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Riverside DA Takes Aim at Dispensaries With Sweeping Claim About California's Prop. 215

RIVERSIDE DA GROVER TRASK MAKES SWEEPING CLAIM THAT PROP 215 IS AGAINST FEDERAL LAW -- ADMITS STATE LAW PROTECTS PATIENTS AND COOPS, BUT NOT DISPENSARIES Riverside DA Grover Trask has joined with San DIego, San Bernardino and Mercced counties in opining that Prop 215 is unenforceable because marijuana is against federal law. His opinion may be found at http://www.canorml.org/temp/Trask_white_paper.pdf. Trask is off track in asserting that "no state has the power to grant its citizens the right to violate federal law." Prop. 215 does not pretend to override the federal law against medical marijuana; it simply provides that the state not enforce it. Legislation of this sort is entirely within the American constitutional tradition, dating back before the Civil War when states refused to enforce federal fugitive slave laws. On closer examination, it turns out that Trask's claims are less sweeping than to pretend that Prop. 215 is entirely non-enforceable. He admits that patients, caregivers and cooperatives are protected by Prop. 215, but makes the argument that storefront dispensaries are not. He notes, accurately, that the former are explicitly protected under state law by Prop. 215 and SB 420, while the latter are no:
"We believe that Gonzalez v Raich does affect California law. However, we also acknowledge that the California statues offer some legal protection to 'individuals within the legal scope of" the acts. The medical marijuana laws speak to patients, primary caregivers, and true collectives. These people are expressly mentioned in the statutes and, if their conduct comports to the law, may have some state legal protection for specified marijuana activity. Conversely, all medical marijuana establishments that fall outside the letter and spirit of the statutes are not legal: including dispensaries and store-front facilities. These establishments have no legal protection. The Attorney General's opinion does not present a contrary view."
Trask goes on to argue that dispensaries are a danger to the community, citing familiar police anecdotes about robberies, assaults, burglaries, murderers and other criminal incidents. He presents no evidence that these dangers are any higher for dispensaries than for other licensed businesses, nor does he discuss the positive experience of communities with successful dispensary licensing, such as Berkeley, West Hollywood or Oakland. Trask goes on to argue that the county risks federal liability for conspiracy if it permits licensed dispensaries: "With respect to issuing business licenses to medical marijuana store-front facilities a very real issue has arisen: counties and cities are arguably aiding and abetting criminal violations of federal law. Such actions clearly put the counties permitting these establishments in very precarious legal positions." The paper concludes:
"The Riverisde Co DA's Office believes that the cooperatives being considered are illegal and should not be permitted to exist within the County's borders. They are a clear violation of federal and state law, they invite more crime, and they compromise the health and welfare of the citizens of this County."
Trask's legal analysis is not off track with regards to the technical legality of dispensaries. If he wants to, the law gives him power to follow the example of San Diego and close them. But he is wrong to assert that dispensaries presents a criminal nuisance. Fundamentally, it is the failure of law enforcement to allow safe and lawful commerce in cannabis that creates the nuisance. Riverside residents should be asking why their DA wants patients to buy marijuana from criminals rather then legally licensed businesses. - D. Gieringer, Cal NORML Desert Sun article: Riverside County DA: Medical marijuana illegal, state law can't be enforced -- Opinion says no state has the power to allow citizens to violate federal law
Location: 
Riverside, CA
United States

Medical Marijuana: Rhode Island Program Begins to Kick In

Rhode Islanders are registering under the state's new medical marijuana program at a rate of just under one a day, according to health authorities. At least 131 patients have obtained state registration cards since the program got under way in April, and another 129 people have been certified as caregivers.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/rhondaodonnell.jpg
leading RI patient activist Rhonda O'Donnell, at DC protest
Rhode Island became the 11th state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in January. Under the Rhode Island law, patients with one of several chronic illnesses, including cancer and AIDS, must provide documentation from a doctor that the benefits of using marijuana for their condition outweigh the risks. The state Health Department then issues a registry card. Patients or their appointed caregivers may then possess up to 12 plants or 2.5 ounces of the weed.

Rhode Island law makes no provision for how patients are to obtain seeds or marijuana, and state health officials don't want to know, nor will they provide advice on where to get it. "I don't ask," said Charles Alexandre, chief of health professions regulation, the department that operates the program. "They frequently ask me where to get it. I have to do a bit of explaining," he told the Providence Journal.

