By Rick Steves, Washington I-502
With a group of respected and caring citizens, I have co-sponsored Initiative 502 in Washington State (www.newapproachwa.org), which will legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of marijuana for adults. We worked very hard last year to gather more than 350,000 signatures. Last month, we turned them in, and last week, our state government certified that we had gathered enough good signatures. This means that (unless our legislature simply accepts the initiative outright), I-502 will be on the ballot in November of 2012.
I’m working with a wonderful group of activists who (like their counterparts did in the 1930s to end the prohibition against alcohol) endeavor to end the US government’s war on marijuana. We believe that it's not a question of if the USA will stop sending pot smokers to jail...it’s a matter of when. While there are many good reasons to be waging this battle, for me this is a matter of civil liberties and pragmatic harm reduction.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
WHAT: The Silver Tour, promoting medical marijuana in Florida
WHEN: Sunday, January 29th, 2012 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. E.S.T.
WHERE: Temple Shaarei Shalom, 9085 Hagen Ranch Road, west of Boynton Beach (See Google Map Above)
Reservations: Call 561-364-9054, ext. 101.
Virgin boss will recommend decriminalising drug use when he appears before MPs' committee
By Alan Travis, guardian.co.uk
Photograph by Startraks/Rex Features
The Virgin group head, Sir Richard Branson, is to appear in person to argue the case for decriminalising drug use at the start of a Commons home affairs committee inquiry.
Branson is to give evidence to MPs next Tuesday alongside Ruth Dreifuss, the former president of Switzerland, who served with him on the Global Commission on Drugs Policy. The commission's report, published last year, declared that the war on drugs had failed and recommended introducing a regulated legal supply of cannabis and possibly other drugs.
MPs will also take evidence from the UK Drug Policy Commission, a thinktank headed by Dame Ruth Runciman. They are expected to visit South America, including Colombia, during the course of their inquiry.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said he was looking forward to hearing from Branson and Dreifuss about the global commission's view that the war on drugs had failed and it was time to decriminalise drugs.
"Drugs can be a hugely controversial issue but we hope that this will be the start of a balanced, well-reasoned inquiry," said Vaz.
By Kim Kozlowski, The Detroit News
It may be a lot of smoke in the air, but an effort is in the works to try to make it legal for Michigan residents over age 21 to smoke marijuana.
A petition drive is expected to launch this week aimed at asking voters in November amend the state constitution and legalize marijuana.
If enough signatures are collected and the measure were to pass, Michigan would become one of the first states in the nation to abolish criminal penalties for anyone using, growing, selling and delivering what has been a federally controlled substance for decades.
The move also would put Michigan in the forefront of a national movement to end the prohibition on marijuana.
Legalizing marijuana is Michigan's next frontier, activists say, since the state's 2008 medical marijuana law is vague and has lead to chaos among patients and medical authorities and police and court officials in the implementation and enforcement of the law.
Proponents for a change contend that many judicial officials have used their authority to limit the law for those who need it. Meanwhile, they add, the state Legislature has not responded to the confusion.
"The medical law is not working," said Matthew Abel, an attorney who is coordinating the petition campaign. "Rather than try to rebuild that and have more of the same type of problems, we needed to go something broader than that.
By Stephanie Bishop, Hemp News Correspondent
Kentucky's House of Representatives and Senate fell silent last Wednesday for a moment to honor Gatewood Galbraith, remembering his life and service in his beloved home State. Gatewood, an accomplished criminal defense attorney was not one to back down from a fight. His career was focused on civil liberties. He embodied truth and remained dedicated to public service throughout his life and career.
Whether he was debating industrial hemp issues in Kentucky's political realms or leading marches to end the prohibition of the cannabis plant, Gatewood was unwavering in his resolve to inspire people to stand up for truth and preserve civil liberties. Gatewood spent his life watching his State and Country move from an agricultural agrarian society to an industrial synthetic society. Knowing these changes were politically charged for commercial purposes, he spent his time bridging the divide between these two Worlds, proclaiming himself an 'explorer for the truth in a jungle of political overgrowth.'
