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   Medical Marijuana Backers Seek Inroads in South
Posted by Staff on September 14, 2012, 6:50 pm

y Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press

medical Little Rock, Ark. -- The home state of the president who didn’t inhale has become an unlikely front in the battle over medical marijuana. This fall, Arkansas will be the first Southern state to ask voters whether to legalize medical uses for pot, a move that offers supporters a rare chance to make inroads in a region that has resisted easing any restrictions on the drug.

The state’s top elected officials and law enforcement agencies oppose the idea, but legalization groups hope the referendum shows that medical marijuana is no longer solely the domain of East Coast or Western states.

“This is an issue that hasn’t been ready for primetime yet in the South. It may be that it’s starting to be, and that’s a good thing,” said Jill Harris, managing director of Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance.

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   New Challenge for Marijuana Providers: Tax Audits
Posted by Staff on September 14, 2012, 6:40 pm

By Mike Baker, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press

medical Olympia, Wash. -- Tax enforcers have started auditing medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington, escalating a dispute over whether the outlets should be collecting money for state government.

The state Department of Revenue has worked since 2010 to tell marijuana establishments that they must remit sales taxes on their transactions. Some 50 dispensaries have registered with the state, helping the state collect some $750,000 in taxes from the industry over the span of one year.

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   Even at Hempfest, No Consensus on Legalizing Pot
Posted by Staff on September 14, 2012, 6:40 pm

By Emily Heffter, Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Source: Seattle Times

cannabis Seattle -- A historic vote this November on legalizing marijuana may seem like the perfect backdrop for Seattle's Hempfest at Myrtle Edwards Park, but activists will unfurl their pot-leaf flags Friday amid unprecedented political infighting.

The pro-marijuana movement in Washington state is so splintered that Hempfest organizers are staying neutral on the legalization measure, Initiative 502. For months, a faction of pot activists has been campaigning against the initiative. And on Saturday at Hempfest, activists for and against the initiative will square off in a panel discussion.

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   Trying Marijuana in Court of Public Opinion Again
Posted by Staff on September 14, 2012, 6:40 pm

Gazette Opinion
Source: Billings Gazette

medical Billings -- Montana voters will decide on Nov. 6 whether to keep the Legislature’s medical marijuana law that effectively repealed the 2004 voter-enacted law.

Between now and Election Day, additional restrictions from Senate Bill 423 may take effect. Last week, the Montana Supreme Court overturned a District Court judge’s ruling that certain provisions of SB423 violated rights guaranteed by the Montana Constitution. Helena District Judge Jim Reynolds issued a preliminary injunction last year, finding that the new law’s restrictions on medical marijuana providers and users amounted to unconstitutional infringement on citizens’ rights to privacy, to health care and to seek employment (as medical marijuana providers).

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   Colorado MJ Legalization Initiative Leads in Poll
Posted by Staff on September 14, 2012, 1:10 am

By John Ingold, Denver Post
Source: Denver Post

Colorado -- A majority of Colorado voters support a ballot measure to legalize limited possession of marijuana, according to a new Denver Post poll.
The poll found that the measure, Amendment 64, has the support of 51 percent of likely voters surveyed, compared with 40 percent opposed. Men favor the measure more than women, a common gender split on the issue. But 49 percent of women polled said they support the measure, compared with 39 percent who said they are opposed.

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   Colorado MJ Legalization Initiative Leads in Poll
Posted by Staff on September 14, 2012, 1:10 am

By John Ingold, Denver Post
Source: Denver Post

Colorado -- A majority of Colorado voters support a ballot measure to legalize limited possession of marijuana, according to a new Denver Post poll.
The poll found that the measure, Amendment 64, has the support of 51 percent of likely voters surveyed, compared with 40 percent opposed. Men favor the measure more than women, a common gender split on the issue. But 49 percent of women polled said they support the measure, compared with 39 percent who said they are opposed.

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   Lawmakers Revisit Marijuana DUI Standard
Posted by Staff on September 14, 2012, 1:10 am

By Ivan Moreno, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press

Denver -- A Colorado lawmaker pushing for a marijuana blood-level limit for drivers said Friday he’s arguing for a fourth time because lives are at stake. The bill supported by Mesa County Republican Sen. Steve King would make Colorado the third state in the country to adopt a drivers’ blood standard for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Lawmakers have rejected the measure three times, including during a special session earlier this year when it failed in the state Senate on a 17-17 vote.

