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Ballot Initiatives

US AK: To Legalize, or Not: Ballot Measure to Legalize

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/06/2014 - 08:00
Alaska Dispatch, 06 Mar 2014 - A week after the ballot measure to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Alaska was officially certified, five speakers debated issues surrounding the initiative to hundreds who had gathered at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium at the University of Alaska Anchorage Wednesday evening. The event, sponsored by the UAA Justice Center and Justice Club, began with keynote speaker Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, giving an impassioned speech about drug policy in the United States. Calling the war on drugs a "rat hole of waste," Nadelmann paced the stage, microphone in hand, to the applause of several hundred audience members, many of whom were in their 20s and 30s.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Lawmakers, DEA Official Wrangle Over Legal Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 08:00
Chicago Tribune, 05 Mar 2014 - WASHINGTON - The growing national debate over legalizing marijuana made its way to a congressional hearing Tuesday as lawmakers sparred over what role the government should take in reconciling divergent state and federal laws on the issue. The House Government Operations Subcommittee hearing was convened by the Republican chairman to address inconsistencies in federal law enforcement efforts and what he called "mixed signals" sent by the Obama administration in the wake of legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Lawmakers, DEA Official Wrangle Over Legal Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 05 Mar 2014 - WASHINGTON - The growing national debate over legalizing marijuana made its way to a congressional hearing Tuesday as lawmakers sparred over what role the government should take in reconciling divergent state and federal laws on the issue. The House Government Operations Subcommittee hearing was convened by the Republican chairman to address inconsistencies in federal law enforcement efforts and what he called "mixed signals" sent by the Obama administration in the wake of legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Council Votes To Relax Pot Rules

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 05 Mar 2014 - Gray to Sign D.C. Bill, Which Would Partially Decriminalize Drug Possessing marijuana and smoking it in the privacy of one's home would no longer be criminal offenses in the nation's capital under a bill passed Tuesday by the D.C. Council, putting the District at the forefront of a simmering national debate over decriminalization.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Madison Heights Businessman Sees Billions In Medical Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 08:00
The Daily Tribune, 05 Mar 2014 - A Madison Heights businessman is building a facility in Canada to grow government-controlled medical marijuana that he hopes to turn into a $5 billion a year business that could spread to the U.S. Bill Chaaban, CEO of Creative Edge Nutrition Inc. headquartered in Madison Heights, is working with that company's Canadian subsidiary, CEN Biotech, to build a marijuana growing facility near Windsor in Lakeshore, Ont.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Effort To Decriminalize Small Amounts Of Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/05/2014 - 08:00
New York Times, 05 Mar 2014 - WASHINGTON - District of Columbia lawmakers voted on Tuesday to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, in what advocates of more lenient marijuana laws hope is another step toward legalizing the drug outright. The measure, which would make possessing up to an ounce of marijuana a civil infraction punishable with a fine as low as $25 and seizure of the drug, passed in a 10-to-1 vote by the City Council, with one lawmaker voting "present" and another, who helped introduce the bill, absent.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM -- March 4, 2014

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 03/04/2014 - 22:40

The INCB releases its annual drug report and so does the US State Department, DC moves toward marijuana decriminalization and so does New Hampshire, the Georgia House approves a CBD medical marijuana bill and so does the Utah House, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

DC City Council Approves Marijuana Decriminalization. The District of Columbia city council Tuesday voted 10-1 to give final approval to a marijuana decriminalization bill. It must still be signed by the mayor and approved by Congress. The "Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014" (Council Bill 20-409) removes the threat of arrests for the possession of less than an ounce and replaces it with a $25 fine, the lowest fine in any state that has decriminalized.

New Hampshire House Committee Approves Decriminalization Bill. The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved a decriminalization bill Tuesday. House Bill 1625 would allow for the possession of up to an ounce. It would also make the cultivation of up to six plants a misdemeanor.

Oklahoma City Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative Ready to Get Underway. Signature gathering will begin Friday for an Oklahoma City municipal initiative that would decriminalize small-time pot possession. Advocates filed the measure Monday. They have 90 days to gather some 6,200 valid voter signatures to put the measure on the ballot in the next municipal election. Click on the link to see the initiative.

Pennsylvanians Evenly Split on Legalization, Favor Medical Marijuana, Poll Finds. A new Quinnipiac poll has support for legalization at 48%, with 49% opposed. Medical marijuana is favored by 85%.

