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President Obama: High Expectations

President Obama on Thursday said he expects more states to experiment with marijuana legalization.

In a 5 p.m. interview conducted by a handful of YouTube stars, Obama discussed the fragmented policy surrounding the plant, which is legal in Colorado and Washington and regulated differently state by state.

“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” Obama said in response to a question posed by Hank Green, who with his brother runs a YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers.

“The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue,” Obama said. “My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”

The president went on to discuss a number of issues related to federal application of drug policy. He said that he will continue to have his administration review treatment of nonviolent drug offenders, and said drug policy with regard to marijuana should be treated more as a public health issue than a criminal one. He also voiced concern with the racially unequal application of marijuana laws and noted bipartisan support on the issue. – source

Here is the rest of what he had to say on the issue:

What I am doing at the federal level is asking my Department of Justice just to examine generally how we are treating nonviolent drug offenders.

Because I think you’re right, what we have done is instead of focusing on treatment, the same way we focused say with tobacco or drunk driving or other problems where we treat it as a public health problem, we’ve treated this exclusively as a criminal problem. And I think that it’s been counterproductive and it’s been devastating in a lot of minority communities. It presents the possibility at least of unequal application of the law and that has to be changed.

Now the good news is that we’re starting to get some interest from Republicans as well as Democrats in reforming the criminal justice system. We’ve been able to initiative some changes administratively and last year you had the first time in 40 years where the crime rate and the incarceration rate went down at the same time. I hope we can continue with those trends because they’re just a smarter way of dealing with these issues.

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Medical Marijuana Inc. Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Kannaway

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 22, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC Pink:MJNA), a leading industrial hemp industry innovator, is proud to announce that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% membership interest of Kannaway, LLC. The amount of the sale is undisclosed. The valuation of Kannaway is in the range of $119.6-242.7 million USD. The agreement is expected to take at least 90 days to close and will effectively make the cannabis-based network marketing company a wholly owned subsidiary of the first-ever publicly traded cannabis company.

Kannaway’s valuation was performed by none other than esteemed financial advisory and investment banking firm, Houlihan Capital. The firm has performed valuations for similar category creators including: Urban Outfitters, Redbox, Micros Systems Inc., LeapFrog Enterprises, Tootsie Roll Enterprises, U.S. Airways Inc., and more. Houlihan Capital is a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and SIPC member, committed to the highest levels of professional ethics and standards.

“Quality, ethics and accountability are hallmark principles that are the foundation for each Medical Marijuana, Inc. company,” states Michelle Sides, Chief Operating Officer of Medical Marijuana, Inc. “We are thrilled at the addition of Kannaway to Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s investment portfolio as the Company’s leadership operates under the same beliefs. Kannaway offers Medical Marijuana, Inc. shareholders a unique, built-in educational and distribution network comprised of tens of thousands of Kannaway’s Brand Ambassadors. Together we look forward to writing a new chapter in global hemp history.”

Kannaway first stood out when it reported issuing nearly $1,000,000.00 USD in commission and attracting more than 70,000 enrollees within its first 88 days of operation. Kannaway’s mission to educate the masses on hemp history in America has gained an enormous following of hemp lifestyle enthusiasts, also known as the “Kannaway Nation,” which continues to grow.

Also growing is cannabis’ popularity; trends for 2015 include cannabis in the top 10 natural products to watch in 2015. As of the November elections, there are 34 states that have some form of cannabis accessibility on the books. Meanwhile, Kannaway’s innovative hemp CBD oil lifestyle products are sold in all 50 states.

When asked about the transition, Kannaway CEO Jeff Rogers states: “We are excited to be joining such an amazing family of companies. Medical Marijuana, Inc., is the leader in the cannabis industry. Having that clout behind us takes Kannaway to the next level and gives us added credibility to attract top leaders in the network marketing industry as we continue to pioneer and be the category creator within our space.”

