Marijuana Policy

RSS Feed for this category

Feature: California Activists Look for Triple Play in November

Inspired by local initiatives making marijuana the "lowest law enforcement priority" in Seattle and Oakland, activists in three California cities -- Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica -- are busy working to ensure that similar measures pass there in November. Organizers in all three cities say their prospects for victory are good.

The three California local initiatives contain almost identical language and describe themselves similarly. As the web site for Santa Monicans for Sensible Marijuana Policy, the group running the campaign there, notes, the initiative "makes marijuana offenses, where cannabis is intended for adult personal use, the lowest police priority" and "it frees up police resources to focus on violent and serious crime, instead of arresting and jailing nonviolent cannabis users."

The Santa Cruz initiative goes one step further by establishing an official city position in favor of marijuana legalization. The initiative there would "establish a city policy supporting changes in state and federal laws that call for taxation and regulation for adult use of marijuana."

This year's batch of initiatives are a direct outgrowth of the 2004 Oakland Measure Z campaign, where activists organized as the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance (OCLA) managed to pass an initiative making adult marijuana offenses the lowest priority and instructing the city to advocate for the taxation and regulation of marijuana. While OCLA is not formally involved in this year's initiatives, some of its members, like Richard Lee of the Oaksterdam News and the Bulldog Coffeeshop, have helped bankroll the effort. Others, such as long-time activist Mikki Norris of the Cannabis Consumers Campaign and California NORML head Dale Gieringer have been instrumental as advisors.

"After our successful experience with Measure Z in Oakland, those of us from OCLA wanted to spread this around California to show broad support, so last year, we and California NORML sponsored a statewide activists' conference where we shared our Oakland strategy and looked for which other areas in the state might be amendable to doing something similar," Norris told Drug War Chronicle. "The political consultant we had used, Susan Stevenson from Next Generation, wrote a grant application to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) saying we were interested in initiatives or ordinances in five cities, and we got an MPP contract that provided basic funding. We still have to do more fundraising, but that grant made this possible," she said.

Following that, said Norris, the activists narrowed their focus. "We found people in what looked like good areas, and we raised some money to do polling to see if they were viable, we looked at the demographics, and we settled on these three cities."

Actually West Hollywood and San Francisco were also targeted, but in the former, a city councilman came forward with an ordinance that organizers could live with, and they dropped their initiative campaign. In San Francisco, city supervisors this week were moving toward adopting a lowest priority ordinance.

Organizers in the three Santas are hard at work now to ensure victory in November, they told the Chronicle in remarkably similar on-message terms. "It's looking very good here," said Sensible Santa Barbara spokesperson Lara Cassell. "We've been very successful so far, and there is no organized opposition," she told the Chronicle. "In fact, no one even bothered to submit an opposing argument for the ballot, which is fabulous. Santa Barbara is very friendly to our issue."

Sensible Santa Barbara was benefiting from the help provided by statewide activists, said Cassell, "but we are lucky to have a lot of people in the community here who support us. We feel very good about this. We are confident it will pass."

"Things are going really well here," said Kate Horner, campaign director for Sensible Santa Cruz, the group leading the effort there. "There is no organized opposition, although a few community leaders have spoken out against the initiative over possible costs. But those costs will be minimal," she told the Chronicle. "In Seattle and Oakland, they say the costs are basically a matter of photocopying charges, no more."

Unlike the Santa Barbara and Santa Monica initiatives, the Santa Cruz initiative goes beyond lowest priority language. "That provision would require the city clerk to annually send letters to state and federal government officials stating the city's preference for a tax and regulate model," Horner explained. "That would be our city policy."

Support for not criminalizing marijuana users runs high in Santa Cruz. In a poll done in November, more than 80% of people there opposed criminalizing pot smokers.

"That polling data gave us our mandate," said Horner. "It really showed strong support. Since then, it has just been a matter of building coalitions across the community. I'm confident the community wants to redirect resources from nonviolent marijuana offenders to serious and violent criminals."

"Things are looking good here," said Nicki LaRosa, spokesperson for the Santa Monica effort. "Our strategy is to get as many people involved as possible. There are lots of people here who have expressed support, and we are working on making sure we get the message out and get our voters to the polls," she told the Chronicle.

"We do have police opposition -- they wrote the ballot argument against the initiative -- but we also have a lot of community support. The police say marijuana is already a low priority, but the statistics we've seen show people still getting arrested. We want to send a message to Sacramento and Washington that Santa Monica is ready for the next phase of ending the drug war by deprioritizing marijuana offenses."

Santa Monica looks like the toughest nut to crack, said Norris. "We feel confident in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara; Santa Monica is where we are most concerned," said Norris. "We are expecting opposition from the police officers association. Santa Monica is a bit of a challenge. It is a progressive city, but it has also been undergoing a transformation in recent years with luxury hotels and property values going up. And unlike Oakland, even progressives seem to align themselves with the police in Santa Monica. The city is also very finicky politically and has a strong NIMBY component," she worried.

