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  1. Marijuana legalization initiative signatures in

    29 December 2011
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    Backers of an effort to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana use in Washington state submitted more than 340,000 signatures Thursday to try to qualify their initiative, a move protested by some legalization supporters who say the proposal would hurt medical-marijuana patients. About a dozen protesters carried signs that read "Legalize, not penalize," and shouted as members of New Approach turned in signatures for Initiative 502 to the Legislature.

  2. Colorado seeks new pot classification

    28 December 2011
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    Colorado has become the third state to ask the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana in a way that allows doctors to prescribe it as a medical treatment. The state asked the Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana from Schedule 1, a category that includes heroin, to Schedule 2. The change would allow doctors to prescribe pot and pharmacies to fill marijuana prescriptions. The governors of Rhode Island and Washington have made similar requests.

     
  3. Increased enforcement not curtailing marijuana use, report finds

    22 December 2011
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    Increased funding for anti-cannabis law enforcement does not meaningfully reduce the drug’s potency, price or availability and creates a lucrative opportunity for organized crime, according to a report by a group of marijuana policy reform advocates. The report, entitled How not to protect community health and safety: What the government’s own data say about the effects of cannabis production was released by Stop the Violence BC, and argues that marijuana should be regulated, taxed and sold in a restricted capacity. The report looks at 20 years of data collected by the Canadian and U.S. governments and highlights the failure of marijuana prohibition to restrict access to the drug.

  4. B.C. medical group recommends pot legalization

    22 December 2011
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    Some B.C. medical health officials are now advocating for marijuana to be legalized, arguing that the government's costly enforcement activities are making little difference. The Health Officers' Council of B.C., which represents B.C.'s medical health officers and other physicians, researchers and consultants, is endorsing a report, How Not to Protect Community Health and Safety by Stop the Violence BC, that suggests a direct link between the province's $7-billion illegal cannabis industry and the increase in gang-related homicides in B.C. from 1997 to 2009.

  5. Introduction of 'Weed Pass' in the Netherlands

    20 December 2011
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    The government in the Netherlands has a legislative programme that includes making all of the country’s coffeeshops private clubs accessible only to customers issued with a club card. The membership cards – known as the 'wietpas' or 'weed card' – would be obtainable only by residents of the Netherlands aged 18 or older. Foreign tourists would no longer be allowed into Dutch coffee shops if the scheme becomes law. The aim of the government is to put an end to 'drugs tourism' in the Netherlands, especially in the southern provinces (Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland).

  6. President Obama's puzzling silence on marijuana policy

    Neal Peirce / Syndicated columnist
    17 December 2011
    Other news

    The youth vote helped propel Barack Obama to the presidency, but that enthusiasm has declined sharply. One issue might reignite youthful enthusiasm: marijuana — partly its medical use, but especially the right to recreational use free of potential arrest. Police arrest youth for marijuana possession by the hundreds of thousands, threatening life prospects for a young man or woman saddled with a permanent "drug arrest" record that's easily located by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies and banks. Small wonder that 62 percent of young Americans (ages 18 to 29) now favor legalizing marijuana, as a Gallup poll reported.

  7. Conservative senator opposes omnibus crime bill

    16 December 2011
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    Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin says he can't support the massive Bill C-10 mainly because of a section that deals with growing marijuana plants. Nolin has been a longtime advocate for ending the prohibition on pot. He was the chairman of a landmark Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs in 2002 that called for the substance to be legalized.

  8. Basque government regulates cannabis sale and use

    12 December 2011
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    The Basque Parliament will approve a law bill in the first few months of 2012 on drug addiction, which will regulate "the growing, sale and consumption of cannabis". For the new ruling, for which "technical and legal studies have been undertaken", the regional government wants to "open a debate" with associations in favour of consumption and to "shape their rights".

  9. Deputies to stop harassing I-502 proponents

    08 December 2011
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    King County authorities and the Washington State Public Stadium Authority have agreed to stop harassing people collecting signatures outside the Seahawks football stadium for an initiative that would legalize and tax recreational marijuana in the state. One of the collectors, Benjamin Schroeter, was arrested Nov. 13 after he refused an order to stop collecting signatures for Initiative 502 in a public area outside the stadium where fans were tailgating.

  10. Combination of cannabinoids and opiates could help reduce chronic pain

    07 December 2011
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    A UCSF study suggests patients with chronic pain may experience greater relief if their doctors add cannabinoids - the main ingredient in cannabis or medical marijuana - to an opiates-only treatment. The findings, from a small-scale study, also suggest that a combined therapy could result in reduced opiate dosages. Cannabidiol, or CBD, appears to be very effective against pain and inflammation without creating the "high" created by THC.

  11. Marijuana in California and Colorado: Highs and laws

    03 December 2011
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    While it is allowed in some form in 16 states and Washington, DC, Colorado is the leader in trying to make medicinal pot a legitimate business. It has been legal since a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution in 2000, but the for-profit side only took off two years ago after the legislature allowed individual counties and towns more flexibility in interpreting the rules. Over a hundred have done so.

