When Colorado voters in 2012 approved a ballot measure legalizing
marijuana, the state did not merely break new ground in the ongoing
battle over narcotics policy. It also bolstered an innovative
political message that compares cannabis to alcohol.
Two years later, that comparison is being deployed in key
marijuana-related elections throughout the country, and drug reform
advocates are so sure marijuana is safer than alcohol they are now
challenging police to a "drug duel" to prove their point.
The proposal for the duel from David Boyer of the Marijuana Policy
Project, came after Police Chief Edward Googins of South Portland,
Maine, announced his opposition to a municipal referendum to legalize
[continues 370 words]
Need to Be Licensed or Shut Down
But State Hasn't Set Up Licensing System Yet
(AP) - The city of Seattle is warning more than 300 medical-marijuana
businesses that their days could be numbered.
Officials have sent letters to medical-marijuana growers, processors
and dispensaries reminding them they need to either shut down or be
licensed by the state by next summer.
The problem is that the Legislature hasn't created a licensing system
to allow sales of medical marijuana.
[continues 285 words]
The Providers of the Pot Shop Units Were Warned of Federal Law.
Hundreds of ATMs located in medical marijuana dispensaries-the
lifeblood of businesses otherwise forced to work in cash-were shut
down Wednesday, just days after similar machines were unplugged from
The machines in Colorado and Washington were connected to a network
served by South Dakota based Meta Bank, which in January warned ATM
providers by email that machines located in marijuana shops violated
federal banking rules.
But the machines, both cashless and the traditional cash-dispensing
variety, continued to work until this week, according to owners of
cannabis shops affected by the shutdown.
[continues 639 words]
LoDo Wellness Center, which calls itself the largest marijuana
dispensary in the trendy Lower Downtown ("LoDo") area, is a mellow
place, decorated with Oriental rugs, sofas and statues of Buddha.
Yet there's a moment of mild tension when you arrive: Staff members
politely insist on proof that you are either older than 21 and
eligible to shop in the "retail" area or older than 18 with a doctor
approved "red card" for access to the private "medical" area. The
latter is on the other side of a door marked "must remain locked at all times."
[continues 741 words]
SAN DIEGO - San Diego continued its efforts to shut down roughly 50
illegal pot shops still operating in the city by closing four this
week, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith announced Thursday.
The four closed dispensaries are two in Pacific Beach, one in Mission
Valley and one in the Mount Hope neighborhood of southeast San Diego.
Goldsmith's office is in the process of shutting down another 15
illegal dispensaries, and city code enforcement officials are
preparing to send about 25 additional cases to Goldsmith.
[continues 102 words]
Regulation barring opening within 1,000 feet of 'minor-oriented
facility' was too broad
SAN DIEGO - San Diego officials loosened rules this week governing
where the city's first legal medical marijuana dispensaries can open,
giving new hope to several frustrated pot shop applicants.
The city decided to soften a prohibition against opening a dispensary
within 1,000 feet of a "minor-oriented facility" because the
previously broad interpretation of that term had stymied many applicants.
The change comes one week after a dispensary proposed in Otay Mesa
became the first to receive city approval. That dispensary, A Green
Alternative, is expected to open by the end of the year.
[continues 454 words]
When even the organization representing local cannabis dispensary
operators and marijuana growers supports a tax on pot sales, you'd
think opposition to the city and county measures calling for the levy
would be a pipe dream.
Well, it's still a tax, and medical marijuana patients have voiced
their displeasure about the 7 percent levy on dispensary receipts. We
wonder if the anti-tax contingent also will vote against the
measures, regardless of how people feel about medical marijuana.
But it's not unfair to tax pot sales - mainly because the county and
city need to find the money to enforce medical marijuana regulations.
That's why we're recommending a yes vote on both Measure K in the
unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County and Measure L in the city of
Santa Cruz. The tax measures require a simple majority vote.
[continues 420 words]
Caregivers are now being called drug dealers by opponents of
Amendment 2. As a medical consultant and a police officer's daughter,
I am horrified by the comparison.
