UNH WMUR Granite State Poll shows 60% of New Hampshire adults support HB 492, which would make marijuana legal and establish a regulated marijuana market for adults; just 36% are opposed
The New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has voted 11-7 against recommending the passage of HB 492, a bill to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, despite a new poll showing strong public support for the measure.
According to a new WMUR Granite State Poll released October 25 by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, 60 percent of New Hampshire adults support HB 492. Just 36 percent said they are opposed.
The poll of 603 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted October 1-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. The entire poll is available here.
"Marijuana prohibition has been just as big of a failure as alcohol prohibition," said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "New Hampshire voters are clearly ready for a more sensible approach. It appears some legislators are still less evolved than their constituents on this issue."
By Steve Elliott
Hundreds of marijuana plants, along with the indictment against a Mat-Su, Alaska couple, were thrown out of court on Monday.
A judge dismissed the charges against Trace and Jennifer Thoms of Meadow Lakes after suppressing the "drug evidence" seized by Alaska State Troopers in their 2010 raid west of Wasilla, reports Casey Grove at the Anchorage Daily News.
An earlier court dispute about the troopers' search warrant had focused on whether Trooper Kyle Young was truthful when he claimed he could smell marijuana from across a swamp while driving by on a below-freezing night. Upon checking, Trooper Young said he later found that the Thoms's electrical bill was higher than that of a typical home.
The issue of Young's truthfulness regarding his smelling ability got the case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent it back to Alaska for another hearing. A judge finally ruled Trooper Young was truthful.
But the September 20 ruling to throw out the evidence was based on the overreach involved in the troopers' search. They looked in buildings not included in the warrant, more than 100 yards from the home, not on the same electric meter and not associated with the house's day-to-day activities. The judge ruled those buildings were not covered by the warrant.
By Steve Elliott
New Jersey's youngest medical marijuana patient, two-and-a-half-year-old Vivian Wilson, left the Compassionate Care Foundation medicinal cannabis dispensary Monday in a stroller, holding a stuffed toy dog, with her parents Brian and Meghan Wilson of Scotch Plains.
It was a moment to remember for the dispensary, which finally opened on Monday, nearly four years after the state passed its medical marijuana law, reports Susan K. Livio at The Star-Ledger. It was perhaps an even more important moment for the Wilsons and for other families with critically ill children in New Jersey.
Monday marked the first time a New Jersey family was able to buy the form of marijuana that in other states has helped quell the severe seizures that have stunted Vivian Wilson's development, and could take her life. Vivian has a rare and dangerous form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome, and conventional medicine just hasn't helped much.
Javier Sicilia to Speak at Stanford University of Pain Caused by Failed Drug War – and Need for Alternative Drug Policies to Prevent Future Victims
Mexican poet and peace leader Javier Sicilia on Wednesday will visit the Bay Area to speak firsthand about the devastation and pain caused by the Drug War in Mexico.
Sicilia’s visit –- to Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies on Wednesday, October 30, at 4:30 pm -– is part of the bi-national, 11-city “Voices of the Victims” Tour calling for an end to the Drug War that has left more than 80,000 people murdered, 25,000 disappeared, and 250,000 displaced from their homes in Mexico.
The Voices of the Victims Tour began on October 23-26 in Denver, Colorado, at the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference, hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), during which 24 representatives from the Mexican victims’ organization, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, participated in panels and roundtable discussions to strategize with activists from around the world about how to bring the war on drugs to an end.
By Steve Elliott
Denver is scaling back a proposed law against "open and public consumption" of marijuana after an earlier version, passed in response to cannabis legalization, would have banned even the smell of pot from back yards.
A new draft of the law introduced to the City Council on Monday would allow people to toke up in their back yards, and also, unlike the first draft, would allow them to possess cannabis in parks and on the 16th Street Mall, reports Jeremy P. Meyer at The Denver Post. The ordinance would make violations petty offenses that carry a maximum $100 fine and/or 24 hours of community service.
Marijuana industry officials had said the tough proposed rules would have effectively recriminalized marijuana, legalized or adult use by Colorado voters last November under Amendment 64. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the proposed law would be unconstitutional.
The new draft of the proposed ordinance chucks the language calling the smell of pot "open and public consumption," leaving odor complaints under the authority of Environmental Health inspectors.
The draft must still be approved by the Denver City Council. It would allow marijuana "possession," but prohibit "display and distribution" in parks and downtown. Under the rules, adults can possess marijuana, but not "wave it around," according to Councilman Chris Nevitt.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana extract has been the most effective treatment for their son's seizures, according to the parents of a 5-year-old boy in Arizona who on Monday filed a lawsuit to force state officials to include cannabis extracts as legal products under the state's medical marijuana law.
