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Colorado may allow medical marijuana use during probation, parole

Category: News | Posted on Sat, April, 11th 2015 by THCFinder

A Colorado proposal to allow people on probation or parole to use medical marijuana won unanimous approval Thursday in its first test in the state legislature.

The state has allowed medical marijuana use for 15 years — but not for people on probation or parole.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 13-0 to change that policy by saying that pot use doesn’t amount to a probation violation for people with medical clearance to use the drug.

“If it’s in the constitution, you should have the right to use it on probation,” said Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton and sponsor of the bill.

The change wouldn’t apply to probationers whose crime was related to marijuana.

Colorado’s hearing comes two days after Arizona’s highest court ruled that marijuana patients in that state should be allowed to use the drug while on probation or parole.

Rhode Island and the U.S. Virgin Islands also allow probationers to use medical marijuana, according to the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project. California law specifies that anyone on parole can ask the courts to be allowed to smoke medical marijuana after being released from jail or prison.

Other states have seen a mish-mash of responses in the courts on whether people can smoke pot while on probation and parole.

Colorado’s Court of Appeals ruled in 2012 that people on probation should not be allowed to use medical marijuana. State analysts who reviewed the bill weren’t sure how many people currently wind up back in jail because they fail a marijuana-related drug test while serving probation or parole.

Lawmakers worked late into the night Thursday hearing from marijuana patients who support the bill. They included Christyne Smiley of Boulder, who is on probation and not allowed to use marijuana to treat an eye condition called a “macular pucker.” Instead she has to use prescription drugs she considers less effective.

“Honestly, marijuana works better,” said Smiley, who said the bill would allow people on probation “to get the relief to which they have a right.”

Source:http://www.thecannabist.co/2015/04/09/colorado-bill-medical-marijuana-use-probation-parole/32825/


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Federal Politicians Announce Commonsense Tax Reform For Legal Marijuana Businesses

Category: News | Posted on Fri, April, 10th 2015 by THCFinder
 
marijuana taxes tax

(via dailyfinance.com)

Today, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced plans to introduce bicameral legislation next week that would reconcile state marijuana laws and federal tax law. The Small Business Tax Equity Act, which was introduced last Congress by Congressman Blumenauer, would create an exception to Internal Revenue Code Section 280E to allow marijuana businesses operating in compliance with state law to take deductions associated with the sale of marijuana like any other legal business.
“More than two-thirds of Americans now live in jurisdictions that have legalized either the medical or adult use of marijuana. It’s time for the federal government to catch up,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “Section 280E creates an unequal and unrealistic tax burden on these businesses. I’m excited to work with Senator Wyden in introducing the Small Business Tax Equity Act, which would bring much needed fairness and level the playing field for small businesses that follow state laws and create jobs.”

“Our legislation would provide an overdue update to federal tax law, which has not caught up to the fact that it’s 2015 and Oregonians have voted both to legalize medical marijuana and to regulate marijuana for recreational use,” Senator Wyden said. “This is a question of standing up for the people of Oregon, and ensuring that the federal government respects the decision Oregonians have made at the ballot box.”

Twenty-three states, the District of Columbia and Guam have passed laws allowing for the legal use of medical marijuana. An additional 12 states have passed laws allowing the use of low-THC forms of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions. In many of these jurisdictions, patients can access medicine safely through state-regulated dispensaries.

The federal tax code, however, prohibits anyone selling Schedule I or Schedule II substances from deducting business expenses associated with the sale of marijuana from their taxes. Marijuana is a Schedule I substance. Therefore, even businesses operating in compliance with state law are not allowed to deduct the common expenses of running a small business, such as rent, most utilities and payroll. They cannot claim the Work Opportunity Tax Credit if they hire a veteran, and they are limited in lawful deductions relating to construction or operation costs if they want to remodel a building for their retail operations.

In certain circumstances, legal marijuana businesses can pay federal income tax rates at nearly 90 percent, while the U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that many small businesses pay an effective rate of around 20 percent.

“Congress never intended to impose a gross receipts tax – and that’s pretty much what we have here – on legal business owners decades in the future,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “The intent of the law was to go after criminals, not law abiding job creators. Congress needs to step up and clarify that this provision has become a case study in unintended consequences.”

“The small businesses that make up the legal cannabis industry are working overtime to be responsible, contributing members of their communities,” said Aaron Smith, Executive Director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “So it’s particularly outrageous that when they to do the right thing by paying their federal taxes, they end up penalized with double and triple tax rates. Instead of being able to create more jobs, increase salaries, or add benefits for their employees, these businesses are being forced to send more than two-thirds of their profits straight to the federal government. Rep. Blumenauer and Sen. Wyden are standing up for fairness and support for small business – something everyone should applaud. We certainly do.”

Source:http://www.theweedblog.com/politicians-announce-tax-reform-legal-marijuana-businesses/


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Legal Conflicts on Medical Marijuana Ensnare Hundreds as Courts Debate a New Provision

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 9th 2015 by THCFinder

 

BLOOMFIELD, N.M. — Charles C. Lynch seemed to be doing everything right when he opened a medical marijuana dispensary in the tidy coastal town of Morro Bay, Calif.
 
The mayor, the city attorney and leaders of the local Chamber of Commerce all came for the ribbon-cutting in 2006. The conditions for his business license, including a ban on customers younger than 18 and compliance with California’s medical marijuana laws, were posted on the wall.
 
But two years later, Mr. Lynch was convicted of multiple felonies under federal law for selling marijuana. He is one of hundreds of defendants and prisoners caught in the stark conflict between federal law — which puts marijuana in the same class as heroin, with no exception for medical sales — and many states’ decisions to allow medical uses.
 
