Political

Maine: Lewiston City Council Places Marijuana Legalization Measure On Ballot

MaineTheWayLifeShouldBe

The Lewiston City Council on Tuesday night voted to place a measure on the November ballot that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and the group has submitted more than the number of signatures required to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Voters will have the opportunity to move Lewiston forward toward a more sensible marijuana policy,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “While collecting signatures we encountered a lot of interest in exploring alternatives to prohibition. People are sick of hearing about adults getting punished for using a less harmful substance than alcohol.

Bermuda: Public Safety Funded Training For Local Doctors To Reject All Medical Cannabis

BermudaPremierMichaelDunkley

Gordon Says "Ask Your Doctor" Stance Has Been a Cruel Joke For Dying Patients

Bermuda’s Public Safety Ministries have, for nearly 10 years, have been paying money to train Bermuda’s doctors and nurses to reject all medical cannabis, according to local marijuana activist Alan Gordon.

If Gordon's allegations are true, this flies in the face of government promises to let doctors decide patients’ fate, and to review applications fairly under Premier Michael Dunkley's "Ask Your Doctor" stance.

Gordon claims 76 percent of doctors worldwide will recommend medical cannabis, compared to less than 10 percent in Bermuda, and attributes this bizarre difference to Ministry-funded mis-training of local doctors.

“In the U.S., doctors can take accredited courses in cannabis medicine, while our doctors locally are following the advice of a former U.S. Drug Czar who now works for a Pharmaceutical company, GW Pharma, with a significant conflict of interest, “ Gordon said.

Gordon referred to former U.S. Deputy Drug Czar Dr. Andrea Barthwell, a heavily criticized speaker who came to the island numerous times over the past 10 years -- funded by the Public Safety Ministry, mind you -- making headlines and leading courses for medical professionals with a message that all herbal medical cannabis is a “sham”.

Maine: Lewiston City Council To Consider Proposal To Make Marijuana Legal For Adults

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

The Lewiston City Council on Tuesday night will consider a citizen-initiated measure at its meeting that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults. The council can enact the proposed law or place it on the November 4 ballot.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted more than 1,250 signatures to place the measure in front of the council. Just 859 valid signatures of registered city voters were required.

Citizens for a Safer Maine qualified a similar measure for the ballot in South Portland and recently collected the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Lewiston resources are being wasted arresting responsible adults for using something with far less personal and social costs than alcohol,” said Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) Maine political director David Boyer. “We hope the council will see the sense in using law enforcement resources for serious issues, but if they don’t, the citizens of Lewiston will.”

WHAT: Lewiston City Council hearing on a citizen-initiated measure that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults

WHEN: Tuesday, September 2, 7 p.m. ET

WHERE: Lewiston City Hall, 27 Pine Street, Lewiston, Maine

WHO: Lewiston City Council

U.S.: Anti-Marijuana 'Experts' Are Paid By Big Pharma Painkiller Drug Companies

FDA-BigPharmavsMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Opponents of the marijuana law reform, alarmed by the rising tide of cannabis-sane legislation sweeping the United States, have turned to a group of paid academic "experts" to bolster their regressive arguments against relaxing the pot laws.

These so-called experts who are paid to offer anti-marijuana opinions in the press may represent a conflict of interest in the cannabis debate, reports Lee Fang at Vice.

Many of the "researchers" who have publicly opposed marijuana legalization are also on the payrolls of Big Pharma companies with products that could be easily (and much more safely) replaced by marijuana. Even worse, when these sold-out "scientists" have been quoted in the popular media, their financial ties to the drug industry haven't been revealed.

Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University is an example. He has impressive academic credentials, and has been extensively quoted in both the popular press and in scholarly publications warning against marijuana use. Dr. Kleber claims pot may cause huge addiction and public health issues.

