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The Oklahoma Board of Health has reversed course, now approving looser regulations for medical marijuana use in the Sooner State.

As StateImpact reports, the new rules now head to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin for approval. The new emergency regulations are less than a third the length of the rules approved early last month. Under the new rules, a pharmacist will no longer be required to dispense marijuana.

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UPDATE: The Oklahoma Board of Health has now removed this regulation, which "experts criticized as vague and legally troublesome."

Oklahoma may soon become the only state to require a pregnancy test in order for residents to obtain permission to use medical marijuana.

From Texas Standard.

Canadian lawmakers voted Tuesday to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Our northern neighbors are only the second country in the world to legalize marijuana. This poses a question: Are times changing? In their recently adopted party platform, Texas Republicans endorsed medical marijuana, cannabis decriminalization and industrial hemp.

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is being criticized by some for his veto of a pot bill that some think could boost the black market for pot.

As The Denver Post reports, Hickenlooper, a term-limited Democrat, vetoed a bill that would have opened up the cannabis industry to investment by public companies. Kristi Kelly, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said help proliferate the black market for pot.

Lawmakers in the Kansas House rejected an effort Monday to allow medical marijuana in the state.

But they advanced a plan to allow the sale of some products made from cannabis — if the high-producing compounds have been removed.

The discussion over legalizing cannabis for medical purposes came as lawmakers considered regular updates to the state’s drug laws.

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Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, because it is still illegal on the federal level, any job in the industry can be classified as trafficking in a controlled substance – something that is not necessarily a concern to industry’s state-licensed employees, except non-citizens.  

As Colorado Public Radio reports, just having a job in a marijuana dispensary or grow house can get even a legal resident deported and banned from the US – sometimes for life.

Kansas sits in a shrinking pool of states with the strictest marijuana and hemp laws, surrounded by a wave of decriminalization and legalization that’s swept most of the U.S.

So it’s no surprise that the topic of cannabis keeps cropping up in the Kansas Statehouse, where some lawmakers and lobbyists want the Free State to jump on the bandwagon.

From Texas Standard.

The first state-licensed cannabis dispensary for patients with intractable epilepsy is now open in Manchaca, and, so far, 18 neurologist doctors are on the Compassionate Registry – including Dr. Gina Jetter, a member of Northeast Texas Neurologists Association in Tyler.

Kansas lawmakers may once have thought stiffer penalties for marijuana made sense, but in recent years crowded prisons forced them to take another look.

One of the changes, made in 2016, reduced the crime of being caught with marijuana a second time from a felony to a misdemeanor.

But on Tuesday, the Kansas Sentencing Commission said that change overlooked state law that still keeps harsher penalties on the books for getting caught with pot residue than for possession of marijuana.

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U.S. Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions continue to disagree about marijuana policy.

As The Denver Post reports, the two met Wednesday and Gardner said Sessions gave no indication that he would re-think his decision last week to reverse the Obama-era Cole Memorandum, which basically left states that legalized marijuana alone.

Southwest Kansas Lawmaker Apologizes For Racist Remarks

Jan 8, 2018
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After a western Kansas lawmaker suggested black people respond to the use of marijuana differently, the Republican leader of his party condemned the remarks.

On Saturday in Garden City, Rep. Steve Alford, a Republican from Ulysses, said the drug should remain illegal because of the way he contended it affected African-Americans.

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According to state and federal surveys, the rate of marijuana use among Colorado youths is dropping – despite the fact that the drug is legal in the state. And crime statistics across the state back that up. Yet law enforcement officers who have direct contact with younger people paint a different picture.

Colorado One Of The Nation's Top Hemp Producers

Nov 27, 2017
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As U.S. hemp production doubled in 2017, Colorado became one of the country’s top hemp producers.

As The Cannabist reports, Colorado now grows almost 40 percent of all the hemp in the U.S. – more than twice what any other state grows.

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In a few days, edible marijuana will no longer come in shapes that might appeal to kids - like humans, animals, fruits or cartoons.

As The Cannabist reports, starting Oct. 1, edible marijuana will come only in shapes like squares, circles, triangles or diamonds as part of new rules aimed at ensuring public health and safety, including keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, minors and illegal operations.

