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CN ON: Column: Juries Can Also Sit In Judgment Of Our Laws

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:00
The Sun Times, 17 Jul 2014 - My column last week advocating the abolition of civil jury trials caused some confusion. To be clear, I am not advocating the abolition of juries for criminal trials. The right to a jury trial is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for anyone charged with an offence - other than under military law - for which there is a potential sentence of five years or more. More noteworthy is the fact a criminal jury can serve as society's conscience.
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Canada: High Time Marijuana Laws Loosened, Majority Of

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 17 Jul 2014 - OTTAWA- A strong majority of Canadians think the federal government should either legalize marijuana or decriminalize the possession of small amounts, according to a new Department of Justice poll obtained by the Star. The poll, kept secret by the Conservatives for months, found 70 per cent of respondents believe pot laws should be loosened.
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US MI: Medicinal Marijuana Laws Still Confusing, Hard to

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:00
The Voice, 17 Jul 2014 - On the agenda for the July 15 meeting was a proposed resolution "declaring a 120-day moratorium on the consideration of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city." The Algonac City Council passed the resolution unanimously. Relying on the federal laws regarding marijuana to trump state and local regulations to avoid "some of the perceived negative impacts of marijuana use and possession" was ruled unconstitutional recently by the Michigan Supreme Court, reported city attorney Jim Downey.
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US AZ: Column: Strain Selecting

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 17 Jul 2014 - Sure, it seems cool to have cannabis choices galore, but the buyer still needs to beware By Brad Poole I lived in Germany for a few years back in the day, and one of the stark differences between my grocery store there and the ones I was used to was the comparative lack of choices.
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US CA: Editorial: Lessons California Can Learn From

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 17 Jul 2014 - Earlier this month, Washington state residents joined those in Colorado in enjoying the legal recreational use of marijuana. It's been six months since Coloradans have been able to buy pot in retail stores, and some preliminary results are in as far as tax revenues and the effect legalization has had on crime rates. Both are favorable. News reports reveal Colorado has collected $11 million in marijuana sales taxes so far and expects that number to grow to around $200 million over the next four years. In addition, violent-crime rates have dropped 10 percent over last year in Denver.
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US CA: Column: Where Is That CBD?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 17 Jul 2014 - I am looking for a dispensary somewhere in Sacramento or close by that might have marijuana that is high CBD and very low THC. I know you can find it in Colorado, however, I am hoping it is possible to find it locally. - -Nanette
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US AZ: Reefer Research Madness

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 17 Jul 2014 - 22 American veterans with PTSD are killing themselves every day. Why are Andy Biggs and Ann Weaver-Hart unwilling to find out if marijuana would help? When UA President Ann Weaver Hart unveiled a new strategic plan last year to the Arizona Board of Regents, she and other administrators made it clear this was about transforming Tucson's land-grant university into a grant-producing super-research center of higher learning ready to grow economies and minds.
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House Votes to Let Banks Take Deposits from Marijuana Businesses

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 23:43

In an historic vote Wednesday, the US House has approved an amendment to the Treasury Department appropriations bill barring the agency from spending any money to punish financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses in states where it is legal.

[image:1 align:left]The amendment was sponsored by Reps. Heck (D-WA), Perlmutter (D-CO), Lee (D-CA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA). It passed with bipartisan support.

This is the second time in less than two months that the House has voted to roll back marijuana law enforcement. In May, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws and passed two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.

"Congress is yet again rejecting the failed war on marijuana," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "They have read the poll numbers and are doing both what is right and what is politically smart."

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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 21:41

A CBD cannabis oil bill becomes law in Missouri, the District of Columbia expands its medical marijuana program, Michigan prepares to improve its program, Berkeley will provide free medical marijuana for the poor and homeless, an LA medical marijuana farmers' market gets an injunction slapped on it, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Arizona

Last Wednesday, the Department of Health authorized medical marijuana for PTSD. The Department of Health Services announced that it is authorizing the use of marijuana for patients suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Its use is not approved for treatment of the condition itself, but only for palliative care of PTSD symptoms.

