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1/3 of People Admitted to Marijuana Treatment Hadn't Been Smoking Marijuana!

Advocates for harsh marijuana laws can be counted on to infuse their rhetoric with incessant declarations that marijuana is highly addictive. Rarely, if ever, could one expose oneself to such discussion without being told something like this:
Decriminalizing marijuana – the drug which sends the most of America's youth into substance abuse treatment and recovery – is a dangerous first step towards complete drug legalization. In fact, marijuana sends the highest percentage of New Hampshire residents into drug treatment than any other illicit drug.

I strongly urge responsible leaders in New Hampshire to stop any effort to decriminalize or legalize the highly addictive drug marijuana."
These words belong to the Deputy Drug Czar and they are less than a week old, thus they represent what his office currently believes to be the strongest and most important argument for marijuana prohibition: that the drug is highly addictive.

As Paul Armentano at NORML points out, however, the government's own data on marijuana dependency shows that a plurality of people entering treatment for marijuana hadn't smoked it in a month or more. Isn't that just amazing? I mean, wow. 36% of people entering treatment for pot addiction had already kicked the habit on their own. Highly-addictive my ash.

But how could this be? The answer can be found on this page, which shows that 58% of people entering marijuana treatment were referred by the criminal justice system. They didn't ask for help, rather they were found in possession of marijuana, which led a judge to issue a diagnosis of "marijuana addiction" and order them to get help for that.

When more than half the sample consists of people who were forced into treatment, it should come as no surprise that so many of them haven't actually been smoking marijuana. Some may never have been marijuana users to begin with and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. More commonly, I suspect, a large number of marijuana arrestees simply quit after getting busted, either voluntarily or because their lawyers recommended it, pretrial drug screenings, etc. Since marijuana isn't actually very addictive to begin with, this is easy to do.

And yet we continue to waste limited government resources investigating, arresting, adjudicating, and treating these people for an addiction they never actually had. In sum, the Drug Czar's best evidence of marijuana addiction comes from the fact that the government categorizes people as marijuana addicts if they're found sitting near a bag of marijuana. The instant we stop calculating it that way, the evidence ceases to exist and the drug warriors' favorite and best argument against marijuana reform is, well…cashed.
United States

A False and Embarrassing Press Release from the Deputy Drug Czar

For your amusement, I've posted the full text of a press release the Drug Czar's office sent out last week in opposition to a marijuana decriminalization bill in New Hampshire. I disagree with it, of course, but that is not why I've posted it. I share this because it is so filled with factual and grammatical errors that I'm told NH legislators have been forwarding it around and laughing at it. (sorry, no link)

Press Release
Wednesday, March 19, 2008


(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Scott M. Burns, Deputy Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), made the following statement regarding marijuana decriminalization legislation, which is currently being debated in New Hampshire.

"Decriminalizing the illegal and highly addictive drug – marijuana – sends the wrong message to New Hampshire's youth, students, parents, public health officials, and the law-enforcement community.

"The supporters of decriminalizing marijuana are fooling themselves if they believe the manufacturing, possession, and/or distribution of 1.25 ounces or – over 90 marijuana joints – is good public policy.

"Decriminalizing marijuana – the drug which sends the most of America's youth into substance abuse treatment and recovery – is a dangerous first step towards complete drug legalization. In fact, marijuana sends the highest percentage of New Hampshire residents into drug treatment than any other illicit drug.

"The last thing New Hampshire need is more drugs, drug users, and drug dealers on their streets and communities – further straining limited law enforcement manpower and resources.

I strongly urge responsible leaders in New Hampshire to stop any effort to decriminalize or legalize the highly addictive drug marijuana."

To learn more about the dangers of marijuana use, please visit:

Not a word of this is true, of course, but the highlight is the 3rd paragraph in which Burns reveals utter confusion about what the bill even says. The proposed law decriminalizes possession of up to 0.25 ounces of marijuana. It does not decriminalize up to 1.25 ounces and it applies only to possession, not manufacture or sales. Burns is either lying, or he is just dramatically and embarrassingly wrong.

