In D.C., Medical Marijuana Is All About Location, Location, Location

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  As medical marijuana slowly draws near to becoming a reality in Washington, D.C., much has been made of the fact that licensed pot dealers will soon be opening their doors in the shadows of the White House and under the noses of the Justice Department and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Questions abound: Will the feds raid the dispensaries? Can licensed patients be hauled off to federal prison? Will President Obama’s next race summit be around a bowl of Afghan Kush?

While the talk has largely centered around how and where this very restricted form of legalized weed will be made available to a narrow class of patients, the focus in one corner of town is on where the marijuana soon to be lining dispensary shelves is going to be grown. [Read more…]

State faces the latest twist in pot law: concentrates

WASHINGTON: State regulators are trying to figure out how to regulate potent marijuana concentrates, such as hash oil. Dangerous amateur production, the use of solvents, and the practice of “dabbing” are among their concerns.

By Bob Young

Aurelio Romero Jr. uses a metal rod to apply a dab of hash oil to part of a bong that’s been turned red-hot by a blowtorch.

Romero, 31, inhales a cloud of superpotent vapor that fills the pipe.

“It only takes a dab the size of a rice grain to have the same effect as smoking two or three bowls” of dried marijuana, Romero explained at last month’s Concentrates Cup, a hash-oil seminar and competition in Black Diamond.

The increasingly popular practice is called dabbing. “This is America’s insanely baked future,” Rolling Stone declared in its recent Weed Issue. [Read more…]

Oregon Governor Signs Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bills Into Law

OREGON: Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) Monday signed into law two measures that will reduce the punishments for certain marijuana-related offenses. The changes go into effect immediately.

The first, Senate Bill 40, lowers the penalties for possession of more than an ounce of pot. Under the old laws, possession of more than four ounces was a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. Similarly, possession of between one and four ounces was a Class B felony; now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months.

It also reclassifies offenses involving the possession of less than 1/4 ounce of hashish from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor.

SB 40 also reduces the penalties for marijuana cultivation. Unlawful manufacture was a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; now, it becomes a Class B felony dropping the maximum sentence by half. [Read more…]

Oregon Governor Signs Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bills Into Law

OREGON: Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) Monday signed into law two measures that will reduce the punishments for certain marijuana-related offenses. The changes go into effect immediately.

The first, Senate Bill 40, lowers the penalties for possession of more than an ounce of pot. Under the old laws, possession of more than four ounces was a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. Similarly, possession of between one and four ounces was a Class B felony; now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months.

It also reclassifies offenses involving the possession of less than 1/4 ounce of hashish from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor.

SB 40 also reduces the penalties for marijuana cultivation. Unlawful manufacture was a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; now, it becomes a Class B felony dropping the maximum sentence by half. [Read more…]

New Petition Legalizing Medicinal Marijuana Filed in Florida

By Nick Evans

FLORIDA: A group pushing for medical marijuana legalization filed a petition with the state of Florida this week.

According to Florida’s Perscription Drug Monitoring program, nearly a quarter billion doses of prescription pain relievers were dispensed in 2012.  These medications include opioids ranging from the powerful – think Oxycontin – to its relatively milder cousins like Vicodin and Talwin.  As Florida’s population ages, demands for these pain relievers will likely climb as well.  Ben Pollara, spokesman for People United for Medical Marijuana, wants Florida residents managing pain to have marijuana as an option.

“Because it can help people who are suffering, I mean it’s really as simple as that.  We get dozens of emails every single day from people who say I’ve been prescribed huge prescriptions for percoset and oxycontin and all these dangerous opiates, and they don’t work nearly as well as a fairly small quantity of marijuana,” Pollara said.

But Calvina Fay, Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Drug Free America Foundation, thinks the matter is simple, too: [Read more…]

Poll: War on marijuana not worth the cost

A Suffolk University’s poll taken June 24 included more than just questions about Markey and Gomez. There was also a question about the drug war, and specifically the war on marijuana..

MASSACHUSETTS: This writer believes that once our not-so-brave politicians explain the war on drugs’ true cost, the American people will scream for a cease-fire. We should then treat drugs as a health problem, not as a matter for the criminal justice system.

Even Thomas Jefferson said, “‎Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”  And Conservative William F. Buckley said, “Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.” [Read more…]

Oregon: Mandatory Minimums Repealed For Drug Offenses; Probation Expanded For Marijuana

By Steve Elliott, Hemp News

OREGON: The Oregon Legislature has passed a broad criminal justice bill, HB 3194, that is projected to avert all of the state’s anticipated prison growth over the next decade. The bill repeals mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses, and expands the use of presumptive probation in marijuana offenses.

The Oregon House passed the measure last Wednesday by a vote of 40-18; the Oregon Senate approved it 19-11 on Monday.

Without action by the Legislature, Oregon’s prison population was projected to grow by 2,000 inmates in the next 10 years. This growth, fueled mostly by nonviolent drug offenses, would have cost taxpayers an additional $600 million.

In order to get Oregon a better return on its public safety dollars, state officials launched a bipartisan working group to analyze sentencing and corrections trends and to generate policy recommendations for the Legislature. The Oregon Commission on Public Safety used state-level data, the growing body of national research about what works in corrections, and meetings with criminal justice experts to develop the policy options that served as a foundation for HB 3194. [Read more…]

Oregon: Mandatory Minimums Repealed For Drug Offenses; Probation Expanded For Marijuana

By Steve Elliott, Hemp News

OREGON: The Oregon Legislature has passed a broad criminal justice bill, HB 3194, that is projected to avert all of the state’s anticipated prison growth over the next decade. The bill repeals mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses, and expands the use of presumptive probation in marijuana offenses.

The Oregon House passed the measure last Wednesday by a vote of 40-18; the Oregon Senate approved it 19-11 on Monday.

Without action by the Legislature, Oregon’s prison population was projected to grow by 2,000 inmates in the next 10 years. This growth, fueled mostly by nonviolent drug offenses, would have cost taxpayers an additional $600 million.

In order to get Oregon a better return on its public safety dollars, state officials launched a bipartisan working group to analyze sentencing and corrections trends and to generate policy recommendations for the Legislature. The Oregon Commission on Public Safety used state-level data, the growing body of national research about what works in corrections, and meetings with criminal justice experts to develop the policy options that served as a foundation for HB 3194. [Read more…]