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Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Column: D.C., The Country's Capital For Pot-smokers

Ballot Initiatives (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.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US: Decriminalization, Even Legalization Of Pot Spreads

Ballot Initiatives (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.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Editorial: Local Marijuana Clarity Welcome: Despite

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 28 Feb 2015 - It took a couple days post-legalization, but Interior municipal governments appear to be on the same page with local marijuana rules. That's no small feat. With little time to collaborate on rules in Fairbanks, North Pole and the borough at large, the potential existed for serious conflicts between how marijuana could be possessed and used in each of our local communities. Such an outcome would have been a headache for legal professionals to sort out and would have had impacts on local residents confused about the overlaps and discrepancies in municipal rules. Kudos to our local governments for independently coming to common-sense conclusions about what behavior is acceptable among Interior residents.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: A Deal With Pot Advocates Lighted Way To DC Law

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 08:00
Washington Post, 27 Feb 2015 - Reaching Out to Hill Also Helped Bowser Ensure Low-Key Launch The mayor met with marijuana advocates to minimize drama. After staring down congressional Republicans who had threatened her with prison, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser helped usher in legal pot in the District this week with minimal fuss. But the work actually began 11 months ago in a Mount Pleasant coffee shop, when she struck a deal with marijuana advocates.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Bowser Drafts Bill To Thwart Social Pot Clubs

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 08:00
Washington Post, 27 Feb 2015 - Advocates of Legalization Celebrate in Private; Police Report No Arrests D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser on Thursday sent emergency legislation to the D.C. Council to prohibit nightclubs, private membership clubs and virtually any other city-registered business from providing a venue for social marijuana smoking.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AZ: Pot For The Citizens

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 08:00
Tucson Weekly, 26 Feb 2015 - Marijuana Policy Project, Safer Arizona Prepare Final Initiative Draft to Collect Signatures for Legal Pot Initiative for Nov. 2016 Ballot Keep an eye out in the beginning of March for the final draft of a citizens' initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US CA: Column: The Stoned Housewives Of Humboldt County

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 08:00
North Coast Journal, 26 Feb 2015 - The Hoopa Valley Tribe will vote this year on whether to allow medical pot growing on tribal lands. Native American tribes around the nation are deciding how to react to the federal government's announcement last year that it will let tribes decide on their own marijuana laws, a hands-off approach similar to the U.S. Department of Justice's newfound attitude toward states that have legalized recreational pot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Something Heady in the Air in D.C.

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 08:00
Washington Post, 26 Feb 2015 - Marijuana Legalization Seen As a Breakthrough for the Nation's Capital and a National Movement As Thursday dawns on the nation's capital, marijuana will be a legal intoxicant, though Washington will not be Amsterdam, or even Denver. There will be no pot shops, no open-air smoking, but at least for the moment, the District - for once in its decades-long struggle for the right to govern itself - has gotten its way, and a green rush is on.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US DC: Bowser Decries Federal 'Bullying,' Proceeds With Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 08:00
Washington Times, 26 Feb 2015 - D.C. lawmakers held steadfast that marijuana legalization laws would go into effect Thursday, despite threats from two House Republicans that doing so would put local government employees at risk of jail time. Local officials were put on notice late Tuesday in a letter from Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz saying that Congress is investigating whether the city violated federal law by spending money to implement a voter-approved initiative to legalize the possession and home cultivation of marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: DC Legalizes, Jamaica Decriminalizes, Maryland Heroin Crisis, More (2/25/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 23:47

Marijuana possession and cultivation will be legal in DC in just a few hours, Jamaica gives final approval to decriminalization, marijuana and medical marijuana bills are popping up all over, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

California Bill Would Increase Penalties for Manufacturing Concentrates. State Sen. Pat Bates (R-Rancho Niguel) filed a bill Monday that would "authorize enhanced sentences for manufacturing cannabis concentrates where a child under the age of 16 is present" or is injured. The measure is Senate Bill 305.

