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Iowa Lawmaker Faces Ethics Review Over Faking Symptoms to Get a Doctor's Recommendation for Medical Marijuana in California

Rep. Clel Baudler, a Greenfield Republican and former state trooper, who traveled to California and lied to a physician about having painful hemorrhoids in order to obtain a medical marijuana recommendation in California will answer to the Iowa's House Ethics Committee. The Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously last year to recommend that lawmakers reclassify marijuana so it could be used for medical purposes. (Link to Story)

Medical Marijuana Meets Social Couponing with Denver Company

Denver-based is picking up where other social couponing sites don't dare to go, offering deals of up to 80 percent off on medical marijuana in your inbox everyday. Founder John Molinare said his company is filling a void for medical marijuana patients who stand to benefit through increased accessibility and affordability. (Link to Story)

Confirmed: Drug Trafficking Organization Hit Was Carried Out in Texas Months Ago

Despite Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s claims of no "spillover violence" from Mexico’s drug war, police in Brownsville just announced that a third suspect has been charged in connection with a double murder that took place in the Texas border town back in September. It was a drug trafficking organization hit. (Link to Story)

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Bill Clears Washington State Senate Committee

The state Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee approved a bill aimed at clarifying Washington’s law on the medical use of cannabis. The bipartisan measure was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, and co-sponsored by Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland. Senate Bill 5073 would allow patients to purchase medical marijuana products from licensed dispensaries by taking part in a regulated patient collective, or by continuing to receive it from a designated provider. The Department of Agriculture would create a licensing system for the growing of medical marijuana and the Department of Health would do the same for dispensaries. (Link to Story)

Mexican President's Visit to Stanford Meets with Objections Due to His Drug Prohibition War

Mexican President Felipe Calderón has been invited to give the commencement address at Stanford University in June, but an editorial in this week’s El Mensajero calls it the "wrong choice" due to his prohibitionist drug war. El Mensajero editor María Mejía writes that the point of a commencement address is to inspire students, adding that if she were a student, she wouldn’t feel inspired by Calderón. "I don’t admire his war against drug trafficking...I can’t believe that more than 30,000 dead during his administration due to violence stemming from narcotrafficking is something that could inspire me," she wrote. (Link to Story)

Bill Aims to Legalize Marijuana, Make Washington Pioneer State

Sponsors of a marijuana legalization bill predict Washington will lead the nation in getting rid of the prohibition on marijuana. If bill sponsors get their way, Washington residents will be able to go to the state liquor store and legally buy marijuana. The same laws against selling to minors and driving while impaired would apply. (Link to Story)

Cannabis Council Reaches Out to Help Colorado Teenager Denied Access to Medical Marijuana for Very Rare Condition

Mark Slaugh, membership director of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, wrote to Rep. Mark Barker, R-Colorado Springs, and Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs to urge legislative action on behalf of a teenage medical marijuana patient being denied access to his medicine by Colorado's Harrison School District 2. The teenager in question was diagnosed a little more than a year ago with a very rare condition that causes seizures, which can last for days. Slaugh said the district should take a more reasonable approach to the situation and the legislature should rewrite medical marijuana laws so that this situation doesn’t come up in the first place. (Link to Story)

Rethinking Drug-Free School Zones: Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Proposes Changing a Policy Critics Say Is Unfair and Ineffective

For years, advocates of criminal justice reform in Massachusetts have been critical of the school zone law, which carries mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes that take place within 1,000 feet of school property. While the law was passed in the name of public safety and the protection of children, critics say it's so broadly drawn that it's ineffective, and that it unfairly penalizes certain defendants on the basis of where they live. Now reformers have found an ally in the Statehouse's corner office. Gov. Patrick announced a proposal to dramatically reduce the size of the school zones, from 1,000 to 100 feet, as part of a plan to address a staggering projected state budget gap of $1.2 billion. The plan also includes proposals to close two state prisons and to ease sentencing laws for non-violent drug offenders, all moves the governor contends would save much-needed money. (Link to Story)

Arizona Probation Officer Fired for Supporting Marijuana Legalization

Less than two months after signing a letter calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of marijuana, Joe Miller was terminated from his job as a deputy probation officer in Arizona. Miller is just one of a series of law enforcement officials to be fired for their views on drug policy. (Link to Story)

New Certification Proposed for Drug-Sniffing Dogs As They Are Wrong Far More Often Than Right

