If you live in Washington, you may get a chance to vote on legalizing marijuana this November.

​Five marijuana activists have filed a ballot initiative that would legalize adult cannabis possession in Washington state.

Its sponsors include two Seattle lawyers as well as Vivian McPeak, director of the annual Seattle Hempfest, probably the largest marijuana gathering on the planet.
The group, calling itself Sensible Washington, said it is time that Washington’s state government stop wasting tax money on police, court and jail costs for people who use or grow marijuana.
Douglas Hiatt, a lawyer who represents medical marijuana patients, told The Associated Press after filing the initiative Monday that the bill would remove all state penalties for adult possession of marijuana.

Photo: salem-news.com
An Oregon medical marijuana garden

​Medical marijuana advocates have turned in the first batch of signatures in a drive to place an initiative measure on Oregon’s November ballot to legalize cannabis dispensaries in the state.

Initiative 28 would create a system in which state-licensed cannabis growers would distribute their crops to dispensaries which would be regulated by the state health department, reports Brad Cain of The Associated Press.
Under I-28, medical marijuana patients with a doctor’s recommendation to use the herb could buy pot from the dispensaries, instead of having to find a personal grower/caretaker, figuring out how to grow pot themselves, or resorting to the black market.


​Replacing criminal sanctions for marijuana with a $100 civil fine is among the ideas up for discussion as the Washington Legislature begins its 60-day session Monday.

Travel show host Rick Steves and Washington lawmakers including Democratic State Rep. Brendan Williams of Olympia will take part in a panel discussion on the need to change state marijuana laws at 6:30 Tuesday evening in Olympia, reports Brad Shannon of The Olympian.
State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and State Rep. Mary Helen Roberts are also on the panel, which the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) organized at the Capitol Theater.
The 30-minute informational video, “Marijuana: It’s Time For A Conversation,” hosted by Steves, will also be shown, according to the ACLU.

Photo: Amanda Brown/The Star-Ledger
Sandy Faiola, of Asbury Park, and members of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey at a protest in August

​The New Jersey State Assembly has just approved a bill which legalizes medical marijuana in the Garden State.

The bill now goes to the State Senate for its approval later today, before the end of this lame duck session, and Gov. Jon Corzine is expected to sign it into law, reports Brian Thompson of NBC New York.
Monday afternoon, a group of patients suffering from various debilitating diseases convened at the statehouse and urged legislators to make legal medical marijuana a reality in New Jersey. Nearly a dozen medical cannabis supporters sang songs and told stories at a pro-legalization news conference.

Image by Cooljuno 411

​On Tuesday, the California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee will conduct a hearing and vote on A.B. 390, legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

This will be the first time California’s legislature has ever considered repealing marijuana prohibition, which has been in place in the state since 1913, and the first time in United States history that any state legislative committee will vote on a proposal to make marijuana legal, taxed, and regulated.
A.B. 390, the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, was authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), the chair of the committee.
A press conference led by Assemblyman Ammiano will follow the vote at about 10 a.m., outside the committee room.

Mile High NORML

The Mile High NORML Cannabis Rally will take place Thursday, Jan. 14 in Denver.
The event, time to follow Gov. Bill Ritter’s state of the state address, will run from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., according to Mile High NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).
The rally will take place at Lincoln Park in Denver across the street from the west steps of the Capitol building.

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Photo: redding.com
“Just put it all right back in the trunk, there, officer.”

​A judge Friday ordered the the return of 60 pounds of pot to a man after his attorney successfully argued that California’s medical marijuana law gives him the right to transport it.

Saguro Doven, 33, had been charged with possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of marijuana, reports Gerrick Kennedy of the Los Angeles Times.
Doven could have faced up to four years in state prison if found guilty.

Photo: Aaron Thackeray, Westword
Dispensaries like Herbal Connections in Denver could be legislated out of existence if law enforcement has its way.

​Colorado lawmakers writing a major medical marijuana regulation bill plan to meet Friday with officials from the state attorney general’s office to work on what they’re calling a “compromise” to include “more law-and-order language” in the bill. But advocates of safe and legal access for patients are blasting the current version of the bill, saying it is already too restrictive, reports John Ingold of The Denver Post.

The bill “cannot be supported by any serious patient or caregiver in Colorado’s medical marijuana community,” attorney/activist Rob Corry wrote in a letter Thursday to state Sen. Chris Romer, the Denver Democrat who is drafting the legislation.

Cannabis Planet

​A television show themed around medical marijuana, including growing tips and recipes, will debut in San Diego tonight.

Tonight’s episode of “Cannabis Planet” will include a segment critical of the heavy-handed raids carried out against local dispensaries last fall, reports Eleanor Yang Su of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“We’re fighting for safe and legal access for the medical cannabis community,” said Brad Lane, creator and executive producer of the new show. “In San Diego, there’s been some draconian measures by law enforcement officials against the cannabis community.”

Available at your local liquor store? Yes, in Washington, if HB 2401 passes.

​If you want to be able to grow, sell, or smoke marijuana legally in the state of Washington, next Wednesday you may want to be in OIympia, the state capitol, reports Jerry Cornfield at the Everett HeraldNet.

At 1:30 p.m. on January 13, the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee will consider House Bill 2401, which would have Washington treat marijuana much like it does alcohol.
The bill is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson.
If the bill is passed, those 21 or older won’t face criminal penalties for possessing, transporting, or using cannabis, the HeraldNet reports.
However, growing and selling marijuana would still be unlawful, as only state-licensed growers would be allowed to cultivate pot, and only state-licensed stores would be allowed to sell it.
Like with booze, smoking and driving are a no-no, as is providing pot to minors.
Under HB 2401, marijuana could be bought at state liquor stores. A hefty tax would be added to the herb, with proceeds going to drug education and rehabilitation programs.
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