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Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Editorial: Clear Rules Needed For Pot Industry

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 07:00
The Press Democrat, 13 Mar 2015 - Robert Jacob has a unique vantage point for California's marijuana debate. As a Sebastopol city councilman, he represents constituents concerned about neighborhoods and safety and, yes, access to medical marijuana. As the operator of three dispensaries, he deals with customers, security concerns and regulations.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: Legislators High On Legalizing - And Taxing Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/13/2015 - 07:00
Boston Herald, 13 Mar 2015 - Beacon Hill could be taking up a new bill soon that would legalize and tax marijuana, while also creating a bureaucracy to heavily regulate cannabis cafes, pot shops and growth operations. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. David Rogers (D-Belmont) and state Sen. Pat Jehlen (DS-omerville), is backed by the nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project, which also "plans to support a 2016 ballot initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol."
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: NH Decrim Bill Passes House, CO Legal Pot Sales Record, Coca-Chewing Day in Bolivia, More (3/12/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 22:45

Marijuana stories all over the place, medical marijuana, too; federal drug policy bills (good and bad) get filed, it's it's National Coca-Chewing Day in Bolivia, and more. 

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Alaska Legislators Get Earful from Public Over Changes to Legalization Bill. The Senate Finance Committee overhauled Senate Bill 30, the bill that would implement the Measure 2 legalization initiative, by reversing language in the bill that would have removed marijuana from the state's controlled substance schedules and by creating new marijuana crimes. That didn't sit well with the public, who raked the committee over the coals during a hearing yesterday. It's holding another hearing today.

Arizona Legalization Initiative Drafters Grapple with Home Cultivation. A split has emerged between Safer Arizona and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) over including home cultivation language in a proposed legalization initiative. The latest draft of the initiative contains no language allowing for home cultivation, and Safer Arizona is accusing MPP of doing the bidding of dispensary operators, who it says want to corner the market. MPP says it supports home cultivation, but may be willing to sacrifice it if it thinks such a provision could delay ending pot prohibition in a given state. Stay tuned.

Colorado January Recreational Pot Sales Hit Record.  Sales in January were $36.4 million, according to the Department of Revenue, more than double the $14 million reported in January 2014. January recreational pot sales generated nearly $2.35 million in excise taxes designated for schools. Last year was when recreational marijuana sales began rolling out, so it is expected that 2015 is going to be even bigger than 2014, when more than $300 million in recreational sales occurred.

Connecticut Poll Has Solid Majority for Pot Legalization. A new Quinnipiac poll has support for marijuana legalization at 63%, up nine points from the same poll less than a year ago. The poll comes as the Judiciary Committee considers two bills that would legalize it, House Bill 6703 and House Bill 6473.

Massachusetts Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed. Rep. David Rogers (D-Belmont), Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville), and 13 bipartisan cosponsors today introduced House Bill 1561, which would legalize marijuana for adults and establish a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce. If the legislature doesn't act on legalization, reform advocates are vowing to put an initiative before voters I n 2016.

Michigan Group Plans 2016 Legalization Initiative. A group calling itself the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee said today it is planning a 2016 legalization initiative petition drive. The committee's chairman, Jeffrey Hank, said "the time is right" to create "a responsible tax and regulation scheme for adult use age 21 and over, and permits the farming of hemp."

New Hampshire House Overwhelmingly Approves Decriminalization Bill. A veto-proof majority of the House voted yesterday to approve House Bill 618, which would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of pot, five grams of hash, and six pot plants. The House has passed similar measures before, only to see them die in the Senate. If it passes the Senate this year, it still faces a probable veto from Gov. Maggie Hassan (D).   

Medical Marijuana

Federal Judge Reject Prosecution Attempt to Jail Kettle Falls Five Defendants Before Sentencing. Just one week after three medical marijuana patients were acquitted by a federal jury of all but one charge stemming from the widely watched Kettle Falls Five trial, US District Court Judge Thomas Rice rejected attempts by the Justice Department (DOJ) to imprison the defendants pending sentencing on June 10th. Judge Rice's ruling comes just a day after defense attorneys filed their opposition to the government's pre-sentencing detention effort

Hawaii House Approves Dispensary Bill. The House Tuesday gave its approval to a bill that would allow for at least 26 dispensaries to open across the state. The measure is House Bill 321.

