Marijuana Policy

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CWA Votes in Favor of Marijuana for Medicinal Use (Australia)

ABC News (Australia)

Waiting to Inhale

Screening of a documentary on medical marijuana — and a debate between the Marijuana Policy Project's Rob Kampia, Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadleman, and two prohibitionists, including a representative from the drug czar’s office. The evening will begin with a screening of "Waiting to Inhale," a one-hour documentary that takes viewers inside the lives of seriously ill patients who have benefited from medical marijuana, as well as those who oppose the medical use of marijuana. Following the screening, MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia and Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann will debate David Murray, the special assistant to the White House drug czar, and Steve Steiner, the executive director of Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers. The debate will be moderated by syndicated columnist Clarence Page. WHEN: Wednesday, September 13, 7:30 — 8:30 p.m. WHERE: E Street Theatre, 555 11th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. TICKETS: Tickets are $7 each and can be purchased at the box office. For more information about “Waiting to Inhale,” please visit
Wed, 09/13/2006 - 7:30pm - 8:30pm
555 11th Street
Washington, DC
United States

Dammit Bobby, You're a Prosecutor Not a Scientist!

For a quick laugh check out “Report Shows Marijuana Users Growing Older” from the Salem News in Ohio. (Update:  now removed, hopefully for the reasons listed below. Full article appears in the comments section of this post).

The story caught my attention because marijuana users are rarely studied in the U.S. I thought it odd that the Salem News would have the scoop on new marijuana research.

Turns out all they’ve got is the talkative County Prosecutor Robert Herron who read toxicology results from the coroner’s office and got upset that middle-aged dead people were testing positive for marijuana.

He thinks it’s a sign of moral decay:

"These are people who have kids, and I think that's significant," he said. Herron referred to a section in the recently released annual report of county Coroner Dr. William Graham which highlighted positive toxicology results by age. The report said 75 percent of cannabinoid (marijuana) users were males in their early 40's, and out of 17 positive tests for drugs, 16 cases involved people ranging in age from 20 years old to 48 years old.

But um…dead people are more likely to be old, silly. They’re also more likely to have been sick, in which case their marijuana use may have been medical.

I’m not surprised to see a drug warrior drawing asinine conclusions from an autopsy report. It’s happened before. But I’m disappointed that the reporter missed these obvious flaws in his logic.

Send your feedback here.

I think County Prosecutor Robert Herron is just pissed that he never got a chance to put these folks in jail.

Update:  The article was suddenly removed from the Salem News website 

United States

Medical Marijuana Debate to Feature Top Government Official, Pulitzer Prize Winner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 30, 2006 Medical Marijuana Debate To Feature Top Government Official, Pulitzer Prize Winner Drug Czar Special Assistant David Murray to participate; journalist Clarence Page to moderate CONTACT: Jed Riffe, producer, “Waiting to Inhale” – (510) 845-2044 WASHINGTON D.C.— Dr. David Murray, special assistant to the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has announced that he will be participating in an exciting debate on medical marijuana on September 13, 2006. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and nationally syndicated journalist Clarence Page will be moderating the debate, which will take place following a screening of “Waiting to Inhale,” a provocative and educational medical marijuana documentary. Dr. Murray has served as the special assistant to Drug Czar John Walters since 2002. Murray earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and taught at Connecticut College, Brown University, and Brandeis University before coming to Washington, where he served as an adjunct professor in the graduate school of public policy at Georgetown University. He was formerly the executive director of the Statistical Assessment Service (a science, media, and public policy think tank), served on the U.S. Census Monitoring Board, and is coauthor of “It Ain’t Necessarily So: How Media Remake the Scientific Picture of Reality.” Clarence Page is a syndicated journalist and member of the editorial board for the Chicago Tribune. He is an occasional panelist on “The McLaughlin Group,” a regular contributor of essays to “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” host of several documentaries on the Public Broadcasting Service, and an occasional commentator on National Public Radio's “Weekend Edition Sunday.” Page often appears as a political analyst on “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” Other panelists include Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP); Steve Steiner, executive director of Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMAD); and Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). The medical marijuana documentary “Waiting to Inhale” examines both sides of the heated debate over marijuana and its use as medicine in the United States. Twelve states have passed legislation to protect patients who use medical marijuana. However, opponents claim the medical argument is just a smokescreen for a different agenda – to legalize marijuana for recreation and profit. “Waiting to Inhale” takes viewers inside the lives of patients who have been forever changed by illness — and parents who lost their children to addiction. “Waiting to Inhale” sheds new light on this controversy and presents shocking new evidence that marijuana could hold a big stake in the future of medicine. For more information, visit
United States

