Don’t regulate marijuana like alcohol — keep government out

Posted on March 4, 2015. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, Federal Government, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


March 02, 2015 12:00 am  •  James C. Wilson

On Feb. 20, U.S. Representatives Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, introduced two new bills for federal marijuana legalization. The U.S. government’s practice of imprisoning, fining, harassing and stigmatizing marijuana users is tragic and has damaged many lives. Ending prohibition is a welcome change, but these bills have severe problems. If passed, they would turn marijuana into a cartelized industry rather than a business opportunity for everyday people.

Blumenaur’s bill, The Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015 (HR 1014) would place a federal excise tax on marijuana, and occupational taxes on the marijuana-related businesses. Polis’s HR 1013, The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, would end federal prohibition of marijuana and transfer enforcement from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The bills would subject marijuana to the same sort of taxation and regulation as alcohol and tobacco, using Colorado as a nationwide model. Such a regime would lead to the development of "big marijuana" firms similar to "big alcohol" and "big tobacco."

Large conglomerates dominate the alcohol (Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller) and tobacco (Philip Morris’s and RJ Reynolds) markets, under the existing system of state-imposed excise taxes, licensing and mandatory three tier distribution. The extra costs of these requirements keep small producers out of these industries. The result is stifled competition and ripped off consumers. The same process would ultimately lead to "big marijuana" conglomerates with Anheuser-Bush-like market power and advertising budgets.

Supporters of marijuana prohibition are not getting any younger. More than 213 million Americans live in jurisdictions with some form of legal marijuana use. Growing numbers recognize marijuana as a means of relaxation, a catalyst for creativity and an exciting business opportunity. The only choice is whether to end prohibition in a way that keeps money in the hands of small producers and sellers, or one that concentrates it the hands of big business. The free market approach of decriminalization and nonintervention does the former. Polis and Blumenaur’s "regulate and tax" approach does the latter. If American twenty-somethings want to earn money by selling pot to their friends, let them. If it helps them pay their bills and keep themselves off welfare we are all better off for it.

Government interventions tend to benefit big business and economic elites at the expense of ordinary people. Marijuana policy is no exception. The state’s current prohibitionist policies benefit violent drug cartels, just as hyper-regulatory policies will benefit cartels of big corporations. This is just another area of life to get the state out of. In a free society consenting buyers and sellers can make their own decisions about marijuana. The state and big business can stay out of it.

James C. Wilson is an intern at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

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DEA warns of stoned rabbits if Utah passes medical marijuana

Posted on March 4, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , |


 

 

Utah is considering a bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of marijuana. If the bill passes, the state’s wildlife may "cultivate a taste" for the plant, lose their fear of humans, and basically be high all the time. That’s according to testimony presented to a Utah Senate panel (time stamp 58:00) last week by an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"I deal in facts. I deal in science," said special agent Matt Fairbanks, who’s been working in the state for a decade. He is member of the "marijuana eradication" team in Utah. Some of his colleagues in Georgia recently achieved notoriety by raiding a retiree’s garden and seizing a number of okra plants.

Fairbanks spoke of his time eliminating back-country marijuana grows in the Utah mountains, specifically the environmental costs associated with large-scale weed cultivation on public land: "Personally, I have seen entire mountainsides subjected to pesticides, harmful chemicals, deforestation and erosion," he said. "The ramifications to the flora, the animal life, the contaminated water, are still unknown."

Fairbanks said that at some illegal marijuana grow sites he saw "rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana. …" He continued: "One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone."

It’s true that illegal pot farming can have harmful environmental consequences. Of course, nothing about these consequences is unique to marijuana. If corn were outlawed and cartels started growing it in national forests, the per-plant environmental toll would be about the same.

But backcountry marijuana grows are a direct result of marijuana’s illegal status. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of these grows, an alternative is to legalize and regulate the plant so that people can grow it on farms and in their gardens, rather than on remote mountainsides.

Now, regarding rabbits. Some wild animals apparently do develop a taste for bud (and, yes, best to keep it away from your pets). But I don’t know that the occasional high rabbit constitutes grounds for keeping marijuana prohibition in place, any more than drunk squirrels are an argument for outlawing alcohol. And let’s not even get started on the nationwide epidemic of catnip abuse.

There was a time, not too long ago, when drug warriors terrified a nation with images of "the devil’s weed" and "reefer madness." Now, it seems that enforcers of marijuana law conjuring up a stoned bunny?

Not scary enough for the Utah Senate, it seems: the panel approved the bill and sent it to the full Senate, where it will be debated this week.

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Vermont Bill would Legalize Marijuana, Effectively Nullify Federal Prohibition

Posted on March 3, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


A bill introduced in Vermont would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same.

Senate Bill 95 (S.95) was introduced on Feb. 18 by State Sen. David Zuckerman (D-Chittenden). If this bill is successful, Vermont would become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote.

SB95 would allow “a person who is 21 years of age or older to possess limited amounts of marijuana for personal use, while retaining civil and criminal penalties for possession above the limits and for unauthorized dispensing or sale of marijuana” and would create “civil penalties for a person who is under 21 years of age who possesses marijuana or attempts to procure marijuana from a registered marijuana establishment.”

Under the bill, Vermont residents would be authorized to possess “two mature marijuana plants; seven immature marijuana plants; one ounce of marijuana; and any additional marijuana produced by the person’s marijuana plants, provided that any amount of marijuana in excess of one ounce of marijuana must be possessed in the same secure indoor facility where the plants were cultivated.” Nonresidents would be allowed to possess a quarter ounce of marijuana.

Dispensaries and retail marijuana shops would be allowed under SB95 if they pay the necessary fees and follow appropriate licensing procedures outlined in the bill. Marijuana distribution centers must be 1000 feet from schools and child-care facilities. Marijuana possession and distribution conducted in ways not authorized by SB95 would be punishable by a civil infraction, and then possibly jail time.

Bills like SB95 are sweeping the nation, and for good reason. Reforms like these can affect federal policy while circumventing the Washington D.C. power structure completely. The best thing about measures such as SB95 is that they are completely lawful and Constitutional, and there is little if anything the feds can do to stop them!

CONSTITUTIONALITY

Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. However, nearly two-dozen states have taken steps to put the well-being of their citizens above the so-called federal supremacy by legalizing marijuana to varying degrees anyway.

“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully effectively reject unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.

The momentum is on our side, but Vermont cannot legalize it without your help. This effort needs your support to achieve victory. SB95 is currently in Senate Committee on Judiciary where it will need to successfully pass through before it can receive a full vote in the state senate.

ACTION ITEMS

If you live in Vermont, support this bill by following all the action steps at THIS LINK.

All Other States, take action to push back against the federal drug war at this link.

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Supreme Court orders Iberia ‘habitual offender’ to be resentenced

Posted on March 3, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


Anthony Daye was sentence to life as a habitual offender.  (Source: Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office)

 

The Louisiana Supreme Court has reversed an appellate court’s decision that an Iberia Parish’s man’s life sentence as a habitual offender was excessive and unconstitutional.

At issue was Anthony Daye, a 34-year-old fifth-felony offender, who was convicted of second-offense marijuana possession in 2012 and sentenced to life under the habitual offender law.

The Supreme Court agreed that Daye’s sentence should be reconsidered by the trial court in Iberia Parish, but only because there was not enough explanation in the sentencing. They reversed the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling that Daye should be sentenced to "lower than the maximum" of life. The minimum sentence was 20 years in prison.

"The court’s decision should not be read necessarily to limit the district court’s discretion in resentencing the defendant. On the facts before us, a life sentence may very well be constitutionally permissible. But it can only be so if the trial court clearly articulates its reasons," Justice Scott J. Crichton wrote in a ruling released Friday.

Daye was arrested for possessing a little over an ounce of marijuana in 2010. His other prior felony convictions includes: introduction of contraband into a penal institution; attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; aggravated second degree battery; possession with intent to distribute cocaine and distribution of cocaine.

Daye is serving his sentence at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

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How do marijuana advocates rate Eric Holder’s legacy?

Posted on March 2, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , |


By Paula Reid CBS News March 2, 2015, 5:59 AM

 

When Eric Holder steps down as attorney general, he’ll leave behind a legacy on more than just civil rights issues. For advocates of recreational marijuana use, Holder was a progressive leader who played a key role in the early days of legalization at the state level.

"He has established a foundation that other attorney generals will build on," Dr. Malik Burnett, the policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance told CBS News during a marijuana expo in Washington, D.C. that took place over the weekend. "He’s been progressive on marijuana issues, as progressive as an AG who has to uphold the federal ban on marijuana can be."

The key was a policy of nonintervention at the federal level. In 2013, almost a year after Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the administration announced it would not sue those states to comply with the federal ban on marijuana. It also issued new guidelines for all U.S. attorneys, in what was known as the "Cole Memo," recommending that they only focus on prosecuting major cases. The Justice Department (DOJ) laid out eight high-priority areas for enforcement, including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing revenue from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, and preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

Burnett called the memo "groundbreaking," saying it "provided a bridge that could reconcile the differences between state and local law and ultimately allowed those businesses to exist and to progress."

Later, Holder issued guidance making it easier for lawful marijuana businesses to have access to US banks. And when some members of Congress called on him to block Washington, D.C. from legalizing the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes, Holder declined to intervene.

Still, some enthusiasts say he could have done more.

"Well it’s still not legal. He has not done anything to get it off of ‘Schedule 1′ (DEA designation) when it clearly has medical purposes and uses. What’s holding it up?" Michael McLay, an attendee at the convention, told CBS News.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the same classification for dangerous drugs like heroin and LSD. The Attorney General has the power to change these categories if there is an acceptable medical use for the drug, but Holder has repeatedly said any changes to the scheduling status of marijuana should be made by Congress.

"There is a legitimate debate to be heard on both sides of that questions where marijuana ought to be in terms of its scheduling and taking into account all the empirical evidence that we can garner to see if it is a serious drug that would warrant class 1 categorization or should it be some other place," Holder said during a speech at the National Press Club last month. "This is something that would be well informed by having Congressional hearings and Congressional action and informed by a policy determination that the Administration would be glad to share."

McLay said "political reasons" were behind the delay in changing the drug’s classification.

But some see Holder’s deference to Congress as a smart move in the long game to legalize marijuana.

"By unilaterally removing marijuana from the controlled substances act that would have been a radical step given that the marijuana legalization movement is still in its infancy. I think ultimately as you see more and more states ending marijuana prohibition, the attorney general and Congress will find a better place for marijuana," Malik said.

He also sees Holder’s actions on marijuana as directly linked toward his efforts to reduce the U.S. prison population and create a fairer criminal justice system.

"What marijuana is is a gateway to the criminal justice system," Malik said. "Police use marijuana as a pretext towards finding other crimes they can ultimately charge people with and put them into the federal justice system or into state jailing systems. Ending marijuana (prohibition) ultimately helps lower the criminal justice problem we have in the United States."

But it’s still unclear whether Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Holder at the helm of DOJ, will continue down the path that Holder has taken the agency if she is confirmed.

At her confirmation hearing in January, Lynch said she does not support legalization.

"Not only do I not support legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently, to support the legalization, nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general," Lynch said.

She also said she didn’t share the same opinion as Mr. Obama, who said in an interview last year that he doesn’t believe the drug is more dangerous than alcohol.

"I certainly don’t hold that view, and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance. I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion — neither of which I am able to share," she said.

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Secret Marijuana Farm Beneath Brooklyn Cherry Factory Leaves Many Mysteries

Posted on February 27, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , |


By VIVIAN YEEFEB. 26, 2015

 

 

Arthur Mondella’s alternate life was buried behind a roll-down gate, behind a fleet of fancy cars, behind a pair of closet doors, behind a set of button-controlled steel shelves, behind a fake wall and down a ladder in a hole in a bare concrete floor.

Here, in a weathered basement below the Red Hook, Brooklyn, maraschino cherry factory he had inherited from his father and his grandfather, he nurtured a marijuana farm that could hold as many as 1,200 plants at a time. Here, below the office where he served as chief of Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Company, he kept a small, dusty library and a corkboard pinned with notes. Most of the books dealt with plant propagation methods. One did not: the “World Encyclopedia of Organized Crime.”

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Much about the hidden operations of Mr. Mondella, 57, who shot and killed himself on Tuesday as investigators found his marijuana plants, remains frustratingly out of reach for his family and friends. Investigators do not know how he distributed the marijuana, how long he had grown it or who helped him. Most baffling of all are Mr. Mondella’s reasons for hiding his operation under a business that was, by all accounts, healthy and growing — and for taking his life so suddenly when he was caught.

On Thursday, the day of Mr. Mondella’s private wake, the company said the cherry business would go on. Major restaurant chains that bought Dell’s cherries, including Red Lobster and T.G.I. Friday’s, said their menus would be unaffected. But at the offices of the Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, the focus was on untangling what part of the business was cherries, and what part was marijuana, at the red-brick factory on Dikeman Street.

“We’re looking at the actual connections between marijuana and the factory and whether or not some portion of the cherry business there really was an effort to mask the marijuana operation,” said a law enforcement official close to the investigation, who asked not to be identified because the inquiry is continuing.

Given the thick scent of cherry processing and the large amount of electricity the factory would naturally consume, the official said, “it’s a very convenient place to be” to mask both the odor and the power needed to cultivate the marijuana plants.

Yet because the basement labyrinth was so well concealed, it seemed plausible that the cherry factory’s regular employees were unaware of their boss’s secret. Mr. Mondella may have been the only person with access to the garage where he kept several luxury vehicles and the entrance to the basement, the official said.

Still, the scope of the operation made it unlikely that Mr. Mondella was the only person involved. Spanning about 2,500 square feet, the underground complex included an office, a large grow room, a storage area, a freezer for the harvested plants and an elevator. A network of 120 high-end growing lamps shined on the plants with intensities that varied depending on each plant’s size; an irrigation system watered them. Investigators recovered about 60 types of marijuana seeds.

The investigators had never seen a larger operation in New York City, the official said.

“The way you have to set that up, there’s got to be plumbers and electricians working off the books who are very sophisticated,” he said, “and it wasn’t Arthur Mondella, as far as we know, that had that kind of skills.”

Investigators first received a tip about Mr. Mondella and illegal drugs about five years ago, he said, but nothing came of it then.

As part of a separate investigation into allegations that Dell’s was polluting Red Hook’s water supply, the district attorney and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection decided to search the factory for files on environmental infractions. It was during that search on Tuesday that they stumbled on the marijuana operation. (The pollution investigation is still active.)

The drug inquiry is still in its early stages. But the official said investigators were looking closely at whether the operation had ties to organized crime. Mr. Mondella would have required help to maintain the farm and distribute his product, the thinking goes, and an organized crime syndicate could have provided it.

To Mr. Mondella’s family and friends, the revelations about his hidden operations have been “aberrant and shocking,” Michael Farkas, the lawyer representing the Mondella family and the management of Dell’s, said in an interview.

The company was considered among the largest producers of the cherries in the country. Although many cherry suppliers were disappearing around the time that Mr. Mondella took over the business in 1983, the market appears stable now, thanks in part to maraschino cherries’ popularity abroad, said Robert McGorrin, the chairman of the food science department at Oregon State University, where the current method of processing the cherries in brine, rather than alcohol, was developed in the 1920s.

Law enforcement officials are just as perplexed about Mr. Mondella’s motives. Though investigators are sorting through a substantial bounty of evidence, they have no hope of gaining access to the data on Mr. Mondella’s iPhone 6, which, like other new-model iPhones, is encrypted with a user-created code that even Apple says it cannot unlock.

“No one seems to have had any clue that this was going on, and there certainly didn’t seem to be any strange or traumatic circumstances that would’ve explained this,” Mr. Farkas said. “The business was not doing poorly; the business was doing very well. We were unaware of any major problems in Arthur’s life. Somebody knows — but we’re all waiting for answers here.”

Correction: February 26, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the size of the underground complex where marijuana was grown. It was 2,500 square feet, not 250.

A version of this article appears in print on February 27, 2015, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Secret Life and Business Surface, Along With Many Questions.

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Rand Paul calls out Jeb Bush on marijuana

Posted on February 27, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Politics | Tags: , , , |


By Katie Brinn

Sen. Rand Paul slammed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for hypocrisy on marijuana in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. Responding to

recent revelations that Gov. Bush smoked pot during his teen years at Phillips Academy, Paul pointed out the flaws in Bush’s opposition to medical marijuana in his home state.


Sen. Paul, who has hinted about his own wild college days, was quick to clarify that he did not fault Bush for having “made mistakes growing up.” Instead, he took issue with Bush’s inconsistent views on the drug. “If you’ve got MS in Florida, Jeb Bush voted to put you in jail if you go down to a local store or a local drugstore and get medical marijuana … and yet he was doing it for recreational purposes.”
To Paul, it was Bush’s privileged upbringing that spared him the harsh penalties many Floridians still face when they entangle with marijuana. “It was a different standard for him,” the presidential hopeful explained, “because he was from a wealthy family, going to a very wealthy school, and he got off scot-free.”

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Prohibition Repeal Is A Good Model For Marijuana Legalization

Posted on February 7, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, PROHIBITION | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


9:51 AM 12/05/2014

Marijuana plants for sale are displayed at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014.  REUTERS/David McNew

Today is the 81st anniversary of the repeal of federal alcohol prohibition.

The 21st Amendment ended the failed experiment of Prohibition and delegated the issue of alcohol legalization and regulation solely to the states.

The 21st Amendment was neither “for” nor “against” alcohol. It was simply an acknowledgment that federal prohibition was an obvious failure and a nod towards state’s and individual rights. No state was required to legalize alcohol. It was their choice.

The repeal of prohibition has been a tremendous success. This country has the best regulated beverage alcohol industry in the world while still being the world’s most dynamic. Just ask any beer drinker!

Fast forward to the present. Republicans made huge gains in last month’s elections, decisively winning control of the Senate, increasing their dominance in the House to a level not seen since the 40’s, controlling 33 governorships and more state legislators than any time since the 1920s. They now have the opportunity to cement and expand these gains and to create a permanent majority.

How? By leading the charge to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. You don’t have to be “pro-cannabis” to be against prohibition.

Like it or not, illicit marijuana is available in every corner of this country. Any teenager can get it with little effort. Most say it’s far easier to get than beer.

Criminal gangs across the country rake in tens of billions of dollars each year selling marijuana. Milton Friedman once said, “See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true.”

In 2012, 750,000 people were arrested for mere possession. That’s about one arrest every 48 seconds! And a disproportionate number of the people arrested on marijuana-related charges are minorities.

The federal prohibition of marijuana has been as profound a failure as the attempted federal prohibition against alcohol. The solution is the same. Let the states decide and regulate as they see fit.

Here in Colorado, the legalization of marijuana has been a resounding success. Teen use is down. Auto fatalities are at near historic lows. Crime is down across the board. Tax revenue is flowing in.

If Republicans want to expand their base, they need to show they truly believe in a liberty-based agenda. Reach out to groups that historically have not been favorable to the Republican brand and prove through action that they have much more in common than they might think. Individual freedom is a winning message for people of all colors and all walks of life.

Republicans in Congress should pass legislation within their first 60 days in office repealing federal prohibition and placing the issue with the individual states and their citizens.

A statement such as, “I’m personally against it but believe in the wisdom of the people” can be a get-out-of-jail-free card for all who fear being branded pro-marijuana. The issue isn’t for or against marijuana but rather whether a legal, state regulated market is preferable to a prohibition market. Alcohol or marijuana, the answer to this is clear.

The alternative is Republicans turning off another generation of voters who think of them as the party that speaks of individual freedom but whose actions suggest they want to control other people’s lives. These folks have seen the failure of big government and most big institutions. Their loyalty can be obtained, but the party has to walk the walk.

Think I exaggerate? Here in Colorado, the Republican challenger for governor was ahead by 10 points in a September poll. Then, showing the Republican skill for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, he stated he would like to recriminalize marijuana. His lead evaporated almost overnight.

