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Americans for Safe Access (ASA): Summary of Medical Marijuana Media

ASA's Summary of Medical Marijuana Media MICHIGAN: Legislature Considers Bill; Initiative Likely WASHINGTON: Out-of-State Recommendation Disqualified CALIFORNIA: Court Clarifies Medical Cannabis Law CALIFORNIA: Community Champion Remembered CALIFORNIA: ID Cards Moving Forward CALIFORNIA: Local Dispensary Ordinances Considered FEDERAL: DEA Faces Suit by Cannabis Specialist ____________________________________________ MICHIGAN: Legislature Considers Bill; Initiative Likely State lawmakers failed to act on a pending bill, despite the compelling testimony of patients and the voter initiatives passed by several Michigan cities over the past several years. Federal officials continue to insist that states maintain criminal penalties for patients. Voters may soon get to have their say. Hearing set on medical pot use by Art Aisner, Ann Arbor News (MI) Proponents of medical marijuana in Michigan are gearing up for their cause's most significant initiative in the state in decades. Marijuana bill snuffed out by Chris Andrews, Lansing State Journal Irvin Rosenfeld is a willing poster child for medical marijuana. The Florida stockbroker suffers from a rare and painful disease called multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis. He has received medical marijuana from the U.S. government since 1982, although the program was closed to new patients 10 years later. Medical marijuana bill dies by Charlie Cain , Detroit News A bill to allow people with "debilitating medical conditions" to legally use marijuana to ease their symptoms died in the Michigan Legislature on Tuesday, and backers say the issue will likely be left up to voters to decide. Lawmakers hear debate over medical marijuana by Tim Martin, Associated Press, Kalamazoo Gazette (MI) A proposal to allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons in Michigan received a rare legislative hearing Tuesday. Michigan tackles medical, recreational marijuana by Associated Press, WOOD TV8 (MI) Charles Snyder III says his rare disorder, nail patella syndrome, sometimes leaves him in so much pain he'd nearly be bedridden without pain medication -- such as marijuana. Snyder supports a bill discussed Tuesday in the state House that would make it legal for patients with "debilitating medical conditions" who grow or use marijuana for treatment purposes. Federal official urges state to keep pot use illegal by Dawson Bell, Detroit Free Press A top federal anti-drug official, testifying about legislation to approve the use of marijuana in Michigan for medical purposes, told lawmakers Tuesday the move would be bad both for patients and society. ____________________________________________ WASHINGTON: Out-of-State Recommendation Disqualified Conflicts between the intent of the law and officials’ interpretations can crop up as state’s implement medical cannabis laws. Washington’s law is clearly intended to protect patients, yet a woman’s recommendation was invalidated by the state Supreme Court because her doctor was from California. As an editorial notes, “Where the cops and courts failed, lawmakers can succeed, by rewriting the law to recognize medical marijuana prescriptions from any licensed physician.” Medical Marijuana: Dopey decision EDITORIAL, Seattle Post-Intelligencer The Washington Supreme Court, for hardly the first time in judicial history, has rendered a ruling that is at the same time legally correct and morally wrong. Woman may be jailed for medical pot use by Rachel La Corte, Associated Press Her California medical marijuana card will not protect a Hayward woman from going to jail for a marijuana charge in Washington state, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Court Clarifies Medical Cannabis Law The state Supreme Court has ruled that legislative action to clarify the voter initiative that made medical cannabis legal ten years ago were intended to aid implementation of the law. Specifically, the court found that patients may transport cannabis as needed. Man's Conviction Upheld In Medical Marijuana Case by CBS News, KCAL CBS-2 An Orange County man's felony conviction for transporting marijuana was upheld Monday by the California Supreme Court despite its ruling that later law allowing a medical marijuana defense for transportation applies retroactively. ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Community Champion Remembered The life of a prominent doctor who served as medical director of the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative was remembered this week. Mike Alcalay contributed tireless of his time and energy to patients throughout the Bay Area; we will miss him greatly. Mike Alcalay (1941-2006) Remembered on World AIDS Day by Judith Scherr, Berkeley Daily Planet Countless lives have been touched by Dr. Mike Alcalay who died Nov. 18 in Oakland from a rare and aggressive leukemia, after surviving AIDS for more than 20 years. ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: ID Cards Moving Forward ASA’s legal arguments have helped persuade a Superior Court judge that counties must implement the state’s ID card system. That has helped prompt county officials to move forward. Board to discuss medical marijuana ID card after tentative ruling supports Prop by Shayla Ashmore, Lassen News (CA) The medical marijuana identification card program will be back before the Lassen County Board of Supervisors sometime after Jan. 1 due to a San Diego County Superior Court ruling that counties must follow the state’s medical-marijuana laws regardless of federal drug statutes. BOS to consider ID cards for medical marijuana patients by Tiffany Revelle, Record-Bee (CA) Those using marijuana for medicinal purposes in Lake County may soon join almost 3,000 of their counterparts statewide who have access to county-issued identification cards to protect their legal rights under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, and the more recent Senate Bill 420. ____________________________________________ CALIFORNIA: Local Dispensary Ordinances Considered ASA has compiled information from officials around the state with experience in regulating dispensaries that shows ordinances are working well. Tulare Co. wants more data on marijuana dispensaries by Sarah Jimenez, Fresno Bee Tulare County planning commissioners said Wednesday they needed more expert information and a review of similar ordinances in Visalia and Tulare before they would consider an ordinance regulating where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located. Coachella council to vote on dispensary moratorium by K. Kaufmann, Desert Sun (CA) The Coachella City Council is expected to vote at its meeting tonight on an emergency moratorium on the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. Tracy orders marijuana club closed by Mike Martinez, Tri-Valley Herald (CA) It wasn't exactly what Tracy City Manager Dan Hobbs had in mind for his "greening of Tracy" plan. The medical marijuana dispensary, which opened under the nose of city late last month on the outskirts of downtown Tracy, has been ordered to close. ____________________________________________ FEDERAL: DEA Faces Suit by Cannabis Specialist A leading physician who specializes in cannabis therapies has filed suit against the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, alleging that they have been targeting him because of the nature of his practice. Redding doctor sues DEA by Tim Hearden, Record Searchlight (CA) A Redding doctor who specializes in medical marijuana is suing the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies for sending informants and undercover agents to his office posing as patients. ______________________________________________ For more news summaries or information about Americans for Safe Access, see our website at
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ASA STATE CONFERENCE 2007: Implementation = Victory: Preparing for the Next Ten Years

