Tag: US News

Surprise! House Votes to Curb Sessions’ Asset Forfeiture Revival

Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

WASHINGTON, DC — In a surprise move, the House voted virtually unanimously Tuesday to  curb federal asset forfeitures, a slap in the face to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Sessions had reinstated a federal civil asset forfeiture program that allowed state and local law enforcement to evade state forfeiture restrictions by handing their cases over to the feds, with the feds then returning 80% of the money to the seizing agency.

In response to a rising clamor over civil forfeiture reform abuses, Obama Attorney General Eric Holder had reined in the program, known as Equitable Sharing. Now, Sessions’ attempt to bring it back has been blocked by a congressional coalition of progressives and the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The move came in a voice vote on an amendment to the Justice Department appropriations bill, which was sponsored by strange bedfellows Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.).

The amendment aims directly at “adoptive forfeiture,” the process by which the federal government agrees to take cases brought to it by local law enforcement agencies attempting to skirt state-level restrictions, which can include an outright ban on civil asset forfeiture (seizure without a criminal conviction) or designating that seized funds are to go the general fund or other designated fund—not the cops.

Critics of civil asset forfeiture argue that the search for lucre distorts policing priorities, creates perverse incentives, and amounts to policing for profit. Numerous states have moved to end civil asset forfeiture outright, while others have imposed various restrictions on the practice.

While Sessions claims the program is needed so that criminals “are not allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime,” a whopping 87% of federal asset forfeiture cases take place in cases where there has been no criminal conviction.

The House has acted. Now, it’s up to the Senate to act. If the Senate fails to pass a similar measure, the amendment could still become law if it gets adopted by the conference committee that will attempt to sort out differences between the two bills.

In the meantime, Sessions has been put on notice that his gift to profit-hungry state and local cops has serious opposition.


This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Roger Stone Yanked as Cannabis Conference Keynoter

Roger Stone Yanked as Cannabis Conference Keynoter | Phillip Smith

Long-time Republican political trickster and Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone’s gig as the keynote speaker at Los Angeles and Boston marijuana expos has been canceled after news of his participation roiled the cannabis community. The Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) had selected the white-haired provocatuer to address the two pot business conferences after […]

Roger Stone Yanked as Cannabis Conference Keynoter | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Congress Passes Three Month Budget Continuation; Marijuana Protections Included

Congress Passes Three Month Budget Continuation; Marijuana Protections Included | NORML

In a quick deal between President Trump and Congress, a three-month budget continuing resolution will be in effect until December 8, 2017, maintaining current spending levels. While this seems mundane (it is), it is important for marijuana policy because it guarantees a temporary extension of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer protections for lawful medical marijuana programs from Attorney […]

Congress Passes Three Month Budget Continuation; Marijuana Protections Included | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Teen Marijuana Use; Treatment Admissions Fall in Washington State Post-Legalization

Teen Marijuana Use; Treatment Admissions Fall in Washington State Post-Legalization | NORML

OLYMPIA, WA — The regulation of adult cannabis use in Washington is not associated with any increase in teens’ marijuana consumption or abuse rates, according to a report to the state legislature compiled by researchers at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. Authors reported that rates of current marijuana use and lifetime marijuana use have fallen among […]

Teen Marijuana Use; Treatment Admissions Fall in Washington State Post-Legalization | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study Finds Little Evidence to Support Claims that Legal Marijuana is Diverted to Illegal States

Study Finds Little Evidence to Support Claims that Legal Marijuana is Diverted to Illegal States | NORML

SAN DIEGO, CA — There is little evidence to substantiate claims that large quantities of cannabis produced legally in adult use states are being diverted to neighboring jurisdictions where the plant remains illegal, according to an analysis published online ahead of print in the Boston College Law Review. A professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in […]

Study Finds Little Evidence to Support Claims that Legal Marijuana is Diverted to Illegal States | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Federal Survey: Youth Marijuana Use Continues to Decline

Federal Survey: Youth Marijuana Use Continues to Decline | Paul Armentano

Fewer young people today identify as current users of cannabis as compared to 2002, according to national survey data released Thursday by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report finds that 6.5 percent of respondents between the […]

Federal Survey: Youth Marijuana Use Continues to Decline | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Teen Marijuana Use at Lowest Level Since 2002, Government Survey Shows

WASHINGTON, DC — The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that teen marijuana use rates decreased nationally in 2016.

Past-month use rates among adults increased slightly, but alcohol use rates among all age groups decreased, indicating the possibility that adults are substituting marijuana for alcohol.

Past-month use rates for the 12-17 age group decreased by 0.5% from 2015 to 6.5% nationally in 2016. This is the lowest level of marijuana use in this age group since 2002.

The data also shows a steady decrease since 2014, when the first states to make marijuana legal for adults began allowing regulated retail sales.

“Critics of legalization worry about the message being sent to youth by marijuana policy reform efforts, but the real message is that marijuana should only be used by responsible adults, and it seems to be sinking in. Regulating marijuana for adults reinforces that message and creates effective mechanisms for making it more difficult for teens to obtain marijuana,” said Morgan Fox, senior communications manager for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and regulation gives adults the legal option to choose the safer substance.”

