Legalizing Marijuana in Washington State Takes Big Step Forward

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, January, 3rd 2012 by THCFinder
The group behind the effort to legalize marijuana use in Washington state submitted 341000 signatures to get their initiative on the ballot on Thursday. Out of those, they will need at least 241,153 valid signatures to qualify.
New Approach Washington are the backers who raised over a million dollars, with $250,000 of that coming from Peter Lewis, the Ex-CEO of progressive insurance who has become a cannabis philanthropist. Initiative 502 would create a regulated system of state-licensed growers, processors and outlets and at each stage, the state will collect a 25 percent excise tax. Those licensees, at each stage will cost $250, with a renewal fee of $1000.
I 502 also lays out rules that prohibit producers and processors from having any financial interest in retailers, similar to the rules for alcohol. Conveniently, the State Liquor Control Board will administer the program if the initiative passes.  Anyone in the state over 21 years old would be able to buy up to an once of marijuana at a time, or a pound of cannabis products, such as brownies. The initiative also deals with marijuana-infused liquids, you can buy or possess up to 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids.
I 502 has some heavy supporters. Outside of the money donors, it is also backed by two former US Attorneys for Western Washington and Seattle City Attorney, and ex-head of the Seattle FBI office, Pete Holmes, the Washington state Democrats, an impressive array of heavy-hitting FORMER judges in both superior and municipal courts, and the King County Bar Association.
But on Thursday, as the signatures were being turned in, there was already a group of pro-marijuana activists protesting what they think is huge flaw in the initiatives. Opponents of the initiative, but NOT opponents of legalization of marijuana, take issue with the part of the initiative that would make it illegal for a motorist to have more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in their system. Medical marijuana activists say that that puts an unfair burden on patients who may have a high tolerance since they are using marijuana to control pain, and put them at a higher risk of a DUI arrests. Patients have expressed their fears that their driving privileges would be taken away, and some are planning their own initiative to counter I-502.


Statewide campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan kicking off in Ann Arbor

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, December, 30th 2011 by THCFinder
The push to legalize marijuana in Michigan is under way, and cannabis activists are planning to organize Thursday night outside a University of Michigan basketball game in Ann Arbor.
"We do have language written and petitions getting ready," T.J. Rice, a local supporter of the campaign, told on Wednesday afternoon.
A grass-roots group operating under the name Repeal Today For A Safer Michigan 2012 is hoping to put the question to voters in November 2012.
The push to legalize cannabis in Michigan is under way.
A draft version of the petition obtained by seeks to amend the Michigan Constitution to make pot legal for people 21 and older.
It reads as follows:
A Petition to amend the Michigan Constitution Article 1, to add:
Article 1 Section 28. Repeal of Marihuana Prohibition.
For persons at least 21 years of age who are not incarcerated, marihuana cultivation, possession, bodily internal possession, sale, acquisition, transfer, delivery, transportation, religious, medical or personal use, or possession or use of paraphernalia shall not be prohibited, abridged, or penalized in any manner; nor subject to civil forfeiture; provided that no person shall be allowed to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by any substance.
More than 322,600 signatures from registered voters in Michigan are needed to put that question on a statewide ballot.
Campaign volunteers are expected to meet at a medical marijuana dispensary on Ann Arbor's west side Thursday afternoon for a training session before they move across town to Crisler Arena, where U-M is taking on Penn State at 7:30 p.m.
Charmie Gholson, communications director for the campaign, said actual collection of signatures won't begin until the campaign officially kicks off in mid-January.
"We're not launching a media campaign until the 12th," said Gholson, co-owner and editor of the Midwest Cultivator and a former staff member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "All we're doing is organizing volunteers. We're getting volunteers to sign up and say that they'd be willing to help the campaign."
The group also is recruiting volunteers through a website. The group plans to collect the signatures from January through early July.