Iowa CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. A bill that would expand medical marijuana access in the Hawkeye State won a subcommittee vote in the state Senate yesterday. The legislature last year approved a law allowing for the use of CBD cannabis oil for epilepsy, but didn't provide for the legal distribution of the oil. The current bill would do that, as well as expand the number of qualifying conditions.

Pennsylvania Poll Shows Growing Support for Medical Marijuana. A new Robert Morris University poll has support for medical marijuana at 67.5%, up more than 11 points from a similar Robert Morris poll last year. At least three medical marijuana bills are currently before the General Assembly.

Tennessee CBD Cannabis Oil Wins Committee Vote. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee has approved House Bill 197, which would allow people with seizures to use CBD cannabis oil with a doctor's recommendation. The bill now goes to the full House Criminal Committee.

Asset Forfeiture

Texas Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill Filed. State Rep. David Simpson has introduced House Bill 3171 to repeal civil asset forfeiture. "No one should forfeit their property without being convicted of a crime," the Republican said. "Our current civil forfeiture provisions, though a well-intended tool for law enforcement, have eroded the constitutional rights of individuals. It is time we end the practice."

Rehabilitation and Reentry

Federal Bill to Seal or Expunge Records for Nonviolent Offenses Filed. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has filed Senate Bill 675, which provides for the sealing or expungement of records relating to federal nonviolent criminal offenses. It's been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sentencing

Connecticut Poll Finds Strong Support for Reducing Penalties for Drug Offenses. A new Quinnipiac poll finds two-third (67%) of voters support making simple drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony and 82% support eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for small-time drug possessions.

Harm Reduction

Federal Bill to Encourage Use of Opiate Overdose Drug Filed. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Edward Markey (D-MA) yesterday filed the Opioid Overdose Reduction Act, which would  "protect first responders, health professionals and family members who are educated in administering an opioid overdose prevention drug, such as naloxone (also known as Narcan) in an emergency situation of overdose. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) plans to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives in the coming weeks. The bill is not yet available on the congressional website. Similar legislation was filed last year.

Law Enforcement

Federal Bill Aimed at Candy-Coated Drugs Filed. Octogenarian Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) today filed the Candy-Flavored Drugs Act, under which ""criminals who manufacture, create, distribute, dispense or possess candy coated drugs with the intent to distribute them to a minor would get up to 10 years for the first offense and 20 years for the second offense." The bill is not yet available on the congressional website.

International

It's National Coca Chewing Day in Bolivia. Bolivian social movements are marching from the La Paz suburb of El Alto toward Villaroel Square in the capital to commemorate National Coca-Leaf Chewing Day. The event is part of a domestic and international campaign to restore the traditional uses of the coca leaf. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Yuba County Pot Law: Initiative, Lawsuits Up Next?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 12 Mar 2015 - Now that Yuba County supervisors have approved tighter restrictions for cultivating marijuana, opponents are deciding how to respond. Supervisors took the expected action of approving the ordinance that bans outdoor grows and limits residents in the unincorporated county to 12 plants inside an accessory building. What wasn't expected was the unanimous vote Tuesday to designate the new law as an urgency ordinance - making it effective immediately rather than in the usual 30 days. That action precludes opponents plans to seek a voter referendum, since the 30-day waiting period would have been used to gather signatures.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AZ: Column: Trouble In Pot Paradise

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/12/2015 - 07:00
Tucson Weekly, 12 Mar 2015 - The big issue now in the new marijuana legalization initiative draft language is cultivation Language allowing people to grow recreational marijuana at their homes was completely scratched from a new draft of the citizens' initiative we might see on the 2016 ballot, making the months-long collaboration between Safer Arizona and the Marijuana Policy Project a bit rusty in recent days.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Big Business Is Lurking

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
East Bay Express, 11 Mar 2015 - California's marijuana industry must hang together and legalize pot in 2016, experts warn, or large corporations will cut them out. Just ask Ohio. A group of ten businesses in Ohio is aiming to not only legalize marijuana, but also corner the market on wholesale distribution of it - - a disturbing turn of events with lessons for California reformers.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US WA: Column: Weed In The Rose Garden

