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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.
Categories: Marijuana

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.
Categories: Marijuana

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."

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: More B.C. Drivers Using Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 01 Apr 2015 - Research finds more drivers are under the influence of cannabis on B.C. roads More B.C. drivers are behind the wheel while under the influence of cannabis. An article in the April issue of the BC Medical Journal points to a recently-released 2012 study that found cannabis in 5.4% of drivers, compared to 4.6% in 2008.
Categories: Marijuana

US PA: Witness: Officers Robbed Me

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 01 Apr 2015 - Testimony Begins in Trial of Six Phila. Narcotics Cops Accused of Racketeering. A Main Line prep-school assistant basketball coach told a federal jury Tuesday that Philadelphia narcotics officers robbed him blind during a 2007 search of his City Avenue apartment.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Column: New Study Shows Marijuana Arrests Unequal

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 01 Apr 2015 - Arrests drop, favor whites Last week, the New York City-based Drug Policy Alliance released a 17-page report titled "Marijuana Arrests in Colorado After the Passage of Amendment 64" (tiny.cc/w6mbwx), which shows the amendment's implementation has predictably gutted the rate of marijuana arrests since 2010. Statewide, arrests for possession, cultivation and distribution have dropped almost 95 percent. However, arrests are still disproportionately high for black Coloradans, as they were before legalization.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: Column: Pot For Pets

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Weekly, 01 Apr 2015 - Can weed give our furry companions happier lives and more peaceful deaths? Remember the right-wing homophobes who claimed that if we allowed gays to get married, pretty soon people would begin marrying their pets? Well, now, the damn hippies who voted to legalize the wacky weed are indeed trying to get their dogs and cats stoned! Hooked on the hound hemp! The kitty chronic!?
Categories: Marijuana

US VA: Column: How To Kill Someone And Get Away With It

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Richmond Times-Dispatch, 01 Apr 2015 - The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, once considered one of the most conservative in the country, has moved to the left in recent years. But if you think that means it is showing a greater regard for individual rights and civil liberties, think again. According to a ruling the court handed down on March 13, the appropriate range of punishments for possessing a small amount of marijuana includes summary execution. In 2005 (the wheels of justice can grind exceedingly slowly) the police in Cambridge, Md., acted on a tip and found a small amount of marijuana residue in a trash can. At 4:30 a.m. on May 6, a SWAT team executed a search warrant on the apartment of Andrew Cornish. A jury would later find the commandos failed to knock and announce themselves properly. As they rushed through the apartment, Cornish came out of the bedroom with a sheathed knife in his hand. The police say he advanced on them. One of the officers shot Cornish twice in the head, killing him.
Categories: Marijuana

Australia: Mother of Medical Marijuana Crusader Slams

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Sydney Morning Herald, 01 Apr 2015 - Lucy Haslam, the mother of the late-medical marijuana campaigner, Dan, has criticised the state government for moving too slowly to provide access to the drug to the ill. Ms Haslam, whose son died in February, five years after being diagnosed with cancer, testified before a federal Senate inquiry held at the NSW parliament on Tuesday.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Editorial: No More Half-Baked Pot Votes

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 01 Apr 2015 - Californians are almost certainly going to vote in 2016 on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. And according to the most recent polls, a majority of voters now support that goal. But general, theoretical support may not be enough. If legalization proponents are serious about passing a ballot initiative, they'd better be sure they put forward a comprehensive, well-thought-out proposal that addresses the complex legal, societal and safety issues involved.
Categories: Marijuana

US NM: SF Police Use Tougher Pot Penalties

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 01 Apr 2015 - City Ordinance to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Is Ignored SANTA FE - Last summer, the Santa Fe City Council took action to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, making it a civil nuisance violation under city law as opposed to a criminal charge under a coexisting state statute.
Categories: Marijuana

US DC: Obama Commutes Sentences Of 22 Drug Offenders

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 01 Apr 2015 - Prison Terms Were Set Under Guidelines Now Deemed Too Harsh President Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentences of 22 drug offenders, the largest batch of prisoners to be granted early release under his administration as it steps up an overhaul of the nation's criminal justice system.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: AK Pot Bill Advances, Obama Commutes Drug Sentences, Brit Drug Spat, More (3/31/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 22:20

There will still be marijuana felonies under a bill moving in Alaska, North Dakota has a new hemp law, an Arkansas welfare drug test bill heads to the governor's desk, Obama commutes sentences, and more.

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

Alaska Senate Passes Marijuana Bill -- Without Ban on Concentrates. The Senate voted Monday night to approve SB 30, the bill designed to update the state's criminal code to reflect marijuana's legalized status. The bill was approved 17-3 after an amendment to make concentrates illegal in two years was defeated. It continues to list pot as a controlled substance and has provisions making it a felony to possess more than a pound or to grow more than 25 plants. It also bans pot businesses in unorganized boroughs.

