LEAP

California: Marijuana and Athletics Converge at Santa Monica Pier Saturday

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A new demographic and category in sports has emerged. Created to de-stigmatize cannabis and the people who use it, The 420 Games brings a message of fitness, wellness and health.

This Saturday, March 26, this new paradigm of athletics and medical cannabis use will be celebrated by more than 1,000 participants at The Santa Monica Pier. Having kept their cannabis use a secret for fear of judgement or persecution, athletes are now stepping out, inspired by this newly found 'CannaAthletics' movement.

Activists will walk, run, bicycle or skateboard to “Go the Extra Mile for Cannabis” in this 4.20 mile race; wheelchairs are welcome! Out in the water stand-up paddle boarders will follow course along the beach.

"In 2014, I stepped out and created this new genre of athletics and cannabis use in order to inspire the rest of the world to step out with me," said Jim McAlpine, founder of the 420 Games. "The 420 Games is humbled and honored to be credited with the creation of 'CannaAthletics'.

"The 420 Games' purpose is to emphasize that highly functional people, even professional athletes, use cannabis and are hardly the lazy stoners the world has portrayed," McAlpine said. "Fostering a new, positive mindset about those who use cannabis is going to be absolutely critical for the national legalization of marijuana.”

California: 420 Games Invade L.A. As Activism, Fitness Converge At Santa Monica Pier

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The 420 Games’ first event of 2016 takes place March 26 at the Santa Monica Pier. For the first time ever, according to organizers, this southern California landmark will host an organized cannabis-related event, one that is expected to gather more than 1,000 participants.

Created to de-stigmatize cannabis and the people who use it, The 420 Games brings a message of wellness, fitness and health. Activists will walk, run, bicycle or skateboard to “Go the Extra Mile for Cannabis” in this 4.20 mile race. Out in the water, stand-up paddle boarders will follow course along the beach!

"The 420 Games were created to emphasize that highly functional people, even professional athletes, use cannabis and are hardly the lazy stoners the world has portrayed," said creator and producer Jim McAlpine, founder of SnowBomb, a source for ski and snowboard lifestyle and culture. "Fostering a new, positive mindset about those who use cannabis is going to be absolutely critical for the legalization of marijuana.”

Special guest speakers will include LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) member and former Redondo Beach Police Officer Dianne Goldstein; as well as national cannabis thought leader and author of The Cannabis Manifesto Steve DeAngelo. Look for special appearances by UFC fighter Kyle Kingsbury, NFL Pro-Bowler Kyle Turley and former NFL players from the Gridiron Coalition who will have their own team of other ex NFL players in attendance.

U.S.: Officials Ask Court To Reconsider Life Sentence of Silk Road Website Operator

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Retired Federal Judge, Law Enforcement, and Leading Drug Reform Organization Ask Court to Reconsider Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht’s Harsh Prison Sentence

Ulbricht Given Life Without Parole Sentence but Silk Road Copycat Sites Keep Emerging

The Drug Policy Alliance on Wednesday filed an amicus brief urging the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to reduce the harsh life without parole sentence imposed on Ross Ulbricht, who was convicted of operating the Silk Road website.

“We have learned from 40 plus years of the failed war on drugs that incarceration does not prevent drug use or sales,” said Nancy Gertner, retired federal judge and senior lecturer at Harvard Law. “Even if it did, there is absolutely no evidence that a life sentence, including life without parole, is any more effective at deterring crime than a shorter sentence would be.”

The brief was filed on behalf of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), JustLeadershipUSA, and Judge Gertner (Ret.). It highlights the growing bipartisan consensus that life sentences do not make sense for drug convictions; that such sentences are disproportionate to what most people receive for drug trafficking offenses; and, given the failure of the War On Drugs, harsh sentences do nothing to deter others from committing similar crimes or to reduce drug sales or use.

