Cannabis Law Prof Blog

Editor: Franklin G. Snyder
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Britain's Times Favors Full Drug Decriminalization

ABritain's largest newspaper has endorsed the recent Royal Society of Public Health proposal to decriminalize all illegal drugs.  Here's a an editorial take on the proposal from The [London] Times:

Would it ever make sense to jail a chain smoker for smoking or an alcoholic for touching drink? On the basis that the answer is no, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is urging the government to decriminalise the personal possession and use of all illegal drugs. This is radical advice, but also sound. Ministers should give it serious consideration.

 

Prosecutions in Britain for small-scale personal cannabis use are already rare. To this extent the new proposals would not do much more than bring the statute book up to date with the status quo in most parts of the country. But the change the RSPH has in mind would go much further. It would push Britain into a small group of countries that have switched from regarding the use of drugs including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy as a health issue rather than one of criminal justice.

 

This is not a switch to be taken lightly, nor one the Home Office under present management is likely to take without sustained pressure from elsewhere in government. Yet the logic behind it and evidence from elsewhere are persuasive. Indeed, the government should be encouraged to think of decriminalisation not as an end in itself but as a first step towards legalising and regulating drugs as it already regulates alcohol and tobacco.

 

The RSPH’s model is a drug decriminalisation initiative in Portugal that is now 15 years old. Since 2001 possession of even hard drugs in Portugal has meant at most a small fine and, more likely, referral to a treatment programme. It does not earn the user a criminal record. More importantly, as of last year the country’s drug-related death rate was three per million citizens compared with ten per million in the Netherlands and 44.6 in Britain. Recreational drug use has not soared, as critics of decriminalisation had feared. HIV infection rates have fallen and the use of so-called legal highs is, according to a study last year, lower than in any other European country.

 

The Times suggests that the ultimate solution is to move to a legal supply chain for all of these drugs -- a step that the authors of the report didn't quite get to.

June 18, 2016 in Decriminalization, International Regulation, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 17, 2016

British Health Group Advocates Decriminalizing Pretty Much Everything

ATwo private British public health groups have released a new document calling for decriminalization of marijuana and all other "illegal drugs."  nd The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health, two organizations whose membership works in the public health field, have released Taking a New Line on Drugs, which recommends that the U.K. take law enforcement out of drug policy at the possession level, while keeping it up against those who manufacture and sell the stuff.  The paper's executive summary sets out the suggestions:

From a public health perspective, the purpose of a good drugs strategy should be to improve and protect the public’s health and wellbeing by preventing and reducing the harm linked to substance use, whilst also balancing any potential medicinal benefits. RSPH is calling for the UK to consider exploring, trialling and testing such an approach, rather than one reliant on the criminal justice system. This could include:

a. Transferring lead responsibility for UK illegal drugs strategy to the Department of Health, and more closely aligning this with alcohol and tobacco strategies.

b. Preventing drug harm through universal Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education in UK schools, with evidence-based drugs education as a mandatory, key component.

c. Creating evidence-based drug harm profiles to supplant the existing classification system in informing drug strategy, enforcement priorities, and public health messaging.

d. Decriminalising personal use and possession of all illegal drugs, and diverting those whose use is problematic into appropriate support and treatment services instead, recognising that criminalising users most often only opens up the risk of further harm to health and wellbeing. Dealers, suppliers and importers of illegal substances would still be actively pursued and prosecuted, while evidence relating to any potential benefits or harm from legal, regulated supply should be kept under review.

e. Tapping into the potential of the wider public health workforce to support individuals to reduce and recover from drug harm.

There's some special pleading here, of course -- turning things over to the health authorities means more money and jobs for health workers.  And decriminalizing without maintaining penalties against those who make and sell the stuff isn't going to do much to harm the criminal gangs involved in the trade.  

Still, an interesting take on the subject.

