Long shot: California may yet vote on marijuana legalization in 2014
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, March, 27th 2014 by THCFinder
A California initiative that has failed once this year to collect enough signatures to put recreational marijuana on the ballot in November has been resurrected … but its future looks grim.
On Monday, California’s Secretary of State approved language for the “Marijuana Legalization. Initiative Statute”:
Legalizes under state law marijuana and hemp use, possession, cultivation, transportation, or distribution. Requires case-by-case review for persons currently charged with or convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses, for possible sentence modification, amnesty, or immediate release from prison, jail, parole, or probation. Requires case-by-case review of applications to erase records of these charges or convictions. Requires Legislature to adopt laws to license and tax commercial marijuana sales. Allows doctors to approve or recommend marijuana for patients, regardless of age. Limits testing for marijuana for employment or insurance purposes. Bars state/local aid to enforce federal marijuana laws.
The sponsor of the initiative’s earlier incarnation, Berton Duzy, tried and fail in February to turn in enough signatures. On the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative website, he stated:
CCHI did not qualify for the ballot, but is entering a pledge drive phase to attempt to qualify for 2014. CCHI is the legalization vision of Jack Herer and allows more freedom for Cannabis patients, users, and providers than any other proposed law.
Taking a cold look at the prospects for this revised version or any of the competing version of legalization initiatives to hit the ballot this year is the LA Weekly:
CCHI has nowhere near the $3 million in cash it takes to get professional signature gatherers on the streets. Duzy said the group has less than $100,000 on-hand.
“We’ll have to have a million dollars to get it done by paid professionals by April 18, the last day to qualify, the last day to turn in signatures to make it to 2014,” he told us. “If we didn’t raise the money, then we could still try to qualify for 2016.”
The last proposed initiative apparently standing, the Marijuana Control, Legalization & Revenue Act, is also looking at April 18, with basically none of that $3 million or so it would take to make the ballot.
Backer Dave Hodges told us, “We’re still looking for a miracle.”
Read more: http://blog.seattlepi.com
Study: Medical Marijuana Legalization Doesn't Increase Crime
Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, March, 27th 2014 by THCFinder
An argument that marijuana reform opponents almost always cling to is that legalizing marijuana (recreational and medical) will lead to more crime. It’s an argument that has been used since the dawn of reefer madness. I actually had someone e-mail me recently to tell me that when people smoke marijuana, they will do whatever they can to get more, including assaulting people and robbing them of their money. I had to explain to the person that we are talking about marijuana, not meth. I didn’t receive a response.
According to a study released yesterday, legalizing medical marijuana does not increase violent crime. The study was conducted by PLOS One. The study relied on U.S. state panel data, and analyzed the association between state medical marijuana laws and state crime rates collected by the FBI. The concluded the following:
Results did not indicate a crime exacerbating effect of medical marijuana laws on any of the Part I offenses. Alternatively, state medical marijuana laws may be correlated with a reduction in homicide and assault rates…
I wonder if Kevin Sabet and his friends saw this? It’s going to be very hard for them to try to spin this study in a way that favors their opposition to medical marijuana reform. People like Kevin Sabet want to throw you in rehab for using medical marijuana. That’s going to be a lot harder as the truth continues to slap them in the face.
New Jersey senator to introduce marijuana legalization bill
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, March, 24th 2014 by THCFinder
CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. (PIX11) – Union County State Senator Nicholas Scutari will introduce legislation Monday that will make the case for legalizing and taxing marijuana in New Jersey.
He plans to model the bill after Washington state and Colorado, which took in $2 million in the first month of sales alone and would tax and regulate cannabis like alcohol.
In a press release Scutari said, “anybody that looks at the facts, knows that the war on marijuana has been a miserable failure. We’re not delusional about how simple the effort would be, but I think from a standpoint of moving this state and this country forward on its archaic drug laws, I think it’s a step in the right direction.”
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, more than 22,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey in 2010.
A minor possession conviction for people can have long-term implications under New Jersey’s current cannabis policy and the group says its a waste of law enforcement resources and taxpayer money.
It also seems the Garden State’s opinion is growing strong.
A poll released by Lake Research Partners in June found that 59 percent of New Jersey voters support legalizing, regulating, and taxing cannabis.
More recently, a Gallup poll released in October found that 58% of Americans are in favor of legalization.
But as long as Governor Chris Christie remains in office, the bills chances of getting signed into law are very slim.
