Friday, February 27, 2015

Washington Post: End Drug Testing - It's Illogical

by David Downs
Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 10:41 AM

Every day, America seems to wake up a little bit more from the nightmare of pot prohibition. The New York Times now endorses legalization. The San Francisco Chronicle has finally come around on industrial hemp. 

And employers need to stop screening for cannabis, the Washington Post’s Gina Tron argues Wednesday.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cannabis Officially Legal in Alaska and Washington DC; Here’s a Guide to State Laws

by David Downs
Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 10:40 AM

Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC voters legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over in November. And this week two of those measures kick into action in a stunning illustration of the historic sea changes under way in the United States  with regard to the ancient botanical drug.

In Alaska on Tuesday, it became legal for adults 21 and over to posses up to two ounces of pot in public, and to grow up to six plants (three mature). Pipes are now legal as well. (Here's the text of Measure 2.)

In Washington, DC at 12:01 a.m. today, citizens could legally begin possessing up to two ounces and grow up to six plants (three mature). (Full text of Measure 71.)

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Commercial Medical Pot Regulations Floated for California Again

by David Downs
Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 10:51 AM

Lawmakers have begun fleshing out two potential visions for a state-regulated California medical cannabis industry. And while it looks like a replay of last year's failed efforts, there's more to the story.

Assembly Bill 266 was introduced by Assemblymember Ken Cooley of suburban Sacramento and is co-sponsored by the League of California Cities and the California Police Chiefs Association.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The First California Marijuana Legalization 2016 Video Is A Bad Joke

by David Downs
Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 9:59 AM

Some amateur pot legalization advocates in California are providing a teachable moment about drug law reform with arguably the stupidest, most unprofessional and damaging campaign video a team could make.

CCHI’s HashBarTV promo (below) for the Jack Herer Initiative confirms legalization opponents’ worst stereotypes about the drug law reform community.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

California's Top Cop Calls Cannabis 'Inevitable'

by David Downs
Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 10:32 AM

California Attorney General Kamala Harris cemented her to tack to the political middle of the marijuana debate this week, saying that she is now not “morally” opposed to legal cannabis for adults 21 and over, but California has to do it right.

California’s top cop laughed at legalization as late as last year, and was more conservative on pot than her Republican challenger in the 2014 election. 

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Columbia Professor Blasts Media for Parroting Biased Pot Science

by David Downs
Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:06 AM

Carl Hart.
  • Carl Hart.
Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University, blasted shoddy national reporting on cannabis science during a speech in San Francisco on Sunday, noting how reporters fail to add context to cherry-picked findings.

The problem is not scientists over-interpreting results, so much as it is drug war profiteers and lazy members of the press, he said in a keynote address at the International Cannabis Business Conference.

Take the red-hot study about purported differences in the brains of people who regularly smoke pot, Hart said. Scientists found a statistical difference in the two populations, but it’s the press and drug war profiteers who made “inappropriate” claims about the actual functioning of people who use cannabis.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Black Leaders Were Misled About Marijuana, Columbia Professor Says

by David Downs
Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 10:21 AM

Columbia University associate professor and author of 'High Price', Carl Hart speaks Sunday in San Francisco. - CARL HART
  • Carl Hart
  • Columbia University associate professor and author of 'High Price', Carl Hart speaks Sunday in San Francisco.
On Sunday, Columbia University associate professor of psychology Carl Hart delivers  a major business conference keynote in San Francisco on spotting biased marijuana science. He’s also urging the crowd of largely white, affluent attendees at the International Cannabis Business Conference to diversify their new hires, and play a part in helping to correct centuries of racial inequality in America.

A Miami native, Hart grew up around drugs in the hood, and joining the US Air Force helped pay for his higher education. Hart obtained a PhD in neuroscience from the University of Wyoming, and did fellowship and post-graduate work at Columbia, Yale, and UCSF. He's also a father of three and Columbia University's first tenured African-American professor in the sciences.

In 2014, Hart won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for his 2013 book High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. That book details how drugs and drug addiction is a simple, easy scapegoat for much more complicated problems of race and poverty in society.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

East Bay Cities Are Standing Tall in Dispensary Battles With Feds

by David Downs
Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 9:53 AM

Oakland’s effort to block the federal government from seizing Harborside Health Center appears to have helped Berkeley’s efforts to do the same for Berkeley Patients Group.

On Friday, Judge Jon S. Tigar denied government efforts to immediately seize BPG, citing the City of Berkeley’s potential for legal standing in the forfeiture trial of the major dispensary. Judge Tigar granted Berkeley’s motion to stay the forfeiture until the question of Berkeley’s legal standing can be worked out in a federal appeals court.

Judge Tigar explicitly referred to Oakland’s efforts to save Harborside, noting that Oakland had already prevailed in a similar motion to stay the forfeiture of Harborside, pending the outcome of its efforts to appeal its legal standing in the Harborside case.

Both historic cases that raise “novel” legal questions, Tigar wrote, as both cities are appealing for their rights to defend their licensed dispensaries. 

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

East Bay Gets Eaze Medical Cannabis Delivery

by David Downs
Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Fifteen minutes. That's how long it takes for the ‘Uber for medical marijuana’ — Eaze — to drop an eighth-ounce at your door. Now that hard-to-believe service is rolling in the East Bay.

Today, San Francisco-based tech startup Eaze announced an expansion of their service area from San Francisco to the Peninsula, South Bay and “select East Bay areas” totalling 34 cities. Eaze uses a web app to verify a patient’s medical cannabis recommendation and California residency. After verification, members request deliveries anywhere in Eaze’s service area, and a driver will show up in less that fifteen minutes. We’ve gotten drops as fast as four minutes.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Federal Judges Ask Harborside Prosecutor: Why Have You Picked This Fight?

by David Downs
Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 9:20 AM

The federal government is showing signs of exhaustion in its fight against medical cannabis. A member of a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday boldly asked federal prosecutors, “Why have you picked this fight [with the Oakland-licensed dispensary Harborside Health Center]?”

"What's the end game here?" judge Stephen Murphy III asked the prosecution, according to reports from the San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle and other sources.

"In light of the (recent policy changes) it's a little curious we're here in this case," Judge Johnnie Rawlinson added.

The federal prosecutor for US Attorney Melinda Haag said he did not know why the office is still pursuing Harborside.

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