California Fair Sentencing Act Signed Into Law

By Phillip Smith,

California Gov. Jerry Brown Sunday signed into law the Fair Sentencing Act, which will undo racial disparities in the sentencing of cocaine offenders underfsa laws passed during the crack cocaine hysteria of the 1980s. Brown did not issue a signing statement.

The law, Senate Bill 1010, eliminates sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine offenses. It also eliminates related disparities in probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for those offenses.

“Whether sold as crack or powder, used on the street or in a corporate penthouse, the penalty for cocaine use should be the same for everybody,” said Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), chair of California’s Legislative Black Caucus. “My bill establishes fairness in sentencing. We must break the drug-driven cycle of arrest, lock-up, unemployability and re-arrest,” Mitchell went on to say. “The law isn’t supposed to be a pipeline that disproportionately channels the young, urban and unemployed into jail and joblessness.”

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New York Seeks Federal Permission to Import Medical Cannabis from Other States

In a letter sent to the U.S. Justice Department, New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker is requesting federal permission to import medicalnymc cannabis from other states so that children and adults with seizure disorders can get their medication sooner than the state will be able to develop its own system of administering the plant.

“This is an extremely important issue to us, and it will help many children and young adults,” says Zucker in the letter sent to Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, which was obtained by The Buffalo News. “As a pediatrician myself, I cannot urge you enough to consider this exception to the present law as we all only want the best for these young patients”.

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New Jersey: Bill Filed to Add PTSD as Qualifying Medical Cannabis Condition

A proposal to add post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of conditions that qualifies someone to become a medical patient was filed this week in New Jersey. Assembly Bill 3726, which has been assigned to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee, is sponsored by Assemblymembers Vincent Mazzeo and Linda Stender.

The move would be in line with a plethora of recent science which has found that cannabis, or the compounds within it, are helpful in treating PTSD.

For example: In November, a government-funded study using human trials found that “the cannabinoid system may serve as a promising target for innovative intervention strategies (e.g. pharmacological enhancement of exposure-based therapy) in PTSD and other fear learning-related disorders.”

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Seattle’s Second Recreational Cannabis Retail Outlet Plans to Open Tuesday

Uncle Ike’s will become Seattle’s second recreational cannabis retail outlet on Tuesday when ituncle opens at 2310 East Union Street. According to owner Ian Eisenberg, he received a license to open the shop from the state’s Liquor Control Board earlier this week, and says they should be ready to sell cannabis to anyone 21 and older come Tuesday.

Uncle Ike’s will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 7PM, and will be closed on Mondays. Some of the strains they plan to carry on opening day includes Lemon Kush, Snoop’s Dream and Pineberry.

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Maryland Proposal to Decriminalize Cannabis Takes Effect Wednesday

A proposal to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis will officially take effect on Wednesday, October 1st in Maryland.marijuana3

Senate Bill 364, which was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley in April, decriminalizes the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, making it a simple $100 ticket for someone’s first offense. A second offense will be a ticket of $250, and all subsequent tickets will carry a maximum fine of $500. Under no circumstance will the personal possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis result in a criminal charge under the new law.

Under current Maryland law, the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor which carries with it a potential 90 day jail sentence.

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The Culture High, A Movie Everyone Should See

In 2007, The Union: The Business Behind Getting High was released, and immediatelych made an impact. Advocates of cannabis reform latched on to its powerful messages and entertaining style of presentation, and shared it among their friends, family and colleagues, especially those who may not have been supportive of cannabis or cannabis legalization, but open to discussing the matter. The movie’s impact continued to grow in subsequent years, as more and more states and localities began to decriminalize and legalize cannabis, for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Now, seven years later, the makers of The Union are releasing its follow-up, titled The Culture High.

The Culture High releases in theaters on October 17th, with special releases in New York and LA on the 3rd and 10th. We were sent a copy of the film early, and will say right away that we recommend it to everyone. Those who are supportive of cannabis law reform will find themselves applauding the movie’s clear and concise reasons for why cannabis prohibition (and the drug war as a whole) is a failure, and those that don’t know much about cannabis or cannabis prohibition will find themselves shocked to learn some of the truth surrounding it, and will be entertained along the way by the movie’s fast-paced and intellectual conservations and information.

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Study: CBD Administration Associated with Improved Quality of Life in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

By Paul Armentano, NORML

The administration of cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, is associated with improved quality of life in patients with Parkinson’s diseasecbd, according clinical trial data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Investigators at the University of São Paulo in Brazil assessed the efficacy of CBD versus placebo in 21 subjects with Parkinson’s. Authors reported that the administration of 300 mg doses of CBD per day was associated with “significantly different mean total scores” in subjects’ well-being and quality of life compared to placebo.

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Open to Rescheduling Cannabis, But Will Soon Resign

Attorney General Eric Holder is open to rescheduling cannabis, removing it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance which finds it alongside dangerous drugs such as

“I think it’s certainly a question that we need to ask ourselves — whether or not marijuana is as serious a drug as is heroin,” Holder said in a Yahoo interview with Katie Kouric. “The question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that I think we need to ask ourselves, and use science as the basis for making that determination.”

Holder’s announcement that he’s open to rescheduling cannabis comes at the same time as reports that he will resign as soon as a replacement is found; Eric Holder is one of the original members of President Obama’s Cabinet.

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Initiative to Defelonize Drug Possession in California Leading 62% to 25% in Newest Poll

New polling released Tuesday by the47 Public Policy Institute of California has found that Proposition 47, an initiative to defelonize certain nonviolent crimes including personal drug possession, is currently favored by 62% of voters in the state, with just 25% opposed. The proposal will be voted on this November.

Proposition 47, titled the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, would remove felony charges for the personal possession of illegal substances, reducing the sentence to a misdemeanor (unless the person has a history of violent crimes). It would also defelonize other nonviolent offenses including petty theft and check fraud.

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Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis Approved by Pennsylvania Senate

Pennsylvania’s Senate has voted 43 to 7 to legalize medical cannabis through the passage of Senate Bill 1182. The7878545medical-marijuana-rx proposal now heads to the House of Representatives, where its passage will send it to Governor Tom Corbett for consideration.

Under Senate Bill 1182, the possession and use of cannabis oils, tinctures and edibles will be legal for those with a qualifying condition who receive a recommendation from a physician, and a license from the Pennsylvania Department of Health; qualifying conditions include cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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