Will California join Washington in leading the feds to marijuana legalization?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, November, 19th 2012 by THCFinder
John McKay, a former U.S. attorney in Seattle and supporter of Washington's successful marijuana legalization initiative, has asked California to reconsider its "No" vote on the issue in 2010.
Invited by the San Francisco Chronicle, McKay laid out his arguments in an oped column last week, "Marijuana legalization a state issue."
The arguments are familiar to us in Washington state, but he suggests there's an opportunity for more states to push back against outdated federal law. A group of federal lawmakers are asking the Department of Justice to respect the recent votes in Washington and Colorado, which also approved a measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, and a bill to that effect is expected to be introduced.
But Washington and Colorado need some allies.
McKay invites California to reconsider their 2010 decision:
The new marijuana laws in Washington and Colorado may point the way to achieving real change in California, too - and across America. Bringing the production and sale of marijuana under tight regulatory control and capturing the tax revenues will directly challenge the deadly dominance of the drug cartels and gangs.
It is now clear the states will lead the way to ending marijuana prohibition in the United States. California should be in the vanguard. Will it?
Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced By Lawmaker
Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, November, 16th 2012 by THCFinder
MEXICO CITY, Nov 15 (Reuters) - A leftist Mexican lawmaker on Thursday presented a bill to legalize the production, sale and use of marijuana, adding to a growing chorus of Latin American politicians who are rejecting the prohibitionist policies of the United States.
The bill is unlikely to win much support in Congress since a strong majority of Mexicans are firmly against legalizing drugs, but may spur a broader debate in Mexico after two U.S. states voted to allow recreational use of marijuana last week. U.S. officials have said it remains illegal and that they are reviewing the state actions.
The split between local and federal governments in the United States is feeding a growing challenge in Latin America to the four-decade-old policies that Washington promoted, and often bankrolled, to disrupt illegal drug cultivation and smuggling.
"The prohibitionist paradigm is a complete failure," said Fernando Belaunzaran, the author of the bill from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), who presented the proposal in Mexico's lower house of Congress.
"All this has done is spur more violence, the business continues. The country that has paid the highest costs is Mexico," he said in a telephone interview.
A conflict between drug gangs and security forces has killed more than 60,000 people during the six-year rule of outgoing President Felipe Calderon, who has repeatedly demanded the United States to do more to curb demand for illegal drugs.
Frustration with U.S. policy deepened after voters in Washington state and Colorado approved the recreational use of marijuana.
Still, there is little popular support for marijuana legalization in Mexico. Recent polls show two-thirds or more of Mexicans are opposed to making it legal. Several other bills to legalize the drug have been rejected in recent years.
Gregoire asks Justice Department about marijuana
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, November, 14th 2012 by THCFinder
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has met with James Cole, deputy U.S. attorney general, to discuss the decriminalization of marijuana under Initiative 502. The initiative was passed by voters Nov. 6, and is to be certified Dec. 6 and go into effect Dec. 9. On its face the decriminalization here and in Colorado conflicts with federal law, specifically the posting of marijuana under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.
Gregoire, a former state attorney general, has been a cautious supporter of marijuana liberalization. She was for medical marijuana, but she vetoed much of the medical marijuana bill of 2011, sponsored by Sen Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, out of worry that federal agents would arrest state employees. In 2011 she petitioned the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify cannabis as a Schedule II drug, which would allow doctors to prescribe it as medicine and pharmacists to sell it.
She didn’t support 502 but the voters did, and she has a duty to go to bat for them. And she has.
Her spokesman, Cory Curtis, said she told Cole the state of Washington is going ahead with Initiative 502, first working with Washington State Patrol on enforcement of the driving under the influence law, for which 502 set a new standard. That is the smaller effort; the big one is the work by the Washington State Liquor Control Board to decide how to license and regulate cannabis growers, processors and retailers. This is to be done by December 2013 and is estimated to cost the state $17 million.
Her question was the attitude of the Justice Department toward all this. “There was nothing definitive from them,” Curtis said.
He said Gregoire told Cole she hoped the federal government would come up with some decision on state marijuana legalization sooner rather than later, before the state of Washington spent the full year, and the $17 million.
One of the things the federal government could do is act on her petition to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. But to satisfy Initiative 502, the rescheduling would have to be much more thorough than merely to post it under Schedule II, which includes such drugs as cocaine, opium, methadone, oxycodone, morphine and dexedrine. Under Initiative 502, which turns cannabis into an over-the-counter commercial product available to anyone over 21, marijuana should probably be delisted entirely.
Marijuana legalization: States send message, feds aren't listening
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, November, 13th 2012 by THCFinder
Voters in Washington and Colorado didn't just pass historic measures legalizing recreational marijuana use last week, they blew smoke in the face of Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and, by extension, President Obama. The bud stops at your desks, gentlemen.
Since the vote, legal experts and media analysts have focused speculation on how the feds will crack down on these two rogue states and show them who's boss. Will the Department of Justice file a lawsuit, seeking a ruling that federal law prevails and nullifying the results of the election? Or will the Drug Enforcement Agency start breaking down doors of pot shops in Denver and Seattle?
We'll probably get the answers in the next few weeks, but meanwhile I have a better question: When is the federal government going to get the message that the states are so desperately trying to send it?
Growing national acceptance of same-sex marriage attracts a lot of discussion, but the trend's got nothing on the changing attitudes on marijuana; although nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay unions, 26 states have either legalized medical marijuana use or passed laws minimizing or eliminating penalties for possession of small amounts of cannabis, or both. In Alaska, for example, it's legal to keep up to 4 ounces of marijuana in one's home (as a service for non-potheads, that represents a lot more weed than the average person could smoke in a month) and to cultivate up to 24 plants.
A Gallup poll last year, meanwhile, found that 50% of Americans think marijuana should be legalized for adult use. That's up 4% from the previous year and the highest percentage since Gallup starting tracking public attitudes on cannabis in 1969.
What's happening in the states is a backlash against federal cannabis laws seen as draconian and counterproductive in that, like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, they have created a non-taxed underground industry and clogged prisons while doing little to decrease marijuana consumption.
Most absurd of all is that under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has no accepted medical uses and is as dangerous and addictive as heroin.
If there was ever a justification for this, it ended decades ago. Although cannabis is hardly the wonder cure that medical marijuana enthusiasts claim, there is ample evidence that it has valuable curative properties, particularly when it comes to appetite stimulation for cancer and HIV patients. Moreover, it's widely considered less addictive than alcohol or tobacco and less dangerous to consume.
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