Marijuana

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Council considers ban on pot dispensaries

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-briefs25.3jul25,1,6584920.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

ASA's Medical Marijuana in the News: July 1 -- July 21, 2007

ASA ACTION: Voter Rights Protected by Initiative Case ASA ACTION: Fighting for the Truth about Medical Marijuana COLORADO: ASA Action for Better Access LOS ANGELES: City Trying to Regulate, Feds Trying to Intimidate FEDERAL: Rosenthal to Appeal Medical Marijuana Conviction CALIFORNIA: Orange County to Issue Medical Marijuana ID Cards HAWAII: Expansion of Medical Marijuana Protections Sought WASHINGTON: Program Expansion Sought There, Too VIRGINIA: Medical Use of Marijuana - Criminal or Not? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ASA ACTION: Voter Rights Protected by Initiative Case A local California medical marijuana initiative that election officials say was narrowly defeated has become a test case for electronic voting machines. When proponents of the measure asked for a recount, Alameda County election officials said they could not provide data to prove that the machines had accurately tallied votes. ASA sued to make sure elections remain accountable to the people. “We’re trying to be good stewards of democracy,” said ASA’s Don Duncan. Medical marijuana election may head to revote by Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle An Alameda County judge said Friday she may void election results for a failed 2004 Berkeley medical marijuana measure and order it returned to the ballot because county election officials failed to hand over data from voting machines. Judge scolds officials for blocking vote recount by Ian Hoffman, The Argus (CA) Faced with accusations of lying, destroying public records and other chicanery, Alameda County officials — facing a lawsuit over their handling of a hotly contested election recount — instead protested to a state judge on Friday that they were victims of misunderstandings, bad decisions and their own ignorance of the multimillion-dollar machines used to conduct elections. Berkeley's Measure R Could Be Back In The Ballots ABC7 KGO-TV (San Francisco) A 2004 Berkeley ballot measure may be re-appearing on their 2008 ballot, that's according to an Alameda County superior court judge who found there was no way to accurately re-count votes because the registrar's office didn't back-up electronic data properly. Could it happen again? Judge Calls For New Vote After Data Loss by Bobby Carroll, Daily Californian A re-vote on a 2004 medical marijuana initiative appears likely after a judge issued a tentative ruling Thursday stating that electronic election data lost by Alameda County were critical to discerning the legitimacy of the Measure R voting results. New vote likely in California e-voting case by Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service A California judge is likely to order a Berkeley city initiative back on the ballot because of local officials' mishandling of electronic voting machine data, a public-interest lawyer arguing the case said Friday. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ASA ACTION: Fighting for the Truth about Medical Marijuana ASA’s petition to correct the government’s denial of medical marijuana has gone to federal court. ASA wants the Department of Health and Human Services to end two years of delay and respond to the petition, which outlines the substantial scientific research and government reports showing the therapeutic efficacy of marijuana and asks the government to stop saying there is no medical use. Arguing on behalf of patients was co-counsel Alan Morrison, the founder of Public Citizen’s Litigation Group and currently a senior lecturer at Stanford Law School. More info about the petition and the case is at www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org/DQA. Pot Group Sues to Make Feds Eat Words by Matthew Hirsch, The Recorder Medical marijuana advocates and federal prosecutors have never agreed on whether the drug has medical value. Now, an Oakland, Calif.-based advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access, is trying to use a little-known Clinton-era law to make federal agencies take back statements about marijuana -- for example, that pot has "no currently accepted medical use." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COLORADO: ASA Action for Better Access Close on the heels of a victory in another Colorado caregiver test case, attorney Brian Vicente has convinced a state court to intervene on behalf of patient access and allow caregivers to help more patients. Vicente, who is director of the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access, a joint project of Sensible Colorado and ASA, also recently had an OpEd published in which he explained how medical marijuana dispensaries can both benefit the community and serve the most seriously ill and injured. Others in Colorado are hoping to help the patient collective model develop there. Judge: Colorado Medical-Marijuana Restriction Unfair Associated Press In response to a lawsuit brought by a man suffering from AIDS, a judge has temporarily blocked a state rule limiting the number of medical-marijuana patients that caregivers are allowed to oversee. Marijuana pain relief by Ted Holteen, Durango Herald (CO) Durango prides itself on being a "green" city, but two local men think it could be greener. Aamann Degarth and Eric Gay are spearheading an effort to open a local chapter of the Portland, Ore.