The President Forgets To Lie About Marijuana, And Prohibitionists Are Outraged

Prohibitionists were outraged by President Obama’s recent observation that marijuana is safer than alcohol—not because it is not true but because it contradicts the central myth underlying public support for the war on drugs. According to that myth, certain psychoactive substances are so dangerous that they cannot be tolerated, and the government has scientifically identified them. In reality, the distinctions drawn by our drug laws are arbitrary, and marijuana is the clearest illustration of that fact. “As has been well documented,” Obama toldThe New Yorker’s David Remnick in an interview published on Sunday, “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” When Remnick pressed him to say whether marijuana is

Marijuana-friendly real estate agents and other enterprising businesspeople looking to make a bundle from Colorado’s weed industry.

Real estate agent Rona Hanson walks around a suburban home west of Denver that was recently put on the market by another realtor, liking what she sees. The 3,000-square-foot midcentury brick bungalow is in fine shape, with a picturesque horse farm across the street and front-porch views of the snow-topped Colorado foothills. But what most excites Hanson about it, why she’s eager to show it to her clients, is the 50-square-foot bedroom in the far corner of the basement, a bland space with small windows near the ceiling and a basic attached bathroom. Not your typical selling point for a house, but to Hanson, it’s perfect—a perfect grow room for a dozen recreational marijuana plants, the maximum Colorado residents are now allowed to cultivate per household. The room offers high enough ceilings to accommodate grow lights, has easy access to water and drainage via the bathroom, and the small windows

Eric Holder Just Announced A Major Shift On U.S. Marijuana Policy

Jan 23 (Reuters) – U.S. treasury and law enforcement agencies will soon issue regulations opening banking services to state-sanctioned marijuana businesses even though cannabis remains classified an illegal narcotic under federal law, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday. Holder said the new rules would address problems faced by newly licensed recreational pot retailers in Colorado, and medical marijuana dispensaries in other states, in operating on a cash-only basis, without access to banking services or credit. Proprietors of state-licensed marijuana distributors in Colorado and elsewhere have complained of having to purchase inventory, pay employees and conduct sales entirely in cash, requiring elaborate and expensive security measures and putting them at a high risk of robbery. It also makes accounting for state sales tax-collection purposes difficult. “You don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places,” Holder told the audience at the University of Virginia. “They want to be able

Managing marijuana in Uruguay

After recently legalising pot, officials now must pick the kind, who will grow it, the price and much more. Montevideo, Uruguay - Uruguay, about to become the first country in the world where the state will fully regulate production, sale and distribution of marijuana, will spend the next few months selecting a good quality strain of the crop that can be sold at a price similar to current illegal prices. Uruguayan President José Mujica signed law 19.172 on the regulation of marijuana on December 23. But it won’t go into effect until April, 120 days after it was approved by Congress and once the government has established specific regulations for the new legislation. Since the 1970s, consumption and possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use have not been penalised in this South American country of 3.3 million people sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil. But cultivation, sale and distribution of the

Marijuana advocates lay groundwork for legalization in Mass.

Advocates of marijuana legalization, emboldened by successes with ballot questions in Colorado and Washington state, are laying the groundwork for such a battle in Massachusetts in the next presidential election year. “In 2016, Massachusetts will find itself in the crosshairs for cannabis reform,” said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, a national group that favors the legalization of marijuana. Massachusetts voters passed measures that decriminalized possession of small amounts of the drug in 2008 and allowed its use for medical purposes in 2012 — both with more than 63 percent support. Buoyed by such results, advocates have launched a similar effort to both get a question calling for the drug’s legalization for adults on the 2016 ballot and to raise enough money for victory. But some critics and lawmakers caution that passage is far from guaranteed. Despite its liberal reputation, Massachusetts has a strong traditional strain that will

Denver police citing one person per day for public marijuana use

Marijuana joint handout demonstration in Denver

Since the start of legal recreational marijuana sales, Denver police have cited about one person per day for public pot smoking, the city’s police chief said Monday. Chief Robert White told members of a City Council committee that officers issued nine citations for public marijuana consumption between Jan. 1 and Saturday. White said there have also been seven burglaries of marijuana businesses in that time, but only one of those occurred at a recreational marijuana store. The burglary numbers, White said, are in line with what the city has previously seen in the medical marijuana industry. “Looking at the number of burglaries that we have in general and the number of burglaries we have of dispensaries, that number is probably relatively consistent,” White said. The enforcement numbers are part of what Denver’s new marijuana czar said Monday was a fairly problem-free start to the nation’s first legal sales of marijuana from stores

NFL might legalize medical marijuana for players

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As more US states move to consider marijuana legalization, the country’s most popular sports league is indicating it may one day allow its players to light up. Speaking to ESPN, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested the sport’s ban on medical marijuana could be lifted in the future if the practice has already been legalized in a player’s state. “I don’t know what’s going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine,”he said. Although multiple teams play in states where medical marijuana is legal – not to mention that Colorado and Washington have legalized the drug outright – use of the substance remains prohibited under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. The 10-year agreement isn’t set to expire until 2021, leaving no opportunity for

