Friday, October 30, 2015

As Ohio Preps for Legalization Vote, the Movement Is Split in Two; It's a Bad Omen for California

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 1:39 PM

The unlikely state of Ohio is set to vote on legalization next week, and the whole debacle should send a chill down the spine of California reformers this Halloween.

Ohio's Issue 3 would end cannabis prohibition in the Midwestern state, but limit commercial pot cultivation to ten companies that backed the Initiative. lists some of the cartel members:
Former 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey
Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker
Dayton pain specialist Suresh Gupta
WEBN radio host Frank Wood
Barbara Gould, a philanthropist based in Indian Hill
University of Cincinnati basketball star Oscar Robertson
Paul Heldman, former general counsel of The Kroger Co.
Woody Taft, a descendant of President William Howard Taft

The cartel's idea has split the national reform community, Forbes notes, with one side supporting prohibition’s end, despite the oligopoly, and the other set of legalizers ready to vote with police for continued pot prohibition in Ohio.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Legalization Advocates Feel The Bern! Sanders Calls Pot Prohibition 'Absurd'

by David Downs
Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 10:24 AM

Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders electrified the pot law reform community Wednesday with a speech at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he became the first presidential candidate to support fully ending federal pot prohibition.

“A criminal record stays with us for our entire life,” Sanders told the crowd. “A criminal record destroys lives.”


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Friday, October 23, 2015

Gallup: Marijuana Legalization Support Holds at 58 Percent

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 10:11 AM

More Americans support legalizing marijuana than they approve of the sitting president, or support any of the 2016 presidential candidates. On Wednesday, Gallup released the results of its latest poll on pot sentiment, and it showed that majority of Americans — 58 percent — favored legalization for the third consecutive year. Younger folks were more enthusiastic about it than older folks. But older folks are way more supportive than retirees in previous polls. 

Support for legalizing cannabis started at 12 percent in 1969 and climbed to 25 percent by the late '70s. Reformers back then thought the nation was on the cusp of legalizing cannabis, but were wrong. Support climbed into the 30s by the year 2000 and past 40 percent by 2009.

We are now three years into legalization in Colorado and Washington, with Oregon, Washington DC and Alaska now legal, too. Thirty-five states have a medical marijuana or cannabidiol law.

“The topic has been an issue on the 2016 presidential campaign trail, and several candidates have expressed a willingness to let states set their own marijuana laws even though federal law prohibits marijuana use,” Gallup states.

Among the young, 71 percent of 18-34 year-old support legalizing it.

But the swing vote is older folks. Thirty-five percent of senior citizens support legalization today, up from just 4 percent in 1969. We’ve reported how seniors are the new swing vote for legalization. About 10,000 Baby Boomers hit retirement age every day in America.

All-time support for legalization linked to changing mores of senior citizens. - DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE
  • Drug Policy Alliance
  • All-time support for legalization linked to changing mores of senior citizens.

[Related: Listen to "
Why Seniors Are Using Medical Marijuana", from our podcast, The Hash]

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

‘We Won the War!’: Reaction to Landmark Medical Marijuana Ruling

by David Downs
Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 10:31 AM

The four year-old federal crackdown on state-legal medical cannabis businesses in California may be over. On Monday, widely respected United States District Judge Charles R. Breyer lifted an injunction against the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana and its operator Lynette Shaw. In doing so, Judge Breyer set case precedent which will almost certainly be used by Harborside Health Center and Berkeley Patients Group in their fight against federal forfeiture.

Lynette Shaw (via Instagram)
  • Lynette Shaw (via Instagram)
Breyer ruled that Congress meant what it said it meant when it de-funded the Department of Justice’s war on medical marijuana in December, and again in June: to back off of state-legal medical pot.

The DOJ has been interpreting the historic Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment far more narrowly — continuing to prosecute state-legal operators.

Breyer called Justice’s reading of the Cromnibus spending rider passed in December “tortured.” Breyer agreed with the plain reading of the law — preventing the DOJ from “interfering” with the “implementation” of state medical marijuana laws.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Exclusive: Oakland’s Big New Pot Plan

Oakland plans to capitalize on the state’s new regulations, and is proposing to double the number of pot shops, and to license farms, couriers, hash labs, and more. But some existing clubs don’t want the competition.

by David Downs
Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 2:06 PM

The City of Oakland is swiftly moving to capitalize on California’s historic, state-level medical marijuana regulations with a vast expansion of The Town’s cannabis industry permits system. The number of permitted dispensaries could double from eight to sixteen, or the cap on dispensary permits could be eliminated entirely.

