What Marijuana Legalization Won't Be in 2016

Paul Waldman

Public opinion on the issue may look a lot like that on same-sex marriage, but the two differ in an important way.

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If you're an advocate of marijuana legalization, you've had nothing but good news for some time now, and more keeps coming. Today at that snappy new Vox thing the hip kids put together, there's an article pointing out that although many people predicted a spike in crime once pot became legal in Colorado, statistics from Denver show that crime has actually declined a bit over the last few months compared to the same period in 2013. It's a small period of time, to be sure, but it doesn't look as though there has been an explosion of robberies or any other kind of crime.

And with the rapid movement of public opinion in favor of legalization, it would be easy to predict that politicians are going to be changing their positions very soon, or as the Atlantic puts it in an article today, "Weed Is the Sleeper Issue of 2016." OK, so we can put that headline down to an overzealous editor; the article itself, which runs through the positions of a number of potential presidential candidates, shows that none of them have actually changed their minds. (And a note of warning: if you see a reference to Rick Perry and "decriminalization," don't be confused. Though he has used the word himself out of what may be confusion, what he actually wants is for the cops to arrest you for possession and then send you to rehab instead of to jail. Which is better than going to jail, but not as good as just not being arrested in the first place.)

There's no question that the political profile of this issue is changing fast. But I doubt we're going to see much change from presidential candidates about it. This is where the analogy with same-sex marriage doesn't hold.

As we all know, public opinion on marriage equality shifted rapidly, and politicians shifted in response. In 2008, for instance, all the contending Democratic presidential candidate supported civil unions, but none supported full marriage rights. In the next presidential primary, all the Democrats will support marriage equality, and most if not all of the Republicans will probably be in favor of some form of civil unions.

Public opinion on marijuana legalization is very similar to that of marriage equality, both in the pattern of change and the correlation with age. Here are two graphs from the Pew Research Center that make it clear:

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THC May Help Prevent the Growth of Alzheimer's Disease

By William Breathes in MedicalNews

A new study shows that low doses of THC can help reduce and even prohibit the growth of amyloid beta compounds in the brain - one of the key components to memory loss in Alzheimer's patients.


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The study could represent a major breakthrough in the treatment of the disease, a horrible condition affecting more than 5 million people that robs them of their memories along with their ability to care for themselves. Alzheimer's disease affects the brain through the buildup of plaques through amino acids, known as amyloid betas. Pot, it seems, help stop that buildup.

"Decreased levels of amyloid beta means less aggregation, which may protect against the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Since THC is a natural and relatively safe amyloid inhibitor, THC or its analogs may help us develop an effective treatment in the future," neuroscientist Chuanhai Cao, a PhD at the Byrd Alzheimer's Institute at the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy, said in the study.

The study also showed that THC increases brain activity and transmission in key areas, including those associated with keeping the brain functioning properly. Researchers say they knew about THC's antioxidant properties before, but say that this is the first time that they've been able to show that THC was lowering the plaque-forming amino acids associated with Alzheimers while at the same time promoting increased brain activity.

Not only that, bud the researchers say that any adverse effects of cannabis use like memory loss or "toxicity" are far outweighed by the benefits of THC treatments for people with Alzheimer's. (Editor's note: What toxicity?)

But, of course, they are clinical doctors. So any THC used to treat this must be from a pharmacy, they say:

"Are we advocating that people use illicit drugs to prevent the disease? No. However, these findings may lead to the development of related compounds that are safe, legal, and useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease."

Israel’s Soldiers Can Smoke Medical Marijuana While in Service

BY BARRY BARD ON AUGUST 27, 2014

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Israel–yes, Israel–has long established itself as a leader on the forefront of medical marijuana. With a world-renowned, rock-solid medical program, an Israeli doctor’s discovery of CBD has long cemented the Middle Eastern nation as a hotbed for medical marijuana research.

But Israel–with over 11,000 registered medical marijuana patients–isn’t content with baseline progression. Last week, theIsraeli Defense Force announced that its military can legally smoke medical cannabis while on the job.

“The testing of the authorized officials indicate that a prescription for cannabis in itself has no effect on the medical profile.”

Translation: as long as an Israeli soldier has his or her medical marijuana card, he or she can medicate while serving active duty and while on Israel’s military bases–as long as he or she is in a secluded environment.

As LadyBud points out, no mainstream media outlet east of Israel has picked up on the story, so it’s unclear exactly how accurate this report may be. But if–as alleged–it’s from the horse’s mouth (Israel’s IDF), then it would appear to be a legitimate report.

And if so, it’s a major step for how countries could (and at least should) treat their soldiers’ cannabis use.

