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Chronicle AM: INCB Scolds US, Uruguay on Pot; DC, NYC Top Cops on Marijuana, Iran Executions, More (3/315)

Drug War Chronicle - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 22:50

The top cops in DC and New York City offer wildly contrasting remarks on marijuana, Iran hangs drug offenders, while Indonesia prepares the firing squad for them, a Florida man gets acquitted of a marijuana cultivation charge in Florida by convincing a jury it was medical, and more. 

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

Delaware Governor Says Legalization Won't Happen on His Watch. "We've got a lot more to learn" before legalizing marijuana, Gov. Jack Markell (D) said in an interview. "I'm certainly willing to look at the decriminalization aspect. I am not in support of doing what they've done in Colorado or Washington state or a few other places, doing full legalization," Markell added. "It's not gonna happen while I'm governor. It may be the right thing. But I don't think we know. I think we need to take a few years and see what the impact has been in some of these other states." The legislature will take up a decriminalization bill this month.

DC City Council Approves Emergency Action to Ban Cannabis Clubs. The council voted unanimously today to ban cannabis clubs, as well as smoking it in bars, clubs, and virtually anywhere else outside a private residence. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the legislation was needed to close a loophole that could allow cannabis clubs, but legalization proponents criticized the move, saying it was unneeded and overly broad. They also warned that passage could render void an agreement they had with Bowser to try to tamp down public displays of pot smoking that could provoke congressional hard-liners.

DC Police Chief Says All Marijuana Arrests Do Is "Make People Hate Us." DC Police Chief Kathy Lanier has said that alcohol is a bigger problem that pot and that arresting people for marijuana doesn't accomplish anything. "Marijuana smokers are not going to attack and kill a cop," Lanier said while speaking at the American News Women’s Club. "They just want to get a bag of chips and relax. Alcohol is a much bigger problem. All those marijuana arrests do is make people hate us."

NYPD Commissioner Blames Marijuana for Jump in Murders. The NYPD blames marijuana for a 20% increase in homicides in the city. "The seemingly innocent drug that’s being legalized around the country — in this city, people are killing each other over marijuana," said Commissioner Bill Bratton. Reform advocates were quick to point out that the killings were a function of prohibition, not anything intrinsic to marijuana.

Maine Bill Seeks to Block Local Legalization Initiatives. Rep. James Campbell (I-Newfield) has filed a bill that says municipal marijuana legalization petitions "may not be approved for inclusion on the ballot or considered at any town meeting." The measure, LD 67, is currently before the Senate Committee on State and Local Government. Legalization proponents have successfully used local initiatives to win votes in some of the state's largest cities.

Texas Marijuana Legalization Bill Filed. Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) yesterday introduced House Bill 2165, which would legalize marijuana by removing all mention of the drug from state statutes. "Let’s allow the plant to be utilized for good—-helping people with seizures, treating warriors with PTSD, producing fiber and other products—-or simply for beauty and enjoyment," Simpson said.

Washington Senate Passes Bill to Ban Pot Vending Machines.  The Senate voted 47-0 yesterday to approve a bill banning pot sales in vending machines or drive-through windows. The measure is Senate Bill 5903. It now moves to the House.

Medical Marijuana

In Historic Verdict, Jury Acquits Florida Patient on Marijuana Charge. A Broward County jury effectively nullified the state's marijuana laws Monday by acquitting a defendant who testified that he grew and used pot for medicinal purposes. Jesse Teplicki testified at his trial that he smoked marijuana to treat the nausea and suppressed appetite that had been plaguing him for years. The jury deliberated for less than an hour before returning with a verdict of "not guilty." Teplicki, 50, was looking at up to five years in state prison if convicted.

Utah Medical Marijuana Bill Held Up. Sen. Mark Madsen (R-Saratoga Springs) tried to persuade his colleagues to hold a quick vote on Senate Bill 259 after a brief debate yesterday, but that didn't happen. The bill is now on hold with 10 days left in the session.

