MJ News for 01-20-2014

in Marijuana in the News Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:13 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2014/01/19/obama_on_marijuana_we_should_not_be_locking_up_kids_or_individual_users.html?wpisrc=burger_bar

Obama on Marijuana: "We Should Not Be Locking Up Kids or Individual Users.."

A few months into his presidency, Barack Obama participated in a town hall with questions selected by an online audience. The topic that most concerned the people logging in: Marijuana. The president, who's written about his teenage exploits with his high school's "Choom Gang," mostly laughed away the topic. "I don't know what this says about the online audience," he said. He did not think legalizing marijuana would boost the economy. In subsequent town halls, the marijuana and drug war questions piled up but the president didn't answer them. Online audience -- you know what that's like.

So it says something that David Remnick, the New Yorker editor in chief and presidential biographer, threw a marijuana question into his latest Obama interview. It comes in the middle of a long, good profile of the president, and it starts with Remnick asking how dangerous marijuana is. "I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol," says the president. Remnick follows up: Is it any less dangerous?

Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

As is his habit, he nimbly argued the other side. “Having said all that, those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case. There is a lot of hair on that policy. And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.” He noted the slippery-slope arguments that might arise. “I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?"

That's a calibrated embrace of the "decriminalization as racial justice" issue that's been rising since the Colorado experiment began.

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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RE: MJ News for 01-20-2014

in Marijuana in the News Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:15 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.huffingtoost.com/2014/01/20/new-york-medical-marijuana-legalization_n_4631063.html

New York Medical Marijuana Legalization Gets Widespread Support: Poll

NEW YORK, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Most New Yorkers support Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to allow the use of medical marijuana in a pilot program in up to 20 hospitals, according to a poll released on Monday.

Nearly half (49 percent) of the New York voters polled thought he should skip the pilot step entirely and legalize its medical use statewide, as has already happened in about 20 other states, the Siena College Poll said.

A total of 28 percent of New Yorkers said the pilot program was the way to go.

A slim majority of 54 percent, however, oppose following the lead of the states of Colorado and Washington and legalizing marijuana for recreational use; 41 percent supported such a move.

"Voters under 35 say yes, as do a bare majority of men. Democrats and independents are closely divided but Republicans are a strong no," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. "New Yorkers are not yet ready to duplicate what they see in the Mile High City."

Cuomo announced the plan in his annual State of the State address earlier this month, saying that he would allow up to 20 hospitals to prescribe medical marijuana to help manage the pain and to help treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

He said he would use an executive power to set up the program, and that it would not need new legislation.

Siena College spoke to 808 people registered as voters in New York last week for the poll, which had a margin of error of 3.4 percent. (Reporting By Jonathan Allen; Editing by Bernard Orr)

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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RE: MJ News for 01-20-2014

in Marijuana in the News Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:20 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-marijuana-laws-20140120,0,625560,full.story#axzz2qxHK8OBJ

As marijuana attitudes shift, this may be a year of legalization

SEATTLE — The new year is shaping up to be one of the marijuana movement's strongest ever.
The first legal pot storefronts in America opened to long lines in Colorado 20 days ago. Washington state is poised to issue licenses for producing, processing and selling the Schedule I drug — once officials sift through about 7,000 applications.

Signature gatherers have been at work in at least five states, including California, to put marijuana measures on the ballot in 2014. On Wednesday, organizers announced they had gathered more than 1 million signatures in favor of putting a medical marijuana measure before voters in Florida, a high-population bellwether that could become the first Southern state to embrace pot.

"Florida looks like the country as a whole," said Ben Pollara, campaign manager for the Sunshine State's effort. "If Florida does this, it is a big deal for medical marijuana across the country."

Just three months ago, a clear majority of Americans for the first time said the drug should be legalized — 58% of those surveyed, which represents a 10-percentage-point jump in just one year, according to Gallup. Such acceptance is almost five times what Gallup found when public opinion polling on marijuana began in 1969.

And last month in California, where the legalization measure Proposition 19 went down to defeat in 2010, the Field Poll reported what it called its first clear majority in favor of legalizing pot — 55% of those polled, compared with 13% in 1969.

