The Best States to Be Busted With Pot

Maryland and Washington, D.C., are poised to join the decriminalization club. Here’s a look at reduced penalties already in place.

Former Louisiana State University cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is placed in a police car bound for East Baton Rouge Parish prison after he and three former LSU teammates were found in an apartment with 18 grams of marijuana on Oct. 25, 2012. In some states the alleged infraction would be resolved with a fine. By Steven Nelson

Former Louisiana State University cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is placed in a police car bound for East Baton Rouge Parish prison after he and three former LSU teammates were found in an apartment with 18 grams of marijuana on Oct. 25, 2012. In some states the alleged infraction would be resolved with a fine.

By Steven Nelson

Possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal for adults over age 21 in two states – Colorado and Washington – but a significant number of states offer just a slap on the wrist for small-time pot possession.

Maryland and Washington, D.C., are likely to soon join the list of jurisdictions that have decriminalized minor marijuana possession. The Maryland legislature passed a decriminalization bill Monday and Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., intends to sign it. The D.C. Council passed a decriminalization bill March 4 and Congress has 60 days to review and possibly block it – but there’s no indication that will happen.

American police arrested about 750,000 people for marijuana-related offenses in 2012, according to FBI data. A report from the American Civil Liberties Union found – based on 2010 data – that D.C. had the highest per capita arrest rate with 846 in 100,000 residents arrested.

Decriminalization often means no criminal record and a straightforward fine for people caught with marijuana, although policies vary among the states.

There are active campaigns to legalize marijuana in many states, and Alaska voters will consider legalization Aug. 19. Alaska's marijuana policy has ping-ponged from prohibition to sweeping decriminalization with court rulings, referendums and legislative action during the past four decades.

Click here for a list of states and the rest of the story.

Tracing the U.S. heroin surge back south of the border as Mexican cannabis output falls

Reuters - A soldier holds poppy plants used to make heroin during an operation in Sierra de Culiacan in the state of Sinaloa December 8, 2011.

By Nick Miroff, Published: April 6

TEPACA DE BADIRAGUATO, MEXICO — The surge of cheap heroin spreading in $4 hits across rural America can be traced back to the remote valleys of the northern Sierra Madre.

With the wholesale price of marijuana falling — driven in part by decriminalization in sections of the United States — Mexican drug farmers are turning away from cannabis and filling their fields with opium poppies.

Mexican heroin is flooding north as U.S. authorities trying to contain an epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse have tightened controls on synthetic opiates such as hydrocodone and OxyContin. As the pills become more costly and difficult to obtain, Mexican trafficking organizations have found new markets for heroin in places such as Winchester, Va., and Brattleboro, Vt., where, until recently, needle use for narcotics was rare or unknown.

Farmers in the storied “Golden Triangle” region of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, which has produced the country’s most notorious gangsters and biggest marijuana harvests, say they are no longer planting the crop. Its wholesale price has collapsed in the past five years, from $100 per kilogram to less than $25.

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Americans finally understand that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol

A new Pew survey out today provides yet another illustration of the failure of America's drug war. By a nearly five-to-one margin, Americans agree that alcohol is worse for you than marijuana. However you slice the data up demographically, majorities say the same thing.

 

 

 

The elderly, Republicans and Hispanics are the least likely to agree that booze is more harmful than weed, but even among these groups respondents said that alcohol was more harmful by more than a two-to-one margin. At the other end of the spectrum, blacks say alcohol is more harmful by an eight-to-one margin, while those under thirty agree by nearly seven-to-one.

On the relative dangers of marijuana and alcohol, the public is now in line with what medical researchers have been saying for years. A 2010 study in the journal Lancet, for instance, graded common drugs on sixteen criteria relating to how harmful the drugs were to users, and how harmful they were to society overall. On both measures - harm to self and harm to users - marijuana scored significantly lower than alcohol.

