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Legalizing Marijuana

Americans overwhelmingly agree, by an almost 2-to-1 margin, that the federal government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that legalize cannabis, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

“These polls are making it quite clear that most Americans do not want the federal government to stand in the way after a state’s voters have approved a ballot measure to make marijuana legal for adults,” said Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “The initiatives in Colorado and Washington received strong majority support because the voters believe regulating marijuana like alcohol would make their communities safer than the current system of prohibition.”
“It’s not just the people of Colorado and Washington who want to see these ballot measures implemented in accordance with the will of the voters,” Fox said. “It’s nearly two-thirds of all Americans. The Obama administration should not undermine their sensible action by ensuring marijuana sales remain underground where the profits prop up cartels and gangs instead of legitimate businesses.”
The question became a very timely one on Thursday, as Washington became the first state in the U.S. to legalize and regulate the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older, reports USA Today. 

BookRags

Only One-Third Would Approve of President Obama Interfering in Implementation of Colorado and Washington Ballot Measures
 
Marijuana will officially become legal for adults in Washington on Thursday when new law goes into effect
 
According to a national poll conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) from November 30 to December 2, a record high 58 percent of American voters said they think marijuana should be made legal, compared to only 39 percent who do not. In addition, 50 percent of respondents said they think marijuana will become legal under federal law within the next 10 years.

LEAP
Neill Franklin, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: “During his first time, President Obama really disappointed those of us who hoped he might follow through on his campaign pledges to respect state medical marijuana laws”

U.S. Attorneys Urged To Use Discretion To Allow Successful State Implementation
A group of veteran law enforcement professionals on Tuesday will deliver a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice urging the Obama Administration to respect state laws that legalize and regulate marijuana. Voters in the states of Colorado and Washington opted decisively for marijuana legalization on November 6, and national polls show majority support for replacing marijuana prohibition with legal regulation.
After personally delivering the letter signed by dozens of police, prosecutors, judges and federal agents to the Department of Justice at 9:00 a.m. ET, 34-year veteran narcotics cop Neill Franklin will join other law enforcers for a noon teleconference call to answer questions from journalists.
“During his first term, President Obama really disappointed those of us who hoped he might follow through on his campaign pledges to respect state medical marijuana laws,” said Neill Franklin, the former Baltimore narc who serves as executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “Still, I’m hopeful that in his second term he’ll realize the political opportunity that exists to do the right thing.

LEAP

Nine States and Localities Vote for More Sensible Drug Laws
In a historic night for drug law reformers, on Tuesday, Colorado and Washington voters passed measures legalizing and regulating marijuana, Massachusetts became the 18th state to allow medical marijuana and six localities voted to modernize policies on marijuana.
“I cannot tell you how happy I am that after 40 years of the racist, destructive exercise in futility that is the war on drugs, my home state of Washington has now put us on a different path,” said Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief who is now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

LEAP

National Black and Latino Police Groups Announce Endorsements for Amendment 64
A group of police officers, judges and prosecutors who support Amendment 64, the Colorado ballot measure to regulate marijuana like alcohol, held a press conference on Thursday to release a letter of endorsement signed by law enforcers from across the state and to announce the endorsement of the national police organizations Blacks in Law Enforcement of America and the National Latino Officers Association.
The campaign has also secured the personal endorsement of Colorado’s public defender, Doug Wilson.
“Law enforcement officers are on the front lines of the war on marijuana and have seen first-hand that prohibition does more harm than good,” says Art Way, Colorado Senior Drug Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. 

Vote80.org

Joining civil-rights organizations like the NAACP and labor organizations like United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555, the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) has officially endorsed Measure 80.
 
“Oregon is now engaged in a great debate across the public safety spectrum to seek and adopt rational evidence-based policies that will make our state and people safer,” said Lane Borg, OCDLA president. “The evidence in this case supports that a common-sense, sane drug policy would end the futile prohibition on cannabis and instead adopt a rational regulation policy that hopefully would end the dangerous conditions brought on by both illegal trafficking and aggressive enforcement in the war on drugs.” 

