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Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Costa Mesa Council Rejects Pot Law

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 08/07/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 07 Aug 2014 - Proposal on Marijuana Dispensaries Fails to Gain Enough Votes for the Nov. 4 Ballot. It was called an excellent law, possibly one of the best in California. But such sentiment didn't sway the Costa Mesa City Council enough to put a medical marijuana proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM -- August 6, 2014

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 19:31

DC will vote on legalizing marijuana possession and cultivation, two more Michigan towns vote to decriminalize, Maine's governor unveils a plan to force people with drug felonies to undergo drug tests before getting welfare benefits, an Austrian marijuana legalization initiative gets underway, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

DC Marijuana Initiative Makes November Ballot. The DC Board of Elections today officially certified for the November ballot an initiative that will legalize the cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana. DC now joins Alaska and Oregon in voting on marijuana legalization. The campaign needed some 23,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. It had turned in more than twice that number of raw signatures.

Advocates Launch Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana. The Marijuana Policy Project has formed the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana in a bid to influence the legalization debate there. The state legislature has authorized a study of the issue, but the coalition has been formed "to make sure we get the entire state talking about the potential benefits of marijuana regulation." [Editor's Note: The web site in the title link doesn't appear to be live yet, but should be soon.]

Two Detroit Suburbs Vote to Decriminalize Pot Possession. Residents of the Detroit suburbs of Hazel Park and Oak Park voted Tuesday to approve municipal charter amendments decriminalizing the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Nine other Michigan cities, including Detroit, have done the same since 2010. Another dozen or so will likely vote on similar initiatives this fall.

Medical Marijuana

New Mexico Veteran Sues Employer for Wrongful Firing. A veteran and licensed physician's assistant who is enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program is suing Presbyterian Health Care Services after being fired for testing positive for marijuana. When she provided them with her state-issued medical marijuana card, they informed her that they did not recognize it and that her termination would stand. The lawsuit has just been filed in state court for violation of the New Mexico Human Rights Act (NM Statute § 28-1-7).

Drug Testing

Maine Governor Announces Plan to Drug Test Convicted Drug Felons Who Apply for Welfare. Gov. Paul LePage (R) announced today that the state will start forcing people with drug felonies to undergo and pass drug tests before they can apply for or receive welfare benefits. The move is authorized under a 2011 law that had never been implemented. LePage and legislative allies had tried to pass a bill mandating drug testing for all welfare recipients, but failed. LePage is making welfare his signature issue as he runs for re-election. Both of LePage's opponents in the governor's race, Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler, also said they support testing for drug felons.

International

Austrian Marijuana Legalization Initiative Campaign Gets Underway. The group Legalize! Austria today filed a parliamentary citizen's initiative to remove marijuana from the scope of the Austrian Narcotics Act, which would effectively legalize it. The measure calls for marijuana to be sold, taxed, and regulated through licensed distributors, with an exception for personal cultivation.

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

DC Marijuana Initiative Makes November Ballot

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 17:53

The DC Board of Elections today officially certified for the November ballot an initiative that will legalize the cultivation and possession of small amounts of  marijuana. DC now joins Alaska and Oregon in voting on marijuana legalization this fall.

[image:1 align:right]The board certified Ballot Initiative 71, sponsored by the DC Cannabis Campaign. The campaign needed some 23,800 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. It had turned in more than twice that number of raw signatures.

The initiative will allow adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants -- with no more than three being mature -- in their private residences. Adults will also be allowed to give away up to an ounce of marijuana, but any sales would still be criminal. The initiative will also remove penalties for using and selling marijuana paraphernalia.

Because DC law forbids taxation through the initiative process, the initiative does not create a system of taxed and regulated marijuana sales. If the initiative passes, it will be up to the DC city council to take the final steps toward full-blown legal marijuana commerce in the nation's capital.

"It is clear from the number of signatures the campaign was able to submit that the citizens of the district would like to have a say in reforming the marijuana laws of the District," said Dr. Malik Burnett, vice-chair of the DC Cannabis Campaign and the DC Policy Manager for Drug Policy Action, the lobbying and campaign arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. "The policies of prohibition in the District have been borne on the backs of black and brown men for decades, by voting YES on 71, District residents can put an end to this failed policy."

"This initiative comes at a great time and in a great place," said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "The District has one of the country's highest rates of racial disparities in arrest and is right at Congress's doorstep, where more and more political leaders from both sides of the aisle are beginning to follow their constituents in recognizing that drug policy reform is one of the most effective ways to address the problems of our current criminal justice system."

