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Members of Congress to Introduce Historic Legislation Ending Marijuana Prohibition (Press Release)

MEDIA ADVISORY                                                                                                                                    June 22, 2011

Thursday: Members of Congress to Introduce Historic Legislation Ending Marijuana Prohibition

The Legislation, Modeled after the Repeal of Alcohol Prohibition, Comes on the 40th Anniversary of the Failed War on Drugs and on the Heels of a Global Commission Report Recommending Marijuana Legalization

Teleconference: Rep. Barney Frank and Leading Organizations Working to End the Failed War on Marijuana Explain the Significance of the Legislation

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

WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce bi-partisan legislation tomorrow, June 23, ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference. Other co-sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.

            Leading critics of the war on marijuana will explain its significance for state and national marijuana policy at a national tele-press conference on Thursday.

What:  Tele-Press Conference on the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011

When:Thursday, June 23. 2:00pm EST / 11am PST

Call-in Info: 1-800-311-9404; Passcode: Marijuana

Who:  

·        Representative Barney Frank (D-4th/MA)

·        Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)

·        Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)

·        Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)

·        Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)

Last week marked the 40th Anniversary of President Nixon declaring a war on marijuana and other drugs. In an oped in the New York Times last week, timed for the 40th Anniversary, former President Jimmy Carter called for reforming marijuana laws.

The legislation also comes on the heels of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which released a report on June 2 calling for a major paradigm shift in how our society deals with drugs, including calling for legal regulation of marijuana. The report sent a jolt around the world, generating thousands of international media stories.  The commission is comprised of international dignitaries including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group; and the former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland. Representing the U.S. on the commission are George P. Shultz, Paul Volcker, and John Whitehead.

46.5% of Californians voted last year to legalize marijuana in their state, and voters in Colorado, Washington and possibly other states are expected to vote on the issue next year. In the past year at least five state legislatures have considered legalizing marijuana, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington. 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, but the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to arrest people under federal law and U.S. Attorneys have in recent months sent threatening letters to state policymakers in an apparent attempt to meddle in state decision-making.

Rep. Frank’s legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens.

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: 
Washington, DC
United States

40th Anniversary Drug War Continues, SWAT Raid Music Video, More Wire

The 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon's declaration of the drug war continues. First, footage from LEAP's press conference, followed by their march from the National Press Club to the Office of National Drug Control Policy office to hand-deliver their report to drug czar Kerlikowske:



Comedian/Activist Randy Credico has made a startling discovery, with his first release from the "Nixon: The Lost Tapes" collection. In Credico's (parody) excerpt, Nixon says he was duped into calling for a drug war and says he regrets it:



We link Reason again, this time with their new music video, No Knock Raid. Don't watch it if you're about to try to get to sleep:



If you haven't already, check out my post last week about Reason's current magazine issue, "Criminal Injustice."

The Wire is back in the news too. Last weekend we noted that Attorney General Eric Holder really wants another season of the show, but David Simon says they'll only do it if he ends drug prohibition. On Thursday Holder said okay!

Unfortunately he was only joking -- and the drug war is no joking matter. Still, I interpret it as reflecting implicit respect for the anti-drug war viewpoint -- we'll take it.

This is What a Drug Legalization Activist Looks Like

You've likely already seen the explosive mainstream media coverage of Tuesday's superb press event by our friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, but I wanted to share this image that didn't make it into the papers:

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/LEAPvsONDCP.png
Photo by Irina Alexander

As we marched from the National Press Club over to the Office of National Drug Control Policy to deliver LEAP's report to the drug czar, many people on the street paused to stare. Who were these well-dressed men and women walking past the White House with a camera crew trailing behind? If they watched the evening news or read the paper the next morning, they now know the answer.

They are police, prosecutors, and prison wardens working to end the War on Drugs and they couldn't possibly have expected their message this week to reverberate any louder than it has. They are the definition of credibility in the drug war debate, and it is literally impossible to possess an informed opinion on these issues until you've carefully considered the concerns of these professionals and contemplated the solutions they propose.

That's why it's just such a shame – and really quite revealing – that the Drug Czar didn't invite them in when they arrived at his office to present the findings of LEAP's report. I know why I wasn't let in (I've written like 900 things condemning various drug czars for an exhausting array of outrages emerging from that office and wouldn't have stepped inside even if they let me, lest I might never be seen or heard from again). But I was just there to observe.

With us on Tuesday was Norm Stamper, who served as Police Chief of Seattle immediately prior to Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske. Their professional credentials are so remarkably similar, yet one relies on his vast experience to work towards fixing fundamental flaws in our drug policy, while the other cowers in his ivory tower in Washington, D.C. as he endeavors desperately to defend decades of unmitigated waste and destruction.

