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The Best Place in the World to Buy Marijuana

When it comes to reforming marijuana laws, one of our greatest remaining obstacles is the fact that many people just can’t picture what a sensible marijuana policy would look like. The reformer's utopian view of a regulated marijuana economy operates in stark contrast to the pungent smoldering apocalypse that exists in the nightmares of our opposition. It's like we're not even speaking the same language.

So I'd like to share a vision of what is possible when cannabis is provided by responsible people:

It's a triumphant statement that cannabis, like other valued commodities, can be handled with accountability to the consumer and the public. So much of the ugliness that clouds this issue (drug gangs, violence, environmental harm) is just a symptom of our failure to let the best people supervise it. Through regulation, we encourage responsible business practices and create an environment in which providers will constantly strive to maintain a healthy relationship with their community.

The time has come for opponents of legalization to stop obstructing reform and start actively participating in it. Once it's understood that marijuana laws are changing, we must all begin working together to develop a system that addresses as many different concerns as possible. Instead of trying to block any form of legalization, skeptics should be thinking about what distribution model they'd be most comfortable with. The excellent example depicted above can be replicated elsewhere, but only if everyone works together instead of fighting it out to the bitter end.

This is what real drug control looks like and there's nothing here for anyone to be afraid of.

Medical Marijuana: New Hampshire Veto Override Falls Two Votes Short

Three months after New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D) vetoed a medical marijuana bill, bill supporters attempting to override the veto came up one vote short in the state Senate Wednesday. A two-thirds majority was required to override. The override effort had successfully passed the House earlier in the day.
almost but not quite at the New Hampshire Statehouse
The House voted to override the veto by a vote of 240-115, or 67.7% of the vote. But supporters failed to pick up a single vote in the Senate, and that made all the difference. The Senate vote both last summer and this week was 14-10 to override. It would have taken 16 votes to reach a two-thirds majority.

The bill, HB 648, would have established three nonprofit dispensaries to distribute up to two ounces of marijuana every 10 days to patients whose use had been approved by a doctor. Patients could be approved for chronic or terminal conditions that included cachexia, or wasting disorder; chronic pain; or nausea or muscle spasms. They would have had to register with the state to obtain an ID card.

In his veto message earlier this year, Gov. Lynch cited concerns about cultivation and distribution, as well as the opposition of law enforcement. Lawmakers had attempted to address those concerns in conference committee, crafting a tightly-drafted bill, but Lynch was unmoved.

"It's up to 16 of us in this chamber to look at those who are suffering to say, 'I understand and I will help','' said Sen. Peggy Gilmour (D-Hollis). But every senator who voted against the measure earlier this year voted against the override Wednesday.

Pushing for the bill was the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense, backed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "You never give up hope so I'm disappointed," coalition spokesman Matt Simon told the Nashua Telegraph. "Now I'm not looking forward to making those difficult calls to people depending on the legislature to relieve their unrelenting pain."

In fact, Simon and other medical marijuana supporters are looking to inflict a little pain on legislators who voted against them. In a message to supporters after the override failed, MPP pointedly noted that two senators who had voted against the override, Betsi DeVries and Ted Gatsas, are up for reelection in Manchester next week.

Medical Marijuana: "Truth in Trials" Bill Reintroduced, Would Allow Medical Testimony in Federal Prosecutions

US Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) and more than 20 congressional cosponsors Tuesday introduced a bill that would allow defendants in federal medical marijuana prosecutions to use medical evidence in their defense -- a right they do not have under current federal law. The Truth in Trials Act, H.R. 3939, would create a level playing field for such defendants.
Sam Farr
"This is a common sense bill that will help stop the waste of law enforcement and judicial resources that have been spent prosecuting individuals who are following state law," Rep. Farr said on Tuesday. "We need strict drug laws, but we also need to apply a little common sense to how they're enforced. This legislation is about treating defendants in cases involving medical marijuana fairly, plain and simple."

More than a hundred medical marijuana providers have been prosecuted for violating federal marijuana laws, and more cases are coming down the pike. More than two dozen cases are currently pending. While the Justice Department last week issued guidelines to federal prosecutors discouraging them from prosecuting providers who comply with state medical marijuana laws, that guidance does not require that courts or prosecutors allow testimony about medical marijuana, nor does it suggest that prosecutors drop those cases.

"The Truth in Trials Act will restore the balance of justice and bring fundamental fairness to federal medical marijuana trials," said Caren Woodson, government affairs director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "This legislation complements the recent Justice Department guidelines for federal prosecutors and is now more necessary than ever."

