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Chronicle AM: NE Felony Pot Brownies, OK Pot Lawsuit Protest, Mexico Cop-Zeta Ties, More (12/26/14)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Fri, 12/26/2014 - 21:37

Some Nebraska counties are charging possession of marijuana brownies as a felony, Oklahoma activists will rally against the state's lawsuit against Colorado's marijuana law, San Diego closes more dispensaries, a new document reveals links between cartel gangsters and cops in Northern Mexico, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Western Nebraska Counties Are Charging Possession of Some Marijuana Edibles as a Felony. Even though pot possession has been decriminalized in the state for decades, some counties near Colorado are now treating foods containing marijuana extracts as a Schedule I drug, possession of which is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Prosecutors in some Western counties say that pastries that contain actual marijuana will be treated like marijuana, but those containing concentrates will be treated as a Schedule I drug.

Nevada NAACP Leader Urges Legislators to Legalize It This Coming Session. Jeffrey Blanck, president of the Reno-Sparks chapter of the NAACP, has sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to legalize marijuana during the 2015 legislature. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Nevada already has a legalization initiative approved for the 2016 ballot. The legislature has the first 40 days of the session to approve the initiative; if it doesn't, it goes directly to the voters in 2016.

Oklahoma Activists to Protest Pot Lawsuit Against Colorado. Oklahoma marijuana legalization supporters have organized a protest against state Attorney General Scott Pruitt's decision to join Nebraska in suing Colorado to try to undo legalization there. Led by OK NORML and the Oklahoma Libertarian Party, activists have set up a Facebook invite to the January 8 rally. "Attorney General Scott Pruitt is suing Colorado for their marijuana laws," the page says. "This is a waste of taxpayer money and a clear violation of states' rights." Click on either link for more details.

Medical Marijuana

San Diego Officials Shut Down Five More Dispensaries. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has shuttered five more unpermitted dispensaries ahead of the opening of the first permitted dispensaries early next year. Four are set to open then. More than 200 dispensaries have been shut down in the past four years under threat of legal action, but as many as 50 unpermitted dispensaries remain.

Kratom

Kratom Will Be for Adults Only in Illinois Beginning Next Week. As of January 1, a new state law will limit the use and possession of the Southeast Asian herb kratom to adults. Kratom is said to have a high similar to opiates, but is not a controlled substance under federal law. It is, however, on the DEA's list of "drugs of concern." It has been banned in neighboring Indiana.

Law Enforcement

Lawsuit in Deadly Massachusetts SWAT Drug Raid Can Continue, Judge Rules. A police officer who shot and killed unarmed black Framingham resident Eurie Stamps, 68, in a January 2011 drug raid may have used excessive force, violating his constitutional rights, a US District Court judge ruled as he allowed a lawsuit against the officer to move forward. Officer Paul Duncan shot and killed Stamps as the elderly man lay prone on the floor of his apartment during the raid. Duncan claims the shooting was accidental, but Stamps is still dead, and his family is suing.

International

Mexican Cops Worked Closely With Zetas, Declassified Document Shows. A document declassified by Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam shows how police and traffic police in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, worked closely with the Zetas cartel in a series of killings of immigrants en route to the US known as the "San Fernando massacre," in which at least 72 immigrants were tortured and murdered.

Indonesian Ulama Supports President's Plan to Execute Drug Offenders. The Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, said Wednesday it supported President Joko Widodo's tough stance on drug traffickers. Widodo has refused to stop the execution of convicted drug offenders and is seeking support for his stance. He found it with the Ulama. "We support the death penalty for the drug dealers and the producers, but not the consumers," said Said Aqil Siradji, chairman of the Ulama's central board.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Regulatory Action Involving Pot Kept Issue Hot Throughout

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 12/26/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 26 Dec 2014 - Support it or not, there's no denying that this was a watershed year for marijuana. Within hours of the new year, the nation saw the first legally sanctioned sales of marijuana for recreational use in modern history. Throughout, states considered and often passed expanding access to the drug and, as recently as last weekend, Congress was interfering in D.C.'s pot policies and promising to stay out of the states.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US AZ: Column: 520 Cannabis Medical Marijuana