He lost by 58,000 votes and singlehandedly damaged the Republican brand for a generation of young Colorado voters. There are over 10,000 people directly employed in this Colorado industry and hundreds of thousands of consumers. That’s a lot of voters to antagonize; many of them motivated single issue folks.

What if the GOP could create a new supporter every 48 seconds rather than trying to throw them in jail?

Freedom and liberty win. Prohibition and attempting to control people’s lives loses. Republicans, if you believe what you say, end the federal prohibition on marijuana. A permanent majority awaits. It is yours for the taking.

John Conlin is a self-employed management consultant providing services to beer, wine, and spirits distributors across the country. He is also in the process of starting a marijuana-infused edibles company.

 

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Tags: John Conlin, Marijuana, Prohibition

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Decoding the Kentucky Marijuana Bills

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: Activists Opinions, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , |


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The following is a synopsis of the proposed Bills currently in House and what they mean to us.

HB 305/CI (BR 395) – B. Yonts

AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.
Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to pre-payable violations and set fines.

Feb 5-introduced in House

Legislature Home Page | Record Front Page

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the newest version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill.

 

The highlights for the cannabis users are below:

 

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.
(2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense

(1) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It includes but is not limited to:

(a) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;

(e) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;

(g) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
(h) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
(i) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;

(l) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; smoking and carburetion masks; roach clips which mean objects used to hold burning material, such as marijuana cigarettes, that have become too small or too short to be held in the hand; miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

 

My opinion on this bill is that it is a “ lesser of the evils” for us and that is IT. Period.

In fact I am not sure how much of a lesser evil it really is when you consider that this is not any form of legalization at all.  It is just a reduction in the punishment for an illegal activity.

SB 79/CI (BR 805) – P. Clark

 

     AN ACT relating to marijuana.
     Amend KRS 218A.1422 to make the possession of two ounces of marijuana or less a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $75; amend KRS 218A.1423 to make cultivation of five marijuana plants or less a Class B misdemeanor; name the Act the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

     Jan 9-introduced in Senate
     Feb 3-to Judiciary (S)

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the first version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill as shown below.

 

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.

(2) Possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less shall be a violation that is punishable by a maximum fine of seventy-five dollars ($75).

(3) Possession of more than two (2) ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, except that, KRS Chapter 532 to the contrary notwithstanding, the maximum term of incarceration shall be no greater than forty-five (45) days.

âSection 2. KRS 218A.1423 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of marijuana cultivation when he knowingly and unlawfully plants, cultivates, or harvests marijuana with the intent to sell or transfer it.

(2) Marijuana cultivation of six (6)[five (5)] or more plants of marijuana is:

(a) For a first offense a Class D felony.
(b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class C felony.

(3) Marijuana cultivation of fewer than six (6)[five (5)] plants is[:

] a Class B misdemeanor

[(a) For a first offense a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class D felony].

(4) The planting, cultivating, or harvesting of six (6)[five (5)] or more marijuana plants shall be prima facie evidence that the marijuana plants were planted, cultivated, or harvested for the purpose of sale or transfer.

âSection 3. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

 

My opinion on this Bill is that it would be the better of the two “decrim” Bills submitted because at least there is a “grow” clause in it as long as you are not “trafficking”.  However, Marijuana still remains illegal and prohibited by law under this Statute as well.  The laws are all about the “control” issue.  Either way they continue to make money at our expense for growing and using a “plant”.  As well as the fact that we remain criminals.

Last but not least is the :

Medical Marijuana Bill Kentucky 2015 , SB 43/LM/CI (BR 287)

 

AN ACT relating to medical cannabis.
     Create various new sections of KRS Chapter 218A to establish a comprehensive system for medical cannabis in Kentucky, including provisions for medical verification of need, persons allowed to cultivate, use, and possess the drug, organizations allowed to assist in providing the drug, regulation by the state Department for Public Health, interaction with state and local governments, including law enforcement, with persons and entities coming within the purview of the Act, and the establishment of required reporting and review procedures; amend KRS 218A.040 to conform; name the Act the Cannabis Compassion Act.

     Jan 7-introduced in Senate
     Jan 13-to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)

READ AS FOLLOWS:  Direct Link to Bill

For the purposes of Sections 1 to 25 of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Bona fide practitioner-patient relationship" means that:

(a) A practitioner and patient have a treatment or consulting relationship, during the course of which the physician has completed an assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including an appropriate personal physical examination;

(b) The practitioner has consulted with the patient with respect to the patient’s debilitating medical condition; and
(c) The physician is available to or offers to provide follow-up care and treatment to the patient, including but not limited to patient examinations;

(2) "Cannabis" means all parts of the plant Cannabis sp., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds orr resin or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of these substances. The term "cannabis" does not include industrial hemp as defined in KRS 260.850;

(3) "Cardholder" means a qualifying patient, visiting qualifying patient, or a designated caregiver who has been issued and possesses a valid registry identification card;

In my opinion this is an all out medical marijuana bill with all the regulations, Doctors, Pharmaceutical entities as well as Dispensaries lined up in a row.  Once again, Freedom is not involved here.  It is regulation at its finest through all aspects of the Government.   If it is regulated medical marijuana that a patient is looking for then this would be the Bill for them.  For many people it may be a good thing.  However, it still does not free the Cannabis plant to the general public and the Statutes of controlled substances will still be alive and well with this Bill.

This is three options that we have in Kentucky that may or most probably won’t pass this year anyway.  But not one of these options repeals prohibition even on a State level and will still open up persecution of those choosing to use Cannabis which fall short of the guidelines set by the State Government even if one or more of them are passed.

I still believe the only way to get society at large out of the mouth of the prison industrial complex for using Cannabis in any form is REPEAL of all laws pertaining to the Cannabis plant!

Prohibition did not work – Neither will Legalization – It is time to REPEAL and nullify unconstitutional Statutes regarding the cultivation and use of Marijuana on a Human level!

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Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to pre-payable violations and set fines.

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, legislation, Read the Bills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


 

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HB 305/CI (BR 395) – B. Yonts

AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.
Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to prepayable violations and set fines.

Feb 5-introduced in House

Legislature Home Page | Record Front Page

 

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the newest version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill.

The following text has been copied from that record:

 

AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

âSection 1. KRS 218A.1422 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.

(2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[Possession of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, except that, KRS Chapter 532 to the contrary notwithstanding, the maximum term of incarceration shall be no greater than forty-five (45) days].

âSection 2. KRS 218A.210 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person to whom or for whose use any controlled substance has been prescribed, sold, or dispensed, by a practitioner or other person authorized under this chapter, may lawfully possess it only in the container in which it was delivered to him by the person selling or dispensing the same.

(2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[Violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses].

âSection 3. KRS 218A.500 is amended to read as follows:

As used in this section and KRS 218A.510:

(1) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It includes but is not limited to:

(a) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;
(b) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances;
(c) Isomerization devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance;
(d) Testing equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness or purity of controlled substances;
(e) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;
(f) Diluents and adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose and lactose, used, intended for use, or designed for use in cutting controlled substances;
(g) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
(h) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
(i) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;
(j) Containers and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in storing or concealing controlled substances;
(k) Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in parenterally injecting controlled substances into the human body; and
(l) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; smoking and carburetion masks; roach clips which mean objects used to hold burning material, such as marijuana cigarettes, that have become too small or too short to be held in the hand; miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.

(3) It is unlawful for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.

(4) It is unlawful for any person to place in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication any advertisement, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that the purpose of the advertisement, in whole or in part, is to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as drug paraphernalia.

(5) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[guilty of a Class A misdemeanor].

âSECTION 4. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 218A IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 5. KRS 434.851 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful access in the third degree when he or she, without the effective consent of the owner, knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly accesses, causes to be accessed, or attempts to access any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, which results in the loss or damage of less than three hundred dollars ($300).

(2) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each offense[Unlawful access to a computer in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor].

âSection 6. KRS 434.853 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful access in the fourth degree when he or she, without the effective consent of the owner, knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly accesses, causes to be accessed, or attempts to access any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, which does not result in loss or damage.

(2) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[Unlawful access to a computer in the fourth degree is a Class B misdemeanor].

âSECTION 7. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 434 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 8. KRS 511.070 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building or upon premises as to which notice against trespass is given by fencing or other enclosure.

(2) Criminal trespass in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 9. KRS 511.080 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the third degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises.

(2) Criminal trespass in the third degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of fifty dollars ($50) for each offense.

âSECTION 10. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 511 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 11. KRS 512.060 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal possession of a noxious substance when he possesses such substance under circumstances evincing an intent unlawfully to use or cause it to be used to inflict injury upon or to cause annoyance to a person, or to damage property of another, or to disturb the public peace.

(2) Criminal possession of a noxious substance is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 12. KRS 512.070 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal littering when he:

(a) Drops or permits to drop on a highway any destructive or injurious material and does not immediately remove it; or
(b) Knowingly places or throws litter on any public or private property or in any public or private water without permission; or
(c) Negligently places or throws glass or other dangerous pointed or edged substances on or adjacent to water to which the public has access for swimming or wading or on or within fifty (50) feet of a public highway; or
(d) Discharges sewage, minerals, oil products, or litter into any public waters or lakes within the state.

(2) Criminal littering is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

(3) Violators may prepay to the Circuit Court clerk if prepayment is so noted on the citation and if the littering offense is not combined with an offense that is not prepayable.

(4) Notwithstanding any language or provision of this section or KRS 65.8808(3) to the contrary, the legislative body of a local government may, by ordinance, choose to classify the offenses proscribed in subsection (1) of this section as civil offenses in accordance with KRS 65.8808.

âSECTION 13. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 512 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 14. KRS 516.130 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawfully using slugs in the second degree when:

(a) With intent to defraud the owner, licensee or lessee of a coin machine, he inserts, deposits or uses a slug in such machine; or
(b) He makes, possesses or disposes of a slug with intent to enable a person to insert, deposit or use it in a coin machine.

(2) Unlawfully using slugs in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

The offense shall be prepayable except:

(a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 15. KRS 517.030 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of false advertising when, in connection with the promotion of the sale of or to increase the consumption of property or services, he knowingly makes or causes to be made a false or misleading statement in any advertisement addressed to the public or to a substantial number of persons.

(2) False advertising is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

âSection 16. KRS 517.040 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of bait advertising when in any manner, including advertising or other means of communication, he offers to the public or a substantial number of persons property or services as part of a scheme or plan with the intent not to sell or provide the advertised property or services:

(a) At the price at which he offered them; or
(b) In a quantity sufficient to meet the reasonably expected public demand, unless the quantity is specifically stated in the advertisement; or
(c) At all.

(2) Bait advertising is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

âSECTION 17. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 517 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 18. KRS 519.030 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of compounding a crime when:

(a) He solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit upon an agreement or understanding that he will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime; or
(b) He confers, offers, or agrees to confer any benefit upon another person upon agreement or understanding that such other person will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime.

(2) In any prosecution under this section, it is a defense that the benefit did not exceed an amount which the defendant reasonably believed to be due as restitution or indemnification for harm caused by the offense.

(3) Compounding a crime is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor]. The offense shall be prepayable except:

(a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 19. KRS 525.050 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful assembly when:

(a) He assembles with five (5) or more persons for the purpose of engaging or preparing to engage with them in a riot; or
(b) Being present at an assembly which either has or develops such a purpose, he remains there with intent to advance that purpose.

(2) Unlawful assembly is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 20. KRS 525.080 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of harassing communications when, with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:

(a) Communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any other form of written communication in a manner which causes annoyance or alarm and serves no purpose of legitimate communication;
(b) Makes a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or
(c) Communicates, while enrolled as a student in a local school district, with or about another school student, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, the Internet, telegraph, mail, or any other form of electronic or written communication in a manner which a reasonable person under the circumstances should know would cause the other student to suffer fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment and which serves no purpose of legitimate communication.

(2) Harassing communications is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 21. KRS 525.060 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct in the second degree when in a public place and with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or wantonly creating a risk thereof, he:

(a) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;
(b) Makes unreasonable noise;
(c) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency; or
(d) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.

(2) Disorderly conduct in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 22. KRS 525.100 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of public intoxication when he appears in a public place manifestly under the influence of a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance, excluding alcohol (unless the alcohol is present in combination with any of the above), not therapeutically administered, to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or unreasonably annoy persons in his vicinity.

(2) Public intoxication is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 23. KRS 525.150 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of disrupting meetings and processions in the second degree when, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering, he or she does any act tending to obstruct or interfere with it physically or makes any utterance, gesture, or display designed to outrage the sensibilities of the group.

(2) Disrupting meetings and processions in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSECTION 24. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 525 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 25. KRS 530.070 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree when:

(a) Acting other than as a retail licensee, he knowingly sells, gives, purchases or procures any alcoholic or malt beverage in any form to or for a minor. The defendant may prove in exculpation that the sale was induced by the use of false, fraudulent, or altered identification papers or other documents and that the appearance and character of the purchaser were such that his age could not have been ascertained by any other means and that the purchaser’s appearance and character indicated strongly that he was of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages. This subsection does not apply to a parent or guardian of the minor;
(b) He knowingly induces, assists, or causes a minor to engage in any other criminal activity;
(c) He knowingly induces, assists or causes a minor to become a habitual truant; or
(d) He persistently and knowingly induces, assists or causes a minor to disobey his parent or guardian.

(2) Unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree, other than a violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section, is a Class A misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense. A violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section shall be prepayable, except:

(a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

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Loretta Lynch’s hard-line stance on marijuana is making Colorado sweat

Posted on February 2, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |


Attorney general nominee veers from Obama’s no-big-deal rhetoric

 

Attorney General nominee breaks with President Obama's no-big-deal on marijuana.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

 

By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times – Sunday, February 1, 2015

DENVER — Nobody in the Colorado marijuana industry is panicking, but those involved are sweating a little over the hard line taken by Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s pick to be the next attorney general, on legalization during this week’s Senate confirmation hearing.

“Quite a few of my members were expressing concern and nervousness,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Colorado Marijuana Industry Group. “But I’m not sure we could have expected much more than we just heard. Even the president, who came out saying that marijuana is no more dangerous as alcohol, is also on the record as being against legalization.”

States that have legalized or are considering legalizing recreational marijuana use butted heads continually with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who refused to relax stricter federal laws against pot use. Judging from this week’s performance, the fight won’t end when Mr. Holder leaves.

A federal prosecutor in New York, Ms. Lynch told the Senate Committee on the Judiciary she disagreed with the president’s no-big-deal take on pot, saying, “I certainly don’t hold that view and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance.”

“I think the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion, neither of which I’m able to share,” Ms. Lynch said. “But I can tell you that not only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general.”

Her stance buoyed legalization foes such as Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who said in a statement, “We are breathing a sigh of relief.”

“For her to come out so adamantly against legalization is extremely encouraging,” said Mr. Sabet, a former official in the White House drug czar’s office. “It will give our efforts a shot in the arm.”

Marijuana advocates downplayed her responses, pointing out that she was testifying before the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee and that its chairman, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, opposes recent state moves to legalize recreational marijuana.

In fact, the day before Wednesday’s hearing, Mr. Grassley took to the Senate floor to condemn the Obama administration’s decision to allow states that have legalized recreational pot for adults to proceed within certain parameters with regulated retail markets. Federal laws banning pot, he said, should trump state statutes.

Colorado and Washington launched retail marijuana markets last year, while voters in Alaska and Oregon passed ballot measures in November allowing recreational pot use and sales for adults 21 and over. The District of Columbia has approved adult pot use but not sales.

Mason Tvert, who led the successful 2012 ballot campaign in Colorado, argued that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and cracked, “Fortunately, [Ms. Lynch] has been nominated for attorney general, not surgeon general.”

“We can only hope she was telling some lawmakers what they need to hear in order to get through the confirmation process,” Mr. Tvert said in an email. “It would be shocking if she is actually unaware that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol.”

The Department of Justice issued a guidance in 2013 that essentially allows states to proceed with adult marijuana use and sales while warning that prosecutors would still enforce eight priorities, including keeping marijuana away from children and avoiding pot diversion to other states.

Tom Angell, who heads Marijuana Majority, said in an email that Ms. Lynch also appeared to indicate that she would follow the Justice Department guidance.

“While it’d be ideal to have an attorney general who agrees with the majority of Americans that it is time to end marijuana prohibition, we really don’t need federal officials to personally support legalization,” Mr. Angell. “We only need them to respect the will of voters who have implemented legalization in their own states.”

Story Continues →

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/1/loretta-lynchs-stance-on-pot-may-be-problematic-fo/#ixzz3Qc8CBoXS
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Jaime Montalvo–Guest Editorial WDRB, Louisville, Ky.

Posted on January 29, 2015. Filed under: Activists, CBD/Cannabidiol, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana, Patients | Tags: , , , , , |


Guest POV | Medical Marijuana

Posted: Jan 28, 2015 9:33 AM CST Updated: Jan 28, 2015 3:55 PM CST

WDRB Guest Editorial By Jaime Montalvo

I have Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve been fighting this disease for eight years.

I have muscle spasms, tremor uncontrollably, and I’m scared. Cannabis relieves these symptoms.

In Kentucky, thousands of Veterans suffer from PTSD and haven’t responded to treatment.

Sadly, too many choose suicide as a last resort for escaping their demons. I have personal combat veteran friends who testify that smoking Cannabis relieves them within seconds after waking up from horrendous nightmares.

Kentucky has the highest cancer death rate of all 50 states. You probably know someone who has had cancer. Cancer treatments also bring some of the most debilitating side effects. Twenty thousand Kentuckians a year face this diagnosis. Marijuana has been studied and proven to relieve these effects. The nausea brought about by chemotherapy is relieved within seconds of inhaling Cannabis.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana reports over 90,000 individuals suffer from epilepsy in our area. Like cancer treatments, medications used to manage seizures have debilitating side effects. Not every patient can tolerate the treatments, and the drugs often stop working. Cannabis oil has been heralded for decreasing certain patients’ seizures from 300 per week to zero or one.

Cannabis is helping us cope with our symptoms. Please help us by contacting your legislator at 800-372-7181 asking them to support medical marijuana legislation.

I’m Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, and that’s my point of view.

 

CONTINUE READING…

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(FEDERAL PETITION) KENTUCKY CANNABIS HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE (KCHHI)

Posted on January 27, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, CIVIL RIGHTS, Healthcare, HEMP, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


repeal.prohibition.poster

I am taking this petition to the top!  It has now been listed on “We the People” petitions to the Whitehouse at Whitehouse.gov.

Please follow thru and sign the FEDERAL Petition which I have posted today.

I am still supporting this Initiative as the right way to proceed with REPEAL of prohibition!

Anything less and they are just running us around in circles to end up on their agenda of continued Prohibition thru regulation and the prison system.

Join me in the fight for REPEAL!

Kentucky HEMP/HEALTH INITIATIVE:

WILL REPEAL ALL STATUTES REGARDING CANNABIS/HEMP IN THE U.S.

THIS IS A REQUEST TO REDEFINE THE CANNABIS/HEMP STATUTES IN THEIR ENTIRETY.

THRU REPEAL OF ALL STATUTES AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL THE GARDENING OF CANNABIS/MARIJIUANA/HEMP WILL RETURN TO THE PEOPLE THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO GARDEN AND TO GROW THE CANNABIS/MARIJUANA/HEMP PLANT FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL USE WITHOUT TAXATION NOR INTERFERENCE FROM FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL LAW WHEN NOT IN A SALES ENVIRONMENT.

THIS PETITION ALSO ASKS FOR GOVERNMENT ASSURANCE OF OUR “RIGHT TO GARDEN” THIS PLANT AND NOT BE INUNDATED WITH REGULATIONS UPON THE SEEDS USED FOR SUCH GARDENING.

THE FULL TEXT OF THIS INITIATIVE IS LOCATED AT:

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/kchhi.html

WRITTEN BY: MARY THOMAS-SPEARS OF BOWLING GREEN, KY.

