CARLY FLANDRO, Chronicle Staff Writer
Randy Warburton is working to decriminalize marijuana for those age 21 and older, and he’s doing it for his grandkids.
Warburton said at least two of them will probably use marijuana, and he’d like them to be able to access it safely.
Warburton is one of six coordinators across the state working to get an initiative on the November ballot that would create a constitutional amendment allowing adults 21 and older to use the substance. Wednesday, he and volunteers stood outside the Community Food Co-op, soliciting signatures from shoppers.
More than 48,000 signatures need to be gathered statewide, and they must represent 10 percent of Montana’s qualified voters — including 10 percent of the voters in each of the 40 legislative house districts. The signatures must be collected by June 22.
Warburton and volunteers only recently started collecting signatures in the area, and in their first week doing so, collected 339. In Warburton's first half hour sitting outside the Co-op, he and a helper collected about 10. And last week at a Pinky and the Floyd concert, 35 signatures were gathered in only 30 minutes.
Kate Koenig signed her name to the petition Wednesday, and she said there are “a million reasons” why marijuana should be legal.
"You can't die from it, it helps people, it stimulates the economy," she said. "Just think how many people in Bozeman don’t have a job that could."
By AP, Staff
RICHMOND, Va. - Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government's war on drugs has failed.
The outspoken evangelical Christian and host of "The 700 Club" on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network he founded said the war on drugs is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. He said people should not be sent to prison for marijuana possession.
The 81-year-old first became a self-proclaimed "hero of the hippie culture" in 2010 when called for ending mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession convictions.
"I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance," Robertson said on his show March 1. "The whole thing is crazy. We've said, `Well, we're conservatives, we're tough on crime.' That's baloney."
Robertson's support for legalizing pot appeared in a New York Times story published Thursday. His spokesman confirmed to AP that Robertson supports legalization with regulation. Robertson was not made available for an interview.
By Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian
Twice in the past two years, Gary Storck has boarded Amtrak's Empire Builder outside his hometown of Madison, Wis., and headed west to Oregon. The trip takes about 40 hours and costs more then $1,000 – all for something that makes the illegal legal.
He pays a visit to one of the state's 15 or so medical marijuana clinics, fills out an application and sees a doctor. Storck walks out an hour later, the proud holder of an Oregon-issued medical marijuana card. It's a process he'll have to go through each year to keep the card.
Storck, 56, is one of hundreds of out-of-staters who each year make an unusual pilgrimage to Oregon – the only state in the country to issue medical marijuana cards to non-residents.
"It's not a bad place to visit," said Storck, who has used marijuana for four decades to treat glaucoma and other chronic ailments. "It lifts my spirits to be in a place where medical cannabis is legal and life goes on."
Some users of medical marijuana go through the effort to acquire an Oregon card because it allows them to use the drug legally when they're in the state. Others hope it provides some legal protection if they're arrested in a state where medical marijuana is outlawed. Many out-of-staters see an Oregon card as important recognition that their use of the drug is legally recognized somewhere in the United States.
By Will DuPree, Video Journalist
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A petition is circulating statewide to allow the sick and dying access to medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
The Arkansans for Compassionate Care, or ACC, are encouraging others to support the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, which would decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
"It's common sense," said Ryan Denhem, campaign director. "It's time to have a policy like this in Arkansas."
Denham spoke to Region 8 News by phone Wednesday from Fayetteville, where the ACC is located. He says a growing number of volunteers has helped the group collect more than 20,000 signatures since May 2011, but that's a third of what's needed to get the issue on the ballot in November.
"If that passes, it will allow patients a safe environment, a tightly regulated, controlled environment, to purchase medical marijuana with a doctor's supervision," Denhem said.
By Keith Coffman
(Reuters) - Colorado voters will be asked to decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in a November ballot measure, setting up a potential showdown with the federal government over America's most commonly used illicit drug.
The measure, which would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults, is one of two that will go to voters in November after a Washington state initiative to legalize pot earned enough signatures last month to qualify for the ballot there.
"This could be a watershed year in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," Art Way, Colorado manager of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. The Alliance supports the initiative.
"Marijuana prohibition is counterproductive to the health and public safety of our communities. It fuels a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wastes billions of dollars in scarce law enforcement resources, and makes criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens."
Colorado is one of 16 states and the nation's capital that already allow marijuana use for medical purposes even as cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law - and public opinion is sharply divided on the merits of full legalization.
By Jake Ellison, KPLU
In his "State of the City" address, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn made an impassioned plea today for the legalization of marijuana saying in the illegal trade in drugs was fueling crime in the city.
"It is time we were honest about the problems we face with the drug trade. Drugs are a source of criminal profit, and that has led to shootings and even murders. Just like we learned in the 1920s with the prohibition of alcohol, prohibition of marijuana is fueling violent activity," the mayor said in the written version of his speech.
He added that the war on drugs "fuels a biased incarceration policy. The drug war's victims are predominantly young men of color."
In a speech that covered the decline and recovery from the recession and the pressure funding cuts have put on city services and workers, the mayor’s focus on crime in the streets brought out the most reaction, according to the Seattle Times.
From his speech:
"Every generation must re-win its own freedoms." Gatewood Galbraith
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
On January 31st, legislation that would make cannabis a schedule II drug, thus legal for doctors to prescribe, was introduced in the Kentucky State Senate. Senate Bill 129, sponsored by Senator Perry B. Clark, D-Louisville, is being titled the "Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act".
Gatewood Galbraith was a prominent lawyer from Kentucky and an avid supporter of cannabis legalization. He dedicated over forty years to the restoration of the cannabis plant. Galbraith passed away last month from complications of pneumonia.
"Marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients dealing with illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS, to name a few," Senator Clark said. "I want to allow this as another treatment option for those individuals."
Senate Bill 129 would limit patients who are prescribed the drug from possessing more than five ounces per month. The patient could choose to fill their prescription at a board-certified pharmacy or to grow their own plants. Patients deciding to cultivate plants would be prohibited to no more than five at one time.
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.