According to Alexandre, 89 doctors have signed medical marijuana recommendations, alleviating fears that patients would end up going to a small number of "pot doctors."

Rhode Island is now joining the ranks of states where seriously ill patients may take their medicine in peace -- at least as long as the feds don't show up.

San Deigo Leading Backlash Against California Medical Marijuana Law

Location: 
San Diego, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/15536204.htm

ONDCP Publicly Debates Drug Reform Leaders for the First (and Probably Last) Time Ever

Last night I attended the D.C. premiere of Jed Riffe’s film Waiting to Inhale, which was followed by a debate that pitted Special Assistant to the Drug Czar David Murray against MPP’s Rob Kampia, and DPA’s Ethan Nadelmann (Former ONDCP staffer Andrea Barthwell didn’t show).

The film takes a compelling look at the history of medical cannabis and gives us a glimpse into the lives of several patients who depend on it. For those of us who’ve been following the issue, the plight of the patients depicted is all too familiar. I’d bet that many people who’ve formed snap judgments about medical marijuana would be stunned to see the faces behind this controversy.

Knowing that David Murray was in the room gave it an extra bite. Would he really stick around to defend these atrocities? He looked villainous in the film, and for all the nonsense to which we’ve become accustomed from him, I was somehow still surprised that his head didn’t explode halfway through.

But Murray is a professional, and with no choice but to fight, he faced two of his most articulate critics with as much grace as you might expect from a man who gets paid to excuse the inexcusable.

  • When Murray read the FDA’s absurd statement on MMJ, Kampia waved a pair of handcuffs and asked why patients were being arrested for taking their doctors advice.
  • When Murray claimed that these guys just want to legalize drugs, Nadelmann acknowledged that he advocates a variety of reforms but considers the persecution of sick people to be the drug war’s greatest injustice.
  • When Murray claimed that medical groups don’t support MMJ, Kampia enumerated the rambling list of medical groups that do in fact support MMJ.
  • When Murray claimed that DEA doesn’t target doctors, Nadelmann pointed out that DPA had to win a significant court battle to prevent exactly that.
  • When Kampia claimed that youth marijuana use in California has dropped significantly since the passage of Proposition 215, Murray claimed that it would take too long to explain why that was misleading.
  • When Murray claimed that medicines must be approved through the rigorous FDA approval process, Nadelmann noted that the Federal Government routinely blocks MMJ research.

And so it went, each point disputed on its face with no concessions made by either side. At times, it sounded like they weren't talking about the same drug. Or the same laws, the same patients, the same research, or for that matter the same country.

But I applaud David Murray for being there. He told lies in front of people who know the truth, and that takes guts. He said the film “felt like a cartoon” to him, demonstrating the detachment such a man must summon when confronted with the consequences of his deceit.

That this event even took place is testament to the relentless and growing pressure our movement has brought to bear against those who persecute the sick and dying. David Murray might be able to view Waiting to Inhale in the comfort of arrogant indifference, but the film could prove a bitter pill for less-entrenched adherents to the drug war doctrine.

This is no cartoon, Mr. Murray. It’s real, it’s the truth, and it will never go away.

Sidenote: Tom Angell and I spotted David Murray drinking a beer before the film. I guess even shameless drug warriors gotta take the edge off.

Location: 
United States

NEW NORML REPORT SUMMARIZES THE ROLE OF CANNABIS IN MODERATING DISEASE PROGRESSION - Review Of 120+ Recent Scientific Trials Reveals That In US, Politics Trumps Science