Furthermore, 1.25 ounces isn't 90 joints anyway. An average joint is a gram, so 1.25 ounces is 35 joints, give or take. Since the bill in question decriminalizes only 0.25 ounces, however, we're really talking about just 7 joints. Nothing could be more typical of our friends at the Drug Czar's office than to claim that 7 joints = 90 joints.

Finally, we learn that marijuana must remain illegal because so many people in New Hampshire are in treatment for it. This isn't a lie necessarily, but it is pretty funny. How many of those people were forced into treatment following a marijuana arrest that wouldn’t have happened under the proposed law? We are arresting people for marijuana, forcing them into treatment, then citing those stats as evidence that marijuana is addictive and that we should be allowed to arrest people for having it. That is how stupid the modern marijuana debate has become.

Fact and fiction aside, the whole thing is just ugly to read. Its grammar and sentence structure are reminiscent of the incoherent anti-drug rants one might find on this blog after a big link draws hostile attention. Could they be written by the same person?

"In fact, marijuana sends the highest percentage of New Hampshire residents into drug treatment than any other illicit drug."

"The last thing New Hampshire need is more drugs, drug users, and drug dealers on their streets and communities – further straining limited law enforcement manpower and resources."

It's usually best not to get too caught up in correcting the grammar of one's opposition, and in most cases I'd consider that an indulgent and childish distraction from the real matters at hand. In this case, though, I think the high-schoolish tone in which the Deputy Drug Czar addresses politicians and the press is just lazy and disrespectful. Factual errors and bad writing are ubiquitous in any political debate, but when it arrives on White House letterhead, questions about basic competence merge with the broader ideological conflict.

United States

Drug Sense Focus ALERT: #362 Medical Marijuana In Michigan - Yea or Nay?