“I feel so left out of society,” Mr. Lynch, 52, who is out on bond and appealing his conviction, said from a battered trailer behind his mother’s house here in northwestern New Mexico. He is waiting to see if he must go to prison.
 
Now, though, a legal wild card has been injected into his case and those of several other defendants in California and Washington State.
 
In December, in a little-publicized amendment to the 2015 appropriations bill that one legal scholar called a “buried land mine,” Congress barred the Justice Department from spending any money to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
 

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How Much THC Is In Federal Medical Marijuana?

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 9th 2015 by THCFinder
 

Federal immigration bill hatch marijuana growingOne of the urban legends I heard a lot about growing up was how potent federal medical marijuana was. You may have heard the stories too. I would always hear people talk about the G-13 strain in particular, and that it was incredibly strong because it was created in a lab environment to have as high a potency as possible. As with many marijuana urban legends, the truth was very disappointing.

As I got older, and met more people in the marijuana world, I came across people that had actually seen federal medical marijuana via one of the four remaining federal medical marijuana patients. All of them would point out that the federal medical marijuana they saw in those coffee-style tin cans was awful. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has a menu on the web of the strains that are offered through the federal medical marijuana program, along with THC levels and levels for other cannabinoids. I believe the math speaks for itself. Per Smell the Truth:

The highest THC cigarette the government is selling tops out at 6.7% THC. Compare that to 25% THC for pre-rolls in San Francisco and L.A. Uncle Sam has no high-cannabidiol pre-rolls, whereas high-CBD pre-rolls are common in advanced cannabis markets.

And most of the bulk marijuana is bad, too. Uncle Sam classifies cannabis that’s “low” in THC as having less than 1%, “medium” is 1-5%, “high” is 5-10%, and “very high” is greater than ten percent. Not a single government strain tests over 10.2% THC.

By comparison, the average Bay Area cannabis patient buys cannabis that’s an average of 15 percent, estimates UC Berkeley public health researcher Amanda Reiman.

I don’t understand why federal marijuana has such a low potency. Is this on purpose? If so, why? Or is it because federal marijuana growers are awful at what they do? Or is it because growers that supply non-federal patients are so much better at growing? The federal government doesn’t give up much info about the federal program, so all we can do is speculate.

Source:http://www.theweedblog.com/how-much-thc-is-in-federal-medical-marijuana/


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Arizona Supreme Court OKs Pot for Patients on Probation, Says No Federal Conflict

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 8th 2015 by THCFinder

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled in two cases today that prosecutors can't ban people on parole or probation from using medical marijuana.

 

Because medical marijuana is a medicine when used under the state's voter-authorized program, the court stated in its opinions, patients should be allowed to use it -- even when conditions of probation ban the consumption of alcohol.

Interestingly, as part of the rulings, the state's highest court rejected the idea that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act conflicted with federal law.

State officers, including prosecutors, probation officers and judges, aren't violating their oaths of office by failing to ban convicts from using marijuana as a condition for them to remain on parole or probation, the 5-0 opinion in Reed v. Kaliher states. Quoting from a Michigan case, the judges ruled that "the people of Arizona 'chose to part ways with Congress only regarding the scope of acceptable medical use of marijuana.'"

This clearly takes much of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery's argument on the topic of a supposed conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act. Montgomery's still appealing a lawsuit filed against the county by White Mountain Health Center, a Sun City dispensary that opened in December.

State law does prohibit the use of marijuana or prescription drugs except as administered by a "'health care practitioner,' a phrase that suggests the legislature intended to distinguish between illicit use and lawful medicinal use of such drugs," the ruling states.

Medical marijuana is legal under state law, therefore the judges have moved to "harmonize" the law -- essentially catching it up to the 2010 marijuana act. The Arizona Court of Appeals held to a similar opinion in July, but the Cochise County Attorney's Office appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Keenan Reed-Kaliher was convicted of selling marijuana and released from prison in 2011 after serving 1.5 years. He promptly took advantage of the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act, securing a patient card to help manage pain from a hip injury. But the county soon told him he couldn't do that, and revised his three-year probation terms to include a ban on using medical marijuana. Reed-Kaliher, with the help of lawyers Tom Dean, Sarah Mayhew and David Euchner, took on the system -- and won.

The Arizona medical-cannabis law states that legit patients are "not subject to... denial of any right or privilege, including any civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court."

Source: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2015/04/arizona_supreme_court_oks_pot_for_patients_on_probation_says_no_federal_con.php


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Looser marijuana penalties approved by Wichita voters

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 8th 2015 by THCFinder

Now that a win for marijuana reform is in the books in Kansas’ largest city, the focus shifts to Topeka, where the attorney general has called Wichita’s voter-approved initiative unlawful and the Legislature could consider as many as three marijuana-related bills in the coming weeks.

In the general city election Tuesday, Wichita voters said yes to reducing penalties for possession of marijuana. Of the 37,000 Wichita voters, 54 percent said they wanted more lenient penalties for first-time offenders. About 45 percent wanted to keep the status quo.

The major provision of the ballot initiative was to reduce the punishment for a first-time marijuana conviction to a $50 fine. Violations would be an infraction that wouldn’t have to be disclosed on most job and college scholarship applications.

Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, attended an Election Night party with the measure’s supporters and said she hopes the win in Wichita will send a message to the capital for the state to ease up on marijuana.

Finney, who has undergone chemotherapy for lupus, has for years pushed the Legislature for a bill allowing medical marijuana. So far, that bill has yet to advance out of a committee.

But she said she’s hopeful this year will bring action on two other bills – one that would reduce marijuana penalties to clear prison beds, and another that would allow seizure sufferers to be treated with hemp oil derived from marijuana.

Read More:http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/election/article17801054.html


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