New Legislation Introduced to Establish National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy

In a press release from this morning, U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, introduced legislation to create a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy. The bill is inspired by the then-ignored Shafer Commission, ordered bUS-Congress-Capitol-Hilly President Nixon, which found marijuana prohibition to be baseless and without scientific backing – the group called for marijuana’s decriminalization, but was subsequently fired by Nixon.

This new commission would “undertake a comprehensive review of the federal government’s current policies toward marijuana, particularly in light of the growing number of states where marijuana is already legal for medicinal or personal use.”

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Vermont House Committee Expected to Pass Measure Allowing Hemp Cultivation Prior to Federal Change

Vermont’s House Agriculture and Forest Products Committee held a public hearing today on House Bill 490, a measure which passed the state’s Senate last month. Currently under Vermont state law, hemp is legal, but the law 18-hemphas a provision requiring the state to wait until the federal ban is lifted before they begin licensing farmers for cultivation. House Bill 490 would remove that requirement, and would allow farmers to begin cultivation, this July.

According to the measure’s text, it would “authorize the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to issue a license to grow industrial hemp pursuant to current Vermont statute”.

Read moreVermont House Committee Expected to Pass Measure Allowing Hemp Cultivation Prior to Federal Change

Medical Marijuana Legalization Approved by Illinois House

House Bill 0001, which would legalize medical marijuana in the state, has officially passed through the Illinois House of Representatives after a long debate, sending it to the Senate. The vote was 61-57. MedicalMarijuana_ShutterstockYesterday, prior to the vote, a press conference was held announcing that over 200 physicians in the state have signed on to a resolution urging legal protections for medical marijuana patients and the doctors who recommend they use marijuana for medical purposes if they find it to be beneficial to them.

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Warrant Needed to Take Blood in DUI Cases

In a case that will have a deep and long-lasting impact on marijuana DUIs throughout the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a cop can not legally take an individuals blood in order to deteSupreme_Courtrmine a DUI, without first obtaining a warrant. This is extremely relevant to marijuana consumers, especially as states like Washington (implemented through Initiative 502) now have a DUID clause that finds someone instantly guilty if they have a certain amount of THC in their blood – the U.S. government is working to implement this type of policy throughout the country.

Despite the Obama Administration and the State of Missouri lobbying otherwise, the court ruled 8-1 in favor of requiring a warrant. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the court’s majority opinion, stating that the natural dissipation of alcohol in the blood isn’t sufficient reason to remove the legal requirement of obtaining a warrant before taking the blood. Justice Clarence Thomas was the only judge that ruled in favor of warrantless blood testing.

This ruling will set immediate precedent throughout the nation.

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64% in Washington D.C. Support Marijuana Legalization, 75% Support Decriminalization

New polling released today finds that an overwhelming percentage of people in Washington D.C. support reforming their district’s marijuana policies. The poll, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling, found twashington-dchat 75% of all D.C. residents support removing the criminal penalties associated with possessing an ounce or less of marijuana, making it a simple $100 ticket, rather than up to 6 months in prison like it is currently.

In addition, the polling found that 64% support the idea of decriminalizing the private cultivation of up to 3 plants. Just about the same percentage of people, 63%, said that they support legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adult recreational consumption (64% support simply legalizing possession). This puts support for D.C. roughly 12% higher than the national average, which is already at an all-time-high.

Read more64% in Washington D.C. Support Marijuana Legalization, 75% Support Decriminalization

New Legislation Would Legalize Marijuana for Medical Purposes in Pennsylvania

If newly-filed House Bill 1181 becomes law in Pennsylvania, residents of the state would be given the legal authority to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and cultivate up to 6 plants, if they obtain a valid recommendation. In addition, it would authorize them to popopopurchase marijuana from safe access points – no specific regulations are given, however.

The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana under this measure – cachexia, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures,  severe and persistent muscle spasms,  Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer and glaucoma.

Individuals who have one of these conditions, and get a recommendation from a physician, would then be able to register with the Department of Health in order to get a license indicating that they’re a legal patient. Patients may also have a caregiver, who can possess and cultivate, though not consume, up to 6 plants and up to 6 ounces.

Read moreNew Legislation Would Legalize Marijuana for Medical Purposes in Pennsylvania

Initiative Underway to Legalize Marijuana in Alaska

Alaska has one of the more liberal marijuana possession laws in the U.S., with possession of an ounce decriminalized, but advocates are taking it a step forward and have begun an initiative drive to legalize the possession, personal cultivation and state-licensed sale of marijuanamarijuana3 to adults. Voters in Alasaka rejected a similar measure in 2004 with a 44%-56% vote, but the conversation surrounding marijuana has shifted greatly in those past 9 years – for example, support for legalization on the national level in that time frame has gone from under forty percent, to above fifty.

Today, activists took the first major step in putting an initiative to the vote of the people, but submitting draft language, along with 100 signatures, to the state’s lieutenant governor. The state has 2 months to review the measure, making sure the signatures are valid and the draft language is legally sound.

Read moreInitiative Underway to Legalize Marijuana in Alaska

Vermont Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passes Full House, Goes to Senate

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Vermont State seal.

By a vote of 92-49, Vermont’s House of Representatives approved a measure today that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana, changing it from an arrestable misdemeanor, to a civil infraction. If passed, possessing an ounce or less would be a simple $300 ticket, rather than up to 6 months in jail like it is currently.

Last week the House approved the measure through its 2nd reading with a slightly more favorable 98-44 vote.

Read moreVermont Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Passes Full House, Goes to Senate

Illinois Hemp Legalization Bill Passes House Rules Committee Unanimously

A measure to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in Illinois passed the state’s House Rules Committee by a unanimous vote of 4-0 yesterday, sendinhempg it towards a full House vote. The bill passed the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee last month with a close 9-8 vote.

Under the legislation, House Bill 2668 – the Industrial Hemp Act – the Department of Agriculture would license individuals to cultivate hemp.

Read moreIllinois Hemp Legalization Bill Passes House Rules Committee Unanimously

Over 200 Doctors Call for Medical Marijuana Legalization in Illinois

Today a group of over 200 physicians in Illinois held a press conference to call on lawmakers to allow residents in the state to use marijuana for medical purposes, and to allow physicians to recommend it. Three physicians attended and spoke on behalf of the group. This call to action pot+leafcomes as House Bill 0001 is being discussed in the state’s legislature, a measure which would legalize medical marijuana. The state’s House of Representatives will likely vote on the measure tomorrow – it’s expected to pass, though of course anything can happen.

The nearly 250 physicians signed on to the statement that, “Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill people, and seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if their medical professionals have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial.”

Read moreOver 200 Doctors Call for Medical Marijuana Legalization in Illinois