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Feds: Tribes Can Grow And Sell Marijuana On Tribal Lands

Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
growing-on-tribal-landsI will never forget the first time I heard the story of the Oglala Sioux Nation’s efforts to grow hemp. The Oglala Sioux tribe is a recognized sovereign nation by the United States government, yet the feds prevented the Oglala Sioux people from growing hemp. I remember tearing up when I heard Alex White Plume speak about how the feds came and essentially stole the tribes hemp harvest at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It was a harvest that the tribe was relying upon as a cash crop, and without it they suffered many economic hardships.
 
Zoom forward to today, where a historic position was taken by the United States government. Per the Los Angeles Times:
 
Opening the door for what could be a lucrative and controversial new industry on some Native American reservations, the Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice.
 
The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues.
 
This of course is not true legalization, as it’s just guidance from the federal government via a memo, which can change at any moment without notice. This isn’t the first time this administration released a memo in regards to loosening marijuana enforcement, and that didn’t prove to be as sincere as people first thought. However, today’s news is still significant nonetheless. How many tribes will take advantage of the new policy is unclear, but it could potentially lead to legal marijuana being grown and sold within state borders that many thought (myself included) would never allow legal marijuana. Yes, technically a state like South Dakota is not a nation, it’s a state, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is separate, but it would still involve legal marijuana within the borders of South Dakota should the Oglala Sioux people proceed to growing marijuana.
 
From reports I’ve read, Indian tribes were responsible for lobbying for the new policy. There was a lot of confusion when the news broke, with many activists scrambling to see who was working on it. I’m glad that Native Americans took the lead on this issue, and that it got results. I have to assume that just because marijuana is grown and sold on a reservation, it doesn’t mean that the marijuana will be allowed off the tribal land. So if/when sales begin, be aware of this fact. I am now dreaming of the day when I can go to the Grande Ronde casino near where I live, buy some legal marijuana, and enjoy a concert or two.
 

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Outdoor Marijuana Cultivation Bans In California Are A Bad Idea

Category: News | Posted on Thu, December, 11th 2014 by THCFinder
outdoor-marijuana-cultivation-bansOutdoor marijuana cultivation, or ‘sun grown’, is cheaper than indoor cultivation, and if done properly, is much more environmentally friendly compared to indoor cultivation. There are parts of California that are perfect for outdoor cultivation, which is why so many people have done it over the years. However, outdoor cultivation has been under attack from local governments in California. There are more and more proposed bans on outdoor cultivation popping up these days. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
 
More than 300 people, mostly medical cannabis patients and growers, attended a meeting in Yuba County, California, as supervisors considered a ban on outdoor marijuana cultivation.
 
About 45 people spoke during the event in which supervisors considered three ordinances from other counties – Sacramento, Shasta and Fresno – that all ban outdoor grows in the wake of court rulings allowing them to impose severe restrictions on cannabis cultivation, according to the Appeal-Democrat.
 
Patients told county supervisors a ban on outdoor grows was a bad idea during a three-hour workshop, while others were in favor of the moratorium, saying they’ve seen their neighborhoods turned into a “war zone,” the newspaper said.
 
There are many growers in California that cannot afford to grow marijuana indoors due to high equipment costs. There are also other growers that simply don’t have an adequate facility to cultivate marijuana indoors. Banning outdoor cultivation will essentially shut them down, leaving them without medicine, and leaving other patients that rely on them without medicine. That is unacceptable.
 

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Congressional Spending Bill Blocks DEA Medical Marijuana Raids

Category: News | Posted on Wed, December, 10th 2014 by THCFinder
bill-blocks-dea-raidsWhat a wild day yesterday. As I was sitting in my cubicle reading tweets earlier in the day, it seemed that Washington D.C.’s  marijuana legalization bill was going to be entirely scrapped in a backdoor deal between Democrats and Republicans. As the day progressed, it appeared that possession and cultivation of marijuana in D.C. would move forward, but that Congress wouldn’t approve marijuana sales. Ultimately, the language that was agreed upon in the spending bill that will determine D.C.’s legalization implementation was somewhat vague. Some belief there’s wiggle room to implement legalization in some fashion, others don’t. There will no doubt be a battle over implementation, as there was with medical marijuana in D.C., so activists need to keep the pressure on as much as possible.
 
Something that was included in the spending bill’s language was a ban on using funds for federal medical marijuana raids and hemp enforcement. Those provisions brought praise from Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority, who sent me the following message:
 
“Congressional leaders seem to have finally gotten the message that a supermajority of Americans wants states to be able to implement sensible marijuana reforms without federal interference. This legislation greatly reduces the chances that costly and senseless DEA raids will come between seriously ill patients and the doctor-recommended medicine they need for relief. Now that Congress has created political space by taking this important legislative step, there are no remaining excuses for the Obama administration not to exercise its executive power to reschedule marijuana immediately. The attorney general can begin that process today with the stroke of a pen.”
 
