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RainDog

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Colorado Becomes the First State to Re-Legalize Marijuana

Colorado (Polls CLOSED): 53% to 47% (36% of the vote) NORML PROJECTS VICTORY

Norml Election Night Live

http://blog.norml.org/2012/11/06/norml-election-night-2012-live/

as of this post:

Oregon (Polls close 8pm Pacific Time): --
Washington (Results in around 8-9pm Pacific Time): --
Colorado (Polls CLOSED): 54% to 46% (2% of the vote)
Massachusetts (Polls CLOSED): 63% to 37% (16% of the vote)
Arkansas (Polls close at 7:30pm Central): 49% to 51% (1% of the vote)
Montana (Polls close at 8pm local time): --
Michigan (Polls close at 8pm central time): --

Colorado Polls Say Re-Legalize Marijuana: Drug Agencies Say Constitutional Showdown

latest polling numbers for Colorado - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/amendment-64-poll-52-perc_n_2079908.html

Voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington are all considering measures that would effectively end marijuana prohibition in their respective states. Marijuana legalization has become an issue that defies the stereotypes of party lines, garnering the support of key progressives and conservatives in Colorado, Washington and Oregon. And although all three states have pot initiatives on their ballots, Colorado and Washington's pot ballot measures appear to be quite popular with voters, according to recent polling.

If marijuana is legalized in Colorado under Amendment 64 it would be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol and tobacco. It would give state and local governments the ability to control and tax the sale of small amounts of marijuana to adults age 21 and older. According to the Associated Press, analysts project that that tax revenue could generate somewhere between $5 million and $22 million a year in the state. An economist whose study was funded by a pro-pot group projects as much as a $60 million boost by 2017.

However, the big unknown still is if the federal government would allow a regulated marijuana market to take shape. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was a vocal opponent of California's legalization initiative in 2010 saying he would "vigorously enforce" federal marijuana prohibition, has continued to remain silent on the issue this year.

In September, Holder was urged by by nine former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to take a stand against marijuana legalization again. "To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public and the global community a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives," the nine said in the letter to holder obtained by Reuters.


In Oct. they called Holder, again, to put pressure on states with re-legalization measures on the ballots.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/dea-drug-czars-states-leg_n_1967363.html

Peter Bensinger, the moderater of the call and former administrator of the DEA during President Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan administrations, began the call. "Federal law, the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court decisions say that this cannot be done because federal law preempts state law."

Bensinger added: "And there is a bigger danger that touches every one of us -- legalizing marijuana threatens public health and safety. In states that have legalized medical marijuana, drug driving arrests, accidents, and drug overdose deaths have skyrocketed. Drug treatment admissions are up and the number of teens using this gateway drug is up dramatically."

Bensinger was joined by a host of speakers including Bill Bennet and John Walters, former directors of the While House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Chief Richard Beary of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); Dr. Robert L. DuPont, founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and who was also representing the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and several others.


Well, let me say that I think Bensinger is bending the fabric of reality a little bit to talk about drug overdose deaths in relation to marijuana since no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose in the history of medicine that I know of that has been documented.

And if one way to deal with decriminalization (which Ahnuld did just before he left office as Gov of CA) is to redirect people to drug treatment programs instead of jail - then treatment numbers should be up. The reality is that more and more people who have been arrested for possession of marijuana have been steered into a drug treatment program even when they don't meet the definition of addiction in regard to a substance.

And, as far as increased usage.. well, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention's most recent study found that Bensinger's statement is a flat out lie.

Researchers looked at marijuana use among youth between 1993 and 2009, a time when 13 states legalized the drug for medical use. They found no correlation between legalization of the drug and increased use among teens in a given state.

In fact, slight drops in teen use were seen in some states where marijuana was legalized.

"We are confident that marijuana use by teenagers does not increase when a state legalizes medical marijuana," said study researcher D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of health economics and risky behavior at Montana State University.

The researchers used data from the Youth Risky Behavior Survey, conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey collects self-reported data from a nationally representative sample of high school students on various risky behaviors.


http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2732-medical-marijuana-teenage.html

If the DEA and the Drug Czar's office want to trigger a constitutional crisis, they'd better come up with some other arguments since our own govt's studies refute the currents ones as lies. People are telling them, at the ballot box, that we no longer accept the irrational prohibition of marijuana.

Let's hope it happens today in CO and WA.

Why Election Day Marks the Beginning of the End of Marijuana Prohibition

http://www.alternet.org/drugs/why-election-day-marks-beginning-end-marijuana-prohibition

In Colorado, voters will decide on Amendment 64. In Washington, voters will decide on I-502.

In Both States, Majorities in the Polls Indicate Support for Passage of Re-legalization Legislation.

The passage of one or both of these statewide measures this Tuesday will be both historic and game-changing. Here’s why.