Another Maine Legalization Bill Filed. Rep. Mark Dion (D-Portland) has filed a bill to allow adults 21 and over to use marijuana, regulate commercial sales, and tax them at 15%. The bill is still being drafted and is not yet available on the legislative web site. Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) has also filed a legalization bill, but its language isn't completed yet, either. There are also two separate legalization initiative campaigns brewing the in the state.

Hemp

North Dakota Governor Signs Hemp Bill Telling Feds to Butt Out. Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) last Friday signed House Bill 1436, which allows farmers to apply to grow the crop for either research or commercial purposes. The bill says that "license required by this section is not conditioned on or subject to review or approval by the United States drug enforcement agency," a direct jab at the DEA. Instead, licensing will be up to the state agriculture department.

Drug Testing

Arkansas Legislature Passes "Suspicion Based" Welfare Drug Testing Bill. The House Monday approved Senate Bill 600, which would set up a two-year pilot program for "suspicion based" drug screening and testing of public benefits applicants. The Senate, which had already approved it, gave it a final approval today, and the bill now heads to the governor's desk.

Harm Reduction

Indiana Needle Exchange Bill Wins House Committee Vote. The House Public Health Committee Monday approved a bill to allow needle exchanges in the 23 counties in the state with the highest rates of hepatitis C infections. The bill actually addresses an HIV outbreak in southeastern Scott County, where Gov. Mike Pence (R) days ago issued an executive order allowing for emergency needle exchanges. The bill now goes to the House floor.

Law Enforcement

Maine Governor Slams Foes As "Weak on Drugs." Faced with legislative skepticism over his proposals to beef up the state's drug enforcement apparatus, Tea Party Republican Gov. Paul LePage has come out swinging. "They are weak on drugs," LePage told reporters, describing the legislators. "They simply don't want to deal with the problem. Frankly, they shouldn't be in this hall, they shouldn't be in this building if they can't take care of our children. And the gloves are off now."

Sentencing

Obama Commutes Sentences of 22 Drug Offenders. The president today doubled the number of drug sentence commutations he has issued in one fell swoop by cutting sentences for 22 drug offenders, mostly crack cocaine offenders and mostly doing sentences of 20 years or more. Eight were doing life sentences for drug offenses, including one doing life for growing pot plants.

International

Spanish Cannabis Club Wins Acquittal. The provincial court in Vizcaya has acquitted five people accused of violating Spanish law by forming a club to grow and consume marijuana. The members of the Pannagh collective were charged with drug trafficking and "criminal organization," but in a victory for cannabis advocates, the court held that Pannagh acted within the limits of the concept of "collective cultivation."

British Labor Party Attacks Lib Dems as "Soft on Crime, Drugs, and Thugs." Labor has put out a leaflet attacking the Liberal Democrats on drug and crime policy ahead of looming parliamentary elections, but Labor is taking lots of flak for its efforts. One critic called the Labor approach "medieval," another accused it of underestimating the intelligence of the electorate, and yet another accused Labor of "turning their back on progressive, sensible, evidence-based reform."

Categories: Marijuana

US DC: Review: 'A Call to Action for the 46 States That Know

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 07:00
Washington Times, 31 Mar 2015 - William Bennett, who served as secretary of education under Ronald Reagan and director of national drug control policy (or drug czar) under George H.W. Bush, has long been known for his strong and clear articulation of conservative principles in a number of best-selling books, among them "The Book of Virtues." In "Going to Pot," he and his co-author Robert White, a managing partner in an international law firm and former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, examine the current trendy rush to legalize the drug. "Marijuana, once considered worthy of condemnation, has in recent years become a 'medicine' legalized fully in four states, with others expected to follow."
Categories: Marijuana

Australia: Act Medical Cannabis Plan A 'Trojan Horse'

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 07:00
Canberra Times, 31 Mar 2015 - An anti-drugs lobby group has told the Legislative Assembly that medical marijuana could act as a "Trojan horse" for illegal drug use in the ACT and any change to current laws could prompt an increase in addiction. Drug Free Australia representatives Gary Christian and Ross Colquhoun are to give evidence on Tuesday to a public hearing considering a medical cannabis scheme proposed by Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury.
Categories: Marijuana

Here Comes Italy: The Next Country to Legalize Marijuana? [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 03/31/2015 - 06:27

An effort to legalize marijuana is getting underway in the Italian parliament, with some 60 lawmakers having signed onto a motion to do just that by the time it was rolled out three weeks ago. Now, the "all party" group is getting to work on the twin tasks of drafting an actual bill and getting it enacted into law.

