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2 Bills Moving Forward to Better Regulate California’s Medical Marijuana Industry

Two competing California medical marijuana regulation bills both cleared their final committee hurdles late last week and will move to full votes in their respective houses.

Senate bill 1262 introduced by Senator Lou Correa, has been stripped of much of the language that drug reform advocates found most objectionable. All restrictions on physician recommendations have been removed. Originally the Department of Public Health would be overseeing licensing. That agency has been changed to the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Assembly bill 1894 introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has also seen many amendments. But it continues to place licensing authority with the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.

Here’s a look at where a few different groups and individuals fall on these two bills:

  • Don Duncan of Americans for Safe Access has been in Sacramento following the process closely. His organization favors Correa’s bill SB 1262.
  • Amanda Reiman, California Director of Drug Policy Alliance, favors Ammiano’s bill, AB 1894.
  • Emerald Growers Association stands opposed to both bills unless further amended.

Texas Teen Facing Prison for Selling Pot Brownies

Dozens of national news outlets including Good Morning America, ABC and NBC were abuzz recently with the story of a 19-year-old in Texas who was arrested and could serve 5 years to life in prison for selling pot brownies if convicted. Jacob Lavoro, a former high school football player with a clean record, is facing a first degree felony charge since he allegedly used hash oil when baking pot brownies. Under Texas law, hash oil can be treated similarly to harder drugs such as ecstasy.

DEA Finally Releases Hemp Seeds En Route to Kentucky

A brief recap of last week’s story: a lawsuit was filed against the Drug Enforcement Agency to release Kentucky’s hemp seeds from detainment at U.S. Customs in Louisville. On Friday, the seeds were sprung from confinement after DEA officials approved a permit Thursday, ending the standoff.

Kentucky officials unloaded 13 bags of hemp seeds — totaling nearly 300 lbs — from a UPS truck, marking the first legal Kentucky shipment of hemp seeds in over 40 years. The hemp seeds sent from Italy will now be dispersed to 6 Kentucky universities for planting as soon as next week. The research-based hemp production is now legal under a provision of the 2014 US Farm Bill.

Listen to Kerry’s audio report here.

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