Marijuana

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Pete Gets Off the Couch and Joins a Gang

The closest thing to schizophrenia ever caused by marijuana is occurring at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which can't decide whether pot leads to laziness or gang violence.

First, ONDCP announced that marijuana causes extreme lethargy, via the ironic "Pete's Couch" ad in which marijuana is called the "safest thing in the world" because it keeps you from ever leaving home.

Now, ONDCP wants everyone to know that marijuana is linked to violence and gang membership, via a self-produced study, which cherry-picks and manipulates various statistics in an effort to portray marijuana users as violent criminals.

So which is it? Are some marijuana users driven to violence while others are incapacitated by laziness? In reality, gang members and lazy people both enjoy marijuana, as do a great number of people who are neither lethargic nor dangerous. People like pot, and there are countless subgroups of users whose lifestyle can be falsely attributed to marijuana if one is willing to ignore the scientific method.

The blatant contradiction inherent in ONDCP's anti-pot messages is best illustrated in their blog, where they brag about Slate Magazine's praise for their new line of softer ads, then announce in the very next post that marijuana is linked to youth violence.

Maybe it just depends on your definition of the word "gang." What do you call a group of  teenagers who get together and commit crimes on Pete's couch?
Location: 
United States

Judge disagrees with high priest

Location: 
Canada
Publication/Source: 
The Comox Valley Record (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=8&cat=23&id=1009012&more=0

DPA Press Release: Governor Rell Ignores Will of Voters and Legislators and Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 19, 2007 CONTACT: Lorenzo Jones, T: (860) 270-9586 or Gabriel Sayegh, T: (646) 335-2264 Governor Rell Vetoes Medical Marijuana Bill, Changing Her Reasons for Opposition to Issue Yet Again Compassionate Use Bill Would Have Protected Patients With Debilitating Illnesses From Arrest, Prosecution Patients, Community Members Ask: Governor Rell, As a Cancer Survivor, How Do You Sleep At Night While Patients In Our State Continue to Be Criminalized for Seeking Relief? HARTFORD, CT—Today, Governor M. Jodi Rell vetoed HB 6715, the Compassionate Use Act. The bill would have allowed certain patients with debilitating illnesses to use marijuana for medical purposes as recommended by their physician. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 23-13 after clearing the House of Representatives by an 89-58 vote weeks earlier, both of which were wide margins. By passing HB 6715, the Legislature ended a five-year legislative battle to win medical marijuana in a state that has overwhelming public support for the issue. A 2004 University of Connecticut poll found that 83 percent of Connecticut residents support the medical use of marijuana. Dozens of community organizations, including the CT Nurses Association, support allowing patients to access medical marijuana when recommended by their physician. “I am just 32 years old and yet due to my medical condition I feel as if, at times, I am 92,” said Joshua Warren, a patient in Wilton, CT, who suffers from chronic neurological Lyme disease. “I did not ask for this condition nor would I wish any of my pain and other symptoms on anyone else. If Gov. Rell had any compassion for people like me who are suffering with horrible pain and other debilitating illnesses, she would have signed this bill.” After the bill’s passage, patients, doctors, family members and advocates mounted a massive letter and phone call campaign urging the Governor to sign the bill. The Governor was receiving hundreds of phone calls and letters every day in support of medical marijuana, including from medical, legal, and health experts from across the country. “The Governor’s veto message shows that she’s grasping for straws,” said Lorenzo Jones, executive director of A Better Way Foundation. “She said previously that she’d support the bill if it was only for terminally ill patients, because clearly other treatments are not sufficient. Now she says she’s vetoing the bill because it’s still illegal under federal law, even though over 99% of all marijuana arrests are under state law. She has been so evasive on this that it makes one wonder if she hasn’t gotten a call from Washington. Is she taking the advice from the worst administration in history over the demands of 83% of Connecticut residents?” Thousands of Connecticut residents live with crippling pain, are suffering with cancer and HIV/AIDS, or other debilitating ailments. HB 6715 would have allowed Connecticut residents with certain debilitating medical conditions to cultivate and use marijuana for medical purposes when recommended by a practicing physician. “It’s unconscionable that Rell would ignore all the science to veto this bill,” said Gabriel Sayegh, project director at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The medical efficacy of marijuana is unassailable pain and suffering and are, as a result of this veto, still considered criminals?” Currently, there are 12 states with medical marijuana laws. New Mexico passed its medical marijuana bill in March. Last month, the Rhode Island legislature voted to make their state law permanent, and last week Vermont’s legislature voted to expand their medical marijuana law. Other medical marijuana bills are currently under consideration in New Jersey, New York and Alabama. Dawn Fuller Ball, President of A Better Way Foundation said, “In Governor Rell’s veto letter, she admits that the current legal pharmacology alternatives to medical marijuana are insufficient and that the State law enacted in 1981 is unworkable, yet the Governor continues to choose politics over patients.” Background Info: Governor Rell is Saying NO to Medical Marijuana When Connecticut Says YES: - CT's voters voted YES (83% approval rating in polls from UCONN polls to media polls) - Five Separate Legislative Committees voted YES - The House of Representatives voted YES (89-58) - The Senate voted YES (23-13) - This is a Republican sponsored bill (By some of most respected Republicans in the House and Senate) - The Black and Latino Caucus supports this bill (The President and Treasurer met with Rell's staff) - Faith Based Institutions voted YES (National and local pastors and Bishops have contacted Governor Rell) - Doctors, nurses, patients, and caregivers testified, wrote letters and called the Governor’s office on behalf of medical marijuana. ###
Location: 
Hartford, CT
United States

