Prohibition

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U.S.: 600 Churches Call For End To Drug War

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Conference Uses Christian Ideals to Argue for New System

The New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, a group representing 600 congregations in six Northeastern states, on Saturday voted in favor of Resolution 15-203, which uses Christian principles to call for an end to the War on Drugs.

The resolution begins:

“In the love of Christ, who came to save those who are lost and vulnerable, we urge the creation of a genuinely new system for the care and restoration of victims, offenders, criminal justice officials, and the community as a whole. Restorative justice grows out of biblical authority, which emphasizes a right relationship with God, self and community. When such relationships are violated or broken through crime, opportunities are created to make things right.”

It goes on to detail how the Drug War has failed to achieve its intended goal of reducing drug abuse and has resulted in numerous unintended consequences such as the creation of violent and dangerous underground markets, countless lost lives from gang violence and unregulated products, increased dangers posed to law enforcement, prison overcrowding, the rapid spread of needle-borne illnesses due to a lack of sterile syringes, and the disparate impact that these laws have had on poor communities of color.

Maine: State Lawmakers Choose Not To Place Marijuana Referendum On Ballot

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Maine state lawmakers on Monday decided they will not place a measure on the ballot to regulate and tax marijuana for adult use. LD 1380, sponsored by Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland), was defeated in the House 45-98 and in the Senate without a recorded vote.

State senators on Monday unanimously killed another pro-legalization bill, LD 1401, sponsored by another Portland Democrat, Rep. Mark Dion, reports Mario Moretto at the Bangor Daily News.

“The legislature’s failure to act should not be mistaken for waning public interest in marijuana policy reform," said David Boyer, campaign manager for the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is in the process of placing a citizen initiative on the 2016 ballot that would end marijuana prohibition in Maine. "Elected officials have always followed the citizens’ lead on this issue.

"Maine voters will still have the final say, and we expect they will say it’s time to end marijuana prohibition," Boyer said.

“Marijuana prohibition is a counterproductive and antiquated policy," Boyer said. "Most people are just fed up with it at this point. It’s time to regulate marijuana, tax it, and start treating it similarly to alcohol.”

For more information on The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, visit http://www.RegulateMaine.org.

Graphic: The Smoking Bud

Arizona: New Poll Shows Majority Support For Ending Marijuana Prohibition

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Behavior Research Center’s latest Rocky Mountain Poll finds 53% support making marijuana legal for adults; just 39% are opposed

An independent poll released on Wednesday shows a majority of Arizona residents support ending marijuana prohibition.

The Behavior Research Center’s latest Rocky Mountain Poll found 53 percent of Arizonans support making possession of a small amount of marijuana legal for personal use. Just 39 percent are opposed.

Support outpaced opposition in all three of the geographical areas that were surveyed: 53-38 in Maricopa County; 47-43 in Pima County; and 58-38 in Rural Arizona. The survey of 701 Arizonans was conducted from April 29-May 15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percent.

“Arizonans are fed up with the failed policy of marijuana prohibition,” said J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is supporting a statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol. “They do not think adults should be punished just for consuming a substance that is objectively less harmful than alcohol.

"It’s time for a more sensible approach, and that’s what our initiative proposes,” Holyoak said.

The campaign has collected more than 15,000 signatures since launching its petition drive three weeks ago. It must gather more than 150,000 valid signatures of registered Arizona voters to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot.

U.S.: Congress Votes To End DEA's Bulk Data Collection Program, Reduce Budget, Shift Funding

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Votes Come in Wake of Recent Forced Resignation of DEA Head and Growing Public Pressure to End Drug War and Mass Incarceration

Legislators Tuesday night voted by a simple voice vote to end the DEA’s controversial bulk data collection programs, as part of the U.S. House of Representatives' consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. The House also passed three amendments that cut $23 million from the DEA’s budget, and shifted it to fighting child abuse, processing rape test kits, reducing the deficit, and paying for body cameras on police officers to reduce law enforcement abuses.

Representatives debated four amendments to prohibit the DEA and Justice Department from undermining state marijuana laws -- and those votes will happen on Wednesday.

“Congress dealt a major blow to the DEA by ending their invasive and offensive bulk data collection programs and by cutting their budget," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The more the DEA ignores commonsense drug policy, the more they will see their agency’s power and budget come under deeper scrutiny.”

Three amendments cutting the DEA’s budget passed by voice vote:

• Rep. Ted Liew's (D-CA) amendment shifted $9 million from the DEA’s failed Cannabis Reduction and Eradication program to the VAWA Consolidated Youth Oriented Program ($4 million), Victims of Child Abuse Act ($3 million), and deficit reduction ($2 million).

Washington: Cannabis Transparency Project Provides Public Access To Marijuana Industry Data

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Members of the public now have unprecedented access to data about Washington state's legal cannabis industry through the Cannabis Transparency Project (CTP).

The CTP is an open source web application for processing and visually representing information released by the state as part of the Washington State Marijuana Traceability System database via a public records request, the Cannabis and Social Policy Center, in conjunction with the Cannabis Commodities Exchange, announced on Friday.

"The idea is to encourage transparency and legitimate trade practices in the industry by providing a user-friendly interface so that anyone can navigate through and discuss this large amount of data," said project developer Will Farley, CTO of CCX.

Farley said he hopes other developers will contribute to the project, so that this open resource can become "a powerful tool to inform the public about cannabis."

"This amount and type of data regarding cannabis has never been available for comprehensive analysis before," said CASP Executive Director Dr. Dominic Corva. "For the first time, for example, we can examine evidence for potency clustering and differentiation across dozens of cultivars. There are many, many other questions that can be answered using this information."

After using the system for a few days, CASP Affiliate Researcher Dr. Jim MacRae emphatically said, "In one week with this tool, I've been able to generate more meaningful insight into the state of cannabis potency testing in Washington than I was able to in three weeks using the tools I traditionally use.

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