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Chronicle AM: ME Mj Bills, OH Mj Init, VA Heroin Bills, WY Drug & Asset Forfeiture; More (1/20/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 20:39

State legislative sessions are getting underway, and drug policy-related bills are popping up all over. There's good, bad, and ugly. Let's get to it:

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

Alaska Bill Would Delay Regulations for Marijuana Concentrates. Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) last Friday filed House Bill 59, which would delay regulations for concentrates by up to a year. That conflicts with the language of the marijuana legalization initiative, and has legalization supporters unhappy. Click on the story link for more details.

A Big Batch of Pot Bills in Maine. There are at least 15 marijuana-related bills pending before the state legislature, including one that would legalize, tax, and regulate the weed. Rep. Dianne Russell (D-Portland), sponsor of the legalization bill, is also sponsoring four medical marijuana bills. Another bill, sponsored by the Department of Public Safety, would set a limit on the amount of THC drivers could have in their systems. Click on the link for more detail.

Nebraska Bill Would Make Pot Concentrates a Felony. The state decriminalized pot possession in the 1970s, but a bill being pushed by the state attorney general's office, LB 326, would begin to undo that by making possession of marijuana concentrates not just a misdemeanor, but a felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison. It's been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Responsible Ohio Lays Out its Vision for Legalization. The group wants to put a constitutional amendment to legalize pot on the November 2015 ballot, and today announced details of its proposal. The initiative would create a Marijuana Control Commission, allow for 10 licensed commercial grows, allow for marijuana manufacturing facilities that would sell only to retailers, allow for nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, and would tax marijuana at a 15% rate. Click on either link for more.

Heroin

Virginia Legislature Sees Heroin Bills Filed. At least four bills have been filed that seek to address the toll of heroin addiction and overdoses. House Bill 1638 would make people who provided drugs that resulted in a fatal overdose liable for a second degree murder charge; House Bill 1500 is a limited 911 Good Samaritan bill; House Bill 1458 would expand access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, and Senate Bill 817 would expand the state's prescription monitoring program to allow probation and parole officers to access the database.

Asset Forfeiture

Wyoming Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Advances to Senate Floor. A bill that would bar police from seizing people's property unless they are charged with a felony drug crime passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday and now awaits a Senate floor vote. Senate File 14 drew late opposition from the offices of Gov. Matt Mead (R) and Attorney General Peter Michael (R), which claimed they would have to charge more people with felonies if they couldn't just take their money, but legislators expressed irritation at the late objections when the bill has been in process for months.

Drug Policy

Wyoming Bill Would Lighten Up on Repeated Drug Possession Punishments. Under current law, people convicted a third time in their lives for misdemeanor drug possession face felony penalties. House Bill 109 would change state law to make the felony penalties apply on the forth conviction, and the previous convictions would have to have happened in the past five years, instead of throughout the convict's lifetime, which is current law. There are at least three other bills relating to drug possession before the legislature; click on the title link to read more.

Drug Testing

Montana Food Stamps Drug Testing Bill Filed. Rep. Randy Pinocci (R-Sun River) Monday filed House Bill 200, which would require all applicants for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, the food stamps program) to be screened for evidence of drug abuse. Those whose screening suggests a possible issue would be required to undergo a drug test. People who test positive for drugs wouldn't be allowed to receive benefits unless they agreed to complete a 30-day drug treatment program.

Harm Reduction

Michigan Cops Start Carrying Overdose Reversal Drug. Deputies in Oakland County have begun carrying naloxone opioid overdose reversal kits in a bid to reduce overdoses. That was made possible by the passage last year of Senate Bill 1049, which allowed law enforcement agencies to distribute the drug to police who have been trained to use it.

International

German Cops Tired of Messing Around With Small Time Drug Crimes. The country's police union is calling for "soft" drug offenses and other minor crimes to be decriminalized so police can focus on serious crime and terrorism. German police are also faced with shrinking numbers due to mandatory retirement of officers.