-based The Hemp and Cannabis - or THC - Foundation, which advocates the use of medicinal marijuana in the 13 states that have legalized the practice. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- LOS ANGELES: City Trying to Regulate, Feds Trying to Intimidate Local officials in California’s most populace city had only just begun the process of developing regulations for their medical marijuana dispensaries when federal officials started to undermine the process. In January the DEA launched a day of coordinated raids followed by threatening “courtesy calls,” tactics clearly designed to intimidate, as an editorial in the Orange County Register noted. Last week the DEA threatened landlords who rent to state-sanctioned public health collectives, telling them the federal government may seize the landlords’ assets. That action was followed by raids on LA-area dispensaries and a flurry of federal charges. As the Los Angeles Times editorial on the subject notes, Congress can put a stop to these heavy-handed attempts at undermining state and city efforts by passing the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment. Regulating Reefer by Daniel Harju, LA City Beat When a working group of city officials and medical marijuana advocates first met in February to decide how Los Angeles should regulate its medical marijuana market, they were surprised to learn that nobody could say how many dispensaries are in the city. No one was keeping track. Crushing Your Local Cannibis Collectives by Ron Garmon, LA City Beat White House drug czar John P. Walters isn’t a figure to command awe, so rhetoric had some considerable slack to transcend. Out in Redding last Thursday, July 12, to bestow federal benediction on a National Guard/Shasta County pot-eradication drive, the director of the Office of National Drug Policy called on America to overcome its “reefer blindness” and realize the marijuana plants destroyed by Operation Alesia were sewn on its own public land by “violent criminal terrorists.” The meme was the message as Walters gave the money quote another airing: “Don’t buy drugs,” he declared. “They fund violence and terror.” DEA targets landlords of pot outlets by Eric Bailey, Los Angeles Times Raising the stakes in the federal government's war against medical marijuana, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has warned more than 150 Los Angeles landlords that they risk arrest and the loss of their properties if they continue renting to cannabis dispensaries. Feds indict medical pot dispensary operators by Eric Bailey, Los Angeles Times The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced a set of indictments Tuesday alleging that operators of nearly a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries — including two in West Hollywood — profiteered from the illegal distribution of pot. Authorities allege medical marijuana stores profited from sales Associated Press Federal authorities have indicted the operators of nearly a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries in California alleging they illegally distributed pot for significant profit. DEA shuts down dispensary by Will Bigham, Ontario Daily Bulletin (CA) The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration raided and closed down a medical-marijuana dispensary here as protesters rallied outside Tuesday morning. Ex-pot dispensary owner indicted for sales at shop by Leslie Parrilla, San Luis Obispo Tribune The former owner of a Morro Bay medical marijuana dispensary was indicted Tuesday on federal charges of selling the drug for profit and distributing it to minors. Nature's Medicinal Cooperative raided a second time by Brynn Galindo, KGET NBC TV Bakersfield An Oildale medical marijuana dispensary was raided Monday by federal agents for the second time in three months. COMMENT/ANALYSIS New challenges for medical marijuana EDITORIAL, Los Angeles Times As they have for the last several years, Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and Maurice D. Hinchey (D-N.Y.) are sponsoring an amendment that would kill funding for federal efforts to preempt state medical marijuana initiatives, and although Congress should in general avoid this kind of procedural finagling, it would at least halt the DEA's efforts to thwart the will of voters and legislatures in 12 states. And if the DEA refuses to listen, Congress should consider doing away with civil asset forfeiture altogether. Prosecutors waste resources on medipot cases by Tom Elias, Columnist, Daily Breeze (CA) There's something almost idiotic about the obviously confused and misguided way in which federal authorities are trying to enforce anti-marijuana laws in California. Feds digging deep in pot-dispensary blitz by David Olson, Press Enterprise (CA) Tuesday's raid on a marijuana dispensary in Corona is part of broader law-enforcement efforts to shut down medical-pot outlets throughout Southern California. