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Feds May Spend Nearly $70 Million On Marijuana

The federal government announced Monday that it is prepared toUnknown spend tens of millions of dollars on marijuana research through the University of Mississippi, which houses the only federally legal cannabis garden in the United States.

The new contract, worth a maximum of $68.7 million over five years, was awarded by the National Institutes of Health Monday and posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website. The award is a renewal of a contract with the university that the federal government has held for more than 40 years.

In a statement provided to The Huffington Post, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an arm of NIH that oversees the marijuana operation at Ole Miss, said, “To serve the research community, NIDA has tried to build farm capacity flexible enough to accommodate various levels of demand for research marijuana and marijuana products over the next five years.”

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New Directions New Orleans: A Public Health And Safety Approach To Drug Policy

An unprecedented collection of drug policy stakeholders – including louisiana-marijuanajudges, elected officials, public health workers, law enforcement, and community advocates – will come together to chart a new course for Louisiana’s drug policies at New Directions New Orleans on Thursday April 2 from 9am-5pm at Dillard University.

The one-day conference will provide Louisianans with the opportunity to engage many of the leading minds on drug policy and criminal justice reform from across the country and around the world, who will discuss strategies for moving beyond drug war policies and toward a health-centered approach to drug use.

“Louisiana continues to strive to become a more population health focused state, but one of the outstanding issues we face are antiquated drug and criminal justice policies,” said Joe Kimbrell, CEO, Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). “This collaborative conference will be a strong starting point for these extraordinary partners to begin outlining what new policies and best practices we can utilize to educate our policymakers and create a safer, healthier Louisiana.”

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Poll: Majority Support For Marijuana Legalization In California


There are no less than four efforts underway to try to legalize2012californiamarijuana

marijuana in California in 2016. California voted on marijuana legalization in 2010. Proposition 19 failed to pass in 2010 by a vote of 53.5% ‘no’ to 46.5% ‘yes’. There were no votes on marijuana legalization in California in 2012 or 2014 due to a lack of national funding support and fractured efforts within California. The 2016 efforts got a boost yesterday when a poll was released which found that support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high in California. :

PPIC reports that 55 percent of likely California voters want to replace marijuana prohibition — which has failed — with a system that taxes, and regulates the state’s multi-billion cannabis industry.

Several groups are working to place the issue on the ballot in 2016, and “support for legalization is at its highest point since PPIC began asking this question in May 2010,” the group states.

“Today, 53 percent of residents say marijuana should be legal and 45 percent say it should not. Slim majorities supported legalization in October 2014 (51%) and September 2013 (52%). Among likely voters, 55 percent favor legalization. About three-quarters of adults (74%) who have tried marijuana say it should be legal, while only a third (35%) who have never tried it favor legalization.”

I have seen other polls that show majority support for marijuana legalization in California. I think it’s clear that Californians want legalization. However, the question is ‘what form of legalization?’ Getting everyone on the same page in California is going to be crucial to achieving reform there. While a majority agrees that prohibition should end, once details start getting presented, the percentages go down. With four different efforts, the chances of marijuana legalization passing in California get worse. For the sake of reform, I hope everyone in California pools together their resources and works together.

Washington Bills Filed That Would Allow Home Marijuana Cultivation

One of the biggest arguments against Washington State’s marijuanamarijuana-garden-plants-growing-cannabis

legalization model is that it doesn’t allow home cultivation of marijuana. While it’s good that people aren’t being arrested for simple marijuana possession in Washington, the black market will never be fully eradicated if people can’t grow their own marijuana at home. Especially when the only legal way for them to obtain marijuana is by paying upwards of $19 per gram for it at Washington stores. A bill has been introduced in both the Washington House and Senate that would allow home cultivation.

The bill, as well as a companion bill in the House sponsored by Rep. Brian Blake of Aberdeen would allow adults over 21 and older to grow six marijuana plants for personal use.  Growers could also possess up to 8 ounces of useable marijuana, and donate up to one ounce to another adult without compensation. But if people can grow their own pot would it hurt the recreational marijuana industry?

