Chronicle AM: Sanders Endorses CA Init, Congress Moves to Help Vets Get MedMJ, More... (5/19/16)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #927)

Marijuana activists prepare to march on the White House, Congress moves on medical marijuana for veterans, Bernie Sanders endorses California's AUMA legalization initiative, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Marijuana Legalizers, Veterans to Protest at White House Friday. A demonstration headed by the DC Cannabis Campaign and Weed for Warriors is set for the White House Friday after the Obama administration failed to respond to the groups' requests for "higher level consultations" following an initial meeting with White House staffers last month. Organizers are saying the event won't be a smoke-in, but it will come close. "This will be an unpermitted event with mass cannabis consumption and escalated civil disobedience," demonstration promotional materials say.

Bernie Sanders Endorses California's Legalization Initiative. Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) legalization initiative at a rally in Vallejo Wednesday. "I do not live in California," the Vermont senator told supporters. "But if I lived in California, I would vote 'yes' to legalize marijuana." Sanders has previously supported legalization in general, but hadn't taken a stand on the AUMA.

Illinois House Passes Decriminalization Bill. The House voted Wednesday to approve Senate Bill 2228, which would decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. Offenders would be hit with fines of between $100 and $200. Currently, possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.

Medical Marijuana

Congress Moves to Allow VA Physicians to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Veterans. The House and Senate on Thursday approved amendments to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill that should ease access to medical marijuana for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), serious wounds, and other debilitating conditions. The measure would bar the spending of federal funds to enforce a Veterans Health Administration policy that prohibits VA physicians from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where it is legal. Once the measure becomes law, VA docs would no longer face penalties for discussing medical marijuana with patients or for providing recommendations for patients to participate in state-legal medical marijuana programs.The House and Senate versions of the appropriations bill have to be reconciled by a conference committee and passed again by both chambers. The medical marijuana amendments passed 233-189 in the House and 89-8 in the Senate.

Louisiana Governor Signs CBD Cannabis Oil Bill. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) Wednesday signed into law Senate Bill 271, which expands the state's existing cannabis oil program and expands the number of qualifying conditions. The bill also includes provisions for manufacturing cannabis oil in the state. Under the old law, there was no legal means of obtaining cannabis oil in Louisiana.

DEA Raids Montana's Largest Dispensary. The DEA, assisted by local law enforcement, has raided Montana Buds, the state's largest dispensary. Witnesses reported agents removing items from the dispensary. One woman was seen sitting hand-cuffed in front of the building. Agents had no comment other than to say that "this is now a federal investigation." The state Supreme Court ruled in February that dispensaries were illegal, but that ruling doesn't take effect until August. Earlier this week, state medical marijuana interests asked the US Supreme Court to overturn the state Supreme Court ruling.

Asset Forfeiture

Federal Bill to Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture Introduced. A bipartisan group of legislators Thursday introduced the Due Process Act, which would require that authorities in civil asset forfeiture cases prove there was "a substantial connection" between the property being seized and any criminal activity. Under current federal law, the burden of proof is on the owners of asset to show they are not derived from crime. The bill has not yet been assigned a number.

Harm Reduction

DC Expands Opioid Overdose Reversal Drug Access. The DC Department of Health has launched a pilot program to expand access to naloxone (Narcan), the overdose reversal drug. Previously, the drug had only been available at a single location in the city, but under the new plan, the drug will be available at two more locations, and harm reductionists will be handing them out at various other locations.

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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.


Letitia Pepper (not verified)

Bernie Sanders did not endorse AUMA.  The article, "Bernie Sanders Endorse California Marijuana Initiative," makes it clear Sanders refused to endorse AUMA

Instead the reporter, David Siders, created that headline to benefit his friends with the Drug Policy Alliance, who have a history of sharing his stories on the Internet.

Here's the e-mail between that reporter and an anti-AUMA activist and attorney, calling Siders on his unprofessional form of headline creation:

Dear Mr. Siders,
    Thanks for your prompt response.  I've already written to The Bee's Executive Editor, Ms. Terhaar, to request a retraction and correction.  Your response makes me glad I did.
   You say that "he [Sanders] was speaking about the initiative and said he'd vote for it. That counts as an endorsement, as far as I'm concerned."  (My emphasis.) 
    Nothing in your article supports this after-the fact claim that Sanders "was speaking about the initiative" or that he said he'd vote "for it.".
    Sanders' actual quote was that he'd support legalization.  He did not say he'd support "it," i.e.,  this particular initiative. 
    "Legalization" is not the same thing as "this initiative."  That is what makes your "as far as I am concerned" comment quite disturbing.  Maybe as far as you are concerned "legalization" and "this initiative" mean the same thing, but did they mean the same thing to Sanders, an experienced politician who had already indicated that he would want to study an initiative before endorsing it?  The man you've just decided to proclaim has endorsed "this initiative"?
   I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt by not presupposing that you not only wrote the story but the headline as well.  But now that you say you wrote both, I suspect that it was too tempting not to use such a dramatic headline as "Bernie Sanders Endorses California marijuana initiative," to "scoop" your competition, and to give a big, valuable and unearned boost to AUMA's proponents, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
    But, based on everything in the body of the article, as well as on the admissions in your response, it's clear a neutral and responsible reporter would not have chosen that insupportable headline.
    Did you keep a recording of your interviews with Sanders?

Letitia Pepper, Esq.

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 4:42pm Permalink
Anonymous2 (not verified)

Yeah, there's a ton of articles floating around the web talking about how "people endorse/support/will vote for" the AUMA, but when you start reading, it is really a generic "marijuana legalization" question, and not the 64 pages of BS AUMA.

Tue, 05/24/2016 - 1:10pm Permalink

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