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Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: DRO Deserves Credit for Leading on Medical Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 07:00
The Salinas Californian, 23 Mar 2015 - On Saturday I wrote a news article on the status of Monterey County's only medical marijuana dispensary opening next month in Del Rey Oaks. In my reporting, I got to know DRO Mayor Jerry Edelen a bit better and was impressed with the thought process he described as he went from no to yes on the issue of medical marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Is America Ready For Medical Marijuana?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 23 Mar 2015 - A bipartisan trio of U.S. senators, New Jersey's Cory Booker, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand and Kentucky's Rand Paul, are sponsoring a bill to classify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, meaning the federal government would allow it to be used as medicine. Some critics worry that such a bill could become a "gateway law" to full legalization of recreational weed; defenders say sick patients need the pain relief best provided by marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: State Pushes Forward To Legalize Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 23 Mar 2015 - Beacon Hill legislators are working on a marijuana legalization proposal, in part as an effort to short-circuit an expected 2016 ballot push. Advocates have long planned an initiative petition to legalize the recreational use of the drug for adults, and political analysts have expected that measure to pass in the next presidential election year.
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US HI: Column: Is America Ready For Medical Pot?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 22 Mar 2015 - A bipartisan trio of U.S. senators - New Jersey's Cory Booker, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand and Kentucky's Rand Paul - are sponsoring a bill to classify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, meaning the federal government would allow it be used as medicine. Some critics worry that such a bill could become a "gateway law" to full legalization of recreational weed; defenders say sick patients need the pain relief best provided by marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Where Marijuana Is Legal But Isn't For Sale

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 07:00
New York Times, 21 Mar 2015 - WHERE MARIJUANA IS LEGAL BUT ISN'T FOR SALE It sounds like an idea a stoner might come up with. In Washington, D.C., it's now legal to possess marijuana, to grow it, to smoke it and to give it away. But you're not allowed to trade in it. You can give your neighbor up to an ounce, but if he gives you money or even bakes you a pie in exchange, that's illegal.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: DEA "Cold Consent" Searches, NYC Calls for Pot Legalization, KY Heroin Bills Collide, More (3/20/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 22:41

An Ohio legalization initiative heads for signature-gathering, the NYC city council calls for decrim and legalization, the DEA's "cold consent" searches get critiqued, Kentucky pols can't agree on how to deal with heroin, and more.

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

Louisiana Legalization Bill Pre-Filed. State Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) has pre-filed a marijuana legalization bill. He submitted House Bill 117 yesterday. To go into effect, it would have to both pass the legislature and be approved by the electorate in the November 2016 election. Louisiana has some of the country's harshest marijuana laws.

Ohio Ballot Board Clears ResponsibleOhio Legalization Initiative. Backers of the ResponsibleOhio legalization initiative have cleared the final hurdle before beginning signature-gathering. The state Ballot Board agreed that the proposal amounts to a single constitutional amendment, so it's good to go. Backers will now need to gather more than 300,000 signatures by July to qualify for the ballot. The amendment would allow only 10 growing sites already promised to investors.

NYC City Council Calls for Decriminalizing and Legalizing Marijuana. This week, the New York City Council called for the state to pass legislation to both decriminalize and to tax and regulate marijuana. As part of the Council's State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the 2015-2016 legislative session, the council urged the state legislature to pass two marijuana policy reforms -- the Fairness and Equity Act and the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA). The Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito had previously announced her support for marijuana legalization in November, but this marks the first time that decriminalization and legalization have been part of the Council's official legislative agenda.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Senate Committee Vote. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved House Bill 1 yesterday. The measure has passed the House and now heads for a Senate floor vote.

Methamphetamine

New York Senate Approves Bill to Increase Meth Penalties. The Senate has passed Senate Bill 1150, which would increase penalties for meth possession and sale. Meth would be treated similarly to heroin and cocaine under the bill. The bill is now in the Assembly Codes Committee as Assembly Bill 5577.