Americans for Safe Access is pleased to announce the 2nd State Conference will take place January 13th and 14th at the Pickwick Gardens Conference Center, 1001 Riverside Drive in Burbank, California. As the momentum grows around medical cannabis law implementation throughout the state, open communication amongst the players, both regionally and statewide, has become crucial. For this reason, ASA staff will bring its key assets to the table in a series of workshops and seminars designed to give activists the skills they need to achieve effective statewide campaigns while providing a vehicle for local campaigns to flourish. This is a participatory, not panel based, conference. Every aspect of the agenda is intended to make the most of the skills and resources you already have, while providing you the direct, one-on-one support of some of the brightest minds in medical marijuana advocacy from ASA chapters, allies and friends. You will have opportunities to interact directly with presenters who are forming the state and national strategy for medical marijuana, network with other activists like yourself from around the state, and work on local strategies with activists from your region using the ASA toolbox. ASA State Campaign Staff will be presenting the California Campaign for Safe Access Strategy, covering issues from regulations and protecting safe access, implementation of the ID card program, sales tax and the Board of Equalization, and regional participation in the implementation of SB420, Proposition 215 and precedent setting case law. Action PhotoDetails will be available soon, including conference agenda, keynote speakers, possible group bus travel, discounted lodging, and more! For more information, please contact Alex at [email protected] or (510) 251-1856 x 321. Please be part of the solution. Register now for the ASA Conference and use this space to expedite full implementation of our state medical marijuana laws in every city and county in California. For more info and to register, visit
Sat, 01/13/2007 - 9:00am - Sun, 01/14/2007 - 7:00pm
1001 Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA
United States

What Will a Democratic Congress Mean for Drug Reform?

