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Ballot Initiatives

US OR: OPED: Decriminalizing Marijuana Would Protect

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Capital Press, 31 Oct 2014 - Illegal marijuana grows are damaging our national forests. Legalizing marijuana will help stop that from happening. In 32 years working for the U.S. Forest Service, I have seen the Northwest's national forests face various threats, from the eruption of Mount St. Helens to the drought of 1977. Today, our forests face a threat that generates wildfires, deforestation, pollution and wildlife poisoning: illegal marijuana grow operations tied to international drug cartels. In both 2010 and 2011, law enforcement found over 90,000 of their marijuana plants in Oregon's national forests, and thousands more doubtless escaped detection. Our national forests face an epidemic of marijuana cultivation from the Siskiyou to the Wallowa-Whitman.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Column: Will A Small Town's Underground Economy Be

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 31 Oct 2014 - A little-known battle in this country's marijuana war is underway in a small town of 1,500 in western Colorado, known (if at all) for its underground coal mines, 12 wineries, a microbrewery, organic vegetables and fruit - and its perfect climate for growing pot. The town is Paonia and, this November, its registered voters will decide whether to allow the sale of pot for recreational use. Looking back at the history of this town, nestled at the base of 11,400-foot Mount Lamborn on the North Fork of the Gunnison River, it is clear that the battle lines in today's culture war were drawn long ago.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Pot Question Aims To Clear The Air

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 31 Oct 2014 - Non-Binding Question on Tuesday's Ballot Will Ask About Support for Decriminalization You might call it an "altitude check." Voters in Santa Fe County have a chance to weigh in on just how high they are on seeing their elected officials, law enforcement and courts lighten up on marijuana laws.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC Pot Could Mean Millions

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 31 Oct 2014 - Officials Estimate Potential Revenue But Coming Vote Is on Possession, Not Sales If D.C. residents vote to legalize marijuana possession next week, it wouldn't just mean a sea change in drug policy in the nation's capital. It could also mean big business.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Pot Taxes, Rules Discussed Ahead of Legalization Vote

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 07:00
Washington Times, 31 Oct 2014 - Polling shows majority of voters support measure D.C. lawmakers, advocates and business owners spent Thursday debating the finer points of the regulation and taxation of marijuana in the District, moving past what appears to be the foregone conclusion that voters Tuesday will approve legalization of the drug.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Cops for Pot Legalization, British Drug Policy Squabble, Afghan Opium Warning, More (10/30/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 20:52

Cops raise their voices in support of marijuana legalization initiatives, the US government's Afghanistan watchdog slams our drug policies there, Louisiana bans a synthetic cannabinoid and Russia wants to do the same, Britain's Lib Dems and Tories are going at each other over drug policy, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Cops Come Out in Support of Oregon Measure 91. Some 30 former police officers, sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges have come out in support of the Measure 91 legalization initiative. The campaign held a press conference with some of them yesterday and released a letter from them. "Treating marijuana as a crime has failed,"they said. "Arresting and citing thousands of people in Oregon and elsewhere for marijuana-related crimes is a distraction to law enforcement and a misuse of taxpayer resources. The time and money spent should go to make our communities safer. Police resources should be focused on violent criminals, thieves and criminal cartels."

Former Seattle Police Chief Campaigns for Alaska's Measure 2. Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper is hitting the hustings up north to garner support for the Measure 2 legalization initiative. The Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) member has also been making the rounds in Anchorage, appearing on talk radio shows and other media in support of the measure. He is attempting to counter opposition to the measure from the likes of the Alaska Association of Police Chiefs.

Vermont Sets Public Hearing on Marijuana Policy. The state government has set a November 12 date for a public hearing that will "provide Vermonters with the ability to contribute comments for a legislatively-mandated study on the issues involved with possible legalization of marijuana production, distribution and possession in the State of Vermont." The hearing comes ahead of a mandated January report to the legislature on issues related to marijuana legalization from Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding. Click on the link for more event details.

