Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Medical Marijuana Inc. and Canipa Holdings Drive Dixie X and CanChew Gum Toward EU Marketing Approval And Clinical Development

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTC: MJNA), a leading hemp industry innovator, is pleased to provide an update on the efforts of Canipa Holdings in regards to European Union marketing approvals for MJNA Portfolio Products including the Dixie X Brand and CanChew gum.
Approval Process
Canipa Holdings is currently working with European Health Authorities and their Governmental counterparts to obtain marketing approvals for the Dixie X and CanChew gum hemp-based, CBD-infused products. We expect preliminary approval in 60 days and final approval 30 days after. Once approved, these products will be sold “over-the-counter” throughout Romania and the remaining 26 European Union Member Countries.
Pending Clinical Studies
Simultaneous to the marketing approvals, MJNA and Canipa Holdings are working with authorities to provide European FDA-level clinical studies. While there have been numerous, positive studies on the effects of Cannabinoids (CBD’s), the Company’s specific CBD-infused products will be studied by selected EU medical universities. Initially it is anticipated that the studies will prove the safety and efficacy of these products in the treatment of chronic pain.
Further clinical trials will be commissioned to study the effect of the CBD-infused products on muscle spasticity and nausea. Muscle spasticity, which affects many spinal cord injury and neuro-degenerative patients (such as Multiple Sclerosis) can create pain through nerve entrapment. Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of cancer chemotherapy patients.
The goal of the clinical trials will be to make formal European medical claims as to the effectiveness of CBD-infused Dixie X and CanChew gum in the treatment of chronic pain, muscle spasticity and nausea. Then to have the products approved as a doctors prescribed medication and therefore qualify for insurance reimbursement.
Pain Management Problem
MJNA has identified a growing problem in the area of pain management. To date, there have been few new breakthroughs since the introduction of opioids (morphine) in the 1950′s. The new CBD-infused products have the potential to provide a certain degree of pain relief via potentially more natural means (whole hemp plant extracts and compounds) than with traditional pharmaceutical medications (where portions of plants, known as “active components” are isolated or chemically synthesized).
Although various pharmaceutical companies have developed new pain medication drugs in recent years, they generally fall under the category: non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Many of these medications have been found to have harmful side-effects. As an example, Pfizer’s Celebrex was at one time a huge selling drug however, The National Cancer Institute, which was conducting a study for Pfizer, suspended use of the drug and terminated their study. The findings were that patients taking 400mg to 800mg of Celebrex daily had a 2.5 times greater risk of major heart problems than those who were taking placebos (look-alike pills with no active ingredients). It is still on the US market but with a strong “black box’ warning from the FDA. Pfizer’s Bextra product was pulled from European markets – again due to safety concerns. Source: http://www.painstudy.com/PainDrugs/p44.htm
Europe, US, Canada Suspend Certain Pain Management Medications
Recently the European Medicines Agency has recommended a suspension of all buflomedil-containing medicines due to safety concerns. Some pain medications contain buflomedil, a vaso-active agent, which has an effect on circulation.
The opioid, Hydrocodone, is no longer available in many European countries, again due to certain safety concerns. The list includes: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the U.K. Although available on the US medical markets as a Schedule II drug, nearly 88% of hydrocodone based medications have been removed from the US marketplace. Oxycodone, another opioid, has also been removed from European and US markets. Source:http://www.fiercepharma.com/press-releases/fda-prompts-companies-remove-certain-unapproved-oxycodone-products-market .
Oxycontin has been removed from Canadian markets, source: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/29/oxycontin-removed-from-canadian-market.
OxyContin, a schedule II opioid pain reliever introduced in 1996 which was more widely abused after its introduction that any prescription drug in the past 20 years.
Pain medications Vioxx and Tylenol have recently been associated with liver damage and pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck made a global settlement of $4.85 billion in regards to wrongful death cases filed against it for its pain medication drug: Vioxx. Source: http://anthonyvieira.typepad.com/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merck_%26_Co.
Market Size
The market size for pain management is large and growing. In 2009, the global pain relief market generated revenues in excess of $50 billion. It is reported that currently 86 million Americans suffer from some sort of chronic pain, including 11 million people that claim their pain to be a significant disability. In a University of Oslo, Norway survey it was determined that approximately 19% of all European adults suffered from chronic pain that was of an intensity that seriously affected their social and working life.
In that same University of Oslo study, it was determined that one-third of the sufferers were taking OTC treatments, two-thirds were taking prescription medicines and fully one-third of chronic pain sufferers were not being treated at all. Pain treatment in Europe is a large multi-billion dollar business. With the withdrawal of certain types of pain medications in the EU, a significant opportunity exists to fill the gap.
“We view ourselves as having significant opportunities to launch our revolutionary new whole hemp plant extract, CBD-infused products to the over-the-counter market,” said Michael Llamas, President, Medical Marijuana Inc.
“In Europe we are undertaking studies in an attempt to provide sufficient clinical data to justify our products’ abilities to make certain medical claims. Our initial aim lies in chronic pain management, then in the treatment of muscular spasticity plus nausea and vomiting. Our success with the European trials will determine our course of additional clinical activities in the US marketplace. Nonetheless, our products are currently available in the Colorado and September 15(th) will be available to over-the-counter consumers on a nearly worldwide basis for general health and wellness benefits.”
Mr. Llamas went on further to state: “With many pain medications having recently been taken off the European markets, plus differing standards of care – there appears to be significant gaps in European pain management. Our revolutionary new products may be able to fill a few of these gaps and provide improved quality of life for those individuals. We look forward to the future and are extremely pleased with our European efforts to date. We appreciate the continued support of our team and shareholders.”
About Medical Marijuana, Inc.
Our mission is to be the premier cannabis and hemp industry innovators, leveraging our team of professionals to source, evaluate and purchase value-added companies and products, while allowing them to keep their integrity and entrepreneurial spirit. We strive to create awareness within our industry, develop environmentally friendly, economically sustainable businesses, while increasing shareholder value.
Medical Marijuana Inc. does not grow, sell or distribute any substances that violate United States Law or the controlled substance act.
For more information, please visit the company’s website at: www.MedicalMarijuanaInc.com
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements and information, as defined within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and is subject to the Safe Harbor created by those sections. This material contains statements about expected future events and/or financial results that are forward-looking in nature and subject to risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements by definition involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Medical Marijuana, Inc. to be materially different from the statements made herein.
Corporate Contact:
Medical Marijuana, Inc.
Toll Free: 888-OTC-MJNA (888-682-6562)
Investor Relations Contact:
Stuart T. Smith
SmallCapVoice.Com, Inc.
P. 512-267-2430
F. 512-267-2530
Email: ssmith@smallcapvoice.com
Skype: SmallCapVoice.com
AIM: SmallCapVoice7