One of the articles I'm working on this week will be called "Drug Reform and the Democratic Congress: What's Really Going to Happen?" I've already talked to a number of inside the beltway drug reform types--the folks who actually work the halls of Congress--and I've got feelers out to more, as well as to the offices of several of the congressional Democrats who will be chairing key committees. There are quite a few drug policy-related issues that could come before the Congress next year. You can find my initial list of them a couple of paragraphs below. Here's how the article is likely to begin: To hear the buzz in drug reform circles, Christmas came early this year. To be precise, it arrived on election day, when the Democrats took back control of the Congress after 12 long years out in the cold. There is a whole long list of drug reform-related issues that the Democratically-controlled Congress can address, and hopes are high that after a dozen years of Republican rule on Capitol Hill, progress will come on at least some of them. But will the Democratic Congress really turn out to be Santa Claus, bestowing gifts on a movement long out in the cold, or will it turn out more like the Grinch, offering up goodies only to snatch them away? The Drug War Chronicle is trying to find out what's likely to happen, so we talked to a number of drug reform organizations, especially those with a strong federal lobbying presence and agenda, as well as with the offices of some of the representatives who will be playing key roles on Capitol Hill in the next Congress. The list of drug war issues where Congress could act next year is indeed lengthy: • Sentencing reform, whether addressing the crack-powder cocaine disparity or mandatory minimums or both; • Medical marijuana, either through the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment barring federal funds to raid patients and providers in states where it is legal or Barney Frank's states' rights to medical marijuana bill; • The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP—the drug czar's office) is up for reauthorization; • The Higher Education Act (HEA) and its drug provision is up for reauthorization; • Removing drug offender restrictions from food stamp, public housing, and other social services; • The Washington, DC, appropriations bill, where Congress has barred the District from enacting needle exchange programs or a voter-approved medical marijuana law. • Plan Colombia; • The war in Afghanistan and US anti-opium policy; • The pain crisis and the war on pain doctors; • Police raids. While there is optimism in drug reform circles, it is tempered by a healthy dose of realism. The Congress is a place where it is notoriously difficult to make (or unmake) a law, and while some of the new Democratic leadership has made sympathetic noises on certain issues, drug reform is not exactly a high-profile issue. Whether congressional Democratic decision-makers will decide to use their political resources advancing an agenda that could be attacked as "soft on drugs" or "soft on crime" remains to be seen. But according to one of the movement's most astute Hill-watchers, some "low-hanging fruit" might be within reach next year. "Some of the easiest things to achieve in the new Congress will be the HEA ban on aid to students with drug violations, because the Democrats will have to deal with HEA reauthorization, and the ban on access to the TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) to public housing, because they will have to deal with welfare reform," said Bill Piper, director of government relations *** for the Drug Policy Alliance. "There is also a chance of repealing provisions in the DC appropriations bill that bar needle exchanges and medical marijuana. These are the low-hanging fruit." For Piper, there is also a chance to see movement on a second tier of issues, including medical marijuana, sentencing reform and Latin America policy. "Can we get the votes to pass Hinchey-Rohrabacher in the House and get it to the Senate?" he asked. "There is also a good chance of completely changing how we deal with Latin America. We could see a shift in funding from military to civil society-type programs and from eradication to crop substitution," he said. "Also, there is a good chance on sentencing reform. Can the Democrats strike a deal with Sen. Sessions (R-AL) and other Republicans on the crack-powder disparity, or will they try to play politics and paint the Democrats as soft on crime? Would Bush veto it if it passed?" Clearly, at this point, there are more questions than answers, and time will tell. But the political ground has shifted, Piper noted. "We are no longer playing defense," he argued. "Now we don't have to deal with folks like Souder and Sensenbrenner and all their stupid bills. This puts us in a really good position. For the first time in 12 years, we get to go on offense. And unlike a dozen years ago, the Democrats who will control the key committees are really, really good. This is probably the first time since the 1980s that drug policy reform has been in a position to go on the offensive." There will be much more on Friday...
United States

Tracy orders marijuana club closed

Tracy, CA
United States
Inside Bay Area (CA)

Marijuana: Lowest Priority Initiatives Coming to Maine

Maine is set to become the latest state to try passing local initiatives to make adult marijuana use the lowest law enforcement priority. A state group with affiliations with the Marijuana Policy Project, the Maine Marijuana Policy Initiative (MMPI), has submitted petitions to officials in five western Maine towns, and is already set to go to the polls in Sumner. Town meetings in Farmington, Paris, West Paris and Athens, where petitions have been delivered to local officials, may also consider the initiatives next year.
Maine campaign ad
Maine activists are starting small, but thinking big, MMPI executive director Jonathan Leavitt told the Associated Press. "The purpose of the ordinance is to let the county, state and federal government know that many people believe the marijuana laws are not working," Leavitt said.

