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Supporters of the War On Drugs often claim that loosening restrictions on marijuana use — such as decriminalization, allowing medicinal use, legalizing it completely, or even discussing legalization — will “send the wrong message” to young people and lead to increased teen drug use. But the evidence has repeatedly shown this notion to be inaccurate.
According to two new studies published in the past month, teen marijuana use has fallen since 1996, during which time 34 states have passed some sort of medical marijuana bill, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.
“Despite considerable changes in state marijuana policies over the past 15 years, marijuana use among high school students has largely declined,” concludes one of the papers, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. That study looks at cannabis use among all high school students in the U.S., as measured every two years by the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
“Although our results do not suggest that the rapid pace of change to state-level marijuana policies has resulted in immediate and drastic increases in adolescent use, continued monitoring is necessary to observe how trends change over a longer period of time,” the researchers advise, pointing to one uptick since 2009 as probably being statistically insignificant.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday announced that beginning October 12, it will accept new retail applications “using the priority criteria set forth in the law.” According to the Board, there will not be an initial cap on the number of licenses issued.
“Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure that they have all of the required documentation before applying,” the WSLCB announced. “Failure to provide required documentation in a timely manner will result in the application being withdrawn, however you will be able to apply again.”
The WSLCB adopted emergency rules and issued new draft rules to begin the public process of “aligning” the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market (many activists would more cynically call it “eliminating” the medical marijuana market “in favor of” the recreational market).
The Board’s actions are the result of 2015 legislation, the so-called “Cannabis Patient Protection Act” (SB 5052, sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers), which established a priority system for licensing existing medical marijuana outlets. The emergency rules, which are effective immediately, allow the WSLCB to begin the process of licensing new retail outlets that may sell both medical and recreational marijuana.
Paul Hurley, 42, allegedly asked for $20,000 cash from the I-502 store owner in exchange for giving lenience in a tax audit, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, reports Jessica Lee at The Seattle Times. Hurley was charged in U.S. District Court.
The owner of the marijuana store reportedly did not ask for leniency.
Hurley presented the business owner with a tax bill for 2013 and 2014 totaling more than $290,000, but claimed he had saved the businessman more than $1 million, according to prosecutors. The agent then asked for $20,000 in exchange for the “help,” according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Harvest would traditionally take place in October, and hashish production not long after that, reports Tim Craig at The Washington Post. But much of the crop in the Tirah Valley in Pakistan’s tribal belt has been abandoned, and is in danger of becoming yet another casualty of the conflict.
After Taj Muhammad Afridi planted cannabis seeds in February, the Pakistani military began a series of operations in the Tirah Valley against Taliban fighters who were hiding out there. The operation forced Afridi and 250,000 other residents to leave their homes; many are still waiting to return.
“We know that our crops are still there,” said Afridi, 65, who has for decades helped make stoners mellow around the world. “But I don’t know what the future will be. Will the military allow this?”
Minardi’s group, Regulate Florida, needs 683,149 valid voter signatures by February 2, 2016, to get the Florida Cannabis Act on the ballot for November 2016, reports Michelle Quesada at ABC Action News. The group is going for a million signatures to make sure.
The proposal would amend the Florida Constitution, making buying marijuana roughly the same as picking up a bottle of liquor at the store, according to Minardi. “We trust people with alcohol; we trust people with tobacco,” he said.
As long as you’re 21 or older, you should be able to buy and use marijuana responsibly, Minardi said. “These people who are using them [drugs] are responsible adults and they should have the choice to do that,” he said.
Oregon wasn’t the first state, or the largest, to legalize marijuana. But when it begins retail cannabis sales next month, the state will blaze a new trail, because it will consider applications to clear the record of past marijuana convictions.
Paperwork which would forever seal old pot offenses is now available in Oregon, thanks to a new law, and those who complete the process can legally say to any employer, landlord or anyone else who asks that they’ve never been convicted or cited for any drug crime at all, reports Kirk Johnson at The New York Times.
Fifteen years ago, when Erika Walton, then in her 20s, handed a bong to someone who turned out to be a police officer, she was cited for marijuana possession. She paid the fine, but the violation continued to haunt her as part of her record.
“It’s taken away a lot of my life,” Walton said as she inked out her fingerprints, which Oregon requires for sealing the file. Walton said the minor citation cost her when she had to disclose it on job applications and for volunteer positions at her children’s school.
Tuatara Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, this wee announced its partnershipwith Nelson, 81, known for such standards as “Always On My Mind” and “On The Road Again,” as well as for his well-documented fondness for cannabis, reports Tom Huddleston, Jr., at TIME.
Under the partnership, Tuatara will lead a group of investors financing the development of a legal recreational marijuana brand featuring Nelson’s name and likeness.
“Willie’s Reserve” will be a “premium cannabis lifestyle brand” for recreational marijuana users in states where it is legal, starting with Colorado and Washington “and also other states as regulations allow.” Local businesses in those states will grow, distribute, and sell Willie’s Reserve marijuana based on the brand’s specifications and “quality standards,” according to a press release from Tuatara and Nelson.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
Hemp In The Hinterlands Can Save Brazil’s Economy
By Sergio Vidal
(Toke Signals)Anyone who has deepened a little more in the history of Brazil that do not have schools know that since the beginning of colonization until the early 20th century, many Brazilians have cultivated legally marijuana in various regions of the country, including the government, through the Real Feitoria Hemp and other initiatives. This had as the main objective the extraction of plant fibers at the time leading textile crop in the world.
But the cultivation was so widespread culturally there were also many uses for medicinal purposes and its seeds, while not having active ingredients, but only beneficial nutrients and oils were used as human food and raw material for fuel oil for lamps, among others uses recorded in documents. Various documents and studies show that since colonization until its ban in 1932, and even then, the plant in nature, herb extracts or remedies made with it were considered legitimate use and recommended by doctors and healers to treat different diseases. The hemp industry in the country was so intense that in 1876 came to be considered the main product of our agriculture.
Today the Brazilian government maintains a blind war to all marijuana use in the name of combating drug trafficking, supposedly to protect public and individual health. Every year, over the months, the government destroys many hectares of plantations, seize tons of marijuana grown illegally, incinerates everything and criminal processes involved.
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