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Marijuana

US WA: Wash. Marijuana Users Cheer 1st Day Of Sales

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 09 Jul 2014 - State Is 2d in US to Legalize Use for Recreation BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) - Cale Holdsworth strode to the counter at Top Shelf Cannabis, inspected and sniffed a glass jar filled with marijuana, and said: "I'll take two grams."
Categories: Marijuana

US NY: Brooklyn Prosecutor Limits When He'll Target Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 09 Jul 2014 - After months of resistance from the New York Police Department, the Brooklyn district attorney's office announced on Tuesday that it would immediately carry out its plan to stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana cases. The policy was proposed in a draft confidential memorandum in April, but was delayed as prosecutors and police officials tried to iron out their differences in meetings and phone calls.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: First Legal Buyers Get Their 'Piece Of History'

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 09 Jul 2014 - Stores Open With Celebrations, Plans for Bigger Supply Deb Greene was looking forward to some blissful shut-eye after buying the first pot Tuesday from Cannabis City in Sodo. She hadn't slept Monday night as she waited in line outside.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: Seattle's First Legal Pot Shop Opens To Scores Of Buyers

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 09 Jul 2014 - Surrounded by thousands of packages of marijuana, Seattle's top prosecutor sought some advice: Which one should he buy? A new day, indeed. Twenty months after voters legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21, Washington state's first few licensed pot shops opened for business Tuesday, catering to hundreds of customers who lined up outside, thrilled to be part of the historic moment. The pot being sold at four stores in Seattle, Bellingham, Prosser and Spokane was regulated, tested for impurities, heavily taxed and in short supply - such short supply that several other shops couldn't open because they had nothing to sell.
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CN SN: Editorial: Lawless Politicians

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Humboldt Journal, 09 Jul 2014 - It's sad, but in the year 2014 it's business as usual to hear a politician is on the wrong side of the law. Rob Ford is the poster boy for lawless politicians. He received media attention from all over the world for his use of crack cocaine, drunkenness and outrageous quotes. Nearly every late night talk show host, comedian and media outlet took a shot at him.
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US PA: Medical Marijuana Advocates Push for Vote in Capitol

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Standard-Speaker, 09 Jul 2014 - HARRISBURG (AP) - About two dozen mothers, grandmothers, nurses and small children are in the Pennsylvania Capitol to ask state senators to advance medical marijuana legislation. Dana Ulrich of Lancaster County said Tuesday that they are asking senators to vote the bill out of the Appropriations Committee and pass it before leaving the Capitol for the summer.
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US CA: Column: Your Money Is Covered In Drugs!

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
SF Weekly, 09 Jul 2014 - YOUR MONEY IS COVERED IN DRUGS! The cross-country flight from Newark had just touched down at San Francisco International Airport, and Brice Barton was already in trouble. It was late January, and the Seattle-area man was making his sixth coast-to-coast trip since September. SFO was his layover before a one-way flight to Arcata in Humboldt County. He never made it north.
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US CO: Column: Local Pot Pioneer Wants Out, Springs Cannabis

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 09 Jul 2014 - Pot pioneer wants out If Colorado Springs' marijuana industry has a founding father, it's probably Michael Lee. The longtime owner of Cannabis Therapeutics (907 E. Fillmore St., cannabistherapeutics.net) opened his storefront in 2006, years before the green rush overwhelmed the state. He's been raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration, unsuccessfully charged by the local district attorney and outlasted pretty much every trend, rule and law that's swirled through in the past decade.
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US WA: Pot Dispensaries, Patients Watch Warily

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 09 Jul 2014 - Will Medical Pot Face New Rules? Users Fear Cheaper System Is in Danger As lines formed outside Washington's first legal retail marijuana shops Tuesday, a quiet waiting room in a downtown Seattle office building filled with another group of people looking to buy pot.
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CN NS: New Rules For N.S. Docs Prescribing Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Metro, 09 Jul 2014 - Policy Change. No Direct Billing, Distance Authorization A new policy from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia aims to lift the haze around authorizing medical marijuana, the college's registrar said Tuesday.
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US NY: Study Finds Racial Disparity In Criminal Prosecutions

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
New York Times, 09 Jul 2014 - Black and Hispanic defendants are more likely to be held in jail before trial and more likely to be offered plea bargains that include a prison sentence than whites and Asians charged with the same crimes, according to a two-year study of prosecutions handled by the Manhattan district attorney's office. The study, by the Vera Institute of Justice, found that race was a significant factor at nearly every stage of criminal prosecutions in Manhattan, from setting bail to negotiating a plea deal to sentencing.
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US CA: Facing Down Pot's Influence

