A petition to decriminalize marijuana in Wichita, Kansas, has fallen 47 signatures short. But activists with the decrim campaign are questioning just how County Election Commissions Tabitha Lehman has been counting the signatures. The campaign turned in over 6,400 signatures for a petition drive that required 2,928 valid signatures by law. Lehman’s office rejected about 3,600 signatures as invalid, a roughly 45 percent validity rate. Activists point out that Lehman’s office subjectively disqualified signatures they felt didn’t match a person’s handwriting on their voter registration card. Lehman responded that while her office doesn’t employ anyone trained as a handwriting expert, she did have several of them look at the questionable signatures before rejecting them. The initiative would make simple possession of marijuana a $25 fine only offense. Activists will ask the Wichita City Council on Tuesday to put the initiative before the voters. Otherwise, they will recirculate their petition in time for the next city election.
Voters in South Portland, Lewiston, and likely York, Maine, will join Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC in voting for marijuana legalization this November. While the municipal votes in these three towns in Maine will largely be symbolic, if passed they would join the state’s largest city, Portland, which passed legalization of 2 ½ ounce possession by 67 percent last year, in setting the stage for a statewide legalization campaign in 2016. Today the Maine Marijuana Policy Project turned in turned in enough valid signatures to force Lewiston’s city council to legalize possession of 1 ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older or place the initiative before the voters. On Monday, the city council of South Portland placed that city’s 1 ounce legalization on the ballot. On the previous Monday, the board of selectmen in York voted 3-2 not to place 1 ounce legalization on the ballot after MMMP submitted a required 100 signatures to make that request; however, the activist group plans on continuing collecting of the 631 signatures needed to force a public vote.
San Diego’s Union of Medical Marijuana Patients has sued the city and the California Coastal Commission over restrictive zoning of medical marijuana co-ops. But rather than basing their complaint on patient access or disability rights, this lawsuit claims that restricting co-ops to just a few located in certain industrial and commercial zones effectively violates the California Environmental Quality Act. San Diego’s “extremely restrictive approach,” the lawsuit contends, will require “thousands of patients to drive across the City of San Diego to obtain their medicine because cooperatives are only allowed in certain limited places in the city, which will create traffic and air pollution.” The Coastal Commission is named in the lawsuit because it had to approve San Diego’s ordinance under the Environmental Quality Act and it “failed to analyze the reasonably foreseeable consequences of increased indoor cultivation of medical marijuana,” which patients are forced into when they lack co-ops. The suit notes is “responsible for about 3 percent of all electricity use or 9 percent of household use” in California, equivalent to “greenhouse-gas emissions equal to those from 1 million cars.”
The continuing fallout from accidental over-ingestion of THC chocolate bars at the Denver County Fair has now culminated in a class action lawsuit. Jordan Coombs was one of three people who reportedly ate Full Melt Chocolate samples at the fair provided by LivWell, a Denver pot shop. Two of the three people were hospitalized, the first of whom, Richard Jones, reported that the LivWell rep who distributed the chocolate indicated they were THC-free samples. The Denver County Fair said in a statement that “we had a very strict policy that all of our vendors agree to, banning all marijuana … products from the fair.” In Coombs negligence lawsuit against Full Melt Chocolate and LivWell, he described feeling ill at the fair, then he “projectile vomited uncontrollably” in the car while his wife drove him home. Jones told the media “I was sweaty. I was nauseous. I was panicking. I was afraid it was a stroke or a heart attack.”
A pre-dawn raid in California by thieves posing as law enforcement has left two rippers dead and a teenage girl terrified. Seven armed men forced their way into a Fresno home where three plots totaling 150 marijuana plants were growing. A man inside was pistol-whipped and a fierce gun battle ensued between the rippers and the growers. As police arrived, two cars sped away from the scene. Officers caught one car at the hospital, where one ripper died of his gunshot wounds and two rippers were arrested. Three others in the other car kidnapped a 15-year-old girl from the home to use as a human shield, dropping her off unharmed in downtown Fresno after eluding police on a 100 MPH chase. The seventh ripper was found dead of his gunshot wounds near the home. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said the incident is “directly related to drug trafficking and not medical marijuana.”