ASA's Medical Marijuana in the News: Week Ending 6/15/07

RESEARCH: Marijuana May Be Topical Allergy Cure ASA IN THE NEWS: Patients’ Right to Grow as Groups Tested in Court NEW YORK: Advocates Change Governor’s Mind on Medical Marijuana MICHIGAN: Advocates Seek Signatures for Medical Marijuana Initiative CONNECTICUT: Medical Marijuana Bill on Governor’s Desk COLORADO: Limits on Plant Numbers Challenged DISPENSARIES: Federal and Local Action in California -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RESEARCH: Marijuana May Be Topical Allergy Cure Few remember that cannabis was a popular remedy in the early twentieth century, commonly prescribed by doctors and widely available at pharmacies in several forms, including oral tinctures and topical salves. Scientists are rediscovering the potential of cannabis preparations for treating skin problems. Cannabis helps treat allergic reactions New Zealand Herald A cannabis folk remedy has been resurrected by scientists who found that active ingredients in the drug reduce allergic reactions. Extracts from the hemp plant were traditionally used to treat inflammation and could be bought from chemists in the early part of the 20th century. New frontier for medical cannabis -- topical pot by Kavita Mishra, San Francisco Chronicle Skin allergies may be the next reason to use marijuana -- a topical form, at least. Scientists have long suspected that marijuana, used for recreational purposes and to help fight chronic pain, nausea and even some mental disorders like anxiety and depression, also had anti-inflammatory effects in the body. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ASA IN THE NEWS: Patients’ Right to Grow as Groups Tested in Court The most seriously ill patients must rely on others to grow medical marijuana, something California’s law recognizes with a “caregiver” provision. But many patients have also organized as cultivation collectives to help each other, which the state legislature expressly made legal in 2003. A new court case may help better define the responsibilities of law enforcement when dealing with those patient collectives. Medical marijuana suit could break new ground by Heather Hacking, Oroville Mercury-Register A Superior Court case heard in Chico is raising the question whether a medicinal marijuana case can be tried in civil court — a step that would open up law enforcement to fighting lawsuits from people who have plants confiscated or destroyed. Collectives were OK'd in March 2002 by the Legislature, said Joe Elford, a lawyer for Americans For Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical marijuana. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEW YORK: Advocates Change Governor’s Mind on Medical Marijuana Ten years of tireless work by medical marijuana patients and advocates has made a difference in New York. The Governor himself has had his mind changed by the education he has gotten from patients and doctors. Myths and misinformation are the biggest barriers standing between many patients and a safe, effective treatment option. Legislators Grapple Over How to Legalize Medical Marijuana Use by Danny Hakim and Michael Grynbaum, New York Times Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders said this week that the use of marijuana for medical purposes should be made legal in New York State. But whether all involved can come to an agreement on how that should be done with one week left in the legislative session remains in significant doubt. NY Pols consider 'medical marijuana' by James T. Madore, NewsDay (NY) Legalizing marijuana for medical use appeared Wednesday to gain momentum here with lawmakers and then lose it as the legislature's two houses disagreed over implementation. Medical Marijuana Legislation Passes State Assembly by John Abraham, Long Island Press A new measure which would allow patients experiencing pain to ingest and grow marijuana cleared the state Assembly Wednesday in a 92-52 vote. The controversial measure is currently being debated between Democrats and Republicans in the state Senate. Spitzer is open to New York legalizing medicinal marijuana by Tom Precious, Buffalo News (NY) Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer, in a reversal of a campaign position, said Tuesday he could support legislation legalizing the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes. In a debate last summer, Spitzer said he opposed medical marijuana. Now he said he is “open” to the idea after being swayed by advocates in the past couple of months. Medical marijuana bill passed in Assembly Capital News 9 (NY) The state Assembly passed a bill legalizing medical use of marijuana Wednesday, after about a decade of attempts to approve similar legislation in the state. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MICHIGAN: Advocates Seek Signatures for Medical Marijuana Initiative Michigan's groundspring of public support is forcing lawmakers to recognize that medical marijuana is an option people want for themselves and their families. A flurry of local initiatives is being followed by a statewide measure that will be put to voters this fall, if organizers can get the required signatures. If passed, the bill will go to the legislature; if state lawmakers fail to act, it will return to voters. Prescription pot by Curt Guyette, Detroit Metro Times Rochelle Lampkin knows she's breaking the law when she lights a joint and takes a few tokes, but she doesn't feel like a criminal. The 48-year-old Detroit grandmother has multiple sclerosis, and an associated condition called optic neuritis, an excruciatingly painful inflammation of the optic nerve. It hits her a few times a month. Medical pot: Petition drive can put issue where it belongs - with voters by EDITORIAL, Lansing State Journal (MI) Six years ago, Michigan saw petition gatherers advocating a statewide vote on recreational use of marijuana. It was a bad idea at the time, as an LSJ editorial stated. It's still a bad idea, as Lansing-based pollster Ed Sarpolus affirmed in noting full legalization is still a no-go with state voters. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CONNECTICUT: Medical Marijuana Bill on Governor’s Desk Bipartisan support got a medical marijuana bill to the desk of the governor in Connecticut. She is being urged to sign it by her constituents and even a celebrity patient. Polling by the University of Connecticut shows 83% of the state wants to see the law enacted. MS Sufferer Montel Williams Makes the Case for Medical Pot by Montel Williams, AlterNet Editor's note: Connecticut may become the 13th state in the country to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. After legislation was passed in the state legislature this month, it is now up to Gov. M. Jodi Rell. What follows is a letter of support from Montel Williams. Marijuana Law in Connecticut Gains Ground by Stacey Stowe, New York Times Seventeen years ago, Mark Braunstein dived 60 feet off a footbridge into a river, landed wrong and became a paraplegic. A librarian at Connecticut College, Mr. Braunstein, 55, walks with the aid of crutches and leg braces. He smokes marijuana every three days or so to control the pain and spasms in his feet that would otherwise immobilize him. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COLORADO: Limits on Plant Numbers Challenged State laws that impose arbitrary limits on the number of plants or medicine patients can possess are not realistic. With other medications, we let doctors decide together with their patients what treatment levels are appropriate. In addition, differences in cultivation techniques mean some grow many small plants indoors while others grow a few larger ones outdoors. ASA is working with Sensible Colorado to help make state policy more reasonable. Veteran challenges arrest under medical-marijuana law Associated Press A former Marine who said marijuana helps him deal with injuries suffered during Operation Desert Storm is challenging the state’s medical marijuana law. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- DISPENSARIES: Federal and Local Action in California Many California state and local officials have recognized that dispensaries provide an invaluable service to patients while allowing oversight by the community. The state legislature made provisions for dispensing collectives in 2003, and local officials around the state have been implementing or considering regulations for their operation. (See AmericansForSafeaccess.org/DispensaryReport) A study by ASA found that regulations are working well. But that has not stopped the federal government from trying to intervene in local attempts to help patients. Federal agents search dispensary in Pomona by Monica Rodriguez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency - assisted by Pomona police officers - served a search warrant Wednesday afternoon at a medical marijuana dispensary in the eastern end of the city. D.A. rejects marijuana raid case Jewish Journal The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has rejected a case against the operator of a Van Nuys medical marijuana pharmacy that was raided in April by police who allegedly desecrated a mezuzah at the shop. New assistant DA sees no change in dispensary policy by K. Kaufmann, The Desert Sun When it comes to medical marijuana dispensaries, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will be standing by the white paper opposing dispensaries issued by former District Attorney Grover Trask last fall. City studying marijuana dispensary ban by Nisha Gutierrez, Whittier Daily News (CA) The Baldwin Park City Council is taking steps to consider placing a temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, officials said. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MORE ABOUT AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS Find out more about ASA at http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org. More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?list=type&type=122.
Location: 
United States

Medical Marijuana Measure Falls With Connecticut Governor’s Veto

Location: 
Stamford, CT
United States
Publication/Source: 
The New York Times
URL: 
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/20/nyregion/20rell.html

ONDCP's Emphasis on Marijuana is Incoherent on So Many Levels

This statement from Tom Riley at ONDCP is just jaw-dropping:
"It's easy to do ads about drugs like heroin and meth, and the awful consequences that manifest," says Tom Riley, director of public affairs at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. "It's harder to make ads about marijuana. 'Marijuana's gonna melt your face off' isn't really a credible thing to say to teens." [Slate]
The first problem here is that ONDCP really did make an ad quite recently in which a girl melts from smoking marijuana. You can watch it here. Nice try, Tom Riley. You should know better than to attempt an example of something your office wouldn't say about marijuana.

