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Tag: marijuana policy project

U.S. Senate Mulls House Measure That Would Crack Down on DEA Raids of Medical Marijuana

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate is considering a measure already approved by the House that would ban the DEA from using its budget to target marijuana users in states where cannabis is legal for medical purposes, the Huffington Post reports.

The amendment to the Justice Department’s budget was introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, who is calling for the feds to back off their zealous pursuit of pot in the 22 states where medical marijuana is legal.

Huffington Post writes that the amendment is gaining steam, with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., signing on as a co-sponsor.

“Poll after poll shows 70-80 percent of Americans support medical marijuana,” Marijuana Policy Project’s Dan Riffle said. “Even among conservatives, most oppose enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal for some purpose. Having two rising stars like Rand Paul and Cory Booker team up to introduce this amendment just shows how popular the issue has become, and that our outdated federal marijuana laws are inevitably going to change.”

The House last month voted 219-189 in favor of a similar amendment.

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Defiant DEA Chief: Pot Legalization Just ‘Makes Us Fight Harder’

Michele Leonhart

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As marijuana legalization shifts in public opinion, state laws and within the Obama administration, the DEA is pledging to fight even harder, said DEA Chief Michele Leonhart Wednesday.

The Huffington Post reports that Leonhart, speaking during testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee, maintains voters were duped into approving marijuana legalization in Washington state and Colorado by pot propaganda.

“It’s of great concern to us the messages we hear on television, in the radio, in songs — and now, my fear is that kids are hearing it from their own parents,” Leonhart said. “It’s important to have the facts about marijuana put out there in ways that kids, teens, young adults, parents can look at it and see that what they’ve been sold — that this is no big deal — is not true.”

Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, questioned why Obama is holding onto Leonhart since she is obstructing his administration’s policies.

“Publicly criticizing and questioning the competence of your supervisor would get anyone fired in the private sector,” Riffle said in a statement. “It’s frankly astounding to me that Ms. Leonhart is still employed and American taxpayers continue to foot her $165,000 salary to publicly campaign against the president’s policies.”

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Marijuana Lobbying Group Expects 2014 to be a ‘Huge’ Year

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
One of the most successful of the marijuana legalization lobbying organizations, the Marijuana Policy Project(MPP) announced its 2014 strategic plan and expects a “huge” year in passing state medical marijuana and legalization laws, as well as action in Congress to block drug enforcement activity.

Twenty years ago marijuana was illegal in all forms and in all states. This year MPP expects New York to join the other 20 states authorizing medical marijuana, as well as West Virginia in the next year or two. They also plan to have Illinois and Vermont expand the coverage of their existing programs.

The 2014 plan also aims to decriminalize possession with new laws in Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and the District of Columbia. This would reduce enforcement to a ticketable offense.

MPP’s ultimate objective is to make marijuana use, distribution, and cultivation legal in all states. Pro-marijuana lobbyists will be active in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, Nevada, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Montana. Proposed legislation will attempt to follow the model successfully enacted in Colorado.

In Congress MPP intends to have a bill introduced to make marijuana a matter of states’ rights. Other bills are expected to attempt to block DOJ from interfering with the medical marijuana programs in the states.