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ASA Fresno Chapter Patients and Caregivers Monthly Meeting

ASA Fresno Chapter Patients and Caregivers Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, November 10th at 6:00 pm

Full Circle Brewing Company - 620 "F" Street in Fresno

This month's meeting will feature guest speaker Attorney William Logan. Attorney Logan is very knowledgeable about cannabis law issues, and he gives an interesting and informative presentation for those interested in this important subject. Attorney Logan will hold an involved question and answer session after his presentation. We request that anyone wanting to have any question(s) answered by Attorney Logan will write their question(s) down and give them to either Diana or Tommy prior to the start of the meeting. This way everyone has an equal chance of getting their question(s) answered by Attorney Logan, and we can avoid duplicate questions being asked. ASA Fresno Chapter monthly meetings are open to the public. Please bring anyone you know who would like to learn more about medical cannabis issues. Thank you for your continued support of safe access to medicinal cannabis.
Fresno, CA
United States

Feature: Maine Voters Approve Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Voters in Maine Tuesday approved Question 5, the Maine Medical Marijuana Act, an initiative instructing the state government to set up a system of state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. The measure passed with 59% of the vote.
a plea from a patient -- Maine voters listened (courtesy
Sponsored by Maine Citizens for Patient Rights (MCPR) and the Maine Medical Marijuana Policy Initiative (MMMPI), and funded primarily by the Drug Policy Alliance, the Maine Medical Marijuana Act will:

  • Establish a system of nonprofit dispensaries which would be overseen and tightly regulated by the state;
  • Establish a voluntary identification card for medical marijuana patients and caregivers;
  • Protect patients and caregivers from arrest, search and seizure unless there is suspicion of abuse;
  • Create new protections for qualified patients and providers in housing, education, employment and child custody;
  • Allow patients with Lou Gehrig's disease and Alzheimer's disease access to medical marijuana;
  • Require the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a procedure for expanding the list of conditions for which marijuana can be used; and
  • Keep current allowable marijuana quantities at 2.5 ounces and six plants.

"We weren't surprised at all by the outcome," said Jonathan Leavitt of Maine Citizens for Patients Rights, who had predicted weeks ago the measure would cruise to victory. "We would have done a lot better in most elections, but this time there was a big turnout from the hard-core religious right," he said, referring to the heated battle over a gay marriage referendum that went down to defeat the same day.

"We're really tickled," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which also supported the campaign. "This was a state election with some controversial issues, but medical marijuana wasn't one of them. Oh, the usual suspects objected, but nobody was listening. This suggests the comfort level with medical marijuana is growing by leaps and bounds."

Some long-time Maine marijuana activists, such as the Maine Vocals, had joined the "usual suspects" in opposing the measure. They argued that the measure gave too much power to the state. But their complaints appeared to have little impact on the electoral outcome.

"It's great to see Maine leapfrog other states in adopting cutting-edge medical marijuana legislation," said Jill Harris, DPA managing director for public policy. "What's especially nice is that the medical marijuana guidelines recently issued by the US Department of Justice provide reassurance to Maine officials that they can implement the new law without fear of reprisal by federal authorities."

"This is a dramatic step forward, the first time that any state's voters have authorized the state government to license medical marijuana dispensaries," said MPP executive director Rob Kampia. "Coming a decade after passage of Maine's original marijuana law, this is a huge sign that voters are comfortable with these laws, and also a sign that the recent change of policy from the Obama administration is having a major impact."

Maine becomes the sixth state to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, and, as Kampia noted, the first one to approve state-licensed dispensaries through a popular vote. New Mexico and Rhode Island approved state-licensed dispensaries through the legislative process, while California, Colorado, and Washington adopted locally-approved dispensaries through the initiative process.

In New Mexico, there is currently one state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary; in Rhode Island none yet exist. In Colorado, by contrast, there are nearly a hundred, while in California, the number of locally-permitted (or not) dispensaries is somewhere shy of 2000. In Washington State, the number of dispensaries is much lower, but still higher than in states where dispensaries are licensed by the state.

"The trend toward licensed dispensaries is a good thing," said Kris Hermes, communications director for Americans for Safe Access, the nation's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "Back in 1996, when the first initiative was passed in California, that initiative included language calling on the state and federal governments to work together to create a plan for distribution. But because the federal government was not only unhelpful, but actually working to actively undermine medical marijuana distribution in California during the Bush years, people at the local level were forced to develop a model they could advance. What we now have in California is a local model of distribution," he noted.

While locally-approved dispensaries appear to provide access to medical marijuana to greater numbers of people, they are also subject to more harassment and even prosecution by the state or even the federal government. The Obama administration has declared it will not go after dispensaries operating in accord with state law, but in states like California and Colorado, where local prosecutors determine legality -- not a state law -- dispensary operators could still see themselves prosecuted by the feds.

