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CT: House votes to legalize medical use of marijuana; Wilton's Rep. Boucher tries in vain to change the bill, files 50 amendments

Location: 
Hartford, CT
United States
Publication/Source: 
Wilton Villager (CT)
URL: 
http://www.wiltonvillager.com/wilton_templates/wilton_story/288959901209870.php

Goodbye, Dr. Tod

I am sad to report the passing of Dr. Tod Mikuriya, a leading and long-time advocate for medical marijuana, scientific and historical marijuana researcher, physician and drug policy reformer. Tod was a member of DRCNet's advisory board and a long-time friend. Phil has written a memorial to Tod for this week's Chronicle, and I am also posting it here. Click the "read full post" link below, if you don't already see it, or read it online here. Tod Mikuriya addressing a NORML conference Dr. Tod Hiro Mikuriya, MD, a psychiatrist, prominent researcher, and medical marijuana advocate, died Sunday night at his Berkeley, California, home. He was 73 years of age. Mikuriya, who was a member of DRCNet's Board of Advisors, earned a medical degree at Temple University, then completed a psychiatric residency at Southern Pacific General Hospital in San Francisco before joining the US Army Medical Corps. After military service and serving at state hospitals in California and Oregon, he directed marijuana research at the National Institutes of Mental Health in 1967, but quickly quit, citing political interference with research results. He turned to a private practice in psychiatry, but his clinical interest in marijuana never waned. In 1973, he published the pioneering "Medical Marijuana Papers," an anthology of journal articles on cannabis therapeutics, and he later founded the Society of Cannabis Clinicians. Mikuriya was deeply involved in the campaign for Proposition 215, the groundbreaking 1996 initiative that made California the first state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. After Prop 215 passed, Mikuriya served as Medical Coordinator of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, the Hayward Hempery, and the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club -- organizations established to provide access to medical marijuana for patients. In 2000, Mikuriya founded the California Cannabis Research Medical Group, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to conducting quality medical marijuana research, to ensuring the safety and confidentiality of all research subjects, and to maintaining the highest quality of standards and risk management." In 2003, Mikuriya was placed on probation by the Medical Board of California after an investigation into allegations of unprofessional conduct in 16 cases since 1998. Mikuriya and his supporters said he was being targeted for his medical marijuana advocacy. He appealed the board ruling, and continued to practice up until his death. Dr. Mikuriya remained an ardent and animated advocate of medical marijuana, and more broadly, social justice, up until the end. His vision, principles, and perseverance are to be emulated. They will certainly be missed. Mikuriya contributed a collection of papers that are available in DRCNet's Drug Library, Schaffer Library section, online here.
Location: 
United States

In Memoriam: Medical Marijuana Researcher, Advocate Dr. Tod Mikuriya Dead at 73

Dr. Tod Hiro Mikuriya, MD, a psychiatrist, prominent researcher, and medical marijuana advocate, died Sunday night at his Berkeley, California, home. He was 73 years of age.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/todmikuriya.jpg
Tod Mikuriya
Mikuriya, who was a member of DRCNet's Board of Advisors, earned a medical degree at Temple University, then completed a psychiatric residency at Southern Pacific General Hospital in San Francisco before joining the US Army Medical Corps. After military service and serving at state hospitals in California and Oregon, he directed marijuana research at the National Institutes of Mental Health in 1967, but quickly quit, citing political interference with research results.

He turned to a private practice in psychiatry, but his clinical interest in marijuana never waned. In 1973, he published the pioneering "Medical Marijuana Papers," an anthology of journal articles on cannabis therapeutics, and he later founded the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

Mikuriya was deeply involved in the campaign for Proposition 215, the groundbreaking 1996 initiative that made California the first state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana. After Prop 215 passed, Mikuriya served as Medical Coordinator of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative, the Hayward Hempery, and the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers' Club -- organizations established to provide access to medical marijuana for patients.

In 2000, Mikuriya founded the California Cannabis Research Medical Group, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to conducting quality medical marijuana research, to ensuring the safety and confidentiality of all research subjects, and to maintaining the highest quality of standards and risk management."

In 2003, Mikuriya was placed on probation by the Medical Board of California after an investigation into allegations of unprofessional conduct in 16 cases since 1998. Mikuriya and his supporters said he was being targeted for his medical marijuana advocacy. He appealed the board ruling, and continued to practice up until his death.

Dr. Mikuriya remained an ardent and animated advocate of medical marijuana, and more broadly, social justice, up until the end. His vision, principles, and perseverance are to be emulated. They will certainly be missed.

Mikuriya contributed a collection of papers that are available in DRCNet's Drug Library, Schaffer Library section, online here.

