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US OR: Oregon Initiative Seeks Lower Pot Taxes Than Cities Want

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 25 Oct 2014 - HAPPY VALLEY, Ore.-As voters in this state prepare to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana, a dispute over taxing the drug is demonstrating the complexity of transforming a black market into a legal one. Drafters of the Oregon initiative, Measure 91, have proposed a state tax on pot producers that would be lower than those in the first two states where recreational pot was legalized, Colorado and Washington. Their aim is to prevent a situation where high prices at authorized pot shops push buyers to the black market.
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US FL: OPED: Marijuana Amendment Poorly Written

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 25 Oct 2014 - While Amendment 2 may have good intentions-to provide relief to Floridians suffering from serious illnesses-the poorly written language of the amendment will have irreversible, unintended consequences on our reputation as a family-friendly and business-friendly state. Gaping holes in the amendment language will open the floodgates for widespread marijuana use in Florida. Any patient who suffers debilitating diseases "or other conditions" would qualify for medical marijuana, meaning anyone with as much as a headache could buy pot.
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US NY: Editorial: No Progress On Marijuana Arrests

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 25 Oct 2014 - When he ran for mayor, Bill de Blasio condemned police practices under which young black and Latino men were unfairly - sometimes illegally - charged with possessing tiny amounts of marijuana, placing them at risk of losing jobs, access to housing or eligibility for military service even though such charges are often dismissed. His promise to address this problem was supported in minority communities that bear the brunt of this destructive policy. But a new analysis of state data shows that low-level marijuana arrests during the de Blasio administration have continued at roughly the same level as under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. That's not what the voters signed up for.
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US CA: Editorial: Pressure Is Now on the Medical Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 07:00
Porterville Recorder, 25 Oct 2014 - Now that the city has basically given local medical marijuana users what they want, the pressure is on them to see to it that the city's new medical marijuana growing ordinance is followed and there are no problems with people illegally growing marijuana in their back yards. The council has agreed to not only allow those who have a "letter of recommend" from a doctor to use and grow their own marijuana, but to grow as many as 20 plants. The council set the fee to get a permit at the lowest recommended amount -- just $40 per user, which we feel it too low.
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Chronicle AM: GOP Rep. Tackles Forfeiture, OR Measure 91 Support, CA Dispensary Troubles, More (10/24/14)

Drug War Chronicle - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 21:00

James Sensenbrenner is on the asset forfeiture case, Oregon's Measure 91 picks up some big name endorsements, dispensaries get shut down in San Diego and raided by the DEA in LA, fallout continues in the case of the missing Mexican student teachers, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Asset Forfeiture

Key GOP Lawmaker Questions Asset Forfeiture Seizures. US Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), chair of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to provide documents and data related to the Justice Department's role in more than 60,000 cash and property seizures under the department's Equitable Sharing Program with state and local law enforcement agencies. "While we must ensure law enforcement is properly equipped, they should not be funded by slush funds accrued by violating Americans' civil liberties," Sensenbrenner said in a statement today. "The implications on civil liberties are dire," he said in the letter. "The right to own property is a fundamental right implicitly recognized in the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. I also believe that it is a human right." Sensenbrenner sent similar letters to the DEA and Department of Homeland Security last week, after a Washington Post investigation that found that 61,998 cash seizures of more than $2.5 billion have been made since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through Equitable Sharing.

Marijuana Policy

Marijuana Policy Expert Mark Kleiman Says Yes on Oregon's Measure 91. He grumbled, but in the end, academic marijuana policy expert and Washington state legalization implementation maven Mark Kleiman has come down in favor of Oregon's Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative. Even though he says the initiative doesn't reflect "a sophisticated understanding of the problems of illegal markets or a nuanced view about substance abuse disorder" and says that claims that legalization will reduce youth access to marijuana don't pass "the giggle test," "the choice Oregon voters face isn't between what's on the ballot and some perfectly designed cannabis policy; it's between what's on the ballot and continued prohibition at the state level, until and unless a better initiative can be crafted, put before the voters, and passed into law." Bottom line? "It's not an easy choice; as a Californian, I'm glad I don't have to make one like it (yet). But if I had to vote in Oregon, I'd vote 'Yes.'" Click on the link to read the whole piece.

Oregon US Senator Jeff Merkley Says He Will Probably Vote Yes on Measure 91. US Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has said he is inclined vote in favor of the Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative. "I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case," Merkley said. "And there is concern about a series of new products -- and we don't have a real track record from Colorado and Washington. But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure." If he does vote yes, he will become the first US senator to support legalizing marijuana in his home state.