Arizona's medicinal cannabis act, approved by voters in 2010, allows patients to use "any mixture or preparation" made with dried marijuana flowers, reports Fernanda Santos of The New York Times. The parents, Jacob and Jennifer Welton, have been crushing flowers and mixing them in with applesauce, but they say that's become difficult for their son, Zander, to eat after brain surgery last year.
They don't want to buy cannabis extract -- available on the black market -- for fear of being arrested.
"We're not criminals," said Jennifer Welton, 30, who works in the enrollment department of the University of Phoenix. "We just want what's best for our son."
Zander's parents decided to ask for medical marijuana for him after seeing a CNN documentary featuring the story of a girl from Colorado whose seizures were almost eliminated after using a cannabidiol-rich (high CBD) strain of cannabis. CBD, while non-psychoactive (there's no "high" associated with it), shares many of the medical benefits of THC.
By Steve Elliott
The Florida Supreme Court on December 5 will hear arguments on whether a proposed initiative to amend the state constitution, legalizing medical marijuana, should go before voters on the November 2014 general election ballot.
The announcement came just before supporters and opponents of the measure were to gather at the Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College for a debate, "The Great Debate! Marijuana Legalization: Make An Informed Decision," reports Alex Sanz at WPTV.
The debate will pit Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), against Kevin Sabet, who director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida and a notorious anti-cannabis whack-job.
"It's needed now because there are people who are ill now," said William Deans, an organizer at Medical Marijuana Petition Palm Beach. "We're going to have 900,000 petitioners before it is said and done with, who have signed to indicate that they want this issue on the ballot."
Jeff Kadel, executive director of something called the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition, wasted no time in displaying his ignorance on the subject.
By Steve Elliott
A prisoner in Missouri who is serving a prison term of life without parole for marijuana has asked the governor for clemency after serving 20 years.
Jeff Mizanskey was arrested on December 18, 1993, when he drove a friend to a motel in Sedalia, Missouri, to meet two men, reports Ray downs at Riverfront Times. To this day, Mizanskey says he had no clue his friend, Atilano Quintana, was going there to buy a few pounds of marijuana.
What Quintana didn't know was that his two friends who were in the motel with a brick of cannabis had been busted the day before, with 13 bricks, and they had agreed to roll over and ensnare more buyers. There were cops and surveillance equipment in the adjoining room; Quintana and Mizanskey were busted.
The surveillance video shows Quintana was the one who made the purchase, and the was the one in possession of the package when he and Mizanskey were arrested. Quintana got a 10-year sentence for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a Class B felony.
But this was Mizanskey's third pot charge. He'd been busted in 1984 for selling an ounce of pot to a narc, and in 1991 for possession of more than 35 grams.
Jeff, who had never done prison time and never had a violent offense, was given life without parole under Missouri's "prior and persistent drug offender" law.
By Steve Elliott
A national cannabis education tour called "Weed Not Greed" is planning to launch next year, according to a press release from a group behind the plans.
"Weed Not Greed is on a mission to organize a national tour for cannabis visibility and education to re-legalize this long-cultivated plant of medicine, fiber, and consciousness," reads a Monday press release from the group. "To free innocent individuals incarcerated due to unconstitutional cannabis prohibitions, our group of passionate progressives will span the country visiting major metropolises.
" We are insisting on the right for anyone to grow, possess, consume, or distribute cannabis for all the gifts it has provided humanity over our thousands-year history together," the statement reads.
“We are making clear that cannabis use is a civil right, and the freedom to choose its use is as constitutional a right as freedom of religion and the pursuit of happiness,” said Weed Not Greed founder David Kowalsky.
"The mission," according to Kowalsky, "is to educate the unknowing and to raise the issue above the level of a key election topic (of which numerous polls now show a majority of Americans favoring legalization) to immediate health and economic concern. The number of neurological and muscular diseases that cannabis can treat is shown in the dozens, including many types of cancer."
By Steve Elliott
Firing up a joint in the U.S. capital may soon get you in less trouble than a parking ticket.
Mayor Vincent Gray and 10 of 13 members of the D.C. Council have endorsed a plan to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana; this means cannabis possession would be a civil offense, rather than a criminal offense, reports The Washington Post.
Under the plan, recreational marijuana users won't face arrest, charges or jail, as long as they aren't caught with more than an ounce of pot. Instead, they would have to pay a fine, possibly as low as $25. The mayor also wants criminal penalties to remain in place for those caught smoking weed in public.
A recent report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) suggests that D.C. and many other places enforce anti-marijuana laws in a racially discriminatory manner, arresting a disproportionate number of African American suspects.
