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Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Testify TODAY at Taxpayers' Hearing in Sacramento

[Courtesy of ASA] For Immediate Release: March 18, 2008 Contact: ASA Media Liaison Kris Hermes (510) 681-6361 or, in Sacramento, ASA California Director Don Duncan (323) 326-6347 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Testify Today at Taxpayers' Hearing in Sacramento Patients and their providers pay more than $100 million in sales tax annually Sacramento, CA -- More than a half-dozen medical marijuana dispensary operators from across the state will testify today at 1:30pm before the State Board of Equalization (BOE) at its Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Hearing. Dispensary operators from southern and northern California, joined by medical marijuana advocates, will be in Sacramento to discuss their significant contribution of $100 million in annual sales tax revenue to an ailing state budget. While sales tax on medical marijuana clearly benefits the fiscal health of the state, that funding is threatened by increased interference from the federal government. What: Medical marijuana dispensary operators and advocates testify at the Board of Equalization's Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Hearing When: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 1:30pm Where: Hearing Room 121 at the BOE, 450 N Street in Sacramento Why: Medical marijuana annual sales tax revenue of $100 million is threatened by continued federal interference Who: Testimony will be heard from dispensary operators in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz "Medical marijuana dispensaries are doing their best to comply with state law," said Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), one of the advocacy groups testifying today. "One hundred million dollars annually in sales tax revenue is not small change," continued Hermes. "However, by continuing to shut these facilities down, the federal government deprives the state of this money at a time of fiscal crisis." According to recent estimations by multiple advocacy groups, California's hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries contribute to the state budget at least $100 million annually in sales tax revenue. The State of California began collecting sales tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries in October 2005, after a policy decision that year by the BOE. However, the same facilities that are expected to comply with this policy are currently under attack by the federal government. Enforcement tactics by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have had a devastating impact on dispensaries in California. In 2007 alone, the DEA raided more than 50 medical marijuana dispensaries in at least 10 different counties across the state. Also, in 2007, the DEA launched a new tactic in its attempts to undermine state law by disseminating more than 300 letters to landlords of dispensaries, threatening the property owners with criminal prosecution and asset seizure if they continued to lease to dispensaries. "The sales tax collected by medical marijuana dispensaries in one year could fund the construction of two large schools or 2,000 elementary and high school teachers," said ASA Chief of Staff Rebecca Saltzman. "By robbing California of this much needed revenue, the federal government is not only harming thousands of patients that rely on this medicine, it is also impeding the state's ability to fund critical aspects of its infrastructure." The federal government's efforts to undermine California's medical marijuana law have not gone unnoticed by local and state lawmakers. Letters from concerned local officials in 2007 prompted U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers to issue a statement in December expressing his deep concern and calling for DEA oversight hearings. Since then, Mayors from Oakland and Santa Cruz, as well as the Berkeley City Council and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, have all registered their opposition to federal enforcement against medical marijuana. In addition, State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) introduced SJR 20 earlier this year, calling for an end to federal interference and urging Congress and the President to establish policy consistent with the compassionate use laws of California. Most recently, in February, former BOE Chair Betty Yee co-authored an opinion piece with Senator Migden harshly criticizing DEA tactics in California, emphasizing the harm to both patients and the state. Further information: ASA Fact Sheet on Sales Tax: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/sales_tax_fact_sheet.pdf Copy of State Senate Joint Resolution 20, calling for an end to DEA interference: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/SJR_20.pdf BOE notice sent to dispensaries in 2007 alerting them to the new sales tax policy: http://www.boe.ca.gov/news/pdf/medseller2007.pdf Opinion piece by Betty Yee & Carole Migden: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/15/ED0UV1RNP.DTL
Location: 
Sacramento, CA
United States