Vermont: Former Attorney General Throws Support Behind Marijuana Legalization

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Former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney, a Republican, will throw his support behind the effort to end marijuana prohibition in 2016 and appear in online ads set to launch Tuesday that highlight the benefits of regulating marijuana.

The Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana (VCRM) will hold a news conference Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET in the Cedar Creek Room of the Vermont State House to formally announce Cheney’s endorsement, display one of the ads, and express support for the vision Gov. Peter Shumlin laid out last week during his state of the state address.

On Thursday, Gov. Shumlin said Vermont “[has] the capacity to take this next step and get marijuana legalization done right” in 2016, and he promised state lawmakers he will work with them to “craft the right bill that thoughtfully and carefully eliminates the era of prohibition that is currently failing us so miserably.”

The coalition’s first ads of the session feature Cheney and highlight the benefits of replacing prohibition with a system in which marijuana is legal for adults and regulated similarly to alcohol. Cheney served as Vermont attorney general from 1973 to 1975. Previously, he served as an assistant attorney general and was elected Washington County states attorney. He has held a variety of other civic positions and is a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

U.S.: DOJ Suspends Asset Forfeiture Equitable Sharing; Police Take More Than Thieves

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Federal Sharing Linked to Circumvention of State Reforms

The Department of Justice on Monday released a memorandum addressed to local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies to announce that the equitable sharing program for asset forfeiture funds has been temporarily suspended due to financial considerations.

This means that state and local law enforcement can no longer expect to receive a share of federal funds confiscated through the process of civil asset forfeiture, a method by which law enforcement can seize property and money from individuals without charging them with a crime.

Until now, the Department of Justice’s Equitable Sharing Program allowed departments to keep up to 80 percent of assets seized in joint operations, a practice scholars have shown allows local agencies to circumvent reforms in their own states. At least one estimate puts the amount of assets confiscated by law enforcement agencies in 2014 above the total amount of robberies, suggesting, according to Reason Magazine, that “Your local police or sheriff's department is more likely to take your stuff than a robber.”

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather Saturday For Advocacy Training

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform advocates -- including an active-duty Dallas police officer -- will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce in Tyler.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the fourth in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Houston on December 12, Amarillo on January 9, and Lubbock on January 10.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Nick Novello, an officer with the Dallas Police Department and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 3:30 p.m. CT, and he will be available for interviews immediately after.

“I work toward marijuana legalization because, as an active police officer, I have an obligation to improve public safety and protect my community,” Officer Novello said. “Regulation and education will focus police resources on more important crimes and make the drug more difficult for children to get. By every measure, marijuana prohibition has failed. Safer communities are within reach.”

U.S.: 34-Year Police Veteran Neill Franklin To Receive Award At Drug Policy Reform Conference

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Leading Drug Policy Reformers to be Honored at International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, November 21

Leading advocates for drug policy reform will be honored at an awards ceremony on Saturday, November 21, at the biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Arlington, Virginiaa. The conference is being organized by the Drug Policy Alliance, promoting alternatives to the Drug War, and is cosponsored by dozens of other reform organizations.

Major Neill Franklin will be presented with the H.B. Spear Award for Achievement in the Field of Control and Enforcement. Franklin is being honored for his influential work changing hearts and minds both inside and outside the law enforcement community.

Over the course of his 34-year law enforcement career, Franklin watched hardworking and dedicated fellow police die in the line of fire enforcing policies that don’t do any good. He spent 23 years with the Maryland State Police, including as an undercover agent and as the department’s head trainer, before being recruited by the Baltimore Police Department to reorganize its education and training division.

U.S.: Leading Drug Policy Reformers To Be Honored At International Conference

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Awardees Recognized for Groundbreaking Work to End the War on Drugs

Winners Include Jamaican Justice Minister Mark Golding, DPA Board President and Former ACLU Head Ira Glasser, Key Grassroots Ally VOCAL-NY, and LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin

Leading advocates for drug policy reform will be honored at an awards ceremony on Saturday, November 21, at the biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Arlington, Virginia. The conference is being organized by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization promoting alternatives to the Drug
War, and is co-sponsored by dozens of other reform organizations.

