Posts Tagged ‘ medical marijuana ’

Marijuana (Cannabis) News – 420 in 5 dayz!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Where is Florida at Right Now?

Day 42 of the 60 day Legislative Session brings a sense of anticipation. Last week four Republican Representatives said if the Florida Medical Association won’t get on board; we should go for legalization and they would support a system of regulation and control!

To those who have taken the time this legislative session to send an e-mail or make a phone call, I cannot thank you enough. Being so close to the process, spending every day in Tallahassee listening to the lawmakers, it is easy to see how much of a difference you are making. Lawmakers are getting the message loud and clear. Incoming Speaker Crisafulli assures me that reforming cannabis policy is a conversation happening at the highest level of Florida government.

The legislative process is slow and cumbersome. Just like it takes time to change the direction of a great ship; so it is with the moving the great state of Florida. I have come to believe this group of elected officials in Tallahassee is ready to right the wrongs of their predecessors, but it is a slow going. Nowhere is the law of unintended consequences more strongly felt then in cannabis policies; and many of our lawmakers get it. Where the intent may have been to protect the most vulnerable; the reality is those who could most use access to cannabis are made fodder for the criminal justice system.

Florida CAN has made the case for sensible reforms before the decision makers in our state. We have brought an incredible cast of characters to Tallahassee to speak on your behalf– and we are not done yet! This week, The Black Tuna Robert Platshorn, host of “Should Grandma Smoke Pot?” is joining me for a day at the Capitol.

Over the past weeks we have introduced lawmakers to senior citizens Cathy Jordan, Bob Jordan, John Chase, and Frank Dougherty. Most people have heard the story of Cathy Jordan, but few recognize the sacrifice Bob made in Vietnam. In March, Bob and Frank spent several days walking point for veterans in Florida. Florida is home to 1.6 million veterans. The VA – the only federal agency that practices medicine – has a directive allowing the use of cannabis where lawful under state statutes. John Chase of Pinellas has studied the harms of alcohol prohibition and used his time in Tallahassee to talk about the harms associated with this policy of prohibition.

Neill Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition joined FLCAN staff at the Capitol March 19th. Neill was on a two-week tour of Florida speaking about the unintended consequences of prohibition. Also representing sensible cannabis policies in Tallahassee that week was Ethel Rowland – woman of many hats; Jeff Borg – ACLU Board of Directors and Eric Stevens – FLCAN’s legislative liaison. Ethel and Eric bring great drug policy credentials to the table. Eric, a south Florida activist, was trained by American’s for Safe Access to advocate for cannabis reform. Ethel is a seasoned activist artist who uses her time and talent to expose the consequences of prohibition.

When we asked supporters to reach out to Representative Roberson, Chair of the House Quality Sub-Committee, more than a 1,000 of our supporters responded. Though he ultimately ran out of time for the workshop, when we cornered Representative Roberson he said if he had done a workshop on the “Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act” that would have been the only thing reported that day. While it works for me, apparently, what Representative Roberson is doing was bigger than our need for safe, legal access to cannabis without fear of a jail cell.

This past week, we asked you to write Senator Bean and encourage his committee to host a workshop to hear expert testimony on therapeutic access to cannabis. The Senator was on board to workshop the bill when President of the Senate, Don Gaetz, – Republican from Niceville, added a number of bills to the committee, putting ours off the agenda!

What did Don Gaetz think is more important than making sure people who may lose their life or their senses have access to cannabis? One bill making its way through the legislature deals with what color you can dye baby chicks at Easter.

Last week was a tipping point in the minds of many Florida lawmakers. Irv Rosenfeld, one of four surviving patients who receive cannabis from the Federal Government joined Cathy Jordan and the FLCAN team in Tallahassee. Tony Clymer of the Silver Tour and NORML of Florida was part of our team walking door-to-door with Eric Stevens, Cathy Jordan, Irv Rosenfeld and myself.

With the prosecutor accepting Cathy has a medical need for cannabis even lawmakers are beginning to wonder how we can continue to give cannabis to one man, Irv and deny it to Cathy.
There are still rules that will allow the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act to go to the floor for a vote this year, but the changes are slim. Once in a while, the long shot wins and we all love to watch the story unfold.

Even as I write, several opportunities still exist for us to pass a bill this session that will allow safe access to cannabis before November of 2013. Patients out of time cannot wait another year for lawmakers to find the will or voters to pass a constitutional amendment; they need access now without fear of arrest. Rest assured, FLCAN will continue to explore every avenue available to assure that those you love have access to this plant.

We invite those who want to be sure we get access to therapeutic cannabis to do more than just wait for someone else to act. FLCAN has provided you with all the tools you need to pass a resolution of support in your home town or county. Passing resolutions of support in Florida puts pressure on the state to create safe access but it also puts pressure on the Federal Government to untie the hands of the states hesitant to step outside federal guidelines on cannabis.

