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Medical Marijuana Update

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #753)
Politics & Advocacy

Mitt Romney (mis)speaks out on medical marijuana, the LA dispensary ban is repealed, and the feds keep on grinding away at medical marijuana providers with another conviction in Montana and a lengthy prison sentence in Michigan. And that's just for starters. Let's get to it:


On Monday, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighed in on marijuana policy. Asked by the Denver Post what he thought about Colorado's medical marijuana industry, Romney responded, "I oppose marijuana being used for recreational purposes and I believe the federal law should prohibit the recreational use of marijuana." Later the same day, his campaign clarified to the Washington Post that "Governor Romney has a long record of opposing the use of marijuana for any reason. He opposes legalizing drugs, including marijuana for medicinal purposes. He will fully enforce the nation's drug laws, and he will oppose any attempts at legalization."


Last Thursday, the state ACLU joined a lawsuit supporting the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. The lawsuit, filed by White Mountain Health Center, seeks to compel county and state officials to move forward with the dispensary permitting process. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has refused to issue the documentation to any proposed dispensaries in Maricopa County because he claims the law is preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act. The lawsuit lists Montgomery, Maricopa County, and the state Health Department and its director, Will Humble, as defendants. A hearing is set for October 19.


On Tuesday, the LA city council voted to repeal its recent ban on dispensaries. The 11-2 vote came after activists gathered enough signatures to put a referendum repealing the ban to a direct vote. Rather than hold a March election that could give an okay to dispensaries, the council is counting on federal enforcement to accomplish what it hoped to achieve with its ban. "That is our relief," Councilman Jose Huizar said of the DEA raids and threat letters to dispensaries that began last week.

Last Tuesday, the DEA raided an Anaheim dispensary, the Live Love Collective, seizing two kilos of dried marijuana, 75 kilos of marijuana-laced edibles, 900 grams of hash and a kilo of marijuana gel, according to DEA officials. The shop had been warned by the feds that it was violating federal law in November 2011 and was also among 128 dispensaries issued "cease and desist" orders by the city of Anaheim.


On Monday, the state's medical marijuana law went into effect. Doctors will now be able to go online at the Department of Consumer Protection and begin the registration application for qualifying patients. This is the first step in the fledgling program; the agency has until  July 1 to submit new regulations to the General Assembly on how it will be dispensed.


On Monday, the Ann Arbor city council postponed action on amending its licensing ordinance. The suggested amendments including removing language suggesting involvement in regulating the industry by city staff, setting a cap of 20 on dispensaries in the city, and licensing 10 dispensaries. The council has steadfastly failed to move on the ordinance revisions since they were proposed at its January meeting, and they could die if not acted on within the next six months.

Also on Monday, a Monroe County caregiver was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Gerald Duval Jr. and his son Jeremy had been raided by the DEA and charged with federal marijuana cultivation and trafficking offenses. They were convicted after a trial in which Michigan's medical marijuana law, with which they were in compliance, could not be mentioned. Jeremy Duval was set to be sentenced Tuesday, but there is no word yet on his sentence.  Americans for Safe Access called the Duvals' case "another tragedy from President Obama's war on medical marijuana."


Last Wednesday, the Montana Cannabis Association asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its September ruling that a ban on marijuana sales does not violate the constitutional rights of registered users or providers. The ruling overturned a lower court decision to block part of lawmakers' restrictive rewrite of state regulations, and sent the case back to District Court with new instructions. The association argued that a new state law should be held to a higher standard of review. The Supreme Court decision is in abeyance until the justices address the motion and formally send the case back to the lower court.

Last Thursday, a medical marijuana provider was found guilty in federal court of multiple federal charges, including conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute marijuana and firearms charges. Chris Williams was the greenhouse operator for Montana Cannabis, where DEA agents seized 950 plants in one of the March 2011 raids that swept the state, decimating its nascent medical marijuana industry. As per usual, he wasn't permitted to argue that he followed state laws regulating medical marijuana.  He said he would appeal. One of his partners in Montana Cannabis, Tom Daubert, recently received a probationary sentence after pleading guilty, but another set of partners, the Flor family, weren't so fortunate. They all got prison sentences, and 68-year-old Richard Flor died in federal prison earlier this summer.

