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Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Seeding District's Era Of Legal Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 27 Mar 2015 - Hundreds Turn Out for Giveaway Intended to Promote Home Growing The District witnessed a massive, public drug deal Thursday - and for those involved, it was quite a bargain. With D.C. police officers looking on, hundreds of city residents lined up and then walked away from an Adams Morgan restaurant carrying baggies containing marijuana seeds.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Study Of Legal Marijuana Urged

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 07:00
Los Angeles Times, 27 Mar 2015 - Gavin Newsom Seeks Inquiry Before an Expected 2016 Ballot Measure to Decriminalize Pot. A group led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a proponent of legalizing marijuana, is calling for a public airing of the issue to prepare the ground for an expected 2016 ballot measure that would decriminalize use of the drug.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: CA Poll Has 55% for Legalization, GA MedMJ CBD Bill Passes, DEA Sex Parties, More (3/26/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 22:31

Marijuana and medical marijuana remain hot items at the statehouse, a new report says DEA agents partied with prostitutes paid for by drug traffickers, Indiana's governor okays emergency needle exchanges, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

Alaska Marijuana Bill Would Still Treat Pot as Controlled Substance. The state Senate is preparing to vote Friday on the bill to deal with marijuana post-legalization, but it will vote on a version of Senate Bill 30 that keeps marijuana listed as a controlled substance. A Judiciary Committee draft removed marijuana from the list, but the Senate voted as a whole to adopt instead language from the Finance committee that keeps it on the list.

New California Poll Has Support for Legalization at 55%. A new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll has 55% of Californians supporting marijuana legalization. "Support for legalization is at its highest point since PPIC began asking the question in May 2010," the group noted.

California Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy Releases Policy Road Map Today. A group of experts led by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is today unveiling a "progress report" that outlines issues that should be addressed in any legalization initiative going before voters next year. The commission also includes the ACLU, leading academics, law enforcement officials, and activists.

Massachusetts Prosecutors Reject Legalization. State DAs showed little interest in legalizing marijuana at a statehouse hearing Wednesday. "We ought to turn ourselves into Denver, Colorado, where gummy bears are littering the streets that are made of marijuana?" asked Cape and Islands DA Michael O'Keefe in a typical comment from prosecutors. If the legislature doesn't legalize pot this year or next, the state is extremely likely to see one or more initiatives to do so next year.

New Jersey Governor Says Marijuana Tax Revenue is "Blood Money." Gov. Chris Christie (R) used the occasion of the ribbon-cutting event at a drug treatment facility to reiterate his opposition to marijuana legalization. Christie said marijuana is a "gateway drug" and that tax revenues from its sale would amount to "blood money."

ResponsibleOhio Begins Signature Gathering. Signature gathering started Wednesday for the group's marijuana legalization initiative, which is unique and controversial because of its scheme to essentially create a commercial marijuana monopoly with only 10 registered commercial growers. The group needs some 300,000 signatures by July to qualify for this year's ballot.

Medical Marijuana

Federal CBD Bill Filed. Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) has filed HR 1635, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude cannabidiol (CDB) and CBD-rich marijuana plants from the definition of marijuana under the act.

Georgia CBD Passes Legislature, Governor Will Sign. The House Wednesday gave final approval to House Bill 1, which would allow patients with eight specified diseases to use CBD cannabis oil. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) said today he will sign the bill.

Hawaii Dispensary Bill Wins Committee Vote. The Senate Public Health and Public Safety committees have approved House Bill 321, which would create dispensaries and production centers in each county in the state. They also amended the bill to speed up the opening of dispensaries, which would now be set for next year.

Iowa Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Committee Vote. The Senate Ways and Means Committee Wednesday approved Senate Study Bill 1243, which would allow patients with a number of specified medical conditions to use medical marijuana -- but not to smoke it.

North Carolina House Committee Kills Medical Marijuana Bill. After an intense hour-long hearing, the House Judiciary Committee voted to kill a medical marijuana bill, House Bill 78. Some supporters of the bill vowed to move to other states, while one Republican foe of the bill, Rep. Dan Arp, complained he was struck in the back by an angry supporter. The man was detained by police, but later released without charges.

Heroin and Opiates

Kentucky Legislature Passes Compromise Heroin Bill. After more than three years of negotiations, the legislature has passed a bill that will allow for needle exchange programs, but also increase sentences for some heroin dealing offenses. Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is expected to sign the bill.

Harm Reduction

Indiana Governor Authorizes Limited Needle Exchange Program to Fight HIV Outbreak. Gov. Mike Pence (R) has declared a public health emergency in Scott County, which has seen 79 new HIV cases since December, all tied to needle sharing among drug users. The move allows him to institute a short-term needle exchange program to attempt to slow the outbreak.

