2009: A Year to Remember; Ten Stories on Hemp and Cannabis Reform
"There is reason to believe there is hope for the 21st Century, and that's the way it will be." Walter Cronkite
Compiled by Hemp News Staff
1. California: DEA To Yield Marijuana Jurisdiction To States - 3/2/2009
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama - who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana - will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.
"What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement," he said. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."
2. Washington State: Kitsap Medical Marijuana Defendant Acquitted - 3/24/2009
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.
“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.”
3. Michigan: State Now Accepting Medical Marijuana Applications - 4/7/2009
By MyFoxDetroit Staff
LANSING, Mich. - - Monday marked the first day medical marijuana users could sign-up with the state to use pot to ease their chronic pain. However, the governor says she has some reservations about the new law.
"This is a really good day for Michigan. We're protecting patients, people who do have a legitimate use for marijuana. We're able to start giving them some protection," said medical marijuana patient Greg Francisco.
Upwards of 10,000 or more applications are expected as Michigan joins a dozen other states making it legal to grow marijuana and use it to relieve chronic pain.
Michigan voters approved the medical marijuana law last November.
4. Oregon: Portland Mayor Sam Adams Proclaims May as Medical Marijuana Awareness Month - 5/7/2009
Oregon's largest city joins the state's third largest, in officially getting behind state laws on medical marijuana.
Oregon NORML Executive Director Madeline Martinez met with Portland Mayor Sam Adams to receive his signature on a proclamation by the City of Portland that May is Medical Marijuana Awareness Month.
( Download PDF )
This proclamation follows an earlier one by Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy proclaiming Medical Marijuana Awareness Week in that city.
Download & Print Proclamation PDF:
5. Oregon: Senate Passes Hemp Bill - Sixth US State to Say Yes to Hemp in 2009 - 7/2/2009
Oregon becomes the sixth state in 2009 to take control; pressure to grow hemp continues to mount as business booms.
By Vote Hemp
(SALEM, Ore.) - Today, by a vote of 46 to 11, the Oregon House passed SB 676, a bill that permits production and possession of industrial hemp and trade in industrial hemp commodities and products.
"I am glad that Oregon has joined the list of states that have agreed that American farmers should have the right to re-introduce industrial hemp as an agricultural crop," says SB 676 sponsor, Sen. Floyd Prozanski.
"By passing SB 676 with strong bi-partisan support, the Oregon Legislature has taken a proactive position to allow its farmers the right to grow industrial hemp, to provide American manufacturers with domestically-grown hemp, and to profit from that effort."
"The time has come for the federal government to act and allow farmers to once again grow hemp, so American companies will no longer need to import it and American farmers will no longer be denied a profitable new crop," comments Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra.
Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation to date, and eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. North Dakota has even issued state licenses to would-be hemp farmers for two years running.
6. United States: Jack Herer - Hemp Can Save The Planet - 9/12/2009
"I don't want to wait 20 or 50 years for something to be done about petrochemical pollution." Jack Herer
7. United States: Farmers, Hemp Industry Leaders Arrested for Planting Industrial Hemp at DEA Headquarters in Act of Civil Disobedience to Protest 'Reefer Madness' - 10/13/2009
Fed Up Captains of Hemp Industry Plant Hemp Seed on DEA's Lawn with Ceremonial Shovels
By Ryan Fletcher/Adam Eidinger, Vote Hemp
WASHINGTON, DC — At approximately 10:00 AM this morning, North Dakota farmer Wayne Hauge, Vermont farmer Will Allen, and fed up American entrepreneurs, who have dedicated their livelihoods to developing and marketing healthy, environmentally-friendly hemp products, for the first time turned to public civil disobedience with the planting of industrial hemp seed at DEA headquarters (700 Army Navy Dr Arlington, VA 22202) to protest the ban on hemp farming in the United States. Even though the U.S. is the largest market for hemp products in the world, and industrial hemp is farmed throughout Europe, Asia and Canada, not a single American farmer has the right to grow the versatile crop which is used for food, clothing, body care, paper, building materials, auto paneling and more.
The six protesters planted hemp seeds with ceremonial chrome shovels engraved with: Hemp Planting Oct. 2009 ~ DEA Headquarters ~ American Farmers Shall Grow Hemp Again - Reefer Madness Will Be Buried
8. United States: Obama Administration Issues New Policy On Medical Marijuana - 10/19/2009
By Carrie Johnson, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Obama administration delivered new guidance on medical marijuana to federal prosecutors Monday, signaling a broad policy shift that will mean fewer crackdowns against dispensaries and the people who use them.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. instructed government lawyers that in 14 states where medical marijuana use is legal, federal prosecutors should focus only on cases involving higher level drug traffickers or people who use the state laws as a cover story.
"It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana, but we will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal," Holder said. "This balanced policy formalizes a sensible approach that the Department has been following since January: effectively focus our resources on serious drug traffickers while taking into account state and local laws."
9. United States: AMA Calls for Feds to Review Marijuana Restrictions - 11/11/2009
By Stephanie Condon, CBS News
The American Medical Association on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling for the government to review its classification of marijuana, in order to ease the way for more research into the use of medical marijuana.
While the AMA, the largest physician's organization in the U.S., explicitly states it does not endorse any current state-based medical marijuana programs or the legalization of marijuana, the move is a significant shift that continues a trend toward support for easing restrictions against the drug.
While the Obama administration opposes legalization of marijuana, the Justice Department last month announced it would no longer pursue prosecution for state-sanctioned medical marijuana sales. As many as 13 states now allow the use of medical marijuana.
The debate over whether to legalize marijuana all together seems to be gaining steam. A Gallup poll last month showed a record 44 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, California residents may get to vote on a 2010 ballot measure to legalize the drug in the state.
10. United States: Patrons Toke Medical Marijuana In Oregon Cafe - 11/23/2009
By Tracy Loew, USA TODAY
PORTLAND, Ore. — At first glance, the Cannabis Cafe, in a former adult club called Rumpspankers, looks like any other coffee shop. Customers sip coffee while playing cards, working on computers, or sharing a meal.
But here, patrons also slip away to smoke joints and pipes in the back. And the cafe features a vapor bar, where customers can get the benefits of cannabis without the harmful carcinogens.
The Cannabis Cafe is the nation's first medical marijuana smoking lounge. It's all perfectly legal and, for cancer patient Albert Santistevan, it's about time.
"It's nice to be around people who understand your medicine," said Madeline Martinez, executive director of the Oregon chapter of NORML. "Many times we're deemed as criminals rather than patients."