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RainDog

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Delaware lawmakers introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-30/news/sns-rt-us-usa-delaware-marijuana-20140530_1_marijuana-laws-marijuana-use-small-amounts

Democratic lawmakers in Delaware have introduced a bill that would decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana, following the lead of nearly 20 U.S. states that have moved to loosen laws surrounding non-medical use of the drug.

The bill, introduced on Thursday, would exempt from prosecution adults 21 and older who possess marijuana for their own personal use and consumption. Personal use was described as possession of 1 ounce or less.

The legislation would also reduce the fine for using marijuana in a public place to $100. Under current Delaware law, marijuana possession is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,150.

The bill has the support of about 15 Democrats in the House and Senate, but no Republican sponsors. Republicans said they plan to oppose the bill as it heads for a vote before the close of the legislative session next month.

Republicans Forsake Federalism to Support Big Govt. Nanny State Prohibition

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobsullum/2014/05/30/anti-pot-republicans-forsake-federalism-in-medical-marijuana-vote/

...By a vote of 219 to 189, the House of Representatives approved an amendment aimed at stopping federal interference with state laws that “authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” If it is included in the appropriations bill passed by the Senate and signed by the president, the amendment would prohibit the Justice Department, which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), from spending taxpayers’ money on dispensary raids or other attempts to stop medical use of marijuana in the 22 states that allow it.

Similar measures have failed in the House six times since 2003. This year the amendment attracted record support from Republicans, 49 of whom voted yes, compared to 28 last time around. “This measure passed because it received more support from Republicans than ever before,” says Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project. “It is refreshing to see conservatives in Congress sticking to their conservative principles when it comes to marijuana policy. Republicans increasingly recognize that marijuana prohibition is a failed Big Government program that infringes on states’ rights.”

Yet Republicans still overwhelmingly opposed the amendment, by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, while Democrats overwhelmingly supported it, by a ratio of 10 to 1. Given the GOP’s frequent lip service to federalism, the party’s lack of enthusiasm for letting states set their own policies in this area requires some explanation. So does the need for this amendment under a Democratic administration that has repeatedly said it is not inclined to use Justice Department resources against medical marijuana users and providers who comply with state law. It is hard to say who is being more inconsistent: a president who promised tolerance but delivered a crackdown or members of Congress who portray themselves as defenders of the 10th Amendment but forsake federalism because they are offended by a plant.


(This post further discusses the fits and starts from the Obama administration Justice Dept - specifically the DEA - for those who find this issue the most perplexing. The author assumes Obama was sincere but was surprised by just how STRONG support for ending prohibition actually is across this nation and the response to the Ogden memo by citizen entrepreneurs was greeted with a backlash by the JD/DEA)

...While Obama seems like a feckless and halfhearted supporter of marijuana federalism, most Republicans seem utterly unprincipled on this issue. Here is an opportunity to defend something they supposedly believe in—state autonomy under the Constitution—while simultaneously criticizing a Democratic administration and siding with a majority of Americans. In a recent Politico essay, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, argue that opposing federal interference with medical marijuana is politically smart:

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that nearly three in four Americans—including 78 percent of Independents, 71 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans—believe that efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth. Similar numbers—80 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of Independents, and 61 percent of Republicans—favor making medical marijuana legally available.


As the author notes, the demographics in the U.S. do not bode well for Republicans on this issue either. The voting bloc they represent on this issue will not remain on this earth for too many more election cycles. Then Republicans will be faced with yet another label of "outdated" -- one that deals not only with social/culture war issues, but also the will of the people to get unwanted law off the books and the DEA off our backs, the hypocrisy of claims of "states rights" if the issue doesn't reinforce 1960s-era right-wing "values" -- that indicates not only do they not have a finger on the pulse of the American voter, they are using CPR to keep the stereotype of "hippies" alive.

What's next, Republicans? Zombie Nixon?

... ... ... ... ... ...



