Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Sunday night continued his groundbreaking reporting on medical marijuana with "Weed 3," which continued to introduce Americans to new stories of patients benefiting from medical marijuana and document the challenges that continue to slow down progress in this critical area.
"Weed 3" included important moments like President Obama signaling his support for medical marijuana and documenting the political commitment of Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to reform federal policy on medical marijuana with the CARERS Act. Patient profiles like that of U.S. veteran Sean Kiernan, who uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms again showed Americans that medical marijuana can have tremendous benefits in the lives of suffering patients.
“CNN’s 'Weed 3' showed how patient advocates are fighting for and winning the right to safe access to medical marijuana for themselves as well as researchers,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Political leaders like President Obama, Senators Booker, Gillibrand and Paul are supporting medical marijuana reform because they understand the huge difference it can make in patient’s lives.”
"Weed 3" also highlighted the important veterans PTSD study that researchers Rick Doblin and Dr. Sue Sisley are moving forward with despite significant political obstacles that have delayed and threatened to prevent the study from being conducted.
What’s Next for the Medical Marijuana Revolution?
Over the last two years Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s reporting has been truly groundbreaking in mainstreaming the benefits of medical marijuana. Dr. Gupta has brought stories of everyday Americans that obtain essential benefits from medical marijuana products into the living rooms of millions of Americans.
“Watching CNN’s 'Weed' was the first time many Americans saw everyday people benefiting from medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “Seeing how much good medical marijuana can do has lead to an outgrowth in activism that has helped create new laws at the state level and is laying the foundation for important federal legislation.”
On April 19, CNN will premiere the third installment of their documentary series on medical marijuana Weed 3, documenting the ongoing developments in what Dr. Gupta has declared a “medical marijuana revolution.” The following day -- on April 20, at 7 pm EST-- ASA will host a Google Hangout to discuss the documentary and the issues it examines.
What: Google Hangout on the medical marijuana revolution and issues raised in Sanjay Gupta's Weed 3.
Featuring: ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, PA State Senator Mike Folmer (invited), Jahan Marcu Ph.D, Matt Kahl, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley.
By Steve Elliott
A North Carolina jury took less than an hour on Thursday to find a man who openly ran a medical marijuana operation guilty of drug trafficking.
The jury of six men and six women found Todd Stimson, 44, guilty of two counts of marijuana trafficking in an emotional conclusion to the trial in Henderson County Superior Court, reports Sabian Warren at the Citizen-Times.
Judge Mark Powell sentenced a visibly shaken Stimson to a minimum of 25 months in federal prison, and a maximum of 39 months. Stimson was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
Addressing the court in a final plea, his voice shaking as his daughter cried, Stimson said, "I'm sorry that I've taken up your time ... It's not meant to be this way," reports Emily Weaver at the Hendersonville Times-News.
"What I did this time was to stand out and try to be accepted by society and ... work with the state along with the police department, along with the Department of Revenue and everybody (to show the state) that we can work together and get along," Stimson said. "And that's all I set out to do.
"Even though the situation is bad for me, I've done exactly what I wanted to do to raise awareness to ... what happens to people in this situation," Stimson said.
Petition with more than 2,400 signatures demanding veto to be delivered to Gov. Ducey
Community groups will be rallying outside Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office Tuesday afternoon to speak out against SB 1445, a proposal that would require law enforcement agencies to conceal police officers’ identities for months following their involvement in violent or deadly incidents.
During the rally, a petition with more than 2,400 signatures will be delivered to Gov. Ducey’s office demanding he veto this legislation if it reaches his desk.
This bill is unnecessary, takes discretion away from local officials, promotes mistrust of the police and threatens Arizona’s proud tradition of open government, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. Furthermore, police officers’ extraordinary powers are much more likely to be abused when their use is concealed from the public.
WHAT: Speakers will encourage Gov. Ducey to veto this dangerous legislation if it reaches his desk and address the harm this law would inflict on communities of color, people with mental illness and their families, immigrants, and LGBT people, among others. A representative of the family of Michelle Cusseaux, who was killed by a Phoenix Police officer last summer, and representatives of the community group Justice for Rumain Brisbon, who was fatally shot by a Phoenix Police officer in December, are scheduled to speak.
