Global Cannabis March Expects Thousands To Rally In Portland

April 22nd, 2014 by The General No comments »
Oregon - Michael Bachara was careful not to go off message. As the executive director of Oregon's branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, he chooses his words carefully as he and other pot activists fight for full legalization in the state. When asked for comment on the group's local gathering of the Global Cannabis March on May 3, he referred me to his press release on the event.

"Cannabis proponents agree; the war on the cannabis plant is a farce, the drug war is taking a last gasp," he said in the release. "No political movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, it's just a matter of time before marijuana prohibition crumbles." If his message sounds calculated it's because it is. After their 2012 ballot initiative failure, Oregon marijuana activists are collecting signatures for two different 2014 measures, a constitutional amendment to end prohibition of the drug and a statute to tax and regulate recreational sales.

Events like the Global Cannabis March are great ways for state activists to rally support and quickly gather the tens of thousands of signatures needed by the July 3 deadline. As the name suggests, the cannabis march is part of a global movement, with about 250 cities participating worldwide. It started in 1999 as the Million Marijuana March, drawing tens of thousands of participants in 30 different cities.

As an early participant in the protest, Portland is celebrating 15 years of the march, gathering protesters at Pioneer Courthouse Square and marching down Salmon, Naito, Oak and Broadway before heading back to the square for the rally. Oregon congressman Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., will be the keynote speaker at the event, an important sign of the legalization movement's increasing prominence. "I think it's game over in less than five years," he told the Huffington Post. "There's no question that we're likely to see another state or two this year legalizing [recreational] use."

Rally-goers will hear from eight other speakers as well as a handful of musicians over the five-hour event, which is sponsored by Oregon NORML, the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp, and KBOO. Bachara went off script to note that the annual rally in Portland won't end with legalization in Oregon. As long as marijuana prohibition exists somewhere in the U.S., there's a reason to march against it, he said. "We need to get the rest of the country on board with what's sensible."

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Author: Jamie Hale
Contact: Contact-us
Website: Global Cannabis March expects thousands to rally in Portland |

Thousands Of Prisoners Could Qualify For Clemency

April 22nd, 2014 by The General No comments »
Thousands of federal offenders could become eligible for clemency consideration by President Obama under new guidelines set to be released later this week by the Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a video message posted Monday on the Justice website, said the expanded program will allow the president to consider clemency requests from "a larger field of eligible individuals.'' The Justice Department's action comes less than a week after the White House asked the department to revamp the rules for the solicitation of additional commutation and pardon requests.

"Once these reforms go into effect, we expect to receive thousands of additional applications for clemency,'' Holder said, adding that "potentially dozens of (department) lawyers'' would be assigned to review the anticipated wave of requests. The effort is part of a larger strategy to reduce the bloated federal prison population and reverse past sentencing policies that doomed many offenders, including thousands of non-violent drug offenders, to disproportionately long terms. In January, Deputy Attorney General James Cole appealed to state bar associations to help identify low-level, non-violent drug offenders who could be candidates for grants of clemency.

"As a society, we pay much too high a price whenever our system fails to deliver the just outcomes necessary to deter and punish crime, to keep us safe, and to ensure that those who have paid their debts have a chance to become productive citizens,'' Holder said. Advocates for sentencing policy changes involving drug offenders expressed support for Holder's proposal. "This would be a positive step toward righting the wrongs of our broken criminal justice system,'' Drug Policy Alliance spokesman Anthony Papa said. "With half a million people still behind bars on non-violent drug charges, clearly thousands are deserving of a second chance. Congress should act immediately to reduce the draconian federal mandatory minimum sentences that condemn thousands to decades behind bars for non-violent drug offenses.''

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said he was "encouraged'' by the proposed expansion of clemency consideration. "After years of advocating on behalf of Americans who are unfairly incarcerated, the policies that I've encouraged the president and the attorney general to adopt are now being implemented,'' Cohen said. "I am very encouraged by the prospect that these new clemency criteria will give deserving non-violent drug offenders a second chance at freedom, improve our justice system and save taxpayers money.''

The National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, which represents more than 5,000 federal prosecutors, has announced its opposition to scaling back mandatory minimum sentencing policy. But the group has not expressed opposition to the administration's clemency proposals. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the number of commutations granted "will depend entirely on the number of worthy candidates.'' "And in terms of how many deserving candidates are out there, I couldn't begin to speculate,'' he said. "But there's a process in place that reflects the president's belief that everyone should have a fair shot under the system for consideration.''