[image:1 align:left]The effort is being led by Sen. Benedetto Della Vedova, who is also Italy's undersecretary of state for foreign affairs. Della Vedova was a long-time member of the country's Nonviolent Radical Party, but was elected to parliament as a member of the centrist Scelta Civica.

The Radicals are a small but influential party that has called for drug legalization since the 1970s, including for marijuana, and Della Vedova's pot politics go back to the last century as well. He and other Radicals were arrested for publicly distributing hashish at an anti-prohibitionist rally in 1995.

They didn't get much political traction then, but times have changed. Della Vedova is a senator, not an agitator; there is support from within the governing coalition and even from within law enforcement; and the Italian public seems to be ready to relax the marijuana laws.

A little more than a year ago, the country's top court threw out a 2006 law that put marijuana in the same legal category as heroin and cocaine and swelled the country's prison population. That Berlusconi-era approach has been replaced by a sort of decriminalization, where users face misdemeanor charges, but only fines or administrative penalties, such as suspension of a driver's license. But people caught growing plants still face possible jail time.

That softening of the marijuana laws went largely unopposed and unremarked upon. A more remarkable indication of changing attitudes was the February release of the National Anti-Mafia Directorate's annual report. That report from Italy's top crime-fighting organization said frankly that marijuana prohibition had failed and that it was time to consider legalization.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]In view of "the failure of prohibition," the group will draft "a pragmatic, non-ideological bill" regulating marijuana, thus diverting profits from organized crime," Senator Della Vedova told reporters as he announced the measure. "Repressive action has totally failed."

The time has come, he said.

"This is a bipartisan proposition from members of the parliament of different political backgrounds," Della Vedova said. "This shows that even in Italy, a pragmatic approach, based on a rigorous cost-benefit analysis, is now increasingly popular in the political and cultural debate, not only outside but also inside the parliament."

The idea is picking up steam, Carmelo Palma, technical coordinator for the parliamentary working group, told Drug War Chronicle this week.

"The group has now reached more than a hundred members, and it's very rare that a group of concerned legislators get together during a session to attempt to co-draft a bill," he said. "This is more than just a nice beginning."

Most of the signatories are from the ruling center-left Democratic Party, although some members of right parties have signed on as well. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hasn't commented on the push, but has previously gone on record supporting the decriminalization of "soft drugs."

The parliamentary group met for the first time last Thursday to select a coordinator who will gather the various legalization proposals put forward, and there is a meeting to review the scientific evidence around marijuana that will take place in May or June. After that, said Palma, will come a public meeting before parliament recesses for the summer.

[image:3 align:left caption:true]The process will take some time, but that's to be expected, said Radical Party United Nations representative Marco Perduca, who served in Italy's Senate from 2008 to 2013.

"Some sort of consensus legalization model needs to emerge," he told the Chronicle. "Being an 'all-party' group, there are different approaches, from the super-libertarian to the statist. I think what is clear is that all aspects will have to be regulated, from production to consumption through commercialization."

Perhaps a limited duration trial program would be the way to go, he suggested.

"In any case, personal cultivation should always be allowed at home, and commercial production should also be allowed with clear rules," Perduca offered. "As far as selling is concerned, both cannabis social clubs and coffee shops could be models to adopt."

Perduca was willing see limitations -- at least temporarily -- on quantities that could be purchased, but rejected restricting sales to citizens, as the Dutch have tried to do in a bid to head off "drug tourism."

Marijuana legalization is desirable for both moral and practical reasons, the Radical said.

"Isn't a freer world a good enough answer?" he asked. "Money spent to bust pot smokers has always been money wasted, and legalizing marijuana would allow us to not only invest in other public policies, but also promote a model of where the state doesn't tell you what to do, but allows you to make your own choices in an informed way."

It isn't going to happen this month, or probably even this year, but marijuana legalization seems to be on its way in Italy. If that's the case, Italy could lead the way for the rest of Europe. Pot is decriminalized in several countries, and Holland famously turns a blind eye to its famous cannabis coffee shops, but no European country has yet followed the lead of Uruguay and that small but growing number of US states that have freed the weed.

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: CO Defends Pot Law, Drug Testing News, Feds Target Reddit Users, More (3/30/15)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 03/30/2015 - 22:05

Colorado defends marijuana legalization at the Supreme Court, a DC seed sharing event goes big on its second day, pediatricians reject drug testing in schools, two courts set limits on worker drug testing, the feds go after Reddit users over dark web drug sales, and more.

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

Alaska House Marijuana Regulation Bill Moves. The House Judiciary Committee has approved a new version of House Bill 79, which defines a municipality's role in regulating pot businesses, sets a maximum household limit of 24 plants, and includes pot clubs in the list of regulated marijuana businesses. The bill also bans public consumption of marijuana.

