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Chronicle AM -- July 2, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 18:39

The Louisiana State Bar goes where the state legislature wouldn't, the Florida medical marijuana initiative gets a big cash donation, the CDC issues an eye-opening report on opioid prescribing, some Vancouverites celebrate Canada Day with an illegal open marijuana market, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Iowa State NORML Sues School Over Ban on Use of Marijuana Image. ISU NORML yesterday filed a lawsuit against the university charging that administrators violated its First Amendment rights by blocking the group from using the university's mascot on their t-shirts because the t-shirts also included a marijuana leaf. The "overbroad" trademark decision effectively censors the group's goal of "challenging the orthodoxy that marijuana use should be prohibited." The university initially approved the design, but withdrew approval after getting negative feedback from the public.

Louisiana State Bar Backs Marijuana Reform. The Louisiana State Bar Association has approved a resolution backing efforts to classify simple possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor, rather than a felony. An effort to pass a similar bill failed this year in the state legislature.

Medical Marijuana

John Morgan Kicks in Another $4 Million for Florida Initiative. Prominent Florida attorney and Amendment 2 initiative backer John Morgan has contributed another $4 million of his own money to ensure the medical marijuana initiative wins in November. Because the initiative is a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% of the vote to pass.

New Jersey Legislator Files Medical Marijuana Fix Bill. Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) has filed a bill to fix the state's medical marijuana program, which she describes as "broken." The bill would allow patients to grow their own supplies, remove caps on the number of dispensaries, expand the list of qualifying diseases, and remove some of the law's most rigid provisions. The bill is not yet available on the legislature's web site.

High Support for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania Poll. The latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll has support for medical marijuana at 84% in the Keystone State. That's up three points over the same poll six months ago, and up eight points from eight years ago. A medical marijuana bill is currently pending in the state Senate.

In Massachusetts, No Tax on Medical Marijuana -- Yet. Legislators in Boston Tuesday voted not to approve taxes on medical marijuana, but instead to send the proposal to study, which generally means it's dead. The vote came in the Revenue Committee.

Prescription Drugs

New CDC Report on Opioid Prescribing. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, Opioid Painkiller Prescribing: Where You Live Makes a Difference, finds that Americans were prescribed 259 million bottles of opioid pain relievers in 2012, but that there is great regional variety in levels of pain reliever prescribing. Doctors in Alabama, for example, wrote opioid prescriptions at a rate three times higher than those in Hawaii. The highest prescribing rates are generally in the Deep South and the Appalachian Midwest. Forty-six people die every day from prescription opioid overdoses, but efforts to restrict access to opioids in some states have managed to lower deaths. The report did not address the the possible impact of such restrictions on undertreatment of pain.

International

Australian Octogenarian Drug Reformer Named Victorian of the Year. Professor David Penington, 84, who has called for marijuana and ecstasy to be legalized and who heads a committee advising the Victoria state government on drug policies, has been named Victorian of the Year at a national ceremony in Melbourne. "At the age of 84 I was really looking forward to genteel disappearance from the scene," he said, adding that he would use his new honor to continue to push for drug refom. "The reality is that prohibition just hasn't worked for 100 years and the problems are getting worse," Professor Penington said. "We've got to find better ways to handle illicit drugs."

Canada Day Marijuana Street Market in Vancouver Goes Unimpeded. As our northern neighbor celebrated its national holiday yesterday, a street market outside the Vancouver Art Gallery offered up hash brownies and fudge, as well as dime bags and joints of BC bud, despite such acts being illegal. Vendors said the market was a protest "to legalize marijuana." A Vancouver police officer watching the scene from his bicycle said he was there in case anyone needed help, but that police would not stop anyone from selling marijuana.

