By Steve Elliott
Cannabis advocates in the United Kingdom plan to openly smoke marijuana during a protest picnic in Exeter later month.
The Devon Cannabis Club plans its annual Harvest Picnic at Flowerpot Playing Fields in Exeter on Saturday, September 27, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., reports the Exeter Express & Echo.
Last year's protest in Exeter was attended by about 60 activists.
This year's event is being promoted on Facebook, where the page states, "Come and join us for a picnic and to consume herb to lift the blanket of stigma and these ridiculous laws." So far, 92 people have indicated on the Facebook event page that they will be attending.
"Our aim is to raise awareness of the benefits of cannabis and to address the bias and misinformation so often seen in the mainstream media," said Daryl Sullivan, South West regional admin for The United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs. "To this end we have, for the past two years, been holding public 'protest picnics' around the country."
By Steve Elliott
Organizer Paul Stanford, who owns Hemp News and directs the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), still expects the two-day Hempstalk festival to occur in downtown Portland, but the free event is still waiting for a city permit, with just three weeks to go.
It's been eight months now since Portland Mayor Charlie Hales directed city staff to try and find a way to accommodate the festival, which advocates the legalization of marijuana and hemp for all uses, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.
"It's outrageous," Stanford said on Friday from Spain, where he's speaking at an international cannabis festival. "They're yanking us around," he said of the city's handling of Hempstalk's permit.
Hempstalk Festival is marking its 10th anniversary this year, and Stanford has planned a downtown showcase for the event. Musical acts including Lukas Nelson (Willie's son) are slated to perform, and the event, scheduled for September 27 and 28, has been extensively promoted.
Portland city officials initially denied Stanford's application for an event permit back in December, claiming past Hempstalks at Kelley Point Park in Northy Portland have featured lax security and marijuana use.
Activists plan to engage ruling party in discussion following caucus meeting
Back in January, then-Minister Michael Dunkley told the public that compassionate cannabis permit applications could be filed with his office, with a doctor’s support. This has proven to be untrue, with the Permanent Secretary as well as the Health Ministry Chief Medical Officer denying the program’s very existence./ (Please see below attachments for proof of the license program’s cancellation).
“Gravely ill and dying patients took the Premier at his word, and scurried from doctor to doctor, sapping their final reserves of time and energy, only to find out that Government had secretly cancelled the program, despite taking public credit for their alleged compassion,” Gordon explained.
Gordon called the government’s gambit a “dirty trick” to play on the gravely ill and dying. At least two Bermudian patients have died while waiting for access to medical cannabis, needlessly suffering, according to Gordon.
Patients are now insisting on face-to-face talks with the Premier, outside the formal time-limited caucus meeting guidelines, because, Gordon says: “The time for sound bites and stock answers is over. We want direct, honest talks with follow-up questions because we were lied to, and we don’t trust these guys anymore.”
By D. Paul Stanford, CRRH
Oregon's Ballot Measure 91 qualified for the vote on July 22nd, almost exactly two weeks after Washington state began regulated sales of marijuana just across the mighty Columbia River from Oregon. New Approach Oregon's petition campaign turned in enough valid signatures to qualify the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act for the November 4, 2014 ballot. On the same day in November, both the state of Alaska and the federal capitol, Washington, DC, will also vote on their own initiative petitions to end marijuana prohibition.
According to the Oregon Secretary of State's website, 145,030 unverified signatures were submitted for verification on Measure 91. Of those, 88,584 signatures, or 64.41 percent of the 135,722 accepted for verification, were valid. To qualify for the ballot, 87,213 were needed, so, according to the Oregon Secretary of State Elections Division, Measure 91 qualified with 1,371 more signatures than the minimum required..
The proposed Oregon ballot measure would allow for licensed and regulated cultivation and sales of marijuana. Sales would be taxed to generate money for schools, state and local police and drug treatment, prevention and mental health programs.
