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Stoned Driving Takes a Backseat in California's Legislature

Category: News | Posted on Sat, March, 21st 2015 by THCFinder

While everyone from public policy experts to the underground betting community have wagered that California is a lock when it comes to the legalization of marijuana in 2016, it seems that state lawmakers have thrown in the towel when it comes to drafting legislation to police stoned driving.

For the first time in three assemblies, the state legislature did not receive a filing of any measure aimed at passing a more definitive law against operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana. A recent report by SF Weekly showed that out of the almost 20 cannabis-related proposals submitted, not a single lawmaker took a stand on the issue of driving high.

Perhaps this is because state lawmakers are sick of the huge amount of discrepancies surrounding the definition of “stoned driving.” Some of the last proposals on the issue would have made it illegal for drivers to operate a vehicle with any sign of marijuana in their system.

Of course, those proposals were viciously attacked and, ultimately, snuffed out because they made outlaws of people who had consumed marijuana days or even weeks before being tested.

Read More: http://www.hightimes.com/read/stoned-driving-takes-backseat-californias-legislature


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Marijuana Gears Up for Production High in U.S. Labs

Category: News | Posted on Sat, March, 21st 2015 by THCFinder
 


Now, with legal marijuana increasingly available to the US public, NIDA is quietly working to expand the amount and variety of the drug available for study. 

Residents of 23 US states can buy medical marijuana to treat everything from cancer pain to anxiety, but US scientists must wade through onerous paperwork to score the drug for study. Their sole dealer is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which has a contract with the University of Mississippi in Oxford to produce marijuana for research purposes.

The agency has long faced complaints that its marijuana is too weak to represent what is sold on the street, and contains low levels of the non-psychedelic chemicals that show therapeutic promise for conditions such as epilepsy and chronic pain. Now, with legal marijuana increasingly available to the US public, NIDA is quietly changing course—working to expand the amount and variety of the drug available for study.

“We want to be able to evaluate the claims that marijuana is therapeutically beneficial” and to explore treatments for addiction, says Nora Volkow, director of NIDA in Rockville, Maryland.

In 2014, the institute increased its spending on research marijuana by 50%. Annual production at the University of Mississippi farm, where all the agency supplies are grown, soared from 18 to 600 kilograms, and the crop harvested late last year includes two new strains. One has low concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s primary active ingredient, but high levels of cannabidiol, a non-hallucinogenic substance that seems to have therapeutic effects. The second has relatively balanced levels of the two chemicals.

Mahmoud ElSohly, who directs the University of Mississippi cultivation programme, says that the new strains will soon be ready to ship to researchers. But the farm’s improved offerings may not appease NIDA’s critics—including US states such as Colorado, which legalized recreational pot use in 2012. In December, the Colorado state government asked the federal government to allow state universities to grow marijuana for research, citing bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining products from NIDA and from private growers overseas.

Read More: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/marijuana-gears-up-for-production-high-in-u-s-labs/

 

 


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Obama Predicts Marijuana Will Be Rescheduled

Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 20th 2015 by THCFinder

President Obama spent the majority of 2014 skirting the issue of marijuana reform, but it appears as though some elusive power has finally given the leader of the free world permission to take his cookie-cutter comments on pot reform to the next level.

During an interview with VICE News, Obama took the opportunity to delve deeper into the question of federal pot reform, predicting that Congress could soon be forced to rethink the nation’s cannabis prohibition policies. 

The President told VICE co-founder Shane Smith that as the trend of statewide legalization continues to spread, and as bipartisan politics keep coming together in support of the issue, folks on Capitol Hill will have no choice but to make crucial adjustments to the law. Yet, he maintained that any change will be in the direction of criminal justice reform, easing the penalties for non-violent drug offenders, and not a total prohibitionary repeal.

“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side,” Obama said. “At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may reschedule marijuana.”

It is interesting that the President’s comments come just one week after Senators Rand Paul, Cory Booker and Kristen Gillibrand introduced legislation aimed at reclassifying cannabis as a Schedule II controlled substance, and legalizing it for medical use on a national scale. Is this merely a coincidence, or a hint that changes in federal pot laws are right around the corner?

It is somewhat discouraging that while marijuana legalization in Colorado has substantially bolsteredthe state’s economy—$53 million in state tax revenue—while also creating a wealth of new jobs, Obama suggests the concerns expressed by young Americans over pot reform are misplaced and should be refocused on the bigger picture.'

