U.S.: Former DEA Heads Urge Justice Department To Block Marijuana Legalization

Source: Salem-NewsBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seeking to thwart the will of the voters of Colorado and Washington state, former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration are pushing for continuation of the disastrous policies of the War On Marijuana. For the second time in six months, the former DEA heads have urged Attorney General Eric Holder to block state-level efforts to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.

On Tuesday, the former DEA heads sent a letter to Holder calling on him to block implementation of new laws in Colorado and Washington. Holder will appear on Wednesday before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

The ex-DEA directors sent a similar letter to Holder back in September, urging him to speak out against the marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington, as he had done in October 2010 before California's Proposition 19 legalization vote.

But the White House and Attorney General this time chose to remain silent, allowing citizens in Washington and Colorado to vote without the threat of federal obstruction. Both initiatives won with about 55 percent of the vote, exceeding President Obama's margin of victory in Colorado as well as the margins of victory by the candidates for governor and attorney general in Washington state.

United States: Hemp industry poised to grow in Colorado with new legal status

Hemp industry poised to grow in Colorado with new legal status

By Steve Raabe, The Denver Post

There is a truth that must be heard!Passage of Amendment 64 has given life to a group of zealous enthusiasts who can barely contain their passion for the leafy green substance.

No, not pot. The fanatics get their kicks from buzz-free hemp.

A genetic cousin to marijuana, hemp is a look-alike plant with one key difference. It contains almost no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes users high.

But what hemp lacks in THC, it makes up for by being a remarkable workhorse of industrial utility. From auto bodies to textile fibers to nutrition bars — even as a cleaner of toxic contamination — hemp struts its stuff.

Boosters say hemp is poised to become a big industry in Colorado because Amendment 64 allows its legal cultivation pending legislative authorization.

Lynda Parker's eyes light up, the all-natural way, when she talks about it.

"My friends tell me I'm too evangelical," says the retired Dex saleswoman. "But there's hardly a problem in the world that can't be solved with hemp."

She ticks off an abbreviated list, just a tantalizing hint, of the practical applications.

"Hemp is food, animal feed, fiber, fuel, shelter," she says. "It cleans the air, the water, the soil. Hemp could be enormous for Colorado because we're the first state to legalize it."

United States: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Looks To Expand After 2012 Victories

By Alex Dobuzinskis, Huffington Post

United States: Marijuana Legalization Campaign Looks To Expand After 2012 Victories After a decades-long campaign to legalize marijuana hit a high mark in 2012 with victories in Washington state and Colorado, its energized and deep-pocketed backers are mapping out a strategy for the next round of ballot-box battles.

They have their sights set on possible ballot measures in 2014 or 2016 in states such as California and Oregon, which were among the first in the country to allow marijuana for medical use. Although those states more recently rejected broader legalization, drug-law reform groups remain undeterred.

"Legalization is more or less repeating the history of medical marijuana," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "If you want to know which states are most likely to legalize marijuana, then look at the states that were the first to legalize medical marijuana."

A political arm of the alliance spent more than $1.6 million as one of the main funders of the Washington state campaign.

The passage of the ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state in November allowed personal possession of the drug for people 21 and older. That same age group will be allowed to buy the drug at special marijuana stores under rules set to be finalized next year.

Rolling Stone: The Next Seven States To Legalize Pot

Why Oregon, California and more are likely to follow Colorado and Washington toward legalization

By Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

There is a truth that must be heard! The Berlin Wall of pot prohibition seems to be crumbling before our eyes.

By fully legalizing marijuana through direct democracy, Colorado and Washington have fundamentally changed the national conversation about cannabis. As many as 58 percent of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal. And our political establishment is catching on. Former president Jimmy Carter came out this month and endorsed taxed-and-regulated weed. "I'm in favor of it," Carter said. "I think it's OK." In a December 5th letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) suggested it might be possible "to amend the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law." Even President Obama hinted at a more flexible approach to prohibition, telling 20/20's Barbara Walters that the federal government was unlikely to crack down on recreational users in states where pot is legal, adding, "We've got bigger fish to fry."

Colorado: Industrial hemp could jump-start economy

By Amy Gillentine, Colorado Springs Business Journal

There is a truth that must be heard! The Declaration of Independence was written on paper made of hemp. During World War II the federal government launched a “Hemp for Victory” campaign urging people to grow the plant to make ropes for the military.

Until the late 1800s, nearly all cloth and virtually all paper were made from hemp. It was so valuable that hemp could be used as money.

But that was then.

Today, industrial hemp isn’t strictly illegal, but farmers must get a permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency to grow it — something that’s proven impossible. Colorado and Washington have joined nine other states in legalizing the crop. But despite the passage of Amendment 64, the DEA still must give permission, even though states issue their own permits.

