Prohibition

U.S.: Law Enforcement Officials Tour States To Lend A Hand To Drug Policy Reform Initiatives

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As the midterm election approaches, representatives of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) are hard at work educating voters about the need for drug policy reform in states with relevant initiatives on the ballot.

A pair of police chiefs, Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and sitting Police Chief Larry Kirk, are in Alaska, where voters are about to weigh in on an initiative to legalize, regulate and control marijuana (Measure 2). The two went to seven towns between them, from Anchorage to Kodiak, to educate voters on the public safety benefits of legalization.

In the meantime, a former prosecutor and a retired lieutenant sheriff are doing a similar tour of Oregon (Measure 91) and a former police officer and former Customs agent are speaking to Florida voters about medical marijuana (Amendment 2). These tours have included meetings with civic clubs, conversations with the media and debates with opponents.

D.C.: Council Holds Hearing On Marijuana Legalization In Nation's Capital

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Policy Experts and Advocates Testify in Favor of Directing Proceeds from Taxation to Communities Harmed by War on Drugs

Hearing Occurs Just Days Before Voters Decide on Marijuana Legalization at Ballot Box

D.C. Councilmembers Vincent Orange (D-At Large) and Jack Evans (D-Ward 3) on Thursday are holding a joint public hearing on legislation introduced in 2013 by Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) that would establish a system which legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana in the nation’s capital. Councilmember Orange chairs the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and Councilmember Evans chairs the Committee on Finance and Revenue.

The hearing specifically examined sections six through nine of the “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013” (Council Bill #20-466), and took place Thursday at 11 a.m. in Room 500 of the D.C. Council Chambers located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Advocates provided testimony in support of using the proceeds from legalization towards rebuilding the communities harmed by the war on drugs.

U.S.: New Sentencing Guidelines Could Shorten Drug Sentences For Thousands In Federal Prison

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U.S. Sentencing Commission Reforms Take Effect on Saturday

Change is Latest Step to Reduce Mass Incarceration and Scale Back Failed Drug War

Changes to federal drug sentencing guidelines take effect on Saturday, November 1, and courts may begin considering petitions from incarcerated individuals for sentencing reductions. Thousands of people who are currently serving long, punitive drug-related sentences in federal prisons could be eligible to apply, although no one who benefits from this reform may be released for another year, or prior to November 1, 2015.

The changes taking effect on Saturday follow a July 2014 vote by the United States Sentencing Commission to retroactively apply an amendment approved by the same government panel in April 2014 that lowers federal guidelines for sentencing people convicted of drug trafficking. Beginning on Saturday, federal judges may begin referencing the reduced guidelines in the course of sentencing people convicted of drug trafficking and individuals who were sentenced under the old drug sentencing guidelines may begin petitioning a federal judge for a hearing to evaluate whether their sentence can be shortened to match the reduced guidelines.

The underlying drug guidelines amendment that shortened the length of drug sentencing guidelines was approved by the United States Sentencing Commission and submitted to Congress for review in April. Congress has taken no action to disapprove of these reforms to the drug guidelines, setting the stage for these reforms to take effect on Saturday.

U.S.: Drug Policy Action Grades Members of U.S. House of Representatives on Drug Policy Reform

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Historic Bipartisan Majority in Favor of Reforming U.S. Drug Laws and Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies

Ideologically Diverse Representatives – From Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) – Named 2013-14 “Champions of Reform”

Drug Policy Action on Wednesday released the 2014 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide, which grades members of Congress on how they voted on seven key drug policy reform votes in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013 and 2014.

The guide is designed not just to educate voters on which members of the U.S. House of Representatives support drug policy reform – but also to send a firm message to elected officials that they will be held accountable for supporting draconian policies that exacerbate the worst harms of the Drug War. Clear bipartisan support now exists both among the American public and in Congress for ending the Drug War and letting states set their own marijuana policies.

The voter guide examines historic votes on a wide range of issues, such as whether to bar the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws and whether to allow banks to accept deposits from marijuana businesses. The voter guide also summarizes decisive steps taken over the last two years by congressional lawmakers and officials in the Obama Administration toward advancing drug policy reform.