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #362 - Monday, 24 March 2008 Earlier this month, the voters of Michigan succeeded in qualifying an initiative for the November election ballot. When passed by the voters on November 4th Michigan law will allow patients to use, possess, and grow their own marijuana for medical purposes with their doctors' approval. This will likely make Michigan the first medical marijuana state in the heartland, although there are bills pending in some other midwest states. Michigan is home to more than 10 million people. Of the states with current effective medical marijuana laws only California has a larger population. Three articles were written for the Sunday editions of the Kalamazoo Gazette this month, a newspaper in the heartland of Michigan. They illustrate the battle Michigan folks will have in the media in the months ahead. The author of the articles, Chris Killian, went to some length to find both pro and con arguments. Please read the articles at Note that for the two oldest articles Michigan letter writers have responded as shown at the 'Letters' link at the top of each MAP archived article. We are not suggesting that out of state letter writers respond to Michigan press articles about the initiative. This is a battle best fought by in state letter writers. Folks outside Michigan may find other ways to support the initiative by going to the initiative website at But the three articles do illustrate the type of arguments made in the press both for and against medicinal marijuana initiatives, bills and laws in every state. As letter writers improve their arguments in letters sent to their state papers they advance the issue. ********************************************************************** Excerpts from 'Nuclear-Blast Survivor Heads Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access' published on March 9th: The atomic explosions off remote islands in the South Pacific seemed to turn night into day. They also turned Martin Chilcutt into a marijuana user. Chilcutt said the drug has helped him to ease the pain he says dates back to his exposure to radiation during a 1956 U.S. government project testing nuclear and thermonuclear weapons. A state ballot proposal could allow voters in November to decide whether Chilcutt's measures to self-medicate should be legal in Michigan. The 74-year-old former intelligence officer with the U.S. Naval Air Force has used other medications to help him with his physical and psychological problems, but marijuana helps "so much better," he said. [snip] Although there are different ways to use the drug, such as ingesting or inhaling it, there is no difference in the drug's effect based on consumption, according to the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, which is spearheading the state marijuana initiative. "It just makes life so much easier," he said. "It allows you to be comfortable." Chilcutt, a retired psychotherapist, said he first learned of marijuana's medical benefits in the late 1970s while counseling Vietnam War veterans in California. They told him the drug could help allay his pain, he said. He said he takes eight other medications for ailments the marijuana doesn't help, including a thyroid condition. Advocates for the medical use of marijuana say it's also effective in easing symptoms from other serious illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Critics cite a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report in 2006 that said "no sound scientific studies" support the medical use of the drug. If the marijuana-use proposal is approved by state voters, Michigan would become the 15th state -- and the first in the Midwest -- with a law that permits marijuana use for seriously ill people. Michigan law currently prohibits marijuana use for any reason. It's estimated between 40,000 and 50,000 people -- about one-half of 1 percent of Michigan residents -- would be eligible to use marijuana for medical purposes. In states where the law is now in place, it's estimated the same percentage of residents would qualify to use the drug, according to the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care. [snip] ********************************************************************** The article 'Most Area Lawmakers Oppose Marijuana As Medical Treatment' published March 16th: For five years, state Sen. Tom George worked for Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo, sometimes prescribing a synthetic form of marijuana called Marinol to help ease a person's pain or discomfort. But George, an anesthesiologist, opposes a ballot proposal that seeks to legalize marijuana use in Michigan for those seriously ill. State Rep. Fulton Sheen, a conservative Republican, opposed medical-marijuana use until he heard testimony from people who said they got relief from debilitating conditions by using the drug. He now supports the initiative, which could appear on the Nov. 4 ballot. Of southwestern Michigan's 10 state lawmakers, seven said they oppose legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Joining George, R-Texas Township, were state Sens. Patricia Birkholz, R-Saugatuck; Cameron Brown, R-Sturgis; and Ron Jelinek, R-Three Oaks; and state Reps. Jack Hoogendyk, R-Texas Township; Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton; and Rick Shaffer, R-Three Rivers. Such an initiative, they think, could lead to more crime and abuse among nonmedical marijuana users and could be the first step to complete legalization of marijuana. "Marijuana is illegal for a reason," Jelinek said. "Its legalization, even for medical reasons, would denigrate our society eventually. (Using marijuana) is akin to a self-induced mental illness." State Reps. Robert Jones, D-Kalamazoo, and Sheen, R-Plainwell, support the initiative. They said those seriously ill should have marijuana as a treatment option if it helps and is properly regulated. "The right story needs to be told by the right people," Jones said. "We can't be afraid of this as a society. Marijuana is a legitimate treatment for those suffering from serious diseases." State Rep. Lorence Wenke, R-Galesburg, said he is undecided on the medical-marijuana initiative. "These are the types of proposals that politicians run from," Wenke said. "It's a very intense issue." Bill Ballenger, a Lansing-based political analyst and editor of Inside Michigan Politics, said it's easier for the Legislature to choose to not act on the initiative and allow voters to decide its fate. Leaders from the Senate and House have said they don't expect legislative action on the proposal. Gov. Jennifer Granholm opposes it. "Finding a legislator who forms a gutsy position on issues like medical marijuana, like supporting it, is difficult," said Ballenger, adding he expects voters to pass the ballot initiative. Change of Heart Sheen said he was skeptical about supporting marijuana use for medical needs until he heard testimony from people who said it helped ease their suffering. The 2006 hearing was held on a bill that was similar to the current ballot initiative. The measure never got out of a House committee. "As I listened to their testimony and heard how (marijuana) had helped them, my mind began to change," Sheen said. "Now I look at (marijuana) as a kind of prescription drug for those who are very sick. And if it alleviates symptoms, isn't that what a prescription drug is supposed to do?" In the 1990s Sheen's brother, who had contracted AIDS, was dying. In the final months of his life he smoked marijuana, which helped him to breathe and swallow easier, Sheen said. "Although I didn't agree with what he was doing at the time, it helped him," Sheen said. "But now my mind has been changed." But George, who worked from 1996 to 2001 at Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo, said the active ingredient in marijuana -- tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC -- is already available in pill form. Although George admits many patients to whom he prescribed Marinol responded