Marijuana

RSS Feed for this category

Medical Marijuana Press Conference at Minnesota Statehouse

Legislators and patients will launch what they expect to be the final push for passage of bipartisan medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota at a statehouse press conference. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, S.F. 97, at 12:30 p.m. A previous version of the bill passed the Minnesota Senate as well as every House committee, but did not receive a House floor vote. Presenters include bill sponsors Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing) and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia); K.K. Forss of Ely, who has used medical marijuana to relieve pain from multiple neck surgeries; Dr. George Wagoner, physician from Manitee, Mich. (and formerly licensed in Minnesota), whose wife used medical marijuana during her battle with ovarian cancer and who campaigned for the Michigan medical marijuana initiative that passed in November with 63 percent of the vote. Also testifying at the hearing will be Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose daughter's battle with malignant melanoma was made bearable by using medical marijuana, and Kathy Rippentrop of Lakeville, whose mother used medical marijuana during her treatment for liver cancer. Written testimony from other patients will be presented to the committee and will be made available to the media.
Date: 
Wed, 02/11/2009 - 11:00am
Location: 
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN
United States

Press Advisory: Press Conference Wednesday to Launch Final Drive for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota

Minnesota Cares logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
FEBRUARY 10, 2009

Press Conference Weds. to Launch Final Drive for Medical Marijuana in Minnesota
Hearing in Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee to Follow

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

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA -- Legislators and patients will launch what they expect to be the final push for passage of bipartisan medical marijuana legislation in Minnesota at a statehouse press conference at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11. The Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee will hold a hearing on the bill, S.F. 97, at 12:30 p.m. A previous version of the bill passed the Minnesota Senate as well as every House committee, but did not receive a House floor vote.

    WHAT: Press conference to launch drive for final passage of medical marijuana legislation, S.F. 97 and H.F. 292, followed by Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee hearing.

    WHO: Bill sponsors Sen. Geoff Michel (R-Edina), Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing) and Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia); K.K. Forss of Ely, who has used medical marijuana to relieve pain from multiple neck surgeries; Dr. George Wagoner, physician from Manitee, Mich. (and formerly licensed in Minnesota), whose wife used medical marijuana during her battle with ovarian cancer and who campaigned for the Michigan medical marijuana initiative that passed in November with 63 percent of the vote.
    Also testifying at the hearing will be Joni Whiting of Jordan, whose daughter's battle with malignant melanoma was made bearable by using medical marijuana, and Kathy Rippentrop of Lakeville, whose mother used medical marijuana during her treatment for liver cancer. Written testimony from other patients will be presented to the committee and will be made available to the media.

    WHERE: Rm. 125, State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul.

    WHEN: Press conference at 11 a.m. Hearing at 12:30 p.m.
   

####

Location: 
St. Paul, MN
United States

Dump Kellogg's like it dumped Michael Phelps

Dear friends:

As you probably know, cereal giant Kellogg's has announced that it won't renew Olympic swim champion Michael Phelps' endorsement contract because he was photographed smoking marijuana.

If Phelps had been photographed hoisting a Budweiser, no one would have said a word. In fact, Phelps was arrested for drunk driving in 2004 — which could have resulted in someone being hurt or killed — and Kellogg's never took issue with that. Alcohol is far more toxic and addictive than marijuana and tends to make users reckless, aggressive, and violent.

Would you take a minute to speak out against this hypocrisy, by adding your voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who are pledging to boycott Kellogg's products until the company changes its decision? Just visit MPP's action center here and fill out the easy online form.

Meanwhile, MPP has been all over the news to point out the hypocrisy of the situation.
For instance, check out this video of MPP's Bruce Mirken discussing the issue on CNN last week.

Please join me in rejecting the farce of the condemnation of marijuana users — one that has already long been abandoned by the general public.

