Archive for November, 2012

As marijuana laws ease nationwide, Maine leads — and responds

November 29th, 2012

PotLeaftFist1_main

With a marijuana legalization proposal on the horizon and a medical cannabis program that continues to evolve, Maine is an active participant in the country’s pot revolution. Last week, after voters in Colorado and Washington passed bills to abolish marijuana prohibition, state representative Diane Russell, a Democrat from Portland, announced her intent to introduce a treat-pot-like-alcohol bill in the next legislative session. (A similar bill was also announced in Rhode Island.) Meanwhile, as Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize weed for medicinal use, advocates in Maine are working to improve our own approach to medical marijuana even after losing an important ally in Augusta.

The third-most-popular recreational drug in the United States (behind alcohol and tobacco), the drug that 50 percent of Americans believe should be made legal, is undergoing major image rehab. We no longer think that pot use leads to violent criminal behavior or irrational sexual desires, as Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics during the 1930s, did. Fourteen states have passed some sort of marijuana-decriminalization law, meaning no prison time or criminal record for someone caught with a small amount of weed for personal consumption. We’ve come a long way since Reefer Madness.

“Reformers are buoyant, and well they should be,” says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, the Washington DC-based organization working to repeal marijuana prohibition nationwide. The confluence of science and popular opinion, he says, would appear to be pushing more reticent entities “toward a

Article source: http://thephoenix.com/Boston/News/148267-as-marijuana-laws-ease-nationwide-maine-leads-a/

As marijuana laws ease nationwide, Maine leads — and responds

November 28th, 2012

PotLeaftFist1_main

With a marijuana legalization proposal on the horizon and a medical cannabis program that continues to evolve, Maine is an active participant in the country’s pot revolution. Last week, after voters in Colorado and Washington passed bills to abolish marijuana prohibition, state representative Diane Russell, a Democrat from Portland, announced her intent to introduce a treat-pot-like-alcohol bill in the next legislative session. (A similar bill was also announced in Rhode Island.) Meanwhile, as Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize weed for medicinal use, advocates in Maine are working to improve our own approach to medical marijuana even after losing an important ally in Augusta.

The third-most-popular recreational drug in the United States (behind alcohol and tobacco), the drug that 50 percent of Americans believe should be made legal, is undergoing major image rehab. We no longer think that pot use leads to violent criminal behavior or irrational sexual desires, as Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics during the 1930s, did. Fourteen states have passed some sort of marijuana-decriminalization law, meaning no prison time or criminal record for someone caught with a small amount of weed for personal consumption. We’ve come a long way since Reefer Madness.

“Reformers are buoyant, and well they should be,” says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML, the Washington DC-based organization working to repeal marijuana prohibition nationwide. The confluence of science and popular opinion, he says, would appear to be pushing more reticent entities “toward a

Article source: http://portland.thephoenix.com/news/148267-as-marijuana-laws-ease-nationwide-maine-leads-a/

Washington marijuana caregiver files suit to challenge state fees

November 21st, 2012


ROCKLAND, Maine — A marijuana caregiver from Washington has filed a lawsuit against the state challenging the right of a state agency to impose fees without legislative approval.

A lawsuit was filed on John Stewart’s behalf Tuesday in Knox County Superior Court asking for a declaratory judgment by the court that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ division of licensing and regulatory services exceeded its authority in imposing fees.

The lawsuit asks for the court to block the state agency from enforcing the marijuana caregiver registration fees.

Stewart paid $900 in 2011 and $900 in 2012, according to the lawsuit.

Stewart, who is also a qualifying patient for medical marijuana use, argues in the lawsuit that DHHS failed to lawfully adopt rules for the medical marijuana program.

Stewart seeks the return of $1,800 he has paid during the past two years, and asked the court to pay his court and attorney fees.

Stewart said Wednesday that the $300 registration fee per patient per year was excessive, particularly for small farmers.

He is represented by attorney Gregory Braun of Bridgton.

John Martins, DHHS director of public and employee communications, said Wednesday that the agency has no comment since the matter involves a pending lawsuit.

Article source: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/21/news/midcoast/washington-marijuana-caregiver-files-suit-to-challenge-state-fees/?ref=polbeat

Marijuana Law Reform Bills To Be Introduced At Both State And Federal Level

November 21st, 2012

Legalize MarijuanaBy Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director

The message from our big wins on Election Day has already begun to reverberate around the nation. Right on the heels of the votes in Washington and Colorado, several other states (and countries!) are already beginning to consider similar measures in their legislature.