Asset Forfeiture

Wyoming Legislative Interim Committee Could Take Up Asset Forfeiture Reform. After the state Senate failed to override a veto of a civil asset forfeiture reform measure by Gov. Matt Mead (R), the Joint Judiciary Committee met yesterday to come up with a list of topics it wants to consider before the next session. Asset forfeiture reform is one of them, but the final decision will be made by a Management Committee consisted of legislative leaders from both parties.

Rehabilitation and Reentry

New Mexico Bill Barring Criminal Record Queries for Job Applicants Passes Senate. The Criminal Offender Employment Eligibility Act (Senate Bill 583) passed the Senate yesterday and heads to the House. The "ban the box" bill bars private employers from asking if someone has a criminal conviction. Six other states have similar law. New Mexico already has a similar law that applies to public employees.

International

INCB Annual Report Scolds US, Uruguay Over Marijuana Legalization. The UN's drug watchdog body, the International Narcotics Control Board, has wagged a finger at Uruguay, which became the first country to legalize marijuana, and at the US, where two states were singled out for criticism for having legalized it. The scolding came in the INCB's annual report, released today.

Leading Paraguayan Senator Calls for Marijuana Reforms. Senator Blas Llano, chair of the National Congress, has called for an end to pot prohibition in a bid to "put an end to the drug traffickers' business." Paraguay is the leading marijuana producers in South America and second only to Mexico in Latin America.Iran Hangs Eight for Drug Offenses in Past Week. At least people have been executed for drug crimes by Iranian authorities in the past week, according to the death penalty watch group Hands Off Cain. Iran executed hundreds of drug offenders last year and dozens so far this year. It is the world's leading drug executioner.

Indonesia Prepares to Execute 10 For Drug Offenses. Nine foreigners and one Indonesian citizen are set to be executed by Indonesian authorities later this week. Preparations at the execution site have been completed, and the prisoners are set to be transferred there tomorrow. The killings of foreigners have led to diplomatic disputes with some of their home countries, but that has not deterred Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who has consistently supported the death penalty for drug smuggling.

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US AK: Panel to Consider Limiting Alaska Households to 12

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 03 Mar 2015 - JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A House committee is trying to determine how much pot can be grown at one house. The House Community and Regional Affairs Committee will consider a 12-plant limit for each house as part of its bill addressing municipalities' role in regulating marijuana.
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US WA: Pot Charges 'Overzealous,' Federal Jury Told During

Top Stories (MAP) - Tue, 03/03/2015 - 08:00
Spokesman-Review, 03 Mar 2015 - The fate of three people accused of growing and dealing marijuana out of their rural Stevens County home will soon be in the hands of a federal jury. Those 12 people may also decide the future of federal prosecutions targeting marijuana growers.
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Chronicle AM: TX Border Surge Flops, Belize Decrim Proposal, British Drugged Driving Law, More (3/2/15)

Drug War Chronicle - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 22:40

There will be a smoke-out in Trenton later this month, medical marijuana is moving in Utah, the Texas "border surge" accomplishes little, KY cops ignore asset forfeiture reporting, a tough, new British drugged driving law has gone into effect, and more. 

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

Indian Tribes Gather in Washington State to Talk About Marijuana Production. Representatives of at least 75 tribes attended a conference in Tulalip last Friday to discuss legalizing, regulating, and producing marijuana on their reservations. The move comes after the Justice Department announced that it would not block tribes from doing so. Many tribes are cautious or reluctant to consider the notion, but there appears to be plenty of interest, too.

Colorado's 2014 Marijuana Sales Numbers. According to a to new report from the state, nearly five million pot-infused edibles and nearly 75 tons of marijuana were legally sold in Colorado last year. And that's with only 67 of the state's 321 local jurisdictions allowing for the sale of recreational or medical marijuana. Of course, those 67 localities are where most of the people are. Medical marijuana accounted for nearly 110,000 pounds of pot sales, while recreational accounted for nearly 39,000 pounds.

