Posts Tagged ‘medical marijuana bills’

How To: Help Re-Legalize Cannabis by David Brannon

Want to help re-legalize cannabis? Here’s an idea anyone and everyone can do if (1) you have access to the internet, and (2) you live in a community holding an election this coming November. If you are reading this you have satisfied #1, and if you live in America you satisfy #2. So, let’s get to work.

TO START: Create a list of your local candidates and the office they seek; identify where on the political spectrum each of your candidates fall. A quick review of the candidates’ on-line website or a local voter’s guide will reveal this information.

NEXT: Have you heard of the Just Say Now campaign? Our primary purpose will be to advertise the efforts of Just Say Now. So, if necessary, enlighten yourself before going any further. Pay attention to the political leanings of the members of the Advisory Board of Just Say Now. This Board represents every compass point on the political spectrum – just like your list of candidates.

Every one of your local candidates can be philosophically and politically “matched” with a Just Say Now board member. Someone on that Board is going to look and sound very much like your local candidates. Example: there are several law enforcement reps on the Board – pair them with your more conservative candidates.

THEN: Appear wherever your local pols are speaking, shaking hands, kissing babies, whatever it is they are doing, and, in front of as many voters and television cameras as possible, ask that candidate:

Do you agree with the goals and ideals of Just Say Now as “big shot so-and-so” [the candidates “match”] has done?”

Use your “do you agree” question to wake up both candidates and voters to Just Say Now. Our efforts will help get people talking about changing drug policy. Know how long it has been since this was even discussed during an election cycle? Jimmy Carter was President!

Nothing changes until lots of people start loudly demanding change. Every one of us can do our bit to help. The diverse board of Just Say Now allows a way to approach anyone seeking any office. Why shouldn’t every local dog killer be asked to take a position on drug law reform? Let’s get every politician on the record. Let’s bring to the attention of the candidates, the voters, and the media the growing, coming-from-the-bottom-up demand to reassess the failed war on drugs.

Patient Advocates Back 3 Medical Marijuana Bills in Congress

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Graphic: Rebels With Just Cause Award
Steph Sherer, ASA: “This kind of policy shift is a no-brainer and should garner the bipartisan support of Congress”

Three medical marijuana bills introduced in Congress on Wednesday have the support of patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA). The most significant of the bills is one introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), which reclassifies marijuana from its current federal status as a dangerous drug with no medical value.

Another bill, introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), will allow banks and other financial institutions to provide services to medical marijuana businesses without being subject to “suspicious activity” reporting requirements.
The third bill, introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (D-CA), changes the federal tax code “to allow a deduction for expenses in connection with the trade or business of selling marijuana intended for patients for medical purposes pursuant to State law.”

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Photo: Étienne Fontan/Eye Times Photography
Steph Sherer, ASA: “We are urging passage of the Frank bill in order to take advantage of all points of leverage”
​ “All of these bills will have a positive effect on hundreds of thousands of Americans and only a negligible impact on the rest of the country,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA, a medical marijuana advocacy group. “This kind of policy shift is a no-brainer and should garner the bipartisan support of Congress.”
To shore up support for these and other local and state medical marijuana bills, ASA is launching a new advocacy program.
ASA is equipping patient advocates with new tools to lobby state, local and federal governments. The group on Wednesday unveiled a new program establishing a “Medical Cannabis Think Tank” to provide activists the support they need to analyze pending or proposed legislation and to lobby for the best laws possible.
To support the lobbying effort, ASA also unveiled its new “Online Training Center,” with more than four hours of educational streaming video and more than 400 pages of instruction manuals and worksheets.
ASA’s program also includes an improved “Raid Response Center” to better prepare for aggressive federal interference.
As part of the “Sick and Tired” campaign, ASA and others filed a writ Monday in the D.C. Circuit to compel the federal government to answer a nine-year-old petition to reclassify cannabis. The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) argued in the writ that the government has unreasonably delayed an answer to the petition in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration has the opportunity right now to address the needs of patients across the country by reclassifying cannabis,” Sherer said. “However, since Congress can also reclassify cannabis, we are urging passage of the Frank bill in order to take advantage of all points of leverage.”
If passed, the Frank will would not only recognize marijuana’s medical value, but also provide a medical necessity defense in federal court, a right not currently afforded to patients and caregivers who are in compliance with their local and state laws.
The Frank bill would also usher forth greater research into the therapeutic properties of cannabis and create incentives for the development of new cannabis-based medication.
Advocates hope the Polis bill, if passed, will end the current ban on banking services for medical marijuana businesses by financial institutions like Wells Fargo, CitiCorp and Bank of America.
The Stark bill has the potential to end dozens of medical marijuana dispensary audits by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) currently taking place, and settle once and for all whether the IRS can demand tax on gross or just net proceeds.
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