With marijuana legalization, green rush is on in D.C.

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, February, 26th 2015 by THCFinder
greenrush-coming-to-wa-dcAs Thursday dawns on the nation’s capital, marijuana will be a legal intoxicant, though Washington will not be Amsterdam, or even Denver. There will be no pot shops, no open-air smoking, but at least for the moment, the District — for once in its decades-long struggle for the right to govern itself — has gotten its way, and a green rush is on.
Despite a last-hours intervention by the Republican chairman of the House committee that handles D.C. affairs, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser and D.C. Council members said Wednesday that they would not back down from implementing the will of the 70 percent of city voters who approved legalization in November.
Now, from private residences where Washingtonians may grow, possess and use small amounts of the drug to shops where budding entrepreneurs plan to sell accessories for cultivating marijuana plants, marijuana will quickly become a more overt part of the capital’s culture.
For advocates of legalization, the idea that weed can be legal in Washington is a breakthrough that will accelerate a similar embrace of the mind-altering plant in much of the nation. At least five states are moving toward legalization votes next year.
“What you’re seeing here is the end of marijuana prohibition, a change in attitudes and a real shift in law enforcement — a huge step forward in the national fight for legalization,” said Michael Collins, national policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.
“The nation’s capital has an exaggerated impact,” said Keith Stroup, legal counsel at NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). “If Washington, D.C., can legalize marijuana and the sky doesn’t fall, things will get a lot easier in these other states.”
On the streets of the city, the big change actually took place in July, when the District decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, meaning that someone caught with a joint or two faced a ticket rather than an arrest, handcuffs and a trip to court.


Maryland Poll: Majority Support For Marijuana Legalization, Marijuana Safer Than Sugar

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, February, 26th 2015 by THCFinder
maryland-marijuana-pollMaryland is high on my list of states that are next to legalize marijuana. Maryland has a great shot of being the first state in America to legalize marijuana via a legislative action, as opposed to via the initiative process. Efforts in Maryland got a boost this week from a poll which found that a majority of Marylanders support marijuana legalization. The poll also found that Marylanders consider marijuana to be safer than sugar. Per Goucher.Edu:
Fifty-two percent of Marylanders support making the use of marijuana legal in Maryland; 44 percent oppose.
When asked which substance is the most harmful to a person’s overall health, 46 percent say tobacco is the most harmful, followed by alcohol (22 percent), and sugar (13 percent). Eight percent think marijuana is more harmful to a person’s overall health than tobacco, alcohol, or sugar.
Fifty-five percent disagree that marijuana is a “gateway drug”—i.e., it leads to the use of hard drugs; 43 percent of respondents agree.
I like the questions that the poll asked. You always see polls dealing with marijuana legalization, but it’s fairly rare to see followup questions being asked. I’m kind of disappointed that only 55% of poll participants disagree with the gateway drug theory. However, it’s still a clear majority, and I think that number could rise as activists in Maryland continue to educate the public.


Alaska Becomes 3rd State With Legal Marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, February, 24th 2015 by THCFinder
smoking-weed-is-legal-in-alaskaSmoking, growing and possessing marijuana becomes legal in America's wildest state Tuesday, thanks to a voter initiative aimed at clearing away 40 years of conflicting laws and court rulings.
Making Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the state's constitution.
But when they voted 53-47 percent last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out.
Meanwhile, Alaska Native leaders worry that legalization will bring new temptations to communities already confronting high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and suicide.
"When they start depending on smoking marijuana, I don't know how far they'd go to get the funds they need to support it, to support themselves," said Edward Nick, council member in Manokotak, a remote village of 400 that is predominantly Yup'ik Eskimo.
Both alcohol and drug use are prohibited in Nick's village 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, even inside the privacy of villagers' homes.
But Nick fears that the initiative, in combination with a 1975 state Supreme Court decision that legalized marijuana use inside homes — could open doors to drug abuse.
Initiative backers promised Native leaders that communities could still have local control under certain conditions. Alaska law gives every community the option to regulate alcohol locally. From northern Barrow to Klawock, 1,291 miles away in southeast Alaska, 108 communities impose local limits on alcohol, and 33 of them ban it altogether.
But the initiative did not provide clear opt-out language for tribal councils and other smaller communities, forcing each one to figure out how to proceed Tuesday.
November's initiative also bans smoking in public, but didn't define what that means, and lawmakers left the question to the alcohol regulatory board, which planned to meet early Tuesday to discuss an emergency response.
In Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, officials tried and failed in December to ban a new commercial marijuana industry. But Police Chief Mark Mew said his officers will be strictly enforcing the public smoking ban. He even warned people against smoking on their porches if they live next to a park.
Other officials are still discussing a proposed cultivation ban for the wild Kenai Peninsula. But far to the north, in North Pole, smoking outdoors on private property will be OK as long as it doesn't create a nuisance, officials there said.
While the 1975 court decision protected personal marijuana possession and a 1998 initiative legalized medicinal marijuana, state lawmakers twice criminalized any possession over the years, creating an odd legal limbo.
As of Tuesday, adult Alaskans can not only keep and use pot, they can transport, grow it and give it away. A second phase, creating a regulated and taxed marijuana market, won't start until 2016 at the earliest.
And while possession is no longer a crime under state law, enjoying pot in public can bring a $100 fine.
That's fine with Dean Smith, a pot-smoker in Juneau who has friends in jail for marijuana offenses. "It's going to stop a lot of people getting arrested for nonviolent crimes," he said.
The initiative's backers warned pot enthusiasts to keep their cool.