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 09 Jul 2014 - The Acceptance of Medical Marijuana in the State Raises a U.S. Prosecutor's Concern About Biased Jurors in Weed Cases. Julie Shemitz watched warily as the judge asked prospective jurors whether they or anyone close to them had a card for medical marijuana.
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Chronicle AM -- July 8, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 20:44

There are now two states where marijuana can be legally sold to adults, Marc Emery's time in America's drug war gulag comes to an end, two senators file the REDEEM Act for ex-offenders, there may be magic in those mushrooms, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Washington State Retail Marijuana Sales Began This Morning. The first legal recreational marijuana sales in Washington occurred shortly after 8:00am today, when a visitor from Kansas bought two grams of pot for $26.50 at Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham. The state has authorized up to 344 retail marijuana outlets, but only a handful are open today, and there are worries about legal marijuana shortages as well. Stay tuned as Washington treads down the path of pot legalization.

Canadian "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery Gets Out of US Prison Tomorrow. The five-year legal martyrdom of Canadian marijuana legalization gadfly Marc Emery is about to come to an end. Emery will leave federal prison tomorrow after serving a sentence for selling marijuana seeds to customers in the US. He won't get back home to Canada immediately; there is some red tape involved that will keep him in the US for several more weeks, but we fully expect Emery to take up where he left off in terms of relentless activism -- once he has had a chance to reunite with his stalwart wife, Jodi.

New York Fairness and Equity Act Seeks to End Marijuana Arrests, Fix Loopholes in State Law. Elected officials, community groups, and activists will rally Wednesday at New York City Hall to announce the introduction of the Fairness and Equity Act. The bill is designed to end mass, racially-biased marijuana possession arrests by fixing the state's decriminalization law to eliminate the difference between private and public possession, creating a process for those arrested under the current law to clear their records, and reducing the harms of collateral consequences of pot possession arrests. The bill is not yet available on the state legislative web site. Click on the link for more details.

Medical Marijuana

San Jose Collectives, Dispensaries Fight Looming Shut-Downs With Referendum Effort, Thursday Protest. The city of San Jose has recently passed an ordinance that will result in the forced closure of more than 70 collectives and dispensaries, and the industry is fighting back. There is a petition drive underway to stop the city from shuttering the businesses, and there will be a rally throughout Thursday afternoon at city hall. Stay tuned.

San Diego Sheriff's Office Returns Marijuana to Raided Dispensary. Sheriff's office officials have handed back 20 pounds of marijuana, as well as grow equipment, seized in a raid last year from the SoCal Pure Collective in North County. The legal case against the collective was dropped in April, and a judge ordered all the confiscated goods returned. But collective operator Laura Sharp still fumes over the raid itself, a paramilitarized exercise of police power aimed at patients and providers. "I don't think that we needed to have assault rifles held to our heads. I think we could have been served paperwork," she said.

Psychedelics

Study Finds Magic Mushrooms Open Strange Brain State, Could Unlock Permanent Shifts in Perspective. A study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping has found that psychedelic mushroom compounds may be opening brain states usually experienced only in dreams and suggests that their use may have permanent positive effects on the brain. This could open the door for more research on the use of psychedelics as a treatment for disorders such as depression and anxiety. Click the study link for more details.

Reentry and Rehabilitation

Senate Odd Couple Introduce REDEEM Act to Assist Ex-Cons with Re-Entry. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul will today introduce the REDEEM Act, which aims to assist formerly incarcerated people with reentering society in a productive manner. The bill would, among other things, help seal conviction records and eliminate barriers to reentry, employment, and public assistance. The bill is not yet up on the congressional web site.

International

Applicants Sought for Two-Week London Fellowship on West Africa Drug Policy Reform. The Open Society Foundation is seeking applicants for a West African fellowship on drug policy reform. The two-week program is set to take place in London in October, 2014, and will be hosted by the drug policy organization, Release. Those interested in the program are encouraged to apply by visiting the link here for more details. You have until July 31 to apply.

Conference on Marijuana Regulation in London Later This Month. A Cannabis Conference will be held July 23 at the House of Lords in London. It is supported and sponsored by Baroness Meacher, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Reform Policy. Click on the link for more details.

Dominican Prime Minister Wants Review of Marijuana Laws. Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told a press conference Tuesday that the time has come to review the country's marijuana laws. "We believe the time has come for us to look at the laws relating to marijuana, for example someone with a very small quantity of marijuana, we will send him to prison, and the question is, if a man has five grams of marijuana should this person be sent to prison for that small amount and that person would have a criminal record for the rest of his life," Skerrit said. His remarks come as CARICOM convenes a commission to study marijuana law reform in the region.

