California: Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Bill to Reduce Marijuana Penalties

(SACRAMENTO) - From California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, on September 30, 2010.

There is a truth that must be heard! To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am signing Senate Bill 1449.

This bill changes the crime of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor punishable only by a $100 fine to an infraction punishable by a $100 fine. Under existing law, jail time cannot be imposed, probation cannot be ordered, nor can the base fine exceed $100 for someone convicted of this crime.

I am opposed to decriminalizing the possession and recreational use of marijuana and oppose Proposition 19, which is on the November ballot.

Unfortunately, Proposition 19 is a deeply flawed measure that, if passed, will adversely impact California’s businesses without bringing in the tax revenues to the state promised by its proponents.

Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name. The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney.

In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.

Poland: Pro-Cannabis Marches Glide Through Warsaw

There is a truth that must be heard! The Ras Tafari Religious Community staged three different marches in favour of the legalization of marihuana in Warsaw, Wednesday.

The marches started at 15.00 CET in three different locations in the city centre and finished at the Parliament.

The aim of the marches is to protest against Warsaw City Hall’s decision to refuse the “Free Hemp” Legislative Initiative Committee to register a demonstration in favor of the legalization of marihuana.

“We’ll stop the traffic in the city for some time and let the world know that in Poland people don’t have the right to meet on the streets,” Adam Fularz from Ras Tafari Religious Community told the PAP news agency earlier.

The Warsaw City Hall argues that the decision had nothing to do with the subject of the demonstration.

“Cannabis supporters wanted to organize three marches a day for twelve days in Warsaw city centre in rush hours. The marches would cause huge traffic jams and be a major inconvenience for city residents. Organizers of the protests did not try to reach a compromise, they openly admitted that their aim is to cause traffic chaos,” says Marcin Ochmanski from Warsaw City Hall, adding that in May “Free Hemp” Legislative Initiative Committee was allowed to stage a protest.


United States: Top Ballot Item: Bid to Legalize Pot in California

If Passed, Prop 19 Would Allow Adults 21 and Older to Possess up to an Ounce of Pot for Personal Use

By Associated Press

Washington: THCF Supports Seattle Hempfest 2010

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff

Washington: Seattle Hempfest 2010 - Montage The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) is proud to be the main sponsor of the Seattle Hempfest because our mission is to educate the general community about the benefits of the cannabis plant to our society. Hempfest 2010 will be held on August 21st and 22nd, and takes place every year at Myrtle Edwards Park expanding in recent years to include the adjacent parks. Hempfest offers five stages of entertainment, a Hemposium question and answer forum, and hundreds of vendor booths, sure to please a myriad of musical, informational, and entrepreneurial tastes.

The time to act in support of hemp is now, so please reach out and create awareness in your community. The Berlin Wall fell quickly, and together we can end this unjust war on the cannabis plant in the same manner, but we need to unite in solidarity. Vivian McPeak, the event's director declares, "No political or human rights movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning. It's just a matter of time."

California: Union Endorses Initiative to Legalize Marijuana

By John Hoeffel, LA Now

There is a truth that must be heard! The 200,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers, Western States Council, on Wednesday announced its support for Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize marijuana in California.

“The Western States Council is endorsing Proposition 19 based upon our previous support of the medical cannabis initiative, 1996’s Proposition 215,” George Landers, the council's executive director, said in a statement. “We view Proposition 19 as an enhanced version of the previous proposition, that creates taxable revenue and produces jobs in agriculture, health care, retail and possibly textile. We further believe that the proposition will deprive narcotics traffickers of a significant source of criminal revenue.”

Ron Lind, international president of the union, and Dan Rush of its Local 5 also spoke out in favor of Proposition 19.

“The marriage of the cannabis-hemp industry and UFCW is a natural one,” said Rush. “We are an agriculture, food-processing and retail union, as is this industry.”

The council is the political arm of UFCW in several Western states. It comprises the UFCW local unions in the states it covers.


Washington: Marijuana Legalization Makes Economic and Common Sense


There is a truth that must be heard! I'm sitting in a chill wind on the corner as people stream by on their way to or from the Bellingham Farmer's Market and it's threatening rain. I observe and am open to conversation but few stop to sign my petition. The rejection is starting to get to me and I gain a new-found respect for the young traveler making his way across an indifferent America.