New Synthetic Drugs

Louisiana Bans New Synthetic Cannabinoid. After more than 125 people got sick in Baton Rouge this month, state officials Wednesday announced an immediate ban on the synthetic cannabinoid MAB-CHMINACA. The state has twice before banned other synthetic cannabinoids, once in March and again in July. The compound has been sold in products with names like "Mojo," "Spice," and "Scooby Snax." Read the emergency rule here.

International

US Afghan Watchdog Warns on Opium. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), John Sopko, has warned that the country's opium economy is threatening reconstruction efforts and that the US is not adequately addressing the problem. Anti-drug efforts have "largely fallen off the Afghan agenda," he said in a quarterly report released today. Sopko also criticized the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs for "wasting" more than $7 billion on failed drug control policies. "There is nothing that they have said to me or my staff that would indicate that there's any idea of how to improve the situation," he said in an interview ahead of the release of the report. "Has anyone had their job performance -- in the State Department, Department of Defense or [US]AID -- affected by the fact that they failed over the past 13 years to do anything on counternarcotics? No." The report itself is worth a read.

British Drug Policy Squabble. The junior and senior partners in Britain's governing coalition are going after each other in an increasingly nasty fight over drug policy occasioned by a new Home Office report on new synthetic drugs. The report found "there is a lack of clear correlation between tough drugs laws and levels of abuse." Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg hammered the Tories as being "frightened" of drug reform and having "a totally misplaced, outdated, backwards-looking view" on drug policy. Conservatives shot back that the Lib Dems were using the report for "naked political posturing" and accused the party of pursing "a dangerous and irresponsible" agenda of decriminalization. Get more details by clicking the links.

INCB Meets in Vienna. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) began its 111th session today in Vienna. At the opening, board President Dr. Lochan Naidoo stressed his concerns about insufficient access to medicines containing narcotic or psychotropic drugs and noted the obligation of treaty parties to ensure access to such medicines to ensure treatment and prevent pain and suffering.

Russian Government Submits Bill to Ban Synthetic Cannabinoids. President Vladimir Putin today submitted to the State Duma a bill to ban the sale and use of synthetic cannabinoid products. The bill names the cannabinoids as dangerous substances, bans their use, and gives the Federal Drug Control Agency authority to create a registry of such banned substances. The agency reports that more than a thousand users of the drugs have been hospitalized in the last year and 40 have died.

Austrian Neos Party Supports Marijuana Legalization. A neoliberal political party that has just won its first seats in parliament has come out in support of legalization. The Neos (or New Austria) Party embraced the position at its party conference this past weekend.  "We support self- responsibility and liberty. Legalization makes sense", party leader Mat Strolz said Tuesday. The Neos are the first part to embrace legalization in the wake of a parliamentary citizens' initiative that has so far gathered more than 27,000 signatures, making it the third most popular in Austrian history. It's not just new fringe parties that are considering the issue. The leaders of the governing coalition, the Social Democrats, will vote on legalization at their party convention next month. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Marijuana Vote Is Kryptonite For Politicians

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 30 Oct 2014 - For many politicians in Florida, the medical marijuana issue has become election kryptonite. While Florida's two leading gubernatorial candidates have had little trouble discussing their vision for the Sunshine State, neither Charlie Crist nor Gov. Rick Scott has gushed over Amendment 2 - an issue that could have widespread ramifications for the state and influence a national debate on medical marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: States Seeking Legal Pot Find Fired-up Foes

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Chicago Tribune, 30 Oct 2014 - Legalization Outlook Goes From Solid to Shaky in Some States WASHINGTON - With pot sold openly to any adult who wants it in Colorado and Washington, marijuana advocates were hoping restrictions in other states would fall like dominoes this election season, opening the way for a push to change federal drug laws.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AR: Ark. Voters To Decide Entire State's 'Wet' Fate