Categories: Marijuana

US WA: Editorial: Pot Genie Is Out Of The Bottle

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:00
The Herald, 08 Jul 2014 - Prohibition didn't work, or so lawmakers learned more than 80 years ago. But the parallels between America's puritanical experiment with the Eighteenth Amendment and the legal sale of marijuana likely end there. Today, Washington gets into the weeds (pun intended). The serpentine bureaucracy, the reams of regulations. Cannabis has met the enemy, and he is us.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: OPED: The Case Against Legal Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 08 Jul 2014 - A FEW weeks ago the Poulsbo City Council unanimously voted to institute a ban on recreational marijuana businesses and collective gardens. As Washington state's first legal recreational marijuana stores open this week under Initiative 502, Poulsbo will not be welcoming such retail operations.
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CN ON: OPED: Methadone Clinics Are Helping, Not Enabling

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:00
The Peterborough Examiner, 08 Jul 2014 - Recent local conversation about a methadone clinic moving into the old Shoppers Drug Mart building downtown suggests the need to pause and explore some of the reasons and research behind why PCCHU supports a collaborative Made-in-Peterborough drug strategy that embraces harm reduction alongside our prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts. The term "harm reduction" refers to evidence-based strategies such as providing clean needles, methadone treatment or Naloxone. It's fully understandable why some people may view harm reduction as counterproductive and controversial. After all, aren't we just enabling "those people" to continue using harmful drugs that are often illegal? But strong, conclusive research and many decades of practical experience have taught us that harm reduction efforts work to reduce the harms and associated costs of substance misuse.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: U.S. Marijuana Shops Ready For Canadian Customers

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 08 Jul 2014 - Bellingham Marijuana Retail Stores Brace for Canadian Pot-Seekers, With One Carrying Enough Supply for 1,000 Customers on the First Day of Operations Newly approved Bellingham retail pot shops are bracing for a large influx of Canadian customers as 24 marijuana stores received approval to sell from the Washington government Monday.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: U.S. to Free 'Prince of Pot' After Five-Year

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:00
Prince George Citizen, 08 Jul 2014 - VANCOUVER - When the poster child for marijuana legalization is released from a U.S. prison later this week, he'll be re-entering a world where many of his ideas have taken root and in some places have sprouted right up. Marc Emery, Canada's self-styled "Prince of Pot," concludes a five-year sentence on Wednesday and will emerge into a lucrative marijuana landscape, where two U.S. states are now issuing recreational pot licences, medical growers are reaping profits and investors aren't hedging on potential opportunities.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Next Up for 'Prince of Pot': Freedom

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:00
London Free Press, 08 Jul 2014 - Ex-Londoner Is Being Released From a U.S. Prison Where He's Doing Time for Selling Marijuana Seeds Former Londoner Marc Emery, Canada's "Prince of Pot," is coming home - - but maybe not for awhile. Emery's prison time in the U.S. ends Wednesday but he likely won't be back on Canadian soil for weeks, maybe months, his wife Jodie said Monday from Mississippi, where Emery is finishing out his sentence. Emery - known for his efforts to legalize marijuana - is the former owner of London's City Lights used bookstore. He's excited to be coming home, his wife said. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2010 to serve a five-year sentence for his Vancouver mail-order business selling marijuana seeds.
Categories: Marijuana

DC Marijuana Initiative Hands in Plenty of Signatures [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 00:56

It now looks extremely likely that the residents of the nation's capitol will vote in November on whether to legalize the possession and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana. Representatives of the DC Cannabis Campaign legalization initiative handed in some 58,000 signatures Monday morning, and they only need some 25,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Signature-gathering experts generally expect to see something between 20% and 30% of signatures handed in deemed invalid. For the DC initiative to fail to qualify, the invalidation rate would have to be above 50%.

The measure will be known as Initiative 71 once it officially qualifies for the ballot.

The District of Columbia isn't the only locale where marijuana legalization is almost definitely going to be on the ballot this fall. An Alaska legalization initiative has already qualified, and organizers of an Oregon legalization initiative just last week handed in more than 145,000 signatures, nearly twice the 88,000 valid voter signatures needed to qualify.

Colorado and Washington led the way on marijuana legalization, with voters in both states passing legalization initiatives in 2012. DC, Alaska, and Oregon all appear poised to join them in November.

In DC, campaigners will emphasize the racially disparate impact of marijuana prohibition. In 2010, black people accounted for 91% of marijuana arrests, even though they now account for less than half the city's population. The District is also currently saddled with the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the nation.

The DC initiative is not a full-blown legalize, tax, and regulate measure. It would allow people 21 and over to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and cultivate six plants at home. But District law prevents initiatives from addressing budgetary issues, which precludes the initiative addressing the tax and regulate/marijuana commerce aspect of legalization. But the DC city council currently is considering a tax and regulate bill to cover that.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]The city council passed a decriminalization bill that goes into effect shortly, but advocates argued based on other decrim laws in the states that alone is not enough to change police practices. They noted that in Colorado and Washington, where actual legalization is in effect, marijuana arrest rates have dropped dramatically. Those declines not only save millions in tax dollars; they also save thousands of people from the legal and collateral consequences of a pot bust.

