MJ News for 05/05/2015

7greeneyes

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hMPp://www.wltx.com/story/news/2014/05/03/education-candidate-calls-for-legalizing-marijuana-to-fund-schools/8676369/




(SC) Education Candidate calls for Legalizing Marijuana to Fund Schools


Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A candidate for June's Democratic primary for State Superintendent of Education has proposed the legalization of marijuana to fund education in South Carolina.

Sheila Gallagher spoke about her idea during the state Democratic Convention in Columbia.

"We saw what happened in Washington and Colorado that has begun to set the stage around the country as to what is possible for raising tax dollars, and I'd like to see those tax dollars go to our public schools," said Gallagher.

She says the state should allow voters to decide the issue.

Tyler Jones, spokesman for the House Democratic Caucus released a statement saying "House Democrats are committed to making medical marijuana accessible to the patients in South Carolina who need it the most. Perhaps the comments today were intended to grab newspaper headlines instead of being seen as a serious policy proposal. Needless to say they send the wrong message to young people in South Carolina and will not be an idea seriously considered by the General Assembly any time soon."
 

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hMPp://www.abqjournal.com/394497/news/border-patrol-seizes-medical-marijuana.html




Border Patrol seizes medical marijuana in New Mexico


LAS CRUCES – Juanita Kientz travels twice a month to Albuquerque for chemotherapy but has to leave behind the “medicine” that makes her feel better.

That’s because the 72-year-old says she fears the Border Patrol will confiscate the marijuana-laced chocolates that she eats to quell nausea and restore her appetite following those difficult treatments.

Card-carrying patients of New Mexico’s medical cannibis program living in the state’s second-largest city are hemmed in by Border Patrol checkpoints and cannot travel elsewhere in the state without concern they’ll run into trouble with border agents.

While federal institutions including the Department of Justice and FDIC have modified how they respond to federal drug law as more states create legal frameworks for marijuana use, Customs and Border Protection has not.

New Mexico’s state and federal representatives are asking the agency to revisit its policy.

State Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces, last week sent a letter to CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske questioning the Border Patrol’s enforcement of federal drug law – specifically, the seizing of legal quantities of medical marijuana – at checkpoints in southern New Mexico. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., backed the letter, as did U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall.

“Their argument is that, at the federal level, marijuana is still illegal and that is correct,” McCamley said. “However, with states like Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana, most of the agencies of the federal government have changed their policies to reflect the reality.”

The Department of Justice began relaxing its policy for enforcement of federal drug law as early as 2009, when it underscored its mission of prosecuting illegal drug traffickers but also said “it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law.”

The DOJ updated its policy last August by specifying eight enforcement areas that federal prosecutors should prioritize, including preventing revenue from the state-sanctioned sale of marijuana from ending up in criminal hands, and keeping marijuana legalized in one state from being trafficked to another where it is illegal. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico confirmed it follows those guidelines.

In another area, federal bank deposit insurer FDIC in February ended a policy of preventing its banks from doing business with legal marijuana producers and dispensaries.

CBP has not followed suit.

The Border Patrol “enforces federal law,” El Paso Sector Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero said in an emailed response to questions. “Illegal substances found by U.S. Border Patrol agents during inspections/searches are subject to seizure and will be seized,” he said, although prosecution “will be considered on a case by case basis in consultation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our investigative partners.”

Cordero said the Border Patrol does not break out seizures of medical marijuana from statistics of overall marijuana seizures but said a review of a sample of seizures did not turn up any confiscations of medical marijuana.

Producers and patients speak anecdotally of people being stopped at Border Patrol checkpoints and having their medical marijuana taken, but rarely being detained or arrested.

McCamley has requested that CBP revise its policy to follow the DOJ’s guidelines.

“Their official policy is to detain folks and seize their medicine,” he said. “Other agencies are being more moderated and understanding what states want to do.”

