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RainDog

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The Gift of Obama

http://marijuana.com/news/2014/06/keith-stroup-the-gift-from-obama/

From Keith Stroup, founder of NORML. I can only post 4 graphs here, so please read the link, which is far more comprehensive than this excerpt.

...Perhaps because I have lived in Washington, DC for 48 years and have seen too many administrations come and go, I did not expect Obama to do anything significant to advance marijuana legalization during his first term. Controversial policy changes generally come, if at all, during a president’s second term, when he faces no future elections, and is sometimes willing to risk some of his personal popularity to embrace a policy on principle.

That appears to be precisely what has occurred with Obama.


Stroup goes on to discuss legislative changes at the state level and the Obama administration's response.

...In other words, President Obama has given the legalization movement 2-3 years to demonstrate that we can legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in a responsible manner, without the fear of federal interference – a sort of free-zone until the end of his second term. That is an incredible gift, and should allow us to demonstrate that legalization works better than prohibition for everyone; law-enforcement as well as consumers, and that it will raise a significant new stream of badly-needed revenue for the states. If we succeed, it is hard to imagine the next administration, whether Republican or Democrat, will have the political support required to attempt to roll-back our progress at the state level.

Of course, we eventually need to change federal law so we do not have to rely on the deferential discretion of the Department of Justice for these innovative new state laws to be implemented. At the end of alcohol prohibition, the government ended federal prohibition and allowed the various states to adopt whatever alcohol policy they wanted; they could keep alcohol illegal, or experiment with different models of legalization – that is the goal we should have for ending marijuana prohibition.


Stroup notes that, now, the onus is upon those who support reforms of marijuana laws to act responsibly in those states and cities that have made it possible to demonstrate just such self-regulation - which has been the point all along.

City of Philadelphia Decriminalizes Up to One Oz possession

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/06/19/phila-city-council-oks-decriminalization-of-small-amounts-of-pot/

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council today signed off on a bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of marijuana. And there were enough votes to override what could be a veto this fall from Mayor Nutter.

All thirteen of City Council’s Democratic members voted in favor of the pot decriminalization bill, and Council’s three Republicans voted against.

The measure makes possession of about an ounce of pot punishable only by a $25 fine, with the matter never entering the court system.

Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who...supported the bill, said the police department’s resources should be focused elsewhere.

Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) team up on marijuana legislation

The bill to which this amendment is attached is scheduled for hearing today in the Senate.

https://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2014/06/breaking-news-senators-rand-paul-r-ky-and-cory-booker-d-nj-offer-groundbreaking-medical

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) will offer an amendment to a federal spending bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state marijuana laws. The House approved a similar bipartisan measure on May 29th. An amendment prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp production for research purposes also passed the U.S. House. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar hemp amendment in committee June 5th that was offered by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“The House just made history last month by voting to stop the DEA from interfering with state marijuana laws,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Now every U.S. Senator has the opportunity to provide relief for the sick and dying – and to be on the right side of history, not to mention public opinion.”

The House medical marijuana amendment was offered by six Republicans and six Democrats: Reps. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Farr (D-CA), Young (R-AK), Blumenauer (D-OR), McClintock (R-CA), Cohen (D-TN), Broun (R-GA), Polis (D-CO), Stockman (R-TX), Lee (D-CA), Amash (R-MI) and Titus (D-NV). 170 Democrats and 49 Republicans voted for the amendment.

Twenty-two states (now twenty-three, with New York, within the last hour) and the District of Columbia have laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Ten states have laws on the books or about to be signed into law by their governors regulating CBD oils, a non-psychotropic component of medical marijuana that some parents are utilizing to treat their children’s seizures: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.


New York state legalizes medical marijuana

you can read about it here - http://www.democraticunderground.com/11702249

New York State Senators spoke about their journey, their growth in understanding, that medical marijuana is, in fact, a reality whose legality impacts people of all age groups when it is legally available.

Democrat Diane Savino closed the Senate session. She noted the FDA has refused to address the issue of rescheduling marijuana, to study the issue and correct the Federal law that currently exists. Savino chided the failure of federal bureaucracies charged with these issues. If they would look at cannabis dispassionately, scientifically, that action would've made the long struggle with this bill unnecessary.

