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Chronicle AM: NE Ends Civil Asset Forfeiture, New England Pot Politics, Mexico Marijuana Reforms, More... 4/25/16

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 20:02

Marijuana policy is keeping state houses busy in New England, Nebraska becomes the 10th state to end civil asset forfeiture, Maine's Tea Party governor vetoes a Naloxone bill, Mexico's president expands marijuana reforms, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

DC Marijuana Activists Meet Today With White House. Two members of the DC Cannabis Campaign (DCMJ) were set to meet with Obama administration officials at the White House today. DCMJ head Adam Eidinger said he had been requesting a "Bud Summit" with Obama's leading drug advisors for years, but had no response until his group demonstrated in front of the White House on April 2. "This is an opportunity for the White House to meet with serious and committed cannabis activists and hear our case for why it's in President Obama's best interest to work with the attorney general to fully remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act," DCMJ co-founder Nikolas Schiller said in a statement.

Connecticut Legalization Bill Dies. There will be no marijuana legalization in Connecticut this year. Rep. Juan Candelaria (D-New Haven), sponsor of the legalization bill, withdrew it last Wednesday after first attempting to add it as an amendment to a related bill. The bill had been declared dead earlier in the session, and Candelaria's move last week was a last ditch effort to keep it alive.

Illinois Decriminalization Bill Advances. A bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana was approved by the Senate last week. A similar measure was approved by the legislature last year, only to be vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). This year's bill lowers the decrim limit from 15 grams to 10 grams, making it a bit more palatable to the governor. A spokesman for Rauner said he was "encouraged" that legislators heard his concerns and would be monitoring the bill's progress. The bill now goes to the House.

New Hampshire Decriminalization Bill Dies. The Senate voted last week to kill House Bill 1631, which would have decriminalized the possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana. This is the seventh time the House has approved decriminalization, only to see it shot down by the Senate. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that has not decriminalized small time pot possession. This year, the legislation ran up against concern over heroin and prescription opioid abuse. "We are in a war, and the last thing we need is to tell our citizens it is OK to use a little marijuana or any other illegal substance," said Sen. Gary Daniels (R-Milford).

Rhode Island Poll Has Support for Legalization at 55%. A new Brown University Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy poll has two-thirds (67%) supporting medical marijuana and a solid majority (55%) in favor of marijuana legalization. This as a legalization bill has been stalled this year. "I know public officials are being very thoughtful and careful on this issue," pollster James Morone said. "But it's hard to see in the long run how legalization won't happen because there is so much strong support among young people. But I would emphasize 'in the long run.' I think anytime you have voters under 44 years old supporting something by 72 percent, it's just a question of time," he added. "Like same-sex marriage around the country, it's being driven by the demographics around the country. It's the exact same dynamic."

Vermont Legalization Bill Amended. The state's legalization bill, Senate Bill 241, faces an uncertain fate after the House Ways and Means Committee approved it, but only after amending it to allow residents to grow and possess small amounts of pot, but not to allow regulated sales. Another House committee had rejected legalization, and a third House committee now has it under consideration. If the House manages to pass some version of the bill, it will have to be reconciled with the version passed earlier by the Senate.

Medical Marijuana

Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Prevent DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws. The committee voted last week 21-8 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration. After decades of inactivity on marijuana reform, Congress has moved at lightning pace to advance marijuana reform in recent years. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allow Veterans Administration doctors to recommend marijuana. The Committee approved similar amendments last year as well as an amendment to allow state-legalized marijuana businesses to access banks and other financial services. The Mikulski amendment is expected to pass the full Senate as well as the House. Similar amendments were passed by Congress last year and the year before.

DEA Approves Colorado-Funded Study on Marijuana and PTSD. The DEA gave the go-ahead for the ground-breaking study last week. It's the first time the agency has given permission to use raw marijuana in a controlled clinical trial for PTSD. Enrollment in the study could begin as early as next month. The study is one of nine funded by historic grants from the Colorado Health Department, which are in turn funded by medical and legal marijuana fees and tax revenues.

Connecticut House Approves Medical Marijuana for Kids. The House voted overwhelmingly last week to expand the state's four-year-old medical marijuana program to include children. The bill also includes a provision to create a Board of Physicians to review requests for new ailments to be added the list of qualifying conditions, which currently lists 17 diseases or syndromes. The bill now goes to the state Senate.

Asset Forfeiture

Nebraska Latest State to Institute to Abolish Civil Asset Forfeiture. Last week, Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed into law LB 1106, which eliminates civil forfeiture in the Cornhusker State. The bill had passed the legislature a week earlier on a vote of 38-6. Nebraska becomes the 10th state to eliminate civil asset forfeiture. Now, if Nebraska cops want to seize cash and property, they must first obtain a criminal conviction. The bill also imposes some limits on state law enforcement participation in the federal "equitable sharing" program, under which police can end run state laws directing where seized assets go by turning the busts over to the feds, who in turn give back 80% of the value of seized goods to the arresting agency.

