WeedLife News Network

Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife News Network.

Gov. Beshear Talks Economic Success, Legalizing Marijuana, & Speculation of Presidential Run

Kentucky is ending 2021 on a high note. At least when it comes to the economy, according to Governor Andy Beshear.

The Bluegrass Governor told 44News, by the end of the year, new capital investments in the state will near $11 Billion. That is roughly double the annual investment Kentucky sees in a normal year.

That investment will create nearly 16,000 full-time jobs for Kentuckians and Western Kentucky will benefit from a portion of those new projects.

“When you look at two of our biggest jobs and/or investments across the Commonwealth, this year, there is Pratt Paper in Henderson,” Gov. Beshear told 44News Anchor Jessica Hartman. “I am so proud of this investment.”

Announced in July, Pratt Paper plans to build two large facilities on a piece of land that was annexed into the City of Henderson for the $400 million project. The first of the two mills will produce 100% recycled paper product and create 320 jobs.

“That is their biggest investment in their history and it will be the most sophisticated recycled paper mill in the world when it is built,” continued Gov. Beshear.

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Search Warrant Uncovers 220 Pounds of Marijuana at Shasta Lake Residence

Methamphetamine paraphernalia, pills, and Butane Honey Oil were also discovered by officials.

On Dec. 8, a deputy with the City of Shasta Lake Station authored a search warrant of Rebecca Lyons, 48, residence. Lyons residence is located within the City of Shasta Lake. She was arrested on Dec. 3 after deputies found her in possession of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and narcotic pills. 

The South County patrol station, City of Shasta Lake patrol station, and investigators from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office
Marijuana Eradication Team helped serve the search warrant.


Deputies located approximately 220 more pounds of processed marijuana packaged for sales, methamphetamine paraphernalia, more prescription narcotic pills, and approximately 10 pounds of Butane Honey Oil. 

Officials say Lyons was not at her residence during the time of the warrant service and is not in custody. 

Charges will be filed with the Shasta County District Attorney's Office including possession of marijuana for the purpose of sales, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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New marijuana laws offer opportunity

Virginia Cultivars hope to produce, educate and give back

July 1, 2021 was a historic date in Virginia as the Commonwealth became one of just 18 states to legalize marijuana for simple possession and home cultivation for adults 21 and over.

For some, like Hillsville’s Virginia Cultivars, that could mean a world of opportunity for both the business and the area. But first, Virginia Cultivars, located at 234 Virginia Street in Hillsville, wants to educate people about cannabis and the new laws, while also offering several new programs aimed at giving back to the community.

Located in a 48,000-square foot California Style Grow Facility (home of the former Bassett Walker plant), Virginia Cultivars started in 2018 out of the hemp boom that worked its way across the state as people began to use CBD and other cannabinoids as an alternative for anxiety, depression, PTSD and other similar ailments. Part of CBD’s popularity comes from the fact that it is “non-psychoactive,” meaning consumers can enjoy the benefits of the plant without the high. One most refrain from making medical claims on cannabis products outside of the medical realm. Looking to the google reviews for the company and those similar and one would argue the possibilities.

One thing is for certain. CBD is mainstream and because of that, CBD will continue to be the main focal point of Virginia Cultivar’s business, according to CEO and Master Grower Travis Wagoner. But rest assured, the company is making every effort for an opportunity to legally produce medical and/or recreational marijuana.

“I think once we get this new roof on this building and we make a couple of upgrades over the next few months, we are certainly positioning ourselves as a major player. And if you are in the region, in the area, know that if you are supporting us now then you are supporting grassroots cannabis in Virginia as a whole,” Wagoner said. “We certainly in making these alignments with other folks in the industry, we are trying to position ourselves with folks that show the same morals, values and ethics that we do, and believing in giving back and not just taking. I think everyone should research who they are getting their products from, what their values are, and what their roots are. Everyone that works here is from here.”

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DuPage County Board revisiting ban on recreational pot sales in unincorporated areas

As marijuana businesses find growing acceptance in the suburbs, DuPage County Board members are considering whether to lift a ban on retail pot stores in unincorporated areas.

County board member Liz Chaplin said more and more towns that had previously rejected recreational sales have since voted to allow shops within their borders. She's called on the county board to revisit the issue.

