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Ballot Initiatives

US: Pot Legalization: Gateway To What?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 08:00
U.S. News & World Report, 12 Nov 2014 - Advocates look to further reduce drug-related arrests, incarceration. Shane Mckee, co-founder of Shango Premium Cannabis dispensary in Portland, Ore., pulls a medical marijuana sample from a display casing on Nov. 5. Oregon became the third state to legalize recreational pot on election night, but it will be more than a year before the first shops open.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Many Pot Shops Clash With Neighbors

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 12 Nov 2014 - Proposal for Joint Marketing Plan Leads to Anger From Antique Stores DENVER (AP) - The booming new marijuana industry has an image problem. Not with government officials and the public - but with other businesses.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Column: Will D.C.'s Nightlife Go UP in a Cloud of Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 12 Nov 2014 - It was Election Day in the District, but as Ian Hilton walked past a polling place on Vermont Avenue NW, he was stunned to detect the pungent scent of pot. "Usually, I don't smell anyone smoking a joint out in public," said Hilton, who owns several D.C. bars with his musician brother, Eric.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: No More Portland Pot Cases, Senior Drug Testing Racket, Vets' MedMj Problems, More (11/11/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 21:56

The fallout from last week's legalization votes begins, California veterans are reporting medical marijuana problems with the VA, doctors are billing Medicare for largely needless senior drug testing, and more. Let's get to it:

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

No More Pot Prosecutions in Portland. That didn't take long. Less than a week after Oregon voters approved the Measure 91 legalization initiative, prosecutors in Multnomah County (Portland) announced Monday that they will dismiss all pending violation-level marijuana possession cases and won't bother to prosecute any future ones. "Because it is clear that a significant majority of voters in Multnomah County support the legalization of marijuana in certain amounts, this office will dismiss the pending charges related to conduct which will otherwise become legal July 1, 2015," said a statement from Multnomah County DA Rode Underhill. "Any remaining charges not impacted by Ballot Measure 91 will be prosecuted." Prosecutors in other Oregon counties are still figuring out how to respond.

Alaska Legislator Getting to Work on Legal Marijuana Draft Regulations. That didn't take long, either. Less than a week after Alaska voters approved the Measure 2 legalization initiative, Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) said Monday he plans to file legislation in January that would restrict pot shops within a certain distance of schools and public parks, limit advertising, and bar people with felonies from working in the industry. Lynn said he expects his proposals to attract plenty of discussion among lawmakers.

Opposition Coalition Forms in Vermont. A coalition to oppose marijuana legalization in the Green Mountain State has announced itself. SMART VT calls itself a "grassroots coalition" of "concerned Vermonters" and is now calling on Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) to not take up legalization this legislative session. Too late, though: A public hearing on legalization is set for Wednesday. Click the last link for hearing details.

Medical Marijuana

US Veterans Denied Pain Medications Over Medical Marijuana Use. California NORML is reporting that it is being contacted by veterans who are being told by their VA doctors that they must choose between their prescription pain medications and medical marijuana. The group reports "a spate of complaints" from Long Beach and Loma Linda after scheduling changes for some prescription drugs recently took effect. Those changes entail stricter reporting requirements for doctors, and that, among other factors, seems to have spurred the tightening up. Click on the title link for more details and a plan for action from CANORML and Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access. Happy Veterans Day!

Drug Testing

Pain Docs Getting Rich Doing Useless Drug Tests on Seniors, Taxpayers Pick Up the Tab. In an expensive side-effect of the "war" on pain pill addiction, pain specialists are now ordering costly testing of seniors for recreational drug use, and Medicare is stuck footing the bill. The doctors are also responding to a Medicare crackdown on abusive billing for simple urine drug screens by moving to high-tech testing methods for which billing is not limited. Now, doctors are testing for a number of different drugs -- including illegal ones rarely used by seniors, such as cocaine, ecstasy, and PCP -- and raking in the tax dollars. Medicare spending on drug testing has increased an incredible 1,423% since 2007 to $445 million in 2012. That included $14 million for testing seniors for PCP, for which one lab director with 25 years in the business told The Wall Street Journal she had never seen a positive test result in people over 65. The comprehensive article is worth the read; click on the link to get it.

International

Montreal Gets First Medical Marijuana Clinic. Montreal's first medical marijuana clinic is opening today. Sante Cannabis does not sell medical marijuana, but its doctors and staff guide patients on how to use marijuana, proper strains to use, and determine whether to smoke, vape, or use edibles. The city has had dispensaries or "compassion centers" for years, but Sante Cannabis is the first medical marijuana business to have doctors on staff.