According to an ACLU report released last year, Washington, DC has the highest arrest rate for marijuana possession in the country, with blacks more than eight times as likely as white to be arrested, despite similar rates of use.

Led by longtime DC political activist Adam Eidinger, the DC Cannabis Campaign counted on support of local citizens, Drug Policy Action, and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps to come up with the money to make the ballot. Now, it's on to winning in November.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Cities Approve Legal Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 07:00
The Daily Tribune, 06 Aug 2014 - Voters in the cities of Hazel Park and Oak Park passed similar ordinance amendments that will allow for individuals ages 21 and older to legally use, possess or transfer less than one ounce of marijuana on private property. The Hazel Park ballot measure passed with 763 "yes" votes and 460 "no" votes with all precincts reporting. The Oak Park ballot measure passed with 2,161 "yes" votes and 1,913 "no" votes with all precincts reporting.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Marijuana Decriminalization Among Ballot Proposals

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 07:00
The Oakland Press, 06 Aug 2014 - Voters in the cities of Hazel Park and Oak Park passed similar ordinance amendments that will allow for individuals ages 21 and older to legally use, possess or transfer less than 1-ounce of marijuana on private property. The Hazel Park ballot measure passed with 763 "yes" votes and 460 "no" votes with all precincts reporting. The Oak Park ballot measure passed with 2,161 "yes" votes and 1,913 "no" votes with all precincts reporting.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Hazel Park, Oak Park Approve Pot Proposals

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 08/06/2014 - 07:00
Detroit Free Press, 06 Aug 2014 - Voters said yes to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana in Hazel Park and Oak Park today, according to unofficial election results. The measure would allow the use, possession or transfer of less than 1 ounce of marijuana on private property not used by the public by a person who is at least 21 years old.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM -- August 5, 2014

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 19:30

It's the slow season in Congress and at state houses, but it's the beginning of eradication season in the fields. Plus, the Oregon legalization initiative has raised a million bucks, the drug war racks up two more domestic deaths, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Oregon Legalization Campaign Has Raised A Million Dollars. The New Approach Oregon marijuana legalization initiative campaign has raised a million dollars so far, according to campaign finance documents. The initiative has qualified for the ballot, and will appear as Measure 91. The largest individual donations are $150,000 from Washington, DC, libertarian activist Philip Harvey and $100,000 from New York fragrance heir Henry van Ameringen. The initiative has also received substantial donations from the Drug Policy Alliance's campaign arm and from the estate of Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis.

NORML Founder Says Legalization Should Include Home Cultivation. In an essay-length blog post, NORML founder Keith Stroup made a strong case for allowing people to grow their own under legalization. "At NORML," he writes, "we have always supported the right of individuals to grow their own marijuana, as a logical option compared to purchasing it from licensed dispensaries. On one hand, growing your own just makes common sense. We can brew up to 100 gallons of home-brew beer in our basements under current law, even if very few Americans actually make their own beer. The same should be true for cultivating our own marijuana." Stroup stopped short of criticizing initiative organizers who don't include home growing, however, saying, "If it appears we can win these initiatives with a clause permitting personal cultivation, we should obviously include the provision; but if it appears the initiative might well fail if personal cultivation is included, we should pass the initiative now, and be prepared to come back and add personal cultivation when we have the political support to accomplish that."

California GOP Attorney General Candidate Says Legalize It. A leading candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination has called for marijuana legalization. "My position is it needs to be legalized," candidate Ron Gold told KCRA 3 in a one-on-one interview Monday. Incumbent attorney general, Democrat Kamala Harris didn't take the bait, but instead responded that it should be up to the people. "She believes that this is an evolving issue that requires that we monitor what is happening in Colorado and other states, and that ultimately, this should be up to a vote of the people," a Harris spokesman said.

Albuquerque City Council to Consider Decriminalization. The city council heard debate on a decriminalization measure Monday night and will vote on it on August 18. The measure would make possession of small amounts punishable by no more than a $25 fine. A decriminalization initiative is now in the signature-counting process, as well.

Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Issues Draft Rules for Medical Marijuana. The state Health Department has issued draft rules for applications and oversight for medical marijuana manufacturers. Public comment can be made by going here. The department will also host a public meeting for people interested in the manufacturing process.

Law Enforcement

The Year's 28th and 29th Drug War Deaths. A North Carolina man fleeing a DEA-instigated traffic stop in a drug investigation struck another vehicle head-on on a rain-slick highway last Friday night, killing both drivers. Fleeing driver Angel Santana, 52, and innocent motorist Tamar White, 55, become the 28th and 29th persons to die in US domestic drug law operations so far this year.

