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Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Prop. 47 Should Be Decided by Legislature, Not

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 09 Oct 2014 - Sacramento - Proposition 47, which would reduce penalties for drug and theft crimes, is yet another initiative that should never have been on the state ballot. The Legislature and governor get paid to deal with such things. And when they do, we're usually better served.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Column: East Lansing City Clerk Stalls Democracy

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 07:00
Metro Times, 08 Oct 2014 - If you can't beat 'em at the ballot box, do it with administrative and quasi-legal shenanigans. That seems to be the way East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks and Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum have managed to keep a vote on legalizing marijuana off the East Lansing ballot this fall.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Pro-Weed Voters Should Not Ignore the Election

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 07:00
East Bay Express, 08 Oct 2014 - Numerous ballot measures and candidates will shape the future of cannabis in the state. The deadline to register to vote in the November 4 election is October 20, and cannabis activists are warning that progressives and young voters should not ignore the so-called "off-year" election. Voters in 2014 will, in effect, be deciding if they will continue to be denied access to medical marijuana and whether they will be getting recreational weed stores in 2016, said Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML. Candidates elected this November will be in charge when California likely legalizes pot in 2016.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: ACLU Opposes Shasta County's Measure A

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 07:00
Record Searchlight, 08 Oct 2014 - REDDING, California - The American Civil Liberties Union has taken a stance against Shasta County's Measure A, a local ordinance that - if approved by voters - would ban outdoor marijuana cultivation in unincorporated areas of the county and place additional restrictions on indoor gardens. The ACLU is the first organization based outside of Shasta County to weigh in on the controversial issue that has drawn the backing of more than a half dozen groups both for and against the measure.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Marijuana Opponents Want Debate Before Vote

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 07:00
Washington Times, 08 Oct 2014 - Say Cannabis Campaign Is Wrong "The question is, 'Do we want to see this repeating?' Alcohol and tobacco have a higher targeting towards the African-American community and minority communities. In Colorado, they're not supposed to be targeting kids, but why are they making gummy bears and Pop Tart marijuana products?" - Will Jones, Two. Is. Enough. D.C. anti-marijuana legalization advocacy group
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Dallas to Stop Marijuana Arrests, Rick Steves Campaigns, DEA Agent Makes Fake Facebook Page, More (10/7/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 20:55

It's crunch time for those marijuana initiatives, Dallas will quit making small-time pot arrests, Colorado's governor disses the voters, Pennsylvania's medical marijuana bill is stalled, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Dallas to Quit Arresting People for Small-Time Marijuana Possession. Starting in January, police in Dallas County, Texas, will only ticket -- not arrest -- people caught in possession of two ounces or less of marijuana. But those cited will still face misdemeanor charges, a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail (though that is rarely the case). The state legislature in 2007 voted to allow jurisdictions to implement cite-and-release, but only a handful of locales in the state have exercised that option.

Legalization Initiative Campaign Kicks Off in Lewiston, Maine. The campaign to legalize marijuana locally through ballot initiatives in Lewiston and South Portland, Maine, kicked off its final month of electioneering with a rally today in Lewiston. The effort is led by the Marijuana Policy Project and is part of a plan to legalize the herb statewide in the near future. Portland, the state's largest city, passed a similar initiative last year.

Rick Steves Hits the Road for the Oregon Legalization Initiative. The charming and mild-mannered PBS travel show host is kicking off a 9-stop tour in support of Measure 91. Steves, who lives in next-door Washington state, also played a critical role in that state's successful 2012 legalization initiative.

DC Council Votes to Strengthen Law to Seal Records for Past Marijuana Arrests. The DC Council voted unanimously today in favor of a bill that would improve the process by which a person can seal criminal records pertaining to conduct that has since been decriminalized or legalized. The council is expected to take a final vote on the bill in late October and it will then go to Mayor Vincent Gray for his review. The council decriminalized marijuana possession earlier this year, and the Measure 71 possession and cultivation legalization initiative appears poised to pass in November.

