Indiana Judge Says No To Cannabis As Sacrament; First Church Of Cannabis Will Appeal

By Neal Smith, Chairman Indiana NORML

INDIANA: Marion County Superior Court Judge Lynch has ruled that the First Church of Cannabis may not use Cannabis as a sacrament, based on a false report issued by a federal agency. The Church maintains that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed the Indiana General Assembly in 2015, the Church has the right to use cannabis is a sacrament. The State of Indiana disagrees.

The State, led by Attorney General Curtis Hill, based their testimony on the lies and half-truths of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Task Force report on Cannabis. The vast majority of the report’s statements about Cannabis have been soundly refuted.  Yet, Judge Lynch fell for it. Anyone who has done even a modicum of research knows that Robert DuPont, long time federal government prohibitionist figurehead, has repeatedly been proven a liar.

Grand Poohbah Bill Levin

First Church of Cannabis Grand Poohbah Bill Levin

From Judge Lynch’s decision: “Numerous scientific studies have shown that marijuana use “causes impairment in every performance area that can reasonably be connected with safe driving of a vehicle, such as tracking, motor coordination, visual functions, and particularly complex tasks that require divided attention[.]” Ex. 15, DuPont Dec. at fl9. Unsurprisingly, then; marijuana “ranks second (26.9%), only to alcohol (30.6%), in a study on the presence of drugs in accidents involving seriously injured drivers.” EX. 15, DuPont Dec. at11 10.14.”

This point has been disproven.

Also from Lynch’s decision: “In addition, if RFRA affords an exception to the prohibition against marijuana possession, it would be unclear whether state law enforcement officers would be permitted to use the scent of marijuana or plants or paraphernalia in plain View as probable cause for a search warrant.” Ex. 13, Hobson Dec. at 117. Such indicators traditionally have been “obvious sources of probable cause[,]” but a religious exception to the marijuana laws could render them ‘questionable[.]’ Ex. 13, Hobson Dec. at fl 7.”

In other words, law enforcement would actually have to do a proper investigation rather than grabbing the “low-hanging fruit.”

AG Hill, an extreme prohibitionist, seems only content in putting forth any information that supports his views, whether accurate or not. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council has also supported their tenuous position with the Rocky Mountain report. Indiana NORML has repeatedly pointed out the flaws in the report to no avail. It’s obvious they have no regards for truth in this matter. Does that make you wonder about their competency in other investigations?

Why would they go to this extent of lying and accepting lies as truth? Cannabis arrests bring in money to the system. Fines, probation fees, government grants, civil asset forfeiture and state kickbacks and contributions from private prison groups. Who needs civil liberties when there is money to be made?

The First Church of Cannabis will appeal the decision.


Maine Governor Vetoes Retail Legalization Implementation

MAINE: Republican Gov. Paul LePage last week vetoed legislation that sought to regulate the production and sales of cannabis to adults. Members of the House and Senate approved the legislation late last month during a one-day special session, but did so without a veto-proof majority. (Members of the Senate voted 22-9 in favor of the bill. Members of the House voted 81-50 in favor of the bill.)

LePage said, “Until I clearly understand how the federal government intends to treat states that seek to legalize marijuana, I cannot in good conscience support any scheme in state law to implement expansion of legal marijuana in Maine.”

The Governor’s veto reverses a campaign pledge where he indicated that he would support the enactment of adult use regulation if it was approved by a voter referendum.

A majority of Maine voters decided last November in favor of a statewide initiative legalizing the adult use, retail production, and licensed sale of marijuana. Governor LePage lobbied against the measure and in January lawmakers passed emergency legislation delaying the enactment of many of its provisions until February 2018. Since that time, the Governor has refused to work with lawmakers with regard to how to regulate marijuana sales and other provisions of the law. The Governor did endorse legislation that sought to delay any further implementation of the law until 2019, but lawmakers defeated that measure.

The Governor’s veto, if not overridden by lawmakers, will further delay the ability of legislators to regulate the commercial cannabis market in a manner that comports with the voters’ mandate.


Wyoming’s Marijuana Laws To Be Enforced During Great America Solar Eclipse

WYOMING: Visitors from across the globe expected to travel to Wyoming for the Great American Solar Eclipse on August 21 are being advised by law enforcement officials that the state’s marijuana laws will be strictly enforced.

“Traffic laws will be strictly enforced and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not be tolerated on Wyoming’s roadways,” Byron Oedekoven, executive director of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASCOP). He added that, while other nearby states including Colorado have legalized marijuana, the drug is illegal in Wyoming.