Listen to the DrugTruth Network's half hour tribute, including interviews with Mikuriya and remembrances of friends and family, here.

Medical Marijuana: Connecticut Bill Passes House, Heads for Senate

A bill that would legalize the medicinal use of marijuana for some patients has passed out of the Connecticut House of Representatives on a vote of 89-58. It now heads for the state Senate, which approved a similar measure in 2005. That bill was defeated in the House. The vote came after six hours of debate in the House, where lawmakers cited their own experiences with debilitating illness.

"The message is simple: We have compassion for people who are suffering in this state," said Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) during the debate.

"Today, we have the opportunity to give relief to Connecticut residents who are sick, who are dying, who are wasting away, who are losing their quality of life," she said. "And we can tell those Connecticut residents that the state of Connecticut no longer will prosecute you," said Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R-Somers), who led the fight for the bill.

The bill, HB 6715, would allow physicians to certify an adult patient's use of marijuana after determining he or she has a debilitating condition and could potentially benefit from marijuana. Patients and their primary caregivers would then register with the state's Department of Consumer Protection. Patients and caregivers could grow up to four plants four feet high in an indoor facility.

The bill was supported by a broad coalition including The Alliance Connecticut, United Methodist Church of Connecticut, Connecticut Nurses Association, Dr. Andrew Salner -- Director of the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital, A Better Way Foundation, the Drug Policy Alliance Network, and the Drug Policy Alliance.

It was opposed by law enforcement and by Rep. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), who led a virtual legislative crusade against it. Boucher filed 50 hostile amendments to the bill before Thursday's vote, but gave up after the first eight got shot down. Her proposals included informing police departments of the names of registered medical marijuana users and requiring the state Agriculture Department to set up a pilot program.

House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero put on his best street hustler accent as he opposed the bill. "How do you get it?" he asked, referring to the seeds for starting the four plants allowed under the bill "You've got to buy it. How do you buy it? As Rep.(Michael) Lawlor said, you've got to hit the streets folks -- nickel bag, dime bag. You gotta make a drug deal, baby."

Cafero's Scarface imitation notwithstanding, the bill has passed and now heads to the Senate, where it faces committee votes.

Medical Marijuana: Minnesota Bill Dies Without House Vote as Legislature Adjourns

A bill that would have made Minnesota the 13th medical marijuana state died for lack of a House floor vote before the state legislature adjourned Tuesday. A companion bill had passed the Senate earlier in the session, but even if the House had passed it, it faced a veto threat from Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The bill, HF 655, would have allowed patients with specified chronic debilitating conditions to possess up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Patients would have been able to designate caregivers to grow for them. The bill also called for patients to register with the state after obtaining a written recommendation from a physician, registered nurse, or physician's assistant.

Although the Minnesota medical marijuana bill could not clear the final legislative hurdle this year, supporters said their success this year left them well-positioned for next year. Under the state's two-year session, next year's drive will begin with the legislation having already passed the Senate, and with the momentum of an unbroken string of committee wins.

"We are in a very strong position to pass this sensible, compassionate bill into law next year, and making sure that happens will be a top priority," said Rep. Tom Huntley (DFL-Duluth) in a press release from Minnesotans for Compassionate Care (MCC), a coalition of citizens, patients, medical professionals and others working to pass the bill.

"Passage of the medical marijuana bill in the Senate this year gave the effort incredible momentum, and I look forward to passing the House in 2008," added Sen. Steve Murphy (DFL-Red Wing).

Another legislative supporter, bill cosponsor and former House speaker Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon) vowed to work on bringing Gov. Pawlenty around in the mean time. "I look forward to having a continuing dialogue with the governor about the need to protect seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana, and about the safeguards built into this legislation," he said. "I'm confident we will pass it when we return next year because it's the right thing to do."

Last month, New Mexico became the latest state to enact a medical marijuana law when Gov. Bill Richardson, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, signed a bill into law there. That gave some hope to MCC director Neal Levine. "As states like New Mexico continue to step forward and new research continues to document the relief that medical marijuana can provide for suffering patients, the momentum is overwhelming," said Levine. "No Minnesotan should fear arrest and jail simply for trying to stay alive, and I have no doubt that 2008 will be the year that protection for patients becomes law."

If that is indeed the case, Minnesota will join Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington as medical marijuana states.

