Atlanta wants to join a growing number of U.S. cities that are
lowering the penalties for small amounts of marijuana use.
But leaders learned last week that getting there won't be
The City Council sent legislation meant to lower fines and eliminate
jail time for possession of an ounce or less of pot back to a
committee last week after members had a host of questions. Chief among
their concerns was whether there was buy-in from the Atlanta Police
Department and city courts, two groups whose backing would be crucial
to making such a plan work. Elected officials also fear that being too
lenient would take away the deterrent of marijuana use.
[continues 61 words]
"Isn't it cute?" said Molly Peckler, holding a delicate gold-chain
necklace adorned with a cannabis-leaf charm away from her neck. "It's
a perfect representation of my approach to cannabis."
With sunlight pouring in through a sliding-glass door in the apartment
she shares with her husband, Marc Peckler, a software salesman, Ms.
Peckler explained how she believed a shared love of cannabis could be
the spark in a relationship.
"Cannabis is almost an analogy for being authentic," said Ms. Peckler,
32, the founder of Highly Devoted in Los Angeles, an online matchmaker
that connects cannabis-using singles. "If this is a part of your life,
then you should be open and honest about that, especially if you're
trying to start a romantic relationship with someone."
[continues 885 words]
Dozens of activists, including some military veterans, plan to light
joints Monday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol - federal land where
committing the offense could draw a sentence of up to a year in jail -
as part of an effort to urge a reluctant Congress to support marijuana
"Monday @ High Noon" reads a flier for the event, calling on Congress
to also remove marijuana from the nation's list of most-dangerous
drugs. "Mass Civil Disobedience @ 4:20p - East Side of the US Capitol."
[continues 611 words]
Legal intoxication is big business and getting bigger. More states
have legalized marijuana, leading some in the alcohol industry to
regard it as a threat to their profit margin.
Those concerns are warranted in some cases. In Colorado, Oregon and
Washington, where recreational use has been legal for several years,
beer sales are down, mostly among mass-market brews. The liquor
industry opposed several marijuana legalization initiatives last year,
and has expressed fears for its bottom line.
The fine wine industry, however, has not panicked. Despite occasional
efforts to pit wine and weed against each other, many in the wine
business exude an air of mellow acceptance that the two substances can
coexist in harmony.
[continues 1174 words]
SALINAS, Calif. - This vast and fertile valley is often called the
salad bowl of the nation for the countless heads of lettuce growing
across its floor. Now California's marijuana industry is laying claim
to a new slogan for the valley: America's cannabis bucket.
After years of marijuana being cultivated in small plots out of sight
from the authorities, California cannabis is going industrial.
Over the past year, dilapidated greenhouses in the Salinas Valley,
which were built for cut flower businesses, have been bought up by
dozens of marijuana entrepreneurs, who are growing pot among the
fields of spinach, strawberries and wine grapes.
[continues 1291 words]
After more than 90 minutes of debate and no consensus, the Atlanta
City Council on Monday put off a vote on a measure that would have
eliminated jail time for those caught with small quantities of marijuana.
Advocates of the Atlanta legislation said the move is necessary to
address the disproportionate number of black Americans incarcerated
because of pot possession.
The proposal, which also would reduce the fine for possession of an
ounce or less to a maximum of $75, mirrors actions taken in cities
across the nation, including Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis. In
DeKalb County, Clarkson also has reduced penalties.
[continues 67 words]
People in 29 states can legally use medical marijuana for a variety of
problems, including the relief of pain, anxiety or stress. But what if
they want to travel with it?
Secure airport areas beyond the Transportation Security Administration
checkpoints are under federal control, and the federal government
classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 (most harmful) substance, even in
states where it is legal for adults to consume it.
The laws conflict, but federal law trumps state law, making it illegal
to fly with marijuana in carry-on or checked luggage. It is also
illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, even if both states
have legalized it.
[continues 930 words]
Major anti-pot campaign funder lands DEA approval of THC drug amidst
flurry of lawsuits
Ethics is a hazy argument when it comes to marijuana.
