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US AZ: Column: Research Ruckus

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 10 Jul 2014 - Even With the Firing of Professor Sisley, the University of Arizona Can't Stand in the Way of Cannabis Research When the University of Arizona abruptly fired Assistant Professor Sue Sisley recently, some people decried the move as a major stumbling block for cannabis research.
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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 20:50

New York becomes the 23rd medical marijuana state, North Carolina becomes a high-CBD cannabis oil state, Utah issues the first permits for high-CBD cannabis oil, Californians prepare to lobby for a statewide regulation bill, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]California

Last Friday, the San Diego sheriff's office returned marijuana to a raided dispensary. Sheriff's office officials have handed back 20 pounds of marijuana, as well as grow equipment, seized in a raid last year from the SoCal Pure Collective in North County. The legal case against the collective was dropped in April, and a judge ordered all the confiscated goods returned. But collective operator Laura Sharp still fumes over the raid itself, a paramilitarized exercise of police power aimed at patients and providers. "I don't think that we needed to have assault rifles held to our heads. I think we could have been served paperwork," she said.

On Wednesday, ASA set August 4 as this year's annual medical marijuana citizens lobby day in Sacramento. The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access has announced that its annual citizens' lobby day in Sacramento will be held this year on August 4. The group is supporting the statewide regulation bill, Senate Bill 1262, but wants some changes, too. Click on the title link for more details.

On Tuesday, the Santa Ana city council approved a ballot measure on legalizing and taxing dispensaries. The city-backed ballot measure would compete with another measure that would repeal the city's existing ban on dispensaries. The Medical Cannabis Restriction and Limitation Initiative, which already has qualified for the ballot, would set up a process for dispensaries to register with the city and in return pay a 2% tax. It also limits dispensaries to certain zones and calls for at least one collective or cooperative for every 15,000 residents. The city-backed measure would implement a 5% tax.

New York

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Use Act. In an official signing ceremony Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law the Compassionate Use Act. New York thus becomes the 23rd medical marijuana state, even though its law is among the most restrictive and includes a ban on smoking (but not vaping or eating) it.

North Carolina

Last Thursday, a limited, low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana became law. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has signed into law a bill that will allow people suffering from certain epilepsy conditions to use cannabis extracts containing less than 0.3% THC and more than 10% CBD. But only neurologists in a pilot study may recommend it.

Utah

On Tuesday, Utah officials issued the first permits to use high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil. Utah officials Tuesday issued the first permits to use high CBD cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy in children under a law passed earlier this year. That law okays the use of cannabis oils containing at least 15% CBD and less than 0.3% THC. But while initial permits have been issued, families are likely to have to wait until September to acquire the cannabis oil because the Colorado non-profit that produces it has a long waiting list and a crop that won't be ready until the fall.

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

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Chronicle AM -- July 9, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 20:09

The White House issues its annual drug control strategy, the Brooklyn DA announces an end to most small-time marijuana possession arrests, a suburban Maryland county adopts a marijuana reform resolution, the first medical cannabis oil permits are issued in Utah, Lebanese hash farmers vow to fight to protect their crops, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Obama Offered a Hit of Weed in Denver; Responds With a Smile. During a visit to a Denver bar last night, President Obama was offered some of the state's legal marijuana. "Do you want to hit this?" came a voice from the crowd. The president did not respond to the offer, except to flash his trademark smile. On route to the event, the president was also confronted by apparently pro-marijuana protestors, including one holding a sign saying "Free Weed for Obama." We won't even mention the guy in a horse head mask who shook the president's hand.

Brooklyn DA Announces No More Prosecutions for First-Time Marijuana Offenders, Except… Brooklyn, New York, District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced Tuesday that his office will no longer prosecute first-time offenders for small-time marijuana possession charges. "This new policy is a reasonable response to the thousands of low-level marijuana arrests that weigh down the criminal justice system, require significant resources that could be redirected to more serious crimes and take an unnecessary toll on offenders. Pursuant to this policy, we will use our prosecutorial discretion to decline to prosecute, and dismiss upfront, certain low-level marijuana possession cases based on criteria concerning the particular individual and the circumstances of the case. For example, cases will be dismissed prior to arraignment for those with little or no criminal record, but we will continue to prosecute marijuana cases which most clearly raise public health and safety concerns." But Thompson added that he would still pursue charges for public pot smoking, if the defendant is a teen (he will be directed to juvenile court and a diversion program), or if the defendant has a criminal record suggesting he may act violently under the influence of marijuana.

