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1US MN: Marijuana Legalization Seems Headed To Minnesota, But It'sSun, 09 Dec 2018
Source:Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Author:Coolican, J. Patrick Area:Minnesota Lines:Excerpt Added:12/10/2018

Legalizing marijuana is looming as a next big political showdown at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Fully legalizing marijuana in Minnesota is looming as a next big political showdown at the Capitol, as a growing number of states are ending bans on recreational cannabis.

Gov.-elect Tim Walz, who favors ending marijuana prohibition, will replace Gov. Mark Dayton, who doesn't. A new Democratic House majority will debate proposals to legalize next year and will likely take votes on the issue as soon as 2019 or 2020. And, not one but two legal pot parties -- the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party and Legal Marijuana Now Party -- emerged with 5 percent of the vote in statewide elections, giving them "major party status," which means automatic ballot access and the chance for campaign subsidies.

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2 US: Marlboro Maker Places $1.8 Billion Bet On MarijuanaFri, 07 Dec 2018
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)          Area:United States Lines:57 Added:12/07/2018

NEW YORK - One of the world's biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $1.8 billion buy-in.

Store manager Stephanie Hunt posed for photos, in July 2015, with a pack of Marlboro cigarettes, an Altria brand, at a Smoker Friendly shop in Pittsburgh. Altria is diving into the Canadian cannabis market with a $2.4 billion investment in Toronto-based medical and recreational marijuana provider Cronos Group.

Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is taking a 45 percent stake in Cronos Group, the Canadian medical and recreational marijuana provider said today.

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3 US MI: Michigan Marks 1st Day Of Legal, Recreational PotFri, 07 Dec 2018
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)          Area:Michigan Lines:31 Added:12/07/2018

DETROIT - Michigan is officially the first state in the Midwest to allow marijuana for more than medical purposes.

Today marks the first day for the legal recreational partaking of pot in Michigan following voters' strong endorsement in the Nov. 6 election.

Staff at the Lansing City Pulse, a weekly alternative newspaper, marked the day by handing out free joints across the street from the Capitol.

Michigan is now among nearly a dozen states and the District of Columbia with legalized recreational marijuana. Still, retail shops are still months away and must involve state regulators.

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4 US: Does Smoking Marijuana Cause Teen Behavior Problems Or ViceWed, 05 Dec 2018
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) Author:Pattani, Aneri Area:United States Lines:107 Added:12/05/2018

As dozens of states move toward legalizing marijuana -- for both medical and recreational purposes -- scientists and parents have asked what the impact might be on children. Will more teens use pot? Will doing so cause behavioral problems? Will they develop a substance-use disorder?

According to a new study published last month in the journal Addiction: yes, probably not, and maybe.

The study, led by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found that marijuana use among teens does not lead to conduct problems. In fact, it's the other way around. Adolescents with conduct problems, like cheating, skipping class, and stealing, are more likely to gravitate toward marijuana use.

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5 US NJ: N.J. Lawmakers Unveil Legislation Legalizing MarijuanaWed, 21 Nov 2018
Source:Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)          Area:New Jersey Lines:30 Added:11/21/2018

TRENTON -- New Jersey lawmakers have unveiled their latest proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use for people 21 and over. A joint Democrat-led Assembly and Senate committee is expected to discuss the package Monday.

One bill provides for legalizing an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and older, setting up a five-person cannabis commission, and taxing the sale of the substance at 12 percent.

That rate includes the 6.625 percent sales tax. The draft also permits local governments to apply up to a 2 percent tax on cannabis. An earlier measure called for gradually increasing tax rates.

The legislation also calls for expediting expungements for people with marijuana-related criminal backgrounds.

Gov. Murphy supports marijuana legalization. His office did not comment on the new legislation Wednesday.

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6US CA: This Man Will Spend Life In Prison For A Marijuana ConvictionMon, 10 Sep 2018
Source:Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA) Author:Staggs, Brooke Edwards Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:09/10/2018

Barbara Tillis isn't sure when she'll get to see her son, Corvain Cooper, again.

Every few months for the past four years, Tillis, has driven five hours with her husband, daughter and Cooper's oldest daughter, making the trip from Rialto to the federal prison in Atwater, near Merced. They'd spend the day visiting and chatting, and guards would let each family member give Cooper exactly one hug. When the visit was over, they'd reluctantly pile into the car and drive home.

