Why Legalizing Will Be Much Harder Than You Think Posted by on April 27, 2016 at 09:23:04 PT By Erwin Chemerinsky Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- There are rumors that the federal government may soon lift its ban on marijuana, but that wouldn’t end marijuana prohibitions in the United States. This incongruity is the result of federalism: the ability of each jurisdiction — the federal government and every state — to maintain its own laws as to which drugs are illegal and which are not.
Completely legalizing marijuana in the United States would require the actions of both the federal government and every state government. If the federal government repealed its criminal prohibition of marijuana or rescheduled the drug under federal law, that would not change state laws that forbid its possession or sale. Likewise, state governments can repeal their marijuana laws, in whole or in part, but that does not change federal law. Read More... The Paradox At The Heart of Our Marijuana Laws Posted by on April 26, 2016 at 11:08:40 PT By Keith Humphreys Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- As Congress and the Drug Enforcement Administration weigh whether marijuana should be rescheduled, public faith in the drug classification system continues to erode. Debate rages between those who emphasize the strangeness of marijuana being on the highly restrictive Schedule I alongside far more harmful drugs like heroin, and those who emphasize how strange it would be to put crude plant matter on a less restrictive schedule alongside well-specified FDA-approved medications.
Both sides have a point, a paradox stemming from a design quirk of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act: The law takes pains to recognize that medically useful, FDA-approved drugs vary in harmfulness, but does not recognize that this is equally true of drugs with no approved medical use. By throwing all these diverse drugs into the same basket, federal law both baffles the public and makes it very difficult for researchers to evaluate whether tightly restricted drugs might have medical applications. Read More... Overdoses Fell with Medical Marijuana Legalization Posted by on April 26, 2016 at 08:21:54 PT By Colleen L. Barry Source: New York Times USA -- While opioid pain relievers offer critical benefits to certain patients, such as those with cancer-related pain, the rise of opioid prescriptions has had devastating public health consequences. The C.D.C. recently urged physicians to be very cautious in prescribing these drugs.
Meanwhile, access to medical marijuana has expanded rapidly — 24 states and D.C. have legalized its broad medical use — and chronic or severe pain is the most common condition reported among those using it. On it's face, this might seem to mirror the rise in prescription opioid use. Read More... About That Bud Summit at the White House Posted by on April 25, 2016 at 15:32:43 PT By Aaron C. Davis Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- It took a pot-smoking protest outside the White House, but on Monday, advocates for marijuana legalization were set for a historic face-to-face meeting with the Obama administration about easing laws governing the drug. Except, it wasn’t. Leaders of the successful ballot measure fight that legalized marijuana in the nation’s capital said they were granted a White House meeting, but it was with two junior-level staffers in Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.
There was no presidential entourage, no promises of more meetings to come. In fact, there was no visit to the White House proper, but a mostly empty conference room in an adjacent building. Read More... Efforts To Legalize Marijuana in Ohio Differ Posted by on April 25, 2016 at 06:11:56 PT By Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch Source: Columbus Dispatch Ohio appears likely to become the 25th state to approve medical marijuana, either through a new state law or a voted constitutional amendment. State lawmakers and two citizen advocacy groups are working simultaneously on proposals to bring marijuana as medicine to Ohioans with qualifying medical conditions.
But how the legislature and advocates approach the subject is very different, and the two pro-marijuana groups are proposing separate variations as well. Read More... DEA Greenlights Marijuana Study Posted by on April 23, 2016 at 10:54:43 PT By Andrew Blake, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agreed for the first time ever this week to let researchers conduct clinical trials with marijuana to examine the potential benefits of using the plant to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
A California-based nonprofit research group, the Multidisciplinary Approach to Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), announced on Thursday that the DEA will allow its scientists to conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled study specifically designed to determine the potential benefits of medicinal marijuana with regards to treating PTSD. Read More... Mexico’s President Proposes To Relax Marijuana Law Posted by CN Staff on April 23, 2016 at 07:11:28 PT By Gabriel Stargardter Source: Reuters Mexico City -- Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday proposed legalizing marijuana-based medicines, raising the amount users can carry and freeing inmates on minor weed charges, in a major shift amid regional efforts to reboot drug policy.
Pena Nieto, who is grappling with deadly drug cartel violence, said he will send to Congress a proposal to permit the use and importation of marijuana-based medicines, and raise the amount that weed users can legally carry to 28 grams from 5 grams. Read More... Marijuana Advocates Get Meeting With White House Posted by on April 20, 2016 at 17:55:05 PT By Sam Stein and Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post Source: Huffington Post Washington, D.C. -- A member of the Obama administration will meet with representatives of the marijuana advocacy community on Monday in what is being billed as a groundbreaking gathering.