In southern New Mexico, he said, “legal card-carrying medical marijuana patients can’t carry their marijuana anywhere else in the state.”

MJ Express-O, a Truth or Consequences-based medicinal cannibis producer, delivers to Las Cruces weekly. The Border Patrol will confiscate the drug at a checkpoint if any is left over on the ride north, said patient advocate Melissa Loomis.

“We understand they are doing their job,” she said. “So we need to change the law.”
 

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hMPp://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/05/marijuana_news_on_verge_of_leg.html




Uruguay president calls Colorado's legal pot system 'complete fiction'​


Uruguay is hailed by marijuana advocates as a leader in pot policy, but a close look at details shows President Jose Mujica's plan is more restrictive than Colorado's approach to legal marijuana, AP reports.

Associated Press reporter Leonardo Haberkorn takes a look at the rules for marijuana sales in Uruguay. The rules go into effect Tuesday. Marijuana, under the new system, is expected to sell for less than a $1 a gram.

The state will sell five different strains, containing a maximum level of 15 percent THC, the substance that gets consumers high. Each bag will be bar-coded, radio-frequency tagged, and registered in a genetic database that will enable authorities to trace its origin and determine its legality, Canepa said. The rules limit licensed growers to six plants per household — not per person, as some pot enthusiasts had hoped. And while people who buy in pharmacies will be identified by fingerprint readers to preserve their anonymity, every user's pot consumption will be tracked in a government database.

Mujica predicted that many will call him an elderly reactionary once they see this fine print, but he says his government never intended to create a mecca for marijuana lovers.

"No addiction is good," he said. "We aren't going to promote smokefests, bohemianism, all this stuff they try to pass off as innocuous when it isn't. They'll label us elderly reactionaries. But this isn't a policy that seeks to expand marijuana consumption. What it aims to do is keep it all within reason, and not allow it to become an illness."
 

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hMPp://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/05/obama-administration-puts-in-an-order-for-1430-pounds-of-marijuana/




Obama Administration Puts in an Order for 1,430 Pounds of Marijuana


The Obama Administration needs hundreds and hundreds of pounds of marijuana this year, more than 30 times the amount of pot it originally ordered for 2014.

But don’t get any funny ideas. The pot is medicinal, and it’s needed for research purposes.

The Drug Enforcement Administration put out a rule on Monday that adjusts the annual production quota of medical marijuana for the U.S. government. That pot, produced by the University of Mississippi, is used by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse to conduct research on medical marijuana.

The NIDA’s research is in demand as states around the country consider legalizing medical marijuana, and as pressure is growing on the federal government to decriminalize it.

And that demand means the federal government needs a lot more pot than it thought it needed. The DEA had originally set out a production quota of 21 kilograms of pot for 2014.

But the new regulation bumped that quota up to 650 kilograms, or about 1,430 pounds.

The price for a kilogram of marijuana varies from state to state, but hovers around $1,000 in many states — using that price, that puts the street value of the government’s order at about $650,000.

The DEA rule says the production increase is needed to ensure NIDA has enough product on which to conduct its research.

“NIDA recently notified the DEA that it required additional supplies of marijuana to be manufactured in 2014 to provide for current and anticipated research efforts involving marijuana,” the rule stated. “The DEA was unaware of NIDA’s additional need at the time the initial aggregate production quote for marijuana was established in September 2013.

“The aggregate production quote for marijuana should be increased in order to provide a continuous and uninterrupted supply of marijuana in support of DEA-registered researchers who are approved by the Federal Government to utilize marijuana in their research protocols.”

The rule shows the government can get as much pot as it needs, something most Americans still cannot do given that marijuana is a controlled substance. Many Democrats have proposed legislation that would take medical marijuana off this list, and several Republicans are also on board with this policy change.

But other Republicans are looking to clamp down on marijuana. Earlier this year, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced the “No Welfare for Weed Act,” which would prevent low-income Americans from using welfare or food stamp benefits to buy marijuana.
 

