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Job Opportunity: MPP New Hampshire Medical Marijuana Campaign

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a campaign manager to run Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (GSMM), MPP's year-long effort to influence the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana during the presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire. The position is based in New Hampshire, begins in early 2007 (no later than April) and will terminate after the January 2008 New Hampshire primary. Salary is $40,000 to $60,000, depending on experience. Benefits are negotiable.

The campaign manager must have excellent oral and written communication skills, an understanding of politics and public policy, and experience working with reporters and doing media interviews. In addition, the campaign manager must be highly organized, energetic, a hands-on manager, and able to work the long hours that a campaign requires.

Campaign experience -- particularly experience working for a candidate or on statewide field programs -- is strongly preferred.

The campaign manager is responsible for executing the campaign's field plan and directly overseeing all field operations, including:

  • Recruiting, organizing, and managing a volunteer workforce of perhaps several hundred people throughout the state;
  • Ensuring that the candidates are asked for their positions on medical marijuana at every available opportunity, with the goal of garnering public statements on the issue;
  • Coordinating a campaign presence at candidate forums in the state, including volunteers with signs outside and volunteers inside asking the candidates questions;
  • Directly lobbying campaign staffers and providing candidates with documentation on the medical benefits of marijuana;
  • Acting as spokesperson for media interviews, pitching stories to reporters, and generating positive news coverage;
  • Writing a weekly e-newsletter for campaign volunteers; and
  • Writing and issuing news releases every time a candidate issues or changes his or her position on medical marijuana.

While MPP's headquarters in Washington, DC will be able to provide a small amount of staff support for the campaign's activities, ultimately the campaign manager is responsible for executing all aspects of the campaign. The campaign manager will report to MPP's director of government relations in DC, who reports to MPP's executive director in DC. Visit http://www.mpp.org/jobs/process.html for information on applying for the campaign manager position.

Medical Use of Marijuana Divides Italy

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Inter Press Service News Agency (Italy)
URL: 
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35769

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) Job Opening: GSMM Campaign Manager

Start Date and Duration: The position begins in early 2007 (no later than April) and will terminate after the January 2008 primary in New Hampshire. Location: This position is based in New Hampshire. Salary: $40,000 to $60,000, depending on experience. Benefits are negotiable. The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a campaign manager to run Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (GSMM), MPP's year-long effort to influence the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana during the presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire. The campaign manager must have excellent oral and written communication skills, an understanding of politics and public policy, and experience working with reporters and doing media interviews. In addition, the campaign manager must be highly organized, energetic, a hands-on manager, and able to work the long hours that a campaign requires. Campaign experience -- particularly experience working for a candidate or on statewide field programs -- is strongly preferred. The campaign manager is responsible for executing the campaign's field plan and directly overseeing all field operations, including: * Recruiting, organizing, and managing a volunteer workforce of perhaps several hundred people throughout the state; * Ensuring that the candidates are asked for their positions on medical marijuana at every available opportunity, with the goal of garnering public statements on the issue; * Coordinating a campaign presence at candidate forums in the state, including volunteers with signs outside and volunteers inside asking the candidates questions; * Directly lobbying campaign staffers and providing candidates with documentation on the medical benefits of marijuana; * Acting as spokesperson for media interviews, pitching stories to reporters, and generating positive news coverage; * Writing a weekly e-newsletter for campaign volunteers; and * Writing and issuing news releases every time a candidate issues or changes his or her position on medical marijuana. While MPP's headquarters in Washington, D.C. will be able to provide a small amount of staff support for the campaign's activities, ultimately the campaign manager is responsible for executing all aspects of the campaign. The campaign manager will report to MPP's director of government relations in D.C., who reports to MPP's executive director in D.C. Please see http://www.mpp.org/jobs/process.html to apply for the campaign manager position.
Location: 
United States

Drug Reform and the Democratic Congress: What's Going to Happen?

To hear the buzz in drug reform circles, Christmas came early this year. To be precise, it arrived on Election Day, when the Democrats took back control of the Congress. There is a whole long list of drug reform-related issues that the Democratically-controlled Congress can address, and hopes are high that after a dozen years of Republican rule on Capitol Hill, progress will come on at least some of them. But will the Democratic Congress really turn out to be Santa Claus, bestowing gifts on a movement long out in the cold, or will it turn out more like the Grinch, offering up tantalizing glimpses of the goodies only to snatch them away?