DCMJ, an organization created in 2013 that has advocated for the legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia, says it was extended a tete-a-tete with a representative of the Obama administration after having been rebuffed two times prior. The meeting, according to Adam Eidinger, co-founder of the group, will be the first time that they have sat down with a political aide — he declined to name the aide because of the sensitivity of the meeting — and possibly the first time a national reform group has had such an audience. Read More... What Will Rescheduling Marijuana Mean for Industry Posted by on April 20, 2016 at 14:52:42 PT By Alex Halperin Source: Rolling Stone Washington, D.C. -- Early this month, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it would make a decision on whether to reclassify marijuana. Under the Controlled Substance Act, the federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I narcotic, meaning that it has high potential for abuse and no medical benefits, a position at odds with the 24 states that have legalized medical marijuana and the millions of casual users currently enjoying the occasional smoke. There's little dispute that the current classification of marijuana is absurd — other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD and MDMA; both cocaine and methamphetamine are considered less onerous Schedule II drugs. But there is much debate about what rescheduling might mean for the nascent legal pot industry. Read More... Canada to Introduce Legislation to Legalize Posted by on April 20, 2016 at 14:43:54 PT By Alan Freeman Source: Washington Post Ottawa -- The Canadian government announced Wednesday that it will introduce legislation next year to decriminalize and legalize the sale of marijuana, making Canada the first G7 country to permit widespread use of the substance.
The announcement was made by Canada’s health minister, Jane Philpott, at a U.N. drug conference in New York. It follows through on a promise made during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s successful election campaign last fall. Read More... The Origin Of 4/20 Has Finally Been Solved Posted by on April 20, 2016 at 09:12:15 PT By Mollie Reilly, Deputy Politics Editor Source: Huffington Post San Francisco -- Four decades after a group of California high schoolers coined the term 420, one of the holiday’s biggest mysteries has been solved.
Every April 20, stoners flock to places like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park or the University of Colorado, Boulder, to celebrate the high holiday. There are many myths about why 420 became the stoner code of choice. Some (falsely) claim it’s because there are 420 chemicals in THC, marijuana’s psychoactive compound. Other popular origin stories link the date to Adolf Hitler’s birthday, the police code for marijuana possession or the date of Bob Marley’s death (which was actually May 11). Read More... Marijuana Legalization in New England Is Stalled Posted by on April 20, 2016 at 05:35:11 PT By Jess Bidgood Source: New York Times Montpelier, Vt. -- First came Colorado and Washington. Then Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C. Now advocates for legal marijuana are looking to New England, hoping this part of the country will open a new front in their efforts to expand legalization nationwide.
But this largely liberal region is struggling with the devastating effect of opiate abuse, which is disrupting families, taxing law enforcement agencies and taking lives. And many lawmakers and public officials are balking at the idea of legalizing a banned substance, citing potential social costs. Read More... Legal Marijuana Market Will Grow To $7.1 Billion Posted by on April 19, 2016 at 11:19:41 PT By Katie Sola, Forbes Staff Source: Forbes USA -- Is it high time that America embraces marijuana legalization? The size of the market for legal marijuana in the United States is projected to grow to $7.1 billion in 2016, according to a report by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research. That represents 26% growth over the previous year, driven largely by adult recreational sales of marijuana, the researchers found. Legal adult recreational marijuana sales topped $998 million in 2015 compared to $351 million in 2014 — growing 184% year-over-year. America’s 2015 marijuana sales were higher than those of Dasani, Oreos and Girl Scout cookies. Read More... Government Spent $18 Million Destroying Marijuana Posted by on April 15, 2016 at 16:52:08 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- The Drug Enforcement Administration's controversial cannabis eradication program continued apace in 2015, new numbers released by the administration show. In 2015, local, state and federal authorities uprooted roughly 4.1 million cultivated marijuana plants in all 50 states, down slightly from the haul of 4.3 million plants in 2014.
Federal spending on the program remained at $18 million dollars, consistent with levels seen in previous years. That works out to a cost-per-plant of $4.42, up slightly from a cost of $4.20 per plant in 2014 (yes, really). Read More... More Doctors Want To Make Marijuana Legal Posted by on April 15, 2016 at 05:54:33 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post USA -- A group of more than 50 physicians, including a former surgeon general and faculty members at some of the nation's leading medical schools, has formed the first national organization of doctors to call on states and the federal government to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana in the interest of public health.
