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Found 8 results

  1. Washington, D.C. -- Even as support for ending marijuana prohibition is building around the country, Congress and the Obama administration remain far too timid about the need for change. Last year, residents in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia voted to join Colorado and Washington State in making recreational use of marijuana legal. Later this year, residents of Ohio are expected to vote on a ballot measure that would legalize it. Nevadans will vote on a legalization proposal next year. And Californians could vote on several similar measures next year. Read More...
  2. In an announcement today, the White House has pledged $263 million in new federal funding for police training and body cameras, set aside by executive order. The money includes $75 million allocated specifically for the purchase 50,000 cameras for law enforcement officers across the country. The training portion of the funds would go toward instructing police in the responsible use of paramilitary equipment like assault rifles and armored personnel carriers, much of which has flooded local departments as a result of a Homeland Security preparedness program. Additional funds will go to fund police outreach programs designed to build trust between local departments and the communities they serve. $263 million in new federal funding The cameras are designed to provide a definitive record of police activities, and have become a frequent demand in the wake of the Ferguson protests. The protests began with the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager killed by the police in Ferguson. Community leaders pointed to video taken in the aftermath of Brown's death as evidence of police misconduct, and the subsequent outcry has triggered a Justice Department investigation. More recently, a widely shared video of Cleveland police shooting a 12-year-old named Tamir Rice has intensified the demand for video documentation of police activities. Last week, the parents of Michael Brown announced a campaign "to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera." The new funding push is substantial, but 50,000 cameras will cover only a fraction of the more than 750,000 police officers currently employed in America. Camera proposals have also run into trouble with public records laws in states like Washington, which require the release of all police records not actively tied up in an investigation. With hundreds of hours of video generated by police cameras every day, that would present serious problems for both privacy and simple logistics. Still, many police departments have already looked into body-mounted cameras. On October 1st, the Washington D.C. police began a six-month pilot program that put cameras on the shoulders of many local police, and officials expect the program to reduce the number of complaints filed against officers by as much as 80 percent. The program wasn't cheap: it cost $1 million to buy and store the necessary volume of cameras. But after today, other departments that decide to take the same leap will have federal matching funds to soften the blow.
  3. Washington, D.C. -- In its bid to fend off congressional interference with a pending marijuana decriminalization law, the District might have prompted President Obama to make an interesting declaration. The White House on Monday said it “strongly opposes” the amendment attached last month to the House spending bill that includes the D.C. budget. The amendment, offered by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), would bar the District government from spending any money on provisions that weaken its drug laws. The Harris Amendment, the Obama administration says, “undermines the principles of States’ rights and of District home rule” — which, setting aside the fact that the District is not a state, explicitly suggests that the White House believes marijuana policy should be left to individual jurisdictions. The Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group, called that a “groundbreaking policy position” in a news release. “It is great to see the White House accepting that a majority of Americans want marijuana law reform and defending the right of D.C. and states to set their own marijuana policy,” said Bill Piper, the group’s director of national affairs. “The tide has clearly shifted against the failed war on drugs and it’s only a matter of time before federal law is changed.” The administration statement is not a total surprise: It is in keeping, for instance, with the Justice Department’s express hands-off policy toward local marijuana liberalization efforts across the country, and Obama has made comments tolerating the legalization laws in Colorado and Washington as “experiments.” But framing the debate as a matter of “states’ rights” could have an effect on the national debate over cannabis laws. What may be of greater interest on the local level is that the White House statement also appears to endorse concerns that the Harris Amendment may have inadvertently legalized marijuana, saying the budget rider “poses legal challenges to the Metropolitan Police Department’s enforcement of all marijuana laws currently in force in the District.” The D.C. decriminalization law is set to pass through a congressional review period and take effect later this week. Should the Harris Amendment subsequently become law, police could be barred from enforcing the new law, which makes small-time marijuana possession punishable by a $25 civil citation, without having a local criminal statute left to enforce. City lawyers were tasked with examining the possible effects of the amendment, officials said last month, but the results of any review have not been released. The White House statement on the spending bill, which is now on the House floor, also includes opposition to restriction on local funding for abortions, the ban on federal funding for needle exchange, and cuts to the District’s college tuition grant program. If the House passes the budget bill as expected, its inclusion in any spending law would be subject to negotiation with Democrats, and Obama’s opposition could be helpful in that process. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) called it “indispensable” in a Monday statement. But it is hardly a magic bullet: In a high-stakes 2011 budget negotiation, Obama famously traded away the District’s ability to spend locally raised tax funds on abortion in talks with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays. Source: Washington Post (DC)
  4. Washington, D.C. -- The Obama administration handed backers of medical marijuana a significant victory Friday, opening the way for a University of Arizona researcher to examine whether pot can help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress, a move that could lead to broader studies into potential benefits of the drug. For years, scientists who have wanted to study how marijuana might be used to treat illness say they have been stymied by resistance from federal drug officials. Read More...
