Browsing: Legislation

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Painting: James Montgomery Flagg
Hey, Congress: I want YOU to respect the will of the people

​In a historic move, Congress is poised to end a decade-long ban on implementation of the medical marijuana law passed with a 69 percent majority by voters in the District of Columbia in 1998.

Known as the Barr Amendment, after its author, then-Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), the provision — a rider attached to appropriations for D.C. — has forbidden the District from extending legal protection to qualified medical marijuana patients.
The Barr Amendment has been derided by advocates for years as an unconscionable intrusion by the federal government into the democratically expressed will of the District’s people.
The omnibus spending bill that Democratic leaders will be bringing to a vote in the House later this week removes this onerous provision. Once both chambers of Congress approve the final language and the President signs it, the Barr Amendment will no longer block medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.

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Photo: Coaster420
Medical marijuana: Will Pennsylvania become the Keystoned State? Oh, yeah… Stereotypes bad.

​ The good news, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, is that Pennsylvania is finally having a discussion about medical marijuana.

The bad news? “In our socially conservative state this is likely as far as the debate will go on the issue,” the editorial says.
Pennsylvania’s House Health and Human Services Committee last week heard from patients, doctors, and medical marijuana advocates who said the state should legalize the herb for those suffering debilitating medical conditions.

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Photo: Psychonaught
Five of these? Yes, please. (Super Silver Haze sativa/indica hybrid)

​​The government of the Czech Republic in eastern Europe will allow ordinary citizens to grow up to five marijuana plants starting Jan. 1, 2010.

The cabinet of Prime Minister Jan Fischer defined “personal use” amounts of cannabis and other drugs, clarifying the nation’s new penal code that will decriminalize cultivation and possession of pot. 
While marijuana will remain technically illegal, possession will be punished only with fines comparable to those imposed for parking tickets, Sean Carney at the Wall Street Journal reports.
​What constituted “small amounts” for personal use was previously undefined. Police and the courts loosely interpreted the laws on a case by case basis, often resulting in home marijuana growers being jailed.

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Graphic: Reality Catcher
The State of Maine will be selling marijuana by spring.

​A 14-member task force assigned by Gov. John E. Baldacci is trying to iron out the kinks in Maine’s new medical marijuana law so it can be implemented by its deadline at the beginning of April, 2010.

The committee, made up of state officials, police, medical professionals and others, meets today to address potential problems in the law voters approved in November.
The new law allows for state-run medical marijuana dispensaries, and also expands the conditions for which medical marijuana can be legally used in Maine.
Medical marijuana has been legal in the state since the Maine Medical Marijuana Act of 1998. This year’s voter initiative was designed to solve the conundrum of where those patients, legal for 11 years now, are supposed to buy their medicine.

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Photo: Laurie Avocado
Whenever City Council’s in session, look out.

​San Diego’s task force on medical marijuana will present its land-use recommendations to the city council today.

According to the task force, any businesses that dispense medical marijuana in San Diego should be required to apply for a land use permit, and should only be allowed in industrial or commercial zones, Tom Fudge reports at KPBS.
The task force also recommends that dispensaries shouldn’t be located within 1,000 feet of a school, or within 500 feet of another dispensary.

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Graphic: Reality Catcher
It may be time to enter Nevada in the “Which state will legalize pot first?” betting.

​Following ballot initiatives to tax and regulate marijuana in Nevada in 2002 and 2006, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) of Nevada is preparing for the next step in its fight to make marijuana legal in the Silver State.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, MPP-NV will make an announcement at a press conference in front of the Clark County Government Center at 11 a.m. While specific details of the plan will not be revealed until then, Dave Schwartz, manager of the group, hinted that a ballot measure to tax and regulate may be in the works.

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Photo: Damon D’Amato, WAMC
Medical marijuana supporters march on L.A. City Hall in 2007

​Medical marijuana advocacy organization Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will hold a press conference in front of Los Angeles City Hall at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, in advance of the expected vote on regulating dispensaries in L.A.

The City Council has indicated they might meet in closed session to make final deliberations on an ordinance that would regulate how and where medical marijuana dispensaries can operate in the city.
According to the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting, the possible closed session is due to “threats of litigation publicly made regarding the adoption of the proposed ordinance. Last month, ASA had threatened to sue the city if it banned the “sale” of medical marijuana.
Tuesday’s meeting will likely be the culmination of a two-year struggle between pro- and anti-medical marijuana forces for dominance in the City of Angels, where City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and like-minded Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley have grabbed headlines by making inflammatory statements like “approximately zero” of the dispensaries in the county are operating legally.

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Photo: Hendrike
The color of money.

​A town planning committee in Michigan on Tuesday will present a plan to officials that would amend the city’s zoning ordinance to treat medical marijuana growers as businesses, forcing dispensaries to operate from general business districts rather than homes, reports Jonathan Oosting of MLive.com.

The scheme, from the Royal Oak Plan Commission, would allow dispensaries in general business districts as a special land use, according to Catherine Kavanaugh at The Macomb Daily.
In Royal Oak, these districts are on Woodward Avenue, Main Street north of downtown, and some parts of Coolidge Highway and 14 Mile Road.
Dispensaries would be banned within 1,000 feet of schools, libraries, parks, playgrounds, day cares, places of worship, or other dispensaries. Hours of operation would be limited to 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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Photo: Joe Mabel
A massive representation of a joint in a “rolling paper” evoking the American flag, 2008 Summer Solstice Parade, Fremont Fair, Seattle, WA.

​Marijuana decriminalization in Washington state just won some important allies.

This morning, the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Board of Governors (BOG) voted to support the decrim bill, SB 5615, in the upcoming session of the Legislature.
The BOG voted 9 in favor, 0 opposed, and 2 abstaining to support the bill, Alison Holcomb, drug policy director at the ACLU of Washington, has told Toke of the Town.

Photo: Aaron Thackeray, Westword
Herbal Connections dispensary, located at 2209 W. 32nd Avenue in Denver, offers a variety of strains including Pineapple Kush.

​​Colorado’s medical marijuana community got a bit of editorial support today from a very influential source — leading newspaper The Denver Post.

In an Dec. 5 Op-Ed piece with the headline “Cities shouldn’t ban dispensaries,” the Post comes down firmly on the side of supporting the will of the Rocky Mountain State’s people as expressed in the 2000 voter initiative which legalized medical pot.
“Far too many muncipalities — including Greeley, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs and Broomfield — are just outright banning the dispensaries, citing the fact that the sale of marijuana is still illegal under federal law,” the Post editorial said.
“We think cities have a role in regulating businesses in a manner that reflects local needs and values,” the Post said, “but some seem to have reacted in haste or simply hope to pass the regulatory buck to other authorities.”
“It is wrong for cities to issue blanket bans,” the Post said. “The Colorado Constitution grants residents with debilitating medical conditions the right to acquire and possess medical marijuana.”