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hMPp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/03/uruguay-marijuana-market-rules_n_5259439.html




Uruguay Releases Legal Marijuana Market Rules



MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguay has finally released its rules for the legal marijuana market it is launching this year, detailing how the government plans to get very involved in every aspect of the business. But anyone hoping the South American nation will become a pot-smoker's paradise should probably head to Colorado instead, President Jose Mujica suggested on Friday.

"It's a complete fiction what they do in Colorado" in terms of controlling the sale and use of legal marijuana, Mujica said in an Associated Press interview.

Colorado licenses sellers and producers but allows any adult to buy up to 28 grams at a time — and then go down the street and buy 28 grams more. In Uruguay, consumers must be licensed as well, and each purchase will be tracked to ensure they buy no more than 10 grams a week, he said.

Mujica and his ministers plan to sign the regulations on Monday, and they'll take effect on Tuesday.

In two weeks, the government will take applications from businesses hoping to become one of a handful of growers supplying marijuana to the state. By early December, a network of pharmacies will be ready to supply the weed to registered consumers at less than a dollar a gram, presidential spokesman Diego Canepa said late Friday.

As with tobacco, the pot will come in packages warning of health risks, and smoking will be prohibited everywhere but private homes and open-air locations. As with liquor, motorists will be subject to testing by police to make sure they're not driving under the influence.

The state will sell five different strains, containing a maximum level of 15 percent THC, the substance that gets consumers high. Each bag will be bar-coded, radio-frequency tagged, and registered in a genetic database that will enable authorities to trace its origin and determine its legality, Canepa said. The rules limit licensed growers to six plants per household — not per person, as some pot enthusiasts had hoped. And while people who buy in pharmacies will be identified by fingerprint readers to preserve their anonymity, every user's pot consumption will be tracked in a government database.

Mujica predicted that many will call him an elderly reactionary once they see this fine print, but he says his government never intended to create a mecca for marijuana lovers.

"No addiction is good," he said. "We aren't going to promote smokefests, bohemianism, all this stuff they try to pass off as innocuous when it isn't. They'll label us elderly reactionaries. But this isn't a policy that seeks to expand marijuana consumption. What it aims to do is keep it all within reason, and not allow it to become an illness."

With bona fide plants registered at the molecular level, police can test for illegal weed wherever they encounter it, and arrest anyone with pot that lacks the proper genetic markers, the rules say.

Mujica says the system is more transparent and honest than the medical marijuana laws passed by 21 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, which he called "brutal hypocrisy" because people can fake illnesses to get prescription weed.

"There are places where there are forms already filled out with a doctor's signature. So you go, you say that you need marijuana because your ear hurts, they fill out the form, you prescribe it yourself and with the signature of a doctor," he said.

Mujica who is preparing to visit President Barack Obama in the White House on May 12, predicted that Uruguay's system will be much tougher on drug users, and more effective in combatting illegal drug trafficking.

Mujica, says his government will license and regulate the entire marijuana business, enforcing pot possession rules as well as limits on production and sales so that violators get punished and addicts get help.

Uruguay's leader sat down for a wide-ranging AP interview in his garden after a quick ride in his Volkswagen Beetle with his wife, Sen. Lucia Topolansky, to the butcher's shop to buy some meat for dinner. He answered questions surrounded by chickens, cats and dogs at the small farm on a hill overlooking Montevideo where he lives and grows flowers for sale.

It's a critical time for Mujica and the ruling Broad Front coalition, which has staked its reputation on out-competing traffickers and treating marijuana more as a problem of public health than law enforcement.

Mujica also is negotiating with Obama over Guantanamo. He says he wants to help close the U.S. detention center by taking some prisoners, but won't agree to Washington's demand to keep the former terror suspects inside Uruguay.