Alert: Stop the DEA Subversion of Elections (DrugSense)

STOP THE DEA SUBVERSION OF ELECTIONS *********************PLEASE COPY AND DISTRIBUTE************************* DrugSense FOCUS Alert #335 - Tuesday, 29 August 2006 Sunday we learned that the Drug Enforcement Agency is encouraging its agents to use government time and equipment to oppose the Colorado marijuana initiative. They claim that this action is legal, not a violation of the Hatch Act. Our government considers the direct government interference by the governments of other countries in their elections to be unfair -- an ethical standard which should apply equally in the United States. Please contact your elected representatives at both federal and state level to demand that the DEA and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including the Drug Czar, refrain from the subversion of the initiative and referendum process in the cities and states where marijuana initiatives will be on the ballot. Our tax dollars should never be used to undermine initiatives. Please also contact the DEA offices in your area to let them know what you think of their unethical political activities. Phone numbers are on this webpage You may remind them that the news reports puts the lie to their often stated position that they only enforce the laws - that they do not write the laws. The article, reprinted in other Colorado newspapers, that exposed DEA Agent Michael Moore's unethical activities is at Please also do what you are able to do to support the various marijuana related initiatives. Below is a list of initiatives pending a vote at the state and local level. Please use the links to find out how to donate or otherwise support the initiatives. Thanks for your effort and support. It's not what others do it's what YOU do CALIFORNIA: Santa Barbara Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Policy Ordinance Santa Cruz Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Policy Ordinance Santa Monica Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Policy Ordinance COLORADO: The Colorado Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative MICHIGAN: The Flint Coalition for Compassionate Care will have a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in first city wide election of 2007, possibly in February or May. Details will be posted to this webpage when they are available MONTANA: The Missoula County Lowest Law Enforcement Priority initiative has just been approved for the November ballot NEVADA: Question 7 on the Nevada ballot SOUTH DAKOTA: The only state wide medical marijuana initiative on the ballot this year Notes: Updates on local initiatives will be added to this webpage as we receive additional information Your letters to the editor help move public opinion towards supporting change in marijuana policies and law. Every day new targets for your letter writing efforts may be found at Prepared by: Richard Lake for DrugSense
United States

ASA Study Looking for Medical Marijuana Patients Who Didn't Use Because the Feds Said It Had No Medical Value

FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION, PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY: Dear ASA member, patients, physicians and supporters: Americans for Safe Access is conducting a nationwide research study and is looking for patients in the U.S. (any state) who for some period of time did not use cannabis because of the federal government's claim that it's not medicine. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens working to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through education, legislation, litigation, grassroots action, advocacy, and direct services for patients and caregivers. PLEASE REVIEW THE CRITERIA LIMITATIONS BELOW TO DETERMINE WHETHER YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW MEETS THE ELEGIBILTY REQUIREMENTS TO PARTICPATE IN THIS STUDY. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE UNLESS YOU SATISFY ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA: 1. Did a patient NOT consume marijuana for some period of time within the past 5 years BECAUSE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAID IT HAD NO MEDICAL VALUE? 2. Can patient demonstrate, THROUGH VERIFIABLE MEDICAL RECORDS, that after beginning medical marijuana use, it improved their health or relieved symptoms? 3. Patient MUST possess (or be able to obtain) DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE BY HEALTH PROFESSIONALS that shows harmful effects from their medical condition prior to using cannabis and evidence of relief or diminished effects as a result of cannabis use. 4. Their medical records must document a change in condition within the past 5 years. 5. In addition to DOCUMENTED MEDICAL EVIDENCE, it would be helpful, but not necessary, if their doctor were willing to testify to their improved health condition as a result of cannabis use. A sample scenario would look something like this: Jon Smith (who is HIV+) refused to use cannabis until two years ago because the federal government says it has no medical value. As a result, Jon suffered some physical harm (nausea, pain, weight loss, etc). Finally, Jon decides to use cannabis at the encouragement of his friend(s), doctor(s) or other individual. As a result of his NEW use of cannabis, Jon was able to demonstrate with MEDICAL RECORDS that his health has improved. It is important to understand that you will incur no financial obligations or benefits for your participation in this study. If you or someone you know meets the criteria mentioned above and would be interested in participating in this very important and timely research study, please contact Americans for Safe Access (ASA) as soon as possible. Please send all inquiries to , or contact us by phone at 510-251-1856 xt.306. Thanks for your attention to this very important matter. --------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------- Caren Woodson Director, Government Affairs Americans for Safe Access Help ASA Support Reasonable Medical Cannabis Policies, We Can't Do it Without You! Join ASA today!
United States

