Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WW: DEA chief out, Kansan loses son over medical marijuana and ex-cops smoke weed

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Embattled Drug Enforcement Administration head Michele Leonhart is resigning over her handling of a sex scandal. Those familiar with her tenure at the agency know that she was an unflinching drug warrior, saying that the legalization of pot “just makes us fight harder.” Critics said that her stance on pot was out of step with that of President Obama, and now they are seeing opportunity to set a new course for the agency.

“Hopefully, her resignation will mark the end of the Reefer Madness era at the DEA,” Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Hill.

At times, she clashed with members of Congress for her stridently anti-pot views. Here’s a video of U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, trying to find out if she thought heroin and meth are more harmful than pot.


California could be one of the next states to legalize marijuana. Buf first, advocates have to figure how they’re going to do it.

Stock photos used by the media often aren't that flattering to stoners. So the Drug Policy Alliance made its own stock photos of normal people doing normal things, like smoking pot and playing Jenga.
The Ohio Rights Group, an organization seeking to legalize pot in the Buckeye State, is accusing a like-minded group of infiltrating it and stealing its donors.

In Kansas, a woman lost custody of her 11-year-old son after he defended medical marijuana in class.

Willie Nelson is launching his own brand of weed.

The Denver Police Department had this to say on 4/20:

They weren’t joking. They gave out 100-pot related tickets on that day.

Speaking of Denver, The Denver Post was Pulitzer Prize finalist for its series on families with children suffering from severe seizures who relocated to Colorado to use Cannabidiol as a treatment. It’s worth a read.

Lastly, here is a video of ex-cops smoking pot and giving each other sobriety tests.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WW: Leg enacts sweeping reform to state pot laws, Obama talks ganja in Jamaica

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

After months of hearings, debates, amendments, votes and more hearings, marijuana as we know it is about to change in Washington state. Although the dust is still clearing, the cannabis business community is clearly pleased about this development, while medical marijuana advocates are calling on the governor to veto the legislation.

Yesterday, a final version of SB 5052 passed out the Senate and is on its way to Gov. Jay Inslee, who hasn’t definitively said if he will sign it.

One of the central goals of the bill is to bring the state’s freewheeling medical marijuana market under more regulation by combining it with the recreational market, all of which will be overseen by the newly redubbed Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Control Board. The bill would also create a voluntary registry for patients and allows recreational stores to obtain a medical endorsement so they can serve medical patients.

Proponents of the bill say it’s needed to close down shady medical dispensaries that they say are undermining the recreational system by selling tax-free pot to non-patients. However, medical marijuana advocates have expressed concerns throughout the process that responsible dispensaries, which offer advice and medicinal products to patients in a way recreational stores can’t, would also be swept away.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WW: Pro-ganja members of Congress say feds have it all wrong on medical pot, Oregon's "ganja cops"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 1:47 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

The U.S. Justice Department made clear last week that it won’t back off on prosecuting medical marijuana users despite Congress passing a budget amendment meant to block funding for federal law enforcement activities that “interfere” with state laws that sanction the medicinal use of pot. But the members of Congress who authored the budget amendment say the department has it all wrong.

When the budget rider passed back in December, there was hope that medical marijuana patients facing federal drug charges, such as the Kettle Falls Five, might see their cases dismissed. But the feds found enough wiggle room with the language of the rider to continue prosecuting the case (getting a partial conviction), even though marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes in Washington state.

Last week, a department spokesperson told the LA Times that the language of the budget amendment still allows for cases against individuals or organizations.

U.S. representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), responded by telling the Huffington Post, two members of Congress who authored the budget amendment, that the department is misinterpreting their amendment.

“The Justice Department’s interpretation of the amendment defies logic," Farr told the Huffington Post. "No reasonable person thinks prosecuting patients doesn’t interfere with a state’s medical marijuana laws. Lawyers can try to mince words but Congress was clear: Stop going after patients and dispensaries.”

There is bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate intended to clarify the situation.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

In Oregon, medical dispensaries could start selling recreational pot this summer.

Just watch out for “ganja cops.”

