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U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and five Republican co-sponsors on Tuesday introduced legislation in Congress that would modify the federal Controlled Substances Act so that anyone acting in compliance with a state marijuana law would be immune from federal prosecution.
The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015 would apply to all marijuana-related activities, medical and non-medical, in the states in which they are authorized.
Republican co-sponsors of the re-introduced 2015 bill include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock, and Don Young (R-AK). Democratic co-sponsors include Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).
The U.S. Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed the nomination of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General in a 56-43 vote. The results of the vote have been highly anticipated, as significant partisan bickering had stalled her appointment for months.
Lynch is the first African-American woman to hold the office of Attorney General, the nation’s top law enforcement position and head of the Department of Justice. Her statements made in the Senatorial confirmation hearing indicate she intends to follow Holder’s legacy of prioritizing civil rights.
Criminal justice experts hope this means she will continue and expand the drug policy reforms enacted by her predecessor.
Prospective candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination continued their baffling verbal assault on cannabis this week, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio joined Chris Christie in pledging a federal crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana.
Asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if he would “enforce the federal drug laws and shut down the marijuana trade,” Rubio answered: “I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws. Now do states have a right to do what they want? They don’t agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don’t have a right to write federal policy as well…
“I don’t believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you’re sending a message to young people is it can’t be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be legal,” said Rubio, revealing his distressingly murky thought process around the subject.
The OSP wants the money for 2015-20176 to pay for 11 full-time troopers and detectives to go after pot, reports Aaron Mesh at Willamette Week.
Since that’s in addition to the $1.3 million the state police already requested for a legal marijuana enforcement budget earlier this year, one can’t help asking oneself, where are the savings in marijuana enforcement that supposedly come with “legalization”?
The state police have declined comment.
The bill, which would allow cannabis use for those with qualifying medical conditions, will likely face two more hurdles in early May, reports Tim Marcin at the International Business Times.
A bipartisan committee passed Senate Bill 3, proposed by Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach and Republican Sen. Mike Folmer, on a 10-0 vote, moving it on to the Senate Appropriations Committee, reports Tony Romeo at KYW Newsradio.
If it passes through that committee, the bill would move to the Senate floor, both of which should happen in early May, according to Sen. Leach.
The group ResponsibleOhio claims it is more than halfway towards its goal of getting marijuana legalization on the state ballot. But advocates trying to put a rival initiative on the November 5 ballot have accused founders of the well-financed ResponsibleOhio of sabotaging its smaller, weaker competitor last year before launching its own effort.
“We have over 160,000 signatures,” said Ian James of ResponsibleOhio, reports Elizabeth Faugl at ABC 6. “By the end of this week, we’ll have over 200,000. We are shooting for over 700,000 signatures.”
But in an April 14 complaint to the Ohio Elections Commission, Ohio Rights Group said the people who went on to create ResponsibleOnhio infiltrated the ORG to get information and talk potential donors out of making contributions, reports Anne Saker at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The complaint accuses Ian James and David Bruno of promising help to ORG then using the knowledge gained to form their own group.
According to the complaint, Bruno used his childhood friendship with ORG Executive Director John Pardee to gain knowledge, an
Medical marijuana may have been passed by an Alabama Senate committee this week, but a powerful politician quickly blocked the way for further progress, declaring the state is “not ready” for such legislation. The full membership of the Senate won’t even get the chance to debate the bill unless he changes his mind.
Sen. Jabo Waggoner, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, displayed the arrogance of power in disregarding both the Senate Judiciary Committee, which on Wednesday approved the bill on a 4-3 vote, and popular opinion in the state.
“It is bad legislation,” Waggoner said, ignoring both the scientific evidence of marijuana’s medical effectiveness and the wishes of his own constituents. “We don’t need that in Alabama.”
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