Activism

New York: Rally Supports Brooklyn DA's Proposal To Stop Prosecuting Low-Level Marijuana Possession

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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.

New York: Groups To Gather In Support Of DA's Proposal To Stop Prosecuting Minor Marijuana Cases

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Community Groups, Elected Officials Support Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson’s Proposal to Stop Prosecuting Low-Level Cannabis Possession Cases

Major Step Will Dramatically Reduce the Number of People in Brooklyn Unfairly Saddled with Lifelong Criminal Records
Advocates, Community Groups Applaud DA Thompson for His Leadership and Demand Reform at City Hall and in Albany

Elected officials, community members and the coalition, New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety, on Friday at 11 a.m. will rally on the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to applaud DA Ken Thompson’s proposal to stop prosecuting people arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

DA Thompson’s office hopes that “individuals, and especially young people of color, do not become unfairly burdened and stigmatized by involvement in the criminal justice system for engaging in nonviolent conduct that poses no threat of harm to persons or property,” according to The New York Times. The Times obtained a confidential policy memo that was sent by the district attorney to NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

What: Press Conference about Marijuana Arrests in Brooklyn

When: Friday, April 25th 11am

Where: Steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall – 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Oregon: 15th Annual Global Cannabis March in Portland on May 3rd, Thousands Expected to Rally to End Marijuana Prohibition

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.

Free Chris Williams!

By Michael Bachara, Oregon NORML/CRRH

Free Dana Beal! 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.

Texas: Cop Arrested For Groping Detained Woman Who Had A Joint In Her Pocket

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After a woman who was arrested for having a joint in her pocket reported inappropriate groping, several more women in Odessa, Texas, now say that a local police officer there detained them and groped their breasts.

Local station CBS 7 reports warrants were issued for officer Salvador Becerra, who allegedly brought at least three and up to six women back to his patrol car, where he talked to them and then put his hands under their bras and felt their breasts, according to the Texas Cannabis Report.

While groping the women, Officer Becerra reportedly turned off audio on his squad car's recording equipment, but cameras corroborated the women's stories.

Becerra detained a woman on March 9 who admitted having a joint in her pocket. According to the affidavit, Officer Becerra told her that "if she made an exception then they would not go to jail." It was then that the woman reluctantly allowed him to touch her breasts, but she reported the incident on March 10.

That resulted in an internal affairs investigation headed by Chief Timothy Burton which found the claims held merit, after reviewing Officer Becerra's camera footage. Chief Burton ordered a concurrent criminal investigation and requested the Texas Rangers take the lead in the case.

Tennessee: Marijuana Activists Announce 'The Wall' In Support Of Medical Cannabis Act

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

"The Wall," a project in support of the Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act, has been announced by MMJ for Tennesseans and Tennessee for Medical Marijuana. The wall features names of Tennesseans who need the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant, and who support changing the law so that they can have safe access to this medicine, without fear of arrest.

The Wall is an ongoing project; currently, 395 patients are publicly making a stand together in solidarity in support of the bill, "and what should be our right to include medical cannabis therapies in our medical regimes," said activist Dana Arvidson of Nashville, founder of MMJ for Tennesseans.

A recent poll showed that 69 percent of Tennesseans support either cannabis legalization for medicinal use (36 percent) or legalized completely (33 percent), with just 18 percent saying marijuana prohibition should continue, reports Nick Caloway at WKRN-TV.

Many of the patients whose names are on The Wall were heard from, or were represented, in the Koozer-Kuhn Bill presentation last week; these include Piper Koozer, Millie Mattison, Wally Peterson, Toni Woodall Corbin, Seth Green and Kim West Hipps.

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Patients and Advocates Gather at Governor's Mansion

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Patients and Advocates Deliver a Provocative 'Get Better Soon' Card to Gov. Dayton, Who Is Recovering From Hip Surgery

Huge greeting card urges the Governor to 'show some backbone' and 'stop bowing to law enforcement,' which is holding up a bill that would allow seriously ill Minnesotans to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

A group of medical marijuana patients and advocates gathered in front of the Minnesota Governor's Mansion at 12:30 Thursday afternoon to deliver a very large and provocative 'get better soon' card to Gov. Mark Dayton, who is recovering from hip surgery. Following a brief news conference, patients, their family members, and supporters signed the card, which was then delivered to the governor by a Burnsville, Minnesota man suffering from muscular dystrophy.

The huge greeting card urges the Governor to "show some backbone" and "stop bowing to law enforcement," which is holding up a bill that would allow seriously ill Minnesotans to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. An inscription inside the card reads: "You took action to relieve your pain. Will you take action to relieve ours?"

California: Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance to Speak at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco

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Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will speak at the World Affairs Council’s WorldAffairs 2014 conference in San Francisco on Saturday, March 15 at 10:30 a.m.