The group — which is announcing its formation Monday, under the name Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR) — is endorsing the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use, a break from the position of the American Medical Association, the largest organization of doctors in the country. DFCR argues that the prohibition and criminalization of marijuana use does more harm to the public than good. Citing hundreds of thousands of annual marijuana arrests, racial and economic disparities in marijuana enforcement, and the role of prohibition in keeping marijuana prices high and lucrative to violent drug dealers, the physicians say that creating a legal and regulated marijuana market is the best way to ensure public safety, combat the illicit drug trade and roll back the negative consequences of strict enforcement policies on disadvantaged communities. Read More... Ohio Lawmakers Plan To Unveil MMJ Proposal Posted by on April 13, 2016 at 12:28:06 PT By Jim Siegel & William T. Perkins Source: Columbus Dispatch Ohio -- The Ohio House is expected to roll out a medical marijuana proposal today, while the Senate also is winding down its examination of the issue as the two chambers consider action ahead of a potential ballot issue this November.
“I think this is going to be a joint effort,” said Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville. The House and Senate have used separate hearings to gather information on the medical marijuana legalization effort. Read More... Marijuana Is Smelling More Like Big Business Posted by on April 11, 2016 at 16:16:45 PT By Ian Lovett Source: New York Times Adelanto, Calof. -- After decades of thriving in legally hazy backyards and basements, California’s most notorious crop, marijuana, is emerging from the underground into a decidedly capitalist era.
Under a new state law, marijuana businesses will be allowed to turn a profit — which has been forbidden since 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis — and limits on the number of plants farmers can grow will be eliminated. Read More... Where Do Candidates Stand on Marijuana Posted by on April 09, 2016 at 13:54:12 PT By Kerry Cavanaugh Source: Los Angeles Times USA -- The political opinion on pot is evolving pretty quickly. For two years Congress has told the Justice Department not to spend money going after pot shops in states that have legalized medical marijuana, even though the drug remains illegal under federal law. President Obama has taken a hands-off approach as Colorado, Washington and other states have legalized adult recreational use. And now the Drug Enforcement Administration is considering reclassifying marijuana from the ludicrously inappropriate Schedule 1 (meaning no accepted medicinal value and highly addictive) -- a move the Times Editorial Board believes is way overdue. Read More... Federal Officials May Loosen Marijuana Resrictions Posted by on April 08, 2016 at 17:53:56 PT By Jessica Firger Source: Newsweek USA -- Officials from several federal regulatory agencies announced this week plans to re-evaluate policies that restrict the availability of marijuana for medical research. The agencies will make a drug scheduling decision as early as June. In response to requests from members of Congress, the agencies vowed to draw up plans that may eventually expand the number of growers able to cultivate cannabis for medical and research purposes.
In the 25-page letter addressed to Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of National Drug Control Policy and Drug Enforcement Administration provided information regarding the supply, scheduling and surveillance of the drug. Read More... It's Time for the DEA to Reclassify Marijuana Posted by on April 08, 2016 at 07:17:02 PT By The Times Editorial Board Source: Los Angeles Times California -- Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug, which means it has no medicinal value and is highly addictive. But the Drug Enforcement Administration is, once again, considering moving it to a less restrictive category that better reflects both its danger and the undeniable facts on the ground — that nearly half the states in the nation allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and several allow it to be used recreationally. The DEA told lawmakers that it intends to make a decision by July. Read More... Anti-Drug Senators Criticized For Sham Hearing Posted by on April 06, 2016 at 15:37:47 PT By Mollie Reilly, Deputy Politics Editor Source: Huffington Post Washington, D.C. -- A Senate hearing on state marijuana laws Tuesday was biased and dishonest, focusing mostly on debunked claims that marijuana use leads to substances like heroin and cocaine, drug policy groups said.
“These hearings are a one-sided sham with the deck stacked with witnesses who have a track record of vehemently opposing marijuana legalization,” said Michael Collins, Drug Policy Alliance deputy director. “An honest evaluation of marijuana legalization would include the undeniable benefits of legalization, like the massive drop in marijuana arrests, the billions in taxes, and the transition from an underground market to a regulated one.” Read More... DEA Will Decide Whether To Change Course on MJ Posted by on April 06, 2016 at 13:32:19 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- In a lengthy memo to lawmakers, the Drug Enforcement Administration said it hopes to decide whether to change the federal status of marijuana "in the first half of 2016."
Marijuana is currently listed under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that for the purposes of federal law, the drug has "no medical use and a high potential for abuse" and is one of "the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence." Marijuana shares Schedule 1 status with heroin, and it is more strictly regulated than the powerful prescription painkillers that have killed more than 165,000 people since 1999. Read More... Activists See D.C. Win as Opportunity for Dialogue Posted by on April 03, 2016 at 19:13:34 PT By Ryan M. McDermott, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Washington, D.C. -- The local activists who helped legalize marijuana possession in the District were on the trail of bigger game Saturday, lighting up in front of the White House to protest the way federal laws classify the drug.
