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UK: They Won't Arrest Us All!

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 07:00
The Mail on Sunday, 19 Apr 2015 - Astonishing claim of the arrogant cannabis campaigners who intend to light up in public THOUSANDS of illegal drug users plan to flout the law by smoking cannabis in public tomorrow. Activists who want the Class-B substance legalised will taunt police by lighting up at the 'Cannabis Celebration' in Glasgow's George Square - claiming 'they can't arrest us all'.
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US OK: Legal Marijuana Could Be Coming To Oklahoma A On Tribal-Owned

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 07:00
The Oklahoman, 19 Apr 2015 - While the picture is still blurry, legal marijuana could be coming to Indian country in Oklahoma. Such a possibility may seem far-fetched, but recent policy pronouncements by the U.S. Department of Justice are making the once unthinkable a real possibility. While marijuana is still illegal in all of its forms in Oklahoma, more than 20 states have legalized it for either medical or recreational use. Nonetheless, it is still illegal in all states under federal law to manufacture, distribute or dispense marijuana.
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US OH: Portman Discusses Marijuana Legalization, Fair Trade

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 07:00
Morning Journal, 19 Apr 2015 - Legalizing marijuana will not help Ohio deal with the problem of drug abuse, said Sen. Rob Portman. The Cincinnati Republican spent April 17 in northern Ohio on multiple visits before heading to Lorain, where he was to deliver the keynote address for the Lorain County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
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CN ON: Study Shows Link Between Pot Use And Mental Health

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 07:00
Packet & Times, 18 Apr 2015 - Research indicates 50 to 70% of people with a mental illness also have a drug issue Of the patients admitted Orillia Soldiers ' Memorial Hospital's mental-health unit as a threat to themselves last year, records obtained under access-to-information laws reveal that 10% had used cannabis within the three days before.
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CN ON: 'Hair Tests' Shut Down

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 18 Apr 2015 - Decision follows Star investigation into results used in criminal and child protection cases across Canada The Hospital for Sick Children has permanently discontinued drug and alcohol hair tests at its embattled Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory after an internal review "further explored and validated" previous, and as yet undisclosed, "questions and concerns."
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Chronicle AM: Pot Legalization Inits Filed in AZ, MA; ID Gov Vetoes CBD Oil Bill, China Wages Drug War, More (4/17/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 21:02

Legalization efforts in Arizona and Massachusetts get rolling, there's more good polling, Idaho's governor vetoes a CBD cannabis oil bill over fears of "misuse and abuse," China is waging a major drug war, and more. 

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Bloomberg Poll Has 58% Saying Pot Will Be Legal Within 20 Years. Nearly one-third (32%) think marijuana would never be legal, but two-thirds think it will, and the majority think it will happen in all 50 states within the next 20 years. Just 17% thought it would be legal within five years, but more than one-quarter (26%) thought it would be legal within 10 years and 13% said it would take the whole 20 years. Some very excitable folks (2%) thought legalization everywhere would happen in the next year.

Arizona Legalization Initiative Filed Today. The Marijuana Policy Project-backed Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol filed its initiative to tax and regulate marijuana with the secretary of state this afternoon. The initiative would allow adults 21 and over to possess, consume, and grow limited amounts of pot and would create a system of licensed and regulated marijuana commerce. It would let local governments opt out of allowing pot businesses and it would set a 15% tax on retail sales beyond the sales tax. Now, initiative backers must collect signatures from 150,642 registered Arizona voters by June 2016 in order to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot.

Massachusetts Legalization Initiative Filed TodayBay State Repeal today filed with the attorney general's office a first draft of its proposed 2016 legalization initiative. The measure would repeal the state's marijuana laws and replace them with a system of taxed and regulated legal commerce. Adults 21 and over would be allowed to possess, consume, and grow limited amounts of marijuana for their personal use.

Medical Marijuana

Idaho Governor Vetoes CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. Gov. "Butch" Otter Thursday vetoed a bill that would have allowed the use of CBD cannabis oil to treat children suffering from epileptic seizures. Senate Bill 1146 had passed the House 39-30 and the Senate 22-12. Otter said the bill asked the state to ignore the potential for abuse and misuse, even though the oils don't contain enough THC for anyone to get high.

