Oct 222014

Uruguay’s leading opposition candidate said on Wednesday he would try to repeal much of the country’s ground-breaking marijuana law, which permits the commercial production and sale of the drug, if he wins Sunday’s presidential election.  “I will keep the law’s articles that allow users to grow their own cannabis at home and authorize smoking clubs and repeal the rest, in particular the state’s commercialization of the drug,” centrist candidate Luis Lacalle Pou told Reuters.  The presidential candidate for the right-wing Colorado Party has publicly opposed the law.  Polls show Lacalle Pou trailing the candidate for the left-wing Frente Amplio (“Broad Front”) ruling coalition, Tabare Vazquez, who has endorsed the law.  But with both men projected to fall short of the absolute majority needed for a first-round victory; they will probably go to a late November runoff, where polls show them running neck and neck.

Monday in California a federal judge is scheduled to hear testimony from doctors that conclude the that the war on marijuana is unconstitutional.  Doctors Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University, retired physician Phillip Denny, and Greg Carter, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington will testify Monday that marijuana — real name, “cannabis” — is not the demon drug the federal government makes it out to be. Accepted science does not justify the listing of cannabis as a dangerous “Schedule I” substance, many say.  Attorneys Zenia Gilg and Heather Burke write that “In effect, the action taken by the Department of Justice is either irrational, or more likely proves … [that] marijuana does not fit the criteria of a Schedule I Controlled Substance.”  Testimony for the evidentiary hearing of United States v. Pickard, et. al., should last three days.

Prohibitionists’ claims that marijuana use costs IQ points are freshly debunked.  A new study out from the University College of London draws on a sample of 2,612 children born in the Bristol area of the U.K. in 1991 and 1992. Researchers examined children’s IQ scores at age 8 and again at age 15, and found “no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15,” when confounding factors – alcohol use, cigarette use, maternal education, and others – were taken into account. Even heavy marijuana use wasn’t associated with IQ. “In particular alcohol use was found to be strongly associated with IQ decline,” the authors write. “No other factors were found to be predictive of IQ change.”  The UK study does find evidence, however, of slightly impaired educational abilities among the very heaviest marijuana users. This group of students scored roughly 3% lower on school exams taken at age 16, even after adjusting for confounding factors.

The Associated Press reported on Monday that the state Health Department was proposing to ban nearly all forms of edible marijuana, to make it easier to keep children from overdosing. The proposal was one of several ideas presented to a state-sponsored working group considering safety regulations for the marijuana industry.  But health officials quickly backed away from the plan after the A.P. article appeared. As the Denver Post reported, edibles account for nearly half of the state’s cannabis business. Forcing all those soda- and candy-makers out of business or underground would be a head-spinning retreat for Colorado’s world-leading legalization experiment.  It would also seem to clearly violate the Constitutional amendment, overwhelmingly approved by Colorado voters, to make marijuana in its many forms legal, and to regulate it like alcohol.

The City of Seattle has rules on its books demanding that businesses engaged in “major marijuana activity” — growing more than 45 plants or having more than 72 ounces of usable marijuana on hand — get a license from the state.  The Catch-22: There is no such license to obtain for those businesses providing medical marijuana.  Nevertheless, the heads of Seattle’s finance and planning departments sent 330 letters last Thursday to known marijuana businesses, writing, “Businesses that have been conducting major marijuana activity since before November 16, 2013 have until July 1, 2015 (or January 1, 2016, depending on action by the state legislature), to either: (1) obtain a state-issued license or (2) stop conducting major marijuana activity.  Any new (i.e., commencing on or after November 16,2013) major marijuana activity in Seattle must have a state license. If you began operating after November 16, 2013 and do not have a state issued license, you are in violation of City law and can be subject to enforcement action.