Thursday, April 2, 2015

Globe Takes a Bong Hit

That can be the only explanation for this:

"US Senate bill shows a way forward for marijuana laws" by The Editorial Board  April 01, 2015

One of the controversies surrounding the legalization of marijuana has been the question of how, exactly, the business would be regulated. It’s clearly on the minds of Massachusetts legislators, who are now sponsoring a legalization bill that they say would avoid the vagaries of a referendum question proposed by advocates for the November 2016 ballot.

See: State Legislators Want Hit Off Lid

And the uncharted nature of marijuana legislation is clearly what has held up the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries in the Commonwealth, even though voters approved the regulated sale of medical marijuana in 2012. (The possession of small amounts of marijuana was decriminalized in Massachusetts in 2008.) Eleven dispensaries have been licensed by the state Department of Health, but as yet none has opened.

I've noted that, but you probably already got an e-mail about it.

Now an unusual bipartisan coalition is sponsoring a bill in the US Senate that could clear some of the hurdles for medical marijuana in the states where it is legal. The core provision of the bill – sponsored by Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky — calls for reclassifying marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II. Schedule I drugs are those that have no medical use, such as heroin. Schedule II are those with legitimate medical use but with the potential for abuse, such as prescription painkillers.

The bill stops short of legalizing marijuana, but it does remove medical marijuana from the purview of the Justice Department, and thus releases those who sell, prescribe, or consume it from the threat of federal prosecution, including doctors, pharmacists, and caregivers. In effect, it leaves marijuana law up to individual states.



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We will get to the race thing later (if I don't forget), but he's threatening doctors while letting drug dealers out of jail, and the FBI can't keep track of the perverts because they are high?

That might not sound like much, but it has important ramifications, even in states with some form of legalized marijuana. For one, the banking industry, which has been leery of getting involved with any form of marijuana business, needn’t fear the feds.

Yeah, yeah, we know who they are looking out for at bottom.

This has been a huge issue for medical marijuana dispensaries and retail businesses in states where the drug is legalized — unable to secure bank or credit accounts, these businesses have been forced to trade in large amounts of cash, making them susceptible to robbery and violent crime. The bill would also allow medical marijuana dispensaries to declare standard business deductions to the IRS, something that’s currently forbidden. What’s more, Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers could no longer refuse treatment to a patient who tests positive for marijuana use and, in fact, VA doctors would be allowed to prescribe marijuana. The pharmaceutical industry would likewise be freed from legal constraints in the production and sale of cannabis products. Marijuana could then be cultivated for laboratory testing and medical research, something that’s been an issue for both proponents and opponents of legalization, who have demanded more real data in terms of potency and long-term health effects.

Some marijuana proponents give the Senate bill little chance of becoming law. But the bill should actually appeal to conservatives — it does get the federal government out of the states’ business. In the meantime, it gives states like Massachusetts — and the 34 other states, plus the District of Columbia, that have all legalized medical marijuana in some form — more freedom in implementing and living up to their own laws. In Massachusetts, where medical marijuana has been hobbled by bureaucracy, that would be good news indeed.

I'm sorry, readers, I was spacing out there (cough).


They must be smoking because I didn't see this:

"After executing nine search warrants — for seven residences and two vehicles — and allegedly finding thousands of marijuana plants, Weymouth police arrested three men Tuesday, officials said. Police worked with a US Drug Enforcement Administration task force and multiple other departments, Weymouth police said in a statement. Wai Yip Chu, 39, of Braintree, Tommy Nguyen, 36, of Braintree, and Chanh Nguyen, 42, of Randolph, were all charged with trafficking in marijuana, cultivating marijuana, and conspiracy to violate the drug laws, police said. The seven residences searched were located in Carver, Randolph, and Braintree, police said. During the search, detectives recovered over 2,000 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, $75,000 in cash, a stun gun, three assault rifles, and 19 other firearms, police said. All three men pleaded not guilty in Quincy District Court and were released Tuesday night after posting $10,000 cash bail. The men are hiring their own attorneys and will be returning to court for a probable cause hearing May 29, Norfolk district attorney’s spokesman David Traub said."

Feds are cracking down, 'eh?

Did you notice the racial component there?

"Report says racial disparities in arrests persist with legal pot" Associated Press  March 26, 2015

DENVER — The legalization of marijuana in Colorado hasn’t solved the racial disparities in enforcement that drug-policy reformers had hoped to end, with blacks still far more likely than whites to be charged with pot-related crimes, a new report says.

The report, issued Wednesday by the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, showed that marijuana arrests in Colorado all but stopped after voters made the drug legal in small amounts for those 21 and older.

But the report noted continuing racial disparities involving the marijuana crimes that remain, including public use and possession in excess of the 1-ounce limit.

The study examined drug arrests in all 64 Colorado counties for two years before and two years after legalization in 2012.

The total number of charges for cannabis possession, distribution, and cultivation plummeted almost 95 percent, from about 39,000 in 2010 to just over 2,000 last year.

Even after legalization, blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to be charged with public use of marijuana. Blacks were also much more likely to be charged with illegal cultivation or possession of more than an ounce.

“Legalization is no panacea for the longtime issues that law enforcement had with the black and brown community,” said Art Way, Drug Policy Alliance’s Colorado director.


RelatedQuincy father removed from life support

Also see:

"A Weymouth man, Joseph Robles, allegedly under the influence of drugs crashed his car into a bus carrying elementary schoolchildren in Stoughton on Tuesday afternoon, police said. Robles said he had taken Tylenol with codeine, which had been prescribed by his dentist, according to Police Chief Paul Shastany said."

RelatedOver 200 overdose deaths reported in 2015

How many dead from marijuana?