The results of a new survey have found that voters in crucial presidential swing states support medical marijuana.
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Friday, April 3, 2015

No efforts planned to promote marijuana tourism in Washington

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 10:55 AM

If you’ve read this week’s paper, you’ll know that the legal ambiguity over what constitutes private or public when it comes to marijuana consumption can be a tricky subject for businesses wanting to accommodate stoners that just want a social space to light up.

With it being illegal to consume cannabis on the street, pot lounges being clouded by legal ambiguity and hotels generally frowning on smoking anything in their rooms, this issue is particularly acute for the state’s marijuana tourism industry as it seeks to accommodate visitors who might want to light up. Although travelers have come from all over the world to experience the Evergreen State’s pot and the state even has a commission to promote wine tourism, don’t expect Olympia to throw its support behind encouraging people to come to Washington to enjoy its cannabis anytime soon.

David Blandford, Washington Tourism Alliance board member and vice president of communications for Visit Seattle, says that ambiguity over what “public” means for the consumption of pot makes promoting marijuana tourism difficult. That issue aside, he says that promoting marijuana tourism is currently not on the WTA’s agenda because the organization is currently focused at the moment on securing long-term funding from the legislature.

He also says that there are concerns about restrictions on how marijuana can be advertised, and Blanford isn’t even sure that tourists would respond.

“I’m not aware of any research that there is a pot tourism market,” says Blanford. So far, he says, all the evidence has been anecdotal.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

WW: First Church of Cannabis forms, and is medical weed doomed in Oregon?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

In Indiana, cannaterians, adherents of a new church, say they can smoke pot in the state because of a new religious freedom law.

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news over the last week, you’ve probably heard about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Signed by Gov. Mike Pence, it’s meant to protect the rights of religious people and prevents state or local governments from doing anything that will “substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion.”

The law provoked almost immediate backlash, with Apple CEO Tim Cook denouncing it along with a slew of state and local governments banning travel to Indiana.

But for pot smokers in the state, there could be a silver lining to the law.

Shortly after becoming law, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz posted a piece on suggesting that it had the effect of legalizing marijauna — for religious reasons. Citing spiritual traditions such as Rastafarianism or the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church that treat cannabis as a sacrament, Shabazz suggested that a church could be set up in Indiana that incorporates smoking weed into its tenets, giving its adherents a fighting chance of partially legalizing marijuana in a state that doesn’t sanction its use for medicinal or recreational reasons.

“You see, if I would argue that under RFRA, as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scott-free,” he wrote.

The Washington Post reports that Bill Levin has filed paperwork, which has been approved by the Indiana Secretary of State, to set up the First Church of Cannabis.

According to the church’s GoFundMe page, which describes its adherents as “cannaterians,” the first of its 12 commandments is “don’t be an asshole.”

In Oregon, Willamette Week has obtained a memo that suggests that state officials secretly planned to put the state’s medicinal marijuana market under its recreational despite promises that wouldn’t happen. Sound familiar? 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that marijuana taxes are “blood money.”

Colorado’s attorney general says there will be “chaos” if a lawsuit from neighboring Oklahoma and Nebraska challenging its pot legalization law prevails.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WW: Home-growing pot will probably remain illegal, marijuana arrests down in CO and pot's energy use

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 3:56 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Four states and the District of Columbia have all legalized marijuana. But Washington state is the only one of these states that doesn’t allow people to grow their own crop - and that’s not likely to change any time soon.

The Washington State Legislature is likely going to pass a sweeping overhaul to the state’s pot laws, putting the relatively freewheeling medical marijuana market under the much more restrictive recreational market. But the bill leaves out one provision that some lawmakers think is much needed: the ability for Washingtonians to grow their own crop.

Earlier in the session, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle introduced a bill that would have comprehensively reformed the state’s pot laws, including language that would have allowed Washingtonians 21 and older to grow six plants and give up to an ounce to someone else (which they can’t currently).

However, Kohl-Welles' bill ended up stalling in the Republican-controlled Senate, where a competing bill from Sen. Anne Rivers, R- La Center, moved forward. Although Rivers bill is starting to increasingly resemble Kohl-Welles’ bill, it still doesn’t include a grow-your-own provision.