In response, board members have agreed to look at the possibility of repealing the county's ban on adult-use cannabis businesses. The topic came up as recently as a development committee meeting Tuesday.
"We saw that a lot of our municipalities that had originally opted out are opting in now," said Chaplin, a Downers Grove Democrat who serves as chair of the board's finance committee.


Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in 2020, but towns and counties were able to opt out of sales. DuPage County Board members voted 10-8 in October 2019 to prohibit cultivation centers, craft growers and other adult-use cannabis businesses from setting up shop in unincorporated areas.

At the same time, the board imposed a 3% tax on all retail sales of recreational cannabis in municipalities. If DuPage allows cannabis to be sold in unincorporated areas, the county can place a tax of up to 3.75% on the sales.

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Who Is To Blame For Cannabis Still Being a Schedule 1 Drug?

Is it the fault of the DEA or HHS?

Does marijuana have medical value? That is the question. And the answer depends on whom you ask.

On the one hand, we have 36 states plus the District of Columbia saying yes it does through their legal medical cannabis programs. Then, on the federal level, authorities insist the answer is no, which is keeping marijuana categorized as a Schedule 1 Substance, meaning it has no accepted medical value and high abuse potential.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) issued a letter recently to the  White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asking for help in resolving the long-standing dispute over the violation of the Information Quality Act in relation to cannabis, reported Marijuana Moment.

What Happened – DEA Vs. HHS 

Two federal agencies – the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been exchanging blame over which one of them is responsible for setting up an independent, peer-reviewed study on the medical potential of marijuana. 

CEI claims federal law demands a peer review of the scientific evidence that has been used to reject proposals for cannabis rescheduling.

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Hartford to hold cannabis town hall

The town of Hartford will be holding an informational meeting on cannabis legislation next week.

The Hartford Selectboard and Hartford Community Coalition want to hear from you in a town hall scheduled for Monday.

They say the state legislature and Vermont Cannabis Control Board are in the process of developing ordinances and policies for a regulated market for cannabis.

The meeting will be held at the Hartford High School auditorium starting at 6 p.m.

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Tax deductibles expanded for disabled veterans, financial reporting eased for marijuana facilities

Two bills signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will expand income tax deductions for disabled veterans and ease requirements for marijuana facilities. Senate Bill 25 will allow disabled veterans to deduct taxable income attributed to the cancellation or forgiveness of a student loan pursuant to the U.S. Department of Education’s Total and Permeant Disability Discharge Program.

"Our nation’s disabled veterans have served our country with honor and dignity, and this bill helps alleviate some of their financial burdens,” Whitmer said.

“I am proud to sign Senate Bill 25 to recognize the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families and help make their lives easier.”

Under the bill, disabled veterans can deduct income attributed to the forgiveness of a student loan between the 2016 to 2019 tax years and going forward starting in 2025.

"Senate Bill 25 is a great step towards recognizing the sacrifices and service of Michigan's disabled veterans,” VFW Michigan State Commander Kevin Conklin said. “The VFW Department of Michigan applauds Governor Whitmer and Senator Tom Barrett's efforts to make Michigan the best state in the Nation for veterans and their families, and we look forward to future legislation that helps us accomplish this goal together."

House Bill 4921 amends the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Act to allow medical marijuana growers to submit financial statements of their operations to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) and the municipality they operate in every three years.

"I am committed to making it easier for Michigan business owners to deal with state government,” Whitmer said.

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Virginia marijuana legalization: What worked, what hasn't worked, and what's ahead in 2022

On April 8, Virginia became the first southern state to legalize the possession and use of marijuana by adults and the bill was signed into law July 1 by Gov. Ralph Northam.

"It is a huge day for equity in the Commonwealth," said then-House Majority Leader Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, after an exhaustive legislative process putting together the 300-page bill that was introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin and Senate President pro tempore Louise Lucas. 

"Virginia is now the first state in the South to legalize recreational marijuana use, and I am so proud to have been able to carry this monumental legislation," said Herring.

But not everyone was supportive of the decision.

“We are sending a message to our kids that it is okay to do drugs in Virginia now,” said Republican Sen. Amanda Chase of Chesterfield County.

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Montgomery city council approves ordinance for medical cannabis dispensary

Montgomery city leaders are taking steps to bring a medical cannabis dispensary to the capital city.