redOrbit (http://s.tt/1jEug)

Feds Shut Down Medical Marijuana Shop To 'Protect' Colorado Students

Boulder Medical Marijuana Dispensary

The war on drugs: it's mostly hard, and frequently inane. But fortunately for modern-day drug-battling bureaucrats, there is a superbly easy target to take down -- medical marijuana dispensaries. Those that run such facilities often say they do so because they hope medical marijuana may help ease the suffering of patients receiving chemotherapy, or provide relief from some of the more debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis and glaucoma. Because they largely consider themselves to be law-abiding business proprietors, as opposed to dangerous cartels usually associated with the drug industry, they are not -- typically -- armed to the teeth, and are thus fairly pleasant for the Feds to put in the crosshairs when the need to brag about taking some weed off the streets arises.
And the streets of Colorado are apparently in need of de-reeferizing. Via HuffPost Denver's Matt Ferner:
On Friday, U.S. Attorney John Walsh's office issued letters to the owners of 10 medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado that are within 1,000 feet of schools notifying them that they have 45 days to shut down, move their business or face federal enforcement action.
According to 7News, the 10 shops that got the letters are in the Denver metro area and in southern Colorado.
Walsh's Aug. 3 letter is not going over well with medical marijuana advocates in Colorado, who have noticed that President Barack Obama will be making a swing-state stopover in Grand Junction, Colo., on Wednesday of this week. When he arrives, the National Cannabis Industry Association (who support the Colorado Patient Voter Project, which opposes "the Obama administration's attacks on Colorado's sovereignty and its medical marijuana laws") plan on greeting him with a billboard that riffs on the Romney attack that's currently become all the rage.