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   Commentary: Medical Marijuana and Taxes
Posted by Staff on September 13, 2012, 1:20 am

By Cecelia Gilboy
Source: Boulder Weekly

Colorado -- An obscure tax law, intended to prevent cocaine kingpins from deducting yachts and other necessities, may alter Boulder’s landscape. Experts say it may shutter dispensaries nationwide.
Fourteen years before any medical marijuana laws existed, US Tax Code was amended because a convicted coke dealer had successfully deducted guns, boats, and bribes. Ever since, Section 280E has banned deductions related to “trafficking in controlled substances.”

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   Creator of Spoof MMJ Site Comes Forward
Posted by Staff on September 13, 2012, 1:10 am

By Melissa M. Werthmann, Globe Correspondent
Source: Boston Globe

Massachusetts -- Scott Gacek’s friends call him the “Weed Master,” a play on “Webmaster,” to highlight his computer skills. He says he’s the guy behind the marijuana spoof site that hijacked the website address listed in the state voters’ guide for the committee opposing Question 3, which would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana.
The committee submited VoteNoOnQuestion3.org for the voter guide but never registered the URL. When Gacek, 35, realized the domain was available, he bought it and set up the joke site in less than four hours on Tuesday.

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   Report: Medical Marijuana a Budding Problem
Posted by Staff on September 12, 2012, 1:20 am

By Erin Smith and Christine McConville
Source: Boston Herald

Boston -- With Massachusetts voters poised to legalize medical marijuana, a chilling new report on Colorado’s similar law shows the Rocky Mountain State has become a poorly regulated mecca for potheads and dealers — suggesting the Bay State may be on track to become New England’s own hemp haven.

“The whole issue is a mess. We are seeing medical marijuana diverted to kids and diverted out of state,” said Tom Gorman, director of Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, an anti-drug program run by regional law enforcement. “It’s supposed to be for the sick and dying, but you just can’t regulate it.”

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   No Constitutional Right To Medical Marijuana
Posted by Staff on September 12, 2012, 1:20 am

By Charles S. Johnson, Missoulian State Bureau
Source: Missoulian

Helena -- There is no fundamental right for patients to use any drug, particularly one like medical marijuana that’s illegal under federal law, the Montana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, in reversing a lower court decision.
In a victory for the state, the Supreme Court’s 6-1 decision reversed a District Court’s temporary injunction that blocked enforcement of part of a 2011 state law that sought to restrict access to medical marijuana.

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   State Supreme Court Restores Medical Marijuana Law
Posted by Staff on September 10, 2012, 1:10 am

By Matt Gouras, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press

medical Helena, Mont. -- The Montana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a ban on medical marijuana sales does not violate the constitutional rights of registered users or providers, overturning a lower judge's decision to block part of lawmakers' restrictive rewrite of state regulations.

The justices ruled that the portion of the 2011 state law that limits the number of patients per provider to three and prohibits those providers from making a profit does not violate the Montana Constitution's right to privacy or to pursue employment and health.

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   MMJ Question Attracts Out-of-State Support
Posted by Staff on September 9, 2012, 1:10 am

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Source: Worcester Telegram

medical Boston -- Proponents of legalizing medical marijuana in Massachusetts have a huge money advantage over opponents of the 2012 ballot question, almost entirely due to the contributions of one deep-pocketed out-of-state advocate.

Peter Lewis, the Ohio chairman and retired chief executive officer of Progressive Insurance, has given $465,000 to the Committee for Compassionate Medicine, the ballot committee behind Question 3. Lewis is a well-known benefactor for pro-medical marijuana laws.

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   Ex-DEA Heads Urge Holder Oppose Marijuana Ballots
Posted by Staff on September 8, 2012, 1:10 am

By Alex Dobuzinskis
Source: Reuters

DEA Reuters -- Nine former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration urged Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday to take a stand against possible legalization of recreational marijuana in three western states, saying silence would convey acceptance.

The former officials said in a letter sent on Friday that legalization would pose a direct conflict with federal law, indicating there would be a clash between the states and the federal government on the issue.

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   MMJ Dispensaries Should Get on 502 Bandwagon
Posted by Staff on September 6, 2012, 1:10 am

Seattle Times Editorial
Source: Seattle Times

cannabis Washington -- Seattle's medical marijuana stores have been living in a dream. Some have been so complacent as to oppose Initiative 502, the decriminalization measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.

They didn't want a state marijuana tax. They didn't want regulation by the Liquor Control Board, and they didn't want a blood-THC standard for driving under the influence. They had what they wanted, marijuana unregulated and tax-free, protected by the forbearance of liberal politicians.

