mid-Atlantic

Legal cannabis for Keystone state?

Posted on May 9th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

PhillyAmong the cities around the world that held events for the Global Marijuana March on Sunday May 8 was Philadelphia, where hundreds filled the streets, culminating in a rally at City Hall. The march was organized by PhillyNORML, whose Chris Goldstein struck a very optimistic tone in comments to the Philly Voice: "The last two years have seen local politics evolve by leaps and bounds when it comes to marijuana. Politicians see the public rallying to support cannabis reform and that is an important part of how this issue is winning." He even claimed that State Rep. Jordan Harris, who represents the 186th legislative district in Philadelphia, will soon introduce a bill that would legalize cannabis.

Right to film cops at issue in Philly federal case

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPhilly Voice reports that the Pennsylvania ACLU is planning to appeal following a decision last month by a federal court that a citizen has no First Amendment right to record police activity without a specific, critical reason for doing so. In the Feb. 19 decision, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in Fields vs. City of Philadelphia that absent "any state purpose of being critical of the government," your freedom of speech is not applicable when recording the activities of police officers.

Delaware governor signs decrim bill into law

Posted on June 20th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

cannabisDelaware's Gov. Jack Markell on June 18 signed into law House Bill 39, decriminalizing possession and use of personal quantities of cannabis. The bill, which was approved by the state senate earlier that day, eliminates criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce. Police may still confiscate the cannabis, however. The penalty for public use is reduced to a $100 civil fine. Selling will remain a criminal offense. Prior to the new legislation, simple possession was a misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in prison and as a $1,150 fine. A statement from the governor's office on the new law said: "The governor remains committed to reducing the number of people entering the criminal justice system and refocusing resources where they are needed most and House Bill 39 supports these efforts." The law will take effect in six months. (Jurist, June 20)

#BlackLivesMatter and the cannabis stigma

Posted on May 4th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterHere we go again. As with Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, conservative pundits are now exploiting the cannabis stigma to tarnish the reputation of Freddie Gray, the young African American man whose death at the hands of the Baltimore police last month led to an uprising in the city, a new national wave of #BlackLivesMatter protests, and finally charges against six officers. Daily Caller gloats in a headline: "Freddie Gray Had A Long Rap Sheet"... But take a look at the provided list of charges: "Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance... Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute... Possession of marijuana... Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance..." Yeah, burglary and assault are on the list as well. But Snopes, examining the veracity of the claim, quotes the Associated Press: "Court records indicate that Gray's arrests were mostly for drug possession/distribution charges and various minor crimes, many of which were not prosecuted."

UN agency scolds US states over legalization —again

Posted on November 13th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

cannabisFollowing the passage of cannabis legalization measures in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia on election day, the chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Nov. 12 issued his requisite scolding. UNODC executive director Yury Fedotov told reporters, "I don't see how [the new laws] can be compatible with existing conventions." He added that he plans to address the issue with the US State Department and other UN agencies. He admitted that the legalization measures are part of a global trend that the UNODC is monitoring. (Jurist, Reuters, Nov. 12)

Electoral advances in DC, Oregon, Guam...

leafIn the Nov. 4 elections, voters in Washington DC approved Initiative 71, a legalization measure allowing residents to grow up to six plants at home and possess up to two ounces. The victory portends a showdown with Congress, as the Republicans will now control both houses. Oregon approved Measure 91, a legalization measure giving regulatory control to the state liquor control agency and allowing Oregon citizens to grow up to four plants. We continue to await word on a legalization measure in Alaska. A medical marijuana measure in Florida was defeated. Guam became the first US territory to pass a medical marijuana measure. (Reuters, NPRSmell The Truth)

Philadelphia decriminalizes cannabis (but arrests continue)

Posted on July 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

PhillyThe decrim train rolled into Philadelphia on June 19 as the City Council voted 13-3 to end marijuana arrests. As of September, if you're caught with 30 grams or less, the worst that can happen is a $25 fine. This is nothing short of a historic day for civil rights in Philadelphia,” says PhillyNORML co-chair Chris Goldstein. “We can now stop the practice of having the harshest penalties in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania for having a small amount of marijuana.” The veto-proof vote means that the ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Jim Kenney, will be enacted by September, although Mayor Michae Nutter, who opposed the ordinance, could sign it into law immediately.

Flawed medical marijuana bill passes Maryland legislature

Posted on April 8th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

medical marijuana The Maryland Senate voted 42-4 on April 8 to pass a new medical marijuana bill—but patient advocates say that HB1101 is more symbolic than practical. HB1101, already passed by the House of Delegates, would extend the current affirmative defense for patients who are arrested and prosecuted under state law, but would provide no way for patients to obtain their medication. Agreeing with the sentiment of advocates, the nonpartisan Maryland Department of Legislative Services issued a fiscal note last month that questioned the bill's effectiveness, casting doubt on whether it will ever meet legislators' expectations.

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