Archive for the ‘Legalization’ Category

Marijuana Legalization Efforts Begin in California

A bold petition is shaping up in California, spearheaded by a group of renowned activists who support recreational use of cannabis. Their challenge is to acquire a whopping 504,706 signatures by December 19. Accomplishing this will allow their Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative to be placed on the June or November ballots in 2012.

Proponents compare marijuana prohibition to alcohol prohibition, and hope to see them meet the same ultimate demise. Prominent activist and former candidate for Governor, Steve Kubby, touts the economical boon California could receive with legalization. He points out that the plan will impose “a sales tax on the biggest crop in the state.”

It is no secret that California is in dire need of an economical boon, having the second highest unemployment ratein the nation. Taxation of cannabis is a convincing argument in the face of pouring precious resources into ineffective interdiction policies. California also faces emigration issues, with citizens fleeing to places like Texas, in hopes of cheaper living, and employment opportunities.  The widely predicted tourism boost from legalization could give much needed revenue to the state, and would hopefully provide job growth and opportunities within the state.

Opponents are worried that legalizing the drug would result in social backlash, namely higher addiction addiction, drugged drivers and the usual tug-of-war with federal authorities.  However, supporters point to studies that suggest overall cannabis use will not show any dramatic shift after legalization.  As such, it is unlikely that the social complications will transpire. It is true, however, that at this time the federal government is not looking to change their policy regarding federal drug enforcement. With any luck, that will change naturally, with the myriad political events that will transpire in the next few years.

Kubby, who has been a long-time Californian activist and helped write the 1996 law that legalized medical marijuana in the state, recognizes the failure of the infamous Proposition 19. A major issue that haunted Prop. 19 was the seemingly convoluted way marijuana would have been regulated at the local levels. The new proposal seeks legalization “within a [statewide] regulated model.” It would be a simple, streamlined process, that would hopefully avoid costing valuable resources in the smaller arenas.

Supporters are also optimistic about the timing on this attempt. Since it will be coinciding with a presidential election, voter turnout should be much higher. Ideally, this will shift the voting demographic to the left, as younger, more liberal voters are statistically more likely to attend. The timing of this attempt is even more crucial, as states get desperate for revenue. All across the nation states are raising fines and fees to deal with budget shortages. Economic promise may play a key role in securing voter enthusiasm.

California has long been a fierce battleground for marijuana activism. If recreational use is deemed legal by the state, it would put an enormous burden on federal agencies to police the area. It could be a political stronghold for nationwide success, and a potential tipping point in the public perception of marijuana. In the meantime, it is up to individual activists to chisel away at the plague of prohibition, and help realize this goal.

By: Marijuana News

Top 10 Reasons to Legalize Marijuana [infographic]

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Support US House Bill HR 2306.

Marijuana Legalization Bill in Congress!

As reported a week ago, The first Congressional marijuana legalization bill is now in Congress — please support it!

H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act and limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling. States would be able to legalize and regulate marijuana, or to continue to prohibit it, as they individually choose.

Please use this web form to contact your US Representative and your two US Senators in support of this historic bill. Please follow-up by calling their offices too — if you don’t know their numbers (or aren’t sure who they are), you can reach them by calling the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Barney Frank and Ron Paul will Introduce Legislation on Thursday to Fully Legalize Marijuana

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce “bi-partisan legislation tomorrow ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference,” according to a press release from the Marijuana Policy Project that just hit my inbox. More from that email:

Other co-sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.

Rep. Frank’s legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens.

I called Morgan Fox at MPP to ask about the chances that this bill will get any serious debate time in the House (a fair question, considering that it has only one Republican supporter at the moment). “It’s definitely going to get a serious debate, probably more in the media than on the floor of the House,” Fox told me. “But I think it needs to be debated on the floor.”

What does MPP see as obstacles?

“Someone in the prohibitionist camp could hold it up as long as they wanted, but the slew of opinion pieces that came out last week calling for the end of the failed drug war will give this momentum,” Fox said.

While Paul’s status as a declared presidential candidate should help with media pick-up, Frank is leading the press teleconference tomorrow, and Paul’s not even on the call.

Previous Frank-Paul partnerships include a 2010 op-ed to reduce military spending and a marijuana decriminalization bill introduced in the House in 2009. In the intervening two years, Arizona and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana, and the Connecticut legislature has moved to decriminalize it. Now former U.S. Attorney John McKay and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes are organizing to completely legalize marijuana in Washington State. The time is ripe.


Advocate Goes To Prison Rather Than Quit Marijuana

Deputy District Attorney Jeff Greeson holds up a jar of marijuana obtained from defendant Joel Castle’s hotel room ore than a year ago. Castle, left, was ultimately found guilty of possession and sale of marijuana. He chose nine months in prison rather than three years’ probation.​

A California medical marijuana patient said he prefers being behind bars to being told he can’t use cannabis. Joel Castle is going to prison for nine months rather than spending the next three years on probation, because a condition of the probation a judge offered him was that he quit smoking pot.Castle, the former Chico Cannabis Club operator who was found guilty last month of two felonies associated with a guitar-for-pot trade in January 2010, was sentenced earlier this month, reports Meredith J. Graham at the Chico News Review.Judge Robert Glusman at first offered Castle three years’ probation. But the medical marijuana patient refused, and was sentenced instead to two years, eight months in state prison.”It was the first time I really spoke my mind to that judge,” Castle said.

Castle ended up being ejected from the courtroom during his sentencing, never a good sign.

Source (Toke of the Town)

Dutch government to ban tourists from cannabis shops

The Bulldog, Amsterdam

The Dutch government on Friday said it would start banning tourists from buying cannabis from “coffee shops” and impose restrictions on Dutch customers by the end of the year.

The Netherlands is well known for having one of Europe’s most liberal soft drug policies that has made its cannabis shops a popular tourist attraction, particularly in Amsterdam.

Backed by the far-right party of anti-immigrant politician Geert Wilders, the coalition government that came into power last year announced plans to curb drug tourism as part of a nationwide program to promote health and fight crime.

“In order to tackle the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drug trafficking, the open-door policy of coffee shops will end,” the Dutch health and justice ministers wrote in a letter to the country’s parliament on Friday.

Under the new rules, only Dutch residents will be able to sign up as members of cannabis shops.

Dutch customers will have to sign up for at least a year’s membership and each shop would be expected to have only up to 1,500 members, a justice ministry spokesman said.

The policy will roll out in the southern provinces of Limburg, Noord Brabant and Zeeland by the end of the year and the rest of the country next year, the spokesman said.

Amsterdam, home to about 220 coffee shops, is already in the process of closing some in its red light district. Some officials have resisted the measures, saying they will push the soft drug trade underground.

Some Dutch border towns including Maastricht and Terneuzen have already restricted the sale of marijuana to foreigners.

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