"Every political movement for freedom and justice has its heroes, yet only a select few ever win the recognition they deserve," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "These awards honor those who have made extraordinary commitments, both publicly and behind the scenes, to advancing more sensible and humane ways of dealing with drugs in our society."

Below are the distinguished award recipients:

Ira Glasser is the winner of the Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform, which is given to a group or individuals who most epitomize loyal opposition to Drug War extremism. The purpose of the Commission is to create an international, informed and science-based discussion about the most effective methods of reducing the harm caused by drugs.

California: Marijuana Legalization Supporters Split Up, Threaten Separate Initiatives

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With legalization seemingly a near-certainty coming down the pike in California, there's a lot of excitement in the air. And the smell of money has joined the aroma of cannabis, stoking the excitement to a fever pitch. But there's a fly in that medicated ointment.

Inspired by successes in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, activists are hungrily eyeing California, the biggest prize of all in the recreational legalization sweepstakes, reports Dennis Romero at the L.A. Weekly.

Legalization fell short in the Golden State in 2010 with Proposition 19, and that sad outcome could see a repeat if multiple initiatives compete against each other to qualify, and if two or more reach the ballot and face off against each other.

What was supposed to be the unifying initiative -- ReformCA, from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform -- was the intended vehicle for all the big players in California cannabis politics to support; they almost pulled it off, too.

Oregon: Legal Marijuana Sales Begin Thursday, Oct. 1

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Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Given Head Start Before Other Stores

Oregon Becomes First State to Expunge Prior Nonviolent Marijuana Records

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon, which legalized marijuana in 2014 with Measure 91, is beginning sales Thursday, October 1. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be permitted to get a head start on sales before other, non-medical stores, which are expected to open in Autumn 2016.

This will ensure existing medical marijuana retailers have an opportunity to fairly compete in the new market as it emerges in the next several years. About 200 of the 345 medical shops have registered to expand their sales to all adults and expect a significant increase in profit margins.

Oregon voters passed Measure 91 in November 2014 with 56 percent support. Similar to initiatives in both Washington and Colorado, Measure 91 called for a slow and thoughtful roll-out of legalization.

In Washington and Colorado, possession of marijuana became legal over a year before retail sales began. This approach left adults with no lawful means of purchasing marijuana. This, too, was the path in Oregon until lawmakers passed new legislation this summer.

Possession became legal on July 1, 2015, yet the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), the state agency responsible for taxing, licensing, and regulating commercial recreational marijuana, will not begin accepting applications until early next year and retail stores are not expected to open until late 2016.

Oregon: Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect July 1

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Adult Possession, Home Cultivation Permitted Immediately

Cultivation, Retail Businesses Expected to Open Fall 2016

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Measure 91, a voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana in Oregon passed with 56 percent approval, takes effect July 1 and will immediately allow for adult possession and home cultivation. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants (as long as they are out of public view) and keep eight ounces at home, and possess one ounce in public. Public consumption and sales will remain illegal.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4, 2016, and businesses are expected to be operational later the same year. More time was allotted to create specific regulations for concentrates to ensure the best possible public safety outcome, so these products will likely not be available immediately when stores open.

U.S.: 600 Churches Call For End To Drug War

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Conference Uses Christian Ideals to Argue for New System

The New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, a group representing 600 congregations in six Northeastern states, on Saturday voted in favor of Resolution 15-203, which uses Christian principles to call for an end to the War on Drugs.

The resolution begins:

“In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.”

It goes on to detail how the Drug War has failed to achieve its intended goal of reducing drug abuse and has resulted in numerous unintended consequences such as the creation of violent and dangerous underground markets, countless lost lives from gang violence and unregulated products, increased dangers posed to law enforcement, prison overcrowding, the rapid spread of needle-borne illnesses due to a lack of sterile syringes, and the disparate impact that these laws have had on poor communities of color.