I have had better luck in friendlier environments, like near the Food Co-op, or outside Uisce on St. Patrick's day. I have collected better than 400 signatures personally, and met a lot of very nice people.

And overwhelmingly the people I speak with agree with and support Initiative 1068, which removes all civil and criminal penalties in Washington state civil and criminal for adult cultivation, possession, use, transport, and sale of "marijuana" - as hemp (English) and cannabis sativa (Latin scientific name) is referred to in the prohibition statutes.

This prohibition of a plant - this attempted obliteration of a crop that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew and that clothed the Revolutionary Army, and provided the paper upon which the Declaration of Independence was drafted - is long overdue to end.

Prohibition didn't work for alcohol, which is actually toxic and addictive. Prohibition creates organized crime, turns the police into racketeers, and diminishes respect for the government. Prohibition is an experiment that has failed dismally.

Editorial: Pot Legalization Important for WA

In 1998, Washington became one of the first states to recognize marijuana as a legitimate form of medicine. Since then, many more states have followed suit, and recent polls show that a majority of voters in the country see marijuana as having legitimate medical purposes.

By The Spectator Editorial Board

There is a truth that must be heard! However,the medical marijuana system is frequently abused. First started by legalization activists as an intermediate step, medical marijuana isn’t a medicine at all for some people, but merely a doctor-validated excuse to get high. When “doctors” use The Stranger to advertise their willingness to write marijuana prescriptions for a fee, you know something isn’t right.

The Spectator supports I-1068, the proposed initiative to legalize marijuana sale, possession and growing for adults in Washington. It’s already been decriminalized in Seattle and made the lowest police priority, so it makes sense to just drop the bureaucracy surrounding the substance and allow adults to use it with regulations similar to alcohol.

While the bill is still gathering signatures, this is an important issue that deserves attention on the ballot in November. Not only will it allow marijuana users to safely grow their own or buy it without going through risky third parties, it will also allow farmers to cultivate hemp, an extremely versatile, renewable fiber created from the marijuana plant. Hemp can be used to create rope, clothes, food and more.

United States: Oregon Could Legalize Marijuana Along with California

By Bryan Podwys, Portland Political Buzz Examiner

There is a truth that must be heard! The Oregon Secretary of State has certified a petition that proposes legalizing and taxing the sale of marijuana across the state. The measure, which bears resemblance to others Oregon voters have rejected over the past few decades, could be included on this year's ballot if enough signatures are gathered by July 2nd.

Over 35 years ago, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize the use of cannabis products. Possession of one ounce or less became punishable by a simple fine followed by further changes with the passage of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act in 1998. With an upcoming ballot measure in California that could go one step further and actually legalize and tax marijuana sales gaining national attention, some Oregonians are eager to keep their state at the forefront of progressive legislation.

Washington: Is it time to legalize marijuana?

By KING 5, Up Front

There is a truth that must be heard! The backers of Initiative 1068 say it's time to legalize marijuana. They are trying to gather the signatures to get their measure on the November ballot. The initiative follows failed attempts to decriminalize and legalize pot during the legislative session. In California a similar measure has already qualified for the fall ballot. Initiative 1068 would make it legal for anyone 18 and older to "cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana." What do you think? Is it a good idea or a bad one?


United States: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Modest Rise in Percentage Favoring General Legalization

United States: Broad Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana

With a growing number of states moving to legalize medical marijuana, nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they favor their state allowing the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes if it is prescribed by a doctor, while 23% are opposed. Support for legalizing medical marijuana spans all major political and demographic groups, and is equally high in states that have and have not already passed laws on this issue.

There are public concerns about legalizing medical marijuana. For example, 45% say they would be very or somewhat concerned if a store that sold medical marijuana opened near other stores in their area. And roughly the same percentage (46%) says allowing medical marijuana makes it easier for people to get marijuana even if they don’t have a real medical need – though just 26% of Americans say this is something that concerns them. These concerns are highest among opponents of legalizing medical marijuana, but are no higher or lower in states that already allow marijuana for medical purposes.

