Mar 032015

The Russ Belville Show #550 420RADIO News – ResponsibleOhio’s Raised $36M for Legalization [2015-03-03 Tue]

Investors have raised at least $36 million to fund ResponsibleOhio’s plan to legalize marijuana and purchase the commercial growing sites promised to investor groups.  ResponsibleOhio officials have said they expect to spend more than $20 million to get their constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot and passed by a majority of voters in November.  The organization has revealed a dozen investors including basketball all-star Oscar Robertson, former Browns player Frostee Rucker and fashion designer Nanette Lepore, a Youngstown native.  ResponsibleOhio estimates the industry would reach $2 billion by the fourth year of operations, with $554 million in annual tax revenue for local governments, marijuana research and drug treatment by the fourth year of operation.  If approved by the Ohio Attorney General and deemed one issue by the Ohio Ballot Board, ResponsibleOhio must then collect more than 305,591 signatures of Ohio voters by July 1 to put the issue on the November ballot.

Rep. David Simpson, A Republican lawmaker in the Texas legislature, wants to decriminalize cannabis Texas-style — without all the layers of government regulation and red tape. HB 2165 would simply treat cannabis like a crop, similar to tomatoes or coffee. The conservative lawmaker states that cannabis prohibition runs counter to Republican values and it runs counter to Christian beliefs.  “I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix,” said Simpson.  In addition to religion, Simpson said the “well-intended” war on drugs has only created a culture of “no-knock warrants,” “stop-and-frisk” and “billionaire drug lords” and that existing drug laws are as big a failure as prohibition.  “You would think that our country’s history with alcohol prohibition — an era marked by bootlegging, organized crime, government corruption and a rise in crime in general — would have prevented us from making the same mistake again,” Simpson wrote.

Private clubs are now officially banned from allowing patrons to smoke marijuana on their property after the D.C. Council voted Tuesday to clarify pot legalization laws that took effect just five days ago.  The D.C. Council voted unanimously to classify private clubs as public spaces where it remains illegal to smoke marijuana. The emergency legislation, which takes immediate effect, dashes the hopes of some pot entrepreneurs who sought to host events where patrons could partake and share with others. Any business that violates the law could have its business license revoked.  Ahead of the vote, D.C. Council member Vincent Orange made a plea to legalization advocates asking them not to engage in public protests because he believed doing so could jeopardize future efforts to work with Congress on the legalization issue.

Iowa’s new medical-marijuana law would be extensively expanded, allowing use for a range of chronic conditions besides epilepsy, under a bill introduced Monday.  The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Bolkcom, also would allow production and distribution of the drug.  The current law, passed last spring, only allows use of a type of marijuana extract by patients with severe epilepsy. Critics contend that the law is practically useless, because it doesn’t provide patients with a legal way to obtain the medication. Critics also say people with other health problems should be allowed to use medical marijuana.  The bill would allow medical marijuana use by people with a range of health problems, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, AIDS, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, colitis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder. In order to qualify for the program, patients would need a health care practitioner to provide a written diagnosis.  The Iowa Department of Public Health would license four medical cannabis manufacturers, who each would run three dispensaries.

The City and County of Denver made a motion to set a limit to the number of marijuana plants being grown in a non-residential zone on Tuesday.  The proposed change will allow no more than 36 marijuana plants to be grown in a non-residential area, with the exception of licensed marijuana cultivation facilities, according to Dan Rowland, Denver’s representative for marijuana policy.  This change will not affect the 12-plant limit already in place for residential dwelling units.  The health and safety concerns include, unsafe conditions, such as overloaded electrical systems, hazardous structural features and blocked egresses, the improper use of pesticides, improper waste disposal and uncontrolled odor mitigation.  Violations of the proposed code would treated be like all other criminal violations of the Denver Revised Municipal Code, with penalties including up to one year in jail and up to a $999 fine, Rowland said.