Philadelphia Nears Deal to Ease Marijuana Laws

Category: News | Posted on Fri, September, 12th 2014 by THCFinder
People in Philadelphia caught with small amounts of marijuana or smoking it in public may soon face no more than a written citation and a modest fine as the City Council moved Thursday to decriminalize the drug after a reversal by Mayor Michael A. Nutter.
The mayor, who had scoffed at arguments that black men are unfairly targeted in arrests involving marijuana, announced his support of decriminalization this week. He had declined to sign a bill the Council passed in June, saying it needed more study.
Under the measure, which if approved would be effective Oct. 20, people stopped with less than 30 grams of marijuana, about one ounce, will be fined $25, and those caught using it in public will be fined $100 or be required to perform up to nine hours of community service.
In neither situation will violators be arrested, taken to police stations, fingerprinted or left with a criminal record — all of which stigmatize small-time users, making it harder to find and keep jobs or attend college, advocates of decriminalization say.
Of the more than 4,000 arrests in Philadelphia each year for possessing small amounts of marijuana, 83 percent are of blacks or Latinos, said James F. Kenney, a City Council member who sponsored the decriminalization bill.
“It follows you,” he said. “If you’re young, black and trying to find a job in this economy, it’s very difficult. With a criminal arrest, it’s impossible. On top of that, you’re not eligible for college financial aid and you can’t go into the military.”
Mr. Kenney said nearly three out of four of those arrested have no previous police record. Moreover, he said, possession is already effectively decriminalized for white residents, whom the police rarely target. “There are no arrests at Phish concerts or fraternity parties,” he said.
In August, Mr. Nutter, who is African-American, called that argument “a bogus issue” and an “insult to the community.” He denied that the police discriminate against blacks. Arrest rates on marijuana charges are higher for blacks because, the mayor said, there is more police “engagement” in black communities, where most of the city’s shootings and homicides take place. Blacks, like whites, want safe neighborhoods without “knuckleheads” smoking marijuana on the corner, the mayor said.
On Wednesday, in an appearance with Mr. Kenney, who is white, the mayor said he would support an amended version of the bill that included a separate civil offense for marijuana use in public. In cases of possession or use, police officers will write a notice of violation and confiscate the marijuana.


Philadelphia set to decriminalize marijuana possession

Category: News | Posted on Wed, September, 10th 2014 by THCFinder
The Mayor of Philadelphia has agreed to endorse legislation that decriminalizes the possession and public consumption of marijuana, making it one of the largest American cities to turn back punitive drug laws.
The bill, which Mayor Michael Nutter said he will endorse, was proposed by the city council, and – with the latest amendments – would levy fines of $25 on people caught possessing small amounts of the drug, and $100 for smoking it in public. In neither case would an offender face a criminal charge or arrest. 
“This is about how we deal with penalties in that regard. And there will be penalties. There’s a consequence to people violating the law,” Nutter told reporters on Monday. The bill will be voted on next week, then sent to the mayor for his signature. 
The bill’s sponsor, City Council member Jim Kenney (d), wanted to take marijuana possession out of the criminal realm and make it a non-civil offense. 
“There’s no more handcuffs, no more bookings, no more criminal record. Police will not have to leave their posts and go to the station house to deal with this,” said Kenney to Policy.Mic. Fines can also be waived by agreeing to perform public service. 
Kenney pressed for legislative change recognizing that an arrest for marijuana results in a criminal record, which makes getting hired for a job more difficult or impossible. It cuts a person’s chance of receiving college aid and eliminates one’s chance of serving in the military. 
Since 2010, the city has fined people $200 for marijuana possession and ordered three hours of drug abuse classes to go along with an arrest record. 
Kenney says this plan will keep 4,000 people from being arrested each year, and will save the Philadelphia Police Department about $4 million a year. 
Over 55,000 people are arrested in the state every year for drug possession, and while the population is 83 percent white and 12 percent black, drug arrests seem to disproportionally target African Americans – blacks made up 40 percent of all drug arrests and whites over 58 percent in 2011. A study by the American Civil Liberties Union also found blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. 
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Denver To Ban Unlicensed Dab Making

Category: News | Posted on Tue, September, 9th 2014 by THCFinder
denver-to-ban-dab-makingI have always said that butane hash oil (BHO) making should be left to the pros. There is too much crappy dabs out there right now for one, and it’s a public safety issue for two. I think that people that know what they are doing should be allowed to make BHO at home, but unfortunately, amateurs are ruining that right with every apartment explosion that occurs. Working with a dangerous material like butane is not something that every average Joe should be doing. Only people that can follow strict safety protocols should be allowed to make BHO.
In the City of Denver, a ban is being proposed due to the increasing amount of idiots that are hurting themselves and others with BHO explosions. It’s a sad thing, because most of the best BHO makers in Denver are not a licensed processor. This is going to be a classic case of a handful of idiots ruining everything for everyone else. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
Denver is looking to ban residents from using explosive chemicals to create homemade hash oil, a move that could drive more consumers to dispensaries and recreational cannabis stores.
Mayor Michael Hancock has proposed an addition to city codes that would “prohibit the hazardous solvent-based extraction process by which individuals directly and indirectly involved are subjected to dangerous conditions,” according to a press release issued by his office today.
This should serve as a learning moment for people that don’t live in Denver and make BHO. Leave BHO production to people that know what they are doing. If you are trying to make BHO on the stove in your one bedroom apartment, chances are you are operating in a ticking time bomb. For the sake of your own safety, and the safety of those around you, turn your stove off, dispose of your BHO making ‘equipment’, and head to the store to buy some BHO. The BHO you end up consuming will be better, and everyone will be safer.


