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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 21:51

Busy, busy at the statehouse, there's news out of Washington, DC, too, a Wyoming medical marijuana initiative gears up, and more.

[image:1 align:right]National

On Sunday, Obama suggested support for the Senate medical marijuana bill. In an interview aired Sunday night on CNN's Weed 3 special with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Gupta asked the president if he would get behind the CARERS Act, which would reschedule marijuana and allow states with medical marijuana laws to proceed without threat of federal punishment. "You know, I think I'd have to take a look at the details," Obama replied, "but I'm on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I'm also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we're going to be."

On Tuesday, six House Republicans filed the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act. Led by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a half-dozen GOP congressmen today filed the act, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify that anyone acting in compliance with a state marijuana law would be immune from federal prosecution. The act would apply to both medical and recreational marijuana laws. It is not yet available on the congressional web site.

California

Last Wednesday, a 2016 medical marijuana initiative was filed. A group of medical marijuana activists have filed the Compassionate and Sensible Access Act, which is designed to protect a doctor's right to recommend medical marijuana and limit officials' ability to regulate cultivation, distribution, and transportation of the plant. To make the ballot, the language must first be approved by state officials, then campaigners will have to gather more than half a million valid voter signatures within 180 days of starting.

Also last Wednesday, the Riverside County planning commission recommended approval of an ordinance that would clarify that growing marijuana is illegal. The move is laying the groundwork for a crackdown on grows in unincorporated parts of the county. An ordinance pending before the Board of Supervisors would impose both civil and criminal penalties for such grows, with only a limited exemption for patients and caregivers.

Last Thursday, an Orange County Superior Court judge denied a motion to force Costa Mesa to hold a special election this year about whether to allow dispensaries in the city. The city council had refused to hold a special election even though a petition had been submitted and certified, instead opting to put the issue on the general election ballot in November.

Also last Thursday, the Assembly Agriculture Committee approved AB 243, which would require all medical cannabis grows to follow existing environmental laws and be permitted by the state. The bill was supported by a broad coalition of environmental and governmental interests, as well as by some growers. But California NORML, Americans for Safe Access, and Crusaders for Patients' Rights are opposing the bill unless it is amended to delete a requirement that individual patients get permits to grow, which the groups see as an unconstitutional infringement on Prop 215 patients' rights.

Last Friday, Yuba County advocates sought a state Supreme Court order asking local officials to accept petitions for a voter referendum challenging the county's new marijuana grow ordinance. The motion also seeks to stay enforcement of the ordinance, which limits indoor grows to 12 plants in a qualifying accessory structure. The move comes after the 3rd District Court of Appeals a week earlier denied an emergency writ that would have allowed for referendum petitions to move forward.

On Tuesday, the El Centro city council killed a medical marijuana ordinance that would have allowed for dispensaries in the city. The move reverses a 2011 decision to allow them. The city never actually had any permitted dispensaries, though; it kept passing moratoria while it sought to sort out legal issues.

Also on Tuesday, a medical marijuana regulation bill won a Senate committee vote. The Senate Business and Professions Committee approved Senate Bill 643, which would establish a comprehensive, statewide licensing system for medical marijuana commerce.

Georgia

Last Thursday, the governor signed the CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) today signed into law House Bill 1, which allows for the use of CBD cannabis oil for a list of specified diseases and medical conditions. The bill allows patients to possess the oil, but has no provision for obtaining it in the state.

Hawaii

On Tuesday, the Senate approved a 25% tax on medical marijuana sales. The bill is House Bill 321. It was approved by the House without the tax provision, which was added by a Senate committee without any public hearing. The bill now goes to conference committee, where advocates hope the tax can be reduced or eliminated. There is no tax on prescription medications.

Idaho

Last Thursday, the governor vetoed the CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. "Butch" Otter vetoed a bill that would have allowed the use of CBD cannabis oil to treat children suffering from epileptic seizures. Senate Bill 1146 had passed the House 39-30 and the Senate 22-12. Otter said the bill asked the state to ignore the potential for abuse and misuse, even though the oils don't contain enough THC for anyone to get high.

