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Legalizing MMJ May Actually Reduce Crime

Source: Huffington Post

medical USA — 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.

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Colorado To Crack Down on MMJ Patients & Caregivers

Source: Denver Post

medical Colorado — Colorado health officials on Friday announced a new crackdown on medical marijuana patients whose doctors have given them permission to grow more than the standard number of marijuana plants.

Starting Monday, the Colorado Health Department will send out letters to doctors who recommended the elevated plant counts and the patients who benefit, requiring them to provide more documentation on the need for the extra plants.

Dr. Larry Wolk, the department’s executive director, said doctors must provide not only medical information about the patients that caused the elevated recommendations but also studies showing that the patients’ conditions require more medical marijuana than average.

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MMJ Stores Blocked From Federal Tax Breaks

Source: USA Today

medical USA — The roughly 2,500 medical marijuana dispensaries in the United States pay taxes to local, state and federal governments. But they can’t take the same federal tax breaks that other small businesses take.

A section of the federal tax code known as 280E was meant to prevent tax write-offs for illegal drug activity. It was enacted in 1982, before medical marijuana was legalized in any state. Now the Internal Revenue Service is applying 280E to pot shops operating legally under state law.

The IRS says it is following the law in not allowing these deductions. Any changes to 280E would require Congress to amend either the Internal Revenue Code or the Controlled Substances Act, according to a 2010 letter from the IRS to members of Congress.

Although 20 states and D.C. have legalized medical marijuana, the Controlled Substances Act still lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, the most dangerous category.

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Marijuana Study in Veterans Wins Federal Backing

Source: Associated Press

medical Washington, D.C. — The federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug’s medical uses.

The proposal from the University of Arizona was long ago cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, but researchers had been unable to purchase marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency’s Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of the drug.

In a letter last week, HHS cleared the purchase of medical marijuana by the studies’ chief financial backer, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which supports medical research and legalization of marijuana and other drugs.

“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 NIDA,” the Boston-based group said in a statement. The federal government has never before approved medical research involving smoked or vaporized marijuana, according to MAPS.

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Third-graders caught smoking weed in California school bathroom

Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson says the two 8-year-olds and a 9-year-old were discovered by another student last week at Sonora Elementary School. Superintendent Leigh Shampain told KPIX-TV the students were smoking in a school bathroom.

Smoke pot? No haircut — at least if you smell like weed

radar2_lead_t670GREELEY, Colo. — A barber here is refusing to serve customers who smell like smoke — pot smoke — even though marijuana is legal throughout Colorado.

And he’s legally within his right to discriminate, according to Denver lawyer Scott Robinson.

“Business owners absolutely have the right to refuse service to someone who has been smoking pot, is drunk, or for any other reason as long as it’s not an unlawful or unconstitutional reason such as race, religion or gender,” Robinson said.

The sign posted on the door of Hugo’s Barber Shop about 50 miles northeast of Denver is guaranteed to lose some business: “Please do not come in if you smell like marijuana, there are families with kids who don’t want to smell it. This is a business not your house, thank you.”

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