 

 

 

In fact, alcohol was the most dangerous of all the drugs studied, vastly more dangerous than other drugs in terms of harm to society, and behind only meth, crack and heroin when it came to harm to users.

Other topline findings from the Pew survey: significant majorities approve of marijuana legalization, say that mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug crimes are a bad idea, and want the federal government to focus more on providing treatment to drug users, rather than prosecuting them.

In short, it's hard to think of another arena in which federal policy is more at odds with public opinion and scientific consensus. The Pew survey suggests that in the upcoming national elections in 2014 and 2016, there's a real opportunity for candidates to distinguish themselves by taking up these issues.

Surveys show public, law enforcement support marijuana policy reform

In a press release just out today by L.E.A.P.  IT would seem the public and law enforcement support marijuana policy reform.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 3, 2014

Contact: Darby Beck: darby.beck@leap.cc 415.823.5496

 

Surveys Show Public, Law Enforcement Support Marijuana Policy Reform

 

 

Though not conducted with the methodological rigor of the Pew poll that came out yesterday showing 54% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana and two-thirds believe drug policy should focus on treatment rather than prosecuting drug users, Law Officer magazine has provided LEAP a poll of its own showing an even more surprising finding: a majority of law enforcement officers also support marijuana policy reform.

Though some of the provided answers seemed to overlap, the overall effect is one indicating broad support for change among the readership of the publication, 97% of whom indicated they are or had been in law enforcement.  Some of the most surprising results include 66% saying marijuana possession should be legalized, decriminalized, legalized for medical reasons or illegal but only punished with fines, with the largest plurality (37%) supporting legalization. Even more surprising, almost 27% supported legalizing “the sale of marijuana in large quantities” with 36% calling for some form of change from the current model. While support for decriminalizing possession of other drugs was significantly lower, 14% of this population (generally thought to be the most opposed to reform) supported changes in policy.  

Below is a response by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition’s executive director, Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) addressed to the law enforcement readership of Law Officer:

The so-called War on Drugs has changed the very nature of policing--for the worse

Before Nixon declared the war on drugs in the early 1970s, policing was a different creature altogether. Police were the “good guys” going after the “bad guys”--the rapists, the murderers, the child molesters--most people could agree society was better without. Since that time, the very nature of policing has changed.

Today enforcing drug laws not only occupies a huge portion of police time, it forms much of the identity of the profession and of individual officers who dedicate their lives to serving the public. That’s why, to me, the finding that more officers support the legalization of marijuana possession than support the status quo is remarkable. Who among us questions such things lightly?  

But in other ways, this finding is unsurprising. I have always believed that those in the trenches were those most privy to the injustice and the illogic of the war on drugs, and, I hope, those most dedicated to righting this wrong. Who better to question its results? That so many officers were brave enough to challenge the prohibition of marijuana–one of the pillars upon which their professional identity is founded–is an act of honor for the love of the profession of which I am so proud to have been a part for more than three decades.

I commend Law Officer for conducting this study, but I find that the questions they didn’t ask are the ones most relevant to the average officer: Will the legalization of marijuana and other drugs lead to a reduction in the power of street gangs and cartels that terrorize our cities? Will it allow police officers to focus greater attention on violent crimes and restore good relations with the communities in which they operate? Ultimately, will it lead to less violence?

I believe that most officers brave enough to be honest with themselves about the answers can only answer in the affirmative to these questions. We are the ones who see--every day--that the prohibition of drugs, just like the prohibition of alcohol, is what provides the tremendous profits to the criminal organizations that provide the drugs on our streets. That picking up the petty drug dealer on the corner--the kinds of arrest that federal grants and asset forfeiture laws incentivize--does nothing to affect the long-term supply of drugs and only causes more violence as rival gangs battle to fill power vacuums. That all of this has caused society generally and our communities of color specifically to look upon us as people to be feared rather than as public servants advancing public safety, and that that distrust, far from being merely an abstract concept, makes our jobs infinitely more difficult as community members shy from cooperating in investigations.