This November, we will vote on Amendment 2, which will expand the use
of medical marijuana. This will be an important vote, as it will have
a big effect on many people in our state who are have serious medical
conditions, including Parkinson's disease, ALS, cancer, lupus and
[continues 274 words]
In recent months, many Americans, myself included, have become
educated on the medicinal benefits that cannabis may provide to
patients who have some terrible illnesses. Earlier this year, the
Florida Legislature passed the Charlotte's Web law that allows
medicinal cannabis for Floridians battling illnesses such as
epilepsy, Lou Gehrig's disease and various types of cancer.
But it's time to make something clear: Amendment 2 is one of the most
loophole ridden pieces of legislation that you'll ever read. When
explaining the medical conditions that could warrant the use of
medical marijuana, the amendment cites a number of diseases, and
adds: "other conditions for which a physician believes that the
medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health
risks for a patient."
[continues 258 words]
Aloha. I'm fresh out of 50 months in federal prison for operating The
Hawaii Cannabis Ministry where we helped to prevent and treat pain,
disease and spiritual disconnection. Just reporting, not complaining.
What a great and unexpected education I received in prison. Now, it's
time for me to make some lemonade.
Please know that there are now multiple U.S. Patents for cannabinoids
in the prevention and treatment of pain and disease including for
cancer. Also, the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2012 was given to the
study of the two main cannabinoid 'receptors' CB1 and CB2.
[continues 147 words]
The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that the state's
medicalmarijuana law doesn't give drivers immunity from prosecution
if there is marijuana or its chemical compound in the body.
In December 2011, Travis Lance Darrah, a medical-marijuana user, was
charged with two counts of DUI, one based on impairment and the other
based on the presence of marijuana or its metabolite in his system.
A jury acquitted him of driving while impaired but convicted him of
driving under a DUI law that bans driving while having a prohibited
drug or its compound in the body.
[continues 127 words]
It's about time the Ontario government beefed up legislation to
include new penalties for drug-impaired drivers.
As the use of narcotics, both prescribed and illegal, becomes more
prevalent, their use is having an impact on our roads. Ontario must
deal with drugs and driving in the same fashion as with drinking and
driving-with tough laws.
And so the government's announcement Tuesday is appropriate. It is
proposing amendments to its distracted driving bill that would include
new penalties for drug-impaired drivers.
[continues 278 words]
New Film on Legalization Advocate Marc Emery Is, Like the Man Himself,
Not Without Its Controversy
It's fitting that a documentary on a figure as controversial as
self-proclaimed "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery should be subject to some
At its core, Citizen Marc wrestles not only with the topic of Emery's
legal troubles - the pot activist recently served four years in a U.S.
prison for "conspiracy to manufacture marijuana" - but also takes on
the complexity of the man himself, who has arguably been the single
most significant figure in the fight for marijuana legalization in
[continues 492 words]
Bob Jones may not write silly columns, but he sure makes a habit of
writing thoughtless ones. As usual, he uses ad hominem attacks
followed by non sequiturs in trying to dismiss Froma Harrop's sound
arguments for drug legalization and regulation.
First, he inexplicably calls her a liberal, then equates her
arguments with libertarianism. Ms. Harrop correctly argues that the
war on drugs has completely failed in its attempt to stop drug use
and abuse. It has been spectacularly successful in creating a huge
prison/legal/police/gang industrial complex, and is more responsible
for the militarization of our "protect and serve" police forces than
the 9/11 attacks.
[continues 104 words]
This November, voters all across the country will cast their ballots
and make important decisions about the future of our nation. In
Florida, voters will face no shortage of consequential choices. For
many of my constituents, our state's medical marijuana amendment is
of the greatest significance.
Florida's Amendment 2 will allow voters the opportunity to answer a
fundamental question about the character of our state and its people.
Should patients in Florida have the ability to adhere to their
doctor's recommendations without fearing criminal punishment? Should
Florida's patients have access to the same treatment options that
patients of other states already enjoy? Should we, as citizens, treat
sick and suffering Floridians with compassion and respect?