Colorado is one state where medical marijuana treatment has gained a significant foothold. As Ryan Grim and Matt Ferner reported back in May of 2012, the Colorado Democratic Party has enshrined support for medical marijuana on their state party's platform. And Colorado Republicans, by and large, don't strongly object: back in March, "56 percent of the Denver County Republican Assembly voted to support legal and regulated pot." The Golden State has asked the federal government to enable marijuana to be reclassified (the feds' current position is that marijuana is illegal in any or all forms) so that doctors in the state can have greater freedom in prescribing it as a treatment protocol.
And Colorado residents will be voting in November on a referendum that, if it passes, will pave the way for marijuana to be legalized and regulated "in a manner similar to alcohol." In June, a Rassmussen poll found that this legalization/regulation wassupported by 61 percent of Colorado residents.
The Obama administration has not been particularly inclined to support these initiaves. As Grim and Ferner reported, Colorado's medical marijuana dispensaries have been the target of federal crackdowns all year, in spite of what these swing-state voters seem to desire. In May, 25 dispensaries were shuttered in response to an order from Walsh, who -- as with his recent letter -- cited the fact that they were "within 1,000 feet of a school." This requirement, however, is rooted in the federal law known as the Controlled Substances Act, which allowed states to create "drug-free school zones." In citing the federal law in this instance, the Obama administration is reneging on a promise to let state and local law take the lead on determining how medical marijuana will be regulated. And Colorado's medical marijuana dispensaries are typically in compliance with state and local ordinances.
So, what school's students is Walsh stepping in to protect from the nefarious designs of medical marijuana dispensaries? The hilarious answer, contained within a redacted version of the Aug. 3 letter Walsh sent to the dispensary proprietors, is "specifically" the delicate and impressionable young minds of the University of Colorado-Boulder.
The irony, of course, is that without these dispensaries, one of your best sources for weed would be the students of the University of Colorado. (Maybe the Obama administration is just trying to protect the existing rents of the local "Choom Gang?")

Medical Marijuana Inc.’s & Dixie Elixir’s Tripp Keber, To Appear On Sirius XM Radio’s ICannabis Channel Tonight

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTC: MJNA), a leading hemp industry innovator, is pleased to inform its shareholders that Board Member, Tripp Keber will appear on the Sirius XM Radio Network’s iCannabis Channel this evening.  The program will begin at 7pm Mountain Time. 

Mr. Keber, managing director for Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, will appear on tonight’s Realm of Caring American Weed show on the iCannabis Radio channel, which is available on Sirius XM satellite radio and on internet radio.  The internet radio link is provided below.  Mr. Keber will speak about the Colorado-based Dixie Elixirs company as well as the successful launch of the Dixie X high concentration hemp-based CBD-infused product line. Mr. Keber will also describe the mutually beneficial relationship that Dixie has with Medical Marijuana Inc.

A link to the program available on the internet would be found here:

If you are unable to listen in live at 7pm Mountain, 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central or 6pm Pacific, the show will be archived for future listening.

Get a preview of tonight’s show featuring Mr. Keber here (the link starts in at 27min):

About Medical Marijuana, Inc.
Our mission is to be the premier cannabis and hemp industry innovators, leveraging our team of professionals to source, evaluate and purchase value-added companies and products, while allowing them to keep their integrity and entrepreneurial spirit. We strive to create awareness within our industry, develop environmentally friendly, economically sustainable businesses, while increasing shareholder value.
Medical Marijuana Inc. does not grow, sell or distribute any substances that violate United States Law or the controlled substance act.
For more information, please visit the company’s website at:www.MedicalMarijuanaInc.com.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Obama's Pot Problem