A Illinois state representative has again asked fellow legislators to force police dogs to meet certification standards before being used for tasks such as sniffing for drugs at traffic stops. The bill, introduced by State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) follows a recent investigation that showed drug-sniffing dogs, according to state data, have been wrong more often than they have been right about whether vehicles contain drugs or drug paraphernalia. (Link to Story)

US Rep. Jared Polis Says Members of Congress Privately Want Drug Reform

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) says that a lot of members of Congress privately agree that we need to change our drug policy, but that they’re just too timid or scared to go public with their beliefs. He says very few that are 'hard core' drug warriors. (Link to Story)

Ex-South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel Says Legalize Drugs; Prohibition Is a Destructive, Costly and Futile Strategy

Former South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel is breaking his silence and taking on America's drug prohibition war, saying he advocates a repeal of the prohibition on drugs and calling the government's response a failure. "Drug abuse is a medical, health care and spiritual problem, not a problem to be solved within a criminal justice model," he said. Prohibition is "our government's most destructive policy since slavery," he added. (Link to Story)

Five Found Dead in Execution-Style Slayings in Mexico, Weekend Total Jumps to 41 Drug Prohibition Related Deaths

Mexican authorities recovered the bodies of five men who were dumped on the side of road in the northern state of Zacatecas. The deaths raised to 41 the number of people killed over the weekend due to drug prohibition violence. (Link to Story)

Medical Marijuana Sellers Can't Take Their Money to the Bank

Conflict between state and federal laws over the legality of medical marijuana has left owners of medical marijuana dispensaries finding that their financial services can go up in smoke. They're caught in a legal gray area that makes big banks wary or downright hostile. Last spring, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and 14 other members of Congress sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seeking reassurance for financial institutions. The letter to Geithner asks his office to "issue formal written guidance for financial institutions assuring that Department priorities do not include targeting or pursuing institutions whose account holders are involved in a business ostensibly operating in compliance with a state medical marijuana law." No response has been received. (Link to Story)

US Students Shot Dead in Border Town

Three teenage boys were shot and killed in the border town of Ciudad Juárez. Two, 15 and 16-years-old, were US citizens living in the town, but attending high schools in Texas. (Link to Story)

As Prohibition-Created Drug Trafficking Organizations Continue Stronghold, Female Mexican Police Chief Taken Near Christmas Still Missing

Relatives feared for her safety and urged Police Chief Erica Gandara to keep a low profile. But she refused, posing with her rifle for newspaper interviews. Then, at 6 a.m. on December 23, 10 drug trafficking organization gunmen pulled up to her residence, dragged her out of the house and set the home on fire. She has not been seen or heard from since. (Link to Story)

South Dakota House Rejects Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients

The South Dakota House rejected a bill that would have forced drug tests on welfare recipients to determine their eligibility. The measure failed on a vote of 32-36 after opponents said it would be impractical and would provide little help to children in poor families. (Link to Story)

Top Army Official Suggests U.S. Troops Might Be Sent to Mexico to Fight Drug Prohibition War

Undersecretary of the Army Joseph Westphal, the second-highest ranking civilian official in the U.S. Army, described the situation in Mexico created by drug prohibition as an insurgency and fretted over a scenario in which armed U.S. soldiers could be called to the border and/or into Mexico. Westphal is the most senior U.S. official to publicly compare Mexico’s drug cartels to an insurgency since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a similar assessment last September. Westfall — who said he was expressing a personal opinion, but one he had shared with the White House — said he didn’t want to ever see a situation in which "armed and fighting" American soldiers are sent to combat an insurgency "on our border, in violation of our Constitution, or to have to send them across the border." (Link to Story)

Teen's Medical Marijuana Fight Escalates As School Says He Cannot Come Back to Class After Going Home for Medicine, Father Appeals to Legislators for Help

The saga of a Colorado Springs, Colorado teenager struggling with a rare neurological condition best controlled with medical marijuana lozenges became a little more surreal when school officials informed the student’s father that the child cannot return to school on any day that he consumes medical marijuana. The child missed most of the last school year when he was diagnosed with diaphragmatic and axial myoclonus, which causes seizures that can last for 24 hours or more. He spent extensive periods of time hospitalized and used morphine and other narcotics to control the seizures until doctors discovered that THC works better than any other medication. (Link to Story)

SPARC Gives Upscale Feel to Traditional Medical Marijuana Dispensary

In San Francisco, a medical marijuana collective is trying to change the idea of a medical marijuana club as a tiny storefront office in a declining part of town, or a huge but impersonal former warehouse. (Link to Story)

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