California Marijuana Legalization Initiative Postponed Until 2016
Category: News | Posted on Fri, February, 21st 2014 by THCFinder
The Los Angeles Times reported today that a deep-pocketed marijuana reform coalition including the Drug Policy Alliance had decided not to move forward this year with an initiative to legalize the weed in the Golden State. Instead, the coalition will aim at 2016.
That means marijuana legalization will most likely not be on the ballot in California this year. Three other legalization initiatives have been filed, but two of them appear to lack the funds to complete expensive signature gathering efforts — 504,000 signatures are needed by April 18 — and the third has yet to be cleared for circulation.
The coalition, which is supported by billionaire financier George Soros, and which included the late Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, had consistently argued that 2016 was more doable than this year, but filed the Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act late last year after polling numbers suggested victory was within reach.
At the time, spokesmen said they would make a decision on whether to move forward or not around the beginning of February. Now, that decision has been made.
The decision to wait was a “very close” call and “one that came down to the wire,” Graham Boyd, counsel to Lewis, told The Times. “We see this as a trial run or dress rehearsal for 2016,” he said.
Boyd and DPA executive director Ethan Nadelmann told The Times in interviews Monday that they wanted more time to do outreach with elected officials, law enforcement, and public health leaders, an approach they said worked in Washington state. They also said money was an issue, and that the death of Peter Lewis had an impact.
“We believe the best way to go forward with any state ballot initiative is to have a strong funding base in place before launching the campaign,” Boyd said. “It is certainly true that Peter Lewis’ death made that a much more difficult process to do in the time we had.”
Media Tries To Blame Cannabis For Fatal Crash
Category: News | Posted on Wed, February, 19th 2014 by THCFinder
It's pretty upsetting when a plant is blamed for a negative event when there are other factors involved that have a far larger helping hand then the plant that we all love so much. Take for example an article I read that was titled "Driver On Cannabis Before Fatal Crash". Published in the Otago Daily Times, the article tells the story of a terrible car accident in which driver Iain Stewart Crisp, 45, took the life of 24-year old Gregory Woledge, who was driving his work van with his 23-year old coworker Ashley Donkersly.
Crisp allegedly smoked marijuana before getting in to his vehicle that day. He veered in to the other lane and crashed head on in to Woledge's work van, sending the van rolling over the side of a bridge and in to the water below. Woledge was stuck in the sinking van and was unable to be rescued. His coworker was saved by Constable Deane O'Connor, who leapt in to the water right after the van fell. Both men were treated for hypothermia after emerging from the water.
Employed as a bus driver, Crisp had already driven his maximum amount of hours (this happened three times previously as well, showing that Crisp was clearly working far too hard and long for a normal person) and had been deprived of sleep. The amount of cannabis in his bloodstream at the time of the crash was enough to be considered a single joint, not nearly enough to cause a seasoned cannabis user to fall asleep at the wheel and veer in to oncoming traffic. Crisp told authorities that he had no recollection of even driving on to the bridge, let alone the actual crash itself, as the man falsified his logbook that day, writing his sign out time at least two and a half hours after the crash happened.
While the title of the referenced article makes it seem as if cannabis is the sole cause of this tragic accident, it's clear that there were other factors leading up to it. The lack of sleep for humans can be life threatening and can cause the deprived to randomly fall asleep, presenting serious danger if the person happen to be behind the wheel. It's definitely clear that cannabis was not the sole cause of this tragedy and it should be acknowledge that there are other factors involved, especially something as severe as sleep deprivation.
Arizona Lawmaker: Remove Felony Charge For Simple Marijuana Possession
Category: News | Posted on Tue, February, 18th 2014 by THCFinder
In a perfect world, no one would get arrested for marijuana, or even get a fine for that matter. Possessing and consuming marijuana is a harmless act that shouldn’t bother anyone, especially law enforcement. Consuming marijuana does not increase violent tendencies in people, and I’ve never heard of anyone stealing scrap metal to feed their marijuana habit.
Unfortunately, in the world we live in, marijuana possession can carry hefty penalties, far beyond what is appropriate for the act. For instance, in Arizona possession of up to two pounds of marijuana is a class six felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and a $750 fine. And that’s for no intent to distribute! Get caught with a quarter pound of bammer, which is a common thing in Arizona, and you will have your life ripped apart.
At least one lawmaker in Arizona wants to change that. Arizona Representative Mark A. Cardenas, D-Phoenix, has introduced House Bill 2474 which would treat possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana without intent to distribute as a civil penalty of no more than a $100 fine. Possession of more than one ounce, but less than 2 pounds, of marijuana without intent to distribute would be a petty offense, while possession of greater amounts would be a misdemeanor. There would be no felony penalty for possession only according to the bill.
