Report: Marijuana Legalization May Have Led to Drop in Murder and Rape Rates in Washington and Oregon

A new report by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) has found that marijuana legalization may have helped to reduce rape and murder rates in both Washington and Oregon.

In their second assessment report on the impact of marijuana legalization, WSIPP also found no evidence that marijuana legalization has increased marijuana usage rates among adults or adolescents, and found legalization to have no impact on hard drug use, property crimes or  violent crimes.

“[A]mong respondents under age 21, those living in counties with higher sales were significantly less likely to report use of cannabis in the past 30 days”, says Justin Strekal, poliyical director for NORML, speaking on the report. Stekal says the report shows “evidence that nonmedical legalization in Washington and Oregon may have led to a drop in rape and murder rates”.

For the full WSIPP report, click here.

The report is the second of four WSIPP is required to do, the first being in 2015, the next being in 2022, and the final one in 2032.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

Las Vegas Gets 24-Hour Marijuana Store

Las Vegas has become one of the first places in the United States where marijuana can be purchased legally 24 hours a day.

The Las Vegas City Council has voted Wednesday in favor of allowing Oasis Cannabis, a legal marijuana shop in the city, to stay open 24 hours a day. Up until this point city code forced all marijuana outlets to close between by 3am, and open no earlier than 6am. The vote by the council was unanimous, with Mayor Carolyn Goodman abstaining from the vote given his son has financial interest in some marijuana-related businesses.

The vote by the council brings the city in line with North Las Vegas, which also allows its cannabis outlets to stay open 24 hours a day. Clark County Commissions voted on Tuesday to allow the 26 cannabis outlets in the county to stay open all-day.

Prior to the vote Las Vegas City Councilmember Lois Tarkanian asked Oasis Cannabis CEO Benjamin Stilltoe why why being open a few extra hours would make a different, Stilltoe said; “We have people lined up at our door at 6 a.m., and (we) are rushing people out at 3 a.m.”, and noted that several businesses around him including a tavern are open 24 hours a day.

Oasis Cannabis is located near the Stratosphere at 1800 Industrial Road. According to Stilltoe, their new 24-hour business hours begin today.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

New Poll Finds Strong Support for Medical Cannabis Legalization Initiative Among Utah Voters

A strong majority of Utah voters, including a majority of those who are “very active” in the Mormon Church, support an initiative to legalize medical cannabis, according to new polling.

Utah voters are overwhelming in favor of legalizing the medical use of cannabis, a new UtahPolicy.com poll has found. 74% stated that they are in favor of a proposed initiative that would allow qualified patients to possess, use and purchase (from licensed dispensaries) cannabis medicines such as edibles, tinctures and topicals (lotions, ointments, etc.). Just 22% oppose the proposal, with 4% undecided.

Although the LDS church has come out strongly against legalizing medical cannabis, 63% of voters who say they’re “very active” in the Mormon Church support the legalization of medical cannabis, with just 33% – less than one in three – opposed.

The survey, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates, polled 608 adults from Aug. 30-Sept. 5. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.97 percent.

Last month the Utah Patients Coalition received approval from the state to begin collecting signatures on their initiative to legalize medical cannabis. The group must collect 113,143 by January in order to put the measure to a vote of the people during the November, 2018 general election.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules Roadside Drunk Driving Tests Not Valid for Marijuana

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that field sobriety tests used to determine if someone is drunk cannot be legally used as conclusive evidence that a motorist is under the influence of marijuana.

Cannabis Becomes <strong>Legal</strong> TonightAccording to the Associated Press, the Supreme Judicial Court said it was reasonable for police officers to testify — as non-expert witnesses — only to their observations about how individuals performed during sobriety tests. However, the court ruled that officers are not allowed to tell juries if defendants passed or failed such tests, nor offer their own opinions on whether a driver was too high to be behind the wheel.  The ruling came in a case of Thomas Gerhardt, who was charged with impaired driving in 2013.

The court noted there currently is no reliable scientific test for marijuana impairment comparable to tests for blood alcohol content. In drunken-driving cases, results of field sobriety tests can be correlated with blood alcohol readings as evidence of impairment. The lack of such a test for marijuana has taken on greater significance in states such as Massachusetts that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults, but where driving under the influence of cannabis remains a serious crime.

“While not all researchers agree, a significant amount of research has shown that consumption of marijuana can impair the ability to drive,” the court said in a unanimous decision. “There is ongoing disagreement among scientists, however, as to whether (field sobriety tests) are indicative of marijuana impairment.”

In the case, Thomas Gerhardt challenged the admissibility of tests that were conducted by a state trooper in Millbury after he was pulled over on suspicion of impaired driving. The trooper reported smoke in the car, the odor of marijuana and found two roaches. Two passengers said they had smoked the joints about 20 minutes earlier, while Gerhardt maintained it had been about three hours since he used marijuana.

During his field sobriety test, Gerhardt was able to recite a portion of the alphabet and count backward, but was unable to properly follow instructions for a so-called walk-and-turn test, leading the officer to conclude he was under the influence of marijuana.

The state Legislature recently ordered creation of a special commission to study issues around driving while impaired by marijuana.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

Washington Regulators Seek Public Comment on Legalizing Home Cultivation for All Adults

By NORML

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is seeking written public comment and will hold a public hearing on Wed. Oct. 4, 2017 on whether the State should allow home grows of recreational marijuana.

Legislation enacted in 2017 directs the WSLCB to “conduct a study of regulatory options for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by recreational marijuana users.” The study must take into account the “Cole Memo,” issued by the United State Department of Justice in 2013, which outlines the federal government’s enforcement priorities in states where medical or recreational marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized. The study and recommendations are due to the Legislature on Dec. 1, 2017

“The agency is actively engaging other states, the public, the industry and stakeholders. We know there are many perspectives to this issue and we want to ensure they are captured for our report and recommendations,” said agency director Rick Garza.

