New York Governor Signs Bill Reducing Marijuana Penalties, Allows for Expungements

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a bill into law that reduces the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana, while also allowing for the expungement of some past offenses.

The law – which takes effect within 30 days – changes an unlawful possession of marijuana statute into a violation that’s similar to a traffic ticket, instead of a criminal charge, reports the Associated Press. Under the new law, the maximum penalty is $50 for possessing less than one ounce of pot and a maximum of $200 for between one and two ounces. The law also requires that records tied to low-level marijuana cases be automatically sealed and creates a process for expungement.

“Communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by-laws governing marijuana for far too long, and today we are ending this injustice once and for all,” said Governor Cuomo in a statement. Advocates for legal marijuana acknowledge the law is a step forward but also say it falls short of addressing a web of negative consequences that come with keeping marijuana illegal.

“Police have historically found a way to work around the decriminalization of marijuana,” said Erin George, of Citizen Action of New York.

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How to Recognize Quality Marijuana Seeds?

Discussion revolving around the legalization status of marijuana is generating awareness about its abundant benefits to several health concerns. If you are someone eager to become a part of the green herb revolution, you must know every bit of details relating to it. We know the uses of its flower, but the supremacy of its seeds is also worth considering.

How to identify the quality of marijuana seeds? It is a significant query of those thinking about capitalizing on marijuana plants. Seeds are the fundamental of productive marijuana plants and to recognize and pick the best on the market needs practice. A lot of factors contribute to classifying good from the bad. The article will highlight a few marijuana seeds’ characteristics that can summarize its quality.

Shade and Feel

The shade of marijuana seeds can indicate their potential. Superior quality seeds display particular shades that make them eligible for yielding or consumption. They are visually pleasant looking with a shine on its surface. Look for brown, grey, or black colored seeds that show their maturity. Immature seeds are more of lighter shades like light green, or whitish.

In terms of texture, seeds that exhibit dark spots or stripes,

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Tallahassee Will Cease Prosecutions of Marijuana Possession Cases

Marijuana possession cases will no longer be prosecuted in Tallahassee, Florida and the surrounding area, according to a letter to law enforcement agencies from the State Attorney. The action was taken in response to the legalization of hemp in Florida earlier this year and at the federal level with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

In the letter from Jack Campbell, the State Attorney for Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit, law enforcement agencies were informed that the difficulty in easily differentiating hemp and marijuana led to the decision.

“Hemp products look and smell exactly like marijuana products,” Cambell told local media.

Marijuana or Hemp?

Campbell noted that there are now CBD gummies, hemp pre-rolls, and other products that are now legal being sold in Florida. And while they may seem to be made from marijuana based on their smell or appearance, there isn’t a way to tell without sophisticated laboratory analysis.

“It’s the same thing as if somebody looked at a glass of alcohol. You might be able to smell and tell that there’s alcohol, but you couldn’t look or smell and say what the proof of it is,” said Campbell.

Currently, both private and government labs in Florida use

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CBN is Another Cannabis Compound With Beneficial Properties

CBD, an abbreviation of cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis and hemp plants, is going viral across the globe. Hailed for its natural anecdotal anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, CBD is being added to everything from skincare to food. However, CBD is just one of the hundreds of compounds inherent to the cannabis plant. Even though THC and CBD are garnering all the buzz, there are myriad other cannabis compounds which can help alleviate a plethora of symptoms –including CBN.

What is CBD?

Innumerable outlets report that CBD is non-psychoactive. Whoever is parroting this term is incorrect. CBD is psychoactive to a much lesser degree than THC; however, it is non-intoxicating, for the most part. People in 12-step or other substance abuse recovery programs report feeling “something” on high doses of CBD, because not all CBD products are equal. Therefore consumers who do not wish to get high must be careful to choose a reputable brand with a proven below .03% THC content.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.

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Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Sue Facebook For Disabling Business Pages

A group of cannabis businesses in Tulsa say they have been negatively affected by social media bans, and they are no longer taking the alleged discrimination lying down. Led by the Ye Olde Apothecary Shoppe, eight dispensaries have announced that they are suing Facebook executives over what they call “a pattern of targeting the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry.”

The companies are asking for a court order that would prevent the social media site from further targeting their pages, and $75,000 in economic harm.

“Facebook has an arbitrary, subjective, discriminatory and archaic policy and their policy does not apply to all,” reads the lawsuit’s complaint. “It is just random. Or at least it appears to be random. There is no way for an individual or a business to contact anyone within Facebook to get assistance. They hide behind their keyboards and mete out whatever punishment they feel if they find that you have committed an infraction to their subjective community standards.”

The Tulsa businesses say that Oklahoma cannabis companies have been unfairly targeted. “The defendants pick and choose what is against community standards and what is not,” wrote the lawsuit’s original plaintiff, Ye Olde Apothecary Shoppe owner Danna Malone. “They do

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No B.C. Driver Has Been Criminally Charged With Cannabis Impairment Since Legalization

Enforcement of B.C.’s drug-impaired driving regime is under the microscope after a Vancouver Island motorist avoided drug penalties, despite reportedly being caught by police throwing a lit joint from their vehicle.