FLCAN has one more opportunity to move decision makers into championing our cause. Friday, April 19, 2013 the Republican Party of Florida is hosting a walk to raise money for the cure to ALS – Lou Gehrig ’s disease. For three months, Cathy has been a living, breathing example of a patient who may have a key to the cure.

You can be part of the historic opportunity to energize leaders of the Republican Party to take the steps necessary to give patients access to cannabis now! They can remove the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act from its committees of reference and send it to the Floor. It requires the will of the President of the Senate and Speak of the House to happen- they will not do this if they think it is safe to ignore this issue.

If enough people come forward demanding access to cannabis there is one last tactic the leadership can use to grant us immunity from prosecution while we create a system that allows therapeutic access. Lawmakers can create a committee bill that will strike cannabis from section 893 of the Florida Statute.

Everyone who can read knows cannabis does not belong in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act. This is it, with only days to go, activate your phone tree, share our messages with friends and keep those calls and letters coming!

This year I’ve raised the battle cry from Key West to Pensacola- “No surrender, no retreat” we are right and the people need us to stay the course. Victory is ours….

Jodi James, Executive Director

FLCAN continues to fight the good fight. Will you dig deep and make a contribution today to assure we can be a leading voice in creating responsible cannabis policies for Florida?

Posted by Jodi originally. 

Appeals court backs DEA, rejects pot advocates argument

Marijuana restrictions:

Anthony Bolante / Reuters file

A marijuana starter plant is shown at Canna Pi medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle on Nov. 20.

By Pete Williams, Justice Correspondent, NBC News

Advocates of looser federal restrictions on marijuana suffered a significant legal setback Tuesday, as a panel of three judges found that the federal government acted properly in refusing to loosen restrictions on pot.

Pro-marijuana groups and a disabled veteran who said it improves his medical condition asked the Drug Enforcement Administration to put marijuana on a lower tier of federal restrictions.  They said the agency was ignoring a growing body of scientific evidence that it has some medical benefits. When the DEA refused, they sued. Continue reading

A Note from HIGH TIMES’ Editor-in-Chief

A Note from HIGH TIMES’ Editor-in-Chief

by Chris Simunek

Wed, Nov 07, 2012 4:29 pm

 

 

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What a week this has been. For starters, as we were putting to bed our February 2013 issue (we work way in advance) featuring the2013 Hydro Report, Hurricane Sandy hit, and those of us here on the eastern seaboard were suddenly confronted with more water than any of us had ever seen before. Ironic? Poetic? Prophetic? While we were telling you folks how to grow pot in water-based systems, Sandy’s wind and rain took out lower Manhattan, as well as large parts of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and the Jersey Shore. It also took out the HIGH TIMES office for a week.

We learned our own lesson about water – that it has a will of its own and that too much or too little can be lethal for you or your plants.  After a lot of last minute scrambling, we had the issue ready to go.

But stop the presses!

On November 6, something bordering on the miraculous happened. Marijuana was legalized for recreational use in the states of Colorado and WashingtonMassachusetts became the 18th state to legalize pot for medicinal use, and folks in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Ypsilanti, Michigan voted to decriminalize. Continue reading

MMJ: Movement Symbols & Reclassification Actions

An Analysis of a Medical Marijuana Movement Logo

By: Regina Nelson

 

I was lost in downtown Denver searching desperately for the hotel where I was registered to stay.  As I attempted to make an illegal u-turn, I saw an apparently thriving new business (the parking lot was nearly full) in a converted 1950’s style gas station.  On this sunny spring day, the sun was shining brightly upon a brilliant white building with a large red cross painted across the middle of the building, but setting it far apart from the iconic Red Cross emblem was a giant green marijuana (cannabis) leaf right in the middle of the cross.  Any passerby could tell immediately that this was one of Colorado’s many medical marijuana (MMJ) dispensaries without even catching the name of the dispensary.  Not all dispensaries are this flamboyant in their presentation; most show no outward signs of the business that lies within.  Nevertheless, similar to how the golden arches represent McDonald’s franchises around the globe, most dispensaries use a signifier (i.e. logo) that identifies their business to new customers.  Again and again on websites, blogs, advertisements, and even as a backdrop to CNN and Fox News clips, the presentation of a red cross with a marijuana leaf at the heart of the cross is one of many symbols that have come to represent the medical marijuana movement.  This brief essay will be an analytical critique of this particular logo as a visual argument for the legalization of the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  The design of the logo is deliberate; the unauthorized use of an iconic symbol is an argument against the status quo of the ‘war on drugs’ and criminalization of marijuana in favor of an ethic of care.