Marijuana Use Among Seniors On The Rise

Sep 27, 2017
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Marijuana use among adults aged 65 and older is rapidly increasing.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, the Centers for Disease Control found that marijuana use among adults over 65 increased more than 300 percent between 2002 and 2014.

And the number of seniors in Colorado holding medical marijuana cards has also risen with 21 percent being over 61 years of age.

Industrial Hemp Could Be Legalized ... Finally

Aug 16, 2017
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This could be year that Congress legalizes industrial hemp.

According to The Cannabist, a bipartisan group of lawmakers are again calling for industrial hemp to be legally separated from marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.

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Even though it brings in lots of green in terms of dollars to states that have legalized it, marijuana production is not green in the environmental sense.

More than $1 billion per year in taxable sales has been generated in Colorado since the state approved the legalization of cannabis in 2012, but as The Guardian reports, producing even a few pounds of weed is equivalent in the environmental sense to driving across America seven times.

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The trial of Shona Banda, a well-known advocate of medicinal marijuana, has been postponed.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, the trial was postponed from its original starting date of June 26 to Aug. 14 after Chief District Judge Wendel Wurst granted a request for continuance by Banda’s defense team.

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Marijuana operations are currently prohibited in Prowers County, Colorado, but members of a local economic board recently discussed the dramatic tax growth other Colorado communities have seen from the sale of marijuana in their towns.

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Shona Banda, a well-known advocate of medicinal marijuana, pleaded not guilty to drug and child endangerment charges Friday during an arraignment and pretrial conference at the Finney County Courthouse, where two doctors well-known in the field of cannabis also testified.

Marijuana could be next U.S. mega-industry

Mar 7, 2017
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The next mega-industry in the U.S. could very well be marijuana.

As Business Insider reports, a new report from New Frontier Data projects the legal weed market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020.

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Three aspects of hemp farming were presented to area farmers Saturday at a Hemp Road Show held at Lamar Community College in Colorado

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The Texas Department of Public Safety made a massive bust in the Texas Panhandle last week, reports KVII.

The DPS says that an officer made a routine traffic stop in Carson County on Thursday, in the middle of the afternoon. In the trunk, the trooper found 145 pounds of marijuana, in tape-wrapped packages.

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A Kansas lawmaker is expected to introduce two marijuana-related bills this year – one allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana and the other to legalize recreational use.

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A surprising number of Republicans support legalization of marijuana.

Quartz reports showed that 60 percent of Americans support legalization of marijuana, including 42 percent of Republicans, some of whom live in conservative states or even serve in their state’s legislature.

Texas is among five states with current marijuana reform bills that have been introduced for consideration in upcoming sessions.

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Marijuana sales taxes could rise as much as 50 percent if the Colorado Legislature approves a measure proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday to help bridge the gap in school funding.

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The Garden City woman charged with endangering a child and drug-related crimes  was ruled mentally competent to stand trial Tuesday.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Chief District Judge Wendel Wurst ruled that Shona Banda, well known as a proponent of cannabis oil use for treatment for her Crohn’s disease, was competent to stand trial, scheduled from June 26 to 29.

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In his State of the State address Thursday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper proposed boosting rural access to high-speed Internet.

To boost economic development in rural areas, one of the governor’s proposals is to create an office focused on expanding broadband Internet access to the 30 percent or so rural households in the state that don’t have it, with an overall goal of ensuring that 100 percent of rural houses have it by 2020.

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The future of legalized marijuana isn’t certain as President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House. 

As The Economist reports, over half of the states in the union have legalized marijuana in some form or another. Pot remains illegal under federal law, however, so any pot shop could technically be shut down at any time.

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The Colorado Legislature begins the 2017 term today with what The Denver Post describes as a daunting to-do list and divided chambers.

The issues facing this year’s Legislature include questions on how to improve the state’s roads, how to put more dollars in the classroom and how to boost the state’s economy.

As they seek compromise on how to best tackle these areas, The Denver Post reports, there are 10 issues facing lawmakers during the 2017 session.

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