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Will Pennsylvania legalize marijuana?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Sun, September, 8th 2013 by THCFinder
pa-mmj-moving-forwardMillersville University students, in a recent survey, estimated that a whopping 93 percent of their college peers smoke marijuana.
 
An on-campus drug-abuse counselor, however, believes the real number is closer to the national statistics, which indicate that one-quarter of students use pot.
 
Counselor John Baltzer does believe the students' "false consensus" signifies a growing acceptance here of marijuana use that stretches beyond college campuses.
 
"In my time, (society) wouldn't serve, hire or respect 'long-haired, dope-smoking hippies,' " Baltzer said. "Now, weed use is accepted in a great deal of our society.
 
"Attitudes about pot and its use have changed a great deal over the last five years or so."
 
And locals can expect the pendulum to swing even further in that direction, Baltzer predicted.
 
"Even in a state like Pennsylvania," he said.
 
Feds pull back on enforcement
 
A recent memo from the U.S. Department of Justice is being called, by pot advocates, a major victory. In the memo, the DOJ outlines a limited pullback on federal enforcement of marijuana laws, saying it will not interfere with new state laws in Colorado and Washington that permit recreational use.
 
That could affect an estimated 23 other states that have reformed pot laws and several others that are considering doing so. Pennsylvania falls into the latter category, with a pair of current senate bills introduced in April by state Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat who represents parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties.
 
Senate Bill 528, or the "Regulate Marijuana Act," and Senate Bill 770, which would permit medicinal use, have yet to come up for votes.
 
And the federal memo won't automatically change that, as some pot advocates are expecting. Local lawmakers and law-enforcement officials certainly aren't convinced.
 
"I am not aware of — nor would I support — any serious efforts to overturn Pennsylvania's drug laws," state Sen. Lloyd Smucker, a West Lampeter Republican, said Wednesday.
 

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Louisianians Favor Marijuana Legalization

Category: Legalization | Posted on Sat, September, 7th 2013 by THCFinder
louisianians-favor-cannabis-legalizationNEW ORLEANS, LA — Fifty-three percent of Louisiana voters favor making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and regulating its sales, according to a July 2013 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.
 
“People understand that criminalizing marijuana has wasted public funds, has not made anyone safer, and that marijuana is not the danger it was thought to be,” said Marjorie R. Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “Despite last session’s failure to pass a bill to reform marijuana sentencing, House Bill 103, marijuana law reform is coming to Louisiana. Voters in this state are in agreement with the rest of America that marijuana should be taxed and regulated,” Esman said.
 
Public Policy Polling surveyed a representative sampling of Louisiana registered voters to gauge Louisianans’ views on medical marijuana use, reforming marijuana sentencing laws and legalizing marijuana. A majority, 53%, said they support taxing and regulating marijuana. Only 37% were opposed to legalization, while 10% weren’t sure. Louisianans across the state were in support, with every region supporting the measure by at least 50%. Moreover, of those voters identifying themselves as “very conservative,” 51% said they would support this measure. The survey shows 65% support for allowing seriously or terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana.
 
During the last legislative session, the ACLU supported one of the state’s first pieces of reform legislation, HB 103, introduced by Representative Austin Badon of New Orleans. The bill would have reduced sentences for marijuana possession and made it more difficult for simple marijuana possession to be used under the Habitual Offender laws. And, according to the state Department of Corrections, it would have saved the state of Louisiana more than $70 million annually or 10% of the DOC’s $700 million budget.
 
“This new poll also shows that a majority of Louisiana voters think it’s time to change the state’s outdated and overly harsh marijuana sentencing laws,” said Esman. “The ACLU stands with the 59% of Louisianans who oppose long prison sentences, and 64% who oppose a sentence of life without parole for a marijuana offense.”
 

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Australia Political Party Calls For The National Legalization Of Cannabis

Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, September, 4th 2013 by THCFinder
aussies-want-world-legalizationA political party in Australia called HEMP – an acronym for Help End Marijuana Prohibition – has officially launched its 2013 election campaign by fielding 12 Senate candidates across 6 states, and calling for the national legalization of cannabis.
 
“America has given us huge encouragement,” says Michael Balderstone, President of HEMP, “Half of America now has access to medical cannabis and now they’ve started to get new regulations for recreational cannabis. So, you now, the wall is down there and no big deal, the place hasn’t gone crazy.”
 
In Australia the production of industrial hemp is legal, but cannabis – whether for medicinal or recreational purposes – is not. HEMP is calling for legalization for all adults, something which they believe will end the criminality associated with the black-market.
 

