Nov 142014

420RADIO News for 2014-11-14 (Friday)

In Zambia, Peter Sinkamba will announce his candidacy on the Green party ticket to replace the late President Michael Sata, who died on 29 October from an undisclosed illness. Sinkamba, regarded as Zambia’s leading environmentalist for his battles against the country’s big copper mines, is running on an unlikely platform, especially in this socially conservative nation: legalizing marijuana.  Sinkamba said his marijuana proposal would wean Zambia off its addiction to mining by prioritizing its fledgling agricultural sector.  “Historically, we’ve been the kind of people that have consumed a lot of marijuana,” said Sinkamba. “It is massively cultivated across the whole country [for the black market] … So what we’re saying is, look, let’s come out of it and legalize it.”  Sinkamba reckons that Zambia could capture up to 10% of a global marijuana market – estimated at $140 billion by the UN in 2005 – which would make it more lucrative than copper mining.

Voters in the District of Columbia voted two to one to legalize marijuana for recreational use in last week’s election, and if Republicans think they can block the expressed will of D.C. voters, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said Thursday, they’ve got another thing coming.  Holmes Norton, who cannot cast a vote as D.C.’s sole delegate in the House of Representatives, said the District “should be able to legalize marijuana without federal interference.”  GOP Rep. Andy Harris, whose district includes several D.C. suburbs, told The Washington Post the day after the election, “Actions by those in D.C. will result in higher drug use among teens. I will consider using all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action.”  D.C.’s mayor-elect, Muriel Bowser, has said the city will move forward with legalization after the city council passes separate measures to regulate the sale and taxation of marijuana.

Georgia state lawmakers revealed what the state’s new medical marijuana bill will look like after last year’s proposed bill failed.  Medical marijuana grow houses and immunity from prosecution for the families of patients who legally obtain it from other states and bring it back to Georgia are two elements of the new medical marijuana bill that state lawmakers will debate in January.  State Rep. Allen Peake, the bill sponsor, said that Georgia’s lawmakers have learned a lot over the past year and hope to pass a better bill this year that would allow private entities to grow medical marijuana in the state.  Peake also said that the medical marijuana grown in Georgia would contain very low THC so that patients would not be able to get high from it.

An initiative petition that would make the adult use of marijuana legal in Nevada could come to fruition if signatures presented to election officials are valid.  Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol – Nevada 2016The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Nevada have “unloaded much more than the 101,667 registered voter signatures needed to qualify the petition,” said Joe Brezny, spokesman for the coalition.  The deadline to submit signatures for the petition was Wednesday. In Clark County alone, more than 145,000 signatures were submitted.  The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in Nevada is now working to present signatures to county offices in rural Nevada and Washoe.  The initiative can be passed by the legislature and signed by the governor as early as spring, or they can refuse and push the issue to the voters in 2016’s general election.

A Kent County, Michigan prosecutor says his opposition to decriminalizing marijuana in Grand Rapids is not about usurping “voters’ rights.”  “I don’t think this case is about voters’ rights,” Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Tim McMorrow said Friday, Nov. 14.  “The voters do not have a right to adopt anything they want,” he said. “Something doesn’t become valid because the voters voted for it.”  McMorrow made the argument to a three-judge panel of state Court of Appeals justices in Grand Rapids.  He argued on behalf of Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, who is fighting the 2012 voter-approved city charter amendment to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil infraction.  McMorrow said the city, even with voter consent, cannot make an offense a civil infraction if it is a crime at the state level. He suggested there could be issues with “double jeopardy.”  “I do not see how they can possibly get around that. No provision of any city charter shall conflict with any given law of the state,” he said.  “What the city has done is really create a safe haven for using marijuana in the city of Grand Rapids,” McMorrow said.