Marijuana -- Personal Use

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Charities Slam George Michael Over Smoking Cannabis On TV

Location: 
United Kingdom
Publication/Source: 
National News (UK)
URL: 
http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=OM2030277G&news_headline=charities_slam_george_michael_over_smoking_cannabis_on_tv

Review of Cannabis Laws as Drug-Fueled Violence Spirals

Location: 
United Kingdom
Publication/Source: 
This Is London
URL: 
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23369774-details/Review%20of%20cannabis%20laws%20as%20drug-fuelled%20violence%20spirals/article.do

Attorney for City of Newburgh, Other Man Face Marijuana Charges

Location: 
Newburgh, NY
United States
Publication/Source: 
Poughkeepsie Journal
URL: 
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061005/NEWS05/61004013/1009

WADA Defends Stance on Cannabis

Location: 
Publication/Source: 
China Daily
URL: 
http://english.people.com.cn/200610/03/eng20061003_308477.html

Joint Study By Two Groups Finds Pot Use Higher in BC Than Rest of Country

Location: 
BC
Canada
Publication/Source: 
Canadian Press
URL: 
http://www.cbc.ca/cp/health/061004/x100428.html

Drug Survey: More Teens Smoke Marijuana Than Cigarettes--Prohibition Bars the Controls that Work for Tobacco, Reformers Argue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 4, 2006 Drug Survey: More Teens Smoke Marijuana Than Cigarettes Prohibition Bars the Controls that Work for Tobacco, Reformers Argue CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications, 415-668-6403 or 202-215-4205 SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- A new teen drug use survey released today by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer confirms the failure of the government's war on marijuana to keep the drug away from teenagers, officials of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) said today. According to the 11th biennial California Student Survey, more California ninth and eleventh graders currently smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes. Among ninth graders, 12.6 percent smoked marijuana in the past 30 days, compared to 10 percent who smoked cigarettes. For eleventh graders, the figures were 19.2 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively. This trend has been consistent since the 2001-2002 survey, but represents a reversal from 1997-1998, when cigarette use exceeded marijuana use in all age groups. "The good news is that both cigarette and marijuana use have declined markedly in the last decade, and predictions that Proposition 215 would lead to an explosion in teen marijuana use have proven totally wrong," said Bruce Mirken, San Francisco-based director of communications for MPP, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. "But it's clear we're doing a better job of preventing kids from using tobacco than we are at keeping them away from marijuana, and the reason is our dysfunctional, counterproductive laws. "Tobacco merchants are licensed and regulated," Mirken added, "while drug dealers are completely unregulated. Walk into any supermarket or convenience store that sells cigarettes, and you'll see a great, big, red-and-yellow sign saying, 'Under 18, No Tobacco: We Card.' Have you ever seen a drug dealer with a 'We Card' sign? Instead of wasting millions of tax dollars on marijuana 'eradication' campaigns that are an exercise in futility, it's time to put marijuana under the same sort of common-sense controls that work for tobacco." With more than 20,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org. ####
Location: 
AK
United States

Taking the Moral High Ground

(from DrugWarRant

Long-time DRCNet collaborator and current Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative Associate Director Troy Dayton is organizing religious leaders in support of Question 7 to legalize adult marijuana use in Nevada.

The Reno Journal-Gazette now reports that 32 churches in the state have pledged to support the initiative:

Protestants believe that laws should curb "gross outburst of sin," said the Rev. Ruth Hanusa, minister of the Campus Christian Association at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Instead of curbing use, she said, marijuana laws are causing more problems.

"We don't live in a perfect world, and often we don't have ideal choices, but we look to find the lesser evil," Hanusa said. "Part of our call to be good stewards of our community's resources requires us to recognize that. The current policy is overkill and does not promote the common good. Controlling marijuana through regulations makes more sense."
Calls for reform from religious leaders may intrigue the media, but it comes as no surprise to us that religious leaders are taking a stand against the brutal violence, shameful hypocrisy, and unforgiving callousness that characterize our nation’s war on drugs.

The moral high ground will always belong to us; never those who continue to fan the flames of failure with deceitful rhetoric.

Location: 
United States

No Kidding: DEA Says MJ Legalization Initiative Could Result in MJ Legalization

Reformers may have jumped the gun in condemning DEA’s opposition to Colorado's marijuana legalization initiative. If they're gonna keep saying stuff like this, I say we hear ‘em out.

From CBS 4 in Denver:

"There aren't enough federal resources on the entire planet to handle ounce size marijuana possession," Jeffrey Sweetin, a DEA agent said. "Your viewers should understand if this passes, we're really legitimately legalizing an ounce of marijuana. They're not going to be prosecuted."

That’s the point, silly. If the citizens of Colorado decide to stop arresting each other for marijuana, you’re not supposed to show up and ruin everything. Thank goodness there aren’t enough federal resources to do it, but that’s beside the point.

His observation is helpful though, because it illustrates the impracticality of enforcing federal laws that conflict with state-level reforms. It’s an argument for our side, and I can’t imagine why he’s using it.

Give ‘em enough rope…

Location: 
United States

Willie Nelson Cited for Drug Possession (Again)

Location: 
Breaux Bridge, LA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/pop/1403AP_Nelson_Marijuana.html

Feature: California Activists Look for Triple Play in November

Inspired by local initiatives making marijuana the "lowest law enforcement priority" in Seattle and Oakland, activists in three California cities -- Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica -- are busy working to ensure that similar measures pass there in November. Organizers in all three cities say their prospects for victory are good.

The three California local initiatives contain almost identical language and describe themselves similarly. As the web site for Santa Monicans for Sensible Marijuana Policy, the group running the campaign there, notes, the initiative "makes marijuana offenses, where cannabis is intended for adult personal use, the lowest police priority" and "it frees up police resources to focus on violent and serious crime, instead of arresting and jailing nonviolent cannabis users."