“Medical marijuana is not legal in Wyoming, and even if you have a card from another state it is still illegal to possess marijuana in Wyoming,” he explained. “If you are caught with any controlled substance you will be charged with a misdemeanor or felony drug offense depending upon how much of that substance you have in your possession.”

It is estimated that 250,000 visitors will travel to Wyoming to experience the eclipse, according to Oedekoven. Under the leadership of Governor Matt Mead, federal, state, and local agencies are working together to safely accommodate visitors to the state.

From Jackson to Torrington, more than a dozen cities in Wyoming are in the “path of totality,” the narrow path across the earth’s surface where viewers will experience the total eclipse of the sun when the moon passes in front of its surface. Because of the state’s wide-open spaces, clear skies, and spectacular scenery, it is one of the top destinations in the world for people seeking the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the eclipse.

Through its Traffic Safety Project (TSP) WASCOP is working with the Wyoming Office of Highway Safety and the Governor’s Commission on Impaired Driving to identify strategies to address traffic and other safety issues.

“We hope people will come to Wyoming to experience the incredible beauty and quality of life in our state,” said Oedekoven. “On behalf of the women and men of WASCOP dedicated to serving and protecting residents and visitors in our state, we promise to do everything possible to ensure you will have a safe and enjoyable visit.”

Medical Marijuana And Its Impact To The Economy

By Zack M

Twenty five states have legalized marijuana for medical use so far, and it’s already clear that there are many economical advantages to be gained from this as well as the various medical marijuana benefits to be enjoyed by patients.  Because the marijuana systems in place in these states are being well regulated and taxed, money is coming in steadily from the cannabis industry.  These are just some of the ways that cannabis legalization can assist weakening economies.

Medical Marijuana Eliminates The Need For Tax Hikes

With some estimates putting illicit cannabis sales at around $50 billion in revenue a year, it doesn’t make any sense to allow that money to go to gangs and criminals.  Prohibition states are missing out on large incomes by choosing not to regulate and tax the industry.  New tax income from the legal sales of marijuana reinvigorate the economy of the state, and decrease the need for additional taxes on other products income.

Marijuana Regulation Creates Jobs

Whenever people earn money via legal and regulated means, they pay taxes and put money back into the state economy.  Legal cannabis states have seen real job creation.  Instead of allowing those jobs to be held by non-taxpaying criminals, marijuana further benefits the state.  Many marijuana industry jobs are highly skilled and pay excellent wages. Demand is expected to remain strong for trained horticulturists, laboratory testers, dispensary workers and team managers.

According to AlterNet, the top cannabis industry jobs are:

  • Budtenders – assist dispensary customers with purchasing marijuana
  • Sales Reps – sell products (vapes, technology, edibles, etc.) to dispensaries
  • Extraction Technicians – make marijuana concentrates
  • Edibles Makers – make marijuana-infused foods and drinks
  • Dispensary Security – patrol dispensaries for illegal activity
  • Marijuana Growers – cultivate marijuana for dispensaries
  • Trimmers – trim and package marijuana flowers for dispensaries
  • Dispensary Managers – manage all or various aspects of dispensaries

Legalization Lowers Government Spending 

Prohibition is expensive and wasteful.  Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimates the government War on Marijuana costs Americans more than $20 billion annually.  The costs include law enforcement, the strain on the courts and justice system, and the enormous cost of housing and feeding low-level drug offenders.

Monies that could be used to address pressing social needs — education, infrastructure, crime — are wasted on a failed public policy.  By all accounts the War on Drugs has been a dismal failure.

Vermont Lawmakers Threaten To Reinstate Prohibition If Pot Isn’t Legalized

VERMONT: Vermont may well become the next state to legalize marijuana, and two state lawmakers who support legalization have a simple message for their colleagues: Give us what we want, or we’ll take away your booze.

A new bill filed earlier this month by state Reps. Jean O’Sullivan and Christopher Pearson would effectively reinstate alcohol prohibition in Vermont. If passed, House Bill 502 would outlaw consumption of alcohol, with penalties mirroring those currently in place for marijuana possession. Those found with small amounts of alcohol would be subject to fines of up to $500, and anyone involved in the sale and distribution stream could face up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in penalties.

O’Sullivan herself acknowledges that even she doesn’t support the substance of the bill. Rather, “the object was to basically embarrass leadership to say that we have [marijuana legalization bills] in front of us, and they’re going absolutely nowhere,” she told The Huffington Post.