Asset Forfeiture

Texas Legislator Modifies Asset Forfeiture Bill to Counter Law Enforcement Objections. Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) said Thursday he is amending his civil asset forfeiture reform bill to address concerns raised by law enforcement. He said he would change it to allow the state to keep seized money if the person from whom it was seized absconds and to allow the seizure of vehicles valued at under $10,000. The bill is House Bill 3171.

International

China in Midst of Full-Blown Drug Crackdown. More than 133,000 people have been arrested and more than 43 tons of drugs seized in an ongoing six-month anti-drug campaign, the Ministry of Public Security announced. Authorities also announced that they had handled 115,000 "drug related" crimes, mostly robberies, and 606,000 cases of drug use. Officials said drug trafficking had suffered "a heavy blow" and drug users "forcefully regulated," but added that nine police had been killed in the campaign.

Stratfor Quarterly Update on Mexican Cartels. The Austin-based private intelligence and research firm has issued its quarterly update on the Mexican drug wars. It's quite detailed. Click on the link to read it. 

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Chronicle AM: Jamaica Decrim Now in Effect, First CA 2016 Legalization Init Filed, GA Gov Signs CBD Bill, More (4/16/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 22:43

A Northern California attorney is first out of the gate with a 2016 legalization initiative, a CBD cannabis oil bill becomes law in Georgia, and another awaits the governor's signature in Oklahoma, congressmen say they have "no confidence" in DEA head Leonhart, decrim is now in effect in Jamaica, and more. 

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

First 2016 California Legalization Initiative Filed.  Sebastopol marijuana attorney Omar Figueroa and attorney Heather Burke have filed the California Craft Cannabis Initiative, the first of what are expected to be several measures seeking to legalize marijuana in the state next year. Proponents say it is an inclusive effort designed to protect the state's legacy of artisanal marijuana growers. To make the ballot, initiatives must see their language approved by the state Attorney General's office, and then they have 180 days to gather more than half a million valid voter signatures.

Frustrated Vermont Legislators Propose Treating Alcohol Like Marijuana. A pair of House members Wednesday filed a bill that would ban alcohol and treat it like marijuana. The move was a frustrated reaction to stalled efforts to legalize marijuana and treat it like alcohol.  The bill is House Bill 502, and lead sponsor Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) said he doesn't really want to ban alcohol, but that the bill is a symbolic step "recognize recent scientific studies that demonstrate that alcohol use is significantly more dangerous than marijuana."

Medical Marijuana

2016 California Medical Marijuana Initiative Filed. A group of medical marijuana activists have filed the Compassionate and Sensible Access Act, which is designed to protect a doctor's right to recommend medical marijuana and limit officials' ability to regulate cultivation, distribution, and transportation of the plant. To make the ballot, the language must first be approved by state officials, then campaigners will have to gather more than half a million valid voter signatures within 180 days of starting.

Georgia Governor Signs CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) today signed into law House Bill 1, which allows for the use of CBD cannabis oil for a list of specified diseases and medical conditions. The bill allows patients to possess the oil, but has no provision for obtaining it in the state.

Oklahoma Legislature Approves CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. The Senate Wednesday unanimously approved House Bill 124, which would allow for the use of the oil to treat seizure disorders in children. The bill passed the House in February and now heads to the desk of Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

Asset Forfeiture

Iowa House Committee Hearing on Asset Forfeiture Reform Gets Heated. Law enforcement squared off against civil libertarians in a House Government Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday. No bill was on the agenda, but committee Chair Rep. Bobby Kaufman (R-Wilton) said after the hearing he planned to author reform legislation next year. Click on the link for more detail.

Drug Policy

Federal Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission Bill Filed. Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) has reintroduced the bill, HR 1812. It's been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Law Enforcement

House Oversight Committee Has "No Confidence" in DEA Head Leonhart. Fed up with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart over a long litany of scandals in the drug-fighting agency she heads, 22 members of the House Oversight and Government Reforms Committee issued a statement yesterday saying they had "no confidence" in her leadership. "After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive 'good old boy' culture that exists throughout the agency," the statement said. "From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position. Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency."