Illinois

On Tuesday, the House approved a bill extending the medical marijuana program. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), would extend the program beyond January 1, 2018, when it is set to expire as a pilot program. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Oklahoma

Last Wednesday, a CBD cannabis oil bill won final approval in the legislature. The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 124, which would allow for the use of the oil to treat seizure disorders in children. The bill passed the House in February and now heads to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

Pennsylvania

On Tuesday, the medical marijuana bill won a committee vote. The Senate State Government Committee has approved Senate Bill 3, but will hold further hearings on it next month. The sponsor, Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) says it may be modified to address concerns raised in the House.

Wyoming

On Monday, plans for a medical marijuana initiative get underway. Activists with Wyoming NORML submitted their initiative application with the secretary of state's office Monday. If and when the application is approved, organizers will have until next February to gather 25,673 valid voter signatures to place it on the 2016 general election ballot. A recent poll had support for marijuana at 72% in the Cowboy State.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: New Federal Pot Bill Filed, MO Hemp Bill Moves, PA MedMJ Bill Moves, More (4/22/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 21:20

Another federal bill to get DC out of state marijuana laws is filed, a Hawaii bill would inflict a 25% on medical marijuana purchases, a Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill moves, a Missouri hemp bill moves, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Six Republicans File Federal Respect State Marijuana Laws Act. Led by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a half-dozen GOP congressmen today filed the act, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify that anyone acting in compliance with a state marijuana law would be immune from federal prosecution. The act would apply to both medical and recreational marijuana laws. It is not yet available on the congressional web site.

Medical Marijuana

Hawaii Senate Approves 25% Tax on Medical Marijuana Sales. The bill is House Bill 321. It was approved by the House without the tax provision, which was added by a Senate committee without any public hearing. The bill now goes to conference committee, where advocates hope the tax can be reduced or eliminated. There is no tax on prescription medications.

Illinois House Approves Bill Extending Medical Marijuana Program. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), would extend the program beyond January 1, 2018, when it is set to expire as a pilot program. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. The Senate State Government Committee has approved Senate Bill 3, but will hold further hearings on it next month. The sponsor, Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon County) says it may be modified to address concerns raised in the House.

Hemp

Missouri House Approves Hemp Bill. The House Tuesday approved House Bill 830, which would license and regulate hemp production in the state. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Kratom

Louisiana Bill to Ban Kratom Advances. The House Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday approved a bill that would add the leaves of the Southeast Asian tree to the state's controlled substances list. The bill is House Bill 174.

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Legal Hurdles Push Pot Patients To Black Market, Study Says

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 22 Apr 2015 - Many medical marijuana patients in Canada are struggling to buy pot under current laws and are turning to the black market, a University of British Columbia study has found. About one-third of 450 patients reported in a national survey that they could not access marijuana legally under federal rules, said PhD student Rielle Capler.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Ex-Olympian Rebagliati Calls For Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 22 Apr 2015 - VANCOUVER - On his average day, athlete Ross Rebagliati rises about 4:30 a.m., brews himself a cup of coffee and then stirs in the ingredient he considers most crucial: honey infused with cannabis. "I just wake up feeling great, looking forward to my workout. And it takes care of any aches and pains from the days before," he said Tuesday, before adding the medical-grade marijuana extract doesn't make him high.
Categories: Marijuana

US: DEA Chief Michele Leonhart To Step Down

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 22 Apr 2015 - Resignation comes amid disagreements with Obama administration on drug and criminal-justice policy The head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has decided to resign amid mounting disagreements with the Obama administration on drug and criminal-justice policy, and intense criticism of her handling of a sex-party scandal involving DEA agents.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Rebagliati Says Pot Hot This Election

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 07:00
Penticton Herald, 22 Apr 2015 - Olympic medallist who champions medical marijuana says politicians must address issue VANCOUVER - On his average day, athlete Ross Rebagliati rises about 4:30 a.m., brews himself a cup of coffee and then stirs in the ingredient he considers most crucial: honey infused with cannabis.
Categories: Marijuana

