General

Major Colleges Are Reducing Penalties for Athletes’ Marijuana Use

December 29th, 2015 No Comments Mason Tvert

NCAAThe Associated Press reported today that some of the nation’s biggest colleges have been reducing their penalties for student athletes who test positive for marijuana.

At least one-third of the Power Five conference schools are not punishing athletes as harshly as they were 10 years ago for testing positive for marijuana and other so-called recreational drugs, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP analyzed policies for 57 of the 65 schools in the Southeastern, Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences, plus Notre Dame.

Of the 57 schools, 23 since 2005 have either reduced penalties or allowed an athlete to test positive more times before being suspended or dismissed. Ten schools have separate, less stringent policies addressing only marijuana infractions.

Click here to read the entire article.

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Uncategorized

Marijuana Policy Predictions for 2016

December 28th, 2015 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP executive director Rob Kampia’s “Marijuana Policy Predictions for 2016” has been published by The Huffington Post.

predictions 2I don’t often use superlatives, but it’s easy to say that 2016 will be the most significant year yet in the battle to repeal marijuana prohibition in the United States.

Up until now, the two biggest years were 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older.

2016 will likely comprise a cornucopia of cannabis policy advances, which I’ll enumerate in the form of predictions.

Click here to read the entire column.

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Uncategorized

Top 10 Marijuana Policy Victories of 2015

December 28th, 2015 3 Comments Mason Tvert

Top 10 Marijuana Policy VictoriesMPP executive director Rob Kampia’s list of the “Top 10 Marijuana Policy Victories of 2015” has been published by The Huffington Post.

In 2015, state legislators considered bills to legalize marijuana in 21 states, decriminalize marijuana possession in 17 states, and legalize medical marijuana in 19 states.

Most of the action in 2015 was aimed at achieving substantial victories in 2016, which is slated to be the most successful year in the history of the movement to end marijuana prohibition.

With this in mind, the Marijuana Policy Project is hereby releasing its top 10 list for 2015. I’m excluding international and scientific developments, instead focusing on policy developments in the United States.

Click here to read the entire column.

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Research

Federal Survey Dispels Myth That Reforming Marijuana Laws, Debating Legalization Will Lead to More Teen Use

December 18th, 2015 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

The results of an annual survey of U.S. middle and high school students released Wednesday invalidate claims that reforming marijuana laws and debating legalization will lead to increased marijuana use among teens.

According to the Monitoring the Future Survey sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

  • Rates of daily marijuana use by 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-graders, as well as monthly use by 12th-graders, did not change from 2014 to 2015 and have remained unchanged since 2010.
  • The rate of monthly marijuana use by 8th-graders did not change in the past year, but has dropped significantly since 2010.
  • The rate of monthly marijuana use by 10th-graders appears to have dropped significantly from 2014 (and 2010) to 2015.

The survey also found a decline in the number of teens who perceive ‘great risk’ in marijuana use, negating the theory that softening perceptions of harm will result in more teens using marijuana.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Congress Renews Ban on Justice Department Interference in State Medical Marijuana Laws

December 18th, 2015 1 Comment Morgan Fox

The Justice Department will continue to be prohibited from interfering in state medical marijuana laws under the new federal spending bill unveiled late Tuesday night.

The compromise legislation includes a provision that is intended to prevent the department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to arrest or prosecute patients, caregivers, and businesses that are acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. It stems from an amendment sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) that was first approved in the House of Representatives in May 2014 and included in the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 signed by President Obama last December.

In April 2015, a Justice Department spokesman told the Los Angeles Times that the department did not interpret the amendment as affecting cases involving individuals or businesses, but merely “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws.” In October, a federal judge ruled that interpretation was inaccurate and that the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment prevents the department from taking action against individuals who are acting in compliance with state laws.

Unfortunately, the new spending plan also includes an amendment, introduced by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Maryland) and approved earlier this year, which prevents the District of Columbia from regulating the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for adult use. District voters approved a ballot initiative in 2014 to make possession and growing of limited amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older.

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Prohibition

Delaware Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect

December 18th, 2015 No Comments Marijuana Policy Project

Delaware’s marijuana decriminalization law officially takes effect today, making Delaware the 19th state in the nation to remove the threat of jail, a punishment far too severe for simple marijuana possession.

Under the new law, the possession or private use of one ounce or less of marijuana will no longer trigger criminal penalties or create a criminal record for adults over 21 years of age. Instead, it will be a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine.2000px-Seal_of_Delaware.svg Adults between the ages of 18 and 20 will face the same $100 civil fine for their first offense. Marijuana possession by minors and public consumption by people of any age will remain misdemeanors.

