North America: Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Calls for an Open Debate on Legalization of Marijuana

Fox speaks out about responsibility, collaboration, and legalization as a solution to the drug war raging in North and South America

By Ms Sylence Dogood, Hemp News Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! Will the debate about the legalization and regulation of marijuana finally come to a breaking point? Will we actually see the freedom of choice to consume Cannabis restored? Not only are United States leaders beginning to talk drug law reform, but now the Latin American leaders are joining with the discussion. According to CNN, former Mexican President Vicente Fox and other members of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy have called for a renewed conversation between the United States and Mexico about the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. Realizing that the "drug war" is raging and the escalating violence is not the way to continue, Fox wants to move the way of American alcohol prohibition and re-legalize marijuana, taking the power out of the hands of the black market.

California: It’s Time to Legalize the Use of Marijuana

BY Andrew Reclusado, Times Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! Marijuana legalization has been a controversial subject for years but recent developments could change all of that. On Wednesday, May 6, Gov. Schwarzenegger said that he is open to a public debate on the legalization and taxation of Marijuana. According to, 56 percent of California voters support the idea of legalizing marijuana for recreational use and taxing its proceeds. Hopefully by next election we are able to vote on the possible passing of proposition that will make marijuana legal. Before immediately accepting the legalization of marijuana, Schwarzenegger said, “I don’t think it is time for that, but I think it’s time for a debate.” This is the right way to go for many reasons. Even if these debates only decriminalize the drug then that will save the state money by not having to incarcerate people with non-violent crimes.

Not only will the legalization of marijuana make lots of pot smokers happy, but that means people who actually need the drug for purposes will be able to get better and not have to worry about the stigma of doing something illegal.

“Medicinal marijuana for AIDS patients, for chemotherapy patients, etc. It is truly a wonder drug without having terrible side effects,” said J.P. Change (SJCC director of Student Health Services). “We can’t demonize the whole drug. ... There is no better medication than medicinal marijuana.”

Washington State: Rick Steves Nominated for EMMY as Host of Program on Marijuana Laws

By ACLU Washington

There is a truth that must be heard! Travel writer Rick Steves has been nominated by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Northwest Regional Chapter, to receive an EMMY Award for his role as host of the ACLU of Washington's "Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation." The half-hour television program examines the history and current impacts of state and federal marijuana laws and invites viewers to
consider, and discuss with others, whether those laws are working for our communities.

"Conversation" has been viewed more than 30,000 times in western Washington households subscribed to Comcast On Demand. It has received print and radio media coverage locally and nationwide, and it has been screened to capacity audiences at Spokane's Metropolitan Performing Arts Center and the Kirkland Performance Center. The associated website,, has received over 320,000 hits.

Seattle network stations sparked some controversy when they refused to air the program during evening hours when most adults would be likely to be watching. KING-TV and its affiliate KONG would only run the program at 1:00 a.m. KOMO and KIRO refused to air the program at all.

Hawaii: Proposed Marijuana Laws Could Ease Restrictions

by Peter Sur, Stephens Media

HILO - Several bills that would amend Hawaii's medical marijuana law, and one that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug, are moving through the state Legislature.

Reps. Faye Hanohano, D-Puna, and Mark Nakashima, D-Kohala, Hamakua, Hilo, have both supported the bills in the House Public Safety Committee. They now await action in the House Judiciary Committee.

The bills are:

- House Bill 1635, which would strengthen the record-keeping procedures for physicians who prescribe marijuana for medical uses;

- House Bill 226, which would allow qualifying patients to possess up to 12 marijuana plants and seven ounces of usable marijuana;

- House Bill 1191, which creates a medical marijuana distribution stamp system and allows for a secure growing facility to grow marijuana for no more than 14 qualifying patients; and

- House Bill 1192, which makes the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a civil offense, subject to a $100 fine.

"In the economy we are in right now, we don't have the resources to keep people in prison," Hanohano said. "This is one way, to me, to look at it."

In addition to a civil fine, those under 18 years of age would also be required to complete a drug awareness program.

Washington State: Lawmakers Considering Decreasing Pot Penalty

By BRIAN SLODYSKO, Associated Press Writer

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Civil liberties groups, medical marijuana supporters and a smattering of music festival-goers may have reason to rejoice: The Legislature is considering a proposal that would effectively decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

A bill proposed by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, would reduce the penalty for possessing marijuana in quantities of 1.4 ounces or less to a civil infraction carrying a $100 fine.

"Marijuana has been demonized and has been demonized in such an overboard manner," Kohl-Welles said Tuesday.

Currently, possession of small amounts of the leafy drug is a misdemeanor offense, warranting arrest and carrying the possibility of punishment with fines and jail time.

If Kohl-Welles' bill is approved, possession of marijuana would no longer be an offense subject to arrest. However, teenagers younger than 18 would still be subject to current law.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the bill Tuesday.

"Marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, tobacco or caffeine," said former state Rep. Toby Nixon, R-Kirkland, testifying before the committee. "The most dangerous thing about marijuana is the possibility of getting arrested for its possession... I don't think it's the devil weed that many say that it is."

Civil liberties groups support the measure, saying law enforcement officers should focus on more serious crimes.

Massachusetts: Decrim Law Could Thwart Drug Testing

By Edward Mason,

A voter-approved law reducing possession of small amounts of marijuana to a civil offense threatens to unravel drug testing of police and other public employees, the Herald has learned.

The law, which goes into effect Jan. 2, prohibits government agencies and authorities from enforcing any punishment for pot possession with a fine greater than $100, according to the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, and defines possession so broadly as to include traces of pot in blood to urine to hair and fingernails.


NORML: Why Obama Really Might Decriminalize Marijuana

By Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director

Esquire contacted NORML as well this week curious about what appears to be an opportune time for cannabis law reformers at the nascent stages of the new Obama administration. Below is Esquire’s John Richardson’s take on these interesting and active times in cannabis law reform.

Allen St. Pierre, Director, NORML

The stoner community is clamoring to say it: “Yes we cannabis!” Turns out, with several drug-war veterans close to the president-elect’s ear, insiders think reform could come in Obama’s second term — or sooner

Writer-at-large John H. Richardson’s column, “The Richardson Report,” runs each Tuesday.

Why Obama Really Might Decriminalize Marijuana

Famously, Franklin Delano Roosevelt saved the United States banking system during the first seven days of his first term.

And what did he do on the eighth day? “I think this would be a good time for beer,” he said.

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