By Steve Elliott
Uruguay's leading opposition candidate for President said he would try to repeal much of the country's historic marijuana legalization law which allows the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis if he wins Sunday's election.
The South American nation became the first in the world to officially allow the production and use of cannabis, but almost two-thirds of Uruguayans oppose the experiment which aims to take control of the marijuana trade away from drug gangs, reports Esteban Farat at Thomson Reuters.
But notably, even the candidate in question, Luis Lacalle Pou of the centrist National Party, would still allow home cultivation and cannabis clubs.
"I will keep the law's articles that allow users to grow their own cannabis at home and authorize smoking clubs and repeal the rest, in particular the state's commercialization of the drug," Lacalle Pou said.
"I will send a bill to Parliament to repeal it," he said. "We will need a majority in Parliament, and I will look for support.
Polls show Lacalle Pou trailing the left-wing candidate for the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) party, Tabare Vazquez, who has backed the legalization law.
Photo of Luis Lacalle Pou: Xinhua News Agency/Rex
By Steve Elliott
Hundreds of automatic teller machines in medical marijuana dispensaries were shut down on Wednesday, just days after ATMs were turned off in recreational cannabis shops.
The machines in Colorado and Washington were part of a network served by MetaBank, a South Dakota company which in January had warned ATM providers that machines located in marijuana shops violated federal banking rules, reports David Migoya at The Denver Post.
The machines, both cashless and the traditional ATMs which dispense cash, continued to work until this week, according to owners of cannabis shops impacted by the shutdown.
"Just like that, it was out of commission," said Andy Williams, owner of Medicine Man, a Denver recreational and medical marijuana dispensary that has an on-site cash-dispensing ATM. "I got a warning the night before saying they'd lost their bank, and that was it.
The ATM machines are the lifeblood of many marijuana shops, which are forced by federal banking rules to otherwise work in cash only rather than accepting credit and debit cards from their customers.
A number of trade organization Marijuana Industry Group's clients lost ATMs, both of the cash-dispensing and cashless variety, according to executive director Michael Elliott.
Shiloh Baptist Church and The Washington Informer to host a community forum to inform and educate
On Monday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Social Justice and Community Outreach Ministry of Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, in partnership with The Washington Informer, will host a community forum on the impact of Ballot Initiative 71 and D.C. marijuana laws on African Americans.
Nationally acclaimed economist and author Dr. Julianne Malveaux will moderate the event, held at Shiloh Baptist Church located at 9th and P Streets, NW. Panelists will include representatives from law enforcement, academia, community advocates, members of the business community, and members of the clergy.
Washington D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests, doubling that of any other U.S. state. Ninety-one percent of all marijuana arrests are of black people.
Between 2001 and 2010, while the number of white people arrested for marijuana has stayed about the same, while the number of black people arrested increased to 4,908 from 3,228. Young black men are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones, even though whites are more likely to both use and sell marijuana.
This community forum will gather nearly 500 District residents to raise awareness of this important topic and bring to the forefront the importance of voting on November 4.
By Steve Elliott
An Oregon physician who outraged the crowd at a Tuesday night debate on marijuana legalization when he claimed five Colorado children had died from cannabis retracted on his statement on Wednesday and acknowledged he was wrong.
"I really need to retract that statement because I can't back it up," said Dr. Ron Schwerzler, medical director at an addictions treatment center in Eugene. Schwerzler claimed he "might have been misunderstanding" stories of children who have been hospitalized in Colorado after accidentally ingesting marijuana-infused edibles. "Telling a whopper" seems a much more likely explanation, Dr. Schwerzler.
When Tuesday's discussion turned to the issue of how legalization is being implemented in Colorado, Schwerzler said: "Let's concentrate on those edibles. There have been at least five infant children deaths in Colorado that have picked up these drugs."
Several audience members began yelling, "Not true!" and "What source?" The ill-informed physician was apparently unaware that there has never been one single documented case of a fatal marijuana overdose in history.
Schwerzler on Wednesday emailed a statement to leaders of the No On 91 campaign admitting his mistake. "After our conversation today I realized that my statement about children's deaths in Colorado is in error," he wrote. "There have been admits to ICUs for children who have eaten edibles and were hospitalized.
Music icon Melissa Etheridge sits down with Larry King on the Emmy nominated series “Larry King Now” to talk about the ‘panic’ in her industry, President Obama's job performance, legalizing marijuana and her new self-released album.
As a cancer survivor, Etheridge explained how medical marijuana got her through it and why cannabis should be legal across the board. “I think it could help our society incredibly,” she said. (You can view the interview clip below.)
Of her duet with Queen Latifah, “It was so much fun, any genre anything just come knock on my door I’ll sing with you, I love playing in other people’s sandboxes,” Etheridge said.
