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Small drop in marijuana arrests, US still near record high

By Martin Williams

WCL News — Police in the US conducted one drug arrest every 20 seconds and one marijuana arrest every 42 seconds in 2012, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report released September 16, 2013. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program report counts one arrest for each separate instance in which a person is arrested, cited, or summoned for an offense.

It shows that 82.2% of all drug arrests in 2012 were for possession only and 42.4% of all drug arrests were for marijuana possession (88% of all marijuana arrests). This amounts to almost 750,000 marijuana arrests and more than 1.5 million total drug arrests in 2012. The total represents a slight decrease from years past. During the years 2006 to 2010, police annually made over 800,000 arrests for cannabis violations.

By comparison, police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the annual Uniform

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Bipartisan coalition to end taxation double standard

By Betty Aldworth, National Cannabis Industry Association

WCL News — Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) president Grover Norquist and National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith held a press conference to mark the release of a new white paper from ATR entitled Legal Cannabis Dispensary Taxation: A Textbook Case of Punishing Law-Abiding Businesses Through the Tax Code. The paper, published on September 12, calls for reform of Internal Revenue Code Section 280E, which essentially forces medical marijuana providers to pay taxes based on gross receipts rather than income, unlike all other small businesses.

Additionally, the paper details Americans for Tax Reform’s endorsement of H.R. 2240, the Small Business Tax Equity Act, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Blumenauer and strongly supported by the National Cannabis Industry Association. Mr. Norquist also sent a letter explaining his support for H.R. 2240 to

Read More: Bipartisan coalition to end taxation double standard

Many felons can vote unless they are physically in state prison

By Allison B. Margolin, Attorney at Law

WCL News — Many, many marijuana felons can and should vote. With the next election cycle right around the corner, it is imperative for current and ex-felons to know and exercise their right to vote when the law allows them –which is most of the time . This way voters can choose leaders who will most effectively improve the legal, political and social contexts that led to their convictions.

In California, the Court of Appeals ruled in League of Women Voters of CA v. McPherson, 145 Cal. App 4th 1469 (2006), that felons can vote when they are in county jail or off parole. The Court relied on the CA Constitution Article II, Section IV: “The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction

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US Senate hearing seeks path for Feds to coexist with state-legal marijuana

By Betty Aldworth and Darby Beck

WCL News – Deputy US Attorney General James Cole told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on September 10, 2013 that in states where marijuana has been decriminalized or made legal, implementing a strictly regulated system in which cannabis is sold is the only way to prevent criminal activity such as diversion to youth and across state lines and empowerment of criminals and cartels. Cole did not challenge states’ rights to make their own drug laws, only restated the federal government’s right to challenge their regulatory schemes in pursuing certain priorities, such as preventing sales to minors, trafficking to other states, impaired driving, and increases in violence.

Committee members Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) were fully supportive of the new state laws and repeatedly stated the need for greater clarification of federal policy, particularly in relation to guidelines which prohibit financial institutions, security

Read More: US Senate hearing seeks path for Feds to coexist with state-legal marijuana

California Assembly votes to reduce drug possession penalty

By Martin Williams

WCL News — The California Assembly voted September 4, 2013 to let prosecutors charge personal possession of illicit drugs as a misdemeanor rather than a felony case, as circumstances warrant. The bill, SB649 authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), passed with 41 votes and bipartisan support. It cleared the Senate earlier and now heads toward the governor’s desk after concurrence.

Current law provides for up to three years of prison, even for a small amount of drugs intended for personal consumption. The option of filing  misdemeanor charges is expected to help reduce prison and jail overcrowding in California and potentially reduce overall court costs because misdemeanor offenses do not require setting a preliminary hearing, as felony charges do.

A statewide poll conducted by Tulchin Research in 2012 found that an overwhelming majority of Californians support this type of drug sentencing reform, with 75% favoring prevention and

Read More: California Assembly votes to reduce drug possession penalty

Washington State liquor board announces cannabis implementation plan

WCL News — The Washington State Liquor Control Board Sept. 4, 2013 announced its final rules to implement the marijuana legalization law adopted by state voters in 2012, I-502. Teams from across the US had competed to be included in the development of the guidelines. People interested in cultivating or dispensing cannabis to adults will have from November 18 to December 18 to apply for a license.

Details of the proposal will be discussed in future postings. Read the 43-page document online.

Timeline for implementation:

September 4, 2013: File Supplemental CR 102 with revised proposed rules

October 9, 2013: Public hearing(s) on proposed rules (details pending)

October 16, 2013: Board adopts or rejects proposed rules (CR 103)

November 16, 2013: Rules take effect

November 18, 2013: Begin accepting applications for producer, processor and retailer licenses (30-day window)

December 1, 2013: Deadline for rules to be complete (as mandated by law)

Read More: Washington State liquor board announces cannabis implementation plan

Feds give “green light” to Washington State to implement I-502

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee receives the word from US Attorney General Eric Holder. Photo courtesy of Gov. Jay Inslee

By Jeremy Daw and Darby Beck

WCL News — Washington Governor Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson have reached an agreement with US Attorney General Eric Holder to allow marijuana legalization to go forward in the Evergreen State. The announcement confirms the existence of long-rumored collaborative talks between state government and the federal Department of Justice on the implementation of the voter-approved Initiative 502 to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults.

