Vermont’s D.I.Y. Approach on Marijuana Posted by on May 24, 2017 at 07:41:13 PT By The NYT Editorial Board Source: New York Times Vermont is on the verge of becoming the ninth state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but, being Vermont, it is taking an earthier, grow-it-yourself approach — one that could become a model for others.
Vermont is not asking voters to approve a ballot proposal and it is not allowing for-profit businesses to grow and sell the drug, at least not right away. Instead, its lawmakers passed a bill this month that would let people 21 and older keep two flowering and four young marijuana plants at home. In addition, people 21 and older could possess up to one ounce of the drug. The bill would also create an independent commission to propose legislation that could later be used to create a regulated market for marijuana with commercial growers and retailers. Read More... Legalization Lets Pot Convictions Go up in Smoke Posted by CN Staff on May 22, 2017 at 14:54:23 PT By Brian Melley, The Associated Press Source: Associated Press Los Angeles -- Jay Schlauch's conviction for peddling pot haunted him for nearly a quarter century. The felony prevented him from landing jobs, gave his wife doubts about tying the knot and cast a shadow over his typically sunny outlook on life.
So when an opportunity arose to reduce his record to a misdemeanor under California's voter-approved law that legalized recreational marijuana last year, Schlauch wasted little time getting to court."Why should I be lumped in with, you know, murderers and rapists and people who really deserve to get a felony?" he asked. Read More... MJ Legislation Reaches Vermont Governor's Desk Posted by on May 19, 2017 at 10:38:39 PT By Madison Margolin Source: Rolling Stone Vermont -- Today, S. 22, a bill to legalize cannabis in Vermont for adults over 21, landed on Republican Governor Phil Scott's desk – potentially making the state the first in the country to legalize marijuana through the legislative process, and not a ballot initiative. The bill has already been approved by both chambers of the state legislature; now the governor has five days to decide whether to sign or to veto it. But even if he does neither, on Wednesday, May 24th, it would automatically become law.
If passed, the measure would legalize possession of up to an ounce of weed, two mature plants and four immature plants, beginning July 2018. It would also create a study commission, effective immediately, to look at cannabis tax-and-regulate models in other states and make recommendations for the adult use market in Vermont. (It's unclear at this time whether Vermont would adopt a regulated market, or simply allow citizens to grow and share cannabis with their friends.) Read More... Lawmakers Renew Push To End Federal Ban on MJ Posted by on May 17, 2017 at 19:57:23 PT By Tim Devaney Source: Hill Washington, D.C. -- A small, bipartisan group of lawmakers is renewing a push at the federal level to legalize marijuana, calling it a criminal justice issue. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.), would lift the nation’s pot restrictions and allow states to decide how to regulate medical and recreational marijuana.
Currently, states like Colorado that legalize marijuana do so in violation of federal law. This has created a confusing patchwork of pot laws around the country. Read More... Bipartisan Group of Senators Push Back on Sessions Posted by on May 17, 2017 at 16:02:09 PT By Sari Horwitz Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s former colleagues in the Senate are pushing back on his order to federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe penalties possible for defendants, including mandatory minimum sentences, and introducing legislation to give federal judges more discretion to impose lower sentences.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who co-sponsored the legislation, said that Sessions’s new policy will “accentuate” the existing “injustice” in the criminal justice system. Read More... No Sanctuary for Marijuana in California Posted by on May 16, 2017 at 15:08:47 PT By The Times Editorial Board Source: Los Angeles Times California -- When Californians approved Proposition 64 to legalize marijuana in California last November, it was no secret that the drug would remain illegal under federal law. But that fundamental contradiction seemed manageable at the moment because the federal government had largely taken a hands-off approach to states that had already allowed the recreational sale and use of marijuana, and candidate Donald Trump had said he would let states decide on legalization.
The risk of a clash with the federal government seemed low compared with the benefit of replacing the state’s quasi-legal medical marijuana regime and its underground market for recreational pot with a regulated and controlled system for adults. That’s one reason The Times endorsed the proposition last year. Read More... Sessions’s War on Drugs Has MMJ Advocates Worried Posted by on May 15, 2017 at 06:22:42 PT By John Wagner and Matt Zapotosky Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- A little-noticed document issued by President Trump has put advocates of medical marijuana on edge, raising questions about the long-term security of programs now authorized in 29 states and the District that have broad public backing.