Do you remember, your President Nixon?
Do you remember, the bills you have to pay?
Or even yesterday?
Have been the un-American?
Just you and your idol sing falsetto
'bout Leather, leather everywhere,

Please contact your state Senator to VOTE FOR medical marijuana

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/nyregion/assembly-backs-use-of-marijuana-for-illnesses.html?_r=0

For the fifth time in seven years, the State Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana, backing a measure that would far surpass a program Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced this year.

But with less than four weeks left in the legislative session, the prospects for passage in the State Senate remained uncertain.

The bill allows the possession and use of up to two and a half ounces of marijuana by seriously ill patients whom doctors, physician assistants or nurse practitioners have certified. It permits organizations to establish dispensaries to deliver the drug to registered users and their caregivers, part of what advocates call a “seed to sale” system meant to prevent abuse or illegal use.

Katrin Haugh, left, and Carol Thompson, of the Absentee and Petition Office in Anchorage, processed signatures that supported the effort to put marijuana legalization on the ballot.Pivotal Point Is Seen as More States Consider Legalizing MarijuanaFEB. 26, 2014
“There are tens of thousands of New Yorkers with serious, debilitating, life-threatening conditions whose lives could be made more tolerable and longer by enacting this legislation,” said Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Democrat from Manhattan who heads the Health Committee and sponsored the bill.


New Yorkers: PLEASE contact your Senators to support this bill.

here's link for you: http://www.nysenate.gov/

Yesterday's House vote on HR 4660 amendment to defund the DEA re: medical marijuana was historic.

Republicans pushed the vote. More Republicans than ever regarding any bill related to marijuana supported defunding the DEA through the allocation of funds in the Justice Dept.

This is a big defeat for the DEA.

Of course, the bill was largely passed by Democrats, with 170 Democratic members of the House voting yes, while only 49 Republicans voted in favor.

So, I don't want to give Republicans more credit than they're due - but the amendment passed by one vote, and all 49 of those Republicans were necessary to make the amendment happen. So, a thank you to the Republicans who put the will of the American people and the well being of its citizens over the will of the DEA, the religious right, and the cranks who vote overwhelmingly for the Republican Party.

This writer asks if this was a tipping point. Who knows. Hope so.

http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2014/05/house_vote_dea_funding_marijuana_raids.php

This person notes, as I have here, that Sanjay Gupta has provided a voice for the voiceless whose use of marijuana remains silent, for the most part, because they live in states that treat them like terrorists for using the herbal product that produces better results than pharmaceutical products for various illnesses or disabilities.

These illnesses include Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, Epilespy, post traumatic stress disorder, Crohn's Disease, IBS, pain management from breast cancer chemotherapy, nausea and wasting management for people undergoing various cancer treatments, and more. These people, in states without medical marijuana laws, are treated as criminals for using the medication that provides the most effective treatment for their problems.

The U.S. Congress is not qualified to provide medical advice to anyone. They are not qualified to determine what medicines doctors can or cannot recommend.

It's time for Congress to get out of the medical quackery biz and let doctors and patients decide the best course of treatment for them. No more "war on marijuana" snake oil, please.

Address the legislature left sitting by Republicans in 2013 to regulate marijuana like alcohol and let medical marijuana research go forward.

And, most importantly, the DEA needs to hear this truth: The DEA has no right to determine health care for American citizens.

H.R.499 - Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013

http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/499

Where it stands: Latest Action was 02/28/2013. Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, And Investigations.

Who sits on that subcommittee?

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Chairman; Rep. Louie Gohmert, Vice-Chairman

Rep. Coble
Rep. Scott
Rep. Bachus
Rep. Pierluisi
Rep. Forbes
Rep. Chu
Rep. Franks
Rep. Gutierrez
Rep. Chaffetz
Rep. Bass
Rep. Gowdy
Rep. Richmond
Rep. Labrador

IN THE PAST bills have been sent to committees who will let them die there. Lamar Smith, of Texas, stated outright that a bill addressing marijuana reform would never leave his office. That's exactly what he did when he was head of the Judiciary Committee in the past. He's now moved on to "deal" with global climate change.

