Reflecting growing national acceptance of cannabis, a bipartisan coalition of House members voted early Friday to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws.
An appropriations amendment offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) prohibiting the DEA from spending funds to arrest state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers passed 219-189. The Senate will likely consider its own appropriations bill for the DEA, and the House amendment would have to survive a joint conference before it could go into effect.
Rohrabacher said on the House floor that the amendment "should be a no-brainer" for conservatives who support states' rights and argued passionately against allowing the federal government to interfere with a doctor-patient relationship.
"Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels that he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way," Rohrabacher said, his voice rising. "And that's what's happening."
Read more here
New York State voters support 88 - 9 percent the legalization of medical marijuana, with overwhelming support from every group, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Read it here.
Frees Drug Czar to Study Medicinal Pot
Cohen said his legislation, known as the Unmuzzle the Drug Czar Act, would give the office "the freedom to use science, not ideology" in its recommendations and would give the American people "a reason to trust what they are told."
READ THE STORY HERE
New guidelines were released today by the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department that will allow banks to do business with marijuana related businesses. Part of the text of the guidelines are here:
"The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) is issuing guidance to clarify Bank
Secrecy Act (“BSA”) expectations for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. FinCEN is issuing this guidance in light of recent state initiatives to legalize certain marijuana-related activity and related guidance by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) concerning marijuana-related enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance clarifies how financial institutions can provide services to marijuana-related businesses consistent with their BSA obligations, and aligns the information provided by financial institutions in BSA reports with federal and state law enforcement priorities. This FinCEN guidance should enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, marijuana-related businesses
In assessing the risk of providing services to a marijuana-related business, a financial institution should conduct customer due diligence that includes: (i) verifying with the appropriate state authorities whether the business is duly licensed and registered; (ii) reviewing the license application (and related documentation) submitted by the business for obtaining a state license to operate its marijuana-related business; (iii) requesting from state licensing and enforcement authorities available information about the business and related parties; (iv) developing an understanding of the normal and expected activity for the business, including the types of products to be sold and the type of customers to be served (e.g., medical versus recreational
customers); (v) ongoing monitoring of publicly available sources for adverse information about the business and related parties; (vi) ongoing monitoring for suspicious activity, including for any of the red flags described in this guidance; and (vii) refreshing information obtained as part of customer due diligence on a periodic basis and commensurate with the risk. With respect to
information regarding state licensure obtained in connection with such customer due diligence, a financial institution may reasonably rely on the accuracy of information provided by state licensing authorities, where states make such information available."
Read the full guidelines here!
New Yorker Magazine writer David Remnick wrote an extensive piece called "Going the Distance, On and Off the Road with Barack Obama".
In his 34 page report, he gets around to talking to him about marijuana. Here's what he wrote:
When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Is it less dangerous? I asked.
Obama leaned back and let a moment go by. That’s one of his moves. When he is interviewed, particularly for print, he has the habit of slowing himself down, and the result is a spool of cautious lucidity. He speaks in paragraphs and with moments of revision. Sometimes he will stop in the middle of a sentence and say, “Scratch that,” or, “I think the grammar was all screwed up in that sentence, so let me start again.”
Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
As is his habit, he nimbly argued the other side. “Having said all that, those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case. There is a lot of hair on that policy. And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.” He noted the slippery-slope arguments that might arise. “I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”
Airport officials at the Colorado Springs Airport installed “amnesty boxes” for their customers that decide at the last minute not to fly so high. The boxes are designed to allow residents and tourists that brought marijuana with them to the airport and then decide that they don't want to take the chance of taking it with them. “What we don’t want is them throwing it in the trash can,” said Phillips. “Then you have other people digging through the garbage.”.
Possession of marijuana is now legal in Colorado but passengers caught carrying it in the airport are subject to arrest, jail time and fines up to 2 500 dollars.
Here are the rules for marijuana at the COS airport.
