Early Voting Underway for Ohio Legalization Initiative, New Poll Shows Support at 53%

A new Quinnipiac University poll has found that in the midst of early voting taking place in Ohioohiojoint, 53% of voters in the state are in support of legalizing recreational cannabis. The poll is good news for advocates of Issue 3, a proposal put forth by ResponsibleOhio which would legalize cannabis for everyone 21 and older and is on next month’s general election ballot.

According to the poll, which we received through press release, just 44% of voters in Ohio oppose legalizing cannabis.

Although the poll didn’t specifically mention Issue 3, the poll clearly demonstrates that the measure is in a good position to pass, with support for legalization nearly 10% higher than the opposition.

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Massachusetts: 50,000 Signatures Collected on Initiative to Legalize Cannabis in Less than 3 Weeks

legalizemeyoLess than three weeks after launching their signature drive, the Massachusetts Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has announced that they’ve already collected 50,000 signatures on their initiative to legalize cannabis, over 70% of the 65,000 signatures required to put it to a vote.

Although 65,000 signatures are required, the group is aiming for 100,000 to account for invalid signatures (any signature from someone who’s not a registered Massachusetts voter, and any duplicate signature). If the group is successful in collecting the remainder of the signatures by November 18th, their initiative will be placed in front of the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature chooses not to pass the measure into law, advocates will be given the opportunity to collect 10,792 signatures in June to place the initiative on the November, 2016 ballot.

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Illinois Panel Approves Medical Cannabis Use for Eight New Conditions

By Associated Press

illinoisAn advisory board voted Wednesday to add eight health conditions — including chronic pain syndrome, autism, osteoarthritis and post-traumatic stress disorder — to the list of illnesses that can be treated by medical marijuana in Illinois.

The state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board had expressed frustration last month when Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration rejected its first 11 suggestions for expanding the list of medical conditions. Osteoarthritis and PTSD were on that earlier list, so Wednesday’s votes reaffirmed the board’s viewpoint and put the matter back in Rauner’s hands.

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Michigan House Approves Bills to Legalize Medical Cannabis Dispensaries and Edibles

jilly-bean-medical-marijuana-weed-strain-thcf-jillybeanweedWith a 95 to 11 vote, Michigan’s full House of Representatives gave approval today to a trio of bills that would establish a system of medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers, while also legalizing the use and distribution of cannabis edibles such as brownies and tinctures.

House Bills 4209, 4210 and 4827 would legalize the distribution of medical cannabis through state-licensed dispensaries, which would get their cannabis from licensed cultivation centers. In addition to distributing dried cannabis flower, dispensaries will be authorized to distribute cannabis-infused products such as tinctures and cannabis cookies.

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6,000 Federal Drug Offenders to be Released Early on November 1st

By Drug Policy Alliance

opencuffsStarting November 1, 6,000 federal prisoners are to be released from federal prison, a move that is the result of changes made by the U.S. Sentencing Commission last year that lowered federal sentencing guidelines for people convicted under draconian drug war-era laws.

“It warms my heart to hear that 6,000 people will be coming home,” said Anthony Papa, manager of media relations at the Drug Policy Alliance, who spent 12 years behind bars on a mandatory minimum drug sentence. “The drug war has devastated families and communities and it is time for the healing to begin.”

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Pennsylvania Committee Unanimously Approves Hemp Legalization Bill

hempPennsylvania’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee has given unanimously approval to House Bill 967, a proposal to allow for the production and cultivation of industrial hemp.

The measure, sponsored by Republican State Representative Russ Diamond, would create a pilot program for industrial hemp research which would be conducted by university researchers and the state’s Department of Agriculture.

“There’s an enormous amount of confusion and misinformation around industrial hemp”, says Representative Diamond. “It’s not marijuana and you can’t get high from it… It’s a naturally occurring plant that’s incredibly strong and durable, making it ideal for use in a wide variety of consumer products.”

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Here Comes the Big One: ReformCA Files its California Cannabis Legalization Initiative

reformcaBy Phillip Smith, StopTheDrugWar.org

SACRAMENTO, CA — The California Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, also known as ReformCA, has filed a draft marijuana legalization initiative with state officials, the group announced Sunday. The long-anticipated move means the campaign best-placed to bring legalization to the Golden State can finally get underway.

The Control, Regulate and Tax Cannabis Act of 2016 would allow people 21 and over to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana and it would set up legal marijuana commerce overseen by a pair of new state agencies, the California Cannabis Commission and the Office of Cannabis Regulatory Affairs.

