Medical Marijuana

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ASA Press Release on Americans with Disabilities Act Medical Marijuana Case

For Immediate Release­: July 25, 2006 Americans for Safe Access State, National Groups Add Support to Medical Marijuana Employment Case Legislators, Medical Organizations, Disability Advocates File in Supreme Court San Francisco --­ Medical organizations, California state legislators and disability rights organizations have all filed supporting briefs with the California Supreme Court in a landmark employment rights case involving medical marijuana. The amici curiae or ‘friend of the court’ briefs all argue that medical marijuana patients deserve civil employment protections provided by California state law. The case is being litigated by the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), on behalf of Gary Ross, a systems engineer fired in September 2001 for failing an employer-mandated drug test because he uses medical marijuana on his doctor’s advice. “This case is an opportunity for the California Supreme Court to make clear that medical marijuana patients enjoy the same civil rights as everyone else,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA. “Like all disabled persons, Mr. Ross deserves equal protection under the law.” Ross’s physician had recommended he use cannabis for chronic back pain resulting from injuries sustained during his military service. But his employer, RagingWire Telecommunications, refused to make an exception to their policy that anyone testing positive for marijuana use be terminated. Mr. Ross went to court, arguing that RagingWire illegally discriminated against him because of his condition, but a state superior court and then an appellate court rejected his argument. ASA appealed to the California Supreme Court, which decided to review the case in November 2006. The amicus brief filed by ten national and state medical organizations, with the help of the Drug Policy Alliance, makes the case that medical marijuana patients should be considered no different than other patients who require medication to live and work effectively. The medical organizations argue that allowing the firing of medical marijuana patients "erects an unnecessary and unfortunate barrier to effective relief for potentially thousands of members of California’s workforce who suffer from acute or chronic pain, or other debilitating medical conditions." The organizations signing the medical amicus brief in support of ASA’s case are the American Nurses Association, American Pain Foundation, American Medical Women's Association, Lymphoma Foundation of America, American Nurses Association, California Nurses Association, AIDS Action Council, Gay Men's Health Crisis, National Women's Health Network and Doctors of the World-USA. (www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/ross_medical.pdf) The legislative amicus brief is being filed by all five of the sponsors of Senate Bill 420, the 2003 legislation that expanded and clarified California’s medical marijuana law. In it, the current and former lawmakers make clear their intent to extend the state’s normal civil protections and guarantees to medical marijuana patients, including the medical disability protections afforded Californians by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. “[T]he FEHA, together with the Compassionate Use Act, authorize and protect the use of medical cannabis by employees away from the workplace and during non-business hours,” according to the brief signed by former Senator John Vasconcellos, the bill’s author, and Assembly members Mark Leno, Jackie Goldberg, Paul Koretz and Loni Hancock, who were all co-authors of the bill. (http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/ross_legislative.pdf) In addition to those briefs, two disability rights organizations are also weighing in on the issue: Equal Rights Advocates and Protection and Advocacy. In their brief, the disability rights advocates note that the lower courts’ decisions, upholding the firing of Mr. Ross, “plac[es] individuals for whom marijuana is safe, effective and needed treatment in legal limbo, with their ability to earn a living dependent on the continued indulgence of their employers.” (http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/ross_disability.pdf) Americans for Safe Access is the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. Information about ASA is available at http://www.SafeAccessNow.org. # # #
Location: 
CA
United States

What is going on with the DEA and the San Diego medical marijuana dispensaries?

On Friday, the DEA returned to the more than a dozen dispensaries in San Diego raided a couple of weeks ago and warned them to shut their doors. For the Drug War Chronicle this week, I'll be looking into that and what it might mean across the state. I'm also waiting for the Portland "lowest law enforcement priority" initiative's signatures to be verified. I'll write about that this week if we get an official announcement. And I'm sure there will be more. There always is.
Location: 
San Diego, CA
United States

Medical Marijuana in South Dakota

South Dakota will vote on a medical marijuana initiative in November, and it looks like it will be an uphill battle. According to my sources within the campaign, the measure is not doing well in internal polling, but it is early. The campaign is laying low for now, but has already found a patient spokesperson and a former policeman as a spokesman. Bob Newland, South Dakota's "Mr. Marijuana," the hemp/pot/medical marijuan activist responsible for the initiative has agreed to keep a low profile, while MPP's experienced cadres run the show. Articles on the South Dakota campaign will show up periodically in the Chronicle. This is my state, and I'm actually here, and I intend to get involved as well as write about it.
Location: 
SD
United States