NOTICE: MARIJUANA IS PROHIBITED IN THIS FACILITY
It is unlawful to possess, consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell, transport, or grow (?) marijuana (including both recreational and medical) in or upon the passenger terminal facility, any overhang area to the passenger terminal facility, or the Air Operations Area (AOA) of the Colorado
Springs Municipal Airport. This includes all passenger carry-on and checked baggage. You must dispose of any and all marijuana before entering prohibited areas and/or checking baggage. Violators may be assessed a fine of not more than $2,500, imprisonment up to 189 days, probation, or a combination of fine, imprisonment, or probation, in addition to any other applicable penalties
under state or federal law.
Mr. Capra is the COO of the DEA. In a Congressional Hearing he almost has a break down while he tries to reverse the national trend towards legalizing marijuana. Much of what he testified to is blatantly false. One example: "Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again". Is he talking about Colorado? Uruguay? Washington? Where has it been tried and failed? He also claimed that a dispensary in California used their dispensary to launder money from their meth operation. Everyone who knows anything about marijuana policy knows that banking is a HUGE problem. Banks won't deal with cannabusiness. The DEA is scared alright. They are scared that their asset forfeiture slush fund is going to dry up.
In a joint study done by Mount Sinai in New York and the School of Public Health in China, it was found that Cannabidiol protects liver from binge alcohol-induced steatosis by mechanisms including inhibition of oxidative stress and increase in autophagy. This is very good news for cannabis consumers and the alcohol industry. For years cannabis connoisseurs have been experimenting with blending the two substances. One example is Potka. More research is needed. Here is a statement from the *researchers: “We evaluated whether cannabidiol, which has been reported to function as an antioxidant, can protect the liver from alcohol-generated oxidative stress-induced steatosis. Cannabidiol can prevent acute alcohol-induced liver steatosis in mice, possibly by preventing the increase in oxidative stress and the activation of the JNK MAPK pathway. Cannabidiol per se can increase autophagy both in CYP2E1-expressing HepG2 cells and in mouse liver. Importantly, cannabidiol can prevent the decrease in autophagy induced by alcohol.”
(A) H&E staining and (B) oil red O staining showing increased lipid accumulation in mouse liver after binge alcohol treatment. CBD decreases this lipid accumulation (image 4 compared to image 3 in (A) and (B)).
The New Hampshire House of Representatives became the first U.S. legislative body to vote in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The measure passed a preliminary vote by 170-162 on Wednesday; it now heads to committee and then goes back to the House floor for a final vote before heading to the state Senate. Read more here.
The LA Times has weighed in with their opinion on California Legalization of marijuana and it's that California should wait and learn!
"One reason to wait is that California didn't do such a good job when it led the nation on medical marijuana. Look at the confusion that continues to surround the medical marijuana industry in the state. Dispensaries are legal in some cities, not in others. Cities pass ordinances regulating them, courts overturn the rules. Eighteen years after voters passed the California Compassionate Use Act, and a decade after the Legislature authorized dispensaries, the regulatory environment is still hazy."
The LA Times is such a contradiction. A reason to wait is because we didn't do a good job leading the nation with medical marijuana??? Isn't that a reason to legalize it and regulate it and show the nation that California can do things right? Let's fix it through new and better laws.
The attitude that it's practically legal anyway is ridiculous. Should we live in a legal grey zone where law enforcement gets to decide who they are going to single out and arrest/harass? The data isn't out for 2013 yet but in 2012 over 21,000 Californians were arrested for marijuana possession.
Read the entire LA Times article here.
One of the questions they have is "What is the rush?" Um, hey LA Times, have you heard about the Green Rush? The stores that started selling legal weed in Colorado are having a hard time supplying the demand. Prices have gone up and store owners are scrambling to build mega warehouse grows. Is California so flush with cash that we can ignore the fastest growing
The Times asked a lot of questions. Let's answer them for them!
Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.