Study looks at marijuana’s impact on brain – USA TODAY

December 20th, 2014 by marijuana - Google News No comments »

USA TODAY

Study looks at marijuana's impact on brain
USA TODAY
"From animal studies, there's reason to believe it (marijuana use) will affect parts of the brain and also the connections between them, and some of our preliminary studies suggest that is the case," said O'Donnell, a professor in the department of ...

The Year in Pot: Legal Sales and Anti-Marijuana Voices Boomed – NBCNews.com

December 20th, 2014 by marijuana - Google News No comments »

NBCNews.com

The Year in Pot: Legal Sales and Anti-Marijuana Voices Boomed
NBCNews.com
"Colorado has shown the world that cannabis can be safely bought and sold," said Mike Elliot, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a powerful lobby for the Mile High state's newest industry. "Colorado's economy boomed, with thousands of ...
Oklahoma and Nebraska Sue Colorado Over 'Dangerous' Marijuana LawRollingStone.com
Dangerous implications of the Nebraska-Oklahoma lawsuit against marijuana ...Washington Post
Lawsuit shows resistance to marijuana legalizationThe Columbian
Kotatv
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A New High: Legal Marijuana's Friends, Foes Lit Up 2014

December 20th, 2014 by marijuana - Yahoo! News Search Results No comments »
Here are five marijuana storylines that stood out amid all the smoke in 2014.

18 guns found in home of Tallamadge suspected marijuana-growing operation … – cleveland.com

December 20th, 2014 by marijuana - Google News No comments »

cleveland.com

18 guns found in home of Tallamadge suspected marijuana-growing operation ...
cleveland.com
TALLMADGE , Ohio — Police seized a marijuana growing operation, 18 guns and cars that investigators reported finding during a raid on Wednesday. Two men, Gregory Bowers, 57, and Michael Bowers, 24, both of Tallmadge, are charged with third-degree ...

Critics of marijuana legalization: Pot backers see dollar signs – Columbus Dispatch

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Columbus Dispatch

Critics of marijuana legalization: Pot backers see dollar signs
Columbus Dispatch
The belief that marijuana is a growth industry appears to be the driving force behind a planned 2015 constitutional amendment that would ask Ohioans to authorize 10 individuals or businesses to grow and sell marijuana wholesale for personal and ...

Michigan Cop Commits Suicide After Marijuana Butter Considered Not Medical

December 19th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Less than a month after pleading guilty to drug house charges over medical marijuana butter, a Michigan cop’s sudden death has been called a suicide. Sergeant Timothy Bernhardt served in his department for 22 years, but a tip from a postal worker led to the eventual searches of the homes of corrections officers Sergeant Tim Bernhardt, Deputy Michael Frederick, and Deputy Todd VanDoorne, as well as Christine Tennant, the wife of Deputy Brian Tennant. All of them believed at the time that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act protected their possession and use of medical marijuana butter, according to Huffington Press.

Sergeant Bernhardt quit his career and pleaded guilty to the charges against him, though the Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma told the press that there was never any indication that the marijuana was ever provided to anyone without a medical marijuana card. Bernhardt faced two years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine, according to WOODTV. The sergeant previously held a clean criminal record.

The officers’ lawyers also explained that the only drug activity involved in the case involved medical marijuana and the cops had legally obtained medical marijuana cards.

The issue at the center of the arrests was a technicality in the law: Marijuana infused butter is not officially deemed “usable” marijuana under the 2008 law.

After much debate, a Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that marijuana butter was not considered medical marijuana in July of last year, according to Huffington Post. In response to that ruling, in December of last year, the Michigan House voted 100-9 to include products made with resin, including marijuana butter, in the definition of legal, usable medical marijuana. That bill was still in the Michigan Senate at the time of the arrests.

After Sergeant Bernhardt’s sudden death, a Kent County Sheriff representative declined to comment, saying in an email to MLIVE, “we typically do not comment on any suicides.”

“Tim was the most honorable man I ever met in my life,” Bernhardt’s wife wrote of her late husband just following his suicide. “Please pray for peace in our family.”

On the day that Bernhardt pleaded guilty, he was embraced by deputies waiting outside the courtroom, a moment that the attorney said speaks volumes about his character. His supporters say he was proud of his service to his community and loved his family.

