A coalition of law enforcers has come out in support of marijuana legalization in Oregon, less than a week before voters will decide the issue at the polls. “Treating marijuana as a crime has failed,” 30 former police officers, sheriffs, prosecutors and judges write in a letter released Wednesday by Yes on 91, the campaign supporting legalization in Oregon. “Arresting and citing thousands of people in Oregon and elsewhere for marijuana-related crimes is a distraction to law enforcement and a misuse of taxpayer resources. The time and money spent should go to make our communities safer. Police resources should be focused on violent criminals, thieves and criminal cartels.” Signers include Pete Tutmark, former Oregon County deputy sheriff; Kris Olson, retired U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon; Norm Stamper, retired Seattle police chief; Tony Ryan, former Denver Police Department lieutenant; and Stephen Downing, retired Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief.
Should D.C. residents vote to legalize marijuana possession next week, it would take a step toward creating a $130-million-a-year, legal cannabis market in the city, D.C. financial officials have determined. The ballot initiative voters will see Tuesday does not allow for the sale of marijuana — only the possession and home cultivation of small amounts — but D.C. Council members gathered Thursday to hear testimony on what a legal sales regime might look like. Testimony prepared by city financial officials pegs the potential size of the market at $130 million a year — based on an estimate of 122,000 users, including residents, commuters and tourists, each consuming three ounces of marijuana costing an average of $350 per ounce. An initial version of a marijuana regulation bill before the council sets a sales tax of 15 percent, suggesting yearly government revenues of nearly $20 million. But the financial office declined to estimate tax revenue, citing the unfinished nature of the regulatory legislation and the difficulty of determining how many current marijuana users will migrate from the black market to legal, taxed purchases.
On Nov. 4, voters in 11 Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to ever consider the question in a single election in the state. The proposal would make it legal for anyone over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on private property. Several Michigan cities, including Hazel Park, have already decriminalized or legalized marijuana. City Manager Edward Klobucher says not much has changed since the legalization of small amounts of marijuana and he doesn’t expect it to. While pro-marijuana activists want to place marijuana legalization on the state ballot in 2016, Ream believes it may be a while longer before that actually occurs. But pro-marijuana advocates have put 16 measures on local ballots and they haven’t lost once.
Cincinnati City Council has passed a marijuana law that could clear the record of up to 10,000 people convicted of minor pot offenses. The proposal from council member Charlie Winburn passed unanimously at Wednesday’s meeting. Winburn had argued that the city’s 2006 marijuana law was too tough on minor offenders. While state law imposed a $150 citation for possession of less than 100 grams, city law made it a misdemeanor. That gave offenders a criminal record and also carried a fine of $250 and up to 30 days in jail. Winburn had said some people found it hard to find a job with that charge on their record. In addition, Winburn wants the city to ask the state to amend its expungement laws to seal all misdemeanor 1 and misdemeanor 4 marijuana charges.
A Chilean municipality planted the country’s first medical marijuana on Wednesday as part of a pilot program aimed to help ease the pain of cancer patients. The 850 seeds were imported from the Netherlands, and oil extracted from about half of the plants will be given to 200 patients selected by a municipality in the capital of Santiago and by the Daya Foundation, a nonprofit group that sponsors pain-relieving therapies. A law passed in 2005 allowed medical use of marijuana in Chile, but only with approval by the country’s agricultural service. It approved only one earlier effort, in 2011, but quickly rescinded permission after opposition from health authorities. This time, the organizers won the backing of the state as well as a local university, which will use the project for research on the effectiveness of marijuana in fighting pain.