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FEDERAL: Rosenthal to Appeal Medical Marijuana Conviction In the retrial of federal charges related to Ed Rosenthal’s role in Oakland’s medical marijuana program, the jury again was kept from learning anything about that role or program, or the state laws and local ordinances designed to protect him. The narrow evidence allowed again resulted in conviction, but Rosenthal says he should not have been prevented from calling the witnesses he wanted. California's 'ganja guru' vows conviction appeal Reuters California's "ganja guru" will not have to go to jail but still plans to appeal felony marijuana convictions with the aim of renewing a courtroom fight over state and federal laws that are sharply at odds. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- CALIFORNIA: Orange County to Issue Medical Marijuana ID Cards Initial reluctance gave way to support as Orange County supervisors considered the implementation of state-mandated medical marijuana ID cards. The Orange County ASA chapter and Safe Access Now worked hard lobbying the board and convincing them to approve the program. The California Medical Marijuana Program Act of 2003 directs county health departments to issue the cards, which help law enforcement identify qualified patients. O.C. to license medical marijuana by Christian Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times Orange County will begin licensing medical marijuana use and issuing identification cards to patients who are entitled to it under a plan approved by county supervisors Tuesday. OC Supervisors OK medical pot ID by Peggy Lowe, Orange County Register Medical marijuana users will finally be able to get county-issued photo identification cards within four months even while their ability to buy cannabis at legal local dispensaries is growing increasingly difficult. A charter member of O.C.'s cannabis club by Dana Parsons, Columnist, Los Angeles Times I hadn't talked to Marvin Chavez since an Orange County jury convicted him in 1998 of selling marijuana. He was fuming about it then, and he's fuming now. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- HAWAII: Expansion of Medical Marijuana Protections Sought Many states that have enacted medical marijuana laws are discovering that they need to revisit restrictions they placed on what conditions may be legally treated with marijuana, not to mention how much patients and caregivers are allowed to possess. Hawaii is one such, and opinion-makers there are calling for the legislature to act to expand the state’s program. Give protection to patients who need medical marijuana EDITORIAL, Honolulu Star-Bulletin State laws allowing medical use of marijuana have been on the books for nearly a decade but have been hampered by federal attempts to undermine them. The number of patients has dwindled as they have become subject to arrest and physicians have grown reluctant to prescribe pot. Legislation that should have been enacted this year is needed to protect patients using marijuana and physicians prescribing it. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- WASHINGTON: Program Expansion Sought There, Too Patients and officials in Washington state agree that the program there is working but could do better. Easing of restrictions on quantities patients may possess is one of the likely outcomes of a legislative process begun there. WA state’s medical marijuana rules soon to become less ambiguous by Curt Woodward, Associated Press This fall, sober public servants will convene a series of meetings across Washington state to answer a pressing question: Just how much marijuana constitutes a two-month supply? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- VIRGINIA: Medical Use of Marijuana - Criminal or Not? Political and scientific issues around medical marijuana can be argued in the abstract, but it is the experience of patients and those who care for them that best highlights what is at stake. Virginia does not make exceptions to its marijuana prohibition for patients, but when a man there was busted for growing cannabis for his seriously ill wife, but no one thinks he should go to jail for it. Pot Bust Brings Up Medicinal Use Issue by Liz Nagy, NBC29 (VA) An Albemarle County drug case is relighting the conversation about medical marijuana. Gary Peck was on the receiving end of the biggest pot bust ever in the county, but won't go to jail for it. Some say the issue isn't what he did, but why he did it. ___________________________________ 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