PROMOTED BY: SHEREE KRIDER OF CAVE CITY, KY.

This initiative is a re-write of CCHI (California Hemp Health Initiative, which was introduced in California in 2012)

We believe it to be the best model of action for the Country at large, as it allows Cannabis/Marijuana/Hemp to be utilized at all levels of Society and the fear of prosecution for such to be REPEALED in its entirety.

Please take the time to review this initiative in its entirety as “We the People” need you to once and for all end the war on this plant and the costs associated with it that are being funded by the taxpayers of this Country for no justifiable reason.

THIS LINK IS TO THE F E D E R A L PETITION AT WHITEHOUSE.GOV

WETHEPEOPLE1

Kentucky Cannabis Hemp Health Initiative

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/kchhi.html

Framework taken from the Jack Herer Initiative aka CCHI1013. An initiative I had the honor of having a personal hand helping to word, redefining the cannabis/marijuana/hemp movement through selective wording. While attempting to protect and free the plant, the farmers, the prisoners, and the people from validating and mandating over regulation and enslavement through the legal lies = legalize = “common words used”  commonly leading us to Corporate G.M.O.’s = {genetic mutated organisms} which “equal genetically modified crops”, seed ownership through patent, small farmers being sued or enslaved,… While they continue to build their Military Industrial Complex with our tax dollars, lives…  So it seems only appropriate I use it as a base to follow and put it forth here within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY:

I. Add Section ________ to the Health and Safety Code of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, to amend, nullify, restore through repeal of any and all unconstitutional laws or policies to the contrary, including those on the Federal and U.N. Levels, notwithstanding,:

1. No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana, including:

(a) Cannabis hemp industrial products.
(b) Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations.
(c) Cannabis hemp nutritional products.
(d) Cannabis hemp religious and spiritual products.
(e) Cannabis hemp recreational and euphoric use and products.

2. Definition of terms:

(a) The terms “cannabis hemp” and “cannabis hemp marijuana” mean the natural, non-genetically modified plant hemp, cannabis, marihuana, marijuana, cannabis sativa L, cannabis Americana, cannabis chinensis, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, cannabis sativa, or any variety of cannabis, including any derivative, concentrate, extract, flower, leaf, particle, preparation, resin, root, salt, seed, stalk, stem, or any product thereof.

(b) The term “cannabis hemp industrial products” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are not designed or intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: clothing, building materials, paper, fiber, fuel, lubricants, plastics, paint, seed for cultivation, animal feed, veterinary medicine, oil, or any other product that is not designed for internal human consumption; as well as cannabis hemp plants used for crop rotation, erosion control, pest control, weed control, or any other horticultural or environmental purposes, for example, the reversal of the Greenhouse Effect and toxic soil reclamation.

(c) The term “cannabis hemp medicinal preparations” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are designed, intended, or used for human consumption for the treatment of any human disease or condition, for pain relief, or for any healing purpose, including but not limited to the treatment or relief of: Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, cramps, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraine, multiple sclerosis, nausea, premenstrual syndrome, side effects of cancer chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, spinal injury, stress, easement of post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder, immunodeficiency, wasting syndrome from AIDS or anorexia; use as an antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-viral, or anti-emetic; as a healing agent, or as an adjunct to any medical or herbal treatment. Mental conditions not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shall be conditions considered for medical use.

(d) The term “cannabis hemp nutritional products” means cannabis hemp for consumption by humans and animals as food, including but not limited to: seed, seed protein, seed oil, essential fatty acids, seed cake, dietary fiber, or any preparation or extract thereof. Not Taxable

(e) The term “cannabis hemp euphoric products” means cannabis hemp intended for personal recreational or religious use, other than cannabis hemp industrial products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, or cannabis hemp nutritional products.

(f) The term “personal use” means the internal consumption of cannabis hemp by people 18 years of age or older for any relaxational, meditative, religious, spiritual, recreational, or other purpose other than sale.

(g) The term “commercial production” means the production of cannabis hemp products for sale or profit under the conditions of these provisions.

(h) The term “non-genetically modified ” is used to define or establish the Prohibition of any and all Unnatural “genetically modified organism (GMO)” is used to refer to any microorganism, plant, or animal in which genetic engineering techniques have been used to introduce, remove, or modify specific parts of its genome of any and all cannabis, cannabis sativa L, marijuana, hemp,…. Examples include plants being modified for pest resistance; lab animals being manipulated to exhibit human diseases, such as sickle cell anemia; and even glowing jellyfish genes inserted in a rabbit for an art piece.
Ref: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Genetically-modified+organism
As Apposed To =  To Clarify that there is a Recognized Difference between G.M.O. and Genetically Engineered

(i) The term “genetic engineering” involves isolating individual DNA fragments, coupling them with other genetic material, and causing the genes to replicate themselves. Introducing this created complex to a host cell causes it to multiply and produce clones that can later be harvested and used for a variety of purposes. Current applications of the technology include medical investigations of gene structure for the control of genetic disease, particularly through antenatal diagnosis. The synthesis of hormones and other proteins (e.g., growth hormone and insulin), which are otherwise obtainable only in their natural state, is also of interest to scientists. Applications for genetic engineering include disease control, hormone and protein synthesis, and animal research.
Ref: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Genetically-modified

3. Industrial cannabis hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors, and distributors shall not be subject to any special zoning requirement, licensing fee, tax that is excessive, discriminatory, double taxation or prohibitive.

4. Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations are hereby restored to the list of available medicines in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for, nor restricted from, prescribing or recommending cannabis hemp for medical purposes to any patient, regardless of age. No tax shall be applied to prescribed cannabis hemp medicinal preparations. Medical research shall be encouraged. No recommending physician shall be subject to any professional licensing review or hearing as a result of recommending or approving medical use of cannabis hemp marijuana. Cannabis hemp nutritious foods are medicine and therefore are subject to current Commonwealth Food & Drug Tax Code Exemptions

5. Personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products.

(a) No permit, license, or tax shall be required for the non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp.

(b) No unconstitutional Testing for inactive and/or inert residual cannabis metabolites shall not be allowed for employment or insurance, nor be considered in determining employment, other impairment, or intoxication, or qualifications for benefits, programs or education,…  Including Protections of Families, against Unconstitutional Testing for Cannabis residual,… and/or Cannabis Use shall not/can not be used to take Custody of children from their families, parents or legal guardians.

(c) When a person falls within the conditions of these exceptions, the offense laws do not apply and only the exception laws apply.

6. Use of cannabis hemp products for religious or spiritual purposes shall be considered an inalienable right; and shall be protected by the full force of the State and Federal Constitutions.

7. Commerce in cannabis hemp euphoric products shall be limited to adults, 18 years of age and older, and shall be regulated in a manner analogous to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s tobacco industry model. For the purpose of distinguishing personal from commercial production, 99 flowering female plants and 12 pounds of dried, cured cannabis hemp flowers, bud, not leaf, produced per adult, 18 years of age and older, per year shall be considered as being for personal use.

8. The manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sales between adults of equipment or accessories designed to assist in the planting, cultivation, harvesting, curing, processing, packaging, storage, analysis, consumption, or transportation of cannabis hemp plants, industrial cannabis hemp products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, cannabis hemp nutritional products, cannabis hemp euphoric products, or any cannabis hemp product shall not be prohibited.

9. No Commonwealth of Kentucky law enforcement personnel or funds shall be used to assist or aid and abet in the enforcement of Federal cannabis hemp marijuana laws involving acts which are hereby declared unconstitutional, therefore no longer illegal, as they are considered repealed and nullified in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

10. Any person who threatens the enjoyment of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties and fines of a misdemeanor may be imposed.

II. Nullify, Repeal, delete, and expunge any and all existing statutory laws that conflict with the provisions of this initiative.

1. Enactment of this initiative shall include: amnesty, immediate release of custody from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expungement, and deletion of all criminal records and/or all social/family service records/cases for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in this initiative which are hereby no longer illegal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.

2. Within 60 days of the passage of this Act, the Commonwealth Attorney General shall develop and distribute a one-page application, providing for the destruction of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for any such offense covered by this Act. Such forms shall be distributed to district and city commonwealth attorneys and made available at all police departments in the Commonwealth to persons hereby affected. Upon filing such form with any Superior Court and a payment of a fee of $10.00, the Court shall liberally construe these provisions to benefit the defendant in furtherance of the amnesty and dismissal provision of this section. Upon the Court’s ruling under this provision the arrest record shall be set aside and be destroyed. Such persons may then truthfully state that they have never been arrested or convicted of any cannabis hemp marijuana related offense which is hereby no longer illegal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This shall be deemed to be a finding of factual innocence under Kentucky Penal Code Section 218A.010, et seq.

3. Law abiding Cannabis Growers and Consumers retain the Right to possess Firearms as granted to them by the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. For the use of their protection and prosperity which includes hunting.

III. The legislature is authorized upon thorough investigation, to enact legislation using reasonable standards to:

1. License concessionary establishments to distribute cannabis hemp euphoric products in a manner analogous to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s tobacco industry model. Sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age, so as to discourage and prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, such products. Any license or permit fee required by the Commonwealth for commercial production, distribution or use shall not exceed $1,000.00 and not more than $500.00 per small farmer or small business.

2. Place an excise tax on commercial and corporate sale of cannabis hemp euphoric products, analogous to the Commonwealth’s tobacco industry model, so long as no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed $10.00 per ounce.

3. Regulate the personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products in enclosed and/or restricted public places.

4. Exempt cannabis marijuana hemp from any and all farming tobacco “Base” laws, regulations, codes, statutes, which “restricted” or “limit” number of licenses,… based on science that “does not apply” to the agricultural cultivation, propagation, growth or farming of cannabis marijuana hemp which has been scientifically proven to reclaim, remove toxins and restore soil, ground water and our ozone.

IV. Pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky hereby nullify, repudiate and challenge Federal cannabis hemp marijuana prohibitions that are in conflict with this Act and our Constitutions, both Federal and our Commonwealth’s.

V. Severability: If any provision of this Act, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid by any court, the remainder of this Act, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provisions to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

VI. Construction: If any rival or conflicting initiative regulating any matter addressed by this act receives the higher affirmative vote, then all non-conflicting parts shall become operative.

VII. Purpose of Act: This Act is an exercise of the police powers of the Commonwealth for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, and peace of the people and the environment of the Commonwealth, to protect the industrial and medicinal uses of cannabis hemp, to eliminate the unlicensed and unlawful cultivation, selling, and dispensing of cannabis hemp; and to encourage temperance in the consumption of cannabis hemp euphoric products. It is hereby declared that the subject matter of this Act involves, in the highest degree, the ecological, economic, social, and moral well-being and safety of the Commonwealth and of all its people. All provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes: to respect human rights, to promote tolerance, to uphold the Constitutions both Federal and the Commonwealth’s and to end cannabis hemp prohibition. To nullify, repeal and challenge the U.N. to end cannabis marijuana hemp prohibition which is half of the worldwide so-called “War on Drugs”created to uphold the interest of Big Chema, Big Pharma, Big Corps and their Synthetic Military Industrial Prison Complex and to uphold the interest of the people and it’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the reasons already stated with-in it.

***************
Due to the fact that the Commonwealth of Kentucky doesn’t allow you to simply petition your State Government as in most states. We ask that you Please print or copy, Sign, and forward copies to your local Representative in Congress and our State Senators here with-in the Commonwealth with a note attached reminding them they are paid to represent your interest regardless of whether they agree with them or not. Thank You!
Written in Honor of the Great Spirit, the universe, the planet and good friends, colleagues, mentors, leaders,… Jack Herer, Gatewood Galbraith, and all who have gone before me and those who will come after us.
Sincerely,
Mary Thomas-Spears aka Rev. Mary

THIS LINK IS TO CONGRESSIONAL PETITION:

Petition2Congress Logo

Smk:012715

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BE IN FRANKFORT, FEBRUARY 5TH AT NOON!

Posted on January 23, 2015. Filed under: Activists, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


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JIM HIGHTOWER: Cannabis Americas common sense

Posted on January 15, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


 

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015 11:00 am

In 1914, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst mounted a yellow-journalism crusade to demonize the entire genus of cannabis plants. Why? To sell newspapers, of course, but also because he was heavily invested in wood-pulp newsprint, and he wanted to shut down competition from paper made from hemp – a species of cannabis that is a distant cousin to marijuana but produces no high.

Hearst simply lumped hemp and marijuana together as the devil’s own product, and he was not subtle about generating public fear of all things cannabis. As Mother Jones reported in 2009, Hearst’s papers ran articles about “reefer-crazed blacks raping white women and playing ‘voodoo satanic’ jazz music.”

Actually, while hemp had been a popular and necessary crop for decades before the crackdown on all cannabis plants, marijuana was largely unknown in America at the time and little used, but its exotic name and unfamiliarity made it an easy target for fear mongers. The next wave of demonization came in 1936 with the release of an exploitation film classic, “Reefer Madness.” It was originally produced by a church group to warn parents to keep their children in check, lest they smoke pot – a horror that, as the film showed, would drive kids to rape, manslaughter, insanity and suicide.

Then Congress enthusiastically climbed aboard the anti-pot political bandwagon, passing a law that effectively banned the production, sale and consumption of marijuana and by default hemp. Hearst finally got his way, and the production of cannabis in the U.S. was outlawed. Signed by FDR on Aug. 2, 1937, this federal prohibition remains in effect today. Although it has been as ineffectual as Prohibition, the 1919-1933 experiment to stop people from consuming “intoxicating liquors,” this ban, for the most part, continues despite its staggering costs.

Until recent years, prohibitionists had been able to intimidate most reform-minded politicians with the simple threat to brand them as soft on drugs. But finally, with the help of some reform-minded activists and the general public, our politicians are starting to come to their senses on cannabis.

At the state level, 32 states have legalized medical marijuana in some form or another. And Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have legalized recreational uses of marijuana. While these are huge steps, what is truly remarkable is what has taken place in Congress just in the last year.

Tucked deep in the 2013 Farm Bill was a little amendment introduced by Representatives Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, and Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky. The amendment allows universities, colleges and State Agriculture Departments to grow industrial hemp for research in states that have made it legal to do so. California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia already have laws on their books to allow for this.

The most recent step forward to come out of Congress was in the last-minute federal spending bill in December. Democratic Rep. Sam Farr and Republican Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, both from California, included a provision in the bill to stop the DEA and DOJ from going after states that legalize medical marijuana. They can no longer conduct raids on licensed marijuana outlets that service patients who use marijuana to treat everything from the side effects of cancer treatments to epileptic seizures. The marijuana farmers are now safe to cultivate the plant, and the patients themselves are now safe from prosecution for possessing it.

Marijuana Policy Project and Vote Hemp are two organizations that are working tirelessly with the public and our lawmakers to change the laws and regulations surrounding cannabis. To learn more about how these groups are making a difference and to help get involved, connect with them at www.mpp.org and www.VoteHemp.com.

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Information on “KCHHI”–Kentucky Hemp Health Initiative

Posted on January 14, 2015. Filed under: Activists Opinions, Drug War, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Patients, Petitions, Political, PROHIBITION, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , , |


 

LINK TO KCHHI :

Petition2Congress Logo

 

Some background on the “KCHHI” Petition.

It was re-written by Mary Thomas-Spears and modeled after the CALIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE (shown below) which was started in 2012.

It is important because it represents “REPEAL” of “PROHIBITION” at the State, Federal and Local levels of Government in the United States, in OUR case

KENTUCKY!

If “WE, THE PEOPLE” want to regain our freedom as a people to be “self-governed” we must take this very important step to push for what WE

believe is right.

No one should be punished for growing, using as medicine or for recreational purposes and most certainly of all using “medicinal marijuana” for

OUR children’s HEALTH needs.  This is NOT to say that it is alright to give to a child under 18/21 years old when NOT being used medicinally! 

That having been, said NO CHILD should have to do without this God-given medicine because of Government intrusion into our lives!

I am praying that the citizens of Kentucky will examine the evidence – what we have seen so far is nothing more than Government

interference in our lives at the Statutory level – even when OUR children’s lives are at stake!

I realize that those with children in dire need are pressed to see ANY form of legislation enacted that would give their CHILD this medicine!

I can honestly say that if I were in that position I would leave the State of Kentucky for Colorado today!  NOT because I like what Colorado

has accomplished!  It is a mess out there – but at least my child would have what they need medically – forget everything else!

The only other alternative at this point is to try to “secretly” medicate my child and hope that I do not get caught and my CHILD be taken away

because the LAW doesn’t approve.  We all know the LAW is BULLSHIT!

I started preaching REPEAL in 2010 and Mary Thomas-Spears had it figured out before me.  Everyone thinks that this is not worth working on

and it is unobtainable.  I say it is!  If enough people will get behind the idea and we start telling our Government what we need as opposed to

letting OUR Government ‘TELL US WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO LET US DO!  WE ELECT THEM! Not the other way around – however this is changing

rapidly.  This is  a valid reason why all those who are eligible to vote MUST do so! Regardless of the fact that the elections are, at this point a “set up” we MUST

retain the right to the voting process – so everyone make sure they register and vote, even if you feel there is no reason!  At least it keeps the

freedom TO vote!

It is close to the point that our entire Country will be under total control of every aspect of OUR lives, up to and including Religion and CHILD

rearing.  If Kentucky lets this happen – so goes the rest of the Country!  (Check out the story :

Connecticut Girl Speaks Out After Being Forced to Undergo Chemo) – Industrialism at it’s worse in my opinion, and it is happening

everyday!  So stop thinking we CAN’T and start thinking YES WE CAN put an end to the tyranny  that is surrounding us and moving in on ALL of OUR freedom’s

as we speak. STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM PROHIBITION AND GOVERNMENT INTRUSION INTO OUR DAILY LIVES

FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THEIR DOMINENCE OVER US!

We lost the first Civil War to the Industrialists.   LET IT NOT HAPPEN AGAIN!

If you do not understand this I urge you to watch “Hell on Wheels” an AMC production which very well explains how the Industrialists took over

and forced slave labor from one entity – the Agrarian (Farming) Community into the Industrialist building of the railroads and the war effort.

Everyone was forced into leaving the family farms for the Industrial Revolution.  As a result we ended up with corporate farming.

Of note:  The Emancipation Proclamation which “freed the Slaves” was NOT enforced in Kentucky because Kentucky had not seceded from the Union.

It was only a strategy of War between the North and South and Kentucky “sat on the fence”  Don’t take me the wrong way…Slavery was never RIGHT!

And Abe Lincoln did NOT like Slavery which has been documented historically.  However, this information proves that if the Government seems to

be doing something “right” for the people you can bet it is for an ulterior motive.  With a legalize, tax and regulate mentality the Government owns us!

Fight for the freedom from prohibition of your freedoms!

Smk.

 

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK AND SIGN FOR YOUR RIGHT AS A HUMAN BEING TO BE ABLE TO FARM AND USE CANNABIS!  A GOD-GIVEN PLANT!

 

Petition2Congress Logo

 

CALLIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE 2012

 

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O.K. EVERYONE THIS IS YOUR DAILY REMINDER THAT WE NEED SIGNATURES ON KCHHI !!

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: Activists, Attention, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, legislation, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


 

 

 

KYUSMJP

 

THE PETITION IS LOCATED HERE: (DIRECT LINK) http://www.petition2congress.com/9641/kentucky-cannabis-hemp-health-initiative-2013-2014/  

 

It is my opinion that this is the Initiative we should be getting as many signatures on as possible so that we, as a group, can go to Sen. McConnells office at an opportune time and present it to him.

At the same time we could have groups of people in each district present it to their Representatives. This represents true repeal of prohibition on the Cannabis Plant in Kentucky. It needs to be presented as soon as possible, before February 17th,  I would say, in order to have a chance at getting someone in office to back us for the 2016 Legislative Session. Please leave your comments and thoughts on this.

 Read the initiative and then just for the hell of it lets see how many signatures we can get before the 30th of January.

