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The War on Medical Marijuana Patients Continues...But Why?

Medical marijuana activist Dustin Costa was convicted in federal court last week and could now spend the rest of his life in prison. Costa’s was the first federal trial of a medical marijuana patient in three years, demonstrating that the feds remain willing to pervert justice and lie to jurors in order to undermine California’s medical marijuana law.

The defense was prohibited from informing jurors that Costa is president of the Merced Patients Group and that his 908 plants were unquestionably intended for medical use.

Meanwhile, further north, the Washington State Supreme Court recently upheld the conviction of medical marijuana patient Sharon Lee Tracy.

From Northwest Public Radio:

Even the majority justices say Sharon Lee Tracy is exactly the kind of person Washington voters intended to help when they passed a medical marijuana initiative back in 1998. She suffers from a hip deformity, migraine headaches and endured eight surgeries to repair a ruptured bowel and colon condition. So why was she arrested and convicted of growing marijuana back in 2003? Because Tracy had permission to use marijuana from a California doctor, but not a Washington doctor as required by law.


As I understand it, the decision is legally sound in that Washington’s medical marijuana law does require an in-state recommendation. Dissenting Justices argued that other medicines are available with out-of-state prescriptions, but to no avail.

Either way, there’s no excuse for sending this feeble woman to prison. I can forgive these judges for upholding the law as it’s written, but the prosecutors who fought this all the way to the State Supreme Court should be ashamed. Tracy should never have been charged in the first place.

I shudder to think that some smug DA walked out of court grinning after successfully convicting a woman with chronic migraines, a deformed hip, and a ruptured bowel simply because she tried to relieve her pain. Let’s hope the State Legislature moves to close this loophole forthwith. And if she’s sentenced to even a day in prison, let’s make some noise.

I understand that local officials are still coming to terms with the reality of medical marijuana. I understand that federal officials have painted themselves into a corner and will not now admit that they've acted in bad faith. I understand that people who've had the fortune of good health are sometimes challenged by the notion that a popular recreational drug also has unique medicinal properties. But I do not understand why resources are still being used to bring criminal charges against sick people. I just don't get it.

Can anyone explain why this is still happening?

Location: 
United States

Oregon NORML Associate Director and Webmaster Wins National Air America Progressive Talk Radio New Host Star Search Contest

Oregon NORML is proud to announce that our own Associate Director and Webmaster, Radical Russ Belville has competed in the finals in Washington, DC for the National Air America Progressive Talk Radio New Host Star Search contest and WON! This means that he will be hosting his own two-hour progressive talk radio show for Clear Channel and Jones Radio Network. He will be on nationwide (don't know how many stations, but certainly on Portland KPOJ and probably their website online) probably around late March or April. He included a major rant on the War on Marijuana in my third segment during the finals. You could tell they were uncomfortable with the subject at first, but he won them over with facts and logic. Ed "Big Eddie" Schultz was one of the judges (the tiebreaker who decided the 3-2 vote that won for me) and even commented how he gave a lot of good information about marijuana...even after his skepticism for Russ hitting on the topics of "God, guns, gays, and grass" that are so touchy in the heartland. Russ wrote: You can bet that I will be talking about the War on Drugs and spreading the truth about marijuana, but the show will be a whole lot more than that. This is really about personal privacy, states rights, liberty, and civil rights. From the War in Iraq to health care to the working poor to police abuse to gay rights to racism and so much more, I'll be covering it all. You may even be able to call me live. I can't believe this is all happening, and thanks everyone from Oregon NORML, the THC Foundation, and the drug policy reform movement in general who took me in and gave me focus for my energies and talents. Thanks to everyone who believed in me and encouraged me even when my self-doubts raise their ugly heads. We're all in this together and I will be leveraging the resources and expertise from all of you to help make our case. Great things are happening - momentum is with us... Just think, in Nevada and Colorado you could grab any random five voters and two would be for legalization of marijuana and three against. If two of us can just convince one of them... http://talkprogress.org/contestants/ Madeline Martinez Executive Director Oregon NORML
Location: 
United States