On one hand, opponents of legalization argue that the plant is harmful
to society and individuals, and therefore should not be used. "Good
people don't smoke marijuana," remember?
On the other, little evidence exists to show that marijuana was even
made illegal on ethical grounds, and thousands of individuals' lives
are affected by simple possession of a joint, regardless of context.
[continues 511 words]
QUINCY, Mass. - At the edge of an industrial park in this suburb south
of Boston, past a used-car auction lot and a defunct cheese factory,
is an unmarked warehouse bristling with security cameras and bustling
with activity. Until recently, the cinder-block structure was home to
a wholesale florist, a granite cutter and a screen printer. Today, it
is home to just one tenant: a medical marijuana operation called Ermont.
Legalized marijuana has already upset societal norms, created a large
legal gray area and generated a lucrative source of tax revenue. Now
it is upending the real estate market, too.
[continues 2332 words]
SANTA ROSA, Calif. - In the heart of Northern California's wine
country, a civil engineer turned marijuana entrepreneur is adding a
new dimension to the art of matching fine wines with gourmet food:
cannabis and wine pairing dinners.
Sam Edwards, co-founder of the Sonoma Cannabis Company, charges diners
$100 to $150 for a meal that experiments with everything from
marijuana-leaf pesto sauce to sniffs of cannabis flowers paired with
sips of a crisp Russian River chardonnay.
"It accentuates the intensity of your palate," Mr. Edwards, 30, said
of the dinners, one of which was held recently at a winery with
sweeping views of the Sonoma vineyards. "We are seeing what works and
what flavors are coming out."
[continues 827 words]
With battering rams and flash-bang grenades, SWAT teams fuel the risk
of violence as they forcibly enter suspects' homes. Five months and 85
miles apart, two cases took starkly divergent legal paths.
SOMERVILLE, Tex. - Joshua Aaron Hall had been a resident of the
Burleson County Jail for about a week when he requested a meeting with
Gene Hermes, the sheriff's investigator who had locked him up for
violating probation. The stocky lawman arrived in the featureless
interview room on the morning of Dec. 13, 2013, placed his soda cup on
the table and apologized for not getting there sooner. He asked in his
gravelly drawl if they would be talking about Mr. Hall's own case.
[continues 6445 words]
Recreational cannabis may be legal in California, but buying the
actual stuff still makes Scott Campbell, a celebrity tattoo artist and
fine artist, feel like a class-cutting teenage stoner.
"You go in to buy weed, and it's like visiting your parole officer,"
said Mr. Campbell, who lives in Los Angeles. "You get buzzed through
three metal gates." Inside, cannabis products are often packaged with
loopy Deadhead-style graphics and goofy dorm-humor strain names like
Gorilla Glue and Purple Urkle.
[continues 841 words]
President Trump is ill advised to expend resources to shutdown state
legal marijuana businesses ("Pot plans moving forward despite
toughtalk from Trump," Feb. 27).
As Jacob Sullum points out in his column: "According to a recent
Quinnipiac University survey, 59 percent of Americans think
marijuana should be made legal in the United States," while 71
percent "oppose the government enforcing federal laws against
marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational
marijuana." Among Republicans, only 35 percent favored legalization,
but 55 percent opposed federal interference with it."
Steven S. Epstein, Georgetown
Lawmakers appear to have reached a compromise Thursday that would
expand Georgia's medical marijuana law.
The agreement over Senate Bill 16 would add six illnesses and
conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana in Georgia to
include Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, autism, epidermolysis bullosa,
peripheral neuropathy and Tourette's syndrome. It would additionally
allow use for patients in hospice care, according to both state Sen.
Ben Watson, R-Savannah, and state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon.
It would also keep the maximum allowable THC percentage in the form of
cannabis oil allowed here at 5 percent.