She lauded Senator Bill Larkin, a Republican whose vote made it possible to move the bill forward (noted here in the drug policy forum in an earlier post, btw.)

In explanations for votes, Senator James Sanders, of Queens, expressed his dismay that veterans were left out of this bill by the failure to cover PTSD, and voiced his concern that the bill could be overturned based upon law enforcement concerns rather than scientific ones, as he voted for the bill.

Senator Kathleen Marchione demonstrated ignorance regarding the relative safety of marijuana and compared it to heroin, while opining that New York state must not turn in to California, whose medical marijuana legislation has so few restrictions it is de facto legality. She said she agonized over this bill. She is a conservative. And yet she voted yes because of the health benefits for those who suffer.

49-yeas 10 - nays

The Assembly has passed bills in support of medical marijuana five times, most recently in May, only to see the measures die in the Senate, where Republicans were cool to the idea.

The State Health Department would have up to 18 months to establish regulations governing medical marijuana, such as identifying the entities permitted to dispense it, though it is possible that doctors may be trained and allowed to recommend the drug before then. Initially, five organizations — both businesses and nonprofits — would be allowed to dispense marijuana, each at up to four locations around the state. The drug would be grown in New York and sales of it would be taxed at 7 percent.

http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Is-NY-next-to-join-the-medical-marijuana-movement-263881441.html

"This legislation strikes the right balance," Governor Cuomo said. "Medical marijuana has the capacity to do a lot of good for a lot of people who are in pain and suffering, and are in desperate need of a treatment that will provide some relief. At the same time, medical marijuana is a difficult issue because there are risks to public health and safety that have to be averted. I believe this bill is the right balance, and I commend the members of the Legislature who worked so hard on this measure."

To be prescribed medical marijuana, a patient must receive a certification from a licensed practitioner who must register with the Department of Health and be qualified to treat the serious condition for which the patient is seeking treatment. The serious conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, or as added by the commissioner by DOH.

To ensure medical marijuana is in the hands of only individuals in need and their health care provider, Registry Identification Cards will be issued by DOH to certified patients. The card would contain any recommendation or limitation on form or dosage imposed by the practitioner as well as other information. The Department would be able to suspend or revoke the card of a patient who willfully violates any provision of the new law.

Health insurers would not be required to provide coverage for medical marijuana.

New York becomes the 23rd state with medical marijuana

New York State Senators spoke about their journey, their growth in understanding, that medical marijuana is, in fact, a reality whose legality impacts people of all age groups when it is legally available.

Democrat Diane Savino closed the Senate session. She noted the FDA has refused to address the issue of rescheduling marijuana, to study the issue and correct the Federal law that currently exists. Savino chided the failure of federal bureaucracies charged with these issues. If they would look at cannabis dispassionately, scientifically, that action would've made the long struggle with this bill unnecessary.

She lauded Senator Bill Larkin, a Republican whose vote made it possible to move the bill forward (noted here in this forum in an earlier post, btw.)

In explanations for votes, Senator James Sanders, of Queens, expressed his dismay that veterans were left out of this bill by the failure to cover PTSD, and voiced his concern that the bill could be overturned based upon law enforcement concerns rather than scientific ones, as he voted for the bill.

Senator Kathleen Marchione demonstrated ignorance regarding the relative safety of marijuana and compared it to heroin, while opining that New York state must not turn in to California, whose medical marijuana legislation has so few restrictions it is de facto legality. She said she agonized over this bill. She is a conservative. And yet she voted yes because of the health benefits for those who suffer.

49-yeas 10 - nays



The Assembly has passed bills in support of medical marijuana five times, most recently in May, only to see the measures die in the Senate, where Republicans were cool to the idea.


