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Marijuana news from around the world

Barack Obama

Sessions sings Trump’s praises in Denver speech at Western Conservative Summit

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sang President Donald Trump’s praises in a Denver speech Friday at the Western Conservative Summit, touting his agency’s move this week to not defend key elements of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act.

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The Spot newsletter: Who’s on the 2018 ballot anyway?, regulating the sale of body parts in Colorado, Denver mayor remains in hot water and more

Welcome back to The Spot, where The Denver Post’s politics team captures what’s happening this week — from the Colorado legislature to Denver city hall, with a stop through the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

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New DOJ marijuana policy sparks latest clash over states’ rights

The federal government’s position on state laws legalizing marijuana is only the latest high-profile states’ rights fight.

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It took the Trump Administration just a month to turn Obama-era drug policy on its head

In the month of May alone, the Trump administration steadily ratcheted up its tough-on-crime rhetoric and put in place some policies that give that rhetoric some real-world bite.

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Bipartisan legislation seeks to undermine Jeff Sessions’ sentencing memo

A bipartisan group of senators are introducing legislation to give federal judges more discretion to impose lower sentences, pushing back on Jeff Sessions’ order.

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Malia Obama’s Marijuana Drama: Part 2

Fire up the national outrage machine once again; we have yet another ripple in the Malia Obama weed-smoking scandal. If you take a closer look at the video of America’s First Daughter smoking a joint at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival, you’ll notice a male figure standing to her right. The young man is rapper Taylor Bennett, […] Thanks to

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Two Marijuana Bills Introduced in Iowa Show Post Election Momentum

iowa rally

Over the course of the past year, there have been polls conducted on a daily basis in order to gauge the mindset of the American public.  Most of these polls ended up being accurate but only the actual vote of the people provides the final word.  The victories in Washington, Colorado, Michigan, and Massachusetts show a changing electorate, an electorate that no longer wants to continue our failed marijuana policy.

In Iowa, we are seeing the momentum from the election spill over.  Iowa is known for its impact on presidential elections, as it is the first event to kick off the campaigns.  President Obama credits Iowa as a main reason for his initial 2008 election, as she shocked the political world at the time and defeated Hilary Clinton.  Even this year, both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama fought very hard for its 6 swing electoral votes and the president made it his final campaign stop.

Lawmakers have now introduced two bills that would drastically reform Iowa’s marijuana laws.  Iowa state Rep. Bruce Hunter plans to introduce a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession for personal use.  The law would not protect those selling cannabis.  Additionally, Rep. Hunter also plans to bring back a medical marijuana bill that has not previously been passed.  Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has threatened to veto any bill that would legalize marijuana in any capacity.  It is unclear if decriminalization or a compromise on that front would be something the governor would consider.

Even as Governor Branstad displays his reluctance to adjust with the times, momentum around the country has clearly shifted.  Steve Morrow, president of Iowa’s NORML chapter agrees.  He said the recent votes in Colorado and Washington “helped the cause”.   Iowa may be small state from population standpoint, but it has a tremendous impact on American politics.  Even if Iowa does not pass new legislation now, change certainly appears to be on the horizon.  Presidential politics now encompass the almost entire four year period between elections, and if Iowa changes, those seeking the White House will also have to change.

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Uruguay Moving Forward With Plan To Legalize Marijuana and Combat Drug Violence



As noted yesterday, the escalating drug cartel violence received no mention during Monday’s presidential debate.  While many of our fellow Western Hemisphere countries look to The United States for leadership on the issue, we continue to maintain our failed drug policy.  Fortunately, other countries in Central and South America are considering their own alternative to the 40 year failed War on drugs.

For the last several months the Uruguay government has been discussing legalizing, regulating, and distributing marijuana.  While there has been some opposition to legalization, the plan appears to be moving forward.  Several government officials have made recent comments regarding the program.   Uruguay Interior Minister, Eduardo Bonomi recently said “We have a progressive tradition… The negative effects of consuming marijuana are far less harmful than the outbreak of violence associated with the black market.”