Would You Vote to Legalize Marijuana?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Fri, December, 30th 2011 by THCFinder



On marijuana legalization, a promising year

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, December, 26th 2011 by THCFinder
LAST February this page argued that prohibiting marijuana was causing far more harm than good, and that Washington should legalize it for adult use. We hold this view still, and have strong hopes for progress in 2012.
A year ago, dispensaries were open across the state providing edible and smokable cannabis to bona fide patients. For the most part these shops were orderly and peaceful, though whether they were legal was doubtful.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, sponsored a bill for the state to legalize them, licensing growers and distributors. It was a good bill, and the Legislature passed it. But after U.S. attorneys in Seattle and Spokane warned that state employees who licensed marijuana would not be immune from federal prosecution, Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of the bill.
Her action, which we thought overkill, left things in chaos. Police shut down dispensaries in Spokane, arresting recalcitrant owners as drug dealers and forcing sick people onto the black market.
In Seattle, Tacoma and a few other cities, prosecutors have bravely allowed dispensaries to stay open. Seattle has more than 100 of them. The difference here is not the law, but the discretion of those who hold power.
Kohl-Welles is readying another medical-cannabis bill, and is negotiating with the governor's office. Gregoire should take some risk on this. The science behind medical cannabis is clear, and public opinion is clear, too. In no state have federal authorities arrested state employees for doing their jobs.
To her credit, Gregoire does support medical use of marijuana, and has petitioned the federal government to allow it by reclassifying marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. This is a petition the Obama administration should grant.
Then, there is the matter of full legalization.
On Dec. 29, a group called New Approach Washington plans to turn in signatures on Initiative 502, a measure to legalize, regulate and tax the growing, processing and sale of marijuana in Washington, allowing it for adults in small amounts. I-502 gives legislators three options: pass it into law, let it go to the November ballot, or pass an alternative that would accompany it on the ballot.
Legislators should let it go to the ballot. The people are ready: On Nov. 28, a KING-5/Survey U.S.A. poll found that 57 percent of registered voters support legalizing the adult possession of 1 ounce.
Above everything here is federal law. Kohl-Welles' bill, Gregoire's petition and I-502 all ultimately amount to lobbying the federal government, either for forbearance or change. And on issues such as this, the most powerful lobby is the entire population.
Legalization: Bring it to a vote in 2012.


Basque Government moves to make Cannabis legal

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, December, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
They want to establish self supporting clubs where people can smokeCannabis plant - EFE
The Socialist Government in the Basque Country, led by Patxi López, has opened the way to the legalisation of cannabis in the region. The idea is to regulate clubs where consumers will be able to smoke the drug which will be produced and distributed by the members of the club themselves. The Basque Government considers that ‘It is better to control than prohibit’.
Spanish drug legislation currently distinguishes between possession of drugs for personal use, and those who have the drugs for production and sale. There are administrative fines in the first case but penal considerations only apply in the second case.
The Basque Government also wants the new law to better explain the consequences of consumption to the public and they consider it would supplement the current legislation which has some loopholes. They say the new law would create ‘a certain space for personal autonomy’. The Government considers that prohibition only leads to ‘clandestine action, delinquency and the black market’.


Gov. Gregoire's federal marijuana petition welcome, if overdue

Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, December, 5th 2011 by THCFinder
WASHINGTON and Rhode Island Govs. Chris Gregoire and Lincoln Chafee have petitioned the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana so it can be prescribed and sold in pharmacies.
Anything that moves the medical marijuana issue along and advances public understanding of its therapeutic value is a plus. There was high hope that the Obama administration would reclassify marijuana and provide safe access to qualifying patients across the country. At the very least, the expectation was that the administration would leave 16 medical-marijuana states, including Washington, alone. Instead, the federal government has been a stubborn, unhelpful player
Gregoire wins points for sticking her neck out. She and Chafee are the first governors to take this step. But she should have done so sooner. Reclassifying would be a big first step, but the federal process could take years. Still, medical marijuana advocates are impressed with the enormous amount of time and effort put into the exhaustive petition.
But why didn't Gregoire have a petition ready to go last year? Medical-marijuana legislation became the disaster of the 2011 session. The governor was scared off by the federal government into vetoing most of the bill, leaving a confused mess.
It appears the governor was genuinely worried that state workers would get in trouble with the federal government, which bans marijuana. An overreaction. The U.S. Attorney's Office surely has more important things to focus on.
Washington voters said years ago they wanted patients with AIDS, cancer and similar diseases to have access to cannabis to ease pain and nausea.
As often happens, the initiative was foggy. It did not make clear how patients were supposed to get marijuana.
State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, attempted to take the mystery out of it with a bill last year to bring the cannabis network into the open. Now, Kohl-Welles is working on a new bill.
The governor should find a way to support the senator, who keeps pushing to bring needed clarity to cities and counties that want to regulate medical-marijuana "access points" and impose sensible zoning around them.



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