The governor has repeatedly said he would allow legalization or even decriminalization of marijuana because it sends the wrong message to kids.
Alabama lawmakers approve medical marijuana measure
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, March, 21st 2014 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - A medical marijuana bill unanimously passed both the Alabama House and Senate on Thursday and is headed to the desk of Gov. Robert Bentley, who has said he will sign it into law.
The measure makes it legal to possess only a prescribed medical grade extract known as CBD or cannabidiol, which is non-intoxicating.
The U.S. Congress in 1972 deemed the oil to have no accepted medical use and banned it.
However, some studies have shown it to be useful in treating a number of conditions, including seizures, and it has been legalized for use in 20 states, according to the Medical Marijuana ProCon website.
Called Carly's Law, the bill in Alabama originated to help control violent seizures suffered by a toddler with a severe neurological disorder.
The girl's family won the backing of Republican state Rep. Mike Ball, sponsor of the bill, and the governor, who has indicated his support.
The bill includes $1 million in funding for a neurology research project into cannabidiol oil at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
"UAB will undertake research into the mechanisms underlying cannabidiol to learn more about its function and effect on seizures," said David Standaert, chairman of the university's Department of Neurology.
The extract is low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound that gives users the feeling of being high.
Missouri Marijuana Legalization Bill Gets Hearing In House Of Reps
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, March, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
On March 10, the House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety held a hearing on H.B. 1659, which would legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Kelly (D – Columbia), introduced the bill and explained how he came to support legalization during his time as a judge. He explained that when handled all the domestic violence cases in Boone County, he would often find that officers were not available to respond to those calls because they were dealing cannabis offenses. He said that in all his time as a judge, he handed down thousands of sentences for cannabis offenses but doubted that he deterred a single person from smoking a single joint.
Show-Me Cannabis Regulation Board Chair Dan Viets was up next, and he pointed out the hundreds of millions of dollars in law enforcement savings and new tax revenue that the state could realize if it passed this legislation and pointed out that use rates have not increased in states that have decreased penalties on cannabis possession.
Then, Brandy Johnson and Heidi Rayl grabbed everyone’s attention with their emotional testimony on the need for medical cannabis. Brandy and Heidi are both mothers of boys — Tres and Zayden, respectively — who suffer from extreme forms of epilepsy and experience dozens or even hundreds of seizures every day. Tres and Zayden are both prescribed to numerous, powerful pharmaceuticals to control their seizures, but a high-CBD strain of medical cannabis could likely treat those seizures far more effectively and with far fewer side effects. Unfortunately, it is illegal in Missouri.
Many other witnesses testified in favor of different aspects of the bill. Police chief Larry Kirk spoke on how prohibition wastes law enforcement resources; Dr. Gil Mobley explained to the committee that the science showing cannabis is medically efficacious is sound and that it is less dangerous than alcohol; Show-Me Cannabis Regulation board member Amber Langston told the committee about the benefits of industrial hemp; Daryl Bertrand described how medical cannabis saved his life, until a SWAT raid left him and his wife felons; Bonnie Green discussed the need for expungement and the disproportionate impact of arrests and incarceration on the African American community, which police sergeant Gary Wiegert reiterated; and Ken Wells concluded by discussing how he uses cannabis to help treat his seizures.
All told, there were ten witnesses in favor of the bill and five opposed, three of whom came from law enforcement. Despite the overwhelming show of support for the bill, many members of the committee indicated that they opposed full legalization.
However, even many conservative representatives endorsed the idea of medical cannabis in some form — an idea that the legislature would not even grant a hearing last year. I think the ground shifted on cannabis policy in the Missouri state legislature last night, and medical marijuana became the new middle ground.
Read more: http://www.theweedblog.com
Philadelphia Council Committee Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, March, 11th 2014 by THCFinder
Philadelphia’s City Council Law and Government Committee gave unanimous approval today to a proposal to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis (one ounce), reducing the charge from an arrestable misdemeanor, to a simple ticket.
There are 4,200 arrests each year in Philadelphia for cannabis possession, something which takes up over 17,000 police hours, according to Councilmember James F. Kenney, the primary sponsor of the measure.
“To me, it makes no sense”, he says.
“The trend has been toward legalization,” Kenney says, indicating he sees this move as a step towards broader cannabis law reform. “We just got to be sensible about how we enforce the law and treat our people.”
Kenney’s bill is expected to be voted on by the full council later this month.
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