Don’t forget to subscribe to the Toke TV channel on YouTube.
Toke Signals Bud Pick of the Week
Toke Signals Stories of the Week
A White House official has told Yahoo News that President Obama is prepared to use his pardon power to grant clemency to “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of people who have been jailed for nonviolent drug crimes.
The report said that the administration is making moves that will help it handle the increase in petitions that Mr. Obama is planning to sign off on before he leaves office. Last Tuesday, White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said Obama has directed the Justice Department to improve its clemency recommendation process and recruit more applications from convicts.
The White House’s new moves would follow in the footsteps of a January announcement that the Obama administration would taking the unprecedented step of encouraging defense lawyers to suggest inmates whom the president might let out of prison early, as part of its effort to curtail severe penalties in low-level drug cases.
What do a former Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, an Illinois truck mechanic, and a Southern California teacher have in common? They are all serving life sentences in federal prisons for nonviolent marijuana offenses.
Most of the public remains unaware that right here, right now, in these United States, we have prisoners serving life or de facto life sentences for nonviolent cannabis offenses. For some, like 1986 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Randy Lanier and Chicago truck mechanic Craig Cesal, these were first offenses.
Lanier, Cesal, and others like Paul Free, Larry Duke and George Martorano, are part of an aging prison population who have been incarcerated for decades for victimless crimes involving a plant states are legalizing.
According to the study from Rhode Island Hospital, which compared 20 years of data from states with and without medical marijuana laws, legalizing cannabis for medicinal use did not lead to any increased use among adolescents, reports ScienceDaily. The study is published online and will be in the upcoming print issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
“Any time a state considers legalizing medical marijuana, there are concerns from the public about an increase in drug use among teens,” said Esther Choo, M.D., attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at Rhode Island Hospital. “In this study, we examined 20 years’ worth of data, comparing trends in self-reported adolescent marijuana use between states with medical marijuana laws and neighboring states without the laws, and found no increase in marijuana use that could be attributed to the law.”
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing Thursday on a bill that would make possession of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET in Room A-2 of the Massachusetts State House.
H. 1632 would eliminate criminal penalties for adults 21 years of age and older if they possess or cultivate marijuana for personal use. It would also create a Cannabis Control Authority, which would establish licenses, collect taxes, and regulate the production, processing, and sale of marijuana to adults.
“Marijuana prohibition has been just as colossal a failure as alcohol prohibition,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), who is scheduled to testify during the hearing. “Marijuana is less toxic than alcohol, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violent or reckless behavior.”
The Alabama Supreme Court on Friday issued a 8-1 decision in Ex Parte Hicks upholding the conviction of Sara Hicks, who gave birth to a healthy baby who tested positive for cocaine in 2008. This decision affirmed the Court’s prior ruling in Ex Parte Ankrom, holding that that the plain meaning of the word “child” in the Alabama law unambiguously includes fertilized eggs and that pregnant women may be arrested for using a controlled substance while pregnant.
The chemical endangerment law was passed in 2006 to deter people from bringing children to places where controlled substances are produced or distributed, such as methamphetamine laboratories. Since 2006, more than 100 women who became pregnant and tested positive for a controlled substance have been arrested. Some have experienced pregnancy losses, but the majority – like Sara Hicks – have continued their pregnancies to term and given birth to healthy children.
As a result of the rulings in Ankrom and Hicks, there is no exception from prosecution for pregnant women who used controlled substances that are prescribed by physicians.
“The bill I signed into law will help children who suffer from severe seizures disorders,” Gov. Bryant told 16 WAPT News. “Throughout the legislative process, I insisted on the tightest controls and regulations for this measure, and I have been assured by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics that CBD oil (cannabidiol) is not an intoxicant,” the tremulous governor said.
“The outcome is a bill that allows this substance to be used therapeutically, as is the case for other controlled prescription medication,” he said, emphasizing that he remains opposed to any effort to legalize marijuana or its derivatives other than CBD oil only.
By Dr. Gil Mobley and Steve Elliott
A tipping point has been reached in modern medicine where the medical utility of cannabis can no longer be denied in a wide variety of diseases. It effectively treats dozens of ailments from neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy to inflammatory conditions as in Crohn’s disease and chronic pain. Miraculously, it can also stop seizures other medications can’t touch.
Patients in 21 states and D.C. have legal access to this medicine, and efforts are underway in scores of other states where legislatures are seeking access to medical cannabis for patients with certain well-defined conditions. Public support for medical cannabis remains high throughout the country.
And recently, support for medical cannabis has soared even more after Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s series on CNN highlighted his about-face on the subject. In part two of his series called WEED that aired last month, the physician discussed his transition from a doubter to staunch advocate for the use of medical cannabis along with the need for further research.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
By Sharon LettsCannabis use can be confusing. The failed War on Drugs has ingrained negativity for the plant into the psyches of the average American for decades now, with the only enlightenment coming from those who have the insight and courage to experiment medicinally. When the plant helps, the stigma is broken and those who can are compelled to share.
That’s my story. I was the stoner from the 70s who ingested for pain, then cancer, then found the plant turned my health and life around for the better. I’m compelled to share, and share I do – daily.
Patients write to me on a daily basis from all over the world asking for help. Within the cannabis community there is compassion like no other faction, with the green recreational rush quickly turning into a green wellness train to legal states and healing.
Toke TV/Toke Radio = a joint production
of Toke Signals and Indie Media Weekly