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Nevadans: Say no to pot, raise minimum wage, restrict smoking (Las Vegas Sun)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2006/nov/08/110810178.html

South Dakotans defeat medical marijuana measure (Pioneer Press, MN)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/15954962.htm

Looking Bad for the Statewide Marijuana Initiatives

It's just after 1AM Eastern time, and it looks like the Colorado, Nevada, and South Dakota marijuana initiatives are all headed for defeat. It ain't over 'til it's over, of course, but it's almost over. The South Dakota medical marijuana initiative is losing by 52% to 48% with more than two-thirds of the votes counted. The margin has been similar all night long. There's a slim chance late votes from Rapid City could switch the result, but we are rapidly approaching the point where it becomes mathematically impossible. The Nevada "tax and regulate" initiative is losing by 56% to 44%. I can't tell from the Nevada secretary of state's web page what percentage of the vote has been counted, but it is substantial, and the numbers have been in this range all night. The Colorado legalization initiative is losing by 61% to 39% with 47% of the vote counted. Both CNN and the Rocky Mountain News have called this election already. If these results hold, that's a big disappointment, although not a big surprise. There are other drug policy-related issues and candidacies to report on, and if you don't see me blogging about them here this week, look for the full breakdown in the Chronicle on Friday.
Location: 
United States

OR: First Public Meeting of the New Willamette Valley NORML chapter

The first public meeting for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws new local chapter is scheduled for Saturday, November 11, at 5 o'clock. The meeting will be held at Spencer View Family Housing Center, 2250 Patterson Street, in the Community Center The new chapter, Willamette Valley NORML, has several long-term marijuana activists already on the Board. The other organizations they belong to include The Drug Policy Forum-Oregon; Cannabis Liberation Front; Americans for Safe Access; Mercy Center-Salem; Voter Power; Media Awareness Project, Oregon Green Free; Compassion Center; as well as several long time National NORML members. The goals of NORML include changing the laws so every adult is allowed to make an intelligent choice between alcohol and the safer alternative, marijuana, for their recreational enjoyment. They all agree there should have been enough alcohol related deaths here to already prove that! The key speaker will be Anthony Johnson, J.D. Anthony graduated with both a political science ('01) and law degree ('04) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He was a founding member and treasurer of the SSDP chapter, treasurer of the NORML chapter, and president of the law school ACLU chapter. While still in school, he was Executive Director of the Columbia Alliance for Patients and Education (CAPE) where he co-wrote initiatives that decriminalized personal amounts of marijuana and allowed for the medical use of marijuana. The decry measure passed with 61% of the vote, while the medical passed with 69% in November 2004. Due to these victories, High Times recently named the University of Missouri-Columbia the third most counterculture college in the country stating that, "The SSDP and NORML chapters at UMC have accomplished more change in their local community than any other university organization in recent history." He then moved to Oregon to work on drug law reform, passed the Oregon Bar exam, practiced criminal defense for a year and is currently the Political Director of Voter Power. Come on out and hear Anthony Johnson, J.D. and others speak about why we need a NORML Chapter here, and our plans for the future, and a whole lot more. You'll probably make some new friends there too! For more information, go to: www.willamettevalleynorml.org Dan Koozer Interim Director Willamette Valley NORML Cannabis Liberation Front PO Box 10957 Eugene, Oregon 97440-2957 "Fighting For The Re-Legalization of Cannabis" UpcomingOregon events: Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards - Dec 9, 2006 (No Legalization Signs Allowed), http://www.ornorml.org/omca/ Emerald Empire HempFest-Eugene July 20, 21 22, 2007 - Free coming soon on www.oregonhempfest.com Watch EUGENE CANNABIS TV on Cable Channel 22/29 EVERY WEEK Wed 8:30 pm, Thurs 8:30am, Monday 11:30pm and Tues 11:30am, http://eugenecannabistv.home.comcast.net Try Search Survival Kits: Fix up your home and better handle your cash with Live Search!
Date: 
Sat, 11/11/2006 - 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: 
United States

Medical Marijuana: First New Federal Prosecution in Three Years Underway in California

The US Justice Department had not prosecuted a California medical marijuana patient since 2003, but that changed Wednesday as the federal trial of Merced County medical marijuana patient and provider Dustin Costa got under way in Fresno. Costa, a leading medical marijuana activist, was originally arrested on state charges, but Merced County prosecutors handed his case over to the feds when it became apparent that California's Compassionate Use Act would make it impossible to convict him under California law.

The last federal medical marijuana patient and provider trial in California was the Ed Rosenthal debacle. In that case, Rosenthal was convicted on federal marijuana manufacture charges after the jury was not allowed to hear testimony relating to medical marijuana. Rosenthal was convicted, but when jurors learned the rest of the story, many of them publicly denounced the trial and the verdict, and the federal judge trying the case sentenced him to only one day in jail.