Last week, representatives from Maine and Rhode Island announced their intentions to introduce legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in their respective states. Rep. Diane Russell of Maine and Rep. Edit Ajello from Rhode Island will be submitting these bills soon. Reports from Marijuana Policy Project indicated that Vermont and Massachusetts intend to follow suit.

Reform is spreading as far as Iowa. Today, Rep. Bruce Hunter announced his intentions of not only reintroducing his medical marijuana measure, but also a bill that would decriminalize the possession of cannabis.

The push for sensible reforms does not end at the state level, this week 18 members of the House of Representatives cosigned a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart urging them to respect states that chose to experiment with new approaches to marijuana. You can read the full text of the letter here.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) also declared that she will soon introduce legislation, entitled the “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act,” which would exempt states where voters have legalized cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act provisions related to the substance.

Leaders outside of the United States

Article source: http://www.theweedblog.com/marijuana-law-reform-bills-to-be-introduced-at-both-state-and-federal-level/

New England Marijuana Legalization Bills Coming in 2013

November 21st, 2012

In the wake of this month’s marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington, legislators in New England are ramping up efforts to be the next state to legalize. Lawmakers in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont have all signaled they will be filing legalization bills next year.

Time to legalize? New England leads the nation in self-reported marijuana use in practically every measurable category.

”Last week, Washington and Colorado replaced their states’ prohibitions on marijuana with a system of regulation and taxation,” said Robert Capecchi, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, which organized a press conference with legislators last week.

”Both measures passed with roughly 55% voting in favor,” Capecchi noted. ”Gallup found 50% support for making marijuana legal last year, and that support has risen over the years. We are passing the tipping point when it comes to this issue. Unfortunately, lawmakers have traditionally been behind public opinion when it comes to marijuana policy reform. With these thoughtful legislators in at least four states planning on introducing sensible proposals to remove criminal penalties and regulate marijuana in their states, it’s clear that ending marijuana prohibition is gaining momentum.”

At the press conference, Rhode Island state Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence), who introduced legalization bills in 2010 and 2011, said she would do so again. ”Our prohibition has failed,” she said. “I think legalizing and taxing it, just as we did to alcohol, is the way to do it.”

Maine state Rep. Diane Russell (D-Portland) said

Article source: http://www.thedailychronic.net/2012/13336/new-england-marijuana-legalization-bills-coming-in-2013/

MOMENTUM: Post Election, Marijuana Law Reform Bills to be Introduced at Both …

November 20th, 2012

The message from our big wins on Election Day has already begun to reverberate around the nation. Right on the heels of the votes in Washington and Colorado, several other states (and countries!) are already beginning to consider similar measures in their legislature.

Last week, representatives from Maine and Rhode Island announced their intentions to introduce legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in their respective states. Rep. Diane Russell of Maine and Rep. Edit Ajello from Rhode Island will be submitting these bills soon. Reports from Marijuana Policy Project indicated that Vermont and Massachusetts intend to follow suit.

Reform is spreading as far as Iowa. Today, Rep. Bruce Hunter announced his intentions of not only reintroducing his medical marijuana measure, but also a bill that would decriminalize the possession of cannabis.

The push for sensible reforms does not end at the state level, this week 18 members of the House of Representatives cosigned a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart urging them to respect states that chose to experiment with new approaches to marijuana. You can read the full text of the letter here.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) also declared that she will soon introduce legislation, entitled the “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act,” which would exempt states where voters have legalized cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act provisions related to the substance.

Leaders outside of the United States have also been

Article source: http://cannabis.hawaiinewsdaily.com/2012/11/20/momentum-post-election-marijuana-law-reform-bills-to-be-introduced-at-both-state-and-federal-level/

State and Federal Marijuana Reform Bills to be Introduced

November 20th, 2012

The message from our big wins on Election Day has already begun to reverberate around the nation. Right on the heels of the votes in Washington and Colorado, several other states (and countries!) are already beginning to consider similar measures in their legislature.

Last week, representatives from Maine and Rhode Island announced their intentions to introduce legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in their respective states. Rep. Diane Russell of Maine and Rep. Edit Ajello from Rhode Island will be submitting these bills soon. Reports from Marijuana Policy Project indicated that Vermont and Massachusetts intend to follow suit.

