tagged w/ marijuana legalization
New York's medical marijuana bill has already passed the State House and now has favorably cleared a key Senate Committee as part of the state budget.
Millions in license fees are at stake, but proponents say that's not the reason it should be approved.
This is coming only months after New Jersey passed a similar law. Patients suffering from neurological and muscular diseases report tremendous relief from smoking pot and as a muscular dystrophy patient, Rich Morosky told lawmakers it's a godsend.
Morosky was in Albany Tuesday describing life before marijuana. "I would literally have to straighten my arms out, untangle my fingers," he said. "Once I got up to therapeutic dosage in my bloodstream, it's not like I'm getting all wacky and having a good time. I'm medicated, and this medicine works."
With medical marijuana already legal in 14 states, opposition to the bill is weakening, but it still makes a lot of people nervous. "We've seen it in California. It doesn't work in California. We believe, I believe personally that it's a gateway drug and it will open up for more usage of marijuana amongst kids, and lead to further drug use across our state," said Sen Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn).
The New York law would limit prescriptions to seriously ill patients and there be no home grown weed. Licensed growers and distributors would generate $15 million annually for the state, according to the bill's sponsors who said the time has come.
"The New York Law would be the most restrictive of any medical marijuana law in the country," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).
Advocate Jim Miller said New York could learn from New Jersey's legislative experience. "How dare we ask sick and dying people to come and beg their legislators for relief they know could be had" he said.
The law, as written, would put the State Health Department in charge of the New York medical marijuana program. Opponents point out the Health Department has a hard enough time preventing Medicaid fraud without taking on a controlled substance.
- Article from CBS News.
http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2010/03/24/NY-Lawmakers-Mull-Medical-Marijuana-LegislationNew York's medical marijuana bill has already passed the State House and now has... more
MPP's Aaron Smith appears on CNBC debating prohibitionist spokeswoman Calvina Fay about the merits of TaxCannabis 2010, the initiative to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Cjkyg45j64MPP's Aaron Smith appears on CNBC debating prohibitionist spokeswoman Calvina Fay... more
MPP's Sarah Lovering appears on KTTV Fox in LA to discuss the reasons to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Today a ballot initiative, TaxCannabis 2010, was approved that will give California voters the chance to allow adult possession and cultivation of marijuana for recreational purposes. 03/24/2010
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97ajGkHgqOoMPP's Sarah Lovering appears on KTTV Fox in LA to discuss the reasons to tax and... more
"But not enough votes to override veto" - A bill to decriminalize possession of a quarter-ounce or less of marijuana won convincing support yesterday in the House with a 214-137 vote.
But the tally is about 17 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto promised by Gov. John Lynch.
Rep. Frank Sapareto, R-Derry, who voted for the legislation, said the state's marijuana possession law is harsh enough. The penalty is a $2,000 fine and a year in jail.
Furthermore, Sapareto said a conviction can close doors for young people, putting federal loans for college or military enlistment at risk.
"It's ridiculous," he said.
The decriminalization bill now heads to the Senate.
Sen. Mike Downing, R-Salem, a former state trooper and police officer, has yet to support a marijuana decriminalization bill.
"I haven't voted for it yet," Downing said. He doesn't see that trend changing.
Downing said his law enforcement background tells him marijuana use leads to harder drugs.
And, regardless of whether the state decriminalizes marijuana possession, it's still a federal crime, he said.
If the New Hampshire bill becomes law, possession of a quarter-ounce or less would be a violation, carrying a penalty of $200. Marijuana possession is now a Class A misdemeanor.
Matt Simon, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy, was pleasantly surprised with yesterday's House vote. The decriminalization effort is making headway, and many legislators support the proposal.
Two years ago, the House voted 193-141 to support decriminalization after the bill was rejected by the Justice Committee, 13-5.
This year, the bill received approval from the Justice Committee, 16-2, before the 214-137 vote by the entire House.
Simon doesn't expect the bill to become law this year but is not ruling out the possibility.
