Marijuana

Sunday, January 4, 2015

AP: Yellowstone Sees Increase in Marijuana Charges

Posted By on Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 1:16 PM

DAVID MONNIAUX, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cheyenne, Wyo. prosecuted 21 marijuana cases from Yellowstone, according to an Associated Press report published in this morning's Idaho Falls Post Register. In 2013, that number went up to 52 cases; by the middle of December 2014, it had risen to 80 cases.

Usually, these busts happen when park rangers conduct a traffic stop and smell the drug in the vehicle. The fine for possessing even small quantities of weed on federal land, whether it's recreational or medical, is $1,000.

"[M]ost people, most of the time, if a ranger says, 'Do you have any marijuana in your car?' they'll say yes. In which case, there's not a lot a criminal defense attorney can do for them," Jackson, Wyo. attorney Alex Freeburg told the AP.

Park rangers chalk the increase up to people ignoring the federal law and the growing prevalence of legal pot in other states, like neighboring Colorado.

"They know it's illegal but they don't think it's a crime," Freeburg said. "There's some sort of disconnect."
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Advocates for Legal Pot Set Their Sights on Oregon

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Tuesday, July 8, was a historic day for Washington as the state's first legal recreational pot merchants swung open their doors.

And now, recreational marijuana advocates have their sights set on Oregon, calling an effort to put the issue before Oregon voters this November as the "new gold standard." In fact, one of the nation's leading drug policy reformers was in Oregon July 8, calling that state's effort to legalize marijuana as "the No. 1 priority."

This morning's Oregonian reports that Ethan Nadelman's organization, the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance, has already contributed $650,000 to the so-called "New Approach" campaign, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana. Similar to Washington's plan, the proposed Oregon plan would be overseen by the state's liquor control commission.

But advocates say Oregon's initiative is a bit different from Washington's in that pot taxes would be lower to better position legal retailers to compete with the black market.

"I think what you are going to see in Oregon is a hybrid model that draws on the best of both systems," Nadelman told the Oregonian.


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Washington Lights Up Recreational Pot; It's Expensive and There Isn't Much to Go Around

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

A year-and-a-half after Washington voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana, a new era begins today when 24 stores who snapped up the state's first licenses to sell pot will open their doors. Ultimately, more than 300 pot stores are expected to open.

Some stores were expected to open as early as 8 a.m. Pacific Time, but other store owners said it was better to "know your audience" and wouldn't open 'til about noon.

Meanwhile, officials at Washington's Liquor Control Board say they're approving between 10 and 15 new applications every week.

Simply put, the new stores will sell pot to adults over 21. Up until now, medical marijuana was abundantly available in Washington.

Time Magazine reports that the "lines will be huge" for the historic happening. But shoppers will be surprised to learn that they'll only be allowed to buy small amounts and possess one ounce of pot. And it will be pretty expensive. Prices will start at $12 a gram, and go as high as $25 a gram. In Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been sold for a while now, prices have already dropped to about $8 a gram.

Most importantly, Time reports that "cops will be everywhere" looking for people who might light up in public, drive while stoned or other infractions. Additionally, the state liquor control board says it will be running sting operations to make sure pot is not sold to underage customers.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

71 Oregon Cities Place Moratoriums on Medical Pot Shops

Posted By on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM

While the State of Oregon has approved dozens of licenses for legal medical marijuana shops, more than 70 Oregon cities have decided to place moratoriums on any medical pot dispensaries. The Associated Press reports that 40 more communities are considering their own bans.

"You have a mix of cities and counties that are definitely saying no, and you also have quite a number saying, 'We don't know yet. We want time,'" Rob Bovett, legal counsel for the Association of Oregon Counties told the AP.

In Eastern Oregon, moratoriums have been enacted in the cities of Ontario and Nyssa, and Malheur County.

Oregon Senate Bill 1531, signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber earlier this month, gives cities and counties until May 1 to block any medical marijuana stores that set up shop. Otherwise, the Oregon Health Authority was licensing pot to be packaged in child-proof containers and sold over the counter.


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Friday, April 11, 2014

Washington Man Steps Forward as Victim of License-Plate Profiling in Idaho

Posted By on Fri, Apr 11, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Paul Dungan of Spokane, Wash., said he had been accused of carrying marijuana by an Idaho State Police officer because of his Washington state license plates and driving with his windows down. - DAN PELLE PHOTO
  • Dan Pelle photo
  • Paul Dungan of Spokane, Wash., said he had been accused of carrying marijuana by an Idaho State Police officer because of his Washington state license plates and driving with his windows down.


Yet another man from a state where marijuana has been decriminalized is alleging he has been license-plate profiled by the Idaho State Police, the Spokesman-Review reports

Paul Dungan, 58, of Spokane, Wash., said that he was pulled over by an ISP officer for having Washington license plates and having his windows rolled down, and accused of having marijuana in his car.

"I was definitely profiled," Dungan said. "...What a horrible feeling."

Dungan said he drives with his windows down in warm weather to keep himself awake.

According to ISP spokeswoman Teresa Baker, the ISP had no record of Dungan's traffic stop.

Dungan's story is similar to that of Darien Roseen of Colorado, who made a similar claim that he had been profiled on account of his Colorado license plates following a January 2013 traffic stop on I-84.
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Monday, March 31, 2014

Oregon Aproves Licenses For 22 Medical Pot Shops; More to Come

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Oregon now has 22 medical marijuana shops, all licensed with the state's blessing.