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Commercial Appeal, 30 Oct 2014 - Unusual ballot issue draws broad lines, odd partnerships on Prohibition-era 'dry' option OZARK, Ark.- Arkansas liquor stores have allied with religious leaders to fight statewide legalization of alcohol sales. The stores in wet counties don't want to lose customers. The churches don't want to lose souls.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OR: Editorial: Here's Why Stakes Are So High for Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Albany Democrat-Herald, 30 Oct 2014 - Will Tuesday's election prove to be a turning point for marijuana legalization efforts across the United States? Or will it mark a substantial setback for advocates of legalized pot? Three measures to legalize the use of recreational marijuana including Oregon's Measure 91 are on the ballot across the country. (The other measures are in the Alaska and Washington, D.C.; the D.C. measure hasn't drawn nearly the sort of publicity that has accompanied the Oregon and Alaska measures.)
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Vote With Ngaio: On Marijuana and Next Week's

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 30 Oct 2014 - Do you have a stance on Proposition 47 and, if it passes, how do you think it will impact marijuana in the state? Also, have any voting advice for marijuana-related issues? - -Reggie Stardvotar I am glad you asked. Of course I do. Voting is the most important thing you can do as an activist and as an American. Never let anyone tell you that voting doesn't work. We got medical marijuana through the vote. Voters legalized the recreational use of cannabis in Washington and Oregon because people showed up to vote. If elections didn't matter, the GOP wouldn't be trying to pass all these bullshit-ass voter ID laws. Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote, vote! I cannot stress this enough.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: States Seeking Legal Pot Find Fired-Up Foes

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Baltimore Sun, 30 Oct 2014 - Legalization Outlook Goes From Solid to Shaky in Some States WASHINGTON- With pot sold openly to any adult who wants it in Colorado and Washington, marijuana advocates were hoping restrictions in other states would fall like dominoes this election season, opening the way for a push to change federal drug laws.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: OPED: It's Time To Legalize Marijuana In Alaska

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 30 Oct 2014 - I'm the former chief prosecutor for the state of Alaska, and I'm voting "yes" on Ballot Measure 2. Most of my career was spent in law enforcement. I was an assistant district attorney, a district attorney, an assistant attorney general in Alaska's Criminal Division and Alaska's chief prosecutor/deputy attorney general under two governors.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Pot Measures Looking Shaky

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 30 Oct 2014 - 3 States Had Appeared Poised to Legalize WASHINGTON - With pot sold openly to any adult who wants it in Colorado and Washington state, marijuana advocates were hoping restrictions in other states would fall like dominoes this election season, opening the way for a push in Congress to change federal drug laws.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Medical Marijuana Update

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 20:59

A bad court ruling in Arizona, a good court ruling in Michigan, trouble for Florida's Measure 2, actions against dispensaries in California, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Arizona

Last Thursday, a state appeals court held that medical marijuana users can be charged with DUI even if they're not actually impaired. Arizona has a zero-tolerance drugged driving law, and the state Court of Appeals ruled last week that the state's medical marijuana law does not provide immunity from prosecution, even if they are not impaired and only test positive for the presence of marijuana metabolites. The case is Darrah v. City of Mesa.

California

Last Wednesday, four San Diego dispensaries were shut down by court order. San Diego authorities won court orders earlier in the week to close four dispensaries they said were operating illegally in the city. All four had closed their doors by Wednesday. The city has just adopted a permitting process for dispensaries and the first permit was handed out recently, but a number of dispensaries are operating in the city without permits. The city has shut down more than 200 unpermitted dispensaries since 2009, the city attorney's office said.

Last Thursday,the DEA raided two Los Angeles dispensaries. DEA agents raided two Los Angeles dispensaries that staffers claim were fully compliant with state laws. Raiders hit two locations of The Farmacy, one in West Hollywood and one in Westwood, seizing cash, computers, and medical marijuana. No arrests were made. The Farmacy's Venice Beach location wasn't hit, but staffers said they thought that was because it had recently moved and the DEA couldn't find it.