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/capitolsenateside.jpg
US Capitol, Senate side
Drug War Chronicle is trying to find out what's likely to happen, so we talked to a number of drug reform organizations, especially those with a strong federal lobbying presence and agenda, as well as with the offices of some of the representatives who will be playing key roles on Capitol Hill in the next Congress.

The list of drug war issues where Congress could act next year is indeed lengthy:

  • Sentencing reform -- whether addressing the crack-powder cocaine disparity or mandatory minimums or both, and other reforms;
  • Medical marijuana, either through the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment barring federal funds to raid patients and providers in states where it is legal or Barney Frank's states' rights to medical marijuana bill;
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office) is up for reauthorization;
  • The Higher Education Act (HEA) and its drug provision are up for reauthorization;
  • Removing drug offender restrictions from food stamp, public housing, and other social services;
  • The Washington, DC, appropriations bill, where Congress has barred the District from enacting needle exchange programs and a voter-approved medical marijuana law;
  • Plan Colombia;
  • The war in Afghanistan and US anti-opium policy;
  • The pain crisis and the war on pain doctors;
  • Prisoner reentry legislation, particularly the Second Chance Act;
  • Police raids.

While there is optimism in drug reform circles, it is tempered by a healthy dose of realism. The Congress is a place where it is notoriously difficult to make (or unmake) a law, and while some of the new Democratic leadership has been sympathetic on certain issues, drug reform is not exactly a high-profile issue. Whether congressional Democratic decision-makers will decide to use their political resources advancing an agenda that could be attacked as "soft on drugs" or "soft on crime" remains to be seen. But according to one of the movement's most astute Hill-watchers, some "low-hanging fruit" might be within reach next year.

"Some of the easiest things to achieve in the new Congress will be the HEA ban on aid to students with drug violations, because the Democrats will have to deal with HEA reauthorization, and the ban on access to the TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) to public housing, because they will have to deal with welfare reform," said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. "There is also a chance of repealing provisions in the DC appropriations bill that bar needle exchanges and medical marijuana. These are the low-hanging fruit."

For Piper, there is also a chance to see movement on a second tier of issues, including medical marijuana, sentencing reform and Latin America policy. "Can we get the votes to pass Hinchey-Rohrabacher in the House and get it to the Senate?" he asked. "There is also a good chance of completely changing how we deal with Latin America. We could see a shift in funding from military to civil society-type programs and from eradication to crop substitution," he said. "Also, there is a good chance on sentencing reform. Can the Democrats strike a deal with Sen. Sessions (R-AL) and other Republicans on the crack-powder disparity, or will they try to play politics and paint the Democrats as soft on crime? Would Bush veto it if it passed?"

Clearly, at this point, there are more questions than answers, and time will tell. But the political ground has shifted, Piper noted. "We are no longer playing defense," he argued. "Now we don't have to deal with folks like Souder and Sensenbrenner and all their stupid bills. This puts us in a really good position. For the first time in 12 years, we get to go on offense. And unlike a dozen years ago, the Democrats who will control the key committees are really, really good. This is probably the first time since the 1980s that drug policy reform has been in a position to go on the offensive."

Representatives sympathetic to drug law reform will fill key positions in the next Congress, led by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who will be the incoming chair of the crucial House Judiciary Committee. Replacing HEA drug provision author and leading congressional drug warrior Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) as chair of the important Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources will be either Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) or Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) -- the assignment isn't yet set -- while Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) will chair the Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, the key subcommittee when it comes to sentencing reform.

While it is too early to get firm commitments from committee heads on hearings next year, a spokesman for Rep. Conyers told Drug War Chronicle sentencing reform is definitely on the table. "Congressman Conyers is certainly interested in these issues, he's been quite outspoken on this, and it is something he will address, but we haven't come out with our agenda and we don't have a timeline yet," said House Judiciary Committee press officer Jonathan Godfrey. "But this will definitely be an issue for the committee," he added.

