Medical Marijuana

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93% of Canadians Okay With Medicinal Pot

Location: 
Canada
Publication/Source: 
CanWest News Service
URL: 
http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=55ee004d-e80e-449b-945f-d156ae62b66f

Medical Marijuana: Patients Challenge DEA Head at San Diego Conference, Seven Arrested

Police arrested seven medical marijuana patients demanding to speak with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) head Karen Tandy at a San Diego hotel Wednesday after they refused to leave. One other patient was cited, and two others were cited earlier for hanging a banner that read "The DEA is Not My Doctor."

Those cited or arrested were among about 60 demonstrators who showed up at the Marriot San Diego Mission Valley, where the DEA is holding a conference on medical marijuana. San Diego area patients and their supporters are furious with the federal drug agency for its role in raiding and closing medical marijuana dispensaries in the area.

According to Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the medical marijuana defense group that organized the action, protestors dumped 1,500 empty pill bottles in front of the hotel as a way of showing that the DEA's actions left them without their medicine. The patients refused to leave until Tandy came out to speak with them, and when she declined, they remained and were arrested.

While medical marijuana was legalized by California voters a decade ago, the federal government does not recognize it and views any marijuana use as illegal. Acting with the support of San Diego County political officials and law enforcement, the DEA has effectively shut down what was a growing network of medical marijuana dispensaries serving the San Diego area.

"Doctors recommend cannabis and patients use it because it works," said ASA executive director Steph Sherer. "The DEA is inflicting unnecessary suffering on tens of thousands of Americans by denying them a safe, effective medicine. It has to stop."

The action may not have reined in the rogue agency, but it helped turn up the heat on Tandy, who, according to ASA California state coordinator Alex Franco, came down and apologized to the Marriot staff for the "commotion" caused by the protest and arrests. When you head an agency that is taking medicine from seriously ill people, sometimes you have to pay the price, both personally and professionally.

[South Dakota] Bill Pits Attorney General Against Medical Marijuana Proponents

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Rapid City Journal
URL: 
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2006/11/01/news/top/news01.txt

Medical Marijuana Advocates Arrested

Location: 
Mission Valley, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Fox News 6 San Diego
URL: 
http://www.fox6.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=F655585A-BF35-4B8F-8AA5-4B2744216DD2

Proposition 215 Ten Years Later: New Report Examines Impact of California's Landmark Medical Marijuana Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : OCTOBER 26, 2006

Proposition 215 Ten Years Later

New Report Examines Impact of California's Landmark Medical Marijuana Law

CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications........................ 202-215-4205 or 415-668-6403

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Marijuana Policy Project released the first comprehensive examination of the impact of California's landmark medical marijuana law, "Proposition 215 Ten Years Later: Medical Marijuana Goes Mainstream." The report, which can be downloaded by clicking the button above, includes:

**An analysis of predictions made by opponents of medical marijuana, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Clinton administration Drug Czar Gen. Barry McCaffrey, and how they have played out in California and the 10 other medical marijuana states. Among other things, McCaffrey predicted "increased drug abuse in every category." In fact, teen marijuana use dropped precipitously in California, and has declined across the board in states with medical marijuana laws.

**New polling from all 11 medical marijuana states showing strong, growing public support for the laws.

**An examination of key legal decisions affecting state medical marijuana laws.

**The real-world experiences of patients now protected by state medical marijuana laws, as well as of patients living in states where they still lack legal protection.

**A summary of key research developments since the initiative's passage, including remarkable new evidence of marijuana's benefit in treating hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, chronic pain, cancer, and neurological illnesses such as multiple sclerosis.

"In 1996, medical marijuana was often dismissed as a fringe issue, but that is no longer the case," the report concludes. "In the decade since passage of Proposition 215, support has steadily grown, reaching a level of public consensus seen with relatively few issues. ... Politicians, particularly at the federal level, have been slow to adapt to the changing landscape."

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. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.

####


Click to Read the Report



Location: 
United States

Medical Marijuana Panel: Amendment 44 and Low-Income Patients

“Medical Marijuana Panel: Amendment 44 and Low-income Patients,” featuring Sensible Colorado’s Brian Vicente, renowned I-100 “Test Case” defendant Damien LaGoy and other patients. This free event is at noon on Wednesday, November 1 at the University of Denver Law School, room 125. Visit http://www.sensiblecolorado.org for further information.
Date: 
Wed, 11/01/2006 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: 
Denver, CO
United States

Canada: Supreme Court Overturns Conviction of Medical Marijuana Activist

In a decision handed down Thursday, the Canadian Supreme Court has thrown out the conviction of Alberta medical marijuana activist Grant Krieger, who had been convicted of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute. The high court held that the trial judge had erred by directing the jury to find Krieger guilty.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/grantkrieger.jpg
Grant Krieger (courtesy cannabiscoalition.ca)
Krieger, who claims the right to distribute marijuana to seriously ill people to alleviate their symptoms, did not kowtow to judicial power during his trial (or before or after), and the trial judge repaid him by instructing the jury at his 2003 trial to "retire to the jury room to consider what I have said, appoint one of yourselves to be your foreperson, and then to return to the court with a verdict of guilty."

