Marijuana News Roundup: VP Candidates Pence, Kaine Just Say No
The race to replace Barack Obama has just entered the final turn as both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have named their vice-presidential picks. Trump’s choice, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, and U.S. Senator and form governor of Virginia Tim Kaine, Clinton’s choice, have at least one thing in common: neither supports marijuana legalization.
According to Marijuana Politics, Pence’s views on marijuana are “ridiculous, actual ‘reefer madness’ silliness with hideous consequences.” The state of Indiana continues to hand-down “severe penalties” on cannabis users and discourages its use for medical purposes.
Democrat Tim Kaine is cited as having said, “I wouldn’t vote for a law at the federal or state level that would decriminalize marijuana.” Kaine was one of four Democratic senators to join 22 Republicans to receive a grade of “F” last month on a Congressional scorecard released by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
The Republican Party rejected a proposal to endorse medical marijuana use as part of the party’s official platform. This is the platform’s single mention of marijuana:
The progress made over the last three decades against drug abuse is eroding, whether for cultural reasons or for lack of national leadership. In many jurisdictions, marijuana is virtually legalized despite its illegality under federal law. At the other end of the drug spectrum, heroin use nearly doubled from 2003 to 2013, while deaths from heroin have quadrupled. All this highlights the continuing conflicts and contradictions in public attitudes and public policy toward illegal substances. Congress and a new administration should consider the long-range implications of these trends for public health and safety and prepare to deal with the problematic consequences.
That view supports Pence, but presidential nominee Trump has said that he backs medical marijuana use.
Kaine’s position is diametrically opposed to the Democratic Party’s recently adopted platform plank on marijuana legalization. As approved earlier this month, the plank reads:
Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.
Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, has been a long-time supporter of decriminalization and was president and CEO of Cannabis Sativa Inc. before beginning his run for the Oval Office.
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A Colorado Town Tests Positive for Marijuana (in Its Water)
There are no marijuana dispensaries or greenhouses in the tiny railroad town of Hugo, where Theodore Roosevelt once ate breakfast with the local cowboys. But this week, Hugo’s 740 residents were told to stop drinking the water after the town’s water supply tested positive for THC, the psychoactive chemical in Colorado’s most famous cash crop.
The trouble started when a local company trying to calibrate its employee drug tests pulled a positive reading from Hugo’s tap water. The town’s Public Works Department investigated and found signs of tampering and “forced entry” at one of the wells that supply the town’s drinking water, a spokesman for the Lincoln County sheriff told reporters. The town sealed off the well that seemed to be the source of the tainted water.
No one has reported feeling sick or intoxicated from drinking the water, though people around the high-plains town joked on Friday that perhaps they should be drinking more water. On the town’s Facebook community page, Hugo Happenings, people joked about Hugo’s new “healing waters,” and said that its ice cubes could be the tiny town’s answer to marijuana brownies.
Telemedicine Makes It Easier to Get Medical Marijuana
Telemedicine is revolutionizing medicine, connecting doctors and patients quickly while attempting to shave off unnecessary expenses.
It turns out the modern electronic convenience includes the $6.7 billion medical marijuana industry, the fastest growing industry in the United States.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, where pot and tech start-ups are as ubiquitous as saltwater, California doctors are leveraging basic technology to clear patients of minimal legal hurdles to obtain marijuana.
Full legalization for recreational purposes is on the November ballot in California as Proposition 64.
Read more at healthline.com.
Italian Parliament to Consider Marijuana Legalization on Monday
Italy may become the next country to legally regulate marijuana, with a legislative proposal expected to be debated in Italy’s Chamber of Deputies on Monday, July 25.
“Italy has rarely if ever provided leadership in Europe on drug policy reform,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the US-based Drug Policy Alliance, “which is why this bill, if it becomes law, will be of great significance not just within Italy but regionally and even globally. With five more U.S. states preparing to vote on marijuana legalization on November 8, and Canada poised to legalize marijuana next year, Italy could well provide the catalyst that Europe needs to move forward in ending marijuana prohibition.”
The bill would decriminalize the possession of 15 grams of marijuana for recreational use at home, and 5 grams for use outside of the home. Furthermore, it would allow the cultivation of up to 5 plants for personal use, and authorize cannabis clubs for up to 50 members. In terms of distribution, the Italian government would grant licenses for the production and sale of marijuana inside national territory. The bill prohibits import and export of marijuana, public use of marijuana, and driving under the influence.
Read more at The Weed Blog.
Curbing the Marijuana Industry’s Voracious Energy Appetite
As voters go to the polls this November, at least four states will consider ballot questions on marijuana legalization. Pending proposals in Nevada, Maine and California would authorize recreational marijuana use, while Floridians will vote on whether to allow medical marijuana use.
Indoor marijuana cultivation is one of the most energy-intensive industries in the United States, generating nearly US$6 billion in energy costs annually. According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, which carries out energy planning for the Columbia River Basin states (Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon), growing marijuana indoors consumes up to 5,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per kilogram of output. For comparison, aluminum production requires about 16 kilowatt-hours per kilogram.
Read more at AlterNet.