The Prince of Pot is back in Canada after five years in a US prison. Marc Emery, the Cannabis Culture publisher and marijuana seed seller, crossed from Detroit, Michigan, into Windsor, Ontario, Canada this afternoon. Dozens of supporters met the Marc Emery there, joined by his wife, marijuana activist Jodie Emery, and lit up joints and vape pens to celebrate his arrival. When Emery was arrested almost a decade ago, the US DEA proclaimed his arrest was a “significant blow” to the US legalization movement and that reformers would have “one less pot of money” to fund their activism. Since that day, July 29th, 2005, eight states (& DC) states decriminalized marijuana, thirteen states (& DC) legalized medical marijuana, eleven states legalized use of CBD-oil, and two states legalized marijuana commerce.
The “Don’t Be a Lab Rat” campaign to convince teens not to smoke pot didn’t last 24 hours before someone smoked pot in one of the human-sized rat cages. The campaign features two such human-sized cages, a TV ad, and three theater ads designed to convince teenagers that there isn’t sufficient data on marijuana use, so their experimentation with weed makes them lab rats in Colorado’s so-called “legalization experiment”. A CBS Denver reporter who visited one of the cages found someone had crossed out “negative” and scrawled in “positive” in a sign touting marijuana’s “negative effects”. Someone had also scrawled “Smoking weed saved my life” and CBS photographed a young man toking up inside the cage. Organizers of the campaign plan to add more such cages to schools and other locations.
Voters in Saginaw, Michigan, will have the chance this November to decriminalize 1 ounce or less of marijuana within the city. The City Council voted 5-4 yesterday to place the initiative on the ballot after activists turned in 2,287 valid signatures out of 3,800 collected, beating the statutory mandate of more than 2,000 signatures needed. The Saginaw City Attorney advised the Mayor that state law required the council to pass the initiative onto the ballot by today’s date. The Council was split on forwarding the initiative, but the Mayor broke the tie, explaining that otherwise, activists in attendance would file a lawsuit against the city that it could not afford to defend. The change would mostly be symbolic, as most marijuana possession charges are made at the state, not municipal, level. It would remain to be seen whether city police would write local decrim tickets or make state misdemeanor arrests for small amounts of marijuana.
Voters in Wichita, Kansas, may not be out of luck yet on a November decriminalization vote. In this morning’s meeting, the City Council voted 7-0 to allow activists to work with the city legal staff to craft new petition language that could be voted on in April 2015. But the November vote isn’t out of the question, either. Activists fell short by 47 names on a petition to put decriminalization of one ounce on the ballot and they plan to challenge the disqualification of hundreds of signatures over handwriting irregularities. August 28 is their deadline for inclusion on the November ballot. Meanwhile, Fire it Up Kansas, a legalization group, will debut two new billboards around Wichita supporting full marijuana legalization.
Cecelia Heyder, a Chilean housewife suffering with breast cancer and lupus, is thought to be the first legal medical marijuana patient in South America. While Chile and most other South American countries have decriminalized the personal possession (usually 5 or 10 grams) of marijuana, no country has followed the example of states in the US that have legalized medical use of marijuana. In June, Chile’s Institute for Public Health granted Heyder an exemption to use Sativex, the whole-plant cannabis extract manufactured by Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals. Ana Maria Gazmuri, president of the Daya Foundation, calls the move “a very significant step” in helping the twenty epileptic youngsters her foundation is treating with cannabis. Chile’s center-right Amplitud Party has proposed legalizing the home cultivation of marijuana for personal purposes and polls show support for medical marijuana in Chile hovering around 78%.