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Chronicle AM: DOJ Says It Can Still Prosecute Dispensaries, GA Forfeiture Bill Passes, More (4/2/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 21:11

A Tennessee "decrim" bill moves, an Idaho CBD cannabis oil bill is back from the dead, a Georgia asset forfeiture reform bill passes, the Justice Department says it can still prosecute California dispensaries, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Tennessee Bill to Lessen Marijuana Penalties Wins Committee Vote. A bill that would make possession of up to an ounce a misdemeanor punishable only by a $100 fine was approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee Wednesday. The bill, House Bill 873, now goes before the House Finance and Ways and Means Committee. Companion legislation, Senate Bill 1211, is set to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Under current law, possession of between a half-ounce and 10 pounds is a felony.

Medical Marijuana

Justice Department Says It Can Still Prosecute California Dispensaries. A Justice Department spokesman said Wednesday that the congressional ban on the agency interfering with medical marijuana in states where it is legal does not apply to California dispensary prosecutions. Patrick Rodenbush said the department does not believe the amendment to a spending bill applies to cases against individuals, but only stops Justice from "impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws."

Florida CBD Implementation Bill Faces More Challenges. A bill trying to get the state's CBD cannabis oil law, passed last year, actually implemented is now facing a new challenge: how to give black farmers a fair shot at growing the new crop. The existing law only allows farms that have been in existence for at least 30 years and that grow 400,000 plants or more to apply for one of five licenses to cultivate and distribute the crop. But hundreds of black farmers say they are being cut out of the deal because 30 years ago, they were still fighting with the US Department of Agriculture over discriminatory lending practices and weren't yet in business. The sponsor of both last year's successful bill and this year's implementation bill, Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), said he would attempt to address the issue. The bill is Senate Bill 7066.

Idaho CBD Cannabis Oil Bill is Back from the Dead. The bill, Senate Bill 1146, was killed on a tie vote in the House State Affairs Committee Monday, but the committee has agreed to reconsider it and was set to meet today for further discussion on it. If it passes the committee, it could go to a House floor vote tomorrow.

Prescription Opiates

FDA to Help Drug Makers Develop Abuse-Deterrent Opiates. "The science of abuse-deterrent medication is rapidly evolving, and the FDA is eager to engage with manufacturers to help make these medications available to patients who need them," Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the FDA's commissioner, said in a press release. "We feel this is a key part of combating opioid abuse. We have to work hard with industry to support the development of new formulations that are difficult to abuse but are effective and available when needed." The agency also issued a document called "Guidance for Industry: Abuse-Deterrent Opioids -- Evaluation and Labeling," outlining how future studies can decide whether a new drug has abuse-deterrent properties.

Asset Forfeiture

Georgia Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Passes Senate. A bill that would standardize asset forfeiture procedures easily passed the Senate Tuesday. The bill is House Bill 233. It has already passed the House and now goes to the desk of Gov. Nathan Deal (R). The bill creates safeguards for owners of seized assets, requires regular accounting, and prohibits law enforcement agencies from using seized goods for anything other than law enforcement.

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US FL: Miami Gun Battle Leaves Canadian Envoy's Eldest Son Dead

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 02 Apr 2015 - When Roxanne Dube was appointed consul-general to Miami last November, her sons Marc and Jean Wabafiyebazu seemed enthusiastic about the move. After spending much of their lives in Ottawa and Zimbabwe, the teens, 15 and 17, relished the idea of living in a city that has featured as a backdrop for many blockbuster films. "For them it really was a big move," their father Germano Wabafiyebazu said in an interview. "You see Miami in movies and everything, so to be now going there =C2=85 they were really enthusiastic."
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US FL: Canadian Diplomatas Son Killed, Brother Charged, In Miami

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
Guelph Mercury, 02 Apr 2015 - MIAMI - Canada's top government official in Miami is planning the funeral of her 17-year-old son and the legal defence of her 15-year-old after the brothers took part in what Florida police call an attempted drug ripoff. The brothers - both armed with guns - used her black Canadian government BMW with diplomatic plates as a lookout vehicle as they tried to rob the drug dealers Monday afternoon at an apartment complex in the Coral Way district, police say.
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US FL: Canadian Diplomatas Teen Son Killed In Shootout

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
The Record, 02 Apr 2015 - Younger son faces murder charge in what Miami police call a drug dispute MIAMI - Canada's top government official in Miami is planning the funeral of her 17-year-old son and the legal defence of her 15-year-old after the brothers took part in what Florida police call an attempted drug ripoff.
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US NV: High Desert

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
Reno News & Review, 02 Apr 2015 - Can Nevada's Newest Crop Weather a Record Drought? In late March, Sierra Wellness Connection became Nevada's first commercial medical-marijuana business to get state approval. Less than a week later, the fledgling company led by former University of Nevada, Reno president Joe Crowley also got the City Council's unanimous nod to sell the medicine. As of press time, Sierra Wellness and Certified Ag Lab of Sparks were the only two such establishments to clear the final state hurdle, said Pam Graber with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. More are coming, of course, as hundreds of companies received provisional certifications last year.
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US CO: Column: 'Gazette' Cannabis Package Serves UP Purple Haze