But Norris also noted that current political issues could have positive impact in all three cities. "These initiatives are especially timely as California is currently confronted with a severe prison overcrowding crisis," she pointed out. "It's time to reconsider who we are placing in these overcrowded prisons and to set priorities. We can keep building new prisons at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, or we can look at alternative policies that stop sending so many nonviolent offenders to prison. Cities and the state will certainly save money by not arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating otherwise law-abiding citizens to prison for marijuana," she argued.

And not only could the state save money, it could also make money by moving to taxation and regulation, Norris argued. "It's been all over the news lately that law enforcement is finding and uprooting thousands and thousands of marijuana plants grows on public lands with the street value in the millions," she said, alluding to the state's annual fall eradication frenzy. "It doesn't seem to be making much of a dent on the supply. The market in this state is huge. We could conceivably raise billions of dollars in revenues and help fund services if we controlled, taxed and regulated cannabis."

That's the not so long-term plan, Norris confided. "We want to set this up so on election day we can say that people across California want to stop arresting marijuana offenders and get the police to concentrate on violent and serious crime," she said. "We're hoping to get a big enough bounce off this election to either inspire another round of initiatives or go statewide," said Norris. "Our goal is ultimately to bring fundamental marijuana law reform across the state."

NEW NORML REPORT SUMMARIZES THE ROLE OF CANNABIS IN MODERATING DISEASE PROGRESSION - Review Of 120+ Recent Scientific Trials Reveals That In US, Politics Trumps Science

NEW NORML REPORT SUMMARIZES THE ROLE OF CANNABIS IN MODERATING DISEASE PROGRESSION - Review Of 120+ Recent Scientific Trials Reveals That In US, Politics Trumps Science September 13, 2006 - Washington, DC, USA Washington, DC: Recently published clinical and preclinical research on the therapeutic use of cannabis indicates that cannabinoids may curb the progression of various life-threatening diseases - in particular, autoimmune disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease) - according to a comprehensive new report published today by the NORML Foundation. The NORML Foundation report summarizes over 120 recently published trials assessing the therapeutic utility of cannabinoids for the treatment of fifteen specific disease indications: Alzheimer's disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, diabetes mellitus, dystonia, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, gliomas, hepatitis C, hypertension, incontinence, osteoporosis, pruritis, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, and Tourette's syndrome. "Despite continued political debates regarding the recreational use of cannabis, clinical investigations of the therapeutic use of cannabinoids are now more prevalent than at any time in history," states the report's author, NORML Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano. "In some of these cases, modern science is now affirming longtime anecdotal reports of medicinal cannabis users. In other cases, this research is highlighting entirely new potential clinical utilities for cannabinoids." Whereas initial clinical investigations into the therapeutic use of cannabis focused primarily on whether cannabinoids might provide symptomatic relief, investigators today are exploring the potential role of cannabinoids to inhibit the progression of several life-threatening diseases including cancer, Armentano says. "Arguably, this latter trend represents far broader and more significant applications for cannabinoid therapeutics than researchers could have imagined some thirty or even twenty years ago," he concludes. "Unfortunately, because of the US government¹s strong public policy stance against any use of marijuana, the bulk of this modern research is taking place outside the United States and continues to go unrecognized in North America. Nevertheless, the emerging body of clinical and preclinical work published over the past six years makes it clear that the US government's stance against the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids is based on politics, not science." Full text of the report, "Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids: A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 - 2006," is available online in HTML and PDF formats at: http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7002. For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Foundation Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500 or via e-mail at: [email protected].
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Marijuana: Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Kinky Friedman Says Legalize It

Independent Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman said Wednesday he favors legalizing marijuana. In an interview with the Associated Press, the musician turned author turned would-be Lone Star state governor said legalizing the weed would keep nonviolent users out of prison, adding that he would seek the release of those currently behind bars for marijuana offenses.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/kinkyfriedman.jpg
Kinky Friedman
"I think that's long overdue," Friedman said. "I think everybody knows what John McCain said is right: We've pretty well lost the war on drugs doing it the way we're doing it. Drugs are more available and cheaper than ever before. What we're doing is not working."

Friedman is running against incumbent Gov. Rick Perry (R), Democratic candidate Chris Bell, and Republican-turned-independent Carole Keeton Strayhorn, none of whom have called for marijuana legalization. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Friedman may need a massive stoner voter turnout -- he came in last with 16%, compared with 18% for Bell, 22% for Strayhorn, and Perry with 33%. There is no run-off election in Texas.