British Lib Dem Leader, Former Colombian President Team Up to Fight for Drug Reform. Liberal Democratic party leader and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos have agreed to work together to help forge an alliance between European and Latin American countries aiming to reform global drug prohibition. They are taking aim at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs set for 2016.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Alaska Lawmaker to Introduce Bill Limiting Legal

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 11 Nov 2014 - ANCHORAGE - An Anchorage state legislator plans to introduce the first bill to restrict legal marijuana sales. Republican Rep. Bob Lynn announced Monday he will introduce the draft legislation when the Legislature begins its next session in January.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Historic UK Drug Debate Looms, NYPD Ending Marijuana Possession Arrests, More (11/10/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 22:52

Look out! Here comes the next wave of marijuana legalization efforts. Also, NYPD will stop its penny-ante pot arrests, Oregon DAs ponder dropping pot charges, the FBI's annual arrest figures are out, the ACLU gets $50 million to fight overincarceration, Britain awaits a historic debate on drug policy, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Nevada 2016 Legalization Initiative Ready to Hand in Signatures. The Nevada Coalition to Regulate Marijuana says it will turn in 170,000 signatures Wednesday for its proposed 2016 initiative to legalize marijuana. It needs 102,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. This is a Marijuana Policy Project effort.

Oregon Prosecutors to Rethink Pending Pot Cases. Although marijuana possession won't be legal in the state until July 2015, prosecutors in some of its most populous counties say they will revisit pending marijuana cases in light of last week's legalization victory at the polls. DAs in Clackamas (Oregon City), Multnomah (Portland), and Washington (Hillsboro) counties all said they are trying to figure out how to proceed.

Rhode Island Activists Aim to Legalize It in 2015. Which will be the first Northeastern state to legalize marijuana? Rhode Island activists organized into Regulate Rhode Island want their state to be the one. They are putting together a coalition to try to push a bill to tax and regulate marijuana through the General Assembly next year. The bill died in the legislature this year. This is a Marijuana Policy Project effort.

NYPD to Stop Arrests for Minor Marijuana Offenses. The NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced today that the department will quit arresting people for low-level marijuana possession. NYPD has been arresting tens of thousands of people each year, but in the face of withering criticism, it will now begin issuing tickets instead. But people caught smoking pot in public will continue to face arrest.

Drug Testing

Wisconsin Governor Calls for Drug Testing for Unemployment, Food Stamps. Newly reelected Republican Gov. Scott Walker is calling drug testing of people seeking public benefits, including unemployment insurance. He and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) both say it will be a priority in the coming legislative session. Walker and Vos haven't unveiled an actual proposal, but any bill that calls for mandatory, suspicionless drug testing is certain to face constitutional challenges.

Law Enforcement

Pot Arrests Drop, But Still 1.5 Million Drug Arrests Last Year. More than 1.5 million people were arrested for drug offenses in the US last year, and more than 693,000 of those for marijuana offenses. The figures come from the FBI's 2013 Uniform Crime Report, which was released today. Marijuana arrests have declined from peaks early in this century. In 2008, there were a record 872,000 marijuana arrests, so pot busts have declined by slightly more than 20% since then. But arrests for other drug offenses continue apace, actually increasingly slightly last year. Still, because of the decline in marijuana arrests, the overall number of drug arrests dropped by about 50,000.

Sentencing

ACLU Gets $50 Million to Fight to Reduce Incarceration. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been awarded a $50 million grant from George Soros's Open Society Foundations to mount an eight-year campaign to change criminal justice policies and reduce incarceration in this country. The group says there is an emerging bipartisan consensus to make reforms, although last week's election results may stiffen opposition. The ACLU wants to reduce imprisonment by 50% in the next years.

International

Missing Mexican Students Were Murdered By Drug Gang, Officials Say. Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said last Friday that 43 radical student teachers missing for more than a month in Iguala, Guerrero, had been murdered by a drug gang working with the wife of the mayor of the city. Murillo said the students were killed and their bodies burned, with the remains scattered in a local river. The announcement of the students' fate has not, however, quieted outrage in the country, where corruption and impunity are major issues. Demonstrators torched the wooden front doors of the National Palace in Mexico City Saturday night and were blocking the Acapulco airport Monday, among other actions.

Former Chilean President Calls for Drug Decriminalization. In an interview last Friday, former President Ricardo Lagos said decriminalizing marijuana -- and possibly even cocaine -- possession was the best way to reduce both prohibition-related crime and drug use. Start with marijuana, he said. "After one or two years we will see if we dare to legalize cocaine. It starts with a major prevention campaign and with providing non-prison punishment for those who are incarcerated today, depending on the magnitude of their offenses," Lagos proposed. "The only thing that's clear to me is that there were 10,000 drug arrests per year in Chile in 2002 and 10 years later it's multiplying by eight, reaching 82,000. Chile needs to grow up," he said. Lagos was president of the country from 2000 to 2006.