In a “signing statement” that accompanied Trump’s signature on the bill passed this month to keep the government open, the president noted a handful of objections on legal grounds, including to a provision that prohibits his administration from interfering with state-run medical marijuana programs. Read More... Sessions Orders Return To Tough Drug War Policies Posted by on May 12, 2017 at 07:46:18 PT By Joseph Tanfani Source: Los Angeles Times Washington, D.C. -- Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has ordered federal prosecutors to return to tough policies against drug abusers, ending a push by the Obama administration to clear prisons of lower-level criminals serving long, mandatory minimum sentences. He rescinded two policy memos signed by a predecessor, former Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., that told prosecutors to be cautious in their use of methods that can produce dramatically harsher jail terms.
In a memo released Friday, Sessions instructed Justice Department lawyers to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense." By definition, he added, the most serious offenses “carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.” Read More... Vt. Legislature Becomes First to Approve Marijuana Posted by on May 10, 2017 at 13:43:06 PT By April McCullum, Free Press Staff Writer Source: Burlington Free Press Montpelier -- Vermont has become the first state to have both chambers of its state legislature approve a recreational marijuana legalization bill.
Vermont's bill, which would legalize small amounts of marijuana possession in 2018 and hint at the possibility of a taxed and regulated legal marijuana market, was approved by the Vermont House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 79-66. The bill has already been approved by the Senate and will go directly to Gov. Phil Scott. Read More... Supreme Court Rejects Guilty Until Proven Innocent Posted by on May 06, 2017 at 08:48:11 PT By Nick Sibilla, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- With so many constitutional rights under siege, it’s welcome news when one of them is defended. Reaffirming the presumption of innocence, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Colorado law last month that forced criminal defendants to prove their innocence when the defendants’ convictions were already overturned. As the court explained, “Absent those convictions, Colorado would have no legal right to exact and retain petitioners’ funds.” Not only is this decision a win for due process, the court’s ruling in Nelson v. Colorado could have major ramifications for government shakedown schemes nationwide. Read More... White House Proposes Cutting ONDCP Funding Posted by on May 06, 2017 at 08:07:00 PT By Alan Rappeport Source: New York Times Washington, D.C. -- When he was running for office, Donald J. Trump promised to rid America of the scourge of drugs, vowing to crack down on dealers and invest heavily in programs to get heroin and other opioids off the streets.
But on Friday, President Trump’s administration revealed plans to gut the 2018 budget of his Office of National Drug Control Policy. According to an Office of Management and Budget document obtained by The New York Times, the White House is proposing to slash the drug policy office budget by about 95 percent, to just $24 million from $388 million. Read More... Congress Ties Sessions' Hands on Medi Marijuana Posted by on May 04, 2017 at 04:59:05 PT By Matt Laslo Source: Rolling Stone USA -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the bogey man to many in the nation's burgeoning marijuana industry. Many pot entrepreneurs fear that the nation's top law enforcement officer – who once said "good people don't smoke pot" – will use the full force of the federal government to raid their businesses, even though the majority of U.S. voters support legal or recreational marijuana.
But this week, medicinal marijuana business owners and patients are breathing a sigh of relief: The compromise bill to fund the government through September includes an extension of a provision that keeps Sessions' hands tied by explicitly barring the Department of Justice from using its resources to go after marijuana growers, sellers and users in the more than two dozen states, plus D.C., that have legalized medical marijuana – though, inexplicably, North Dakota and Indiana were left out (possibly because of a clerical error). Read More... Congress Gives Jeff Sessions $0 To Go After MMJ Posted by on May 01, 2017 at 19:43:44 PT By Jennifer Bendery Source: Huffington Post Washington, D.C. -- Congress, once again, is blocking the Justice Department from spending any money that interferes with state medical marijuana laws.
In their newly unveiled budget bill, lawmakers included a provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, that allows states to carry on with crafting their own medical marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention. The bill, which funds the government through the end of September, is expected to pass this week. Read More... City By City, Marijuana is Becoming Legal Posted by on April 30, 2017 at 05:57:29 PT By Liz Wolfe Source: Newsweek USA -- Atlanta’s city council is contemplating making a smart move by decriminalizing marijuana possession (up to an ounce) within city limits. The current ludicrous threat of jail time would be replaced with a paltry $75 fine.
Many say Atlanta has a major policing problem along racial lines—more black residents are getting arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts, to an eery degree. Proponents of this new policy say decriminalization could partially ease those tensions. Read More... Smoke-in Demonstration Leads To Arrest Posted by on April 25, 2017 at 06:23:41 PT By Laura Kelly, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Washington D.C. -- U.S. Capitol Police on Monday arrested four marijuana activists who had staged a smoke-in demonstration on the Capitol’s lawn to call for the nationwide legalization of cannabis. Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said officers arrested two men and two women, who were charged with possession and taken to police headquarters for processing.
