U.S. Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced separate bills Friday that would regulate marijuana like alcohol and tax it at the federal level, respectively.
Rep. Polis’s bill would replace the federal government’s current marijuana prohibition model with a regulatory model similar to the one in place for alcohol. States would decide their own marijuana laws, and a federal regulatory process would be created for states that choose to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use. Rep. Blumenauer’s bill would tax marijuana at the federal level.
Yesterday, a Holiday Inn hotel operator in Colorado and a national anti-marijuana organization filed a federal lawsuit intended to shut down all of Colorado’s legal marijuana retail stores and cultivation facilities.
The people spearheading this effort were warriors in the Reagan administration’s Justice Department during the “Just Say No” era, and now they’re trying to turn back the clock 30 years in Colorado. At their press conference, the attorney who filed the lawsuit said they want everyone in Colorado who grows or sells marijuana for adult use to go to prison (yes, they actually said “prison”).
These guys aren’t messing around, and neither are we. Help us send businesses the message that they will face consequences if they join the fight to maintain marijuana prohibition.
Last November, voters in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties in New Mexico weighed in on whether to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. They responded with overwhelming support, with Bernalillo County voting 60% and Santa Fe County voting 73% in favor. Now, legislators from across the state have the opportunity to act on the will of their constituents. SB 383, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, reduces the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a civil penalty of $50.
This common-sense policy will save the state time, money, and resources, while also improving public safety. Millions of dollars every year are wasted on processing thousands of low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenders. It takes time for police to book marijuana users, prosecutors to try cases, and labs to test marijuana. This is an egregious waste of law enforcement’s limited resources, which could be better spent addressing more pressing public safety needs.
Northern California defense attorney Joseph Tully has posted some useful tips on how to show support in the courtroom when someone is facing marijuana-related charges.
According to Tully, whose website highlights his experience defending medical marijuana cooperatives, collectives, cultivators, and caregivers:
Being tried in court for any crime, especially a victimless crime, is a trying process. Not just for the defendants, but for their friends, family, and supporters as well. When the crime involves medical marijuana in California, it is often the defendant who is victimized. Community support is important to help a friend get through this difficult time and to support the larger cause. …
What are the best ways to support both the cause and our friends at the courthouse? I have lots of experience as a criminal defense attorney in the courtroom. My courthouse advice for my clients can apply to their friends and supporters as well. Here are six ways you can show support during a medical marijuana case.
You can read Tully’s full post, “Weed on Trial: 6 Ways to Show Support in Court,” after the jump.
A Kansas bill that would reduce harsh penalties for people found in possession of marijuana received a strong vote of support yesterday from the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. HB 2049 received a unanimous vote by the committee and will now be presented on the floor of the House for a vote.
HB 2049 would drop the sentence range for first time offenders from a Class A to a Class B misdemeanor — reducing the possible maximum jail sentence from a year to six months and reducing the maximum fine from $2,500 to $1,000. Second-time offenders would likewise see a reduction in penalties – taking them from a felony to a misdemeanor.
According to testimony by the Kansas Sentencing Commission, these simple changes represent over a million dollars in savings and would free up space in overcrowded jails. While a majority of Americans prefer a system that would remove criminal penalties entirely for adult consumers, these changes would represent a welcome improvement for those who choose a substance that is safer than alcohol.