Marijuana and Cannabis News
Yesterday, the Obama Administration, by way of Attorney General Eric Holder, reaffirmed its support for a current proposal that, if passed, would nudge our nation's legal system a step in a more civil direction. Mr. Holder spoke Thursday before the U.S. Sentencing Commission, whose duty it is to vote annually on what sort of instructions need to be updated for federal judges to reference when handing down sentences on all of the various cases they see.
This April, the Sentencing Commission is considering a vote to overhaul the current recommended sentences for all federal nonviolent drug-related offenses.
One of the most talked about new brands at the American Glass Expo (A.G.E.), held this past January in Las Vegas, was HIVE Ceramics and their gleaming white depictions of everyday dabbing tools typically made from quartz or titanium. Domeless ceramic nails in all sizes, glossy white ceramic "Flower Bowls", dabbers, hash screens, and, of course, they figure you must have the "HIVE Medical Grade Ceramic Carb Cap w/ Dabber".
For all the publicity that the new product cultivated, from the A.G.E. show in January to a targeted social media marketing campaign, nobody seemed to know where to get one, or anyone who had actually tried one. For every new fan of the brand, or "Like" on the Facebook page, there have been an equally growing number of skeptics who can't help but wonder what has happened to all the hype.
Although it has been a U.S. territory since we swiped it from the Spaniards in 1898, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is rarely taken into consideration when discussing American politics.
But with the issue of various levels of cannabis reform quickly becoming a dominant topic of debate here on the mainland, there is a rising wave of support for a 3-way blast of more progressive pot legislation for Puerto Ricans.
A Quinnipiac University poll released this week says that 88% of New York residents are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in the state, sparking the debate that perhaps the Empire State is finally ready for a nice heavy dose of indica dominant cannabis. This is up 17% in just two years.
vagueonthehow/Flickr New York residents are high on the idea of fresh pot laws
Only 9% of New Yorkers are against the idea, but hell, only 39% of residents think that full recreational legalization of weed is a bad idea, with over 57% in favor of just skipping the "medical" step, and making pot legal for all adults.
Last week, we told you about a lawsuit filed by Westword and High Times magazine related to the State of Colorado's rules for recreational marijuana advertising.
The complaint called for a preliminary injunction against the regulations. But while a U.S. District Court judge has rejected that request, the case remains alive.
Earlier this week, Westword and High Times magazine filed a lawsuit against the State of Colorado in regard to regulations that restrict recreational marijuana advertising to publications that are deemed "adult" by a state-mandated formula. Attorney Steve Suskin, who represents Westword on behalf of the paper's parent company, Voice Media Group, says the complaint was filed because the state's current rules could violate the First Amendment. Meanwhile, the paper's publisher emphasizes that when it comes to such ads, Westword is very much open for business.
"We are 100 percent confident of the legality of where we are in terms of taking this business," says Scott Tobias, who is also the CEO of Voice Media Group, a company that owns publications in Los Angeles, New York and other major U.S. cities in addition to Denver. "From the very start of Amendment 64, we committed ourselves to being a reference point to the medical marijuana community, and now the retail marijuana community. We remain committed to strong partnerships and support of these businesses."
"Joe is a freshman legislator in a Republican-controlled house, so he's got zero juice to get anything done." So says John Morgan, an Orlando-based attorney and cannabis reform advocate.
The "Joe" he is referring to is Florida state congressman Joe Saunders (D- Orlando), who recently filed House Bill 859, which if passed, would skip right past the voters in Florida, making legal medical marijuana the law of the land.
Morgan, who has personally raised $4,000,000 in an effort to get a similar piece of legislation before Florida voters this November, calls Saunders' plan nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Whether it is blue jeans, or Blue Dream, what happens in America, rarely stays in America. When states across the nation began shifting towards medical marijuana legislation, the rest of the world barely blinked.
But once Colorado and Washington took the plunge into full recreational pot legalization, the South American country of Uruguay followed suit, and now the dominoes of worldwide marijuana reform have begun to tumble.
Congressman Raul Grijalva, a southern Arizona Democrat, has joined 17 other congressmen in asking that President Obama to help reclassify marijuana in the federal drug "scheduling."
Marijuana is a Schedule I substance at the federal level, which the Justice Department describes as the "most dangerous" drugs that have "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," alongside LSD and heroin.
The Schedule I drugs generally are associated with higher penalties. For example, trafficking between 50 and 99 kilograms of pot calls for a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. A first-time offender caught with any amount of a Schedule III drug -- which includes certain prescription painkillers, ketamine, and anabolic steroids, among other things -- is supposed to serve a maximum of 10 years.
Although Obama himself can't just reorganize the drug scheduling himself, the 18 lawmakers -- mostly Democrats -- have asked Obama to instruct Attorney General Eric Holder to use his authority to reclassify marijuana.
Due to its notorious status, marijuana has often been left behind as science moves forward with the study of botany. But much of that has changed with the passage of Amendment 64.
"Despite the fact that cannabis is one of the most valuable and historically important crop species, we know comparatively little about the plant," says Nolan Kane, a member of the University of Colorado Boulder's department of ecology and evolutionary biology, who is heading up the Cannabis Genome Research Initiative.
With this project, Kane intends to map the marijuana genome, creating a more sophisticated knowledge of its DNA makeup and history -- a treatment that other plants like corn and soybeans have enjoyed for a few years.