Read More:http://www.hightimes.com/read/obama-predicts-marijuana-will-be-rescheduled


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Former Governor Gary Johnson Puts Cannabis Unfriendly Lawmakers on Endangered Species List

Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 20th 2015 by THCFinder

MESQUITE, NV / ACCESSWIRE / March 19, 2015 / Former Governor Gary Johnson, President and CEO of Cannabis Sativa, Inc. (Stock Symbol OTCQB:CBDS), compared the legal marijuana industry to a dam about to burst and warned lawmakers opposing legalization to start packing their bags.

"The smart money has been waiting for the first big brand to emerge." The former Republican governor and 2012 Libertarian Presidential candidate spoke to an estimated 750 marijuana industry representatives attending a two-day conference at the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference. "Green Rush investors have been blue in the face waiting for a front-runner, but the starter's pistol is now raised and ready to sound the biggest bang since the end of Prohibition."

The two-term former governor had words of caution for state and national lawmakers who oppose or attempt to complicate legalization.

"More Americans favor legalization today than those who don't. Representatives who stand in the way of the people will be swept out of office."

Johnson's Cannabis Sativa, Inc. was rated fourth among the top eight legal cannabis companies by Forbes Magazine. The firm's wholly owned subsidiary, "hi," was hailed in the article as a brand to beat.

"Investors are about to get what they've been waiting for," Johnson hinted. "Big product variety, big distribution and the first mega brands in the legal marijuana industry. The road to legalization has been a rocky one, but no one doubts it's a superhighway paved in gold."

Read More: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/former-governor-gary-johnson-puts-133000437.html


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Boy Suspended from School for a Year for Look-Alike Pot Leaf

Category: News | Posted on Thu, March, 19th 2015 by THCFinder

A sixth grade Virginia elementary student was suspended last year for 364 days after school officials caught him in possession of what they believed to be the leaf from a cannabis plant. Yet, even after several tests revealed the leaf was nothing related to marijuana, school administrators still refused to allow the 11-year-old to come back to class, which his parents say has caused him to suffer a great amount of psychological distress and forced him into treatment for severe depression and panic attacks.

Last September, Bruce and Linda Bays received a call from officials with Bedford Middle Schools, where their son was enrolled in the gifted and talented program, claiming their son, who has only been identified as R.M.B., had been caught in possession of a marijuana leaf. Apparently, three separate witnesses had come forward with information that R.M.B. had the pot leaf stashed in his backpack and that he had shown it off several times throughout the course of the day. A leaf and a lighter were discovered later in the boy’s possession.

As you can probably imagine, the incident stirred up quite a bit of controversy inside the small VA community. The school suspended R.M.B from class for nearly a year, while the sheriff’s department filed charges against him for possession of marijuana – it was undoubtedly one of the worst days the Bays family had ever endured.

Interestingly, however, several months after their son had been cast out of the classroom and made the pariah of the playground, the Bays received word that the pot leaf in question was not marijuana. In fact, the local prosecutor had no choice but to dismiss the charges against the boy because at least three tests on the leaf delivered negative results. Yet, school officials would not allow R.M.B. to come to class.

The Bays have since filed a federal lawsuit against Bedford County Schools as well as the Bedford County Sheriff’s Department asserting that R.M.B.’s right to due process was violated in this case because he was kicked out of school and had even been the subject of a criminal investigation over a matter that could not be proven. Attorney Melvin Williams, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Bays family, told The Roanoke Times that the school resource officer “swore” that R.M.B. was in possession of marijuana, yet “the field test came back not inconclusive, but negative,” he said.

Read More: http://www.hightimes.com/read/boy-suspended-school-year-look-alike-pot-leaf


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Obama: If Enough States Decriminalize Marijuana, Congress May Change Federal Law

Category: News | Posted on Tue, March, 17th 2015 by THCFinder

President Barack Obama said if enough states reform their marijuana laws, Congress may change federal law that continues to make the drug illegal.

Obama, during an interview with Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith released in full on Monday, said he's encouraged that liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans seem to agree that current U.S. marijuana laws don't make sense.

"We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side," Obama said. "At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana."

Last week, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill that would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug, which has high potential for abuse and no medical value, to a Schedule II drug, which has lower potential danger and recognized medical benefits. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Twenty-three states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Four states, as well as D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana.

"I'd separate out the issue of criminalization of marijuana from encouraging its use," Obama said. "I think there's no doubt that our criminal justice system, generally, is so heavily skewed towards cracking down on non-violent drug offenders that it has not just had a terrible effect on many communities -- particularly communities of color -- rendering a lot of folks unemployable because they got felony records, disproportionate prison sentences. It costs a huge amount of money to states and a lot of states are figuring that out.

"But what I'm encouraged by is you're starting to see not just liberal Democrats, but also some very conservative Republicans recognize this doesn't make sense -- including the libertarian wing of the Republican Party."

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/16/obama-marijuana-decriminalization_n_6881374.html


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