Northeastern NAACP Chapters Endorse Rhode Island Legalization.The New England Area Conference of the NAACP, comprising chapters in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, is supporting legislation to legalize marijuana in Rhode Island. Among other reasons, the NAACP cited "an alarming racial disparity" in marijuana arrests.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia House Approves CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The Georgia House Monday overwhelmingly approved a bill to make CBD cannabis oil available to treat certain seizure disorders. House Bill 885 now goes to the state Senate.

Utah House Approves CBD Medical Marijuana Bill. The Utah House Monday approved a bill to make CBD cannabis oil available on a trial basis for children suffering seizure disorders. House Bill 105 passed on a 62-11 vote and now goes to the state Senate.

Drug Testing

Georgia House Approves Welfare Drug Testing Bill. The Georgia House Monday approved a bill that would require food stamp and welfare recipients to submit to drug testing if a state caseworker suspects they are using drugs. A positive drug test would result in a loss of benefits. House Bill 772, sponsored by Rep. Greg Morris (R-Vidalia) now goes to the state Senate.

Indiana Senate Committee Amends, Then Approves Welfare Drug Testing Bill. The Indiana Senate Health Committee Monday approved a welfare drug testing bill, but only after amending it so that it only applies to recipients with previous drug convictions. Senate Bill 287 now heads to the Senate floor.

Prescription Drugs

Oklahoma House Approves Bill Adding Prescription Drugs to Drug Trafficking Statute. The Oklahoma House Monday unanimously approved a bill that would make people carrying large quantities of specified prescription drugs subject to drug trafficking charges. The bill adds morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and benzodiazepine to the list of drugs in the trafficking statute. People possessing more than specified amounts of those drugs could face prison time and Senate.

International

International Narcotics Control Board Releases Annual Report, Frets About Marijuana Legalization. The INCB is very "concerned" about moves to legalize marijuana in US states and Uruguay. But the UN agency is also coming under serious attack from critics over what they call its ideologically-based positions. Click on the link for access to the report and to read our feature article on it and the critics.

State Department Releases Annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report. Click on the link to read the report.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AZ: County Joins Resolution Against Legalized Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/04/2014 - 08:00
Daily Courier, 04 Mar 2014 - Joining the effort to try to head off a planned 2016 initiative to legalize marijuana in Arizona, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Monday opposing the legalization of marijuana. The county is the second local government to sign on to the resolution, after the Prescott Valley Town Council. By getting signatures of governments throughout the state, the local MatForce coalition against drug abuse seeks to send a message that the initiative petition drive isn't welcome here.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MN: Minn. Physicians Ponder Medical Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/04/2014 - 08:00
West Central Tribune, 04 Mar 2014 - Is marijuana an effective treatment for pain, illness and disease? It's a question many Minnesota physicians are pondering as the Legislature prepares to debate a measure that would allow doctors to prescribe some form of the drug.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: 'Mommy Lobby' Pushes For Medical Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/03/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 03 Mar 2014 - Parents of Children Suffering From Epilepsy Support Divisive Treatment Standing in a Wisconsin State Capitol hearing room surrounded by parents hugging their seriously ill children, Sally Schaeffer began to cry as she talked about her daughter.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Liberty Demands The Sick Have Access To Reefer RX

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 02/28/2014 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 28 Feb 2014 - Here's something else important: ... legal drugs can kill if used in excess ... without medical guidance. Marijuana has never killed anybody. A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana will appear along with the governor's race on the November ballot in the state of Florida. Regardless of their candidate preferences, Florida voters will be able to decide whether medical marijuana will become a reality in the Sunshine State.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Those Who Say Smoked Pot Is Safe Just Blowing

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 02/28/2014 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 28 Feb 2014 - The current ballot initiative in Florida will result in 'pot mills,' not unlike the devastating 'pill mills' that have made our state infamous. If trial lawyers and out-of-state billionaires have their way, Florida will join states like California and Colorado by creating a massive industry selling things like marijuana cookies, lollipops and candies - all in the name of "medicine." In those states, the average "medical" marijuana user is a 30-something white male with a history of drug abuse, and no history of HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or any of the conditions touted by advocates in campaign mode.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM -- February 27, 2014

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 21:23

A thousand people march in support of "El Chapo" Guzman in his home state, Alaska makes it official that legalization is on the August ballot, another poll has a nationwide majority for marijuana legalization, medical marijuana bills move in a pair of states, there are a pair of moves to tighten up on pain pills, and more. Let's get to it:

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Marijuana Policy

It's Official -- Alaska Lieutenant Governor Signs Off on Legalization Initiative. Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell Wednesday made it official: Alaska will vote on a marijuana legalization initiative sponsored by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Alaska, which is working with the Marijuana Policy Project. "I have determined that the initiative sponsors have timely filed the petition and that the petition is signed by qualified voters… the Director of the Division of Elections shall place the ballot title and proposition on the election ballot for the Primary Election on August 19, 2014," Treadwell wrote in his official statement.

