D.C. Councilmember: "Marijuana Does Not Do Harm, It's Not A Gateway Drug"
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A bill introduced Wednesday by D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the nation’s capital.
The bill would make possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.
The measure was prompted in part by an American Civil Liberties Union report that found the District of Columbia leads the nation in per capita arrests for marijuana possession.
Councilmember David Grosso, one of nine co-sponsors of the bill, strongly supports decriminalization in the District for a multitude of reasons.
“It’s time for us to recognize that marijuana does not do harm,” said Grosso. “It’s not a gateway drug like people think it is. It’s not causing massive accidents or causing people to go crazy on the streets. And it’s just leading a lot of kids right to jail. Until they’re able to purchase this in a regular store and not have any consequences, that’s what it’s going to continue to do.”
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The ACLU report also states about 90 percent of those arrested for marijuana possession are black.
“For too many years we’ve put non-violent drug offenders behind bars, disproportionately affecting African-American males, especially in the District of Columbia,” Grosso said. “It’s time for us to step up and stop that from happening. The way to stop that is decriminalization.”
Read more: http://washington.cbslocal.com
Groups Want $2 Bills To Send Message On Marijuana
SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) - Advocates pushing for broader legalization of marijuana in Michigan hope to send a message of support — and economic clout — by spending $2 bills.
Supporters of the cause are being asked to spend at least one of the typically less-used $2 bills for every cash purchase for the three weeks. The effort kicked off on Wednesday.
Steven Greene, a 45-year-old South Lyon resident, said he picked up $200 in $2 bills from a credit union in Southfield. Greene, a state-registered user of medical marijuana and a caregiver licensed by the state to grow medical marijuana for others, said the use of the bills could remind people of possible tax revenue from marijuana sales.
“People will also realize, if you arrest us, you’re taking that same money out of circulation, and you’re spending tax dollars to put us in jail,” he said.
Michigan voters approved marijuana for some chronic medical conditions in 2008, but the state Supreme Court ruled in January that medical marijuana dispensaries aren’t allowed. Michigan has roughly 130,000 registered users of medical marijuana.
Read more: http://detroit.cbslocal.com
Ariz. court: Cops can't keep Rx marijuana patients pot
PHOENIX –– Medical marijuana patients whose drugs are taken by police are entitled to get it back, the Arizona Supreme Court has ruled.
In a brief order, the justices rejected arguments by prosecutors that the drug is strictly regulated by the federal government, leaving police legally powerless to turn marijuana over to anyone else. They gave no reason for their ruling.
The order most immediately affects Valerie Okun, whose drugs were taken from her nearly two years ago on Interstate 8 near Yuma. While she was never prosecuted -- she has a valid medical marijuana card from California -- sheriff’s deputies refused to return the drugs.
But Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot told Capitol Media Services on Tuesday he’s still not ready to hand over the marijuana. He hopes to get the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
If he succeeds, that could affect more than the immediate question of when police have to return marijuana taken from medical cardholders.
It presents an opportunity for the nation’s high court to look at the obvious conflict between laws in places like Arizona where at least some individuals can buy and have marijuana, and federal statutes which consider possession by anyone other than authorized researchers a felony. And that could pave the way for Supreme Court to finally rule whether states have an inherent right to enact their own marijuana laws.
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk said federal court intervention is necessary.
“I find it a bit frustrating that Arizona’s marching ahead with facilitating and implementing the availability of marijuana, a controlled substance, in conflict with federal law,’’ said Polk, who chairs the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council. She said a court needs to “deal with the issue of federal preemption head-on.’’
Okun initially was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint. Officers searched her vehicle after a dog alerted on it, finding marijuana and hashish.
The Border Patrol turned the matter over to county officials. But charges against her were dropped because she is enrolled in California’s Medical Marijuana Program; Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act recognizes cards issued in other states.
Okun then asked the court to return the three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana that was seized. While the judge agreed, Ralph Ogden, who was the sheriff at that time, did not.
Read more: http://www.trivalleycentral.com
Canada's Prince of Pot Returning home?
The founder of the British Columbia Marijuana Party, Marc Emery, now serving a prison sentence in Mississippi, has been approved by United States authorities for transfer to a prison back home in Canada.
Emery was busted in 2005 for selling cannabis seeds, by catalog order, across the 49th parallel into the U.S. After fighting extradition, he was sentenced in 2009 to five years in prison and has been serving his sentence at a medium-security prison in Yazoo City, Miss.
In a province where marijuana use is illegal — but usually winked at — Emery blew smoke at authorities both south of the border and in the Great White North.
He founded the Marc Emery Direct Marijuana Seeds business in the early 1990s, edited the Cannabis Culture Magazine and opened the Cannabis Cafe in Vancouver’s Gastown. The pot entrepreneur found himself featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Not amused, Vancouver’s stuffy then-Mayor Philip Owen once predicted that Emery’s operation soon would be “toast.”
Emery ran for Canada’s House of Commons — as a Libertarian — and later for the B.C. Legislature as a B.C. Marijuana Party nominee. The Marijuana Party substituted its own leaf for Canada’s national maple leaf.
U.S. drug authorities have long thundered against the drug culture of a province oft-nicknamed Canada’s “Lotus Land.” Ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani inveighed against it, and in 2002 the director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, John Walters, journeyed north to speak at the Vancouver Board of Trade.
Emery bought a table at the Walters luncheon and heckled the DEA chief.
Ultimately, after prospering through brief local busts, Emery was arrested in 2005 by Vancouver police at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The DEA crowed over his capture. Its boss, Karen Tandy, claimed, without producing a scintilla of evidence: “Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada.”
Read more: http://blog.seattlepi.com
Marijuana: Proposed federal bill seeks to give pot businesses banking access
Even though medical marijuana businesses are legal at the state level, they still are illegal under federal law. And while this raises the spectre of federal law enforcement coming down on Colorado businesses, the bigger concern revolves around banking. Since banks are monitored federally, they do not like to do business with enterprises that are not legal on the federal level. This means that the millions of dollars coming in from the marijuana industry in this state are usually coming through cash transactions.
Senator Pat Steadman proposed a bill last year in the Colorado Legislature aimed at correcting this growing problem, but it met with no success. And there's been no proposal at all on the federal level -- until now.
U.S. Representatives Ed Perlmutter (who represents Colorado's seventh district) and Denny Heck (Washington), along with a bipartisan group of sixteen other Republicans and Democrats (a complete list is at the bottom of this post), submitted a bill this morning to update federal banking rules.
"We need to address the public safety, crime and lost tax revenue associated when these legal and regulated businesses are operating in a cash-only system," Perlmutter said in a release. "We also need to provide financial institutions assurance that they can make their own business decisions related to legal, financial transactions without fear of regulatory penalties or criminal prosecution."
Read more: http://blogs.westword.com
Marijuana May Make Us Thinner, Even with the Munchies
It sounds counter-intuitive, but marijuana may help people be thinner. The illegal drug known for causing the munchies was at the heart of a recent study (published in May's Journal of American Medicine) that examined its effect on metabolic processes. The results, though certainly not conclusive, show a correlation between smaller waist circumference and marijuana use. Not only were users thinner, but they also appeared to be healthier overall than those who have never used marijuana.
In the study, comprising of more than 4,600 people, 12 percent of participants said they were current marijuana users and 42 percent had used it in the past, but not in the last month. Scientists assessed waist circumference and other weight-related factors in all participants. Studies conducted before this one had shown that marijuana users had lower prevalence for diabetes and obesity. However, this was the first study to also test insulin and glucose levels and insulin resistance in regards to marijuana usage.
Read more: http://shine.yahoo.com
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