May 062015

Smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes will not be allowed in Puerto Rico, but cannabis derivatives could be consumed in other ways, government officials said Tuesday as they provided more details on the governor’s weekend executive order on cannabis use. Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda told The Associated Press that the government would allow patients access to cannabis derivatives that would be inhaled or used orally, such as potions or pills. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla issued an order late Sunday directing the island’s health department to authorize the use of some or all derivatives of the cannabis plant for medical use. He did not specify in his executive order what type of medical marijuana uses he supports, and his office said he had no plans to comment on the issue. Health Secretary Ana Rius told reporters Tuesday that smoking marijuana regardless of its purpose would still be considered a crime.

Voters in East Lansing are the latest in Michigan to approve lessening local marijuana ordinances. With 16 out of 17 precincts reporting late Tuesday night, 2,973 voters, or 65.57 percent, approved a charter amendment to repeal the city of East Lansing’s current marijuana ordinances. Now, the use, possession and transfer of up to 1 ounce of the marijuana is legal for people 21 years or older on private property. The proposal will not impact Michigan State University and current state and federal laws still in effect. Attorney Jeff Hank, who spearheaded the campaign, also chairs the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Committee, which seeks to put a statewide proposal on the 2016 ballot to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in Michigan. In the past fiscal year, there were 23 use or possession citations issued and East Lansing police have made marijuana enforcement a low priority.

An important Missouri Senate committee approved a bill to authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same. Previously approved by the House, it now moves to the full Senate for consideration. House Bill 830 (HB830) not only designates industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, it also includes all the structural framework needed to get the hemp market up and running in the state. Last month it passed the House with a vote of 104-41. If passed into law, hemp would be reclassified from an illegal product into an agricultural one under state law. It would also expressly legalize the commerce of hemp in the state, and not just the growth for research purposes as it being done in some states. And anyone with a hemp license would be able to grow and produce hemp crops as long as they are farming on a minimum of 2.5 acres.

Lawmakers on the Delaware House Public Safety Committee narrowly approved legislation on Wednesday that would end arrests for simple marijuana possession, replacing criminal penalties with a $100 fine. Debate on the legislation, which now heads to the full House, lasted about 90 minutes, with law enforcement groups in unanimous opposition. Delaware State Police representatives said the measure would make it more difficult to target drug dealers because they could not initiate searches on suspicion of simple marijuana possession. Simple possession would be treated like a traffic violation and would carry no criminal record. Selling marijuana, and smoking pot in public, would remain criminal offenses.

A bill signed into law Monday creates a Marijuana Control Board that will take the lead in crafting Alaska’s marijuana laws. House Bill 123 creates a five-member volunteer board that will address a wide array of issues, from the amount of THC allowed per edible product to business license types to security and safety requirements.

Ecuador is reviewing a new piece of legislation that, if passed, would decriminalize the use of all illegal drugs. The bill, authored by Carlos Velasco, who chairs the Ecuadorian congress’ Commission of the Right to Health, aims to put an end to the country’s war on drugs by providing drug users with treatment and rehabilitation instead of jail time. Many Ecuadorians support Velasco’s bill, but there are many who oppose it, reasoning that its implementation will only increase drug use.

An Assembly committee has rejected a bill making California one of more than a dozen states that allow police to conduct roadside testing for marijuana and other drugs. The bill had support from law enforcement organizations but was opposed by defense attorneys and the Drug Policy Alliance.