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More than 18,000 U.S. prisoners completed electronic surveys last month to apply for reduced sentences under President Barack Obama’s new program designed to clear federal prisons of nonviolent offenders.
The federal Department of Justice in April announced a major new initiative that solicits petitions from inmates who have served more than 10 years for a nonviolent crime; most of these crimes are drug-related, reports Lis Goodwin at Yahoo News.
Federal prisoners are always able to petition the President to have their sentences commuted, but the new program is intended to give a break to those who were sentenced under the draconian mandatory minimums of now-defunct drug laws that increased the federal prison population by 800 percent since they were passed in the Reagan Administration.
The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is running 30-second TV advertisements on MSNBC in Maryland and South Florida over the next few days to draw attention to Members of Congress who opposed medical marijuana reform in last week’s House vote.
One of the ads focuses on Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), who spoke out on the House floor against a measure that restricts Justice Department funds spent on medical marijuana enforcement in states that have legalized its use. Despite the recent passage of a medical marijuana law in his State of Maryland, Rep. Harris made the claim Friday that “Marijuana is neither safe nor legal.”
The other ad focuses on Democratic National Committee Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), who was one of only 18 House Democrats to vote against the medical marijuana measure last week. Notably, Rep. Wasserman Schultz voted contrary to several other Democrats in her South Florida delegation.
Querying 1,000 Internet users nationwide in a Google Survey during the month of April, just over 84 percent of those polled answered “alcohol” to the question, “Which is worse, driving after drinking or driving after smoking marijuana?”
“What’s interesting about these findings is that despite the public’s wide acceptance of drinking alcohol, especially wine and beer, there’s a conflict in attitudes about how it impacts behavior,” said international performance and learning trainer Shawn Lock, who conducted the survey. “While there’s little stigma towards drinking in public versus smoking marijuana in public, there’s a very different opinion when it comes to alcohol versus marijuana.”
A number of cases have been put on hold over the past year as the government is called upon to justify the laws banning marijuana (known as “dagga” in South Africa), according to party leader Jeremy Acton, reports Nicole McCain at the People’s Post.
Acton believes a precedent has been set and a temporary stay on marijuana prosecutions must be offered across South Africa until the cases which challenge the constitutionality of marijuana prohibition are settled.
In the wake of the recent death of 6-year old Charlee Nelson in Utah after she was denied cannabis extract known to help control seizures caused by a neurological disorder, Dave Spradlin, co-director of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland and River City Phoenix in Sacramento, has announced that he will provide for free the expensive extract to any patients with a similar ailment.
The medicine is a scientifically produced liquid made from marijuana plants and used to treat people with severe seizure disorders. The tincture is rich in a chemical called cannabidiol, or CBD, but low in THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Senate Bill 2531 creates a four-year study on the medicinal benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, reports the Marijuana Policy Project. The bill specifies that Vanderbilt University will conduct the study, and Tennessee Tech will theoretically grow the cannabis.
As has been the case with similarly weak “CBD-only” legislation passed in other conservative states recently, the many limitations of the bill mean it won’t result in relief for patients; Tennessee hasn’t become a “medical marijuana state” by any stretch of the imagination.
Medical marijuana patients, their family members, and supporters gathered in front of the residence of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday to express their disappointment with the medical marijuana bill he signed into law one day earlier. The group delivered 33 flowers to the governor, each representing 1,000 seriously ill Minnesotans who will not be allowed to benefit from the new law, but would have benefitted from a more effective proposal that was blocked by Gov. Dayton.
Among the group were Heather Kainz of Duluth and Shelly Olander of Brainerd. The new law will not allow Kainz’s two-year-old son, Parker, to access medical marijuana to treat a painful movement disorder stemming from a congenital brain malformation. Olander’s six-year-old son, Lincoln, who suffers from a mitochondrial disease that causes severe nausea, wasting, and vomiting, also will not be able to access medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment for both children’s symptoms.
Toke Signals Must Read of the WeekWeed Fairy Is Great, But Is She Good For Legalization?
By Michael Hayne (Toke Signals)
If there’s such a thing as a fairy that furtively enters your home and absconds with your kids teeth, then there has to be a magical lady who travels around leaving small amounts of pot. The only difference, of course, is that the Weed Fairy is real and she caters to adults (or at least legal adults).
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