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A marijuana decriminalization law passed by the D.C. Council took effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday in Washington, D.C. The new law, like others around the United States, eases penalties for minor cannabis possession.
Unless someone is found to possess more than an ounce of marijuana in D.C., they will now simply be written a $25 ticket and the officer will confiscate the pot, reports Melanie Eversley at USA Today. Police can no longer detain someone simply because they smell marijuana, and they can no longer demand identification from anyone carrying under an ounce.
Civil violation notices that police already handed out for littering have been changed to also include possession of marijuana, and they now list the $25 fine for pot. Possession of less than an ounce of cannabis will cost less than the fine for throwing a roach on the ground — that would get you fined $75 for littering.
In a historic vote, the U.S. House on Wednesday passed a bipartisan amendment by Representatives Denny Heck (D-WA), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) preventing the Treasury Department from spending any funding to penalize financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The amendment passed 231 to 192.
In May, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws and passed two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.
“Congress is yet again rejecting the failed war on marijuana,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “They have read the poll numbers and are doing both what is right and what is politically smart.”
Patients in Illinois who qualify under the state’s Medical Cannabis Pilot Program could be able to start legally using marijuana early next year, according to program coordinator Bob Morgan, who is a lawyer for the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“Right now, we think it’s a good time for patients to be having that conversation with their physicians and their caregivers if they have any interest in participating in the program,” Morgan said.
The powerful Joint Committee on Administrative Rules plan to meet in Chicago on Tuesday to discuss the rules to implement the state’s medical marijuana program, reports Becky Schlikerman at the Chicago Sun-Times.
Now that medical marijuana has come to Illinois, how can qualified patients get authorized to legally use it? That can be a problem when physicians willing to certify patients for the state’s Medical Cannabis Pilot Program are problematically scarce, according to a new study.
In a week-long study conducted by De Paul University students, 294 physician offices were contacted from a list provided on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s physician profile search, and asked whether or not their practitioners would be certifying patients for the medical use of marijuana in Illinois.
The offices ranged from small family practices with only one physician, to large hospitals with hundreds of physicians practicing in one field. The offices were located throughout Illinois including the counties: Cook, Kane, Will, DuPage, Kankakee, Peoria, Sangamon, Winnebago, McHenry, Effingham, Marion, Kendall and Union.
The president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) on Tuesday said that America’s marijuana laws are total failures. John Dixon III, police chief in Petersburg, Virginia, speaking at the NOBLE’s annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said law enforcement is too concerned with busting people for minor marijuana offenses.
“We, as law enforcement professionals, we need to really take a look at how we can decriminalize marijuana, especially user amounts,” Dixon said, reports Ryan Smith at MPP. “We are locking people up for a dime bag, for a joint.
“They’re put in the criminal justice system which pretty much ruins the rest of their lives,” Dixon said, adding that medical professionals should be in charge of dealing with drug use. “Why do I have to lock you up for that? What benefit am I giving you, then? We have to get out of the businesses. That should be the focus of the medical field.”
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Monday signed legislation into law that allows the use of cannabidiol oil extracted from marijuana to treat epileptic seizures that can’t be effectively treated by pharmaceuticals.
The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-St. Louis County), whose 9-year-old son has epilepsy, reports the Associated Press.
Patients and parents who want to use CBD oil will be required to register with the Missouri Department of Health, and also have a neurologist verify that the patient’s epilepsy hasn’t responded to at least three other treatments. (Why on earth would they only use the most effective and least toxic option when all the others have been exhausted?)
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said he will seek on Tuesday to shut down medical marijuana farmers market that launched in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles two weeks ago. Feuer said he will seek a restraining order blocking the operation of what he called the “so-called farmers market.”
The city attorney claimed the market violates Proposition D, the voter-approved ordinance that restricts the number of medical marijuana dispensaries allowed to operate in Los Angeles, reports KPCC. Feuer also claimed the event constitutes “a nuisance” to the residents of the neighborhood.
“It also fails, we allege, to comply with basic city land use laws,” Feuer claimed. “And they couldn’t get a permit if they tried. So for many reasons — from the violation of Prop D to the impact on the community to the failure to comply with city land use law — we allege that this isn’t a use that should be allowed to continue and we’re going to seek a court order to put a halt to it.”
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
The Straight Dope: Marketing Marijuana and Promotional Products
By Jenna Markowski
As more legal marijuana businesses open their doors, there is a growing opportunity for the marketing industry to help budding “ganjapreneurs” (all of the puns in the marijuana industry are seriously the best) get the word out about their brands. These opportunities of course include the promotional product industry. However, before we get to all of that, first let’s get all of the legal jargon out of the way.
The restrictions on advertising marijuana are very highly regulated, as is the case with other controlled substances like alcohol and tobacco. With such strict restrictions, promo products are one of the few marketing tools left available to marijuana companies.
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