By Steve Elliott
If you're a television news reporter and you decide to quit, you might as well do it live on the air and in a spectacular fashion -- at least, that was apparently the thinking of Charlo Greene, who outed herself as the owner of a medical marijuana club and told viewers she was quitting her job to focus on legalization.
Greene reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club during TV station KTVA's Sunday night news broadcast, but didn't reveal her connection to the club until a live shot at the end of her report, according Laurel Andrews at the Alaska Dispatch News.
"Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalization of marijuana here in Alaska," Greene said live on the air. "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice, but fuck it, I quit."
With that, Greene walked off camera.
Alaska Cannabis Club had earlier urged its Facebook followers to tune in to the news broadcast Sunday evening. Greene later said KTVA had no idea she was going to quit, or how, or that she was connected to the dispensary.
Greene said she quit so dramatically "Because I wanted to draw attention to this issue. And the issue is medical marijuana.
San Jose's Joseph McNamara Leaves Behind a Remarkable Legacy of Public Service and Activism
Retired police chief Joseph McNamara, who fought to end the War On Drugs, died on Friday, September 19 at the age of 79. His 35-year law enforcement career began in 1956 as a beat cop for the New York City Police Department.
He would later become a criminal justice fellow at Harvard, where he focused on criminal justice research and methodology. During this time McNamara took leave from police work to obtain a doctorate in Public Administration, and was appointed deputy inspector of crime analysis in New York City upon his return.
McNamara spoke out publicly against the Drug War long before the issue had come to the political forefront. He was a speaker and advisory board member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the War On Drugs.
“When you’re telling cops that they’re soldiers in a Drug War, you’re destroying the whole concept of the citizen peace officer, a peace officer whose fundamental duty is to protect life and be a community servant,” McNamara said at a presentation for the International Conference on Drug Policy Reform in 1995.
Measure 91: Kris Olson, one of Oregon's most respected prosecutors, endorses campaign
Oregon's former U.S. Attorney, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, has endorsed Measure 91, which would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Kris Olson has worked in justice and law enforcement for more than 40 years."I enforced our marijuana laws, and they don't work," she said.
"Filling our courts and jails has failed to reduce marijuana use, and drug cartels are pocketing all the profits," Olson said.
Olson joins several other high-profile supporters of Measure 91, including former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs and former Addictions and Mental Health Services of Oregon director Richard Harris.
By Steve Elliott
Military veterans who use marijuana are invited to Denver on Saturday, September 20, where a pro-cannabis organization plans to host a weed giveaway for vets who want it.
The group Operation Grow4Vets will hand out marijuana and cannabis products from 11 a.m until 3 p.m. at the Quality Inn in Central Denver, reports Denver Nicks at Time. Total value of the products given away to each veteran who RSVPs for the event by noon on Friday will be worth more than $200, according to the group.
Non-veterans will be asked for a $20 donation at the door and will get more than $100 in marijuana products in exchange, organizers told ABC7 News Denver.
Grow4Vets' mission is to "reduce the staggering number of Veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose," by providing them "with the knowledge and resources necessary to obtain or grow their own marijuana for treatment of their medical conditions," according to the group's website.
The event is open to the public and restricted to adults 21 and older. "Our events are open to the public to help grow visibility for our cause," Operation Grow4Vets founder and executive director Roger Martin explained.
A repeat of the event will be held in Colorado Springs next Saturday, September 27.
As more states legalize marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, entrepreneurs believe they'll get rich from cannabis businesses that comply with the laws of a particular state. However, marijuana businesses that comply with state laws are still breaking federal law and, therefore, are criminal enterprises.
Business advisory and advocacy law firm McDonald Hopkins addresses this issue in a special report designed to help potential investors, vendors, and professionals, such as lawyers and bankers, understand the risks involved in participating in the so-called "legal marijuana business."
The report, authored by Bruce Reinhart, co-chair of McDonald Hopkins' white collar and government compliance practice group, details how federal law regulates controlled substances, and that only certain persons registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) can manufacture, distribute, and dispense controlled substances.
Reinhart outlines the tremendous risks businesses and business owners take on when dealing with legal marijuana businesses, including exposure to criminal prosecution, loss of assets, civil penalties, loss of licensure, and fiduciary duty litigation. These risks are assumed in an environment with limited -- if any -- protection from legal counsel or insurance.
Given the current legislative landscape, the report warns that the decision to enter the legal marijuana market should be made cautiously and with the advice of legal counsel experienced in criminal, civil, and forfeiture law.
By Steve Elliott
A nationwide survey released on Thursday found that legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado hasn't led to more young people smoking pot there.
