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ASA’s Media Summary for the Week Ending 9/28/07

ASA ACTION: New Election for Medical Marijuana Measure

Three years after election officials said a local medical marijuana measure narrowly failed, a judge has ordered a new election. At issue are electronic voting machines that election officials did not properly maintain to ensure data was available for the recount requested by Americans for Safe Access. Whatever the outcome of the new election, ASA has won a victory for the democratic process.

Judge voids results of Berkeley measure on medical pot
by Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle
An Alameda County judge has voided election results for a failed 2004 Berkeley medical marijuana measure, ordering it returned to the ballot next year because county election officials failed to hand over data from voting machines, attorneys in the case said Thursday.

Berkeley Election Nullified Based on Misconduct by Officials
Bay City News Service
A judge has nullified the results of a Berkeley medical marijuana ballot measure in 2004 because of what she said was misconduct by Alameda County election officials. Smith also ordered that the county refund $22,000 that Americans for Safe Access had to pay for a recount of the election results as well as some legal fees for the group's lawyers.

FEDERAL: Raid on Maker of Medicinal Edibles

DEA agents staged another paramilitary-style raid in Northern California, kicking down doors at locations allegedly related to a maker of medicinal edibles, arresting three people, and even killing an employee’s dog. Despite hysterical language from the DEA about mistaking the edibles for regular candy, all the products in question are clearly labeled as medicinal and are available only to qualified patients in dispensary settings. Like the other raids around the state, the DEA appears intent on disrupting patient access as much as possible before the next election cycle. See ASA’s press release on this situation at

Feds Raid Pot-Laced-Candy Factory
by Paul Elias, Associated Press
Federal agents said Thursday they shut down a factory that made marijuana-laced barbecue sauce, chocolate-covered pretzels and other "enhanced" snacks intended for medical users of the drug.

Oakland company raided for allegedly selling pot-laced foods
by Leslie Griffy, Mercury News (CA)
Federal drug agents busted an Oakland company that allegedly distributed pot-laced treats to medical marijuana clubs across the state, officials said today.

NEW MEXICO: New State Law Close to Implementation

Thanks to the intervention of Governor and Presidential-candidate Bill Richardson, patients in New Mexico are now being afforded a measure of protection. The state may be the first to provide medical marijuana directly to patients, though the state attorney general has expressed concerns about the federal government going after state employees who are implementing the law.

Medical Marijuana Rules Close To Final
by Vanessa Reyes, KFOX TV - Las Cruces
The rules of the medicinal marijuana law in New Mexico are close to becoming final after a public hearing with the New Mexico Department of Health and a medical board.

FEDERAL: Dispensary Landlords Threatened in Santa Barbara

One of the latest tactics being used by the DEA to thwart patient access in California is the intimidation of the landlords whose buildings dispensaries are renting. The DEA has been sending letters to the landlords, telling them that the government may seize their buildings, even if they have nothing to do with the operation of the dispensaries. After the DEA raided the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center in West Hollywood several years ago, they even used asset forfeiture to seize the building the city had provided for the collective’s use.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Risk Eviction
KEYT TV Santa Barbara
Federal Drug Enforcement agents are pressuring Santa Barbara Medical Marijuana Dispensaries to close their doors for good. The owner of one shop on Victoria Street says his landlord received a strongly worded letter from the DEA threatening to take their property if they don't comply.

Feds Target S.B. Medical Marijuana Shops
Santa Barbara Independent
After enjoying years of relatively hassle-free business, Santa Barbara’s medical marijuana scene is feeling the heat this week, with a distinctly ganja-scented cloud of uncertainty hanging over its future in the wake of a federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) letter-writing campaign.

