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This Man Receives 300 Marijuana Joints a Month From the Federal Government

Everyone knows the U.S. government hates medical marijuana. Still, most people understand that, illegal or not, marijuana is a very beneficial treatment for patients with certain conditions. But few people are aware that the federal government actually supplies marijuana to a small group of patients, while still claiming that it isn't medicine. These patients receive 300 joints every 25 days and cannot be arrested for possession anywhere in the country.

This video from last week's NORML Conference features Irv Rosenfeld explaining why the government grows marijuana for him:

Needless to say, words can scarcely describe the hypocrisy of growing marijuana for a select few, while arresting patients and caregivers for the same behavior. I've explained previously how the government knows perfectly well that marijuana is medicine, but if there's one single argument that illustrates this fact, it is that the government actually grows and distributes medical marijuana.

And while we're on this topic, it might interest some folks to know that the government's marijuana is terribly bad. Contrary to the popular urban myth, government pot has very low potency and it's full of seeds and stems. So don't be jealous of Irv Rosenfeld. He may receive huge amounts of free government-grown marijuana that he can smoke wherever he wants. But he also has painful bone tumors, and his free weed sucks.
United States

Only one month to collect 100,000 signatures in Michigan — please help!

[Courtesy of MPP] 

As I wrote you at the end of last month, the Marijuana Policy Project needs your help to place a landmark medical marijuana initiative on the Michigan ballot.

Landmark? Yes, because if Michigan voters are given the opportunity to pass the initiative in November of next year, Michigan will become the first state in the Midwest where patients will be able to use, possess, and grow marijuana legally for medical purposes.

And we can pass the initiative, because the only two public opinion polls that have been conducted in recent years show that between 59% and 61% of Michigan voters support the initiative. And this polling is accurate, because five out of five Michigan cities have passed local medical marijuana initiatives with an average of 64% of the vote since 2004.

I want to thank the 44 generous supporters who made a financial donation after my last message about this campaign. But now I need your help, too.

Would you please donate $10 or more today, so that we can afford to pay our hard-working petitioners who are working furiously to collect the remaining signatures that are needed to place the initiative on the November 2008 ballot?

Our petitioners have done a great job since we kicked off the drive on May 23. But, we still have work ahead of us: In the next month, we need to collect the final 100,000 signatures that are needed to place the initiative on the ballot.

Please donate $10 or more today, so that Michigan voters will have the chance to protect marijuana-using patients who have cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other medical conditions from arrest.

Fully 10.1 million people live in Michigan, so making Michigan the 13th medical marijuana state would provide a huge boost to change federal law to end our government’s persecution of medical marijuana patients nationwide.

If our hard-working petitioners fail to collect 100,000 signatures over the next month, the initiative will not appear on the ballot, and all the work we’ve done — and all the money we’ve spent — in Michigan will have been in vain.

If you live in Michigan, please volunteer to collect 100, 500, or even 1,000 signatures from registered voters over the course of the next month. Or, if you’re unable to do so, please donate $10 or more so that we can pay others to do so.

If you do not live in Michigan, please reach out across state lines to help make medical marijuana legal in the first Midwestern state by donating $10 or more today.

Please lend your support today — and do not delay. I’ll be grateful for anything you can do to help. Thank you for considering this request ...


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

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ASA’s Media Summary for the Week Ending 10/19/07

ASA IN THE NEWS: PBS Examines the California Quandary

The award-winning Public Broadcasting Service news program, the News Hour, did a segment looking at the policy contradictions around marijuana law enforcement in California. In addition to law enforcement officers, the program interviewed the acting Southern California Coordinator for Americans for Safe Access, Don Duncan, who highlighted the problems created for patients by the refusal of federal officials to work with California on protecting the health and safety of some of the state’s most seriously ill and injured citizens.