"The actual attitudes towards its use are really in line with other states," said Dr. Leslie Adair, reports MPR News. "What this survey has done is posed questions for further research in understanding why that is."
The survey was commissioned by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which operates drug and alcohol treatment centers in several states. It included interviews with more than 1,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
The study also found that about one in 10 young adults reported being high every day at school, at work or while driving.
"What we certainly know is that marijuana use affects memory, it affects concentration, it affects attention," Adair said. "It affects a lot of the cognitive processes required to drive."
But most marijuana users disagreed, according to the study, which found about 60 percent of pot smokers said they don't think it has a negative impact on the brain, reports Ashley Michels at Fox 31 Denver.
The survey also found that 72 percent of young adults whose parents had used marijuana also used it themselves.
Oregon farmers are forced to watch while consumers here buy millions of dollars in hempseed for food, clothing made of hemp and thousand of other products made from this cash crop, all grown in foreign countries.
Ryan Basile is an Oregonian, a farmer and an agricultural businessman. In this video, he alerts us all to unintended consequences of laws banning marijuana and how it's holding back an entire economy perfect for Oregon's climate.
Ryan knows that Measure 91 will compel the state Department of Agriculture to cut the remaining red tape and allow hemp growing and manufacturing in Oregon.
• Hemp plants are considered a dangerous narcotic simply because they're related to marijuana plants.
• Smoking hemp will NOT get you high.
• Hemp is a fibrous plant that can be turned into oil, wax, rope, resin, cloth, paper, pulp and food.
• Canadians make half a billion dollars a year on it, and about 90% of the hemp they grow is exported to the United States. Oregonians are seeing the consequences for our strange approach to hemp while Canadians are profiting off of us.
• Canadians have a 20-year lead on us in hemp research, and everyday it is illegal to grow hemp in Oregon we fall further behind.
"There is an entire hemp economy sitting on the sidelines waiting for voters to pass Measure 91," said Ryan Basile, a farmer and agricultural salesman from Oregon. "From fiber processing to clothing manufacturing, the hemp industry will create jobs and money for our economy."
Highest Support Ever for a Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative
Campaign to Legalize Marijuana in Racial Justice Context Resonating With D.C. Voters
A new Washington Post/NBC News/Marist poll released on Thursday shows support for Initiative 71, which would legalize marijuana, at 65 percent among likely D.C. voters.
Initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana on their person at any time, and allows for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home.
District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana. However, the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill which will tax and regulate marijuana within the District.
“D.C. voters want to take marijuana completely out the criminal justice system and refocus police priorities,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, D.C. Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Voters are relating to the message that legalization will end D.C.’s rampant discrimination when it comes marijuana enforcement.”
D.C. has decriminalized marijuana, replacing criminal penalties with a $25 fine. However, data from the Metropolitan Police Department shows that 77 percent of all tickets have been issued in communities of color.
Award-Winning Author of High Price Shares Insights from his Remarkable Personal Journey and Career as a Scientist
Carl Hart, PhD, a neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, recently gave a compelling TEDMED Talk in which he dispelled myths about drugs, drug use and drug misuse. In the talk, Hart eloquently discussed the negative influence that drug hysteria had on the flawed drug laws the United States grapples with today.
His unflinching, eye-opening talk mirrored his widely-renowned book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (HarperCollins, 2013), a groundbreaking memoir/science book which recently won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
“My TED talk is a public education effort to combat drug myths, bad drug policy, and to help keep people safe,” said Dr. Hart. “Millions of people languish unnecessarily in jails and prisons largely, and still others needlessly die from preventable overdoses, underground market violence and police interactions, due to a misguided approach to drug regulations. And no one suffers more than African American men and the poor.”
A complaint was filed with the York County Superior Court on Wednesday seeking a temporary injunction requiring the Select Board of the Town of York to place an initiated ordinance which would legalize marijuana on the ballot for November's general election.
Plaintiffs include York voters who have signed and circulated the marijuana petition, as well as a York voter who did not sign the petition but wants the opportunity to vote on the measure.
The measure would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in York. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. The measure also includes a statement in support of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.
Citizens for a Safer York initially submitted more than 200 signatures to place the measure in front of the York Board of Selectmen. On July 28, the board voted 3-2 against putting the measure on the ballot, giving the group 30 days to collect an additional 641 signatures. It submitted nearly 1,000 signatures on August 27. On September 8, the Board of Selectman voted 3-2 to not place the measure on the ballot.
“The right to petition your government is the bedrock of democracy. For the Selectman to ignore the will of their constituents goes against what our country is all about, and that is why I signed on to this case,” said plaintiff Sharon DaBiere.
By Steve Elliott
More people have joined a class action lawsuit against a company accused of handing out samples of marijuana-infused chocolate at the Denver County Fair.