Categories: Marijuana

An Industry Emerges: The NCIA Cannabis Business Summit in Denver [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 15:00

The exhibition hall in the Denver Convention Center last week was a wonder to behold. Automated, high-capacity marijuana trimming machines. Industrial strength cannabis oil extraction devices. Marijuana real estate specialists. Marijuana accountants. Marijuana attorneys -- real estate, intellectual property, contracts. Marijuana consultants. Marijuana investment advisers. Point-of-sale marijuana sales tracking systems. Chemical testing companies. Vaporizer sellers. Odor-proof bag producers. Automated rolling machine makers. Anything and everything to do with the business of legal marijuana. All in a high-gloss trade show environment.

[image:1 align:left]It was the National Cannabis Industry Association's (NCIA) Cannabis Business Summit, which brought more than 1,200 registrants to the state capital that for now at least is also the capital of legal marijuana. And it represents a new phase in the evolution of marijuana policy.

This is not your father's marijuana movement. There were lots of men in dark suits and ties, lots of women in snappy professional attire. A few dreadlocks here and there, but only a few. And nary a tie-dye to be found. There wasn't a whole lot of talk about how "We have to free the weed, man;" although social justice including ending prohibition came. up. There was a whole lot of talk about business opportunities, investment strategies, and how to profit from crumbling pot prohibition, as well as the dangers and pitfalls facing would-be entrepreneurs in an industry still illegal under federal law.

The legal marijuana industry has been bubbling up for awhile now, building from the quasi-legalization that is medical marijuana in Wild West California and the more regulated, but still thriving medical marijuana industry in states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In the past decade or so, the High Times Cannabis Cup has evolved from a November trip to Amsterdam to a virtual traveling circus of all things pot-related. And marijuana trade expos have drawn crowds in the tens of thousands.

But one can reasonably argue that last week's Cannabusiness Summit represents the maturation of marijuana as an All-American business opportunity. With Colorado this week beginning to accept applications from people who don't represent medical marijuana dispensaries (for the first six months of commercial legalization, only operating dispensaries could apply) and Washington state set to see its first retail marijuana operations next week, the era of legal marijuana is truly upon us. And it's likely to continue to expand, with Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, poised to join the ranks of the legalizers after elections later this year.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]The Cannabis Business Summit was, unsurprisingly, mainly about the nuts and bolts of operating a legal marijuana business. It could have been any industrial trade show and conference, except this was about weed. Panels covered topics such as "Grow 101: Cultivation Facility Build-Out and Management Best Practices," "Advanced Cultivation: Scalability, Sustainability, and Growth Management," "Protecting Your Investment: Risk Management and Insurance for the Cannabis Industry," and "International CannaBusiness Opportunities." And that was just session one of day one.

Marijuana is an industry on a roll, and the NCIA can point to its own success as exhibit one.

"We now have over 600 marijuana business members, and that has doubled since January," said NCIA founder and executive director Aaron Smith in a keynote speech. "When Steve Fox and I started the NCIA in 2010, we had 20 members. Investors and entrepreneurs are rushing into this new space."

That, in turn, is allowing NCIA to expand its operations, Smith said.

"We're seeing more experienced business people because they understand what a trade association is," Smith explained. "So we've been able to staff up, we have a full-time DC lobbyist, which is a first for the industry, and we've already contacted every congressional office on the Hill and had sit-down meetings with half the House offices and 30 Senate offices. We're also attending campaign fundraisers on behalf of the NCIA."

Although the conference was all about business, Smith made clear that the NCIA had not forgotten that these business opportunities have come about because of a decades-long movement for social justice and human liberation around marijuana policy.

"We have to acknowledge those who came before us," he told his audience of businesspeople. "Before we were an industry, we were a movement, and we are still a social movement. The growth of this new industry will drive the final nail in the coffin of marijuana prohibition, so that no one is put in a cage for using a beneficial, extremely therapeutic herbal product ever again."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]The industry has to put its best face forward, Smith said.

"We are still under scrutiny, the world is watching Colorado and Washington, as well as the medical marijuana states, and we have to lead by example," he said. "Be a good neighbor and corporate citizen. Reach out to neighborhood associations and work with them. Contribute to the community. Be a model citizen. Be professional. Don't use marketing you wouldn't want your mother to see."