"They will be able to move freely. They can leave. But they've been turned into walking skeletons. They've been destroyed by what they've gone through, physically and psychologically," Mujica said. He declined to say more to avoid complicating the talks. "We've made our proposal. It's the United States that has to decide."

Mujica is a former guerrilla who led the armed Tupamaro movement before Uruguay's 1973-1985 dictatorship. He was jailed throughout the junta years, mostly in solitary confinement. Now he not only leads his country, he's an international celebrity after making passionate speeches against the consumerism and greed. Those speeches — and the marijuana plan — have earned Mujica a Nobel Peace Prize nomination this year.
 

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hMPp://nypost.com/2014/05/04/cops-turn-blind-eye-to-pot-smokers-at-cannabis-parade/




(NY) Cops turn blind eye to pot smokers at legalization rally


The city’s annual Cannabis Parade wafted pungently down Broadway on Saturday — with cops helpfully ignoring the billowing clouds of acrid pot smoke.

Some 400 marijuana fans, many openly smoking joints, gathered at high noon to march from 32nd Street to Union Square, where a legalization rally turned into an afternoon-long, music-filled smoke-in.

Their buzz was decidedly un-harshed by The Man.

“If they see anyone breaking the law, they’ll arrest them,” an NYPD spokesman said from Police Headquarters.

But at the rally itself — where participants waved “Legalize It” posters and a few more exuberant stoners cavorted in giant joint costumes — the cops adopted a tacit all-toke, no-action policy.

“We have zero arrests, and we don’t plan on having any,” one sergeant told a Post reporter.

Advocates praised the cops’ mellow take on toking as the latest sign New York was inching toward decriminalization.

Last month, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson warned the NYPD in a memo obtained by The Post that his office would no longer prosecute people caught possessing — or even smoking — marijuana in public.

“Civil disobedience has long and noble history in this country,” said state Green Party Co-chairman Michael O’Neil.

“For those people who are smoking weed openly, who choose to show their allegiance that way, I think that’s very courageous,” said O’Neil, 34.

Still, having so many cops around made some paradegoers a little paranoid.
“I’m still a little wary of what I’m doing right now,” conceded Rico Valderrama, 38, who traveled to the rally from Washington, DC.

Explaining why he wasn’t lighting up, a 28-year-old real-estate developer from Park Slope said: “Smoking weed is something that’s supposed to be relaxing. If you’re paranoid about getting stopped, then it sort of defeats the purpose.”

Many of those at the rally said they were boosting pot for its medicinal value.
Jolanda Simon, 62, said pot smoke helped her post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It helps me relax and see things more clearly. I’ve been doing it for 30 years,” Simon said.

“The worst they can do is tell me to put it out. They’re not going to arrest me for smoking a joint.”

Kevin William Eastwood, 24, said marijuana helps him live with the traumatic brain injury he suffered from a car accident in July 2012.

“I have to smoke just to get out of bed,” Eastwood said. “We’re supposed to be a free country. How is it free if we can’t have access to this plant that is so magical?”

The origins of the parade are shrouded in as much mystery as smoke.

But organizer Noah Potter said, “It’s been going for at least 40 years.”
 

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hMPp://guardianlv.com/2014/05/florida-medical-cannabis-charlottes-web-curious-amendment/




Florida Medical Cannabis Charlottes Web Curious Amendment


An amended version of the Charlotte’s Web medical cannabis bill passed both branches of the Florida Legislature as of Friday, the last day of the legislative session, without any lawmaker debate regarding a curious requirement grafted onto the bill. The growers producing the low THC version of the marijuana are not required to have experience with herbs or medicinal plants of any nature, but the amendment slotted in the bill by Representative Matt Caldwell (R-Lehigh Acres) requires at least 30 years of uninterrupted operational nursery experience in Florida. The amendment also limits production to larger nurseries growing over 400,000 plants. Long quiet about whether or not he would veto the Charlotte’s Web legislation, Governor Scott announced he will sign the bill when it hits his desk.

