In what he called an effort to make legal pot successful, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes urged state officials to change the way they measure the 1,000-foot distance between pot businesses and prohibited areas frequented by youth.
Holmes also called for the state to increase the number of pot stores allocated to Seattle from 21 to 50. And he asked state officials to give preference in licensing to existing medical-marijuana facilities that show they can comply with rules for the new recreational-pot system.
Holmes was a sponsor of Initiative 502, the legal-weed law approved by voters last year. He said he was making “all these suggestions for the simple reason that, as a sponsor, I want to see I-502 be a success.” Without a more liberal interpretation of the 1,000-foot buffer and without more stores, Holmes said, the state risks handing customers to the illicit market.
But a spokesman for the state Liquor Control Board, the agency implementing the law, said it would likely be awhile before Holmes’ ideas were adopted, if at all. “The board has considered the options in his letter” during 10 months of rule-making, said Brian Smith. He emphasized that the board had initially opted to measure the 1,000-foot buffer by “common path of travel,” which Holmes wants. But after adopting that rule, the top federal prosecutors in Washington state met with Gov. Jay Inslee and argued for stricter as the “crow flies” measurements.
Holmes counters that it’s unrealistic for the feds to insist on stricter control of pot while effectively limiting the number of legal facilities aimed at displacing illegal dealers.
He also points to a nuance in his proposal. He would continue the “crow flies” measure for distance between pot merchants and schools and playgrounds, the chief concerns called out in federal law. But he would relax the measure to “common path of travel” for other youth-frequented venues identified in I-502, such as child-care centers, public parks, libraries and recreation centers. That would create more opportunities for pot-business locations in the city and state.
Existing medical dispensaries that show they can comply with I-502 rules should get preference in licensing, he said, because if they aren’t licensed they may become part of the illicit market.
“I’m hopeful they will heed this,” Holmes said of his suggestions to the state.
SEBASTOPOL, CA — The Sebastopol City Council voted Tuesday to seat Vice Mayor and medical marijuana community leader Robert Jacob as Mayor of Sebastopol.
Jacob, 36, founder and executive director of Peace in Medicine, two licensed medical marijuana dispensaries — one in Sebastopol, the other in Santa Rosa — was Vice Mayor for his first year before becoming mayor.
After opening Peace in Medicine in 2007, Jacob began serving on the Sebastopol Planning Commission in 2011, then successfully ran for city council in 2012.
“My life has been about service,” said Mayor Robert Jacob. “By addressing social problems such as homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and access to medical cannabis, we can shape a better world for ourselves,” continued Jacob. “As mayor, I will work to facilitate even greater changes to public policy, from affordable housing and safe routes to schools to supporting real immigration reform. There is so much we can and must do to improve our communities by working at the local level.”
In addition to his work as an elected official, an entrepreneur, and a community organizer, Jacob has worked hard to establish statewide dispensary regulations in California, as well as helping officials establish local regulatory ordinances in cities such as Napa, Sacramento, San Jose, and Stockton.
According to his bio, Jacob serves on the city’s Business Outreach and Legislative Committees, the Chamber of Commerce, and the League of California Cities, among other official posts, and was recently named in the “Top 40 Under Forty” list by the North Bay Business Journal for his leadership and business acumen.
Medical marijuana advocates point to Jacob’s ascension to mayor as an example of how the medical marijuana community is being led by everyday people who want to be and are a vocal part of the political process.
Jacob continues to support the election of patient advocates as local and state policymakers in order to promote broader medical marijuana policy reform.
“This historic, unprecedented vote in Sebastopol illustrates that the medical marijuana community has political strength and the influence to elect advocates to public office,” said Don Duncan, California Director with Americans for Safe Access, the country’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group. “Although medical marijuana enjoys the support of 80 percent of Americans, Jacob’s election as mayor of Sebastopol brings additional legitimacy to the patient community.”
Original article: http://www.thedailychronic.net/2013/26563/medical-marijuana-dispensary-owner-becomes-mayor-california/?utm_campaign=DD12/4&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=full%20story
The time is coming, predicts Euan Wilson, when people will smoke exotic varieties of marijuana, such as Maui Wowi, as casually as they drink Budweiser. How can he be sure?
