Anthony is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog. He has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for King County (WA) Councilmember Dave Upthegrove. He has been published by multiple media outlets, and is a former contributor for Village Voice Media. Anthony can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.
Despite having support for medical cannabis below the national average, recent polling has found that 58 percent of residents in North Carolina believe that cannabis should be legal for medical purposes.
With this in mind, knowing he has the backing of his constituents, State Representative Kelly Alexander, Jr. will be introducing a bill on Wednesday (tomorrow) that would legalize medical cannabis in the state.
“This is for people who are undergoing chemotherapy. There are a lot of reasons that medical cannabis will help them”, Rep Alexander told the media.
At the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference this week, researchers at the University of Aukland (yeah, we hadn’t heard of it either) are presenting a study, in which they’ve “found” that cannabis consumers are 2.3 times more likely to have a stroke. This story hasn’t hit the media too hard yet, but it will soon, as they tend to love anti-cannabis propaganda such as this.
First, we’d like to note that the study only had 160 participants. All were stroke victims. There way of determining the increase was that those who tested positive for cannabis in their urine were apparently 2.3 times more likely to have had a stroke than those of the same gender/age group. If you’re thinking about this like we are, we strongly question the scientific integrity of this method.
What’s even worse? All but one of the cannabis consumers in the study also smoke tobacco.
According to an Associated Press report, a bill will be introduced tomorrow that will end our federal prohibition on cannabis.
The measure, which is said to have bipartisan support, is being sponsored by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis. and Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer.
If passed, it would regulate cannabis similar to how our government handles alcohol. Cannabis would be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s jurisdiction, and given to the renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms.
Those growing or selling legal cannabis would need to obtain a federal permit, and laws would still apply to those transporting cannabis from a state where it’s legal, to one where it’s not.
The bill is apparently inspired by a past legalization measure sponsored by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul.
Rep. Blumenauer, on the same day, will be introducing a companion bill that would tax cannabis, creating an excise tax of 50% at “first sale” (such as from a grower to a processor, or retailer). It would also tax producers at $1,000 annually, and other cannabis businesses at $500.
“People are suffering every day in the state of Maryland, and they are being subjected to going out on the streets to get the relief we should be providing,” Said Maryland State Delegate Cheryl Glenn.
Continuing her efforts from past years, Cheryl has introduced a bill – which gets a hearing Tuesday – to add an affirmative defense for medical cannabis caregivers, and will be filing another bill soon.
The affirmative defense bill is similar to legislation Cherly filed in 2012, and which passed the senate in 2011. However, additional sponsors have been gathered, and despite just a year’s time, the conversation has changed tremendously. The governor has also been mum on what he’ll do if medical cannabis legislation is passed this session, when in past years he’s threatened a veto.
SB 902 would direct the state to construct regulations and licenses for medical cannabis access points. SB 914 would significantly reduce the criminal penalties associated with possessing an ounce an a half or less of cannabis.
The bad news? Republican Senator Brian Crain, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Select Agencies, the committee that would need to vote through either bill to get it to the senate floor, has been very clear that he will deny it a vote.
In what’s surely to be a horror story for cannabis consuming football fans, a man who lives on Vancouver Island was denied entrance in to the country – making him miss the Super Bowl he had tickets for – because of a prior cannabis possession charge. The charge was for 2 grams, and happened over 30 years ago.
Even worse, the chances of him obtaining his Super Bowl tickets to begin with were one in four million; Myles Wilkinson gained his tickets through a fantasy football contest, where over four million people attempted to win the same prize.
An update from Show-Me Cannabis, an organization working to reform cannabis policies in the State of Missouri:
We weren’t expecting an announcement about this until the bills are actually introduced next week, but it looks like the word is out. Missouri Representative Rory Ellinger will be introducing a bill to lower the maximum penalty on possession of under 35 grams of cannabis to a $250 fine and recommend a suspended imposition of sentence.
This bill would essentially extend the decriminalization reforms passed in Columbia in 2004 (and the reforms that will likely pass in Saint Louis this spring) statewide.
Sponsored by State Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, and co-sponsored by a bipartisan assortment of twenty additional legislators, House Bill 1661 was filed yesterday in Washington State.
This bill would allow individuals in the state who have been charged with a misdemeanor involving cannabis possession to have it removed from their record. Essentially, this would apply the one ounce (28 grams) decrim from Initiative 502 retroactively to those already convicted. However, rather than applying to just an ounce, it’s allowing people to remove charges from RCW 69.50.4014, which is for possession of up to 40 grams.
House Bill 699, if passed, would legalize cannabis in the State of Hawaii. Possession of an ounce or less would no longer be a crime, and the state would license growers and sellers to sell cannabis in retail outlets. The state would garner a 15% tax from these sales, and would begin accepting and processing the applications for licenses on July 1st, 2014.
This bill is one of a dozen cannabis-related measures being discussed in Hawaii.
Although a huge uphill battle is yet to be fought, the politics in Hawaii has setup the perfect situation to move the conversation forward. 57 percent in the state support legalizing cannabis (a 20 percent increase in 7 years), and the Speaker of the House supports legalization.
During the bill’s initial hearing, which took place yesterday, the opposition was filled with predictably ridiculous rhetoric and propaganda.
The simple existence of synthetic marijuana should send a loud message to the public and elected officials. When our policy pushes people to a chemically-laced alternative to a non-lethal plant, simply so that they don’t face arrest for the safer substance, we have a fundamentally flawed law.
For those who may be unaware, synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to by the brand names of Spice and K2, is a mix of dried flowers/herbs which is sprayed with a mix of chemicals that are designed to artificially stimulate the body and brain in a fashion similar to cannabis.
It doesn’t work.
Still, people have continue to use it, despite its potential health risks. In 2010, over 11,000 people were sent to the emergency room over the use of synthetic marijuana. Miscellaneous 78 percent of those were under the age of 30.