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 $2.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

ALERT: #394 Kellogg's Gets Stupid Over A Bong

DrugSense FOCUS Alert #394 - Monday, 9 February 2009 By now just about everybody who may read this Alert is aware of the photo of Michael Phelps inhaling from a bong which was printed on Sunday, February 1 by the British tabloid newspaper News of the World. A high resolution .jpg copy of the photo, which you may download - and perhaps print out for your own use, like pasting on a Kellogg's cereal box - is here http://www.mapinc.org/images/phelps.jpg The News of the World article is here: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v09/n140/a11.html The result has been a firestorm of articles and opinions printed in newspapers as you may read at this link: http://www.mapinc.org/people/Michael+Phelps Please target the newspapers with your letters to the editor. Other suggested actions you may wish to take: Please take time today to contact the Kellogg Corporation. Tell them that you oppose their decision to drop Michael Phelps and that, as a result of their actions, you will not be purchasing any Kellogg's related products for the next three months (or until the company decides to reinstate the Phelps as their spokesperson). There are several ways you may make your opinion known to the company. You can call Kellogg's main telephone number during east coast business hours, Monday through Friday, at: (269) 961-2000 or toll free at: 1 (800) 962-1413. You may email Kellogg's consumer services department by visiting: http://www2.kelloggs.com/ContactUs.aspx You may contact Kellogg's media relation department at: 269-961-3799 or via e-mail at media.hotline@kellogg.com You may email Kellogg's corporate responsibility department at: corporateresponsibility@kellogg.com. You may email Kellogg's investor relations department at: investor.relations@kellogg.com. Or you may write the Kellogg Company a letter at: One Kellogg Square P.O. Box 3599 Battle Creek, MI 49016-3599. Join the Students for Sensible Drug Policy's petition campaign. Phelps still faces a potential four-year suspension from the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. If you have a Facebook account, please join thousands of others in signing a petition demanding that the IOC and WADA not suspend Phelps from international competition. http://apps.facebook.com/causes/petitions/62.

Call Kellogg's Today: Here's the Number

800-962-1413

Call now. They appreciate our feedback. At least that's what the operator told me when I called.

SNL Slams Kellogg’s for Dissing Marijuana Users

And the winner for best response to the Phelps story goes to…

Marijuana: New Hampshire Legislator Introduces Decriminalization Bill

New Hampshire state Rep. Steven Lindsey (D) Tuesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Under the bill, HB 555, persons over the age of 18 would face no more than a $100 fine. Simple possession would also be decriminalized for minors, but they would be subjected to community service and a drug awareness program at their own expense or face a $1,000 fine.

The New Hampshire House passed a similar measure last year. It died in the state Senate.

Under current New Hampshire law, possession of up to an ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Rep. Lindsey called current law "draconian" during a Tuesday hearing.

Thirteen states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, most of them in the 1970s. But Nevada did it in 2001 and fellow New England state Massachusetts did it last November. State legislatures in Vermont and Washington are also dealing with decrim bills this year.

Marijuana: Vermont Legislators Introduce Decriminalization Bill

Led by Rep. David Zuckerman (P-Burlington), 19 members of the Vermont legislature Wednesday introduced a bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Under the bill, HB 150, small time possession would become a civil infraction with a maximum $100 fine.

"There is no reason an otherwise responsible adult should face the life-altering consequences of a criminal arrest for what amounts to a minor indiscretion," Zuckerman said. "This modest reform will allow our police to quickly deal with these situations so that everybody can move on to more important matters."

The move comes one day after the Vermont Alliance for Intelligent Drug Laws (VALID) issued a press release announcing that a recent poll showed majority support for decrim. According to the poll, which was commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), 63% of respondents favored "a change in the law to provide for a $100 civil fine without jail time for those who possess an ounce or less of marijuana for personal use."

Interestingly, the poll found many Vermont voters wanted to go further: 49% of those polled said they would support "making marijuana legal for adults over 21, and regulating it similarly to alcohol," while only 37% said they would oppose the idea.

"This poll supports what we've known all along," said Nancy Lynch, executive director for VALID. "Vermonters don't want to see people ensnared in our criminal justice system for possessing a small amount of marijuana, and they see decriminalizing these violations as a modest, uncontroversial solution. Our representatives should take note -- passing this bill quickly is not only responsible; it's politically popular."

If the bill passes, Vermont would become the 13th state to decriminalize small time marijuana possession. But that doesn't appear likely. Rep. Bill Lippert (D-Hinesburg), head of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Burlington Free Press his panel has other priorities.

Even Zuckerman conceded the bill faces long odds. "The wheels are not greased on this," he said.

Canada: BC Judge Rules Medical Marijuana Restrictions Unconstitutional

A British Columbia judge ruled Tuesday that portions of Canada's federal medical marijuana law unconstitutionally restrict the supply of marijuana to patients authorized to use it. As part of her decision, BC Supreme Court Madam Justice Marvyn Koenigsberg found a worker for the Vancouver Island Compassion Society (VICS) guilty of growing marijuana and possessing it with the intent to distribute, but gave him an absolute discharge, meaning he faces no criminal liability.