Gatewood is a true American hero and inspiration for us all.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Kentucky Freedom Fighter Gatewood Galbraith has died at 64 years old. Galbraith spent his lifetime learning and working within the political and legal system. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1974 and from the University Of Kentucky College Of Law in 1977 and became "The People's Champion".
In the early 1990's, Galbraith and Willie Nelson took an historic trip across Kentucky in Galbraith’s red Mercedes Benz Station Wagon that they ran with hemp bio-diesel in order to make a positive impact on and spread the word about the potential of the United States’ bio-diesel industry. The trip inspired Nelson's own bio-diesel company. "He's smart and funny and he speaks the truth. He's a champion for the farmers and the working men and women of the world," Nelson once said of Galbraith.
By Sharon Ko, KDRV
MEDFORD, Ore. -- Some of the patients who lost their medical marijuana to federal raids got free pot on Monday.
So-Norml, The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation and The Greenery joined forces and came up with an idea to help patients who lost their medical marijuana. They asked patients who had overages, meaning they had more than they could legally have, to donate instead.
Lori Duckworth, Executive Director of So-Norml, says many patients went back to pharmaceutical drugs after the pot raids, but still helped 300 patients before Monday's free giveaway.
So-Norml says they collected nearly 72 pounds of marijuana for the event, and for each patient that came in, organizers gave away an ounce.
The executive director says the entire cannabis group in Oregon is working to put several petitions up in the future, so voters can have the opportunity to vote. She adds the several groups want to get the word out to more community members hoping to educate them about the benefits of medical marijuana.
By Fred Gardner, Counter Punch/O’Shaughnessy’s
Occasionally the iron heel comes down on people who are widely respected and/or have the resources and will to fight back effectively. "The feds have overreached," says Steve DeAngelo, who runs Harborside Health Center in Oakland and has been presented by the IRS with a $2.4 million bill for back taxes. He was referring to the DEA raid on Northstone Organics Oct. 13; the threatening letters to growers, dispensaries, and their landlords sent by California’s U.S. Attorneys Oct. 7; the denial of gun permits to registered medical cannabis users ordered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in September; and other recent measures directed against the industry.
Overreach by law enforcement was a big factor in the passage of Prop 215 back in November, 1996. The No-on-215 forces, led by Attorney General Dan Lungren, arranged a highly publicized raid on the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club three months before Election Day. Their intention was to turn the vote into a referendum on Dennis Peron's right to operate.
By Casper Leitch, Time 4 Hemp/Special to Hemp News
Another federal agency, in a desperate attempt to prevent hemp from being a legal cash crop, has begun to strong-arm the closure of California’s medical marijuana industry. The IRS is now auditing dispensaries and is suddenly applying a section of the tax code, (280-E, designed to bring down drug lords) to filings from years gone by. In doing so, dispensaries such as the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) in Fairfax (owned by Lynette Shaw) and Harborside in Oakland (owned by Steve DeAngelo) are being handed 'PAST-DUE' bills of 2.5 million dollars with 45-days to pay-up or shut-down.
By Anna Diaz, Hemp News Correspondent
Photo by LK, Hemp News/Oregon NORML
Photo by Russ Belville, NORML
The Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards (OMCA) celebrates its tenth anniversary this December 10th at the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in Portland. Registered medical marijuana growers submit their strains to a panel of medical marijuana patients for sampling in the privacy of their homes. Judging results are tabulated with prizes given at the awards banquet.
"I am thrilled to host the Awards right here at the Cafe again this year. All our entries will be tested by event co-sponsors, Green Leaf Lab," Madeline Martinez, owner of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe reports. "The OMCA was the first awards ceremony in the medical marijuana community; incorporating testing of all the entries will make our results much more meaningful."
"Green Leaf Lab is proud to be the official testing laboratory for the Oregon Medical Cannabis Awards," affirms Rowshan Reordan, who represents the lab. All samples will be given the Green Leaf Lab Full Spectrum Cannalysis. This includes testing for potency, pesticide residue and a microscopic mold inspection. Each entrant's results will be displayed using their exclusive Strain Facts card. Information about Green Leaf Labs can be found at www.greenleaflab.org .
by Dorothy Chomicz, News Miner
FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks City Council member Lloyd Hilling will introduce a resolution at the next council meeting urging the state government to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in Alaska. This is Hilling’s first resolution since regaining the council seat that he lost to Emily Bratcher in 2008.
