Marijuana

CN AB: Marijuana Tax Will Support Enforcement

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Lethbridge Herald, 01 Mar 2018 - Tax income from soon-to-be-legal marijuana is forecast at $615 million. But it could bring in much more, a Lethbridge business audience heard Wednesday. And while the federal government will collect the new tax, 75 per cent of it will go to provincial governments to help communities with implementation costs.
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CN AB: Budget Offers City Hope With Opioid Crisis

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Lethbridge Herald, 01 Mar 2018 - Funds from marijuana taxes will also help, says mayor Federal funds targeting the opioid crisis will be welcome in Lethbridge. And Mayor Chris Spearman says a share of the newly announced taxes on marijuana will also help, when its use becomes legal later this year.
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US FL: Ex-DEA Chief Blasts White-Collar Pushers

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 01 Mar 2018 - SARASOTA - When the Drug Enforcement Administration was formed in 1973, roughly 2,000 Americans were dying from overdoses each week, largely from heroin injections. In 2016 alone, thanks to a deregulated pharmaceutical industry, fatal overdoses -- 80 percent opioid related - -- claimed 63,000 lives. Or, as Peter Bensinger pointed out Thursday morning, opium-derived drugs have exacted a higher death toll in a single year than nearly two decades of fighting in the Vietnam War.
Categories: Marijuana

US MA: Trafficking Will Disqualify Potential Pot Industry Workers

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 01 Mar 2018 - The state Cannabis Control Commission split 3-2 Wednesday over whether to automatically disqualify people with trafficking convictions from working with legal marijuana. People with a prior conviction for trafficking in drugs other than marijuana will be barred from working in jobs that include access to the plant in the newly legal marijuana industry, a decision made after about an hour of tense debate among state pot regulators.
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US IL: Legal Marijuana Question A Step Closer To Being On November

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Chicago Tribune, 01 Mar 2018 - The state Senate on Thursday voted to ask on the November ballot whether recreational use of marijuana should be legalized and taxed in Illinois. The ballot question would be only advisory, so even if voters approve, lawmakers still would have to act.
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CN ON: Police Fear Legalizing Marijuana Will Make It Easier For Youth

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 03/01/2018 - 08:00
Brighton Independent, 01 Mar 2018 - Brighton - People consume marijuana because it relaxes them but the prospect of its recreational use becoming legal is making police anxious. "Anticipated issues" include "easier access for the youth population," impaired operation of vehicles, and the "facilitation of trafficking," OPP Detective-Sergeant Rick Dupuis said in a presentation to Brighton council on the implications of the federal law that is to take effect sometime after July 1.
Categories: Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:37

Ohio's medical marijuana muddle continues, CBD bills advance in Idaho and Indiana, medical marijuana bills advance in Oklahoma and Tennessee, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Idaho

Last Friday, a CBD medical marijuana bill advanced. The House Health and Welfare Committee has approved House Bill 577, which would legalize the possession of low-THC CBD oil for medical use. The bill advanced despite the opposition of law enforcement and the Idaho Office of Drug Policy. It now heads for a House floor vote.

Indiana

Last Wednesday, a CBD bill won a committee vote. The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee voted to approve Senate Bill 52, which would allow the legal sale of CBD cannabis oil with low THC levels. The bill is one of a number filed to address the state's CBD mess, which was created when the legislature passed a bill last year allowing for its use, but which left no means to legally obtain it.

On Tuesday, another CBD bill advanced. The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee voted 6-2 to approve House Bill 1214, which would legalize the use of CBD cannabis oil with less than 0.3% THC. The bill would also loosen registration provisions on an existing CBD law that has so far failed to get the medicine to patients.

Ohio

On Monday, a bill to block the awarding of medical marijuana licenses was filed. State Sen. Bill Coley (R-West Chester) has filed a bill to temporarily halt the issuance of licenses for growers, processors, and testers to allow fixes with what he has identified as problems with the system. The move comes as lawsuits by entities not awarded licenses are underway and as others have criticized aspects of the selection process. Coley's bill is not yet available on the legislative web site.

Oklahoma

On Monday, a medical marijuana bill advanced. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-5 to approve Senate Bill 1120, which would allow for the use of medical marijuana. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ervin Yen (R-Oklahoma City), has implied that he filed the bill as an alternative to a medical marijuana initiative, State Question 788, which is already set for the June ballot.

