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Medical Marijuana Study Bill Passes Maryland House (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 March 28, 2011

Medical Marijuana Study Bill Passes Maryland House

Panel of Experts to Advise Legislature on State Medical Marijuana Policy

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

ANNAPOLIS – By a vote of 105-29, the Maryland House of Delegates passed HB 291 today, a bill that would create an 18-member panel to advise the legislature on the best way to create a medical marijuana program in 2012. HB 291was amended from an earlier version of the bill, which would have set up a comprehensive medical marijuana program, protecting state-registered patients from arrest and allowing pharmacies and state-regulated dispensing centers to provide patients with medical marijuana. The bill, sponsored by the only physician in the General Assembly, Del. Dan Morhaim, was amended after Health Secretary Josh Sharfstein advocated a “yellow light” approach to medical marijuana.

The panel would be comprised of doctors, patients, law enforcement officials, and experts on medical marijuana policy. They will make recommendations to the legislature on how to safely and effectively implement a well-regulated medical marijuana program. Last Thursday, the Maryland Senate passed SB 308, which included the study language, as well as immediate protections for patients. SB 308 would allow patients who use marijuana to treat medical conditions to use a medical necessity defense in court. The Senate approved the bill by a 41-6 vote, which included a majority of both Democrat and Republican senators.

"While we had hoped to see a comprehensive medical marijuana law on par with those in 15 other states, it’s encouraging that the legislature will at least make measured but real progress toward the goal of protecting patients from arrest and providing legal access to doctor-recommended medicine,” said Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We're also relieved to see that the Senate has decided to remove criminal penalties from patients who are currently using medical marijuana while they wait for a comprehensive program to be put in place. It’s imperative that the House do the same."

Medical marijuana is permitted in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and many more are currently considering legislation to allow its use under tightly controlled conditions, including Delaware and Connecticut. Such laws already exist in Rhode Island and New Jersey, where medical marijuana distribution centers were recently licensed by the states and should be up and running 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

D.C. Medical Marijuana: Ask Mayor Gray: What's the Hold Up? (Action Alert)

State Alert Header Logo

State Alert Header Title
March 25, 2011

 

Ask Mayor Gray: What’s the hold up?

Dear Friends:

It’s been over a decade since Initiative 59 was passed and almost a year now since the D.C. Council passed legislation to implement D.C.’s medical marijuana program, but you’d be forgiven if you haven’t noticed. That’s because the mayor still hasn’t signed off on the regulations that were issued last November and approved by the Council in January.

Ask the mayor when we can expect to see the District’s medical marijuana program up and running.

We’re willing to give the mayor some slack here. I’m sure he had a steep learning curve and a lot of very important issues to grapple with in his first couple months on the job. But now that he’s settled in and had time to review the proposed rules, there’s no reason District residents should have to wait any longer – they’ve already been waiting over 12 years. It’ll take less than a minute of your time to send an email to the Mayor's office asking when patients in the District will finally have access to medical marijuana.

In the mean time, I’ll let you know if we hear any announcements from the mayor. Thanks everyone!

Sincerely,

Dan Riffle signature (master)

Dan Riffle
Legislative Analyst
Marijuana Policy Project

 

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

New Directions New Jersey: A Public Safety and Health Approach to Drug Policy

The New Directions New Jersey conference will examine the decades-old ramifications of President Nixon’s declaration of the “war on drugs” in urban communities like Newark.

Drug policy experts from across the country and around the globe will discuss topics including: reducing crime and incarceration, effectively addressing addiction, treating drug use as a health issue, communities of color and the war on drugs, and drug policy lessons and models from abroad.

When asked about the war on drugs on the campaign trail, President Barack Obama said, “I believe in shifting the paradigm, shifting the model, so that we focus more on a public health approach [to drugs].” Polls show the American people agree. President Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, told the Wall Street Journal last year that he doesn’t like the term “war on drugs” because “[w]e’re not at war with people in this country.” Yet for the tens of millions of Americans who have been arrested and incarcerated for a drug offense, U.S. drug policy is a war on them—and their families. What exactly is a public health approach to drugs? What might truly ending the war on drugs look like?  This conference will serve as a model for those looking for new directions and strategies for ending the war on drugs.

