Posts Tagged ‘medicinal cannabis’

International Cannabis & Hemp Expo Coming To Oakland!

International Cannabis & Hemp Expo 3International Cannabis & Hemp Expo 3

CANNABIS EXPO INNOVATOR “TAKING IT TO THE STREETS”

OF OAKLAND PRESENTING LANDMARK EVENT

Saturday & Sunday, September 3rd and 4th

Oakland, Ca. – Cannabis activist and CEO of the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo (INTCHE) Kim Cue is proud to announce that the 2011 expo will be held out in the open on the streets of downtown Oakland on Saturday and Sunday, September 3rd and 4th from 12pm-8pm.  The area between 14th St., Clay St. and San Pablo Ave including Ogawa Park will be blocked off for this celebration of education, awareness, and advancement of the cannabis movement.  Located directly in front of City Hall will be the designated  “215 Area” for patients to medicate. INTCHE was the first event to have an approved onsite medicating area for patients, and it was the first to bring the cannabis community together with the hemp industry to educate the general public on the 2 related plants and their individual benefits to the populace.  Since the debut of the first INTCHE, many other producers have created events to try to capitalize on the emerging industry – but without a solid agenda of professionalism, education and advancement of the political movement for patients of medical cannabis.

The agenda for the 2-day event includes speaker’s panels debating current cannabis and hemp issues.  One of those will be a discussion of the upcoming 2012 initiative to put legalization on the ballot in California.  This topic holds significance because Colorado and Washington State have already put plans in motion to put it on the 2012 ballot as well.  Historically initiatives have a greater chance of passing in presidential election years and when they have 60% support going into the race.  Colorado is already at 80% approval.   Passage of legalization propositions in any or all of these states will force a showdown with the Feds over States’ rights.  The Gallup National Poll in October of 2010 showed 46% of Americans now would vote for full legalization, and that number continues to grow.

In addition to the panels there will be over 300 vendors with information about how to obtain a recommendation for medical use, new products, growing techniques, locations of dispensaries, etc.  There will be live entertainment and a complimentary hash bar in the 215 Area.  A variety of food and nonalcoholic beverages will be available at the event.  Surrounding restaurants and bars outside the event will be open for business.

Judges who have purchased the $300 VIP ticket will receive a SWAG Bag with over 320 samples the week prior to the event.  This will include 120 strains of cannabis, 40 hashes, 40 oils, 40 waxes, and a variety of edibles.  The VIP ticket includes 2 days all access, a catered buffet including an array of cannabis infused foods, live entertainment on a private stage in the tented VIP area, a celebrity meet and greet, vapor lounge, and 2 hash bars. A limited number of these tickets are being offered.  Over 50% of these have already been sold.   These tickets are only available at:  Angels Care in San Jose, Sonoma Patients Group in Santa Rosa, and 7 Stars in El Sobrante.  Judges will cast their ballot at the event and winners will be announced at 4:20pm on Sunday.

Up to date information and advance ticket sales are available at www.intcheevents.org.

Benefits And Uses Of Portable And Handheld Vaporizers

Portable Vaporizers have become a popular trend in recent years because it allows the user to enjoy flavorful vapor anytime – anyplace. About five years ago, the first Portable Vaporizers that were introduced into the market lacked the proper design to deliver vapor efficiently. They were too big, poorly constructed and built from low-quality materials. For these reasons, Portable Vaporizers initially received a bad reputation amongst vapor enthusiasts. However, that has all changed. Within the last few years, there have been numerous Portable Vaporizers that have made a strong impact on the Vaporizer industry. The Iolite, Vapir NO2, and Magic Flight Launch Box have all made a justified claim as the best Portable Vaporizer.