California Grapples with Polices on Marijuana
by Jeffrey Kaye, PBS NewsHour
Don Duncan, Americans for Safe Access: Right now, we have a situation in California and in Los Angeles where medical cannabis is legal. Collectives like this one are legal and tolerated. And yet, under federal law, all of that conduct is illegal. And it's very, very important that we harmonize the federal laws with the laws in the states that allow for medical marijuana so patients and providers and facilities like this can be safe.

VERMONT: Program a Success Despite Scare Tactics

As happened in California when the initiative came before voters, many in Vermont’s law enforcement community predicted disaster if medical marijuana were made legal. But in practice, the state has discovered that medical marijuana is in many respects no different from any number of other drugs available with a doctor’s prescription: diversion is not a substantial problem and police have little difficulty distinguishing between qualified patients and drug abusers.

Pot Fears Unfounded
by Brian Joyce, WCAX TV (Burlington, VT)
A little more than three years ago Vermont became the thirteenth state to enact a medical marijuana law despite strong opposition from law enforcement. The police predicted the law that permits physicians to prescribe pot as a pain-killer was just a pretext to legalize marijuana for everyone. Today a top cop acknowledged those predictions have been wrong.

CALIFORNIA: Implementation a Local Matter

The voters had their say on medical marijuana in 1996, telling officials to find ways to make it safely and legally accessible to everyone whose doctor recommends it. The legislature add its two cents in 2003, directing counties to help protect patients and caregivers from arrest by accepting minimum amounts they can grow and possess. Now it’s up to local communities to work out the land use rules for cultivation and distribution.

Council fine-tunes role of marijuana task force
by Cerena Johnson, Eureka Reporter
The Arcata City Council approved the creation of a working group Tuesday to identify guidelines for land-use regulations of marijuana grow houses and clinics.

OREGON: Bad Alternatives Drive Many Advocates

As much as opponents of medical marijuana try to dismiss it as people looking for an excuse to get high, the reality of patients who have undergone extensive drug therapies before turning to medical marijuana as an alternative is compelling. Not only does cannabis lack the unpleasant and often debilitating side effects of many prescription drugs, but its broad-spectrum therapeutic potential means many patients who turn to it can replace or reduce their use of multiple prescriptions. And the unique chemical profile of cannabis makes it far less likely to produce dangerous interactions with other drugs.

Group lights up in favor of medical marijuana
by Katie Wilson, Oregon Daily Emerald
Everyday people are destroying their bodies with perfectly legal and easily accessible drugs, says Sandee Burbank, executive director for Mothers Against Misuse and Abuse. MAMA advocates the Medical Marijuana Program primarily because it has seen people destroyed by pain when the medicine prescribed by doctors didn't work. Often, it made things worse.

OREGON: Medical Marijuana Cultivation Rules Under Discussion

How patients are to get the medical marijuana to which they are legally entitled is a problem for states that have passed laws removing criminal penalties. Oregon is not only trying to set cultivation and possession limits, but now the case of a theft from a backyard medical marijuana garden is raising questions about proximity to schools. One advantage of moving toward a system like California’s is that regulation and security for community dispensaries are more manageable than for widespread home growing.

Theft from medical marijuana grow near McNary High raises questions
by Jason Cox, Keizer Times (OR)
While still prohibited under U.S. law, an Oregon state ballot measure passed in 1998 allows people suffering from certain medical conditions to grow and smoke marijuana legally. Likewise, state law provides enhanced penalties for cultivating, distributing or possessing illegal drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. So what happens when statutes seemingly collide, such as a recent case where a certified marijuana patient was growing his crop mere yards from McNary High School?

Marijuana near school stirs former Keizer councilor action
by Ruth Liao, Salem Statesman-Journal
Former Keizer city councilor Chuck Lee has requested that city officials look into creating an ordinance that would ban Oregon medical marijuana providers from growing near schools.