[continues 366 words]
Measure 91 takes a black-and-white approach to the use and
legalization of marijuana:
Plant based medicines can be prescribed and administered for
legitimate use without so called "medical dispensaries." These stores
and owners are practicing medicine without a license. Proclaiming to
help people with schizophrenia and a host of medical problems with no
knowledge or regard for what other medicines the person might be
taking. They are a front for people who want to get high. Tobacco
companies are waiting in the wings for the complete legalization of
marijuana. Then how accessible will it be?
[continues 94 words]
To the Editor:
In the "Our Opinion" "An argument missing the point" the writer
mentioned "... Its call for legalization ... Currently, other than
medicinal marijuana, it's in the hands of criminals. ... The real
debate we need to hear from politicians has to be based on available evidence."
Since the 80s, many people have come to decide that drug prohibition
has resulted in harshness in enforcing it, great expense, and has
been ineffective. Consequently, they have advocated drug
decriminalization and even outright drug legalization. In addition,
they refer to the history of a drug - alcohol, from temperance
(1800s) to prohibition (19201933) and then to alcohol control
(legalization). They stated that the anti-alcohol movement was
devoted to convincing people that drinking alcohol was dangerous and
destructive; that the consumption of alcohol naturally would lead to
compulsive use or addiction. Then point out the same argument is made
for marijuana. Reaching back to the failures of alcohol prohibition,
they try to see similarities with the general illegalization of marijuana.
[continues 270 words]
Medpot Mountie Cpl. Ron Francis's Battle to Smoke Out RCMP's PTSD
Denial Ends in Suicide
Just a few weeks ago I was teaching RCMP Cpl. Ron Francis how to
vaporize his medical marijuana. He promised to check back in, but we
never had another virtual session. He was found dead in his
Kingsclear First Nation, New Brunswick, home on Monday, October 6,
apparently a suicide.
Tossed aside by RCMP brass because he suffered from post-traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD), and publicly bullied by Conservative
parliamentarians for marijuana medicating, Francis emailed long after
the media had lost interest in a "pot-smoking Mountie."
[continues 798 words]
In response to Dr. Mike's Jordan's guest column opposing legalizing
medical grade marijuana:
How naive, as a medical practitioner, to downplay serious medical
ailments such as "back pain, headaches, and anxiety."
Are you not obligated to patients to find the best, most authentic
cure for any of their conditions?
Yes, cancer and seizures are devastatingly painful for millions of
These diseases must be treated with optimal attention and
We must keep fighting for cures, and in the meantime, afflicted
individuals should receive appropriate pain treatment.
[continues 233 words]
In 1936, the film "Reefer Madness," described by the Internet Movie
Database as "a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of
marijuana," was released.
On Sunday, Star-Banner readers were treated to our own Reefer Madness
courtesy of State Attorney Brad King. Like the 1936 film, King's
version was, at the very least, "highly exaggerated."
King's statistics from Colorado give us few baseline numbers. Let's
take just one example: From 2007 to 2012, King tells us, fatal car
crashes involving marijuana went up 100 percent. Of course, if there
was one marijuana-related fatal crash before 2007 and two since,
that's a 100 percent increase. It sounds scary, but it's actually
[continues 145 words]
Congratulations for the prominence you gave to State Attorney Brad
King's input on Amendment 2.
My conclusion is that approval of this amendment would be a case of
"mob rule." To me, this means that a crowd of people take the sales
opinion of "snake oil salesmen" instead of that of qualified persons,
such as the American Medical Association and official law enforcement
agencies. This is based upon the facts that current effective federal
laws state that marijuana is a dangerous and illegal drug and that a
prescription of it without FDA approval would be at least unethical.
From what I have read from responsible sources, this drug is being
sold by organizations of questionable character, with a variety of
"flavors." There is no dependable guarantee that some could not be
harmful or even fatal.
Regarding 'Science wins' (Your Views, Oct. 20): It would seem retired
Navy Lt. Commander Al Byrne is a bit biased, being the CEO of Veterans
for Compassionate Care. Medical cannabis has been available in pill
form for quite some time.