FEDERAL: Sacramento Dispensary Raided

DEA Agents raided one of the leading dispensaries in California’s capital this week, leading to patient protests. The operators were among a group who have been working to establish “best practice” guidelines for patient care. ASA’s emergency response meant activists were immediately calling the media and organizing 100 patients to turn out at the dispensary. The Sacramento ASA chapter leader was interviewed by the local media, which filmed the raid in progress. For more on ASA’s raid response, see

Medical pot dispensary raided by DEA agents
by Niesha Lofing, Sacramento Bee
Federal authorities raided a medical marijuana dispensary Wednesday in Sacramento as employees, customers and medical marijuana advocates protested out front. Kris Hermes, legal campaign director of Americans for Safe Access, said River City Patient Center is part of an association of medical marijuana collectives in the Sacramento region, established to "spread and protect good business practices around medical marijuana dispensing."

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Raided By DEA
KCRA TV - Sacramento
A medical marijuana dispensary was raided Wednesday by officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

DISPENSARIES: Patient Demand Driving Debate

California patients have come to rely on medical marijuana dispensing collectives for several reasons: safe, reliable access; selection of different varieties of marijuana; and staff who can help choose the right one for a particular patient or condition. In addition, most patients are like most Californians, they live in densely populated urban areas that make cultivating difficult. Local officials are also realizing the benefits of regulated dispensaries: reduced crime, better oversight, and accountability. Read more about it at

Mayor sees complexities of pot
by Wendy Leung, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
When it comes to questions about marijuana, Don Kurth rarely has yes or no answers.

Cannahelp Owner Due in Court Wednesday
KESQ ABC TV (Palms Springs)
The owner of a former El Paseo medical marijuana dispensary that recently reopened on Highway 111 and then closed again -- is due in court Wednesday morning along with his two managers for their preliminary hearing on drug charges.

Norco City Council likely to ratify marijuana dispensary ban
by Sarah Gordon, Press-Enterprise (CA)
Norco is poised to join several other Inland cities in prohibiting medical marijuana dispensaries within its borders. Medical-marijuana advocates are awaiting the outcome of a court challenge to the city of Fresno's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries, but they plan to keep pushing for access, city by city, said Kris Hermes, spokesman for the Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access.

Livermore joins other cities in banning pot clubs
by Eric Kurhi, Mercury News (CA)
Livermore joined neighbors Dublin and Pleasanton in banning medical cannabis dispensaries within city limits by passing a similar ordinance Monday night.

FLORIDA: Patient Needs Inform Plea for Protection

This OpEd describes the patient need that drives the demand for legal access to medical marijuana. With an unusually large number of senior citizens whose age-related conditions are frequently treatable with medical cannabis, Florida is a state that should be providing protection to those whose doctors are recommending it.

Medical marijuana could relieve many in pain, if we'll let it
by Robyn Chaky, OpEd, Ocala Star-Banner (FL)
Imagine you are forced to put on a pair of short shorts every morning when you wake up because if long pants were to lightly brush your skin during the day, the sensation would be similar to a thousand spiders crawling up your legs.

WISCONSIN: Passage of Medical Bill Urged

The state legislature in Wisconsin is again considering removing criminal penalties for medical marijuana patients. Three out of four voters think it’s a good idea, and this editorial board agrees.

A higher tolerance
EDITORIAL, Badger-Herald
Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Frank Boyle, D-Superior, recently introduced legislation that would legalize medicinal marijuana in Wisconsin. We urge the state to lift its ban and pass the bill.

VETERANS: Medical Marijuana May Help PTSD

Using cannabis in the treatment of psychological disorders remains controversial, but many of those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress report that cannabis eases their symptoms, and more doctors are now recommending it for those patients.

Medical Pot and the Iraq Veteran
by Colby Buzzell, Esquire Magazine
We're back from the war. We can't sleep. We're getting divorced. If marijuana is good for post-traumatic stress, who are we to deny its medicinal properties?

WASHINGTON: Revising Patient Guidelines for Amounts

State officials are grappling with the problem created by setting arbitrary limits on the amount of medical marijuana patients may possess. Unlike other drugs where dosage is decided by doctors working with patients, many medical marijuana laws set one amount for all patients. Washington officials are discovering that what constitutes a 60-day supply varies considerably, depending on the individual and the condition being treated.

