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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

Study: Marijuana not a global health problem

By Paul Armentano, NORML

WCL News — A new international survey has concluded that Cannabis use is not a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. The epidemiological review, “Global burden of disease attributable to illicit drug use and dependence: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010,” was published in the September 2013 edition of The Lancet.

An international team of researchers from Australia and the US reviewed data to assess the global prevalence of illicit drug use and quantified its adverse effects on health in terms of years of life lived with disability (YLDs), years of life lost (YLLs), and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

The report was heavily biased against cannabis use, assuming that it is harmful in some way by virtue of simply being illegal, and did not consider the medical benefits of cannabis, the added quality of life and additional years of productivity or

Read More: Study: Marijuana not a global health problem

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

Read More: Many felons can vote unless they are physically in state prison

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

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

Memo may effect major shift in banking for cannabis businesses

By Chris Conrad

WCL News — A major shift in federal banking policy may have been ignited with the August 29, 2013 US Dept. of Justice policy memo. According to reports from CNN.com and the Huffington Post, the agency offered leeway to banks and other financial institutions to provide banking services to marijuana-related businesses that comply with eight priorities that were outlined in Deputy Attorney General James Cole’s memo. Members of the National Cannabis Industry Association have reported closure of personal and business bank accounts, discontinuation of merchant processing services, and even the termination of armored car services. Yesterday’s apparent reversal opens the door to allowing the estimated $1.5 billion regulated marijuana market access to business checking and savings accounts, merchant processing, and other vital services.

“Our NCIA members and others in the regulated medical and adult-use marijuana industry across the nation have gone to great lengths to ensure they

Read More: Memo may effect major shift in banking for cannabis businesses

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

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

US Senate to hold hearing on resolving state, federal cannabis laws

By Tony Newman, drugpolicy.org

WCL News — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced on August 25, 2013 that he would address discrepancies between federal and state marijuana laws at a September 10 hearing. With 20 medical marijuana states and two allowing legal adult use, Leahy has invited US Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify.

In a December 2012 letter to US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, Leahy had asked how the federal government intends to deal with states like Colorado and Washington, which have legalized non-medical adult use, and suggested that federal legislation could be introduced to legalize up to an ounce of marijuana, at least in states that have legalized it. He had also sought assurances that state employees would not be prosecuted for implementing state laws.

There are several bipartisan bills in the US House that would reform federal marijuana laws, but so

Read More: US Senate to hold hearing on resolving state, federal cannabis laws