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Jeff Mizanskey walked out of prison Tuesday morning a free man after spending 21 years behind bars because of a minor, nonviolent marijuana offense. Mizanskey walked into the arms of more than a dozen family, friends and supporters, including his son, who had fought for years for his dad’s release from prison.
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” Mizanskey said. “Now it’s time to free the other victims of the war on drugs.”
The 61-year-old became a symbol of the failed War On Drugs. His campaign for clemency attracted 391,254 Change.org petition signatures, a plea from the prosecutor who put him away, a bill proposed by Missouri Rep. Shamed Dogan, a letter for clemency from 126 Missouri lawmakers, billboards in prominent locations, including the state capitol of Jefferson City, a documentary about his plight, a commuted sentence from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and a successful review from the parole board.
“He saw rapists, murderers and child molesters get out of prison while he was sentenced to die behind bars for something that should not be a crime to begin with,” said his lawyer, Dan Viets. “Jeff’s case is an example of the extremely harsh drug laws which have failed to reduce marijuana use but have wasted vast amounts of public money in the effort to enforce marijuana prohibition, disrupting the lives of good people who do not deserve to be treated like criminals.”
Denver health officials on Tuesday started inspecting and quarantining hundreds of cannabis products because their labels listed pesticides not approved by the state for use on marijuana.
The city’s move came about six months after officials had quarantined 100,000 plants at 11 grow facilities due to concerns about pesticide use, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.
No safety standards exist for pesticide use on marijuana. Since cannabis is illegal under federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates pesticides, has never established any limits.
However, since marijuana is legal in Colorado, the state Department of Agriculture there has created a listed of allowed pesticides, as has its counterpart in Washington state, where recreational pot is also legal.
A proposal that could this November make Ohio the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana is drawing some unusual opposition — and it’s coming from residents who support legalizing marijuana, reports Lewis Wallace at NPR.
Lots of liberals and old hippies don’t like the monopoly aspect of the referendum. Samantha Van Ness, 25, said that while she’s all for legalizing cannabis, she’s dead set against the amendment that will be on November’s ballot.
“I would rather take the minor misdemeanor fine than let someone have such a massive monopoly in my state,” she said. And that’s reflected statewide among many who have problems with the initiative and with the group, ResponsibleOhio, that’s pushing it.
The Canada Revenue Agency has officially confirmed that medical marijuana to be purchased by an individual patient from a licensed producer under Health Canada’s Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) is an allowable medical expense under the Income Tax Act.
The Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA) on Tuesday announced it has received a letter from the CRA, dated August 24, confirming that registered patients under the MMPR who receive a prescription (authorization) for medical cannabis from a physician, and purchase cannabis from a licensed producer, may claim the cost of their marijuana as an allowable medical expense on their income tax.
Specifically, the letter notes that while amendments to the Income Tax Act have yet to be introduced to recognize the MMPR, “[T]he CRA will not disallow eligible medical expenses claimed for the purchase of medical marihuana allowable under these new regulations.”
Allowable medical expenses under the Income Tax Act currently include prescription medicines lawfully acquired for use by an individual, when prescribed by a medical practitioner. Non-prescription or over-the-counter drugs cannot be claimed, even when recommended by a physician.
A proposed initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Massachusetts moved another step closer to the 2016 ballot Wednesday when the state Attorney General’s office certified the petition in support of the measure.
The attorney general is required to review all initiative petitions to ensure they meet certain constitutional requirements and must prepare a “fair, concise summary of the proposed law” to appear on petitions and the ballot.
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) will now file the petition with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, which has 14 days to sign off on it, at which point the campaign will begin its signature drive.
“Massachusetts is another step closer to ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a more sensible policy,” said CRMLA campaign manager Will Luzier. “We’re already finding a lot of support and enthusiasm among voters. People are fed up with laws that punish adults simply for consuming a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol.”
Nine of the state’s 10 largest cities have already decriminalized simple cannabis possession, a Gannett Central Wisconsin Media review reveals, reports the Associated Press. Madison and Milwaukee were among the first cities in Wisconsin to relax their pot laws.
Stevens Point is the latest municipality in the state to adopt and then modify a new marijuana ordinance. Last month, the city reduced the fine for first-time pot possession to $100.
Under Wisconsin law, people caught with small amounts of weed can be charged with a misdemeanor crime, punishable by jail time and a permanent criminal record. With some cities in the state now enforcing lesser penalties, those “suspects” can now face anything from up to six months in jail, to no jail time or fine at all.
Uruguay isn’t just defending its own national sovereignty regarding its legalization of marijuana. The small South American country is now recommending that the rest of the world adopt its policies as an alternative to the War On Drugs.
The Drug War creates a “diversion of focus,” according to Andres Roballo, president of the National Drug Board, making it necessary to switch to a “sophisticated” way of regulating cannabis, rather than prohibiting it, reports El Diario.
Roballo made the remarks during an international seminar on “New Approaches in Drug Policy in the 21st Century.” Lawmakers from Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay discussed a “paradigm shift” when it comes to the prohibition and legalization of drugs.
For now, domestic growers responsible to providing the substance for registered users through the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA) are the only ones who have profited from legalization. About 3,000 growers are operating nationwide, according to officials.