Keizer May Intervene With Oregon Voter Passed Law
by Neal Feldman, OpEd, Salem News (OR)
Chuck Lee of Keizer, Oregon needs to mind his own business! This ex Keizer city councilman is all up in arms because a homeowner with a fence that borders McNary High School property is a fully legal grower for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) and was victimized by a burglar who stole some of his entirely legal property... harvest from the marijuana plants he grows for four program participants.

RESEARCH: Recent Findings Show Promise of Marijuana-based Therapies

The US government continues to effectively block American research efforts into the therapeutic potential of medical marijuana, but scientific advances elsewhere indicate that cannabis and drugs derived from it may have enormous potential for treating an astonishing spectrum of our most difficult and debilitating diseases.

Research Leaves No Cloud In Medical Pot Debate
by Paul Armentano, Hawaii Reporter
As the author of the recent publication, “Emerging Clinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids: A Review of the Scientific Literature,” I take umbrage with those politicians and law enforcement officials who argue, "Smoked marijuana is not medicine." This allegation -- most recently asserted on the DEA's new website - -- is false, plain and simple.

ASA BLOG: Comments from ASA Staff and Guests

ASA's blog is helping keep activists informed on the issues and events affecting medical marijuana patients and providers.

Patients Rally, Police Raid
by Don Duncan
On Thursday, October 11th, 300 medical cannabis patients and advocates rallied in front of the Governor’s office in downtown Los Angeles demanding that he stand up for patients’ rights and the will of California voters and lawmakers. Later that night night, the DEA and LAPD staged yet another raid on one of Los Angeles’ most respected collectives, the Arts District Healing Center (ADHC). Dozens of protesters turned out again.

California Weekly Round Up
by Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
Arcata City Council and Local Activists Reach a Working Compromise for Safe Access. Landlord Letters Come to Orange County.


Find out more about ASA at More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at

United States

New Study: Marijuana Might Cure Brain Tumors

One of the great ironies in the debate over marijuana's medical applications is that the drug may prove to be vastly more useful than many marijuana activists even realize. As the U.S. government continues to block medical marijuana research, scientists around the world are discovering new and exciting possibilities:
Investigators at Bar-Ilan University in Israel report that the administration of THC significantly affects the viability of GBM cells. Glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive form of glioma (brain cancer), strikes some 7,000 Americans annually, and generally results in death within one to two years following diagnosis.

"THC [is] an essential mediator of cannabinoid antitumoral action," investigators concluded. [NORML]
Or, in layman's terms, THC might stop tumors from killing people. Isn't that great? Now all we have to do is legalize it so people can cure their brains without fear of being raided by the DEA.

As evidence of marijuana's potential value in treating various cancers continues to grow, it becomes increasingly vital that we silence marijuana opponents who seek to prevent such discoveries from being made. The more helpful the drug turns out to be, the more deadly and foolish becomes the conspiracy to destroy its reputation and punish its users.

Is it really so difficult to conceive of the possibility that this plant, like so many others, exists for a good reason?
United States

Keizer May Intervene With Oregon Voter Passed Law

Keizer, OR
United States
Publication/Source: (OR)

Sponsor a medical marijuana patient today

John Lehman has suffered from AIDS for the last 10 years. The pain medicine he takes kept him unfocused and mainly in bed, keeping him from his work as a writer. "It was frustrating, to say the least, when vague thoughts of stories danced in my head and there was nothing I could do to put them onto a page," he says.

Luckily, John lives in Montana, where voters passed MPP's medical marijuana ballot initiative in November 2004. Since then, patients like John have been permitted to use and grow their own marijuana legally for medical purposes. However, with no income, John couldn't afford the $50 fee to register with the state's medical marijuana program and obtain the ID card that would protect him from arrest.

Fortunately, MPP was able to help. Through our medical marijuana scholarship program, we paid John's registration fee so that, now, he doesn't need to fear being arrested by state and local police.

