MJ News for 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:03 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Washington House Overwhelmingly Approves Ban On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Last night the Washington House of Representatives approved a bill that would abolish medical marijuana dispensaries, a.k.a. “collective gardens,” and impose new restrictions on patients who use cannabis for symptom relief. H.B. 2149, which passed by a vote of 67 to 29, would thereby eliminate some of the unregulated competition for the state-licensed pot stores that are expected to start opening this summer under I-502, the legalization initiative that Washington voters approved in November 2012. Supporters of the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), hope that banning dispensaries will help maximize tax revenue and mollify the feds.

he bill requires patients to buy their cannabis from the same stores that serve recreational customers, which would be the only legal sellers of medical marijuana as of May 1, 2015, when the provision allowing collective gardens would be repealed. Patients could continue to grow marijuana for their own use, but the maximum number of plants would be reduced from 15 to six (three of them flowering). The ceiling on possession by patients would be cut from 24 ounces to three. The bill instructs the state Department of Health, together with the Washington State Liquor Control Board (which is charged with regulating marijuana growers, processors, and retailers), to produce a report by November 15, 2019, on the question of whether it is appropriate to continue allowing home cultivation.

Cody’s legislation would create a “patient recognition” system that would allow cardholders to buy up to three ounces at a time (as opposed to one ounce for recreational customers), avoid paying sales taxes (a privilege addressed in a separate bill), and claim immunity from arrest for possession or cultivation within the limits set by law. Currently there is no central record of qualified patients. Patients with doctor’s recommendations have an affirmative defense against marijuana charges, meaning they can still be arrested, although not convicted. H.B. 2149 would eliminate that affirmative defense, effectively requiring qualified patients to register with the state if they want to be recognized as such.

“I think that we can satisfy some of the patients,” Cody said after the vote. “I don’t think that all of the medical marijuana community will be happy.”

That might be an understatement. “Our cowardly legislators voted to effectively end medical cannabis here,” says Steve Sarich, executive director of the Cannabis Action Network, who opposed I-502 partly because of the impact he expected it to have on medical consumers. “Patients are in shock. If the Senate votes to pass this bill, Washington will be the first state to end medical cannabis.” All but three of the 29 votes against Cody’s bill came from Republicans. “The Democrats, who supported I-502, were behind this, along with the governor,” Sarich says. “Who would have thought it would be the Republicans trying to protect the rights of patients?”

The bill now goes to the state Senate, which is considering several measures that address medical marijuana. The 2014 legislative session ends on March 13.

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 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:04 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Leftist Mexican lawmakers present medical marijuana bill

(Reuters) - Left-wing Mexican senators on Tuesday presented an initiative to legalize medical marijuana, saying a new approach was needed to speed up drug liberalization and help end a cycle of cartel violence that has killed tens of thousands.

Mexico has been shaken by a wave of gang-related violence since former President Felipe Calderon launched a military crackdown on drug cartels seven years ago, and there is growing pressure both domestically and regionally to explore new ways of tackling the problem.

"Seventy thousand dead, 26,000 disappeared and an incalculable number of internally displaced are more than sufficient reason to look for an alternative model," congressman Fernando Belaunzaran told reporters.

The proposal is one of several efforts by members of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) to decriminalize cannabis.

Officials have said that President Enrique Peña Nieto is watching developments in marijuana legislation around the world, but he has so far opposed any move to legalize any illegal drugs.

The PRD is the third largest party in Mexico's Congress, and neither Pena Nieto's party nor the country's conservative opposition have supported marijuana legalization efforts.

The Senate bill will provide a legal framework for the production, transportation and distribution of medical marijuana, PRD Senator Mario Delgado said. The PRD said it would present the same initiative to the lower house next week.

In 2009, Mexico made it legal to carry up to 5 grams (0.18 ounce) of marijuana, 500 milligrams (0.018 ounce) of cocaine and tiny amounts of heroin and methamphetamine.

The PRD bill would increase the amount of marijuana that is legal to carry sixfold to 30 grams (1.06 ounces).

