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Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Marijuana Legal in Alaska Tomorrow, Kosher MedMJ in NY, Chinese Meth, More (2/23/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 23:04

Alaska's Measure 2 legalization begins to kick in tomorrow, the UFCW organizes medical marijuana workers in Minnesota, Chuck Schumer wants more drug war money, India bans the new synthetic drug mephedrone, and more. Let's get to it:

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

First Phase of Alaska Legalization Goes Into Effect Tomorrow. As of Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the first phase of Alaska's voter-approved Measure 2 marijuana legalization goes into effect. Beginning then, people 21 and over can legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six plants in their home (only three flowering). Adults may also share up to an ounce of weed with other adults and give them up to six plants. Taxed and regulated marijuana commerce will come next year. Click on the link for more.

Maryland Legalization Bill Gets Hearing Tomorrow. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in the General Assembly on Tuesday, February 24, to consider a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. Supporters of the bill, including representatives of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, are expected to testify. The hearing will take place in Room 101 of the House Office Building at 1:00pm ET. The bill is House Bill 911, sponsored by Rep. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore).

Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Medical Marijuana Workers Unionize. Workers at Minnesota Medical Solutions, which will operate four medical marijuana dispensaries, have signed a labor agreement with the company under the auspices of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UCFW), Local 1189. The union is also in discussions about representing workers at the other four planned dispensaries in the state, which will be operated by LeafLine Labs. The UFCW has also organized marijuana workers in California, Colorado, and Washington.

Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Hearing Today. Rep. Dave Hinson's (R-St. Clair) House Bill 800, which would allow for medical marijuana for eligible payments, was set to get a House hearing today. Come back tomorrow for results.

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Filed. On the last day to file Senate bills in the legislative session, Sen. Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley) introduced Senate Bill 546, the "Creating Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis." The bill would allow for medical marijuana for designated debilitating medical conditions and would require patients and caregivers to be registered with the state. The bill now goes before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Kosher Medical Marijuana Coming to New York? Orthodox Jews in New York may soon be able to get kosher medical marijuana. Rabbi Moshe Elefant, head of the Orthodox Union's kosher certification agency said he has held "preliminary discussions" with several companies seeking to obtain a kosher seal of approval for medical marijuana. Click on the link for more.

Law Enforcement

Chuck Schumer Lobbies to Restore HIDTA Funding Cuts. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday Congress should reject President Obama's plan to cut funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. "This is one area where I disagree with the president, and I'm going to fight to reverse his decision," Schumer said. He wants $100 million in drug war funding restored, in part to fight heroin use in his state.

International

UN Official Blames "Corrupt" Chinese Pharmaceutical Industry for Meth Production. Chinese police recently busted 2.4 tons of meth in Guangdong Province, provoking UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) official Jeremy Douglas to say that "corruption in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries" in China was behind the easy availability of chemicals needed to mass produce the drugs. "To operate a lab like this, you need a lot of chemicals, which are legitimate, regulated chemicals from the pharmaceutical industry," Douglas said. "This group has been able to get their hands on the precursor chemicals necessary to produce the drugs. They've been doing it for a long time, which means they're getting these chemicals on a regular basis. There is some kind of corruption in the chemical/pharmaceutical industry taking place allowing this to happen."

India Bans Mephedrone. India has now classified mephedrone (also known as "Meow-Meow" or "M-Cat") as a psychotropic substance that falls under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985. That means mephedrone will now be treated as a controlled substance like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Previously, the new synthetic was not regulated in the country.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

First Phase of Alaska Legalization Goes Into Effect Tomorrow

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 20:51

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

[image:1 align:right caption:true]As of Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the first phase of Alaska's voter-approved Measure 2 marijuana legalization goes into effect. Beginning then, people 21 and over can legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six plants in their home (only three flowering). Adults may also share up to an ounce of weed with other adults and give them up to six plants.

