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Medical Marijuana Week, Friday: Connect with a Prisoner of Bush’s Other War

Connect with a Prisoner of Bush’s Other War
Medical Marijuana Week - Friday, February 20th

Dear ASA Supporter,

On February 5th, the White House issued a statement of President Obama’s position on ending federal interference in state medical cannabis laws. But this still leaves innocent people in prison who would have been protected by their state laws, if they had not been raided by the policies of George W. Bush. They’re still in prison, and they need to know we’re behind them. Today, write a short note to let them know they are not alone.

There are many people currently serving time in federal prison for crimes that would have been protected by the medical cannabis laws in their states. Check ASA’s website for a list of individuals currently serving time. You’ll be able to read their stories and write to an individual whose situation really catches your attention.

Find the mailing addresses for these medical cannabis caregiver prisoners here, along with some helpful tips for writing to inmates in federal prison.

When writing to inmates, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1.    Don’t write about anything illegal or incriminating in the letters

2.    Be yourself, focus on giving them sympathy and emotional support, and try to be understanding about what they may be going through.

3.    Use common sense and be forward and clear with your intentions

It is not only those who are currently serving time that need our support, but also those who have yet to be sentenced or who are currently awaiting trial. If, as Obama says, the federal government stops undermining state medical cannabis laws – then what does that mean for those “in limbo;” those who have already fallen victim to George W. Bush’s war on innocent Americans? Get a list of upcoming court cases here – where you’ll also find additional details and information on individual cases.

In addition, call President Obama to tell him about the status of these cases and ask him to grant pardons or clemency to these individuals. Call 202-456-1111 and use this sample script:

Hi, my name is _____________ and I live in __________. I would like to thank President Obama for agreeing to end federal interference in states with medical cannabis laws. It is a much needed step forward and will help alleviate the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Americans. However, there are still many individuals currently serving time in federal prisons or awaiting sentences from federal prosecutions for crimes that would have been protected by the laws in their own states. I ask that the President consider the fate of these people, and whether or not federal prison terms for these individuals is consistent with the White House position on federal interference and the values of the American justice system. Thank you.

Don’t forget that these people need our help. They are political prisoners, and casualties of Bush’s War on Patients. Communicating with one who’s been unjustly imprisoned can be a profound experience.

Sincerely,


Josie Weisbrich
Legal Coordinator
Americans for Safe Access

Solidarity Event to Help Protect Safe Access to Medical Marijuana

"Don't let them take away my medicine." - Damien, longterm AIDS survivor Safe access to medical marijuana is in danger! The Colorado Health Department is acting to restrict patient access to medical marijuana. The Board of Health will be voting on a rule which would rip patients out of safe caregiver relationships and force them onto the streets in search of their life-giving medicine. Help us fight to protect patients by: (1) Take one minute to sign this online petition: www.SafeAccessNow.org/COhealth (2) Show your support on March 18 by attending the Hearing where the Board will vote on this rule. What else: This is NOT a rally. This is a formal Hearing and we need supporters to dress nice and act in a professional manner.
Date: 
Wed, 03/18/2009 - 12:00pm
Location: 
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246
United States

Safe Access to Medical Marijuana in Danger!

"Don't let them take away my medicine." - Damien, longterm AIDS survivor Safe access to medical marijuana is in danger! The Colorado Health Department is acting to restrict patient access to medical marijuana. In March, the Board of Health will be voting on a rule which would rip patients out of safe caregiver relationships and force them onto the streets in search of their life-giving medicine. Help us fight to protect patients by: (1) Take one minute to sign this online petition: www.SafeAccessNow.org/COhealth (2) Show your support on March 18 by attending the Hearing where the Board will vote on this rule. What: Solidarity event to help protect safe access Place: 4300 Cherry Creek Drive S., Denver 80246 (Colorado Health Department Bldg.) Time: Noon on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 What else: This is NOT a rally. This is a formal Hearing and we need supporters to dress nice and act in a professional manner. (3) Fundraiser: Attend a fundraising concert to support Sensible Colorado's work on behalf of medical marijuana patients. This event starts at 4pm on Friday, Feb. 27th and is at the beautiful Mishawaka amphitheater. Great Music. Great Cause. Show your support.
Location: 
Denver, CO
United States

Medical Marijuana: New Jersey Senate to Vote on Bill Monday

A bill that would legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is set for a Monday vote in the New Jersey Senate. The Senate floor vote comes after the bill was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee in December.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/cmmnj2.jpg
Jim Miller, husband of well-known patient/activist the late Cheryl Miller, at CMMNJ press conference introducing Sen. Scutari's first medical marijuana bill
The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (SB 119) would remove state penalties for the possession, use or cultivation of a small amount of marijuana when a licensed physician recommends it for a debilitating medical condition. Qualifying medical conditions include chronic pain, cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease, among others. Patients would be issued ID cards in a program run by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). They would be permitted to grow up to six plants and possess one ounce of marijuana, but not to use their therapeutic marijuana in public or while operating motor vehicles. Patients would be able to designate a caregiver or treatment center to grow the plants for them, but the caregiver/center must also register with DHSS.

