Maryland Senate Approves Measure Decriminalizing Cannabis Possession

Maryland’s full Senate has just voted in favor of a measure to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis. Under the proposal, Sen03.18.13news-flickr-marijuana-editate Bill 297, possessing up to 10 grams of cannabis would no longer be an arrestable offense that carries with it a misdemeanor charge. Instead, it would become a simple $100 ticket. The vote was 30-16.

The bill now moves to the House, where its passage would put it in the hands of the state’s governor.

According to an FBI report, over 24,000 people were arrested for cannabis possession in Maryland in 2010. Although it’s unknown how many of these were for possession of 10 grams or less, the number is likely in the thousands. Continue reading

Maine Lawmakers Discuss Allowing Legal Hemp Production, Despite Federal Ban

In 2009, Maine became one of 8 states in the U.S. to legalize hemp. However, this law indicates that farmers can’t Mainereceive a state-issued license to grow the plant until federal law has changed.

A new measure being discussed in Maine’s Legislature, which has a public hearing in the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on March 28th, would remove this requirement, allowing farmers in the state to begin growing hemp by the end of the year, regardless of federal law. Lawmakers in Vermont have recently filed similar legislation. Continue reading

Cannabis Scratch-N-Sniff Cards Introduced in UK

It would be funny, if it wasn’t so pathetic.

In order to crackdown on cannabis cultivators, who they label as hardened criminals, the “cscratch sniff.jpgharity” organization Crimstoppers has recently launchedThe Crimstopper Initiative“, which aims at getting people to turn in others for growing cannabis. Their method? Cannabis scratch-n-sniff cards.

The green and black cards, which will be sent to thousands of homes in the UK, releases a scent that apparently replicates the smell of cannabis when scratched.

According to Roger Critchell, director of operations at Crimestoppers: “We are distributing scratch and sniff cards because not many people know how to recognise the signs of cannabis cultivation happening in their neighbourhood…Many are also not familiar with the established links between this crime and serious organised crime.” Continue reading

U.S. Army Forbids Soldiers From Using Any Hemp Product

The United State Army has recently released an article on their website urging people away from the alcoholic drink Purgatory, a vodka. Not caring about the fact that it’s a strong alcoholic drink, which is entirely fine for soldiers to take 2012-11-05-purgatorypart in, the Army instead takes issue with the fact that this particular vodka is made with 20% hemp seeds. The product is sold legally throughout the U.S.; it goes through a stringent process to ensure that it contains no amount of THC. Like other hemp products, there’s nothing illegal about the drink on the federal level.

However, the Army doesn’t care, stating: “What must be stressed among military personnel is that even though Purgatory Vodka is said to be free of THC, and even though hemp byproducts are not illegal in the civilian world, this gives zero justification to those in the military…It is the ‘prohibited use’ that soldiers need to remember.” Continue reading

Measure to Legalize Cannabis in Oregon Gets Public Hearing

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Oregon State flag.

Last month we reported on a new bill filed in Oregon, House Bill 3371, which would legalize cannabis for adults in the state. The measure would allow for the possession of up to an ounce, as well as the private cultivation of up to 6 plants. In addition, it would legalize state-licensed retail outlets, to be regulated by the state’s Oregon Liquor Commission. Now, the measure has officially been given a public hearing, giving residents in the state their opportunity to stand strong in support of legalizing cannabis.

According to Oregon Live, the bill is schedule for a House Judiciary Committee on April 2nd. Continue reading

Ohio Initiative Underway to Make Legal Medical Marijuana a Constitutional Right

On Saturday the Ohio Rights Group held a kickoff event to introduce their new initiative to legalize medical caORG_Text_bare-smaller-fix_0nnabis in Ohio. The group has to collect 1,000 signatures before it can make its way through the attorney general’s office. Once it does, they’ll need to collect roughly 383,000 valid signatures to put it to a vote of the people.

The initiative would legalize the possession, transportation personal cultivation and purchase of cannabis for medical purposes to those who are qualified patients. A 9-person commission, titled the Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control, would oversee specific regulations in regards to possession limits, etc.. The commission would also establish regulations for legal access points. Continue reading

New Missouri Measure Would Legalize Hemp

A bill in Missouri which would legalize hemp in the state has been scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday, marijuana hempMarch 26th at 3:00PM. The measure, Senate Bill 358, would explicitly legalize hemp in the state, which it defines as containing 1% THC or less, removing it from the state’s controlled substances list.

Under the proposal, which is in the General Laws committee, it would be legal for farmers in the state to grow hemp by the end of August.

Unlike most other industrial hemp bills currently in discussion around the country (and there’s quite a few), this bill wouldn’t direct the state or any of its departments to license farmers for hemp cultivation, instead stating: Continue reading

Bill Filed In Oregon To Legalize Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

New legislation filed in Oregon would make medical marijuana dispensaries legal in the state. Currentlyclipart medical marijuana is legal for qualifying patients to possess, or grow, but dispensaries and safe access points are still illegal. Some have opened in the state anyway, which has resulted in uncertainty for patients, and in some instances raids and arrests for those running the business.

House Bill 3460 would change this, directing the Oregon Health Authority to license facilities to sell medical marijuana to qualified patients Continue reading

56% in North Carolina Support Decriminalizing Cannabis Possession

In a poll released recently by Public Policy Polling, it was found that 56% iMarijuana_leaf_hand_315x309_carousel.jpg 304n North Carolina support removing cannabis possession as a criminal offense, instead making it a simple fine. Only 35% stated that they believe that possessing small amounts of cannabis should remain a crime.

The polling also found that 60% of those in the state feel that police enforcement of marijuana possession should be a “low priority.”

Possessing under an ounce and a half of cannabis in North Carolina is a misdemeanor charge with a jail sentence of 1-45 days. Possession of more than an ounce and a half is a felony charge that nets 3-8 months.

Reminder: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Appear to Lower Crime Rates

Studies over the past few years have been clear in their conclusion that medical marijuana dispensaries aren’t linked to an increase in crimes, and may very well lower the crime rate in the surrounding area. story-legal-potgood2-165145

In 2011 the RAND Corporation released the results of a new study which revealed that crime was 60% greater within a three-block radius, and 25% greater within a six-block radius, in areas where medical marijuana dispensaries had been shutdown – compared  to areas where dispensaries were allowed to stay open. This study came after a Los Angeles ordinance shut down roughly 7 out of every 10 dispensaries in the city.

In 2012, a government funded study, conducted by the National Institute of Health, and published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, concluded that dispensaries weren’t linked to neighborhood crime. Continue reading