After handing in signatures this morning, key players in the initiative gathered for a noon tele-conference.

"In just a few weeks, DC's groundbreaking decriminalization law goes into effect," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, which is supporting the initiative. "But decriminalization is just the first step. Today, the DC Cannabis Campaign turned in enough signatures to put Initiative 71 on the ballot."

"Last week, the US celebrated the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act," noted Dr. Malik Burnett, recently brought in as DC policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. "Drug policy reform is the civil rights issue of this century. Prohibition isn't working, and it is leading to poor outcomes, especially in communities of color. We definitely applaud the city council for getting decriminalization done, but in other jurisdictions with decriminalization, we continue to see a large number of racially biased arrests. If we look at jurisdictions that have legalized, arrest rates for small amounts of marijuana are down 75%."

"Today is a big day in this effort," said Councilmember David Grosso, sponsor of the Tax and Regulate Marijuana Act of 2014. "It looks like it will be on the ballot this fall, and I'm confident that people here in DC will vote to legalize marijuana. The people have been in the forefront of this for a long time, starting with medical marijuana back in 1998."

Grosso said he sponsored the tax and regulate bill because of the failures of prohibition.

"I'm a strong believer that the war on drugs has been a failure," he said. "We need to move beyond putting people in jail for marijuana and non-violent offenses. But once we legalize it, it's important to regulate it in a way that is responsible for the District, which is why I introduced the tax and regulate bill. It has to go through a couple of committees, but we're a full-time legislature and could have it done by the end of the year. If not, I will reintroduce it next year."

"This initiative is very different from the other efforts," said DC Cannabis Campaign chair and long-time DC political gadfly Adam Eidinger. "It's very focused on the consumer, how we can keep them out of jail and give them a supply without creating a marketplace. This is looking at the rights of the individual and letting them produce their own at home. This by itself isn't full legalization -- Grosso's bill is the complete picture, but we can't put that on the ballot, so we did the next best thing to enshrine the rights of the consumer," he explained.

"We already passed home cultivation for medical marijuana in 1998, and many us were demanding from the city council that we actually get home cultivation as part of medical," Eidinger noted. "Their failure to do so has fueled the interest in pushing this forward. Medical marijuana is not the destination for every user, nor is decriminalization. The goal is to stop the bleeding, to stop arresting four or five thousand people here every year. My goal is take marijuana arrests down to zero," he said.

[image:3 align:left caption:true]"I want to note that I am also the social action director for Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a major backer which provided money to get this off the ground," said Eidinger. "We've raised and spent at least $150,000 and we hope to raise another $100,000 between now and election day. A lot of these initiative campaigns are fueled by business interests, but we're not offering a retail outlet as the end result of the initiative. It's a little more difficult to raise money when it's about civil rights -- not making some business person rich."

Even if the initiative makes the ballot and passes, there is still an outside chance that congressional conservatives will seek to block it. That's what happened with the 1998 medical marijuana initiative, which Congress didn't allow to go into effect for more than a decade.

Similar moves are already afoot over the District's yet-to-go-into-effect decriminalization law. A Maryland congressmen and physician, Rep. Andy Harris (R), has already persuaded the House Appropriations Committee to approve a rider to the DC appropriations bill that would block implementation of the decrim law. But that measure still has to be approved by the House as a whole, and then by the Senate.

If that were to happen, it wouldn't be without a fight.

"The Drug Policy Alliance and the DC Cannabis Campaign look forward to working with members of the city council to expand on Initiative 71 to develop tax and regulate centered around the idea of racial justice," said Dr. Burnett. "The first step is passing 71 to show the will of the people, followed by legislation from the city council. That combination will show Congress that DC residents are serious about reforming their drug policies, and Congress will respect DC home rule."

Dr. Burnett also had some advice for Dr. Harris, the Republican congressman trying to block DC marijuana reforms.

"I would encourage Dr. Harris to take a continuing medical education class on cannabis and to see the reports from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse that teen marijuana use is flat and to understand that the health outcomes associated with incarceration are much worse than those associated with cannabis use," he said.

According to recent polls, support for legalizing marijuana in the District is around 60%. If the initiative actually makes the ballot, it has a very good chance to win in November. And if it wins in November, congressional conservatives will have to explain why DC residents aren't good enough for direct democracy, or get out of the way. And the following spring could see a thousand flowers bloom in the nation's capital.

Categories: Marijuana
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