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Montel Williams to Discuss His Support for Medical Marijuana in Maryland (Press Release)


Media Advisory

         Former Talk Show Host and Baltimore Native Montel Williams to Discuss His Support for Medical Marijuana in Maryland

      Williams Became Medical Marijuana Advocate After Finding It Provided Relief from Pain Associated with his Multiple Sclerosis


CONTACTS: Morgan Fox, MPP Communications Manager… 202-905-2031 or [email protected]

                       Dan Riffle, MPP Legislative Analyst…………. 202-905-2026 or [email protected]

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND – Multiple sclerosis patient and popular former talk show host Montel Williams will speak at a press conference Monday in Annapolis in support of legislation that would make Maryland the nation’s 16th state allowing physician-approved use of medical marijuana.

Williams grew up in Baltimore where his father was the city’s first African-American fire chief. Williams is a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis and retired from the U.S. Navy as a decorated naval intelligence officer after more than two decades of service before embarking on his second career as a national television talk show host. In 1999, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and has sought treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Following his diagnosis, he created the Montel Williams MS Foundation, which is committed to raising awareness of the disease and providing inspiration to those who live with MS. Williams has served as an advocate for the compassionate use of medical marijuana in a variety of states that have approved new laws.

Montel will be joined at the Maryland press conference by the chief sponsors of the state’s medical marijuana legislation: physician and Delegate Dan Morhaim, and Senators Jamie Raskin and David Brinkley, both cancer survivors.

Who: Montel Williams, Del. Dan Morhaim, Sen. David Brinkley, Sen. Jamie Raskin, and medical marijuana patients and advocates.

What: Press conference to announce the introduction of medical marijuana legislation in the Maryland General Assembly.

Where: Room 302, House Office Bldg., 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401

When: Monday, January 24th, 4 p.m.

With more than 26,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit


Room 302, House Office Bldg., 6 Bladen St.
Annapolis, MD 21401
United States

Philadelphia: City Saving Time and Money with New Pot Procedure (Press Release)


CONTACT: Chris Goldstein at 215-586-3483 or [email protected]

Philadelphia: City Saving Time and Money with New Pot Procedure

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s office is calling a new set of procedures for minor pot cases a success and plans to continue with the Small Amount of Marijuana (SAM) program.

Last year the Pennsylvania Supreme Court worked with the new DA, Seth Williams, to make a pragmatic change in how the justice system deals with marijuana possession of 30 grams or less. A new program was created that includes a diversion court appearance, an education class and fees of $200. The major difference is that there is no longer an instant criminal prosecution. The offender pleads to a non-drug related charge that is automatically expunged from their record.

PhillyNORML's Chris Goldstein spoke with Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Joe McGettigan about the new marijuana policy. McGettigan said that the SAM program is working, "Look, certainly this was a much better option than sending all these people into the criminal court last year for misdemeanors," said McGettigan.

The DA’s office provided the following figures related to the SAM program:

June 2010 to September 2010

1636 marijuana possession cases less than 30g TOTAL

 339 bench warrants issued for failure to appear             

1297 marijuana possession cases less than 30g are heard

1025 enter the Small Amount of Marijuana diversion program ( 79% )

81 went to trial

187 statuses continued

4 cases withdrawn

The procedural shift has eased penalties and a particularly harsh process for offenders. For the last two decades anyone in Philadelphia who was caught with a single joint on up to 30 grams was held for bail then prosecuted in a criminal court. This involves a tremendous amount of the justice system’s resources and the expensive procedure was almost unique in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

There are over 4,500 such cases in Philly every year (the largest concentration of pot arrests in PA) so minor marijuana offenses were literally clogging holding cells, bail officer, printing machines, court reporters, clerks, judges and courtrooms. The real world cost savings for the city this year by eliminating those expenses could tally into the millions.The shift also made a significant, tactile change; residents who consume marijuana and run afoul of prohibition laws have a less traumatic experience.

PhillyNORML's Chris Goldstein said, "This was a positive shift for the city. Still minor marijuana possession arrests are increasing and continue a disturbing trend of being extremely racially disparate."

