Bipartisan Legislation to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Filed in U.S. Congress

A bill to end the prohibition of marijuana on the federal level has been filed in Congress with bipartisan support.

memphisThe Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 was filed by Representatives Tom Garrett (R-VA) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). It would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, which would end its prohibition on the federal level, allowing states to decide what marijuana policies they want to follow.

The proposal is identical to a measure filed in 2015 by Senator Bernie Sanders.

“I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn’t justice”, Representative Garett said in press release about the bill’s introduction. “Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce. Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”

Garrett continued; “this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue.”

The post Bipartisan Legislation to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition Filed in U.S. Congress appeared first on TheJointBlog.com.

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Don’t tread on weed: A plea to Trump administration

Don’t tread on weed: A plea to Trump administration to let marijuana legalization proceed.   Denver Post editorial: There’s a need to consider the hard-working American people who benefit from legal cannabis Published: Dec 23, 2016, 6:42 am • Updated: about a month ago Comments (12) By The Denver Post Editorial Board Last week came […]

Denver Post editorial: There’s a need to consider the hard-working American people who benefit from legal cannabis

Last week came the news that Colorado’s legal cannabis industry topped $1 billion in sales in the first 10 months of the year. While anyone familiar with the trends expected a breakthrough this year, the industry’s early surpassing of that lofty mile-marker presents plenty of cause for reflection.

We bring it up because next year a new top cop will take the helm under President-elect Donald Trump, and there is some cause for worry should he be confirmed by the Senate.

Trump’s pick for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, is anti-cannabis. From once joking that he thought members of the Ku Klux Klan were OK until he learned some of them smoked pot, to saying in April that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions believes weed is dangerous and shouldn’t be legal. He is critical of the Obama administration’s relatively hands-off approach toward states whose voters approved the drug.

Should an Attorney General Sessions decide to flout the rights of states that have undertaken the cannabis experiment, and return the agency to aggressive enforcement of federal marijuana laws, he could easily start arresting growers, retailers and users. But would he really want to do that?

We offer some reasons for the future Trump administration to not only maintain the current president’s kindness, but to see the advantages for hard-working American people who benefit from legal pot.

Given Election Day victories for medical and recreational pot in eight states, more than half the states in the U.S. have now approved sales and use of medical marijuana, and 65 million people live in states that green-lighted recreational sales.

Colorado’s current haul helps fuel national estimated sales of  $7.4 billion in 2016. Now that California voters have followed our lead, it’s possible that another $6.5 billion could be added to national tallies from the Golden State alone by 2020.

The legal cannabis industry is the fastest-growing sector in Colorado, and it employed more than 18,000 direct and related full-time workers in 2015.

For a president-elect looking to create and keep good jobs in the United States, a crackdown on this burgeoning industry would seem a poor move indeed. It’s just math. To keep several hundred manufacturing jobs in Indiana, Trump had to cajole a major U.S. company and the state had to offer millions of dollars in tax breaks.

Guess what? Colorado’s cannabis industry, as in other states, isn’t outsourcing overseas and makes its money without government subsidies or tax breaks. Meanwhile, the industry is dumping significant tax and sin tax revenue into the state’s coffers.

Colorado’s experience has shown that legal sales of cannabis can be accomplished with plenty of regulatory oversight and without the horror-story outcomes of a strung-out populace. In fact, voters in Denver — the world’s largest legal cannabis market — just said “yes” again to the experiment by giving the thumbs-up to a pilot program that allows businesses to offer pot use to their customers. Clearly no reefer-madness backlash here.

Sessions hasn’t signaled what he would do regarding pot enforcement as attorney general. Perhaps he already sees the benefit. But conservatives should get it in writing, stand up for states’ rights and allow the success of this new industry to continue.