Montgomery County, Maryland, Adopts Marijuana Policy Reform Resolution. The Montgomery County council Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for making marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority and for revising the state's yet-to-go-into-effect decriminalization law to include pot-smoking paraphernalia. Under the law as written, people could not be arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana, but they can still be arresting for possessing the pipe to smoke it in.

Medical Marijuana

Utah Issues First Permits to Use High CBD, Low THC Cannabis Oil. Utah officials Tuesday issued the first permits to use high CBD cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy in children under a law passed earlier this year. That law okays the use of cannabis oils containing at least 15% CBD and less than 0.3% THC. But while initial permits have been issued, families are likely to have to wait until September to acquire the cannabis oil because the Colorado nonprofit that produces it has a long waiting list and a crop that won't be ready until the fall.

California Medical Marijuana Citizens' Lobby Day Will Be August 4. The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access has announced that its annual citizens' lobby day in Sacramento will be held this year on August 4. The group is supporting the statewide regulation bill, Senate Bill 1262, but wants some changes, too. Click on the title link for more details.

Drug Policy

White House Releases 2014 National Drug Control Strategy. The White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) today released its annual drug control strategy. In the big picture it doesn't appear to be a whole lot different from last year's, or the year before that or the year before that or… But there are some good things to be found. Check back here later today for a feature article on it. In the meantime, click on the link to take a look yourself.

International

Mexico Anti-Cartel Vigilantism Spreads Close to US Border. Vigilante groups targeting criminal drug trafficking organizations first sprung up last year in the west-central Mexican state of Michoacan, where they battled the Knights Templar cartel before eventually being folded into the Mexican police apparatus. Now, they are appearing in Tamaulipas state, just across the Rio Grande River from Texas. A group known as the Pedro Mendez Column is operating in the city of Hidalgo, where it does nightly patrols to defend the city from the Zetas cartel. It also claims to have killed several Zetas. And the Zetas claim to have killed several people it accuses of being linked to the vigilantes. The Zetas also accuse the rival Gulf cartel of arming the vigilantes.

Lebanese Marijuana Farmers Vow to Fight Back Against Eradication Campaign. The Lebanese government has announced it will begin destroying marijuana farms in the Bekaa Valley tomorrow, but farmers there are vowing to defend their crops with their lives. Ali Nasri Shammas, a major grower and spokesman for the illicit industry, said growers would do what it takes to defend their crops, whether by protesting, blocking roads, or more violent means. "We will also use arms to face the security forces, who will damage the crops, even if it leads to bloodshed. Destroying the crops is forbidden no matter the results," Shammas warned. Given the ongoing Syrian civil war next door, it remains to be seen whether the government will be able to actually eradicate much of the marijuana crop.

Russians Say They Lose 100,000 People a Year to Drug Overdoses. Russia's Federal Drug Control Service reports that nearly 100,000 people died of drug overdoses last year and that the rate of drug-related deaths in Russian urban areas was 28.7 per 100,000. That rate is 2.7 times higher than the previous year. By contrast, in the US, some 41,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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US WA: Wash. Marijuana Users Cheer 1st Day Of Sales

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 09 Jul 2014 - State Is 2d in US to Legalize Use for Recreation BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) - Cale Holdsworth strode to the counter at Top Shelf Cannabis, inspected and sniffed a glass jar filled with marijuana, and said: "I'll take two grams."
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US NY: Brooklyn Prosecutor Limits When He'll Target Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 09 Jul 2014 - After months of resistance from the New York Police Department, the Brooklyn district attorney's office announced on Tuesday that it would immediately carry out its plan to stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana cases. The policy was proposed in a draft confidential memorandum in April, but was delayed as prosecutors and police officials tried to iron out their differences in meetings and phone calls.
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US WA: First Legal Buyers Get Their 'Piece Of History'

