Showing posts with label Pot Legalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pot Legalization. Show all posts

May 22, 2018

NYC Mayor Wants The Police to Stop Making Arrests For Smoking Pot

 This is Mike Bloomberg, Ex-Mayor of NYC. Pot might be the only thing the ex-mayor and the new mayor agree on

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio says he wants the New York Police Department to stop arresting people for smoking pot in public and instead hand out summonses.
In a statement released Sunday, the Democratic mayor says the city must plan for the eventual reality of marijuana legalization and the "public safety, health and financial consequences involved."
De Blasio says he still has his concerns, but that he must now focus on crafting the regulatory framework before legalization.
The mayor's remarks came less than a week after he directed the police department to overhaul its marijuana enforcement policies in the next 30 days.
The mayor said in a statement:
With marijuana legalization likely to occur in our state in the near future, it is critical our city plans for the public safety, health, and financial consequences involved. While I still have real concerns we must work through, it isn’t difficult to see where this is headed and any responsible policymaker must prepare for that eventuality. My focus now will be helping to craft the critical regulatory framework that must come before legalization is realized.  

February 2, 2018

San Francisco Will Sponge Older Marijuana Convictions

Legalization of marijuana spurs 'green rush' in California 3:45

San Francisco's district attorney said Wednesday that city prosecutors will toss out or reduce thousands of criminal convictions for marijuana dating back decades, a move allowed under the 2016 state ballot measure legalizing recreational sales of pot. 
District Attorney George Gascón said his office will dismiss nearly 3,000 misdemeanor cases and review nearly 5,000 felony cases for possible action. 
Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It also allowed people convicted of marijuana charges to petition courts to toss out the cases or reduce penalties. 
Gascón says that process can be time-consuming and costly, so prosecutors in the district attorney's office plan to review and wipe out eligible cases en masse. Some people with convictions may not know they are eligible, Gascón said.  
"A misdemeanor or felony conviction can have significant implications for employment, housing, and other benefits," Gascón said. He said prosecutors will review cases from 1975 through passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016. 
He said 23 petitions for dismissal or reduction have been filed in San Francisco since passage of Proposition 64. 
As of September, around 5,000 people had applied for a change to their records, according to state data. That's a fraction of the people that experts estimate are eligible. 
Laura Thomas, deputy state director for the pro-marijuana organization Drug Policy Alliance, estimated more than 100,000 people are eligible to have their records changed. 
Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Oakland, introduced legislation on Jan. 9 that would require county courts to automatically expunge eligible records. 
Recreational marijuana became legal in California last year, and on Jan. 1 it became legal for licensed dispensaries to sell it to non-medical patients. The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this year that it's halting an Obama-era policy to take a hands-off approach toward states that have legalized marijuana. Pot is still illegal under federal law. 
The federal move could lead to increased prosecutions of marijuana sellers and growers, although it's unclear how aggressive federal attorneys will be.


May 4, 2017

Chris Christie Attacks Weed and "Crazy Libs as Poison our Kids”

New Jersey governor Chris Christie called supporters of marijuana legalization "crazy liberals" who want to "poison our kids" during a talk at a substance abuse conference on Monday, according to Politico.

"They want that blood money? Let them do it," Christie said, referring to tax revenue generated by legal marijuana sales.

"And they will. Let me tell you something — this will be like priority number one come January. I guarantee you, if we have a Democratic governor, it will be priority number one."

Christie — who is the most unpopular governor in the US, according to a recent poll — will end his term as governor in January of next year. 

Both Democratic candidates for the governor's office in New Jersey have come out in support of marijuana legalization, and pledged to legalize the drug. 

Recreational marijuana is legal in eight states, with Maine and Massachusetts being the first states to pass legislation on the East Coast. 

The New Jersey Star-Ledger wrote an editorial on Sunday supporting the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey as a key component of criminal justice reform. 

Christie, for his part, called the paper the "idiot" Star-Ledger.  
Nick Scutari, a New Jersey state senator, is currently introducing a bill to legalize marijuana. Scutari's bill has the support of both Steve Sweeney, the Senate president, and Vincent Prieto, the Assembly Speaker, according to the Star-Ledger.

"People like Nick Scutari and Steve Sweeney and Phil Murphy [leading Democratic candidate for governor] want to bring this poison, legalized, into this state under the premise that, well, it doesn’t matter because people can buy it illegally anyway," Christie said on Monday.