US MI: Column: Why African-Americans Are Largely Absent From

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 07:00
Metro Times, 22 Apr 2015 - When I was at the breakfast for Tommy Chong a couple of weeks ago, I talked with another African- American at the event. Actually, he was the only brother at this gathering of activists and dispensary owners aside from me. As we spoke, I noted that brothers are few and far between when it comes to marijuana activism. His comment was: "And you know why."
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: Column: Educating Jane

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Weekly, 22 Apr 2015 - Shooting Down a Few Anti-Legalization Arguments. "They're talking about opening a weed stand, or whatever, right next to my kids' school," the woman began, reaching for a plastic cup of wine during ArtWalk. "I mean, they're already getting drunk. Now this will make a second thing we're allowing for!"
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Column: New Marijuana Social-Media App Debuts, and More

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 22 Apr 2015 - Mobile marijuana musings A new social-media iTunes app wants all your pot posts to live on its network. Meet Duby, a Denver-based company there for your sharing needs. "Cannabis is one of the top themes on social media, yet most social media outlets restrict marijuana-related posts," says co-founder Alec Rochford in a press release. "Duby is a viral social network that allows the cannabis community to discover the latest marijuana trends and conversations."
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Supreme Court Nixes Roadside Waits for Drug Dogs, DEA Head to Resign, More (4/21/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 22:53

The DEA head is on her way out, the Supreme Court rules on making motorists wait for drug dogs to arrive, Indiana's governor extends an emergency needle exchange, a new report on asset forfeiture abuses in California is out, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Washington State Legal Pot Price Declines to $12 a Gram. Pot prices averaged nearly $30 a gram—well above black market prices—when the state's first marijuana retail outlets opened, but that has changed dramatically, according to the State Liquor Control Board. Now, the average retail price of a gram is about $12, as supply expands to meet demand. That's still $336 an ounce, though.

Medical Marijuana

Wyoming Medical Marijuana Initiative Getting Underway. Activists with Wyoming NORML submitted their initiative application with the secretary of state's office Monday. If and when the application is approved, organizers will have until next February to gather 25,673 valid voter signatures to place it on the 2016 general election ballot. A recent poll had support for marijuana at 72% in the Cowboy State.

Asset Forfeiture

New Report Details California Asset Forfeiture Abuses. The Drug Policy Alliance today released a new report, Above the Law: An Investigation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses in California, a multi-year, comprehensive look at asset forfeiture abuses in the state that reveals the troubling extent to which law enforcement agencies have violated state and federal law. The report finds that a handful of LA County cities lead the state in per capita seizures, that some departments rely on asset forfeiture for funding themselves, and that some departments were providing false or incomplete reports to the Justice Department.

Drug Testing

Indiana Welfare Drug Testing Bill Dead. The legislator who unexpectedly proposed adding a welfare drug testing proposal to a social services spending bill has withdrawn it after learning how few people would be tested and how little support there is for it. Rep. Terry Goodin (D-Crawfordsville) said today he would instead seek a study committee to examine how best to fight drug abuse.

Florida Governor Settles on State Employee Drug Testing. Gov. Rick Scott (R) has formally given up on his effort to subject state employees to random, suspicionless drug testing. He reached an agreement Monday with the employees' union that will only allow drug testing in a relative handful of safety-sensitive positions. Of the 1,400 job classifications Scott originally wanted covered, only 267 will be covered.

Harm Reduction

Indiana Governor Extends Emergency Needle Exchange Program. Gov. Mike Pence (R) Monday extended an emergency needle exchange program in Scott County for another 30 days in a bid to get a handle on an injection drug-related HIV outbreak there. The move comes as the legislature heard testimony supporting a bill that would allow similar exchanges elsewhere in the state.

Law Enforcement

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart Set to Resign. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart is expected to resign soon, a unnamed "senior administration official" told CBS News this morning. The embattled DEA head has been under fire for years over her leadership of the scandal-ridden agency, but it was her performance at a Capitol Hill hearing last week that sealed her fate. Click on the link to read our feature story on this.