An average of about 325 black men, 50 black women, 95 white men and 8 white women will be arrested every month this year in Philadelphia.

 Link to more information on arrests 

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Federal Medical Marijuana Patient/Florida Stockbroker Returns to Montana to Help Save Medical Cannabis Laws (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: January 7, 2011

Contact: Patients Out of Time at 434-263-4484,

Florida Stockbroker Returns to Montana to help save Medical Cannabis laws

Irvin Rosenfeld, the longest surviving patient of the four Federal Medical Cannabis Patients in the United States and a Director for Patients Out of Time will be flying to Montana on January 8th to speak before the Montana Legislature for a week. Irvin will be there to educate people of the importance of Medical Cannabis and its true value as a medicine. As a Federal Patient for over 28 years, he has knowledge and experience that no one has in this country which he will share with others. To him, Cannabis is a medicine like any other medicine and should be treated that way. As Senior Vice-President of Investments for Newbridge Securities in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, he also understands the economic aspect and how this medicine creates jobs for thousands of Montanans.

“Montana is being watched Nationally, and what happens in this legislative session could set precedence around the world” states Rosenfeld. “Medical Cannabis Patients are productive members of society. I am living proof. I have been a stockbroker for over 23 years handling millions of dollars on a daily basis.”

“One of the biggest problems in Montana now is, they have had very bad press. The media in Montana has focused its efforts on one specific individual, and that has bled over Nationally. There are some very experienced, professional, caring people in Montana working very hard to care for patients who have went virtually unrecognized in Montana. I know, I have met many of them.”

“My goal is to help educate the politicians in Montana. There are some very intelligent people in Montana, and I am sure they will see the science and facts, and consider what is best for the people of Montana. Montana has a proud history of pioneering. It is my hope they will take the lead, and be the true pioneers for Medical Cannabis, and a shining example of the true value of not only Medical Cannabis but Hemp as well.”

United States

Advocates, Scholars and Activists to Gather in Washington, DC on January 14 to Demand Exit Strategy from 40-Year-Long War on Drugs (Press Release)

For Immediate Release: January 6, 2011

CONTACT:  Tony Newman at (646) 335-5384 or Yolande Cadore at (646) 508-1790

Civil Rights, Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Reformers to Hold Town Hall Forum to Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy

Advocates, Scholars and Activists to Gather in Washington, DC on January 14 to Demand Exit Strategy from 40-Year-Long War On Drugs

Participants to Address Racial Profiling, Mass Incarceration, Prohibition-Related Violence, and Their Impact on Black Communities

WASHINGTON, DC— Is the disparate impact of the war on drugs on black communities the next big civil rights struggle? Why are black men imprisoned for drug offenses at 13 times the rate of white men despite equal rates of drug use and selling across races? How do we begin to address the connections between astronomical rates of incarceration, disintegration of black families, and the war on drugs?

These questions and many more will be addressed at a town hall gathering to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday in Washington, D.C, on Friday, January 14 at First Baptist Church (712 Randolph St. N.W., Washington, DC) from 6:30-9p.m. The town hall is organized by the Drug Policy Alliance, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century / Black Family Summit, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and the Black Leadership Commission on AIDS of DC and Vicinity.

The town hall meeting – “Ending the 40 Year Drug War: Promoting Policies That Rebuild/Reclaim Our Families and Communities” – will bring together a diverse group of scholars, community activists, social service providers, and religious and political leaders. They will discuss viable alternatives to the quagmire of the misdirected war on drugs, which has torn apart the fabric of many communities. 

Speakers and panelists include:

*Dr. Tricia Bent-Goodley, Professor, Howard University, School of Social Work
*Dr. Annelle Primm, Director of Minority and National Affairs, American Psychiatric Association
*Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director, Drug Policy Alliance
*Judge Arthur Burnett, Executive Director, National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Howard University School of Law
*Dr. Ron Daniels, President, Institute of the Black World 21st Century
*Dr. Divine Pryor, Executive Director, Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions
*Rev. Frank D. Tucker, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church
*Asha Bandele, Director, Advocacy Grants Program, Drug Policy Alliance
*Nkechi Taifa, Esq., Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Institute

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the failed war on drugs. The casualties of this war have come from low-income and communities of color.  High rates of incarceration, fueled in large part by the war on drugs, have led to a breakdown in trust between law enforcement and the communities that they strive to serve and protect. The war on drugs is also responsible for premature deaths from preventable diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV among injecting drug users.

