Weed Watch: Medical Pot Initiatives

Marijuana law updates from around the country

On July 7, the U.S. House of Representatives defeated the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment to the annual Department of Justice appropriations bill, which would forbid the feds from using tax dollars to raid or prosecute medical marijuana patients in states where medi-pot use is legal. It's the second time the amendment – sponsored by Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-NY, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and co-sponsored by Surfside's Libertarian Rep., Ron Paul, has come before the House for a vote; the Senate has yet to consider such a measure. This time around the reps voted 268-148 against the bipartisan measure – supported by 66% of House Democrats, 19 Republicans, and the chamber's lone Independent congressman, from Vermont. Last year the measure was defeated 273-152.

Meanwhile, two new marijuana-law reform initiatives are set to appear on municipal ballots in November. In Oakland, Calif., voters will be asked if they support an initiative directing city officials to devise a system to "license, tax and regulate cannabis for adult use," and directing the Oakland PD to make "investigation, citation and arrest for private adult cannabis offenses the lowest enforcement priority" in the city, reports the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. In Columbia, Mo., voters will be asked whether they want to exempt qualified medical-marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution. Columbia voters will also weigh in on the so-called Missouri Smart Sentencing Initiative, which would reduce the possible sentence for possession of up to 35 grams of pot, for recreational purposes, from up to one year in jail to a fine-only offense of up to $250.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

narcotics laws, Weed Watch, Hinchey-Rohrbacher, medical marijuana, Ron Paul, drug reform

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