It is important for medical marijuana patients to note that Measure 91, when passed, will not change nor effect the current medical marijuana law in Oregon. Measure 91 taxes will not be charged for people with an Oregon medical marijuana permit.
The 2014 Portland Hempstalk Festival occurs at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Oregon on September 27 and 28. Hempstalk provides educational awareness opportunities regarding the the medicinal, emotional and mental benefits of cannabis while advocating for its decriminalization for medicinal, industrial, and recreational use.
Founded in 2005 by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, the festival features live music, guest speakers, food and goods vendors and information booths. This public event has always been free to attend, with a suggested donation of $10 per person.
According to Paul Stanford, founder and presenting sponsor of the event, "Hempstalk is about the many uses of agricultural hemp fiber, oil, protein, fuel and medicine. We are working to end adult cannabis prohibition, allow adults to grow their own and license the legal sale of psychoactive cannabis to adults.
"We believe that hemp will save the Earth's biosphere with the adoption of hemp seed for bio-diesel fuel, which will solve the energy and world hunger problems, and stop deforestation when hemp fiber is used for paper and building materials," Stanford said. "We shall overcome!"
Event coordinators estimated that last year’s two-day Hempstalk festival, held at Kelley Point Park, was attended by 60,000 people. With recent years increases in festival attendance, growing awareness of popularity of its cause, Hempstalk organizers and city officials felt it had outgrown its previous location.
By Steve Elliott
Marc Emery, the self-styled Prince of Pot who got a five-year federal prison sentence in the United States for selling seeds, will get to return home to Canada on Tuesday.
Emery is scheduled to be flown from a Louisiana jail to Detroit on Tuesday, escorted in shackles by U.S. marshals, then turned over to Canadian officials, his wife Jodie Emery said on Friday, reports Gordon McIntyre at The Province.
He had been sentenced after pleading guilty to selling cannabis seeds through the mail to U.S. customers through his Vancouver-based company.
"It's very exciting," said Jodie. "It's been a long road."
Jodie said supporters will be waiting in Windsor, although it's not known exactly what time the Prince will be crossing the border. The Emerys are planning a press conference at Windsor City Hall as soon as Marc is released, "likely sometime after 12 Noon ET," according to Cannabis Culture.
She said their lives will then pick up where they left off when Marc went to Seattle to plead guilty before serving his "hard nickel" (under federal sentencing rules, prisoners must serve 85 percent of their time).
"Our life is about our activism," Jodie said. "We'll be getting right back into it."
By Steve Elliott
The cannabis movement has plenty of heroes, but none are more inspiring than the great Peter McWilliams -- a man of fame and influence who dared tell the truth about medical marijuana, before it was fashionable to do so. McWilliams paid the ultimate price, dying after the federal government forbade him to continue using cannabis to control his nausea. He would have been 65 years old today.
McWilliams was many things: author, publisher, photographer, poet and activist, among others. But one of the most important things McWilliams was, was an inspiration. His courage and charisma were and continue to be a source of strength to many who are struggling with illness and with the injustice of our marijuana laws.
He had a remarkable career starting in the 1970s, writing more than 40 books, including works on depression, losing a loved one, computers, and poetry. Several of Peter's books made The New York Times Top 10 nonfiction bestseller list.
Peter's 1993 book Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do remains one of the greatest affirmations of the right of citizens to act and live in any peaceful, honest lifestyle, including their inalienable right to drugs and especially cannabis. It is regarded by many as a "libertarian Bible," with its emphasis on personal freedom and responsibility.
In 1995, Peter was diagnosed with depression, after having suffered from it all his life. Along with coauthor Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D. -- who treated Peter for his depression -- he'd authored How To Heal Depression the previous year.
Friday Panel: Marijuana Arrests: The Gateway to Mass Incarceration
Marijuana arrests and mass incarceration will take center stage at Netroots Nation 2014 this week in Detroit.
