Jeremy Daw

Why Florida's Medical Marijuana System Is Ripe for Corporate Takeover

In June 2014, the disgraced former CEO of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) signed Florida’s medical marijuana bill into law. It was a fitting beginning to a regulatory process that has been marred by shadowy fraud in the selection of lucrative vertically integrated licenses in what could become one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the country. The state appears poised to double down upon the fraud, and in keeping with Governor Rick Scott’s legacy of putting healthcare profits before people, some of the new law’s provisions could shield corporate revenues at the expense of fragile patients.

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How the Opioid Epidemic is Driving Major Federal Drug Reforms

In the final days of the Obama administration, with abuse of prescription opioid drugs and heroin on an alarming rise, a clear picture is beginning to emerge of a federal government open to more drug policy reform than any in recent memory.

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Federal Asset Forfeiture Takes a Blow, But It's Not Gone Yet

2015 was a rough year for US asset forfeiture. The year opened and closed with two administrative bookends which effectively curtail the practice of allowing law enforcement to seize property without bringing criminal charges, leaving behind a longstanding practice which has been significantly weakened — but not gone.

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White Like She: Reflections on Racism and Privilege in the War on Drugs

For the superstitious, Friday the 13th is a day fraught with bad luck. For Sarah Furay, that day came a week early and was Friday, November 6th. On that fateful day, local police from College Station Texas served a warrant on her apartment and searched her room, where they found “31.5 grams of packaged cocaine, 126 grams of high grade marijuana, 29 ‘ecstasy’ tablets, methamphetamine and a 60 doses of a drug similar to LSD.” She was then booked in the Brazos County Jail, and charged with three counts of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance and one count of drug possession. Interestingly, while a search of her phone confirmed her intent to sell drugs and her bedroom contained “packaging material, two digital scales and a handwritten drug price list,” she was not charged with intent to distribute. Nor was she charged with conspiracy, or any of the other common charges thrown at those arrested for running large-scale drug operations. Instead, her bail was set at a modest $39,000, which she paid after one day in jail, and is now safely at home with her father, the DEA agent. Though she has been quite lightly charged, her combined maximum sentence could be 215 years in prison. Given her connections to the DEA, one is left to wonder, how bad is this really going to be for Sarah?

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Here Come Hash Bars - Alaska to Allow Onsite Consumption

Soon the state of Alaska will be a frontier not only geographically but also for its policy. In the wake of a 3-2 vote by the state’s Marijuana Control Board, the nation’s largest state is poised to become the first to allow cannabis consumers to toke up at the place where they purchase pot.

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As a Privileged White Guy Living in 'Liberal' Berkeley, I Wasn't Expecting a Police Raid on My Backyard Pot Plants

Life should be pretty good for a waspy, well-educated white guy in Berkeley--and it generally is--but sometimes that balloon of privilege gets punctured. When it does, it can be an eye-opening and consciousness-raising event. My run-in with Berkeley cops over a few pot plants was one of those moments, and some of my differently-situated friends helped show me the light. 

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Legalizing Weed Could Save California Half A Billion Dollars A Year

According to California’s Legislative Analysis Office (LAO), cannabis legalization could net the chronically cash-strapped state up to half a billion dollars every year. The LAO, which takes no position on pending legislative proposals, released its fiscal analysis concerning the earliest legalization initiative to be filed for the 2016 ballot, the California Craft Cannabis initiative.

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Why Medical Marijuana Patients' Rights Are Under Attack Across the U.S.

From Washington State to Washington, D.C., successful cannabis legalization campaigns have consistently promised voters that they would preserve the rights of medical marijuana patients even while opening up access to all responsible adult use. But while campaign leaders have kept their promises, government officials in Washington, Oregon and Colorado have embarked on dishonest — and sometimes secretive — plans to blatantly disregard the will of voters and restrict patient rights.

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The Catholic Church's Surprisingly Central Role in the Idiotic Idea of Drug Prohibition

By the time Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada had turned 14, she had already known grievous sorrow. Her father, a Jewish convert to Christianity who lived in Gotarrendura, Avila (recently annexed as part of the newly unified kingdom of Spain), had disappeared early from Teresa’s life after the Spanish Inquisition questioned the sincerity of his conversion and condemned him. Then, when her mother fell ill and died, the girl went to the only place left to her: a nunnery.

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Why a Closely Watched Marijuana Case in Federal Court Looks to Be Leaning in the Right Direction

Judge Kimberly Mueller, the federal magistrate who made history by granting defense requests for a five-day hearing on the constitutionality of the continued inclusion of cannabis in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, was originally scheduled to meet with the parties of US v Schweder et al for a status hearing this week — but has delayed that meeting until April 15th.

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Feds Foiled in Washington State Medical Marijuana Case

In a dramatic and unexpected conclusion to a widely criticized federal prosecution, the jury for the criminal trial of the so-called Kettle Falls Five voted last week to acquit the three remaining defendants on all charges except one for manufacturing fewer than 100 marijuana plants. Significantly, that charge does not trigger any mandatory minimum sentencing under federal law, opening the door for a compassionate resolution during the sentencing phase.