  5. U.S. Attorneys in California Defy Obama on MMJ California -- Last week, the Alameda County (CA) Board of Supervisors passed a resolution asking the Federal government to, "end Federal interference on the municipal and state laws allowing medical marijuana, and... requests that President Obama begin a discussion about the potential benefits of reforming federal laws on marijuana use in all forms, including medicinal and recreational uses." Their desire for clarification and support on this issue is understandable. Two of the oldest and most respected dispensaries in California, Harborside Health Center and Berkeley Patients Group, both in Alameda County, have been targeted by the Feds on numerous occasions, even in light of strict regulations imposed by their localities, and a squeaky clean track record of providing both a crucial public health service and a large amount of tax revenue. Read More...
  6. I wanted to share this with the forum, because it is real world, real time feedback from Holders statements this last week, on the positive side, for now. This is a case of 2 brothers a little over the plant count, ie 600, charged with the manufacturing over 100 plants, requiring a mandatory minimum in federal court of 5 years. This is an email sent to me from the Assistant U.S. Attorney in a federal case set for tomorrow. “Good morning. I just wanted to alert you both that in light of some new directives from Washington, D.C., I will not charge either of your clients w/mandatory minimums, as will be seen in the acknowledgments. Consequently, the Rule-11s previously sent to both of you will, in time, be amended to reflect this change. I will assume that neither of you have concerns w/this. Thx.” C. Barrington Wilkins Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael A. Komorn Attorney and Counselor Law Office of Michael A. Komorn 3000 Town Center, Suite, 1800 Southfield, MI 48075 800-656-3557 (Toll Free) 248-351-2200 (Office) 248-357-2550 (Phone) (855) 456-6676: (Fax) Email: michael@komornlaw.com Website: www.komornlaw.com Check out our Radio show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/planetgreentrees CALL IN NUMBER: (347) 326-9626 Live Every Thursday 8-10:00p.m. PLANET GREENTREES w/ Attorney Michael Komorn The most relevant radio talk show for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Community. PERIOD. Attorney Michael Komorn’ practice specializes in Medical Marihuana representation. He is the President of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA), a nonprofit patient advocacy group with over 26,000 members, which advocates for medical marihuana patients, and caregiver rights. He is also an experienced defense attorney successfully representing many wrongfully accused medical marihuana patients and caregivers
  7. Vote Hemp Encourages Support for Proposed Amendment by Senator Wyden on Industrial Hemp in the Farm Bill Amendment Would Exclude Industrial Hemp From the Definition of Marijuana Vote Hemp released an action alert on Thursday encouraging support for Senator Ron Wyden's submitted last-minute amendment to the Farm Bill, S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, which would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marihuana." According to Vote Hemp, Senator Wyden's amendment will empower American farmers by allowing them to once again grow industrial hemp, a profitable commodity with an expanding market. The cultivation of industrial hemp will be regulated by state permitting programs, like North Dakota's, and will not impact the federal government's long-standing prohibition of marijuana. [ Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon: "My amendment to the Farm Bill will change federal policy to allow U.S. farmers to produce hemp for these safe and legitimate products right here" "Industrial hemp is used in many healthy and sustainable consumer products," Sen. Wyden said. "However, the federal prohibition on growing industrial hemp has forced companies to needlessly import raw materials from other countries. My amendment to the Farm Bill will change federal policy to allow U.S. farmers to produce hemp for these safe and legitimate products right here, helping both producers and suppliers to grow and improve Oregon's economy in the process." To date, 31 states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 17 have passed legislation, while eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents and possible federal prohibition of their farms if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive drug varieties. "This is the first time since the 1950's that language supporting hemp has come to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote," said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp. "The last time such language was presented was the Miller's Amendment to the Marihuana Tax Act. The time is past due for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop's benefits to farmers and to take action like Rep. Paul and the cosponsors of H.R. 1831 have done. Hemp Industry Insider Eric Steenstra, Vote Hemp: "This is the first time since the 1950s that language supporting hemp has come to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote" "With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits," Steenstra said. The Farm Bill is the primary agricultural and food policy tool of the federal government. The comprehensive omnibus bill is passed every five years or so by the United States Congress and deals with both agriculture and all other affairs under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last year, for the fourth