Please enter your information below to contact the WSLCB in support of recreational home grow.

Also, please click here and take a moment to fill out Washington NORML’s survey about home cultivation rights in Washington State.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

Peru: Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Peru’s Congressional Committee on National Defense has given approval to legislation that would legalize medical cannabis.

According to Congressman Alberto de Belaunde saidö, “The Commission on Defense has unanimously decided to propose the law that decriminalizes the medicinal use of cannabis”. Approval of the measure comes amid public outcry over a police raid on a makeshift cannabis lab run by mothers seeking to soothe the symptoms of their sick children.

The bill – introduced by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski – will now go before the nation’s full Congress for consideration.

According to Euro News, earlier this year, an Ipsos poll found that 65 percent of Peruvians support legalizing cannabis for medical purposes.

If the legislation is passed into law, Peru will join several of its Latin American neighbors – namely Chile, Colombia and Mexico – as nations that allow the medical use of cannabis.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

Study: Medical Marijuana Patients Reduce Their Prescription Drug Use

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Chronic pain patients enrolled in a statewide medical marijuana program are more likely to reduce their use of prescription drugs than are those patients who don’t use cannabis, according to data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Investigators from the University of New Mexico compared prescription drug use patterns over a 24-month period in 83 pain patients enrolled in the state’s medical cannabis program and 42 non-enrolled patients. Researchers reported that, on average, program registrants significantly reduced their prescription drug intake while non-registrants did not.

Specifically, 34 percent of registered patients eliminated their use of prescription drugs altogether by the study’s end, while an additional 36 percent of participants used fewer medications by the end of the sample period.

“Legal access to cannabis may reduce the use of multiple classes of dangerous prescription medications in certain patient populations,” authors concluded. “[A] shift from prescriptions for other scheduled drugs to cannabis may result in less frequent interactions with our conventional healthcare system and potentially improved patient health.”

A pair of studies published in the journal Health Affairs previously reported that medical cannabis access is associated with lower Medicaid expenditures and reduced spending on Medicare Part D approved prescription medications.

Separate studies have reported that patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their intake of opioidsbenzodiazepinesanti-depressantsmigraine-related medications, and sleep aids, among other substances.

An abstract of the study, “Effects of legal access to cannabis on Scheduled II–V drug prescriptions,” appears online here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

Community “Heartbroken” After Washington Budtender Found Deceased, Two of Three Suspects in Police Custody

A budtender from Lucid Cannabis Company in Cheney, Washington has been found deceased after being abducted.

Cameron Smith

(Photo: Sofia Jaramillo, Leafly)

Cameron Smith’s body was discovered by Spokane County Rescue just off State Route 904 west of Cheney, on September 15 around 3 p.m., states Leafly. Police described the location of Smith’s body as being “concealed in heavy cover” several feet from the roadway. This was near where authorities last made contact with Smith’s cell phone and slightly south of where his vehicle was located.

According to Stacia Shirley, manager at Lucid, says the team is “heartbroken” from the news. “We’re just trying to push forward with a strong face, and that just shows what a strong influence he was on us. He would want us to stay strong,” she says.

36-year-old Donovan Culps was apprehended on Thursday in 240 miles south of Cheney in Goldenbale, which is close to the border of Washington and Oregon. Culps was arrested after leading police on a chase and eventually crashing into a tree. He is currently in Klickitat County Jail awaiting charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery and first-degree murder.

Law enforcement also apprehended Alisha Jackson, 18, who was presentduring the abduction. A suspect, 18-year-old Violetta Culps, has yet to be apprehended.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

Federal Bill Introduced to Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentences for all Drug Offenses

Legislation to end mandatory minimum sentences for all drug offenses has been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation – H.R. 3800 – was introduced by Representative Maxine Walters, a Democrat from California’s 43rd legislative district. It would end the practice of applying mandatory minimum sentences to offenses involving illegal substances. Mandatory minimum sentences require judges to give offenders a specific – and typically harsh – sentence regardless of extenuating circumstances.

Mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes was greatly scaled back under President Obama’s terms as president. However, current President Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently reversed much of the changes made by the Obama Administration regarding mandatory minimums, making Representative Walters’ proposal incredibly important and relevant to the times.

Walters’ proposal would apply to all illegal substances located on the federal controlled substances list. According to Congress.gov, the measure has been “Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.”

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

California Legislature Passes Resolution Urging Feds to Remove Marijuana from Schedule 1

A resolution urging U.S. Congress to remove marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance has been approved overwhelmingly by California’s Legislature.

Senate Joint Resolution 5, “Relative to federal rescheduling of marijuana from a Schedule I drug”, was introduced by Senator Jeff Stone with cosponsored Senator Scott Wiener and Senator John Moorlach. It was approved in the Senate in April with a 34 to 2 vote, and was approved by the Assembly last week with a vote of 60 to 10. The resolution reads:

“Resolved by the Senate and the Assembly of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature urges the Congress of the United States to pass a law to reschedule marijuana or cannabis and it’s its derivatives from a Schedule I drug to an alternative schedule, therefore allowing the legal research and development of marijuana or cannabis for medical use and allowing for the legal commerce of marijuana or cannabis so that businesses dealing with marijuana or cannabis can use traditional banks or financial institutions for their banking needs, which would result in providing a legal vehicle for those businesses to pay their taxes, including, but not limited to, payroll taxes, unsecured property taxes, and applicable taxes on the products sold in accordance with state and local laws”.

The resolution continues; “and be it further Resolved, That the Legislature urges the President of the United States to sign such legislation; and be it further Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from California in the Congress of the United States, and to the author for appropriate distribution.”

The full text of the resolution can be found by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.