Marijuana Activists Rally In West Chester

PENNSYLVANIA:  Marijuana activists rallied in West Chester to advocate for cannabis reform, on the corner of High and Market street.

“What we’re here to do is talk about all aspects of cannabis reform in the state,” said Les Stark. Stark was one of the rally’s organizers, and the executive director of the Keystone Cannabis Coalition.

“We want a legal regulated market. We think the farmers of Chester County should be growing hemp. Peoples’ lives are being ruined and destroyed, we think it is wrong to continue to arrest and imprison for marijuana offences,” stated Stark.

Several activists smoked some marijuana at the rally.

How Texas Became A New Front In Marijuana Legalization Fight

TEXAS:  Shortly before 10 p.m. on a Wednesday in April, Tammy Castro was describing the heartbreaking story of her son’s losing battle against drug abuse. The crowded Capitol conference room, packed with marijuana-rights activists, fell silent.

Marijuana started her son on a downward spiral to his death, Castro said, holding back tears. “If you pass this bill, you are sentencing more youth to certain death.”

Castro was testifying against House Bill 2165, which would completely legalize adult use of marijuana in Texas. States like Colorado and Washington that have legalized recreational pot have created detailed structures for regulating the plant. Simpson’s approach was far more radical; he would strike any mention of marijuana from state law—no limits on the amount you could possess, no dispensaries, no state regulation.

The measure got further through the legislative process than many thought possible, progress that proponents say is a harbinger of some kind of legal pot in the not-so-distant future. With some Republicans reconsidering their opposition to marijuana, the Texas Legislature became an unexpected front in the fight to legalize it.


Thousands To Begin 4/20 Pot Celebrations In Colorado

COLORADO:  Thousands of tourists and marijuana activists are getting an early start celebrating the unofficial stoner holiday of 4/20.

Concerts, rallies and festivals are planned through the weekend. Among the biggest is a public festival and concert in downtown Denver’s Civic Center Park. And just north of downtown this weekend is the High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup, a celebration of the drug.

Police are reminding celebrators that Colorado doesn’t allow public consumption of the drug. But the law is widely flouted, especially around the 4/20 celebrations.

The celebrations continue Sunday and Monday. The origins of the number 420 as a code for marijuana are murky. But fans of the drug have long marked April 20 as a day to enjoy pot and call for increased legal access to the drug.

Colorado Judge Will Not Strike Down ‘Self-Incriminating’ Marijuana Taxes

COLORADO:  A Colorado judge ruled Friday that consumers and sellers of recreational pot must continue to pay taxes, even if it puts them at risk of federal prosecution.

A group of marijuana activists had filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that pot taxes violated consumers’ and businesses’ Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

The activists’ attorney, Rob Corry, warned that those who pay the taxes are essentially acknowledging that they have violated federal law.

Denver District Court Judge John Madden ruled that the activists did not present a clear enough case to strike down the taxes. None of the plaintiffs owned businesses or could point to consumers who had faced federal prosecution.


Cannabis Mom: 8 Things You’re Getting Wrong About Parents Who Use Pot

COLORADO:  It is now legal to buy marijuana for recreational use both in Colorado, and as of this week, Washington State. Diane Fornbacher, a long-time cannabis activist and mom of two boys, 11 and 5, would like to clear up some common misconceptions about parenting and using pot. 

1. No, I don’t deal weed out of my house.
I live in Colorado, where I can safely and legally purchase cannabis as a responsible, tax-paying citizen in a safe environment at a licensed facility that has a security team, checks my identification to see if I am an adult, and tests their cannabis for quality, molds and pesticides. The taxes from my purchases go to our state’s schools to improve education. That makes me a happy, conscientious customer.

2. No, I won’t sell you weed at school when we’re picking up our kids.
Some joker saw me on the news and thought it was amusing to ask me, loudly, the next day at the elementary school during pickup, if he could get some marijuana. Not funny. While some activists are parents who have dispensaries and do sell it legally, I am not one of them and I most certainly would not even think about doing that at a school. Time and place, buddy.


Marijuana Industry Delegation’s Pitch On Legalized Pot: It’s Just Good Business

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The delegation from the National Cannabis Industry Association made a point of dressing well for its day on Capitol Hill, sporting mostly dark suits, lots of ties and plenty of the group’s signature lapel pins, which feature a sun rising over vibrant fields of marijuana.

Marijuana advocates have come to lobby Washington before, often to argue for more lenient treatment under federal law. But on Thursday, buoyed by a flurry of state decisions that have expanded the legal use of marijuana, the cannabis crowd came less as social activists than as entrepreneurs, asking Congress to remove some of the obstacles that stand in the way of their fledgling businesses.

They met with staff members to ask for changes to the tax code, which prohibits the businesses from taking standard deductions for expenses. And they huddled in congressional offices to make the case for other changes that would encourage banks to work with legal cannabis businesses.


Pro-Marijuana Groups Want Option To Toke In Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA: Emboldened by the legalization of marijuana in two states, including bordering Colorado, hundreds of marijuana advocates flooded the Oklahoma Capitol on Wednesday calling for fewer restrictions on pot smoking in Oklahoma.

Two separate pro-marijuana groups — one advocating the medicinal use of marijuana and another pushing for full-scale legalization — held events at the Capitol that drew large crowds from across the state.

Holding signs that read “The Miracle Plant” and “No more jail time for pot crime,” protesters gathered on the south steps of the Statehouse and listened to speakers who railed against Oklahoma’s drug laws, which are some of the strictest in the country. [Read more…]

Medical Marijuana Supporters Hold Day Of Action In Florida

FLORIDA:  Hundreds of medical marijuana supporters gathered across the state Saturday for what they called a day of action.

Volunteers collected petitions from residents who wish to see the debate on marijuana’s usage reach the November ballot.

The group has until Feb. 1 to gather about 700,000 signatures from Floridians wishing to see the issue come to a vote.

The Florida Supreme Court is looking into the legality of the proposed wording that would be on the ballot. Some, including State Attorney General Pam Bondi, allege the proposed ballot language  is too broad.

Massachusetts Activists Push To Fully Legalize Marijuana

MASSACHUSETTS: Pro-marijuana activists in Massachusetts have already succeeded in paving the way for dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug.

Now many of those same activists have set their sights on the full legalization of marijuana for adults, effectively putting the drug on a par with alcohol and cigarettes.

And those activists — as they have in the past — are again hoping to make their case directly to voters.

The group Bay State Repeal says it’s planning to put the proposal on the state’s 2016 ballot. The group is first planning to test different versions of the measure by placing non-binding referendum questions on next year’s ballot in about a dozen state representative districts. [Read more…]

2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference In Celebratory Mood Following Recent Cannabis Achievements

COLORADO: The dust has now settled on the Drug Policy Alliance’s International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver last month – attended by three Transform staff as well as a more than a 1,000 drug policy experts and activists from around the world. The conference is held every two years and chance had it that this year it would be in Denver, Colorado – one of the two states that had made history last year by becoming the first jurisdictions anywhere in the world to legalise and regulate cannabis.

There was understandably a sense of celebration in the air, a feeling that, as DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadlemann put it, a tipping point had been reached.  The sense that – at least with the US cannabis debate – the reform position was winning the day was solidified by polling earlier in the week of the conference that showed 58% of the US public now supported cannabis legalisation – a jump of 10% in a year. [Read more…]