The Washington Post endorsed decrim, saying "Enforcing criminal penalties against those who aren’t involved in trafficking or selling the drug would be too harsh and a waste of government resources."
By Steve Elliott
Endocan Corporation, a U.S. company specializing in cannabis and cannabinoid formulation-based health and wellness solutions, on Friday made public its ongoing negotiations with third parties in Colorado to start cooperative and joint venture arrangements for production, testing and distribution of Endocan brand products.
"This includes the long-awaited Endocan product line expected for release in early 2014, with Colorado seen as an early target market in the United States for testing in several critical ailment categories," a company press release states.
According to the company, Endocan's presence in Colorado "stems not only from the legal medical cannabis regulatory environment but also from the general openness with which Colorado has embraced cannabis, including the extension of legalization to recreational cannabis use for individuals over the age of 21, with a forward looking regulatory and taxation policy."
"This environment speaks highly of the future of Endocan Corporation's development opportunities in the state, with an estimated $200 million medical cannabis market at this early stage," the press release states.
"Colorado has now been my home for three years, my family having relocated to Colorado Springs," said Robert Kane, chief financial officer and senior vice president of business development at Endocan. "We have found Colorado to be a progressive, open-minded state with a compassionate position on improving the quality of life of its citizens.
By Steve Elliott
With more and more older people being affected by neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's, a link has been found between excess levels of iron in the brain and neurodegeneration. Researchers in Brazil looked at how the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) can help those suffering from such conditions.
The researchers, from Pontifical Catholic University, focused on the mitochondria, which are found in most cells and housed inside a membrane, reports Drake Dorm at MedicalJane.com. Mitochondria generate most of a cell's energy; they are often called the "cellular power plant." They control cell processes including apoptosis (programmed cell death).
It had already been found in previous studies that CBD is able to treat some symptoms of neurodegenerative disease, stopping immune cells from attacking the insulating covers of the nerve cells (myelin sheaths) in the spinal cord.
One problem associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's is less energy at the brain's synapses, where neurons pass signals to each other. Excess iron seems to disrupt the dynamics of the mitochondria, causing them to initiate more cell death than usual.
By Steve Elliott
A scientist at the University of London's St. George School of Medicine has found that cannabinoids from marijuana can kill cancerous cells found in people with leukemia, a form of cancer which kills 24,000 people each year in the United States.
"Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive," said study author Dr. Wai Liu, an oncologist, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. "For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function.
"I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies," Dr. Liu said.
The study was recently published in the journal Anticancer Research. It was funded by GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes a marijuana-derived nasal spray, Sativex, that is used to treat spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.
The study examined six different non-psychoactive cannabinoids, which unlike THC, don't get you high. The cannabinoids were examined alone and in combination; they displayed "a diverse range of therapeutic qualities" that "target and switch off" pathways, preventing cancer from growing, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Awardees Recognized for Groundbreaking Work to End the War on Drugs
Other Winners Include Seattle Police Department, Global Commission on Drug Policy, and More
The Service Intervention in Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD) and its general director Dr. João Castel-Branco Goulão will receive the Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine, at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver on Saturday, October 26. The award recognizes medical and treatment experts who perform rigorous scientific research and who have the courage to report their findings even though they may be at odds with current dogma.
“Portugal’s drug policy stands out as a model for other nations committed to treating drug use and addiction in a health-based and fiscally responsible manner,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “I only hope that people in Portugal fully appreciate not just the wisdom of their own drug policies, but also the extent to which Goulão and the Institute have provided international leadership on the issue.”
Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências (SICAD) is an agency in Portugal’s Ministry of Health that is directly responsible for the implementation of the country’s national drug strategy. Its mission is to promote the reduction of harms related to drug misuse and drug addiction.
By Steve Elliott
With Uruguay about to become the first nation on Earth to fully, formally re-legalize cannabis since the the United Nations Single Convention Treaty on Narcotics in 1961, marijuana cultivators there are eagerly preparing for the day when they can openly grow the herb.
"To be a grower, once this is up and running, will be something like a sommelier," said Julio Rey, 38, reports Juan Forero at The Washington Post. Rey already has eight plants in two lighted cabinets.
Under a bill approved by the lower house of Uruguay's General Assembly, and expected to pass the Senate in the coming weeks, citizens will be allowed to grow up to six plants in their homes. Cooperatives of up to 45 members will be allowed to cultivate up to 99 plants for their own use.
Growers in places such as the rural town of Florida, Uruguay, where Rey lives, will also likely cultivate for the larger market, selling to the government. Cannabis will be supplied to pharmacies, the only retail outlets allowed to sell to individual customers. Marijuana smokers will have to sign up on a national registry, and sales to children or foreigners will be prohibited.