Marijuana and Cannabis News
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.
Is Florida ready for medical marijuana? Well, yeah actually. The latest polls show that seven in ten statewide support legalized weed for various ailments, and supporters have gathered enough signatures to put the question on November's ballot. One way or another, loosened mary jane restrictions seem coming to the Sunshine State.
Miami New Times
But everyone knows Miami rocks to its own beat on just about every statewide issue. How's the average Magic City resident feel about medical marijuana?
Both Colorado and Washington made history in 2012 by becoming the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults. But while Colorado-based pot shops have been raking in mile-high profits since implementing the new laws at the beginning of this year, folks in Washington are still waiting for the green light to begin their own green rush.
But not everyone in Washington is excited about the controversial new industry coming to their neck of the woods. Nearly three dozen of the state's 75 largest cities, towns, and municipalities have scrambled to enact ordinances, restrictions, and outright bans to keep any eventual recreational weed stores from opening up in their neighborhood.
As covered by local KING 5 News, a new bill (HB 2144) is in the works that would effectively place a ban on any future bans on pot shops, and it has some city officials hot under the collar.