LAX Relaxes Pot Policy

CALIFORNIA: High flyers delight. No need to hide your stash on your next West Coast flight.  The fine folks at LAX have relaxed their pot policy, and now say it is now OK to fly with up to one full ounce of your favorite strain, or up to 8 grams of concentrate.

LAX Relaxes Pot Policy

LAX Relaxes Pot Policy

Here’s what’s written on the official LAX web site:

While federal law prohibits the possession of marijuana (inclusive of federal airspace,) California’s passage of proposition 64, effective January 1, 2018, allows for individuals 21 years of age or older to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption. In accordance with Proposition 64, the Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana. However, passengers should be aware that marijuana laws vary state by state and they are encouraged to check the laws of the states in which they plan to travel.

 

 

South Africa: Highest Court Upholds Right To Consume Marijuana In Private

SOUTH AFRICA: The nation’s highest court has upheld a 2017 decision finding that the use of marijuana by adults in private is constitutionally protected behavior.

Judges unanimously ruled that privacy protections encompass an adult’s right to possess and grow cannabis in a private space. It is not “a criminal offense for an adult to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption,” the court determined.

Public cannabis use and marijuana sales remain prohibited under the ruling.

South African politicians first outlawed marijuana in 1908. Annually, some 13 percent of all arrests in the nation are marijuana-related.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org or NORML Political Director, Justin Strekal, at (202) 483-5500.

Texas House Chairman Joe Moody Hosts Public Hearing On Reducing Penalties For Small Amounts Of Marijuana

HB 334 was introduced in the special legislative session and would replace criminal penalties for low-level marijuana possession with a civil citation

TEXAS:  Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Chairman Joe Moody held a public hearing to discuss reducing state marijuana possession penalties on Wednesday and to support HB 334, which was introduced by Chairman Moody in the special legislative session in July.

HB 334 would make possession of a small amount of marijuana a civil citation punishable by a $250 fine but not a criminal conviction; courts can allow some of the fine to be paid off through the offender taking drug education courses or doing community service. For a third offense, the civil penalty must include a drug education requirement. On a fourth offense, a prosecutor can proceed with a Class C misdemeanor instead of a civil citation.

“This week’s hearing on drug enforcement reform is another step in the ongoing effort to right-size our drug penalties and be smarter on the issue,” said Chairman Moody. “It’s something we’ve been working on and will continue to work on through the interim, into the next session, and beyond for as long as it takes. I know we can do better, and I’ll keep fighting for that.”

Chairman Moody’s efforts have continued to be recognized by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, which gave him their Law and Order Award the past three sessions, and by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, which named him ‘Representative of the Year’ last session.

“Most Texans oppose current penalties for marijuana possession,” said Nick Novello, an active duty Dallas police officer with 35 years of experience. “Enforcing unpopular and unreasonable laws creates unnecessary hostility between law enforcement and the people in our communities.”

More than 60,000 Texans are arrested for marijuana possession annually, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Advocates assert that this distracts law enforcement and prosecutors from priorities like combating violent crime, which is on the rise in Texas. A marijuana conviction can not only result in jail time, but carries collateral consequences and can make it difficult to find employment, obtain public housing, or qualify for student loans.

Maine: Voter-Initiated Changes In Law Eliminate Marijuana Possession Penalties

MAINE:  Maine became the eighth state to eliminate criminal penalties specific to the adult possession and personal use of cannabis.

Language in Question 1: The Marijuana Legalization Act, specific to the private possession and cultivation of marijuana by adults, took effect on Monday. Maine voters narrowly passed Question 1 on Election Day.

The new law permits adults who are not participating in the state’s existing medical cannabis program to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and/or the harvest from up to six mature plants.

Public use of marijuana is a civil infraction punishable by a $100 fine.

In response to voters’ approval of Question 1, Maine lawmakers passed separate legislation last week, LD 88, also permitting adults to possess up to five grams of marijuana concentrates. However, other provisions in the measure delay the implementation of retail marijuana sales until at least February 1, 2018. It also prohibits the possession of “edible retail marijuana products” until this date.

Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have previously adopted voter-initiated laws legalizing the private consumption and/or sale of cannabis by adults. The District of Columbia also permits adults to legally possess and grow personal use quantities of marijuana in private residences.

