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The state of Florida continues to edge closer to passing some sort of reasonable medical marijuana legislation, but not everyone in the state is happy about it. We have been reporting on the totally predictable knee-jerk opposition from the state sheriff’s association, but as the Florida state legislature is beginning to make moves to legitimize the plant for medical needs, anti-cannabis groups have decided to enter the political arena as well.
Drug Free Florida is an anti-marijuana group whose sole purpose is to oppose, and eventually defeat, the amendment scheduled for a vote this November to legalize medical marijuana in the state. Funded by a 6-digit donation from Mel Sembler (a local land developer, former U.S. Ambassador to Italy and Australia, and long-time money bundler for the Republican Party), the group’s ties to the GOP do not end there.

Though he spared exactly zero words regarding cannabis, drug policy, or criminal justice reform in his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama and his administration have been increasingly more vocal on these issues as he settles into his second, and final, term in office.
Both the President and Attorney General Eric Holder in the Department of Justice have earned few friends and little trust in the cannabis community, but both wings of the Executive Branch have vowed to address the undeniable fact that when it comes to victimless, drug-related crimes, our criminal justice system is broken. This past Thursday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee took an historic step to begin the long overdue reform process.

Last week the world watched as Uruguay became the first nation to officially re-legalize marijuana in nearly eight decades. Not to be outdone, our neighbors to the north in Canada may be heading in the same direction, at least if Justin Trudeau, the leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, has anything to say about it.
On July 23rd, while attending a rally in British Columbia, the head of one of Canada’s three major political parties spotted a supporter carrying a sign in favor of decriminalizing weed, and he stated, “I’m actually not in favor of decriminalizing cannabis – I’m in favor of legalizing it.”

If the state allows people to use medical marijuana, they should also allow those patients to drive so long as they aren’t impaired. That’s the gist of a law currently making its way through the Nevada legislature that would exempt medical marijuana patients from laws prohibiting drivers from having any marijuana – active or inactive – in their systems.

The World Through My Specs
Peter Reynolds of CLEAR is engaged in a tug-of-war with ex-members of the organization’s Executive Committee

By Denzil White
Special to Toke of the Town
In suit and tie, Peter Reynolds looks more like an extra from the set of Mad Men than like the hairy-headed hippie stereotype of a cannabis activist. He’s definitely not hairy-headed, but when he promised to clean up the image of cannabis campaigning in the UK, few people expected the makeover to result in a beauty only skin deep.
Claiming a background in advertising and public relations, Peter Reynolds won leadership of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance, a small, single-issue political party, then set about changing the name of the party to CLEAR (Cannabis Law Reform) and brought on help to spruce up the party’s website and logo.
Reynolds wrote at the time, “We will build a new and effective brand and campaign. We are reasonable, responsible, respectable members of society from all walks of life and professions.” 
Things were looking good; MPs hit Reynolds’ “Friend” button on Facebook and the CLEAR “Comment Warriors” plagued the popular press with pro-cannabis comments on any article reporting a factory raid or medicinal marijuana critique.

Patients Against I-502

​Washington state’s marijuana legalization Initiative 502 has plenty of prominent backers and a healthy war chest of money heading towards the November election. So why do many of the state’s most prominent cannabis advocates oppose it?
One of the most troublesome reasons, according to Patients Against I-502, is its faulty DUI provision which would create a per se DUI charge for anyone testing over the low, arbitrary and scientifically unsupported blood THC level of of five nanograms per milliliter (5 ng/ml).


​A Montana plan to issue DUI tickets for those under the influence of “dangerous drugs” while driving was rejected Tuesday in a legislative committee amid concerns there is no valid test for determining impairment.

The measure was one piece of the drunken driving reform working its way through the Montana Legislature, reports Matt Gouras of The Associated Press.
Another, larger reform initiative that would require repeat drunk driving offenders to undergo twice-daily breath tests at their own expense was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee and will go to the full House. 

Photo: TheBongPlace

​A new bill introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives would lower the penalty for an ounce or less of marijuana to a petty offense similar to a traffic violation.

House Bill 100, introduced January 12, would change the consequences of possession of under 28.35 grams of cannabis from a Class A Misdemeanor — punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine — down to a petty offense rather than a criminal offense, reports Brendan Denison at the Daily Illini.
If passed, the bill would set a $500 fine for first-time marijuana possession offenders, $750 for second-time offenders, and a $1,000 fine for each offense thereafter.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford, the Democrat who introduced the bill, said he expects it to free up the court systems and reduce the number of people who receive criminal background histories for possessing small amounts of cannabis.