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For a resolution to pass, it must be supported by a majority of participating legislators in each of 75 percent of the states represented at the conference’s general business meeting.
The preamble to the resolution, introduced by New Hampshire State Rep. Renny Cushing, notes that “states are increasingly serving as laboratories for democracy by adopting a variety of policies regarding marijuana and hemp,” and it highlights the fact that “the federal government cannot force a state to criminalize cultivating, possessing, or distributing marijuana or hemp — whether for medical, recreational, industrial, or other uses — because doing so would constitute unconstitutional commandeering.”
U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) on Thursday welcomed Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg’s acknowledgement that “heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana,” and called on the Department of Justice to reclassify or de-schedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Representative Blumenauer wrote:
“We are in the midst of a revolution to reform and modernize marijuana policy in the United States. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult use. Additionally, well over one million patients across the country now use medical marijuana at the recommendation of their physician to treat conditions ranging from seizures, glaucoma, anxiety, chronic pain and nausea. The federal government is woefully behind.
“I fully support and agree with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg’s statement on August 5, 2015, that ‘heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana.’ This statement is backed by decades of scientific evidence, and rapidly growing public support recognizing that marijuana has been treated as a highly dangerous substance for far too long.”
A statewide ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Massachusetts was filed on Wednesday with the office of state Attorney General Maura Healy. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) is behind the measure.
“Next year, voters will have the opportunity to end the failed policy of prohibition and replace it with a more sensible system,” said CRMLA director Will Luzier, a former assistant attorney general who previously served as executive director of the Massachusetts Interagency Council on Substance Abuse and Prevention. “Marijuana is significantly less harmful than alcohol, and our laws should reflect that.”
In summary, the proposed initiative would:
· allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, similar to home-brewing;
· Create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which will be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC);
· Provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of marijuana establishments in their city or town; and
· Create a 3.75 percent state excise tax on retail marijuana sales (in addition to the standard state sales tax) and allow local governments to establish an additional local sales tax of up to 2 percent. [Medical marijuana will NOT be subject to these additional taxes.]
A historic vote in medical marijuana history took place on Wednesday at the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting. The County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to repeal Ordinance 5201, the ban on cannabis cultivation, and approved appointments to a 13-member Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee.
This outcome is a result of the recent successful referendum spearheaded by Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz, with the help of Cannabis Advocates Alliance, which overturned the cannabis cultivation ban with more than 11,000 signatures.
The new 13-member panel of the Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee will work together until December 23 to create a policy framework for regulating medical cannabis in Santa Cruz County.
“The Supervisors want a committee of community members to develop recommendations that, protect our neighborhoods, protect our environment, and ensure that there is an adequate supply of medical cannabis for those that have a doctor’s recommendation,” wrote Supervisors John Leopold and Zach Friend.
Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose on Saturday ordered a crackdown on groups that illegally advertise marijuana, and repeated the Conservative Party’s promise to keep storefront dispensaries illegal on the eve of the launch of a federal election campaign.
“Today I directed Health Canada to create a task force to crack down on illegal marijuana advertising,” Ambrose said, reports Morgan Lowrie of The Canadian Press. “This task force will ensure that those who engage in such illegal activities are stopped, and should these illegal activities continue, promptly referred to law enforcement.”
Health Canada will begin actively monitoring cannabis advertising instead of acting mostly on the basis of complaints, the agency announced. Under current law, only licensed producers of marijuana are allowed to advertise basic, non-promotional information.
Health Canada said it will issue compliance letters in cases where violations are identified. The department said it will also be more active in working with businesses to make sure they are aware of the rules around advertising cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Press reports on Wednesday revealed a February 2015 memorandum from the United States Department of Justice on the Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Cannabis Amendment’s impact on federal law enforcement actions related to the Controlled Substances Act. The memorandum argues that federal prosecutions against private citizens participating in state-level medical cannabis programs would not be impacted by the amendment.
“The February 27, 2015 DOJ memo shows that they were providing either deliberately misleading statements or, at the very least, contradictory and confusing messages in their talking points in opposition to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment that was offered to protect citizen access and participation in state-level medical cannabis programs,” said Mike Liszewski, Government Affairs director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “The language of the amendment and numerous statements clarifying the intent of the bill’s sponsors make it clear that DOJ is barred from interfering with conduct that is legal under a given state’s medical marijuana law.
“DOJ’s analysis of the term ‘implementation’ is flawed in its conclusions,” Liszewski said “The Department does not directly define the term in the memo, and notably, implementation is not explicitly defined in the U.S. Code, federal case law, or even Black’s Law Dictionary.
“Because Webster’s has multiple definitions of the term, one must look to the floor debate to see which of the dictionary meaning is most appropriate,” Liszewski said. “Upon a review of the various definitions of the term and the floor debate statements from Representatives Farr, Titus, Lee, and the others, it is readily apparent that the transitive verb ‘implement,’ which means to, ‘carry out, accomplish; especially: to give practical effect to and ensure of actual fulfillment by concrete measures,’ is the only appropriate definition to apply.
A 26-year-old Georgia man was arrested Friday after police found a pound of marijuana during a traffic stop. Richard Relliford was unable to convince the cops that he was just heading home planning to salad, according to a Facebook post from the St. Mary’s Police Department.
The police Facebooked a photo of the marijuana in a sandwich bag with a message:
“Look, If we have said it once, we have said a zillion times! No matter how hard you try to convince us this green leafy stuff is salad and you’re just coming back from the store going to make a chef salad, Well Sous Chef UP! A SALAD THIS IS NOT!!!”
“Officers encountered Richard Relliford during a traffic stop, a 26 year old St. Marys resident, who had recently obtained this 1 pound bag of marijuana. He went to jail, as this is still illegal in Georgia!!!”
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
Michael Pelletier, a wheelchair bound paraplegic since the age of 11, sits in federal prison serving a sentence of life without parole for a nonviolent, victimless marijuana conspiracy offense. To listen to prosecutors and press reports at the time of trial, Pelletier was a calculating kingpin behind a multi-million dollar drug ring, living a lavish, opulent lifestyle off his ill-gotten gains. That narrative is vastly different from the reality.
It is not just Michael Pelletier’s word that the prosecution’s narrative was largely fiction; the case’s star witness admitted he lied to a federal grand jury and “exaggerated” the size and scope of Pelletier’s alleged marijuana importing business. Of course, as in all such cases, this witness and others had compelling motivation to lie, exaggerate, and implicate as many others as possible, as doing so would cut or eliminate their own prison time because they “cooperated with prosecutors.”
The sensationalistic press accounts of the trial painted Pelletier as criminal mastermind overseeing a sophisticated big scale drug operation involving cadres of ex-cons and criminal wannabes. But star witness Adam Halford admitted at Pelletier’s trial he had exaggerated the amount of marijuana being imported to the grand jury. Pelletier says the testimony was absurd: “We have a witness who admits he never learned to swim claiming to be swimming across the St. John River with amounts of cannabis he could not have even lifted.”
Pelletier says the reality is he was more of a facilitator than a distributor. He lost the use of his legs when he was run over by a tractor at age 11, and first discovered the therapeutic benefits of cannabis at age 14 for treating both the physical and psychological symptoms that remained long after that terrible accident.
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