Colorado farmers could be able to grow industrial hemp as early as next summer, with state permits alone. It’s unclear if the federal government would raid industrial hemp farms operating without DEA permission.
Needless permits

Supporters say that it makes no sense to require federal permits. Hemp is harmless, they say, and can benefit the economy and environment. Hemp can remediate soil damage, be spun into clothing and bracelets, help create soaps and lotions, and even absorb tons of carbon dioxide a year. Currently, U.S. imports of hemp from Canada and China equal around $2 billion annually.

Colorado: Cultivation of industrial hemp likely will be OK'd


There is a truth that must be heard! Amendment 64’s legalization of marijuana drew the nation’s eyes to Colorado on Election Day. In the ensuing media frenzy, another portion of the ballot measure got lost — Colorado will likely legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Tons of industrial hemp is imported into Colorado and other states annually from Canada, China and other countries, and hemp products are manufactured and sold throughout the country. But it remains illegal to grow hemp in the United States under federal law.

Hemp proponents say cultivating the plant would create an industry and could be a boon to the economies of Colorado and the nation.

Hemp has long been a stigmatized plant since it’s linked to marijuana because of its ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, aka THC, the psychoactive substance in pot.

Industrial hemp contains three-tenths of 1 percent of THC, while marijuana typically contains 10 percent or higher.

Amendment 64 will separate hemp from the definition of “marijuana” in the Colorado state Constitution, and it will require the Legislature to set up regulations for hemp farmers and sellers by July 1, 2014.

The amendment also makes it legal to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to grow up to six marijuana plants, and allows for marijuana stores to begin setting up shop in January 2014.

United States: The end of the war on marijuana

By Roger A. Roffman, Special to CNN

There is a truth that must be heard! (CNN) -- The historic measure to regulate and tax marijuana in Washington State deserves to be looked at closely as a model of how legalization ought to be designed and implemented elsewhere in America.

We've turned a significant corner with the approval of Initiative 502, which purposefully offers a true public health alternative to the criminal prohibition of pot.

United States: Pros and Cons of Growing Hemp in Colorado

By Amanda Brandeis

There is a truth that must be heard!GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- On Election Day, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which legalizes the use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. It also includes a provision legalizing the growth of industrial hemp. While hemp can be used for multiple products, growing the crop is still a federal crime.

United States: 10 Reasons to Revisit Marijuana Policy Now - Americans Increasingly Favor Legalization of Pot

Culturally, marijuana has become hardly more than a punch line. But in reality, U.S. marijuana policy is no joke; it causes great harm, both directly and indirectly. Here are the 10 most important reasons our marijuana laws deserve serious reconsideration

By Maia Szalavitz,

There is a truth that must be heard! For the first time ever, a solid majority of Americans supports legalizing marijuana for recreational use: 56%, according to the most recent Rasmussen poll. Support for legalization has been growing steadily since the 1990s; in 1994, just 25% were in favor.

In November 2010, California residents voted on a ballot initiative to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana. Although the measure failed to pass — 46% to 54% — the fact that the initiative made it onto the ballot and garnered that much support was itself historic. Indeed, it was fear of the initiative’s passage that led then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to decriminalize possession of up to 1 oz. of pot shortly before the vote — a move that was intended to bleed voter support from the ballot question. Had it passed, California would have been the first state to legalize the drug outright. In 2012, Colorado and Washington State will vote on total legalization.

Colorado: Recreational marijuana measure to be put to voters

By Keith Coffman

There is a truth that must be heard! (Reuters) - Colorado voters will be asked to decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in a November ballot measure, setting up a potential showdown with the federal government over America's most commonly used illicit drug.

The measure, which would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults, is one of two that will go to voters in November after a Washington state initiative to legalize pot earned enough signatures last month to qualify for the ballot there.

"This could be a watershed year in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," Art Way, Colorado manager of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. The Alliance supports the initiative.

"Marijuana prohibition is counterproductive to the health and public safety of our communities. It fuels a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wastes billions of dollars in scarce law enforcement resources, and makes criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens."

Colorado is one of 16 states and the nation's capital that already allow marijuana use for medical purposes even as cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law - and public opinion is sharply divided on the merits of full legalization.

Colorado: Hemp study pushed by lawmakers could aide toxic cleanup

By Debi Brazzale, Colorado News Agency

There is a truth that must be heard! Denver, Colo. — Planting fields of hemp to absorb toxins in contaminated soil is a concept worth looking at, said two rural lawmakers at the Capitol.

Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, D-Sterling, are having a bill drafted that would create a pilot program, funded by gifts, grants and donations, to research the crop’s potential.

Areas that may benefit, said McKinley, are Rocky Flats, once the site of a nuclear weapons plant, and the Cotter Corporation’s uranium mine near Golden, as well as numerous abandoned mining properties around the state.

The hemp plants, which have been shown to absorb toxins from soil, would also provide benefits to both farmers and consumers, said McKinley.