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 09 Jul 2014 - Stores Open With Celebrations, Plans for Bigger Supply Deb Greene was looking forward to some blissful shut-eye after buying the first pot Tuesday from Cannabis City in Sodo. She hadn't slept Monday night as she waited in line outside.
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US WA: Seattle's First Legal Pot Shop Opens To Scores Of Buyers

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 09 Jul 2014 - Surrounded by thousands of packages of marijuana, Seattle's top prosecutor sought some advice: Which one should he buy? A new day, indeed. Twenty months after voters legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21, Washington state's first few licensed pot shops opened for business Tuesday, catering to hundreds of customers who lined up outside, thrilled to be part of the historic moment. The pot being sold at four stores in Seattle, Bellingham, Prosser and Spokane was regulated, tested for impurities, heavily taxed and in short supply - such short supply that several other shops couldn't open because they had nothing to sell.
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CN SN: Editorial: Lawless Politicians

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Humboldt Journal, 09 Jul 2014 - It's sad, but in the year 2014 it's business as usual to hear a politician is on the wrong side of the law. Rob Ford is the poster boy for lawless politicians. He received media attention from all over the world for his use of crack cocaine, drunkenness and outrageous quotes. Nearly every late night talk show host, comedian and media outlet took a shot at him.
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US PA: Medical Marijuana Advocates Push for Vote in Capitol

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Standard-Speaker, 09 Jul 2014 - HARRISBURG (AP) - About two dozen mothers, grandmothers, nurses and small children are in the Pennsylvania Capitol to ask state senators to advance medical marijuana legislation. Dana Ulrich of Lancaster County said Tuesday that they are asking senators to vote the bill out of the Appropriations Committee and pass it before leaving the Capitol for the summer.
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US CA: Column: Your Money Is Covered In Drugs!

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
SF Weekly, 09 Jul 2014 - YOUR MONEY IS COVERED IN DRUGS! The cross-country flight from Newark had just touched down at San Francisco International Airport, and Brice Barton was already in trouble. It was late January, and the Seattle-area man was making his sixth coast-to-coast trip since September. SFO was his layover before a one-way flight to Arcata in Humboldt County. He never made it north.
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US CO: Column: Local Pot Pioneer Wants Out, Springs Cannabis

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 09 Jul 2014 - Pot pioneer wants out If Colorado Springs' marijuana industry has a founding father, it's probably Michael Lee. The longtime owner of Cannabis Therapeutics (907 E. Fillmore St., cannabistherapeutics.net) opened his storefront in 2006, years before the green rush overwhelmed the state. He's been raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, unsuccessfully charged by the local district attorney and outlasted pretty much every trend, rule and law that's swirled through in the past decade.
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US WA: Pot Dispensaries, Patients Watch Warily

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 09 Jul 2014 - Will Medical Pot Face New Rules? Users Fear Cheaper System Is in Danger As lines formed outside Washington's first legal retail marijuana shops Tuesday, a quiet waiting room in a downtown Seattle office building filled with another group of people looking to buy pot.
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CN NS: New Rules For N.S. Docs Prescribing Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Metro, 09 Jul 2014 - Policy Change. No Direct Billing, Distance Authorization A new policy from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia aims to lift the haze around authorizing medical marijuana, the college's registrar said Tuesday.
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US NY: Study Finds Racial Disparity In Criminal Prosecutions

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 09 Jul 2014 - Black and Hispanic defendants are more likely to be held in jail before trial and more likely to be offered plea bargains that include a prison sentence than whites and Asians charged with the same crimes, according to a two-year study of prosecutions handled by the Manhattan district attorney's office. The study, by the Vera Institute of Justice, found that race was a significant factor at nearly every stage of criminal prosecutions in Manhattan, from setting bail to negotiating a plea deal to sentencing.
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US CA: Facing Down Pot's Influence

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 09 Jul 2014 - The Acceptance of Medical Marijuana in the State Raises a U.S. Prosecutor's Concern About Biased Jurors in Weed Cases. Julie Shemitz watched warily as the judge asked prospective jurors whether they or anyone close to them had a card for medical marijuana.
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Chronicle AM -- July 8, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 20:44

There are now two states where marijuana can be legally sold to adults, Marc Emery's time in America's drug war gulag comes to an end, two senators file the REDEEM Act for ex-offenders, there may be magic in those mushrooms, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Washington State Retail Marijuana Sales Began This Morning. The first legal recreational marijuana sales in Washington occurred shortly after 8:00am today, when a visitor from Kansas bought two grams of pot for $26.50 at Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham. The state has authorized up to 344 retail marijuana outlets, but only a handful are open today, and there are worries about legal marijuana shortages as well. Stay tuned as Washington treads down the path of pot legalization.

Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery Gets Out of US Prison Tomorrow. The five-year legal martyrdom of Canadian marijuana legalization gadfly Marc Emery is about to come to an end. Emery will leave federal prison tomorrow after serving a sentence for selling marijuana seeds to customers in the US. He won't get back home to Canada immediately; there is some red tape involved that will keep him in the US for several more weeks, but we fully expect Emery to take up where he left off in terms of relentless activism -- once he has had a chance to reunite with his stalwart wife, Jodi.

New York Fairness and Equity Act Seeks to End Marijuana Arrests, Fix Loopholes in State Law. Elected officials, community groups, and activists will rally Wednesday at New York City Hall to announce the introduction of the Fairness and Equity Act. The bill is designed to end mass, racially-biased marijuana possession arrests by fixing the state's decriminalization law to eliminate the difference between private and public possession, creating a process for those arrested under the current law to clear their records, and reducing the harms of collateral consequences of pot possession arrests. The bill is not yet available on the state legislative web site. Click on the link for more details.

Medical Marijuana

San Jose Collectives, Dispensaries Fight Looming Shut-Downs With Referendum Effort, Thursday Protest. The city of San Jose has recently passed an ordinance that will result in the forced closure of more than 70 collectives and dispensaries, and the industry is fighting back. There is a petition drive underway to stop the city from shuttering the businesses, and there will be a rally throughout Thursday afternoon at city hall. Stay tuned.

San Diego Sheriff's Office Returns Marijuana to Raided Dispensary. Sheriff's office officials have handed back 20 pounds of marijuana, as well as grow equipment, seized in a raid last year from the SoCal Pure Collective in North County. The legal case against the collective was dropped in April, and a judge ordered all the confiscated goods returned. But collective operator Laura Sharp still fumes over the raid itself, a paramilitarized exercise of police power aimed at patients and providers. "I don't think that we needed to have assault rifles held to our heads. I think we could have been served paperwork," she said.

Psychedelics

Study Finds Magic Mushrooms Open Strange Brain State, Could Unlock Permanent Shifts in Perspective. A study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping has found that psychedelic mushroom compounds may be opening brain states usually experienced only in dreams and suggests that their use may have permanent positive effects on the brain. This could open the door for more research on the use of psychedelics as a treatment for disorders such as depression and anxiety. Click the study link for more details.

Reentry and Rehabilitation

Senate Odd Couple Introduce REDEEM Act to Assist Ex-Cons with Re-Entry. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul will today introduce the REDEEM Act, which aims to assist formerly incarcerated people with reentering society in a productive manner. The bill would, among other things, help seal conviction records and eliminate barriers to reentry, employment, and public assistance. The bill is not yet up on the congressional web site.

International

Applicants Sought for Two-Week London Fellowship on West Africa Drug Policy Reform. The Open Society Foundation is seeking applicants for a West African fellowship on drug policy reform. The two-week program is set to take place in London in October, 2014, and will be hosted by the drug policy organization, Release. Those interested in the program are encouraged to apply by visiting the link here for more details. You have until July 31 to apply.

Conference on Marijuana Regulation in London Later This Month. A Cannabis Conference will be held July 23 at the House of Lords in London. It is supported and sponsored by Baroness Meacher, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Reform Policy. Click on the link for more details.

Dominican Prime Minister Wants Review of Marijuana Laws. Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told a press conference Tuesday that the time has come to review the country's marijuana laws. "We believe the time has come for us to look at the laws relating to marijuana, for example someone with a very small quantity of marijuana, we will send him to prison, and the question is, if a man has five grams of marijuana should this person be sent to prison for that small amount and that person would have a criminal record for the rest of his life," Skerrit said. His remarks come as CARICOM convenes a commission to study marijuana law reform in the region.

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