As of this Wednesday, thousands have signed a petition supporting a fired University of Arizona medical marijuana researcher. A petition demanding that the University of Arizona research scientist Dr. Suzanne Sisley be rehired after being fired after she won federal approval to study marijuana for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder has received more than 27,000 signatures. Sisley make no bones about blaming conservative Arizona political figures for her firing. Click on the link to read her comments.

California

Last Tuesday, the Berkeley city council gave initial approval for free medical marijuana for the poor and homeless. The council has given gave initial approval for an ordinance that would require dispensaries in the city to set aside 2% of their medical marijuana to be given away free to poor and homeless residents who are patients. A second reading is set for next month.

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order against a medical marijuana farmers' market. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order shutting down a medical marijuana farmers' market that drew thousands when it opened a couple of weeks ago. A hearing on a permanent injunction is set for August 6.

Also on Tuesday, Fresno County supervisors imposed the largest medical marijuana fine yet. Supervisors levied a $99,000 fine against a man caught growing 99 plants on his property near Laton earlier this year. The county has imposed a fine of $1,000 per plant for cultivating marijuana, which it has banned. Supervisors also approved raising the cap on spending to defend its medical marijuana ordinance from $50,000 to $210,000.

District of Columbia

On Tuesday, the city council approved medical marijuana expansion. The council approved legislation to loosen restrictions on the District's medical marijuana program. The measure replaces a restrictive list of defined illnesses and conditions with a blanket authority for doctors to recommend medical marijuana for "any condition for which treatment with medical marijuana would be beneficial, as determined by the patient's physician."

Iowa

Last Thursday, a terminally ill cancer patient was convicted of growing his own medicine. A state court jury in Davenport that never heard Benton Mackenzie's medical marijuana defense has convicted the terminally ill cancer patient on four felony drug charges related to growing marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of his disease. The 48-year-old angiosarcoma sufferer now faces a possible mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence, although prosecutors could seek probation.

Michigan

Last week, a key legislator said he expects the Senate to vote on improving the state's medical marijuana law this week. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R) said he expects the Senate to vote this week on a pair of measures to improve the state's medical marijuana program. One would allow localities to govern their own dispensaries; the other would allow the sale of edibles and concentrates.

Minnesota

Last Friday, Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) named 16 people to the medical marijuana task force. The panel is charged with monitoring the effectiveness of the state's new limited medical marijuana law. Included are four patients or their parents, four law enforcement entities, four substance abuse treatment providers and four health care providers. Two lawmakers each from the House and Senate, as well as the commissioners of Health, Human Services and Public Safety are also on the panel. Click on the link for a list of members.

Missouri

On Monday, Gov. Jay Nixon signed a CBD cannabis oil bill. He signed into law a bill allowing Missourians with epilepsy that cannot be treated by conventional means to use low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil. Patients will have to register for the state and have a neurologist aver that conventional treatments have not worked.

New Mexico

Last Wednesday, the New Mexico US Attorney said he wouldn't prosecute patients busted at border checkpoints. New Mexico US Attorney Damon Martinez has assured New Mexico politicians that he will not prosecute patients caught with medical marijuana at US Customs and Border Patrol checkpoints. Martinez made the vow in a letter Monday to Rep. Bill McCamley (D-Mesilla Park), who had sought assurances. But Customs and Border Patrol officers would still seize the medicine, he warned.

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

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM -- July 16, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 20:54

The House okays marijuana banking, DC decriminalizes tomorrow, DC expands its medical marijuana program, Miami-Dade taxpayers pay for a particularly heinous killer drug raid, a lot of states did sentencing reforms last year, and more. Let's get to it:

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

House Votes to Let Banks Take Deposits from Marijuana Businesses. In a historic vote this afternoon, the US House has approved an amendment to the Treasury Department appropriations bill barring the agency from spending any money to punish financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses where it is legal. The amendment was sponsored by Reps. Heck (D-WA), Perlmutter (D-CO), Lee (D-CA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA). It passed with bipartisan support.