Drug Testing

Arkansas Welfare Drug Testing Bill Wins Committee Vote. The House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor has approved House Bill 1924, which would establish a pilot program to require welfare applicants to undergo screening for drug use and submit to drug tests if deemed "suspicious." The bill now heads for a House floor vote.

Law Enforcement

DEA Agents in Colombia Enjoyed "Sex Parties" Paid for By Drug Traffickers. A new report from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General finds that foreign drug trafficking organizations paid for "sex parties" attended by DEA agents, including at least one DEA Supervisory Agent. At least seven overseas agents admitting attending parties with prostitutes, and they were hit with penalties of suspensions ranging from two to10 days. The DEA wasn't especially helpful in preparing the report, the OIG noted.

International

New Zealand Prime Minister Rejects Marijuana Decriminalization. Prime Minister John Key said while campaigning Thursday that he did not support marijuana decriminalization. When accused by a listener of wanting to lock people up, he said, "It's not so much that, I just don't agree with drugs." That prompted Northland candidate Maki Herbert to retort that Key was sending mixed messages. "On the one hand he wants cannabis to remain a crime but he denies wanting to lock people in jail for that crime," she said. "Mr. Key should remember that alcohol is also a drug, one which he admits to using regularly."

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Column: Newcomers And Profiteers

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 07:00
Metro Times, 25 Mar 2015 - It looks like voting on recreational marijuana is nearly a done deal in Michigan for the 2016 elections, unless the state Legislature gets in on the act and passes a legalization bill even sooner. The Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee (MCCLRIC) has announced its intention to circulate petitions to put recreational legalization on the ballot next year. Another group, the Michigan Responsibility Council (MRC), has reportedly been preparing its own petition for a different system of legalization. And state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, has plans to reintroduce legalization legislation this session. During a recent edition of Off the Record, host Tim Skubick, co-host Susan Demas of MLive.com, and Detroit News Capitol reporter Chad Livengood all agreed a petition drive would be successful. Although Livengood suggested the MRC has ulterior motives.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: More Medical Uses Sought In Bill

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 07:00
Columbus Dispatch, 24 Mar 2015 - An Ohio group backing medical marijuana is lobbying state legislators to expand an existing bill for children who suffer from seizures. Ohio Patients Cann wants to see medical marijuana become part of state law, but it would be willing to go to the ballot if necessary, said Bob Bridges of Columbus, the organization's executive director.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: DRO Deserves Credit for Leading on Medical Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 07:00
The Salinas Californian, 23 Mar 2015 - On Saturday I wrote a news article on the status of Monterey County's only medical marijuana dispensary opening next month in Del Rey Oaks. In my reporting, I got to know DRO Mayor Jerry Edelen a bit better and was impressed with the thought process he described as he went from no to yes on the issue of medical marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: Is America Ready For Medical Marijuana?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 07:00
Appeal-Democrat, 23 Mar 2015 - A bipartisan trio of U.S. senators, New Jersey's Cory Booker, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand and Kentucky's Rand Paul, are sponsoring a bill to classify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, meaning the federal government would allow it to be used as medicine. Some critics worry that such a bill could become a "gateway law" to full legalization of recreational weed; defenders say sick patients need the pain relief best provided by marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MA: State Pushes Forward To Legalize Marijuana

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 23 Mar 2015 - Beacon Hill legislators are working on a marijuana legalization proposal, in part as an effort to short-circuit an expected 2016 ballot push. Advocates have long planned an initiative petition to legalize the recreational use of the drug for adults, and political analysts have expected that measure to pass in the next presidential election year.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US HI: Column: Is America Ready For Medical Pot?

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 22 Mar 2015 - A bipartisan trio of U.S. senators - New Jersey's Cory Booker, New York's Kirsten Gillibrand and Kentucky's Rand Paul - are sponsoring a bill to classify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, meaning the federal government would allow it be used as medicine. Some critics worry that such a bill could become a "gateway law" to full legalization of recreational weed; defenders say sick patients need the pain relief best provided by marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Where Marijuana Is Legal But Isn't For Sale

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 07:00
New York Times, 21 Mar 2015 - WHERE MARIJUANA IS LEGAL BUT ISN'T FOR SALE It sounds like an idea a stoner might come up with. In Washington, D.C., it's now legal to possess marijuana, to grow it, to smoke it and to give it away. But you're not allowed to trade in it. You can give your neighbor up to an ounce, but if he gives you money or even bakes you a pie in exchange, that's illegal.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: DEA "Cold Consent" Searches, NYC Calls for Pot Legalization, KY Heroin Bills Collide, More (3/20/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 22:41

An Ohio legalization initiative heads for signature-gathering, the NYC city council calls for decrim and legalization, the DEA's "cold consent" searches get critiqued, Kentucky pols can't agree on how to deal with heroin, and more.

