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Maryland legislature approves bill easing marijuana penalties

(Reuters) - The Democratic-controlled Maryland legislature on Monday approved a measure to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, joining a nationwide trend to ease penalties for pot. The state Senate approved the measure making possession of up to 10 grams, or about a third of an ounce, of marijuana a civil offense. Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley said he would sign it.

Maryland House panel rejects bill easing marijuana penalties

(Reuters) - A bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Maryland was effectively struck down by a committee in the state House of Delegates, a staff member said on Thursday. The House Judiciary Committee voted instead on Wednesday to form a task force to investigate decriminalization over the next two years, said Ryan Lhotsky, the chief of staff for state Senator Bobby Zirkin, who sponsored the bill.

Seattle man goes to police after getting surprise pot shipments

By Jonathan Kaminsky (Reuters) - A Seattle man who became concerned after receiving two surprise packages of marijuana in the mail within a month took the shipment of about half an ounce of plastic-wrapped pot to police, authorities said on Wednesday. When the first package arrived last month, the man threw it in the garbage, Seattle police spokeswoman Detective Renee Witt said. But on Monday, after another package reached his front door, he took it to authorities.

Today on the Hill: Medical marijuana users to protest new pot regulations

OTTAWA - Medical marijuana users will be blowing off some steam in Ottawa today over restrictions on growing pot. Cannabis activists will hold a news conference and rally on Parliament Hill to protest the government's new Marijuana for Medical Purposes regulations. The event comes a day after the Harper government said it would fight an injunction that allows people to continue to grow medical marijuana while a legal challenge plays out in the courts.

Washington mayor signs marijuana decriminalization bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray on Monday signed a bill that decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in the U.S. capital. The law makes possession a civil violation with a penalty of $25, lower than most city parking tickets. Possession had been a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Key dates in the evolution of Canadian attitudes, laws regarding marijuana

OTTAWA - A timeline of some significant events in the history of marijuana in Canada: 1922: Pioneering feminist Emily Murphy publishes an inflammatory book, The Black Candle. She claims marijuana turns its users into homicidal maniacs. 1923: Cannabis is added to the Schedule of the Opium and Narcotic Control Act. 1969: Canadian government establishes a Commission of Inquiry Into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, known as the Le Dain commission after its chairman, Gerald Le Dain.

Medical marijuana patients lament tough choice: go without or break law

OTTAWA - They might have a temporary reprieve, but pain-stricken Canadians who grow their own medical marijuana say they could soon face a difficult choice: go without the weed they need or break the law to get it. A Federal Court judge recently granted an injunction that allows thousands of patients to continue cultivating their own marijuana at home, or designate someone to grow it for them — at least until their legal challenge of planned new rules can be argued more fully.

Flagging small Canadian miners hope for a boost from medical pot

By Nicole Mordant VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Looking for ways to boost their flagging fortunes, a handful of tiny Canadian mining exploration companies are considering swapping their hard hats and shovels for bongs and baggies. In the past couple of months, nearly a dozen of these so-called junior miners, hard hit by a downturn in the mining industry, have announced they might branch out into Canada's budding medical marijuana industry.

Colorado Supreme Court lets lawyers work with marijuana businesses

By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado lawyers who provide legal services to state-sanctioned medical and recreational marijuana businesses will not run afoul of attorney ethics regulations under a rule adopted on Monday by the state's highest court. The decision could help marijuana entrepreneurs widen the number of attorneys they can rely upon to navigate the legal gray zone in Colorado for the drug, which remains illegal under federal law.

New Jersey lawmaker plans to introduce bill to legalize marijuana

By Dave Warner (Reuters) - A top New Jersey legislator on Monday said he planned to introduce a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use in the state, setting the stage for conflict with Governor Chris Christie, who is a staunch opponent. State Senator Nicholas Scutari said he plans to introduce a bill to legalize the sale of pot to adults over 21, following the lead of Washington state and Colorado, which last year legalized marijuana use by adults.
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