Colorado Governor Says Voters Were "Reckless" to Legalize Marijuana. Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said during a campaign debate with Republican challenger Bob Beauprez that Colorado voters were "reckless" for voting to legalize marijuana. "Any governor that looks at doing this before we see what the consequences are, I would view it as reckless," he said. But what about voters who voted for it? "I think for us to do that without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless. I'm not saying it was reckless because I'll get quoted everywhere, but if it was up to me I wouldn't have done it, right. I opposed it from the very beginning. In matter of fact, all right, what the hell -- I'll say it was reckless." Hickenlooper may call voters "reckless," but he has overseen the good faith implementation of the voters' will. Beauprez opposes marijuana legalization.

Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill Appears Stalled in House. The state Senate last month passed a restrictive medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 1182, but even that appears to be too much for the Republican-controlled House. Spokesmen for House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) said the body wants to carefully study the bill, including holding public hearings. That means there is virtually no chance it will come to a vote this session. But some Democrats have some legislative maneuvers planned, including trying to attach it to another bill, so stay tuned.

Law Enforcement

Grand Jury Fails to Indict Cops in "Baby Bou Bou" Georgia SWAT Raid. A grand jury in Habersharm County has decided against charging any police officers in a botched drug raid in which a toddler was severely injured by a flash-bang grenade thrown by a SWAT officer. "Baby Bou Bou" Phonesvanh's nose was nearly blown off his face and he spent weeks hospitalized after the raid, in which no drugs were found and no one was arrested. The county has also refused to pay the child's medical bills. Look for a civil suit to come.

DEA Agent Set Up Fake Facebook Page in Woman's Name Without Her Consent. A DEA agent investigating a drug case took over a woman's identity, creating a fake Facebook page in her name and posting racy photos from her seized cell phone. The woman was a minor player in a drug case and didn't know her identity had been commandeered until friends asked her why she was posting racy photos. The woman hadn't even set up a Facebook page of her own. DEA Agent Timothy Sinnigen set up the fake page and used it to communicate with at least one drug suspect. Now, the Justice Department is arguing in federal court that it was perfectly okay for him to do so. Click on the link to read the whole sordid tale.

Sentencing

Ten Percent Drop in Federal Prison Sentences of a Year or More. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University reports that the number of federal prison sentences of a year or more has dropped by 10% over the past five years. Only about one in four people convicted of federal crimes received sentences of greater than a year. Drug offenders accounted for nearly one-third (32.4%) of them. The TRAC data doesn't specify whether this figure has gone up or down in the past five years.

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 FL: Pot Fight Comes To USF Campus

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 07:00
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 07 Oct 2014 - With polls close on the issue of medical marijuana, the Orlando attorney who got Amendment 2 on the November ballot traveled to the University of South Florida's campus here Tuesday to urge young people to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, USF researchers conducted a straw poll on campus to gauge how college-age voters are leaning on candidates and issues alike.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Marijuana Fight Hits TV, Streets

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 07 Oct 2014 - Coming soon to a TV near you: anti-pot ads. Coming to a parking lot near you: a pro-pot bus. As Election Day draws nearer, the two sides of the medical marijuana debate have diverged in how they're getting out the message.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: NY Times Backs Marijuana Initiatives, UK Lib Dems Approve Drug Reforms, More (10/06/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 22:12

The nation's leading newspaper endorses three marijuana legalization initiatives, the FDA sticks up for Zohydro, British Lib Dems endorse drug reforms as a new British poll suggests growing public support, Ecuador begins freeing drug mules under a new law, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

New York Times Endorses Alaska, Oregon, DC Legalization Initiatives. The editorial board of the New York Times endorsed all three initiatives in a Sunday editorial. The newspaper of record noted that all three entities had already legalized medical marijuana, and it "makes good sense" to go the rest of the way. "Opponents of legalization warn that states are embarking on a risky experiment," the newspaper said. "But the sky over Colorado has not fallen, and prohibition has proved to be a complete failure. It's time to bring the marijuana market out into the open and end the injustice of arrests and convictions that have devastated communities."

Oregon Legalization Campaign Gets Another $300,000 Donation. The Drug Policy Action Network, the campaign and lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, has kicked in another $300,000 for the Measure 91 legalization campaign. That means the group has now donated nearly a million dollars to the campaign, which has raised nearly $3 million overall.

Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Pilot Program Gets Underway. Three children's hospitals and the Department of Health are doing a research study on the use of CBD cannabis oil in children. The project, announced in May, is now underway. A broader, but still restrictive, medical marijuana bill has passed the Senate and awaits a vote in the House.

Drug Policy

Poll Finds Most See Drug Addiction as Moral Failing. Most Americans consider drug addiction a personal vice rather than a medical condition, according to a new poll from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Respondents were much more likely to approve of helping people with mental illness than with drug addictions, the poll found. "While drug addiction and mental illness are both chronic, treatable health conditions, the American public is more likely to think of addiction as a moral failing than a medical condition," study leader Colleen Barry, an associate professor in the department of health policy and management, said in a Hopkins news release. "In recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to talk publicly about one's struggles with mental illness. But with addiction, the feeling is that the addict is a bad or weak person, especially because much drug use is illegal," she added.

Prescription Opiates

FDA Responds to Critics on Zohydro. Responding to months of criticism over its decision to approve the prescription opiate pain reliever Zohydro ER, a trio of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have written a piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association saying approval of the drug was warranted and criticism of the agency was misguided. Concentrating on one drug during a time of heightened concern over opiate misuse does not address the underlying problems of widespread misuse and physician overprescribing, they write. "The problem of opioid overdose demands well-informed policies. The actions taken by FDA may help to reverse the epidemic," they wrote. "Policies that focus on a single drug can divert focus from broader, further-reaching interventions… The concerns over Zohydro ER should be seen in the greater context of the opioid epidemic. Singling out one drug for restrictions is not likely to be successful."

International

British Liberal Democrats Approve Drug Reform Platform. The Lib Dems, junior partners in a coalition government with the Conservatives, Sunday approved a drug policy plank that calls for the decriminalization of drug possession and for the tightening of laws allowing police to stop and search people suspected of drug crimes. That puts them at odds with their coalition partners. The Lib Dems have presented their drug policy platform within the broader context of reducing crime, which has been going down, and reducing re-offending.

Poll Finds Most British Think Drug War a Huge Failure. A new Guardian poll finds that 84% think the war on drugs cannot be won, with 39% supporting the decriminalization of drug possession and a slight majority (52%) supporting marijuana legalization initiatives like those in Colorado and Washington. Click on the poll link for much more detail and discussion.

Ecuador Freeing Thousands of Drug Mules. Under a law that went into effect in August, Ecuador has begun quietly freeing thousands of people convicted of low-level cocaine smuggling offenses. The new law retroactively reduced jail sentences for drug mules, with some 500 already freed and at least another 2,200 to follow. The sentence reductions come only after a court hearing, which the prisoner must request. President Rafael Correa's father spent three years in a US prison as a drug mule.

UNODC Head Says Drug Legalization Could Cause More Deaths. Yuri Fedotov, head of the UN Office on Crime and Drugs (UNODC), said today that drug legalization could lead to increased consumption and more deaths. He was responding to a report last month from the Global Commission on Drug Policy that called for "experiments in legally regulating markets in currently illicit drugs," which he rejected. "I believe that such experimentation certainly will make drugs more available and (cheaper)," Fedotov said. "It means that we may face increased consumption of psychoactive substances which may result in more death and more suffering of individuals (and) their families."

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Just Talking About Marijuana Can Make People Look Silly

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 07:00
The Union, 06 Oct 2014 - There's plenty of anecdotal evidence that using illegal drugs makes people stupid. The current "debate" over Measure S suggests that just talking about marijuana can make them look silly. You would think people would focus on the merits of the controversial initiative, which its backers say will clarify current regulations so that medical marijuana growers who want to be in compliance will have a clearer set of guidelines. Opponents contend the result will be more marijuana made available for illegal use and sale.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NY: Editorial: Yes To Marijuana Ballot Measures

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 06 Oct 2014 - Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia Should Legalize Pot The decision by California voters in 1996 to legalize medical marijuana produced a wave of similar initiatives around the country. Less than two decades later, over half the states allow at least limited medical use. Now it looks as though recreational use of the drug may follow the same path.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Colorado 'Lab Rat' Campaign Warns Teens of Pot Use