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 02 Apr 2015 - The Gazette in Colorado Springs last week published a package about cannabis legalization in the state under the banner "Clearing the Haze." The paper has been known for its excellent journalism and its reporters honored for their work, most recently a Pulitzer last year for a news series exposing how easily veterans can lose benefits for minor offenses after their discharge. A comprehensive series on the pros and cons of marijuana legalization is something Coloradans are always seeking.
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US CA: Column: What's Your Brand?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 02 Apr 2015 - I thoroughly enjoy your column. It's the first page I read. You are a well of information. I like the sativas. Could you suggest some strains that have the highest percentage of this and what dispensaries have them? Thanks. - -CM
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US CA: Column: Save The Date

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
North Coast Journal, 02 Apr 2015 - Arcata has backed down from its 4/20 crackdown, granting a picnic permit to the Humboldt Center for Constitutional Rights, which had raised a stink over the police department's shutdown of Redwood Park on the lofty counterculture holiday. In the late 2000s, pipe-bearing revelers converged at the grassy entrance to Arcata's Community Forest, forming an unofficial celebration that vexed cops and groundskeepers.
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US PA: Shakedown From 19th Floor Alleged

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 02 Apr 2015 - At Drug Officers' Trial, a Dealer Tells of Some Scary Moments on His Penthouse Balcony. With a burly police officer on each of his handcuffed arms and a 19-story drop below him from his penthouse apartment balcony, drug dealer Michael Cascioli was asked a troubling question.
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US CO: In Colorado, Marijuana Taxes May Have to Be Passed Back

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
New York Times, 02 Apr 2015 - DENVER - In the State Capitol, they are calling it Refund Madness. A year after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, millions of tax dollars are rolling in, dedicated to funding school construction, marijuana education campaigns and armies of marijuana inspectors and regulators. But a legal snarl may force the state to hand that money back to marijuana consumers, growers and the public - and lawmakers do not want to.
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US NY: Editorial: President Obama's Letter To 22 Prisoners

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
New York Times, 02 Apr 2015 - On Tuesday, 22 people serving sentences of decades or life for nonviolent drug crimes in federal prisons across the country received a personal letter from President Obama, commuting their sentences and ordering their release in late July. Each had applied to Mr. Obama for clemency - a power the Constitution unreservedly grants the president as a way to correct injustices or offer forgiveness, but which has fallen into near-total disuse in recent decades. Before Tuesday, Mr. Obama ranked as the least merciful president in modern history.
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US: Republicans On Edge Of Campaigns Waver On Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 04/02/2015 - 07:00
Washington Times, 02 Apr 2015 - Stay United Against Obama's Policy Republican presidential hopefuls are united in blasting President Obama for his chaotic enforcement of marijuana laws, but the unity quickly breaks down when they are asked how they would handle things if they were in the White House.
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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 21:39

A federal CBD bill is filed, the federal medical marijuana bill picks up more sponsors, and bills are moving (or dying) in a number of state. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]National

Last Thursday, a federal CBD bill was filed. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) filed HR 1635, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude cannabidiol (CDB) and CBD-rich marijuana plants from the definition of marijuana under the act.

As of Tuesday, the House CARERS Act had eight cosponsors. The House version of the federal bill to allow states to move forward on medical marijuana without federal interference is accumulating cosponsors. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced it a week ago today, and it now has seven more cosponsors. Click on the link to see who they are.

California

Last Thursday, the Fresno city council voted to allow residents to grow up to four plants. The move would be a step forward for the city, which last year banned all cultivation within the city limits. The council will take a second and final vote on the measure in coming weeks.

Also last Thursday, four Yuba county medical marijuana growers sued the county over its new, restrictive medical marijuana cultivation ordinance. The ordinance allows only for up to 12 plants to be grown inside a structure -- but not a residence -- and no outdoor grows.

Last Friday, a raided El Dorado County dispensary operator sued the county to recover marijuana and financial and medical records seized during a sheriff's department raid last November. The Pure Life Cannabis Collective has been closed since the raid. The lawsuit charges that the dispensary was legitimate and the raid was not.

Florida

Last Friday, more delays came for the state's CBD medical marijuana program. A Central Florida grower and a South Florida trade association are the latest to file legal challenges to the state Health Department's rules for the program. The program envisions only five growers, and the competition is vicious. Now, there are three active legal challenges, which means the department cannot proceed with the program until they are resolved. This is after an earlier delay caused by an earlier legal challenge.

On Tuesday, an expanded CBD medical marijuana bill won a committee vote. The Senate Health Policy Committee approved a bill that would expand the list of qualifying conditions for the use of CBD cannabis oil, quadruple the number of dispensing organizations to 20, and establish a time frame for issuing licenses.

Georgia

Last Wednesday, a CBD medical marijuana bill passed the legislature. The House gave final approval to House Bill 1, which would allow patients with eight specified diseases to use CBD cannabis oil. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) said today he will sign the bill.