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CN BC: Marijuana Bylaw Bans Terrible Odours

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:00
Langley Advance, 20 Jan 2015 - MARIJUANA BYLAW BANS TERRIBLE ODOURS Langley Township can't ban medical pot growing, but it will regulate excessive odour. A bylaw that will penalize medical pot growers for foul odours was given preliminary approval by Langley Township council.
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US IL: Column: Medical Pot Is Not About Cheech & Chong or Drug

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:00
Chicago Sun-Times, 20 Jan 2015 - What a shame that it's not looking good for medical marijuana in Illinois. Illinois became the 20th state to allow medical marijuana under a pilot program approved Aug. 1, 2013. Yet, the process dragged on, and former Gov. Pat Quinn left office without finalizing it. Now our current governor has said, "I'm concerned about the process," so the waiting game continues.
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US NC: OPED: Congress Must Address Scourge Of Mandatory

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:00
News & Observer, 20 Jan 2015 - In a notable instance of bipartisanship, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) co-sponsored a bill last session seeking to address concerns about the harmful effects of mandatory minimum sentencing. If it had passed, the Justice Safety Valve Act would have allowed judges to deviate from mandatory minimums in instances where they deemed a lesser sentence to be warranted. Mandatory minimums imposed by legislatures prescribe specific sentences for certain offenses, particularly those involving drugs. This policy was intended to alleviate reasonable concerns that the discretion afforded to judges resulted in varied sentences for defendants who had committed similar crimes. Although uniformity in punishment and equal treatment under law ought to be objectives of a functioning legal system, mandatory minimums routinely result in unnecessarily lengthy prison sentences while also failing to deter crime. A government ought not deprive a citizen of his liberty except if he poses a concrete risk to the security of others. Many sentenced under mandatory minimums are nonviolent offenders who would have received lighter sentences or even probation but were required to be incarcerated. Weldon Angelos, a man with no prior convictions, was sentenced to 55 years in prison for selling marijuana while carrying a firearm. The U.S. District Court judge who was bound by the mandatory minimum when sentencing Angelos called the punishment "unjust, cruel and even irrational."
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Chronicle AM: NY Pot Legalization Bill, DEA Gathered Metadata, Indonesia Executions Reaction, More (1/19/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 20:37

New York has a marijuana legalization bill, New Hampshire ponders a study of legalization, Rhode Island patients get a vapor lounge, the DEA has another means of surveilling Americans, Indonesia's resort to the death penalty for drugs stirs controversy, and more. Let's get to it:

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

New York Legalization Bill Filed. State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) has filed a bill to legalize marijuana. SO1747 would allow for the taxation and regulation of marijuana commerce. Notably, it also sets the age for legal marijuana use at 18, instead of the more common 21.

New Hampshire Hearing on Legalization Study Committee. A bill that would establish a study committee on marijuana legalization got a hearing today. The bill is HB 150.

Medical Marijuana

Florida Chooses Medical Marijuana Rulemakers. The state Office of Compassionate Use has selected a 12-member panel to craft rules for growing and distributing low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana under a state law passed last year. The panel will meet during the first week of February to set up a regulatory structure for five nurseries that will be selected to grow, process, and distribute the medicine.

Rhode Island's First Vapor Lounge Opens. Rhode Island patients can now have a place where they can gather and enjoy their medicine together. The Elevated vapor lounge opened in Providence Saturday.

Asset Forfeiture

Colorado Bill Would End Civil Forfeiture. Freshman state Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) has filed a bill that would stop police from seizing assets unless the owner is convicted of a crime. Senate Bill 2015-006 would end civil forfeiture without a conviction unless there is a settlement with all parties, including the owner, to agree to give up the property. Woods said the bill is an effort to block "policing for profit."

Law Enforcement

DEA Kept Secret Metadata Database. The DEA kept a secret database of telephone metadata -- entirely separate from the NSA program revealed by Edward Snowden -- covering calls between parties in the US and ones in other countries. The information, contained in a three-page,partially-redacted affidavit from a top DEA official, was revealed in a court filing last week in a case involving trade with Iran. The DEA used "administrative subpoenas" authorized under a federal drug trafficking statute to collect the data. The program was ended in 2013. Click on the link for much more detail.

International

Fury as Indonesia Executes Six Drug Traffickers, Including Five Foreigners. As promised by President Joko Widodo, Indonesia put to death six convicted drug traffickers Sunday, including citizens of Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria, the Netherlands, and Vietnam. Brazil and the Netherlands reacted angrily, with both countries recalling their ambassadors from Jakarta. Brazilin President Dilma Roussef said she was "distressed and outraged" after Indonesia ignored her last minute plea for clemency. "Using the death penalty, which is increasingly rejected by the international community, seriously affects relations between our countries," the Brazilian government said in a statement. The Dutch government called the executions "terribly sad" and emphasized that it remains opposed to the death penalty. But President Widodo defended the executions in a Facebook post: "The war against the drug mafia should not be half-hearted measures, because drugs have really ruined the good life of the drug users and their families," he said.