The majority of the populace have the privilege of rarely having to think about these harsh realities of the drug war, but police are uniquely positioned to see the ravages caused by prohibition firsthand. That is why those who favor legalizing, decriminalizing or legalizing medical marijuana outnumber those who don’t two to one in this survey. Still, in the culture of the blue wall of silence, their willingness to dissent speaks volumes about their daring and fortitude.

I now ask that these officers brave enough to question the prohibition of marijuana one day cast the same critical eye on the prohibition of other drugs. Regulation and control doesn’t mean that heroin will be available at the neighborhood convenience store or even in stores dedicated to the purpose. It simply means that governments, rather than criminals, will decide who gets to buy what where and when.

That could mean only providing addicts with maintenance doses such as Switzerland has done. It could mean restricting all advertising. It could mean supervised injection sites. It could mean expanded prevention programs that show the real hazards of drug abuse and look less like rock stars “burning out” and more like the sad reality of addiction we as law enforcement officials see every day.

Think of the first person you think of when you think of addiction. Now imagine if every kid with too much to lose thought of that person rather than (who’s a cool drug user to kids these days?) when they thought of drug use. Think of if we were able to take away the mystique of the forbidden and replace it with a pity for the pathetic–not through misinformation and lies but through an honest look at addiction as a public health problem to be addressed, not as a criminal justice matter to be swept under the rug.

Now imagine we could also replace the dealer who would sell to kids with a regulated and licensed businessperson who would never dare. That we could separate the markets so that the person who buys marijuana isn’t encouraged to try cocaine. Legalization and regulation is not a radical argument. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Its point is to make the exotic mundane.

Of course, it is a radical argument to the criminal syndicates who rely on drug profits to fund every other criminal enterprise. And, unfortunately, it’s a radical argument to those policing associations who make billions on asset forfeitures and federal grants designed to get them focused on drug crime rather than on the real work of policing. The only question is: Which is more important to you? The dictates of the drug war, or doing what is best for the community you’re sworn to serve and protect?

In policing, bravery is a job requirement. But the people I consider heroic are not those most willing to confront a dangerous suspect or enter an unknown situation but those willing to stand up and dissent to those they respect in the name of public safety and justice. This survey represents a very hopeful sign that the plurality of officers out there are just such heroes. I salute you all.

-          Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) is executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials who, after fighting on the front lines of the war on drugs, now advocate for its end.

 

###

Medical marijuana sales now officially legal in Nevada

Ray Hagar, RGJ

 

Nevada's medical marijuana laws go into effect today, making it legal in Nevada to sell, grow, test and tax medical marijuana.

But don't expect to see medical marijuana dispensaries, indoor grow facilities or labs to test the pot pop up right away in Nevada, government officials said.

The ability to buy or grow medical marijuana to smoke or eat with a doctor's prescription in Washoe County is still about 10 months away, said representatives of local governments.

"There are so many what ifs," said Adam Mayberry, spokesman for the city of Sparks. "The reports I have seen put it at later this year or early 2015. It is possible you could see it by later this year — and I want to emphasis late."

Today is significant because it will mark the legalization of a new industry — one that is designed to ease pain for many afflictions. It is also expected to be a money maker for its participants, a job producer and a fresh tax sources for state and local governments.

Read the rest of the story here

Robotics & Cannabis, How PotBotics is Poised to Become the Biggest Name in Legalized Marijuana

New York, NY (PRWEB) March 28, 2014

A team of renowned scientists and doctors have announced their creation of PotBotics, a new corporation built to infuse state-of-the-art robotics technology with the cannabis industry, forever changing the way doctors prescribe medical marijuana to their patients. The decorated staff, with more than 25 years of accomplishments in the fields of artificial intelligence and EEG technology, is primed to launch their first proprietary technology, BrainBot.

