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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.

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.

Commercial medical marijuana producers banking on massive sales under new rules

VANCOUVER - From the outside, there's little to distinguish MediJean Distribution Inc.'s headquarters from the unremarkable office complexes and warehouses that surround it in a sprawling slice of industrial suburbia near Vancouver. Inside, however, the picture is unlike anything else around it. The company is putting the finishing touches on a massive hydroponic operation as it joins a lucrative new industry made possible by Health Canada's overhaul of the country's medical pot system.

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.

Federal Court grants injunction to allow patients to grow medical pot

VANCOUVER - The Conservative government's plan to move medical marijuana plants out of patients' basements and into commercial facilities was dealt a significant setback Friday, after a Federal Court judge ruled anyone already licensed to grow the drug may continue to do so. Judge Michael Manson issued an injunction exempting patients who are licensed to possess or grow medical marijuana under the current rules, either for themselves or someone else, from new regulations that would have made the practice illegal.

Louisiana bans components for synthetic marijuana due to health scare

By Jon Herskovitz (Reuters) - Louisiana has banned the sale and use of eight compounds marketed as synthetic marijuana to stem an increase in the use of the drugs that have sent scores of people to hospitals with dangerous reactions to toxins, officials said on Thursday. In recent weeks, more than 100 people have been treated in emergency rooms in the state after using synthetic marijuana, including many suffering life-threatening maladies, they said.

Federal changes preventing medical marijuana growing unconstitutional: lawyer

VANCOUVER - Changes to the medical marijuana program that will force patients to stop growing their own pot will violate the rights of those who won't be able to afford marijuana under the new system or obtain strains that work for them, their lawyer told Federal Court on Tuesday. More than a decade after a landmark court case forced Ottawa to legalize medical marijuana, a group of patients were in Federal Court on Tuesday asking a judge to temporarily block new regulations that will limit production to approved commercial growers.
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