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Photo: Lewis County Herald
Enjoy your high, officers. Now, that’ll be $40,000. Cash or credit?

​A California medical marijuana patient may soon be receiving almost $40,000 from the sheriff’s department for six pounds of unlawfully seized and destroyed cannabis.

Kimberley Marshall, 46, of Los Osos, Calif., has filed a claim for damages against Sheriff Patrick Hedges and the county, alleging the county unjustly seized and destroyed the medicinal pot, reports Matt Fountain of New Times.
If she prevails, Marshall could be the first medical marijuana patient in San Luis Obispo County to be paid for confiscated cannabis.
Marshall, a survivor of liver cancer and other afflictions, seeks $36,000 — $6,000 per pound of confiscated marijuana — plus attorney fees and damages, according to the claim, filed Dec. 23.

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Photo: alapoet
Signage at the Seattle Marijuana March, Washington. A solid majority of Washingtonians support legalization, according to a new poll.

​A solid majority, 56 percent, of Washingtonians believe legalizing marijuana is a “good idea,” according to a new poll.
The poll of 500 adults in the state, conducted for Seattle TV station KING 5 by SurveyUSA, asked respondents: “State lawmakers are considering making marijuana possession legal. Do you think legalizing marijuana is a good idea? Or a bad idea?”
Thirty-six percent of respondents described legalizing pot as a “bad idea,” while eight percent weren’t sure. The poll had a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

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Graphic: Cannabis Culture
Professor David Nutt: “We’re going to focus on the science”

​An independent group, designed to give “politically neutral” information in the United Kingdom about the risks of drugs, is being launched.

The group is founded by the British government’s former chief drugs adviser, David Nutt, who was sacked last October for criticizing government drug policy and calling cannabis a relatively safe drug.
The Independent Council on Drug Harms, made up of about 20 specialists, will be “very powerful,” according to Nutt, and its goal will be to take over from the government-run Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), reports the BBC.


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Photo: preamp.us
Copenhagen’s Christiania section is famed for its “Pusher Street,” where the sale of cannabis and hashish is unofficially tolerated. Now the city is thinking of making it official.

​Denmark is looking at borrowing a page from the Netherlands’ approach to cannabis, as the Copenhagen City Council examines a plan to set up state-licensed marijuana stores to remove the trade from the control of gangs.

But the plan, supported by a majority of the city council, may not have enough support in the Danish Parliament, reports The Copenhagen Post.
The proposal is to run a three-year trial in which stores staffed by healthcare professionals would sell cannabis in small quantities for about 50 kroner per gram, close to the current street price in Denmark’s capitol city.

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Photo: The Denver Chronicle
Medical marijuana supporters rally at the Capitol in Denver, Jan. 14, 2009

​The first bill to regulate Colorado’s medical marijuana industry will come before the Legislature today, according to its sponsor.

The bill, from state Sen. Chris Romer, would create stricter requirements for the relationship between medical marijuana patients and the doctors recommending it for them, report John Ingold and Jessica Fender of The Denver Post.
Marijuana providers would be barred from paying doctors who recommend cannabis to patients. Marijuana-recommending doctors would be required to be in good standing, with no restrictions on their medical licenses, and the doctor and patient would have to have a “bona fide” relationship in which the doctor provides a full examination and follow-up care.

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MPP.org
MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia is embroiled in a sex scandal which has already resulted in the departures of seven employees.

​Seven of the Marijuana Policy Project’s 38 employees have left the organization recently because of what several described as “inappropriate behavior” by Executive Director Rob Kampia after an office happy hour last August.

Salem Pearce, the former director of membership at MPP, and three other employees told the press that Kampia left Union Pub that evening with his former assistant, who still worked for MPP but had moved to another department.
What happened next remains in dispute, with Kampia and the young lady involved giving different accounts. But Kampia did acknowledge an an email to staff that it was something involving him which he regretted, and that it caused staff defections, report Nikki Schwab and Tara Palmeri at the Washington Examiner.
Even more disturbingly, an anonymous former MPP employee has told Toke of the Town that Kampia’s behavior was part of a years-long pattern.
“Rob has a very long history, known to anyone at MPP who’s been there more than a few months, of hitting on and sexually harassing pretty young women, including employees,” our source told us.
“Even if this particular incident was 100 percent consensual, his behavior should have gotten him fired years ago — or at the very least, put on probation and fired if it continued,” the ex-MPP staffer told Toke of the Town Thursday night.

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Photo: The Denver Chronicle
Aboute 200 marijuana advocates attended the rally in Denver, across the street from the Capitol.

​Marijuana advocates who rallied across the street from the state Capitol Thursday had harsh words for lawmakers considering regulations for Colorado’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry.

“Keep your grubby hands off of medical marijuana!” shouted activist Robert Chase toward the Capitol building.
About 200 marijuana backers attended the rally, timed to begin once Gov. Bill Ritter finished his State of the State speech, reports John Ingold of The Denver Post.

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Photo: Britney McIntosh, The Commercial Appeal
Congressman Steve Cohen: “This is an issue that’s important. It’s a freedom issue. It’s an intelligence issue.”

​Let’s face it: Not many members of Congress will ever be caught sharing the stage with Cheech and Chong.

Then again, Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen isn’t very typical. The two-term Democratic Congressman from Memphis headlined the Marijuana Policy Project‘s 15th annual gala Wednesday night, where the famed stoner comedy duo of Cheech & Chong won a lifetime “Trailblazer” award for helping move marijuana into the mainstream.
“Most of my colleagues didn’t want to be here and aren’t here. Maybe that says something about my political judgment,” joked Cohen to a few hundred people at the $250-per-plate dinner, reports Ben Evans of The Associated Press.
Cohen, a longtime advocate for legalizing medical marijuana, also argues that the government is wasting billions of dollars and wrecking lives and families with its draconian punishments for minor drug offenses.

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Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Scenes like this — a 1,700-pound bust in Sumas, Washington in 2009 — may become things of the past in the state if a move to legalize marijuana comes to fruition.

​Washington State lawmakers on Wednesday heard, for the first time ever, testimony in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults.

Members of the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, in a heavily attended, two-hour hearing, heard arguments in favor of House Bill 2401.
HB 2401 would “remove all existing criminal and civil penalties for adults 21 years of age or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana.”
The hearing marked the first time in history that Washington lawmakers had ever debated the merits of legalizing and regulating the sale and use of cannabis.

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Photo: Hendrike
New Jersey medical marijuana patients won’t be seeing this anytime soon — at least, not without risking jail.

​Almost lost in the euphoria surrounding yesterday’s triumph in the passage of a law legalizing medical marijuana in New Jersey was one bummer of a detail:

You can’t grow your own pot garden in the Garden State.
It doesn’t matter if you are a qualified patient with a doctor’s recommendation: Under the New Jersey medical marijuana law, residents cannot grow their own, reports Jeremy Olshan of the New York Post.
That could be a serious flaw in a law which aims to help seriously ill, and often financially insolvent, people. Sometimes, for some patients, growing a modest few plants is the only way they can afford to use marijuana at all.
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