Standard dosage sought for medical marijuana
by Lynn Marshall, Los Angeles Times
Patients using marijuana for ailments such as chronic back pain and cancer are allowed by Washington state law to possess a two-month supply of the drug. But medical marijuana doesn't come with a standard dose or even a standard method of taking the drug.


Find out more about ASA at More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at

United States

Michigan medical marijuana campaign needs your urgent help

MPP’s campaign to pass a medical marijuana initiative in Michigan urgently needs your help.

In May, the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care (MCCC) began gathering signatures to place a statewide medical marijuana initiative on the November 2008 ballot.

If you live in Michigan, MCCC needs you to collect signatures or to make a sizable donation to ensure the initiative gets on the ballot. If you don’t live in Michigan, MCCC needs you to donate money to support the signature-gathering effort.

Four months into the signature drive, MCCC has collected half the signatures that are needed. And since the signature drive must be completed by mid-November — which is just two months away — your help is needed now.

Michigan law requires MCCC to collect 304,101 valid signatures in order to place the medical marijuana initiative on the November 2008 ballot. Because the validity rate for the signatures that are being collected is hovering around 60%, this means we actually need to collect about 500,000 raw signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot. So far, we have about 250,000 raw signatures in-hand, so we’re halfway there.

It’s going to cost about $500,000 to obtain the remaining 250,000 raw signatures that are needed — or about $2 apiece. This means we need to spend more than $8,000 per day — every day, including Saturdays and Sundays — between now and the middle of November to qualify the initiative for the statewide ballot.

Would you please visit to donate $10 or more today?  If everyone on this e-mail list were to donate just $10, we’d have literally twice as much money ($1,000,000) as will be needed to complete the signature drive.

Making Michigan the 13th state to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest is crucial to our national strategy: Michigan is the country's eighth largest state and would be the first medical marijuana state in the Midwest.

Would you please lend your support today?

I’ll be grateful for anything you can do to help.


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 $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

United States

Trinity County CA Increases MMJ Patient Guideline to 3 Pounds

Safe Access Now is pleased that Trinity County Supervisors have adopted new medical marijuana guidelines consistent with the SAN recommendation of 3 pounds per patient. The county at the same time increased its garden plant count allowing up to 36 plants per patient, 12 mature and/or 24 immature. Trinity County joins Sonoma, Humboldt, and Santa Cruz counties in using the three pound per patient supply standard. SAN recommends allowing any number of plants so long as the garden canopy does not exceed 100 square feet. Del Norte, Sonoma, Humboldt, Mendocino and Santa Cruz utilize the 100 square foot garden standard. Congratulations to the patients and County Supervisors in Trinity County.
United States

Marijuana: Four Initiatives Make November Ballot In Idaho Town

A central Idaho marijuana legalization advocate's three-year struggle to get marijuana initiatives on the ballot in the town of Hailey will come to fruition in November. City officials announced last Friday that a package of marijuana initiatives proposed by Ryan Davidson will be on the November 6 ballot.
Selkirk mountains, northern Idaho
Davidson sought in 2004 to file initiative petitions seeking the legalization of marijuana with the communities of Sun Valley, Hailey, and Ketchum, but local officials in all three locales balked. Sun Valley officials refused to process the initiatives, claiming they were unconstitutional. Davidson and his group, the Liberty Lobby of Idaho, took the municipality all the way to the Idaho Supreme Court, which issued a decision in Davidson's favor last year.

Davidson won a second court victory last month, when a US District Court issued a preliminary injunction barring the city of Hailey from requiring that initiative initiators be residents of the city.

Now, Davidson has four different marijuana initiatives on the November ballot. The first would mandate the city to revise its ordinances to regulate and tax marijuana sales and require it to advocate for the reform of marijuana laws at the state and national level. If approved by voters, city officials would have up to a year to implement the new ordinance. A second initiative would legalize the medical use of marijuana. The third initiative would make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest law enforcement priority, while the fourth initiative would allow for the use of industrial hemp.

Local officials are resigned to letting the voters decide. "The only way this is going to go away is to let the people vote on it," said Hailey City Council President Rick Davis at a Monday council meeting.

"The voters have to vote on this; the Supreme Court was very clear," said Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson.