"(BrainBot) has a broad range of applications that will be very useful to doctors and researchers as states continue to expand access to medical and adult-use cannabis," said Dr. Boris Goldstein, the founder of PotBotics. "This technology could revolutionize the way doctors recommend strains for medical cannabis therapy and track the results."

BrainBot will incorporate their state-of-the-art EEG technology into the medical marijuana field, enabling doctors to scan their patients' brains, and with that information, prescribe a specific cannabis strain designed to eliminate their affliction at the maximum possible efficiency. To ensure continued success with the treatment, all results will constantly be measured and closely monitored.

In the past, international countries such as Israel have been leading the way on medical marijuana research. Their remarkable findings have spurred widespread research around the globe, and America is quickly catching up. Currently, 20 states, along with Washington DC, have already legalized medical marijuana. By 2017, that number is expected to significantly increase, with a number of states on both coasts considered likely to regulate the use of cannabis. PotBotics is poised to become a leading figure in the international and domestic movement towards increased medical research dedicated to marijuana, as well as the legalization and regulation of adult-use marijuana.

In order to capitalize on this trend, PotBotics has other exciting technologies positioned for future release. The first technology still waiting to be unveiled is PotBot, an artificially intelligent avatar ready to assist patients in dispensaries with strain recommendations via organic and dynamic conversations. The second anticipated release is PotBotics' gene-radar technology, NanoPot, designed to analyze a cannabis seed and determine its optimal growing conditions. Not only will these scientific breakthroughs help patients receive the best care possible, it will also help cultivators produce the best crops possible by achieving the plant's intended potency and maximum yield.

About PotBotics

PotBotics is the first biotech company to merge robotics and artificial intelligence with cannabis. PotBotics is comprised of three divisions, each specifically built to streamline the prescription, cultivation, and consumer cannabis selection process. PotBot, launching by Summer of 2014, is an artificially intelligent avatar that can understand organic speech, engage in two-way communication, and assist patients with tailoring strains to their specific needs. Brainbot, launching by the end of year 2014, will transform the way cannabis is prescribed by analyzing EEG brain scans. This groundbreaking software gives doctors the opportunity to recommend specific strains for each patient's ailments. NanoPot, launching in the beginning of 2015, is a nano diagnostics service that provides a fully integrated growth plan by analyzing the cannabis seed DNA.

For more information about PotBotics, please visit http://www.potbotics.com

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11712073.htm


Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1818334#ixzz2xdham87R

Georgia explores medical marijuana options

marijuana.jpg

By Christina A. CassidyAssociated Press – published Saturday, March 29, 2014

ATLANTA | A bill to allow a form of medical marijuana in Georgia may have failed to become law this year, but Gov. Nathan Deal has pledged to look for other options to help families who believe cannabis oil could help ease their children's debilitating conditions.

One step could be the revival of a research program established under a 1980 state law to study the effects of medical marijuana on cancer and glaucoma patients. The program was disbanded a few years later, but the law remains. Bill sponsor Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, said that's one of a few options the state could consider.

"The governor has a smart team of lawyers around him and he has very smart advisers around him. I'm pretty confident that if something can be done, they will figure out a way to make it happen within the parameters of the law," Peake said.

There would be numerous hurdles, and Deal has acknowledged he's not sure anything can be done without legislation. But the overwhelming support for the bill by top Republican lawmakers and the heartfelt push by families who were a constant presence at the Capitol during the session could prompt state officials to act.

More of the story

Legalizing Medical Marijuana May Actually Reduce Crime, Study Says

blackcrimedecrease.jpg

Legalizing medical marijuana causes no increase in crime, according to a new study. In fact, legalized medical pot may reduce some violent crime, including homicide, University of Texas at Dallas researchers wrote in a journal article published this week.

The study, published in PLOS ONE on Wednesday, appears to settle concerns, simmering since the first states approved medical marijuana nearly two decades ago, that legalization would lead to more crime.