Dems let vetoes stand on medical marijuana, college tuition break

Location: 
Hartford, CT
United States
Publication/Source: 
New Haven Register (CT)
URL: 
http://www.nhregister.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18619585&BRD=1281&PAG=461&dept_id=31007&rfi=6

Activists march for medicinal marijuana use

Location: 
Bakersfield, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
29 Eyewitness News (CA)
URL: 
http://www.eyeoutforyou.com/news/local/8648056.html

Gore's son is charged with multiple drug counts in Orange County

Location: 
CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gore21jul21,0,2579994.story?coll=la-home-local

Ninth cabinet minister admits smoking dope

Location: 
United Kingdom
Publication/Source: 
Guardian Unlimited (UK)
URL: 
http://society.guardian.co.uk/drugsandalcohol/story/0,,2130974,00.html

Medical Marijuana: DEA, ONDCP Take Flak on Dispensary Raids, Research Obstacles in House Committee Hearing

A House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security hearing on July 12 saw representatives of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) grilled by Democratic congressmen, including committee chair Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), on the administration's attacks on medical marijuana in states where it is legal and on the administration's stalling the request of University of Massachusetts researcher to be able to grow medical marijuana for research purposes.

(The same hearing also saw pain patient advocates get a chance to tell the committee about the DEA's prosecutions of pain doctors -- see feature story here -- and written testimony from an ONDCP official claiming a leading medical marijuana advocate no longer supported medical marijuana -- see newsbrief here).

Testifying before the committee on medical marijuana issues were the DEA's Joseph Rannizzisi, ONDCP chief scientist Dr. David Murray, and Valerie Corral, cofounder of the Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), a California dispensary raided by the DEA in 2002.

Murray was in typical form, telling the committee "it is not the medical community who identifies a need out there for a smoked weed to alleviate pain and suffering." Instead, Murray said, "this is an issue that is pushed overwhelmingly by legalization advocates for marijuana who fund initiatives and referenda in various states, trying to push through what we think is a troubling development." In his written testimony to the committee, Murray called medical marijuana advocates "modern-day snake oil proponents."

Murray went on to charge that marijuana has not been found to be effective as a medicine, that there is better stuff available, and that the weed could even be "harmful for those for whom it was intended to be a healing device."

That prompted Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to interrupt Murray's testimony to ask if he thought marijuana were as dangerous as nicotine, which in turn prompted Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) to denounce Nadler for talking out of turn. After a brief procedural scuffle, Murray adeptly deflected Nadler's pointed question.

WAMM's Corral was up next, telling the committee about how WAMM began as a small collective garden to serve its members -- people who benefited from marijuana as medicine -- and that those people were not lying. "It is not that we wish to break the law, for surely we do not," she said. "We've made every effort to change it. What we ask here today is that you stop the aggressive antics of the DEA against sick and dying people, because that is what we are. Stop the raids. Allow research to continue. Allow the research to continue that the DEA is blocking in the [University of Massachusetts researcher Lyle] Craker case, for instance, because only you can do that."

Committee chair Bobby Scott turned up the heat during later questioning of the witnesses. "I'd like to ask, I guess, Dr. Murray, in terms of policy, what the public policy imperative it is to deny terminally ill patients the right to marijuana, if they believe that it's going to help them, they believe that it reduces pain, terminally ill patients?"

Unsatisified with Murray's response, which basically reprised his earlier testimony, Scott continued to dog him: "Well, if they want it and they're terminally ill, what scientific studies have you had to show the effectiveness of marijuana? What scientific studies have you had? Do you have a list that you can supply to the committee?"

After going around with an evasive Murray, Scott settled for a promise from the ONDCP functionary to respond with written testimony.

Nor was the chairman pleased with Murray's non-response to his question about the problems UMass professor Lyle Craker was having getting his request to grow marijuana for research purposes approved. Rep. Nadler also jumped on Murray about obstacles facing medical marijuana researchers.

"Marijuana is the only controlled substance currently for which the federal government maintains a monopoly on the supply for use by scientists conducting research, even though federal law requires competition in the production of research-grade, schedule-one substances, such as research-grade heroin, LSD, ecstasy and cocaine," Nadler said. "Can you please tell us marijuana, as a comparatively harmless drug, compared to these other substances, is the only controlled substance for which the federal government maintains a monopoly on the supply made available to researchers? In other words, why is it different than heroin, ecstasy, LSD, et cetera?"

Murray had no substantive response to Nadler's question, a posture the congressman qualified as "evasive," and DEA's Rannazzisi fared little better. "They've refused the supply for basically every researcher. They've basically cut off medical research with respect to marijuana," Nadler pushed.

"I don't believe that's the case," Ranazzisi responded. "If you look at my testimony..."

"I won't debate that with you because it's clearly the case," an annoyed Nadler retorted.

Nadler went on to pepper Ranazzisi about when the DEA is going to get around to moving on the Craker application, without getting a straight answer.

With Democrats in control of the Congress, some of the right questions are finally being asked of the drug war bureaucrats. We may not like the answers we are hearing, but at least the questions are being asked and the drug warriors are on notice.

