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decriminalization

Sequel needed

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

Dean BeckerDean Becker, a former reporter at non-commercial KPFT in Houston, has produced a worthwhile if deceptively named book in To End the War on Drugs: A Guide for Politicians, the Press and Public. Rather than the activist how-to manual promised in the subtitle, it is a series of interviews with leading lights in the drug policy reform movement. And rather than explaining how, they are mostly making the case as to why the "drug war" must end.

Catalan authorities to rein in Barcelona cannabis clubs

Posted on August 5th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

SpainIn the past few years, Spain's freewheeling Mediterranean port city of Barcelona has come to rival Amsterdam as Europe's premier cannabis scene, with a proliferation of clubs where merry-makers openly light up. Now the Public Health Agency of the Generalitat de Catalunya has proposed tight new measures to regulate the clubs, and discourage the burgeoning cannabis economy.

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.

New York City: dissent grows on cannabis enforcement —but Bratton intransigent

Posted on July 10th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

New York CityIn another sign of the new progressive tilt in New York City politics, the New York Post reports July 8 that Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has announced that he will stop prosecuting low-level marijuana cases. Thompson's press release said his new policy is to "prevent offenders—who are disproportionately young men of color—from being saddled with a criminal record for a minor, non-violent offense." But Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said his cops will keep arresting Brooklyn's cannabis tokers anyway. "In order to be effective, our police officers must enforce the laws of the State of New York uniformly throughout all five boroughs of the City," Bratton said in his own statement. "Accordingly, the Kings County policy change will not result in any changes in the policies and procedures of the NYPD."

Caribbean, West African nations to study decrim

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

CaribbeanAt the semi-annual summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), held July 1-4 in Antigua, regional leaders agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy and assess the need for reforms. The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting stated: "Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Region and to advise whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for a range of users." Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who pushed to get the issue on the agenda as chair of CARICOM, said: "It seems to me counterproductive to ignore the potential of an industry in respect of medical marijuana and to continue to expend police, national security, court resources on persons who consume a minuscule amount of marijuana in the privacy of their homes." (Drug Policy, July 7)

Jamaica moves closer to ganja decrim

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CaribbeanFollowing months of speculation, Jamaica's Justice Minister Mark Golding on June 15 announced that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her cabinet have approved changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act, decriminalizing "small quantities of ganja for personal use." Under the amended law, possession of up to 57 grams (2 ounces) would become an infraction, resulting only in a fine. Failure to pay the fine within 30 days would be a minor offense, punishable by a court order of community service. "Too many of our young people have ended up with criminal convictions after being caught with a spliff, something that has affected their ability to do things like get jobs and get visas to travel overseas," Golding said in his statement. Hearteningly, the law would be retroative, with a measure to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of personal possession. Another proposed measure would decriminalize ganja possession for religious or therapeutic purposes—leaving unclear what the permissible quantity would be in such cases. The cabinet is expected to submit the proposed changes to parliament in the coming weeks.

Did Missouri decriminalize?

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

leaf Missouri has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, but became the latest state to remove criminal penalties for simple possession arrests on May 13, when a bill passed earlier this year by the legislature became law without Governor Jay Nixon’s signature. The new law, Senate Bill 491, eliminates jail time for possession of up to 10 grams on a first offense. The new law also reduces possible sentences related to sale and cultivation, lifting the current ban on probation or parole for those with third felony offenses. However, it will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, and the protections against incarceration only apply to those without prior marijuana convictions. Additionally, a possession charge will remain a criminal offense, merely reduced to a Class D misdemeanor from a Class A misdemeanor. The Marijuana Policy Project is saying the new law counts as "decriminalization," but Missouri attorney and NORML board member Dan Viets, who helped draft the bill, says, "Nobody should call this decriminalization." (CelebStoner, May 16; Daily Chronic, May 15)

Maryland passes decrim law, expands medical program

Posted on April 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

cannabisPossession of personal quantities of cannabis will no longer be a crime in Maryland under a law passed April 7 and sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley. Adults caught with less than 10 grams will get a citation and be fined, but will no longer face jail. O'Malley has pledged to sign the law—a reversal from views he held as Baltimore's tough-on-crime mayor. "As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety," O'Malley said in a statement. "I now think that decriminalizing possession of marijuana is an acknowledgment of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police, and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health. Such an acknowledgment in law might even lead to a greater focus on far more serious threats to public safety and the lives of our citizens.”

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