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Diego Pellicer to Open Canadian Stores

By Jeremy Daw

Coming soon to Canada?

WCL News — In response to new rules enacted in Canada allowing foreign corporations to open retail cannabis establishments, the head of the premier US cannabis brand has said that he plans to enter the Canadian market.

“Absolutely,” said Jamen Shively, co-founder and Executive Director of Diego Pellicer Inc., when asked whether he planned to enter the Canadian market.

Long known as an illicit supplier of the US market for British Columbia’s famous “BC Bud,” Canada may soon find itself awash with high-grade American cannabis, courtesy of a former Microsoft executive.

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

Read More: Small drop in marijuana arrests, US still near record high

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

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

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

US report shows cannabis use up, but not among teens

By Martin Williams

WCL News — A new federal review and report has illuminated the failures of prohibition as a tool for controlling drug use. Despite hundreds of thousands of arrests and billions of dollars spent to reduce marijuana supply and demand, usage rates remain relatively unchanged while support for legalization has grown by leaps and bounds.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released its annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health on Nov. 4, 2013, along with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In the wake of the longest, broadest and most sustained attack in US history against the cannabis plant and its consumers, medical and otherwise, currently being waged by the Obama administration, social use has become more accepted and actually increased.

Despite the blanket ban being foisted by the federal government, two states voted to legalize marijuana last year and the social

Read More: US report shows cannabis use up, but not among teens

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

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

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

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

Federal court recognizes sacramental use of cannabis

Rev. Roger Christie is fighting for his religious belief in sacramental cannabis use and the right to share with his congregants. Photos courtesy of Share Christie.

By Chris Conrad, WestCoastLeaf.com

WCL News — The THC Ministry church became the second non-Rastafarian church recognized by a US court to use cannabis as a sacrament on Aug. 5, 2013, when a federal judge in Hawai’i held that its founder was entitled to a defense in federal court under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The RFRA was adopted by Congress in the 1990s, then partially struck down as being unconstitutionally restrictive on state authorities. However,  it remains in effect regarding federal prosecutors.

Rev. Roger Christie, 64, has been held without bail in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center since July 8, 2010, fighting for his First Amendment religious freedom defense, ever

Read More: Federal court recognizes sacramental use of cannabis

Patient beats marijuana sales charge in Marysville

Salerno, left, with attorney Levinsohn

By Ron Mullins, The Human Solution

WCL News — A Yuba County CA jury acquitted medical marijuana patient Eric Salerno Aug. 9, 2013, who had been arrested in a Marysville fast food restaurant parking lot April 22, 2011 with $3500, a scale, several pounds of marijuana and another valid patient. Both patients showed their physician recommendations to the police, however, when the other patient cut a deal in exchange for testifying against him, the prosecution moved forward.

Salerno and his wife, Desiree, raise their two young sons Lorenzo and Andreas in the Yuba County foothills. The first judge in his case, Judge James F. Dawson, denied Salerno his medical marijuana defense. Allison Margolin’s law office filed a writ of mandamus to the third district appellate court, which issued a stay of the proceedings and allowed Salerno’s medical defense to be reinstated.

The trial courtroom

Read More: Patient beats marijuana sales charge in Marysville

US House passes hemp reform in federal Farm Bill

A new start for hemp?

The US House of Representatives has approved a version of the farm bill which includes hemp reform to allow for states to authorize hemp research. It does not authorize large-scale hemp farming, which is essential to making the US competitive in the global industrial hemp markets. The bill now heads to the Senate, which must approve the measure to send it to the President for approval. This is the first time since the 1950s that a hemp authorization bill has cleared  Congress.

For over 75 years, federal law has banned the cultivation of every strain of cannabis, regardless of its psychoactivity, despite a long heritage of industrial hemp farming in US history. The amendment to the approved farm bill would allow universities to grow non-psychoactive hemp strains for research purposes, ending a blanket prohibition which has been in place in de-facto form since 1937

Read More: US House passes hemp reform in federal Farm Bill