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Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday appeared before the House Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing in which he stated that federal law does not always trump state law, declined to initiate the process to reschedule marijuana and reaffirmed his commitment to granting clemency to low-level nonviolent drug offenders with unduly harsh sentences.
Under questioning by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Missouri), who asked the Attorney General whether federal law trumps state law when the two are in conflict, Holder said that while federal law is supreme in many matters, it is “an interesting question” whether the federal government can force a state to criminalize a particular behavior.
“I am hopeful that as public opinion continues to shift in favor of marijuana reform, the White House will one day have the courage to take a larger role in the push to legalization,” said Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) Executive Director Major Neill Franklin (Ret.). “Until then, states remain the innovators, exercising their constitutionally protected police powers to lead the charge toward sensible change that at least the administration has the good sense to follow.”
The Suquamish Tribe of Washington state is exploring the idea of selling marijuana on their reservation at Port Madison.
The native American tribe proposed a deal with the Washington State Liquor Control Board earlier this year that would allow cannabis sales by the tribe and tribally-approved businesses, reports Tad Sooter at the Kitsap Sun.
The liquor board hasn’t taken any formal action on the tribe’s proposal, according to spokesman Brian Smith. Because the reservation is under federal rather than state jurisdiction, and marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the WSLCB will defer to the federal government on cannabis policies affecting the tribe, Smith said.
“I would not expect us to issue any licenses without some defining statement from the Department of Justice,” Smith said on Wednesday.
The South Carolina Democratic Party will ask voters on the June primary ballot whether they support legalizing medical marijuana, in a non-binding referendum. Party leaders made the announcement to push a medical marijuana bill currently in the Legislature.
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford (D-Richland), who is sponsoring a medical marijuana bill in the Legislature, said state Democrats are putting the question on the ballot so the Republicans who control the State House can see for themselves what voters think of the issue, reports Seanna Adcox at the Associated Press.
Rutherford said patients who are authorized by a physician as suffering debilitating illnesses such as cancer and glaucoma should be able to use cannabis medicinally.
The annual WMUR Granite State Poll released Wednesday by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center shows a growing majority of New Hampshire adults support making marijuana legal and regulating it like alcohol.
The survey found 55 percent percent support making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal in New Hampshire — up from 53 percent in 2013 — and 67 percent approve of marijuana being sold in licensed retail outlets and taxed at levels similar to alcohol if marijuana possession becomes legal.
“Marijuana prohibition has been an ineffective and wasteful policy,” said Matt Simon, the Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “Voters are increasingly becoming fed up with it, and they’re ready to replace it with a more sensible system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.”
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh this week moved to block the opening of two medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, saying he’s “dead set” against the shops at a forum in Dorchester and then sending a letter to state officials urging “swift action” if any problems are found with the companies’ applications.
“I am writing to express my serious concern regarding the two registered marijuana dispensary applicants in the city of Boston,” the mayor wrote in a Tuesday letter addressed to Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz, and to Executive Director Karen Van Unen of the state’s medical marijuana program, reports Meghan E. Irons at The Boston Globe.
Questions remain about the two companies, Mayor Walsh claimed. Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals Inc. wants to open a 3,000-square-foot dispensary at 70 Southampton Street, and Good Chemistry of Massachusetts Inc. plans a shop on Boylston Street.
Two cannabis legalization measures in Oregon are gathering signatures around the state. Initiative Petitions 21 and 22, the Oregon Cannabis Amendment and The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, are in the race for the July 3 signature deadline. Initiative 21 would end criminal penalties for cannabis, while Initiative 22 regulates and taxes cannabis, including hemp for industrial and agricultural uses.
“The people of Oregon stand with Initiatives 21 and 22 and they demonstrate this by getting involved,” said campaign director Jersey Deutsch of the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH). “This is because our legislation puts an end to cannabis prohibition, ensuring no one in Oregon will be criminalized for cannabis again.”
Currently CRRH has more than 20 staff members, 3,000 volunteers, and 6,000 independent Oregon donors, making them second only to Oregon United for Marriage with the largest volunteer campaign in the state.
Lufkin Police arrested Hamilton, 37, after she called them to complain about some low-quality marijuana she had bought from a dealer, reports The Associated Press.
An officer went to Hamilton’s home after she called the police objecting that her cannabis was substandard, according to Lufkin Police Sgt. David Casper.
When the officer asked if Evelyn still had the weed, she pulled it out of her bra, according to Sgt. Casper, just like she didn’t have a care in the world.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
By Jack Rikess
Of the supposedly 43 million Americans who smoke marijuana, there is such a small percent of us that are allowed to have safe and easy access to our drug of choice, that to complain seems to be a little elitist and even downright spoiled. Having a medical marijuana card has changed my life for definitely the better and not to be redundant, and it’s made scoring much safer.
But if you’re of a certain age and generation, because of the nature of prohibition, the only way to score our pot was to go to someone’s home.
As much as I love having a card and going to the Pot Shop, or having it delivered, I miss the interaction of the old daze.
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