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Author: David Jackson
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Website: Thousands of prisoners could qualify for clemency

Study: Medical Cannabis Laws Not Associated With Increased Use By Adolescents

April 22nd, 2014 by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director No comments »

The enactment of state laws legalizing the physician-recommended use of cannabis therapy is not associated with increased levels of marijuana use by young people, according to data published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University assessed the impact of medical cannabis laws by examining trends in reported drug use by high-schoolers in a cohort of states before and after legalization. Researchers compared these trends to geographically matched states that had not adopted medical marijuana laws.

Authors reported overall “no statistically significant differences in marijuana use before and after policy change for any state pairing,” and acknowledged that some states that had adopted medical cannabis laws experienced a decrease in adolescent’s self-reported use of the plant. “In the regression analysis, we did not find an overall increased probability of marijuana use related to the policy change,” they stated.

Investigators concluded, “This study did not find increases in adolescent marijuana use related to legalization of medical marijuana. … This suggests that concerns about ‘sending the wrong message’ may have been overblown. … Our study … may provide some reassurance to policy makers who wish to balance compassion for individuals who have been unable to find relief from conventional medical therapies with the safety and well-being of youth.”

A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health similarly concluded that the passage of medical marijuana laws in various states has had no “statistically significant … effect on the prevalence of either lifetime or 30-day marijuana use” by adolescents residing in those states.

A 2012 study by researchers at McGill University in Montreal reported: “[P]assing MMLs (medical marijuana laws) decreased past-month use among adolescents … and had no discernible effect on the perceived riskiness of monthly use. … [These] estimates suggest that reported adolescent marijuana use may actually decrease following the passing of medical marijuana laws.”

Read the abstract of this latest study, “The Impact of State Medical Marijuana Legislation on Adolescent Marijuana Use,” online here.

Alaska Postpones Vote To Legalise Marijuana Until November Election

April 22nd, 2014 by The General No comments »
A ballot initiative that could make Alaska the third US state to legalize recreational marijuana will go before voters in a general election in November rather than in August as previously scheduled, officials said this week. The move means that a broader swath of the public is likely to vote on the issue than if it had gone before voters as scheduled during a state primary election in August. Alaska ballot initiatives typically go before voters in primary elections. But a lengthier-than-normal state legislative session this year forced the change because, under state rules, initiatives must go to voters no less than 120 days after the end of a session.

Passage of the marijuana initiative would permit adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana for private personal use, and to grow as many as six cannabis plants for their own consumption. It would also chart a course for state-regulated commercial sales of pot in a framework similar to systems established by Colorado and Washington state after voters in those states became the first to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. "The date of the election is a non-issue for us because we know that Alaska voters support regulating marijuana like alcohol by a wide margin under either scenario," said marijuana campaign spokesman Taylor Bickford. "We are confident Ballot Measure 2 will prevail in November."

But Deborah Williams, the former head of the Alaska Democratic Party and a spokeswoman for the newly formed anti-legalization group "Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No On 2", said the delay was welcome. "Every additional week that we have to learn from Colorado's experience we think is very important for Alaskans and will result in an increasing number of no votes on this legislation," she said. A Public Policy Polling Survey of 850 registered Alaska voters showed that 55% supported legalizing recreational marijuana in a taxed and regulated system, while 39% were opposed. The survey, conducted in January, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4%.

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Author: Reuters in Juneau
Contact: Contact the Guardian US | Info |
Website: Alaska postpones vote to legalise marijuana until November election | World news |

York County Families, Legislators Attend Forum On Medical Cannabis

April 22nd, 2014 by The General No comments »
Pennsylvania - An author of a proposal to legalize medical cannabis is hoping to dispel some of the "Cheech and Chong" imagery he said blocks fellow legislators from supporting his bill. Just the word "marijuana" has been enough to turn away some colleagues, said Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon/Dauphin/York. "All I'm asking any legislator is just to listen," he said. "I understand that there's decades of prejudice against this plant. ... This bill would take the Wild West out of cannabis and take it into a truly professional medical environment."

Folmer will discuss Senate Bill 1182, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, during a two-hour May 1 informational session near Hanover, hosted by Sen. Richard Alloway II, R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York, and two area representatives. The bill was introduced by Folmer and Daylin Leach, D-Delaware/Montgomery. Sen. Rob Teplitz, D-Dauphin/Perry, is one of 13 other co-sponsors, and Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, has pledged his support. Supporters include Democrats and conservative Republicans, but many of the state's moderate Republicans have eschewed it; Gov. Tom Corbett said he wouldn't sign a legalization bill even if his own grandson were suffering from the childhood epilepsy that's driving the push.

