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US DC: On Hill, DC Pot May Not Be Hot

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 17 Nov 2014 - Little Interest in Blocking Law Republicans Describe Other Priorities Looming over the District's historic decision this month to legalize marijuana has been another mandate that voters delivered on Election Day: A Republican majority on Capitol Hill with the power to interfere with the measure when it goes to Congress for review.
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US MA: Hope That a Prescription Can Mimic Marijuana's Benefits

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 17 Nov 2014 - Haley Osborn lives at a crossroads. Down one path, her parents are searching for marijuana they hope might ease their daughter's relentless seizures. And down the other, researchers are hunting for ways to mine marijuana's potential medicinal properties for patients like Haley to create consistent, reliable prescription drugs. The 7-year-old Georgetown youngster is racked by seizures 15 to 20 times a day despite taking an experimental drug made from an active ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol, or CBD, that has shown early promise for some children whose seizures were not quelled by traditional medicine.
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US FL: OPED: Why Treat Pot Differently Than Alcohol?

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 16 Nov 2014 - Somehow the voting public confused medical marijuana with Disney tickets. That's right; many said, "No thanks," and "We have enough dopes already," and "The laws are best left as they are." At Disney, if you have no ticket, you don't get into the parks because there are boundaries that cannot be crossed. But the laws banning marijuana have no enforceable boundaries capable of stopping it from getting into our schools, our neighborhoods or even our homes. Marijuana is not a "yes" or "no" proposition, as prohibition has proved that regardless of the effort we make and the wars we fight, the demand for marijuana remains constant, and so does the supply.
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US OR: Oregon Debates Pre-Vote Pot Taxes

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 08:00
Seattle Times, 16 Nov 2014 - Measure 91 Sets Up Clash With State Cities' Maneuver to Curb Dispensaries PORTLAND (AP) - Cities scrambled to pass taxes on marijuana before a legalization measure went before voters. Their bet: That the taxes would get grandfathered in.
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US AK: Editorial: Planning Ahead for Pot Rules: State

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 16 Nov 2014 - The passage of Ballot Measure 2, legalizing marijuana possession, use and sale is now a mathematical certainty. In fact, as first noted by a Daily News-Miner reader, the measure received more affirmative votes than any statewide candidate, though it was outperformed by the other two statewide ballot measures.
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US: Coming Out Of The 'Cannabis Closet'

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 16 Nov 2014 - Veterans Press VA to Recognize Medical Marijuana As Legitimate Treatment Option Every morning, former Air Force senior airman Amy Rising makes breakfast for her second-grader, drives him to school and returns home to prepare what she calls her medicine. Rising says that her tattoo, which depicts a camel and a bag of marijuana, is her way of showing how the drug has helped her to cope with her military service. "It's the story of my life," she says.
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Southern California Man Dies in Drug Raid Shootout

Drug War Chronicle - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 21:25

A shootout that erupted Thursday afternoon when police in San Bernardino, California, followed a drug suspect to his home left one man dead and a Downey Police undercover officer seriously wounded. The as yet unnamed dead man becomes the 35th person to die in US domestic drug law enforcement operations so far this year.

[image:1 align:left]According to CBS 2 News, a Downey Police undercover unit was attempting to serve a search warrant at the residence when they were "immediately hit by gunfire." One officer was struck in the arm, backside, and chest, but was wearing a protective vest and was treated and released from the hospital that same night.

The suspect was shot and killed in the home's front yard. A SWAT team later entered the home and found "a large quantity of narcotics."

According to KTLA 5 News, police doing a narcotics investigation had followed the suspect to the scene. KTLA also reported that the same officer who was wounded was the one who shot and killed the suspect.

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US HI: Column: Road to White House Goes Through Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 15 Nov 2014 - Of the three jurisdictions where voters approved marijuana legalization last week, Washington, D.C., is the smallest but the most symbolically potent. The prospect of legal marijuana in the nation's capital dramatically signals the ongoing collapse of the 77-yearold ban on a much-maligned plant.
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US CA: Column: Clear Thinking Needed On Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov 2014 - Four states out of 50 may not sound like much of a mandate, but the success of marijuana initiatives on the ballot last week suggests the nation is inching toward legalizing the once-demon weed. California started the ball rolling 16 years ago with a medical marijuana law so broad, it makes a gram of weed cheaper and easier to get than a prescription for Vicodin. Now dozens of states allow adults access to marijuana as medicine, and four - Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and Washington - allow the drug to be sold outright, without even the pretense of illness.
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Chronicle AM: NYC Council Head Says Legalize, UT Drug Defelonization Move, Burma Opium, More (11/14/14)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 21:50

New York's city council speaker says legalize it, there are medical marijuana moves in Connecticut and Maryland, a Utah commission suggests defelonizing drug possession, a Peruvian petition seeks to end arrests for drug use, which is not a crime in Peru, and more. Let's get to it:

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

New York City Council Speaker Says Legalize It. Melissa Mark-Viverito, speaker of the New York City Council, has come out for marijuana legalization. "It's not something we can just do randomly, but with a thought process, and looking how it's being implemented in other areas. But I do support the legalization of marijuana," she said in response to a reporter's question. "States are speaking. Based on the conversations that we see happening nationally, and how people feel about it, I think that it's just something that is appropriate at this time." At least four other council members, including Rafael Espinal, Stephen Levin, Mark Levine, and Jumaane Williams, have also pronounced in favor of freeing the weed.

