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Marijuana Activist Wants Judge Off Referendum Case (Pennsylvania)

Location: 
PA
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Derrick and News-Herald
URL: 
http://www.thederrick.com/stories/08092006-3014.shtml

Medical Marijuana Patients Get Say in Counties' Legal Challenge to California Medical Marijuana Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ACLU, Drug Policy Alliance and Americans for Safe Access Step In to Represent Medical Marijuana Patients in Lawsuit SAN DIEGO A San Diego Superior Court ruled today that lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Safe Access and the Drug Policy Alliance will be permitted to intervene in a lawsuit brought by several California counties seeking to thwart the state's Compassionate Use Act, which makes medical marijuana legal for patients with a doctor's recommendation. The groups joined the case on behalf of medical marijuana patients and their caregivers and doctors in order to assure their adequate representation in the legal proceedings. "We look forward to the opportunity to stand together with patients in defense of the rights of states to allow medicine to those in need," said David Blair-Loy, an attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. "We are heartened that the court recognized the necessity of giving voice to those truly at risk from the counties' ill-conceived actions." San Diego, San Bernardino and Merced counties argued in a lawsuit filed in state court that federal laws prohibiting all use of marijuana invalidate state laws that allow qualified patients to use medical marijuana. The ACLU, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the Drug Policy Alliance (the Alliance) filed legal papers on July 7, 2006 seeking to intervene in the proceedings. "As the largest grassroots organization of patients, doctors and scientists advocating for safe and legal access, we feel it's critically important that California's medical marijuana laws be respected by everyone," said Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA. Daniel Abrahamson, director of legal affairs for the Alliance, added, "These county governments have ignored the needs of their sick and dying residents and the advice of California's physicians. By intervening in the lawsuit, patients will have the chance to confront their rogue county officials in court and defend the legality of the Compassionate Use Act." In addition to entering the case, the group's filing asked for a court order compelling the counties to abide by and implement California's medical marijuana laws, as well as an order affirming that the state's medical marijuana laws are not preempted by contrary federal statutes. The lawsuit, initially brought by San Diego County and later joined by San Bernardino and Merced counties, challenges state laws that permit patients to use, and doctors to recommend, medical marijuana under explicit exemptions from state criminal laws that otherwise prohibit all marijuana use. The counties' lawsuit further challenges the state's Medical Marijuana Program Act, which calls for the implementation of an identification card program that would allow police and others to more easily identify legitimate medical marijuana patients. The ACLU, the Alliance and ASA maintain that state medical marijuana laws are not preempted by the federal ban on medical marijuana. While the federal government is free to enforce its prohibition on medical marijuana, even in states such as California that permit its use, all states remain free to adopt and implement policies of their own design an opinion shared by the California Attorney General's office and the attorneys general of several other states, including Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon, that permit medical use of marijuana. The groups represent Wendy Christakes, Pamela Sakuda, William Britt and Yvonne Westbrook, Californians who use physician-recommended marijuana to treat medical conditions and their side-effects, including chronic pain and sciatica, multiple sclerosis, rectal cancer, epilepsy and post-polio syndrome. The groups also represent Sakuda's spouse and caregiver, Norbert Litzinger, as well as Dr. Stephen O'Brien, a physician who specializes in HIV/AIDS treatment in Oakland, California, and believes that many of his seriously ill patients benefit from the medical use of marijuana. In addition to being co-counsel, ASA is also a party to the proceedings on behalf of its membership, which includes thousands of medical marijuana patients, caregivers and physicians residing in California. The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM) is also represented by the groups. WAMM is a medical marijuana collective and hospice located in Santa Cruz, California, whose 250 members, the majority of whom are terminally ill, use marijuana to treat a range of conditions. The groups' legal papers are available online at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/medmarijuana/26090lgl20060707.html The ACLU's January 19, 2006 letter to the San Diego Supervisors explaining why California's medical marijuana laws are not preempted by federal law is online at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/medmarijuana/23565lgl20060119.html California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's opinion issued to the state's Department of Health Services affirming the validity of the state's medical marijuana laws is available at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/medmarijuana/21194res20050715.html Additional background on the case can be found at: www.aclu.org/drugpolicy/medmarijuana/23587prs20060124.html
Location: 
San Diego, CA
United States