Since 2000, the state of Hawaii has had a medical-use-of-marijuana
program to provide patients with chronic illness a safe and effective
treatment option. As we progress through 2017 and in anticipation of
opening dispensaries, it is now the appropriate time to remove the
inconsistent treatment of cannabis as an illegal substance from Hawaii
law. It would seem the state Legislature agrees, as there are over 10
bills seeking to decriminalize marijuana; over 10 bills expanding the
current dispensary program (even though dispensaries haven't opened
yet); over five bills trying to open the state in some way to
industrial hemp; and several bills claiming portions of the tax
revenue from still unopened dispensaries - all alongside two or three
bills with a more "boogeyman" and much less science-based approach.
For example, House Bill 922 points out that 90 percent of the state's
medical marijuana certifications are issued by just 10 doctors, then
asserts this is due to some abuse ! of the system instead of the fact
that most doctors feel their license will be in danger if they issue
marijuana certifications, or the fact that many people choose to seek
marijuana certifications from doctors who specialize in cannabis
rather than their regular doctor.
[continues 406 words]
The New York Times reported this month that expectant mothers are
taking up marijuana in increasing numbers. We asked women who used
marijuana during pregnancy to share their stories.
Hundreds of readers wrote in; most had smoked, while a few vaped or
ate marijuana-laced edibles. Roughly half said they had used pot for a
medical reason. Most felt marijuana use had not affected their
children, or were not sure; just a handful worried the children might
have suffered cognitive deficits.
[continues 1446 words]
Ruth Brunn finally said yes to marijuana. She is 98.
She pops a green pill filled with cannabis oil into her mouth with a
sip of vitamin water. Then Ms. Brunn, who has neuropathy, settles back
in her wheelchair and waits for the jabbing pain in her shoulders,
arms and hands to ebb.
"I don't feel high or stoned," she said. "All I know is I feel better
when I take this."
Ms. Brunn will soon have company. The nursing home in New York City
where she lives, the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, is taking the unusual
step of helping its residents use medical marijuana under a new
program to treat various illnesses with an alternative to prescription
drugs. While the staff will not store or administer pot, residents are
allowed to buy it from a dispensary, keep it in locked boxes in their
rooms and take it on their own.
[continues 1331 words]
Psychedelics, the fabled enlightenment drugs of the '60s, are making a
comeback - this time as medical treatment.
A recent study claimed that psilocybin, a mushroom-derived
hallucinogenic, relieves anxiety and depression in people with
life-threatening cancer. Anecdotal reports have said similar things
about so-called microdoses of LSD.
The allure is understandable, given the limits of our treatments for
depression and anxiety. About a third of patients with major
depression don't get better, even after several trials of different
antidepressants. But I fear that in our desire to combat suffering, we
will ignore the potential risks of these drugs, or be seduced by
preliminary research that seems promising.
[continues 713 words]
Jim "J-Bo" Wages and his wife, Lisa, made the decision a few years ago
to wean their daughter off of pharmaceutical drugs, becoming one of
the first families in 2015 to qualify for Georgia's then-new medical
Since then, they've seen Sydney blossom. She's eating more, has better
awareness of what is going on around her. Last week, they caught her
laughing as her older sister tickled her stomach before bedtime - a
reaction neither had seen in years.
The 13-year-old, who has autism and suffers from intractable seizures,
has benefited from the state's medical marijuana law, her parents
said. But they are afraid others won't.
State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, and Rep. Chris Taylor,
D-Madison, recently introduced legislation that would place an
advisory referendum on the November 2018 general election ballot
asking state voters if they support legalizing medical cannabis.
In 2012, after Washington and Colorado voters passed initiatives
legalizing cannabis for adult use, the Associated Press published an
article looking at potential legalization in other states.
Wisconsin was included: "Republican Gov. Scott Walker said ... he's
not interested in legalizing marijuana. The only way he sees it
happening is if state residents approve the idea in a referendum
similar to Colorado and Washington."
Walker has not weighed in on the advisory referendum proposal since it
was introduced, but his 2012 comments to the AP certainly suggest he
should welcome Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Taylor's proposal to let voters
Gary Storck, Madison