatorial candidates for 2018.

It was a costly week for California’s legal marijuana shops, though, as they took a monetary hit when they were forced to hold a fire sale of their non-tested products. Also happening during the week ending June 30, 2018, Jamaica’s elected officials claimed marijuana was their “birthright.”

Hemp Included In Senate’s Version of 2018 Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate had successfully voted to legalize industrial hemp as an “agricultural commodity” The Hill reported last week Included in the Senate’s version of the 2018 Farm Bill, the legislation was supported by US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and was passed by a vote of 86-11 on Thursday.

“For far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp. Although it was a foundational part of Kentucky’s heritage and today you can buy hemp products at stores across the country, most American farmers have been barred from planting it in their fields. I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles and give our state the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production. That is why I strongly advocated for this measure to be included in the Farm Bill, which will finally and fully legalize industrial hemp,” McConnell, Kentucky’s senior senator, said in a press release.

A big step in the right direction, the Senate’s farm bill must be reconciled with the House version before it can be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Medical Marijuana is OK with Toke-lahoma’s Voters

Oklahoma’s State Question 788 passed Tuesday, June 26, 2018, with 57 percent support. Oklahoma is the 30th state to legalize medicinal cannabis in the U.S., and qualified patients with a medical marijuana license would be allowed to personally possess up to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of marijuana concentrates; cultivate six mature plants and six seedlings; and be in possession of no more than 3 ounces, or 85 g, of marijuana.

But with the approval of State Question 788, Oklahoma’s would-be medical marijuana patients have one more problem to address — gun ownership.

Medical marijuana is considered illegal by the federal government, and patients have historically been restricted from maintaining firearms. Oklahoma’s patients who own guns may see their hopes vaporized, as federal law considers a medical  marijuana card probable cause to deny them  the right to carry a weapon or ammo.

Dems in Maryland and Colorado Tap Reform Candidates for Governor

A heady summer primary season continued on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, as Democratic voters in Maryland and Colorado endorsed two pro-legalization candidates; US Rep. Jared Polis and former NAACP president Ben Jealous.

Polis, a five-term congressman who represents the college cities of Boulder and Fort Collins, trounced former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy by nearly 20 percent, winning 44.4 percent of the vote. The victory by Polis, an ardent supporter of legalization throughout his political career, is seen as a positive sign for Colorado’s marijuana industry. He has consistently advocated for legislation to expand the state’s list of qualifying conditions for its medical marijuana program, and has earned the endorsement of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Sierra Club.

“It’s an honor to be the Democratic nominee for Governor of Colorado! Thank you! Now let’s go win this thing.” Polis wrote on Facebook after Tuesday’s results were announced. “We have the potential, in this moment, to take bold innovative strides in our state and unite around big ideas like saving people money on health care, building good green jobs, for our renewable energy future, and making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top. Let’s get it done!

As for Ben Jealous in Maryland, he campaigned as a pro-legalization progressive, earning him the valuable endorsements of Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

On April 20, 2018, Jealous spoke in support of marijuana reform at the National Cannabis Policy Summit in Washington DC.

Jealous noted during his speech that America’s dystopian marijuana laws should be fully repealed, with those individuals most negatively affected receiving preferential treatment within the industry.

A great week for some and a better week for others, the news for California was looking rather bleak for recreational marijuana consumers. As writer Noah White reported Thursday, June 28, 2018, California’s dispensaries must meet new stringent requirements for testing and packaging as of Sunday, July 1, 2018. They are slashing prices to clear non-compliant cannabis off their shelves. A matter of supply and demand, this represents your last great opportunity to stock up before an anticipated shortage of tested marijuana.

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