In an effort to appease law enforcement, Gov. Mark Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to an effective medical marijuana bill supported by parents of children with epilepsy; the Governor then blamed the parents — who told him his proposal would not help their kids — for obstructing the passage of medical marijuana legislation that 'would help hundreds of kids that are suffering from epilepsy'
Children suffering from seizure disorders will join their parents and advocates at a news conference WEDNESDAY (3/26) at 12:45 p.m. CT in the State Capitol
Parents and their children suffering from epilepsy will hold a news conference Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. CT in Room 125 of the Minnesota State Capitol, at which they will slam Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton for using them as political cover to block widely supported medical marijuana legislation.
In an effort to appease law enforcement interests, Gov. Dayton proposed an unworkable alternative to HF 1818, a bill that would effectively allow people with specific conditions, such as epilepsy, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis, to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The Governor's proposal would direct funding to research into the anti-epileptic properties of a specific strain of marijuana, but would not provide a mechanism for patients or their caregivers to obtain medical marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Residents of Colorado who were convicted of marijuana possession before recreational legalization measure Amendment 64 was passed may be eligible to have those convictions overturned, the Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled.
Under Amendment 64, as of January 1, adults 21 and older are allowed to buy up to an ounce of cannabis. But with more than 9,000 marijuana possession cases being prosecuted each year until then, thousands of state residents are now wondering how legalization impacts their previous convictions, reports RT.com.
A three-judge state appeals court panel on March 13 ruled that part of an earlier decision in a case against a Colorado woman sentenced in 2011 for marijuana possession should be vacated.
If "there has been a significant change in the law," there can be post-conviction relief, the appellate court wrote.
"Amendment 64, by decriminalizing the personal use or possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, meets the statutory requirement for 'a significant change in the law' and eliminates and thus mitigates the penalties for persons convicted of engaging in such conduct," the judges wrote.
A majority support making marijuana legal for adults, and regulating and taxing it like alcohol; only 41 percent opposed
More than two-thirds of Delaware voters -- 68 percent -- support removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession and making it a civil offense, punishable by a fine of up to $100 with no possibility of jail time, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday by the Marijuana Policy Project. Only 26 percent said they were opposed.
Under current Delaware law, it is a criminal offense for a person to possess a small amount of marijuana, and he or she can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and fined up to $1,150.
"The era of criminalizing people for marijuana possession is over," said Robert Capecchi, deputy director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Nobody should face life-altering criminal penalties and time in jail simply for possessing a small amount of a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. We hope legislators will listen to their constituents and move quickly to end this draconian policy."
The poll also found a majority of Delaware voters (51 percent) support making marijuana legal for adults, and regulating and taxing it like alcohol. Only 41 percent said they were opposed.
"Most Delaware voters agree it is time to move beyond the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and start taking a more sensible approach," Capecchi said.
Mexican Marijuana Decriminalization and Medical Marijuana Legislation Recently Introduced
Unprecedented Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Continues to Spread Throughout Latin America
This week, legislators from the Mexican Congress and the Mexico City Assembly will be in DC and NY to discuss the bills they introduced to decriminalize the consumption and purchase of marijuana for personal use in Mexico City and to legalize medical marijuana countrywide.
Mexico City Senator Mario Delgado and Mexico City Assembly member Vidal Llerenas, both from the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), will be in DC on March 24 and 25 and in NY on March 26 to discuss the aims of the marijuana reform proposals in Mexico.
The central aim of these initiatives is to provide the groundwork for alternative policies to the current punitive approach, which results in widespread criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs in Mexico. Since Mexico’s Drug War escalated in 2006, at least 80,000 people have been killed in prohibition-related violence.
The bills build on the spirit of progressive reforms passed in Mexico City in recent years, which broaden the rights and freedoms of Mexico City’s citizens (which include the legalization of abortion, the recognition of same-sex marriages, same-sex adoptions, strict tobacco control laws, and universal pension for elder citizens, among others).
Illinois: Lawmakers To Hold Public Hearing On Allowing Medical Marijuana For People With Seizure DisordersSubmitted by steveelliott on Tue, 03/25/2014 - 00:41
State Lawmakers to Hold Public Hearing Tuesday On Proposal to Allow Access to Medical Marijuana for People With Seizure Disorders, Including Minors
The president of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, a family physician, and parents of children with seizure disorders will testify in support of SB 2636
The Illinois Senate Public Health Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT on a bill that would allow access to medical marijuana for people suffering from seizure disorders, including minors. The hearing will be held in Room 409 of the Illinois State Capitol.
The president of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, Kurt W. Florian, Jr.; a Moline-based family practitioner, Dr. Margy Millar; and parents of two children suffering from seizure disorders are scheduled to testify in support of the measure.
SB 2636, sponsored by Sen. Iris Martinez, would add seizure disorders to the Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act that was approved last year by the Illinois State Legislature.