NEW NORML REPORT SUMMARIZES THE ROLE OF CANNABIS IN MODERATING DISEASE PROGRESSION - Review Of 120+ Recent Scientific Trials Reveals That In US, Politics Trumps Science September 13, 2006 - Washington, DC, USA Washington, DC: Recently published clinical and preclinical research on the therapeutic use of cannabis indicates that cannabinoids may curb the progression of various life-threatening diseases - in particular, autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease) - according to a comprehensive new report published today by the NORML Foundation. The NORML Foundation report summarizes over 120 recently published trials assessing the therapeutic utility of cannabinoids for the treatment of fifteen specific disease indications: Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, dystonia, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, gliomas, hepatitis C, hypertension, incontinence, osteoporosis, pruritis, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and Tourette's syndrome. "Despite continued political debates regarding the recreational use of cannabis, clinical investigations of the therapeutic use of cannabinoids are now more prevalent than at any time in history," states the report's author, NORML Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano. "In some of these cases, modern science is now affirming longtime anecdotal reports of medicinal cannabis users. In other cases, this research is highlighting entirely new potential clinical utilities for cannabinoids." Whereas initial clinical investigations into the therapeutic use of cannabis focused primarily on whether cannabinoids might provide symptomatic relief, investigators today are exploring the potential role of cannabinoids to inhibit the progression of several life-threatening diseases including cancer, Armentano says. "Arguably, this latter trend represents far broader and more significant applications for cannabinoid therapeutics than researchers could have imagined some thirty or even twenty years ago," he concludes. "Unfortunately, because of the US government¹s strong public policy stance against any use of marijuana, the bulk of this modern research is taking place outside the United States and continues to go unrecognized in North America. Nevertheless, the emerging body of clinical and preclinical work published over the past six years makes it clear that the US government's stance against the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids is based on politics, not science." Full text of the report, "Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 - 2006," is available online in HTML and PDF formats at: http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7002. For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Foundation Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500 or via e-mail at: [email protected].
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Cannabinoid Chronicles, Volume #4, Issue #1

Location: 
Victoria, BC
Canada
URL: 
http://www.thevics.com/publications/vol4/VICSNews4_1.pdf

Premiere of Award-Winning Medical Marijuana Documentary & Debate in D.C. Sept. 13

Pulitzer Prize Winner Clarence Page to Moderate Debate Between White House Officials, Leading Reform Advocates CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications, 202-215-4205 or 415-668-6403 Jed Riffe, producer/director, "Waiting to Inhale," 510-593-6945 WASHINGTON D.C. -- Following the Washington, D.C. premiere of the award-winning medical marijuana documentary "Waiting to Inhale," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page will moderate a landmark debate in which present and former officials of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will square off against the leaders of two organizations leading the fight for legal access to medical marijuana. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Address and ticket information is below. "Waiting to Inhale" examines both sides of the heated debate over medical marijuana in the United States. The film takes viewers inside the lives of seriously ill patients who have benefited from medical marijuana and examines the views of those who oppose the medical use of marijuana. The film has won numerous awards, including the Cine Golden Eagle Award, the Gold Special Jury Award from Worldfest Houston, and Best Documentary awards from the New Jersey International Film Festival and Eureka! International Film Festival. Following the film, Dr. David Murray, special assistant to ONDCP Director John Walters, and Dr. Andrea Barthwell, former ONDCP deputy director, will debate Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, and Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in the first debate of its kind in Washington. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and nationally syndicated columnist Clarence Page will moderate. Filmmaker Riffe will also be in attendance. WHAT: Screening of "Waiting to Inhale," followed by debate on medical marijuana WHO: Clarence Page, David Murray, Andrea Barthwell, Rob Kampia, Ethan Nadlemann WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 7:30-9:30 p.m. WHERE: E Street Theater, 555 11th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-452-7672 For complimentary press tickets, contact Nydia Swaby at [email protected] or 202-462-5747 x104; requests must be received before 6 p.m. Tuesday. To arrange advance interviews with participants, call MPP communications director Bruce Mirken at 202-215-4205 or Riffe at 510-593-6945. With more than 20,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.mpp.org.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

CWA Joins Fight to Legalize Cannabis (Australia)

Location: 
Australia
Publication/Source: 
The Age
URL: 
http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/CWA-joins-fight-to-legalise-cannabis/2006/09/11/1157826868003.html

Iowa Medical Marijuana Forum

Medical Marijuana Forum Saturday, September 23, 2006 1 PM to 4 PM Iowa State Historical Building 600 East Locust Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319 http://www.iowamedicalmarijuana.org
Date: 
Sat, 09/23/2006 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: 
600 East Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
United States

Event Launching the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access

Please Join Us What: Support Medical Rights: Event Launching the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access When: Thursday, September 21st, 7-9pm Where: Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street, Denver, CO 80202, (303) 294-9281, directions at http://www.mercurycafe.com/map.html Exciting Guest Speakers to Include: Rebecca Saltzman, Americans for Safe Access Brian Vicente, Executive Director, Sensible Colorado Raffles, music, entertainment, education, hear from patients and other experts. Admission free, RSVP to (720) 890-4247 or [email protected].
Date: 
Thu, 09/21/2006 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: 
2199 California Street
Denver, CO 80202
United States

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