“We see the impact of the ‘drug war’ first hand, where so many people are incarcerated for being economically disadvantaged by the disappearance of work,” says Bethany Baptist Church pastor, Reverend William Howard.  “Afterwards, they are virtually permanently barred from the legal workforce for the rest of their lives. We must take our stand against the destructive scourge of drug abuse and trafficking by developing new, sensible strategies that solve more problems than they create.”

The conference will be guided by four principles:

  • The war on drugs has failed and it is time for a new approach to drug policy.
  • Effective drug policy balances prevention, harm reduction, treatment and public safety.
  • Alcohol and other drug use is fundamentally a health issue and must be addressed as such.
  • Drug policies must be based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Panel members and conference speakers include:

·         Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr., pastor, Bethany Baptist Church

·         Ethan Nadelmann,executive director, Drug Policy Alliance

·         Paula T. Dow, New Jersey Attorney General

·         Garry F. McCarthy, police director, City of Newark

·         Michelle Alexander, Esq., associate professor, Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; Author, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

·         Beny Primm, MD, executive director, Addiction, Research and Treatment Corporation, Brooklyn, New York

·         Todd Clear, dean, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University

·         Donald MacPherson, former drug policy coordinator, City of Vancouver

·         Alex Stevens, professor of Criminal Justice, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, Chatham, UK

·         Stephanie Bush-Baskette, Esq., Author and Director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University

·         Deborah Peterson Small, Founder and Executive Director, Break the Chains: Communities of Color & the War on Drugs

For a full list of panel members, go to: http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/DPA_New_Directions_NJ_final_prog_REFERENCE.pdf

Please RSVP to: bgalarza@bethany-newark.org

Date: 
Sat, 03/19/2011 - 8:30am - 5:00pm
Location: 
275 West Market Street Bethany Baptist Church
Newark, NJ 07103
United States

Drug Lords Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Global Prohibition (Video)

Location: 
50 years ago the United Nations adopted the first international treaty to prohibit some drugs. The logic of the system was simple: any use of the drugs listed, unless sanctioned for medical or scientific purposes, would be deemed 'abuse' and thus illegal. As a result of this convention, the unsanctioned production and trafficking of these drugs became a crime in all member states of the UN. There is a small group that benefits phenomenally from the global war on drugs: organized criminals and terrorists. View this video from the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and find out more.
Publication/Source: 
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (Hungary)
URL: 
http://drogriporter.hu/en/dli_short

What Can You Do to Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont? (Action Alert)

Dear Friends of Compassion and Common Sense:

The bill relating to decriminalize marijuana (H-427) is in the VT House Judiciary Committee NOW.

The bill relating to medical marijuana dispensaries (S-17) is in the VT Senate Health and Welfare Committee NOW.

This is the time to show your support and compassion to Fellow Vermonters who use marijuana for personal or medical reasons. Marijuana is known to be one of the safest “active substances known to man.” We all know nothing is really harmless. Nevertheless, nothing can compare to the kind of harm the criminal justice system can visit on you.

Decriminalization and medical marijuana dispensaries are steps of harm reduction to help keep adults free from the unwarranted horrors of arrest, prosecution and worse.

WHAT YOU CAN DO AT: www.marijuanaresolve.org

~Read entire text of H-427 bill to decriminalize marijuana (12 pages)
~Read entire text of S-17 bill for medical marijuana dispensaries (33 pages)
~Contact your legislators in the House and Senate to support these bills
~Thank the sponsors of H-427 and S-17
~ Call or Write Judiciary Chair Rep. William J. Lippert (D-VT Chittenden-1-1 District)

Vidda Crochetta

State Coordinator for Marijuana Resolve, Inc.

