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Do Your Friends Support Medical Marijuana? (Action Alert)

 

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Dear friends,

Chances are, your friends and family support medical marijuana. But they probably don't know that medical marijuana programs and patients around the country are under attack by the federal government right now.

We're counting on you to let them know about the attacks and tell them how to help stop them. Thanks to supporters like you, the Attorney General has already received 13,803 messages. Help us double that number by forwarding the message below.

Sincerely,

Ethan Nadelmann
Executive Director
Drug Policy Alliance

--------FORWARD THE MESSAGE BELOW--------

Hi,

Did you know that medical marijuana programs across the country are under threat? Even though the Obama administration promised to leave medical marijuana alone, in the past few months the federal government has been threatening state officials, warning them that they still have the power to arrest and prosecute people who are legally licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana.

This is just crazy, because the laws haven't changed! Really, just a few lawyers in the federal government have been sending these letters to states where medical marijuana programs are just getting off the ground, in an effort to stop them. This scare tactic already worked in Washington State, and we can't let it happen anywhere else.

To put an end to this intimidation, we don't need any laws changed – we just need the Attorney General to tell the people sending the threats to stop. Click here, and join me in asking Attorney General Holder to keep the Obama administration's promise to leave medical marijuana alone!

Willie Waffles on Johnson Endorsement

It was nice while it lasted, but it didn't last long. On May 17, in a pair of press releases (here and here), Willie Nelson's Teapot Party and the campaign of Republican presidential contender Gary Johnson announced the Teapot Party's endorsement of Johnson. The next day, Willie changed his mind.

"The more I get into politics, the more I realize I'm a guitar player." (Image via Wikimedia.org)
In a Teapot Party blog post, Steve Bloom of Celebstoner.com, who had played a key role in setting up a meeting between Nelson and Johnson ten days ago and who played a similar role in getting the campaign and the party to announce the endorsement, explained what happened. After the Texas meeting, Willie sent an email to Bloom saying, "I think we ought to endorse him."

That email was the basis for the twin announcements Tuesday. But when Bloom sent the press release and media coverage links to Nelson, he got a surprise.

"My position is it too early for me to endorse anyone," Willie responded. "And I think everyone should vote their own conscience."

Bloom replied, reminding Willie that he had okayed the endorsement.

"I know I said that," Nelson responded. "But I think I will wait and see where he stands on other things. My bad. Sorry. I still think he is a good guy, but so is Dennis [Kucinich] and if he decided to run I would personally vote for him. If it came down to either him or Gary I'm already committed to Dennis. They both have said they support legal pot."

When Bloom replied, reminding Nelson that the Johnson endorsement was only for the Republican nomination, Willie again demurred.

"The Teapot Party is millions of people," he replied. "It's not me. I jokingly said after I got out of jail in Texas that there is a Tea Party and there should be a Teapot Party. The difference between us is we follow our own drummer. No one can tell us how to think. If we back someone, that's us telling them how to vote. I'm not qualified. You can say or do anything you like and I will do the same but let's don't back a political candidate. Let's give our opinions and say what we know about everyone but let's let everyone decide for themselves."

What's next, then? Bloom asked Nelson.

"I still say that the people have the power to change things and they will if they vote," Nelson replied. "The Teapot Party started as a joke but it could still be a way for people to speak out about important things. I am not a criminal. The millions of pot smokers in this country are not criminals. We don't like being treated as such and I for one will stand up for what I believe in and will vote for anyone I choose. You should do the same. We are not ever going to agree on everything and everybody. The best advice I ever got was from my ex father-in-law. He said take my advice and do what you want to. End of story."

Bloom reported one more email from Nelson: "This will blow over and the world moves on. No harm done. We sound like a bunch of pot smokers, that's all... The more I get into politics the more I realize that I am a guitar player."

(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

TX
United States

Urge Governors to Stand Up for Patient Rights (Action Alert)

 

Patients, Activists, and Friends—

In the past few months, United States Attorneys General in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island, and Vermont  have issued letters threatening federal action against any entity, including state employees, participating in state sanctioned medical cannabis programs.  While our community has seen these types of letters under previous administrations, it is disappointing to see President Obama sanction this behavior.