In Historic Move, British Parliament to Debate Drug Policy. The House of Commons will debate Britain's drug policies for three hours this coming Thursday. It is the first time Parliament has taken up the topic since passage of the Misuse of Drugs Act -- the current law -- four decades ago. The debate comes as Britain's governing coalition has been sundered on the issue, with the junior partner Liberal Democrats coming out loudly for drug decriminalization and the senior partner Conservatives firmly holding the line against any reforms.

Australia's New South Wales Wants Random Drug Testing of Drivers. The New South Wales state government has introduced a bill that would allow police to randomly drug test drivers for the presence of marijuana, amphetamines, and ecstasy. The tests would be done with a saliva swab.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OK: Tulsa Firm Wants To Sell Marijuana E-Cigarettes

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 08:00
Tulsa World, 10 Nov 2014 - (AP) - As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise. Marijuana is illegal under federal drug laws. But voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved ballot measures Tuesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining Washington state and Colorado.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OK: Emerging Cannabis Oil Market Eyed

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 10 Nov 2014 - E-Cig Company Sees Great Opportunity OKLAHOMA CITY - As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Medical Marijuana: On The Ballot Again In 2016?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 09 Nov 2014 - Maybe the second time's the charm. After the defeat of Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative his money largely got on the ballot, Orlando attorney John Morgan is already looking toward 2016.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Column: Marijuana May Be Legal, But It's Lame

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 09 Nov 2014 - The Post's Justin Moyer Says Pot Has Gone From Rebellious to Tedious This past week, D.C. advanced America's 21stcentury war on its 20th-century war on drugs. Now that marijuana is somewhat legal, the city's African American residents are less likely to be disproportionately arrested for a victimless crime. If the cannabis industry stays out of town, D.C. Council members, who should spend time fixing the city's public schools, won't be preoccupied with regulating a substance arguably less harmful than alcohol. And police officers who should be chasing bank robbers and murderers will no longer bust college students carrying dime bags.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Column: Take Moral, Not Political Road on Medical Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 11/09/2014 - 08:00
The Palm Beach Post, 09 Nov 2014 - Florida voters denied - barely - a political imperative to pass a constitutional amendment legalizing the use of medical marijuana by folks with debilitating illnesses. It falls upon the Florida lawmakers to follow a moral imperative to pass medical marijuana legislation and give relief to thousands of Floridians suffering from horrible ailments. This is reason enough to move quickly, but faith in this Legislature on this issue is hard to come by.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Support For Legal Pot Down Off Its High

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 11/08/2014 - 08:00
The Daily Home, 08 Nov 2014 - Even as the national experiment legalizing recreational pot spread this week to Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., a new poll suggests the enthusiasm among voters has hit a plateau. A majority, 51 percent, favors legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll. That's about where support has been since 2011, but a drop from the 58 percent who told Gallup last year they supported legalization. Last year's poll came just after Colorado and Oregon had voted to allow marijuana to be sold in stores and were in the process of setting up the market.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: State Approves Boston's First Medical Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 11/08/2014 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 08 Nov 2014 - State health officials on Friday approved a highly coveted license for Boston's first medical marijuana dispensary, selecting Patriot Care Corp. to operate a facility near Downtown Crossing. The company, which was already provisionally approved to open a dispensary in Lowell, also won permission Friday for a location in Greenfield, making it the only company positioned to run three dispensaries in Massachusetts.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Next Steps for Pot Law, Mental Health Tax in Question

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 11/08/2014 - 08:00
Albuquerque Journal, 08 Nov 2014 - Results Are Not Binding, and It's Unclear If They Will Turn into Government Action Both advisory questions on the Bernalillo County ballot - marijuana decriminalization and a mental health tax - won big at the polls this week.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Legalization of Marijuana Faces Uncertain Future in

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 11/08/2014 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 08 Nov 2014 - Although residents of Washington voted overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing marijuana this week - a move that could put penalty-free pot within an hour's drive of Baltimore - the ballot initiative faces an uncertain future. The measure, which would make it legal for people over 21 to possess 2 ounces of marijuana and grow up to three plants, has triggered some concern on Capitol Hill and among Maryland authorities.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: City Votes To Decriminalize Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 08:00
Morning Sun, 07 Nov 2014 - Mt. Pleasant residents have overwhelmingly voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana. With a vote of 62-percent to 38-percent, the mid-Michigan city residents voted Tuesday to amend the city ordinance so that nothing in the city's code would apply to the use, possession or transfer of "small amounts" of marijuana on private property by those 21 and over.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Editorial: Pot Pushers Say 'Legalize'

