Maryland Medical Marijuana Legislation Passes Two Committees the Same Day

The House Health and Government Operations, as well as the House Judiciary committees in Maryland, both approved House Bill 1101 today, a measure to allow academic medical centers to distribute cannabis to patients. The measure Maryland_MMJwould allow certain hospitals to become licensed to participate in medical cannabis studies, where they would supply cannabis to qualified patients, studying its daily effects on them. A cannabis commission of 12 individuals, appointed by the governor, would oversee licensing and regulations.

This is a more conservative approach to the state getting involved in medical cannabis, after a House committee killed a bill earlier this month to allow medical cannabis distribution centers across the state. Continue reading

Portland, Maine On Track to Legalize Cannabis

Activists in Portland, Maine are 10 days into a new signature drive to put the legalization of cannabis on the cGreen-Logoity’s ballot. The initiative, drafted by the Portland Green Independent Committee, would remove the criminal penalties in the city’s coding related to the use and possession of cannabis and its paraphernalia.

The group has until May 30th to collect roughly 1,500 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot. In a recent statement to the Portland Daily Sun, Tom MacMillan, the Chair of the committee, stated that several hundred signatures have already been collected, and petitions have been handed out to 15-20 different gatherers. Continue reading

New Bill Would End Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Federal Drug Charges in U.S.

A new bill has been introduced today by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy and Rand Paul, titled the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. The measure was announced in a press release. pa-mandatory-minimum-sentences-for-drug-trafficking-crimes

The bipartisan measure would give federal judges the flexibility to give a sentence lower than current mandatory minimum sentences, which are often incredibly harsh for even simple drug-related offenses.

Leahy is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, making his backing of the bill absolutely critical, and giving it much greater chance of passing, or at least gaining some traction. Continue reading

New York City Expected to Decriminalize the Public Display of Marijuana

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it a consistent goal of his in recent months to make the public display of small amounts of cannabis no longer an arrestable misdemeanor, but instead a ticketable infraction. The policy shift is primarily meant to deal with New York City’s stop-n-frisk policy, which has led to tens of thousands of arrests, mostly of nyc-condos-near-times-square-clintonminorities, for individuals bringing their cannabis into “public display”. Possession of up to an ounce is only a ticket in NYC, but the cops know that once they have an individual empty their pocket, the cannabis they have on them goes from a simple ticket to a misdemeanor, as it officially becomes “public display” once it’s out in the open, even though it was the officer who forced them to do so. An absurd policy that exists simply to ignore the city’s decrim of simple cannabis possession. Recent reports have found that the NYPD has spent over a million hours between 2002-2012 arresting people for cannabis possession. Continue reading

New West Virginia Bill Introduced to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Lawmakers in West Virginia are attempting to make the state the 19th in the U.S. to legalize some form of medical cannabis.

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Yesterday, House Bill 2961 was filed, sponsored by 10 state legislators, which sets out to allow qualifying patients in the state, and their caregiver, the ability to purchase, grow and possess cannabis. The measure would provide arrest protection against those who get a doctor’s recommendation, and register with the state. Continue reading

Hospital Calls Police on Washington Man for Legal Possessing Cannabis

Recently employees at a Catholic hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington, called the police on a patient for smelli111111ng like and possessing a small amount of cannabis, despite the fact that he was within state law – potentially breaching privacy laws, not to mention basic ethics.

The Stranger reported today that Matthew Zimmerman was at St. Anthony’s Hospital for a routine exam. Forgetting he had it in his pocket, Matthew had 3 grams of cannabis on his person during the exam.

After apparently smelling the bud, one of the nurses had the audacity to ask, “Do you have any marijuana on you?” Knowing that he was within his legal rights (possession of up to 28 grams of cannabis is no longer a crime in Washington State due to Initiative 502’s passage in November), he stated that he did, which was under his second jacket. She then asked him if he used marijuana, which he matter-of-factly replied to, stating “Yeah, obviously”. Continue reading

Q&A With Canadian Cannabis Activist Jodie Emery

Jodie Emery is one of the more prominent and hardworking individuals in the Canadian cannabis reScreen Shot 2013-01-21 at 9.53.51 AMform movement. Her impact tends to ripple through the U.S., where she’s become increasingly well-known and respected among activists.

In addition to being the sitting Editor-in-Chief for Cannabis Culture, a popular magazine and website, Jodie is currently running for office as a Green Party candidate, and spends her time traveling the between the U.S. and Canada, speaking on the need to end this ridiculous prohibition.

Recently we had the opportunity to speak with Jodie, to ask here a few questions. Continue reading

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