Latest ‘Consume Responsibly’ ads feature a young child looking at a glass of wine and cookies, and it reads: ‘Some juices and cookies are not for kids: Keep “adult snacks” locked up and out of reach’
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is launching billboards this week in Denver and Seattle that encourage parents to keep marijuana out of reach of children. The ads are part of a broader public education campaign urging adults to “consume responsibly” in states where marijuana is legal.
The billboards feature a child looking at what could be a glass of grape juice or a stemless glass of wine and a few cookies that might or might not be infused with marijuana. It reads, “Some juices and cookies are not meant for kids,” and urges them to, “Keep ‘adult snacks’ locked up and out of reach.”
MPP spokesperson Mason Tvert was accompanied at the Monday unveiling of the billboard by Jane West, a marijuana consumer and mother of two small children, who serves as director of Women Grow, a national organization dedicated to helping women influence and succeed in the cannabis industry.
“We need to treat marijuana like any other product that is legal for adults and not meant for children,” West said. “A marijuana-infused cookie might look like a regular cookie to my four-year-old, just as a glass of wine might look just like grape juice. Whether it’s marijuana, alcohol, or household cleaning products, it’s our job as parents to keep them locked up and out of reach.”
By Steve Elliott
Legalized marijuana is inevitable, California Attorney General Kamala Harris admitted this week, and she has no "moral opposition" to that happening and is "not opposed" it, she said.
This comes as something of a surprise, since Harris won reelection in California last month by beating the pro-marijuana Republican candidate, Ron Gold, reports RT.com. But while Harris said pot legalization has a "certain inevitability," she didn't actually endorse it.
Harris, the consummately cautious politician, hedged her bets by claiming she had "concerns" over the law enforcement implications of legalization.
"I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana,” Harris told Buzzfeed News in an interview. “I'm the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective.
"I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized,” Harris said. “We're watching it happen right before our eyes in Colorado and Washington.
"I don't think it’s gonna take too long to figure this out,” Harris said to Buzzfeed. “I think there's certain inevitability about it."
Oregon marijuana legalization activists involved in the successful campaign for Measure 91, which legalized cannabis for adults 21 and older in the state, on Thursday sent an open letter to district attorneys statrewide.
Open Letter to Oregon District Attorneys
Criminal justice advocates and leaders call upon you to start now on implementing important drug policy reforms.
Although Oregon voters passed Measure 91 with a 12-point margin, implementation of this better, smarter approach to marijuana policy will not be complete until the first half of 2016. We don't have to wait until then to start to mitigate the damage done by decades of criminalization, wasted law enforcement time and squandered taxpayer money.
Prosecutors in Oregon's largest county have already decided to dismiss, and stop prosecuting, marijuana-related offenses that would no longer exist under Measure 91. Other county prosecutors should follow Multnomah County's lead.
A strong majority of Oregon voters have directed the state to stop treating marijuana as a crime and to better prioritize our limited law enforcement resources. With so many lives and so much money at stake, waiting would be unreasonable and clearly damaging to Oregon's communities. We should work quickly to limit the damage already caused by a feckless war against marijuana.
We urge you to cease enforcement of marijuana laws that will no longer exist when provisions of Measure 91 take effect in July.
Anthony Johnson, Director, New Approach Oregon, Chief Petitioner of Measure 91
By Steve Elliott
This may be the golden age of marijuana in Colorado, and things are about to change.
Supply-and-demand is ever-so-slowly leading to lower prices on the recreational front, and legislative changes are in the offing that could make it more difficult for doctors to authorize medicinal cannabis for severe pain, reports Jeremy P. Mayer at The Denver Post. Voters could be asked to add a special tax onto medical marijuana, and there's even been some reckless talk about discontinuing medicinal cannabis altogether, lumping all cannabis sales into the recreational market.
"It is fluid," said Samn Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver. "Everyone knew this was going to happen.
"This is the first-of-its-kind regulation," Kamin said. "We knew we weren't going to get everything right the first time."
Medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado may grow up to six plants for up to five patients, for a total of 30 plants, but some get a waiver to grow more. As of May, the state had about 5,000 registered caregivers.
A bill will be introduced in the Colorado Legislature next session to reduce the number of plants that caregivers can grow for their patients, and require the caregivers to go through a much more stringent approval process with state health officials.
By Steve Elliott
Las Vegas may have hosted this year's Marijuana Business Convention and Expo, but historically it hasn't been a friendly city to the weed. Things are looking to change for the positive, though, next year, when medical marijuana dispensaries are scheduled to open and welcome out-of-state tourists with authorizations from their own states.
This, therefore, may have been the last year of strangely jarring discrepancies such as the one had by photographer/herbalist Lisa Little (who also operates a medical marijuana collective in her home state of Washington) when she called the the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino -- which hosted the marijuana convention -- to ask about specific smoking policies to accommodate medicinal cannabis patients.
