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California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) Qualifies For November Ballot

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The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) on Tuesday applauded the announcement by Secretary of State Alex Padilla that the measure has officially qualified for the November 8 General Election ballot in California.

“Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself,” said Jason Kinney, spokesperson for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

“This measure reflects years of hard work, diverse stakeholder input and broad, bipartisan public support," Kinney said. "A growing majority of Californians support a smarter approach to marijuana and we’re gratified that voters will finally have the opportunity in November to pass comprehensive, common-sense policy that protects children, local control, public health and public safety, saves state and local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, funds critical local programs, and serves as a model for the rest of the nation.”

The coalition of endorsers in support of AUMA is the largest ever formed in support of marijuana policy reform in the state, according to organizers.

California Democratic Party Endorses Adult Use of Marijuana Act

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November ballot measure becomes the first marijuana legalization initiative in state history to receive the official endorsement of a major political party

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which will appear on the November 2016 statewide ballot in California, on Monday announced that it has received the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party (CDP).

The largest statewide Democratic Party organization in the nation, the CDP joins the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation, and the San Francisco Democratic Party in endorsing AUMA.

While the CDP has long had as part of its official platform putting an end to the failed and costly policy of marijuana prohibition in California, this is the first time in state history that a major political party has officially endorsed a specific cannabis legalization ballot measure.

“This landmark action by the California Democratic Party underscores the responsible and consensus approach of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and strengthens what is already the largest, most enthusiastic and most diverse coalition ever assembled in support of a marijuana legalization effort,” said Brian Brokaw, AUMA campaign manager.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By North Coast Congressman

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

North Coast Congressman and longtime environmental leader U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) on Wednesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

Prior to his election to Congress in November of 2012, Huffman served six years in the California State Assembly and was co-chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus. He previously served as a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a congressman, he serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

"The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a necessary statewide reform that brings a billion-dollar industry out of the shadows and into a regulated market," said Rep. Huffman, whose district spans from the Golden Gate Bridge north to the Oregon border and includes the Emerald Triangle, the three-county region that produces some of America's best domestically grown marijuana.

"The measure takes historic, first-of-its-kind steps to reverse the devastating environmental and water damage that has been done by illegal marijuana grows in our state," Rep. Huffman said. "AUMA is not just good social justice and public health policy. It's forward-thinking environmental reform as well."

California: LA County Democrats Endorse AUMA Marijuana Legalization

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Largest Democratic County Committee in California says ballot measure will “protect children” and “provide critical funding for public health”

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The campaign in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) on Wednesday announced the official endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party (LACDP), the largest Democratic county committee in California and the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation.

The LACDP represents more than 2.4 million registered Democrats and a population larger than 42 other states in the 88 cities and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

“Los Angeles County Democrats support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act because it will end the failed policies of prohibition which have disproportionately harmed communities of color, it will protect California’s children and it will provide critical funding for public health and public safety programs,” said Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair and California Democratic Party Vice Chair Eric C. Bauman.

Supporters of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act say the measure includes strong safeguards for children, businesses and local governments, strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

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Longtime GOP congressman U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) on Tuesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

He is the second California Congressman to endorse the measure in as many weeks. U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) announced his support last Monday.

"Rohrabacher is a 13-term Congressman who is a powerful voice for libertarian values," the AUMA campaign announced in a prepared statement. He is the co-author of the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Farr amendment which has been passed as part of the Federal Budget and prevents the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state.

“As a Republican who believes in individual freedom, limited government and states' rights, I believe that it's time for California to lead the nation and create a safe, legal system for the responsible adult use of marijuana,” said Rohrabacher.

“I endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act for the November 2016 ballot,” the Congressman continued. “It is a necessary reform which will end the failed system of marijuana prohibition in our state, provide California law enforcement the resources it needs to redouble its focus on serious crimes while providing a policy blueprint for other states to follow.”

U.S.: $18 Million Spent Last Year Destroying Marijuana Plants

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

New numbers released by the Drug Enforcement Administration show that their controversial marijuana eradication program continued in full force last year. In 2015, roughly 4.1 million cultivated marijuana plants were uprooted by local, state, and federal authorities in all 50 states. The number was slightly less than the 4.3 million plants destroyed in 2014.

Federal spending on the program was $18 million, similar to the level spent in previous years.

The DEA program provides funding to law enforcement agencies to aggressively search for, seize, and destroy illegal marijuana grow across the country.

A group of lawmakers led by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA tried to pass legislation last year to redirect marijuana eradication funds to more productive uses, such as domestic violence prevention programs.

The effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and Lieu is dismayed to see the program continue. "Marijuana needs to be removed from Schedule I classification, and DEA should stop this wasteful program," he said via email.

The DEA did note that two states, Alaska and Colorado, declined to accept federal funds last year. Those states, where marijuana is now legal, conducted their own enforcement efforts against illegal marijuana grows.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed By Congressman Ted Lieu

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Congressman and military veteran U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Monday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Lieu has won awards as a military prosecutor, an advisor to U.S. Air Force commanders and as a law student and private attorney. As a congressman, he serves on the House Budget and Oversight Committees.

Last year, Lieu introduced bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer dollars by blocking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program through civil asset forfeitures.

“I’ve reviewed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act and believe it creates a legal, responsible and regulated framework for adult use of marijuana that is fiscally responsible, smartly builds on what California has already done with medical marijuana and provides necessary protections for children, workers, local governments, law enforcement agencies and the environment,” said Rep. Lieu.

“As a policy, marijuana prohibition has wasted taxpayer resources while failing to protect our communities,” Lieu said. “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act represents a vastly superior and long overdue new approach.”

