Candidate Proposes Legalizing Marijuana to Raise School Money
Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 6th 2014 by THCFinder
Democratic candidate for state superintendent of education Sheila Gallagher is proposing that South Carolina legalize marijuana as a way to raise new tax money for schools.
"Between the tax dollars you could bring in and stop putting some of our kids in prison and such, we could probably raise about $188 million a year, and if that would be the case that would be great because we could have the best schools in the nation, and that's what we're really looking for," she says.
Right now, Colorado and Washington are the only states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.
Colorado estimates it could bring in $98 million in marijuana tax money this year. The first $40 million is earmarked for school construction, but where the rest of the money will go hasn't been decided.
Washington estimates it could bring in $190 million over four years. Its marijuana tax money is earmarked for health care, youth drug prevention, public health and research.
Gallagher knows it will be tough to get lawmakers in a conservative state like South Carolina to pass legalizing marijuana, but her plan is to get them to pass a constitutional amendment referendum, so it would be up to voters to decide. She says, "I'd like to turn it over to the people and say, 'Here's an opportunity. Let's look at this whole idea of legalizing marijuana and see what it can do for us.'"
However, he says the additional money is needed. "I think it's enough to make a difference. Currently, we are underfunding, according to state law we are underfunding our public schools by roughly $700 million per year," he says.
Marijuana DUI Law Killed in California Legislature
Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
A law that would have meant a DUI conviction if you had trace amounts of THC in your blood failed in the state legislature last week.
AB 2500 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier would have meant you could be convicted of driving under the influence if any amount of THC metabolites were found in your blood stream.
But the legislation was later amended to reflect a 2 nanograms-per-millileter blood limit, which is much lower than the 5-nanograms limit being discussed by many prosecutors and lawmakers.
Medical marijuana advocates argue that no limit is really fair because the metabolites can stay in your system for days. They've said that marijuana DUI limits will ensnare users who might have medicated a day or two before driving but who are not high.
Because THC remains detectable in the bloodstream for hours or days after use, well after deleterious effects have faded, the bill would make marijuana users liable for DUI regardless of whether they were actually impaired at the time.
The bill was defeated in the Assembly Public Safety Committee 4-2. One of the no votes came from a longtime advocate for sensible cannabis policy, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.
The proposed law also targeted cocaine, meth, heroin, morphine and other drugs. NORML says such legislation is not necessary when it comes to cannabis, though:
Even while marijuana usage has been increasing over the past decade, accident rates and DUI arrests in California have been declining. Some experts speculate that this may be because drivers are substituting marijuana for alcohol. In any case, the evidence seems clear that marijuana isn't causing an epidemic of accidents.
Obama Administration Puts in an Order for 1,430 Pounds of Marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
The Obama Administration needs hundreds and hundreds of pounds of marijuana this year, more than 30 times the amount of pot it originally ordered for 2014.
But don’t get any funny ideas. The pot is medicinal, and it’s needed for research purposes.
The Obama administration needs hundreds of pounds of marijuana… for research purposes. (AP Photo)
The Drug Enforcement Administration put out a rule on Monday that adjusts the annual production quota of medical marijuana for the U.S. government. That pot, produced by the University of Mississippi, is used by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse to conduct research on medical marijuana.
The NIDA’s research is in demand as states around the country consider legalizing medical marijuana, and as pressure is growing on the federal government to decriminalize it.
And that demand means the federal government needs a lot more pot than it thought it needed. The DEA had originally set out a production quota of 21 kilograms of pot for 2014.
But the new regulation bumped that quota up to 650 kilograms, or about 1,430 pounds.
The price for a kilogram of marijuana varies from state to state, but hovers around $1,000 in many states — using that price, that puts the street value of the government’s order at about $650,000.
The DEA rule says the production increase is needed to ensure NIDA has enough product on which to conduct its research.
“NIDA recently notified the DEA that it required additional supplies of marijuana to be manufactured in 2014 to provide for current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana,” the rule stated. “The DEA was unaware of NIDA’s additional need at the time the initial aggregate production quote for marijuana was established in September 2013.
“The aggregate production quote for marijuana should be increased in order to provide a continuous and uninterrupted supply of marijuana in support of DEA-registered researchers who are approved by the Federal Government to utilize marijuana in their research protocols.”
The rule shows the government can get as much pot as it needs, something most Americans still cannot do given that marijuana is a controlled substance. Many Democrats have proposed legislation that would take medical marijuana off this list, and several Republicans are also on board with this policy change.
Colorado Veterans Suffering From PTSD Denied Medical Marijuana In Colorado
Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 30th 2014 by THCFinder
DENVER – Yesterday, a bill failed to pass the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee that would have added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of ‘debilitating medical conditions’ that qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation. This timely bill (HB14-1364) would have addressed a major gap in access to medical marijuana in Colorado for veterans and all those suffering from PTSD. The bill sought to ensure that veterans won’t lose their VA benefits for following their physician’s recommendation to use medical marijuana.