Conyers and the new Democratic Congress may not yet have established their agendas, but the drug reform movement certainly has, and sentencing reform, whether through addressing the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity or through a broader assault on the federal mandatory minimum sentencing scheme, is front and center. Perhaps not surprisingly, many leading reformers said addressing the crack-powder disparity was not enough.

"There's been a lot of discussion about eliminating the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, or even removing the definition of crack from the guidelines entirely," said DRCNet executive director Dave Borden. "We of course support that, but we also hope the issue of mandatory minimums themselves, and the sentencing guidelines, are also taken up. Those are far bigger problems, affecting far more people than that one controversial but small piece of them. It may be that only small changes are possible at this time, even with our best Congressional friends in important positions. Nevertheless, the opportunity should be taken to raise the larger sentencing issues, to organize around them, build support, attract cosponsors for mandatory minimum repeal bills, all the things that go with any legislative campaign -- what better time than now?"

"While we of course favor reforming the crack-powder cocaine disparity, we need to stop thinking small," said Julie Stewart, executive director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums. "We need to be looking at sentencing reform as a whole. We will be asking for legislation to address the crack-powder disparity, but we will also be asking for hearings on the repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing," she said. "Whether we can get that is another question, but it's time to ask for the sky."

Stewart's sentiments were echoed and amplified by Nora Callahan, executive director of The November Coalition, a drug reform group that concentrates on winning freedom for federal drug war prisoners. "What we need is an omnibus crime bill," Callahan said. "Otherwise we'll be picking this thing apart for the next five decades. An omnibus bill would open the door to broad hearings where we could address the myriad negative effects of the drug war, from imprisoning huge numbers of people to depriving students of loans and poor people of housing and other federal benefits, and from police corruption to police violence. If we try to deal with all these problems one by one, the prison population will have doubled again by the time we get it done."

Of course, sentencing reform isn't the only drug policy issue activists will be pushing next year. Medical marijuana remains on the agenda, with the biggest push likely to be around the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would bar the use of federal funds to raid patients and providers in states where it is legal. "We will be looking for meaningful protections for medical marijuana patients," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project. "We will judge progress by the extent to which patients can use the medicine that works best for them without fear of federal arrest or prosecution. We need meaningful reforms, not ones that sound meaningful but are not, like rescheduling," he added.

"Our legislative priorities in the past have been Hinchey-Rohrabacher, the states' rights to medical marijuana bill, and the Truth in Trials Act, which would allow for an affirmative defense in federal court," said Houston. "Of these, we expect that we should be able to pass Hinchey. Last year, we had 167 votes, and we picked up 19 new members in November who we think are supportive. And when Speaker-elect Pelosi assumes the gavel in January, it will be the first time we have a strong medical marijuana supporter at the helm of the House of Representatives."

Those numbers are encouraging, but not quite enough to win yet. It takes 218 votes to win a majority in the House if everyone votes.

And as DPA's Piper noted above, the HEA reauthorization bill next year should be a good opportunity to finally kill Souder's drug provision once and for all. "We have a tremendous opportunity here with the Democrats taking control and deciding which legislation moves forward," said Tom Angell, communications director for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). "Rep. George Miller (D-CA) will chair the House Education Work Force Committee, and he's a cosponsor of the RISE Act. Also, one of our biggest supporters, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), is in line to chair the subcommittee that handles higher education, which is where the RISE Act sits right now."

But Andrews may not end up with the chairmanship, Angell warned. "He's a supporter of for-profit colleges, and the Democratic leadership doesn't like that, so he might not get it," he said.

"We'd like to see the HEA drug provision repealed, and we think it's possible in the new Congress," said DRCNet's Borden. "There just isn't a lot of passion from very many members of Congress for keeping the provision, even among those who have voted to do so. We'd like to see legislation to repeal similar provisions in welfare and public housing law -- we have a coalition of over 250 organizations that have signed on to repealing the HEA drug provision, and activating that network and building it to take on more issues is definitely on our agenda."

The RISE (Removing Impediments to Students' Education) Act would repeal the Higher Education Act's (HEA) drug provision, SSDP's key congressional goal. While Angell was optimistic about prospects in the next Congress, he was also looking for early indicators. "The introduction of the bill, the number of cosponsors, and the top names behind it will be a good indication of how likely we are to repeal the penalty," he said. "I'm looking for that to happen early in the session. We had 84 lobbying meetings on Capitol Hill during our annual conference last month, and we will be following up on those and working closely with the staff of the education committee."

