Americas Coalition Suggests MJ Laws Be Relaxed Posted by on May 18, 2013 at 07:52:16 PT By Randal C. Archibold Source: New York Times Mexico City -- A comprehensive report on drug policy in the Americas released Friday by a consortium of nations suggests that the legalization of marijuana, but not other illicit drugs, be considered among a range of ideas to reassess how the drug war is carried out.
The report, released by the Organization of American States walked a careful line in not recommending any single approach to the drug problem and encouraging “flexibility.” Read More... Illinois Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Bill Posted by CN Staff on May 17, 2013 at 12:14:36 PT By Monique Garcia Clout Street Source: Chicago Tribune Springfield -- The Senate today approved legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses, sending the measure to Gov. Pat Quinn. The issue pitted supporters arguing for compassion for those suffering from pain they say only cannabis can ease against opponents who contend the legislation would undermine public safety.
Sponsoring Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, argued the measure is one of the toughest in the nation. Haine said his bill does not reflect other states that have “sloppily” instituted medical marijuana laws. Read More... Is Marijuana Booming Among Boomers? Posted by on May 17, 2013 at 05:05:32 PT By Robyn Griggs Lawrence Source: Forbes USA -- Like many of her peers, Zoe Helene, 48, smoked marijuana in her early 20s but gave it up as her career in the digital world took off in the 1990s. Today the multidisciplinary artist and environmental activist lives in Amherst, Mass., and is building a global network of trailblazers called Cosmic Sister. Since she married an ethnobotanist in 2007, she has returned to using cannabis occasionally — “as a tool for evolving and expanding my psyche.”
Helene is among a group of women that Marie Claire magazine has dubbed “Stiletto Stoners — card-carrying, type-A workaholics who just happen to prefer kicking back with a blunt instead of a bottle.” She’s also one of a growing legion of boomers who are returning to marijuana now that the stigma and judgment (and laws) surrounding its use are becoming more lax. Read More... MMJ Could Jinx Recreational Pot Market Posted by CN Staff on May 16, 2013 at 04:47:22 PT By Jonathan Kaminsky Source: Reuters Olympia, Washington -- Key officials helping to create Washington state's potentially lucrative recreational pot market say its success may hinge on preventing consumers from choosing to get high on readily available medical cannabis because of low and sometimes nonexistent taxes on it.
The officials say it may be necessary to raise taxes or impose more stringent rules on medical pot to avoid undercutting the new recreational market and the tax dollars it is expected to inject into state coffers. Many "patients," they say, are in reality heavy recreational users who fake or exploit their maladies. Read More... Medical Marijuana Shouldn't be for 'Adults Only' Posted by CN Staff on May 15, 2013 at 14:32:13 PT By Margaret Storey Source: Chicago Tribune Evanston, Illinois -- My 9-year-old daughter has Aicardi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes extremely hard-to-control seizures, debilitation, disability and early mortality. She began having seizures at three months of age, and since that time has had multiple seizures every day, with rare exception — probably to the tune of nearly 200,000 seizures in her lifetime.
For most families, even one such day would be an emergency. For ours, it is the norm. Read More... MMJ Company Accused of Anti-Union Retaliation Posted by CN Staff on May 14, 2013 at 05:13:48 PT By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff Source: Bangor Daily News Maine -- A national labor union on Monday morning filed a formal complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against the Wellness Connection of Maine, accusing the medical marijuana company of subjecting its employees to unfair labor practices.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s complaint, filed on behalf of current and former employees of the Wellness Connection, contains 11 specific charges against the company. Read More... Vermont Moves Toward Decriminalizing Marijuana Posted by CN Staff on May 13, 2013 at 12:49:25 PT By Zach Howard Source: Reuters Reuters -- Vermont's legislature on Monday approved a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, a measure the state's governor expects to sign into law in the coming weeks.
The move sets up the New England state to be the 17th in the United States to remove criminal penalties for having small amounts of pot. It does not go as far as Colorado and Washington, which in November became the first states to legalize possession, cultivation and use of marijuana by adults for recreational use. Read More... Lt. Gov Supports Medical Marijuana Posted by CN Staff on May 12, 2013 at 12:33:09 PT By Sophia Tareen, Associated Press Source: Associated Press Chicago -- Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said she is in favor of a bill allowing the medical use of marijuana, explaining Sunday that testimony from seriously ill veterans and other patients helped change her mind.