University Of Colorado Begins Mapping Cannabis Genome
Category: News | Posted on Mon, February, 17th 2014 by THCFinder
With cannabis recently legalized in parts of the country, scientists who have been sitting on their hands for years can now study the plant in its natural form – scientists like those at the University of Colorado Boulder, who have announced the launch of the Cannabis Genome Research Initiative. The goal of the eighteen-month endeavor is to map the DNA makeup of cannabis, and to provide more knowledge about the plant’s history.
“Despite the fact that cannabis is one of the most valuable and historically important crop species, we know comparatively little about the plant,” says Nolan Kane of CU‘s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, who is leading the project. According to Kane, the data gathered through mapping the cannabis genome will allow growers to explore “more efficient and cost-effective cannabis breeding — choosing what to breed with what in smarter ways.” Kane doesn’t dismiss the progress already made by cannabis cultivators – far from it – but feels his research will make things easier.
“The tools I will develop will allow a better prediction of which plants are desired without the expense of growing, measuring, chemotyping, etc., all of those plants,” says Kane. “This is a huge additional expense and waste of time that can be avoided by modern, marker-assisted selection.” Kane says another major application of cannabis genome research is to breed more advanced, economical forms of hemp. “This is a potentially very valuable crop for agriculture in Colorado and other places,” he states. “It could be used for biofuels, food and fiber production for high-quality paper, clothing, rope, so many purposes.”
Quick to reassure that their research has nothing to do with Genetic Modification, or the production of GMOs, Kane explains that, “With our work, the genetic variation isn’t altered, you are just choosing what to breed with what in smarter ways. People have been breeding animals and plants for 10,000 years or more, so the basic approaches are not new, just substantially improved in terms of efficiency.”
Court Strikes Down Italy's Marijuana Law, 10,000 Inmates to be Set Free
Category: News | Posted on Fri, February, 14th 2014 by THCFinder
Italy’s constitutional court on Wednesday struck down a controversial drug law – approved in 2006 – that tripled sentences for selling, cultivating or possessing cannabis, making the penalty equivalent to “hard drugs” such as cocaine and heroin.
The constitutional court said the law was “illegitimate”, without going into further details.
According to Reuters, this new ruling could set free as many as 10,000 inmates who were imprisoned due to the nation’s harsh cannabis policies.
The 2006 law, which raised sentences for cannabis possession, cultivation and sales from 2-6 years, to 6-20 years, has led to a drastic increase in those in prison due to cannabis; in fact, 40% of Italy’s inmates are incarcerated for a cannabis-related offense.
After today’s ruling, the 2006 law will be repealed, reverting the nation’s cannabis policies back to 1993, when it was considered a “soft drug”, carrying significantly lower penalties than the possession, cultivation or sales of hard drugs.
“The so-called drug war as conceived in North America has been lost and it’s time to return to rational rules that distinguish between substances,” says Franco Corleon of Society of Reason, a human rights group that praised today’s ruling.
Members Of Congress Tell Obama To Remove Marijuana From Schedule 1
Category: News | Posted on Thu, February, 13th 2014 by THCFinder
Today 18 members of the United States Congress sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. This issue has drawn a lot of press lately and there has been a lot of debate about what such a move would mean. On one end you have people like me that want it removed because it’s sound science. On the other end of the spectrum you have people like Kevin Sabet who think it will have zero impact, yet still want to keep things how they are.
The language of the letter is as follows:
We are encouraged by your recent comments in your interview with David Remnick in the January 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker, about the shifting public opinion on the legalization of marijuana. We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana.
Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws. Nearly two-thirds of a million people every year are arrested for marijuana possession. We spend billions every year enforcing marijuana laws, which disproportionately impact minorities. According to the ACLU, black Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite comparable marijuana usage rates.
You said that you don’t believe marijuana is any more dangerous than alcohol; a fully legalized substance, and believe it to be less dangerous “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” This is true. Marijuana, however, remains listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act at Schedule I, the strictest classification, along with heroin and LSD. This is a higher listing than cocaine and methamphetamine, Schedule II substances that you gave as examples of harder drugs. This makes sense.
Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. Schedule I recognizes no medical use, disregarding both medical evidence and the laws of nearly half of th estates that have legalized medical marijuana. A Schedule I or II classification also means that marijuana businesses in states where adult or medical use are legal cannot deduct business expenses from their taxes or take tax credits due to Section 280E of the federal tax code.
We request that you instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate way, at the very least eliminating from Schedule I or II. Furthermore, one would hope that that (sic) your Administration officials publicly reflect your views on this matter. Statements such as the one from DEA chief of operations James L. Capra that the legalization of marijuana at the state level is “reckless and irresponsible” serve no purposes other than to inflame passions and misinform the public.
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