June 17, 2016 in Decriminalization, Drug Policy, International Regulation, News, Recreational Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Marijuana Legalization On the Other Side of the Border(s)

ALegalization proponents often seem to forget that whether or not to permit cannabis sales isn't just a problem of national policy.  Cannabis is illegal very nearly everywhere in the world under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, and any country that legalizes is in violation of its treaty obligations.  Mike Adams of High Times has this very nice piece on the potential treaty problems for Canada and Mexico if they want to pursue legalization.  The whole thing is worth a read.  Some highlights:

    Before Canada, Mexico or any other country can legalize marijuana across their respective nation, governments must first show the United Nations General Assembly later this year how they plan to make it happen while remaining in compliance with several international drug treaties.

    A briefing memo sent to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which was obtained by The Canadian Press, suggests that the northern nation will have to divulge a plan to legalize, regulate and restrict access to marijuana without violating three treaties, all of which make the possession and manufacture of the cannabis plant for recreational purposes illegal worldwide. 

    . . .

    International law expert, Errol Mendes, a professor at the University of Ottawa, says that while the Canadian government basically has to tell the tale of “why it feels it has to do it,” the outcome, even if the debate is highly successful, will still result in marijuana legalization taking “many years” before it sees the light of day.

    The three treaties that would need to be amended before Canada or any other nation could effectively end prohibition are: The Single Convention on Narcotic Drug of 1961; The Convention of Psychotropic Substances of 1971; The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

    The note implies that a number of other countries interested in reforming their drug laws will also be forced to plead their case.

    "At the meeting, several South American countries as well as Mexico wish to discuss what they perceive as more effective policy approaches to respond to the current realities of the drug problem, which could include decriminalization/legalization of illicit drugs, harm reduction, and/or a call to renegotiate the international drug control conventions."

January 8, 2016 in International Regulation, Recreational Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Canada's Health Minister "Outraged" at Decision of "High" Court

Not everyone in Canada seems to be thrilled by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision that it, and not the Health Ministry or other agencies of government, is the final authority on what medicines it is appropriate for patients to take.  Initial reactions from Health Canada aren't supportive, according to this CTV piece:

    Health Minister Rona Ambrose says she is "outraged" by the Supreme Court of Canada decision that expands the definition of medical marijuana beyond dried leaves, to include cannabis oils, teas, brownies and other forms of the drug.

    In a unanimous decision Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled that users should not be restricted to only using the dried form of the drug. They said the current rules prevent people with a legitimate need for medical marijuana from choosing a method of ingestion that avoids the potential harms of smoking it.

    But Ambrose says, despite recent court rulings in favour of the use of marijuana, her government maintains that cannabis has never been proven safe and effective as a medicine.

    "Marijuana has never gone through the regulatory approval process at Health Canada, which requires rigorous safety reviews and clinical trials with scientific evidence," she told reporters in Ottawa.

    "So frankly, I’m outraged by the Supreme Court."

    She said Thursday’s decision, as well as prior court rulings that permit the use of medical marijuana, give Canadians the impression that the drug has been shown to be effective, when it has not.

    "We have this message that normalizes a drug where there is no clear clinical evidence that it is, quote-unquote, a medicine," she said, adding that never in Canada’s history has a drug become a medicine "because judges deemed it so."

June 12, 2015 in International Regulation, Medical Marijuana, News, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0)

More on Canada's Constitutional Right to Bake Marijuana Cookies

The case is Regina v. Smith, 2015 SCC 34, and it holds that Canadians have a fundamental right to use medical marijuana under section 7 of the Charter of Rights, and that this liberty includes taking THC in whatever form the patient chooses. 

It's a very odd opinion from an American perspective.  The findings about the relative value of smoking  marijuana vs. ingesting it in some other form were made by a single trial judge -- not on a record compiled by an expert agency with access to all relevant data.  And the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously found that so long as there was some basis in fact for the trial judge's opinion, it is a "fact" that ingesting marijuana is superior to smoking, even though Parliament apparently thought differently.

