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US CO: Column: Studio A64 Doubles In Space, Marijuana Comes To

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 30 Jul 2014 - Marijuana Starts In Manitou The Gazette is reporting that Maggie's Farm will open in Manitou Springs on Thursday, July 31, to sales of recreational marijuana. Multiple attempts to reach owner Bill Conkling were unsuccessful, and an employee at the organization's South Nevada Avenue store replied, "Honestly, I'm not too sure" when asked whether it's happening. But if true - the daily says a final inspection could still change plans - it would mark the first of two stores, and the dawn of a controversial era in the small town, which is set to vote whether to continue to allow recreational marijuana this November.
Categories: Marijuana

US MI: Edu: Student-Backed Marijuana Decriminalization

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/30/2014 - 07:00
Central Michigan Life, 30 Jul 2014 - Mount Pleasant voters could see a student-backed proposition calling for the citywide decriminalization of marijuana on the November ballot. Student Advocates for Medical/Recreational Cannabis have procured enough petition signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. The registered student organization at Central Michigan University got all the necessary signatures a week shy of their deadline.
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Chronicle AM -- July 29, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 20:24

Marijuana Policy

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Colorado, Washington Senators Urge White House to Intervene to Fix Muddled Federal Marijuana Policies. All four US senators from the legal marijuana states signed onto a letter to the White House yesterday saying that federal policies about marijuana in states where it is legal are "at odds with one another" and asking the administration to establish "consistent and uniform" guidelines across the federal government. "Without such guidance, our states' citizens face uncertainty and risk the inconsistent application of federal law in Colorado and Washington state, including the potential for selective enforcement actions and prosecution," wrote Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennett of Colorado and Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington.

Oregon Legalization Initiative Picks Up Endorsements. The New Approach Oregon marijuana legalization initiative has announced endorsements from three groups: the Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and the national group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

No Legalization Vote in Grosse Point, Michigan, After All. A marijuana legalization initiative won't be on the ballot in Grosse Point this fall after city officials disqualified some signatures over a technicality. One set of signatures had the wrong date on it, disqualifying 106 of the 596 signatures turned in and leaving the signature count at 490, five fewer than needed to make the ballot.

Albuquerque Decriminalization Initiative Supporters Hand in Signatures. Supporters of a decriminalization initiative in New Mexico's largest city handed in 16,000 signatures to city officials Monday. They need 11,203 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. A similar effort in Santa Fe came up short last week, but there is still time to gather more signatures there.

York, Maine, Selectmen Reject Putting Legalization Ordinance on Ballot; Advocates Will Have to Come up With More Signatures to Force Vote. If the people in York want to vote to legalize marijuana, they will have to do it themselves. The town Board of Selectmen yesterday voted not to put a legalization initiative on the November ballot, so now advocates will have to come up with 613 more signatures to force a vote.

Harm Reduction

UNODC Issues Call for Harm Reduction Proposals from Civil Society Organizations. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has issued a call for civil society organizations to apply for funding to support work in harm reductions. The proposals should be strategic initiatives addressing HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support among injection drug users. The deadline for applications is August 20. Click on the link for more details and to apply.

Law Enforcement

The Year's 27th Drug War Death. The Drug War Chronicle has been tracking deaths related to US domestic drug law enforcement activities since 2011. We're going to start including them here, beginning with the death last week of Ohio resident Agyasi Ector, 27, who was walking to his job when he was struck and killed by a vehicle being driven at high speeds as it was being chased by police doing a drug investigation. Police said they plan to charge the driver with murder, but hold themselves blameless in the high-speed pursuit. Click on the link for more details and for links to previous drug war deaths.

Sentencing

Paul Ryan's Poverty Plan Includes Nod to Sentencing Reform. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)'s plan to address poverty in America includes some mention of sentencing reform. He calls for reduced resort to mandatory minimum sentencing and encourages states to enact sentencing reforms as well.

Independent New York Governor Candidate Slams Cuomo Over Failing to Use Clemency Powers. Independent gubernatorial candidate and political gadfly Randy Credico accuses Gov. Andrew Cuomo of Grinch-like behavior in failing to exercise his power to grant clemency and pardons to prisoners and ex-prisoners. Cuomo has granted zero clemencies. Credico notes that previous governors have made use of that power, but that Cuomo is even worse than his father, Mario Cuomo, who "granted an enemic 33 pardons while bouncing and stuffing 30,000 poor blacks and Latinos into the 36 new state prisons he built with funds that could have been used for low cost housing or improving the school system."