Interpol Medical Marijuana Letter, Michael Krawitz

A nice letter from Michael Krawitz. I can't speak to the meaning of the treaties insofar as they could be said to support medical marijuana, but at a bare minimum the DEA's claim that international treaties preclude medical marijuana is amazingly bogus -- even by DEA standards! And Michael is right -- in moral terms, at least, what's going on now is a crime against humanity. Dear Interpol, My name is Michael Krawitz. I am a patient advocate in the United States of America. My organization [NGO] is Patients Out of Time, an organization on the roster of the International Narcotics Control Board. I have come to you today in a desperate attempt to seek justice in a matter of grave importance to thousands of seriously ill individuals of the state of California in the United States of America and by extension tens of thousands of similarly situated individuals across America. The crimes I am about disclose are crimes against humanity involving violation of the Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs, the international Declaration of Human Rights and involves either corruption or gross incompetence at the highest levels of police agencies of the United States. Background: As I am sure you know Cannabis [aka marihuana or marijuana] is both a schedule 1 and schedule 4 drug in the Single Convention On Narcotic Drugs simultaneously calling for the prohibition of non medical use and providing for it's medical use. I also feel confident that you know that the Netherlands is currently distributing Cannabis to patients via prescription [and has done so for 5 years] under the control of the appropriate United Nations bodies attesting to it's international legality as a medicine. I am not sure that you realize that the United States government drug police, the United States federal Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, has been misstating the international law for years to justify an overall prohibition of this important medicine even from those who most need it medically for the relief of suffering. Please accept as evidence of this the following link to DEA United States Congressional testimony from 2001. http://www.dea.gov/pubs/cngrtest/ct032701.htm This misstatement of the international law has been propagated down the food chain to lower government bodies and is most recently evidenced in the text of a lawsuit brought to California state court by the council for the County of San Diego, California USA. Please see the text of the lawsuit at the following link: http://aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file802_23911.pdf The Crime: Evidently emboldened by the misguided lawsuit from San Diego the United States federal Drug Enforcement Administration has taken the unprecedented step of seizing medicine from every not for profit distribution center in the area. They have done so without making arrests and have made it clear they do not intend to return the medicine and further have threatened these same facilities with further raids should they restock with medicine. Please note that these distribution centers and indeed the California medical Cannabis law itself was set up as a humanitarian and stop gap measure to deal with the fallout from the United States intransigence with regard to the medical access to this important medicine. In 1988 a federal judge working for DEA ruled the medical prohibition improper even by DEA's own rules and the DEA instead of following the judges order to reschedule the medicine to allow patient access appealed the ruling and was allowed to disobey the judges ruling for administrative reasons. Before 1970 and since 1937, in the United States, prescription access to Cannabis was expressly allowed and taxed for control. Since 1970 prescription access to Cannabis has been arbitrarily prohibited by the United States Government in violation of both the Single Convention Treaty and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but to my knowledge the DEA has never undertaken to actually take away this medicine directly from those who need until recently. Most recently, this last Friday to be exact, I began receiving panicked emails stating "the DEA is here taking away our medicine" from patients and care givers across San Diego. Patient access to Cannabis under California law is only allowed via doctors orders as part of medical care, access to wit is specifically protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I am being very kind when I say this may just be caused by gross incompetence since surely the DEA must be considered the United States leading experts on the international drug control convention and surely they know that patient access is not prohibited. To be honest I am personally afraid of reprisals from the DEA just for coming forward to bring you this information. Please, in honor of those who have given their lives to ensure member nations worldwide the protection of these treaties, act on these charges and bring justice back where it has been pushed aside. I say this as a disabled veteran of the United States Air Force, a citizen of the United States of America and a representative and volunteer of a non governmental organization working to defend the truth about this important medicine and those who require it to relieve their suffering. Sincerely yours, Michael Krawitz Patients Out of Time www.medicalcannabis.com ###
Location: 
United States

Europe: Britain Goes After Medical Marijuana Suppliers

In two separate trials, one beginning this week and one beginning next week, British authorities are prosecuting medical marijuana providers under the country's drug laws, the Guardian reported. The continued prosecution of medical marijuana providers comes despite the government's downgrading of marijuana from a Class B drug to the less serious Class C in 2004.