Matt Caldwell, the author of the operational experience amendment, is only 32 years of age himself. Caldwell states that about 35 nurseries could potentially qualify to act as dispensaries based on size and the amount of time continuously in business. Legislators in South Florida attempted to change the 30 year requirement to 10 years because almost all nurseries in that area were forced to close for some period of time after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Although nursery size and financial wherewithal requirements could easily be connected to marijuana patient benefits and producer experience could be beneficial as well, having a requirement for 30 uninterrupted years of experience is difficult to connect to an actual benefit to the patient. The 30 year requirement limits the number of potential growers to such a low level that the viability of the legislation may be at risk.

The Florida Department of Agriculture publishes a list of registered nurseries, which list contains a recitation of nursery specialties listed by category. The Department of Agriculture nursery specialties include citrus, herbs, roses, geraniums, oak trees and many other plant types. An experienced oak tree grower would likely not know much about growing geraniums. Nevertheless, the curious amendment to the Charlotte’s Web medical cannabis bill inserted by the Lehigh Acres, Florida legislator did not include any mention of specialty in regard to experience even though the regulatory agency has nursery data regarding specialties. The agency data does not include years of experience, at least in any kind of readily available form. Caldwell has not named which nurseries are eligible, even though the list is apparently rather short, nor expressed any interest in providing the information to others.

The list of donors to either Caldwell or political action committees tied to Caldwell includes large agricultural interests, including a tobacco company and US Sugar. Inserting a provision in legislation encouraging medical cannabis production by a specific nursery or by tobacco or sugar interests would be politically unpopular, but doing the same thing through something such as an extraordinarily long experience requirement could do the same thing on a more secretive basis.

A logical nexus could exist between the extraordinarily long nursery experience requirement for Florida Charlotte’s Web medical cannabis dispensaries and benefits for life threatening seizure patients, but connecting the 30 year length of experience to patient benefits under the curious amendment remains difficult. With no discussion or debate, inserting a provision in a bill which reduces the total available nursery options to about three dozen appears reckless at best. The seizure patients in need of the new medication deserved a thoughtful discussion.
 

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hMPp://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2014/05/05/3998202.htm




Drug forum to discuess legalisation of cannabis in Tasmania


The CEO of ATDC Tasmania Jann Smith says it's important to discuss drug use within the community.

"Cannabis is one of the most prevalently used illicit drugs in our community so we think it's a discussion that shouldn't just be pushed under the carpet," she says.

The forum will host experts from across the country as well as a guest speaker from the United States to discuss 'what are the pragmatic conditions that need to exist to actually consider something like decriminalisation [of cannabis].'

While Ms Smith admits there would need to be a lot of consideration, before any laws were changed she says decriminalisation of cannabis has had some success in other countries.

"We've seen without a doubt that in many countries globally there's been recognition of the real value to people for the medical use of cannabis," she says.

On the flip side Ms Smith says of course this wouldn't come without risk.

"There's no question that any psychoactive drug brings with it risk.

"This discussion is not about turning away from the facts of that if you're taking a drug whether it be cannabis, tobacco, alcohol or another illicit drug, that there are risks involved," she says.

The discussion around legalisation of illicit drugs will help people make informed decisions and feel more comfortable talking to medical professionals.

"Where they can openly discuss with either their GP or their psychiatrist, their psychologist how they're feeling and what might be the implications if they were to use a drug.

"We are hearing more and more people come out and speak about the need to consider a different approach to what's colloquially called the war on drugs," she says.

For Ms Smith the ultimate aim of the forum is to promote discussion to hopefully form an argument that can be taken to politicians on all levels.

"Rather than work on a moral or a mythical notion of what the harm is from drug use.

"We've really started to see this discussion occur more frequently so now what we're hoping as a result of tomorrow's discussion is that we'll have some evidence informed, rational debate," she says.
 
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