The collateral damage of the drug war has resulted in overwhelming barriers to the creation of vibrant, sustainable and healthy communities. Today, civil rights advocates are honoring Dr. King’s legacy by standing up against the “new Jim Crow” – mass incarceration and the racially disproportionate war on drugs.

712 Randolph St. N.W
Washington, DC
United States

Thursday Press Teleconference: Clinton Commutation Beneficiaries Call on President Obama to Expedite Clemency for Crack Cocaine Prisoners (Press Advisory)

For Immediate Release: December 15, 2010                      

Contact: Nkechi Taifa (202-641-6605) or Tony Newman (646-335-5384)

THURSDAY PRESS TELECONFERENCE: Clinton Commutation Beneficiaries Call on President Obama to Expedite Clemency for Crack Cocaine Prisoners

Recent federal legislation reducing the 100-to-1 cocaine sentencing disparity will not benefitthose in prison

Advocates will fast and pray for justice on December 22, 10-year anniversary of Clinton crack cocaine commutations

WASHINGTON, DC—Advocates for presidential clemency will join together for a press teleconference on Thursday, December 16 to urge President Obama to expedite clemency for people serving excessive terms under the now-reformed federal crack cocaine sentencing laws. Participants will be commemorating the 10-year anniversary of President Clinton’s commutation of Kemba Smith and Dorothy Gaines, two women sent to federal prison for 24 and 19 years, respectively, for playing peripheral roles in their boyfriends’ drug operations.  Joining the women on the press teleconference will be members of the Crack the Disparity Coalition, a broad coalition of civil rights, faith-based, drug policy, criminal justice reform advocacy groups, and formerly incarcerated people.

Recent changes under the Fair Sentencing Act, signed in August, reduce the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1 but do not provide relief to thousands of individuals who are already serving time for crack cocaine offenses. Prior to the law’s passage, an individual in possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine (roughly the amount of sugar in a couple of sugar packets) would be sentenced to a federal 5-year mandatory minimum sentence. It took 500 grams of powder cocaine to receive the same 5-year sentence.

The campaign has set up a site ( and a Facebook page, “Holiday Fast and Prayer for Justice,”(!/event.php?eid=173873379301719) where others can commit to fasting and prayer and sign a petition to President Obama on behalf of those behind bars under the old crack cocaine sentencing structure.

                        WHAT:           Press Teleconference to urge President Obama to expedite clemency

WHEN:           Thursday, December 16, 1 p.m. ET

CALL IN #:    1-800-311-9402   Passcode: Fairness


Kemba Smith Pradia was sentenced as a first time non-violent drug offender to 24.5 years in federal prison even though the prosecutor handling her case said she never handled, used or sold any of the drugs involved. Currently, she is a national public speaker, advocate and founder of the Kemba Smith Foundation.

Dorothy Gaines is a single mother of three who was convicted of minor involvement in her boyfriends’ small-scale crack distribution and served 6 years of a 19 ½ year sentence before she was granted commutation. She currently works with at-risk youth in Mobile, AL.

Hilary O. Shelton is the Director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. He played an integral role in the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and other policy measures affecting equality in our society. 

Margaret Love was the former U.S. Pardon attorney under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. She now represents people applying for executive clemency and advocates for sentencing and corrections reform.