(This article was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


William Aiken (not verified)

Obama and Romney agree on one thing they don't want to field any questions about Marijuana, whether it's medicinal or for recreational use. Their policies on marijuana don't have any stark differences, only in their rhetoric. So Obama doesn't like the war metaphor and Romney embraces it.


It was disappointing to see that CNN's top ten questions for  Obama and Romney didn't have any mention of the legalization initiatives in  CO, OR & WA or the 17 states that have passed medical Marijuana. Hard to believe that the most popular question for Obama's on-line town meeting didn't even register in the ten top for CNN. Given, CNN's complicity in shutting out Gary Johnson from the debates, I can see them fudging the questions. I hope at least one of the moderators proves me wrong by asking these guys how they would react if any of the legalization amendments become law. If there's no statements from either candidate, I don't want to be surprised by their action as president. We should know what they have on store for us.

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 2:32pm Permalink
m dar (not verified)

Thank God there are not even higher authorities than the Fed. These actions by Fed authorities over riding state and local statutes or regs  will be reflected by a new world order, the a Solar order, then an Interplanetary, then who knows!

The further the authority is in location from the actual governed people, the more affect on the entire order of commerce the overriding authority has.... and less local authority, local has. Without experimentation in policy, every civilization freezes in its advance and the Fed has no problem with that.

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 3:11pm Permalink
mexweed (not verified)

I googled up the following tobacco (i.e. $igarette) industry contribution totals:

Romney $75,000, Obama $17,000

Well Gaawd (if not google) knows what else the Industry funnels into the candidates, especially Republicans, through those $igarets United $uperPACKs.

Failing an Emergency Constitutional Amendment abolishing the Electoral Cullage duopoly and instituting an open primary, top-two runoff system by next month, Hold Nose, Vote Barry, and press him to appoint Romney CZAR over a US-led worldwide campaign to exterminate $igarette marketing.

Allen St. Pierre urged demanding questions to the candidates about cannabis legalization but no questions were offered at the debate; the candidates talked a lot about taxes and debt but not about the figure St. Pierre mentioned of $20-Bil./year US government entities now spend on anti-cannabis law enforcement which creates a 10-1 or greater price difference between cannabis and tobacco driving kids into nicotine addiction, nor the $44.5-Bil./year $igarette tax revenue (according to an R. J. Reynolds website) which clearly funds that persecution. 

Not too late to keep urging this issue be brought up, next at the VP debate next Thursday. 

Ask candidates what they think of the possibility that legalizing cannabis now could reduce to near zero, within a few years, the CDC-estimated $193-Bil. yearly cost to the USA economy of $igarette addiction ($96-Bil. medical, $97-Bil lost productivity).  I note that the Mormon Church has programs for helping members get rid of a $igarette habit-- can Romney AND the Church be persuaded to take a new view of cannabis, which whatever its disadvantages is of primary importance because of its potential to help eliminate the greatest plague/genocide/conspiracy in human history (6,000,000 profitable industrial murders a year)?

AFTER legalization I doubt organizations like NORML or DRCNET will fold and disappear, rather we'll hit the ground running, swarm out like Mormons and Witnesses (armed with a portable vaporizer instead of a cross) showing every last remaining hot burning overdose monoxide $igarette addict how to kick the habit and every child from age 1 how to achieve vape literacy and never mess with secret sacred $igarette papers.

Thu, 10/04/2012 - 10:24pm Permalink
Uncle Bob (not verified)

The question is... did Romeny REALLY misspeak in that statement?  Or does he simply not make any distinction between recreational and medical use?  Make no mistake, if you're voting based on this specific issue, then Obama is the lesser of the two evils.  Even though Obama's administration has damaged the medical marijuana industry... Romeny's would destroy it completely.  It wouldn't even exist anymore.

Fri, 10/05/2012 - 12:30am Permalink

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