Private pot-smoking will be completely legal for adults, although public consumption remains illegal. Not all issues related to personal use, possession, and cultivation are resolved. The state legislature is still trying to settle questions around edibles, transporting marijuana, and use by minors. Senate Bill 30, which was supposed to be ready by legalization day, is still working its way through the legislature.

The second phase of legalization -- legal, taxed, and regulated marijuana commerce -- won't go into effect until the spring or summer of 2016. A nine-month rulemaking process is set to begin on legalization day, with the state expected to begin accepting applications for business permits in February 2016. The timeline was mandated in Measure 2, and the process is on schedule so far.

"First Colorado and Washington, now Alaska and Oregon -- and all with levels of support higher than the winning candidates for governor and US Senate achieved in those states," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Legalizing marijuana just makes sense now to voters across the political spectrum and -- as we'll likely see in 2016 -- across the country."

Dr. Tim Hunterberger, cosponsor of the initiative and chair of the winning Campaign to Regulate Like Alcohol in Alaska, and Bruce Schulte of the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation, an industry group monitoring the implementation process, are calling for legalization supporters to celebrate by consuming marijuana responsibly and to keep in mind that personal legalization doesn't mean a marijuana free-for-all.

"As with alcohol there's an appropriate time, place, and manner to consume marijuana, and the worst thing that could happen right now is for a handful of overzealous folks to spoil things by making a public spectacle out of marijuana consumption," they cautioned. "So, please be respectful of your fellow Alaskans, don't drive under the influence and don't do anything to give your neighbors reason to feel uneasy about this new law. We're in the midst of an enormous social and legal shift. Please do your part to make it as successful as possible by consuming responsibly."

Alaska isn't the only place where legalization is going at least partially into effect this week. The District of Columbia's possession and cultivation legalization initiative is set to go into effect Thursday -- unless Congress acts to block it (and the president signs such a measure) before then.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: After Medical Marijuana Defeat, Some in GOP Tentatively

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 23 Feb 2015 - WEST PALM BEACH (AP) - Republican lawmakers in Florida who once opposed medical pot are now embracing it, motivated by the strong show of support from voters and worried that another constitutional amendment during next year's presidential race could drive opponents to the polls. Last year, lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a law to allow low-potency strains of marijuana helpful to a very limited group of patients. But many people argued it was inadequate and took the fight to voters with a constitutional amendment that would have widely expanded the drug's availability to the sick. It got about 58 percent of the vote in November but needed 60 percent to pass under Florida law.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: OPED: Celebrate Pot Legalization Responsibly

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 23 Feb 2015 - Ballot Measure 2 will become effective tomorrow, Feb. 24, and many Alaskans are wondering what will change on that date. The simple answer is: Everything, and not much at all. Beginning that day, it will be lawful for someone 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Those with a green thumb may legally grow no more than six marijuana plants (only three of them mature at any time) in their homes.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Florida GOP Warms To Medicinal Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 23 Feb 2015 - WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (AP) - Republican lawmakers in Florida who once opposed medical pot are now embracing it, motivated by the strong show of support from voters and worried that another constitutional amendment during next year's presidential race could drive opponents to the polls. Last year lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a law to allow low-potency strains of marijuana helpful to a very limited group of patients. But many people argued it was inadequate and took the fight to voters with a constitutional amendment that would have widely expanded the drug's availability to the sick. It got about 58 percent of the vote in November but needed 60 percent to pass under Florida law.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: State, Local Lawmakers Working to Define 'Public' Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 23 Feb 2015 - JUNEAU - The voter initiative that legalized marijuana possession and use for people 21 and older that goes into effect on Tuesday specifically doesn't allow using marijuana in public, but just what "public" means is unclear. Defining just what is and isn't public ultimately will be up to the Legislature and local municipalities to decide, but a bill seeking to do that will miss making it into law on Tuesday by a long shot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Column: Where Are We On Medical Marijuana?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 02/22/2015 - 08:00
The Ledger, 22 Feb 2015 - Well, let's see, citizens have been asking the Florida Legislature to legalize it for at least a decade - and legislators said no. There was a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November, put there via citizen initiative. Months before the election, it polled at 78 percent, with support across party lines, age, race and gender. Legislative leaders came out publicly against it. Anti-drug crusaders formed a political action committee and hit up Daddy Warbucks - Sheldon Adelson - for millions to fund their effort.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: State Has More Than a Year to Issue Commercial Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 02/22/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 22 Feb 2015 - JUNEAU - Legalized marijuana could become a flowering industry in Alaska, but for any business considering to cash in on Tuesday by selling pot or even hosting a public bring-your-own-bud party, state officials, lawmakers and marijuana legalization advocates have one thing to say: Not yet.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Middletown Explores Options To Stop Marijuana Site