Smith wasn't the only NCIA officer to warn the industry it needed to watch its step. NCIA deputy director Taylor West had more words of wisdom in a session on marketing and communications.

"This is a cultural movement in the midst of an enormous wave, and we have the opportunity to define an idea on the rise, to be responsible, and to do the education around that," she said. "We are building an industry from scratch, and we have to take this opportunity to make this an industry that's not like every other industry."

That requires some maturity within the industry, the communications specialist said as she displayed tacky advertising images of scantily clad women covered in marijuana buds.

"Responsible branding is important," West noted. "Don't screw it up for everybody. We don't have a rock-solid foundation, and we're still very vulnerable from a public opinion and policy standpoint. Don't market to children and don't market like children," she said. "We're like the wine industry or craft beers or wellness. No one is ever drunk in a wine commercial. And," she said, pointing to the tacky ads, "don't alienate half the population."

[image:4 align:right caption:true]There are many issues facing the nascent marijuana industry, but both the conference agenda and the talk in the corridors made it clear that the federal tax issue takes center stage. Under current federal law, marijuana remains illegal, and that means marijuana businesses cannot take standard business tax deductions under an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provision known as 280E.

"This law must be changed, and this law can be changed. If Obama won't do it, we will do it for them," said marijuana tax attorney Henry Wykowski before heading deep into the weeds in a discussion of the intricacies of dealing with 280E.

"There is legislation to address this," said NCIA Capitol Hill lobbyist Mike Correia, pointing to Rep. Earl Blumenauer's (D-OR) House Resolution 2240, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2013.

But it's unlikely to go anywhere anytime time soon, Correia said. The congressional bill tracking service GovTrack.us agrees, giving the bill zero percent chance of passage this session.

"This is sitting in Ways and Means," Correia explained. "It's a Democratic bill in a Republican-controlled House, and the committee chairman is not a fan."

There is one back-door possibility for moving the bill, though, the lobbyist said.

"Every few years, the Congress addresses aspiring tax breaks," he noted. "They usually pass it in the middle of the night when no one is watching. I hope to have 280E provisions inserted into a bigger tax bill, but we need to get Republicans to support it. The Ways and Means members are not from marijuana-friendly states, so it's hard to get traction, but next year, Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be chair, and he could be more responsive."

The nascent marijuana industry has other issues, of course, but the Denver conference was a strong signal that the marijuana movement is indeed mutating into a marijuana industry. The power of American entrepreneurialism is very strong, and it looks like it's about to run right over the remnants of marijuana prohibition.

But the industry needs to remember that while we now have legal marijuana in two states, there are still 48 states to go. For people in Alabama or South Dakota or Utah, for example, the issue is not how much money you can make selling marijuana (or marijuana-related products or services), but the criminal -- and other -- consequences of getting caught with even small amounts. If the industry is indeed the movement, it needs to be putting its money where its mouth is to finish the work that remains to be done.

Categories: Marijuana

US MI: Organizers Target City For Pot Decriminalization

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 07:00
The Daily Tribune, 02 Jul 2014 - Marijuana legalization advocates turned in petitions Tuesday signed by Berkley voters to put a citywide pot decriminalization proposal on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election. The proposal would make it legal for anyone 21 or older to use, possess or transfer up to an ounce of marijuana on private property not used by the public.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Column: Fairplay to Host Three-Day Music Festival

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 02 Jul 2014 - Your parents' pot Colorado-based Melowana is pushing back against the current trend of ever-increasing THC counts in marijuana by bringing back the '70s - and the '60s, and likely the last several thousand years. In an interview, owner Mukesh Prasad says the pot he's tried has often made him feel "out of control," so his company will target Colorado medical and recreational users interested in "milder, traditional forms of marijuana."
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Prince Of Pot To Emerge Into A Changed World

