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Source: @norml @WeedConnection
Posted By: norml@weedconnection.com
media :: news
- Tue, 21 Mar 2017 04:20:21 PST

Los Angeles: Voters Approve Dispensary Licensing Measure aka Measure M

Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles city voters decided last week in favor of Measure M - a city council sponsored ballot measure to establish rules on how and where marijuana retailers may operate within the city limits.

Passage of the new ordinance paves the way for the repeal of Proposition D, which voters approved in 2013, that halted the expansion of medical marijuana businesses. It also amends existing tax rates and imposes new ones on various marijuana-related activities, such as retail sales, delivery, and testing services.

Measure M was endorsed by the Los Angeles Times, the California Growers Association, and the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, among a coalition of other groups.

Federal Marijuana Sentences Plummet: Report

Washington, DC: The number of federal offenders sentenced for violating marijuana laws has fallen significantly since 2012, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.

Just over 3,000 federal defendants were sentenced for marijuana violations in 2016, according to the Commission. That total is roughly half of the number of federal defendants that were sentenced in 2012. The total has fallen year-to-year since that time.

The 2016 total is nearly equal to the number of federal defendants sentenced for violating powder cocaine laws, and less than the number of federal defendants sentenced for heroin. Some 96 percent of federal marijuana defendants were sentenced for trafficking, with an average sentence of 28 months in prison.

Of those sentenced, 77 percent were Hispanic, 11 percent were Caucasian, and eight percent were African American. Fifty-six percent were categorized as non-US citizens.

In 2015, over 5,600 federal defendants were sentenced for violating marijuana laws, a total equal to some 25 percent of all federal drug sentences.

Study: Patients With Cannabis Access Reduce Their Use Of Opioids

Albuquerque, NM: Patients registered to use medical cannabis decrease their use of opioids, according to data compiled by researchers at the University of New Mexico.

Investigators assessed the use of prescription opioids over an 18-month period among patients enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program compared to similar patients who were not.

They reported that subjects with access to medical cannabis reduced their use of opioids by 31 percent while those not in the program experienced a slight increase in opioid use over this same time period.

The findings are consistent with those of other studies reporting that patients with cannabis access reduce their use of prescription medications.

Separate studies further report lower rates of opioid misuse and mortality in jurisdictions where medical marijuana is legally permitted.

New Mexico: Governor Vetoes Hemp Research Bills

Albuquerque, NM: Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed a pair of measures that sought to establish a hemp research program through the state's Department of Agriculture.

The Governor gave no public explanation for the vetoes. The Governor has historically been an outspoken opponent of marijuana law reform efforts - receiving an 'F' grade on NORML's 2016 Gubernatorial Scorecard.

The measures, House Bill 144 and Senate Bill 6, permitted the Department to license the cultivation of industrial hemp for research and development purposes. The bills' language complied with federal provisions (Section 7606) of the 2014 Farm Act which explicitly permit states to license hemp cultivation as part of a state-sponsored research program.

Over 30 states have enacted legislation similarly permitting such programs or redefining hemp as an agricultural product.

Despite super-majority support for the bills in both the state House and Senate, it is not known whether lawmakers will seek to try and override the Governor's veto. Presently, a third hemp research bill, House Bill 530, is pending in the Senate. Members of the House previously approved it by a vote of 65 to 1.

Separate statewide marijuana law reform legislation, Senate Bill 258, which decriminalizes possession penalties for up to one-half ounce of cannabis, has passed the Senate and is making its way through the House.

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