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Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders announced at a Wednesday town hall meeting that he is introducing legislation in the Senate that would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances, end federal marijuana prohibition, and let states set their own policies without federal interference.
The bill is expected to be similar to a 2011 bill introduced in the U.S. House by Democrat Barney Frank and Republican Ron Paul known then as the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. It would be the first bill ever introduced in the U.S. Senate to end the failed war on marijuana.
“Clearly Bernie Sanders has looked at the polls showing voter support for marijuana legalization,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Marijuana reform was already moving forward in Congress but we expect this bill to give reform efforts a big boost.”
Earlier this year sweeping legislation known as the CARERS Act was introduced by Senators Rand Paul, Cory Booker, and Kristen Gillibrand that would legalize marijuana for medical use. Several spending amendments allowing states to set their own marijuana policies without federal interference have already passed the U.S. House and/or the Senate Appropriations Committee this year.
The National Cannabis Industry Association on Thursday applauded new legislation to be introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and allow it to be regulated similarly to alcohol.
That approach would allow states that choose a legal, regulated approach to marijuana to move forward without federal interference and allow banking access and fair taxation to state-compliant cannabis businesses.
“Mr. President, too many Americans in this country have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use,” Sanders said on the Senate floor on Thursday. “That’s wrong. That has got to change.”
“The time is long overdue for us to take marijuana off of the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs,” Sen. Sanders said.
This week’s Republican presidential debate in Colorado showed that the GOP candidates are out of touch with the majority of American voters when it comes to marijuana legalization, according to a leading financial advisor.
“Once again, the Republicans don’t take the opportunity to speak to an overwhelming percentage of Americans in regards to state rights and legalization of marijuana,” said David Dinenberg, CEO and founder of Kind Financial, a financial services firm for the legal cannabis industry. “The party should realize that several ‘Red’ states have some form of legalization on the 2016 ballots and the voters and consider the candidates’ position on marijuana.”
Dinenberg has made it no secret that he thinks the public debate should mirror the increasing intensity of the conversation, with more than 63 percent of Americans who believe marijuana should be legal. David would know, as he’s well-versed in the political and financial angles of cannabis legalization issues.
“Last night’s debate in Colorado revealed quite a bit about who is grounded in facts with a plan for the U.S. economy and who is just in it for a political dance,” Dinenberg said. “How far cannabis has come in this country and how sophomoric the candidates can be!”
As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to legalize marijuana as part of his Liberal government’s legislative agenda, experts say he’ll be able to access a world-class cannabis framework set up under the previous Conservative government.
A renowned production and distribution system has already been established under Canada’s medical marijuana system, according to Chuck Rifici, who cofounded the nation’s first publicly traded cannabis manufacturer, reports Kristy Kirkup of The Canadian Press.
Rifici, also a volunteer chief financial officer for the Liberal Party’s national board of directors, credits Stephen Harper’s Conservative government for the country’s marijuana infrastructure.
“I’m sure it’s not something he would like to have on his resume but I think only a Conservative government could have created MMPR (Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations),” Rifici said. “I think if another government had been in power the Conservative base would have been up in arms.”
Medicines containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can now be prescribed by doctors to ease health problems associated with cancer, MS, epilepsy and AIDS, reports Lajla Veselica of AFP.
The limits, unfortunately, are absurdly low. Cannabis products can only be prescribed for up to 30 days, while the overall quantity for the month can’t exceed a paltry 7.5 grams, according to the new regulations.
Any other use of marijuana remains illegal under Croatian law.
In a horrific abuse of police power, 19-year-old Zachary Hammond was shot and killed in July in a Hardee’s parking lot by an officer after an undercover narc lured 23-year-old Toni Morton, Hammond’s date, there to sell marijuana. After Hammond was shot and killed, Morton was charged with possession of 10 grams of marijuana.
On Tuesday, three months later, local Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams announced she won’t be pressing charges after “careful consideration of the facts of the case, a thorough review of the State investigation, and an extensive review of all applicable law,” reports Ed Krayewski at Reason.com.
Police claim the officer, Mark Tiller, acted in “self defense,” but attorneys for Hammond’s family point out that an autopsy they commissioned found Hammond was shot in the back. The dash cam video of the incident, released by authorities, shows that Tiller fired at Hammond after the car was already driving away.
Attorneys also petitioned the South Carolina attorney general to remove Adams from the case, since it involved a cop within her circuit and because of other conflicts of interests. Adams refused to recuse herself, while the attorney general hasn’t responded to the petition.
Medical marijuana receives overwhelming support at 83 percent, according to the Baldwin Wallace University Community Research Institute poll released on Monday, reports Jackie Borchardt of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. A smaller majority, 55 percent, favor legalizing possession of marijuana for personal use.
But just 43 percent of respondents said they were likely or very likely to vote for Issue 3, the marijuana legalization measure on the November 3 ballot. About 38 percent said they’d likely not vote for Issue 3, and almost 20 percent were undecided.
“That lukewarm level of support may reflect the complexity of the ballot issue,” said Lauren Copeland, associate director of the Community Research Institute and political science professor.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
By Miguel AKA Miggy420
Everyone remembers their first time, whether it’s sex or trying a taboo plant that’s been demonized for 100 years by the corporate elite because it doesn’t affect them. If you know your small town politics, you know the world. Marijuana, weed, cannabis, whatever word you want to use this year has always been a part of my life; I’ve always known that its properties aren’t evil.
I remember a giant plant growing in my backyard but in retrospect it was probably only 4 feet tall since I was about three feet high. I remember my mom buying weed, not for herself but for my 90-year-old great grandma; she would use it in rubbing alcohol to fight rheumatism. I watched as adults over indulged in alcohol and cocaine, noting when people regretted the moment, noting no one has ever regretted their actions on marijuana, just the feeling they get when “high.”
Where I grew up in Southern California a lot of my friend’s parents smoked marijuana as well and that’s where I got my first inhale, the inhale that resulted in disappointment. We were 9 and my friend Tommy stole a joint from his dad’s drawer (as I get older this won’t be the last time a friend of mine pinches from their parents), there were four of us and we were all mesmerized by the marijuana cigarette. We took the joint to the canyon, a crevice behind our elementary school and that’s where we decided to spark it.