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Medical Marijuana: South Dakota Ballot Description Erroneous and Apparently Illegal

Organizers of South Dakota's medical marijuana initiative are in for a tough fight in the socially conservative Upper Midwest state. All they ask is that it be a fair fight, but South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long (R) apparently isn’t ready to provide them with an even playing field. Long's office this week issued the summary of the initiative that will appear on the ballot, and that summary contains biased and factually incorrect statements -- an apparent violation of South Dakota law.

The summary language provided by Attorney General Long and appearing on the South Dakota Secretary of State's election web page is as follows:

"Currently, marijuana possession, use, distribution, or cultivation is a crime under both state and federal law. The proposed law would legalize marijuana use or possession for any adult or child who has one of several listed medical conditions and who is registered with the Department of Health. The proposed law would also provide a defense to persons who cultivate, transport or distribute marijuana solely to registered persons. Even if this initiative passes, possession, use, or distribution of marijuana is still a federal crime. Persons covered by the proposed law would still be subject to federal prosecution for violation of federal drug control laws. Physicians who provide written certifications may be subject to losing their federal license to dispense prescription drugs."

While initiative supporters point out several examples of biased or irrelevant description -- referring to "any adult or child" instead of "anyone" in an attempt to raise the specter of youth drug use, referring repeatedly to federal laws against marijuana possession -- it is the final sentence of Long's summary that really leaps out.

Long writes that doctors "may be subject to losing their federal license to dispense prescription drugs in they write recommendations for medical marijuana use," and that's just wrong. The only federal court precedent in such matters, Conant v. Ashcroft, clearly states that physicians may not be punished by the DEA for exercising their First Amendment right to recommend a patient use marijuana. In Conant, the Supreme Court refused to hear the Justice Department's appeal of that US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.

According to the South Dakota criminal code, "Publication of false or erroneous information on constitutional amendments or submitted questions is a misdemeanor. Any person knowingly printing, publishing, or delivering to any voter of this state a document containing any purported constitutional amendment, question, law, or measure to be submitted to voters at any election, in which such constitutional amendment, question, law, or measure is misstated, erroneously printed, or by which false or misleading information is given to the voters, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor."

Initiative supporters told DRCNet this week they are examining their options. Expect more news on this front next week.

Nightline on San Francisco Wharf Medical Marijuana Fight

Localização: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
ABC News
URL: 
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=2218471&page=1

Belgian Cannabis Activists to Plant Seeds to Protest Seed Ban

Here is the text of a press release from ENCOD and "Draw Up Your Plant," a Belgian pot users' organization: Belgian cannabis consumers united in "Draw Up Your Plant" will put the seed for the first mother plant, in spite of controversy on the possession of seeds Thursday 27 July, 12 hs. in the Botanic Garden of Antwerp (in front of the glasshouses) On Thursday 27 July, a seed of cannabis will be put in a flowerpot. The scene of this event will be the Botanic Garden at the Leopoldstraat in Antwerpen, Belgium, at 12.00 hs. From this seed the first motherplant of our association 'Draw Up Your Plant' will grow, that later this year will be used to provide our collective cannabis plantation with clones. Possession of cannabis seeds in Belgium is prohibited by law. Possession of 3 grams of cannabis by adults is tolerated by a ministerial decree of 2005. Sometimes you find seeds in a bag of cannabis. So this is another example of the contradictions within the law. The Belgian drug policy also in this case does not guarantee legal security to the citizens of our country. If I get stopped by the police who finds 3 grammes of cannabis with one seed in my possession, am I committing a criminal offence? Do I loose the right on the possession of these 3 grams of cannabis? Or does the police confiscate the seed and am I allowed to keep my cannabis? How can I escape persecution in this case? Should I sort the seed off my cannabis first? And what do I do with the seeds? Is there a place where I can bring them? In short, enough questions to answer. Maybe we will get to know the solution for this dilemma on Thursday 27 July in the Botanic Garden of Antwerp. There a cannabis seed will be used that has been taken from the dosage of personal use (of less than 3 grammes) of one of the members of "Draw Up Your Plant". . What will be the reaction of the authorities? Best wishes, Stijn Goossens Philippe De Craene Joep Oomen TREKT UW PLANT (vzw i.o) STAD/ENCOD/VOLVOX Lange Lozanastraat 14 2018 Antwerpen Tel. 03 237 7436 GSM: 0479 982271 / 0486 499 453 E-mail:[email protected] / [email protected] Website: www.encod.org / www.hardcoreharmreducer.be / www.cannaclopedia.be
Localização: 
Antwerp
Belgium