The State Health Department would have up to 18 months to establish regulations governing medical marijuana, such as identifying the entities permitted to dispense it, though it is possible that doctors may be trained and allowed to recommend the drug before then. Initially, five organizations — both businesses and nonprofits — would be allowed to dispense marijuana, each at up to four locations around the state. The drug would be grown in New York and sales of it would be taxed at 7 percent.

http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Is-NY-next-to-join-the-medical-marijuana-movement-263881441.html

"This legislation strikes the right balance," Governor Cuomo said. "Medical marijuana has the capacity to do a lot of good for a lot of people who are in pain and suffering, and are in desperate need of a treatment that will provide some relief. At the same time, medical marijuana is a difficult issue because there are risks to public health and safety that have to be averted. I believe this bill is the right balance, and I commend the members of the Legislature who worked so hard on this measure."

To be prescribed medical marijuana, a patient must receive a certification from a licensed practitioner who must register with the Department of Health and be qualified to treat the serious condition for which the patient is seeking treatment. The serious conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed are cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, or as added by the commissioner by DOH.

To ensure medical marijuana is in the hands of only individuals in need and their health care provider, Registry Identification Cards will be issued by DOH to certified patients. The card would contain any recommendation or limitation on form or dosage imposed by the practitioner as well as other information. The Department would be able to suspend or revoke the card of a patient who willfully violates any provision of the new law.

Health insurers would not be required to provide coverage for medical marijuana.

NIDA's drug warrior stupidity preventing studies of marijuana

Just ponder the stupidity of this remark:

Marijuana is a trend that “will peak like tobacco then people will see their error,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which serves as the gatekeeper for U.S. marijuana research through its oversight of a pot farm that grows the only plants that can be used in clinical trials.


Funny. I don't recall scientists who wanted to study tobacco for its use an an adjunct to pharmaceutical medicine for issues such as wasting and nausea from chemotherapy.

I've never seen tobacco quell seizures in children who are at risk of death from the same.

I've never seen federal agencies try to cover up the reality that studies indicated tobacco caused cancer cells to die off, while leaving healthy cells intact. But yeah, sure, marijuana is just like tobacco in that tiny enclave Volkow has built in her mind regarding this issue.

But, after stalling for decades, the NIDA has approved a study looking at PTSD for veterans. Now, even though a farm at a university Mississippi receives a million dollars a year to grow marijuana legally - they don't have enough marijuana to supply the studies.

Yeah. The NIDA can’t get enough of the type of pot needed for this study until 2015, according to Rick Doblin, of MAPS.

After 22 years of hard-fought efforts, the non-profit pharmaceutical company Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has finally obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a FDA clinical trial to examine the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana. The trial would study military veterans suffering from treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet the study’s ability to receive Arizona state funding is in jeopardy due to State Senator Kimberly Yee.

Arizona has collected millions of dollars from its medical marijuana program. Under Arizona’s medical marijuana law, that money is reserved for furthering the provisions of the law and should include research and education – but none of it has been spent. A bill being considered by lawmakers would give the Arizona Department of Health Services discretion to use some of this surplus funding to study the medical benefits of marijuana. On March 10th, the bill HB 2333, sponsored by State Representative Ethan Orr of Tucson, passed the Arizona House 52-5, with strong bi-partisan support. But State Senator Kimberly Yee (Phoenix), who chairs the Senate Education Committee, refused to put the bill on her committee’s agenda before the March 20th deadline – saying only that she wanted the funds to be directed for drug abuse prevention.

Dr. Sue Sisley of the University of Arizona, who is the principal investigator of the proposed study, is also frustrated with the inaction of Senator Yee. “Twenty-two veterans a day are killing themselves,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, “They’re not benefiting from conventional medicine. And while many are using marijuana to help them with this debilitating disorder, they want it to be legitimized. They want data. They want to know what doses to take. They want to be able to discuss this with their doctors. The Obama administration is hearing this, because allowing us to do this study does represent a major shift in policy.”

“Cannabis medicine is natural, gentle, non-toxic, and should be available to PTSD sufferers in Arizona,” said Heather Manus, president of the Arizona Cannabis Nurses Association. “Many PTSD patients in neighboring states are successfully finding relief of symptoms through the use of cannabis.” The AZCNA has filed a petition with the Arizona Department of Health Services on behalf of veterans and other PTSD sufferers to add PTSD as a debilitating condition under the state’s medical marijuana law.

http://www.maps.org/media/view/press_release_arizona_state_senator_blocks_funding_for_long-sought_med/


The reality is that it takes four months to produce pounds of marijuana - as many pounds as someone would want or need, via indoor grows - which the university could certainly do if the NIDA didn't want to continue to obstruct research.