"When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point." – Barack Obama

Location: 
VT
United States

Make Nonviolent Marijuana Offenses the Lowest Police Priority (Action Alert)

Dear Friends,

On March 15, a new report was released on the steps of New York City Hall documenting the crushing costs of the 50,383 marijuana possession arrests that occurred in 2010 in that city alone, costing New York City $75 million. Released by the Drug Policy Alliance and co-authored by Queens College sociology professor Dr. Harry Levine, the report reveals the police, judicial, and human costs of New York City’s marijuana arrest crusade.

Every single day, 140 people are arrested for marijuana offenses in New York City, making it the leading cause of arrest. A full 87% of those arrested are Black or Latino, a particularly outrageous number since people of color do not use marijuana at higher rates than the rest of the population. Incredibly, the NYPD has quietly made marijuana infractions their top law enforcement priority without even a pretense of public input or debate.

Although New York decriminalized possession of under 25 grams of marijuana, possession that is "open to public view" remains a crime.  Police officers have learned to ask vulnerable people they believe to be in possession to empty their pockets so they can then make an arrest.

The “suspects” do not have to be using, buying, or selling marijuana, nor do they have to be acting out in any way at all. They simply have to be “suspects.”

This flagrant abuse of state power is a tightly held secret. Please help us expose it. Stand with LEAP in supporting a more rational plan for drug policy. Our speakers are law enforcement professionals who know firsthand that the “war on drugs” is a waste of police resources. They speak out against our current drug policy in order to put police priorities back where they belong. 

Help us send the message to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that using already strained police and judicial resources in this way is not acceptable and that the overwhelming racial disparity of these arrests is appalling. Please sign our petition, and please make a contribution today to support LEAP as the voice of law enforcement in drug policy reform.

Thank you,

Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
Executive Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition


Your donation puts LEAP speakers in front of audiences. To support LEAP's work by making a contribution, please click here.

           

121 Mystic Ave. Suites 7-9
Medford, MA 02155
(781) 393-6985 info@leap.cc

We need help growing our all-encompassing movement of citizens who want to end the failed "war on drugs," so please invite your family and friends to learn about LEAP.
 

 

 
Location: 
NY
United States

New Hampshire House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                March 16, 2011

New Hampshire House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

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

CONCORD — The New Hampshire House of Representatives, which has a nearly 3:1 Republican supermajority, overwhelmingly passed a bill today that would allow residents to use marijuana for medical purposes. H.B. 442, which would create a narrow exception in New Hampshire law for people with certain qualifying conditions to use marijuana to treat their ailments with doctors’ recommendations, will now move on to the Senate. Medical marijuana treatment is currently permitted in 15 other states and the District of Columbia, and is being considered in more than a dozen state legislatures this year.

The bill passed 221-96, or by 69.7%, doing better than similar medical marijuana bills have done in previous Democrat-controlled sessions, proving conclusively that this is an issue that both parties can support. The bill was introduced by Rep. Evalyn Merrick (D-Coos), a cancer survivor, and is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Jim Forsythe (R-Strafford).

“This vote shows that compassion is not a partisan issue,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Lawmakers can come together despite their political differences when it comes to allowing sick people to use medical marijuana. They owe it to their constituents to do so.”

H.B. 442 enjoys strong support among voters. A 2008 Mason-Dixon poll showed that 71% of New Hampshire voters are in favor of allowing the use of medical marijuana, with only 21% opposed. The bill now goes to the Senate.