Community leaders in Arizona on Wednesday morning will speak out against Senate Bill 1445, a proposal being considered by the Arizona Legislature that would conceal police officers’ identities following their involvement in violent or deadly incidents.
SB 1445 threatens to further erode trust between law enforcement and communities by undermining the public's ability to hold officers and agencies accountable for abusive behavior. Current law properly balances the public’s right to know with officer privacy.
The stakes are high. If this bill becomes law in Arizona, it will send a harmful message to cities and states across the country that it's appropriate to keep officers' identities secret.
That’s why community leaders are banding together to stop this bill from becoming law.
WHO: Community leaders, including Pastor Warren Stewart, Jr., Rev. Reginald Walton and Phoenix Human Relations Commission Chair Brendan Mahoney
WHAT: Speakers will address the harms of SB 1445 and announce a campaign to encourage Gov. Doug Ducey to veto this dangerous legislation if it reaches his desk.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Bolin Memorial Park, just east of the Arizona Capitol Complex (1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007).
Graphic: Albany NY a.k.a. Smalbany
Oregon: Department of Agriculture Gives Farmers the Green Light to Grow Industrial Hemp – Seeds to be Sown in Spring 2015Submitted by restore on Sat, 01/31/2015 - 04:19
By Amy Peradotta, M.P.A. (Special to Hemp News)
In a phone interview on January 29th, Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Operations Manager, Ron Pence confirmed, "the rules were filed by the ODA with the Secretary of States Office and were requested to become effective upon filing.” This is great news for anyone interested in growing industrial hemp in Oregon this year. Although a few details still need to be worked out, if all goes as planned, this spring Oregonians will be planting the first legal hemp crop in the state since 1957.
As early as next Monday, February 2, 2015, licenses will be available for anyone who wants to grow hemp in Oregon. Licenses are valid for three years and cost $1,500. While proponents have not been happy about the prohibitive cost of the licensing fee, many are still planning to move forward. The license application form will be available online the week of Feb. 2-6, 2015 on the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s website. Interested growers can download the application, complete the form, and mail it in to the Oregon Department of Agriculture along with the licensing fee of $1,500.
By Steve Elliott
You might think that criminal record of yours limits your opportunities. But now there's a $1,000 law school scholarship available where applicants must prove they've already been in trouble with the law.
The Appelman Law Firm, LLC, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says the idea is designed to reward those who've made better choices after a conviction -- "those who have managed to turn their lives around and intend to pursue a career in criminal defense."
"There's a real need for passionate attorneys in criminal defense," said Avery Appelman, the firm's founder. "Nothing instills a great passion for justice quite like having suffered through the process yourself."
That's where the Appelman Law Firm Criminal Defense Scholarship comes in, and Appelman isn't alone in thinking a criminal record shouldn't be a barrier to making a better life.
"There are just too many ways to run afoul of the law for anyoen to think they are immune," Appelman said. "A mistake can easily lead to an arrest or jail."
Attempts to determine just how many criminal statutes exist have failed, because there are so many. An estimate from the government in the 1980s put it at about 3,000 in the federal system alone. Shortly afterward, another study from the American Bar Association said that was too low a figure, but couldn't come up with a better number.
Adding in state crimes only makes the situation worse. For many, avoiding a criminal record has become more a matter of luck than of being a good citizen.
U.S.: Historic Bipartisan Support to Remove Industrial Hemp from the Controlled Substances Act in both the House and SenateSubmitted by restore on Sat, 01/24/2015 - 09:14
By Amy Peradotta, Special to Hemp News
Hopefully you have heard a thing or two in the news lately about industrial hemp. If so, it is because it is finally gaining political traction again after a very insidious yet successful smear campaign lasting nearly 80 years, equating it to marijuana. If you haven’t heard about hemp in the news lately, keep your eyes and ears peeled because big changes are on the way!