"It would be nice to clean up these contaminated areas," said McKinley. "Hemp can be a very beneficial crop providing food, fuel and fiber."

Sonnenberg says if the study proves right, the plant could address agricultural problems with contaminated soil, too.

"There are so many possibilities for industrial hemp that it only makes sense to create win-win situations for agriculture," said Sonnenberg.


Colorado: Verification of Initiative 30 to require line-by-line review

Scott Gessler
Secretary of State

William A. Hobbs
Deputy Secretary of State

There is a truth that must be heard! Denver, Colorado - Today Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced that the proposed ballot measure concerning "Use and Regulation of Marijuana" will require a line-by-line review of signatures.

Petitions for proposed initiative #30 were submitted to the Secretary of State’s office on January 4. The office immediately began verifying a random sample of the signatures as set forth in state statute. Section 1-40-116(4), C.R.S., requires the verification of each signature filed if the random sample shows the number of valid signatures falls between 90 percent and 110 percent of the signatures needed.

Random Sample Summary:

• Total number of qualified signatures submitted: 163,598
•5% of qualified signatures submitted (random sample): 8,180
•Total number of entries accepted (valid) from random sample: 4,436
•Total number of entries rejected (invalid) from random sample: 3,744
•Number of projected valid signatures from random sample: 88,719
•Total number of accepted entries necessary for placement on ballot: 86,105
•Percentage of presumed valid signatures: 103.04%

Because the 103 percent projection falls between the 90 and 110 percent described in statute, the Secretary of State’s office has notified the proponents the petition will require a line-by-line review. The office has until February 3 to complete the review.


United States: Marijuana legalization: Read eight initiatives filed for 2012 Colorado ballot consideration

By Michael Roberts, Westword

There is a truth that must be heard! Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente has been talking about a 2012 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult use here since at least this November 2009 post.

But his effort to accomplish this feat is one step closer to reality now that he's submitted eight variations on a legalization measure to the state's title-setting review board. Read them below.

"They all have the same basic framework," says Vicente about the documents, which were filed last week. "Essentially, what we're looking to do is regulate marijuana sales in a similar way that alcohol is regulated statewide. That way, adults 21 and over can purchase marijuana in regulated, state-licensed businesses where they have to show an ID before it can be purchased."

Among the main selling points, he continues, is that "it would free up law enforcement resources for far more important purposes -- and it would also produce a fair amount of tax revenue for the state."

Medical Marijuana: Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Petition Challenging MMJ Laws

By Michael Roberts, Westword

There is a truth that must be heard! That was fast. Last week, MMJ advocates represented by attorney Andrew Reid petitioned the Colorado Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the state's medical marijuana laws.

But the Supremes have already rejected this bid, forcing Reid and his clients to take a much slower path through lower courts in order to advance their challenge.

"We're deeply disappointed the Supreme Court didn't take the case, but it's not unexpected," Reid says. "We understand that the court takes very few of these. But we'll do what we have to do to bring it back to the court."

The petition and its supporting material, on view in their entirety below, argues that the marijuana regulatory measures signed by Governor Bill Ritter in June impinge on patient access to medication and their right to privacy in violation of Amendment 20, which legalized MMJ in Colorado. The petitioners are led by Kathleen Chippi, former owner of One Brown Mouse/Cannabis Healing Arts, who announced in July that she wouldn't sign Colorado's medical marijuana license agreement. She described the document at the time as "downright evil."

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Advocates Call For Full Legalization

By Steve Elliott, Toke of the Town/Special to Hemp News

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Advocates Call For Full Legalization Medical marijuana advocates Wednesday evening called for the full legalization of marijuana in Colorado, saying that until cannabis is fully legal, it will always be stigmatized and patients will be subject to harassment.

"No patient is really safe until it is legalized for everyone," attorney Robert J. Corry told the patients and advocates at a meeting in Denver, reports Scot Kersgaard at The Colorado Independent.

Corry and other attorneys said law enforcement officials, lawmakers and other officials will never really act as if anyone has a right to use marijuana until it is made legal for all.

"They are treating patients like criminals instead of the sick people we are," said Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute.

Advocates said patient access is in jeopardy in Colorado because of rules that allow cities and counties to ban dispensaries, and because of patient fears that their medical marijuana records are not really confidential.

One attorney in particular brought the house down with her personal story of using medical marijuana.

Longmont lawyer Kristy Martinez described herself as a serious and successful attorney until one day a few years ago when her health took precedence over her law practice.

Colorado: Help Veterans Access Medical Marijuana

By Sensible Colorado Staff

Colorado: Help Veterans Access Medical Marijuana Attention Veterans, those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and supporters:

As you may remember during the recent debate over HB-1284, an amendment was introduced that would have added Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions under Colorado’s medical marijuana law. Despite the mountain of scientific evidence, and the very moving testimony of over fifty veterans at the Board of Health meeting last July, the state’s Chief Medical Officer, Ned Calonge, campaigned very aggressively against this amendment resulting in the House Judiciary Committee rejecting it by a vote of 6-5.

