Tag: marijuana reform (page 3)

DOJ to Defer Challenge to New State Marijuana Laws

The Department of Justice has officially spoken about state marijuana laws. It has advised the Governors of Colorado and Washington that provided it enacts robust regulations that do not not interfere with 8 DOJ priorities, it will "defer its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time."

AG Eric Holder has issued a memorandum to federal prosecutors (available here) on the new policy and the 8 priorities in enforcing federal marijuana laws.

The key point: The major sea change is not with respect to possession for personal use, which the feds don't normally charge anyway, but in its willingness to allow some private production and distribution of marijuana. [More...]

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Leahy Schedules Hearing on Conflict in State and Federal Marijuana Laws

Sen. Patrick Leahy has scheduled a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on September 10th on the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws. Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole have been invited to testify.

“It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal,” Leahy said. “I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.”

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Feds Raid Dispensaries in Washington State

The DEA raided several medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington State yesterday. One had only been open a month.

Casey Lee, an employee at the Bayside Collective, said DEA agents served him with a search warrant and seized about "11 or 12 plants Wednesday morning. They also took marijuana in jars that is set aside for patients. He said the seized marijuana totaled about a quarter pound. The DEA agents seized his and another employee's cell phone, Lee added.

Fellow Bayside Collective employee Addy Norton said she was "terrified" during the raid, and DEA agents pointed guns in her face as they entered the building.


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Governor Signs Marijuana Bills into Law

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has signed the six bills regulating recreational marijuana passed by the legislature. They go into effect July 1.

The bills are House bills 1042, 1238, 1 317, 1318 and 1325, and Senate Bill 283. A short synopsis is here.

When asked about when a response on the new laws would come from the Feds, Hickenlooper says he thought it would be soon, but he really didn't know. Then he quipped, "They've been kind of busy." [More...]

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Colo. Makes History: Marijuana Bills Passed

Bump and Update: It's official. The House approved the Senate Amendments and Colorado is now the first state in the nation to pass laws regulating recreational use, sale, production and taxing of marijuana.

This appears to be the final version of House Bill 1317 setting out the regulations for retail outlets. Tourists will be able to buy 1/4 ounce at a time. You can find all the versions here. The bill will go to Governor Hickenlooper who is expected to sign it into law.

Details on the driving while stoned bill that passed yesterday here.

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Colo. Passes Drugged Driving Bill

On its 6th try, a bill to outlaw driving while stoned has passed the House and Senate in Colorado. The limit for marijuana: 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

But, the bill is the weakest version yet. Instead of 5 nanograms being per se against the law, or even a rebuttable presumption, it's now just a "permissible inference." Blood tests can be refused, although a refusal will result in revocation of driving privileges.

Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill is H.R. 1325. Here is the text of the final version.

Two remaining bills are up for final passage tomorrow, the last day of the legislative session. HB 1317 will regulate retail sales of marijuana for recreational use. HB 1318 imposes taxes on marijuana.[More...]

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Amendment 64 Task Force Issues Final Report

The task force designated by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to make recommendations for the implementation of Amendment 64, legalizing marijuana in Colorado, has concluded its work and issued this 165 page report.

Included in the report are 58 recommendations,

....on everything from how recreational marijuana stores should be regulated to whether people should be able to smoke pot in bars.

The report will be considered by a joint legislative committee (not a pun, that's the terminology used to reflect it will include both House and Senate members.) The committee will meet twice in March.


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CO Task Force Okays Marijuana Purchases by Tourists

Pot tourism may be coming to Colorado. The state's Marijuana Task Force today approved purchases at retail stores by out of state visitors. The quantity will be limited to reduce incentive for "smurfing" and resale on the black market.

The task force hearing minutes are here. [More...]

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A 40 Year History of NORML

Keith Stroup, the founder of NORML, has a new book, in which he provides a history of NORML's 40 year campaign to legalize marijuana. You can order a copy here ($15.00)

Willie Nelson wrote the prologue. The book begins with Hunter Thompson and the 1972 Democratic convention. There are stories about many familiar people, as well as a thorough legislative history --and a lot about criminal defense lawyers (Keith was the Executive Director of NACDL for five years beginning in 1989, which is where I first met and became friends with him). [More...]

