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Photo: NORML
Seattle Hempfest crowd at 2009’s event enjoys the beautiful setting and good vibes at Myrtle Edwards Park

​With unprecedented Pacific Northwest activity on the cannabis law reform front, and at the request of Hempfest supporters, the world’s largest marijuana event, Seattle Hempfest, is launching a new membership campaign to promote cannabis education and social networking throughout the year.

Prospective members are invited to the February 20 kickoff at Columbia City Theater in Seattle, the first of many events to socialize and discuss the latest in pot reform with local activists, attorneys and cannabusiness entrepreneurs.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
7:30 pm – 11 pm
4916 Rainier Avenue, South
Seattle, WA 98118
$25 and up membership purchase gains entry to this and all year-round Hempfest events
(21 and over)

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Photo: Hardwick Fundlebuggy

​District Attorney Mike Ramsey doesn’t want any marijuana dispensaries in Chico, California. He dislikes them so much, in fact, that he threatened to jail members of the city council if they allow the pot shops in town, reports Toni Scott of the Chico Enterprise Record.

Ramsey, who obviously doesn’t mind running his mouth and throwing his weight around, “warned” the councilors: “I want to make the distinction that you cannot authorize that which is illegal, legal.”
“If that which is illegal is authorized as legal, you can expect to see every one one of those city councilors in jail,” he said.

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Graphic: Jim Wheeler

​A California man who is a medical marijuana patient is demanding punitive damages against Berkeley police officers, saying they ran him over with a bicycle, knocked him down, and stomped him because he was smoking a joint during a Mardi Gras parade.

J. Hadley Louden said he was marching down Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley during the 2009 Mardi Gras parade, with a large set of drums and cymbals harnessed to him, smoking a joint, reports Robert Kahn of Courthouse News Service.
According to Louden, he was the leader of the band.
Louden said a Berkeley cop, “Kelley,” approached him and demanded the joint. Louden explained his possession was legal and turned away, according to the complaint in Alameda County Court.

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Graphic: KATU-TV
Legalization is gaining momentum in the Pacific Northwest — and the promise of big tax money is proving hard to resist for some legislators.

​Thanks to Toke of the Town‘s good friend Michael Bachara of Hemp News for alerting us to a KATU-TV news report on the legalization movement in Oregon and Washington (see video below).

Although reporter Anna Song somehow completely misses covering the Sensible Washington voter initiative signature drive, she does interview the very cool Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle) of the Washington Legislature.
“We are treating marijuana like we treated alcohol during Prohibition,” Dickerson says, “and it doesn’t make sense.”

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Photo: Wellsphere

​The Washington Senate Friday passed a bill that adds physician assistants, nurse practitioners and naturopaths as health care professionals who can authorize medical marijuana. Physicians can already authorize cannabis use for medical purposes in Washington.

Senate Bill 5798 passed by a convincing vote of 37-11, and now goes to the Washington House of Representatives for consideration, reports Michelle Dupler at the Tri City Herald.

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Photo: www.doitnow.org

​It was inevitable: When the Baby Boomers hit middle age, they brought along their buds and bongs. Americans over age 50 are using marijuana in record numbers, according to new survey data.

And those numbers are going to go even, well, “higher,” the government admits.
“High rates of lifetime drug use among the baby boom generation (persons born between 1946 and 1964), combined with the large size of the cohort, suggest that the number of older adults using drugs will increase in the next two decades,” the study says.

Marijuana use was more common than the “non-medical” use of prescription-type drugs both for adults 50-54 (6.1 vs. 3.4 percent) and those aged 55-59 (4.1 vs. 3.2 percent). This shouldn’t come as a great surprise; after all, it stands to reason that folks this age, with a wealth of life experiences on which to base decisions, would make safer choices.

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Graphic: movies.popcrunch.com

​A bill has been introduced in the Kansas Legislature to legalize marijuana for medical use.

Although the bill, which comes from Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita), doesn’t have much a chance, “It’s the right thing to do,” Finney said.
Her bill was introduced the same week that lawmakers voted to make the Sunflower State the first in the nation to outlaw fake marijuana, reports David Klepper of the Kansas City Star.
Finney’s bill, like medical marijuana laws adopted in New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Maine, would set up state-registered “compassionate care centers” where those with a doctor’s recommendation can buy cannabis.
The bill would require that all medical marijuana used in the state be grown in Kansas.

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Photo: Stefan Rousseau/AP
British Home Secretary Alan Johnson holds two prototype pint glasses designed not to break up into dangerous shards on impact. The British government wants pubs to try out the shatterproof glasses to cut back on alcohol-related violence.

​From time to time, we as marijuana users may find it instructive to look across the aisle, as it were, at our alcohol-imbibing brethren.

These glances almost always serve to remind us why we choose pot instead.
Such is the case with today’s news from the United Kingdom, where those booze-loving Brits have invented a new, shatterproof pint glass, according to The Associated Press
That’s right: Limeys will still be able to get smashed, but their pint glasses won’t.
A proud British government unveiled the shatterproof glasses Thursday. Officials claimed the country would save billions in health care by coming up with a glass that doesn’t double as, you guessed it, a lethal weapon.

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Photo: phishcoventry.blogspot.com
Nice speeches… But same old Drug War.

​Contrary to campaign promises and past policy statements, the Obama Administration is expanding the War on (Some) Drugs and focusing funds toward law enforcement over treatment.

Opinion? No, fact. According to 2011 funding “highlights” released this week by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the administration budgets $15.5 billion for Drug War spending in 2011, an increase of 3.5 percent over 2010.
Even more ominously, the 2011 budget represents an increase of 5.2 percent in overall enforcement funding ($9.9 billion in 2011 vs. $9.7 billion in 2010).
For the non-policy-wonks among you who aren’t into numbers, this is roughly the equivalent of throwing 15 and a half billion dollars up a wild hog’s ass and hollering “soooEEEEEE!”

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Photo: CBS47.com
Rick Morse says he will fight for what he believes is right until officers take him away in handcuffs

​An arrest warrant has been issued for the owner of a Fresno, California medical marijuana dispensary.

Rick Morse, who owns the Medmar Clinic in Fresno’s Tower District, is accused of illegally running the dispensary, reports Alicia Coates of CBS47.tv.
Morse’s contempt of court arraignment was Wednesday but he didn’t show, resulting in the court issuing a felony warrant for his arrest.
Surprisingly, local TV station CBS47 found Morse at his Medmar clinic Wednesday night, and he didn’t seem overly worried about the warrant.
“I would rather go by my constitution than what some void order says,” Morse told CBS47.
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