The bill would add Pennsylvania to more than 20 states where medical cannabis is legal and regulated for conditions such as childhood epilepsy, for which the prescribed pharmaceutical cocktails have life-threatening side effects and have failed to control symptoms in some children. Families support: Several York County families with children suffering from childhood epilepsy will attend the session to offer their stories and show support for the bill.

Among them is Cara Salemme, a North Codorus Township woman whose 7-year-old twin son, Jackson Salemme, developed a worsening seizure disorder after an illness when he was 5. Springettsbury Township attorney Chris Ferro, whose 12-year-old son, Michael Ferro, has been diagnosed with a rare light-sensitive seizure disorder, will also attend. Angela Sharrer of Tyrone Township, Adams County, will speak about how a low THC, high-cannabidiol strain of cannabis could help treat life-threatening seizures in her 9-year-old daughter, Annie Sharrer.

"I think Senate Bill 1182 really needs to be looked at as a way to treat people after traditional medical treatments have failed," Angela Sharrer said. "People see it as a stepping stone to full legalization (of recreational marijuana) and that has nothing to do with this. That's why I refer to it as cannabis, because they hear 'marijuana' and they think of someone smoking a joint. And I think that needs to not be the first thing they think of." Folmer, Teplitz, Wagner and other supporters of the bill are opposed to recreational use.

The treatments are given in oil and pill form, Sharrer said, and they have helped children with Annie's condition. The only pharmaceutical treatment that reduced Annie's seizures also left her hospitalized with pancreatitis, so she had to stop taking it, Sharrer said. Details: The Epilepsy Foundation and the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, both of which have taken favorable positions on medical cannabis, will also attend. "The potential legalization of cannabis for medical purposes has generated a wide range of strong opinions from local residents, and lawmakers have a responsibility to make sure that we separate fact from fiction in order to make a decision that is best for Pennsylvania," Alloway said in a press release, in which he didn't take a position on the bill. The session will be 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at the Southeastern Adams Volunteer Emergency Services Building, 5865 Hanover Road. Reps. Dan Moul, R-Adams/Franklin, and Will Tallman, R-Adams/Cumberland, are co-hosting the event.

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Author: Christina Kauffman
Contact: Contact - York Dispatch
Website: York County families, legislators attend forum on medical cannabis - York Dispatch

Alaska: Election Officials Postpone Marijuana Legalization Vote To November

April 22nd, 2014 by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director No comments »

Alaska voters will decide this November on a proposed initiative to regulate the production and retail sale of cannabis to adults.

Although the measure was initially scheduled to go before voters during the state’s primary election in August, state officials this week decided to push back the vote to the November general election. The postponement was required because lawmakers failed to adjourn this year’s legislative session within 90 days, the standard time allotted under state rules. Under Alaska law, ballot initiatives must go to voters no less than 120 days after the end of that year’s legislative session.

If enacted by voters this November, the ballot measure would legalize the adult possession of up to one ounce of cannabis as well as the cultivation of up to six-plants (three flowering) for personal consumption. It would also allow for the establishment of licensed, commercial cannabis production and retail sales of marijuana and marijuana-infused products to those over the age of 21. Commercial production and retail sales of cannabis would be subject to taxation, but no taxes would be imposed upon those who choose to engage in non-commercial activities (e.g., growing small quantities of marijuana for personal use and/or engaging in not-for-profit transfers of limited quantities of cannabis.) Public consumption of cannabis would be subject to a civil fine.

The measure neither amends the state’s existing medical marijuana law, which was approved by voters in 1998, nor does it diminish any privacy rights established by the state’s Supreme Court in its 1975 ruling Ravin v State.

Under present state law, the possession of marijuana not in one’s residence is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 90-days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

According to the results of a statewide Public Policy Polling survey, released in February, 55 percent of registered voters “think (that) marijuana should be legally allowed for recreational use, that stores should be allowed to sell it, and that its sales should be taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol.” Only 39 percent of respondents oppose the idea. The survey possesses a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent.

If enacted, Alaska will be the third US state to regulate the legal retail production and sale of cannabis to adults.

Also this November, voters in Florida will decide on a constitutional amendment to allow for the physician-approved use and retail distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.