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 07:00
Wall Street Journal, 06 Oct 2014 - Use of Cages Has Been Criticized by the State's Legal Marijuana Industry; Mocked by Some Young People DENVER-In a state where legal marijuana seemingly is everywhere, Colorado public health officials have taken an unusual approach to warning teenagers about the dangers of the drug: likening young pot smokers to laboratory animals. Concerned about a potential jump in youth marijuana use now that the state has legalized the drug for adults, Colorado is displaying three human-size cages in various communities with signs that bear provocative messages about the drug's pitfalls, as part of its "Don't Be A Lab Rat" campaign. "Does Marijuana really cause schizophrenia in teenagers? Smoke and find out," one sign says. "Subjects needed. Must be a teenager. Must smoke weed. Must have 8 IQ points to spare," reads another.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Amendment 2 Not A Political Issue

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 06 Oct 2014 - Like most Floridians, I believe that patients should be able to adhere to their doctor's recommendations without acting in violation of the law. I'm proud to support Amendment 2 this November. It's time for Florida to join the 23 other states that acknowledge the fundamental idea that medical decisions should not be made by politicians, but by doctors in consultation with their patients. Nevertheless, the implementation of Florida's medical marijuana program ought to be done carefully and considerately. When I served as president and CEO of Limited Express and oversaw a company with $1.5 billion in revenue and over 850 retail stores nationwide, I gained valuable first-hand insight into the relationship between business and regulation. As a result of my business experience and my belief that all interests can benefit from smart policymaking, I enthusiastically accepted my invitation to join Florida for Care's Blue Ribbon Commission to help guide the implementation of Florida's medical marijuana program under Amendment 2.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Oregon Rolls Out Legal-Pot Proposal Much Different From Washington's

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 06 Oct 2014 - PORTLAND - Matt Price sells 100 different kinds of edibles, tinctures, buds and other marijuana offerings to the patients who frequent Cannabliss, the medical dispensary he opened up in a historic brick building that once served as a fire station. Unlike in Washington, Price's medical-marijuana business is licensed by the state, and all the pot he sells is subject to mandatory testing and labeling.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Medical Marijuana Amendment Too Lenient

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 07:00
Bradenton Herald, 05 Oct 2014 - As your sheriff, I have a responsibility to you and our community to share my concerns regarding Amendment 2, and the consequences associated with the amendment should this pass. It is so broadly written that I encourage each of you to read the entire amendment, not just the wording on the ballot. Let me highlight some of these concerns.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: In Colorado, A Rebranding Of Pot Inc

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 05 Oct 2014 - Step into a Colorado pot dispensary at random, and you'll long for the luxuries of the D.M.V. Metal bars cover windows. Vinyl signs are tacked to walls. Guys in hoodie sweatshirts greet you from behind the counter. Even the act of ordering the product itself is borderline absurd. What grown adult can respectfully walk into a store and ask for an eighth of Green Krack and a nub of Big Buddha Cheese, please?
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Businesses Lining Up To Make Money On Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 07:00
Sun-Sentinel, 02 Oct 2014 - Recent polls indicate Florida's Amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana right on the cusp of the 60 percent it will need for passage next month. Yet, in anticipation of its approval, the jockeying has already begun among businesses seeking to profit on this burgeoning enterprise. Educational seminars have sprung up in advance of the Nov. 4 vote. Advertisements for companies promoting the business education of pot have been splashed in the media everywhere.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Medical Marijuana Update

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 23:17

A new study punctures some myths about medical marijuana in California, Connecticut's dispensaries finally open for business, the Illinois program is moving along, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]California

On Monday, a survey found that 5% of adult Californians have used medical marijuana. The survey from the Public Health Institute in Sacramento, which will appear in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, also found that, contrary to popular belief, it mostly is sick people using medical marijuana: "It is clear that (California law) is helping people who are sick and use medical marijuana to treat serious medical conditions… Our study contradicts commonly held beliefs that medical marijuana is being overused by healthy individuals… under the pretense that they have a serious medical condition and that they 'need' marijuana to treat it."