"Medical marijuana has been found to produce significant benefits for patients suffering from frequent and severe seizures," said Chris Lindsey, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "These patients deserve the same right to relief as those suffering from other conditions that qualify under Illinois's medical marijuana law. We hope the committee members will agree this is a commonsense proposal."
Oregon: 15th Annual Global Cannabis March in Portland on May 3rd, Thousands Expected to Rally to End Marijuana ProhibitionSubmitted by restore on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 18:53
Cannabis proponents agree; the war on the cannabis plant is a farce, the drug war is taking its last gasp. No political movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, and it's just a matter of time before marijuana prohibition crumbles.
By Michael Bachara, Oregon NORML/CRRH
Portland, Oregon – On Saturday, May 3, 2014, nearly three hundred cities worldwide, including Portland, will participate in the fifteenth annual Global Cannabis March on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort. Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Oregon NORML are sponsors of this event.
Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort. Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) and Oregon NORML are sponsors of this event.
Global: Talking About Drugs at the United Nations - UN General Assembly Special Session On Drugs In 2016Submitted by steveelliott on Mon, 03/24/2014 - 16:07
Featured Speakers Include Former President of Switzerland, Ruth Dreifuss, and Drug Czar of the Czech Republic, Jindrich Voboril
Never before have so many governments voiced displeasure with the international drug control regime. Never before, to this degree, have citizens put drug law reform on the agenda and passed regulatory proposals via referenda or by popular campaigns. For the first time, there is significant dissent at the local, national, and international levels.
As national and local governments around the world pursue alternative drug policies, there is unprecedented momentum for reform of the international system. Governments will hold a review of the drug control system in 2016 at the UN General Assembly. This international summit, which is referred to as the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs (UNGASS 2016), is an extraordinary opportunity to consider what works in drug policy.
On March 25, political leaders who initiated alternative approaches to drugs in their own countries will discuss their experiences and how they could inform international discussions. The national policies to be discussed include:
By Steve Elliott
Colorado marijuana activist Mason Tvert, unhappy that the Governor's Mansion recently installed a draft beer system, put on his toga Friday afternoon and held a protest "toga party" outside Gov. John Hickenlooper's official residence.
The draft beer system, which was finished just in time for a private beer party at the mansion Friday night, was paid for by private donors, reports Ryan Parker at The Denver Post. The system has three taps that feature rotating Colorado-made beers.
Tvert, wearing a sheet, appeared behind a podium with a "Colorado Governor's Mansion" sign with "Governor's Mansion" crossed out and replaced with "Delta House," a reference to the 1970s fraternity party movie Animal House. He called the new beer system "home-brewed hypocrisy."
Tvert, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, said he showed up in a toga because Gov. Hickenlooper is "turning the governor's mansion into a fraternity house."
"This is just another example of the pro-alcohol, anti-marijuana culture," said a toga-clad Tvert.
While others attended the protest, Tvert was the only one wearing a toga.
Gov. Hickenlooper co-founded a downtown pub in the late 1980s, and frequently mentions his fondness for Colorado beers.
"He should be ashamed," Tvert said. "It's a hypocritical message."
Gov. Hickenlooper's spokesman, Eric Brown, took a light-hearted view of the protest.
Event will feature special screening of Film Breaking the Taboo
Film Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Features Interviews with Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter Former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Sweden, Victims of Drug War, Leading Experts and Advocates
Sundog Pictures will be holding a special screening of its groundbreaking documentary Breaking the Taboo, about the failed War On Drugs, in San Francisco. The screening will be held at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, March 25 at the New People Cinema, 1746 Post Street, San Francisco.
The special screening will be followed by a panel discussion from 6:15 until 7 pm about opportunities to help people convicted of drug offenses get back on the right path and reduce the burden that drug convictions place on American prison systems. The discussion will feature Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, Laura Thomas of the Drug Policy Alliance and Dorsey Nunn, executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
By Steve Elliott
Inhaling whole-plant marijuana provides relief from the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, according to observational trial data published in the March/April 2014 issue of the scientific journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.
Scientists at Tel Aviv University's Department of Neurology looked at Parkinson's symptoms in 22 patients at baseline, and again 30 minutes after inhaling cannabis, reports NORML.
The researchers reported that inhaled marijuana resulted in "significant improvement after treatment in tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement). There was also significant improvement of sleep and pain scores," the Israeli researchers noted. "No significant adverse effects of the drug were observed."
"[T]his observational study is the first to report an amelioration of both motor and non-motor symptoms in patients with PD treated with cannabis," the researchers reported. "The study opens new venues for treatment strategies in PD especially in patients refractory to current medications."
Israel has allowed the licensed production, distribution and medical use of cannabis since 2011.
The Oregon Health Authority has issued licenses to the first eight medical marijuana dispensaries; the establishments were finally legalized by the Legislature last year after years of existing in a gray area of the law.
“For the first time, a legal and regulatory structure is in place to govern the operation of dispensaries,” said dispensary program supervisor Tom Burns, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.“The registration process is the first to ensuring safe access to medical marijuana for patients and protecting the safety of our communities.”