Iowa man with terminal cancer to be sentenced Tuesday for growing pot

Category: News | Posted on Tue, September, 9th 2014 by THCFinder
prison-for-cancer-patient-growing-cannabisAn Iowa man convicted of growing marjuana, which he says he used to treat his terminal cancer, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday afternoon.
Benton Mackenzie, 48, who holds an Oregon medical marijuana card, faces up to three years in prison, reports Brian Wellner, a Quad-City Times staff writer who has closely followed Mackenzie's case. Mackenzie's wife and son also face sentencing Tuesday.
Mackenzie's supporters are expected to rally at the Scott County Courthouse before the hearing. 
Mackenzie, who lives in a rural community outside of Davenport, traveled with his family to Oregon in July so he could obtain medical marijuana. Oregon allows out-of-state residents to obtain medical marijuana cards.
In June 2013, the local sheriff’s office raided Mackenzie’s grow site at his parents’ home, seizing 71 plants, and arresting Mackenzie, his wife Loretta and their grown son. Benton and Loretta Mackenzie were on probation from a previous marijuana-related conviction when Mackenzie said he decided to grow pot again.
Both were convicted in July of drug felonies stemming from the grow operation.
During his visit, Mackenzie told The Oregonian that he used the plants to make the potent marijuana concentrate, butane hash oil, known as BHO. He said he used the oil, which is made with a flammable solvent that extracts THC and other cannabinoids from marijuana flowers and leaves, as the main treatment for his cancer.
He has refused chemotherapy, which he said has a 50 percent success rate when it comes to angiosarcoma, the cancer he has. He feared the treatment would compromise a heart condition from which he also suffers. 


Texas Teen No Longer Facing Life In Prison For Cannabis Brownies

Category: News | Posted on Mon, September, 8th 2014 by THCFinder
texas-teen-and-marijuana-browniesTexas has very, very harsh cannabis laws. A case that demonstrates that is the case of Jacob Lavoro, who is 19 years old. Jacob Lavoro was caught with cannabis brownies, and the State of Texas was trying to throw the book at him. Because they were brownies, and had flour, sugar, and other ingredients, the weight of the brownies was being considered the weight of the possession with intent to distribute. That all added up to a first degree felony charge, which carries a prison sentence of up to life in prison.
Fortunately, that charge was dropped, but unfortunately, another charge was applied. Per Raw Story:
The district attorney in Williamson County decided not to pursue the first-degree felony case, and a grand jury indicted Lavoro last week on a second-degree felony charge for possession of THC and a state felony charge for possession of marijuana.
“We figured that would be a simpler, more straight-forward case,” said District Attorney Mark Brunner. “We wouldn’t get lost in the weeds of arguing about the adulterants and dilutants, even though the law allows us to make that argument.”
The new charge still brings an overly harsh prison sentence if convicted. A second degree felony charge could result in up to 20 years in prison. 20 years is obviously better than life, however, it’s still a huge injustice, and a tremendous waste of tax payer dollars and corrections resources if it happens. A prison bed should be reserved for a person that is a danger to society, not for someone that makes cannabis brownies.


Italy To Release 10,000 Marijuana Inmates

Category: News | Posted on Fri, September, 5th 2014 by THCFinder
italy-to-release-mj-inmaesNo one should ever have to be arrested and jailed because of marijuana. Prison beds should be reserved for those members of society that are such a threat to others that they need to be locked up so that they can’t re-offend. This obviously would include rapists, murderers, child molesters, etc. To throw marijuana consumers, sellers, and growers into the prison population with violent criminals is a huge was of resources and a huge injustice. Italy is taking a step in the right direction by releasing roughly ten thousand inmates from prison. Per The Weedist:
Italy is poised to release about ten thousand inmates due to a shift in sentencing laws that eases punishment for cannabis use, growth and possession. The change comes as a result of the striking down of a law that previously tripled cannabis related sentences.
The estimate is that about 40% of Italian inmates were convicted of drug related crimes. In reality, this “new” law is not new at all. The Italian judicial system is rather reverting back to the previous law (prior to the ludicrous mandatory tripling of sentence law). After this takes effect, hard drugs like cocaine and heroin will result in much longer sentences than cannabis infractions. For some it means they would be released on time served, for others it’s a reduction in sentencing from 6-20 years down to 2-6 years.
This is a great move by Italy, but it doesn’t go far enough. People in Italy, and around the world, need to keep pressure on for reform until every marijuana inmate is released from jail, and legalization is achieved worldwide. Still, this is a great step in the right direction, and I hope that more countries move in this direction, including the United States. Jeff Mizanskey is currently serving a life sentence in a Missouri prison for marijuana only offenses.



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