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

Louisiana Legalization Bill Pre-Filed. State Rep. Dalton Honore (D-Baton Rouge) has pre-filed a marijuana legalization bill. He submitted House Bill 117 yesterday. To go into effect, it would have to both pass the legislature and be approved by the electorate in the November 2016 election. Louisiana has some of the country's harshest marijuana laws.

Ohio Ballot Board Clears ResponsibleOhio Legalization Initiative. Backers of the ResponsibleOhio legalization initiative have cleared the final hurdle before beginning signature-gathering. The state Ballot Board agreed that the proposal amounts to a single constitutional amendment, so it's good to go. Backers will now need to gather more than 300,000 signatures by July to qualify for the ballot. The amendment would allow only 10 growing sites already promised to investors.

NYC City Council Calls for Decriminalizing and Legalizing Marijuana. This week, the New York City Council called for the state to pass legislation to both decriminalize and to tax and regulate marijuana. As part of the Council's State Budget and Legislative Agenda for the 2015-2016 legislative session, the council urged the state legislature to pass two marijuana policy reforms -- the Fairness and Equity Act and the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA). The Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito had previously announced her support for marijuana legalization in November, but this marks the first time that decriminalization and legalization have been part of the Council's official legislative agenda.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia Medical Marijuana Bill Wins Senate Committee Vote. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved House Bill 1 yesterday. The measure has passed the House and now heads for a Senate floor vote.

Methamphetamine

New York Senate Approves Bill to Increase Meth Penalties. The Senate has passed Senate Bill 1150, which would increase penalties for meth possession and sale. Meth would be treated similarly to heroin and cocaine under the bill. The bill is now in the Assembly Codes Committee as Assembly Bill 5577.

Opiates

Kentucky Legislators Still Can't Agree on Heroin Bills. House and Senate negotiators met yesterday to try to reach a compromise on competing bills that address heroin use in the state, but mainly agreed to disagree. There are differences over increasing penalties for heroin dealers, whether to allow needle exchanges, and on how to protect people who report overdoses. There is now a chance legislators could agree on a compromise that simply omits the sentencing and overdose reporting provisions.

Asset Forfeiture

Sen. Chuck Grassley Investigating Asset Forfeiture Abuses in US Marshals Service. The Iowa Republican sent a letter Wednesday to the agency demanding documents after he received whistleblower allegations that the service's Asset Forfeiture Division had used asset forfeiture monies "to purchase extravagant office decorations such as custom wall paper and window treatments." He is also looking into allegations of favoritism in hiring at the agency.

Law Enforcement

Justice Department Report Criticizes DEA's "Cold Consent" Searches. In a new report, the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General details how the DEA's use of "cold consent" searches, where agents confront travelers at airports, bus, and rail stations and "ask" for consent to search them, may be racially profiling passengers and unjustly seizing their money. Click on the title link or read the report for lots more detail.

Reentry and Rehabilitation

Ex-Felon Federal Voting Rights Bills Filed. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) has filed S 772 to secure the federal voting rights of people who have served their time. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has filed a companion bill, HR 1459, in the House.

Sentencing

Smarter Sentencing Act Picks Up More Cosponsors. The Senate version, S 502, now has nine cosponsors, with the latest being Sen. John Isaakson (R-GA). The House version, HR 920, now has 22 cosponsors, with six signing on in the past week. The bills would retroactively apply provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act and would reduce mandatory minimum sentences.

International

Canada Supreme Court Takes Up Medical Marijuana Edibles. The high court is hearing a case where plaintiffs charge that Health Canada violated medical marijuana patients' constitutional rights to life, liberty, and safety by barring any form of marijuana except dried plants. The government has lost at every step of the legal process so far, but continues to argue the case.

Zambia Opposition Party Joins Green Call for Marijuana Legalization. Zambia's second largest opposition party, the United Party for National Development, has joined the Greens in calling for the legalization of marijuana cultivation. "There is nothing wrong with cannabis. Just like you and me 'dear reader' Cannabis Sativa, the plant, was also created by God," wrote party vice-president for political affairs Canisius Banda. "Cannabis is a resource. Cannabis must be decriminalized the world over. Nonetheless, regulation, albeit wise, just as it exists for many other things ought to remain. Just like Zambia boasts of Copper, California boasts of Cannabis, the biggest cash crop, responsible for US$14 billion a year in sales. Zambia would do well, under decriminalized but controlled conditions, to start growing Cannabis, and at least, for now until we are a bit more civilized, only for export to countries that have made it legal."

