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In yet another huge victory for marijuana reform, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved an amendment to prevent the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. The vote was 20 – 10.
The amendment, offered by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) to the Senate version of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, prohibits the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state laws that allow the cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana for medical purposes.
It mirrors the amendment sponsored by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) that was approved 242-186 last week in the House of Representatives. Passage of identical amendments in the House and Senate typically indicates it will be included in the final spending bill Congress sends to President Obama.
Medicinal cannabis patients will now be able to legally consume marijuana, not just smoke it, reports the BBC.
Cannabis oil is now legally allowed instead of only dried marijuana flowers, making it easier to infuse food products.
The right at stake was described by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association as the right to personal autonomy in medical decision-making – no matter what medical science may say about the wisdom of the decision, reports Sean Fine at The Globe and Mail.
By Mike Bifari
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Santiago, Chile on Sunday to ask for a new law that allows the self-cultivation of marijuana and a change in the drug law in Chile. Estimates of 400,000 marchers are agreed on, but the number of people in Sunday’s March range from 250,000 to 500,000, making it the largest pro-cannabis demonstration in history.
The demonstrators marched through the main streets of the Chilean capital to apply for a new drug policy and regulation of cannabis in March ’11 Grow Your Rights’ organized by Movimental, a civic association working with new drug law policies.
Movimental said that in recent years “the demand for a new drug policy and a new regulation on Cannabis, has achieved a remarkable and majority social legitimacy”, which is reflected in the massive participation in the call on Sunday.
Families with children and people of all ages gathered at noon in a peaceful demonstration to demand, he said one of the participants told The Associated Press, “for the freedom of every person, it is a plant, like all others, such as tomatoes, such as avocado. It is a plant, there is nothing illegal, plant something natural.”
The rotund Republican, speaking on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” said his administration would use federal law outlawing marijuana to crack down on states that have legalized recreational cannabis use, reports Matt Arco of NJ Advance Media.
“Yes sir,” Christie replied to host John Dickerson when asked if he’d go after Colorado and Washington for legalized marijuana.
“If you were President would you return the federal prosecutions in the states of Colorado, Washington state?” Dickerson asked. “Yes,” Christie answered.
The petitions are from the Michigan Cannabis Coalition (MCC) and the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee (MCCLRC), reports Jonathan Oosting at MLive.com. Both can immediately begin circulating petitions, attempting to collect the 252,523 signatures required to qualify for the 2016 ballot.
MCCLRC, a group led by cannabis activists and attorneys, faced some criticism for canvassers for squeezing the proposed initiative language onto the back of a single petition sheet, which some said made it difficult to read.
After the District of Columbia’s voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana, Republicans in Congress flirted with the idea of limiting D.C.’s ability to implement the law, although it was ultimately put into place. Now they’re taking another try at blocking legalization: The GOP-controlled House on Thursday advanced a budget resolution saying cannabis can’t be sold for two more years in D.C.
The House budget resolution seeks to delay implementation of the measure approved by D.C. voters, reports Clark Mindock at International Business Times.
Voters approved cannabis legalization last November; under the law, residents can grow and possess marijuana, but can’t smoke it in public.
Advocates for legal pot said the fact that an outright ban did not appear to be an early budget priority added to other signs that a GOP-controlled Congress may be softening its opposition to marijuana, reports Aaron C. Davis at The Washington Post.
“This is a ridiculous waste of precious federal resources, especially when multiple states and jurisdictions have already legalized marijuana,” Lieu said in a statement on Wednesday, reports Fox News. “It is time for the federal government to stop making marijuana use or possession a federal crime.”
Lieu’s proposed amendment to a 2016 fiscal spending bill would cut in half the DEA’s $18 million budget for eradicating cannabis grows, according to the report.
The $9 million in savings would fund domestic and sexual abuse support programs for children, reports Mark Hensch at The Hill.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
Though lies and propaganda were used by the Liquor Control Board and 502 profiteer lobbyists to succeed this legislative session, one thing is clear — the community is united to save the voter approved medical cannabis. Their response is happening in three ways.
(2) R-76, a referendum filed on sections of SB 5052 for the November ballot gathering signatures for a July 23, 5 pm deadline.
(3) An injunction being filed for July 24 (when many other sections of SB 5052 are scheduled to be implemented).
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