Prohibition

Australia: Flight Attendant Warns Passengers To Flush Their Drugs Before Landing

JetstarAustraliaAirplane

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Most of us would appreciate such a warning, but an Australian airline on Wednesday is apologizing for a flight attendant's tip to passengers that there were drug-detecting dogs waiting for them at a Sydney airport.

Many of the 210 passengers on a Sunday night Jetstar Australia flight from Canberra were coming home from the "Splendour in the Grass" weekend music festival at Byron Bay, reports Jonathan Pearlman at the .

"We have been told there are sniffer dogs and quarantine officers waiting in the domestic terminal," the flight attendant reportedly told passengers via the Airbus A320's public address system. "If you need to dispose of anything you shouldn't have, we suggest you flush it now."

The advice reportedly prompted a rush on the airliner's bathrooms -- one passenger said several others aboard "suddenly made for the toilets with things clenched in their hands" -- and later resulted in expressions of gratitude on social media from some who had been passengers on the flight.

"I was shocked. Why would you tip off people about this?" the ill-tempered passenger complained. "If they have got something illegal, let them get caught."

But the response on Jetstar's Facebook page was overwhelmingly positive.

"What a good Samaritan, Jetstar Australia this guy deserves a promotion," posted Rohit Dwivedi.

Global: US and Canada Higher Than Most Other Countries, When It Comes To Marijuana Use

WorldCannabisUseMap-UN

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United States and Canada should be proud of themselves. According to an annual United Nations report on global drug use, they rank among the highest in the world, when it comes to marijuana use. Nigeria and Australia join the U.S. and Canada as the highest nations on Earth.

Each of the Top 4 marijuana countries has more than 10 percent of its population, ages 15 to 64, admitting to using cannabis, reports Janissa Delzo at the Medical Daily. Western Europe also has high rates of marijuana use, but didn't rank in the top category.

Countries with the lowest rates of cannabis use in the world are Ecuador, Paraguay (ironically, listed as a top cannabis producer), Turkey, and Romania.

Although Mexico has, for decades, exported large amounts of commercial marijuana to the United States, it has a surprisingly low rate of cannabis use, according to the report. The U.N. said that the lower perceived risk of cannabis use in the U.S. has led to an increase in its use, even as global marijuana use has decreased, particularly in Western and Central Europe.

The World Drug Report 2014 reveals the cultivation and production of cannabis remains widespread, with hashish production concentrated in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.

U.S.: Dr. Carl Hart Awarded For His Book Which 'Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society'

DrCarlHartHighPrice

Columbia University Neuroscientist’s Book Blends Personal History with Leading Addiction Science and Alternatives Counterproductive Drug Policies

High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (HarperCollins, 2013), the groundbreaking memoir/big science book written by neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, Dr. Carl Hart, won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, the organization announced Wednesday morning.

At the time of the announcement, the author and professor was in Zurich studying how that nation balances social justice drug policy. “I am deeply honored and humbled to have been awarded the prestigious PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award,” Dr. Hart said. “I recognize that High Price outlines many uncomfortable ideas and facts about topics we'd rather avoid such as race, poverty, and drugs.

"So, I am particularly grateful to the award selection committee, to everyone who has read High Price, to those who have interviewed me about High Price, and to many people who have sent me their personal stories or letters of support.”

U.S.: Senators Ask White House To Clarify Federal Marijuana Laws

Senators-PattyMurray,MariaCantwell,MarkUdall,MikeBennet(OmakChronicle)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Senate delegations from Colorado and Washington are seeking clarification from the Obama Administration on the regulations which will impact the legal marijuana trade in those two states.

Democratic Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall of Colorado and Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington on Monday wrote a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for "a clear, consistent and uniform interpretation and application" of federal marijuana laws in relation to their home states, reports Jonathan Topaz at Politico. The letter warns about the current uncertainty surrounding federal cannabis laws.