Harm Reduction

Maine Governor Vetoes Bill Seeking to Increase Access to Life-saving Overdose Antidote Naloxone. Gov. Paul LePage last week vetoed the bill last week, arguing that "naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose." Every state in the nation, with the exception of five, have either passed or are in the process of passing naloxone access legislation, and thirty states currently allow for sales of the overdose antidote without a prescription. The bill, LD 1547, could still be revived, though. On Friday, the legislature will take up all bills vetoed by Le Page, including LD 1547. Two-thirds votes in both the House and the Senate would be needed to override the veto.

International

Mexican President to Push Broader Marijuana Decriminalization, Medical Marijuana. President Enrique Pena Nieto used his speech before the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs last week to call for decriminalizing up to an ounce of marijuana and legalizing the medicinal use of the plant. Currently, only up to five grams is decriminalized. "We Mexicans know all too well the range and the defects of prohibitionist and punitive policies, and of the so-called war on drugs that has prevailed for 40 years," Pena Nieto said. "Our country has suffered, as few have, the ill effects of organized crime tied to drug trafficking. Fortunately, a new consensus is gradually emerging worldwide in favor of reforming drug policies," he said. "A growing number of countries are strenuously combating criminals, but instead of criminalizing consumers, they offer them alternatives and opportunities."

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UK: Column: Legalise Cannabis - but There's No Fire Without

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
The Courier, 25 Apr 2016 - Laws on Tobacco Smoking Should Extend to Marijuana It's time to legalise marijuana, then ban it again. Here's why. The Canadian government chose April 20 to make the announcement that cannabis will be legalised next spring, in the latest progressive move by the new Liberal government. The news had been coming for a while, because it was an election pledge last year but the date was significant because it was "4-20", when weed enthusiasts get together to call for changes in the law. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government beat them to it with a morning announcement.
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US: Column: Early Lessons From Marijuana Legalization In

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
Reason Online, 25 Apr 2016 - A New Report From The State Department Of Public Safety Considers The Consequences. When the Canadian Parliament considered decriminalizing marijuana possession in 2003, U.S. officials loudly objected. They complained that the proposed reform would betray the anti-drug cause, worried that it would encourage drug tourism and facilitate marijuana smuggling, and threatened to respond with a border crackdown that would impede trade and travel between the two countries.
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US NY: Editorial: Rethink the Global War on Drugs

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
New York Times, 25 Apr 2016 - At the urging of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia, world leaders met at the United Nations in a special session last week to discuss saner ways to fight the drug trade. They did not get very far toward a shift in approach. Nonetheless, there was a consensus that investing in health care, addiction treatment and alternatives to incarceration would do more to end the drug trade than relying primarily on prohibition and criminalization. "A war that has been fought for more than 40 years has not been won," President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia said in an interview. "When you do something for 40 years and it doesn't work, you need to change it."
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US MA: Column: Legalized Marijuana Is Too Much, Too Soon

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 25 Apr 2016 - When I think about the prospect of legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts, I surprise myself by sounding like my father. Cannabis tourism? THC-infused lip balm? "Budz and sudz" crawls? What is the world coming to? The combination of vice and capitalism is a powerful one, so it might be expected that entrepreneurs are rushing to market these artisanal highs. In Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, cannabis concierge services are thriving, from ganja yoga retreats to weed weddings. Sales nearly hit $1 billion last year, with the state raking in tax and licensing fees of $135 million.
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US OR: La Pine Weighs Allowing Indoor Pot Growing At

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 07:00
The Bulletin, 24 Apr 2016 - Growers Have Inquired About Putting In Structures For Raising Marijuana At The Park The city of La Pine is attempting to refine its zoning ordinance to allow for indoor agriculture on industrial land in anticipation of marijuana being grown there.
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Canada: OPED: Marijuana Regulation Enough To Make You Dazed And

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 23 Apr 2016 - If you're having a hard time following Vancouver's position on marijuana - recreational or otherwise - you're not alone. On the same day the city allowed an unsanctioned and unpermited 4/20 event to take place on Sunset Beach, as well as a smaller event that shut down Robson Street, Councillor Kerry Jang was talking tough about shuttering the vast majority of the city's medicinal marijuana outlets.
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US OR: Christen Ties Cannabis To Economic Development

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
Grants Pass Daily Courier, 23 Apr 2016 - Shayne Christen is a man of few words. Asked what he would do about economic development, if he were elected to the Josephine County Board of Commissioners, he replied, "We need to do something about more jobs. There's a lot of possibilities."
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US DC: Editorial: Back In The Seizure Business

