penalties

California: Marijuana Enforcement Nearly 4 Times More Severe For Blacks

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Black and Latino Boys and Young Men at Particular Risk, Despite Similar Marijuana Use Rates Across Racial Lines

California to Vote on Removing Criminal Penalties and Legal Regulation of Marijuana This November

New data analyses conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance and ACLU of California find that racial disparities in marijuana policing have persisted, following the reduction of low-level marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction in 2011.

Possession of under an ounce of marijuana is punishable in California by a base fine up to $100 (plus substantial fees).

Despite marijuana usage rates being similar across racial and ethnic lines, data provided by the Los Angeles and Fresno Police Departments show that black and Latino people in those cities were issued marijuana possession citations at higher rates than white people in the years immediately following the penalty change from misdemeanor to infraction.

The data also reveal that marijuana possession enforcement falls mostly on young people. In both cities, the majority of infractions were issued to persons 29 years of age and younger.

Washington: Board Revises Marijuana Rules; Product Returns Now OK

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New rules from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) released on Wednesday include now allowing marijuana retailers to accept any open product return with the original packaging.

The draft rules are necessary to implement SB 5052, 2015 legislation which "aligns the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market" (by, in effect, subsuming the medicinal cannabis market into the recreational market, greatly reducing access for patients).

Under the rules timeline, a public hearing would be held May 4, with the Board being asked to adopt the rules on May 18. If adopted, the rules become effective June 18, prior to the availability of regulated medical marijuana products. The draft rules incorporate public comments received at seven public hearings across the state starting last fall.

“”These rules are based on extensive public input,” said Board Chair Jane Rushford. “The Board was diligent in listening and seeking practical input on its draft rules.

Highlights

Some highlights of the rule revisions include:

• Revised the definition of “licensed premises” to include all areas of a premises where the licensee has leasehold rights and any vehicle assigned to transport marijuana.

Maine: Considering Legislation Increasing Drug Penalties, Escalating Drug War

EndTheDrugWarNow[TheFreeThoughtProject]

Advocates Say Increasing Penalties Will Frighten People Away from Seeking Treatment, Increase Incarceration, and Exacerbate Racial Disparities and the “New Jim Crow”

The Maine Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on legislation backed by the Attorney General that could roll back groundbreaking reforms passed last session that reduced drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The proposed legislation (LD 1554) would make possession of 30 milligrams (often less than one single pill) or more of prescription opioids and any amount of certain other drugs into felony offenses, continuing the criminalization of drug users and wasting scarce resources on incarceration instead of treatment and prevention.

Under this proposed bill, users not engaged in any other type of illegal conduct would face mandatory felony prosecution for possessing even minuscule amounts of certain substances.

“Addiction should be treated by healthcare professionals rather than the criminal justice system and, as a taxpayer and citizen of Maine, I would prefer our tax dollars go to prevention, treatment, and recovery, rather than mounting costly felony prosecutions against the users actively facing addiction,” said Chris Poulos, a person in long term recovery who overcame addiction and federal incarceration to attend law school and work on criminal justice policy reform at the local, state, and federal levels.

U.S.: Jeb Bush Expresses Support For Decriminalizing Marijuana

JebBushDumb[FreeRepublic]

Bush Receives Upgrade in Marijuana Policy Project’s Presidential Candidate Report Card

The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization upgraded Bush — who had not previously expressed support for decriminalization — from a ‘D’ to a ‘C-’ following a Friday interview on a Boston radio station

The nation’s largest marijuana policy organization upgraded Jeb Bush from a “D” to a “C-” in its 2016 presidential candidate report card on Friday following a radio interview in which the former Florida governor expressed support for decriminalizing marijuana.

“It’s one thing to say we should have decriminalization of marijuana. I support that,” the former Florida governor said in an interview with Joe Mathieu of Boston’s WBZ NewsRadio, reports Tom Angell at Marijuana.com.

Bush had not previously endorsed a removal of criminal penalties for cannabis possession.

Bush, however, didn't waste any time in proudly displaying his vast ignorance on the subject of cannabis.

He referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug” during the interview, referencing a theory that was thoroughly debunked by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in a 1999 report commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He also said “the new marijuana” is “highly, highly toxic,” despite researchers consistently finding that marijuana is among the least toxic drugs and incapable of producing a fatal overdose.

U.S.: Cannabis Expert Urges Voters To Look At 3 Points of Proposed Marijuana Laws

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3 Points for Voters to Consider When Reviewing Proposed Marijuana Laws

Cannabis Industry Expert Looks at Pros & Cons

Voters in seven states, one U.S. territory, and at least 17 cities and counties across the nation will face a marijuana initiative when they go to the polls in November. For some, the question is easy: They’re either for some level of legalizing marijuana or against it.

But for others, the issue is not so cut and dried. Decriminalizing marijuana can be good for the country – and it can be potentially dangerous, says Wall Street commodities expert Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex (www.amercanex.com), an electronic marketplace exchange for the cannabis industry.

“I’m a part of the industry, but that doesn’t mean I’m in favor of every measure to legalize pot,” Janjic says. “We need to proceed with care and thoughtful consideration of possible consequences, intended and unintended, of the decisions we make.

“We have the opportunity to fix some problems through decriminalization, but we don’t want to end up with even bigger problems down the road,” Janjic said.

The November initiatives range from legalizing recreational marijuana sales and use for adults in Oregon and Alaska to permitting it for medical purposes in Florida and Guam, to decriminalizing possession of small amounts in cities and counties in Maine, Michigan and New Mexico. Californians will decide whether to downgrade possession to a misdemeanor.

Oklahoma: Lawmaker Pushing To Reduce Marijuana Penalties

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana possession penalties could be reduced in Oklahoma under a new bill in the state Legislature.

A second possession offense in Oklahoma, under current law, will get you a felony charge and two to 10 years in prison. But Rep. Cory Williams wants to make first and second offenses a misdemeanor in the state, reports Evan Anderson at NewsOn6.

The bill is off to a great start -- it already passed unanimously through the House Public Safety Committee on a 14-0 vote.

Rep. Williams said it just doesn't make any sense to burden Oklahoma citizens with felony records, when possessing cannabis is legal in some states.

"We have one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation and a lot of those are for what we consider law level, nonviolent drug offenses," Williams said. "And certainly marijuana is leading that."

A second marijuana possession offense is currently an automatic felony in Oklahoma. While Williams said his bill isn't necessarily a step towards legalizing pot in the state, it does make punishment more rational.

The proposed misdemeanor charge would still carry a maximum one-year sentence; after all, this is still Oklahoma -- think baby steps. (Manufacturing hash can get you a life sentence in this state.)

Williams said he is confident his bill will make it to the House floor.

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