"We believe that medical marijuana legalization poses no threat of increased violent crime," Robert Morris, the study's lead author, told The Huffington Post.

Morris, associate professor of criminology at UT Dallas, and his colleagues looked at crime rates for all 50 U.S. states from 1990 to 2006. During this period, 11 states legalized medical marijuana. The researchers examined legalization's effect on what the FBI calls Part I crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft.

More at Huffington Post

Marijuana industry finds unlikely new allies in conservatives

The growing industry is making money and building momentum, driving GOP lobbyists and lawmakers to work with pot advocates.


 

Michael Correia, a former GOP staffer who spent two years lobbying for the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, is the newest advocate for the National Cannabis Industry Assn. (CannabisCamera.com / March 13, 2014) By Evan Halper @ latimes.com

Michael Correia, a former GOP staffer who spent two years lobbying for the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, is the newest advocate for the National Cannabis Industry Assn. (CannabisCamera.com / March 13, 2014)

By Evan Halper @ latimes.com

WASHINGTON — Hoping to get pot legalized in Nevada, an investment firm specializing in the fast-growing marijuana industry invited the ballot initiative's backers to pitch 150 financiers at a Las Vegas symposium.

Within 10 minutes, they raised $150,000.

Political contributors are not the only ones taking notice of the new realities of the marijuana business, said San Francisco-based ArcView Chief Executive Troy Dayton, who estimated his group would pump about $500,000 into pot this year. Officeholders and candidates now jostle for the stage at investor meetings, he said.

"A little more than a year ago, it would have been worthy of a headline if a sitting politician came to talk to a cannabis group," he said. "Now they are calling us, asking to speak at our events."

No clearer example of the change exists than the industry's newest full-time lobbyist, Michael Correia. An advocate for the 300-member National Cannabis Industry Assn., he is a former GOP staffer who worked two years as a lobbyist for the American Legislative Exchange Council — the powerful conservative advocacy group that has worked with state lawmakers to block the Affordable Care Act, clean energy incentives and gun restrictions.

Read More at the LA Times by clicking here

NORML calls for Governor Nathan Deal to Decriminalize marijuana-What about the children?

Peachtree NORML called for decriminalization on January 21, 2014, based on polling numbers  stating that 62% of likely Georgia voters were in support of stopping arrest for marijuana and replacing it with a civil infraction and small fine for public use. 

Medical Marijuana can take years to implement once passed.. Georgia doesn't have the luxury of time.  Now after a stunning defeat, with the addition of a unpopular amendment, to a bill that was meant to provide cbd only oil for children with seizures, it seems decriminalization is our only option in Georgia.  Governor Deal has the political cover to take this bold step to help all patients in Georgia and it could be a political liability in this election year if he drags his feet. The Republicans need young voters and that demographic overwhelmingly are supportive not only of medical marijuana for anyone that needs it, the are in favor of total legalization.

Patients can't wait an entire year for the next debate and vote on medical marijuana meant for limited groups. People are leaving our state, they are being forced to because we are afraid of what has been going on in this state since its birth, marijuana smoking.

It is time to call for real reform, criminal justice, social justice, safe access and responsible use for adults and medical use for patients regardless of their age. not only in Georgia but world wide. 

We are arresting college kids and high schoolers at an alarming rate in the school to prison pipeline  and tout zero-tolerance.  We have filled our courts and jails with otherwise law abiding citizen because they choose cannabis not more dangerous substances like cigarettes, alcohol and pharmaceuticals.  And all of this under the guise of protecting the children.  We are taking children from their parents for marijuana use allegations.  We have an alarming amount of children who are living with a parent incarcerated due to marijuana.

Sharon Ravert said "This is not the way to protect our children.  Mothers, fathers, law enforcement, clergy, doctors, teachers and others are calling for our leaders  to end this insanity. Governor Deal...What about the children?

