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Chronicle AM -- February 21, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 22:10

Marijuana legalization in the District of Columbia hits a bump, the Epilepsy Foundation comes out for medical marijuana, India passes landmark access to pain medication legislation, and more. Let's get to it:

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

DC's Top Lawyer Says Proposed Legalization Ordinance Can't Go to Voters. District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan issued a formal opinion yesterday saying the proposed DC marijuana legalization initiative should not go before the voters because it violates federal law. His opinion is not binding, but carries weight with the Board of Elections, which meets on the issue next Tuesday. Initiative backers are scrambling to see if they can't fix the language in question before then.

New Mexico House Approves Study of Legalization Effects. The state House late Wednesday passed a nonbinding memorial (bill) that calls for studying the effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. Under the measure, the Legislative Finance Committee would conduct the study and report its findings later this year. The committee will be looking specifically at state revenue and agricultural production levels as well as addiction rates and the availability of law enforcement resources. The bill is House Memorial 38.

Medical Marijuana

Epilepsy Foundation Calls for Access to Medical Marijuana, Tells DEA to Back Off. "The Epilepsy Foundation supports the rights of patients and families living with seizures and epilepsy to access physician directed care, including medical marijuana. Nothing should stand in the way of patients gaining access to potentially life-saving treatment," said Epilepsy Foundation President and CEO Philip M. Gattone and Epilepsy Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Warren Lammert. "If a patient and their healthcare professionals feel that the potential benefits of medical marijuana for uncontrolled epilepsy outweigh the risks, then families need to have that legal option now -- not in five years or ten years. For people living with severe uncontrolled epilepsy, time is not on their side." The foundation said it was moved to act after getting repeated inquiries about the use of medical marijuana, especially high CBD cannabis oils. It also urged the DEA to get out of the way. Click on the link to read the press release.

New Jersey Patients Air Grievances Before Assembly Committee. Medical marijuana patients and advocates got a chance to lay out their problems with the state's medical marijuana program Thursday at a hearing of the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee. Click on the link to get all the details.

Maryland Medical Marijuana Program Still 18 Months Away, Official Says. Dr. Paul Davies, head of the commission set up to oversee the implementation of a medical marijuana program told lawmakers Thursday that the initiative is at least 18 months away from offering pain relief to the first patients. And that's the best-case scenario.

Harm Reduction

Naloxone (Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug) Bills Move in Ohio, Wisconsin. Bills that would expand access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) are moving in Ohio and Wisconsin. The Christian Science Monitor mentions these bills in a broader article on states moving to respond opioid overdoses. Click on the link to read the whole thing.

International

India's Rajya Sabha Passes Bill to Increase Access to Opiate Pain Medications. India's parliament has passed a bill that will ease access to opiate pain medications. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2014, was passed by the Rajya Sabha, or upper house Friday. It had passed the Lok Sabha, or lower house, the day before. The law will bring relief to thousands of cancer patients in the country who use opiates for acute and chronic pain relief. It had been pushed by the Indian Association for Palliative Care, among other groups.

Canadian Pro-Legalization Group Seeks Candidates to Support in Next Year's Elections. A new organization, Legalize Canada, has popped-up with the intent of "supporting strong and vocal pro-legalization candidates for public office" in the 2015 federal election. The group said it had identified 95 to 100 ridings (legislative districts) out of 338 in the country where support for legalization could be a critical, election-winning issue. The group says it is aiming for a $7 million budget.

Canada's Trailer Park Boys Say Don't Legalize It. Canada's cult TV and movie phenomenon, Trailer Park Boys, is back with a new sequel, Trailer Park Boys 3: Don't Legalize It. Ricky, Julian, Bubbles, and the rest of the crew have too much invested in their latest criminal pot growing scheme to put up with legal weed.

Seven Killed in Philippines Drug Raid. Philippines anti-drug police killed seven suspected drug dealers and arrested several more in a Friday raid on the outskirts of Davao City. "They put up a fight and were killed in the process," Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said here when asked about the deaths. Duterte has long been suspected of being behind extrajudicial killings in Davao City, an accusation the Aquino administration ally has repeatedly denied.