Medical Marijuana

San Diego Moves Ahead on Shutting Down Unpermitted Dispensaries. San Diego officials forced yet another unpermitted dispensary to shut down Thursday after shutting down four others three weeks ago. About 50 unpermitted dispensaries still operate in the city, which is going to allow permitted dispensaries to begin operating early next year.

Maryland Commission Approves Medical Marijuana Regulations. The commission charged with drafting the regulations approved them Thursday, but they still need to be approved by a legislative panel and the state's health secretary. The approval came after a delay last month, when some critics said fees for growers and dispensaries were too high. They still ain't cheap: Fifteen licensed growers will have to pay $250,000 every two years, while dispensaries will have to pay $80,000 every two years. The program isn't expected to be operational until 2016.

South Carolina Senator Will Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill. State Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), who sponsored a successful low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana bill this year, said Thursday he will sponsor a full-fledged medical marijuana bill next year. He made the announcement at a meeting of the state Medical Marijuana Study Committee at Clemson University.

Connecticut to Consider Adding New Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana. The state Department of Consumer Protection is considering whether to expand the state's quite restrictive list of qualifying medical conditions to include sickle cell anemia, Tourette's syndrome, "failed back syndrome," severe psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. The Board of Physicians will hold a public hearing on the matter on November 26. Click on the title link for more information.

Asset Forfeiture

The Orange County Register Calls for Federal Asset Forfeiture Reform. In a Thursday editorial, The Orange County Register wrote that one way a divided Congress could show some bipartisanship is by passing asset forfeiture reform legislation. "Civil asset forfeiture hasn't made many headlines until this year. But its very obscurity has bred a degree of corruption that badly undermines the integrity of law enforcement -- from local police all the way to the FBI," the newspaper noted, calling the process "rife with abuse." The suburban Los Angeles daily, California's 5th largest circulation newspaper, also said asset forfeiture too often resembled "literal highway robbery -- committed by the very people charged to serve and protect." The Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (HR 5212) is pending in the Congress.

Harm Reduction

Report on the 10th National Harm Reduction Coalition Conference. The Harm Reduction Coalition's 10th national conference took place late last month in Baltimore. Click on the title link to get a lengthy and informative report on it from the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition's Tessie Castillo.

Sentencing

Utah Crime Commission Calls for Defelonzing Drug Possession. In a report released Thursday, the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Commission rolled out a package of recommendations for controlling prison population growth, including making first-time drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony. All of the report's recommendations were approved unanimously by the commission. Now, it will be up to the legislature to enact them.

International

Another Year of Rising Opium Production in Burma. The Irawaddy Journal and Magazine has a lengthy report on this year's opium crop in the Shan state. Production is up for the sixth year in a row, and Burma now accounts for 18% of global opium production, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). "We could not grow any other plants here to make a living, except poppy. If they [the government] ban it, we will have no other jobs," said a 50-year-old villager. A good read; check it out.

Petition Urging Peruvian Government to Stop Arresting People for Drug Use, Which is Not a Crime. Drug use is not a crime under Peruvian law, but more than half of all drug trafficking charges are for drug use -- not drug trafficking. Activists in Peru have been working to get police to actually obey the law and not arrest drug users, but so far to no avail. Now, there is a petition directed at Interior Minister Daniel Urresti and the National Police, urging them to abide by the law. Click on the link to sign it. They are seeking 25,000 signatures, but only have 526 so far. Okay, make that 527 now.

Saudi Arabia Executes Another Drug Offender, 22nd This Year. A Pakistani man convicted of smuggling heroin into the kingdom in his intestines was beheaded in Kharj Thursday. Niaz Mohammed Ghulam Mohammed was the seventh person beheading for drug trafficking this month, and the 22nd of the year. Drug offenders account for about 40% of all Saudi executions so far this year.

