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Chronicle AM: New CBS Pot Poll, CO Drug Defelonization Passes House, More... (4/19/19)

A new CBS poll has record support for marijuana legalization, Vermont's governor throws up an obstacle to the tax and regulate bill, the US immigration agency says using marijuana or even working in the state-legal industry makes immigrants "morally unfit" to become citizens, and more.

Marijuana is all over the news today. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

New CBS Poll Has Support for Legalization at All-Time High. The latest annual CBS news poll on attitudes toward marijuana legalization has support at 65% -- an all-time high for the poll. Most respondents also viewed marijuana as less dangerous than alcohol. Legalization is now favored even by Republicans (56%), and the only age group to not have majority support for legalization -- people 65 and older -- is now evenly split with support at 49%.

Federal Bill Would Let People Use Marijuana in Public Housing in Legal States. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has filed the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act, which would allow people who use marijuana in compliance with state laws to live in public housing. Current federal law prohibits people using federally illegal drugs from being admitted to public housing and allows their eviction if caught. The Norton bill is not yet available on the congressional web site.

Montana 2020 Legalization Initiative Planned. A new group calling itself Coalition406 has announced plans to create a 2020 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Big Sky Country. The latest polling has support for legalization at 51%. "Coalition406 will sponsor a statewide listening tour over the coming weeks to discuss preliminary thoughts for a November 2020 initiative to hear from real Montanans on this issue," said Coalition406 campaign manager Ted Dick, a former executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.

Vermont Governor Won't Support Regulated Marijuana Without Saliva Testing for Drivers. Gov. Phil Scott (R) said for the first time Thursday that he would not sign legislation to tax and regulate marijuana unless it had a provision that would allow saliva testing of motorists. The tests are opposed by many civil rights and liberties groups, but the House Judiciary Committee that same day reviewed a draft proposal for language around saliva testing that could be inserted in SB 54, the tax and regulate bill that has already passed the Senate.

Wisconsin Legalization Bill Filed. For the fourth time, Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) has filed a marijuana legalization bill. The bill would set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce as well as a process for expungement of old marijuana convictions. "Far too many lives and communities have been damaged by out of date and backwards cannabis policies, and we must take this important and necessary step towards rectifying these damages," Sargent said in a press release. "The simple truth is, the most dangerous thing about marijuana in Wisconsin is that it is illegal." A January Marquette University poll has support for legalization at 59%, but the Republican-controlled legislature does not favor the proposal.

Medical Marijuana

Texas Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Heads to House Floor. A bill that would add over a dozen conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana, HR 1365, is heading for a House floor vote after passing its last committee hurdle on Wednesday. The bill would add cancer, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette syndrome, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis to the list of qualifying conditions.

Drug Treatment

Pennsylvania Bill Would Bar Addiction Centers from Requiring Positive Drug Tests Before Treatment. State Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe County) has cosponsored a bill that would ban addiction treatment centers from requiring people to test positive for opioids or other drugs in order to get admitted for care. Rader said he cosponsored the bill after a constituent told him her son had applied for drug treatment but had been required to test positive for opioids in order to begin treatment. He had gotten off opioids while waiting for treatment, but then used some to qualify for treatment and instead overdosed and died. The measure is HB 1024.

Immigration Policy

Using State-Legal Marijuana or Working in the Industry Makes Immigrants Morally Unfit to Be US Citizens, Federal Agency Rules. In a rules clarification Friday, US Citizenship and Immigration Services held that using marijuana or working in the industry even in states where it is legal violates the requirement that immigrants demonstrate five years of "good moral character" before applying for citizenship. In a memo detailing the ruling, USCIS said that "violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, established by a conviction or admission, is generally a bar to establishing [good moral character] for naturalization even where the conduct would not be a violation of state law." That includes working in the state-legal marijuana and medical marijuana industries. There is an exception for one-time possession of less than an ounce.

Sentencing Policy

Colorado House Approves Bipartisan Bill to Lower Penalties for Drug Possession Offenses. The House on Thursday approved HB 19-1263, which would defelonize drug possession in the state. The measure passed the House on a 40-25 vote and now heads to the Senate.

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Dain Bramage's picture

Reefer Madness Racism alive and well in Trumpland

"In a rules clarification Friday, US Citizenship and Immigration Services held that using marijuana or working in the industry even in states where it is legal violates the requirement that immigrants demonstrate five years of 'good moral character' before applying for citizenship."

Republicans will never legalize marijuana.  And, evidently, they will always be racist white trash.

Fuck 'em all.  Vote Democratic!!

Dain Bramage's picture

Grading politicians on marijuana policy

NORML, MPP, and other worthy drug policy reform organizations, will often provide as a service to voters, a "grade" (A, B, C, D, or F) given to politicians and office-holders, based on both the public statements they may have made on the issue of marijuana legalization, and any actual marijuana legalization legislation they may have been involved with.

In 2020, assessing the "grade" of any given political candidate must include consideration of the question of whether said candidate is actively or passively aiding and abetting Russian interference in American elections -- past, present, or future.  Any such candidate shall receive an automatic "F."

Why?  Because fascism represents an existential threat to the cause of marijuana legalization, the two being mutually exclusive agendas.

This automatically assigns an "F" to all Trump supporters, which is a set that includes nearly all Republicans.  Trump, obviously, gets an "F minus."

We cannot afford to live in denial.  Those of us old enough to remember a time when legalization was but a distant dream, can also recall the insidious nature of Reefer Madness propaganda, which was routinely passed off by our past authority figures as absolute fact; we should be wise enough to recognize that Trump's universe of so-called "alternative facts" are no better than Reefer Madness.

One factor in grading a presidential candidate who is also sitting president is to evaluate their choice for "top cop" -- that is, the United States Attorney General.  By that measure alone, given the actions and views of Sessions, Whitaker, and Barr, Trump must receive a failing grade.

(And, may I remind you, Trump publicly advocates for the death penalty for drug dealers?  Oh, snap!!)

But, back the truck up a minute!!

Yes, AG Barr is corrupt, and engaging in a cover up -- slow walking and whitewashing the Mueller report on behalf of Trump, who himself is engaging in a cover up by attempting to shut down the Mueller investigation, among many other rotten things...

But back the truck up again!

BOTH cover ups are designed to bury the truth about Russian involvement in both the Trump campaign and the American elections inclusive.

I do hate to be a bother, but could you please back the truck up just one more time?  

Because here's the thing: According to our own intelligence services, Russia is still at it.  Right fucking now.  And Trump is totally cool with that!!

It's hard to think of any plausible possibility other than the one in which Trump is a Putin operative.  Which is borne out, by the way, by empirical evidence.

I would call that a big "F minus."

Wouldn't you?

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