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NY State’s Medical Marijuana Rules Shaping Up

When New York State’s lawmakers were mulling legalizing thetimthumb

medical use of marijuana last summer, some proponents feared that the proposed law was so restrictive that it would prevent many patients from receiving the drug. Now, with the state’s Health Department close to issuing final regulations about the new program, the law’s supporters say their fears may soon be realized.

The law itself is quite restrictive: Only 10 conditions qualify for medical use of marijuana; the drug may not be smoked; and New York will initially allow only 20 dispensaries across the state, run by five organizations.

The regulations go even further. Sales would be restricted to five so-called brands of medical marijuana, which concerns some supporters who say patients and doctors need flexibility to find out which of the hundreds of strains of marijuana works best for a particular condition. (The regulations even stipulate that brand names cannot be “coined or fanciful, and may not include any ‘street,’ slang or other name.”)

Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat who was one of the law’s sponsors, voiced deep frustration this month with “a long list of senseless burdensome restrictions on patients and organizations.”

“There are people from very, very young children to very elderly New Yorkers who are going to continue to suffer unnecessarily,” Mr. Gottfried said.

The regulations also impose constraints in unexpected ways. A plumber may not be able to unclog a sink in a dispensary without prior written approval. Drinking a Coke or even milk on the premises could be a violation.

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Hundreds of D.C. Residents Now Have MJ Seeds

Matt Skarbeck handed out free marijuana seeds from his personal imrs (1)collection at the D.C. Cannabis Campaign’s seed share Thursday evening. Skarbeck, who said he’s been a professional grower since 1992, had a variety of marijuana strains on hand, some of which he said were worth $40 per seed.

“It grows very oddball weed that no one’s ever seen before,” he said of one of the strains.

Skarbeck sat at a table in the back of the second floor of Adams Morgan’s cramped Libertine restaurant, handing out little baggies of seeds to the hundreds of residents who streamed through the establishment. For those interested, he told them about his business, Legal 6 DC Cannabis Consulting, in which he helps people grow marijuana in their homes.

Skarbeck stands to get significant business out of Thursday’s event. The seed share – the largest marijuana giveaway in the nation – was the first opportunity for many District residents to take advantage of the city’s quasi-legal drug market. Thanks to restrictions from Congress, it’s still illegal to sell marijuana in the city, although growing and smoking in the privacy of one’s home is allowed.

Organizers say that at least 500 people took home free seeds, many having waited for hours in a line that stretched along 18th Street NW. A majority of those people seemed to have little knowledge of what to do with the seeds when they got home.

“I’ve watched YouTube videos,” said Henry Yandrasits, a linguistics graduate student at Gallaudet University. “I’m basically an expert.”

Wendell Myers says he’d rather just buy marijuana, but since that’s prohibited, he’ll try to grow some in his Petworth home. Myers, 53, said he experimented with growing when he was younger, but the process didn’t yield anything that got him high.

“I might as well have been growing dandelions,” he said.

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President Barack Obama Commutes Drug Sentences For 22 People

 

Yesterday President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 22barack-obama-marijuana1-300x300

federal inmates convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. This follows the commutation of eight federal inmates convicted of drug offenses by President Obama in December of 2014.

According to White House counsel Neil Eggleston, “had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime.”

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder made a number of forceful public statements against mass incarceration in the U.S., promising significant rollback of mandatory minimums and harsh sentencing guidelines. The Obama Administration also promised improvements in the commutation process. Yet, despite his administration’s declared support for substantive criminal justice reform, until now Obama has used his power to grant clemency less frequently than nearly all other U.S. Presidents.

President Obama has been under significant public pressure from advocacy groups and family members of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses who are serving long, mandatory minimum sentences.

“I am elated that President Obama continues to use his executive powers to grant freedom to those drug offenders who have served draconian sentences.” said Anthony Papa, media relations manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, who was granted clemency in New York State in 1997 after serving 12 years under the notorious Rockefeller Drug Laws. “I hope this sends a message to governors of states that have the power to grant clemencies to those who deserve a chance to be reunited with their families.

There is much legislation that Congress must enact with if the country is to address its mass incarceration problem. Chief among them is the Smarter Sentencing Act. This bipartisan legislation would cut mandatory minimum sentences, expand the “safety valve” to give judges more discretion in sentencing, and would make the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive.

“The President’s actions today are welcome, but we need more action,” said Michael Collins, policy manager at DPA’s office of national affairs. ” Congress must act quickly on substantive sentencing reform, and move forward with the Smarter Sentencing Act. It’s time to rectify the US’s embarrassing record on mass incarceration.”

Poll: 55 Percent Of Likely California Voters Want Marijuana To Be Legal

Fifty-five percent of likely California voters believe that “the use of california-marijuana6-300x300marijuana should be legal,” according to the results of a statewide PPIC poll released yesterday.

The percentage in favor of legalization is the highest level of support ever recorded in the statewide poll.

African Americans (69 percent), Whites (64 percent), Democrats (63 percent), and Independents (57 percent) were most likely to express support for legalizing the plant’s use while Republicans (44 percent), Latinos (42 percent), and Asians (39 percent) were most likely to oppose the policy change.