favorably, marijuana -- even in synthetic form -- should not be "a front-line treatment," he said. "What is the additional benefit of legalizing marijuana?" George said. "And even with the Marinol, it should play a small role in any treatment." Potential for Abuse It's estimated about one-half of 1 percent of Michigan residents, between 40,000 and 50,000 people, would be eligible for medical-marijuana use. "There is such widespread use of marijuana that having a very few patients use it legally isn't that big of a problem," Jones said. Other area legislators disagree. "Everybody's going to have a backache," Jelinek said of the potential for people faking chronic pain or other serious health problems. Schuitmaker said she "sympathizes with suffering individuals," but still can't support the initiative. "This would be legalizing a drug that has had a detrimental effect on society and be the first step to the legalization of marijuana for nonmedical uses," she said. "It's a slippery slope." The proposal calls for registered medical users to keep the marijuana in a secure, locked location. Users who give or sell their marijuana to those who are not authorized to have it could be subject to stiff fines and possible jail time. Users also would have to register themselves with the state and carry a state-issued ID card indicating they are a registered medical user. Even with such controls, some lawmakers question how effective enforcement and regulation will be, especially if the number of medical marijuana users increases. "There are other options out there for very sick people (besides marijuana). By not supporting this, it's not like we're denying a dying patient relief," said Hoogendyk, who recently announced he will challenge Democratic Sen. Carl Levin in the U.S. Senate. ********************************************************************** Excerpt from 'Debate Continues Whether Risks of Medical Marijuana Outweigh the Benefits' published March 23rd: The chief medical officer of Kalamazoo County might use marijuana to alleviate the pain of his glaucoma -- if it were legal. In 2000, Richard Tooker, 54, was diagnosed with pigmentary glaucoma, a rare eye disease where fluid buildup inside the eye can lead to intense pain. Blindness is also possible. "I would consider taking it, if it were legal, for medical use," he said. "I want to keep my vision." Studies have shown marijuana can lessen pressure in the eyes of those with glaucoma. Tooker said he would have to consult with legal counsel before he used the drug. That's because, even if Michigan voters in November decide to allow medical marijuana use by seriously ill patients, it still would be illegal under federal law. Users of medical marijuana, as well as others who support its use, say the drug offers relief to those suffering debilitating conditions. They also say it would be cheaper than buying the drug off the street and that use and production can be controlled if properly regulated. But questions remain. How would the appropriate dose be established for those who are deemed eligible users? Are there possible negative health effects from using the drug for medical reasons? Do alternatives to medical marijuana already exist? "On the balance, it's a good thing," Tooker said of medical marijuana. "And if we're going to legalize marijuana for medical use in Michigan, let's legalize it across the country. It's a dicey, difficult issue." State Sen. Tom George, R-Texas Township, worked for Hospice of Greater Kalamazoo and sometimes prescribed a synthetic -- and legal -- form of marijuana called Marinol. But the drug is not cheap. [snip] George, an anesthesiologist, opposes the ballot initiative because of the availability of Marinol and the possible health risks of medical marijuana. "Marinol is better than smokeable marijuana because Marinol does not contain the additional chemicals, impurities and hazards associated with smoke," George said in a statement this month to the Senate. "Also, the resulting THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) blood levels and hence, the effects, are more predictable with Marinol than smokeable marijuana." George said other drugs being developed would include THC, the main active component of marijuana. One drug is called Sativex, which if approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, could be used as a treatment for patients with advanced cancers. Approved in November by the FDA for clinical testing, the drug would be administered as an oral spray. "I'm telling you, as a former hospice physician, it is of no benefit to legalize smokeable marijuana," George said. The FDA agrees. "There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana," the agency said in a statement in 2006. But Marinol, available since 1986, has its problems, said Ruth Hoppe, head of the Michigan chapter of the American College of Physicians, the nation's second largest physicians group. Marinol is absorbed slowly into the body, she said, and a patient experiencing extreme nausea might not be able to use it because the pill must be swallowed to be effective. "We need to look at other routes of delivery," Hoppe said. Potential for Abuse? Smoking anything is harmful to one's health, Hoppe said. But that doesn't mean marijuana doesn't have its place as a legitimate medical treatment or supplement to other medications. The American College of Physicians recently released a position paper on medical marijuana. It concluded that, although more research needs to be done, "reports suggest numerous potential medical uses for marijuana." "For patients with AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy, who suffer severe pain, nausea and appetite loss, cannabinoid drugs may provide symptom relief not found in any other medication," the position paper said. The federal government, however, puts marijuana in the same class as LSD, heroin, mescaline, psychedelic mushrooms and ecstasy. "Marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision," the 2006 FDA report said. The government's classification of marijuana hinders study of the drug for medical use, Hoppe said. The American College of Physicians is recommending reclassifying the drug to allow for more study. "I can see a day when marijuana is seen as a legitimate medical treatment, especially in conjunction with other medications," Hoppe said. "There is value in this drug." 'Trial and Error' Doses Marinol comes in doses of 2.5 milligrams, 5 milligrams and 10 milligrams. Determining the proper dose of marijuana from plants is less scientific because it can be smoked, drunk, eaten or inhaled through a vaporizer. Tooker, who is open to the medical uses for marijuana, said he opposes smoking it. He said "trial and error" would be the only way to determine what the appropriate dose of marijuana would be for a patient. Dianne Byrum, a former state legislator and spokeswoman for the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, said the dose level would depend on the patient's needs and symptoms. "This would be a recommendation, not a prescription," she said. She also said smoking marijuana would not be harmful, especially for patients with terminal conditions. [snip] ********************************************************************** Style guides for writing effective letters to the editor are available at MAP's Media Activism Center: ********************************************************************** Prepared by: The MAP Media Activism Team === . DrugSense provides many services at no charge, but they are not free to produce. Your contributions make DrugSense and its Media Awareness Project (MAP) happen. Please donate today. Our secure Web server at accepts credit cards. Or, mail your check or money order to: . DrugSense 14252 Culver Drive #328 Irvine, CA 92604-0326. (800) 266 5759 . DrugSense is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the expensive, ineffective, and destructive "War on Drugs." Donations are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.
United States

