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US ME: Committee Rejects Bill Legalizing Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 05/30/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 30 May 2015 - (AP) - A legislative committee has voted to reject a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Maine, but supporters say the real fight will be on the House floor. Democratic state Representative Diane Russell's bill was rejected Thursday by the criminal justice committee and would have allowed people 21 and older to have as much as one ounce of pot. It would also set a 10 percent tax rate on marijuana sales, The Press Herald reported. The tax revenues would go to public school construction, substance abuse programs, drug and alcohol awareness among youth, and regulation. Under a compromise unveiled Thursday, the bill would allow up to 45 marijuana retail stores around the state. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
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Australia: OPED: The War on Drugs May Win Elections, but

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 05/30/2015 - 07:00
The Australian, 30 May 2015 - If Bans Do More Harm Than Good, It's Time to Try a Different Approach Who suffers most from drug prohibition? The conventional wisdom is that Western countries pay a very high price for illicit drugs originating from and transiting through some developing countries. But the truth is the highest price for our failed "war on drugs" is paid by those relatively few countries where the drugs are produced or through which they move.
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CN ON: Column: Learning Some New Tricks

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 07:00
The Enterprise-Bulletin, 29 May 2015 - On the occasion of Tommy Chong and his dog Otis' birthday, our own Jim Slotek wishes a couple of old dogs good tidings On Sunday, May 24, a hero of my misspent youth, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, turned 77 years old. Coincidentally, on the same day, my dog Otis turned 12, about 77 in dog years.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: ME Pot DUID Bill Dies, SC MedMJ Bill Dies, OR Senate Restricts MedMJ Grows, More (5/28/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 19:15

The Maine legislature kills a pot DUID bill, the Arizona Supreme Court will take up the issue, Florida's CBD cannabis oil program will finally roll out, the Dutch crack down on grow shops, Australia's Greens want to ban drug dogs, and more.

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

Maine Marijuana DUID Bill Stalls in Legislature. An effort to pass a per se marijuana impaired driving law has stalled in the legislature after experts said that, given the state of the science, any specified limit would be "arbitrary." Under per se impaired driving laws, merely testing positive for the specified amount is sufficient to get you convicted of drugged driving. The legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted Tuesday not to advance LD 1320, but instead to convene a working group to study the issue.

Medical Marijuana

Arizona Supreme Court Will Review Ruling on DUID Immunity for Patients. The Supreme Court Tuesday agreed to review a state Court of Appeals ruling issued last November that said medical marijuana patients can still be prosecuted under laws against drugged driving. Arizona has a zero tolerance per se DUID law under which all that is necessary to convict if the presence of inactive metabolites in the blood.

Florida Judge Clears Way for CBD Cannabis Oil Program. A judge in Tallahassee Wednesday dismissed the final challenge to the state's CBD cannabis oil law passed last year, clearing the way for the long-delayed program to actual get underway. Now, growers should be able to provide CBD cannabis oils to patients within a few months.

Oregon Senate Passes Bill Restricting Medical Marijuana Grows. The state Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve a bill widely opposed by patients and growers that limits the number of plants caregivers could grow. The measure, Senate Bill 964, also requires regular reporting by growers and allows localities to prohibit dispensaries.

South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Dead for This Year. A bill that would have allowed for the use of medical marijuana is dead in the state legislature this year, senators said. Senate Bill 672, sponsored by Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), will, however, get more hearings before the legislature begins the second year of its two-year session in January.

International

Dutch Police in Massive Raid on Grow Shops. Dutch police enforcing a new law cracking down on people aiding or promoting illicit marijuana cultivation raided 27 grow shops across the country Tuesday, arresting 11 people. Under the new law, it is now illegal to deliberately supply equipment for illicit marijuana cultivation. Violators face up to three years in prison.