Now, I don't disagree with the trial judge or the Supreme Court's opinion on the relevant merits, but in the U.S., despite our constant kvetching about activist judges, courts can't do this sort of thing.  We have administrative agencies (the FDA, the DEA, etc.) that are required to go through lengthy notice-and-comment procedures to set rules.  Moreover, Congressional power over interstate commerce means that a Congressional determination (apparently unlike a determination of the Canadian Parliament) is entitled to extreme deference unless it infringes on some fundamental individual right -- and taking non-FDA-approved medicine isn't a fundamental right.

An interesting question is that if there is a fundamental right to take marijuana in a form not approved by Canadian regulatory agencies, there should be one to take opium derivatives in the same way.  After all, Canadian law allows physicians to prescribe morphine in certain forms -- it would seem to be an infringement of liberty, under the opinion, for the state to prohibit users from taking it in some other form.

Like most insular Americans, I don't know enough about Canada to know how this is going to be received or what the fallout will be.  But it's a big win for MMJ users in the Great White North.

June 12, 2015 in International Regulation, Medical Marijuana, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Canada Supreme Court: All Forms of MMJ Are Legal

I haven't seen the opinion yet, so I have no idea what the legal basis for the ruling is, but Canada's highest court reportedly has determined that restrictions on the types of medical marijuana available to patients are invalid, so Canadians can get their weed through edibles as well as smoking it.

    Medical marijuana patients in Canada can legally use all forms of the drug, the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled.

    Medical marijuana patients will now be able to consume marijuana, not only smoke it.

    Cannabis oil is now permitted instead of only "dried" marijuana, meaning people can bake it into food products.

    The case began in 2009 when a baker from the Cannabis Buyers Club of Canada was charged with trafficking and unlawful possession of marijuana.

    Former head baker of the club Owen Smith was caught baking 200 pot cookies, CBC reports.

    A British Columbia judge acquitted Mr Smith and gave Canada's government a year to change laws around extracting marijuana. The case then wound up in the Supreme Court.

    A protestor in CanadaCanada has had a complicated legal journey with marijuana

    Restricting people to dried marijuana for medical purposes has been declared "null and void" by the court.

    Now, Canadians who qualify to use medical marijuana can have products like cannabis-infused cookies and tea.

    Medical marijuana is used for medical ailments such as Crohn's disease, seizures, HIV and nausea. In Canada, physicians decide who is eligible to use it.

    The court ruled that prohibiting possession of non-dried forms of marijuana is "contrary to the principles of fundamental justice because they are arbitrary; the effects of the prohibition contradict the objective of protecting health and safety".

It will be interesting to see the basis for the ruling.  In the U.S., perhaps unlike Canada, judges aren't the ones who get to decide on what will or will not protect health and safety.

June 11, 2015 in International Regulation, Medical Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 6, 2015

British Deputy P.M. Talks About Spliffing

Both British politicians and British reporters are, well, different.  Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democratic leader and Deputy Prime Minister in David Cameron's government.  Mr. Clegg is a prominent supporter of marijuana legalization.  But it's hard to imagine any senior American politician being quite as vocal about it.  Here's a report in The Times on some sort of joint appearance between the Deputy P.M. and billionaire Sir Richard Branson:

    The problem with talking about drugs is that it always leads to harder stuff. For years, Nick Clegg has been talking about the decriminalisation of cannabis. But mere soundbites are no longer enough. Yesterday he increased his use of verbiage tenfold, when he appeared with Sir Richard Branson to talk about drugs in a windowless basement at Chatham House.

    It was, I have to tell you, spliffing.

    First, and it is a first, Sir Richard was not dressed up as anything but himself. I had hoped that he would be dressed as a spliff, which, of course, he has famously told us he shared with his son on his gap year. (The son’s gap year, not Sir Richard’s, though observers may wonder if he is on a permanent gap year.)

    I regret that Nick’s habit of talking about drugs is now out of control. He never used one word when 100 would do. His big theme was that the war on drugs is a failure and that we must treat drug addicts instead of jailing them. He has lost count of the number of Tory and Labour politicians who agree with him privately.