WorldAffairs 2014 offers fresh insights and new perspectives on current global topics. The conference will be held at the St. Regis in San Francisco on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15.

Nadelmann will take part in a discussion entitled “Rethinking the War on Drugs.” Nadelmann will be joined by Beau Kilmer, co-director, RAND Drug Policy Research Center and Robert MacCoun, professor of public policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Issues addressed in the discussion will include:

• What do President Obama’s new drug policy initiatives mean for the U.S?
• What does it mean to reclassify drug use as a public health issue?
• What lessons can be learned from Europe?
• Can the United States effectively reduce the harmful effects of drugs at home and abroad while also reducing the enormous fiscal burden of the War on Drugs?

Described by Rolling Stone Magazxine as "the point man" for drug policy reform efforts, Ethan Nadelmann is widely regarded as the outstanding proponent of drug policy reform both in the United States and abroad. Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization based in the United States promoting alternatives to the War On Drugs.

Oregon: Portland Mayor Wants Hempstalk Festival at Waterfront Park

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Portland City Council on Thursday told the city's Parks & Recreation Bureau, which denied Hempstalk Festival a permit for Tom McCall Waterfront Park, to negotiate with the festival's organizers in order to find a place and time for the event in the park. After more than two hours of testimony, during which the Mayor went to bat for the event, they left the door open for the pro-cannabis group to hold its 2014 gathering on the waterfront.

"It seems to me that the place it ought to take place is Waterfront Park -- if the event is manageable," said Mayor Charlie Hales, reports Andrew Theen at The Oregonian.

Thursday's hearing was the first time city parks officials could remember an appeal of a permit ruling going before the City Council. The Parks Bureau usually doesn't deny permits for events it has approved in previous years.

Hempstalk 2014 would be the 10th annual event, which has been held at several locations in the Portland area over the years, including at Waterfront Park in 2005 and 2006.

Florida: Billionaire Marijuana Philanthropist, Progressive Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis Dies

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Peter Lewis, the billionaire chairman of Progressive Insurance and a prominent donor to marijuana legalization, died Saturday afternoon at age 80 at his home in Coconut Grove, Florida, according to his adviser Jennifer Frutchy.

Lewis was a high-profile backer of drug-law reform, reports Luisa Kroll at Forbes. He spent almost $3 million on the November 2012 election, contributing $2 million to the I-502 marijuana legalization drive in Washington state and another $1 million to the medical marijuana effort in Massachusetts; both were successful.

"We were, of course, incredibly grateful for Mr. Lewis's significant contributions that made Initiative 502 possible," I-502 author Alison Holcomb told David Holley of Bloomberg News. "We're very hopeful that others will follow in the example he set."

Cynics pointed out that Progressive Insurance is the chief source of the auto insurance policies that those convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana in Washington (cannabis DUI) under I-502 will be forced to buy; 502, in addition to legalizing possession of up to an ounce of pot, created a whole new crime in Washington state, that of driving with more than 5 ng/ml of THC in the blood (previously, law enforcement had to prove actual impairment to make a DUI stick).

U.S.: It's Turkey and Marijuana for the Holidays on Cannabis Planet TV

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Next to ObamaCare, cannabis is the hottest, most discussed subject in the media. Twenty states and D.C. have medical marijuana, 14 states have decriminalized marijuana, two states have legalized it for everyone and several more states are poised to pass legalization laws.

Americans still have questions, and beginning on November 23, Cannabis Planet TV has announced it will be taking to the airwaves in a dozen cites with the information on all things cannabis.

Originally seen only in California, Brad Lane’s Cannabis Planet will be aired weekly beginning November 23. TV stations in Massachusetts, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and California will air a new show every week. More stations are being added daily. Cannabis Planet is entertainment with an emphasis on medical research, cannabis cooking, cultivation, cannabis celebrities and legalization advances in American and around the globe.

The first show features longtime federal marijuana recipients, stockbroker Irvin Rosenfeld, who gets free government pot to treat his tumors, and glaucoma patient Elvy Musikka. Interviewees also include Dr. Julie Holland, author of The Pot Book, and Mara Gordon, international medical cannabis expert. There will be holiday cannabis cooking tips from Chef Mike Delao, hemp tips and music by the Trevor Green Band.

Oregon: Preparation Begins for Industrial Hemp to be Sown in Spring 2014

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By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

After a panel of appointed experts can appease federal officials with a set of rules, Oregon farmers may sow a crop of industrial hemp next spring. The committee of agricultural experts and state officials has been selected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and will come together in December to establish proper procedures for hemp cultivation in Oregon.

"The committee hopes to set up a program that will meet what the federal government calls a ‘robust’ standard," according to Jim Cramer, a market and certification official at the Department of Agriculture. "The goal is to do so in time for planting."