Kootenay Cannabis Community Mobilizing Over Holy Smoke Bust

The powerful cannabis community in BC's Kootenay region is not taking the Holy Smoke bust lying down. Holy Smoke will undertake a strong legal defense, and supporters will hold what they promise to be the largest pot rally in the area's history on August 5. Here is an update from Holy Smoke co-owner Alan Middlemiss from the Cannabis Culture forums: http://www.cannabisculture.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=current&Nu... This is an update about the situation here in Nelson... The "Imminent arrest" threats seem to have subsided to threats of "Imminent vacations", with the crown attorney and the lead officer on summer holidays for the next 2 weeks or more. Apparently they cannot get any warrents to search or arrest anyone caught up in "operation vista" until the crown gets back. So we wait, and work. We are moving the date of our community rally to Saturday August 5th. There are several reasons for this not the least of which is the forecast for heavy rains this saturday. We plan to go to the Spearhead outdoor concert in Kaslo the night before and spread the word to the masses. There is quite a lot of interest from a broad range of people in Nelson, so it promises to be the biggest pot rally ever held in the Kootenays. I will fill in the blanks shortly. Sorry about the changed date, but its all for the best.
Localização: 
Nelson, BC
Canada

ASA Press Release on Americans with Disabilities Act Medical Marijuana Case

For Immediate Release­: July 25, 2006 Americans for Safe Access State, National Groups Add Support to Medical Marijuana Employment Case Legislators, Medical Organizations, Disability Advocates File in Supreme Court San Francisco --­ Medical organizations, California state legislators and disability rights organizations have all filed supporting briefs with the California Supreme Court in a landmark employment rights case involving medical marijuana. The amici curiae or ‘friend of the court’ briefs all argue that medical marijuana patients deserve civil employment protections provided by California state law. The case is being litigated by the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), on behalf of Gary Ross, a systems engineer fired in September 2001 for failing an employer-mandated drug test because he uses medical marijuana on his doctor’s advice. “This case is an opportunity for the California Supreme Court to make clear that medical marijuana patients enjoy the same civil rights as everyone else,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA. “Like all disabled persons, Mr. Ross deserves equal protection under the law.” Ross’s physician had recommended he use cannabis for chronic back pain resulting from injuries sustained during his military service. But his employer, RagingWire Telecommunications, refused to make an exception to their policy that anyone testing positive for marijuana use be terminated. Mr. Ross went to court, arguing that RagingWire illegally discriminated against him because of his condition, but a state superior court and then an appellate court rejected his argument. ASA appealed to the California Supreme Court, which decided to review the case in November 2006. The amicus brief filed by ten national and state medical organizations, with the help of the Drug Policy Alliance, makes the case that medical marijuana patients should be considered no different than other patients who require medication to live and work effectively. The medical organizations argue that allowing the firing of medical marijuana patients "erects an unnecessary and unfortunate barrier to effective relief for potentially thousands of members of California’s workforce who suffer from acute or chronic pain, or other debilitating medical conditions." The organizations signing the medical amicus brief in support of ASA’s case are the American Nurses Association, American Pain Foundation, American Medical Women's Association, Lymphoma Foundation of America, American Nurses Association, California Nurses Association, AIDS Action Council, Gay Men's Health Crisis, National Women's Health Network and Doctors of the World-USA. (www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/ross_medical.pdf) The legislative amicus brief is being filed by all five of the sponsors of Senate Bill 420, the 2003 legislation that expanded and clarified California’s medical marijuana law. In it, the current and former lawmakers make clear their intent to extend the state’s normal civil protections and guarantees to medical marijuana patients, including the medical disability protections afforded Californians by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. “[T]he FEHA, together with the Compassionate Use Act, authorize and protect the use of medical cannabis by employees away from the workplace and during non-business hours,” according to the brief signed by former Senator John Vasconcellos, the bill’s author, and Assembly members Mark Leno, Jackie Goldberg, Paul Koretz and Loni Hancock, who were all co-authors of the bill. (http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/ross_legislative.pdf) In addition to those briefs, two disability rights organizations are also weighing in on the issue: Equal Rights Advocates and Protection and Advocacy. In their brief, the disability rights advocates note that the lower courts’ decisions, upholding the firing of Mr. Ross, “plac[es] individuals for whom marijuana is safe, effective and needed treatment in legal limbo, with their ability to earn a living dependent on the continued indulgence of their employers.” (http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/ross_disability.pdf) Americans for Safe Access is the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. Information about ASA is available at http://www.SafeAccessNow.org. # # #
Localização: 
CA
United States

What is going on with the DEA and the San Diego medical marijuana dispensaries?