CBS News Poll Has Narrow Majority for Legalization, Strong Support for Medical Marijuana. Some 51% of Americans think marijuana should be legal, according to a new CBS News poll, and a whopping 86% think doctors should be able to prescribe it for medical use. Just three years ago, the CBS News poll had support for legalization at only 40%. CBS News now joins pollsters at Gallup, Pew Research, CNN,Quinnipiac, PPP, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, who have have all found that a majority of the country supports marijuana legalization.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia CBD Medical Marijuana Wins House Committee Vote. A bill that would allow for the use of CBD cannabis oil for children suffering epileptic seizures won a unanimous vote in the House Health and Human Services Committee Wednesday. House Bill 885 was approved after sponsor Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon) amended it to allow for cultivation of marijuana at Georgia medical research universities. Producers of CBD cannabis oils cannot legally import them to Georgia.

Kentucky Medical Marijuana Bill Wins House Committee Vote. The Kentucky House Health and Welfare Committee approved a bill that would allow people suffering from conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), and HIV/AIDS to use medical marijuana by a vote of 9-5 today, following a public hearing. The Cannabis Compassion Act, or House Bill 350, introduced by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian (D-Louisville) and cosponsored by Committee Chairman Tom Burch (D-Louisville), would permit licensed patients and caregivers to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana, and it would establish regulations to operate a limited number of medical marijuana compassion centers and testing facilities.

Drug Courts

New Jersey Governor Wants $4.5 Million for Drug Court Expansion. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced Wednesday that his proposed 2015 budget includes $4.5 million to pay for an expansion of the state's drug court program, but the sponsor of the bill that created the expansion says that isn't enough. The budget also includes half a million dollars to help provide drug offenders with employment services and another half million to allow drug court clients to obtain job training, skills acquisition, and job placement. But critics said if the state wants to provide drug treatment, it should do so without forcing people into drug court. "If you're really going to talk about the shift from addiction to treatment, it's not just for those who get arrested," said Roseanne Scotti, the director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey office.

Opioid Pain Medications

Coalition Calls on FDA to Reverse Approval of Zohydro. Zohydro, a hydrocodone-based opioid pain reliever, was approved by the FDA last fall, but now a coalition of drug treatment, healthcare, and consumer groups led by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing is calling on the agency to reverse that decision. "It's a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule," said the group's Dr. Andrew Kolodny. "It will kill people as soon as it's released." But Zogenix, Zohydro's manufacturer, and the FDA both insist that the drug's benefits outweigh its risks.

DEA Publishes Proposal to Move Hydrocodone Combo Products to More Restrictive Schedule II. The DEA today published in the Federal Register notice that it intends to reschedule the opioid pain reliever hydrocodone from Schedule III to Schedule II, making it more difficult to access, when it is sold in products that also contain substances, such as aspirin or acetaminophen. Hydrocodone by itself is already Schedule II, but Congress placed the combination products in Schedule III when it passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. The DEA says Schedule III opioids are more likely to be abused than the more tightly controlled Schedule II ones. Public comment on the proposed rule must be made by April 27 and can be done at www.regulations.gov. A request for a hearing can be made at the same web site, but the deadline for that is March 31.

Sentencing

Sentencing Discrepancies Under Scrutiny in Minnesota. Widespread disparities in Minnesota drug sentencing revealed in a Minneapolis Star Tribune story Sunday led to a legislative hearing Wednesday in which legislators offered up fixes ranging from stiffer sentences for drug "kingpins" to lesser penalties for low-level drug offenders. But even though Minnesota has tougher drug sentences that surrounding states, increased penalties appeared to have more traction than decreased ones.