Medical Marijuana

Four San Diego Dispensaries Shut Down By Court Order. San Diego authorities won court orders earlier this week to close four dispensaries they said were operating illegally in the city. All four had closed their doors by Wednesday. The city has just adopted a permitting process for dispensaries and the first permit was handed out recently, but a number of dispensaries are operating in the city without permits. The city has shut down more than 200 unpermitted dispensaries since 2009, the city attorney's office said.

DEA Raids Two Los Angeles Dispensaries. DEA agents Thursday raided two Los Angeles dispensaries that staffers claim were fully compliant with state laws. Raiders hit two locations of The Farmacy, one in West Hollywood and one in Westwood, seizing cash, computers, and medical marijuana. No arrests were made. The Farmacy's Venice Beach location wasn't hit, but staffers said they thought that was because it had recently moved and the DEA couldn't find it.

Drug Testing

Key West Job Offer Drug Test Case to Go to Jury. A Florida woman who sued the city of Key West for rescinding a job offer after she refused to take a pre-employment drug test will have to seek damages before a jury, a federal judge has ruled. Karen Voss had sued, arguing that all suspicionless, pre-employment drug tests were unconstitutional, and she won a summary judgment holding the city liable. She then filed a second motion seeking financial relief for her losses. US District Judge James Lawrence King ruled that a jury must determine what damages, if any, will be awarded, but he did not address whether mandatory, pre-employment drug testing was constitutional.

International

Irish Report Finds Drug Law Enforcement Has Little Impact on Drug Availability. In a study commissioned by the Irish government's drug advisory body, the National Committee on Drugs and Alcohol, researchers have found that the availability of drugs is "largely unaffected" by law enforcement anti-drug operations and recommended that police focus on drug markets causing the most community harm. Both police and dealers agreed that police operations had "no impact on availability" other than temporary reductions because of stiff competition, massive profits, and a steady demand for drugs. The 328-page report is Illicit Drug Markets in Ireland.

Mexico Missing Student Teacher Scandal Forces Guerrero's Governor to Resign. Guerrero Gov. Angel Aguirre Thursday said he was taking a leave of absence. He is not expected to return to office. Aguirre becomes the highest ranking politician yet to fall victim to the festering scandal over the case of 43 radical student teachers missing for more than a month after being seized by local police forces and Guerreros Unidos drug gang members working hand-in-hand with them. The mayor of Iguala, the city where they were seized, and his wife, also face arrest, but they have fled. Several mass graves have been found in the search for the students, but the bodies in them don't appear to be the students. The case has seen mass protests in Mexico City, as well as violent protests in the Iguala and Chilpancingo, the capital of the state.

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US OR: Editorial: Government Tries To Cash In On The Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
Albany Democrat-Herald, 24 Oct 2014 - It's a little alarming - and, truth be told, a little amusing - to watch city and county governments line up, one by one, for their potential slice of tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana. Even communities that have made it clear that medical marijuana dispensaries are not welcome within their boundaries are hoping to cash in on recreational marijuana as a way to drive some additional dough into their coffers.
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US FL: OPED: Research Doesn't Justify Legalizing Medical Pot

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 24 Oct 2014 - Amendment 2, termed "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions" on the November ballot, represents a classic case of creating medicine by public opinion, not by science and research. And, I can assure you that in spite of the anecdotal stories claiming the amazing benefits of "medical marijuana" for everything from epilepsy and cancer to any "condition" a physician identifies, there is currently no scientific evidence that meets the peer-reviewed, statistically relevant level for both effectiveness and safety that prescription medications must meet in the United States today.
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CN MB: Review: Pot Activist Documentary Will Harsh Your Mellow

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
Winnipeg Free Press, 24 Oct 2014 - POT ACTIVIST DOCUMENTARY WILL HARSH YOUR MELLOW IF Marc Emery is "one of the most influential forces in the modern marijuana legalization movement," the movement should look for some new leaders.
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US FL: Editorial: 'No' On Amendment 2, Then Analyze Medical

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
Naples Daily News, 24 Oct 2014 - Florida should find a compassionate way to make sure the chronically ill have access to any bonafide medication that might help ease suffering. That said, Amendment 2 isn't the answer. The medical marijuana constitutional amendment is too broadly structured. So we urge a 'no' vote on Amendment 2. But that can't be the end of the story; there needs to be a next chapter.
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US WA: Seattle Sends Warning Letters to 300 Medical-Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 24 Oct 2014 - Need to Be Licensed or Shut Down But State Hasn't Set Up Licensing System Yet (AP) - The city of Seattle is warning more than 300 medical-marijuana businesses that their days could be numbered.
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US DC: Column: Colorado's Pot Surprise

