Gov. Jindal signs bills that reform criminal penalties, medical marijuana access

Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday signed two bills that in one year represent more progress on reforming marijuana laws than the state has made in the 24 years since legalizing medical marijuana in 1991.

In the case of one of the bills, which would set up a framework for dispensing marijuana for medical purposes (SB 143), it will make Louisiana the first state in the South to make marijuana available for a wide range of chronically ill patients. The state passed medical marijuana legislation in 1991, but never set up a framework for how the state would cultivate, prescribe or dispense the drug.

Springfield Inundated by High-grade Marijuana from Colorado

Narcotics investigators in Springfield say the city is seeing an influx of higher-grade marijuana from states where the drug is legal, particularly Colorado.

Dan Banasik, a Missouri State Highway Patrol supervising sergeant for narcotics, said the more potent drug has driven up prices for the drug, the Springfield News-Leader reported. A few years ago, undercover narcotics officers could by a pound of marijuana from a dealer for about $1,000, but now that same undercover operation would cost about $6,000.

State Marijuana Laws Complicate Federal Job Recruitment

It may now be legal in Colorado, in Washington State and elsewhere to possess and smoke marijuana, but federal laws outlawing its use — and rules that make it a fireable offense for government workers — have remained rigid. As a result, recruiters for federal agencies are arriving on university campuses in those states with the sobering message that marijuana use will not be tolerated.

Fed study: Booze impact greater than pot on driving

A new study, funded in part by the federal government, suggests alcohol has a more extreme impact on drivers than marijuana.

Researchers said alcohol “significantly increased lane departures/minimum and maximum lateral acceleration; these measures were not sensitive to cannabis.” Researchers also concluded Cannabis-influenced drivers “may attempt to drive more cautiously to compensate for impairing effects, whereas alcohol-influenced drivers often underestimate their impairment and take more risk.”

Legal marijuana sparks liability fears for Colorado employers

Marijuana legalization in Colorado put business owners like Dottie Peterson in a quandary. Peterson doesn’t want workers at the staffing service she operates to use marijuana on the job, though she doesn’t mind if they do it in their free time. But she can’t hire drug users because of her insurance. Many companies, including hers, get better worker’s compensation insurance rates by being a drug-free workplace, so the new employees she hires must pass drug tests.

In pockets of Texas, prosecutors just say no to marijuana prosecutions

Texas lawmakers may be reluctant to ease up on punishing small-time pot smokers, but local prosecutors across the state are increasingly looking for ways to keep two-bit toking cases from clogging court dockets and wasting resources. This past session, seven bills that would have reduced criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession went up in smoke. But some county prosecutors are already choosing to pass on even filing charges when it comes to small pot possession cases, or looking for ways to divert recreational users to probation or community service programs.