Hemp: The Anti-Drug

In discussing the bill to legalize industrial hemp cultivation in California, the New York Times hits the nail on the head. Responding to complaints from law-enforcement agencies and ONDCP officials that hemp fields would provide a hiding place for commercial marijuana plants, the Times throws it back at ‘em:

To some people intimate with the nuances of marijuana, however, the idea of hiding marijuana in a hemp field, where the plants would cross-pollinate, provokes amusement. "It would be the end of outdoors marijuana," said Jack [Herer], 67, a marijuana historian and author who runs a group called Help End Marijuana Prohibition, or HEMP. "If it gets mixed with that crop, it's a disaster."

Once again, the drug warriors have followed their own ignorance into a counter-intuitive position that contradicts their stated goals. Widespread hemp cultivation could leave huge portions of the state unsuitable for commercial outdoor marijuana growing, a result they’ve been quite unable to achieve by conventional means.

Further proof that the drug warriors in Washington, D.C. don’t have a clue.

Honestly, I’m surprised they don’t just start claiming it gets you high. It would be our word against theirs. But I guess if they said that, then it would be their fault when some hippie asphyxiates from trying to smoke his pants.

Update: Months later, they're still trying the same line.

United States

Hippie Town Under Pressure in Copenhagen


Harvest Season Hijinks

Every year in August, we see a flurry of marijuana eradication stories in local papers, as police target outdoor plants ripening for the fall harvest. Nowhere is this phenomenon more visible than in California where the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) makes Federal dollars available to local police departments wishing to send their officers on a treasure hunt in the forest.

Local papers have become shameless cheerleaders for this annual ritual, seeking to amaze the public with sexy photos of heavily armed cops repelling into dangerous terrain from helicopters alongside boastful headlines touting seizures in the millions.

Of course, for all the fanfare, many people will notice that there’s no shortage of high-grade marijuana in California. So police use deception to keep the reporters and the public interested.

Here’s how they do it:

Deception #1: Claim a “record” number of seizures every year.

Setting records implies that progress is being made. Every article on outdoor eradication efforts includes a quote like this:

From the Daily Democrat in Woodland, CA:

"I expect this year to be another big year," said [Officer] Resendez. "If we continue on the same pace, we'll exceed the number of plants eradicated last year."

Police are basically competing with themselves here, so they can’t lose. If the numbers go down, they’ll say it’s because last year’s effort intimidated the growers.

Of course record seizures are meaningless if you don’t compare them to an estimate of the overall crop size. A 10% increase in eradication is a failure if the total crop has increased by 20%, but you never get that type of analysis.

There are other factors at play as well. From the Union Democrat in Tuolumne County, CA:

"The increase in plant count is because the gardens are bigger," said Tuolumne County Sheriff Lt. Dan Bressler. "The gardens are bigger because there was so much rain this past year. Streams are full and a lot of water runoff means they're better able to supply their gardens."

