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The compromise legislation includes a provision that is intended to prevent the department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), from using funds to arrest or prosecute patients, caregivers, and businesses that are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. It stems from an amendment sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) that was first approved in the House of Representatives in May 2014 and included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 signed by President Obama last December.
“The renewal of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment suggests most members of Congress are ready to end the federal government’s war on medical marijuana,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “There’s a growing sentiment that the Justice Department should not be using taxpayer dollars to arrest and prosecute people who are following their states’ medical marijuana laws.”
“The renewal of this amendment should bring relief for medical marijuana patients and business owners,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “For decades Congress has been responsible for passing disastrous drug laws,” continued Collins. “It’s encouraging to see them starting to roll back the war on drugs by allowing states to set their own medical marijuana policies.”
(Hemp News)The U.S. Solicitor General, on behalf of the federal Department of Justice, on Wednesday filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that the neighboring states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed against Colorado’s marijuana legalization law.
Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., in the brief, argues that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) “does not preempt a ‘State law on the same subject matter’ as the CSA’s control and enforcement provisions ‘unless there is a positive conflict’ between federal and state law ‘so that the two cannot consistently stand together.’
“Here, for example, it is conceivable that the Court could conclude that whether Colorado’s scheme creates a ‘positive conflict’ with the CSA ultimately turns on, among other factors, the practical efficacy of Colorado’s regulatory system in preventing or deterring interstate marijuana trafficking,” the Solicitor General — whose duty it is to represent the federal government before the Supreme Court — wrote.
“This is the right move by the Obama administration,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “Colorado and a growing number of states have decided to move away from decades of failed prohibition laws, and so far things seem to be working out as planned.
The results of an annual survey of U.S. middle and high school students released Wednesday refute claims that reforming marijuana laws and debating legalization will lead to increased marijuana use among teens.
According to the Monitoring the Future Survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
· Rates of daily marijuana use by 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders, as well as monthly use by 12th-graders, did not change from 2014 to 2015 and have remained unchanged since 2010.
· The rate of monthly marijuana use by 8th-graders did not change in the past year, but has dropped significantly since 2010.
· The rate of monthly marijuana use by 10th-graders appears to have dropped significantly from 2014 (and 2010) to 2015.
Following an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace in Washington state, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday heard a recommendation from staff to increase the number of retail marijuana stores from the current cap of 334 to a new cap of 556.
Earlier this year the Washington Legislature enacted, and Gov. Jay Inslee signed, legislation (SSB 5052) ironically entitled the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (the Act dismantles the system of safe access which has existed for patients in the state for 17 years).
“Our goal was clear; to ensure medical patients have access to the products they need,” claimed WSLCB Director Rick Garza. “There will be more storefronts for patients going forward than are available today. In addition, qualified patients can grow their own or join a four-member cooperative,” Garza said.
Unsurprisingly, Garza didn’t mention that the Board’s original recommendations were to entirely eliminate home growing entirely. Garza also negelected to mention that the Board reduced the number of plants patients are allowed to grow from 15 to 6 (if on the state patient registry) or just 4 (for patients who opt not to be on the state registry).
A translation of Garza’s political-speak is that the Board was so embarrassed by the outcry from patients and advocates regarding severely reduced medical access, that they were finally compelled to at least appear to do something about it, i.e., approve additional retail licenses.
A terminally ill woman who successfully sued the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to obtain the state’s first medical marijuana patient ID card will visit a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Maine on Friday.
Linda Horan of Alstead, who suffers from Stage 4 lung cancer, will visit Wellness Connection of Maine, where she will be accompanied by New Hampshire State Rep. Renny Cushing and several of her supporters.
“I feel better already, knowing that I will not have to spend my final days in a narcotic stupor,” Horan said. “I look forward to visiting the dispensary, learning about which products would be best for treating my symptoms. I will finally receive the medicine I need, and I won’t need to fear being treated like a criminal for it.”
Horan filed a lawsuit against DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas on November 5, asking the agency to immediately issue her a medical marijuana ID card so that she could begin obtaining medical marijuana legally in Maine and using it without fear of arrest in New Hampshire. On Nov. 24, a Merrimack County Superior Court Judge ordered the DHHS to issue her a card.
Marijuana decriminalization legislation adopted earlier this year in Delaware will officially take effect on Friday, making it the 19th state in the nation to remove the threat of jail for simple marijuana possession. (A 20th state, Missouri, has a similar law on the books that goes into effect in 2017.)
“Delaware’s marijuana policy is about to become a lot more reasonable,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Most people agree adults should not face jail time or the life-altering consequences of a criminal record just for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Taxpayers certainly don’t want to foot the bill for it, and fortunately they will not have to any longer.”
Under current Delaware law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of a $575 fine and three months in jail.
Once HB 39 takes effect, the possession or private use of one ounce or less of marijuana will no longer trigger criminal penalties or create a criminal record for adults 21 years of age and older. Instead, it will be a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine.
The bill would repeal the Commonwealth’s current prohibition on cannabis cultivation, possession and sales, according to a press release from Senator Clark, reports Lex18.com.
Clark said the bill would replace prohibition with a framework that would “promote public safety and responsible cannabis consumption by persons over 21 years of age.”
“No one has adequately answered the question as to why cannabis is illegal,” Sen. Clark said. “We were sold a bill of goods. We were bamboozled.”
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