Massachusetts: DEA Rejects Judge's Ruling, Quashes Medical Marijuana Research Project

By Salem-News

In a major setback to medical marijuana research, the Drug Enforcement Administration has rejected the decision of Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner and blocked a medical marijuana research project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst -- a project considered vital if marijuana is ever to be an FDA-approved medicine.

The DEA's ruling, dated January 7th, was only released today.

"It's no surprise that an administration that has rejected science again and again has, as one of its final acts, blocked a critical research project," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C.

Source: DEA Rejects Judge's Ruling, Quashes Medical Marijuana Research Project

[ Medical Marijuana]

Massachusetts: Lawmen Decry New Law that Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Marijuana

By Dan Ring, The Republican Newsroom

BOSTON - Law enforcement officials say there are many loopholes, unintended consequences and other problems in the new law that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The law replaces criminal penalties for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana with a civil fine of $100, about the same as getting a traffic ticket. Sixty-five percent of Massachusetts' voters approved the ballot law on Nov. 4, and it takes effect on Jan. 2

Law enforcement officials still have many doubts about the law. Among the concerns are that some people will not be required to identify themselves if stopped for marijuana, that police officers cannot be disciplined for possessing an ounce of less of marijuana, and that state laboratories which test narcotics for criminal cases will no longer test small amounts of marijuana seized in a civil matter.

In addition, guidelines issued by the state for the law's enforcement say possession of an ounce or less of THC - the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, hashish or hash oil - may now be decriminalized as well.

"The law is very confusing," said Holyoke Police Chief Anthony R. Scott this week. "The law presents a lot of problems for law enforcement."

Street dealers now will probably carry less than an ounce to elude arrest, he predicted. Under the new law, he said, police will no longer be able to arrest people for possessing an ounce or less and use them for information to go after dealers.

Massachusetts: Decrim Law Could Thwart Drug Testing

By Edward Mason,

A voter-approved law reducing possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil offense threatens to unravel drug testing of police and other public employees, the Herald has learned.

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 2, prohibits government agencies and authorities from enforcing any punishment for pot possession with a fine greater than $100, according to the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, and defines possession so broadly as to include traces of pot in blood to urine to hair and fingernails.


Massachusetts: 'This Old House' Project Earns 'Green' Certification

WESTON - The PBS home improvement series "This Old House" recently built a home in Weston that was awarded LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for achievement in green homebuilding.

LEED for Homes is a national third-party certification system for energy efficient "green" homes. LEED-certified homes complete a technically rigorous process that includes a home energy (HERS) rating and onsite inspections to verify the home is built to be energy and water efficient, environmentally sound and a healthier place to live.

The house is one of 61 Massachusetts homes that have been certified using LEED.
The home was built by the Emmy-winning PBS television series "This Old House" and Bensonwood, a New England-based custom homebuilding company.

Green homes have substantially lower utility bills and may qualify for advantageous financing, lower insurance rates and government incentives. Through their commitment to green homebuilding, "This Old House" and Bensonwood are helping to keep homeownership affordable through long-term energy savings.

"Their leadership – demonstrated with the Weston project house – is at the national forefront of quality, and their example can help us all to live better by reducing our environmental footprint, cutting our utility bills, and coming home to a healthier place to live," said Michelle Moore, U.S. Green Building Council senior vice president of policy and market development.

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