But repealing the HEA drug provision isn't SSDP's only goal on Capitol Hill, said Angell. "We are hoping to be working with DPA and MPP to reduce or eliminate funding for the ONDCP media campaign and we will be working to reduce or eliminate funding for student drug testing grants," he explained. "Besides HEA, those are our big issues."

One issue that has emerged as a hot topic in recent weeks is the issue of police violence. With the killing of Atlanta senior citizen Kathryn Johnson in a "no-knock" drug raid and the killing of New York City resident Sean Bell a few days later in a volley of more than 50 shots fired by NYPD officers, policing in America is under the spotlight. Civil rights activist and former presidential candidate the Rev. Al Sharpton called this week for congressional hearings on the issue. Sharpton said he had already been in contact with Rep. Conyers about the possibility.

That's something DRCNet's Borden would like to see, too. "We'd like to see action taken to rein in these paramilitary police forces and not have SWAT teams breaking down people's doors in the middle of the night when there is not an emergency situation. I think there should be hearings in Congress, as well as state legislatures, with victims of bad drug raids playing a prominent role, as well as police experts, civil rights experts, and the like. We are considering launching a petition calling for all of this," he said.

And then there is the US drug war abroad. With Plan Colombia about to enter its seventh year, and the flow of cocaine unabated despite massive aerial spraying of herbicides, congressional Democrats will seek to cut back or redirect US spending to emphasize development instead of drug war. And although Congress has not yet come to grips with the serious contradictions inherent in waging war on poppies at the same time it seeks to wage a war on terror in Afghanistan, facts on the ground suggest it will be unable to continue to ignore them.

This should be a year of change in our drug policy abroad, said DRCNet's Borden. "We'd like to see the coca and opium eradication programs stopped. They are useless; all they do is move the cultivation from place to place," he noted. "In Afghanistan, it's driving people into the arms of the Taliban for protection, and that's disastrous for our national interests and potentially for global security. There are credible plans put forward, by the UN and other international bodies, and by experts in the nonprofit sector, that don't rely on eradication; let's look at those."

Borden also urged Congress to act to address the crisis in pain care in the context of the administration's war on prescription drug abuse and prosecutions of pain doctors. "Last but not least, something must be done about the pain doctor prosecutions," he said. "I believe the law in this area has been fundamentally warped. Conyers has supported important work being done in this area. Now he's in a position to kick it up a notch."

Drug reformers have a mighty busy agenda for Congress in the next two years. Congressional Democrats have said they are interested in reforms; now that they will be in power, we will see if they are as good as their word and we will have the chance to prod them to act.

Judge Rejects Counties' Medical Marijuana Suit

Location: 
San Diego, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-sbriefs7.1dec07,1,729245.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california&ctrack=1&cset=true

Medical Marijuana: County Lawsuit Challenging California Law Thrown Out

San Diego Superior Court Judge William Nevitt, Jr. on Wednesday threw out a challenge to California's medical marijuana law, saying there was "no positive conflict" between state and federal law. The ruling came against a lawsuit filed by San Diego County in February and later joined by San Bernardino and Merced counties. County officials in all three jurisdictions were hostile to Proposition 215 (the Compassionate Use Act) and SB 420, which set up a state Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) with a system of county-administered ID cards.

The medical marijuana defense group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, and the Drug Policy Alliance jointly intervened to block the lawsuit. It was a September 1 motion argued by ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford that resulted in the favorable ruling.

In his ruling, Judge Nevitt concluded that "neither the Compassionate Use Act nor the MMP is preempted by the Supremacy Clause, by the CSA (Controlled Substances Act), or by the Single Convention." Nevitt also found that, contrary to the arguments by the recalcitrant counties, the voluntary ID card program "does not interfere" with the stated purpose of the Compassionate Use Act, which is to "ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes."

ASA executive director Steph Sherer declared the decision a victory for California's medical marijuana patients. "For the tens of thousands of seriously ill Californians who depend on medical marijuana, this victory could not be more significant," she said. "San Diego Supervisors sought clarification from the courts and now, with this ruling, we encourage San Diego and counties across California to move forward with implementing state law."