"Then why not legalize heroin? I mean, their argument fails just on that basis. Let’s legalize cocaine. Let’s legalize heroin. Let’s legalize angel dust. Let’s legalize all of it. What’s the difference? Let everybody choose," Christie added.

Christie asserted that teenage marijuana users are 10 times more likely to become heroin addicts by age 24, without citing any evidence, reports Politico. 

The link between opioid addiction and marijuana use has been refuted by researchers. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse admits on its website that marijuana "may have a role in reducing the use of opioids needed to control pain," reports Massroots. 

Christie was tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

April 13, 2017

Canada the only 2nd Country to Fully Permit the Retail Sale of Pot

Marijuana will be readily available across Canada by next year, under Justin Trudeau’s new plan to regulate, tax, and sell the drug. 

The plan, which is likely to pass Parliament, is entitled “The Cannabis Act” and will allow Canadians to buy and possess 30 grams of marijuana, or the equivalent in edibles or oil. Since the plan was introduced by the governing Liberal Party, which holds a majority in Parliament, it will almost certainly become law without significant change.

The minimum age for possessing marijuana will be 18 on a national level, although younger users won’t be prosecuted — at least not on the federal level.

Selling marijuana to youth will remain a criminal offence, and could be punished by a prison sentence of up to 14 years. By comparison, selling alcohol to a minor in Ontario is punishable by up to a year in prison.

While the national law leaves much of the details of exactly what the legal market will look like to the provinces — much like it does with the sale of alcohol — it will require the provinces to create some sort of retailer and distribution model. Most provinces have recently seen numerous marijuana dispensaries spring up which bill themselves as medicinal clinics. It is likely that some form of those shops will continue under the legal system.

Canada already regulates companies that run large-scale grow-ops for medical marijuana, and will continue overseeing those companies when they move to the recreational market.

The plan will make Canada only the second country in the world to fully permit the retail sale of pot, after Uruguay. Other countries, like the Netherlands, have permitted selling marijuana in certain circumstances, while some regional governments, like Alaska, Colorado, and Washington, have also legalized.

The one big missing piece thus far is how Canada will tax the drug. Some estimates have put the possible government revenue at anywhere between $600 million to $5 billion CAD. The decision on how to tax the drug will be made in the near future. 

The legislation followed closely with a task force report, which studied how Colorado and Washington went through with their own legislation plans.

The new legislation still keeps some criminal law power to tackle those who stray outside of the regulated framework — those selling small amounts of marijuana without permission could be slapped with a $200 fine.

Alongside the legislation to regulate and sell pot was a bill designed to curb and crack down on impaired driving.

While there is currently no test to determine how impaired by marijuana a driver may be, the Trudeau government has set aside money to invest in just how high is too high to drive, and how police can detect it — much like a breathalyzer.

One big issue sure to confront Ottawa will be how it handles the Trump administration, which has made no secret of the fact that it is looking to roll back the clock on former President Obama’s softening on the war on drugs. Legal marijuana in Canada will undoubtedly have an impact on the accessibility of pot in America, its largest trading partner with whom it shares a 5,500 mile-long border. 

The Cannabis Act makes it illegal to carry marijuana across the border, with a maximum punishment of 14 years in prison.

March 30, 2017

Pharma Opposes Legal Pot-To Make Their Own Synthetic One

Last year, backers of an Arizona initiative to legalize recreational marijuana ran into stiff resistance from a large pharmaceutical company. Opponents of Proposition 205 got a huge boost from drug company Insys Therapeutics in the form of a $500,000 donation.

At the time, an Insys spokesperson said the company was opposing legalization because "it fails to protect the safety of Arizona's citizens, and particularly its children." However, the real reason, which was made official last week, was because Insys didn't want competition.

Insys' new synthetic marijuana drug, Syndros, was given a green light by the FDA, as well as  preliminary approval by the Drug Enforcement Agency, last July. That approval became official last Thursday. The purpose of the new medication is to treat nausea in patients suffering from cancer and AIDS – something that natural cannabis does quite well for a fraction of the cost.

In keeping with the rank hypocrisy of the anti-marijuana legalization cabal, the DEA now lists Syndros in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act – which includes cocaine and prescription opioid painkillers, while natural cannabis remains Schedule I.

Several years ago, corporate attorneys for Insys wrote a letter to the DEA, urging the agency to keep marijuana criminalized because of "the abuse potential in terms of the need to grow and cultivate substantial crops of marijuana in the United States." At the same time, they petitioned the DEA to ease up on restrictions of the production of synthetic cannabidol (CBD), a less psychoactive compound in marijuana that has been proven effective in treating epilepsy. It should come as no surprise that Insys has been working on its own CBD product.