Kohl-Welles has introduced a bill that will explicitly allow people to cultivate their own stash. The preamble to the legislation points out that people can brew their own beer or make their own wine, but can't grow their own pot. But don’t break out the gardening supplies yet. Bills introduced this late in the session typically don’t go anywhere.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

Surprise! Since 2010, marijuana arrests in Colorado have gone down by 90 percent, according to a report from the Drug Policy Alliance. Despite having legalized pot, there are still some things that are illegal in Colorado (i.e. smoking in public) and these mostly petty charges persist for black people when compared to their white counterparts, according to the report.

In Ohio, a marijuana legalization campaign will begin collecting signatures.

Get ready for medical marijuana in Georgia.

New study: Growing marijuana uses up a lot of energy.

Remember Charlo Greene, the Alaska TV reporter who said a curse word and quit on air so she could focus her efforts on her medical marijuana club? Well, that club got raided.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WW: What the kids in WA think about pot, plus medical marijuana for pets in Nevada

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 4:03 PM

When Washington state legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, opponents proclaimed that more permissive attitudes towards pot would trickle down to the kids who would stumble through life a stoned daze and a Cheeto-beard forever marking their faces.

So what do the kids in the Evergreen State think about the pot? State officials decided to ask them.

Earlier this month, the Washington State Department of Health released the results of its Healthy Youth Survey, which asked 200,000 students in 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th grades in Washington state about their attitudes towards drugs and alcohol.

A press release accompanying the results of the survey states that teens in Washington state are increasingly viewing alcohol use to be risky and are drinking less. But state officials expressed alarm over the finding that fewer teens considered marijuana use to be risky.

“We’ve got to take the lessons learned about tactics that helped curb tobacco and alcohol use and put them to good use educating our kids about risks of using other substances,” said state Secretary of Health John Wiesman in a prepared statement. “This includes passing laws limiting youth access to vaping products and funding education campaigns to prevent under-age use of marijuana.”

Statewide, one in five 10th graders and one in four 12th graders used marijuana in the last month, rates that have stayed the same since 2010, while tobacco and alcohol use has gone down in recent years. Teens in these grades also consider the drug as less risky. In 2014, 36 percent of 10th graders considered marrijuana to be risky, down from 46 percent in 2012. For 12th graders, 26 percent found it to be risky in 2014 down from 43 percent in 2012.

So how did Spokane County stack up compared to the rest of the state with marijuana use? Here are some highlights:

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WW: Historic weed legislation, student gives teacher weed cookie and CO pot revenue

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 4:53 PM


Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

The big pot news this week was the historic introduction of legislation that would recognize medical marijuana at the federal level. On Monday, senators Rand Paul, R-Kentucky; Corey Booker, D- New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York introduced a bill that’s intended to remove the threat of federal prosecution currently hanging over patients, doctors and businesses in states with medical marijuana laws.

The bill matters because late last year Congress passed and the president signed into law a spending bill that contained a rider that prevented funds from being used by federal law enforcement to “interfere” with state medical marijuana laws.

The rider gave hope that people currently in jail or facing federal prosecution for growing or possessing medical pot would get off the hook. However, as evidenced in the outcome of the Kettle Falls Five case, which was widely viewed as a test to see how far the feds would go in chasing medical marijuana patients, the language in the rider left enough room for prosecutors to obtain a partial conviction.

The new legislation seeks to make it clear what the federal can and can’t do in the 23 states that have legal marijuana.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

A teen in Birmingham gave a teacher a weed-laced cookie.

A hacked street sign in Montana advises passersby to smoke weed everyday.

Six sheriffs in Colorado are suing the governor over legal pot.

The FDA sent letters to producers of CBD-based products telling them to cease making claims about the medical efficacy of their products.

Indian tribes seeking to grow pot have launched a trade group.

Legal pot in Colorado generated $2.3 million in tax revenue for schools.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WW: Kettle Fall Five (Three?) verdict, God wants legal pot in Texas

Posted By on Wed, Mar 4, 2015 at 1:16 PM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

The big pot news this week was the verdict in the Kettle Falls Five (now Kettle Falls Three) case. The case was viewed as a barometer of how far the feds could and would go in prosecuting people for pot-related activities sanctioned at the state level but illegal at the federal level. It turned out that federal law enforcement would go pretty far, but not as far as they would have liked.