MI: Hearing on Medical Marijuana Bill Featuring Patient Testimony

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, the House Committee on Government Operations will hold a hearing on HB 5470, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, introduced by Rep. Lamar Lemmons III (D-Wayne County). The measure, similar to laws now in effect in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, would protect seriously ill patients using medical marijuana with their physician's recommendation from arrest and jail. WHAT: Hearing on HB 5470, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, in the House Committee on Government Operations. WHO: Scheduled speakers include: - Irvin Rosenfeld, one of five surviving patients still receiving medical marijuana from the U.S. government, in a program closed to new patients in 1992. Rosenfeld, a Florida stockbroker who suffers from a rare and painful condition called multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis, has been receiving government marijuana since 1982. - Rochelle Lampkin, multiple sclerosis patient and grandmother from Detroit, who uses medical marijuana for pain relief. - Martin Chilcutt, Navy veteran from Kalamazoo, who used medical marijuana to relieve pain and nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy. - Don Murphy, former Maryland state legislator; executive director, Republicans for Compassionate Access. - Rep. Penny Bacchiochi (R), Connecticut state legislator. WHEN: Tuesday, Nov. 28, 10:30 a.m. WHERE: Room 326, House Office Building, corner of Ottawa Street and North Capitol Avenue. For more information, please visit www.MarijuanaPolicy.org.
Date: 
Tue, 11/28/2006 - 10:30am - 5:00pm
Location: 
United States

Saskatchewan NDP Backs Legal Marijuana

On Saturday, November 18, the Saskatchewan NDP passed a resolution calling for removal of all criminal penalties for personal cultivation and possession of marijuana, and pledging to work towards implementing those goals provincially. The resolution was passed almost unanimously, with only two or three votes against out of 700 delegates. This is the actual wording of the resolution which passed: "BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Saskatchewan NDP support the federal NDP's call for a non-punitive approach to cannabis law, including elimination of all penalties for personal cultivation and possession by adults, and actively work to institute non-punitive cannabis policies at the provincial level." A similar resolution was passed by the BC NDP in February of this year. By passing this resolution, the Sask NDP are the first elected government in North America with a formal party policy supporting no penalties for personal cultivation and possession of cannabis. The resolution was written and promoted by eNDProhibition, a nationwide group of NDP members working to end Canada's drug war, and find better solutions to the health and social issues around drug use. See http://www.endprohibition.ca
Location: 
United States

Marijuana petition drive for 2008 ballot is under way (Detroit Free Press)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061127/NEWS99/61127028

Merced Pot Grower Convicted; Jury Takes Just Two Hours to Return Verdict; Medical Marijuana Defense Fails

Location: 
Fresno, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
Fresno Bee
URL: 
http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/14796.html

Video Offer: Waiting to Inhale

Dear Drug War Chronicle reader:

Many drug reform enthusiasts read on our blog this fall 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

Europe: Italian Government Loosens Marijuana Possession Limits

Acting on one of its springtime campaign pledges, the Italian government last week acted administratively to double the amount of marijuana one can possess without penalty. The change in the official interpretation of the law is expected to come into effect in a matter of weeks, and when it does, Italians will be able to possess roughly an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

The law actually specifies quantities of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Until now, one could possess only one-half gram of THC, or about a half-ounce of mediocre potency marijuana. Now, Italian tokers will be able to possess up to one gram of THC. (How this will work in practice is something of a mystery. Will people be able to possess more schwag than kind bud because the schwag contains less THC? What about hash, which is widely used in Italy? Will police officers carry portable chemical assay kits to assess potency?)

"I intervened so thousands of young people will not have to go to jail or suffer a criminal proceeding for smoking a joint," said Health Minister Livia Turco in remarks reported by Reuters. "This will not liberalize drugs but prevent and deal with those who use drugs. You can only fight drugs effectively by taking on the dealers and the traffickers and making an example of them."

Turco is a member of the largest party in the government, the Left Democrats. The previous, right-leaning government of Silvio Berlusconi had moved late in its tenure to stiffen Italy's drug laws, and the new government's move to loosen the marijuana law is part of what it has announced will be a major overhaul of the drug laws.

Praise, flak for NDP pot resolution (The StarPhoenix, Canada)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.canada.com/saskatoonstarphoenix/news/third_page/story.html?id=45d6d645-5d5c-42aa-a531-eb4fc8eed23e

Support for reduced penalties for marijuana offenses, poll shows (Arkansas News Bureau)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.arkansasnews.com/archive/2006/11/21/News/338587.html

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