Wisconsin: No Charges For Couple Found With Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Madison, Wisconsin couple investigated for marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia in Baraboo won't be charged for possessing the controlled substance after citing a medical exemption.

The Baraboo Police Department and City Attorney Mark Reitz decided not to prosecute the couple after they provided authorities with valid Wisconsin medical marijuana authorizations from a physician, reports Elizabeth Onheiber at the Baraboo News Republic.

While looking into a complaint of a dog left in the vehicle of Greg and Karen Kinsley on September 13 at Sauk County Fairgrounds, Baraboo Police Sgt. Mark Lee and Det. Jeremy Drexler saw a marijuana pipe through the car window. They seized it, along with a small amount of cannabis, after resolving the pet issue.

The couple provided documentation from Wisconsin doctors recommending medical marijuana, and Karen Kinsley presented a valid Oregon medical marijuana registry card. Greg and Karen said their authorizations for medicinal cannabis are intended to treat Crohn's disease and the pain of scoliosis, respectively.

A little-known 1971 law allows Wisconsin citizens to possess marijuana with a valid doctor's note, and serves as an exemption to the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Act.

U.S.: War On Marijuana Defies Science, Doctors Testify In Federal Court

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Three medical experts on Friday, Monday and Tuesday testified in federal court that the federal government's war on marijuana defies science, and is thus unconstitutional.

Decades of medical studies prove cannabis isn't the danger the government has claimed it is, the experts told a federal judge, reports David Downs at SF Gate.

The epochal cultivation trial, U.S. v. Schweder in the Eastern District of California, in which U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller is allowing a hearing on a defense motion to declare marijuana's Schedule I classification as unconstitutional, has national implications.

Defense witnesses Gregory Carter, M.D., and Carl Hart, Ph.D., testified in Sacramento on Friday, and Philip Denny, M.D., testified on Monday and Tuesday. Government witness Bertha Madras, Ph.D., a former deputy drug czar under President George W. Bush, argued in that marijuana isn't medicine.

Madras compared cannabis to heroin, saying that humans no longer smoke opium poppies for pain relief. But while more than 22,000 Americans will die from prescription drug overdoses this year, with opioid pills killing more than any other prescription, cannabis has no lethal overdose level and zero recorded deaths from overdose in history.

California: Cops Wear 'FUCK THE GROWERS' Shirts During San Diego Pot Raids

FuckTheGrowers...Marijuana'sStillIllegal

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana for medicinal purposes was legalized by California voters at the ballot box back in 1996 -- but some law enforcement types apparently still haven't gotten the message. Police routinely terrorize thousands of patient-cultivators every year with warrantless, no-knock raids, willfully ignoring established law, and now a San Diego narcotics officer has been photographed wearing a t-shirt reading "FUCK THE GROWERS... MARIJUANA'S STILL ILLEGAL -- while raiding patients.

Advocacy group Reform California on October 24 posted pictures of a San Diego Narcotics Task Force officer wearing the profane shirt during a Wednesday raid in Imperial Beach, reports David Downs at SF Gate. The photo was reportedly snapped by a 10News photojournalist.

While marijuana is still illegal under federal law for any purpose, state law enforcement officers are supposed uphold state laws. California residents with a doctor's authorization can possess or grow any amount of marijuana deemed medically necessary by their physician.

D.C.: Leaders, Advocates To Discuss Impact of Marijuana Laws on African Americans

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Shiloh Baptist Church and The Washington Informer to host a community forum to inform and educate

WHAT: On Monday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Social Justice and Community Outreach Ministry of Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, in partnership with The Washington Informer, will host a community forum on the impact of Ballot Initiative 71 and D.C. marijuana laws on African Americans.

Nationally acclaimed economist and author Dr. Julianne Malveaux will moderate the event held at Shiloh Baptist Church located at 9th and P Streets, NW. Panelists will include representatives from law enforcement, academia, community advocates, members of the business community, and members of the clergy.

Washington D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests, doubling that of any U.S. state. Ninety-one percent of all marijuana arrests are of black people.

Between 2001 and 2010, while the number of white people arrested for marijuana has stayed about the same, the number of black people arrested increased to 4,908 from 3,228. Young black men are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones, even though whites are more likely to both use and sell marijuana.