Alaska Marijuana Legalization Goes Into Effect Tomorrow

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, February, 23rd 2015 by THCFinder
alaska-mj-legalization-goes-into-effect-tomorrowAlaska joined Oregon, Washington D.C., Washington State, and Colorado in voting to end marijuana prohibition. The successful marijuana legalization initiative in Alaska won 53.23% to 46.77% during the 2014 Election, which was a solid margin. Tomorrow the initiative takes effect. Per the Alaska Dispatch News:
Ballot Measure 2 will become effective on Tuesday, and many Alaskans are wondering what will change on that date. The simple answer is: Everything, and not much at all.
Beginning that day, it will be lawful for someone 21 years of age or over to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Those with a green thumb may legally grow up to six marijuana plants (only three of them can be mature at any time) in their homes. Generous Alaskans may gift, without payment, up to 1 ounce of marijuana to someone age 21 or over and give them up to six immature marijuana plants. Private consumption will be completely legal for those 21 and over. So, for adults, personal cultivation, possession, and consumption will be lawful within certain limits, in private, and as long as no money changes hands. For those who have been consuming for years, this may not seem significant, but from a legal perspective it represents a huge shift.
I don’t see too much personally changing tomorrow. People will not be able to buy marijuana in stores, yet. People that have been consuming marijuana for years will continue to do so. Marijuana opponents will try as hard as they can to find evidence that the beginning of the zombie apocalypse is upon us, to no avail. There will no be mayhem on public roadways, teen marijuana consumption will not spike, and per a Harvard study, there will not be a huge spike in new people consuming marijuana. What is a guarantee is that cops will finally be freed up to go after real criminals instead of wasting time busting people for a plant that is safer than alcohol.


Hemp Legalization Bill Passed By Virginia Legislature

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, February, 20th 2015 by THCFinder

hemp-legalization-billMarijuana legalization gets a lot of attention these days, but there are significant reforms occurring with hemp as well. My home state (Oregon) just licensed its first hemp grower. Many other states are on their way to doing the same. This week Virginia’s Legislature voted to legalize industrial hemp. The bill will now go to the Governor. PerThe Joint Blog:

Legislation to legalize hemp cultivation has been approved by Virginia’s full Legislature, and has been sent to Governor Terry McAuliffe for consideration.

“I am thrilled with the progress this bill has made and the support it gained since its beginnings eight months ago,” says Delegate Joseph Yost, the bill’s primary sponsor. “Hemp is good for agriculture, it is good for the environment and is good for jobs”. Yost explains that the bill “sets up the necessary framework for Virginia to begin immediately moving forward on researching industrial hemp and eventually moving towards full commercialization.”

Obviously, if the Virginia’s Governor signs the bill it becomes law. But even if he doesn’t, the bill will become law even without his signature. albeit a after a little bit of time. I’m very curious to see how Virginia’s hemp industry grows over time. Virginia used to be a a very large producer of hemp. It’s about time that Virginia farmers get to grow the cash crop again if they choose to.



Will Oregons New Governor Implement Marijuana Legalization As It Was Approved By Voters?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, February, 19th 2015 by THCFinder
oregon-weed-and-its-governorAs of yesterday at 10 am, Oregon has a new Governor. Kate Brown became Oregon’s Governor after John Kitzhaber was forced to resign amid a lot of controversy. It was a sad day for Oregon, but from a purely marijuana activist standpoint, I wasn’t too sad to see Kitzhaber step down. During the 2014 Election Oregon voters approved Oregon Measure 91, which was very well written and had specific provisions included. For some reason former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber didn’t think those provisions mattered, and for that matter the will of Oregon voters didn’t matter, because he was seeking to alter the initiative drastically before it was implemented.
John Kitzhaber wanted to merge the medical marijuana program in Oregon with the recreational program, which was something the initiative was very specific about, and stated no less than three times in the initiative that the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program would be unaffected by Measure 91. It’s a big provision that resulted in a lot of people voting for the initiative that were on the fence about it. Kitzhaber also wanted to reduce the possession limit in the initiative. I, along with all of the other ‘yes’ votes, voted for Measure 91 because it allowed certain possession limits.
John Kitzhaber and others at the Oregon capital tried to make it sound like voters approved marijuana legalization in general, and didn’t care about the details. That couldn’t be further from the truth, proven by the fact that the same Oregon voters rejected a marijuana legalization initiative in 2012 because it was poorly written without possession limits. We didn’t vote on marijuana legalization in general, we voted for marijuana legalization because it was a well crafted initiative that had provisions we liked.
So how will Oregon’s new Governor approach the marijuana legalization rule making process? Kate Brown is progressive on a lot of things, but there is at least one time in her career that she cracked down hard on marijuana reform, which could provide some insight into how she will view marijuana policy now that she is Governor. During the 2012 Election in Oregon, during which a marijuana legalization initiative made the ballot (Measure 80), there was another, better initiative trying to get on the ballot. Initiative 24 was a campaign that I was helping with. It had solid funding – the same funding source that Oregon’s successful medical marijuana initiative from 1998 was built on. The initiative was gathering more signatures than Measure 80, and polled better.



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