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In what advocates describe as an historic first, a trio of senators plan to unveil a federal medical marijuana bill Tuesday. The bill, to be introduced by Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would end the federal ban on medical marijuana. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act would “allow patients, doctors and businesses in states that have already passed medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of federal prosecution,” according to a joint statement from the senators’ offices. The bill will also “make overdue reforms to ensure patients – including veterans receiving care from VA facilities in states with medical marijuana programs – access the care they need.” Potential Republican presidential candidates Rand, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) have all said they support states’ rights to legalize pot, though they themselves disagree with the policy.
An Oregon marijuana group has responded to a request by city and county associations that the state Legislature allow local governments to impose their own taxes on marijuana sales or to ban pot businesses all together. The group, Portland NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), said the appeal conflicts with the voter-approved Oregon’s Measure 91. NORML argues local voters, not city or county councils, should decide whether to ban sales in their areas. Furthermore, they argue, Measure 91 provides that only the state may tax marijuana, not cities and counties. “For the Legislature to subvert the clear language and intent of the people is a threat not only to the viability of Oregon’s legal marijuana market, but to the very foundation of Oregon democracy,” the group said in a statement posted to its website Sunday.
A lawmaker on the country’s largest American Indian reservation has introduced a bill to reaffirm the tribe’s stance against legalizing marijuana. Navajo Nation Council Delegate Edmund Yazzie says legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use contradicts Navajo values and tradition. His bill introduced this week comes in response to an announcement last year by the U.S. Department of Justice to allow American Indian tribes to grow and sell marijuana within certain guidelines. Navajo lawmakers can take action on Yazzie’s bill after a public comment period. Yazzie has said legalizing marijuana would drive up crime rates and drug addiction on the vast reservation that extends into New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Other tribes across the nation are cautiously debating whether to approve marijuana sales and use.
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez’s DNA was found on a marijuana joint at the scene of a killing near his home, a crime lab scientist testified Friday. Hernandez is on trial for murder in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. Lloyd’s body was found in an industrial park, and prosecutors had said previously a marijuana cigarette was found near his bullet-riddled body. Diane Fife Biagiotti, of the state police crime lab, told jurors that she received rolling paper from a 2-inch-long cigarette butt to test for DNA. She said she found it had the DNA of at least two people on it. She said she first compared it with Lloyd’s DNA and discovered he could have been one of the people whose DNA appeared on the butt. She said she then was able to use Lloyd’s DNA to deduce the second DNA contributor. “I did a comparison between the profile I deduced and the profile of Aaron Hernandez,” she said. “I found that the profile from Aaron Hernandez matched the deduced DNA profile.”
Three people were arrested in connection with a gun battle at a South Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary that left a security guard injured Sunday night, police said Monday. Three people were trying to rob the dispensary when gunfire broke out, according to Los Angeles Police Department spokesmen. More information about the arrests was not immediately available. The would-be robbers entered the dispensary in the area of Crenshaw Boulevard and 54th Street in the Hyde Park neighborhood about 7:20 p.m., said Sgt. Robert Grant of the Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Station. The security guard, suspecting that the trio was there to rob the store, asked them to leave. When they refused, he pulled out his gun, and that’s when the shootout began, police said. The guard was hit at least once and taken to a hospital, Grant said.