The names and locations of the eight licensed dispensaries are private under the law passed last year. However, the Oregon Health Authority gave applicants the option of allowing their shop names and locations to be released; seven of the eight licensed shops allowed that information to be released.
Getting a licensed were Pure Green in Northeast Portland, located on the site of one of the state's first post-Prohibition liquor stores; Oregon's Finest, 1327 NW Kearney St., Portland; NW Green Oasis, 1035 SE Tacoma St., Portland; Releaf Center, 2372 N. 1st St., Suite B, Hermiston; Cherry City Compassion, 202 5 25th St. SE, Salem; Dr. Jolly's, 415 SE 3rd St, Bend; and Emerald City Medical, 1474 W 6th Ave., Eugene.
By Steve Elliott
Several cities in South Florida are planning for the day when the Sunshine State legalizes marijuana for medicinal use.
The ballot initiative, Amendment 2, won't go before voters until November, but Pembroke Park recently became among the first in the state to consider regulating grow houses, reports Lisa J. Hurlash at the Sun Sentinel.
"There is a problem that every city is going to have to solve," said Town Manager Bob Levy. "It's better to be ahead of the game than lagging behind."
While some cities are waiting for the outcome of the state referendum in November, Lauderhill, Pembroke Park and Sunrise have all recently begun to plan for legal medical marijuana.
Lauderhill and Sunrise want to be proactive on pot.
Lauderhill City Hall staff members are looking into how the law "will affect health care costs and internal policies," according to city spokesperson Leslie Johnson. "We need to start looking at how it will affect the workplace," she said. "It's so new we don't really know what's coming."
The city of Sunrise is collecting information so it can deal with any marijuana-related issues that may arise. "We have been looking at the effects of potential medical marijuana legislation on our employees and operations, and on the services we provide," said spokeswoman Christine Pfeffer.
By Steve Elliott
A bill which would legalize the use of marijuana-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil to treat seizures associated with severe forms of childhood epilepsy, unanimously passed a key committee in the Kentucky Legislature on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 124, which passed the Kentucky Senate last week, would allow children with severe seizures to be treated with CBD oil, a non-psychoactive marijuana extract, reports Mollie Reilly at The Huffington Post. Under the language of the measure, patients would be treated as part of FDA trials (which of course could introduce long bureaucratic delays into the process) or under the recommendation of state research hospitals.
The measure cleared the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee on a unanimous vote during Wednesday's hearing.
Rita Wooton, who said her four-year-old son Eli suffers from up to 40 seizures a day, was moved to tears by the bill's advancement. "When I started this roller coaster ride two months ago, I never thought this would be feasible for any of us," Wooton said, reports Theo Keiteh at WAVE. "We're just really super excited that this is coming here -- soon."
The bill now goes to the full House, where Democratic Speaker Greg Stumbo said it should have easy sailing.
Since the Oregon Legislature's failure to refer the ballot a comprehensive marijuana policy, we've seen some unfocused reporting in the media. Initiative Petitions 21 and 22, supporters pointed out, are not just about the adult possession of marijuana but the failure of prohibition and the negative impacts that unnecessary enforcement and imprisonment has had on Oregon citizens, especially the youth and minority communities.
"Prohibition has never worked," chief petitioner Paul Stanford said last week, speaking with KPAM (AM 860) on the Mark and Dave Show. "This isn't about a right to possess or smoke marijuana, this is about the wrongs of criminalizing it and putting people in jail for it," Stanford said.
"We have a chance to represent the people of Oregon in their overwhelming support of ending marijuana prohibition," said Campaign Manager Jersey Deutsch, speaking from CRRH headquarters in Portland. "Our campaign has been actively engaging the public with our street canvass, and from countless conversations with both supporters and skeptics of marijuana legalization, the message is clear: prohibition hasn't worked in the United States, and it hasn't worked in Oregon."
By Steve Elliott
You have to wonder about the priorities of the Georgia Legislature. They found time this session to pass a law mandating drug testing for welfare recipients. They even passed a law allowing guns in churches and bars. But they didn't find time to pass a law which would have helped children fight seizures with marijuana-derived CBD oil.
The effort to bring relief to Georgia children died at midnight on Thursday despite votes favoring the move in both houses, reports 13 WMAZ.
On the last day of the legislative session, the Senate unanimously approved, 54-0, House Bill 885 legalizing cannabidiol oil for medicinal uses, but added provisions requiring insurance coverage for treatment of autism in children.
The bill's main sponsor, Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), said the bill wouldn't pass the House with the autism provision because it's seen as "increasing the cost of health insurance for small businesses."
In a hail mary effort late Thursday night, the House passed yet another bill including medical marijuana and quickly sent it to the Senate. Rep. Peake begged the Senate to pass the bill, saying on Twitter that the bill was on life support.
But state Senator Renee Unterman of Gwinnett County, chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services committee -- which added the autism provision -- said she was "insisting" on it, and the Senate leadership closed ranks behind her.