12 States Smoking the Most Cannabis

By Samuel Stebbins and Thomas C. Frohlich, 247WallSt.com

smoking a joint12. California
> Pct. using marijuana in past year: 14.9%
> Total users: 4,633,000 (the highest)
> Pct. using illicit drugs other than marijuana in past month: 4.2% (3rd highest)
> Max. fine for possession: $500

Nearly 15% of California residents 12 years and older said they smoked marijuana in the past year, the 12th highest share of all states. California was the first state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana use. Proposition 215 passed with 56% of the vote in 1996 and erased criminal penalties for possession of the drug. Now, Californians are permitted the possession of as much as 8 ounces of usable marijuana, six mature plants, and 12 immature plants for medical use. With a physician’s recommendation, a patient may be treated with marijuana for AIDS, anorexia, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, and seizures associated with a range of conditions including epilepsy.

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Ruling Forces County to Give Employee Fired for Cannabis his Job Back, Pay $21,000 in Back Pay

Michael Hirsch, a 60-year-old prostate cancer survivor who has spent years working as a programmer and systems analyst with Lane County, Oregon, was fired in December after two human resource employees reported that they smelt cannabis on him, and he subsequently failed a drug test.

Now, Arbitrator Jeffrey Jacobs has ruled that the country must give Hirsch his job back. Not only that, they must pay Hirsch $21,550 in back pay for the nearly half a year of work he missed.

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Michigan’s Drug-Testing Welfare Program has Yielded Zero Positive Results so far

By Ryan Felton, TheGuardian.com

snyboy

Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder – who signed the legislation to launch the program in December 2014 – declined to comment about its progress. (Photo: Carlos Osorio/AP)

Not a single welfare recipient or applicant has tested positive for banned drugs in a Michigan pilot program, part of the growing practice of screening beneficiaries of government assistance for drug abuse.

The program, which ends on 30 September, may face renewed scrutiny in the wake of Wisconsin congresswoman Gwen Moore’s proposed legislation to force taxpayers with more than $150,000 of itemized deductions to submit to the IRS a clear drug test. Under the legislation, applicants who refuse the test would be required to take the significantly lower standard deduction when filing their taxes.

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Oregon Garners $15 Million in Cannabis Taxes in First Five Months of 2016

Cannabis being sold at Pure Green in Portland.

Cannabis being sold at Pure Green in Portland.

Legal cannabis sales in Oregon have netted the state roughly $15 million in taxes in the first five months of the year (from January 1st to May 30th). This is according to data released by the Oregon Department of Revenue.

Although the number pales in comparison to the $50 million in taxes Colorado has gained from cannabis sales in just the first four months of this year, Oregon’s sales are based strictly on the relatively small number of medical cannabis dispensaries that have opted to take advantage of a law passed last year that allows them to sell to anyone 21 and older – patient or not – until licensed cannabis retail outlets open next year (these outlets will be licensed by the Oregon Liquor Commission).

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Iowa Democratic Party Makes Legalizing All Drugs an Official Party Platform

iowaIn a surprise move, the Iowa Democratic Party at their annual convention on Sunday voted to make legalizing all drugs an official party platform, indicating that they support and will work towards it.

In total, the Iowa Democrats adopted 563 official party planks, with “legalizing all drugs” being #293. Although elected Democrats are free to ignore the party’s planks, the planks are meant to serve as a manifesto of sorts in regards to th Democrat’s values, beliefs and goals.

“I was kind of stunned that it got through the convention, but that’s what the convention wanted,” says Mike Robinson, chairman of the platform committee.

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Signatures Submitted on Massachusetts Legalization Initiative, Likely to be on November Ballot

budbdAccording to Jim Borghesani, spokesman for the Massachusetts Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group has submitted more than twice the amount of signatures required to put their cannabis legalization initiative on this November’s ballot.

In total, the group was required to submit roughly 10,000 signatures by this evening in order to qualify their initiative for the ballot. According to Borghensani, they’ve submitted over twice that amount; 25,000. This all but guarantees that the initiative will be voted on this November; it will be officially place on the ballot once the state verifies that at least 10,792 of the 25,000 signatures are from registered Massachusetts voters (with any duplicate signature being disqualified).

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New Orleans Cannabis Decrim Bill Now in Effect

cannabisjointandbudOrdinance #31,148, a proposal to establish a ticket for the possession of small amounts of cannabis, took full effect today in New Orleans.

Under the new law- signed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu in March – if someone is caught possessing up to 14 grams of cannabis, law enforcement now has the option of issuing them a simple ticket, rather than arresting and charging them with a crime as the law currently mandates. Tickets will range in cost from $40, to a maximum of $100. However, those caught with cannabis in a drug free zone, such as a city park or school, will still be arrested and charged.