“Delaware’s marijuana policy is about to become a lot more reasonable,” said Karen O’Keefe, who lobbied for the bill as state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most people agree adults should not face jail time or the life-altering consequences of a criminal record just for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol. Taxpayers certainly don’t want to foot the bill for it, and fortunately they will not have to any longer.”

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Tax and Regulate

Vermont Marijuana Regulation Bill to Be Introduced

December 18th, 2015 No Comments Matt Simon

A new bill to make marijuana legal for adults and regulated similarly to alcohol in Vermont will be introduced next month, according to bill sponsors.

The Times Argus reports:

Legislation to be introduced next month when lawmakers return to the State House would allow those 21 and older to grow and possess marijuana for recreational use as early as July.

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Sen. Joe Benning
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Sen. Jeanette White

The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Jeanette White, D-Windham, and Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, would allow for lounges, where customers could purchase and use marijuana, and retail outlets in 2017. Edible products would not be allowed.

Personal cultivation and use would allow residents to grow marijuana in plots of up to 100 square feet. Marijuana possession would be limited to 1 ounce. Anything harvested over that amount would be required to be in a secured location. The private sale of marijuana between two parties would not be allowed, and marijuana could not be exchanged for anything of value except at a state-permitted retail establishment.

There are still details that legislators say will be dealt with in committee next session. If you are a Vermont resident, please urge your lawmakers to support making marijuana legal and visit the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.

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Uncategorized

Advocates Urge D.C. Council to Ease Limits on Where Adults Can Consume Marijuana

December 15th, 2015 1 Comment Robert Capecchi

Late last week, the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary met to consider B21-0107, which would make permanent an expansion of what is considered “open to the public” for purposes of banning marijuana consumption. This legislation is excessively broad and unnecessary.2000px-Flag_of_Washington,_D.C._icon.svg

Should B21-0107 fail, owners and operators of private clubs and event spaces will be allowed to decide for themselves if they want to allow marijuana consumption by adults 21 and older. Currently, District residents are legally allowed to consume marijuana only in private residences. Because of restrictions on public housing and by some landlords, this leaves some District residents with nowhere they can consume cannabis.

District code already prevents marijuana consumption “any place to which the public is invited,” so marijuana could still not be consumed in bars or restaurants if B21-0107 is defeated.

Congress has prevented the Council from taking further action to treat marijuana like alcohol, but that does not mean they have to adopt excessively broad legislation such as B21-0107. If you are a District resident, ask your council members to oppose advancement of B21-0107 thereby allowing social marijuana use in limited, non-residential, private spaces. Marijuana is safer than alcohol; help us continue to shape policy to recognize this.

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Prohibition

New Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Introduced in Illinois

December 15th, 2015 5 Comments Chris Lindsey

Flanked by leaders in the faith community, Illinois Rep. Kelly Cassidy today announced a new decriminalization bill last week for the 2016 session, HB 4357. Rep. Cassidy has long worked to establish a more just approach to marijuana possession in Illinois, and this new bill gives lawmakers and the governor a chance to quickly pass a bill they both agree would improve the lives of thousands of Illinoisans.

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Rep. Kelly Cassidy

While both Gov. Bruce Rauner and the legislature agreed that arrest and jail should be replaced with civil penalties, Gov. Rauner wanted some changes to the legislation approved by the General Assembly. After he issued an amendatory veto, attention turned to the state budget during the latter half of the year. HB 4357 picks up where the previous bill left off.

Currently, possession laws in Illinois are harsh and unfair. Not only can a person be arrested, jailed, and fined large amounts of money for simple possession, people of color are also far, far more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts. It’s past time for state law to change and apply equally to all residents.

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Medical Marijuana

Minnesota Health Dept. Accepting Public Comments on New Rules

December 11th, 2015 1 Comment Marijuana Policy Project

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger gave patients reason to cheer earlier this month when he approved intractable pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Unfortunately, though, proposed revisions to Minnesota’s medical marijuana regulations could result in an excruciatingly long delay for reviewing future petitions. Under the proposed changes, there could be a delay of more than two years from the time a petition to add a new qualifying condition or delivery method is made to when it takes effect!

If you are a Minnesota resident, please write to Commissioner Ed Ehlinger at the Minnesota Department of Health and urge him to once again show compassion to patients by changing the timeline for adding new conditions. Members of the public may comment on the proposed rules until Wednesday, December 16.

A vast majority of medical marijuana states allow individuals to use and access any number of preparations of medical marijuana to treat a variety of conditions. Minnesota is one of the few that exclude conditions like severe nausea and that strictly limits the modes of delivery — including by excluding whole plant.

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