March 19, 2008: Dr. Mollie Fry to be Sentenced for Medical Marijuana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 17, 2008 CONTACT: Bobby Eisenberg, FRY/SCHAFER Defense Committee at Bobby@docfry.com or 530-823-9963 California Dr. Mollie Fry to be Sentenced for Medical Marijuana Sentencing scheduled for Wednesday, March 19th at 2pm in Sacramento Federal Court. The federal sentencing of medical marijuana defendants Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband, Attorney Dale Schafer will take place on Wednesday, March 19th at the US courthouse in Sacramento (5th and I St.). The sentencing is at 2 PM. There will be a press conference before the hearing at 1PM in front of the Court House. The couple was denied the right to defend their actions that were protected under the Laws of the State of California. WHO: Sentencing in Federal Court of Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband, Attorney Dale Schafer for cultivation and dispensing medical marijuana under the Laws of California. WHAT: Press Conference prior to sentencing at 1 PM WHEN: Sentencing is Wednesday, March 19th, 2008 at 2 PM WHERE: Federal Court House, 501 "I " St., Sacramento, CA "We never would have grown marijuana had it not been sanctioned by the Laws of the State of California, the Attorney General of California and the District Attorney and Sheriffs’ of El Dorado County. Why aren’t they being charged with conspiracy to violate Federal Law?" asks Dr. Fry. Dr. Fry and her husband face a likely 5-year mandatory minimum sentence for conspiracy to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana for a small number of Dr. Fry’s patients. They ran (and continue to run) a popular medical marijuana clinic in El Dorado County that provides recommendations for many needy patients in the Sierra Foothills: http://www.docfry.com. Go to articles link for background. Like other federal defendants, they were denied the right to mention medical marijuana or Prop 215 in their trial. Both are in fragile health - Dale has hemophilia and suffers from chronic back pain, and Mollie is a breast cancer survivor. They are currently caring for three beautiful children and two grandchildren in their home. They were among the first medical marijuana providers raided by the Bush Administration, just a couple of weeks after 9/11 (9/28/01), but were not successfully indicted until June 22nd, 2005 after the Raich decision was overturned by the Supreme Court. Dale Schafer had also run for District Attorney in 2001. The sentence they face is particularly egregious compared to other defendants who have grown far more marijuana. They are liable to a five-year mandatory minimum because they were convicted of growing 100 plants over a period of three years, a number far smaller than is usually prosecuted by federal authorities. The jury was forced to add three different years worth of gardens to come up with the 100-plant count. They were not allowed to mention at their trial that local law enforcement had (deliberately) entrapped them by telling them it was OK to grow their relatively modest garden or that they had received advice of counsel supporting their right to grow and care for others under the Law in California. The Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, the District Attorney and the Sheriff in El Dorado County were all aware of and supportive of Dr. Fry and Schafer’s activities, but the jury was also denied these truths. Fry and Schafer’s case aptly exemplifies the kind of DEA enforcement abuses bill SJR 20 condemns. Patients and medical marijuana rights supporters are welcome to attend.
Location: 
Sacramento, CA
United States

Marijuana Policy Project: Are you planning to visit New York this spring?

[Courtesy of MPP]

You’re invited to an exciting evening with the Marijuana Policy Project at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan on May 14.

MPP Medical Marijuana Benefit
Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th Street, New York City
Wednesday, May 14, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Please consider joining us for a night of comedy and music to celebrate MPP’s recent successes on the path to passing medical marijuana legislation in New York state (and other parts of the country).

The event will feature a performance by folk-rock band Nicole Atkins & The Sea, as well as special appearances by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Michelle Phillips and medical marijuana advocate Montel Williams. We’ll also honor Joel Peacock, a patient advocate from Buffalo who suffers from chronic pain resulting from a 2001 car accident.

Proceeds from the event will be used to change the law to remove criminal penalties for medical marijuana. If the New York bill passes in the next few months, New York would become the 13th medical marijuana state in the country.

Last year, the New York Assembly passed the bill by a 95-52 vote, marking the first time that such a bill has received a vote on the floor of either chamber of the New York Legislature. Plus, more than 1,000 doctors in New York have spoken out in support of medical marijuana, in addition to the Albany, Buffalo, and New York city councils and most medical organizations in the state.

The New York legislation is at the brink of victory — and the prospects for some of MPP’s other bills look good in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Please join us and be a part of the tipping point that brings about these momentous changes!

Please don’t wait long to buy your tickets, since space is limited.