Europe: Britain to Review Marijuana's Classification, Could Be Moved Back to Tougher Drug Schedule

New British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told parliament Tuesday that his government will reconsider whether marijuana should remain a Class C drug (steroids, minor tranquilizers) or should be treated more harshly and considered a more dangerous Class B drug (amphetamines, barbiturates). The move comes as the opposition Conservatives have called for rescheduling and amidst a sustained media scare campaign linking marijuana to mental illness.

The government of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair downgraded marijuana to Class C in January 2004, which largely made marijuana possession a non-arrestable offense. But the move has been controversial since its inception, and has already been reviewed twice before. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which is charged with the new review, also reviewed the decision last year, but found the risks were not severe enough to merit reclassification. Similarly, former Home Secretary Charles Clarke commissioned a review of the decision, but decided in January 2005 to keep marijuana in Class C.

"We will be asking the ACMD to review the classification of cannabis, given the increase in strength of some cannabis strains and their potential harm," the Home Office said Wednesday. "It would be wrong to prejudge that review which shows how seriously we take our priority of reducing drug-related harm."

The opposition Tories, who are calling for a harder line on drug policy, said they would support reclassification. "We would welcome the reclassification of cannabis," said Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis. "Drugs are a scourge on society and a major cause of crime which Labor has failed to tackle. We have long called for the reclassification of cannabis based on the science and evidence available which shows all too clearly the real damage this drug can do to people -- especially young people."

While drug policy groups differed in their responses to the Brown government's announced review, none supported reclassification. Instead, such groups called for the review to be viewed in the context of a broader review of drug policy as the British government's 10-year drug plan ends in 2008.

"This announcement is all about political posturing, and has nothing to do with science," said a spokesman for the Transform Drug Policy Institute. "It follows in the wake of a series of all-too-familiar cannabis health panics, which have been hyped up by certain newspapers and more recently the Tory party who have been vocally calling for reclassification back to B."

The review of marijuana classification was redundant, Transform argued. "In reality the potency issue and the mental health issues associated with cannabis are well understood and have not changed significantly since they were last reviewed by the ACMD in 2005. The ACMD will not be happy to have to rake over the coals yet again: there is no evidence to warrant another time consuming review, and even if there were, there is also no evidence to suggest another reclassification would reduce harm.

It is not marijuana's classification but its criminalization that is the problem, the group said. "Classification appears to be entirely irrelevant to levels of use, or associated harms; Since the move from B to C in 2004, cannabis use has continued its slow decline, according to data from the British Crime Survey," Transform noted. "It is the criminalization of cannabis, and the unregulated illegal markets this creates, that is responsible for increasing the harms associated with its supply and use. If the Government is serious about reducing harm they should legally regulate the trade and use their limited resources to educate young people about the risks."

Rethink, an organization that concentrates on mental health issues, didn't call for legalization but for a public health campaign to warn of the mental health dangers of the weed. Paul Corry, Rethink's director of public affairs, says:

"We welcome the review of the government's drugs strategy and fully expect it to endorse the now accepted link between high risk groups using cannabis and the development of severe mental illness," said Paul Corry, the group's director of public affairs in a Wednesday press release "The strategy should look back at past government promises of a high profile, sustained public health campaign on the issue and ask 'what happened to it?'"

But while Rethink emphasized the dangers of marijuana consumption, the group did not see reclassification as the answer. "Although there has been renewed interest in yet again reclassifying cannabis, the experiences of our members tell us that reintroducing tougher criminal penalties for possession and use would do nothing to reduce use," said Corry. "What most people who have experienced the misery of developing mental illness from using cannabis want to see is a properly funded health campaign, not harsher laws that end up criminalizing people who have developed a health problem."

For the past decade, Britain has been one step forward, one step back on marijuana policy. It looks like the political pressure is building for one step back again.

Medical Marijuana: ONDCP Claims Steve Kubby Has Changed His Mind, Kubby Says No Way!