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California Activists Eye Pot Legalization in 2016

A diverse and passionate group of activists from every part of California gathered in Oakland Friday to debate the shape and message of the state’s imminent 2016 cannabis legalization initiative. The event, a prohibition “post mortem” panel sponsored by the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR), was notable for its relatively civil tone, but also outlined some of the most difficult challenges facing a diverse state-wide movement attempting to present a unified front to voters over the 22 months between now and Election Day.

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The Pioneering Way the First State on the East Coast Might Legalize Marijuana

For decades, states have led the charge of cannabis policy reform in the US, but mostly at the ballot — state legislatures, like the federal Congress, have generally not been in the vanguard of reform. While there have been welcome exceptions to this rule (Hawaii’s legislature, for example, passed the state’s first medical law as far back as 2000), the majority of legislative actions in medical states more closely resemble the precedent set by Montana‘s state legislature, which voted to severely restrict the state’s medical program which passed by initiative with 62% of the vote eight years earlier.

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6 Things You Should Know When Buying and Consuming Legal Marijuana

I distinctly remember the first time I bought weed. Nervous out of my mind, I dialed the beeper (this was 2003 in New York City – every step required discretion). Two minutes later, someone called me back. I gave them my address, then waited two hours (I didn't yet have the experience necessary to appreciate how fast that was). Then I answered the knock on the door and opened up my home to a complete stranger who never gave his name. He opened up a briefcase full of five different strains, ranging, he explained, from $50 to $80 per eighth. “What's an eighth?” I asked. He rolled his eyes. Noob.

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Pot's Continued Status as a Schedule I Drug Is Now Up to a Calif. Judge

The hearings have concluded, but the debate is still to come.

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The Federal Hearing to Potentially Rethink Marijuana's Illegal Status Concludes

Judge Kimberly Mueller announced an end to five days of federal evidentiary hearings on the constitutionality of cannabis’ Schedule I status, requesting extensive briefings from the parties which realistically could delay her ruling by two months or more.

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4 Best Films Exposing America's Insane War on Drugs

In the past year there has been an explosion of films that dare to intelligently explore the U.S. drug war.  Spurred by the rapid reform of cannabis policy, pot is increasingly becoming a centerpiece of American culture.

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America's Medical Regulation of Drugs Has Racist Roots

When you look at the facts, it's clear that racism governs American drug policy. While five times as many white people as black people report using illicit drugs, the U.S. criminal justice system sends blacks to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites according to the ACLU.

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Nugs for Newbies: 6 Tips Key to Buying and Consuming Legal Cannabis

I distinctly remember the first time I bought weed. Nervous out of my mind, I dialed the beeper (this was 2003 in New York City – every step required discretion). Two minutes later, someone called me back. I gave them my address, then waited two hours (I didn't yet have the experience necessary to appreciate how fast that was). Then I answered the knock on the door and opened up my home to a complete stranger who never gave his name. He opened up a briefcase full of five different strains, ranging, he explained, from $50 to $80 per eighth. “What's an eighth?” I asked. He rolled his eyes. Noob.

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Why Does the Myth of Marijuana and Schizophrenia Persist Despite Numerous Debunkings?

José Antonio Alzate y Ramírez, an eminent Mexican scientist, studied the effects of marijuana on human subjects and became quite alarmed at what he saw. “There is no doubt that the health of the population is a central concern here,” he wrote. “The violent effect of the narcotics proves this sufficiently; it has not been but a few months since a person to whom they administered the drug, I do not know for what purpose, in perhaps too great a dose, lost his mind.” The year was 1772.*

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Time to Legalize Pot Just Like We Legalized Alcohol 80 Years Ago

Eighty years ago, Congress made one of its smartest decisions in the entire history of US drug policy and brought Prohibition to an end. The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, repealing the disastrous Eighteenth which had prohibited the sale of intoxicating liquors in the US, was adopted by Congress on December 5th, 1933, the same day that state ratifying conventions approved the amendment in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah, creating the supermajority of approving state delegations required by Article V of the Constitution.

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Mass Federal Raids on Colorado Pot Hint at a Crackdown Pattern

The coordinated raids of at least a dozen Denver dispensaries on Thursday are the latest federal law enforcement actions to occur in the wake of legalization votes last November in Colorado and Washington states. The coordinated raids in Colorado follow raids that took place in Washingon this summer, and when analyzed side by side, the federal actions hint at an emerging pattern in organized pot crackdowns. Characterized by cooperation across multiple levels of government and timed to deliver maximum political effect, this new method of federal interference with the medical marijuana movement sends a clear message to a marijuana industry still in its formation stages.

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The Pot Vote in Portland, Maine Is Nationally - and Historically - Significant

On Election Day 2013, voters in Maine’s largest city sent a resounding message by voting to legalize adult possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana – by a massive 65-35 pecent margin. But while the vote was a huge win for Portland, it’s an even bigger win for the country.

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