In Costa's case, the 60-year-old retired Marine who headed the Merced Patients Group, a nonprofit cultivation collective, was originally arrested by Merced County sheriff's deputies when they raided a greenhouse he was using to cultivate marijuana for patients in March 2004. But local prosecutors turned the case over to the feds, and Costa was re-arrested on federal charges in August 2005. Since then, he has been imprisoned at the Fresno County Jail. If convicted on the charges, he faces a mandatory minimum 20-year federal prison sentence.

Costa now faces federal charges of cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm. As in the Rosenthal case, Costa will not be allowed to even mention medical marijuana or its legality under state law during the trial.

"Dustin Costa is a victim of the federal government's refusal to respect medical science," said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana advocacy group. "He and all the others being denied a medical defense at trial are the new targets in our government's war on patients."

Costa may be the first medical marijuana patient to be tried by the feds since the Rosenthal trial, but he probably will not be the last. According to figures compiled by Americans for Safe Access, at least 91 other California patients and providers have been arrested on federal marijuana charges and are awaiting trial.

In N.Y. City, marijuana is delivered (The Buffalo News, NY)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20061107/1069560.asp

Last Minute Lies in Nevada and South Dakota

Opponents of MPP’s ballot initiatives have resorted to making stuff up out of thin air. Not that they were telling the truth before, but they’ve achieved a new level of dishonesty somehow.

In Nevada, the ironically-named Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable has produced a radio ad saying that the law will prevent workplace drug-testing. That’s a great idea for a law, but Question 7 doesn’t do anything like that.

Check out this lively debate between Neal Levine of the Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana and Todd Raybuck of the Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable. When Levine points out that marijuana revenues currently support criminals, Todd Raybuck, a police officer, retorts that in his experience marijuana is usually exchanged casually between friends and family members, not dangerous criminals. Really, Todd? You’re making it sound like marijuana users are normal everyday people.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, MPP’s medical marijuana initiative is being attacked with stone-age rhetoric courtesy of Save Our Society From Drugs.

This prohibitionists' radio ad — which is airing around the state — lies to voters, claiming, "Smoked marijuana is not medicine. In fact, every major medical association has rejected this notion." This is blatantly false: The American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Academy of Sciences, and many others recognize marijuana's medical value.

I don’t know why they’re even bothering to lie about a medical marijuana initiative. The results are in on MMJ laws: they’re harmless. Beyond that, teenage use has gone down in every state that’s passed one. SOSFD should save their energy for when we come around trying to legalize crack, since they’re so sure that’s what we’ll be doing.

I’ve had friends tell me I’m crazy if I think marijuana will ever be legal in this country, but honestly I’m surprised that it hasn’t happened yet. I’m surprised that with so many problems here and abroad, we’re still finding resources to target healthy people who aren’t causing problems. I’m surprised that our opposition remains so confident that a massive permanent international war is by far the best option.

Clearly, the tiny fraction of human history during which drugs have been illegal has been remarkably tainted by unprecedented drug-related social problems, and it takes a great fool to call it a coincidence.

Tomorrow brings the possibility of unlikely but important victories, so with high-hopes and low-expectations I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Stay tuned.

Location: 
United States

Let's Not Forget Massachusetts

In our list of drug policy-related ballot issues last Friday, we neglected to mention Massachusetts. Voters in one district there will be voting on whether to instruct their representative to favor marijuana decriminalization, while voters in two other districts will be voting on whether to instruct their representatives to support medical marijuana. These local questions continue a process that began with the 2000 elections and have so far resulted in more than 420,000 Bay State residents voting to support marijuana law reform. Here is the info on the Massachusetts races: Plymouth, Massachusetts: In the 1st and 12th Plymouth Representative Districts, voters will be voting to tell their representatives to support decriminalization: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would make the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana a civil violation, subject to a fine of no more than $100.00 and not subject to any criminal penalties?” Middlesex and Norfolk, Massachusetts: Voters in the 7th Norfolk Representative District and the 3rd Middlesex Senate District will be voting on whether to tell their representatives to support medical marijuana: “Shall the state legislator from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would allow seriously ill patients, with their doctor’s written recommendation, to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for their personal medical use?”
Location: 
MA
United States

Cloudy Future For Marijuana As Medicine

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Associated Press
URL: 
http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/regstate/articles/4573036.html

Kelo TV Poll: Medical Marijuana [South Dakota, Losing 35% to 60%]

Location: 
SD
United States
Publication/Source: 
KELO TV Sioux Falls
URL: 
http://www.keloland.com/News/NewsDetail6375.cfm?Id=0,52188

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