We'll see who history remembers as a champion of justice.

Our image posting system doesn't seem to allow a long enough caption to identify all of the LEAP marchers pictured above. Here is the rest of the caption, courtesy Eric Sterling: From Left, Howard Wooldridge, Executive Director, Citizens Opposing Prohibition (retired detective, Bath Township, Michigan); Eric E. Sterling, President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (former assistant counsel, Subcommittee on Crime, U.S. House of Representatives); Norman Stamper, LEAP (former Chief of Police, Seattle, WA, author of Breaking Rank); Leigh Maddox, Special Assistant State's Attorney, Baltimore City, MD, Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland School of Law, (former Captain, Maryland State Police); Neill Franklin, Executive Director, LEAP (former Major, Maryland State Police and Baltimore City Police); Matthew Fogg, LEAP, (former Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal); Richard Van Wickler, Superintendent of Corrections, Cheshire County, Stoddard, New Hampshire; (not shown, Terry Nelson, former supervisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security).

War on Drugs 40th Anniversary Press Conference and Lunch

Join The Wire's Sonja Sohn, the Reverend Al Sharpton (tentative) and elected officials at an unprecedented press conference to call attention to the failures of the drug war and to propose new solutions.

This week marks the 40th Anniversary of President Nixon declaring a war on drugs. A trillion dollars and millions of ruined lives later, the war on drugs has proven to be a catastrophic failure. It’s time for a new direction.

When: June 16, 2011
12:30pm Registration, Check-in, and Lunch
1:00pm Press Conference

Who: Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director, Drug Policy Alliance
Jared Polis, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado's 2nd district
Rev. Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network*
Peter Shumlin, Governor of Vermont
Sonja Sohn, actress from acclaimed HBO Series "The Wire"
Maxine Waters, Member of U.S. House of Representatives from California’s 35th district

Guests should arrive at the 6th Street entrance of the Newseum. There will be a table with a Drug Policy Alliance tablecloth just inside where someone will greet you and check you in. There is an elevator nearby that will take you to the 3rd Level, where the studio is located. Someone will be just outside the elevator to help direct you to the studio space. We are using the Knight Studio that is on the C Street side of the building, not the Pennsylvania Ave side.

*Tentatively confirmed either in person or live via videoconference.

Event Location:
The Newseum, Knight Studio A, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

Event City and State:
Washington, DC

Date and Time:
Thu, 06/16/2011 - 12:30pm

Event Website:
Drug Policy Alliance Press Conference

Date: 
Thu, 06/16/2011 - 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Location: 
555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Summer SSDP Camping Trip

 

Come join fellow activist-students from across the east coast as we enjoy a weekend of camping, friends and fun in a beautiful and friendly campground.
This year’s retreat will take place July 22 – 24, 2010.  We will be returning to Cedar Rapids Campground in Barryville, NY.  (They are excited to have us back for the third year in a row!)

Just 90 minutes from New York City and 4 hours from Boston and Washington, DC, Cedar Rapids is a beautiful, privately owned campground along the banks of the Delaware River in Lower New York State.

Amenities:
• Full-service bar and restaurant on site. (They sell cases of beer, or BYOB.)
• Campfires are allowed. (Wood sold on site, or bring your own.)
• Secluded riverside camping.
• Showers and real toilets available.
• Weekend fishing licenses available.

Cost:
Camping registration fee per person: $55/weekend -- or -- $25/single night 
* Special early bird rate for two nights is available for $35.00 until June 20, 2011 **
** UPDATE: Early bird deadline has been extended! Rate will increase from $35.00 to $55.00 after 
Monday, June 20th 

(Optional) Rafting:  $35/person in a raft or double kayak/canoe -- or -- $40/person in a single kayak/canoe
The raft price includes a spot on an 8-person boat with a cooler on-board. They drive us up the river and we slowly cruise back to the campsite on mild class II rapids.

Rafting fee may be paid on-site the day of the trip.  CASH ONLY.

You must RSVP with your camping fee paid in full by 5:00pm EST, Wednesday July 13th to reserve your spot.

Contact Victor Pinho or Stacia Cosner with any questions.

Event Location

Cedar Rapids Campground
Barryville, NY 12719

Directions

Cedar Rapids Kayak & Canoe Outfitters at Cedar Rapids Inn is located 18 miles north of Port Jervis, New York on Route 97N.

Map

Date: 
Fri, 07/22/2011 - 12:00pm - Sun, 07/24/2011 - 12:00pm
Location: 
Route 97 North
Barryville, NY 12719
United States

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

Date: 
Wed, 11/02/2011 - 6:00pm - Sat, 11/05/2011 - 5:15pm
Location: 
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/

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