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Toke Signals Bud Pick of the Week
The Governor also declared the Drug War a failure and expressed desire to continue emphasizing a health-based approach to drug policy by expanding treatment and overdose prevention programs, as well as by removing the stigma associated with drug use and addiction.
“The outdated war on drugs has also failed,” said Shumlin, “and there is no greater example than our nation’s marijuana laws.”
“Pete Shumlin is providing just the sort of leadership we need to see from other governors around the country,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Indeed, it’s a bit surprising, with a majority of Americans in favor of marijuana legalization, that he’s the only sitting governor to actively call for it. I’m hopeful this is the start of a new trend.”
Proponents of a statewide ballot measure to “control, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana while protecting children” on Wednesday announced that they have received an official title and summary for their proposed November measure, have been cleared for circulation and intend to “hit the ground running” to qualify their measure for the ballot.
They also announced the formation of an official political committee in support of the measure: “Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children.” (I know! “Is it a committee name or a NOVEL?”)
The coalition in support of this measure includes business people, physicians, farmers, environmental leaders and social-justice advocacy organizations, according to the group.
The new committee announced $1.25 million in initial contributions, including from co-chairs and respected advocacy organizations such as Drug Policy Action, Marijuana Policy Project of California, New Approach PAC and Californians for Sensible Reform.
While the state has authorized 20 dispensaries to open statewide, only eight opened on Thursday, with the rest slated to open later in January, leaving huge areas of the state without access to a dispensary.
This marks the first time that patients in New York can legally purchase medical marijuana, but significant concerns about the program remain. Since the law was passed in June 2014, advocates have warned that its narrowness and overly restrictive regulations would impede patient access.
“I’m disappointed that only eight dispensaries will open by the deadline,” said Missy Miller from Atlantic Beach. “There are none opening on Long Island, which leaves my son Oliver, who suffers from life-threatening seizures, out of luck.
Oregon’s newly expanded Indoor Clean Air Act kicked in on New Year’s Day, but the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in Portland remains open this week, hosting popular Stoner Bingo games and Thursday night jam sessions.
Multnomah County has already received a complaint about cannabis smoking in the business, and officials plan to send owner Madeline Martinez a letter reminding her of the law, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.
A county code enforcement officer will visit the cafe after a 10-day grace period to make sure Martinez has complied, said Multnomah County spokeswoman Julie Sullivan-Springhetti. The officer would outline the steps the cafe needs to take, and make an additional unannounced visit, she said.
Penalties could include daily fines of up to $500 for continued noncompliance, according to Sullivan-Springhetti.
Monday was the first day for license applications to enter Oregon’s new recreational marijuana retail market, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission had received 142 applications by 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Seventy-five of the applications came from growers, most of them planning operations in Clackamas, Jackson, Lane and Multnomah counties, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.
Oregon doesn’t plan to cap the number of marijuana licenses it will issue. According to a report from the liquor commission, the state will issue a total of 850 recreational marijuana licenses by the end of next year.
Applications are being accepted from marijuana processors, wholesalers, retailers, producers, laboratories and researchers, but as of Tuesday morning, no labs or researchers had applied, according to the OLCC.
Abrogate Prohibition Michigan announced it “is driven by the need to repair one of the most ineffective and damaging policies introduced by legislators in the last 50 years, the prohibition of the Cannabis/Hemp plant.”
“Abrogate Prohibition Michigan is very different from all other efforts because the group is proposing an amendment to the State Constitution repealing all prohibitions on the Cannabis/Hemp plant for use by the people, business, and industries alike,” the prepared statement reads. “The proposal does not allow for any excise/luxury/sin taxes, nor allow fines or any other penalties whatsoever for the use of the Cannabis/Hemp plant by anyone in the state.”
Abrogate Prohibition Michigan’s petition was approved by the Board of Canvassers on Dec. 29th, 2015, and the group said it is prepared to kick off the signature campaign in about one week, finishing the 180-day campaign just after the July 4th Independence Day Holiday, in time for voters to address the issue in the 2016 Elections.
Authorities are now trying to figure out if any of the cases that Deputy Christopher M. Heath worked on have been tainted, reports Christine Hauser at The New York Times.
Heath, along with another man, 31-year-old Tyler Long, drove across the U.S. to deliver about 122 packages of marijuana to someone in West Manheim Township, Pa., according to police. But the cops had been tipped off, and they stopped the car around midnight on December 28.
The two men were arrested, along with a third man in the vehicle, Ryan J. Falsone, 27. In addition to the cannabis and cash, cops found Deputy Heath’s badge and his duty firearm, according to David Sunday, the York County chief deputy prosecutor.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
A true hero of the movement, James Tranmer has never wavered from his convictions, despite having the full weight of the United States federal government thrown at him. Unlike most defendants who are hauled into court and try to disavow their involvement with the thing that brought them there, James Tranmer proudly and defiantly admitted to his marijuana use.
A priest in the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, a sect of Rastafarianism, Tranmer considers cannabis a sacrament, and considers his prosecution religious persecution. While he remains outspoken on the topic to this day, he was equally so during his sentencing hearing, a fact that some have speculated might have influenced US District Judge Lacy Collier into giving him a longer sentence.
“I’m an herb man, I’ve always been an herb man for more than 30 years,” Tranmer told the judge at sentencing. “The herb is a sacrament. Ganja is my sacrament. America is a sick nation spiritually … you cannot win this fight against marijuana. If you fight against the herb, you fight against creation. I will take anything you give me for ganja. You can’t take ganja away from the people. Ganja is what is given by God for the people and you can’t take that away from them.”
She in return gave him 35 years (which is 420 months! – Editor) for the “crime” of helping to finance his son Brian’s marijuana smuggling venture. Brian served 13 years and is now released.
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