I urge everyone to vote 'no' on Amendment 2 because it has serious
flaws. I do not want to be on the road next to someone driving under
the influence of cannabis. Being a veteran of the Vietnam War, I have
seen in a tactical situation how marijuana affects the ability to make
Public safety is the issue, and Amendment 2 as written is
Stephen Burchett, Seffner
Regarding 'Science wins:' Al Byrne uses the work of Melanie Dreher to
support his view that marijuana is harmless, indeed even helpful, to
pregnant women and their babies. Unfortunately, this work is only one
work carried out on a very small sample of 33 users and 27 non-users
in the early 1980s. Although this work is important, subsequent
studies have disproved much of her work.
In addition, today's marijuana is not your mother's marijuana. It is a
much more potent form.
[continues 257 words]
Province to target high drivers
Ontario drivers who get behind the wheel stoned would pay a high price
under provincial legislation introduced Tuesday.
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca has amended the government's
distracted driving bill to include new penalties for drug-impaired
As in drunk driving, motorists under the influence of drugs would be
subject to escalating roadside suspensions, mandatory education or
treatment, an ignition interlock condition and a sevenday vehicle
"Ontario's one of only three jurisdictions in Canada that currently
has no sanctions whatsoever for somebody who is driving under the
influence of drugs," Del Duca said.
[continues 376 words]
The rush to delay medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in some
cities is on, even before Florida voters decide the marijuana measure on
Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, North Palm Beach, Lake Clarke Shores and the
village of Golf all have given initial approval to halting marijuana
treatment centers and dispensaries from opening in their areas for at
least a year.
Other cities in Palm Beach County are ready to welcome the marijuana
businesses into their towns - but only on their terms. Juno Beach will
consider allowing them to open only in the town's medical-commercial
[continues 519 words]
The cities of North Port and Venice are looking to limit medical
marijuana operations within their boundaries, but are carefully
looking to other communities at ways to do so.
The North Port City Commission during a special meeting Tuesday was
poised to pass an ordinance, but chose instead to send it to the
Planning and Zoning Board for further input.
Voters statewide will decide Nov. 4 on Amendment 2, which will
legalize the use of medical marijuana.
"The intent of this ordinance is to get the discussion started in the
City of North Port, how we are going to prepare ourselves if that is a
popular vote," City Attorney Mark Moriarty said.
[continues 384 words]
Dr. Paul Sloan and others make a strong case for the use of cannabis
as a better alternative to pain management than opiates ("Clinic owner
makes pot case," Sunday's Herald-Tribune). The problem is not the
joint, but the "joints" from which it will be dispensed. While doctors
must write the prescription, dispensaries will, in reality, be
approved and licensed by politicians and bureaucrats. I don't see any
potential for abuse there, do you?
The photo in Sunday's edition of the Herald-Tribune, of a California
dispensary, doesn't look like any drugstore I've seen, nor does the
clerk look like a pharmacist properly trained to fill a doctor's
order, verify the patient's identity, and record and store the
[continues 72 words]
Marijuana has been used as a natural medical herb for thousands of
years, going back to ancient civilizations, in Egypt, India, Africa
and later in America.
"Unlike many of the drugs we prescribe every day, marijuana has never
been proven to cause a fatal overdose." -- Joyce Elders, former U.S.
"No acute lethal overdoses of cannabis are known in contrast to
several of it's illegal (cocaine) and legal (alcohol, aspirin,
acetaminophen) counterparts." -- Stephen Sidney, MD, former associate
director for clinical research at Kaiser Permanente.
[continues 142 words]
As Mark Twain said, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies,
and statistics. State Attorney Brad King's essay ("The 'Colorado
Calamity' and Amendment 2," Oct. 19) is a textbook example of all three.
I did some fact-checking on Mr. King's allegations. Here's what I
There is absolutely no link between the legalization of marijuana and
the rate of violent crime.
Medical-use marijuana is legal in almost a dozen countries, including
Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands,
Portugal and Spain, yet the crime rate in all of those countries is
lower than that in the U.S.