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7 US MA: Northboro And Bellingham Now Told They Cannot Prohibit MedicalMon, 10 Sep 2018
Source:Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) Author:Thompson, Elaine Area:Massachusetts Lines:143 Added:09/10/2018

Six days after confirming approval of medical marijuana dispensary bans in Northboro and Bellingham, Attorney General Maura Healey's office reversed its decision.

In an Aug. 25 Telegram & Gazette story, a spokesperson for the AG's office confirmed that the office in June approved bylaws passed in the two towns that ban medical marijuana dispensaries. The 2012 Medical Marijuana law originally prohibited any municipality from banning medical marijuana dispensaries. An AG spokeswoman said at the time the approval was based on Section 56 (subsection d) of Chapter 55 Acts of 2017.

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8 US FL: In Sarasota, Panelists Insist Cannabis Can Reduce AddictiveFri, 07 Sep 2018
Source:Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL) Author:White, Dale Area:Florida Lines:86 Added:09/07/2018

SARASOTA -- Several panelists made their cases in a Thursday forum for why marijuana should no longer be classified by the federal government as a Schedule 1 drug as dangerous as heroin.

The program focused on the Herald-Tribune project "Warriors Rise Up," which found a gaping rift between what many combat veterans want to treat their post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries and what they can legally get.

Rather than a cocktail of painkillers, many veterans prefer the relief they receive from marijuana. Because of marijuana's Schedule 1 designation under federal law, however, the VA has not considered it an option -- even in states that have legalized the drug for medical use.

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9US LA: Guns Or Marijuana? Some Patients Will Have To Make The ChoiceFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:Times-Picayune, The (New Orleans, LA) Author:Clark, Maria Area:Louisiana Lines:Excerpt Added:07/31/2018

As Louisiana's medical marijuana program takes shape some patients might have to make a difficult choice: keep their gun ownership rights or participate in the program.

Louisiana is one of 30 states that have approved medical marijuana laws in some form. Although the state's nine dispensaries won't open until later this year, patients who qualify for medical marijuana under Louisiana law may be surprised to learn that federal law restricts their ability to purchase a gun if they use marijuana.

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10 US Editorial: Only Congress Can Keep Jeff Sessions' Reefer Madness InFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)                 Lines:81 Added:07/31/2018

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions' decision to withdraw an Obama-era directive discouraging the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized pot shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Sessions' views on drug laws.

The attorney general has every right to enforce federal drug laws as vigorously as he sees fit. But just because he can doesn't mean he should. The truth is that resuming the discredited war on marijuana would be neither a smart step nor welcome policy, and just the threat of it is a reminder of the shortsightedness of the federal government's approach to drugs.

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11Canada: Federal Government Approves First Device For Testing DriversMon, 30 Jul 2018
Source:National Post (Canada) Author:Platt, Brian Area:Canada Lines:Excerpt Added:07/30/2018

OTTAWA - The federal government's crackdown on drug-impaired driving has taken a big step forward, as the Justice Department is set to give its blessing to Canada's first roadside saliva test.

Once in use, police officers will be able to swab a driver's mouth to test for the presence of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Roadside saliva-testing devices were authorized by Bill C-46, a massive overhaul of Canadaa€™s impaired driving laws that passed in June.

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12 US: 'Marijuana Is A Gift From God'Sun, 29 Jul 2018
Source:Los Angeles Times (CA) Author:Lee, Kurtis Area:United States Lines:218 Added:07/29/2018

An LDS missionary passes by the Salt Lake Temple at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Voters this fall in Utah will cast ballots on a measure that would allow medical marijuana. (Isaac Hale / For The Times)

Brian Stoll faced a dilemma as his wedding day approached. For more than a year, he had been smoking marijuana to treat severe back pain, but to remain in good standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and get married in the temple, he had to stop using pot.

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13 US NJ: Oped: Pressing Pause On Pot ConvictionsSun, 29 Jul 2018
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Fulop, Steven M. Area:New Jersey Lines:111 Added:07/29/2018

JERSEY CITY - Every city in America knows that it's a bad idea to prosecute low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenses. It wastes scarce municipal resources and does nothing to enhance public safety. What's more, even though whites and blacks use marijuana at similar rates, blacks are more harshly punished for it.

That's why, on July 19, marijuana offenses were effectively decriminalized in Jersey City, New Jersey's second most populous city.

Prosecutors treated every marijuana case that day as a violation instead of a misdemeanor, unless driving under the influence was involved. We told our prosecutors to ask for no more than a $50 fine, or just five hours of community service if the defendant couldn't pay that fee. Instances like the absence of any public nuisance or a low likelihood of re-offense would warrant outright dismissal. We also stressed the importance of diverting people with an obvious drug addiction toward social services.

