Breaking News:CONGRESS: Pass S. 1055 for Philippines Human Rights Accountability

Marijuana -- Personal Use

RSS Feed for this category

Missoula OKs initiative relaxing enforcement of marijuana laws (Helena Independent Record, MT)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.helenair.com/articles/2006/11/09/montana/a06110906_02.txt

Voters take on pot, sick pay, minimum wage and healthcare (Los Angeles Times)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/cal/la-me-state8nov08,0,6561989.story?coll=la-center-politics-cal

Nevadans: Say no to pot, raise minimum wage, restrict smoking (Las Vegas Sun)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2006/nov/08/110810178.html

In N.Y. City, marijuana is delivered (The Buffalo News, NY)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20061107/1069560.asp

Last Minute Lies in Nevada and South Dakota

Opponents of MPP’s ballot initiatives have resorted to making stuff up out of thin air. Not that they were telling the truth before, but they’ve achieved a new level of dishonesty somehow.

In Nevada, the ironically-named Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable has produced a radio ad saying that the law will prevent workplace drug-testing. That’s a great idea for a law, but Question 7 doesn’t do anything like that.

Check out this lively debate between Neal Levine of the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana and Todd Raybuck of the Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable. When Levine points out that marijuana revenues currently support criminals, Todd Raybuck, a police officer, retorts that in his experience marijuana is usually exchanged casually between friends and family members, not dangerous criminals. Really, Todd? You’re making it sound like marijuana users are normal everyday people.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, MPP’s medical marijuana initiative is being attacked with stone-age rhetoric courtesy of Save Our Society From Drugs.

This prohibitionists' radio ad — which is airing around the state — lies to voters, claiming, "Smoked marijuana is not medicine. In fact, every major medical association has rejected this notion." This is blatantly false: The American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Academy of Sciences, and many others recognize marijuana's medical value.

I don’t know why they’re even bothering to lie about a medical marijuana initiative. The results are in on MMJ laws: they’re harmless. Beyond that, teenage use has gone down in every state that’s passed one. SOSFD should save their energy for when we come around trying to legalize crack, since they’re so sure that’s what we’ll be doing.

I’ve had friends tell me I’m crazy if I think marijuana will ever be legal in this country, but honestly I’m surprised that it hasn’t happened yet. I’m surprised that with so many problems here and abroad, we’re still finding resources to target healthy people who aren’t causing problems. I’m surprised that our opposition remains so confident that a massive permanent international war is by far the best option.

Clearly, the tiny fraction of human history during which drugs have been illegal has been remarkably tainted by unprecedented drug-related social problems, and it takes a great fool to call it a coincidence.

Tomorrow brings the possibility of unlikely but important victories, so with high-hopes and low-expectations I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Stay tuned.

Location: 
United States

Let's Not Forget Massachusetts

In our list of drug policy-related ballot issues last Friday, we neglected to mention Massachusetts. Voters in one district there will be voting on whether to instruct their representative to favor marijuana decriminalization, while voters in two other districts will be voting on whether to instruct their representatives to support medical marijuana. These local questions continue a process that began with the 2000 elections and have so far resulted in more than 420,000 Bay State residents voting to support marijuana law reform. Here is the info on the Massachusetts races: Plymouth, Massachusetts: In the 1st and 12th Plymouth Representative Districts, voters will be voting to tell their representatives to support decriminalization: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would make the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a fine of no more than $100.00 and not subject to any criminal penalties?” Middlesex and Norfolk, Massachusetts: Voters in the 7th Norfolk Representative District and the 3rd Middlesex Senate District will be voting on whether to tell their representatives to support medical marijuana: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”
Location: 
MA
United States

Sobriety check: Amend. 44 step toward clear-headed drug policy (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.gazette.com/display.php?id=1326088&secid=13

Drug Reform and Drug Reformers in the 2006 Elections -- The List

In a national political season dominated by the war in Iraq and concerns about the direction in which the country is headed, drug policy issues have largely been ignored this year. Drug policy issues are on the ballot in several states and localities and drug reformers are running for statewide office in a handful of states. Here are the campaigns and races we will be watching and reporting on next week.

NATIONAL

United States Congress: We are not singling out any races in this crucial, possible sea change, election year, and no single race has been distinguished for its drug policy implications. Should Democrats take control of one or both chambers of Congress, that could potentially have significant ramifications for the issue -- imagine Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) as head of the House Judiciary Committee instead of Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), for starters. Historically drug reformers have tended to find both major parties disappointing, however.

If you are interested in how your representative represents your views on drug policy issues, the Drug Policy Alliance has prepared a 2006 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide, as have Marc Emery and Cannabis Culture.