DC Decriminalization Law Goes Into Effect Tomorrow. As of one minute after midnight, the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana will be decriminalized in the nation's capital. Jail time for pot possession will be replaced with a $25 fine. A Republican-led effort in the House to block it remains alive, but will not stop the law from taking effect -- at least for now. That effort still has to get through the Congress and overcome White House opposition, and that looks like a long-shot at this point.

Grosse Point, Michigan, Initiative to Legalize Up to an Ounce Turns in Signatures. A municipal initiative campaign to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of pot in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Point turned in more than 600 signatures today. The group needs 493 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Grosse Point is one of a handful of Michigan towns with similar campaigns this year, including Berkley, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, and Pleasant Ridge.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, Initiative to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Turns in Signatures. Progress Now New Mexico and Drug Policy Action (the campaign arm of the Drug Policy Alliance) have submitted more than 7,000 signatures for an initiative that would decriminalize the possession of up to an once of marijuana. They need 5,763 to qualify for the ballot.

Medical Marijuana

DC City Council Approves Medical Marijuana Expansion. The city council Tuesday approved legislation to loosen restrictions on the District's medical marijuana program. The measure replaces a restrictive list of defined illnesses and conditions with a blanket authority for doctors to recommend medical marijuana for "any condition for which treatment with medical marijuana would be beneficial, as determined by the patient's physician."

Michigan Legislature Set to Vote on Medical Marijuana Improvement Measures This Week. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R) said he expects the Senate to vote this week on a pair of measures to improve the state's medical marijuana program. One would allow localities to govern their own dispensaries; the other would allow the sale of edibles and concentrates.

LA Medical Marijuana Farmers' Market Hit With Temporary Injunction. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order shutting down a medical marijuana farmers' market that drew thousands when it opened a couple of weeks ago. A hearing on a permanent injunction is set for August 6.

Thousands Sign Petition Supporting Fired University of Arizona Researcher. A petition demanding that the University of Arizona research scientist Dr. Suzanne Sisley be rehired after being fired after she won federal approval to study marijuana for military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder has received more than 27,000 signatures. Sisley made no bones about blaming conservative Arizona political figures for her firing. Click on the link to read her comments.

Harm Reduction

Ohio Cops Slow to Carry Overdose Reversal Drug. Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a law allowing law enforcement officers to carry and administer the opiate overdose reversal drug naloxone in March, but Ohio police are slow to get with the program. Police in Columbus said they have no plans to carry it "anytime soon," and many rural agencies are also unwilling to do it. About 17 people a week are dying from opiate overdoses in Ohio. Under the new law, the drug is also available to friends, family members, and "others who may be in a position" to assist with reversing overdoses.

Law Enforcement

Miami Agrees to Pay in Death Squad-Style Police Drug Robbery Sting Killings. Miami-Dade taxpayers will shell out $600,000 to the families of three men killed by a Miami-Dade SWAT team during a drug house robbery sting. Four men, including an informant for the police, were gunned down when they appeared on the scene of a home they had been told was stuffed with drugs for them to rob. The informant's family didn't join the settlement; it is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court. Police video of the raid shows officers firing dozens of shots into the body of a man already on the ground. It also shows the informant surrendering to police moments before they shot and killed him, too. Prosecutors suspect police officers of misconduct but were unable to develop enough evidence to charge any of them.

Almost All US Wiretaps Are for Suspected Drug Deals. A new Administrative Office of US Courts report reveals that not only did wiretaps hit an all time high last year, but that nearly 90% of them were for drug investigations. Of the 3,576 wiretaps sought by federal law enforcement agencies, 3,115 were for drug investigations.

Sentencing

Vera Institute of Justice Releases Report on 2013 State Sentencing Reforms. The report, Recalibrating Justice: A Review of 2013 State Sentencing and Corrections Trends, finds that 35 states passed at least 85 bills to reform sentencing and corrections last year. The legislation generally focused on reducing prison populations, strengthening community-based corrections, supporting reentry, and creating better research and analysis to drive policy decision-making.

International

Dutch Border Town Cannabis Café Owner Cleared of Most Charges. The owner of the Checkpoint Café in the in the town of Ternuezen near the Belgian border has been cleared of most charges against him by an Amsterdam appeals court. The café was closed in 2007 for violating government rules on soft drug sales, and the owner was found guilty of membership in a criminal organization. But the appeals court ruled that the state had not proven Checkpoint knowingly broke the rules. It was the second such decision in the past month.