Monday’s incident followed Thursday’s arrests of eight pot advocates who were handing out free joints in front of the Capitol on D.C. property. Though possessing small amounts of pot is legal in the city, that area is patrolled by Capitol Police, who charged those activists with possession and possession with intent to distribute. Read More... Who’s The New Drug Czar? Posted by on April 23, 2017 at 05:19:24 PT By Al Olson Source: Salon Washington, D.C. -- After months of speculation, President Donald Trump apparently has found drug czar. Congressman Tom Marino, an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s run for the White House, reportedly will be nominated director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
According to CBS, the first news outlet to break the news of the pending announcement, reported that “Marino is in the final stages of completing his paperwork and an official announcement is forthcoming.” If true, Marino will resign from his seat in the House, which he has held since 2011. Read More... Marijuana Panel Chair Aims To Kill Black Market Posted by on April 22, 2017 at 08:44:18 PT By Joshua Miller, Globe Staff Source: Boston Globe Massachusetts -- A key state senator wants to kill the black market for marijuana by keeping the tax on the drug low when it is sold legally next year, continuing to require communities to hold a voter referendum if they want to ban pot shops, and insisting that retail stores can open by July 2018.
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen hopes that approach will effectively clear the way for private, legal marijuana retailers to dominate the market for the sale of marijuana. Read More... Everyone Who’s Died Of A Marijuana Overdose Posted by on April 20, 2017 at 12:05:57 PT By Nick Wing Source: Huffington Post USA -- Thursday is April 20, better known to many as 4/20, or “Weed Day.” People around the world are celebrating the unofficial marijuana holiday by gathering for rallies, smoke-outs, policy discussions and thousands of other weed-centric events.
It’s a day of blissful hypocrisy for millions of cannabis users in the U.S., who by and large are still expected to be somewhat covert about their fondness for the plant. The federal government maintains that marijuana is a dangerous illegal drug, with no accepted medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. Despite repeated calls for the reclassification of cannabis, it remains on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule I substances ¯ which also includes heroin, mescaline, LSD and a broad category of synthetic stimulants often referred to as “bath salts.” Read More... Why There Are So Many Different Names for Weed Posted by on April 20, 2017 at 11:56:43 PT By Katy Steinmetz Source: Time USA -- There are at least 1,200 slang terms related to marijuana — or cannabis or hashish or weed or pot or, as some say, asparagus. And there are hundreds more to describe one’s state of intoxication after imbibing the drug, according to slang scholar Jonathon Green.
Collecting slang has been the work of Green’s life, and the 69-year-old refers to drugs as one of slang’s “best sellers." That’s because slang and things-you’re-not-supposed-to-mention-in-polite-society go hand in hand. As TIME has reported, that unmentionable quality is what led five California high-schoolers to coin the term 420 in the 1970s, which likely led to April 20 becoming the de facto day of doobies. But that association goes back to the earliest recorded slang from the 16th century, coined by those who didn’t want authorities to know what they were talking about. Read More... Support to Legalize Marijuana at All-Time High Posted by on April 20, 2017 at 10:59:50 PT By Brooke Seipel Source: Hill USA -- Most Americans believe marijuana use should be legal, according to a new survey.
A new poll conducted by CBS News and released on Thursday — April 20, or 4/20 — found that 61 percent of Americans want marijuana to be legalized, a 5-point increase from the same poll last year and the highest percentage ever recorded in this poll. Read More... Free Pot Giveaway Outside U.S. Capitol on 4/20 Posted by on April 20, 2017 at 07:31:53 PT By Laura Kelly, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Washington D.C. -- Marijuana reform advocates plan to distribute free pot cigarettes outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, April 20 — the “4/20” date on which activists have held smoke-ins and other cannabis-related protests for years. While it is illegal to buy or sell marijuana in the nation’s capital, it is legal to carry and consume small amounts of it but not on federal property.
Thursday’s giveaway is a precursor for a civil disobedience protest on Monday, when activists plan to smoke joints on the Capitol steps — an action that could prompt arrests. Read More... On Weed, Homeland Security Chief Posted by on April 17, 2017 at 04:43:07 PT By Derek Hawkins Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Two high ranking Trump administration officials; two vastly different positions on marijuana.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to revive the war on drugs, and a crackdown on weed appears to be a major part of that. He is expected to pursue harsher punishments for using and distributing marijuana, which were relaxed under President Trump’s predecessor, as The Washington Post’s Sari Horowitz has reported. “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions opined last year. Read More... Growers Split As Pot Farms Go Industrial Posted by on April 16, 2017 at 05:45:00 PT By Thomas Fuller Source: New York Times Salinas, Calif. -- This vast and fertile valley is often called the salad bowl of the nation for the countless heads of lettuce growing across its floor. Now California’s marijuana industry is laying claim to a new slogan for the valley: America’s cannabis bucket. After years of marijuana being cultivated in small plots out of sight from the authorities, California cannabis is going industrial.