While a minority of marijuana law reform activists has griped that these measures do not go far enough, the reality is that their passage will provide cannabis consumers with unprecedented legal protections. Presently, no state legally defines cannabis as a legal commodity. Some state laws do provide for a legal exception that allows for certain qualified patients to possess specific amounts of cannabis as needed. But none of these states define cannabis itself as a legal product that may be lawfully possessed and consumed by adults.

The difference is hardly one of semantics. Consider this: Even in California, the state that is considered by many to possess the most liberal medical marijuana laws, police (and state law) define cannabis, even when present in only minor amounts, as contraband. This means that the presumption of law enforcement and prosecutors is that a person possesses or cultivates cannabis unlawfully. The burden, therefore, is on the would-be defendant to establish that they are legally exempt under the law as a qualified patient. In some cases, this might mean showing proper paperwork to a police officer. (The arresting officer may or may not choose to accept this paperwork as legitimate.) In other case, it may entail having to prove one’s case in a court of law. Either way, the mindset of the state is clear: cannabis is illegal – unless it can be established otherwise.

Passage of either Amendment 64 or I-502 completely changes this dynamic. Rather than presuming cannabis to be illicit, and that those who possess it are engaged in illegal activity, passage of these measures will mandate law enforcement and prosecutors to presume that cannabis is in fact legal, and that those who possess it in personal use quantities are engaged in legal activity, unless the state can show that there are extenuating circumstances proving otherwise (e.g., a person possessed a greater quantity of cannabis than is allowed under state law).


...more at the link

Guardian UK: Decriminalise drug use, say experts after six-year study

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/oct/15/decriminalise-drug-use-say-experts?newsfeed=true

A six-year study of Britain's drug laws by leading scientists, police officers, academics and experts has concluded it is time to introduce decriminalisation.

The report by the UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC), an independent advisory body, says possession of small amounts of controlled drugs should no longer be a criminal offence and concludes the move will not lead to a significant increase in use.

The experts say the criminal sanctions imposed on the 42,000 people sentenced each year for possession of all drugs – and the 160,000 given cannabis warnings – should be replaced with simple civil penalties such as a fine, attendance at a drug awareness session or a referral to a drug treatment programme.

They also say that imposing minimal or no sanctions on those growing cannabis for personal use could go some way to undermining the burgeoning illicit cannabis factories controlled by organised crime.

Colorado MJ Legalization (Amendment 64) Poll Shows Likely Win

http://blog.norml.org/2012/10/25/12-days-to-go-latest-poll-shows-colorados-amendment-64-to-regulate-marijuana-gaining-support/

Amendment 64 "looks to be marching its way towards victory on November 6th."

Public Policy Polling surveyed 904 likely voters in Colorado from October 23rd to 25th and found they support Amendment 64 by 53%. Only 43% were opposed and the number of undecideds has shrunk to 5%. The bump in support can be, in part, thanks to the closing of the gender gap, Women now support A64 by a margin of 50% to 46%.

Previous data, released last week by the Denver Post, had Amendment 64 holding onto a small lead, with 48% in support, 43% opposed, and 9% still undecided. It appears that the current campaign media blitz, including two television advertisements and a radio ad featuring Melissa Etheridge, may be having the desired effect. The number of undecided voters continues to dwindle and they look to be breaking in our favor.

Don’t take this victory for granted, this will still be a very close race come Election Day. Do your part to help us make Colorado the first state to re-legalize marijuana by participating in our online phone banking program. You can use the official Yes on 64 phone banking website from anywhere in the country and dial Colorado voters in support of Amendment 64. Each call can mean the difference between a ‘no’ or a ‘yes’ vote or the difference between staying home and going to the polls.


Newest poll: 59% of Americans want marijuana legalized

http://blog.norml.org/2012/10/24/59-of-all-americans-want-marijuana-to-be-legalized/

A new poll, conducted by Huffington Post and YouGov, has support for marijuana legalization at an astounding 59% amongst all Americans – the largest support yet recorded in a nationwide poll. Only 26% of respondents stated that marijuana should remain illegal.

The survey asked 1,000 U.S. adults their views on the legalization of marijuana and provided them four options to select from. The breakdown is as follows:

1) Marijuana should be legalized, taxed, and regulated like alcohol – 51%
2) Marijuana should be legalized but NOT taxed and regulated like alcohol – 8%
3) Marijuana should not be legalized – 26%
4) Not sure – 15%


These results show a continued upward trend in support for marijuana legalization in this country. Last year, Gallup recorded support out pacing opposition, 50% to 46%, for the first time in about four decades of polling on the question. Another survey by AngusReid had support for legalization as high as 56%. Worth noting in this recent data is that much of the country is still not comfortable with the unregulated “tomato” model of legalization and prefer regulations similar to alcohol by about 5 to 1 (52% to 8%).