International

Colombian Army Eradicates Coca Plants. Colombian soldiers destroyed some 14,000 coca plants in Choco department over the weekend. They have also eradicated 45 acres of coca and confiscated 350 pounds of coca seeds and 225 pounds of coca leaves. Colombia says the drug trade in the region benefits leftist guerrillas of the FARC and the National Liberation Army.

Turkey Marijuana Eradication Operation Gets Underway. Turkish police have seized more than 200,000 marijuana plants and more than a thousand pounds of processed hash in operations in Diyarbakir province in southeastern Turkey. Turkey accuses the Kurdish rebel group PKK of dominating the drug trade in the region. Last year, the Turks destroyed more than 49 million plants in the region and confiscated 76 tons of hash.

Kashmir Marijuana Eradication Operation Gets Underway. Kashmir authorities have launched a marijuana eradication operation in Anantag district in South Kashmir. Authorities estimate that over 125 acres of marijuana is being cultivated in the valley and claim to have destroyed about 10% of it so far.

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Time To End Marijuana Prohibition

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 07:00
The Record, 05 Aug 2014 - The New York Times has seen the light. The paper editorialized in favor of an end to the federal ban on marijuana. According to Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, The Gray Lady has become the first major national newspaper to support legalizing marijuana. The Times did not celebrate marijuana use; it simply addressed the downside of prohibition - 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, with a disproportionate representation of young black men. The editorial also laid out a rational view of marijuana. While research suggests that marijuana can have adverse affects on adolescent brains - - hence the paper's support for a ban on sales to those younger than 21 - it's not as hazardous to health as alcohol and tobacco. The paper also made this commonsense but rare assertion: "Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM -- August 4, 2014

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 20:19

Sentencing reform bills look to be picking up steam in Congress, Massachusetts is expanding drug courts, Tennessee's welfare drug test law generates unimpressive results, drug reform conferences are coming in Latin America, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Toledo, Ohio, Decriminalization Initiative Campaign Hands in Signatures. Backers of a Toledo municipal decriminalization initiative handed in some 13,000 signatures Monday. They need 6,000 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The campaign is being led by Northwest Ohio NORML.

Medical Marijuana

Federal Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act Picks Up Cosponsors. The bill, House Resolution 5226, would exclude low-THC therapeutic cannabis oil from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. It was filed with three cosponsors, and picked up seven more late last week. There are five Democrats and five Republicans now sponsoring it.

Sentencing

Senate Smarter Sentencing Act Picks Up New Cosponsor. The bill, Senate Bill 1410, would allow federal judges to sentence below mandatory minimums in some cases, apply adjusted crack cocaine sentences to people after the passage of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, as well as other sentencing reform provisions. The latest cosponsor is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The bill now has 31 cosponsors -- 23 Democrats, two independents, and six Republicans.

House Smarter Sentencing Act Picks Up New Cosponsor. The bill, House Resolution 3382, is identical to the Senate version above. The latest cosponsor is Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). The bill now has 49 cosponsors -- 35 Democrats and 14 Republicans.

House Second Chance Reauthorization Act Picks Up New Cosponsor. The bill, House Resolution 3465, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), amends the Second Chance Act of 2007 to allow for funding for grants for family-based drug treatment and for drug treatment and criminal justice collaboration for people leaving prison. The latest cosponsor is Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX). The bill now has 40 cosponsors -- 33 Democrats and seven Republicans.

Drug Testing

Tennessee Welfare Drug Testing Law Screens 800 Applicants; One Fails Drug Test. In the first month that the new welfare drug screening and testing law went into effect, 812 applicants were asked to submit to screening for evidence of possible drug use. Four refused the initial screening, a series of questions about drug use. After initial screening, only six people were asked to submit to drug tests in order to receive benefits. Five out of the six passed. One failed the drug test.

Asset Forfeiture

Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act Picks Up Cosponsor. The bill, House Resolution 5212, was introduced late last week by. Rep. Tim Wahlberg (R-MI). It would raise the standard of proof necessary for the government to seize property and reinstate due process so the government is required to prove a property owner's involvement in criminal activity. It now has a cosponsor, Rep. Renee Elmers (R-NC).

Law Enforcement

Massachusetts to Expand Drug Courts. Faced with an increase in heroin overdoses and opiate addiction, the state will add five drug courts to the 21 it currently has. Drug reformers criticize drug courts as not the answer for dealing with people whose only "crime" is their drug habit.