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 08:00
Dayton Daily News, 21 Feb 2015 - Growing Facility One of 10 Linked to Ballot Initiative. MIDDLETOWN - A day after Moraine was removed from the list of potential sites for a 100,000square-foot indoor marijuana growing facility, Middletown city officials said they are still exploring all options to stop one from going there, too.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Politician Denies Flip-Flop On Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 21 Feb 2015 - Lawyer Accuses Representative U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in an interview Friday, emphatically rejected an allegation that she offered to change her position on medical marijuana in return for a prominent pot activist retracting statements critical of the congresswoman.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Marijuana Bill to Iron Out Legalization Details Moves

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 02/21/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 21 Feb 2015 - JUNEAU - After weeks of hearings and substantial rewrites that added many dozens of pages, a bill to smooth out wrinkles between existing criminal laws and the initiative to legalize marijuana finally left its first committee on Friday, but not in a shape its authors were completely pleased with. Senate Bill 30 would remove marijuana from the controlled substances list, amend existing drug laws to allow for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana and create laws surrounding underage consumption of marijuana, but left the Senate Judiciary Committee with more work to be done.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: OPED: Marijuana Boundaries Require Thought, Patience

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 02/20/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 20 Feb 2015 - NORTH POLE - We sit at the face of a paradigm shift in the state of Alaska, one that for many Alaskans is seen as a triumph of personal freedom and sovereignty. There is much truth in the declaration that we are at the commencement of something new for Alaska. However, that newness is not with marijuana or cannabis, it is with the concept of commercializing a substance and plant that previously was only allowed for personal use. The Alaska Supreme Court's Ravin decision in 1975 determined the Alaska Constitution allowed for a person to own and use small amounts of cannabis, but that marijuana sale, manufacturing and distribution were prohibited. Ballot Measure 2, passed in 2014, permits the commercialization of cannabis and codifies the 2006 legislative action that reduced the permissible amount of personal possession from four ounces to one ounce.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: More CO Lawsuits, 2016 MI Inits, New Paid Med Rules a Pain for Vets, More (2/19/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 23:18

An anti-crime group has filed a pair of lawsuits challenging Colorado's legal marijuana law, a decrim bill is moving in Hawaii, 2016 initiative plans are getting underway in Michigan, DEA rules on pain pills are causing problems for vets and others, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Revised Alaska Marijuana Bill Removes It From Controlled Substances List; Adds New Misdemeanors. The legislature's effort to regulate legal marijuana has been revised to remove pot from the controlled substances list, according to an updated draft of Senate Bill 30. The bill would also create new crimes for misconduct involving marijuana, including selling it without a license, possessing more than six plants, transporting more than an ounce, providing it to minors, and making hash oil with a volatile or explosive gas. The bill got a hearing in committee yesterday.

California's Attorney General Not Opposed to Legalization. Attorney General Kamala Harris, the state's top law enforcement officer and Democratic front-runner for a 2016 US Senate seat has said she has no moral objection to legalizing marijuana, but worries about impacts on children and public safety. "I don't have any moral opposition to legalization," she said, "but I do feel a very strong sense of responsibility as a top cop to pay attention to the details... to make sure that if it were legalized... that vulnerable people are safe."