One such incident occurred in September in San Diego, where hard-line county District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis led joint state and federal raids against dispensaries, and at least two people were charged with federal marijuana distribution offenses. Similarly, the Los Angeles county prosecutor has warned that he considers almost all LA-area dispensaries to be illegal.

"That's the fundamental difference Maine, New Mexico, and Rhode Island on one hand, and California and Colorado on the other," said MPP's Mirken. "The latter have a large number of dispensaries, but they are operating in a grey area. In California, we've seen the feds justify participating in raids where local DAs say the dispensaries aren't legal."

That could continue to happen, even with the Obama edict, Mirken said. "Until the courts settle these issues, it's not shocking that the feds might defer to local prosecutors," he said. "There's something to be said for legal clarity."

What is needed, said Hermes, is federal acceptance of medical marijuana. "As long as the federal government continues to deny medical marijuana's efficacy and refuses to develop a national plan that goes beyond law enforcement, states will have to develop their own laws to deal with the issue of distribution," he said. "Having said that, we continue to work with the Obama administration to develop that national policy, and hopefully, one day soon we will have a policy that obviates the need for individual policies at the state level."

In the meantime, it's up to the states. In Maine, that means getting the state-licensed dispensary system up and running. "The process starts when the governor signs it into law, which we expect shortly," said Leavitt. "He will then set up a task force to pull together appropriate oversight for the new law. We hope to be part of that stakeholder process. I think it will take at least three or four months before we actually have functioning dispensaries."

Maine Votes “Yes” on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                             
NOVEMBER 3, 2009

Maine Votes “Yes” on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries,

Becomes 3rd State to License Medical Marijuana Providers; Vote Seen as Latest Advance Spurred by Obama Policy

CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications …………… 415-585-6404 or 202-215-4205

AUGUSTA, MAINE — In a landmark vote, Maine voters today approved Question 5, making the state the third in the country to license nonprofit organizations to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients and the first ever to do so by a vote of the people. With 49 percent of the vote tallied, the measure was cruising to an easy win with 60.2 percent voting “yes” and 39.8 percent voting “no.”

         Under the measure, the state will license nonprofit organizations to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients and set rules for their operation. While 13 states permit medical use of marijuana, only Rhode Island and New Mexico have similar dispensary provisions, both of which were adopted by the states’ legislatures. Maine’s original medical marijuana law was passed in 1999.

         “This is a dramatic step forward, the first time that any state’s voters have authorized the state government to license medical marijuana dispensaries,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., which drafted the initiative and provided start-up funding for the campaign. “Coming a decade after passage of Maine’s original marijuana law, this is a huge sign that voters are comfortable with these laws, and also a sign that the recent change of policy from the Obama administration is having a major impact.”  

         In October, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a formal policy indicating that federal prosecutors should not prosecute medical marijuana activities authorized by state law.

         Question 5 also expands the list of medical conditions qualifying for protection under Maine’s law to include several conditions that are included in most other medical marijuana states, including intractable pain, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“Lou Gehrig’s disease”).

         With more than 29,000 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


United States

Maine Votes to Okay Medical Marijuana Dispensaries; Measure Passing With 60% of the Vote

Voters in Maine Tuesday approved Question 5, which will allow the state to license nonprofit organizations to operate medical marijuana dispensaries for qualified patients. In early returns with nearly half the vote tallied, the measure was winning easily, with 60% of the vote. Maine thus becomes the third state to create a system of state-licensed dispensaries, and the first one to do so by a direct vote. Only Rhode Island and New Mexico have similar dispensary provisions. "This is a dramatic step forward, the first time that any state’s voters have authorized the state government to license medical marijuana dispensaries," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, DC, which drafted the initiative and provided start-up funding for the campaign. "Coming a decade after passage of Maine’s original marijuana law, this is a huge sign that voters are comfortable with these laws, and also a sign that the recent change of policy from the Obama administration is having a major impact." MPP local affiliate Maine Citizens for Patients' Rights led the fight on the ground. Question 5 also expands the list of medical conditions qualifying for protection under Maine’s law to include several conditions that are included in most other medical marijuana states, including intractable pain, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ("Lou Gehrig’s disease"). Look for a feature article on the Maine victory and the push for state-licensed dispensaries in the Chronicle on Friday.
United States

The Best Place in the World to Buy Marijuana

When it comes to reforming marijuana laws, one of our greatest remaining obstacles is the fact that many people just can’t picture what a sensible marijuana policy would look like. The reformer's utopian view of a regulated marijuana economy operates in stark contrast to the pungent smoldering apocalypse that exists in the nightmares of our opposition. It's like we're not even speaking the same language.