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   L.A. Pot Ban Blocked for Now
Posted by Staff on September 5, 2012, 1:10 am

By Erica E. Phillips
Source: Wall Street Journal

medical Los Angeles -- A ban on storefront pot dispensaries here won't go into effect Thursday after advocates for medical marijuana successfully petitioned to block it, the latest skirmish in the battle over how local governments around the nation should regulate pot businesses.

After years of failed attempts to control the number of pot shops and their operations here, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance in late July that made storefront dispensaries illegal by modifying language in the city's municipal code.

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   Ex-Medical Marijuana Provider Dies in Custody
Posted by Staff on September 1, 2012, 1:20 am

By Matt Volz, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press

Helena, Mont. -- A Montana medical marijuana provider with a history of serious illness died Thursday after his transfer to a federal prison that could give him proper medical care was delayed for months.

Richard Flor's death came weeks after a federal judge denied an attorney's request to release the 68-year-old Miles City resident while he appealed his five-year sentence. U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell wrote in his Aug. 7 order that it was "unfortunate" that Flor's transfer to a Bureau of Prisons medical facility was delayed, but "it is not factually or legally significant."

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   Marijuana Law In New York The 'Dumbest Drug Law'
Posted by Staff on August 27, 2012, 11:40 pm

Source: Huffington Post

New York -- Juan Gomez-Garcia was standing outside a Bronx Kentucky Fried Chicken on May 16, 2012, waiting for his order to be prepared, when a police officer approached and asked him if he had any drugs.
The 27-year-old says he admitted to carrying some marijuana, at which point the cop reached inside his pocket and pulled out a ziploc bag containing weed. Months earlier, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly issued a memo to New York City cops: "A crime will not be charged to an individual who is requested or compelled to engage in the behavior that results in the public display of marijuana."

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   Arkansas Sends Medical Marijuana Law To The Ballot
Posted by Staff on August 24, 2012, 12:20 am

By Kristen Gwynne
Source: Rolling Stone

Arkansas -- Medical marijuana took one step closer to hitting the South on Wednesday, when Arkansas' Secretary of State office confirmed that the issue will be on the ballot there this November. Arkansans for Compassionate Care handed in 69,000 valid signatures – well over the necessary 62,507 – for the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, which would set up non-profit organizations to cultivate and sell pot, while allowing patients who live more than five miles from a dispensary to grow their own. The November vote will mark the first time that voters in a Southern state can decide whether to legalize medical pot, and could make Arkansas the U.S.' 18th medical weed state.

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   Legal marijuana backers raise $3 million in two states
Posted by Staff on August 23, 2012, 6:00 pm

(Reuters) - Campaigns to become the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Washington and Colorado have raised $3 million ahead of a November vote, far outpacing the opposition.

Proponents of pot legalization in Washington state have raised nearly $2 million since the initiative qualified for the ballot in January, and about $1 million in Colorado since its measure earned a place on the ballot the following month, according to the most recent state campaign figures.

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   Feds Take New Action in Crackdown on Dispensaries
Posted by Staff on August 23, 2012, 12:20 am

By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press

Los Angeles -- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday expanded their crackdown on California medical marijuana dispensaries, filing three lawsuits and sending warning letters to more than 60 clinics in two Orange County cities.
The asset-forfeiture lawsuits filed against landlords who own buildings that house six marijuana shops in Anaheim and the letters order the closure of the clinics or possible criminal charges will be filed.

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   DEA Tells 23 MMJ Storefronts To Shut Down
Posted by Staff on August 23, 2012, 12:20 am

By Jonathan Martin
Source: Seattle Times

Washington -- The Drug Enforcement Administration mailed letters Thursday to 23 medical marijuana businesses in Western Washington, warning they could be prosecuted and the properties seized if they are operating within a school zone.
“Please take the necessary steps to discontinue the sale and/or distribution of marijuana…within 30 days,” read the letter, signed by Matthew G. Barnes, special agent in charge of the Seattle office.

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   D.C. MMJ Firms Moving Slowly Through Process
Posted by Staff on August 21, 2012, 12:20 am

By Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times
Source: Washington Times

Washington, D.C. -- Months after the D.C. government gave 10 firms the go-ahead to start growing medical marijuana and sell it to qualified patients within the city’s borders, none have acquired the regulatory documents needed to begin the program, city officials said.