Tennessee

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill advanced. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee narrowly approved a medical marijuana bill. The committee voted 4-3 in favor of House Bill 1749, with the key vote provided by House Speaker Beth Harwell.

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

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Joint-Smoking IL US House Candidate, DEA Link to Mexico Murders, More... (2/28/18)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 02/28/2018 - 21:09

An Illinois Democratic congressional candidate goes bold on weed, New Jersey legalization efforts face an uphill battle in the Senate, congressional Democrats call for investigations into DEA-linked drug war deaths in Mexico, and more.

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

Illinois Democratic Congressional Candidate Smokes Joint in Ad. Former FBI national security official and current Logan Park restaurateur Benjamin Thomas Wolfe is running for the Democratic nomination for Illinois' 5th congressional district -- and he's putting marijuana legalization front and center. A photograph Wolf released Monday features him sitting in front of an American flag painting. Above him, smoke rises from the joint he presumably just puffed on. "As a cannabis user, I think it's important we get out front and talk about it," Wolf said. "We realize that cannabis can bring billions of dollars to the state, it's medicine for millions of people around the country, it changes criminal justice reform and personally I think it's a wonderful recreational substance as well."

New Hampshire Poll Finds Strong Support for Legalization -- Without Sales. A new Granite State poll has across the board support for a bill that would legalize the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana, but not sale or taxation of it. The poll had support at 56% overall, with 61% of Democrats, 56% of independents, and 49% of Republicans behind it.

New Jersey Senate Survey Suggests Hard Road Ahead for Legalization. A survey of all 40 state Senate members by NJ Cannabis Insider finds there is some work to be done before the body is prepared to pass a legalization bill. The survey found only five senators said they would vote yes, 20 would vote no, and 15 were either undecided or did not reply. A legalization bill, Senate Bill 830, awaits a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Medical Marijuana

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Advances. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee narrowly approved a medical marijuana bill Tuesday. The committee voted 4-3 in favor of House Bill 1749, with the key vote provided by House Speaker Beth Harwell.

Harm Reduction

New York Advocates Call on Mayor de Blasio to Release Study on Safe Injection Sites. Advocates led by the Drug Policy Alliance, Housing Works, and Camelot gathered at city hall Tuesday to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio release a $100,000 study on the feasibility of safe injection sites. De Blasio said last month he would release the results "relatively soon." On Tuesday, the Health Department again said "soon." The city council authorized safe injection sites two years ago.

Law Enforcement

Congressional Democrats Want Investigation into Mexico Murders Linked to DEA Activities. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have sent a letter to the Justice and State departments asking that their inspectors general investigate DEA-led operations in Mexico that triggered violent retaliation from drug cartels, leading to the death or disappearance of dozens or even hundreds of people. The Democrats cited a 2010 cartel attack in Monterrey and a 2011 massacre by Zetas in the state of Coahuila. In both cases, the killings were linked to DEA surveillance activities, and in both cases, the DEA downplayed its involvement and didn't help investigate the killings.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's 501(c)(4) lobbying nonprofit, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Yarmouth Recreation Director Expresses Concern About Cannabis

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 02/28/2018 - 08:00
The Yarmouth Vanguard, 28 Feb 2018 - Regulations as to where cannabis can be used are needed, officials say With the upcoming legalization of cannabis, Yarmouth's recreation director, Frank Grant, has big concerns. "One of the things that we have concerns of with legalized cannabis is how it's going to be used on the street, in our parks, in our sports fields, in our parking lots or outside gymnasiums or halls," he said.
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Chronicle AM: DOJ Targets Big Pharma Opioids, Denver Cannabis Social Club Is a First, More... (2/27/18)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 21:20

Another federal marijuana rescheduling effort has bit the dust, the US attorney general announces a new front in the war on opioids, a Denver cafe will become the nation's first licensed marijuana social club, and more.

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

Federal Judge Throws Out Marijuana Rescheduling Case. A US district court judge in Manhattan has thrown out the latest lawsuit challenging marijuana's scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act. Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ruled Monday that plaintiffs should use administrative remedies to reschedule the substance. If they want pot's status changed, the judge held, they need to get the administration to reschedule it or get Congress to rewrite the drug law. This is at least the fifth effort to reschedule marijuana, going back to the 1970s.