Voters in Hailey will get their chance in November. But Ketchum and Sun Valley could be next. Davidson told the Idaho Mountain Express he hoped to have initiatives on the ballot in those two cities for next May's local elections.

The DEA is raiding California right now -- 4:45 p.m. on 9/26/07

Right now, the DEA is currently raiding the River City Patient Center in Sacramento, California — the longest established medical marijuana dispensary in the city. Protesters have gathered outside the building in support of the collective.

And yesterday, the DEA began threatening landlords in the Santa Barbara area who lease space to medical marijuana dispensaries — activity that’s legal under California state law — with federal prison time and forfeiture of their properties. Several dispensaries closed right away.

This follows a similar move in Los Angeles in July — a maneuver that was condemned in a Los Angeles Times editorial as "a deplorable new bullying tactic."

No matter what state you live in, will you please take a few minutes to write all three of your members of Congress to protest this federal interference in state law? MPP’s action center is easy to use: You can send one of our pre-drafted letters, or you can personalize the letter.

This is just the latest in the campaign of terror the DEA is waging on the sick. In June and July, the DEA conducted extensive medical marijuana raids in several California counties and in Oregon, including raids on at least 10 Los Angeles clinics in late July. Most were aimed at medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally under state and local laws, and in several cases the DEA detained and terrorized individual patients.

If this outrages you like it does me, would you help MPP hire a new grassroots organizer in California, as well as to retain a lobbyist to help push legislation in Sacramento to protect these dispensaries? If enough supporters on this e-mail list donate today, MPP will be able to fully pay for both positions.

These reprehensible DEA attacks — which run counter to state law, as well as the 78% of the American people who support "making marijuana legally available for doctors to prescribe in order to reduce pain and suffering" — are preventing effective local regulation of medical marijuana: Cities and counties in California are passing ordinances to ensure that medical marijuana dispensaries follow the law and serve patients properly. But by treating all who provide medical marijuana to the sick as common drug dealers, the DEA has become the single largest obstacle to effective regulation of these establishments.

A major Los Angeles raid actually occurred at the exact moment that members of the city council were holding a press conference to discuss an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana providers.

Local officials and major newspapers are outraged by the DEA's actions. After the July raids in Los Angeles, L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine — a Republican and former police officer with the L.A. Police Department — said, "I am greatly disturbed that the Drug Enforcement Administration would initiate an enforcement action against medical marijuana facilities in the City of Los Angeles during a news conference regarding City Council support of an Interim Control Ordinance to regulate all facilities within the City. This action by the DEA is
contrary to the vote of Californians who overwhelmingly voted to support medicinal marijuana use by those facing serious and life threatening illnesses. The DEA needs to focus their attention and enforcement action on the illegal drug dealers who are terrorizing communities in Los Angeles."

After a series of DEA medical marijuana raids in San Francisco, the city's health director, Dr. Mitchell Katz, wrote to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, "These actions have resulted in 4,000 persons with chronic illness left without access to critical treatment upon which they rely. Certainly in this post-September 11 environment, it seems that a DEA priority punishing organizations for distributing cannabis for medical purposes to chronically ill individuals is misplaced."

Would you help us fight back against the DEA's deplorable attacks on sick patients? Please write your three members of Congress now, and then consider making a donation to MPP today.


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

Sacramento, CA
United States

Prohibition Causes Violence: Medical Marijuana Murders in California and Colorado

Prohibition-generated violence tragically took the life of a medical marijuana user's immediate family member. According to AP News, Rex Farrance, a 59-year-old senior editor at PC World magazine, was killed last January by burglars attempting to steal marijuana that his son had grown at their home in Pittsburg, California, for medical use. Charged against three men were filed in the case yesterday. February also saw a prohibition-related murder in a medical marijuana situation, when Colorado activist Ken Gorman, who provided marijuana to patients under that state's MedMj law, was also killed in what appears to have been a similarly-motivated robbery. We need legalization NOW, so people won't get killed anymore over drug money or drugs that can be sold for money, and not just of medical use and not just of marijuana. In the meanwhile, if we can help this problem by making medical marijuana legal while we continue to work for full legalization, that's worth doing too. But all of this needless killing caused by drug prohibition is a real shame.
Pittsburg, CA
United States

MPP saves 12 states' medical marijuana laws

Late last week, Congress passed a measure involving the FDA that did not include a dangerous amendment that could have undermined the 12 state laws that are protecting medical marijuana patients from arrest and jail.