My South Dakota Medical Marijuana Lawsuit Research

Our article about the South Dakota medical marijuana initiative and the likely lawsuit against state Attorney General Larry Long over what initiative supporters contend is his biased and possibly illegal description of the initiative that will appear on the ballot, got bumped this week, but we expect it to happen next week. I held off for a couple of reasons: First, the lawsuit has yet to actually be filed. Second, I couldn't manage to make contact with South Dakotans for Safe Access sole spokeswoman Valerie Hannah until Friday morning. Hannah, a Gulf War veteran who suffers from nerve gas exposure, will fill me in on what's going on Monday. We published the first story about the pending lawsuit last issue, beating the Associated Press, which came out with its own story Tuesday. While the AP explained that initiative supporters faulted the AG for his ballot language about doctors possibly losing their DEA prescribing licenses, it failed to mention the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Conant v. Ashcroft, where the court ruled quite clearly that physicians have a First Amendment right to recommend medical marijuana without administrative penalty. Conant is a precedent, but it is not controlling in other circuits since the US Supreme Court refused the Justice Department's appeal of the decision. That is the only possibly out for Long--his ballot language says "doctors may" face problems with the DEA. Yes, and monkeys may fly out my butt.
Location: 
United States

Patients Get Okay to Oppose County's Marijuana Challenge (San Diego County)

Location: 
San Diego, CA
United States
Publication/Source: 
North County Times
URL: 
http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/08/04/news/sandiego/21_03_458_3_06.txt

SAFER to Submit More Than 110,000 Signatures in Support of Marijuana Legalization Initiative

MEDIA ADVISORY For Immediate Release August 3, 2006 SAFER to Submit More Than 110,000 Signatures in Support of Marijuana Legalization Initiative Proponents to hold press conference immediately prior to submission on Monday Contact: Mason Tvert, 720-255-4340 DENVER - On Monday, August 7, Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) will file its initiative petition to legalize up to one ounce of marijuana under state law with the Secretary of State for approval for the November ballot. Prior to submitting the petitions, SAFER will hold a press conference in front of the Denver City-County Building at 11 a.m. "This past November the people of the City of Denver voted to make the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults under city ordinances," said SAFER Campaign Director Mason Tvert. "Yet our cowardly city officials blatantly ignored the will of the people and have continued arresting and prosecuting Denver residents under state law for making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol. We think that is wrong, and it appears more than 110,000 people in the great state of Colorado agree with us. "The unresponsive officials in the Denver City-County Building are responsible for this initiative, which will eliminate the law they are using to punish their own law-abiding citizens," continued Tvert. "So it is only appropriate that we kick off our official campaign right under their noses where they cannot help but sense the ire of those citizens they purportedly represent." Initiative petitions must contain 67,829 signatures of registered voters for the measure to be placed on the November 2006 ballot. What: Press conference to announce submission of signatures to qualify marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot *** Photo opportunity - campaign signs and boxes of petitions - weather permitting *** Where: Denver City-County Building, 1437 Bannock Street When: Monday, August 7, 11 a.m. Who: Mason Tvert, SAFER campaign director and head of the Colorado Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative Committee
Location: 
Denver, CO
United States

Marijuana: Seattle Hempfest Sues City, Art Museum Over Permitting, Access

Who would have thought the organizers of the Seattle Hempfest, the world's largest marijuana law reform rally, would have to take legal action against the progressive city of Seattle and one of its art museums? But that's exactly what happened Monday, when Hempfest announced it was suing the city over its failure to process the permit application in a timely manner and its failure to address transportation and access issues caused by construction at Seattle Art Museum.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/hempfest4-small.jpg
2005 Hempfest
The Hempfest takes place each year at Myrtle Edwards Park, a narrow strip of land adjoining Puget Sound just north of downtown Seattle. Access to the park is limited, and the Seattle Art Museum's ongoing construction at its Olympic Sculpture Park leaves only a 14-foot-wide point of access for the estimated 150,000 people that will attend over Hempfest's two-day run.

Hempfest organizers say they are running out of time and cannot wait any longer for permits and resolution of the access issue. The permit application for the event was filed on January 3, and the city should have replied within 60 days, but has yet to do so. Nor has it arrived at a transportation plan that addresses the crucial access issue.

"Since the late fall of 2005, Hempfest has been meeting regularly with Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and city officials to resolve all issues and allow adequate space for pedestrian access, as well as access for police and fire officials. Public safety is a top priority for Hempfest," organizers said in a press release announcing the lawsuit. "Construction of the Olympic Sculpture Park is in risk of jeopardizing public safety and depriving the public use of a major park," said Vivian McPeak, Executive Director of the Seattle Hempfest and plaintiff. "After months of negotiations with the City and SAM, I am confident that there is room for both the Sculpture Park and Hempfest," he added.

