Election 2016: How Arkansas Screwed the Pooch
A medical marijuana initiative in Arkansas cleared two recent legal hurdles but still faces a tough race on Election Day.
And this time, legalization advocates have no one to blame but themselves: An internecine fight has made for bad blood between two pro-reform camps.
The result: Two competing measures on the ballot, confusing and seemingly splitting support in a state where the prohibition laws are among the harshest in the country.
“We have been fighting for five years to get this passed,” Melissa Fults, the campaign director with Arkansans for Compassionate Care, told HIGH TIMES. Her organization is sponsoring the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, an initiative that was the first to qualify for the ballot—and had the promised support of the Marijuana Policy Project, which can funnel important money into a state race. “Prior to having two initiatives on the ballot we were looking at a huge win, and now we are struggling for a win.”
Growing Pains as California Counties License Growers
Many rural California communities have high expectations over the prospect of commercial cannabis cultivation, officially licensed by local authorities under provisions of the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MMRCA), which was passed by Sacramento last year. Humboldt County issued its first commercial cultivation licenses this summer. Now a less likely entry, Kern County in the conservative southern end of the Central Valley, has seen its first licenses. These were issued by the municipality of California City, where officials expressed some surprise at their own actions. “It’s a new industry for us. It kind of came and dropped in our laps,” city manager Tom Weil told Bakersfield’s KBAK. “It’s not something we were looking for.”
At least 15 cultivation sites in California City are to be granted permits, for starters. “We don’t have a lot of retail here,” said Weil. “But we expect with this business coming in that it will generate more jobs, more opportunity, more demand for retail.”
Maine: Governor’s New PSA Claims Legal Marijuana Will Kill Children and Pets
In a pathetic attempt to persuade voters to go against an initiative aimed at legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, Maine Governor Paul LePage emerged last week with a deceptive new video that suggests legal weed will lead to a barrage of roadway deaths and even kill children.
“Question 1 is not just bad for Maine, it can be deadly,” LePage claimed, right before spouting off some nonsense about how legal marijuana has contributed to a dramatic increase in traffic-related fatalities all across Colorado.
LePage then went on to try to convince viewers that people who use marijuana have a greater chance of becoming strung out casualties of heroin addiction.
DEA Withdraws Emergency Kratom Ban
In an unprecedented move, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has posted a notice in the Federal Register stating that it is withdrawing its plans to ban kratom using emergency scheduling powers. The DEA instead is opening a public comment period ending December 1st. The official notice indicates that comments received by the DEA will be considered – along with formal input from the Food and Drug Administration – before a determination is made about scheduling kratom. The DEA’s proposed ban onkratom, a medicinal plant used for millennia in Southeast Asia and currently used by millions in the U.S., was anticipated to go in effect as early as September 30.
Major Rights Group Calls for Decriminalization of All Illicit Drugs
Since the federal government insists on treating American’s drug problem through incarceration rather than treatment, law enforcement agencies all across the nation are having a field day locking people up for drug possession every 25 seconds, a rate that surpasses arrests for all violent crime, according to the latest report from Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.
That means most days there are around 137,000 people sitting in jail because they were caught in possession of an illegal substance. The report finds that most of these folks, many of whom cannot afford bail, are being forced to reside in county jails while they wait, sometimes months, to appear before a judge to answer to the changes.
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