“Today we received confirmation Washington’s voter-approved marijuana law will be implemented,” wrote Inslee and Ferguson in an August 29, 2013 press release. “We received good news this morning when Attorney General Eric Holder told the governor the federal government would not pre-empt Washington and Colorado as the states implement a highly regulated legalized market for marijuana.”

The

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Senado quiere poner fin al conflicto entre las leyes estatales y federales de marihuana

By Tony Newman, drugpolicy.org

El presidente del Comité Judicial del Senado, Patrick Leahy (D-VT) anunció el 25 de agosto 2013, que él se ocuparía de las discrepancias entre las leyes federales y estatales de marihuana en una audiencia del 10 de septiembre. Con 20 estados con marihuana medicinal y dos adultos que permiten el uso legal, Leahy ha invitado a Fiscal General de EE.UU., Eric Holder, y la Vice Fiscal James Cole a declarar.

En una carta de diciembre de 2012 a EE.UU. zar antidrogas Gil Kerlikowske, Leahy había pedido que el gobierno federal tiene la intención de hacer frente a estados como Colorado y Washington, que han legalizado el uso de adultos no médico, y sugirió que la legislación federal podría introducirse para legalizar hasta una onza de marihuana, por lo menos en los estados que han legalizado. También había pedido garantías de que los empleados estatales no serían

Read More: Senado quiere poner fin al conflicto entre las leyes estatales y federales de marihuana

Jefes de Policía Canadiense ha recomendado que la tenencia de marihuana debería ser reducido a un delito de citación

By Chris Conrad

WCL News — La Asociación Canadiense de Jefes de Policía ha recomendado que la tenencia de marihuana debería ser reducido a un delito de citación que no conduzca a un arresto. De acuerdo con 20 de agosto, 2013, CACP comunicado de prensa de agosto de sus miembros votó en su reunión general anual de Winnipeg a ratificar la Resolución # 04-2013 recomendando que las opciones de aplicación debería ampliarse para aumentar la discrecionalidad policial cuando se enfrenta a la posesión ilícita de cannabis. La asociación representa a más del 90% de la comunidad policial en Canadá que incluyen federales, las Primeras Naciones, provinciales, regionales y municipales, el transporte y los líderes de la policía militar.

“El actual proceso de envío de todos los casos de simple posesión de marihuana bajo la controlada de fármacos y sustancias actúan a la corte criminal está poniendo una carga significativa para

Read More: Jefes de Policía Canadiense ha recomendado que la tenencia de marihuana debería ser reducido a un delito de citación

Canada’s police chiefs want possession reduced to a ticket citation

By Chris Conrad, WestCoastLeaf.com

WCL News – The  Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has recommended that marijuana possession should be reduced to a citation offense that does not lead to an arrest. According to an August 20, 2013 CACP press release, its membership voted at its annual General Meeting in Winnipeg to ratify Resolution #04 – 2013 recommending that enforcement options should be expanded to increase police discretion when confronting the illicit possession of cannabis. The association represents more than 90% of the police community in Canada which include federal, First Nations, provincial, regional and municipal, transportation and military police leaders.

“The current process of sending all simple possession of cannabis cases under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act to criminal court is placing a significant burden on the entire Justice system from an economic and resource utilization perspective,” stated CACP President Chief Constable Jim Chu. “The CACP is

Read More: Canada’s police chiefs want possession reduced to a ticket citation

Feds tell security, armored car companies not to serve cannabis industry

By Gaynell Rogers

WCL News — On the heels of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s endorsement of medical cannabis and Eric Holder’s speech advocating Drug War reform, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency  informed US security and armored car services on Aug. 22, 2013, that they can no longer render services to state-legal cannabis providers. The announcement poses grave risks to medical cannabis patients and the general public alike, according to experts in the field.

“We need to provide financial institutions certainty they can make their own business decisions related to legal, financial transactions without fear of regulatory penalties,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee. He cited “public safety, crime and lost tax revenue”  concerns in an Aug. 29 statement. “Currently, under federal banking laws, many legal, regulated legitimate marijuana businesses operating legally according to state law are prevented from maintaining bank accounts and

Read More: Feds tell security, armored car companies not to serve cannabis industry

Uruguay poised to legalize cannabis before end of year 2013

By Jeremy Daw, WestCoastLeaf.com

WCL News — The UN policy on cannabis has been rattled by events in South America. A bill to legalize small cannabis collectives, allow pharmacies to sell medical marijuana and direct the national government of Uruguay to become one of the world’s largest cannabis distributors passed its most difficult political hurdle when the small South American country’s House of Representatives approved it July 31, 2013 by a vote of 50 to 46. The measure, which has been enthusiastically endorsed by President Jose Mujica, is expected to pass easily in the Senate.

If the legalization bill becomes law, Uruguayan citizens 21 and older would have the right to form small collectives of up to six people to distribute the herb amongst themselves. Pharmacies would become the premiere destination for medical marijuana, exacting strict testing and labeling standards. Most significantly, the government itself would become directly involved in

Read More: Uruguay poised to legalize cannabis before end of year 2013