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Patient Advocates Back Three Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced in Congress (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2011

Patient Advocates Back Three Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced Today in Congress 

Advocacy Group Unveils New Program to Build More Skilled, Responsive Grassroots Force

Washington, DC -- Three medical marijuana bills were introduced today in Congress with support from patient advocates. The most significant of the three bills is one introduced by Congressman Frank (D-MA), which reclassifies marijuana from its current status as a dangerous drug with no medical value. Another bill, introduced by Congressman Polis (D-CO), will allow banks and other financial institutions to provide services to medical marijuana businesses without being subject to "suspicious activity" reporting requirements. The third bill, introduced by Congressman Stark (D-CA), changes the federal tax code "to allow a deduction for expenses in connection with the trade or business of selling marijuana intended for patients for medical purposes pursuant to State law."

"All of these bills will have a positive effect on hundreds of thousands of Americans and only a negligible impact to the rest of the country," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "This kind of policy shift is a no-brainer and should garner the bipartisan support of Congress."

To shore up support for these and other local and state medical marijuana bills, ASA is launching a new advocacy program.

The introduction of Congressional legislation today comes as ASA is equipping patient advocates with new tools to lobby local, state and federal governments. ASA unveiled a new program today that establishes a "Medical Cannabis Think Tank "to provide activists the support they need to analyze pending or proposed legislation and to lobby for the best laws possible. To support the lobbying effort, ASA also unveiled its new "Online  Training Center," with more than 4 hours of educational streaming video and over 400 pages of instruction manuals and worksheets. ASA's program also includes an improved "Raid  Response Center" to better prepare for aggressive federal interference.

As part of its "Sick and Tired" campaign, ASA and others filed a writ Monday in the DC Circuit to compel the federal government to answer a 9-year-old petition to reclassify cannabis. The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) argued in the writ that the government has unreasonably delayed an answer to the petition in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. "The Drug Enforcement Administration has the opportunity right now to address the needs of patients across the country by reclassifying cannabis," continued Sherer. "However, since Congress can also reclassify cannabis, we are urging passage of the Frank bill in order to take advantage of all points of leverage."

If passed, the Frank bill would not only recognize marijuana's medical value, but also provide a medical necessity defense in federal court, a right not currently afforded to patients and caregivers who are in compliance with their local and state laws. The Frank bill would also usher forth greater research into the therapeutic properties of cannabis and create incentives for the development of new cannabis-based medication.

Advocates hope the Polis bill, if passed, will end the current ban on services for medical marijuana businesses by institutions like Wells Fargo, CitiCorp and Bank of America. The Stark bill has the potential to end dozens of audits by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently taking place, and settle once and for all whether the IRS can demand tax on gross or just net proceeds.

Further information:

Rescheduling bill (Frank):

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Frank_bill_2011.pdf

Banking bill (Polis):

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Polis_bill_2011.pdf

IRS bill (Stark):

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Stark_bill_2011.pdf

ASA Think Tank: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/section.php?id=384

ASA Online Training Center:

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/article.php?list=type&type=385

ASA Raid Response Center:

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/article.php?list=type&type=168

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Medical Marijuana Businesses Subject of Federal Tax Proposal Sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis

Marijuana businesses looking for help navigating the federal tax code are watching a congressional proposal sponsored by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis. Polis and other House members introduced legislation about medical marijuana. One of the bills would allow marijuana-related businesses to claim business deductions on their federal taxes. Currently the IRS does not permit marijuana-related business to claim business deductions.
Publication/Source: 
Greenfield Daily Reporter (IN)
URL: 
http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/589a297db7004f0b976148ab7fbfbdc0/CO--Marijuana-IRS/

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, Denver Attorney Give Their Take on Fed Pot Letter

Localização: 
CO
United States
Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Denver attorney Robert Corry spoke out this week against federal scare tactics they said were being used to create uncertainty in Colorado’s medical marijuana community. "I hope the Justice Department will respect the laws passed by the voters of Colorado and the rules propagated by our General Assembly...The Department should follow the principles it outlined in the Ogden memo: that those who are in clear compliance with state laws will not be raided. Colorado has the most robust regulatory structure in the country and our dispensaries are clearly operating under state law," said Rep. Polis. Robert Corry added, "This campaign of fear on the part of the Obama Administration is reprehensible, even more so given our own Colorado Attorney General (former U.S. Attorney)'s apparent alliance with the Obama Administration against Colorado’s citizens...The U.S. government should begin with prosecuting itself, specifically the Food and Drug Administration. Since 1978, the FDA has distributed medical marijuana to patients through the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program."
Publication/Source: 
The Washington Independent (DC)
URL: 
http://washingtonindependent.com/108761/polis-denver-attorney-give-their-take-on-fed-pot-letter