Lowest priority initiatives have proven extremely successful since first pioneered in Seattle in 2003. Cities that have passed such initiatives now include Oakland, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica, California; as well as Columbia, Missouri; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; and Missoula, Montana.

But Farmington, Maine, Police Chief Richard Caton didn't think much of the idea. Who knows what kind of people might be attracted to town, he warned the AP. Also, the chief said, police would be caught between local and state and federal law. "A better way, if this is the sentiment of the people, is to change the state and federal laws," he said.

The Maine lowest priority ordinances would prohibit communities from accepting federal funds that would be used to enforce the marijuana laws and would require police to submit reports on the number and type of marijuana arrests to each municipality that adopts the ordinance, he said. Municipal officials would be required to notify state and federal officials they want to see marijuana taxed and regulated, not prohibited.

Lt. Hart Daley of the Oxford County Sheriff's Department didn't like the sound of that. "We still consider drug offenses on the top of the list of our priorities," Daley said.

Attitudes like Daley's are why local initiatives are only the beginning.

Feature: Medical Marijuana Gets a Hearing in Michigan

The medical marijuana issue came to the Michigan statehouse for the first time ever this week. In Lansing on Tuesday, the state House Government Operations Committee held a hearing where medical marijuana patients, advocates, and supporters were given the floor -- and they came from across the state and the country to do just that.
Michigan Capitol
The hearing was tied to 5740, a bill that would allow people with 'debilitating medical conditions' to use marijuana without fear of arrest, which was introduced by Rep. LaMar Lemmons III and now has eight cosponsors. But with the legislative session just two weeks away from ending, the hearing will lead to no action this year.

It does, however, lay the groundwork for further work in the legislature next year, and perhaps for an initiative in 2008 should the solons prove recalcitrant. That it occurred at all is a testament to the efforts of local activists working in concert with reformers around the country.

"LaMar is my state representative," said Tim Beck, executive director of Michigan NORML. "I raised money for him, and he believes in this issue, so when he asked what I would like, I said I would like a medical marijuana bill," Beck told Drug War Chronicle. Beck was a moving force behind the successful 2004 Detroit medical marijuana initiative. Ferndale, Ann Arbor and Traverse City have also enacted ordinances permitting use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Lemmons, a Democrat, introduced the bill, but to get a hearing also required the assent of the committee chair, Republican Rep. Leon Drolet. Not only did Drolet agree to hearings, he became a sponsor of the bill.

With that opportunity, the Michigan activists reached out, and, working with the Marijuana Policy Project, brought in people like federal medical marijuana patient Irv Rosenfeld, Republican Connecticut state Senator Penny Bacchiochi, and former Maryland legislator Donald Murphy, head of Republicans for Compassionate Access, as well as patients and supporters from across the state. Up against them was peripatetic deputy drug czar Scott Burns, who magically shows up to argue against medical marijuana wherever it appears.

Rosenfeld, a Florida stockbrocker who suffers from multiple congenital exostosis, has been receiving US government marijuana since 1982 in a program that was extinguished under President Bush the Elder. Rosenfeld and a handful of others were grandfathered in.

"I'm a very productive member of society because I have the right medication," Rosenfeld told the committee, adding that the 10 or so joints he smokes a day help keep him alive. "There is no need for prosecuting people who are sick."

Rep. Bacchiochi, the Connecticut Republican, has been a major legislative supporter of medical marijuana in her home state, and was eager to talk to her fellow solons about it. She told the committee how her husband was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer in the early 1980s and a doctor urged her to try marijuana for him. "I hadn't smoked marijuana, I had never done drugs, I knew I wanted a public career. It was a terrifying moment for me," she told the committee. "But as I watched my husband basically die in front of me, I decided I would do it at any cost. For three years I went out and I bought pot for him, and I watched his remarkable recovery. Not that he recovered from the cancer, but he was able to eat, he was able to laugh, he was able to regain some quality of life," she told lawmakers.