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Canada: Focus: Municipalities Grappling With Location Of Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 08:00
Law Times, 19 Jan 2015 - Issue emerges after federal government changes rules for medical production The promise of a fledgling industry about to burst onto the Canadian scene has led many to startups lining up to cash in on green gold.
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US CA: Mendocino County To Vote On Creation Of Pot Panel

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 08:00
The Press Democrat, 19 Jan 2015 - Officials in pot-rich Mendocino County are thinking ahead to the potential economic impacts of what they see as the inevitable legalization of marijuana for general use. "Whether it's at the state Legislature or the ballot box, it is foreseeable that we will have legalization for personal recreational use within the next two years," said Supervisor John McCowen, one of two board members nominated to sit on a proposed committee that would study the issue. The county can either prepare for that event or wait on the sidelines, he said.
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US OR: Oregon Lawmakers Busy Filing Marijuana Bills

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 08:00
The Bulletin, 19 Jan 2015 - SALEM - Oregon legislators filed more than a dozen marijuana-related bills last week, giving early insight into how they'll tinker with a new law that will legalize recreational marijuana starting this July. The proposals show what lawmakers may do now that Oregon is the nation's fourth state to take on regulation of the federally banned drug.
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US FL: State Pot Committee Heavy With Commercial Interests

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 19 Jan 2015 - Florida's rules for medical marijuana will be crafted in part by a 12-member panel that includes Winter Garden nurseryman Bruce Knox and at least eight others in position to make money from the law. The 12 make up a committee formed to help the Florida Department of Health determine how to select, license and regulate Florida companies to grow a non-euphoric cannabis, make a medicinal oil from it and sell it to patients.
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US WY: Mead Supports Suing Feds, Not Colorado Over

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 08:00
Casper Star-Tribune, 19 Jan 2015 - CHEYENNE -- Gov. Matt Mead believes Wyomingites are likely purchasing legal marijuana in Colorado and taking it home, and he blames the federal government, he said Friday. At an annual gathering of the Wyoming Press Association at the Little America Hotel, Mead talked about his opposition to legalization.
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US DC: Council Sets Up Pot Bill Hearings

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 08:00
Washington Times, 19 Jan 2015 - Move to Gauge How Lawmakers Challenge Congress The D.C. Council is pursuing a regulatory scheme for the sale and taxation of marijuana, scheduling hearings on proposed legislation that flies in the face of congressional attempts to prevent the District from loosening its drug laws.
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US AK: Interior Alaska Entrepreneurs, Policymakers Prepare for

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 18 Jan 2015 - FAIRBANKS - Alaska's marijuana laws begin to get a lot more permissive in about five weeks: Recreational marijuana use will be legal for people older than 21 on Feb. 24. Voters statewide made that choice in November when they approved a broad state initiative that also allows for the legalized but regulated sale of marijuana, marijuana products and marijuana accessories beginning next year, following the required adoption of regulations later this year.
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Turkey: PKK Makes Use of Legal Loopholes to Maintain Drug

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:00
Today's Zaman, 18 Jan 2015 - A General Directorate of Security (EGM) report on the fight against drug-trafficking and production has revealed that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) makes millions of dollars growing marijuana in the southeastern provinces by exploiting the lack of effective legal measures to tackle illegal drug production in areas that are not monitored by the government. The report also indicated that mines are placed around the fields and that snipers occupy high positions to protect the marijuana fields from outside intruders.
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US CO: Odd Byproduct of Legal Marijuana: Homes That Blow Up

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:00
New York Times, 18 Jan 2015 - DENVER - When Colorado legalized marijuana two years ago, nobody was quite ready for the problem of exploding houses. But that is exactly what firefighters, courts and lawmakers across the state are confronting these days: amateur marijuana alchemists who are turning their kitchens and basements into "Breaking Bad"-style laboratories, using flammable chemicals to extract potent drops of a marijuana concentrate commonly called hash oil, and sometimes accidentally blowing up their homes and lighting themselves on fire in the process.
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US IL: Green Behind The Grass