"As a former prosecutor my first reaction was, 'I'm not interesting in changing our laws on medical marijuana,'" she told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday. But she said that after hearing from patients and reading up on the bill, she's convinced the regulations are strict enough. Backers of the measure, which has cleared the Illinois House and awaits a Senate vote, have said the same thing. Read More... Federal Crackdown Busts Montana's MMJ Industry Posted by on May 12, 2013 at 06:40:07 PT By The Associated Press Source: Billings Gazette Helena -- If American society's tolerance for marijuana is now growing, then what happened in Montana illustrates just what can happen when the government decides things have gone too far. Pot advocates were running caravans, helping hundreds of residents in a day get medical marijuana user cards. Some doctors who conducted cursory exams on scores of people were fined. As the number of users quickly grew, so did a retail industry that led some to dub the state "Big High Country."
Today, thousands of medical pot providers have gone out of business, and a health department survey showed that the number of registered users have fallen to less than a quarter of their 2011 numbers. Read More... The Marijuana Measures Posted by on May 10, 2013 at 07:59:08 PT By The LA Times Editorial Board Source: Los Angeles Times Los Angeles -- The regulation of medical marijuana in Los Angeles is a mess and has been ever since Proposition 215 was approved by California voters in November 1996.
Repeated state and city efforts to bring the chaotic situation under control have had little effect. A move by the City Council in 2007 to register medical marijuana dispensaries, for instance, led instead to an unexpected proliferation. An attempt to limit them in 2010 drew 66 lawsuits and a court-ordered injunction. An ordinance to ban them outright in 2012 was quickly repealed after marijuana businesses gathered enough signatures for a referendum to overturn the measure. Court decisions designed to clarify the murky laws have instead contradicted one another. Read More... Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Senate Panel Posted by CN Staff on May 09, 2013 at 16:27:49 PT By Monique Garcia and Rafael Guerrero Source: Chicago Tribune Springfield -- A measure to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses advanced in the Illinois Senate on Wednesday. The issue sparked an emotional debate, with supporters arguing for compassion for those suffering from pain they say only cannabis can ease, even as law enforcement officials warned the proposal could create a "public safety nightmare" on the state's streets and highways.
The measure was approved on a 10-5 vote by the Senate Executive Committee and is expected to be called for a final vote next week. The bill has passed the House, and Gov. Pat Quinn has indicated he is "open-minded" but wants to give the matter further review. Read More... Massachusetts To Require Labs To Test Marijuana Posted by on May 09, 2013 at 04:43:27 PT By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff Source: Boston Globe Boston -- Massachusetts is the first state that will require independent labs to test the safety and quality of marijuana sold for medical use, under final rules that regulators unanimously approved Wednesday. The tests will screen for contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and mold. They will also identify and measure the active chemical compounds in the marijuana.
An earlier proposal would have allowed marijuana dispensaries to conduct their own testing, but state officials said that to ensure the integrity of the tests, they opted to make Massachusetts the first to require outside screening. Connecticut is considering a similar requirement. Read More... Legislature Gives Final Approval To Historic Bills Posted by on May 08, 2013 at 14:44:40 PT By John Ingold, The Denver Post Source: Denver Post Colorado -- The Colorado legislature made history on Wednesday, becoming the first state legislature in the country to pass laws regulating recreational marijuana sales and use. Wednesday morning, the state Senate approved two measures on taxes for marijuana and on rules for marijuana stores. The House later agreed with changes made in the Senate and sent the bills to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is expected to sign them.
The votes came six months and two days after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalized limited marijuana possession and sales for those 21 and older and launched the regulatory effort that led to the bills. Read More... N.H. Senate Panel Removes Home-Grow Option Posted by on May 08, 2013 at 05:51:33 PT By Ben Leubsdorf, Monitor Staff Source: Concord Monitor New Hampshire -- A Senate committee yesterday endorsed medical marijuana legislation that passed the House earlier this year, but removed a provision opposed by Gov. Maggie Hassan that would have allowed patients to grow their own cannabis.
Sen. Nancy Stiles, a Hampton Republican and chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee, said she met Monday with Hassan’s legal counsel, Lucy Hodder, and eliminated elements of the bill Hassan won’t support. Read More... CO Legislature Gives Final OK To MJ Driving Limit Posted by on May 07, 2013 at 13:38:20 PT By John Ingold, The Denver Post Source: Denver Post Colorado -- The torturous journey through the Colorado legislature of a proposal to set a stoned-driving limit ended Tuesday, when the state Senate gave final approval to the plan.
