California Lt. Governor Calls War on Drugs an “Abject Failure”, Calls for Marijuana Legalization

“It’s time to decriminalize, tax and regulate marijuana,” California’s Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom stated today, “It’s time we own up to the fact that our drug laws have done far more harm than good. The war on drugs is an abject failure.” Newsom was speaking in froGavin Newsomnt of delegates at the annual California Democratic Party convention. Newsom ran for governor in 2010, and has announced that he’ll run again in 2016 if Governor Jerry Brown doesn’t seek reelection.

Newsom, who is formerly the mayor of San Francisco, officially came out in support of legalizing marijuana in December, a story that blew up in the media, including it being on the front page of the New York Times. “These laws just don’t make sense anymore,” Newsom stated, “it’s time for politicians to come out of the closet on this.”

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New UNICEF Report Indicates that Decriminalizing Marijuana Reduces Youth Usage Rates

The United Nations Children’s Fund has released its annual report on child well-being. “Report Card 11“, a comprehensive paper that details the specifics of child welfare, examines things from drug use to how malogo-unicefny eat breakfast regularly, studying these topics across the globe. One of the topics studied is cannabis use among those aged 11-15.

The study found, quite conclucisively, that Canada has more cannabis consumers in that age range than any other developed country in the world, at 28%. Five other countries had rates above 20% – France, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the United States.

Among these countries, the study found that the Netherlands – with one of the most liberal marijuana policies in the world – was ranked #1 in child well-being. In the Netherlands, usage rates among youth is at 17%, significantly lower than the U.S. and Canada, both of which have much stricter cannabis policies.

Read moreNew UNICEF Report Indicates that Decriminalizing Marijuana Reduces Youth Usage Rates

Hemp Legalization Bill Filed in Minnesota

A pair of Republican Senators in Minnesota have introduced legislation, Senate Bill 1590, which would legalize hemp cultivation in the state. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Developmhemp_0ent Committee.

If passed, the bill would legalize industrial hemp, directing the state’s Department of Agriculture to handle licenses.

Under the proposal, the state’s Controlled Substances Act would be amended to no longer include hemp, effectively ending its prohibition.

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Vermont House Approves Measure to Decriminalize Marijuana

Nearly 70% of Vermont’s House of Representatives voted today to approve a measure decriminalizing marijuana possession. The measure, which was approved 98-44, would make possession of up to an oungood-weedce of marijuana a civil infraction of up to $300, rather than an arrestable misdemeanor like it currently is. The measure also eliminates the possibility of a permanent criminal record, or losing employment of social benefit opportunities, for possessing up to 2 ounces, and cultivating up to 4 plants.

This legislation, which passed the House’s Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, is expected to also pass the Senate, sending it to the governor for final approval.

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Federal Legislation Introduced to Protect States With Legal Marijuana

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, has introduced legislation this morning which would provide legal protection to individuals who are explicitly following state law by amending the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The meaMedicalMarijuana2-JCR-600x399sure would make it illegal for a federal official to arrest someone who’s growing or possessing marijuana if it’s legal under state law, such as it is in Colorado, where adults can legally grow up to 6 plants, and possess up to an ounce.

The measure, H.R. 1523 the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013, has bipartisan support, and has 5 additional sponsors including Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, Don Young, a Republican from Arkansas, and Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado.

Representative Rohrabacher, the bill’s sponsor, stated, “This bipartisan bill represents a common-sense approach that establishes federal government respect for all states’ marijuana laws,” she continues, “It does so by keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don’t want it to be criminal.”

This measure has the overwhelming support of the American public, 72% of which believe that the nation’s war on marijuana isn’t worth the cost.

TheJointBlog

North Carolina Cannabis Decriminalization Measure Advances

House Bill 637 in North Carolina, which would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, has advanced in the state’s legislature. In addition to decriminalizing possession, the measure would 1348595411-blue_dream_from_seven_starsallow those prior convicted of a marijuana possession misdemeanor to have it expunged from their record. The bill has passed its first reading in the state’s House, and has been sent to the House’s Judiciary Committee. Its passage would set it up for a full House vote.

Under current law possessing up to an ounce in North Carolina is a misdemeanor offense that can easily ruin someone’s life, instantly denying them access to basic employment, housing and educational opportunities.

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Nevada Senate Committee Approves Bill Legalizing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Today Nevada’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve a measuring legalizing for-profit dispensaries in the state, which would dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients. The bill now heads towards a full Senate vote.

MedicalMarijuana_ShutterstockIn Nevada, possessing medical marijuana, if you’re a qualified patient, is a constitutional right, approved by voters in 2000. However, the law doesn’t allow for any safe access points for patients to obtain their medicine, which has prompted the ACLU to file a legal brief claiming that Nevadans have a constitutional right to safe access.

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Oregon Committee Approves Legislation to Add PTSD as Qualifying Medical Marijuana Condition

Oregon’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure yesterday, with a 3-2 vote, that would add PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) to OreMedical Marijuanagon’s medical cannabis program. The bill passed its initial committee last month, 4-1. If passed, the measure would make Oregon the 4th state in the country – joining Connecticut, Delaware and New Mexico – to allow PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) to be used as a qualifying condition to receive a medical cannabis authorization.

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Vermont Lawmakers Vote “Yes” on Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession and Cultivation

Today Vermont’s House Judiciary Committee approved House Bill 200, which would decriminalize up to two ounces of marijuana, including the private cultivation of two plants. Under this proposal, those in possession of such an amount would be, at most, ticketmarijuana25n-2-webed at $100. Under current law possessing even a couple grams is a misdemeanor offense that can net someone up to 6 months in prison.

Vermont’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on a companion bill to this measure last week, though pushed off a committee vote. A full House vote is expected to occur as soon as this Friday.

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Marijuana Plant Eradication Down Over 60% Since 2010, Says DEA

According to recently released statistics from the DEA, eradication of cannabis plants in the U.SDEA-marijuana-eradication-300x168. has dropped drastically over the past two years – over 60% since 2010.

From the mind-boggling rate of over 10 million plants destroyed in both 2009 and 2010, numbers have plummeted to 3.9 million in 2012. Although these numbers remain absurdly high, the massive decrease gives hope that times are changing, and that our country is taking steps in the right direction.

Read moreMarijuana Plant Eradication Down Over 60% Since 2010, Says DEA