Far more Americans favor allowing marijuana for prescribed medical purposes than support a general legalization of marijuana. But the proportion who thinks the use of marijuana should be legal has continued to rise over the past two decades.

Oregon: Shut Up & Vote

Oregon pot-legalization advocates push to follow California’s lead.

By Peter Griffin, WW

Oregon: Shut Up & Vote After decades of dashed hopes, leaders of the movement to legalize marijuana believe their goal is poised to become a reality this year.

They got renewed momentum last week when organizers of an initiative to legalize cannabis in California submitted enough signatures to put the issue on that state’s ballot this November. And Oregon pot advocates are confident the Beaver State will not be far behind.

As candidates for governor, the Legislature, City Hall and Multnomah County campaign in Oregon’s May primary with their proposed solutions to budget problems, pot-legalization supporters are working to get an initiative similar to California’s on the November ballot here. Legislation backers are pitching the proposal’s economic benefits. Advocates say legalizing pot and taxing it could generate at least $100 million a year and save as much as $75 million annually on law enforcement.

The Oregon Cannabis Taxation Act, like California’s proposal, would let anyone 21 and older possess up to an ounce of marijuana and set up a committee to regulate distribution and taxation.

The Oregon proposal, which also would prohibit the regulation of hemp, has until July 2 to collect 82,679 valid signatures from registered voters to make the November ballot.

United States: States High on Pot Tax as Budget Cure

The color of money may soon turn a new shade of green as U.S. states across the country consider legalizing and then taxing marijuana to cure chronic budget problems.

By Kim Dixon and Lisa Lambert, WASHINGTON

United States: States High on Pot Tax as Budget Cure California came the closest to taxing tokes last week by putting an initiative on its November ballot. The top marijuana-producing state could raise $1.3 billion annually, according to the California Board of Equalization, which collects taxes.

As the state struggles to close its multibillion dollar deficit, supporters say the legalization fight will be close, though the scope of potential conflicts with federal law is uncertain.

"If you can tax it, it's just one more way to make money for the government," said Linsey Isaacs, a 20-year-old rental agent in New York City, who does not smoke marijuana. "To me it's better than cigarettes, healthwise, and if they can tax cigarettes, then I don't see anything wrong with taxing marijuana."

California's current budget gap may be large at $20 billion, but it is not unique, and the outcome will be closely watched. The National Governors Association says the recession will not end in some states until 2012.

As California moves closer to a vote on the legalizing marijuana, which most states banned in the 1930s, the push is finding backers for different reasons.

United States: Is America Ready to Legalize Marijuana? (Poll)

By MSNBC Staff

United States: Is America Ready to Legalize Marijuana? (Poll) In California, marijuana stores legally exist to sell different varieties of pot to customers that need the drug for medical purposes. One shop, for example, pays the state some $300,000 in taxes and the federal government $500,000 in taxes. One problem: DEA could shut them down and arrest the people working and selling in the store. State and Federal laws are contradictory.

New York: CBS Reverses Decision, Agrees to Run Pro-Marijuana Ad

By Te-Ping Chen

New York: CBS Reverses Decision, Agrees to Run Pro-Marijuana Ad Was it Margaret Mead who said, "Never underestimate the power of 8,809 readers who care about criminal justice?" Okay, maybe not quite that. But I'm excited to announce that one story we've closely tracked here at -- CBS's refusal to accept a pro-marijuana legalization ad -- resulted in a victory this afternoon.

Last month, NORML reported that CBS had denied the group's request to place an ad in Times Square that touted the potential billions in taxes that would result from legalizing marijuana. Remember, this is a network that boasts marijuana-infused advertisements for their Showtime Network show, Weeds. It's also the network that was perfectly willing to air a controversial anti-abortion ad aimed at peak viewership during the Super Bowl. But still, somehow CBS decided that NORML's message (“Legalize Marijuana – Billions in Taxes”) would ruffle the network's too-delicate sensibilities.

In a Feb. 3 rejection email, NORML was told, "If CBS changes their morals we will let you know."

Global: U.S.-Mexico Drug Summit Fails to Acknowledge Obvious Solution to Violent Drug Cartels

Ending Marijuana Prohibition Would Deal Crucial Blow to Mexican Drug Cartels, Drastically Reduce Border Violence.