The humorist and raconteur's campaign had originally been viewed as a joke by most observers, but at 16% of the vote, Friedman can have a real impact on the race. And as the campaign heads for its climax, he has been articulating serious positions on issues like immigration (send 10,000 Texas National Guard to the border), crime (send $100 million to Houston to help police a city awash with Katrina refugees), and taxes (less of 'em).

But all seriousness aside, it is Friedman's comic sensibilities that have always made him stand out. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, he formed the outrageously named Kinky Friedman & His Texas Jewboys, featuring tunes like the "Okie from Muskogee" parody "Asshole from El Paso," the self-explanatory "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed," and the anti-semitism-confronting "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore."

And he's still got it on the campaign trail. "I just want Texas to be number one in something other than executions, toll roads and property taxes," he said. As for the possibility of losing: "If I lose this race I will retire in a petulant snit," he said. "I'm not going to go out gracefully, I promise you."

AP Interview: Kinky Friedman Calls for the Legalization of Marijuana

Location: 
TX
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/state/15511424.htm

Kohl Scores Easy Victory Over Masel (Wisconsin Primary)

Location: 
AR
United States
Publication/Source: 
Capital Times
URL: 
http://www.madison.com/tct/news/index.php?ntid=98656&ntpid=5

Heroin Lifers, DEA Pain Guidance, California Lowest Priority Initiatives

Those are the feature stories I think I will be doing this week. It doesn't always happen that way, though. Some readers may recall that I was going to do the Louisiana heroin lifer story last week, but I didn't manage to get ahold of any of the people critical to the story. I'm back on it again this week. Similarly, something may break during the week. This typically happens on Thursday, the day we're supposed to be wrapping up the Chronicle. I'll also be looking into the DEA's release last week of a new policy statement on pain management. Some reformers have hailed it as a victory for the movement, but others are not so sure, and neither am I. I'll be talking to a wide range of people who are involved in this issue to try to find out what this really means. Meanwhile, elections are only a matter of weeks away. I'll be taking a look this week at how things are going in Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Monica, the three California cities where "lowest law enforcement priority" marijuana initiatives are on the ballot. And, of course, there will also be the seven or eight shorter pieces we do each week.
Location: 
United States

Cannabinoid Chronicles, Volume #4, Issue #1

Location: 
Victoria, BC
Canada
URL: 
http://www.thevics.com/publications/vol4/VICSNews4_1.pdf

Premiere of Award-Winning Medical Marijuana Documentary & Debate in D.C. Sept. 13

Pulitzer Prize Winner Clarence Page to Moderate Debate Between White House Officials, Leading Reform Advocates CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications, 202-215-4205 or 415-668-6403 Jed Riffe, producer/director, "Waiting to Inhale," 510-593-6945 WASHINGTON D.C. -- Following the Washington, D.C. premiere of the award-winning medical marijuana documentary "Waiting to Inhale," Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page will moderate a landmark debate in which present and former officials of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will square off against the leaders of two organizations leading the fight for legal access to medical marijuana. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Address and ticket information is below. "Waiting to Inhale" examines both sides of the heated debate over medical marijuana in the United States. The film takes viewers inside the lives of seriously ill patients who have benefited from medical marijuana and examines the views of those who oppose the medical use of marijuana. The film has won numerous awards, including the Cine Golden Eagle Award, the Gold Special Jury Award from Worldfest Houston, and Best Documentary awards from the New Jersey International Film Festival and Eureka! International Film Festival. Following the film, Dr. David Murray, special assistant to ONDCP Director John Walters, and Dr. Andrea Barthwell, former ONDCP deputy director, will debate Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, and Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, in the first debate of its kind in Washington. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and nationally syndicated columnist Clarence Page will moderate. Filmmaker Riffe will also be in attendance. WHAT: Screening of "Waiting to Inhale," followed by debate on medical marijuana WHO: Clarence Page, David Murray, Andrea Barthwell, Rob Kampia, Ethan Nadlemann WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 7:30-9:30 p.m. WHERE: E Street Theater, 555 11th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 202-452-7672 For complimentary press tickets, contact Nydia Swaby at [email protected] or 202-462-5747 x104; requests must be received before 6 p.m. Tuesday. To arrange advance interviews with participants, call MPP communications director Bruce Mirken at 202-215-4205 or Riffe at 510-593-6945. 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. For more information, please visit http://www.mpp.org.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

CWA Joins Fight to Legalize Cannabis (Australia)

Location: 
Australia
Publication/Source: 
The Age
URL: 
http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/CWA-joins-fight-to-legalise-cannabis/2006/09/11/1157826868003.html

California "Campaign Against Marijuana Planting" Claims Record Number of Plants Eradicated

Location: 
Sacramento, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
California Attorney General's Office
URL: 
http://www.allamericanpatriots.com/m-news+article+storyid-15937.html

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School