In 2009, Senate Bill 676, spearheaded by Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski, was passed by the Oregon legislature and then-Governor Theodore Kulongoski signed the historic bill into law. Since the passage, Oregon farmers have been hesitant to begin growing due to fear that they’d be prosecuted by the Drug Enforcement Administration for possession of a schedule I controlled substance.

In recent months, hemp’s legal status gained momentum. The federal justice department said it won’t prosecute cases in states such as Washington and Colorado that legalize and regulate marijuana.

Alabama: Father Starts Online Petition Asking Governor, Lawmakers To Allow Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The father of a two-year-old girl in Alabama with a rare neurological and epileptic disorder has started an online petition asking Governor Robert Bentley and state lawmakers to allow the use of a a form of medical marijuana that could help control the girl's frequent, violent seizures.

Dustin Chandler, a police officer in Pelham, and his wife Amy recently visited Gov. Bentley in Montgomery to ask for his support for medical marijuana, reports Martin J. Reed at al.com. Their daughter, Carly, is unable to walk, talk or feed herself.

The online petition at Change.org focuses on cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid from marijuana that can treat inflammation, pain, anxiety, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. It can also treat Carly's violent seizures that occur several times a day -- seizures which pharmaceutical medications cannot control.

"The main fact that we want people to understand is we're not trying to get our two-year-old high," Chandler said. "They won't get stoned. This is a natural treatment ... that might have great benefit in helping her seizures. The life that she has, I'm trying to give the best quality to her."

Washington: Cannabis Activist Group Going After Governor On Medical Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Seattle-based medical marijuana patient advocacy group, the Cannabis Action Coalition, has filed a recall petition against Governor Jay Inslee with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office.

The petition alleges corruption related to the Washington State Liquor Control Board's implementation of cannabis legalization Initiative 502.

"It's pretty clear that no matter which party prevails, the losing party will file an expedited appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court, said activist Steve Sarich, who heads up the CAC. "The best information we have is that this could happen within 10 days of the Superior Court decision."

Sarich was a guest on Tuesday's "Mike Bastinelli Show." Sarich talked about the flaws in I-502 that will affect medical marijuana patients in Washington, and the group's allegations against Gov. Inslee.

Sarich ran the No On I-502 campaign. He opposed the measure because of its per se DUI level of 5 nanograms of THC of milliliter of blood (5 ng/mg), which is not a true level of impairment; because it didn't remove any of the laws that made marijuana illegal in the first place (in fact, it added several new ways you can be arrested for cannabis); and because it will result in the over-taxation of medical marijuana, because of claims that the MMJ community is cutting into the revenue stream of proposed recreational marijuana outlets.

Michigan: After Local Success, Cannabis Advocates Push For Statewide Decriminalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Michigan cannabis advocates hope that their successes at the ballot box this year will help increase pressure on state legislators to legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

Voters in Ferndale, Jackson and Lansing last week all approved ballot measures that removed all city penalties for possession of marijuana by adults on private property, reports Jake Neher at Interlochen Public Radio.

Tim Beck, an activist who helped organize those campaigns, said their success sends a message to the Legislature that marijuana penalties need to be reduced statewide.

"Like 17 other states have done, including Ohio," Beck said. "It's the equivalent of a traffic ticket in Ohio -- a $100 fine. That should be very simple," he said during a guest appearance on "Off the Record," a show on Michigan Public Radio.

"And there's huge public support," Beck said, "as demonstrated in all of these elections that we've had." But it's still too soon for a statewide ballot initiative, he said.

"The funders that funded the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in (2008), they need to see poll numbers, OK?" Beck said. "Michigan, right now, is 'hardcore support' at 52 percent for full legalization of marijuana. That's not good enough to run a ballot initiative. We need to get those numbers up."

Michigan: Families Call For Complete Review and Reform of Child Welfare Laws

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Two activist groups of medicinal cannabis advocates are calling on Michigan's Department of Human Services to conduct "a complete review of practices conducted by Child Protective Services, and enact reforms that improve public and family safety."

According to The Human Solution and Michigan Moms United, an ever-growing number and variety of communities and parents have been targeted and victimized by CPS. Parents, grandparents, foster parents and anyone impacted by the overreaching Michigan Child Protective Service agency are invited to attend to speak to media and call for reform.

"The attacks of CPS are far-reaching and affect people from every walk of life," said Maria Green of the Free Bree Foundation. "CPS has a pattern of moralizing their own beliefs to families across the nation by removing children from parents with alternative lifestyles, such as homeschooling, homosexuality and transgenderism, vaccination-free medical choices, and all-natural living, among others."

The recent Bree Green medical marijuana custody case in Ingham County generated a great deal of interest regarding actions committed by Child Protective Services, but for years advocates and victims have been calling on a national level for a complete reform of family court laws.

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