Numerous studies have shown that marijuana effectively treats PTSD and aids war-time stress. It’s immoral not to allow soldiers to use the medicine they’re legally provided, whether that army is Israeli or American or name that nation.

Hopefully, the ramifications from this bold, liberal mode carry over to other nations where medical marijuana is legal but smoking in service is certainly not.

Because no matter how you feel about Israel’s controversial foreign affairs, if you support marijuana reform, you can and should commend this effort to let soldiers medicate freely.

Meanwhile, in Uruguay, employees can legally go to work high.

This is the future, and in this future, smoking marijuana whenever, wherever is more likely than we could ever have imagined.

Fifty Years Ago Today: Bob Dylan Turned The Beatles On To Marijuana

BY MARTIN LEE ON AUGUST 28, 2014

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Exactly 50 years ago, on August 28, 1964, folk legend Bob Dylan ascended the elevator of the Delmonico Hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan for a momentous first meeting with The Beatles, who were touring the United States. Beatlemania was then at its peak, and 20 police stood guard in the corridor as Dylan and his entourage entered The Beatles’ sixth-floor hotel suite.

After an exchange of courtesies, Dylan suggested that they all smoke some grass. He was surprised to learn that The Beatles were marijuana virgins. Dylan had a bag of weed with him and he tried to roll a joint. But Bob was all thumbs, so his driver and close friend Victor Maymudes did the deed. Blinds were drawn and towels carefully placed before locked doors to hide the smell. Dylan lit a reefer and a few minutes later everyone was laughing uproariously.

“We were kind of proud to have been introduced to pot by Dylan,” Paul McCartney later remarked. “That was rather a coup.”

Cannabis was quite different from the purple hearts and other uppers that The Beatles had taken to keep pace with the rigors of the late-night club circuit in Germany and the UK. Marijuana eased them into a soft yet lively space, a cushioned reprieve from the bizarre fishbowl sensation—the hysterical fans, the constant media attention—that accompanied their vertiginous rise to rock stardom. From that day forward, The Beatles would consume cannabis on a regular basis. And whenever John Lennon felt like getting stoned, he would say, “Let’s ’ave a larf !”

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Peachtree NORML Open Monthly Meeting

Peachtree NORML will have the September open monthly meeting on Tuesday, September 2nd from 7pm to 9pm at Manuel's Tavern (602 N Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia).
 

We have so much to discuss and do as this meeting is after the first of the medical study committee hearings. We will have an update on the voter guide and training for volunteers interested in calling candidates who have not responded via email.

 


PLUS!!! Friday is Jury Rights Day! We will have plenty of handouts and information for you to take and educate people with. As well as a second breakout training session for training on how to talk to others about Jury nullification/host an event for Jury Rights Day.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/events/1446142615...

Committee holds first meeting on Ga. medical marijuana

By Christopher BuchananPublished: August 27, 2014

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ATLANTA (WJCL) — State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) today released the following statement at the conclusion of the first meeting of the Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions Joint Study Committee:

Peake

I am very pleased with the turnout and support we received at today’s meeting.  It is imperative that we, as lawmakers, do everything within our means to study medical cannabis, so that we can help those families who are suffering from terminal illnesses here in Georgia find a solution – one that will not require them to travel outside of our state, thus becoming ‘medical refugees.’

We have clear evidence that our legislature and Georgians desire legislation that would allow this treatment to be legal in our state, and we need to act now.

Today we heard testimony from individuals who have firsthand experience with cannabis oil, and who have researched and made it their mission to advocate for this type of legislation.

These testimonies provided an in-depth analysis of regulation and cultivation models that other states have successfully implemented, as well as a look at the legislative structures that various states have crafted.

Today’s testimonies also supplied us with a wealth of information and research that supports the growing demand for medical cannabis in our state, as well as its effective use in other states.  We have the unique opportunity to learn from the successes and failures that other states have experienced and use that information to create the best legislation that we can.

Our goal is to use these meetings as a tool to learn more about medical cannabis from various aspects and perspectives, have meaningful discussion, and obtain enough information to create the best infrastructure for a future bill.

I look forward to hearing more information from additional viewpoints on this topic as we go on the road for this series of meetings.

 

The committee will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, September 10 at Mercer University in Macon. Additional meeting details will be forthcoming.

The Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions Joint Study Committee was created by SR 981 following the 2014 legislative session.  Committee members include: Sen. Renee Unterman (co-chair), Rep. Allen Peake (co-chair), Sen. Dean Burke (R – Bainbridge), Sen. Butch Miller (R – Gainesville), Sen. Curt Thompson (D – Tucker), Rep. Rich Golick (R – Smyrna), Rep. Micah Gravley (R – Douglasville), and Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D – Atlanta).  Rep. Peake co-chairs this study committee, along with Senator Renee Unterman (R-Buford).