NY Gov. Cuomo to Support Medical Marijuana at State of the State Addresses


Patients, Advocates, Elected Officials Praise Cuomo and Urge Him to Back Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation ALBANY, NY —  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will use his State of the State address Wednesday to announce his support for medical marijuana for patients in New York. After years of opposing medical marijuana, the turnaround by Gov. Cuomo is making national headlines. As an immediate step, the Governor will bypass the Legislature – where comprehensive legislation has stalled for years in the Senate – and take executive action to revive a 1980 law that allows the state to establish a limited medical marijuana research program. The 1980 law established the Antonio G. Olivieri Controlled Substance Therapeutic Research Program, which ran briefly in New York until being shut down in the early 1990s. Cuomo administration officials told the New York Times that the program would involve distributing medical marijuana through 20 hospitals statewide, and the Department of Health

Local politicians slobbering over tax revenue from pot sales

Denver’s 3D Cannabis Center owner Toni Fox thought she had enough marijuana to last through February when she opened her doors Jan. 1 for recreational pot sales. Then she served 450 customers Jan. 1 and turned away 60. She planned to close Monday and Tuesday, she said, to re-evaluate her supply. She had been serving 25 clients a day for the past three years while her store was restricted to medical marijuana sales, she said. “We are going to run out,” she predicted Thursday, the second day of legal marijuana sales for recreational use. “It’s insane.” Fox said she had a harvest ready to be trimmed. And she will hire temporary staffers from Hemp Temps, a Denver-based staffing company that specializes in growing, trimming and bud-tending. But she guessed the supply shortage is the same story at all of Denver’s 18 stores and Pueblo’s two stores that opened last week

Credit, debit cards OK for recreational marijuana

DENVER — It will be up to banks to decide whether to allow the use of credit cards to buy recreational marijuana. Dozens of stores are offering patrons payment alternatives to cash, but they require a bank account. According to the Denver Post ( ), Visa has said their previous policy was to ensure that no illegal transactions enter their systems. That position has softened lately, with Visa on Monday saying it’s putting the burden on merchant banks to decide the definition of illegal. Information from: The Denver Post,

Pathetic Pot Prohibitionists

Legalization in Colorado reveals the intellectual poverty of the war on marijuana. On Monday, less than a week after Colorado’s state-licensed marijuana shops beganserving recreational consumers, the anti-pot group Project SAM thanked three public figures who “have galvanized our movement.” One of them was Tina Brown, former editor of Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and The Daily Beast, whose contribution consisted of this insight, which she offered to her 75,000 Twitter followers last Friday: “Legal weed contributes to us being a fatter, dumber, sleepier nation even less able to compete with the Chinese.” This is what passes for smart commentary among pot prohibitionists. Colorado’s path-breaking legalization of the marijuana business has revealed the intellectual bankruptcy of people who think violence is an appropriate response to consumption of psychoactive substances they do not like. People like Kevin Sabet, the former Office of National Drug Control Policy official who co-founded Project SAM. Sabet’s main strategy for defending prohibition consists of pairingthe

Poll: Majority wants marijuana legalized

Another new poll shows a majority of Americans would like marijuana to be legal. The CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 55 percent think marijuana should be legal, while 44 percent think it should not. The 55 percent who support legalization is up 12 points from just more than a year ago. CNN isn’t the first pollster to show a spike in support for marijuana legalization. BothPew and Gallup have shown similar trends, with new majorities supporting legalization. Gallup showed support for legalization spiking to 58 percent in a poll released in October. The CNN poll also shows that majorities of Americans do not see pot as physically or mentally harmful. They are about evenly split when it comes to whether it is addictive and leads to use of other drugs. Only 19 percent see its use as a major problem in society today. The rise in support comes as Colorado and Washington have become the first

CNN Poll: Americans say marijuana is less dangerous than booze or tobacco

Washington (CNN) - Americans appear to view marijuana in a class by itself. According to a new national poll, marijuana is not as wicked as other illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, and much less dangerous than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco. That’s one reason why a CNN/ORC International survey indicates that support for legalizing marijuana is soaring, and why that same support does not extend to hard drugs. A CNN/ORC poll released Monday showed that 55% of all Americans think that the use of marijuana should be legal – a solid majority and more than triple the 16% who said the same thing a quarter century ago. But according to numbers released Tuesday, the percentage is nowhere near as high as the 81% who say alcohol should remain legal or the 71% who believe that tobacco use is OK. Yet, despite the high numbers who think alcohol and tobacco should be

Colorado Recreational Marijuana Sales Exceed $5 Million In First Week

Colorado marijuana dispensaries made huge sales in the first week of legal recreational marijuana. Owners of the 37 new dispensaries around the state reported first week retail sales to The Huffington Post that, when added together, were roughly $5 million. That’s a lot of green for Colorado’s legal weed. Colorado, the first state to allow retail recreational marijuana sales to adults age 21 and older, has projected nearly $600 million in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales annually. The state, which expects to collect nearly $70 million in tax revenue from pot sales this year, won’t have its first official glimpse at sales figures until Feb. 20, when businesses are required to file January tax reports, according to Julie Postlethwait of the state Marijuana Enforcement Division. Denver’s 9News was first to report statewide retail sales on New Year’s Day, the first day legal pot shops were allowed to operate, exceeded $1 million. Interest dropped in the days

