Tagged: marijuana

Ohio voters get to decide on marijuana legalization in November

Ohio citizens will vote on whether to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana use in November, a decision that could concentrate the state’s legal marijuana business to 10 growers.

Ohio’s secretary of state Jon Husted said…that a measure to legalize marijuana had collected enough signatures to appear on the ballot in the state’s 3 November election.

The measure includes a provision that would allow only 10 growers to grow and sell pot commercially.

Critics, including the state legislature, say this could create a monopoly. The legislature added a measure, called Issue 2, to the ballot that would block monopolies from operating in Ohio.

According to Husted, if both measures are approved, the one introduced by the legislature would take precedence.

Pro-legalization group ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James celebrated the news in a statement.

“Drug dealers don’t care about doing what’s best for our state and its citizens,” James said. “By reforming marijuana laws in November, we’ll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities.”

Hope they can make it – or try again in 2016 if this try fails. Presidential elections turn out the most significant cross-section of voters – which would give a progressive move like decriminalizing weed a better chance.

Off-peak elections like the coming turn out the higher proportion of folks afraid of change as a general rule. We’ll see. Good luck, Ohio.

Looks like Shakespeare was smoking homegrown?


Now, what rhymes with “ganja”?

Residue from early 17th century clay pipes found in the playwright’s garden, and elsewhere in Stratford-Upon-Avon, were analysed in Pretoria using a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry…

Of the 24 fragments of pipe loaned from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to University of the Witwatersrand, cannabis was found in eight samples, four of which came from Shakespeare’s property.

There was also evidence of cocaine in two pipes, but neither of them hailed from the playwright’s garden.

Shakespeare’s sonnets suggest he was familiar with the effects of both drugs.

In Sonnet 76, he writes about “invention in a noted weed”, which could be interpreted to mean that Shakespeare was willing to use “weed”, or cannabis, while he was writing.

The article seems a bit of a stretch trying to include cocaine – though opium certainly wasn’t unknown in England BITD.

Whatever. Smoking a little weed obviously didn’t harm his creative juices – as anyone with a modicum of good sense already knows.

Trans-border sewer line In Nogales, AZ, clogged with marijuana in transit


Click to enlargeKGUN9-TV

An international sewer line in Nogales has been cleared of packages of drugs that caused a backup of waste. On Wednesday evening, authorities said the investigation was ongoing and no arrests had been made.

Authorities found about 50 to 60 pounds of marijuana in the sewer line. The bundles of drugs caused waste to spill into a home where an illegal underground tunnel was found leading to the pipe.

“There was raw sewage coming out of every nook and cranny of that house,” said Nogales City Manager Shane Dille.

Dille said authorities believe the house was being used to receive drugs coming through the sewer from Mexico. He said service was not interrupted at any other properties in the area, with the exception of one business.

Dille said the owner of the house lives out of state and has been contacted, but it’s unknown at this time if someone was renting the house…

He said the city hoped to have the sewer line repaired by Wednesday evening.

First time I worried about a plumber getting stoned while using a Roto-Rooter.

Weed the People

WeedThePeople

“A line this long that never ends and everybody is happy,” marveled Jim Leighton, a 30-year Oregon resident. “Isn’t that great?” He and some 1,300 others stood in a queue that snaked around the block in the sweltering Portland heat Friday afternoon, waiting for entry to an event where they could get up to seven grams of marijuana for nothing more than a smile and a handshake.

Oregon is the fourth state in the United States, in addition to the District of Columbia, to legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 years and older. But even after parts of the law went into effect Wednesday that legalized possession and growing of small amounts, marijuana still cannot be sold to the general public.

So growers and medical dispensaries at Weed the People found their way around the law by giving away their weed for free, some hoping to use it as a marketing tool later…

On midnight Wednesday as the law went into effect, hundreds gathered on Burnside bridge in downtown Portland in celebration. The bridge was billowing with smoke as the clock struck midnight. But while the original plan was to hand out free samples of marijuana, the overwhelming turnout halted the giveaway.

Two days later, the free handouts proceeded as planned at Weed the People, thought to be the first formal event with free cannabis giveaways – after attendees paid a $40 admission fee to attend.

The alcohol-free event lasted for seven hours, as attendees mulled around to test out smoking devices; relaxed on comfy chairs and listened to records in a “chill out area”; and waited in a line that wound through the inside of a warehouse to enter the “Grow Garden”, the highly secured and roped off area where they could pick up their free goodies. One growing entity, Green Bodhi Gardens, said it brought more than 2,000 grams divided into one-gram jars in anticipation of the crowds…

Restrictions notwithstanding, “people want to celebrate,” said event organizer Josh Taylor. “Oregonians are big on sharing!”