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CO: Column: The Cannabis Debate Drifts into the Halls of

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 19 Mar 2015 - Last week I wrote about a bill that was then being debated in the Utah state legislature. S.B. 259 would have amended a law passed last year that allowed Utah citizens to use certain strains of CBD-dominate cannabis to treat medical conditions but mandated no legal way that patients could obtain them. Like many others, I concentrated on the testimony of a DEA agent whose job is to eradicate illicit marijuana from national forest land. Matt Fairbanks testified against the bill because he feared that wildlife might be adversely affected by ingesting cannabis. It reminded me that about all prohibitionists have left is to continue to make up things this ridiculous to press the point that cannabis is more dangerous than alcohol.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: California Pot Initiatives Spark Up

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 19 Mar 2015 - I see plenty of people getting excited about legalizing marijuana in California, but are there any ballot initiatives ready to go? Any you can recommend? - -Ivana B. Puffingwun There are a few ready to go, but I am not sure they will have much of a chance. The folks behind the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative are trying (again) to get their initiative on the ballot. While I really like the language of their proposal (the tax on pot is really low, you would be able to grow an incredible amount of weed in your home and it would free people in jail for nonviolent cannabis crimes), I don't think they have a chance. The CCHI has no money, and no real organization. Sigh.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Local Delegation Hears From Marijuana Industry Experts

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 07:00
The Signal, 18 Mar 2015 - Community Leaders Told California Needs to Get Ready for Legalization SACRAMENTO - Two experts on the marijuana industry told a delegation of Santa Clarita Valley business and community leaders Tuesday that the state needs to be ready for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana use in the next few years.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: No Pot in This Beer, Just a Hint of the City's Lack of

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 18 Mar 2015 - First, a disclaimer: There is no marijuana in the beer. That's what they said. Cannabis and hops are just a lot alike. It only smells like pot. And it might taste a little like it, too. So if that's what you like - a dank, resinous pint - or if you're willing at least to try it, this could be your season at the District's DC Brau Brewing Co.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US WA: Cornering The Pot Market

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 17 Mar 2015 - After Washington State Made It Legal, a Struggling Small Town Went into Business North Bonneville, Wash. - Deep in the Columbia River Gorge, a short drive from the Bridge of the Gods, the nation's only government-run marijuana shop was running low on weed.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Ledoux: Kelly's Amendment To Pot Bill Will Not Pass

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 17 Mar 2015 - JUNEAU - The head of a House committee that has spent much of the session reviewing marijuana said an amendment pushed through by a Fairbanks senator to ban all marijuana concentrates in 2017 will not survive in her committee. Anchorage Republican and House Judiciary chairwoman Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux said a controversial amendment authored by Sen. Pete Kelly isn't what Alaskans voted for when they passed Ballot Measure 2.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Editorial: Marijuana Bill's Future Unclear: With Sen.

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 07:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 17 Mar 2015 - After a rough initial outing and complete rewrite, the Alaska Legislature's attempt at setting state rules for marijuana legalization appears to have ground to a halt once more. Senate Bill 30 would rewrite state laws to reflect marijuana's legal status for personal possession and use following voter approval of Ballot Measure 2 in November 2014. But a controversial amendment by Fairbanks Sen. Pete Kelly has dimmed the prospect that a fix to conflicting state laws on legalization is imminent. At first, SB 30 was an ugly bill. Rather than reflect marijuana's legal status, as originally written, the bill would have left state drug laws intact - including illegal status for pot - and simply let defendants charged with marijuana possession offer the passage of legalization as an affirmative defense. Legislators, state law officials and legalization advocates railed against the bill's language as not reflective of voters' intention in passing the ballot measure.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: In D.C., That's Grow Biz

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:00
Washington Post, 16 Mar 2015 - The weekend after marijuana became legal in the District, Capital City Hydroponics ran a sale on the indoor gardening kits needed to grow it. Business doubled. In a narrow Petworth basement stuffed with high-end gardening supplies, Michael Bayard gingerly explains that tomatoes are best grown indoors given the District's unfavorably dank weather.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US OH: OSU Offers Class On Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:00
Dayton Daily News, 16 Mar 2015 - Law School Course Focuses on Policy, Marijuana Reform. Professor Douglas Berman teaches a class about marijuana, so he has heard the jokes. He even allows a little pot humor in the classroom. But he isn't especially fond of the nickname his class has picked up: Weed 101. "It's a lot more than that," Berman said about his class at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Flippant attitudes toward the marijuana debate are in part what inspired him to start teaching "Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform," which aims to cut through claims on both sides of the marijuana debate.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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