I look forward to seeing you on May 14 in New York City.

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 $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2008. This means that your ticket purchase today will be doubled.

Location: 
New York, NY
United States

Press Release: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Testify at Taxpayers' Hearing in Sacramento

[Courtesy of Americans for Safe Access] For Immediate Release: March 17, 2008 Contact: ASA Media Liaison Kris Hermes (510) 681-6361 or, in Sacramento, ASA California Director Don Duncan (323) 326-6347 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to Testify at Taxpayers' Hearing in Sacramento Patients and their providers pay more than $100 million in sales tax annually Sacramento, CA -- More than a half-dozen medical marijuana dispensary operators from across the state are expected to testify tomorrow at 1:30pm before the State Board of Equalization (BOE) at its Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Hearing. Dispensary operators from southern and northern California, joined by medical marijuana advocates, will be in Sacramento to discuss the significant contribution of $100 million in annual sales tax revenue to an ailing state budget. While sales tax on medical marijuana clearly benefits the fiscal health of the state, that funding is threatened by increased interference from the federal government. What: Medical marijuana dispensary operators and advocates testify at the Board of Equalization's Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Hearing When: Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 1:30pm Where: Hearing Room 121 at the BOE, 450 N Street in Sacramento Why: Medical marijuana annual sales tax revenue of $100 million is threatened by continued federal interference Who: Testimony will be heard from dispensary operators in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz "Medical marijuana dispensaries are doing their best to comply with state law," said Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), one of the advocacy groups testifying tomorrow. "One hundred million dollars annually in sales tax revenue is not small change," continued Hermes. "However, by continuing to shut these facilities down, the federal government deprives the state of this money at a time of fiscal crisis." According to recent estimations by multiple advocacy groups, California's hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries contribute to the state budget at least $100 million annually in sales tax revenue. The State of California began collecting sales tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries in October 2005, after a policy decision that year by the BOE. However, the same facilities that are expected to comply with this policy are currently under attack by the federal government. Enforcement tactics by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have had a devastating impact on dispensaries in California. In 2007 alone, the DEA raided more than 50 medical marijuana dispensaries in at least 10 different counties across the state. Also, in 2007, the DEA launched a new tactic in its attempts to undermine state law by disseminating more than 300 letters to landlords of dispensaries, threatening the property owners with criminal prosecution and asset seizure if they continued to lease to dispensaries. "The sales tax collected by medical marijuana dispensaries in one year could fund the construction of two large schools or 2,000 elementary and high school teachers," said ASA Chief of Staff Rebecca Saltzman. "By robbing California of this much needed revenue, the federal government is not only harming thousands of patients that rely on this medicine, it is also impeding the state's ability to fund critical aspects of its infrastructure." The federal government's efforts to undermine California's medical marijuana law have not gone unnoticed by local and state lawmakers. Letters from concerned local officials in 2007 prompted U.S. House Judiciary Chair John Conyers to issue a statement in December expressing his deep concern and calling for DEA oversight hearings. Since then, Mayors from Oakland and Santa Cruz, as well as the Berkeley City Council and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, have all registered their opposition to federal enforcement against medical marijuana. In addition, State Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) introduced SJR 20 earlier this year, calling for an end to federal interference and urging Congress and the President to establish policy consistent with the compassionate use laws of California. Most recently, in February, former BOE Chair Betty Yee co-authored an opinion piece with Senator Migden harshly criticizing DEA tactics in California, emphasizing the harm to both patients and the state. Further information: ASA Fact Sheet on Sales Tax: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/sales_tax_fact_sheet.pdf Copy of State Senate Joint Resolution 20, calling for an end to DEA interference: http://americansforsafeaccess.org/downloads/SJR_20.pdf BOE notice sent to dispensaries in 2007 alerting them to the new sales tax policy: http://www.boe.ca.gov/news/pdf/medseller2007.pdf Opinion piece by Betty Yee & Carole Migden: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/15/ED0UV1RNP.DTL
Location: 
Sacramento, CA
United States

Join ASA at Medical Cannabis Conference

[Courtesy of Americans for Safe Access]

Doctors, patients, and researchers from around the world are gearing up for the 5th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time on April 4-5. Click here to register for the conference.