While many promises have been made by Obama to end raids on the medical cannabis community, these DOJ threat letters are yet another tactic of the federal government to interfere with patients’ right to safe access.  ASA recently issued Obama’s Medical Cannabis Report Card, showing he has failed at improving conditions for our community.  These threat letters are further evidence of the broken promises of the current administration and proof  that our community is under attack. 

Over the next couple of weeks, our community must call upon our state representatives for leadership.  We must urge our governors, whether they have received a threat letter or not, to join Americans for Safe Access in a push back against the U.S. Attorneys who have issued these threat letters against our community. 

In order to make this campaign a success, your governors needs to hear from you.  As a constituent, ask for his or her leadership against federal interference.  Call your governor today and use the following script.  Please find contact information for your governor below.  The District of Columbia should reach out to Mayor Gray whose number is listed below, and also included in the electronic action alert. 

Governor (or Mayor for DC Residents)—

As a concerned medical cannabis community member and your constituent, I am worried about the impact these threat letters from the Department of Justice and the potential for federal interference will have on safe access to medical cannabis in my state.  Letters have been issued to eight states so far, and we need to send a message asserting our state’s right to safe access. We need you the lead the charge to end federal interference and work toward creating policies that will resolve the federal conflict once and for all.

Thank you.


You may also participate in our online action alert by clicking here to ask your governor and congressional leaders to take a stand for safe access.

Thank you. 

Americans for Safe Access

REPRESENTATIVE CONTACT INFORMATION

ALASKA
Governor Sean Parnell
Tel: (907) 465-3500

ARIZONA
Governor Jan Brewer
Tel:(602)542-4331

CALIFORNIA
Governor Jerry Brown
Tel:(916)445-2841

COLORADO
Governor John Hickenlooper
Tel:(303)866-2471

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Mayor Vincent Gray
Tel:(202)727-2980

DELAWARE
Governor Jack Markell
Tel:(302)577-3210

HAWAII
Governor Neil Abercrombie
Tel:(808)586-0034

MAINE
Governor Paul LePage
Tel:(207)287-3531

MARYLAND
Governor Marin O'Malley
Tel:(410) 974-3901

MICHIGAN
Governor Rick Snyder
Tel:(517)373-7858

MONTANA
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Tel:(406)444-3111

NEVADA
Governor Brain Sandoval
Tel:(702)687-5670

NEW JERSEY
Governor Chris Christie
Tel:(609)292-6000

NEW MEXICO
Governor Susana Martinez
Tel:(505)827-3000

OREGON
Governor John Kitzhaber
Tel:(503)378-4582

RHODE ISLAND
Governor Lincolin Chafee
Tel:(401)277-2080 ext 227

VERMONT
Governor Peter Shumlin
Tel:(802)828-3333

WASHINGTON
Governor Christine Gregorie
Tel:(360)753-6780

Americans for Safe Access

Please support ASA!

On The Web:

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"Gear up" for medical cannabis activism with ASA's new T-shirts, hats, stickers, bags and more! All proceeds go to ASA advocacy

 

War on Drugs, or a War on Cancer Patients? (Action Alert)

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Tell the Obama Administration to keep its word and stop threatening medical marijuana programs.

Take Action!

Write Attorney General Holder now!

Dear friends,

Medical marijuana patients across the country are under attack!

Despite the Obama Administration's promise to respect state laws, lawyers in the federal government are now threatening to arrest and prosecute people who are legally licensed to grow medical marijuana under state law.

These ideologues are trying to block sensible regulation – and they've already succeeded in Washington State.

We must stop them from erasing all the progress we've made and from leaving patients out in the cold.

Write U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today to demand that the federal government keep its promise to respect state medical marijuana laws.

Back in 2009, the Obama Administration said they wouldn't use "justice department resources to circumvent state laws" on medical marijuana. They've kept their promise for the past two years, even issuing a memo that made this hands-off approach official policy.