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 12/26/2014 - 08:00
Tucson Weekly, 26 Dec 2014 - MAPS receives $2 million grant from Colorado for Study of Medical Marijuana for PTSD Last week, fired UA researcher Sue Sisley learned that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment awarded the psychiatrist $2 million to her sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), for their marijuana study for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in 76 U.S. veterans.
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US: Native American Tribes Wade Carefully into Marijuana

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Fri, 12/26/2014 - 08:00
Washington Post, 26 Dec 2014 - Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP) - The Navajo Nation had bitter debates when it was deciding whether to allow casinos on the reservation and whether alcohol should be sold in them. The arguments focused on the revenue and jobs that casinos and liquor could bring to a community in which half the workforce is unemployed and most arrests and pervasive social ills are linked to alcohol abuse. When the federal government announced this month that it would allow Native American tribes to grow and sell marijuana, the divisive discussions returned. The tribal president's office talked about expanding crops to include marijuana for medicinal but not recreational use, while a tribal lawmaker quickly declared his opposition.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Column: Pot Turnaround On Tribal Lands

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 12/25/2014 - 08:00
North Coast Journal, 25 Dec 2014 - Following a trend of relaxing marijuana policy, the Department of Justice announced recently that it will no longer prosecute people who grow marijuana on tribal lands. Though the Obama administration recently said something similar regarding states where marijuana has been legalized, the move was unanticipated and, in places, unwelcome, according to reports. Many tribes prohibit marijuana cultivation in their own bylaws. But the announcement has already spurred a movement in the Hoopa Tribe to relax a ban on growing on the Hoopa Reservation.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CA: Column: Pot Progress Takes Diligence

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 12/25/2014 - 08:00
Sacramento News & Review, 25 Dec 2014 - OK, so this federal budget thing passed and I am confused. Is medical marijuana legal or not? - -Paul Ahseewonk Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. However, the new budget contains an amendment written by Dana Rohrabacher, R-Orange County, and Sam Farr, D-Central Coast, that prohibits federal agents from raiding medical cannabis facilities in states that have medical cannabis laws. By the way, 32 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing the use of medical cannabis, so this is kind of a big deal. Not only that, the new budget also strengthens protections for hemp farmers. And, like I mentioned last week, the Department of Justice has said that Native American tribes can grow and sell cannabis on tribal land. All in all, Obama has been a really good president when it comes to marijuana. I didn't like him all that much in 2011, when it seemed like damn near all the clubs in California were getting raided and shut down, but his policy work since then, and especially during his second term, has been excellent.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CO: Colorado's Pot Legalization Draws Homeless to Denver

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Thu, 12/25/2014 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 25 Dec 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Chris Easterling was sick of relying on drug dealers in Minneapolis when he needed marijuana to help ease the pain of multiple sclerosis. They were flaky, often leaving the homeless man without the drug when he needed relief the most. So he moved to Denver, where legal pot dispensaries are plentiful and accessible.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Chronicle AM: CO Guns and Weed, IL MedMJ Kids' Rules, CSSDP Conference Coming, More (12/24/14)

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 21:24

Colorado gun activists want pot consumers to be able to pack heat, Illinois posts rules for medical marijuana for kids, Lebanese hash farmers like all the legalization talk, a French report calls for a state monopoly on pot, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Colorado Gun Activists Want Concealed Weapons Permits for Marijuana Consumers. Gun rights activists are laying the groundwork for a 2016 ballot initiative aimed at allowing pot smokers to receive concealed carry permits. The Colorado Campaign for Equal Gun Rights wants to change state laws to prevent sheriffs from denying concealed carry permits to admitted marijuana users. The application asks people 14 questions under oath, including whether they are an "unlawful user" of marijuana. Some sheriffs have used that question to block permits, arguing that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Medical Marijuana

Illinois Posts Rules for Childrens' Medical Marijuana Use. State officials have released new emergency rules for allowing children to receive medical marijuana under a new law that goes into effect January 1. Kids won't be able to smoke marijuana, but will have to use edibles or liquid concentrates, and parents must get two doctors' signatures in order for their kids to be able to use it. Patient activists are calling that requirement "an unnecessary burden."