U.S.: Moms From Around Country Come Together to Share Experiences of Drug War Damage

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In Honor of Mother’s Day, Moms United to End the War on Drugs Representatives Request Signatures to Support Our “Mom’s Bill of Rights”

Mothers across the country are telling their personal stories of Drug War damage with stories, articles and interviews in honor of Mother’s Day. By sharing these powerful stories of losing loved ones to drug-prohibition-related violence, incarceration, overdose and addiction, they are bringing focus to a real need to reform our nation’s drug policies.

Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the War On Drugs, including having children who suffer from addiction and who have been repeatedly incarcerated, or have died from preventable drug overdoses and other drug related problems.

Moms were the driving force in repealing alcohol prohibition in the 30’s and now moms are playing a similar role in ending the war on drugs. Moms United to End the War on Drugs, is a project of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) along with other organizations and individuals from across the nation.

Together they are building a national movement to demand therapeutic, rather than punitive drug policies and an end to the stigmatization and criminalization of people who use drugs or who are addicted to drugs.

New York: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition To Lead Cannabis Parade In NYC May 2

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Want to participate in a revolution?

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is leading the Cannabis Parade in NYC on this Saturday, May 2, reports Jack A. Cole of LEAP. "The first 60 people to signup to be part of the LEAP contingent for that parade will be given free LEAP T-shirts and badges," Cole announced on Facebook Tuesday.

"Send me an email at jackacole@leap.cc or text me at 617-792-3877, with your name, cell phone, email address, and T-shirt size to reserve a shirt," Cole said. "The LEAP contingent will walk behind our 'End the Drug War-Stop the Killing' Banner."

"The marchers in our contingent will be very visible and the back's of their T-shirts read, 'Cops Say Legalize Drugs, Ask Me Why,'" Cole said. "The participating LEAP speakers will also be wearing our T-shirts and a LEAP hat so they can be easily referred to reporters who want interviews."

According to Cole, there are supposed to be more than 40 organizations participating.

At 11:30 a.m. the LEAP contingent will assemble for the parade at the Martinique Café, located on the east side of Broadway just north of 32nd Street (across from Greeley Square Park). Participants will pick up your shirts there.

The parade starts at Broadway and 32nd Street and proceeds to 14th Street where there will be a rally at Union Square.

U.S.: Livestream of Major Neill Franklin Explaining Benefits of Marijuana Legalization April 15

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Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Executive Director to Address 2015 Cannabis Symposium at University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado-Boulder is hosting the 2015 Cannabis Symposium to educate students and raise awareness about successful marijuana legalization policies, and to set a new standard for drug and policy education around the country.

The closing plenary speaker is Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of criminal justice professionals opposed to the Drug War. Maj. Franklin has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, and can attest to the failures of drug prohibition.

He will explain why legalizing marijuana has had a positive impact on reducing violence caused by the Drug War, and improving public safety overall. His speech will be live streamed to campuses throughout the country.

You can watch it here: http://www.colorado.edu/law/live .

What: 2015 Cannabis Symposium: A Teach-In on Ancient Medicinal Plant and Current Drug Policy

Who: Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Other LEAP speakers presenting at this event include former corrections officer Carrie Roberts, and former judge and practicing attorney, Leonard Frieling.

New Hampshire: Former Narcotics Officer To Testify In Support Of Marijuana Decrim Bill

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A former narcotics officer will testify at a New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday in support of a bill to remove criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

At 9 a.m. ET, immediately prior to the hearing, Maj. Neill Franklin, a 34-year law enforcement veteran and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), will join Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) and Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project at a news conference in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9: 40 a.m. ET in Room 100 of the State House.

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Schroadter and a bipartisan group of seven co-sponsors, would make possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana punishable by a civil fine of $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense, and up to $500 for third and subsequent offenses. Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

The House of Representatives approved the measure 297-67 on March 11.

