Posts tagged ‘medicinal marijuana’

Obama’s ‘Change’ Not So Different from Bush Polices

Today, a federal judge sentenced Charles Lynch to one year and one day in prison (366 days).

Mr. Lynch legally distributed medical marijuana under state law in California. However, because he violated federal law, he was tried in a federal court. In court, he was barred from presenting the key evidence: distribution of medicinal marijuana in California is legal.

A few months ago, Attorney General Eric Holder revealed that the Obama administration would only target those who violate both federal and state law. Lynch’s trial began over a year ago, and Holder did not specify the fate of those whose sentences were still pending.

If the polices have shifted, what is the point of keeping Lynch in prison? In the future, people like Mr. Lynch will never even have to stand trial, let alone be sentenced (assuming the Obama administration honors this promise). Therefore, Obama should pardon Mr. Lynch,  just as Ford pardoned Nixon, relieving him from any criminal record or time in prison.

Call the White House Comment Line at (202) 456-1111 and tell Obama that you expect him to pardon Charles Lynch outright. Sample script below:

Hello. My name is ________ and I am calling because Attorney General Holder previously stated that the Obama administration would not punish individuals who distribute and use medical marijuana legally under state law. Charles Lynch was sentenced today to a year in prison for this very charge. While his arrest occured before Obama took office, I expect Obama to pardon Mr. Lynch to demonstrate his dedication to this change in policy.

(Note: While I respect NORML’s request that commuting the sentence would be acceptable, I disagree. Commuting just saves Lynch the prison time, but it does not acknowledge that conviction should never have happened in the first place. Therefore, I expect nothing less than a full pardon for Mr. Lynch).

June 11, 2009 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

First Medicinal Marijuana Patient Found

That’s what an article in the Journal of Experimental Botany seems to suggest. The cannabis was found in the Yanghai tombs in China, and the discovery was released in December.

Furthermore, according to ScienceBlogs:

Both the basket and the bowl were filled with vegetative matter – about 789 grams (~ 1 pound 11 ounces). Radiocarbon dating was performed and a calibrated date of 2,700 years BP was returned. Analysis of the vegetative material indicated it was Cannabis sativa. Furthing testing indicated it was psychoactive. As the paper points out, there are still some unresolved questions:

I’m not sure if it’s just my interpretation, but I feel as if that almost implies that they found a pound of marijuana in a tomb that predates the Roman empire, then sat and smoked it.

Regardless, the fact remains that medical marijuana is no new idea. All we’re asking is for the same medicine that our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great -etc grandparents had. Is that too much to ask?

April 5, 2009 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

Marijuana Tops Open for Questions Again

Open for Questions is open again, and you can ask Obama questions directly. Voting ends tomorrow morning at 9:30, and he will answer the questions at 11:30.

It should come as no surprise that marijuana is an important topic. Fifteen questions about drug policy reform are in the top ten of their category. That is, the top two questions under ‘Green Jobs and Energy’, the second question under ‘Jobs’, the top four questions under ‘Financial Stability’, and the top seven questions under ‘Budget’. 

Clearly, people understand that marijuana policy reform is important for a variety of reasons. Make sure Obama receives this message so loudly that he cannot brush the question off again. Vote now.

The current top questions per category:

Budget:

  1. “With over 1 out of 30 Americans controlled by the penal system, why not legalize, control, and tax marijuana to change the failed war on drugs into a money making, money saving boost to the economy? Do we really need that many victimless criminals?”
  2. “Mr. Obama, Thank you for allowing us to ask our questions to you, unfiltered. What is your stance on legalizing marijuana federally, taxing it and regulating much like alcohol and tobacco? I believe that the Drug War has failed, and needs overhaul.”
  3. “I am not a marijuana user, but I do believe that making marijuana legal could provide some relief as to it could be heavily taxed and regulated. Legalization of marijuana will also be a detriment to the drug cartels in Latin America.”
  4. “Have you considered legalizing marijuana and taxing/regulating it like alcohol? Marijuana is America’s largest cash crop. The tax revenue from marijuana sales would provide a massive source of new revenue and cut the insane costs of the “Drug War.””
  5. “Mr. President, we the people continue to ask you this general question, please do not fail to respond: Will you allow science and common sense to reign and end this failed WAR ON DRUGS starting with the legalization and taxation of Marijuana?”
  6. “Should the recreational use of marijuana be legalized and taxed if it will help California reduce its budget deficit? How will you and the federal government respond if such a law is passed by the California legislature?”
  7. “Are you willing to seriously consider the idea of curtailing the failed & expensive drug war in favor of a fair, responsible policy of decriminalization? With Mexican gangs, drug-related disease, & addicition going unchecked we need another solution.”