Denver Approves First Social Use Club License. The Coffee Joint in Denver has become the nation's first business licensed to allow marijuana use on premises by people 21 or older. Customers will be able to vape or consume edibles that they bring to the café. The club will not allow any smoking, which, under state law, can only be permitted outdoors, and it will not sell marijuana products.

Medical Marijuana

Indiana CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Advances. The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee voted 6-2 Tuesday to approve House Bill 1214, which would legalize the use of CBD cannabis oil with less than 0.3% THC. The bill would also loosen registration provisions on an existing CBD law that has so far failed to get the medicine to patients.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Bill Advances. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-5 Monday to approve Senate Bill 1120, which would allow for the use of medical marijuana. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ervin Yen (R-Oklahoma City), has implied that he filed the bill as an alternative to a medical marijuana initiative, State Question 788, that is already set for the June ballot.

Industrial Hemp

Kansas Senate Passes Hemp Bill. The state Senate voted 36-3 last Thursday to approval Senate Bill 263, which would allow the state Department of Agriculture to grow and promote the research and development of industrial hemp. The department would be able to grow its own hemp or partner with a state university, and individual farmers would be able to grow it under state license. The bill now goes to the House.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

US Attorney General Announces Plan to Go After Opioid Manufacturers, Distributors. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that he has created a Justice Department task force to that will target opioid manufacturers and distributors and hold them accountable for unlawful practices. "Opioid abuse is driving the deadliest drug crisis in American history," said Sessions at a news conference with several US attorneys. "It has strained our public health and law enforcement resources and bankrupted countless families across this country."

Categories: Marijuana

US MA: State Shuts Down Retail Sales At Medical Marijuana Shops In

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 27 Feb 2018 - The state Department of Public Health has suspended retail sales of medical marijuana products at Healthy Pharms Inc. until further notice after a sample tested positive for a pesticide, officials said Monday. The company, which has retail locations in Cambridge and Georgetown, notified the state on Friday that a sample batch of marijuana was found to contain bifenthrin, a pesticide commonly used in food products, the Department of Public Health said in a statement.
Categories: Marijuana

US MA: Marijuana Regulators Strike Licensing Compromise

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 27 Feb 2018 - State regulators voted Monday to limit the roll-out of recreational marijuana sales in July, postponing licensing of home delivery services and pot lounges while allowing retail pot shops and their suppliers to open in July as scheduled. The Cannabis Control Commission had been under pressure to delay delivery and "social consumption" operations from Governor Charlie Baker and other political figures, law enforcement officials, and medical marijuana business interests, who had argued the nascent agency was trying to do too much at the outset and would struggle to oversee so many different types of operations.
Categories: Marijuana

CN AB: Weed Legalization Issues Hit Home

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:00
Metro, 27 Feb 2018 - Realtors and condo boards scramble to find solutions Realtors and condo boards are sparking up conversations about pot as legalization looms. Anand Sharma, president and condominium manager with the Northern Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Condominium Institute, said condo corporations should start revising their rules if they haven't already to prevent sticky situations when tenants start lighting up legally.
Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Ottawa Convenes Summit On Guns, Gangs, Drugs

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 27 Feb 2018 - Cities across Canada are struggling to contain gang violence. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has convened a summit on gun violence in Canada to find the best way to deal with the growing problems linked to criminal gangs and the illegal drug trade.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Trump Wants to Execute Drug Dealers, Brazil Drug War Targets Rio Slums, More... (2/26/18)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 21:59

The president makes downright scary remarks about killing drug dealers, the Brazilian army and cops roar into Rio's favelas, California's Democratic Party reaffirms its support of legal pot, and more.

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

Arizona Legalization Bill Snuffed Out. A bill that would have legalized marijuana in the state was snuffed out last week by House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee Chairman Eddie Farnswoth (R-Chandler). The measure, House Concurrent Resolution 2037 would, if passed, have put the issue directly before voters in a referendum.