Australia Greens File Bill to Ban Drug Dogs from Festivals. The Greens have filed a bill to end the use of drug-sniffing dogs at music festivals, bars, on public transport, and in Sydney's Kings Cross neighborhood. The bill is part of a broader Green campaign against the use of drug dogs. The Greens say the drug dogs program doesn't work, but does subject thousands of young people to humiliating searches. The Greens also argue that the dogs program doesn't target major suppliers, but people carrying small amounts of drugs for personal use.

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From the Blog: CT Lawmakers Push to Add Children and Hospital Patients to Medical Marijuana Program

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 14:37

[image:1 align:left caption:true]This week the General Law Committee of the Connecticut House and Senate gave its approval for a final vote to add children to the state's medical marijuana program with certain restrictions.

The main provision that was added to gain the Committee's support would block minors from smoking or vaporizing marijuana despite a doctor's recommendation. While the debate did stir the standard, "We don't want people to think it's okay for kids to smoke weed" argument, it also gave opportunities for the new rhetoric being heard in state capitols around medical marijuana a chance to shine. Rep. Dan Carter made an excellent case for not restricting a doctors ability to treat a patient telling the Connecticut Post:

"I do believe there's a clear need with respect to younger patients," Carter said. "In a way, I think we're putting the political part of it above the health part of it. I think there should be freedom for those practitioners who are going to prescribe this to utilize any delivery system they need to do. Clearly there are benefits, certain times, to inhale certain products. If we shut it down and say you can't smoke it or you can't vaporize it, I think in a way that retards... some of the studies we need to do."

The provision has a chance of being removed with time, more so with folks like Dan Carter already on the right side of the fence. With the way things are going, I don't expect a 16 year old smoking a joint on the way to chemo to rip at the moral fabric of society much longer.

The bill will also allow hospitals and hospices to administer cannabis to their patients. This will be a major factor in improving the quality of life for folks forced to live under medical supervision. Also it would request a group of pediatricians be formed for the purpose of adding more ailments to the 11 already approved for use in the state.

In general the bill represents a step forward, with a bit of a pothole that will be filled in time. Time is also the keyword in getting it passed, as lawmakers have until midnight on June 3rd to vote on the bill.

Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: Learning Some New Tricks

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
Packet & Times, 28 May 2015 - On Sunday, May 24, a hero of my misspent youth, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, will be 77 years old. Coincidentally, on the same day, my dog Otis will turn 12, about 77 in dog years. And I have a story that connects them both.
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CN BC: Editorial: Poco Puts Pot In Right Place

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
The Tri-Cities Now, 28 May 2015 - Port Coquitlam is on the verge of getting a first in the Tri-Cities. On Monday, city council passed the third reading and all but rubber stamped an application to build a medical marijuana production facility at 1425 Kebet Way.
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CN ON: Column: Learning Some New Tricks

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
The Tribune, 28 May 2015 - On the Occasion of and His Dog Birthday, Our Own Wishes a Couple of Old Dogs Good Tidings On Sunday, May 24, a hero of my misspent youth, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, will be 77 years old. Coincidentally, on the same day, my dog Otis will turn 12, about 77 in dog years.
Categories: Marijuana

South Africa: 'It Is Absurd That Dagga Is Still Illegal in SA'

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
Business Day, 28 May 2015 - Despite intense lobbying, the jury is out on if medicinal cannabis should be allowed WHICHEVER way you look at it, dagga is medicine. Even if you smoke it just to get "high", it doesn't only alter your consciousness and cognitive functional - it has other pharmacologic effects on body and mind.
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US AZ: Arizona Court to Review Ruling on Marijuana, DUI