Probably the most popular of the bunch is the Iolite Portable Vaporizer. This very attractive Vaporizer is manufactured in Ireland by an excellent company called Ogelsby and Butler. The Iolite Vaporizer comes in a variety of colors including blue, red, yellow, white, black, lime green, orange, turquoise, pink and tie-dye (rainbow). It’s small enough to fit inside your pocket and very discreet. Instead of using batteries or flame, the Iolite Vaporizer utilizes butane as its heat source. It uses patented technology that allows the unit to create a catalytic reason between butane and oxygen with an exhaust system that expels the leftover butane. Simply fill the unit with a small amount of butane and you’re ready to start vaporizing within seconds. It holds up to 500 mg of butane gas which should last for approximately 15 minutes of vaporization time. The unit reaches a steady vaporization temperature of 374 F, which is perfect for vaporizing most types of herbs or aromatherapy blends. Each unit comes with a plethora of accessories including a carrying case, moisture condenser, wide cleaning utensil, seven dot herb chamber, hand tool, heater mesh screen, extendable mouthpiece and an instruction manual. This unit is perfect for anyone that is looking for an ultra-portable unit that is discreet and simple to operate.

vapir no2

La Crosse, Wisconsin Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance

Go to jail

By Martha Boehm

With a new City of La Crosse marijuana ordinance that takes effect July 24, people who are caught with seven grams of marijuana or less for the first time, could receive a ticket instead of being arrested.

“We think it sends a wrong message that it could soften attitudes about marijuana and we know when attitudes are softened, use increases,” said La Crosse Police Chief Ed Kondracki.

Chief Kondracki says juvenile arrests for marijuana use are up 50% this year. With the new ordinance, Kondracki says police officers will determine whether a ticket or arrest is appropriate on a case- to-case basis.

City council member Chris Olson, who introduced the ordinance, says getting a ticket gives people a change to change their ways.

“For a DUI, basically, they get a second chance and I think marijuana should be the same situation,” Olson said.

“I don’t think that it will change habits,” said City of La Crosse resident Jana Carter. “I think that it will kinda give the mentality that there’s more of a sense of a freedom to do it and that’s dangerous.”

But Charles Gittens says, “It’s the right thing to do because our courts are clogged up a little bit too much the way it is.”

Chief Kondracki says he just wants it to be clear that even with the new ordinance, marijuana is illegal not only in the city, but in the state.

“It is a dangerous drug and we have to be careful that we still engage in our prevention efforts,” Chief Kondracki said.

The chief says there is no set dollar amount to a ticket for possession of small amounts of marijuana yet. He says the city council will work with the municipal court judge to determine an appropriate fine.

Article From WEAU13 News

The Marijuana Tipping Point Is Here

news-2.jpeg
Graphic: NewsReview.com

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
The writer and social critic, Malcolm Gladwell, defines the ‘Tipping Point’ as the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point; the point at which the buildup of minor changes or incidents reaches a level that triggers a more significant change or makes someone do something they had formerly resisted.
Another way of saying it would be that point in time and space when everything changes and there’s no turning back.
Every day there are more encouraging headlines appearing in newspapers and on the Web from California to Maine supporting medical marijuana legislation suggesting the tide is turning.
Even when the cynics call medical marijuana a joke and claim the real goal of this smokescreen movement is legalization of pot, there are medi-jane supporters with valid and logical arguments to counter-balance any archaic rhetoric with which the anti-pot forces continue to misinform.

New Jersey passed one of the most restrictive medical marijuana rights and benefits program on the books so far. The state with a very conservative governor will soon have medical marijuana. Why? Because the people wanted it.
 It does seem like Time is marching on, but when is it gonna get there?
We’re zeroing in on something but when is the Tipping Point going to kick in fully regarding medical marijuana?
What possible signs do we need to see before we believe that it works?!
Here are some small recent events that may prove someday to have influenced the way we think, tipping the scales our way towards a bigger picture…
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Photo: KSL.com
Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff opposed medical marijuana — then he got cancer.
1) Okay, this guy never ever got high and he’s for Medical Marijuana!
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff approves of medical marijuana after battling cancer.
Shurtleff said he would support the legalization of medical marijuana after experiencing months of intensive cancer treatment.
Shurtleff said never used marijuana himself, but had talked to other patients who had traveled out-of-state to receive marijuana treatment.
Alyssa-Campanella-Miss-California-Crowned-2011-Miss-USA.jpeg
Photo: 99Post
Miss USA Alyssa Campanella:
“Medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically”

2) Not innocent enough. Okay, as they say, from the mouth of babes…
During the question-and-answer part of the competition, Miss California Alyssa Campanella was asked about her perspective on the medicinal cannabis.
“Well, I understand why that question would be asked, especially with today’s economy, but I also understand that medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically,” Alyssa said.
“I’m not sure if it should be legalized, if it would really affect, with the drug war,” she said. “I mean, it’s abused today, unfortunately, so that’s the only reason why I would kind of be a little bit against it, but medically it’s OK.”
She got Miss USA.
When’s the last time you had the crown on the line and you spoke the truth?
I actually can understand why someone could dismiss a beauty queen and a cancer patient as being not scientific enough. They’re just regular people.