Here are John's own words:

Fewer pain pills to pop plus using medical marijuana to alleviate my discomfort equals the opportunity to write again. Medical marijuana also stimulates my appetite when keeping my weight is threatened. In turn, this enables me to go out into the community and give back.

If anyone can help continue the phenomenal work of the Marijuana Policy Project by a kind donation, please do. Other patients like me need your help.

Won't you please help other low-income patients get the protection they need by paying a full or partial registration fee?

A donation of $50 will keep one patient out of jail in Montana or Vermont; a donation of $75 will do the same in Rhode Island; and a donation of $110 or $200 will do the same in Colorado or Nevada, respectively. If you can't afford those amounts, please give what you can.

After MPP's recent lobbying campaigns in Vermont and Rhode Island and our ballot initiative campaign in Montana, these three states now allow patients to possess and grow their own marijuana. But many seriously ill patients have little or no income and are unable to afford fees for the required state medical marijuana ID cards. In response, MPP created a financial assistance program to help pay the registry fees for patients who cannot afford it — and has since paid the registration fees for 90 financially needy patients.

Would you please sponsor a low-income medical marijuana patient today? Your donation can prevent medical marijuana patients from being arrested and jailed simply because they cannot afford to pay the registration fee.

Whether it's $10 or $1,000, cancer, AIDS, and other seriously ill patients are hoping you will give the most generous gift you can to help them. Please give now, while it's fresh in your mind. Thanks so much ...


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

United States

ASA’s Medical Marijuana in the News: 10/12/07

ASA ACTION: Patients Ask California Governor for Protection

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed his support for California's medical marijuana program, but activists want him to do what he can to stop federal interference. More than 300 patients and advocates attended ASA's rally at the governor's office in LA to help educate him on the importance of this issue. Letters of support came from Republican elected officials as well as Los Angeles City Council Member Dennis Zine and Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby. Local media, which reaches more than 10 million people, covered the protest extensively.

Marijuana activists rally in downtown LA, want end to raids
Associated Press
About 200 people on Thursday protested federal raids on cannabis clinics and urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to compel the Bush administration to back off. Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical marijuana group, said Schwarzenegger should coordinate with the 12 other governors whose states have legalized medical marijuana to send a message to Washington.

Marijuana activists assemble downtown
Daily Breeze (CA)
About 200 demonstrated outside of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office in Los Angeles, demanding he do more to end federal raids on cannabis clinics.

CA Marijuana Protest
KSBY - NBC TV 6 (San Luis Obispo)
Marijuana activists rallied today in downtown Los Angeles, calling for an end to federal raids on cannabis clinics and urging Governor Schwarzenegger to compel the Bush administration to back off.

ASA ACTION: Protests of DEA Raids Drawing Attention

Last week’s protest in support of a maker of edible cannabis products for patients got more attention this week. ASA and other advocates are denouncing the rash of recent raids on medical marijuana patients and dispensaries in California.

Advocates decry medical marijuana raids
by Michael Manekin, Contra Costa Times (CA)
The raid of a large Oakland-based manufacturer of cannabis-laced candy last month was deemed by the federal government as a timely victory in the war on drugs. But medical marijuana advocates pointed to the raid as further evidence that the DEA has escalated its attack on California's marijuana laws by targeting the most vulnerable medical cannabis patients.

FEDERAL: Another Dispensary Raided in LA

DEA agents staged another paramilitary-style raid on a California medical marijuana dispensary, seizing records, cash and marijuana, but making no arrests. Alerted to the raid by a network of emails and text messages, more than 75 ASA activists, patients and other advocates protested in front of the dispensary while it happened.

DEA Agents Raid L.A. Medical Marijuana Clinic
KABC TV Los Angeles
A loud protest broke out Thursday night when agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration raided a medical marijuana clinic in downtown Los Angeles.

