Marijuana Possession Cases Going Up In Smoke

Prosecutors in the two most populous counties of Washington state plan to dismiss scores of misdemeanor marijuana possession cases after after the passing of a landmark voter initiative to legalize pot for adult recreational use.

Washington and Colorado recently became the first U.S. states that removed criminal sanctions for personal possession of an ounce (28.5 grams) or less of marijuana with voters approving ballot measures for legalizing recreational use of the drug, setting up a possible showdown with the federal government.

The legalization measure of the Washington measure passed by more than 55 percent of voters supporting it and less than 45 percent opposed, and will take effect next month. However, prosecutors in King and Pierce counties of Washington that contain the cities of Seattle and Tacoma moved in a swift manner to announce that they were dropping 225 pending possession cases currently in the pipeline. All the cases slated for dismissal constitute the relative few in which the possession of marijuana alone is charged.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said, “I don’t believe any jury is going to convict on a simple marijuana case after this initiative has passed.” Lindquist said conviction for possession of an ounce or less carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. “The people have spoken loudly in Initiative 502, and there seems to be no point in continuing to prosecute cases for conduct that’s going to be legal in a couple of weeks,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said.

Washington state and Colorado were put by legalization efforts at odds with federal law that classifies marijuana as an illegal narcotic and the U.S. Justice Department has yet to say what if any actions it will take in response to the votes.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Western Washington when asked to comment on the charge dismissals said the Justice Department was reviewing the newly passed ballot initiatives and “has no additional comment at this time.”

The new Washington and Colorado laws, in addition to legalizing personal possession of marijuana, will permit cannabis to be legally sold and taxed at a state-licensed stores in a system modeled on what many states have in place for sales of alcohol.

The two states already have laws on the books legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, along with 15 other states and the District of Columbia.

Non-Toxic Alternative To Chemotherapy Offered By Pot Compound

According to preclinical data published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, the spread of breast cancer is inhibited by administration of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabidiol limits the activity of the breast cancer metastasis gene Id-1, as per investigators at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. It was also noted by the researchers that CBD down-regulated Id-1 expression in human breast cancer cells more effectively than did the administration of the cannabinoids THC, CBG (cannabigerol), and CBN (cannabinol) and/or the synthetic cannabinoid agonist WIN 55,212-2.

“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could [treat aggressive forms of cancer] without any of the painful side effects [of chemotherapy,] lead researcher Sean McAllister said.

It was added by the investigators that CBD may potentially moderate the spread of other common forms of cancers, including colon cancer and prostate cancer, by modulating similar pathways.

Researchers at Italy’s Instuto di Chemica Biomolecolare previously reported that administration of CBD moderated the spread of breast cancer cells by triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death).

The study, “Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells,” appeared in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

Pot Use Not Related With Psychosocial Problems

According to survey data published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, teenagers who make use of cannabis don’t report more frequent psychosocial problems compared to young people who abstain from the drug.

Survey data from over 5,200 students age 16 to 20 was analyzed by investigators at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Of these, 455 reported making use of cannabis only and 1,703 subjects reported using both cannabis and tobacco while 3,105 subjects said they abstained from both drugs.

It was reported by the investigators that cannabis-only youth were more likely to receive good grades (77.5 to 66.6 percent), play sports (85.5 to 66.7 percent), and live with both parents (78.2 to 68.3 percent) compared with those subjects who reported using both substances and they were also less likely to have been drunk in the past 30 days (40.5 to 55 percent) or have used other illegal drugs (8.4 to 17.9 percent).

Teenagers who reported making use of cannabis only were more likely to engage in sport participation and have better friendships than those subjects who abstained from pot and tobacco.

Investigators concluded: “Cannabis-only adolescents show better functioning than those who use tobacco. Compared with abstainers, they are more socially driven and do not seem to have psychosocial problems at a higher rate.”

The study, “Characteristics of cannabis users who have never smoked tobacco,” appeared in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Cannabinoids Counteract Prostate Cancer Growth

According to preclinical data to be published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, proliferation and selectively trigger cell suicide of prostate carcinoma is inhibited by the administration of non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids, in particular cannabidiol (CBD).

The anti-cancer properties of various non-psychoactive synthetic and botanical cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), in vivo and in vitro (in culture) were assessed by an international team of investigators from Italy and the United Kingdom.

Researchers reported, “The data presented here allow us to suggest that non-THC cannabinoids, and CBD in particular, retard proliferation and cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) of prostate carcinoma growth via a combination of cannabinoid receptor-independent cellular and molecular mechanisms. We suggest that non-THC cannabinoids might provide the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of prostate carcinoma.”

Authors of the study concluded, “The effects reported here, together with previously reported cannabinoid receptor-mediated effects of THC on PCCs (prostate carcinoma cells), might provide momentum to clinical studies on cannabinoids and cannabis extracts as a therapy for human prostate carcinoma, either in addition to currently used treatments, or as stand alones, as suggested also by our present in vivo data.”