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Washington's Marijuana Law Now In Effect, Amendment 64 Certified

In November, Washington voters passed I-502 (full text here) which provides that adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or specified amounts of marijuana-infused products is not a state crime and creates a regulatory scheme to license sellers. The initiative is now law and went into effect today.

The vote on Colorado's Amendment 64, legalizing adult possession and setting up a regulatory framework to distribute and sell it, was certified by the Secretary of State today, and will become law by January 5.

The New York Times reports the Justice Department and Obama Administration are considering filing lawsuits to upend both states' laws, but a decision doesn't appear to be on the immediate horizon. [More...]

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Denver DA to Drop Pending Marijuana Cases (Under 1 Ounce)

A day after Boulder DA Stan Garnett announced his office will drop pending marijuana cases involving adult possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey announced his office will do the same.

There are about 70 cases pending in Denver that would fall under the amendment, Denver district attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said Thursday. As those cases go through the court system, they will be reviewed for possible dismissal. This won't apply to cases where there is another charge or when the person is under age 21, she said. People who think their case may be dismissed still must appear at their court date, Kimbrough said.

The North Metro Drug Task Force remains opposed. Its latest argument: [More...]

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Boulder DA Dismisses All Minor Marijuana Possession Cases

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett today announced his office will dismiss all pending cases charging adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and/or related drug paraphernalia.

District Attorney Stan Garnett will dismiss all pending criminal cases of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, saying the overwhelming support for Amendment 64 in Boulder County makes it highly unlikely a jury would ever reach a guilty verdict in any of those cases.

"You've seen an end to mere possession cases in Boulder County under my office," Garnett said Wednesday, becoming the first Colorado district attorney to drop pot cases because Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 earlier this month.

Boulder police responded by announcing they will no longer issue citations for these offenses: [More...]

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Washington Prosecutors Dismiss Pending Marijuana Possession Cases

Washington's Initiative 502, which decriminalizes adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, is already having an effect. Today, the elected prosecutors of Washington's two largest counties, King (which includes Seattle) and Pierce, announced they will dismiss more than 220 pending cases with marijuana possession charges. They have decided to apply I 502 now, rather than wait until the Dec. 6 effective date:

"I think when the people voted to change the policy, they weren't focused on when the effective date of the new policy would be. They spoke loudly and clearly that we should not treat small amounts of marijuana as an offense," [DA]Satterberg said...."There is no point in continuing to seek criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal next month."

Seattle police and the King's County Sheriff also announced they will immediately cease arresting people for personal possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

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History Made in Colorado: Marijuana Reform Passes

Congratulations, Colorado! Amendment 64 has passed, 53% to 47%. The law becomes effective on the date of the official declaration of the vote by the Governor or December 6, whichever is earlier. The victory party is at Casselman's in Denver, and is open to the public.

Colorado is the first state to repeal state marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system of regulation and taxation. What becomes legal (from text of Amendment 64): [More...]

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Election Updates on Marijuana Reform Initiatives

Update: Congratulations, Colorado. Amendment 64 has passed.

Update 8:00 pm: Amendment 64 is winning with 64% of the vote with 42% counted. Follow on Twitter.

Update 5:30 pm (MT): The exit polls must be good in Colorado. All three local news stations are prominently featuring Amendment 64 -- more coverage than it gave the measure all year.

NORML and Law Enforcement Officers Against Prohibition (LEAP) will be blogging updates and results of the various marijuana reform initiatives on ballots across the country. Here's LEAP's recap of the various measures:

There are three three statewide measures: Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Colorado's initiative is a constitutional amendment that would legalize and regulate. Washington is a decriminalization bill. Oregon's initiative is legalization with some different twists.

  • Colorado, Amendment 64 (Results will be here.)
  • Oregon, Measure 80:
  • Washington, I-502:

On the ballot in other states: [More...]

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