Categories: Marijuana

US: Progressives Should Just Say No To Legalizing Drugs

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
U.S. News & World Report, 21 Feb 2014 - There's a good reason drugs are illegal: They're dangerous. Medical marijuana has arrived in the nation's capital. Why would we wish drug's destructive effects on more Americans? By Carrie Wofford Feb. 21, 2014 One comment SHARE Legalizing drugs has long been a rallying cry on the left, and not without good reason. Progressives remain deeply concerned about the large numbers of low-income males - especially African-American males - who lose their prime years to prison for what seems like the harmless crime of possessing drugs. Legalizing drugs, therefore, seems a sensible way to decriminalize the activities of low-income young African-American men who might feel that the drug economy is the only economy available. Proponents also argue that legalizing drugs would reduce drug-related violence and protect drug users from tainted drugs (on the assumption that the government would sell cleaner, purer drugs).
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Forfeiture Office Is A Cash Cow: Heed

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 21 Feb 2014 - Former solicitor-general says program has cast too wide a net, is used to pay for programs the province doesn't want to fund B.C.'s former solicitor-general says the province's Civil Forfeiture Office was started with the best of intentions but has cast too wide a net and become a cash cow tasked with funding crime-prevention programs the government doesn't want to pay for through other means.
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CN BC: Councillors Back Pot Plant

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
The Richmond Review, 21 Feb 2014 - MediJean's bid to be Richmond's first commercial medical grow-op gets support A proposal to start the first commercial medical marijuana grow-op business in Richmond is gaining traction at city hall, and appears to be headed to a public hearing.
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US CO: Pot Tax Bonanza Wafts To Colorado

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
The Times-Tribune, 21 Feb 2014 - DENVER - For Colorado's new flock of recreational marijuana growers and sellers, Thursday was Tax Day - their first deadline to hand over the taxes they had collected during their inaugural month of sales. And as store owners stuffed cash into lockboxes and made the nervous trek to government offices, new budget numbers predicted that those marijuana taxes could add more than $100 million a year to state coffers, far more than earlier estimates. The figures offered one of the first glimpses into how the bustling market for recreational marijuana was beginning to reshape government bottom lines. - --- MAP posted-by: Matt
Categories: Marijuana

US IL: Editorial: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Closer To Pharmacies

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Chicago Sun-Times, 21 Feb 2014 - When the Illinois Legislature is of two minds on a hot topic, the result is often a law that has not been thought through. Chicago Ald. Edward Burke (14th) thinks that's the case with respect to the state's new law on medical marijuana, which defends pot dispensaries as good and worthy, not unlike pharmacies, but also treats them as potentially bad influences, not unlike liquor stores.
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US CA: More County-Pot Shop Battles Expected

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
The Bakersfield Californian, 21 Feb 2014 - A judge's decision to strike down Kern County's medical marijuana dispensary law may generate more litigation than it settled. Now that voter-approved Measure G has been invalidated, county officials are likely to start trying to shut down the handful of collectives and cooperatives operating in unincorporated Kern.
Categories: Marijuana

US DC: City's AG Calls Initiative to Legalize Pot Unfit for Ballot

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 21 Feb 2014 - D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan says a proposed November ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the nation's capital should not be allowed to proceed to a vote because the measure would put at least one aspect of District law in conflict with federal law. In a potential setback for advocates of legalizing the drug, Nathan wrote to the D.C. Board of Elections on Wednesday saying that federal law would still require the city to kick out residents of public housing who are convicted of drug possession, even if District law no longer considered it a crime.
Categories: Marijuana