The Santa Cruz initiative goes one step further by establishing an official city position in favor of marijuana legalization. The initiative there would "establish a city policy supporting changes in state and federal laws that call for taxation and regulation for adult use of marijuana."

This year's batch of initiatives are a direct outgrowth of the 2004 Oakland Measure Z campaign, where activists organized as the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance (OCLA) managed to pass an initiative making adult marijuana offenses the lowest priority and instructing the city to advocate for the taxation and regulation of marijuana. While OCLA is not formally involved in this year's initiatives, some of its members, like Richard Lee of the Oaksterdam News and the Bulldog Coffeeshop, have helped bankroll the effort. Others, such as long-time activist Mikki Norris of the Cannabis Consumers Campaign and California NORML head Dale Gieringer have been instrumental as advisors.

"After our successful experience with Measure Z in Oakland, those of us from OCLA wanted to spread this around California to show broad support, so last year, we and California NORML sponsored a statewide activists' conference where we shared our Oakland strategy and looked for which other areas in the state might be amendable to doing something similar," Norris told Drug War Chronicle. "The political consultant we had used, Susan Stevenson from Next Generation, wrote a grant application to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) saying we were interested in initiatives or ordinances in five cities, and we got an MPP contract that provided basic funding. We still have to do more fundraising, but that grant made this possible," she said.

Following that, said Norris, the activists narrowed their focus. "We found people in what looked like good areas, and we raised some money to do polling to see if they were viable, we looked at the demographics, and we settled on these three cities."

Actually West Hollywood and San Francisco were also targeted, but in the former, a city councilman came forward with an ordinance that organizers could live with, and they dropped their initiative campaign. In San Francisco, city supervisors this week were moving toward adopting a lowest priority ordinance.

Organizers in the three Santas are hard at work now to ensure victory in November, they told the Chronicle in remarkably similar on-message terms. "It's looking very good here," said Sensible Santa Barbara spokesperson Lara Cassell. "We've been very successful so far, and there is no organized opposition," she told the Chronicle. "In fact, no one even bothered to submit an opposing argument for the ballot, which is fabulous. Santa Barbara is very friendly to our issue."

Sensible Santa Barbara was benefiting from the help provided by statewide activists, said Cassell, "but we are lucky to have a lot of people in the community here who support us. We feel very good about this. We are confident it will pass."

"Things are going really well here," said Kate Horner, campaign director for Sensible Santa Cruz, the group leading the effort there. "There is no organized opposition, although a few community leaders have spoken out against the initiative over possible costs. But those costs will be minimal," she told the Chronicle. "In Seattle and Oakland, they say the costs are basically a matter of photocopying charges, no more."

Unlike the Santa Barbara and Santa Monica initiatives, the Santa Cruz initiative goes beyond lowest priority language. "That provision would require the city clerk to annually send letters to state and federal government officials stating the city's preference for a tax and regulate model," Horner explained. "That would be our city policy."

Support for not criminalizing marijuana users runs high in Santa Cruz. In a poll done in November, more than 80% of people there opposed criminalizing pot smokers.

"That polling data gave us our mandate," said Horner. "It really showed strong support. Since then, it has just been a matter of building coalitions across the community. I'm confident the community wants to redirect resources from nonviolent marijuana offenders to serious and violent criminals."

"Things are looking good here," said Nicki LaRosa, spokesperson for the Santa Monica effort. "Our strategy is to get as many people involved as possible. There are lots of people here who have expressed support, and we are working on making sure we get the message out and get our voters to the polls," she told the Chronicle.

"We do have police opposition -- they wrote the ballot argument against the initiative -- but we also have a lot of community support. The police say marijuana is already a low priority, but the statistics we've seen show people still getting arrested. We want to send a message to Sacramento and Washington that Santa Monica is ready for the next phase of ending the drug war by deprioritizing marijuana offenses."

Santa Monica looks like the toughest nut to crack, said Norris. "We feel confident in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara; Santa Monica is where we are most concerned," said Norris. "We are expecting opposition from the police officers association. Santa Monica is a bit of a challenge. It is a progressive city, but it has also been undergoing a transformation in recent years with luxury hotels and property values going up. And unlike Oakland, even progressives seem to align themselves with the police in Santa Monica. The city is also very finicky politically and has a strong NIMBY component," she worried.

But Norris also noted that current political issues could have positive impact in all three cities. "These initiatives are especially timely as California is currently confronted with a severe prison overcrowding crisis," she pointed out. "It's time to reconsider who we are placing in these overcrowded prisons and to set priorities. We can keep building new prisons at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, or we can look at alternative policies that stop sending so many nonviolent offenders to prison. Cities and the state will certainly save money by not arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating otherwise law-abiding citizens to prison for marijuana," she argued.

And not only could the state save money, it could also make money by moving to taxation and regulation, Norris argued. "It's been all over the news lately that law enforcement is finding and uprooting thousands and thousands of marijuana plants grows on public lands with the street value in the millions," she said, alluding to the state's annual fall eradication frenzy. "It doesn't seem to be making much of a dent on the supply. The market in this state is huge. We could conceivably raise billions of dollars in revenues and help fund services if we controlled, taxed and regulated cannabis."

That's the not so long-term plan, Norris confided. "We want to set this up so on election day we can say that people across California want to stop arresting marijuana offenders and get the police to concentrate on violent and serious crime," she said. "We're hoping to get a big enough bounce off this election to either inspire another round of initiatives or go statewide," said Norris. "Our goal is ultimately to bring fundamental marijuana law reform across the state."

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