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  1. Pot luck

    18 November 2014
    Other news

    Smoking, growing, buying, selling or merely possessing cannabis is a criminal offence, according to America's federal government. Ask the states, however, and you will get almost 50 different answers. In 13 of them possession of the drug has been decriminalised, meaning that tokers face only minor penalties if caught. In 23 it has been legalised for medical use. And in four—including, following ballot initiatives earlier this month, Alaska and Oregon—cannabis has been legalised outright. In all only 22 states, fewer than half the total, continue to treat the drug as criminal contraband under all circumstances.

  2. Is ‘Big Marijuana’ inevitable?

    18 November 2014
    Other news

    It looks like the use of recreational marijuana is heading down the path of legalization across the country. Voters in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia approved legalizing measures on Nov. 4, but with key differences. Some say a profit-driven model for legalization runs the risk of increasing marijuana use, while others argue that a regulated market is the best way to keep use safe for consumers. What’s the right approach to legalizing recreational marijuana?

  3. Stir it up: Bob Marley to headline corporate cannabis brand

    17 November 2014
    Other news

    The Marley family and a Seattle-based private equity firm announced the creation of Marley Natural, "a premium cannabis brand rooted in the life and legacy" of one of marijuana’s most devoted sons. Marley Natural will look like a modern consumer product, cleanly packaged and marketed with the help of the same agency that branded New Balance and Starbucks Coffee. The cannabis will be sold as "loose packed" buds, oils or concentrate. "This is what the end of prohibition looks like," said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, which owns Marley Natural. (See also: Riding high: Is pot poised for a (legal) business boom | Marley Natural: The weed that manages to sell out both Bob Marley and Jamaica)

  4. California’s Attorney General thinks legal weed is inevitable

    17 November 2014
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    California was one of the first to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, but so far hasn’t legalized it for recreational use, like Colorado, Washington. “I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I’m the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective. I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized,” she said. “I don’t think it’s gonna take too long to figure this out,” Harris said. “I think there’s a certain inevitability about it.”

  5. GOP congressman: Republicans should embrace marijuana legalization

    13 November 2014
    Other news

    The federal courthouse in right-leaning Orange County, Calif., is named after former president and Republican Party icon Ronald Reagan. Countless drug cases prosecuted in that building can be traced back to an expanded war on drugs under the 40th president, who once called marijuana “probably the most dangerous drug.” The Republican congressman who represents the land of Reagan, however, wants marijuana legalized. After winning reelection in a landslide last week despite that well-publicized position, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher returned to Capitol Hill on Thursday with a message for his party.

  6. The UN really wishes that voters in Alaska and Oregon hadn’t legalized weed

    13 November 2014
    Other news

    The director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, said that state-level marijuana legalization initiatives in the U.S. are violations of longstanding international drug treaties. "I don't see how [state-level marijuana legalization] can be compatible with existing conventions," he said according to Reuters. Fedotov's remarks are coming less than a month after Assistant Secretary of State Brownfield outlined an official policy of "flexibility" in the U.S.'s interpretation of existing U.N. drug control conventions, which require countries to outlaw the sale and use of cannabis. (See also: Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform)

  7. A top UN official is not happy about US states legalizing weed

    13 November 2014
    Other news

    The UN's top narcotics official said on Wednesday that recent votes by US states to legalize marijuana have put America in deeper violation of the international conventions that guide drug policy around the world. Earlier this month, voters in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana. Similar ballot initiatives have already passed and taken effect in Colorado and Washington.

  8. Pot legalization: Gateway to what?

    12 November 2014
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    The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) plans to stay on the sidelines of future pot legalization campaigns – already supported by groups plotting ballot campaigns in 2016 – and pour resources into fights for criminal justice reform. One model to replicate is California's Proposition 47, approved by 58 percent to lower penalties for drug possession and other nonviolent crimes. "We would love to be able to have ballot initiatives in a number of states that may look very similar to Proposition 47," says ACLU's Alison Holcomb . "Hopefully we will be able to find states where we can go further and say, ‘Let’s decriminalize the possession of drugs and let’s talk about what we can do to address drug use and abuse.’"

  9. U.S. states' pot legalization not in line with international law: U.N. agency

    12 November 2014
    Other news

    Moves by some U.S. states to legalize marijuana are not in line with international drugs conventions, the U.N. anti-narcotics chief said, adding he would discuss the issue in Washington next week. 

  10. The dark-horse policy reform that has both Obama and some GOPers optimistic

    09 November 2014
    Other news

    With Democrats holding the White House and Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, it's been suggested that the odds are slim of any major legislation becoming law over the next two years. But officials in the Obama administration and on Capitol Hill say there is one issue that may have enough cross-party appeal to break through the logjams. That issue is criminal justice reform. During the 2014 midterm elections, voters approved sweeping drug and criminal justice reform measures in multiple states, setting the stage for what may prove to be even more significant policy shifts over the next two years and beyond.