On Friday, July 18 at 4:30 p.m., the ninth annual gathering of progressive voices will feature a panel, “Marijuana Arrests: the Gateway to Mass Incarceration.” The panel will feature Kassandra Frederique, a policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).
Frederique is currently organizing with groups around the state of New York to address bias policing practices, unlawful marijuana arrests and collateral consequences of criminalization.
“I’m thrilled to see Netroots Nation examine the failed war on drugs and how marijuana arrests fuel mass incarceration,” Frederique said. “Netroots Nation is a cutting-edge incubator of ideas and I’m excited to have a rich discussion during the panel and action from folks afterwards.”
Every 48 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana possession in the United States. Most of these arrests are of people of color, despite the fact that white people use and sell marijuana at higher rates. In this panel they will explore how the Drug War and biased policing practices fuel marijuana arrests and, in turn, mass incarceration.
Citizens Take to the Streets on June 26 to Protest Current Drug Policies and to Call for an End to the Senseless Criminalization of Drug Users
Thousands of activists will take to the streets in more than 80 cities on Thursday, June 26, to fight harmful drug laws that have caused health crises, instability and mass incarceration around the world.
Mass demonstrations and other actions are planned in New York, London, Paris, Warsaw, Mexico City, Kathmandu, Rome, Phnom Penh, Tbilisi, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow and more than 70 other cities. The actions include peaceful demonstrations, street performances, public meetings and workshops, social media campaigns and advertisements on public transportation and billboards.
The events are scheduled to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which is also June 26. The U.N.’s anti-drugs day is used by many governments to justify violent crackdowns and to promote harsh punishments. It has even been marked with public executions and beatings of drug offenders in some countries.
The “Support. Don’t Punish: Global Day of Action” seeks to reclaim this day and promote a more effective and humane approach to drugs that is based on public health and human rights.
A legal marijuana farm organizer on Vashon Island in Washington state says he is selling a rare David Choe painting to fund his organization.
“It is a fabulous painting that I bought in 2006 just as David Choe was becoming well known," said painting owner Shango Los. "Now that he is an international superstar, I’d like to cash out and invest in American marijuana agriculture. I’m sure David Choe would approve.”
Los said he doesn't grow marijuana on Vashon Island, but rather founded the Vashon Island Marijuana Entrepreneurs Alliance which organizes food farmers and other entrepreneurs who wish to move into the legal marijuana market.
“We have an opportunity to let marijuana grow beside our traditional food crops and save the family farm," Shango said. "The only way this will happen though is with grass roots community organizing and that takes money.”
The sale of the painting will fund the continuing efforts of VIMEA, according to Los.
Along with the painting, Shango is selling a shirt he was wearing at the gallery when he bought the painting upon which David Choe wrote “DAVE CHOE RUINS SHIRTS” and an image in marker.
The eBay auction is for both the painting and the shirt. The painting has an auction estimate of $5,000 to $10,000, with a starting bid of $3,500.
“David Choe’s talents have made him a heavily watched artist," Los said. "I expect that the rare opportunity to buy an original painting by him in a private sale will draw out both avid David Choe fans and savvy art investors alike.”
The auction ends May 14, Los said.
U.S. Has Less Than 5% of World’s Population but Nearly 25% of People Behind Bars; Drug War Fueled Prison Explosion
A groundbreaking report released on Wednesday by the National Research Council, the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences, documents the unprecedented and costly price of U.S. incarceration rates.
With less than five percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States continues to rank first among nations in both prison and jail population and per capita rates. As the report points out, this unprecedented rate of incarceration is a relatively new phenomenon in U.S. history. America’s prison population exploded largely as a result of the failed Drug War policies of the last 40 years.
The report, commissioned by the National Institute of Justice and the MacArthur Foundation, documents how the Drug War has contributed to the skyrocketing U.S prison population and the staggering costs associated with mass incarceration. The report points out that U.S. incarceration rates are 5-10 times higher than rates in Western Europe and other major democracies.