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 07:00
Metro, 02 Jul 2014 - Release From Prison. Activist Marc Emery to See Greater Acceptance for Cannabis Culture For Jodie Emery, this July has been four years in the making. That's because her husband, marijuana activist Marc "Prince of Pot" Emery, will officially be a free man July 9 after serving 1,590 days in U.S. custody for selling seeds online.
Categories: Marijuana

US FL: OPED: Rush To Legalize Pot Ignores Vulnerable Kids

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 02 Jul 2014 - In states where medical and recreational cannabis sales are allowed, disquieting new trends and statistics are proving the unique dangers for those most vulnerable to its effects: children. One such statistic is a spike in calls to poison control centers. According to the National Poison Data System, calls about accidental ingestion of marijuana in children 9 and younger more than tripled in states that decriminalized marijuana before 2005. In states that enacted legalization from 2005 to 2011, calls increased nearly 11.5 percent per year. Over the same period in states without decriminalization laws, the call rate stayed the same.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: First Pot Shop Poised To Open Tuesday

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 02 Jul 2014 - All It Needs Is License, Supply of Marijuana Seattle Store Expects to Sell Out the First Day A week before the grand opening of Cannabis City, James Lathrop paces by the conspicuously bare glass display cases in his small shop, tucked away just south of downtown Seattle.
Categories: Marijuana

US NM: Ex-Gov. Johnson Heads Pot Startup

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 02 Jul 2014 - Nev. Company Makes Marijuana Oils, Drops (AP) - A Nevada-based startup that plans on selling medical and recreational marijuana products named former New Mexico governor and U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson as its CEO and president, the company announced Tuesday.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM -- July 1, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 18:56

July 1 sees new drug-related laws and regulations going into effect in various places, a University of Arizona researcher falls victim to anti-medical marijuana politics, Massachusetts is cracking down on caregivers, Ohio activists give up on a medical marijuana (and hemp) initiative this year, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Colorado Marijuana Legalization Enters New, Expansive Phase. As of today, any state resident can apply to open a marijuana retail outlet in Colorado. Until now, only owners of already existing medical marijuana dispensaries could apply. It is expected that this new phase of the state's marijuana legalization experience will add hundreds of new marijuana-related businesses in the state.

Berkley, Michigan, Decriminalization Petitioners Hand in Signatures Today. Campaigners for a municipal decriminalization initiative in Berkley plan to turn in 700 signatures today. Berkley is one of about 20 Michigan towns where Safer Michigan is working to get similar initiatives on the ballot for either the August or November elections. Local ordinances that ease penalties for possessing marijuna already are on the books in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Ferndale, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Ypsilanti.

Medical Marijuana

University of Arizona Fires Medical Marijuana Researcher. The University of Arizona has abruptly fired Dr. Suzanne Sisley, who months earlier had received approval from the federal government to study the effects of medical marijuana on people suffering from PTSD. Now, her research is in jeopardy, and she is blaming state legislators who threatened university funding after her research plans made the news. "This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and education I have been providing the public and lawmakers," Sisley said. "I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance."

Massachusetts Crackdown on Caregivers. The state Department of Public Health has sent letters to more than 1,300 patients and 17 caregivers warning that state regulations bar caregivers from selling marijuana to more than one patient. Caregivers are the only legal avenue for patients to buy medical marijuana until dispensaries open, and that won't happen until November at the earliest. The move has forced Bill Downing, the operator of Yankee Care Givers, which supplies an estimated 1,000 patients to quit selling medical marijuana. He is urging patients to join him in a lawsuit challenging the state's interpretation of the law. "DPH is more concerned with their regulations than they are with the well-being of the citizens of Massachusetts," Downing said.

Low-THC, High-CBD Medical Marijuana Laws Go into Effect in Iowa, Utah. At least two of the states that passed limited, low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana laws this year see those laws go into effect today. Those states are Iowa and Utah. It is unclear what impact those laws will have or how many people they will help.