ELECTION: Presidential Candidates Confronted on Medical Marijuana

The Republican candidates for President have faced tough questioning from medical marijuana patients in town hall meetings throughout Vermont. Mitt Romney was the latest, confronted by a young man who asked if Romney would jail him for using the medicine five doctors had recommended. The published reactions in two student newspapers indicate more politicians may consider whether their stance on medical marijuana can reveal things about their character that matter in the voting booth. All the Democrats running for President have said they would end the federal raids on medical marijuana patients, if elected.

Romney turns back on patient who asks about medical marijuana
by David Edwards and Muriel Kane, The Raw Story
At a campaign stop in Dover, NH, Mitt Romney was asked about medical marijuana by Clayton Holton, who has muscular dystrophy. "I have the support of five of my doctors saying I am living proof that medical marijuana works," Holton told Romney.

Dear Mr. Romney, will you arrest me?
by Mike Overson, Editor, The Eagle (College of Eastern Utah)
Over the weekend I was watching Fox News Network when a story caught my eye. Various people were interviewing Mitt Romney, republican presidential hopeful, when one man’s question caught my attention. The man asked whether or not Romney would arrest him as well as his doctors because of medical marijuana usage.

Hazy stances
by Amanda Lowry, Indiana Daily student
I personally believe that there should be a requirement that every politician who runs for public office must have smoked pot at some point. Even if that experience doesn’t make the politician want to legalize it, he or she will at least realize how dangerous it isn’t. My position on this issue was only strengthened this week after watching a CNN video of Mitt Romney, in typical 2008 Republican front-runner style, dismiss a multiple sclerosis sufferer advocating that medical marijuana arrests be stopped.

COLORADO: Caregiver Case in the News Again

A Colorado couple who helped better define the state standards for qualifying as a medical marijuana caregiver was back in the news, this time because state officials have failed to return their property. The couple was defended in court by Brian Vicente, director of the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access, a join project of Sensible Colorado and ASA.

Judge in medical marijuana case scolds state agency
by Sara Reed, The Coloradoan
A District Court judge in Fort Collins issued a strongly-worded rebuke today to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for not complying with a court order related to a medical marijuana case.

OPED: Patient-Advocate Confronts Naysayers

Many medical marijuana patients find themselves having to educate their friends, families and communities about their condition and why medical marijuana helps. Some become activists, like Lanny Swerdlow, and try to educate even those who are insisting that patients should be imprisoned.

Med marijuana opponent lacks facts
by Lanny Swerdlow, OpEd, Daily Bulletin (Inland Valley, CA)
Marijuana has been used as medicine for over 5,000 years by every civilization in human history. None has ever crumbled due to its use. Over the last 70 years, however, it has morphed into a plant so dangerous that America spends up to $20 billion a year arresting over 825,000 Americans.

EDIBLES: Another Medical Edible Maker Charged

The recent raid on a maker of edible medical marijuana in Oakland, following the recent federal conviction of another, has highlighted the issue of alternatives to smoking the drug. Many patients prefer the alternative of oral ingestion, either by way of baked goods or tinctures. California state law says its legal in all its forms.

Baker's pot bust bares legal clash
by Stan Oklobdzija, Sacramento Bee (CA)
Paula Brown used to be the Betty Crocker of medical marijuana in Sacramento. But about a month ago, Brown came home to find a cavalcade of police cars hauling away her marijuana plants and carting off her cooking supplies, down to the blenders and mixing bowls.

CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Implementation

While many communities have discovered that a regulatory approach to medical marijuana dispensaries can meet both the needs of patients and the concerns of law enforcement, some officials continue to be opposed. ASA’s report on why regulations work, and how dispensaries provide a crucial service to the most seriously ill and injured, can be downloaded at

Sheriff calls for halt of revision to medical pot ordinance
by Karen Holzmeister, Alameda Times-Star (CA)
Sheriff Greg Ahern on Tuesday questioned the proposed update of Alameda County's medical marijuana dispensaries ordinance and what the regulation is trying to accomplish.

