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Washington State Legalizes Marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, November, 6th 2012 by THCFinder
Six states had marijuana-related measures on the ballot Tuesday -- three to legalize recreational use; Washington's I-502, Colorado's Amendment 64 and Oregon's Measure 80. Colorado's amendment showed early leads Tuesday evening.
 
Under Washington's I-502, anyone over the age of 21 would be able to purchase and possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and the state would regulate and tax the sale of pot.
 
Those wanting to grow and sell would apply to the state for a license. Estimates are that the new pot tax would raise nearly $500 million a year, much of which would be earmarked for drug prevention and education programs. 
 
In an interview earlier this year on “60 Minutes,” the Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole indicated that federal authorities could take aim at any state laws that legalize pot, saying, "We're going to take a look at whether or not there are dangers to the community from the sale of marijuana and we're going to go after those dangers."
 
Attorney General Eric Holder was blunter in 2010 when he threatened to "vigorously enforce" federal law if California legalized marijuana (that measure failed).
 
Opponents of I-502 said they believe the U.S. attorney in Seattle would seek a court injunction to stop the law in its tracks.
 
“It's a fantasy that the state is ever really going to have this, it's not going to be legal, it's not going to work, the federal government is going to pre-empt this thing in five minutes,” said Douglas Hiatt of the anti-502 group Sensible Washington.
 
But that hasn't really happened with medical marijuana, and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a backer of 502, added that he believes the Feds will back off if voters make pot legal.
 
“I don’t think the federal government’s going to ignore a clear voter mandate from the state of Washington,” Holmes said.
 

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On Tuesday, Marijuana Moves to Center Stage in Three States

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, November, 5th 2012 by THCFinder
Some of the more intriguing initiatives on state ballots Tuesday involve marijuana.
 
While 17 states and Washington, D.C., allow marijuana use for medical purposes, none have yet sanctioned use of pot for recreational use. But that could all change Tuesday, when voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington will vote on measures that would allow residents to possess and use marijuana.
 
Could this actually happen? According to the polling numbers, the answer is, well, maybe.  According to the USA Today:
 
Independent polls have shown proponents leading in Washington and Colorado a month or more before the election, but the outcome remains in doubt, and both sides are aware of what happened in California in 2010: The similar Proposition 19 lost 53.5% to 46.5% after an early lead in favor disappeared.
 
The Oregon measure, meanwhile, appears to face a harder climb.
 
The ramifications of a “yes” vote in any of the three states could be fascinating. For starters, federal law still bans the use of recreational marijuana.
 
So, theoretically, you could see federal authorities marching on Seattle, Boulder or Eugene to round up tokers while state authorities stand aside.
 
(An at least equally plausible scenario: the federal government right away sues to stop the initiative from taking effect — and the whole thing gets held up pending review by a federal appeals court — or possibly the U.S. Supreme Court.)
 
Another imponderable: to what degree would one of these states instantly become a tourist destination for those looking to partake, without fear of legal reprisal. According to this USA Today story, not everyone thinks legalization would lead to a boom in tourist dollars.
 
 

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US Voters Could Win The Drug War Tomorrow

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, November, 5th 2012 by THCFinder
Voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington could pass measures tomorrow that would potentially cripple Mexico's drug cartels.
 
Sari Horwitz of Washington Post reports that the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's oldest and most powerful, is selling a record amount of heroin and methamphetamine in Chicago as it takes its burgeoning marijuana trade to the next level.
 
But Amendment 64 in Colorado and I-502 in Washington—both of which currently have a majority of support among likely voters—could change all of that by making marijuana legal for persons 21-years-old and older while taxing it under a tightly regulated system similar to that for controlling hard alcohol.
 
The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO), a Mexico City think-tank, published a report detailing how legalization at the state level could sink cartel revenues from drug trafficking because "one or more states could meet most of its domestic demand with domestic production."
 
Since the quality of U.S.-grown marijuana is much better than Mexico-grown, the IMCO figures that domestic bud from Colorado, Oregon or Washington would be cheaper everywhere in the country besides near the border.
 
 

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Can Colorado create a legal market for marijuana?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, November, 1st 2012 by THCFinder
Back in 1932, Colorado voters took to the polls and approved Amendment 7, a bill that legalized alcohol consumption and ended prohibition. 
 
Now, 80 years later, the state is  weighing Amendment 64, a voter proposition that would similarly legalize marijuana.
 
Colorado voters aren’t alone: Oregon and Washington will take up similar measures on Tuesday. If any of the three voter propositions succeed, they would put the an American state left of the Netherlands on marijuana policy – and upend the economics of a contraband market.
 