On Tuesday, council members unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the operation of a medical cannabis dispensary within city limits. The law recently passed in the legislature allows for five dispensaries across the state. City leaders say they want to make sure Montgomery is one of those possible destinations.

”Dispensaries are looking for cities to be proactive in saying ‘we’re open for business,” Councilman CC Calhoun said. “It’s an opportunity to create economic development and an opportunity to create jobs. They’re not looking to bring dispensaries into a city that’s not willing to say, ‘hey, we’re willing to do business.’ It’s taxable.”

City leaders say just one dispensary could bring between 100 and 200 jobs to the area.
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Missouri effort launched to put legal marijuana to 2022 vote

Leaders of a group working to legalize marijuana for adult use in Missouri say they believe the measure will pass if they collect enough signatures to get the issue on next year’s ballot.

Legal Missouri 2022 launched its initiative petition campaign last week in St. Louis. If voters approve the measure, anyone 21 or older could buy marijuana for any reason. Currently Missouri allows marijuana use only for medical reasons. John Payne, campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, noted that Missouri residents passed the medical marijuana initiative with close to 66% of the vote in 2018.

The campaign must get about 170,000 valid signatures in six of the state’s eight congressional districts to place the initiative on the ballot.

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Wellington marijuana initiative officially passes by a single vote

After a recount found no change in the vote totals, Wellington's marijuana ballot measure has officially passed.

The town will repeal its ban on marijuana dispensaries, effective in February. Voters favored ballot measure 2B by a one-vote margin, with 1,678 voting "yes" to dispensaries and 1,677 voting no in Larimer County's final official election results.

The vote totals also stayed the same for the other two ballot items that got recounts: In Loveland City Council's Ward 4 race, Jon Mallo retained a one-vote lead over candidate Caitlin Wyrick, and the Larimer County Harvest Heights Public Improvement District No. 72 Ballot Issue 6B remained tied 15 to 15, meaning the measure to create a special taxing district for road maintenance failed.

Wellington will allow retail and medical marijuana sales only in licensed marijuana stores in a specific type of commercial zoning district at least 2,000 feet from schools, 500 feet from areas zoned as "public," 500 feet from other marijuana stores and 200 feet from residential areas. The item was referred to the ballot by citizen initiative. 

Wellington Ballot Issue 300, a measure to tax marijuana sales, passed 1,820 to 1,447. The town will impose a 3.5% tax on recreational marijuana sales that can be increased up to 5% without voter approval. The taxes will fund construction of a recreation center or other general operating expenses for the town.

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Clarksville City Council adopts marijuana resolution

The Clarksville City Council has adopted a resolution that supports the decriminalization of simple possession, or casual exchange, of marijuana for personal use. The resolution also supports access to, and use of, medical marijuana.

The final vote on Thursday, Dec. 2, which included three amendments altering it from the original document presented was 9-1-3.

Not a single Clarksville City Councilmember voted against the measure.

Nine councilmembers voted yes, three of them abstained from voting.
The lone "no" vote came from Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts.

“My ‘no’ vote was a combination of wanting to support law enforcement and their concern about the practical effect of the resolution,” Pitts said in an email following Thursday’s meeting.

“We were hanging amendments on the original resolution like ornaments on a Christmas tree to make it more palatable.”

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Ban On Cannabis Businesses Overturned By Enfield Town Council

Cannabis dispensaries may now explore the possibility of establishing a location in Enfield following the repeal of the previous ordinance. After a 2-hour public hearing in which dozens of residents spoke both in favor of and against the possibility of a marijuana dispensary in town, the Enfield Town Council voted to repeal a September ordinance which prohibits cannabis establishments. The council decided by a 6-3-1 vote to overturn the ban, which had passed by a 6-3 party-line vote on Sept. 7 under the previous Republican-controlled council. On Nov. 2, Democrats took the council majority by a 7-4 margin; one of the items featured prominently during the campaign was a letter signed by most Democratic candidates assuring they would reverse the ordinance if elected.

Republicans Marie Pyznar, Lori Unghire and Mike Ludwick voted against the motion. Councilor Joe Bosco was not present. Democrat Doug Finger abstained.

The Enfield Town Code Ordinance 21-2 enacted in September read:

"All cannabis establishments, producers, dispensary facilities, cultivators, micro-cultivators, retailers, hybrid retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, product packagers, delivery services or transporters, any other types of licensed cannabis-related businesses, or the conducting of any such activity for commercial purposes by whichever name used, are and shall be prohibited within the Town of Enfield.