Americans for Safe Access (ASA): Summary of Medical Marijuana Media

ASA's Summary of Medical Marijuana Media MICHIGAN: Legislature Considers Bill; Initiative Likely WASHINGTON: Out-of-State Recommendation Disqualified CALIFORNIA: Court Clarifies Medical Cannabis Law CALIFORNIA: Community Champion Remembered CALIFORNIA: ID Cards Moving Forward CALIFORNIA: Local Dispensary Ordinances Considered FEDERAL: DEA Faces Suit by Cannabis Specialist ____________________________________________ MICHIGAN: Legislature Considers Bill; Initiative Likely State lawmakers failed to act on a pending bill, despite the compelling testimony of patients and the voter initiatives passed by several Michigan cities over the past several years. Federal officials continue to insist that states maintain criminal penalties for patients. Voters may soon get to have their say. Hearing set on medical pot use by Art Aisner, Ann Arbor News (MI) Proponents of medical marijuana in Michigan are gearing up for their cause's most significant initiative in the state in decades. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3899 Marijuana bill snuffed out by Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal Irvin Rosenfeld is a willing poster child for medical marijuana. The Florida stockbroker suffers from a rare and painful disease called multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis. He has received medical marijuana from the U.S. government since 1982, although the program was closed to new patients 10 years later. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3888 Medical marijuana bill dies by Charlie Cain , Detroit News A bill to allow people with "debilitating medical conditions" to legally use marijuana to ease their symptoms died in the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday, and backers say the issue will likely be left up to voters to decide. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3897 Lawmakers hear debate over medical marijuana by Tim Martin, Associated Press, Kalamazoo Gazette (MI) A proposal to allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons in Michigan received a rare legislative hearing Tuesday. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3887 Michigan tackles medical, recreational marijuana by Associated Press, WOOD TV8 (MI) Charles Snyder III says his rare disorder, nail patella syndrome, sometimes leaves him in so much pain he'd nearly be bedridden without pain medication -- such as marijuana. Snyder supports a bill discussed Tuesday in the state House that would make it legal for patients with "debilitating medical conditions" who grow or use marijuana for treatment purposes. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3886 Federal official urges state to keep pot use illegal by Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press A top federal anti-drug official, testifying about legislation to approve the use of marijuana in Michigan for medical purposes, told lawmakers Tuesday the move would be bad both for patients and society. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3898 ____________________________________________ WASHINGTON: Out-of-State Recommendation Disqualified Conflicts between the intent of the law and officials’ interpretations can crop up as state’s implement medical cannabis laws. Washington’s law is clearly intended to protect patients, yet a woman’s recommendation was invalidated by the state Supreme Court because her doctor was from California. As an editorial notes, “Where the cops and courts failed, lawmakers can succeed, by rewriting the law to recognize medical marijuana prescriptions from any licensed physician.” Medical Marijuana: Dopey decision EDITORIAL, Seattle Post-Intelligencer The Washington Supreme Court, for hardly the first time in judicial history, has rendered a ruling that is at the same time legally correct and morally wrong. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3894 Woman may be jailed for medical pot use by Rachel La Corte, Associated Press Her California medical marijuana card will not protect a Hayward woman from going to jail for a marijuana charge in Washington state, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3900 ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Court Clarifies Medical Cannabis Law The state Supreme Court has ruled that legislative action to clarify the voter initiative that made medical cannabis legal ten years ago were intended to aid implementation of the law. Specifically, the court found that patients may transport cannabis as needed. Man's Conviction Upheld In Medical Marijuana Case by CBS News, KCAL CBS-2 An Orange County man's felony conviction for transporting marijuana was upheld Monday by the California Supreme Court despite its ruling that later law allowing a medical marijuana defense for transportation applies retroactively. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3892 ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Community Champion Remembered The life of a prominent doctor who served as medical director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative was remembered this week. Mike Alcalay contributed tireless of his time and energy to patients throughout the Bay Area; we will miss him greatly. Mike Alcalay (1941-2006) Remembered on World AIDS Day by Judith Scherr, Berkeley Daily Planet Countless lives have been touched by Dr. Mike Alcalay who died Nov. 18 in Oakland from a rare and aggressive leukemia, after surviving AIDS for more than 20 years. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3895 ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: ID Cards Moving Forward ASA’s legal arguments have helped persuade a Superior Court judge that counties must implement the state’s ID card system. That has helped prompt county officials to move forward. Board to discuss medical marijuana ID card after tentative ruling supports Prop by Shayla Ashmore, Lassen News (CA) The medical marijuana identification card program will be back before the Lassen County Board of Supervisors sometime after Jan. 1 due to a San Diego County Superior Court ruling that counties must follow the state’s medical-marijuana laws regardless of federal drug statutes. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3890 BOS to consider ID cards for medical marijuana patients by Tiffany Revelle, Record-Bee (CA) Those using marijuana for medicinal purposes in Lake County may soon join almost 3,000 of their counterparts statewide who have access to county-issued identification cards to protect their legal rights under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and the more recent Senate Bill 420. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3889 ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Local Dispensary Ordinances Considered ASA has compiled information from officials around the state with experience in regulating dispensaries that shows ordinances are working well. Tulare Co. wants more data on marijuana dispensaries by Sarah Jimenez, Fresno Bee Tulare County planning commissioners said Wednesday they needed more expert information and a review of similar ordinances in Visalia and Tulare before they would consider an ordinance regulating where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3896 Coachella council to vote on dispensary moratorium by K. Kaufmann, Desert Sun (CA) The Coachella City Council is expected to vote at its meeting tonight on an emergency moratorium on the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3884 Tracy orders marijuana club closed by Mike Martinez, Tri-Valley Herald (CA) It wasn't exactly what Tracy City Manager Dan Hobbs had in mind for his "greening of Tracy" plan. The medical marijuana dispensary, which opened under the nose of city late last month on the outskirts of downtown Tracy, has been ordered to close. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3883 ____________________________________________ FEDERAL: DEA Faces Suit by Cannabis Specialist A leading physician who specializes in cannabis therapies has filed suit against the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, alleging that they have been targeting him because of the nature of his practice. Redding doctor sues DEA by Tim Hearden, Record Searchlight (CA) A Redding doctor who specializes in medical marijuana is suing the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies for sending informants and undercover agents to his office posing as patients. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3882 ______________________________________________ For more news summaries or information about Americans for Safe Access, see our website at http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org.
Location: 
United States

