Marijuana Use Increases in Colorado Posted by on December 26, 2014 at 18:54:28 PT By John Ingold, The Denver Post Source: Denver Post Colorado -- As marijuana legalization took hold in Colorado, the estimated percentage of regular cannabis users in the state jumped to the second-highest level in the country, according to new federal data.
When asked, roughly one out of every eight Colorado residents over the age of 12 reported using marijuana in the previous month. Only Rhode Island topped Colorado in the percentage of residents who reported using marijuana as frequently. The results come from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, or NSDUH, and represent the average of estimates gathered in 2012 and 2013. Read More... Colorado Will Research Pot's Medical Value Posted by on December 26, 2014 at 16:22:05 PT By Electa Draper, The Denver Post Source: Denver Post Colorado -- After Coloradans decreed in 2000 that the cannabis plant had medical value, scientific evidence has had to play catch-up with the anecdotal cases. The list of claims of healing powers of marijuana is long, while the list of full-scale U.S. studies on medicinal benefits is short, largely because pot use is still against federal law and doesn't get many federal research dollars.
Colorado voters approved themedical use of pot in 2000 and recreational use in 2012. Now Colorado is leading the nation in state spending on studies of medical marijuana. Read More... Tribes Wade Carefully Into Marijuana Discussions Posted by on December 26, 2014 at 05:27:21 PT By Felicia Fonseca and Matthew Brown Source: Washington Post Flagstaff, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation had bitter debates when it was deciding whether to allow casinos on the reservation and whether alcohol should be sold in them. The arguments focused on the revenue and jobs that casinos and liquor could bring to a community in which half the workforce is unemployed and most arrests and pervasive social ills are linked to alcohol abuse.
When the federal government announced this month that it would allow American Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana, the same divisive discussions resurfaced. The tribal president’s office talked of expanding crops to include pot for medicinal but not recreational use, while a tribal lawmaker quickly declared his opposition. Read More... Colorado Funds Medical Marijuana Research, a First Posted by CN Staff on December 22, 2014 at 09:46:27 PT By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press Source: Associated Press Denver -- Colorado will spend more than $8 million researching marijuana's medical potential — a new frontier because government-funded marijuana research traditionally focuses on the drug's negative health effects.
The grants awarded by the Colorado Board of Health will go to studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the studies still need federal approval. Read More... Oklahoma and Nebraska Sue Colorado Posted by on December 20, 2014 at 10:50:10 PT By Kory Grow Source: Rolling Stone Colorado -- Oklahoma and Nebraska have filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to deem Colorado's marijuana laws unconstitutional, The Denver Post reports. The states, which border Colorado, claim in the suit that their neighbor's recreational pot policy is "draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice system." Because recreational weed is not legal in Nebraska and Oklahoma – and those states must abide by federal law, which also prohibits it – the they want Colorado's policy overturned. They are not seeking financial damages.
"The State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system," the lawsuit – which Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed Thursday – alleges. "Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining [our states'] own marijuana bans." Read More... Dangerous Implications of the Lawsuit Against MJ Posted by on December 20, 2014 at 10:42:13 PT By Ilya Somin Source: Washington Post USA -- Co-blogger Jonathan Adler and Vanderbilt law professor Robert Mikos have pointed out some of the flaws in the lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma urging a federal court to invalidate marijuana legalization in neighboring Colorado. In the unlikely event that the plaintiff states prevail, they will also have set a very dangerous precedent – one that conservatives are likely to rue in other areas.
Nebraska and Oklahoma argue that Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana under state law, in the face of continuing federal prohibition, harms neighboring states because it facilitates the flow of marijuana across their borders and may increase crime there. Liberal states with strict gun control laws raise exactly the same complaints about the flow of guns from neighboring conservative states with relatively permissive firearms laws. Read More... Nebraska, Oklahoma Meddling with Colorado Pot Law Posted by on December 20, 2014 at 06:03:44 PT By The Denver Post Editorial Board Source: Denver Post Colorado -- No one has ever doubted the federal government has the power to shut down Colorado's commercial marijuana outlets, as well as its manufacturing and growing facilities.