    The sheer amount of words was too much for Sir Richard. “I fancy some drugs!” he shouted. “Can anyone get me a coffee?”

    They could. Sir Richard cradled his cup of caffeine-fuelled liquid in both hands as he listened to yet more Nick opinions.

    “A young teenager, who has acted foolishly like so many teenagers do, and is caught in possession of a drug, shouldn’t have a mark against their name which means they can never be a lawyer, or never be a nurse, or a doctor or even a taxi driver,” said Nick.

    Nick said such a thing was “crackers”. I felt that “crackers” must be drugs code for something, although the worst thing Nick did as a teenager was to get drunk and set fire to a bunch of cacti — in Germany. There is always a European angle to every Lib Dem story.

    “It’s fascinating listening to this conversation,” observed Sir Richard, forgetting, perhaps, that he was actually on the panel, in front of us, cradling his cup of caffeine. “I was reading the other day the transcripts from 1932 when alcohol prohibition existed in America. It was almost word for word the same debate.” I looked at Nick, his mouth already parted, and doubted that very much.

March 6, 2015 in International Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Brazil Mulls Allowing Cannabidiol

"Brazil will soon look into the possibility of legalizing the use of a marijuana derivative to treat people suffering from severe seizures."

    ANVISA, the country's Health Surveillance Agency says in a statement posted on its website that the "reclassification" of marijuana derivative cannabidiol, which is banned in Brazil, will be discussed starting next month.

    The statement came Friday, one day after some 40 people protested in Brasilia to demand the legalization of cannabidiol.

    Some people resort to a clandestine network of illegal marijuana growers in Rio de Janeiro state that extract cannabidiol and donate it.

    It is that network that supplies Margarete de Brito with the cannabidiol she gives her 5 year-old daughter Sofia, who was born with a genetic mutation that causes seizures.

    "They won't even let you pay the shipping" she said.

    Brito said that since starting treatment with the substance over a year ago her daughter's seizures have decreased dramatically and she stopped taking another medication that left her drowsy.

    Earlier this month, the Federal Medical Council that regulates the medical profession in Brazil authorized neurologists and psychiatrists to prescribe cannabidiol to treat epileptic children and teenagers who do not respond to conventional treatment.

    Brito, a lawyer and a director of the association that represents medical marijuana users, praised the council's decision but said it should have recommended the national production and medical use of cannabidiol and other marijuana-based substances.

    Nelson Nahon, the vice president of the Rio de Janeiro State Medical Council, said there is not enough research or information on cannabidiol in Brazil to guarantee its safety and effectiveness.

    "We must be careful with any new product for any treatment," he said. "To be approved and commercialized, medication must go through several phases, in-vitro testing and animal testing. Then it must be tested on consenting humans."

December 20, 2014 in International Regulation, Medical Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Victoria PM: Bring Marijuana Laws "Into the 21st Century"

An interview with Daniel Andrews, the premier Victoria.  Andrews argues for bringing medical marijuana to Australia's second-most-populous state.

 

December 19, 2014 in International Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Colombia Considering Medical Marijuana: Former President Wants Government Monopoly

The leader of Colombia's Senate minority party said he opposes a bill to legalize marijuana because he thinks cultivation and distribution should be under a government monopoly.  The Senate is considering a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.  Here's the gist of the story:

    Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe, leader of the conservative opposition in the Senate, wants the state to have the monopoly on the cultivation and sales of medical marijuana if approved by law.

    The bill to find a framework for legalizing marijuana for medicinal, therapeutic, and scientific purposes passed the first senatorial debate last week.

    The bill is strongly supported by the current governing liberal administration. President Juan Manuel Santos has also declared support in the past for the legalization of medicinal marijuana.

    The head of Colombia’s opposition party, Alvaro Uribe, presented an alternative proposal. The main point of his proposal was to ensure that marijuana grown for scientific purposes remains in the control of the government.

November 18, 2014 in International Regulation, Medical Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (2)

The Invisible Hand Reaches Lebanese Marijuana

Farm producers have always faced a dilemma.  When weather is bad, crops are poor, so farmers lose money.  When weather is good, crops are abundant, but prices fall and . . . farmers lose money.