D.A. recommendation: Ban Medical Marijuana
Fox News 58 Bakersfield
Proponents of medical marijuana were dealt a major blow Tuesday when District Attorney Ed Jagels recommended banning it across the county.

Oxnard expected to ban medical marijuana center
by Charles Levin , Ventura County Star
The Oxnard City Council will likely vote to ban medical marijuana dispensaries tonight, citing an unresolved legal conflict between state and federal laws.

ASA BLOG: Comments from ASA Staff and Guests

New blog entries from ASA staff and invited guests are helping keep activists informed on the issues and events affecting medical marijuana patients and providers

California Weekly Round Up
by Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
Hundreds Gather at the Governor’s Office Calling on Him to Stand Up for Patients’ Rights; DEA Raids Downtown Dispensary Following the Rally

Some Examples of Local Cooperation with the DEA in Arresting Medical Marijuana Patients
by Noah Mamber
So, think about this. Medical marijuana use and cultivation has been legal in California since 1996, but more than ten years later, there are still local law enforcement agents who refuse to follow state law.

ASA Files Amicus Brief in California Supreme Court
by Joe Elford
Since the passage of the Compassionate Use Act over a decade ago, California courts have struggled to determine what a person must do to establish himself as the primary caregiver for a qualified patient. In People v. Mentch, which is pending before the California Supreme Court, the Court will provide further guidance.

Obfuscation by Kern County Officials Means No Access for Hundreds of Area Medical Marijuana Patients
by Kris Hermes
In the latest saga of obfuscation by Kern County officials, District Attorney Ed Jagels has recommended the banning of dispensaries in the county.

Medical Marijuana Enters into Electoral Politics
by Rebecca Saltzman
Steve Filson, Democratic California Assembly Candidate for the 15th District, posted his candidate statement on Calitics yesterday.

Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Pres.) Ice Cold to wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient
by Noah Mamber
Wow, take a look at Gov. Romney’s cold dismissal of wheelchair-bound medical marijuana patient and muscular dystrophy sufferer Clayton Holton.

New Documentary Illustrates the Need for and Benefit of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries
by Kris Hermes
In a time of increased federal raids and DEA attacks on patients and providers across California, it is important to have educational tools like the new documentary, “Dispensing Cannabis: The California Story,” to illustrate the importance of understanding and protecting dispensaries as an integral part of safe access and the successful implementation of state law.


Find out more about ASA at More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at

United States

MPP's presidential work explodes in the news

The Marijuana Policy Project’s campaign to pressure the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana just hit a new level.

Check out this CNN footage of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) avoiding Clayton Holton, a muscular dystrophy patient in New Hampshire who has used medical marijuana illegally.

And you can see a fuller video clip of the encounter here.

CNN ran its coverage of the encounter over and over again on Monday, in addition to putting it on the front of its Web site, which led to the video clip becoming one of the most watched news stories of the day on

This led to ABC News putting the video on its Web site, as well as a raft of critical blog coverage, including this from Andrew Sullivan and this on Boston Magazine's blog, which starts with this ...

Don’t you hate it when reality comes barging into your ideological Neverland and mucks everything up? That’s what happened to Mitt Romney last weekend. At a campaign stop in Dover, NH on Saturday, the Mittster found himself confronted by Clayton Holton, an 80-pound man stricken with muscular dystrophy who says he is “living proof medical marijuana works.” Romney wasn’t having any of it ...

Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana is MPP's nine-month campaign to pressure the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to take strong, public, positive positions on medical marijuana in advance of the New Hampshire primary — the first in the nation — expected to be no later than January 8, 2008.

Would you please consider funding our pressure tactics in New Hampshire?

And the fallout from our confrontation with U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) keeps getting worse for him. On September 30, he rudely dismissed Linda Macia, a New Hampshire resident with multiple sclerosis, by arguing that the government isn’t arresting “the dead” for medical marijuana.