Michigan marijuana advocates are making strides. In October, a Michigan appeals court ruled that employees fired over medical marijuana still qualify for unemployment benefits. Soon, all Michiganders will likely be able to make full use of marijuana resin edibles, including marijuana butter. In December, the remaining Michigan cops who took plea deals will be sentenced, but Sergeant Bernhardt’s suicide will always remain one of many tragedies, according to advocates, in the history of Michigan medical marijuana.



News Moderator: Shandar @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: The Inquisitr News
Contact: Contact | The Inquisitr News
Website: Michigan Cop Commits Suicide After Marijuana Butter Considered Not Medically ?Usable Marihuana?

NE & OK Pot Lawsuit Fails The Common Sense Test

December 19th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
The states of Nebraska and Oklahoma made national headlines on Thursday by filing a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court, alleging Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has done costly harm to both states.

I’m not a legal expert, but beyond the exact issues with the Supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution and other laws in question, it seems to me that the lawsuit doesn’t pass the common sense test.

To blame one state for skyrocketing the costs of prosecuting certain crimes in other states fails to take various common sense issues into account.

First of all, as we saw in our own state and by our own Federal government, enforcement agencies have latitude when it comes to deciding the priority of enforcing and prosecuting certain laws.

Denver decided before Amendment 64 passed to make enforcing minor marijuana laws a low priority. The federal government has done the same last year.

Because of that freedom, a state would not need to see resources being drained trying to enforce one particular law.

We have seen this flexibility of enforcement when it has come to illegal immigration. Some states decide to pursue violations more vigorously, but all come at the issue with choice and the ability to adapt due to resources.

But beyond the basic common sense of enforcement flexibility, this tactic also fails the political common sense test.

Neighboring states having issues with newly legalized pot is nothing new. But as everyone knows, you get many more bees with honey than with vinegar.

If Oklahoma and Nebraska really wanted to address budget concerns due to marijuana law enforcement, both states should have addressed our state government directly, without a lawsuit.

Everyone knows that Colorado has a governor in John Hickenlooper who loves to not only make people happy, but also has great experience at making deals.

Both Nebraska and Oklahoma could have worked a deal with Hickenlooper and Colorado to either offset costs in other areas or work with the state on addressing the perceived problem.

I say “perceived problem” because that is what I think this really comes down to for the states involved.

The fact of the matter is we are quickly heading towards an age that tolerates widespread use of medical marijuana and eventual recreational use.

Colorado and Washington state are proving that recreational pot is not without problems, nor is it a budgetary panacea. But we have also shown that marijuana is simply a commodity that is going through normal struggles in the newly regulated marketplace.

We see stories of occasional problems, and they need to be addressed. But Amendment 64 didn’t turn Colorado into Ridgemont High, and more and more states are looking to normalize medical marijuana.

If Nebraska and Oklahoma do not want to embrace the future early, that is fine. But they do not need to drag Colorado back to the 1950s with them.



News Moderator: Shandar @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: CBS Denver
Author: Dominic Dezzutti
Contact: Contact Us « CBS Denver
Website: denver.cbslocal.com/2014/12/18/ne-and-ok-pot-lawsuit-fails-the-common-sense-test/

Leader Of Oregon’s Marijuana Movement Sets Sights On Missouri

December 19th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Columbia — After winning his fight to legalize marijuana in Oregon, Anthony Johnson is rooting for the same to happen in Missouri, where an effort to place the issue on the 2016 ballot is underway.

Johnson, a former Missouri resident and MU graduate who took an interest in the reform of marijuana laws while a student in Columbia, worked for more than two years on the marijuana campaign in Oregon. That effort culminated in approval of the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. He's planning to help a similar measure pass in Missouri.

"It’ll be important for people living in Missouri to take the lead, but I will definitely provide advice from my experience," Johnson said.

Johnson sits on the board of Show-Me Cannabis but will stay in Oregon to work on the implementation of the newly passed drug policies there. The most important thing to sustaining Oregon's legalization law, which appeared on the ballot as Measure 91, is to ensure that it is successfully regulated and that marijuana is taxed similar to how alcohol and cigarettes are, Johnson said.

Marijuana will not be formally legalized in Oregon until July 1. People who want to sell marijuana could wait as long as mid-2016 to get business licenses.

Johnson said the efforts of reform advocates are often misunderstood.

“I think over the course of the marijuana legalization campaign, the proponents of legalizing marijuana are often portrayed as being pro-marijuana," he said, "when the truth is, no one is advocating for marijuana use. It’s really a pro-regulation position."