There is a truth that must be heard! (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Today, high-ranking officials from the United States and Mexico concluded a three-day conference meant to outline ways the two nations could reduce the illicit drug trade-associated violence that continues to plague the U.S.-Mexican border.

Unfortunately, officials concluded their talks without making any reference to the most sensible and guaranteed strategy for reducing that violence: removing marijuana from the criminal market, and depriving drug cartels of their main source of income and strife.

“The only solution to the current crisis is to tax and regulate marijuana,” said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Once again, Mexican and U.S. officials are ignoring the fact that the cartels get 70 percent of their profits from marijuana. It’s time to face the reality that the U.S.’s marijuana prohibition is fueling a bloodbath in Mexico and the United States.”

The Obama administration has said it will provide the Mexican government with a $1.4 billion aid package to combat the Mexican drug cartels, in addition to seeking $310 million in its 2011 budget for drug enforcement aid to Mexico.

United States: Opinion - Cannabis Key to Future of U.S.

Ancient plant has many uses, from medicinal to industrial

By Jesse Rowland

There is a truth that must be heard! Ever since I first learned what it was, I've been fascinated by marijuana. It's a miraculous plant that can and has been used for a multitude of purposes since at least 8,000 B.C.E.

I feel that marijuana is a vital part of the continuation of our country and the planet, and it should be fully legalized for the use of whatever people see fit, including recreational.

Cannabis can be adapted with any industry, be it agricultural, medical, construction, textile or cosmetic. In Jamestown, Va., in 1619, a law "ordered" all farmers to grow marijuana for the colony. Similar laws were also passed in Massachusetts and Connecticut in 1631 and 1632. In Virginia, during times of shortage between 1763 and 1767, you could actually be jailed for not growing it.

Henry Ford, who designed a vehicle made out of hemp fibers and powered by hemp seed oil, once said, "Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?"

And it makes sense. Why, as the most powerful country on the planet, would we not utilize the most versatile plant known to man?

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.

United States: The Prohibition of Our Age

By Rick Steves, Seattle PI Blog

United States: The Prohibition of Our Age Studying how the Dutch retail marijuana (described in my last few blog entries) is fascinating. Learning how another society confronts a persistent problem differently than we do can help us envision how we might deal with the same problem better. I agree with my Dutch friends, who remind me that a society has to make a choice: tolerate alternative lifestyles...or build more prisons. The Netherlands has made its choice. We're still building more prisons. (My Dutch friends needle me with the fact that only the USA and Russia lock up more than one percent of their citizens, while the average per capita incarceration rate in Europe is only a tenth the US rate.)

Travel teaches us a respect for history. And when it comes to drug policy, I hope we can learn from our own prohibitionist past. Back in the 1920s, America's biggest drug problem was alcohol. To combat it, we made booze illegal and instituted Prohibition. By any sober assessment, all that Prohibition produced was grief. By criminalizing a soft drug that people refused to stop enjoying, Prohibition created the mob (Al Capone and company), filled our prisons, and cost our society a lot of money. It was big government at its worst.

United States: 2010: The Year of the GRASS

Green is their signature color. Medicinal marijuana gardeners throughout the state of Oregon enjoyed a plentiful harvest last fall, and look to 2010 as a year of growth, and change.

By Bonnie King, Salem-News

United States: 2010: The Year of the GRASS (VIDEO)(SALEM, Ore.) - “After living through arrests in the past for growing marijuana, to be able to do it legally, it’s almost entirely stress-free compared to when it was illegal. So to be able to help the people that need this - it warms our hearts,” said Paul Stanford, Executive Director of The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation. The fear of breaking the law has stopped most people for seven decades from considering marijuana, or cannabis, to treat their ailments. That is no longer the rule of the day, as this medical marijuana garden clearly proves.

Washington: Lawmakers Hold First-Ever Hearing On Marijuana Legalization

By Steve Elliott, Toke of the Town for Hemp News

There is a truth that must be heard! Washington State lawmakers on Wednesday heard, for the first time ever, testimony in support of legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults.

Members of the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, in a heavily attended, two-hour hearing, heard arguments in favor of House Bill 2401.

HB 2401 would "remove all existing criminal and civil penalties for adults 21 years of age or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana."

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