Medical Marijuana Training

Currently, Maryland law protects seriously ill patients from being sentenced to prison for possessing marijuana if they can prove a "medical necessity" for using it. The maximum penalty for patients who prove a medical necessity is a $100 fine. However, the law does not protect them from arrest, and it does not provide them a way to safely access their medicine. Even patients who prove a medical necessity still end up with a criminal record! This training is sponsored by Drug Policy Alliance, Americans for Safe Access and the Marijuana Policy Project -- these organizations are building support for a truly effective medical marijuana bill, which will protect patients from arrest and allow them safe access to their medicine. For more information, contact Naomi Long at
Tue, 03/25/2008 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm
13208 Fountainhead Plaza
Hagerstown, MD
United States

Marijuana: New Hampshire House Passes Decriminalization Bill

In a vote that caught most observers by surprise, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a scaled-back marijuana decriminalization bill by a margin of 193-141. To become law, the measure must still pass the state Senate, where it will receive a cool reception, and be signed by the governor, who has signaled his opposition to it.

Sponsored by Reps. Jeffrey Fontas (D-Nashua) and Andrew Edwards (D-Nashua), the bill, HB 1623, would make possession of up to a quarter ounce of marijuana a violation punishable by a maximum $200 fine. Currently, small-time possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

The favorable vote came despite the bill's rejection by a House policy committee and the opposition of law enforcement officials. Among arguments raised by proponents was that young offenders would be unfairly punished by having a marijuana offense on their records.

"How can we expect young people to get back on the right path if we take away every opportunity to do so?" Rep. Fontas said during the debate.

That sentiment was echoed on the Republican side of the aisle, too. "The question today is not whether marijuana should be illegal, but whether a teenager making a stupid decision should face up to a year in prison and loss of all federal funding for college,'' said Rep. Jason Bedrick (R-Windham).

Rep. John Tholl (R-Whitefield), a part-time police chief in the village of Dalton, was typical of opponents. He warned darkly that anyone sharing small amounts of marijuana could be charged with a felony and that anyone transporting it could still face jail time. Still, the measure would send the wrong message, he said.

"If you send a message to the young people of our state that a quarter ounce of marijuana is no big deal, like a traffic ticket, what you are doing is you are telling them we are not going to be looking at this very hard,'' Tholl said.

According to the Nashua Telegraph, Gov. John Lynch also thinks the bill sends the wrong message. His press secretary, Colin Manning, said Lynch will urge the Senate to reject it.