Top Stories (MAP) - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 24 Oct 2014 - LoDo Wellness Center, which calls itself the largest marijuana dispensary in the trendy Lower Downtown ("LoDo") area, is a mellow place, decorated with Oriental rugs, sofas and statues of Buddha. Yet there's a moment of mild tension when you arrive: Staff members politely insist on proof that you are either older than 21 and eligible to shop in the "retail" area or older than 18 with a doctor approved "red card" for access to the private "medical" area. The latter is on the other side of a door marked "must remain locked at all times."
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Chronicle AM: NAACP & NOW Support DC Init, Pot Shop ATM Problems, Mexico Impunity, More (10/23/14):

Drug War Chronicle - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 20:44

Marijuana retailers face ATM problems, Seattle dispensaries get a heads up, the DC initiative wins a pair of endorsements, California's Prop 47 is drawing big bucks support, the Mexico missing student teacher story gets uglier, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Pew Poll: Latinos Are Even Split on Marijuana Legalization. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Latino voters are slightly less likely than the population as a whole to favor marijuana legalization, but are almost evenly divided in their opinions. Some 49% said marijuana should be legal, while 48% said it shouldn't. A Pew poll earlier this year found support for marijuana legalization among the general population at 53%.

Banking Network Pulls the Plug on Pot Shop ATMs. Hundreds of recreational and medical marijuana retail outlets in Colorado and Washington have had their ATMs shut down after the South Dakota-based MetaBank pulled the plug on them. MetaBank had warned ATM providers in January that the presence of such machines in marijuana retail outlets violated federal rules, but shops had remained unaffected until this week. Other retail outlets using different bank networks were still able to process transactions.

DC Initiative Wins Endorsement from NAACP, NOW Branches. The DC marijuana possession and cultivation legalization initiative, Measure 71, has picked up the endorsements of the local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Organization for Women (NOW). "The NAACP DC Branch strongly advocates to end the war on drugs, which has caused significant damage in our communities. Endorsement of Initiative 71 does not mean that the NAACP is pro marijuana, however, we view Initiative 71 as a step towards ending discriminatory drug policies." said Akosua Ali, President of the NAACP DC Branch. "Criminalization of marijuana has played a major role in the racial disparities and injustice in the criminal justice system," said Susan Mottet, president of DC NOW. "DC NOW works to end all discrimination in DC and urges the voters to pass Initiative 71 to help put an end to this tool for discrimination."

Medical Marijuana

Seattle Warns Dispensaries They Will Need Licenses, But… The city of Seattle has sent letters to 330 dispensaries operating there that they will need to be licensed by the state. The only problem is there is no such license for medical marijuana businesses. The city council had placed the requirement on hold until the state legislature decides whether and how to license dispensaries, but the letter warns that as of January 1, 2015 (or January 1, 2016 if the legislature doesn't act before then), dispensaries must have state licenses or close their doors. Click on the title link to see the letter.

Sentencing

California Defelonization Initiative Picking Up Big Bucks Support. Proposition 47, he initiative that would defelonize drug possession and some other offenses, is getting generous contributions from California-based technology mavens and other business figures, but those donations are being dwarfed by the ACLU, which has contributed more than $3 million. Some of the big names include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings ($246,000); Cari Tuna, the wife of Facebook billionaire Dustin Moskovitz ($150,000), Democratic Party funder Quinn Delaney ($100,000), Hyatt Development Corporation CEO Nick Pritzer ($250,000), and app maker Sean Parker ($100,000).

International

OAS Drug Commission Meets in Colombia. The Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) met in Cartagena, Colombia, yesterday and today, and addressed the consensus among countries that prison overcrowding in the Americas is a real problem, with more than 1.5 million people detained for drug offenses. The results of this initiative will be presented at the upcoming biannual meeting of CICAD that will take place in Guatemala during the third week of November.

Canadian House of Commons Report on Cannabis Harms. The Conservative-dominated House of Commons has issued a report on the harms of marijuana. It recommends raising "public awareness and knowledge of the risks and harms associated with marijuana use." Click on the link to read the report.