Poll Finds Coloradans Still Like Marijuana Legalization. A new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday finds that 58% of state residents support Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in the state. Amendment 64 won with 55% of the vote, and support has only increased since then.

DC Marijuana Legalization in Effect Thursday. As of Thursday, it is no longer a crime to possess up to two ounces or grow up to six plants (only three in flowering). The Initiative 71 legalization initiative has gone into effect.

Florida Legalization Bill Filed. State Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Cutler Bay) has introduced Senate Bill 1176, which would legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces and six plants. The bill is identical to one he filed last year that went nowhere, and Bullard says he doubts this won will pass, either.

Maryland House Committee Hears Marijuana Bills. The House of Delegates Judiciary Committee heard testimony Tuesday on five marijuana policy-related bills. Click on the link for details.

Vermont Legalization Bill Filed in House. State Rep. Chris Pearson (P-Burlington) introduced a bill Tuesday that would regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Vermont. Nine cosponsors have signed on to House Bill 277, which mirrors Senate Bill 95, introduced last week by Sen. David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden).

Medical Marijuana

Georgia CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Passes House. The House today approved House Bill 1, which allows for the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil to treat seizures and other major health conditions. The measure now goes to the Senate.

Kansas CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Wins House Committee Vote. For the first time, a measure allowing some form of medical marijuana has won a vote in the state legislature. The House Health and Human Services Committee Monday approved House Bill 2282, which would allow for the use of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil for seizure disorders.

Tennessee CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Delayed. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee is delaying a bill that would legalize low-THC, high-CBD cannabis oil. Lawmakers decided Tuesday to bump any action back by at least two weeks. The bill is House Bill 197.

Kettle Falls Five Trial Gets Underway in Spokane. The trial of an Eastern Washington family accused of violating federal marijuana laws by growing their own medical marijuana legally under state law began today. The family is known as the Kettle Falls Five, but it's now the Kettle Falls Four after charges were dismissed against terminally ill patriarch Larry Harvey. The prosecution of the Harveys runs counter to Obama administration policy and congressional desire, but continues anyway.

Heroin and Opiates

Maryland Governor Declares Heroin a Statewide Crisis. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) Tuesday declared war on heroin, signing two executive orders to confront what he calls a heroin "epidemic." One order establishes the Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council to coordinate efforts among state agencies; the other creates the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, which is supposed to come up with recommendations by December 1.

Asset Forfeiture

Indiana Senate Passes Asset Forfeiture Reporting Bill. The state Senate Tuesday unanimously approved Senate Bill 388, which would create a statewide system of reporting on asset seizures and forfeitures. Sponsors said that could be a first step toward undoing civil asset forfeiture. The measure now goes to the House.

International

Jamaica Decriminalizes Marijuana. Parliament's lower house Tuesday gave final approval to a government-supported bill that will decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of ganja and allow for the growing of up to five plants. The bill also paves the way for a regulatory authority for medical, scientific, and therapeutic uses and allows Rastafarians to use the drug for religious purposes. Jamaica becomes the first Caribbean nation to decriminalize.

New British Marijuana Party Will Field Candidates. A new pro-marijuana political party has announced it will field up to a hundred candidates in general elections set for later this year. Cista -- Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol -- says it is inspired by legalization in some US states and wants to do the same in England.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: Private Use Of Pot Now Legal In Alaska

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 08:00
Los Angeles Times, 25 Feb 2015 - Buying, Selling and Smoking Marijuana in Public Remains a Crime in the Last Frontier. NOME, Alaska - On the day Alaska became the third state in the nation to legalize recreational pot use, folks in this party town best known as the finish line for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race seemed more interested in watching snowmobile contestants blast into the city than smoking a joint. Photographs by Mark Thiessen Associated Press A GREEN CROSS marks the Alaska Cannabis Club in Anchorage. Alaska on Tuesday became the third state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US MI: Column: The Road To Legality