International

Mexican State Moves to Limit Coverage of Violent Crime. The state of Sinaloa, home to -- you guessed it -- the Sinaloa Cartel, has barred reporters from covering the violence there. The state congress last Thursday approved a law that restricts journalists to official government press releases for crime information and bans them from inspecting the scene, taking any photos or videos, or recording audio on-site.

Uruguay Solicits Bids for Marijuana Growers. Would-be marijuana growers in Uruguay have until August 18 to submit bids for licenses to grow pot at government-run fields and then sell it to consumers. The government there will license up to five growers.

Colombia Drug Reform Conference Later This Month. A drug reform conference will be held in Bogota on August 14 and 15. The conference is "Drug Policy 25 Years After the Death of Luis Carlos Galan: How Much Have We Advanced?" The Drug Policy Alliance's Ethan Nadelmann and Dr. Carl Hart will be there, as will numerous Colombian and other Latin American presenters and participants. Click the title link for more details.

Fifth Annual Latin American Drug Reform Conference in Costa Rica Next Month. The hemispheric conference will be held in San Jose on September 3 and 4. The conference will also include the First Annual Central American Drug Reform Conference. Click on the title link for lots more information.

Denmark's Liberal Alliance Calls for Drug Decriminalization. The opposition Liberal Alliance called at its summer meeting Sunday for the decriminalization of the possession of all drugs, increasing the use of medical marijuana in the national health sector, and continuing the safe injection site initiative. "We know that it doesn't help to punish people for being in possession of drugs," said party leader Anders Samuelson. "We are not talking about a total liberalization of drug dealing. It should still be illegal to sell drugs, but not to be in possession of them." The proposal is not winning support from other political parties.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: OPED: Marijuana Taxes Open For Debate

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 07:00
Metrowest Daily News, 04 Aug 2014 - While opposing a local sales tax on medical marijuana the editorial, "A sales tax on marijuana," proposes holding off on the discussion of "special taxes on marijuana until it's being sold for recreational, not medical, purposes." That discussion needs to be happening now. A year from now the 2016 initiative petition process begins, with the filing of proposed laws to the attorney general for vetting and summary drafting. Already there are two ballot question committees preparing for a 2016 question on marijuana law reform, Bay State Repeal and the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Massachusetts. Bay State Repeal prefers a law that simply regulates adult cultivation and commerce like produce, which means no excise tax. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, according to its name and Statement of Organization, prefers to "tax and regulate the use and sale of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol for persons 21 years of age or older." Both will require that adults prevent access to growing plants and marijuana products by minors, punish distribution among and to minors, and retain the civil offense for those under age possessing an ounce or less of marijuana, while making no changes to existing driving-while impaired laws and "drug-free" school policies. Bay State Repeal is concerned that "tax and regulate like alcohol" laws enacted in Washington and Colorado and proposed this year for Alaska, Nevada, and Oregon are not at all like the regulations imposed on alcohol in those states. They impose excessive taxes, compared with Massachusetts' alcohol tax, which amounts to 10.3Ac on a 12-ounce bottle of beer. The licensing fees too are excessive, compared with the $22 per year Massachusetts farmers pay for a license to produce up to 5,000 gallons of beer and wine. Likewise, limits on home growing are not similar to those on home brewing, which in Massachusetts are generous enough that those engaging in the hobby do not fear police will break in to count bottles. Massachusetts' moderate taxes, fees, and regulations are the reason the state is not awash in stills and speakeasies. By contrast, our immoderate taxation of tobacco sustains a market for bootleg cigarettes that by one recent estimate supplies 40 percent of the cigarettes sold in Boston. What "tax and regulate similar to alcohol" has meant so far in practice shuts out all but deep-pocketed players from the legal market, making it likely, as noted in the editorial, "that black-market pot may continue to outsell the legal, regulated variety." But marijuana does not need to be "regulated like alcohol" in the first place. Like produce grown for human consumption, marijuana would be subject to existing rules and regulations that control which fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides may be used, ensure accurate weight and measure, and stipulate where farm-stands and grocery stores may be located and when open for business. Marijuana can and should be grown outside, using sunlight instead of electric light. The only additional regulations needed are to keep minors away from growing plants in the field and to check IDs at the store. In an effort to get Massachusetts voters thinking beyond the "regulate like alcohol" model, Bay State Repeal will test support for the produce model with Public Policy Questions on the ballot this November in the 4th, 7th and 8th Essex, 2nd Hampshire, and 3rd and 6th Middlesex representative districts. Treating marijuana as produce, without unnecessary burdens of taxation and regulation, gives the best assurance of driving out the black market that furnishes minors while allowing adults who use marijuana to be secure in their homes. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Marijuana Proposals On Local Ballots