But now, federal government lawyers are intimidating states with new medical marijuana programs in an attempt to end these programs before they even get started. It's already happened in Washington State, where the governor vetoed a promising medical marijuana bill. And if these threats continue, they could jeopardize our efforts in every state where medical marijuana legislation is on the table.

These lawyers are playing politics with the lives of patients who need medical marijuana to cope with debilitating pain and nausea. Take action now and ask the Attorney General to keep the Administration's promise to leave state medical marijuana programs alone.

To put a stop to these scare tactics, we don't need any laws changed – we just need the Attorney General to tell the handful of people sending the threats to stop.

Write Attorney General Holder today and ask him to keep his word by respecting patients' needs.

Then please spread the word – everything we've worked so hard to achieve is at risk!

Thank you again for your help.

Sincerely,

Ethan Nadelmann
Executive Director
Drug Policy Alliance

Cops Hold Vigil in DC and Say: Legalize Drugs to Stop Police Deaths

NEWS ADVISORY: May 11, 2011

CONTACT: Tom Angell - 202-557-4979 or media@leap.cc

Cops Attend Candlelight Vigil and Say "Legalize Drugs" to Honor Fallen Colleagues
Peace Officers Memorial Day Expected to Draw Tens of Thousands to Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC -- In conjunction with Peace Officers Memorial Day, some police are pointing out how too many law enforcers are killed in the line of duty enforcing a senseless and unwinnable "war on drugs."  The group, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is calling for the legalization and regulation off all drugs, and they're telling stories about their fallen friends and colleagues to back up their case.

"When one of my best friends was killed doing an undercover drug purchase, it opened my eyes to the fact that not only are these drug laws ineffective, but they lead to brave and dedicated law enforcers losing their lives," said Neill Franklin, a 34-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department, now LEAP's executive director. "Ed Toatley was one of the best narcotics agents the state of Maryland ever had, but this failed drug war wasn't worth him losing his life over."

See http://copssaylegalize.blogspot.com/2011/05/remembering-our-fallen-comrades.html for more information about Ed Toatley's story.

WHO: Former police officers who support legalizing drugs

WHAT: Candlelight vigil in remembrance of fallen colleagues

WHEN: Friday, May 13 @ 7:30 PM EST

WHERE: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial; on E St. between 4th and 5th Sts., NW, Washington, DC

The candlelight vigil, which officially begins at 8:00 PM, is sponsored by the National Law Enforcers Memorial Fund and is part of National Police Week. 25,000 to 40,000 police officers and family members are expected to attend official events over the course of the week. The group of pro-legalization police officers will be available for on-site press interviews around 7:30 PM, before the start of the vigil.

More information about Police Week can be found at http://www.policeweek.org/schedule.html.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison warders, 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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Location: 
E St. between 4th and 5th Sts., NW National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial
Washington, DC 20004
United States

Maryland Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Defense and Study Bill (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                             May 10, 2011

 

Maryland Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Defense and Study Bill

Gov. O’Malley Fulfills Promise to Offer Limited Patient Protections

CONTACT: Morgan Fox, communications manager………………………..202-905-2031 or mfox@mpp.org

ANNAPOLIS – Maryland became the 16th state to remove criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana today when Gov. Martin O’Malley signed SB 308 as promised. The bill allows seriously ill patients to avoid prosecution when charged with marijuana possession and creates a commission to study medical marijuana laws and make recommendations on how Maryland can institute such a program. This is the first time since 2003 that additional protections were considered, and it’s an important step toward protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest and ensuring that they have safe access to their medicine.

“We’re very happy that the Governor signed this bill into law and listened with compassion to seriously ill Marylanders who use marijuana to treat their conditions,” said Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We look forward to the study group created here making helpful recommendations to further protect such patients.”

Under the new law, individuals diagnosed with debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer or multiple sclerosis, can avoid conviction if charged with the non-public use or possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. An existing sentencing mitigation will remain part of the law, meaning patients who don’t qualify for the full affirmative defense would still have the opportunity to present evidence of medical necessity and have their sentence reduced to a $100 fine. In addition, a work group consisting of medical, legal, and law enforcement experts would be convened to recommend more comprehensive legislation next year. Advocates hope to be able to use that recommendation to pass a bill that offers patients complete protection from arrest and prosecution.

