Prohibition

Indonesia Executes Man Convicted of Marijuana Charges

April 28th, 2015 2 Comments Morgan Fox

Last night, the Indonesian government executed a group of eight people convicted on drug charges with firing squads. One of the men was only convicted of marijuana charges, and claims he was innocent.

The New York Times reports:

Zainal Abidin was at his modest home in Palembang, in South Sumatra Province, in December 2000 when two friends knocked on his door asking for a place to stay for the night. They were carrying several large burlap sacks that Mr. Zainal, according to his lawyer, believed to contain rice.

Hours later, after the police raided his home in the middle of the night, his lawyer said, he found out that the sacks were stuffed with 129 pounds of marijuana.

The police had arrested one of the visitors, Aldo bin Hasan Umar, who had left the house after midnight and tried to sell a small quantity of the marijuana on the streets.

Mr. Umar was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and a third man convicted in connection with the case was given four years. Both were eventually granted parole and today are free…

[Abidin’s lawyer] also said the legal process against his client was flawed because the Supreme Court did not respond to Mr. Zainal’s 2005 request for a judicial review of his conviction and death sentence until this past January, 10 years after he filed it. The court turned down the review on Monday.

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Prohibition

Illinois House Approves Removing Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession

April 23rd, 2015 3 Comments Morgan Fox
Kelly Cassidy
Rep. Kelly Cassidy

Illinois Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s bill to reduce penalties for possessing a personal amount of marijuana reached a critical milestone today when it passed the House of Representatives in a 62-53 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate.

If you are an Illinois resident, please help keep up the momentum and ask your senator to vote in support of HB 218 today. Let them know it’s time to reduce the penalty for simple possession of marijuana to a reasonable fine, not life-altering criminal penalties and possible jail time.

Statements offered by nearly a dozen legislators on the floor spoke to the widespread support for the bill’s goals of bringing consistency and fairness to possession laws across Illinois — and in making sure law enforcement focuses on serious crime.

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Prohibition

Respect State Marijuana Laws Act Reintroduced in Congress

April 22nd, 2015 8 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Earlier today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has reintroduced the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This short, simple bill would resolve the tension between state and federal marijuana laws by making an exception to federal law for activity in compliance with state laws that regulate marijuana for medical or adult-use purposes.

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Dan Riffle, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Rob Kampia

Please take two minutes to urge your representatives to support this bill! 

 

Because of MPP’s success in changing public opinion and state laws, we expect numerous bills to be introduced this year to reform federal marijuana laws. We will support all of them, but Rep. Rohrabacher’s bill stands out. It’s the best policy — covering not just medical marijuana, but adult-use laws passed in four states and Washington, D.C. — and has the best chance of passing. Last year, we passed an amendment very similar to this bill, thanks to broad bipartisan support for respecting state laws, and this year the bill has twice as many Republicans on board than when it was introduced last year.

Republican co-sponsors include Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Tom McClintock, and Don Young (R-AK). Democratic co-sponsors include Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

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Prohibition

DEA Director Michele Leonhart Expected to Resign

April 21st, 2015 23 Comments Morgan Fox

Michele Leonhart is expected to resign from her position as head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to a report from CBS News.

Leonhart
Michele Leonhart (Photo: Reuters)

The Marijuana Policy Project called for Leonhart’s resignation last year in a Change.org petition which now has more than 46,000 signatures. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

President Obama to Restate Support for Medical Marijuana

April 16th, 2015 10 Comments Morgan Fox

This Sunday, President Obama is expected to voice his support for allowing medical marijuana and moving away from jailing people for drug abuse.

The Daily Caller reports: 

In a CNN special to be aired on Sunday, not only will President Barack Obama state his full support of medical marijuana, he’ll also advocate for alternative models of drug abuse treatment which don’t involve incarceration.

The television special, called “Weed 3,” features CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who came to support medical marijuana after reviewing the evidence. This time around, he’ll be delving into the politics of medical marijuana research and interviewing President Barack Obama, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Obama has previously predicted that more states will follow the lead of Washington and Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana, and confirmed that although marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, the Department of Justice will look the other way.