Bermuda: Medical Marijuana Patients To Hold Rally; Cite Government For Dishonesty

AlanGordon

Activists plan to engage ruling party in discussion following caucus meeting

Back in January, then-Minister Michael Dunkley told the public that compassionate cannabis permit applications could be filed with his office, with a doctor’s support. This has proven to be untrue, with the Permanent Secretary as well as the Health Ministry Chief Medical Officer denying the program’s very existence./ (Please see below attachments for proof of the license program’s cancellation).

(Article depicting Minister Dunkley’s promise, later secretly broken)

“Gravely ill and dying patients took the Premier at his word, and scurried from doctor to doctor, sapping their final reserves of time and energy, only to find out that Government had secretly cancelled the program, despite taking public credit for their alleged compassion,” Gordon explained.

Gordon called the government’s gambit a “dirty trick” to play on the gravely ill and dying. At least two Bermudian patients have died while waiting for access to medical cannabis, needlessly suffering, according to Gordon.

Patients are now insisting on face-to-face talks with the Premier, outside the formal time-limited caucus meeting guidelines, because, Gordon says: “The time for sound bites and stock answers is over. We want direct, honest talks with follow-up questions because we were lied to, and we don’t trust these guys anymore.”

New Mexico: Santa Fe City Council Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

ReducingMarijuanaPenalties(NewMexico)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Santa Fe City Council, in a surprise move on Wednesday night, decriminalized marijuana possession. The city of about 70,000 residents became the first in New Mexico to decriminalize pot.

The resolution, passed on a 5-4 vote, changes the city's penalties for cannabis possession from a criminal misdemeanor punishable by a $50-$100 fine and up to 15 days in jail, to a civil infraction and a $25 fine, reports Joey Peters at the Santa Fe Reporter.

It also instructs Santa Fe's police force to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as the lowest law enforcement priority. The decrim measure applies to possession cases involving one ounce or less, and also decriminalizes marijuana paraphernalia.

The vote came after pressure from Drug Policy Action and ProgressNow NM to get decriminalization on the November general election ballot.

"Obviously from a policy perspective, this is incredible," said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico director of Drug Policy Action, affiliated with Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico. "The people have won tonight no matter what."

Kaltenbach added, though, that the Reducing Marijuana Penalties initiative was formed with the aim of getting decrim on the ballot so that voters could have a say on the issue. Petitioners submitted more than 11,000 signatures from residents to qualify for November's ballot.

Maine: Activists To Submit Final Petition For Initiative To Legalize Marijuana In York

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

Citizens for a Safer Maine will submit its petition Wednesday in support of a citizen initiative to make private marijuana possession legal for adults 21 years of age and older in the Town of York. York Selectman Ronald Nowell will join initiative backers at a media availability at 2 p.m. ET in front of York Town Hall prior to submitting the petition to the Town Clerk’s Office.

Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 900 total signatures, and just 641 valid signatures of registered town voters are needed to qualify for the ballot.

In July, the group submitted more than 100 signatures in order to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, it voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving Citizens for a Safer Maine 30 days to collect the additional 600-plus signatures.

The initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public.

The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level. A similar measure will appear on the November ballot in South Portland, and one is expected to be placed on the ballot in Lewiston following a city council hearing next week.

Florida: Medical Marijuana Initiative Would Also End Bong Ban

ThankGodForWeed-GodLovesBongs

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana advocates might have an extra reason to celebrate if Florida voters approve a proposed constitutional amendment which would legalize cannabis for medicinal use: Passage of Amendment 2 would also preempt Florida's "bong ban," which forbids the sale of pipes or paraphernalia used to smoke pot, according to the head of the organization which backs the amendment.

Amendment 2's definition of marijuana's medical use includes "related supplies," points out Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United For Care, reports James L. Rosica at The Tampa Tribune.

Anything currently outlaws as "drug paraphernalia" in Florida, including "metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic or ceramic pipes," may be legally sold if used to smoke cannabis to treat medical conditions, Pollara said.

That would even include "2-liter-type soda bottles," which Florida lawmakers somehow found it necessary to ban when used with a controlled substance.

The former University of Florida Levin College of Law dean who drafted the language for Amendment 2 didn't disagree with Pollara's interpretation, but said it would probably be sorted out in the courts.