Laura Barber of Traverse City spoke of the difficulties her family went through when her husband, who uses medical marijuana to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, was arrested. Two other Michigan patients were ready to speak, but time ran out before they could testify. They were Rochelle Lampkin of Detroit, who uses the drug to treat the pain associated with multiple sclerosis, and Martin Chilcutt of Kalamazoo, a Navy veteran who used medical marijuana to relieve the pain and nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy.

"The medical use of marijuana has helped to relieve the pain and suffering associated with serious illnesses in my life and in the lives of several close friends of mine," Chilcutt commented. "We need rational decisions and action to combat an irrational status quo. The most perilous aspect of using medical marijuana is the threat of getting arrested and going to jail, and that's why the legislature needs to pass HB 5470."

The bill is likely going nowhere this year, but this week's hearing was important, said Beck. "The value of having the hearing is that it demonstrates we have power. We were able to get the hearing, and we were able to bring in heavyweights like Irv and Don and Penny. I don't think those legislators expected anything like the performance we had," he laughed.

"This is an historic first, and we got massive publicity out of this hearing," Beck continued. "We're laying the groundwork for next year. The one thing we have is the initiative process, and I think the legislators understand that. The Democrats will control the state House next year, and I think we'll get a better reception then. But it will be like 'Do you want to write the law or do you want us to write the law?' We don't want to do an initiative if we don't have to. It's cheaper to go through the legislature."

Marijuana: Michigan Legalization Initiative Gets State Okay to Gather Signatures for 2008

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers this week approved a petition from an Eaton Rapids group for an initiative that would allow adults to use and grow marijuana on private property. The action means that the group, Medical and Recreational Peace, can now begin gathering signatures to put the measure on the 2008 ballot.

It will be an uphill battle for the all-volunteer group. Under Michigan law, initiative organizers must garner more than 300,000 valid signatures of registered voters to make the ballot. Similar efforts have failed in 2000, 2002, and this year.

Michigan is more likely to see a 2008 medical marijuana initiative. While a hearing in the legislature this week is unlikely to lead to action this year, the legislature will have 2007 to pass a medical marijuana bill. If that doesn’t happen, there are already murmurings about going the initiative route. Indeed, one state senator has already suggested as much.

Medical Marijuana: California Supreme Court Rules Patients Can Transport It

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state's medical marijuana laws allow people to transport the drug as long as they can show it was for their personal medical use. The court said that the law protects even patients carrying large amounts of weed as long as they can show it is consistent with their medical needs.

The 6-1 decision disappointed prosecutors, said a spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Nathan Barankin told the Los Angeles Times prosecutors had hoped the court would make it easier to prosecute marijuana sellers using a medical marijuana defense. Still, Barankin added, the court's clarification was helpful.

The decision "expands the defenses that can be used for medical marijuana," attorney Maureen J. Shanahan told the Times. She represented Shaun Wright, the defendant in the case.

Wright was arrested in Huntington Beach in 2001 and charged with possession of marijuana for sale and transporting it after police found more than a pound of weed, a scale, and several baggies in his truck. During trial Wright's physician testified he had recommended Wright use marijuana for pain, abdominal problems, and stress. The physician also testified that Wright preferred to eat his medicine and thus required more than patients who smoked it. The doctor said Wright needed a pound of pot every two or three months.

Wright asked that jurors be instructed that he did not commit a crime if it was determined he was a legitimate patient, but the trial judge ruled Wright was not protected by the state's medical marijuana laws because of the large quantity and the fact he was transporting it. Wright was convicted on both counts, but an appeals court overturned the conviction, saying jurors should have been given the medical marijuana instruction.

While the state Supreme Court agreed that Wright should have been able to present a medical marijuana defense, it refused to overturn his conviction, saying the jury "found beyond a reasonable doubt that he possessed the drug with the specific intent to sell it."

The lesson for Golden State pot patients: Leave your scales at home.

Marijuana Bill Snuffed Out

Lansing, MI
United States
Lansing State Journal

THC4MS 3 face jail for helping Multiple Sclerosis sufferers

United States
Indymedia UK

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