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares 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

Did You Know? 23 States' and DC's Medical Marijuana Laws, from ProCon.org

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 19:12

Did you know that 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing medical marijuana? Read the details on medicalmarijuana.procon.org, part of the ProCon.org family.

Follow Drug War Chronicle for more important facts from ProCon.org over the next several weeks, or sign up for ProCon.org's email list or RSS feed.

ProCon.org is a web site promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.

Categories: Marijuana

US: Senators Ask White House To Clarify Fed Marijuana Laws

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
Yakima Herald-Republic, 29 Jul 2014 - WASHINGTON, D.C. - Spurred by the recent Interior Department decision to block the use of federal irrigation water to cultivate marijuana, the four U.S. senators from Washington and Colorado want the White House to direct federal agencies to adopt uniform guidelines impacting recreational pot. In a letter Monday to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the lawmakers said the water ruling conflicts with earlier guidelines issued by the Justice and Treasury departments that seek to enforce the federal ban on marijuana only selectively.
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US: Science Collides With The Push To Legalize Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 29 Jul 2014 - The New York Times began a multi-part editorial series Sunday in favor of repealing the federal ban on marijuana. This is a very bad idea, in part because of the harmful medical effects of marijuana use. Consider just some of what we know:
Categories: Marijuana

US FL: Poll Has Overwhelming Support for Medical Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
Washington Times, 29 Jul 2014 - Florida voters overwhelmingly support legalizing medical marijuana, 88 to 10 percent, while a smaller margin says adults should be allowed to possess a bit of the drug for personal use, according to a new poll. Quinnipiac University found voters over 65 years old widely support a medical marijuana program, 83-14 percent, while voters ages 18 to 29 years old would rubber-stamp it, 95-5 percent. The lowest level of support is among Republicans, 80-19 percent.
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US NY: Editorial: The Injustice Of Marijuana Arrests

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 29 Jul 2014 - America's four-decade war on drugs is responsible for many casualties, but the criminalization of marijuana has been perhaps the most destructive part of that war. The toll can be measured in dollars - billions of which are thrown away each year in the aggressive enforcement of pointless laws. It can be measured in years - whether wasted behind bars or stolen from a child who grows up fatherless. And it can be measured in lives - those damaged if not destroyed by the shockingly harsh consequences that can follow even the most minor offenses. In October 2010, Bernard Noble, a 45-year-old trucker and father of seven with two previous nonviolent offenses, was stopped on a New Orleans street with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket. His sentence: more than 13 years.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Council To Take On Need For Weed

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 29 Jul 2014 - City council is being asked to take a high-minded approach to allowing future medical marijuana grow operations within city limits. During Wednesday night's meeting, council will decide whether to move forward on a recommended bylaw limiting newly licensed weed production facilities to parcels of land in the Agricultural Land Reserve and in industrial parks.
Categories: Marijuana

South Africa: OPED: A Losing Battle

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
Cape Times, 29 Jul 2014 - THE WAR on drugs has been a losing fight for 40 years. The response to unending failure has always been to demand more law enforcement and more prison cells. It is unclear why the mood should be changing just now. It isn't that consumers have suddenly got too numerous to ignore: rates of cannabis use, which had, throughout the late 20th century, seemed to be on an interminable upward trajectory, are now stable or even declining. But then the long century of criminalisation never had any more to do with evidence than America's disastrous interwar experiment with prohibiting the undoubtedly-dangerous demon drink. Then, as now, the practicalities of harm-reduction and the principle of not persecuting citizens who harm no one but themselves, point to legalisation.
Categories: Marijuana