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:00
Seattle Weekly, 11 Mar 2015 - Every single day there's breaking news in the marijuana movement. Alaska officially legalized weed on February 24, making it the fourth state in the Union to toss aside the chains of prohibition, and the next day, at the stroke of midnight, our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., followed suit. #CommanderInSpleef! But if ya think the "Just Say No" Nancy Reagan types are gently stepping aside, and the taxation and regulation of cannabis are going along swimmingly, you've been smoking too much of the recently legalized chronic.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Sparks Fly On Pot's Place In Workplace

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 09 Mar 2015 - D.C. Business Owners Grapple With Diverse Needs As Laws on Marijuana Testing Evolve From white-linen restaurants to K Street law firms, D.C. employers have found themselves on the front lines of defining marijuana legalization in the nation's capital.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: OPED: Colorado Shows Marijuana Legalization Works

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 09 Mar 2015 - Recreational marijuana use was legalized in Washington D.C. and Alaska on Feb. 26 and Feb. 24, respectively. D.C.'s legalization has prompted some congressional Republicans to try to undermine the city's reforms. However, the experience of states that have already legalized, and economic theory, both indicate that legalization creates more benefits than costs. Recreational use and possession of marijuana up to 2 ounces is now legal in Washington D.C. for individuals 21 years of age and over (1 ounce in Alaska). Although the sale of marijuana is still illegal in D.C., gifts of up to 1 ounce are permitted. Marijuana must be consumed on private property and individuals are allowed to "homegrow" up to six marijuana plants in both D.C. and Alaska. Alaska plans to allow marijuana retailer licensing beginning in 2016 but D.C. has not announced any plans to legalize the sale of marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: Pot Or Not? The Case For And Against Legalization

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 03/08/2015 - 08:00
Dayton Daily News, 08 Mar 2015 - Editor's note: A group called ResponsibleOhio is proposing a state constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana and allow 10 Ohio sites owned and operated by investor groups to grow it. ResponsibleOhio is pushing to get their measure on the November ballot. Today, we hear from ResponsibleOhio as well as from Drug Free Action Alliance, an Ohio nonprofit whose mission is to help prevent substance abuse. We also hear from some of our readers about legalizing marijuana. - Connie Post
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Official: Don't Panic On Pot Law

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 06 Mar 2015 - JUNEAU - After a far-ranging discussion about the dangers of driving a four-wheeler while high or hosting pot parties on a sternwheeler, a Department of Law official attempted to comfort senators by saying the sky has not, in fact, fallen since marijuana possession became legal under state law. Deputy Attorney General Richard Svobodny told the Senate Finance Committee that Ballot Measure 2 going into law hasn't dramatically changed things in Alaska and many concerns raised by the committee, like driving while high, are addressed by existing laws. And concerns about commercial marijuana, like pot parties, will be addressed through regulations.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: CO Pot Law Challenged Again, RI Legalization Bill Filed, Global Pain Med Crisis, More (2/5/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 22:45

Sheriffs from three states are suing Colorado over its pot law, legalization bills get filed in Rhode Island, new research scoffs at links between psychedelics and psychosis, heroin OD deaths are up, there's a big problem with global access to opioid pain medications, and more. 

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

Sheriffs From Three States Sue Colorado Over Legalization. Sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska are the latest bunch to try to overturn the will of Colorado voters via a federal lawsuit. A lawsuit filed in federal court in Denver today asks the court to strike down Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana, and to order the closure of the state's more than 330 pot shops. The sheriffs claim Colorado's legalization creates "a crisis of conscience" for them and forces them to violate their oath to uphold the US Constitution.

Rhode Island Legalization Bills Filed. Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller (D-Cranston) and House Finance Committee member Scott A. Slater (D-Providence) have introduced legislation to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and to establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. The bills are House Bill 5777 and Senate Bill 510. The state has been tagged as one of the more likely ones to legalize it through the legislature. 

Medical Marijuana

Idaho CBD Cannabis Oil Bill on Hold. A bill that would allow access to CBD cannabis oil to treat epilepsy seizure disorders is alive, but on hold after the Senate State Affairs Committee decided it needed to be amended to address law enforcement concerns. The bill is Senate Bill 1106. Supporters are supposed to come up with amendments to address those concerns by next week.

North Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. A bill that would allow for medical marijuana in the Tarheel State has passed its first reading in the House. The bill is House Bill 78

Psychedelics

Researchers find No Link Between Psychedelics and Psychosis. Users of LSD and other psychedelics are no more likely to have mental health conditions than those who don’t, according to data from population surveys. The researchers said anecdotes about "acid casualties" dating back to the 1960s were precisely that—anecdotes. "We are not claiming that no individuals have ever been harmed by psychedelics," says the author of one of the two studies cited, Matthew Johnson, an associate professor in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. "Anecdotes about acid casualties can be very powerful — but these instances are rare," he says. At the population level, he says, the data suggest that the harms of psychedelics "have been overstated."

Heroin

Rate of Heroin Overdose Tripled Between 2010 and 2013, CDC Says. More than 8,200 Americans died of heroin overdoses in 2013, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That's an average of 23 people a day. The rate of heroin overdose deaths nearly tripled, from just under one per hundred thousand to just under three per hundred thousand. Who is dying has also changed. In 2000, the highest overdose rates were among middle-aged black, but by 2013, whites between 18 and 44 had the highest rates.

Drug Testing

Florida Governor Gives Up the Ghost on Welfare Drug Testing. This week was the deadline for Gov. Rick Scott (R) to ask the Supreme Court to overturn lower court rulings that found his suspicionless welfare drug testing law unconstitutional. He didn't act. "We chose not to appeal this case," a spokesman said.

International

INCB Report Says 75% of World Population Still Doesn't Have Access to Pain Relief Meds. In its annual report released this week, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said about 5.5 billion people on the planet are in danger of suffering pain if they become chronically or terminally ill because they don't have access to opioid pain relief medications. Click on the link for more and to read the INCB report.

New Uruguay President Postpones Allowing Pharmacy Pot Sales. New President Tabare Vasquez, who took office Sunday, has decided to postpone implementing public sales of marijuana. His chief drug regulator, Milton Romani, said yesterday he was in "no rush" to start pharmacy sales. "I want this project to be successful," he said. "If we make a mistake by rushing, we fail." For those really interested in getting their weed right now, there are now 15 cannabis clubs in operation and more than 2,000 grows.

Hispanic American Historical Review Has Special Issue on Drugs in Latin America. Lots of good stuff in there for those with an interest in the topic. Here's the table of contents for the issue. 

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Column: If Pot's Legal in D.C., Is It Legal Everywhere?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/05/2015 - 08:00
Westword, 05 Mar 2015 - Dear Stoner: If Washington, D.C., legalized marijuana, does that mean it's legal in every state? Sensi Sam Dear Sam: Wouldn't that be great? In fact, four months after D.C. voters approved a ballot measure that would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of pot and the cultivation of six plants in residences by adults 21 and up, the legal status of pot in D.C. itself is still somewhat up in the air.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Nationwide Majority for Pot Legalization, WV Welfare Drug Test Bill Dies, More (3/4/14)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 21:58

The General Social Survey for the first time has a majority for marijuana legalization, DC cops start returning arrestees' marijuana, a Utah medical marijuana bill is still alive, Canada's Tories ponder decriminalization, Britain's Lib Dems talk drug policy reform, and more.

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

"Gold Standard" of Polls Finds Majority Support for Legalization Nationwide. For the first time, the General Social Survey, considered to be the gold standard for public opinion polls, has a majority of Americans favoring legalization. The survey, conducted between March and October of last year, has 52% saying pot should be legalized, with 42% opposed, and 7% undecided. Support for legalization is up nine points over the last General Social Survey, conducted two years ago. As recently as 1996, only 32% supported legalization.

DC Police Return Arrestee's Marijuana. This is what happens when pot is legal. A man who had been arrested and released at the 6th District police station in Northeast DC demanded that police return his marijuana. "You have my marijuana, you have my weed," witnesses reported the man saying. The cops gave it back. "This property was less than two ounces of marijuana, and was returned to the arrestee with the other property held at the time of his arrest," explained Gwendolyn Crump, the DC police department's chief spokeswoman.

Georgia Legalization Bill Filed. State Sen. Curt Thompson (D-Tucker) has filed a bill that would legalize marijuana and allow retailers to sell up to two ounces at a time to people 21 and over. The bill is not yet available on the legislative website.