US DC: Column: It's High Time Someone Made Sense On Pot Plan

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Washington Times, 21 Feb 2014 - Thank you, Mr. Irvin B. Nathan. There are a lot of folks both here in the nation's capital and elsewhere in the country who are none too pleased with Mr. Nathan's legal rendering on the D.C. marijuana initiative. But, hey, no lawyer makes all the people happy all the time. Besides, that's not his job. As the attorney general for the District of Columbia, Mr. Nathan wrote a clear-eyed letter to the D.C. Board of Elections that narrowly explains why the board should not approve a November ballot proposal to decriminalize.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Grow-Op Amendments Made

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Northern News, 21 Feb 2014 - KIRKLAND LAKE - Kirkland Lake's Property Standards Bylaw has been updated to reflect changes required by the province. One of the big changes required is a section concerning illegal marijuana grow operations.
Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Not Until You're Older

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Globe and Mail, 21 Feb 2014 - As the legalization debate quickens, scientists warn there is a lot we don't know about marijuana and brain development. Erin Anderssen examines why teens should wait to smoke up Parents seeking direction on what to tell their teens about pot might take some pointers from the President of the United States, who explained in a recent New Yorker profile how he'll put it to his two daughters: "It's a bad idea, it's a waste of time, not very healthy."
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Medical Grow-Ops Must Be in Industrial Zones, Says Lake

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
The Daily Courier, 21 Feb 2014 - Pot growers will have to tend their pungent gardens inside industrial zones if they want to set up shop in Lake Country. Town council decided this week that future applications for medicinal marijuana growing operations will only be processed if they're proposed for areas with a light industrial zone.
Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: HRM Barred From Firing Pot-Using Worker

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 08:00
Chronicle Herald, 21 Feb 2014 - Halifax Regional Municipality has lost its bid to fire a worker accused of pot smoking. The Nova Scotia Appeal Court upheld a lower-court ruling that stemmed from an arbitrator's decision to reinstate the man. The Appeal Court panel's written decision was released Friday.
Categories: Marijuana

Top Lawyer's Opinion Threatens DC Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 02/21/2014 - 07:49

The District of Columbia's attorney general, Irvin Nathan, has issued an opinion saying that the proposed DC marijuana legalization initiative should not go before the voters because it violates federal law. Nathan sent the opinion to the DC Board of Elections Thursday, ahead of its Tuesday meeting to decide whether or not to approve it.

[image:1 align:right]Nathan's opinion is not binding, board spokesperson Tamara Robinson told the Washington Times.

"We take all comments into consideration, whether they are from the AGs office or written from DC residents," Robinson said. "At times we have agreed with the attorney general's office on certain matters and at times we don't."

But if the board agrees with the city's top lawyer next week, that could mean back to the drawing board for the initiative's proponents, the DC Cannabis Coalition. That in turn could mean its chance of actually gathering enough signatures to qualify for the November 2014 ballot before the clock ran out would be greatly diminished.

In his opinion, Nathan took issue with a passage in the initiative that says "no district government agency or office shall limit or refuse to provide any facility service, program or benefit to any person" based on the legalization of marijuana."

That language conflicts with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which "requires that public housing leases make 'drug-related criminal activity' on or off public housing premises a cause for terminating a public housing lease," he wrote. "The proposed initiative would prohibit leases from containing such language and prohibit the District from evicting a public-housing tenant who, in violation of federal law and the lease, possessed small quantities of marijuana."

The coalition's Adam Eidinger told the Times said he is working with coalition lawyers from his to see if the questioned wording in the initiative can be changed ahead of the Tuesday hearing.

"It might just be a matter of four words that have to be changed," Eidinger said. "I don't want to lose our opportunity to collect signatures."

The initiative would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and allow for growing up to six plants. It would not legalize the sale of marijuana or allow for marijuana retail stores.

The DC city council is preparing for a final vote to decriminalize marijuana possession next month, and there are efforts underway to get a legalization bill moving in the council, but initiative advocates hope that they can either get on the ballot and let voters decide or use the initiative as a sword over the head of the council to prod it to act.

