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Support New Medical Marijuana Bills in Congress

URL: 
http://capwiz.com/drcnet/issues/alert/?alertid=49870501
summary: 
On May 25, 2011, a bipartisan group of US congressmen introduced three new medical marijuana bills. H.R. 1983 would exempt people complying with state medical marijuana laws from federal arrest and prosecution. H.R. 1984 would protect banks accepting deposits made by medical marijuana dispensaries. And H.R. 1985 would allow the dispensaries to deduct business expenses on their federal taxes like any other business, putting an end to dozens of industry IRS audits already underway. Visit http://capwiz.com/drcnet/issues/alert/?alertid=49870501 to take action in support of these bills.

Three Medical Marijuana Bills Filed in Congress [FEATURE]

A bipartisan group of US representatives filed three medical marijuana-related bills in Congress Wednesday. The three bills aim at protecting medical marijuana patients, caregivers, and providers from ongoing federal arrests, prosecutions, and harassment.

Medical marijuana is on the agenda at the US Capitol (Image via Wikimedia.org)
The trio of bills is a clear signal to the Obama administration that disenchantment with its approach to medical marijuana is growing in Congress. While the Obama Justice Department declared in its famous 2009 memo that it would not go after medical marijuana operations in compliance with state laws in states where it is legal, federal prosecutors and the DEA have continued to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana providers.

In the past few month, US attorneys in states implementing or contemplating regulated and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries have sent threatening letters to state officials warning that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and that even state employees could be at risk of arrest. Meanwhile, the DEA has been sitting on a nine-year-old petition to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

HR 1983
, the State's Medical Marijuana Protection Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), would explicitly exempt people complying with state medical marijuana laws from federal arrest and prosecution. It also directs the federal government to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. It is cosponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

"The time has come for the federal government to stop preempting states' medical marijuana laws," Frank said. "For the federal government to come in and supersede state law is a real mistake for those in pain for whom nothing else seems to work. This bill would block the federal prosecution of those patients who reside in those states that allow medical marijuana."

HR 1984
, the Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Polis, would protect banks that accept deposits from medical marijuana from federal fines or seizures and allow them to avoid the onerous "suspicious activity" reports they now have to file when accepting deposits from medical marijuana businesses. That has led financial institutions including Wells Fargo, CitiCorp, and Bank of America to refuse to do business with medical marijuana entities. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Frank and Pete Stark (D-CA), as well as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

"When a small business, such as a medical marijuana dispensary, can't access basic banking services they either have to become cash-only -- and become targets of crime -- or they'll end up out-of-business," said Polis. "In states that have legalized medical marijuana, and for businesses that have been state-approved, it is simply wrong for the federal government to intrude and threaten banks that are involved in legal transactions."

HR 1985
, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011, introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to deduct business expenses from their federal taxes like any other business. It is designed to prevent unnecessary audits of medical marijuana businesses by the IRS and put an end to the dozens of industry audits already underway. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Rohrabacher  and Paul, as well as Frank and Polis.

"Our tax code undercuts legal medical marijuana dispensaries by preventing them from taking all the deductions allowed for other small businesses," Stark said. "While unfair to these small business owners, the tax code also punishes the patients who rely on them for safe and reliable access to medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor. The Small Business Tax Equity Act would correct these shortcomings."

"It is time to get the federal government out of state criminal matters, so states can determine sensible drug policy for themselves," said Rep. Paul. "It is quite obvious the federal war on drugs is a disaster. Respect for states' rights means that different policies can be tried in different states and we can see which are the most successful. This legislation is a step in the right direction as it removes a major federal road block impeding businesses that states have determined should be allowed within their borders."

The congressional action was welcomed by drug reformers and medical marijuana advocates.  "All of these bills will have a positive effect on hundreds of thousands of Americans and only a negligible impact to the rest of the country," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group. "This kind of policy shift is a no-brainer and should garner the bipartisan support of Congress."

"The Justice Department thinks it can bully not just state elected officials but also patients and those who provide for them," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "Members of Congress need to stand up for patients and the will of the American people and push back against this federal overreach."

"The Department of Justice's new policy is forcing the public and patients to deal with a chaotic, unregulated medical marijuana market," said DPA staff attorney Tamar Todd. "It is beyond question that states want to and have the right to legalize medical marijuana under state law. The question now is whether states should be able to implement medical marijuana programs consistent with the needs of patients and of public safety and health.  The legislation introduced today would allow states to implement reasonable, responsible regulations."

