Obama’s Nominee to Lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Supports the Decriminalization of Marijuana

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Washington Post has reported that Obama intends to nominate Vanita Gupta, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Deputy Legal Director, to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division. This news comes not long after Attorney General Eric Holder announced his imminent resignation, and indicates a continued initiative of positive federal drug policy changes. Gupta has been outspoken on a number of issues, including racial sentencing disparities, federal incentives to state police that prioritize the investigation of drug arrests over violent crime, mandatory minimum sentences and related disparities, as well as marijuana legalization. She currently leads the ACLU’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration. Gupta has also garnered bipartisan support with conservatives Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and David Keene, former president of the NRA, both speaking highly of her. “Vanita Gupta has witnessed the damage caused by our erroneous policies throughout her career. She’s a brilliant choice for this position,” says executive director of LEAP, Major Neill Franklin (ret.). “This shows that the federal government is aiming to look at drug policy issues through a social-justice lens rather than a criminal justice one. ”

Steelers’ Bell Hopes to Get First Offenders’ Deal for Marijuana Possession Charge

PITTSBURGH, PA — Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell waived his right to a preliminary hearing on marijuana possession and driving under the influence charges and hopes to enter a first-offender’s program that could result in the charges being dismissed and his record expunged, his attorney said Wednesday. Defense attorney

Northwest Epilepsy Conferences to Highlight Marijuana Treatments

SEATTLE, WA — The Epilepsy Foundation Northwest announces two regional conferences in November celebrating National November Epilepsy Awareness Month. The conferences will be held in Seattle, WA and Spokane, WA, and are free and open to the public. The conference in Seattle will be on Saturday, November 8 at the

Massachusetts Launches Mandatory Medical Marijuana Registration System

BOSTON, MA — The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has launched a mandatory medical marijuana patient and caregiver registration system. The “Medical Use of Marijuana Online System” is now available for qualifying patients to register to possess marijuana for medical purposes, and patients must do so before the end of

Milder Marijuana Edibles Hit Colorado Retail Pot Shop Shelves

DENVER, CO — Recreational marijuana sellers are reaching out to novice cannabis users with a raft of edible products that impart a milder buzz and make it easy for inexperienced customers to find a dose they won’t regret taking. In many ways, the marketing shift is the pot-industry equivalent of

D.C. Council Approves Sealing Court Records for Marijuana Offenses

D.C. Council Approves Sealing Court Records for Marijuana Offenses

WASHINGTON, DC — Residents of the nation’s capital who have been convicted of nonviolent marijuana offenses could apply to have those criminal records sealed under a bill granted initial approval by the D.C. City Council on Tuesday. D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced the record-sealing bill. He…

D.C. Council Votes Unanimously to Strengthen Record Sealing Laws to Relieve People with Prior Marijuana Possession Arrest

D.C. Council Votes Unanimously to Strengthen Record Sealing Laws to Relieve People with Prior Marijuana Possession Arrest

WASHINGTON, DC — The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a bill that would improve the process by which a person can seal criminal records pertaining to conduct that has since been decriminalized or legalized. The D.C. Council is expected to take a final vote on the…

Philadelphia Becomes Largest US City to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Philadelphia Becomes Largest US City to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

As anticipated, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed municipal legislation this week removing criminal penalties for the possession of minor quantities of cannabis by adults. The new measure amends citywide penalties pertaining to the possession of up to approximately one ounce of cannabis (30 grams) from a criminal misdemeanor to…

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter Signs Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

PHILADELPHIA, PA — On Wednesday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed Councilman Jim Kenney’s bill that replaces criminal penalties for the possession of small amounts of marijuana with a civil fine, similar to a traffic ticket. The bill is set to go into effect on October 20, 2014. The initial…

Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Wednesday

Maryland Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Wednesday

ANNAPOLIS, MD — A new law that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Maryland takes effect Wednesday. The bill, Senate Bill 364, will replace the penalty for possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana with a civil fine instead of a criminal offense. Instead of…