On average a veteran commits suicide every hour in the United States – and medical marijuana has been proven to reduce suicide. But, Colorado veterans who use marijuana to manage their symptoms of PTSD risk losing their Veterans Administration (VA) benefits. VA policy permits veterans in compliance with their state medical marijuana law to continue to receive all their benefits and remain eligible for care in the VA medical system.
“It’s insane that in a state with legal marijuana veterans don’t have the same right as anyone else over 21 – especially considering how many lives are at stake,” said Art Way, senior Colorado policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “No veteran should have to risk benefits or feel stigmatized when they use medical marijuana.”
Iraq war Veteran Sean Azzariti of Denver, a Marine who testified in support of the legislation yesterday, said “It saved my life and I truly believe that every veteran should have that choice of medication.”
The Drug Policy Alliance, in coalition with medical marijuana industry groups and patient advocates, stood in support of the measure. “This issue is especially important in a state like Colorado that has a large veteran community. The last thing that should happen in Colorado is for individuals to be punished for using medical marijuana that has been recommended by their doctor to reduce their symptoms,” added Way.
Presently 10 medical marijuana states include PTSD as a qualifying condition for eligibility — including 4 states that have added PTSD to their programs in the last 6 months alone. And a survey published last month in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugsreports that people with PTSD in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program show a greater than 75% reduction in severity of their symptoms when patients were using cannabis compared to when they were not.
The Drug Policy Alliance’s New Mexico office launched the Freedom to Choose campaign to advocate for veterans’ access to medical marijuana for PTSD and other wounds of war.
“Veterans deserve the freedom to choose the safest treatment for their debilitating conditions,” said Jessica Gelay, who is the policy coordinator for DPA’s New Mexico office and the coordinator of the Freedom to Choose campaign. “When our veterans come home they deserve access to the medicine that works for them. We are asking lawmakers not to turn their back on Colorado veterans.”
Hemp Bill Approved By Missouri House Committee And CBD Bill Passes House
Category: News | Posted on Tue, April, 29th 2014 by THCFinder
Just a few hours after I sent out last week’s newsletter this past Tuesday, the Missouri House Economic Development Committee approved H.B. 2054, a bill that would allow for the production of industrial hemp in Missouri. Like the committee vote on the Senate medical cannabis bill earlier that same day, the tally was both bipartisan and lopsided, with 16 votes in favor and only one against.
That’s even more remarkable when you keep in mind that, like all committees in our legislature, Republicans hold a solid majority of the seats on the committee. We have worked hard to appeal to both sides of the aisle on this issue, and we are transcending the typical partisan divide that exists on cannabis law reform!
The bill now advances with a Do-Pass Recommendation to the House Rules Committee and, if it is approved there, to the House floor for consideration by the full chamber. Again, with only three work weeks left in the session our primary obstacle is time. Nonetheless, support for allowing Missouri farmers to tap into the $500 million industrial hemp market has clearly reached a tipping point in the Missouri legislature.
The cannabis reform bill that seems most likely to pass is H.B. 2238, which allows for the production of CBD oil derived from cannabis and its distribution to patients with “intractable epilepsy.” That bill passed the full House of Representatives this past Thursday, April 24, by a vote of 139 to 13 and will now head to the Senate.
Although it only applies to a relatively small number of patients, this bill will have a major positive impact on numerous lives. For many, it will mean the difference between moving away from their home in Missouri and living as a refugee in a medical cannabis state. For some, it may even make the difference between life and death.
The vote also puts all those who voted “Aye” on the record endorsing the idea that cannabis has at least one medical use. The taboo has been broken for them. With proper education, each one of them can likely be persuaded to support broader medical cannabis proposals.
California county tries to ban pot farms as medical weed business thrives
Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 24th 2014 by THCFinder
(Reuters) - Citing marijuana fields springing up next to high schools and in abandoned barns, Sacramento County supervisors are set to declare pot gardens a public nuisance in the latest move by a local government to rein in California's cannabis industry.
U.S. states are increasingly moving to drop curbs on marijuana following landmark voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington state in 2012 that legalized the drug for recreational use.
But in California, where medical marijuana is legal but recreational use is not, state laws are hazy on who is allowed to grow and sell the drug, leading to a chaotic and largely unregulated marketplace of street-corner pot dispensaries, illegal cannabis farms and inappropriate prescribing by unethical doctors.
Cities and counties have struggled to impose order on an piecemeal basis as the state wrestles with developing a regulatory framework for the thriving if messy medical marijuana
"A huge number of complaints were received last year from residents with regard to outdoor marijuana cultivation," said Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, who introduced the measure to ban marijuana gardens as a public nuisance. "Many were close to schools, group homes and other sensitive uses."
The fields can also be dangerous, as owners use weapons and dogs to guard their investments. Ten slayings currently under prosecution in the county have been linked to attempted marijuana theft, she said.
On Tuesday, the board unanimously signaled its intent to approve MacGlashan's ordinance, which will be up for a final vote on May 13.
The board postponed a decision on banning indoor cultivation of marijuana to study whether an all-out prohibition would infringe on the rights of medical cannabis patients to grow plants for their own use.
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