Tagged: marijuana

Oregon’s new marijuana freedom law includes a chance to erase your record

erika walton
Erika Walton processing paperwork to remove minor weed bust – from 15 years ago

About 15 years ago, when she was in her 20s, Erika Walton handed a bong to someone who turned out be a police officer, and was cited for marijuana possession. She paid the fine, she said, but the violation lingered on, haunting her record.

On a recent afternoon, Ms. Walton was at a free legal clinic here in Oregon’s largest city, filling out paperwork to have that infraction forever sealed. Once the process is complete, she will be able to legally say to an employer, landlord or anybody else who asks that she has never been convicted or cited for any drug crime at all…

The mark on her record was minor — a citation for possession under Oregon law, even back then, was below the level of a misdemeanor, roughly equivalent to riding the light rail without a ticket. But it still cost her, she said, when she had to divulge it on applications for jobs and volunteer positions at her children’s school…

Oregon was not the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, which happened through a state ballot vote last November, nor is it the largest. But in preparing to begin retail marijuana sales next month, it is nonetheless blazing a profoundly new trail, legal experts and marijuana business people said.

“Oregon is one of the first states to really grapple with the issue of what do you do with a record of something that used to be a crime and no longer is,” said Jenny M. Roberts, a professor of law at American University in Washington, D.C….

Decriminalizing really means it – in Oregon. Any chance we’ll see similar thoughtfulness, humanity and courage from the Congress-critters who infest Washington, DC?

In the next couple of decades?

RTFA for lots more detail.

Weed fiends in Colorado have a tax holiday today

Marijuana consumers were taking advantage of a tax holiday in Colorado on Wednesday, with some lining up early for doorbuster-style deals.

A quirk in state law led Colorado to suspend most taxes on recreational pot for one day, including a 10% sales tax on pot and a 15% excise tax on marijuana growers…

At the Grass Station near downtown Denver, a dozen shoppers were in line before doors opened.

“Lower prices are always better,” said Benjamin DelCarpio of Centennial, who was rewarded for standing in line with a 50% off coupon.

The tax break is happening because Colorado underestimated overall state tax collections last year. Under the state constitution, the accounting error triggers an automatic suspension of any new taxes – in this case, the recreational marijuana taxes voters approved in 2013…

Wednesday’s break came a day after Colorado made final its accounts for the fiscal year that ended in June.

The final tax numbers covered the first full fiscal year in which adults over 21 could legally buy both marijuana and alcohol.

Alcohol excise tax collections were up 2.4%, to about $42m. Marijuana-specific taxes came in at about $70m…The figures don’t include a statewide 2.9% sales tax.

The pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project lauded the sales tax holiday as “a much-deserved day off” for marijuana consumers, who carry a heavier tax burden than people who buy alcohol.

Conservative politicians are still holding their breath – and swearing they never inhaled. All that happens in states where weed is legal is that drug use drops, high school kids do not start showing up for class bearing bags of munchies, automobile accidents don’t increase – and the moon doesn’t start shining out the butt of a purple cow.

Fear-stricken fools will not relent. Folks with adult brains, respect for science and real education have to continue to fight to put politicians into elective office with sufficient ethics to avoid being beholden to priests, pundits and payoffs rooted in 19th Century belief systems.

SuperHero of the day

Meet “Buddie” – who consumes only the best buds

Metropolis has Superman, Gotham City has Batman, and now Ohio has a superhero of its very own. However, some critics wish it were somebody else — anybody else.

Meet Buddie, the caped crusader enlisted by ResponsibleOhio to aid in the fight to legalize marijuana in the Buckeye State. You’ll recognize him by his green-and-white costume, marijuana leaf-like gloves, washboard abs, half-closed eyes and blinding smile. Oh, and by the enormous marijuana bud that serves as his head.

He’ll probably never volunteer for anyone’s army. Unless Uncle Sugar is planning on invading somewhere with a long green growing season.

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


“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.