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Medical Marijuana: California Vending Machines Draw Ire of UN Narcs

When medical marijuana vending machines appeared at a handful of Los Angeles-area dispensaries a couple of weeks ago, the press attention they received was enormous -- so enormous that it was heard deep in the bowels of the UN anti-drug bureaucracy in Vienna. Roused from its dogmatic slumber by the clamor, the UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) issued a statement last Friday saying the machines violate international drug treaties and should be shut down.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/vendingmachine.jpg
medical marijuana vending machine on CBS News
"The International Narcotics Control Board is deeply concerned about reports that computerized vending machines to dispense cannabis (marijuana) have been put into operation in Los Angeles," said INCB head Philip Emafo in the statement. "We know that the use of cannabis is illegal under federal law of the United States and we trust the authorities will stop such activities, which contravene the international drug control treaties," he added.

The federal government may not recognize medical marijuana, but it is legal under state law. So far, there is no indication that providing it via vending machines violates the state's medical marijuana laws, much less international treaties which only prohibit non-medical use. And so far, the DEA has not acted against them.

The machines have appeared in three Los Angeles dispensaries, and supporters say they are convenient for patients, secure, and could provide medical marijuana at lower prices. Qualified patients who wish to use the vending machines must provide documentation and fingerprints to the dispensary, which then issues them a card to insert in the machine.

While the INCB reiterated that marijuana is illegal under federal law, it also seemed to suggest that if marijuana was going to be used, its use should be controlled by a federal agency. "The control measures applied in California for the cultivation, production and use of cannabis do not meet the control standards set in the 1961 Convention to prevent diversion of narcotic drugs for illicit use," the INCB said. "Such standards require, inter alia, the control of cultivation and production of cannabis by a national cannabis agency, and detailed record keeping and reporting on the activities with cannabis, including reporting to INCB."

The INCB also took pains to note that it "welcomes sound scientific research on the therapeutic usefulness of cannabis," although it claimed that "so far, the results of research regarding the potential therapeutic usefulness have been limited." But in the same breath, it then complained that Canada and the Netherlands have authorized medical marijuana "without reporting conclusive research results to the WHO" and that "cannabis is used for medical purposes in some jurisdictions of the United States without having definitive proof of its efficacy."

Whether the INCB's "concerns" will spur action from either federal or state authorities remains to be seen. But with each new dispensary, each new delivery service, each entrepreneurial innovation like the vending machines, the medical marijuana industry is becoming ever more deeply entrenched in the social fabric of the Golden State. It may be too late for anybody to stop it -- even the UN.

Thursday: Meet Your Medical Cannabis Match

[Courtesy of Americans for Safe Access]

Join ASA's Condition-based Union

Dear ASA Supporter,

Thus far this week ASA activists nationwide have joined the movement, met their Senators, and put their pens to paper. Today, on Valentine's Day, we are urging you to meet your medical cannabis match! We are calling on patients, family members, researchers and medical professionals to match up with ASA's condition-based unions!

Visit www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org/Thursday to find out how you can sign up for ASA's condition-based unions.

Patients nationwide have joined together to form condition-based unions to further promote medical cannabis research and advocate for safe access to medical cannabis through the Medical Marijuana Union project. Plug into one of ASA’s growing network of patients, researchers, advocates, and medical professionals. Join a condition-based union today!

Over the past several months, ASA has been working to improve our services and access for the condition-based unions. Many of you have begun posting online in our condition-based forums, filled out the condition-based survey, which was released last summer, and viewed and given us great feedback on how we can further serve our unions.

In our constant effort to improve our services and strengthen the movement, ASA has designed a website specifically for seniors, which was launched in January. The Seniors' Union Website provides information about medical cannabis issues and aging. In the future, ASA intends to roll out similar websites for our other condition-based unions as well. You can check out the website at: www.MedicalMarijuanaandSeniors.org

If you are a current union member or are new to Americans for Safe Access, medical cannabis, and ASA’s condition-based unions, please help strengthen ASA’s unions by completing two easy tasks:

Ways to Meet Your Medical Cannabis Match:

1. Join a Condition-based Union today: Plug into ASA’s growing network of patients, researchers, advocates, and medical professionals.