The FDA bill’s passage marks the defeat of the greatest threat the medical marijuana movement has ever faced.

The threat was in the form of an amendment that was authored by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and attached to the Senate version of the FDA bill back in April. The House thankfully omitted Sen. Coburn’s amendment from its version of the FDA bill, and the final bill that President Bush is expected to sign also did not include Sen. Coburn’s amendment.

This victory is the result of MPP’s tireless work on Capitol Hill — and your calls, e-mails, and faxes to your members of Congress. Also important were the behind-the-scenes calls from major MPP allies to key members of Congress.

If you haven’t yet made a donation to MPP this year, would you please consider giving $10 or more today to support our important work in Congress?

The defeat of Sen. Coburn’s amendment feels really, really good. He is perhaps the number-one opponent of medical marijuana in the U.S. Senate; for example, last year he told MPP’s lobbyist that “marijuana is not a medicine, and the doctors and scientists who say it is one are smoking it themselves.”

Sen. Coburn's amendment was a thinly veiled attempt to undermine the medical marijuana laws in 12 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington — by placing them under the authority of the FDA (in addition to the DEA), while not providing the same approval process for marijuana as for other drugs seeking FDA approval as prescription medicines.

If the Coburn amendment had become law, a federal agency could have sued, say, the Oregon government for the purpose of persuading a federal judge to shut down Oregon’s medical marijuana ID card program that has done so much to protect more than 10,000 patients in the state.

MPP and its allies on Capitol Hill successfully worked with members of the House and Senate to remove the offending provision from the final version of the bill — making new legislative allies in the process. The House passed the final FDA bill on Wednesday, and the Senate passed it on Thursday.

Again, this success would not have been possible without your support — in the form of contacting your legislators, and in the form of financial contributions. Influence in Congress is not easily gained.

Please make a donation to MPP today so that we can continue to push forward with ending marijuana prohibition in this country.

Just today, the FBI released its annual Uniform Crime Reports, which documented that our nation just hit a new all-time high for marijuana arrests in the U.S. — 829,627 arrests by local and state police (not the feds) in 2006 alone. That’s one marijuana arrest every 38 seconds.

Your support is clearly needed more than ever. Please give now.

Thanks for your support.


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 $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

P.P.S. You can opt out of receiving fundraising mentions in the e-mail alerts I send you in 2007 by visiting at your convenience.

United States

ASA’s Media Summary for the Week Ending 9/21/07

FEDERAL: Judge Says Patient Must Return to Prison

A California medical marijuana patient is being sent back to jail to finish a 10-year sentence. Shortly after voters legalized medical use in the state, Bryan Epis began cultivating marijuana for himself and a handful of other qualified patients. Federal prosecutors claimed he was a drug dealer hoping to get rich; defense attorneys say they lied and misrepresented evidence at trial. Epis was released from prison after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of medical marijuana patients in the Raich case, but now a judge says he has to go back and serve his original term.

Same term for medical pot grower
by Denny Walsh, Sacramento Bee (CA)
For the second time in five years, Bryan James Epis, the first person associated with a California cannabis buyers' club to be tried in a federal court for growing marijuana, was sentenced Friday in Sacramento to 10 years in prison.

WISCONSIN: State Measure Introduced Again

For the fifth year in a row, the Wisconsin state legislature is taking up the question of whether medical marijuana patients should be prosecuted for following their doctors’ advice. Polling shows that more than 75% of Wisconsin voters think access to medical marijuana should be legal. Lawmakers will again have the chance to bring public policy into line with public opinion.