  11. The Marlboro of marijuana

    07 November 2014
    Other news

    Would household names really consider selling cannabis? They already have. In 1969 a Philip Morris executive wrote to the Justice Department, requesting a sample of marijuana for testing. In 1970 British American Tobacco put together a blueprint for a “cannabis-loaded cigarette”. Cannabis is certainly controversial. But then so is lung cancer. It may well be that the executives best placed to make a mint from marijuana, once it is fully legal across America, are the Marlboro men themselves. (See also: The legalisation of marijuana isn't just about liberal values - it's about dollars)

  12. Support for legal pot down off its high

    06 November 2014
    Other news

    Even as the national experiment legalizing recreational pot spread this week to Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., a new poll suggests the enthusiasm among voters has hit a plateau. A majority, 51%, favors legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup Poll. That's about where support has been since 2011, but a drop from the 58% who told Gallup last year they supported legalization. Last year's poll came just after Colorado and Oregon had voted to allow marijuana to be sold in stores and were in the process of setting up the market.

  13. Fear of cannabis commerce didn't, won't and shouldn't stop legalization

    05 November 2014
    Other news

    Three marijuana legalization initiatives were on the ballot this week, and all three won. That’s a better outcome than I was expecting. I was surprised when voters in Colorado and Washington approved legalization two years ago, and I was surprised again when voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., followed suit. Partly that’s because, after 25 years of advocating drug legalization (along with various other unpopular positions), I am accustomed to losing. But it’s also because I had looked at the polling data.

  14. Marijuana legalization sweeps the 2014 midterm elections

    05 November 2014
    Other news

    On November 4, several states radically altered their approaches to a drug once known for Reefer Madness. In Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, voters approved marijuana legalization measures. But in Florida, a medical marijuana amendment fell short of the 60 percent approval it needed to pass under state law. Here's a breakdown of each state's initiative, the latest results, and how the opposing campaigns pushed their messages to voters.

  15. California next for pot proponents emboldened by election victories

    05 November 2014
    Other news

    Marijuana advocates, fresh off victories for legal recreational pot in Oregon, Alaska and the nation’s capital, are already preparing for their next target, and it’s a big one: California. They are aiming to ask voters in the nation’s largest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2016, hoping to draw on a more liberal and larger electorate during a presidential election to help them avoid a repeat of their 2010 failed pot measure. The 2014 ballots were considered by many to be the first real test of marijuana reform’s popularity since Washington state and Colorado passed the first legal pot laws in 2012. (See also: Marijuana legalization wave will hit California in 733 days, supporters say)

  16. 6 facts about marijuana

    05 November 2014
    Other news

    Attitudes about marijuana have undergone a rapid shift in public opinion, paralleled by few other trends in the U.S. Our recent data, along with historical figures from Gallup and the General Social Survey, reveal how views have shifted about the drug over time. Earlier this year, our survey found that many more Americans now favor shifting the focus of the nation’s overall drug policy. Here are six key facts about public opinion and marijuana.

  17. D.C. voters overwhelmingly support legalizing marijuana, joining Colo., Wash.

    03 November 2014
    Other news

    Washington DC followed Colorado and Washington state into a closely watched experiment to legalize marijuana, as voters overwhelmingly backed an initiative 7 to 3 allowing cannabis to be consumed and grown in the nation’s capital. The move to allow the drug almost certainly will take effect unless the next US Congress, which holds significant legislative authority over the city, blocks it. Under a voter-proposed measure, known as Initiative 71, residents and visitors age 21 and older will be allowed to legally possess as much as two ounces of marijuana and to grow up to three marijuana plants at home.

  18. Legal marijuana could be $130 million a year business in D.C., study finds

    29 October 2014
    Other news

    If D.C. residents vote to legalize marijuana possession next week, it wouldn’t just mean a sea change in drug policy in the nation’s capital. It could also mean big business. A study by District financial officials shared with lawmakers estimates a legal D.C. cannabis market worth $130 million a year. The ballot initiative voters will see Tuesday does not allow for the legal sale of marijuana — only the possession and home cultivation of small amounts — but D.C. Council members gathered Thursday to hear testimony about what a legal sales regime might look like.

  19. The marijuana industry could be bigger than the NFL by 2020

    23 October 2014
    Other news

    A report from Greenwave Advisors, a "comprehensive research and financial analysis for the emerging legalized marijuana industry," projects that legal cannabis could be an industry with revenues of $35 billion by 2020 if marijuana is legalized at the federal level. To put that figure in perspective, $35 billion represents more annual revenue than the NFL (currently $10 billion), and is roughly on par with current revenues for the newspaper publishing industry ($38 billion) and the confectionary industry ($34 billion).

  20. How marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is making the world a better place

    16 October 2014
    Other news

    No pressure, Colorado and Washington, but the world is scrutinizing your every move. That was the take-home message of an event today at the Brookings Institution, discussing the international impact of the move toward marijuana legalization at the state-level in the U.S. Laws passed in Colorado and Washington, with other states presumably to come, create a tension with the U.S. obligations toward three major international treaties governing drug control.

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