Hilling said he has several reasons for writing the resolution.
“Well, I’ll tell you, my primary motive is that this is something that should be legal, and should be investigated and should be explored. It should be experimented with openly and possibly be developed into something relatively big for Alaska,” Hilling said.
Hemp, or Cannabis sativa, has only minute quantities of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannot be used as a recreational drug. Hemp grows quickly, and the plant and fibers can be used for many purposes such as paper products, textiles, plastics, animal bedding, rope, essential oils, medicine, food and construction.
Cannabis indica, commonly referred to as marijuana, is not suitable for industrial use and is cultivated almost exclusively for recreational or medicinal drug use. The cultivation of marijuana, and consequently its close cousin hemp, has been illegal in the U.S. since the 1930s.
Even though it is illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., it is not illegal to use it industrially.
By Jordan Grummer, Times Record
The leader of Arkansans for Compassionate Care said his group is hoping to gain more support in Sebastian County for a proposed measure that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state.
In April, the organization was given until July 6, 2012, to collect 62,507 signatures from registered voters to qualify the proposal — The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act — for the November 2012 general election ballot. So far, about 16,000 signatures have been gathered, but less than 1,000 of those have come from voters in Sebastian County, said ACC spokesman Ryan Denham on Wednesday during a meeting at Sweet Bay Coffee, 3400 Rogers Ave.
The meeting was for people interested in volunteering to gather signatures for the initiative that would make Arkansas the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana, but it only attracted two people not affiliated with the group. Denham remained optimistic about the movement in the Fort Smith area despite the lack of attendance. He said the meeting was only made official about three days ago, and more attention has been placed, so far, on places like Little Rock, Jonesboro and the northwest Arkansas region, where support has "been strong."
The meeting was also at 3 p.m. on a business day, he added.
By Steve Elliott Toke of the Town/Special to The Silver Tour
What if I told you there is a secret weapon that, if understood and utilized by the cannabis reform community, could fairly quickly and very decisively decide the issue of marijuana legalization once and for all?
Everybody knows that cannabis legalization is very, very near the tipping point in the United States. Even the folks at Gallup, not exactly known for wild-eyed political statements, said this month after examining their latest poll results -- which showed that a record-high 50 percent of Americans support legalization -- that "If this current trend on legalizing marijuana continues, pressure may build to bring the nation's laws into compliance with the people's wishes."
Drilling down into the results of that same Gallup poll reveals our potential secret weapon for marijuana legalization.
Support for legalizing cannabis is directly and inversely proportional to age, ranging from 62 percent approval among those 18 to 29, down to only 31 percent among those 65 and older.
Ben Deci, FOX40 News
It's the next big salvo in the push to legalize pot; petition takers are out now, getting signatures for an initiative to appear on next November's ballot.
The people who wrote this initiative say they are against minors and motorists using pot, and people at work too. But they also say you have to make one type of marijuana legal for everyone.
"The fact is if you smoked a bail there just isn't any possibility of a psycho-active effect," said Steve Kubby, one of those who drafted the ballot initiative.
(CBS News) - Never before have more Americans believed legalizing marijuana was the right course for the country.
In a new Gallup poll, 50 percent of respondents in a nationwide survey said they believed it was time to make pot legal. About 46 percent came out against it.
Support for legalizing marijuana tended to be stronger among younger, more liberal groups, according to Gallup. Legalization received 62 approval among those aged 18 to 29, but got only 31 percent approval among those 65 and older. Liberals were twice as likely as conservatives to favor legalizing marijuana.
In a release, Gallup writes: "When Gallup first asked about legalizing marijuana, in 1969, 12 percent of Americans favored it, while 84 percent were opposed. Support remained in the mid-20s in Gallup measures from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, but has crept up since, passing 30 percent in 2000 and 40 percent in 2009 before reaching the 50 percent level in this year's Oct. 6-9 annual Crime survey."
If the steady climb in public support for marijuana legalization continues at its current pace, politicians will soon have to address the laws that fly in the face of that movement in opinion.