This community forum will gather nearly 500 District residents to raise awareness of this important topic and bring to the forefront the importance of voting on November 4.

WHO: Pastor Wallace Charles Smith, Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church

D.C.: Leaders, Advocates Meeting To Discuss Impact of Marijuana Laws on Black Community

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Shiloh Baptist Church and The Washington Informer to host a community forum to inform and educate

On Monday, October 27 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the Social Justice and Community Outreach Ministry of Shiloh Baptist Church of Washington, in partnership with The Washington Informer, will host a community forum on the impact of Ballot Initiative 71 and D.C. marijuana laws on African Americans.

Nationally acclaimed economist and author Dr. Julianne Malveaux will moderate the event, held at Shiloh Baptist Church located at 9th and P Streets, NW. Panelists will include representatives from law enforcement, academia, community advocates, members of the business community, and members of the clergy.

Washington D.C. leads the country in per capita marijuana arrests, doubling that of any other U.S. state. Ninety-one percent of all marijuana arrests are of black people.

Between 2001 and 2010, while the number of white people arrested for marijuana has stayed about the same, while the number of black people arrested increased to 4,908 from 3,228. Young black men are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones, even though whites are more likely to both use and sell marijuana.

This community forum will gather nearly 500 District residents to raise awareness of this important topic and bring to the forefront the importance of voting on November 4.

New York: NYPD Continues Quixotic, Discriminatory Marijuana Arrest Crusade

RacialDisparitiesInMarijuanaArrests (ACLU)

From March to August Under de Blasio/Bratton, NYPD Made More Marijuana Possession Arrests than Bloomberg/Kelly in Same Period of Previous Year

Extreme Racial Disparities Persist as Blacks and Latinos Make up 86% of Marijuana Possession Arrests, Despite Young Whites Using at Higher Rates

A new report released on Monday by the Marijuana Arrest Research Project and the Drug Policy Alliance shows that, despite campaign promises, marijuana possession arrests under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are on track to equal – or even surpass – the number of arrests under Mayor Bloomberg. As under the Bloomberg and Giuliani administrations, these arrests are marked by shockingly high racial disparities.

The report, "Race, Class & Marijuana Arrests in Mayor de Blasio’s Two New Yorks: the NYPD’s Marijuana Arrest Crusade Continues in 2014" draws on data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and shows that despite a change in mayoral administrations and police commissioners, the NYPD continues its practice of making wasteful, racially biased, and costly marijuana arrests.

Oregon: First Lady Admits Planning Illegal Marijuana Grow

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes, fiancee of Governor John Kitzhaber, has confessed to planning an illegal marijuana grow operation with her then-boyfriend back in 1997. The revelation comes less than a week after Hayes admitted she illegally married an Ethiopian immigrant that same year.

Hayes said she was living on the property with her then-boyfriend in Okanogan, Washington, near the border of Canada, for the purpose of growing and selling marijuana, reports Sara Roth at KGW.

"Last Thursday, I admitted that 17 years ago I was in the middle of a very difficult and unstable period of my life," Hayes said. "I said then, and I'll say again ... I was associating with the wrong kind of people and making mistakes."

"I am not proud of that brief period of time," Hayes said. "I was involved in an abusive relationship with a dangerous man. We lived together for several months on the property in Okanogan that was intended to be the site of a marijuana grow operation that never materialized."

The man who sold the property, then repossessed it, indicated that a marijuana grow was already in progress. "There was a full-sized pool table upstairs in the house and that was the first clue," broker Patrick Siemion told KGW's Mike Benner. "There were marijuana trimmings on the table.

Washington: Founder of Marijuana Staffing Agency Optimistic About Future of Weed Industry

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With the rapid growth of the medical marijuana industry in several states, as well as the recreational cannabis industry in Washington and Colorado, a vast number of businesses have sprouted to support, assist, and consult the companies that are actually involved with growing, processing, and selling the plant itself. Viridian Staffing, a recruiting agency based out of Seattle, is one such company.

Ganjapreneur, a cannabis industry business media outlet which launched over the summer, recently conversed with David Murét, co-founder of Viridian, to ask him some questions about the company and how it has helped connect marijuana businesses with job-seekers.

