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2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference

The International Drug Policy Reform Conference is a biennial event that brings together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. It brings together over 1,000 attendees representing 30 different countries. The 2011 Reform Conference is taking place in Los Angeles, California from Wednesday, November 2 through Saturday, November 5 at The Westin Bonaventure.

Visit http://www.reformconference.org for further information -- registration info is available here and scholarship info (due date June 30th!) is online here. Organizations interested in being involved with the conference can find information on sponsoring, exhibiting or partnering here.

This year attendees will have the opportunity to spend three days interacting with people committed to finding alternatives to the war on drugs while participating in sessions given by leading experts from around the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this event.

Here are what some attendees had to say about the 2009 conference:

"You leave the conference inspired and informed. Meeting this crowd of wise, energetic kindred spirits recharges your reform batteries."
--Michael Jourdan, Centre of Alcohol and Drug Research, Copenhagen, Denmark

"This is the only conference that combines X-treme intelligence, passion, and practical applications. It is the best I ever attend."
--Patt Denning, Harm Reduction Therapy Center, San Francisco, California

"A living breathing think tank of like minds, crafting out solutions that keep people's dignity and human rights intact."
--Waheedah Sahabzz-El, Community HIV / AIDS Mobilization Project, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"This conference provided a new beginning for me, I now have a true passion for DPR."
--Susanne Widmer, Albuquerque, New Mexico

"The Reform Conference gave me the courage to return to my Canadian community and give voice to the common sense of Drug Policy Reform. The experience provided me with the evidence, language and tools to be a credible, educated leader in changing the way we approach the issue of substance use in our community."
--Patty Hajdu, Thunder Bay District Health Unit, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Data: 
Wed, 11/02/2011 - 6:00pm - Sat, 11/05/2011 - 5:15pm
Localização: 
404 South Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
United States

Bills to Ensure Fair Treatment of Medical Cannabis Industry Members Are Introduced in U.S. House (Press Release)

National Cannabis Industry Association

For Immediate Release -- WEDNESDAY, MAY 25

Bills to Ensure Fair Treatment of Medical Cannabis Industry Members Are Introduced in U.S. House

The logic behind the introduction of the “Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011” and the “Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011” stands in sharp contrast to the actions of U.S. Attorneys who hope to keep medical cannabis sales underground, untaxed and unregulated

CONTACT: Steve Fox, NCIA dir. of public affairs at 202-379-4861 ext. 2 or [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, for the first time in history, two bills that would benefit members of the medical cannabis industry were introduced in Congress. The introduction of the bills, which address banking and tax issues faced by medical cannabis providers, follow months of advocacy by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). The bills were part of a coordinated introduction of three bills to protect and support medical marijuana patients and providers in states where the use of medical marijuana is legal. The third bill, the “States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act,” would modify federal law so that individuals acting in compliance with state law are immune from federal prosecution.

            The industry bills were introduced with bipartisan lead sponsors. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) are the lead sponsors of the “Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011,” which would amend Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code so that medical marijuana providers can take standard business deductions like any other business. The “Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011,” sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), would allow financial institutions to work with medical marijuana businesses without the fear of running afoul of federal banking regulations.

            These bills have been introduced at a time when the nation is witnessing a strange reaction by U.S. Attorneys to the development of state-regulated systems of medical marijuana distribution. In October 2009, the Department of Justice issued a memo to federal prosecutors, instructing them to de-prioritize the prosecution of individuals acting in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. This has given states like New Mexico, Colorado and Maine the ability to establish tightly regulated system. Yet some U.S. Attorneys, faced with the prospect of sensible regulations being established in other states, have issued misleading and threatening letters to sidetrack legislative and administrative progress.

            “There are hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients in this country who benefit when they are able to purchase their medicine from safe, reliable and regulated establishments,” said Steve Fox, NCIA’s director of public affairs. “It is time for the federal government to acknowledge that these businesses are providing a service to their communities, not causing them harm. Without these regulated, tax-paying businesses, all medical marijuana sales would occur underground. The profits would bolster the criminal market and local, state and federal governments would receive no tax revenue. These medical marijuana providers are not looking for special treatment. They just want to be able to function in a manner similar to any other legal business. That is what these tax and banking bills would allow.”