“New Hampshire is the only state in New England that still doles out criminal records and jail time for simple marijuana possession,” said Simon, a Goffstown resident and New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “People’s lives should not be turned upside down just for possessing a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.

Colorado: Police Chiefs Host Marijuana Summit, Discuss Impact of Legalization

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The Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police is hosting a conference this week to discuss the impact of legal marijuana on law enforcement and public safety one year after recreational dispensaries opened in the state.

The conference offers recommendations for dealing with marijuana-related issues under a legal framework in which police are able to work with growers, distributors and others to ensure consumers are protected, that criminals do not profit from sales and that the drug is not available to children.

“This conference is the result of smart regulation,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “Now that marijuana is sold in a visible, transparent market, enforcement and regulatory bodies can start making recommendations about how to further public safety surrounding the drug. Instead of arresting people for minor marijuana offenses, cops are now ensuring operations are running safely and legally.”

The event lasts three days, beginning Wednesday of this week, and is expected to draw a crowd of almost 500 law enforcement professionals, including representatives form Alaska, which recently voted to legalize marijuana. U.S. Attorney in Colorado John Walsh and the Drug Enforcement Administration's top officer in the state will also be in attendance.

U.S.: Harrison Narcotics Act Still Fostering Violence, Addiction 100 Years Later

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Addiction Remains Criminalized Despite Medical, Law Enforcement Community Outcry

Concerned citizens and a coalition of organizations including representatives from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) will gather in cities nationwide on Wednesday, December 17, at noon on the steps of courthouses and other civic buildings. These demonstrations are in response to the 100-year anniversary of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914 and call for responsible drug policy reforms that put doctors back in charge of helping people overcome substance addiction.

The Harrison Narcotics Act is considered one of the first American prohibitionist policies. While on its face the law merely regulated opiate and cocaine products in medical settings by licensing those involved in the market, a portion of the bill was interpreted to mean that doctors no longer had the authority to prescribe narcotics as a maintenance treatment for patients already suffering from substance addictions.

Texas: Houston Police Chief Says Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed

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Chief Charles McClelland Says Feds Should Take the Lead; Interview with LEAP Speaker and Radio Show Host Dean Becker To Air This Friday

In an interview with "Cultural Baggage," a radio show hosted by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker and former Air Force Security Policeman Dean Becker, Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland said marijuana prohibition is a failed public policy.

During the interview, Chief McClelland highlighted pilot programs within his department and others in the state to reduce marijuana possession penalties for first-time offenders. He also discussed the necessary role of the federal government in changing national drug laws.

Because many state-legal marijuana businesses cannot safely use banks and because illegal markets still exist in most states, those markets can still flourish by undercutting the dispensaries, according to the Chief. McClelland also acknowledged the racism inherent in drug enforcement practices which results in the incarceration of a disproportionate number of young black men.

The 30-minute interview covering a variety of law enforcement issues including the rights of protestors, the immense power of drug cartels and why so many Americans use substances will air this Friday, at 4:30 pm CT, on KPFT 90.1 FM in Houston and streaming online.

U.S.: Pro-Marijuana Legalization Law Enforcement Group LEAP To Report Election Results In Real Time

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Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) will be covering the elections to legalize marijuana in Alaska, Oregon and D.C.; Prop. 47 in California, which would defelonize minor drug possession and other nonviolent crimes; and the battle to legalize medical marijuana in Florida with up-to-the-minute updates on Twitter, press releases as soon as results are announced, and frequent blog updates as results come in.

"In addition, some of our top representatives will be standing by for comment," said LEAP spokesperson Darby Beck.

In advance of the elections, Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, who has seen legalization firsthand and just spent a week touring Alaska to talk about marijuana legalization, will be hosting a Reddit IAMA on Tuesday at 4 pm PT/7 pm ET to discuss the current ballot measures and why he thinks legalization is good for public safety.

The title will be "IAMA Retired Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and I want to legalize marijuana. AMA!"

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