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
The Sun, 28 May 2015 - PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Supreme Court will review a lower court's ruling that said drivers who have medical marijuana cards can still be prosecuted under laws against driving under the influence while having marijuana in their system. The justices agreed without comment Tuesday to review a state Court of Appeals ruling issued last November. Two defendants who had medical marijuana cards allowing them to legally smoke pot had pointed to a medical marijuana law provision that provides a partial legal shield for pot usage prescribed by a physician.
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US DC: Memo to Federal Workers: That's Still a No on Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 28 May 2015 - If you live in the District or one of the 23 states that have legalized marijuana and you work for the federal government, think twice before lighting a joint. Pot is still illegal for you. New guidance Wednesday from the Office of Personnel Management is unambiguous and stern. Federal workforce rules remain unchanged for the roughly 4.1 million federal employees and military personnel across the United States. The U.S. government still considers marijuana an illegal drug, and possessing or using it is a crime. "Heads of agencies are expected to advise their workforce that legislative changes by some states and the District of Columbia do not alter federal law, existing suitability criteria or Executive Branch policies regarding marijuana," OPM Director Katherine Archuleta wrote in a memo posted on the agency's Web site.
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US CO: Column: High Hopes for Improved Reporting on Teen

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 28 May 2015 - When Rocky Mountain Community Radio reporter Bente Birkeland began tracking legal marijuana's impacts on Colorado teenagers earlier this year, she discovered key data wasn't available. "The state does not require schools to report marijuana incidents separately," Birkeland says. "Alcohol and tobacco are in separate categories. But marijuana shouldn't be lumped in with cocaine or pharmaceuticals. It's a tough story to report."
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US CA: Column: Boom And Boom

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
North Coast Journal, 28 May 2015 - Arcata's Medical Marijuana Innovation Area got an enthusiastic thumbs-up on May 20 from the city council, which ultimately voted unanimously in favor of the proposal, but not before an antsy, standing-room-only crowd stood by while the council spent two hours wading through the night's consent agenda. When a speaker made a plea for donations to support a two-week summer camp sponsored by a young woman's foundation, several people approached and handed her hundred dollar bills. She had come to the right meeting. With legalization pending - and with it the specter of the city losing businesses to neighboring communities, Economic Development Director Larry Oetker told the council, "our role is quickly diminishing. ... We're on the brink of having significant issues in our community and having a great number of people and business who will lose or have their incomes diminished."
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US CO: Column: What Can I Do With My Vaped Weed?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
Westword, 28 May 2015 - Dear Stoner: I've had a vaporizer for almost a year now and have a buttload of golden-brown vaped weed saved up. Is there anything I can do with it, or have I been wasting my energy? Nicholas Dear Nicholas: If your vaporizer isn't turning your flower black, it might eventually pay for itself. Although it looks dead and useless, vaped cannabis still has a low percentage of THC and some cannabinoids left over. Besides giving it to your scavenger friends who never have money to pitch in, you can use your vaped pot to make hash or edibles if you're not burning it too hot.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Column: Drug Eviction: Pot Shop Suffers 'Hostile

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
SF Weekly, 28 May 2015 - These are good times in the marijuana business. With an adult recreational market still on the horizon, the California medical cannabis industry is enjoying its biggest boom time yet. Mobs of customers are fueling over a billion dollars a year in legal sales, but more important are the "investors." The cannabis game usually takes unkindly to outsiders, but not when they're carrying suitcases of cash, as the strange faces in expensive suits circling around the industry at all levels, looking for opportunities to buy into this multibillion-dollar game, are. That said, the San Francisco marijuana industry's wildest success of late has nothing to do with selling cannabis. For several days earlier this month, a line of people camped outside in the Haight Street cold to be the first to stroll past a heavily armed security guard into a new clothing store and plunk down $100 for a hooded sweatshirt.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Column: High And Active