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 08:00
Metro Times, 25 Feb 2015 - It looks like longtime state activists will mount an effort to put the question of legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults on the 2016 ballot. They're being pushed by the appearance of a new organization, the Michigan Responsibility Council (MRC), with ties to the state Republican Party, that has its own plans to tax and regulate the plant. Either group will have to fight to get it on the ballot and probably faces a tougher fight to garner enough votes to pass it. The idea of a split electorate having to choose between plans does not bode well for either side.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Marijuana Legal in Alaska, Ohio Initiative Hits Bump, Bad CA Bills, More (2/24/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 22:53

It was legalization day today in Alaska, Ohio's Responsible Ohio initiative goes back to the drawing board, a Georgia CBD medical marijuana bill moves, there are a couple of bad bills filed in California, and more. Let's get to it:

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

Marijuana is Now Legal in Alaska. As of Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the first phase of Alaska's voter-approved Measure 2 marijuana legalization initiative goes into effect. Now, people 21 and over can legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six plants in their home (only three flowering). Adults may also share up to an ounce of weed with other adults and give them up to six plants. Taxed and regulated marijuana commerce will come next year. Click on the link for more.

Alaska Governor Files Bill for Marijuana Control Board. Gov. Bill Walker (R) yesterday filed a bill to create a marijuana control board to oversee the state's coming legal marijuana industry. Legalization supporters had sought to have pot regulated outside the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, and this bill is a step in that direction. The measure is Senate Bill 60.

Ohio AG Rejects Wording on ResponsibleOhio Ballot Summary. Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) says the ballot language "omits that the proposed amendment permits the sharing of specified amounts of marijuana between adults 21 years old and older" and "does not accurately reflect the manner in which proposed taxes would be distributed." That means ResponsibleOhio will have to fix the ballot language and submit another 1,000 signatures to try again.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia CBD Cannabis Oil Bill Wins Committee Vote. The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee unanimously approved House Bill 1, sponsored by Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon). The bill was amended to restore a maximum 5% THC level (up from 3%) and to limit the personal information police can access when verifying a medical marijuana authorization, but an amendment that would have reinstated illnesses removed at the request of law enforcement failed.

Asset Forfeiture

California Bill Would Allow Civil Forfeiture Before Criminal Complaint is Filed. A bill touted as a measure against transnational crime that would give prosecutors the power to freeze assets before a criminal complaint is filed was introduced Monday. The bill is Assembly Bill 443, and it is being backed by state Attorney General Kamala Harris (D).

Drug Testing

Montana Welfare Drug Testing Bill Passes House. The House last Friday approved House Bill 200, which would require applicants for food stamps to be screened for possible drug use. Authorities will use the screenings to determine which applicants would have to submit to a drug test. Refusal to be screened would result in a denial of benefits. The bill now heads to the state.

Sentencing

California Bill Would Let Prosecutors Charge Possession of "Date Rape" Drugs As a Felony. Just last November, Californians voted to defelonize simple drug possession. Now, a bill has been filed that would allow prosecutors the option of charging possession of Rohypnol, GHB, and ketamine as either felonies or misdemeanors. The bill is Assembly Bill 46, sponsored by Rep. Tom Lackey (R-Antelope Valley), a former Highway Patrol sergeant.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: State Reps Predict Few Problems Under New Pot Law

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 24 Feb 2015 - JUNEAU - Lawmakers overseeing marijuana legislation said they aren't expecting things to be particularly different now that marijuana possession has become legal. With the anticipation of Ballot Measure 2 becoming law today, lawmakers on Monday said they weren't expecting life in Alaska to be particularly different now that possession of up to one ounce of marijuana outside the home and growing up to six plants is no longer a crime.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

Chronicle AM: Marijuana Legal in Alaska Tomorrow, Kosher MedMJ in NY, Chinese Meth, More (2/23/15)

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 23:04

Alaska's Measure 2 legalization begins to kick in tomorrow, the UFCW organizes medical marijuana workers in Minnesota, Chuck Schumer wants more drug war money, India bans the new synthetic drug mephedrone, and more. Let's get to it:

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

First Phase of Alaska Legalization Goes Into Effect Tomorrow. As of Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the first phase of Alaska's voter-approved Measure 2 marijuana legalization goes into effect. Beginning then, people 21 and over can legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six plants in their home (only three flowering). Adults may also share up to an ounce of weed with other adults and give them up to six plants. Taxed and regulated marijuana commerce will come next year. Click on the link for more.