Reform is spreading as far as Iowa. Today, Rep. Bruce Hunter announced his intentions of not only reintroducing his medical marijuana measure, but also a bill that would decriminalize the possession of cannabis.

The push for sensible reforms does not end at the state level, this week 18 members of the House of Representatives cosigned a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart urging them to respect states that chose to experiment with new approaches to marijuana. You can read the full text of the letter here.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) also declared that she will soon introduce legislation, entitled the “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act,” which would exempt states where voters have legalized cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act provisions related to the substance.

Leaders outside of the United States have also been following these recent reform efforts closely. Uruguay has just introduced

Article source: http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/drug-law/momentum-post-election-marijuana-law-reform-bills-be-introduced-both-state-and

Head of Maine medical marijuana program dismissed

November 19th, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The head of Maine’s medical marijuana program is out of a job.

John Thiele, who headed the program within the Department of Health and Human Services, told attendees at a Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine event Friday that he had been let go.

Rep. Mark Dion, who worked with Thiele as a lawmaker and a lawyer who represents medical marijuana caregivers, told the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/WYl4s6 ) he was surprised by Thiele’s dismissal, but said some people in the department thought Thiele was acting more like a social worker than a regulator.

Thiele did not return phone calls to the paper seeking comment.

Mainer voters legalized marijuana for medical uses in 1999. In 2009, they approved a law creating a network of marijuana dispensaries around the state.

___

Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com

Article source: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Head-of-Maine-medical-marijuana-program-dismissed-4029558.php

State’s medical marijuana director tried to rescind his resignation

November 19th, 2012

November 13

State’s medical marijuana director tried to rescind his resignation

John Thiele admits tendering resignation in September; state Department of Health and Human Services says it refused Theile’s request to rescind it

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

The man who has overseen Maine’s medical marijuana program for more than a year says he received little oversight or criticism of his work until he was fired last Friday.

John Thiele said he submitted, then rescinded, a letter of resignation, but was fired effective last Friday. Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services gave a contradictory account of the firing, releasing a statement Tuesday saying that Thiele handed in a resignation letter in September, with his last day of work to be Oct. 20, followed by three weeks of vacation. That would make his last day of work last Friday.

When Thiele asked to rescind his resignation “several days after resigning,” the department’s statement said, “after careful consideration, the department did not accept this request.”

Thiele said he is appealing his dismissal and said the department gave him no reason for refusing to allow him to rescind his resignation. He said a letter from DHHS denying him the ability to take back his resignation stated that he was terminated as a result.

He said he never received specific complaints about his work.

“There were only vague statements, like, ‘You act too much like a social worker,'” Thiele said. “I think there’s a general mindset in (the division of Licensing and) Regulatory

Article source: http://www.onlinesentinel.com/news/accounts-differ-on-state-medical-pot-directors-exit_2012-11-13.html

Marijuana Legalization Brings Jobs, Money And Safety

November 17th, 2012

Legalize Marijuana rhode islandMarijuana Legalization Bills Being Introduced In Rhode Island And Maine Ensure All Three- And The Rights Of Individuals To Grow Their Own

By Rick Thompson

On a conference call Thursday afternoon, two House Representatives from the East Coast discussed their pending legislation to legalize marijuana and what their existing medical cannabis programs have contributed to their states already.

Representative Edith Ajello, D- Rhode Island, and Rep. Diane Russell, D- Maine, have both previously sponsored marijuana legalization bills. Ajello is the Chairwoman of her House Judiciary Committee, the position held by Rep. John Walsh in Michigan.

Maine enacted medical marijuana in 2009. Rhode Island passed their medical marijuana law earlier this year, and in neighboring state Massachusetts voters approved a medical marijuana law on November 6, 2012, by more than 60%. Washington and Colorado each legalized marijuana on that same day. Both Representatives said this time around, passing the legalization bills will be easier due to the changing nature of national politics.

The conference call was established by the Marijuana Policy Project, the organization principally responsible for the passage of Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act in 2008. Both Reps. Ajello and Russell were attending a conference in Washington, DC. Neither Representative minced words about what a state marijuana program could mean to their constituents.

“We created 700 new jobs in Maine,” under the current medical marijuana law, says Rep. Russell.

Input from patients and citizens is driving improvements to the current law. “We are considering introducing a

Article source: http://www.theweedblog.com/marijuana-legalization-brings-jobs-money-and-safety/