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 28 May 2015 - High. I was just wondering how our U.S. senators feel about marijuana. I haven't heard much. - -Jeff I'm glad you asked. And, no, it is not too early to start discussing the 2016 election for the Senate. As it stands now, the Democratic field has two main challengers, with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez recently throwing her hat into the ring against California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Although Harris is the favorite, I feel Sanchez would be a better choice for cannabis users, and Californians in general, since marijuana legalization would be a boon to the welfare and economy of the entire state. Sanchez has a history of marijuana law reform support: In 2009, she told CNN, "So maybe it would be a good pilot program to see how that regulation of marijuana might happen in California since the ... majority of Californians believe maybe that should happen." Harris has recently shifted her stance somewhat; last week, she told the annual Convention of California Democrats that, "The war on drugs has failed," and, "Now is the time to end the federal ban on marijuana," but she still giggles every time she mentions marijuana, like she can't believe what she just said. Either one would be better than Senator Dianne Feinstein though. When does she retire? She hates weed.
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US CA: Power To The Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 07:00
The Chico News & Review, 28 May 2015 - Scientists Point to Drought Conditions Elevating Medicinal Properties of Marijuana While Bolstering Guerrilla Grows Global warming may give a minor twist to that classic hippie bumper sticker that quips, "Acid rain: Too bad it's not as much fun as it sounds." Turns out a warming climate could boost the medicinal and psychoactive properties of plants-including cannabis.
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From the Blog: Three Marijuana Reform Bills Filed in Louisiana

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 21:44

(Welcome back to our one-time intern Jimi Devine, who has graciously volunteered his time to support our blog. We are cross-posting this piece to the Chronicle because it is news-focused.)

[image:1 align:right caption:true]The smell of marijuana reform is strong in the bayou air, with Louisiana now home to a big push for both medical marijuana and major sentencing reforms around marijuana convictions.

Today the Louisiana legislature's House Health and Welfare Committee will hear a medical marijuana bill brought forward by Republican State Senator Fred Mills, a man who formerly served as head of the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy. Mills spent the last year working with law enforcement to make it past a committee and organizations that had held it back in the past.

According to Northeast Louisiana media outlet The News Star, major revisions have been made with support from the Louisiana Sheriffs Association, including:

  • Prescribed marijuana would be taken in a form other than smoking it, perhaps in a pill.
  • The state Agriculture Department would be in charge of growing marijuana to be used for medical purposes.
  • Dispensing pharmacies -- ten, at this point -- would be required to meet certain conditions.
  • The bill would "sunset," or be reviewed on Jan. 1, 2020, giving lawmakers a deadline for determining whether the changes to state law were beneficial. If the bill proves ineffective, the law could be modified or allowed to expire.
  • The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy would adopt rules about dispensing medical marijuana.

This session the bill made it through the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, which had halted its progress in 2014, and then passed the full senate with two thirds in support. On when he takes it before the House, Mills noted, "I'm hoping for a repeat performance from the Senate."

While the bill is very restrictive, it would reinforce national trends on the medical use of marijuana by bringing a law involving more than CBD marijuana strains to the south, and hopefully would lead to a more inclusive medical marijuana law in the future.

The sentencing reform bills look to reduce the penalties associated with a marijuana conviction in the state. Currently a third marijuana possession conviction could lead to a baffling 20 year sentence.

According to NOLA.com, the bill authored by New Orleans State Senator J.P. Morrell "reduces the maximum penalty for possession from 20 years in prison to eight, raises the threshold for a felony-level possession charge, and adds a second-chance provision for first-time offenders."

Penalties would still be much more severe than their counterparts in other states, but first time offenders would have one opportunity to expunge their record after two years without a conviction. The bill would also reclassify a second offense from a felony to misdemeanor for quantities between fourteen grams and two and a half pounds.

The bill is projected to save Louisiana $17 million over the first five years. This would cover the $900,000 a year in wasteful spending on corrections highlighted by the Office of State Inspector General with $13 million to spare.

NOLA.com columnist Jarvis DaBerry noted, "Such a bill does two important things. First, it establishes that a person with a small amount of weed isn't a real threat to the public. Second, and perhaps more importantly, the bill would keep such a conviction from haunting a person forever."

The second bill, authored by Rep. Austin Badon, would push major reforms, but is not as big a shift as the one presented by Morrell. Badon's bill would see those committing a third offense jailed five years, as opposed to the two year sentence in Morell's bill. It also does not include the possibility of conviction being expunged for first time offenders.