"We believe the federal government should support Colorado and Washington state's effort to establish a successful regulatory framework in a way that achieves greater certainty for local officials, citizens, and business owners" in the marijuana industry, the senators wrote.

The uncertainty regarding the implementation of federal cannabis laws "may undermine our states' ability to regulate the industry adequately," the senators said.

All four Democrats said they look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to ensure lawful and successful implementation of marijuana legalization in their states.

U.S.: LEAP, Baker Institute To Distribute Book On Drug War To Top Officials

ToEndTheWarOnDrugs(DeanBecker)

To End the War On Drugs by LEAP Speaker Dean Becker Features More than 100 Experts on Drug Policy

Together with the James A. Baker III Institute of Public Policy at Rice University, Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) will be hosting a press conference this Tuesday on Former Air Force Security Policeman Dean Becker’s new book To End the War on Drugs, after which they will distribute copies of the book to the White House, every Member of Congress, every Justice on the Supreme Court and governors nationwide.

“Through his interviews with so many differently situated individuals, Dean Becker captures the complete picture of the drug war, giving us a better understanding of the far-reaching nature of its effects and the depths of its failures,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of LEAP, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs. "Every politician in America should read this book."

U.S.: Netroots Nation To Address Failed Drug War

NetrootsNationDetroit2014

Friday Panel: Marijuana Arrests: The Gateway to Mass Incarceration

Marijuana arrests and mass incarceration will take center stage at Netroots Nation 2014 this week in Detroit.

On Friday, July 18 at 4:30 p.m., the ninth annual gathering of progressive voices will feature a panel, “Marijuana Arrests: the Gateway to Mass Incarceration.” The panel will feature Kassandra Frederique, a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Frederique is currently organizing with groups around the state of New York to address bias policing practices, unlawful marijuana arrests and collateral consequences of criminalization.

“I’m thrilled to see Netroots Nation examine the failed war on drugs and how marijuana arrests fuel mass incarceration,” Frederique said. “Netroots Nation is a cutting-edge incubator of ideas and I’m excited to have a rich discussion during the panel and action from folks afterwards.”

Every 48 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana possession in the United States. Most of these arrests are of people of color, despite the fact that white people use and sell marijuana at higher rates. In this panel they will explore how the Drug War and biased policing practices fuel marijuana arrests and, in turn, mass incarceration.

U.S.: Black Police Leaders Say Marijuana Prohibition Damages Minority Communities

JohnDixon-President-NOBLE

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) on Tuesday said that America's marijuana laws are total failures. John Dixon III, police chief in Petersburg, Virginia, speaking at the NOBLE's annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said law enforcement is too concerned with busting people for minor marijuana offenses.

"We, as law enforcement professionals, we need to really take a look at how we can decriminalize marijuana, especially user amounts," Dixon said, reports Ryan Smith at MPP. "We are locking people up for a dime bag, for a joint.

"They're put in the criminal justice system which pretty much ruins the rest of their lives," Dixon said, adding that medical professionals should be in charge of dealing with drug use. "Why do I have to lock you up for that? What benefit am I giving you, then? We have to get out of the businesses. That should be the focus of the medical field."

"Sometimes, we've got to say the things that most of law enforcement isn't going to say," Dixon said.

The ACLU has released a study showing that the marijuana laws are disproportionately enforced against minorities across the United States, despite the fact the blacks and whites use cannabis at similar rates.

U.S.: New Poll Shows Young Adults Favor Marijuana Legalization

MarijuanaInSpace

A new Reason-Rupe study and survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old finds 57 percent of this demographic -- known as the millennials --believe the government should allow the recreational use of marijuana. Just 39 percent were opposed.

More than 8 of every 10 millennials -- 83 percent -- think that marijuana users should either face no penalties, be fined, or have to attend rehabilitation. Just 14 percent say marijuana users should go to jail.

The Reason-Rupe report finds 74 percent of millennials say government has a responsibility to guarantee every citizen has a place to sleep and enough to eat. Seventy-one percent favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and 69 percent say it is government's responsibility to provide everyone with health care insurance.