Federal agents could close every medical marijuana facility, too. But they have chosen not to, wisely deferring to the popular will in Colorado and other states that have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use. Read More... Pot Backers See Dollar Signs Posted by on December 20, 2014 at 05:52:51 PT By Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch Source: Columbus Dispatch Ohio -- The belief that marijuana is a growth industry appears to be the driving force behind a planned 2015 constitutional amendment that would ask Ohioans to authorize 10 individuals or businesses to grow and sell marijuana wholesale for personal and medicinal use by residents 21 or older.
Despite being in the works for up to a year, Thursday’s revelation of a ballot issue caught many people off guard, including those who support and oppose legalization. Most observers were expecting a push to come from more traditional sources such as the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, the California-based Drug Policy Alliance, the Ohio Rights Group or one of the other advocate organizations. Read More... Nebraska & Oklahoma Sue Colorado Over Legalization Posted by on December 18, 2014 at 14:02:39 PT By John Ingold, The Denver Post Source: Denver Post Colorado -- Two neighboring states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Colorado's laws legalizing recreational marijuana.
Nebraska and Oklahoma filed the lawsuit directly with the nation's highest court on Thursday. The two states argue that, "the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system." Read More... Obama Commutes Sentences for 8 Drug Inmates Posted by CN Staff on December 17, 2014 at 13:50:46 PT By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Source: Associated Press Washington, D.C. -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday cut short prison time for eight drug convicts as part of his new initiative to reduce harsh sentences under outdated guidelines, a step that could lead to a vast expansion of presidential clemency in his final two years in office.
The president also is pardoning 12 convicts for a variety of offenses. But the commutations are particularly significant because they are the first issued under new guidelines announced earlier this year designed to cut costs by reducing the nation’s bulging prison population and grant leniency to nonviolent drug offenders sentenced to double-digit terms. Read More... The Federal War on Medical Marijuana Is Over Posted by on December 17, 2014 at 05:50:22 PT By Josh Harkinson Source: Mother Jones USA -- Good news for medical pot smokers: The $1.1 trillion federal spending bill approved by the Senate on Saturday has effectively ended the longstanding federal war on medical marijuana. An amendment to the bill blocks the Department of Justice from spending money to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries or patients that abide by state laws.
"Patients will have access to the care legal in their state without fear of federal prosecution," Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), a supporter of the rider known as the Hinchey-Rohrbacher amendment, said in a statement. "And our federal dollars will be spent more wisely on fighting actual crimes and not wasted going after patients." Read More... Congress Ends Federal Government's Ban on MMJ Posted by on December 16, 2014 at 05:29:57 PT By Evan Halper Source: Los Angeles Times Washington, D,C. -- Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy. The bill's passage over the weekend marks the first time Congress has approved nationally significant legislation backed by legalization advocates. It brings almost to a close two decades of tension between the states and Washington over medical use of marijuana.
Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so. Read More... Teen MJ Use Declines Even as States Legalize Posted by on December 16, 2014 at 05:21:58 PT By Donna Leinwand Leger, USA Today Source: USA Today USA -- Marijuana use among teens declined this year even as two states, Colorado and Washington, legalized the drug for recreational use, a national survey released Tuesday found.
University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in schools nationwide about their use of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and cigarettes. Read More... Fight Over Marijuana More Risky in States than DC Posted by CN Staff on December 16, 2014 at 05:12:21 PT By Kevin Freking, Associated Press Source: Associated Press Washington, D.C. -- It's easy for Congress to meddle with the District of Columbia's decision to legalize recreational use of marijuana, but taking on the states is a different matter.
A massive, catch-all spending bill Congress passed last week contains a provision preventing the District from using federal money to implement any law or regulation that repeals or reduces marijuana-related penalties. The action is in direct response to a voter initiative passed last month that allows possession of up to 2 ounces of pot or up to three mature plants for personal use. Read More... Texas Lawmaker Proposes Lower Marijuana Penalties Posted by on December 15, 2014 at 18:30:02 PT By Katy Steinmetz Source: Time Texas -- On Monday, Texas State Rep. Joe Moody introduced a bill that would remove criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. “Our current marijuana policy in Texas just isn’t working,” Moody said in a statement. “We need a new approach that allows us to more effectively utilize our limited criminal justice resources. This legislation is a much-needed step in the right direction.”
