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Tag: Marijuana Reform

New York Times Editorial: Feds Should Legalize Marijuana

The New York Times has taken a bold step. Its editorial board is calling for the legalization of marijuana -- Repeal Prohibition Again.

The Times will feature marijuana legalization all week in a series of articles, High Time. Here's the first article, Let the States Decide. [more....]

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Recreational Pot Sales Begin In Washington State

Washington state opened its doors to recreational marijuana sales yesterday. There were long lines and very happy customers. James Lathrop, the owner of Cannibis City, came out at 9:00 a.m. with a big pair of scissors to cut the tape and said:

It's time to free the weed.

Among those who waited in line for hours:[More...]

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Colorado Recreational Marijuana Laws Enter Second Phase

A big change went into effect for Colorado marijuana businesses yesterday. Effective July 1, 2014, recreational marijuana business licenses are no longer restricted to those with existing medical marijuana licenses. Now, if you are a Colorado resident and meet the other requirements, you can apply for a recreational marijuana business license. Even better, you don't have to grow in order to be licensed to sell, and vice-versa. As the Denver Post reports:

[W]hen these new businesses begin opening in October, all recreational marijuana companies will be allowed to specialize — as wholesale growers without a storefront, for instance, or as stand-alone stores that don't grow their supply. The only requirement is that owners be Colorado residents.

Legal recreational marijuana is now at the 6 month mark. It contributed $11 million in retail sales taxes to the state's coffers in the first four months. According to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance:[More...]

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Hershey Sues Edible Company Over Look-a-like Candies

Hershey Chocolates has filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against TinctureBelle LLC and TinctureBelle Marijuanka LLC, a Colorado company that makes marijuana-infused candy.

Hershey claims the packaging for the edibles too closely mimics its trademarked products. It also objects to TinctureBelle's online advertising. The complaint (Case No. 14-cv-01564-WYD, District of Colorado) includes photos of the alleged infringing products. [More...]

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DEA Threatens MA Medical Marijuana Doctors

Massachusetts enacted a medical marijuana law in 2012. Recently, shortly after the first licenses were approved, the DEA began visiting MA physicians associated with medical marijuana dispensaries and giving them a choice: Give up your DEA license to prescribe most medications, or give up your association with dispensaries.

The stark choice is necessary, the doctors said they were told, because of friction between federal law, which bans any use of marijuana, and state law, which voters changed in 2012 to allow medical use of the drug.

The DEA’s action has left some doctors, whose livelihoods depend on being able to offer patients pain medications and other drugs, with little option but to resign from the marijuana companies,where some held prominent positions.

The DEA gets progressively more out of step with the Department of Justice, Congress and state legislatures every day. Its budget is bloated and it desperately needs new leadership. DEA Director Michelle Leonhart, who presumably approves tactics such as these, should be asked to resign and a more enlightened director should be appointed to take her place. You can sign a Change.Org petition to remove her here.

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TX Teen Faces Potential Life Sentence for Hash Brownies

Texas teen Jacob Lovaro was caught with 1.5 pounds of baked hash brownies and cookies, plus a pound of marijuana and $1,645. in his apartment. He's facing a potential life sentence because the he used hash oil instead of pot. In Texas, the quantity of drugs used for sentencing purposes in cases involving hash oil includes the weight of the brownies, not just the hash oil.

The prosecutor in the case has issued this statement explaining why the penalty is so high. [More...]

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FBI May Loosen Hiring Policy on Marijuana Use

Congress has authorized 2,000 new hires for the FBI, and the FBI will be filling many of the positions with computer programmers and hackers in its fight against cybercrime. The problem, according to FBI Director James Comey, speaking yesterday at a white collar crime conference:

“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Mr. Comey said.

Up until now, the FBI has asked applicants whether they have used marijuana within the past three years. Comey says the agency is changing "its mindset and the way we do business" and working more outside the box:

One conference goer asked Mr. Comey about a friend who had shied away from applying because of the policy. “He should go ahead and apply,” despite the marijuana use, Mr. Comey said.

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House to Vote on Defunding Medical Marijuana Raids

It's that time of year again, when the House Appropriations Committee considers the annual DOJ budget. In the next several days, an amendment will be offered defunding medical marijuana raids in states with laws permitting use of medical marijuana.

Representatives Rohrabacher and Farr will be introducing an amendment to this measure to prevent any of the department’s funding from being used to interfere with medical marijuana programs in states that have approved them.

The amendment would prevent the Department of Justice from using taxpayer funds to interfere in state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs.