2. Join the Movement: In the past day, hundreds of supporters have joined the movement by donating to ASA. There are thousands more of you who support ASA, but have not taken action yet. Please join the movement today. It only takes a couple minutes and will renew your commitment to the medical cannabis movement.

3. Spread the Word: Forward this message widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

Sincerely,

Rebecca Saltzman
Chief of Staff
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Wednesday: Put Pens to the Paper, Write a Letter to the Editor in Support of Research

[Courtesy of ASA]

Dear ASA Supporter,

This week, ASA called on you to "Join the Movement" and “Meet Your Senators.” Today, we are asking you to take your involvement to the next level by making your voice heard and putting your pens to the paper for medical cannabis research. Write a letter to the editor about medical cannabis to educate your community about the issues patients and doctors face every day.

 

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling on your Senators to support access for FDA-approved medical marijuana research. FDA-approved research is key to safe access nationwide. Use the talking points provided as a guide, but please be sure to personalize your message. Editors do not appreciate receiving several of the same messages so be sure to make yours unique!

Please write a letter to the editor today about the importance of medical cannabis research and how your Senators can get involved. Read on for ways to take action.

Ways to Make Your Voice Heard:

1. Use ASA's LTE Action Page to write a letter to the editor about research: After clicking here you will be asked pick your state, then you can choose from newspapers in your area, and finally you will be taken to a page with talking points, but please personalize your letter. Editors do not appreciate receiving several of the same messages so be sure to make yours unique!

 

2. Join the Movement: In the past day, hundreds of supporters have joined the movement by donating to ASA. There are thousands more of you who support ASA, but have not taken action yet. Please join the movement today. It only takes a couple minutes and will renew your commitment to the medical cannabis movement.

3. Spread the Word: Forward this message widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

 

Sincerely,

Kris Hermes
Media Specialist
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Drug Czar's $2.7 Million Super Bowl Ad Gets Terrible Viewer Ratings

Did you see the Drug Czar's Super Bowl ad last week? The one with a drug dealer complaining that he'd lost all his customers because all the kids are getting high for free by stealing prescriptions from their parents' medicine cabinet? No? Well, don't worry because no one else noticed it either.

USA Today reports that ONDCP's latest ad was rated second-worst out of all 54 ads appearing during the game. Just look how many stupid ads were still vastly more popular than ONDCP's. And the #1 spot was a Budweiser™ ad, of course, which just goes to show how people would rather be offered beer than be encouraged not to eat random pills.

As usual, ONDCP's failure comes at a high cost to everyone, specifically a mind-blowing $2.7 million in tax dollars for 30 forgettable seconds. It's almost as if ONDCP's ad campaign is liquidating its remaining assets after their latest brutal congressional funding slash.

Will Congress now get the message and finally stop subsidizing this embarrassing spectacle? Hopefully so, but for once I almost feel sympathy for the Drug Czar. I've criticized ONDCP for focusing on marijuana despite the fatalities associated with increasing abuse of prescription drugs. This new message is a step in right direction and I'd give 'em the benefit of the doubt if the ad didn’t utterly suck.

The whole premise is ridiculous, implying that pharmaceutical diversion is bankrupting the illicit drug market. The last thing anyone needs is a $2.7 million announcement from the Drug Czar that we've basically won the war on illegal drugs and must now simply lock our medicine cabinets and march merrily towards total drug-freedom. Meanwhile, the actual risks associated with prescription drug abuse are ignored entirely. After all, there is a powerful perfectly legitimate industry that markets these drugs on the very same airwaves and you can bet that you'll never hear ONDCP enumerate their dangers with the same vigor they've routinely brought to bear in their towering archive of anti-marijuana propaganda.

