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Obama Just Took One Big Step Towards Marijuana Legalization

Category: Culture | Posted on Mon, April, 7th 2014 by THCFinder
cannabis-and-alcohol
As the nation marches further down the long but seemingly inevitable road of marijuana decriminalization and legalization, President Barack Obama just made things a lot easier. On Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Obama administration is ready to work with Congress to take marijuana off the federal government's list of the most dangerous drugs. 
 
"We'd be more than glad to work with Congress if there is a desire to look at and reexamine how the drug is scheduled, as I said there is a great degree of expertise that exists in Congress," Holder said during a House Appropriations Committee hearing. "It is something that ultimately Congress would have to change, and I think that our administration would be glad to work with Congress if such a proposal were made."
 
This is a strong affirmation from an administration that seems to be increasingly moving towards a more lenient, if not open stance on marijuana legislation reform. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the attorney general has the authority to "remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule." However, Holder didn't say that he would utilize this power and seems more interested in working together with interested members of Congress. 
 
Working together. Luckily for Holder, it shouldn't be too difficult to find interested members of Congress. Though there is still a lively debate on the issue, numerous congressmen have indicated an interest in rescheduling marijuana. In February, 18 congressmen went as far as to send Obama a formal letter indicating their strong desire to reevaluate how the federal government treats marijuana. This came shortly after Obama told David Remnick in the New Yorker that he believes pot is no more dangerous than alcohol.
 

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69 Percent Of Americans Say Alcohol More Harmful Than Marijuana

Category: Culture | Posted on Fri, April, 4th 2014 by THCFinder
alcohol-more-harmful-than-cannabis
WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – In a national survey that shows the American public is ready for a truce in the ongoing war on drugs, a two-thirds majority of U.S. adults (67 percent) say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for people using drugs such as heroin and cocaine instead of jail time.
 
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that just about one-quarter of Americans (26 percent) think the U.S. government should focus on prosecuting users of hard drugs. Treatment-based programs, rather than imprisonment, are favored more by Democrats and independent voters, but a majority of Republicans (51 percent) agree that the government should direct its efforts towards a treatment approach.
 
A nearly two-to-one ratio of the American public surveyed says it is a positive thing that some states are moving away from mandatory sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
 
According to FBI data, police made one marijuana arrest every 42 seconds in 2012. There were an estimated 1,552,432 arrests for drug-related crimes in 2012 – a slight increase from the 1,531,251 drug arrests in 2011.
Marijuana offenses accounted for 48.3 percent of all drug arrests, a slight decrease from 49.5 percent in 2011, which itself was the highest rate since before 1995.
 
And as several states in addition to Washington and Colorado move toward legalizing recreational use of marijuana, three-quarters of the U.S. public (75 percent) – including both those for and against the legal use of marijuana – agree that the sale and use of marijuana will inevitably become legal nationwide.
 
And by wide margins, Americans view the drinking of alcohol as a more harmful habit on both a personal health and societal level.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans say alcohol is more harmful to people’s health, in contrast to just 15 percent who say the same of marijuana use. And 63 percent of Americans surveyed said they view alcohol as more harmful to society, in comparison to just 23 percent who say the same of marijuana.
 
The data represents a larger, major shift in attitude toward marijuana use.
 

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DEA Head Tells Congress They are "Fighting Back" Against Tolerance Of Marijuana Legalization

Category: Culture | Posted on Thu, April, 3rd 2014 by THCFinder
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michele Leonhart, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), repeatedly criticized the Obama administration at a hearing Wednesday on the DEA’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
 
In a memo released in July 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would not interfere with the effective implementation of laws regulating the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adults in Colorado and Washington. When asked by Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA) during a Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing whether the Obama administration’s tolerant views toward legal marijuana had affected morale at the DEA, which is a branch of the DOJ, Leonhart replied that “our agents are fighting back against those messages. It makes us fight harder.” She had earlier criticized the DOJ for a perceived delay in issuing a response to Washington and Colorado’s new laws, claiming there was “a lot of confusion in those 296 days.”
 