miraclegro.jpg

​3) What about Big Business. They have scientists? They have economists? They understand the world…? Don’t they?
Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company has long sold weed killer. Now, it’s hoping to help people grow killer weed.
In an unlikely move for the head of a major company, Scott’s Chief Executive Jim Hagedorn said he is exploring targeting medical marijuana as well as other niches to help boost sales at his lawn and garden company.
“I want to target the pot market,” Mr. Hagedorn said in an interview.
“There’s no good reason we haven’t.”

barney paul1.jpg

​4) We’ve heard from the People, Big Business, and now from across the aisle comes…
Congressmen Ron Paul, Barney Frank and others will introduce legislature Thursday that aims to end a major part of the war on drugs — namely the battle against marijuana.
Reps. Paul (R-Texas) and Frank (D-Mass.), though technically on opposite sides of the aisle, have often spoken out against the war on drugs and will propose a bill “tomorrow ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference,” according to a statement from the Marijuana Policy Project via Reason.
The bill would allow the individual states to decide how they want to deal with pot.
The legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), is the first of its kind to be proposed in Congress that would end the 73-year-old federal marijuana prohibition that began with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
…….
These four events that just transpired in the last month couldn’t be more current, more ‘now.’ What is it going to take in order for that cosmic plate to tilt to our side? And stay that way!
Entrepreneurs and forward thinkers are testing the waters of the medical marijuana Industry with venture capitalists abroad throwing dollars into edible research think-tanks and other esoteric ganja-related enterprises.
Politicians and law enforcement from all walks and talks of life are coming forward, decrying that the time is now to lose the campaigns that have never worked and to embrace a new way of thinking. To challenge the uncommon wisdom and to end the wars on law abiding citizens who because they ingest a specific weed, they could have their lives ruin because we, as a nation and a society refuse to change.
Sixteen states support medical marijuana. Every poll taken shows public support for medical marijuana. GW Pharma (Weed) and Novartis (Ritalin, Excedrin) have become partners in Sativex (medical marijuana spray) licensing pact overseas and now, in America.
“My professional view of cannabis as a substance is that it appears to be a remarkably safe substance in comparison to most medicines prescribed today,” said Dr. Geoffrey Guy, chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals. “The more I learn about this plant the more fascinated I become. It has through its various constituents multiple effects of therapeutic interest, many of which are now being validated by the enormous growth in basic cannabinoid research.”
What is it about marijuana that makes us afraid to go forward and embrace a new safer tomorrow? Pharmaceutical giants are moving forward with patents and marketing. You would think that the data from research geeks would be refutable, they’re the same people who give us our aspirin, for gosh sakes.
The data’s coming in like a Haboob through Phoenix. Unstoppable. Marijuana has applications that can help certain people. That’s it. It can’t be changed.
Marijuana does some good. It’s proven.
You can’t go backwards with that. Only thing you can do is not open your eyes to what’s in front of them.
Why aren’t we coming together as a nation over this issue when people with perspectives as different as those of Miss USA to the Mormon Attorney General of Utah support medical marijuana?
When law enforcement officials and Ex-President Jimmy Carter come forward to say the War on Drugs not only doesn’t work, it’s unwinnable. A waste of money.
Speaking of money, when Wall Street, Main Street and Home Depot all say the time is right to build the future fields of dreams of medical marijuana that only Weed-Gro can protect. What more do we need to hear?
Do we need Nancy Reagan in her Chanel housecoat to come forward to say she was wrong? Would that be the final straw? Would that be our national Tipping Point? To have someone other than ourselves say it is okay for us to have this weed? Mommy, please say its okay because in 1937, someone said it was bad.
Right now President Obama has alienated the Ganja Nation with his reversal on leaving the medical marijuana community alone. More and more his obtrusive agenda is forcing the hand of medical marijuana to take a stand, one way or another in various localities. Howard Zinn said you can’t be neutral on a moving train.
Opinion is sliding to the side where the weed grows green and high. Mendocino County is aggressively constructing a platform that is workable for growers and law enforcement alike. Not perfect, but a start.
Growers are paying taxes in exchange for their right to grow medical marijuana. They pay just like anyone else.
The Tipping Point is already here. Embrace it.

