By Steve Elliott
A poll released last week shows a solid majority of Californians surveyed in February -- 54 percent -- support allowing marijuana to be legalized, sold and taxed like alcohol.
The level of support has risen four percentage points since Field Poll last posed the question to the state's registered voters in 2010, reports KCRA.com. A few months after that poll, Proposition 19, which would have made California the first state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis, got only 46 percent of the votes cast, losing by just under 700,000 votes.
Voters in Washington and Colorado last year ignored federal marijuana laws, passing initiatives which permit adults 21 and older to possess small amounts of cannabis. Tellingly, opinion polls in those two states, taken just ahead of the November election, showed less support for legalizing marijuana than voters in the new California poll are expressing.
Marijuana legalization got the most support in the San Francisco Bay area, where almost 70 percent of voters endorsed the idea.
A group of marijuana activists has already announced plans to put another initiative on the 2014 ballot.
By Steve Elliott
In what could be a precedent-setting case in Pierce County, Washington, a judge on Thursday ordered police to return marijuana that was seized from a Tacoma man during a traffic stop last year.
Municipal Court Judge Jack Emery agreed with Joseph L. Robertson's that the cops had no right to seize the cannabis -- less than 40 grams -- because he is a designated provider of medical marijuana, reports Adam Lynn at The News Tribune.
This might be the first such ruling in Pierce County history, according to Robertson's lawyer, Jay Berneberg. Two owners of a medical marijuana dispensary in the county lost a Superior Court bid to get back the cannabis seized from them during a case which was later thrown out of court.
"As far as that goes, it's a big deal," said Berneberg, who specializes in medical marijuana cases.
Robertson hoped to get his marijuana back from the police property room within a week.
"I feel great," he said outside court. "You've got to stand up for people's rights sometimes."
Police had confiscated the marijuana in May 2012 after stopping Robertson for speeding. The officer who made the traffic stop claimed he smelled cannabis inside Robertson's car and later found a small amount, according to court records.
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By Paul Stanford, CRRH
Campaign for the Restoration & Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) is a federal 501(C)4 political committee working to end hemp & cannabis prohibition. CRRH put Measure 80 on Oregon's 2012 ballot, and, last November, Measure 80 garnered 47 percent of the vote in Oregon to regulate marijuana and legalize hemp. CRRH is proud to be working with the ACLU of Oregon now to change our punitive marijuana laws.
CRRH believes that marijuana is a bellwether issue for the future of freedom. Cannabis has been purposely cultivated for over 10,000 years and produces more fiber, food, fuel and medicine than any other plant. Cannabis is the oldest and most productive crop sown. Please support CRRH and our vital work to restore hemp.
CRRH is proud to congratulate Mr. David Findaque for his much deserved 'E.B. MacNaughton Civil Liberties Award’.
By Bill Lambdin , WNYT
ALBANY - As Burton Aldrich sat in his wheelchair, describing the serious conditions that have caused him to appeal for the legal right to use marijuana he is already taking outside the law, his body stiffened.
"It's a (pain) spasm," Aldrich told us.
Burt, as well as HIV and Hepatitis C sufferer Richard Williams, hope this is the year elected representatives in Albany heed their call.
"Let me not be fear every time I have to go out and try to get some marijuana somewhere," Aldrich said. "(Fear) about who I'm getting it from, whether they're going to kill me or steal from me or whether I've going to get put in jail because of it."
Although medical marijuana proposals have easily passed the Assembly, they have not been permitted to go to a vote in the Republican controlled State Senate.
Tough for Burt to take. He says he is a Republican.
"And I look at my forefathers who came over on the Mayflower," Aldrich said. "It was to find some place where they could be free and this is what America stood for and so as a Republican, I ask my Republican senators to please back me on this."
This year Republicans are sharing control of the State Senate.
By Ray Stern
An increased number of Arizona voters support the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act, and most would vote to end marijuana prohibition, a new poll shows.
The poll of 600 Arizonan residents was conducted on January 9 and 10 by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the National Cannabis Industry Association.
