Medical Marijuana

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ASA's Summary of Medical Marijuana Media - Week of 1/12/07

ASA's Summary of Medical Marijuana Media - Week of 1/12/07 VERMONT: Law’s Revision to Help More Patients COLORADO: Caregiver Couple Challenge Law IMPLEMENTATION: States Face Challenges Providing Access FEDERAL: More on Imprisonment of Elderly Patient DISPENSARIES: Debates Continue Around California CALIFORNIA: Law Enforcement Struggles with Access Issues CALIFORNIA: ID Card Program Needs Money ___________________________________________ VERMONT: Law’s Revision to Help More Patients Recognizing that while the state law protecting patients has worked well in Vermont, it still unnecessarily excludes many medical cannabis patients, legislators are working to expand it to cover more Vermonters. Unlike California, which leaves the decision about cannabis therapy in the hands of board-certified doctors, Vermont’s lawmakers have proscribed the medical conditions for which cannabis may be legally used. Senate committee considering expanding marijuana law by Associated Press, WCAX TV (Burlington, VT) The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would expand the state's medical marijuana law to include additional diseases and allow people entitled to use marijuana to grow more for their own use. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4023 Patients argue for expansion of medical marijuana law by Nancy Remsen, Burlington Free Press Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard Sears, D-Bennington, has introduced a bill that would expand the list of diseases and conditions that would qualify someone for the state's legal protection for therapeutic use of marijuana, allow registered participants to grow more plants, and decrease by half the current $100 registration fee. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4020 Medical Marijuana bill aims to change conditions by Brandon Canevari, Editor, Manchester Journal Vermont State Senators Richard Sears (D - Bennington), John F. Campbell (D - Windsor), Ed Flanagan (D - Chittenden) and Jeanette K. White (D - Windham) have introduced a bill, which if passed, will not only alter the conditions under which people may use medicinal marijuana, but also the amount they may possess. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4021 ___________________________________________________ COLORADO: Caregiver Couple Challenge Law The attorney leading ASA’s Colorado campaign is assisting in the legal defense of a couple whose caregiver status has not yet been recognized by the courts. The case has the potential to help better define the state law and resolve tricky issues of how patients in Colorado are to access the medicine to which they have a legal right. Couple who claim use of medical pot to face trial by Laura Bailey, The Coloradoan A Fort Collins couple who say they were growing marijuana for medical use pleaded not guilty Friday to felony cultivation and distribution charges. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4014 _______________________________________________________ IMPLEMENTATION: States Face Challenges Providing Access With a consensus among voters and action from the legislature in many states to protect medical cannabis patients, attention is turning to how best to implement access. It is one thing to say no one should be imprisoned for following their doctors’ advice, it is another to establish ways for those patients to get their medicine in a safe, convenient and reliable manner. Change in federal law would do much to resolve the problem. Medical pot laws don't blow smoke by Bill Zimmerman and Dave Fratello, Guest Columnists, Daily News (LA) Ten years ago, California voters were first in the nation to legalize the medical use of marijuana. We managed the Proposition 215 campaign, and later had similar success in six other states. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4013 Medical marijuana advocates win one, lose one in court by Amy Lynn Sorrel, American Medical News Courts in Washington and California late last year handed medical marijuana users and their prescribing doctors a defeat and a victory, respectively. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4012 Much in store for Lakeport City Council by Tiffany Revelle, Lake County Record Bee The city council meeting is chock-full of issues of interest to local residents. Some of these issues include a look at an ordinance regarding the cultivation of medical marijuana within Lakeport city limits and an update regarding a golf course planned for Lakeport. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4010 ___________________________________________ FEDERAL: More on Imprisonment of Elderly Patient Interest in the case of a 60-year-old woman who started a 41-month sentence a week ago for growing cannabis continues to generate stories. Prosecutors used the threat of harsh mandatory sentencing as leverage to get the plea deal; subsequent changes in sentencing rules are the basis for her pending appeal. Sanctuary city? by Laura McCaul, San Francisco Bay Guardian Four years after she was first arrested, Stephanie Landa turned herself in to authorities last week to begin serving her three-year sentence for maintaining a warehouse for growing medical marijuana. A raid by law enforcement swept up Landa and friends Kevin Gage and Tom Kikuchi in 2002. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4009 Pot-growing woman, 60, reports to prison by Adam Martin, The Examiner Amid a shower of tossed daisies, a flurry of hugs and lots of tears, a 60-year-old woman who was investigated by San Francisco police for growing medical marijuana in 2002 turned herself in to federal marshals this week. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4016 ___________________________________________ DISPENSARIES: Debates Continue Around California Communities that have enacted regulatory ordinances have found that cannabis dispensaries serve a critical need for patients, while good regulations allow officials to make sure that the concerns of the larger community are also met. ASA’s study of cannabis dispensary regulations around the state found that local officials report regulations eliminated whatever complaints or problems they might have previously had. Cities struggle with medical marijuana by Alison Hewitt, San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA) It's been 10 years since voters made medical marijuana legal in California, but in many San Gabriel Valley cities it has been a matter of months since officials began to consider how to regulate marijuana dispensaries. Local cities' attention to the issue puts them ahead of the bulk of California cities, according to the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4003 Feds Consider Pot Illegal, Medical or Not by Josh Premako, The Signal (Santa Clarita) The federal government still essentially looks at marijuana use in America the same way it has for some time - it's illegal. But illegal doesn't necessarily mean illegal. For the last 10 years, the drug has been legal for medical use in California, creating a quandary for communities when it comes to the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4004 Cotati Considers Benefits of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Associated Press Cotati could soon become home to a medical marijuana dispensary. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4011 Watsonville Upholds Ban On Pot Clubs, Tattoo Parlors KSBW TV8 The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to keep medical marijuana clubs and tattoo parlors out of the city for the time being. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4008 Claremont pot dispensary operator guilty of not having license by Associated Press, North County Times The operator of Claremont's medical marijuana dispensary was convicted of operating without a license. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4007 City to seek injunction on pot outlet by Will Bigham, Daily Bulletin (CA) The Claremont City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to seek a court injunction to force the operator of a medical marijuana dispensary to shut down. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4006 ___________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Law Enforcement Struggles with Access Issues Like the vast majority of the state’s citizens, most California law enforcement officers support patients’ right to use medical cannabis. But coming to a consensus on how to provide that cannabis is challenging. Too many law enforcement agencies and officers have not yet recognized that what they were trained to see as criminal is now protected by state law. Gone to pot by Shredder, columnist, New Times SLO (CA) At least two houses on the same street are robbed. Pot is reportedly taken from both. Police believe that the marijuana from one house was possessed illegally and the marijuana from the other house was being held by someone with paperwork confirming that it's okay to do so. Police make a big deal about the caregiver and virtually clam up about the other incident. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4005 3 from pot store facing charges by Steve Fetbrandt, Press-Enterprise (CA) The Riverside County district attorney's office has filed felony drug charges against the owner and two employees of an embattled Palm Desert medical marijuana dispensary. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4018 CannaHelp operator: I'll stay open by Keith Matheny, The Desert Sun The operator of the CannaHelp medical marijuana dispensary vowed to continue operations after drug-related arrest warrants were issued for him and two dispensary managers Friday. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4015 ___________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: ID Card Program Needs Money While only a fraction of the state’s qualified medical cannabis patients have opted for California’s voluntary ID card system, officials say they have to raise the fee to pay for the program. Patients on Medi-Cal will continue to be eligible for reduced fees, but advocates are concerned that increasing the cost will only further discourage patients from availing themselves of the additional protections the cards afford. State Raises Fees For Pot Cards KCBS radio (San Francisco) Card-carrying medical marijuana patients will soon pay ten times as much for the privilege of having their pot use registered with the state. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=4022 ___________________________________________ MORE NEWS: See ASA's Website News stories and archives of the weekly news summaries are available at ASA's website, www.AmericansForSafeAccess.org. See the Press Room area for links. Note: This summary, for the week ending 1/12, was delayed due to ASA's California state conference, held last weekend in Burbank. Thanks to all who made the conference such a success!
Location: 
United States

