Posts Tagged ‘medical marijuana prohibition’

Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson: End The Drug War Now

Gary Johnson US flagFormer New Mexico governor and presidential hopeful Gary Johnson has a plan for cutting government spending.

The libertarian-minded Republican’s campaign released a Web ad Friday that declares the war on drugs is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Mr. Johnson has repeatedly called for the legalization of marijuana. Here’s the video:

Legalize Marijuana to Decrease Usage

Legalize it!by Jeremiah Vandermeer - Wednesday, August 3 2011

The latest stats show the number of Americans who use marijuana has gone up since last year. If the government really wanted to reduce marijuana use, they would legalize it.

The AFP reports:

SAMHSA also looked at Americans’ marijuana use and found that numbers using pot in the past month were up for the two years covered by the report: 6.4 percent of Americans aged 12 and older said they had used marijuana in the past month compared to six percent in 2007-2008.

In the 12- to 17-year age group, marijuana use fell, but seven percent of US teens still use cannabis, the report said.
The 10 states that saw the highest use of marijuana were Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Medical marijuana is legal in all of those states except for Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Perceptions of the dangers associated with marijuana use were lowest in the 10 states where the drug was used the most, according to the study.

Drug Warriors love to shout in booming voices that if we legalized marijuana, stoners would begin coming out of the woodwork and cause an epidemic of bong-rips and bloodshot eyes. Scientists completely disagree, and say that marijuana law reform does not lead to an increase in usage.

In fact, they say just the opposite. Evidence from countries like Portugal and the Netherlands shows that liberalizing drug laws actually leads to a decrease in usage. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Drug Warriors.

Don’t believe me? Listen to The Young Turks:

Marijuana Can’t Kill, But Marijuana Prohibition Certainly Can

Today’s New York Times City Blog features an article about a court settlement between New York City and Jamie Rutkowski. Who is Jamie Rutkowski? Until New York City police decided to arrest her for minor cannabis possession—in a city that is supposed to be issuing civil tickets— locking her up in police detention, creating a health hazard for the young woman with diabetes and ultimately paying her $125,000 in damages, no one knew who she was.

Now, all cannabis consumers in the United States—notably in municipalities and states that have reformed their cannabis laws with decriminalization laws and patient protections for medicinal use—should cite Ms. Rutkowski’s case settlement as precedent against overzealous law enforcement agencies who choose to physically arrest and detain minor cannabis offenders, rather than issue them a civil fine, similar to a speeding or parking ticket.

Kudos to Ms. Rutkowski and her attorney Joel Berger for 1) challenging the NYC police department’s infamous practice of arresting and detaining for many hours minor cannabis offenders and 2) for making it ironically clear that even an arrest on minor cannabis charges can create serious health concerns whereby an adult who chooses to consume a non-toxic and relatively safe recreational drug like cannabis (or, has the drug recommended to them to consume medically by their physician) can quite literally be placed into a life or death situation.

“They could have killed me over a joint,” Ms. Rutkowski said. “Something needs to be done.”

After thousands of years of human use, there is little-to-no scientific evidence that moderate cannabis use is harmful to the individual consumer or society in the whole. However, there is overwhelming and abundantly clear evidence that Cannabis Prohibition can be deadly for individual consumers, law enforcement personnel and those involved in the currently illegal and untaxed businesses of cultivating, transporting and selling cannabis.

Disgustingly, in a city that, since the late 1970s, is supposed to have true ‘decriminalization’ laws for cannabis possession cases, New York City continues to nearly lead the nation in per capita arrests for simple cannabis possession cases (approximately 43,000 cannabis possession arrests annually; constituting nearly five percent of all annual cannabis arrests nationwide) as well as having one of the most racially imbalanced arrest rates for minorities (approximately nine out of ten cannabis arrests in NYC are made against minorities).