Oregonians passed the measure with just more than 56 percent of voters' support. On the same day, voters in Washington, D.C., and in Alaska passed marijuana legalization with 69 percent and 52 percent approval, respectively, according to the Associated Press.

Columbia attorney Dan Viets is chairman of the Show-Me Cannabis board and recently submitted the statewide marijuana measure for approval by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office. He's optimistic Missourians will approve the ballot issue.

"(Statewide) marijuana reform has been on the ballot in five places in the past two years, and it’s passed," Viets said. "It’s won every one of those elections."

Johnson: 'It's been a long road.'

Viets and Johnson have known each other since about 2003. After growing up in Lexington, known for the Battle of the Hemp Bales in 1861, Johnson graduated as class president and captain of his school's football and wrestling teams. He heard Viets talk about marijuana reform for the first time when he was a student at MU.

"It turned out that Dan Viets was helping the NORML chapter at the University of Missouri," Johnson said. He viewed Viets as "someone who was knowledgeable about the issue, was articulate, and (I) started volunteering for the cause then."

Johnson went to law school to become a criminal defense lawyer. He and Viets co-authored the decriminalization and medical ordinances passed by Columbia voters in 2004.

"I had been working on the issue for about 15 years, starting when I was in a dorm room at the University of Missouri," Johnson said. "I saw firsthand African-American friends treated more harshly for marijuana than my white, middle-class friends, and that was what started my activism."

After graduating, Johnson moved with his wife, Sarah Duff, to live with friends and to study for the Oregon bar exam. He practiced law for two years before specializing in marijuana policies.

"For me, first and foremost it’s a civil liberties issue," Johnson said, adding that states also can gain revenue through regulating marijuana.

What’s next? #009

Viets and Johnson both named Missouri, Massachusetts and California as the states they expect will vote on legalization in 2016. Viets said he also expects Maine, Nevada and New Hampshire to have marijuana reform measures on the ballot.

Listed as "#009" on the Missouri Secretary of State’s office website, the Missouri petition is in the midst of a 30-day public comment period that expires Jan. 2. If approved for circulation, the petition would require the signatures of at least 8 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the 2012 election for governor in at least six of the eight Missouri congressional districts, according to the Missouri Secretary of State's office. That's a minimum of 157,788 valid signatures.

Spencer Pearson of Columbia, a host of the cannabis podcast "Bowl after Bowl," is optimistic despite the task ahead.

"Momentum is definitely on our side," Pearson said. "We anticipate that by 2016, support will only get stronger."

Lessons learned in Oregon

The three most important things Johnson said helped win the Oregon election were having a law that contains sound regulations, adequate campaign funding to "effectively educate voters about the measure" and mainstream political support.

Johnson said the Oregon law received endorsements from state officials, conservative media outlets and well-known figures in Oregonian public service that helped moderate voters "feel comfortable that it was a well-regulated system."

Endorsements came from the Register-Guard, Oregonian, Mail Tribune, East Oregonian, a former Oregon Supreme Court judge, former members of law enforcement and the retired director of Oregon's Addictions and Mental Health Services division.

Johnson said marijuana legalization "cuts across political affiliation" and that Alaska provides a good example for campaigning in conservative-leaning states. Still, he said, Missouri might face its own challenges given the differences in the Oregon and Missouri landscapes. Oregon had effective mail-in ballot policies, high voter turnout and an existing framework of legalized medical marijuana.

"These type of issues tend to do better when there is a big turnout," Johnson said.

Johnson also said campaigning in two large media markets, St. Louis and Kansas City, would be much more expensive than what he experienced in Oregon.

Missouri’s advantage: volunteers

Despite potential challenges, Johnson said Missouri has a strong advantage because it will start with a much larger volunteer base than Oregon did two years before the election.

"We are prepared, and we are confident that we will legalize in 2016," Pearson said. With organized groups in Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Jefferson City, Springfield, Joplin, Kirksville, Cape Girardeau and other cities, it is also one of the most organized volunteer bases, Viets said.

Other volunteer groups that have confirmed participation in the campaign are the MU National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the MU Students for Sensible Drug Policy, founded by Johnson more than a decade ago.

MU NORML President Benton Berigan and Duell Lauderdale of Students for Sensible Drug Policy said they will be helping register voters, collect signatures and host public forums and educational events to get the marijuana initiative on the ballot. Berigan said it's an important public policy issue.