While Farr has introduced the Truth in Trials bill in earlier sessions, supporters hope this time the bill will gain some traction. It has already been endorsed by more than three dozen advocacy, health, and legal groups, including ASA, the ACLU, the National Association of People With AIDS, the National Minority AIDS Council, and the AIDS Action Council.

Medical Marijuana: Colorado Court of Appeals Rules Caregivers Must Do More Than Just Grow Pot

In an opinion released Thursday, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that persons designated as "caregivers" under the state's medical marijuana law must do more than merely supply marijuana to patients. In so doing, the court upheld the conviction of a Longmont woman, Stacy Clendenin, who argued that marijuana she grew in her home was distributed to authorized patients in dispensaries.
Colorado state medical marijuana application
That wasn't good enough for the appeals court. Caregivers authorized to grow marijuana for patients must actually know the patients they are growing for, the court said.

"We conclude that to qualify as a 'primary care-giver' a person must do more than merely supply a patient who has a debilitating medical condition with marijuana," the court ruled.

The ruling, if upheld on appeal, threatens to put a crimp in Colorado's burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Dozens of dispensaries have sprung up in the state this year, and growers have been supplying some of them.

That has sparked calls for reining in the dispensaries, a call that was echoed in a concurring opinion to the ruling. In his concurrence, Judge Alan Loeb wrote that Colorado's constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana "cries out for legislative action."

Attorney General John Suthers told the Denver Post he applauded the decision. "I am pleased to see the Court of Appeals has provided legal support for our case that a caregiver, under Amendment 20, must do more than simply provide marijuana to a patient," Suthers said. "I also was pleased to see the assertion in the special concurrence that Amendment 20 'cries out for legislative action.' I could not agree more. I hope the legislature will act and create a regulatory framework that gives substance to the Court of Appeals' findings."

But Clendinin's attorney, Robert Corry, said the ruling was limited and that he would appeal it. "This decision is quite limited and only applies to Stacy Clendenin and only applies to those who went to trial before July when the state board agreed that caregivers could simply provide marijuana," Corry said. "I am concerned that the court superimposed California law on Colorado and I don't think California (medical marijuana) law is a shining star of success."

It's Not Just Marijuana. DEA is at War With Other Medicines Too.

The Washington Post has a disturbing piece that ought to broaden recent discussion of the conflict between the drug war and legitimate medical treatments. The DEA is taking legal medicines away from elderly people who need them:

Heightened efforts by the Drug Enforcement Administration to crack down on narcotics abuse are producing a troubling side effect by denying some hospice and elderly patients needed pain medication, according to two Senate Democrats and a coalition of pharmacists and geriatric experts.

Terence McCormally, a doctor who cares for patients in nursing homes in Northern Virginia, said the tug of war reflects "the tension between the war on drugs and the war on pain."

"For the doctor and the nurse, it's a nuisance," he said, "but for the patient it is needless suffering."

Our efforts to control the lives of people who take drugs for fun have led us to destroy the lives of people who take drugs for serious medical conditions. The harsh reality here is that the best medicines often become popular with people they weren't intended for. That's going to happen no matter what you do. But if every effective pain reliever is overly restricted, then the medicine's primary purpose of relieving pain can never be achieved.

The drug war has gone blind even to the most basic functions that drugs are supposed to serve in our society. As efforts to prevent diversion and recreational use continue their inevitable failure, we face a very real threat that desperate drug war bureaucrats will legislate many of our best medicines out of existence.

A Marijuana Blog That's the Opposite of All the Others

A very unique new marijuana blog is just starting to get noticed on the web and I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to check it out in case it disappears (which I predict could take place soon, unfortunately). It's called Marijuana in the News and there is seriously nothing else like it anywhere on the web.

What makes Marijuana in the News so special? The author bitterly detests marijuana.  The whole thing is a rambling hatefest against reform, literally the precise opposite of what you'll find here. I predict it will become semi-popular, but only among marijuana reform activists who take sadistic pleasure in pissing themselves off.

So go pay 'em a visit, enjoy yourself, and feel free to drop the author a friendly note in the comment section, cause it's looking pretty lonely in there. Be nice though, because reform is all about making the world a happier place where people hug and hold hands instead of arguing on the internet. Love thy neighbor, I say, even if thy neighbor wants to arrest people with AIDS.

Critics: DEA Crackdown Denies Some Patients Pain Medication

Washington Post

Medical marijuana override falls short in New Hampshire

Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana Policy Project Alert

October 28, 2009

Drop Shadow

Dear friends:

Today, the New Hampshire legislature came just shy of voting to override Gov. John Lynch (D)'s veto of the state's proposed medical marijuana law. Two-thirds of the votes were needed. Although we cleared the House with 67.6% of the vote (240-115), it lost in the Senate, 14-10.