So no, there's really nothing surprising or coincidental about the fact that ONDCP's new campaign against pharmaceutical diversion is its most boring to date.
Location: 
United States

Tuesday: Meet Your Senators! Drop in on their District Offices Today!

[Courtesy of ASA]

Dear ASA Supporter,

Celebrate Medical Marijuana Awareness Week by urging your U.S. Senators to support medical cannabis research! Today and tomorrow, hundreds of activists throughout the country are “dropping in” on their U.S. Senators’ district offices. Join your fellow activists as they seek out their U.S. Senators’ at their local district offices today to talk about supporting access for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. Urge your Senators to support medical marijuana research by signing-on to the letter Senators Kennedy and Kerry are circulating to enable FDA-approved research. Visit www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org/MMJWeekTuesday to take action right away!

Background:
The federal government refuses to allow private researchers and scientists to conduct medical cannabis research using their own non-governmental materials, creating an obstruction for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. At the same time, the FDA and DEA claim there is not enough research to determine the medicinal values of marijuana. This hypocrisy and gridlock must end now!

Drop in on your U.S. Senators’ local district offices on today! Visit www.Senate.gov for contact information for your local district office.

When meeting with your Senators’ offices please bring with you the following materials, which are enclosed in this packet:

 


1. The Kennedy/Kerry letter of support
2. Research/Gridlock campaign fact sheet
3. University of MA’s letter of support

What to Ask:
Please support medical cannabis research by co-signing the Kennedy/Kerry letter to Acting DEA Administrator, Michele Leonhart, urging her agency to follow the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner and grant a license to Prof. Lyle Craker of UMass Amherst to grow marijuana exclusively for federally-approved research. To join the letter, contact Graham Shalgian in Senator Kennedy’s office at 617 565-3170.

Follow Up:
At your meeting or drop-in, be sure to schedule a follow up meeting to discuss other pressing national medical cannabis issues. After you take action, be sure to contact Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org to let us know how it went!

If you have questions about scheduling meetings with your senators’ offices, contact Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org or call (510) 251-1856 ext. 321

Sincerely,

Caren Woodson
Director, Government Affairs
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Monday: Join the Movement, Become a Member of ASA Today!

[Courtesy of ASA]

Dear ASA Supporter,

Welcome to Medical Marijuana Week! Today, we're calling on you to "Join the Movement" by becoming a member of ASA. Donate today. Your voice needs to be heard, and we need your support to keep fighting for patients’ rights more than ever. Don’t wait any longer to get on board!

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and their providers. ASA has over 40,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states.

Medical cannabis patients and current Executive Director Steph Sherer founded ASA in 2002 in response to federal raids on patients in California. Since then, ASA has been instrumental in shaping the political and legal landscape of medical cannabis. Our successful lobbying, media, and legal campaigns led to positive court precedents, new sentencing standards, more compassionate legislative and administrative polices and procedures, as well as new legislation.

 

2007 Major Accomplishments

  • September 2007: Defeats Senate amendment that would have blocked implementation of state medical marijuana laws
  • April 2007: Co-sponsors the largest annual HIV/AIDS constituent-based federal advocacy and education event in the US, training hundreds of HIV/AIDS advocates to lobby for medical cannabis issues.
  • March 2007: Files successful vindictive prosecution motion in the federal case of Ed Rosenthal, leading to the dismissal of the majority of his charges.
  • February 2007: Files a lawsuit against the federal government demanding that the FDA and HHS stop spreading misinformation on medical cannabis and correct the information the have published.
  • January 2007: 500 patients and advocates rally outside the Los Angeles federal building, in protest of DEA raids.

Take action by joining ASA today!