Maryland Legalization Bill Gets Hearing Tomorrow. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in the General Assembly on Tuesday, February 24, to consider a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. Supporters of the bill, including representatives of the Marijuana Policy Coalition of Maryland, are expected to testify. The hearing will take place in Room 101 of the House Office Building at 1:00pm ET. The bill is House Bill 911, sponsored by Rep. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore).

Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Medical Marijuana Workers Unionize. Workers at Minnesota Medical Solutions, which will operate four medical marijuana dispensaries, have signed a labor agreement with the company under the auspices of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UCFW), Local 1189. The union is also in discussions about representing workers at the other four planned dispensaries in the state, which will be operated by LeafLine Labs. The UFCW has also organized marijuana workers in California, Colorado, and Washington.

Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Hearing Today. Rep. Dave Hinson's (R-St. Clair) House Bill 800, which would allow for medical marijuana for eligible payments, was set to get a House hearing today. Come back tomorrow for results.

West Virginia Medical Marijuana Bill Filed. On the last day to file Senate bills in the legislative session, Sen. Mitch Carmichael (R-Ripley) introduced Senate Bill 546, the "Creating Compassionate Use Act for Medical Cannabis." The bill would allow for medical marijuana for designated debilitating medical conditions and would require patients and caregivers to be registered with the state. The bill now goes before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Kosher Medical Marijuana Coming to New York? Orthodox Jews in New York may soon be able to get kosher medical marijuana. Rabbi Moshe Elefant, head of the Orthodox Union's kosher certification agency said he has held "preliminary discussions" with several companies seeking to obtain a kosher seal of approval for medical marijuana. Click on the link for more.

Law Enforcement

Chuck Schumer Lobbies to Restore HIDTA Funding Cuts. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said Sunday Congress should reject President Obama's plan to cut funding for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. "This is one area where I disagree with the president, and I'm going to fight to reverse his decision," Schumer said. He wants $100 million in drug war funding restored, in part to fight heroin use in his state.

International

UN Official Blames "Corrupt" Chinese Pharmaceutical Industry for Meth Production. Chinese police recently busted 2.4 tons of meth in Guangdong Province, provoking UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) official Jeremy Douglas to say that "corruption in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries" in China was behind the easy availability of chemicals needed to mass produce the drugs. "To operate a lab like this, you need a lot of chemicals, which are legitimate, regulated chemicals from the pharmaceutical industry," Douglas said. "This group has been able to get their hands on the precursor chemicals necessary to produce the drugs. They've been doing it for a long time, which means they're getting these chemicals on a regular basis. There is some kind of corruption in the chemical/pharmaceutical industry taking place allowing this to happen."

India Bans Mephedrone. India has now classified mephedrone (also known as "Meow-Meow" or "M-Cat") as a psychotropic substance that falls under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985. That means mephedrone will now be treated as a controlled substance like heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. Previously, the new synthetic was not regulated in the country.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

First Phase of Alaska Legalization Goes Into Effect Tomorrow

Ballot Measures (STDW) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 20:51

This article was written in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]As of Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the first phase of Alaska's voter-approved Measure 2 marijuana legalization goes into effect. Beginning then, people 21 and over can legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow up to six plants in their home (only three flowering). Adults may also share up to an ounce of weed with other adults and give them up to six plants.

Private pot-smoking will be completely legal for adults, although public consumption remains illegal. Not all issues related to personal use, possession, and cultivation are resolved. The state legislature is still trying to settle questions around edibles, transporting marijuana, and use by minors. Senate Bill 30, which was supposed to be ready by legalization day, is still working its way through the legislature.