"We know the governor is against it, but we expect a fair hearing in the Senate," Simon said. "After three years in a row, we expect to be taken seriously in the Senate."
The governor released a statement yesterday reaffirming his opposition to decriminalization, saying he shares "the law enforcement community's concerns about proliferation of this drug."
"We should not make the jobs of parents - or law enforcement - harder by sending a false message that some marijuana use is acceptable," Lynch said.
The governor said he will veto a marijuana decriminalization bill if it reaches his desk.
Simon rejects the governor's argument.
"If he thinks people in New Hampshire should be imprisoned up to a year in jail for possessing small amounts of marijuana, we'd love to hear his explanation," Simon said.
Last year, New Hampshire's attempt to legalize marijuana for medicinal use fell just two votes shy in the Senate of overturning Lynch's veto. The House successfully overcame the veto.
Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana in November 2008.
Possession of an ounce or less is a civil infraction punishable by a fine of $100.
http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/files/images/JudgeMarijuana.jpg"But not enough votes to override veto" - A bill to decriminalize possession... more
Under the guise of concern for employees’ safety and health, employers demand the right to conduct drug and alcohol testing. Most use it as just another hammer to hold over workers’ heads.
Employers often try to divide the membership on this issue, since the overwhelming majority don’t drink or use drugs on the job. We can turn this around by pointing out, “Why subject the majority to testing if only a few people may have problems?” We then can unite the members around fighting for a no-testing policy. If it looks like we can’t win that, then we make the fight for the best, least harassing policy.
http://labornotes.org/2010/02/just-say-no-drug-tests-then-bargainUnder the guise of concern for employees’ safety and health, employers demand... more
NORML - With New Jersey recently becoming the 14th medical marijuana state, activists in marijuana law reform have been celebrating. After all, over 82 million Americans now live in states where medical use of marijuana is legal – that’s 27% of the US population! Last election, Massachusetts became the 13th decriminalization state, which means over 107 million Americans live in a state where possession of small personal amounts of marijuana no longer merit an arrest – that’s 35% of the US population.
However, after watching fourteen years of marijuana activism focused solely on those who use cannabis for medicine, I must warn activists that medical marijuana is not getting any better and the time for re-legalization of cannabis for all adults – even the healthy ones – is now.
Medical marijuana was a great 20th century strategy to get the sick and dying off the battlefield in the war on drugs. It was the perfect vehicle to enlighten the public, who for so long have been indoctrinated into the reefer madness that classifies cannabis like LSD and heroin. But in the 21st century the idea that marijuana is only a medicine is beginning to take hold and governments and voters are crafting ever-more-restrictive medical marijuana laws. For the vast majority of cannabis consumers this threatens to move us from the category of “illegal drug users” to “possessors of medicine without a prescription” – a step up, perhaps, but still left facing criminal prosecution.
CHART>>> http://stash.norml.org/wp-content/uploads/medipot-states-20101.jpgNORML - With New Jersey recently becoming the 14th medical marijuana state, activists... more
Over the past couple of years, the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles has exploded. Estimates vary, but there may be as many as 800 dispensaries currently open for business in the city of angels. An ordinance recently passed by the LA city council, however, is about to change all that. The new ordinance will force hundreds of dispensaries to close and all but a few to relocate. The goal was to bring clarity to the medical marijuana industry, but the only thing that\'s clear is that the transition process will be difficult. Especially now that the DEA has begun raiding dispensaries again, despite the promises made by the Obama administration. While federal, state and local governments struggle to make sense of medical marijuana laws, an increasing number of Californians support a completely different approach: marijuana legalization. Nothing more than a pipe dream? Maybe. But consider this: 56 percent of Californians currently support pot legalization, the same proportion of Californians who voted for the Compassionate Use Act, which legalized medical marijuana, back in 1996. Produced by Paul Feine. Shot and edited by Alex Manning. Graphics by Hawk Jensen. Hosted by Nick Gillespie.Over the past couple of years, the medical marijuana industry in Los Angeles has... more
We’re using MyBarackObama.com-Like Social Tools to Legalize Marijuana in the United States!
