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Crazed Sheriff Arrests 8 in Phelps Bong Investigation

There is just no limit to the stupidity that ensues when drug warriors develop a craving for attention:

The Richland County Sheriff's Department has been taking a lot of heat from people in this country and all over the world.

They want to know why Sheriff Leon Lott is going after Michael Phelps.

Lott says the picture indicated a law was being broken in his jurisdiction. He said he couldn't ignore the violation just because Phelps is rich and famous.

We've now learned that since investigators began trying to build a case, they've made eight arrests: seven for drug possession and one for distribution. These are arrests that resulted as the sheriff's department served search warrants.

We've also learned that the department has located and confiscated that bong. [WISTV.com]

Could there ever be a better example of the pettiness and triviality that characterizes the enforcement of our drug laws? Anyone watching this (which now includes a respectable segment of earth’s population), can plainly observe the amazing lameness that the war on drugs has instilled in our public servants.

What could possibly be said in defense of launching an entire police operation for the sole purpose of busting one guy for taking a bong hit at a party?

Lott says the picture indicated a law was being broken in his jurisdiction. He said he couldn't ignore the violation just because Phelps is rich and famous.

Who does he think he’s kidding? Everyone knows this would never be happening if Phelps wasn’t rich and famous. At the risk of giving Sheriff Lott too much credit, I highly doubt this is standard procedure when he finds out someone smoked pot at a party months ago. He’s either completely full of crap about his motivations for targeting Phelps, or he’s truly the biggest drug war jackass in the long and terrible history of the species.

Regardless, it has become perfectly clear that Sheriff Lott won’t stop until he puts the world’s greatest athlete in handcuffs for smoking a bong at a party. With the whole world watching, this crazy cop is prepared to create one of the ugliest, dumbest spectacles in the history of our country’s infinitely embarrassing war on drugs. Perhaps we shouldn’t fault the man for being ambitious.

Medical Marijuana Press Conference at Minnesota Statehouse

Legislators and patients will launch what they expect to be the final push for passage of bipartisan medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota at a statehouse press conference. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, S.F. 97, at 12:30 p.m. A previous version of the bill passed the Minnesota Senate as well as every House committee, but did not receive a House floor vote. Presenters include bill sponsors Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing) and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia); K.K. Forss of Ely, who has used medical marijuana to relieve pain from multiple neck surgeries; Dr. George Wagoner, physician from Manitee, Mich. (and formerly licensed in Minnesota), whose wife used medical marijuana during her battle with ovarian cancer and who campaigned for the Michigan medical marijuana initiative that passed in November with 63 percent of the vote. Also testifying at the hearing will be Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose daughter's battle with malignant melanoma was made bearable by using medical marijuana, and Kathy Rippentrop of Lakeville, whose mother used medical marijuana during her treatment for liver cancer. Written testimony from other patients will be presented to the committee and will be made available to the media.
Date: 
Wed, 02/11/2009 - 11:00am
Location: 
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN
United States

Press Advisory: Press Conference Wednesday to Launch Final Drive for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

Minnesota Cares logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
FEBRUARY 10, 2009

Press Conference Weds. to Launch Final Drive for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota
Hearing in Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee to Follow

CONTACT: Former Rep. Chris DeLaForest..................................................................(763) 439-1178

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -- Legislators and patients will launch what they expect to be the final push for passage of bipartisan medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota at a statehouse press conference at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, S.F. 97, at 12:30 p.m. A previous version of the bill passed the Minnesota Senate as well as every House committee, but did not receive a House floor vote.

    WHAT: Press conference to launch drive for final passage of medical marijuana legislation, S.F. 97 and H.F. 292, followed by Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee hearing.