Medical Cannabis: Washington County To Decide On One-Year Ban On Dispensaries Tuesday

April 22nd, 2014 by The General No comments »
Oregon - The Washington County Board of Commissioners will decide Tuesday, April 22, whether it will enact a one-year ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the county’s unincorporated areas. The board will hold a public hearing on the issue starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Charles D. Cameron Public Services Building, 155 N. 1st Ave., Hillsboro. Local governments in Oregon have until May 1 to enact moratoriums on medical marijuana dispensaries. The bans can extend until May 2015. So far, 104 cities across the state have enacted at least temporary bans. In Washington County, the list includes Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood.

The cities have their own regulations, but the county needs to decide whether to ban the dispensaries from its unincorporated areas, which include Aloha, Reedville, Bethany, Cedar Mill, Cedar Hills and Rock Creek. About 250,000 Washington County residents live in unincorporated areas. Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett in March advised the board to enact the ban, citing a variety of safety concerns. Also Tuesday, during the board’s work session at 2 p.m., Garrett will gave a presentation on a proposed police-services contract with the City of Cornelius.

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Author: Simina Mistreanu
Contact: Contact Us || Oregonian Media Group
Website: Medical marijuana: Washington County to decide on one-year ban on dispensaries Tuesday |

Survey: 9 In 10 Texans Want Pot Decriminalized

April 22nd, 2014 by The General No comments »
The DFW chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a group that supports legalizing pot in the Lone Star State (and nationwide) has put up a billboard in support of its cause. Some people may call it a “sign of the times,” after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado two years ago. Stores selling marijuana for recreational use have taken Colorado by storm. And a recent Progress Texas survey taken by 9,000 people showed 92 percent of Texans are in support of legalizing the drug.

“If you can tax it, make some revenue, seems efficient. As time goes, it keeps progressing. If it works, it works. I don’t see what’s the harm in it,” said Tessa McGlynn of Garland. In the same survey, 93 percent of participants living in the state said they support de-criminalizing marijuana. Thus, non-violent pot users wouldn’t face jail time as they currently do. “I do believe in the decriminalization of it. You’re holding up a lot of space that could be filled up with a lot of other people,” said Erik Gromacki of Farmers Branch.

Although many people support decriminalizing marijuana, that doesn’t mean they favor legalizing the drug. People such as Becca Crowell, who has run the Nexus Recovery Center in Dallas for women for 24 years is one of them. She said she fears legalizing pot will increase the number of addicts. Of the 2,000 addicts they treat each year, Crowell said as many as three of four started using drugs with marijuana.

“Over and over again, we hear the stories about people smoking pot and drinking, and that has to be a part of the conversation — smoking pot and drinking alcohol, before you know it, they’re full blown addicts.” Other people who spoke to CBS 11 News echoed her sentiment. “Does marijuana lead to other heavier drug use because if that’s the case, we probably need to stop it earlier rather than later,” said Chris Stephens of Richardson.

According to the Progress Texas survey, 98 percent of participants questioned also support legalizing marijuana in Texas for medical purposes. UT Dallas professor Robert Morris just published the first of its kind study on states that legalized medical marijuana. “We found no increase in the crime rate on the state level for states that passed legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes,” said Morris. But now that the study’s results were released, he said it’s up to Texans to figure out how to act — if at all. Most law enforcement groups continue to strongly oppose legalizing marijuana or any drug for any purpose.

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Author: Jack Fink
Contact: Contact
Website: Survey: 9 In 10 Texans Want Pot Decriminalized « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Washington State – Lottery Set This Week For Marijuana Retail Licenses

April 22nd, 2014 by The General No comments »
A lottery is being held this week for 334 licenses the state of Washington plans to issue for the recreational marijuana stores. The state Liquor Control Board set up a lottery system using an accounting firm and Washington State University's Social and Economic Sciences Research Center. A favorable rank in the lottery won't guarantee a license. Applicants still have to pass a background check, financial investigation and other requirements before any licenses are issued. The first retail sales are expected to begin in July, under Washington's recreational marijuana law.

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Author: Associated Press
Contact: Contact Us | KOMO 4 TV
Website: Lottery set this week for marijuana retail licenses | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News

Photo Release — Medical Marijuana Inc. & Wellness Managed Services' MPSI Wins Major Security Contract

April 22nd, 2014 by marijuana - Yahoo! News Search Results No comments »
SAN DIEGO -- Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTC Pink:MJNA) is pleased to announce that its subsidiary, Wellness Managed Services' new company, MPS International (MPSI) has been awarded a large annual physical ...