Organizers were quick to clarify that Hempfest will take place. Period. This year's event, set for August 19 and 20, features dozens of musical acts and speakers. This year's line up includes former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and Seattle City Council President Nick Licata (not to mention DRCNet associate director David Guard). Hundreds of exhibitors will sell hemp wares and dozens of organizations, including the ACLU and NORML and DRCNet, will recruit for their organizations and advocate an end to the drug war.

MPP Seeks Help Gathering Signatures in Missoula--they need 11,000 in three weeks

Here's the text of the email they sent out today: Help urgently needed to put marijuana initiative on Missoula County ballot Marijuana Policy Project grant recipient Citizens for Responsible Crime Policy (CRCP) only has three weeks remaining to collect signatures for an initiative that would urge Missoula County law enforcement officers to make adult marijuana offenses the county’s lowest law enforcement priority, and they still need 11,000 more signatures! If they don’t get your help collecting signatures, Missoula County residents may not have a chance to vote on the initiative in November. And Missoula law enforcement officers will continue arresting and prosecuting adult marijuana users. There was an arrest for marijuana-related offenses in Missoula every 33 hours last year. The government will continue wasting its time and your tax dollars pursuing non-violent adult marijuana users, unless you get involved now! There are several ways that you can help CRCP. 1) Sign up to be a petitioner. You can earn $1.00 per valid signature that you collect from now until August 24. You will be able to work with other CRCP petitioners and have the opportunity to meet people working to improve Montana’s marijuana laws. All you have to do is stop by the CRCP office in Missoula at Higgins Plaza, 415 North Higgins, #13, to get the necessary materials. You can also contact CRCP at [email protected] or (406) 721-3000, ext. 1420, to find out more information about becoming a petitioner. 2) Petition at the Western Montana Fair. CRCP will have a booth at the Western Montana Fair in Missoula from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. everyday from Tuesday, August 8 through Sunday, August 13. By working at the booth, you get free admission to the fair and $1.00 per valid signature you collect! If you want to help out at the fair, please contact CRCP at [email protected] or (406) 721-3000, ext. 1420. 3) Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to get involved as well. CRCP needs help from anyone who is able to help during the next three weeks. You don’t even need to be from Missoula. So, if you know anyone who wants to reform our marijuana laws, please let them know that CRCP needs them. This is your chance to be a part of major marijuana reform. Getting this initiative on the ballot in Missoula will be the first step to rethinking marijuana prohibition throughout the state. Let’s give Missoula County voters the opportunity to say no to the war on marijuana users! Please contact CRCP to get involved today. This alert is Paid for by Citizens for Responsible Crime Policy, Treasurer Paul Befumo, P.O. Box 8022, Missoula, MT 59807.
Location: 
United States

Mother Nature Implicated in Massive Marijuana Grow-Op

Your tax dollars at work:

From the The Norman Transcript
A call from a concerned farmer in southeast Norman led Cleveland County Sheriff's Department deputies and Norman police officers to a field of 8,889 "wild" marijuana plants growing on private property early Monday morning. The plants ranged in size from 3 feet to 9 feet tall and would have a street value of up to $1,000 each, or around $8 million total, if allowed to grow and be harvested in the coming months, said Captain Doug Blaine, of the Cleveland County Sheriff's Department.

Now I’m not surprised about the plants. Feral hemp, also known as ditchweed, is indigenous to the region. The shocker here is that these officers, in a fit of unbelievable idiocy, actually attempted to place a street value on it. Ditchweed doesn’t get you high! It’s as worthless as the dirt it was yanked from.

And so it appears we may have stumbled upon the most absurd over-estimation of a marijuana crop’s value in the whole stupid history of bored police officers over-estimating the value of marijuana crops.

But you can’t fault the “concerned farmer” who called it in. With Captain Doug Blaine calling the shots, I’d kill every plant in my yard just to be on the safe side.

Yet despite its abundance of ill-informed sensationalism, this article ironically fails to mention the real danger posed by the feral hemp plant. Any commercial marijuana growing in proximity to such a sizable crop of ditchweed stands a strong chance of becoming pollinated by its impotent cousin. The result would be hybridized marijuana of extremely poor quality.

Thankfully, marijuana enthusiasts and bored Oklahoma police can agree on one thing: the ditchweed’s gotta go.