    WHO: Bill sponsors Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing) and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia); K.K. Forss of Ely, who has used medical marijuana to relieve pain from multiple neck surgeries; Dr. George Wagoner, physician from Manitee, Mich. (and formerly licensed in Minnesota), whose wife used medical marijuana during her battle with ovarian cancer and who campaigned for the Michigan medical marijuana initiative that passed in November with 63 percent of the vote.
    Also testifying at the hearing will be Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose daughter's battle with malignant melanoma was made bearable by using medical marijuana, and Kathy Rippentrop of Lakeville, whose mother used medical marijuana during her treatment for liver cancer. Written testimony from other patients will be presented to the committee and will be made available to the media.

    WHERE: Rm. 125, State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul.

    WHEN: Press conference at 11 a.m. Hearing at 12:30 p.m.
   

####

Location: 
St. Paul, MN
United States

Dump Kellogg's like it dumped Michael Phelps

Dear friends:

As you probably know, cereal giant Kellogg's has announced that it won't renew Olympic swim champion Michael Phelps' endorsement contract because he was photographed smoking marijuana.

If Phelps had been photographed hoisting a Budweiser, no one would have said a word. In fact, Phelps was arrested for drunk driving in 2004 — which could have resulted in someone being hurt or killed — and Kellogg's never took issue with that. Alcohol is far more toxic and addictive than marijuana and tends to make users reckless, aggressive, and violent.

Would you take a minute to speak out against this hypocrisy, by adding your voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who are pledging to boycott Kellogg's products until the company changes its decision? Just visit MPP's action center here and fill out the easy online form.

Meanwhile, MPP has been all over the news to point out the hypocrisy of the situation.
For instance, check out this video of MPP's Bruce Mirken discussing the issue on CNN last week.

Please join me in rejecting the farce of the condemnation of marijuana users — one that has already long been abandoned by the general public.

Sincerely,
Kampia signature (e-mail sized)

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $2.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

ALERT: #394 Kellogg's Gets Stupid Over A Bong

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #394 - Monday, 9 February 2009 By now just about everybody who may read this Alert is aware of the photo of Michael Phelps inhaling from a bong which was printed on Sunday, February 1 by the British tabloid newspaper News of the World. A high resolution .jpg copy of the photo, which you may download - and perhaps print out for your own use, like pasting on a Kellogg's cereal box - is here http://www.mapinc.org/images/phelps.jpg The News of the World article is here: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v09/n140/a11.html The result has been a firestorm of articles and opinions printed in newspapers as you may read at this link: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Michael+Phelps Please target the newspapers with your letters to the editor. Other suggested actions you may wish to take: Please take time today to contact the Kellogg Corporation. Tell them that you oppose their decision to drop Michael Phelps and that, as a result of their actions, you will not be purchasing any Kellogg's related products for the next three months (or until the company decides to reinstate the Phelps as their spokesperson). There are several ways you may make your opinion known to the company. You can call Kellogg's main telephone number during east coast business hours, Monday through Friday, at: (269) 961-2000 or toll free at: 1 (800) 962-1413. You may email Kellogg's consumer services department by visiting: http://www2.kelloggs.com/ContactUs.aspx You may contact Kellogg's media relation department at: 269-961-3799 or via e-mail at media.hotline@kellogg.com You may email Kellogg's corporate responsibility department at: corporateresponsibility@kellogg.com. You may email Kellogg's investor relations department at: investor.relations@kellogg.com. Or you may write the Kellogg Company a letter at: One Kellogg Square P.O. Box 3599 Battle Creek, MI 49016-3599. Join the Students for Sensible Drug Policy's petition campaign. Phelps still faces a potential four-year suspension from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. If you have a Facebook account, please join thousands of others in signing a petition demanding that the IOC and WADA not suspend Phelps from international competition. http://apps.facebook.com/causes/petitions/62.

Call Kellogg's Today: Here's the Number

800-962-1413

Call now. They appreciate our feedback. At least that's what the operator told me when I called.

SNL Slams Kellogg’s for Dissing Marijuana Users

And the winner for best response to the Phelps story goes to…

Marijuana: New Hampshire Legislator Introduces Decriminalization Bill

New Hampshire state Rep. Steven Lindsey (D) Tuesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Under the bill, HB 555, persons over the age of 18 would face no more than a $100 fine. Simple possession would also be decriminalized for minors, but they would be subjected to community service and a drug awareness program at their own expense or face a $1,000 fine.