Uruguay may be far along the process of altering their approach toward reducing drug war violence but they are not the only one.  As the United States continues fighting the cartels in the traditional way, which involves gunfire and bloodshed, other countries now realize they will be responsible for their own safety and legislative direction.  Columbia has recently decriminalized personal possession for marijuana and cocaine.  Bolivia has also been attempting to decriminalize cocoa leaves.

The people of the United States are war weary after a decade of The Afghanistan conflict and the recently ended Iraq operations.  In this region America has taken note of our previous mistakes and has decided on a new direction in its approach toward dealing with Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Instead, as we saw both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney agree to during Monday’s debate, economic sanctions have been used to put the pressure on Iran to come to the table and talk disarmament.  In the modern world, economics can also be an effective weapon.  While we applaud a progressive approach toward Iran, when will see the United States utilize and economic approach to stem the daily violence occurring close to home, not thousands of miles across the world.  Legalization and regulation would reduce the drug cartel’s power, influence, and purpose in the western hemisphere.  If marijuana were regulated and available domestically, this could crush the cartels economically.

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Colorado Medical Marijuana Makes it To 60 Minutes

60 minutes

With two weeks to go until the presidential election it is no surprise that the race is dominating the news cycle.  Other topics have been anxiously awaiting their turn in the limelight but have taken a backseat as the media has left little room for other news.  Surprisingly, medical marijuana was able to make it to one of the rare free time slots on major prime time network news.

Last night 60 minutes described what is being called the “Colorado Green Rush”.  The coverage highlighted several key areas of the marijuana reform movement.  For one, the enormous tax dollars that can be collected score big points with even those who are not passionate about reforming marijuana laws.  Additionally, 60 minutes highlighted another key area that shows a cultural shift.  Medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado outnumber McDonalds and Starbucks combined. This is why federal intervention is becoming more difficult as 60 minutes suggested.  The will of the people is becoming clear and Colorado residents are increasingly supporting marijuana reform.  Colorado has a high number of independent voters who are not keen on federal bullying.

While some of this may be familiar to patients, activists, and those in the industry, national prime time stories regarding medical marijuana help the issue to reach people who are not as familiar with the medical marijuana movement.  Social media and the internet may cover this topic daily, but the mainstream news is only finally realizing the social and economic impact of the “green rush”.   Additionally, while perhaps not perfect, the reporting does seem to shifting toward much fairer and open minded coverage.  There is less snickering and scare tactics in most mainstream news coverage of marijuana reform.  A second Obama term or a Romney presidency will almost certainly have to deal with medical marijuana, so even more major news coverage is to be expected after the November election.

Many of the political pundits have called the upcoming vote as a “pocketbook election” as the state of the economy is still the number one issue on voter’s minds.  If that is the case then it may only be a matter of time and awareness before the American people decide against marijuana incarcerations and leaving tax dollars on the table.  Inevitably we seem to be moving toward “pocketbook green laws”.

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Will Recent Federal Raids On Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensaries Be Swept Under the Political Rug?


The first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will be held next week on October 3rd.  This debate will focus on domestic policy so we are sure to hear about plans for cost savings and stimulating the economy.  Of course, for activists there is always that economic pink elephant in the room that politicians never want to acknowledge.

However, it remains highly unlikely that debate moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS will question the candidates as to exactly why the failed war on drugs is persisting.  Earlier this week, there were three raids on marijuana dispensaries located in the downtown area of Los Angeles.  Additionally, 68 other warning letters were issued.  The efforts build on what is almost a year long target on dispensaries by the federal government.  While the raids catch headlines, the collateral damage is rarely covered.  Besides compromising safe access to patients, many jobs have been either put in jeopardy or eliminated totally.

We have yet to hear a coherent plan as to how either candidate will put Americans back to work.  We do know that our government is perfectly constructed to destroy jobs, as thousands of jobs have been eliminated this year alone due to medical marijuana dispensary raids.  However, it may require a new approach to creating jobs in the new age economy.

If other state laws were being targeted by federal authorities, political advocates would come out of the woodwork.  With the vast majority of Americans supporting a physician’s right to prescribe medical marijuana one would think a discussion would even be advantageous to lawmakers.  This is where the state of politics are.  This is a serious issue with economic, safety, and healthcare concerns at stake and we cannot even rely on a full discussion, rather, we are resigned to hoping that a debate moderator asks a single question.

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