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Global: Fans Mourn Death of Longtime Cannabis Enthusiast, Music Legend David Bowie

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A lifetime of music came to an end on Sunday, January 10, as music legend David Bowie, 69, died after an 18-month struggle with cancer.

"David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer," the artist's Facebook page announced. "While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief."

Nearly 40 years ago, back on March 21, 1976, Bowie was arrested along with rocker Iggy Pop for possession of about half-a-pound of marijuana, reports Gabrielle Bluestone at Gawker. Bowie, Pop and another man and woman were staying in a three-room suite at the Americana Rochester Hotel when they were raided by vice squad detectives at about 2:25 a.m.

All four were held for a few hours at the Monroe County Jail before they were eached freed on $2,000 bond, reports Dylan Stableford at Yahoo News. Bowie paid everyone's bail.

U.S.: Sen. Bernie Sanders To Introduce Legislation To End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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First-Ever Bill Introduced In Senate To Legalize Marijiuana; Second Major Cannabis Reform Bill Introduced in the Senate This Year

Support for Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Continues to Grow

Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders is to announce at a Wednesday town hall meeting that he is introducing legislation in the Senate that would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances, end federal marijuana prohibition, and let states set their own policies without federal interference.

The bill, which could be introduced as early as Thursday, is expected to be similar to a 2011 bill introduced in the U.S. House by Democrat Barney Frank and Republican Ron Paul known then as the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. It would be the first bill ever introduced in the U.S. Senate to end the failed war on marijuana.

“Clearly Bernie Sanders has looked at the polls showing voter support for marijuana legalization,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Marijuana reform was already moving forward in Congress but we expect this bill to give reform efforts a big boost.”

California: Gubernatorial Candidate Gavin Newsom Supports Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom is preparing for a 2016 gubernatorial campaign, and if an expected ballot measure to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana meets his criteria, he will endorse it and effectively become the public face of the campaign, betting his political future on the popularity of cannabis in the Golden State.

Newsom, a Democrat, is the highest-ranking official in California to support recreational legalization, reports Seema Mehta at The Los Angeles Times.

Although legalization will almost certainly be popular with liberal and young voters, some political analysts believe his support for legalization could present a challenge.

"He could motivate large numbers of young people who aren't regular voters to turn out for him," said director Dan Schnur, of the University of Southern California's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. "But taking a leadership role on this could make older swing voters nervous, even if they agree with him on the issue. It's a potentially risky play."

Voters in California legalized medical marijuana in 1996 but in 2010 voted against recreational use, 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent. Since then, polling has shown that public support for legalizing pot has grown, reaching 53 percent in a March survey by the Public Policy Institute of California — a record high in that organization's surveys.

Oregon: Congressman Blumenauer Launches Ads Backing States' Right To Decide On Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) says states have the right to legalize marijuana, and he's launching an ad campaign backing that theme, he said on Thursday night.

The ads launched on Friday, paid for with his own campaign money to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, reports KATU News.

Rep. Blumenauer is the first Congressman known to have run ads for marijuana policy reform using his own campaign funds.

"Our marijuana laws don't work and cost the government billions," Rep. Blumenauer said. "Federal drug law says that marijuana is more dangerous than meth or cocaine, and that is false."

It's time for police to focus on real drug abuse, according to the Democratic Congressman, and he said cannabis should be regulated and taxed, and should help fund local government projects.

"I think we get real," Blumenauer said of marijuana policy. "We do the research. We work to keep it out of the hands of kids. We don't pretend something that's not true."

Blumenauer isn't just targeting Oregon with his ads. He's posting it online as well, so that other states will be aware of his stance on cannabis policy.

Photo of Rep. Earl Blumenauer: AP Photo/Politico

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