New Jersey Legalization Advocates Plan "NJ Spring Smoke-Out Rally" in Trenton. A coalition of groups advocating legalization will hold a "Million Marijuana March" for legalization or "any progressive measures on marijuana" on March 21. The groups include the East Coast Cannabis Coalition, the Coalition for Medical Marijuana - New Jersey, CB Delaware, Delaware NORML, Decarcerate the Garden State, The Legalize Marijuana Party, Legalize Cannabis in Atlantic City and Fully Baked Radio. Check the event's Facebook page for more details.

Medical Marijuana

New, Weaker CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Filed in Georgia Senate. The House last week passed a CBD cannabis oil bill, but now, Sen. Lindsey Tippins has filed a new bill that would not make the drug available, but would instead set up a four-year study. The Tippins bill is not yet up on the legislative website; the House bill that passed is House Bill 1.

Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Marijuana in Iowa. A new Des Moines Register poll has support for medical marijuana at 70%, up from 59% a year ago. The state approved a CBD cannabis oil bill last year, but patient advocates say that law is useless because it doesn't provide for distribution of the medication.

Utah Medical Marijuana Wins Senate Committee Vote.  The state Senate Judiciary Committee last Friday approved Senate Bill 259, a full-blown medical marijuana bill. The measure should go to the Senate for a floor vote this week.

Heroin & Prescription Opiates

Illinois Lawmakers File Omnibus Bill to Battle Opiate Addiction. House Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Lou Lang (D) and GOP Rep. John Anthony were set today to file a comprehensive, 240-page bill to deal with heroin and prescription opiate use and addiction. It would allow the overdose reversal drug naloxone to be distributed more widely, require the creation of a drug prevention program for schools, require that coroners report all overdose deaths to the Department of Public Health, require pharmacies to serve as drug "take back" sites, and limit pain reliever prescriptions.

Kentucky Senate Panel Hears House's Heroin Bill. Although the state Senate has already passed its own omnibus heroin bill, Senate Bill 5, the Senate Standing Committee on the Judiciary last Friday took up the House's omnibus heroin bill, which has lesser sentencing increases for heroin offenders, has a Good Samaritan provision, and allows for the broader use of the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The committee took no action on the bill.

New Synthetic Drugs

Indiana Supreme Court to Hear State's Appeal of Ruling Throwing Out Ban on Synthetic Drugs. The state's high court has agreed to hear an appeal from the state attorney general of a January Court of Appeals decision throwing out the state's ban on synthetic drugs as unconstitutionally vague. The appeals court explicitly rejected a list of more than 80 chemical compounds, look-alike substances, and synthetics as too difficult to understand.Asset Forfeiture

Kentucky Cops Generally Ignore State's Asset Forfeiture Law. LEX 18 TV News has looked into state law enforcement agencies' compliance with asset forfeiture statutes and has found that "a state law designed to give oversight of Kentucky asset forfeiture practices  is mostly ignored by Kentucky police agencies." According to the station, only 63 of about 400 law enforcement agencies in the state filed required annual reports on their drug-related seizures last year, "leaving potentially millions of dollars' worth of goods unaccounted for."

Law Enforcement

Texas "Border Surge" Accomplishes Little. Last year's "surge" on the Mexican border, which saw Texas National Guard troops, state troopers, and game wardens flood the border, has done little to stop the flow of drugs, state officials said Friday. But they still want another $815 million for two more years' worth of surging.

International

New British Drugged Driving Laws Now in Effect. New drugged driving laws went into effect yesterday in the UK. Officers can now do roadside tests for cocaine and marijuana with a "drugalyser." Previously, they had to arrest suspect and take them to a police station for a blood draw under medical supervision. Other drugs will still require going to the police station for a test. The law also covers prescription drugs. Under the law, police will not be required to prove impairment, only that the drugs were present.

Israeli Leftist Party Embraces Marijuana Legalization. With elections looming, the leftist Meretz Party is looking for a boost by embracing marijuana legalization. "Legalization and decriminalization have a political home, and that home is Meretz," said Tamar Zandberg in a video released on the party website last week. Zandberg is number five on Meretz's list for the Knesset.

