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.
Legalizing medical marijuana in Wis. proposed
Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, November, 30th 2011 by THCFinder
November 30, 2011 (MADISON, Wis.) -- Proponents of legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin will try again to change the law, even though the proposal stands little chance of passing the Legislature.
Proponents planned a Wednesday news conference to announce the latest proposal, to be introduced by Democratic state Rep. Mark Pocan of Madison and state Sen. Jon Erpenbach of Waunakee.
The bill was last attempted when Democrats controlled the Legislature in 2010, but it couldn't find enough support then to pass. Now Republicans control both the Senate and Assembly and it's unlikely to win favor this time around either.
Backers of legalizing medical marijuana say it will help the chronically ill deal with pain. But opponents including the Wisconsin Medical Society have said there are better and more effective alternatives.
Copenhagen Votes to Legalize It
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, November, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
Now we know why the Botwin family on Weeds spent three years in Copenhagen. The city council voted Thursday to legalize marijuana in the Danish capitol. "We don't want an Amsterdam model," says Mikkel Warming. "We're thinking of perhaps 30 to 40 public sales houses. Who is it better for youngsters to buy marijuana from? A drug pusher, who wants them to use more, who wants them to buy hard drugs, or a civil servant?"
Warming added: "We want a way to make it legal to import or grow marijuana."
The council voted 39-9 to develop a plan of action. The proposal would have to be approved by the Danish Parliament.
Marijuana is already openly sold on Pusher Street in the city's counterculture hub, Christiania.
Meanwhile, the Dutch government has announced its plans to bar tourists from the country's popular coffeeshops. If this is enacted, especially in Amsterdam, and Denmark allows legalization, global stoners will have a new favorite pot-travel destination.
New bill to legalize marijuana could be on MO 2012 ballot
Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, November, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
Legalizing the illegal substance marijuana has been a hot topic for the past decade. A synthetic weed, K2, drug cartels and an increase in potency have put pressure on the government to construct a plan for legalization. Conversely, negative health associations and some law enforcement groups have put pressure on the government to continue the criminalization.
Today it is the top cash crop in the world, worth $35 billion, beating out such staples as wheat and corn combined, according to an article on abc.com. In 2007, 14.4 million Americans ages 12 and older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Fourteen states have decriminalized cannabis and 17 have medical marijuana programs, including Washington, D.C. States are coming up quickly with their own view on the drug in order to appease the public, according to medicalmarijuana.procon.org.
In the federal sector, on June 23, 2011, a bill to fully legalize marijuana was introduced in the House by Ron Paul, R-Texas, and Barney Frank, D-Mass. The bill would remove marijuana from the controlled substances list.
The government has denied medical marijuana has any medical benefits, but they hold the patent for the medical use of the plant. U.S. Patent 6630507 is titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants,” an indication that the government recognizes the possible medical benefits in the drug.
According to Scott Lauher, MU National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws co-director, there are numerous positive effects to legalizing marijuana, but the main reason is because prohibition just doesn’t work.
The government spends nearly $14 billion each year on prohibition, according to the Marijuana Policy Project on Capitol Hill. In just two years time that would provide America with enough money to secure all loose nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union. Five-hundred and thirty economists agree the government is sitting aside, watching millions of dollars be wasted on marijuana prohibition.
If marijuana was legalized and taxed, Missouri alone could potentially collect $15.6 million dollars in tax revenues in one year, according to an article on cnnmoney.com. The state and federal governments are not only able to obtain funds through taxes, but from other sources as well.
Not only are there economists backing up the plans, but the country becoming more in favor of legalization than it was in the past. In a Gallup poll released in September 2011, 50 percent of Americans are now in support of legalization and regulation of the marijuana trade. When the ability to petition the government through the White House’s official government website become live, the marijuana legalization petition was the first to post. Eighteen thousand signatures were received in just one day to decriminalize the widely-used drug.
Local lawyer Dan Viets has dealt with marijuana cases for the past 25 years and has proposed the two Initiative petitions relating to cannibas approved for circulation for the 2012 Missouri ballot.
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