Part II convenes Feb 3rd. Last day for new bill requests is the 6th. I know we can’t find a sponsor by then for this year but if we all show up in Committee meetings which would be every Tuesday at 11:30 for Agriculture and Wednesday at 10 am for Health and Welfare maybe we can give a least a good showing of taking back our human rights to this plant – medical and all.

If we can get 1000 signatures on the petition I will print it out and mail it POSTAL to every Senator. and Representative. in the state.

A lot of you all have been in Frankfort to the meetings, I haven’t. According to the website anyone will be admitted to them. Let me know how this works.

 http://kentuckymarijuanaparty.org/index.php/en/kchhi

Thanks to everyone showing support for this idea.

It may be bold but it may be the way to bring an end to (State) Prohibition in Kentucky!  We still have to worry about Federal.

Sheree Krider

shereekrider@usmjparty.com

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McCollom: Time to end the marijuana insanity

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


We have a U.S. Congress that is perfectly fine with deciding to overturn the will of the voters of our nation’s capital, to end their city’s prohibition on marijuana.

Ironically though, with Washington, D.C. having no voting member (and say) in that vote. The fact is that marijuana prohibition results in a violation of our rights and due process.

For example, in Michigan, a man who legally provided medical marijuana under that state’s law had his property illegally seized, and bank accounts frozen, by the state without any criminal charges against him. Marijuana prohibition fuels violence. It allows gang members to have a monopoly on the sale of marijuana.

Heck, when is Louisiana going to legalize marijuana for even medical reasons?

How many people have to suffer from cancer or other ailments, because of state politicians playing political games? No, I do not recommend that people smoke marijuana, just like I do not recommend they eat two Big Macs a day. I do believe though in the right of adults to make their own decisions, absent overwhelming evidence that not to prohibit is strongly harmful to society.

Also, for something to be banned, the harm of prohibition cannot be greater than it remaining legal. Of course, the prohibition of marijuana is worse than the drug itself. This is why I support groups like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws to bring needed reform, that is so desperately needed. It’s time to end this insanity.

— Jerome McCollom

Shreveport

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Travel Author Rick Steves: Marijuana in America Is ‘Two Different Countries’

Posted on January 10, 2015. Filed under: Activists, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , |


 

Rick Steves is the affable host of public television’s best travel series, "Rick Steves’ Europe." He’s also the author of "Europe Through the Back Door," a best-selling series of travel guide books. His approachable demeanor makes him one of your grandparent’s favorite television hosts; his boyish good looks and friendliness remove any trepidation imposed by his six-foot frame.

What your grandparents might not know about Rick Steves is that he is an unapologetic proponent of the legalization of responsible adult use of marijuana. He sits on the board of directors for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and contributed large amounts of his travel business profits into passing the legalization laws in Washington State and Oregon. It’s his frequent travels to Europe, where many countries like The Netherlands and Portugal have gone beyond what America has tolerated so far in marijuana reform, which leads him to see the two countries America has become with respect to marijuana legalization.

In a three-part interview with SFGate columnist David Downs, Steves explains how the attitudes toward marijuana reform differ so greatly in America based on geography. "We have two different countries right now," Steves tells Downs. "I’ve traveled all over the country. Look at the East Coast. They just can’t hardly believe how far along we are and in their world it feels like they’re still behind. They’re on the dark side of the moon."

One indication of how different the two coasts are is the plethora of business seminars now servicing the fledgling legal marijuana industry in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, as well as the continuing evolution of the quasi-legal medical marijuana industry in California. Steves is one of many speakers presenting at the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco next month, an event that is drawing scientists (Dr. Carl Hart, Dr. Amanda Reiman), politicians (California Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher), activists (Oregon legalizer Anthony Johnson, California Prop 19’s Dale Sky Jones) and business leaders (Harborside’s Steve DeAngelo, ArcView Group’s Troy Dayton), and others seeking to shape and grow the cannabis industry.

Steves, however, isn’t as sanguine about marijuana reform as an issue of business profits. He’d rather people took marijuana legalization to heart as a civil rights issue. "I wish we could all just grow two plants on our windowsill and share them with each other, but that’s not going to work that way," Steves says with regret. "I’m out of the fray there. I’m sure there was lots of cannabis people that wish I was all for the investors and stuff. I’m just agnostic on it. I just want to stop locking people up for smoking pot."

But Steves recognizes that the cannabis club ideas, like the grow-and-share system that works in Spain, aren’t going to suffice in capitalist America. "You can’t fight that. Big business, free enterprise, greed — it’s the American way," Steves notes. "So you can’t legalize marijuana and not have it legal."

How marijuana becomes legal, though, will likely be very different on the east Coast compared to the West Coast. "There’s a huge difference between the more progressive and more regressive parts of the country. That’s just the way it is," Steves observes. "I think that’s going to change very quickly and I think after 2016, once California legalizes, and a couple other states will go along with it — it’ll be easier because it’s a presidential year — I think it will be pretty hard to deny the fact that prohibition of marijuana is on its way out."

Steves, however, also recognizes that some true believers’ ideas about ultimate cannabis freedom without restrictions are unlikely to win at the ballot box. According to Steves, "You need a public safety law that respects the concerns of most people that don’t smoke pot. That’s just a pragmatic thing. I’m not saying that’s right — that’s just reality. I mean, my record is 2- 0. We legalized in Washington and we legalized in Oregon and we needed every bit of common sense pragmatism and respect for people that oppose us that we could."

Follow Russ Belville on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RadicalRuss

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Rick Steves Marijuana Legalization Washington Oregon Marijuana

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Laws elsewhere may doom medical marijuana in Indiana

Posted on January 7, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , |


Senator says Colorado, California have ‘made mockery’ of process

2015 Legislative Logo

Posted: Wednesday, January 7, 2015 8:15 am

By MAUREEN HAYDEN

INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Karen Tallian posted details of her plan to allow medicinal use of marijuana on Facebook this week, drawing thousands of supportive comments.

The Democrat had given up a years-long push to decriminalize the drug, instead narrowing her focus to making pot a legal painkiller when prescribed by doctors for certain life-threatening or debilitating conditions.

“At least we can make the exception for compassionate use,” Tallian said of Indiana’s law forbidding marijuana use. “Anyone who has terminal cancer deserves all the help they can get.”

But as more states loosen their laws, it may be harder for the lawmaker from Ogden Dunes to make her case.

Some potential allies in the GOP-controlled Legislature say reports of problems and pot-related crime in states with liberalized marijuana laws may chill the conversation in Indiana.

“If you look at states that have medical marijuana or have legalized marijuana, they’ve made a mockery of it,” said state Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford. “They’ve actually tainted the well for states that want to take a more legitimate look at this issue.”

Steele, the influential conservative who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, stunned fellow Republicans two years ago when he came out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana. At the time he likened Indiana’s pot laws — then some of the toughest in nation — to “smashing an ant with sledgehammer.”

He argued it was time to rethink the law, including the ban on medicinal use of marijuana.

He’s given up the argument, at least temporarily. Steele said he won’t co-author Tallian’s medical marijuana bill — which represents a blow to the Democratic lawmaker who needs some Republican support just to get a hearing.

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Op-Ed Cannabis crazy: It doesn’t just describe the move to legalize weed. It could happen to you.

Posted on January 4, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


 

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By Susan Shapiro

An author who had ‘an extreme addiction’ to marijuana asks society to consider: Is the high worth the lows?

In 2014, our country went cannabis crazy, bringing to 18 the number of states decriminalizing pot. Colorado opened boutiques selling “mountain high suckers” in grape and butterscotch flavors and posted signs that proclaimed the state is “where prohibition ends and the fun begins.” In my New York home, I’m glad that someone can carry up to 50 joints and no longer get thrown in the joint. Yet I worry that user-friendly laws and such recent screen glorifications as “High Maintenance” and “Kid Cannabis” send young people a message that getting stoned is cool and hilarious.

I’m ambivalent about legalizing marijuana because I was addicted for 27 years. … I saw how it can make you say and do things that are provocative and perilous. - 

I know the dark side. I’m ambivalent about legalizing marijuana because I was addicted for 27 years. After starting to smoke weed at Bob Dylan concerts when I was 13, I saw how it can make you say and do things that are provocative and perilous. I bought pot in bad neighborhoods at 3 a.m., confronted a dealer for selling me a dime bag of oregano, let shady pushers I barely knew deliver marijuana, like pizza, to my home. I mailed weed to my vacation spots and smoked a cocaine-laced joint a bus driver offered when I was his only passenger.

Back then Willie Nelson songs, Cheech and Chong routines and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s” Jeff Spicoli made getting high seem kooky and harmless. My reality was closer to Walter White’s self-destruction from meth on TV’s “Breaking Bad” and the delusional nightmares in the film “Requiem for a Dream.” Everyone believed you couldn’t get addicted to pot.

Turns out I could get hooked on carrot sticks. Marijuana became an extreme addiction for me. I’m not alone. Nearly 17% of those who get high as teenagers will become addicted to marijuana, according to the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that up to half of daily marijuana smokers become addicted — an estimated 2.7 million people in the U.S.

The years I toked, I struggled with love and work, sometimes feeling suicidal. The brilliant addiction specialist who helped me give up pot a dozen years ago taught me that addicts self-medicate because underlying every substance problem he’d ever seen “is a deep depression that feels unbearable.” One-on-one therapy helped me untangle what I was getting wasted to escape. Being drug-free saved my health, marriage and career. Within a year, my income tripled. I came to believe my doctor’s adage: “When you quit a toxic habit you leave room for something beautiful to take its place.”

In writing classes I teach in New York and L.A., students from many backgrounds confessed that they “smoked a bowl” or “got ripped” and then got in a car accident, fell on subway tracks, had a wallet or cellphone stolen, were sexually assaulted or had a physical altercation that landed them in the hospital or jail. My undergraduates loved the series “Weeds” and “Harold & Kumar” films and joked about being “cross-faded,” simultaneously imbibing on alcohol and marijuana.

Yet I warn them that getting stoned greatly increases the likelihood of something bad happening, reminding them that pot blurs reality, reduces inhibitions — and regularly leads to tragedy. Consider two deaths in 2014 in Colorado that police linked to pot: a 47-year-old man who ate marijuana-infused candy and fatally shot his wife, and a 19-year-old student who ingested a marijuana cookie and jumped to his death.

The weed of today is far stronger than in the past. President Obama admitted smoking marijuana as a teen and said it’s no worse than alcohol but hopes his daughters will avoid “the bad habit.” The new edible pot products can be 10 times stronger than a traditional joint, says a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The strength of pot varies, and it’s impossible to predict its effect. How you react to marijuana depends on your size, what you’ve eaten, the medications you take. As I tapered off, one hit from a pipe or bong could leave me reeling, as if I’d had five drinks.

Marijuana use doubles the risk of being in a car accident if you drive soon after smoking it, and it causes more car accidents than any other illicit drugs, according to Columbia University researchers. They found it contributed to 12% of traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2010, triple the rate of a decade earlier.

The medical side effects are also significant. Smoking pot increases the risk of lung cancer 8%, according to British and New Zealand studies. It’s associated with bronchitis, respiratory infections and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, concluded a New England Journal study. Another 2014 study found frequent use by teenagers and young adults causes cognitive decline and decreases IQ. Marijuana essentially fries your brain.

Being a stoner was easy. Quitting was hard but gave me more to live for. Before jumping on the buzzed bandwagon in the new year, throwing a pot dessert party or voting to lift all restrictions across the nation, ask yourself and your kids: Is the high worth the lows? We shouldn’t send pot smokers to prison, but they don’t belong on pop-culture pedestals either.

Susan Shapiro is coauthor of the bestseller "Unhooked: How to Quit Anything" and author of the memoir "Lighting Up."

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

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Feds stick to court argument that marijuana is dangerous

Posted on January 4, 2015. Filed under: Drug War, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , |


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By Bob Egelko
Updated 4:20 pm, Friday, January 2, 2015

 

Two weeks after President Obama signed legislation prohibiting federal interference with state medical marijuana laws, his administration has told a federal judge in Sacramento that pot is still a dangerous drug with no medical value.

The U.S. attorney’s office, representing Obama’s Justice Department, made the argument in a court filing Wednesday opposing a challenge to the long-standing federal law that classifies marijuana as a Schedule One drug along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy — substances that have a high potential for abuse and no safe medical use.

While there may be “some dispute among doctors as to whether marijuana is medicine,” there is ample evidence to support the government’s conclusion that “this psychoactive, addictive drug is not accepted as safe for medical use at this time, even with medical supervision,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Broderick wrote.

Lawyers for alleged marijuana growers countered that the government presented no credible evidence that marijuana carries the potential hazards of legal substances, like tobacco and alcohol, and that the administration’s position makes even less sense in light of the law Obama signed Dec. 16.

That law, part of an overall government financing bill for the year, bars the federal government from spending money to prevent California and 21 other states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Congress can’t rationally “justify a finding that marijuana has no medical benefits while demanding that the distribution of medical marijuana be protected from federal government interference,” said Zenia Gilg, lawyer for one of seven defendants charged with growing marijuana on national forest land in Trinity and Tehama counties.

The written arguments come two months after a hearing ordered by U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller over prosecutors’ objections. She said defense lawyers had presented expert declarations showing “new scientific and medical information” raising questions about the continued classification of marijuana in Schedule One, which effectively outlaws its possession nationwide.

At the hearing, the defendants called doctors and researchers who asserted marijuana’s medical benefits and relative safety. The administration presented its own expert, a Harvard professor and former drug official in the George W. Bush administration who said pot is both addictive and dangerous.

In Wednesday’s filing, the Obama administration said a single expert’s testimony is enough to show the legally required “rational basis” for marijuana’s current classification. But Broderick, the government’s lawyer, also said that “most mainstream physicians agree that marijuana is a dangerous drug,” citing the American Psychiatric Association’s observation that pot use can have “serious side effects.”

Although some ingredients of marijuana have government-approved medicinal use, Broderick wrote, there are no adequate long-term studies attesting to the medical value or safety of marijuana. In fact, he said, “there is no standard, ‘medical’ marijuana,” and neither patients nor their doctors know which substances they’re ingesting.

Gilg argued that there are many such studies, but none the government will accept because it has refused to release federally approved marijuana supplies to independent researchers.

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: begelko@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @egelko

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Pot growers’ new quest: U.S. patent protection for cannabis seeds

Posted on January 4, 2015. Filed under: Commerce, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


 

 

Published: Dec 24, 2014, 5:05 pm Comments (12)

By Jason Blevins, The Denver Post

Ben Holmes gently lowers the turntable needle onto the album, and Traffic’s “Medicated Goo,” begins to play.

Steve Winwood’s wistful tenor sweeps through the Centennial Seeds laboratory: “My own homegrown recipe’ll see you through.”

“Everyone stole from Stevie Winwood,” Holmes says, his foot tapping as he injects a syringe of dark, syrupy liquid into his gas chromatograph.

No one is stealing from Holmes, a self-taught scientist, engineer, farmer and cannabis seed geek who next month will take a rare step to apply for a patent on a laboriously created cannabis superstrain.

Cannabis seed developer Ben Holmes uses THC to calibrate a gas chromatograph before conducting tests at his Centennial Seeds lab in Lafayette. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

If it is awarded, the U.S. patent on Holmes’ medical-grade Otto II strain will be the first to protect a cannabis plant and a first step in establishing plant-breeder rights for growers who only a few years ago were considered criminals.

“This industry came up in stealth, born in basements and crawl spaces,” Holmes said. “But now, with companies forming and making larger investments, the desire to protect intellectual property is becoming paramount. Bleeding-edge stuff, right here.”

Indeed. Gone are the days when pie-eyed longhairs haphazardly hurled pollen into jungles of pot plants, hoping to meld two strains.

Today’s top breeders are geneticists, taking years to weed through carefully engineered generations of cannabis to elevate the most desired traits.

Some of these new superstrains are high in cannabidiol, or CBD, one of several dozen cannabinoid chemical compounds in cannabis and the plant’s major non-psychoactive ingredient. CBD has been credited with relieving some epileptic seizures, prompting widespread calls for additional research.

Other more utilitarian superstrains are resistant to mites or the crop-killing powdery mildew that plagues grow operations across Colorado.

Some superstrains are simply super stony, with sky-high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015 FROM THE USMjPARTY!!!!

Posted on December 31, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized, USMJParty | Tags: , , , , , , , |


HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015

                BE SAFE AND STAY FREE!!!  DON’T

            “INTOXICATE” YOURSELF AND DRIVE!!

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"Commonsense criminal justice reform”

Posted on December 30, 2014. Filed under: Activists, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, legislation | Tags: , , , , , , , |


Red VanWinkle

December 26 at 12:59pm

As we near Kentucky’s 2015 Legislative session. I would like to bring special attention to a topic of our KY Legislators. There is so many topics for our Legislators to consider during the annual session, it would be hard to not miss something here or there. So to be sure the tax dollars spent to obtain this information, isn’t being missed, I will be giving a friendly tag to several KY legislators on this post.

Please feel free to thank our Legislators for their up coming hard work. I would also encourage every Kentuckian to share this post, and/or tag as many KY legislators as possible in the comments.

This post topic will be on the current Legislative topic of, "Commonsense criminal justice reform". Closely related to the 2011 enacted KY HB 463.

The Kentucky Criminal Justice Council met September 17, 2014 at the Justice Cabinet in Frankfort, KY.
The following agencies made presentations at the meeting detailing the impact of the 2011 KY HB 463 on their respective areas:
•Department of Corrections
•Department of Public Advocacy
•Administrative Office of the Courts
•Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
•Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys Association

Public Advocate Ed Monahan, who serves on the Council, presented 10 ways to reduce waste in Kentucky’s criminal justice system and reduce costs for counties and the state: to be associated with 2011 KY HB 463.
The 10 recommendations was:

1.Reclassifying minor misdemeanors to violations
2.Creating "gross misdemeanor" classification for low level felonies
3.Promoting employment/reducing recidivism by creating Class D felony expungement
4.Reducing days in the county jail by creating "clear and convincing" standard for the pretrial release decision
5.Modifying violent offender and PFO statutes
6.Presuming parole for eligible low-risk offenders
7.Providing alternative sentencing plans for flagrant non-support instead of imprisonment for felony
8.Creating alternatives to incarceration
9.Increase the felony theft limit from $500 to $2,000
10.Reducing waste by limiting capital prosecutions.

I would like to reference the first of these recommendations to: Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy’s, letter to Subcommittee on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act, last updated on the state’s website 3/6/2012.
The section where Chapter 218A (i.e. Kentucky Drug Laws) should be Rewritten to Reflect Modern Drug Realities.

The section states;
"KRS Chapter 218A, the Controlled Substances Act, was originally passed as law in 1972, prior to the current Kentucky Penal Code, KRS Chapters 500 to 534. Many of its criminal statutes have been added or amended since its creation, but no comprehensive reform has been approved in almost 4 decades. Almost all of the amendments or additions have resulted in longer sentences for a greater variety of drug activity and the time has come to review the Chapter as a whole to see if it reflects current societal desires for the criminal prosecution of drug activity. Upon review, many provisions should be changed or removed."
Then the letter presents a list of researched recommendations.

With the second of those recommendations(labeled "B") stating;
" Reduce possession of marijuana to a violation, punishable by fine only"

Marijuana possession is the lowest KY criminal misdemeanor, then shouldn’t it be lowered to a violation only? .Reclassifying minor misdemeanors to being only violations, was the number one recommendation made by Public Advocate Ed Monahan, who serves on the Council, during the Kentucky Criminal Justice Council meeting, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at the Justice Cabinet in Frankfort, KY.

With the 2011 KY HB 463, Marijuana possession was lowered with a max of 45 day’s in jail, and/or a $250 max fine. With provisions, that an officer does not have to arrest the person on the spot, if the officer feels the person will show up for court, and there are no other charges/issues.