Sixty-eight percent say government should ensure everyone makes a living wage; 66 percent say raising taxes on the wealthy would help the economy, and 58 percent say the government should spend more on assistance to the poor even it means higher taxes.

Sixty-two percent of millennials describe themselves as socially liberal, while 27 percent say they are socially conservative. The gap is much narrower on economic issues, with 49 percent of millennials identifying themselves as economic liberals and 36 percent labeling themselves as economic conservatives.

Massachusetts: Smell Of Marijuana Cannot Justify Search of Car

MarijuanaGavel

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Police officers in Massachusetts can no longer rely on the odor of unburnt marijuana as probable cause to justify a vehicle search, the state's Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday -- even if the smell is "strong" or "very strong," the justices said.

The court had already ruled in the Commonwealth v. Cruz decision in 2011 that the smell of burnt marijuana was not, in itself, sufficient evidence to stop pedestrians or search vehicles, reports John R. Ellement at The Boston Globe. The court said in that ruling that it would be "legally inconsistent" to allow the cops the make warrantless searches after they smell burned marijuana, when citizens had decided through a statewide referendum that law enforcement should "focus their attention elsewhere."

The court on Wednesday said it is now extending that same reasoning to cases where the owner has not yet started smoking the marijuana. The justices acknowledged that cannabis has a pungent aroma, but said that odor, by itself, does not allow police to determine whether a person has more than an ounce with them. Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is not a crime in Massachusetts, where voters chose to decriminalize pot in 2008.

New York: Elected Officials, Community Groups Announce Legislation To End Racist Marijuana Arrests

StopAndFrisk-MarchToEnd

Comprehensive Legislation would also Address Racial Bias, Collateral Consequences, and Fix Loopholes in NY Marijuana Laws

Despite Dramatic Drop in Stop and Frisk, NYPD on Track to Arrest as Many People in 2014 as Previous Year... and Racial Disparities Persist

Elected officials, community members and the coalition, New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety, will rally on Wednesday, July 9, on the Steps of New York City Hall, to call for comprehensive reform to address racially biased marijuana arrests and devastating collateral consequences.

Last year, there were nearly 30,000 marijuana possession arrests in New York City alone. Based on first-quarter data obtained from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, the NYPD is now on track to make nearly as many marijuana possession arrests in 2014 as it did in 2013, with similarly shocking racial disparities.

Proposals to fix New York’s marijuana possession law have stalled in Albany the past few years. With the continued staggering racial disparities and Governor Cuomo’s recommitment to ending marijuana arrests, Assembly member Camara and Senator Squadron along with community members and advocates are calling for reforms that not only end racially bias marijuana arrests but also address the racial bias in the NY criminal justice system and deal with the devastating collateral consequences of these racially biased arrests.

What Does the Fairness and Equity Act Do?

Washington: First Recreational Marijuana Stores To Open Tuesday

WashingtonRecreationalMarijuana

The first stores where adults can legally purchase marijuana in Washington State are set to open on Tuesday, roughly six months after Colorado launched what is so far seen as a successful effort to regulate sales of the drug there. The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) on Monday issued the state's first 24 marijuana retailer licenses.

At least three retail shops will open on Tuesday, reports Tony Dokoupil of NBC News: Cannabis City Seattle, Top Shelf Cannabis in Bellingham and The Freedom Market in Kelso.

The state faces a huge backlog for licenses, with only 18 license reviewers trying to process thousands of applications. The first grower approvals didn't happen until March, which left very little growing time to stock the shelves.

That's given rise to a predictable shortage of recreational marijuana, and more and more irate entrepreneurs. Some have already gone under as opening day was delayed again and again, due largely to Washington's foolish decision to scrap the existing medical marijuana market and create the recreational marijuana market from scratch.