Patient Out of Time's Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics will feature patients, activists, doctors, and researchers gathering to discuss the latest research on medical marijuana. This important conference only happens once every other year, so if you are a patient, doctor, researcher, and/or supporter, we strongly encourage you to consider attending the conference, which will be held on the Monterey Peninsula. The conference is less than a month away, and the registration price increases after March 20, so register today!

Several members of ASA's Medical and Scientific Advisory Board have been asked to present at the conference, including Philippe Lucas whose talk will be "Putting the Compassion in Compassion Clubs." This cutting edge conference is an excellent opportunity for patients, and their physicians, to learn about exciting and important developments in research.

Started in 2000, the Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics is the only national conference organized specifically by patients where attendees will learn about the scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic use of cannabis. It offers the opportunity to meet, network, and share experiences with a diverse national gathering of patients, medical cannabis researchers, our allies and supporters.

Join ASA at the 5th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, April 4-5, 2008, at Asilomar Conference Center, in beautiful, coastal Pacific Grove, California. If you are a patient, please share this information with your medical cannabis physician. The conference has been accredited by University of California, San Francisco which means your physician could be eligible to receive Continuing Medical Education credits.

For more information, see their website at www.MedicalCannabis.com/Conference.htm.

See You in California,

Caren Woodson
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Safe Access

P.S. Help send ASA's staff and supporters to the National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics. Become a member of ASA today!

Location: 
Pacific Grove, CA
United States

Medical Marijuana at the Statehouse: Prospects for 2008

A dozen years after California voters ushered in the age of legal medical marijuana by supporting Proposition 215, the legal use of the herb for medicinal purposes has spread to 11 other states -- Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington -- but in recent years, progress has been excruciatingly slow.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/cmmnj2.jpg
2005 Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ press conference
The last statewide initiative to go to voters failed in 2006 in South Dakota -- the only state where voters have rejected an initiative legalizing medical marijuana -- and last year, it took Herculean efforts by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) to revive and rescue the medical marijuana bill there, making the Land of Enchantment the only state to be added to the list of medical marijuana states in 2007. (Rhode Island legislators, who had passed a sunsetted bill in 2006, made it permanent last year.)

This year, serious efforts to pass medical marijuana laws at the state house are underway in several more states, with most of the efforts being run by local groups backed by either the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) or the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Here's a look at the states where there has been or will be action at the state house on medical marijuana:

Alabama: A medical marijuana bill was introduced last week by Rep. Laura Hall (D), but has yet to be assigned a bill number. This will mark the second year in a row that Alabama legislators have had a medical marijuana bill before them. There will be hearings this year, said Loretta Nall, executive director of Alabamians for Compassionate Care, the local group coordinating the effort to pass the bill.

One of those who will testify is Jacki Phillips, whose son, Michael Phillips, had testified in support of medical marijuana in the past. Michael Phillips, who throughout his life suffered from seizures related to brain tumors, died last December in a New Orleans hotel room during the DPA conference.

"I'm going to tell those lawmakers that the system killed my son," said Phillips. "I truly believe that if he could have gotten the marijuana and it had been regulated like other seizure medicines, he would be alive today. I'm not asking them to legalize it for potheads," she said, "I'm a Southern Baptist and I believe God gave you a brain to use, but using marijuana for medical purposes would help a lot of people."

Marijuana didn't stop Michael Phillips' seizures, his mother said, "but it gave him the chance to function on a normal level for a period of time." When he smoked marijuana, she said, he would still have seizures, but their frequency and intensity was greatly reduced.

Connecticut: After seeing a medical marijuana bill pass the legislature there last year only to be vetoed by Gov. Jodi Rell (R), activists there have found little traction on the issue this year as the legislature debates other criminal justice and drug policy issues.

"We were emboldened last year and then deeply disappointed that people still essentially have to commit a crime to get access to medicine," DPA policy director Gabriel Sayegh told the Hartford Business Journal earlier this month. But despite little progress this year, "there is no doubt we are going to continue with this," he vowed.