Leonhart also claimed that public opinion in Colorado is turning against the initiative making marijuana legal, yet two recent polls suggest Colorado residents are more supportive of the law than ever before. A Public Policy Polling survey from March showed that 57% of Colorado voters think marijuana should be legal, and a Quinnipiac poll from February showed 58% support for the state’s legalization law. It was supported by 54.8% of voters in 2012. Finally, Leonhart claimed legalization would be dangerous to pets in Colorado and warned of a surge in veterinary clinic visits due to dogs consuming marijuana.
 
While Leonhart was testifying to the committee, the Pew Research Center released a poll showing 75% of Americans believe the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be made legal nationwide, and more than 60% believe alcohol is more harmful to individual health and to society than marijuana. The poll can be viewed online at http://www.people-press.org/2014/04/02/americas-new-drug-policy-landscape/
 
The Marijuana Policy Project has launched a Change.org petition calling on the president to fire Leonhart and replace her with someone who will base decisions on science and evidence instead of politics and ideology. The petition currently has more than 29,000 signatures and is available at https://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-fire-anti-marijuana-dea-administrator-michele-leonhart.
 

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Pot And Privacy

Category: Culture | Posted on Wed, April, 2nd 2014 by THCFinder
pot-and-privacty
If you think that you're not being monitored by some nerdy dude in a dark room somewhere, you're wrong. Everything you do on your phones and computer is tracked, not to mention your medical records are on file in how many computer systems? Patients that are using medical marijuana (as well as those who are using recreational) have great concerns for their privacy and who knows that they're using marijuana to combat illness. Being kept on file can be very scary for some people and thankfully, the recreational shops in Colorado are doing what they can to provide recreational users with some privacy and hopefully medical shops will follow suit.
 
The amendment that Colorado passed doesn't require that records be kept on those that purchase recreational marijuana. You simply walk in to the store, flash your ID (which I'm sure goes under very intense scrutiny to make sure that you are who the ID says you are, as well as the realness of the ID itself), and you can have your pick from the many strains that this shops carry. While the shops aren't required to take down information, some have implemented rewards programs for what Brooke Gehring of Bud Med says is a way to "show the success of the business". Which definitely makes a lot of sense! By instilling a rewards program, the shops can gain regular customers as well as offer promotional deals to those who return.
 
Since the law in Colorado was written to strongly resemble the rules set forth to govern alcohol, the stores are not required to get any additional information from their customers other than the government issued ID. However, customers must be aware of the presence of cameras in these shops (cameras are MANDATORY which means every shop will have them somewhere), where the images of customer faces are captured and can be looked at by the enforcement agents hired by the state up to 40 days after you visit the shop. Treating marijuana like alcohol in the recreational aspect is an extremely good idea that not only maintains the privacy of people buying but promotes that the employees pay much closer attention to their customers, much like the role of a bartender in a bar. Keep an eye out for sketchy behavior, know what a fake ID or passport looks like, and always stay alert.
 
In such a new industry, the laws and rules aren't going to be perfect the first time around. There is a lot of work to be done in order to get the programs perfect and only time will show us where the cannabis industry will go from here. Medical patients deserve privacy like recreational users too. Even though some stoners don't really care who knows that they're smoking, there are others who just want to get stoned in peace. We can only wait to see where things go from here!

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The Happiest Cities In The World

Category: Culture | Posted on Wed, April, 2nd 2014 by THCFinder
the-happiest-cities-in-the-world
Where you live can greatly effect how you feel about life. Living somewhere that bums you out will only fester negative energy, turning you in to a bitter person. So what better way to fix that issue then to find a happy place to live, where the people are friendly and always in a good mood. Stoners especially tend to gravitate towards these happy cities, which shows in the Gallup poll that was recently released focusing on the well being of the American citizen.
 