You can read Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s newest article on medical marijuana here.

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Prohibition

New Hampshire House Overwhelmingly Approves Decriminalization Bill

March 12th, 2015 6 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday, the New Hampshire House passed HB 618, a bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation. This was the sixth time the House has approved a marijuana decriminalization bill since 2008, and this time the vote was an overwhelming 297-67!

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Rep. Adam Schroadter

HB 618, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket) 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 or 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. New Hampshire is the only state in New England that treats simple marijuana possession as a criminal offense with the potential for jail time.

The next step will be the state senate, which has rejected previous efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please contact your senator today!

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Prohibition

New Hampshire Governor Says She Still Opposes Decriminalization

March 10th, 2015 2 Comments Kate Zawidzki
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Gov. Maggie Hassan

As New Hampshire legislators move closer to achieving consensus in favor of decriminalization, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan says she remains opposed. She told the Nashua Telegraph last week that she did not support HB 618, a modest bill that would reduce the penalty for possessing up to one-half ounce of marijuana to a violation.

If you are a New Hampshire resident, please take a moment to call her office today and urge her to change her mind!

You can also urge her to rethink her position on Twitter and Facebook. (Please be respectful if you do — rude or hostile public comments will not help convince legislators to pass HB 618).

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Prohibition

MPP Calls for Resignation of Sheriffs Suing Colorado to Bring Back Prohibition

March 6th, 2015 5 Comments Morgan Fox

Supporters of marijuana regulation in Colorado are calling for the resignation of the six Colorado sheriffs who filed a federal lawsuit Thursday intended to force Colorado marijuana production and sales back into the underground market.

According to news reports, the sheriffs claim they are experiencing a “crisis of conscience” because they believe federal marijuana laws prohibit them from enforcing state marijuana laws. However, the U.S. Controlled Substances Act includes a provision that clearly states is not intended to preempt state laws, and it specifically authorizes states to pursue their own marijuana laws.

MPP’s Mason Tvert explains on “CBS This Morning”:

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Prohibition

Marijuana Now Legal In D.C.

February 26th, 2015 24 Comments Morgan Fox

Just after midnight last night, a law making marijuana legal for adults quietly went into effect in the Nation’s Capital.2015.02.25 - Front page - DC Takes Effect copy

Initiative 71, which was approved 70-30 by D.C. voters in November, allows adults 21 years of age or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana; grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes (of which no more than three can be flowering at a time) and possess the yield of those plants in the location where it was grown; and transfer without payment (but not sell) up to one ounce of marijuana to other adults 21 years of age or older. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

Certain members of Congress attempted to halt implementation of this law, even going so far as to threaten D.C. leaders with arrest. Others offered their support, asserting that the District is well within its legal rights to stop punishing adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.

MPP will continue to work with the D.C. Council to pass legislation regulating marijuana similarly to alcohol.

“We are hopeful that Congress will not stand in the way of D.C.’s efforts to regulate and tax marijuana,” said Robert Capecchi, MPP’s Deputy Director of State Policies. “Members of the District Council are clearly interested in adopting such a system, and they appear ready to move forward if Congress doesn’t interfere.”

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Prohibition

Jamaican Parliament Approves Decriminalizing Marijuana

February 25th, 2015 3 Comments Morgan Fox

The Parliament of Jamaicajamaica flag adopted a law on Tuesday that decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana and created a new agency that will regulate the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. Now that the measure has been approved in the House and Senate, Governor-general Patrick Allen is expected to sign the measure into law.

The Associated Press reports:
The act makes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana a petty offense that could result in a ticket but not in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises will be permitted. And tourists who are prescribed medical marijuana abroad will soon be able to apply for permits authorizing them to legally buy small amounts of Jamaican weed, or “ganja” as it is known locally.
Passage of the law also marks a victory for religious freedom:
In addition, adherents of the homegrown Rastafari spiritual movement can now freely use marijuana for sacramental purposes for the first time on the tropical island where the faith was founded in the 1930s.

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