Michigan, North Dakota weigh bringing legal marijuana to Midwest

DETROIT — Voters in Michigan and North Dakota will decide Tuesday whether to legalize recreational marijuana, which would make them the first states in the Midwest to do so and would put conservative neighboring states on notice.

More than half the states have already legalized medical marijuana, and Utah and Missouri could join their ranks Tuesday.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot for people age 21 or older. And Canada , which shares a border with Michigan and North Dakota, recently made it legal for adults to use the drug. But passage of the measures in either state, which both have Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures, would give it a foothold in Middle America and could cause tension along their state borders.

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Voters in Michigan and North Dakota will decide Tuesday whether to legalize recreational marijuana, which would make them the first states in the Midwest to do so and would put conservative neighboring states on notice.
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Where marijuana is on the ballot Tuesday – and where it’s most likely to win

It has been a big year for marijuana policy in North America. Mexico’s supreme court overturned pot prohibition last week, while Canada’s recreational marijuana market officially opened its doors in October.

Stateside, recreational marijuana use became legal in Vermont on July 1, Oklahoma voters approved one of the country’s most progressive medical marijuana bills in June, the New York Department of Health officially recommended legalization to the governor and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands legalized recreational use.

Now, legalization advocates are hoping to build on these successes with a number of statewide ballot measures up for consideration Tuesday, including full recreational legalization in two states and medical marijuana in two more. Here’s a rundown of what the measures say and where the polling on them currently stands.

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It has been a big year for marijuana policy in North America. Mexico’s supreme court overturned pot prohibition last week, while Canada’s recreational marijuana market officially opened its doors in October.
The post Where marijuana is on the ballot Tuesday – and where it’s most likely to win appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Recent California conviction of stoned driver shows potentially deadly consequences of driving high

By Jason Kotowski

While alcohol-related DUIs remain far more common, this past week a case involving a motorist prosecutors say was solely under the influence of marijuana provided a stark example of the danger of driving while stoned.

Prosecutors say John Sebastian Hernandez, 23, smoked pot before getting behind the wheel in June of last year. He veered into the opposite lane on Santa Fe Way and struck a vehicle head-on driven by 40-year-old Gabriela Soto, who was pregnant.

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While alcohol-related DUIs remain far more common, this past week a case involving a motorist prosecutors say was solely under the influence of marijuana provided a stark example of the danger of driving while stoned.
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First cannabis-based medicine approved by FDA arrives in the U.S.

For the first time, a marijuana-based medicine approved by federal regulators is available for prescription in the United States.

The medicine, called Epidiolex, is used to treat seizures related to Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, two forms of epilepsy, which is a neurological disorder, according to a news release.

“Because these patients have historically not responded well to available seizure medications, there has been a dire need for new therapies that aim to reduce the frequency and impact of seizures,” said Justin Gover, chief executive officer of GW Pharmaceuticals, the United Kingdom-based company that developed the drug, in a statement.

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For the first time, a marijuana-based medicine approved by federal regulators is available for prescription in the United States.
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Lawsuit over pot, property values could have broad impacts

DENVER — A federal trial in Colorado could have far-reaching effects on the United States’ budding marijuana industry if a jury sides with a couple who say having a cannabis business as a neighbor hurts their property’s value.

The trial set to begin Monday in Denver is the first time a jury will consider a lawsuit using federal anti-racketeering law to target cannabis companies. But the marijuana industry has closely watched the case since 2015, when attorneys with a Washington, D.C.-based firm first filed their sweeping complaint on behalf of Hope and Michael Reilly.

One of the couple’s lawyers, Brian Barnes, said the Reillys bought the southern Colorado land for its views of Pikes Peak and have since built a house on the rural property. They also hike and ride horses there.

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A federal trial in Colorado could have far-reaching effects on the United States’ budding marijuana industry if a jury sides with a couple who say having a cannabis business as a neighbor hurts their property’s value.
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Colorado’s anticipated marijuana report details youth usage, driving and crime over the last 5 years

After five years of data collection, the Colorado Department of Public Safety released its much-anticipated baseline report on the impacts of marijuana legalization.

The data provide glimpses for the first time into the how legalization has impacted several highly-charged subjects, including usage among young people and driving impairment.

The report shows that Colorado has not experienced an increase in marijuana use among young people, although it was the single most common reason for school expulsions in the 2016-17 school year. Marijuana also has not impacted graduation rates or drop-out rates Graduation rates have increased while drop-out rates have decreased since 2012.