A separate study of cannabinoids on prostate cancer that was published in the present edition of the Indian Journal of Neurology also concluded, “Prostate cancer cells possess increased expression of both cannabinoid 1 and 2 receptors, and stimulation of these results decrease in cell viability, increased apoptosis, and decreased androgen receptor expression and prostate-specific antigen excretion. It is our conclusion that it would be of interest to conduct clinical trials involving medicinal cannabis or other cannabinoid agonists, comparing clinical markers such as PSA with controls, especially in men with bone metastatic prostate cancer, whom would not only benefit from the possible anti-androgenic effects of cannabinoids but also from analgesia of bone pain, improving quality of life, while reducing narcotic consumption and preventing opioid dependence.”

The study “Non-THC cannabinoids counteract prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms,” appeared in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

Medical Marijuana Legalized By Massachusetts

According to estimates, Massachusetts with a current vote total of 63% in favor and 37% opposed (with 40% of the vote tallied) is all set to become the eighteenth state in the United States of America to allow for the use of marijuana under physician supervision.

The state now joins its fellow Northeastern states of Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maine in recognizing and permitting the medical use of cannabis. The law when implemented will eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients.

A patient, to qualify, must have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV-positive status or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis. The law will permit patients to possess a marijuana supply of 60 days for their personal medical use and the amount will be determined by the Department of Public Health.

A personal caregiver may be designated by the patient and he or she must be 21 years old and could assist with the medical use of marijuana for the patients but the caregiver would be prohibited from consuming that marijuana. The patients and caregivers will have to register with the Department of Public Health submitting the physician’s certification. Massachusetts will also allow for the approval of up to 35 non-profit medical marijuana treatment centers to grow, process and provide marijuana to patients or their caregivers.


Marijuana Legalized By Colorado

The Denver NBC affiliated has projected that Colorado in a historic vote that will reverberate around the nation will pass Amendment 64 and would legalize marijuana. News networks have begun to confirm that Colorado’s Amendment 64 has been passed by voters by a vote of 53% to 47% (with 38% of the vote tallied).

This marks the first time in history that a state has moved for legalizing marijuana outright for adult consumers. The vote demonstrates that cannabis prohibition is a failed, unpopular policy, like alcohol prohibition before it, which largely relies on state and local enforcement. The prohibition of alcohol came to an end when some states enacted legislation repealing the state’s alcohol prohibition laws.

 Till now, no state in the United States of America has defined cannabis as a legal commodity though some state laws do provide for legal exceptions that permit certain qualified patients to possess specific amounts of cannabis as needed. But with this development from Colorado, cannabis has been classified as a legal product that may be lawfully possessed and consumed by adults.

Amendenment 64
Amendment 64

Cannabis Regulation In Missouri Would Provide $149 Million Annually

According to an economic analysis published recently, the legalization and regulation of the production and distribution of cannabis in Missouri for adults would produce $149 million annually in combined statewide savings and revenue.

The white paper, entitled “The Budgetary Implications of Legalizing Marijuana in Missouri,” is co-authored by Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron and was commissioned by the National Cannabis Coalition.

It was estimated by the report that the legalization of cannabis in Missouri would save about $90 million in government expenditure and yield some $59 million in new tax revenue on an annual basis. The calculations of the report are based on the assumption that cannabis would be taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco and that all other states and the federal government will be enacting similar regulatory policies.

Stated Miron in a press release: “The savings to Missouri’s state and local governments from marijuana legalization consists of three main components: the reduction in expenditures by police from eliminating marijuana-related arrests; the reduction in spending on prosecution and judicial resources; and the reduction in spending on jails and prisons as well as probation and parole. … Marijuana legalization would allow taxation of commerce in production and sale of marijuana which are currently tax free.”

It was previously estimated by Miron that regulating cannabis nationwide would yield an estimated $17.4 billion dollars annually in cost savings and new tax revenue.

Percentage of Arrests Due to Marijuana Prohibition
Percentage of Arrests Due to Marijuana Prohibition1
Percentage of Arrests Due to Marijuana Prohibition2
Percentage of Arrests Due to Marijuana Prohibition3

Justice Department Urged To Oppose Marijuana Initiatives

In a letter sent to US Attorney General Eric Holder, nine former directors of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have urged his office to actively oppose several statewide ballot measures seeking to depenalize the personal use and possession of cannabis by adults.

“We urge you to oppose publicly Amendment 64 in Colorado, Initiative 502 in Washington, and Measure 80 in Oregon,” the letter states. “To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public … a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives.” Signatories include every former director of the DEA since the agency’s inception.

Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Initiative 502, and Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, all seek for amending state law to allow for the limited possession and distribution of cannabis to adults. Both Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington hold solid leads among likely voters. Recently, a Survey USA poll of Washington voters showed I-502 ahead by a margin of 57 percent to 34 percent.

Letter by the DEA didn’t specifically address different state initiatives in Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Montana aimed for regulating the physician-recommended use and distribution of cannabis.

The office of Holder previously spoke out in 2010 against Proposition 19 in California after receiving a similar letter from past chiefs of the DEA. The measure was defeated at the polls by a vote of 46.5 percent to 53.5 percent.

Marijuana Legalization Facts