Opiates

Kentucky Legislators Still Can't Agree on Heroin Bills. House and Senate negotiators met yesterday to try to reach a compromise on competing bills that address heroin use in the state, but mainly agreed to disagree. There are differences over increasing penalties for heroin dealers, whether to allow needle exchanges, and on how to protect people who report overdoses. There is now a chance legislators could agree on a compromise that simply omits the sentencing and overdose reporting provisions.

Asset Forfeiture

Sen. Chuck Grassley Investigating Asset Forfeiture Abuses in US Marshals Service. The Iowa Republican sent a letter Wednesday to the agency demanding documents after he received whistleblower allegations that the service's Asset Forfeiture Division had used asset forfeiture monies "to purchase extravagant office decorations such as custom wall paper and window treatments." He is also looking into allegations of favoritism in hiring at the agency.

Law Enforcement

Justice Department Report Criticizes DEA's "Cold Consent" Searches. In a new report, the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General details how the DEA's use of "cold consent" searches, where agents confront travelers at airports, bus, and rail stations and "ask" for consent to search them, may be racially profiling passengers and unjustly seizing their money. Click on the title link or read the report for lots more detail.

Reentry and Rehabilitation

Ex-Felon Federal Voting Rights Bills Filed. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) has filed S 772 to secure the federal voting rights of people who have served their time. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has filed a companion bill, HR 1459, in the House.

Sentencing

Smarter Sentencing Act Picks Up More Cosponsors. The Senate version, S 502, now has nine cosponsors, with the latest being Sen. John Isaakson (R-GA). The House version, HR 920, now has 22 cosponsors, with six signing on in the past week. The bills would retroactively apply provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act and would reduce mandatory minimum sentences.

International

Canada Supreme Court Takes Up Medical Marijuana Edibles. The high court is hearing a case where plaintiffs charge that Health Canada violated medical marijuana patients' constitutional rights to life, liberty, and safety by barring any form of marijuana except dried plants. The government has lost at every step of the legal process so far, but continues to argue the case.

Zambia Opposition Party Joins Green Call for Marijuana Legalization. Zambia's second largest opposition party, the United Party for National Development, has joined the Greens in calling for the legalization of marijuana cultivation. "There is nothing wrong with cannabis. Just like you and me 'dear reader' Cannabis Sativa, the plant, was also created by God," wrote party vice-president for political affairs Canisius Banda. "Cannabis is a resource. Cannabis must be decriminalized the world over. Nonetheless, regulation, albeit wise, just as it exists for many other things ought to remain. Just like Zambia boasts of Copper, California boasts of Cannabis, the biggest cash crop, responsible for US$14 billion a year in sales. Zambia would do well, under decriminalized but controlled conditions, to start growing Cannabis, and at least, for now until we are a bit more civilized, only for export to countries that have made it legal."

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Column: The Cannabis Debate Drifts into the Halls of

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 19 Mar 2015 - Last week I wrote about a bill that was then being debated in the Utah state legislature. S.B. 259 would have amended a law passed last year that allowed Utah citizens to use certain strains of CBD-dominate cannabis to treat medical conditions but mandated no legal way that patients could obtain them. Like many others, I concentrated on the testimony of a DEA agent whose job is to eradicate illicit marijuana from national forest land. Matt Fairbanks testified against the bill because he feared that wildlife might be adversely affected by ingesting cannabis. It reminded me that about all prohibitionists have left is to continue to make up things this ridiculous to press the point that cannabis is more dangerous than alcohol.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: California Pot Initiatives Spark Up

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 19 Mar 2015 - I see plenty of people getting excited about legalizing marijuana in California, but are there any ballot initiatives ready to go? Any you can recommend? - -Ivana B. Puffingwun There are a few ready to go, but I am not sure they will have much of a chance. The folks behind the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative are trying (again) to get their initiative on the ballot. While I really like the language of their proposal (the tax on pot is really low, you would be able to grow an incredible amount of weed in your home and it would free people in jail for nonviolent cannabis crimes), I don't think they have a chance. The CCHI has no money, and no real organization. Sigh.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Local Delegation Hears From Marijuana Industry Experts