"This sends absolutely the wrong message to New Hampshire's young people about the very real dangers of drug use. That is why the governor joins with the House Criminal Justice Committee and law enforcement in opposing this bill,'' Manning said. "If the bill were to reach the governor's desk, which seems very unlikely, the governor would veto it.''

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Foster (D-Nashua) told the newspaper the bill is going nowhere in his chamber. "I know of no interest in the Senate on either side of the aisle to entertain this,'' Foster told reporters. "The governor has expressed his view, but I don't think he will see it coming to him.''

The New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, which has led the lobbying charge for the bill, praised the House and urged the Senate to act. "Our representatives in the House did the right thing for New Hampshire -- and especially for New Hampshire's young people," said the coalition's Matt Simon. "It's time for the Senate to finish the work we've started here and bring some sanity to our marijuana sentencing policies."

Eleven states have decriminalized marijuana possession, mostly in the 1970s. Nevada was the most recent, decriminalizing in 2001.

Europe: Czechs to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession, Growing Up to Three Plants

The Czech Republic will decriminalize the possession of up to 20 joints, a gram of hashish, or up to three marijuana plants, according to a report from the Czech news site iDNES. Under Czech law, possession of "more than a small amount of drugs" is a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.

But Czechs are among the most prolific of European pot-smokers, and pressure has been mounting for years for an adjustment in the law. Now, the vague "more than a small amount" has been codified. Also included in the decrim measure is possession of up to a half-gram of methamphetamine.

"Several European countries have similar rules. It is good to say somewhere that you will not face prosecution for a single hemp plant," Viktor Mravčík, head of the Czech National Focal Point for Drugs and Drug Addiction, told iDNES.

This change in the Czech penal code will bring the law into line with prevailing practice. According to Czech police, who had issued their own limits on minor drug possession (which were ignored by the courts), only about one-fifth of people caught growing marijuana plants were prosecuted in 2006. The rest only paid fines.

"We already have our own criteria on what we consider a crime," Břetislav Brejcha, an officer at the national anti-drug headquarters NPDC, told iDNES. The police limits "are quite similar to the new regulation, therefore we don't mind it at all," Brejcha added.

Fry & Schafer Released on Bail Pending Appeal

[Courtesy of California NORML] SACRAMENTO, Mar. 19th - Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer walked out of US Court free on bail pending appeal after being sentenced to a five-year mandatory minimum by a US District Judge Frank Damrell, who deplored the sentence as a "tragedy" that should "never have happened." Supporters were elated by Damrell's decision to grant release on bail, which capped a tense and dramatic day that began with a succession of adverse rulings for the defense. Defense attorney Tony Serra called it "one of the saddest days I've confronted in a long career" after Damrell turned down all the defense's motions to avoid the mandatory minimums. Mollie Fry stirred the courtroom to tears as she related the story of her cancer and subsequent desire to help people with medical marijuana. "We caused no harm to anyone," she said, "There were no victims." Judge Damrell acknowledged the legitimacy of Fry's medical use of marijuana, but said that the couple had "spiraled out of control.' He concluded that he had "no choice" but to impose the mandatory minimum of 5 years, a sentence dictated by the jury's finding that the couple had grown a total of slightly more than 100 plants over a period of three years. On the final and crucial issue of the day, however, Damrell agreed that the couple had "substantial" grounds for appeal so as to justify their release on bail. Following expert testimony by attorneys J David Nick and Ephraim Margolin, Damrell found substantial appeals issues relating to entrapment, the defendants' state of mind, and the conflict between state and federal laws. He added that the couple's precarious state of health was further extraordinary grounds for keeping them out of prison. He reprimanded Dr.Fry for her loose standards in recommending marijuana, and stipulated as a strict condition for her release that she desist from further recommendations, to which she assented. To this observer, today's events felt like a momentous step forward towards the inevitable changing of federal marijuana laws. Judge Damrell effectively declared the bankruptcy of US laws regarding mandatory sentencing and medical marijuana, and rightly referred the matter to higher authorities to decide. There are good grounds to hope that Dale and Mollie will be vindicated by the Ninth Circuit and/or a change in administration. More later.... Dale Gieringer, Cal NORML -- California NORML, 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114 -(415) 563- 5858 -
Sacramento, CA
United States

