Cannabis Freedom Fighter
"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 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.'
By Paul Stanford, Hemp News Director
Ben Masel was, beginning in his teens, a leader and activist for freedom and cannabis. Ben was brilliant, incisive and a Grand Master chess champion. He was a seemingly fearless advocate who spent his life supporting others and working for freedom and justice. I am proud and honored to count Ben Masel as an associate, mentor and friend.
Ben was the primary force behind the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest in Madison, Wisconsin, which happens in late September every year since 1970. Until the Seattle Hempfest emerged in the late 90s, it was the largest pro-marijuana rally in the world. I was honored to speak at the Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was truly empowering and inspirational to march the half mile from the University of Wisconsin campus down State Street, with 15,000+ others, to the Wisconsin State Capitol in the early Autumn sunshine, the colorful Wisconsin foliage and the crisp clean air. Ben also was a driving force behind Wisconsin's annual Weedstock protestival. The Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Fest continues today and is still one of the largest pro-cannabis events in the world.
An activism pioneer who inspired many, Ben Masel loses battle with lung cancer
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Madison, Wisconsin - A lifelong activist, Ben Masel, has died after his battle with lung cancer. As the Hemp and Cannabis Community and many others mourn this great loss, we must also remember what Masel spent most of his life fighting for and continue on the path he helped to blaze.
Over the course of his life, Masel traveled countless miles and spent innumerable hours voicing his ideas and fighting for the rights of his fellows. Even in the face of opposition, he continued to speak out in favor of hemp and cannabis legalization, freedom of speech and the ability of people who make a stand to make a difference.
Masel's life-long passion project, Madison, Wisconsin's Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival, began as a marijuana smoke-in in 1971. The Harvest Festival, now celebrating its 41st year, has a long history of promoting cannabis hemp legalization and free speech while providing an annual celebration for like minded people to join together.
By Anna Diaz for Oregon NORML
John Walsh has been collecting signatures for the hemp and cannabis movement for twenty-five years, by his report. He can tell you exactly how many signatures he has collected for each and every initiative and ballot measure that relates to hemp or cannabis throughout that twenty-five year period.
Although his home is in Eugene, he travels the state, collecting signatures and registering Oregonians to vote like Johnny Appleseed planted trees. He is willing to camp out at festivals throughout the area, doing whatever it takes to gather enough signatures to further cannabis reform.
This year, he has surpassed many of his previous records by collecting the two thousand signatures needed to re-file the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act for 2010. In an amazingly short time, John worked tirelessly, pounding the pavement, traveling the state and setting up camp at Portland's Hempstalk. These signatures were turned in to the Oregon Secretary of State's office on September 21, 2009.
John, a lifetime member of Oregon NORML, advocates for all cannabis activist groups to work together. He brings that message to each and every signature gathering opportunity.
"No political or human rights movement in America has made it this far without eventually winning, it's just a matter of time." Vivian McPeak
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
It has been said that Vivian Mcpeak, Seattle Hempfest Event Director, is quite possibly the most inspirational speaker in the hemp movement, and this writer agrees with that consensus.
Vivian has the ability to energize a crowd like no other and has become a pillar of strength for those who demand their voices be heard regarding cannabis reform. There have been many fantastic and inspiring speakers throughout the years at the Seattle Hempfest from the iconic Jack Herer to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) founder Keith Stroup, but once you have heard Vivian speak, something about you is different; you feel you have become a part of history.
By Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator
Riding on the wave of President Obama’s memo to end DEA interference in states’ medical marijuana laws and an unprecedented response from the media, Oregon NORML’s Cannabis Café opens at 4:20pm on November 13, 2009 at 700 NE Dekum St, Portland, OR 97211.
“The response has been overwhelming,” says Madeline Martinez, Executive Director of Oregon NORML. “We are excited to be able to provide a safe place for patients to medicate that is out of public view within the guidelines of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA).”
Many patients travel to Portland for medical care and treatment and have no place they can go to use their medicine during those often exhausting and intensive trips. “Do they go out into an alley and hide in the back of their car?” Martinez said. “There needs to be a place, much like our meetings, where people can socialize and network.”