In response to this irresponsible disregard for our veterans’ well being, Sensible Colorado and allies have drafted a petition that will soon be submitted to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to include PTSD as a qualifying condition under the state’s medical marijuana program.

We are seeking veterans to assist with this effort, so, if you are a veteran who supports this issue, please contact Dan at

We need your help in the fight to protect safe access to medicine. Please consider donating to support this important work.


Colorado: Colorado Defeats Bill to Treat PTSD with Medical Marijuana

Bad job Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, you are against veterans, they will die because of your decisions, they will commit crimes because they are addicted to alcohol and government drugs.

By Tim King,

Colorado: Colorado Defeats Bill to Treat PTSD with Medical Marijuana(DENVER) - An amendment by Representative Sal Pace relating to medical marijuana and post-traumatic stress disorder was defeated in Colorado today. Denver's Westword Blogs reports that the Marijuana Policy Project's Steve Fox isn't happy about it.

Today the judiciary committee heard HB 1284, a bill intended to regulate the medical marijuana industry. Representative Sal Pace offered an amendment to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of ailments that can be treated by medical marijuana.

This is a practice already underway in both Israel and Canada for veterans with PTSD.

The group that actively lobbied against his proposal?

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which has been providing legislators with a fact sheet arguing, "There is no evidence of efficacy of marijuana for treatment of PTSD in the medical literature. In fact, the published literature suggests that such use leads to addiction and abuse of other substances."

United States: States Differ on Marijuana for PTSD


United States: States Differ on Marijuana for PTSD DENVER — A decade ago, Colorado became one of the earliest states to legalize medical marijuana. Its neighbor New Mexico did so more recently. But that does not mean the two states agree on all the medicinal merits of cannabis.

Both states allow marijuana to be used to treat the symptoms of a variety of diseases, like AIDS and cancer. When it comes to treating post-traumatic stress disorder, however, New Mexico says yes to medical marijuana, while Colorado’s answer is a resounding no.

Those differences were highlighted this week in the Colorado legislature, when a State House committee on Monday narrowly defeated a proposal that would have directed the Department of Public Health and Environment to consider whether marijuana should be used to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Ned Calonge, the chief medical officer for the health department, which was against the proposal, said psychiatry departments at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Denver and the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver agreed that marijuana should not be recommended for treating the disorder.

“There is no evidence of efficacy of marijuana for treatment of P.T.S.D. in the medical literature,” Dr. Calonge said Tuesday in an interview. “In fact, the published literature suggests that such use leads to addiction and abuse of other substances.”

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Patient Says Drug Changed Her Life

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is receiving about 500 new requests everyday for medical marijuana cards and the applications have completely back-logged the system.

By McKenzie Martin,

There is a truth that must be heard! There is concern about the number of people getting these cards from both the opposition and proponents of Amendment 20. The health department says they estimate that they have received about 60,000 applications as of the end of February. Some lawmakers say the law is being abused and are trying to pass restrictions. Those potential restrictions are causing concern for many patients who say they need the drug.

Every day, Pauline Archuleta's health seems to improve. "I have been getting better,” Pauline said.

She's been slowly recovering since a brain aneurysm put her in a coma back in 2007. "I couldn't even walk hardly ‘cause I was paralyzed on [one] side," Pauline said.

And while she was in the hospital doctors discovered she had six more un-ruptured aneurysms. "I was always sick and in pain, my head was always hurting," Pauline said.

Colorado: Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente on Legalization

Brian Vicente thinks the time will be right in two years for statewide marijuana legalization.

By Michael Roberts, Westword

There is a truth that must be heard! In today's Denver Post, columnist David Harsanyi argues that the debate over medical marijuana is dishonest in part because advocates actually want legalization -- a goal that might be hurt by the passage of Representative Tom Massey's medical marijuana bill, because it would give dispensaries a monetary incentive to fight against it.

Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente doesn't buy that argument, and no wonder. While he opposes Massey's measure as currently written, he's in favor of both regulating medical marijuana and marijuana legalization.

Vicente insists that the former isn't a stealth tactic to advance the latter. However, he confirms that he's working toward putting a measure to make marijuana legal for Colorado adults on the 2012 ballot.

Regarding Harsanyi's argument that dispensary owners might actually fight against marijuana legalization if a bill regulating the medical marijuana industry passes, Vicente says, "That's just fundamentally untrue. Most dispensary owners are believers that marijuana has real value for sick people. They've seen that it's not the demon weed the government often makes it out to be."

Moreover, he believes the mainstreaming of medical marijuana will help the average person to realize that legalization needn't be feared.

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