Don’t forget to subscribe to the Toke TV channel on YouTube.
Toke Signals Bud Pick of the Week
Toke Signals Stories of the Week
Juan Andrés Roballo, the president of Uruguay’s National Drug Board (JND), announced on Thursday that he will present a report before the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights defending the country’s legalization and regulation of the cannabis market, reports PanAm Post.
Roballo said he will urge the U.N. to discuss legalization “without taboos,” reports El Pais.
“Uruguay has embarked on a different path,” Roballo said. “Not only have we made proposals; we have also taken effective, concrete measures in a different sense.”
Roballo added that the whole world is watching Uruguay, and emphasized the “special commitment” the country has to run a successful legalization process.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday signed H.B. 3400, an omnibus bill to implement Measure 91, the marijuana legalization initiative adopted by voters last November. The bill was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.
Measure 91 legalized possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older and regulated commercial production, manufacturing, and retail sales of marijuana. Legalization for personal use took effect July 1, 2015.
As of that date adults 21 and older can legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside the home. They may also grow up to four plants at home, as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure for commercial retail sales will not be up and running until next year.
In addition to addressing the implementation of Measure 91, H.B. 3400 contains broad sentencing reform provisions that extend well beyond the elimination of criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and cultivation of up to four plants. The new law reduces most marijuana felonies to misdemeanors or lesser felonies with significantly reduced sentences.
Minnesota’s first medical marijuana dispensary (called a “patient center” in their scheme of things) is scheduled to open in Minneapolis Wednesday. Minnesota Medical Solutions is scheduled to open its doors to patients at 12:01 a.m. CDT.
“This is a great day for suffering patients who have been waiting a long time to have access to this medicine,” said Patrick McClellan of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, a Bloomington man with a rare form of muscular dystrophy who will be among the first patients served on Wednesday. “We are grateful that the Department of Health stepped up and implemented this law promptly.
“Patients in some states have had to wait years between their laws passing and medical marijuana finally becoming accessible,” McClellan said.
Minnesota’s medical marijuana law authorizes eight marijuana patient distribution centers throughout the state, and patients must comply with strict requirements in order to visit them. Their doctor must certify that they have one of nine specific medical conditions, which include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, severe muscle spasms, seizures, Crohn’s Disease, and glaucoma.
The Pennsylvania State House Health Committee on Friday voted unanimously to approve SB 3, which would allow seriously ill Pennsylvanians to access medical marijuana with recommendations from their doctors. The bill will now go to the House Rules Committee for further consideration.
The vote follows the filing of a discharge petition by Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Ridley Park) that would have removed SB 3 from the Health Committee where it had stalled and put it before the full House for a vote.
“While it is a relief that SB 3 is no longer stalled in the Health Committee, it is imperative that it promptly moves to the floor,” said Dr. Jeffrey Fogel, a retired pediatrician who has a debilitating neurologic condition causing bouts of extreme pain. “It’s been over eight months since the Senate first passed a medical cannabis bill. Pennsylvanians have needlessly suffered for far too long. We need relief now.”
“I want to be thrilled by Baker’s shocking reversal to move this bill out of his committee today, but after such fierce opposition to this bill I have to wonder if this is just another stall tactic being used to prevent us from getting medicine to our loved ones,” said Lolly Bentch, member of Campaign 4 Compassion, whose daughter has intractable epilepsy.
A bill simplifying the tax scheme for marijuana was signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday. HB 2136, which the Legislature approved last week, also significantly loosens the rules on buffer zones that have kept recreational I-502 marijuana shops away from many dense commercial areas.
As originally approved by voters, I-502 taxed recreational marijuana at three tiers: producers (growers), processors (curing), and retail. Under the new scheme, the three-level tax system has been collapsed into one 37 percent point-of sale tax, reports Bryan Cohen at Capitol Hill Seattle. According to Ian Eisenberg, proprietor of Capitol Hill recreational marijuana shop Uncle Ike’s, his customers won’t see much of a change in pricing due at 37 percent tax.
I-502 originally stated recreational marijuana stores can’t be located within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, and other public gathering places. Localities could soon have the power to bring that buffer down to 100 feet under HB 2136
The 1,000-foot buffer greatly restricted permitted locations for marijuana retail; it was written as an attempt to placate federal officials, who have released guidelines under which the Obama Administration won’t go after state-legal pot shops, including just such a buffer zone. There are specific penalties for selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of schools under federal sentencing guidelines.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Tuesday signed legislation to reform the state’s severely punitive marijuana laws and reduce criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession. The law is expected to save the state up to $17 million and will reduce the chances of Louisianans caught with small amounts of marijuana ending up with lengthy jail or prison sentences or saddled with a criminal conviction.
“Louisiana’s overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at Drug Policy Action, the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It’s a relief to see that smart policymakers are starting to recognize this political reality.”
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last twenty years and is nearly five times higher than Iran’s, 13 times higher than China’s and 20 times higher than Germany’s.
One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.
Hemp Public Relations on Tuesday announced that they are refusing all multi-million dollar offers to provide their expertise to Governor Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. For good measure, Hemp Public Relations has issued a lifetime ban on Christie for all company events.
“Governor Christie has publicly said as president, he would “crack down” on states that have ended prohibitions on marijuana,” said Ryan McCormick, cofounder of Hemp Public Relations. “We feel that anyone who would threaten to subvert the will of the people and claim that their own personal ideology trumps that of the people is an affront to the very foundation of America.
“For this reason, Hemp Public Relations will refuse to work or assist the Christie campaign in any capacity for any amount of money,” McCormick said.
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
By Cheri Sicard
“I have decided to fight the federal government, because for me not defending the things that I know are right is dishonorable. It is the power of the people to control this government that is supposed to protect us. If we shun this struggle, this government will control us instead of protecting us. Every citizen has a responsibility to fight for what is right, even if it seems like the struggle will be lost.”
Former United States Marine, Christopher Williams wrote those words to explain why he went to trial rather than take a plea bargain or deal, like everyone else involved in his marijuana case did.
Williams and partners operated one of Montana’s largest medical marijuana dispensaries in strict compliance with Montana state medical marijuana laws. Nonetheless, 2011 saw federal authorities launch an all-out assault on the state’s medical marijuana program.