We again call for decriminalization....this time to Gov. Deal...

Peachtree NORML
www.peachtreenorml.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Sharon Ravert 706-525-9970

Monday, March 24, 2014

Peachtree NORML Calls on Gov. Nathan Deal to Enact Real Marijuana Reforms

Gov. Nathan Deal Cannot Create Medical Marijuana Legislation – But He Can Decriminalize Marijuana

Ending Criminal Penalties Helps Patients More Than Extremely Limited Medical Marijuana

ATLANTA, GA – Peachtree NORML welcomes recent comments by Gov. Nathan Deal that Georgia “needs to address” medical marijuana, an issue he says is now “on his radar screen”. Peachtree NORML also applauds the Georgia Legislature for recognizing the patients who can benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

However, the recent bill in its current form would be unworkable, require patients to break Colorado and federal law, and would only allow one form of medical marijuana for seizures that will do nothing to help patients with cancer, AIDS, or PTSD. Peachtree NORML Executive Director Sharon Ravert says now is the time for the governor to enact real reform by decriminalizing personal use amounts of marijuana.

“Governor Deal says he will be ‘talking with all of our state agencies … to see if there is something we can do to make this treatment possible,’” says Ravert, “But he cannot pass laws, only the legislators can do that and they won’t be back in session until 2015. These kids can’t wait and their parents shouldn’t be forced to move out of Georgia or break the law. Governor Deal can act now to help kids and in the meantime, put together a commission to study medical marijuana laws from the twenty states with working programs to make recommendations for the 2015 Legislature.

Ravert explains that the governor does have the power to essentially decriminalize the use of marijuana. “Rather than passing the buck to ‘our state agencies’, Governor Deal could issue an executive order tomorrow to all state law enforcement agencies directing them not to pursue personal-use marijuana cases,” Ravert states. “Not only would that help the families of epileptic kids treat their seizures, but cancer patients could treat their nausea and pain, PTSD patients could treat their mental trauma, and Georgia parents wouldn’t have to worry that their college-aged children will go to jail if they experiment with marijuana.”

Georgia just passed a 911 Good Samaritan law that creates arrest protections for people who are possessing personal amounts of drugs if they are calling emergency responders to respond to an overdose. “If we can protect people from arrest who are calling the paramedics to save a life from an overdose, why can’t we protect people from arrest who are saving their lives using medical marijuana?”

Peachtree NORML is the Georgia state affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

other news stories today - Creative Loafing, 13WMAZ

NJ Senator Wants To Legalize Marijuana, Use Tax To Pay For Roads

newjerseymarijuana

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New Jersey lawmaker announced a bill Monday that would legalize marijuana, tax it and use the revenue to pay to fix the state’s roads and bridges.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported Monday evening, State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) said he has never smoked marijuana personally.

But Scutari has proposed legislation that would legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana in New Jersey for those who are 21 or older.

The proposed legislation even allows people to grow limited amounts of pot.

“It will bring marijuana out of the underground market, where it can be controlled, regulated, and taxed just as alcohol has been for decades,” Scutari said.

The motivation, Scutari said, is the amount of tax dollars Colorado has projected it will generate after recreational marijuana was legalized in that state this year. The projection totals over $100 million.

The New Jersey bill calls for a 7 percent tax on marijuana, which would be sold at designated stores just like alcohol is.

Click here for the rest of the story and CBS news video

Nathan Deal: Georgia ‘needs to address’ medical marijuana fix

By Greg Bluestein

 

The effort to legalize limited use of medical marijuana petered out in the legislative session’s final hours last week amid infighting between Republicans over an unrelated bill to mandate autism coverage for children.

Now Gov. Nathan Deal says he’s exploring an executive order or other steps that could allow Georgia families to use cannabis oil to treat certain seizure disorders until legislators return to Atlanta next year.