Responsible Ohio Files Revised Legalization Proposal. The group, which wants to create 10 designated commercial grows in the state for its financial backers, handed in 3,164 signatures along with its revised constitutional amendment initiative language. State Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) had earlier rejected the group's initial ballot summary language. If the new language is approved, Responsible Ohio must gather 305,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Medical Marijuana

Kettle Falls Four Win Acquittal on Most Counts. A federal jury in Spokane acquitted the medical marijuana-growing family of four out of five counts, including the most serious ones, but found them guilty of growing between 50 and 100 plants. Federal prosecutors brought the case despite marijuana being legal in Washington state and despite federal guidance that suggests they shouldn't have. They continued the prosecution after Congress passed language barring the Dept. of Justice from spending funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. After the verdicts were read, prosecutors sought to jail the four pending sentencing, much to the disbelief of the courtroom crowd, but the judge didn't go for that.

Utah Medical Marijuana Bill Moves. A bill that appeared delayed only a day earlier was approved for a third Senate reading Tuesday night. Senate Bill 259 would allow people with qualifying illnesses to use marijuana in edible or liquid form and would establish dispensaries to distribute it. If the Senate approves it one more time, it then goes to the House.

Drug Testing

West Virginia Welfare Drug Testing Bill Killed. Sponsor of the bill, Del. Patrick Lane (R) conceded today that the bill was dead for the session after the House voted yesterday to table it. The bill would have mandated drug testing based on reasonable suspicion.

Law Enforcement

Detroit Cops Launch 17th Mass Drug Raid. Police Chief James Craig's Operation Restore Order resulted in the city's 17th mass drug raid yesterday. Nearly 180 officers were involved, but at the flagship bust of the day, a "drug house," police found no one, only a small amount of drugs, but managed to shoot and kill a pit bull. Craig said the raids have resulted in 1,172 arrests, the vast majority on drug charges, and the seizure of $4.5 million worth of drugs. He didn't say whether they had had any demonstrable impact on drug availability in the city.

International

Canada Tories Ponder Decriminalization Bill. The Conservatives are considering whether to introduce a bill to let police issue tickets to people caught with small amounts of marijuana. The decision on whether to move forward in the current parliament, which only lasts another 12 weeks, is in the hands of Justice Minister Peter McKay. Even if no bill is filed this session, Tories could use the notion as a means of countering the Liberals in forthcoming elections. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has called for outright legalization.

British Lib Dems Promise Drug Policy Reforms. Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg said today his party would hand control over drug policy from the Home Office to the Department of Health, review marijuana legalization in the US, and consider decriminalization. The party, which is an uneasy junior partner with the Conservatives, says their proposals are "the most far-reaching drug reform policies ever put forward by a major political party ahead of an election."

Mexico Nabs Zetas Cartel Leader Omar Trevino Morales. The Zetas leader is only the latest of an ever-growing list of top drug gang leaders captured or killed by Mexican authorities. Trevino Morales, known as "Z-42," was arrested in a predawn raid in Monterrey. He is the brother of Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, who was arrested in 2013. The Zetas' other original leader, Heriberto Lazcano, was killed by Mexican marines in 2012.

Mexico Cartel Violence Spiking in Tamaulipas. The northeastern state, which borders Texas's Rio Grande Valley region is seeing road blockades, assaults on media, and deadly shootouts. At least 12 people were killed in Reynosa and Matamoros shoot-outs last month, and two more were killed in Nuevo Progreso last Saturday. The violence is being blamed on rival factions of the Gulf Cartel.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Senators Say Alaska Puts Itself at Risk With Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 04 Mar 2015 - JUNEAU - The debate in the state capital building about Alaska's new marijuana law has caused some conservatives to side with an entity they generally abhor - the federal government. In the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday lawmakers who have spent much of the session pounding their chests over federal overreach pointed to federal laws for proof that marijuana is still illegal, regardless of what voters did last year.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: DC Council Imposes New Limits On Pot Use

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 08:00
Washington Post, 04 Mar 2015 - After just five days of pot being legal in the nation's capital, the D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve new limits on marijuana use. The legislation introduced last week by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) prohibits smoking in bars, clubs and virtually anywhere outside a private home where people could gather.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: D.C. Passes Law Prohibiting Pot Smoking at Private Clubs

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 08:00
Washington Times, 04 Mar 2015 - Homes Currently Only Legal Place for Usage The D.C. Council on Tuesday barred private clubs from allowing marijuana usage on their premises, dashing the hopes of some pot entrepreneurs who sought to host events where patrons could partake and share with others.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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