International

Lebanese Hash Farmers Like Idea of Legalizing Their Cash Crop. Recent calls from leading Lebanese political figures suggesting it is time to legalize marijuana production are winning support from leading hash farmers. Prominent Bekaa Valley hash farmer Ali Nasri said hash was a lifeline in a stagnant economy. "We decided here that we do not want people to go hungry," he told The Daily Star. "Instead of stealing, plant hashish and confront the state." Nasri also praised Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who last week reiterated prior calls to legalize the trade. Jumblatt feels "the pain of the Bekaa" and "the hunger" of its people, he said. "Hashish would bring in a lot of money to the government and is less damaging to health, and will create economic stimulus," he said. "Poor people will benefit."

Canadian SSDP Conference Coming to Toronto. Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) will hold their seventh annual conference in Toronto February 27 through March 1. Click here for details and deadlines.

France Could Earn $2.2 Billion in Pot Tax Revenues a Year, Report Finds. The regulated cultivation and sale of marijuana could generate more than $2 billion a year in tax revenues, according to a report from the Terra Nova Foundation, an award-winning think-tank affiliated with the Socialist Party. The report calls for a state monopoly on production and sales. The report is "Cannabis: Regulate the Market to Break the Impasse."

Categories: Medical Marijuana

The Year's Top 10 Domestic Drug Policy Stories [FEATURE]

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 17:51

Whew, what a year! Two more states legalize it -- and DC, too -- decriminalization spreads, and more. But it wasn't all good news. Here's our Top 10:

[image:1 align:left]1. Marijuana Legalization Wins at the Polls in Alaska, Oregon, and DC. In an Election Day clean sweep, voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, delivered a marijuana legalization trifecta. Legalization won with 53% of the vote in Alaska, 55% in Oregon, and a whopping 69% in Washington, DC, the highest percentage vote for legalization ever recorded. With victory in Oregon this year, every state that has had the chance to vote for legalization since 2012 has now done so.

2. The Sky Hasn't Fallen in Colorado and Washington. It's now been two years since the first two states to legalize marijuana did so, and the predicted horrible consequences have not materialized. While possession became legal almost immediately, legal sales commenced in January in Colorado and in July in Washington. Teen pot smoking declined this year, according to the annual Monitoring the Future survey, and Colorado teens in particular were consuming less weed, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment. Neither have traffic fatalities increased, according to The Washington Post. Nor has crime increased. What has increased is state revenues from the taxation of marijuana, from zero before legalization to tens of millions of dollars annually now.

3. Big Eastern Cities Decriminalize Pot Possession. The city councils in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, this year approved the decriminalization of small-time pot possession. Although New York state decriminalized in 1978, New York City had been the marijuana arrest capital of the world, thanks to NYPD's habit of stopping people, telling them to empty their pockets, and then charging them with the misdemeanor office of public possession instead of the civil infraction. Now, thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York cops can't do that anymore. And let's not forget Baltimore; the state of Maryland decriminalized this year, too.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]4. The Death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman Crystallizes Rising Concerns About Heroin and Prescription Opiates. The February overdose death of the acclaimed actor turned a glaring spotlight on the issues of heroin and prescription pain pill addiction and overdoses. Ever since, government at the federal, state, and local level has been moved by the urge to "Do something!" And it has -- with responses covering the gamut from harm reduction measures like 911 Good Samaritan laws and increased access to overdose reversal drugs to calls for more drug treatment to more-of-the-same drug war approaches and calls for more money for law enforcement.

5. California Defelonizes Drug Possession. With one fell swoop, California voters struck a big blow against mass incarceration when they approved Proposition 47 in November. The initiative makes drug possession and five other low-level, nonviolent offenses misdemeanors instead of felonies. It becomes the 14th state to do so, and by far the largest.

6. Congress Tells the Justice Department to Butt Out of Medical Marijuana States. In passing the omnibus spending bill last week, Congress approved an historic amendment barring the Justice Department from spending taxpayer funds to go after medical marijuana in states where it is legal. Passage does not promise an end to all federal interference -- it doesn't address taxing issues, for instance -- and it is only for this fiscal year, but this is still a landmark vote.

[image:3 align:left caption:true]7. Floridians Vote for Medical Marijuana, But It Still Loses. Florida should have been the first Southern state to approve medical marijuana, and 57% of Florida voters agreed in November. But because the Florida initiative was a constitutional amendment, it needed 60% of the vote to pass. Even with that high bar, the initiative still could have passed, if not for some campaign gaffes. Some $5 million worth of contributions to the "no" side by conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson didn't help, either.