"Last year over 20,000 people were arrested in Missouri, and Missouri spent close to $50 million prosecuting people for possessing a drug less harmful than alcohol, to the user and society as a whole," Berigan said.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety has estimated more than $200 million in new revenue if cannabis were to be taxed and licensed in Missouri, according to the Missouri State Auditor.

"With our current policies, we are also losing the potential for revenue by not taxing purchases of cannabis," Berigan said.

It remains unclear whether Missouri will receive money from political action committees for a campaign to legalize marijuana, as other states have. Johnson said the Oregon campaign got nearly half its money, about $1.9 million, from the Drug Policy Alliance, $1.2 million from the New Approach Oregon and an additional $900,000 in private donations, mostly from Oregon residents.

Viets said money will be one of the most important factors to a successful campaign. He expects the bulk of the money to come from Missouri donors.

Johnson thinks the measure will resonate in the Show-Me State.

“You have a population that is using marijuana — a substance that is less harmful, less addictive than alcohol and tobacco — and they can have their freedom and property taken away for that," Johnson said. "That provides the motivation for volunteers to be active, while better prioritizing law enforcement resources and generating millions of dollars in new revenue should appeal to mainstream Missouri voters.”



News Moderator: Shandar @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Columbia Missourian
Author: Rebecca Greenway
Contact: About the Missourian - Columbia Missourian
Website: Leader of Oregon's marijuana movement sets sights on Missouri - Columbia Missourian

Why Congress Gave In To Medical Marijuana

December 19th, 2014 by Shandar No comments »
Congress may have tried to stop residents of the nation's capital from being able to light up joints with impunity, but lawmakers retreated last week in another important drug-war front: medical marijuana.

The $1 trillion spending bill that passed last week included a provision that blocks the Justice Department from spending any money to enforce a federal ban on growing or selling marijuana in the 23 states that have moved to legalize it for medical use. It marks a huge shift for Congress, which for years had sided with federal prosecutors in their battle with states over the liberalization of drug laws. "The war on medical marijuana is over," Bill Piper, a lobbyist with the Drug Policy Alliance, declared to the Los Angeles Times.

Another leading advocate of legalization, Allen St. Pierre of NORML, was pleased but not quite so jubilant. After all, under President Obama, the Justice Department in the last five years has sharply curtailed its raids on pot growers and sellers. But directives from Washington, he said, had not stopped overzealous prosecutors and DEA agents in parts of California from targeting the largest marijuana dispensaries. Will they follow Congress but not the president? "They will decide whether this comes to be," St. Pierre said by phone, in reference to the prosecutors and the DEA.

More broadly, the fact that the policy change made it through a Republican-controlled House is indicative of how the fight over drug laws has shifted from a debate over the medical benefits for people suffering from cancer and other diseases to the question of total legalization. Just last month, voters in Alaska and Oregon as well as D.C. approved measures allowing for the recreational use of marijuana. Congress wasn't ready to go that far, moving to block D.C.'s recreational law, but party leaders signed off on allowing pot for medical uses.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, was one of the authors of the medical-use provision, and he made the case to his colleagues on grounds that many conservatives can understand: states' rights. In a statement, he said his amendment would force the federal government to "respect state sovereignty" on the question of medical marijuana.

St. Pierre, however, says the shift is more generational. As Baby Boomers and their children have come to occupy positions of power across all levels of government, opposition to a strict marijuana prohibition has dropped. "There's almost a fait accompli," he said. A poll by the Third Way think tank in September found that while the country is still split on recreational marijuana, more the three-quarters—78 percent—support legal pot use for medical purposes. It might not do much for Congress's dismal approval rating, but on this issue at least, lawmakers appear to be following the public.



News Moderator: Shandar @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: The Atlantic ? News and analysis on politics, business, culture, technology, national, international, and life ? TheAtlantic.com
Author: Russel Berman
Contact: Contact the Atlantic - The Atlantic
Website: Congress Tucks Marijuana Reform Into Spending Bill - The Atlantic

City OKs Uk. Village Marijuana Dispensary to Specialize in No-High Pot – DNAinfo

December 19th, 2014 by marijuana - Google News No comments »

DNAinfo

City OKs Uk. Village Marijuana Dispensary to Specialize in No-High Pot
DNAinfo
Scott Bergin, who would relocate to Chicago to run the dispensary, is also an owner of EdiPure, a business specializing in edible marijuana products and with both dispensaries and cultivation centers in Colorado, Washington state, California and Nevada.
Two more Chicago pot dispensaries get zoning approvalChicago Tribune

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