Seven named plaintiffs have joined the lawsuit's amendment complaint, filed by Boulder attorney Corey Zurbach in Denver County Court, reports Alan Gathright at 7News Denver. The defendant is named as Beyond Broadway LLC, doing business as Full Melt Chocolate and LivWell.
The lawsuit, originally filed on August 7, now states that class action suit "as initially defined includes in excess of 100 individuals."
The alleged "victims" all ate free samples of Full Melt Chocolate, provided by LivWell at a "Pot Pavilion" exhibit during the Denver County Fair, which ran from August 1 through August 3, according to the lawsuit.
The Pot Pavilion was advertised as being drug free. "No marijuana will be onsite," the Denver County Fair's website stated.
"This civil action is for personal injuries arising from the defendants' negligent distribution of marijuana-infused chocolate bars under the guise that they contained no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive component (or cannabinoid) of the cannabis plant," the lawsuit states.
"Victims" named in the lawsuit claimed they began "to feel strange" and "physically ill" after consuming the chocolates.
By Steve Elliott
Israel's Health Ministry, attempting to deal with a heavy load on pain clinics, has announced that family doctors will temporarily be allowed to write medical marijuana prescriptions for their patients.
The new rules will allow family physicians to write the medicinal cannabis prescriptions under two conditions, reports Ido Efrati at Haaretz: when it is an extension of an existing treatment, and keeping to an existing dosage.
About 18,000 Israelis hold permits for using medical marijuana, with this number expected to grow to 40,000 by 2018. Demand for cannabis in Israel has been growing steadily, and the list of conditions for which it is authorized has also been growing.
Medical marijuana was recently authorized for the treatment of certain types of pediatric epilepsy, as well as in cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), along with the other diseases and conditions for which patients are allowed to use cannabis.
Israeli health authorities have suggested before that family doctors -- who work in health maintenance organization (HMO) clinics -- should be able to write cannabis prescriptions. But the idea has met with fierce opposition in the past, both from some of the doctors themselves and from the HMOs.
The Marijuana Policy Project on Wednesday launched the first-ever comprehensive public education campaign urging adults to “consume responsibly” in states where marijuana is legal. The campaign is being launched in Colorado and will be exported to Washington and then other states as they adopt similar laws.
MPP will kick off the campaign with a news conference at noon Mountain Time Wednesday in front of its first paid ad, a billboard at 816 Federal Boulevard in Denver that warns tourists, “Don’t let a candy bar ruin your vacation.” It also encourages them to start with a low dose of THC and go slow when consuming edible marijuana products, which can take up to two hours to feel the effect.
The billboard features a distressed woman in a dark hotel room, alluding to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s now-infamous June column detailing her over-consumption of a marijuana-infused candy bar in her Denver hotel room.
The billboard directs people to the campaign’s website — http://wwww.ConsumeResponsibly.org — which features detailed information about marijuana products, their effects, and the laws surrounding them. It also addresses issues such as preventing and responding to over-consumption and accidental consumption. The Consume Responsibly campaign will initially include print and online ads, as well as materials in retail marijuana stores.
Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) Propose Legislation to Reform Pentagon Military Transfer Program that Fuels the Drug War
Legislation is a Response to Alarming Images of Militarized Law Enforcement in Ferguson and other parts of the Country
By Steve Elliott
Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) on Tuesday introduced legislation to reform the Pentagon program which transfers military equipment to law enforcement. The program has come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers after images from Ferguson, Missouri, showed law enforcement dressed like combat soldiers, using military equipment to deal with protestors.
The Pentagon program has its roots in the Drug War, coming to fruition in the early 90s as the U.S. government militarized its approach to drug policy. Just last week, Senators held a hearing on the issue of militarization in our law enforcement, where they critical of the Pentagon program.
By Steve Elliott
The Illinois chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Illinois NORML) on Tuesday announced they are "appalled" that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wants to delay the application process for the dispensary and cultivation center licenses of the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.
Rauner, a wealthy venture capitalist, on Tuesday called for transparency in the awarding of the licenses, and he wants the Illinois Legislature to pass a new law regarding transparency and bidding in the application process. Medical marijuana patients have already waited for years for the original bill to pass, according to Illinois NORML, "and have now had to wait months for the agencies to adopt rules and regulations that would guarantee a professional program to help ensure that program will eventually be made permanent."
"My message to Pat Quinn is this: Governor, the jig is up," Rauner said on Tuesday. "Stop this rigged process before it moves forward any further. The application process for medical marijuana should not be held in secret where insiders win and taxpayers lose; it should be open and transparent."
Twenty-two licenses will be issued by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for cultivation centers to grow medical cannabis. The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, meanwhile, will issue 60 licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.