Oakland also is planning to offer a path to citizenship for its underground medical canna-businesses — a path that would include background checks, and licensing and taxing commercial growers, hash-makers, edibles kitchens, and testing labs.

Hundreds of permits in a dozen classes — from distributor to processor — could become available to entrepreneurs, generating thousands of legal jobs, and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue annually for the city. Oakland is aiming to become the regional hub for a transparent, fully licensed medical cannabis industry — and then a recreational one, if California voters legalize pot for adult use next year.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

California Marijuana Legalization In Disarray — Campaigns Late, Divided

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 16, 2015 at 12:12 PM

The activists working to legalize cannabis in California in 2016 are running behind schedule and remain seriously divided. We are 388 days before Californians are likely to go to the polls and vote on some form of end to the war on marijuana in the Golden State.

The Secretary of State advised reformers to file their ballot language by July 7 and begin signature-gathering by September 10. What was once the leading group, ReformCA, submitted its language in October, but has not begun signature-gathering. The group also failed to show sufficient campaign finances.

The delay in filing ReformCA’s language was caused by the California Legislature crafting historic medical cannabis regulations, said Dale Gieringer, ReformCA member and head of California NORML. Gieringer provided a legalization update at the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission meeting at City Hall on Thursday evening.

Activists gather signatures in San Bernardino to legalize cannabis in 2014. The effort failed. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • Activists gather signatures in San Bernardino to legalize cannabis in 2014. The effort failed.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

California Reacts to New Medical Cannabis Regulations

by David Downs
Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 9:52 AM

In the immortal words of Vice President Joe Biden: “You know, this is a big fucking deal.”

The California cannabis industry and patients continue to digest three massive new laws signed Friday by Governor Brown to regulate medical cannabis for the first time.

Mostly, the opinions are positive, though plenty of patients, growers, and collectives have problems with various aspects of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA).

Legislative Harvest: the 2015 crop will be among the last to lack a track and track system. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • Legislative Harvest: the 2015 crop will be among the last to lack a track and track system.

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Friday, October 9, 2015

Breaking: New Era Begins, Governor Jerry Brown Signs Into Law Historic Medical Cannabis Regulations

by David Downs
Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 3:44 PM

A new era for the world's oldest, largest medical cannabis economy begins today.

Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law this afternoon three bills that regulate medical marijuana in California for the first time. 

In a signing statement, Brown wrote that the bills:
"establish a long-overdue comprehensive regulatory framework for the production, transportation, and sale of medical marijuana. ... state agencies will begin working immediately with experts and stakeholders on crafting clear guidelines, so local government, law enforcement, businesses, patients and health providers can prepare and adapt to the new regulated system.

This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system. This send a clear and certain signal to our federal counterparts that California is implementing robust controls not only on paper, but in practice."
Read more about the winners and losers of California's historic new regulations, as well as what's in the bills

Keep reading Legalization Nation for more on what's next. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cops, Cannabis Industry Unite to Urge Governor Brown to Sign Medical Marijuana Regulations

by David Downs
Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 10:16 AM

All eyes are on Jerry Brown as a united chorus — from the cannabis industry to police to cities and state lawmakers — is urging the governor to sign a trio of bills regulating medical marijuana for the first time. Brown has until October 11 to sign AB 266, SB 643, and AB 243. If that deadline lapses, the bills can be chaptered without the governor’s signature and will become law.

Capitol insiders say it would be very strange for the governor to either veto or just plain not sign the bills. The Governor’s Office brokered the final language of the bills. Insiders suspect the wait is a matter of pomp and circumstance.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Governor Brown Vetoes New Hash Crimes Legislation

by David Downs
Wed, Oct 7, 2015 at 11:27 AM

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a law creating new penalties for hurting others while extracting cannabis with flammable chemicals. Brown said California has enough criminal laws, and has a terrible prison overcrowding problem.The state needs to pause before making the problem worse.

The hash problem: California has seen a rise in explosions and fires caused by chemical extraction of cannabis, usually by butane. But it’s already a crime to make “butane hash oil” — BHO. Arson and criminal negligence are also already crimes in California.

After a BHO fire in Walnut Creek, Assembly Bill 849 from East Bay Assemblymember Susan Bonilla wanted to send a message to hash blasters by creating a new crime carrying prison sentences of up to six years for BHO-makers who hurt others. The bill passed the Assembly unanimously on August 31.

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