The number 59 keeps coming up in the poll. That's the percentage of Arizonans who either strongly support, or just plain support:
* The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
* Ending prohibition and making marijuana legal for adults to use.
* A hypothetical future ballot proposition in Arizona that would aim to regulate marijuana like alcohol, making it legal for those 21 and over to use and buy in government-regulated shops.
The nearly 60 percent of Arizona voters supporting the law and overall legalization represent a growing trend in the country toward the elimination of pot prohibition laws. In November, Colorado and Washington voters approved regulating marijuana like alcohol.
In the election of 2010, more than 841,000 Arizona voters said "yes" to Proposition 203, but nearly as many as said "no." The initiative passed by 4,341 votes.
The poll shows that support for the 2010 law has apparently increased, despite criticism of the medical-marijuana program by opponents.
The marijuana debate is still polarizing, with most respondents said they "strongly" supported or opposed the ideas.
By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post
In the cannabis plant family, hemp is the good seed. Marijuana, the evil weed. Michael Bowman, a gregarious Colorado farmer who grows corn and wheat, has been working his contacts in Congress in an attempt to persuade lawmakers that hemp has been framed, unfairly lumped with the stuff people smoke to get high.
Somehow over time, as Bowman’s pitch goes, hemp, which is used to make paper, oils and a variety of useful products, was mistaken for its twin, marijuana — a.k.a pot, chronic, blunt and weed — a medicinal drug loaded with tetrahydrocannabinol that buzzes the mind. Hemp got caught up in the legendary crusade against pot popularized by the movie “Reefer Madness.” All varieties of cannabis ended up on the most-wanted list, outlawed by Congress as well as lawmakers in other nations, inspiring people to kill it on sight.
Bowman’s message is simple: Be sensible. “Can we just stop being stupid? Can we just talk about how things need to change?”
While the United States ranks as the world’s leading consumer of hemp products — with total sales of food and body-care products exceeding $43 million in 2011 — it is the only major industrialized country that bans growing it, even though 11 states have passed measures removing barriers to hemp production and research. Ninety percent of the U.S. supply comes from Canada.
By WKYT Staff
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer spoke to a crowded room at Thursday's Lexington Forum continuing his push for industrial hemp here in Kentucky. He says it's something this year's General Assembly must act on.
Comer says hemp would be a cheap crop for farmers to grow and would create jobs across the state. Comer says other states are working on similar legislation and Kentucky could lose its opportutnity to cash in if others legalize it first. State police are opposed to the idea, saying it's impossible for them to visually distinguish hemp from marijuana. They say they would have to do a chemical analysis on any suspected marijuana plant and that would create a backlog in their system. Comer disagrees.
By Alex Dobuzinskis, Huffington Post
After a decades-long campaign to legalize marijuana hit a high mark in 2012 with victories in Washington state and Colorado, its energized and deep-pocketed backers are mapping out a strategy for the next round of ballot-box battles.
They have their sights set on possible ballot measures in 2014 or 2016 in states such as California and Oregon, which were among the first in the country to allow marijuana for medical use. Although those states more recently rejected broader legalization, drug-law reform groups remain undeterred.
"Legalization is more or less repeating the history of medical marijuana," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "If you want to know which states are most likely to legalize marijuana, then look at the states that were the first to legalize medical marijuana."
A political arm of the alliance spent more than $1.6 million as one of the main funders of the Washington state campaign.
The passage of the ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state in November allowed personal possession of the drug for people 21 and older. That same age group will be allowed to buy the drug at special marijuana stores under rules set to be finalized next year.
As a young man enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, Chris Williams swore an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." Now is the time to show him your support!
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Why Oregon, California and more are likely to follow Colorado and Washington toward legalization
By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone
The Berlin Wall of pot prohibition seems to be crumbling before our eyes.