President Barack Obama has disappointed drug-reform advocates across the country since taking office as president, and nowhere do they feel more betrayed than in Colorado.
After holding the party convention in Denver and handily carrying this traditionally Republican state in 2008, Obama could be jeopardizing his reelection bid with a dismissive and even hostile approach to marijuana reform, a top issue for tens of thousands of local residents, including many of the activists who powered his last campaign.
Obama inspired hope with early signals on relaxing drug policy, including the October 2009 “Ogden memo” that said the U.S. would not prosecute in states that allow medical marijuana. In the past two years, however, the feds have targeted medical marijuana facilities with a record number of raids, putting Obama on course to surpass the previous high set by George W. Bush. In Colorado alone, 40 dispensaries — all in compliance with state and local law — have already been shut down this year.
The surprising about-face has inspired former supporters in Colorado to try to legalize the drug outright. They managed to get a proposition to that effect on the ballot this November, and whilesome are (not unreasonably) teasing the possibility that the initiative, Amendment 64, might help the president by bringing a younger, more liberal electorate out to the polls, there are also warning signs that many of these same voters won’t pull the lever for Obama in a crucial swing state.
“The element that nobody’s really talking about is what I call the Gary Johnson effect,” says Denver Democratic political consultant Rick Ridder.
Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico running for president on the Libertarian ticket, has begun holding press conferences from medical marijuana dispensaries and assailing Obama for waging the war on drugs. When combined with the steady drip of news about the latest massive DEA raids on what many local Democrats consider legitimate small-business owners, his presence in Colorado is poised to cause some headaches for the White House as campaign season heats up.
“Obama’s got a bloody nose all over this,” Johnson told me in an interview. “There’s a huge crowd out there that we should be able to appeal to.”
Polls show the president with a small but stable advantage in Colorado over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, but local political observers say his advisors are kidding themselves if they think they have much breathing room, and that it will be a much tighter spread than in 2008, when Obama won by a 9-point margin.
“Obama on his best day is at 45 or 47 percent out here,” says longtime Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli. He thinks the marijuana initiative, support for which has ranged from 46 to 61 percent in polls (depending on how the question is asked), may well do better than the president in November and that Democrats “can’t take that vote for granted.”
And conversations with a wide range of local activists and political insiders suggest it’s not just votes Obama risks hemorrhaging with his regressive pot stance, but campaign donations and volunteers as well.
“I volunteered for his campaign, primarily because he said he was going to respect state marijuana laws,” says Josh Kappel, a Denver attorney who works at Sensible Colorado, a marijuana reform group at the forefront of the legalization effort. He’s yet to decide whether to vote for or volunteer for the president again, waiting to gauge the administration’s actions between now and Election Day. Talk of Gary Johnson is in the air, he says.
Wanda James, a Democratic fundraiser who bundled $100,000 for Obama’s 2008 campaign while serving on his national finance committee, runs an edible marijuana business in the state. She is so outraged at the White House that she “won’t raise a dime” for his reelection.
“There’s a number of major donors that have felt that way — people who’ve given over a million dollars,” she told me.
James, who briefly helmed Rep. Jared Polis’ primary campaign in 2008, urged caution against what she acknowledged was a growing level of support for the third-party candidate in response to the Obama administration’s aggression.
“I think a lot of people are trying to support Gary Johnson, but it’s the wrong move right now,” she said. “We’ll be cutting off our nose to spite our face if we allow Romney to win this election, because it would be the end of the marijuana industry. At least under Barack Obama there is some pretense for the industry to exist.”
Johnson registered at 7 percent support in a recent Public Policy Polling survey of the state. In that poll, slightly more Johnson voters would back Romney rather than Obama were they forced to choose in a two-way race.
“I’m not claiming I have the answer [to corralling the pro-pot vote],” Johnson concedes. “Believe me, we are trying to do everything we can to make young people understand: The only way you vote for Obama if your issue is drug reform is the notion that in his second term as opposed to his first, he’s going to do the right thing. I’ve heard that argument many times by many politicians.”
Whether it helps Obama or hurts him, the pot issue certainly won’t play to Romney’s advantage in any direct sense. The guy is the archetypal narc, a Mormon who harangued a neighbor for smoking on the beach outside his mansion in San Diego andimpersonated a police officer more than once as a young man, playing pranks on his friends by pulling them over with a siren mounted on his car.
“People who turn out for Amendment 64 are very unlikely to pull the lever for Romney,” says Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “He used to dress up as a cop!”
But Houston, a Colorado native and former Democratic Party operative in this libertarian-leaning state, says Johnson’s candidacy represents “a very real danger for Obama” in that it is poised to siphon votes off at the margins, potentially making it easier for Romney to inch his way toward plurality support.
“He’s going to have to be very careful that his Department of Justice doesn’t threaten the voters of Colorado that they’ll have U.S. attorneys in federal court trying to undo the will of the voters [if the ballot initiative passes],” he says. “If he does, it could be fatal for his chances of reelection, because one thing Coloradans really don’t like is the federal government telling them what to do.”
If he fails to budge on pot between now and Election Day, Obama will effectively be wagering that Willard Mitt Romney is so terrifying to the pro-pot community that its voters will choose the devil they know over the one they don’t.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Republicans Bash Holder at DOJ Oversight Hearing