“It would be unprecedented,” said Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University whose research focuses on marijuana legalization. “If one of these things passed, the United States would be right out there in the front of the liberal reform movement for drugs.”
 
This isn’t the first time that a marijuana legalization effort has landed on a state ballot. In 2010, a similar proposal landed on a California ballot. Proposition 19 would have legalized the purchase and consumption of marijuana in the state.
 
Proposition 19 failed by a seven-point margin. Legal marijuana advocates say they learned lessons from that first state ballot, lessons that helped them land three new ballot initiatives in 2012.
 
“Proposition 19 definitely pushed the issue into the mainstream, and got people thinking about it,” said Morgan Fox, communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. “It taught us that the most effective message is one that shows prohibition doesn’t work, that it comes at a cost to communities and taxpayers.”
 
Seventeen states had efforts to land a marijuana legalization proposition on the ballot in 2012. Three of those – in Oregon, Washington and Colorado – succeeded.
 
In those states, both sides are now pitching voters on what it would mean to go beyond decriminalization. Marijuana sales and production would become a legal, regulated commodity. 
 
 

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'Legalize marijuana': Snoop Dogg and Jon Stewart agree

Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, October, 31st 2012 by THCFinder
What do Snoop Dogg, Pat Robertson, Yoko Ono, and Bill O'Reilly have in common? They all believe marijuana should be decriminalized, if not legalized and taxed, just like alcohol.
 
Liberal or conservative, Jew or gentile, black or white, a consensus has been acknowledged and it is time to act.
 
At the forefront of the effort to legalize marijuana is Tom Angell, media relations director for LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). His latest effort has been to create a website that allows not only celebrities and politicians to be heard, but ways for the average American to participate in the effort as well.
 
To sort fact from fiction, I interviewed Tom about his latest efforts, and why he feels we need to legalize marijuana.
 
 

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Marijuana would be treated like liquor in Oregon if legalization measure passes

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, October, 19th 2012 by THCFinder
Talking over a car speakerphone, Oregon's marijuana impresario Paul Stanford describes what life would be like if his ballot measure to legalize weed wins next month. 
 
"It would be just like liquor," says Stanford, who has tried for years to end what he considers an ill conceived and damaging pot prohibition. If you're 21 or older, you walk into a state-licensed store and buy a pack of pre-rolled joints, or a baggie if you're looking to buy in bulk, or marijauna-laced food, or a bottle of cannabis extract. 
 
The state-licensed agent rings up the sale, which includes a state profit margin, and you're on your way to getting legally high. 
 
"I don't like that term 'recreational,'" Stanford says about the most likely customers of such stores. "I like 'adult social use.' We don't talk about recreational alcohol use. It's pejorative." 
 
Whatever the label, Measure 80 would dramatically change the way the leafy drug is grown, bought, sold and enforced in Oregon. In addition to buying at state marijuana outlets, adults would be free to grow and use marijuana at will, whether for medical reasons or to relax after work. 
 
How does that Country Joe McDonald song go? "Must be a hippie's dream." 
 
More like a nightmare, say state law enforcement officials, who are the primary opponents of the measure. 
 
"From a pure policy standpoint, I don't want to introduce yet another intoxicant and open the spigot full blast so everyone can get stoned all the time," says Josh Marquis, district attorney for Clatsop County and a designated spokesman for the opposition. "Look at what a dreadful job we've done keeping alcohol from being abused by adults, and worse yet, by kids." 
 
Marquis says the most salient argument against the measure is that pretty much anyone in Oregon who wants to smoke marijuana can -- and does. 
 
"It's easier to get a medical marijuana card than it is to get a driver's license," Marquis says. Some 57,000 residents have a certificate to use medical marijuana. And even without one, anyone caught with less than an ounce of pot is issued an infraction -- akin to a speeding ticket. 
 
Given the state's loose laws surrounding marijuana, few people end up in jail, much less prison, for using it, he says. State corrections statistics appear to back his statement. 
 
Of the 14,200 inmates in Oregon prisons, fewer than one in five are in for any type of drug-related charge, says Liz Craig, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections. Of those, 30 are in on drug possession-only convictions, and 10 are marijuana-related. A total of 51 people are in Oregon prisons on marijuana delivery charges, she says. 
 
Such numbers don't stop supporters of legalization from arguing that society has gone overboard tracking down and prosecuting dopers. It's a big part of the case made by one of the most high-profile supporters of Measure 80, former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. 
 
"We're wasting so much time and so much energy and so many people's lives with our current policy," Bradbury says. "We're putting them in jail at the prime of their lives. It's just ridiculous." 
 
 

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