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:00
Chicago Sun-Times, 18 Jan 2015 - Costs Adding Up for Medical Pot Entrepreneurs In the world of medical marijuana entrepreneurs in Illinois, there's plenty of green behind the grass. Hundreds of would-be medical marijuana growers and sellers have put millions of dollars on the line hoping for coveted state permits that were supposed to be issued by former Gov. Pat Quinn by the end of last year.
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US FL: Editorial: Lead Or Be Eclipsed On Medical Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 18 Jan 2015 - Those who opposed last year's push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida raised several concerns. They feared it would allow children to get medical pot from their doctor. They feared it would be prescribed for just about anything, including a hangnail. They feared caregivers would become drug dealers. And above all else, they said it had no business as an amendment to the state constitution. In November, Amendment 2 came close to passing with 58 percent of the vote, just shy of the 60 percent needed. At the time, its principal backer, Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, promised he'd be back. And Monday, he filed paperwork to start the process for placing a revised initiative on the 2016 ballot.
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US: Cartels Quickly Adapting To Looser U.S. Marijuana Laws

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 18 Jan 2015 - At the US-Mexico Border, a Flood of Heroin, Meth Show the Trade Is Changing SAN YSIDRO, Calif. - Mexican traffickers are sending a flood of cheap heroin and methamphetamine across the U.S. border, the latest drug-seizure statistics show, in a new sign that America's marijuana decriminalization trend is upending the North American narcotics trade.
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US CO: Increase in Explosions of Home Labs Is Blamed on Colo.

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 01/18/2015 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 18 Jan 2015 - DENVER - When Colorado legalized marijuana two years ago, one problem was not fully anticipated: exploding houses. But that is exactly what firefighters, courts, and lawmakers across the state are now confronting. Amateur marijuana alchemists are turning their kitchens and basements into "Breaking Bad"-style laboratories, using flammable chemicals to extract potent drops of a marijuana concentrate commonly called hash oil and sometimes accidentally blowing up their homes and lighting themselves on fire.
Categories: Marijuana

US AK: North Pole To Consider Ban On Marijuana Sales

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 01/17/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 17 Jan 2015 - FAIRBANKS - The North Pole City Council will soon be considering a ban on the sale of marijuana in city limits. Marijuana retail stores do not reflect the values of the Christmas-themed community, a draft ordinance states.
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Chronicle AM: Major Asset Forfeiture Reform Move, NCAA Drug Policy Review, Indonesia Executions, More (1/16/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 22:19

Attorney General Holder announces a major civil asset forfeiture reform move, the NCAA will review its drug policies, a Vermont report on the impact of pot legalization has been released, and more. Let's get to it:

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

No Marijuana Stores in Alaska's Capital Until October. The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly has approved a moratorium on marijuana-related businesses until October 19. City officials will not consider any land use or other permits until the moratorium expires, meaning pot businesses won't be able to grow crops or prepare for retail sales until then.

Report on Impact of Legalization in Vermont Released. Vermont could make tens of millions of dollars in marijuana revenues a year, according to a new comprehensive report released today. The report was commissioned by the state legislature and serves as a policy guide as the state considers legalization. It lays out various options for legalization.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Dead. Rep. Allen Peake's House Bill 1, which would have allowed for the use of high-CBD cannabis oil to treat seizures in children, has died before even being introduced. The bill died after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) announced his support for another CBD bill, which is yet to be written.

Kansas Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally in Topeka. Several dozen medical marijuana supporters were joined by a pair of Democratic lawmakers at a statehouse rally today to call for legalizing the medicinal use of the herb. The two legislators, Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita) and Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), filed medical marijuana bills prior to the start of this year's legislative session. Similar measures have been filed since 2009, but none of them have made it to the discussion stage in committee.

Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Holder Blocks Federal Asset Forfeiture Sharing Program. In the boldest civil asset forfeiture reform move in years, Holder has barred federal agencies from participating in the Equitable Sharing asset forfeiture program, under which state and local police seeking to circumvent state asset forfeiture laws would let federal agencies "adopt" the seizures. Under the program, the police agency got up to 80% of the proceeds, while state laws typically require them to be deposited in designated accounts, such as the general fund or education funds. Click on the link for the full story.

Drug Policy

NCAA to Consider Revamping Its Drug Policy. In the wake of criticism for suspending a University of Oregon football player for pot smoking just before the collegiate national championship game, and after its Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports informally recommended it, the NCAA will examine proposed changes to its policies for testing both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. The NCAA's standard for marijuana, for instance, it 10 times that used for airline pilots.

International

Stratfor Report on Mexican Drug Trafficking. The Austin-based private intelligence group has released a free, condensed version of its annual Mexican drug cartel report. Check it out at the link.

Indonesia Set to Execute Six Drug Convicts Sunday. New President Joko Widodo appears to be living up to his vow to not grant clemency to death row drug prisoners. The Indonesian Attorney General's Office announced Friday that it will execute six convicted drug traffickers Sunday. Widodo signed off on the executions last month.

Categories: Marijuana
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