8. Medical Marijuana Lite. Maryland passed a medical marijuana law and Minnesota and New York passed limited medical marijuana laws, but this was the year of low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana laws. Such measures passed in a number of states where full-blown medical marijuana hasn't, including Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Utah. They typically provide access to high-CBD cannabis oils to a limited number of patients.

9. The Obama Administration Moves to Reduce the Federal Drug War Prison Population. It didn't do it all by itself -- the US Sentencing Commission deserves recognition for proposing sentencing reforms -- but the president and Attorney General Eric Holder spoke our vigorously and repeatedly against mandatory minimums and over-incarceration. It wasn't just talk; the Justice Department instructed US Attorneys to find ways to reduce the use of mandatory minimum sentencing, and exhorted federal drug prisoners to seek clemency.

10. But The Drug War Juggernaut Continues to Roll. Despite all the good news this year, the reality is that we are still nibbling around the edges. While marijuana arrests the previous year were down to just under 700,000 (the historic high was 872,000 in 2008) and overall drug arrests declined by about 50,000, there were still 1.5 million people arrested on drug charges. And the number of people arrested for drugs other than marijuana actually increased.

Categories: Medical Marijuana

Australia: $9 Million To Trial Medical Marijuana

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
Coffs Coast Advocate, 24 Dec 2014 - CHILDREN with severe epilepsy and terminally ill adults may be treated with medical marijuana under a NSW clinical trial. The NSW Government will fund the $9 million trial of at least three marijuana-derived medicines. The trial will examine the benefits to patients with a number of serious diseases.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Canada: Going To Pot

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
Prince George Citizen, 24 Dec 2014 - As Attitudes Toward Marijuana Mellow, Could Legalization Be Next? Smoke it, toke it, vape it, eat it - marijuana, it seems, is going mainstream. Once widely reviled by society at large as the demon weed, medical-grade cannabis is now available through federally licensed growers with a doctor's prescription and even some highly respected health organizations are calling for the herb to be legalized and sold as a taxable commodity like alcohol, in government-regulated outlets.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CO: Proposal Seeks Gun Permits For Colorado Pot Users

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 24 Dec 2014 - DENVER (AP) - Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales. Now the state's voters may consider a ballot measure to allow cannibis smokers to carry concealed firearms. The "Colorado Campaign for Equal Gun Rights" is working to put a question on the November 2016 ballot to have Colorado ignore guidelines from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about firearms and marijuana.
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US CA: Column: Remembering Marijuana POWs

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
SF Weekly, 24 Dec 2014 - The letters sent from prison inmates follow a script. In block letters, handwritten in pencil, as many words as possible are squeezed onto irregular scraps of paper. Sentences are vague and innocuous so as to not raise the hackles of the prison censor. They're also profoundly depressing, even when the prisoner claims to be in good spirits. "On the way here, the guards had the prisoner next to me taken out and killed," read one letter I received from a man who is doing time for running a state-legal dispensary. "There are other things I can only tell you about in person."
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CO: Column: States Sue Over Cannabis, Colorado Approves

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
Colorado Springs Independent, 24 Dec 2014 - Or change your laws As the beginning of the lawsuit filed last week puts it, "Come now the States of Nebraska and Oklahoma, by and through their Attorneys General" ... to stop legalized marijuana. The states are suing the state of Colorado in the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to get the federal government to curtail Colorado's industry.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US IL: Kids to Have Access to Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
Chicago Tribune, 24 Dec 2014 - State Allowing Food, Liquid Infusions for Qualifying Children Children who live in Illinois will be allowed access to medical marijuana in the new year under rules announced by state officials Tuesday.
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US OK: Colorado Pot Challenge 'Ridiculous,' Tulsan Says

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
Tulsa World, 24 Dec 2014 - A leader of efforts to revise Oklahoma's marijuana laws says Attorney General Scott Pruitt's attempt to stop legal retail sales in Colorado is "ridiculous" and mischaracterizes that state's cannabis industry. Chip Paul, a Tulsa business owner and leader of Oklahomans for Health, said it would be impossible to accumulate more than a small quantity of marijuana through legal purchases in Colorado, and that licensed growers have too much at stake to sell on the black market.
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US CA: App Can't Deliver Pot