As of 2015, twenty-one states have defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed barriers to its production (CA, CO, DE, HI, IL, IN, KY, ME, MI, MO, MT, NE, NY, ND, OR, SC, TN, UT, VT, WA, WV). These are highly regulated pilot projects that must be administered in accordance with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and an institution of higher education. Despite the legality of hemp in these states, only two states (CO and KY) successfully planted and harvested a crop in 2014. This was the first legal crop grown and harvested on American soil since WWII. If you are wondering why that might be, it has to do with our good friends at the DEA.
By Steve Elliott
A group which is gathering signatures to legalize marijuana in Mississippi has scheduled a town hall meeting for 2-3 p.m. on Friday, January 9, at the Eudora Welty Library in Jackson. At the meeting, representatives of Mississippi For Cannabis will answer questions about the group's ballot initiative, and the petition will be available for signatures.
The ballot initiative would allow the use, cultivation and sale of marijuana and industrial hemp for adults 21 years or older, reports Jimmie E. Gates at The Clarion-Ledger.
The group needs more than 107,000 signatures of registered voters to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot. The deadline for the 2016 ballot is October 2, 2015, according to sponsor Kelly Jacobs. If they miss that deadline the group plans to shoot for the November 2017 ballot, for which the deadline is December 29, 2015.
"If the ballot initiative gets the necessary signatures and is approved by voters in a referendum, it would make it legal for adults to possess cannabis in unlimited quantities, to use as they wish, just like alcohol or cigarettes," Jacobs said. "However, it would have to be kept from minors.
"We want to legalize marijuana and decriminalize it," she said. "It's an adult discussion we should be having."
The National Marijuana News Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of DigiPath, Inc., has just released its sixth cannabis news show. Hosted by Todd Denkin and Jen Gentile, the program explores the ways filmmakers, activists, and entrepreneurs shape marijuana public opinion and policy.
Guests include Israeli film producer Lati Grobman, Marijuana Policy Project co-founder Rob Kampia; Seattle Hempfest founder Vivian McPeak; and "pot-trepreneur" Guy Marsala, chairman, CEO, and president of Medbox, Inc.
Russian-born film producer Lati Grobman kicks off the lineup. She describes her transformation from being an opponent of cannabis legalization to becoming an advocate while producing her documentary Legalize It, which chronicles Proposition 19 and the 2010 campaign to legalize marijuana in California.
"It's a social problem," says Grobman, a mother of five children whose film producer credits include The Iceman and Righteous Kill. "I saw the injustice that is happening. There are people in jail for smoking pot who should not be in jail."
Grobman suggests that resistance to legalizing marijuana partly stems from economic benefits that come with a high rate of incarceration.
“The Empty Chair at the Holiday Table” Campaign Highlights Those Not With Us Because of Incarceration, an Overdose Death or Prohibition Violence
Each holiday season, A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and moms from around the country share their stories of loss while calling for an end to the War On Drugs -- which has been so disastrous for tens of millions of families. Many of the moms leading this campaign have been personally impacted by the War On Drugs.
The holidays are a particularly painful time for families – whether they are separated because of a loved one’s incarceration, lost on the streets due to drug problems, in danger because of drug war violence, or have lost a loved one to accidental overdose.
“I have painful memories of holidays when my son was absent because he was locked behind bars for drug use, and of family celebrations when one of my sons wasn’t included because he was lost in the maze of his addiction,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman of San Diego, founder of A New PATH, Moms United lead organizer and the mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and incarceration.
“We haven’t celebrated the holidays since 2008, when my son died of an accidental overdose," said Denise Cullen of Palm Desert, California. "We can’t escape the emptiness.”
OBA Error Makes Pain Patients Suffer Delayed Relief
Just weeks after Attorney General Trevor Moniz announced that Marinol (synthetic pure THC pills), and not herbal cannabis, would be allowed for medicinal use in Bermuda, a new Harvard study has confirmed the complaints of activist Alan Gordon -- Marinol simply does not work as well as real inhaled cannabis for pain management, because the former takes 60-90 minutes to reach peak effect, whereas real cannabis effects are achieved much more quickly.