The Drug War's "Unacceptable Losses"

[This post comes courtesy of Ken Wolski, RN, MPA. He is the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana -- New Jersey, www.cmmnj.org, [email protected]] "Unacceptable Losses" opened Friday, 1/12/07, at the Woodrow Wilson School's Bernstein Gallery on the Princeton University Campus. This photo-documentary by photgrapher and med student Arthur Robinson Williams examines U.S. drug policy and victims of it. At the exhibit, there are large color and black and white prints that accompany text of interviews that Mr. Williams conducted. The photos Mr. Williams took seemed designed to capture the essential humanity of the subject. (Some of this photographic detail is missing in the web site.) The web site is divided into sections on Treatment on Demand, Sentencing Reform, Syringe Access, Harm Reduction and Medical Marijuana. The stories are very compelling. Though the web site is still a work-in-progess, I highly recommend a look. I was reminded of CMM-NJ member Roberta M., when I read the story of the man with RSD whose pain was so severe he contemplated suicide until he tried marijuana. I consider the War on Drugs the worst policy this country imagined. It combines the worst features of Prohibition and the Vietnam War, in its domestic and foreign components. Lack of medical access to marijuana for legitimate patients is an atrocity in this war. I was one of the first people who was photographed and interviewed by Mr. Williams during his one-year project, though he eventually found more compelling stories for the exhibit and the website. Mr. Williams is looking for additional stories to tell, and he invites submissions via his web site. His web site states: "Although law enforcement is an integral part of the War on Drugs, it is unnecessarily taking resources from effective and complimentary public health strategies. Your stories will form the foundation for that argument." The "Unacceptable Losses" exhibit hopes to tour the country's major universities the way the photo-journalist toured the country collecting subjects for the exhibit. For more, see http://unacceptablelosses.org/.
Location: 
Princeton, NJ
United States

S.C. lawmaker proposes legalizing medical marijuana use

Location: 
Columbia, SC
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Times and Democrat (SC)
URL: 
http://www.thetandd.com/articles/2007/01/17/ap-state-sc/d8mmlsv80.txt

LA puts hold on permits for new medical marijuana dispensaries

Location: 
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Mercury News (CA)
URL: 
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/16479605.htm

Ferry Plans to Fight Pot Dispensary

Location: 
Santa Clarita, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Signal (CA)
URL: 
http://www.the-signal.com/?module=displaystory&story_id=45590&format=html

Medical Marijuana bill aims to change conditions

Location: 
Manchester, VT
United States
Publication/Source: 
Manchester Journal (VT)
URL: 
http://www.manchesterjournal.com/headlines/ci_5000693

Medical Marijuana: Colorado Case Will Test State's Law

A Fort Collins couple will be the first in Colorado to seek to use the state's medical marijuana law as a defense to marijuana cultivation and distribution charges. James and Lisa Masters pleaded not guilty to the charges last Friday and face a March trial.

The couple was arrested last August when police arrived at their home to check on the welfare of their two children, girls aged four and six. According to a police affidavit, a police officer smelled marijuana in the house, and the couple told officers they had doctors' recommendations to use marijuana, which they were growing for that purpose.

The Masters and their attorneys filed a motion last fall to have the charges dismissed, arguing that they were protected by the state's medical marijuana law. The couple, both registered medical marijuana patients, said they grew the pot solely for themselves and other patients on the state registry. But in October, District Judge Jolene Blair rejected that motion, saying the couple did not have proper documentation showing they are caregivers for registered patients.

According to the Colorado criminal code, the state Department of Public Health and Environment is charged with creating "a confidential registry of patients," not patients and caregivers. But the code also charges the department with creating an application form for would-be patients, and on that form, patients are required to fill in information about caregivers.

Last fall, when the Masters were first arraigned, their attorney, Rob Corry, argued they were within the bounds of the state medical marijuana law. While there is no state registry card for caregivers, he said, the Masters were designated as such by properly registered patients. "The majority of voters in this state said medical marijuana should be available. My hope here is the jury will follow the law and show some compassion for patients who need help," Corry said.

But at least one Colorado official argued that in order for someone to have protection as a caregiver, patients must list that person on their applications. It appears that the Masters case will resolve that apparent ambiguity in the law. If the Masters lose, they face up to six years in state prison and the loss of their children, whom police seized after their arrest despite the lack of any evidence of abuse or neglect. It took the couple eight weeks to win the return of their children.

"The Masters are being targeted for helping sick people. This test case has the potential to increase vital access to medical marijuana by expanding the legal definition of 'caregiver' to allow those with significant responsibility for the care of seriously-ill individuals to cultivate and provide them with medical marijuana," said co-counsel Brian Vicente.

Cities struggle with medical marijuana

Location: 
CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA)
URL: 
http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_4983103

Bay Area soars above rest of nation in recreational drug use

Location: 
San Francisco, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The San Francisco Examiner
URL: 
http://www.examiner.com/a-498213~Bay_Area_soars_above_rest_of_nation_in_recreational_drug_use.html

DEA selective in medical marijuana arrests; Raids on two high-profile dispensaries elicit criticism that agency is only targeting sellers who live affluent lifestyles

Location: 
Hayward, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/news/state/16416757.htm

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