Police dogs in Washington no longer trained to sniff out marijuana
BREMERTON, Wash. — Bremerton Police Officer Dahle "Duke" Roessel and his new dog partner, Dusty, combed the rooms of a West Bremerton hotel during a practice session Tuesday. Dusty, an 18-month-old black Lab, sniffed around for meth, heroin and cocaine that had been planted there. But not pot.
The Bremerton Police Department, following in the footsteps of many law enforcement agencies around the state, is not training its newest officer how to sniff out marijuana. Months after voters approved an initiative legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, Dusty is the first narcotics dog in Kitsap with the distinction.
Dusty was bred at North Bend Retriever Kennel to be a champion birding dog. He was a bit too restless for that job, but his insatiable drive to look for things made him "perfect for what we need," Roessel said.
Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com
Alaska Poised To Become Marijuana Legalization Battleground
JUNEAU, Alaska -- Alaska, known for its live-and-let-live lifestyle, is poised to become the next battleground in the push to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
The state has a complicated history with the drug, with its highest court ruling nearly 40 years ago that adults have a constitutional right to possess and smoke marijuana for personal use in their own homes. In the late 1990s, Alaska became one of the first states to allow the use of pot for medicinal reasons.
Then the pendulum swung the other direction, with residents in 2004 rejecting a ballot effort to legalize recreational marijuana. And in 2006, the state passed a law criminalizing possession of even small amounts of the drug – leaving the current state of affairs somewhat murky.
Supporters of recreational marijuana say attitudes toward pot have softened in the past decade, and they believe they have a real shot at success in Alaska.
The state is reviewing their request to begin gathering signatures to get an initiative on next year's ballot. The proposal would make it legal for those 21 and older to use and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, though not in public. It also would set out provisions for legal grow operations and establish an excise tax.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
Bill outlawing marijuana pipes headed to Fla. Gov.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida lawmakers have wrapped up work on legislation aimed at outlawing the sale of marijuana pipes known as "bongs."
The Senate passed the bill (HB 49) on a 31-2 vote Friday. The measure now goes to Gov. Rick Scott for his consideration.
State law currently allows certain retailers to sell the pipes. Any sale of marijuana pipes would be a first-degree misdemeanor if the bill becomes law. Second and subsequent violations would jump to a third-degree felony.
Supporters say the bill sends a message against illegal drug use by making the pipes inaccessible at stores that often are close to schools.
Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, voted against the bill. He argued that marijuana isn't a dangerous drug and should be allowed under strict regulation.
Oregon Senate reduces criminal penalties for marijuana possession, manufacturing
SALEM -- Defendants found guilty of marijuana possession and manufacturing could face reduced penalties under two bills the Oregon Senate passed Wednesday.
Senate Bill 40 passed 22-7. It would make the penalties for marijuana possession and manufacturing "more in line with what justice should be on these sorts of issues," said Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg.
Among other changes, the bill would:
reduce unlawful possession of less than an ounce of marijuana to a Class B violation, punishable by a presumptive fine of $260
reduce unlawful possession of one ounce or more, but less than four ounces, of marijuana to a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by maximum of six months in jail, $2,500 fine, or both
reduce unlawful possession of four ounces or more of marijuana to Class C felony, punishable by maximum of five years in prison, $125,00 fine, or both
reduce unlawful manufacture of marijuana to Class B felony, punishable by maximum of 10 years in prison, $250,000 fine, or both
Lawmakers also voted 18-11 to pass Senate Bill 82, which would eliminate the requirement that most defendants convicted of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana have their driving privileges suspended.
Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com
Victory In Colorado: Unscientific THC DUID Bill Defeated In Senate
Earlier this month we posted about an unscientific DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) bill advancing in Colorado, which would find someone guilty based on having an arbitrary amount of THC in their system, which would be determined through a blood draw – this is the 4th year such a measure has been discussed in Colorado’s Legislature. The measure passed through the House earlier this month, but is now officially dead, as it was voted down in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 4-1.
This is a strong victory for civil liberties and sanity in Colorado, as the proposed 5 ng/ml limit for THC has no scientific basis, and would lead to unimpaired drivers being found guilty as even active THC can linger in the body for days – not to mention that there’s nothing wrong with current DUID laws, which requires proof of impairment for a prosecution to take place. The victory is also a defeat for the White House and Drug Czar, as implementing these types of policies, state-by-state, is one of their top priorities in “combating” drug use. This measure’s defeat also shows that despite the State of Colorado legalizing marijuana possession, lawmakers aren’t falling for obvious propaganda, and blindly approving inappropriate laws that would easily appease prohibitionists.
Read more: http://www.theweedblog.com
Colorado appeals court OKs firing for off-duty marijuana use
A divided Colorado Court of Appeals panel on Thursday upheld the firing of a man for off-the-job medical-marijuana use, concluding that, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, employees have no protection to use it anytime.
The decision — which is precedent-setting — has broad implications not just for medical-marijuana patients but for any adult using marijuana in Colorado since voters legalized the substance in November.
The case is the first to look at whether off-duty marijuana use that is legal under state law is protected by Colorado's Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute. The statute says employers can't fire employees for doing legal things off-the-clock.
Brandon Coats — a quadriplegic medical-marijuana patient who was fired from his job as a telephone operator at Dish Network after testing positive for marijuana — said the statute should apply in his case, since there is no evidence he was impaired on the job.
Read more: http://www.denverpost.com
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