  1. Donate to ASA: Take a moment right now to make a sustaining monthly pledge to defending safe access. Your monthly pledge of $10, $25, $50, or even $100 will let us know we have the resources to keep fighting for you!
  2. Spread the Word: Forward this message widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

Sincerely,

Steph Sherer
Executive Director
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Celebrate Medical Marijuana Awareness Week: February 11-17

[Courtesy of Americans for Safe Access]

Join the National Movement to Protect Safe Access!

Dear ASA Supporter,

To celebrate the growing support for medical cannabis and the spread of safe access in medical cannabis states throughout the nation, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has organized Medical Marijuana Week 2008 . This will be the sixth annual Medical Marijuana Week, held during the week of 2/15 to commemorate the passage of Proposition 215, California's medical cannabis law.

This year, we are calling on you and advocates nationwide to take action every day this week. Please read on for daily opportunities to advance safe access to medical cannabis. Celebrate Medical Marijuana Week with us by educating your community, meeting with your U.S. Senators, writing letters to the editor, and more!

Also, be sure to wear your ASA gear next week to further educate your community about Medical Marijuana Week! If you do not have an ASA t-shirt, sticker, hat, bag, or sweatshirt yet, visit our store so you can "Gear Up" for Medical Marijuana Week and beyond!

Monday: Join the Movement

In just five years, ASA has become the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. Join the fastest growing medical cannabis group, ASA, by becoming a member and/or asking your friends and family to join ASA.

Tuesday: Meet Your Senators

On Tuesday and Wednesday during Medical Marijuana Week hundreds of activists throughout the country are “dropping in” on their U.S. Senators’ district offices. Join your fellow activists by dropping in on both of your U.S. Senators’ local district offices on February the 12th to talk about supporting access for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. Urge them to support research by signing on to the letter Senators Kennedy and Kerry are circulating to enable FDA-approved research.

Wednesday: Put Pens to Paper for Research!

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling on your Senators to support access for FDA-approved medical marijuana research. FDA-approved research is key to safe access nationwide. You never know who you might be influencing - other community members, a staffer in one of your Senator's district offices, or perhaps even one of your Senators! Visit ASA's LTE action site on Wednesday for an easy way to submit your LTE online, using talking points provided by our communications specialists.

Thursday: Meet Your Match

Patients nationwide have joined together to form condition-based unions to further promote medical cannabis research and advocate for safe access to medical cannabis through the Medical Marijuana Unions project. Plug into one of ASA’s fastest growing network of patients, researchers, advocates, and medical professionals. Join a condition-based union today!

Friday: Meet the Movement and Get Organized

ASA is excited to release our first ever National Field Report, which paints a comprehensive picture of the local, state, and national campaigns ASA’s chapters and affiliates work on and also highlights the 2007 accomplishments in the field. Download the report on Thursday and start or join an ASA chapter!

Saturday and Sunday: Walk Your Talk

On Saturday and Sunday, mobilize your community for medical marijuana research. Download and print out a petition calling on your U.S. Senators to support access to materials for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. Visit ASA’s fun interactive map to download a petition addressed to your state’s U.S. Senators. Gather signatures on this petition at your work, school, home, church, and in your community. Please send completed petitions back to ASA via fax: (510) 251-2036; or mail: 1322 Webster Street, Suite 402, Oakland, CA 94612

Please forward this email widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

Sincerely,

Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
Field Coordinator
Americans for Safe Access Americans for Safe Access is the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
Location: 
United States

February Cannabinoid Chronicles Now Available Online

[Courtesy of The Vancouver Island Compassion Society] The February issue of Cannabinoid Chronicles is now available for your viewing pleasure at: http://www.thevics.com/publications/vol5/VICSNews5_6.pdf Some stories: MMAR Provision Found Unconstitutional Sunshine Coast Constitutional Challenge Use Medical Cannabis, Lose Your Job Medical Cannabis Vending Machines IACM Bulletin Enjoy, Robin at the VICS
Location: 
Vancouver, BC
Canada