To send a letter to the editor about this article, submit online or check out our guidelines for how to submit by e-mail or mail.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Makes New Disparaging Comments on Marijuana

At a press conference today Attorney General Jeff Sessions made new, and disparaging, comments on marijuana. “Most of you probably know I don’t think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot,” Sessions told reporters today. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice…

via Attorney General Jeff Sessions Makes New Disparaging Comments on Marijuana — TheJointBlog.com

Study: Kids with High Academic Scores More Likely to Use Cannabis, Less Likely to Smoke Cigarettes | The Joint Blog

New research has found that adolescents with high academic scores are considerably more likely to consume cannabis than those with low scores.

The study was published by the British Medical Journal. According to its abstract, the study’s aim “was to determine the association between childhood academic ability and the onset and persistence of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use across adolescence in a representative sample of English schools pupils.” Researchers wanted to conduct the study because “Previous research has produced conflicting findings.”

For the study, data from “7 years of the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE)” was used; in total there were 6,059 participants “with information on academic ability around age 11 and health behaviours from age 13/14 to 16/17 (early adolescence) and from age 18/19 to 19/20 (late adolescence).” Researchers used “Self-completion questionnaires during home visits, face-to-face interviews and web-based questionnaires” to determine the results.  […]

Entire blog post at the Source:  Study: Kids with High Academic Scores More Likely to Use Cannabis, Less Likely to Smoke Cigarettes

A Congressional Cannabis Caucus Is Born | NORML Blog

With public support for reforming marijuana laws at an all time high, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Don Young (R-AK) have formed the first-ever Congressional Cannabis Caucus to promote sensible cannabis policy reform and to ease the tension between federal and state cannabis laws.

The official establishment of a Congressional Cannabis Caucus represents yet another step forward toward ultimately reforming cannabis policy at the federal level. The creation of this caucus is yet another manifestation that our political power is growing — even inside the beltway.

Click here to email your Congressional Representative and urge them to join the Cannabis Caucus today.

[…]

Entire post at the Source: A Congressional Cannabis Caucus Is Born

Marijuana industry, angered by White House reversal, speaks out “It just defies logic”

The cannabis industry was rattled Thursday after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he expects the Department of Justice to increase enforcement of federal laws prohibiting recreational pot, even in states where it’s already legal.

Along with the District of Columbia, eight states have legalized recreational use among adults, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada just this past November. That means one in five American adults can smoke, vape, drink, or eat cannabis as they please under state law.

Meanwhile, over half of the nation’s states have legalized medical marijuana despite federal laws prohibiting its sale. The industry is estimated to be worth north of $6 billion and will hit $50 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co.

“Today’s news coming out of the administration regarding the adult use of cannabis is, of course, disappointing,” Derek Peterson, CEO of marijuana cultivator Terra Tech Corp., said Thursday in a statement. “We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect states’ rights in the same manner they have on several other issues.”

Spicer sought to distinguish the prospect of federal enforcement for medical, versus recreational, cannabis use, saying “there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

Spicer’s statements reanimated industry concern that first arose when Republican President Donald Trump’s short-list of potential attorney general nominees emerged. The final pick, former senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican, has long opposed cannabis use, but is a major proponent of state’s rights.

In his mid-January confirmation hearing, Sessions said he wouldn’t “commit to never enforcing federal law” but added that “absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government.” He said that if Congress felt marijuana possession should no longer be illegal, it “should pass a law.” Trump has similarly gone back and forth on the issue of legalization.

Read the rest of the article at the Source:  Marijuana industry, angered by White House reversal, speaks out “It just defies logic”

Indiana Legislature Passes Bill to Legalize Medical Use of CBD, Now Goes to Governor

Legislation to legalize the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) has been approved by Indiana’s full legislature.

The measure was approved 98 to 0 by the state’s House of Representatives on Tuesday, following approval from the Senate. It now goes to Governor Eric Holcomb for consideration.

Under the proposed law, it would be legal for those with a seizure disorder to possess and use medicines that contain marijuana-derived CBD, given they receive a recommendation from a physician. Tinctures, oils and pills would all be allowed, given they contain little virtually no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Advocates of medical cannabis praised the decision by the legislature to approve the measure, but say it doesn’t go nearly far enough; they wan t the law expanded to include more medical conditions, and to allow for full-plant cannabis use and not just CBD.