Vermont Medical Marijuana Improvements Go into Effect Today. A medical marijuana improvement bill, Senate Bill 247, goes into effect today. The new law eliminates the cap of 1,000 patients who may access dispensaries, allows naturopaths to certify patients, and allows dispensaries to deliver marijuana to patients. It also authorizes a study of whether PTSD should be added as a qualifying condition.

Ohio Medical Marijuana Initiative Gives Up on 2014. Medical marijuana won't be on the ballot in the Buckeye State this year. The campaign by the Ohio Rights Group needed 385,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot this year, but had only 100,000. The good news is that those gathered signatures are still good in future years and can supply a starting point for a new campaign down the road. The initiative would also have legalized hemp production.

Drug Testing

Tennessee Food Stamp Drug Testing Law Goes into Effect. A law passed in 2012 that mandates drug testing for food stamp applicants if state workers have reason to believe they are using drugs goes into effect today. The ACLU of Tennessee is not happy: "This law singles out limited-income people and requires them to submit to humiliating and intrusive searches of their bodily fluids because they need temporary help making ends meet," said Hedy Weinberg, state director for the ACLU. "Research indicates that TANF recipients are no more likely to use illicit drugs than farmers, veterans, and students, who also receive government support. ACLU-TN wants to hear from any potential TANF recipients who do not want to submit to the required drug testing." The ACLU of Tennessee also has a web page for those who need help dealing with the law.

Sentencing

Rep. Keith Ellison is Latest Cosponsor of Smarter Sentencing Act. The Smarter Sentencing Act (House Resolution 3382) has picked up another cosponsor, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN). The measure now has 42 cosponsors -- 28 Democrats and 14 Republicans. The bill remains stuck in the House Judiciary Committee, where it has been sitting since October.

International

Mexican Soldiers Kill 22 Cartel Members in Michoacan Confrontation. The Mexican Army reported that it killed 22 members of the La Familia Michoacana cartel after soldiers on patrol in Tlatlaya, Michoacan, came under fire from cartel gunmen.

Another Mexican Town Tries to Ban Narcocorridos. Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, in northwest Mexico has banned the playing or performing of narcocorridos, the border ballads that glorify drug traffickers and recount their adventures. The ban follows the killing in the city of a narcocorrido singer from Phoenix, Tomas Tovar Rascon. But more than a year ago, the Mexican Supreme Court overturned a similar ban in the state of Sinaloa, so it is unlikely this ban could withstand a legal challenge -- if anyone brings one.

Categories: Marijuana

US AZ: EDU: UA Marijuana Researcher Fired Unexpectedly

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 07:00
Arizona Daily Wildcat, 01 Jul 2014 - Dr. Sue Sisley, a UA researcher who had designed an FDA-approved medical marijuana study, received notice of termination from the university on Friday. She was informed that she had been stripped of 100 percent of her salary support and her position as assistant professor as of Sept. 26. Sisley said she was not given a specific reason for termination, and that she had received no formal complaints leading up to her termination.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: Launching Legal Pot Faces Difficult Road

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 07:00
Republican & Herald, 01 Jul 2014 - SEATTLE (AP) - As Washington plows toward the legalization of pot, it's finding that getting the cannabis market off the ground has been even tougher than anyone imagined. Among the frustrated are growers who have been waiting months for permission to start raising their bar-coded plants; advocates who wish more public health messaging had been done by now; and would-be pot vendors like O'Neil who said bad luck, minor oversights on their applications, or errors by state officials have torpedoed otherwise promising efforts.
Categories: Marijuana

US MI: Berkley Is Next Mich. City Expected To Vote On Easing

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 07:00
Detroit Free Press, 01 Jul 2014 - Volunteers who've walked the streets of Berkley for the last month said Monday they plan to turn in about 700 signatures today aimed at putting yet another marijuana-legalization question before yet another city's voters. By the time the door-to-door campaigns end, similar questions likely will appear on ballots in nearly 20 communities around the state, from Utica to the U.P., said leaders of Safer Michigan, a Detroit-based nonprofit group coordinating the far-flung petition drives.
Categories: Marijuana