Sordid Philadelphia Police Drug War Corruption Trial Underway. This one is a doozy! A trial now in its third week is ripping the lid off scandalously criminal behavior by the police department's dope squad. Stolen drug money, planted evidence, perjured testimony, beaten suspects, it's got it all. Click on the link for more detail.

International

Jah Herb is Now Decriminalized in Jamaica. Marijuana decriminalization went into effect Wednesday in the island nation. Anyone, including foreign tourists, can now possess up to two ounces of ganja and face only a $5 fine. And any household can now grow up to five plants. And adult Rastafarians can now use the herb for religious purposes. Irie.

Elite Texas Cops "Spied on Mexico," Report Says. Department of Public Safety documents show that an elite reconnaissance team formed by Gov. Rick Perry did aerial surveillance of Mexican drug cartel targets on the Mexican side of the border. Aircraft were used to track suspected Zeta cartel members and passed that information on to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which in turn worked with Mexican military forces to target them. 

Categories: Latest News

Key Congressional Committee Has "No Confidence" in DEA Head Leonhart [FEATURE]

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 21:37

This article was published in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Fed up with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart over a long litany of scandals in the drug-fighting agency she heads, 22 members of the House Oversight and Government Reforms Committee issued a statement yesterday saying they had "no confidence" in her leadership.

Update: Leonhart is retiring.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]"After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive 'good old boy' culture that exists throughout the agency," the statement said. "From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position. Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency."

The statement came in the immediate wake of a committee hearing yesterday over a Justice Department Office of the Inspector General report on sexual misconduct by department employees that found DEA agents in Colombia had been partying with prostitutes, with the tab being picked up by US taxpayers -- or sometimes by drug cartels.

At the hearing, Leonhart was excoriated by members over her failure to adequately discipline the agents involved -- the most serious punishments were short-term suspensions -- and her insistence that agency personnel rules tied her hands.

But committee members were having none of it.

"Do you think you're the right person for this job?" asked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the top Democrat on the committee.

"You're protecting people who solicited prostitutes, who had 15 to 20 sex parties," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). "This is a very serious issue and you've done nothing... I actually feel your system is protecting these people."

If the representatives' frustration was palpable, it was because they have been down this path of scandal too many times before with Leonhart at the helm. Here's just a selection of the controversies surrounding the agency since she took over in 2008, or which involve her own long history with the agency:

  • The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General currently has six open investigations into numerous DEA scandals, including the massacre of civilians in Honduras, the use of NSA data to both spy on virtually all Americans and to systematically fabricate evidence, and controversial uses of confidential informants.
  • Leonhart herself has been at the center of several scandals, including the House of Death scandal in which the DEA may have turned a blind eye to torture and murder, and the Andrew Chambers scandal, in which the DEA rehired a confidential informant with a history of lying.
  • DEA conflicts with Obama administration policy. Last year, Leonhart publicly rebuked President Obama for admitting that marijuana is as safe as alcohol, told members of Congress that the DEA will continue to go after marijuana even in states where it is legal despite DOJ guidance stating otherwise, and spoke out against bipartisan drug sentencing reform in Congress that the Obama administration is supporting.
  • Last May, the DEA created a political firestorm when it seized seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. Then Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the incident "an outrage" and the Kentucky Agriculture Department sued the DEA.
  • The DEA's refusal to acknowledge science. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart has on several occasions ignored science and overruled the DEA's own administrative law judges on medical issues relating to marijuana.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]]Drug reformers, who have long criticized Leonhart's last-century attitudes and approach to drug policy, were calling for her head.

"This ought to be the final nail in the Leonhart coffin," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. "I cannot see how President Obama and AG Holder allow her to continue in her role. It's hard to think of a more incompetent and out of touch federal official than the current DEA chief. Her time is up. Leonhart has clashed with Republicans, Democrats, the White House, and civil society leaders. She reflects an outdated approach to the drug war that President Obama claims he wants to leave behind."

"There's simply no excuse for the outrageous behavior of the DEA's so-called leadership," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret'd.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group working to end the drug war. "Leonhart just helps us add to the list of reasons of why we need to rethink our entire approach to drug policy."