Wilson is a researcher at the Socionomics Institute, a Gainesville (Ga.) think tank that examines the relationship between the overall mood of society and the gyrations of the financial markets, and he sees a definite correlation between increased marijuana legalization in the U.S. and the pessimistic, post-recession national mood. I asked him by e-mail to explain his assertion that such recent developments as the approval of a ballot measure in Colorado to tax legal pot sales support his larger theory.
How do you define socionomics?
Socionomics is the study of social mood and its influence over social actions. When a society’s mood is trending positively, people tend to buy stocks, expand businesses, act peacefully, and want happier entertainment. In a negative-mood trend, people tend to sell stocks, shrink their businesses, act belligerently, and go for more somber entertainment. We have found that social mood also regulates society’s tolerance of recreational drugs.
Why would social mood affect attitudes toward prohibition?
In a positive-mood trend, people think they can fix society. One way to do that, they believe, is to remove perceived social ills such as recreational drug use. Conversely, in times of negatively trending social mood, people are less optimistic about the future and their ability to improve it. They start questioning the high financial, social, human, and political costs of prohibition. Their patience wanes. Their motivation fades. They give up on prohibition.
Why are you so confident that marijuana will be legalized soon?
The stock market is our most reliable and sensitive measure of social mood. Alcohol prohibition, for example, was in full force in the 1920s bull market but was repealed in 1933—the year after the conclusion of an 89 percent decline in the Dow. Recently the U.S. stock market has been rallying in nominal terms. But in real terms—meaning adjusted for inflation—the S&P has been in a bear market since 2000. You can see this negative mood effect in the economic recovery, too, which has been one of the most sluggish on record. This is more evidence supporting the case that the larger-degree mood trend remains negative.
There are other manifestations. The current disdain for Congress and the president and the movement toward the legalization of marijuana are both footprints of negative social mood. Once the shorter-term mood trend joins the larger-degree trend to the downside, the drug-legalization movement should gain big-time traction, all the way up to the national level.
What’s happened recently around the country to support your thesis?
A lot. For the first time in history, a majority of Americans support marijuana legalization. Voters in Washington and Colorado have approved recreational use of marijuana. Also, the federal government has signaled that it won’t interfere with the states’ decisions. Both are huge developments, inconceivable to most people just a few years back. Other countries are giving up on the drug war, too. Uruguay has legalized marijuana nationwide, and its government is selling the drug to its citizens. Mexico City is considering similar reform.
What happens if the economy suddenly recovers?
The economy per se doesn’t matter as much as mood. If mood continues to get more positive and the stock market reaches new highs in real terms, legalization would probably encounter more barriers. Society would regain the energy and the will to prosecute the drug war. But with stock market optimism currently historically high by many measures, a new all-time high in real terms seems remote. So we aren’t expecting to be surprised on this front.
Do you really think Maui Wowie will be as familiar to the public as Budweiser?
Oh, that depends on tastes. Historically, alcohol has been most humans’ drug of choice.
Which one would you rather have right now?
My own vice indulgence is far more mundane, as I’m currently having a difficult time choosing between the PS4 and XBox One.
Original article: http://mobile.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-02/want-legalized-marijuana-better-hope-america-stays-grumpy?utm_campaign=DD12/3&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=full%20story
Rabat (AFP) - Moroccan lawmakers will examine cannabis consumption for medical and industrial purposes for the first time on Wednesday, at the request of politicians campaigning for its partial legalisation, a campaigner said.
The session will look at the positive uses of cannabis cultivation "in creating an alternative economy" in Morocco, one of the world's top exporters of the drug, known locally as "kif."
"We are organising a research day in parliament on Wednesday, on the use of medical kif, with Moroccan and international experts present," Mehdi Bensaid, an MP with the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), a liberal opposition party founded by a politician close to the king, told AFP.
"The idea is to start a debate on that, to see what others' experiences in this field can tell us, looking at controlled rather than total legalisation," he added.
The group of PAM MPs behind the project has invited international experts and NGOs, including two Swiss specialists, to take part in the "open debate," which Bensaid called "the first step towards a draft law."
Cannabis is cultivated in large quantities in the Rif mountains of northern Morocco, where it was only outlawed in the 1970s.
The authorities say that in the past decade they have dramatically reduced the area where the plant is grown.
But an estimated 90,000 households, or 760,000 Moroccans, still depend on kif production, according to official figures, while record hauls of illegally-trafficked Moroccan hashish have been announced in neighbouring Spain this year.
