Tag Archives | Marijuana Legalization

The National Disgrace Of Marijuana Possession Arrests

marijuana arrestsThe New Inquiry, sociologist Harry Levine explains the terrible mechanics propelling apartheid-style law enforcement in America:

Police arrest mostly young and low-income men for marijuana possession, disproportionately blacks and Latinos. In the last 15 years, police and sheriff ’s departments in every major U.S. city and county have made over 10 million of these possession arrests. Most people arrested were not smoking. They were carrying tiny amounts.

Police make so many because they are relatively safe and easy arrests. All police have arrest quotas and often they can earn overtime pay by making a marijuana arrest toward the end of a shift. The arrests show productivity. Making many low-level arrests of all kinds is very good for training rookie police who gain experience doing many stops and searches of teenagers.

There is also a push nationally, to states, counties, and city police departments, to get as many new people as possible into the criminal databases.

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New York Republican Who Voted Against Medical Marijuana Busted For Pot

The Wall Street Journal reports a pretty good example of political hypocrisy, with lawmaker Steve Katz, fresh off of helping defeat the legalization of medical marijuana in New York state for people who desperately need it:

A Putnam County assemblyman received a ticket for marijuana possession Thursday after he was stopped for speeding on the New York State Thruway.

Assemblyman Steve Katz, a 59-year-old Republican who voted no last year on a bill to legalize medical marijuana, had been traveling 80 mph on I-87 through Coeymans, N.Y., where the speed limit is 65 mph, state police said. During the speeding stop, police said a trooper noted the odor of marijuana and found Mr. Katz in possession of a small bag.

State police released Mr. Katz with a ticket and ordered him to appear in court on March 28. He didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

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UN: Colorado, Washington Pot Legalization Must Stop

Colorado and Washington – which voted to legalize marijuana in November – haven’t started (legal) sales of the drug yet and already the measures appear on precarious ground. There have been ambiguous signals from the Obama administration as to a future federal response and a public letter signed by former DEA chiefs demands the new state laws be quashed. Now, the United Nations is piling on.

The International Narcotics Control Board, a UN body charged with implementation of international drug treaties, has issued a demand to the U.S. government to “ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties on its entire territory,” the Seattle Times reports.  Specifically, drug liberalization laws in Washington and Colorado violate international drug agreements, the board contends. Attorney-General Eric Holder says he is continuing to review the Washington and Colorado laws as he works to formulate a response.

In an unrelated editorial, Daniel Wolfe of the Open Society Foundations, has compiled a list of “the 5 Ways the UN’s Drug Watchdog Fails on Health and Human Rights,” which was published yesterday at The Huffington Post.… Read the rest

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Best Job Of The Future: Marijuana Consultant For The Government

If becoming a drone operator is too dystopian, consider this. In U.S. states which have newly legalized pot, experts on its growth and consumption are needed for public service, NBC News reports:

The job description requests an unlikely mix of skills: five years of regulatory experience, with a law degree preferred, and extensive knowledge of all things marijuana. But that didn’t stop dozens of people from turning out to find out about becoming Washington state’s official marijuana consultant.

As officials figure out how to regulate the state’s newly legal marijuana, they’re hiring an adviser to fill in the gaps: how cannabis is best grown, dried, tested, labeled, packaged, regulated and cooked into brownies.

The board has advertised for consulting services in four categories. The first is “product and industry knowledge” and requires “at least three years of consulting experience relating to the knowledge of the cannabis industry, including  product growth, harvesting, packaging, product infusion and product safety.”

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Unions Hoping Marijuana Industry Becomes Major Employer

When organized labor unions campaign on behalf of legal marijuana growing and distribution, you know that America is way past the tipping point. Molly Redden reports for The New Republic:

Early one morning in April, DEA and IRS agents and U.S. marshals raided several Oakland properties owned by Richard Lee, then the leading figure of California’s medical-marijuana industry. At Oaksterdam University, Lee’s multistory business school for marijuana workers, agents went in with power saws, a sledgehammer, and a small battering ram, and walked out with file drawers and bags full of loose documents. At Lee’s dispensary down the block, they heaped live cannabis plants into trash bags. Word got out, and soon hundreds of protesters surrounded Oaksterdam, screaming “Fuck you, pigs!” at the officers. Some of the agitators milled around all day, hoisting signs, blocking the road, and, yes, smoking pot.

A more sober cohort also joined the protest—officials from the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5.

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Washington State and Colorado Join the Fray: Cannabis Legalized

via chycho

The big news from last night is not that the lesser of two evils won the US presidential elections, but that “Washington and Colorado voters legalized recreational use of marijuana.”

“’It’s very monumental,’ said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a Washington-based group that advocates legalization. ‘No state has ever done this. Technically, marijuana isn’t even legal in Amsterdam.’”

Under the measures, “personal possession of up to an ounce (28.5 grams) of marijuana would be legal for anyone at least 21 years of age. They also will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at state-licensed stores in a system modeled after a regime many states have in place for alcohol sales.”

In addition, the cultivation of up to six plants for personal use will be legal in Colorado while still remaining illegal in Washington State.… Read the rest

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Kansas Jury Refuses To Recognize Marijuana Laws

This has happened before in parts of the country where you might not expect it and seems to be a growing trend which the government would rather you not know about. Via Reason, a Kansas defense attorney recounts the turn of events:

I had a jury trial this morning on level 3 possession with intent MJ, level 4 possession drug paraphernalia and level 10 no drug tax stamp.

During voir dire, my almost all white, middle-class, middle-aged jury went into full rebellion against the prosecutor stating that they wouldn’t convict even if the client’s guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt — almost all of them! They felt marijuana should be legalized, what he does with it is his own business and that the jails are already full of people for this silly charge.

Then, when the potential jurors found out that the State wanted him to pay taxes on illegal drugs, they went nuts.

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Three States to Vote on Marijuana Legalization: What Happens Then?


Colorado, Oregon and Washington are all rolling out ballot measures that could legalize the use of marijuana, be it for medical or recreational purposes. Rolling Stone writer Julian Brookes has written a cogent piece on what the likely consequences will be. Will wins in any of the states be enough of a tipping point to enable politicians to discuss federal legalization without committing career suicide? I wouldn’t count on it:

But don’t expect too much there. Last year, Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced the first-ever federal legalization bill. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon; another Frank bill, the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, which would leave enforcement of medical pot to the states, has been kicking around the Hill since 1997, but has never made it to a vote. “Congress is several years behind the general public on this,” says Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and a co-sponsor of both bills.

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Ten Years Of Legalization Has Cut Portugal’s Drug Abuse Rate In Half

Time to trade swords for plowshares in the War on Drugs? Forbes writes:

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half.

“There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,” said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.

The number of addicts considered “problematic” — those who repeatedly use “hard” drugs and intravenous users — had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

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