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14 US: Editorial: Repeal Prohibition, AgainFri, 27 Jul 2018
Source:New York Times (NY)          Area:United States Lines:75 Added:07/28/2018

The federal government should follow the growing movement in the states and repeal the ban on marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflictingA great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

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15 US: Public Faith In Marijuana Outpaces Medical Research, Study FindsWed, 25 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Haydon, Ian Area:United States Lines:119 Added:07/25/2018

Despite limited evidence, Americans have an increasingly positive view of the health benefits of marijuana. Nearly two-thirds believe pot can reduce pain, while close to half say it improves symptoms of anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis, according to a new online survey of 9,003 adults.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among the 30 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico, that have legalized medical marijuana. But scientists say hard data on the health effects of pot -- both positive and negative -- are largely missing. Because marijuana is considered an illicit drug by the federal government, research has been scant, though there are efforts underway in Pennsylvania and nationally to remedy that.

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16 US NJ: Editorial: Like Jersey City, Murphy's AG Takes The High GroundWed, 25 Jul 2018
Source:Bridgeton News (NJ)          Area:New Jersey Lines:81 Added:07/25/2018

Jersey City's mayor is planting himself at the forefront of a national movement to stop destroying people's lives for having a little marijuana.

Steven Fulop is firmly on the right side of this issue, and Gov. Phil Murphy's attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, is not fighting him on it -- once again demonstrating that he is not just concerned with law and order, but justice.

Grewal has been receptive to reform efforts in general, creating a statewide team to investigate wrongful convictions, for instance, after a bungled murder case in Passaic County.

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17 US NJ: Report: New Jersey Puts Temporary Hold On Marijuana CasesTue, 24 Jul 2018
Source:Morning Call (Allentown, PA) Author:Shipkowski, Bruce Area:New Jersey Lines:60 Added:07/24/2018

New Jersey's attorney general has announced an immediate adjournment of all marijuana cases in municipal courts statewide until at least September.

The decision was included in a letter state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sent Tuesday to municipal prosecutors in the state. It asked them to seek an adjournment until September 4 -- or later -- of any matter "involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court," a move that will allow the attorney general's office time to develop "appropriate guidance" for prosecutors.

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18 US: Marijuana Bills Increasingly Focus On Social JusticeThu, 19 Jul 2018
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Quinton, Sophie Area:United States Lines:207 Added:07/19/2018

State lawmakers and advocates pushing to legalize marijuana this year aren't just touting legalization as a way to raise tax revenue and regulate an underground pot market. They're also talking about fixing a broken criminal justice system and reinvesting in poor and minority communities that have been battered by decades of the government's war on drugs.

The focus on justice and equity has sharpened over time, longtime pot advocates say, as it's become clear that such issues should be addressed and that doing so won't alienate voters -- most of whom, polls consistently show, support legal marijuana. Civil rights groups also have raised their voices in legalization discussions.

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19 US MA: What To Know About Recreational Marijuana Sales InThu, 05 Jul 2018
Source:Hartford Courant (CT) Author:Ormseth, Matthew Area:Massachusetts Lines:190 Added:07/10/2018

July 1, a fated day in Massachusetts for advocates of recreational marijuana, came and went. The first day that stores were allowed to sell nonmedical cannabis passed without so much as a joint sold. No retailers had been licensed, and July 1 turned out much like any other day since December 15, 2016, when it became legal in Massachusetts to possess, grow and give away small quantities of cannabis.

But in the intervening year-and-a-half, no retailers have begun selling the drug. Advocates of its recreational use have grown frustrated at the retail rollout's plodding pace.

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20 US CA: Illegal Marijuana Market Still Thrives In Los AngelesThu, 05 Jul 2018
Source:Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)          Area:California Lines:142 Added:07/05/2018

LOS ANGELES - A slight marijuana smell wafted out as a steady stream of customers walked into a warehouse, its doors and windows covered by bars.

Suddenly, police swooped in.

"Sheriff's department! Search warrant!" a Los Angeles County deputy shouted as the team thundered through the front door and began hauling out people in handcuffs.

The Compton 20 Cap Collective just south of Los Angeles that was raided earlier this spring is one of hundreds of illegal marijuana stores operating in LA County, where marijuana is legal for anyone 21 and over and retailers must be licensed to sell to them.

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