“This is about needless incarceration,” Dave Anderson said as he walked along a 51-foot inflatable joint that protesters planned to march from 15th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW to the gates outside of the north lawn of the White House. “We’ve got local momentum in D.C., so this is an opportunity for a dialogue.” Read More... Advocates Take Pot Protest To The White House Posted by on April 03, 2016 at 05:05:11 PT By John Woodrow Cox Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- The mass of protesters gathered outside the White House couldn’t quite wait for 4:20 Saturday afternoon, the pre-planned time they had designated to light their marijuana-packed joints and pipes in protest of the federal laws that prohibit the drug’s consumption.
Just past 4:17, plumes of smoke arose from the crowd of more than 100 people, which was surrounded by officers from the U.S. Park Police, Metropolitan Police and the Secret Service. Still, because the activists remained on the street — owned by the District, which has legalized pot possession — and off the sidewalks — owned by the federal government, which has not — no one was arrested. Just two people were given citations and $25 fines for public consumption. A man who knew the pair said they were confronted by police only after a member of their group accidentally blew smoke in an officer’s face. Read More... 51-Foot Inflatable Joint to White House Posted by on April 01, 2016 at 16:18:06 PT By Tessa Berenson Source: Time Washington, D.C. -- Proponents of legal marijuana in Washington, D.C. plan to make their case in front of the White House on Saturday by having a “smoke-in,” bringing with them a 51-foot inflatable joint.
Organized by DCMJ, a group for local marijuana activists, the protest will begin on April 2 with participants carrying the joint towards the White House. Then, at 4:20 p.m. they will begin “a mass-consumption of cannabis,” according to the DCMJ website. The consumption can include smoking, vaping, or eating, because DCMJ says, “Do you think the National Park Service will go after your brownies, gummies, rice crispy treats, or cookies? Doubtful.” Read More... Vermont Governor on Marijuana Legalization Posted by on March 31, 2016 at 18:21:19 PT By Katy Steinmetz Source: Time Vermont -- In the next few weeks, as Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin nears the end of his time in office, his state could make history. If he has his way, Vermont will become the first state in the union to legalize marijuana through its legislature. The four states that have already legalized recreational pot—Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska—all did so by taking the issue to voters through ballot initiatives. The Vermont Senate passed a marijuana legalization bill in February and it is currently being debated in the House. Read More... Marijuana Advocates To Smoke Pot at White House Posted by on March 31, 2016 at 05:41:25 PT By Aaron C. Davis Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Attention senior class-trip chaperones, cherry blossom lovers, and anyone else who may wander by the White House on Saturday: Brace yourself for a cloud of marijuana smoke — and, possibly, mass arrests.
Organizers of the successful ballot measure that legalized pot last year in the District say they have had enough with President Obama’s slog toward loosening marijuana laws. To protest, they are planning what they promise will be the first large-scale display of public pot smoking in the nation’s capital, with the intention of getting arrested. Read More... How Vermont Could Change The MJ Legalization Game Posted by on March 30, 2016 at 09:30:03 PT By Amber Phillips Source: Washington Post Vermont -- Over the past four years, marijuana legalization has come to the United States at a relatively fast pace, thanks to overwhelming support for it among young adults. But up until now, change has mostly come from the voters -- sometimes in spite of lawmakers' wishes.
That balance could be shifting toward legislators, at least in one state: Vermont. In the next few weeks, Vermont could become the first state legislature to legalize marijuana. At Gov. Peter Shumlin's (D) urging, a bill to make Vermont the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana passed the state Senate in February and is currently being debated in the state House. Read More... Gary Johnson Predicts Obama will Reclassify MJ Posted by on March 29, 2016 at 15:18:27 PT By David Sherfinski, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Washington, D.C. -- Former New Mexico Gov. and 2016 Libertarian White House hopeful Gary Johnson says he thinks President Obama is going to remove marijuana from the government’s “Schedule I” list of narcotics considered particularly harmful and addictive on his way out of office.
“It’s going to be just like alcohol,” Mr. Johnson told The Washington Times Tuesday. “I’m going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he’s going to do that going out the door. That’s a positive.” Read More... Legal Marijuana Could Be a $1.1 Billion Industry Posted by on March 28, 2016 at 05:50:29 PT By Dan Adams, Globe Staff Source: Boston Globe Massachusetts -- If Massachusetts voters approve an expected ballot measure this fall legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, the state could become home to a $1.1 billion cannabis industry by 2020, according to a report.
The research, released last week by the marijuana data and investment firms ArcView Market Research and New Frontier , predicts the advent of legal marijuana would make Massachusetts a thriving hub of “canna-tourism” in the Northeast, depending on whether neighboring states also legalize marijuana. Read More...
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