2013

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U.S.: FBI Reports 693,000 Arrests For Marijuana Offenses In 2013

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More than 87% were for simple possession

An estimated 693,481 arrests were made nationwide for marijuana in 2013, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report. More than 87 percent of these arrests were for possession, which means one person was arrested for marijuana possession approximately every 51 seconds on average in the United States.

The same report last year showed that 749,842 marijuana arrests were made in 2012.

“We're pleased to see the drop, but arresting even one adult for using a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol is inexcusable," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Every year we see millions of violent crimes attributed to alcohol, and the evidence is clear that marijuana is not a significant contributing factor in such incidents. Yet our laws continue to steer adults toward drinking by threatening to punish them if they make the safer choice. These arrest numbers demonstrate that the threat is very real.

"Law enforcement officials should be spending their time and resources addressing serious crimes, not arresting and prosecuting adults for using marijuana," Tvert said. "Every year, these statistics show hundreds of thousands of marijuana-related arrests are taking place and countless violent crimes are going unsolved. We have to wonder how many of those crimes could be solved — or prevented — if police weren't wasting their time enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws.

Michigan: 'Pharmaceutical Grade' Marijuana Law Needs Federal Approval

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Monday signed a new law that would allow the state to certify "pharmaceutical-grade cannabis," but the law can't take effect unless and until the federal government reclassifies marijuana as a Schedule II drug, suitable for medicinal use.

Medical marijuana has been legal since voters approved an initiative legalizing it back in 2008, but remains illegal for any purpose under federal law, reports Jonathan Oosting at MLive.com. The Obama Administration, however, has pledged to respect state marijuana laws.

Senate Bill 660, which is now Public Act 268 of 2013, provides the framework for Michigan to regulate large-scale cannabis growers and sell marijuana in pharmacies if the federal government recategorizes it in the future.

The "pharmaceutical-grade" marijuana registry would not replace Michigan's current medical marijuana law, which uses a patient-caregiver model, according to its backers, but patients would have to give up their current medical marijuana cards if they want to participate.

Colorado: 'Wake & Bake' Author Says It Is State's First Legal Cannabis Cookbook

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Corinne Tobias, an author, cook and farmer living in Durango, Colorado wants to teach cannabis users how to create simple and organic edibles from the legal marijuana that will be available starting on January 1. She says Wake & Bake: a Cookbook will be the first legal cannabis cookbook released in the state and will be available online, in dispensaries, and at independent bookstores in early 2014.

The project began in September when Tobias became surrounded by fresh marijuana prunings and an abundance of produce. She began infusing organic Coconut Oil with the trim and started incorporating the healthy and potent alternative to butter in breakfast, brunch and baking recipes. The coconut oil was dubbed the “Green Monsta Oil” for its electric green color and its strength.

The book features organic, vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free recipes, and includes an ingredient conversion chart so everyone can use the book regardless of dietary restrictions or habits.

Tobias’ childhood friend Aja Kolinski signed on as the book’s designer and in November, they launched a small Kickstarter campaign to fund the book’s first printing. In less than 8 days, the project was fully funded.

“After living in the North, the South, and the Midwest, I never thought I’d live in a state where marijuana would be legal," said Tobias. "It feels so free. Like anything is possible.

Uruguay: Cannabis Growers Coming Out Into The Open

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Uruguay President Jose Mujica's plan to create and regulate the world's first modern national marijuana market now is the law of the land in this small South American nation, and those who have, until now, been black market cannabis growers are starting to come out into the open.

Symbols of marijuana are seen everywhere in Uruguay, reports The Associated Press. Pot-leaf t-shirts are sold on the streets, the music of Bob Marley and the Wailers plays on the radio, and cultivation shops are doing a brisk business.

But those who are buying lights, soil and irrigation equipment to grow weed could get in legal trouble if they don't wait to start growing until after the government launches its registration and licensing system, Uruguay's drug czar said on Thursday.

"From a strictly formal point of view, you still can't [grow]," said Julio Calzada, secretary general of the national drug junta. "Until the regulations are in place, there's no way to legally have marijuana plants in your house."

Once registered and licensed, though, any citizen of Uruguay will be allowed to either grow plants at home, joint a cannabis-growing club, or buy marijuana from pharmacies, according to Calzada. Pay particular attention to that "once registered" part, because, according to Calzada, "If a person isn't registered, he'll have legal problems, and the plants will be seized."

Illinois: Medical Marijuana Law To Go Into Effect January 1

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State agencies will begin establishing system of regulated medical marijuana cultivation and distribution to individuals with serious illnesses; patients will NOT be protected from arrest until registry is established by Dept. of Public Health

Legislation adopted this year to establish a state-regulated medical marijuana program in Illinois will go into effect Wednesday. Licensed medical marijuana cultivation and distribution facilities are expected to begin producing medical marijuana and providing it to patients in late 2014.

Patients with qualifying medical conditions will NOT be protected from arrest until the Department of Public Health has established the patient registry and approved their individual applications to the program.

"We hope state officials will work swiftly to ensure seriously ill patients no longer face legal penalties for using medical marijuana," said Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Illinois patients and their families have already waited long enough."

The Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program (MCPP) will require coordination by three state agencies. The Department of Public Health will oversee the creation and management of the state's medical marijuana patient registry; the Department of Agriculture will regulate medical marijuana cultivation facilities; and the Department of Financial and Professional Responsibilities will regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.

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