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Florida Political Action Committee Protests Gov. Rick Scott's New Drug Testing Policy by Sending Him Urine

Location: 
FL
United States
Last month, Gov. Scott signed an executive order allowing random drug testing of state employees and a bill is currently working its way through Florida's legislature that would require welfare and food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing. The Committee for the Positive Insistence on a Sane Society, or PISS, is calling the smelly "gift" a peaceful protest. "In one breath our CEO professes to be focusing on cutting wasteful government spending and laying off tens of thousands of state employees, while at the same time he announces a program to drug test state employees without any legitimate basis for such an invasion of privacy," a PISS press release stated.
Publication/Source: 
NBC
URL: 
http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Key-West-Pissed-Off-at-Gov-Send-Him-Urine-119205199.html

International Harm Reduction Conference Happening Now in Beirut -- And on the Net

Our friends at the International Harm Reduction Association are holding their 22nd international conference -- this time in the Arab world, Beirut, Lebanon. The conference home page has a Twitter stream, and there are updates and photos being posted as well. Check it out -- I wish I were there, and you should too.  :)

Location: 
Beirut
Lebanon

North Carolina Lawmakers Propose Bill to Legalize Medical Marijuana

Location: 
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

Pot Politics on Capitol Hill: Proponents Aim to Shift Industry's Image

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Supporters of decriminalizing marijuana are hoping to build momentum on Capitol Hill after a historic election that saw the politics of pot take center stage in four states. The marijuana industry's public relations campaign has so far been limited to states, especially California, where a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana almost passed in November. But today, the National Cannabis Industry Association, launched in December to represent the interests of legal marijuana growers and distributors, will hold the first congressional lobbying day in the nation's capital, hoping to shore up support for an industry they say could bring billions of dollars in revenue to the government.
Publication/Source: 
ABC News (US)
URL: 
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/pot-politics-capitol-hill-proponents-aim-shift-marijuana/story?id=13251446

28 Raids in 24 Hours!? Tell Attorney General Holder to Stop Federal Raids of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (Action Alert)

Tell Attorney General Holder:
Stop federal raids
of medical marijuana dispensaries

» Sign the petition

Friends,

28 raids in 24 hours.That's the unfortunate reality for medical marijuana patients in Montana and California.

Federal agents shutdown 26 dispensaries across Montana and 2 in the medical marijuana sanctuary city of West Hollywood, California this month in their latest attack on patients and legitimate businesses.

The DEA isn't even supposed to be conducting these raids in the first place. In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo ordering an end to federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet, despite his memo, federal agents have continued these operations sporadically for years, without regard for patients', states' or business' rights.

Attorney General Eric Holder clearly doesn't have control of his own cavalry. This assault on patients rights has to stop now.

Sign our letter telling Attorney General Holder to enforce his memo and prohibit federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Click here to sign the letter: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/fedraids

But is Holder being dishonest and hypocritical? Or does he simply lack strong leadership among US Attorneys General?

A memo issued on February 1st by US Attorney Melinda Haag (who, ironically, represents Northern California) directly contradicts Holder’s edict. She declares that ANYONE engaging in the buying or selling of marijuana, regardless of their protection under state laws, will be punished by the federal government.

That doesn’t just mean dispensaries and the patients who rely on them, but goes as far as to include landlords, financiers and property owners as well. It’s a full-court press designed to intimidate supporters of reform and ostracize patients seeking their prescribed medications.

This attitude puts lives in jeopardy and undermines our democratic institutions by foiling state attempts to provide solutions for their own people. We need to put an end to the federal harassment of medical marijuana patients now.

Tell Attorney General Holder to enforce his own memo banning federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries and take a stand for patients rights.

Click here to add your name: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/fedraids

This kind of official hypocrisy at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens is a disgrace to the notion of basic human rights everywhere. Thank you for standing up for a patients’ basic rights to treatment.

Thanks for all you do.

Brian Sonenstein
Just Say Now.com

 

Contribute to Just Say Now to support marijuana legalization. Click here:

Medical Marijuana Study Bill Passes Maryland House (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 March 28, 2011

Medical Marijuana Study Bill Passes Maryland House

Panel of Experts to Advise Legislature on State Medical Marijuana Policy

CONTACT: Morgan Fox, communications manager………………………….202-905-2031 or [email protected]

ANNAPOLIS – By a vote of 105-29, the Maryland House of Delegates passed HB 291 today, a bill that would create an 18-member panel to advise the legislature on the best way to create a medical marijuana program in 2012. HB 291was amended from an earlier version of the bill, which would have set up a comprehensive medical marijuana program, protecting state-registered patients from arrest and allowing pharmacies and state-regulated dispensing centers to provide patients with medical marijuana. The bill, sponsored by the only physician in the General Assembly, Del. Dan Morhaim, was amended after Health Secretary Josh Sharfstein advocated a “yellow light” approach to medical marijuana.

The panel would be comprised of doctors, patients, law enforcement officials, and experts on medical marijuana policy. They will make recommendations to the legislature on how to safely and effectively implement a well-regulated medical marijuana program. Last Thursday, the Maryland Senate passed SB 308, which included the study language, as well as immediate protections for patients. SB 308 would allow patients who use marijuana to treat medical conditions to use a medical necessity defense in court. The Senate approved the bill by a 41-6 vote, which included a majority of both Democrat and Republican senators.