The judge held that parts of Health Canada's Medical Marihuana Access Regulations, such as the requirement that patients get a doctor's approval, were constitutional, but that a provision limiting designated growers to growing for only one patient was "arbitrary" and "constitutionally invalid." The judge also struck down a provision limiting the number of licensed growers at any site to three, which effectively barred growers' collectives.

Judge Koenigsberg gave Ottawa one year to draft regulations that will allow for growers to grow for multiple patients and for multiple growers to form collectives.

The case the court heard began in May 2004, when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided a VICS research facility, seized some 900 marijuana plants destined for VICS patients, and arrested VICS employee Mathew Beren. Lawyers for Beren used the bust to challenge the way Health Canada regulated medical marijuana production.

The ruling comes only a day after a federal appeals court rejected an Ottawa appeal of a January lower court decision that restricting growers to only one patient was unconstitutional. That lower court ruling had been stayed pending the appeal.

In Vancouver, Judge Koenigsberg noted that although Beren may have sold marijuana to people without medical approval, he was of "good character," lacked a criminal record, and was growing, in the main, for patients. "If ever there was a case in which an absolute discharge was appropriate, it was this one," she concluded.

"I was facing 14 years or more in jail, of course, I'm relieved," Beren said immediately after the ruling. He knew the risks, he said, but sick people needed their medicine.

Feature: DEA Raids More California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Prompting Obama Administration to Reiterate Pledge to Stop Them

(Please participate in our action alert and our Facebook petition.)

DEA agents raided four medical marijuana dispensaries in the Los Angeles area Tuesday, hitting two in Venice, one in Marina Del Rey, and one in Playa del Rey. The raids come nearly two weeks after President Obama took office and on the same day that Eric Holder was confirmed as head of the Justice Department, the agency that oversees DEA operations. They mark the second such incident taking place under the Obama administration, the first being a January 22nd raid of a medical marijuana dispensary in South Lake Tahoe.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/sfdispensaryraid.jpg
DEA and SFPD dispensary raid, May 2008 (courtesy Bay Area Indymedia)
President Obama made repeated campaign pledges to halt the raids on dispensaries operating within California's medical marijuana laws, and by Wednesday night, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro was telling the Washington Times that the raids would end once new DOJ officials are appointed.

"The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind," Shapiro said.

The raids came a day before the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) announced it had commissioned a poll by Zogby International that found overwhelming support for ending the DEA raids. The poll asked the question: "During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said he would stop federal raids against medical marijuana providers in the 13 states where medical marijuana has become legal. Should President Obama keep his word to end such raids?"

More than two-to-one in all geographic, demographic, and political groups answered "yes." Overall, 72% of respondents said stop the raids.

No one was arrested in Tuesday's raids, but as is typically the case, DEA agents broke down doors and seized marijuana destined for patients as well as cash and computers. Several dispensary operators told California activist organizations that agents acted even more aggressively than usual.

"Those raids were little more than piracy," said Dale Gieringer, head of California NORML. "The conduct of the agents was unprofessional and vindictive. They call them 'investigations,' but they just go in there and steal medicine and money and smash things."

Gieringer cited reports he had received that DEA agents destroyed surveillance cameras at at least one location, possibly destroyed a computer hard drive at another, and took bags of cash without counting it or providing a receipt from another.

"Whose interest does that serve?" asked Gieringer. "And not counting the cash, that's a real no-no. This whole thing needs to be investigated; it's not serving any legitimate purpose. And they picked on places that were modest, well-controlled, legal under state law, and no trouble to anybody. That's pretty scummy."

Drug War Chronicle contacted all four dispensaries hit by the DEA Tuesday, but in each case, either no one was available or no one was willing to talk about the raids. Nor did Los Angeles DEA spokesperson Sarah Pullen, who usually talks to the Chronicle, respond to repeated requests for comment.

Pullen did talk to the Los Angeles Times, but she didn't have much to say. "I can't get into details as to the probable cause behind the warrants except for the fact that they're dealing with marijuana, which is illegal under federal law," she said.

But Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), said allegations of DEA misconduct during raids are nothing new. "We have received repeated reports of DEA agents not counting cash or providing receipts, as well as instances of agents damaging surveillance cameras placed in facilities to record what is going on inside and outside," he said. "A few months ago in Long Beach, while the federal agents were smashing video cameras, other cameras were recording them doing so and sending the images to an off-site server, so, in this case, at least, we have video evidence of them doing just what they are again accused of."

Hermes also noted that even without the extracurricular activities, the DEA raids on dispensaries are heavy-handed and thuggish. "If you look at them smashing doors and windows and leveling any property in a facilty, that's pretty routine, and has been happening for the past couple of years," he said. "They go in with paramilitary gear, with flak jackets, automatic weapons, sometimes even wearing ski masks, destroy what's inside, and take medicine, money, computers, and patient records, and trash the place."

"This is upsetting," said Bruce Mirken, San Francisco-based communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "It's impossible to know at this point how high up this was authorized or whether it was Bush holdovers still doing what they've been doing, but candidate Obama made a promise on this, and it's time for him to keep it," he declared Wednesday, prior to the White House response appearing in the media.

"That should mean it's time for a major housecleaning at DEA, and that's the right thing to do, not only morally, but also politically," Mirken said. "California voted for Obama, as did 11 of the 13 medical marijuana states, including traditionally Republican states like Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico that flipped into the Obama column in the November elections. And medical marijuana outpolled Obama in Michigan. There is no downside for Obama in doing the right thing."

Mirken was singing a significantly happier tune by Thursday morning. "The White House comments last night are very significant," he said. "This is a historic break with 13 years of federal policy since Proposition 215 passed in 1996. The simple decision that federal resources should not be used to undermine state medical marijuana laws is a fundamental change from the policies pursued not only by Bush, but also by Clinton," he said.

"A lot will depend, of course, on the follow-through," Mirken continued, "but this is a clear signal to the folks at DEA that the game has changed. Now, we will have to see what happens next, both with ensuring that the raids actually stop, and more broadly, that the Obama administration adopts the general theme about respecting science and basing policy on facts rather than ideology. This, I think, marks the beginning of the end of a tragic and stupid federal policy, and all I can say is thank god."

During the long-lived presidential campaign, then-Senator Obama stated in August 2007 that he "would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users... It's not a good use of our resources." In March 2008, he reiterated that: "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue."

Two months after that, an Obama spokesperson told the San Francisco Chronicle: "Voters and legislators in the states -- from California to Nevada to Maine -- have decided to provide their residents suffering from chronic diseases and serious illnesses like AIDS and cancer with medical marijuana to relieve their pain and suffering. Obama supports the rights of states and local governments to make this choice."

Not surprisingly, ASA, the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group, jumped in with calls for President Obama and Attorney General Holder to turn promises into policy. "As the new Attorney General, one of Eric Holder's top priorities should be to end these harmful raids on state-sanctioned medical marijuana providers," said ASA director of government affairs Caren Woodson. "And, until a new head of the DEA is confirmed, Holder has a responsibility to cease the existing policy being carried out by Bush Administration officials. Attorney General Holder has the ability to halt this harmful and outdated policy," said Woodson. "And he should do so immediately."

Other drug policy groups joined the chorus as well. "When President Bush was on the campaign trail in 2000 he promised not to interfere in state medical marijuana laws, but that turned out to be a lie as the DEA proceeded to terrorize medical marijuana patients and providers by raiding dozens of dispensaries across California," said Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "President Obama said on the campaign trail that these raids would end under his administration and millions believed him. We hope these recent raids don't represent official administration policy and that Obama will order federal agencies in no uncertain terms to stop harassing medical marijuana patients and providers in California."

"President Obama needs to show federal agencies who is boss," said DPA national affairs director Bill Piper. "If he doesn't put a halt to these raids, the DEA will continue to undermine his campaign promises."

By Thursday morning, ASA was tentatively congratulating the White House for its reiteration of those campaign pledges. "More than 72 million people live in a state that has enacted laws that authorize the limited use and distribution of cannabis for therapeutic use," Woodson said. "The White House's comments have provided patients and their loved ones a sense of relief, and we hope the President and our Attorney General will keep this pledge in mind when considering appointments to the DEA and Office of National Drug Control Policy."

Perhaps, finally, a new day is dawning when it comes to the federal government's stance on medical marijuana. But the weeks and month to come are what will tell.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School