On Friday, the DEA returned to the more than a dozen dispensaries in San Diego raided a couple of weeks ago and warned them to shut their doors. For the Drug War Chronicle this week, I'll be looking into that and what it might mean across the state. I'm also waiting for the Portland "lowest law enforcement priority" initiative's signatures to be verified. I'll write about that this week if we get an official announcement. And I'm sure there will be more. There always is.
Localização: 
San Diego, CA
United States

Medical Marijuana in South Dakota

South Dakota will vote on a medical marijuana initiative in November, and it looks like it will be an uphill battle. According to my sources within the campaign, the measure is not doing well in internal polling, but it is early. The campaign is laying low for now, but has already found a patient spokesperson and a former policeman as a spokesman. Bob Newland, South Dakota's "Mr. Marijuana," the hemp/pot/medical marijuan activist responsible for the initiative has agreed to keep a low profile, while MPP's experienced cadres run the show. Articles on the South Dakota campaign will show up periodically in the Chronicle. This is my state, and I'm actually here, and I intend to get involved as well as write about it.
Localização: 
SD
United States

Interpol Medical Marijuana Letter, Michael Krawitz

A nice letter from Michael Krawitz. I can't speak to the meaning of the treaties insofar as they could be said to support medical marijuana, but at a bare minimum the DEA's claim that international treaties preclude medical marijuana is amazingly bogus -- even by DEA standards! And Michael is right -- in moral terms, at least, what's going on now is a crime against humanity. Dear Interpol, My name is Michael Krawitz. I am a patient advocate in the United States of America. My organization [NGO] is Patients Out of Time, an organization on the roster of the International Narcotics Control Board. I have come to you today in a desperate attempt to seek justice in a matter of grave importance to thousands of seriously ill individuals of the state of California in the United States of America and by extension tens of thousands of similarly situated individuals across America. The crimes I am about disclose are crimes against humanity involving violation of the Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs, the international Declaration of Human Rights and involves either corruption or gross incompetence at the highest levels of police agencies of the United States. Background: As I am sure you know Cannabis [aka marihuana or marijuana] is both a schedule 1 and schedule 4 drug in the Single Convention On Narcotic Drugs simultaneously calling for the prohibition of non medical use and providing for it's medical use. I also feel confident that you know that the Netherlands is currently distributing Cannabis to patients via prescription [and has done so for 5 years] under the control of the appropriate United Nations bodies attesting to it's international legality as a medicine. I am not sure that you realize that the United States government drug police, the United States federal Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, has been misstating the international law for years to justify an overall prohibition of this important medicine even from those who most need it medically for the relief of suffering. Please accept as evidence of this the following link to DEA United States Congressional testimony from 2001. http://www.dea.gov/pubs/cngrtest/ct032701.htm This misstatement of the international law has been propagated down the food chain to lower government bodies and is most recently evidenced in the text of a lawsuit brought to California state court by the council for the County of San Diego, California USA. Please see the text of the lawsuit at the following link: http://aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file802_23911.pdf The Crime: Evidently emboldened by the misguided lawsuit from San Diego the United States federal Drug Enforcement Administration has taken the unprecedented step of seizing medicine from every not for profit distribution center in the area. They have done so without making arrests and have made it clear they do not intend to return the medicine and further have threatened these same facilities with further raids should they restock with medicine. Please note that these distribution centers and indeed the California medical Cannabis law itself was set up as a humanitarian and stop gap measure to deal with the fallout from the United States intransigence with regard to the medical access to this important medicine. In 1988 a federal judge working for DEA ruled the medical prohibition improper even by DEA's own rules and the DEA instead of following the judges order to reschedule the medicine to allow patient access appealed the ruling and was allowed to disobey the judges ruling for administrative reasons. Before 1970 and since 1937, in the United States, prescription access to Cannabis was expressly allowed and taxed for control. Since 1970 prescription access to Cannabis has been arbitrarily prohibited by the United States Government in violation of both the Single Convention Treaty and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but to my knowledge the DEA has never undertaken to actually take away this medicine directly from those who need until recently. Most recently, this last Friday to be exact, I began receiving panicked emails stating "the DEA is here taking away our medicine" from patients and care givers across San Diego. Patient access to Cannabis under California law is only allowed via doctors orders as part of medical care, access to wit is specifically protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I am being very kind when I say this may just be caused by gross incompetence since surely the DEA must be considered the United States leading experts on the international drug control convention and surely they know that patient access is not prohibited. To be honest I am personally afraid of reprisals from the DEA just for coming forward to bring you this information. Please, in honor of those who have given their lives to ensure member nations worldwide the protection of these treaties, act on these charges and bring justice back where it has been pushed aside. I say this as a disabled veteran of the United States Air Force, a citizen of the United States of America and a representative and volunteer of a non governmental organization working to defend the truth about this important medicine and those who require it to relieve their suffering. Sincerely yours, Michael Krawitz Patients Out of Time www.medicalcannabis.com ###
Localização: 
United States