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The Colorado Department of Public Safety released its much-anticipated baseline report on the impacts of marijuana legalization that includes five years of data on everything from driving to children to hospitalizations to illegal trafficking.
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Authorities uncover massive illegal pot grow operation in Pueblo tied to Cuban syndicate

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office uncovered an illegal marijuana grow operation involving a Cuban syndicate.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports authorities Wednesday seized 340 plants, 70 pounds of dried marijuana product, thousands of dollars in cash and grow equipment, and made five arrests after executing search warrants at six Pueblo West homes.

The sheriff’s office estimates the total value of the grow operation at $1.2 million.

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The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office uncovered an illegal marijuana grow operation involving a Cuban syndicate.
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Illegal-marijuana raids in Pueblo West net 340 plants in five homes, five suspects arrested

Illegal-marijuana grows at several homes in Pueblo West were raided Wednesday, resulting in five arrests and seizure of an estimated $1.2 million of marijuana.

Detectives seized 340 plants, an estimated 70 pounds of dried product, thousands of dollars in cash and thousands of dollars in growing equipment, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

The suspects arrested are part of a Cuban syndicate with ties to Florida, according to the sheriff’s office.

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Illegal marijuana grows at several homes in Pueblo West were raided Wednesday, resulting in five arrests and seizure of an estimated $1.2 million of marijuana.
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Bust uncovers 1,500 pounds of marijuana, worth estimated $4.5 million, in Montrose County

A massive marijuana grow with about 1,500 pounds of plants worth an estimated $4.5 million was busted on the Western slope over the weekend.

A Montrose County Sheriff’s deputy on Friday serving a warrant for overdue property taxes in the 69300 block of Orion Trail, east of Montrose, saw marijuana growing outdoors northeast of the residence, according to a news release.

To reach the front door of the rural residence the deputy walked past several hundred hanging, curing marijuana plants. The deputy contacted Chung Ho at the residence, who claimed he was not part of the marijuana grow. After posting papers on the property taxes the deputy cited Ho for the marijuana. The deputy then drove to an adjacent property and saw people get out of a running vehicle, with out-of-state plates, and run into a residence there. The vehicle was filled with stuffed trash bags.

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A massive marijuana grow with about 1,500 pounds of plants worth and estimated $4.5 million was busted on the Western slope over the weekend.
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Pot at a pub? Colorado agencies tell Denver they’re not budging on indoor marijuana smoking

Want to vape weed at a bar? It’s not happening anytime soon, according to a new letter from five different Colorado state agencies to the Denver City Council.

A city task force has been working for months on suggestions to make it easier for people to use cannabis at businesses. The task force had asked open-ended questions in a report about whether the state should reconsider some of its laws.

The letter from the state, sent earlier this week, shot down the idea of allowing indoor smoking or the use of marijuana at liquor establishments — two possibilities that the city task force had asked about — and it left open another big question.

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Want to vape weed at a bar? It’s not happening anytime soon, according to a new letter from five different Colorado state agencies to the Denver City Council.
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No on Amendment X: Keep hemp legal and constitutional

Sure sounds like routine fine-tuning; Amendment X would “change the industrial hemp definition from constitutional to statutory.”

Problem is, we have a constitution because we don’t trust politicians to pass statutes protecting our rights. How about this, for example? Let’s transform the right to freedom of speech from “constitutional to statutory,” so we let the politicians decide what speech is legal, and what isn’t. So if your team is in charge, you can shut up your enemies. Until the other team is in charge, then you’re silenced. If you read a newspaper, it’s doubtful you’d buy that bill of goods. Constitutional rights are protected from the politics of the day, and Amendment 64 is locked into the Colorado Constitution to protect and legalize industrial hemp.

Amendment X misleads voters into giving people less power, and politicians more power, by gutting Colorado’s Constitutional protection and legalization of “industrial hemp,” currently secure as 0.3 percent THC (marijuana’s active ingredient).

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Sure sounds like routine fine-tuning; Amendment X would "change the industrial hemp definition from constitutional to statutory."
The post No on Amendment X: Keep hemp legal and constitutional appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Risk of stoned driver crashes grows as legal marijuana spreads across U.S., according to study

As the push to legalize marijuana gains momentum, so is evidence that more permissive policies on the drug are putting motorists at risk.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found, in a study to be released on Thursday, that traffic accidents are rising in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. That followed stark warnings from the National Transportation Safety Board, which on Tuesday issued several recommendations to combat drug-impaired driving.

“The last thing in the world that we want is to introduce another legal substance where we may be adding to that toll and to the carnage on our highways,” said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute. “With marijuana impairment, we’re just now starting to understand what we don’t know.”

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As the push to legalize marijuana gains momentum, so is evidence that more permissive policies on the drug are putting motorists at risk.
The post Risk of stoned driver crashes grows as legal marijuana spreads across U.S., according to study appeared first on The Cannabist. […]