7 Other Thought Leaders Who Have Smoked Pot

David Brooks lit up the Internet today (sorry) with his column on marijuana legalization, “Weed: Been There. Done That,” in which he admits to once being young. “For a little while in my teenage years, my friends and I smoked marijuana. It was fun,” he wrote. “I have some fond memories of us all being silly together. I think those moments of uninhibited frolic deepened our friendships.” But then he grew up: “I don’t have any problem with somebody who gets high from time to time, but I guess, on the whole, I think being stoned is not a particularly uplifting form of pleasure and should be discouraged more than encouraged.” The argument sparked (sorrrrry) countless responses, from jeers to serious rebuttals, but more than anything it gave otherwise straitlaced pundits and reporters — Thought Leaders, you might call them — a chance to get personal with their weed stories. Some offered their

Carl Sagan Also Smoked Pot Decades Ago. Here’s What He Had To Say About It.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in May 2013. Carl Sagan, a titan of scientific study and communication, died in 1996, leaving behind an expansive legacy of research and education. He assumed a diverse set of roles throughout his life, including as a longtime casual user of and advocate for marijuana. Sagan’s involvement with pot began as a secret, when he penned an essay in 1969, at the age of 35, under the pseudonym “Mr. X.” The piece, in which Sagan described the benefits he felt from using marijuana, later appeared in Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s 1971 book, “Marihuana Reconsidered.” Sagan’s identity as the authorwasn’t publicly disclosed until 1999, when Keay Davidson published “Carl Sagan: A Life,” which documented Sagan’s writings as his alter-ego, “Mr. X.” Writing that he’d begun smoking intermittently around 10 years before, Sagan noted that marijuana “amplifies torpid sensibilities and produces what to me are even more interesting

Capitalism and marijuana meet in Telluride


Local dispensaries see high volume sales, lines out the door By Collin McRann Staff reporter Published: Thursday, January 2, 2014 6:06 AM CST The lines were long outside of Telluride dispensaries on Wednesday as hundreds queued up in the cold to buy legal marijuana for the first time. Thousands of dollars changed hands, smoke filled private rooms and history was made. Buyers included everyone from a San Miguel County politician to visitors and Telluride locals, and many expressed elation on the landmark day. Though there were some regulatory issues, customers were able to buy marijuana in limited quantities from each dispensary. All three of Telluride’s retail marijuana dealers were open by 10 a.m., but by late morning an official from the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division had discovered issues with containers from at least one dispensary, which closed for about two hours. The Green Room on South Fir Street was the first

California Marijuana Cultivation Ban Is Being Challenged


This is Colorado’s week in the sun (or, if you’re standing in line to buy legal adult-use weed in Denver, snow) and rightly so.   While history is being made in the Rockies, back here in California we’re sort of stuck in Prohibition. Here, local governments are still allowed to say, “No thanks” to medical marijuana and ban citizens from growing their own cannabis – even as state law gives them the express right. Maybe not for long. Attorney Joe Elford, long the state’s most prominent pro-cannabis counsel, is asking the state Supreme Court to hear an appeal – and, eventually, overturn the decision that allows marijuana-hating municipalities to prohibit their citizens from cultivating legal cannabis. The case in point is James Maral v City of Live Oak. Live Oak, a small town in Sutter County in between Yuba City and Oroville, bans medical marijuana dispensaries and also bans anyone with a recommendation for

Colorado Marijuana Sales Break $1 Million On Day 1, Ben & Jerry’s Tweets In Celebration

It took three months for the Obamacare website to get its act together but the first day of legal marijuana in Colorado was an unambiguous success: marijuana sales topped $1 million, according to 9News, on Colorado’s first day of selling marijuana to anyone willing to pay for it, no prescription required (just an ID that says you are over 21). Some people, like delivery man Andre Barr, traveled from out of state to be part of the historic moment. “It’s a huge deal for me,” said Barr, who drove over 1,000 miles from Niles, Michigan to Denver, Colorado. In addition to the legal marijuana sellers, other Colorado businesses will see a windfall, as tourists from other states will come for the legal marijuana, but also spend money on hotels, restaurants, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Okay, the Ben & Jerry’s part was a joke, but I wasn’t the first to

There’s Only One Week to Sign and Mail in Medical Marijuana Petitions FLORIDA GET UP AND VOTE!!!

The push is on to make Florida the next state to legalize medical marijuana. Organizers have one month to get 700,000 signatures on a petition to get the issue on the November ballot. But since state laws require that the petitions be paper petitions that are mailed in via snail mail — not online ones — and then validated, the petition organizing group, United for Care, is asking that all petitions come in by January 7. United for Care is backed by megamillionaire John Morgan, who has donated $2 million to the effort. The group is working around the clock to collect enough signatures before the fast-approaching deadline passes. The state Supreme Court has a deadline of April 1 to make a decision on whether the amendment will make it to the ballot. See also: Florida’s Supreme Court to Hear Medical Marijuana Legalization Debate Besides signing petitions in person, Florida residents