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SANTA FE, NM — New Mexico’s Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher has agreed to proposed changes in the state’s medical cannabis law that would permit patients with obstructive sleep apnea to access marijuana; but she rejected calls to expand access to patients with other debilitating conditions, including Tourette’s syndrome (TS) and opioid dependency. “I cannot say with any degree of […]
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — On Friday, as reported by the Abq Report, a spokesperson from Albuquerque City Mayor Tim Keller’s Administration announced the City would be ending their asset forfeiture program, meaning that police will no longer be allowed to seize property unless there is a criminal conviction. This decision brings the City in compliance with New […]
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has signed into law a bill to make medical marijuana available in Mexico. The new law, which was approved by lawmakers earlier this year, will direct the Ministry of Health to draft and implement policies to regulate the use, importation, and production of pharmaceutical products derived from CBD-dominant/low-THC cannabis. Currently, CBD-infused products […]
SANTA FE, NM — New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed a pair of measures that sought to establish a hemp research program through the state’s Department of Agriculture. The Governor gave no public explanation for the vetoes. The Governor has historically been an outspoken opponent of marijuana law reform efforts – receiving an ‘F’ […]
Bill would allow hemp crops in New Mexico
Senate Bill 94 passed the Senate 33-8 and the House 54-12. Gov. Susana Martinez has until Friday to sign or veto it. Asked what action the governor planned to take on the bill, a spokesman for Martinez said Sunday the hemp legislation was still under …
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Attend The Global Cannabis March In Portland This Saturday
Frederick has submitted House Bill 3372, legislation that would expunge all nonviolent, marijuana related convictions from Oregon residents. The historic bill, if passed, would send a signal that … Networking with Other Local Groups – Campaign for …
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Former Mexican President Vicente Fox took his crusade to legalize marijuana to San Francisco on Monday, joining pot advocates to urge the United States and his own country to decriminalize the sale and recreational use of cannabis.
Fox met for three hours with the advocates, including Steve DeAngelo, the Oakland-based executive director of California’s largest marijuana dispensary, and former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively, who hopes to create a Seattle-based pot brand now that Washington state has legalized recreational use.
Legalization, Fox told reporters after the meeting, is the only way to end the violence of Mexican drug cartels, which he blamed on America’s war on drugs.
“The cost of the war is becoming unbearable – too high for Mexico, for Latin America and for the rest of the world,” Fox said in English.
Every day, he said, 40 young people are killed in drug-related violence.
Fox’s position on legalizing drugs has evolved over time since the days when he cooperated with U.S. efforts to tamp down production in Mexico during his 2000-2006 presidential term. He has been increasingly vocal in his opposition to current policies, backing two prior efforts to legalize marijuana in Mexico.
Mexico’s current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has opposed legalization. But he recently said that he would consider world opinion on the matter, particularly in light of recent voter-approved initiatives to legalize marijuana in Washington state and Colorado for recreational use.
In San Francisco on Monday, Fox said he had signed on to attend and help develop an international summit later this month in Mexico to strategize a path to end marijuana prohibition.
Participants scheduled to attend the three-day meeting starting July 18 in San Cristobal include an American surgeon, the dean of Harvard’s School of Public Health and a Mexican congressman who plans to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana in Mexico this summer, Fox said.
The bill, which he expects to be introduced by Mexican lawmaker Fernando Belaunzaran, would legalize adult recreational use of marijuana, Fox said.
Support for legalizing marijuana in the United States has been growing. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws, according to the pro-legalization National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. But the drug remains illegal under federal law.
Lifting the prohibition on cannabis in Mexico, however, appears to face more of an uphill battle. Mexican lawmakers have rejected previous legalization efforts and polls have shown little popular support for the idea.
But Fox promised to wage what he said was a necessary battle.
“We cannot afford more blood and the loss of more young people,” Fox said. “We must get out of the trap we are in.”
Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh
Source: Reuters (Wire)
Author: Ronnie Cohen
Published: July 8, 2013
Copyright: 2013 Thomson Reuters
A comprehensive report on drug policy in the Americas released Friday by a consortium of nations suggests that the legalization of marijuana, but not other illicit drugs, be considered among a range of ideas to reassess how the drug war is carried out.
The report, released by the Organization of American States walked a careful line in not recommending any single approach to the drug problem and encouraging “flexibility.”
Prompted by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia at the Summit of the Americas last year to answer growing dissatisfaction and calls for new strategies in the drug war, the report’s 400 pages mainly summarize and distill previous research and debate on the subject.
But the fact that it gave weight to exploring legalizing or de-penalizing marijuana was seized on by advocates of more liberal drug use laws as a landmark and a potential catalyst for less restrictive laws in a number of countries.
“This takes the debate to a whole other level,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates more liberal drug use laws. “It effectively breaks the taboo on considering alternatives to the current prohibitionist approach.”
The report said “the drug problem requires a flexible approach,” and “it would be worthwhile to assess existing signals and trends that lean toward the decriminalization or legalization of the production, sale and use of marijuana.
“Sooner or later decisions in this area will need to be taken,” it said. “On the other hand, our report finds no significant support, in any country, for the decriminalization or legalization of the trafficking of other illicit drugs.”
Some analysts interpreted the inclusion of decriminalization as a thumb in the eye to the United States, the country with the heaviest drug consumption and one that has spent several billion dollars on drug interdiction in the Americas, only to find that marijuana and cocaine continue to flow heavily and that violence has surged in Mexico and Central America as the drugs move north.
The report comes two weeks before an O.A.S. meeting in Guatemala, whose president has been open to legalizing marijuana and where the central topic is drug policy in the hemisphere. Uruguay’s president has put forward a plan for the government to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana.
“The region’s leaders expressed their frustration with the limits and exorbitant costs of current policies and their hunger for a fuller, more creative debate,” said John Walsh, a drug policy analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group.
But the United States has so far rejected legalization as a solution to drug violence.
A State Department spokesman, William Ostick, said the report would be carefully reviewed and discussed with fellow O.A.S. members in Guatemala.
“We look forward to sharing our latest research and experiences on drug prevention and treatment, and to strengthening operational law enforcement cooperation with our partners around the globe in support of our common and shared responsibility for the world drug problem,” he said. “We know other leaders will similarly bring their own data, and anticipate a productive and useful dialogue.”
Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, said advocates of drug liberalization were overplaying the significance of the report, which he said contained a lot the Obama administration would agree with.
He said a discussion of legalization was only natural, particularly since two American states, Washington and Colorado, have moved in that direction.
But the report, he said, also suggested that countries in the hemisphere needed to redouble their efforts to fight the impunity of drug gangs, something often overlooked or played down in the debate on the war on drugs. The report notes that drug organizations have atomized into a range of gangs carrying out kidnapping, extortion and other crimes.
“Institutions in the drug-producing nations are going to have to change the way they do business,” Mr. Sabet said. “You cannot only rely on reducing demand and ignore deep-seated institutional problems.”
Mr. Santos, in accepting the report in Bogota, said more study was needed. “Let it be clear that no one here is defending any position, neither legalization, nor regulation, nor war at any cost,” he said. “What we have to do is use serious and well-considered studies like the one the O.A.S. has presented us with today to seek better solutions.”
A version of this article appeared in print on May 18, 2013, on page A7 of the New York edition with the headline: Americas Coalition Suggests Marijuana Laws Be Relaxed.