Under current Texas law, possessing up to two oz. of weed can yield six months of jail time and a $2,000 penalty. Under the proposal, adults caught with up to one oz. would get a $100 ticket, similar to a parking violation. Larger amounts would still lead to criminal penalties. The measure would make Texas the 20th state plus the District of Columbia to remove the threat of jail time for the possession of small amounts of weed. Read More... D.C. Maneuvering for Marijuana Showdown Posted by on December 14, 2014 at 05:09:05 PT By Aaron C. Davis Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- The congressional effort to block marijuana legalization in the District has been widely viewed as yet another frustrating defeat for self-governance by residents of the nation’s capital.
But city leaders are saying otherwise, promising to throw the issue back to Congress next month in a way that could prompt the most high-profile showdown in years over D.C. rights. Read More... Del. May Be On Road To Legalizing Marijuana Posted by CN Staff on December 14, 2014 at 04:48:52 PT By Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal Source: News Journal Delaware -- The marijuana reform movement has reached Delaware. Lawmakers will consider the intermediate step of decriminalization next year following the legalization of pot in Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C.
Legislation drafted by Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington, would replace criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, with fines similar to those for speeding or running a red light. And national pot activists are hoping Delaware won't stop there. Read More... Indian Tribes May Legalize Marijuana, Feds Say Posted by on December 13, 2014 at 09:44:22 PT By Mary Ellen Klasherald, Tallahassee Bureau Source: Miami Herald Florida -- Will marijuana be as legal as poker chips on Native American tribal lands in Florida? That is the question being asked after the U.S. Justice Department published a memo directing federal prosecutors nationwide to allow tribes to cultivate and grow marijuana on their sovereign lands without fear of federal harassment.
The decision will be applied on a case-by-case basis, according to the memo published Thursday, and there is no indication yet that Florida’s two federally recognized tribes — the Miccosukees and Seminoles — will participate. Read More... Tribes Can Legalize Pot Justice Department Decides Posted by CN Staff on December 11, 2014 at 19:37:52 PT By Steven Nelson Source: U.S. News & World Report Washington, D.C. -- Four western U.S. states have decided to allow recreational marijuana sales, but legal pot may soon be within driving distance of many more Americans following a new Department of Justice decision.
In a memo released Thursday, the department outlined new policies allowing American Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana on reservation lands. Read More... Feds: Native American Tribes Can Make MJ Laws Posted by CN Staff on December 11, 2014 at 19:07:30 PT By Associated Press Source: Associated Press Grants Pass, Ore. -- The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday Indian tribes can grow and sell marijuana on their lands as long as they follow the same federal conditions laid out for states that have legalized the drug.
Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall said Thursday the announcement addresses questions raised by tribes about how legalization of pot in states like Oregon, Washington and Colorado would apply to Indian lands. Read More... Congress Hypocritically Blocks DC’s MJ Initiative Posted by on December 11, 2014 at 09:37:49 PT Washington Post Editorial Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- The Federal spending bill now pending before Congress includes a provision that bars the Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. It also includes an amendment that prohibits the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with a federal law that allows industrial hemp research in states that have approved it.
But for the District of Columbia and its effort to legalize marijuana, it’s a different story, with Congress showing no shame or compunction in trying to upend local authority. The hypocrisy is stunning even by the standards of Capitol Hill. Read More... Congress Hands A Mixed Bag to Marijuana Movement Posted by on December 11, 2014 at 07:14:05 PT By Alex Altman Source: Time Washington, D.C. -- For the marijuana legalization movement, 2014 ends the way it began: with legal changes that showcase the movement’s momentum alongside its problems.