"While we had hoped to see a comprehensive medical marijuana law on par with those in 15 other states, it’s encouraging that the legislature will at least make measured but real progress toward the goal of protecting patients from arrest and providing legal access to doctor-recommended medicine,” said Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We're also relieved to see that the Senate has decided to remove criminal penalties from patients who are currently using medical marijuana while they wait for a comprehensive program to be put in place. It’s imperative that the House do the same."

Medical marijuana is permitted in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and many more are currently considering legislation to allow its use under tightly controlled conditions, including Delaware and Connecticut. Such laws already exist in Rhode Island and New Jersey, where medical marijuana distribution centers were recently licensed by the states and should be up and running later this year.

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 www.mpp.org.

####

Location: 
MD
United States

D.C. Medical Marijuana: Ask Mayor Gray: What's the Hold Up? (Action Alert)


March 25, 2011

 

Ask Mayor Gray: What’s the hold up?

Dear Friends:

It’s been over a decade since Initiative 59 was passed and almost a year now since the D.C. Council passed legislation to implement D.C.’s medical marijuana program, but you’d be forgiven if you haven’t noticed. That’s because the mayor still hasn’t signed off on the regulations that were issued last November and approved by the Council in January.

Ask the mayor when we can expect to see the District’s medical marijuana program up and running.

We’re willing to give the mayor some slack here. I’m sure he had a steep learning curve and a lot of very important issues to grapple with in his first couple months on the job. But now that he’s settled in and had time to review the proposed rules, there’s no reason District residents should have to wait any longer – they’ve already been waiting over 12 years. It’ll take less than a minute of your time to send an email to the Mayor's office asking when patients in the District will finally have access to medical marijuana.

In the mean time, I’ll let you know if we hear any announcements from the mayor. Thanks everyone!

Sincerely,

Dan Riffle
Legislative Analyst
Marijuana Policy Project

 

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

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

Location: 
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

New Directions New Jersey: A Public Safety and Health Approach to Drug Policy

The New Directions New Jersey conference will examine the decades-old ramifications of President Nixon’s declaration of the “war on drugs” in urban communities like Newark.

Drug policy experts from across the country and around the globe will discuss topics including: reducing crime and incarceration, effectively addressing addiction, treating drug use as a health issue, communities of color and the war on drugs, and drug policy lessons and models from abroad.

When asked about the war on drugs on the campaign trail, President Barack Obama said, “I believe in shifting the paradigm, shifting the model, so that we focus more on a public health approach [to drugs].” Polls show the American people agree. President Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, told the Wall Street Journal last year that he doesn’t like the term “war on drugs” because “[w]e’re not at war with people in this country.” Yet for the tens of millions of Americans who have been arrested and incarcerated for a drug offense, U.S. drug policy is a war on them—and their families. What exactly is a public health approach to drugs? What might truly ending the war on drugs look like?  This conference will serve as a model for those looking for new directions and strategies for ending the war on drugs.

“We see the impact of the ‘drug war’ first hand, where so many people are incarcerated for being economically disadvantaged by the disappearance of work,” says Bethany Baptist Church pastor, Reverend William Howard.  “Afterwards, they are virtually permanently barred from the legal workforce for the rest of their lives. We must take our stand against the destructive scourge of drug abuse and trafficking by developing new, sensible strategies that solve more problems than they create.”

The conference will be guided by four principles:

  • The war on drugs has failed and it is time for a new approach to drug policy.
  • Effective drug policy balances prevention, harm reduction, treatment and public safety.
  • Alcohol and other drug use is fundamentally a health issue and must be addressed as such.
  • Drug policies must be based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Panel members and conference speakers include:

·         Rev. Dr. M. William Howard, Jr., pastor, Bethany Baptist Church

·         Ethan Nadelmann,executive director, Drug Policy Alliance

·         Paula T. Dow, New Jersey Attorney General

·         Garry F. McCarthy, police director, City of Newark

·         Michelle Alexander, Esq., associate professor, Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; Author, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

·         Beny Primm, MD, executive director, Addiction, Research and Treatment Corporation, Brooklyn, New York

·         Todd Clear, dean, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University

·         Donald MacPherson, former drug policy coordinator, City of Vancouver

·         Alex Stevens, professor of Criminal Justice, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent, Chatham, UK

·         Stephanie Bush-Baskette, Esq., Author and Director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University

·         Deborah Peterson Small, Founder and Executive Director, Break the Chains: Communities of Color & the War on Drugs

For a full list of panel members, go to: http://www.drugpolicy.org/docUploads/DPA_New_Directions_NJ_final_prog_REFERENCE.pdf

Please RSVP to: [email protected]

Date: 
Sat, 03/19/2011 - 8:30am - 5:00pm
Location: 
275 West Market Street Bethany Baptist Church
Newark, NJ 07103
United States

Drug Lords Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Global Prohibition (Video)

Location: 
50 years ago the United Nations adopted the first international treaty to prohibit some drugs. The logic of the system was simple: any use of the drugs listed, unless sanctioned for medical or scientific purposes, would be deemed 'abuse' and thus illegal. As a result of this convention, the unsanctioned production and trafficking of these drugs became a crime in all member states of the UN. There is a small group that benefits phenomenally from the global war on drugs: organized criminals and terrorists. View this video from the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and find out more.
Publication/Source: 
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (Hungary)
URL: 
http://drogriporter.hu/en/dli_short

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