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Could Oregon be First to End Cannabis Prohibition?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, March, 29th 2011 by THCFinder
(SALEM, Ore.) - About 30 volunteers rallied at the new office for the OCTA 2012 campaign on Portland's East side to meet, pick up packets and get outfitted for outreach early Monday. The Oregon Secretary of State's Election Division announced the approval of the petition, Initiative Number 9, for circulation and signature gathering on March 24th and the group lost no time in getting to work.
 
OCTA 2012 organizers have until July 7, 2012 to gather 90,000 registered voters' signatures to qualify for the November 6, 2012 ballot.
 
If passed, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2012 will regulate the legal sale of marijuana to adults through state-licensed stores, allow adults to grow their own, license Oregon farmers to grow marijuana for state-licensed stores and allow unlicensed Oregon farmers to grow cannabis hemp for fuel, fiber and food.
 
The state campaign committee is working to achieve ballot status in three ways: hiring paid petitioners, organizing volunteer petitioners and soliciting Oregon registered voters signatures online. 
 
Last November, a cannabis-related measure did not pass in Oregon. The difference between the two is substantial. Unlike OCTA 2012, Measure 74 was specifically regarding medical marijuana dispensaries- not legalization.
 
Paul Stanford, co-petitioner of OCTA 2012 says "there hasn't been anything like OCTA on the ballot, with the exception of California's measure last year, which was only slightly similar."
 
Organizers say that OCTA 2012 will raise $140 million a year for Oregon by taxing commercial cannabis sales to adults 21 years of age and older, and save an estimated $61.5 million as law enforcement, corrections and judicial attention can focus on violent crimes and theft.
 
"We estimate this will amount to $200 million a year more funding for state government. Ninety percent of the proceeds will go into the state general fund, 7% for drug treatment programs, one percent each for drug education in public schools, and two new state commissions to promote hemp biofuel and hemp fiber and food," Alexander said.
 

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New Irish politician calls for prostitution and cannabis to be legalized in Ireland

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, March, 25th 2011 by THCFinder
A new independent TD has argued that prostitution in Ireland should be legalized. He says it will benefit the welfare of the women working in the sex industry if the trade was not forced underground.
 
Wexford TD Mick Wallace discussed his views in an interview in this week's Hotpress magazine. He explained that there will always be a demand for the service of prostitutes and the demand could be regulated in some manner if it was legalized.
 
Speaking on RTE Radio One with John Murray Wallace said "There’s been prostitution on the planet since time began – and it’ll always be here…If you think, it’s a better scenario [than] where the girls work in very poor conditions, get very badly treated, and live in fear of the pimps that control them all the time.
 
“Plus, clients decide to use prostitutes that aren’t always in as healthy a state as they should be, because there’s no health controls on it… It doesn’t actually make sense to have it illegal…It’s going to exist anyway, [we should] get used to it… I think the girls would be exploited less through a legal system than through an illegal system."
 
Wallace also declared support for his fellow independent TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan'. Ming was forced to quit smoking cannabis this week for fear that he would be arrested and would be unable to support his family.
 
Wallace said that cannabis being imported into Ireland is often sprayed with plastic to increase its weight. He gave this as an example of how unregulated drug imports were a health risk. He suggested if cannabis was legalized in Ireland the Revenue Commissioners could levy its sale and put the fund towards drug prevention programs.
 
He said "I’m not saying for a second that abuse of cannabis isn’t going to cause problems – [but] abuse of anything is going to cause problems.” He also insisted that although he has tried the drug he does not smoke it now. He said "I like a pint of Guinness and some nice red wine, that does me fine."
 

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Democratic Rep. Pushes for Amendment to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Florida

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, March, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
With a recent poll showing 57 percent of Floridians favoring legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, state Rep. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) has introduced a resolution to put an amendment on the 2012 ballot that would do just that. Clemens claims that the move could bring in $5 to $12 million a year in tax revenue for Florida, and he ultimately has an eye towards complete decriminalization of marijuana. Too bad the bill probably won't go anywhere.
 
Clemen's resolution would put a medical marijuana on the ballot as a constitutional amendment in 2012. Sixty percent of voters would have to approve of it to become law. 
 
Marijuana would only be legal if prescribed to patients with debilitating conditions, though critics point to Florida's out-of-control pill mill problem in which powerful pain pills are freely prescribed by shady doctors. 
 
Clemens retorts that while pain pill abuse kills up to six people a day in Florida, medical marijuana has never killed anyone. He also says that many recent laws passed to curb pill mills would also make sure that medical marijuana was not abused. 
 

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Floridas Medical marijuana bill faces long odds

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, March, 10th 2011 by THCFinder
TALLAHASSEE - A state lawmakers is working on legalizing medical marijuana in Florida.
 
Rep. Jeff Clemens has filed legislation that would allow Floridians to vote on a constitutional amendment about medicinal marijuana.
 
It's the first-ever bill that tries to legalize the medical use of marijuana in Florida.
 
Clemens believes it makes no sense to allow people to use powerful prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Methadone and Percocet, but ban them from using a natural herb to treat an illness.
 