The Obama administration, with its ambivalent approach to medical marijuana, has left a political opening. Reps. Frank, Polis, Stark and their congressional allies are now rushing to fill it.

Bills to Ensure Fair Treatment of Medical Cannabis Industry Members Are Introduced in U.S. House (Press Release)

National Cannabis Industry Association

For Immediate Release -- WEDNESDAY, MAY 25

Bills to Ensure Fair Treatment of Medical Cannabis Industry Members Are Introduced in U.S. House

The logic behind the introduction of the “Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011” and the “Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011” stands in sharp contrast to the actions of U.S. Attorneys who hope to keep medical cannabis sales underground, untaxed and unregulated

CONTACT: Steve Fox, NCIA dir. of public affairs at 202-379-4861 ext. 2 or Steve@TheCannabisIndustry.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, for the first time in history, two bills that would benefit members of the medical cannabis industry were introduced in Congress. The introduction of the bills, which address banking and tax issues faced by medical cannabis providers, follow months of advocacy by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). The bills were part of a coordinated introduction of three bills to protect and support medical marijuana patients and providers in states where the use of medical marijuana is legal. The third bill, the “States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act,” would modify federal law so that individuals acting in compliance with state law are immune from federal prosecution.

            The industry bills were introduced with bipartisan lead sponsors. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) are the lead sponsors of the “Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011,” which would amend Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code so that medical marijuana providers can take standard business deductions like any other business. The “Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011,” sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), would allow financial institutions to work with medical marijuana businesses without the fear of running afoul of federal banking regulations.

            These bills have been introduced at a time when the nation is witnessing a strange reaction by U.S. Attorneys to the development of state-regulated systems of medical marijuana distribution. In October 2009, the Department of Justice issued a memo to federal prosecutors, instructing them to de-prioritize the prosecution of individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. This has given states like New Mexico, Colorado and Maine the ability to establish tightly regulated system. Yet some U.S. Attorneys, faced with the prospect of sensible regulations being established in other states, have issued misleading and threatening letters to sidetrack legislative and administrative progress.

            “There are hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients in this country who benefit when they are able to purchase their medicine from safe, reliable and regulated establishments,” said Steve Fox, NCIA’s director of public affairs. “It is time for the federal government to acknowledge that these businesses are providing a service to their communities, not causing them harm. Without these regulated, tax-paying businesses, all medical marijuana sales would occur underground. The profits would bolster the criminal market and local, state and federal governments would receive no tax revenue. These medical marijuana providers are not looking for special treatment. They just want to be able to function in a manner similar to any other legal business. That is what these tax and banking bills would allow.”

*     *     *     *     *

            The mission of the National Cannabis Industry Association is to defend, promote and advance the interests of the cannabis industry and its members. NCIA publicly advocates for the unique needs of the emerging cannabis industry and defends against those aiming to eliminate the legal market for cannabis and cannabis-related products. For more information, please visit www.TheCannabisIndustry.org.

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NCIA logo

A Big Day on the Hill (Action Alert)

 

 

Send an email!

Dear friends,

It’s not often that three bills related to medical marijuana are introduced in Congress on the same day. In fact, it has never happened in history – until today!

This is big news, and we are hoping you will help spread the word in Washington.

All three bills would benefit medical marijuana patients and their providers. The “States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act,” which has been introduced in past sessions of Congress, would modify federal law so that individuals acting in compliance with state law are immune from federal prosecution.

The other two bills – the “Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011” and the “Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011” – have never been introduced before and address critical tax and banking issues faced by medical marijuana centers and dispensaries as they attempt to serve patients, comply with statewide regulations, and pay their fair share of taxes.

Having lobbied Congress for years on these issues, MPP is excited to see the sponsors of these pieces of legislation sending a strong message to the rest of the nation about the need for the federal government to respect state medical marijuana laws and to treat fairly the individuals following them.

Now that these bills have been introduced, we need members of the House to sign on as co-sponsors. This is where you come in. We have drafted an email for you to send to your U.S. representative. With less than two minutes of your time, you can let your representative know that his or her constituents care about this issue. This really makes a difference.