Those campaigning to have cannabis partially legalised in Morocco say it would boost much needed development in the Rif region, benefiting the producers -- mostly poor farmers -- rather than people illegally trafficking the drug, who currently reap the largest profits.
Cannabis use for medicinal purposes has been authorised in a growing number of Western countries, including Holland, Spain, Germany, Italy, Britain, Canada, Australia, several US states, and most recently the Czech Republic.
As time goes on, citizens and governmental officials throughout our country increasingly recognize the necessity of expanding options for health care. In my many years in the Legislature, for instance, I have been active in establishing and maintaining the regulation and growth of the chiropractic profession, facilitating organ and tissue transplants, and establishing and expanding subsidized prescriptions for senior citizens.
The cultural wars of the 1960s have long been over. The legalization of marijuana, when prescribed by a physician for a bona fide medical purpose, would not only improve health care, but it would increase state revenue by at least $25 million a year. Legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes would also reduce criminal prosecutions, as well as weaken the existing criminal networks selling marijuana. It is an idea that is now law in 20 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) plus Washington, D.C., and Portland, Maine.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado at the end of August that the Department of Justice would allow the states to create a structure that would regulate and implement the ballot initiatives that legalized the use of marijuana for adults. Holder further stated that the department would take a "trust but verify approach" to the state laws. That is the strongest invitation yet for states to get involved with the legalization of medical marijuana.
I have been greatly impressed by the depth and breadth of support for medical marijuana. In a statewide poll conducted in May by Franklin & Marshall College, 82 percent of respondents said they favor legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes — up from 76 percent in 2009. Support for the recreational use of marijuana also has increased as reflected in a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center released in April. A majority of Americans now say marijuana should be made legal and far fewer view it as a gateway to harder drugs. Support for legalization jumped seven points in two years and 20 points since the 2002 General Social Survey.
The political landscape for legalization of marijuana has changed and is continuing to evolve. Republican Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stated in March that people shouldn't go to jail for nonviolent drug crimes such as marijuana possession. Wide majorities of Democrats and Republicans agree that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth.
Republican interest for the legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania is growing. In fact, my legislation — House Bill 1181 — recently received the support of Rep. Jim Cox, R-Berks. I have also had calls from other Republican members who have expressed interest in the initiative. Many of them have been contacted by families of children with seizure disorders desperately looking for legally available marijuana to treat their children. Some people are migrating to Colorado for the "medical marijuana miracle," where it has been reported that children using cannabis-infused oil have had a 90 percent to 100 percent reduction in their seizures.
With Pennsylvania in need of popular money-generating ideas, this is the time for medical marijuana legalization. We need to move forward with progressive public policy that would improve human capital, as well as the health and fiscal policy within the commonwealth, reduce criminal prosecutions and weaken the existing criminal networks selling marijuana. My legislation, House Bill 1181, would attempt to do that by limiting the legal sale of marijuana to people who have the recommendation of a medical doctor through a distribution network composed of a limited number of compassion centers throughout Pennsylvania.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Edward Burke introduced a plan Tuesday to limit where medical marijuana dispensaries and growing operations can set up shop in the city after the drug becomes legal Jan. 1.
The proposal would require special use permits from the Zoning Board of Appeals, limit locations to manufacturing districts and establish minimum parking requirements.
"We regulate everything from liquor licenses to how many residences may be built above a certain height, so it makes sense to give Chicago residents some control over where these types of operations can be located," said Burke, 14th.
Burke also introduced a resolution Tuesday calling for a nonbinding ballot referendum in March asking Chicago voters if the state should outlaw firearms in businesses that sell alcohol as part of Illinois' concealed carry law. The City Council passed an ordinance in September to revoke liquor licenses of restaurants that don't ban guns, a move gun rights advocates promised to challenge in court.
Ald. James Balcer, 11th, introduced another proposal for a nonbinding referendum asking Chicagoans whether the state should ban gun magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds.
A third nonbinding referendum was proposed by Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, to ask voters whether cab fares should be increased for the first time in eight years to "bring Chicago's taxi fleet in line with other cities." Cabdrivers have been pushing Beale, chairman of the Transportation Committee, to hold hearings about their desired rate increase, and he said a referendum is the best way to take residents' pulse on the matter.
Asked whether the nonbinding referendum could be used to kill a fare hike, since voters would seem unlikely to vote in favor of an increase, Beale said only, "It gives the people an opportunity to speak."
Tribune reporter Bill Ruthhart contributed.