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Marijuana industry prepares for 2014, but is Colorado ready?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, September, 2nd 2013 by THCFinder
colorado-prepeares-for-mjboomIn four months, adults in Colorado will be able to walk into a store, plunk down cash and leave with a drug that used to land people in prison.
 
No one, though, is sure what the future holds.
 
Will the new industry damage the state's reputation, grow the drug culture, spread marijuana into neighboring states, intoxicate young people and spur more crime? Or will it bring an unrecognizable change, produce needed tax revenue, drive a stake in marijuana's black market and extinguish unnecessary prosecutions?
 
"It's like being sucked into a black hole. What is going to be on the other side? No one knows," said Ry Prichard, part-owner of a hash oil company, TC Labs.
 
During the first week of January, when the first stores are expected to open in Denver, the world's media will probably descend on Colorado to document the occasion.
 
Lines that form in the state for everything from new doughnut shops to ski sales are expected to wrap around businesses as customers queue up for the first buds.
 
"You are going to have the international media here for New Year's Eve, and they are not coming for the fireworks," said Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown. "Then there is going to be a photo that moves across the wire that is going to portray Denver one way or another. That is going to define Denver. It will be an image changer. There is no doubt."
 
Rolling Stone magazine recently called Denver "America's undisputed stoner capital" with two Jerry Garcia-themed bars, the same number of medical marijuana dispensaries as liquor stores and, of course, the Mile High nickname.
 
A grower told the magazine that the Platte River Valley running through the city has the highest concentration of marijuana on the planet.
 

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Legalize/Decriminalize Marijuana, Canadians Say

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, September, 2nd 2013 by THCFinder
canadians-want-it-legalizedThe Canadian public strongly supports reforming the country’s marijuana laws, according to a new Forum Research poll. The survey found that 69% either want to see marijuana legalized, taxed, and regulated or see the possession of small amounts decriminalized.
 
The poll comes just weeks after Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau called for legalization, bringing new life to the long-running debate on pot policy north of the border. It also comes just a week after Canadian police chiefs called for decriminalization, although they didn’t want to use that word, instead preferring to say they wanted a “ticketing option.”
 
Support for legalization was slightly higher (36%) than for decriminalization (34%), but the combined support for pot law reform was far ahead of support for the status quo (15%) or increasing marijuana penalties (13%). Only 3% were undecided.
 
Among political parties, support was strongest among self-described Liberals (76%), followed by New Democrats (72%), and even 61% of Conservatives. The Conservative government of Prime Minister Steven Harper has positioned itself as the party of cracking down on marijuana, but the ministers might want to check in with their base.
 
The poll also asked respondents whether Trudeau’s recent admission that he had smoked pot while a Member of Parliament would affect their vote. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said it did not matter, while one in five (21%) said they would be less likely to vote for him. Conversely, 14% said they would be more likely to vote for him.
 

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These States Are Most Likely To Legalize Weed Next

Category: Legalization | Posted on Sat, August, 31st 2013 by THCFinder
states-to-legalize-weed-nextAttorney General Eric Holder gave a green light on Thursday to two states whose efforts to legalize marijuana had been locked in by legal uncertainty for more than nine months. With that announcement, Colorado and Washington -- both of which passed pro-pot initiatives at the polls last November -- can now proceed with establishing a framework for the taxation and regulation of legal weed for adults.
 
The administration's decision holds clear and immediate implications for the two states, both of which had been hesitant to act too quickly over concerns that the government might decide to enforce federal law, which still considers marijuana an illegal substance.
 
But the move also, and perhaps more importantly, throws open the gates for other states to pursue similar pot legalization efforts, so long as they include "strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems." Experts on both sides of the issue have already said they expect to see movement come quickly.
 
A similar pattern held for medical marijuana. The movement made steady progress up until 2009, when the Obama administration announced it would allow states to implement medical pot laws without federal interference. That promise turned out to be heavily footnoted, but the pledge itself ushered in a flood of ballot and legislative activity that burst the medical marijuana dam over the next four years. Thursday's announcement can be expected to do the same.
 
Public support for legal pot has surged in recent years at both state and national levels, with a majority of U.S. voters now in favor. This suggests that legalization would be most viable in states that allow citizen ballot initiatives. State lawmakers could also potentially take the reins on legalizing cannabis as the issue becomes more mainstream, however, like they did in New Jersey in 2010 with the passage of a bill approving medical marijuana.
 

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