Hearing Set for Bill Legalizing Marijuana in Maine

Localização: 
ME
United States
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, supporters of legalized marijuana in Maine will crowd into a hearing room in Augusta to support a Portland legislator's bill to decriminalize pot. Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, sponsor of LD 1453, "An Act To Legalize and Tax Marijuana," said she was thrilled to learn about the hearing that has been scheduled before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
Publication/Source: 
The Portland Daily Sun (ME)
URL: 
http://portlanddailysun.me/news/story/hearing-set-bill-legalizing-marijuana

North Carolina Lawmakers Propose Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Localização: 
NC
United States
Lawmakers are introducing the North Carolina Medical Cannabis Act to legalize medical marijuana in the state. The bill would allow people with conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS and hepatitis C to buy and use medical marijuana. Sponsors believe legalizing medical marijuana would bring $250 million a year into North Carolina within four years of legalization.
Publication/Source: 
WFMY (NC)
URL: 
http://www.digtriad.com/news/article/169807/57/NC-Lawmakers-Propose-Bill-To-Legalize-Medical-Marijuana

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Tells Four Arts Audience He Favors Legalizing Drug Use

Localização: 
2 Four Arts Plaza Society of the Four Arts
Palm Beach, FL 33480
United States
As president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, Vicente Fox waged war on the wealthy drug trafficking organizations that wield so much power in his country. But now the former president says it is time to end the war that has cost 40,000 lives in five years. The answer, Fox told a Society of Four Arts audience, is to legalize drugs. "I don’t think nobody’s going to eradicate drugs from the face of the Earth," Fox said. "Yes, I am promoting the legalizing of drug consumption. Mexico has to get out of this trap. The sooner, the better. The cost for Mexico is too much."
Publication/Source: 
Palm Beach Daily News (FL)
URL: 
http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/former-mexican-president-vicente-fox-tells-four-arts-1340574.html

Ron Paul: Hemp for Victory

Ron Paul supports the legalization of industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis that provides an eco-friendly source of fiber and protein. Paul is a perennial author of hemp legalization bills, the latest of which is being promoted in May during the second-annual Hemp History Week. In this interview Josh Harkinson partially spoke with Paul about the benefits of hemp.
Publication/Source: 
Mother Jones (CA)
URL: 
http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/03/ron-paul-hemp-victory

Illinois Lawmaker Determined to Breathe New Life Into Medical Marijuana Debate

Localização: 
IL
United States
Nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries could soon be supplying patients in Illinois, if state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, is successful in his latest push to get the long-awaited measure through the state legislature. Lang said that he plans to place tighter restrictions on the amount of medical marijuana distributed to patients and take out the grow-your-own provisions that opponents railed against during the last General Assembly. If he is successful, the bill could be out of committee and on the state House floor late this week.
Publication/Source: 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
URL: 
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/political-fix/article_d4e6e692-490e-11e0-937a-00127992bc8b.html

New Hampshire Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana

Localização: 
NH
United States
A panel of New Hampshire lawmakers is considering a bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Under the bill, possessing two ounces or less of medical marijuana would not be a crime. New Hampshire's legislature passed a medical marijuana bill two years ago, but Gov. John Lynch vetoed it.
Publication/Source: 
The Boston Globe (MA)
URL: 
http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2011/03/01/nh_bill_would_legalize_medical_use_of_marijuana/

Marijuana Debate Reignites in Bay State

Localização: 
MA
United States
A bill to legalize marijuana was quietly introduced last week. Sponsored by Amherst Democrat Ellen Story, the bill could reap thousands of dollars for the state in tax revenue. "Reps come up to me and say thank you so much for doing this Ellen. I support you, but I can't be public about it. Legislators are afraid of being seen as soft on drugs," Story says.
Publication/Source: 
WSHM (MA)
URL: 
http://www.cbs3springfield.com/news/local/Weed-117122948.html?skipthumb=Y

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