U.S.: First-Ever Bail Reform Legislation Introduced In Congress

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Bill Would Ban States from Receiving Federal Law Enforcement Dollars If They Use Money Bail

DPA: Far Too Many People Behind Bars Simply Because They Can’t Afford Bail; 60% of People in U.S. Jails Have Not Been Convicted of Any Crime

A group of Congressmen led by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) on Wednesday introduced the No More Money Bail Act of 2016. The bill would reform the country’s bail system by denying states access to Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) funds until they end the use of monetary payment as a condition for pretrial release.

Byrne JAG is one of the main federal law enforcement grant programs, directing hundreds of millions of dollars annually to state law enforcement agencies. The bill would also prohibit the use of money bail at the federal level.

“Too many individuals are currently held without trial simply because they cannot afford bail,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Many of them are charged with drug offenses, therefore the nexus between the drug war and money bail is clear.”

Currently, around 60 percent of individuals in jail in the U.S. are pretrial detainees who have not been convicted of any crime. Such a system contradicts the ethos of “innocent until proven guilty,” and has an adverse impact on low-income families and communities of color.

U.S.: Some Members Of Congress Ready To Call It Quits On Marijuana Eradication

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Drug Enforcement Administration is continuing its losing streak. Last week, 12 House members led by Democrat Ted Lieu of California wrote to House leadership asking for a provision in an upcoming spending bill that would strip half the funds from the DEA's Cannabis Eradication Program and instead spend that money on programs that "play a far more useful role in promoting the safety and economic prosperity of the American people": domestic violence prevention and overall spending reduction.

The DEA pisses away about $18 million a year in coordination with state and local authorities to pull up marijuana plants being grown both indoors and outdoors. The ineffectual program has been plagued with scandal, controversy, and ridicule. In the mid-2000s, it was revealed that most of the "marijuana" plants pulled up in the program were actually ditchweed, feral hemp plants that contain almost no THC, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post.

U.S.: New Bill Would Cut Off Federal Forfeiture Funds For DEA Marijuana Raids

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new bill with bipartisan support would eliminate one controversial source of funding for a federal marijuana seizure program.

The "Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act," introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration from using federal forfeiture funds to pay for its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, reports Nick Sibilla at Forbes. The bill would additionally ban transferring property to federal, state or local agencies if that property "is used for any purpose pertaining to" the DEA's marijuana eradication program.

The DEA gets millions of dollars annually under this program; the take was $18 million in 2013. It then funnels the cash to more than 120 state and local agencies to "eliminate marijuana grow sites" nationwide.

Last year, the program was responsible for more than 6,300 arrests, eradicating more than 4.3 million marijuana plants, and seizing $27.3 million in assets. More than half of all those plants were destroyed in California, which also accounted for more than a third of the seized assets and nearly 40 percent of the arrests.

U.S.: Congressmen Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Eliminate DEA Marijuana Eradication Program

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Congressmen Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) on Wednesday introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would eliminate the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

The enormously wasteful and ineffective DEA program distributes funds to state and local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of locating and destroying marijuana cultivation sites. The proposed bill would prohibit federal funds from being distributed to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies for any purpose pertaining to the program or any substantially similar program.

“As multiple states legalize marijuana across our nation, it is a huge waste of federal resources for the DEA to eradicate marijuana," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California). "The federal government should focus its precious resources on other issues and let the states innovate in the cannabis field. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill along with Congressman Amash.”

“Civil asset forfeiture allows innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process, and this program encourages civil asset forfeiture by allowing the DEA to use the proceeds of seized property to fund marijuana prohibition enforcement," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan). "This is especially troubling given that the federal government should not be expending resources on marijuana prohibition—enforcement is a state-level issue, and an increasing number of states are deciding to back off from prohibition.

U.S.: Democratic Congressman Wants To Defund DEA's Marijuana Eradication Program

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) is backing legislation to end funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration's wasteful marijuana eradication program.

“This is a ridiculous waste of precious federal resources, especially when multiple states and jurisdictions have already legalized marijuana,” Lieu said in a statement on Wednesday, reports Fox News. “It is time for the federal government to stop making marijuana use or possession a federal crime.”

Lieu's proposed amendment to a 2016 fiscal spending bill would cut in half the DEA's $18 million budget for eradicating cannabis grows, according to the report.

The $9 million in savings would fund domestic and sexual abuse support programs for children, reports Mark Hensch at The Hill.

Rep. Lieu on Wednesday said he intends to completely end the DEA's marijuana eradication program by fiscal 2017.

"Next year, I will bring another amendment to eliminate the program completely," he said.

Lieu called the program wasteful, given growing support for cannabis legalization nationwide.

Under the eradication program, DEA provides your tax dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies to confiscate and destroy growing marijuana plants. The program goes after both outdoor and indoor operations.

U.S.: House Narrowly Votes Against Protecting State Recreational Marijuana Laws

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The House approved a similar amendment that applies only to state laws allowing the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday narrowly defeated a measure 206-222 on Wednesday that was intended to prevent the federal government from interfering with state laws legalizing marijuana for all purposes, including adult recreational use.

The amendment, offered by Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) to the House version of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, would have prohibited the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state laws that allow the cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana.

Earlier, the House approved a similar amendment that applies only to state medical marijuana laws, which was offered by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA). It has been offered in the House eight times since 2003, and the first time it passed was last year by a vote of 219-189. It was codified in the so-called “CRomnibus” funding bill in December, and it is expected to be included in the final spending law again this year.

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