[continues 178 words]
Canada Is Ignoring Easy, Uncontroversial Ways to Prevent Overdose Deaths
A particularly potent batch of heroin recently resulted in 31
overdoses at Vancouver's Insite safe injection clinic. The facility
proved its value yet again, as staff applied immediate treatment and
ensured none of the victims died. But what about those who can't
access Insite? In 2013, 308 people died in British Columbia due to
illicit drug overdoses, the majority of which were
Canada-wide, we can only speculate about the total numbers because
there is no national database tracking overdose deaths. But the
numbers we do have, from a patchwork of provincial data and news
reports, tell us that far too many Canadians are dying from an
entirely preventable phenomenon. And not preventable in the sense of
"well, if people didn't use drugs, there wouldn't be overdoses." While
that's essentially true, we know people will use drugs. One hundred
years of prohibition hasn't stopped that.
[continues 578 words]
Drugged drivers will face the same sanctions as drunk drivers under
proposed legislation aimed at cracking down on distracted driving in
"This sends a clear message to the people who think, 'I can get high
and drive because I can pass a breathalyzer,' " Brian Patterson of the
Ontario Safety League said Tuesday.
The bill from Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca is an updated
version of one tabled in March but not passed before the spring
election. It increases penalties for talking or texting on hand-held
smartphones, with maximum fines of $1,000 and three demerit points -
the toughest in Canada.
[continues 570 words]
Florida's natural environment is its bread and butter, its tourist
magnet, its lush and storied history and, if voters approve this
amendment, its glorious future.
Amendment 1 would use existing state revenue - money that already is
being paid into state coffers - and dedicate it to purchase and
preserve natural areas and wildlife habitat for the next 20 years.
This is not a new tax that advocates seek to impose. Rather, it's a
practical way to make up for what state lawmakers have for too long
failed to do: Make preserving Florida's fragile environment the
priority that it should be. The amendment would take one third of the
fees that the state already collects when property is sold. The fees
on these real-estate transactions are called "doc stamps," which,
since 1968, have been used for water and land conservation.
[continues 793 words]
Amendment 2 is about legalizing MEDICAL marijuana. There are a lot of
half-truths and untruths being tossed around in the newspaper and in
Google medical marijuana in the 20 states where its already legal and
see what it really says. No one suggests people should smoke and
drive, just like you shouldn't drink and drive. A little common sense,
Please check this article: "So far, Colorado's teens are actually
using marijuana less," by Betsy Woodruff (Aug. 28). You'll find out
that marijuana use among teens has gone DOWN since 2012 since the
legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Although a positive
note, Amendment 2 is only about medical marijuana.
It would be a shame if this amendment fails to pass based on the
untruths we keep hearing about. Please do your own investigating about
this and get the real facts before you vote.
PANAMA CITY - With Florida voters slated to weigh in on a measure to
legalize medical cannabis in the coming weeks, campaign interest
groups are launching last-ditch efforts to sell marijuana as either a
dangerous drug or medical miracle.
Officially titled the "Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative,"
Amendment 2 would fully legalize medical marijuana in the state,
providing a much broader scope than the Legislature's Compassionate
Medical Cannabis Act, which legalized a noneuphoric strain of medical
marijuana for specific patients earlier this year.
[continues 796 words]
SARASOTA - Sarasota County and the City of North Port are scurrying to
get marijuana ordinances on their books before the Nov. 4 election,
part of a growing number of local governments in Florida that are
advancing rules ahead of the statewide vote on legalizing medical marijuana.
The City of Sarasota, meanwhile, is considering a yearlong moratorium
on any marijuana endeavors ahead of the vote on Amendment 2.
The City of Palmetto led the way in Southwest Florida last month, with
the passage of a new law that prohibits any medical marijuana
operations from its downtown and would force potential purveyors to
seek permission from city commissioners.
[continues 647 words]
Party may be consider legalization
OTTAWA - Decriminalize it, study it and then maybe legalize it, the
NDP says of marijuana.
That's the party's policy, which it will make official this week. An
NDP government would decriminalize the drug immediately and study the
health and societal side-effects, QMI Agency has learned.
The plan contrasts with that of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau who said
he wants to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.
The NDP's official policy will be published in a supplemental document
alongside a Commons health committee report, which is scheduled to be
tabled in the House Tuesday or Wednesday.
[continues 145 words]