The tides of history are turning in our favor. But with people like you speaking out, they will turn even faster.

Thanks for taking action!

Sincerely,

Rob Kampia signature (master)

Rob Kampia thumbnail (master)Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

 

To contact MPP, please click here or reply to this e-mail. Our mailing address is Marijuana Policy Project, 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20002. Any donations you make to MPP may be used for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates for federal office.

   

Patient Advocates Back Three Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in Congress (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2011

Patient Advocates Back Three Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced Today in Congress 

Advocacy Group Unveils New Program to Build More Skilled, Responsive Grassroots Force

Washington, DC -- Three medical marijuana bills were introduced today in Congress with support from patient advocates. The most significant of the three bills is one introduced by Congressman Frank (D-MA), which reclassifies marijuana from its current status as a dangerous drug with no medical value. Another bill, introduced by Congressman Polis (D-CO), will allow banks and other financial institutions to provide services to medical marijuana businesses without being subject to "suspicious activity" reporting requirements. The third bill, introduced by Congressman Stark (D-CA), changes the federal tax code "to allow a deduction for expenses in connection with the trade or business of selling marijuana intended for patients for medical purposes pursuant to State law."

"All of these bills will have a positive effect on hundreds of thousands of Americans and only a negligible impact to the rest of the country," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "This kind of policy shift is a no-brainer and should garner the bipartisan support of Congress."

To shore up support for these and other local and state medical marijuana bills, ASA is launching a new advocacy program.

The introduction of Congressional legislation today comes as ASA is equipping patient advocates with new tools to lobby local, state and federal governments. ASA unveiled a new program today that establishes a "Medical Cannabis Think Tank "to provide activists the support they need to analyze pending or proposed legislation and to lobby for the best laws possible. To support the lobbying effort, ASA also unveiled its new "Online  Training Center," with more than 4 hours of educational streaming video and over 400 pages of instruction manuals and worksheets. ASA's program also includes an improved "Raid  Response Center" to better prepare for aggressive federal interference.

As part of its "Sick and Tired" campaign, ASA and others filed a writ Monday in the DC Circuit to compel the federal government to answer a 9-year-old petition to reclassify cannabis. The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) argued in the writ that the government has unreasonably delayed an answer to the petition in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. "The Drug Enforcement Administration has the opportunity right now to address the needs of patients across the country by reclassifying cannabis," continued Sherer. "However, since Congress can also reclassify cannabis, we are urging passage of the Frank bill in order to take advantage of all points of leverage."

If passed, the Frank bill would not only recognize marijuana's medical value, but also provide a medical necessity defense in federal court, a right not currently afforded to patients and caregivers who are in compliance with their local and state laws. The Frank bill would also usher forth greater research into the therapeutic properties of cannabis and create incentives for the development of new cannabis-based medication.

Advocates hope the Polis bill, if passed, will end the current ban on services for medical marijuana businesses by institutions like Wells Fargo, CitiCorp and Bank of America. The Stark bill has the potential to end dozens of audits by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently taking place, and settle once and for all whether the IRS can demand tax on gross or just net proceeds.

Further information:

Rescheduling bill (Frank):

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Frank_bill_2011.pdf

Banking bill (Polis):

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Polis_bill_2011.pdf

IRS bill (Stark):

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Stark_bill_2011.pdf

ASA Think Tank: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/section.php?id=384

ASA Online Training Center:

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/article.php?list=type&type=385

ASA Raid Response Center:

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/article.php?list=type&type=168

# # #

Feds on New Medical Marijuana Offensive [FEATURE]

While DEA raids on medical marijuana providers never came to a complete halt after the Obama administration declared in 2009 that it would not interfere with people operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws, the pace did slacken. But now, the raids are on the increase -- there have been at least 90 DEA SWAT-style raids since Obama took office -- and the federal government has unveiled an ominous new weapon in its war on the weed: US attorneys in a number of medical marijuana states sending letters to politicians threatening dire consequences, even the potential arrest of state employees, if states okay schemes to tolerate and regulate medical marijuana distribution.

Rally in Sacramento Monday for Dr. Mollie Fry and Dale Schafer. (Image courtesy ASA)
Threatening letters from US attorneys have been sent to officials in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island, and Washington. The first was in February in California; the latest came this week in Arizona.