Little told me that after speaking with no fewer than four different Rio employees, none of whom seemed sympathetic to her plight, and all of whom, she said, "treated me as if they thought I was a criminal," she still hadn't gotten an adequate answer as to what accommodations might be available for out-of-state patients who might need to medicate on premises at the expo.
"They finally handed me off to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department Narcotics Unit," Lisa told me with a sigh. "The officer, once again, treated me as if I were some sort of felon, reminding me that I'd better not break the rules in Nevada -- and I had to ask him, if I was planning on breaking the rules, why would I call the police department and tell them so?"
Cleveland Hunger Network Partners with New Omega-Fats Initiative for Mental Health Month
Twenty States Have Legalized Industrial Hemp By Wide Margins, With Major Health Institutions Giving the Nod to Hemp's Protein-Rich Nutrition
With interest in food, farming, wellness, and all-things-cannabis are on the rise, industrial hemp is attracting a fan base broader than "hipsters" and vegetarians that may first come to mind. Major health institutions are now on board, giving the nod to the nutritional quality of hemp's protein-rich seeds, and assuring people eating them will not cause failed drug tests.
The productivity of Canadian hemp producers has gone up in recent years, bringing more affordable hempseed foods to grocery stores and vitamin websites. Politically, hemp is a rare bipartisan issue, as evidenced by the 20 states that have legalized the crop by wide margins, defining it as a distinct variety of cannabis sativa, having .03 percent THC or less (no drug/narcotic value).
This is welcome reform for Plant Kingdom Bakery owner Jeremy Koosed, who claims to have discussed the subject of hemp for nutrition with hundreds of thousands of people. For the past five years, the Lyndhurst-based "snackery" has been onhand with hempseed foods and information at community festivals and farmers markets. Coffee shop baristas have also helped clarify the subject for customers, as Phoenix Coffee locations in Cleveland and Nervous Dog in Akron have made Plant Kingdom snacks available since 2009.
By Steve Elliott
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has endorsed the legalization of marijuana, making her one of the first high-ranking officials in the Big Apple to take such a position.
"Yes, I do support the legalization of marijuana," Mark-Viverito said at an unrelated news conference on Thursday, reports Mara Gay at The Wall Street Journal. "I think based on conversations that we're seeing nationally, the way people feel about it, I think that it's just something that is appropriate at this time."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio this week announced a new policy under which those stopped for low-level marijuana possession will be given tickets instead of being arrested. That change is a "step forward," Mark-Viverito said.
She added that she's concerned that the mayor's new policy doesn't do enough to improve the "initial interaction" between police and New York City residents. She said she supported the outright legalization of cannabis, and said she had used it herself.
"If you're asking whether I have smoked marijuana, yes," Mark-Viverito said.
Mayor de Blasio said on Monday that issuing court summons instead of arresting people for low-level marijuana possession is "good for New Yorkers of color and particularly young people of color."
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and other Members of Congress whose states have legalized or relaxed restrictions on marijuana and who support the District of Columbia’s right to legalize marijuana will host a press conference on how Congress should respond to local and state marijuana legalization nationwide, Thursday November 13, at 11 a.m. on Capitol Hill, Studio B, House Press Gallery.
The other hosts are Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Jared Polis (D-CO) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). Norton welcomed their support, all of whom have issues with the treatment of their states’ marijuana laws by Congress, but whose jurisdictions do not face the possibility of Congressional meddling like the District.
“I am pleased to stand with my colleagues in a bipartisan response to threats we are already receiving to overturn the will of District of Columbia voters,” Norton said. “Recent polling shows that 54 percent of people nationwide support marijuana legalization.
"The D.C. marijuana legalization ballot initiative, approved by two-thirds of voters, is in line with the majority of Americans," Norton said. "Even when opinions differ on the underlying issue of marijuana legalization, there is no debate that local laws in this country are for local jurisdictions.”
Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) member and former State Senator Chris Marr will leave the regulatory panel in January 2015, the former Spokane auto dealer has announced.
In a prepared statement to Governor Jay Inslee, fellow board members and Board Executive Director Rick Garza, Marr thanked them all for their hard work over the last two years during which Washington undertook the implementation of I-502, the legalization of recreational use of cannabis, reports Jim Boldt at Cannabis Wire.
Marr said he will pursue a career in lobbying. He leaves the Board at probably its second most important juncture, the real possibility of legislative action to mend the medical marijuana (MMJ) law and blend it with the state’s new recreational use law.
In addition to Marr’s leaving, LCB chair Sharon Foster’s term on the Board is up in January and rumors are she will not ask for reappointment. This would leave the Board with an institutional knowledge shortage, according to Cannabis Wire, and only one remaining member, Ruthann Kurose, who worked through the problematic implementation of the recreational use law, I-502.
Those involved in cannabis policy in Washington mention former state Rep. Lynn Kessler and former state Senator Tracey Eide as possible candidates for either or both slots.