ASA STATE CONFERENCE 2007: Implementation = Victory: Preparing for the Next Ten Years

Americans for Safe Access is pleased to announce the 2nd State Conference will take place January 13th and 14th at the Pickwick Gardens Conference Center, 1001 Riverside Drive in Burbank, California. As the momentum grows around medical cannabis law implementation throughout the state, open communication amongst the players, both regionally and statewide, has become crucial. For this reason, ASA staff will bring its key assets to the table in a series of workshops and seminars designed to give activists the skills they need to achieve effective statewide campaigns while providing a vehicle for local campaigns to flourish. This is a participatory, not panel based, conference. Every aspect of the agenda is intended to make the most of the skills and resources you already have, while providing you the direct, one-on-one support of some of the brightest minds in medical marijuana advocacy from ASA chapters, allies and friends. You will have opportunities to interact directly with presenters who are forming the state and national strategy for medical marijuana, network with other activists like yourself from around the state, and work on local strategies with activists from your region using the ASA toolbox. ASA State Campaign Staff will be presenting the California Campaign for Safe Access Strategy, covering issues from regulations and protecting safe access, implementation of the ID card program, sales tax and the Board of Equalization, and regional participation in the implementation of SB420, Proposition 215 and precedent setting case law. Action PhotoDetails will be available soon, including conference agenda, keynote speakers, possible group bus travel, discounted lodging, and more! For more information, please contact Alex at [email protected] or (510) 251-1856 x 321. Please be part of the solution. Register now for the ASA Conference and use this space to expedite full implementation of our state medical marijuana laws in every city and county in California. For more info and to register, visit http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3784
Date: 
Sat, 01/13/2007 - 9:00am - Sun, 01/14/2007 - 7:00pm
Location: 
1001 Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA
United States

What Will a Democratic Congress Mean for Drug Reform?