STATE INITIATIVES

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/ballot1.jpg
Election Day approaching
Arizona: Proposition 301 would roll back a decade-only sentencing reform law as it applies to methamphetamine offenders. Under the sentencing reform, first- or second-time drug possession offenders cannot be sentenced to jail or prison -- only to probation. This legislature-sponsored initiative would allow meth offenders -- and only meth offenders -- to be jailed on a first or second offense. It is opposed by Meth-Free Arizona -- No on 301, a citizens' and activist organization, as well as leading Arizona jurists.

Colorado: Amendment 44 would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults. Building on successful non-binding resolutions at several Colorado universities and last year's surprise Denver vote to legalize possession under city ordinance, initiative organizers SAFER Colorado have been hammering away at what has proven to be a particularly resonant theme: Marijuana is safer than alcohol. While the most recent polls show the initiative trailing, organizers say those polls under-sample youthful voters who are more likely to vote yes.

Nevada: Question 7 would replace marijuana prohibition with a system of regulated, taxed, and controlled marijuana sales and would allow for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults. Sponsored by the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana, an affiliate of the Marijuana Policy Project, the initiative, if successful, would result in Nevada being the first state to sanction marijuana sales. The effort builds on four years of work in Nevada by MPP and its affiliates. A similar initiative won 39% of the vote in 2002 and a 2004 signature drive failed to make the ballot, but this year the measure not only made the ballot but was polling above 40% in recent weeks and leading in the only poll that used the actual ballot language.

South Dakota: Initiated Measure 4 would allow for the use of medical marijuana by qualified patients with a doctor's recommendation. The measure allows qualified patients or caregivers to grow up to six plants and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. South Dakotans for Medical Marijuana, the group behind the campaign, has just unleashed its latest round of TV and radio commercials featuring two medical marijuana patients and a former police officer. There is no known polling on how the measure will fare in the socially conservative Upper Midwest state.

LOCAL INITIATIVES

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/ballot2.jpg
Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica, California: All three cities will vote on initiatives calling for adult marijuana offenses to be the lowest law enforcement priority. Part of the California Cities Campaign, an outgrowth of the successful Oakland Proposition Z lowest priority initiative in 2004, organizers hope victories this year will help lay the groundwork for a statewide effort to further reform California's marijuana laws. Initiative language is available at Sensible Santa Barbara (Measure P), Santa Cruz Citizens for Sensible Marijuana Policies (Measure K), and Santa Monicans for Sensible Marijuana Policy (Measure Y). According to state and local organizers, the most difficult fight will be in Santa Monica.

Missoula County, Montana: Initiative #2 would make adult marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority. Sponsored by Citizens for Responsible Crime Policy, the initiative is facing strong law enforcement opposition, but has the benefit of being held in what is arguably the most liberal county in the state.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas: Sponsored by University of Arkansas/Fayetteville NORML, the municipal ballot measure would make adult marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority. It took only 115 signatures to get a lowest priority initiative on the ballot in this small, countercultural town in Northwest Arkansas.

Plymouth, Massachusetts: In the 1st and 12th Plymouth Representative Districts, voters will be voting to tell their representatives to support decriminalization: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would make the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a fine of no more than $100.00 and not subject to any criminal penalties?”

Middlesex and Norfolk, Massachusetts: Voters in the 7th Norfolk Representative District and the 3rd Middlesex Senate District will be voting on whether to tell their representatives to support medical marijuana: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”

STATEWIDE ELECTIVE OFFICE

Alabama: Loretta Nall is running for governor on the Libertarian Party ticket. Denied a line on the ballot by Alabama's tight election laws, Nall is running a write-in campaign in hopes of gaining sufficient votes to win the party a spot on the ballot next time around. While Nall is calling for marijuana legalization and substantive sentencing reform, among other issues, her breasts have garnered the most press coverage. (See related story this issue.)

Connecticut: Long-time drug reform leader Cliff Thornton is running as the Green Party nominee for governor. While Thornton has been excluded from most polls and televised debates, the commanding lead held by incumbent Gov. Jodi Rell over her Democratic opponent may leave political space for a protest vote for Thornton.

Maryland: Long-time drug reform leader Kevin Zeese is running for US Senate as a unity candidate on a combined Green-Populist-Libertarian ticket. With a tighter-than-expected race between Democrat Ben Cardin and Republican Michael Steele, a strong Zeese showing could potentially throw the election to one candidate or the other. With some data suggesting he is drawing support from both candidates, however, and with Cardin so far polling ahead consistently if not comfortably, that is unclear.

New Jersey: The one-time Ed Forchion, who has legally changed his name to NJ Weedman, is on the ballot in the US Senate race. Long a media favorite in the Garden State for his pro-marijuana antics, NJ Weedman campaigns on a platform of legalization.

Texas: Musician, novelist, and humorist Kinky Friedman has called for the legalization of marijuana. He is currently polling in the teens in a four-way race where incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry is leading with about 35% of the vote.