Marr's statement is below:
By Steve Elliott
In the wake of the approval of marijuana legalization initiative Measure 91 in Oregon, the Multnomah County District Attorney's office announced it will dismiss low-level marijuana cases.
"Because it is clear that a significant majority of voters in Multnomah County support the legalization of marijuana in certain amounts, this office will dismiss the pending charges related to conduct which will otherwise become legal July 1, 2015," announced the office in a prepared statement, reports Kyle Iboshi at KGW.
Measure 91 allows anyone 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in a public place, and up to eight ounces at home.
A total of 50 pending marijuana cases will be dismissed, according to the Multnomah County D.A.'s office.
"This office does not plan to prosecute future charges for conduct related to marijuana possession and delivery of marijuana which will become lawful under Measure 91 absent exceptional circumstances," the written statement reads.
Prosecutors in other Oregon counties are considering taking similar action.
By Steve Elliott
President Obama "may be happy" that D.C. voters legalized marijuana in the nation's capital, according to country music legend and stalwart cannabis supporter Willie Nelson.
Nelson, who performed Thursday night at the White House for veterans, says he once smoked a joint on top of the presidential mansion after an appearance there during President Jimmy Carter's administration, reports Aaron C. Davis at The Washington Post.
The country music icon, a close personal friend of Paul Stanford and the Campaign to Restore and Regulate Hemp (CRRH), has given ringing endorsements to the political initiative work of CRRH.
Nelson said in an interview with CNN that he probably wouldn't bring up the topic of marijuana to Obama on Thursday night, but thinks the President is probably sympathetic to the cause.
"I think I realize how he feels about it and I've read some of his books and things about when he was a kid, how he may have delved into that matter a little bit," Nelson said. "I'm sure he's very understanding of what is going on and he may be happy to see it happening."
By Steve Elliott
Supporters of an initiative petition to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Nevada on Friday said they have collected far more than the required number of signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol plans to turn in about 170,000 signatures to county clerks on Wednesday, reports Sean Whaley at the Las Vegas Review-Journal. To qualify for the ballot, 101,667 signatures from registered Nevada voters are required.
Brezny said he expects to have almost twice the number of signatures needed in each of Nevada's four Congressional districts.
If the signatures are there, the legalization proposal for those age 21 and older will go to the 2015 Legislature. If the Legislature fails to approve the proposal within the first 60 days of the session, it goes on the Nevada general election ballot in 2016.
The measure is modeled after Amendment 2, the recreational marijuana legalization law approved by Colorado voters in 2012.
Support among Nevada voters was measured in 2013 at 54 percent for and 42 percent against, Brezny said when the petition was filed in April.
By Steve Elliott
A public hearing on the legalization of marijuana in Vermont is scheduled for Wednesday. The hearing will be held statewide via Vermont Interactive Television.
Earlier this year, the Vermont Legislature ordered the administration to study marijuana legalization, with a report due in January, reports the Associated Press.
The state contracted with the RAND Drug Policy Research Center to study the production, distribution, and possession of cannabis.
Wednesday's hearing will be held by Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding and Beau Kilmer, who co-directs the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.
Spaulding and Kilmer will make brief presentations, after which people attending the meeting will be allowed to ask questions and make comments.
By Steve Elliott
With the number of states where marijuana is now legal reaching four (plus the District of Columbia), the United States military is still trying to enforce 20th Century drug policies of zero tolerance towards cannabis, despite the shifting sands of public opinion.
With Alaska, Oregon and D.C. joining Colorado and Washington as legal havens for weed, the army has gone to great pains to remind troops that state law doesn't help servicemen who smoke pot, reports RT.com.
The military is governed by federal laws, under which marijuana possession remains a criminal offense; use or possession of cannabis also remains a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and can result in court martial.
Each branch of the military claims to keep troops off marijuana by frequent drug testing and stiff penalties for those who test positive.
According to Army testing data recently obtained by the Washington Times, 30,836 of the 41,000 soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state were tested in fiscal 2014; that's about 75 percent. Meanwhile, at Fort Carson, Colorado, all 26,000 active duty personnel were tested.
Individuals Would Instead be Ticketed and Ordered to Court
Advocates Cautiously Optimistic, But Key Questions and Concerns Remain
An article on the front page of Monday's New York Times outlines a plan by the de Blasio Administration to end low-level marijuana possession arrests in New York City. According to the article, those found with small amounts of marijuana would be issued a court summons and immediately released.
This would be a shift from the current arrest practice, wherein police charge people with a misdemeanor – the person is then handcuffed, taken to the precinct and held for hours, fingerprinted and photographed, and eventually released with a court date and a virtually permanent arrest record. Ending arrests for marijuana possession is a constructive step towards reform, yet many questions and concerns about the new proposal remain.
The new proposal comes on the heels of a recently released report by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Arrest Research Project, which analyzed marijuana arrest and income data. It shows that low-income and middle class communities of color face dramatically higher rates arrests for marijuana possession than do white communities of every class bracket.