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Maine: Legalization Initiative Would Force Merchants To Hide Marijuana Magazines

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maine's Marijuana Legalization Act, which has qualified for November's ballot and is being sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), would require merchants to keep marijuana magazines behind the counter if their stores are open to customers younger than 21.

An almost identical provision which was part of a bill passed by the Colorado Legislature in 2013 was so blatantly unconstitutional that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said the state wouldn't enforce it, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason.com.

Yet, just three years later, MPP is asking Maine voters to approve the same restriction as the price they must pay for the state's "legalization" initiative.

The Marijuana Legalization Act which will be on the Maine ballot in November says "a magazine whose primary focus is marijuana or marijuana businesses may be sold only in a retail marijuana store or behind the counter in an establishment where persons under 21 years of age are present."

Kansas: Couple Whose Tea Was Mistaken For Marijuana Loses Federal Suit Over SWAT Raid

RobertAndAdlynnHarte[KCTV]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A federal judge in Kansas last Friday ruled against a couple who'd brought a lawsuit in response to a botched SWAT-style pot raid, in which their home was ransacked by drug agents after a a field test incorrectly identified tea in their garbage as marijuana.

U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum entered the annals of infamy with the ruling that police acted legally and reasonably in planning and conducting the botched raid on the home of Robert and Adlynn Harte, former CIA agents whose children were 7 and 13 ast the time, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason, working on a tip from Marc Sandhaus, a good friend of Hemp News.

The Hartes and their children "were intimidated, accused, traumatized and held under armed guard" for two and a half hours while Johnson County sheriffs' deputies ransacked their home, after which they presented the family with a receipt reading "no items taken," rather than an apology.

According to the lawsuit, when a team of Rambo'd out SWAT team deputies arrived at the suburban Kansas City home, Robert Harte was forced to lie shirtless in the foyer while a deputy with an assault rifle stood over him. The children reportedly came out of their bedrooms terrified, the boy with his hands in the air, reports The Kansas City Star.

Washington: Driver Gets 6 Months For Crash That Likely Had Nothing To Do With Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

During the campaign leading up to the passage of marijuana legalization Initiative 502 in Washington state in 2012, many activists -- this writer included -- expressed grave concerns about the effect of 502's unscientific, arbitrary per-se cutoff point of 5 nanograms per milliliter as a "bright line" beyond which motorists are considered too high to drive. On Tuesday, a Vancouver, Washington marijuana user got a six-month jail sentence, followed by five years of probation, in a case that illustrates exactly why we were worried.

You see, the new definition of stoned driving established by I-502 has nothing to do with impairment, unlike the old law. Before, law enforcement had to prove actual impairment if they wanted to convict motorists of driving under the influence of marijuana, but now, all they need is a test showing marijuana metabolites above 5 ng/ml in the driver's blood. Impairment doesn't even matter anymore in a "driving under the influence" case; we've passed through the looking glass.

U.S.: Presidential Candidate Rubio Wants To Enforce Federal Law In Marijuana States

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Prospective candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination continued their baffling verbal assault on cannabis this week, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio joined Chris Christie in pledging a federal crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana.

Asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if he would "enforce the federal drug laws and shut down the marijuana trade," Rubio answered: "I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws. Now do states have a right to do what they want? They don’t agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don’t have a right to write federal policy as well…

"I don’t believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you’re sending a message to young people is it can’t be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be legal," said Rubio, revealing his distressingly murky thought process around the subject.

"In addition to enforcing the rest of the Controlled Substances Act, U.S. Attorneys are still pursuing marijuana cases in Colorado and Washington, just not in a way that shuts down the state-legal industry," said Jacob Sullum at Reason. "Rubio apparently opposes that policy of prosecutorial forbearance."

Alaska Becomes Fourth State To Legalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Alaska on Tuesday became the fourth U.S. state to legalize marijuana, joining Oregon, where voters had approved a legalization measure earlier the same day, and Colorado and Washington, both of which legalized in 2012.

Measure 2, which was approved by 52 percent of Alaska voters, allows adults 21 and older and possess up to an ounce of cannabis, grow up to six plants at home, and transfer up to an ounce at a time to other adults "without remuneration," reports Jacob Sullum at Reason. State-licensed growers, cannabis product manufacturers, and marijuana retailers will be regulated by the Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or a separate agency created by the Legislature.

"Now that it's been shown that putting marijuana legalization on the ballot can succeed even in midterms, we can expect to see a huge surge of additional states voting to end prohibition during the 2016 presidential election," Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority told Hemp News early on Wednesday. "And because the issue has been proven to be mainstream as far as voters are concerned, we may even see lawmakers in several states jumping ahead to legalize marijuana legislatively in the meantime."

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