Private Group Sues Colorado Over Legalization. Two months ago, Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's legal marijuana law, and now, two more lawsuits are being filed by a private group, Safe Streets Alliance, an anti-crime organization led by a former Reagan administration official. In one suit, two Colorado property owners are suing a handful of marijuana industry participants under federal racketeering laws and state and local officials under the charge that they are violating the constitution's supremacy clause by not enforcing federal law. In the other suit, Safe Streets joined with the Holiday Inn in Frisco to sue a number of marijuana industry participants on racketeering charges. That suit claims that a planned legal marijuana store is causing the hotel to "suffer injuries to its business and property." Pot supporters say the lawsuits are unlikely to go anywhere.

Hawaii Senate Committee Passes Decriminalization Bill. The Senate Health Committee Wednesday approved Senate Bill 596, which would decriminalize up to an ounce, replacing a petty misdemeanor with a civil infraction and a $100 fine.

Two Michigan 2016 Legalization Initiative Efforts Getting Underway. At least two different groups are eyeing a legalization initiative effort next year. East Lansing attorney Jeffrey Hank filed paperwork Tuesday for the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, while East Lansing-based Mitchell Research and Communications, a marijuana industry advocacy group, filed paperwork last month to create the Michigan Responsibility Council, which says it will soon transform itself into a ballot committee for 2016. Click on the link for more details.

Missouri Bill Would Free Marijuana Lifer Jeff Mirzanskey. Rep. Shamed Dogan this week filed House Bill 978, which would require the release of anyone serving life without parole for marijuana offenses. That means Jeff Mirzanskey, who is 21 years into his life sentence. Efforts have been afoot to persuade Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to commute his sentence, but he has yet to do so.

Medical Marijuana

Activists Target Wasserman Schultz Over Medical Marijuana Stance. Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to move over to the US Senate, but she won't be getting any help from medical marijuana supporters. She opposed last year's medical marijuana initiative, and that has angered advocates. "She's voted repeatedly to send terminally ill patients to prison. And we're certainly going to make sure Floridians know that -- not to mince words," said Bill Piper, national affairs director with the Washington-based Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). DPA has been joined by People United for Medical Marijuana in Florida, the Marijuana Policy Project, and Americans for Safe Access in coming out against Wasserman Schultz. She opposed last year's medical marijuana initiative.

Colorado Bill to Regulate Medical Marijuana Gets Stripped Down. The bill, Senate Bill 115, which seeks to make the state's medical marijuana system more like its recreational system, won preliminary approval in the Senate Wednesday, but only after some of its more controversial proposals were stripped out. Now absent from the bill are a move to crackdown on medical caregiver growers and rules requiring marijuana edibles to be refrigerated. The measure now renews the medical marijuana regulations that were passed in 2010.

North Dakota Medical Marijuana Bill Defeated. A bill that would have brought medical marijuana to the Northern Plains was defeated in the House Wednesday on a vote of 26-67. The bill, House Bill 1430, was opposed by Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, who warned of public safety and regulatory concerns and called it a step backward in fighting impaired driving.

Asset Forfeiture

New Mexico Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Filed. Rep. Zachary Cook (R-Ruidoso) has introduced a bill that would end civil asset forfeiture in the state. The bill is supported by an ideologically diverse range of organizations including the Rio Grande Foundation, the Institute for Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance. It does not yet have a bill number and is not yet available on the legislative web site.

Wyoming Legislators Prepare to Try to Override Governor's Veto of Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. Gov. Matt Mead (R) vetoed a bill that would have ended civil asset forfeiture in the state Tuesday, but the bill passed by a veto-proof margin, and now legislators and bill supporters are angling for an override vote. The measure, Senate File 14, passed the Senate 26-3 and the House 54-6.

Undertreatment of Pain

New Federal Opiate Prescription Rules Are Causing Problems for Veterans. Restrictions on prescription opiates adopted last summer by the DEA are causing hardships for veterans, the Washington Post reports in a lengthy piece. And it's not just veterans, but they're being hit particularly hard. Click on the link for much more.