Americans for Safe Access Monthly Activist Newsletter - February 2008

Calif. Patients, Lawmakers Push for Worker Protections, Court Says Medical Marijuana Law No Protection for Patient Employment California legislators are working with Americans for Safe Access to clarify employment protections for patients under the state's medical marijuana law. The new legislation -- sponsored by ASA and offered by Assemblyman Mark Leno -- would guarantee medical marijuana patients the same employment protections as those enjoyed by people who use other prescribed medications. The action comes in response to a 5-2 ruling by the California Supreme Court that said employers can fire those who fail drug tests for marijuana even if the employee is qualified to use the drug under state law. The case, Ross v. RagingWire, had been argued by ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who said that the Compassionate Use Act (Prop. 215) and the Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB420) should prevent employment discrimination against medical marijuana patients. Assemblyman Leno and all the other legislative authors of the Medical Marijuana Program Act filed a brief with the court to that effect, saying their intent was to guarantee civil protections for Californians who use medical cannabis, and that the Fair Employ-ment and Housing Act "generally requires ac-commodation of medical cannabis use by disabled persons with medical conditions." The Court thought otherwise, ruling the state legislature had not adequately clarified employment rights of medical marijuana patients, despite the amicus brief. In the dissenting opinion, Justice Joyce Kennard said the Court"has seriously compromised the Compassionate Use Act, denying to those who must work for a living its promised benefits." Within hours of the ruling, Assemblyman Leno announced his intentions to introduce legislation that would restore those protections, which he had been working on with ASA in the weeks preceding the decision. "Today's California Supreme Court ruling strikes a serious blow to patients' rights," Leno said in a statement released that day. "In the coming weeks I will introduce legislation that secures a medical cannabis patient's right to use their doctor recommended medication outside the workplace. Through the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996 and SB 420 in 2004, the people of California did not intend that patients be unemployed in order to use medical marijuana." The case stems from the 2001 firing of Gary Ross, a 45-year-old systems engineer whose doctor recommended cannabis to treat a back injury suffered during his military service. Despite that, Ross was terminated by RagingWire Telecommunications for testing positive for marijuana. The company said it would not make an exception for medical use, even if it was away from the workplace "All I am asking is to be a productive member of society," said Ross. "I was not fired for poor work performance, but for an antiquated policy on medical marijuana." Ross filed suit after he was fired, arguing that RagingWire illegally discriminated against him because of his condition. After both superior and appellate courts ruled against Ross, ASA appealed to the California Supreme Court on his behalf. ASA has received hundreds of such reports from across California since it began recording instances of employment discrimination in 2005. Companies that have either fired patients, threatened them with firing, or denied them employment include Costco Wholesale, UPS, Foster Farms Dairy, DirecTV, the San Joaquin Courier, Power Auto Group, as well as several construction companies, hospitals, and various trade union employers. Further information, see ASA’s website at: www.AmericansForSafeaccess.org/Ross. Patients Ask Future President to Order End of DEA Raids Nationwide campaign to stop federal prosecutions of medical marijuana As Republican and Democratic presidential candidates vie for their party's nomination, Americans for Safe Access has launched a nationwide campaign urging whoever is elected come November to end federal raids in states with medical marijuana laws. The campaign reminds candidates that, if elected, they can order an immediate stop to federal interference in state medical marijuana programs. The proposed Executive Order would cut off federal funds currently being used to prosecute patients and providers in states where medical marijuana is legal. "To counter the increased level of federal interference in states with medical marijuana laws, we're asking candidates to clearly state their opposition by pledging to issue an Executive Order, if elected." said Caren Woodson, ASA's Director of Government Affairs. "We're spending millions of dollars on law enforcement actions that harm our most vulnerable citizens, but the President has the power to stop it at any time." Over the past two years, federal raids and prosecutions of medical marijuana patients and providers have been escalating. While federal interference with state medical marijuana programs has been widespread, some have been hit harder than others. In California, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has conducted more than 100 raids and threatened more than 300 landlords with criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture for renting space to patient collectives. Federal prosecutors are currently pursuing more than 100 medical marijuana-related cases, all of which carry the threat of long prison sentences. ASA's Executive Order campaign focuses on Presidential candidates that have already made supportive statements on medical marijuana: Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Representative Ron Paul. All are being asked to pledge to end the