Now, the story gets interesting. It turns out the Insys is under investigation while being sued by shareholders for illegally marketing highly-addictive opioid painkillers. Six former Insys executives were arrested in December on charges of racketeering. According to the FBI, the conspired to "sell a highly potent and addictive opioid that can lead to abuse and life threatening respiratory depression."

No coincidentally, Insys is working on a treatment for opioid overdose.

It is worth pointing out that in states that have legalized marijuana, those natural humans who wish to go into business as growers and suppliers must pass very strict background checks and have squeaky clean records. However, it is becoming clear that corporate "people" are exempt from those high standards that natural people are held to.

This is also another example of the rank hypocrisy of America's so-called "free market" capitalist system. Supposedly, a free market is based on competition, and rewards those who can provide the best products at the lowest price. However, when it comes to big corporations, government agencies can – and often do – rig the rules of the game.

Aside from that, it turns out that synthetic marijuana, unlike natural cannabis, can have serious, and even deadly toxic side effects. But that doesn't matter when corporate profits are on the line.

For Big Pharma, it's business as usual and the rest of us will be paying the price. There may be a bit of justice in store for Insys, however. According to the independent investment research and analysis website Seeking Alpha, investors who were keeping an eye on the development and approval for Syndros had been hoping for a much-less strict Schedule 3 classification by the DEA  ("drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence"). This would have put it in the same category as codeine, anabolic steroids and testosterone replacement treatments. Between Syndros’ Schedule II classification and last week's arrests of former Insys executives and the arrest of a doctor last week, Seeking Alpha considers Syndros "too worrisome to prescribe" and is advising investors to "avoid [Insys] at all costs."

September 26, 2016

Why Would You Need an Armed Guard to Be a Farmer in NYS?

 For the first time in 80 years, a farm in New York State is legally growing cannabis. But no one could get high from these plants.
The farm, JD Farms, roughly 230 miles north of New York City, is actually growing industrial hemp, which can be used to make everything from flour to building materials to clothes to plastic.
“Industrial hemp and marijuana are actually the same species, but they have bred and evolved to be quite different from each other,” said Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, a professor of agriculture at Morrisville State College, which has paired with JD Farms on a hemp research pilot program.
Still, industrial hemp remains on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of illegal Schedule I drugs, though its content of THC — the chemical that gets marijuana users high — is below 0.3 percent. Because of that status, JD Farms had to adhere to stringent federal regulations just to get the seeds to grow the crop. “We had to jump through hoops to get a D.E.A. permit to import our seeds from Canada,” Mark Justh, an owner of the farm, said.
Mr. Justh, 51, and Daniel Dolgin, 40, a co-owner, were not always pioneering farmers.
Mr. Justh had already bought a few defunct dairy farms here before his employer, JPMorgan Chase & Company, sent him across the world in 2010.

