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The Anti-Prohibitionist Faction: Modest Proposal to Free Our Elections

October 26th

One of the great things about the United States is its one-party political system that has a stranglehold on our elections. “What?!?” say many readers. “The U.S. isn’t governed by one of those repressive and narrow-minded systems that exist in so many other totalitarian and authoritarian countries!” Well, think again Virginia. It’s been said that […]

Read The Anti-Prohibitionist Faction: Modest Proposal to Free Our Elections in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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California Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Drug “Defelonization” Bill

October 16th

SACRAMENTO, CA – California Governor Jerry Brown (D) Saturday vetoed a bill that would have allowed prosecutors or judges to charge simple drug possession as a misdemeanor instead of a felony. The bill would have made drug possession a “wobbler,” meaning it could be charged either way, based on judicial or prosecutorial discretion. Some 10,000 people […]

Read California Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Drug “Defelonization” Bill in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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CA Gov. Vetoes Bill to Reduce the Penalty for Simple Drug Possession

October 16th

SACRAMENTO, CA — On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed California’s Senate Bill 649, which aimed to give judges and District Attorneys the discretion to charge possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use as a felony or a misdemeanor as the case warrants. The bill, authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and […]

Read CA Gov. Vetoes Bill to Reduce the Penalty for Simple Drug Possession in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Defelonization: The Next Step in Winding Down the Drug War

October 3rd

SACRAMENTO, CA — Thirteen states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government have already passed laws making simple drug possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony, and the momentum appears to be growing.  A bill in California to do something similar has passed the legislature and is currently sitting on the governor’s desk, and […]

Read Defelonization: The Next Step in Winding Down the Drug War in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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California Sentencing Reform Bill to Go to Governor

September 7th

SACRAMENTO, CA — A bill that would allow some drug possession cases to be charged as misdemeanors instead of felonies passed the state Assembly Wednesday. The bill has already passed the Senate, but most go back there for a final concurrence vote before heading to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown (D). Senate Bill 649, […]

Read California Sentencing Reform Bill to Go to Governor in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Effort to Defelonize Drug Possession Launches in Washington

August 13th

OLYMPIA, WA — The nonprofit organization Sensible Washington announced today that they will be moving forward with new legislation designed to defelonize drug possession in the State of Washington. The group plans to have the proposal filed in the upcoming legislative session. Under current Washington State law, the possession of any controlled substance (or over […]

Read Effort to Defelonize Drug Possession Launches in Washington in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Oregon Governor Signs Marijuana Penalty Reduction Bills Into Law

July 3rd

SALEM, OR — Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) Monday signed into law two measures that will reduce the punishments for certain marijuana-related offenses. The changes go into effect immediately.

The first, Senate Bill 40, lowers the penalties for possession of more than an ounce of pot. Under the old laws, possession of more than four ounces was a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. Similarly, possession of between one and four ounces was a Class B felony; now, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months.

It also reclassifies offenses involving the possession of less than 1/4 ounce of hashish from a felony to a Class B misdemeanor.

SB 40 also reduces the penalties for marijuana cultivation. Unlawful manufacture was a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison; now, it becomes a Class B felony dropping the maximum sentence by half.

Possession of less than an ounce of pot is decriminalized in Oregon, but people cited for possession also faced a mandatory suspension of driving privileges unless there were “compelling circumstances” not do. READ MORE

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Oregon Lawmakers Send Two Marijuana Reform Bills to Governor

June 26th

SALEM, OR — Lawmakers in the Oregon legislature have voted to approve two marijuana reform bills, sending them to the desk of Governor John Kitzhaber for approval.

The bills, Senate Bill 40 and Senate Bill 82, aim to amend penalties related to minor marijuana possession offenses.

Senate Bill 40 reclassifies marijuana offenses involving the possession of over one ounce, but less than four ounces of marijuana from a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, to a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of six months.

The bill also reclassifies offenses involving the possession of less than 1/4 ounce of hashish from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Possession of an ounce or less is already a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and caries no possible jail time.

Senate Bill 82 eliminates the suspension of driving privileges for those convicted of possessing an ounce or less of marijuana, which affects an estimated 5,000 Oregon residents per year.

Both bills received strong bi-partisan support in both chambers of the legislature.

A separate measure that would would license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in the state READ MORE

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Bill to Reduce Mandatory Minimums for Marijuana Dies in Louisiana Senate without Debate

June 10th

BATON ROUGE, LA —  In a state with a reputation for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, an attempt to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for repeat marijuana possession offenses died on the Louisiana Senate floor Thursday.

The bill, House Bill 103, needed a two-thirds vote of state senators to even be brought up for debate this late in the 2013 legislative session, and failed three times to gather the necessary votes to debate the bill.

An amended version of House Bill 103, which was passed by the Louisiana House on May 29, would have reduced  jail time to not more than two years for the second marijuana possession offense,  five years for third-time offenders and eight years for those convicted four or more times. The maximum fine for possession would have also been lessened from $5,000 to $2,500.

The original proposal sought to lower the maximum penalty for a second marijuana possession offense from five years imprisonment to no more than one-year. It would have lowered the maximum penalty for a subsequent marijuana conviction from 20-years imprisonment to no more than two-years.  That version of the bill failed in the Louisiana House in May.

After the bill’s sponsor, Rep. READ MORE

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Louisiana House Passes Bill to Reduce Mandatory Minimums for Marijuana

May 30th

Prisoner Holding Cigarette Between Bars

BATON ROUGE, LA —  In a state with a reputation for having some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, an amended version of a bill that would reduce mandatory minimum penalties for repeat marijuana possession offenses was approved by the Louisiana House on Wednesday.

The bill now heads to the Senate with just over a week left in the 2013 legislative session.

Current law requires a third or subsequent conviction of marijuana possession to be punished by up to 20 years in prison. This felony conviction is often used to enhance the prison sentence when the offender has at least two other felony convictions.  For first time offenders, possession of less than 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 6 months of imprisonment.

House Bill 103, sponsored by Rep. Austin J. Badon, Jr. (D-New Orleans), would reduce  jail time to not more than two years for the second marijuana possession offense,  five years for third-time offenders and eight years for those convicted four or more times. The maximum fine for possession would also be lessened from $5,000 to $2,500.

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