US DC: OPED: Prohibition On Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
The Hill, 29 Jul 2014 - Someday, we'll look back on two federal prohibitions - on same-sex marriage and marijuana - and ask ourselves: "How were we ever so dumb? What's the big deal?" Indeed, more and more people are asking that question every day. Even before the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, several states moved to recognize same-sex marriage. Massachusetts was the first, in May 2004. Today, either by legislation or court order, marriage equality is the law in 19 states, plus the District of Columbia. Courts in 14 other states, most recently Virginia, have ruled to strike down bans on same-sex marriage. While those decisions remain on appeal, it's clearly only a matter of time before all 50 states accept the fact that every American, gay or straight, should be free to marry the one he or she loves.
Categories: Marijuana

US MI: Snafu Means No Nov. Vote On Legalizing Marijuana In

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/29/2014 - 07:00
Detroit Free Press, 29 Jul 2014 - A proposal to legalize possession of marijuana won't appear on November ballots in Grosse Pointe Park after all. Organizers of the effort learned Monday that city officials had found a technicality - an incorrect date of Feb. 27 instead of June 27 on one set of signatures -- that invalided their petition drive.
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Chronicle Book Review: To End the War on Drugs

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 22:44

To End the War on Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press, and Public by Dean Becker (2014, DTN Media, 340 pp., $19.95 PB)

[image:1 align:left]Dean Becker is on a crusade. As I write these words, the Houston-based activist, advocate, and journalist is in Washington, DC, preparing for a Tuesday press conference in which he, along with other drug reform advocates, will announce a "Summer Reading Assignment" for Congress, the executive branch, the Supreme Court, and the governors of the 50 states. The assignment is to read his new book, To End the War on Drugs.

(Just last week, Becker put out a special "Policy-makers edition" of the book for this purpose.)

Becker is convinced that if the politicians just understood how horribly wrong-headed and misguided drug prohibition is, they would see the error of their ways and repent. I'm not sure I share his trust in the power of truth to overcome hide-bound thought processes and entrenched interests, but To End the War on Drugs is chock-full of argument and information that will be of great use to anyone seeking an understanding of how far off-the-rails our prohibitionist drug policies have taken us.

To End the War on Drugs is a compilation (and, hopefully, not the culmination) of Becker's 15 years in the trenches of what I call drug reform movement journalism. By that I mean reporting that seeks to accurately portray the effects of drug prohibition as well as the battles to change the drug laws, but which is informed by a certain editorial perspective. That perspective is that the drug war is a disaster.

When I first started covering the drug war for the Chronicle 13 years ago, I was almost alone in providing systematic coverage. There was High Times, but there weren't the dozens of marijuana-related magazines and hundreds of pot-related blogs that there are now. There wasn't much interest in marijuana reform in the mainstream media, let alone much concern about prison overpopulation, racism, and law enforcement militarization. The blogosphere was in its infancy. It was a pretty lonely beat, but Dean Becker was there.

He's been at it since 1999, creating his own movement journalism version of a media empire, beginning with the Drug Truth Network's Cultural Baggage radio shows broadcast from Houston's Pacifica radio station, which currently airs on around a hundred stations, and now including the Unvarnished Truth TV program. At the same time, Becker has also been an activist, working with the Drug Policy Forum of Texas and once heading Houston NORML.

The words of those Becker interviewed for the programs form the bulk of To End the Drug War. The book contains excerpts from interviews with more than a hundred people involved in the drug war or in ending it, including politicians, cops, lawyers, judges, researchers, scientists, and even other journalists (including yours truly, whose comments on the Mexican drug war a few years ago warranted a few pages). There is plenty of ammunition in there for folks seeking to demolish drug prohibition.

And that's exactly what Becker wants to do. He makes no bones about it. The interview excerpts make up the bulk of the book, but they are divided into various topics, with Becker providing an introductory page or two for each topic, and that's when Dean gets to shine. Journalists are usually doing the listening, not the talking -- watch out when we get a chance to say what's actually on our minds!

In his mini-essays, Becker makes it crystal clear that his mission, his obsession, his over-riding goal, is to drive a stake through the heart of the drug war. His is a demand for freedom and justice, and he is happy to leave the hesitations, the equivocations, and the qualifications to others. And he doesn't pull a lot of punches.

"Incrementalism" is, in Becker's view, a trap, a detour, a diversion. Drug prohibition, with all its horrors, has gone on more than long enough, and half-measures like drug decriminalization are not sufficient to end the evil. It is time to quit screwing around and end the drug war, he writes.

