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President Obama Commutes Sentences of 22 Prisoners of the Drug War

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 1st 2015 by THCFinder

The United States has become the land of the free once again for several prisoners of the domestic drug war. Earlier this week, President Obama used his executive authority to commute the sentences of 22 individuals incarcerated for drug-related offenses, a move that more than doubled the number of commutations the president has granted since moving into the White House nearly seven years ago.

This act of clemency was all part of an effort to reduce federal mandatory minimum sentencing. The men and women whose names found their way to the president’s list of absolution had been convicted of a variety of offenses ranging from the distribution of methamphetamine and heroin to the cultivation of marijuana. Eight of the 22 released from the shackles of an “outdated sentencing regime” were serving life in prison without the possibility for parole for their indiscretions with powders and plants.

According to a statement from White House counsel Neil Eggleston, “Had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime.”

To qualify for this round of commutations, petitioners must have displayed a clean prison record and given no indication that they would pose a threat to civil society upon their release. In a letter sent to the 22 individuals, President Obama explained that they have been selected because they demonstrated the potential to turn their lives around.

“Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity,” Obama wrote. “It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances.”

The Obama Administration has made it a part of their mission to take a stand against mass incarceration in the United States, announcing earlier last year a plan to chip away at mandatory minimums while making it easier for non-violent offenders to apply for clemency. To make this a reality, the Justice Department expanded its criteria for clemency in 2014 to include six eligibility requirements that moves drug offenders, who have served at least 10 years with no history of violence or organized crime affiliation, to the top of the list.

Read More: http://www.hightimes.com/read/president-obama-commutes-sentences-22-prisoners-drug-war


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In Colorado, Marijuana Taxes May Have to Be Passed Back

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 1st 2015 by THCFinder
Photo
 
Robert Grandt working in a marijuana grow room in Denver. Tax revenue on the substance fell short of state estimates, but overall state income exceeded them.CreditRJ Sangosti/The Denver Post, via Getty Images
 

DENVER — In the State Capitol, they are calling it Refund Madness.

A year after Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales, millions of tax dollars are rolling in, dedicated to funding school construction, marijuana education campaigns and armies of marijuana inspectors and regulators. But a legal snarl may force the state to hand that money back to marijuana consumers, growers and the public — and lawmakers do not want to.

The problem is a strict anti-spending provision in the state Constitution that touches every corner of public life, like school funding, state health care, local libraries and road repairs. Technical tripwires in that voter-approved provision, known as the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, may require Colorado to refund nearly $60 million in marijuana taxes because the state’s overall revenue estimates ended up being too low when the marijuana tax question was put to voters. Lawmakers are scrambling to figure out a way to keep that money, and they are hoping Colorado voters — usually stingy when it comes to taxes and spending — will let them. In rare bipartisan agreement on taxes, legislators are piecing together a bill that would seek voters’ permission to hold on to the marijuana money.

“Despite our anti-tax feelings in the state, there’s an exception being made when it comes to marijuana,” said Michael Elliott, the executive director of the Denver-based Marijuana Industry Group, a trade organization that has not taken a position on the refund issue. “The industry is making a huge economic impact.”

Read More:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/us/colorado-lawmakers-scramble-to-keep-millions-in-marijuana-taxes.html


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NFL Superstar Blasts the League's Marijuana Policy

Category: News | Posted on Tue, March, 31st 2015 by THCFinder

Retired football star Ricky Williams is speaking out against the NFL's marijuana policy in an exclusive, tell-all interview with The National Marijuana News. In 2004, Williams made headlines by retiring from professional football after testing positive for pot and being served with a $650,000 fine and a four-game suspension.

He's not the only former NFL player to call on the NFL to allow marijuana. A few weeks ago, former Broncos tight end Nate Jackson said he believes the NFL will have no choice but to remove cannabis from its list of banned substances.

Read More: http://www.hightimes.com/read/nfl-superstar-blasts-leagues-marijuana-policy?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HIGHTIMESMagazine+(HIGH+TIMES+Magazine)


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Indiana's Anti-Gay Law Brings to Life the First Church of Cannabis

Category: News | Posted on Mon, March, 30th 2015 by THCFinder

While Indiana Governor Mike Pence was busy signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), marijuana advocates were devising a clever scheme to throw his policies back in his face. Within hours of making it legal in the Hoosier State for businesses to refuse service to homosexuals, the necessary paperwork to establish the First Church of Cannabis was filed with the Secretary of the State.

“This whole anti-gay bill they were producing here was just a horrid little thing that everybody was watching real closely, and it became evident that this state thinks more about religion than it does about government or equal rights or anything else,” said Bill Levin, founder of the First Church of Cannabis, during a recent interview with HIGH TIMES. “I filed the papers with the Secretary of State on Thursday, as soon as Mikey signed off on that damn bill, and it came back the next morning that it was accepted.”