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 23 Apr 2016 - The Justice Department Restarts Incentives for Asset Forfeiture. THE JUSTICE Department calls it a tool to crack down on terrorists, kleptocrats and fugitives. So why did it result in the seizure of money and other assets from law-abiding people? Welcome to the weird world of civil asset forfeiture, in which the government can take property without charging its owner with a crime. There are some legitimate reasons for the practice, such as cracking down on sophisticated organized-crime rings, that manage to separate criminals from tainted assets. But even after years of criticism and reports of abuse, the federal government still has not reformed its piece of the system enough to keep its application narrow and fair.
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Mexico: Marijuana Legalization Gains Momentum in the Americas

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 23 Apr 2016 - Mexico City - With a swipe of his pent his week, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed that Mexican citizens could legally possess up to an ounce of pot. The day before, Canada's health minister stood on a United Nations podium and announced that her country would introduce new federal legislation to make cannabis legal by next year.
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US: Police Can Still Take Most People's Property on Suspicion

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
Washington Post, 23 Apr 2016 - Good news for Nebraska residents worried about state and local police taking their stuff when they haven't been convicted of any crime: They can't do it anymore. This week, Nebraska's Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, signed into law a bill that all but abolishes the practice of civil asset forfeiture in that state.
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Australia: No Pot Shots For Mr Hinch

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
Northern Star, 23 Apr 2016 - DERRYN Hinch won't have a puff on a joint at Mardigrass, but he's willing to throw a bong in the Hemp Olympix. "Unlike Bill Clinton, I've not only never smoked pot, I've never inhaled it," he said.
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US MO: Medical Marijuana Bill Fails In Missouri House

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 04/23/2016 - 07:00
Columbia Daily Tribune, 23 Apr 2016 - JEFFERSON CITY (AP) -- The Missouri House has rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana. The legislation failed on a 66-87 vote Thursday after lawmakers scaled it back to only permit cancer patients in hospice to use the drug.
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CN BC: Dispensary Can Stay Open

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Metro, 22 Apr 2016 - Club has city permission despite school proximity Vancouver's oldest marijuana dispensary and compassion club received the city's blessing to stay open even though it doesn't meet the strict distance requirements from schools under the new dispensary regulation regime.
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CN BC: The Race On To Develop Marijuana Breathalyzers Before Drug Is

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
The Record, 22 Apr 2016 - VANCOUVER - Companies developing breathalyzers to detect marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient in suspected cannabis-impaired drivers appear to be entering a crowded field as Canada prepares to legalize pot. Health Minister Jane Philpott announced Wednesday at a special United Nations session on drugs that legislation to begin the process of legalizing and regulating pot will be introduced next spring.
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CN AB: Editorial: Pot's Revenue Stream Likely The Main Reason For

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Medicine Hat News, 22 Apr 2016 - Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will legalize the use of marijuana, the dangers of the drug have seemingly disappeared. It is worth being reminded of some of them. Marijuana contains a mind-altering chemical that can have long-term effects including hampering the development of the brain and its function, according to the website of the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Young people are particularly vulnerable in terms of impaired memory and ability to learn. The damage can be permanent. There are also the potential risks of mental illness including hallucinations, paranoia, depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide. There is, of course, the risk of addiction too.
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CN BC: Sechelt Moves To Regulate Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Coast Reporter, 22 Apr 2016 - SECHELT MOVES TO REGULATE MARIJUANA Sechelt council has asked staff to investigate zoning and business licence options for sales, production and supply of marijuana and marijuana-related products and services in the hopes of finding a form of regulation in Sechelt.
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CN BC: Editorial: Many Will Support Government's Pot Decision

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Cowichan Valley Citizen, 22 Apr 2016 - It was certainly an interesting choice of date to make the announcement. On Wednesday (April 20 or 4/20, which is celebrated as a national holiday for cannabis culture), Canada's health minister, Jane Philpott stated that Canada's legislation to begin the legalization and regulation of marijuana will be introduced next spring.
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US OH: OPED: Law Better Option Than Amendment

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Morning Journal, 22 Apr 2016 - One way or another, it appears Ohioans who need it will have marijuana in their medicine cabinet. The only questions may be how soon and by whose rules. A bill introduced this week in the Legislature would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana edibles, patches, plant material and oils, but doesn't allow for the smokable form.
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Singapore: Singapore Blasts Softer Drugs Stance

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 07:00
Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Apr 2016 - Singapore has blasted widespread calls to make the worldwide fight against illicit drugs less punitive, using a major meeting at the UN to argue that a "soft approach" would cause a flood of narcotics to the island state. "We believe that drugs will destroy our society," said Singapore Home Affairs Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam.
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