The reasons behind all this discussion may surprise people. The facts are: the KY total crime rate between 1985-2012 has decreased 6%, with the violent crime rate dropping 27%. Yet the KY incarceration rate has increased by a shocking 281%. These numbers is accredited to research done by The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy. Which was published in their publication "The Advocate" dated March 2014.

The KY laws need to be updated to the current era.
One of the topics being discussed is raising the felony theft amount. I had seen where this was explained . The explanation included this: A person who steals an ipad, needs to be punished, but 5 to 10 years incarceration is way to much. So yes the felony theft amount should be raised to meet current inflation. As many other states have done. Kentucky needs to do a little catching up.
The same logic should apply to a person convicted of Marijuana possession. A victimless act should not carry jail time.

Many other states, including Washington D.C., only imposes a non criminal fine for simple Marijuana possession. While even more states, have Medical Marijuana/Regulated recreational use legalized. This posses an unjust hardship on Kentucky citizens, and their communities.

By keeping Marijuana possession a criminal charge, we are creating a criminal lifestyle for many of the offenders convicted of simple Marijuana possession. This over penalty creates criminals, out of otherwise law abiding citizens.Just as what was happing during the Alcohol prohibition.

In the same "March 2014 edition of The Advocate publication", the article states "There is a safe, less costly way forward".

We can’t afford to stay on the current path. We are spending about $46 per day per inmate.
For instance, if 5000 people serve just 10 days of the 45 day max for Marijuana possession, the cost is an estimated about $2,300,000. Just not worth the cost. Yet, if KY enacts the payable violation option(which has been recommended by the Kentucky Department of Advocacy), there would be a positive revenue. Revenue that could be earmarked for Drug prevention/education, and Law Enforcement.

I personally feel as one Rep stated on the house floor during the passage of the 2011 KY HB 463. This was a great step, and I too look forward to this second part of this measure to correct the current issues at hand.

A criminal possession of Marijuana conviction devastates a person’s ability to get a job and meet their obligations; a victimless act should not carry this life sentence. I truly hope everyone can see this issue, and react to correct the unjust burden placed on Kentuckians, and their communities.

I tagged the Legislator in my original post, on my profile page

Thank you all for your continued support ,’-) Aihooooo

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Why 2014 was the year of pot

Posted on December 23, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , |


 

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Support it or not, there’s no denying that this was a watershed year for marijuana.

Within hours of the new year, the nation saw the first legally sanctioned sales of marijuana for recreational use in modern history. Throughout, states considered and often passed expanding access to the drug and, as recently as last weekend, Congress was interfering in D.C.’s pot policies and promising to stay out of the states.

Based on exchanges with pot advocates, we rounded up 22 of the most significant moments for marijuana in 2014, most of them advancing the cause though the list includes a few notable setbacks. Click the links below to jump to each moment or keep scrolling to read them from start to finish.

1. Legal sales begin in Colorado
2. Obama: ‘I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol’
3. Congress allows hemp cultivation
4. CNN chief medical correspondent backs medical marijuana
5. Poll finds more Americans identify tobacco, alcohol and sugar as “most harmful”
6. Utah passes limited medical marijuana law
7. D.C. decriminalizes
8. Maryland approves medical marijuana and decriminalizes possession
9. Minnesota approves medical marijuana
10. New York approves medical marijuana
11. Legal pot sales begin in Washington
12. New York Times editorial board calls for an end to prohibition
13. Study: Medical marijuana laws associated with 25 percent fewer prescription overdose deaths
14. Philadelphia becomes largest U.S. city to decriminalize marijuana possession
15. Federal court considers whether marijuana should be classified as a Schedule I controlled substance
16. Two more states and D.C. vote to legalize
17. Florida medical marijuana loses, with 58 percent of the vote
18. Native Americans reservations allowed to legalize marijuana
19. Congress blocks D.C. legalization
20. Congress ends the ban on medical marijuana
21. Colorado approves $8 million for marijuana research
22. Oklahoma and Nebraska are suing Colorado over marijuana legalization

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Native Americans Perplexed by Obama’s Latest Marijuana Gift

Posted on December 22, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


A Justice Department memo sets the stage for Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana, but do they even want to?

Julie Bykowicz

Julie Bykowicz t bykowicz

There may be no better friend to Native Americans than President Barack Obama, who has gone out of his way to foster economic development by extending gaming and energy development rights, among many other benefits, to the impoverished community. But in an odd twist, his administration’s latest entreaty—to allow marijuana crops and sales on reservations—is being viewed by some tribes as not very friendly at all.

"We actually have no idea what’s going on here," said Troy Eid, a Denver attorney and chairman of the Indian Law and Order Commission, which advises Obama and Congress on tribal criminal justice issues. "What we do know is that, for unknown reasons, there has been no consultation between the administration and tribes as to what they want to do. It’s a very unusual gap in how this president has approached things."

The Justice Department said last week that it will treat tribal lands—and there are 300 in 30 states—as it does the four states that have legalized marijuana. In its memo, the department said it was responding to the request of "some tribes" that had asked for guidance.

“We actually have no idea what’s going on here.”

Troy Eid, presidential adviser on Indian criminal justice issues

"No idea," responded Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, when asked which tribes made the request.

Eid, whose firm represents more than 70 tribes, said that while some of his clients might be interested in exploring their marijuana options, many more are upset and worried that this DOJ memo gives the federal government, which handles prosecution of crimes that occur on reservations, an excuse to not enforce drug laws. Lots of tribes want robust prosecution, he said. Indians have struggled with addiction, so many are sensitive to making it easier to obtain drugs of any kind.

Wyn Hornbuckle, a DOJ spokesman, said the agency will deal with tribes as individual governments. The policy statement recognizes that "some tribes are very concerned with public safety implications, such as the impact on youth, and the use of tribal lands for the cultivation or transport of marijuana, while others have explored decriminalization and other approaches," he said, noting that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

So far the Mohegan Indian Tribe of Connecticut is one of the few to publicly express interest in marijuana as a cash crop. They also were trailblazers in the gaming industry, though their receipts have been flagging in recent years. As Eid points out, the Justice memo makes no mention that it took this step as a way to bolster tribal finances. "Maybe it looks like they’re doing something good, but I don’t think that’s clear," he said.

That being said, Obama has had far better relations with Indian country than previous presidents, Eid and Pata said.

"He has been the best president for Indian country," Pata said. Obama set the stage for this on the campaign trial in 2008, visiting reservations and making promises to respect tribes as the independent nations that are. He also made it personal a year after his historic election. “Over the last few years, I’ve had a chance to speak with Native American leaders across the country about the challenges you face, and those conversations have been deeply important to me,” Obama said in an address to Indian leaders in November 2009. “I get it. I’m on your side. I understand what it means to be an outsider.”

In a three-part series last year, Bloomberg News explored the friendly relationship between Obama and Indian country through the lens of gambling. He has tried to usher more tribes into this $28 billion industry, to the delight of many Native Americans and the irritation of Senator Dianne Feinstein, a fierce opponent of gambling. Under President George W. Bush, new licenses for tribal casinos on off-reservation lands had all but stalled. Obama’s Bureau of Indian Affairs not only began approving long-dormant projects, but redefined what counts as highly regulated, taxed slot machines, opening up new cash flows for tribes. And when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling questioned the sovereignty of at least 50 tribes, some of which want to open casinos, the Obama administration found a work-around.

The economic benefits of vice are hotly debated. Legalized pot in the states is too new for assessment. Economists who have studied the Indian gaming industry have found mixed results. Casinos help some individual tribes, but not the demographic as a whole. One in four American Indians was living in poverty in 2012. It’s far higher at some reservations. At one that Obama visited this year, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, nearly half of the inhabitants live in poverty.

The DOJ’s marijuana decision has the potential to be lucrative, especially because crops would likely not face the high taxes imposed by the states. And maybe some tribes will go for it, Eid said.  "But we’re far from that," he said. "At this point the administration needs to start over, and start with some serious tribal consultation."

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Oklahoma and Nebraska Marijuana Sales in Colorado are Against Foreign Laws, So Stop it!

Posted on December 21, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , |


By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Saturday, December, 20th, 2014, 8:32 am

Colorados-Recreational-Marijuana-Task-Force

It is interesting how Republicans are all state’s rights and big government keep your hands off – until a state does something they don’t like. Like Colorado’s marijuana law, which is one of four states to allow regulated production and sale of marijuana to adults.

Nebraska and Oklahoma – both red states – don’t like that. And they want the Supreme Court to do something about it. Whatever happened to the Tenth Amendment? What ever happened to that oppressive federal government meddling where it doesn’t belong?

Throw all that out the window and drive the bus over it.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt say pot is crossing the state line (their state lines) and that their states are suffering “irreparable injury.” They are suing Colorado.

In other words, they have to spend time arresting people for something that’s legal in another state. They say Sections 16(4) and (5) of Article XVIII of the Colorado Constitution (the supremacy clause of the Constitution) don’t stand up before federal law –

Wait! They said that? Hold on now…Gosh, I wonder how they’d feel if we were talking about guns instead of marijuana, or the First Amendment?

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said,

[I]t appears the plantiffs’ primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana, as opposed to choices made by the voters of Colorado. We believe this suit is without merit and we will vigorously defend against it in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Keep in mind that what pot proponents have been saying all along happened – the state made some $60 million of sales of cannabis, and that what opponents said would happen didn’t happen – in other words, everyone woke up to the same world they had known the day before. Nary a catastrophe to be seen then and none on the horizon now.

It is incredible that the party that talks endlessly about majorities rule suddenly cease to care about majorities at times like this. Some 55 percent of Colorado voters approved Amendment 64’s legalization of the sale of marijuana. Shouldn’t that be good enough?

Not to mention the extremely lax ideology of the GOP. Everything is black and white on the surface, but the second anything happens they don’t like, their morals go topsy-turvy. As Bloomberg points out in this case:

The lawsuit, readable here, is a little shot of cognitive dissonance for anyone who listens to conservative Republicans on other matters. First, most jarringly, it cites America’s agreements with foreign nations as a reason that Colorado’s law can’t stand.

“Through its exclusive Constitutional power to conduct foreign policy,” argue the plaintiffs, “the United States is a party to international treaties and conventions under which it has agreed to control trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substances, such as marijuana.”

Hold on a second! This is the party constantly telling us that we are being enslaved by globalization, that International law is a threat to our sacred constitutional freedoms. And now you’re saying foreign laws trump the rights of American citizens?

The Republican Party might do well to decide what exactly it is for and against. Do states rights triumph? Does federal law triumph? Do foreign laws matter when it comes to U.S. law?

They can’t apply it on a case by case basis, appealing to whichever is more convenient at the moment. This is the party opposed to relativism, and right now, it seems to have a much bigger problem with relativism than Democrats.

Image from The Joint Blog

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Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth! Good Will to Men! Hark the Herald Angels sing…Glory to the newborn KING!

Posted on December 18, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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Federal reports target Colo. marijuana money

Posted on December 13, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , |


The federal government is stockpiling hundreds of "suspicious activity reports" that could provide federal agents with sufficient evidence to shut down any state-legalized marijuana business.

While it may appear that federal authorities have taken a wait-and-see approach to marijuana legalization in the 23 states that now allow medical or recreational use, these reports are poised like a blade over the budding industry should federal laws be enforced.

This risk of federal prosecution has led some cannabis companies to literally launder their money.

"You used to be able to just smell it," said Jennifer Waller, vice president of the Colorado Bankers Association, speaking of the cash from marijuana shops. "But now they are using Febreze a lot, putting the money in dryers, a lot of different things to try to disguise the scent because marijuana has such a distinct odor."

That distinct odor is considered a red flag by federal authorities who require banks to file a suspicious activity report for every transaction that might be associated with illegal activity, including selling marijuana, even for state licensed businesses.

"It’s because of the illegal nature of it," Waller said. "In banking, if you are accepting the funds from a marijuana company and you are aware of it … you can be charged with money laundering yourself."

Banks fear the repercussions of holding deposits related to marijuana, still a Schedule I illegal drug under federal law. That could mean prison time for tellers, fines for the bank, and even the bank losing its federal deposit insurance.

If a marijuana store is charged with money laundering, it could lose everything.

"Even before a conviction, the feds could freeze your assets," said Chris Myklebust, commissioner of the Colorado Division of Financial Services. "And if there is a money laundering conviction, the feds can seize the assets, too."

The federal government has already collected more than 1,100 reports that implicate different cannabis companies in financial crimes nationwide.

"Just in a moment’s notice, the U.S. Justice Department could literally take down every single dispensary in Colorado, probably within about a day." said Rob Corry, a Denver attorney and marijuana advocate. Corry has worked on several cases where federal agents have seized assets — cars, cash, bank accounts — though many of the records are sealed and it’s hard to gauge just how often this occurs.

More often, banks simply shut down marijuana-related accounts. Between February and August 2014, banks filed more than 475 "Marijuana Termination" suspicious activity reports — indicating they closed hundreds of accounts because of possible criminal activity.

"I’ve lost my personal bank account, my brothers have lost their personal bank accounts," said Sally Vander Veer, operator of Medicine Man dispensary in Denver. The dispensary also lost its account in August. She says that without a bank account, all Medicine Man employees are paid in cash.

"I can’t protect them. They walk out of here with a pocket full of cash and, in essence, they become another target and a potential victim of not having banking in the marijuana industry," Vander Veer said.

The dilemma has resulted in marijuana dispensaries hiring private businesses like Blue Line Protection Group that employ former military or law-enforcement officers equipped with handguns, bulletproof vests, tactical training and armored trucks to transport cash and product to undisclosed locations for safekeeping.

"When we started, the clients we were picking up had a manager taking (cash) in a Honda Civic or some kind of Subaru, unarmed, no vests, no tactics, no skills," said Dominic Powelson, who works for Blue Line Protection Group.

State regulators in Colorado and Washington have also tried to ease access to banking. Mycklebust, the Colorado financial services commissioner, issued a charter to the first ever marijuana-focused credit union in November. The new credit union will not immediately have federal credit insurance, although it has applied.

Mycklebust said the new credit union must also file suspicious activity reports.

The so called "SARs" stem from guidelines set forth by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department. The guidelines were meant to ease access to banks.

"Banks are required by law to report when they think that a business is making money from something illegal, and marijuana is still federally illegal," said Steve Hudak, spokesman for FinCEN. "We attempted to provide guidance that would help to get cash off the streets and some of the public danger that is associated with that, so we went about as far as we could."

But the guidelines didn’t actually legalize banking for marijuana businesses — only Congress can do that. So far, Congressional leaders have been opposed.

"(FinCEN’s) guidance is dangerously misleading," wrote U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a letter of reprimand to the agency. "Indeed, following the guidance may expose financial institutions to civil or criminal liability."

Still, some U.S. representatives from Colorado and other states have introduced legislation to federally legalize state-approved marijuana, or at least legalize the industry’s access to banking. But those bills have not advanced, and state-approved marijuana businesses operate solely as a matter of federal discretion.

That could change at any time.

The Coloradoan brings you this report in partnership with Rocky Mountain PBS I-News. Learn more at rmpbs.org/news. Contact Katie Kuntz at katiekuntz@rmpbs.org

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Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands

Posted on December 12, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


U.S. won’t stop Native Americans from growing, selling pot on their lands

By Timothy M. Phelps contact the reporter

The Justice Department will generally not try to enforce federal marijuana laws on Native American reservation

Opening the door for what could be a lucrative and controversial new industry on some Native American reservations, the Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice.

The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.

It once again sends a message that we really don’t care about federal drug laws. – Kevin A. Sabet, an opponent of marijuana legalization and former advisor on drug issues to President Obama

It remains to be seen how many reservations will take advantage of the policy. Many tribes are opposed to legalizing pot on their lands, and federal officials will continue to enforce the law in those areas, if requested.

Southern California is home to nearly 30 federal- and state-recognized Indian tribes, with a total population of nearly 200,000, according to state estimates. The largest tribes operate profitable casinos and outlet malls, including those by the Morongo, Cabazon, San Manuel and Pechanga tribes.

Representatives of several of the largest tribes could not be reached for comment.

The policy comes on the heels of the 2013 Justice Department decision to stop most federal marijuana prosecutions in states that have legalized the possession or sale of pot. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have all moved to legalize the drug, though the D.C. law may be scaled back by Congress.

Related story: Shunned by banks, legitimate pot shops must deal in risky cash

 

Some tribes see marijuana sales as a potential source of revenue, similar to cigarette sales and casino gambling, which have brought a financial boon to reservations across the country. Others, including the Yakama Reservation in Washington state, remain strongly opposed to the sale or use of marijuana on their lands.

Purdon said in an interview that the majority of Native American tribes, mindful of the painful legacy of alcohol abuse in their communities, appear to be against allowing marijuana use on their territory.

The federal government will continue to legally support those tribes that wish to ban marijuana, even in states that now permit its sale, Purdon said.

But the Justice Department will generally not attempt to enforce federal marijuana laws on federally recognized tribes that choose to allow it, as long as they meet eight federal guidelines, including that marijuana not be sold to minors and not be transported to areas that prohibit it.

"The tribes have the sovereign right to set the code on their reservations," Purdon said.

John Walsh, the U.S. attorney for Colorado, said a primary purpose of the memorandum to be released Thursday is to assure U.S. attorney offices and tribes that despite the changes in Justice Department policy announced last year, federal prosecutors still have the authority to prosecute marijuana felonies on tribal lands.

 

In many cases, federal prosecutors are the only ones permitted by law to prosecute marijuana felonies on tribal lands.

Walsh said that the new memorandum, like the one issued for states last year, emphasizes that states or reservations must have "robust and effective regulatory systems in place" and that federal prosecutors reserve the right to take broader enforcement actions.

The policy is likely to be criticized in states opposed to marijuana sales, particularly those with Native American reservations.

Kevin A. Sabet, an opponent of marijuana legalization and former advisor on drug issues to President Obama, called the policy an "extremely troubling development."

"It once again sends a message that we really don’t care about federal drug laws," he said.

Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, said, "Native Americans and their families suffer disproportionately from addiction compared to other groups. The last thing they want is another commercialized industry that targets them for greater use."

tim.phelps@latimes.com

Times staff writer Hugo Martin in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Feds Propose Taxing Marijuana, True Cash Crop

Posted on December 10, 2014. Filed under: Commerce, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , |


With all the upheaval in Washington, it isn’t likely that federal proposals to tax marijuana will pass anytime soon. Yet as Professor Paul Caron catalogs, economists are looking anew at the proposed Marijuana Tax Equity Act (H.R. 501). It would end the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow it to be taxed. Growers, sellers and users would not to fear violating federal law. But dealing with taxes would be another story.

The bill would impose an excise tax of 50% on cannabis sales and an annual occupational tax on workers in the growing field of legal marijuana. Is that a good trade-off? Federal Proposals to Tax Marijuana: An Economic Analysis by Jane G. Gravelle & Sean Lowry focuses on potential federal marijuana taxes. The authors present justifications for taxes and they estimate levels of tax. They consider possible marijuana tax designs, as well as tax administration and enforcement issues such as labeling and tracking.

Of course, statistics can be deceptive. When Colorado legalized recreational use, it trumpeted the tax revenue it knew would be piling in. There’s a 2.9% sales tax and a 10% marijuana sales tax. Plus, there is a 15% excise tax on the average market rate of retail marijuana. If you add them up, it’s 27.9%.

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But it turned out that the $33.5 million Colorado projected to collect in the first six months of 2014 was a little too optimistic. When the smoke cleared, Colorado was missing $21.5 million in pot taxes! One explanation is that all those taxes meant many smokers still buy on the black market. Getting numbers on that can be tough.

The Marijuana Policy Group has suggested that perhaps only 60% of purchases in Colorado are made through legal channels. One reason is price, since legal marijuana is more expensive. And the taxes are still being contested. So far, the Colorado tax on marijuana has been upheld despite claims that paying it amounts to self-incrimination violating the Fifth Amendment.