Illinois: A medical marijuana bill, SB 2865, has passed committee votes and is now headed to the Senate floor, but its House companion bill, HB 5938, lost a committee vote this week. Still, that doesn't mean the measure is dead.

"Unlike many states, losing a committee vote doesn't kill your bill," said MPP's Mirken, who spent part of this week at the state capitol in Springfield accompanying patients as they lobbied legislators.

MPP and local reform groups IDEAL (Illinois Drug Education and Legislative Reform) and Illinois Compassion Action Network are keeping the pressure on. This week, MPP released a poll showing 68% support for medical marijuana in the state.

Kansas: The first effort at passing a medical marijuana bill in Kansas, supported by the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition and former Republican Attorney General Robert Stephan, ended a couple of weeks ago, bottled up in committee by a hostile committee chair. While disappointing, that is hardly surprising, given the torturous legislative process facing any new bill.

Kansans should not be disheartened that they did not achieve victory in their first try, said MPP's Mirken. "It has been a multi-year struggle in all the states that have passed these laws," he said. "It's no surprise that it will take more than one year in Kansas."

Minnesota: Last year, a medical marijuana bill passed the state Senate, but died of inaction in the House in the face of veto threats from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty. But MPP and local affiliate Minnesotans for Compassionate Care are again working with friendly legislators. A Republican House member, Rep. Chris DeLaForest, is cosponsoring a House bill this year.

Minnesota's is a two-year legislative session, so that means only a House bill must pass this year, provided it is congruent with the already passed Senate bill.

"We are sitting in the House waiting for it to be brought up," said Mirken. "We're hoping it will pass and the governor will see the light."

New Jersey: For the fourth consecutive year, a medical marijuana bill, AB 804 has been introduced by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) and a companion bill has been introduced in the state Senate. DPA's New Jersey office is working the legislature, but there seems little likelihood the Senate will act.

"The Senate has always been the hold-up," said Ken Wolski, RN, executive officer of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey. "Although Gov. Corzine has said he would sign a bill if it gets to his desk, the Assembly doesn't really want to mess with it if the Senate won't move on it, so here we are."

New York: A medical marijuana bill, SO4768, initially introduced last year was reintroduced in January. It passed the Assembly last year, but was referred at that time to the Senate Health Committee where it has languished ever since. Given the turmoil in Albany in the wake of this week's resignation of Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer, said MPP's Mirken, it will take awhile for the dust to settle. "We're trying to figure out how the Spitzer follies will change the situation, " he said. "While we have some hopes for New York, at this point, medical marijuana is not on the top of anybody's agenda."

One optimistic sign, said Mirken, was that the new governor, David Paterson, is on much better terms with Republican Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno. Another is that, like Minnesota, New York has a two-year session, so a bill will not have to again pass the Assembly.

The medical marijuana movement has mowed its way through most of the low-hanging fruit of the initiative states and now faces the long, hard slog through the legislative process if it wants to get more states on board. While it is less expensive to attempt to win in the legislature than at the ballot box, it is also much more difficult and complicated.

"A lot of politicians are needlessly skittish about the politics of this," said Mirken. "If it were just a vote on the merits, it would pass today. Everywhere, we can produce polling numbers to show these guys a medical marijuana vote is not going to hurt them, but there is a deeply ingrained fear of being portrayed as soft on drugs, and that's very difficult to overcome. It's a real struggle," he said.

When pressed on where victories might come this year, Mirken was careful. "I'd say there was a fighting chance in Illinois, Minnesota, and New York, but in an election year, politicians are more timid than usual," he offered.

The real best shot this year, he said, is likely Michigan, where an initiative has been approved for the November ballot.

Europe: Dutch Government to Review Marijuana Laws, Moves to Ban Grow Shops

The Dutch government will undertake a review of its 30-year-old policy of pragmatic tolerance of marijuana use and possession and regulated -- although still illegal -- marijuana sales, Dutch News reported last week. Christian Democratic Health Minister Ab Klink agreed to undertake the review at the behest of parliamentarians concerned that the easy availability of the weed is leading to increases in youth drug abuse.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/maastricht-coffee-shop.jpg
downstairs of a coffee shop, Maastricht (courtesy Wikimedia)
That same day, Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin also signaled that he wants to crack down on marijuana growing and criminalize the "grow shops" that provide seeds, lights, and other specialized growing equipment to marijuana cultivators. While the Dutch tolerate marijuana possession and sales, marijuana growing remains illegal and growers are subject to arrest.