Will the scorching rebuke from Congress be enough to force Leonhart out the door or to convince her superiors to give her a nudge? Time will tell, but it appears her days are numbered.

Categories: Latest News

Key Congressional Committee Has "No Confidence" in DEA Head Leonhart [FEATURE]

Top Stories (STDW) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 21:37

This article was published in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Fed up with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart over a long litany of scandals in the drug-fighting agency she heads, 22 members of the House Oversight and Government Reforms Committee issued a statement yesterday saying they had "no confidence" in her leadership.

Update: Leonhart is retiring.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]"After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive 'good old boy' culture that exists throughout the agency," the statement said. "From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position. Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency."

The statement came in the immediate wake of a committee hearing yesterday over a Justice Department Office of the Inspector General report on sexual misconduct by department employees that found DEA agents in Colombia had been partying with prostitutes, with the tab being picked up by US taxpayers -- or sometimes by drug cartels.

At the hearing, Leonhart was excoriated by members over her failure to adequately discipline the agents involved -- the most serious punishments were short-term suspensions -- and her insistence that agency personnel rules tied her hands.

But committee members were having none of it.

"Do you think you're the right person for this job?" asked Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the top Democrat on the committee.

"You're protecting people who solicited prostitutes, who had 15 to 20 sex parties," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA). "This is a very serious issue and you've done nothing... I actually feel your system is protecting these people."

If the representatives' frustration was palpable, it was because they have been down this path of scandal too many times before with Leonhart at the helm. Here's just a selection of the controversies surrounding the agency since she took over in 2008, or which involve her own long history with the agency:

  • The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General currently has six open investigations into numerous DEA scandals, including the massacre of civilians in Honduras, the use of NSA data to both spy on virtually all Americans and to systematically fabricate evidence, and controversial uses of confidential informants.
  • Leonhart herself has been at the center of several scandals, including the House of Death scandal in which the DEA may have turned a blind eye to torture and murder, and the Andrew Chambers scandal, in which the DEA rehired a confidential informant with a history of lying.
  • DEA conflicts with Obama administration policy. Last year, Leonhart publicly rebuked President Obama for admitting that marijuana is as safe as alcohol, told members of Congress that the DEA will continue to go after marijuana even in states where it is legal despite DOJ guidance stating otherwise, and spoke out against bipartisan drug sentencing reform in Congress that the Obama administration is supporting.
  • Last May, the DEA created a political firestorm when it seized seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. Then Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called the incident "an outrage" and the Kentucky Agriculture Department sued the DEA.
  • The DEA's refusal to acknowledge science. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart has on several occasions ignored science and overruled the DEA's own administrative law judges on medical issues relating to marijuana.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]]Drug reformers, who have long criticized Leonhart's last-century attitudes and approach to drug policy, were calling for her head.

"This ought to be the final nail in the Leonhart coffin," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. "I cannot see how President Obama and AG Holder allow her to continue in her role. It's hard to think of a more incompetent and out of touch federal official than the current DEA chief. Her time is up. Leonhart has clashed with Republicans, Democrats, the White House, and civil society leaders. She reflects an outdated approach to the drug war that President Obama claims he wants to leave behind."

"There's simply no excuse for the outrageous behavior of the DEA's so-called leadership," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret'd.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a criminal justice group working to end the drug war. "Leonhart just helps us add to the list of reasons of why we need to rethink our entire approach to drug policy."

Will the scorching rebuke from Congress be enough to force Leonhart out the door or to convince her superiors to give her a nudge? Time will tell, but it appears her days are numbered.