For more information on the Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions Joint Study Committee, click here.

Take It From a Cop: The Drug War Poisons Community Policing

Events in Ferguson expose US law enforcement's longstanding abandonment of its founding ethical principles. Rebuilding relationships with the people we've harmed won't come easily.

 

Police officers in Ferguson watch as demonstrators protest the death of Michael Brown. Photo via

Police officers in Ferguson watch as demonstrators protest the death of Michael Brown. Photo via

The Ferguson riots are the latest high-profile example of the deep schism between American law enforcement and the communities it serves. This schism has been made demonstrably worse by the way the drug war has blurred the police mission. The community policing mission should always be fundamentally different to that of the military—yet that often hasn’t been the case, thanks in large part to wrongheaded policies put in place decades ago.

The long history of racial disparity in the enforcement of our drug policies was greatly exacerbated by the architect of the modern war on drugs, Richard Nixon. His vision was to create a crime- and violence-free society—but his false belief was that black heroin addicts were the primary cause of crime in our communities.

Nixon once stated to his aide H.R. Haldeman, “you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”

Nixon’s dream of devising a criminal justice system that targets communities of color through the mechanism of our drug policies was achieved. According to the ACLU report “War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing,” among myriad other sources, law enforcement’s attempt to eradicate drug use in America has hit communities of color the hardest.

Clearly, the fatal shooting of Michael Brown on August 9 and the ensuing riots in Ferguson are about many different things. But the drug war’s militarization of our cops is the fuel that ignited this conflagration—and continues to spark many others in communities where aggressive policing and harsh tactics, such as “stop-and-frisk,” are wrongly believed to be an effective tool to curb crime.

Finish reading here @ Substance.com

Over 20 Cities Will Vote Whether to Depenalize Marijuana This Fall

A growing number of local ballot measures would depenalize pot-related offenses across the country.

 

August 20, 2014  |  

In Michigan, voters in over a dozen municipalities – including Saginaw (population 51,000), East Lansing (population 49,000), Port Huron (population 30,000) and Oak Park (population 29,000) – will decide on local measures to eliminate citywide penalties that prohibit the possession, transfer, or use of cannabis on private property by adults for non-medical purposes. Voters in another Michigan city, Utica (population 5,000), will also decide on separate language seeking to deprioritize the enforcement of minor marijuana offenses by local police.

 
All of the measures are sponsored by the Safer Michigan Coalition and are part of the group’s long-term strategy to incrementally change the state’s marijuana laws – city by city, if necessary. In past years, voters several of the state’s largest cities, including Detroit (population 700,00), Grand Rapids (population 191,000), and Lansing (population 114,000) enacted similar measures. Earlier this month, voters in two more municipalities, Oak Park (population 30,000) and Hazel Park (population 17,000), approved similar ordinances. Long-time Michigan marijuana law reform activist Tim Beck speculates that a clean sweep at the ballot box in November is “probably going to be the tipping point for Michigan to become a decriminalized state.” 

In 2013, state lawmakers in the Michigan House and Senate introduced bipartisanlegislation seeking to decriminalize the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis.  To date, however, legislators in both chambers have refused to move the bill. Under state law, the possession of any amount of cannabis by non-patients is classified as a criminal offense punishable by up to one-year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
 

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Teen Marijuana Use Drops in Colorado -- Surprise!

BY BILL WEINBERG 

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Well, here's some telling news. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, cannabis use among Colorado teens has actually dropped slightly since the state legalized recreational use in 2012. Predictably, the bureaucrats did not emphasize these results. The department's Aug. 7 press release stressed another finding from the survey, that showed Colorado teens view cannabis as less risky than they did a few years ago. The release says preliminary results from the 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey show that 54% of teens in the state consider the stuff risky, down from 58% in 2011. "If we want Colorado to be the healthiest state in the nation, then we need to make sure our youngest citizens understand the risks of using potentially harmful substances," said the department's executive director  Larry Wolk. It was left to the Washington Examiner to tout the department's other findings -- that even if kids view pot as less risky, they are also smoking it less. Kayvan Khalatbari, co-foundet the Denver Relief dispensary, is quoted venturing a plausible explanation: "Cannabis, now that it’s legal, kind of is an old person’s drug. It's something that kids are seeing adults use all over the place. It just doesn’t seem as cool to kids anymore."

