Apr 162015

In a CNN special to be aired on Sunday, not only will President Barack Obama state his full support of medical marijuana, he’ll also advocate for alternative models of drug abuse treatment which don’t involve incarceration. The television special, called “Weed 3,” features CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta. “I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be. You know, one of the great victories of this country has been our ability to reduce incidences of smoking, increase the incidences of seat belt use,” Obama told Gupta. “You know, we save tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives every single year. We didn’t throw anybody in jail; we just made sure that they were well-informed and if somebody has an addiction, we made sure that we made it easy for them to get help.”

The Washington State Senate on Tuesday gave final legislative approval to a bill that sweeps medical marijuana into the state’s strictly regulated recreational system. Now, the bill heads to Gov. Jay Inslee. Sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, the measure would phase out collective marijuana gardens by July 2016, create a voluntary database of medical-marijuana patients and set standards for medical pot and how its use is authorized. It would also establish a merit system for dispensaries seeking to join the regulated industry. Under the bill, patients in the state registry would be allowed to possess three times as much marijuana as users in the recreational system, and they could grow as many as six plants at home unless a doctor authorizes more. Patients could band together in cooperatives of up to four people to share expenses growing up to 60 plants.

With a stroke of a pen, Governor Nathan Deal has made medical marijuana legal in Georgia. Deal signed the bill into law at 11 a.m. that makes the use of cannabis oil legal for nine medical conditions: Cancer, when such diagnosis is end stage or the treatment produces related wasting illness, recalcitrant nausea and Seizure disorders related to diagnosis of epilepsy or trauma related head injuries; Crohn’s Disease; Mitochondrial Disease; and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or Sickle Cell Disease, but only when such diagnosis is severe or end stage. State health officials say doctors will have to sign off and submit required forms. Approved Georgia patients will be allowed to possess 20 ounces of the low THC oil at any given time. It is still illegal to grow marijuana in Georgia, meaning families will have to transport the drug from states like Colorado.

Vermont may well become the next state to legalize marijuana, and two state lawmakers who support legalization have a simple message for their colleagues: Give us what we want, or we’ll take away your booze. A new bill filed earlier this month by state Reps. Jean O’Sullivan and Christopher Pearson would effectively reinstate alcohol prohibition in Vermont. If passed, House Bill 502 would outlaw consumption of alcohol, with penalties mirroring those currently in place for marijuana possession. Those found with small amounts of alcohol would be subject to fines of up to $500, and anyone involved in the sale and distribution stream could face up to 30 years in prison and $1 million in penalties. O’Sullivan herself acknowledges that even she doesn’t support the substance of the bill. Rather, “the object was to basically embarrass leadership to say that we have [marijuana legalization bills] in front of us, and they’re going absolutely nowhere.”

An AM station in Colorado Springs has rebranded itself as K-HIGH 1580, a cannabis-centric talk station. The station, owned by Pilgrim Communications and operated by SoCo Radio, was previously a Fox Sports affiliate. Program director, Len Williams describes K-High, as “pure education, entertainment and awareness of marijuana”. The format debuted on Monday, April 13, and today, Williams got his first complaint call. Otherwise, he says, “the buzz has been very positive, absolutely great, with a lot of people telling us it’s a great idea [with] comments are coming from people who, for a lack of a better word, aren’t stoners and don’t partake.”