Last Friday, Gov. Deal signed an executive order to speed expedite the new law. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed the order to speed up the enactment of House Bill 1, which has passed both houses of the legislature. The bill provides immunity from prosecution for CBD patients who register with the state. Deal said he would sign the bill at the end of the legislative session.

Hawaii

Last Wednesday, a dispensary bill won a pair of committee votes. The Senate Public Health and Public Safety committees have approved House Bill 321, which would create dispensaries and production centers in each county in the state. They also amended the bill to speed up the opening of dispensaries, which would now be set for next year.

Idaho

On Monday, the governor's office pushed back against a CBD cannabis oil bill. Gov. "Butch" Otter (R) sent his drug policy point-man to the capitol today to speak out against Senate Bill 1146, which would provide an affirmative defense for parents of children using low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil to treat severe seizures. Elisha Figueroa, head of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, warned that "Idaho will be violating federal law if this bill passes." Fourteen other Republican-controlled legislatures have passed similar laws, but they're all violating federal law, too, he said. Figueroa is pushing for a different bill, Senate Bill 1156, which would set up a special program to run trials on a GW Pharma CBD product called Epidiolex.

On Tuesday, the bill was killed in committee. The House State Affairs Committee listened to hours of tearful testimony from supporters of Senate Bill 1146, which would allow for the use of CBD cannabis oil to treat epileptic seizures in children, then voted to kill it Monday.

Iowa

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana bill won a committee vote. The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved Senate Study Bill 1243, which would allow patients with a number of specified medical conditions to use medical marijuana -- but not to smoke it.

Missouri

On Monday, a medical marijuana bill won a committee vote. The House Select Committee on General Laws approved House Bill 800, which would allow for the use of medical marijuana for a handful of specified diseases. It would also allow for up to 30 dispensaries.

New Jersey

Last Thursday, the Assembly approved a trio of medical marijuana bills. Legislators in Trenton Thursday approved adding PTSD to the list of qualifying diseases, and then some. They also approved ACR 224, which would undo the Christie rule that doctors who recommend medical marijuana must be publicly listed and A 4286, which allows dispensaries to share surpluses. The bills now go to the state Senate.

New York

On Wednesday, the state issued final regulations for the medical marijuana program and advocates were not happy. The state has issued final regulations for the program, and they are very similar to the heavily-criticized draft regulations it started out with several months ago. The regs limit the number of dispensaries to 20 and don't add any new qualifying conditions. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), the law's sponsor, said the final regs are needlessly restrictive and "gratuitously cruel."

North Carolina

Last Wednesday, a medical marijuana bill was killed in committee. After an intense hour-long hearing, the House Judiciary Committee voted to kill a medical marijuana bill, House Bill 78. Some supporters of the bill vowed to move to other states, while one Republican foe of the bill, Rep. Dan Arp, complained he was struck in the back by an angry supporter. The man was detained by police, but later released without charges.

Tennessee

On Tuesday, a medical marijuana bill won a committee vote. The House Health Subcommittee unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookville). The measure, which would not allow for the smoking of marijuana, now goes to the full House Health Committee.

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

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Holder Takes on Forfeiture Again, NY Medical Marijuana Final Rules, More (4/1/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 20:42

It's mainly medical marijuana news today, but there's also another move on asset forfeiture from Attorney General Holder.

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

Florida CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Committee Vote. The Senate Health Policy Committee approved a bill that would expand the list of qualifying conditions for the use of CBD cannabis oil, quadruple the number of dispensing organizations to 20, and establishe a time frame for issuing licenses.

Idaho CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Killed in Committee. The House State Affairs Committee listened to hours of tearful testimony from supporters of Senate Bill 1146, which would allow for the use of CBD cannabis oil to treat epileptic seizures in children, then voted to kill it Monday.

Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. The House Select Committee on General Laws has approved House Bill 800, which would allow for the use of medical marijuana for a handful of specified diseases. It would also allow for up to 30 dispensaries.

New York Issues Final Regulations for Medical Marijuana Program; Advocates Upset. The state has issued final regulations for the program, and they are very similar to the heavily-criticized draft regulations it started out with several months ago. The regs limit the number of dispensaries to 20 and don't add any new qualifying conditions. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), the law's sponsor, said the final regs are needlessly restrictive and "gratuitously cruel."

Tennessee Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. The House Health Subcommittee unanimously approved Tuesday a medical marijuana bill sponsored by Rep. Ryan Williams (R-Cookville). The measure, which would not allow for the smoking of marijuana, now goes to the full House Health Committee.

Asset Forfeiture

Attorney General Holder Announces New Curbs on Civil Asset Forfeiture. Federal authorities will only seize bank accounts when serious illegalities have been documented, he said Tuesday. The guidance focuses on Justice Department and IRS agents who have made seizures related to "structuring," or intentionally limiting the size of deposits to avoid scrutiny. "With this new policy, the Department of Justice is taking action to ensure that we are allocating our resources to address the most serious offenses," Holder said in a statement. "Appropriate use of asset forfeiture law allows the Justice Department to safeguard the integrity, security and stability of our nation's financial system while protecting the civil liberties of all Americans."

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