Leading Hemp Advocacy Groups Applaud Introduction of California Hemp Farming Bill SB 676 (Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2011
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or firstname.lastname@example.org
California Businesses and Farmers Await Passage of New Bill to Allow Commercial Farming of Industrial Hemp
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leading hemp advocacy organizations Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association are applauding the introduction two weeks ago of SB 676 in support of hemp farming in the state of California. The bill clarifies that industrial hemp is separate and distinct from forms of Cannabis used to produce marijuana and if passed will allow commercial farming of industrial hemp, which occurred in the state up until shortly after World War II. Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fiber varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has absolutely no value as a recreational drug.
SB 676 was introduced on Friday, February 18th by state Senator Mark Leno. Senator Leno believes that hemp farming will help revitalize California's economy, "The time is long over due for California farmers to be allowed to grow this sustainable and profitable crop once again. The passage of SB 676 will create new jobs and economic opportunities for many farmers and manufacturers throughout the state."
A variety of products made from industrial hemp, including healthy food and natural body care products as well as eco-friendly clothing, are made in California. "There are over 50 member businesses of the Hemp Industries Association
(HIA) that make or sell hemp products in the state of California alone that could benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil," says Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. "Because of an outdated federal policy these businesses are forced to import millions of dollars of industrial hemp from Canada, China and Europe."
"Dr. Bronner's currently purchases twenty tons of hemp oil each year from Canada. We look forward to the day that we can meet our supply needs from hemp produced right here in our home state," says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps of Escondido.
To date, 17 states have passed pro-hemp laws or resolutions, including the California Assembly in 1999, when it passed a resolution declaring that "the Legislature should consider action to revise the legal status of industrial hemp to allow for its growth in California as an agricultural and industrial crop."
SB 676 would only allow farmers to produce and enter into the marketplace the parts of the industrial hemp plant already legal to import under state and federal law: its seed, oil, fiber and woody core. "SB 676 would not conflict with federal law or interfere with the enforcement of marijuana laws," explains Patrick Goggin, California Legal Counsel for Vote Hemp.
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com and www.TheHIA.org.
Thanks to the overwhelming response Congress received from supporters like you, huge drug war spending cuts have been approved by the House! Hundreds of millions of dollars used by state and local law enforcement agencies for ineffective drug war policies will be cut, and the ridiculous and ineffective national anti-marijuana ad campaign has been cut completely. Now we need to do the same for the Senate!
The new budget is still not set. The Senate has generally been unsupportive of scaling back the drug war in years past, so they need to hear from you! Now is the time to let your Senators know we cannot afford to wait any longer to end the drug war!
Director, Office of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FEBRUARY 23, 2011
STATEWIDE POLL SHOWS 72% OF MARYLAND VOTERS SUPPORT MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Big numbers bolster case for General Assembly to finally pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation
CONTACT: Morgan Fox, MPP communications manager……………..202-905-2031 or email@example.com
A new poll shows broad, overwhelming support for a bill that would make Maryland the 16th state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The survey informed voters of a bill pending in the legislature that would allow patients with multiple sclerosis, cancer, debilitating pain, and other serious conditions to use marijuana with their doctors’ approval. When asked if they supported the bill, 72% said yes, with just 21% opposed and 7% undecided.
“I’m certainly pleased by the poll, but frankly, these numbers don’t surprise me,” said the bill’s sponsor, Del. Dan Morhaim, the only licensed physician in the General Assembly. “There’s a strong consensus among medical and scientific professionals that marijuana can relieve the suffering of those with certain serious illnesses, and there’s nothing controversial about relieving suffering. That’s what this bill is about.”
Details of the poll showed strong support for medical marijuana across all age, partisan, and geographic lines. Older voters were very supportive of the proposal: 77% among 50-64 year olds and 69% among those 65 and older. Democrats were more likely to support the bill, but Republican support was still very strong at more than 2:1. And voters favored the legislation throughout the state, with even 62% of those in conservative, western Maryland in support.
A similar bill was passed in the Senate last year, 35-12, but stalled in the House. A key question this year is whether House Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Vallario will allow committee members to vote on the proposal. The bill would need to be approved by his committee before it could head to the House floor where it would almost certainly be approved.
“I asked my doctor about this and she said marijuana can help me, so I certainly hope he supports the bill,” said Chris Idol, a Cumberland resident with a rare movement disorder. “But regardless, all I really ask is that he give patients the fair up-or-down vote we deserve.”
The Judiciary Committee, along with the Health and Government Operations Committee, has scheduled a hearing for Monday, February 28 at 1:00 p.m. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear the bill on Thursday, March 3.