Sentencing

Former Federal Judge Regrets 55-Year Sentence for Pot Dealer. Utah resident Weldon Angelos has already spent more than a decade in federal prison after being convicted of three marijuana sales while he had a pistol in his sock. That pistol led to consecutive mandatory minimum sentences resulting in a whopping 55 years in prison for the aspiring rapper. Now, Paul Cassell, the then federal judge who sentenced him, wishes he had a do over. "I do think about Angelos," he said. "I sometimes drive near the prison where he's held, and I think, 'Gosh he shouldn't be there. Certainly not as long as I had to send him there... That wasn't the right thing to do. The system forced me to do it. I think that most of the time, our federal justice system succeeds," Cassell continued. "But there are some cases where it fails and the Angelos case is a prime example of that. I thought the sentence was utterly unjust to Weldon Angelos, but also unjust to the taxpayer," Cassell pointed out. "I think it's just a waste of resources to lock him up for 55 years, I don't really think anyone believes that's an appropriate sentence."

Utah Ready for Drug Defelonization, Poll Finds. Strong majorities of Utahns favor defelonizing drug possession offenses, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling. Some 58% support defelonization, while 59% said probation and community-based drug treatment were more appropriate than jail for being caught with small amounts of drugs. The poll comes as a defelonization bill, House Bill 348, is introduced today.

International

UK Liberal Democrat Leader Supports Medical Marijuana. Nick Clegg, head of the Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in a governing coalition with the Conservatives, has said people should be able to use marijuana to alleviate medical problems. "I strongly agree that where there is a proven medicinal use for cannabis for instance we should make that easier for those to have access to it in a straightforward legal way in order to alleviate the symptoms that you clearly have that you know as a user are alleviated by the use of cannabis," he said. "Let's take a more intelligent approach -- where there is a clear medicinal use, make sure you have access to that in a regulated way." This is yet one more way that the Lib Dems and the Tories are at odds on drug policy.

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 NJ: Coalition Pushes Legalization of Marijuana in New Jersey

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 08:00
The Trentonian, 19 Feb 2015 - NEWARK (AP) - Marijuana should be legalized in New Jersey because existing laws waste police resources, unfairly target minorities and leave millions of dollars in potential tax revenue unrealized by relegating it to the black market, a coalition said Wednesday in announcing a public education initiative. New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform wants to legalize marijuana for people over 21, tax it and regulate its distribution. Among the groups represented at Wednesday's news conference were the American Civil Liberties Union New Jersey, the NAACP State Conference of New Jersey and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Senate Discusses Pot Possession Rules For Minors

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/19/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 19 Feb 2015 - JUNEAU - With a wide variety of issues to consider with the impending legalization of marijuana, lawmakers are looking for ways to hold minors accountable without leaving an opportunity-limiting charge on their record. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday discussed options that would penalize minors for underage possession or consumption marijuana, creating an opportunity to get educational or diversion classes, without creating a permanent public record of the crime.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Editorial: Pot Plot Gets Worse

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 08:00
Columbus Dispatch, 16 Feb 2015 - Plan to Create a Marijuana Cartel Would Overrule Local Zoning Controls The cartel of investors seeking a constitutional monopoly to legalize and sell marijuana in Ohio really must be using too much of their own product.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC D.C. Lacks Pot Rules Even As Legalization Day Nears

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 08:00
Washington Post, 16 Feb 2015 - The District of Columbia could soon earn a new nickname: the Wild West of marijuana. In 10 days, a voter-approved initiative to legalize marijuana will take effect, D.C. officials say. Residents and visitors old enough to drink a beer will be able to possess enough pot to roll 100 joints. They will be able to carry it, share it, smoke it and grow it.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Editorial: More Research Needed Before Final Decision