After Diabetic Woman’s Arrest, a $125,000 Settlement

By ADRIANE QUINLAN

Her decision to smoke a marijuana cigarette outside a Manhattan bar where she was attending a bachelorette party landed Jaime Rutkowski in jail, threatened her life and lead to a lawsuit that on Monday yielded $125,000 from the city.

On Oct. 16, Ms. Rutkowski, who has diabetes, said she was thrown to the ground and arrested on charges of possession of marijuana outside a club on Ludlow Street on the Lower East Side.

Stress elevates her blood sugar levels and at the nearby police station house, the blood sugar meter she uses was confiscated. She relied on the meter to determine how much insulin to inject into her system from an insulin pump inserted in her stomach. An overdose could be life-threatening.

The police eventually called for an ambulance more than three hours after Ms. Rutkowski had been taken into custody. Emergency medical technicians found that her sugar level was almost four times the normal level, dangerous enough to take her to Bellevue Hospital Center.

Ms. Rutkowski and her lawyer, Joel Berger, filed a suit against the city and the officers involved in part because they hope it will alert the the Police Department to the needs of diabetic prisoners.

“The settlement is so high because a woman nearly died,” said Mr. Berger.

Mr. Berger also said Ms. Rutkowski’s crime was “trivial.” He added: “Almost any jury was not going to be exactly shocked by the nature of the offense. They’re not going to view this as the crime of the century.”

Ms. Rutkowski was charged with a class-B misdemeanor and received an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which means that she was not fined and that after one year her case will be dropped and sealed.

Elizabeth Thomas, a spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department, said, “We believe the settlement is in the best interest of all the parties.”

The Police Department’s aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws has led to an increase in arrests for possessing small amounts of the drug. While many of those arrests result in fines but no jail time, they do typically result in spending a night in jail.

“They could have killed me over a joint,” Ms. Rutkowski said. “Something needs to be done.”

Mr. Berger said the police did not have a specific protocol to deal with diabetic patients, something that he believes needs to be addressed. “Police officers need to understand that when they arrest a diabetic, there are potentially life-threatening effects,” he said.

Ms. Rutkowski said she would use money from the settlement to pay student loans and to further her education. A graduate of Temple, where she studied chemistry, she said she’s interested in pursuing a degree as a doctor of veterinary medicine. “I’m going to try and make something good out of a terrible situation,” she said.

Judges Snuffing Out Probationers’ Medical Marijuana

ADRIAN, Mich. —

Medical marijuana users who run afoul of the law are discovering probation is an antidote to their
certification cards.

An Adrian man was warned against applying for a medical marijuana card when he was placed on probation Thursday for a cocaine offense. Growing and using marijuana is still against federal law, said Lenawee County Circuit Judge Timothy P. Pickard. And the state medical use program does not seem to be restricting certification to the seriously ill.

“I don’t buy it,” Pickard said during the sentencing. “It seems to be an excuse for everybody to light up and smoke dope.”

Pickard, Lenawee County’s chief judge, said Friday the courts have no policy ruling out all use of medical marijuana for people on probation. But he has to be convinced there is a legitimate need, he said.

Regulations written by the state after a medical marijuana ballot proposal was passed by voters in 2008 do not require a prescription. Citizens can apply for certification cards with only a signed statement from a physician saying it may benefit their medical condition.

Probation terms can restrict otherwise legal behavior, Pickard said, such as drinking alcohol or associating with people having felony records. And it would be difficult to excuse violating federal law by growing and using marijuana while on probation.

Pickard said he will still consider approving medical marijuana use for probationers whose convictions are not drug-related and who can show evidence of a serious medical condition that can be treated with marijuana.

If those conditions are met, “I’m fine with it,” Pickard said. “That doesn’t seem to be the case. I haven’t seen that yet.”

A similar approach is being followed in district court, where offenders frequently are required to surrender medical marijuana cards as a condition of probation.

Chief probation officer Tony Gonzalez said district court has no written probation policy on medical marijuana. Judges review it on a case-by-case basis, he said.