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 07:00
Morning Sun, 04 Aug 2014 - Chuck Ream knows that a few cities in mid-Michigan can't change the world, or the country. But he and others hope that ballot initiatives in Mt. Pleasant and Harrison in the November election to legalize small amounts of marijuana will at the very least get people thinking about decriminalizing cannabis on a larger scale.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US WA: OPED: Problems Put Crimp In Legal Marijuana Plans

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 07:00
The Herald, 03 Aug 2014 - The states of Colorado and Washington ushered in what is likely to be a continuing trend when in November 2012 voters approved ballot measures legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Both states started implementing the laws this year. However, legalization advocates who crafted the measures are discovering that a number of governmental controls they included to maximize the likelihood of passage are coming back to bite them.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Marijuana Big Issue In 27th House District

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 07:00
The Daily Tribune, 03 Aug 2014 - Michigan's 27th District House seat is turning out to be a hotly-contested primary race with five Democratic candidates and two Republicans aiming for victory. The district covers areas of Berkley, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Column: NM Delegation Talks Pot Policy

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 08/03/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 03 Aug 2014 - Did you see the "Meet the Press" segment on marijuana legalization last Sunday? If not, you didn't miss much - except the irritating spectacle of smug Beltway insiders making lame jokes about one of the most interesting public policy experiments of our time.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Marijuana Ballot Big Issue In Hotly Contested 27th House District

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 08/02/2014 - 07:00
The Oakland Press, 02 Aug 2014 - Michigan's 27th District House seat is turning out to be a hotly-contested primary race with five Democratic candidates and two Republicans aiming for victory. The district covers areas of Berkley, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Ballots Crowded For 6 No-incumbent Seats In Oakland

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 08/02/2014 - 07:00
Detroit Free Press, 02 Aug 2014 - Oakland County ballots for Tuesday's primary election are crowded with candidates seeking six open state House seats where incumbents aren't running. But perhaps the most heated matchup is between a Republican incumbent and his challenger. In the 39th District, state Rep. Klint Kesto of Commerce Township faces tea party activist Deb O'Hagan of West Bloomfield.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM -- August 1, 2014

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 20:39

The New York Times isn't done talking about marijuana, a House committee hears about stoned driving, you can comment now on Maryland's draft medical marijuana regulations, federal asset forfeiture and overdose prevention bills get introduced, and more. Let's get to it:

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

New York Times Has a Week's Worth of Legalization Editorials. The Times's editorial last Sunday calling for the end of federal marijuana prohibition, Repeal Prohibition, Again, was only the beginning. Throughout this week, the "newspaper of record" has kept at it -- and there's still more to come. The other editorials printed so far are Let States Decide on Marijuana, The Injustice of Marijuana Arrests, The Federal Marijuana Ban is Rooted in Myth and Xenophobia, and What Science Says About Marijuana. Still to come are editorials addressing track records and regulation. There is also a blog post providing background on the Times's decision to endorse legalization.

House Holds Hearing on Stoned Driving. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing yesterday on driving under the influence of marijuana, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Operating While Stoned," but the upshot was that the federal government has very little information about stoned driving and little basis for setting a legal limit for marijuana impairment. "No one is arguing that [driving while high is] a good idea, but the fact of the matter is that we don't have a lot of data," said Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly. "[Public policy has] got to be based on science, and we need more of it." Researchers testifying before the committee agreed. Click on the hearing link to watch the whole thing.

Washington Attorney General Intervenes in I-502 Lawsuits. Attorney General Bob Ferguson yesterday moved to intervene in three marijuana lawsuits filed against the cities of Wenatchee and Fife, which have passed local ordinances barring the operation of retail marijuana outlets. An opinion released by Ferguson in January concluded that I-502 does not bar localities from banning such businesses, so it appears he will be siding with the localities.

More Michigan Towns to Vote on Marijuana Reform Measures. Three more Michigan communities have joined the list of towns and cities that will vote on municipal legalization measures. Saginaw, Clare, and Harrison all have measures that have qualified for the ballot. In Saginaw, up to an ounce would be legalized; in Clare and Harrison, up to 2.5 ounces. More than a dozen Michigan communities are expected to vote on reform measures in November.