The New Jersey legislature has had medical marijuana legislation before it since 2005, when Sen. Nick Scutari (D-Linden) first introduced a bill. The bill had hearings in June 2006 and last December, when it passed out of committee on a 6-1 vote.

"The bill is very conservative," said Ken Wolski, RN, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey. "No medical marijuana state has a smaller plant limit or possession amount. Still, it will help a tremendous number of patients here."

If the bill passes the Senate Monday, it then goes to the Assembly, where it must be approved by the health committee and then the Assembly as a whole. Gov. Jon Corzine (D) has said repeatedly that he supports medical marijuana and would sign a bill that makes it to his desk.

Marijuana: Washington State Decriminalization Bill Wins Committee Vote

A bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana in Washington state was approved by the state Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The measure now heads for the Senate Rules Committee, which must also approve it before it can head for a floor vote.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/washingtonstatehouse.jpg
Washington State House, Olympia
The bill, SB 5615, reclassifies adult possession of no more than 40 grams of marijuana from a misdemeanor crime carrying mandatory jail time to a civil infraction imposing a $100 penalty that can be paid by mail.

A companion bill, HB 1177, has been referred to the House Committee on Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness, where it has yet to be scheduled for a public hearing. If a hearing isn't held by next Wednesday, the effort will be effectively dead because that's the day by which bills must be passed out of committee.

Twelve states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, the most recent being Massachusetts last November. A decriminalization bill is also being considered this year in New Hampshire.

Marijuana: Zogby Poll Shows Majority Support for Taxing and Regulating Marijuana on the West Coast, Support Climbing Nationwide

Support for taxing and regulating marijuana has climbed above 50% on the West Coast, according to a national poll of 1,053 registered voters. The poll was conducted by Zogby International and was commissioned by California NORML and Oakland's Oaksterdam University.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/marijuana-plants.jpg
marijuana plants (photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia)
The poll found that 58% of West Coast respondents agreed that marijuana should be "taxed and regulated like alcohol and cigarettes." Only 36% of West Coast respondents disagreed.

On the East Coast, 48% supported legalizing marijuana. In the south and central US, support fell to 37%. Overall, 44% of respondents nationwide agreed that pot should be taxed and regulated.

That's roughly in line with a CBS/New York Times poll earlier this month that found 41% of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, up from just 27% in 1979. That, said national NORML executive director Allen St. Pierre, is a good thing.

"Public support for replacing the illicit marijuana market with a legally regulated, controlled market similar to alcohol, complete with age restrictions and quality controls, continues to grow, and appears to have achieved majority support on the West Coast -- where many voters are already familiar with the state-licensed use and, in some cases, sale of medical cannabis," he said.

"As voters and legislators continue to look for alternative ways to raise tax revenue for public services and reduce law enforcement costs in this troubled economy, we expect the public's support for taxing and regulating cannabis to continue to grow -- not just on the West Coast, but nationwide."

Study: Marijuana Users Less Likely to Get Injured Than Non-Users

A new study from Switzerland looked at substance use among people admitted to the hospital with injuries. Not surprisingly, people who'd been drinking alcohol were more likely to get hurt than those who had not. But what about marijuana use?

Conversely, cannabis use was associated with significantly lowered risk of injury. Whereas the risk for injuries associated with the use of less than a pipe or joint’s worth were not significantly different from the on associated with no use,  relative risks decreased with increasing levels of use… [BioMedCentral]

Not only were marijuana users less likely to be injured than non-users, but risk of injury actually decreased with larger doses. It's incredible. But my point here isn’t that the more pot you smoke the safer you'll be (although that is what the data suggests). It was a small sample and I kind of doubt that continued research would confirm a massive reduction in risk of injury among marijuana users.

What matters here is that marijuana clearly doesn't raise your risk of doing something stupid and busting your head open or whatever. What better indication of this could there be than the fact that people who show up all bloody at the emergency room are disproportionately not high on pot?

The researchers note that marijuana use may sometimes take place in safer environments than alcohol use and that marijuana users as a group might be more careful to avoid risks while under the influence. I'm sure both of these points are correct, but to really sum all this up: marijuana just doesn’t make you do dumb shit.

The widely-disseminated notion that marijuana leads to impaired judgment is simply false. Thus, I'm tempted to conclude that much of the propaganda aimed at associating marijuana with risk-taking behaviors has been motivated by cynicism on the part of our opposition, namely to the effect that they recognized -- and sought to preemptively obscure -- the relative safety of the drug.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me in the marijuana debate is the extent to which anti-pot propaganda is not only false, but is in fact often the precise opposite of the truth.

Media Advisory: New Jersey Senate to Vote on Medical Marijuana on Monday, February 23

[Courtesy of Coalition for Medical Marijuana -- New Jersey, Inc.] 

FOR IMMEDIATE Release: February 19, 2009

For more information, contact: Ken Wolski @ (609) 394-2137

New Jersey Senate to Vote on Medical Marijuana

WHO:      State Senators in New Jersey

WHAT:   Will vote on the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (S119)

WHEN:   Monday February 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM

WHERE: Senate Chambers of the New Jersey State House in Trenton, NJ

WHY:       To advance a bill that will protect seriously ill or injured New Jersey patients who use therapeutic marijuana on the advice of a licensed physician. 

