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Kentucky Sues DEA for Withholding Hemp Seeds

The state of Kentucky is suing the federal government to release its hemp seeds. The 250 pounds of seeds imported from Italy are being held by customs at Louisville International Airport at the request of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Kentucky officials claim the lawsuit against the DEA and the Justice Department is necessary, since the DEA keeps changing its story on what import permits are required to release the hemp seeds. Officials say they don’t have time for a lot of red tape, because the seeds need to get to seven Kentucky universities to be planted by June 1 for the growing session.

The new federal farm bill, which allows universities to conduct pilot hemp projects, should trump other regulations that might limit hemp growth, according to Kentucky officials. A federal judge conducted a preliminary conference on the lawsuit today. The results of that conference were not available by press time.

DEA Expands Marijuana Project in Mississippi — More Plants, More CBD Strains

Ironically, the same DEA that is blocking Kentucky from obtaining its hemp seeds earlier this month instructed the federally-sanctioned marijuana farm to expand from its annual production of 46 pounds of cannabis to now grow nearly 1,500 pounds in 2014.

A NIDA spokesperson told TheHill.com “The additional supply to be manufactured in 2014 is designed to meet the current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana …. this projection of increased demand is due in part to the recent increased interest in the possible therapeutic uses of marijuana.”

The cannabis will still be grown by the Marijuana Project, a farm at the University of Mississippi directed by Dr. Mahmoud Elsohly. In March, Elsohly told Nature.com that for the first time in decades the Marijuana Project is expanding the strains it offers to include a variety containing equal amounts CBD and THC. They hope to also begin growing a CBD dominant variety this year.

CBD, or cannabidiol, had been largely bred out of cannabis strains as breeders for decades selected for THC to achieve the highest psychoactive effect. A 2010 study found that rare high CBD strains of cannabis were non-psychoactive.

Since then hundreds of studies have demonstrated the medicinal benefits of CBD. Most dramatic has been the effectiveness it’s had in calming seizures for severely epileptic children. This spring, several states have responded to the pleas of parents of epileptic children by passed legislation allowing them to administer CBD-oil to their children and encouraging state-sponsored clinical trials to assess the therapeutic potential of CBD. Those states including Alabama, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

Humboldt Mourns Passing of Local Seed Producer Who Shared His CBD Strain With the World

Several experts identify one of just a handful of significant CBD-dominant strains to be Sour Tsunami, developed in Southern Humboldt County by Lawrence Ringo. When Ringo discovered his Sour Tsunami strain was CBD-dominant through testing in 2010, he made the strain widely available through his website sohumseeds.com, and through travelling to cannabis trade shows throughout California rather than covet the rare genetics.

Ringo also used Sour Tsunami to breed several other CBD-dominant strains. He passed away at the age of 57 on April 4 and a community memorial service was held on May 18.

NFL Softening Stance on Cannabis

A source told ESPN.com this week that the NFL’s revised drug policy, which has been in the works since 2011, will include higher test thresholds and reduce penalties for marijuana use. According to NFL lead writer Mike Freeman, a group of veteran players he recently interviewed estimate that approximately 1 in 4 players — about 400 — smoke cannabis regularly to help with the game’s physical toll.

Violent Crime in Colorado Dropped After Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Despite warnings from Colorado law enforcement that legalizing marijuana would create a spite in crime, data released this week shows that Denver’s crime rate during the first four months of legal retail salesfell 5.6 percent from the same period a year earlier. Crime is down in the four main categories of violent crime — homicide, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crime dropped 11.4 percent from the first four months of 2013.

While this isn’t enough data to draw strong conclusions, it does suggest that initial predictions that crime would spike after legalization were flawed.

Missouri Reform Law to Decriminalize Marijuana in 2017

A new sentencing reform law that has now gone into effect without the signature of Gov. Jay Nixon (R) eliminates the possibility of jail time for the possession of 10 grams of pot or less. It also reduces sentences for the sale and cultivation of marijuana. While the reforms aren’t set to take effect until January 2017, the Marijuana Policy Project is nevertheless calling Missouri the 19th state to decriminalize cannabis.

International Cannabis News

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Says Marijuana Laws Are Too Harsh

In international news, the prime minister of Tunisia said at a press conference Wednesday that his country’s tough penalties for pot possession are “out of sync” with changing times. Possession can currently earn you up to five years in prison, but Jomaa vowed to “amend the law to adapt it to the new reality” in Tunisia, which overthrew its old regime in the most successful of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

Canadian Cultivator Voluntarily Recalls Batch Sold to Patients

And finally Health Canada issued its second medical marijuana recall this week. Peace Naturals Project Inc., a grow operation in a town north of Toronto voluntarily recalled some cannabis due to “positive bacterial testing outside of acceptable limits.”

The 55 Customers who bought the product have been informed that they should not use it and can either return it to the company or destroy it by adding water to it and mixing it with cat litter — Health Canada’s recommended way to get rid of pot. Peace Naturals CEO Marc Gobuty told media that “scale cannabis at the commercial level is way more difficult to produce than most people think.”

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