raids by Executive Order, if elected. ASA's proposed order reads, in part: "No funds made available to the Department of Justice shall be used to prevent States from implementing adopted laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. In particular, no funds shall be used to investigate, seize, arrest or prosecute in association with the distribution of medical marijuana, unless such distribution has been found by adjudication to violate state or local law." DEA interference is drawing increasing opposition from lawmakers, including Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who has condemned the DEA tactics, and House Judiciary Chair John Conyers. The Berkeley City Council has passed a resolution condemning the raids, and San Francisco Supervisors are expected to do the same this week. Chairman Conyers has said he will hold oversight hearings on the DEA's "efforts to undermine California state law." Further information: www.americansforsafeaccess.org/ExecutiveOrder. Chapter Focus: ASA Western North Carolina by Jean Marlowe ASA Western North Carolina (ASAWNC) was started on November 30. Steve Marlowe, ASAWNC member and caregiver for our director, Jean Marlowe, was arrested, and his grow equipment and medicine was confiscated. On December 5, the local paper had an article about his arrest. ASAWNC was then featured in the evening news on the local ABC affiliate, WLOS in Asheville. Shortly afterwards, Tod Aiken, a local patient and grower who had seen the news story, was arrested and his family terrorized. He immediately called ASAWNC, and Jean went to see him at his home. When she walked in wearing an ASA sweatshirt, Mrs. Aiken burst into tears, saying, "Thank you Lord, someone is here that knows we're not criminals." With hugs and promise of putting their attorney in touch with ASA's national legal department and the names of legal patients and expert witnesses, Jean left them feeling a little better. Tod went on the local Fox news station saying he was a patient, and would fight. He mentioned that he called the local ASA office, and we were interviewed again. For 2008, ASAWNC will be working on petition drives in all 44 legislative districts, gathering signatures from all 100 counties, as well as developing a NC Patients Union, meeting with state legislators and state health directors and committees. ASAWNC will also be petitioning Congress demanding rescheduling of cannabis. To get involved with ASAWNC, please e-mail Jean@ASAWNC.org, call (825) 625-2818, or visit their website at www.ASAWNC.org or YouTube channel www.youtube.com/asawnc. A Medical Cannabis Conference By Patients, For Patients Doctors, patients, and researchers from around the world are gearing up for the 5th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time on April 4-5. We are particularly excited about the theme: Re-Entering Mainstream Medicine. Several members of ASA's Medical and Scientific Advisory Board have been asked to present at the conference, including Philippe Lucas whose talk will be “Putting the Compassion in Compassion Clubs.” This cutting edge conference is an excellent opportunity for patients, and their physicians, to learn about exciting and important developments in research. Started in 2000, the Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics is the only national conference organized specifically by patients where attendees will learn about the scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic use of cannabis. It offers the opportunity to meet, network, and share experienced with a diverse national gathering of patients, our allies and supporters. Join ASA at the 5th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, April 4-5, 2008 at Asilomar Conference Center, in beautiful, coastal Pacific Grove, California. For more information, see their website at www.medicalcannabis.com/conference.htm. NATIONAL ACTION ALERT: Demand Research: Senate Drop-In Days - February 12th and 13th Set up meetings with your U.S. Senators' local district offices on February the 12th and/or 13th to talk about the research sign-on letter Senators Kennedy and Kerry are circulating to enable FDA-approved medical marijuana research. Visit www.Senate.gov for contact information for your local district office. Ask to schedule a meeting to discuss medical marijuana research. Your Senator's staff may not be able to meet with you on the 12th or 13th and that is fine, just be sure to schedule a meeting for the soonest available date. Look for tips on citizen lobbying in the February organizer packets. When meeting with your Senators' offices please bring with you the following materials, which can be found at: www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org/ResearchCampaign. 1. Research/Gridlock campaign fact sheet 2. The Kennedy/Kerry letter of support 3. University of MA's letter of support What to Ask: Please support medical cannabis research by co-signing the Kennedy/Kerry letter to Acting DEA Administrator, Michele Leonhart, urging her agency to follow the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner and grant a license to Prof. Lyle Craker of UMass Amherst to grow marijuana exclusively for federally-approved research. To join the letter, contact ASA's Director of Government Affairs, Caren Woodson at (202) 857-4272. Follow Up: At your meeting or drop-in, be sure to schedule a follow up meeting to discuss other pressing national medical cannabis issues. After you take action, be sure to contact Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org to let us know how it went! If you have questions about scheduling meetings with your senators' offices, contact Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org or call (510) 251-1856 ext. 321.
Location: 
United States