The second problem is that these supposedly easy-to-make ads about heroin and meth are not being made. Marijuana users have been portrayed by ONDCP as supporting terrorism, getting pregnant at a party, shooting a friend accidentally, running over a toddler, getting a fist stuck in their mouth, and on and on, but there are no ONDCP ads about heroin or meth.

Perplexing as it may be, Riley's statement perfectly captures the mindset of our marijuana-obsessed federal drug war establishment. He basically admits here that his office takes for granted the understanding that heroin and meth are harmful. It would be wasteful to tell the public what it already knows, particularly since smaller user populations make for bland statistical shifts even if you're successful. The drug war must be fed if it is to survive, and there just aren't enough heroin and meth users to sustain it.

The only downside is that some people will say you're a charlatan if kids are dying from heroin while you're busy making ads about chick-magnet space aliens that don't smoke weed.

Location: 
United States

Medical marijuana: New York is waiting to inhale

Location: 
Albany, NY
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Buffalo News (NY)
URL: 
http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/101789.html

Pot, Aliens, and ONDCP

Seth Stevenson at Slate is in love with the new ONDCP ad in which a pot-smoker's girlfriend dumps him for a non-smoking alien:
Grade: A. This is very possibly the most effective, and least offensive, anti-marijuana campaign ever created. I know that ONDCP, and the Partnership for a Drug Free America, are cautiously thrilled with it. I expect it will be the model for years to come.

I'm not going to beat Stevenson up over this. He shares my belief that these ads shouldn't be offensive, and I agree that this is obviously tame by ONDCP standards. But what on earth does it mean to say that ONDCP is "cautiously thrilled" with this?

When has ONDCP ever been less than thrilled with their advertisements? They've vigorously defended their media campaign throughout its numerous incarnations, never once finding fault, even as a growing mountain of evidence depicts their public outreach efforts as an undeniable failure. Could it be that they were more candid with Seth Stevenson than the U.S. Congress?

Stevenson's analysis is fair enough, at least insofar as this ad is concerned. But, dude, before you go gushing anymore about truth in advertising at ONDCP, you might wanna check out "Stoners in the Mist."

Location: 
United States

Veteran using medical pot fights arrest

Location: 
Centennial, CO
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Denver Post (CO)
URL: 
http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_6143690

South Pacific: Northern Mariana Islands in Tizzy Over Marijuana Decriminalization Proposal

A proposal by the highest law enforcement official in the Confederation of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to consider decriminalizing marijuana has met with a barrage of public criticism, according to the Saipan Tribune. The proposal saw the light of day when the newspaper obtained a copy of a letter from Health Secretary Joseph Villagomez to Attorney General Matthew Gregory addressing a May meeting between the two.

According to the letter, Gregory and Villagomez met to discuss Gregory's proposal to convene a meeting of experts to discuss marijuana's "benefits and lack of harm." In the letter, Villagomez said the Gregory hoped the health secretary would ask the legislature to remove marijuana from the archipelago's list of controlled substances.

That got to Senate Vice President Pete Reyes. "Just the idea that the highest law enforcement of the land is even thinking about it is very disheartening, frightening. It gives the impression that we're so desperate to generate some money that we would sell our souls," Reyes said.

In the wake of the blast from Reyes, a Gregory spokesman denied that he wants to legalize marijuana, but said that he is in touch with people who want to hold such a conference. He also said the administration has not take a position on making marijuana legal in the CNMI, but it approves of an open debate on the issue.

"No definite commitment has been made with regard to this proposal. The AGO will not do anything without the consent of the governor. We support an open discussion. We should let the people decide what they think is right," the spokesman said.

Health Secretary Villagomez, a 15-year substance abuse professional, declined to ask the legislature to decriminalize marijuana, saying he could not ignore the physical and psychological damage that he had seen drugs, including marijuana, cause to people. He also expressed concern that legalizing marijuana would result in more broken families, traffic accidents, and teen addiction, among other things. He noted that DPH would have to deal with these likely consequences. If Attorney General Gregory wants to decriminalize the weed, he should ask the governor to convene a meeting, he said.

"If the governor is onboard with this plan then I respectfully ask the governor to call for such a meeting. Since the Legislature will be the ultimate body that will remove marijuana from the listing, maybe they should be the one to call for such a meeting," Villagomez said.

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