The easiest thing to share still is Good News. As more and more folks are exposed to the reality of attitude-alteration with substances like cannabis versus craptastic amounts of alcohol, mellow stoners versus combative drunks, progress towards an understanding of reality outside the boundaries of conventional politics continues to grow – and grow.

Our culture, our government, our politicians may be characterized by ignorance, stupidity, superstition and bigotry. The fact remains that exposure to reality changes folks’ minds. It’s always too gradual for many; but, it’s inevitable. Even faster if you get on board the freedom train. :)

Delaware is 18th state allowing personal consumption of marijuana

Delaware governor Jack Markell has signed into law a bill decriminalising possession and private use of small amounts of marijuana. The move follows the lead of nearly 20 states that have eased penalties for personal consumption…

Individuals in Delware will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and to use it privately without facing criminal sanctions. Police could still confiscate the drug, according to Delaware Online, the News Journal.

The statute also will reduce the penalty for using marijuana in a public place to a $100 civil fine…

The law will take effect in six months’ time. Markell, a Democrat, signed the measure almost immediately after the state senate, voting along party lines, gave it final legislative approval.

No one expected pot-smoking Republican politicians to vote sensibly, courageously.

According to the Journal, the Democratic-backed bill cleared the state legislature without a single Republican vote in either the house or senate.

Not counting Delaware, 17 states have passed laws to decriminalise personal marijuana use and possession in small amounts, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a lobbying group.

Delaware is one of 23 states, along with the District of Columbia, that allow the use of pot for medical reasons. Voters in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC have approved ballot measures legalising cannabis for adult recreational use.

Marijuana remains classified as an illegal narcotic under US federal law.

A regulation which requires joint stupidity and cowardice from politicians in both parties.

No increase in teen pot smoking in states with medical marijuana

The availability of medical marijuana does not cause a surge in pot smoking among teens, according to a national, school-based survey.

When the survey results were aggregated across grade (grade 8 through 12) they found that the risk of marijuana use did not significantly change after the state passed a medical marijuana law…

“Hasin and colleagues postulated, as many would, that the passage of medical marijuana laws would increase adolescent marijuana use by contributing to the declining perception of the potential harms of marijuana,” Kevin P. Hill…of Harvard’s McLean Hospital…wrote in an editorial in The Lancet Psychiatry. “Their well designed, methodologically sound study showed that this was not the case.”

“This study draws attention to the importance of undertaking rigorous scientific research to test hypotheses and using the results to develop sensible health policies,” Hill added. “Policies might sometimes be shaped by preconceived notions that do not end up being true, and Hasin and colleagues’ study is an example of such an occurrence.”

“The growing body of research that includes this study suggests that medical marijuana laws do not increase adolescent use, and future decisions that states make about whether or not to enact medical marijuana laws should be at least partly guided by this evidence,” Hill wrote.

Another socially-derived bit of preconception bites the dust.

If you’re so inclined, RTFA for methodology and sources. I wasn’t surprised by the result.

Alaska becomes 3rd state with legal weed

Alaska on Tuesday became the third U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but organizers don’t expect any public celebrations since it remains illegal to smoke marijuana in public.

In the state’s largest city, Anchorage police officers are ready to start handing out $100 fines to make sure taking a toke remains something to be done behind closed doors.

Placing Alaska in the same category as Washington state and Colorado with legal marijuana was the goal of a coalition including libertarians, rugged individualists and small-government Republicans who prize the privacy rights enshrined in the Alaska state constitution.

When they voted 53-47 percent last November to legalize marijuana use by adults in private places, they left many of the details to lawmakers and regulators to sort out.

That has left confusion on many matters.

There’s a surprise, eh?

That’s left different communities across the state to adopt different standards of what smoking in public means to them. In Anchorage, officials tried and failed in December to ban a new commercial marijuana industry. But Police Chief Mark Mew said his officers will be strictly enforcing the public smoking ban. He even warned people against smoking on their porches if they live next to a park.

But far to the north, in North Pole, smoking outdoors on private property will be OK as long as it doesn’t create a nuisance, officials there said…

In some respects, the confusion continues a four-decade reality for Alaskans and their relationship with marijuana.

Alaska has been burdened sufficiently with conservatives, religious nutballs and rightwing libertarians to have had any number of changes over the last four decades about what to do over getting a little mellow, being a drunk, how and where to have sex. This is just part of the whole package.

Fortunately, the Leftish flavor of libertarianism plus progressive Dems and Independents seems to be prevailing this week.