  12. The politics of pot

    Mick Dumke, Ben Joravsky
    01 December 2011
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    Polls show overwhelming support for amending the laws. In fact, 50 percent of Americans—the largest portion ever recorded—now favor legalizing marijuana, according to an October Gallup poll. But elected officials have yet to catch up. Even those politicians who privately wisecrack about all the weed they smoked in their younger days are usually too timid to take on decades-old preconceptions about marijuana. In other words, the politicians who have the power to enact new rules have been too wimpy to use it, and those who want to see changes don't have the clout. The result is a political limbo where reefer madness still rules.

  13. copenhagen-pot

    A win-win on drugs? Fighting gangs by legalizing pot

    01 December 2011
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    Copenhagen just got a lot closer to legalizing the sale of pot. If approved by the Danish parliament, next year the city could grant licenses to individual marijuana growers. City-owned shops would then sell their crop to the public. “We are thinking of perhaps 30 to 40 public sales houses, where the people aren’t interested in selling you more, they’re interested in you,” Mikkel Warming, the mayor in charge of social affairs in Copenhagen. “We don’t want an Amsterdam model," Warming said. "We want a way to make it legal to import or grow marijuana."

  14. Report shows fewer traffic fatalities after states pass medical-pot laws

    30 November 2011
    Other news

    The passage of state medical-marijuana laws is associated with a subsequent drop in the rate of traffic fatalities, according to a newly released study by University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees and Montana State University professor D. Mark Anderson. The study found that the traffic-death rate drops by nearly 9 percent in states after they legalize marijuana for medical use. The researchers arrived at that figure, Rees said, after controlling for other variables such as changes in traffic laws, seat-belt usage and miles driven. The study stops short of saying the medical-marijuana laws cause the drop in traffic deaths.

  15. Dutch ban foreigners from cannabis cafes in Maastricht area

    26 November 2011
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    Dutch Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten has announced an official  ban on non-residents from coffee shops not just in Maastricht, but in the nearby cities of Tilburg and Eindhoven as well, beginning January 1, 2012. Dutch residents will need carry a “weed pass” to enter. Dutch authorities say the rest of the country will follow a year later. It’s possible that a broader ban will never come to pass, because Amsterdam is too politically powerful for any elected official to take a stance against it.

  16. Polls, dispensary bans show Coloradans are split over possibly legalizing marijuana

    26 November 2011
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    As proponents of a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana near the deadline to turn in signatures, they face a puzzling picture of the electorate. An independent poll this summer found a slender majority of Coloradans support legalizing cannabis. But whenever marijuana has actually appeared on the ballot in Colorado in recent years — most commonly as measures to ban dispensaries and other marijuana businesses — it has generally fared poorly.

  17. Legalise it, part two

    Icaria Editorial
    24 November 2011
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    Legalising pot, we wrote in this space back in July 2009, would have two obvious benefits: generating revenue and dragging a shady business out into the light. Nearly three years later those arguments remain stronger than ever – the state is running at a deficit and the flare-ups between the gangsters that deal the stuff have become routine. Unfortunately, despite the change in government, the message coming from parliament also remains the same: no.

  18. Could legalising pot clean up the rot?

    24 November 2011
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    The City Council of Copenhagen has been pushing to legalise the sale of marijuana in the city. The council’s vote which would pave the way to establishing up to 40 state-owned dispensaries, is the second attempt in two years to experiment with state-sanctioned marijuana shops. The experiment is far from becoming a reality, however, and the vote simply sent an application to the Justice Ministry requesting the city proceed. A similar request was proposed in 2009, but despite broad support in the city council, it was shot down by parliament. (Let us light-up: Smokers voice their support for legal pot)

  19. Four former Vancouver mayors back call for an end to pot prohibition

    23 November 2011
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    Four former Vancouver mayors have endorsed a coalition calling for an end to pot prohibition in Canada that they blame for rampant gang violence. Larry Campbell, Mike Harcourt, Sam Sullivan and Philip Owen all signed an open letter to politicians in B.C. Wednesday claiming a change in the law will reduce gang violence. The former mayors support the position of the Stop the Violence BC coalition, which recently released a survey showing most B.C. residents favour an end to the current marijuana laws. (See the complete text of their manifesto)

  20. Former city Rep. Beto O'Rourke and city Rep. Susie Byrd's book offers new view on controlling pot market

    21 November 2011
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    Two prominent El Paso political leaders argue, in their new book, that the United States' war on drugs is not working despite a $1 trillion infusion of federal money over the past 40 years. Former city Rep. Beto O'Rourke and city Rep. Susie Byrd co-authored the recently published book, "Dealing Death and Drugs." The book is billed as "an argument to end the prohibition of marijuana." The authors contend the only rational alternative to the multi-billion dollar war on drugs is to end the present prohibition on marijuana.

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