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: 
NH
United States

New York Spends $75 Million a Year on Marijuana Arrests Though It's Not Technically a Crime

Location: 
NY
United States
New York spends $75 million a year to lock up people caught with marijuana, a new study says, even though it's not technically a crime. The report by the Drug Policy Alliance says the NYPD spends that much on 50,000 annual marijuana arrests, in which 86% of those arrested are black or Latino. State law requires people carrying small amounts of marijuana to receive the equivalent of a traffic ticket, but critics say the NYPD arrests and jails them anyway - hurting their job and life prospects.
Publication/Source: 
New York Daily News (NY)
URL: 
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2011/03/15/2011-03-15_new_york_spends_75_million_a_year_on_marijuana_arrests_though_having_drug_not_te.html

Drug Truth Network 03/14/11

*DRUG TRUTH NETWORK PROGRAMS, Mar 13 to Mar 20, 2011*

*Cultural Baggage*, 03/13/11, 29:00,  Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon - Racial Profiling Exposed" + Terry Nelson of LEAP and Drug War Facts with Mary Jane Borden

LINK: *http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3310

<http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3293>

*Transcript: Monday

*Century of Lies* 03/13/11, 29:00, Kevin Zeese of Voters For Peace, Prosperity Agenda, and Common Sense for Drug Policy re America's "Replacing the Rule of Force with the Rule of Law"

LINK: http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3306

<http://www.drugtruth.net/cms/node/3259>

Transcript:  Monday Late

*4:20 Drug War NEWS*, 03/14 to 03/20/11, 3:00 each, available at http://www.drugtruth.net on right margin

Sun - Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon" 2/2 Sat - Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon" re racial profiling 1/2 Fri - Kevin Zeese re US = Largest Empire in World History Thu - Kevin Zeese, Pres of Common Sense for Drug Policy re America's "mutual absolution society"

Wed - Kevin Zeese of Voters for Peace re American elites failure to submit to rule of law Tue - Terry Nelson of LEAP re DEA embrace of single minded policy Mon - Mary Jane Borden of Drug War Facts, re: "Loss of Voting Rights"

With more than 90 broadcast affiliates, DTN invites your station to join, free of charge.

St. Patrick's Day Marijuana Policy Reform Rally and Press Conference

The Empire State NORML (the New York State chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)) will remind New Yorkers that marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“While scores of New Yorkers are out getting hammered, we want to remind the Big Apple that there is a safer, greener and cleaner choice for adults: marijuana,” said Doug Greene, Legislative Director of Empire State NORML, who organized the event for the first time in 2010.

“In an era of budget cuts and worsening public health, why is the Bloomberg administration driving New Yorkers to drink while spending tens of millions of dollars per year arresting peaceful, healthy cannabis consumers? New York City made over 50,000 marijuana possession arrests last year alone, and over 500,000 since 1996,” said Greene.

Marijuana arrests are 15% of all arrests in New York City. The NYPD is now jailing people for marijuana possession at the rate of nearly 1,000 arrests a week. With 2.7% of the U.S. population, New York City represents 6% of nationwide marijuana arrests.

Greene was first inspired to organize “Marijuana is SAFER” events after reading the book of the same name (subtitled “So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?), co-authored by Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of NORML, by Mason Tvert, Executive Director of SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) and by Steve Fox, Director of State Campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project.Speakers include:

· Dr. Julie Holland, a nationally recognized authority on drugs and drug safety, who has appeared multiple times on Today. She is the author of “Weekends at Bellevue” (which may be coming to TV on Fox this fall ) and editor of “The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis” and “Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.”

· Dr. Harry Levine, Professor of Sociology at CUNY Queens College, the co–author of the NYCLU report “Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City, 1997-2007.” He is also the co–author of a new report on the costs of New York City’s marijuana arrests, which will be released on March 15 by the Drug Policy Alliance.

· Tony Newman, Director of Media Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation’s leading organization calling for alternatives to the drug war and policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights.

· Daniel Jabbour, New York State Coordinator for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.

· Chris Goldstein, Board Member, NORML-NJ/Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ (CMM-NJ). Chris is a radio broadcaster and marijuana advocate. Chris is considered an expert on the topic of marijuana and can comment on New Jersey and national issues regarding cannabis.

Date: 
Thu, 03/17/2011 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: 
Broadway between Park Place and Barclay (east side) City Hall Park
New York, NY 10007
United States

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