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US AR: Arkansas: Governor Will Pardon Son

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 08:00
New York Times, 14 Nov 2014 - Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas, before leaving office in January, plans to issue a pardon to his son, who was convicted of a felony drug offense more than a decade ago. The governor's decision followed an October recommendation by the Arkansas Parole Board that Kyle Beebe's application for a pardon was "with merit." Mr. Beebe was convicted in 2003 of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, and his sentence included three years of probation.
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US NY: Column: Shift on Marijuana Policy Was a Long Time

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 08:00
New York Times, 14 Nov 2014 - Anthony Welfare closely followed this week's news that New York City no longer will bring criminal charges against people who are seen with small amounts of marijuana, as long as they are not smoking it in public. "I find that funny," Mr. Welfare, 28, said.
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Zambia: Zambia's Green Guru Sees Pot As a Path to the

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 08:00
The Guardian, 14 Nov 2014 - For decades Zambia has staked its economic fortunes on copper mining, but when voters go to the polls in January to elect a new president at least one candidate will be looking to send that tradition up in smoke. Today Peter Sinkamba is due to announce his candidacy on the Green party ticket to replace the late President Michael Sata, who died on 29 October from an undisclosed illness. Sinkamba, regarded as Zambia's leading environmentalist for his battles against the country's big copper mines, is running on an unlikely platform in this socially conservative nation: legalising marijuana.
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US: Pot-Friendly States Team Up On Issue

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 08:00
The Oklahoman, 14 Nov 2014 - WASHINGTON (AP) - Members of Congress from states with legal pot urged their colleagues Thursday not to stand in the way of expanded legalization and to approve measures that would make it easier for marijuana businesses to operate. Voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia approved ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana possession last week. Those places would join Colorado and Washington state, which already have legal pot.
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US CT: OPED: Looking At The Science Behind Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 08:00
New Haven Register, 14 Nov 2014 - If we are the parents or guardians of infants, toddlers, young children, we may be telling ourselves that we have nothing to be concerned about regarding the current marijuana controversies. By the time our kids are tweens and teens, our story goes, issues related to marijuana (decriminalization, medicalization, and legalization) will be settled once and for all, and settled with the health and safety of our kids in mind.
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Chronicle AM: Afghan Opium Funds Elections, Big WA Pot Auction, NV Signatures Handed In, More (11/13/14)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 22:23

More poppies are growing than ever in Afghanistan, and they helped fund the recent presidential election; the UNODC head tsk-tsks at US legalization votes, Nevada petitioners hand in 2X the signatures needed, federal bills get more sponsors, and more. Let's get to it:

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

UN Anti-Drug Chief Says Legalization in US States Violate Drug Treaties. Yuri Fedotov, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said Wednesday that American states that have legalized marijuana are not in line with international drug conventions. "I don't see how (the new laws) can be compatible with existing conventions," he told reporters. Fedotov is coming to Washington next week to discuss the issue with the US State Department and other UN agencies.

US Representatives from Marijuana States Urge Colleagues Not to Interfere. Members of Congress from states that have legalized marijuana held a press conference in Washington, DC, today to urge Congress not to try to interfere with state-level legalization. Democrats from Colorado (Jared Polis), Oregon (Earl Blumenauer), and the District of Columbia (Eleanor Holmes Norton) were joined by Republican California Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher. With some congressional Republicans grumbling, DC would appear to be at some risk of interference, since Congress controls the purse strings.

Nevada Legalization Petitioners Turn in Twice the Number of Signatures Needed. It looks like Nevada is going to vote on legalization in 2016 (if the legislature doesn't act first). The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada Wednesday turned in 200,000 signatures for its proposed 2016 legalization initiative. It only needs 101,667 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Once the signatures are validated, the measure will head for the 2016 ballot unless the legislature decides to just pass it itself next year.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission Has Updated FAQs for Recreational Marijuana. In response to public queries, the commission has updated its recreational marijuana FAQs page. Click on the link to see the updates. Here is the full FAQs page.

RAND Briefs Vermont Lawmakers on Legalization Issues; Public Hearing, Too. The RAND Corporation's Drug Policy Research Center, which has been contracted by the state to prepare an in-depth report on the potential financial and social impact of legalization, briefed lawmakers Wednesday with the report's outlines. Center co-director Beau Kilmer told the lawmakers the report will cover the state's marijuana "landscape," analyze health and safety issues, review alternate approaches to taxation and regulation, and provide financial projections. Kilmer identified nine questions lawmakers should be asking themselves; click on the link to see them. The briefing was followed by a public hearing that took place on closed circuit television on towns around the state. The RAND report is due in January.

Virginia Decriminalization Bill Filed. State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Arlington) has filed a bill that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The bill will be considered in the new session beginning in January. It is SB 686.

Washington Pot Farmer to Auction Off A Ton of Weed. Well, this should help with those reported shortages plaguing the Washington state legal marijuana market. Fireweed Farm, a licensed marijuana producer in Prosser, has announced that its crop is in and processed, and it will be selling its one-ton harvest to the highest bidder (heh) on Saturday.