Facebook Live: Visit to a New York Hemp Farm 

“I was running a business in Asia for JPMorgan and traveling a lot all over Asia,” he said. “When my two sons were becoming teenagers, I really wanted to travel less and spend a lot more time with my family. As I bought the farms and as we were building them up, I wanted to return full time.”
In 2015, he did. His three sons are now 18, 14 and 13.
“My sons are in school. They work on the farm over the summers. And my wife is a writer,” he said. “They split their time between Park Slope and the farm, and they are up here all summer.”
Mr. Dolgin, who is single, previously worked in counterterrorism and national security in Washington. “I left D.C. around 2010,” he said. “I did some consulting in the private sector, and I wanted to do something different.”
A friend of Mr. Dolgin’s introduced the men. “Mark was looking to get involved in the hemp world,” Mr. Dolgin said, “and I thought I could be of service in terms of navigating regulations and getting stuff done in D.C.”
“I started coming to the farm more and more and starting to fall in love with what he was doing there,” he added.
Mr. Justh said he became interested in hemp while looking for a tall canopy plant with broad leaves and a short growth period that could keep weeds from taking root in his crops. The farm, which covers 1,300 acres, also produces organic hay, pastured pigs and pastured cattle.
Mark Justh, left, and Daniel Dolgin are co-owners of JD Farms. Mr. Justh previously worked for JPMorgan Chase & Company, and Mr. Dolgin had worked in counterterrorism and national security in Washington CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times 
“I started off looking at hemp as weed cover,” Mr. Justh said, “and believe it or not, Dan and I partnered together and started recognizing the larger industrial benefits of hemp.”
“We are phenomenally excited to see the benefits of what this crop can do,” he added.
The door to hemp farming — and its economic possibilities — was opened in 2014 when federal legislation allowed for the transportation, processing, sale and distribution of hemp grown in research programs.
“This is not marijuana,” Donna A. Lupardo, a New York assemblywoman for the Southern Tier who sponsored the legislation to allow hemp to be grown in the state, said as she looked over the field during a visit to the farms. “This is not something that can be used recreationally.”
Ms. Lupardo, a Democrat, said she believes hemp “has a really high potential to put farmland back to use in New York State and to also be a very lucrative, potentially lucrative manufacturing crop for our state.”
“In my community alone, there are a million potential acres to be farmed for a number of new crops like industrial hemp,” she said later in a phone interview. “It’s a field of dreams, it really is. It’s just a fabulous opportunity and just a wonderful plant.”
To comply with federal guidelines, JD Farms had to have an armed security guard oversee the seed planting. So it hired an officer from the New York State University Police at Morrisville State College. The officer would have told the D.E.A. if anything had gone wrong, Enrico L. D’Alessandro, the chief of police at Morrisville, said.
Mr. Dolgin and Mr. Justh said they hoped it would become easier for other farmers to grow industrial hemp. “We believe farmers should be able to grow this crop without a license and be able to obtain seeds across state lines and internationally,” Mr. Justh said. CreditNathaniel Brooks for The New York Times 
“That officer had to stand by there to make sure all the seeds went into the ground,” Mr. D’Alessandro said.
In an interview at the farm, Mr. Dolgin called the requirement “ridiculous for a crop that has no psychotropic value, but we had to do what we had to do.”
Mr. Dolgin and Mr. Justh said they hoped their first crop would pave the way to a quicker process for those who follow.
“Until the laws become more uniform and less gray, for the industry to develop, it’s going to be challenging,” Mr. Justh said. “We believe farmers should be able to grow this crop without a license and be able to obtain seeds across state lines and internationally. Until that happens, industry will struggle to develop.”
As for their 30 acres of hemp, Mr. Dolgin and Mr. Justh said they were looking for customers.
“We don’t have contracts signed yet, but we have a lot of interested buyers,” Mr. Dolgin said. “We are working with a major protein-bar company in Pennsylvania that is interested in using hemp protein to start a few new lines of product into their distribution channel.”
Mr. Dolgin added that a large biomaterial manufacturing company in Albany was interested in buying their stalks. “They currently import ground-up hemp stalks from Europe, so having a New York supply is much more ideal,” he said.
New York Times

May 5, 2015

In a Surprisingly Nice Move Governor of PR Legalizes Med Marijuana

In a surprise move, Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed an executive order legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory. The order, which was heavily debated in Puerto Rico since 2013 but never put to a public vote, went into immediate effect. The Caribbean island joins 23 other U.S. states in decriminalizing medical marijuana, The Associated Press reports
We're taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life," García Padilla said in a statement. "I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope." The governor added that several studies conducted in the United States demonstrated that cannabis can assist in pain relief from serious diseases.
"These studies support the use of the plant to relieve pain caused by multiple sclerosis, AIDS virus, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, migraine, Parkinson's and other diseases that often do not respond to traditional treatments," García Padilla added. "This administration is committed to ensuring the health of all citizens residing in our country. Hence the medicinal use we are adopting is an innovative measure to ensure the welfare and a better quality of life for these patients."
Although Puerto Rico will relax its stance on medical marijuana, it plans on passing a state law that will establish "a distinction between medical and non-medical uses." Even pro-marijuana activists in Puerto Rico were taken aback by the sudden nature of the executive order, as many questions remain over how the plan would be instituted.
For instance, no decision has been made whether Puerto Rico will grow its medical marijuana crop in the country or import the drug. García Padilla said the secretary of the health department would arrive with a more detailed plan of action for medical marijuana within three months.
Puerto Rico becomes the latest U.S. territory or state to either peel back the restrictions on medical marijuana or decriminalize weed entirely. New York is readying its own (albeit restrictive) medical marijuana plan, while voters in Florida resoundingly support a measure to legalize the drug for both medicinal and recreational purposes. The federal government also ended their prohibition of medical marijuana.

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