Two jurors objected at the time, one citing religious reasons and one citing reasons of conscience, and asked to be excused from the case, but the judge refused.

The judge's jury instructions were clearly unconstitutional, the high court ruled. "The trial judge's direction was not a 'slip of the tongue' to be evaluated in the context of the charge as a whole," the court wrote in its decision. "His purpose and words were clear. In effect, the trial judge reduced the jury's role to a ceremonial one: he ordered the conviction and left to the jury, as a matter of form but not of substance, its delivery in open court."

Krieger, who has legal permission from Health Canada to smoke marijuana for multiple sclerosis, is begging for a retrial. He wants to continue to use the courts as a forum for challenging the legitimacy of Canada's marijuana laws.

Feature: Nail-Biting Time for South Dakota's Medical Marijuana Initiative

With election day little more than a week away, proponents of South Dakota's medical marijuana initiative are increasingly nervous about the measure's prospects in the face of a coordinated onslaught by the state's Republican political establishment, state and local law enforcement, and even the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office). Given South Dakota's social conservatism and a number of hot-button other issues on the ballot, including abortion and gay marriage, the assault by law enforcement only makes voter approval of the measure more difficult. But with no polling on the issue in the state since 2002 (when it got 64% approval), it is hard to gauge exactly where the vote is likely to go.

Known on the ballot as Initiated Measure 4, the medical marijuana measure would allow patients who suffer from specified medical conditions, have the okay of their doctor, and register with the state to use marijuana to alleviate their conditions. The measure also allows registered patients or their caregivers to grow up to six marijuana plants. If the measure passes, South Dakota would become the 12th state to legalize marijuana. If the measure fails, South Dakota would become the first state where voters explicitly rejected medical marijuana.

Beginning late last week, the organized opposition began fighting in earnest with a series of press conferences featuring Attorney General Larry Long (whom organizers were forced to successfully sue over biased ballot language), local law enforcement officials, and deputy drug czar Scott Burns. Burns called medical marijuana "a con" and accused initiative supporters of playing on the sympathies of voters to advance a dangerous agenda.

"It's a step backwards in South Dakota and a step backwards nationally," said Burns at a Sioux Falls press conference last Friday. "Do not fall for the con."

"The risk far outweighs the benefits," said Minnehaha County (Sioux Falls) Sheriff Mike Milstead at the same widely televised and reported press conference. "There's great concern about how easily this marijuana could fall into the wrong hands."

Some South Dakota law enforcement officials have gone further in their arguments against the measure. In a conversation with Drug War Chronicle Thursday, Hughes County (Pierre) Sheriff Mike Leidholt complained that initiative language barring registered patients from being prosecuted as drugged drivers because of residual metabolites in their systems would result in them being able to get away with driving while intoxicated. "If we can't test for the metabolite, how are we to enforce the law, or is that a free pass?" he asked.

Leidholt also expressed concern that marijuana grown for registered patients would escape into the larger market. "This measure allows any patient or caregiver to have up to six marijuana plants," he said. "One marijuana plant can produce up to 13,000 joints. If you have that much, what happens to the rest of it?"

[Editor's Note: We report, you decide. Assuming a joint weighs between one-half gram and one gram, that comes to somewhere between 15 and 30 pounds of smokeable bud. By our calculations, it would take a marijuana plant the size of a full-grown oak tree to produce that many joints.]

Leidholt conceded that marijuana may help a small number of seriously ill people in the state, but argued that that does not outweigh the need to keep marijuana off the streets. "I feel bad for those people, but the dangers are too great," he said.

That argument wasn't flying with Valerie Hannah of Deerfield, a combat medic in the Gulf War who know suffers chronic pain from nerve damage and who is serving as the primary spokesperson for South Dakotans for Medical Marijuana, the group behind the initiative. "We really need this for patients who are truly ill so they can have another means of release," she told the Chronicle.

Hannah and former Denver police officer Tony Ryan, who now lives in Sioux Falls, are the group's public face. Both are appearing in TV commercials airing around the state -- when they can squeeze in among all the abortion, gay marriage, tobacco tax, elected office, and other campaign commercials that are cluttering the airwaves.

"What law enforcement is doing is a real disappointment, but my biggest disappointment is Larry Long bringing in the national deputy drug czar to propagandize at press conferences," she said. "They're really starting to pull out the drug war money and going to town with it."