(Disclaimer: DRCNet endorses the positive drug reform ballot measures being promoted by our colleagues around the country -- the only ballot measure mentioned here that we oppose is 301 in Arizona. However, Drug War Chronicle is restricted by virtue of DRCNet Foundation's nonprofit status from taking positions for or against any parties or candidates for elected office, and DRCNet's supporters in fact span a wide range of the political spectrum. This article is intended only to provide objective information to foster understanding of the impact of the electoral process on the issue, and to support the democratic principle of an informed electorate.)

What do They Know?

Tensions over Amendment 44 in Colorado have reached a fever pitch as self-appointed marijuana experts continue to emerge with absurb predictions.

From TheDenverChannel.com:

A rally at the state Capitol on Friday morning turned into a shouting match between the groups for and against a proposed amendment that would legalize small amounts of marijuana in Colorado.

Gov. Bill Owens and the state's top law enforcement officers planned a press event on the west steps of the Capitol to urge voters to turn down Amendment 44, which would legalize adult possession of one ounce of marijuana.

Supporters of pot legalization tried to shout them down.


If Governor Owens is gonna say stuff like this, I can’t say I blame them:

"In addition to human costs, legalizing marijuana is sure to have an economic impact on every Colorado citizen. These costs include increased costs for substance abuse treatment and other social programs as well as lost revenue due to decreased worker productivity.”


Once again, legalizing marijuana won’t increase treatment costs. It will reduce them dramatically. Most people in marijuana treatment are enrolled against their will following an arrest, which won’t happen anymore if Amendment 44 passes.

As for decreased worker productivity, show me some data and we’ll talk. If the government had the guts to actually study this, they’d find that marijuana users who haven’t been hung out to dry by the criminal justice system are just as productive and successful as non-users; probably far more so than heavy drinkers. The data would then be buried and brought up only by us.

Next they gave the microphone to Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener:

Wegener, who is the president of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, said, "We are also concerned that legalizing marijuana will cause a spike in impaired driving fatalities and injuries caused by more motorists driving impaired on marijuana. The reality also exists that it is more difficult for law enforcement to detect impairment caused by marijuana and other drugs as compared to alcohol."


Clearly something’s got to be done about these mischievous stoners who are too sober to fail a sobriety test.

This is getting ridiculous. Is it so crazy that we want to try something different? We’re asking to step back from a policy that’s done nothing but piss people off for 70 years and these guys start giving prophesies of a great plague. What do they know?

Location: 
United States

Colorado: Amendment 44 Campaign to Air Television Ad Pointing Out the Potential Harms to Women Posed by Our Alcohol-Only Culture

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release -- Oct. 30, 2006 Amendment 44 Campaign to Air Television Ad Pointing Out the Potential Harms to Women Posed by Our Alcohol-Only Culture Ad addresses staggering number of alcohol-related rapes and acts of domestic violence Contact: Mason Tvert, SAFER campaign director, (720) 255-4340 DENVER -- Starting tomorrow, on CNN, Fox News, and CNBC in the Denver Metro area, the Amendment 44 campaign will be airing a powerful commercial designed to point out the dangers associated with alcohol use and question why we prohibition adults from using the safer alternative, marijuana. The text of this commercial is included at the end of this release, and the commercial can be viewed at -- http://www.youtube.com/v/r7KkPFIEW9Q The domestic violence statistic comes from the U.S. Department of Justice* and the statistic related to college rapes comes from the Harvard School of Public Health. A summary of the Harvard study is available at -- http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/Documents/rapeintox-pressRelease/ [* Note: There was an error during production of the ad, which led to an understating in the ad of the portion of spousal abuse cases that are alcohol-related. Here is the actual data: Two-thirds of victims who suffered violence by an intimate (a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend) reported that alcohol had been a factor. Among spouse victims, 3 out of 4 incidents were reported to have involved an offender who had been drinking. Source: U.S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Statistics. National Crime Victimization Survey 2002.)] "The goal of this campaign is to educate the public about the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol," said SAFER Campaign Director Mason Tvert. "The statistics cited in this commercial are further evidence of this fact. Marijuana use does not increase the likelihood of violent behavior, yet we allow the use of alcohol by adults and punish adults who use marijuana. Giving adults the option of using marijuana instead of alcohol will truly make Colorado safer." ==================== Text of the new Amendment 44 television commercial: Why should adults be able to use marijuana instead of alcohol? Two-thirds of all spousal abuse cases are alcohol-related. And nearly three-quarters of all college rapes occur while a female is intoxicated by alcohol. Think about it... Do we want our daughters growing up in a society where the only legal substance for recreation is alcohol? Not if we love them. Help make Colorado safer. Vote YES on Amendment 44.
Location: 
United States

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School