Thomson-Reuters' Zawya news service has an interesting story from the war-torn Syria-Lebanon border that illustrates how basic market rules hold in the illegal cannabis market as well.  Turns out that when the government stops killing farmers and destroying crops, production goes up.  That's the good news.  But you have to be careful what you wish for.

    YAMMOUNEH/AL-QASR, Lebanon: For the second year in a row, cannabis farmers in the Bekaa Valley have been able to reap their harvests without being harassed or prosecuted by the security forces. But now farmers are facing a new problem: a flooded market and falling prices.

    The Lebanese-Syrian border – from the outskirts of Al-Qaa in northern Bekaa down to the outskirts of Brital near Baalbek – has become a front line for the ongoing war between the armed Syrian opposition – mainly ISIS and Nusra Front – and Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army.

    The towns and villages of the northern Bekaa Valley have been subjected to shelling and threats of attacks by the Syrian rebels, and as a result, the Army and other security forces have been forced to concentrate their efforts on neutralizing the security and military danger posed by the rebels in this area.

    Citizens there are already carrying guns and helping to monitor the mountain passages, which the rebels are expected to try to use as the weather gets colder, and the cannabis farmers too have found themselves aligned with the security forces in order to keep Lebanese areas safe from invasion.

    Due to these factors, the farmers’ cannabis crops are no longer targeted by the Army.

    Abu Mahmoud, a cannabis farmer from the village of Yammouneh in northwest Baalbek, expressed his relief that the plants on his 10 dunums of land were not destroyed, especially given that the crop this year was good. Like most of the cannabis farmers in the Bekaa Valley, he inherited the job from his father, and has stuck with it due to the lack of any other employment opportunities in the area that pay as well.

    But it seems that the Army and ISF’s decision to stop trying to destroy the cannabis plants – for the moment – has led to another problem for the farmers: the retail price is dropping due to the sheer amount of the product on the market.

    With no one to destroy the crops, the local market is likely to drown in cannabis – both the more expensive version, known as the rose, and the cheaper one, called kabsha – hence the drastic reduction in prices.

    No one apart from the major traders, who have ways to smuggle it abroad to Egypt, Europe and the United States, are able to benefit from this rare situation.

November 18, 2014 in Business, International Regulation, Law Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 14, 2014

U.N.: State and Local Pot Legalization Violates U.S. Treaty Obligations

A top United Nations narcotics officer has made news by pointing out that state and local marijuana legalization violates U.S. obligations under its international treaties.  Here's the story from Reuters:

    Moves by some U.S. states to legalize marijuana are not in line with international drugs conventions, the U.N. anti-narcotics chief said on Wednesday, adding he would discuss the issue in Washington next week.

    Residents of Oregon, Alaska, and the U.S. capital voted this month to allow the use of marijuana, boosting the legalization movement as cannabis usage is increasingly recognized by the American mainstream.

    "I don't see how (the new laws) can be compatible with existing conventions," Yury Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told reporters.

    Asked whether there was anything the UNODC could do about it, Fedotov said he would raise the problem next week with the U.S. State Department and other U.N. agencies.

Some domestic voices are sounding extremely aggrieved that the U.N. is "meddling in local U.S. affairs" and improperly "second guessing" the choices made by some American voters.  But critics of the U.N. are (at least in this case) misguided.

The U.S. has been one of the leaders in the international war on drugs, and was one of the chief backers and creators of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  It's a formally ratified treaty, which under the Constitution makes it the full equivalent of a federal statute.   The Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which specifically makes marijuana illegal, was was expressly adopted (almost unanimously in Congress) to carry out U.S. obligations under the Single Convention.  For more than 40 years the U.S. has been one of the leaders insisting that other countries abide by their treaty obligations to suppress illegal drugs.

Thus, there's no doubt that the U.S. is violating its treaty obligations, and the U.N. is simply (and politely) pointing that out.  It's done the same for Uruguay, which has also legalized recreational pot.