In the week since the announcement of the café’s opening, stories have appeared in most major Oregon newspapers and television stations. Martinez appeared on OPB’s Think Out Loud talk show and attended the local neighborhood association meeting to reassure the public that the café will be operated at the highest of standards and strives to be a positive addition to the area.
By Dev Meyers, Pittsburgh Neighborhood History Examiner
Medical Marijuana has proven scientific factual records dating back to 2337 B.C. when Chinese Emperor Shen Neng included marijuana in his Pharmacopoeia.
If you would like more information on this history, California Cannabis Research Medical Group has an interesting website.
The William B. O'Shaughnessy Archive establishes the credentials of a brilliant surgeon, physician, professor of chemistry and scientist who was also an expert in the fields of botanical pharmocology, chemistry, telegraphy, galvanic electricity, and underwater conduction.
He was also an excellent writer. Not the dry, hard to read, scientific papers of today, O'Shaughnessy's writing is enjoyable to read.
On the preparations of the Indian hemp, or gunjah gives the reader an historic perspective. The evidence is well-presented and compelling. The following is but one case example. Inquiring minds may want to dig right in and read the whole paper. It's fascinating.
I now proceed to notice a class of most important uses, in use in which the results obtained are of the character which warrants me in regarding the powers of the remedy as satisfactorily and incontrovertibly established. I allude to its use in the treatment of traumatic tetanus, or lock-jaw, next to hydrophobia, perhaps the most intractable and agonizing of the whole catalogue of human maladies.
PORT ORCHARD — Kitsap County cut a $2,000 check Thursday to a medical marijuana user whose lamps for growing pot were destroyed by county officials.
Bruce Olson, 55, was acquitted by a jury in March of illegally growing and selling pot. He went to the sheriff's office this month — two years after his South Kitsap home was raided by county investigators — in an attempt to get some of his property back, according to Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilson.
Olson got his paraphernalia and video surveillance equipment back, as ordered by Kitsap County Superior Court, Wilson said. His ballasts, lights and bulbs for growing the marijuana, however, had been destroyed because of lack of space in the county's evidence room, he added, and so the county agreed to compensate him for the loss.
The sheriff's office would not return the marijuana it confiscated, however, because, Wilson said, "we don't know how much he may already have."
State law limits medical marijuana users to a 60-day supply.
Wilson added that the marijuana had grown old and moldy in the evidence room.
"It would be unfit for consumption," he said.
Olson's acquittal on the grounds he was a medical marijuana user was the first Wilson can recall.
"We've never had a situation where we've had to give it back to them," he said of the property.
By CHARLIE BERMANT, Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer
The Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday afternoon it has dropped criminal charges against a local medical marijuana patient.
Olalla resident Glenn Musgrove, 56, was accused of unlawful use of a building for drug purposes. A WestNET report said that one of Musgrove’s neighbors reported the marijuana grown for medicinal treatment was being sold for profit.
Musgrove’s caregivers, David May and Jena Milo, were also facing prosecution.
All charges were dismissed.
“After looking over the case, we’ve decided we will not proceed,” said Felony and Juvenile Division Chief Tim Drury. “We do not think we can convince a jury of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Musgrove was arrested in March 2008. Many of the details gathered in the charging document originated from a confidential informant, but WestNET assembled financial data about Musgrove, his brother and his caregivers that suggested an illegal drug operation.
This would have been the second high-visibility medical marijuana case in Kitsap this spring, following that of Olalla resident Bruce Olson, who was acquitted on March 24 of similar charges.
Clayton Longacre, who is representing Musgrove, was not immediately available for comment.
The previous trial drew medical marijuana advocates from throughout the northwest, who provided support for Olson during his trial.
By CHARLIE BERMANT, Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer
A medical marijuana patient being prosecuted in Kitsap County Superior Court for drug trafficking was found not guilty on Tuesday morning, after a jury ruled that his use of the drug was within the law.
The jury deliberated for approximately two hours prior to its ruling.
After the verdict, the prosecution maintained that the case had nothing to do with the treatment itself. Instead, it had to do whether defendant Bruce Wayne Olson was selling the homegrown drug for profit.
“Each county is struggling to understand what is an appropriate amount of marijuana for medical use,” said Defense Attorney Thomas Balerud. “The prosecutors should look to the will of the public to determine this. In this case, the jury spoke its mind and determined that no lawyers should be able to overrule a doctor’s judgement.”