With this read, use your imagination as to how you can utilize MarijuanaLobby.com (with the same technical infrastructure) to greatly help Legalize Marijuana in the United States.We’re using MyBarackObama.com-Like Social Tools to Legalize Marijuana in the... more
Representatives from the CBS Corporation and Neutron Media Screen Marketing have rejected a paid advertisement from the NORML Foundation, the educational arm of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), that was intended to appear on the CBS Super Screen billboard in New York City’s Times Square.
The fifteen-second ad, which asserts that taxing and regulating the adult use and sale of marijuana would raise ‘billions of dollars in national revenue, was scheduled to appear on CBS’s 42nd Street digital billboard beginning on Monday, February 1, 2010.
Representatives from Neutron Media approached NORML in mid-January about placing the ad, which was scheduled to air 18 times per day for a two-month period. The NORML Foundation entered into a contractual agreement with Neutron Media to air two separate NORML advertisements, and produced an initial ad exclusively for broadcast on the CBS digital billboard.
Days after NORML’s submitted the ad, the organization received the following e-mail, dated February 3, from a representative from Neutron Media stated: “I just received word from CBS and they will not approve your ad. If CBS changes their morals we will let you know.”
NORML’s 15-second animated advertisement is available online here.
Commenting on CBS’ last minute rejection of the ad, NORML Foundation Executive Allen St. Pierre said,
“Major media corporations like CBS have no problem airing programming that allows them to profit off the public’s interest in marijuana and marijuana law reform, such as Showtime’s hit series Weeds and the CBSnews.com online series ‘Marijuana Nation.’
Yet these same corporate entities balk at airing media that calls on reforming America’s criminal marijuana policies – policies that have led directly to the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965.
How can advocates be expected to change these failed policies when those that control America’s airwaves refuse to allow them a public forum to voice their point of view?”
According to the results of a December 2009 Angus Reid survey, fifty-three percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.
St. Pierre continued: “University studies show that regulating the adult use of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol would raise over $30 billion annually in new tax revenue, while saving an addition $15 billion per year in law enforcement costs. The content of NORML’s ad is based on sound, readily identifiable data. Moreover, the message of NORML’s advertisement is supported by a majority of the public. CBS’ denial of this ad spot is based on the company’s political and cultural bias and nothing more.”
Last summer NORML entered into negotiations with CBS to launch a live Saturday night radio broadcast on the corporation’s ChatAboutIt.com talk radio network. CBS representatives initially agreed to the programming, but then abruptly canceled the contract after NORML had raised the funding to produce its first show.
In 2009, the NORML Foundation launched the first-ever nationwide television ad campaign calling for the regulation of marijuana by adults. The Foundation purchased over 7,700 ad buys on prominent cable networks like CNBC, Fox News, G4, and FX. The ad campaign did not air on any CBS-affiliated networks.
Last week, moderators of a February 1 live YouTube debate with President Barack Obama failed to ask any questions regarding marijuana policy, even though the topic was the top vote getter on the website’s Citizen Tube/State of the Union poll.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tqW9Kj8DVU&feature=player_embeddedRepresentatives from the CBS Corporation and Neutron Media Screen Marketing have... more
MarijuanaLobby.com seeks to unify American Patriots and Policy Makers Online in our continued efforts to legalize responsible Marijuana use for Adults and Research Science in America. MarijuanaLobby.com is the Grassroots Network: Our technology enables local-State Group Information-Networks to organize and aggregate fresh news and information towards local policy awareness and democratic action.
The sooner you become a MarijuanaLobby.com member the sooner you can start sharing your experiences about how unfair Marijuana’s reputation still is, and how America (you) ultimately support(s) legalization, because so many have yet to come out in support of it — but this is change, Social Change, Join Us — Help Change This!MarijuanaLobby.com seeks to unify American Patriots and Policy Makers Online in our... more
A pot-smoking parolee in Colorado faces criminal charges for allegedly offering a cash bribe to try to pass a drug test. Police said a 34-year-old man tried Jan. 3 to bribe a state worker to allow him to use a device called a "Whizzinator" to pass a drug test he had to take while on parole. The man allegedly said he had a medical marijuana card, though officials couldn't confirm whether that was true.
