Chronicle AM: Good MJ Polls in CA/NV, Lynch Rejects Gateway Theory, MI MedMJ, More... (9/22/16)

New polls show marijuana legalization initiatives leading in California and Nevada, Michigan will soon see medical marijuana dispensaries, Missouri won't get to vote on medical marijuana this year, Attorney General Lynch rejects the gateway theory, and more.

Marijuana Policy

Latest California Poll Has Prop 64 Winning Handily. A new Public Policy Institute of California poll has the Prop 64 legalization initiative with 60% support and only 36% opposed. Support is at 65% in the Bay Area, 60% in San Diego and Orange County, 57% in Los Angeles, and even 55% in the conservative Inland Empire. This poll is in line with other recent polls, which all have the initiative winning in November.

Nevada Poll Has Question 2 Leading By 14 Points. A new KTNV-TV 13 Action News/Rasmussen poll has the Question 2 legalization initiative with 53% support, with 39% opposed. This is an increase in support of two points over the same poll in July.

New Jersey Assemblyman Filed Legalization Bill. Conservative Republican Assemblyman Michael Carroll has introduced Assembly Bill 4193, which "Legalizes marijuana and provides for records expungement for certain past marijuana offenses; treats marijuana products similar to tobacco products, including use of civil penalties for providing marijuana to persons under 19 years of age."

Medical Marijuana

Arkansas Court Throws Out Challenge to Medical Marijuana Initiative. The state Supreme Court has rejected a bid to throw the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (Question 7) off the November ballot. Foes had challenged the initiative's ballot language, but the high court said they had not proven it was insufficient. Two court challenges remain, one against Question 7 and one against the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (Question 6), both of which have qualified for the ballot.

Colorado Legislative Panel Approves PTSD as Medical Marijuana Condition. An interim committee of the Legislative Council has backed a proposal to make PTSD a qualifying medical marijuana condition. If the measure is approved by the Council as a whole, it would then be favorably introduced at the start of the next legislative session.

Illinois Judge Orders State to Add Post-Operative Chronic Pain to List of Qualifying Conditions. A Cook County judge has ordered the director of the Department of Public Health to add the condition within the next 30 days. The judge has also set a hearing for November 3 "to ensure the Director's compliance with this order."

Michigan Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Regulation Bill Package. Gov. Rick Snyder (R) Wednesday signed into law a package of bills that will clarify the state's medical marijuana law and explicitly allow for dispensaries to operate. The bills also set taxes on dispensaries, allow for the use of tinctures and lotions, and establish "seed to sale" tracking systems.

Missouri Medical Marijuana Initiative Will Not Make November Ballot. A Cole County circuit court judge has ruled against overturning petition signatures ruled invalid by local officials. New Approach Missouri came out just shy of valid signatures after local election officials denied about 10,700 signatures, leaving their initiative about 2,000 signatures short of qualifying.

Drug Policy

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Rejects Notion Marijuana is Gateway Drug. In an address as part of a week-long emphasis on heroin and opioid misuse and abuse, Lynch forthrightly dismissed the gateway theory that marijuana is a stepping stone to more serious drug use. "When we talk about heroin addiction, we usually, as we have mentioned, are talking about individuals that started out with a prescription drug problem, and then because they need more and more, they turn to heroin," Lynch said. "It isn't so much that marijuana is the step right before using prescription drugs or opioids -- it is true that if you tend to experiment with a lot of things in life, you may be inclined to experiment with drugs, as well. But it's not like we're seeing that marijuana is a specific gateway."

International

Vietnam Sentences Nine to Death for Heroin Trafficking. A court in northern Vietnam has sentenced nine people to death for trafficking nearly 1,400 pounds of heroin from Laos and Thailand over a four-year period. Another three people were sentenced to life in prison.

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America, foreign countries, corporate power, and drugs

I sure am glad I live in America, and not Vietnam, or the Philippines, or Iran, where they execute drug users!

It's true that people are also losing their lives in the War on Drugs in America; and, it's important not to lose sight of that fact.  Yet still, I feel a rare sense of pride in America when I realize that many Americans still believe in Freedom, and drug use clearly falls into that category of activities protected by that Freedom.

It's about Corporate Power in America.  The Democracy has aligned itself to that function as well.  But Freedom is for People, not Corporations.  A corporation is capable of polluting the environment; but they should not be "free" to do that.  Only a person can become ill as a result of that pollution.  The Corporation that pollutes it is a legal fiction without a biology that can be affected by toxins or disease.  A Corporation cannot become ill; a Person can.

This is why Freedom, for biological humans, as opposed to fictional Corporations, must include the right to use drugs as one sees fit to do so.  We are biological!  If a Person needs medicine, or just wants to use drugs, they have the right to do that, and no godddamn corporation ever has the right to say otherwise.

Missouri, don't despair

Bummer for Missouri, but don't despair!  You came "that" close; it's still a sign of progress, you can take some small comfort from that.  But larger comfort can come from the National scene.  Things are changing.  Activists in Missouri are not alone.  Activists all over are changing things.  Missouri's time is coming.  This was just one more battle.  Keep pushing those racist drug war bastards, they're off balance and in retreat!  We're all pulling for you, Missouri.  You're due a shit-load of justice!

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