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Uruguay President: Treat Pot-Smokers Like Cattle

Uruguay President José Mujica tells Fox News that Uruguay's new law legalizing marijuana is better than Colorado's new law. Why? Because in Uruguay, they regulate users, not just sellers. Under their new law, pot-smokers will be treated like cows.

“Right now, every cow, 13 million of them, are registered here,” Mujica said. “We know where they were raised, what they eat – we’re the only country that does that,” he said. “We are going to apply a process just like that to marijuana laws.”

[More...]

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An Inside Look at a Super-Sized Marijuana Grow Site

The Aspen Times has an in-depth article about the largest marijuana grow site in the state. Turned down by Aspen, the facility ended up taking over the old Coors warehouse in nearby Glenwood Springs.

It's located in Glenwood Springs and owned by Ron Radkte of Green Dragon. The building is 26,000 square feet, enough to make it the state's biggest so far, but by the time Radkte is finished with improvements, there will be more than 60,000 square feet of grow space and storage.

Radkte is committed to both the quality of his product and environmental concerns. It sounds like the "Whole Foods" of marijuana: [More...]

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Uruguay Releases Guidelines for Legal Marijuana Market

Uruguay is the first country to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. It released the new rules today. A copy in Spanish is here.

The government will control every facet -- including setting the price. Pot will initially cost around $1.00 per gram, in an effort to freeze out the black market. The government agency calling the shots is called the Institute for Regulation and Control.

Today we know that trying to eliminate marijuana has not been an effective measure and has only caused more problems. The marijuana market already exists and is controlled by drug trafficking. [More...]

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Poll: Coloradans Happy With Legalized Marijuana

Quinnipiac has released a poll of Coloradans about their views on marijuana since it became legal in the state. A clear majority view it as positive:

  • Voters support the law legalizing marijuana 54 – 43 percent;
  • 49 percent of voters admit they’ve tried marijuana(only 15 percent admit using it
    since it became legal January 1);
  • Driving has not become more dangerous because of legalized marijuana, 54 – 39 percent;
  • Legalized marijuana will save the state and taxpayers a significant amount of money, 53 – 41 percent;
  • Legalized marijuana will have a positive impact on the state’s criminal justice system, 50 – 40 percent;
  • Legalized marijuana “increases personal freedoms in a positive way,” voters say 53 – 44 percent;
  • Legalized marijuana has not “eroded the moral fiber” of people in Colorado, voters say 67 – 30 percent.

The only naysayers disapproving: Republicans (63 - 28 percent) and voters over 65 (62 - 28 percent.)

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AZ Supreme Court Rejects Presence of THC Metabolite as Proof of Drugged Driving

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors need proof a driver was impaired by his consumption of marijuana to convict of drugged driving. The presence of THC metabolites in the driver's blood is not enough.

The opinion, available here, states that medical evidence shows the presence of Carboxy-THC does not equate to impairment.

“Because carboxy-THC can remain in the body for as many as 28 to 30 days after ingestion, the state’s position suggests that a medical-marijuana user could face prosecution for driving anytime nearly a month after they had legally ingested marijuana,” Brutinel wrote. “Such a prohibition would apply even when the driver had no impairing substance in his or her body.”

[More...]

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Thousands Celebrate 4/20 in Denver

This is the first year of the 4/20 rally that marijuana is legal in Colorado, so it's not surprising there is a huge turnout at Civic Center Park in Denver. At 4:20 p.m., the tens of thousands of celebrators are expected to light up, even though it is still illegal to smoke pot in public. Organizers say between 50,000 and 80,000 are expected to attend over the two days.

There is also beefed-up police security for the two-day event. Yesterday, police issued 22 tickets for public consumption. Today, as of 4:10 pm, 37 were issued, with 31 of them for public consumption violations. (It's a civil, not criminal violation.)

Here's a photo of the Denver Police Command Center as they watch events in real-time, "using about 50 TV screens that can flip back and forth to 138 HALO and 38 traffic cameras." (via Denver Post)

Check out Westword's gallery of photos of the epic event. [More...]

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Colo. Sup. Ct. Loosens Restrictions on Lawyers Helping Pot Businesses

The Colorado Supreme Court issued a new rule for lawyers today. Lawyers will be allowed to represent marijuana businesses, so long as the lawyers don't help clients break state law. Via the Denver Post:

The new rule gives lawyers the go-ahead to work with marijuana businesses — even though those businesses are breaking federal law — so long as the lawyers don't help businesses also break state law.

The new rule is here. Some background on why it was needed is here. [More...]

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