The Oscar winner talked about why 'coming out' in 2014 isn't always an easy decision, “It’s still very ingrained into our society that men and women is correct.” Melissa also discussed why the country has come around so fast on the issue of gay marriage and rates the president’s slow action on gay marriage rights, “It can’t be easy to be President, it can’t be easy… but as a President I think he’s doing ok...Politics is just about this side and that side and where you’re going to land and you got to wait till public opinion gets up there.”
She wrapped up her interview by answering social media questions from some of her biggest fans, including any parenting advice she has and if she wants to be a grandmother.
Endorsements Come on the Heels of Recent Support from Local Chapters of the SEIU, D.C. Working Families, and UFCW
Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Releases Report on Collateral Consequences of Arrest
The Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the D.C. Branch of the National Organization for Women on Thursday came out in support of marijuana legalization and endorsed D.C.’s Initiative 71.
Initiative 71, which is on the November 4 ballot, would legalize the possession of up to two ounces marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and allows individuals to grow up to six plants in their home. D.C. laws prevent the ballot initiative from addressing the taxation and sale of marijuana; however, the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill which would account for such provisions.
Additionally, the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on Wednesday released its groundbreaking report entitled "The Collateral Consequences of Arrests and Convictions under D.C., Maryland, and Virginia Law." The report is the first of its kind to examine the effect of the collateral consequences associated with arrests for residents in the DMV area.
Local advocate willing to go ‘hit for shot’ with Chief Edward Googins — who said, ‘Claims that marijuana is safer than alcohol are so bogus it’s not even funny’ — to prove once and for all that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol
David Boyer will be waiting for Googins at high noon in the Mill Creek Park gazebo — with enough alcohol to kill a man — to determine who will be the last one standing for a 7 p.m. debate
In order to prove once and for all that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, marijuana initiative proponent David Boyer is challenging South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins to a drug duel. Boyer will be in the Mill Creek Park gazebo at high noon on Wednesday prepared to take a hit of marijuana for every shot of alcohol consumed by Googins to see who will be the last man standing for a previously scheduled debate for 7 p.m. that evening.
In an October 14 news story Chief Googins said, “Claims that marijuana is safer than alcohol are so bogus it’s not even funny.” He also said marijuana is too dangerous to make legal for adults because it “continues to create and perpetuate other problems.”
Chief Googins made a similar comment during a press conference at the Mill Creek Park gazebo earlier this year. He is actively campaigning against a citizen-initiated referendum on the November ballot that would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older under city law.
It’s been nearly two years since voters in Washington state passed Initiative 502. And it’s been more than two months since legalized retail cannabis finally became available in the state. Yet, something has remained missing – something consumers have been so eagerly awaiting, according to the Seattle-based Db3 Corporation.
Zoots premium cannabis infusions are now available at select licensed retailers in Washington state, "bringing with them," the company says, "the promise of changing the way people think about marijuana edibles." Zoots concentrated liquid drops, energy drinks and lozenges all feature proprietary blends, made with the highest quality ingredients, that the company says give consumers the power to control their own experiences, safely and enjoyably.
“This day has been a long time in the making, and we couldn’t be happier for the people of Washington State now that it is finally here,” said Michael Devlin, co-founder and president Db3, the maker of Zoots. “We worked long and hard to dot all our I’s and cross all our T’s so consumers can be assured of top quality edibles. To finally be able to bring such edibles to the market is a testament to our team’s hard work.”
With concerns in Colorado and Washington about dosage, THC levels and transparency, Zoots is the brand consumers can turn to when they want the freedom to control their own experiences, according to Devlin. Zoots proprietary blends bring something unique to the market, including packaging that provides consumers clear instructions on both serving size and usage, according Db3.
Second sheriff endorses Measure 91: “The evidence keeps coming in: Our new approach is working”
The Sheriff of King County, Washington, which includes the greater Seattle area, has taken the unprecedented step of endorsing a marijuana regulation measure on the ballot in the state next door.
King County Sheriff John Urquhart supported I-502, Washington state’s successful 2012 initiative to regulate marijuana, and he said he supports Oregon’s Measure 91 because, he said, Washington state’s regulated approach to marijuana is working.
“Month by month, tax dollars are going to schools and police, not the drug cartels,” Urquhart says in a new ad from Oregon’s Yes on 91 campaign (you can view the ad at the bottom of this article). “Wasteful arrests are way down. DUIs are down. Drug prevention programs are getting funds. Strict regulations are working.”
GreenWave Advisors, LLC, a newly established independent research and advisory firm serving the burgeoning marijuana industry, on Tuesday released its inaugural research report, “The GreenWave Report: State of the Emerging Marijuana Industry – Current Trends and Projections.” The firm estimates that retail marijuana industry sales could reach $21 billion by 2020 and separately, suggests that if marijuana is legally sold in all states and D.C. by 2020, the consolidated market for retail medical and adult use sales could total $35 billion in the first full year of a federally legalized market.