Finish reading here @ High Times

A Perfect Storm of Green for Gary Johnson

BY P. AIDEN HUNT ON AUGUST 20, 2014

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Politicians are supposed to fight for the values of their constituents. They follow those values to win elections and stay in office. However, it’s their actions after they leave office that often shed light on their true interests.

In the case of Gary Johnson, former two-term Governor of New Mexico and the 2012 Libertarian Party candidate for president, the public is now finding out how serious he was (and is) about cannabis legalization.

On June 30, Cannabis Sativa, Inc., a Nevada-based medical cannabis company with national plans, named Johnson as President and CEO. The ripple through both the cannabis world and mainstream media resulted not only in increased coverage, but also a marked increase in the company’s value per share.

If you want to jump feet first into the cannabis market, this is the way to do it.
The company and Mr. Johnson have both highlighted that his salary will only be $1; pointing out as an aside that he has an equity stake in the company. That equity stake came in the form of 509,558 shares of stock in the publicly traded Cannabis Sativa, Inc. When the company issued the stock, it was worth roughly $2 million, or $4 per share, and a 3.4% ownership of the company.

Why count on Johnson to grow the company and his interest in the process? He has a good record of accomplishment.

Finish reading here

Hickenlooper: Marijuana regulators have done ‘a very good job’

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DENVER — When Colorado voters passed a ballot measure in 2012 legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) was in the minority voting no. But two years later, eight months into the legalization experiment, Hickenlooper says he’s pleased with the way his state has handled voters’ wishes.

“I think [state regulators have] done a pretty good job. Not perfect, but all things considered, I think they’ve done a very good job,” he said in an interview in his office at the state Capitol. “I’m a constant-improvement person, so I always see ways to make things better.”

Read more here

President Of Colombia Endorses Medical Marijuana

By CESAR GARCIA

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday endorsed newly introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic use in this drug war-afflicted Andean nation.

Santos, a proponent of rethinking prohibitionist drug policies, made the announcement at a drug policy forum Thursday in Colombia's capital, Bogota. It was his first major drug policy statement since he won re-election in June.

The bill introduced last month by a governing coalition senator is "a practical, compassionate measure to reduce the pain (and) anxiety of patients with terminal illnesses, but also a way of beginning to strip from the hands of criminals the role of intermediary between the patient and the substance that allows them to relieve their suffering," Santos said.

In the Americas, Uruguay has approved legal pot and Jamaica's justice minister announced in June plans to legalize the drug for religious and medical purposes and decriminalize the possession of amounts up to 2 ounces (57 grams).

Possession of no more than 20 grams of marijuana for personal use is currently legal in Colombia.

The medicinal-use bill was introduced by Sen. Juan Manuel Galan, whose father was assassinated in 1989 by cocaine traffickers. He told The Associated Press that other countries in the region considering similar measures include Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

Galan said his hope is to have his bill, which would put the distribution of medical marijuana under government control, gain final legislative approval next June.

Ethan Nadelmann, director of the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, said some U.S. states as well as countries including Israel and Canada are well advanced in offering government-administered legal medical marijuana, while a bill was introduced last week in the Central American nation of Costa Rica.

In Colombia, marijuana plantations help enrich leftist rebels and right-wing paramilitary bands alike, although cocaine is a bigger business for them.

The commander of Colombia's counterdrug police, Gen. Ricardo Restrepo, told the AP that the country currently has about 1.5 square miles (390 hectares) of marijuana fields and that a pound costs about $230.

Colombia is the world's No. 2 cocaine-producing country after Peru, according to the United Nations and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It was the global leader until 2012.

A two-decade U.S.-backed crackdown on Colombia's drug cartels and extensive aerial eradication of coca crops has somewhat diminished and compartmentalized the trade. Critics say the campaign has simply shifted trafficking to countries with less effective law enforcement and legal systems.

The human cost of the fight against illegal drugs has been terrible for Colombia and other supply and transit countries, Santos told the forum.

"We have spent billions of dollars on an ineffective war that has claimed more than 60,000 lives in Mexico alone in the last six years," he said.

___

Associated Press writer Frank Bajak in Lima, Peru, contributed to this report.

Miller to serve on committees for medical cannabis, health care violence

ATLANTA – Republican State Sen. Butch Miller of Gainesville has been tapped to serve on two joint study committees of the Georgia General Assembly – one on the study of medical marijuana and the other on violence against health care employees.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle announced the appointments Monday.

Over the next several months, the joint study committees will meet to review in-depth topics under consideration for legislative action in 2015.

