The Web is humming with stories and discussion from the aftermath of President Obama's response to questions about drug legalization during last Thursday's YouTube forum. While his words this time around are a bit more encouraging than previous signals from the administration, I would strongly suggest that we all, including the president, cut through the platitudes and get to the truth about marijuana prohibition.
If, as the president suggests, it is time for a "serious debate" about legalization, let's get to it, starting with a few questions that beg for truth:
A judge has ordered Los Angeles not to enforce key sections of its controversial medical marijuana ordinance, issuing a preliminary injunction that once again leaves the city with limited ability to control dispensaries and raises the possibility that new ones could open.
The decision comes almost six months after the City Council adopted the law, which opponents said was riddled with flaws. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mohr, in a decision released Friday, agreed with most of the criticisms raised by the dispensaries.
In his ruling, Mohr acknowledged "there is a good chance that a large number of collectives could open once this injunction takes effect."
Mohr enjoined a crucial provision of the ordinance that outlaws all dispensaries except those that registered with the city in 2007 after the City Council adopted a moratorium on new stores. He concluded it is invalid because the moratorium was improperly extended and therefore had expired before the registration deadline for dispensaries.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has reintroduced his pioneering bill seeking to legalize and tax pot in California.
In a statement released this afternoon, Ammiano's office said the San Francisco Democrat hopes the new legislation will build on support garnered by AB 390, his first pot-legalization measure, which passed out of committee in Sacramento but overran its deadline for consideration by the rest of the Legislature.
The bill's expiration last month appeared more or less in line with the grand strategy of Ammiano, who said he wanted to take plenty of time to build consensus on the issue. Now AB 2254, the latest incarnation of the Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act, will get a second shot.
"We're even more optimistic about the fate of this bill than we were about AB 390," Aaron Smith, California director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told SF Weekly.
The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to close roughly 800 medical marijuana dispensaries in the city by passing the first reading of an ordinance which would also require 75% of remaining dispensaries to relocate. The vote, to be confirmed in a second reading of the ordinance next Tuesday, will radically change the landscape of medical marijuana distribution in Los Angeles, which has been largely unregulated since dispensaries were first authorized by state law in 1996.
If the ordinance takes effect later this spring, medical marijuana dispensaries will have to find locations more than 1000 feet from various 'sensitive uses' -- including churches, public parks, schools, rehab centers, and other dispensaries. They will also be required to grow all their cannabis on-site, test it for pesticides, provide written notice of their existence to all neighbors within 1000 feet, maintain 24-hour complaint hotlines, hire unarmed security guards to patrol a two-block radius, keep 90 days of security footage and fulfill a number of other registration requirements with the city.
Yes, that's right.....Government funded studies have reached conclusions that marijuana prevents cancer, the gateway effect is a myth, and has no increased risk of lung cancer.
Can't really claim bias for this one....
10) MARIJUANA USE HAS NO EFFECT ON MORTALITY:
A massive study of California HMO members funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found marijuana use caused no significant increase in mortality. Tobacco use was associated with increased risk of death.
Sixty pounds of marijuana was restored to its “rightful owner” after a judge ruled in favor of the defendant in a case involving possession of marijuana for sale and possession, a charge that violates the California health and safety code.
Thirty-three year-old Sagura Doven was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol, who eventually found sixty pounds of marijuana packed in baggies which were placed in a large duffel bag. Had he been convicted of the charges brought against him, he would have faced up to four years of jail time.
His lawyer Glen Jonas, however, argued that Doven’s possession of marijuana was well within the confines of the law governing medical marijuana in the state. Doven was allegedly on his way to a medical marijuana collective based in Venice, of which he was a member, when he was pulled over. He was, therefore, authorized to transport the marijuana in question.
Medical marijuana patients have a constitutional right to buy pot, not just use it, according to ruling Wednesday by a judge.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Christopher Cross sided with the CannaMart dispensary, which sued the city of Centennial after it was shut down in October.
Cross granted the dispensary's request for an injunction, which will prevent the city from keeping the dispensary closed while CannaMart challenges the city's argument that it can ban pot shops because they violated federal drug laws.
Colorado in 2000 passed a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana, which is now allowed in 14 states. Recent decisions by state health authorities, along with a signal this year from the U.S. attorney general that federal prosecutors won't interfere with state pot rules, have led to an explosion of commercial marijuana stores across Colorado.
Marc Emery sold large quantities of marijuana seeds to Americans. He will be extradited from Canada to the US in January to serve a five year prison sentence.
Walking along Hastings Street in Vancouver, arm in arm with his wife Jodie, Marc Emery (51) looked like anything but one of the US' most wanted drug dealers. But he is in fact number 46 on a list of 50 dangerous drugs criminals. His days as a free man are numbered: he is about to be extradited to the United States to be locked up.
The couple entered the building at No. 307, which they refer to as their "international headquarters". The building was decorated in green and filled with an entourage of followers. The headquarters features a store, an editorial room, a recording studio, political offices and a smoking cafe. Everything related to marijuana is sold here – except marijuana, being illegal. If you want to smoke a joint in the cafe, you have to bring your own. Not that it is hard to come by in Vancouver, a city nicknamed ‘Vansterdam’.
An unfortunate college photo of Barack Obama comes back to bite. During Obama’s freshman year at Occidental College, a classmate took a picture of the “cool cat.”
Despite the bizarre claims of some prohibitionists and law enforcement representatives that ‘no one in America gets arrested or goes to jail for cannabis charges’, NORML receives hundreds of emails and letters a week from our fellow citizens who’ve been negatively impacted by cannabis prohibition laws–notably due to an encounter with law enforcement.
A few weeks ago I received a letter from a father of a young man arrested and incarcerated on minor cannabis-related charges in Arlington, Virginia. The father’s lament is deep and profound, beyond the standard pleas for help NORML so regularly receives. So much so that I asked him if he would send NORML the original letter for publication.
State health regulators have issued proposed regulations for the operation of compassion centers to dispense medical marijuana, but it could still take up to a year before the first center opens its doors in Rhode Island.
Acting under legislation passed by the General Assembly last spring, the state Department of Health last week issued 22 pages of proposed rules for licensing and operating up to three compassion centers in Rhode Island. The rules, covering everything from the amount of marijuana dispensed to the background of those dispensing it to the security systems in place to guard it, will be the subject of a formal public hearing on Feb. 2.
After that, if state Health Director David R. Gifford determines that no revisions are necessary, it would take about a month and a half for the rules to become formally enacted. Then, the licensing process would allow for a 60-day application period for would-be compassion-center operators — which could be prolonged by further public hearings on the applicants before Gifford makes the final decision.
According to a recent article in the L.A. Times, a ballot initiative that, if passed, would legalize marijuana state wide is slated to be put on the 2010 general election ballot.
It would be a substantial breakthrough for California, which was the country's leader in decriminalizing marijuana for individual use and in developing medicinal marijuana.
Thankfully, it would also eliminate the contradictions that currently exist in the law that lead to absurd and incredibly unjust outcomes. I am specifically referring to the drastic difference in penalties for posessing less than an ounce of marijuana and selling less than an ounce of marijuana.