*     *     *     *     *

            The mission of the National Cannabis Industry Association is to defend, promote and advance the interests of the cannabis industry and its members. NCIA publicly advocates for the unique needs of the emerging cannabis industry and defends against those aiming to eliminate the legal market for cannabis and cannabis-related products. For more information, please visit www.TheCannabisIndustry.org.

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A Big Day on the Hill (Action Alert)

 

 

Dear friends,

It’s not often that three bills related to medical marijuana are introduced in Congress on the same day. In fact, it has never happened in history – until today!

This is big news, and we are hoping you will help spread the word in Washington.

All three bills would benefit medical marijuana patients and their providers. The “States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act,” which has been introduced in past sessions of Congress, would modify federal law so that individuals acting in compliance with state law are immune from federal prosecution.

The other two bills – the “Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011” and the “Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011” – have never been introduced before and address critical tax and banking issues faced by medical marijuana centers and dispensaries as they attempt to serve patients, comply with statewide regulations, and pay their fair share of taxes.

Having lobbied Congress for years on these issues, MPP is excited to see the sponsors of these pieces of legislation sending a strong message to the rest of the nation about the need for the federal government to respect state medical marijuana laws and to treat fairly the individuals following them.

Now that these bills have been introduced, we need members of the House to sign on as co-sponsors. This is where you come in. We have drafted an email for you to send to your U.S. representative. With less than two minutes of your time, you can let your representative know that his or her constituents care about this issue. This really makes a difference.

The tides of history are turning in our favor. But with people like you speaking out, they will turn even faster.

Thanks for taking action!

Sincerely,

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

 

To contact MPP, please click here or reply to this e-mail. Our mailing address is Marijuana Policy Project, 236 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20002. Any donations you make to MPP may be used for political purposes, such as supporting or opposing candidates for federal office.

   

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

# # #

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/

Tommy Chong: It's my birthday!

 

 

Hey man,

Today's my birthday!

To celebrate, I want to do something really special, and I'm going to need your help. What I want is to see marijuana legal in my lifetime.

I know what you're thinking. "Tommy, after 74 years of marijuana being illegal and 100,000s of marijuana arrests every year, how could we possibly forget your birthday?" I know, right? You can make it up to me by helping turn my dream into a reality.

If you make a $25 donation in my honor to the Marijuana Policy Project, they can start work on numerous medical marijuana ballot initiatives this year.  Namely in Arkansas, Idaho, Missouri, and North Dakota.

And if you're feeling really bad about forgetting my birthday, you could sign up to make a monthly credit card donation to support MPP’s plan to legalize medical marijuana in 27 states by 2014. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

These ballots aren't going to initiate themselves! Please help make my birthday wish come true and support the work of the Marijuana Policy Project. Thanks, man.

Tommy Chong

 

 

 

PS: I’m proud to announce that I’m joining MPP’s VIP advisory board. I spent nine months in federal prison because of the government’s ‘war on drugs’. We need to change marijuana laws and MPP is doing just that.


 


Help us meet our mission

Raised in 2011:$869,697
Goal in 2011: $2,850,000

MPP will be able to tackle all of the projects in our 2011 Plan if you help us meet this challenge.

New Jersey Attorney General Meets with Medical Marijuana Advocates (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 5/25/2011

CONTACT: Ken Wolski at 609-394-2137 or [email protected], or Chris Goldstein at 267-702-3731

New Jersey Attorney General Meets With Medical Marijuana Advocates

[Trenton - New Jersey] Attorney General Paula Dow sat down with the Coalition for Medical Marijuana NJ (CMMNJ) on May 24th at her office in Trenton.  The AG and her staff held the meeting to hear concerns from local advocates about the compassionate use marijuana program that has now been suspended by Governor Christie.

Ken Wolski RN, the executive director of CMMNJ, was grateful for the interaction.

“Attorney General Paula Dow and First Assistant Phillip Kwon took time out their demanding schedules to listen to some very serious issues for New Jersey's medical marijuana law," said Wolski, "Qualifying patients continue to wait for this program and we hope that some of their concerns were heard. The Office of the Attorney General plays a key role in the implementation and administration of the compassionate use law.”

