Medical Marijuana

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ASA's Summary of Medical Marijuana Media

ASA's Summary of Medical Marijuana Media ASA ACTION: State Medical Cannabis Laws Upheld FEDERAL: Patient on Trial for Group Grow CALIFORNIA: ID Cards Issuing in SLO CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Regulations Being Hashed Out WASHINGTON: Implementation Problems NEVADA: Plea Deal Yields Probation for Patient-Advocate ______________________________________________ ASA ACTION: State Medical Cannabis Laws Upheld Patients and voters around the country can breathe easier now that a California Superior Court judge has indicated that he will reject the bid by three counties to overturn the state’s Compassionate Use Act. County officials had claimed that the federal marijuana prohibition preempted California’s medical exemption. ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford successfully argued on behalf of patients, doctors and caregivers that states are free to remove criminal penalties for medical use. Judge rejects San Diego challenge to medical marijuana law by Allison Hoffman, Associated Press A state judge on Thursday rejected San Diego County's challenge of California's decade-old law permitting marijuana use for medical purposes. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3849 Judge hears San Diego County challenge to medical marijuana law by Allison Hoffman, Associated Press Attorneys for San Diego County argued Thursday before a state court judge that the blanket federal ban on marijuana use precludes states from passing statutes exempting people who use the drug for medical purposes. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3863 Judge turns down county challenge to medical pot by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune A Superior Court judge yesterday rejected a claim by San Diego County that California's medical-marijuana laws directly conflict with federal drug statutes. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3861 Judge rejects county pot suit by Gig Conaughton, North County Times A Superior Court judge issued a tentative ruling Thursday rejecting San Diego County's challenge to overturn California's 10-year old, voter-approved "Compassionate Use Act" -- the law that says seriously ill people can use marijuana legally to ease their pain and suffering. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3852 Judge Issues Ruling Upholding Medical Marijuana Law by James Riffle, City Wire News (San Diego) A San Diego judge Thursday issued a tentative ruling upholding California's medical marijuana law, finding against San Diego and two other counties that challenged voter-passed Proposition 215. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3862 Tentative ruling nixes challenge to medical marijuana by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle A judge in San Diego indicated Thursday that he would reject three counties' challenge to California's medical marijuana law, saying the state could enforce a law allowing people to use the drug even if the federal government bans it. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3860 Medical pot law may be upheld soon by a Times Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times A San Diego County Superior Court judge appears poised to uphold the state's medical marijuana law, issuing a preliminary ruling Thursday that rejects a bid by three counties attempting to skirt the decade-old act. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3851 ____________________________________________ FEDERAL: Patient on Trial for Group Grow The first federal medical marijuana trial since the conviction of Ed Rosenthal in 2003 is underway in Fresno. Dustin Costa, a 60-year-old Marine veteran, had maintained a greenhouse for a group of local patients. Local prosecutors spent 18 months pursuing him, but when it became clear that state law protected Costa, they dropped state charges and turned him over to federal prosecutors. He is barred from presenting any medical evidence. Trial Begins for Pot Activist by John Ellis, Fresno Bee Testimony began Wednesday in Dustin Costa's trial, with prosecutors portraying the Merced marijuana activist as a drug dealer who violated federal law. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3850 ______________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: ID Cards Issuing in SLO More than two dozen counties have started the process of issuing the medical cannabis ID cards that the state mandated in 2003. The cards, which are voluntary for patients and caregivers, help law enforcement identify those qualified under the law, but lack of state funding for the program has made the roll out slow. Marijuana ID cards to cost $78 by April Charlton, Santa Maria Times San Luis Obispo County's qualified medical marijuana patients and caregivers will pay $78 for a medical marijuana identification card if they choose to sign up for the state-mandated program. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3856 ______________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Regulations Being Hashed Out Since a state appellate court ruled that dispensaries may legally operate, many communities have been faced with decisions about zoning and business permits. ASA’s study of how regulations are working around the state found that cities with ordinances report things are going smoothly, with benefits for both patients and the larger community. Cities take sides on medical marijuana by Lori Consalvo, Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA) If it were up to Darrell Kruse, anyone who wanted to consume or cultivate marijuana should be able to - for medical reasons, of course. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3855 Gardena joins bans on medical marijuana outlets by Gene Maddaus , Daily Breeze (CA) Weeks after ordering two medical marijuana dispensaries to close, the Gardena City Council imposed a moratorium on such facilities Tuesday night. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3857 Medical marijuana battle rages in Susanville by Sam Williams, Lassen County Times Local medical marijuana grower Timothy Ziegler, 47, insists he’s doing nothing wrong by asserting his right to grow and distribute medical marijuana — despite firm resistance from Lassen County’s law enforcement and government communities. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3853 Pot club is driven to keep its doors open by Angela Woodall, ANG Newspapers As it turns out, just saying no isn't so easy when it comes to medical marijuana. It's a lesson Newark officials are learning in their attempt to oust a medical marijuana dispensary on Central Avenue, exposing in the process the gap between state and federal law that some cities are struggling to navigate. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3854 ______________________________________________ WASHINGTON: Implementation Problems Many states with medical cannabis laws protect patients from the criminal penalties associated with possession but make no provision for how they should obtain it in the first place. Washington is one such state, and patients and caregivers there are navigating a precarious legal predicament. Medical marijuana law leave patients, police in a fog by Claudia Rowe, Seattle Post-Intelligencer In her spacious suburban home, Robin DeBow cleans countertops until they gleam, vacuums the carpets to plush perfection and then turns toward her most pressing chore -- tending the large pot plant budding in her sunny front room. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3858 ______________________________________________ NEVADA: Plea Deal Yields Probation for Patient-Advocate How much a patient or caregiver may cultivate is also an issue in many states. Some patients have conditions that require up to six pounds a year – the amount the federal government’s Investigational New Drug program still provides to a handful of patients – but most states allow for cultivation or possession of only a fraction of that. A Nevada patient-activist was facing trial for cultivating more than the state limit, but opted for a lenient plea deal rather than risk jail time. Medical marijuana advocate gets 3 years probation in Las Vegas Associated Press A medical marijuana advocate was sentenced to three years probation in a case that had been seen as a test of Nevada's medical marijuana program. http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=3859 ______________________________________________ For more news summaries or information about Americans for Safe Access, see our website at http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org.
Location: 
United States