Tucked into the 1,603-page year-end spending bill Congress released Tuesday night were a pair of provisions that affect proponents of cannabis reform. Together they form a metaphor for the politics of legal pot—an issue that made major bipartisan strides this year, but whose progress is hampered by a tangle of local, state and federal statutes that have sown confusion and produced contradictory justice. Read More... Congress’s Double-Edged Marijuana Stance Posted by on December 11, 2014 at 06:55:49 PT New York Times Editorial Source: New York Times Washington, D.C. -- A bold stride in the popular campaign to legalize marijuana — an amendment blocking federal interference with states that allow medical marijuana — has been written into the bipartisan budget spending bill that’s now being rushed through Congress. At the same time, this clear victory for the pro-marijuana movement nationally has been coupled with Congress’s outrageous rebuff of the will of District of Columbia residents, who voted overwhelmingly last month to join the growing state move to legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana. Read More... Pot Backers Oppose U.S. Bill Banning Legal MJ Posted by CN Staff on December 10, 2014 at 15:55:37 PT By Ian Simpson Source: Reuters Washington, D.C. -- Marijuana advocates on Wednesday urged Congress not to use a spending bill to overturn a local referendum that overwhelmingly backed legalizing pot in the District of Columbia.
A $1.1 trillion spending bill negotiated by lawmakers on Tuesday barred the U.S. capital from using funds to implement Initiative 71, which legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in Washington. Read More... Congress Blocks Feds From Targeting Med Marijuana Posted by on December 10, 2014 at 15:39:20 PT By Matt Ferner Source: Huffington Post Washington, D.C. -- States with legal hemp cultivation and medical marijuana programs just got historic support from Congress.
Included in the federal spending bill released late Tuesday are amendments that prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds to go after state medical marijuana operations and that block the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to interfere in state-legal industrial hemp research. Read More... Congress Axes D.C. Marijuana Legalization Posted by on December 10, 2014 at 08:52:04 PT By Andrea Noble and Tom Howell Jr. Source: Washington Times Washington, D.C. -- A plan to regulate and tax marijuana in the District fell victim on Tuesday to federal budget negotiators, who inserted an amendment into a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill that effectively overturns a voter-approved initiative legalizing recreational use of the drug in the District.
But the measure appeared to go much further, also rolling back a law approved by the council this year eliminating criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Read More... D.C. Marijuana Law Blocked By Congress Posted by on December 10, 2014 at 06:23:24 PT By Matt Ferner and Arthur Delaney Source: Huffington Post Washington, D.C. -- The legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C., appears to be blocked in the spending bill Congress released late Tuesday.
A summary posted to the House Appropriations website says the spending bill Congress will consider this week "prohibits both federal and local funds from being used to implement a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in the District." Read More... Congressional Budget Poised to Partially Block Pot Posted by on December 09, 2014 at 12:37:24 PT By Aaron C. Davis and Ed O'Keefe Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- An emerging deal to keep the federal government funded into next year would block the D.C. government from allowing legal sales of marijuana in the nation’s capital, according to multiple congressional aides with knowledge of the negotiations.
The spending package remains fluid, and aides warned that details could still change. But asked about the possible curb on D.C.’s marijuana initiative, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) conceded that it may be difficult to remove such language from the final bill. Read More... Americans Want States With Legal MJ Protected Posted by on December 09, 2014 at 09:10:19 PT By Matt Ferner Source: Huffington Post USA -- A majority of Americans want each state to decide its own marijuana laws and don't want federal interference with those that legalize cannabis.
A report released Monday by centrist think tank Third Way says 60 percent of American voters believe states should decide whether to legalize marijuana. And 67 percent of Americans want a new federal law that would make states that legalize medical or recreational marijuana "safe haven" from U.S. laws against cannabis, as long as the states have a strong regulatory framework. Read More... Colorado OKs Marijuana Credit Union Posted by on December 08, 2014 at 15:16:49 PT By Trevor Hughes, USA Today Source: USA Today Denver -- Colorado's marijuana businesses have a cash flow problem: Too much cash is flowing in and they've nowhere to put it. Most banks refuse to work with marijuana businesses, which are legal in Colorado but remain illegal at the federal level. Now, a new credit union aimed specifically toward the cannabis industry hopes to offer a solution.
The Fourth Corner Credit Union hopes to open its doors within weeks in Denver, offering to accept cash deposits and to permit members to make electronic transfers for payroll and rent, and to buy supplies. Read More...
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