RI: House, Senate committee to vote on making medical marijuana law permanent

Location: 
Providence, RI
United States
Publication/Source: 
WPRI-TV (RI)
URL: 
http://www.eyewitnessnewstv.com/Global/story.asp?S=6556382&nav=F2DO

Attention Marijuana Users: Hershey™ Doesn’t Want Your Business

I never thought this day would come. But when greed and idiocy converge, the effects can be catastrophic.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Hershey Co. has sued a Lafayette man who admitted to making marijuana-laced candy and soft drinks, claiming his products violated the company's trademarks.

Kenneth Affolter, 40, was sentenced in March to more than five years in prison for manufacturing forbidden treats with names like Stoney Rancher, Rasta Reese's and Keef Kat. [MSNBC]
I'm not an expert in trademark law, but those don’t sound like Hershey products to me.
Hershey's suit, filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in San Jose, accuses Affolter of trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition.
Unfair competition!? To whatever pathetic extent this man actually competed with Hershey, he's now been taken out of commission by the Drug Enforcement Administration. If there's anything unfair going on here, it's the incarceration of a man who provided marijuana edibles to sick people.

So I guess Hershey Co. has nothing better to do than piss off stoners around the world, which is foolish for reasons so obvious they need not be stated. And all they're asking for is $100,000 from a man who is now either destitute due to legal fees and forfeiture, or has buried his assets so deep that neither DEA nor Hershey's will ever see a dollar.

Suddenly those irresistible Hershey's Cookies & Cream™ bars don't sound so good. If Nestle™ has a decent white chocolate product, I can cost Hershey $50 a year on my own. Who's with me?

Location: 
United States

Europe: Finnish Left Party's Youth Organization Calls for Marijuana Legalization

The Left Youth of Finland, the youth organization of the Left Alliance Party (link to official web site in Finnish here) narrowly approved a resolution calling for the legalization of marijuana use and home cultivation. The resolution passed by a two-vote margin at the group's annual convention last weekend, according to Finnish media reports.

While a four-year-old Left Youth drug policy statement said there should be no punishment for personal marijuana use or growing, the group had previously hesitated to call for legalization. In fact, the same policy statement that said marijuana use should not be punished also said that "Cannabis should not be legalized in Finland."

Passage of the resolution comes some six months after Left Youth's Satakunta area chairman was sentenced to a fine for growing and smoking marijuana.

Among those opposing the resolution was new Left Youth president Jussi Saramo. He said the matter needed more consideration and should have been debated in the broader context of overall policy toward intoxicants. "However, as chairman, I stand behind the decision," he added. "We don't need any more drugs, but victimizing the users does not help," Saramo added.

Passage of the resolution puts the Left Youth at odds with its parent organization, the Left Alliance. Party chairman Matti Korhonen criticized the youth group, saying holding a vote at a convention is not the proper way to decide important issues. "The party's starting point is one of zero tolerance," he added.

The Left Alliance, formed in 1990 from former socialist and communist parties, receives around 10% of the vote in Finnish elections. With three strong parties, Finnish governments typically involve multi-party coalitions. The Left Alliance joined coalition governments led by the left-leaning Social Democrats in 1995 and 1999, but it is not part of the current coalition government led by the conservative National Coalition Party.

Under current Finnish drug laws, which changed two years ago to include the offense of "drug use," possession of up to 10 grams of hashish or 15 grams of marijuana is typically punished by a small fine. Growing marijuana plants, however, is still considered a "drug production" offense and is punished more severely.

Tod Mikuriya -- psychiatrist, medical marijuana advocate

Location: 
CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
URL: 
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/22/BAG0NPV4851.DTL

Remedial Marijuana Ethics 101: Don't Be An Idiot

If you work at McDonalds, don’t hide your pot in a Happy Meal. Something bad will happen.

Don't drive drunk if you've got 25 pounds of marijuana in your car. Seriously, you're off the team if you do that. Flex Your Rights will not answer your email.

Also, don't mail 12 pounds of marijuana to a school.

George Michael, who gets arrested frequently for marijuana, now says it should be legal.

Operation Follow Method Man has also produced results this week: the arrest of Method Man for possessing marijuana and driving around super-baked.

In fairness to our cause, I'm not suggesting that marijuana necessarily causes idiocy. But it can become a crutch for the desperate or confused. As for the celebrities, well, it's already clear that celebrities don't exactly need pot to get arrested anyway. Method Man, notwithstanding this unfortunate incident, would probably get arrested more often if not for his frequent relaxation rituals.

Today was a strange day for marijuana news, but tomorrow will tell a different tale. Bad science, violent raids, urine testing, persecuting patients, blocking research, wasting tax dollars, exaggerating harms, and funding the black market; these things -- and so many more -- are the real story and there aren't enough mailing mishaps or celebrity pot busts to distract us from the hideous truth.

Location: 
United States

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