Moderated by: Nkechi Taifa, the Senior Policy Analyst for the Open Society Foundations and Open Society Policy Center, focusing on issues of criminal justice and racial equality.  She also convenes the Crack the Disparity Working Group of the Justice Roundtable, and has worked for over 17 years to eliminate the crack/powder disparity. Announces Innovative New Features for the Medical Marijuana Industry (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2010

CONTACT: 1-888-392-9772 Announces Innovative New Features for the Medical Marijuana Industry

Nation’s largest network of marijuana doctors rolls out new features and functionality to help patients get safe and legal access to medical cannabis in all legal states -- the medical marijuana industry’s first online search and booking platform for medical marijuana evaluations—today announced the addition of innovative new features to its website. connects patients with the highest quality network of medical marijuana doctors in the industry, and now also offers new services that streamline and secure the process of gaining legal access to medical cannabis and help physicians expand their practices to serve this growing medical need.

Key New features of’s Latest Release:

    *     Patient Pre-Qualification System: prequalifies patients based on the specific guidelines of each state prior to their marijuana evaluation appointments, ensuring that the doctors in its network only see patients that are qualified to become medical marijuana patients in that state.
    *     24-Hour Patient Verification: now offers verification services round the clock to verify patients’ status as a qualified and legal medical marijuana patient. This service is essential for patients and saves time and money for physicians by eliminating the need to hire their own staff to handle verifications of their patients’ recommendations.
    *     See Your Own Doctor: now offers “do it yourself” packages that empower patients with the information and resources needed to obtain medical marijuana recommendations from their primary care physicians. These packages include the patient’s prequalification data from the site’s prequalification system, state-specific legal information for the physicians, a pre-filled stat-specific recommendation letter, and more.
    *     Recommendation Letter Generator: provides state-compliant, pre-filled recommendation letters for physicians to easily print and sign for each of their patients. This system is available in all twelve states where recommendation letter guidelines exist.

“Our goal has always been to legitimize the medical marijuana industry, and these new features and functionalities will help streamline the process for patients to get safe, legal access to the medicine they need,” said Jason Draizin, CEO of “Each medical marijuana state has set up a system for patients to qualify for cannabis, and we have developed services to simplify that process for physicians, which ultimately helps the patients and helps add a new revenue stream for professionals in the ever-diminishing medical industry.” offers monthly subscriptions to physicians that are looking to expand their practices into the promising medical marijuana industry. Thousands of patients in every medical marijuana state turn to every month for quality physicians who recommend medical cannabis to their patients. The company holds high standards for the doctors allowed to join the site, and individually verifies each medical marijuana clinic and physician in its network.

About was founded to act as the trusted gateway for patients searching for medical marijuana treatment in all legal medical marijuana states. supplies patients with the latest medical marijuana information and provides detailed physician profile and schedule information—giving patients full visibility into the process of obtaining medical marijuana. Patients can browse, rate and review medical marijuana doctors, or learn how to obtain a medical marijuana card.


Teen Marijuana Use Continues to Rise: Report Consistently Shows Prohibition’s Failure to Curb Teen Access to Marijuana; More Teens Say Marijuana is Easy To Get (Press Release)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                 

DECEMBER 14, 2010

Teen Marijuana Use Continues to Rise

Annual Report Consistently Shows Prohibition’s Failure to Curb Teen Access to Marijuana; More Teens Say Marijuana is Easy To Get

CONTACT: Mike Meno, MPP director of communications: 202-905-2030, 443-927-6400 or [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marijuana use by 8th, 10th and 12th grade students increased in 2010, with more American teenagers now using marijuana than cigarettes for the second year in a row, according to numbers released today by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan as part of the annual Monitoring the Future survey. In 2010, 21.4 percent of high school seniors used marijuana in the last 30 days, while 19.2 had used cigarettes.

         “It’s really no surprise that more American teenagers are using marijuana and continue to say it’s easy to get. Our government has spent decades refusing to regulate marijuana in order to keep it out of the hands of drug dealers who aren’t required to check customer ID and have no qualms about selling marijuana to young people,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “The continued decline in teen tobacco use is proof that sensible regulations, coupled with honest, and science-based public education can be effective in keeping substances away from young people. It’s time we acknowledge that our current marijuana laws have utterly failed to accomplish one of their primary objectives – to keep marijuana away from young people – and do the right thing by regulating marijuana, bringing its sale under the rule of law, and working to reduce the unfettered access to marijuana our broken laws have given teenagers.”  