Nevada: Medical Marijuana Patients Want Pot DUI Tests To Be Performance Based

TickSegerblom(NevadaStateSenator)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Critics of Nevada's laws on driving under the influence of marijuana want the Legislature to change the test from one which detects cannabis, to one which measures performance.

A state legislative panel on Thursday agreed with a 9-3 vote that a bill draft request be modeled after California's law and submitted for the 2015 session, reports Arnold M. Knightly at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In California, police must first determine with a field sobriety test that you might be impaired, then request a blood test if they think you are.

If marijuana is found in a person's system in California, the prosecution must prove that the person in question was too impaired on cannabis to drive safely.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), who chairs the Advisory Commission of the Administration of Justice's Subcommittee on the Medical Use of Marijuana, said if a bill draft isn't submitted by the committee, he will probably propose it himself. Segerblom authored the 2013 law formally legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada.

"If it's good enough for 40 million people, it is probably good enough for us," Segerblom said of California's marijuana DUI law.

Global: Short Animation Film From Brazil Explains Failure of War On Drugs

WarOnDrugo

The global fight to reform drug laws and put an end to the war on drugs gained a powerful new communications tool -- a three-minute stop-motion animation movie from Brazil entitled, WAR ON DRUGO.

In a fairytale setting, the movie explains the disastrous War On Drugs by telling the story of a dragon banished from an ancient kingdom, and how people that spent time with the dragon were thrown in jail. The visually appealing metaphor uses a simple narrative that is likely to help break the taboo on this complex subject and disseminate the argument to an even wider international audience.

The key messages of the movie are: prohibition does not mean control, and criminalization generates violence and suffering. A society with less violence is something that can be achieved.

WAR ON DRUGO is part of an ongoing effort by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) to highlight the need for more humane, evidence-based policies to deal with drugs in our society. The GCDP is the most distinguished group to call for broad reform of drug policies, and includes seven former presidents, the entrepreneur Richard Branson, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and other international leaders.

Oregon: Taxpayers Paying For Anti-Marijuana Campaign Just Before Legalization Vote

KevinSabetSAM

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An opposition campaign to Oregon's Measure 91 marijuana legalization initiative is taking shape -- and it's being funded with taxpayer money.

You'd think voting on a public policy initiative wouldn't require tax money to advocate one side or the other; after all, the voters are supposed to be able to decide for themselves on questions like cannabis legalization, without having to fund the "no" sign of things. But a taxpayer-funded tour will usher notorious anti-pot zealot Kevin Sabet on a 13-city tour around the state, reports Kate Willson at Willamette Week.

Sabet, on his taxpayer-funded tour, will be spreading ridiculous "reefer madness" myths and outright lies about cannabis around Oregon. Do you feel as if you're getting your money's worth, Oregon taxpayers?

A recent poll showed eight of 10 Oregonians believe it's a matter of when, not if, marijuana is legalized. Many of them believe that will happen on November 4, when pot legalization initiative Measure 91 appears on the ballot.

Measure 91 enjoys support from donors and middle-of-the-road endorsements, including from a retired Oregon Supreme Court judge and the City Club of Portland; it's similar to measures that voters in Colorado and Washington approved two years ago. New Approach Oregon, the pro-Measure 91 campaign, has already spent $1.1 million, and the group announced this week it'll be spending an additional $2.3 million on TV ads.

Oregon: Sociologist Says Policy Will Determine Economic Impact of Legal Marijuana

OregonMarijuanaComingSoon

The economic impact of legalizing marijuana in Oregon is difficult to estimate because the potential market will depend in large part on what kind of policies would be adopted if a proposed ballot measure passes in November, according to an Oregon State University sociologist who studies the issue.

“Marijuana is already a serious economic force in Oregon,” said Seth Crawford, an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon. “When you consider the proposed excise tax and additional revenue from income taxes, it could become a sizeable income stream for the state.”