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Too Many Patients Left Out of Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill

Too Many Patients Left Out of Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill

In a landmark vote last week, the Pennsylvania Senate passed a limited medical marijuana bill that would provide some limited cannabis products to certain qualifying patients in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians suffering from epilepsy, seizure disorder, PTSD, MS and cancer patients will have limited access to medicinal cannabis products. Senators Mike…

Wisconsin Marijuana Activists Erect Billboard Calling Out Senators’ Obstruction of Medical Marijuana

Wisconsin Marijuana Activists Erect Billboard Calling Out Senators’ Obstruction of Medical Marijuana

MADISON, WI — The League of Marijuana Voters launched a billboard Monday that highlights two Wisconsin state senators’ obstruction of medical marijuana legalization. The first ever billboard advocating for medical marijuana legislation in Wisconsin is part of a new campaign targeting Senators Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Mary Lazich (R-New…

Bill to Add PTSD to New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program Filed in Assembly

Bill to Add PTSD to New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program Filed in Assembly

TRENTON, NJ — A bill to add post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in New Jersey was filed Monday. The bill, Assembly Bill 3726, is sponsored by Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) and Linda Stender (D-Middlesex, Somerset and Union). Post-traumatic stress disorder is…

Pennsylvania Senate Approves Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

Pennsylvania Senate Approves Limited Medical Marijuana Bill

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania state senators approved legislation Wednesday that, if enacted, would make several forms of medical marijuana legal, including extracted oil, edible products, and ointments and tinctures, to patients with debilitating medical conditions. According to the proposal, Pennsylvania residents would need an access card from the health…

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill 43-7

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill 43-7

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Senate voted 43-7 to approve an amended version of a medical marijuana bill Wednesday, sending Senate Bill 1182 to the House for consideration. “History has been made, as this is the first vote a bill of this kind has ever seen in Pennsylvania,” Senator…

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Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Stop Militarizing U.S. Law Enforcement

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Stop Militarizing U.S. Law Enforcement

WASHINGTON, DC — On Tuesday, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced legislation to reform the Pentagon’s Military Transfer Program, which transfers military equipment to law enforcement. The program has come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers after images from Ferguson, Missouri, showed law enforcement dressed like combat soldiers,…

Federal Bill to Legalize CBD Oil Introduced by Pennsylvania Republican

Federal Bill to Legalize CBD Oil Introduced by Pennsylvania Republican

WASHINGTON, DC — A Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania will introduce a bill to Congress that would make cannabidiol legal under federal law.  Also known as CBD oil, the marijuana-based oil has been shown to reduce seizures in children with debilitating epilepsy. US Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) announced the bill at a press conference…

Sen. Rand Paul Proposes Amendment to Protect Marijuana Laws

Sen. Rand Paul Proposes Amendment to Protect Marijuana Laws

WASHINGTON, DC — On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul proposed an amendment that would keep the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients and physicians as well as interfering with states that implement medical marijuana laws. The amendment was added to a jobs bill currently being heard on the Senate…

US House Votes to Limit Restrictions on State-Approved Marijuana Commerce

US House Votes to Limit Restrictions on State-Approved Marijuana Commerce

WASHINGTON, DC — A majority of members of the US House of Representatives voted last week in favor of an amendment that restricts the Treasury Department‘s ability to take action against financial institutions that possess relations with businesses engaged in state-sanctioned activities specific to cannabis commerce. The amendment, offered…

Medical Marijuana Patients Hail Landmark Victory with Another Unprecedented Vote in Congress

Medical Marijuana Patients Hail Landmark Victory with Another Unprecedented Vote in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — Medical marijuana patients hailed another landmark victory Wednesday when Congress voted 231-192 to restrict Department of Treasury funds from “being used to prohibit or penalize a financial institution from providing services to a marijuana-related business that engages in activities permissible under state or local laws.” The amendment…

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