Location: 
United States

Wild Weed Whacked

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
The Norman Transcript
URL: 
http://www.normantranscript.com/localnews/local_story_213003124?keyword=topstory

Seattle Hempfest Sues City and Art Museum

NEWS RELEASE July 31, 2006 Contact: Dominic Holden ­ (206) 877-2240 Vivian McPeak ­ (206) 295-7258 Event backers file suit against City; Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park named Permit application unprocessed, sculpture park construction plans violate law, organizers say SEATTLE ­ The Seattle Hempfest is filing suit Monday in King County Superior Court against City officials Ken Bounds, the Parks Department Superintendent, and Virginia Swanson, the Special Events Committee Chair, to compel the officials to create safe access to Myrtle Edwards Park and issue a Special Event Permit in time for the August 2006 event. The permit application, filed on January 3, 2006, was supposed to have been acted upon within 60 days pursuant to City Ordinance (SMC 15.52.060). Gary Keese of the Law Department and Virginia Swanson assured Hempfest that the permit would be issued, but they have failed to do so. The City still has not determined the transportation plan and other conditions associated with the permit. Hempfest organizers say that they are running out of time and cannot wait any longer for the City to process the permit application. The problems stem from the Seattle Art Museum's (SAM's) Olympic Sculpture Park (OSP) construction project which restricts the approach to Myrtle Edwards Park from Alaska Way and Broad St. Portions of the entry path are only 14 feet wide and other parts remain unfinished. OSP officials have refused to negotiate a traffic plan for deliveries through the construction area, and the entrance to the park is too narrow to safely accommodate the large volume of event participants, organizers say. The City ordinance, which specifically names the Fourth of Jul-Ivar's and Hempfest, that granted SAM the privilege of building the Olympic Sculpture Park on City property also requires SAM to "ensure safe public access over the Boulevard to 'Special Events' (Seattle Municipal Ordinance #121974 and #122141)." Since the late fall of 2005, Hempfest has been meeting regularly with Seattle Art Museum and City officials to resolve all issues and allow adequate space for pedestrian access, as well as access for police and fire officials. Public safety is a top priority for Hempfest. The annual political festival features dozens of musical acts and speakers. This year's line up includes former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and Seattle City Council President Nick Licata. Hundreds of exhibitors will sell hemp wares and dozens of organizations, including the ACLU and NORML, will advocate an end to the Drug War. The event has occurred annually in Seattle's parks every August and it has become a cherished part of Seattle's summer festival heritage. Hempfest is the largest marijuana law reform rally in the US and is expected to draw over 150,000 attendees over the weekend of Saturday, August 19 and Sunday, August 20. "Construction of the Olympic Sculpture Park is in risk of jeopardizing public safety and depriving the public use of a major park," said Vivian McPeak, Executive Director of the Seattle Hempfest and plaintiff. "After months of negotiations with the City and SAM, I am confident that there is room for both the Sculpture Park and Hempfest," he added. However, there have been other problems caused by the construction of OSP. In March of 2006, an OSP construction crane fell onto the adjacent railroad tracks, delaying construction and disrupting railroad service. This was the first year the Fourth of Jul-Ivar's celebration did not include any sponsored events at Myrtle Edwards Park. Late in 2005, spokespeople for Ivar's, hosts of the annual Fourth of July festival, announced that their event was permanently cancelled. The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported, "…it's become increasingly difficult to provide parking for the event staff and emergency, fire and police crews. And the temporary closure of the trolley along Alaskan Way will further constrict transportation to and around the event." "Those were the straws that broke the camel's back," Ivar's President Bob Donegan told the PI referring to the end of festival in the park, but Ivar's kept the fireworks display. In turn, the City had to foot a bill for thousands of fireworks revelers, who needed security, police and fire department officials, toilets, trash cans and other festival necessities ­ costing taxpayers tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Seattle Hempfest is a free speech and cultural event that has safely and successfully provided a forum for advocates of marijuana law reform since 1991. "Hempfest will not allow its First Amendment rights to be so limited," said Hempfest attorney Fred Diamondstone. If the lawsuit's filers win, the City must require the SAM to provide safe access to the park immediately before, during and after Hempfest. The region has shown favor to marijuana law reform by passing Seattle enforcement de-prioritization Initiative 75 in 2003 and approving statewide medical marijuana Initiative 692 in 1998. Seattle is recognized throughout the country as a marijuana-friendly city. ### The Seattle Hempfest advocates that marijuana be regulated like alcohol, adults who responsibly use marijuana not be treated as criminals, and non-violent drug offenders be given treatment rather than incarcerated.
Location: 
Seattle, WA
United States

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