Marijuana and Cannabis News
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.
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.
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.
Late last week Oklahoma and Nebraska filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court to halt Colorado's implementation of Amendment 64. Basically, both states say they are tired of dealing with marijuana that crosses the border. In the suit, they claim that Colorado cannabis ties up law enforcement agencies and is wreaking havoc on police and state trooper budgets. And now it seems another neighbor to the east is mulling jumping on the bandwagon.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has been debating whether to sue Colorado for months, according to his staff. Jennifer Rapp, spokeswoman for Schmidt, told KMBC News that Schmidt is still "weighing his options."
Our own William Breathes has the full story over at the Latest Word.
Legal marijuana could be a reality in the Phoenix area even if pot remains illegal under Arizona law. News broke last week that the Justice Department is advising federal prosecutors not to stop tribes from growing or selling marijuana on their lands, even in states where marijuana remains illegal.
Last week we told you about Granby, Colorado and their attempt to block a recreational pot shop from opening by gerrymandering their city limits to extend their marijuana ban.
That vote has now taken place, with members approving the "emergency" annexation. But according to the attorney representing the shop, the officials skirted questions about whether their actions were legal, choosing to demonize marijuana instead.
Update: Reached for comment by our colleagues at the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, spokesman for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Gary Bitner, said that the growing and selling of marijuana on sovereign tribal land is "not on the Seminole Tribe's radar."
Messages to the Miccosukee Tribe have remained unreturned. More at the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.
In a move that political pundits and cable news carnival barkers are calling a "bi-partisan victory" the U.S. Senate narrowly avoided another damaging government shutdown by passing a last-minute multilayered spending bill over the weekend to keep the gears turning in Washington D.C. until at least September of next year.
To see just how convoluted and counterproductive our political process has become, you need look no further than this spending bill, and buried deep within in it, one Republican's response to the weed legalization movement that he sees surging through state politics, including the nation's capital.
Last week, we told you about the Town of Granby's efforts to block a pot shop and grow by annexing the unincorporated land its owner had leased; see our previous coverage below.
A hearing about the matter was supposed to be held on Friday, but it was postponed to allow the Granby Board of Trustees to vote on the matter. But the attorney for the shop suggests that should the vote go the wrong way, litigation will follow.