Medical cannabis supporters unite
by Cara Harshman, Badger Herald (WI)
Is your medicine legal? Jacki Rickert’s isn’t. The Wisconsin mother joined two state legislators and other medical marijuana supporters Tuesday for a press conference to announce the introduction of new medical marijuana legislation.

Their medicine's not legal yet
by Jackie Johnson, Wisconsin Radio Network
Two state lawmakers introduce comprehensive medical marijuana legislation, called the "Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act."

In Politics: For the Health of It
by Doug Hissom, On Milwaukee Magazine
Some state legislators are trying the get Wisconsin out of the mainstream when it comes to pot laws. The latest effort is being billed as "the most comprehensive medical marijuana legislation to date," according to bill sponsors, state Reps. Frank Boyle (D-Superior) and Mark Pocan (D-Madison).

Just a bill: Medical marijuana
by Stacy Forster, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
People with debilitating medical conditions would have access to marijuana under a bill introduced by Democratic Reps. Mark Pocan of Madison and Frank Boyle of Superior.

Boyle reintroduces medical marijuana bill
KUWS radio (WI)
Using marijuana for medical relief will be proposed again in the Wisconsin legislature again this session. Mike Simonson reports from Superior.

NEW YORK: Medical Marijuana Bill Moving Forward

The state Assembly has already passed a bill to remove criminal penalties for medical marijuana patients in New York. Now the state Senate is considering a different version of the bill, one that could render the law unworkable. The tactic has drawn the condemnation of at least one editorial board.

NY State Sen. Morahan backs medical pot stance
by Matt King, Times-Herald Record (NY)
Days after medical marijuana advocates took out an ad targeting state Sen. Thomas Morahan, he reaffirmed his support for a bill allowing doctors to prescribe the drug for seriously ill patients.

Baloney on medical marijuana
EDITORIAL, Times Herald-Record (NY)
There's a trick politicians use when they want to appear to be in favor of some issue that has strong public support. They craft legislation that suggests support but include a provision they know the other political party won't go for.

FEDERAL: Targeting of Patients Continues, Condemned

When the US Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that federal agents may arrest and prosecute medical marijuana patients if they choose, justice department officials said the government was not interested in going after sick people. Yet the two years since then have seen a sharp escalation of raids, with federal agents staging multiple, coordinated raids aimed at intimidating communities. The DEA is also seizing the homes of patients, even in state cases, while threatening to take any buildings been rented to dispensaries.

Our View - Pot raids make no constitutional sense
EDITORIAL, Daily 49er (Cal State Long Beach)
California has become the abused child of an oppressive regime. Rather than conducting raids in all states with legislation similar to California's Proposition 215 (enacted to allow using cannabis as an alternative form of treatment for a host of chronic ailments), the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has decided to flex their muscles here, on our turf.

Americans compromise on pot
by Michael Booth, Denver Post
Take one swift glance at a U.S. map coded to reflect the widely varying marijuana laws in each state, and drug policy seems to range from irrational to incoherent. But dig into the details of public opinion, user behavior and police enforcement, and a more lucid picture of American attitudes comes into focus: People have learned to live with pot, up to a fine point.

DEA Raids in Nevada County
by Nevada County Sheriff's Office, Yuba Net
Yesterday, September 13, 2007, the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) executed search warrants for the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana. The first search warrant was served on a man with a valid Prop 215 medical marijuana recommendation, yet Prop 215 is not recognized under federal law.

Ridge woman to lose home over pot cultivation charge
Chico Enterprise Record
Patricia Hatton, 53, will be sentenced in Butte County Superior Court Nov. 7 on a felony charge of illegal cultivation of marijuana, and faces up to three years in prison. It's already been determined, however, that she will also lose her home.

WASHINGTON: Advocates Want Local Interference Stopped

State officials recognize that ambiguity in Washington’s medical marijuana law is creating conflicting views on what is legally permissible for patients. At issue is the quantity that constitutes the 60-day supply of medication provided for in the law. Since there are considerable differences in the dosages required by particular patients or conditions – some federal patients receive more than six pounds a year – setting state guidelines has proven tricky.