So I'd like to share a vision of what is possible when cannabis is provided by responsible people:

It's a triumphant statement that cannabis, like other valued commodities, can be handled with accountability to the consumer and the public. So much of the ugliness that clouds this issue (drug gangs, violence, environmental harm) is just a symptom of our failure to let the best people supervise it. Through regulation, we encourage responsible business practices and create an environment in which providers will constantly strive to maintain a healthy relationship with their community.

The time has come for opponents of legalization to stop obstructing reform and start actively participating in it. Once it's understood that marijuana laws are changing, we must all begin working together to develop a system that addresses as many different concerns as possible. Instead of trying to block any form of legalization, skeptics should be thinking about what distribution model they'd be most comfortable with. The excellent example depicted above can be replicated elsewhere, but only if everyone works together instead of fighting it out to the bitter end.

This is what real drug control looks like and there's nothing here for anyone to be afraid of.

Medical Marijuana: New Hampshire Veto Override Falls Two Votes Short

Three months after New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) vetoed a medical marijuana bill, bill supporters attempting to override the veto came up one vote short in the state Senate Wednesday. A two-thirds majority was required to override. The override effort had successfully passed the House earlier in the day.
almost but not quite at the New Hampshire Statehouse
The House voted to override the veto by a vote of 240-115, or 67.7% of the vote. But supporters failed to pick up a single vote in the Senate, and that made all the difference. The Senate vote both last summer and this week was 14-10 to override. It would have taken 16 votes to reach a two-thirds majority.

The bill, HB 648, would have established three nonprofit dispensaries to distribute up to two ounces of marijuana every 10 days to patients whose use had been approved by a doctor. Patients could be approved for chronic or terminal conditions that included cachexia, or wasting disorder; chronic pain; or nausea or muscle spasms. They would have had to register with the state to obtain an ID card.

In his veto message earlier this year, Gov. Lynch cited concerns about cultivation and distribution, as well as the opposition of law enforcement. Lawmakers had attempted to address those concerns in conference committee, crafting a tightly-drafted bill, but Lynch was unmoved.

"It's up to 16 of us in this chamber to look at those who are suffering to say, 'I understand and I will help','' said Sen. Peggy Gilmour (D-Hollis). But every senator who voted against the measure earlier this year voted against the override Wednesday.

Pushing for the bill was the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "You never give up hope so I'm disappointed," coalition spokesman Matt Simon told the Nashua Telegraph. "Now I'm not looking forward to making those difficult calls to people depending on the legislature to relieve their unrelenting pain."

In fact, Simon and other medical marijuana supporters are looking to inflict a little pain on legislators who voted against them. In a message to supporters after the override failed, MPP pointedly noted that two senators who had voted against the override, Betsi DeVries and Ted Gatsas, are up for reelection in Manchester next week.

Medical Marijuana: "Truth in Trials" Bill Reintroduced, Would Allow Medical Testimony in Federal Prosecutions

US Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) and more than 20 congressional cosponsors Tuesday introduced a bill that would allow defendants in federal medical marijuana prosecutions to use medical evidence in their defense -- a right they do not have under current federal law. The Truth in Trials Act, H.R. 3939, would create a level playing field for such defendants.
Sam Farr
"This is a common sense bill that will help stop the waste of law enforcement and judicial resources that have been spent prosecuting individuals who are following state law," Rep. Farr said on Tuesday. "We need strict drug laws, but we also need to apply a little common sense to how they're enforced. This legislation is about treating defendants in cases involving medical marijuana fairly, plain and simple."

More than a hundred medical marijuana providers have been prosecuted for violating federal marijuana laws, and more cases are coming down the pike. More than two dozen cases are currently pending. While the Justice Department last week issued guidelines to federal prosecutors discouraging them from prosecuting providers who comply with state medical marijuana laws, that guidance does not require that courts or prosecutors allow testimony about medical marijuana, nor does it suggest that prosecutors drop those cases.

"The Truth in Trials Act will restore the balance of justice and bring fundamental fairness to federal medical marijuana trials," said Caren Woodson, government affairs director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "This legislation complements the recent Justice Department guidelines for federal prosecutors and is now more necessary than ever."

While Farr has introduced the Truth in Trials bill in earlier sessions, supporters hope this time the bill will gain some traction. It has already been endorsed by more than three dozen advocacy, health, and legal groups, including ASA, the ACLU, the National Association of People With AIDS, the National Minority AIDS Council, and the AIDS Action Council.

