Registered voters heading to the polls this fall for elections in Colorado, Washington, and perhaps California will have a chance to enact historic cannabis legalization in 2012. A Colorado group said it will file 155,000 signatures with the state on January 6 — enough to qualify the group's recreational cannabis legalization and tax initiative for the November ballot. A group in the state of Washington said on December 29 that it filed at least 355,000 signatures. And California?
A leading distributor of crack cocaine in the 1980s would have preferred to have been a pot dealer, but was unable to find enough supply, he told The Huffington Post in an interview. "I wanted to sell pot. You couldn't get pot at a decent price -- I couldn't, nor the quantity," said Rick Ross, whose operation the Los Angeles Times dubbed "the Wal-Mart of crack dealing." Ross built one of the largest cocaine empires in the country. If the goal of U.S. drug policy is to lower demand by increasing price, Reagan's drug war did precisely the opposite, driving people away from pot and toward coke and crack.
A measure to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Washington State is likely to be on the November 2012 ballot, after the secretary of the state's office certified the initiative, saying the campaign had turned in enough valid petition signatures. Initiative 502 now goes to the Legislature, but lawmakers are not likely to take up the issue during the short 60-day session that ends on March 8, meaning it would automatically appear on the ballot in the fall election.
Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use are gaining momentum in Washington state and Colorado, despite fierce opposition from the federal government and a decades-long cultural battle over America's most commonly used illicit drug. Officials in Washington state said an initiative to legalize pot has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot in November. In Colorado, officials are likely this week to make a similar determination about an initiative there.
An initiative seeking to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana will be decided by voters. If passed, Initiative 502 would make Washington the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. It would place the state at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds. Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, who chairs the House State Government & Tribal Affairs Committee that was considering the initiative, said the Legislature would not act on it, meaning it will instead automatically appear on the November ballot.
A high-profile group of current and former U.S. law enforcement officials has written to the Conservative government with a surprising message: Take it from us, the war on drugs has been a “costly failure.” The officials are urging Canada to reconsider mandatory minimum sentences for “minor” marijuana offences under its “tough-on-crime bill” and say a better approach would be to legalize marijuana under a policy of taxation and regulation.
Colorado voters will be asked to decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in a November ballot measure, setting up a potential showdown with the federal government over America's most commonly used illicit drug. The measure, which would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults, is one of two that will go to voters in November after a Washington state initiative to legalize pot earned enough signatures last month to qualify for the ballot there.
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government's war on drugs has failed. The outspoken evangelical Christian and host of "The 700 Club" on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network he founded said the war on drugs is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. He said people should not be sent to prison for marijuana possession.
Colorado's top federal prosecutor has ordered 25 medical marijuana shops located near schools to close in an escalating pot clampdown, as the state gears up for a battle at the ballot box over broader recreational use of the drug. Attorney John Walsh warned owners of the centers in letters that they have 45 days to shut down or "action will be taken to seize and forfeit their property," his office said.
Federal agents struck at the heart of California's medical marijuana movement, raiding the nation's first pot trade school and a popular dispensary, both run by one of the state's most prominent and provocative activists, Richard Lee. The raids in Oakland by the Internal Revenue Service and Drug Enforcement Administration sent a shudder through the medical cannabis trade and angered the plant's devotees, who believe the federal government is trampling on California law and the wishes of voters who approved medical marijuana use nearly 16 years ago.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at City Hall to demand federal respect for state and local marijuana laws, a day after federal agents raided the state's first pot trade school and a related dispensary across the bay in Oakland. The San Francisco rally and march to a nearby federal building was planned before Monday's raid. But the sweep on businesses owned by prominent marijuana activist Richard Lee emboldened protesters and brought denunciations from local officials and lawmakers in five states with medical cannabis laws.
A California school known as the "Princeton of Pot" has reopened after a federal raid, but with a bare-bones staff of volunteers to teach the art of cannabis cultivation, after the crackdown crimped its funding and forced it to lay off 25 paid employees. The raid earlier this month on Oaksterdam University, which offers courses on the growing and dispensing of marijuana, turned the Oakland-based school into the latest flashpoint between federal law enforcement and medical cannabis advocates in states where pot has been decriminalized for medicinal purposes.
New Jersey took a step toward decriminalizing marijuana possession today when an Assembly panel unanimously approved a bill that would allow offenders to pay fines instead of going to jail. Under the terms of the measure, anyone arrested with fewer than 15 grams of marijuana — just under a half-ounce or slightly more than 30 joints — would be subject to a $150 fine for a first offense, a $200 fine a second time and a $500 penalty for a third and subsequent offenses.
A new national poll shows a clear majority of Americans in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana – "the strongest support ever recorded," according to one pro-marijuana activist. The Rasmussen poll found that 56 percent of respondents favored legalizing and regulating marijuana similar to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are currently regulated. Thirty-six percent were opposed. Critics dismissed the survey, saying its questions were asked in a leading fashion – a charge Rasmussen contests. Experts who track the issue say the poll is consistent with the overall trend of steadily rising acceptance of marijuana use.
Barry was quite the accomplished marijuana enthusiast back in high school and college. Excerpts from David Maraniss' Barack Obama: The Story dealing with the elaborate drug culture surrounding the president when he attended Punahou School in Honolulu and Occidental College in Los Angeles. He inhaled. A lot.
With Obama facing a stiff challenge from Republican Mitt Romney in the November 6 election, it's ironic that his chances of winning the key state of Colorado could hinge on marijuana legalization, supported by a growing number of Americans. At issue is whether Obama will get a boost from young voters expected to be among the most enthusiastic backers of a Colorado ballot initiative that would legalize possession of up to an ounce of pot for recreational use - and give the state the most liberal marijuana law in the nation.
New York Police Department, the mayor and the city’s top prosecutors on Monday endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana, giving an unexpected lift to an effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested as a result of police stops. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose Police Department made about 50,000 arrests last year for low-level marijuana possession, said the governor’s proposal “strikes the right balance” in part because it would still allow the police to arrest people who smoke marijuana in public.
Polls show national opinion toward marijuana use steadily changing toward greater acceptance, and laws are changing and ballot initiatives are coming before voters. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for instance, wants to decriminalize possession of small quantities of pot. Here is a look at how America's views on marijuana are changing in four key areas. For more than 20 years, national polls have shown increasing acceptance of marijuana use, proponents of legalization note.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana in the state and he’s got the support of New York City’s police commissioner and mayor, plus a broad swath of local politicians who just a few years ago may have scoffed at the notion of lessening penalties for drug possession. Citing an “inconsistency” in state drug laws regarding small amounts of marijuana, Cuomo announced a bill to make the penalties for private and public possession the same, which he says will help people caught with less than 25 grams avoid “unnecessary” misdemeanor charges.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to change New York’s laws to decriminalize marijuana. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have rushed to agree. Cuomo’s proposed change is a repudiation of Bloomberg’s stop-and-frisk program, which has arrested more than 400,000 people for marijuana crimes — more than were arrested by the three prior Mayors combined — while still not denting marijuana use or availability in New York. It seems that Bloomberg’s previous tactic was doing little besides creating unwilling clients for the prison-industrial complex.