Pro-marijuana group wants Yakima investigated
A medical marijuana advocacy group is asking Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna to investigate Yakima County to see if it is following Washington's medical marijuana law.

Pot advocates criticize two county officials
by Mark Morey, Yakima Herald (WA)
Medical marijuana advocates are charging that Yakima County has disregarded the state's law regarding limited use of the drug by approved patients.

CALIFORNIA: Plant Count An Issue in Arrest

Similar to the question Washington officials face about what quantity of marijuana is legal to possess, some California counties are trying to interpret state guidelines. Unfortunately, some local officials have taken the state legislature’s minimum permissible amounts as limits, despite a state law that courts have said allows patients to grow and possess whatever they need. A particular problem with setting limits based on number of plants is that different varieties and cultivation techniques produce considerably different quantities of usable medicine.

Too many marijuana plants
by Rob Young, Marysville Appeal-Democrat (CA)
An East Marysville man had a medical marijuana card, but he and his wife had far more of the drug than allowed when their home was raided Tuesday, police said.

DISPENSARIES: Locals Debate Access as Nation Watches

With venerable news show 60 Minutes taking a look at California’s medical marijuana dispensaries, the nation will get another look at some of the issues surrounding these community-based solutions to the problem of safe access. Despite the interference of federal agencies, the California experience is a case study in federalism, providing a laboratory of experiment on how to meet both the needs of patients and the concerns of the larger community. ASA’s report on the experience of local officials shows that a regulated approach to dispensaries works; see it at

The Debate On California's Pot Shops
by Morley Safer, 60 Minutes - CBS News
The idea was a noble one: pass a law to make marijuana legal for cancer and AIDS sufferers whose pain and nausea the drug is known to relieve. But the law the Rev. Scott Imler thought would one day put the drug in pharmacies has instead created "pot dealers in storefronts" who sell to anyone with doctors' notes that are fairly easy to obtain.

Norco bans pot dispensaries
by Andrea Bennett, Daily Bulletin (CA)
The City Council voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in all city zones on Wednesday night.

CANADA: Patient’s Case Challenges Registration Requirement

Like most state medical marijuana programs in the U.S., Health Canada requires patients to register to receive federal marijuana and be considered legal. But not all patients who are helped by medical marijuana can or will register with such programs. A case being considered in Canada may address the issue there.

Nova Scotia medical marijuana case now in hands of jury
by Tom McCoag, Halifax Chronicle Herald (Canada)
The fate of a Maccan-area man who says he has the cure for cancer is now in the hands of a Nova Scotia Supreme Court jury.


Find out more about ASA at More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at