Over the past year, dilapidated greenhouses in the Salinas Valley, which were built for cut flower businesses, have been bought up by dozens of marijuana entrepreneurs, who are growing pot among the fields of spinach, strawberries and wine grapes. Read More... Wine Industry Finds a Companion in Marijuana Posted by on April 14, 2017 at 17:26:29 PT By Eric Asimov Source: New York Times USA -- Legal intoxication is big business and getting bigger. More states have legalized marijuana, leading some in the alcohol industry to regard it as a threat to their profit margin.
Those concerns are warranted in some cases. In Colorado, Oregon and Washington, where recreational use has been legal for several years, beer sales are down, mostly among mass-market brews. The liquor industry opposed several marijuana legalization initiatives last year, and has expressed fears for its bottom line. Read More... Trudeau Unveils Bill Legalizing Marijuana Posted by on April 13, 2017 at 11:31:26 PT By Ian Austen Source: New York Times Ottawa -- Fulfilling a campaign pledge, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation on Thursday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Canada.
Many nations have either decriminalized marijuana, allowed it to be prescribed medically or effectively stopped enforcing laws against it. But when Mr. Trudeau’s bill passes as expected, Canada will become only the second nation, after Uruguay, to completely legalize marijuana as a consumer product. Read More... Pot Is Supposed To Stay On The Ground Posted by on April 11, 2017 at 13:13:21 PT By Julie Weed Source: New York Times USA -- People in 29 states can legally use medical marijuana for a variety of problems, including the relief of pain, anxiety or stress. But what if they want to travel with it?
Secure airport areas beyond the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints are under federal control, and the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 (most harmful) substance, even in states where it is legal for adults to consume it. Read More... The Holy Land of Medical Marijuana Posted by CN Staff on April 11, 2017 at 09:46:10 PT By Yardena Schwartz, Contributor Source: U.S. News & World Report Tel Aviv -- After speaking here last month at a conference devoted to marijuana innovation, Garyn Angel handed out cannabis-infused salad dressing and sauces to people seeking to add an extra kick to their lunch.
The CannaTech conference drew high-profile speakers, including Yuval Landschaft, director of the Medical Cannabis Unit at Israel's Ministry of Health, and Sharren Haskel, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing party and one of Israel's biggest advocates of medical marijuana. The government speakers underscored the Israeli government's growing involvement in medical marijuana research and development. Read More... Oregon Lawmakers Pass Bill Posted by CN Staff on April 11, 2017 at 07:15:16 PT By Brendan O'Brien Source: Reuters Reuters -- Oregon lawmakers sought on Monday to protect buyers of marijuana from possible penalties under federal law, approving a bill to ban sellers of the drug for recreational use from keeping information on their customers. More than two dozen U.S. states have legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use.
But the drug remains illegal at the federal level, and President Donald Trump's administration has said it may ramp up enforcement of federal laws against its use. Read More... Bipartisan Bill Would Reclassify Marijuana Posted by on April 09, 2017 at 05:28:52 PT By Andrew Blake, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Washington D.C. -- Bipartisan legislation proposed in the House on Thursday would make marijuana a Schedule 3 drug, removing cannabis from its current standing as a Schedule 1 substance alongside deadly contraband including ecstasy and heroin. By reclassifying weed in the same category as anabolic steroids, Congress would “make it easier for ill-patients and scientific and medical researchers to obtain marijuana,” the bill’s authors said in a statement Thursday.
On the heels of a bicameral effort to outright legalize weed offered a week earlier, Thursday’s proposal by freshmen Florida Reps. Matt Gaetz, a Republican, and Darren Soto, a Democrat, aims to roll back the federal government’s ongoing pot prohibition to a lesser extent by removing existing hurdles said to be hindering researchers’ ability to understand the plant’s potential benefits. Read More... What Legalization in Canada Could Mean for USA Posted by on April 07, 2017 at 06:12:29 PT By Katy Steinmetz Source: Time USA -- America's neighbor to the north is fast moving toward legalizing recreational marijuana nationwide, which would make Canada the second country in the world to do so. And the impact of having weed legalized on such a big scale, so close to home, may affect the future of pot in the United States.
"There are those who sometimes regard Canada as the 51st state. It would be an important signal about the movement coming of age. It would add to the critical mass,” says Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a member of Congress' newly-formed Cannabis Caucus who is pushing to change the way the federal government treats the substance. And, he says: "It would shift the center of gravity." Read More...
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