One of the articles I'm working on this week will be called "Drug Reform and the Democratic Congress: What's Really Going to Happen?" I've already talked to a number of inside the beltway drug reform types--the folks who actually work the halls of Congress--and I've got feelers out to more, as well as to the offices of several of the congressional Democrats who will be chairing key committees. There are quite a few drug policy-related issues that could come before the Congress next year. You can find my initial list of them a couple of paragraphs below. Here's how the article is likely to begin: To hear the buzz in drug reform circles, Christmas came early this year. To be precise, it arrived on election day, when the Democrats took back control of the Congress after 12 long years out in the cold. There is a whole long list of drug reform-related issues that the Democratically-controlled Congress can address, and hopes are high that after a dozen years of Republican rule on Capitol Hill, progress will come on at least some of them. But will the Democratic Congress really turn out to be Santa Claus, bestowing gifts on a movement long out in the cold, or will it turn out more like the Grinch, offering up goodies only to snatch them away? The Drug War Chronicle is trying to find out what's likely to happen, so we talked to a number of drug reform organizations, especially those with a strong federal lobbying presence and agenda, as well as with the offices of some of the representatives who will be playing key roles on Capitol Hill in the next Congress. The list of drug war issues where Congress could act next year is indeed lengthy: • Sentencing reform, whether addressing the crack-powder cocaine disparity or mandatory minimums or both; • Medical marijuana, either through the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment barring federal funds to raid patients and providers in states where it is legal or Barney Frank's states' rights to medical marijuana bill; • The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP—the drug czar's office) is up for reauthorization; • The Higher Education Act (HEA) and its drug provision is up for reauthorization; • Removing drug offender restrictions from food stamp, public housing, and other social services; • The Washington, DC, appropriations bill, where Congress has barred the District from enacting needle exchange programs or a voter-approved medical marijuana law. • Plan Colombia; • The war in Afghanistan and US anti-opium policy; • The pain crisis and the war on pain doctors; • Police raids. While there is optimism in drug reform circles, it is tempered by a healthy dose of realism. The Congress is a place where it is notoriously difficult to make (or unmake) a law, and while some of the new Democratic leadership has made sympathetic noises on certain issues, drug reform is not exactly a high-profile issue. Whether congressional Democratic decision-makers will decide to use their political resources advancing an agenda that could be attacked as "soft on drugs" or "soft on crime" remains to be seen. But according to one of the movement's most astute Hill-watchers, some "low-hanging fruit" might be within reach next year. "Some of the easiest things to achieve in the new Congress will be the HEA ban on aid to students with drug violations, because the Democrats will have to deal with HEA reauthorization, and the ban on access to the TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) to public housing, because they will have to deal with welfare reform," said Bill Piper, director of government relations *** for the Drug Policy Alliance. "There is also a chance of repealing provisions in the DC appropriations bill that bar needle exchanges and medical marijuana. These are the low-hanging fruit." For Piper, there is also a chance to see movement on a second tier of issues, including medical marijuana, sentencing reform and Latin America policy. "Can we get the votes to pass Hinchey-Rohrabacher in the House and get it to the Senate?" he asked. "There is also a good chance of completely changing how we deal with Latin America. We could see a shift in funding from military to civil society-type programs and from eradication to crop substitution," he said. "Also, there is a good chance on sentencing reform. Can the Democrats strike a deal with Sen. Sessions (R-AL) and other Republicans on the crack-powder disparity, or will they try to play politics and paint the Democrats as soft on crime? Would Bush veto it if it passed?" Clearly, at this point, there are more questions than answers, and time will tell. But the political ground has shifted, Piper noted. "We are no longer playing defense," he argued. "Now we don't have to deal with folks like Souder and Sensenbrenner and all their stupid bills. This puts us in a really good position. For the first time in 12 years, we get to go on offense. And unlike a dozen years ago, the Democrats who will control the key committees are really, really good. This is probably the first time since the 1980s that drug policy reform has been in a position to go on the offensive." There will be much more on Friday...
Location: 
United States

Tracy orders marijuana club closed

Location: 
Tracy, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Inside Bay Area (CA)
URL: 
http://www.insidebayarea.com/dailyreview/localnews/ci_4753809

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