Supreme Court Says Detaining Motorists to Wait for Drug Dogs to Arrive is Not OK. In a 6-3 decision today, the US Supreme Court held that detaining motorists on the side of the highway to await the arrival of a drug dog violates the Fourth Amendment's proscription against unlawful searches and seizures. Writing for the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted that police may request drivers licenses, vehicle registrations, proof of insurance, and check for outstanding warrants because all those investigatory actions are aimed at enforcing traffic laws and ensuring that vehicles are operating safely—the ostensible reason for the stops. "A dog sniff, unlike those stock inquiries, lacks the same tie to roadway safety," she said. Prolonging the stop, even for a few minutes, to allow for the arrival of a drug dog was improper, Ginsburg wrote. "A traffic stop becomes unlawful if prolonged beyond the time in fact needed to complete all traffic-based inquiries," Ginsburg said. Click on the link to read our newsbrief and view the ruling itself.

International

Mexicans Capture Gulf Cartel Leader. Mexican authorities confirmed over the weekend that they had captured Jose Tiburcio Hernandez Fuentes, who they described as a Gulf Cartel leader responsible for much of the recent violence in the border city of Reynosa. He was caught despite a shootout between Mexican soldiers and police and around 60 cartel gunmen who tried to rescue him. The Mexicans caught a key Juarez Cartel leader just a day earlier. 

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Olympic Star Rebagliati Calls For Pot To Be An Issue In Election

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
The Record, 21 Apr 2015 - VANCOUVER - On his average day, athlete Ross Rebagliati rises about 4:30 a.m., brews himself a cup of coffee and then stirs in the ingredient he considers most crucial: honey infused with cannabis. "I just wake up feeling great, looking forward to my workout. And it takes care of any aches and pains from the days before," he said Tuesday, before adding the medical-grade marijuana extract doesn't make him high.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Arrest Irks Pot Advocates

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
London Free Press, 21 Apr 2015 - London police get tongue lashing for enforcing law Activists jeered police officers as they arrested a man at a pro-marijuana demonstration Monday in Victoria Park. Around 75 people gathered at the park for the annual 420 rally, an international day celebrating cannabis culture and advocating for the drug to be legalized.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Editorial: Pot Gains Support On The Right

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
The Daily Courier, 21 Apr 2015 - Marijuana legalization isn't just an idea for potheads, dreamers and old hippies anymore. Respectable people are jumping on the legalization bandwagon, too, with the latest group creating waves in the nation's capital last week.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Demonstrators Hope Softened Stance On Marijuana Leads To Legalization

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
The Record, 21 Apr 2015 - KITCHENER - It's getting harder to justify any law criminalizing marijuana use given successful legalization efforts in certain U.S. states and private medical growers operating in Canada, demonstrators at a Kitchener 4/20 demonstration said Monday. "It should be like any other healthcare product," organizer Jeff Morrison said. "Most people agree now that we do need steps (to legalize marijuana)."
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: 420 Protest Turns Into Event

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
The Peterborough Examiner, 21 Apr 2015 - Information booths set up in Victoria Park to promote legalization of marijuana, medical marijuana awareness Peterborough's annual 420 Cannabis Awareness Event has come quite a ways since it started six years ago.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: 420 Event High On Fed Liberal Vote

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 21 Apr 2015 - Justin Trudeau's face featured prominently at Vancouver event Thousands of activists and enthusiasts gathered in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery for the annual 420 rally to protest prohibition against pot and celebrate their love for marijuana.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Marijuana-Smoking Marchers Rally At City Hall

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
Hamilton Spectator, 21 Apr 2015 - It's 420 =C2=85 time to smoke and protest country's pot laws Clouds covered both sky and ground at City Hall as hundreds turned out for Hamilton's 420 pot rally. A cold and wet Monday didn't stop supporters of legalization from voicing their displeasure with federal marijuana legislation.
Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Halifax Pot Lovers Celebrate 4/20 With Prohibition Party

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 07:00
Metro, 21 Apr 2015 - Club hopes pro-cannabis event will help legalization At High Life Social Club in Halifax, they "celebrate cannabis every day," said owner Chris Henderson. Pot enthusiasts helped take that celebration one step higher Monday at the club's inaugural prohibition party.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Obama on MedMJ; Chicago, NYC Drug Policy Reform Moves, CA Legalization Funds Begin to Flow, More (4/20/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 22:33

The president suggests he could get behind congressional medical marijuana efforts, a second California legalization initiative has been filed, Weedmaps puts up $2 million for legalization, two of the nation's largest cities are moving toward drug reform, and more. 