United States

NHS: Cannabis Petition, Government Response

Legalise Cannabis Alliance petition (UK), and government response: Response from UK Downing Street on petition (note the last paragraph) NHS-cannabis - petition reply 21 September 2007 We received a petition asking: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make cannabis/cannabis based drugs legal and available on NHS prescription to people suffering chronic pain and other ill health." *Details of Petition:* "Cannabis and cannabis based drugs are proven to be of great benefit to people suffering from chronic pain and illnesses such as cancer and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Canada, some US states and other countries. As the law currently stands, cannabis is illegal in the UK and cannot be prescribed on the NHS." * Read the petition * Petitions home page Read the Government's response: The Government has every sympathy for people who suffer from debilitating illnesses who cannot satisfactorily alleviate their symptoms through the use of existing medication. However, cannabis has a number of acute and chronic health effects and remains a controlled drug for good reasons. It is in this context that, on 27 May 2005, the Court of Appeal rejected an appeal to allow the use of cannabis (in its raw form) for the relief of chronic pain. The Court took the view that necessity was no defence for using or supplying the drug. It dismissed appeals in six cases where people were given fines or suspended sentences after convictions for possessing or importing cannabis. The Court also took the view that the general prohibition on cannabis in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 showed that any benefits perceived or suggested for individual patients were regarded as outweighed by the detriment of allowing its use. The judges left open the possibility of an appeal to the House of Lords because of the public importance of the issue. Whilst the Government has no intention of legalising the use of cannabis in its raw form for medicinal purposes, it would be willing to legalise the scientifically established medicinal use of a medical preparation of the drug. Any decision to legalise such a product is subject to product approval being granted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which will evaluate the safety, quality and effectiveness of all prospective medicines in the interests of public health. Sativex (Cannabis Sativa L.Extract) is an unlicensed medicine in the UK and a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, listed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Previously, Sativex could only be prescribed by a doctor who had been granted the appropriate licence, and pharmacists could only stock and supply the product if they too had the appropriate licence. Guidance on this was issued by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) in the December 2005 issue of Community Pharmacy News. Since then, the Home Office has confirmed that it has issued an open general licence for the product which allows pharmacists to dispense the product as an unlicensed medicine under certain conditions. There is no longer the requirement for a prescribing doctor or dispensing pharmacist to contact the Home Office in relation to obtaining a licence to prescribe or supply Sativex. The Home Office has lifted the record-keeping requirements and pharmacists now do not need to record Sativex in their controlled drug registers. There are provisions for patients to obtain Sativex in the UK but it would be for the individual patient and their doctor to discuss and consider whether the use of Sativex is appropriate for their particular clinical need. The GP concerned would have to write out the prescription and the pharmacist would contact the manufacturer for a supply of Sativex. Prescription requirements for Sativex still apply whereby prescriptions must be written in the same way as they are for Schedule 2 drugs with prescriptions including the dose, form, strength and total quantity of the preparation in both words and figures. Sativex is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled drug and will remain so until such time as it has been approved by the MHRA, at which point the Home Office anticipates that Sativex (but not cannabis) will be rescheduled as a Schedule 4 controlled drug. Unfortunately, the MHRA cannot provide information about the status of an application or when it can be expected. The Agency will only approve applications once it is satisfied that the product in question is of a suitable quality, is efficacious and safe, and has an appropriate risk/benefit for the patients and indications sought. There has always been provision in both UK and European legislation which allows doctors to prescribe an unlicensed medicinal product (for which they are personally responsible) specially prepared and for administration to a particular patient to meet a special clinical need.
United Kingdom

Americans for Safe Access Saves Medical Cannabis Laws!

Dear ASA Supporter, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) scored an important victory in Congress yesterday, one that may have protected the medical cannabis laws in all twelve states in which they have been adopted. In April, ASA was the first to get word from allies in Washington, DC, that staunch medical cannabis opponent Senator Tom Coburn planned to quietly introduce an amendment to the Prescription Drug Use Fee Act, that would have effectively blocked implementation of state medical cannabis laws by giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to obstruct these laws! ASA and our allies in the HIV/AIDS community sprang into action – launching a stealthy campaign to kill the amendment without alerting our adversaries. Yesterday, the bill was adopted without the harmful Coburn amendment! This is exactly the work we came to do when we opened the first office in Washington, DC devoted exclusively to medical cannabis advocacy. We need your support to be sure we are here to fight back again next time – and take the campaign on the offensive. Please take a moment to support ASA’s work today by visiting ASA has worked hard to establish strategic alliances with health care advocacy organizations in order to expand and strengthen the coalition supporting medical cannabis. This new coalition had the power to persuade Senator Ted Kennedy and Presidential Candidates Senators Clinton and Obama to oppose the amendment. ASA and our allies continued working to be sure the sneaky amendment was not introduced in the House, and ultimately removed from the final bill. We had to act fast and work in concert with our allies, but we were able to stop the Senator’s attempt to do an administrative end run around states’ medical cannabis laws. Unfortunately, this will not be the last time we have to fight off an attack on safe access. That is why ASA continues to educate members of Congress, advocate for policies that promote safe and legal access, and keep an eye on our increasingly sophisticated opponents. We need your continued support to do this work so please contribute today: We rely on support from people like you to defend safe access against threats like the Coburn amendment. Please help us do this work, so that we can finally harmonize federal law with the laws of the states that allow medical cannabis use. Only then, will patients’ access be truly safe. Thank you for doing your part! Sincerely, Steph Sherer Executive Director Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC
United States

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