Rogers continues, “From an investor’s perspective, Kannaway provides an opportunity to participate in an historic initiative to restore hemp freedom to the consumer wherever Kannaway products are sold – and help leave a mark on U.S. history.”

Tens of thousands of Kannaway Brand Ambassadors and marketing specialists make up the “Kannaway Nation.” The Company’s mission is to educate the masses on industrial hemp’s practical applications in the everyday lives of consumers. Millions have learned about the return of hemp through Kannaway in mainstream publications including USA Today and Fortune Magazine. – source


The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., today introduced legislation that would allow American farmers to grow and profit from industrial hemp.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill would remove hemp from the Schedule I controlled substance list under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, and would define it as a non-drug so long as it contained less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Oregon and Kentucky are among twenty states that have already defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed barriers to production. However, under current federal law, farmers in states that allow industrial hemp research and pilot programs must still seek a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration or risk raids and seizures by federal agents.

The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of hemp, but it remains the only major industrialized country that bans farming the product.

“The U.S. ban on hemp farming is an outrageous restriction on free enterprise and does nothing but hurt economic growth and job creation,” Wyden said. “Our bipartisan, commonsense bill is pro-environment, pro-business, and pro-farmer. Congress must act to empower farmers and boost economic activity across the country. As I’ve always said, if you can buy it in Oregon, you should be able to grow it in Oregon.”

“My vision for the farmers and manufacturers of Kentucky is to see us start growing hemp, creating jobs and leading the nation in this industry again,” Paul said. “Allowing farmers throughout our nation to cultivate industrial hemp and benefit from its many uses will boost our economy and bring much-needed jobs to the agriculture industry.”

“Industrial hemp has the potential to fuel jobs and research here in Oregon, and the federal government shouldn’t be standing in the way,” Merkley said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also cosponsored the bill.

The bill text is available here.

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TheLipTV: KannaLife Sciences

New York Senator Liz Krueger will introduce a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for general use in New York state, she said on Sunday, hoping the recent passage of medical marijuana laws will help give the bill momentum.

Ms. Krueger, a Democrat representing Manhattan for more than a decade, said that in the legislative session beginning in January, she will fight for a bill modeled partly on cannabis legalization laws that recently went into effect in Washington and Colorado.

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“I will push for taxation and regulation of marijuana,” she said at an unrelated campaign rally for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I continue to work with experts around the country and to evaluate laws and regulations being put into place now.”

Ms. Krueger introduced a similar bill last session, but it was largely considered a liberal pipe dream, unlikely to pass a Republican-controlled Senate in a state that hadn’t yet legalized medical marijuana.

But in June the New York state Legislature passed a law that legalized medical marijuana use in some cases, and a breakaway faction of Senate Democrats that had worked as a majority coalition with the GOP said they will merge with mainline Senate Democrats, raising the likelihood that both the New York State Assembly and Senate will be run by Democrats next year.

“I see more hope in a Democratic majority for… pieces of legislation that weren’t going anywhere,” Ms. Krueger said.

She added that she has made amendments to her bill since last session after observing what was working and what wasn’t in the states where marijuana is legal.

“I knew we needed to move medical marijuana into law before people would focus on the bigger question – tax and regulation,” she said. “So I think my legislative proposal fits in very nicely with what the state has already committed to move forward with.” – source


National Press Coverage

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC Pink: MJNA) is pleased to announce that one of its investment portfolio companies, KannaLife Sciences, Inc. (“KannaLife”), a bio-pharmaceutical and phyto-medical company, has been awarded its second license agreement by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a drug to treat a concussion syndrome called CTE using derivatives from medical marijuana. The license agreement is in effect through February, 2021. In addition to CTE, in June 2012, KannaLife was previously awarded an exclusive license from NIH, for the same ‘507 Patent, for the development of a target drug candidate for treating Hepatic Encephalopathy (HE).

Boston University’s website cites, “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head.”

