los angeles times

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California: Prop 64 Gains Major Newspaper Endorsements

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The campaign behind California’s Proposition 64 to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older announced that they’ve received the official endorsement of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

According to the Yes on Prop 64 campaign, this means that “every large-circulation daily newspaper in Southern California has now endorsed Proposition 64.”

The paper opposed Proposition 19 to legalize cannabis in 2010. The Union-Tribune joins the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register and Riverside Press Enterprise as outlets that opposed Prop 19 in 2010. All publications support Proposition 64 in this year’s election.

The Union-Tribune went directly after one of the primary attacks used by opponents of the measure: that it decreases road safety.

“The recent increases in those states of the number of people in fatal accidents found to have THC in their systems may reflect a greater emphasis on drug testing instead of a spike in stoned motorists,” the paper says.

“Marijuana use has barely increased among Washington teenagers and somewhat increased among Colorado teens, reflecting a trend in the Rocky Mountain State that predated adult legalization.”

A list of newspaper endorsing Prop 64:

Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News

California: Santa Catalina Island To Vote On Medical Marijuana Dispensary

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A real estate broker hopes to turn his office into the first medical marijuana dispensary on Santa Catalina Island, off the Southern California coast near Long Beach.

Mark Malan is trying to sweeten the pot, so to speak, by promising to share a small portion of the revenue with local schools and city government, reports Louis Sahagun at the Los Angeles Times.

"It's going to create wheelbarrows of money," Malan said confidently.

A petition drive led by Malan has enough signatures to put an initiative on the ballot that would repeal Santa Catalina's current ban on cannabis dispensaries and allow at least two of them in the three-square-mile resort community with a population of about 3,800.

The Avalon Medical Cannabis Facility Act of 2016 would impose an annual license tax of $10,000 per dispensary and direct half of that amount to Avalon Schools, a K-12 complex of 750 students operated by the Long Beach Unified School District.

The initiative would also put a 12 percent transaction fee on all medicinal cannabis purchases, which would be divvied up one-third to drug and alcohol education for local students; one-third to Avalon's general fund; and one-third to its parks and recreation department.

California: San Diego Rushes To Write Medical Marijuana Cultivation Rules

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new California law is spurring San Diego, for the first time, to regulate and allow cultivation of medical marijuana within city limits.

A memo issued by Deputy City Attorney Shannon Thomas last week describes ways the city could regulate the growing of medicinal cannabis, including zoning regulations or simply allowing cultivation in all areas zoned for agriculture, reports David Garrick at the Los Angeles Times.

The city might impose a "temporary" moratorium on cultivation while exploring new regulations, according to the memo.

California's new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act aims to "legitimize" the nearly 20-year-old industry; state voters first approved the use of medical marijuana back in 1996. The new law also gets regulations in place in anticipation of Californians approving recreational use of marijuana in November.

The law requires mandatory product testing and gives reluctant cities new reasons to allow dispensaries and cultivation by allowing them in on the money action, collecting fees and levying taxes.

The law also says cities with no regulations in place by March 1 will permanently cede authority of medical marijuana cultivation to the state -- but the author claims that deadline was erroneously included.

Mexico: Marijuana Farmers See Profits Tumble As U.S. Legalizes

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The loosening of marijuana laws in the United States has increased competition from American growers, apparently enough to drive down prices paid to Mexican black-market cannabis farmers.

Small-scale growers in the state of Sinaloa, one of Mexico's biggest marijuana production areas, said that over the past four years the per-kilogram price has fallen from $100 to $30, reports Deborah Bonello at the Los Angeles Times.

The price drops appear to have led to reduced marijuana production in Mexico and a drop in trafficking to the U.S., according to officials on both sides of the border.

"People don't want to abandon their illicit crops, but more and more they are realizing that it is no longer good business," said Juan Gerra, Sinaloa's secretary of agriculture.

For decades, in an impotent and ill-fated attempt to stop marijuana cultivation in Mexico, both the American and Mexican governments have paid farmers to grow legal crops, and have periodically sent in Mexican soldiers to supposedly "seek out and eradicate" cannabis fields. Just as often, the troops merely demanded a piece of the action.

Those efforts, of course, failed miserably to stop production, because marijuana was still more profitable than the alternatives. It took legalization in several states in the U.S. to actually make a negative impact on Mexican cannabis production; it's not rocket science and doesn't require a genius level IQ to comprehend.

California: Convicted Medical Marijuana Seller Gets Congressional Allies In Legal Appeal

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Former medical marijuana dispensary owner Charles Lynch has for years waged a legal battle against federal prosecutors who want to send him to prison. Last week, he finally got help from some unexpected and influential allies: U.S. Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Sam Farr (D-Carmel).

Reps. Rohrabacher and Farr filed a strongly worded brief with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals accusing prosecutors of flouting federal law as they go after Lynch, reports Joel Rubin at The Los Angeles Times. The Congressmen called on the court to end the case against Lynch.

Rohrabacher and Farr were late last year the authors of an amendment to federal law meant to prevent the Justice Department from interfering in states where medical marijuana is legal. The amendment, receiving unusually broad bipartisan support in December, was written into a government spending bill.

The amendment prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds in a way that hinders states "from implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana."

It was assumed federal prosecutors would have no choice but to abandon cases such as the one against Lynch. But Justice Department officials have persisted in their war on marijuana. In general, they've argued the spending ban forbids them from interfering with officials carrying out state law, but doesn't stop them from going after sellers.

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