Measure 80 – The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act

Adding to the chorus of political and community leaders around Oregon and the nation that is calling for an end to America’s catastrophic War On Drugs, Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard has officially endorsed Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.
 

Portland Community College
Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard: “Regulating and taxing marijuana for adults is just common sense”

“As a career Portland firefighter, a State Legislator and a Portland City Council member, I have always fought for funding for our first responders and resources for our social safety net,” Leonard said. “Regulating and taxing marijuana for adults is just common sense, because it allows us to get pot out of kids’ hands, focus our public-safety resources on dangerous drugs, creates jobs and provide a new revenue stream to fund much-needed social services.”
 
According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, Oregon has spent more than $60 million a year on marijuana-related offenses, from local police enforcement costs to court-room costs to the millions spent on incarceration.
Measure 80 would replace a failed system of prohibition with an effective taxation-and-regulation model. While adults 21 and older would be able to purchase cannabis products only at state-licensed stores, Measure 80 introduces tough new criminal penalties, such as felony charges for selling cannabis to a minor, and criminal misdemeanor charges for providing cannabis to a minor.

Hispanically Speaking News
Uruguay President Jose Mujica: “We feel that putting it aboveboard, regulating it, can be a lesser evil than what is happening today”

Aw, man! If Uruguay’s parliament approves a historic plan to legalize marijuana, drug tourism will not be allowed in the South American nation, President Jose Mujica said on Wednesday.

The plan, under which Uruguay would sell marijuana to its citizens, will require people to prove they are Uruguayan before scoring any weed, Mujica told Agence France Presse (AFP). The legalization bill — the first complete legalization in the world, as opposed to decriminalization of “tolerance” as practiced in places like the Netherlands and Portugal — “is to resolve a problem that we ourselves have,” President Mujica said.

Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman: “We are, of course, supportive of legitimate medical marijuana here.”
 

Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.
   ~ Miguel de Cervantes, “Don Quixote de la Mancha Part II” (1615)
By Jack Rikess

Toke of the Town

Northern California Correspondent
Conventional wisdom for anyone living north of Santa Rosa is that marijuana is an integral component of California’s economy. In the beginning, growers were tolerated by the locals as misfits of society who had migrated north to avoid the world of straight jobs and or had fled to Mendo with the ‘back to the county’ movement to grow their organic beans and fruit.
Venerable local institutions such as the timber and fishing industries were leery of the young freaks with their torn jeans and rusting VW vans. Their fears were soon justified when that first generation found that there were endless acres of hidden land stashed in them there hills.
If a guy could find a secluded patch in the hills that was close to water and had sun, he had the makings of his first clandestine start-up. The Timber giants viewed the encroaching growers as threats to their land, their water, and to the political dominance that they held in NorCal since the mid-19th century. 
By the 1980s, the marijuana industry was entrenched and blooming, much to the chagrin of local law enforcement and community leaders. These former lazy rejects were driving new trucks, sending their kids to school, and buying their veggies at Safeway just like everyone else.  
Thirty years later it is estimated that cannabis industry generates around 13 billion dollars in annual sales. And that’s what is available to count. The timber industry is now a hollow trunk of its former self. The salmon and other fish populations have been so drastically depleted in the last few decades that fishermen can’t rely on their yield from season to season. Many fishing boats on the coast have gone belly up.

The Marijuana Project

By John Novak
The Washington State Office of Financial Management has finally released its much anticipated report on the marijuana “legalization” initiative, I-502. (See link to the report at the end of this article)
While it claims that the state could see a financial windfall in the billions from the taxation and regulation of cannabis, it also warns of some very serious consequences and the possibility of zero revenue.
Steve Sarich, a well known Seattle area medical marijuana personality and anti-I-502 activist, sued the Office last month, stating the early numbers being used “are so far off it’s incredulous.”
He and the other activists that joined the lawsuit demanding a new report that included all the risks, including possible results from federal lawsuits.
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