We featured the video coverage of this encounter in an e-mail alert to you on October 4. But check out this column in Sunday's Chicago Tribune, which blasts McCain for his heartlessness.

We have awarded McCain, Romney, and four other Republican presidential candidates a grade of “F” for their inhumane stances on medical marijuana. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve awarded two Republican candidates — Congressmen Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) — “A+” grades.

And, of course, our campaign has already succeeded in getting all eight Democratic presidential candidates to speak out in favor of ending the federal arrests of medical marijuana patients in the 12 states where medical marijuana is legal under state law.

Please visit for our complete voting guide. You'll find statements from each of the candidates, as well as a grade for each.

MPP is the only drug policy reform organization that’s systematically influencing the presidential candidates to take positive positions on medical marijuana — and punishing those who don’t. Would you please consider making a donation in support of our work today?

Thank you,

Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $3.0 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2007. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

United States

The Truth About Why Republican Candidates Oppose Medical Marijuana

McCain, Giuliani, and Romney have all attracted unwanted attention this week with their pledge to continue the federal government's unpopular war on medical marijuana patients and providers. The question is "why?" Everyone knows mainstream republican politicians are often a tough sell when it comes to drug policy reform, but given massive public support for medical marijuana, their callous position appears politically unwise and thus more difficult to explain.

First, it helps to clarify how narrow and simplistic their argument really is. The McCain/Giuliani/Romney consensus on medical marijuana is grounded in the claim that "other medications" are available and should be used instead. This one argument virtually encompasses the totality of their opposition to medical marijuana. It is their only talking point, which is why they move on quickly to the next topic after saying it.

Still, I don't believe this argument actually tells us very much about their true motivations. When Mitt Romney recommends "synthetic marijuana" to a wheelchair-bound patient, it becomes clear that he understands the medical efficacy of the drug. Indeed, these "other medications" are often derived from synthetic cannabinoids, so the debate is clearly not over whether marijuana has medical properties. We've moved beyond that, thankfully.

At this point, it becomes a question of how patients should be acquiring and administering their medicine. Giuliani and Romney both faltered when the patients they encountered explained that they were allergic to pharmaceutical alternatives to marijuana. If they take these patients at their word, they must then confront the insufficiency of these drugs and recognize the unique predicament in which certain patients find themselves. Perhaps this new information will sink in, but that is all beside the point.

Ultimately, McCain, Giuliani, and Romney have access to all the same facts about medical marijuana as everyone else. Their problem is not a misunderstanding of the issue. They've met and spoken with the patients. They know doctors are recommending it. Their real concerns have nothing whatsoever to do with the medical efficacy of marijuana. They are worried about something else entirely:
"But having legalized marijuana is in my view an effort by a very committed few to try to get marijuana out in the public and to ultimately legalize marijuana. It's the wrong way to go." – Mitt Romney

"I believe the effort to try and make marijuana available for medical uses is really a way to legalize it. There's no reason for it." – Rudy Giuliani

This tells us everything there is to know about opposition to medical marijuana from republican presidential candidates, and for that matter, the Drug Czar himself. The whole anti-medical marijuana machine is merely a conspiracy to prevent the outright legalization of marijuana. Its adherents are fearful that telling the truth about the drug's medical value will pave the way for a shift in public attitudes about marijuana in general. They dread the "marijuana lobby" and will concede nothing to it, even if doing so forces them to take unpopular and transparently flawed positions on medical use.

Cynically, they focus on the role of marijuana legalization advocates in promoting medical access, while ignoring the much larger constituency of medical marijuana supporters who don’t advocate recreational legalization. That is why support for medical marijuana from mainstream organizations such as the American Nurses Association and the American Public Health Association is ignored, while the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project's position is cited routinely.