time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States more than 50 years ago, a bill was introduced by Rep. Ron Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed the bill H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, would remove restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis. Senator Wyden would like to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. "Senator Wyden's effort is unprecedented and totally commendable, but in my view the existing prohibition of hemp farming stems less from current law, but rather the misinterpretation of existing law by the Obama Administration," Steenstra said. The amendment comes on the heels of the Obama Administration's reply to Vote Hemp's "We the People" petition. The response conflates industrial hemp as a Schedule I controlled substance. This contradicts the clear definition of marijuana presented in Title 21 of United States Code 802(16) that explicitly excludes the oilseed and fiber varieties of the hemp plant that are legal to manufacture, consume, process and purchase throughout the United States without penalty of controlled substance violation. The hemp farming petition and the administration's response can be found at http://wh.gov/gKH. The timing of Senator Wyden's amendment also coincides with the third annual Hemp History Weekcampaign, June 4-10, which he supports. The national grassroots education campaign organized by Vote Hemp and The Hemp Industries Association is designed to renew strong support for the return of hemp farming to the U.S. The 2012 Hemp History Week campaign will feature over 800 events in cities and towns throughout all 50 states. The language of the Sen. Wyden's amendment to the Farm Bill mirrors that of H.R. 1831, a bill introduced in the House this session. To view the amendment, please go to: http://votehemp.com/legislation About Vote Hemp Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and free market for industrial hemp, low-THC oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to grow the crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Source: Senator Adds Hemp Legalization To Farm Bill
  8. Poll: 74 Percent of Americans, Including 67 Percent of Republicans, Want Obama to Respect State Marijuana Laws http://www.kushmagazine.com/news/2893-poll-74-percent-of-americans-including-67-percent-of-republicans-want-obama-to-respect-state-marijuana-laws by Zach Rosenberg 0 Comments and 0 Reactions A poll carried out by independent polling firm Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., on behalf of The Marijuana Policy Project, has found that an overwhelming 74% of Americans would like President Obama to respect the medical marijuana laws in states that have legalized marijuana. The poll's results are important for many reasons, but drive home the message that marijuana on a state level is indeed an issue of significance, unless you're Mitt Romney. But Romney might want to listen up: Mason-Dixon Polling & Research found that within the 74% of pro-pot Americans, 67% of Republicans polled showed support for marijuana as well. These numbers bolster the previous Gallup Poll's findings for Americans in favor of legalization. But while Gallup asked pollsters if they "think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not," Mason-Dixon focused on President Obama's now-confirmed unpopular war on marijuana. The poll was conducted from May 10 to May 14, 2012, and consisted of interviews with 1,000 "likely general election voters...nationwide." The full question was as follows: QUESTION: Currently, 16 states plus the District of Columbia have made the medical use of marijuana legal. In some of these states, individuals have been authorized to cultivate and sell medical marijuana under tightly regulated conditions. However, medical marijuana use remains illegal under federal law, even in states that have passed laws or ballot measures that allow it for medical treatment. Do you feel President Obama should: (ORDER ROTATED) - Respect the medical marijuana laws in these states, or - Use federal resources to arrest and prosecute individuals who are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws? "These results are consistent with the clear and growing body of evidence that documents substantial voter support for the legalization of medical marijuana," Larry Harris, a principal with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research told The Marijuana Policy Project. The results speak for themselves; a large majority preferred that President Obama lay off of states where marijuana is legal: Of the 1,000 polled, "Respect State Laws" was favored by 75% of Democrats, 67% of Republicans, and 79% of Independent/Unaffiliated voters. Men and women split almost evenly. Of the 1,000 polled, 48% were male, 52% were female. 74 percent of men and 73% of women voted for Obama to respect state laws. Votes were cast for "Respect State Laws" in similar majority across age ranges as well, winning over 81% of 18-34 year olds, 76% of 35-49 year olds, 76% of 50-64 year olds, and 64% in the 65+ crowd. All racial groups - White, Black, and Hispanic - voted in favor of "Respect State Laws" in excess of 73%. An unrelated New Hampshire poll whose results were released today, coincidentally, reported that "65% of voters support legalizing medical marijuana to 24% opposed. That includes more than 70% of Democrats and independents and even a plurality of GOP voters (46/43)." In short, the country wants President Obama to lay off of marijuana. You can see Mason-Dixon's results in PDF format here (Marijuana Policy Project).
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