Prosecutor Alexis Foster said this was not a precedent-setting case and would not affect how such violations are prosecuted in the future.
“This was never about medical marijuana,” she said. “We believed it was an illegal manufacturing case, and that the defendant was breaking the law. We will continue to prosecute anything we believe to be a distribution site.”
By Josh Farley, Kitsap Sun
PORT ORCHARD — A jury has acquitted 54-year-old Bruce Olson on one count of manufacturing marijuana and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
Olson, who had a card from the state allowing him to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, was arrested in May 2007 by detectives with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team, who contended that he had marijuana than state law allowed.
The jury deliberated between two and three hours between Monday and Tuesday before returning the verdict.
Olson said he had to sell his home to fund his defense. He and his wife, Pamela, live in a travel trailer.
"But it's worth it for the cause: Quit arresting medical marijuana patients," he said after the verdict.
Kitsapsun.com will update this story later today.
Thousands are anxiously watching the case against a retired stone mason as they move into closing arguments.
By Bonnie King, Salem-News.com
(PORT ORCHARD, Wash.) - Thirty or so miles outside Tacoma, Washington, in Kitsap County there has been a storm brewing. It's been coming for almost two years, and for the last two weeks, the force of the impact has been hitting the courtroom, but hard.
Kitsap County may not be a place that every one is acquainted with, and after you read this story, it may indeed be one of the last places you ever want to visit.
Though we generally accept that people are hard working, honest and congenial throughout the Pacific NorthWest, it so happens that the very core of the Kitsap County government has displayed none of those considerable attributes.
The majority of Washingtonians voted together in 1998 for the health and safety of its ill residents. Supporting the medical use of marijuana was not a hard choice for most, and the state has adjusted very well overall to bringing these sick patients into the fold.
Contrary to these ideals seems to be one particular man: Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge (pronounced howgy). His opinion of the thousands of legal medicinal use patients seems to be nothing less than disapproval.
The story goes like this:
By Nat Levy, The Register-Guard
Elvy Musikka is one of only a few people on a government program created in the late ’80s that supplies people with medical marijuana.
In 2007, more than 775,000 people were arrested in the United States for possession of marijuana. In that same year, four people received their supply of the very same drug from the U.S. government.
Elvy Musikka was one of them.
Musikka, a 66-year-old Eugene resident by way of Florida, each year receives several tins, each containing 300 marijuana cigarettes grown by the federal government at the University of Mississippi.
She was the third person, and the first woman, to qualify to receive the government-grown product.
She did so following an arrest for growing marijuana, and a subsequent court case where her doctors testified that, unless Musikka was allowed access to marijuana, she would go blind.
“I wanted to go to court because I really don’t believe there is any government that has the right to demand blindness and suffering from their patients,” Musikka said. “That’s who they’re supposed to protect.”
Since moving to Oregon in 2005, Musikka has participated in the public debate over Oregon’s medical marijuana law. In this year’s legislative session, 14 bills are up for consideration in the House and Senate.
Washington State: Kitsap County v. Bruce Olson - Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Vendetta Against Medical Marijuana PatientSubmitted by restore on Tue, 03/10/2009 - 19:47
Kitsap County prosecutors begin their trial to imprison medical marijuana patient Bruce Olson. All concerned Washington citizens are invited to bear witness to this circus of horrors.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Staff
Dear President Obama,
Governor Chris Gregoire, Washington
Alison Holcomb, Drug Policy Director WA ACLU,
Allen St. Pierre, Director, NORML
and all compassionate individuals,
Re: Bruce Olson v. Kitsap County
First, thank you for reading this letter; I understand your time is important. I am a concerned medical marijuana patient from Oregon, who has witnessed a great injustice to Bruce Olson and his entire family (Bruce Olson v. Kitsap County), and wanted to alert you to the deviant tactics being played by Kitsap County Deputy Prosecutor Alexis Foster, as well as ask for your help in this matter.
After reading about the case for months, and since I too am a medical marijuana patient, I decided to make the 200 mile trip to Kitsap County to show a fellow patient support. This case struck a chord with me because of the injuries involved to the family’s black Labrador dogs in carrying out the raid by the members of the WestNET drug task force, and also because the prosecution is full of deceit.