It's such a pity that people elect such people to office - they really, really have no place in a modern democracy - they're like segregationists still blocking the doors to schools - they've just moved on to be equally reactionary to provide impediments to the U.S. government when its citizens want to address issues such as global climate change and marijuana prohibition.

The 2013 session of the House ended with this bill stuck in a committee vice-chaired by one of the most seemingly idiotic members of the House, Louis Gohmert. The two Republicans who chair this subcommittee are ideologues.

The chair, Sensenbrenner, had an important role in the impeachment of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, acting as one of the House managers. He introduced the USA "PATRIOT" Act to the House on October 23, 2001.

Sensenbrenner receives high marks from the National Taxpayers Union, a non-profit organization that supports low taxes. I have to ask - this organization must not care about the TRILLIONS of dollars that have been wasted on the War on Drugs. How meaningful or worthwhile is such an organization if it highly rates someone who wants to pour money into no-bid military contracts with no oversight because of the war on cannabis (because THIS is where the majority of arrests happen)? This group, like most other right wingers, only care about taxes when they go to support social safety net issues to help level the playing field in the U.S. What a joke. Grover Norquist was the former executive director.

Isn't it interesting that one of the biggest advocacy groups for lower taxes ignores one of the biggest wastes of taxes in the U.S. since Reagan declared war on drugs - and, honestly, what a stupid idea in the first place.

Gohmert, of course, is part of the duo Bachman-Gohmert Overdrive, who previous hits include comparing the man now running Egypt, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to George Washington for holding firm against the Muslim Brotherhood, while proclaiming the U.S. is a theocratic state, in spite of Washington's explicit words to the contrary in his letters regarding the founding of his nation.

Hey, Gohmie - why don't you pay attention to an issue the majority of Americans want to change, in spite of your and other Republicans' resistance to THE WILL OF THE AMERICAN VOTER.

Co-Sponsers of the Bill / Date Cosponsored

Rep. Blumenauer, Earl * 02/05/2013
Rep. Cohen, Steve * 02/05/2013
Rep. Lee, Barbara * 02/05/2013
Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. * 02/05/2013
Rep. Nadler, Jerrold * 02/05/2013
Rep. Huffman, Jared * 02/05/2013
Rep. Honda, Michael M. * 02/05/2013
Rep. Moran, James P. * 02/05/2013
Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes * 02/05/2013
Rep. Rohrabacher, Dana 02/06/2013
Rep. Pocan, Mark 02/06/2013
Rep. Pingree, Chellie 03/18/2013
Rep. Swalwell, Eric 03/18/2013
Rep. Hastings, Alcee L. 04/12/2013
Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. 04/12/2013
Rep. Capuano, Michael E. 05/20/2013

Contact Gohmert and Sensenbrenner to ask them why they want to waste taxpayer money on failed policy - policy that our own Congress admitted was a colossal failure in 2011. Three years later, one bill later, a majority that grows week by week that supports ending the war on cannabis --- and yet these two can't deal with legislation.

I'd call that ineffective leadership and governance.

Title 21 : Congress must amend

Title 21 of the United States Code (USC), Subdivision I, Part A, Section 801 of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) has a paragraph entitled Severability. In this paragraph it states that if any provision of Title 21 of the USC is "...invalid or unenforceable... severed from this title..."

The Controlled Substances Act places marijuana as a schedule I substance. However, numerous doctors and research scientists have agreed that marijuana has legitimate medical use.

Therefore, Congress needs to amend Title 21 to remove cannabis from this section of the CSA, and move cannabis to another schedule, or better, remove it completely from the CSA and allow oversight from the ATF.

This would stop all the wasteful spending on a war on cannabis that no one other than those who profit from producing criminals want to remain as law.