Similarly, while of course Becker wants marijuana legalization -- and he wants it now! -- he also understands that the drug war doesn't end with weed. It isn't white pot smokers who are filling our prisons, and legalizing weed isn't going to empty them out. It's going to take actually ending drug prohibition. Incremental measures such as sentencing reforms -- while a blessed relief to the victims of the drug war -- aren't going to end the injustice.

When it comes to drug prohibition, Becker is an absolutist. And I don't think that's a bad thing. To End the Drug War is his cri de couer. It deserves to be widely read, not only by those seeking ammunition to reinforce their policy positions on the drug war, but by those decision-makers and opinion-shapers at whom it is aimed.

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM -- July 28, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 07/28/2014 - 20:36

The New York Times comes out for marijuana legalization, a Florida poll finds majority support for it, Rand Paul introduces a bill to wipe out the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, and more. Let's get to it:

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

New York Times Editorial Board Calls for End to Federal Marijuana Prohibition. What is arguably the most influential and respected newspaper in the United States is ready to free the weed. In a Sunday editorial, the New York Times called forthrightly for the end of federal marijuana prohibition. "The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana," the newspaper proclaimed. "We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times's Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws."

Alaska Legalization Initiative Backers File Campaign Finance Complaint Against Foes. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska has filed a complaint with the Alaska Public Offices Commission charging that the "Big Marijuana, Big Mistake, Vote No on 2" campaign deceived the public trust when its campaign spokesperson, Kristina Woolston, said her employer, Northwest Strategies is donating its time to the campaign. State law requires that donations be filed as campaign contributions.

Florida Poll Finds 55% for Marijuana Legalization. A majority (55%) of Floridians are ready to legalize marijuana, a new Quinnipiac University poll has found. It looks to be a generational thing; 72% of people under 30 support it, but only 36% of people 65 and older do. The poll also had 88% support for medical marijuana.

More Michigan Towns to Hand in Local Decriminalization Initiative Signatures Tomorrow. Initiative organizers in Port Huron, Lansing, and Portage are preparing to hand in signatures for local decriminalization initiatives tomorrow. The Safer Michigan Coalition says organizers have already handed in signatures in 14 other towns: Frankfort, Huntington Woods, Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Ridge and Utica; in prior weeks, they did so in Berkley, Grosse Pointe Park, Harrison, Hazel Park, Lapeer, Montrose, Oak Park, Onaway and Saginaw.

Santa Fe, New Mexican, Decriminalization Initiatives Comes Up Short on Signatures. A campaign to put a municipal decriminalization on the Santa Fe ballot in November has hit a bump. Only 3,569 of the 7,000 signatures it handed in were valid; it needs 5,763 to qualify. But campaigners still have more time to gather more.

Medical Marijuana

Bill to Allow Low-THC, High-CBD Medical Marijuana Filed in US House. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) today introduced a bill that would exempt low-THC, high-CBD marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act. The Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act is not yet available on the congressional web site.

Law Enforcement

Staten Island Narcs Are NYPD's Most Sued. Seven of the 10 most sued NYPD officers work out of a Staten Island narcotics unit, according to an analysis by the New York Daily News. Those Staten Island narcs account for 21% of the more than 600 cases filed against NYPD officers in the past decade. Taxpayers have shelled out more than $6 million to settle suits against them. Most of the suits against them allege false arrests for charges that are later dropped. Detective Vincent Orsini, who has been sued 21 times since 2003, with payouts of nearly $1.1 million, is the most-sued cop on the Island.

Sentencing

Rand Paul Introduces Bill to Eliminate Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) last Thursday filed the RESET (Reclassification to Ensure Smarter and Equal Treatment) Act to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The 2010 Fair Sentencing Act reducing the disparity from 100:1 to 18:1, but this bill would totally equalize the penalties. The bill would also reclassify some low-level federal drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. It is not yet up on the congressional web site.

International

Gun Battles Continue in Northeast Mexico Across from US Border. Fighting between various Mexican drug cartel factions in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas continues. Gun battles in Reynosa, just across the Rio Grande River from McAllen, Texas, left six suspected cartel gun men dead, including at least one killed by Mexican marines.

Categories: Marijuana
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