So, let's add to the death toll of the drug warriors any vet who kills himself, among the 22 per day who do, who could benefit from marijuana in relation to symptoms of PTSD, in addition to the vets who have killed themselves in the 22 years the NIDA has refused to acknowledge they, not marijuana, are the drug problem in this nation.

Excuse my French, but fuck these folks who are doing this.

I am sick of this shit from these fucking liars.

NY State Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Gets Okay From Cuomo

A bill brought by two democrats, Senator Diane Savino (Staten Island) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (Manhattan), received a "go-ahead" by Gov. Cuomo, after only two decades of such attempts.

The bill, which still requires a vote by the state Legislature, will permit only doctors to prescribe marijuana in forms including oil-based and vapor to individuals with conditions including cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

But it won't legalize smokable forms of the drug, making it much narrower in scope than many other medical-marijuana legalization laws around the country. And it will allow the governor, upon recommendation by the state police superintendent or the state health commissioner, to suspend the program at any time.

While the bill's sponsors and patient advocates had pushed to permit smokable pot, Mr. Cuomo in recent days expressed concern about curbing what he described as marijuana's potential to become a "gateway" drug, a worry that was shared by some Republicans—including Senate Majority Coalition Co-leader Dean Skelos—whose votes were critical to the legislation's success.

The marijuana bill marks the rare occasion in which a piece of high-profile legislation will make its way to the governor's desk without a lengthy record of his fingerprints. While Mr. Cuomo exerted significant influence over the final product, the administration didn't become involved in shaping the bill until very late in the process, instead advocating for the governor's pilot program to introduce medical marijuana trials in a handful of state hospitals.


NY State will be the only state, other than Minnesota, that prohibits smoked marijuana for medical use, among those who currently have medical marijuana laws. This regressive stance was at the insistence of Gov. Cuomo.

This legislation went forward in spite of Cuomo's attempt to introduce an even more limited medical marijuana measure based upon a 1980s provision for research at hospitals. In May, the bill was introduced in the New York State Assembly. The only Democrat to vote against the bill was Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with the GOP (aka a DINO).

While Gov. Cuomo's concerns about marijuana becoming a gateway drug are quaint, they're unfounded and considered the equivalent of junk within the scientific community.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/marijuana-is-gateway-drug-theory-debunked-again

For decades, prohibitionists have claimed that marijuana is a “gateway drug” that inevitably leads to use of harder substances like heroin and cocaine — despite the fact that every objective study ever done on the gateway theory has determined that it’s absolute crap.

Last week, researchers at the University of New Hampshire released yet another study discrediting the gateway theory. Their findings, based on survey data from more than 1,200 students in Florida public schools, showed that a person’s likelihood to use harder drugs has more to do with social and environmental factors than whether or not they’ve ever tried marijuana.


The era in which someone lives also determines whether people use a variety of illicit drugs. When Nixon and Reagan were in office, the use of other drugs soared. When Clinton was in office, the use of MDMA was the other predominant substance. Wall Street long had cocaine delivered to offices with nary a whimper, but even this group is moving on to adderall, which they can easily obtain with a doctor's prescription without so much as a blink of the eye by the powers that be. But they're captains of industry and wolves and all that other garbage moneyfakers say about themselves.

New Hampshire study: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-09/uonh-rom083110.php

Whether teenagers who smoked pot will use other illicit drugs as young adults has more to do with life factors such as employment status and stress, according to the new research. In fact, the strongest predictor of whether someone will use other illicit drugs is their race/ethnicity, not whether they ever used marijuana.

The researchers found that the strongest predictor of other illicit drug use appears to be race-ethnicity, not prior use of marijuana. Non-Hispanic whites show the greatest odds of other illicit substance use, followed by Hispanics, and then by African Americans.