California Democrats Reaffirm Commitment to Legal Marijuana, Diss Anti-Pot Feinstein. Meeting over the weekend, the California Democratic Party approved numerous platform planks in support of marijuana legalization, including one that says they "support the ongoing legalization, regulation, and taxation of cannabis in a manner similar to that of tobacco or alcohol, while prioritizing the health, education, and safety of California's communities and the country over revenue or profits." In other action, the state party failed to provide its endorsement to Sen. Diane Feinstein, who has lagged far behind other state Democrats when it comes to marijuana policy.

Maine Legalization Implementation Bill Kills Off Social Clubs, Tax Revenue Sharing. The Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee took a final vote on the overhauled implementation bill Friday. The final version of the bill contains no provision for marijuana social clubs, nor does it allow for the sharing of marijuana tax revenues to the state with localities that allow marijuana businesses. The excise tax on wholesale marijuana is set at 21.5%, or about $335 a pound at current prices. The measure will go before the whole legislature in a few weeks.

Ohio Legalization Initiative Could Be Delayed to 2019 or 2020. At a press conference last Friday, Cincinnati businessman Jimmy Gould, the man behind the failed 2015 "monopoly marijuana" legalization initiative, said his plans to get another initiative on the ballot may not come to fruition this year. He said language for the proposed measure was not yet set and the initiative may not appear on the ballot until 2019 or 2020. The deadline to hand in enough vote signatures to qualify for the ballot this year is July 4.

Medical Marijuana

Idaho CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Advances. The House Health and Welfare Committee has approved House Bill 577, which would legalize the possession of low-THC CBD oil for medical use. The bill advanced despite the opposition of law enforcement and the Idaho Office of Drug Policy. It now heads for a House floor vote.

Sentencing

Trump Says He Wants to Execute All Drug Dealers. President Trump has been making some disturbing authoritarian and blood-thirsty private remarks about what he'd like to do to drug dealers, according to a new report from Axios. Worse yet, his dark fulminations may foreshadow some repressive policy prescriptions not too far down the road. Trump seems obsessed with fighting drugs, according to the Axios report. It cites five sources who've spoken with Trump on the subject who say "he often leaps into a passionate speech about how drug dealers are as bad as serial killers and should all get the death penalty" and that softer approaches to drug reform will never work.

Arizona Bill Would Impose Mandatory Minimums on First Time Heroin, Fentanyl Sellers. A bill that would create five-year mandatory minimum sentences for first-time heroin and fentanyl sellers passed the House last week. House Bill 2241 now heads to the Senate.

International

Brazilian Army, Rio de Janeiro Cops in Massive Anti-Drug Operation. The army and the state police have launched a massive anti-drug operation in several favelas (shantytowns) on the west side of the city, military spokesmen announced last Friday. More than 3,000 soldiers and police are taking part in the operations in Vila Alianca, Coreija, and Vila Kennedy. In the latter, there have been at least 13 shoot outs between drug traffickers and police since January. The operation started just days after an army sergeant and police commander were killed there last week.

Colombia Coca-Country Clashes Are Creating Refugee Flows. Three-way fighting between rightist paramilitaries, leftist ELN guerrillas, and the Colombian military in the coca-rich Bajo Cauca region some 80 miles north of Medellin has displaced some 1,500 people already, with the prospect of more to come. "The clashes between the armed groups continue to cause fear amongst the indigenous communities and rural populations," said the Norwegian Refugee Council, which is assisting victims of the violence.

Manila Demonstrators Protest Philippines Drug War. Thousands of marchers organized by Catholic groups took to the streets of Manila Saturday in a "walk for life" to protest the thousands of killings that have occurred under President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody crackdown on drugs. "We will not tire in walking for life even if the path ahead is winding and soaked in blood," Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

Philippines Police Kill Ten in Night of Bloody Drug Raids. In the single bloodiest night of the country's drug war since police resumed participation in December, police said they killed 10 suspected drug dealers and arrested 63 more last Wednesday night. The operations took place in Bulacan, north of Manila, the capital. Police said the suspects were killed in eight separate towns during 45 "buy-bust" incidents.