"This prohibition shall not be construed to affect-the medical use of cannabis as expressly authorized by Bill No. 1201, section 83, as the same may be amended from time to time."

Unghire said she would concur with many of the public speakers that the issue be put to town residents via referendum. Finger agreed.

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New Mexico News Podcast: Is Law Enforcement Prepared for Legal Cannabis?

New Mexico’s law enforcement agencies are among the many public entities bracing to see how recreational cannabis will change the state. Since the law passed in late March, a prominent northwest New Mexico sheriff has been expressing his concerns over how officers and deputies will enforce the new law and other outcomes that may come with it.

This week on the New Mexico News Podcast, hosts Chris McKee and Gabrielle Burkhart wrap up a four-part series on legal recreational cannabis in New Mexico, interviewing New Mexico Law Enforcement Association Board Member and San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari. His county is home to Farmington, the sixth most populous city in New Mexico and also one of the state’s largest water sources: the San Juan River. What is the sheriff telling his deputies about how to handle impaired driving cases? Does he think the tax revenue generated by the industry will help fund his department, as some lawmakers have suggested? Those questions and more are discussed on the episode.

In previous recreational cannabis-related episodes of the podcast, Chris and Gabby have discussed the nuts and bolts of the new law and its legislative history; the challenges recreational cannabis has presented in the state of Colorado; also the rules facing cannabis growers and the perspective of one prospective producer.

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Minnesota denies medical cannabis for anxiety, adds gummies

State analysis of medical cannabis for anxiety and panic disorders leads health commissioner to conclude that the risks outweigh benefits. 

Anxiety disorders won't be added next year to qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in Minnesota.

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm found too little evidence of benefits of medical cannabis use when compared with risks and existing treatments.

While Minnesota will expand its program by allowing the sale of medical cannabis in gummy and chewable forms, Malcolm announced Wednesday that it would be limited to the existing 17 qualifying conditions. Minnesota is among 38 states with medical cannabis programs, including North Dakota and three others that include anxiety disorders as qualifying conditions.

"We received many comments from health care practitioners treating patients with anxiety disorder, and they urged us to not approve it as a qualifying medical condition," Malcolm said.

Medical cannabis use surged in Minnesota following the launch of the program in 2015 with nine qualifying conditions. Active registrants authorized by medical providers to receive medical cannabis increased from 837 in 2015 to 28,522 in 2020.

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Mitchell City Council approves one medical marijuana dispensary license, sidelines three due to zoning issues

The remaining three applications were tabled in part due to their proposed dispensary locations falling within 1,000 feet from the Missouri group’s dispensary that’s planned to go inside the Runnings building when the retailer moves.

The Mitchell City Council approved another medical marijuana dispensary license on Monday, but tabled three applications due to breaching the city’s zoning codes.

Among the four dispensary applications that were recently submitted to the city, a Missouri-based medical cannabis company that will do business as BWD Mitchell was the one to receive the council’s unanimous approval. The remaining three applications were tabled in part due to the proposed dispensary locations falling within 1,000 feet from the Missouri group’s dispensary that’s planned to go inside the Runnings building when the retailer moves into the former Kmart building across the street.

As part of the city’s zoning codes for medical marijuana establishments, a dispensary cannot be within 1,000 feet of another dispensary without a variance being issued. That means the three applications that were tabled on Monday will be required to get a variance in order for the dispensaries to be approved by the council. The city Planning and Zoning Commission will consider approving the variances, which City Attorney Justin Johnson said could take place on Jan. 10, 2022, at the earliest. After the Planning Commission considers the variances, it would send the applications back to the council for final approval.

“Each of the applications that you have were reviewed by staff and meet the requirements, but there are some variances that will be needed for some of them,” Johnson said.

While the city had a lottery system in place for applicants to enter to secure a dispensary license, only one was submitted prior to the Oct. 29 lottery deadline, which eliminated the need for conducting a lottery since there weren’t more than five applications submitted. Once the deadline hit, the city began accepting dispensary, cultivation, manufacturing and testing facility applications on a first come, first serve basis.

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Janet Yellen Says 'Of Course' Cannabis Companies Banking Billions Would Help IRS

And the IRS is chomping at the bit.

When Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter of the House Financial Services Committee asked Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday if she agreed that giving cannabis companies access to US banks would facilitate tax collection by the IRS, she replied “Yes, of course it would.” 

No one doubts that the IRS would also love to have the cannabis industry’s billion-dollar revenue streaming into its coffers. U.S. banks would likely be delighted to get in on the action as well.

How the Banking Act will help

Here’s a start, at least from the point of view of the banks, some of whom are lobbying lawmakers to support the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which is intended to create protections and to enable financial institutions that provide banking services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses.

In a recent move to push the envelope a bit, the American Bankers Association, Union National Association, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), wrote a letter to the Senate leadership imploring them to allow legitimate cannabis businesses access to banking services.  The hope, the group says, is to pass marijuana banking reform as part of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Even though the sale or use of marijuana is legal to some degree in 47 states and Washington, D.C., it's still illegal on the federal level. In states where cannabis is fully legal, financial institutions that accept weed-earned cash can face federal charges, which forces cannabis growers, distributors and retailers to perform their transactions in cash.

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New Mexico approves public financing for cannabis businesses

New Mexico will provide business loans of up to $250,00 toward small-scale cannabis businesses in an effort to provide economic opportunity to communities that were hit hard by past criminal enforcement of marijuana laws.

The Regulation and Licensing Department on Thursday announced that the loan program is moving forward, after a legislative panel provided approval this week.

The New Mexico Finance Authority is planning for a $5 million line of credit for cannabis entrepreneurs, with average loan size of about $100,000. The application process is expected to open in February.

Loans would be available to qualified cannabis “microbusinesses” that are licensed to cultivate and sell marijuana from up to 200 plants at a single location, operating much like a craft winery or brewery.

That business niche was authorized in sweeping legislation to regulate and tax recreational marijuana sales, signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this year. Recreational cannabis sales commence by April 1, 2022.

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Local lawyer will fight for Whiteside Co. judge’s ruling on ‘cannabis odor’ in IL vehicles if overturned

Attorney James Mertes will keep fighting at the appellate level if the ruling is appealed. He represented a local man arrested for possessing 2.6 grams of cannabis.

It's a potential historic ruling that resulted from a simple traffic stop. 

Local attorney James Mertes knows it has the chance to be overturned, but he plans to keep on fighting the idea that the smell of marijuana isn’t reason enough to conduct an unwarranted search of a car in Illinois alone.

“Ultimately this case is at the forefront of reshaping the law,” says Mertes.

He was the attorney who represented Vincent Molina, the man at the center of this case. 

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Illinois since the beginning of 2020, but since then officers have still used the smell of cannabis as a reason to search a car during traffic stops. A judge in Whiteside County has now ruled that is no longer allowed.

“How on earth could an officer be justified in their search of a motor vehicle based on probable cause that a crime is afoot when the odor that the officer is relying upon to justify the search is the odor of something that is no longer illegal,” Mertes said.

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AOC, Joyce Introduce Bipartisan Bill for 'Immediate Relief' From Cannabis Convictions

"Goes to show that lawmakers don't have to agree on everything to find common ground on solutions to the challenges facing everyday Americans."

Drug war foes welcomed the introduction Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives of a bipartisan bill to help states expunge cannabis convictions by reducing costs and red tape through a new federal program.

"There is no justification for continuing to prevent tens of millions of Americans from fully participating in their community and workforce simply because they bear the burden of a past marijuana conviction."

Reps. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) teamed up to introduce the Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act. If passed, the measure would create a new federal initiative—the State Expungement Opportunity Grant Program—through which the U.S. attorney general could dispense funds to state and local governments "to reduce the financial and administrative burden of expunging convictions for cannabis offenses that are available to individuals who have been convicted," according to Ocasio-Cortez's office.

"Goes to show that lawmakers don't have to agree on everything to find common ground on solutions to the challenges facing everyday Americans," tweeted Joyce, who earlier this year co-sponsored the first GOP-led legislation to federally decriminalize cannabis.

"Having been both a public defender and a prosecutor, I have seen firsthand how cannabis law violations can foreclose a lifetime of opportunities ranging from employment to education to housing," he continued. The collateral damage caused by these missed opportunities is woefully underestimated and has impacted entire families, communities, and regional economies."

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