This means the state of Indiana, which has blatantly refused to even hear legislation to legalize marijuana, has officially recognized the First Church of Cannabis as a legitimate ministry and acknowledges the religion, which Levin calls “Cannabiterian,” as an accepted faith. The church now has just as much freedom to operate as any other denomination in the state.

Levin, who also organizes the Indy Canna March at the Statehouse each year on 4/20, announced the formation of the church on his Facebook page last Friday, which he says has generated such an outpouring of support from people all over the country that the reality of building a brick and mortar facility is well within reach.

“The damn thing has snowballed so big that we’re already raising money for our church,” he said. “We’ll probably break $2,000 before the end of the day.”

Read More:http://www.hightimes.com/read/indianas-anti-gay-law-brings-life-first-church-cannabis


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Testimony For Oregon Marijuana Legalization Public Hearing

Category: News | Posted on Mon, March, 30th 2015 by THCFinder
 

oregon marijuanaRight now as I type there is a public hearing taking place at Oregon’s capital in Salem for the Oregon Measure 91 Joint Implementation Committee. Below is a transcript of a testimony that Portland NORML’s Executive Director Russ Belville will present at the hearing:

Chair Rep. Lininger, Chair Sen. Burdick, and members of the Joint Implementation Committee, good evening.  My name is Russ Belville and I am the Executive Director of the Portland Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.  As such, I join hundreds of thousands of adult marijuana consumers in opposing Senate Bill 936.

Marijuana legalization passed in Oregon with the greatest margin of support of any jurisdiction that has legalized so far.  In Portland, Measure 91 garnered 71 percent of the voters’ support.  But Measure 91 would never have gotten that much support without the explicit promise, found in three distinct sections of the initiative, that it would not alter the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program in any way.

We understand why the legislature is considering regulations on the production of medical marijuana.  The Department of Justice’s so-called Cole Memorandum calls on the states that choose to legalize marijuana to regulate it in such a way as to prevent out-of-state diversion.  As marijuana consumers, we also understand why the legislature wants to ensure that medical marijuana serves only those sick and disabled people it is intended for, and not as a backdoor for commercial growers and consumers to avoid Measure 91’s regulation and taxation.

But this Senate Bill 936 is like using a hatchet to perform delicate surgery.  According to the Oregon Health Authority, there are 5,584 patients who are served by grow sites that cover more than two patients and 2,025 of those patients are served by grow sites that cover more than four patients.  Under Senate Bill 936, a grow site in a residential zone could serve only two patients and one outside of a residential zone could serve only four patients.

Senate Bill 936 guarantees that thousands of patients will be forced to purchase marijuana at dispensaries.  Moratoriums and bans in many localities guarantees hundreds of those patients will be forced back onto the black market to purchase their medicine.  And with over 56 percent of Oregon Medical Marijuana Program cardholders on SNAP, OHP, and SSI, these are the most vulnerable marijuana consumers least able to make those adjustments.

Read More:http://www.theweedblog.com/testimony-for-oregon-marijuana-legalization-public-hearing/


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25,000 Marijuana Seeds Given Out In Washington D.C.

Category: News | Posted on Sun, March, 29th 2015 by THCFinder
 

marijuana seedsWashington D.C. voters approved marijuana legalization by a very large margin. Washington D.C. Initiative 71 passed during the 2014 Election by a margin of 70.06% ‘yes’ to 29.94% ‘no’. The initiative legalized marijuana possession and cultivation, but did not include a way to obtain marijuana from a store due to taxing and spending provisions that require Congressional approval. In order to help citizens of Washington D.C., the Initiative 71 campaign organized two marijuana seed giveaways last week, which was a tremendous success. Per WUSA9:

For the second time this week, people stood in line for free marijuana seeds

The line was even longer Saturday for folks wanting marijuana seeds than the first ‘seed share’ on Thursday. Thousands waited outside DC Cannabis Campaign headquarters for hours for a few seeds. People have never been so elated standing in the cold.

“Everyone is very happy to be here,” said Amy Dunham.

“We’re all getting along, all creeds and color,” added Patrick Mitchell

The line stretched several blocks along embassy row on Massachusetts Avenue NW for the historic marijuana seed share event.

In total, roughly 25,000 marijuana seeds were given out in Washington D.C.. D.C.’s marijuana legalization law allows people to give marijuana (seeds or otherwise) to other people, as long as no money changes hands. It still blows my mind to know that there are seeds and plants being cultivated all over our nation’s capital. These are truly exciting times in America, and it makes me very happy to see how far we have come. There is still a lot of work left to be done, but the success of the seed giveaways in D.C. is cause for celebration.

Source: http://www.theweedblog.com/25000-marijuana-seeds-given-out-in-washington-dc/


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