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While the NFL is still suspending players for testing for Marijuana use, past and present players are actively throwing red flags about the effects of concussions. The issue has escalated to the point that the NFL has provided the National Institutes of Health with $30 million in research grant monies to develop a CTE drug.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services holds Patent #6,630,507, “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants.” KannaLife Sciences is involved in the research and development of therapeutic agents designed to reduce oxidative stress and act as immuno-modulators and neuroprotectants and currently holds an exclusive license agreement with the National Institutes of Health — Office of Technology Transfer (NIH-OTT) for the commercialization of U.S. Patent #6,630,507, “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” (the “‘507 Patent”). The NIH has licensed the same patent to Kannalife Sciences to develop an FDA-approved drug for CTE through 2021.

“Kannalife is extremely pleased to have the opportunity to continue its body of research in the field of encephalopathy and brain related disorders. We hope our early pre-clinical success in HE can be a pathway to an additional solution for finding a treatment for CTE and to alleviate the debilitating effects of concussions,” states Dean Petkanas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kannalife Sciences.

KannaLife CEO, Dean Petkanas, was featured on Fox Business discussing the NIH’s research and development for CTE and in a recent Albany Times Unionarticle discussing involvement in supporting legalization of medical cannabis in New York and playing a key role in establishing standardization within the cannabis industry. KannaLife co-founder Thoma Kikis was featured on New York’s News 12 in a piece about the NIH’s agreement with the Company and recently in a Bloomberg TV News interview.

“The announcement of a new federal license on CTE research and development is groundbreaking,” states Michelle Sides, Chief Operating Officer of Medical Marijuana, Inc. “Medical Marijuana, Inc. recognized that Kannalife Sciences’ phyto-medical capabilities were ‘game changing.’ As a result, MJNA committed to Series A funding in 2013. We are thrilled at the NIH’s decision to grant an additional license to KannaLife Sciences to develop an FDA-approved CTE drug. We hope the NFL sees this opportunity to work with KannaLife in collaboration towards finding a therapeutic agent to help treat severely concussed players and retired players suffering with CTE. Finding a solution for CTE benefits NFL players past and present and it also applies to athletes participating in other professional and recreational sports.” The NFL is not the only professional sports league plagued with concussions. Current and former players in many professional contact sports leagues as well as service members and veterans also included in those raising concerns about effects of concussions. – source


KannaLife, NIH, NFL, FDA And CTE

A plant-based pharmaceutical company is working on developing a medical marijuana treatment for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease that affects people—particularly athletes—who have suffered repeated head trauma.

Dean Petkanas, the chief executive of KannaLife Sciences, expects the federal government to pave the way for medical marijuana within two years, he told Varney & Co. on Monday.

KannaLife Sciences, which focuses on using plants to develop treatments, just signed a license agreement with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to allow the company to sell cannabis-derived medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The deal allows West Hills, N.Y.-based KannaLife Sciences to move forward with treatments for CTE.

“We’re really looking at the athlete brain,” Thomas Kikis, the company’s chief visionary officer, told FoxNews.com. Their goal is to create a treatment that is both preventative and therapeutic for those already diagnosed with CTE.

Petkanas said early research from the company’s scientific team has shown “positive results for nerve protection.” He also responded to criticism over the treatments in development, saying most synthetic medicine already comes from nature.

“The anecdotal value has been there. Science is taking it a step forward,” Petkanas said during an interview with FOX Business Network’s Charles Payne.

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CTE was at the center of a class-action lawsuit against the National Football League. The lawsuit, filed by retired NFL players, alleged that the league concealed the effects of concussions. An initial $765 million settlement was rejected by a federal judge for offering insufficient funds to compensate players. A new agreement that includes an uncapped monetary award fund received preliminary approval last month.

According to Petkanas, the company expects to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA at the beginning of 2015, then move to phase 1 clinical trials.

Petkanas said certain dangerous treatments have slipped under the FDA’s radar, noting how synthetics can be very potent. Substance abuse and other issues need to be addressed going forward, he added.

“This is where as we open up the marketplace…we can get some critical review and feedback from doctors,” Petkanas explained. – source

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