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) used testimony submitted to Congress last week to misrepresent the position of Steve Kubby, a leading California medical marijuana advocate. Kubby acted this week to denounce the deception and clarify his continuing support for medical marijuana.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/kubby1.gif
Steve Kubby
In written testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, Dr. David Murray, ONDCP's Chief Scientist called medical marijuana advocates "modern-day snake oil proponents," sneered at medicines that make patients "feel good," and claimed that laws okaying medical marijuana in a dozen states have led to "abuse, confusion, and crime." Then, to further buttress his argument against the therapeutic use of the herb, he added:

"Founding proponents of medical marijuana in the United States have reversed their key positions of support for medical marijuana. Rev. Scott Imler, Co-founder of Prop 215, has lamented the passage of California's medical marijuana law stating that, 'We created Prop. 215 so that patients would not have to deal with black market profiteers. But today it is all about the money. Most of the dispensaries operating in California are little more than dope dealers with store fronts.' Imler also said that medical marijuana has 'turned into a joke.' Steve Kubby, another Co-founder of medical marijuana in California stated in a letter to supporters on April 14th, 2006 that 'Marinol is an acceptable, if not ideal, substitute for whole cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease.' (Alternatives magazine, Fall, 2006 Issue 39, San Gabriel Valley Tribune 2/07, Message from Steve Kubby, Steve Kubby Released After Serving 62 Days in Jail, April 14th, 2006)"

Imler, a founder of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, which was raided and shut down by the DEA in 2001, has not taken exception to Murray's portrayal of his position -- after all, Murray accurately transcribed his words from the year-old magazine article. But Kubby, who was forced to resort to Marinol while jailed for two months in California, certainly took umbrage.

"My comments about Marinol were based upon my relief that I did not die in jail," he wrote in an email to supporters. "My comment was intended to acknowledge that I did get good blood pressure control with the Marinol and that finding certainly deserves further study. On the other hand, I lost 33 pounds in 62 days while on Marinol, so perhaps I should have used stronger language than 'less than ideal.'"

Kubby suffered from almost constant nausea while on Marinol, he wrote, adding that Murray took his sentence about Marinol out of context. The paragraph from which it was extracted reads as follows: "During that time I experienced excruciating pain, a vicious high blood-pressure crisis, passed blood in my urine and I lost 33 pounds. However, there was also good news. I learned that Marinol is an acceptable, if not ideal, substitute for whole cannabis in treating my otherwise fatal disease. Now I am a free man and I am profoundly grateful to be alive and to have friends and supporters such as you."

While conceding that Marinol can be effective for treatment of hypertension and would allow him to travel briefly without medical marijuana, it does not allow him to have an acceptable quality of life, Kubby said.

"Please help me squash this deceptive and dangerous misrepresentation of my true feeling on this matter by the ONDCP," Kubby wrote. "It just shows how desperate they are that they must mislead people in this way. And just so there is no question about this, let me be clear: Whole cannabis is not only the best medicine for me, it is the only medicine that has kept me alive during the 32 years that I have continued to live, in relatively good heath, despite a terminal diagnosis of malignant pheochromocytoma."

With Murray and ONDCP, it's sort of like that old country song title: "Who Are You Going to Believe -- Me or Your Lying Eyes?"

Marijuana: Drug Czar Calls Pot Growers Dangerous Terrorists

In a bout of rhetorical excess unusual even for the nation's drug czar, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) head John Walters called California marijuana growers "violent criminals" and "terrorists" who wouldn't think twice about helping foreign terrorists enter the country to cause mass casualties. Walters made his remarks at a June 12 press conference in Redding, California as he lauded paramilitarized teams of law enforcement personnel conducting raids on marijuana grows on public lands in Shasta County.

People need to get over their "reefer blindness" and realize that drugs "fund terror and violence," Walters said in remarks reported by the Redding Record-Searchlight. As for pot growers tending crops on public land in the area: "These people are armed, they're dangerous," Walters said, calling them "violent criminal terrorists."

Upon reflection, the ONDCP noted the following day in its blog that Walter's comments were all good. "Do you have Reefer Blindness?" the blog post asked, qualifying the Redding Record-Searchlight story as "a good story" and displaying no second thoughts about Walters' incendiary rhetoric.

Unfortunately, no reporters present at the Walters press event challenged him on the role of marijuana prohibition in promoting violence or pushing marijuana growers onto public lands. Nor did anyone challenge him to present the least scintilla of evidence for his claim that marijuana growers would happily aid and abet Al Qaeda-style terrorists in attacking their fellow citizens. That is a good thing for Walters, because there simply isn't any.

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