The New Hampshire House passed a similar measure last year. It died in the state Senate.

Under current New Hampshire law, possession of up to an ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Rep. Lindsey called current law "draconian" during a Tuesday hearing.

Thirteen states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, most of them in the 1970s. But Nevada did it in 2001 and fellow New England state Massachusetts did it last November. State legislatures in Vermont and Washington are also dealing with decrim bills this year.

Marijuana: Vermont Legislators Introduce Decriminalization Bill

Led by Rep. David Zuckerman (P-Burlington), 19 members of the Vermont legislature Wednesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Under the bill, HB 150, small time possession would become a civil infraction with a maximum $100 fine.

"There is no reason an otherwise responsible adult should face the life-altering consequences of a criminal arrest for what amounts to a minor indiscretion," Zuckerman said. "This modest reform will allow our police to quickly deal with these situations so that everybody can move on to more important matters."

The move comes one day after the Vermont Alliance for Intelligent Drug Laws (VALID) issued a press release announcing that a recent poll showed majority support for decrim. According to the poll, which was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), 63% of respondents favored "a change in the law to provide for a $100 civil fine without jail time for those who possess an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use."

Interestingly, the poll found many Vermont voters wanted to go further: 49% of those polled said they would support "making marijuana legal for adults over 21, and regulating it similarly to alcohol," while only 37% said they would oppose the idea.

"This poll supports what we've known all along," said Nancy Lynch, executive director for VALID. "Vermonters don't want to see people ensnared in our criminal justice system for possessing a small amount of marijuana, and they see decriminalizing these violations as a modest, uncontroversial solution. Our representatives should take note -- passing this bill quickly is not only responsible; it's politically popular."

If the bill passes, Vermont would become the 13th state to decriminalize small time marijuana possession. But that doesn't appear likely. Rep. Bill Lippert (D-Hinesburg), head of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Burlington Free Press his panel has other priorities.

Even Zuckerman conceded the bill faces long odds. "The wheels are not greased on this," he said.

Canada: BC Judge Rules Medical Marijuana Restrictions Unconstitutional

A British Columbia judge ruled Tuesday that portions of Canada's federal medical marijuana law unconstitutionally restrict the supply of marijuana to patients authorized to use it. As part of her decision, BC Supreme Court Madam Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg found a worker for the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS) guilty of growing marijuana and possessing it with the intent to distribute, but gave him an absolute discharge, meaning he faces no criminal liability.

The judge held that parts of Health Canada's Medical Marihuana Access Regulations, such as the requirement that patients get a doctor's approval, were constitutional, but that a provision limiting designated growers to growing for only one patient was "arbitrary" and "constitutionally invalid." The judge also struck down a provision limiting the number of licensed growers at any site to three, which effectively barred growers' collectives.

Judge Koenigsberg gave Ottawa one year to draft regulations that will allow for growers to grow for multiple patients and for multiple growers to form collectives.

The case the court heard began in May 2004, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided a VICS research facility, seized some 900 marijuana plants destined for VICS patients, and arrested VICS employee Mathew Beren. Lawyers for Beren used the bust to challenge the way Health Canada regulated medical marijuana production.

The ruling comes only a day after a federal appeals court rejected an Ottawa appeal of a January lower court decision that restricting growers to only one patient was unconstitutional. That lower court ruling had been stayed pending the appeal.

In Vancouver, Judge Koenigsberg noted that although Beren may have sold marijuana to people without medical approval, he was of "good character," lacked a criminal record, and was growing, in the main, for patients. "If ever there was a case in which an absolute discharge was appropriate, it was this one," she concluded.

"I was facing 14 years or more in jail, of course, I'm relieved," Beren said immediately after the ruling. He knew the risks, he said, but sick people needed their medicine.

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