CARICOM Agrees on Commission to Look at Pot Legalization. The Caribbean Community agreed over the weekend on the composition of a commission to look into marijuana legalization. Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, currently chairman of the group, said members expect the commission to "soon begin its work to look into the economic, health and legal issues surrounding the use of marijuana and to consult with stakeholders to get a view on the issue." The move comes just days after Jamaica gave final approval to decriminalizing marijuana.

Belize Decriminalization of Marijuana Committee Issues Report, Calls for…Decriminalization. After nearly three years of pondering, the decriminalization committee has called for decriminalization. The committee is calling for possession of less than 10 grams to be subject only to administrative penalties. 

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US DC: Future Is Smokin'

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:00
Washington Times, 02 Mar 2015 - Marijuana Convention in D.C. Helps Put Growers in Business Legally Part patchouli, part power suit, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts gathered over the weekend for the District's first cannabis convention since the city legalized recreational marijuana - offering a glimpse of the emerging markets that could take hold in the nation's capital.
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US RI: The Art, and Science, Behind Growing Medical Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 02 Mar 2015 - R.I. Growers Can Attest to Perils of New Market PORTSMOUTH, R.I. - A tiny spider mite is all it could take to cripple Seth Bock's business. Bock grows marijuana, legally, for a living, and the peril presented by just one small insect illustrates how difficult it can be to establish a thriving dispensary.
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US CT: OPED: D.C. Pot Games

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:00
The Day, 02 Mar 2015 - Amid all the uncertainties surrounding the legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia, a few things are clear. Among them is that Congress has better things to do than meddle in the purely local affairs of the District. That District officials and employees have been threatened with jail, by no less than the chairman of a powerful congressional committee, for their good-faith efforts to follow a voter mandate, is utterly inexcusable. Such a spectacle - and the fact that the District is under congressional attack for undertaking virtually the same steps as its counterparts in Colorado, Washington and, most recently, Alaska - should bring home to the rest of the country the need to redress the historic injustice of the city's limited political powers.
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US PA: Sen. Leach, Pushes For Medical Cannabis

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:00
The Times Herald, 02 Mar 2015 - Bill to Allow Nonsmoking Use Wins Bipartisan Support A Delaware County Democratic senator continues the push to legalize medical marijuana, but dual-party support might not be enough to push along the legislation.
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UK: Expert Wants Scots Cannabis Cafes

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:00
Scotsman, 02 Mar 2015 - A FORMER UK Government adviser has said Scots should go Dutch and open cannabis cafes. Professor David Nutt, who has advised the Department of Health, said it could be "very good" for the economy. Prof Nutt sacked by the UK Government in 2009 for saying horse riding was more dangerous than ecstasy also blasted plans to ban legal highs.
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US ID: Young Girl's Story May Lead Idaho To Ok Pot Oil

Top Stories (MAP) - Mon, 03/02/2015 - 08:00
Seattle Times, 02 Mar 2015 - 10-Year-Old Suffers Rare Kind of Epilepsy Family Says Extract Could Ease Her Seizures BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Ten-year-old Alexis Carey has a rare but intractable form of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome. The genetic disease causes severe and multiple seizures, which often leave parents guessing if the terror of watching their child seize up will pass or turn fatal.
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US DC: Column: D.C., The Country's Capital For Pot-smokers

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:00
Washington Post, 01 Mar 2015 - The mind-altering-substance market got a little more crowded in Washington this past week when the District joined three states in allowing residents to possess and consume marijuana for recreational purposes. And despite the objections of some congressional Republicans, initially led by Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), who's quite keen to tell D.C. voters that he knows better than they do, the District is actually the best place in America for marijuana aficionados - in part because of Harris's efforts to block the will of the voters.
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US MD: Hogan Wades Into Md.'s Ongoing Heroin Battle