Colorado's medical marijuana law allows convicted criminals to get cards, but those on parole still must pass drug tests. State lawmakers are currently weighing new marijuana rules that would prevent people on parole from having the cards.
Prosecutors said the man offered a state worker $300 after the worker found him with the "Whizzinator," a device of tubing and heater packs attached to a prosthetic penis sold to cheat drug tests.
An arrest warrant affidavit reported by The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel Thursday said a caseworker became suspicious about his urine sample after he tried to block the worker's view while he was providing his sample.
When asked to raise his shirt and lower his pants, the man was seen wearing the "Whizzinator." The man allegedly offered the state worker $300, then $500, to throw away the device. The worker refused.
The caseworker took the device, and the man left.
That same day, the man called state parole officials and said he had panicked after smoking marijuana on New Year's Day, the anniversary of his father's death, saying he was "having a very hard time dealing with it."
The man now faces felony bribery charges and is being held in the Mesa County Jail. He was on parole for a 2007 menacing conviction.A pot-smoking parolee in Colorado faces criminal charges for allegedly offering a cash... more
You are never going to hear Barack Obama seriously address the issue of legalization of marijuana until it is more politically expedient for him to do so.
Look at health care “reform”. Candidate Obama promised all sorts of tough talk against the combined interests of Big Pharma and Health Insurance. When push came to shove, the healthcare titans got pretty much everything they wanted in the debate.
So, with public option health care a landslide issue supported by super-majorities of the American people, with health care a vital issue that directly affects nearly every American, with 47 million Americans going without health care insurance altogether, Barack Obama found the words of the health care lobbyists better than he heard the shouts of the majority of the American people.
Do you think he’s then going to react favorably to the cyber-screaming of 14.5 million American cannabis consumers demanding the same rights as beer drinkers, especially when the issue hasn’t even yet achieved full majority support in America? Most especially when those same health care lobbyists who killed bulk drug negotiations by Medicare and cheap drug importation from Canada don’t want to see people growing their own pot plants and cutting their demand for opioids, NSAIDs, and benzodiazapenes. And considering that health care lobby is joined by chorus of law enforcement lobbies protecting their jobs and Pentagon lobbies protecting their off-the-books cash cow.
So, no, do not look to Washington for any serious discussion on marijuana law reform. Barack Obama does not want to be “the Pot-Legalizing President”.
However, come November when Californians are voting to re-legalize marijuana and Democrats are suffering mid-term defeats, if following re-legalization California realizes an economic revival in cannabis while the rest of the nation struggles, and if Republicans do the smart thing and latch on to a naturally conservative issue of ending adult marijuana prohibition and start winning some seats, we could have a whole new discussion in Washington.You are never going to hear Barack Obama seriously address the issue of legalization... more
Once again, the President wants to know what you think about marijuana policy. His latest online voting forum is sponsored by YouTube, and you can submit your questions about marijuana legalization either on video or in writing.
Participants are asked to focus their questions on how legalization will impact the following areas:
Jobs & the Economy
Energy & Environment
Foreign Policy & National Security
After looking around a bit, I've noticed that some internet trolls have been attempting to disrupt the dialogue by submitting questions that have nothing to do with the legalization of marijuana. Some of the categories include a number of non-marijuana-related questions, so please click over there and use your up and down votes to keep the conversation focused by making sure the marijuana questions stay at the top in each section.
With all the problems facing our nation, obsessively discussing marijuana legalization on the internet is more important than ever. After all, if people get sick of hearing about this, there's only one way to shut us up.
http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/2010/jan/28/obama_launches_youtube_forum_on_Once again, the President wants to know what you think about marijuana policy. His... more
Recently retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray is on a crusade. You might think a conservative judge from a conservative county would advocate for the prohibition of marijuana, but – based on his experiences, he is adamantly pro legalization.