Portland, Oregon, Moves to Tax Marijuana Before It's Even Legal. The city of Portland has created a marijuana advisory committee in anticipation of voters legalizing marijuana statewide in November. The committee is discussing where to allow pot shops, but it is also moving to create a city sales tax -- and it has to do that before the November election because the language of the New Approach Oregon initiative does not allow cities to impose taxes beyond the state tax it imposes. The thinking is that if a tax is passed before the election, it can be grandfathered in.

Medical Marijuana

Maryland Medical Marijuana Draft Regulations are Now Available -- And You Have Until Tuesday to Comment. Maryland's medical marijuana commission has released draft regulations for cultivators and physicians. The Marijuana Policy Project has some problems with them, including calls for an "unnecessary" training course on medical marijuana for all certifying physicians, mandatory drug testing for patients, and a requirement that doctors specify dosage and strain type. These are draft regulations, but the period for comment on the draft ends Tuesday. Interested parties can email the commission to register their comments.

Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marijuana Act Picks Up New Cosponsor. House Resolution 4498, the Legitimate Use of Medical Marijuana Act, has picked up a fourth cosponsor, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), would move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act and block the act from being used against medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

Sentencing

Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014 Picks Up New Cosponsor. Senate Bill 1410, the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2014, has picked up its 31st cosponsor, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). The bill would allow judges in some cases to sentence without regard to mandatory minimums, reduce mandatory minimums, and allow people sentenced for crack offenses after the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act went into effect to seek sentence reductions.

Harm Reduction

Senator Jack Reed Introduces Overdose Prevention Act. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and four Democratic cosponsors today introduced the Overdose Prevention Act, which would expand overdose prevention services and providing funding for access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The bill is not yet up on the congressional web site.

Asset Forfeiture

Rep. Tim Walberg Introduces Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) has filed House Resolution 5212, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act. The bill would raise the standard of proof necessary for the government to seize property and reinstate due process so the government is required to  prove a property owner's involvement in criminal activity. This is the second asset forfeiture reform bill filed in as many weeks. Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) filed the FAIR (Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration) ACT, Senate Bill 2644, which would require the government to prove with clear and convincing evidence that the property it wishes to forfeit is connected with a crime.

Law Enforcement

Justice Department Report Scolds DEA for Leaving Student in Cell for Five Days. A Justice Department report on the detention of San Diego student Daniel Chong, who was left unattended in a holding cell for five days at a DEA office there, has concluded that the DEA did not take simple measures to ensure that detainees are not forgotten. The report also slammed the agency for having the same agents who left Chong in the cell conduct the investigation into how it happened. Chong earlier received a $1.4 million payout from the DEA to settle a lawsuit he brought against the agency.

International

Russian Drug Agency Proposes Giving Social Benefits to Recovering Drug Users. In something of a surprise move, the Russian Federal Drug Control Service has proposed providing free housing, food subsidies, and home health care to help recovering drug users progress in their rehabilitation. The bill would add drug addicts to a list of categories of people considered socially vulnerable, such as senior citizens and people with disabilities. The proposal has drawn harsh criticism from opponents, who argue that it would encourage drug use.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Editorial: Petition Blunder Warrants Refresher Course

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 01 Aug 2014 - This screw-up is enough to make one wonder: What were they smoking? When it came to calculating the number of valid petition signatures needed to ask Albuquerque voters if they want to reduce penalties in the city for possessing small amounts of marijuana, the numbers didn't add up. And no one caught it until it was too late. The City Clerk's Office miscalculated the number and the Legal Department approved it. Petitioners didn't question it or do the math themselves.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Implementing A Medical Marijuana Law Is Key

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 01 Aug 2014 - Despite polls showing that eight out of 10 Floridians are for it, one of the most controversial and talked-about issues this November election is medical marijuana. This is my first time saying this in a public forum but here it is: I'm for it too. I, like most voters, believe that if a doctor recommends a course of treatment to a patient - whether it's an exercise regime, a multivitamin, a new diet, or marijuana - that patient should be able to follow their doctor's orders without having to fear being arrested. Period.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US WA: Pot Smoking Tickets Issued Unevenly

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 08/01/2014 - 07:00
Spokesman-Review, 01 Aug 2014 - SEATTLE - Yes, you can buy pot. You can smoke pot. You can possess pot here in the Evergreen State. You just can't do those things in public, smelling up parks and annoying pedestrians. If you're caught, the police will write you a ticket. Especially if you're black. Or homeless. And have the bad judgment to light up in the downtown core. And the bad luck to come upon one police officer in particular.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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