Of course, when the truth about medical marijuana becomes a political hostage in the broader legalization debate, it is legitimate patients rather than marijuana activists who suffer the consequences. Fortunately, the rise of internet video has given voters a front row seat in this enduring and increasingly ugly debate. The next victims in the war on medical marijuana may be those candidates who would sacrifice the seriously ill to drug war politics.

(This blog post was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

United States

Press Release: Hundreds to Rally in LA, Urge Governor to End Federal Medical Marijuana Raids

MEDIA ADVISORY from Americans for Safe Access For Immediate Release: October 9, 2007 Hundreds to Rally in LA, Urge Governor to End Federal Medical Marijuana Raids Republican elected officials speak out against federal attempts to undermine state law Los Angeles, CA -- Hundreds of patients and advocates are expected to rally in front of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Los Angeles office on Thursday, October 11, calling on him to stand up for patients' rights and defend the state's medical marijuana law by urging the Bush Administration to end the raids on patients and providers. The rally is being organized by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national medical cannabis (marijuana) advocacy organization. What: Hundreds rally to call on Governor to "Stand Up for Patients' Rights" When: Thursday, October 11 at Noon Where: Los Angeles office of Governor Schwarzenegger, 300 South Spring St. Who: Statements from Los Angeles City Councilmember and former LAPD officer Dennis Zine, and Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby; as well as the following speakers: medical marijuana patient and U.S. Supreme Court plaintiff Angel Raich; raided dispensary operator and advocate Don Duncan; recently raided edible-producer Michael Martin. ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer will MC the event Responding to recent federal enforcement of medical marijuana, Los Angeles Councilmember and former police officer Dennis Zine said in a July 2007 letter to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Karen Tandy that, "Voters in California and in Los Angeles support the medical use of cannabis and want safe, well-regulated access. Medical cannabis facilities are a community based response to the need for safe access and represent the State of California's effort to fully implement California's medical cannabis law." Patients and advocates, angered by increased federal attacks on medical marijuana patients and providers, are calling on Governor Schwarzenegger to take action to end interference by the federal government in the state's medical marijuana law. Paramilitary-style raids by the DEA have become routine since the June 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Gonzales v. Raich, which gave the federal government the discretion to arrest and prosecute patients. However, this year the DEA has conducted at least 44 separate raids of patients and providers, more than twice that of the prior two years. Illustrating the breadth of these attacks, the DEA has conducted raids in no less than 10 counties across the state and has shut down entire regions of access to medical marijuana. Bringing a new dimension to the federal effort to undermine state law, letters were recently sent to more than 150 landlords in California, threatening asset forfeiture and criminal prosecution if they continued to lease to medical marijuana providers. By contrast, the state has had its share of success in implementing Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act. After Governor Davis signed SB 420, the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA), into law in 2003, Governor Schwarzenegger allocated more than $1 million to establish a statewide ID card program. In addition, more than 30 California cities and counties have adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis dispensaries, which are now required to pay sales tax to the State Board of Equalization. "We cannot continue to effectively implement state law with this level of federal interference," said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. "It is time for the Governor to hold the Bush Administration accountable for its actions and to fend off federal attacks so that we can avert further harm to patients." The October 11 rally will culminate weeks of advocacy that resulted in more than 40,000 postcards sent to the Governor, as well as hundreds of phone calls and emails, all urging him to take action to defend patients' rights. In addition to calling on the Governor to end the federal raids on patients and providers, advocates are seeking a directive from the Governor to local law enforcement discouraging cooperation with federal raids. Advocates are also urging Schwarzenegger to solicit support from Governors of other medical marijuana states in order to ward off federal interference. In August, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson sent a letter to President Bush after the DEA threatened state officials with criminal prosecution if they implemented the state-mandated medical cannabis distribution system. *Further information:* One-pager on escalation of federal attacks: One-pager on requests of Governor Schwarzenegger: One-pager on benefits of dispensaries: August 2007 letter from NM Governor Richardson to President Bush: Speaker biographies:
Los Angeles, CA
United States

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