The proposal, which is likely to receive a public hearing in the near future, is sponsored by Senator Curt McKenzie, who is the Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee.
Legislation to legalize the medical use of cannabis oil is continuing to gain popularity throughout the United States. In addition to numerous states legalizing the medicine last year, several states are taking the same approach this year; just this week Virginia’s governor signed a medical cannabis extract bill into law, Georgia’s House of Representatives voted 158 to 2 to legalize medical cannabis extracts, and Utah’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted to do the same (as did Kansas’ House Committee on Health and Human Services).
In December, an initiative to legalize the recreational use of cannabis kicked off in Idaho.
The post Medical Cannabis Bill Approved by Idaho Senate Committee appeared first on The Joint Blog.
By Aaron Malin, Show-Me Cannabis
A bill that would require the release of any offender serving life without parole for marijuana offenses has moved forward in the Missouri legislature. House Bill 978, introduced by Representative Shamed Dogan, was assigned this week to the House Corrections Committee, and a hearing was immediately scheduled for next Wednesday, March 4, at 8:00 a.m. in House Hearing Room 5. The bill would require the release of 61-year-old great-grandfather Jeff Mizanskey, who has been incarcerated for twenty-one years on a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
“I am grateful to Chairman Fitzwater for holding a hearing on HB 978. Since introducing this bill, I have yet to hear from anyone who believes that life without parole is a reasonable sentence for marijuana offenses,” said Dogan, (R – Ballwin). “To the contrary, I’ve received a great amount of support from my constituents as well as my Republican and Democratic colleagues in the House. I look forward to hearing testimony from other Missourians, including Jeff Mizanskey’s family and friends, about their desire to grant Jeff Mizanskey the freedom he deserves.”
Legislation was introduced to free Mizanskey after Governor Nixon failed to act on a petition for executive clemency, which was filed approximately two years earlier. After repeatedly declining to comment on Mizanskey’s petition, Nixon’s position evolved just hours after it was announced that Representative Dogan would introduce HB 978. “It’s a very serious amount of time,” Nixon told KMBC. “If the laws change after someone is sentenced, then you want to give those things a close look.” Please join the Justice for Jeff campaign by texting ‘Jeff’ to 420420 now. Then, call Governor Nixon’s office at 573-751-3222 and politely ask that he grant Jeff Mizanskey clemency.
The post Missouri Bill to Free those Serving Life in Prison for Cannabis Takes Leap Forward appeared first on The Joint Blog.
New polling conducted and released by Goucher College has found that a majority of those in Maryland support the legalization of cannabis for recreational use, and believe cannabis is less dangerous than sugar.
According to the poll; “Fifty-two percent of Marylanders support making the use of marijuana legal in Maryland; 44 percent oppose.
When asked which substance is the most harmful to a person’s overall health, 46 percent say tobacco is the most harmful, followed by alcohol (22 percent), and sugar (13 percent). Eight percent think marijuana is more harmful to a person’s overall health than tobacco, alcohol, or sugar.”
When asked if they believe cannabis is a ‘gateway drug”, 55% responded that they disagree, with 43% agreeing with the statement.
The full results of the poll can be found by clicking here.
The post Poll: Majority in Maryland Support Legalizing Cannabis, Believe it’s Safer than Sugar appeared first on The Joint Blog.
The new law is set to take effect Thursday, February 26, at 12:01am. In a press release issued Tuesday, District officials — including Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Cathy Lanier — reaffirmed their intent to recognize the will of District voters, 70 percent of whom voted in favor of the municipal measure (I-71).
“In November, residents of the District of Columbia voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana by adults for personal, in-home use in the District,” said Mayor Bowser. “We will uphold the letter and the spirit of the initiative that was passed last year, and we will establish the Initiative 71 Task Force to coordinate our enforcement, awareness and engagement efforts and address policy questions as they arise.”
Initiative 71 permits adults to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and to cultivate up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature at any one time) in one’s primary residence without facing any criminal or civil penalty. Not-for-profit transactions involving small amounts of the substance are also permitted; however, for-profit sales are prohibited as is the retail production or distribution of the plant.
The consumption of cannabis in public or on federal property also remains prohibited.
District officials contend that they possess the legal authority to depenalize minor marijuana offenses despite the passage of a federal spending provision in December prohibiting the District from spending any tax dollars to implement the new law. They argue that the municipal measure took effect upon passage in November and that Congress failed to take any explicit action to overturn the law during its requisite 30-day review period. (This Congressional review period is mandated law before any new District legislation may be imposed.)
District officials’ stance is not without some vocal critics. Earlier this week, two Republican members of Congress sent a letter to DC’s Mayor warning that Congress may take action if I-71 is enforced.
“If you decide to move forward … with the legalization of marijuana in the District, you will be doing so in knowing and willful violation of the law,” reads the letter signed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the subcommittee that handles DC affairs.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Rep. Chaffetz threatened Mayor Bowser and city officials, stating, “[If District officials are] under any illusion that this would be legal, they are wrong. And there are very severe consequences for violating this provision. You can go to prison for this. We’re not playing a little game here.”