“We’re taking a hard stance on it,” Gonzalez said. “If they’re just going out shopping for it, we tell them no.”

The Michigan Depart­ment of Corrections also has no written policy on how medical marijuana should be addressed for offenders placed on probation, said department spokesman Russ Marlan.

“We certainly would never make a recommendation that somebody do that,” Marlan said. But it is left to local judges to decide if medical marijuana is prohibited as a probation term.

There is a policy banning medical marijuana for offenders released from prison on parole, Marlan said. It is standard condition that parolees cannot use controlled substances or possess drug paraphernalia.

Department staff are also prohibited by policy from applying for medical marijuana cards and using medical marijuana, he said.

“There’s alternative forms of medical treatment,” he said.

Video: Director of the Drug Policy Alliance on Real Time With Bill Maher

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, discusses the failed war on drugs and marijuana legalization in this one-on-one interview with Bill Maher.

Overtime with Bill Maher

Bill Maher, Ann Coulter, Chaz Bono, Amanda Foreman, Christopher Hayes and Ethan Nadelmann take questions from the online audience.

http://www.hbo.com/video/video.html/?autoplay=true&vid=1192423&filter=real-time-with-bill-maher&view=null

Marijuana Prohibition Comic Strip

Legislation To End U.S. Marijuana Prohibition Coming Thursday

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Graphic: Drug Policy Alliance

​The first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition is coming on Thursday, June 23. Historic, bipartisan legislation which would end the United States’ war on marijuana — and allow states to legalize, tax regulate and control cannabis commerce without federal interference — will be introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

Co-sponsors of the bill include Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal.

Leading critics of the war on marijuana will explain the legislation’s significance for state and national marijuana policy at a national press teleconference on Thursday.
A group of police and judges who fought on the front lines of the failed War On Drugs is announcing its support for the legislation, which is called the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.
“Clearly the ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and nowhere is that more clear than with respect to marijuana,” said Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore narcotics cop and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “It baffles me that we arrest nearly 800,000 people on marijuana charges in this country each and every year at taxpayer expense when we could instead be taking in new tax revenue from legal and regulated marijuana sales.
“Making marijuana illegal hasn’t prevented anyone from using it, but it has created a huge funding source that funnels billions of dollars in tax-free profits to violent drug cartels and gangs,” Franklin said. “More and more cops now agree: Legalizing marijuana will improve public safety.”
jimmy carter flip.jpg
Photo: Jimmy Carter Library & Museum
Former President Jimmy Carter:
“Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay
for the war on drugs will help bring about a reform of America’s drug policies”
Last week marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaring war on marijuana and other drugs. In an op-ed in the New York Times last week, timed for the 40th anniversary, former President Jimmy Carter called for reforming marijuana laws.
The legislation also comes on the heels of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which released a report on June 2 calling for a major paradigm shift in how our society deals with drugs, including calling for legal regulation of marijuana. The report sent a jolt around the world, generating thousands of international media stories.
The Commission is comprised of international dignitaries including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group; and the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland. Representing the United States on the Commission are George P. Shultz, Paul Volcker and John Whitehead.
More than 46 percent of Californians voted last year to legalize marijuana in their state, and voters in Colorado, Washington and possibly other states are expected to vote on the issue next year. In the past year, five state legislatures have considered legalizing marijuana, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington state.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, but the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to arrest people under federal law, and U.S. Attorneys have in recent months sent threatening letters to state policymakers in an apparent attempt to meddle in state decision-making.
Rep. Frank’s legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
You can write to your Representatives by using this handy form; just enter your state and zip code, and mention that you support the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
What: Tele-Press Conference on the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011
When: Thursday, June 23, 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST
Call-In Info: 1-800-311-9404; Passcode: Marijuana
Who:
• Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.)
• Rob Kampia, executive director of Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
• Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
• Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
• Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
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