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U.S.: Legalized Marijuana Would Be Eliminated Under A Christie Presidency

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Sunday promised to eliminate legalized marijuana in states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska if he's elected president.

The rotund Republican, speaking on CBS' "Face The Nation," said his administration would use federal law outlawing marijuana to crack down on states that have legalized recreational cannabis use, reports Matt Arco of NJ Advance Media.

"Yes sir," Christie replied to host John Dickerson when asked if he'd go after Colorado and Washington for legalized marijuana.

"If you were President would you return the federal prosecutions in the states of Colorado, Washington state?" Dickerson asked. "Yes," Christie answered.

"So, if somebody's enjoying that now in their state, if you're President, that's getting turned off?" Dickerson pressed. "Correct," Christie responded.

The Obama Administration hasn't punished states which have legalized marijuana, nor has it forced them to roll back the initiatives that voters approved.

Christie, on the other hand, has been a vocal critic of cannabis legalization; ignoring science, he claims it's a "gateway drug."

Photo of Gov. Chris Christie: Startraksphoto.com/New York Post

Pennsylvania: Philly City Council Votes To Decriminalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If you have a Phillies Blunt, fire that thing up, man. The Philadelphia City Council, with a veto-proof 13-3 majority, on Thursday voted to decriminalize marijuana. The Philadelphia Police Department could stop arresting people for possessing small amounts of cannabis under the bill, with every Democrat on the council voting in favor of it, and every Republican against it.

Democratic Michael Michael Nutter has until September to make a decision, reports WPVI-TV; even if he chose to veto it, there are enough votes to override his veto.

Mayor Nutter doesn't have to take any action at all on the bill, according to Councilman Jim Kenney's director of legislation, Jim Engler, until the Council is back in session in September. The mayor could either sign the bill, veto it, or do nothing, which would result in the bill becoming law without the mayor's endorsement, reports Dan McQuade at Philadelphia Magazine.

The mayor's spokesman, Mark McDonald, wouldn't immediately say if Nutter plans to sign the bill.

Under the measure, the police would no longer be required to arrest adults 18 and older for possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana. Possession of such amounts would still be punishable by a $25 fine.

Colorado: Long Lines For Smooth Rollout of Legal Marijuana Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

At 8 a.m. on January 1, an ex-Marine named Sean Azzariti became the first person in Colorado to legally buy a bag of recreational marijuana under legalization measure Amendment 64, approved by state voters last year.

Azzariti, an Iraq veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, had been unable to buy marijuana under Colorado's medicinal cannabis program, because PTSD isn't an authorized condition under the state's MMJ law, reports Niraj Chokshi at The Washington Post. He bought an eighth ounce (3.5 grams) of Bubba Kush for $40 and some cannabis-infused truffles for $9.287, comprising the very first legal sale under Amendment 64.

"It hasn't even really sunk in fully, but it's a huge honor to say the least," Azzariti said, reports CBS News.

The implementation of Colorado's marijuana legalization law makes it the first U.S. state -- and the first political jurisdiction anywhere on Earth -- to permit recreational marijuana since the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was adopted through the United Nations back in 1961.

Study Saying Heavy Marijuana Use Linked To Poor Memory, Brain Changes Used Only 10 Subjects

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Heavy and prolonged use of marijuana changes the way the brain functions and can lead to poor memory, according to a new study -- but the study only used 10 healthy people with a history of cannabis use (it also tested 15 young people with a history of cannabis use and schizophrenia). Even the lead researcher admits that the changes seen could have resulted in marijuana use, rather than the other way around.

The study is being played up heavily in the mainstream press, with many of the news accounts not mentioning that only 10 non-schizophrenic marijuana users were studied. With future policy debates likely to reference this study as a reason not to relax the laws around cannabis, the credulous acceptance and lack of critical coverage of the study is quite unfortunate.

The study, based on data obtained from teens and young adults, was conducted by researchers at Northwestern Medicine, reports Nature World News. Researchers said they found chronic cannabis use led to poor growth of the brain region associated with memories.

California: Riverside Bans Medical Marijuana Home Deliveries

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Now that Riverside, California had its big victory in the California Supreme Court -- establishing the right to ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries -- the city has now banned home medicinal cannabis delivery services, as well.

The new ban puts in place a barrier to safe access to medical marijuana for homebound and chronically ill patients. Some delivery services are defying the ban, reports KCAL9's Tom Wait.

"The studies have shown that the increase (in delivery services) has been found to coincide with successful enforcement actions" against storefront dispensaries, Riverside Deputy City Attorney Neil Okazaki told city council members on Tuesday, just before they approved an "emergency" ban on medicinal cannabis deliveries, reports Alicia Robinson at the Riverside Press Enterprise.

"Not everyone can afford prescription medication," said Kalonnie, a marijuana deliverer who asked that his last name not be used. "Not everyone enjoys prescription medication."

Kalonnie said his clients are patients who need the medication. He is concerned for patients who had counted on the delivery service.

"You can meet someone in a gas station parking lot," Kalonnie said. "That might be the riskiest thing you could ever do."

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