Witnessing first hand what he calls the utter failure of our current policies of drug prohibition – marijuana in particular – he cites unnecessary prison growth, increased taxes, increased crime and corruption, and loss of civil liberties as the unhealthy side effects of an anemic policy in need of drastic reform.
Regarding medical marijuana, he states:
“Does marijuana work [as medicine]? Well, there’s no direct evidence by a government study showing that marijuana is an effective medicine. And you know something? They’re right. However, it’s beyond hypocrisy for them because it’s the federal government that controls the marijuana. Numbers of reputable groups, the Centers for Disease Control, The University of California and others have requested to conduct the studies and they’ve been deprived of that authorization… The government affirmatively does not allow this research to take place and then they sanctimoniously say, ‘well there’s no research [showing marijuana is medicine]…’ it’s beyond hypocrisy, I view it as Chutzpah” (audacity).
A little more on the problems our government has created for medical marijuana research (source):
At present, the only way for medical marijuana to be properly evaluated by the FDA is for privately-funded sponsors to conduct FDA-approved clinical trials (like any other drug evaluation). [If any progress is to be made on the medical marijuana research front, we must first] remove the monopoly imposed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on licenses for the cultivation of medical-grade cannabis for research purposes. Currently, the DEA exclusively licenses the cultivation of medical-grade cannabis to the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), which primarily investigates only the negative effects of cannabis. This monopoly obstructs any investigation and research in the U.S. into the medical properties of cannabis and thwarts the normal drug approval process.
(Listen to Judge Gray speak on medicinal marijuana at link.)Recently retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray is on a crusade. You... more
There's a lot of misinformation blowing around out there concerning the medical benefits, and detriments, of smoking marijuana, but two UK researchers are making an argument for why you should perhaps pass on the puff-puff -- as well as why recreational use should not be outlawed in the future.
Cannabis has been shown through research to spur the brains of a susceptible minority toward long-term psychosis, particularly in young people who can significantly increase their risk of developing a disorder like schizophrenia. Findings like these often get a good deal of play in the media, not always accompanied by the key phrase "susceptible minority," fueling the Reefer Madness-like obsession with banning pot outright.
Amanda Feilding at Oxford's Beckley Foundation and Paul Morrison at London's Institute of Psychiatry argue that what's often overlooked is the kind of pot consumed, and that requires a more Mendelian approach to the problem. Your parents may have told you that the grass in their day wasn't as strong, while the old guy that hangs outside the grocery may hold the opinion that you just can't get the good stuff anymore. They could both be right. The problem is one of balance.
Street cannabis -- aka "skunk" -- has been selectively bred to increase the level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That's not news. But Feilding and Morrison point out that, in upping the potency through selective breeding, another important molecule, cannabidiol (CBD), has been selectively eliminated from skunk over time.
Research on CBD shows it to have an antipsychotic effect, the yang to THC's yin. So the selective breeding to make pot more potent has also made it more dangerous, throwing the psychotic/anti-psychotic balance strongly in favor of the psychotic. To boot, Feilding, Morrison, et al. have run some experiments administering THC and CBD to volunteers that bolster these claims, and they're setting up further research projects at dispensaries in California to further test their hypothesis, that pot bred to be high in THC but also in CBD would not have the harmful psychosis-aggravating effect of modern skunk.
