The 19th episode of Toke Signals TV with host Steve Elliott takes a look at some of the biggest marijuana news stories of the week.
Find out what you need to know about the week in cannabis/marijuana news, in 21 minutes!
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I’m sorry I was right about this: Give law enforcement officers a ‘bright line,’ and they are definitely going to use it.When Washington state voters last year approved the state’s marijuana legalization law, Initiative 502, they didn’t just legalize an ounce for adults, and state stores to sell it to them. They also voted into law a strict law against driving under the influence of cannabis, written into the language of I-502.
Law enforcement, themselves, now admit they are giving a lot more blood tests for marijuana since I-502 passed — and it’s no wonder, because it gave them a “bright line” (5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, 5 ng/ml) over which drivers are, per se, guilty of “driving under the influence” of cannabis.
Never mind that 5 ng/ml is not associated with impairment, according to science.
Based on the first week’s worth of applications, Washington state has more than enough people interested in getting licenses to grow marijuana. But so far there are applications for fewer than half the number of cannabis stores allowed by state regulations.
The application period for those who want to grow, process or sell marijuana in Washington state under the implementation of legalization measure Initiative 502 began on November 18, reports Jim Camden at the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Applications are filed with the state Department of Revenue, which processes the requests before sending them on to the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
The LCB is in charge of implementing and regulating recreational marijuana sales. On Tuesday, it released the names and locations from the 922 applications filed during the first week (for the list, click “Marijuana License Applicants” on this page. The Board said it will grant up to 334 retail licenses statewide, with limits in each county. So far 158 applications have been received for retail licenses; no applications have been received so far from 14 counties.
Ignoring opposition from marijuana advocates and civil libertarians, the Denver City Council on Monday night voted to ban people from smoking legal marijuana in private yards or on balconies if the activity can be seen from the street or sidewalk.
“Everyone up here tonight is going to make some enemies,” Councilman Charlie Brown, normally a strong advocate of regulating marijuana, told his fellow council members. “I can’t support it,” he said. “I believe in individual property rights.”
“Government can’t solve all these problems,” Brown said. “And neither can our police department.”
The second-ranking Democrat in the Arizona House, saying legislation is better than a voter initiative, wants to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use.
Cannabis advocates are gearing up to put the issue on the 2016 ballot, pointed out Rep. Ruben Gallego of Phoenix, but he wants the issue debated through the legislative process, reports Howard Fischer at Capitol Media Services.
Gallego said that lawmakers are better suited to come up with a comprehensive plan, without unforeseen problems, than advocates circulating petitions.
The Arizona Constitution sharply limits tinkering by the Legislature with voter-approved initiatives; such rules were passed after lawmakers twice gutted medical marijuana laws approved by the voters, before voters finally sealed the deal in 2010. Gallego believes, therefore, that any mistakes included in voter initiatives could be difficult to correct after the fact.
Former U.S. Representative William D. Delahunt wants to get into the medical marijuana business. Delahunt, a former Congressman from Massachusetts and longtime Norfolk County District Attorney, has filed applications with the state to open dispensaries in Plymouth, Taunton and Mashpee.
Delahunt said that his past experience as both a district attorney (for 21 years) and as a member of Congress make him especially well-suited to operate medical marijuana dispensaries. He represented the former 10th Congressional District in Massachusetts for seven terms, from 1997 to 2011.
Massachusetts has received 100 applications to open dispensaries; the law limits the number to 35 statewide, including at least one per county, but no more than five, reports Patrick Ronan at the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
The Massachusetts Department of Health on Friday released information on the 100 applications for dispensaries it has received, including the applicants’ names and the cities and towns in which they want to open stores. Massachusetts’ medical marijuana law requires that all dispensaries be run by nonprofits.
Parents who use marijuana — even those who use it medicinally — face a lot of judgments, and can sometimes even lose custody of their children. Parents 4 Pot, a new group based in Northern California is fighting the stigma surrounding the subject.
The new group has a Facebook page and plans to launch a website, reports Robin Wilkey at The Huffington Post. Next on the agenda is forming a board of directors and then advocating specific legislation.
“What we aspire to do is change the way people understand and talk about cannabis in our community,” said organizer Mickey Martin, the author of Medical Marijuana 101 and founder of a company which produces cannabis-infused medibles. Martin is the father of two boys.
A Florida couple accidentally brought home an 11-pound stash of marijuana when they returned from Louisiana, according to police.
The husband and wife carried the weed on a 900-mile trip before getting back home to Key Largo, Florida, at which point they finally found it inside two mysterious suitcases, reports Doyle Murphy at the New York Daily News. Instead of throwing a party, the easily alarmed couple called the sheriff’s department.
“This could have been really bad,” claimed Monroe County Sheriff Sgt. Al Ramirez. “These people were traveling all over with this stuff in their truck. If they had been pulled over with it, they could have would up in jail and their truck may have been seized.” Well, Sheriff, maybe it shouldn’t be against the law, eh?
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Results from a 2012 study show indicate that bipolar patients with a history of marijuana use have better neurocognitive function than those who have never used cannabis.The team, from The Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, found that patients with bipolar I (BD I) disorder who used marijuana performed better on tests of attention, processing speed, and working memory than other BD 1 patients, reports Mark Cowen at News Medical.
“These data could be interpreted to suggest that cannabis use may have a beneficial effect on cognitive functioning in patients with severe psychiatric disorders,” said lead researcher Raphael Braga, a psychiatrist in the Center for Treatment and Research of Bipolar Disorder at Zucker Hillside Hospital.
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