What is worse is that the interventions by the US attorneys appear deliberately timed to intimidate elected officials as they consider regulating medical marijuana dispensaries -- and it seems to be working. Last week, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed a bill that would have created a regulated dispensary system after requesting and receiving a threatening letter from her state's two US attorneys. This week, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee "placed a hold" on dispensaries about to open there after receiving an unsolicited threatening letter from the US attorney.

Earlier, as Montana legislators debated whether to regulate and allow dispensaries there, the feds hit them with a one-two punch of DEA raids and a US attorney letter. While Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed a bill that would have repealed the state's medical marijuana law, all indications are that he will not veto a bill that will effectively kill dispensaries in Big Sky Country. And in Hawaii, legislators backed away from a dispensary bill after receiving similar threats.

The medical marijuana community has responded with protests -- there were actions in cities across the country on Monday -- but appears uncertain about what to do next. There are calls to reschedule marijuana, including one by Washington Gov. Gregoire, there are calls for the Obama administration or Congress to do something, and there are calls on state elected and appointed officials to stand firm in the face of federal bullying.

A group of Washington state legislators has also responded by sending a letter asking the state's Attorney General for his legal opinion on the law. The 15 legislators, all Democrats, led by Rep. Roger Goodman (Kirkland), asked Attorney General Rob McKenna if state employees had anything to fear from federal law enforcement if the vetoed state licensing provisions of the bill were revived, according to the Kitsap Sun.

A cannabis rescheduling petition to change marijuana's status under the Controlled Substances Act has been pending since 2002. Perhaps if Gregoire can rally other governors behind her, they can light a fire under the feds.

Rally in Washington, DC Monday to demand an end to federal interfence. (Image courtesy ASA)
 In the meantime, the raids continue. The DEA hit a San Diego dispensary Tuesday.

"This turn of events with the US attorneys is troublesome and reactionary," said Dale Gieringer, the long-time head of California NORML, who had just returned from a Sacramento rally in support of Dr. Mollie Fry and her companion, Dale Schafer, who had that day begun serving five-year federal prison sentences for medical marijuana cultivation. "It makes your head spin about that Obama policy of low enforcement, but Obama never said he supports states having access, and the US attorneys have taken matters into their own hands. This is certainly disappointing."

"It's very disconcerting and alarming that the federal government is deciding to deal with the medical marijuana issue this way," said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation's largest medical marijuana defense organization. "We had been seeing progress, with states passing distribution laws, others amending their laws to include distribution, and others passing new laws to incorporate distribution into the laws they passed. It's very unsettling that the federal government is choosing to interfere in the implementation of those laws and restrict the access that patients could benefit from or are benefiting from."

ASA recently gave the Obama administration a failing grade on its approach to medical marijuana. That report card cited continuing law enforcement actions against medical marijuana providers. It is unclear whether the recent US attorney letters represent a policy shift at the Justice Department or whether individual prosecutors are taking the initiative. The Justice Department did not respond to a Chronicle call for clarification. Still, it is clear that the federal prosecutors are on a mission.

"When the Rhode Island US attorney made the threat he did, without being asked, that signified that this is more than just a defensive policy, it is an aggressive policy on the part of the US attorneys to keep medical marijuana illegal," said Gieringer.

"We'd like to know what's going on," said Hermes. "The federal government is showing its cards now. This is drawing attention to the fact that it didn't necessarily mean what it said when it said it wouldn't use Department of Justice resources to circumvent state laws. It certainly seems like there is a concerted effort in the background, but no one has come out from Justice and said that. Justice has refused to meet with patient advocates since this increased interference in the past few months, and they need to address this community and this issue. They can't say one thing in a policy statement and do the exact opposite. The spotlight is on the president at this point."

"The federal government has totally ignored us on all fronts," said Geiringer, "but we're just going to have to keep insisting that we be heard. I would like to see somebody in Congress question this on the record. It never gets mentioned in congressional hearings when DEA officials are up there; it's just totally ignored."

"The timing of these memos really smacks of intimidation and interference," said Morgan Fox, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Our advice for lawmakers is to stand their ground and do what's best for their states, particularly when it comes to the feds prosecuting state employees involved in registries. There has never been a prosecution; it doesn’t rise to the level of aiding and abetting."