Although the Netherlands has become famous for its tolerant approach to soft drugs and other vices, such as prostitution, the conservative Christian Democratic government has been trying to reverse the situation. It has reduced the number of coffee shops that sell marijuana, particularly near schools, and it is considering various measures to limit "drug tourism," including the fingerprinting of foreign coffee house customers.

This week, the city of Maastricht failed in a bid to relocate some of its coffee shops to areas on the edge of the city. Every day, around a thousand foreigners, mainly neighboring Germans and Belgians, visit the city to buy marijuana, and the city had hoped to reduce congestion in its center by moving some of the shops to "coffee corners" on the edge of town.

But a Dutch judge ruled Tuesday that the city had not provided sufficient grounds for granting building permits for the new coffee shops. The ruling came after neighboring local councils complained that Maastricht's move would simply shift the problems of congestion and associated crime in their direction.

Still, according to reports compiled by Expatica, an English-language Dutch news service, Maastricht remains undeterred. In response to the ruling, the mayor has already placed "portocabins" near the new locations.

If the Wrong People Find You With Pot, They'll Ruin Your Life

It's just that simple. If there is one universal truth in the marijuana debate, it is that the punishment for pot is always vastly more damaging than the effects of the drug itself:
NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - When a Westchester father found a marijuana cigarette in his son's pocket he went to North Salem High School for help. The 16-year-old boy told his dad he bought the joint in the school library for $20.

The school suspended the teen, Pablo Rodriguez, for nine weeks.

Many of his neighbors hearing the case believe the suspension is too long and they've begun a petition asking school officials to reconsider.

The teen's father, also named Pablo Rodriguez, says they would never have known about the marijuana in his son's pocket if he didn't tell them. The elder Rodriguez says he now believes parents should keep quiet if they learn their children are doing drugs. [Newsday.com]
Yeah, don't bother asking the school for "help" when it comes to marijuana or other drugs. That's not a service most schools provide. Marijuana policies both large and small are typically structured around the theory that badly injuring those who are caught will deter others. In the process, parents become disillusioned, students who need help are afraid to ask, and students who were doing just fine are suspended for 9 weeks.

Let's just review once again the lesson learned by Mr. Rodriguez:
The elder Rodriguez says he now believes parents should keep quiet if they learn their children are doing drugs.
Nothing could more perfectly illustrate the failure of a drug policy than its ability to encourage secrecy among parents who want help. Anyone who is concerned about marijuana affecting academic performance can begin by not denying marijuana users the opportunity to perform academically.
Location: 
United States

March 2008 Cannabinoid Chronicles, 50th Issue

[Courtesy of The Vancouver Island Compassion Society] The March 2008 issue of the Cannabinoid Chronicles (our 50th edition!) is available online for viewing, and can be found at: http://www.thevics.com/publications/vol5/VICSNews5_7.pdf.
Location: 
Canada

Jamaica: Government Considering Marijuana Legalization, Official Says

The Jamaican government is considering whether to legalize or decriminalize marijuana as part of possible changes to the island nation's drug laws, an official told the Associated Press last Friday. The herb is revered by Jamaica's Rastafarians and widely consumed, grown, and trafficked in the Caribbean nation.

A seven-member government commission has been researching drug law reforms. Some Jamaican law enforcement officials have complained that marijuana cases clog the courts and jails.

"We have discussed it, and we are preparing a report to present to the prime minister," said Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh.

It wouldn't be the first time. A blue ribbon commission recommended in 2001 that the personal and religious use of marijuana be decriminalized, but lawmakers have failed to act since then, at least in part out of fears that the US would impose economic sanctions if they did. In 2003, the government said a decrim bill was coming soon, but five years later, we're still waiting.

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