The New Jersey State Senate will vote on the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act" (S119)  on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 2:00 PM in the State House Senate Chambers in Trenton, NJ.  Many supporters of the bill plan to attend the voting session, led by the Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc. (CMMNJ).  New Jersey would become the 14th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana by passing this legislation into law.

S119 will remove the state penalties for the possession, use and cultivation of a small amount of marijuana when a licensed physician recommends it for a debilitating medical condition.  Qualifying medical conditions include chronic pain, cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, etc.  Patients will be issued ID cards in a program run by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS).  Patients will be permitted to grow up to six plants and possess one ounce of marijuana, but they will not be permitted to use their therapeutic marijuana in public or while operating motor vehicles.  Patients may designate a caregiver or treatment center to grow the plants for them, but the caregiver/center must also register with DHSS.  CMMNJ Executive Director, Ken Wolski, RN said, “The bill is very conservative.  No medical marijuana state has a smaller plant limit or possession amount.  Still, it will help a tremendous number of patients here.”  The American Nurses Association, the American College of Physicians, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of HIV Medicine and many other professional healthcare organizations have endorsed medical marijuana. 

S119 was originally introduced by Senator Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden, in January 2005, and was referred to the senate health committee.   Hearings were conducted on the bill in June 2006 and in December 2008, at which time the bill was favorably released out of committee by a 6 – 1 vote.  If the bill passes in the senate, it will then go to the assembly for votes by the health committee and the entire assembly.  Governor Jon Corzine has said on several occasions that he supports medical marijuana and that he will sign the bill when it gets to his desk. 

CMMNJ, 501(c)(3) public charity, provides education about the benefits of safe and legal access to medical marijuana.  For more info, contact:

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA, Executive Director

Coalition for Medical Marijuana--New Jersey, Inc.
844 Spruce St., Trenton, NJ  08648
609.394.2137 www.cmmnj.org   ohamkrw@aol.com

This link from the Drug Policy Alliance allows personalized e-mails to be forwarded to all NJ State Senators:

http://dpa.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=9921.0&dlv_id=24781

Location: 
Trenton, NJ
United States

Tour For Compassion

Get your bicycles ready, a couple spare tubes and tires.. We are going to ride across the United States again for medical marijuana patients' rights and freedoms. Clearly we have seen the efforts of those who have, for the past 70 years, misinformed and false educated the world that Cannabis/Marijuana does not have medical uses, or medical properties and the benefits of cannabis is it natural form, is not possible...they are so mistaken. On April 7, 2006 we (Journey for Justice Seven), rode from Folly Beach, SC to San Francisco, CA. We met and saw so many great people that come out and supported us. From young to old, smokers and non smokers, lawyers, store owners, park rangers, police officers, doctors, moms, dads, and grandparents signed our truck. So much was accomplished by a small group, and so many medical testimonies where recorded by Mark Pedersen, driver of the Journey for Justice Seven support truck, and the world now gets to know what medical patients are going though on a daily basis and how medical cannabis has helped relieve so much pain and suffering that goes on every day. Show your support, help how you can, with the next epic journey across our country. Let's change the laws together, for the good of humanity -- with enough people together, anything can be done. If you want your state or town to be on the route, please share your request ASAP!! The route is growing and building, getting detailed as the days and weeks pass. For more information and complete details, contact Tonya Davis at 937-479-0461, 937-435-7922, or tonyadavisis@hotmail.com.
Date: 
Fri, 05/15/2009 - 12:00pm
Location: 
Blaine, WA
United States

Press Release: House Committee Passes Medical Marijuana, 9-6

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
FEBRUARY 18, 2009

House Committee Passes Medical Marijuana, 9-6

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

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -- Minnesota's medical marijuana bill, H.F. 292, cleared its first hurdle in the House of Representatives today, passing the Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee in a vote of 9 to 6. The vote came after medical marijuana patients and others testified to the relief provided by medical marijuana when conventional treatments had failed.

    "Before medical marijuana, I was in such pain I had no life," said K.K. Forss of Ely, who suffers chronic, severe pain as a result of a ruptured disk in his neck and repeated surgeries on his neck and upper spine. "It was so horrible I wanted to die every day. No one should have to face a choice between suffering unbearably and risking arrest and jail."

    Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia), sponsor of the bill, hailed the vote, saying, "Today's vote is an important step toward protecting seriously ill Minnesotans. The evidence is clear that medical marijuana can help some patients who suffer terribly, and it's time to protect these patients from arrest and jail."

    "This sensible, humane, bipartisan bill is modeled after laws that have been working well for years in states like Montana and Rhode Island," said Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan). "We should not be using our scarce law enforcement dollars to arrest suffering patients for using a medicine their doctor has recommended."

    Thirteen states, comprising approximately one-quarter of the U.S. population, now permit medical use of marijuana under state law if a physician has recommended it. 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.

####

Location: 
St. Paul, MN
United States

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