The work group should have the ability to observe a well-regulated medical marijuana program run by their neighbors in the District of Columbia. In April, the District began implementation of its long-awaited medical marijuana program by accepting applications for licensed and well-regulated cultivation centers and dispensaries. That program should be fully operational later this year.

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.

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Location: 
MD
United States

Medical Marijuana Advocates Stage National Day of Action Against Federal Interference (Press Release)

PRESS RELEASE
Americans for Safe Access
For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2011
Contact: ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer at 510-872-7822 or ASA Media Liaison Kris Hermes at 510-681-6361

Medical Marijuana Advocates Stage National Day of Action Against Federal Interference
Rallies in Sacramento & DC as advocates deliver federal "Cease & Desist" orders across the US

Washington, DC -- Patients and their supporters rallied at the Justice Department in Washington, DC today to protest increased federal interference in medical marijuana states. More than 200 supporters also rallied today in Sacramento for medical marijuana patients Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband Dale Schafer as they surrendered to federal authorities to serve out 5-year prison terms. On Thursday, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided several distribution centers in Spokane, Washington, as a state bill to license such facilities was vetoed the next day by Governor Gregoire. Thursday's actions are the latest in a string of more than 100 aggressive SWAT-style federal raids carried out since President Obama took office.

"Patients are sick and tired of being singled out, stigmatized and harassed over the medication they choose," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana patients' rights group organizing the protest. "At minimum, the federal government must end its intimidation tactics of threats and harmful raids," continued Sherer. "But more importantly, medical marijuana is an urgent public health issue that President Obama should address by working with -- not against -- the patient community."

As part of its "Sick and Tired" campaign, ASA also organized the delivery of "Cease & Desist" orders to federal officials today in 10 medical marijuana states, including Arizona (Phoenix, Tucson), California (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco), Colorado (Denver), Maine (Portland), Michigan (Detroit, Lansing), Montana (Billings), Nevada (Las Vegas), Oregon (Eugene, Portland), Rhode Island (Providence), and Washington (Everett, Seattle, Spokane).

The national day of action comes at a time of heightened federal attacks on medical marijuana states, routinely timed to coincide with state legislative actions. Threats of criminal prosecution have been made by U.S. Attorneys against local and state officials in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island and Washington. In March, more than two-dozen federal raids in Montana were timed to coincide with deliberation on a pending bill to repeal that state's medical marijuana law. After Governor Schweitzer later vetoed the bill, US Attorney Michael Cotter issued a threatening letter to the state's legislative leadership, further discouraging them from adopting a cultivation and distribution licensing law.

"The imprisonment of Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer is emblematic of a failed federal policy," said Sherer. Fry and Schafer were raided by the DEA in 2001, despite approval from local law enforcement to cultivate medical marijuana. Fry and Schafer were later charged and tried in 2007 for manufacturing, and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. They were denied a medical defense despite their adherence to state law and ultimately convicted. In order to obtain the mandatory minimum 5-year sentence, the government was able to add up multiple years of harvests to arrive at more than 100 plants. The Obama administration vigorously fought an appeal of their sentence in the Ninth Circuit.

Adding to the cost of incarceration, both Fry and Schafer are in need of medical attention. Fry, a breast cancer survivor, and Schafer, a hemophiliac, will also be leaving behind a family of 5 children and 2 grandchildren, and will miss the birth of another grandchild in October. Advocates are calling on President Obama to grant clemency and commute Fry and Schafer's sentence. In April, ASA issued a report card, giving Obama a failing grade on medical marijuana. "President Obama has given us nothing but broken promises and half-measures, and patients deserve better," said ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes.

Further information:
ASA's "Sick and Tired" campaign page: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/article.php?id=6369
ASA's "Cease & Desist" order: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/ASA_Cease_Desist.pdf
Threatening letters from US Attorneys: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/DOJ_Threat_Letters.pdf
Obama Report Card: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Obama_Report_Card.pdf

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With over 50,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and the caregivers.