The move by Mexican lawmakers follows recent marijuana legalization initiatives in Uruguay and the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington.

Belaunzaran noted the United States, "the champion of prohibition," is changing its approach to marijuana, citing the Obama administration's decision not to intervene federally in state marijuana measures. Medical marijuana is now legal in 20 U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

Cannabis decriminalization is also being considered by Mexico City's city assembly, which has been controlled by the PRD since 1997. Last week, city lawmakers announced details of a proposal to establish legal marijuana sales in the capital, although the bill will not be formally presented until March.

The Mexico City decriminalization effort could be subject to a federal crackdown without the Senate reform.

Legalization efforts have been boosted by several high-profile supporters, including former Presidents Vicente Fox and Ernesto Zedilllo.

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 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:06 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Oklahoma councilman wants his city to become safe haven for marijuana users

OKLAHOMA CITY – A local city councilman would like his city to become the first in Oklahoma to allow residents to possess marijuana in small amounts.

The Village City Councilman Jerry Broughton proposed the ordinance idea at last week’s city council meeting but he received no support from his peers.

Councilman Hutch Hibbard said it would only encourage pot smokers to move to The Village to use and grow the drug, which would conflict with their efforts to be a family friendly community.

Broughton says jails and the court system are unnecessarily clogged with young marijuana users who are not dangerous to the community if they use a small amount of the drug in their own homes.

He also believes it’s time to allow Oklahomans to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, said a recent study showed less than one percent of prisons are occupied by people convicted of marijuana possession.

He said judges give marijuana offenders plenty of opportunities to avoid jail time through drug court and/or suspended sentences.

The Village City Council may discuss the subject again at Tuesday night’s meeting.

While it may be discussed, there are no current plans to put the item on the agenda.

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 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:11 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Minnesota Poll: Majority support legalization of medical marijuana

bare majority of Minnesotans say the state should legalize medical marijuana.

According to a new Star Trib­une Minnesota poll, 51 percent of Minnesotans support legalization for medicinal uses, while 41 percent oppose a change in state drug laws. Twenty states, plus the District of Columbia, already allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for a range of medical conditions, from cancer to epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers is pushing for Minnesota to follow suit when the Legislature returns to work at the end of this month, but those lawmakers will encounter substantial resistance. Opponents of legalization, which include virtually every major law enforcement group in the state, fear that wider access to marijuana will hurt more people than it helps.

The poll also found that Minnesotans’ support for legalization has its limits — 63 percent oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Only 30 percent thought the state should follow the example of Colorado and Washington, two states that recently opted for full legalization.

Some sick Minnesotans aren’t waiting for the Legislature to act or the poll numbers to come in.

Patrick McClellan of Burnsville treats his muscular dystrophy with marijuana. It’s an illegal drug, but it’s the best way he’s found to ease the severe, violent muscle spasms that sometimes hit him like a full-body charley horse. He’s been prescribed plenty of legal treatments — he takes 26 different pills a day — but none of them ease the spasms as quickly and effectively, he says.

“It was drilled into my head when I was a kid that [marijuana was] bad, evil,” said McClellan, a 47-year-old chef. He first tried marijuana several years ago, after a particularly bad attack left him trapped between his bed and the walls of his bedroom for hours, in agony and unable to move, until his wife came home. When he told his doctors of his experience with marijuana, “they were not surprised. My neurologist told me, ‘It’s not going to hurt you. A lot of people find the same results. If it helps, do it.’ ”

Minnesota decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana years ago. If police did raid McClellan’s house, he would face at most a petty misdemeanor charge. Legislation proposed in the Minnesota House and Senate would legalize medical dispensaries, one per county and more in large urban areas, where patients like McClellan could go to have marijuana prescriptions filled if they didn’t want to grow their own marijuana plants at home.

Support and opposition to medical marijuana ranges across political lines — a number of Republicans at the Legislature have lined up to support DFL-sponsored legalization bills in the House and Senate, while DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has expressed strong reservations about legalizing medical marijuana as long as law enforcement opposes the idea.