Medical Marijuana: Colorado Court of Appeals Rules Caregivers Must Do More Than Just Grow Pot

In an opinion released Thursday, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that persons designated as "caregivers" under the state's medical marijuana law must do more than merely supply marijuana to patients. In so doing, the court upheld the conviction of a Longmont woman, Stacy Clendenin, who argued that marijuana she grew in her home was distributed to authorized patients in dispensaries.
Colorado state medical marijuana application
That wasn't good enough for the appeals court. Caregivers authorized to grow marijuana for patients must actually know the patients they are growing for, the court said.

"We conclude that to qualify as a 'primary care-giver' a person must do more than merely supply a patient who has a debilitating medical condition with marijuana," the court ruled.

The ruling, if upheld on appeal, threatens to put a crimp in Colorado's burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Dozens of dispensaries have sprung up in the state this year, and growers have been supplying some of them.

That has sparked calls for reining in the dispensaries, a call that was echoed in a concurring opinion to the ruling. In his concurrence, Judge Alan Loeb wrote that Colorado's constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana "cries out for legislative action."

Attorney General John Suthers told the Denver Post he applauded the decision. "I am pleased to see the Court of Appeals has provided legal support for our case that a caregiver, under Amendment 20, must do more than simply provide marijuana to a patient," Suthers said. "I also was pleased to see the assertion in the special concurrence that Amendment 20 'cries out for legislative action.' I could not agree more. I hope the legislature will act and create a regulatory framework that gives substance to the Court of Appeals' findings."

But Clendinin's attorney, Robert Corry, said the ruling was limited and that he would appeal it. "This decision is quite limited and only applies to Stacy Clendenin and only applies to those who went to trial before July when the state board agreed that caregivers could simply provide marijuana," Corry said. "I am concerned that the court superimposed California law on Colorado and I don't think California (medical marijuana) law is a shining star of success."

A Marijuana Blog That's the Opposite of All the Others

A very unique new marijuana blog is just starting to get noticed on the web and I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to check it out in case it disappears (which I predict could take place soon, unfortunately). It's called Marijuana in the News and there is seriously nothing else like it anywhere on the web.

What makes Marijuana in the News so special? The author bitterly detests marijuana.  The whole thing is a rambling hatefest against reform, literally the precise opposite of what you'll find here. I predict it will become semi-popular, but only among marijuana reform activists who take sadistic pleasure in pissing themselves off.

So go pay 'em a visit, enjoy yourself, and feel free to drop the author a friendly note in the comment section, cause it's looking pretty lonely in there. Be nice though, because reform is all about making the world a happier place where people hug and hold hands instead of arguing on the internet. Love thy neighbor, I say, even if thy neighbor wants to arrest people with AIDS.

Medical marijuana override falls short in New Hampshire

Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana Policy Project Alert

October 28, 2009

Drop Shadow

Dear friends:

Today, the New Hampshire legislature came just shy of voting to override Gov. John Lynch (D)'s veto of the state's proposed medical marijuana law. Two-thirds of the votes were needed. Although we cleared the House with 67.6% of the vote (240-115), it lost in the Senate, 14-10.

The bill had passed the legislature in June, by 232-108 in the House and 14-10 in the Senate. But on July 10, Gov. Lynch vetoed the bill, after refusing to meet with 15 patients and after failing to give input to the legislative conference committee, which amended the bill to address each of the eight concerns he had voiced in April.

To override the veto and pass the bill into law, we needed supportive votes from two-thirds of voting members of the House and 16 votes in the Senate.

Coming so close to victory makes losing more painful. Yet the support of MPP’s 29,000 dues-paying members allowed us to wage a fierce fight: We retained a top lobbying firm in the state and funded an outstanding organizer, Matt Simon, who leads the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy. We also ran tens of thousands of dollars of TV, radio, and print ads featuring patients who were counting on the governor and legislature to do the right thing and generated hundreds of e-mails, calls, and faxes and postcards to the governor and key legislators.

But the bill faced strong opposition from the state's attorney general and chiefs of police.

However, we’re determined to see New Hampshire medical marijuana patients protected from arrest and jail. 71% of New Hampshire voters support allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to use and grow medical marijuana for personal use if their doctors recommend it, according to a 2008 Mason-Dixon poll.

Would you help us come back even stronger? Please don’t let the New Hampshire patients who spoke out publicly in support of this bill be ignored. Donate what you can today.

Need one more reason? Do it for the memory of Scott Turner, a New Hampshire medical marijuana patient and activist who died August 4 after a long and painful battle with degenerative joint disease and degenerative disc disease.

Together, we're going to win this fight.

Thank you,

Rob Signature

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 $2.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.


MPP will be able to tackle all of the projects in our 2009 strategic plan if you and other allies are able to fund our work.

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