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Police are Trying Very Hard to Bust Michael Phelps for Smoking a Bong

Yesterday, we learned that eight people have been arrested in the aftermath of the Michael Phelps bong photo and the infamous bong itself has been captured and taken into custody. As new details emerge, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there really is a serious campaign underway to prosecute Michael Phelps:

The effort to prosecute Phelps on what would be at most a minor drug charge seem extreme compared to similar cases, lawyers said, and have led some to question whether the sheriff is being overzealous because he's dealing with a celebrity.

The investigators appear to be trying to build a case against Phelps from others — a tactic normally used to bring down drug dealers with a large amounts of cocaine or methamphetamine, not someone who smoked marijuana five months ago, said Chip Price, a Greenville attorney who has dealt with drug cases for 33 years. [AP]

There’s not much left to say about this that I haven’t said already, so I’ll say it again: Sheriff Leon Lott and his henchmen are unhinged drug war lunatics wielding their unchecked powers as arbitrarily and embarrassingly as humanly possible.

To my knowledge, next to no one on the planet supports this ridiculous crusade. So I can only hope that this very visible example of vindictive marijuana enforcement serves to focus public attention on the often pathetic behavior of our supposedly heroic drug war soldiers. Just look at them. Look at what they are doing. And remember that this episode is hardly the first or only time the drug warriors have allowed childish and obsessive pursuits to triumph over the public interest.

If they think destroying Michael Phelps is a good idea, imagine all the other wretched crap they’ve done that you don’t even know about.

USA Swimming Deserves Condemnation for Suspending Michael Phelps

Amidst the massive backlash against Kellogg’s for dropping Michael Phelps, we’ve neglected to target USA Swimming, which suspended him even though they didn’t have to. Their petty moralizing is entirely uncalled for and warrants a response.

On that note, our friends at SAFER have created a form to contact USA Swimming and share your concerns. It only takes a second. Thanks!

Press Release: Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate Committee in Bipartisan Vote, 8-3

Minnesota Cares logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
FEBRUARY 11, 2009

Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Senate Committee in Bipartisan Vote, 8-3

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

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -- Minnesota's medical marijuana bill, S.F. 97, cleared its first major hurdle this afternoon, passing the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee in a bipartisan vote of 8 to 3. The committee received spoken and written testimony from a number of patients and family members describing the relief provided by medical marijuana when conventional treatments had failed.

    "I believe this will be the year medical marijuana becomes law in Minnesota," said Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing), a sponsor of the bill. "We've seen now from the experiences of 13 states -- one-quarter of the country -- that these laws work well, and that the dire warnings of opponents simply don't come true. The voters understand that there is no reason to subject suffering patients to arrest and jail for using a doctor-recommended medicine."

    One of those testifying was Joni Whiting of Jordan, a disabled Vietnam veteran who had strongly disapproved of marijuana use until her daughter was diagnosed with melanoma and began suffering unbearable nausea and pain from the treatments. "I was opposed to marijuana," Whiting said, "but the nausea my daughter suffered from the chemotherapy was so bad she lost a lot of weight, and the pills the doctor prescribed didn't help -- including Marinol, the THC pill. Marijuana allowed her to eat and also helped ease her pain, and she looked better than I'd seen her in months. I would have rather spent the rest of my life in prison than have denied her the medicine that kept her pain at bay and allowed her to live 89 more days."

    "I'm pleased to co-author this important legislation that will empower doctors and patients while protecting sick and dying Minnesotans from the threat of criminal prosecution," said Sen. Debbie Johnson (R-Ham Lake). "Most FDA-approved drugs assist in managing short-term pain.  Chronically ill and terminal patients need alternatives. Medical marijuana is one of those alternatives."

    Written testimony from patients and others is available at http://www.minnesotacares.org/Health_Housing_and_Family_Security_Committee_Testimony.htm.

    Thirteen states, including one-quarter of the U.S. population, now permit medical use of marijuana under state law. The newest such law was enacted by Michigan voters last November, passing with a record-setting 63 percent "yes" vote. Medical organizations which have recognized marijuana's medical uses include the American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, and American College of Physicians, which noted "marijuana's proven efficacy at treating certain symptoms and its relatively low toxicity," in a statement issued last year.

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Location: 
MN
United States

Medical Cannabis Candle Light Vigil at the Capitol

Consider coming out to hold a candle, reflect on the friends and family of ours with pain and suffering and potentially meet some of your Maryland State Delegates and Senators. We will have great posters for you to hold or feel free to bring some of your own. This is just one of our four events for Medical Marijuana Week! Please do not let transportation be an issue. Contact us (Earthchar@hotmail.com, md4safeaccess@gmail.com) for carpool details, or let us know if you would like to volunteer as a carpool driver. Did you hear the good news? In response to recent DEA raids in California, the Obama White House said “The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind." Now it's more important than ever to show your support for President Obama in his promise to end medical marijuana raids, and to help bring changes to Marylands medical marijuana law that provide safe and legal access for patients in need. For the 7th year in a row activists across the nation will be organizing Medical Marijuana Week. (MMJ Week) Held every year during the week of Feb. 15, it's an empowering week of events and activities to raise awareness about the growing support for safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research throughout the nation.
Date: 
Mon, 02/16/2009 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
United States

Michael Phelps Saga: "Send a Strong Message" to USA Swimming

[Courtesy of SAFER] Tell them to reinstate Michael Phelps and stop driving athletes to drink! http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5559/t/4030/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=... USA Swimming suspended the 14-time Olympic gold medalist following the publication of a photo showing him using marijuana at an off-season party. USA Swimming was not required to punish Phelps, according to Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, but it "decided to send a strong message to Michael..." That message: athletes must only use alcohol when they party, and they will be punished if they make the safer choice to use marijuana instead. After all, the 23-year-old swimmer would never have been punished had he been photographed chugging Budweiser beer -- an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee. If you agree Michael Phelps should be reinstated and that athletes should not be driven to drink, please take a second to click on the following link and "send a strong message" to Chuck Wielgus and USA Swimming: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5559/t/4030/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=... Mason Tvert, Executive Director SAFER ⎮ SAFER Voter Education Fund office: 303-861-0033 ⎮ fax: 303-861-0915 mason@saferchoice.orghttp://www.SAFERchoice.org

Marijuana Probably Won’t Give You Cancer in Your Testicles

Everybody’s talking about this week’s news that marijuana might increase your risk of some kind of horrible testicular cancer (especially dudes who smoke lots of pot).

Of course, as you might have guessed, the whole thing is wildly overblown, as NORML’s Paul Armentano explains.

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.

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