         Since the survey’s inception, overwhelmingly numbers of American teenagers have said marijuana was easy for them to obtain. According to the 2010 numbers, the use of alcohol – which is also regulated and sold by licensed merchants required to check customer ID – continued to decline among high school seniors.

         With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit


New Jersey State Senate Passes Resolution Invalidating Medical Marijuana Regulations (Press Release)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2010                                   

CONTACT: Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243                                                                    

New Jersey State Senate Passes Resolution Invalidating Medical Marijuana Regulations

Department of Health and Senior Services Now Has Thirty Days to Rewrite Regulations

Patients and Advocates Urge Health Department to Act Quickly So Program Can Move Forward

Trenton, NJ— Today, the New Jersey State Senate passed a resolution invalidating the Christie Administration’s regulations for implementing the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.  The Department of Health and Senior Services now has thirty days to rewrite the regulations to make them comport with the original legislation.  The New Jersey State Assembly passed the resolution on November 22nd.

The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law on January 11th by outgoing Governor Jon Corzine. The Christie Administration released its draft regulations in October, but legislative sponsors, patients and advocates have criticized the regulations for conflicting with the original law and being so restrictive that they make the program unworkable.  In light of the vote, patients and advocates urge the Christie Administration to move quickly to make changes to the regulations and get the program up and running.

“We urge the Department to move swiftly to change the problematic sections of the regulations,” said Roseanne Scotti, Director of Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey, which spearheaded the effort to pass the legislation.  “We are approaching the one year anniversary of the bill becoming law and patients are still suffering and still no closer to having safe and legal access to their medicine.”

“I’m tired of fighting for what I deserve,” said Diane Riportella, who suffers from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease).  “I don’t have much time left and want to see this program started before I’m no longer here.” 

The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was passed after five years of intense advocacy by patients, families and a coalition of medical and professional organization.  The Act will allow patients suffering from certain debilitating and life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis to use and possess medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.  The bill will also allow for the licensing of Alternative Treatment Centers where qualifying patients could safely access medical marijuana.  The program will be administered by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. The Act is the most restrictive medical marijuana law in the nation.

The Senate resolution addresses four specific provisions in the regulations:

·         The requirement all qualifying medical conditions for which a patient may get medical marijuana be resistant to conventional medical therapy.  In the original legislation only certain medical conditions were required to meet this threshold.

·         The limit of two Alternative Treatment Centers that will grow medical marijuana and four that will dispense marijuana.  The original bill called for at least two Alternative Treatment Centers in the north, central and southern parts of the state.

·         The draft regulations’ arbitrary limit on the permissible levels of THC the medical marijuana may contain.  There was no such restriction in the original bill.

·         The two year waiting period mandated by the regulations before patients can petition to have new conditions added to the list of conditions for which medical marijuana can be accessed.  No such waiting period was included in the original legislation.

The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act is supported by a coalition of organizations including the Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey, the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, the New Jersey League for Nursing, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, the New Jersey State Nurses Association, the New Jersey chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Faith is Our Pathway, and the New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. 

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United States

New Data: Pursuit of Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession Costs Vermont Over $700K Annually, Rep. Lorber Calls for Decriminalization (Press Release)

CONTACT: Rep. Jason Lorber, 802-863-9429 or [email protected]

New Data: Pursuit of Misdemeanor Marijuana Possession

Costs Vermont Over $700K Annually

Rep. Lorber Calls for Decriminalization

Burlington, VT – Dec. 9, 2010 – New data unveiled today shows that Vermont state government spends over $700,000 annually to pursue Vermonters for possession of small amounts of marijuana. 

Based on the new findings, Rep. Jason Lorber (D-Burlington) today announced plans to introduce a bill that would decriminalize the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.

“We should stop wasting $700,000 a year on a failed policy,” said Rep. Lorber. “It’s time for a smarter approach.  That means decriminalization for an ounce or less of marijuana.”