U.S.: Marijuana PTSD Researcher Abruptly Fired From University of Arizona

SuzanneSisleyMarijuanaResearcher

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A prominent marijuana researcher who only months ago had received rare federal approval to study the effects of cannabis on patients with post traumatic stress disorder has been abruptly fired by the University of Arizona.

Professor Suzanne A. Sisley's dismissal puts her research at risk, and has caused dismay among medical marijuana advocates, reports Evan Halper at The Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Sisley, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, said she was fired after her research created unwanted attention for the university from legislative Republicans who control its funding.

"This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and educaiton I have been providing the public and lawmakers," Sisley said. "I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance."

University officials refused to explain the non-renewal of Sisley's contract, but claimed their motives weren't political.

"The university has received no political pressure to terminate any employee," claimed University of Arizona spokesman Chris Sigurdson, who noted that university supported a 2013 legislative measure permitting such studies.

Dr. Sisley got letters from university officials on Friday, telling her that she will be terminated from her job on September 26. The letters offered no explanation beyond citing guidelines which permit the university to fire its employees.

Global: Day of Action Sees More Than 80 Cities Protest The Drug War

Support.Don'tPunish.

Citizens Take to the Streets on June 26 to Protest Current Drug Policies and to Call for an End to the Senseless Criminalization of Drug Users

Thousands of activists will take to the streets in more than 80 cities on June 26 to fight harmful drug laws that have caused health crises, instability and mass incarceration around the world.

Mass demonstrations and other actions are planned in New York, London, Paris, Warsaw, Mexico City, Kathmandu, Rome, Phnom Penh, Tbilisi, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and more than 70 other cities. The actions include peaceful demonstrations, street performances, public meetings and workshops, social media campaigns and advertisements on public transportation and billboards.

The events are scheduled for June 26, which is the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The U.N.’s anti-drugs day is used by many governments to justify violent crackdowns and to promote harsh punishments. It has even been marked with public executions and beatings of drug offenders in some countries.

The “Support. Don’t Punish: Global Day of Action” seeks to reclaim this day and promote a more effective and humane approach to drugs that is based on public health and human rights.

U.S.: Award-Winning Filmmaker to Discuss Drug War, Mass Incarceration with Drug Policy Expert

EugeneJarecki(TheHouseILiveIn)

Eugene Jarecki, Award-Winning Filmmaker, and Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele Discuss Impact of The House I Live In and the Next Steps to Take in Ending the Drug War and Mass Incarceration

Eugene Jarecki, the award-winning filmmaker and director of the The House I Live In, on Monday will join the Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele for a discussion on the film’s impact. DPA says its quarterly town hall-style conference calls are designed to ensure that the organization is bringing before the widest audiences, the most influential members in our community and allowing for an open discussion with those who are on the ground and reforming Drug War policies.

The teleconference with Jarecki is the second in DPA's national webinar series, and follows an initial discussion which was held in March with Michelle Alexander and can be heard here. The conversation was picked up by national media including CNN, The Huffington Post, Upworthy and AlterNet.

Global: More Than 80 Cities Worldwide To Protest Drug War On June 26

Support.Don'tPunish.

Citizens Take to the Streets on June 26 to Protest Current Drug Policies and to Call for an End to the Senseless Criminalization of Drug Users

Thousands of activists will take to the streets in more than 80 cities on Thursday, June 26, to fight harmful drug laws that have caused health crises, instability and mass incarceration around the world.

Mass demonstrations and other actions are planned in New York, London, Paris, Warsaw, Mexico City, Kathmandu, Rome, Phnom Penh, Tbilisi, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and more than 70 other cities. The actions include peaceful demonstrations, street performances, public meetings and workshops, social media campaigns and advertisements on public transportation and billboards.

The events are scheduled to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is also June 26. The U.N.’s anti-drugs day is used by many governments to justify violent crackdowns and to promote harsh punishments. It has even been marked with public executions and beatings of drug offenders in some countries.

The “Support. Don’t Punish: Global Day of Action” seeks to reclaim this day and promote a more effective and humane approach to drugs that is based on public health and human rights.

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