WASHINGTON (CN) - House Republicans grilled Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday over "arrogant and dangerous" policies in an oversight hearing on the Department of Justice.
     Major topics included the bungled Fast and Furious program, voter fraud and prosecutorial misconduct in the trial of Sen. Ted Stevens trial.
     Sponsored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Operation Fast and Furious is under investigation for encouraging the illegal sale of guns so that agents could track them to the leaders of Mexican drug cartels. The bureau lost track of hundreds of firearms by letting them pass into the hands of gun smugglers.
     Some blame the operation for the 2010 murder of Border Partrolmen Brian Terry at the hands of one cartel that dealt with the smuggled guns.
     Coming to Holder's aid in the four-hour hearing, Democrats noted that the DOJ released 7,600 pages of documents on the program.
     But this disclosure failed to impress Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith.
     "The Justice Department still has not provided enough information about Operation Fast and Furious so that the American public and Congress can judge who in the department bears responsibility for the decisions that led to Agent Brian Terry's death," said Smith, R-Texas. "The Justice Department refuses to comply with Congressional subpoenas that may shed light on why this program was authorized and who had knowledge of inappropriate tactics."
     Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., pleaded with his colleagues to question Holder with respect.
     Holder said he first learned of the operation after he received a letter in February 2011, a little over two months after Agent Terry's death.
     Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. said that the response did not answer the question of when he found out the program was a failure.
     "Mr. Attorney General, you're not a good witness," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. "A good witness answers the questions asked."
     Conyers and other Democrats complained that Issa wasn't allowing Holder to answer.
     Issa claimed, however, said his line of questioning made maximum use of the five-minutes he was allotted for questioning."
     Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, complained about time restrictions as well.
     "If we're from the South, we should get more than five minutes," Poe said.
     Poe asked Holder how many Mexicans had been killed as a result of Fast and Furious, and how the program may have damaged relations with Mexico.
     Of Mexican deaths, Holder responded: "I don't know. I think there may have been some."
     Committee Democrats were interested in other areas of DOJ controversy.
     Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., noted that President Barack Obama campaigned against the prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries, but has nevertheless gone after several such entities since taking office.
     Pointing to "these little things called facts," Holder said that the DOJ raided dispensaries run by people "taking advantage of state laws" and going beyond "what the states have authorized."
     In Colorado, for example, the DOJ shut down a medical marijuana dispensary because of its close proximity to a school.
     Rep. Pedro Pierlusi, a member of Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party, commended Holder's work protecting the borders with Canada and Mexico, but said more needed to be done with the Caribbean border, citing Puerto Rico's growing problems with violence and illegal drugs. Holder agreed.
     Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., stated his concern over airline and grocery monopolies controlling commerce in middle America. Holder promised to look into the matter.
     Other Democrats used their time to highlight the Department's victories.
     Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C. applauded his work for stopping counterfeit pharmaceuticals, working for an indictment in the case against MegaUpload and protecting the country from cyber attacks.
     Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., commended Holder's policies on contract fraud, whistle-blower protection and upholding the False Claims Act.
     But Holder took more heat over the bungled prosecution of the late Sen. Stevens, and the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, an alleged Hamas supporter.
     "When I hear an attorney general come before this committee and cavalierly say there is a political aspect to this job, that offends me," Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, said. "Why in the world would your department be more responsive to a terrorist group than to this committee?"
     Gohmert said the department gave the Holy Land Foundation's defense documents that it has refused to give to Congress.
     Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., questioned Holder on the evidence prosecutors withheld evidence from Stevens, who was convicted and then cleared of corruption.
     Holder noted that he was the one who dismissed the case, and said there are conflicting reports as to whether the evidence was withheld intentionally or recklessly.
     Lungren and other Republicans harshly criticized Holder for not firing anybody over the matter.
     Republicans also brought up a story in which a young, white activist was able to obtain Holder's ballot in a Washington polling site by claiming his identification was in the car.
     "If you have to show ID to get into federal court or a government building, shouldn't you have to show it to vote?" Lungren asked. "I have to show my ID to board an airplane and fly to D.C."
     Holder answered: "There are terrorists trying to blow up planes."
     Though the hearing often turned to questions about Operation Fast and Furious, Holder did deliver a prepared statement that highlighted the DOJ's record in upholding civil rights, curbing gang violence, seizing billions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels, reducing the rate of violence in Native American communities and protecting law enforcement across the country.
     He also touted his $25 billion settlement with mortgage servicers.
     "For every dollar we have spent combating health care fraud, we have returned $7," Holder said.
     "We've identified and we have stopped multiple threats from terrorist groups," he added.
     Each member of the 40-person committee interviewed Holder in the hearing.

