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The Surprising State That Could Be The Next To Legalize Marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Thu, May, 7th 2015 by THCFinder

ohio marijuana medical marijuana legalization

It’s looking more and more likely that voters in a key battleground state will be voting on marijuana legalization in November, and recent polling suggests it could win. That’s this November, not November 2016.

The state is Ohio, where a controversial pot legalization initiative is already well on the way to qualifying for the ballot, and its backers—or should we say investors?–have the cash on hand to make sure it does.

There are pot legalization bills pending in any number of states, and early on, there were hopes this would be the year a state legislature would get around to legalizing it. New England states such as Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont looked like the best bets, but it now doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

And 2016 promises to see a wave of legalization initiatives—think Arizona, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, for starters, with Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio also likely to see serious efforts emerge.

But that’s next year. The group ResponsibleOhio is well on the way to putting the issue before Buckeye State voters this year. They’ve already had their proposed constitutional amendment approved for signature gathering and, thanks to paid signature-gatherers, are cruising toward qualifying for the ballot.

To qualify in Ohio, initiatives need 305,000 valid voter signatures; ResponsibleOhio collected 180,000 raw signatures in its first three weeks and still has more than two months to gather the rest. And the campaign is still expanding.

Veteran initiative watchers will tell you campaigns want a cushion of excess signatures to account for ones that are thrown out, maybe 25% to 30% above the requirement at a bare minimum. In Ohio this year, that would be 400-450,000 raw signatures. The campaign says they are aiming for 700,000.

Read More:http://www.theweedblog.com/the-surprising-state-that-could-be-the-next-to-legalize-marijuana/


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Former DEA Agent Speaks Out in Favor of Legal Marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 6th 2015 by THCFinder

An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona has gained support from an unlikely source.

A former Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent, who spent six years as the DEA's Marijuana Coordinator in Miami and New Mexico, is now speaking out in favor of legislation that would create a full-fledged recreational marijuana program in Arizona. After years of fighting the War on Drugs, Finn Selander has done an about-face, and he sat down with ABC15 to explain why.

"As an agent, I was doing my job," Selander said. "I was enforcing the law. It was definitely hard at times... I would see injustice in a number of cases."

Now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, Selander said that he's seen too many lives ruined by strict marijuana laws and those laws need to change.

According to ABC15, the initiative he's supporting is set to to appear on Arizona's 2016 ballots and "proposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use for those over the age of 21, creating a network of shops licensed to sell and distribute it and taxing it 15 percent on top of the regular sales tax."

(Photo Courtesy of Wired)

Source:http://www.hightimes.com/read/former-dea-agent-speaks-out-favor-legal-marijuana


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Major Groups Call For UN To Respect Countries That Legalize Marijuana Or Other Drugs

Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 6th 2015 by THCFinder

united nations drug reformAs the United Nations prepares for the first comprehensive review of global responses to drug problems in nearly two decades, a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations is pushing for the international body to respect countries that move away from prohibition.

“Existing US and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations,” the groups write in a new letter being released today.

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are among the signatories. Also notable are a number of organizations devoted to health policy and AIDS services.

The letter’s release is timed to a United Nations “High-Level Thematic Debate on the World Drug Problem” taking place in New York on Thursday, May 7, in preparation for a UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) scheduled for April 2016. Advocates believe that countries should take the UNGASS as an opportunity to pursue a range of reforms to global drug policy, including revising provisions of the UN Drug Conventions that threaten to stand in the way of reform. The Obama administration has taken the stance that countries should be free to pursue different kinds of systems under the treaties — including legalization — but has also opposed treaty reform, a stance which advocates have questioned.

“The administration’s call to respect countries’ right to try regulation rather than prohibition is a positive step for drug policy, as are other reforms the US has sought internationally,” said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org, who coordinated the sign-on letter. “But it doesn’t make sense to oppose having a discussion within the UN about modernizing the treaties to reflect that.”

The coalition has called for the UN to appoint a “Committee of Experts” to study treaty reform, a common UN procedure for addressing issues of interest.

Source:http://www.theweedblog.com/groups-call-for-un-to-respect-countries-that-legalize-marijuana/


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Italian Army Hopes to Undercut Street Dealers by Growing Pot

Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 5th 2015 by THCFinder

The Italian army has unveiled its first successful marijuana crop.

On Thursday, the Corriere della Sera news website published photos of the military-run pharmaceutical plant in Florence where the cannabis is being grown in a secure room. The site also houses drying and packing facilities and is expected to churn out 220 pounds of pot annually, according to the BBC.