International

A Thousand March for "El Chapo" Guzman in Culiacan. More than a thousand people marched through the streets of Culiacan, the capital of Sinaloa, in support of captured Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Wednesday. The largely young crowd, many dressed in white, bore signs that read "We want Chapo Freed" and "We demand no extradition" as they filed across the center of Culiacan.

Bermuda Activist Challenges Bias of Speaker Chosen By Government to Address Medical Professionals. Attorney Alan Gordon, one of Bermuda's most prominent marijuana activists, is raising concerns about the government's selection of Dr. Andrea Barthwell to address medical professionals there. Barthwell, a former deputy drug czar under George W. Bush, has "a long history of credible accusations" made against her "one-sided and heavily misleading information which could harm Bermuda health care," Gordon said. "Dr. Barthwell's bias against medical cannabis, historically, is so strong that she is not a credible source of information until she meaningfully addresses the allegations," said Gordon. He had a lot more to say about Barthwell, too. Click on the link to read it all.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Pro-Pot Legalization Group Targets Alaska

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 08:00
Juneau Empire, 27 Feb 2014 - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Meeting With Legislators This Week When it comes to legalizing pot, you'd think you know which side the police fall on. But one law enforcement group is in Juneau this week advocating for the legalization of recreational marijuana, an issue Alaskans will decide with an August ballot initiative.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Florida Man: I'm 'Living Proof' For Legalizing Medical

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 27 Feb 2014 - Whenever Irv Rosenfeld needs relief from the pain and swelling of hundreds of bone tumors, he lights up a joint - almost anywhere he wants. Legally. Rosenfeld, a financial planner from South Florida, calls it medicine. So do his doctors. So does the federal government, which not only supplies Rosenfeld with the equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card, it also supplies him with his weed. Rosenfeld, 61, is one of only two people in the United States who have a federal legal blessing to smoke pot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Pivotal Point Is Seen On Legalizing Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 08:00
New York Times, 27 Feb 2014 - A little over a year after Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, more than half the states, including some in the conservative South, are considering decriminalizing the drug or legalizing it for medical or recreational use. That has set up a watershed year in the battle over whether marijuana should be as available as alcohol. Demonstrating how marijuana is no longer a strictly partisan issue, the two states considered likeliest this year to follow Colorado and Washington in outright legalization of the drug are Oregon, dominated by liberal Democrats, and Alaska, where libertarian Republicans hold sway.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: More States Consider Legalizing Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 08:00
The Day, 27 Feb 2014 - "Some feel it's not an appropriate issue for an election year, and others want to wait and see what happens in Colorado. But a lot of other people are very anxious to take the revenue part of this very seriously." A little over a year after Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana, more than half the states, including some in the conservative South, are considering decriminalizing the drug or legalizing it for medical or recreational use. That has set up a watershed year in the battle over whether marijuana should be as acceptable as alcohol.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Fight For Legalization Nearly Over?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 08:00
Sun-Sentinel, 27 Feb 2014 - 10,000 Pot Users Gather Without a Cop in Sight SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - In the "medication area" of the nation's biggest marijuana exposition, scantily clad young women hand out marshmallows they've dipped into a rushing fountain of pot-laced chocolate. A few steps away, Anthony Ramirez offers free hits from a bong filled with the waxy marijuana extract that his family started producing when a friend's mother needed relief from the pain of lupus.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MD: Column: The Social Fears Behind the Pot Wars

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/27/2014 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 27 Feb 2014 - Legalization of Marijuana Might Make Sense, but Deeper Problems Will Persist Have you heard why the war on drugs will never end? It's because of the enormous number of people involved in it: police officers, federal agents, defense attorneys, judges, prosecutors, wardens, prison guards, parole and probation officers. The nation has made such a huge investment in the war on drugs that politicians will keep it going forever, the theory goes. Disrupt it, and we would lose four decades of sunk costs and a significant part of the public-sector economy.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: When Girl Scouts And Medical Weed Went Viral

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 02/26/2014 - 08:00
East Bay Express, 26 Feb 2014 - A Bay Area Mom's Decision to Allow Her Daughter to Sell Cookies in Front of Medical Pot Dispensaries Made International Headlines. A progressive Bay Area mom who boosted her daughter's sales of Girl Scout Cookies by targeting medical pot clubs made international news this month, after the Express first published a report about it on its blog on February 19 and the story was picked up by everyone from Mashable and NPR to KTLA and the Huffington Post.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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