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Pure Africa (early harvest)
Sensible Seeds, Seattle
[Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

Toke Signals Stories of the Week

U.S.: Here’s What’s In The Historic Federal Medical Marijuana Bill

(Hemp News)

The historic medical marijuana bill being introduced in the United States Senate on Tuesday — the first ever such bill ever introduced in the Senate — would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana. Beyond that, however, it would also implement a number of critical reforms that advocates have been seeking for years, according to those familiar with the legislation.

The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) act grew from an amendment proposed last year by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and is now being introduced by those two Senators along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), reports Niraj Chokshi at The Washington Post. It would reclassify cannabis, allow for limited interstate transport of it, expand access for research, make it easier for doctors to authorize veterans to use it, and make it easier for banks to provide services to the marijuana industry.

“it’s the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill in Congress,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). The DPA and other activist organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) were consulted in drafting the bill. Advocates say they are mostly pleased with what they’ve seen and heard.

 

Massachusetts: Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Legalize And Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol

(Hemp News)

Massachusetts lawmakers this week introduced a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.

H. 1561, sponsored by Rep. David Rogers (D-Belmont), Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville), and a bipartisan group of 13 co-sponsors, would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana. The bill would also establish a regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, processing facilities, and testing facilities.

“Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol to the consumer and to society, and it ought to be treated that way,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “There is a mountain of evidence demonstrating marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, less toxic, and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior.

“Adults shouldn’t be punished for making the safer choice,” Simon said.

 

U.S.: Study Finds Uneven Pesticide Restrictions On Growing Legal Marijuana

(Hemp News)

A study released on Wednesday of the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana either for medical or recreational use finds a patchwork of state laws and evolving policy that define allowed pesticide use and management practices in cannabis production. This variety of state law is occurring in the absence of federal registration of pesticide use for cannabis production because of its classification as a narcotic under federal law.

The investigation, “Pesticide Use in Marijuana Production: Safety Issues and Sustainable Options,” evaluates the state laws governing pesticide use in cannabis production where it is legalized.

“The use of pesticides in the cultivation of cannabis has health implications for those growing the crop, and for users who are exposed to toxic residues through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “The good news is that five states and DC have adopted rules that require marijuana to be grown with practices that prevent the use of pesticides.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture, where recreational marijuana is legal, has compiled a list of 271 allowed pesticides for cannabis production. Among these pesticides is at least one material — sodium lauryl sulfate — that is not exempt from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerance.

Washington state also allows the synthetic piperonyl butoxide (PBO), which has been linked to numerous adverse human health effects, including cancer, neurotoxicity, and adverse effects on liver function, according to the report. Ironically, the state requires no testing for levels of these “allowable” pesticides, and in fact recommends that medical marijuana patients buy their supplies at state-licensed recreational I-502 stores because their cannabis is supposedly “safer” than what they’d find in medical marijuana dispensaries.

 

Illinois: Chicago Police Used Marijuana To Disappear Young People

(Hemp News)

Marc Freeman disappeared inside Chicago’s Homan Square police warehouse for hours last year, but you wouldn’t know that from his arrest report. His time in custody wasn’t logged on the books until he appeared at another police station, seven hours after his arrest — and his case isn’t unique.

Chicago Police arrested Freeman at 3:35 p.m. on October 22, 2014, for possession of about two pounds of cannabis, report Spencer Ackerman and Zach Stafford at The Guardian. The police report states that Freeman was “transported to Homan for further processing,” but it specifies nothing about his time at the secretive police compound, other than an official arrival time at 4:10 p.m., then a note that he arrived at nearby District 11 lockup at 10:32 p.m.

Freeman was lost to the outside world during the intervening hours, denied any phone calls, attorney visits or records of where he was by the police who held him captive. Shackled inside Homan Square, Freeman was neither booked nor processed at the secretive facility some have compared to the domestic equivalent of a CIA “black site.”

 

New Hampshire: House Approves Removing Criminal Penalties For Marijuana Possession

(Hemp News)

The New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill 297-67 that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure will now be considered in the Senate.

“We’re pleased to see such strong legislative support for this important legislation,” said Matt Simon, Goffstown-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “We hope the Senate will agree with their colleagues in the House and the vast majority of state voters that it’s time to stop criminalizing people for simple marijuana possession.”

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third or subsequent offenses. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

 

Alabama: Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Both House, Senate Sponsors

(Hemp News)

For the first time ever, the Alabama Medical Marijuana Safe Access Act will be sponsored in both houses of the Alabama Legislature. The companion bills are expected to be filed in the Alabama Senate and House on Tuesday, March 17.

Senator Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and Representative John Rogers (D-Birmingham) have agreed to sponsor the bill in the 2015 legislative session, according to Ron Crumpton of the Alabama Safe Access Project (ASAP).

“ASAP would like to thank both Rep. Rogers and Sen. Singleton for their willingness to lead Alabama towards a future where patients receive the best in medical care,” Crumpton told Hemp News Wednesday afternoon.

 

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Legislation Expected On Governor’s Desk This Year

(Hemp News)

Both advocates and critics expect a medical marijuana bill to reach Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s desk this year.

The first hearing on medical legalization was held in February in Harrisburg, and the next one is scheduled for March 24 in Philadelphia, reports Kris B. Mamula at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Dr. Bruce MacLeod said he was booed for the first time in his career at last month’s hearing after he advocated a cautious approach to medical marijuana. “We don’t know the long-term effects of these medications and we’re not sure of the dose,” said MacLeod, who really should inform himself about cannabis before speaking publicly on the subject again.

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