With over 178,000 people interviewed on everything from emotional health to how their workplace functioned to the amount of bike lanes in their town, weed friendly communities have permeated the list of the happiest places on earth, showing that not only does weed seem to improve just stoners but life overall for entire cities (Unless everyone in these places is smoking... Which is far more likely than one would think, am I right?). The poll also included things like the availability of farmer's markets and local events such as fairs. Both California and Colorado made it on to the list... Three times each!
 
Colorado cities took up the second, third, and eighteenth spot on the list of the Top 20 Happiest Cities. Boulder placed second, Fort Collins/Loveland took third, and Denver took eighteenth. California didn't even compare to the Rocky Mountain State, with San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara coming in for fifth place, San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles in eighth places, and the San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont areas making the number nine spot in the list. Washington made the list once as well but placed number twelve with Bellingham.
 
The more places allow the use of marijuana, the more I believe we will begin to see the overall mood of the citizens greatly improve. While some people still stick to the idea that marijuana is dangerous and only leads to negative things, studies being done are showing the complete opposite. Expect that the revision of this list will include more cities from other medical/legal states, especially Washington, which will allow the recreational use of cannabis this year.

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The Instabilities Of Drug Dogs

Category: Culture | Posted on Tue, April, 1st 2014 by THCFinder
drug-sniffing-dog
Most people are pretty afraid of the police lately. Even something as simple as a broken tail light is enough to make a driver's heart drop when a cop rolls up behind them at a stop light. Stoners especially are afraid of the red and blue, as not only will a busted blinker get you pulled over but let's be real; some cops are just jerks. They will do whatever they can to get you in trouble, up to and including the involvement of the drug sniffing dogs that some cops tote around with them in their cars. Being stopped for a traffic violation with weed in the car and getting sniffed out by a dog is a terrible experience but due to new information released in a study published on-line at Forensic Science International, it's been announced that the drug sniffing dogs may be much less dependable then previously thought.
 
The study was done by scientists from both the US as well as Poland and consisted of the drug sniffing dogs being put to the test of accurately locating amphetamines, marijuana, hash, cocaine, and heroin in different scenarios. The dogs were sent to locate the narcotics first in a private room The dogs seemed to do well in this environment, with a rate of correctness around 83% with only 10% being false alerts. Dogs that had previously been in the room seemed to also have a higher success rate then dogs who hadn't as well. The dogs were then put through a re-enactment of a traffic stop in which the car being questioned contained illegal substances.
 
But when the dogs inspected the vehicles, their success rate dropped drastically. Going from an 83% to a 64% rate of finding the substances hidden, the dogs were much less reliable when it came to traffic stops. When the dogs were lead around the outside of the cars, they only detected narcotics 64% of the time and at least 15% of the dogs didn't even recognize that the contraband was present in the vehicle. Not only that but 22% of the dogs showed that they had indeed found narcotics, when there were no narcotics in the car. This shows how unreliable a traffic stop dog search can be.
 
The study goes on to cover the dogs that were introduced to the interior of the car. Once inside, the dogs success rate dropped to 58% and the false alerts rose to 36%. So basically, the dogs become more than unreliable when they're put in to a traffic stop scenario. There have been other studies that have been done on the topic as well, such as one that was conducted in 2011 at the University of California that showed that drug sniffing dogs are SIGNIFICANTLY influenced by the feelings of their handler. So if the cop thinks that there are drugs in the car, chances are that the dog will pick up on that and point to the idea of narcotics being present, even when they're not.
 
In 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that if a drug dog alerts an officer of narcotics being present in the vehicle, the officer then has the right to search the interior of the car. But since the dogs are providing false alerts based on their handler's feelings. these searches could absolutely be argued against. But to be on the safe side, it is recommended that you don't drive with cannabis in your car. Just to be on the safe side. We all know that police can abuse their power and while not all officers are out to get us, it's just a better idea to play it safe.

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