Press Release: Advocates Urge Presidential Candidates to End DEA Raids by Executive Order

For Immediate Release: January 29, 2008 Contact: ASA Media Liaison Kris Hermes (510) 681-6361 or ASA Director of Government Affairs Caren Woodson (510) 388-0546 Advocates Urge Presidential Candidates to End DEA Raids by Executive Order Nationwide campaign launched today to end federal enforcement against medical marijuana Washington, D.C. -- With only a week left until Super Tuesday, medical marijuana advocates launched a nationwide campaign today to urge presidential candidates to end federal raids in states with medical marijuana laws. The campaign urges candidates to issue an Executive Order upon taking office that would end federal interference in state-sanctioned medical marijuana laws. The proposed Executive Order would deny funds to the Department of Justice for federal enforcement efforts against patients and providers in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws. "To match the increased level of federal interference in states with medical marijuana laws, we're asking candidates to clearly state their opposition by pledging to issue an Executive Order, if elected." said Caren Woodson, Director of Government Affairs at Americans for Safe Access, the advocacy group that launched the campaign. "We're spending millions of dollars on law enforcement actions that harm our most vulnerable citizens," continued Woodson. "And, the President wields the power to stop it at any time." Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has stepped up its enforcement actions against medial marijuana patients and providers. While federal interference has occurred in multiple medical marijuana states, some have been hit harder than others. In California, the DEA has conducted more than 100 raids and threatened more than 300 landlords with criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture if they continue to lease to medical marijuana dispensing collectives (dispensaries). In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is currently prosecuting more than 100 medical marijuana-related cases. The campaign focuses on candidates that have already made supportive statements on medical marijuana: Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, former Senator John Edwards, and Representative Ron Paul. These candidates are being asked to officiate their support by pledging to issue an Executive Order, which states that: "No funds made available to the Department of Justice shall be used to prevent States from implementing adopted laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. In particular, no funds shall be used to investigate, seize, arrest or prosecute in association with the distribution of medical marijuana, unless such distribution has been found by adjudication to violate state or local law." DEA actions have already garnered opposition from both local and federal lawmakers, including Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and House Judiciary Chair John Conyers. In December, Mayor Dellums made a public statement condemning DEA tactics. The same month, Chairman Conyers publicly voiced his "deep concern" over DEA "efforts to undermine California state law," and he committed to sharply question these tactics in oversight hearings. Further information: ASA Executive Order Campaign Page: http://www.americansforsafeaccess.org/ExecutiveOrder Proposed Executive Order: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/Proposed_Executive_Order.pdf Background Information on Increased DEA Actions: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/downloads/dea_escalation.pdf Video footage of Candidates' Position on Medical Marijuana: http://safeaccessnow.org/blog/?p=48 Statement by House Judiciary Chair John Conyers: http://judiciary.house.gov/newscenter.aspx?A=889 # # #
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

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