On Tuesday, Humboldt County supervisors approved a more restrictive cultivation ordinance. Saying they were trying to reduce neighborhood nuisances caused by excessive cultivation, supervisors voted unanimously to limit outdoor grows to 100 square feet on plots under five acres and 200 square feet on plots larger than that.

Also on Tuesday, Sonoma County supervisors directed planning officials to review the county's cultivation ordinance. Currently, people can grow up to 30 plants or up to 100 square feet. Supervisor Shirley Zane tried two years to tighten the rules, but had to back down in the face of loud opposition. Now, she wants to try again.

Florida

On Monday, another poll suggested that Measure 2 is in danger. A Gravis Marketing poll has support for the Measure 2 medical marijuana initiative at 50%, with 42% opposed and 8% undecided. Because it is a constitutional amendment, the initiative needs 60% to win. Gravis had the initiative with 62% in August and 55% early this month. On the other hand, the United for Care campaign sent an email to supporters last night claiming its internal polling had the initiative at 61%. Click on the poll link for methodological details.

Also on Monday, news came that Republican money man Sheldon Adelson had put up another $1 million to defeat Measure 2. Las Vegas casino magnate and Republican sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson has thrown another million dollars into the battle to defeat the Measure 2 medical marijuana initiative. Opponents of the initiative have raised $5.8 million to defeat it; Adelson is responsible for $5 million of that. Overall, opponents have spent $5.5 million, pretty much matching supporters, who have so far spent $6.5 million.

Michigan

Last Friday, the state court of appeals held that medical marijuana users are entitled to unemployment compensation. State-approved medical marijuana patients are eligible for unemployment compensation if the only reason they were fired is that they tested positive for the drug, the state Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The decision was based on the courts' reading of the state's medical marijuana law, which prohibits penalties for those who legally use medical marijuana. The series of consolidated cases in which the court ruled begins with Braska v. Challenge Manufacturing Company.

Pennsylvania

On Monday, a state senator urged DAs to not prosecute medical marijuana cases. Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery), sponsor of a medical marijuana bill stalled in the House after passing the Senate, called on prosecutors to not go after patients. Leach made the call in a letter to the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. "Given the likelihood that using lifesaving medical cannabis will not be a legal issue in Pennsylvania for much longer, I ask that you consider using your prosecutorial discretion," he wrote. "I ask that you perform an act of compassion."

Washington

Last Thursday,Seattle warned dispensaries they will need state licenses. The city of Seattle has sent letters to 330 dispensaries operating there that they will need to be licensed by the state. The only problem is there is no such license for medical marijuana businesses. The city council had placed the requirement on hold until the state legislature decides whether and how to license dispensaries, but the letter warns that as of January 1, 2015 (or January 1, 2016 if the legislature doesn't act before then), dispensaries must have state licenses or close their doors. Click on the title link to see the letter.

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

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: OR Measure 91 Race Tightens, ACLU Petition on Police Militarization, Chile MedMJ, More (10/29/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 19:34

There's a scary poll out in Oregon, the Drug Policy Alliance grades the House of Representatives, the ACLU has a petition to stop the Pentagon sending surplus military equipment to police forces, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Latest Poll Has Oregon Measure 91 in Dead Heat. The latest poll from the Oregonian has the Measure 91 legalization initiative trailing in a tight race, but within the poll's margin of error. The poll of likely voters had 44% supporting the measure, with 46% opposed and 9% undecided or refusing to answer. The poll's margin of error is +/- 5%. An earlier survey by Oregon Public Broadcasting had the measure leading with 52%. One possible explanation for the difference in the polls is the age breakdown among the respondents. The OPB poll had a higher number of younger voters, who tend to support the measure, but who also tend to be less likely to vote than older voters.