Deal, who has tread warily on the issue, told reporters Monday that some sort of administrative action on medical marijuana is “on my radar screen.” Said the governor:

Rest of the story at the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Group still fighting to legalize medical marijuana

Kaitlyn Ross, WXIA

medicalmarijuana.jpg

ATLANTA, Ga, -- People hoping to legalize marijuana aren't giving up after a crushing defeat in the legislature.

The Peachtree Normal Conference brought together people hoping to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize cannabis all together in Georgia.

"Down but not out, we move forward, we'll never give up," said Executive Director Sharon Ravert.

For Ravert, this is just the beginning of the fight to legalize medical marijuana.

More than 100 people came together Saturday to strategize how to do better the next time around.

They already have another bill ready to go for the 2015 session, which she says is a better fit.

"I'm not sure how good this bill would have done anyway," she said.

The 2014 version would have allowed parents to buy the medical version of cannabis, but there was no legal way to get it in to the state, which she says is unfair to parents already going through a tough time.

"They said you can go out and break federal law, it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me," said Ravert.

She says decriminalizing cannabis all together makes the most sense to her.

According to their poll numbers, 62% of Georgian's support legalization, but in Georgia, it's still a crime.

" In Colorado or Washington, it would be just like someone buying a beer. But here, based on geography alone, I could face a year in prison," she said.

She realizes that the legalization of marijuana in Georgia might be a long way off, but for families desperate for the medical version of marijuana, she says the state has to do better.

"I'm sad for the children, and the parents of these children. I just hope that they keep up the hope and keep up the fight," she said.

Supporters of the movement will meet again next Friday to brainstorm how to move the bill forward.

Legalize it? What would Jesus do about Carly's law, medical marijuana? (Commentary from Anthony Cook)

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. – Gen. 1:29 (KJV)

 

Organizers will hold a rally 2-6 p.m. Saturday in Pelham to get the word out about Carly's law, a bill in Alabama that would legalize marijuana-derived medicine that could help control seizures and other health issues.

The law is inspired by 3-year-old Carly Chandler, who suffers from uncontrollable seizures associated with a genetic disorder. Her parents, Dustin and Amy Chandler, hope the CDB oil can slow the violent seizures that happen multiple times a day.

Speakers at Saturday's rally will include Colorado's Paige Figi, whose young daughter Charlotte Figi had suffered 300 seizures a week until she received the marijuana-derived treatment. Now, she experiences just a few seizures a month.

Colorado has legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes. Alabama, one of the country's most conservative states, is nowhere near those measures.

Christians, myself included, hold beliefs that say it's wise not to ingest alcohol or drugs for the purpose of altering your mind.

But CDB oil doesn't have those properties. The intoxicating chemical that's active in marijuana is not present in the medication.

Lawmakers would seemingly rather protect their political lives than protect the actual lives of those who could be helped by this drug.

So who would hesitate to legalize CDB oil, which could do so much good for so many?

Alabama lawmakers, that's who.

They hesitate because it's an election year and they don't want to be identified by their opponents as the candidate who voted to legalize pot – in any form. They'd seemingly rather protect their political lives than protect the actual lives of those who could be helped by this drug.

That's why we have to give lawmakers cover.

We have to let them know that we Alabamians are not so rigid in our beliefs that we can't look past what's good – holding the line on harmful drugs – and miss doing what's best.

Start by going to Saturday's rally to get informed, but also contact your legislator to let him/her know you want to do the right thing for Carly and those like her.

I believe it's what Jesus would do.

Anthony Cook is the community news director at The Birmingham News location for AL.com.

Federal Government Finally Funds Research that Explores Positive Uses of Marijuana

Steve Straehley

                                                                Marijuana plants at University of Mississippi

                                                                Marijuana plants at University of Mississippi

For those conducting studies of the harmful effects of marijuana, the federal government has usually been willing to share from its stash, which comes from the only federally sanctioned pot farm in the country. But those looking to find positive uses for the drug have always found Uncle Sam to be bogarting his joint.