The report also documents the staggering racial disparities in drug enforcement and incarceration.
The report calls for a significant reduction in rates of imprisonment and says that the rise in the U.S. prison population is “not serving the country well.” It concludes that in order to significantly lower prison rates, the U.S. should revise its drug enforcement and sentencing laws.
The Indonesian cannabis reform group Lingkar Ganja Nusantara (LGN) will hold rallies in conjunction with the Global Marijuana March in seven cities across Indonesia this Saturday, May 3.
This peaceful rally, held annually on the first Saturday of every May, is coming into its fifth year in Indonesia. This year marks a unique step for Indonesia's cannabis movement as six other cities, in addition to Jakarta, are launching their very own local events in conjunction with the Global Marijuana March.
The GMM rallies are held not only in Indonesia, but simultaneously all over the world. This year, more than 143 cities in 33 nations worldwide will have their own marches; North America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania will all unite in support of cannabis legalization.
On Saturday, May 3, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, will participate in the 15th annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at high noon through downtown Portland, accompanied by a police escort.
Oregon NORML, KBOO Community Radio and the publishers of Hemp News, Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH) are sponsors of this event.
The keynote speaker for the event will be Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, (District 3). He will be speaking immediately following the march.
Musicians Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, The Sindicate, Disenchanter and Justin James Bridges have joined the lineup for the rally, which runs from 11 am to 4 pm in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Speakers for the rally include CRRH Director Paul Stanford; Paul Loney, Oregon NORML Legal Counsel; Leland Berger, a Portland Attorney; Rowshan Reordan, Oregon NORML; Anna Diaz of the NORML Women's Alliance; Madeline Martinez of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP); and Oregon Attorney John Lucy IV.
"I think it’s game over in less than five years," Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said, according to an article in The Huffington Post. "There's no question that we're likely to see another state or two this year legalizing [social] use. We're going to see more medical marijuana progress. The crazy prohibitions on bank services and probably the tax disparities -- these are all eroding," Rep. Blumenauer predicted.
The world famous CannaBUS was parked in front of the Jackson County Courthouse on Monday to show support for Maria and Steve Green as they go to court once again. Since her return in October 2013, “Baby Bree” still has not had contact with her older brother. Supporters question the validity of Green’s supervised parenting reasons.
Brielle “Free Bree” Green was returned to her home on October 25, 2013 by Child Protective Services personnel. Now, six months later, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Susan Beebe still has not allowed Maria Green’s older son to return to her home. Court record shows that the reason for this is because the child needs time to reacquaint himself with his mother.
“My son was kept from me illegally in the first place," said Maria Green, 32. "I don’t understand why we need to be reacquainted. A kidnapped child doesn’t spend months getting reacquainted with his family when he’s been found.”
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was passed with overwhelming 63 percent voter support statewide in 2008. Specific protections were written into that voter-initiated law to protect parents from being denied custody or visitation of children due to caregivers and/or patients status with the State. (MMMA: (4) (c) “A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person's behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated.”)
Historic Step Will Reduce Both Racial Disparities and the Number of Brooklynites Unfairly Saddled with Lifelong Arrest Records
Advocates, Community Groups Applaud DA Thompson for His Leadership and Demand Action by City Hall and Albany
Brooklyn elected officials, community groups, and advocates on Friday rallied on the steps of Borough Hall to support District Attorney Ken Thompson’s proposal to stop prosecuting people arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
A memo outlining DA Thompson’s proposal, shared with the press, states that when the police make a low-level marijuana arrest and the defendant has no criminal record or a minimal criminal record, “there will be a presumption that such case will be immediately dismissed.” With this bold and smart initiative, DA Thompson is using his discretionary authority as the top law enforcement officer in Brooklyn to refocus limited law enforcement resources on serious public safety issues, address and reduce unwarranted racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and ensure that Brooklyn residents are no longer saddled with lifelong arrest records for simple possession of marijuana.