Plaintiffs wanted the taxes on recreational pot outlawed, reasoning that they require businesses and consumers to implicate themselves in federal crimes. The plaintiffs lost on getting an injunction, but challenges to the taxes continue. The 2.9% medical marijuana tax compared with 27% on the recreational variety is a big spread.

Some patients could be reselling their 2.9% medical stock to the public. A medical marijuana card costs $15. About 23% of the estimated marijuana users in Colorado have medical cards, according to the Marijuana Policy Group.

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The marijuana industry is following the trail blazed by Big Tobacco

Posted on December 6, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , |


By Samuel T. Wilkinson December 5 at 8:09 PM

Samuel Wilkinson is a resident physician at the Yale School of Medicine.

Last month, people voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Oregon, Alaska and the District. As the movement toward marijuana legalization continues, lawmakers and policy experts are looking to the experiments in Colorado and Washington for guidance. We should not overlook, however, valuable lessons from our experience with another legal drug: tobacco.

In the late 19th century, the landscape of tobacco consumption was very different than it is today. Tobacco use was much less prevalent, and cigarettes accounted for a tiny portion of consumption. Yet by the mid-20th century almost half of U.S. adults smoked, with major consequences for public health. Despite important health policy achievements since, cigarette smoking remains a major contributor to the top causes of death in the United States, including cardiovascular and lung diseases, as well as cancer.

This drastic rise in the prevalence of smoking can be attributed to a number of successful business strategies. Hand-rolling of cigarettes, a technique that limited production potential, was supplanted by machine manufacturing. Changes in the chemical composition and curing process of cigarettes made them more flavorful as well as more addictive. Aggressive marketing techniques sought to build a larger consumer base. Advertisements often featured doctors in an effort to quell public fear over smoking-related health concerns; other campaigns targeted children or adolescents, who represented potential lifetime customers. Finally, the industry created powerful lobbying groups to protect their profits from regulations aimed at curbing consumption.

Alarmingly, marijuana businesses are now mimicking many of Big Tobacco’s successful strategies. New methods of consuming marijuana (such as vaporization) are said to represent a healthier way to get high — though little research supports this claim — encouraging individuals to consume more marijuana in one sitting. The percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (the euphoria-inducing compound associated with many adverse health effects) in marijuana is much higher than it was a few decades ago. Just as tobacco companies featured doctors in advertisement campaigns, marijuana advocates have appealed to medical authority by successfully lobbying in many places for the approval of “medical marijuana” for a plethora of conditions, even when little or no scientific evidence supports its use. While it is laudable that Colorado has placed restrictions on marijuana advertising, it is also disturbing that the marijuana industry quickly mounted powerful legal efforts to challenge these restrictions in court.

The formula for success in profiting from a legal drug is simple and has been clearly outlined by Big Tobacco: Identify a product with addictive potential, aggressively market it to as large an audience as possible, develop technical innovations to allow for and promote increased consumption, and deny or minimize potential costs to human health. The marijuana industry is poised to copy this formula, with dire consequences.

Important lessons can also be drawn from the Netherlands , where marijuana has been decriminalized since 1976. Following decriminalization, the Dutch government strictly enforced guidelines prohibiting advertising and transactions above a certain quantity (to discourage mass production and distribution). For about a decade, marijuana consumption rates remained stable. However, in the mid-1980s, waning enforcement of these guidelines coincided with a drastic increase in both the commercialization of marijuana and rates of consumption. The overriding lesson from the Netherlands is that it was commercialization, not decriminalization itself, that led to sharp increases in use.

If we are intent on legalizing marijuana for recreational use, lessons from the tobacco industry and the Dutch marijuana experiment suggest that we do so in a way that does not pit corporate incentives against the interests of public health. Similar to efforts in Uruguay, production and distribution should be done solely by the government so as to ensure that there is no corporate incentive to entice more people to consume marijuana in larger quantities. Advertisements in all media venues should be banned, or as stringently regulated as allowed by law.

While the health effects of marijuana are generally not as severe as those of cigarette smoking, the consequences — including addiction, psychosis and impaired cognitive abilities — are nonetheless real. Notably, these effects are most pronounced in children and adolescents. Claims that marijuana legalization will make it easier to prevent use by minors are not backed by scientific or historical evidence. The most prevalent drugs consumed by teenagers are those that are legal: alcohol and tobacco. This should give us pause to consider the optimal way to legalize marijuana — and indeed whether other states should consider legalization at all.

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Activating cannabinoid brain receptors could replace marijuana for anxiety treatment

Posted on December 6, 2014. Filed under: Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , |


Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US, and its prevalence among adolescents and young adults has been increasing in recent years. But in a new study published in the journal Cell Reports, researchers say they may have uncovered a potential way to help some individuals stop using marijuana.

In the brain, endocannabinoids usually activate cannabinoid receptors, which are involved in regulating appetite, pain, memory and mood, among other physiological processes.

However, past studies have indicated that individuals with mood and anxiety disorders have reduced levels of endocannabinoids. Since the active ingredient in marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – can also activate the cannabinoid receptors, many people may use the drug to relieve symptoms of such disorders.

But the research team – led by Dr. Sachin Patel, professor of psychiatry and molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN – says they have found a way to replenish levels of an endocannabinoid called 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) in the brain, which may reduce the reliance on marijuana to treat mood and anxiety disorders.

Replenishing 2-AG levels reduced anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors in mice

To reach their findings, Dr. Patel and his team deleted an enzyme in adult male and female mice – called diacylglycerol lipase α (DAGLα) – that usually breaks down 2-AG, creating 2-AG-deficient mouse models.

The researchers say all mice displayed anxiety-like behaviors, while female mice displayed behaviors related to depression. "We were expecting that endocannabinoid deficiency would produce anxiety and depressive-like behaviors, but the female-specific depressive behavior took us by surprise," Dr. Patel told Medical News Today.

However, the team found that replenishing 2-AG levels in the brains of the mice appeared to reverse anxiety- and depressive-like behaviors. The researchers say their findings indicate that "normalizing 2-AG deficiency could represent a viable […] therapeutic strategy for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders."

What is more, Dr. Patel told MNT that, although the technique has not yet been tested in humans, it has the potential to wean some heavy marijuana users off the drug:

"It is very possible that a subset of heavy marijuana users are actually self-medicating symptoms of anxiety or mood disorders.

We think that manipulating the naturally produced cannabinoids, like 2-AG, is likely to have the same anxiety-reducing, mood-elevating capacity without producing as many side effects as synthetic cannabinoids, like marijuana. This approach, then, would eliminate the drive to self-medicate with marijuana."

Next, Dr. Patel said the team wants to find out exactly how 2-AG deficiency impacts the brain’s ability to regulate mood and anxiety. This, he says, would improve efficiency when the endocannabinoid-replenishing technique reaches clinical testing.

Last month, MNT reported on a study by researchers from the University of California-San Francisco, which suggested that exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke could be just as harmful to health as exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke.

Written by Honor Whiteman

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Prohibition Repeal Is A Good Model For Marijuana Legalization

Posted on December 6, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , |


Marijuana plants for sale are displayed at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014.  REUTERS/David McNew

Today is the 81st anniversary of the repeal of federal alcohol prohibition.

The 21st Amendment ended the failed experiment of Prohibition and delegated the issue of alcohol legalization and regulation solely to the states.

The 21st Amendment was neither “for” nor “against” alcohol. It was simply an acknowledgment that federal prohibition was an obvious failure and a nod towards state’s and individual rights. No state was required to legalize alcohol. It was their choice.

The repeal of prohibition has been a tremendous success. This country has the best regulated beverage alcohol industry in the world while still being the world’s most dynamic. Just ask any beer drinker!

Fast forward to the present. Republicans made huge gains in last month’s elections, decisively winning control of the Senate, increasing their dominance in the House to a level not seen since the 40’s, controlling 33 governorships and more state legislators than any time since the 1920s. They now have the opportunity to cement and expand these gains and to create a permanent majority.

How? By leading the charge to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. You don’t have to be “pro-cannabis” to be against prohibition.

Like it or not, illicit marijuana is available in every corner of this country. Any teenager can get it with little effort. Most say it’s far easier to get than beer.

Criminal gangs across the country rake in tens of billions of dollars each year selling marijuana. Milton Friedman once said, “See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true.”

In 2012, 750,000 people were arrested for mere possession. That’s about one arrest every 48 seconds! And a disproportionate number of the people arrested on marijuana-related charges are minorities.

The federal prohibition of marijuana has been as profound a failure as the attempted federal prohibition against alcohol. The solution is the same. Let the states decide and regulate as they see fit.

Here in Colorado, the legalization of marijuana has been a resounding success. Teen use is down. Auto fatalities are at near historic lows. Crime is down across the board. Tax revenue is flowing in.

If Republicans want to expand their base, they need to show they truly believe in a liberty-based agenda. Reach out to groups that historically have not been favorable to the Republican brand and prove through action that they have much more in common than they might think. Individual freedom is a winning message for people of all colors and all walks of life.

Republicans in Congress should pass legislation within their first 60 days in office repealing federal prohibition and placing the issue with the individual states and their citizens.

A statement such as, “I’m personally against it but believe in the wisdom of the people” can be a get-out-of-jail-free card for all who fear being branded pro-marijuana. The issue isn’t for or against marijuana but rather whether a legal, state regulated market is preferable to a prohibition market. Alcohol or marijuana, the answer to this is clear.

The alternative is Republicans turning off another generation of voters who think of them as the party that speaks of individual freedom but whose actions suggest they want to control other people’s lives. These folks have seen the failure of big government and most big institutions. Their loyalty can be obtained, but the party has to walk the walk.

Tags: 21st Amendment, John Conlin, Marijuana, Prohibition

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‘PREPARE FOR PROHIBITION’

Posted on December 3, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, PROHIBITION | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


OP-ED: Restore Prohibition, 2016, Source: http://www.herbmuseum.ca/files/images/39244/prohibition-Sept-09-1917.jpg

 

The new law, passed by the overwhelming demand of the American people, broke new ground in drug policy. Finally forcing the federal government to regulate a drug which had been a part of American society since the Colonial days, the new policy provided an innovative compromise: adult Americans were permitted to possess the drug for medical purposes in the privacy of their own homes, but it was a crime to sell the drug or to manufacture it for sale.

The law was in fact very similar to Initiative 71, which voters in Washington, D.C. passed by an overwhelming majority in the 2014 elections and news outlets were quick to label a victory for cannabis legalization. It also contains definite shades of a California-style medical marijuana bill, in which possession of the herb technically remains a crime but patients with a valid medical recommendation have been exempted from penalties.

But history calls this law by a very different name: Prohibition.

It is a mind-boggling measure of just how far this nation has gone down the path of drug policy insanity that the 1919 Volstead Act, which criminalized the sale of alcohol in every state of the US and which history calls “Prohibition,” had essentially the same rules for alcohol that D.C.’s “legalization” initiative lays out for cannabis nearly a century later.

The Volstead Act, contrary to popular belief, didn’t really criminalize adult possession of alcohol for personal consumption; although the practice was nominally prohibited, the text of the law contained so many loopholes that practically any adult could legally possess and consume booze. The two largest loopholes during alcohol prohibition should in fact sound very familiar to any cannabis activist today: both “medical” and sacramental use were excepted.

Thus, in the unlikely event that an adult couldn’t find a physician willing to prescribe him medical whiskey, he could always simply “convert” to Catholicism and keep his altar stocked for his weekly communion with holy spirits.

Sure, it’s far from a perfect policy, as practically everyone knows; but what the Volstead Act did for alcohol during the Prohibition era would be hailed as a landmark reform victory if applied to cannabis today. It would even address some legitimate concerns; with the highly-visible presence of some unscrupulous profiteers preying on vulnerable parents curious about medical cannabis, a ban on for-profit sales similar to provisions in the Volstead Act might be a rational — if overly blunt — policy tool.

Here, too, the path forward can be found through history, as over time Americans realized that legalizing and regulating alcohol sales (including restrictions on advertising to minors) were more effective strategies than criminal bans. Indeed, D.C.’s innovative “non-commercialized” cannabis legalization policy continues the nation’s history of evolving drug policy; with time and experience in the laboratories of states, Americans may deem the model superior to commercialized options. Only time will tell.

Prohibition gets a bad rap these days, but it was a whole lot better than the drug war is today. It’s time the federal government chose the lesser evil.

Restore Prohibition, 2016.

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Marijuana Industry Sets Its Sights On The Mainstream

Posted on November 24, 2014. Filed under: Corporate Cannabis | Tags: , , , , , , , |


 

 

 

Marijuana is growing up. As Colorado and Washington’s recreational marijuana industries blossom and new markets in Oregon and Alaska begin to take shape, so-called ganjapreneurs are looking for ways to take cannabis mainstream. Before long, they hope, marijuana products will be as widely available as alcohol — and just as socially acceptable.

“Ideally, I would like to see the 21-to-35 year-old taking a four-pack of these to a barbecue,” Joe Hodas, chief marketing director for the marijuana product manufacturer Dixie, said earlier this year of the company’s new watermelon cream-flavored "elixir," Dixie One. The drink contains five milligrams of THC — just enough to produce a subtle buzz.

“This is a full experience in a bottle, much like beer," Hodas said. "Sometimes they’ll want a beer, sometimes they’ll want two or three beers. This sort of affords you that calibration."

Since starting in 2010, Colorado-based Dixie has developed a wide array of marijuana products, from THC-infused chocolates to concentrated cannabis for e-cigarettes. Many of its offerings are aimed at experienced marijuana users with high tolerances — the company’s top seller is a line of elixirs containing 75 milligrams of THC. Lower-dose products are proving increasingly popular, however.

“It’s been selling really surprisingly well,” Hodas told The Huffington Post recently of Dixie One. “In some of our stores, it had been outselling our 75 mg elixir. We were going to be happy if it sold decently well, but it was outselling in some cases. That said to us, we were correct, there is a market for that consumer.”

Encouraged by the success of Dixie One, the company is focusing on casual cannabis consumers. This week, Dixie released another low-dose product, a mint that releases THC directly into the bloodstream as it dissolves in the mouth.

“I think the low-dose consumer is an expansion demographic for us,” Hodas said. “It’s my belief that the core marijuana user is a small circle, and in a much larger surrounding circle is the casual user and a much larger market.”

At the moment, the recreational cannabis industry is limited to Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon. Marijuana advocates and business owners say it’s only a matter of time before more states follow, bringing cannabis products like Dixie One to store shelves and backyard barbecues across America. More than 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, and this month voters in Washington, D.C., approved a referendum to legalize recreational use in the nation’s capital.

Already, Colorado and Washington state illustrate how cannabis is shedding its stoner image and entering mainstream culture. Marijuana products have been featured prominently in gourmet dinners and in cooking seminars in both states. The drug has become a fashionable substance to offer as a celebratory toast at weddings. Yoga enthusiasts can seek zen at marijuana-fueled classes.

Earlier this year, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra held a “Classically Cannabis” fundraiser, where well-heeled attendees sipped drinks, shook hands and smoked pot from joints, vaporizers and glass pipes, while a brass quintet played Debussy, Bach, Wagner and Puccini.

"Cannabis is being elevated into the pantheon of refined and urbane inebriants, no different than boutique rye or fine wine," said Matt Gray, the publisher of a new gourmet marijuana cookbook.

A number of worrying episodes have accompanied the legal high, however. In March, a 19-year-old college student leapt to his death from a hotel balcony in Denver after eating marijuana-infused cookies. In April, police said a Denver man shot his wife to death after he said he had eaten marijuana candy and prescription pills.

Hospital officials in Colorado have said that they have been treating a growing number of adults and children who have consumed marijuana products, whose potency can be hard to judge.

State laws in Colorado and Washington already require a “serving” of THC in an edible marijuana product to be limited to 10 milligrams — about the amount in a medium-sized joint. (The rules in Alaska and Oregon have not yet been set.) Some products, such as candy bars, may contain multiple servings, however, and package labels do not always include serving size or dosage information.

To address these issues, Colorado and Washington officials, and representatives of the cannabis industry, are finalizing new regulations that will require clearer labeling and childproof packaging. And, much like the alcohol industry encourages consumers to "drink responsibly," the makers of marijuana products are taking steps to educate customers and encourage responsible consumption.

“I think the idea of being proactive with our messaging — being safe and responsible with our messaging — we’re trying to do that now early on, versus being told to do that after the fact,” Hodas said.

“We are concerned about the uneducated consumer who may have a bad experience with edibles, because that means they may not use our products in the future," Hodas added. "So educating that consumer and making sure they know how to use them is of great importance to Dixie and the rest of the industry."

To that end, Dixie, like most marijuana product companies, has detailed information its website about how to enjoy its products. Marijuana Policy Project launched an educational campaign, aptly named ”Consume Responsibly,” with advice about preventing and responding to over-consumption or accidental consumption, as well as other detailed information about cannabis products, their effects and the laws that govern their possession, sale and use.

Recognizing that Colorado’s marijuana laws are luring tourists to the state, the inaugural billboard for the campaign in Denver encouraged moderation and patience. “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation," the sign read. "With edibles, start low and go slow.”

"We are aiming to boost the industry’s image by removing negative stereotypes and stigmas, while promoting education surrounding the many uses of cannabis,” said Olivia Mannix, co-founder of Cannabrand, an ad agency representing marijuana-related businesses. “We feel that the public image of cannabis ultimately influences policy makers and is crucial for widespread legalization.”

Still, getting the message — and brands — in front of the public has been a challenge for marijuana companies. State laws ban advertisements on television or billboards that directly market marijuana products. Google, Facebook and Twitter refuse to accept marijuana advertising on their websites.

While marijuana businesses may have dreams of mass market sales and global domination, for the moment, they seem to be taking the "go slow" approach.

“The eyes of the world are on us right now, and how we handle that spotlight will go a long way in shaping public opinion about legal marijuana,” Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, told HuffPost. “Our businesses and our people are committed to building an industry we can be proud of. That means no shortcuts and none of the leeway that plenty of other industries out there get."

Her appeal to the marijuana industry is simple: “The future of this industry depends on the present — don’t screw it up.”

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Advocates push for marijuana legalization in 2016

Posted on November 24, 2014. Filed under: ELECTIONS 2016 | Tags: , , , , , |


 

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By Christian M. Wade Statehouse reporter

BOSTON — Emboldened by victories in other states and recent polls showing widespread support, advocates of legalized marijuana are preparing to put the question to Massachusetts voters in 2016.

Supporters of legalization say they are drafting legislation to allow recreational pot cultivation and use, with a tax similar to those for alcohol and tobacco, for consideration in the legislative session that starts in January. They’ll also prepare a ballot question for the 2016 elections in case lawmakers fail to act.

“If the Legislature doesn’t do anything, we’ll go to the voters in 2016,” said Richard Evans, a Northampton attorney and chairman of a coalition that is pushing for legalization. “We want to give lawmakers the opportunity to enact it. Voters shouldn’t be making laws like this, lawmakers should. But when the lawmakers won’t, voters must.”

It seems unlikely the Legislature will sign off, given the track record of previous efforts. A bill to allow adults to grow marijuana while establishing a tax on retail sales failed to gain much support in the current session.

Still, Evans said he believes public opinion on marijuana use is turning, citing an easing of state laws and the approval of recreational use in Colorado, Washington and, more recently, Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C.

In 2008, Massachusetts voters decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing jail time with a $100 fine. Four years later, voters approved the cultivation and use of medical marijuana. Both initiatives passed by more than 60 percent.

“It’s no longer a question of whether it will be legalized in the state, but when and how,” Evans said.

Medicinal uses, medical concerns

Opponents argue that recreational pot use should remain illegal, especially given the danger it poses to youth.

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All The Progress Made On Marijuana Legalization Could Vanish With A New President

Posted on November 21, 2014. Filed under: Federal Government, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


 

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Matt Ferner  Become a fan  Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

The movement to end marijuana prohibition has made significant progress recently, but it could all be undone when the next president takes office in 2017.