"The aim of the operation is to provide users with a product that is not always easily available on the market, at a more competitive price," Colonel Antonio Medica, the director of the facility, told Italian news outlets.

The initiative was announced last September as a means to drive down costs of medical marijuana and undercut street dealers.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Italy since 2007, but its prohibitive costs have deterred most from participating in the program. Because there have been no licensed producers of medicinal pot in the country, those who do have prescriptions have to purchase their cannabis from abroad.

According to RT.com, prices can reach up to 40 euros ($45) per gram for imported medical marijuana, which has led many patients to seek out street dealers. The government hopes to take away business from these illegal sources with this new grow operation.

"We're aiming to lower the price to under 15 euros ($17), maybe even around 5 euros ($5.60) per gram," Medica said.

Source:http://www.hightimes.com/read/italian-army-hopes-undercut-street-dealers-growing-pot


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Washington Group Is Challenging New Medical Marijuana Law

Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 5th 2015 by THCFinder

washington medical marijuana senate bill 5052Last month Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5052 into law. SB 5052 made a lot of changes to Washington’s long established medical marijuana program. Some of those changes included:

  • Requires every medical cannabis dispensary in the state to close by July 1st, 2016 forcing patients to purchase from recreational cannabis outlets (despite most cities in the state prohibiting them) or rely on the black-market.
  • Reducing patient possession limits from twenty ounces, to three, and their cultivation limits from fifteen plants, to six. Patients caught possessing between three and twenty four ounces, or caught growing between seven and fifteen plants will be committing class C felonies once the law takes effect, and could be imprisoned for up to 5 years.
  • Patients will be required to join a patient database, or only be allowed to possess an ounce, and cultivate four plants.

A group in Washington is hoping to challenge the new law in the form of a citizen’s referendum. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

A Washington State group is looking to challenge newly minted regulations that roll the state’s medical marijuana market into its heavily regulated recreational cannabis program.

The group hopes to gather enough signatures to get a referendum in front of voters that would unravel the new law. A spokesman for the proposal – dubbed Referendum 76 – said the regulations limit access for patients who use MMJ to treat various ailments.

The new law – which the governor signed April 27 – will essentially eliminate the state’s mostly unregulated medical marijuana industry and force existing MMJ businesses to get licenses under the recreational cannabis program or close down.

Senate Bill 5052 is rough for Washington medical marijuana patients, and medical marijuana industry members to say the least. I’m curious to see how many medical marijuana dispensaries stay open anyways. That’s what is happening in California, and for a long time happened in Oregon before Oregon passed a comprehensive medical marijuana dispensary bill. With prices still very high at recreational stores, I’d imagine more patients will go to the black market than convert to purchasing recreational marijuana in the event that there is a massive wave of dispensary closures across the state.

Source:http://www.theweedblog.com/washington-group-is-challenging-new-medical-marijuana-law/


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Despite Federal Law, Colorado Pot Shops Are Accepting Credit Cards

Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 4th 2015 by THCFinder

While the cannabis industry has been touted as a “cash-only” enterprise since medical marijuana was first legalized in California nearly 20 years ago, recent reports indicate that the recreational sector has become fed up with handling massive stacks of cash and have since established a clever method for accepting credit cards payments.

Colorado pot shops have struggled for the larger part of the past year to adhere to federal statutes in an attempt to avoid provoking the DEA from sending in a team to shut them down. Part of this challenge has been conducting legal pot sales, which generate about $14 million per month, without the use of financial institutions.

Even though former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder devised a set of rules in 2014 that would supposedly allow banks to work with marijuana businesses without the risk of prosecution, there have not been many willing to take a chance on these threatening endeavors because no changes to federal policy have been set in stone. Marijuana remains listed a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which has prevented retail pot shops and banks from getting into bed together. It seems that no one is interested in being sent to prison for money laundering.

However, a recent investigational report by FOX31 in Denver found that almost half of the state-licensed dispensaries (47 percent) operating in Colorado admit they are willing to accept MasterCard or Visa payments. This discovery does not suggest that financial institutions are now welcoming the cannabis industry with open arms, but rather, it seems that pot shops have devised a clever and seemingly legal scheme to throw the hounds of the drug war off their scent.

Read More:http://www.hightimes.com/read/despite-federal-law-colorado-pot-shops-are-accepting-credit-cards


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