This is not to say that the Feds should crack down on states where recreational pot has been legalized.  The Administration has had to walk a difficult line in a world where attitudes toward marijuana have shifted, and in general (its poor guidance to financial institutions is an exception) it's done a pretty good job.  The trick, going forward, is for the U.S. to start negotiating some changes in the treaties that would allow the U.S. to legalize marijuana without opening the floodgates to other countries turning a blind eye to heroin, cocaine, meth, or any number of other banned substances. 

The U.N.'s relatively mild response to legalization here and in Uruguay suggests that our treaty counterparties are willing to agree to some experimentation, but at some point changes to the treaties will have to be negotiated.  Otherwise the U.S. risks wholesale repudiation of obligations by other countries -- not merely obligations under the Single Convention but other treaty obligations those other countries find burdensome.

November 14, 2014 in Decriminalization, Drug Policy, Federal Regulation, International Regulation, Recreational Marijuana, State Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daily News Roundup: Thursday, October 30, 2014

Daily RoundupThird Day of Sacramento Medical Marijuana Hearing in the Books; Continues Today "The third day of hearings on the constitutionality of cannabis’ federal Schedule I status presented further bizarre twists, as both federal prosecutors and NORML’s defense team appeared at times to agree on the medical benefits of cannabis."

Group of Retired Oregon Law Enforcement Officials Comes Out in Support of Measure 91 "A coalition of [30 former police officers, sheriffs, prosecutors and judges] has come out in support of marijuana legalization in Oregon, less than a week before voters will decide the issue at the polls."

British Parliament Talking About Marijuana Today:  "MPs are set to debate a possible shift in the coalition’s policy on drugs in the House of Commons on Thursday. It comes as two Home Office reports suggest penalties for drug possession do not reduce the number of users."

D.C. Council Weighs Permitting Legal Sales at Hearing Today "With District of Columbia residents poised to legalize possession of marijuana, the D.C. Council is starting to consider whether to allow its legal sale.  The council will hold its first hearing [today] on a bill that would allow the nation's capital to tax and regulate pot like Colorado and Washington state. Dozens of witnesses are scheduled to testify."

Physician:  Marijuana Might Prevent Ebola Infection "A former Mississippi heart surgeon who was jailed for 14 months on drug charges that were eventually dropped said marijuana might provide protection from the deadly Ebola virus, according to gulflive.com. Dr. David Allen, who is now the medical director for Cannabis Sativa Inc., said in a paper written for a medical digest that marijuana should be studied as one answer to the international Ebola crisis."

Texas Children's Hospital to Participate in Medical Marijuana Trials:  "[It's one of ten sites for an] international trial of an experimental drug derived from marijuana that has shown dramatic benefits in a select few patients who have already received it. The drug, Epidiolex, is a highly purified extract of cannabis that does not contain THC, the ingredient that alters mood."

Marijuana Lounge to Hold Halloween Party for Kids:  "The Members Lounge, a members-only medical marijuana dispensary in Spokane Valley, is hosting a children’s Halloween party.  But it’s not what you think, the owners say."

October 30, 2014 in Business, Decriminalization, Drug Policy, International Regulation, Law Enforcement, Legislation, Medical Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Daily News Roundup: Wednesday, October 29. 2014

Daily RoundupDenver Police, Colorado AG & Feds Raid Marijuana Grow Operations "Denver police officers, some in hazmat suits, raided multiple marijuana-growing operations Tuesday, part of an investigation into illegal marijuana sales in Minnesota, a federal law enforcement official said.  Federal agents assisted in the raids, which saw investigators haul dozens of high-intensity grow lights and thousands of plants out of the operations. The federal official said as much as $1 million was found in large bags during the searches."

New Poll:  Vote on Oregon's Measure 91 Looks Too Close to Call "Oregon voters are closely divided about passing a measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state, according to a new poll conducted for The Oregonian and KGW.  The Oct. 26-27 survey of 403 likely voters found that 44 percent backed the legalization measure while 46 percent were opposed.  Another 7 percent were unsure and and 2 percent would not say."