Stoned drivers safer for everyone than DWI

NHTSA

A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash than drivers who use alcohol. And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving.

So much for coppers and politicians who were certain easing laws on ganja were going to kill us all.

The chart above tells the story. For marijuana, and for a number of other legal and illegal drugs including antidepressants, painkillers, stimulants and the like, there is no statistically significant change in the risk of a crash associated with using that drug prior to driving. But overall alcohol use, measured at a blood alcohol concentration threshold of 0.05 or above, increases your odds of a wreck nearly seven-fold.

The study’s findings underscore an important point: that the measurable presence of THC (marijuana’s primary active ingredient) in a person’s system doesn’t correlate with impairment in the same way that blood alcohol concentration does. The NHTSA doesn’t mince words: “At the current time, specific drug concentration levels cannot be reliably equated with a specific degree of driver impairment…”

What we do need, however, are better roadside mechanisms for detecting marijuana-related impairment. Several companies are developing pot breathalyzers for this purpose.

We also need a lot more research into the effects of marijuana use on driving ability, particularly to get a better sense of how pot’s effect on driving diminishes in the hours after using. But this kind of research remains incredibly difficult to do, primarily because the federal government still classifies weed as a Schedule 1 substance, as dangerous as heroin.

Reinforcing for the umpteenth time that our government really doesn’t give a crap about accuracy, evidence-based conclusions or the truth about much that’s important.

Think about that while everyone from Congressional hacks to the White House to assorted media sycophants, right-wing and barely-left-wing do their level best to encourage our participation in jolly wars in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela, Cuba, etc..

And, yes, let’s keep on picking up the tab for 750+ military bases around the world. Hey, we’re the richest country in the world, right? We can afford it.

Lots of ordinary citizens know the War on Terror, the War on Drugs – are just as [un]necessary as ever.

Which states are years ahead of Congress and the White House?

image
Click to enlarge

Over the last nine months, Vox writing fellow German Lopez found himself covering two major policy changes in the U.S.: the rapid growth in support of same-sex marriage across the country, and the smaller, but gaining-in-momentum movement to legalize marijuana. German found inspiration to bring the two threads together after seeing politics writer Phil Bump compare the two policies at the Washington Post. With the visuals team, German created a chart comparing medical marijuana laws, full marijuana legalization, and same-sex marriage rights around the country. The end result: a playful chart that shows where you can legally get high at a same-sex wedding. It’s simple, it’s fun, and, yet, it delivers so much information about the state of affairs in the U.S. right now.

This short piece is a VOX specialty. It illustrates the growth and usefulness – therefore importance if you find thinking useful – of this new information source.

I’ve grown to accept their decision to omit reader comments. Of course, I qualify for Barry Ritholtz’s infamous acronym – if you don’t like the rules, GYOB. Get your own blog.

Though I have functioned as contributing editor at blogs with traffic as high as 5 million visitors per week, ideas and issues I consider important always start out here at my personal blog.

Feds won’t stop Native Americans from growing, selling pot on tribal land

Opening the door for what could be a lucrative and controversial new industry on some Native American reservations, the Justice Department on Thursday will tell U.S. attorneys to not prevent tribes from growing or selling marijuana on the sovereign lands, even in states that ban the practice.

The new guidance, released in a memorandum, will be implemented on a case-by-case basis and tribes must still follow federal guidelines, said Timothy Purdon, the U.S. attorney for North Dakota and the chairman of the Attorney General’s Subcommittee on Native American Issues…

The policy comes on the heels of the 2013 Justice Department decision to stop most federal marijuana prosecutions in states that have legalized the possession or sale of pot. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia have all moved to legalize the drug, though the D.C. law may be scaled back by Congress.

Some tribes see marijuana sales as a potential source of revenue, similar to cigarette sales and casino gambling, which have brought a financial boon to reservations across the country. Others, including the Yakama Reservation in Washington state, remain strongly opposed to the sale or use of marijuana on their lands…

Even though Indian nations are recognized as sovereign, Anglo governments, white folks in general have such a long history of telling First Nation folks how to run their lives – there is no doubt that states still backwards enough to have restrictive laws on marijuana will try to continue that restriction on crops and sales on tribal lands.

From my perspective in a so-called tricultural state like New Mexico? Hey, it serves more good than selling fireworks. I have neighbors who make the short trek to the nearest Pueblo on the weekend to fill-up their pickup on cheaper gasoline. I imagine there will be folks doing the same in some states to stockup on weed.

Just watch out for The Man on the way home.

Thanks, Mike