Marijuana Prohibition Is Unscientific, Unconstitutional, And Unjust

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  A few days before the House of Representatives passed a federal ban on marijuana in June 1937, the Republican minority leader, Bertrand Snell of New York, confessed, “I do not know anything about the bill.” The Democratic majority leader, Sam Rayburn of Texas, educated him. “It has something to do with something that is called marihuana,” Rayburn said. “I believe it is a narcotic of some kind.”

That exchange gives you a sense of how much thought Congress gave marijuana prohibition before approving it. Legislators who had heard of the plant knew it as the “killer weed” described by Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry Anslinger, who claimed marijuana turned people into homicidal maniacs and called it “the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” Anslinger warned that “marihuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes” and estimated that half the violent crimes in areas occupied by “Mexicans, Greeks, Turks, Filipinos, Spaniards, Latin Americans, and Negroes may be traced to the use of marihuana.”

Given this background, no one should pretend that marijuana prohibition was carefully considered or that it was driven by science, as opposed to ignorance and blind prejudice. It is hard to rationally explain why Congress, less than four years after Americans had emphatically rejected alcohol prohibition, thought it was a good idea to ban a recreational intoxicant that is considerably less dangerous.


How Prohibition Is Making Legal Marijuana More Dangerous

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Prohibition claims to exist to make society safer. “A Drug Free America”, the ideology of hypocrites kissing their martinis while sneering at those who intoxicate differently. A system that creates immeasurable wealth and power to a select few at the expense of the many.

Since the declaration of the War on Drugs in 1971, drugs have become more prevalent than ever and much cheaper in the process. Transnational Criminal Organizations launder billions of dollars through ‘too big to fail’ banks while government agencies stockpile weapons, seize properties and of course, flash bang babies while they are sleeping.

The only viable solution to the drug epidemic or rather ‘the Drug War Epidemic’ we must take the source of money out of the hands of criminals. In terms of cannabis, this means legalization and regulation. Bringing the billions of dollars out of the hands of sociopaths and into the service of the public creates a much more manageable system than the current one.

In Canada, Marijuana Was Criminalized In 1923, But Why?

CANADA:  Pot activists in Canada and elsewhere will be taking part today in what’s being billed as a “Global Marijuana March.” In this country, they will be calling for the decriminalization of marijuana.

They might also ask why it became illegal in the first place.

That happened in 1923, and if there was any kind of parliamentary debate historians have been unable to find a record of it.

When Parliament decided to add marijuana to the schedule of proscribed drugs that year, Canada became one of the first countries to making smoking pot illegal. The U.S. didn’t accomplish that until 14 years later, in the midst of the Great Depression.

In 1923, then prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberal government introduced an Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs. The federal health minister at the time, Henri Beland, said the bill was a consolidation of other legislation that had been passed over the previous few years, with some changes.

Pot Prohibitionists Will Have to Do Better Than Bill Bennett’s BS

A couple of months ago, arguing in favor of marijuana prohibition at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), radio producer Christopher Beach faced a mostly hostile audience. “There used to be a strong conservative coalition opposed to drugs, but it’s dissipated in the face of mounting public support for legalization,” Beach told The Atlantic‘s Molly Ball afterward. “We’re fighting against the tide on this.” According to the headline of an essay by Beach and his boss, former drug czar Bill Bennett, in the May 5 issue of The Weekly Standard, they are also fighting “The Legalization Juggernaut,” which presumably is moving with the tide. Beach and Bennett nevertheless argue that it’s not too late to turn this juggernaut around. Maybe so, but they are going to need a bigger boat, or at least better arguments. Here are a few they should consider retiring:

The great political scientist James Q. Wilson staunchly opposed the legalization of drugs. He explained that “drug use is wrong because it is immoral and it is immoral because it enslaves the mind and destroys the soul.” No society should want unhealthy substances destroying the minds, bodies, character, and potential of its citizens.

As I note in my book Saying Yes, Wilson’s explanation made no distinction between use and abuse, weirdly implying that consumption of psychoactive substances always (or at least usually) “enslaves the mind and destroys the soul,” which was his tendentious description of addiction. Furthermore, Wilson conceded that alcohol poses the same sort of threat, which raises the obvious question of how it can be just to treat suppliers of beer, wine, and liquor as legitimate businessmen while treating suppliers of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin as criminals.

How Hemp Was Outlawed In India

INDIA:  Cannabis, the plant from which bhang, ganja and hashish come, has been regarded a traditional intoxicant in India. And yet it is outlawed in its homeland.

Around the end of the 19th century, the British imperial government in India wanted to import Scotch whisky. This was also the time when resentment against the colonial power was gathering critical mass. Hence, there were protests — bhang and ganja, argued some, were indigenous intoxicants; alcohol, it was claimed, was alien to Indian culture. [Read more…]