On April 22, 2011 Dow sent a letter to the Department of Justice in Washington DC requesting clarification about the medical marijuana law. Several US Attorneys have recently issued letters in other states with a clear description of how federal authorities will prosecute medical marijuana facilities, even if they are permitted under state law. In Washington, Montana and other states the letters were accompanied by DEA raids of local medical cannabis dispensaries.

NJ Attorney General Paula Dow stated in the meeting that she sent a follow-up letter to the US Department of Justice, addressed to US Attorney General Eric Holder, on May 23, 2011.

Paul Fishman, the US Attorney for New Jersey, has not sent any communication regarding the NJ medical marijuana law before or after Dow’s requests. A spokesperson at the US DOJ said the April 22nd letter from New Jersey had been received and was under review.

Chris Goldstein, the media coordinator at CMMNJ also attended the meeting.

“Not a single person in New Jersey has been able to register for medical cannabis, despite many promises from Governor Christie,” said Goldstein, “But I think that we had a meaningful exchange of new ideas with Attorney General Dow. The intent of The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act is to grant legal access to seriously ill residents. There are some methods that the AG's office can explore to actively protect New Jersey’s medical cannabis patients today."

New Jersey passed the first compassionate use law in the country that forces patients into a centralized system of just six Alternative Treatment Centers to access all of their state-legal cannabis. There are no provisions in the NJ law to allow patients or caregivers to cultivate cannabis on their own. The law was supposed to have been fully implemented in the summer of 2010 but has suffered numerous delays.

CMMNJ’s Ken Wolski is looking forward to meeting with the one state official who has exercised the most influence over the medical marijuana law: Governor Chris Christie.

“It is long past time for Governor Christie to actually meet with patients and advocates in our state to discuss the compassionate use law.”

Localização: 
NJ
United States

Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in 2012

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This alert sent from Sensible Colorado Action c(4)

 

 

2012:  An Update on Legalization

As you might have read or heard, a broad coalition of organizations that includes Sensible Colorado has submitted language for a 2012 statewide legalization initiative in Colorado. 

 

The yet to be finalized measure would remove penalties for private marijuana possession and limited home growing, and establish a legal and regulated marijuana market for adults 21 and older.

 

We went through an exceptionally exhaustive five-plus-month process to produce the filed initiative language, which we believe is incredibly strong and presents the best route to ending marijuana prohibition here in Colorado.  We coordinated with dozens of organizations, attorneys, activists, patients, marijuana business owners, and other stakeholders, both in Colorado and around the country.  We also solicited comments from the public via our organizations' lists of thousands of Colorado reform supporters, magazine ads, and events around the state. 

 

We are still engaged in the process of fine-tuning the initiative, so please do not hesitate to reply to this e-mail if you have any specific concerns or questions, which we will take into strong consideration and address as quickly as possible. 

 

As you can imagine, it is incredibly difficult if not impossible to produce initiative language on which everyone will agree entirely.  But it remains our sincere hope that supporters of reform across Colorado will feel comfortable with the final product, become part of this growing coalition, and work together toward our shared goal of ending marijuana prohibition.

 

Please reply to this e-mail or give us a call to participate in this process.  720 890 4247

 

Sensible Colorado | PO Box 18768 | Denver CO 80218

Localização: 
CO
United States

Medical Marijuana Advocates Sue Federal Government Over Rescheduling Delay (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2011

Medical Marijuana Advocates Sue Federal Government Over Rescheduling Delay/Writ filed today in DC Circuit Court for unreasonable delay in answering 9-year-old petition

*Washington, DC* -- A Coalition of advocacy groups and patients filed suit in the DC Circuit Court today to compel the Obama administration to answer a 9-year-old petition to reclassify medical marijuana. The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) has never received an answer to its 2002 petition, despite a formal recommendation in 2006 from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the final arbiter in the rescheduling process. As recently as July 2010, the DEA issued a 54-page "Position on Marijuana," but failed to even mention the pending CRC petition. Plaintiffs in the case include the CRC, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Patients Out of Time, as well as individually named patients, one of whom is listed on the CRC petition but died in 2005.