New Legalization Ballot Campaign Launched in Arizona. Dr. Gina Berman, chair of the Marijuana Policy Project's Arizona legalization initiative campaign, has formed a second ballot committee, Responsible Arizona. It's unclear exactly why, although it could be an effort to blunt opposition to marijuana law reforms from a recently-formed group called Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy. Responsible Arizona has not yet released a draft initiative.

Kansas Bill to Lessen Pot Penalties Will Get Floor Vote. A bill that would lessen penalties for first- and second-time pot law violators will get a floor vote this session, House Speaker Rep. Ray Merrick (R-Stilwell) has confirmed. The measure, sponsored by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee), would make second-time possession a misdemeanor with no jail time, as opposed to the up-to-42 months the charge now carries.  

DC Seed Sharing Event Draws Thousands on Day Two. People lined up for blocks around the DC Cannabis Campaign headquarters in Adams Morgan Saturday to get marijuana seeds. The second day of the "seed sharing" event was even more successful than the first.

Colorado Defends Marijuana Legalization at the Supreme Court. State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman last Friday urged the high court to reject a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma and Nebraska seeking to invalidate the state's legalization of marijuana. She told the justices the two states were trying to "selectively invalidate state laws with which they disagree." She also pointed out that overturning the state's regulation and taxation of marijuana would lead to a situation where marijuana remains legal, but unregulated.

Medical Marijuana

House CARERS Act Picks Up 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.

Georgia Governor Signs Executive Order to Expedite CBD Cannabis Oil Law. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) last Friday 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.

Idaho Governor's Office Pushes Back Against CBD Cannabis Oil Bill.Gov. "Butch" Otter (R) sent his drug policy point-man to the capitol today to speak out against Senate Bill 1146aa, 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.

Drug Testing

Pediatricians Reject School Drug Testing. The American Academy of Pediatricians has recommended against schools using suspicionless drug testing. There is little evidence that drug testing deters drug use or helps get users into drug treatment, the group said in an updated policy statement published in the journal Pediatrics.

Anonymous Tip Not Enough to Create "Reasonable Suspicion" for Employee Drug Test, Federal Court Rules. An unidentified source telling a reporter about on the job drug use and the reporter then relaying the assertion to the employer is not enough to create individualized reasonable suspicion" to require a public employee to submit to a drug test, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled this month. The ruling came in the case of a Detroit construction inspector who was fired after refusing a drug test after a reporter called public works to say an anonymous informant had told him workers were smoking pot. The inspector has been reinstated.

Presence of Marijuana Metabolites in Drug Test Doesn't Workman's Comp Benefits, Ohio Court Rules. A worker who had marijuana metabolites in his system is not barred from collecting workman's compensation benefits unless drug use was the proximate cause of his work-related injury, the Ohio Court of Appeals has ruled. In the case in question, the employer showed no evidence the worker was under the influence of marijuana when he was injured, only that he had used it sometime in the recent past.

Law Enforcement

Feds Target Reddit Users in Bid to Crack Dark Web Drug Sales. The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division has subpoenaed Reddit demanding that it turn over personal data about five users of its dark web drug markets forum. The feds are seeking names, IP addresses, data on site visits, and other information, such as phone numbers and credit card data, that Reddit doesn't possess. The popular web discussion site doesn't even require an email address to register. The subpoenas appear to be an expansion of investigations into the Evolution dark web drug sales site.

Sentencing Reform

DC Sentencing Reform Summit Drew Hundreds. More than 600 lawmakers, advocates, and criminal justice leaders gathered in the nation's capital last Thursday to unite for sentencing reform. Among those attending were Attorney General Holder, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), The Wire creator David Simon, and many more. Click on the link for more details and press coverage. 

International

Vietnam Moving to End Death Penalty for Some Drug Offenses. The Ministry of Justice last week proposed abolishing the death penalty for a number of crimes, including heroin smuggling. It said it would keep the death penalty for heroin dealing, but not for smuggling and possession. Those acts will only carry a penalty of up to life in prison. 

Categories: Marijuana

US TX: Drug Policy Creates Local Outcry

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 03/30/2015 - 07:00
Amarillo Globe-News, 30 Mar 2015 - Three men arrested in recent weeks could get life in prison after being caught with small amounts of edible marijuana products, a fact that has sparked an outcry from some Amarillo residents. Potter County sheriff's deputies arrested Eli McCarthy Manna, 30, and Andrew Bruce George, 27, after stopping them for an unspecified traffic violation March 16.
Categories: Marijuana

Canada: Medical Marijuana Continues To Be Source Of Litigation

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 03/30/2015 - 07:00
Law Times, 30 Mar 2015 - Change to new regulatory regime among issues sparking legal challenges There has been one constant since the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down the prohibition against possession of marijuana for medical reasons in 2000: the subsequent rules imposed by the federal government have been subject to repeated court challenges.
Categories: Marijuana
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