Judge Rejects San Diego Challenge to Medical Marijuana Law

Location: 
San Diego, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/16/america/NA_GEN_US_Medical_Marijuana.php

Medical marijuana question passes (Bedford Minuteman, MA)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www2.townonline.com/bedford/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=615503

Medical marijuana battle rages in Susanville (Lassen County Times, CA)

Location: 
Susansville, CA
United States
URL: 
http://www.stpns.net/view_article.html?articleId=21543255424312354

Judge rejects San Diego challenge to medical marijuana law (The Mercury News, CA)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/16029249.htm

Medical marijuana issue snuffed from federal trial (The Fresno Bee, CA)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/13275.html

Italy signals major overhaul of drugs laws (EuroNews, France)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://euronews.net/create_html.php?page=detail_info&article=390711&lng=1

It's time to legalize marijuana in Illinois (Chicago Sun-Times)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.suntimes.com/news/anderson/132863,CST-EDT-monroe12.article

Election 2006: Massachusetts Voters in Four More Districts Continue the Clamor for Marijuana Law Reform

Since 2000, marijuana reform activists associated with MassCann, the Bay State NORML affiliate, and the Drug Policy Forum of Massachusetts have sponsored advisory marijuana reform questions in state representative and senate districts and have won every one. The trend continued this year, with reform questions in four more districts being approved by voters.

According to DPFMA board member John Leonard, a question asking whether representatives in the 1st and 12th Plymouth Representative Districts should be instructed to support marijuana decriminalization passed in both, with margins of 61% and 60% respectively. In the 3rd Middlesex Senate District and the 7th Norfolk Representative District, voters were asked to vote on questions asking whether to instruct their representatives to support medical marijuana legislation. Those questions won with 67% in Middlesex and 64% in Norfolk.

According to MassCann, more than 420,000 Massachusetts residents in 110 communities had voted to urge their legislators to embrace either decriminalization or medical marijuana before Election Day. We can now add another 63,000 pro-reform votes and four more communities to the tally.

In a debate last month, newly elected Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick said he's "very comfortable" with the idea of marijuana legalization but would veto a decriminalization bill if it came to his desk because "I just don't think it ought to be our priority." Hopefully the legislature will give him the opportunity to change his mind.