Gordon said this allows patients not to overdose on herbal cannabis, whereas Marinol overdoses are common.
The activist, who has dogged the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) incessantly on the cannabis issue, feels that due to a cultural war between government and Rastafarian ideals, government has gone to great lengths to ignore his perspectives at any length, even if that means the OBA is running roughshod over scientific facts and punishing patients.
“Patients have known for decades that Marinol doesn’t dissolve properly, and other studies have shown the same thing, over and over again since the 1990s,” said Gordon from Rhode Island early Monday morning, where he is lawfully assisting cancer patients grow their own medicine.
By Steve Elliott
When this reporter attended September's Hempstalk Festival in Portland, I saw a well-organized, orderly event, where plenty of information about the cannabis hemp plant and its many uses was disseminated by activists and speakers, along with bands, vendors, and bounteous opportunities for people-watching. What I did not see -- and I attended the entire two-day festival -- was people smoking or selling weed inside the event.
Portland parks officials, who seemed to have attended an entirely different event, waited only a day after Oregon's historic vote to legalize marijuana under Measure 91 to mail a letter to Hempstalk organizer Paul Stanford, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.. It wasn't a nice congratulatory note, either -- it was a firm denial of his request to hold next year's Hempstalk Festival at Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park, or any other public property, next year.
"The passage of ballot measure 91 makes no difference in the City's decision," reads a prissy statement from Parks Bureau customer service center manager Shawn Rogers. The denial "stems only from the inability of organizers to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions."
City officials claim attendees smoked marijuana at the event -- but again, I was there the entire time, and I never saw a single joint torched, even backstage.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News
Musician Jim Klahr, an activist working to establish cannabis as an option for healthcare providers in the United States and a pre-transplant patient at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU), passed away awaiting a liver donor at OHSU on November 9, 2014.
Days earlier, on November 4, 2014, Oregon residents voted to end marijuana prohibition with Measure 91. In the campaign's declaration of victory, Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner of the measure, thanked Klahr for his dedication and commitment to the issues surrounding cannabis.
As a long-time Oregon medical marijuana activist Klahr continually expressed the need for cannabis advocates to run for political office to have their voice and views represented within the legislature.
Klahr was a founder of Oregon Green Free – to help those who utilize the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program to become self-sufficient under the law of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. He believed medicinal, social and sacramental cannabis all have their place in society.
As an eight-year member of the Oregon Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana (OACMM), the committee established to implement rules for the state's medical marijuana program, he fought tirelessly for cannabis freedom, eventually serving two-terms as OACMM Co-Chair.
A chief petitioner on Oregon Measure 74, the 2010 initiative to improve safe access for medical marijuana patients, Klahr was also an instrumental spoke in the campaign to elect Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in 2012.
By Steve Elliott
Forty-eight Wisconsin medical marijuana patients this year got their Oregon medicinal cannabis authorizations at the annual Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest. "But wait," you may be thinking. "They live in Wisconsin, not Oregon." That's entirely true -- but according to those in the know, having an out-of-state medical marijuana authorization gives these patients some legal cover should the police come calling.
The authorizations were issued by THCF Medical Clinics at the Harvest Fest as part of something called The Ben Masel Project. Masel was a famous Yippie activist based in Madison who started the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest; he died suddenly from cancer three and a half years ago.
"The Oregon permit has saved several people in Wisconsin from arrest," THCF founder Paul Stanford told Hemp News. The fact that Oregon issues permits to out-of-state patients has been helpful to those in Wisconsin and other non-MMJ states, according to Stanford.
"This weekend, we helped 48 patients in Wisconsin get Oregon medical marijuana permits, bringing in almost $10,000 in state fees for the Oregon Health Authority," Stanford told us. "Really, the Wisconsin Legislature should act to help its sick and dying patients, and keep those funds in Wisconsin."
Stanford said speaking at the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest, the 44th annual event, "is an old tradition" for him. "I first spoke here in Madison 25 years ago, in 1989, and I came back and spoke again in 1990 and many years since," he told us.