Harvard economist Jeff Miron, a vocal supporter of marijuana policy reform, highlighted the precarious nature of state marijuana laws in a Wednesday op-ed for CNN on why Congress needs to act now on federal marijuana policy.

"Despite the compelling case for legalization, and progress toward legalization at the state level, ultimate success is not assured," Miron wrote. "Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law."

With marijuana legalization supported by a majority of Americans, and with states continuing to pass legalization laws — about a dozen more may do so by 2016 — it seems unlikely that the federal government would push back against the popular movement. But it’s not impossible.

That’s because the regulation of marijuana — as seen in programs currently in place in Colorado and Washington state, as well as those that will soon go into effect in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. — remains illegal under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. The states that have legalized marijuana have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations. That guidance could be reversed when a new administration enters the White House.

“Both Miron’s analysis and conclusion are spot on," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) told The Huffington Post. "The federal government needs to end the failed prohibition of marijuana by rescheduling or removing it from the list of controlled substances. Too many lives are ruined and futures cut short by these outdated and wasteful policies.”

Blumenauer is just one of a number of lawmakers from both parties who have worked toward that end. About a dozen bills were introduced in 2013, several by Blumenauer himself, aimed at limiting the federal government’s ability to interfere with states’ legal marijuana programs. Last year, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would direct the U.S. Attorney General to issue an order that removes marijuana in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. If passed, Polis’ measure would effectively end the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana.

And while Congress has failed to pass any of those bills, attitudes are still changing rapidly on marijuana policy. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said he remains cautiously optimistic about marijuana legalization being here to stay, despite Congress’ tendency to move slowly on controversial social issues like this.

"It’s all political," Nadelmann told HuffPost in an email. "Of course it’s possible that the next president could decide to crack down on the states that have legalized marijuana but that prospect becomes ever less likely with every passing day."

"Diverse sectors of society are developing a stake in marijuana remaining legal," he continued. "Taxpayers and tax collectors enjoy the revenue. Cost cutters appreciate the savings from no longer arresting so many people for marijuana. Unions welcome the new legal jobs. Businessmen, including many who vote Republican, relish the actual and potential profits."

In a similar vein, Blumenauer himself has predicted that before the end of the decade, the federal government will legalize weed. Federal authorities have already allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s historic marijuana laws to take effect, and earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the 2014 farm bill, which legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in the states that permit it. The first hemp crops in U.S. soil in decades are already growing.

Moreover, in May, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed bipartisan measures aimed at limiting Drug Enforcement Administration crackdowns on state-legal medical marijuana shops, and at preventing the agency from interfering in states’ legal hemp programs.

Even in gridlocked Washington, the Democratic White House and the Republican-heavy Congress have been able to see eye-to-eye over how criminal justice and drug policy reform will be implemented in the next two years.

So what do some of the likely 2016 presidential candidates say about marijuana? On the Republican side, according to HuffPost’s Pollster model, the front-runners are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Paul has been supportive of D.C.’s new recreational marijuana law, and he’s also introduced legislation aimed at protecting state-legal medical marijuana operations from federal intervention.

Huckabee, meanwhile, is opposed to both medical and recreational marijuana, and Bush came out against Florida’s recent medical marijuana bill. At the same time, Bush has made generally supportive comments about keeping the federal government out of state marijuana laws.

On the Democratic side, the current front-runners are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). While Clinton hasn’t offered a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization, she has left the door open, saying she supports medical marijuana "for people who are in extreme medical conditions." She’s also said she wants to "wait and see" how recreational pot works out in Colorado and Washington state.

Biden has called legalization a "mistake" in the past, but he’s also said that cracking down on marijuana users is a "waste of our resources." Warren has offered some support for medical marijuana legalization, but is opposed to recreational legalization.

"For 77 years, the United States has outlawed marijuana, with tragic repercussions and unintended consequences," Miron wrote Wednesday. "The public and their state governments are on track to rectify this terrible policy. Here’s hoping Congress catches up."

Read Miron’s entire editorial here.

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Official Bob Marley Marijuana Blend On the Way

Posted on November 19, 2014. Filed under: Activists, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , |


Marley Natural blend will hit states where weed is legal next year

Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

 

By Daniel Kreps | November 19, 2014

 

The world’s most famous reggae singer is on the verge of becoming the Marlboro Man of Marijuana: The Bob Marley estate has licensed the Legend singer’s name and likeness to create a special blend of herb dubbed Marley Natural.

Marley’s widow Rita Marley and children Cedella and Rohan have teamed up with Privateer Holdings, a private equity group specializing in the legal marijuana market, to exclusively mass-produce those "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains" that Marley himself smoked to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer the face of the herb revolution. Privateer also owns Tilray, a 60,000-square-foot property on Vancouver Island, British Columbia that ranks as the world’s largest marijuana grow farm.

Family Reflections on Bob Marley and "The Herb"

Although the blend won’t hit the States where pot is legal – which now includes Alaska and Oregon – until late-2015, Marley is now positioned to become the face of a movement to legalize weed not just in America but worldwide. "Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We’re going to help him finish it," Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy told NBC News.

"It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation," Cedella Marley, 47, the reggae legend’s first-born daughter, told NBC News in a taped statement. "As Daddy would say, ‘make way for the positive day.’" Son Rohan Marley added, "Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations."

Rita Marley, who was once a member of Marley’s backup singing group the I Threes, said in a statement, "You can depend on Bob, too. He’s 100 percent behind what is happening. He’s happy because this is what we dreamed of," referring to marijuana legalization. "It was unruly for them to call it weed or drugs. We saw it as a spiritual thing, given to us by God." The Marley family also shared a commercial for the Marley Natural, as well as the blend’s logo, a dread lion positioned between two pot leaves.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/official-bob-marley-marijuana-blend-on-the-way-20141119#ixzz3JXPZ7Tzk

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Ebola.com Purchased for $200K by Marijuana Company. And It Gets Stranger From There

Posted on November 18, 2014. Filed under: Corporate Cannabis, International Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , |


Garyjohnsonphoto - modified.jpg

Jacob Davidson @JakeD

Oct. 23, 2014

Earlier this month, we reported that Ebola.com’s owner, a disease-obsessed domain name vendor called Blue String Ventures, was hoping to sell the URL for at least $150,000. Now, according to a report from DomainInvesting.com, Ebola.com has been sold to a Russian company that is apparently focused on the marijuana business.

Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Ebola.com was bought by Weed Growth Fund for $50,000 in cash and 19,192 shares of Cannabis Sativa, a Mesquite, Nevada-based recreational and medical marijuana company that trades on over-the-counter markets. Based on Cannabis Sativa’s current stock price, those shares are valued at roughly $164,000, making the overall transaction worth just over $200,000.

So to recap: Ebola.com was sold to a marijuana-related company based in Russia that paid mostly in the stock of another marijuana company.

But the story’s not over yet. As recently as September of this year, Weed Growth Fund was known as Ovation Research, which according to this BusinessWeek profile was in the business of distributing “stainless steel cookware products for retail and wholesale customers in North America.”

Then, on Sept. 19, the company filed with the Nevada Secretary of State changing its name to Weed Growth Fund. (We tried to contact Weed Growth Fund by phone and email to ask about the deal and name change, but got no answer.)

Why would a marijuana company want to own the URL Ebola.com? Elliot Silver, DomainInvesting.com’s publisher, asked Blue String Ventures founder Jon Schultz this very question. And while Schultz replied that he did not know why Weed Growth Fund wanted the domain, he did send Silver to this Marijuana.com article in which Cannabis Sativa CEO Gary Johnson (the former two-term New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate!) claims that marijuana can be used to treat Ebola. (You can see him do it in this Fox Business interview.) Cannabis Sativa also did not respond to requests for comment.

So there you have it. A newly renamed, Russian weed-related company bought Ebola.com using shares of a medical marijuana business run by a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate who thinks that pot should be used to treat Ebola. And no, you’re not high (as far as we know). This really happened.

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Altria’s Untapped $40 Billion Market: Marijuana in the U.S.

Posted on November 14, 2014. Filed under: Commerce, Corporate Cannabis, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , |


 

BY Ben Reynolds

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Marlboro cigarette maker Altria (MO) controls 50.9% of the U.S. cigarette market. The company is still gaining market share; one year ago the company controlled 50.7% of the U.S. cigarette market. The U.S. cigarette industry is slowly declining as the negative health consequences of smoking become common knowledge.

Despite onerous taxes and advertising restrictions, selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in the U.S. is highly profitable. Altria has recorded about $24 billion in sales and $4.3 billion in profits over the last 12 months. Altria stock is up almost 40% over the last year, more than twice the gain of the S&P 500.

In the coming years, Altria may be able to tap into the growing U.S. marijuana market. The similarities between marijuana and tobacco are many. Both products are smoked and consumed repeatedly. Marijuana is not physically addictive like tobacco is, but marijuana is psychologically addictive. It also carries a cool vibe in many subsets of society that cigarettes no longer do. The primary reason Altria has not moved into the marijuana market is because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level in the U.S. Despite this, four states have legalized marijuana for both legal and recreational use (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington).

Size of the U.S. Marijuana Market

Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana sales. In August (the most recent month for which data are available), marijuana sales in Colorado, excluding black market sales, totaled $67.5 million. Recreational marijuana sales accounted for $34.1 million, while medical marijuana sales came in at $33.4 million. Colorado has a population of 5.26 million; total marijuana spending per capita in the state was $12.83.

The U.S. has a population of about 316 million. If the entire U.S. legalized marijuana and consumed it at a similar rate as the state of Colorado, the U.S. marijuana market would generate about $48.6 billion per year in sales.

A sizable chunk of Colorado’s marijuana revenue was generated by tourists. This likely inflates marijuana sales numbers in the state. This would be partially offset if the entire U.S. legalized marijuana, as "pot tourists" from around the world would come to the U.S. Still, the effect is likely to be less on a percentage basis than what Colorado is experiencing.

Must Read: Marijuana Brands Push Past Bans to Go National

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E-cigarette firm eyes emerging cannabis oil market

Posted on November 10, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Commerce, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , |


By TIM TALLEY

Associated Press November 9, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY — As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise.

Marijuana is illegal under federal drug laws. But voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., approved ballot measures Tuesday to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, joining Washington state and Colorado. And in more than a dozen other states, medical marijuana is available.

The growing availability of legal pot opens the door for Tulsa-based Palm Beach Vapors to market a method for producing a cannabis oil product that can be inhaled through a common e-cigarette, according to CEO and co-founder Chip Paul.

"This is a wave that’s kind of sweeping the nation," said Paul, whose company is looking to patent the method and has already signed licensing deals in California and Colorado for what it calls the M-System. He said he intends to set up franchise locations in other states.

The use of marijuana is currently illegal in Oklahoma, but the market for cannabis products is projected to grow as more states move to legalize it. Advocates plan a big push for legalization initiatives on 2016 ballots in California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, according to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Paul was one of the organizers of an Oklahoma initiative petition calling for the legalization of medical marijuana, an effort that ended in August when volunteers failed to gather the needed signatures of more than 155,000 registered voters. The failed petition sought voter approval of classifying marijuana as an herbal drug that would be regulated by the Oklahoma Department of Health. Doctors would have been authorized to prescribe it for a variety of medical conditions.

Cannabis has a history of medicinal use to treat pain or alleviate symptoms such as nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients and people with AIDS. Paul plans to launch another petition drive in August 2015.

But Mark Woodward, spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, says the agency is concerned about the inhalation of cannabis oils via e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes work by heating liquid nicotine into an inhalable mist; cannabis oils and waxes work much the same. Palm Beach Vapors does not buy, sell or ship marijuana but licenses the preparation method and additive that produces a vegetable glycerin base in which cannabis oils remain evenly distributed, which is key to labeling concentrations, similar to the nicotine measurements in e-cigarettes, Paul said.

The company has applied for a patent, and expects the M-System to account for 30-40 percent of its annual revenue by 2018, provided the country continues its march toward wider legalization, Paul said.

Marijuana is still illegal in Indiana, but Nate Renschler, who has a Palm Beach Vapors franchise in Newburgh, Indiana, said that sentiment could change when state officials realize the tax benefits of legalization.

"The whole country is going one way and Indiana is taking two steps back. We’ll be one of the last steps to legalize marijuana," Renschler said, noting that the e-cigarette product is still viable regardless of what state it is sold in. He uses the Palm Beach Vapors method to sell hemp oil, which he claims is good for a person’s general well-being.

Even though marijuana is not legal in the majority of the United States, Woodward said teens are obtaining e-cigarettes and cannabis oils. "It’s an easier way for people, especially our youth, to disguise their marijuana use," Woodward said.

He said investigators for the agency have already intercepted couriers traveling across Oklahoma who have purchased cannabis oils legally in one state with plans to sell it where it’s illegal.

"It can be hard to detect," Woodward said.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/11/09/3529336_e-cigarette-firm-eyes-emerging.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

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What 20 Years Of Research Has Taught Us About The Chronic Effects Of Marijuana

Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Healthcare, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


A new study in the journal Addiction lays out what the vast research on marijuana has revealed over the last 20 years, highlighting the drug’s adverse effects, both acute and chronic. Though researchers have been studying the effects of marijuana for decades, the science has really exploded just in the last 20 years, due in part to better study methods, and also spurred by the growing interest in legalization. The new study maps out exactly what marijuana does and does not do to the body and brain, both in the short and long terms. What’s clear is that marijuana has a number of adverse effects over years of use – in certain people, anyway. What’s not so clear is how policy should be informed by the science. But the researchers suggest that with increasing legalization should come increasing public awareness of the sometimes-serious effects of chronic use.

Acute Effects

The acute effects aren’t so bad: No one has ever died from a natural marijuana overdose, the study found. (N.B. This is not true for synthetic marijuana, which can be very dangerous.) Driving while high on marijuana does seem to double the risk of a car crash, which is of course heightened if there is also alcohol in the system. Marijuana has been linked to low birth weight when it is used during pregnancy. Otherwise, acute effects mainly include anxiety, paranoia (especially among new users), dysphoria, cognitive impairment, and psychotic symptoms (especially in people with a family history of psychosis). These particular side effects seem to have risen over the last 20 years, which may be due to the fact that the THC content in marijuana has also risen over that time.

Dried marijuana bud.

Dried marijuana bud. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chronic Effects

Over the long term, things get a little worse. It’s important to point out that in epidemiological studies, it can be very difficult to tease out whether cause and effect is actually at play, or whether there’s something else going on. But the authors have gone to great lengths to separate causation from correlation, combing the data for studies that point strongly to cause and effect. Here’s what they found:

  • Marijuana can be addictive. But only for some people. About 10% of all users seem to develop dependence syndrome, and for those who start in adolescence, the number is more like 1 in 6. Withdrawal syndrome is also a real phenomenon, with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and appetite disturbance being the main symptoms, which can often be severe enough to have an effect on daily life.
  • Marijuana use is linked to adverse cognitive effects. In particular, the drug is linked to reduced learning, memory, and attention. It hasn’t been entirely clear whether these effects persist after a person stops using the drug, but there’s some evidence that it does. One study found a reduction in IQ of 8 points in long-time users, the greatest decline being in people who’d started using as teenagers and continued daily into adulthood. For people who began in adulthood and eventually stopped using, a reduction in IQ was not seen a year later.
  • Marijuana may change brain structure and function.  There’s been an ongoing debate about whether marijuana actually changes the brain, but recent evidence has suggested that it is linked to changes in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. It’s unclear, however, how long these effects last, whether they’re linked to behavioral changes, and whether they reverse after a person stops using the drug.
  • Regular use is linked to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms. That marijuana is linked to increased psychotic symptoms (e.g., delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking) is fairly clear. But again, it’s been a chicken-and-egg problem, since it’s hard to show whether causation is at play, and which way the connection goes. However, it’s likely that the relationship actually goes both ways: Marijuana may lead to  psychotic symptoms, and early psychotic symptoms may  increase the likelihood that a person will smoke marijuana (particularly if there’s a family history of psychotic disorders).
  • Marijuana is linked to lower educational attainment. When pot smoking begins in adolescence, people tend to go less far in school – but again, a causal relationship hasn’t been demonstrated.
  • Marijuana may (or may not be) be a gateway drug. Regular teenage marijuana users are more likely to use other drugs in the future – but again, researchers don’t know whether the link is causal.
  • Marijuana is probably – but modestly – linked to schizophrenia. The study found that marijuana is connected to a doubled risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis in the future. Many previous studies have suggested this connection, but, as always, showing causality is hard. The new study cites a number of well-executed studies that suggest a causal relationship between marijuana and schizophrenia. The authors estimate that marijuana use may double the risk of schizophrenia from 7 in 1000 non-users to 14 in 1000 marijuana users. On the upside, they point out that users who quit using the drug after a first psychotic episode have fewer psychotic symptoms and better social functioning moving forward, compared to people who have a psychotic episode but continue using.
  • Marijuana may be linked to testicular cancer. Its connection to other forms of cancer is not very consistent, but there’s some evidence of an increased risk of testicular cancer in long-term marijuana users.
  • Regular users may have cardiopulmonary issues. Regular marijuana users have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis. Marijuana “probably” increases the risk of heart attack in middle age, but it’s hard to know for sure, since many users also smoke cigarettes.

So the chronic effects of marijuana are becoming clearer, though some areas need more work. As the authors point out, none of this is to argue for or against the legalization of marijuana, which is gaining so much speed (and, of course, criticism) across the country. The authors are careful not to weigh in, except to say that if marijuana is legalized or decriminalized, it should be done with a number of safeties in place. As study author Wayne Hall, Director and Inaugural Chair at the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research at The University of Queensland, tells me, “Given that Colorado and Washington State have decided to legalise, the governments in these states should aim to regulate sales in ways that minimise the harms arising from use. This should certainly include informing users about the risks of use and doing what is possible to discourage uptake by adolescents.”

He stresses that methods to discourage new users, especially young ones, should be implemented by the government in as many ways as possible. “Regulation of cannabis,” says Hall, “should learn from experiences with alcohol and tobacco and use in limiting the number of heavy users by using taxation, limiting promotion of cannabis use and restricting where cannabis can be sold and by whom.” As more states debate the prospect of legalization, looking to the science may help them make some of the hard decisions. Or, of course, it could make the conversations that much more complex.

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DEA agent sued over Facebook decoy page

Posted on October 7, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, NSA, DHS, FBI, Cyber Security, Spying | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


DEA agent sued over Facebook decoy page

This image obtained by The Associated Press shows a Facebook page for "Sondra Prince." The Justice Department said Tuesday it is reviewing a woman’s complaint that a Drug Enforcement Administration agent set up a fake Facebook account using her identity. AP

 

WASHINGTON – The Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account using photographs and other personal information it took from the cellphone of a New York woman arrested in a cocaine case, to trick her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets.

The Justice Department initially defended the practice in court filings but now says it is reviewing whether the Facebook guise went too far.

Sondra Arquiett’s Facebook account looked as real as any other. It included photos of her posing on the hood of a sleek BMW and a close-up with her young son and niece. She even appeared to write that she missed her boyfriend, who was identified by his nickname.

But it wasn’t her. The account was the work of DEA Agent Timothy Sinnigen, Arquiett said in a federal lawsuit. The case is scheduled for trial next week in Albany, New York.

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement Tuesday that officials are reviewing both the incident and the practice, although in court papers filed earlier in the case, the federal government defended it. Fallon declined to comment further because the case is pending.

Details of the case were first reported by the online news site Buzzfeed.

Arquiett was arrested in July 2010 on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. She was accused of being part of a drug distribution ring run by her boyfriend, who had been previously indicted.

In a court filing in August, the Justice Department contended that while Arquiett didn’t directly authorize Sinnigen to create the fake account, she "implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in … ongoing criminal investigations."

The government also contended that the Facebook account was not public. A reporter was able to access it early Tuesday, though it was later disabled.

A spokesman for Facebook declined Tuesday to comment on the legal dispute. Facebook’s own policies appear to prohibit the practice, telling users that "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission."