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 08:00
Boston Herald, 07 Nov 2014 - The pro-pot army is on the march. Voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia on Tuesday voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana (Colorado and Washington have already done so). Here in Massachusetts voters in eight House districts approved nonbinding ballot questions that instruct their state reps to support similar legislation here. Meanwhile, the group that backed the successful legalization measure in Alaska and was behind the earlier Colorado law is eyeing Massachusetts in 2016 for a statewide legalization initiative. The Marijuana Policy Project says it hopes to build on "steadily increasing public support" in Massachusetts to make pot legal and allow the state to regulate it like alcohol.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Legalization Of Marijuana In DC Heads To Congress

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 07 Nov 2014 - Congress to Weigh in on Marijuana The national marijuana legalization debate is moving into the backyard of a Republican-controlled Congress, now that the District of Columbia has voted to legalize growing, possessing, and sharing small amounts of the drug.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Editorial: Hands Off The Pot Law

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 07 Nov 2014 - Now That D.C. Voters Have Spoken, Congress Should Not Interfere With Marijuana Legalization. D.C. VOTERS, as expected, gave overwhelming approval to a ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana and, as expected, there were immediate rumblings from Capitol Hill of plans to block its implementation. We did not favor passage of Initiative 71, but we do believe in democracy and self-government. Congress should recognize how inappropriate it would be to interfere with the District on this local issue.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: 2016 Plans, Silk Road 2.0 Busted, Canada & Jamaica React to Marijuana Votes, More (11/6/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 21:50

Marijuana reform activists are already eyeing 2016, and so is former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the FBI busts the latest incarnation of Silk Road, Tuesday's vote brings some joy in Canada and Jamaica, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Only 733 Days Until California Legalizes Marijuana. That's the message from the California Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, which is already laying the groundwork for a successful statewide marijuana legalization in 2016. Check it out.

Missouri Group Files Petition to Legalize Marijuana in 2016. The activist group Show-Me Cannabis filed a petition Wednesday for a constitutional amendment initiative to legalize marijuana in 2016. It must now undergo a review and public comment process. Once approved, supporters will have to gather 165,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Drug Policy

Drug Legalizer Gary Johnson Will Run for President (Again) in 2016. Former Republican New Mexico governor, 2012 Republican presidential nomination seeker, and 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson has announced he will run for president again in 2016. He picked up 1.3 million votes as the Libertarian candidate last time. He said he was running as a counter to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who he said was only half-right on the issues.

Law Enforcement

FBI Busts Silk Road 2.0. The FBI has arrested a 26-year-old man for allegedly running the resurrected dark web online drug sales web site Silk Road 2.0. Blake Benthall was arrested in San Francisco Thursday. The original Silk Road allegedly generated over a billion dollars in sales before it was busted and its original operator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested. Silk Road 2.0 was launched a year ago and allegedly was doing $8 million a month in sales, with over 13,000 different listings for controlled substances. Don't be surprised when Silk Road 3.0 pops up.

International

Canada Activists, Liberals Celebrate US Marijuana Legalization Votes. "I'm very happy today," said Vancouver activist Dana Larsen, who led the not yet successful drive for pot decriminalization in British Columbia last year. "It's pouring rain outside, but that's okay, it's sunshining in our hearts. The final argument from prohibitionists in Canada has always been, 'If you legalize it, America will punish us… they'll shut down our border.' That's always been the last refuge of the prohibitionists. [President] Obama is not even punishing his own states for legalizing it. It will definitely make it much easier [for a future Canadian government to legalize it.]" The Liberal Party was also pleased. "Last night, voters in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, DC expressed their democratic will and supported the legalization of marijuana," a party spokesperson said. "A well-regulated, legal system for marijuana access promotes public safety, keeps profits out of the hands of gangs, and helps keep drugs out of the hand of children -- exactly what Liberals have been saying all along."

Jamaica Ganja Task Force Hails US Marijuana Legalization Votes. Canadians weren't the only ones smiling. Jamaica's Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force called the legalization votes in Alaska, Colorado, and Washington, DC, "positive developments" and urged the Jamaican government to get moving. "The CCMRT, while acknowledging the Jamaican government's positive positioning on ganja law reform, urge them to move more decisively at fundamental reform so as to ensure that Jamaica is not left behind," the group said.

Mexican Mayor and Wife Arrested in Case of Missing Student Teachers. Mexican authorities announced Tuesday that they had arrested fugitive former Iguala mayor Jose Luiz Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, in a pre-dawn raid in a Mexico City working class suburb. They fled after 43 radical student teachers went missing more than a month ago in the midst of anti-government demonstrations. Pineda is a accused of being the chief operative of the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, to whom the students were handed after being detained by Iguala police. The case is causing huge tremors in a country sick to death of official corruption and impunity.

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
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