The successful applicants for six cultivation centers and four dispensaries must apply for building permits, certificates of occupancy and business licenses before they register as part of the initiative to aid the sick and dying. Each of these documents would be issued by the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

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   Get Real About Initiative To Legalize Marijuana
Posted by Staff on August 20, 2012, 12:20 am

Seattle Times Editorial
Source: Seattle Times

Seattle -- Revelers at Seattle's Hempfest celebration of marijuana were offered a debate by supporters and opponents of Initiative 502. We hope they were sober enough to think through it.
For the first time, it is possible to envision an end to marijuana prohibition. That is a huge change -- a huge possible change that hasn't happened yet. But prohibition replaced by what? Any new regime will have to be acceptable to a majority of people -- and not just a majority of revelers at Hempfest or voters in liberal Seattle.

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   Even at Hempfest, No Consensus on Legalizing Pot
Posted by Staff on August 17, 2012, 12:30 am

By Emily Heffter, Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Source: Seattle Times

Seattle -- A historic vote this November on legalizing marijuana may seem like the perfect backdrop for Seattle's Hempfest at Myrtle Edwards Park, but activists will unfurl their pot-leaf flags Friday amid unprecedented political infighting.
The pro-marijuana movement in Washington state is so splintered that Hempfest organizers are staying neutral on the legalization measure, Initiative 502. For months, a faction of pot activists has been campaigning against the initiative. And on Saturday at Hempfest, activists for and against the initiative will square off in a panel discussion.

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   Legal for Some, Pot Crops Up in N.J.
Posted by Staff on July 18, 2012, 12:40 am

By Heather Haddon
Source: Wall Street Journal

New Jersey -- For the first time in generations, marijuana is legally growing in New Jersey. In a sign that the Garden State's budding medical marijuana program is finally moving forward, the first crop has been growing hydroponically for about a month in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in an undisclosed location, officials said.

The first plants are about a foot high, said Joseph Stevens, president of the Greenleaf Compassion Center, the first licensed provider of medical pot. By mid-September, the center's Montclair dispensary should be open and accepting patients to buy marijuana, he said.

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   Truth In Trials Act, MMJ Protection Bill
Posted by Staff on July 18, 2012, 12:20 am

By Nick Wing
Source: Huffington Post

Washington, D.C. -- A bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced a bill this week designed to create enhanced legal protections for valid medical marijuana patients prosecuted due to conflicting state and federal laws regarding the legality of the substance.
Under the Truth In Trials Act, sponsored by California Democratic Rep. Sam Farr and co-sponsored by other representatives such as Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas), state-licensed medical marijuana users would be given the right to provide an "affirmative defense" in the case of a federal prosecution. This effectively allows them to prove that their actions, while illegal at the federal level, were in fact protected under state law.

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   3 States Mull MJ Legalization Experts Warn:
Posted by Staff on July 17, 2012, 10:00 pm

By Ian Duncan
Source: Los Angeles Times

Washington -- Legalizing marijuana in even a single state could drive down prices dramatically across the country, encouraging more people to smoke the drug, a panel of experts said at a briefing Tuesday. Last week, Oregon became the third state that will vote this November on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana, joining Colorado and Washington.
“Legalization is unprecedented – not even the Netherlands has done it – it is entirely possible it will happen this year,” said Jonathan Caulkins, co-author of "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know."

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   Judge In Favor Of Medical Marijuana Dies At Age 65
Posted by Staff on July 16, 2012, 10:00 pm

By The Huffington Post
Source: Huffington Post

New York -- Gustin Reichbach, the 65-year-old New York state Supreme Court justice with a penchant for making headlines, passed away on Saturday, June 14, at his home in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
In his time on the bench, Judge Reichbach was no stranger to controversy. Known once as the "condom judge" for handing out free condoms, AIDS counseling, and testing to prostitutes, Reichbach more recently made headlines as the “pot-smoking judge” when he publicly revealed that he illegally smoked marijuana to alleviate the side effects associated with his cancer, and openly advocated legalizing medical marijuana.

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   Pat Robertson's Pot Billboard
Posted by Staff on July 16, 2012, 10:00 pm

By The Huffington Post
Source: Huffington Post

Colorado -- The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has launched a new billboard promoting Colorado's marijuana legalization initiative, Amendment 64 -- this time featuring conservative evangelist icon Pat Robertson.
The digital billboard, located on the I-70 Business Loop just west of Main Street in Grand Junction, Colo., features an image of Robertson and reads: "Pat Robertson would vote YES on 64. Will you?"

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