Categories: Marijuana

House Votes to Let Banks Take Deposits from Marijuana Businesses

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 19:53

In a historic vote this afternoon, the US House has approved an amendment to the Treasury Department appropriations bill barring the agency from spending any money to punish financial institutions

read more

Categories: Marijuana

White House Weighs in on DC Marijuana Reform Battle [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:25

The city of Washington, DC, is a marijuana policy hothouse these days. It's expanding its medical marijuana program, it has a new decriminalization bill set to go into effect Thursday with House Republicans trying to stop it, it has a marijuana possession and cultivation legalization initiative poised to make the November ballot, and it has legislation that would allow for the taxation and regulation of marijuana commerce already pending before the city council. Now, the White House is weighing in too.

[image:1 align:left]The "Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014," adopted by the council in April, replaces criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a $25 civil fine for possession as well as forfeiture of the marijuana and any paraphernalia used to consume or carry it.

DC's decriminalization effort has clearly caught the attention of House Republicans -- one of whom, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), introduced an amendment to the DC appropriations bill to block its implementation. That amendment has already won a House committee vote.

Late last month, the House Appropriations Committee adopted Harris's amendment. If included in the 2015 federal budget, the rider would block the District from carrying out any law, rule or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce criminal penalties for marijuana.

That has sparked irate reactions from both DC elected officials and advocates alike.

"These Members violated their own principles of limited government by using the power of the federal government to dictate to a local government how it can use its own local funds," DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement after the vote. "They apparently could not keep their own states from decriminalizing marijuana, so they have turned to a district where they are not accountable to the citizens to do what they couldn't convince their own states to do. Their constituents may be surprised to learn that their Members are spending their time interfering with the local laws of another district instead of devoting their time to issues affecting their districts and the nation."

"That Congressman Andy Harris would try to kill DC's efforts to stop arresting people for marijuana possession is beyond disturbing," said Dr. Malik Burnett, DC policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "This amendment is an affront to the District's right to home rule, while ensuring that thousands of District residents continue to be arrested and suffer the collateral consequences associated with a criminal record. Congress should be following DC's example and end racist marijuana arrest policies, instead of defying the will of the people and reversing their decision."

[image:2 align:right caption:true]District residents have begun organizing a boycott of Ocean City, MD, part of Rep. Harris's congressional district, as a show of their disapproval his intervention in District affairs. That was an idea that came from none other than Washington, DC, Mayor Vincent Gray.

"It's become a sad tradition that members of Congress with no ties to the District use their outdated, undemocratic and unjust authority over the District's budget to further their own political and personal agenda," Gray said in a pre-4th of July statement.

Councilmember and mayoral candidate David Catania even stormed Harris's DC office after the vote demanding to discuss his efforts to block the District from implementing decrim. Harris wasn't there.

"I'm here to address what has become a congressional pastime, which is interfering in the local affairs of the District of Columbia," Catania said at the time.

And now, the effort to block the District from implementing decrim -- or any other marijuana reforms -- has caught the attention of the White House, which yesterday slammed it in no uncertain terms.

"[T]he Administration strongly opposes the language in the bill preventing the District from using its own local funds to carry out locally-passed marijuana policies, which again undermines the principles of States' rights and of District home rule," the White House said in a statement of administration policy on the Financial Services and General Government Administration Act of 2015, which contains appropriations for DC. "Furthermore, the language poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department's enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District."

(The statement of administration policy also criticized Congress for including a ban on the funding of needle exchanges in the District, as well as language restricting the District's ability to provide abortion services.)

[image:3 align:left]"It is great to see the White House accepting that a majority of Americans want marijuana law reform and defending the right of DC and states to set their own marijuana policy," said Bill Piper, DPA director of national affairs. "The tide has clearly shifted against the failed war on drugs and it's only a matter of time before federal law is changed."