While Louisiana debates the direction of their sentencing procedures, I'll leave you with another quote from Jarvis DeBerry on the subject: "Here's a prediction: Sooner or later, we're going to look back at what Louisiana has doing to folks caught with marijuana, and we're going to be just as shocked those sentences had our officials' blessing."

Categories: Marijuana

CT Lawmakers Push to Add Children and Hospital Patients to Medical Marijuana Program

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 21:42

[image:1 align:left caption:true]This week the General Law Committee of the Connecticut House and Senate gave its approval for a final vote to add children to the state's medical marijuana prog

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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 19:52

California localities continue to wrestle with medical marijuana, Illinois' nascent program gets an extension, another South Dakota initiative could be coming, Seattle plans to shut down dozens of dispensaries, and more.

[image:1 align:left]California

Last Tuesday, Marin County supervisors began working on a restrictive medical marijuana ordinance. The ordinance envisions up to three nonprofit dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county, but critics said it would create so much red tape that it would be difficult to comply with its provisions.

Last Wednesday, the State Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Yuba County patients challenging the county's new marijuana cultivation ordinance and especially its urgency provision. That provision effectively stopped opponents' ability to circulate petitions for a voter referendum. Other legal challenges to the ordinance are still pending.

On Tuesday, a successful Santa Cruz County referendum blocked a supervisors' ban on commercial medical marijuana grows. The supes had voted last month to enact the ban, but opponents managed to gather enough signatures in just three weeks to qualify an initiative for the ballot, thus putting the ban on hold until the vote.

Illinois

Last Thursday, the Senate approved an extension of the medical marijuana program. The state Senate voted 33-16 to approve House Bill 3299, which would extend the program by two more years. The measure has already passed the House and is headed for the desk of Gov. Bruce Rauner (R), but it's unclear if he will sign it. He has said he didn't think the program should be extended until it's been fully evaluated -- but it hasn't even really started.

Nebraska

Last Thursday, the legislature approved a CBD cannabis oil study bill. The state Senate gave final approval to Legislative Bill 390, under which the University of Nebraska Medical Center would study the effectiveness of CBD in treating epileptic seizures. Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) now has five days to act on it.

On Wednesday, a CBD cannabis oil bill was pronounced dead. A bill that would have allowed the limited use of CBD cannabis oil has died. LB 643, filed by state Sen. Tommy Garrett (R-Bellevue), did not have enough support to advance, Garrett said. He said he would bring it back next year.

Pennsylvania

On Monday, it looked like the medical marijuana bill had been blocked in the House. A medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 3, has passed the Senate, but appears to be bottled up in the House after being assigned to the Health Committee, which is headed by medical marijuana foe Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga County). He told local media last week he didn't see the bill moving any time soon. Bill supporters are exploring their options, including moving the bill to a different committee, adding it as an amendment to other legislation, and including it in a budget measure.

South Dakota

On Wednesday, word came that a medical marijuana initiative is in the works. Maybe the third time will be the charm. An activist from Emery has submitted initiative language to the state Attorney General's office. If approved, petitioners would have to gather 13,871 valid voter signatures by November 8 to qualify for the 2016 ballot. South Dakota voted down previous efforts in 2006 and 2010.

Washington

Last Thursday, the state Supreme Court uphold local collective garden bans. The high court ruled 8-1 that the city of Kent can ban medical marijuana collective gardens. The decision upheld lower court rulings allowing cities to impose bans via zoning regulations. The case was Cannabis Action Council v. City of Kent.

On Tuesday, Seattle's mayor said he planned to shutter dozens of dispensaries. Mayor Ed Murray said Tuesday he plans to require special business licenses for marijuana shops and that dispensaries in operation before January 1, 2013, will get priority in licensing. But of the city's 99 dispensaries, 54 either opened after that date or are operating without a license, and the mayor's office says they need to shut down.

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

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