Maryland Commission Postpones Vote on New Medical Marijuana Regs:  "A state commission charged with launching Maryland's lagging medical marijuana program hit the pause button Tuesday, postponing a final vote on already tardy regulations to tweak licensing fees and make cannabis available to patients in liquid as well as smoke-able form."

Boston Bombing Jury Rejects "Too Stoned to Remember" Defense: "On Tuesday, a Boston jury found Robel Phillipos, the 21-year-old friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, guilty on two counts of lying to the FBI. Phillipos could face up to 16 years in jail when he is sentenced in January. . . .  The Phillipos defense team said the then-19-year-old was 'high out of his mind' on marijuana when he spoke with investigators."

D.C. Votes to Seal Criminal Records of Non-Violent Marijuana Offenders "A whole bunch of bills were passed by the D.C. Council during [Tuesday's] legislative meeting, including one that will seal the criminal records for District residents convicted of non-violent marijuana-related crimes."

Chile Greenlights New Medical Marijuana Project "In most countries in the world, if you asked the local authorities for permission to grow 750 cannabis plants in a residential area of the capital city, you would probably end up in trouble.  But in Chile, the state has just agreed to such a project. . . .  It is the first project of its kind with state backing anywhere in Latin America."

U.S. Gets New Armed Allies in Efforts to Stem IS--Lebanese Pot Farmers:  "They are unlikely first responders to Islamic militants, but heavily armed cannabis farmers who once fought against the Lebanese army are now turning their weapons elsewhere. "

October 29, 2014 in Business, Decriminalization, Drug Policy, Federal Regulation, International Regulation, Law Enforcement, Legislation, Medical Marijuana, News, Recreational Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekend Roundup: Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekend Roundup

Uruguayan Election Seems Headed to Runoff:  "Uruguayans voted on Sunday in a presidential election that has the leftist ruling coalition battling to hold onto power for a third term and fend off a young center-right contender who promises to undo its pioneering marijuana law."

Oregon Sheriffs Bash Seattle Colleague on Pro-Pot Ad:  "Oregon's 36 county sheriffs 'don't appreciate' that a sheriff for King County in Washington has begun publicly supporting Oregon's marijuana legalization ballot initiative.  "I am appalled that Sheriff (John) Urquhart feels the need to speak to Measure 91, a measure that is very different from Washington's Initiative 502," Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers said in a statement."

Advocacy Groups Endorse D.C. Legalization Initiative:  "[This week] the Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the D.C. Branch of the National Organization for Women came out in support of marijuana legalization and endorsed D.C.’s Initiative 71."

Florida Beachcombers Find Stuff More Valuable than Sea Shells:  "Between the surf and the sand, people at two Volusia County beaches found large amounts of drugs on Thursday and Friday . . . .  Twenty kilos of cocaine were found near New Smyrna Beach on Thursday, said Gary Davidson, spokesman for the sheriff's office.  Then on Friday, a package containing bricks of marijuana was found floating near Daytona Beach, he said."

Feds Raid Two L.A. Dispensaries:  "Federal officials were mum today about what led them to raid two marijuana dispensaries, one in West Hollywood and another in Westwood, whose staff claimed they were operating within the bounds of California’s medical cannabis laws."

 

 

October 27, 2014 in Decriminalization, Drug Policy, International Regulation, Law Enforcement, State Regulation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Harvard, Reuters Host Legalization Discussion

 

A FEW DAYS LATE IN LINKING TO THIS, but a here's an interesting recent podcast from Reuters and Harvard's School of Public Health.  It's really hard to do a good job of covering all the bases and getting the viewpoints of seven different participants -- all of whom are very good -- but this is as good a stab at it as you'll see.

October 17, 2014 in Drug Policy, Federal Regulation, International Regulation, Law Enforcement, Legislation, Local Regulation, Medical Marijuana, Recreational Marijuana | Permalink | Comments (1)