The firm is the first to provide a state by state bottom up fundamental analysis of the U.S. medical and adult use marijuana retail markets. The analysis also provides a first glimpse of the similarities in reported results in the legalized markets thus far.
“We are pleased to offer investors the first independent, comprehensive, detailed and transparent look at the market potential of the retail marijuana industry,” said Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner at GreenWave Advisors, LLC.
In the upcoming election, Florida residents will vote on a measure to legalize medical marijuana and the citizens of Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia will decide on full legalization. “We want investors to be ready for the imminent changes that will profoundly impact investment strategies in the marijuana industry”, Karnes said.
Rather than move furniture to make room for his indoor garden, Aaron Schrems put his garden inside the furniture.
With no carpentry experience and modeled using pieces from IKEA furniture kits, Schrems, CEO of Chicago-born and Colorado-based North of 80, invented what he calls "the ultimate urban garden:" a grow box, complete with lights and shelves for plants, that doubles as a beautiful piece of high end furniture.
"With more and more people in the world living in cities, I thought that this would be a perfect way to help people reconnect with nature," Schrems said. "At the same time, they can produce their own healthier food."
And there’s marijuana... of course.
"In places where it's legal, people can grow their own marijuana from seed or clone, which means saving up to thousands of dollars a year while putting to rest any questions about provenance, quality, and value."
The stylish growing cabinet Schrems created, called the 108, has a sleek exterior composed of sustainably harvested hard woods. Inside, constantly circulating fresh air is filtered by activated charcoal as it enters and exits the box. Premium LED lights with a spectrum tuned to the nanometer improve productivity nanometer, while an adjustable shelf and custom copper plant tray maximize growing area and light coverage.
Moms from Oregon, Washington and Colorado on Friday gathered at the Yes on 91 headquarters to show their support for Measure 91, which would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older in Oregon.
“My top priority is the safety of my children,” said Leah Mauer, who founded a Facebook group called Moms for Yes on 91. “The current approach is failing to keep them safe.
"A better approach is to take marijuana away from illegal dealers and cartels and put it behind the counter at a regulated, inspected and properly zoned store,” Mauer said.
Colorado and Washington are already experiencing successful results from their approval of the regulated use of marijuana:
By Steve Elliott
A new University of Delaware poll finds that 56 percent of Delaware adults support legalization of marijuana.
The university polled 902 state residents between September 10 and 22, finding just 39 percent are opposed to legalization, reports Jonathan Starkey at The News Journal. Residents older than 60 and self-identified conservatives were the only demographic groups to strongly oppose marijuana, while young adults and liberals were heavily in support.
Support crossed racial and geographic boundaries, with respondents in all three of Delaware's counties saying they back legal weed.
"I would say the numbers suggest solid support for fully legalizing marijuana in Delaware," said Paul Brewer, political communications professor at the University of Delaware, who supervised the poll. "The results also reflect what's going on in public opinion at the national level, where the trends show a growing majority favoring legalization."
Just 36.9 percent of Delawareans 60 or older favored legalization, while 68 percent of those under 30 supported the move. Among self-identified conservatives, just 39.2 percent favored legalization; among liberals, 73 percent said they think cannabis should be legal.
President Barack Obama intends to nominate Vanita Gupta, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy legal director, to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division, Sari Horiwitz at The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. This news comes not long after Attorney General Eric Holder announced his imminent resignation, and indicates a continued initiative of positive federal drug policy changes.
Gupta has been outspoken on a number of issues, including racial sentencing disparities, federal incentives to state police that prioritize the investigation of drug arrests over violent crime, mandatory minimum sentences and related disparities, as well as marijuana legalization. She currently leads the ACLU’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. Gupta has also garnered bipartisan support with conservatives Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and David Keene, former president of the NRA, both speaking highly of her.
Amy Poinsett, CEO and Co-Founder of MJ Freeway®, will be presenting at "Harmonizing Marijuana Legalization with Environmental, Land Use, and Other Regulations" at the University of California Irvine on October 23. The University of California School of Law has invited Poinsett to present on the Industry Perspectives on Enforcement of Civil Obligations panel.
"I am pleased to be speaking about the emerging issue of marijuana to a diverse group of law students, faculty and community members," Poinsett said. "MJ Freeway provides industry-leading business software and professional services to cannabis enterprises, currently in 18 states, Canada and Europe. Tracking every gram from seed to sale, this clear chain of custody guarantees to meet State or Federal requirements for tracking cannabis.
"I look forward to offering relevant examples and challenges that business owners face in this industry," Poinsett said. "As further entrepreneurs enter this burgeoning industry, it's important to discuss the issue of State compliance and of maintaining strong chain of custody practices."
MJ Freeway, in partnership with California Cannabis Industry Association and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, will be hosting an evening reception following the conference. Those interested are invited to join fellow conference attendees and industry professionals for further discussion at the University Club.
To learn more about the conference and evening reception, visit: mjfreeway.com/uci
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