By fully legalizing marijuana through direct democracy, Colorado and Washington have fundamentally changed the national conversation about cannabis. As many as 58 percent of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal. And our political establishment is catching on. Former president Jimmy Carter came out this month and endorsed taxed-and-regulated weed. "I'm in favor of it," Carter said. "I think it's OK." In a December 5th letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) suggested it might be possible "to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law." Even President Obama hinted at a more flexible approach to prohibition, telling 20/20's Barbara Walters that the federal government was unlikely to crack down on recreational users in states where pot is legal, adding, "We've got bigger fish to fry."
By JOCE DeWITT Corvallis Gazette-Times
Industrial hemp expert Anndrea Hermann gave Oregon State University faculty members and students a sneak peek Tuesday at a class she’ll offer through OSU’s Ecampus about the benefits of uses of the plant.
The preview came in the form of a seminar titled “Industrial Hemp Today, Where We Are, Where We’re Going,” and it offered context for the online class, which will be offered this spring through the College of Forestry. It will focus on the botany and biology of hemp, as well as the implications of legal and social issues surrounding its use.
Hermann, who will instruct the industrial hemp course, is the president of the Hemp Industries Association and owns The Ridge International Cannabis Consulting.
Hermann, who lives in Canada, said she was excited that OSU decided to incorporate industrial hemp into its curriculum and recognize its significance.
“This is the first time in world history that we know of that a four-credit class solely based on industrial hemp is being offered,” she said. “It’s a cool thing for the university to put it out there.”
by FRED GARDNER, CounterPunch
Paul Stanford, 52, is the author and prime mover behind Oregon’s marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 80, which had gotten 46.5 percent of the vote as of Sunday morning when I called to offer condolences.
“We came close,” he said. “We won Portland by over 60 percent and they’ve still got about 100,000 Portland votes to count. I think it’ll go above 47 percent when all those votes are counted.” Stanford did not sound downhearted. “Here’s an amazing thing,” he went on. “The day after the election the Oregonian, which had opposed us and called us all kinds of names, ran an editorial arguing that the legislature should now legalize and regulate marijuana!”
The billionaires Back East who put about $5 million into successful initiatives in Colorado and Washington state did not contribute to the Oregon legalization effort. Stanford had implored them for help, to no avail. “If we’d had a half million dollars of outside support for advertising, we’d have won,” he says matter-of-factly.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Since 1973, when Earl Blumenauer first voted for legislation that successfully decriminalized marijuana in Oregon, he has been a supporter of a reasonable approach to marijuana regulation.
While he feels there are still many questions about the effects of marijuana use, he believes that this is an issue best left to the states. Blumenauer strongly supports the initiative process and encourages people to push forward in this process of changing the law.
"I suspect that doing your job right, engaging people in this debate, in this discussion, looking at the facts, trying to bring people together in a thoughtful non-hysterical way, letting the evidence speak for itself...I suspect this will be your decade of decision," Blumenauer proclaimed at the 2010 National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's (NORML) Conference at the Governor Hotel in Portland.
After so many years working for the people of Oregon, Blumenauer has seen the evidence of our failed war on drugs, and feels that a re-examination of the way we handle marijuana and hemp would be greatly beneficial. Oregon has the potential to lead the way forward to a better future through regulation rather than prohibition.
BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota voters are likely to have a chance this fall to decide whether marijuana may be used legally as a pain reliever, an option the Legislature has never addressed and that South Dakotans have rejected twice.
Supporters of medical marijuana have been circulating a citizen initiative to put the issue on the November ballot. On Monday, Dave Schwartz, campaign director for a pro-medical marijuana group called North Dakotans for Compassionate Care, delivered petitions that he said contained about 20,000 signatures to North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger's office.
The petitions need about 13,500 signatures from North Dakota voters for the initiative to qualify for a vote. Jaeger has about a month to review the petitions and decide whether they are valid.
The measure would allow someone who suffers from cancer, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and other debilitating illnesses to use marijuana if a doctor recommends it.
Medical marijuana users could grow a limited supply for their own use, and possess up to 2½ ounces of pot for medical reasons, the measure says.
People who needed to obtain the drug would do so from a state-licensed dispensary, with the North Dakota Health Department given regulatory responsibility over medical marijuana.