It's time, Congress.

House Blocks DEA From Targeting Medical Marijuana

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/30/dea-medical-marijuana-house-vote_n_5414679.html

A link to this with other information is in LBN.

Rohrabacher said on the House floor that the amendment "should be a no-brainer" for conservatives who support states' rights and argued passionately against allowing the federal government to interfere with a doctor-patient relationship. "Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels that he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way," Rohrabacher said, his voice rising. "And that's what's happening."

The debate pitted three House Republicans who also are doctors against one another. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) opposed the amendment, while Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) supported it.

Harris insisted that there were no medical benefits to marijuana and that medical marijuana laws were a step toward legalizing recreational pot.

"It's the camel's nose under the tent," said Harris. He cited piece of anti-marijuana propaganda published by the DEA this month that claimed medical marijuana was just "a means to an end" -- the eventual legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. The taxpayer-funded report uses scare quotes around the word "medical."


Harris. LOL. How can a doctor be this resistant to the 1000s of studies that show medical benefit? I feel sorry for any of his patients...


House Votes To End DEA Raids On Legal Medical Marijuana Operations

Source: Buzzfeed by way of other outlets

WASHINGTON — The House passed an amendment late Thursday night to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration from targeting medical marijuana operations in states where it is legal.

The 219-189 decision came on a bipartisan appropriations amendment spearheaded by California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and California Democrat Sam Farr. The amendment still faces several procedural hurdles before it is ratified, but this is the first time such an amendment has succeeded in the House.

The vote is an encouraging one for marijuana advocates, who say it shows the congressional pendulum is finally tilting in their favor. “The significance of it is a symbolic importance,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project. “We are nearing a point now where the United States Congress is essentially ready to end marijuana prohibition.”

The amendment needed 218 votes to pass.


Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jacobfischler/house-votes-to-end-dea-raids-on-legal-medical-marijuana-oper



THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CALLED YOUR REPRESENTATIVES!!!!!

“We are nearing a point now where the United States Congress is essentially ready to end marijuana prohibition.”

update: IT PASSED!! ALERT: House to Vote on Medical Marijuana Amendment This Week!

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2014/may/27/alert_house_vote_medical_marijua

Possibly as soon as Thursday! Please contact your Representative if you would like to indicate your support. Here's a link to find your rep - http://www.house.gov/

...The US House of Representatives will vote on an amendment that would prohibit the federal government from spending taxpayer money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. Though similar amendments have been offered in the past, this year it is being offered by 10 sponsors -- five Republicans and five Democrats -- and several weeks ago a different medical marijuana amendment that would have allowed VA doctors to discuss it with their patients got 195 yes votes. There is a better chance than ever that this could pass, and we can certainly get closer and advance the issue -- if you take action.

Link to an online message here (via Stop the Drug War.org).

I posted this yesterday in the Drug Policy forum - cross-posting here, today, for those who want to support sensible policy on this issue.

...or, in the words of someone on DU long ago, CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW!

Find out how your Representative voted on marijuana legislation this week.

Here's link to information concerning a prior bill to allow doctors to discuss medical marijuana with veterans - http://www.mpp.org/states/federal/tell-congress-to-end-medical.html

The Marijuana Policy Project will also be posting the results of the vote THIS WEEK on defunding federal interference in medical marijuana laws in the 20 states and DC that have enacted them.


ALERT - This vote will take place, possibly, as soon as Thursday! Please contact your Representative if you would like to indicate your support. Here's a link to find your rep - http://www.house.gov/

...The US House of Representatives will vote on an amendment that would prohibit the federal government from spending taxpayer money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. Though similar amendments have been offered in the past, this year it is being offered by 10 sponsors -- five Republicans and five Democrats -- and several weeks ago a different medical marijuana amendment that would have allowed VA doctors to discuss it with their patients got 195 yes votes. There is a better chance than ever that this could pass, and we can certainly get closer and advance the issue -- if you take action.
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