"The federal government's strategy has been delay, delay, delay," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel of ASA and lead counsel on the writ. "It is far past time for the government to answer our rescheduling petition, but unfortunately we've been forced to go to court in order to get resolution." The writ of mandamus filed today accuses the government of unreasonable delay in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. A previous cannabis (marijuana) rescheduling petition filed in 1972 went unanswered for 22 years before being denied.

The writ argues that cannabis is not a dangerous drug and that ample evidence of its therapeutic value exists based on scientific studies in the US and around the world. "Despite numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies establishing that marijuana is effective" in treating numerous medical conditions, the government "continues to deprive seriously ill persons of this needed, and often life-saving therapy by maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I substance." The writ calls out the government for unlawfully failing to answer the petition despite an Inter-Agency Advisory issued by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006 and "almost five years after receiving a 41-page memorandum from HHS stating its scientific evaluation and recommendations."

The two largest physician groups in the country -- the American Medical Association <http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/AMA_Report.pdf> and the American College of Physicians <http://www.acponline.org/advocacy/where_we_stand/other_issues/medmarijuana.pdf> -- have both called on the federal government to review marijuana's status as a Schedule I substance with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. The National Cancer Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health, added cannabis to its website earlier this year as a Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) and recognized that, "/Cannabis/ has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years prior to its current status as an illegal substance."

Medical marijuana has now been decriminalized in 16 states and the District of Columbia, and has an 80% approval rating among Americans according to several polls. In a 1988 ruling on a prior rescheduling petition, the DEA's own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young recommended in favor of reclassification stating that, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

A formal rejection of the CRC petition would enable the group to challenge in court the government's assertion that marijuana has no medical value. "Adhering to outdated public policy that ignores science has created a war zone for doctors and their patients who are seeking use cannabis therapeutics," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of ASA and a plaintiff in the writ. Jon Gettman, who filed the rescheduling petition on behalf of the CRC added that, "The Obama Administration's refusal to act on this petition is an irresponsible stalling tactic."

A synthetic form of THC, the main chemical ingredient in the cannabis plant, is currently classified Schedule III for its use in a prescribed pill trademarked as Marinol®. The pill goes off-patent this year and companies vying to sell generic versions are petitioning the government to also reclassify the more economical, naturally-derived THC (from the plant) to Schedule III. The rescheduling process involves federal agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, HHS, and DEA. On average, it takes 6 months from HHS review to final action, whereas it's been nearly 5 years since HHS issued its recommendation on the CRC petition, more than twice as long as any other rescheduling petition reviewed since 2002.

Further information:

Writ filed today: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/CRC_Writ.pdf

ASA backgrounder on rescheduling:

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

CRC rescheduling petition:

http://www.drugscience.org/PDF/Petition_Final_2002.pdf

2006 HHS recommendation:

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

2010 DEA Position on Marijuana:

http://www.justice.gov/dea/marijuana_position_july10.pdf

# # #

Do Your Friends Support Medical Marijuana? (Action Alert)

 

 

Dear friends,

Chances are, your friends and family support medical marijuana. But they probably don't know that medical marijuana programs and patients around the country are under attack by the federal government right now.

We're counting on you to let them know about the attacks and tell them how to help stop them. Thanks to supporters like you, the Attorney General has already received 13,803 messages. Help us double that number by forwarding the message below.

Sincerely,

Ethan Nadelmann
Executive Director
Drug Policy Alliance

--------FORWARD THE MESSAGE BELOW--------

Hi,

Did you know that medical marijuana programs across the country are under threat? Even though the Obama administration promised to leave medical marijuana alone, in the past few months the federal government has been threatening state officials, warning them that they still have the power to arrest and prosecute people who are legally licensed to grow and sell medical marijuana.

This is just crazy, because the laws haven't changed! Really, just a few lawyers in the federal government have been sending these letters to states where medical marijuana programs are just getting off the ground, in an effort to stop them. This scare tactic already worked in Washington State, and we can't let it happen anywhere else.

To put an end to this intimidation, we don't need any laws changed – we just need the Attorney General to tell the people sending the threats to stop. Click here, and join me in asking Attorney General Holder to keep the Obama administration's promise to leave medical marijuana alone!

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