Led by an outspoken legalization opponent, Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is reviewing federal marijuana policy, with significant changes possible soon. Almost nothing about the review process is publicly known and key players in the policy debate have not been contacted.
The outcome of the review could devastate a multibillion-dollar industry and countermand the will of voters in eight states if the Obama administration’s permissive stance on non-medical sales is reversed.
What is known: The review is being conducted by a subcommittee of a larger crime-reduction task force that will issue recommendations by July 27. The subcommittee was announced in April alongside other subcommittees reviewing charging and sentencing.
The task force is co-chaired by Steve Cook, an assistant U.S. attorney in Tennessee who like Sessions advocates harsh criminal penalties and a traditional view of drug prohibition. The other co-chair is Robyn Thiemann, a longtime department official who… Continue reading
Philadelphia: Mayor To Sign Marijuana Depenalization Measure
by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
September 8, 2014
City mayor Michael Nutter announced today that he will sign municipal legislation into law decriminalizing marijuana possession penalties.
Under the measure, penalties pertaining to the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis would be reduced from a criminal misdemeanor to a non-summary civil offense, punishable by a $25 fine – no arrest and no criminal record.
Members of the City Council in June voted 13 to 3 to reduce municipal marijuana penalties. A slightly amended version of this proposal is anticipated to be before the mayor by the end of this month.
Anyone cited under the pending ordinance would be required to make an appearance before a Municipal Court judge, but would not face criminal charges or a criminal record. Those caught smoking marijuana in public… Continue reading
Central Florida Political Pulse
11:29 p.m. EDT, September 1, 2014
The race for the governor’s office is dead even and voters now are ready to support Amendment 2 approving medical marijuana use in Florida, a new poll finds.
Gravis Marketing, which has found voters hovering at or just below the 60 percent level needed to approve Amendment 2 in past surveys, found Floridians have passed that level now and 64 percent said they would “vote for the current amendment use of marijuana for certain medical conditions.” Just 26 percent were opposed and 10 percent said they were unsure.
Other polls have shown much greater support for medical marijuana in Florida — notably the Quinnipiac University poll, which found support as high as 88 percent. But the Quinnipiac Florida Poll did not ask specifically about Florida’s Amendment 2, but rather generically about medical marijuana.
The Gravis poll’s finding… Continue reading
By Daniel J. Chacón
Santa Fe made history Wednesday by becoming the first city in New Mexico to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Hoping to avoid the costs of taking the issue before voters and the uncertainty of the question even making the November general election ballot, the City Council voted 5-4 to adopt a citizen initiative outright.
“I don’t think that by supporting this there’s going to be many more potheads,” said City Councilor Carmichael Dominguez. He voted in favor of adopting the ordinance, which calls for making possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and marijuana-associated paraphernalia civil infractions punishable by a fine of no more than $25.
Dominguez said he was leaning toward putting the question before voters, calling the ability to vote the most democratic process. But he said he’s had the “unpleasant experience” of working in corrections and seeing the negative… Continue reading