Meeting of Medical Marijuana Patients and Advocates

The purpose of the meeting is to help build support for an effective medical marijuana bill in Maryland, which will protect patients from arrest and allow them safe access to their medicine, as well as to educate patients and others on the current law.If you would like more information about this meeting, please e-mail Zane Hurst at

If you are a medical professional, a patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, or know somebody who might benefit from medical marijuana, we would like to hear from you. Additionally, if you are a law enforcement official or a clergy member, please e-mail to see how you can be of special help with our efforts to pass an effective medical marijuana law in Maryland.

Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and our allies. Please pass this message on to your friends and family who live near Silver Spring, so that they too can attend.

Thu, 03/20/2008 - 7:00pm - 10:00pm
8401 Colesville Road, Suite 750
Silver Spring, MD 20910
United States

MMJ Advocates Call on California Board of Equlization for Representation

[Courtesy of CA NORML] SACRAMENTO, March 18th: Medical marijuana advocates appealed to the state Board of Equalization to recognize their contribution to California's sales taxes revenues and stand up for their right to "taxation with representation." The Board heard testimony from ASA, CA NORML, and half a dozen dispensary owners concerned about harassment by DEA despite paying sales taxes to the BOE. Speaking for ASA, Rebecca Saltzman reminded the Board that California's dispensaries are generating some $100 million in sales tax revenues, but are nonetheless being threatened with raids, arrest and asset seizure by the DEA. She asked the Board to stand up for the dispensaries and urge the Governor to do likewise. Cal NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer testified that the total retail market for medical cannabis is around $870 million to $2 billion per year in California, enough to generate $70 to $160 million in sales taxes, according to a report by Oakland's Measure Z marijuana oversight committee: He noted that DEA raids have robbed the state of millions in dollars of sales tax revenues, and that the DEA had even gone so far as to confiscate sales tax payment checks in the process of their transfer to the BOE.$$_relse.htm Lisa Sawoya, director of Hollywood Compassionate Care in LA, testified that she had begun paying sales taxes in 2006 and had voluntarily sent the board six months' back taxes, but was nonetheless subsequently raided and shut down by the DEA. Dona Frank of Organic Cannabis Foundation in Sonoma Co. testified that her group had paid $500K in sales taxes in 2007, and would continue to do so, but had nonetheless been forced to move on account of DEA landlord letters. She called on the board to "stand up" against the DEA's actions. Lisa Molyneux of Greenway Compassionate Relief in Santa Cruz said she was providing workers with employment, benefits and health insurance, in addition to paying taxes, but that DEA raids were putting these revenues at risks. Rebeccca De Keuster of Berkeley Patients' Group said that dispensaries were caught in a "Catch-22" situation. She testified that the DEA had seized $100K that BPG had saved up to pay taxes, and that their raids appeared to be timed to the last week of the month, just before bills are paid. Bill Pearce, director of the River City Patients' Dispensary in Sacramento, testified that he had paid $700K in sales taxes to the BOE plus $250K more to the IRS and Franchise Tax Board, before being shut down and having assets seized by the DEA. Tariq Alazraie, manager of Purple Heart Caregivers and the former Mason St dispensary in S.F., said the board had an obligation to stand up for dispensaries, given that it was recognizing them by accepting their tax payments. State BOE member Betty Yee urged her colleagues to heed advocates' testimony, saying she felt a "tremendous sense of responsibility on this issue," and it would "not be a pretty picture" if dispensaries were driven back underground. BOE member Bill Leonard, one of the Board's Republicans, said he was concerned about allegations that the board might have shared confidential information with federal investigators, noting that confidentiality laws strictly forbid any such cooperation except by subpoena. Medical cannabis activists left the hearings with the impression that the Board had given them serious attention, and hopeful that their objections to " taxation without representation" will be heard by other public officials, including the Governor. -- California NORML, 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114 -(415) 563- 5858 -
Sacramento, CA
United States

Sacramento supervisors reject state's medical marijuana ID program

Sacramento, CA
United States
The Sacramento Bee (CA)

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School