Divisions in the poll were more stark, with 77 percent of Democrats in favor of medical marijuana and 17 percent opposed, compared to just 23 percent of Republicans who backed the idea and 69 percent who opposed it. Political independents split on the issue, with 44 percent in favor of medical marijuana and 47 percent opposed.

Among those who favor legalization for recreational use, only one group eked out a majority. Among Democrats, 54 percent support full legalization. But that was offset by overwhelming opposition from Republicans, at 86 percent. Only 19 percent of independents support full legalization.

Even among younger Minnesotans, ages 18 to 34, nearly half oppose legalizing pot for nonmedical use. Opposition is strong in Hennepin and Ramsey counties at 51 percent and even stronger outstate, where 71 percent oppose it.

Few admit to smoking pot

Support for medical marijuana legalization was highest among Democrats, younger voters, more-affluent voters, and among people who have tried pot themselves.

Minnesotans remain squeamish about admitting to personal pot use. Only 26 percent of those polled admitted to ever using marijuana, while 69 percent said they had not. Among Minnesotans over age 65 — which would include many who came of age during the 1960s and ’70s — 90 percent said they had never tried marijuana. In outstate Minnesota, 71 percent said they have never used the drug.

“I’m the older generation,” said Jeanette Johnson, a recent retiree who lives in Lonsdale. “I don’t like drugs or smoking. … You just kind of wonder what the world’s coming to. I think it leads to more drugs; kids starting at a young age with marijuana, getting high. There’s a possibility it does help with medical issues, but once it’s legalized and you get a lot of people smoking, it’s just not a good situation.”

Among those who said they have tried the drug, 76 percent supported medical marijuana legalization and 61 percent backed recreational legalization.

Legalization of medical marijuana passed the House and Senate in 2009 but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Rather than risk another gubernatorial veto, House sponsor Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, said she and other lawmakers are trying to hammer out a short-term compromise with law enforcement — possibly a bill that would legalize only the nonnarcotic marijuana strain used to treat children with seizure disorders.

Melin said she sees legalization of medical marijuana as inevitable, given that 21 states already have done so. “I don’t see why we keep pushing it off when we could just get it done and get it right,” she said.

Greg Adams is one Minnesotan who would love to see his state follow Colorado’s example and legalize recreational marijuana.

“I’m so tired of the hypocrisy of choosing which drugs should be legal and which should be illegal. Alcohol’s the poster child for that,” said Adams, who felt strongly enough about the issue to join Minnesota’s chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Alcohol’s an extremely dangerous drug, as everyone knows, and then you have mari­juana, which is really a pretty benign drug, which causes almost no social ills and some social benefits, yet it’s illegal. I don’t know how people can live with the hypocrisy of that.”

If Minnesota’s marijuana laws don’t change, Adams is considering a move to Colorado after he retires.

“I’m tired of being viewed as a criminal just because I smoke marijuana,” he said. “I’ll live someplace where I’m not a criminal.”

The poll surveyed 800 Minnesota adults between Feb. 10 and 12 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Three-fourths were reached through a land line, one fourth by cellphone. It included 39 percent Democrats, 30 percent Republicans and 26 percent of Minnesotans who said they were independent or identify with another party.

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 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:13 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


(California) Major marijuana legalization measure off the table for 2014

Despite polls indicating that Californians are poised to legalize pot, the state's best shot for a marijuana measure has suddenly gone up in smoke -- and that likely means the Golden State will have to wait until at least 2016 to catch up with other pot-friendly Western states.

Backers of the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act -- including the Drug Policy Alliance, bankrolled by billionaires such as financier George Soros and the late Peter Lewis -- said Tuesday they will stop gathering signatures to put the measure on the ballot this year.

"We decided it was more important to do it right than to do it fast," Stephen Gutwillig, the Drug Policy Alliance's deputy executive director, said Tuesday. "We ultimately came quite close but just decided we didn't have enough of the pieces in place right now."