"What has happened now is we have reached the national tipping point on marijuana reform," said Stephen Gutwillig, deputy executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group. "Marijuana legalization has gone from an abstract concept to a mainstream issue to a political reality within a three-year period."

The Obama administration said last year it would not interfere in states that allowed commercial marijuana sales — as long as they were strictly regulated. But pot remains illegal under federal law, and messages from on high are mixed.

On Wednesday, the chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration, James L. Capra, told a Senate panel, "Going down the path to legalization in this country is reckless and irresponsible."

But in a lengthy New Yorker interview published Sunday, President Obama said of legalization in Washington and Colorado: "It's important for it to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished."

Obama said of marijuana, "I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."

The big question, of course, is why attitudes toward marijuana are shifting now. And the answer, according to pollsters and drug policy experts, is a complicated stew of demographics, personal experience, electoral success and the failure of existing drug policy.

To Alison Holcomb, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who wrote the ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana in Washington state, the "enormous jump" in approval of legalization in just a year does not reflect "changes in attitudes about marijuana specifically. Rather, it's a change in attitudes about whether it's OK to support marijuana law reform."

In other words, Americans don't necessarily like pot more than they used to. The percentage of those who have actually tried it has stayed in the 30% range for three decades. Rather, Americans are simply fed up with criminal penalties they say are neither cost-effective nor just.
Those looking for evidence of marijuana's momentum need look only to Jan. 8.

That's the day recreational pot supporters delivered about 46,000 signatures to election officials in Alaska — 50% more than required — putting a measure on legalization one step closer to a vote in the largely Republican state.

That same afternoon in deeply Democratic New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a former prosecutor with a history of opposing the drug, announced a modest medical marijuana pilot project.

"Research suggests that medical marijuana can help manage the pain and treatment of cancer and other serious illnesses," an uncomfortable looking Cuomo said, giving the subject 27 seconds in a nearly 90-minute State of the State address.

As Cuomo noted, an increasing number of states have enacted medical marijuana laws. California was the first in 1996, followed by 20 others and the District of Columbia.

The embrace of medical marijuana to ease ills including Alzheimer's disease and seizures is one reason that support for marijuana has continued to grow. Just listen to the Pepper family.

The drugs that Riverside lawyer Letitia Pepper, 59, took to slow the progression of her multiple sclerosis caused side effects worse than the disease itself, with its numbness, loss of dexterity and temporary loss of vision.

The only relief, Pepper said, came when she began using marijuana in 2007. Today she is gathering signatures to get the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014 on the ballot.

She had grown up, she said, as "a good girl. My homework was done. I knew marijuana was illegal." She tried it once when she was 25, didn't like it and left it behind. Until she needed it to help her function.

Pepper's improvement wasn't lost on her mother, Lorraine, 85, of Oceanside. Two years ago, the retired home economics teacher had surgery to repair a hiatal hernia; her stomach had migrated through the hole in her diaphragm into her chest cavity.

"Since that time, my brain hasn't worked like it used to, and my body hasn't either," said the elder Pepper, who opposed marijuana until her daughter began using it. She takes it as well, in a nonintoxicating liquid form. "Anything that will help, I will try. I don't think I sense a great improvement, but I have gradually gotten better."

Although people 65 and older are the only age group that pollsters say still opposes legalization, their support for the drug has also jumped more in recent years than that of any other age group. Between 2011 and 2013, Gallup found that the percentage of older Americans in favor of legalization rose 14 percentage points — more than double any other group surveyed.

Graham Boyd, who has worked on marijuana legalization efforts nationwide, agrees that "the big movement is among older and more conservative voters." But Boyd said internal polling showed that new converts to marijuana support "don't particularly like marijuana, don't have much experience in using marijuana and aren't deeply attached to the position."

This is not, he said, "a hooray-for-marijuana vote. It's a vote that what we are doing now is not working."
Boyd was counsel for the late philanthropist Peter Lewis, who commissioned a long-term, in-depth research project after the defeat of California's Proposition 19 to understand the "landslide retreat from marijuana support."

That effort, Boyd said, revealed that "instead of talking about the virtues of marijuana, we need to talk about the better approach of control through regulation." Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg, who spearheaded Lewis' research project, said that message connected with voters in Washington state and Colorado.