The alleged incident happened in Saanich earlier this week and landed the driver about $900 in fines — though none related to drugs.

It is an offence to consume cannabis while driving in Canada, as is being impaired while operating a vehicle. Saanich police said the officer at the scene, a drug recognition expert, was satisfied the driver was not impaired.

But Vancouver lawyer Sarah Leamon said the incident highlights a wider issue: B.C. has not handed out a single criminal charge related to pot-impaired driving since cannabis legalization came into force.

– Read the entire article at Global News.

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Utah Considers Changes to Medical Marijuana Law Amid Concerns from Counties

First, it was approved by Utah voters. Then, it was advanced by lawmakers. But there are still plenty of concerns surrounding the state’s new medical marijuana law, prompting legislators there to consider tweaks before the program is fully implemented. 

Several counties in Utah have expressed concerns about distributing medical cannabis, citing its illegality on the federal level. Officials in Salt Lake and Davis counties “have advised their county health departments against dispensing medical marijuana once the state’s distribution network is up and running,” Deseret News reported on Tuesday. In a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health said it intended to continue to urge county officials to “to find solutions that will ensure patients statewide have access to medical cannabis within the timeline set out in the Medical Cannabis Act.”

Those concerns have some Utah lawmakers mulling even more action on a law that has already been greenlit by both voters and the legislature. State senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, a Republican, said he and his colleagues are considering several proposals, and they may even pursue making changes in a special legislative session.

“I think we’re pretty close to having a solution that would

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Kamala Harris on Cannabis: Her Record Is Not as Bad as You Think

U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris has come a long way since she laughed off a question about supporting marijuana legalization in 2014. Harris wants to be known for having been a progressive prosecutor when she was Attorney General of California from 2011-2016, though Politifact says her “record is mixed.” Is she as bad as some are trying to say?

For example, this headline ran on the Washington, DC-based conservative website, the Free Beacon, back in February: “Kamala Harris Packed California Prisons With Pot Peddlers.” The subhead read: “At least 1,560 people were sent to state prisons for marijuana-related offenses between 2011 and 2016.”

The story itself doesn’t make the claim that Harris was in any way personally responsible for all those people being sent away, but only people who read past the subhead will realize that.

In actuality, most of those people are tried by city prosecutors or county district attorneys. For example, in 2017, there were 200,200 felony criminal filings in California courts. Deputy district attorneys in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted more than 70,000 of those.

Freedom Leaf Requests Data from California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Seeking clarity on these

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Innovation Shares Debuts Exchange-Traded Fund for Investing in Cannabis

Financial firm Innovation Shares announced earlier this month that it has launched the Cannabis ETF, a new exchange-traded fund for investing in the cannabis industry. The passively-managed ETF is now available to investors and is trading under the ticker symbol THCX.

Matt Markiewicz, the managing director for Innovation Shares, said in a press release that the new investment fund will be active in all areas of the legal cannabis industry while avoiding some investments of similar EFTFs.

“As a pure-play cannabis ETF, THCX focuses on companies in the legal marijuana, CBD, and hemp industries – the portfolio does not rely on alcohol or tobacco stocks to provide exposure to this burgeoning global growth story,” said Markiewicz. “Investors entering the cannabis space have demanded a diversified, liquid and cost-efficient vehicle to invest in the ‘green rush’ and we are ready to deliver on that ask.”

Innovation Shares is known for sponsoring unique thematic ETFs. The Cannabis ETF, which is listed on the NYSE Arca exchange, tracks the Innovation Labs Cannabis Index, a rules-based portfolio that rebalances on a monthly basis. The index currently consists of 35 stocks anticipated to benefit from a rise in the cannabis market, which could reach $630

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Tech-Giant Expedia Chokes Vital Access Point to Hempfest

CANNABIS CULTURE – “The Seattle HEMPFEST® is taking place this year but with an extreme burden that will be disruptive to waterfront businesses and locals in the area. Hempfest has made good faith efforts to negotiate solutions, but even the most modest accommodation has been rejected by Expedia and the Port of Seattle,” says Seattle HEMPFEST director, Vivian McPeak.

“Forty-five days before the event, Expedia informed us via the Port of Seattle that they are not allowing HEMPFEST access to the road it has used for 25 years to bring supply vehicles, vendors, and staff into the back of the event. Expedia is blocking access because they say HEMPFEST will interfere with their construction and employee vehicle traffic for a few days,” he continues.

“First Expedia took away all of HEMPFEST’s parking, now they are declining access for its production. This last-minute denial is costing Seattle HEMPFEST thousands of dollars in extra fees and is creating a logistical nightmare likely to lead to unnecessary traffic snarls on a major arterial along and near the central waterfront.”

Over 100,000 attendees are expected at the August 16, 17, 18 Seattle Special Event, now in its 28th year, and the 25th year at its

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