In Oregon, Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington county district attorneys say they’ll revisit pending marijuana cases, including violation-level possession offenses, in light of Measure 91’s passage this week. Changes to the state’s cannabis possession and cultivation statutes won’t take effect until July 1, 2015. Oregon prosecutors said they are still figuring out how to respond to legal marijuana, including whether they will prosecute new pot possession offenses between now and July 1, 2015. As for whether prosecutors would take on new marijuana cases between now and July 1, 2015, when Measure 91 goes into effect, he said prosecutors will consult with police agencies in the county before making a decision. Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said the agency will continue to enforce the laws on marijuana. “We will enforce them as they are,” said Hastings, noting that current laws remain in place until next summer.
The day after Amendment 2 failed, supporters of medical marijuana began preparing for rounds two and three: Business groups and sympathetic lawmakers plan to push new laws next spring, and John Morgan vows another statewide referendum effort in 2016. State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R- Shalimar, and another who pushed a bill for full medical-marijuana legalization, state Rep. Jeff Clemons, D-Lake Worth, each said Wednesday they hope the Legislature will consider broader marijuana legislation this year. Meanwhile, Morgan, who championed Amendment 2, said Wednesday he is hopeful for another attempt because many opponents never said they opposed medical marijuana; they just didn’t like the wording of Amendment 2, which can be changed. The Florida Medical Cannabis Association and The Florida Cannabis Coalition said Wednesday they expect their business interests to go to Tallahassee to lobby the Florida Legislature to consider legalizing medicinal uses of at least certain forms of marijuana.
Amanda Marshall, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, said on Wednesday the passage of Measure 91 won’t change how her office views marijuana. Marijuana has generally been a low priority, though federal authorities in past years have raided large-scale marijuana grow sites in southern Oregon. Marshall, who has closely tracked the state’s dispensary program, said she’ll pay attention to how Oregon implements Measure 91. She’s particularly concerned with how state officials will keep marijuana from leaking to the black market, a problem Colorado has experienced since legal pot was introduced in 2012. And while she’s not planning to change her priorities, she said a team of prosecutors that reviews fraud cases will keep an eye out for marijuana-related financial crimes. Prosecutors will consider opening cases that involve more than $150,000 tied to fraud and the marijuana trade, she said.
MSNBC has become the next cable news channel in recent weeks to cash in on the growing marijuana legalization buzz. The network is set to air a six-part documentary series titled “Pot Barons of Colorado,” which will follow the owners of two of the state’s most popular legal dispensaries as well as the CEO of Dixie Elixirs, a marijuana soda company. The news comes just weeks after CNN announced a similar pot-themed reality series, “High Profits,” to premiere in 2015. With the nation’s capital voting to follow states like Colorado and Washington state and legalize marijuana on Tuesday, clearly cable news channels are seeing a growing market for more pot-centric programming.
A California ballot measure to conduct random drug-testing of doctors and raise the cap on “pain and suffering” damages in medical malpractice lawsuits failed to pass Tuesday. Proposition 46 stemmed from a tragedy faced by its author, Bob Pack, whose young children were killed nearly 11 years ago by a driver under the influence of drugs prescribed by multiple physicians. When Pack set out to sue those doctors for pain and suffering, he struggled to find a lawyer because of California’s cap on such damages (legal fees in medical malpractice cases are often a percentage of the money won for the client). At $250,000, California’s cap on pain-and-suffering damages is the lowest in the country. Prop 46 sought to raise it to $1.1 million. The doctor drug-testing provision also proved to be controversial. Under Prop. 46, physicians could have been tested for drugs at random, within 24 hours of an adverse event suffered by a patient under their care, and when they were accused of possible substance abuse. Had it passed, California would have been the only state requiring random drug tests of doctors.