Once voters approved legalization in Washington and Colorado in 2012, public opinion began to change dramatically — enough so that marijuana advocates have high hopes for 2014 and 2016.

"The ice-breaking effect of Washington and Colorado allowed more people to say [legalization] might be an option," said the ACLU's Holcomb. "If Oregon and Alaska go [for legalization] it will be very big. … And I'm holding out hope for California. If California goes in 2014, that's going to be huge."

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo

Last edited Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:21 am | Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 01-20-2014

in Marijuana in the News Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:24 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/support-growing-slowly-for-legalisation-of-cannabis-in-ireland-1.1659318

(IRE) Support growing slowly for legalisation of cannabis in Ireland

In Co Meath, 60-year-old Darcy Petticrew ingests a tincture 10 times weaker than cannabis to relieve pain caused by a spinal-cord injury that has had him wheelchair-bound for 17 years. “Without it I cannot function; it’s that simple,” he says.

It is 13 years since Dr Orla Hardiman, a consultant neurologist working with people who suffer from multiple sclerosis, called for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

Yet today in Ireland, MS sufferers and others who procure cannabis to relieve symptoms face criminalisation, a €2,750 fine and up to 12 months in prison for a second offence.

A pharmaceutical spray containing cannabis extract, Satifex, is to be allowed for use by March, Minister of State for Health Alex White has said, but the medicinal use of cannabis will not be legalised.

The US has shown how, once discussion opened on the topic of marijuana legalisation, favourable opinion increased, first steadily, then rapidly.
There, support for legalisation jumped from 44 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent last year.

Polls here suggest Irish public opinion could follow a similar pattern. In 1998, 24 per cent of Irish people supported legalisation, according to the Health Research Board. In a Red C poll this month, 38 per cent of Irish adults supported legalisation, a 50 per cent increase in 16 years.

Experience elsewhere shows three stages in the gradual shifting of opinion towards legalising cannabis: it typically progresses from an outright ban to its being allowed for medicinal use, to decriminalisation, then to legalisation and regulation. In Ireland, which is out of step with much of Europe on cannabis, doctors working with addiction believe we should go farther than allowing cannabis for medicinal use.

Significant cannabis-associated harm is not from the psychoactive effects of the drug itself but from its criminalisation, argue Dr Garrett McGovern and Dr Cathal Ó Súilleabháin, GPs who have decades of experience in the area. Middle-class, university-educated people are top users of the drug. Use is highest in the “group A” professional and managerial class, university educated people and young men.

The worst outcome from their use of the drug is most likely criminalisation, say all three doctors. A drugs offence can ruin a young person’s future, says Ó Súilleabháin, affecting their careers and banning them from certain occupations and from travel.

Criminals preying on the naive is another current problem. Dr Bobby Smyth, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist with the HSE, works with teenage drug abusers. Among his clients are “not-streetwise kids” who are spending €25 to €50 a day on cannabis, who owe money to drug dealers and who are physically threatened.

Those problems would be solved, say all three doctors, by decriminalising cannabis and giving it a civil sanction on the level of a parking fine, discouraging its use while limiting long-term social harm.

“In Ireland, we have had a national drugs strategy for the past 14 years which is built upon harm reduction,” says Smyth. “The laws may still be excessively punitive in print, but in practice the criminal-justice system seems to take a fairly benign view on cannabis smokers.

There are exceptions, and a tweaking of the law may be worthy of debate. A simple first step would be to consider a move toward a civil sanction – like a speeding fine – for [cannabis] smokers, and remove the criminal penalty for use.”

But considering that one in five Irish 15- and 16-year-olds has tried cannabis at least once and that the average age of first use is 18, negative outcomes for young people need to be explored. Smyth cites several scientific papers that state sufficient evidence or at least a possibility that using cannabis in adolescence could increase the risk of developing psychotic illness later in life. He estimates the risk at 6 per cent.

McGovern and Ó Súilleabháin, however, say there is “no evidence” that cannabis use is linked to schizophrenia and psychotic illness in young people. “In fact, the contrary is true,” says Ó Súilleabháinn . “Evidence in many countries shows no increase in schizophrenia despite a huge increase in cannabis use in recent years.”