"They've never moved against any public official for this stuff anywhere, so I think this is an empty threat," agreed Gieringer, "but public officials being what they are, they are easily cowed."

Elected and appointed officials at the state level need to stand firm against the federal threats, said Fox. "The US attorney memos are frightening and starting to get more severe in tone, but all we need to do is have the states considering dispensary regulation to continue moving ahead with that. I don't think the feds are going to push this too much. They don't have the resources, and it would be a policy disaster for the administration."

If the threats to go after state officials are over-hyped, the dangers to dispensary operators are not. One was convicted in Spokane as legislators deliberated, and more than a dozen were raided in Montana as the legislature took up medical marijuana bills. They are all looking at lengthy federal prison sentences if prosecuted and convicted.

Patients rally across the country for medical marijuana. (Image courtesy ASA)
"It's not lawmakers who will be looking at five-year federal prison sentences, but dispensary operators. They have to make personal decisions about whether they want to take that risk. Opening dispensaries is not just a way to provide safe access for patients, but also an act of civil disobedience, and you could face consequences," warned MPP's Fox.

ASA is holding training sessions for dispensary operators, said Hermes. But operators also need to continue to organize and pressure their elected representatives, he said.

But if the feds are standing firm, so is the medical marijuana movement. ASA, MPP, and California NORML all pledged to continue the fight.

"This is the federal government's last shot to try to prevent something that is working well in the US and will continue to work as long as the federal government stays out of the business of implementing state laws," said Hermes. "More than that, the federal government should be working with states to design a comprehensive federal policy that includes disengagement from enforcement and investment in research and rescheduling marijuana so that patients are protected wherever they live."

"We will continue to try to shine a light on this absurd and obscene misuse of law enforcement," said Gieringer, again pointing to the case of Dr. Fry and Dale Schafer. "Dale is on anti-hemophilia drugs with one treatment costing $10,000. He's also on morphine. And they're sending him to prison for five years? That's just crazy, but the machine just keeps going."

"We are just on the cusp of being legitimate and are now being beat back," said Fox. "We have to hold our ground."

US Congressman to File Marijuana Legalization Bill This Year [FEATURE]

America is on the cusp of majority support for marijuana legalization, but legalization is not inevitable and it's up to activists and the multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry to start throwing their weight around to make it happen, US Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) told an overflow crowd during the keynote address at NORML's 40th annual conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Denver Saturday afternoon.

legalization legislation coming to the Capitol soon
"I am optimistic that we will reach a day when America has the smart, sensible marijuana policy that we deserve," Polis told an attentive audience. "But it could go either way. We could return to the dark ages of repression, or we could be on the eve of a new era of marijuana legalization. Your efforts will help determine which route this country takes and the legacy of this generation of activists on what marijuana policy looks like. Together we can accomplish this," he told the crowd.

Polis said that he would file a marijuana legalization bill this session in Congress. The language was still being developed, he added. He is also working on a bill that would address problems the medical marijuana industry is having with banks, he said.

"Marijuana policy is really coming of age," the businessman turned politician said. "Our Colorado model is very exciting," he added, touting the vibrant local medical marijuana industry on display for conference attendees from across the country. "In my last two elections, even my Republican opponents were for legalization. It's become a very mainstream value here."

That assertion is likely to be put to the test next year. Colorado and national drug reform groups have already announced they plan to put a legalization initiative on the ballot for 2012. A similar initiative in 2006 got 44% of the vote, but that was before the state's medical marijuana boom and its resulting economic impact. While the medical marijuana boom may have created a backlash, its economic benefits could counter that, Polis suggested.

"The marijuana industry here generated $1.7 billion last year and thousands of jobs," he pointed out. "It has created jobs, and jobs in ancillary businesses, it has filled storefronts and filled our alternative newspapers with ads, it has created work for lawyers and accountants, it has created tax revenues. There is a direct nexus to jobs and the economy and deficit reduction," he said.

"We are at a tipping point, on the unprecedented cusp of legalization," Polis told the audience. "The progress at the state level has led the way, but it won't come nationally until it happens in a critical mass of states. Then there comes much more pressure on Congress to legalize and regulate at the national level. Our streets will be safer and our economy stronger."

While no state with the partial exception of Alaska has legalized marijuana, that critical mass could come sooner rather than later. In the best case scenario, the entire West Coast and Colorado could legalize through the initiative process by the end of next year. Meanwhile, legislative efforts at legalization are advancing in New England and the Northeast.

