Marijuana and Cannabis News
Since 2009, Toke of the Town has brought you the biggest marijuana news and loudest pot views from across the country -- and around the world. Along the way, we've covered the huge progress many states have made towards legalization and wondered why others are so far behind. The country still has a long way to go, but things are looking up -- and we have our fingers crossed that 2015 will be another big year for legalization.
But Toke won't be around to see it -- at least, not in its present form. This is Toke of the Town's final day of publication.
Don't worry: We're not quitting the movement. We're just returning the focus of our marijuana coverage to our local Voice Media Group papers. You can still read William Breathes' weekly pot reviews and Ask a Stoner column at Westword.com, where they started, and you can continue to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. And you can keep following Toke on Facebook and Twitter, too, for the latest marijuana news from all our papers.
Many thanks for reading and supporting us for the past five years! We couldn't have covered the marijuana community without such a strong one reading us.
Light one up for us, won't you?
Azel Praer/Flickr The seeds of change are sprouting in Kansas
The way that the laws are currently written, you really do not want to get busted with weed in Wichita, Kansas...or any part of Kansas for that matter.
A first-time offense for simple pot possession in Kansas will earn you a misdemeanor charge on your record, up to a $2,500 fine, and even a year in jail. Get popped a second time and you could be looking at a felony.
But if the pro-cannabis advocacy group Kansas for Change has their way, that may be about to change for the better.
As far as late Christmas presents go, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's decision to pardon nine non-violent offenders is as big and unprecedented as they come.
But for a governor who before Monday pardoned only one person since taking office in 2009, the list of formerly-naughty Missourians is arguably more notable for the name it doesn't include.
While the eight men and one women Nixon pardoned yesterday already served their sentences for felony and misdemeanor crimes ranging from minor theft, writing bad checks and marijuana possession, there's no mention of Jeff Mizanskey, the only inmate in the state currently serving a life sentence without parole for three nonviolent pot charges.
Ray Stern Finding banking services for his business, Encanto Green Cross, has been difficult for Nick Kriaris.
On a recent Friday afternoon, Nick Kriaris, owner of Encanto Green Cross medical-marijuana dispensary in Phoenix, and his brother, Chris, tried to open an account at Bank of America for their nonprofit business with $420 in cash.
The attempt at the bank branch at 3030 North Central Avenue was, to some extent, a stunt, from the pot-culture-inspired amount of the initial deposit to the dispensary employee videotaping his bosses. They knew the odds of success were minimal, if not zero.
But if the bank agreed to take the medical-marijuana retail shop's money, it would have been something of a minor historical moment. Although dozens of dispensaries are authorized to operate in the state, no bank will deal openly with them -- yet.
In 1999, the voters in Maine approved the state's first medical marijuana bill with a lopsided 61% approval. A decade later, the law was improved upon to allow for storefront dispensaries and to broaden the list of acceptable medical conditions that marijuana could be recommended for. In 2011, the law was built upon once again, protecting patients' rights by making many registration processes optional.
In November of 2013 Portland, Oregon became the first city on the east coast to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults over the age of 21. In November of this year, the city of South Portland became the second.
Statewide recreational marijuana legalization -similar to what we've seen in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and D.C. - appears to be inevitable in Maine.
With cannabis laws in flux not only from state to state these days, but even from city to city and county to county, it is more important than ever to know your rights should you ever get pulled over by the police.
More often than not, the best advice is to keep your record - and your car - clean as can be, and if you do get rolled, shut the hell up and give as little information as possible.
Here we present two recent examples of exactly how not to deal with the cops when it comes to cars and cannabis.
A new study just put out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has once again proven that Americans are misinformed, and therefore easily confused, when it comes to cannabis use and driving a car.
As cannabis reform sweeps the nation, so too does a new round of the same stale talking points about the supposed dangers of marijuana use that have been regurgitated for decades, always muddying the waters of the debate.
If the numbers revealed in the AAA study are anywhere near accurate, all it would prove is that you can probably train a monkey to hate bananas with the right amount of propaganda.
For over two hundred years, farmers in the state of Connecticut legally grew and harvested hemp for use in sails, ropes, and clothing. In fact, the value of hemp in colonial-era Connecticut was so high that it was actually illegal for farmers to not grow hemp. That sentiment continued all the way through World War II, when the U.S. government was distributing propaganda films urging farmers to plant hemp crops for the good of the nation.
In the 1950's however, the hemp plant got caught up in the misguided reefer madness over marijuana, and has not been grown in Connecticut ever since.
But as cannabis acceptance grows in the state, so too does the demand for the right to grow the incredibly useful and perpetually renewable resource of hemp.
Yesterday on Israeli national television, a prominent Israeli political figure announced that he had recently taken a toke or two of cannabis. Of course, had he been caught doing it in his homeland, without the proper medical permit to be doing so, he would be breaking the law.
So seeing a conservative member of Israel's Home Party just blurt out a confession to the world may have been surprising to some, but only if they haven't been paying attention to Yinon Magal and his rise in national politics.
When the South American nation of Uruguay became the first country to officially legalize marijuana last year, headlines about $1 grams of cannabis made news around the world.
As it turns out, $1 per gram is considered to be outrageous in nearby Paraguay, where weed can be had for a mere $0.06/g.