Congrats to New York for overcoming the latent reefer madness of Gov. Cuomo. You would think, when considering a life-threatening issue, the Governor would take some time to learn if he were merely repeating the lies of drug warriors or talking about actual potential harm.

Thankfully, the law passed this round in spite of his reliance on outdated thinking that could've come from the mouth of Richard Nixon.

But it's easier to blame an herb, I suppose, than economic structures, as the reason for people turning to drugs. That would require even more actual fact to demonstrate that trickle-down theory is also junk (economic) science. Wouldn't want to upset the big money folks, tho.

The bill is now pending in the legislature.

Tomorrow: H.R. 4660: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015

H.R. 4660 contains an amendment that would defund the DEA by instructing the Justice Dept. to not supply federal funds to raid state-legal medical marijuana facilities.

This legislation will be heard in the Senate tomorrow.

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4660?utm_campaign=govtrack_email_update&utm_source=govtrack/email_update&utm_medium=email


Please contact your Senator to indicate your support for sane laws regarding medical marijuana and ask them to support the amendment to defund the DEA.

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


Hundreds of pounds of (non-psychoactive) hemp seeds seized at Canadian border

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/apnewsbreak-hemp-seeds-seized-us-canada-border-24213960

Hundreds of pounds of industrial hemp seeds bound from Canada to Colorado have been seized by federal authorities in North Dakota, marking the latest bump along the road to legalization of marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin.

At the center of the dispute is hemp activist Tom McClain. Armed with a copy of last year's federal Farm Bill, which allowed states to permit hemp cultivation for research and development, he set off for MacGregor, Manitoba, and bought 350 pounds of seeds used to grow a strain known as X-59 or Hemp Nut.

Shawn Neudauer, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed the seizure.

"The shipment is currently undergoing scientific evaluation, as hemp seeds can look much like marijuana seeds," Neudauer said in a statement.


This follows the seizure of hemp seeds from Italy to KY last month by the DEA, who also informed the KY Ag. Dept. it needed to provide coordinates for all hemp fields sown in KY... the better to raid you, my dears.

Currently Colorado has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for hemp growers in that state, where marijuana was officially legalized in 2012. The state has not been asked to, nor has it intervened on McClain's behalf. The seeds need to be planted within the next few weeks in order to have sufficient time to grow before harvest.



Jim Greig, marijuana activist (1951-2014)

From Americans for Safe Access:

On Monday, cancer took the life of medical cannabis activist Jim Greig. Jim had suffered from Ankylosing Spondylitis, a severe form of arthritis, since the '80s. He was confined to a wheelchair and was bedridden 80 percent of the time. He began using medical cannabis in 1995 and became a tireless advocate shortly after.

Jim proved to be one of the most powerful patient advocates the medical cannabis movement has ever seen. Jim was instrumental in getting pro-medical cannabis candidate Ellen Rosenblum elected as Attorney General of Oregon. Rosenblum was a much-needed champion for medical cannabis and there is no doubt that the current distribution laws would never have been enacted had her Republican opponent won in 2012.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steph-sherer/leading-from-the-front-th_b_5505221.html

From Jim:

Science Over Ideology?

Mr. President, I'd really like to understand where you're coming from. With 80 percent of U.S. voters supporting medical marijuana legalization and a slim majority favoring adult use, I have a hard time comprehending your reluctance to act properly.

There is no risk to you — and certainly your fellow Democrats in Congress could stand a boost in their popularity.

Mr. Obama, may I remind you that when you were elected, one of your initial points on how your administration would operate revolved around supporting science rather than ideology. You said "promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient.”

Well sir, I'm not sure how to break this to you, because it might be "inconvenient" but there is no scientific legitimacy behind the illegality of cannabis in any of its forms. Surely you must agree that the continued prohibition of industrial hemp is absurd. And to deny patients like myself legitimate access to a non-toxic, non-addictive, grow-it-at-home substance that greatly reduces my consumption of toxic pharmaceuticals, is cruel and capricious.

http://www.eugeneweekly.com/20130509/guest-viewpoint/science-over-ideology

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