The latest iteration of the proposal, House Bill 1325, now goes to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has said he supports the plan. The bill sets a limit of active THC — the psychoactive chemical in marijuana — that drivers can have in their blood before juries can presume they were too high to drive. Read More... Colorado Measure To Halt Marijuana Sales Dies Posted by on May 07, 2013 at 04:15:18 PT By John Ingold, The Denver Post Source: Denver Post Colorado -- Marijuana advocates late Monday fought back an effort that could have halted Colorado's plans for legal marijuana shops, ending a debate that swept through the state Capitol like a dust devil for a little more than three hours.
The proposal, Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, would have put two separate constitutional measures before the voters in November. The first would have asked voters to approve special sales and excise taxes on recreational marijuana. If that measure failed, a second measure would have asked voters whether they wanted to suspend recreational marijuana sales. Read More... Colorado Senators Oppose Stoned Driving Limits Posted by CN Staff on May 06, 2013 at 16:04:47 PT By Kristen Wyatt, The Associated Press Source: Associated Press Denver -- A stoned-driving debate that has divided Colorado lawmakers for years is poised to go down to the final hours in this year's Legislature.
With just two days left to settle the question, senators voted Monday to continue the driving-high debate by rejecting an amendment to say drivers are too stoned if their blood contains 5 nanograms per milliliter of marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, THC. Read More... Judge Rules Cities Can Outlaw MMJ Dispensaries Posted by CN Staff on May 06, 2013 at 13:15:04 PT By Lisa Leff, The Associated Press Source: Associated Press San Francisco -- California cities and counties can ban pot shops, the state's highest court ruled Monday in a unanimous opinion likely to further diminish California's once-robust medical marijuana industry.
The California Supreme Court said neither the state's voter-approved law legalizing medical marijuana nor a companion measure adopted by the Legislature prevent local governments from using their land use and zoning powers to prohibit storefront dispensaries. The ruling came in a legal challenge to a ban enacted by the city of Riverside in 2010. Read More... Aurora To Consider Running The Show Posted by on May 04, 2013 at 06:21:50 PT By Carlos Illescas, The Denver Post Source: Denver Post Colorado -- The city of Aurora could be getting into the pot business — and make itself the exclusive grower and seller of the drug without the worry of private competition.
The City Council is set to consider Monday several ways of dealing with Amendment 64, which legalizes recreational marijuana in Colorado. The choices are broad, ranging from banning certain establishments to allowing them. Another is for Aurora to run the show — from seed to sale. Read More... Proposals Would Legalize Marijuana in Ohio Posted by on May 03, 2013 at 08:07:52 PT By Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch Source: Columbus Dispatch Columbus -- As poll numbers show Ohioans are growing increasingly comfortable with the idea of marijuana use, a Youngstown Democrat wants to give people the chance to make the drug fully legal in Ohio.
Rep. Robert F. Hagan has made a few attempts over the years to persuade his colleagues to allow for the use of medical marijuana in Ohio, and each effort has died a quiet death. A spokesman for Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, declined to comment on the pair of proposals Hagan introduced yesterday. Read More... Hearing on Bill To Legalize Marijuana Posted by CN Staff on May 02, 2013 at 17:50:13 PT By Robert Long, BDN Staff Source: Bangor Daily News Augusta, Maine -- A bill to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, taxing and regulating it like alcohol, will receive a public hearing at 10 a.m. Friday before the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Diane Russell of Portland, would revamp Maine’s marijuana laws, allowing people age 21 and older to possess as much as 2.5 ounces of marijuana legally. It would establish an excise tax of $50 per ounce at the wholesale level and a 5 percent sales tax for retail sales. Ten percent of revenue from those taxes would pay for regulating marijuana sales, 10 percent would go for addiction treatment, 5 percent would fund research on marijuana through 2021 and the balance would go to the state’s general fund. Read More... Medical Marijuana Bill Outlined, But Debate Waits Posted by CN Staff on May 02, 2013 at 08:29:30 PT By Brian Bakst, Associated Press Source: Associated Press St. Paul, Minn. -- Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical use put their plan forward Thursday at Minnesota's Capitol even though the major debate will wait until next year.