The poll, conducted February 18-20 by Public Policy Polling, surveyed 1,076 registered voters and is available for download at http://www.mpp.org/states/maryland/2011-poll.html
With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.
Former Baltimore Narcotics Cop Testifies for Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana in Maryland; Tuesday Hearing on Lowering Marijuana Penalty to $100 Fine (Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2011
CONTACT: Tom Angell at (202) 557-4979 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Baltimore Narcotics Cop Testifies for Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana in Maryland; Tuesday Hearing on Lowering Marijuana Penalty to $100 Fine
ANNAPOLIS, MD -- A former Baltimore narcotics cop will testify before a Maryland House of Delegates committee today in favor of a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession. The bill, HB 606, sponsored by Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee at 1:00 PM EST in Room 100.
Neill Franklin, who did narcotics work with both the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department over a 34-year career, will testify that, "The current laws force police officers in Maryland to waste hour after hour processing marijuana possession arrests. Can you imagine how many more burglaries, rapes and murders we could solve if we put these wasted man-hours toward good use? Marijuana prohibition constitutes a serious threat to public safety."
Franklin is executive director of the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an international group of police officers, judges, corrections officials, border agents and other criminal justice professionals who have witnessed the failures of the so-called "war on drugs" firsthand.
The Maryland bill will lower the penalty for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil offense punishable by a fine of up to $100. In addition to Del. Anderson, HB 606 has bipartisan support from 20 co-sponsors and has been officially endorsed by the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.
Maryland spends over $236 million enforcing its marijuana laws every year, according to Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron.
Del. Michael Smigiel (R-Cecil County), a co-sponsor of the decriminalization bill, says that many cops are privately approaching him in support of the idea. "Many police who come before the judiciary say they don't want to have to spend all that time taking someone in for less than an ounce, booking them and going through that whole process, when there are other people out there that they could be spending their time on that are committing serious crimes," he recently told WBAL-TV.
The full text of HB 606 and other information can be found at http://mlis.state.md.us/2011rs/billfile/HB0606.htm
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.
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Medical Marijuana Patient Advocates Hold First-of-Its-Kind Virtual Nationwide Conference (Press Release)
For Immediate Release: February 17, 2011
Contact: Kris Hermes at 510-251-1856 or kris@SafeAccessNow.org
Medical Marijuana Patient Advocates Hold First-of-Its-Kind Virtual Nationwide Conference
Hundreds of activists in more than 20 cities will engage in skills-building and strategic planning
Oakland, CA -- As the issue of medical marijuana heats up across the country, leading patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will hold a two-day interactive, virtual "Boot Camp" February 19-20 to train hundreds of U.S.-based activists in skills-building and strategic planning.
This first of its kind nationwide conference on medical marijuana will be conducted in more than 20 cities in 9 states, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.
ASA has held numerous trainings over its 9-year history, but this will be the group's first decentralized virtual conference in an attempt to better reach patient advocates, building greater breadth and depth in the medical marijuana movement. "I think it¹s really important for people to understand that they are the power," said U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) in a promotional video for the conference. "Government is lent to us and you hold the power toŠchange the laws of this land," continued Representative Farr.
"If you want to change things, all you have to do is get involved."
Conference participants will be trained in outreach and recruitment, coalition building, leadership development, lobbying public officials, organizing protests and rallies, and working with the media. Once trained, patient advocates will have greater skills with which to develop strategies for protecting and expanding patients¹ rights, as well as adopting medical marijuana policies in states without such laws. "Activists across the country are clamoring for the skills to bring about change at the local and federal level," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "This historic conference is an attempt to satisfy that demand and to build a stronger medical marijuana movement in the U.S."
From grappling with local regulatory ordinances to passing new state medical marijuana laws, the work of patient advocates has been challenging and ongoing. Literally hundreds of local governments in medical marijuana states are deliberating land use laws that dictate how patients can cultivate and obtain their medicine. More than a dozen state governments are also currently considering new statewide medical marijuana laws. "'The ASA Activist Boot Camp' will provide patient advocates with the skill-set and road map to address these political challenges," continued Sherer.
As the country's largest grassroots medical marijuana organization with more than 50,000 members in all 50 states, ASA is also using this conference to help push for a meaningful federal policy. Based on a conviction that Americans deserve the right to choose their own form of health care treatment whether they live in California or Florida, ASA is providing activists with the tools to bring about equal rights for all of the country's sickest and most vulnerable citizens.
Promotional video clip with U.S. Representative Sam Farr:
ASA Boot Camp flyer:
ASA Boot Camp registration info:
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