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Study: Cannabinoids Reverse the Effects of Stress on Neurocognitive Performance

stressA new study published in the July, 2016 issue of the journal Learning & Memory, and published online by the U.S. National Institute of Health, has found that cannabinoids reverse the effects of stress on neurocognitive performance in young adults.

“Early life stress (ES) significantly increases predisposition to psychopathologies [mental illness or mental distress]”, states the study’s abstract. “Here we examined whether cannabinoids administered during “late adolescence” (extensive cannabis use in humans at the ages 18-25) could reverse the long-term adverse effects of ES on neurocognitive function in adulthood.”

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AR: Enough Signatures Submitted to Put Medical Cannabis Legalization on November Ballot

Arkansans for Compassionate Care, a group working to place an initiative to legalize medical cannabis on this November’s ballot in Arkansas, has announcedarkansas that they’ve submitted over 110,000 signatures to do just that. This is well more than the 67,887 required to put the measure to a vote, though it won’t be officially place on the ballot until the state verifies that enough of the signatures are valid (from registered Arkansas voters).

“Over the past two years, we’ve talked to tens of thousands of voters across the state,” says Campaign Director Melissa Fults. “Most Arkansans agree it is time to give sick and dying patients safe and legal access to medical cannabis when their doctors think it’s the best treatment option for them, and they will have the opportunity to do it this November.”

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California Democratic Party Endorses Initiative to Legalize Cannabis

california democratic party

(Photo: TahoeDailyTribune.com)

Today, the campaign in support of the California Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), a cannabis legalization initiative that will appear on the November 2016 statewide ballot, announced that it has received the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party. This is the first time the California Democrats have endorsed a citizens initiative to legalize cannabis.

“This landmark action by the California Democratic Party underscores the responsible and consensus approach of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and strengthens what is already the largest, most enthusiastic and most diverse coalition ever assembled in support of a marijuana legalization effort,” says Brian Brokaw, AUMA’s Campaign Manager.

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Rhode Island Legislature Passes Proposal to Make PTSD a Medical Cannabis Condition

ptsdPost traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would be added as a qualifying medical cannabis condition in Rhode Island under a proposal approved by the state’s full legislature. The vote in the Senate was unanimous, and the vote in the House of Representatives was 67 to 1. It now goes to Governor Gina Raimondo for consideration.

If signed into law by Governor Raimondo, or allowed to become law without her signature, PTSD wold join conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and epilepsy that allow an individual to purchase, possess and use medical cannabis, given of course they receive a recommendation from a physician.

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DEA Attorney: Cannabis to be Rescheduled on August 1st

budmedAccording to the Santa Monica Observer, on August 1st the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will reschedule cannabis from a schedule 1 controlled substance, to a schedule 2 controlled substance, allowing it to be used and researched for medical purposes.

According to the Observer, a DEA attorney who wishes to remain anonymous made it clear that the agency, on August 1st, plans to remove cannabis as a schedule 1 drug – which indicates that it has no known medical value – and place it as a schedule 2 drug, allowing it to be used for medical purposes (other schedule 2 drugs include cocaine and Oxycontin).

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New York Assembly Passes Bill to Seal Records for Cannabis Misdemeanor Convictions

New York's State Seal.

New York’s State Seal.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee Crystal Peoples-Stokes yesterday announced the passage of legislation that would permit the permanent sealing of certain cannabis convictions in an effort to curb the long lasting effects of criminal records.

Currently, an individual charged with possession of 25 grams of cannabis or less is charged with a violation, similar to a traffic offense with no criminal record. However, many times officers request that a suspect empty his or her pockets or purse, observe cannabis within the contents, and then charge them with the misdemeanor for possessing cannabis in a public place and open to public view.

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New Jersey Assembly Passes Bill to Add PTSD as Qualifying Medical Cannabis Condition

(Photo: mychronicrelief.com)

(Photo: mychronicrelief.com)

New Jersey’s full Assembly has voted 55 to 14 to pass legislation that would add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying medical cannabis condition. Assembly Bill 457 now heads towards a vote in the Senate, where its passage will send it to Governor Chris Christie for consideration.

If passed into law, AB 457 would allow those with PTSD to purchase, possess and use medical cannabis, given they receive a recommendation from a physician. The measure is similar to Assembly Bill 3726, which was passed by New Jersey’s full Assembly last year with a 53 to 13 vote, but failed to advance in the Senate.

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U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Proposal to Allow Cannabis Banking

cannabis bankingThe U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee today gave approval to an amendment that would allow banks to provide services to cannabis businesses that are legal under their state’s law. The amendment, put forth by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), was made to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill.

The amendment would prevent government entities from spending any federal funds to prohibit or penalize banks and other financial institutions for providing services to cannabis businesses that are legal under state law. Currently most legal cannabis businesses are cash-only, as banks have been unwilling to work with them under fear of the federal government getting involved.

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