Several Bills Filed in Congress to Create “Path to Marijuana Reform”

The United States Capitol in Washington, DC (Wikimedia/David Maiolo)

The Congressional Cannabis Caucus flexed its muscles Thursday as members of Congress filed a package of bills aimed at creating a “path to marijuana reform” at the federal level and protecting and preserving marijuana laws in states where it is legal.

Two Oregon politicians, Sen. Ron Wyden (D) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) led the charge, announcing a bipartisan package of three bills, including a marijuana…

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Joint Legislation: Federal Bills Would End Marijuana Prohibition in the United States

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Ron Wyden and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Jared Polis have introduced legislation in the House and Senate — to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference.

In addition to removing marijuana from the United States Controlled Substances Act, this legislation also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matter concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales —…

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GOP Congressman Introduces ‘Respect State Marijuana Laws Act’

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday that would resolve the conflict between state and federal marijuana laws and allow states to determine their own marijuana policies.

The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act exempts individuals and entities from certain provisions of the Controlled Substances Act if they are acting in compliance with state marijuana laws. This is the third time Rohrabacher has introduced the bill. Twenty of his…

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Our Recent Supreme Court Victory and What It Means

Our Recent Supreme Court Victory and What It Means

The recent decision by the US Supreme Court to refuse to hear a challenge to the Colorado marijuana legalization law was a significant victory for those who favor legalizing marijuana and a significant set-back for those who thought the federal courts might help them hold on to the increasingly unpopular policy of criminal prohibition. The name of the case was States of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. State of Colorado.

Original Jurisdiction

First, here’s a brief lesson in Supreme Court jurisprudence. Nearly all cases that make it to the US…

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US Supreme Court Tosses States’ Lawsuit Against Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

US Supreme Court Tosses States’ Lawsuit Against Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

The United States Supreme Court has refused to take up a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma over Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.

WASHINGTON, DC — On Monday, the United States Supreme Court declined to take up a lawsuit filed against Colorado by neighboring states over the legalization of marijuana.

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma, who asked the Court to find that Colorado’s laws legalizing the state-licensed production and sale of marijuana to adults violates the United…

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Former Attorney General Eric Holder Says Reschedule Marijuana

Former Attorney General Eric Holder Says Reschedule Marijuana

In a detailed PBS interview published Tuesday, Former Attorney General Eric Holder said marijuana should be rescheduled. Marijuana is currently listed under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a category relegated to drugs that have no safe medical uses and extremely high potential for abuse and addiction.

Placement in this category makes domestic research into the effects of marijuana extremely difficult and often impossible. Marijuana’s placement has been widely criticized and disputes mounting ever-growing evidence from other…

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DEA Eases Some Requirements for Clinical Trials on Cannabidiol

DEA Eases Some Requirements for Clinical Trials on Cannabidiol

WASHINGTON, DC — The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says they are easing some of the requirements imposed by the Controlled Substances Act for researchers conducting clinical trials on cannabidiol (CBD), an extract of marijuana that has been used to reduce seizures in children, among other ailments.

According to a press release issued Wednesday by the DEA, the changes “will streamline the research process regarding CBD’s possible medicinal value and help foster ongoing scientific studies.”

Researchers who are conducting Food…

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SCOTUS Should Dismiss States’ Challenge to Colorado Marijuana Legalization, Solicitor General Says

SCOTUS Should Dismiss States’ Challenge to Colorado Marijuana Legalization, Solicitor General Says

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli Jr., issued a statement Wednesday advising the Supreme Court not to hear a lawsuit Nebraska and Oklahoma filed against Colorado’s marijuana legalization law last December.

Oklahoma and Nebraska attorneys general filed the suit in hopes of re-criminalizing marijuana in Colorado, claiming it had created a burden on their own law enforcement agencies and because marijuana is still federally illegal.

The Solicitor General stated, “Entertaining the type of dispute here – essentially…

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Obama Administration Urges Supreme Court to Dismiss States’ Suit Against Colorado Pot Law

Obama Administration Urges Supreme Court to Dismiss States’ Suit Against Colorado Pot Law

In a brief filed Wednesday, the US Solicitor General urged the Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit by the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado’s marijuana legalization law.

The two states had filed the lawsuit in December 2014, complaining that “the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system” and that “marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States’ own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice…

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Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill in Senate to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

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Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) introduced a bill Wednesday that would repeal all federal penalties for possessing and growing marijuana, allowing states to establish their own marijuana laws. The bill is available online at http://www.mpp.org/sandersbill.

The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015” strikes all references to marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, but retains penalties for transporting marijuana from states or jurisdictions where it is legal to those where it is…

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Major Think Tank Explains How the Federal Government Undermines Cannabis Research and How to Fix It

Major Think Tank Explains How the Federal Government Undermines Cannabis Research and How to Fix It

Earlier this week, the Brookings Institution issued a report that takes the federal government to task for undermining research on medical cannabis. In “Ending the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana research,” Brookings fellow John Hudak and senior research assistant Grace Wallack explain the various barriers that make authoritative research on cannabis extremely difficult to conduct in the United States.