Medical Marijuana

Federal Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act Picks Up New Sponsors. The bill would remove low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oils from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. It's newest sponsors are Reps. Mike Honda (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Allen Lowenthal (D-CA). The bill was introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and now has 32 cosponsors -- 18 Democrats and 14 Republicans. It has been assigned to subcommittees of the House Judiciary and House Energy and Commerce Committees.

Georgia Low-THC, High-CBD Medical Marijuana Bill to Be Debated in January. Lawmakers who tried and failed to get a low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana passed this year will be back at it in the coming session. The bill sponsor, Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), said he will introduce an improved bill to be debated in January. He said he hopes to file it next month.

Asset Forfeiture

Federal Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act Picks Up New Sponsors. The bill, HR 5212, is sponsored by Rep. Tim Wahlberg (R-MI) and would tighten requirements for asset forfeiture. The latest cosponsors are Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA), James Moran (D-VA), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Henry Johnson (D-GA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI). The bill now has 19 cosponsors -- 15 Republicans and four Democrats. It is before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

Pardons and Clemency

Arkansas Governor Pardons Son for Marijuana Conviction. Gov. Mike Beebe (R) has issued a pardon for his son, Kyle Beebe, who was convicted in 2003 of marijuana possession with intent to deliver. It is one of 25 pardons he is issuing before leaving office in January. Beebe has issued more than 700 pardons during his time in office, including a number of other first time drug offenders.

Sentencing

Federal Second Chance Reauthorization Act Picks Up New Sponsors. Introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the bill would expand grant programs aimed at helping people upon their release from prison. The House version, HR 3465, has now picked up Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), while the Senate version, S 1690, is now cosponsored by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). The House version now house 44 cosponsors (36 Democrats and eight Republicans), while the Senate version, introduced by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), now has 22 cosponsors (17 Democrats, four Republicans, one independent).

Drug Testing

Key West Settles With Job Applicant Who Refused Drug Test. The city of Key West, Florida, will pay $75,000 to a former resident who refused to take a pre-employment drug test after applying for a position with the city and was then eliminated from consideration. The city will also pay $60,000 to the ACLU of Florida, which represented Karen Cabanas Voss. She had sued, arguing that the city's drug testing policy was unconstitutional, and a federal district court judge found in her favor.

International

Opium Helped Fund Afghan Elections, UNODC Says. The amount of land planted with opium poppies this year is at record levels, UN officials said Wednesday, and they said this year's presidential election campaign was part of the reason. "With the presidential election ongoing, there was a huge demand of funding," said Jean-Luc Lemahieu, a senior official with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). "And that funding is not available in the licit economy, and that money has to come from somewhere, so they turned to the illicit economy." In its annual opium survey, UNODC found that the area under cultivation had increased 7%, while eradication decreased by 63% between last year and this year.

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US CO: Column: 'Dude, I Think This Whole Town Is High'

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:00
Boulder Weekly, 13 Nov 2014 - It was great to hear that Boulder City Council decided at its Nov. 6 meeting to relook at some of the rules created to regulate the cannabis industry. Overall, council and staff did an admirable job under enormous time constraints after last year's floods, but as we approach the end of one year of legalization, it's not a bad time to take a second look at its own decision-making. One of the rules to be reviewed currently doesn't allow retail shops to sell any marijuana-related merchandising. It's understandable that council would be wary at the beginning, especially after Boulder County Health recommended no dispensary merchandising, arguing that it might induce teenagers to try cannabis.
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US FL: Families Despair As Legal Fight Snags 'Charlotte's Web'

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 13 Nov 2014 - Although Amendment 2 failed, Florida still has a limited medical-marijuana program in the works - but it is tied up in a legal dispute while families wait in limbo. The treatment would be an oil, commonly called "Charlotte's Web," made from a noneuphoric strain of marijuana to treat relentless, intractable seizures in children.
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US CA: Column: America Proves Its Love For Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:00
Sacramento News & Review, 13 Nov 2014 - Hey Ngaio. Is weed still winning? - -Hank Hermit Are you kidding? All weed do is win! Last week, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., all voted to legalize marijuana for adults. Florida came very close to passing a medical-marijuana law with 58 percent of the vote. You would think that would be enough, but Constitutional amendments in Florida need 60 percent to pass. I still count it as a moral victory.
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US NY: Column: Congress & the District of Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 08:00
New York Post, 13 Nov 2014 - OF the three jurisdictions where voters approved marijuana legalization last week, Washington, DC, is the smallest but the most symbolically potent. The prospect of legal marijuana in the nation's capital dramatically signals the ongoing collapse of the 77-year-old ban on a much-maligned plant. The passage of Initiative 71, which voters backed by a margin of more than 2 to 1, presents a challenge to the Republicans who will soon control both houses of Congress. Will they respect democracy and local control, or will they insist that Washingtonians toe a prohibitionist line that is steadily disappearing?
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