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RainDog

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Member since: 2002
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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!

Who will say, “I just want to smoke it”?

http://seattletimes.com/html/opinion/2019387073_ramseycolumnmarijuanaxml.html?cmpid=2628

Editorial columnist Bruce Ramsey writes for the Seattle Times:

A few weeks ago, I smoked it for the first time in 20 years. It was a quiet happening. I lounged by a campfire, entranced by the flames. Bugs gathered on the firewood, spooked by the smoke and heat. Some jumped to safety and some jumped into the flames. I pondered this for quite a while.

Afterward I thought, Why is this illegal? To protect the children? No children were present. And I am 61 years old. Why should I be subject to the laws for children?

The public concern over children is overdone. In the current “liberal” regime of marijuana for use as medicine, dispensaries are not allowed within 1,000 feet of a school or playground. It is a stupid rule. Within two blocks of my house a 7-Eleven dispenses tobacco, wine and beer directly across the street from a park with play structures and ballfields. There is no problem for children. The 7-Eleven does not entice the children to buy cigarettes and beer. They buy Slurpees.

Is addiction the problem? I know addiction; I was addicted to cigarettes. Marijuana is not like that. The few people who continue to argue otherwise all seem to be in anti-drug work. They are making a living from prohibition, and they are seeing the worst cases. Their world is not representative and their view is not fair.


Hopefully state initiatives in Washington and Colorado can start this nation on a saner path regarding marijuana policy at the Federal level. Vote to legalize.
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