The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office claims unarmed teenager Michael Brown had marijuana in his system when he was gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, last Saturday. While Mary Case, the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy, would only confirm that the victim was shot in the head and chest multiple times, an anonymous source told the Washington Post about the marijuana test results. The community has been rocked by eight days of protests and militarized policing. Some protestors note the release of surveillance video of Brown’s convenience store theft combined with this release of irrelevant test results revealing Brown’s marijuana use serve only to impugn Brown’s character before a potential jury. “What was in the system of that cop when he was pumping bullets into that boy’s body?” asked a protest leader, shouting into a megaphone, during a rally on Friday afternoon.
New Approach Oregon, the campaign behind Measure 91 to legalize marijuana in the Beaver State, has announced it will be funding the most expensive pro-marijuana campaign in state history. The campaign, flush with mostly out-of-state money raised through the Drug Policy Alliance, has reserved $2.3 million in ad buys, including $750,000 on local NBC affiliate KGW and ABC affiliate KATU from September 22 through the November election. The group’s first ad featured a retired 80-year-old school teacher explaining that “marijuana is here and it is not going away”, so we should tax and regulate it to benefit society. The latest ad features the retired head of the state’s addictions and mental health division, praising the measure for providing money for drug treatment and prevention, which he said is now “overwhelmingly underfunded” in the state.
Is marijuana to blame for a tourism boom in Colorado? Maybe, say recent reports in various newspapers. The Des Moines Register quotes a pot shop owner in Denver who says about 80 percent of her customers are from out of town and “how suitcases will be lined up by the front door from people who just got off a plane.” The Denver Post reports Hotels.com saw a 73% search increase for Denver over the 4/20 holiday. The Boston Globe reports Priceline.com found Denver was the 3rd-most popular spring break destination, beating Florida, California, and Mexico. But the people at Visit Denver claim it is merely coincidence, since 2013 was also a record tourism year before pot sales were legal and that most of the tourism rise is due to conventions that were booked long before marijuana was legalized.
Voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will decide this November to lower the punishment for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults to just a $25 fine. Marijuana would also become the lowest police enforcement priority. The City Clerk’s office has certified that activists have turned in more than 5,000 valid signatures to meet election requirements; however, the City Council itself can approve the ordinance before then. In Albuquerque, activists came up short on their signature count for a similar decrim proposal. Tonight in their meeting, the City Council will debate putting the measure before Albuquerque voters, citing a math mistake at the clerk’s office that gave signature gatherers a lower goal than what was legally required. Five of the nine councilors are needed to pass the measure and it would need the support of the mayor to make the ballot.
The town of Brush, Colorado, will be holding its second public hearing tonight concerning the conversion of a former women’s prison into a massive marijuana growing operation. Nicholas Erker bought the prison this year but Brush has declared a moratorium on all marijuana businesses. Brush also voted against Amendment 64 that legalized marijuana. The former Colorado High Plains Correctional Facility is “a 60,000-square-foot concrete building that’s surrounded by barbed-wire fence and razor-wire on the top of it” according to Erker, making it the most secure site to grow marijuana in Colorado. Erker claims the grow site would bring 31 jobs and half a million in tax revenue to Brush, but locals with signs reading “Morals and Value Over Money” and “All America City Equals No Marijuana” are expected to return to protest tonight.