Oregon voters will decide in November whether to legalize recreational marijuana production and use. Policymakers are trying to determine the economic impact of legalizing marijuana and Crawford’s research was recently cited in an economic report commissioned by backers of the ballot initiative, as well as by the state legislative revenue office.

If marijuana is legalized in Oregon, the state could net anywhere from $35 million to $105 million in new tax revenue per year, Crawford estimated in research published earlier this year in the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations.

Tasmania: Official Refuses To Acknowledge Misleading Statements on Medical Marijuana

JeremyRockliff(TasmanianMinisterForPrimaryIndustry)

Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries Jeremy Rockliff has been exposed for misleading the public over the extent of poppy industry concerns about a medicinal cannabis trial and potential industry in Tasmania, Greens Health spokesperson, Cassy O’Connor MP, said on Wednesday.

“When Mr Rockliff came out on 3rd of July this year in support of the Health Minister’s rejection of a medicinal cannabis trial in Tasmania, he cited concerns expressed by the poppy industry as a reason for the trial’s rejection,” O’Connor said. “We now know, as a result of Right to Information requests of three government agencies, that Mr Rockliff was misrepresenting the industry and using a fallacious argument to support the Health Minister’s unpopular and poorly argued rejection of a medical cannabis trial in Tasmania.”

“Since then, a number of poppy industry leaders -– including Mr Rockliff’s own father -– have stated that they can see no conflict between the existing world class Tasmanian poppy industry and medicinal cannabis in Tasmania, and indeed that there is enormous potential for Tasmania to establish a medicinal cannabis industry building on that strong reputation,” O'Connor said.

“The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has expressed a similar view," O'Connor said. "They can see no issue for the established poppy industry in Tasmania but do see the potential medicinal cannabis has as a regulated crop for Tasmanian farmers.

Maine: South Portland City Council Places Marijuana Legalization Measure On Ballot

DavidBoyerCitizensForASaferMaine

Similar proposals are also likely to appear on ballots in Lewiston and York

The South Portland City Council on Monday voted unanimously to place a measure on the November ballot that would make private marijuana possession legal for adults within city limits.

Citizens for a Safer Maine collected more than 1,500 signatures to get the measure in front of the council, which had the options of adopting it or placing it on the ballot. Just 959 valid signatures of registered city voters were required. A similar measure has qualified for the ballot in Lewiston, and Citizens for a Safer Maine is in the process of collecting the final signatures needed to place one on the ballot in York.

The South Portland initiative would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to privately possess up to one ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.

“Voters will have the chance to take a bite out of marijuana prohibition in South Portland this November,” said Marijuana Policy Project Maine political director David Boyer. “This is a great opportunity to have an open and honest public dialogue about this important issue. In particular, we hope to continue the conversation about the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.

Oregon: Addiction Expert Kicks Off $2.3 Million Marijuana Legalization Ad Campaign

RichardHarris

Oregon's leading drug addiction expert kicks off $2.3 million marijuana ad campaign

Largest ad buy so far for 2014 Oregon ballot measures

Oregon's leading drug addiction expert appears on Monday in the first TV spot in a $2.3 million advertising campaign to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older.

The advertising buy made by the Yes on 91 campaign is the largest so far for a 2014 Oregon ballot measure.

The first TV advertisement features Richard Harris. As the former director of Addictions and Mental Health Services for the state of Oregon, he held the highest position in the state for directing drug treatment and addiction programs. He is volunteering with the campaign.

The ad, in which Harris calls marijuana "a pretty benign drug," will run on television stations throughout Oregon. The Yes on 91 campaign also has several ads running on pre-roll online. (You can view the Harris ad, which is on YouTube, at the bottom of this article.)

"Criminalizing marijuana ruins lives and wastes resources," Harris said. "Instead of sending people to jail and turning them into hardened criminals, we should treat marijuana as a public health issue and create a system that raises money for prevention programs and mental health programs.

"Right now, there is no state appropriated money in Oregon for drug and alcohol prevention programs, including for marijuana, but Measure 91 would change that," Harris said.

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