He says seven people are dying every day in Florida from those prescription drugs, but no one has died from cannabis.
 
Under his bill, medicinal cannabis could only be prescribed to people suffering debilitating medical conditions. It would also give protections to people who grow marijuana for medical purposes.
 
Cathy Jordan, who has lived with A.L.S for nearly 25 years, says she uses marijuana to treat her illness. She says she's been able to survive Lou Gehrig's Disease because of medicinal marijuana.
 
"Cannabis is a neuro-protector, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. I know this because the federal government has the patent," Jordan said.
 
Other advocates say there is much research supporting the safety of cannabis.
 
---EXTRA SOT--- Mary Lynn Mathre/ "Patients Out of Time" (:15) (Mathre is a registered nurse with 35 years of experience who says there is much research supporting the safety of cannabis)
 
"The plant can provide much pain relief from suffering, and greatly improves the quality of lives of any patients," said Mary Lynn Mathre, with Patients Out of Time, a medical marijuana advocacy group. "Patients are in desperate need of this medicine. We don't need more research. We welcome more research but the patients need this medicine now."
 
Clemens argues medical marijuana is a much safer alternative to prescription narcotics.
 
"We have a lot of people suffering here in the state of Florida and I don't think we need to be telling them that prescription narcotics are the way to go when we have other more natural avenues for them," he said.
 
The bill also says insurance companies would not be required to cover medicinal cannabis and employers would not be required to accommodate its use in the workplace.
 
Clemens says 15 other states have passed similar legislation. The bill has not been assigned to a committee for a hearing, and faces long odds in the conservative legislature. 
 

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Massachusetts bill to legalize marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, February, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
A bill calling for the legalization, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana has been introduced into the Massachusetts Legislature.
 
According to The 420 Times, "The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act", which was drafted by attorney Richard M. Evans and introduced by Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst), would legalize the possession, consumption and sale of marijuana. An age limit of 21 and multiple fee-requiring licenses would also be established.
 
The bill includes specific regulations and limits, such as processors of marijuana only being able to process the cannabis into one ounce packages, a $5000 fine for driving while high and specific indoor locations to sell the product.
 
As noted in The Daily Collegian, the bill would also erect a Cannabis Control Authority. Made up of seven part-time directors serving seven-year terms and collecting salaries 20% that of the governor's, the group would oversee the Massachusetts cannabis industry, create regulations and rules, revoke licenses in the case of transgressing any laws pertaining to marijuana and its distribution, approve licenses for cannabis and collect $10 excise taxes per one percent of THC per one ounce of marijuana.
 
While many are glad to see such a bill in the legislature, they still maintain a cautious outlook on the likelihood of the bill actually passing.
 
Although he created it, Evans believes that the bill won't pull through because the legislature "won’t touch the legalization bill with a 10-foot pole.” He further states that supporters of the bill are reluctant to voice their approval because of fear that they will be labeled drug addicts.
 
A ballot initiative, Evans claims, would be a more effective first step towards the legalization of cannabis.
 
However, such an initiative would have to wait until 2014 to be introduced because under the law, highly similar proposals cannot be filed within four years of each other.
 
Nevertheless, Massachusetts is still a focal point in the crusade to legalize marijuana. According to The MetroWest Daily News, since 2000, voters in the state have had a positive reaction to every question pertaining to the easing of restrictions on weed.

(Source)


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How the Marijuana Legalization Debate Might Spread to Hawaii

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, February, 15th 2011 by THCFinder

BY RONALD FRASER – For the time being, Hawaiians can consider last November’s defeat of Proposition 19, a California ballot initiative to legalize and regulate the personal use of marijuana, as none of their business.  But as this debate spreads outward from California it will, sooner or later, reach Hawaii.

Having started the war on marijuana, the federal government is the enforcer of the status quo — even as opinion polls show the public’s desire for change.  So, it is up to the states, one-by-one, to replace failed drug war policies with something that makes sense.  To see how the future marijuana legalization debate might spread, let’s consider the work of professor Everett M. Rogers.

Based on hundreds of case studies, Rogers says the launch of a new idea requires an adventuresome idea champion willing to deal with a lot of uncertainty.  A handful of “early adopters” will follow suit.  Then, after waiting and carefully watching what happens, the majority of the potential “late adopters” are likely to give the new idea a try.  A few “laggards,” might never adopt it.

Proposition 19 nearly passed in 2010 with 46% of the vote.  Let’s assume in 2012 a similar initiative wins 51% and California becomes the first state to legalize marijuana.

Shortly thereafter, if Rogers is right, states already familiar with marijuana policy issues — including Hawaii — will take a fresh look at marijuana legalization.

Hawaii citizens became familiar with marijuana issues during the debate leading up to approving the use of marijuana for medical purposes state wide, and prior to Hawaii County officially setting a low law enforcement priority on the possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use.

Other potential early adopters include Alaska and Nevada, where past attempts to legalize marijuana failed but medical marijuana laws have been adopted, and those states that have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes: Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State and the District of Columbia.   Legislatures in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Minnesota passed medical marijuana bills only to have them vetoed by the governors.

 

(Full story HERE)


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