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 07:00
The Signal, 18 Mar 2015 - Community Leaders Told California Needs to Get Ready for Legalization SACRAMENTO - Two experts on the marijuana industry told a delegation of Santa Clarita Valley business and community leaders Tuesday that the state needs to be ready for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana use in the next few years.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: No Pot in This Beer, Just a Hint of the City's Lack of

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 18 Mar 2015 - First, a disclaimer: There is no marijuana in the beer. That's what they said. Cannabis and hops are just a lot alike. It only smells like pot. And it might taste a little like it, too. So if that's what you like - a dank, resinous pint - or if you're willing at least to try it, this could be your season at the District's DC Brau Brewing Co.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US WA: Cornering The Pot Market

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 17 Mar 2015 - After Washington State Made It Legal, a Struggling Small Town Went into Business North Bonneville, Wash. - Deep in the Columbia River Gorge, a short drive from the Bridge of the Gods, the nation's only government-run marijuana shop was running low on weed.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Ledoux: Kelly's Amendment To Pot Bill Will Not Pass

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 17 Mar 2015 - JUNEAU - The head of a House committee that has spent much of the session reviewing marijuana said an amendment pushed through by a Fairbanks senator to ban all marijuana concentrates in 2017 will not survive in her committee. Anchorage Republican and House Judiciary chairwoman Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux said a controversial amendment authored by Sen. Pete Kelly isn't what Alaskans voted for when they passed Ballot Measure 2.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Editorial: Marijuana Bill's Future Unclear: With Sen.

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 17 Mar 2015 - After a rough initial outing and complete rewrite, the Alaska Legislature's attempt at setting state rules for marijuana legalization appears to have ground to a halt once more. Senate Bill 30 would rewrite state laws to reflect marijuana's legal status for personal possession and use following voter approval of Ballot Measure 2 in November 2014. But a controversial amendment by Fairbanks Sen. Pete Kelly has dimmed the prospect that a fix to conflicting state laws on legalization is imminent. At first, SB 30 was an ugly bill. Rather than reflect marijuana's legal status, as originally written, the bill would have left state drug laws intact - including illegal status for pot - and simply let defendants charged with marijuana possession offer the passage of legalization as an affirmative defense. Legislators, state law officials and legalization advocates railed against the bill's language as not reflective of voters' intention in passing the ballot measure.
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US DC: In D.C., That's Grow Biz

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 16 Mar 2015 - The weekend after marijuana became legal in the District, Capital City Hydroponics ran a sale on the indoor gardening kits needed to grow it. Business doubled. In a narrow Petworth basement stuffed with high-end gardening supplies, Michael Bayard gingerly explains that tomatoes are best grown indoors given the District's unfavorably dank weather.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: OSU Offers Class On Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 16 Mar 2015 - Law School Course Focuses on Policy, Marijuana Reform. Professor Douglas Berman teaches a class about marijuana, so he has heard the jokes. He even allows a little pot humor in the classroom. But he isn't especially fond of the nickname his class has picked up: Weed 101. "It's a lot more than that," Berman said about his class at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Flippant attitudes toward the marijuana debate are in part what inspired him to start teaching "Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform," which aims to cut through claims on both sides of the marijuana debate.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative Planned in

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 03/15/2015 - 07:00
The Daily Tribune, 15 Mar 2015 - LANSING (AP) - A statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiative is planned for 2016 that aims to allow residents to cultivate their own plants and allow other uses of the drug. The Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee says Thursday it plans a petition drive.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: NV Pot Init Will Go to Voters Next Year, Dark Web Drug Bust, Saudis Behead Three, More (3/13/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 21:11

Nevada is the first state in line to legalize it in 2016 after the legislature failed to act this week, a controversial Ohio legalization initiative wins a preliminary approval to move forward, there was a major dark web drug bust in Germany this week, and more.