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Wed, 12/24/2014 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 24 Dec 2014 - Judge Says Nestdrop, Which Takes Orders From Customers, Is Violating L.A. Law. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge said Tuesday that Nestdrop, a smartphone application that lets customers order medical marijuana, must stop delivering pot.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update

Medical Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 12/23/2014 - 23:54

Another medical organization calls for rescheduling, a California court rules that concentrates are medicine, Colorado starts handing out medical marijuana research money, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]National

Last Wednesday, the American Academy of Neurology called for rescheduling marijuana. In a just-released position statement on the use of medical marijuana for neurological disorders, the academy said it could not yet recommend medical marijuana for those disorders "because further research is needed to determine the benefits and safety of such products." To that end, the academy "requests the reclassification of marijuana-based products from their current Schedule I status so as to improve access for study of marijuana or cannabinoids under IRB-approved research protocols." Click on the link to read the entire position statement.

California

Last Thursday, a state appeals court ruled that cannabis concentrates qualify as medical marijuana. The 3rd District Court of Appeal ruled that "concentrated cannabis" qualifies as marijuana for purposes of medical use. The ruling came in People v. Mulcrevy, in which medical marijuana patients and probationer Sean Patrick Mulcrevy was accused of violating his probation because he was caught in possession of cannabis oil. Concentrated cannabis "is covered by the Compassionate Use Act, and there is insufficient evidence Mulcrevy violated his probation in light of that conclusion," the appeals court held unanimously.

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles judge order Nestdrop to stop making medical marijuana deliveries. Nestdrop, a smart phone app, had been the subject of a complaint by LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, who said it violates a law restricting deliveries in the city. Nestdrop had already quit making deliveries, but now there is a preliminary injunction to prevent it from restarting.

Colorado

Last Wednesday, the Board of Health awarded more than $8 million for medical marijuana research. The awards will allow researchers to investigate marijuana's medical potential, not its downsides, as is required for most federally-approved research on marijuana. Three of the eight studies will still require federal approval and marijuana from the US government. In the other five "observational" studies, subjects will be providing their own marijuana. Researchers will study marijuana's impact on PTSD, irritable bowel syndrome, pain relief for children with brain tumors, pediatric epileptic seizures, and compare it with oxycodone for pain relief.

New Hampshire

Last Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it was taking dispensary applications. It released its request for applications for people who want a shot at operating one of the four "alternative treatment centers" contemplated under the state's medical marijuana laws. The state is divided into four geographic areas; each will be allowed one dispensary.

New York

Last Friday, the Department of Health released draft medical marijuana regulations. The Department of Health released the draft regs, but advocates say they are too tight. "New York will be one of the more restrictive programs in the country, which could inhibit patients from getting the relief they need," the Drug Policy Alliance complained. Click on the title link for details on the draft regs.

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

Categories: Medical Marijuana

US CO: Colorado Considers Letting Pot Smokers Carry Concealed

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/23/2014 - 08:00
Daily Mail, 23 Dec 2014 - Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales. Now the state's voters may consider a ballot measure to allow pot smokers to carry a concealed firearm. The 'Colorado Campaign for Equal Gun Rights' is working to put a question on the November 2016 ballot to have Colorado ignore guidelines from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about firearms and pot.
Categories: Medical Marijuana

US: Tribes Treading Carefully Into Pot Discussions

Cannabis - Medicinal (MAP) - Tue, 12/23/2014 - 08:00
Washington Times, 23 Dec 2014 - FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. (AP) - The Navajo Nation had bitter debates when it was deciding whether to allow casinos on the reservation and whether alcohol should be sold in them. The arguments focused on the revenue and jobs that casinos and liquor could bring to a reservation where half the workforce is unemployed and most arrests and pervasive social ills are linked to alcohol abuse. When the federal government announced this month that it would allow American Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana, the same divisive discussions resurfaced. The tribal president's office talked of expanding crops to include pot for medicinal but not recreational use, while a tribal lawmaker quickly declared his opposition.
Categories: Medical Marijuana
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