Green Jobs and Energy:

  1. “”Will you consider decriminalizing the recreational/medical use of marijuana(hemp) so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and a multi-billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?””
  2. “Has your administration given any serious thought to how legalizing marijuana could help solve the economic crisis? We could tax this green product and create an influx of cash while reducing violence created by the war of drugs & illegal trafficking”

Financial Stability:

  1. “Would you support the bill currently going through the California legislation to legalize and tax marijuana, boosting the economy and reducing drug cartel related violence?”
  2. “Has the administration given any thought to legalizing marijuana, as a cash crop to fuel the economy? Why not make available, regulate, and tax something that that about 10 million Americans use regularly and is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.”
  3. “Growing up I have noticed many around me always talk about legalization of marijuana, and I always thought, why not put a tax stamp on it. If marijuana was legalized it could really change a lot of things. America had the same problem with Alcohol.”
  4. “Could legalizing marijuana and laying a tax on it, given restriction allow the government make back some of the glaring debt considering it’s inelasticity and the history of economics of prohibition?”

Jobs:

  1. “As a student, who like so many others works full time and attends school full time, only to break even at the end of the month. What is the government doing to make higher education more affordable for lower and middle class families?”
  2. “What are your plans for the failing, “War on Drugs”, thats sucking money from tax payers and putting non-violent people in prison longer than the violent criminals”

March 25, 2009 at 6:43 pm 1 comment

Eric Holder Renews Commitment to Drug Policy Change

On Thursday, US Attourney General Eric Holder explicitly stated the Obama administration’s new stance on medicinal marijuana. While his earlier comment left some room for ambiguity, the new statement makes the chance in policy unequivocal:

“The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law, to the extent that people do that and try to use medical marijuana laws as a shield for activity that is not designed to comport with what the intention was of the state law. Those are the organizations, the people, that we will target. And that is consistent with what the president said during the campaign.”

For the time being, this will allow states to effect their own medicinal marijuana laws properly. However, because this is strictly a policy of the Obama administration, the goal of lifting the federal ban on medicinal marijuana remains important because future administrations could reverse this policy. Still, this policy change will facilitate the legislative change that needs to follow. This is a very important step in the quest for drug policy reform.

March 23, 2009 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

Clear the Road for Medical Marijuana Scientific Research

Poor Professor Lyle Craker. All he wants is a license from the DEA that will allow him to grow marijuana for scientific, research purposes. Guess what the DEA refuses to give him?

Craker, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, intends to use this marijuana for research – probably into one of its many medical uses, like the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, or Multiple Sclerosis. This isn’t news; he’s been asking for this permit for a few years.

Currently, all marijuana used for research purposes must be provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is a federally run organization. Recall what you may have learned Economics 101: if there is only one (legal) provider of a good/service, the situation is known as a monopoly. The NIDA claims that their supply is large enough, but people like Craker disagree.

The only way to advance the cause of medicinal marijuana is through scientific research (because  the 17,000+ existing studies apparently don’t count). And if research is blocked, then, well, we’re at a standstill – at least until something changes.

For this reason, the Drug Policy Alliance asks that you send a letter to ensure that Obama acts to protect scientific resarch. Full text of the letter after the jump.

(more…)

March 15, 2009 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

Illinois House Committee Approves Medicinal Marijuana Bill

Today, the House Human Services Committee in Illinois approved House Bill 2514, a bill that would legalize medicinal marjuana in Illinois.

The bill still has to be approved by both the House and the Senate before it even reaches Governor Quinn’s desk; however, this is the first of several important steps to enacting medicinal marijuana in Illinois.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who sponsored the legislation, said he wants to create a three-year test program allowing anyone with a “debilitating medical condition” to have seven dried cannabis plants and two ounces of dried usable cannabis to relieve the pain and nausea associated with conditions like cancer, HIV or Crohn’s disease. 