Among those respondents who acknowledges having tried cannabis, 74 percent supported legalization. Among respondents who had never tried cannabis, 63 percent favored keeping it illegal.

The poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent.

California is one of several states in 2016 where the issue of regulating marijuana is expected to be decided by ballot measure. The issue is also anticipated to be before voters next November in Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, andNevada.

In 2010, California voters rejected a ballot initiative that sought to permit the personal cultivation and commercial sale of cannabis by a vote of 46.5 percent to 53.5 percent.

Attorney Generals File Responses To Marijuana Legalization Lawsuit

Opponents of marijuana will try everything they can to try to stopgavel-marijuana-300

marijuana legalization from happening. Even after marijuana has been legalized, and the benefits of that reform have been made obvious, opponents will still try to cling to failed policies of the past. That is what is occurring right now with the lawsuit filed by Oklahoma and Nebraska against Colorado. Oklahoma and Nebraska are suing the State of Colorado, claiming that marijuana legalization there has increased crime in their states.

The Attorney General of Colorado responded late last week, and was joined by the Attorney Generals of Oregon and Washington.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman filed a formal response with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday regarding a lawsuit from the attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma, who are asking the nation’s high court to nullify Colorado’s recreational marijuana law.

The Washington and Oregon state attorneys general

The plaintiffs allege that Colorado’s rec industry has resulted in a spike in illegal cannabis trafficking across state lines.

As many activists pointed out when the original lawsuit was filed, Colorado doesn’t have a marijuana problem, Oklahoma and Nebraska have a prohibition problem. I have seen a lot of legal analysis from very smart people that have looked over the case, and all of them agree that the lawsuit doesn’t have the legs to win. It still worries me though because when something involves marijuana, it seems to always be treated differently. We will just have to wait and see what happens as the case proceeds.

25,000 Marijuana Seeds Given Out In Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. voters approved marijuana legalization by a verylowryder_plant

large margin. Washington D.C. Initiative 71 passed during the 2014 Election by a margin of 70.06% ‘yes’ to 29.94% ‘no’. The initiative legalized marijuana possession and cultivation, but did not include a way to obtain marijuana from a store due to taxing and spending provisions that require Congressional approval. In order to help citizens of Washington D.C., the Initiative 71 campaign organized two marijuana seed giveaways last week, which was a tremendous success.

For the second time this week, people stood in line for free marijuana seeds

The line was even longer Saturday for folks wanting marijuana seeds than the first ‘seed share’ on Thursday. Thousands waited outside DC Cannabis Campaign headquarters for hours for a few seeds. People have never been so elated standing in the cold.

“Everyone is very happy to be here,” said Amy Dunham.

“We’re all getting along, all creeds and color,” added Patrick Mitchell

The line stretched several blocks along embassy row on Massachusetts Avenue NW for the historic marijuana seed share event.

In total, roughly 25,000 marijuana seeds were given out in Washington D.C.. D.C.’s marijuana legalization law allows people to give marijuana (seeds or otherwise) to other people, as long as no money changes hands. It still blows my mind to know that there are seeds and plants being cultivated all over our nation’s capital. These are truly exciting times in America, and it makes me very happy to see how far we have come. There is still a lot of work left to be done, but the success of the seed giveaways in D.C. is cause for celebration.

Hundreds of D.C. Residents Now Have MJ Seeds

Matt Skarbeck handed out free marijuana seeds from his personalimrs

 

collection at the D.C. Cannabis Campaign’s seed share Thursday evening. Skarbeck, who said he’s been a professional grower since 1992, had a variety of marijuana strains on hand, some of which he said were worth $40 per seed.

“It grows very oddball weed that no one’s ever seen before,” he said of one of the strains.

Skarbeck sat at a table in the back of the second floor of Adams Morgan’s cramped Libertine restaurant, handing out little baggies of seeds to the hundreds of residents who streamed through the establishment. For those interested, he told them about his business, Legal 6 DC Cannabis Consulting, in which he helps people grow marijuana in their homes.

Skarbeck stands to get significant business out of Thursday’s event. The seed share – the largest marijuana giveaway in the nation – was the first opportunity for many District residents to take advantage of the city’s quasi-legal drug market. Thanks to restrictions from Congress, it’s still illegal to sell marijuana in the city, although growing and smoking in the privacy of one’s home is allowed.

Organizers say that at least 500 people took home free seeds, many having waited for hours in a line that stretched along 18th Street NW. A majority of those people seemed to have little knowledge of what to do with the seeds when they got home.

“I’ve watched YouTube videos,” said Henry Yandrasits, a linguistics graduate student at Gallaudet University. “I’m basically an expert.”

Wendell Myers says he’d rather just buy marijuana, but since that’s prohibited, he’ll try to grow some in his Petworth home. Myers, 53, said he experimented with growing when he was younger, but the process didn’t yield anything that got him high.

“I might as well have been growing dandelions,” he said.

This time, he’s a bit more confident. “I can’t growing anything,” he said. “But it’s a weed. I know I’ve already been able to grow those in my back yard.”

Shelly Gardner of Langdon Park said she’s an experienced gardener, so she thought she’d give marijuana a try.

“I’ve grown everything else, so why not this?,” she said. “It’s just another thing to try.”

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