State & Local Government

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LTE: Marijuana bill act of compassion

Location: 
AL
United States
Publication/Source: 
Montgomery Advertiser (AL)
URL: 
http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070502/OPINION02/705020303/1006

Appeals court reverses marijuana conviction on medical grounds

Location: 
Spokane, WA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Seattle Times
URL: 
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003689817_webmedicalmar02.html

Drug policy divides officials

Location: 
WV
United States
Publication/Source: 
Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
URL: 
http://www.dailymail.com/story/News/2007050228/Drug-policy-divides-officials/

Pols like medical marijuana

Location: 
Providence, RI
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Pawtucket Times (RI)
URL: 
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18287494&BRD=1713&PAG=461&dept_id=24491&rfi=6

Legislature poised to OK marijuana for medical use

Location: 
MN
United States
Publication/Source: 
Pioneer Press (MN)
URL: 
http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_5792163

Vote Hemp Press Release - North Dakota to DEA: Out of Our Hemp Fields

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 30, 200& CONTACT: Adam Eidinger Tel: 202-744-2671, E: adam@votehemp.com or Tom Murphy Tel: 207-542-4998, E: tom@votehemp.com North Dakota to DEA: Out of Our Hemp Fields New Law Allows Hemp Farming Without DEA License, Farmers to Challenge DEA BISMARCK, ND - North Dakota’s legislature wrapped up last week by telling the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that it would no longer require state-licensed industrial hemp farmers to seek DEA licenses. The law change removes the DEA license as a requirement of state law, but it can't protect farmers from federal prosecution. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, will support a lawsuit brought by ND-licensed hemp farmers to prevent the DEA from enforcing federal marijuana laws against them. If the farmers' lawsuit, which will be filed in the coming weeks, is successful, states across the nation will be free to implement hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. “With the broad authority that has been granted to them by Congress, the DEA could have easily approved the applications of the farmers in North Dakota,” says Tom Murphy, National Outreach Coordinator for Vote Hemp. “The DEA could have also easily negotiated industrial hemp farming rules with North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson who has been talking to them about this for a year. Instead, they kept stalling until the time to plant had passed,” says Mr. Murphy. “North Dakota had nothing left to do but cut the DEA out of the picture.” “I applied for my ND license in January and was hopeful the DEA would act quickly and affirm my right to plant industrial hemp this year. Unfortunately, the DEA has not responded in any way other than to state that it would take them a lot more time than the window of time I have to import seed and plant the crop,” said ND farmer, David Monson. “It appears that DEA really doesn’t want to work with anyone to resolve the issue”, Monson added. The hemp language in HB 1020 was the result of several months of fruitless negotiations between the DEA and North Dakota officials, who hoped to gain federal recognition for the state-licensed hemp farmers. It amends the state hemp farming law to explicitly remove the Drug Enforcement Administration from the process. “The legislative action is a direct response to the DEA's refusal to waive registration requirements, including $3,440 per farmer in non-refundable yearly application fees, and the agency's inability to respond to the farmers' federal applications in time for spring planting,” says Alexis Baden-Mayer, Vote Hemp’s Legislative Director. Read the DEA letter that was ND's last straw at http://www.votehemp.com/PDF/DEA_Letter_to_NDDA_03272007.pdf “The North Dakota legislature's bold action gives Vote Hemp the opportunity we've been working towards for nearly a decade. Now that there is a state with comprehensive hemp farming regulations that has explicitly eschewed DEA involvement, we can finally make the case that states have the legal ability to regulate industrial hemp farming within their borders without federal interference,” says Baden-Mayer. Adding, “And, because ND Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson actually did spend nearly a year trying to work out an agreement with the DEA, it’s clear that DEA isn’t going to act in a reasonable way and isn’t ever to going to acknowledge the practical differences between industrial hemp and marijuana and accommodate ND's plan to commercialize hemp farming.” # # #
Location: 
Bismarck, ND
United States

State Bill Could Legalize Medical Marijuana

Location: 
TX
United States
Publication/Source: 
KXAN-TV (TX)
URL: 
http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=6443600&nav=0s3d

N.D. lawmaker encourages hemp production in Vt.

Location: 
Montpelier, VT
United States
Publication/Source: 
Rutland Herald (VT)
URL: 
http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070430/NEWS04/704300371/1024/NEWS04

Contract ratification outlook unclear as some oppose drug testing

Location: 
Honolulu, HI
United States
Publication/Source: 
KPUA (HI)
URL: 
http://www.kpua.net/news.php?id=11364

Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative Update April 26, 2007

In this update: 1. IDPI helps attain a sentencing reform victory in Maryland 2. IDPI mobilizes 50 clergy to support a medical marijuana bill in Illinois and generates substantial media coverage 3. Troy Dayton moves on, Tyler Smith is promoted to associate director 4. You can raise $$$ for IDPI while you search the Internet! 5. Stay tuned for a forthcoming action alert about important federal legislation --------------------- IDPI helps attain a sentencing reform victory in Maryland IDPI played a crucial role in the recent passage of HB 992, establishing parole eligibility for second-time non-violent drug offenders serving mandatory minimum sentences in Maryland. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws force judges to hand out harsh sentences for drug offenders, with no option to issue a lesser sentence based on the unique circumstances of the case, such as the defendant's role in the offense, likelihood of committing a future offense, or the role of drug addiction. Offenders sentenced to a mandatory minimum are not eligible for parole. These laws have resulted in large numbers of low-level, non-violent drug offenders clogging up the court and prison systems, racially disproportionate incarceration rates, and no appreciable decline in drug problems. (See http://www.idpi.us/resources/factsheets/mm_factsheet.htm for more information.) With nearly 5,000 drug offenders in prison in Maryland, the new law will result in an unanticipated opportunity for early release for some. Working with the Partnership for Treatment Not Incarceration, an alliance of organizations concerned with criminal justice reform in Maryland, IDPI Associate Director Tyler Smith recruited and prepared the pastor of Ebenezer A.M.E. church of Fort Washington (with 15,000 members), the Rev. Dr. Grainger Browning, to testify before both the Legislative Black Caucus and the judiciary committee of the House of Delegates. IDPI also reached out to dozens of clergy and hundreds of our members in Maryland to persuade them to contact key legislators. We even got the priest of a Catholic church that the House Judiciary Committee chair sometimes attends to urge support of the bill! In the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, former prosecutor Reverend Jonathan Newton, also of Ebenezer A.M.E., testified in favor of the bill on behalf of Rev. Dr. Browning and IDPI. Under the old state law, people convicted of a second offense of selling drugs faced a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison. The new law, expected to be signed by the governor in May, will allow all but those also convicted of violent crimes to seek parole. The coalition has been working for a few years to repeal mandatory minimum drug sentencing laws in Maryland. While the new law still doesn't go far enough, it is a compromise that will help many drug offenders. We are delighted to have played an important role in getting this bill passed. Click here to see the testimony delivered to the House of Delegates. http://www.idpi.us/dpr/writings/writings_speech.htm -------------------------- 2. IDPI mobilizes 50 clergy to support a medical marijuana bill in Illinois and generates substantial media coverage IDPI did an outreach mailing to clergy in Illinois, signed by Presbyterian minister Bob Hillenbrand, asking them to sign the resolution: "Licensed medical practitioners should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill patients, and seriously ill patients should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if the patients' medical practitioners have told them that such use is likely to be beneficial." IDPI activist and Illinois resident Allen Penticoff was instrumental in recruiting Pastor Hillenbrand to this effort. He showed tremendous resourcefulness and initiative responding to our call for help finding a member of the clergy willing to be the original signer of our letter. Fifty religious leaders from eleven denominations responded to the mailing, urging the Illinois senate to pass SB 650 to allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana. We subsequently sent a letter featuring the statement signed by fifty Illinois religious leaders to all members of the state senate. Many of the clergypersons followed up by making phone calls to their senators. Then we distributed a news release and called dozens of reporters. This coalition of clergy urging compassion for medical marijuana patients has made big news in Illinois and even resulted in an article in the Los Angeles Times! Click on the link below to see the stories on our website (and the list of clergy). http://idpi.us/inthenews/inthenews_ILbig_news.htm So far, five newspaper articles have been published and one radio segment aired (on Chicago NPR) that feature or mentioned religious support for medical marijuana. The senate is expected to vote on the bill within the next few weeks. -------------------------- 3. Troy Dayton moves on to other work, Tyler Smith is promoted to associate director Troy Dayton, IDPI's associate director since November of 2003, has moved on to work as senior development officer for two allied drug policy reform groups. Troy did a magnificent job at IDPI mobilizing faith leaders to support drug policy reform and raising money for our efforts. In fact, he did such a good job at the latter that the other two organizations made him offers he couldn't refuse. We will miss Troy's presence, but we're delighted for our allies that now employ Troy. Tyler was hired as IDPI's field director in July of 2006, and now he’s the new associate director. He looks forward to strengthening and expanding IDPI's work in the religious community. --------------------------- 4. You can raise $$$ for IDPI while you search the Internet! We depend on and appreciate the financial support that you give us. Here's a way to contribute to our work that won't cost you anything! GoodSearch is a search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. It's a simple and compelling concept. You use GoodSearch exactly as you would any other search engine. Because it's powered by Yahoo!, you get proven search results. The money GoodSearch donates to your cause comes from its advertisers -- the users and the organizations do not spend a dime! The Goodsearch website has two bars on it, the top one is your search bar, the bottom one is where you just type in "IDPI" which tells Goodsearch which charity gets the donation. Every time you do, we get a few pennies. With thousands of our supporters and friends participating, this will add up! We urge all of our supporters to use Goodsearch as their primary web-searching site. http://www.goodsearch.com And, of course, please remember that we need regular donations, too! Please visit http://www.idpi.us and click on the "donate" button to make a contribution. --------------------------- 5. We know that you're busy and probably don't have time to read all of our messages, but if you happen to be reading this one, we urge you to be sure to read the action alert that we'll be sending in a few days. We've been calling on state and local supporters and friends in recent months to help on important projects, but now there are a couple of federal developments on which we need everyone's help. Stay tuned! All the best, Charles Thomas, executive director Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative P.O. Box 6299 Washington, DC 20015 301-270-4473 charlesthomas@idpi.us http://www.idpi.us
Location: 
United States

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