 - via: CourtHouseNews.com

Hemp legalization added to Senate farm bill

In a last minute addition to the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has submitted an amendment that would legalize the production of industrial hemp, a potential new bumper crop for U.S. farmers.
“Industrial hemp is used in many healthy and sustainable consumer products. However, the federal prohibition on growing industrial hemp has forced companies to needlessly import raw materials from other countries,” Wyden said in prepared text. “My amendment to the Farm Bill will change federal policy to allow U.S. farmers to produce hemp for these safe and legitimate products right here, helping both producers and suppliers to grow and improve Oregon’s economy in the process.”
Allowing American farmers to produce industrial hemp, which is different from its more notorious cousin marijuana, would yield significant and immediate profits the first year, according to an analysis conducted in 1998 (PDF) by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Kentucky.
Researchers found that farmers in the state of Kentucky alone could see between $220 to $605 in net profits per acre of hemp. Adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index, those 1998 dollars would actually be worth $310 and $854 today, although the study’s authors note that variables in supply and demand for hemp could change that valuation.
The average price farmers are getting on an acre of corn, which has been falling thanks to relatively strong supply this year, clocked in at roughly $921 according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures out last week, but their overall take drops significantly due to the costs of production, leaving them in the $200 range on net profits. While a legalized hemp industry would likely never become as essential to Americans as corn, the potential for a high value crop and hundreds of millions, if not billions, in new economic activity is clear.
“This is the first time since the 1950s that language supporting hemp has come to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote. The last time such language was presented was the Miller’s Amendment to the Marihuana Tax Act,” Eric Steenstra, president of the advocacy group Vote Hemp, said in an advisory. “The time is past due for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop’s benefits to farmers and to take action… With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits.”
It’s not clear if the bill has a shot, however. Conservative groups like the Club for Growth are urging Senators to vote against the farm bill, which is under consideration this week, because it has too many attachments unrelated to the agricultural sectors.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), has also called on other Senators to stop adding unrelated amendments, which the Senate spent much of Wednesday doing. If the Senate’s top partisans cannot find an agreeable solution to limiting the bill’s amendments, it is likely to languish and die.
The federal government does not differentiate between marijuana and industrial hemp, but it allows the importation of thousands of products made from industrial hemp. President Barack Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, warned as recently as April in comments made online that industrial hemp was a “controlled substance,” which sent hemp advocates on a rhetorical tirade.
Bills seeking to legalize industrial hemp have cleared at least one legislative chamber in 17 states overall, including Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia, where those bills became law. Scientists say the psychoactive component of marijuana is almost completely undetectable in hemp.

 - via: RawStory.com

Holder: DOJ only going after people ‘taking advantage’ of pot laws

Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday denied that the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) was trying to shut down all legal medical marijuana in the U.S.
Holder told the House Judiciary Committee that critics who charged the that Obama administration was abusing its authority with an aggressive campaign against the medical marijuana business were “inconsistent with the little thing called the facts.”
The attorney general said that recent enforcement actions were necessary because some people had “come up with ways in which they are taking advantage of these state laws.”
“We limit our enforcement efforts to those individuals, organizations that are acting out of conformity with state law,” Holder explained.
“One has to deal with the reality that there are certain people who took advantage of the state law and a different policy that this administration announced.”
He added that the department was not using “limited resources to go after people acting in conformity with state law.”
Holder announced in 2009 that he would keep Obama’s campaign promise of no longer raiding medical marijuana clubs and dispensaries that were operating within state laws. Since that time, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has taken a series of actions against legal medical marijuana businesses, including Oaksterdam University, which teaches students how to grow pot.
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) claims that more dispensaries have been shut down under Obama than under former President George W. Bush.

 - via RawStory.com