1:25pm

Fri August 16, 2013
Politics

Cannabis News Roundup: August 16, 2013

Holder announces shift in federal policy… E-cigarette ban shelved, for now…  22nd Hempfest this weekend in Seattle… and more…

LEGISLATION

Mercury News // "We cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation," US Attorney General Eric Holder told the American Bar Assn. convention in San Francisco Monday.

         "By reserving the most severe penalties for serious, high-level, or violent drug traffickers, we can better promote public safety, deterrence, and rehabilitation, while making our expenditures smarter and more productive."  In other words, let the punishment fit the crime.

SF Gate // SB 648, the plan to ban e-cigarettes through state law, has been retracted, although it might be reintroduced next session. This is of interest to cannabis smokers because e-cigarettes work on the same principle as the vaporizer, a method of ingestion that is widely considered to be safer than smoking.

East Bay Express // A bill that would have given current medical cannabis guidelines the force of law was also withdrawn this week. SB 439 faced stiff opposition from a host of groups. You’ll find names and more details here.

Yahoo Finance // You have until the end of the month to add comments and ideas to the open-source document for The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act, a proposed ballot measure for the 2013 election. Details and a link are here.

EVENT

The Stranger // City police will be handing out bags of Doritos instead of tickets at this weekend’s Hempfest in Seattle. There’s no real catch, other than that the bags will include a sticker with information about the state’s new cannabis laws. Hempfest is considered to be the world’s largest gathering of cannabis users.

OPINION

SF Gate // What’s good for the nation is good for California, says the San Francisco Chronicle, as it urges passage of State Senator Mark Leno’s SB 649. The bill “would allow prosecutors to charge possession of a small amount of drugs for personal use as a misdemeanor instead of an automatic felony.”

Huff Post // Not everyone liked AG Holder’s comments on drug sentencing. Locally, Steve DeAngelo, head of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, says Holder should have directly addressed medical cannabis. Huff Post blogger Chris Weigant shares that opinion.

MMJ Business Daily // The apology by CNN’s Sanjay Gupta and airing of his documentary, “Weed,” could make it easier for others to come forward in favor of recalibrating opinions on cannabis.

Pew Research Ctr. // Another week, another opinion poll. This one, released Tuesday, shows that nearly three-quarters of those polled think enforcing marijuana laws cost more than the effort is worth. Find specifics here.

Reuters // That Pew study and Uruguay’s recent action on legalization are referenced in this opinion piece, titled “The sober way to legalize marijuana.”

HISTORY

Cal NORML //  While AG Holder is renegotiating the War on Drugs, the centennial of America’s first anti-drug law came and went over the weekend without comment in this space, and I apologize.

        “Indian hemp” was outlawed in California on August 10, 1913. It was noted that a “large influx of Hindoos” had been arriving in the Golden State, bringing with them their “very undesirable habit” of using cannabis indica.  Dale Gieringer of Cal NORML shares the details here.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Harper’s Magazine // The current “Harper’s Index” quotes these figures from the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project :

~ Percentage of black and white Americans, respectively, who use marijuana: 14 & 12

~ Factor by which a black American is more likely than a white American to be arrested for marijuana possession: 3.7

Addicting Info // Police in Arlington, Texas used aerial surveillance data earlier this month to determine that a sustainable farm community was growing cannabis. So they raided the place. Maybe they saw the guy in the Hawaiian shirt (pictured) and just extrapolated from there. See what the raid really uncovered here.

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