Legalized MJ Makes It Harder for Police to Search Posted by on June 26, 2017 at 12:33:46 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post USA -- Drug policy experts often say that the health risks of marijuana use are relatively minor compared to the steep costs of marijuana enforcement: expensive policing, disrupted lives, violence and even death.
Law enforcement agencies, however, have often been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana legalization. One reason is that the drug, with its pungent, long-lasting aroma, is relatively easy to detect in the course of a traffic stop or other routine interaction. It's an ideal pretext for initiating a search that otherwise wouldn't be justified — even if that search only turns up evidence of marijuana use and nothing more. Read More... What MJ Legalization Did to Car Accident Rates Posted by on June 26, 2017 at 06:22:26 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post USA -- Last week, a pair of studies came to seemingly opposite conclusions on whether rising marijuana use is causing an increase in car crashes in states that have legalized the drug.
The first, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzed insurance claims for vehicle collisions filed between January 2012 and October 2016. The IIHS researchers compared claims in states that had recently legalized marijuana (Colorado, Washington and Oregon) with claims in similar neighboring states that hadn't. Read More... Americans Want Trump to Respect State MJ Laws Posted by on June 22, 2017 at 18:58:45 PT By Kelly Cohen Source: Washington Examiner Washington, D.C. -- A majority of Americans want the Trump administration to leave state marijuana laws alone. Seventy-six percent of American adults want President Trump to leave state marijuana laws as they are, according to a new poll from Survey USA. Reform group Marijuana Majority commissioned the poll.
Currently, legal recreational marijuana has been approved in eight states plus Washington, D.C. A total of 29 other states, including the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana in some form. Read More... Six Senators Lead The Fight For Legal Weed Posted by on June 22, 2017 at 11:32:12 PT By Matt Laslo Source: Rolling Stone Washington, D.C. -- The United States Senate is an intentionally slow moving body when it comes to passing laws, but the nation's upper legislative chamber is even slower when it comes to catching up with the popular will of the American people. That's especially been on display when it comes to the nation's pot laws, but now there's a growing core group of senators who are vocally crying out for the federal government to catch up with the states, at least when it comes to medical marijuana.
Usually House members take the lead on marijuana policy, but last week a bipartisan and ideologically diverse group of six senators introduced legislation that would allow the laws legalizing medical marijuana in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam to supersede the current federal prohibition on weed. It also would make it easier for epilepsy patients and veterans to access medical marijuana, while loosening restriction on researching weed. The proponents think they’ll gain more support than ever before for the effort, and they hope to keep pressure on Senate leaders to allow the bill to come to the floor. Read More... Mexico Just Legalized Medical Marijuana Posted by on June 22, 2017 at 09:42:50 PT By Amanda Erickson Source: Washington Post Mexico -- Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a decree this week legalizing medical marijuana. The measure also classified the psychoactive ingredient in the drug as “therapeutic.” The new policy isn't exactly opening the door for medical marijuana dispensaries on every corner.
Instead it calls on the Ministry of Health to draft and implement regulations and public policies regulating “the medicinal use of pharmacological derivatives of cannabis sativa, indica and Americana or marijuana, including tetrahydrocannabinol.” It also tasks the ministry with developing a research program to study the drug's impact before creating broader policies. Read More... Medical Marijuana Bill Aims to Fight Jeff Sessions Posted by on June 16, 2017 at 10:47:05 PT By Matt Laslo Source: Rolling Stone Washington, D.C. -- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow state medical marijuana laws to supersede the current federal prohibition on weed. The bill is dubbed the CARERS Act, which stands for the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act.
"The fact is our marijuana laws in America are broken," Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said at the bill's unveiling at the Capitol. "They are savagely broken, and the jagged pieces are hurting American people." Read More... Organic Weed? Marijuana Growers Go Green Posted by on June 16, 2017 at 07:14:51 PT By Austa Somvichian-Clausen Source: National Geographic USA -- In the U.S., one square foot of indoor marijuana cultivation uses four times more energy than the same space in a hospital, eight times more energy than a commercial building, and 20 times more energy than a center for religious worship, according to a study by Lewis and Clark College.