Help make Illinois the 14th state to enact medicinal marijuana legislation. Contact your state representative and tell him/her the following (by phone or letter):

 

Dear ________ (name of state representative),

I am calling to voice my support for House Bill 2514, and I hope that Representative______________ respects patients’ rights to well-being by supporting this measure. Cannabis has many documented medicinal properties, and people should have the option of this form of treatment for their ailments if they need it. I would like to see Illinois to become the 14th state to recognize that medicinal marijuana patients have the right to beneficial, prescribed medication, and I hope that Representative _________ supports this bill as well.

March 4, 2009 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Illinois Votes Tomorrow on Medicinal Marijuana

Tomorrow is a big day for Illinois. House Bill 2514 is to be presented to the Human Services Committee in the House.

And, in the afternoon, the Senate Public Health Committee will hold testimonies regarding Senate Bill 1381.

Both bills seek to establish legal medicinal marijuana within Illinois. While it might be a little late to send a written letter, it’s certainly not too late to call. Contact the appropriate senator/representative for your district. Here is a sample script for a phone call (remember to identify the correct bill – 1381 or 2514 – for the person you are calling):

Dear ________ (name of state senator/representative),

I am calling to voice my support for Senate Bill 1381/House Bill 2514, and I hope that Senator/Representative______________ respects patients’ rights to well-being by supporting this measure. Cannabis has many documented medicinal properties, and people should have the option of this form of treatment for their ailments if they need it. I would like to see Illinois to become the 14th state to recognize that medicinal marijuana patients have the right to beneficial, prescribed medication, and I hope that Senator/Representative _________ supports this bill as well.

March 3, 2009 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

State Medicinal Marijuana Laws to be Upheld

Is this too good to be true?

If this video is to believed, then no. It’s true. Eric Holder, US Attorney General, is on record saying that the DEA raids on law-abiding medicinal marijuana providers are a ghost of the past.

I like to think of myself as a ‘cautious optimist’ in these situations, so I’ll hold the champagne for the time being, but this represents a huge victory for drug policy reform.

Why am I being cautious? Partly because there’s some transition time necessary. Even though this theoretically was US policy at noon on January 20th, because the administration is in transition, it sometimes takes time for policy shifts to be reflected in action. (For an example, take the raids in California not a week after Obama’s inauguration).  That, and the DEA still does not even have a new permanent drug czar, so I am afraid of being a bit too presumptuous.

That said, I think that we can all congratulate ourselves for helping effect this policy shift. And, if you feel so moved (which I hope you do), please take the time to thank Holder for these statements (as NORML asks you do). Just as it is important to call/urge/persuade before the fact, it is also important to let officials know after-the-fact that we appreciate their efforts.

This also has huge implications for states like New Jersey, which is considering a bill to legalize medicinal marijuana at the state level. During the debate in the state senate on Monday, Senator Gerald Cardinale condemneed the bill, arguing that it condoned violation of federal law. This new policy removes yet another argument against passing such bills, which are also being considered in Minnesota and Rhode Island.
Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

February 26, 2009 at 3:46 pm Leave a comment

New Jersey Senate Passes Medicinal Marijuana Bill

Not ten minutes ago, the New Jersey State Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 119, the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. Archive footage of the proceedings is available.

Despite Gerald Cardinale’s preposterous arguments, at least 22 votes were registered in favor of the bill (21 are required to pass).

February 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

Script for Calling the White House

This is adapted from the email I received from the DPA (using their talking points):

Hello. I am calling because I just read that the DEA made several raids recently on medical marijuana patients and providers in California. I’m calling to urge President Obama to put a stop to this.

I know that President Obama said last year that, as president, he wouldn’t waste law enforcement resources undermining state medical marijuana laws.

And yesterday, spokesman Nick Shapiro reaffirmed that the President’s views have not changed.

I would like President Obama to uphold his campaign promises and stop the raids on medical marijuana patients.

The direct number for the White House comment line is (202) 456-1111, but it is often engaged. To be put on hold, call the main line at (202) 456-1414 and ask to be transferred to the comment line. You will be on hold, but not for too long.

February 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm Leave a comment


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