Colorado

On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court heard a patient's wrongful firing lawsuit. The state Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the case of Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who worked for the Dish Network until he was fired four years ago for testing positive for marijuana. Dish Network argues that even though medical marijuana is legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law, and the firing was thus justified.

Connecticut

Last week, dispensaries finally opened for business. The state's first licensed grower sent its first shipment this week to dispensaries, which promptly began selling it to qualified patients. All six dispensaries in the state should be open this week.

Florida

Last Thursday, a SurveyUSA Poll had Amendment 2 at 53%. The latest SurveyUSA poll has the Amendment 2 medical marijuana initiative with 53% of the vote, but since the initiative is a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% to pass. That's a slight drop from the last SurveyUSA poll, which had support at 56%. Importantly, while only 53% said they would vote for it, only 31% said they would vote against and 15% were undecided. If the undecideds split evenly, the initiative will squeak out a victory.

Guam

On Monday, a Guam attorney sought to block the pending medical marijuana initiative. Voters in Guam are set to vote on a medical marijuana initiative submitted by the territorial legislature next month, but a Guam attorney asked the US District Court there to block the vote. Howard Trapp argues that the legislature can't legally "pass the buck" to voters, even though the island's Supreme Court said it could in an August ruling. The election commission has until October 7 to respond to the filing.

Illinois

Last Wednesday, state officials said more than 350 people had applied for medical marijuana business permits. Some 158 people applied as potential cultivation centers, while 211 applied to operate dispensaries. The state will grant 21 grow center permits and 60 dispensary permits by year's end, with the first legally obtainable medical marijuana available by spring 2015.

Last week, the first Illinois patients got their registration cards. Jim Champion, an Army vet who suffers from multiple sclerosis, was apparently the first Illinois patient to get his medical marijuana card. His came last week. He is the first of more than 2,000 Illinois residents who have applied under the state's new law.

New York

Last Friday, the governor asked the Justice Department to allow the state to obtain medical marijuana from other states. Last Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General David Cole asking the Justice Department to extend a narrow, time-limited exception to federal law to allow the importation of certain strains of medical marijuana from other states for use by children in New York with severe forms of epilepsy. The letter follows a similar letter sent last month by the Cuomo administration to Attorney General Eric Holder.

On Monday, the state's two US senators joined the call. US Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and Charles Schumer (D) Monday sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) request for the Justice Department to allow the state to import high-CBD cannabis oil from out of state. "As members of Congress whose constituents suffer from these illnesses, we feel that the federal government ought to do what it can to help these children," the senators wrote. "Therefore, we are requesting that you provide the state of New York with a waiver that would prohibit federal prosecution for the importation of cannabidol in the rare cases where medical marijuana is imported between two states with legalized medical marijuana, and the amount is small, finite and prescription-based."

Pennsylvania

Last Wednesday, the state Senate approved a restrictive medical marijuana bill. The state Senate approved Senate Bill 1182, after amending it to remove the ability to vaporize the plant and removing a large number of qualifying medical conditions. The bill now goes to the House.

Rhode Island

This coming Saturday, it's the second annual Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Festival. The Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition is hosting the festival to celebrate the eighth year of the state's medical marijuana program. Click on the link for more details.

Wisconsin

On Monday, activists targeted obstructionist lawmakers with billboards. Sick and tired of seeing bills blocked in the state legislature, medical marijuana activists are targeting two key opponents, Republican state Sens. Mary Lazich and Leah Vukmir, in a newly unveiled billboard campaign. The billboards urge readers to call the two senators and ask them why Wisconsin patients have no access to medical marijuana. Click on the link to see the billboard.

For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.].

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Decrim in Jamaica/MD/Philly, Chris Christie Talks Drugs, PA ODs Bill, More (10/1/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 20:50

Decrim comes to Maryland and Philadelphia, and Jamaica is working on it, too; the Oregon initiative campaign heats up, Chris Christie talks drugs, a SWAT reporting bill in Michigan gets a hearing, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Oregon Legalization Campaign Unveils First TV Ad. The Measure 91 legalization initiative campaign has unveiled the first of its TV spot ads, featuring a former veteran Oregon law enforcement officer explaining why he supports legalization. The campaign has about $2 million budgeted for TV ads in the final weeks of the campaign. Click on the title link to view the ad.