Drug Policy

Drug Policy Alliance Voters' Guide Grades US Representatives. The Drug Policy Action Network, the lobbying and campaign arm of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), has released its 2014 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide, which grades members of Congress on how they voted on seven key drug policy issues this year and last. The guide names 10 representatives as "champions of reform." They are Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steven Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-TX), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), Jared Polis (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Bobby Scott (D-VA).  DPA says the guide is not just to educate voters, "but also to send a firm message to elected officials that they will be held accountable for supporting draconian policies that exacerbate the worst harms of the drug war." It names 141 representatives who failed to get a passing grade. 

Law Enforcement

ACLU Petitions to End Program Giving Surplus Military Equipment to Police Agencies. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has begun a petition drive designed to "stop arming local and state law enforcement with military equipment" and "impose a moratorium on the 1033 program to temporarily halt equipment transfers and create transparency and safeguards within this program." 1033 is the program under which surplus US military equipment, such as Humvees, armored personnel carriers, and the like are given free of charge to local and state police. The program has come under increased fire in the wake of heavily militarized police deployments in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of Michael Brown. Go to the link to sign the petition, then spread the word on social media platforms.

International

Mexico Announces Arrest of Four Drug Gang Members in Case of Missing Student Teachers. Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam Tuesday announced the arrest of four Guerreros Unidos cartel members who allegedly confessed to participating in the disappearance of 43 student teachers a month ago after they were detained by police. Murillo said that two of those arrested had admitted receiving the students and were about to reveal their location. The case, which unveiled close ties between drug gangs and local authorities, has roiled Mexican politics ever since the students went missing.

Medical Marijuana Planted Today in Chile. After authorities in the La Florida district of Santiago, the Chilean capital, gave their permission, medical marijuana supporters today planted marijuana plants that will be harvested in April and turned into a cannabis oil to be used to treat pain in cancer patients. The project is being run by the Daya Foundation, and will also include a clinical study of marijuana's effectiveness as a pain reliever. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: After Accidental Start, Medical Marijuana Becomes

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:00
Orlando Sentinel, 29 Oct 2014 - Floridians have been bombarded with press coverage of Amendment 2. Yet, for all the noise, there are important aspects of this discussion that have barely been touched upon, including the beginning of the medical-marijuana movement. How many Floridians are aware that a native son of the Sunshine State is the father of this movement? His name was Robert C. Randall - my late husband. Robert was born and raised in Sarasota. He was diagnosed with glaucoma at a young age. In the early 1970s, he accidentally discovered that his vision improved when he used cannabis. In those days, not many people knew about the medical uses of cannabis. We were convinced Robert had made a singular discovery. Imagine our surprise when, just a few weeks after our arrest in August 1975, we obtained a document from the National Institute on Drug Abuse titled "Marihuana[sic] and Health." It was an annual report that was sent to Congress, and inside we found a small section called "Therapeutic Uses." Glaucoma was prominently featured.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US NM: Advisory Pot Question Fans Political Flames

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 29 Oct 2014 - Critics Say Question Is Misleading; Supporters Say It Lets Voters Speak Voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties have a chance this fall to offer their advice to policy-makers on state and local efforts to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: OPED: Too Many Questions On Measure 2

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 29 Oct 2014 - On Nov. 4, Alaskans will make a decision on Ballot Measure 2: whether to legalize the use of marijuana. As we make this decision, it is important we base it on complete information rather than the propaganda that is being slung.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: For Marijuana, A Second Wave Of Votes To Legalize

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 29 Oct 2014 - KEIZER, Ore. - Two years after voters in Colorado and Washington State broke the ice as the first states to legalize sales of recreational marijuana to adults, residents of Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., will vote next week on ballot measures patterned on those of the two pioneers. People on both sides of the issue say these initiatives could determine whether there will be a national tide of legalization. A changing political landscape has weakened anti-marijuana efforts. As the libertarian movement in the Republican Party has gained force, with leaders like Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, supporting decriminalization of marijuana and others going even further, an anchor of the conservative opposition to legalization has eroded.
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