The White House wasn't the only group trying to send a signal to Congress yesterday. The DC city council passed a pair of emergency resolutions opposing Rep. Harris's effort to use congressional oversight to block the District from spending any of its locally-raised revenues to enact marijuana reform.

Harris's amendment would, if passed by the Congress, also block the District from enacting the results of the looming marijuana possession and cultivation legalization initiative, which is all but certain to make the November ballot after organizers handed in more than double the number of signatures needed to qualify. And it would block the District from implementing the putative legislative follow-up to the initiative, which would allow for taxed and regulated marijuana commerce in the District.

But that amendment still has not passed the House, let alone the Senate, and now, the Obama administration has made clear that it does not approve of it, either. That puts the administration on the side of the District, its voters (who consistently approve of marijuana legalization in polls), and its elected officials. House and Senate Republicans would be up against a city united against their interference in the District's domestic affairs, backed by a president who agrees with the District. While the Republicans are always eager to pick a fight with the president, this could be one fight they think twice about.

Categories: Marijuana

US FL: Column: 5 Growers May Hit ( Jack)Pot With Medical

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 16 Jul 2014 - When I moved to Florida 30 years ago, it was for a job as a newspaper writer. If only I had a crystal ball. It would have told me to open a plant nursery - preferably someplace in Northeast Florida. But short of a crystal ball, how was I to know?
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Singapore: OPED: Singapore Must Resist Pro-Drug Lobby

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
Straits Times, 16 Jul 2014 - IN SINGAPORE, the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) marked World Drug Day on June 26 by reminding our children of the dangers of drugs. Alongside our anti-drug laws, enforcement officers and rehabilitative agencies, NCADA aims to build strong social resistance against drug abuse. Like other anti-drug policymakers and community leaders across the globe, I am alarmed at the recent momentum of the pro-drug lobby.
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Australia: Send In Sniffer Dogs

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
The Townsville Bulletin, 16 Jul 2014 - SEND IN SNIFFER DOGS DRUG problems have reached "epidemic" proportions on Palm Island say residents, who have called for permanent sniffer dogs. The community's drug use has reportedly increased since the Alcohol Management Plan was introduced in 2006 because the illegal substances are easier to smuggle in.
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US FL: Opponents Say Amendment 2 Is 'De Facto Legalization' Of

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
Tallahassee Democrat, 16 Jul 2014 - Opponents of Florida's medical marijuana ballot initiative criticized the language of Amendment 2 Wednesday and pointed to growing concerns in other states that have allowed recreational use of the drug. "Don't fool yourself," said Drug Free America Foundation Executive Director Calvina Faye. "This amendment is de facto legalization."
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US MI: Column: Cops Against The Drug War

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
Metro Times, 16 Jul 2014 - The War on Drugs Creates a New Class of People to Be Discrimined Neil Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a dedicated advocate against the War on Drugs. He's participated in it on the police side as a 33-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department. He's served on drug squads and done undercover work.
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US TX: OPED: The End Of Pot Prohibition As We Know It

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
The Gilmer Mirror, 16 Jul 2014 - How much longer will it take before the United States declares a truce in the Drug War? Without federal leadership, you can count on marijuana legalization to keep spreading one state at a time. This latter-day prohibition is taking an immense toll. And the stakes ought to be low, given that mostAmericans don't want anyone jailed for being caught with small amounts of pot.
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CN ON: OPED: Legalize Soft Drugs To Reduce Availability Of

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
Petrolia Topic, 16 Jul 2014 - Does caffeine lead to cocaine use? Obviously not. But what would happen if caffeine was outlawed? Naturally, a black market would emerge. Drug gangs, which are highly skilled at operating outside the law, and have pre-existing distribution channels, would begin trafficking illegal caffeine pills. If people were forced to use black market distribution chains to obtain a mild stimulant such as caffeine, would they be more likely to opt for a stronger stimulant such as cocaine? Almost certainly.
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US DC: Police Quietly Prepping For Change In Law On Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 07:00
Washington Times, 16 Jul 2014 - Decriminalization Starts on Thursday The District is quietly preparing for a law to take effect Thursday that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana, with the Metropolitan Police Department issuing a special order to officers advising them of new protocols.
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