USA: Vermont Becomes Eighth Medical Marijuana Dispensary State

Vermont is now set to become the eighth medical marijuana dispensary state.

Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) last Thursday signed into law a bill that will create a system of up to four explicitly authorized and state regulated dispensaries for medical marijuana patients. The bill, SB 17, passed the Vermont House last month on a 99-44 vote. This despite a threatening letter the day before sent to the governor and the legislative leadership by Vermont's US Attorney.

USA: Vermont Becomes Eighth Medical Marijuana Dispensary State

The letter was similar to those received by state officials from US Attorneys in a number of states where dispensary legislation was being considered. "The Department of Justice will carefully consider legal remedies against those who facilitate or operate marijuana dispensaries or marijuana distribution or production as contemplated by S. 17, should that measure become law," said US Attorney Tristam Coffin in the letter. But unlike his gubernatorial counterparts in states, including Arizona, Rhode Island, and Washington, who have buckled after receiving such letters, Gov. Shumlin had the political courage to sign the bill. Medical marijuana has been approved by voters in 16 states and the District of Columbia, but only half of those states explicitly allow dispensaries. The other seven states are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island.

Poland Approves Drug Decriminalization -

With President Bronislaw Komorwski signing into law late last month an amendment to the country's harsh, decade-old drug laws, Poland has taken a step in the direction of the decriminalization of drug possession.

But how much of a difference the new law will make is unclear at this point, and it won't go into effect for another six months. The new law also increases sentences for some drug distribution offenses.

Under the old law, possession of even the smallest quantity of illegal drugs could lead to a three-year prison sentence. Under the amended drug law, people would still be arrested, but prosecutors will have the option of not charging people for personal drug possession if the quantity involved is small, if it is a first offense, or if the person is drug dependent. Also unclear at this point is just what will constitute a "small" amount of drugs for personal use. That is an issue that is now being contested.

In a sign of how volatile the issue is, demonstrators demanding a 30 gram figure for marijuana, the ability to grow at home, and amnesty for pot prisoners, clashed last weekend with police in Warsaw just days after the president signed the new law. Nearly 30 people were arrested on drug charges, and police were attacked with eggs and empty beer bottles.

The reform "seems quite modest and even marginal," Dr Mateusz Klinowski, Chair of Legal Theory at the Jagiellonian University's Department of Law and Administration, told the Krakow Post. "Though the amendment doesn't seem to be a major breakthrough, at least it creates hope of future reforms," he added. "The first step has been taken and now it is public opinion and non-governmental organizations which have to advocate rational solutions and efficient law that will be aimed primarily at prevention and treatment, rather than at penalizing possession."

USA: Connecticut Legislature Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Bill -

The Connecticut Senate Saturday narrowly approved a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The vote was an 18-18 tie until Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman (D), in her position as president of the Senate, cast the tie-breaking vote to put the measure over the top.

Connecticut is about to join the ranks of the decrim states. On Tuesday, it passed the House. It is supported by Gov. Dan Malloy (D), who Saturday urged the House to pass it. Under current law, the possession of "any usable amount" of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000. The fine jumps to $3,000 for subsequent offenses. The bill, Senate Bill 1014, would make possession of less than a half-ounce of pot a civil infraction punishable by a maximum fine of $150.

Fines jump to from $200 to $500 for subsequent violations. People under 21 would see their drivers' licenses suspended for 60 days, similar to the punishment for minors in possession of alcohol. Under an amendment by marijuana foe Rep. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) and accepted by Democrats, anyone thrice cited for small-time possession would be required to seek drug treatment.

USA: Michigan’s medical marijuana profit: $ 8 million -

Medical marijuana aimed at helping Michiganders with their pain turns out to be a helpful prescription for the state's challenged budget, as well.

In its first two years of operation, state licensing of marijuana patients and their caregivers has turned more than an $8-million profit -- generating nearly $9.7 million in revenue against $1.5 million in expenses, according to a new state report.

Brought to you by The Greenish Warbler

June 15th 2011

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