Four members of Therapeutic Help from Cannabis for Multiple Sclerosis (THCforMS( faced charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana this week in crown court in Carlisle. THCforMS supplies free cannabis exclusively to MS sufferers and says on its web site it has handed out 33,000 cannabis chocolate bars to patients.

Next week, Bud Buddies founder Jeffrey Ditchfield goes on trial in Mold crown court on nine counts of cultivation and distribution of cannabis. Bud Buddies offers a number of marijuana preparations for anyone with a proven medical need and requires documentation of that need from a physician.

Under current British marijuana law, all of the defendants mentioned face up to 14 years in prison.

Meanwhile, life has become more difficult for as many as 30% of British MS sufferers who use the herb to alleviate the pain and spasms associated with the disease. One of those patients, who asked not to be identified, said she had applied to use the marijuana tincture Sativex on a trial basis, but was turned down. The preparation is currently undergoing a three-year trial. "I find it inconceivable that the crown sees these prosecutions as in the public interest when there is still no legal way for the people who are helped by cannabis to obtain and use it," she said.

The British Medical Association said in a 1997 report: "While research is under way the police, the courts and prosecuting authorities should be aware of the medicinal reasons for the unlawful use of cannabis by those suffering from certain medical conditions for whom other drugs have proved ineffective."

Even if the crown prosecutors don't get it, some trial courts do -- or at least they did. Up until last year, medical marijuana patients and providers successfully raised the "necessity" defense, which allows illegal acts to prevent a greater harm. But an appeals court ruling last year held that the "necessity" defense did apply to the use of marijuana to relieve chronic pain.

Medical Marijuana Research Takes a Few Surprising Turns

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Baltimore Examiner
URL: 
http://www.examiner.com/a-178910~Medical_marijuana_research_takes_a_few_surprising_turns.html

Prosecutors take a tough line on cannabis supplied to ease pain (UK)

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Guardian
URL: 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,,1822253,00.html

SF Commission Denies Permit for Fisherman's Wharf Pot Club

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2006/07/13/state/n230614D08.DTL&type=politics

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Legislation

Location: 
NJ
United States
Publication/Source: 
Atlantic City Weekly
URL: 
http://www.atlanticcityweekly.com/view.php?id=4714&issue_id=135_

Medical Marijuana: Five Arrested, 13 Dispensaries Raided by DEA in San Diego

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/mcwilliams.jpg
Feds Hit San Diego Medical Marijuana Co-ops Again
Just a week after the US House of Representatives voted to continue funding Justice Department raids on medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal, the feds struck again. Five people have been arrested in a series of DEA and local police raids Thursday hitting 13 medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego County. Some people are being charged under state marijuana distribution laws in the cooperative federal-local effort. More arrests are expected, local law enforcement officials said.

The raids and arrests came as federal officials unsealed two indictments, one charging the Purple Bud Room and Tender Holistics Care dispensaries with illegally distributing marijuana, the other laying similar charges against five people who owned and operated Co-op San Diego.

The feds also went after four doctors on suspicion of providing medical marijuana recommendations for people the officials claimed did not legitimately need marijuana. State and federal officials have filed complaints with the state Medical Board against the doctors.

The San Diego District Attorney's Office announced it was filing marijuana distribution charges against five dispensaries: Ocean Beach Dispensary and Utopia, both on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach; Native Sun Dispensary on Rosecrans Street, in the Midway District; THC Dispensary, no longer in business, in Pacific Beach; and the California Medical Center, on La Jolla Boulevard in La Jolla.

In a statement announcing the busts, the DA's Office said it was not aiming at medical marijuana patients, but at retail pot outlets disguised as dispensaries. "Our office has no intention of stopping those who are chronically ill with AIDS, glaucoma and cancer from obtaining any legally prescribed drug, including medical marijuana, to help them ease their pain," said DA Bonnie Dumanis said. But the state's medical marijuana law is "being severely abused and it has led to the neighborhood pot dealer opening up storefronts from La Jolla to Ocean Beach to North Park," she said.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana defense group, announced in an e-mail Thursday afternoon it was holding an emergency meeting in San Diego that evening to craft a response.

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