The case involves an Eastern Washington family that was busted on federal pot charges for growing medical marijuana. Although medical marijuana is legal in Washington state, and it became legal for recreational purposes since their initial arrest, U.S. Attorney Michael Ormsby pursued federal charges against the family related to firearms and criminal conspiracy, as well as growing and distributing marijuana.

Although Congress passed legislation intended to defund federal law enforcement activities that “interfered” with state pot laws, the judge allowed the case to proceed anyways. Larry Harvey, faced with terminal illness, saw his charges dropped, and Jason Zucker, a friend of the family who was facing a potentially stiffer sentence because of prior pot convictions, took a plea deal.

According to to the Spokesman-Review, the jury gave the defendants a partial victory, dropping all the charges except for manufacturing. The prosecution unsuccessfully asked the judge to have the defendants arrested and jailed. Sentencing is in June, the paper reports.

"The jury saw through the deceit of the federal government and rightly acquitted on almost all charges," said Kris Hermes, spokesperson with Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, in a prepared statement. "This should signal to the Department of Justice that prosecutions such as the Kettle Falls Five are a waste of time and money and, if anything, should be left to state courts." Because marijuana is illegal under federal law, the government exercised its prosecutorial discretion to exclude all evidence from trial related to medical necessity and compliance with state law.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

A man in Washington D.C., which recently (sort of) legalized marijuana, walked into a police station and asked for his stash back.

Six in 10 young Republicans favor legalizing weed, according to a new poll.

According to a guest on Fox News, “crack babies” come from women “smoking this whole marijuana business.”

Texas lawmaker: “God did not make a mistake when he made marijuana that the government needs to fix.”

Shootings in New York City have increased, in part, because of legalized pot, according to the city’s police commissioner.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WW: Weed bills that made the cut and marijuana news elsewhere

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:32 AM

Welcome back to Weed Wednesday, your weekly dose of pot news. Wondering what this is about? Click. Looking for our previous marijuana coverage? Click. Got a question or tip? Email me at [email protected]

Last week was the cutoff for any new policy bills in the Washington State Legislature. Any bills that didn’t make it out of committee by Feb. 20 are likely dead for the session. Although many bills were introduced, only a handful will become law. Here are the marijuana bills that made the first cut and might just be signed into law.

HB 2000 authorizes the governor to enter into agreements with federally recognized tribes concerning marijuana.

BB 5002 requires drivers to stow away their marijuana while driving

SSB 5051 allows people in the marijuana business to transfer product between one another.

SB 5121 allows people to grow marijuana for research purposes.

SB 5130 prohibits marijuana businesses from being in the proximity of many places children congregate, including arcades (do those still exist?)

SB 5379 adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.

SB 5398 prohibits eating pot food in public.

SB 5401 allows the Liquor Control Board to accept grants and donations to help with weed-related educational efforts.

SB 5402 imposes penalties on adults who help kids acquire pot.

SB 5467 Changes how recreational marijuana is taxed.

SB 5052 overhauls the state’s pot laws putting the largely unregulated medical marijuana market in harmony with the tightly regulated market.

SB 5519 is another bill with the same goal. It’s sponsored by a Democratic state senator and, while it isn’t getting as much traction as the other bill, the two are starting to look a lot alike.

SB 5493 exempts cannabis beauty and health products from the same regulations placed on recreational pot.

SB 5673 would make synthetic cannabinoids, a substance that mimic pot’s effects, illegal.

Here’s the news elsewhere:

Researchers at Yale think they have figured out why weed gives you the munchies.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is also the front-runner in the race for U.S. Senate in her state, is pretty much cool with marijuana legalization.

Two bills have been introduced in Congress that would legalize recreational marijuana.

Marijuana is a pretty low-risk recreational drug compared to pretty much everything else, according to a recent study.

Ohio’s attorney general is harshing on efforts to legalize pot in the state.

Get ready for kosher pot food.

Get ready for legal pot in Washington D.C. (sort of).

Get ready for legal pot in Alaska.
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