In arguments for legalisation, comparisons with alcohol are often used: in a paper published in the Lancet on the comparative personal and social damage of drugs, alcohol ranked first.

“I would prefer my children smoke cannabis by a mile rather than drinking alcohol – there’s no comparison,” says McGovern, who runs a rehabilitation programme in south Co Dublin.

“Alcohol is devastating, so physically and psychologically damaging, once it gets hold of you it’s really horrible; it destroys families and ravages the body. Cannabis doesn’t do those things the way alcohol does.”

McGovern, however, does say that under the age of 18 the adolescent brain is too malleable for any psychoactive substance to be completely safe.
If legalised and regulated, cannabis would be safer, allowing for testing of the product to prevent contamination and to enable grading of the drug in regards to strength and the THC/CBD ratio, as happens now in Colorado, argues Ó Súilleabháin. Cannabis legalisation would take millions out of the criminal economy, he adds, lift the burden from Garda and, if taxed, would add to State coffers.

Such arguments have tipped public opinion in favour of legalisation in the US and in several European states. Ireland remains some way off joining them.

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 01-20-2014

in Marijuana in the News Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:26 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points

url: hMPp://news.sky.com/story/1197059/one-year-ban-on-colorado-cannabis-tourism-ads

One-Year Ban On Colorado Cannabis Tourism Ads

The Rocky Mountain state has become the first in the US to legalise the commercial production and sale of cannabis for recreational use.

A flood of tourists have poured into the state since the new law took effect and companies are springing up to offer a range of cannabis holidays.

One of them, Colorado Rocky Mountain High Tours, provides a stretched Hummer limousine for tours of the newly-licenced cannabis dispensaries. Others are lining up Valentine’s Day specials.

But Rich Grant, spokesman for Visit Denver, says the city wants to see if cannabis tourism is sustainable before allowing the new companies to advertise.

He told Sky News: "This is an unknown territory. No-one knows if people will come here as marijuana tourists and how much the industry will grow. You can't base a sound marketing decision on ten days of business."

One problem facing cannabis entrepreneurs is that Denver has only a handful of hotel rooms that allow smoking. Cannabis cannot be consumed in public.

But Debbie Grossett, who travelled a thousand miles to take the limo tour, said she hoped other states followed Colorado's example and legalised.

She said: "I go to buy cannabis here and no-one offers me harder drugs. If I go to buy cannabis where it is illegal, there are drug dealers who offer much harder drugs. This is a better way."

Legalisation has certainly brought a new breed of potential users into stores that previously were allowed to sell only to those with certified medical need.

Dena Singh visited a dispensary for the first time, she said, because of an upcoming surgery.

She told Sky News: "eople like me, just regular every day mums probably will give it a try especially if shops turn into more mother-friendly kind of coffee shops. If it all opens up, I think people will give it a try.

"I have thought about it before and was always put off but I think a lot of people will now take action and do what they have always wanted to do."

Dispensary owners say they are seeing three times the number of customers who used to come through the door for medical reasons.

Washington state is due to follow Colorado's example in the next few weeks. Another 18 states, plus Washington DC, currently allow cannabis use for medical reasons.

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
Scroll up


RE: MJ News for 01-20-2014

in Marijuana in the News Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:28 am
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


As Uruguay moves to legalise cannabis, is the ‘war on drugs’ finished?

It wasn’t just students with Bob Marley posters on their walls that celebrated the country’s move to legalise cannabis, which takes effect in April. Many other (presumably) not-under-the-influence voices praised what they saw as a bold, practical move to combat the problems caused by the illegal drug trade. Some even suggested Mujica should win a Nobel prize.

Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst for Transform Drug Policy Foundation and author of How to Regulate Cannabis, advised the Uruguayan president and government on their cannabis reform laws.

‘The Uruguayans looked long and hard at the evidence of the war on drugs approach, which showed that it’s enormously expensive but it neither deters use, nor reduces availability,’ said Rolles.

‘The war on drugs, like US alcohol prohibition, has been an unmitigated disaster. It has, however, achieved a great deal for the gangsters that now control a market worth £260bn a year, not to mention corrupt officials, prison builders and money-laundering banks who’ve all profited hugely from this 50-year folly. They have decided the pragmatic solution is to put the government, rather than gangsters and unregulated dealers, in control of the cannabis market.’