US NC: Parents Talk About N.C.'s Legalization Of Marijuana Oil

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 07:00
Star-News, 01 Jul 2014 - Several local parents are celebrating the move by the state House and Senate to approve oil that is derived from marijuana plants that has shown some early success in other states treating children with severe seizure disorders. "I was really surprised that it all happened so quickly," said Wilmington school teacher Annetta Saggese. "Not only could it be so incredible for our kids, but it's also refreshing to see that it was bipartisan, that our representatives listened and took the time and cared." Annetta and her husband Matt are the parents of 4-year-old Netta, who began having seizures at about 6 weeks old, severely stunting her development. The StarNews featured the Saggeses and other North Carolina families in an article in September, during which time parents were gearing up for a fight to push legislation legalizing what's known as CBD oil during the short session. Parents largely connected through a Facebook page lobbied their legislators hard, and their educational efforts paid off. The bill passed with very little opposition, and Gov. Pat McCrory said last week that he intended to sign it into law. House Bill 1220 was approved by a vote of 112-1 in the House and 45-0 in the Senate. "This law will help ease the suffering endured by children from whom no other treatments are effective against their seizures," McCrory said in a statement. "I want to congratulate the General Assembly for crafting a bill that not only improves the lives of many North Carolina children and their parents, but also provides common sense regulation and facilitates clinical research at our major research universities."
Categories: Marijuana

US MA: Editorial: Pot System Doped Up

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/01/2014 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 01 Jul 2014 - Scoring 65 on a test is usually the equivalent of a D-minus - if not an F. That's how well the Patrick administration handled the first big test of the state's new "medical" marijuana system, and yet the official in charge is simply "delighted" with the results. Time for a reality check at the Department of Public Health.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM -- June 30, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 19:32

The Big Dog opines on marijuana, a California sentencing reform initiative qualifies for the ballot, the DC legalization initiative looks poised to make the ballot, municipal decrim initiative campaigns are underway in New Mexico's largest cities, the drug war is driving grand jury indictments in an East Texas county, and more. Let's get to it:

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

DC Legalization Initiative Poised to Make Ballot. The DC Cannabis Campaign is reporting that it has gathered more than 60,000 signatures to place its initiative to legalize home-growing and possession of marijuana on the November ballot. It only needs 22,600 valid voter signatures to qualify. The signature-gathering period ends next week.

Albuquerque, Santa Fe Decriminalization Initiatives Begin Signature-Gathering. Organizers of municipal decriminalization initiatives in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, began signature-gathering last Saturday. The Drug Policy Alliance's political action arm, Drug Policy Action, is behind the effort. Some 5,700 signatures are needed in Santa Fe and 11,000 in Albuquerque.

Bill Clinton Talks Pot. Former President Bill Clinton was asked on Meet the Press Sunday whether "giving pot a chance" would help governments raise revenue. Here's his response: "Rocky Mountain high?" Clinton quipped. "Look, I think there's a lot of evidence to argue for the medical marijuana thing. I think there are a lot of unresolved questions, but I think we should leave it to the states, if there really is a time when there should be laboratories of democracy because nobody really knows where this is going. Are there adequate quality controls? There's pot and then there's pot. What's in it? There's all these questions, and I think that I like where it is now. If a state wants to try it, they can. And then they'll be able to see what happens."

Washington State Faces Marijuana Shortages, High Prices. With the first retail marijuana shops slated to open in less than 10 days, Washington state is facing a legal marijuana shortage, which is expected to drive up prices. Only 79 of the more than 2,600 people who applied for growing licenses have been approved, and many of them aren't ready to harvest. Pounds being sold to retailers now are going for as much as $4,000, which comes out to $9 a gram before taxes. After a retailers' mark up, the 25% excise tax, and state and local sales taxes, gram prices could be in the $15-20 range -- above the price on the black market.