Categories: Marijuana

Rick Steves Has Three Must-Sees for a Jeff Sessions European Drug Policy Trip

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 18:05

PBS star and prolific travel guidebook author Rick Steves is a prominent advocate of marijuana legalization and drug reform. For years, he has advocated for freeing the weed and adopting a more moderate, European-style approach to drug policy.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]He has enjoyed successes, playing a leading role in bringing the public around in Washington state, which legalized weed in 2012, and continuing to make his high-profile calls for more enlightened drug policies. But now, the Trump administration, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular, is trying to put the brakes on, and that got Steves thinking.

In response, as Rolling Stone reports, Steves has now combined his travel savvy and his drug reform advocacy in proposing an eye-opening, pot-centric European travel itinerary tailor-made for Sessions in the hope that some of the Old World tolerance would rub off on him.

Here are the three must-sees on Steves' Sessions European drug policy itinerary:

1. Switzerland. "I would take him to Switzerland and we'd go to a heroin maintenance clinic," Steves said, referring to the country's pioneering and non-criminal approach to opioid addiction.

2. Barcelona. Cannabis clubs are allowed there. "In Spain they can't sell marijuana but they can grow it. In practice, they don't want to grow it so they join a club that grows it collectively, and they can enjoy the harvest."

3. The Netherlands. Steves said he would take the attorney general to one of those famous Dutch "coffee shops" where adults can legally purchase small amounts of weed. "After the coffee shop, we'd visit a mayor and a policeman and have [Sessions] listen to the mayor and policeman explain why they'd rather have coffee shops than have marijuana sold on the street," Steves says.

Although he didn't mention it, there is one other European destination that could be an eye-opener for Sessions:

4. Portugal.The Iberian nation decriminalized the possession of all drugs in 2001. And not only is it still standing, it has drug use levels similar to other European countries, but without all the arrests.

Of course, Sessions is unlikely to take Steves up on his offer and even more unlikely to be convinced by saner European approaches, but Steves' point is still made: There are better ways of dealing with drug use and abuse. We just have to acknowledge them.

Categories: Marijuana

California's Marijuana Farmers Are Slow to Join the Legal, Regulated System

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 02/26/2018 - 17:10

The vast majority of California's marijuana growers have yet to try to move into the state's new legal regulatory framework, leaving big questions looming around whether they can survive in the brave new world of legal weed, whether a substantial illicit market will remain, and whether that anticipated tax revenue windfall will actually materialize.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]According to a report released Monday by the California Growers Association, representing mainly small-scale growers across the state, fewer than 1% of growers have been licensed so far. That's a measly 534 licensed growers out of an estimated 68,000 in the state.

The report, "An Emerging Crisis: Barriers To Entry In California Cannabis," identifies a number of obstacles for small producers and warns that those issues must be addressed if participation is to increase and a post-legalization law enforcement crackdown is to be avoided.

"Without broad participation, legalization will look a lot like prohibition," with many illicit growers, the report concludes. "The current system will not achieve its goals without fundamental and structural changes that allow small and independent businesses to enter into compliance."

Obstacles to participation include lack of access to the financial sector. the high costs of complying with regulatory and tax burdens, state regulations that seem perversely designed to weed out small competitors, slow-moving or sometimes hostile local governments, and a saturated market.

As one Sonoma County cultivator put it in the report:

The unintended consequence of making it so difficult at the local and state level to enter the regulated market is that 80-90% of those who were working with dispensaries prior to 1/1/2018 are being pushed to the black market. This is not only bad for the regulated market because so much high quality product is now flooding into the black market, but crime is increasing as a result as well.

I am truly heartbroken to see what the regulatory system has done to the artisan cultivators and manufacturers who were creating diverse, boutique products. These people who built this industry are not allowed to participate. I hope we can course correct this year.

State and local governments need to make course corrections now "or else a staggering number of businesses will fail, while staggeringly few enjoy significant growth," the report warned. "Many of the best growers -- the most dedicated and passionate artisans who can add tremendous value to the state marketplace -- are the ones being left behind."

It's unlikely all those pot farms are just going to dry up and blow away, though. The report notes that the state currently produces about 15 million pounds of marijuana each year, but that only 3 million pounds are consumed in-state. That means the vast majority of California-grown marijuana is already heading for out-state markets in prohibitionist states. Quick action to make California's legal markets more friendly to small producers may eventually entice more to fight their way into the regulated economy, but it's going to take the end of prohibition in the rest of the country to end California's black market marijuana exports.

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