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Minnesota Lawmakers Seek to Recriminalize and Stiffen Penalties

March 26th, 2009 by Rick

Lawmakers

It seems as if the representatives of local, state and federal government love to take one step forward and two steps back. Right after the news of a policy shift of the federal government towards the state governments regarding their medical marijuana state laws, a bill is being offered by Sen. Juliane Ortman, R-Chanhassen, and Rep. Dave Olin, DFL-Thief River Falls that seeks to recriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and increase penalties for possession of large amounts of marijuana and possession of marijuana plants in Minnesota.

Minnesota decriminalized “small amounts” of marijuana in 1976, making the punishment for possession on par with a traffic violation. Under HF1596 and SF1683, a “small amount” would mean 14 grams instead of 42.5 grams.  More than 14 grams but less than 42.5 grams would constitute a misdemeanor crime under the new bill. The article claimed that “Fourteen grams is the amount contained in a typical $20 bag of marijuana”. I don’t know where they are getting their prices from (probably from 1976) but a half of an ounce does not sell for $20 – not at street prices, anywhere.

I can understand why they want to lower the amount you can possess. 42.5 grams is a half an ounce shy of two ounces. This amount can easily be trafficked and most drug traffickers can take an ounce and still make money from it. That’s the point of it all, the money. There is a demand for it therefore the supply is created. The dealers will continue doing this until they don’t make money from it anymore. If it was legalized, regulated, taxed and people were educated about it then they could cultivate their own or go out and buy it from legitimate commercial retailers.

That’s how you solve the problem to make the violence and the seediness of it go away. If you criminalize it then the only thing you will wind up with is more traffickers on the street and in our prison systems. When one falls there is another who will gladly take their place.

Until our representatives learn that the three black market industries (pot, porn, and immigrants) generate a size-able amount of revenue and will always be around as long as laws are continuing to be created that keep those industries on the black market, then we will always just be chasing our tails.

Canada Calls the United States Out

February 26th, 2009 by Perry

Flags

A recent rash of violence in the country has citizens cautioning lawmakers not to overreact — and end up like the United States.

The editorial points out some startling statistics: The U.S. has the highest per capita prison population in the world, imprisoning more than the Soviet gulags and more than the apartheid.

The concern is over new laws in Canada which compels judges to use mandatory minimums in sentencing. The move ultimately leads to more people in prison, which hasn’t shown any likelihood of eliminating the cycle of addiction.

The Time is Right for Marijuana Law Reform

November 13th, 2008 by Perry

According to recent blog posts by NORML, never before has there been a more perfect time to push for marijuana law reform.

The election of Barack Obama, coupled with Democrat control of both the House and the Senate, presents a unique and critical opportunity for federal marijuana law reform.

A good point, and remember… electing a good politician is only half the battle. You still have to stay on top of them in hopes they don’t get too politician-y on you. Don’t forget, people liked Bush at one time too and now his approval rating is in the low 30s range.

Being the helpful and forward-thinking organization they are, NORML created three prepared statements you can send here, directly to the new administration… Something we touched on earlier in another recent post.

The statements prepared by NORML:

Statement #1: President Obama must uphold his campaign promise to cease the federal arrest and prosecution of (state) law-abiding medical cannabis patients and dispensaries by appointing leaders at the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Department of Justice, and the US Attorney General’s office who will respect the will of the voters in the thirteen states that have legalized the physician-supervised use of medicinal marijuana.

Statement #2: President Obama should use the power of the bully pulpit to reframe the drug policy debate from one of criminal policy to one of public health. Obama can stimulate this change by appointing directors to the Office of National Drug Control Policy who possess professional backgrounds in public health, addiction, and treatment rather than in law enforcement.

Statement #3: President Obama should follow up on statements he made earlier in his career in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana by adults by calling for the creation of a bi-partisan Presidential Commission to review the budgetary, social, and health costs associated with federal marijuana prohibition, and to make progressive recommendations for future policy changes.

[img via Flickr/Vincent Brown]


Canada’s Pot Prince Warns of “Creeping Jackboots”

November 12th, 2008 by Perry

An internationally known pot and personal freedoms activist, Marc Emery refers to himself as Canada’s “Crown Prince of Pot” for his outspoken opposition to marijuana laws everywhere. Opposition which has garnered much attention for his cause and ire from law enforcement from B.C. to D.C..

Emery has been a constant voice of opposition to police tactics which he says violate basic human rights on a consistent basis. His most recent article warns of “Creeping Jackboots” in reference to recent laws passed in Canada which allow for “electricity police” and officials to enter an individual’s home without warrant based on suspicion.

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Washington Lawmakers Say Leave Their Medicine Alone

October 6th, 2008 by Perry

Washington lawmakers are showing the kind of initiative rarely seen in state capitols, the kind we like to see here at tFS. Just would like to quickly say, my hat’s off to you, Washingtonians.

To clear up any confusion, and ostensibly to reduce prosecutions, state legislators have clarified what constitutes a “60-day supply,” the legal amount you can have in the state.

So what’s the limit?

24 ounces and 15 plants, mature or immature, is the rule.

One legal commentator said the limit was made so high because lawmakers wanted to make sure it was known prosecution of such cases were not a priority, adding:

We’re not going to prosecute you if you have 15 plants or 30. If somebody is legitimately ill, we’re not going to prosecute that case, period.

Relief to the ill, what a marvelous concept.





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