Medical Marijuana

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Initiative Has More than 75,000 Signatures. The constitutional amendment medical marijuana initiative sponsored by Oklahomans for Health now has 75,000 raw signatures. The group needs 156,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. They have until August 17 to come up with more.

California Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill Advances, But Needs Work. A bill to regulate California's medical marijuana industry, Senate Bill 1262, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee last Friday, but is described as "unworkable, incoherent, and unacceptable to most advocates." Committee approval was conditioned on working out the problems before hearings in the Appropriations Committee in August.

Sentencing

California Sentencing Reform Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot. The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act sentencing reform initiative has qualified for the November ballot, the secretary of state's office announced last Friday. Backed by San Francisco DA George Gascon and San Diego Police Chief William Landsdowne, the initiative would defelonize some drug possession offenses, as well as making some other crimes misdemeanors instead of felonies.

Law Enforcement

Drug War Accounts for Big Chunk of Upshur County, Texas, Grand Jury Indictments. The Upshur County Grand Jury returned its latest batch of indictments last week, and of the 26 indictments, 11 of them (43%) were for drug charges. Of the drug charges, six were possession of methamphetamine, three were meth sales, and two were for cocaine sales.

International

Crackdown on Anti-Cartel Vigilantes in Michoacan, Mexico. Mexican soldiers and police arrested 83 suspected vigilantes last Friday in Michoacan after they encountered them carrying unauthorized weapons. Among those arrested was Dr. Jose Manuel Mireles, one of the founders of the vigilante groups, which formed in response to harassment, extortion, and lawlessness perpetrated by the region's Knights Templar cartel. The vigilantes were supposed to have joined rural police forces, but Mireles and his men had not done that and had instead begun organizing a new vigilante group. He and his men were arrested when they set up roadblocks around the port city of Lazaro Cardenas.

Zambian Government Says No Marijuana Legalization. Responding to increasing calls for marijuana legalization to improve the economy, the government says no way. Home Affairs Minister Ngosa Simbyakula said last Friday that the government remains determined not to legalize marijuana. It would encourage drug use in the country, he said.

Categories: Marijuana

US: Six Months In, How Has Marijuana Legalization Treated Colorado?

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 07:00
The Press, 30 Jun 2014 - Opponents warned of increases in crime, car accidents, and drops in tourism, but a report reveals Colorado's mostly flying high with recreational use. By Katie Rucke @katierucke | June 30, 2014 Rachel Schaefer of Denver smokes marijuana on the official opening night of Club 64, a marijuana-specific social club, where a New Year's Eve party was held, in Denver, Monday Dec. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Categories: Marijuana

US PA: Column: Revisiting Civil Forfeiture

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 Jun 2014 - A Woman Who Lost Her Home Appeals, Saying She's Punished for Son's Crime. At once tidy and stalwart, but pockmarked, too, with its share of boarded-up homes, Elizabeth Young's neighborhood in the Cobbs Creek section of West Philadelphia is the epitome of urban grit.
Categories: Marijuana

US: Reefer Madness: Study Looks At Pot, Psychosis

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 30 Jun 2014 - Does marijuana smoking cause psychosis? Or could psychosis drive pot smoking? If you believe the panned and parodied 1936 film "Reefer Madness," smoking weed will make one crazy and drive you to a life of crime.
Categories: Marijuana

CN NS: Casting The Net For Druggies Who Drive

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 07:00
Chronicle Herald, 29 Jun 2014 - Some part of Doug McKenna's internal clock was restarted in November 2011 when he learned of his son's death. More than 19 months had gone by, he said, when he arrived at Antigonish court to hear the verdict for the man responsible.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: Stop Legislating Morality

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 06/29/2014 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 29 Jun 2014 - Canada's Proposed Prostitution Law Doesn't Protect Sex Trade Workers and Will Be Vulnerable to a Charter Challenge I'm always amazed at the power of our federal government. With the simple passage of legislation it can turn ordinary citizens into criminals.
Categories: Marijuana
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