To date, neither spokespersons for the Mayor’s office and/or the DC City Council have responded directly to the Congressmen nor have they indicated that they intend to reconsider their decision to implement I-71 as voters intended.
I have been studying the medical use of marijuana since 1950 and I am very proud of the fact that I essentially introduced medical marijuana to the state of Oregon.” Dr. Phillip Leveque,... From: Regulate Marijuana Views: 474 23 ratings Time: 02:50 More in Nonprofits & Activism
Nearly six out of ten Coloradans say that they support keeping retail marijuana production and sales legal, according to statewide polling data released by Quinnipiac University.
The figure is a five percent increase in support since voters approved the law in November 2012. A September 2014 statewide NBC News/Marist College poll previously reported that 55 percent of Coloradoans favored the law.
Men and younger voters were most likely to support legalization. Voters ages 18 to 34 overwhelmingly favored state law (86 percent to 16 percent) while 50 percent of those ages 55 and older opposed it.
Male voters supported the legalization by a margin of 63 percent to 33 percent, while women only favored the law by a margin of 53 percent to 44 percent.
The gender and age differences in support are not surprising. A just-published study in the February issue of the journal Drug Abuse and Alcohol Dependence reports that women are twice as likely as men to perceive significant risks associated with the use of cannabis. The study reported that those least likely to perceive significant harms associated with cannabis are those between the ages of 18 to 25, those who have completed high-school and/or college, and those with annual household incomes exceeding $75,000.
According to newly released figures by the Colorado Department of Revenue, retail sales of marijuana totaled just under $700 million in Colorado in 2014 – the first full year during which sales of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes were allowed.
Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer talks about a failed drug war and the the evolution of social cannabis reform. From: Regulate Marijuana Views: 45 6 ratings Time: 03:25 More in Nonprofits & Activism
On Monday, I published a rebuttal of these claims in a commentary published on the website Alternet.org — an excerpt of which appears below.
Debunking the Latest Pathetic Fear Smear Campaign Against Marijuana
[excerpt] [N]umerous (though far less publicized) studies have come to light downplaying the likelihood that cannabis use is a direct cause of psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia. Specifically, a 2009 paper in the journal Schizophrenia Research compared trends in marijuana use and incidences of schizophrenia in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2005. Authors reported that “incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses were either stable or declining” during this period, even though pot use among the general population was rising. They concluded: “This study does not therefore support the specific causal link between cannabis use and incidence of psychotic disorders. … This concurs with other reports indicating that increases in population cannabis use have not been followed by increases in psychotic incidence.”
Similarly, a 2010 review paper published by a pair of British scientists in the journal Addiction reported that clinical evidence indicating that use of he herb may be casually linked to incidences of schizophrenia or other psychological harms is not persuasive. Authors wrote: “We continue to take the view that the evidence that cannabis use causes schizophrenia is neither very new, nor by normal criteria, particularly compelling. … For example, our recent modeling suggests that we would need to prevent between 3000 and 5000 cases of heavy cannabis use among young men and women to prevent one case of schizophrenia, and that four or five times more young people would need to avoid light cannabis use to prevent a single schizophrenia case. … We conclude that the strongest evidence of a possible causal relation between cannabis use and schizophrenia emerged more than 20 years ago and that the strength of more recent evidence may have been overstated.”
More recently, researchers at Harvard University released a study further rebutting this allegation. Writing in 2013 in Schizophrenia Research, investigators compared the family histories of 108 schizophrenia patients and 171 individuals without schizophrenia to assess whether youth cannabis consumption was an independent factor in developing the disorder. Researchers reported that a family history of schizophrenia increased the risk of developing the disease, regardless of whether or not subjects consumed weed as adolescents. They concluded: “The results of the current study, both when analyzed using morbid risk and family frequency calculations, suggest that having an increased familial risk for schizophrenia is the underlying basis for schizophrenia in these samples and not the cannabis use. While cannabis may have an effect on the age of onset of schizophrenia it is unlikely to be the cause of illness.”
In fact, some researchers speculate that specific cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), may even be efficacious in treating symptoms of psychosis. According to a review published in the January 2014 issue of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology: “CBD has some potential as an antipsychotic treatment. … Given the high tolerability and superior cost-effectiveness, CBD may prove to be an attractive alternative to current antipsychotic treatment.” Specifically, a 2012 double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial assessing the administration of CBD versus the prescription anti-psychotic drug amisulpride in 42 subjects with schizophrenia and acute paranoia concluded that two substances provided similar levels of improvement, but that cannabidiol did so with far fewer adverse side effects.
Case reports in the scientific literature also indicate that some patients turn to cannabis for subjective benefits, though other studies indicate that pot use may exacerbate certain symptoms in patients with psychiatric disorders. Nonetheless, even a recent paper summarizing the “adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use” acknowledges, “It is difficult to decide whether cannabis use has had any effects on psychosis incidence, because even if a relationship were to be causal, cannabis use would produce a very modest increase in incidence.”
You can read my full commentary here.
You can also watch my discussion with Thom Hartmann of The Big Picture (air date: February 23) here.