Categories: Latest News

CN ON: Critics Urge Broader Review Of Motherisk

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 16 Apr 2015 - Lawyer suggests Sick Kids may 'have discovered more problems' The "stakes are too high" to allow the Hospital for Sick Children's Motherisk laboratory to perform hair drug and alcohol tests for use in court, the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) says.
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CN ON: Medical Marijuana Clinic To Set Up In Caledon East - With

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
The Caledon Enterprise, 16 Apr 2015 - A medical marijuana clinic is preparing to open its doors in Caledon East. Caledon Medical Cannabinoid Clinic will be run by Andrew Cooper, an anaesthesiologist with William Osler Health System, and will be located in the same Airport Road building as the Yoga Shala studio, which is owned by his wife, Indra.
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Marijuana Use Among Teens, Young Adults May Be Down: Survey

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
Moose Jaw Times-Herald, 16 Apr 2015 - Marijuana use may be down among teens and young adults, a new report from Statistics Canada suggests. Younger Canadians are still the biggest consumers of marijuana, with a third of 18 to 24-year-old respondents reporting they had used marijuana or hashish in the past year.
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CN ON: Editorial: Let Marijuana Drive Economy

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
The Aurora Banner, 16 Apr 2015 - THE ISSUE: Aurora considers whether or not medical marijuana production facility fits in its future plans. There's an opportunity growing in Canada's health care industry, and municipalities would be wise to get on board while it's still sprouting.
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CN ON: Busts Are Fewer, But Seizures Larger

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
North Bay Nugget, 16 Apr 2015 - Drug dealers from Ottawa and southern Ontario continue to target North Bay, viewing it as a lucrative market. Cocaine, crack cocaine, magic mushrooms, heroine, Percocets and Molly (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), more commonly referred to as MDMA - the active ingredient in the party drug ecstasy - are encountered by police.
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CN BC: Couple Wants To Open Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
Cranbrook Daily Townsman, 16 Apr 2015 - Medical marijuana is a growth industry, says Tamara Duggan of Kimberley. Duggan and her husband, Rod, were at Kimberley City Council on Monday evening, informing Council of their plans to open Tamarack Dispensaries, purveyors of high quality medicinal cannabis products, in Kimberley. Medical marijuana can be distributed through Health Canada, but that only allows for the purchase of dried plant product from authorized growers. But Duggan says there are many who could benefit from the medicinal qualities of cannabis who don't wish to inhale it.
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CN ON: Cannabis Culture Blows Up In The Big Smoke

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
NOW Magazine, 16 Apr 2015 - Another 420 is around the corner, and T.O.'s profile as a hotbed of weed culture continues to grow, but prohibition keeps us from putting up plaques at historic sites Denver doesn't have one. And pot is legal there. Ditto Portlandia. The Toronto Hash Mob's ninth annual 420 marijuana legalization rally, slated for Yonge-Dundas Square on Monday, April 20, has made T.O. the epicentre of cannabis culture activism in North America. Cannabis culture thrives in the big smoke - and always has - despite a harsh political environment. We have a largely forgotten and fascinating cannabis history, though prohibition prevents the erection of historical markers to mark its sites.
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Canada: Report Suggests Drop In Teen Marijuana Use

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 16 Apr 2015 - Self-reported data show usage down 15 per cent over a decade in 15 to 17-year-olds Marijuana use may be down among teens and young adults, a new report from Statistics Canada suggests. Younger Canadians are still the biggest consumers of marijuana, with a third of 18- to 24-year-old respondents reporting they had used marijuana or hashish in the past year.
Categories: Latest News

Canada: Pot Use Among Teens, Young Adults On Wane?

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
The Record, 16 Apr 2015 - StatsCan data comes from self-reported survey TORONTO - Marijuana use may be down among teens and young adults, a new report from Statistics Canada suggests. Younger Canadians are still the biggest consumers of marijuana, with a third of 18 to 24-year-old respondents reporting they had used marijuana or hashish in the past year.
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US AZ: Column: 420

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 16 Apr 2015 - Maryjane, Weed, Dope, Pot ... Whatever You Want to Call It, It Has Taken Root to Call Tucson Home In upcoming weeks, Earth's Healing dispensary will get to christen a 10,000 square-feet cultivation site with new medical marijuana strains.
Categories: Latest News

US CA: Pot Legalization Is Dealt A Blow

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 16 Apr 2015 - A Judge Upholds a 1970 Federal Law Classifying Marijuana As a Dangerous Drug. SAN FRANCISCO - Efforts to legalize marijuana suffered a defeat in court Wednesday when a judge upheld the constitutionality of a 1970 federal law that classifies cannabis as a dangerous drug akin to LSD and heroin.
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