Vermont Marijuana Legalization Bill to Receive Public Hearing on Thursday

A bill that would legalize marijuana for those 21 and older will receive a public hearing in Vermont’s House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, February 23rd.

Vermont Marijuana LegalizationThe committee will hold their public hearing on House Bill 170 at 1pm on Thursday. The measure would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and the personal cultivation of up to two cannabis plants, as well as a regulated system of cannabis retail outlets.

Below is a list of speakers that have been invited by lawmakers to either support or oppose the measure:

  • Michele Childs, Legislative Counsel, Office of Legislative Council
  • Matt Simon, Legislative Analyst, Marijuana Policy Project
  • Major Glenn Hall, Commander, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Vermont State Police
  • Robert Sand, Vermont Law School
  • Greg Nagurney, Attorney, Department of State’s Attorneys & Sheriffs
  • Laura Subin, Director, Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana
  • Tim Trevithick, Student Assistance Program, SAM-VT 
  • George Merkel, Chief of Police, Vermont Police Association
  • Cary Giguere, Agrichemical Program Manager, Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
  • Robin Weber, Senior Research Associate, Crime Research Group
  • Jay Diaz, Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union – Vermont
  • David Cahill, State’s Attorney, Windsor County
  • Dr. Jill Rinehart, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics, Vermont Chapter
  • Barbara Cimaglio, Deputy Commissioner, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program,Vermont Department of Health
  • Shayla Livingston, Public Health Analyst, Department of Health
  • Marshall Pahl, Appellate and Juvenile Defender, Defender General’s Office
  • Monique McHenry, Executive Director, VT Patients Alliance

Legislation receiving a public hearing is a necessary step to it being passed out of committee; the vast majority of bills never receive a hearing.

Vermont is one of the five states we believe could legalize cannabis by next year.

New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis and hash possession.

New Hampshire’s House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis and hash possession.

House Bill 640 was approved with an overwhelming 14 to 2 vote. The measure would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, and up to five grams of hash, for those 21 and older.

If police do catch someone possessing cannabis or hash within those limits, it would be “a fine of $100 for a first offense under this paragraph, a fine of $200 for a second offense within three years of the first offense, or a fine of $350 for a third or subsequent offense within 3 years of 2 other offenses.” Under current law the possession of even a minuscule amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.

House Bill 640 is sponsored by a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of a dozen lawmakers including Representatives Robert Cushing (D), Keith Murphy (R), Frank Sapareto (R), William Pearson (D), Carol McGuire (R), Chuck Grassie (D), Daniel Eaton (D), Patricia Lovejoy (D), as well as Senators Martha Clark, John Reagan, Daniel Innis.

Last year New Hampshire’s full House of Representatives passed a similar bill with a 289 to 58 vote, but it failed to pass the Senate.

According to a WMUR Granite State Poll released July of last year, 61% of New Hampshire voters support legalizing cannabis.

The full text of House Bill 640 can be found by clicking here.

Source:  New Hampshire Committee Passes Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis and Hash appeared first on TheJointBlog.com.

After Months of Public and Legal Pressure, DEA Removes Marijuana Misinformation from Website

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed marijuana misinformation from their website following months of public and legal pressure.

After months of public pressure, and a legal request by the nonprofit medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, the DEA has removed factually inaccurate information about marijuana from their website.

As part of the legal request, Americans for Safe Access argued that there was over 25 incorrect statements on the DEA’s website about cannabis, which violates the Information Quality Act, which prohibits government agencies from providing false information to the public, and requires them to respond to requests for correction of information within 60 days.

“The DEA’s removal of these popular myths about cannabis from their website could mean the end of the Washington gridlock” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access. “This is a victory for medical cannabis patients across the nation, who rely on cannabis to treat serious illnesses. The federal government now admits that cannabis is not a gateway drug, and doesn’t cause long-term brain damage, or psychosis. While the fight to end stigma around cannabis is far from over, this is a big first step.”

Americans for Safe Access’ full legal request which brought forth this change can be found by clicking here.