“Medical cannabis and the increasing amount of aggression towards health care workers are two very important topics that deserve a closer look by the Georgia General Assembly. I look forward to working with legislative colleagues, medical professionals and constituents to develop appropriate strategies and potential legislative proceedings with both subjects,” said Miller.

The Joint Study Committee on Violence Against Health Care Workers will examine workplace violence as it pertains to medical professionals, including the cost of resources and the relationship between untreated mental illnesses and drug misuse. The committee will be composed of ten members and must report its findings on or before December 2, 2014.

The Joint Study Committee on the Prescription of Medical Cannabis for Serious Medical Conditions will further analyze the prescriptive use of cannabidiol for serious medical conditions, including the positive treatment of seizure disorders in children. The committee will be composed of 11 members and must report its findings on or before December 1, 2014.

© Copyright 2014 AccessNorthGa.com

Argentina President Endorses Plan to Legalize Drug Possession, Cannabis Cultivation

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The Argentina federal government, with support from President Cristina Kirchner, has begun work on two proposals aimed at legalizing the personal possession of all drugs, and to legalize the private cultivation of cannabis. The plan is to have the proposals finished, and in front of Congress, by the year’s end, according to Argentine newspaper La Nacion.

The proposals are aimed at preventing the disastrous consequences placed upon individuals who are simply possessing a small amount of illegal drugs or cultivating a few cannabis plants, and to put a damper on the black market, which often times enriches criminal syndicates.

Under current Argentina law, cannabis possession, when not for distribution and when not cultivated by the individual in possession, is decriminalized and will rarely lead to an arrest. The cultivation of cannabis, and the possession of other drugs, however, can result in harsh criminal penalties, including jail time.

The idea to start working on the reform initiative is to build on at least two projects”, says La Nacion. “One, presented by Senator Aníbal Fernández in 2012, legalizes possession for consumption of all drugs, eliminates the criminal prosecution of cultivation of marijuana forprivate use and addresses other chapters, such as the control of precursor chemicals. 

The goal is to have the proposals passed into law by early next year.

TheJointBlog

Gainesville forum to explore marijuana use, Georgia law

By Ken Stanford

PEAKE

GAINESVILLE - A forum in Gainesville next month will explore marijuana use and Georgia law as it pertains to the drug, including attempts to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

"Marijuana: Protecting Children and Understanding Georgia Law" will be held Sept. 4, 6:00-7:30, at Walters Auditorium at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, sponsored by the medical center and the Drug Free Coalition of Hall County.

Featured speakers will be Sue Rusche, co-founder, President and CEO of National Families in Action, which was founded in Atlanta in 1977 with a goal of "helping parents prevent children from using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs," according to its Website, and State Sen. Butch Miller of Gainesville, the Senate's Majority Caucus Chairman.

Rusche is web editor and principal writer of National Families in Action, She  has testified before Congress and made numerous appearances on national TV including the "Today Show," "Good Morning America," and various evening news broadcasts

Miller worked to enact legislation which relates to the use of cannabis for treatment of cancer and glaucoma.

For more information about the forum, phone 770-534-1080, Ext. 277, or email, jpbanks@faceitpeople.org.

 

Medical marijuana in Georgia

By Tom Sabulis

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Many families with children suffering from seizures are desperate for Georgia to legalize the use of medical cannabis. The state representative leading the charge today updates his campaign to allow this relief for kids who could benefit from the drug. Sadly, some are dying while waiting for the state to act. In our second column, a faith-based activist writes that legislators and the FDA need to follow the process before approving something with possible aside effects and unwanted outcomes.

Commenting is open.

Kids die as Georgia fiddles

By Allen Peake

As the clock approached midnight on March 20, the final night of the 2014 Georgia legislative session, it became apparent that a final vote to send a medical cannabis oil bill to the governor’s desk for his signature was not going to happen this year. I decided to avoid the usual “Sine Die” celebration in the House chamber because I knew I needed to be in the Senate gallery with the families that fought so courageously for this bill.

The mood was obviously somber among the parents, some of whom had brought their children with them, hoping to watch as history was made. The families were crushed and defeated that the Legislature had failed them and their children. And I shared their frustration.

The feeling of despair that evening was not from anger at the process failing. Instead, we were all aware of the terrifying thought that some of the children this very bill was intended to help would not make it until the start of the next legislative session in January 2015, when we could try again to legalize medical cannabis oil. A child, or maybe several, would die because they didn’t have access to a medicine that offered life-changing positive effects for children in states where it is legal.

Which one of these families would fall victim to the nightmare of every parent who has a child suffering from a seizure disorder – the one final seizure that takes their precious loved one from this earth? That was my fear that night.

Finish reading here @ The AJC