Governor Signs Bill Reducing Marijuana Penalties In Illinois

By Ivan Moreno, AP

ILLINOIS: Marijuana possession in small amounts in Illinois will be punishable by fines but not jail time after Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation Friday that makes the state the third largest to decriminalize minor pot offenses.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes having 10 grams or less of marijuana will be a civil offense, punishable with a fine of up to $200. The Republican governor had been expected to sign the bill because it included language he requested after vetoing similar legislation last year. In his message to lawmakers at the time, Rauner said that existing penalties for petty marijuana offenses were too severe and that “criminal prosecution of cannabis possession is also a drain on public resources.”

The new law also sets a standard for what’s considered too impaired to drive. Currently, any trace of marijuana is enough to be considered impaired, but marijuana advocates have long criticized zero-tolerance states’ approach because marijuana can stay in a person’s system for several weeks. The new law makes the standard 5 nanograms of THC, marijuana’s intoxicating chemical, in a driver’s blood within two hours of consumption.

 

Pittsburgh City Council Votes To Decriminalize Possession Of Small Amounts Of Marijuana

PENNSYLVANIA: By a vote of 7-2, Pittsburgh City Council passed a measure to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana this morning.

The bill allows city police to fine up to $100 for possessing less than 30 grams of marijuana, or 8 grams of hashish, instead of citing them for a misdemeanor. Its sponsor, Public Safety Committee chair Daniel Lavelle, previously said the measure was intended to “help break the damning life-long consequences of unemployment, lack of education, and being caught in a revolving criminal justice system.”

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who along with Darlene Harris voted against the bill, said she sympathized with those goals, but said it was “irresponsible” to pass such a bill at the local level. She noted that her district, which encompasses southern and western neighborhoods in the city, borders other municipalities where such measures have not been discussed.

Given that, she said, “I think [the bill] gives a false sense of security to people driving on the streets,” and if people were pulled over by police in those communities, the confrontation “could actually escalate to something much more serious than a fine.”

D.C. Council Considers Letting Ban Expire On Marijuana Use In Private Businesses

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: D.C. lawmakers are considering dozens of issues raised during public testimony surrounding whether it should ban marijuana use in private businesses.

The clarification to the Marijuana Decriminalization Act would continue the ban put forward in emergency legislation passed after pot was legalized in D.C.

Issues raised in the judiciary committee hearing Thursday ranged from government regulation and Congressional involvement to the punitive effects the ban has on businesses and residents who don’t own their homes.

Colorado Court: Some Pot Cases Can Be Overturned

COLORADO:  Some people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can ask for those convictions to be thrown out under the law that legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, the state’s second-highest court ruled Thursday.

The Colorado Court of Appeals said people whose cases were under appeal when Amendment 64 on recreational marijuana took effect in December 2012 are eligible to have their convictions reversed.

Brian Vicente, one of the amendment’s authors, called the ruling a “huge victory.” Vicente said Colorado prosecuted as many as 9,000 cases a year for marijuana possession. After pot was decriminalized, a number of appeals were still in the courts.

Maryland Senate Expected To Vote On Decriminalizing Small Amounts Of Marijuana

MARYLAND: Maryland’s Senate is scheduled to vote Friday on a measure that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. If approved, the bill goes to House of Delegates, where similar legislation last year died in committee.

The Senate bill would remove criminal penalties for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana, enough to roll about two joints, and impose a civil fine of $100 instead. Violators would receive citations similar to traffic tickets; they could either pay the fine in full or request a trial date in District Court.

Under the current law, a person in possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana would be subject to a felony conviction, up to 90 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.

 

Could Arizona Legalize Marijuana? Two Groups Want Issue On Ballot

ARIZONA: When Scott Cecil wound up facing a felony charge for possessing marijuana for his own use, he started to think the so-called war on drugs was targeting the wrong people.

“It really made me realize there are hundreds of thousands of people per year that are arrested for marijuana and other drugs,” he said. “They haven’t committed any violent crimes, they aren’t selling drugs, they’re just using drugs recreationally.”

Cecil, a student at Mesa Community College and board member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, is part of a larger movement to legalize marijuana in Arizona. He and other activists with Safer Arizona, a grassroots marijuana advocacy group, are trying to collect enough signatures to put a legalization initiative on the November ballot.

Dennis Bohlke, treasurer for Safer Arizona, said Arizona would be a safer place if marijuana were legalized.

“We think it’s safer than alcohol, and we find it outrageous that people are being jailed and being labeled as felons,” he said.