Leading Legalization Foe to Make Oregon Campaign Appearances. The man who is arguably the leading public opponent of marijuana legalization, Dr. Kevin Sabet of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), will make seven appearances in Oregon this week to campaign against the Measure 91 legalization initiative. He had planned a 13-stop "Oregon Marijuana Education Tour" partly funded with federal grant dollars, but that was scrapped after the Measure 91 campaign cried foul. Now, Sabet's crusade is privately funded.

Philadelphia Mayor Signs Decriminalization Bill. Mayor Michael Nutter (D) today signed into law a bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Up to an ounce will be considered a civil offense, punishable by a $25 fine or a $100 fine for public consumption. The new law will go into effect October 20.

Decriminalization Now in Effect in Maryland. As of today, the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana is no longer a crime, but a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $100. The move comes after the legislature earlier this year passed and Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed into law SB 364. Now, 17 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized small-time pot possession.

Louisiana Poll Shows Little Support for Harsh Marijuana Sentences. A new Public Policy Polling survey released by the ACLU of Louisiana found that 78% opposed sentences of longer than six months for pot possession, 71% opposed life sentences for felons caught with marijuana, and 68% support medical marijuana. Louisiana has some of the nation's harshest marijuana laws, including a sentence of up to life in prison for marijuana possession by a felon and a prison sentence of up to 20 years for repeat pot possession offenders. Simple possession first offense is punishable by up to six months in jail, but 60% of respondents said it should be decriminalized. Click on the poll link for demographics and methodologies.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Lawmakers to Hear High CBD Cannabis Oil Testimony Today. A legislative panel is meeting today in Lawrenceville to hear testimony from law enforcement, health care professionals, and others about medical marijuana extracts and cannabis oils. This could lay the groundwork for new legislation to be filed next year.

New Mexico Credit Unions Will Close Medical Marijuana Producer Accounts. Some credit unions have sent letters to nearly half the state's licensed medical marijuana producers saying they no longer accept their business and are closing their accounts. The credit unions said they could not comply with federal guidelines. Medical marijuana supporters are demanding to know why.

Drug Policy

Chris Christie Talks Drug Treatment, Ending Mandatory Minimums. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a possible 2016 GOP presidential contender, called Tuesday for making drug and alcohol treatment "more available for everybody" and criticized mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. "With 23 million folks addicted, it's not working," Christie said of the war on drugs. "There's gotta be a separation between the criminal act [of using illegal drugs] and the disease." Click on the link for more details.

Harm Reduction

Pennsylvania Governor Signs Overdose Prevention Bill. Gov. Tom Corbett (R) Tuesday signed into law SB 1164, which has two harm reduction measures aimed at reducing drug overdoses. The bill creates a "Good Samaritan" immunity from prosecution for people helping overdose victims and it makes the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) more available to police and the public. The new law will go into effect on October 20.

Law Enforcement

Michigan House Committee Hears Testimony on SWAT Reporting Bill. The state House Criminal Justice Committee is hearing testimony today on a bill that would require SWAT teams in the state to report on their activities. The SWAT Team Reporting ACT, HB 4914, would require agencies with SWAT teams to n the number, location, reason, authorization and outcome of all deployments, and to file reports with the Attorney General's office twice a year.

International

Jamaica on the Way to Marijuana Decriminalization. Justice Minister Mark Golding said today that a bill to decriminalize marijuana has been drafted and should be passed into law before the end of the year. The bill would make possession of up to two ounces a petty offense and would also allow decriminalization for religious purposes, allowing the island nation's Rastafarians to smoke "Jah herb" without fear of arrest.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MS: Group Proposes Legal Pot In Miss.

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 07:00
Commercial Appeal, 01 Oct 2014 - JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A group has filed a petition seeking a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Mississippi. Petition organizer Kelly Jacobs said Mississippi for Cannabis hopes to place an initiative on the November 2016 election ballot. Jacobs says the ballot initiative proposal would legalize cannabis for adults to own as much as they wish, to use as they wish, but keep it from minors. - --- MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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