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 02/15/2015 - 08:00
Morning Journal, 15 Feb 2015 - A great deal of debate and conversation is needed about whether the city of Lorain is a good fit for a marijuana growing or processing facility. Last week, ResponsibleOhio, a political action committee, released its draft language for a constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use in Ohio. The amendment language includes the nearly 77 acres in Lorain's Riverbend Commerce Park off Colorado Avenue. The committee also identified nine other Ohio sites.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Lawmakers Say They Will Be Working on Pot Bill Past

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 02/14/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 14 Feb 2015 - JUNEAU - With 10 days before marijuana becomes legal through November's voter initiative, a senator working closely on legislation intended to smooth out legal gray areas in criminal law says the bill won't be in place before Feb. 24. After a lengthy Senate Judiciary Committee meeting that touched on a wide array of topics, Sen. John Coghill, R-North Pole, said several issues still need to be addressed, including medical marijuana, marijuana concentrates, local option control of marijuana in rural communities, and how penalties for minors possessing and consuming marijuana will be handled.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: CO 2014 Legal Pot Sales at $700 Million, Kettle Falls 5 Will Go to Trial, More (2/13/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 22:43

Final marijuana sales figures are in for Colorado, twin legalization bills are filed in Maryland, a second Ohio legalization initiative campaign gets underway, a federal judge orders the Kettle Falls Five to trial, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

$700 Million in Legal Weed Sales for Colorado Last Year. According to the state Department of Revenue, total legal marijuana sales in 2014 amounted to $699,198,805. That's $385.9 million for medical marijuana and $313.2 million for recreational weed. Since 2014 was the rollout year for legal recreational marijuana sales in the state, look for that figure to increase next year.

Maryland Legalization Bills Introduced. Identical bills to tax, regulate, and legalize marijuana were filed in the state House and Senate last week. Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) and Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore) filed the bills, which would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce and grow six plants at their homes and set up a system of regulated marijuana commerce. The Senate version is Senate Bill 531; the House version is House Bill 911.

New Hampshire Decriminalization Bill Gets Hearing Tuesday. There will be a public hearing on House Bill 618 Tuesday, as well as pre-hearing press conference. The press conference is at 1:30pm and the hearing is at 2:30pm. The bill would decriminalize the possession of an ounce or less and make growing six or fewer plants a misdemeanor.

Second Ohio Legalization Initiative Coming. A second Ohio group wants to put legalization on the 2016 ballot. Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis is turning in a ballot petition and 1,000 preliminary signatures today for its proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana. The amendment would legalize marijuana for those 18 and older, allow for marijuana commerce, and allow non-commercial grows of up to 99 plants and possession of up to 99 pounds. Another group, Responsible Ohio, is also in the early stages of its petition drive. The Responsible Ohio measure would set up 10 designated commercial grows and has no provision for home grows.

Medical Marijuana

Federal Judge Rejects "Kettle Falls 5" Request to Throw Out Charges. Five Washington state medical marijuana patients being prosecuted by federal authorities will have to go to trial. A federal judge Thursday refused to dismiss the criminal case against them, even though the prosecution appears to violate Justice Department guidelines for medical marijuana prosecutions and even though marijuana is now legal in their state.

Drug Testing

West Virginia Food Stamps Drug Testing Bill Filed. After a month of deliberations, the state Senate Committee on Health and Human Resources has announced a bill that would create a one-year pilot program in which food stamp applicants in three counties would be subject to screening for drug use and some would be required to take and pass drug tests at their own expense. The measure is House Bill 2021.

Sentencing

California Bill Would Hike Penalties for School Zone Drug Sales. State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) has filed Senate Bill 212, which would add three, four, or five years to sentences for drug sales or manufacturing within 1,000 feet of a school or preschool. The bill would also extend existing school zone law to include private property within the zone.

International

Massive Raid on Liverpool Nightclub. Garlands nightclub, one of the city's oldest and most popular, has been shut down after a massive police raid Thursday night. More than 140 officers stormed the club after a months-long investigation into drug sales at the venue. Police were seeking a court hearing today to shut it down permanently. More than 300 revelers were evicted from the club before police searched it. Police said they found large quantities of drugs on the scene, but only arrested two men.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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