There are currently eight states that regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol for adults, four of which voted to do so in 2016. Marijuana possession is also legal for adults in the District of Columbia. Twenty-three states and D.C. considered legislation in 2017 to legalize and regulate marijuana.

February 2017 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that the rate of marijuana use among adolescents “has not changed since legalization either in terms of the number of people using or the frequency of use among users.”

A study released last week by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy also found that teen marijuana use has not increased in that state. Colorado and Washington were the first states to make marijuana legal and regulated for adults.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Study: Military Veterans More Likely to Consume Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes

Study: Military Veterans More Likely to Consume Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes | NORML

ANN ARBOR, MI — Nearly half of military veterans who report having used cannabis in the past year did so for medical purposes, according to data published online ahead of print in the journal Addictive Behaviors. A team of investigators from the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor VA Center for Clinical Management Research assessed the prevalence […]

Study: Military Veterans More Likely to Consume Cannabis for Therapeutic Purposes | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

House Committee Denies Vote on Medical Marijuana Protection Amendment

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

WASHINGTON, DC — An amendment that would keep the Department of Justice from interfering with state medical marijuana programs was voted “out of order” by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, preventing the House from including it in its version of the FY 2018 federal budget.

The Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would prevent the Department of Justice from spending any resources to target medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced a similar budget amendment in the Senate, which was approved in a committee voice vote in July.

In 2014, Congress passed a similar amendment to an omnibus-spending bill. This amendment was subsequently renewed, but it now stands to expire on September 30 unless the Senate version of the budget is approved in a joint House/Senate conference committee or Congress fails to pass a budget.

If the amendment is not included in the budget or carried over, the Department of Justice will have nothing to prevent it from targeting state medical marijuana programs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly stated that he opposes marijuana being legal for any reason and in May sent a letter to Congress urging it to vote down the amendment and allow him to resume prosecuting medical marijuana providers.

While on the campaign trail, President Trump was asked his view on state marijuana policy reform, and he consistently said it should be a states’ rights decision and that he supports medical marijuana.

Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted effective medical marijuana laws.

According to an April poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 73 percent of U.S. voters “oppose government enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.” Ninety-four percent of U.S. voters support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes.

“When an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose federal interference in state medical marijuana programs, it is unconscionable not to let their Representatives vote on whether to continue this policy,” Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement. “Unless Congress chooses the Senate budget version, millions of seriously ill patients and the legitimate businesses that provide them with safe access to their medicine will be at risk of prosecution.

“This vote is a slap in the face of patients, their families, their elected representatives, and the 10th Amendment.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

House Rules Committee Blocks Multiple Marijuana Amendments

House Rules Committee chair, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)

Late Wednesday night, the House Rules Committee, led by prohibitionist Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), blocked multiple amendments related to marijuana from receiving consideration by the full House, thus ending their consideration and silencing the ability for the lower chamber to offer protections from Attorney General Jeff Sessions when it comes to cannabis.

Amendments included: ending the federal incentive to revoke drivers licenses from those charged with marijuana offenses; protections for states that have implemented hemp programs; a reduction in funding for the DEA’s cannabis eradication program; expanded access to researchersprotections for banks to provide services to marijuana businesses; allowing the District of Columbia to implement adult-use sales, and expanded protections to the eight states that have outright legalized marijuana.

Most detrimentally, the amendment offered by Representatives Dana RohrabacherEarl Blumenauer, and other allies in the House had again offered the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment to continue to protect lawful state medical marijuana programs from the federal government. Specifically, the language maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Representatives Blumenauer and Rohrabacher released the following statement in response:

“By blocking our amendment, Committee leadership is putting at risk the millions of patients who rely on medical marijuana for treatment, as well as the clinics and businesses that support them. This decision goes against the will of the American people, who overwhelmingly oppose federal interference with state marijuana laws. These critical protections are supported by a majority of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. There’s no question: If a vote were allowed, our amendment would pass on the House floor, as it has several times before.

“Our fight to protect medical marijuana patients is far from over. The marijuana reform movement is large and growing. This bad decision by the House Rules Committee is an affront to the 46 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized use and distribution of some form of medical marijuana. These programs serve millions of Americans. This setback, however, is not the final word. As House and Senate leadership negotiate a long-term funding bill, we will fight to maintain current protections.”

Since 2014, members of Congress have passed annual spending bills that have included the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer language, protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice.

Most recently, the amendment was reauthorized by Congress in May as part of a short term spending package, in spite of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions aggressively lobbying Congressional leadership to ignore the provisions. At the time of the signing of the bill, President Trump issued a signing statement objecting to the Rohrbacher-Blumenauer provision.

Without these maintained protections, it is difficult to assess how much business confidence and investment will continue to pour into the nascent industry, which currently serves over 3 million

However as the Congressmen indicated in their statement, the fight is not over. In July, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) successfully offered and passed the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee, meaning that the language will be considered in a conference committee should the House be denied the opportunity to express it’s support for the 30 states which have legalized medical marijuana and 16 states that have authorized CBD oil access.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.