Oregon Senate Bill 1531, signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber earlier this month, gives cities and counties until May 1 to block any medical marijuana stores that set up shop. Otherwise, the Oregon Health Authority was licensing pot to be packaged in child-proof containers and sold over the counter.

And as of this morning, the Oregon Health Authority had approved 22 locations—14 dispensaries given the OK late Friday, on top of eight others approved last week.

The Associated Press reports that the city of Portland has the most shops (nine), followed by Eugene (five). The cities of Bend and Salem have two each, and there is one medical pot shop each in the cities of Corvallis, Hermiston and Springfield. An additional shop declined to have its location disclosed.

Additionally, 41 applicants have been granted provisional licenses until their security systems are in place.

And presumably, there are more to come—the agency said it had processed 102 of 301 applications submitted since the beginning of March.


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Eastern Oregon Communities Don't Want Legal Pot Shops

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 9:28 AM

In the same week that a number of medical marijuana shops are opening their doors in Oregon, at least two Eastern Oregon communities say they want to opt out of allowing pot sales.

Oregon Senate Bill 1531, signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber last week, gives cities and counties until May 1 to block any medical marijuana stores that set up shop. Otherwise, the Oregon Health Authority is licensing pot to be packaged with child-proof containers and sold over the counter.

Officials in the city of Ontario say they're already exploring options to enact a moratorium on medical marijuana sales.

And this morning's Ontario Argus Observer reports that a pot shop ban is also likely in the city of Nyssa. On March 24, The Nyssa City Council passed its first reading of a new ordinance imposing its own moratorium on medical marijuana facilities. Nyssa officials agreed that anyone who operated or was employed by a registered medical marijuana facility should receive immunity from prosecution, but still decided that it was in the best interest of its citizens to enact the moratorium on operations of pot shops.

In March 2011, Boise Weekly visited the 45th Parallel, a small medical marijuana shop in Ontario, Ore., to find that a number of residents of the Gem State were regularly visiting the store.

"We know of at least 500 clients that have bought property in Oregon just in the last 60 days," said the proprietor. "They don't want to break the law, so this is going to be their new home. Idaho is losing residents, there's no doubt about it."


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oregon Medical Marijuana Shops Opening for Business

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM

It's official: medical marijuana shops are opening their doors this week in Oregon, with the blessing of the state government.

Oregon Senate Bill 1531, signed into law by Gov. John Kitzhaber last week, gives cities and counties until May 1 to block any medical marijuana stores that set up shop. Otherwise, the Oregon Health Authority is licensing pot to be packaged with child-proof containers and being sold over the counter.

But the Associated Press reports that one medical marijuana shop—The Releaf Center just outside of Hermiston, Ore., which opened its doors on March 25—could be shut down soon if the Umatilla County Commission decides to enact a moratorium when it meets next week. Umatilla County lawmakers say they're struggling with their state's new law and the federal prohibition on marijuana, calling it a "huge conundrum."

In March 2011, Boise Weekly visited the 45th Parallel, a small medical marijuana shop in Ontario, Ore., to find that a number of residents of the Gem State were regularly visiting the store.

"We know of at least 500 clients that have bought property in Oregon just in the last 60 days," said the proprietor. "They don't want to break the law, so this is going to be their new home. Idaho is losing residents, there's no doubt about it."


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Sunday, January 5, 2014

New York Next to Loosen Marijuana Laws

Posted By on Sun, Jan 5, 2014 at 10:47 AM

New York is in line to become the next state to relax medical marijuana restrictions.

This morning's New York Times reports that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will use administrative powers, rather than legislative action, to allow 20 hospitals to use marijuana to treat certain medical conditions such as cancer and glaucoma. Marijuana otherwise would remain illegal in the state.

Cuomo is expected to officially announce the action in his State of the State address later this week. Cuomo says he hopes to have the executive action in place sometime this year so that select hospitals may begin dispensing pot for certain patients.

For generations, New York has been one of the most punitive states in the nation for marijuana crackdowns and prison sentencing.

Other states have taken more liberal positions on pot—most notably Colorado, where residents flocked to state-approved retailers on New Year's Day to buy marijuana for recreational purposes. Colorado charges 25 percent sales tax on pot, and is expected to reap tens of millions of dollars of state tax revenues from the move.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Feds Won't Challenge Pot Legalization in Washington, Colorado

Posted By on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

When voters in the states of Colorado and Washington decided in 2012 that they wanted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, the big question was: What will the U.S. Justice Department, which has adamantly prosecuted cannabis cases, do? The answer came Aug. 29: nothing.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the governors of Colorado and Washington to say that his department, for now, would not seek to trump the new state laws. Marijuana would still be considered illegal under the federal Controlled Substance Act, but Holder said he had sent orders to federal prosecutors to focus on other enforcement priorities: prevent pot distribution to minors, prevent cannabis-connected DUIs, stop drug trafficking by gangs and cartels, and forbid the cultivation of marijuana on public lands. The guidelines also ease up-until-now strict rules on banks, giving lenders some leeway to provide lending to marijuana-based businesses, so long as they don't violate the other priorities being assigned to federal prosecutors.

"We want to thank the attorney general for working with the states on this and for finding a way that allows our initiative to move forward while maintaining a commitment to fighting illegal drugs," said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a written statement. "This reflects a balanced approach by the federal government that respects the states' interests in implementing these laws and recognizes the federal government's role in fighting illegal drugs and criminal activity," they added.


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