The newly legal marijuana market in Uruguay got a big boost yesterday when Senator Jorge Larranaga lost his party’s presidential primary. Senator Larranaga is the leading opponent of the marijuana legalization scheme instituted this year by President Jose Mujica, saying before the primary, “We are going to overturn this law that legalized marijuana growing. Nobody plant anything! Don’t plant anything because we’re going to knock it down!” The winner of the right-wing National Party’s primary was Congressman Luis Lacalle Pou who said he would leave much of the legalization program intact, but open it up to private enterprise. Other candidates include the center-left Broad Front party’s Tabare Vazquez, a former president of Uruguay who is considered the leading candidate, and Senator Pedro Bordaberry of the center-right, who is also against marijuana legalization but is considered the dark horse in the race.
Cannabis entrepreneurs are spouting like weeds in Florida. As the state prepares this November to vote on Question 2, a constitutional amendment that will legalize medical use of marijuana, prospective marijuana businessmen are paying tuition at schools like Medical Marijuana Tampa, Cannabis University of Florida in Jacksonville and seminars such as the traveling Cannabis Career Institute. There are already over one-hundred businesses listed in Florida with names including “Cannabis” or “Marijuana”, all seeking to service what are expected to be almost four-hundred twenty thousand potential qualifying patients who will need an estimated eighteen hundred dispensaries. Gross revenues in medical marijuana sales are expected to bring in twenty-seven million dollars per week. The latest polls show medical marijuana support at eighty-eight percent and the measure needs sixty percent to pass. The primary opponents of Question 2 include the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Medical Association, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
California State Wildlife Officials are blaming commercial marijuana growing for draining streams during this year’s devastating drought. Scott Bauer, a biologist with the state, was curious about streams in four key watersheds that have been running dry more often since Californians passed the Compassionate Use Act legalizing medical use of marijuana. “We knew people were diverting water for marijuana operations, but we wanted to know exactly how much,” Bauer told The Denver Post, “We didn’t know they could consume all the water in a stream.” Bauer used Google Maps data of medical marijuana grows and estimated about thirty thousand cannabis plants were being grown in each river system, each using six gallons of water per day for a one-hundred fifty day grow cycle. Fish and Wildlife Lt. John Nores, told the Post, “Whether it’s grown quasi legally under the state’s medical marijuana laws, or it’s a complete cartel outdoor drug trafficking grow site, there is extreme environmental damage being done at all levels.”
An attempt to find the taxation of marijuana at the state level illegal in federal court has been challenged by Washington’s attorney general. The lawsuit, filed by attorney Douglas Hiatt on behalf of Martin Nickerson, seeks to defend Nickerson from charges stemming from his operation of a medical marijuana dispensary in Bellingham. Hiatt argues that the state cannot collect taxes from Nickerson without Nickerson admitting to the violation of federal law; an argument Hiatt believes shows that the State of Washington is violating Nickerson’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Hiatt also believes that if his argument is successful, Washington and Colorado’s taxation of recreational marijuana could be found unconstitutional. A similar Fifth Amendment argument was used by Dr. Timothy Leary in 1969 at the US Supreme Court, which found the federal Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. The state attorney general has filed a motion to the US District Judge to have the case moved down to state court.
Thousands of Chileans marched Sunday through the city of Santiago demanding the legalization of marijuana. Pot was smoked openly as the people called out the example of their South American neighbor, Uruguay, and implored the Chilean government to follow suit. One marcher named Laura told the Associated Press, “I’m marching because I want an old age without pain, I want to have a quiet old age and I believe that marijuana is an alternative (remedy) for pain and illness.” Another marcher, Gustavo, told reporters, “We are marching for a new drug policy so consumers are not criminalized, and drug traffickers are criminalized.” The demonstrators demanded the legalization of marijuana, decriminalization of consumption, including the right to grow marijuana for personal use.
Liam Payne, one of the members of the British boy band One Direction has apologized on Twitter for the recent video showing two other members, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson, smoking marijuana. “I love my boys and maybe things have gone a little sideways. I apologize for that,” wrote Payne, “We are only in our 20’s we all do stupid things at this age.” The five minute video of the two bandmates showed them riding through the streets of Lima, Peru. Tomlinson is heard saying, “So here we are, leaving Peru. Joint lit. Happy days!” He then asks Malik, “What do you think about that kind of content?” and Malik responds, “Very controversial.”