NACLA on Race, Class, and Cannabis in the Caribbean. The venerable North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) has published a thoughtful piece about marijuana reform in the Caribbean, The Other Side of Paradise. In in, author Kevin Edmonds cites Caribbean activists to the effect that the region must act effectively on reforms or risk losing its lucrative, but currently illicit, pot crops to imported marijuana from places where it's already legal. An interesting read.

Case of Missing Mexican Student Teachers Unveils Tight Ties Between Local Officials, Drug Gang. Mexico's top prosecutor said Wednesday that the mayor of Iguala and his wife ordered the attack on 43 radical student teachers who have been missing for a month now, and that the wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, was the "principal operator" of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which is being blamed for disappearing the students. Jesus Murillo Karam said the mayoral couple ran the group's illegal activities out of Iguala's city hall. City hall was attacked again Wednesday by protestors demanding the return of the students, and thousands marched in Mexico City to demand justice in the case, which is turning into a national scandal epitomizing the breadth of corruption and impunity in the country. Several mass graves have been found in the area, but the bodies in them haven't been identified as those of the missing students. That raises another touchy question: Whose bodies are in the mass graves?

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US NJ: Column: Venting About Apathy And Election Fraud

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
The Trentonian, 23 Oct 2014 - This past weekend there was a marijuana legalization protest, "The Cannabis Conference," here in Trenton. Only a few Trenton residents showed up, which is sad considering this is a minority city and most of the arrests here are for marijuana possession. Usually I'd say if you don't stand up for yourself don't expect others to, but more than 200 suburbanite Caucasians did exactly that. They came out to protest a law that disproportionately affects you, my brothers. So now I say, keep your pants saggy and don't cry racism or unfairness from your porch bro's. Say nothing next time the man scoops you up and puts your blunt-smoking butt in the concrete plantation system for a while as chattel.
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US CA: Column: A Big Stick

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
North Coast Journal, 23 Oct 2014 - With law enforcement raids and private paramilitary security agencies running through Humboldt's hills enough to strike fear in the hearts of marijuana growers, one of California's previously benign regulatory agencies will soon attempt to make a splash in the marijuana world. The State Water Resources Control Board is due to begin an aggressive civil enforcement campaign against marijuana growers who are affecting water quality in Northern California.
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US FL: OPED: Yes: Benefits Would Be Far-Reaching

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 23 Oct 2014 - YES: BENEFITS WOULD BE FAR-REACHING Caregivers are now being called drug dealers by opponents of Amendment 2. As a medical consultant and a police officer's daughter, I am horrified by the comparison.
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US FL: OPED: No: Too Risky For State Businesses

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 23 Oct 2014 - NO: TOO RISKY FOR STATE BUSINESSES In recent months, many Americans, myself included, have become educated on the medicinal benefits that cannabis may provide to patients who have some terrible illnesses. Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature passed the Charlotte's Web law that allows medicinal cannabis for Floridians battling illnesses such as epilepsy, Lou Gehrig's disease and various types of cancer.
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CN ON: Column: Drug Crackdown on Drivers Right Move

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
London Free Press, 23 Oct 2014 - It's about time the Ontario government beefed up legislation to include new penalties for drug-impaired drivers. As the use of narcotics, both prescribed and illegal, becomes more prevalent, their use is having an impact on our roads. Ontario must deal with drugs and driving in the same fashion as with drinking and driving-with tough laws.
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CN ON: Column: Drug Crackdown on Drivers Right Move

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
Sudbury Star, 23 Oct 2014 - It's about time the Ontario government beefed up legislation to include new penalties for drug-impaired drivers. As the use of narcotics, both prescribed and illegal, becomes more prevalent, their use is having an impact on our roads. Ontario must deal with drugs and driving in the same fashion as with drinking and driving-with tough laws.
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CN ON: Column: Drug Crackdown on Drivers Right Move

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
Sudbury Star, 23 Oct 2014 - It's about time the Ontario government beefed up legislation to include new penalties for drug-impaired drivers. As the use of narcotics, both prescribed and illegal, becomes more prevalent, their use is having an impact on our roads. Ontario must deal with drugs and driving in the same fashion as with drinking and driving-with tough laws.
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CN ON: Column: Drug Crackdown on Drivers Right Move

Top Stories (MAP) - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 07:00
The Expositor, 23 Oct 2014 - It's about time the Ontario government beefed up legislation to include new penalties for drug-impaired drivers. As the use of narcotics, both prescribed and illegal, becomes more prevalent, their use is having an impact on our roads. Ontario must deal with drugs and driving in the same fashion as with drinking and driving-with tough laws.
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