Medical marijuana: disabled veteran's appeal could change US drugs policy

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/23/medical-marijuana-disabled-veteran-drugs

Michael Krawitz, one of five plaintiffs involved in a legal case before the court of appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit, told the Guardian that the VA denied him pain treatment after they discovered he had been prescribed medical marijuana while abroad.

He told the court in an affidavit that the withdrawal of care by the department, which has rated him 100% permanently disabled and thus eligible for all medical treatment under its auspices, has meant he now has to travel 130 miles from his home to see a doctor for pain relief.

Krawitz, 49, who is the executive director of Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, said: "The bottom line is its unethical to take away someone's pain treatment. This conflicts with standards of medical care."

...The case, the result of a long-standing battle by medical marijuana advocates to reclassify the drug, is the first time in 20 years that scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic benefits of cannabis will be heard by a federal court.


You can read more about this case here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1170823

Appeals Court hears case on medical value of marijuana

http://safeaccessnow.org/blog/blog/2012/10/16/appeals-court-hears-case-on-medical-value-of-marijuana/

From Oct. 16th -


In front of a packed courtroom in Washington, the three-judge panel questioned ASA’s Chief Counsel Joe Elford and a federal lawyer about the merits of the scientific case, and the crucial legal issue of “standing.” Standing is a legal concept that restricts the right to sue to injured parties – people who are directly hurt by what they are fighting, and can get relief from a legal judgement. The issue of standing has been the reason why two prior appeals of the DEA’s classification of marijuana were rejected. In the past, patients have not been part of lawsuits against the Controlled Substances Act. The three judges were Merrick Garland, Karen Henderson, and Harry Edwards.

ASA’s Chief Counsel Joe Elford opened his appeal by arguing that the federal “Department of Health and Human Services plays a game of gotcha” by tightly controlling research access to cannabis and then claiming that there is not enough compelling research to justify reconsidering it as Schedule I. The Drug Enforcement Administration erred by determing that cannabis has a high potential for abuse when its findings determine its abuse and harm potential is less than other substances in less-controlled schedules, such as cocaine.

Judge Garland asked Elford if he was arguing that marijuana in fact meets HHS’s standard for studies. ASA’s counsel cited over 200 studies and argued that a circular standard is impossible to meet. He also said that, given that the schedule is relative, the DEA is ignoring even its own studies showing that marijuana has merely a “mild” potential for abuse.

Many observers felt the judges were willing to consider the argument of Michael Krawitz’s direct harm from the Controlled Substances Act, and this issue of “standing” has been the Achilles heel of past lawsuits against Schedule I. However, Judge Garland asked at one point, “Don’t we have to defer to the agency? We’re not scientists. They are.”


actually, the DEA gets its propaganda from the DHHS, who confirm what the DEA wants to hear.

no word yet on the ruling, from what I've seen.

Oct. 16th: New Hearing on Rescheduling of Cannabis

http://www.alternet.org/drugs/powerful-court-quietly-takes-marijuana-case-could-shatter-federal-prohibition-laws

For the first time in 20 (!!) years, a federal court will hear evidence regarding the medical use of cannabis and be asked to change the DEA's current insistence that cannabis has no medical value.

Powerful Court Quietly Takes Marijuana Case That Could Shatter Federal Prohibition Laws

Specifically, ASA, a California-based patient-advocacy group, is trying to get the Drug Enforcement Administration to move marijuana out of Schedule I, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970s category for drugs with “a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and no “accepted level of safety for use under medical supervision.” Heroin, LSD, and PCP are also in Schedule I. Cocaine, methamphetamine and OxyContin are in Schedule II, legal for medical use but strongly restricted.

Two previous attempts to get the DEA to reschedule marijuana failed, but advocates believe there is enough new evidence to convince the courts. “There’s simply more science now,” says ASA chief counsel Joseph D. Elford. Since 2000, says Igor Grant of the University of California at San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, the center has done six studies that showed “efficacy for marijuana over a placebo” in relieving pain caused by peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage).

This current attempt began in 2002, when a coalition of medical-marijuana and legalization advocates filed a petition with the DEA. It contended that cannabis “has an accepted medical use in the United States, is safe for use under medical supervision, has an abuse potential lower than Schedule I or II drugs, and has a dependence liability that is also lower than Schedule I or II drugs.” It requested that marijuana be moved to Schedule III (Vicodin, acetaminophen with codeine), Schedule IV (Valium, Xanax), or Schedule V (codeine cough syrup).

“Based on evidence currently available, the Schedule I classification is not tenable,” Grant wrote in the 2012 issue of the Open Neurology Journal . “It is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking. It is true cannabis has some abuse potential, but its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III.”


read the article!
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