The bill had passed the legislature in June, by 232-108 in the House and 14-10 in the Senate. But on July 10, Gov. Lynch vetoed the bill, after refusing to meet with 15 patients and after failing to give input to the legislative conference committee, which amended the bill to address each of the eight concerns he had voiced in April.

To override the veto and pass the bill into law, we needed supportive votes from two-thirds of voting members of the House and 16 votes in the Senate.

Coming so close to victory makes losing more painful. Yet the support of MPP’s 29,000 dues-paying members allowed us to wage a fierce fight: We retained a top lobbying firm in the state and funded an outstanding organizer, Matt Simon, who leads the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy. We also ran tens of thousands of dollars of TV, radio, and print ads featuring patients who were counting on the governor and legislature to do the right thing and generated hundreds of e-mails, calls, and faxes and postcards to the governor and key legislators.

But the bill faced strong opposition from the state's attorney general and chiefs of police.

However, we’re determined to see New Hampshire medical marijuana patients protected from arrest and jail. 71% of New Hampshire voters support allowing seriously and terminally ill patients to use and grow medical marijuana for personal use if their doctors recommend it, according to a 2008 Mason-Dixon poll.

Would you help us come back even stronger? Please don’t let the New Hampshire patients who spoke out publicly in support of this bill be ignored. Donate what you can today.

Need one more reason? Do it for the memory of Scott Turner, a New Hampshire medical marijuana patient and activist who died August 4 after a long and painful battle with degenerative joint disease and degenerative disc disease.

Together, we're going to win this fight.

Thank you,

Rob Signature

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 $2.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.


MPP will be able to tackle all of the projects in our 2009 strategic plan if you and other allies are able to fund our work.

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United States

Obama Isn't Plotting to Legalize Marijuana. But Everyone Else Is.

Whenever matters of marijuana policy make their way into the national spotlight, you can count on coming across some really ridiculous analysis from folks who haven’t exactly been paying attention. There are many ways to misunderstand the marijuana debate, my favorite of which might be the theory that -- even though it's all over the news -- it's actually part of a secret conspiracy.

Here, we have the editorial board of The Washington Post speculating that Obama's recent medical marijuana announcement could be part of a plan to legalize marijuana without anyone noticing:

Yet this policy shift leaves significant questions unaddressed, including whether the Justice Department's decision essentially constitutes a first step toward legalizing marijuana. Such an immense policy decision should not be ushered in surreptitiously, but should be tackled head-on, with a full-throated public debate about the possible benefits and consequences.

This is just completely delusional on multiple levels:

1. The administration leaked the story to the AP on a Sunday night, which is the opposite of secretive. That's what you do when you want a week's worth of intensive media coverage.
2. Telling the DEA not to arrest sick people is a far cry from supporting legalization for everyone. It's very possible – and very common – for people to support the former and not the latter. For example…
3. The Obama Administration is opposed to legalization. They've said so before and after last week's medical marijuana announcement. That question is not "unaddressed" even remotely.
4. There's a "full-throated public debate" about marijuana legalization going on right now. And The Washington Post has been participating in it with numerous recent stories and editorials. You want us to send more op-eds?

I can't even begin to fathom how The Post came up with this craziness, but if they want more debate, I'm ready to rock. I'll show up at your office tomorrow morning with 15 awesome ideas for marijuana stories that I guarantee you The New York Times hasn’t thought of yet. And I ask for nothing in return, except some acknowledgement that marijuana legalization is not a secret conspiracy, but rather a defining issue at this moment in American politics.

Update: Pete Guither has more.

Medical Marijuana: A New Bill in Congress!


Dear friends:

We are excited to announce new legislation in Congress that would protect many medical marijuana patients and providers from federal prosecution.

One in four Americans now lives in a state with laws governing medical marijuana.  Unfortunately, law-abiding citizens can still be prosecuted on federal marijuana-related charges.

Today, Congressman Sam Farr introduced the "Truth in Trials" Act, H.R. 3939.  This bill would enable law-abiding citizens facing federal marijuana related charges to introduce evidence at trial showing that they were in compliance with state law.

"Truth in Trials" needs a lot of support in the U.S. House of Representatives if it is to succeed.

Please e-mail your member of Congress right now.  Ask him or her to cosponsor this important legislation.

Click here:


Sanjeev Bery
National Field Director
Americans for Safe Access

Americans for Safe Access

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