Archive for March, 2012

March 31, 2012

A Look Into CCHHI 2012

 

The California Cannabis Health and Hemp Initiative is not new news, varying forms of the text and concept have been submitted as ballot initiatives by Jack Herer and later his friends and supporters since the 1980′s in California. The mission of the initiative is fairly clear, to re-legalize cannabis in the many forms it will benefit our society and economy. Jack Herer of course was the author of the Emperor Wears No Clothes, a powerful book highly recommended to dispel some myths of prohibition and present a case of decriminalization. Jack passed away in 2010, but the decades of work that he gave to the cannabis community have been monumental in ushering in a new generation of activists.

The latest incarnation of the hemp initiative’s full text can be found at CCHHI2012.org, and they need signatures to get this initiative on the November 2012 ballot. The deadline to turn in under 800,000 registered California voter signatures is April 20th, at 5pm. Some dispensaries and other businesses across the state will allow you to sign on their premises, or use CCHHI2012.org to find a place close to you.

The California Cannabis Health and Hemp Initiative, if successful in gaining a space on a the ballot, will put to vote in California legalizing cannabis for industrial, medicinal, nutritional and “euphoric” uses. Concentrates, extracts, derivatives, and particles are all specifically protected, unlike California’s current grey area with Prop 215 and SB 420. Medicinal marijuana will remain available to patients of all ages with proper medical validation, and “euphoric” use of cannabis would include personal use for adults 21 years of age or older. Personal use under the CCHHI allows for the annual production of 99 flowering female plants and 12 pounds of dried cannabis.

One aspect I found very appealing to the California Cannabis Health and Hemp Initiative is that it includes “case review for the purpose of amnesty, immediate release from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expunging, and deletion of all cannabis hemp marijuana records for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses” which would no longer be illegal under this initiative. I most enthusiastically support this, and also the requirement that within 60 days of passing, the Attorney General would have to create and distribute “a one-page application, providing for the destruction of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records in California for any such offense covered by this Act.” Those interested in filing the application would pay a $10 fee with any Superior Court in California and the Court would set aside and destroy the arrest records, so that “such persons may then truthfully state that they have never been arrested or convicted” of the crimes that are no longer illegal. It would be a “finding of factual innocence under California Penal Code.”

Jack Herer’s website offers the final wording he worked on before passing in 2010 and encourages others to use it as an example in states that allow the initiative process. Those working with the California Cannabis Health and Hemp Initiative are hoping to have 800,000 signatures by 4/20, and they need your help to make that happen. Read through the text of the bill, donate if out of state or unable to sign but you would like to fund those gathering signatures and working for legalization.

Stay informed, stay active, stay high.

Websites I referred to while writing:
JackHerer.com
http://www.jackherer.com/initiative/
CCHHI2012.org
http://cchhi2012.org/placestosign.html
http://cchhi2012.org/fulltext.html
Ballotpedia.org
http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Cannabis_Hemp_and_Health_Initiative_(2012)

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March 20, 2012

Too High to Drive? Prove It.

 

Driving while impaired by any drug is illegal anywhere in the United States, but as medical marijuana is permitted and popularized across the US, law enforcement officials are left with the burden of determining exactly how stoned is too stoned to drive safely, and whether impairment can be judged with a blood test at all.

Police officers are currently using their observations and training with Field Sobriety Tests, followed later by blood tests to determine the presence of THC, the psychoactive chemical found naturally in cannabis. The presence of marijuana in a person’s bloodstream has not been conclusively linked to accident likelihood, but with 16 states currently permitting medical marijuana use and D.C. recently getting the green light for dispensaries as well, there are more patients left in this legal gray area of “impaired driving” than ever.

“The explosion of medical marijuana patients has led to a lot of drivers sticking the (marijuana) card in law enforcement’s face saying ‘You can’t do anything to me, I’m legal,’ ” says Sean McAllister, a lawyer who defends people charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. Of course officers can and will arrest anyone they deem to be too impaired or intoxicated to be behind the wheel, but without a legal threshold for cannabis where do they draw the line? Some states have opted for a 0 tolerance policy, effectively banning many patients from a paranoia free drive, as THC can be detected in the bloodstream for days to months after consumption, depending on personal factors and frequency of use. 2 states have a 2 nanogram per milliliter restriction, and Colorado and Washington are currently weighing a limit of 5 nanograms per ml with legalization for adults.

While urine and blood tests are completely reliable to detect the presence of marijuana in a person’s bloodstream, the risk posed by stoned drivers has yet to be determined conclusively, and the tests detecting marijuana’s presence in the bloodstream long after any effects have faded pose a significant threat to banning patients from driving at all.

Read proposed laws carefully, no one wants dangerous road ways yet cannabis users who have followed their doctor’s recommendations may be skirted aside under the guise of safety.

Stay informed, stay high.

Articles I referred to while writing:
New Wrinkle in Pot Debate
Marijuana Drug Detection Times

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