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Hemp Legalization Bill Clears North Carolina Senate, Heads to Governor

I'm told this is industrial hemp, which grows wild on the preserve.North Carolina’s full Senate – with an 101 to 7 vote – has given approval to an amended version of Senate Bill 313, which allows industrial hemp to be cultivated in the state for the first time in decades. Having already passed the House of Representatives, it now heads to Governor Pat McCrory for consideration.

If signed into law by Governor McCrory, or allowed to become law without his signature, the measure would establish an Industrial Hemp Commission which would oversee a hemp pilot program. The commission would be tasked with granting licenses to farmers as well as the state’s A&T University to cultivate industrial hemp.

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U.S. Attorney General Says She Supports State Cannabis Laws


U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says that states should be allowed to decide their own cannabis laws, even if that means they legalize it for recreational use.

“I think states have to make those decisions on their own”, Lunch said in an interview with NBC on Thursday “They listen to their citizens and they take actions”.

Lynch did note that in order for states to avoid federal interference, they need to; “have a system designed to, number one, mitigate violence associated with their marijuana industries. And number two, and perhaps most importantly, keep young people, children away from the products.”

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American Academy of Family Physicians Endorses Decriminalizing and Rescheduling Cannabis

aafpCannabis consumption, both for medical and recreational purposes, can be a divisive issue for many doctors. Now, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), representing over 100,000 family physicians (as well as students and residents), has taken a stand on the issue, and made their opinion clear.

On Wednesday, the AAFP held their annual Congress of Delegates and passed two resolutions regarding cannabis. The first, Resolution No. 503, put forth by delegates from the State of New York, calls for the decriminalization of cannabis. It was originally written to secure the organization’s support for full legalization, but, after some deliberation, delegates came to the compromise of altering it to support decriminalization.

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Senate Reaches Deal to Reduce Prison Population and Reform Mandatory Minimums

By Drug Policy Alliance

cuffsCriminal Justice Legislation Lowers Drug Sentences, Increases Early Release and Returns Some Discretion to Judges

Bipartisan Compromise Bill Backed by Top Democrats And Republicans Amid Public Demands to End Mass Incarceration

Today, a bipartisan group of Senators announced a historic deal on criminal justice reform, rounding out a negotiation process that has lasted almost five months. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, spearheaded by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), will involve reductions in mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses, an expansion of the federal “safety valve” (which allows judges to use their discretion to sentence people below statutory mandatory minimums), and will expand reentry programming and early release, among other things.

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Study: Patients Report Substituting Cannabis For Booze, Prescription Drugs

medcannabisBy Paul Armentano, NORML

Patients who possess legal access to cannabis frequently substitute it in place of alcohol and prescription drugs, according to survey data published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Investigators from the University of Victoria in British Columbia assessed the influence of medical marijuana access on other drug-taking behaviors in a cohort of 473 Canadian adults licensed to engage in cannabis therapy.

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Oregon Officially Becomes Third State Allowing Legal Recreational Cannabis Sales

nuggetLegal recreational cannabis sales are now occurring throughout Oregon, with over 200 dispensaries distributing to anyone 21 and older.

Beginning today, October 1st, the distribution of up to a quarter ounce of cannabis, or up to four cannabis seedlings, is legal for most medical cannabis dispensaries, given the person they’re selling to is at least 21 years old. According to Oregon’s official, there are 241 medical cannabis dispensaries throughout the state which will be participating in recreational sales; a full list of these outlets, including contact information and addresses, can be found by clicking here.

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DEA Agents Keep Jobs Despite Distributing Drugs, Falsifying Official Records and Other Misconduct

By Brad Heath and Meghan Hoyer, USA Today

A sign with a DEA badge marks the entrance to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington, VirginiaThe U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has allowed its employees to stay on the job despite internal investigations that found they had distributed drugs, lied to the authorities or committed other serious misconduct, newly disclosed records show.

Lawmakers expressed dismay this year that the drug agency had not fired agents who investigators found attended “sex parties” with prostitutes paid with drug cartel money while they were on assignment in Colombia. The Justice Department also opened an inquiry into whether the DEA is able to adequately detect and punish wrongdoing by its agents.

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Puerto Rico Governor Signs Executive Order Decriminalizing Cannabis Possession

puertoEarlier this week Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Padilla Garcia signed an executive order into law that removes the possibility of criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of cannabis.

The new law, which went into effect immediately, decriminalizes the possession of up to six grams of cannabis, removing the possibility of jail time or a criminal offense for those caught with such an amount. However, someone caught possessing up to six grams of cannabis may still be subject to a fine or mandatory rehabilitation.

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