Colorado and Washington have already legalized recreational pot, and a Field Poll in December reported 55 percent of Californians now support legalization -- the first time in 44 years that the poll found a clear majority favoring the change. That followed other polls earlier in 2013 showing fast-growing support for legalization -- which thrilled marijuana activists.

But that excitement didn't bring unity. Besides the Drug Policy Alliance measure, two other legalization initiatives started circulating in recent months -- though neither seems to have the deep pockets and grass-roots backing needed to successfully gain a position on this November's ballot.

Proponents of the three measures were never able to come to terms over how to legalize the weed. They disagreed on how marijuana sales would be regulated, how much weed people could grow or possess, and how legalization of recreational pot would interact with California's existing medical marijuana laws.

The group Americans for Policy Reform still hopes to make a go of its California Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act by April's petition-signature deadline, but Dave Hodges -- one of its proponents -- said fundraising has been difficult, in part because the Drug Policy Alliance's measure sucked all the air out of the room.

The campaign has raised only about $10,000 in recent weeks, and a campaign finance report shows it was about $500 in the red as of Dec. 31.

Yet Hodges, founder of San Jose's All American Cannabis Club, said he hopes the money will start rolling in soon. He said the campaign's short-term goal is about $3 million in order to get the measure on the ballot.

"We're feeling really good about our chances," he said.

Colorado and Washington voters approved their legalization measures in November 2012, and Colorado stores began selling marijuana legally to great fanfare on Jan. 1, while Washington is expected to start in June. Alaskans are expected to vote on a measure in August; advocates in Oregon hope to put a measure on November's ballot, but fundraising has been slow.

In 2010, only 46.5 percent of Californians voted for Proposition 19, a legalization measure, even though the Field Poll at that time pegged support for legalization at 50 percent.

Federal law still bans the cultivation, sale, possession and use of marijuana, though the Obama administration last week issued new guidelines for federally regulated banks that work with marijuana-related businesses in Colorado, Washington and the 20 states -- including California -- where marijuana is legal for medicinal use.

Gutwillig said his coalition had thought it would be best for California not to try another legalization measure until 2016, when the presidential election would mobilize a larger, younger voter population. But, he said, polling last year showed "Californians are ready now to control marijuana in a different way; they see legalization as inevitable."

So his group began hiring consultants, stepping up its research and drafting a measure. The group filed it with the state even before the Field Poll came out in December.

Ultimately, however, the time frame proved too short, Gutwillig said Tuesday. "If we had a couple more months, we would've been able to do it," he said, noting that the coalition had lined up enough money to put the measure on the ballot but not yet enough to run the full campaign.

Yet another measure -- the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative -- has been circulating in recent months. Proponent Buddy Duzy, of Simi Valley, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

Duzy in late January re-submitted the measure to the state Attorney General's Office, essentially re-starting the clock for the measure and thus making it almost impossible to gather enough signatures by mid-April to make November's ballot.

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 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:17 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Medical marijuana ordinance that would initiate six-month ban moves forward in Beaverton

The same day the Oregon State Senate unanimously passed a bill – now moving to the House – that allows cities and counties to regulate but not ban dispensaries, Beaverton City Councilors resumed a discussion regarding what, exactly, to do about medical marijuana in Beaverton.

City leaders have said they are in a lose-lose position, asked to defy either state or federal law. Councilors say they need time to sort through the options and put together something that will suit their city. The majority of the council is leaning toward a moratorium – effectively a six-month ban of medical marijuana dispensaries within the city – that would buy some time to think things through.

But at what cost? Some citizens expressed frustration during the council meeting, urging leaders to turn away from a temporary ban and defer to new state legislation that will allow dispensaries to become legally registered businesses in Oregon starting March 3.

The council won’t vote on the moratorium, and the ordinance that encases it, until next week, City Attorney Bill Kirby said. However, councilors did vote on Tuesday to initiate the first reading of the ordinance, with a second reading and a vote set for Tuesday, Feb. 25.