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM -- February 20, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 02/20/2014 - 22:22

Colorado is rolling in the marijuana tax dollars, Washington state gets closer to licensing legal grows, a New Hampshire patient grow bill is moving, the Europeans are worried about some new drugs, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Colorado Governor Announces Marijuana Tax Revenues Plan. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) Wednesday announced his plan to start spending tax revenues from legalized marijuana. He said he would spend $99 million next fiscal year, with half of it going to youth use prevention, another 40% going to substance abuse treatment, and more than $12 million for public health. His proposal must be approved by the legislature.

Washington State Regulators Announce Rules Modifications. The Washington State Liquor Control Board announced Wednesday that it will limit marijuana business applicants to one pot grow each, down from the three-license limit it originally set. The board also reduced by 30% the amount of grow space that licensees can use. The board is trying to address how to equitably distribute the two million square foot of grow space it has set as a statewide cap. The move also opens the way to the actual issuance of grow licenses, which could come as soon as early next month.

Medical Marijuana

New Hampshire Patient Cultivation Bill Wins Committee Vote. A bill that would allow qualifying patients to cultivate a limited amount of medical marijuana in New Hampshire was approved this morning in a 13-3 vote by the House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs. The bill will be considered by the full House sometime in March. Sponsored by Rep. Donald Wright (R-Tuftonboro), House Bill 1622 would patients or their designated caregivers to possess up to two mature plants and twelve seedlings. The cultivation location would have to be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, and patients would lose their ability to cultivate when an alternative treatment center opens within 30 miles of their residence.

South Carolina CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Filed. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) Wednesday introduced a bill to allow for the use of CBD cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy seizures. Senate Bill 1035 has been referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

Arizona Bill Would Use Medical Marijuana Fees to Fund Anti-Drug Campaigns. A bill approved Wednesday by the House Health Committee would set up a special fund using fees from medical marijuana user and dispensaries to "discourage marijuana use among the general population." House Bill 2333, sponsored by Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson) is being derided by the Marijuana Policy Project, whose spokesman, Mason Tvert, said "It is remarkable how much money some government officials are willing to flush down the toilet in hopes of scaring adults away from using marijuana."

Heroin

Vermont Law School Symposium Will Address Heroin Addiction and New Solutions. The Vermont Law Criminal Law Society is hosting a symposium on heroin and opiate addiction and responses to it on Monday. "This event is about new ideas from new sources," said Vermont Law JD candidate George Selby ', one of the panel organizers. "We need to fundamentally change the way we treat addicts and the opiates they fall victim to." Panelists will include addiction and pain specialists, a narcotics investigator, and an advocate for revolutionizing drug policy. They will discuss whether drug courts, replacement therapy, and support groups are enough, and tackle a controversial question: Should doctors be allowed to prescribe heroin to treat heroin addiction? One of the featured speakers is Arnold Trebach, JD, PhD, professor emeritus of public affairs at American University and founder of the Drug Policy Foundation, the precursor to the Drug Policy Alliance, who plans to call for action in Vermont. Click on the title link for more details.

International

Europeans Issue Alert on Four New Synthetic Drugs. The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction has issued an alert and announced a formal risk assessment of four new synthetic drugs. They are the hallucinogenic phenethylamine 251-NBOMe ("N-Bomb," linked to three deaths), the synthetic opioid AH-7921 (15 reported deaths in Europe), the synthetic cathinone derivative MDPV ("legal cocaine," linked to 99 deaths), and the arylcyclohexamine drug Methoxetamine (linked to 20 deaths). Click on the link above for more details.

British Columbia Judge Rules Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences Unconstitutional. A judge in Canada's British Columbia ruled Wednesday that mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders under the federal 2012 Safe Streets and Communities Act are unconstitutional. In November, an Ontario judge struck down a similar sentence for a weapons offense, but BC is the first province to have the drug offense sentences quashed. Crown prosecutors are expected to appeal.

India Asset Forfeiture Bill Passes Lok Sabha. A bill that would increase the Indian government's ability to seize assets from drug traffickers was approved Wednesday by the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the country's bicameral parliament. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011 passed on a voice vote after members took turns worrying aloud about the spread of drug use in the world's most populous democracy.

Categories: Marijuana
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