The second phase of legalization -- legal, taxed, and regulated marijuana commerce -- won't go into effect until the spring or summer of 2016. A nine-month rulemaking process is set to begin on legalization day, with the state expected to begin accepting applications for business permits in February 2016. The timeline was mandated in Measure 2, and the process is on schedule so far.

"First Colorado and Washington, now Alaska and Oregon -- and all with levels of support higher than the winning candidates for governor and US Senate achieved in those states," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "Legalizing marijuana just makes sense now to voters across the political spectrum and -- as we'll likely see in 2016 -- across the country."

Dr. Tim Hunterberger, cosponsor of the initiative and chair of the winning Campaign to Regulate Like Alcohol in Alaska, and Bruce Schulte of the Coalition for Responsible Cannabis Legislation, an industry group monitoring the implementation process, are calling for legalization supporters to celebrate by consuming marijuana responsibly and to keep in mind that personal legalization doesn't mean a marijuana free-for-all.

"As with alcohol there's an appropriate time, place, and manner to consume marijuana, and the worst thing that could happen right now is for a handful of overzealous folks to spoil things by making a public spectacle out of marijuana consumption," they cautioned. "So, please be respectful of your fellow Alaskans, don't drive under the influence and don't do anything to give your neighbors reason to feel uneasy about this new law. We're in the midst of an enormous social and legal shift. Please do your part to make it as successful as possible by consuming responsibly."

Alaska isn't the only place where legalization is going at least partially into effect this week. The District of Columbia's possession and cultivation legalization initiative is set to go into effect Thursday -- unless Congress acts to block it (and the president signs such a measure) before then.

Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: After Medical Marijuana Defeat, Some in GOP Tentatively

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Orlando Sentinel, 23 Feb 2015 - WEST PALM BEACH (AP) - Republican lawmakers in Florida who once opposed medical pot are now embracing it, motivated by the strong show of support from voters and worried that another constitutional amendment during next year's presidential race could drive opponents to the polls. Last year, lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a law to allow low-potency strains of marijuana helpful to a very limited group of patients. But many people argued it was inadequate and took the fight to voters with a constitutional amendment that would have widely expanded the drug's availability to the sick. It got about 58 percent of the vote in November but needed 60 percent to pass under Florida law.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: OPED: Celebrate Pot Legalization Responsibly

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 23 Feb 2015 - Ballot Measure 2 will become effective tomorrow, Feb. 24, and many Alaskans are wondering what will change on that date. The simple answer is: Everything, and not much at all. Beginning that day, it will be lawful for someone 21 or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Those with a green thumb may legally grow no more than six marijuana plants (only three of them mature at any time) in their homes.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US FL: Florida GOP Warms To Medicinal Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 23 Feb 2015 - WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (AP) - Republican lawmakers in Florida who once opposed medical pot are now embracing it, motivated by the strong show of support from voters and worried that another constitutional amendment during next year's presidential race could drive opponents to the polls. Last year lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a law to allow low-potency strains of marijuana helpful to a very limited group of patients. But many people argued it was inadequate and took the fight to voters with a constitutional amendment that would have widely expanded the drug's availability to the sick. It got about 58 percent of the vote in November but needed 60 percent to pass under Florida law.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives

US AK: State, Local Lawmakers Working to Define 'Public' Pot

Ballot Initiatives (MAP) - Mon, 02/23/2015 - 08:00
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 23 Feb 2015 - JUNEAU - The voter initiative that legalized marijuana possession and use for people 21 and older that goes into effect on Tuesday specifically doesn't allow using marijuana in public, but just what "public" means is unclear. Defining just what is and isn't public ultimately will be up to the Legislature and local municipalities to decide, but a bill seeking to do that will miss making it into law on Tuesday by a long shot.
Categories: Ballot Initiatives
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