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Philadelphia City Council Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, June, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
philadelphia-votes-to-decrim-mj
The domino effect is starting to sweep the east coast. Not even... It seems as if every state on the colder coast is working on marijuana reform. While those in California have been happy that they've gotten so far ahead, east coasters get things done... Fast. There's no time to waste when there's laws to be changed! Philadelphia is hopping on that train. Last week, their city council voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce. Meaning that if you get caught with that amount, you'll get a $25 ticket.
 
While the plant will remain illegal, this will allow people to get away with the more minor infractions. The absolutely ridiculousness of the laws pertaining to marijuana get people locked up for years, sometimes their entire lives. A lot of these people don't even commit violent crimes, they're just people who enjoy lighting a plant on fire and inhaling the smoke. The bill correctly addresses the problem of arresting people for minor amounts of bud, stating that such infractions "increases the number of people with life changing criminal records". The vote at the city council passed 13-3 in Philadelphia last Thursday.
 
Police in Philly will still be able to arrest those who are caught with less then one ounce, so it's important to remember that you still need to be polite to the cops. The nicer you are to them, the less chance you have of getting a ticket... Or worse. While you still might be cuffed for toking or carrying bud in public, this is definitely a step in the right direction for cannabis on the east coast. As of right now, Philly, New York, Florida, and Ohio have medical marijuana bills at some point in the voting process. Let's hope that these measures pass and patients can get the medicine that they need without having to worry about federal consequences.

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New York To Legalize Medical Marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, June, 20th 2014 by THCFinder
ny-legalizing-marijuanaAfter numerous attempts, and lots of negotiating, it appears that medical marijuana is going to be legalized in New York State. Medical marijuana has passed the New York Assembly numerous times, but always failed in the Senate. Last week it appeared that the Senate was set to vote and approve medical marijuana, until New York Governor Cuomo sprung a last minute list of demands in an attempt to kill the process. Thankfully, negotations were successful and New York will likely get a medical marijuana program after all. See a press release below from the Drug Policy Alliance, who was instrumental in getting the legislation passed:
 
Today, the Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo announced a deal to move forward on a limited medical marijuana program, which makes New York the 23rd state to adopt such a program. The new law will provide relief to thousands of New Yorkers suffering from debilitating illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, as well as children struggling with seizure disorders.
 
Although the final bill language has not yet been released, advocates were pleased to hear that there had been a breakthrough in Albany.  As recently as yesterday, it was unclear that an agreement could be reached between the Governor and legislative leaders on behalf of thousands of patients and their caregivers who have demanded passage of the Compassionate Care Act, which recently passed the Assembly.
 
Information currently available about the bill suggests that it has some serious limitations and restrictions.  For example, the bill would prohibit smoking, restrict any access to the raw plant form of marijuana.  The number of producers and dispensaries is also reportedly extremely limited, raising questions about whether the system will be able to meet the needs of patients in New York.
 
Statement for Gabriel Sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance:
 
“New York has finally done something significant for thousands of patients who are suffering and need relief now. They will benefit from this compromise.
 
“That said, this is not the bill we wanted. We are disappointed to learn that eligible conditions have been limited, and despite strong medical evidence about the benefits of smoked and raw cannabis, leaders decided to exclude this as an option for doctors and patients in New York.  We strongly believe that the decision about the mode of administration for any medication should be left up to doctor and their patients.  The cost of purchasing a vaporizer and the extract products will likely leave many low-income patients behind, and there is little research on the long-term health effects of using extracts. We know that overly restrictive programs, like New Jersey’s, can create enormous obstacles for suffering patients. We hope that the proposal being put forth today is both well regulated and flexible enough to ensure that patients who need medication get it – and get it in a timely fashion.  We look forward to seeing the details and to working ensure this is implemented as quickly as possible.
 

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Florida Passes Medical Marijuana Bill Allowing Minimal Use

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, June, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
florida-mmj-passesFlorida Governor Rick Scott signed a medical marijuana bill into law on Monday that allows limited use of the strain "Charlotte's Web" to help treat those with epileptic seizures as well as other diseases.
 
The Charlotte's Web strain of marijuana was named after a Colorado girl, Charlotte Figi, who suffered from frequent seizures that lasted between two and four hours and required countless hospitalizations. The disease Charlotte suffered from is called Dravet Syndrome, which is a severe form of epilepsy that cannot be medicated.
 
It took a few years, but finally it was discovered that a strain of marijuana low in tetrahyrdocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD) could control the excessive electrical and chemical activity in the brain that causes these seizures. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana whereas CBD is the medicinal compound. Charlotte's mother took the suffering child to Colorado in hopes of treating her with this strain of marijuana. Now, Charlotte is given a dose of this cannabis oil twice a day and she's more alive and functional than ever.
Since then, the strain of marijuana was named after Charlotte, and it helps treat 41 other patients with similar symptoms as well as those with other forms of epilepsy. Governor Scott joined the effort to help promote certain forms of marijuana that can be effectively used as medicine. He spoke on Monday after signing the bill.
 