Canada: Nelson, British Columbia, Head Shop Busted for Marijuana Sales

The Holy Smoke Culture Shop and Psyche-Deli in Nelson, British Columbia, was busted Saturday night and one of the owners, Paul DeFelice, was jailed on marijuana and psilocybin distribution charges.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/holysmoke.jpg
As a Nelson resident for much of the past four years, this writer has been aware of Holy Smoke, but has never published articles about the activist-oriented establishment. Nelson police have never seemd to have an issue with them.

But it was Nelson City Police who raided Holy Smoke on Saturday, and DeFelice told the Nelson Daily News he was not surprised. Since the change in federal government, he said, police have been given marching orders to make "small-time" busts. "It's pretty screwed priorities when there's murders and violence and robberies, home invasions that they make the priority in something where there's no victim and no complainants," said DeFelice.

Still, the bust was "all good," DeFelice said. "The idea is in the long run we want to be left alone because we're not hurting anybody but at the same time, if they want to come after us, plenty of arguments that we want to make in court, plenty of answers to legal questions that I want to hear. I want to hold the powers that be to account," he said. "I want to educate the public, and if they're going to shine a spotlight on me and give me a platform, I'll definitely use it."

Police are promising more arrests, but the Holy Smoke bust is already a symbolic blow to the Nelson area's burgeoning marijuana community. The area and the nearby Slocan Valley are notorious pot-growing zones -- while hard numbers are hard to come by, one indication of the size of the local industry is the four marijuana grow equipment shops in Nelson. The Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area has two.

Europe: Britain Goes After Medical Marijuana Suppliers

In two separate trials, one beginning this week and one beginning next week, British authorities are prosecuting medical marijuana providers under the country's drug laws, the Guardian reported. The continued prosecution of medical marijuana providers comes despite the government's downgrading of marijuana from a Class B drug to the less serious Class C in 2004.

Four members of Therapeutic Help from Cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis (THCforMS( faced charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana this week in crown court in Carlisle. THCforMS supplies free cannabis exclusively to MS sufferers and says on its web site it has handed out 33,000 cannabis chocolate bars to patients.

Next week, Bud Buddies founder Jeffrey Ditchfield goes on trial in Mold crown court on nine counts of cultivation and distribution of cannabis. Bud Buddies offers a number of marijuana preparations for anyone with a proven medical need and requires documentation of that need from a physician.

Under current British marijuana law, all of the defendants mentioned face up to 14 years in prison.

Meanwhile, life has become more difficult for as many as 30% of British MS sufferers who use the herb to alleviate the pain and spasms associated with the disease. One of those patients, who asked not to be identified, said she had applied to use the marijuana tincture Sativex on a trial basis, but was turned down. The preparation is currently undergoing a three-year trial. "I find it inconceivable that the crown sees these prosecutions as in the public interest when there is still no legal way for the people who are helped by cannabis to obtain and use it," she said.

The British Medical Association said in a 1997 report: "While research is under way the police, the courts and prosecuting authorities should be aware of the medicinal reasons for the unlawful use of cannabis by those suffering from certain medical conditions for whom other drugs have proved ineffective."

Even if the crown prosecutors don't get it, some trial courts do -- or at least they did. Up until last year, medical marijuana patients and providers successfully raised the "necessity" defense, which allows illegal acts to prevent a greater harm. But an appeals court ruling last year held that the "necessity" defense did apply to the use of marijuana to relieve chronic pain.

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