While many legitimate studies of medical cannabis do exist,  federal government policy makes it extremely difficult for…

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Colorado Defends Marijuana Legalization Law; Asks SCOTUS to Drop Suit

Colorado Defends Marijuana Legalization Law; Asks SCOTUS to Drop Suit

DENVER, CO — States are free to legalize marijuana, Colorado argued Friday in a filing to the U.S. Supreme Court in response to a lawsuit from neighboring states that have asked the nation’s highest court to shut down Colorado’s pot law.

The filing marks the first time Colorado has defended legal marijuana in writing. The federal government did not sue to block the state’s 2012 vote to legalize pot for all adults over 21.

Colorado said that Nebraska and Oklahoma should sue the federal government for not enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, not other states. Colorado said the states’ “quarrel is not with Colorado but with the federal government’s” approach to letting states experiment with pot law.

“Nebraska and Oklahoma filed this case in an attempt to reach across…

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Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Laws Under Attack in Federal Court

Colorado’s Marijuana Legalization Laws Under Attack in Federal Court

DENVER, CO – A group of 11 sheriffs and county attorneys from Colorado and neighboring Plains states filed a federal complaint against Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper to stop the sale of recreational marijuana in that state.

The complaint challenges Colorado’s Amendment 64 under the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the federal Controlled Substances Act, saying it places an unfair burden on the law-enforcement offices to corral the overflow of recreational marijuana now spilling into areas where possession remains illegal.

“The nation’s anti-drug laws reflect a well-established balance of national law enforcement, foreign relations, and societal priorities,” the complaint states. “If allowed to continue in effect, Amendment 64’s legalization and…

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Sheriffs Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Sheriffs Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

DENVER, CO — In another attempt to thwart the will of Colorado voters, sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming that the state’s law legalizing marijuana creates a “crisis of conscience” and puts an economic burden on other states.

Larimer County (Colorado) Sheriff Justin Smith is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which asks a federal court in Denver to strike down the 2012 voter-approved Amendment 64, and to order the state’s licensed marijuana stores — over 330 at last count — to close.

Sheriff Smith claims that every day he must decide whether to violate the Colorado Constitution, under which marijuana is legal, or the United States Constitution.  Marijuana is prohibited at the federal level.

Smith is joined by sheriffs in…

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Federal Judge Hears Closing Arguments In Constitutional Challenge to Cannabis’ Schedule I Status

Federal Judge Hears Closing Arguments In Constitutional Challenge to Cannabis’ Schedule I Status

SACRAMENTO, CA — Wednesday in Sacramento, a federal judge heard closing arguments in a motion challenging the constitutionality of cannabis’ Schedule I classification.

At issue is whether a rational basis exists for the government’s contention that cannabis is properly designated as a schedule I substance — defined as possessing a “high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment,” and “a lack of accepted safety … under medical supervision.” A federal court has not heard evidence on the matter since the early 1970s.

Lawyers for the federal government argue that it is rational for the government to maintain the plant’s prohibitive status as long as there remains any dispute among experts in regard to its safety and efficacy. Defense…

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Final Arguments Heard in Marijuana Schedule I Hearing; Decision Expected in March

Final Arguments Heard in Marijuana Schedule I Hearing; Decision Expected in March

SACRAMENTO, CA — A federal judge hearing the case of nine men accused of illegally growing marijuana in California said Wednesday she was taking very seriously arguments by their attorneys that the federal government has improperly classified the drug as among the most dangerous, and should throw the charges out.

Justice Kimberly Mueller

Judge Kimberly Mueller

Judge Kimberly J. Mueller said she would rule within 30 days on the request, which comes amid looser enforcement of U.S. marijuana laws, including moves to legalize its recreational use in Washington state, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska.

“If I were persuaded by the defense’s argument, if I bought their argument, what would you lose here?” she asked prosecutors during closing arguments on the motion to dismiss the cases against the men.

The men were…

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Federal Judge Weighing Constitutionality of Marijuana’s Classification

Federal Judge Weighing Constitutionality of Marijuana’s Classification

SACRAMENTO, CA — A federal judge in California is weighing the constitutionality of a 45-year-old act that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug along with LSD, cocaine and heroin.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller in Sacramento held a five-day fact-finding hearing on the classification question late last year, and final arguments are scheduled for next month, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Her ruling is expected later this year.

The case marks the first time in decades that a judge has agreed to consider marijuana’s designation as a Schedule 1 drug under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the newspaper said. Under the act, Schedule 1 drugs have no medicinal purpose, are unsafe even under medical supervision and contain a high potential for abuse.

Mueller’s

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Oklahoma Republicans Encourage AG to Drop Lawsuit Against Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Oklahoma Republicans Encourage AG to Drop Lawsuit Against Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Citing concerns that it could undermine their own state’s fight to govern themselves under the 10th Amendment, several Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma are urging Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt to drop his lawsuit against the state of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.

The lawsuit, titled States of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. State of Colorado, was filed in December by Pruitt and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and asks the United States Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s law legalizing marijuana on the basis that it is “fundamentally at odds” with the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The suit, filed directly with the US Supreme Court, alleges that marijuana is being diverted into their states from Colorado, causing plaintiffs to suffer…

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