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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Find out what you need to know about the week in cannabis/marijuana news, in just 20 minutes!

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Happy sativa garden, somewhere in the Philippines [Reader Submitted]
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Happy sativa garden, somewhere in the Philippines
[Reader Submitted]

Toke Signals Stories of the Week

Washington: Marijuana Retailers Hope Harvest Will Lower Prices, Combat Black Market

(Hemp News)

With licensed producers of marijuana bringing in autumn’s outdoor harvest, retailers who own the recreational cannabis stores created by limited legalization measure I-502 are hoping to lower prices enough to diminish the black market — which was one of the main justifications for the law passed by state voters two years ago.

But the most that store owners like Mary Van de Graaf, owner of Mill Creek A, one of two licensed marijuana shops in Union Gap, can hope for is making a bit of a dent. “We’ll slow it down, yeah,” Van de Graaf said, reports Ross Courtney of the Yakima Herald-Republic.

So far, even I-502 store owners like Van de Graaf have to admit that legalizing recreational marijuana has done almost nothing to combat black market street sales, where dealers don’t pay taxes or check the ages of their customers.

 

California: Study Refutes Claims of Widespread Abuse in Medical Marijuana Program

(Hemp News)

A new landmark study published last week by the peer-reviewed journal Drug and Alcohol Review refutes the long-held belief that abuse of California’s medical marijuana law is widespread. The study, “Prevalence of medical marijuana use in California, 2012,” is the first time anyone has formally measured such data in the state according to its authors Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, Marta Induni, and Danielle Ewing of the Survey Research Group at Public Health Institute in Sacramento.

The report found that as much as 92 percent of participants reported that “medical marijuana helped alleviate symptoms or treat a serious medical condition.” Researchers said that “To get that kind of agreement on anything is pretty astounding.”

The report also found that one-in-20 California adults — roughly 1.4 million people — reported using medical marijuana to treat serious illness, and that such use spanned all ages, genders, races, and geographical regions.

 

Maryland: Marijuana Decriminalization Bill To Take Effect Wednesday

(Hemp News)

Legislation adopted this year to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession in Maryland will go into effect on Wednesday, October 1.

Maryland joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia that have decriminalized or legalized marijuana possession. In addition, Missouri passed a similar bill this year, which will make it the 19th state to do so when it goes into effect.

Senate Bill 364 makes possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100 for a first offense, up to $250 for a second offense, and up to $500 for subsequent offenses. Third-time offenders and individuals under 21 years of age will be required to undergo a clinical assessment for substance abuse disorder and a drug education program.

 

Philadelphia Mayor Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Into Law

(Hemp News)

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Wednesday signed a bill into law that replaces criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket.After stalling for much of the summer, the mayor agreed to sign a compromise bill approved on September 18 by the Philadelphia City Council. The new ordinance will take effect on October 20.The initial version of the bill approved by the council on June 19 makes possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. Following negotiations between Mayor Nutter and members of the council, the bill was amended to include a $100 fine for public consumption.


Maine: Men Dressed As Law Enforcement Steal Medical Marijuana Plants

(Hemp News)

Police are pursuing numerous leads in the case of three men impersonating law enforcement officers, two dressed in black SWAT team gear and one wearing a sheriff’s office uniform and armed with a handgun, who robbed the medical marijuana garden of a local patient.

“We have two very good leads on the identity of two of the suspects and a possible lead on the identity of the third,” said Lt. Aaron Hayden of the Maine State Police on Thursday morning, reports Nok-Noi Ricker at the Bangor Daily News.

The detail Lt. Hayden would release about the three suspects is that they are from Maine. Hayden said on Tuesday that the landowner is a legal medical marijuana patient.

 

New Mexico: Credit Unions To Close Medical Marijuana Licensed Producer Bank Accounts

(Hemp News)

Eight months after the federal Department of Justice and Treasury Department announced new guidelines allowing banks to work with marijuana businesses, some of the credit unions in New Mexico sent letters to almost half of the State’s licensed medical marijuana producers saying they will no longer accept their business and proceeded with closing their accounts.

The credit unions claim that they are unable to comply with federal guidelines for servicing the accounts. This move leaves producers in the lurch, with either having to operate on a cash-only basis or scramble to find another financial institution willing to take their business.

In February, the Obama Administration announced new guidelines that will allow banks to legally provide financial services to state-licensed marijuana businesses. Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use; two of those states (Colorado and Washington) recently legalized marijuana like alcohol.

 

Washington: Spokane Considers Testing Sewage To Measure Marijuana Use

(Hemp News)

Alison Holcomb trusts poop more than people. The author of Washington state’s recreational marijuana law has suggested that the city of Spokane test its sewage for traces of cannabis in order to more accurately measure use by residents.

Holcomb, a lawyer with the ACLU, proposed the idea at a Tuesday meeting of the Spokane City Council’s marijuana policy subcommittee, reports the Associated Press.

About 50 city leaders and residents make up the subcomittee, which attempts to deal with what cannabis legalization means for Spokane, a city of about 210,000, reports Jessica Glenza at The Guardian.

 

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