Out of a dozen articles on marijuana eradication in California I’ve skimmed this week, only this one mentioned increased rain. Every other article praised record seizures, allowing readers to infer that good police work was the sole factor. It’s a notable omission since rain, unlike police, will find every plant in the forest. If anything, we should be expecting an impressive crop come October.

Deception #2:Dramatically overestimate crop values.

Big numbers get headlines and police will say anything. Here’s a typical quote from KATU News in Oregon:

The plants were four to six feet tall, growing in scattered gardens on three acres of Bureau of Land Management property near Hyatt Lake. Plants of that size can produce about a pound of marijuana each - worth about five-thousand dollars on the street.

I emailed Chris Conrad, court-qualified cannabis expert, to see what he thinks about these numbers. Here’s what Conrad has to say:

After decades of proclaiming "a pound of bud per plant" as being the average harvest, the DEA and DoJ had the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) do an actual study at their experimental marijuana garden at the University of Mississippi. The result: A typical mature female cannabis plant growing outdoors puts out 4 ounces of bud, that is 25% of their claimed yield, and it can be calculated by taking the square foot of the canopy and multiplying it by 1/2 ounce per square foot of area covered by the plant's canopy. The result, published in Cannabis Yields, 1992, notes that "a survey" of police came to a pound per plant, and that is clarified that drug police "estimate" a pound of bud per plant, but it is clear that there is absolutely no data to back that up, it is a made up number used by police to exaggerate crop values.

According to Conrad, police tend to exaggerate crop values within a range of “anywhere from 4 to 1 to 400 to 1.” Of course, with newspapers reporting that you can make $5,000 per plant, it’s no wonder so many people are out in the woods planting the stuff.

Deception #3 Pretend that marijuana eradication is dangerous.

Articles about marijuana eradication always claim the work is hazardous, citing difficult terrain and armed criminals. Again from the Daily Democrat:

[Resendez] added that there are several hazards to law enforcement officials, including the rocky terrain and the suspects. "It's pretty dangerous," Resendez said. "You'll encounter a suspect and they'll be armed. Not so much to protect themselves from law enforcement but from criminals who are trying to steal their plants."

At least he admits that growers arm themselves to protect the crop from thieves and not police. Still, the perception that growers might attack officers has continually driven a militarized approach to eradication. In his book The Great Drug War, Professor Arnold S. Trebach describes how “sensational journalism” in the early 1980s fueled a widespread perception that marijuana growers were armed and dangerous. CAMP officers have been armed to the teeth ever since.

Deception #4: Blame the Mexicans.

Every article on outdoor marijuana growing in CA must have an obligatory reference to the Mexican gangs that are supposedly behind it all. We’ve come full-circle here, since racial animosity towards Mexicans was originally used as leverage in the first efforts to criminalize marijuana.

From the Crestline Courier-News in Lake Arrowhead, CA:

“Ninety-nine percent of the plants seized in the national forests,” [Special Agent] Stokes said, “were planted by members of the Mexican National Cartel which has a huge network throughout California and the west.”

99%!? It’s a convenient generalization, since most such articles note that the growers are rarely seen or apprehended. But I’ll bet if you’re a Mexican walking around a remote California forest in August, you’re a heck of a lot more likely to get questioned by the park police.

To the extent that Mexican gangs are getting involved in outdoor marijuana cultivation, it’s entirely due to prohibition. But it also reflects poorly on CAMP, which has dedicated 20 years to fighting marijuana in California’s forests, only to find that the business is still attracting new participants. If they exist, these gangs are the best evidence that CAMP has failed.

Regardless, I believe the role of Mexican crime syndicates has been dramatically overstated. Let’s face it, the upper half of California is crawling with white people that absolutely love planting pot in the woods. They’ve been there for decades.

For more on the history of CAMP, read Martin Targoff’s excellent book Can’t Find My Way Home. And if you’re ever accused of attempting to grow $50 million worth of marijuana, make sure your lawyer calls Chris Conrad to the stand.

United States

DEA Raises Cash to Fight Drug Issue

United States
Rocky Mountain News

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