Election 2006: South Dakota Medical Marijuana Initiative Backers Vow to Try Again After Narrow Defeat

In an unexpectedly strong showing, an initiative that would have allowed seriously ill patients to use marijuana garnered nearly half the votes in the socially conservative Upper Midwest state of South Dakota. But it couldn't quite get over the top, losing by a margin of 48% to 52%. South Dakota thus earns the distinction of being the only state where voters have rejected medical marijuana at the ballot box.

Backers of the effort, while disappointed, are undeterred, and have already announced they will try again in 2008 or 2010. But the state will remain a tough nut to crack.

A stark illustration of the political atmosphere in the state when it comes to marijuana was the fact that South Dakotans for Medical Marijuana, the initiative organizers, could only come up with two patients willing to go public about their marijuana use. But perhaps that should be no surprise in a state where "ingestion" of marijuana is a criminal offense for which people are routinely sentenced to jail time and a public acknowledgment of one's marijuana use could became the basis for a search warrant demanding a urine sample, which would then be used to file ingestion charges.

The measure won majority support in Minnehaha County (52%), where nearly a quarter of the state's voters reside, the college town environs of Brookings County (52%) and Clay County (62%), Gateway Computers' home Union County (51%), the Black Hills' Lawrence County (52%), and a handful of other sparsely populated West River counties. But in most of the state's East River farm country counties, voters rejected the measure, sometimes narrowly, but occasionally by large margins, and even Pennington County, the home of Rapid City, the state's second largest city, voted narrowly against it (51%).

While initiative supporters ran a relatively low-profile campaign -- the state's ballot was full of hot button issues, including an abortion ban and a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage -- opponents led by Republican South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long rallied local law enforcement in opposition to the measure. Long also called in the big guns from Washington, DC, bringing White House Office on National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director Scott Burns to the state for a series of widely publicized press conferences denouncing the measure as a "con" and a "sham."

Drug czar John Walters himself weighed in on the state initiative with a press release the Friday before the election. "This proposal is a scam being pushed on the citizens of South Dakota by people who want to legalize drugs," Walters warned. "Marijuana is a much more harmful drug than many Americans realize. There are more teens now in treatment for marijuana dependence than for all other illegal drugs combined. It is unfortunate that people who have been trying to legalize this drug for many years are exploiting the suffering of genuinely sick people to further their political ends."

The intervention by South Dakota law enforcement and federal drug warriors was key in preventing the measure from passing, said initiative spokesperson and medical marijuana patient Valerie Hannah, a Gulf War veteran who uses the drug to ease the symptoms of neurological disorders she suffers as a result of her service. "Attorney General Long bringing in the drug czar's people really hurt us," she told Drug War Chronicle. "They said things like having a caregiver just meant somebody to get high with, which is just not the case."

For the national marijuana reform movement, the South Dakota loss -- its first at the polls -- was a tough blow, but movement leaders vowed to try again. "We knew from the early polling that this would be an uphill fight, particularly on a ballot filled with hot-button issues, and with the White House and the whole state establishment, including the attorney general, against us," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which provided support for the South Dakota effort. "The fact that we came this close against such powerful opposition is remarkable. Working with the local activists who started this effort, we plan to try again with another medical marijuana initiative in South Dakota in November 2008 or 2010," he announced.

"Every day, science continues to prove the medical value of marijuana," Kampia continued. "In just the last two months we've seen evidence of remarkable benefit against hepatitis C and even potential against Alzheimer's disease. It's tragic that brave patients like Val Hannah, who spoke out for the initiative, will continue to face arrest and jail for simply trying to preserve their health, but in the long run, science and common sense will triumph over ignorance and fear."

"South Dakota's result, while disheartening, does nothing to change the fact that according to national polls, nearly eight out of ten Americans support the physician-approved use of medicinal cannabis," said Paul Armentano, senior policy analyst for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Sick people like Hannah remain at risk of arrest and imprisonment for using marijuana to relieve their symptoms, but she refused to be saddened by the outcome. "I'm proud of what we did. We came very close, and this means people here are waking up. The South Dakotans who supported us made a wise choice. Next time, we will be working to get the education and knowledge out to the public more efficiently so they can make a more informed decision," she said. "We can pass this in South Dakota, perhaps through another ballot initiative in 2008. I remain hopeful," she added.

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