But is Uruguay’s move a one-off, or could others get hooked on the idea?

‘For most Latin American countries, this is not a rhetorical war,’ said Rolles. ‘It’s very real and involves horrific violence on a daily basis. The region’s carried a heavier burden than any other and they’ve had enough. Serving heads of state are now lining up to condemn the war on drugs and support reform. Momentum’s building rapidly. Uruguay is just the first domino.’

The United Nations declared Uruguay’s move a violation of international legal agreements. And many still believe the war to rid the world of drugs is the way forward.

‘The international system for drug control has been quite efficient, while at the same time not perfect,’ says Per Johansson, secretary of the board of the World Federation Against Drugs.

‘Alcohol kills about 2.5m people every year,’ he said. ‘Tobacco kills six million. This is because these drugs are legal and thus widely used. If cannabis became legal all over the world, we’d see large health problems in the same way we have with alcohol and tobacco. There really can’t be any other goal for the world’s drug policy than a drug-free world.’

Mexico is one of the main countries to bear the brunt of the ‘war on drugs’, with about 100,000 deaths from drug-related violence since 2006, despite former president Felipe Calderón upping the ‘war effort’ and deploying 50,000 troops against the cartels.

The war on drugs in Mexico was ‘a farce and a terrible outcome for the population’, claims Anabel Hernández, Mexican journalist and author of Narcoland.

She accused a corrupt government, under Calderón, of working with the cartels. ‘Nothing was resolved,’ she said. ‘The result of the false war on drugs was terrible. When the Calderón government began, there were three major cartels. After the “war”, there are now more criminal organisations and also hundreds of criminals, independent crime cells and “security groups” that resemble paramilitaries. We are certainly worse off than ever.’

If governments were serious about tackling the trade, they would stop banks and businesses that launder the cartels’ money and also punish corrupt officials, Hernández argues.

Instead, in Mexico and elsewhere, people suffer the effects of violence, while the drugs keep flowing. Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, has called for new approaches to the war on drugs to ‘take away the violent profit that comes with drug trafficking’. He said: ‘If that means legalising, and the world thinks that’s the solution, I will welcome it. I’m not against it.’

Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, said: ‘The debate on drugs in Latin America is definitely opening up. Several governments in the region are no longer prepared to bear the high human and financial costs of the zero-tolerance, drug war ideology.

‘It’s led to unimaginable violence, overcrowded prisons and ever more powerful drug cartels. And it simply hasn’t worked – the drug trade is, unfortunately, as robust as ever. Uruguay has led the charge on this by taking this progressive step. Other governments will be watching closely and we expect at least a few to follow their lead.’

The US is largely seen as the driving force behind the war on drugs. But Max Daly, co-author of Narcomania, said: ‘The war on drugs is weakening. In America, the spiritual home of the global war on drugs, the decisions of individual states to legalise cannabis have made it tough for the US to criticise countries such as Uruguay. Colorado and Washington states are legalising all cannabis and many other states have already legalised medicinal cannabis.’

There are shifts elsewhere too. ‘In New Zealand, they’ve decided to regulate the raft of new drugs now being concocted, rather than ban them,’ said Daly.
‘Decriminalisation is being trialled to varying degrees in around 30 countries, including Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Chile, Mexico and Portugal.

Meanwhile, some countries like Thailand and China execute drug users and drug dealers. The UK’s one of the few countries that’s failed to at least experiment with drug laws. Any political party that suggests ending prohibition will get kicked out or not voted in, because they’ll get shot down as crazy hippies.’

The debate will run on. But many now see legalisation and regulation as preferable to an unwinnable, unending war.

‘We know prohibition has never worked, whilst demand remains,’ said Rolles. ‘So we have a choice: either responsible governments can take control of the drugs market or we leave it in the hands of violent criminal profiteers. There’s no third option in which drugs magically disappear.

‘Legal regulation needn’t mean a commercial free-for-all. We need to learn from the mistakes we’ve made with alcohol and tobacco, and get it right this time.’

BHC# 711

"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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