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 01 Mar 2015 - Governor Creates Panels to Focus More on Prevention and Treatment of Addiction "We're not just reacting to the sudden surge of overdoses and overdoses deaths. We're taking a holistic approach." With the creation of two panels devoted to combating heroin use, Gov. Larry Hogan has waded into a worsening crisis - one that has defied solutions for decades.
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US MD: OPED: A Viable Alternative To Drug Arrests

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 01 Mar 2015 - In Baltimore City, approximately 20,000 people were arrested for drug-related offenses annually in 2012 and 2013; nearly three quarters for simple possession. And while there has been a great deal of discussion over the last few years regarding the incarceration of individuals for drug crimes, particularly in minority communities, the fact is that most drug cases in Baltimore do not result in confinement, except for those unfortunate enough not to have the funds to post bail while awaiting trial. Instead, defendants' cases are either dismissed for various reasons or defendants are placed on some form of post-conviction supervision. Notably, the re-arrest rate for many of these individuals is high.
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US FL: For Florida Pot Smoker, Feds Are No Drag; They're His

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 01 Mar 2015 - BOCA RATON, Fla. - Even in this city full of absent-minded drivers, it's a wonder Irvin Rosenfeld doesn't stand out as a menace. The interior of his Toyota 4-Runner reeks of marijuana. A canister stuffed with hundreds of joints lies in the trunk, and a bag full of them is in the door pocket. On a recent weekday, the 62year-old stopped at a red light and took a drag so deep his exhale filled the cabin with smoke. It was his fourth joint that day. It wasn't yet lunchtime.
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US: Cellular Tracking Device Sparks Privacy Concerns

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:00
Boston Globe, 01 Mar 2015 - TALLAHASSEE - The case against Tadrae McKenzie looked like an easy win for prosecutors. He and two buddies robbed a small-time marijuana dealer of $130 worth of pot using a BB gun. Under Florida law, that was robbery with a deadly weapon, with a sentence of at least four years in prison. But before trial, his defense team found investigators had used a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns. In an unprecedented move, a state judge ordered the police to show the device - a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay - to McKenzie's attorneys.
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US WA: Tribes Discuss Legal Marijuana

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:00
Spokesman-Review, 01 Mar 2015 - Representatives Attend Forum on Regulatory, Social Issues TULALIP, Wash. (AP) - The Justice Department's announcement in December that it would allow the nation's Indian tribes to legalize and regulate marijuana on their reservations brought notes of caution if not silence or opposition from many tribes.
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US: Decriminalization, Even Legalization Of Pot Spreads

Top Stories (MAP) - Sun, 03/01/2015 - 08:00
Commercial Appeal, 01 Mar 2015 - It officially became legal to consume and grow marijuana in Alaska on Tuesday. That means the state is the third to legalize the drug in as many years, but it is hardly the last. Voters in Oregon and Washington, D.C., have also approved legalization, and advocates plan to take advantage of shifting public opinion to target other states this year and next.
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US HI: Column: It Won't Be Easy to Reform Overly Harsh Penal

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 28 Feb 2015 - Last week the newly created Coalition for Public Safety, a bipartisan, transideological campaign to reform the criminal justice system, made a big splash by bringing together political adversaries such as Koch Industries and the Center for American Progress. Notably absent from celebrations of this strange-bedfellows alliance: any mention of actual policy changes the coalition plans to pursue.
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US HI: Editorial: World Won't End If Pot Decriminalized

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 28 Feb 2015 - According to the national group NORML, 18 states have decriminalized marijuana, at a minimum. Typically, according to its website, that means "no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal consumption" - essentially treating offenses like a minor traffic violation.
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US WA: Marijuana Conference Draws Tribes From 25 States to

Top Stories (MAP) - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 08:00
Seattle Times, 28 Feb 2015 - First Such Gathering Event Offered Debate and Education on Merits of Legalization Hundreds of tribal leaders, lawyers and marijuana-industry representatives gathered in Tulalip on Friday for the nation's first tribal marijuana conference, an event that served as much as a policy debate on the merits of legalization as it did an educational session.
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