“In a time of great fiscal strain, it is critical that we focus law enforcement resources on offenses that pose the greatest threats to public safety,” said Windsor County State’s Attorney, Robert Sand. “Possession of small amounts of marijuana does not fall into this category. Converting misdemeanor marijuana crimes into civil violations is an appropriate and laudatory legislative endeavor.”

Today’s announcement follows the release of a memo written for Rep. Lorber by the non-partisan Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office (JFO).  The report detailed costs totaling $716,021, broken into categories of Police ($45,257), State’s Attorneys ($10,429), Defender General ($19,768), Court Diversion ($169,500), Judiciary ($105,344), and Corrections ($365,725).  It involves 801 arrests, 76 Vermonters serving time behind bars, and 270 on field supervision.  JFO estimates that the true costs could be 20% more or less than the $716,021 figure.  The study focused on cases in which possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana was a stand-alone charge.

Strong Support for Decriminalization in Vermont and Nationally

Marijuana has been decriminalized in 13 states, including New York, Maine, and Massachusetts. A 2009 Mason-Dixon poll of registered voters in Vermont showed over 2-to-1 support for marijuana decriminalization, with 63% in support, 27% opposed, and 10% undecided

“Decriminalization is different from legalization,” Lorber was quick to point out. “I am crafting a bill that would keep it illegal to sell or use marijuana, and not change the penalty for driving under the influence. This would simply change the penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana to a civil, rather than criminal offense. It would be a ticket, not jail time.”

This news follows an August 2010 panel discussion in which Rep. Lorber and then-gubernatorial candidate Peter Shumlin called for decriminalization of possession of under an ounce of marijuana.

Rep. Lorber has served in the Vermont House of Representatives since 2005.  He co-authored sweeping legislation called “Justice Reinvestment,” which reduces prison costs while improving safety by finding less costly and more effective alternatives to prison.  In 2005, he authored a 42-page report “53 Voices on Corrections in Vermont” chronicling the stresses placed on the Department of Corrections by overcrowding. 

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United States

U.S. House Expected to Pass Resolution Today Calling for New Marijuana Strategy (Press Release)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                 

DECEMBER 8, 2010

U.S. House Expected to Pass Resolution Today Calling for New Marijuana Strategy

Rep. Jared Polis, MPP Say It’s Time to End “Failed” Marijuana Prohibition, Regulate Marijuana Industry to Combat Drug Traffickers

CONTACT: Mike Meno, MPP director of communications: 202-905-2030, 443-927-6400 or [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a resolution today declaring illegal marijuana cultivation on federal lands to be an “unacceptable threat to the safety of law enforcement and the public,” and calling upon the nation’s drug czar “to work in conjunction with Federal and State agencies to develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to permanently dismantle Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating on Federal lands.”

            Speaking on the House floor yesterday, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) agreed with the goals of H. Res. 1540, but said the only way to accomplish such objectives would be to eliminate “the failed policy of prohibition with regard to marijuana and replac[e] it with regulation.” 

            “I have no doubt that marijuana plantations, as the resolution states, pose a threat to the environmental health of Federal lands, that drug traffickers spray unregulated chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers, but I submit that the best way to address that is to incorporate this into a meaningful and enforceable agricultural policy for the country with regard to the regulatory structure for the production of marijuana,” said Polis, whose home state of Colorado has emerged as a national leader in the regulation of medical marijuana. “… As long as [marijuana] remains illegal and as long as there is a market demand, the production will be driven underground. No matter how much we throw at enforcement, it will continue to be a threat not only to our Federal lands, but to our border security and to our safety within our country.”

            Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, today joined Rep. Polis in endorsing the underlying rationale of the resolution and suggesting that accomplishing the goals detailed in legislation will require an entirely new strategy by the federal government.

            “Passage of this resolution will send a clear message to the drug czar and others that our current strategies for combating illegal marijuana production are not working and that a new direction is needed,” Fox said. “There are two choices here: continue the failed prohibitionist policies that encourage Mexican drug cartels to keep growing marijuana on federal lands, or embrace a new path that would acknowledge the reality that marijuana is not going away, but its production and sale can be sensibly regulated in order to reduce the harm caused by its illicit production on federal lands.” 

         With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit


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