Posts Tagged ‘in the news’
Tomorrow is a big day for medical marijuana in the state of Florida.
Tomorrow, the Florida Supreme Court justices will hear arguments about a proposal that will *fingers crossed* appear on the November 2014 ballot – a proposal to legalize medical marijuana.
Eight out of 10 Florida voters support medical use of marijuana according to a recent poll, and as long as sponsors reach 700,000 validated voter signatures by February 2014, the proposal will appear on the November 2014 ballot.
What is there to argue about, then? Two issues: whether ballot language is accurate, and whether the proposal encompasses a single subject. The state GOP leaders and others critical of a medical marijuana amendment believe the language would lead to more recreational use of marijuana rather than just being used to treat critical illness. They also argue that it is too broadly written to fit the “single subject” requirement.
Despite the opposition, the proposal has garnered enough popularity to become a hot issue in Florida. Supporters like former House Speaker Jon Mills, trial lawyer and major funder John Morgan, and several policy groups have been vocal in their arguments in favor of the amendment, appealing to the public’s sensitive side. According to an article in the Herald Tribune, Morgan appeared in a radio ad with the following quote:
“Medical marijuana has been proven to give our loved ones relief they need, helping with pain, appetite, seizures and spasms. Unfortunately, Tallahassee politicians refused to vote on the issue last session. They wouldn’t even hear testimony from patients and their families. Therefore, we will take this act of mercy to you, the people.”
What will the outcome be? Only time will tell! We’re rooting for you, Florida.
When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use, they forgot about one thing: that bud is dank, bro! The sweet, sweet smell of cannabis now wafting through the streets of quiet Colorado neighborhoods apparently doesn’t appeal to everyone. The solution? A not-so-little device called – get this – the NASAL RANGER. Sick.
Denver, Colorado literally has an odor ordinance, and citizens are becoming increasingly restless, calling on the city to enforce the ordinance so they can breathe clean air. To detect the scent, Denver is taking it to the streets! According to NPR, Ben Siller, a licensed “smell investigator” from Denver’s Department of Environmental Health, uses the Nasal Ranger to detect the presence and strength of odors, including cannabis. NPR compares the Nasal Ranger to Futurama’s “Smell-O-Scope” with its megaphone shape. (“If a dog craps anywhere in the universe, you can bet I won’t be out of the loop!”)
So far, complaints have mostly revolved around growers, not consumers of the plant. The scent has to be incredibly strong (8:1 clean to dank ratio) to warrant a fine, but the fine is pretty steep – $2,000. It’s been almost 20 years since anyone broke that threshold.
When stores selling marijuana for recreational use open up after the New Year, Siller expects even more odor complaints. Denver is considering making updates to its rules before then. They may define more restrictions around “open and public” marijuana use to prevent people from smoking in their yards or having the scent escape any windows.
Just one more thing to think about when crafting marijuana policies… no one said legalization would be easy!
In an effort to keep you guys updated on what toker-related activities are going on in national news…here’s a recap!
As you know, medical marijuana is legal in twenty states and the District of Columbia, and recreational use of marijuana is legal in Washington and Colorado. Despite these state laws, the federal government still doesn’t recognize marijuana as legal in any respect.
Obviously, marijuana advocates have been pushing for a firm statement from the administration on how the Justice Department plans to handle marijuana offenses in these states.
In response to these questions, Attorney General Eric Holder gave federal prosecutors new guidelines to ensure attorneys focus their attention on major cases. Last week, he instructed them in eight areas of priority, including preventing marijuana distribution to minors, preventing drugged driving, stopping drug trafficking by gangs and cartels and forbidding the cultivation of marijuana on public lands. The Justice Department stated that they will respect state laws and encourage states to handle minor cases of casual use on their own.
These new guidelines will apply not only to the twenty states where marijuana is legal either medically or recreationally, but to all states.
Organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project are feeling pretty positive, though.
“Today’s announcement is a major and historic step toward ending marijuana prohibition. The Department of Justice’s decision to allow implementation of the laws in Colorado and Washington is a clear signal that states are free to determine their own policies with respect to marijuana,” said Dan Riffle, the group’s director of federal policy.
You can read the Justice Department’s press statement here.