When asked what his favorite aspect of working in the cannabis industry was, Murét replied, "We would have to say the people. The industry has been such a magnet for dynamic free-thinking innovators who aren’t nearly as stiff and creatively stifled as you find in so many other, more established industries."

"We also love working in an industry which, on the whole, places such a high value on triple bottom line business practices, which are both socially responsible and environmentally sustainable, particularly here in the Pacific Northwest," Murét said.

Maine: 3 York Selectmen Prevent Constituents From Having Say On Marijuana Policy

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Citizens for a Safer Maine on Friday announced it will not appeal a judge’s decision to allow the York Board of Selectmen to prevent a vote on a ballot measure that would make marijuana legal for adults.

“We’re confident an appeal would be successful, but at this point we cannot afford to continue playing this game with the selectmen,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which supported the measure. “We know there is support for ending marijuana prohibition in York, and we’re going to focus our resources on giving them a chance to vote on it in 2016 with a statewide ballot initiative.

“It’s unfortunate that three out of the five selectmen have needlessly and very likely illegally prevented their constituents from voting on this measure,” Boyer said. “It’s a disservice to the voters who elected them, and they’ll have to live with that.”

Citizens for a Safer Maine initially submitted more than 200 signatures of registered York voters to place a measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen in July. The board voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot and, based on local initiative rules, provided the group with 30 days to collect an additional 641 signatures.

Citizens for a Safer Maine submitted nearly 1,000 signatures in August 27, but the Board of Selectmen again voted 3-2 against placing the measure on the ballot. In September, Superior Court Judge Paul Fritzche did not grant an injunction requested by the group to place the initiative on the November ballot.

U.S.: Former Race Car Driver Randy Lanier To Be Released From Life In Prison For Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana prisoner Randy Lanier, 60, a former race car driver, will be released from prison after serving 26 years of a life sentence at the high-security Federal Correction Complex of Coleman in Florida for a 1988 conviction on leading a marijuana drug ring.

U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert has granted a motion by the federal government to reduce Lanier's life sentence and has approved his pending release, reports Jon Saraceno at Autoweek.com. Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. endorsed a proposal to reduce sentencing for convicted drug dealers, while seeking to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

"He has served his time with dignity and respect," said Stephen Ross Johnson, lead attorney for Lanier since 2002. "He has helped mentor young people in the prison system."

The brief order issued by Judge Gilbert gives no reason for the sentence reduction. In addition to his life sentence, Lanier was given an additional maximum of 40 years on a distribution charge and another five years on an IRS fraud charge.

Lanier's release comes with heavy restrictions, including drug-and-alcohol tests, no consumption of alcohol or patronizing of establishments that sell it, no firearms, and no lines of credit without approval from his probation officer.

Georgia: Cops Raid Man's Home After Mistaking Okra For Marijuana

DwaynePerry(Okra-Marijuana)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

What have those Georgia cops been smoking? They don't know the difference between okra and cannabis.

A Georgia man woke up to find a police helicopter hovering over his home, and sheriff's deputies pounding at the door to search his property for drugs. "They were strapped to the gills," Dwayne Perry said. But all he was growing was okra.

Drug agents from the Governor's Task Force had spotted what they thought was marijuana growing in Perry's yard in Cartersville, reports WSB-TV. "I was scared actually, at first, because I didn't know what was happening," Perry said.

Bartow County deputies and a K-9 unit appeared at his doorstep expecting to make a marijuana bust. "Instead, it's okra and maybe a bush on the end of the house," Perry said.

When Channel 2's reporter called the Georgia State Patrol, which is in charge of the drug task force, for an explanation, all he got was weak excuses. The officers sent an evidence photo of the okra.

"We've not been able to identify it as of yet," said Georgia State Patrol Capt. Kermit Stokes, who evidently is mystified by the sight of okra. "But it did have quite a number of characteristics that were similar to a cannabis plant." Incredibly, this moron still has a job in law enforcement.

"Here I am, at home and retired and you know I do the right thing," Perry said. "Then they come to my house strapped with weapons for no reason. It ain't right."

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