Lawyers for Arquiett did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages from The Associated Press. Arquiett did not immediately respond to an email asking to discuss the case.

Arquiett said in her filing that she suffered "fear and great emotional distress" and was endangered because the fake page gave the impression that she was cooperating with Sinnigen’s investigation as he interacted online with "dangerous individuals he was investigating."

The fate of Arquiett’s fight against the government’s use of her identity online is unclear.

A staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation – a civil liberties organization – Nate Cardozo, said the government’s rationale was "laughable."

"If I’m cooperating with law enforcement, and law enforcement says, ‘Can I search your phone?’ and I hand it over to them, my expectation is that they will search the phone for evidence of a crime – not that they will take things that are not evidence off my phone and use it in another context," Cardozo said,

Lawrence Friedman, a privacy and constitutional law professor at New England Law-Boston, a law school, said the Arquiett’s "privacy claim rises and falls on the extent to which she consented to what it is the government says she consented to."

If Arquiett agreed to cooperate with an ongoing investigation and allow her phone to be used as part of that probe – as the government alleged in its court filing – then it would be harder for her to prove that her privacy rights were violated, Friedman said. If her phone were seized without consent, then she would have an easier claim.

"Basically, when you strike that kind of deal, you kind of have to play by the government’s rules," Friedman said. "This is not the ordinary situation in which the person walking down the street can have their identity stolen by the government," he said. "She was involved in a criminal investigation."

AP

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The Freedom to Garden Human Rights Restoration Act

Posted on October 4, 2014. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, Farming, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


An Ordinance to restore the natural Human Right to grow and use plants for the basic necessities of life.
Whereas in the State of California, the People of the County of Lake do hereby Find, Declare and Ordain as follows:
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people to reaffirm and reestablish the fundamental human rights with which they are naturally endowed, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s origins entitle them, and to recognize a decent respect for the opinions of humankind, requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to come forward toward the reestablishment of those rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all humans beings are created equal. That human beings are naturally endowed with certain rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that to secure these rights, governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to re-declare and reestablish the inherent human rights that would intrinsically correct such governmental negligence, and to reconstitute such in a form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Therefore, in accordance with the 9th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America,

Amendment IX:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.",

and also in accordance with the California State Constitution, Article 1 Declaration of Rights, Section 21.:

…"This declaration of rights may not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.",

and, also as consistent with County of Lake Ordinance No. 2267 in relation to private property rights, and, whereas disregard and contempt for certain human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of humankind, and, whereas in a world which human beings endeavor to enjoy freedom of speech and belief, and where freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of peoples everywhere, be it here proclaimed that it has become necessary to reaffirm and specifically re-constitute the self evident inherent freedom to grow and use plants as described herein: 
Section 1., Findings:
That human beings are naturally endowed with the fundamental self evident right to have and grow the natural plants of this earth, and the naturally occurring seeds thereof, to be used for their own needs as individuals in pursuit of life and in effort to live, and that such basic human rights have been recognized and acknowledged to exist, and that these rights are held in perpetuity outside of the constitutional responsibility of a government to protect an individual’s right to engage in commerce.
Section 1.(a)
That all County of Lake residents residing within the unincorporated areas of the County who exercise the rights described in Section 1. of this Act at their residence within said area, and are compliant with Section 2.(a), and are gardening outside (outdoors) or in a greenhouse (and not withstanding any generally applicable urgency ordinance(s) specifically relating to water conservation), are, as accorded in the paragraphs above, necessarily exempt from any County permitting or other County ordinances that would limit an individual’s home gardening efforts or abilities in conjunction with Section 1.
Section 1.(b)
That any law, to the extent that it would specifically deny or disparage the human rights as described in Section 1. of this Act is unconstitutional by both the Federal Constitutions 9th Amendment, and also by the State Constitutions Article 1 Declaration of Rights, Section 21, and by the fact that such self evident human rights are held in perpetuity by the People.
Section 2., Responsibilities:
Should neighbor complaints that are not related to Section 2.(a) herein, or that are not related to a specific medically verifiable toxic health risk to the public arise as an official complaint to the County as a result of an individual(s) exercising the rights as described in Section 1., and Section 1.(a), (and not withstanding any effected party choosing to seek remedy and or reparations by way of litigation through civil proceedings), all the effected parties shall be directed to mediation provided for by the County of Lake, and if resolution between the effected parties cannot be achieved in a reasonable effort to mediate (to be determined by the appointed mediator), the effected parties shall then continue mediation at their own expense (to be equally divided between the effected parties) until a resolution between the parties can be agreed upon, or until one of the effected parties withdraws from the mediation. 
Section 2.(a)
All who exercise the rights described in Section 1., and Section 1.(a) of this Act, shall take reasonable care to prevent environmental destruction, and are responsible to mitigate any possible foreseen negative impacts on the natural environments, and all persons who neglect such practices shall be subject to the authority designated under Section 2.(b) herein, but such remedies are to be used to help individuals come into compliance with this section and not to unreasonably burden individuals who exercise the rights described in Section 1.
Section 2.(b)
The County of Lake Environmental Health Department shall administer over individual circumstances that may arise related to Section 2. and Section 2.(a) herein, but all such administrative authority and compliance inquiries shall be restricted to circumstances where a verifiable neighbor (or resident of the county) complaint in writing and signed by the complainant has been officially registered with the county.
Section 3., Special Circumstances:
Any law, to the extent that it would specifically deny or disparage the Human Rights as described in Section 1. of this Act, (and not withstanding an individual in violation of using illegal gardening chemicals, including but not limited to, certain pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers), is to be set aside unless it can be determined that the individual circumstance is occurring within the context of "commerce" related activities as defined herein, or if an individual’s violation(s) of Section 2.(a) of this Act are to the extent of violating a criminal statute. 
Section 3.(a)
This Act shall not apply in circumstances where (a) private rental or lease agreement(s) (contract) exist(s) pertaining to the occupancy and or use of any private land unless such is otherwise specifically enumerated within said agreement(s) (contract), or unless the agreement(s) (contract) does not specify any conditions or agreement pertaining to outside (or greenhouse) home gardening.
Section 4., Definitions:
(a) For the express purposes of this Act, the word "commerce" shall be taken to mean:
The buying and selling of goods or services in any form, and in direct reference to the exchange of United States currency (or other such legally recognized tender) for such goods or services.
(b) For the express purposes of this Act, the words phrased as "compliance inquiries" shall be taken to mean:
A written and delivered inquiry, and an in person inquiry as to responding to (a) specific complaint(s), and to which access to inspect private property shall only be in circumstances where the respondent has voluntarily agreed to and granted such access, or where on an individual basis, a court order has provided for such access.
(c) For the express purposes of Section 1. of this Act, the words phrased as "to be used for their own needs" shall be taken to mean: 
For use as food, medicine, fiber, fuel, building materials, environmental damage mitigation or other environmental concerns, privacy, aesthetics or ambiance, spiritual/religious requirement, (or other) basic necessities of life. 
(d) For the express purposes of Section 1. of this Act, the word "natural" and the words phrased as "naturally occurring" shall be taken to mean:
Plant species and varieties of such that have evolved in nature through the traditional pollination and cross pollination processes, be that by wind/weather, or animal (including human) assistance.
(e) For the express purposes of Section 1.(a) and Section 3.(a) of this Act, the word "greenhouse" shall be taken to mean:
Any structure where the sun’s light can penetrate at least 80% of the roof (ceiling or top) surface and that is intended for and used for growing plants in. 
Section 5., Severability:
If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable. The People of the County of Lake hereby declare that we would have adopted this Act irrespective of the invalidity of any particular portion thereof.

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Eric Holder Signals Support For Marijuana Reform Just As He’s Heading Out The Door

Posted on September 26, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Political | Tags: , , , , , |


Matt Ferner Become a fan Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

 

mmj3

 

Just as Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to step down from his post, he appears more open than ever to the argument for rescheduling marijuana as a less dangerous, more beneficial drug.

"I think it’s certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin," Holder said in an interview with Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric, released on Thursday. "Especially given what we’ve seen recently with regard to heroin — the progression of people from using opioids to heroin use, the spread and the destruction that heroin has perpetrated all around our country. And to see by contrast, what the impact is of marijuana use. Now it can be destructive if used in certain ways, but the question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that we need to ask ourselves and use science as the basis for making that determination."

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and LSD. Schedule I drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, have a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use."

Yet science clearly indicates otherwise about marijuana. A growing body of research has demonstrated its medical potential. Purified forms of cannabis can be effective at attacking some forms of aggressive cancer. Marijuana use has also been tied to better blood sugar control and may help slow the spread of HIV. Legalization for medical purposes may even lead to lower suicide rates and fewer pain pill overdoses.

The Schedule I classification hinders federal funding for further research into the benefits of cannabis. Columnist Jacob Sullum recently wrote in Forbes that moving marijuana to Schedule III or below could make it easier for university researchers to look into the drug’s full potential.

While marijuana use would still be illegal under federal law, recategorizing it could also remove some of the financial burdens that state-licensed marijuana businesses currently face.

A provision of the federal tax code prohibits any business that "consists of trafficking in controlled substances," which include Schedule I and II drugs, from making tax deductions. Because of this, pot shops cannot deduct traditional business expenses like advertising costs, employee payroll, rent and health insurance from their combined federal and state taxes. Dispensary owners face effective tax rates of 50 to 60 percent — and in some states, those rates soar to 80 percent or higher. The tax rule would no longer apply to pot businesses if marijuana were moved to Schedule III or lower.

To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, while Colorado and Washington remain the only two states to have legalized it for recreational use.

On whether he thinks marijuana should be decriminalized at the federal level, Holder told Couric, "That’s for Congress to decide."

"I think we’ve taken a look at the experiments that are going on in Colorado and Washington, and we’re going to see what happens there, and that’ll help inform us as to what we want to do on the federal level," Holder added.

"For you, the jury is still out?" Couric asked.

"Yeah," Holder said, "it is."

Holder’s statements to Couric on the potential rescheduling of marijuana appear to follow a continuing evolution of his views on the drug. Under the Obama administration, the DEA and several U.S. attorneys have raided hundreds of marijuana dispensaries that were compliant with local laws in states like California and Colorado. But it was Holder who announced in 2013 that the Department of Justice would allow Colorado and Washington to implement their new laws legalizing and regulating the possession, use and sale of marijuana.

More recently, Holder said that the Obama administration would be "more than glad" to work with Congress to re-examine how cannabis is scheduled. He even said in April that he’s "cautiously optimistic" about how the historic changes in Colorado and Washington were working out.

"It’s refreshing to hear these remarks from the attorney general, especially since the science couldn’t be any clearer that marijuana doesn’t meet the criteria for being classified as a Schedule I substance," said Tom Angell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, after the Couric interview. "Numerous studies confirm marijuana’s medical value, and if the administration is serious about taking an objective look at this issue, rescheduling is very achievable by the time this president leaves office. They can do this administratively without any further action from Congress."

Neill Franklin, a retired police officer turned executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, also praised Holder’s comments. He said he hoped the attorney general’s successor "will recognize the war on drugs for what it is: the single biggest problem afflicting our criminal justice system and the central civil rights issue of our time."

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Marijuana legalization effort begins in California

Posted on September 25, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , , , |


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. marijuana advocacy group took steps Wednesday to begin raising money for a campaign to legalize recreational pot use in California in 2016, a move with potential to add a dose of extra excitement to the presidential election year.

The Marijuana Policy Project filed paperwork with the California secretary of state’s office registering a campaign committee to start accepting and spending contributions for a pot legalization initiative on the November 2016 state ballot, the group said.

The measure would be similar to those passed in 2012 by voters in Colorado and Washington, the first U.S. states to legalize commercial sales of marijuana to all adults over 21.

California, long the national leader in illegal marijuana production and home to a thriving, largely unregulated medical marijuana industry, is one of the 21 other states that currently allow marijuana use only for medical reasons. The drug remains illegal under federal law.

"Marijuana prohibition has had an enormously detrimental impact on California communities. It’s been ineffective, wasteful and counterproductive. It’s time for a more responsible approach," Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia said. "Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense."

The Washington, D.C.-based group also has established campaign committees to back legalization measures in Arizona, Massachusetts and Nevada in 2016.

Voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia will weigh in on marijuana legalization in November.

USATODAY

Seattle tosses out marijuana tickets

In 2010, California voters rejected a ballot initiative seeking to legalize recreational pot. The measure, just like the medical marijuana law the state approved in 1996, was the first of its kind. But along with opposition from law enforcement and elected officials, Proposition 19 faced unexpected resistance from medical marijuana users and outlaw growers in the state’s so-called Emerald Triangle who worried legalization would lead to plummeting marijuana prices.

Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert predicted no such divisions would surface this time around.

USATODAY

Legal pot, murky jobs: Marijuana laws put workers in tough spot

Citing his group’s experience in Colorado and the advantage of aiming for a presidential election year when voter turnout is higher, Tvert said legalization supporters would use the next two years to build a broad-based coalition and craft ballot language that addresses concerns of particular constituencies.

"Obviously, it’s a whole different landscape in California, where it will cost probably as much or more to just get on the ballot as it did to run a winning campaign after getting on the ballot in Colorado," he said.

League of California Cities lobbyist Tim Cromartie, whose group opposed the state’s 2010 pot legalization initiative and until this year fought legislative efforts to give the state greater oversight of medical marijuana, said Wednesday that it was too soon to say what kind of opposition, if any, would greet a 2016 campaign.

Lynne Lyman, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said her group expects to play a major role in the legalization effort and already has started raising money. Lyman said the goal is to have an initiative written by next summer. She estimated that a pro-legalization campaign would cost $8 million to $12 million.

Even though California would be following in the steps of other states if a 2016 initiative passes, legalizing recreational marijuana use there would have far-reaching implications, Lyman said.

"When an issue is taken up in California, it becomes a national issue," she said. "What we really hope is that with a state this large taking that step, the federal government will be forced to address the ongoing issue of marijuana prohibition."

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"Fuck It": TV Reporter Quits On-Air To Fight For Marijuana Legalization

Posted on September 22, 2014. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, WTF! | Tags: , , , , |


image

 

LINK TO ACTUAL VIDEO COVERAGE HERE ….  A MUST SEE VIDEO!

 

KTVA Anchorage reporter Charlo Greene profanely quit her job at the station in the middle of last night’s newscast. Greene made the announcement immediately following a story on a medical marijuana business, and the revelation that she is the business’s owner.

Greene ended her segment with this:

"Now everything you’ve heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska. And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice but, fuck it, I quit."

Greene’s organization is fighting for the passage of Ballot Measure 2, which would legalize recreational amounts of marijuana in Alaska. And, not incidentally, create business for Greene—with Alaska laws as they are, medical marijuana dispensaries currently operate in a legal gray area.

After Greene’s abrupt resignation, KTVA’s news director issued a statement:

Dear Viewers,

We sincerely apologize for the inappropriate language used by a KTVA reporter during her live presentation on the air tonight. The employee has been terminated.

Bert Rudman

News Director – KTVA 11 News

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A Crucial Election Season for Legalizing Marijuana and Ending the Drug War

Posted on September 19, 2014. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, LATEST NEWS, Political | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


FLORIDA MEDICAL MARIJUANA

 

It may be an off-year election, but it’s a big one for drug policy reform. In seven weeks, voters across the country will have a chance to accelerate the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war. In fact, there are more drug policy reform questions on the ballot this November than ever in American history. Voter initiatives — primarily reforming or repealing marijuana laws — appear on the ballots in seven states, at least 17 municipalities and one U.S. territory. To help you keep score at home, here’s an overview, starting with the highest-profile measures.

Oregon: Passage of Measure 91 will make the Beaver State the third to legalize marijuana for adults outright. Like the historic laws adopted in Colorado and neighboring Washington two short years ago, this initiative would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and older and create a statewide system to regulate production and sales. And similar to Colorado’s law, Measure 91 would allow adults to cultivate small amounts of marijuana under controlled circumstances. In this entirely vote-by-mail election, the initiative has already been endorsed by the Pacific Northwest’s largest daily paper and would likely boost efforts across its southern border to end marijuana prohibition in California two years from now.

Alaska: The other statewide marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 2, is closely modeled on Colorado’s Amendment 64 and tracks many of the elements in Oregon’s prospective law. Alaska was something of a marijuana reform pioneer as possession and cultivation of small amounts for personal use in a private residence has been protected under the Alaska Constitution since the 1970s. Alongside Oregon in 1998, Alaska was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana. With a deep-rooted respect for personal freedom, Alaska would become the first red state to legalize marijuana for adult use, no doubt raising eyebrows across the political spectrum.

Florida: Amendment 2 is the only statewide medical marijuana initiative on the ballot this year, and it’s one to watch. Victory would make Florida, with its huge population and bell weather status in American politics, the very first southern state to adopt a medical marijuana law. With 23 other medical marijuana states and super-majority support nationally, passage of Amendment 2 would effectively settle any lingering questions on public acceptance of marijuana as medicine. It’s going to be a challenge, though, since Florida law requires 60% to pass a voter initiative. While polls indicate enormous support, casino mogul Sheldon Adelsoncontributed a few million dollars to stop it as Amendment 2 is associated with Charlie Crist’s comeback gubernatorial campaign. Adelson’s intervention has created the first well-funded opposition to a statewide marijuana reform campaign ever.

California: On the heels of reforming its harshest-in-the-nation Three Strikes law in 2012, Californians are now poised to refine six low-level, nonviolent offenses, including simple drug possession, from felonies to misdemeanors. Proposition 47 would then dedicate the savings — likely more than $1 billion a year — to schools, victim services, and mental health treatment. With retroactive sentencing and expungement provisions, the impact of Prop 47 in California on wasteful corrections spending and individual lives would be profound and surely resonate across the country.

District of Columbia: Earlier this year, the D.C. Council adopted the nation’s most far-reaching marijuana decriminalization law. In November, voters in the nation’s capital will decide whether to go even further. Initiative 71 makes it legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana. While District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana, the D.C. Council is considering a bill that would tax and regulate marijuana within the District. D.C. has the highest per capita marijuana arrest rates in the U.S. with enormous racial disparities as police target African Americans for 91 percent of these arrests. Initiative 71 will be the first marijuana reform campaign fought primarily on the issue of the drug war’s ongoing toxic impact on black communities.

Other races: Voters in municipal elections from the Northeast to Micronesia will weigh in November 4 on a range of marijuana focused issues.

· Guam: Voters could make this U.S. territory the first to adopt medical marijuana. Thebinding referendum would allow for dispensaries regulated by the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

· Maine: By a wide margin in 2013, Portlanders chose to eliminate criminal penalties for adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. In seven weeks, voters in York, South Portland, and Lewiston will tackle the same question.

· Michigan: In the last two years, residents of seven cities have voted to remove local penalties for adult possession of small amounts of marijuana in a private residence. As of now, a whopping 11 other cities (with apparently more to come) will have the chance to follow suit this year.

· New Mexico: Last month, the City of Santa Fe became the first in the state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. On the ballot in November, voters in Bernalillo (Albuquerque) and Santa Fe Counties will decide if their county should affirm decriminalization efforts.

Public opinion has shifted dramatically over the last decade in favor of reforming marijuana laws and dismantling the egregious excesses of the drug war. And elected officials have begun to take notice. The U.S. House has voted five times in recent months to let states set their own marijuana policies while Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker have introduced similar bi-partisan legislation in the U.S. Senate in addition to a cluster of other long-overdue criminal justice reforms. When the dust settles on November 5, the momentum for change in this country will only have accelerated.

Stephen Gutwillig is the Deputy Executive Director for Programs of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization working to promote alternatives to the failed war on drugs.

Follow Stephen Gutwillig on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWGinLA

More:

Drug Reform 2014 Marijuana Ballot Questions Alaska Marijuana Oregon Marijuana Drug Legalization 2014 Election Medical Marijuana Marijuana War on Drugs 2014 Elections Drug Policy Reform

 

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