May 272014


CBS News’ most recent poll on marijuana legalization finds Americans split on the issue in a slight decline of support from earlier this year.  Forty-eight percent of Americans agree that marijuana use should be legal compared to forty-seven percent who disagree.  Men’s support at 54 percent outpaces women’s support at 43 percent, an eleven point gap similar to most polls.  People under age 45 support legalization as do people in the West and Northeast.  As usual, liberals and moderates support legalization and conservatives oppose it.

Washington State will no longer screen parolees for their use of marijuana.  In a report on Seattle’s KING-5 News, the Washington Department of Corrections will allow its 14,000 parolees to consume marijuana like any other citizen covered by Initiative 502.  Marijuana testing will end on June 1st, because, as the department’s assistant secretary, Annmarie Aylward puts it, “We don’t want them held to that level when, as a citizen, you wouldn’t be held to that level either.”  While Washington’s statutory law has caused an end to parolee THC testing, in Colorado parolees will continue to be denied marijuana use, despite it being a constitutional right, and will still be tested for the presence of THC metabolites.

Pot-loving rapper Wiz Khalifa was busted in Texas for marijuana possession this weekend.  Khalifa was boarding a plane at the El Paso airport bound for Dallas when TSA officials discovered his stash of a mere half gram of marijuana.  Khalifa was arrested and turned over to El Paso police, where he then took a photo of himself in jail and posted it to Instagram.

Drug Policy Alliance is behind new initiative campaigns to decriminalize marijuana in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico.  In both cities, offenders can be fined and sentenced to up to fifteen days in jail for a first offense, ninety days for a second offense involving marijuana or paraphernalia.  Under the initiatives being spearheaded locally by Progress Now New Mexico, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia would become a civil offense subject to a ticket and a $25 fine.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano won a victory in his fight to standardize and regulate California’s medical marijuana industry.  Assembly Bill 1894 has finally passed the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, making way for a vote of the full Assembly this week.  AB 1894 would create a division within California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.  The new agency would set statewide regulations from “seed to sale” and would be allowed to impose fees on marijuana businesses.  Localities would also be allowed to impose their own taxes on marijuana.

Unlicensed dispensaries in Oregon are now being attacked by the Oregon Health Authority.  While the state passed HB3460 to create a system of licensed and regulated dispensaries, many marijuana outlets have been open and operating since before the law passed.  The state has issued licenses to about ninety establishments so far.  As of Thursday, the state has begun issuing warning letters to these unlicensed operators, warning them to close or register with the state.  Those who ignore the warning face fines of $500 per day.

Politifact has called out the opponents of Florida’s medical marijuana amendment for misleading campaign scaremongering over teenagers.  The coalition, called Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot, claimed in their talking points that “The amendment allows a teenager to get a recommendation for medical marijuana without the consent of a parent.”  Jon Mills, representing United for Care, the group behind the amendment, explained that the amendment doesn’t address an age limit because, as a constitutional amendment, any limit that was set would be impossible to change.  Instead, the amendment allows the state to craft regulations that address age limits.  Every other medical marijuana state has adopted regulations regarding minors’ access to cannabis and so will Florida.  The only “teenagers” who will be able to access medical marijuana without parental involvement will be the 18- and 19-year-olds who are adults under the law.

Leaders in the Caribbean Nations are looking to legalized medical marijuana as a boost to the region’s economy.  The Jamaican government is being lobbied heavily by the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force to move on the issue of medical marijuana within the next four months.  They call upon Jamaica to expunge all criminal convictions for personal possession of marijuana.  When Caribbean Community nations meet in Antigua in July, decriminalization is expected to be a prime subject of debate, with St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony remarking that “this issue must be dealt with on the regional level.”