"As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer," said Governor Scott in this CBS Miami article. "The approval of Charlotte's Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illnesses will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life. I am proud to stand today with families who deserve the ability to provide their children with the best treatment available."
 
The bill was passed with bipartisan support, which made it easy for Governor Scott to sign because it shows it regarded an issue where people could drastically benefit from the marijuana's use. The success stories of Charlotte and other Dravet Syndrome patients also helped out the cause. Florida joined twenty other states and the District of Columbia who have laws that permit marijuana for medical use.
 

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Oklahoma Lawmaker Wants To Legalize Marijuana Because It's God's 'Miraculous' Creation

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, June, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
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Oklahoma state Sen. Constance Johnson (D) announced Friday the filing of a statewide initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, citing God's creation of "this wonderful, miraculous plant" as a basis for comprehensive marijuana reform.
 
"We're putting forth Genesis 1:29 as the basis of this campaign," Johnson told supporters at the state capitol Friday, according to KFOR. "God created this wonderful, miraculous plant and we know that it has been vilified for the last 100 years, and it's time to change that in Oklahoma."
 
The petition, which aims to legalize up to one ounce of recreational marijuana and three ounces of medical marijuana, would require at least 160,000 signatures from registered voters within three months to appear on the November statewide ballot.
 
Johnson, who has partnered up with Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer David Slane to advance the initiative, blamed existing marijuana policies for filling up the state's prisons with "non-violent, marijuana possessing people."
 
The petition proposes a $7 tax per ounce of recreational marijuana, 30 percent of which would be directed to the Department of Education, 20 percent to the Oklahoma City County Health Department and the remainder to the general revenue fund.
 
"We've experienced anything from downright disregard to ignoring us to telling us to, 'Go to hell' pretty much. And this is where we've had to go," Johnson, who has previously made several unsuccessful attempts to reform Oklahoma's marijuana policies, said Friday. "We're taking this to a vote of the people because we know the people of the State of Oklahoma, in spite of what the policymakers refuse to do, want to have a voice on this matter."
 

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Jamaica to decriminalize personal marijuana possession

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, June, 13th 2014 by THCFinder
jamaica-marijuana-legalizationThe Jamaican government has decided to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, joining the trickle of countries moving to soften laws on the drug known on the Caribbean island as "ganja."
 
Minister of Justice Mark Golding made the announcement at an afternoon news conference on Thursday saying that Jamaica's Dangerous Drugs Act would be formally amended this summer.
 
The cabinet of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made the decision on June 2, he said.
 
"Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical-medicinal purposes," he said.
 
"Approval has been given also to a proposal for the decriminalization of the use of ganja for religious purposes," he said.
 
Uruguay recently became the latest country to legalize marijuana use, joining several countries in Europe as well as the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington. 
 
Possession of small quantities of the drug would become a non-arrestable, ticketable infraction in Jamaica resulting in a fine, Golding said.
 
"Too many of our young people have ended up with criminal convictions after being caught with a 'spliff,' something that has affected their ability to do things like get jobs and get visas to travel overseas," Golding said.
 
He added that the government would propose a bill in the Jamaican Parliament soon that will expunge the criminal records of people convicted for possession of small amounts of the drug, which is grown widely across Jamaica.
 

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Medical Marijuana Bill Advances in New York

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, June, 13th 2014 by THCFinder
ny-medical-marijuana
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised doubts on Thursday about whether he would sign into law a medical marijuana bill advancing through the state Legislature.
 
The bill, known as the Compassionate Care Act, was transferred out of the Senate Finance Committee over the previous objections of its chairman. That puts it within striking distance of a vote on the Senate floor, with the Legislature due to break for the year next Thursday.
 
The bill, which the Assembly passed earlier this year, would have New York joining its neighbors, New Jersey and Connecticut, in legalizing medical marijuana. It would create a growth and distribution system for the drug and allow health-care practitioners to prescribe it for cancer and other serious conditions.
 
 
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo European Pressphoto Agency
In January, Mr. Cuomo introduced a more limited pilot program that doesn't require legislative approval. On Thursday at an unrelated event in upstate Peekskill, the Democratic governor said he was concerned the Legislature's effort could backfire.
 
"This sets up an entire system for marijuana growing, production, distribution, sales, and if you're not careful and the system isn't done well, this could actually turn into a major negative," Mr. Cuomo said, calling marijuana a gateway drug for other illegal substances.
 
"We want to make it work," he said. "But we also recognize the downside, which is if you don't put in the correct system, you could have a serious problem on your hands."
 
The medical marijuana issue is coming to the fore during an election year when lawmakers and Mr. Cuomo had been focusing instead on a series of anti-heroin measures, among a handful of issues expected to be in focus before lawmakers leave Albany.
 
The broader legalization effort gained steam after the governor's idea to make pot available to the very ill was criticized by some advocates as too limited.
 
The governor envisions a distribution system confined to 20 hospitals statewide, a program that is dependent on federal approval, since without it hospitals could jeopardize their federal funding. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, even as states move to legalize it.
 

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