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  • December 3 2013

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    Jackson Police to Respect the Will of the Voters

    In November, voters in Jackson, Michigan voted to pass a city ordinance that decriminalized possession of up to one ounce of marijuana. The ordinance applies to those 21 and older on private property. Now, Jackson police are determining how to enforce that law and what the law means by “private property. “

    Jackson Police Chief Matthew Heins said the city police department has advised its officers to follow the new law.

    “First and foremost, it was my objective to enforce what voters voted on,” Heins said. “We struggled with some details in the law, but it’s the law.”

    Some of the subjects in the law Heins and others debated were what constitutes private property.

    “Target is private property, for example,” Heins said. “But we don’t think it was the public’s intention to allow a 21-year-old to possess marijuana at your local Target.”

    While the ordinance has removed criminal penalties for possession of marijuana, it is still unclear to what extent state and federal law will be enforced. As in Portland, Maine, the city has changed its laws, but state and federal laws remain the same. The Jackson County Prosecutor’s office has stated that it will continue to prosecute cases pursuant to those laws, and Chief Heins admits that there will always be extenuating circumstances that could lead to an arrest despite the new ordinance.

    However, despite any extenuating circumstances and confusion regarding the parameters of the law, it seems clear that the Jackson Police will respect the public’s voice and permit marijuana possession on (most) private property.

  • December 3 2013

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    Uruguay Asks World to Help End Marijuana Prohibition

    Mujica 2

    Pres. Jose Mujica

    Just one Senate vote stands between President Mujica and ending marijuana prohibition in Uruguay.  In July the bill passed the house, last week it passed a Senate committee, and soon it is expected to pass a vote in the full Uruguayan Senate.  Now, President Mujica is turning his attention outside of his country, and is asking the rest of the world to help him make the law reality.

    “We ask the world to help us create this experience,” Mujica told A Folha de São Paulo during an interview at his farm outside Montevideo. “It will allow us to adopt a socio-political experiment to address the serious problem of drug trafficking…the effect of the drug traffic is worse than the drug.”

    Uruguay has faced resistance and criticism for its plan to end marijuana prohibition, particularly from Brazil and the United States, who have the two largest illicit drug markets in the hemisphere. The US State Department has said that Uruguay would be violating the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 by allowing marijuana use, possession, and distribution.

    Sound familiar? It should, because it is the same convention that the UN accused the US of violating when Washington and Colorado passed laws to regulate adult marijuana use. Attorney General Eric Holder held that individual states were not bound by the international agreement, and allowed Washington and Colorado to proceed with their laws. Now the US is using the same convention to pressure Uruguay to maintain its marijuana prohibition. But, luckily for Uruguay, President Mujica is not easily discouraged.

    “There’s always going to be pressure,” Mujica said. “There’s an apparatus in the world that lives by repressing, and it costs a lot of money.”

    Himself famous for his austere lifestyle, Mujica said he didn’t care for marijuana, describing the soft drug as a “vice.” But he added that his intention is to regulate an illicit market that already exists. “The repressive path has failed,” Mujica said.

  • December 3 2013

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