Polis has emerged as one of a handful of US representatives who have publicly supported marijuana legalization or decriminalization. Others include Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Peter Stark (D-CA), and Ron Paul (R-TX). While the Obama administration has been arguably sympathetic to medical marijuana -- although recent raids and some US attorneys' statements have raised activists' hackles -- Polis wants a legalization bill to protect patients in medical marijuana states in the event of a less friendly future administration, but to go further as well.

Jared Polis
Polis has demonstrated before that he is not afraid to go public with his anti-prohibitionist views. At the end of last month, he appeared at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, standing alongside representatives of the newly-formed medical marijuana industry lobbying group, the National Cannabis Industry Association.

"Ending the failed policy of prohibition with regard to marijuana will strike a major blow against the criminal cartels that are terrorizing Americans and Mexicans on both sides of the border," he said at that time.

Polis wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last February asking him to ensure the feds complied with its October 19th memo on respecting state law. "Treating drug policy as primarily an issue of public health, as opposed to an issue of criminal justice, is both practical and compassionate and it has been and will continue to be supported by the voters of Colorado," he said then.

Polis is a Democratic progressive, and marijuana legalization fits squarely into a progressive agenda he has created with his Fearless Campaign, which also emphasizes education reform, immigration reform, food security, net neutrality, and gay, lesbian, and transgender issues.

"Close to half of Americans support legalization, yet progress is Congress is still far away," Polis said Saturday. "That's why I launched the Fearless Campaign. It's really about informing you about what's happening on Capitol Hill and empowering you to speak truth to power. We want the advocacy community tied in. These are transforming issues that are too hot to handle, but too important to ignore. Politicians need to know they're not alone, that you have their backs," he said.

"I think Americans are ready for a serious discussion about tough issues," Polis continued. "Reforming our failed drug policies is a prime example of that. Our policy of marijuana prohibition is a failed policy that doesn’t make our communities safer, while driving legitimate economic activity underground."

Efforts at legalization are growing close to fruition on both coasts, and with representatives like Jared Polis now holding forth in Congress, even that august institution is being infected with the legalization virus. The times, they are a-changing.

Denver, CO
United States

Pot Politics on Capitol Hill: Proponents Aim to Shift Industry's Image

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana are hoping to build momentum on Capitol Hill after a historic election that saw the politics of pot take center stage in four states. The marijuana industry's public relations campaign has so far been limited to states, especially California, where a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana almost passed in November. But today, the National Cannabis Industry Association, launched in December to represent the interests of legal marijuana growers and distributors, will hold the first congressional lobbying day in the nation's capital, hoping to shore up support for an industry they say could bring billions of dollars in revenue to the government.
Publication/Source: 
ABC News (US)
URL: 
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/pot-politics-capitol-hill-proponents-aim-shift-marijuana/story?id=13251446

Ron Paul: Hemp for Victory

Ron Paul supports the legalization of industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis that provides an eco-friendly source of fiber and protein. Paul is a perennial author of hemp legalization bills, the latest of which is being promoted in May during the second-annual Hemp History Week. In this interview Josh Harkinson partially spoke with Paul about the benefits of hemp.
Publication/Source: 
Mother Jones (CA)
URL: 
http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/03/ron-paul-hemp-victory

Keep the Pressure On (Action Alert)

We Are the Drug Policy Alliance.

Tell your Senators to approve spending cuts to the drug war!

Take Action!

Email the Senate

Dear Friends,

Thanks to the overwhelming response Congress received from supporters like you, huge drug war spending cuts have been approved by the House! Hundreds of millions of dollars used by state and local law enforcement agencies for ineffective drug war policies will be cut, and the ridiculous and ineffective national anti-marijuana ad campaign has been cut completely. Now we need to do the same for the Senate!

Tell your Senators to approve the House's spending cuts to failed drug war programs!

The new budget is still not set. The Senate has generally been unsupportive of scaling back the drug war in years past, so they need to hear from you! Now is the time to let your Senators know we cannot afford to wait any longer to end the drug war!

Please take a minute to write your Senators and tell them to approve these necessary spending cuts immediately!

Sincerely,

Bill Piper
Director, Office of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance

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