Hannah is in a lonely fight. No other medical marijuana patient in the state has yet stood up to be counted alongside her. But that is not surprising in a state where anyone who admits to marijuana use could be served with a search warrant and ordered to submit to a drug test, then prosecuted for "unlawful ingestion" of marijuana.

"People are scared here," Hannah said. "Not only are they scared to come out, some people who use medical marijuana have even told me they voted against it because they were afraid law enforcement would look at their ballots and somehow persecute them. It is past time for people to get over their fears and realize this is really all about sick and dying people."

While Hannah other initiative supporters are working frantically to secure victory on November 7, the outcome is "kind of iffy," she said. "Faced with all these false claims from law enforcement and the fear in the air in this state, I don't know how this will come out."

Hannah held out some hope though, citing surprising support among farmers and ranchers in the sparsely-populated, libertarian-leaning northwest part of the state. "That is good, but most of the votes are in the East, especially in Sioux Falls," she noted. With some 177,000 residents in the metro area, Sioux Falls accounts for about one-quarter of the state's population.

"Western South Dakota is a place where outlaws went to hide from the law -- and they stayed -- so it may be fertile ground for medical marijuana even if just for the tax money. But if they lose in Sioux Falls, they lose the entire state," said University of South Dakota political science Professor David Vick. "The city has been growing rapidly, and the small towns around there have become suburbs, and they vote like suburbs," he told the Chronicle.

Vick had a hard time imagining that the measure would succeed. "My opinion is that it will probably not pass," he said. "On the East side of the state, you tend to have values voters who vote along religious lines and conservative political lines. The only way I see this passing is if people vote for it in a backlash against government intrusion or fiscal conservatism. Of course, there are people who have found assistance from medical marijuana or know someone who has, and they could vote for it."

It now looks like an uphill battle in South Dakota, but we will not really know until the votes are counted.

13,000 Joints

That's what a South Dakota sheriff just told me you could get from one marijuana plant. Hmmm, if a joint is somewhere between one-half gram and one gram, that comes to somewhere between 6,500 and 13,000 grams, or 15 to 30 pounds. I would like to meet the grower who can produce such copious quantities. The indoor growers I know estimate they can get maybe one gram of usable marijuana per watt of light in a growing cycle. That means a person growing plants under a 1000 watt light will produce perhaps two pounds of smokable bud, but that typically comes from numerous plants under the light--and if the grower knows what he's doing and everything goes just right. I'm not sure where they're getting a 15 or 30 pounds from one plant. Maybe the sheriff know of some monster mutant strain indigenous to the Dakotas, but somehow I doubt it You can read more about this tomorrow in the story I'm preparing on the South Dakota medical marijuana initiative.
Location: 
SD
United States

Video Offer: Waiting to Inhale

Dear Drug War Chronicle reader:

Many drug reform enthusiasts read on our blog last month about a new video documentary, Waiting to Inhale: Marijuana, Medicine and the Law, and an exciting debate here in Washington between two of my colleagues and a representative of the US drug czar's office that followed the movie's screening. I am pleased to announce that DRCNet is making this film available to you as our latest membership premium -- donate $30 or more to DRCNet and you can receive a copy of Waiting to Inhale as our thanks for your support.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/waitingtoinhale-small.jpg
I've known about Waiting to Inhale for a few years, and I am pretty psyched to see it out now and making waves. People featured in the movie -- medical marijuana providers Mike & Valerie Corral and Jeff Jones, patient spokesperson Yvonne Westbrook, scientist Don Abrams -- are heroes whose stories deserved to be told and whose interviews in this movie should be shown far and wide. You can help by ordering a copy and hosting a private screening in your home! Or you and your activist friends can simply watch it at home for inspiration. (Click here for more information including an online trailer.)

Your donation will help DRCNet as we pull together what we think will be an incredible two-year plan to substantially advance drug policy reform and the cause of ending prohibition globally and in the US. Please make a generous donation today to help the cause! I know you will feel the money was well spent after you see what DRCNet has in store. Our online donation form lets you donate by credit card, by PayPal, or to print out a form to send with your check or money order by mail. Please note that contributions to the Drug Reform Coordination Network, our lobbying entity, are not tax-deductible. Tax-deductible donations can be made to DRCNet Foundation, our educational wing. (Choosing a gift like Waiting to Inhale will reduce the portion of your donation that you can deduct by the retail cost of the item.) Both groups receive member mail at: DRCNet, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036.

Thank you for your support. If you haven't already checked out our new web site, I hope you'll take a moment to do so -- it really is looking pretty good, if I may say so myself. :) Take care, and hope to hear from you.

Sincerely,


David Borden
Executive Director

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