Medical Marijuana Advocates Threaten to Sue If San Diego Fails to Amend Flawed Ordinance (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: April 28, 2011

Medical Marijuana Advocates Threaten to Sue if San Diego Fails to Amend Flawed Ordinance

New law shuts down more than 100 operating facilities & leaves virtually no options for relocation

San Diego, CA -- Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) threatened to file suit against the City of San Diego today if it doesn't amend a recent ordinance that patient advocates are calling a de facto ban on local distribution facilities. ASA argued in a letter sent to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith that the ordinance violates due process rights of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives by forcing them to shut down in 30 days, leaving virtually no options for relocation.

Unless the city can "ease the restrictions on medical marijuana collectives, so that qualified patients can obtain the medicine they need," the letter authored by ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford said that the organization and its patient base would be compelled to seek such remedies in court. The letter suggested that the San Diego City Council amend its ordinance to allow "medical marijuana collectives to operate in most commercial and all industrial zones" and increase "the period to obtain a conditional use permit to one year."

The city council passed its ordinance on April 12th after months of feedback from hundreds of patients and experts. Virtually all of the requests for changes, including many from its own city-commissioned medical marijuana task force, were ignored. Advocates launched one of the largest letter-writing campaigns in the city's history, resulting in thousands of letters being sent to city council members and the mayor. The ordinance recently became law without the signature of Mayor Jerry Sanders.

San Diego has a long history of hostility toward medical marijuana. In 2006, the county sued the state over having to implement the ID Card program, mandatory under the Medical Marijuana Program Act passed in 2003. The county, which took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost, now provides ID cards to thousands of qualified patients. Each year since 2005, San Diego medical marijuana providers have endured numerous aggressive federal raids carried out in conjunction with local law enforcement.

After a series of DEA-led raids in September 2009, one month prior to the now-famous Justice Department memo, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis prosecuted two patients, both of whom were acquitted by juries. One of those patients, Jovan Jackson, was tried a second time and convicted as a result of being denied a medical defense. ASA, which argued against the denial of Jackson's defense at trial, is currently appealing his conviction.

Further information:
ASA threatens to sue City of San Diego: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/San_Diego_Demand_Letter.pdf
San Diego medical marijuana ordinance: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/City_of_San_Diego_Ordinance.pdf

Location: 
San Diego, CA
United States

Quit Playing Politics with Patients! (Action Alert)

Tell the US Attorney to Quit Playing Politics with Patients!

This week, the US Attorney for Colorado, John Walsh, issued a politically-charged memo reminding Coloradans that his office reserves the right to prosecute medical marijuana patients (if Walsh doesn't believe they are “seriously ill”) and medical marijuana providers—including licensed dispensaries that arefollowing state laws!  (See memo HERE)

This memo was one of five issued by U.S. Attorneys in different medical cannabis states in response to pending state medical marijuana legislation. While we think a large-scale crackdown on Colorado's MMJ licensees is unlikely and this memo is largely political, we need you to let John Walsh know that he should stop grandstanding to the detriment of sick patients and should TAKE ACTION to establish a Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.  Click above--  it only takes 1 minute to help!

Sensible Colorado is committed to working with government officials to secure patient access to medicine, and would happily serve on an Advisory Committee comprised of patients, doctors, law enforcement, industry professionals, government officials, and other stakeholders.  

**To support Sensible's work on behalf of medical marijuana patients and providers click HERE.

Location: 
CO
United States

Students Pursue Good Samaritan Drug Policy Shift

Location: 
VA
United States
A new student group is campaigning for a Good Samaritan policy at Virginia Tech. Hokies for a Good Samaritan Policy wants to change the policy to protect people who call 911 when they or a friend are illegally using drugs or alcohol from disciplinary sanctions. "In these situations the clock is ticking," Mark Goldstein, an accounting and information systems major and president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, said. "Every second you don’t call for help the person is closer to dying."
Publication/Source: 
Collegiate Times (VA)
URL: 
http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/17494/students-pursue-good-samaritan-policy-shift

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