The implications here, of course, are vast. First, Feilding and Morrison's work makes a strong case for the regulation of recreational pot market; as long as marijuana remains a black market good, growers will strive for a more potent product over a safe one, and if the psychosis issue is removed from the argument there's really little reason to keep pot illegal. But it also raises questions about the future of drugs, both legal and illegal. Can a Peruvian coca farmer selectively breed coca that is easier on the brain? Could opium farmers intelligently develop a pharmaceutical class of less-addictive opiates through unnatural selection? Can we employ Darwinian principles to bring illegal drugs safely back into the legal mainstream? It's enough to blow your mind.
http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-01/lack-balance-not-thc-makes-pot-health-riskThere's a lot of misinformation blowing around out there concerning the medical... more
(original post includes video interview with Tashkin)
For 30 years, Donald Tashkin has studied the effects of marijuana on lung function. His work has been funded by the vehemently anti-marijuana National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has long sought to demonstrate that marijuana causes lung cancer. After 3 decades of anti-drug research, here’s what Tashkin has to say about marijuana laws:
“Early on, when our research appeared as if there would be a negative impact on lung health, I was opposed to legalization because I thought it would lead to increased use and that would lead to increased health effects,” Tashkin says. “But at this point, I’d be in favor of legalization.
UCLA’s Tashkin studied heavy marijuana smokers to determine whether the use led to increased risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He hypothesized that there would be a definitive link between cancer and marijuana smoking, but the results proved otherwise.
“What we found instead was no association and even a suggestion of some protective effect,” says Tashkin, whose research was the largest case-control study ever conducted.
Prejudice against marijuana and smoking in general runs so deep for many people that it just seems inconceivable that marijuana could actually reduce the risk of lung cancer.
But that’s what the data shows and it not only demolishes a major tenet of popular anti-pot propaganda, but also points towards a potentially groundbreaking opportunity to develop cancer cures through marijuana research.
Over and over again, all the bad things we’ve been told about marijuana are revealed to be not only false, but often the precise opposite of the truth.(original post includes video interview with Tashkin)
For 30 years, Donald Tashkin... more
It is not often that I feel compelled to write to NORML’s membership and supporters regarding the day-to-day operations of America’s leading marijuana lobby group. Then again, in my tenure as Executive Director of NORML and the NORML Foundation, there’s never been a time like right now.
Over the past several months NORML’s public prominence and political influence has grown by leaps and bounds. As I write you today I’m reflecting upon two of the most significant – and productive – weeks in NORML history. As we close the year 2009 I am proud to say that NORML has galvanized its position as the leading marijuana law reform organization. Why do I say this? Take a look at the events of these two weeks late this fall, and decide for yourself:
-Marijuana legalization in Massachusetts? NORML testifies ‘Yes!’
On Wednesday, October 14, NORML’s Legal Counsel Keith Stroup and NORML Advisory Board Member Dr. Lester Grinspoon testified before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue in favor of House Bill 2929, ‘An Act to Regulate and Tax the Cannabis Industry.’ Members of NORML’s state affiliate, MassCann, also spoke on behalf of the measure, which was drafted by former NORML Board Member Richard Evans. The well-attended legislative hearing marked the first time that Massachusetts state legislators had ever publicly discussed legalizing marijuana, and the debate earned prominent media coverage throughout the state.
-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requests marijuana legalization debate
In May Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger publicly called for a debate on the merits of marijuana regulation. This October NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano and CalNORML Coordinator Dale Gieringer obliged the Governor’s request, and provided his office with a comprehensive action plan for regulating marijuana production and distribution in California.
-Obama to Justice Department: Back off on medi-pot prosecutions. On Monday, October 19, U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden issued a historic memorandum to federal prosecutors advising them to no longer "focus federal resources … [on those] whose actions are in … compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." The directive upheld a campaign promise by President Obama, who had pledged that he would not use "Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws." Ever since the President took office NORML and other drug policy reform groups had lobbied the administration to follow through, in writing, with this sensible policy. Tellingly, the administration’s decision was hailed by the mainstream media as a major step toward the enactment of marijuana liberalization in America. Not surprisingly, NORML representatives spent the days immediately following the administration’s announcement speaking with dozens of mainstream media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, The Associated Press, and The Christian Science Monitor, urging Congress to move expeditiously to make the administration’s policy changes into permanent law.
http://proudsmoke.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/legalize2010.jpgIt is not often that I feel compelled to write to NORML’s membership and... more