Oregon Is Not Decriminalizing All Drugs, But It Should

Although a number of reports have surfaced this week suggesting that Oregon is about to “decriminalize” the possession of drugs such as meth, cocaine and heroin, it appears the overall message behind these journalistic offerings has been misconstrued.

What is true is that the Oregon legislature recently passed a bill that aims to reduce the penalties associated with the small time possession of illegal substances. However, nothing in the language of the proposal (House Bill 2355) would give law enforcement the freedom to simply handle drug possession cases with in a manner consistent with decriminalization.

In fact, under the bill, not much would change for people caught holding drugs—they would still be arrested and entered into the criminal justice system the same as they always have been. The only benefit is that once their case goes before a judge, they could be given a less severe punishment than in times past.

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Government Pot Is Still Horrible—And You Can Blame This DEA Trick

Last August, the DEA managed a remarkable two-fer: in one fell swoop, the nation’s loyal federal drug police quashed while delivering new hope.

Judging by what’s happened since, the nation’s loyal drug police may also have played us all for fools, all while maintaining the mendacious game of circular logic that’s keeping marijuana federally illegal.

On August 12, 2016, the DEA formally rejected a petition that would have seen marijuana reclassified from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the official government list of the world’s most dangerous drugs. The reason, acting DEA chief Chuck Rosenberg said at the time, was a lack of scientific evidence demonstrating marijuana had any medical value.

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International Investigators Targeted by Spyware Sold to Mexican Government

In the current atmosphere of cyber crime, hacking and spying, this is an especially egregious example: the international team working in Mexico to uncover the mass disappearance of 43 students was targeted with sophisticated surveillance technology known as Pegasus, a powerful spyware program purchased by the Mexican government.

The spyware—sold only to governments, by the way—was created by the NSO Group, an Israeli company whose current majority owner is a U.S.-based private equity firm, Francisco Partners.

The NSO Group, known as professional spies who can hack iPhones with a single text, had been able to keep its surreptitious work under wraps, until the Citizen Lab discovered last summer that it was supplying the United Arab Emirates (UAE) information about an internationally-recognized human rights defender, Ahmed Mansoor.

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State Sets Tentative Timeline for Medical Pot System

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State health officials have set a tentative timeline for establishing a medical marijuana industry in North Dakota.

The Health Department is asking those interested in being a manufacturer or a distributor to notify the agency by July 28. That will give officials a better idea about interest.

The department tentatively plans to accept actual applications in August and September. The agency would review them in October and make selections in early November.

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Massachusetts: Lawmakers to Restart Talks on Compromise Marijuana Bill

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers are restarting negotiations over legislation that would overhaul the state’s voter-approved marijuana law.

A House-Senate conference committee has scheduled a closed-door meeting for Monday afternoon, according to the office of Democratic Sen. Patricia Jehlen (JAY’-len). The Somerville Democrat is the lead Senate negotiator on the six-member panel.

The meeting will be the first since House Speaker Robert DeLeo suspended talks earlier this month, saying he wanted the Legislature to focus on passing an overdue budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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Nevada Officials to Consider Pot Distribution Emergency Rule

BY REGINA GARCIA CANO

ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Thursday authorized state regulators to consider an emergency regulation that would allow officials to determine whether the state has enough marijuana distributors to keep its retail shops supplied.

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Massachusetts: Lawmakers to Vote on Budget, May Finally Move Forward with Pot Legalization

BY BOB SALSBERG AND STEVE LeBLANC

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers planned to vote Friday on compromise $40.2 billion state budget that reduces spending levels to account for lower expectations for tax revenues.

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Small Light at the End of the Tunnel for Weed Industry’s Banking Hassles

Banking has been a pain in the collective butt of the legal weed industry.

With medical or recreational weed legal in more than half the country, wouldn’t you think the Federal Reserve would be dying to get its hands on some of the green being generated?

The federal government’s stubborn insistence on keeping cannabis a Schedule 1 drug adds to the confusion that has produced a sickly gray area, exposing the millions who work in the industry to an endlessly confusing, inconvenient and, worse yet, dangerous legal situation.

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185 Apply for Medical Marijuana Cultivator Licenses in Ohio

Photo by Justin Cannabis.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has received more than 180 applications for 24 licenses to grow marijuana under the state’s new medical marijuana program.

Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a law more than a year ago allowing medical marijuana to be prescribed under certain conditions to patients suffering one or more qualifying medical conditions.

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Growing Cannabis Seizures in ‘Drug-Free’ South Korea

Authorities in South Korea have long boasted that the country is “drug free,” but that fiction is getting harder to maintain.

On Thursday, Korea JoongAang Daily reported that the amount of drugs seized by customs agents in the Republic of Korea jumped significantly in the first half this year. The Customs Service said it seized 27.5 kilograms (60.6 pounds) of drugs worth 41.3 billion won ($35.9 million) in the first six months of 2017.

This represents a jump of 1.6 times over the same period last year.

Read more at High Times