Councilor Betty Bode abstained from the first reading vote. It’s clear that, in the long run, most of her fellow councilors are looking at permitting dispensaries within the city, Bode said; she has no interest in allowing such businesses within Beaverton even after the proposed six-month moratorium.

“I publicly do not support this ordinance,” Bode said. “I cannot support forwarding the cause of medical marijuana.”

Bode, citing her background as a registered nurse and clinic administrator in Oregon, maintains a stance that Portland is close enough for a medical marijuana dispensary. If people can get around Beaverton to access marijuana, they can make it to Portland.

Meanwhile, Councilor Cate Arnold said marijuana has important medical benefits and people need safe access to medicine within their community. She urged councilors and staff to draft city requirements that will not unduly burden citizens looking to operate or to use a dispensary.

Councilors Ian King, Mark Fagin and Marc San Soucie say they want to time to figure out how medical marijuana outlets could be regulated in the long-term, and what will happen at the state and federal level in the coming months.

“What the lay of the land looks like from a regulatory standpoint is changing, literally, day to day,” King said. “This is not a permanent ban. The city could decide to do that if they wanted to, but this is not that.”

Fagin said the city still needs to look at zoning for dispensaries, timelines for issuing licenses and options for public outreach.

“I just want people to be patient, to know that we do need to do this right,” he said.

Chris Matthews with Cascadian Care Group, who said he hopes to eventually open a dispensary in Beaverton, told councilors that local governments should not restrict patient access to medications prescribed by doctors.

And Kelly Bence, another proponent of dispensaries, noted that Beaverton likely “would not want to use the time and money to fight this in court.”

Kirby, the city attorney, said ending up in court over the issue of medical marijuana outlets is a very real possibility.

But the city does have authority to regulate dispensaries, Kirby said, and he believes that authority extends to banning them outright.

His analysis conflicts with the opinion of state legal counsel, and a bill making its way through the Oregon Legislature could eliminate cities’ option of definitively banning dispensaries.

“(Beaverton’s ordinance) needs some work,” Kirby acknowledged. “As we have talked about, it’s a stop-gap ordinance.”

It would not lock down long-term city licensing regulations for medical marijuana outlets; the document is essentially a rough draft and a starting point for discussions.

However, the ordinance would solidify the six-month moratorium.

“Please, refrain from banning (dispensaries) outright,” Sam Chapman, an advocate for legalizing marijuana in Oregon, implored councilors.

Three other citizens at the meeting echoed his sentiment, and no one testified in favor of the moratorium.

“This isn’t a ban,” Councilor Arnold said. “This isn’t a veiled attempt at a ban.”

But if the ordinance snags at least three votes next week, medical marijuana outlets would be barred from Beaverton city limits for at least six months, or pending further action in the state Legislature or courts.

All city council meetings are open to the public and include the opportunity for public comment. Next Tuesday’s meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. at Beaverton City Hall.

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 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:19 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


Cannabis Capitalist Adapts to New Banking Rules

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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 02/19/2014

in Marijuana in the News Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:22 pm
by 7greeneyes | 469 Posts | 1830 Points


French cops indirectly getting high off seized cannabis

French cops are getting high off their own supply.

Police in the northern city of Roubaix are failing drug tests because of the amount of confiscated cannabis stored at their station.

Bosses say the overwhelming stench from almost 100 pounds of impounded skunk is passively finding its way inside officers' systems.

They are now suffering from crippling headaches.

And when they test themselves for consumption of the narcotic, most of them were found to be stoned.

"My colleagues are really bothered," local police union official Fabrice Danel told NordEclair.

"Some complain of nausea, headaches. Some were tested (because they were) worried or for fun. Most (came back) positive.

It's a scandal!" he added.

Police chiefs met up last week to try and resolve the situation, which began with a disagreement between commissioners and the drug disposal agency.

Judges have also warned of serious repercussions.

"Imagine that an officer, on duty or simply going home, causes an accident. A field test would show him positive for drugs and he would be arrested," he said.

"I imagine a blood test would come back negative, but the officer would end up being labelled corrupt," he added.

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

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