Until now. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finally approved the sale of federally grown marijuana for a study that would research whether pot could help veterans cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Food and Drug Administration approved the study back in 2011, but University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley, who will conduct the study, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is funding it, were unable to get marijuana.

“MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we've been granted permission to purchase marijuana from [the National Institute on Drug Abuse],” the group said in a statement.

Read More

This Woman Will Legalize Marijuana in Georgia

By Russ Belville · Thu Mar 20, 2014

 

Sharon Ravert of Peachtree Norml of Georgia

 

It’s the first day of spring. I’m looking down from a hilltop, over a valley bordered by the base of the Appalachians. Bare-limbed trees reach skyward on a cloudless day and the temperature is rising toward sixty degrees. I’ve got a fresh bowl of some homegrown, a glass of orange juice, and everything is all right.

I’m here preparing for the second annual Southern Cannabis Reform Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Heading up the effort is Sharon Ravert, the head of Peachtree NORML. I first met Sharon when I was working for NORML, coordinating local chapters. In just three years, she and her intrepid band of volunteers, including Kelley Hammock and Dean Sines, have taken marijuana reform to new heights in the South.

Yesterday, Kelley, Dean, and I put on our “politics uniforms” (suit and tie) and made our way to the gold-domed state capitol building in Atlanta. Dean’s more at home in a biker’s cut, t-shirt, and blue jeans, but with his long hair tied back and a “Registered Lobbyist” tag pinned to his sport coat lapel, he’s greeted by name by the various guards and receptionists we pass. Silver-haired Kelley engages in polite conversation with some capitol guests who wouldn’t know this marijuana legalizer from an AARP lobbyist. We were there to meet up with Sharon and her guest, Dr. Uma Dhanabalan, a cannabis therapeutics expert who was teaming up with Sharon to meet with a state senator.

Finish reading this great article on Sharon Ravert and our other fearless leaders by clicking here to go to High TImes

Athens mayor says some pot use should be legal

As the battle for seats in Georgia ramps up now is the time to reach out to each and every candidate.  This is Georgia's time and we will come together to defend the victims of the prohibition of marijuana. 
The Athens Banner-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1eoXJGB ) Mayor Nancy Denson announced her pro-pot position for the first time Wednesday night at a debate on the University of Georgia campus.
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Pro-pot advocate Marc Emery seeks prison transfer

OTTAWA - The wife of jailed prince of pot Marc Emery is appealing to the federal government to let him serve out his U.S. drug sentence in Canada.

Emery has roughly seven months left in the medium security Mississippi jail where he's serving a five-year sentence for selling pot seeds by mail south of the border.

On Tuesday, Jodie Emery, flanked by three opposition MPs, urged new Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney approve Emery's transfer request.

American authorities signed off on the transfer in July. Emery's been jailed in the U.S. since 2010.

Jodie Emery pointed to the non-violent nature of her husband's crime, his Canadian citizenship, and a political and public campaign in support of the marijuana advocate as reasons for Blaney to OK his move.

A statement from Blaney's office indicates she shouldn't hold her breath.

"Individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes should face the full force of the law. And unlike the opposition parties whose primary focus is the drug trade, our government will continue putting the rights of victims first," said Blaney's spokesman, Jean-Christophe de le Rue in an emailed statement.

Jodie Emery argues her husband's case isn't about drugs and is asking the pro-pot army of supporters to pressure Blaney into changing his mind.

"This is about a Canadian citizen under the treaty seeking to be brought home," she said

"It might be political, this government tends to take a firm stand against marijuana legalization and I believe that might have a roll to play, but I sure hope it doesn't." 

On a more personal note, I think it is surely cruel and unusual punishment to put the Prince of Pot in a Mississippi Prison - And the only place in the states where they grow and research medical marijuana - they are probably growing some of the strains Marc sold.