Below is the actual language regarding hemp and medical marijuana from the spending bill, also provided by the Marijuana Majority:
 
“Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
 
“Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.”
 
“Section 538 prohibits the Department of Justice from preventing certain States from implementing State laws regarding the use of medical marijuana.”
 
“Section 539 prohibits the use of funds by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration in contravention of a certain section of the Agricultural Act of 2014.”
 
Yesterday was a bitter sweet day. Medical marijuana aids were de-funded, but Washington D.C.’s marijuana legalization is in limbo. Please contact your members of Congress and tell them to respect the will of D.C. voters. Tell them that vague language is far from good enough – we need full assurances that D.C. residents will be allowed to possess, cultivate, and gift marijuana as Initiative 71 outlined. Or even better – approve taxing and sales of marijuana.
 

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Researchers Working On Creating A Marijuana Breathalyzer

Category: News | Posted on Tue, December, 9th 2014 by THCFinder
researches-working-on-a-mj-breathalyzerThere’s a handful of people working on a marijuana breathalyzer right now. Some have been at it for a few years, and others, like some researchers at Washington State University, are just starting. Per Oregon Live:
 
Hill said he and WSU doctoral student Jessica Tufariello are working on a handheld device that uses a technique called ion mobility spectrometry to detect THC in someone’s breath.
 
Right now, officers and prosecutors rely on blood tests to determine how much active THC is present in a driver’s blood. Those test results aren’t immediately available to patrol officers who suspect someone is driving high.
 
There was a lot of media buzz last week when the research was announced out of Washington, with even many marijuana media outlets claiming that its going to be the future of how marijuana DUIIs are determined. However, I doubt this research, or any research involving a marijuana breathalyzer, will ever be used by officers in the field. Marijuana breathalyzers are built on junk science. Yes, they may eventually be able to detect if a person has marijuana in their system. However, they won’t be able to tell what level of active THC is in a person’s system, or how long ago they consumed marijuana, or most importantly if the person is impaired or not. Marijuana does not affect the system like alcohol does.
 

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Court Strikes Down Mandatory Drug Testing For Florida Welfare

Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
no-wellfare-drug-testing-flArbitrary, mandatory drug testing is wrong, no matter when such a policy is applied. That includes mandatory drug testing for welfare applicants. Eleven states have passed some form of drug testing for welfare applicants. Florida was unique in that it didn’t have a suspicion based policy for drug testing applicants. Florida required all applicants, no matter what, to have to submit to drug testing. That policy was shot down yesterday by a federal appeals court. Per the New York Times:
 
A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits even if they are not suspected of drug use, a measure pushed by Gov. Rick Scott in his first term in office.
 
The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled that the law, one of the strictest in the country, was an unreasonable search because Florida officials had failed to show a “substantial need” to test all people who applied for welfare benefits. Applicants were required to submit to urine tests, a measure that Mr. Scott said would protect children of welfare applicants by ensuring that their parents were not buying and using drugs.
 
“The state has not demonstrated a more prevalent, unique or different drug problem among TANF applicants than in the general population,” the panel said in its unanimous decision, using an acronym for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
 
It will be interesting to see if this case gets challenged all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, and if so, how the Court rules. Will the Court rule that mandatory testing is OK? Will they say that suspicion based testing is OK, but not requiring each and every applicant to test? Or will they throw the entire concept out of the window? Only time will tell.
 

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Washington DC Council Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

Category: News | Posted on Thu, December, 4th 2014 by THCFinder
pre-employment-marijuana-testing-banned-in-waThe pre-employment marijuana test has plagued job seeking marijuana consumers for many, many years. There have been numerous jobs in my life that I would have been great at, and that I desperately needed at the time, but I couldn’t pass the pre-employment drug test because I knew I had marijuana in my system. I know that I’m not alone. Fortunately for Washington D.C. residents, arbitrary pre-employment drug testing for marijuana was banned by the D.C. Council this week. Per the DCist:
 
The D.C. Council unanimously passed temporary legislation yesterday that will prohibit an employer from drug-testing potential employees for marijuana before a conditional job offer has been made.
 
The bill, the “Prohibition of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Emergency Act of 2014″ was introduced by Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large) in March of this year, and explicitly states that an employer cannot test a potential employee for marijuana use until after an offer for employment has been made. After an employee has been hired, however, they “must still adhere to the workplace policies set forth by their employer.”
 
The bill still allows employers to require a drug test after employment has been offered, so applicants still run the risk of not getting the job. However, that denial of employment due to a failed UA will only come after the job has been offered. I’d love to see how many employers get as far as screening applicants, determining which one is the best fit, offering the position to what they feel is the best candidate, then have to grapple with a failed UA by said candidate. The candidate will have risen above everyone else, and employers will be forced to face their reefer madness fears and balance that against what seems in every way to be a qualified employee and the decision to retain that employee. From my experience, marijuana consumers can be very excellent employees. They shouldn’t be discriminated against solely because they choose to unwind with a substance that is far safer than alcohol or tobacco, two substances that most employers don’t deny employment for.
 

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