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Arizona: DEA Agent Echoes Message of Billboard Supporting Marijuana Initiative

Arizona-CRMLA-Buy-American-Billboard.jpg

The Independence Day-themed ad highlights benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana in Arizona: ‘Adults could buy American and support schools, not cartels’

A 23-year veteran of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who spent years investigating Mexican drug cartels is throwing his support behind the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Arizona and echoing the message of a billboard supporters launched this week at Tempe Marketplace.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana, adults could buy American,” reads the Independence Day-themed ad, instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona.

It also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.” The proposed initiative would initially generate $64 million in annual state tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

Arizona: 4th of July Themed Billboard Highlights Benefits of Marijuana Legalization

Arizona-CRMLA-Buy-American-Billboard.jpg

Backers of the ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona have launched an Independence Day-themed billboard to highlight the benefits of regulating and taxing marijuana.

“If Arizona regulates marijuana,” the billboard reads, “adults could buy American,” instead of buying marijuana that has been illegally smuggled across the Mexican border into Arizona. The ad also notes that revenue from regulated marijuana sales would “support schools, not cartels.”

The proposed initiative would initially generate an estimated $64 million in annual tax revenue, including $51 million for K-12 education and all-day kindergarten programs, according to an independent study conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute.

U.S.: Congressman Blumenauer Writes Open Letter To President About Marijuana

EarlBlumenauer(Congressman-D-OR)[LadyBud]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Congressman Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday wrote an open letter advocating marijuana legalization to President Obama in advance of the President's State of the Union speech.

"As you begin your last year in office, I hope there is one more step you take to bring about fundamental change — ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances," Rep. Blumenauer wrote to the President.

The language chosen by Rep. Blumenauer is very significant, politically speaking. "Removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances" is, of course, the only way forward that avoids cannabis being immediately co-opted and controlled by Big Pharma, which is assuredly what will happen if it is moved from Schedule I to Schedule II or III on the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act.

Following is Rep. Blumenauer's letter in its entirety.

An Open Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:

A State of the Union speech is a unique opportunity to address Congress and the nation about priorities and accomplishments, as well as to highlight critical issues.

I remember another speech in May 2008 when you spoke to over 70,000 Portlanders. The overwhelming feeling of hope coming from the crowd was palpable.

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

MexicoMarijuanaFlag[MJHeadlineNews]

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.

U.S.: DOJ Asks Supreme Court To Dismiss Suit Against Colorado Marijuana Legalization

SolicitorGeneralDonaldVerrilli[RWULaw]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The U.S. Solicitor General, on behalf of the federal Department of Justice, on Wednesday filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that the neighboring states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed against Colorado's marijuana legalization law.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., in the brief, argues that the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) "does not preempt a 'State law on the same subject matter' as the CSA's control and enforcement provisions 'unless there is a positive conflict' between federal and state law 'so that the two cannot consistently stand together.'

"Here, for example, it is conceivable that the Court could conclude that whether Colorado's scheme creates a 'positive conflict' with the CSA ultimately turns on, among other factors, the practical efficacy of Colorado's regulatory system in preventing or deterring interstate marijuana trafficking," the Solicitor General -- whose duty it is to represent the federal government before the Supreme Court -- wrote.

“This is the right move by the Obama administration," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "Colorado and a growing number of states have decided to move away from decades of failed prohibition laws, and so far things seem to be working out as planned.

Mexico: Drug Trafficker 'El Chapo' Is Folk Hero No. 1

ElChapoTshirt[NewYorkTimes]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In Sinaloa State, Mexico, where Joaquín Guzmán Loera -- better known as El Chapo -- was born, the notorious drug trafficker's spectacular escape through a hidden tunnel under what was supposed to be the most secure prison in Mexico has enhanced his status as an outlaw folk hero.

American officials claim Guzmán has contributed to "the death and destruction of millions of lives across the globe through drug addiction, violence and corruption," yet for many Mexicans, he is a combination of Robin Hood and billionaire, report William Neuman and Azam Ahmed for The New York Times.

El Chapo fought the law, and unlike the Bobby Fuller Four, he won. He beat what many Mexicans view as a corrupt ruling class, and Mexico -- just like America -- loves an outlaw.

“Why do people admire him?” said Adrián Cabrera, a blogger in Culiacán wearing a black T-shirt with a picture of El Chapo. “Because he’s a living legend. He’s like Al Capone. He’s like Lucky Luciano. Like Tony Soprano. Like Scarface. He’s like a character on a television show, except that he’s alive, he’s real.”

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