 

 

(Unknown, 2011)

 

In contrast to the cannabis leaf which represents a counterculture with very limited power; the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who adopted the Red Cross emblem in 1863 during their first international conference, represents a social institution of considerable global power.  The goals of the conference committee who designed the emblem were to find a “distinctive” symbol “backed by the law to indicate respect for army medical services, volunteers with first aid societies, and the victims of armed conflicts” (International Committee of the Red Cross, 2011).  The design chosen that of a bright red cross met the primary objectives of being “simple, identifiable from a distance, known to everyone and identical for friend or foe” (International Committee of the Red Cross, 2011).  Since 1863 the Red Cross Emblem has certainly come to be universally recognized. Continue reading

Obama’s DEA Nominee Pledges To Ignore Administration’s Medical Marijuana Policy

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

It was a little over a year ago when the United States Department of Justice announced that it would back away from pursuing cases against medical marijuana patients and providers who are acting in accordance with state and local laws.

“As a general matter, pursuit of [federal law enforcement] priorities should not focus federal resources … on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana,” The DOJ announced on October 19, 2009. “For example, prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.”

Apparently Michelle Leonhart, President Obama’s nominee to direct the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, didn’t get the memo.

Speaking yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on day one of her Senate confirmation process, Leonhart pledged to ignore the administration’s formal medical marijuana guidelines.

Michele Leonhart one step closer to officially heading up the DEA
via The Daily Caller

[excerpt] Acting director Michele Leonhart is that much closer to officially heading up the Drug Enforcement Agency after successfully navigating a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

If confirmed to the position she’s already held for three years, Leonhart said she would expand the DEA’s anti-cartel operations in Mexico and continue to enforce federal drug laws in states where medical marijuana is legal.

… Perhaps due to the failure of Prop 19 in California (and despite the passage of medical marijuana in Arizona), Kohl, along with Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Al Franken of Minnesota, made no mention of medical marijuana. Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, however, made it his prime focus.

“I’m a big fan of the DEA,” said Sessions, before asking Leonhart point blank if she would fight medical marijuana legalization.

“I have seen what marijuana use has done to young people, I have seen the abuse, I have seen what it’s done to families. It’s bad,” Leonhart said. “If confirmed as administrator, we would continue to enforce the federal drug laws.”

“These legalization efforts sound good to people,” Sessions quipped. “They say, ‘We could just end the problem of drugs if we could just make it legal.’ But any country that’s tried that, Alaska and other places have tried it, have failed. It does not work,” Sessions said.

“We need people who are willing to say that. Are you willing to say that?” Sessions asked Leonhart.

“Yes, I’ve said that, senator. You’re absolutely correct [about] the social costs from drug abuse, especially from marijuana,” Leonhart said. “Legalizers say it will help the Mexican cartel situation; it won’t. It will allow states to balance budgets; it won’t. No one is looking [at] the social costs of legalizing drugs.”

It is shocking to learn that not a single Senator who attended the hearing, in particular Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, had the courage to demand that Ms. Leonhart respect the laws of the 15 states that have legalized the use of marijuana as a medicine. In the case of Sen. Whitehouse, his own state is now in the process of licensing state-certified marijuana providers and distributors; yet he appears to have no problem with the idea of appointing a federal official who declares her intention to put his own constituents in federal prison.

It gets even more disturbing. In the days leading up to Wednesday’s initial confirmation hearing, acoalition of advocacy groups — including NORMLAmericans for Safe Access, and others called on members of the Senate Judiciary to ask Ms. Leonhart tough questions regarding her public record, one that is incompatible with state laws, public opinion, and with the policies of this administration. Yet not a single Senator did so.

There is a growing divide between state and federal law concerning the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and it would only take members of the Senate — or Ms. Leonhart for that matter — a cursory scan of today’s google headlines to see it:

Prop 203 Passes: Medical Marijuana to Be Legal in Arizona
via CBS News

New Mexico approves six new medical marijuana producers
via The New Mexico Independent

Maine couple cleared to open marijuana clinic
via The Associated Press

DC revises medical marijuana regulations
via Comcast

As we’ve written before, as Interim DEA director, Ms. Leonhart has overseen dozens of federal raids on medical marijuana providers, producers, and laboratory facilities that engage in the testing of cannabis potency and quality. Yesterday Ms. Leonhart pledged to continue these actions — actions that violate this administration’s own written policies, and more importantly, actions that target the civilians of fifteen states and the District of ColumbiaThese people are the constituents of 30 percent of the U.S. Senate; yet not even one of these elected officials appears willing to speak up for them. That is disgraceful.

Want to write or call your Senator about Ms. Leonhart’s nomination process? You can still do so here and here.

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