One recreational store owner says no. “I think it would be good for everybody to actually try it themselves and experience themselves,” said Noel Roberts, owner of Mary Mart in Tacoma.

Allowing home cultivation is long overdue in Washington State. Colorado, Alaska, Washington D.C., and soon Oregon, all allow home cultivation as part of their marijuana legalization models. Washington clearly has the worst model in the country when it comes to marijuana legalization. Hopefully that changes soon with the passage of these bills.

One Downside of MJ Legalization: Major Energy Use

USA — Across the country, there’s a growing trend toward theVaporizer legalization of marijuana. Four states — Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska — have voted to allow people to possess limited amounts of marijuana use for personal use and also to let producers apply for licenses to produce and sell it. D.C. also just voted to allow personal possession. All of this is on top of the 23 states that allow it for medical reasons.

In some states, where businesses are also now legally cultivating and producing marijuana, a mainstream industry is emerging. Marijuana sales totaled $700 million in Colorado last year, for instance. But there’s a surprising catch. It turns out that indoor marijuana growth in particular — a cultivation method often favored in the industry for many reasons — uses a surprising amount of energy.

Indeed, the level of power use appears to be so significant that one scholar is now suggesting that as the industry grows, states and localities should take advantage of marijuana licensing procedures to also regulate the industry’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Given that this is a new ‘industry’ that is going to be pretty highly regulated, I felt like the state and local policymakers have a unique opportunity to incorporate energy usage and climate assessments into their state marijuana licensing fees,” says Gina Warren, a professor at the Texas A&M University School of Law whose paper, titled “Regulating Pot to Save the Polar Bear: Energy and Climate Impacts of the Marijuana Industry,” will soon appear in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.

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State Pushes Forward To Legalize Marijuana

Massachusetts — Beacon Hill legislators are working on a marijuanaDC-weed-police-station-2ymuualkhq72pzxnmfu2oa


legalization proposal, in part as an effort to short-circuit an expected 2016 ballot push.

Advocates have long planned an initiative petition to legalize the recreational use of the drug for adults, and political analysts have expected that measure to pass in the next presidential election year.

But some lawmakers are balking at the prospect of activists unilaterally writing a law that would have such a profound effect on the state. The legislators would rather write the proposed law themselves, allow for lots of public input, and have final say on the scope and details.

“Wouldn’t it be a good idea for the Legislature to look at it ahead of time, listen to every point of view, anticipate every problem that we could, and try to do it right?” said Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, Democrat of Somerville and a lead sponsor of a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate recreational use of marijuana.

Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, who said he doesn’t have a strong opinion on legalization and backs a Senate panel researching the issue, added, “I think it’s better, if we’re going to do this, to do it in the Legislature than on the ballot.” Rosenberg, who is not listed as a cosponsor, later continued, “I believe if the Legislature doesn’t act on it, it will be done on the ballot.”

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Can Washington’s Gift Economy in Marijuana Work?

Washington, D.C. — It sounds like an idea a stoner might come up with.21UP-marijuana-articleLarge


In Washington, D.C., it’s now legal to possess marijuana, to grow it, to smoke it and to give it away. But you’re not allowed to trade in it. You can give your neighbor up to an ounce, but if he gives you money or even bakes you a pie in exchange, that’s illegal.

The District of Columbia has legalized marijuana — but is trying not to create a market in marijuana. It’s aiming for a gift economy, not unlike what you might experience at Burning Man, but permanently.

Other legalizing jurisdictions are taking a more traditional approach. Colorado and Washington State have both established regulated markets in marijuana that look a lot like those many states have to regulate and tax alcohol. District of Columbia council members were expected to do the same until Congress passed a law barring them from spending money to regulate marijuana. That left the city with noncommercial legalization as its only option after voters repealed the law prohibiting marijuana in the district last November.

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