Fifty-three percent of Alaska voters approved Ballot Measure 2 on Election Day, permitting those over the age of 21 to lawfully possess up to one ounce of marijuana and/or to grow up to six marijuana plants (no more than three mature) for non-commercial purposes. Sharing or gifting personal use quantities of marijuana is also permitted under the new law; however the consumption of cannabis in public remains an offense.
Lawmakers will now begin the process of establishing licensing requirements for those who wish to commercially produce cannabis and/or engage in the plant’s retail sale. State regulators have up to nine months to enact rules to govern these commercial entities and are expected to begin granting operator permits by February 2016.
Since 1975, Alaskans have enjoyed personal privacy protections based on a state Supreme Court decision allowing for the possession and cultivation of personal use amounts of cannabis in one’s home. However, state lawmakers had never before codified these protections into law or permitted a legal market for marijuana production and sales.
Alaska is the third state – following Colorado and Washington – to legalize the personal possession of marijuana by adults and to license the plant’s retail production and sales. Oregon voters in November approved similar legislation (Measure 91), which is scheduled to go into effect later this year.
In this 1997 episode of Speak Out Hawaii, Pastor Ray Christl talks about cannabis as a sacrament, social cannabis in society, the need to end the failed drug war and industrial hemp as an option for farmers. The plant, which can produce 100,000 products from building materials to fuel, was demonized in the 1930's by corrupt monopolies. After decades of oppression by the U.S. Government, industrial hemp is starting to be grown in Colorado and Oregon for sustainable products, after voters approved social cannabis laws. Footage archived by Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) http://hemp.org From: RestoreHemp Views: 43 4 ratings Time: 13:07 More in Education
In this excerpt from a 1997 episode of Speak Out Hawaii, Pastor Ray Christl talks about the need for industrial hemp as an option for farmers. The plant, which can produce 100,000 products from building materials to fuel, was demonized in the 1930's by corrupt monopolies. After decades of oppression by the U.S. Government, industrial hemp is starting to be grown in Colorado and Oregon for sustainable products, after voters approved social cannabis laws. Footage archived by Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) http://hemp.org From: RestoreHemp Views: 88 3 ratings Time: 01:55 More in Education
In this excerpt from a 1991 Time 4 Hemp interview, Dale Gieringer, Ph.D, talks about California NORML, Bill Graham's cannabis activism, the need to mobilize statewide in California and the importance of writing letters to elected officials about prohibition in the United States. Website: Time 4 Hemp - http://time4hemp.com Footage archived by Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) - http://hemp.org From: RestoreHemp Views: 17 4 ratings Time: 20:00 More in Education
Congressional Legislation Introduced to Get the Federal Government Out of the Marijuana Enforcement Business
House Resolution 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, removes cannabis from the United States Controlled Substances Act. It also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matters concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales — thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.
Said the bill’s primary sponsor, Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado: “Over the past year, Colorado has demonstrated that regulating marijuana like alcohol takes money away from criminals and cartels, grows our economy, and keeps marijuana out of the hands of children. While President Obama and the Justice Department have allowed the will of voters in states like Colorado and 22 other jurisdictions to move forward, small business owners, medical marijuana patients, and others who follow state laws still live with the fear that a new administration – or this one—could reverse course and turn them into criminals. It is time for us to replace the failed prohibition with a regulatory system that works and let states and municipalities decide for themselves if they want, or don’t want, to have legal marijuana within their borders.”
Separate legislation, House Resolution 1014: the Marijuana Tax Revenue Act, introduced by Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, seeks to impose a federal excise tax on the retail sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes as well as apply an occupational tax for state-licensed marijuana businesses. Such commercial taxes would only be applicable if and when Congress has moved to defederalize marijuana prohibition.
“It’s time for the federal government to chart a new path forward for marijuana.” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Together these bills create a federal framework to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, much like we treat alcohol and tobacco. The federal prohibition of marijuana has been a failure, wasting tax dollars and ruining countless lives. As more states move to legalize marijuana as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska have done, it’s imperative the federal government become a full partner in building a workable and safe framework.”
Similar versions of these measures were introduced in the previous Congress but failed to gain federal hearings.
To contact your US House member and urge him/her to support House Resolution 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act and/or other pending federal marijuana law reform legislation, please visit NORML’s Take Action page here.
One indisputable fact is that big-money interests have now surfaced in a number of states, seeking to influence the type of legalization adopted in specific states, and to profit from the legal marijuana market. We should not be surprised that the economic appeal of legalizing marijuana would attract the attention of people with resources.
Understandably, some activists who have worked long and hard to help bring us to this point, are concerned about the entry of big money into the political equation. They fear the legalization movement has been hijacked by those seeking to profit from legal marijuana.
Of course, big money has been a major factor in the legalization movement as far back as 1996, when the California medical marijuana initiative was bailed-out with money provided by a handful of rich philanthropists, led by George Soros and the late Peter Lewis, who have been major funders supporting many of the statewide initiatives passed since, including both the Colorado and Washington state full legalization initiatives, and more recently the Oregon legalization initiative.
To Read the Balance of this Column, Please Go To Marijuana.com.