Obama: Time for "conversation" on marijuana laws
Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 14th 2012 by THCFinder
President Obama said he does not support marijuana legalization but that it's time to have a "conversation" on the matter now that Washington state and Colorado have legalized the drug at the state level.
"This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law," Mr. Obama said in an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters. "I head up the executive branch; we're supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we're going to need to have is a conversation about, how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it's legal?"
Though Colorado and Washington voters in November approved ballot initiatives that legalize recreational marijuana use, as well as its regulation and taxation, the drug is still banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The Obama administration has yet to say how it will respond, but it has a number of choices: Its options include taking a hands-off approach and letting the states proceed, enforcing the federal law itself and raiding state-sanctioned marijuana sellers once they're established next year, or suing the states.
As Mr. Obama alluded to, some members of Congress are supporting legislation to amend the Controlled Substances Act, to exempt its enforcement against marijuana in states that have legalized the drug. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy plans on holding a hearing early next year to consider the federal government's options.
Mr. Obama told Walters that while "the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions... it does not make sense from a prioritization point of view to for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said under state law that's legal."
Federal drug law enforcement, however, hardly ever targets individual drug users. Instead, if the administration chose to enforce federal law, it would likely target commercial distributors. Alison Holcomb, the drug policy director for the ACLU of Washington state and an author of the state's marijuana ballot initiative, told CBSNews.com that marijuana use shouldn't be particularly risky for individuals in the state.
"Federal law enforcement resources tend to be focused on major organized crime," she said. "It is very, very rare that marijuana use is subjected to federal enforcement," unless users are on federal lands like national parks. "By and large, the DEA has much better things to do than go after the marijuana users."
Spokane planning for marijuana stores
Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 14th 2012 by THCFinder
SPOKANE, Wash. – Spokane is starting to plan for the shops that will open in about a year to sell recreational marijuana.
City Councilman Jon Snyder says the city needs to identify where shops can go, following regulations in the new Washington law that will keep them 1,000 feet away from schools, playgrounds, parks, libraries and transit centers.
Snyder tells KREM ( http://bit.ly/UFPjOO) the city has a lot of work to do to protect the community and establish rules for what could be a lucrative business.
Detroit police remain unclear on handling of marijuana possession in wake of legalization
Category: News | Posted on Thu, December, 13th 2012 by THCFinder
DETROIT — Detroit voters overwhelmingly supported decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana in November, but so far it doesn't appear anything has changed from the government or legal perspectives.
Not one of the four agencies MLive Detroit spoke to about the law said they have instructed officers to discontinue arrests or citations for marijuana possession in the city, based on the guidelines of the proposal.
The proposal voters passed 65-35 over a month ago says it's now legal for anyone over 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana on private property in Detroit.
State police said the proposal has no bearing on their enforcement operations. Get caught with pot and you'll be cited under a misdemeanor violation of state possession laws and subject to $2,000 in fines and up to a year in jail, said State Police Lt. Mike Shaw.
"We don’t enforce local ordinances, so nothing has changed for us," Shaw said. "Mariuana is still illegal for us according to state law. Anyone who doesn't have a medical marijuana card will be arrested for state possession" violation.
Shaw said any agency is allowed to write a violation based on the state law, even with the success of the proposal.
The Detroit Police Department seems to be in limbo on the matter.
Former president Jimmy Carter OK with legalizing marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Tue, December, 11th 2012 by THCFinder
Former President Jimmy Carter said he is in favor of legalizing marijuana during a public panel that CNN aired Tuesday.
CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux asked Carter whether he supported marijuana’s legalization during a forum hosted by The Captain Planet Foundation on Friday in Georgia.
“I’m in favor of it. I think it’s OK,” Carter told Malveaux. “I don’t think it’s going to happen in Georgia yet, but I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington for instance around Seattle and let the American government and let the American people see does it cause a serious problem or not.”
Washington and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana last month, becoming the first two states to do so, putting state laws at odds with federal laws. U.S. officials remain critical of the laws passing.
Carter said that decriminalizing drugs doesn’t necessarily mean more drug users.
“All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal a few years ago and the use of drugs has gone down dramatically and nobody has been put in prison,” Carter said.
He added: “So I think a few places around the world is good to experiment with and also just a few states in America are good to take the initiative and try something out. That’s the way our country has developed over the last 200 years. It’s about a few states being kind of experiment states. So on that basis I am in favor of it.”
Carter’s remarks come following last Thursday’s premiere of “Breaking the Taboo,” filmmaker Sam Branson’s documentary that says the global drug war failed and in which the former president criticized former first lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign.
Carter noted that when he was president, he wanted to decriminalize marijuana.
“When I was president, in 1979 I made my definitive speech about drugs and I called for the decriminalization of marijuana. This was in 1979 — not for the legalization but the decriminalization to keep people from being put in prison just because they were smoking a marijuana cigarette,” Carter said.
Read more: http://www.politico.com
Washington state bar owner tells pot smokers to light up
Category: News | Posted on Mon, December, 10th 2012 by THCFinder
When that gets old, bar owner Frank Schnarr suggests, area stoners have another option: grab a booth at Frankie's Sports Bar & Grill in Olympia and toke up there.
Schnarr, 62, says he is not acting out of a love of cannabis - he says he hasn't smoked the stuff since he was a soldier stationed in Southeast Asia in the 1970s. Rather, he's looking for new sources of income.
"I stay up at night," he said. "I'm about to lose my business. So I've got to figure out some way to get people in here."
Schnarr, who waged an ultimately successful battle with local and state officials over Washington's 2006 smoking ban, appears to be the first restaurant or bar owner in the state to test the recently expanded limits on recreational marijuana use.
So, is he breaking the law?
Federal, state and local officials appear unsure. Or if they are, they're not saying.
"Marijuana remains illegal under federal law," said Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle. "I can't tell you whether what he's doing is legal or not."
Says Tom Morrill, Olympia's city attorney: "We're looking into it. There are a lot of changes in state law right now. That's all I can say."
Mikhail Carpenter, spokesman for the state's Liquor Control Board, newly empowered to make rules for and oversee the state's planned regime for the cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana, is similarly noncommittal.
"The board is weighing its options with regard to Frankie's," he said. "It's not perfectly crystal clear as to who this falls to."
Carpenter said he knows of no other bar or restaurant in the state that allows marijuana smoking.
The legal gray area that Schnarr is exploiting exists in part thanks to his earlier fight over the smoking ban.
In order to flout it, Schnarr renamed his establishment's smoking-friendly second floor as "Friends of Frankie's," a private room limited to those who pay a $10 annual membership fee.
Marijuana Legalization: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Could Be Convinced
Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 7th 2012 by THCFinder
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says he doesn't yet know if he supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use -- but he could be convinced.
"I'm not there yet. I could be," Villaraigosa said during an extended interview on HuffPost Live Thursday. "We have to make sure that you have certain protections, obviously, like driving under the influence. But it's not before us, so I don't need to opine at this point.
Over 95 percent of the Border Patrol's anti-drug trafficking efforts along the U.S.-Mexico border involve marijuana, according to a report from the Center for International Policy released this week. Marijuana accounted for 46 percent of all illegal drug arrests in 2010, according to FBI statistics.
But despite U.S. authorities' preoccupation with controlling marijuana use, support for its legalization has grown in recent years. Medical marijuana laws have made the drug widely available in California, and the states of Washington and Colorado legalized recreational use of it on Nov. 6.
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