The Week in Weed 1-5-13 Cannabis News

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Cannabis Cheri Sicard and Toke of the Town's Steve Elliott

Cheri with "Toke of the Town" editor Steve Elliott at the 2012 Emerald Cup in Humboldt County

This Week: Medical Marijuana Patients Sent to Fed Prison by Obama Admin; 5 Elderly Prisoners Serving Life Without Parole for Marijuana; Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect; Teen Pot Use Down After Arizona Legalizes Medical Cannabis; Mexico Considers Legalization After US State Victories; No Evidence of Cartel Grows on Public Land; Charges Against WA Medical Marijuana Provider Dropped; Plead Guilty or Go to Prison for Life; and more.

This week’s photo of me with the one and only Steve Elliott, editor of Toke of the Town, was taken at this year’s Emerald Cup in Humboldt County.

Medical/Health

Pot Using Teens Have Healthier Brains Than Those Who Drink — For parents fearful of the influence substances such as drugs and alcohol have on their teens, focus on the booze. New evidence shows drinking has a worse impact on adolescent brains that marijuana.

Politics/Legal

Medical Marijuana Patients Sent to Fed Prison by Obama Admin — This month will see a number of patients sentenced, sent to prison despite compliance with state medical marijuana laws and advocates are outraged at the hypocrisy and lies told by the Obama administration.

5 Elderly Prisoners Serving Life Without Parole for Marijuana — Should five non-violent offenders die behind bars for a crime Americans increasingly believe should not even be a crime?  Right now, five adults await death in prison for non-violent, marijuana-related crimes. They are all more than 60 years old; they have all spent at least 15 years locked up for selling pot; and they are all what one might call model prisoners, serving life without parole.

Plead Guilty or Go to Prison for Life — Examples of medical marijuana prosecutors out of control and bullying people into taking deals or face extended time in prison.

No Evidence of Cartel Grows on Public Land –Tommy Lanier, director of the National Marijuana Initiative, part of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said there is scant evidence that cartels exert much control over marijuana growing in US national forests.  “Based on our intelligence, which includes thousands of cell phone numbers and wiretaps, we haven’t been able to connect anyone to a major cartel,” he said.

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law Takes Effect — Question 3, ‘An Initiative Petition for a Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana,’ took effect on Tuesday, January 1. Sixty-three percent of state voters approved the measure on Election Day. Massachusetts is the 18th state since 1996 to allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis as a therapeutic option for qualified patients. Neighboring states Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont all also allow for cannabis therapy.

Teen Pot Use Down After Arizona Legalizes Medical Cannabis—  Since Arizona voters legalized medical marijuana at the polls two years ago, fewer teens in the state are trying pot, according to a study published recently by the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission.  According to the study , 28.7 percent of students surveyed admitted to using marijuana at least once,  a drop from 29.9 percent in 2010.

Charges Against WA Medical Marijuana Provider Dropped —  All charges against medical marijuana patient and provider Adam Assenberg have been dropped in Washington state’s Whitman County Superior Court. Assenberg was facing multiple charges for operating a medical marijuana dispensary in Colfax, Washington.  The victorious defendant has now filed a $3.5 lawsuit against the county.

10 Disastrous Consequences of the Drug War — While the idea we can have a “drug free society” is laughable, the disastrous consequences of our drug war are dead serious. While it might not be obvious, the war on drugs touches and destroys so many of the issues we care about and values we hold.  Here are ten collateral consequences of the drug war and reasons we need to find an exit strategy from this unwinnable war.

Who Was Killed in the US Drug War Last Year — The Drug War Chronicles’ annual compilation of fatalities in the US Drug War.

New Data Casts More Doubt on Drug Czar’s Theory That Reform Causes Kid to Use More Pot — For years drug czar Gil Kerlikowske has argued that laws allowing medical use of marijuana and efforts to legalize recreational use encourage teenagers to smoke pot.  That tale has never fit the facts very well. The latest data from the government-sponsored Monitoring the Future Study cast further doubt on Kerlikowske’s theory, indicating that marijuana use has declined among eighth-graders and 10th-graders while remaining steady among 12th-graders even as pot tolerance has hit record highs. Conversely, pot smoking by high school students remains substantially below the levels recorded in the late 1970s, when the idea of legalizing marijuana was much less popular.

International

Mexico Considers Legalization After US State Victories — Mexico, which has fought a long war against drug cartels that supply U.S. users, is rethinking its marijuana policy after Colorado and Washington approved legalization.

New Insights on Medical Marijuana in Israel — Even though marijuana remains illegal in Israel, the country’s Ministry of Health issues special licenses that allow thousands of patients to receive medical marijuana, and some government officials are now promoting the country’s advances in the field as an example of its pioneering and innovation.

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