The New York Times has endorsed Alaska’s, Washington DC’s, and Oregon’s measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Regarding Alaska, the Times writes, “Ballot Measure 2 would mean that Alaskans could buy it from a store instead of resorting to the black market.” Regarding Washington DC, the Times writes, “Initiative 71 would repeal all criminal and civil penalties for personal possession of marijuana and allow limited, private cultivation of the drug.” Regarding Oregon, the Times writes, “Measure 91 would also set a minimum age of 21. It would give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the power to regulate marijuana as it does alcohol, and would direct it to review tax rates regularly.” Regarding all legalization initiatives, the Times writes, “Decades of arresting people for buying, selling and using marijuana have hurt more than helped society, and minority communities have been disproportionately affected by the harsh criminal penalties of prohibition.”
Protesters from the Mt. Calvary Christian Center led by Pastor Reggie Witherspoon chanted “Shut it down!” in front of Uncle Ike’s — Seattle’s second state-licensed marijuana retailer — on Sunday afternoon. At the rally, Witherspoon called for his parishioners to rally throughout the week against the legal weed shop. The church is located at 1412 23rd Avenue just a few yards from Uncle Ike’s at 2310 East Union St. Uncle Ike’s owner, Ian Eisenberg, said, “They did what they had to do. I understand they don’t like the law, but Washington overwhelmingly voted for Initiative 502. And, no one contemplated a 1,000-foot-rule from churches.” Eisenberg was referring the 1,000-foot buffer the state and the feds demand around schools, playgrounds, federally subsidized housing and so forth.
The Dallas Morning News reported over the weekend that Dallas County will pilot a cite-and-release program next year allowing those caught with less than two ounces of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor, to avoid a trip to jail. Weed aficionados will still face up to a $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail (though most will get off with probation or be eligible for a diversion program), but Dallas County won’t be out the $63 it takes to house an inmate for a day, and police won’t have to waste precious hours ferrying potheads to jail. The county could have been doing this since 2007, when the legislature allowed local jurisdictions to implement cite-and-release, and Dallas Police Chief David Brown said earlier this year that he planned to continue locking up pot users until the legislature orders him to do otherwise. Only pot-users with a valid state ID showing an address in Dallas County will be eligible for cite-and-release.
People who went to the hospital with traumatic brain injuries were more likely to survive if they had marijuana in their system, according to a new published report by Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute. The study, published in the October edition of The American Surgeon, was drawn from the records of trauma patients admitted to County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center near Torrance from 2012 through Jan. 1, 2010 through 2012. LA BioMed, as it’s commonly called, is an independent research institute on the campus of the hospital. Only 2.4 percent of those who tested THC-positive died in the hospital as a result of their injuries while 11.5 percent of the patients who did not have THC in their system died. “This study was one of the first in a clinical setting to specifically associate THC use as an independent predictor of survival after traumatic brain injury,” said David Plurad, an LA BioMed researcher, Harbor-UCLA critical care physician and co-author of the report, titled “Effect of Marijuana Use on Outcomes in Traumatic Brain Injury.”
Jennie Stormes is moving to Colorado. She doesn’t yet have a job. Someone is offering her a place to stay while she gets settled. And she’s leaving behind the support system of friends, educational specialists and doctors necessary to address her son’s severe form of epilepsy. But the Hope Township resident feels the state’s restrictive medical marijuana program has backed her into a corner, leaving her no choice but to seek the treatment her son needs across the country. Supply isn’t necessarily the issue; it’s more a problem with getting access to the drug in the proper form to treat seizures, Stormes said. While the state amended the law to expand the program, it still hasn’t approved what form in which edibles are available, leaving parents to convert the marijuana into an oil and essentially breaking the law, she said. As the research and data improve, Downs said he believes more doctors will consider medical marijuana as a treatment in conjunction with traditional pharmaceuticals. But Stormes says her son can’t wait for that day, while the options he needs already exist in Colorado. “I can do what I need to do for my son and I don’t have to worry about the police, the state or the political climate,” she said.