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

DC Cannabis Campaign to Host Pot Seed Exchange. The folks behind the Measure 71 marijuana possession and cultivation legalization initiative will be hosting two seed exchanges this month. "This will be DC residents' opportunity to share seeds with other adults and start down the path of legally growing your own cannabis in the safety and privacy of your home," the campaign announced Thursday.

Nevada Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization Next Year. After the state legislature failed to act by a deadline today, marijuana legalization is headed to the ballot next year. Initiative organizers have already taken all the necessary steps for the vote to take place. The legislature could have approved the initiative itself, but instead punted. Read the initiative here.

Ohio Attorney General Approves Petition Summary for Responsible Ohio Legalization Initiative. The attorney general's approval means ResponsibleOhio now goes to the Ohio Ballot Board for its approval. Their meeting will take place in about 10 days. Read the ResponsibleOhio initiative here. If the Ballot Board approves, ResponsibleOhio must then gather 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters from at least 44 of 88 counties to get the measure on the fall ballot.

Medical Marijuana

Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Gets New GOP Cosponsor. A second Republican senator has signed on to the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act (Senate Bill 683). Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) joins fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul (KY) and Democrats Cory Booker (NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).

Georgia Senate Passes Restrictive CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. The Senate passed Senate Bill 185, which would allow parents bringing CBD cannabis oil into the state to treat their children with epilepsy to be exempted from criminal prosecution, but would not allow medical marijuana in any other form and would not let adults or children with other diseases use it. The House has passed a broader CBD bill; the Senate Health Committee chair has promised it will try to reconcile the two bills.

International

China Withdraws UN Motion to Make Ketamine a Controlled Substance. After lobbying from Canadian researchers and others who said ketamine is a crucial anesthetic for poorer countries, China today withdrew its motion before the UN Committee on Narcotic Drugs to schedule the drug. The Chinese said they would defer their resolution for another year so ketamine can be studied more.

Germans in Major Dark Web Drug Bust. Police in Leipzig announced yesterday that they had raided 38 locations and arrested seven people, as well as seizing more than 700 pounds of cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, amphetamines, marijuana, and hash. The bust was of only one seller on the dark website Evolution, but the Deep Dot Web blog, which closely tracks the online narcotics trade, calls the law enforcement operation the biggest Dark Web drug bust ever. Still, the vendor busted represented only a fraction of the 20,000 drug listings on Evolution, and that's just one dark web drug sales site.

Saudi Arabia Beheads Three For Drug Smuggling. A Yemeni, a Syrian, and a Saudi national were executed in the kingdom this week for smuggling amphetamines and hashish into the country. That makes about 20 drug executions so far this year in the county, about half of the 43 executions reported so far.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Committee Reviews 18 Amendments To Pot Bill

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 13 Mar 2015 - JUNEAU - The day after hearing scathing public testimony for changes it made to a marijuana crime bill, the Senate Finance Committee returned on Thursday to make more than a dozen tweaks to the bill. The committee reviewed 18 amendments to Senate Bill 30, which aims to smooth out wrinkles between the now-on-the-books voter initiative that legalized marijuana and existing criminal laws, accepting all but one.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Statewide Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 07:00
The Oakland Press, 13 Mar 2015 - A statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiative is planned for 2016 that aims to allow residents to cultivate their own plants and allow other uses of the drug. The Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee says Thursday it plans a petition drive.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Editorial: Clear Rules Needed For Pot Industry

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 07:00
The Press Democrat, 13 Mar 2015 - Robert Jacob has a unique vantage point for California's marijuana debate. As a Sebastopol city councilman, he represents constituents concerned about neighborhoods and safety and, yes, access to medical marijuana. As the operator of three dispensaries, he deals with customers, security concerns and regulations.
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