Leaders of the group that will lead the charge have previously said they are not expecting any action on the proposal until the 2014 session. This session is due to conclude in a few weeks. Read More... Federal Suit Claims Police Distort MJ Searches Posted by on May 02, 2013 at 04:28:57 PT By Ray Rivera Source: New York Times New York -- One man was walking home with groceries. Another was on a break from his job at a meat market. A third was walking down the street listening to headphones.
That is when the men say police officers confronted them, sometimes violently, searched their clothing and discovered small amounts of marijuana, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit that is expected to be filed on Thursday in United States District Court for the Southern District, in Manhattan. Read More... Marijuana Taxes Prove Sticking Point in Colorado Posted by CN Staff on April 30, 2013 at 12:11:51 PT By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press Source: Associated Press Denver -- Marijuana as a potential tax bonanza has Colorado lawmakers wrestling with a question both sides say they don't know how to answer: How much will people pay for legal weed?
The state House advanced a taxing measure Monday to levy a pot tax in excess of 25 percent, a reduction from the 30 percent rate lawmakers considered last week. Read More... Marijuana Repeal Considered in Colorado Posted by CN Staff on April 29, 2013 at 16:32:04 PT By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press Source: Associated Press Denver -- Marijuana legalization could be going back to the ballot in Colorado - a prospect that has pot legalization activists furious.
The proposal for a marijuana ballot measure came as the House debated into early Saturday morning on bills to regulate and tax pot. One bill would state how pot should be grown and sold, and the other would tax recreational marijuana more than 30 percent. Lawmakers agreed to the first bill, but delayed a tax vote until Monday as the debate stretched past midnight. Read More... A Smarter Federal Path on State-Voted MJ Laws Posted by on April 28, 2013 at 16:38:53 PT By Neal Peirce, Syndicated Columnist Source: Seattle Times Washington, D.C. -- The time is at hand for the Obama administration to stop dithering, to take a clear position on the rights of Washington state and Colorado — and by precedent all others — to experiment with legalized marijuana.
That’s what Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington and John Hickenlooper of Colorado are asking the Justice Department to do — even though they personally opposed the marijuana legalization measures their voters approved last November. Read More... Colo. Pot Legalization Could Be Short-Lived Posted by on April 27, 2013 at 06:43:11 PT By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Denver -- Recreational marijuana isn’t officially legal yet in Colorado, but there’s already talk of making it illegal again. A proposal under discussion in the state legislature would place a repeal measure on the November ballot. The repeal would take effect only if voters refused to approve a second measure to fund state costs associated with marijuana regulation.
No repeal bill has been introduced, but that didn’t stop advocates on both sides of the issue from holding back-to-back press conferences Friday at the state capitol. Read More... Advocates Eye Legalizing Marijuana in Alaska Posted by CN Staff on April 26, 2013 at 16:50:20 PT By Becky Bohrer, Associated Press Source: Associated Press Juneau, Alaska -- Alaska, known for its live-and-let-live lifestyle, is poised to become the next battleground in the push to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The state has a complicated history with the drug, with its highest court ruling nearly 40 years ago that adults have a constitutional right to possess and smoke marijuana for personal use in their own homes.
In the late 1990s, Alaska became one of the first states to allow the use of pot for medicinal reasons. Read More... Federal Law Trumps Colorado’s on Medical Marijuana Posted by on April 26, 2013 at 05:30:09 PT By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times Source: Washington Times Denver -- A severely disabled man fired because of his after-hours medical-marijuana use has no legal recourse because the drug remains banned under federal law, a Colorado court ruled Thursday.
A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld 2-1 the firing of Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic who has a prescription for the drug in a state that permits medical marijuana, saying he was not protected from dismissal under the Colorado Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute. Read More... 7 Key Questions on Marijuana Legalization Posted by on April 25, 2013 at 18:28:38 PT By Beau Kilmer Source: USA Today USA -- Believe me, I've heard all the pot jokes, and some of them are true. Public support for legalizing marijuana use is at an all-time high. Some state-level marijuana laws are going up in smoke. And yes, Washington and Colorado are embarking on a historic joint venture.
Puns aside, discussions about marijuana legalization are getting serious. In November, voters in Colorado and Washington made the unprecedented decision to allow commercial production, distribution and possession of marijuana for nonmedical purposes. Not even the Netherlands goes that far. Read More...
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