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Alaska Marijuana Control Board Bill Passes. The state Senate last Saturday approved House Bill 123, which would create a Marijuana Control Board. It had already passed the House, but now needs to go back for a concurrence vote after the Senate made changes in the bill. But House Bill 75, which would allow for municipal regulation got stalled on a tie vote. Senate Majority Leader John Coghill (R-North Pole) has asked that the bill be held for reconsideration, and the Senate will again take it up before the session ends.

Weedmaps Kicks In $2 Million for California Legalization Efforts. The marijuana store locator app company has donated $1 million to Californians for Sensible Reform, a campaign committee that says it will back the strongest legalization initiative next year. And it's matched that with another $1 million to Californians for Sensible Reform PAC, which says it will support marijuana-friendly candidates.

Second California Legalization Initiative Filed. Proponents of an open-source legalization initiative, the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2016 (MCLR), filed the effort with state officials in Sacramento today. The effort is being spearheaded by Americans for Policy Reform, which includes San Jose dispensary operator Dave Hodges and Sebastopol marijuana attorney Omar Figueroa, among others. Figueroa is also one of two proponents for another legalization initiative, the California Craft Cannabis Act, filed last week. More proposed initiatives are expected to follow. The recommended deadline for beginning signature-gathering is in early July. Stay tuned.

Medical Marijuana

Obama Suggests Support for Senate Medical Marijuana Bill. In an interview aired Sunday night on CNN's Weed 3 special with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Gupta asked the president if he would get behind the CARERS Act, which would reschedule marijuana and allow states with medical marijuana laws to proceed without threat of federal punishment. "You know, I think I’d have to take a look at the details," Obama replied, "but I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may  in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be."

Asset Forfeiture

Wyoming Legislative Committee Studies Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform. Gov. Matt Mead (R) vetoed an asset forfeiture reform bill earlier this year, but the legislature isn't giving up. The Joint Judiciary Committee met in Riverton last week and has directed staff to draft bills for next year's legislative session.

Drug Policy

Chicago Prosecutor Will Stop Prosecuting Simple Drug Possession. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said today she intends to quit prosecuting people arrested for simple drug possession and instead link them to social agencies "for treatment rather than pursuing criminal penalties." Those drug possession felonies accounted for one-quarter of all felonies in the county last year. She also said she is not going to bother to prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession cases, either.

New York City Legislation Would Create New Office of Drug Strategy. A proposal just offered by New York City council members would create the new office to coordinate official, expert, and community responses to drug use. It would enhance evidence-based drug education and public health interventions and simplify access to medical, social, and psychological services to drug users seeking help. The idea is to reduce the morbidity, mortality, crime, and racial disparities in law enforcement created by a one-sided law enforcement approach to the issue.

Harm Reduction

Indiana Governor Signs Bill to Ease Access to Overdose Reversal Drug. Last Friday, Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed into law SEA 406, which allows family members and friends of drug users to obtain the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone. Previously, only health professionals could administer the drug.

International

Two More Big Australian States Announce Medical Marijuana Trials. Victoria and Queensland have now joined New South Wales in a clinical trial for medical marijuana. The three most populous states will hold clinical trials of cannabis oil for the treatment of chemotherapy-related nausea, severe epilepsy, and in palliative care.

Mexico Captures Top Juarez Cartel Leader. Federal troops last Friday captured Juarez Cartel head Jesus Aguayo in the town of Villa Ahumada in Chihuahua state. Aguayo took over leadership of the organization after authorities captured his predecessor, Vicente Carillo in October. 

Categories: Marijuana

Australia: Family Backs Cannabis Trial

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 07:00
Geelong Advertiser, 20 Apr 2015 - THE family of a four-year-old boy has welcomed news the Victorian Government plans to fund a medicinal cannabis trial for people suffering terminal or life-threatening illnesses. Nationally recognised as one of the most controversial cases surrounding the use of the drug, epileptic Cooper Wallace's family stood tall during yesterday's announcement at Treasury Place.
Categories: Marijuana
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