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Germany's new coalition government may legalize marijuana
 
Members of a potential German coalition government, including the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, are nearing agreement on a deal to legalize marijuana, reports Marijuana Moment. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its ally the Christian Social Union together got the most votes in September's election, but they also lost seats and don't have a clear majority. That means they need the support of other parties to govern. The conservative alliance is now in talks with Free Democrats and Greens to form a governing agreement and, as part of those negotiations, are nearing completion of a deal to legalize marijuana and have it legally distributed through pharmacies, the German newspaper Stuttgarter-Zeitung is reporting. Members of the so-called "Jamaica coalition" (because the colors of the involved parties are reminiscent of those on the Caribbean nation's flag) are expected to formalize a marijuana policy agreement toward the tail end of the talks, after other issues are settled.

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu has put forward several motions to amend Bill C-45, the Canadian marijuana legalization bill, as it reaches report stage in the House. One of the motions includes an amendment that would remove the ability for Canadians 18 years and older to grow up to four cannabis plants in their residence, says Lift News. The proposed amendment would remove 18 lines from the section of the Cannabis Act that allows for home cultivation of up to four cannabis plants for personal use. Several of the other proposed amendments deal with other aspects of removing wording referring to this section. The Conservatives have been highly critical of all aspects of the Cannabis Act, but homegrown cannabis has been a major point of contention for several party members through the legislative process. Rob Nicholson, the party's justice critic, has made numerous speeches in the House referring to the danger of home grown cannabis being more accessible to kids, and Gladu has referred to kids using toasters to consume this homegrown kitchen-cannabis.

The majority leader of the Virginia Senate said Monday he plans to introduce legislation next year that would decriminalize marijuana possession for first-time offenders, according to a story in the Virginian-Pilot. The change would save thousands of people from the threat of criminal records and jail time. More than 112,000 people were arrested on first-offense marijuana charges from 2007 to 2016, a statewide review found. Sen. Tommy Norment's comments came as the State Crime Commission heard the results of a study and listened to dozens of speakers on both sides of the issue. Norment said his bill, which is being drafted, would make first-time marijuana possession a civil offense punishable by a fine, mandatory education and a driver's license suspension. Subsequent offenses would remain crimes punishable by jail time. Norment, a Republican from James City County, said he does not support the full legalization of marijuana.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie underscored the nation's opioid crisis in Indianapolis Monday, days before a White House commission Christie leads is poised to release its final report and list of recommendations to President Trump and Congress, reports Indianapolis' Fox 59. But Christie won't likely be recommending the legalization of marijuana, which has been shown in studies to reduce opiate mortality rates. When it comes to marijuana, Christie believes legalization would make people more likely to get hooked on other drugs. "Marijuana legalization will lead to more drug use, not less drug use, will lead to more death not less death, and the national institute of drug abuse has proven it. There is no reason, if I told you today that anything would make your child two and a half time more likely to be addicted to opioids, you would be getting them as far away from it as you possibly could," he said.

Conservative gadfly Ed Klein claims in his new book that former President Barack Obama is smoking marijuana again, legally this time, in his residence in Washington, DC. "Barack sees himself as sort of a hipster ex-president, a cool guy," said the friend who was interviewed for the new book, "All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump." "He wants to go back in terms of fashion and style to his pot-smoking days as a member of the Choom Gang at the Punahou School in Hawaii. He gets the weed from friends who visit him [and] keeps a small stash in his bedroom. He has rolling papers and hasn't forgotten how to roll a joint. Sometimes he'll smoke in his bedroom, and sometimes in the backyard. But mostly he does it when he's traveling."

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