But a rising number of people in the fast-growing cannabis industry are trying to reduce their environmental footprint, from energy to water to pesticides. Still, a lack of research and regulation has left an industry that is on track to post $20.2 billion in sales by 2021 in a tough position. Read More... Sessions Asked Congress To Let Him Prosecute MMJ Posted by on June 13, 2017 at 05:04:00 PT By Christopher Ingraham Source: Washington Post Washington, D.C. -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions is asking congressional leaders to undo federal medical marijuana protections that have been in place since 2014, according to a May letter that became public Monday.
The protections, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds to prevent certain states "from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana." Read More... L.A. Proposes New Regulations on Marijuana Shops Posted by on June 09, 2017 at 05:14:21 PT By Emily Alpert Reyes Source: Los Angeles Times California -- Los Angeles unveiled a new set of proposed regulations Thursday on how and where marijuana businesses can operate within city limits, the latest step toward reworking its rules after Californians voted to legalize recreational pot. The draft rules would impose restrictions on where pot shops that sell marijuana to customers on site can operate, limiting them to most commercial and industrial zones and barring them from opening within 800 feet of one another.
Marijuana retailers would also be prohibited from operating within 800 feet of schools, public libraries, parks and drug and alcohol treatment facilities. Other kinds of marijuana businesses, including indoor cultivation facilities, would be restricted to most industrial zones. Read More... DOJ’s Mysterious Marijuana Subcommittee Posted by on June 06, 2017 at 18:09:22 PT By Steven Nelson, Staff Writer Source: U.S. News & World Report Washington, D.C. -- Led by an outspoken legalization opponent, Jeff Sessions' Justice Department is reviewing federal marijuana policy, with significant changes possible soon. Almost nothing about the review process is publicly known and key players in the policy debate have not been contacted.
The outcome of the review could devastate a multibillion-dollar industry and countermand the will of voters in eight states if the Obama administration's permissive stance on non-medical sales is reversed. Read More... California Could Be a Sanctuary State for Pot Posted by on June 02, 2017 at 10:39:30 PT By Patrick McGreevy Source: Los Angeles Times Los Angeles -- California moved a step closer Thursday to becoming a “sanctuary state” where local and state police would not assist federal enforcement of marijuana laws. The state Assembly approved a bill Thursday barring state and local law enforcement officers, absent a court order, from helping federal drug agents in arresting people who are complying with state laws allowing the use and sale of marijuana.
With a Friday deadline for action, the measure by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) was sent to the state Senate for consideration. Read More... Everyone Agrees Driving While High is Bad Posted by on May 31, 2017 at 05:32:13 PT By Keith Humphreys Source: Washington Post USA -- While several states have legalized using marijuana, nobody is in favor of driving under its influence. But as states crack down on high driving, they're struggling to figure out what counts as driving high, and how they can reliably test for it.
Currently, if police determine they have reason to suspect a driver of being under the influence -- perhaps due to erratic driving or other behavior -- they can administer a field sobriety test. But unlike alcohol, there's no on-scene breathalyzer for marijuana, and so in order to confirm marijuana use, officers must take drivers to police stations to administer a blood test. Read More... Medical Marijuana Could Cost Big Pharma Posted by on May 28, 2017 at 05:24:59 PT By Adam West Source: Salon USA -- Once the federal government finally allows medical marijuana to become a legitimate part of the healthcare industry, Big Pharma could suffer the loss of billions of dollars, a new report finds.
It seems the pharmaceutical trade has more than enough reasons to fear the legalization of marijuana, as an analysis conducted by the folks at New Frontier Data predicts the legal use of cannabis products for ailments ranging from chronic pain to seizures could cost marketers of modern medicine somewhere around $4 billion per year. Read More... 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...
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