Graphic: Marijuana Policy Project

​A hearing to receive testimony on HB 712, a bill that would make Maryland the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana, will be held on Friday.

Supporters and opponents of the measure are scheduled to appear before a panel of Maryland House members Friday afternoon to discuss the bill.

The Maryland House Judiciary and Health and Government Operations committees will hold the hearing on the bill, introduced by Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County).
Morhaim, an emergency room physician who drafted the legislation, said it would create strict conditions compared to the other 14 states where medical marijuana is allowed.

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Up In Smoke

​The pot flick has practically become a genre unto itself. Stoner movies, expressly designed for enjoyment under herbally enhanced conditions, should have their own aisle at Blockbuster.
While we’re waiting for that to happen, though, let’s take a moment to bask in the euphoric glow of accomplishment. Cannabis cinema has established a track record of success and marketability much like the herb itself.
Given the passionate loyalty potheads feel towards their very favorite stoner movies, I’d have to be ape-shit crazy to put myself in the line of fire, subjecting myself to the ire, the scorn and the second-guessing of my blunted but opinionated brethren.
So if you think I’m high enough to even try that… OK, OK. Good point.
Here are my Top 10.

Graphic: Cannabis Defense Coalition
Activists in the Olympia, WA area are encouraged to print these posters and distribute them around town.

​A Seattle-based marijuana advocacy group is trying to learn the identity of the “confidential informant” responsible for the recent arrest of Olympia City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer on pot charges.

Hyer was arrested February 18 by agents from the forfeiture-funded and citizen-feared Thurston County Narcotics Task Force for allegedly selling marijuana.
An acquaintance of Hyer had contacted the task force and reported that he was able to get cannabis from the councilman, and that he was ready and willing to wear a wire and go “undercover” in an expensive, month-long, taxpayer-funded marijuana investigation cum political vendetta.
Democrat Hyer’s high-profile arrest has already resulted in a chorus of calls for his resignation from ambitious local Republicans who see an opportunity to make political capital from the councilman’s misfortune.

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Photo: Ron Crumpton

​​A bill which would increase safe access to medical marijuana by qualifying patients is still alive in the Washington Legislature.

SB 5798 would extend prescriptive authority to legally recommend medical marijuana to naturopathic doctors, physicians’ assistants, and nurse practitioners. All of these positions can write prescriptions under federal law, and should also have the authority to authorize the medical use of marijuana.
The bill passed the House Health Care and Wellness Committee on a vote of 8-4-1. It now moves to the House Rules Committee, chaired by the powerful Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House.
Chopp has been notoriously hostile towards medical marijuana in the past few years, despite the fact that he represents what is considered one of the most politically liberal districts in the state.

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Photo: AP
Mexican Army soldiers stand at attention, desperately trying to keep a “military bearing” as the intoxicating smoke from a buttload of marijuana being burned billows over them in Ciudad Juarez

​High-ranking officials from the United States and Mexico Thursday concluded a conference to reduce the illicit drug trade associated violence that plagues the border between the two nations.

Unfortunately, the talks concluded with no reference to the most sensible strategy for reducing that violence: removing marijuana from the criminal market, thus depriving drug cartels of their main source of income and strife.

“The only solution to the current crisis is to tax and regulate marijuana,” said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Once again, Mexican and U.S. officials are ignoring the fact that the cartels get 70 percent of their profits from marijuana.”

Photo: Delaware Online
Mitch Hedberg: “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.”

​Mitch Hedberg (February 24, 1968 – March 29, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian known for his surreal humor and unconventional comedic delivery.
His routines featured elocutive but often short, sometimes one-line, observational comedy, mixed with absurd and paraprosdokian elements as well as non sequiturs. 
Hedberg’s unique comedy and gentle on-stage persona gained him a cult following.

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Mayor pro tem Joe Hyer of Olympia, Washington: Did he try to live up to his last name?

​Prosecutors have charged Olympia, Washington’s mayor pro tem, who was arrested last week under suspicion of selling marijuana, with three felonies.

Joe A. Hyer has been charged with two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance, reports Martha Kang at
Hyer, 37, was arrested at his home on February 18 after a month-long investigation by the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force.
According to the police statement of probable cause, Hyer sold marijuana to two police informants on two separate occasions in February. In both instances, the buyer called ahead to arrange the purchase, and the mayor pro tem came out on his front porch to hand over a bag of pot for a preset price, investigators claimed.

Photo: Noah Berger/AP
Ashley Epis’s dad is going back to federal prison — for growing medical marijuana, which has been legal in California since 1996. “I want everybody to know that my dad is not a criminal,” she said.

​A California man has been taken back into custody after almost six years of freedom to finish the remainder of his 10-year prison sentence for growing medical marijuana.

Bryan James Epis, 42, of Chico, Calif., was remanded into custody based on a 2002 jury trial conviction for “conspiracy to manufacture at least 1,000 marijuana plants within 1,000 feet of a school, and the manufacture of at least 100 marijuana plants within 1,000 feet of a school.”

Photo: Portage County Jail
Robert Batsch: Another victim of the war on pot

​Police said a 55-year-old man killed himself Tuesday after he and his wife were charged with child endangering in connection with growing marijuana.

Robert Batsch and his wife Pamela, 54, of Rootstown, Ohio, were arrested Monday on warrants of allowing a juvenile to live in their home where marijuana was being grown. Their son told school officials about the marijuana, which led to a police investigation, reports Michael Sangiacomo of
Pamela found Robert’s body with a .22 rifle in the woods behind their home about noon on Tuesday, according to Portage County Sheriff David Doak.
A spokesman for the Portage County Coroner said Batsch’s death would be declared a suicide.
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