Pot Drivers: Stoned Driving Is Uncharted Territory

Drug test

Officers look for signs of drug impairment. Without a standard in most states for the amount of pot allowable in a driver’s system, police administer a lengthy 12-point examination.
(Joe McHugh, CHP / July 3, 2011)

By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times

July 2, 2011, 3:46 p.m.

It was his green tongue that helped give away Jimmy Candido Flores when police arrived at the fatal accident scene near Chico.

Flores had run off the road and killed a jogger, Carrie Jean Holliman, a 56-year-old Chico elementary school teacher. California Highway Patrol officers thought he might be impaired and conducted a sobriety examination. Flores’ tongue had a green coat typical of heavy marijuana users and a later test showed he had pot, as well as other drugs, in his blood.

After pleading guilty to manslaughter, Flores, a medical marijuana user, was sentenced in February to 10 years and 8 months in prison.

Holliman’s death and others like it across the nation hint at what experts say is an unrecognized crisis: stoned drivers.

The most recent assessment by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, based on random roadside checks, found that 16.3% of all drivers nationwide at night were on various legal and illegal impairing drugs, half them high on marijuana.

In California alone, nearly 1,000 deaths and injuries each year are blamed directly on drugged drivers, according to CHP data, and law enforcement puts much of the blame on the rapid growth of medical marijuana use in the last decade. Fatalities in crashes where drugs were the primary cause and alcohol was not involved jumped 55% over the 10 years ending in 2009.

“Marijuana is a significant and important contributing factor in a growing number of fatal accidents,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy in the White House and former Seattle police chief. “There is no question, not only from the data but from what I have heard in my career as a law enforcement officer.”

As the medical marijuana movement has gained speed — one-third of the states now allow such sales — federal officials are pursuing scientific research into the impairing effects of the drug.

The issue is compounded by the lack of a national standard on the amount of the drug that drivers should be allowed to have in their blood. While 13 states have adopted zero-tolerance laws, 35 states including California have no formal standard, and instead rely on the judgment of police to determine impairment.

Even the most cautious approach of zero tolerance is fraught with complex medical issues about whether residual low levels of marijuana can impair a driver days after the drug is smoked. Marijuana advocates say some state and federal officials are trying to make it impossible for individuals to use marijuana and drive legally for days or weeks afterward.

Marijuana is not nearly as well understood as alcohol, which has been the subject of statistical and medical research for decades.

“A lot of effort has gone into the study of drugged driving and marijuana, because that is the most prevalent drug, but we are not nearly to the point where we are with alcohol,” said Jeffrey P. Michael, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s impaired-driving director. “We don’t know what level of marijuana impairs a driver.”

A $6-million study in Virginia Beach, Va., is attempting to remove any doubt that users of pot and other drugs are more likely to crash. Teams of federal researchers go to accident scenes and ask drivers to voluntarily provide samples of their blood. They later return to the same location, at the same time and on the same day of the week, asking two random motorists not involved in crashes for a blood sample.

The project aims to collect 7,500 blood samples to show whether drivers with specific blood levels of drugs are more likely to crash than those without the drugs, said John Lacey, a researcher at the nonprofit Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

In other projects, test subjects are being given marijuana to smoke and then examined under high-powered scanners or put in advanced driving simulators to gauge how it affects their brains and their ability to drive.

Federal scientists envision a day when police could quickly swab saliva from drivers’ mouths and determine whether they have an illegal level of marijuana, but that will require years of research. Until then, police are in the same position they were with drunk driving in the 1950s, basing arrests on their professional judgment of each driver’s behavior and vital signs.

If police suspect a driver is stoned, they now administer a lengthy 12-point examination. The driver must walk a straight line and stand on one leg, estimate the passage of 30 seconds and have pupils, blood pressure and pulse checked.

Chuck Hayes, national coordinator for the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police based in Washington, D.C., says the system works well to identify impaired drivers, and any future legal limit or medical test would be just another tool rather than a revolutionary change.

“We are not concerned about levels or limits. We are concerned with impairment,” Hayes said.

Indeed, even among law enforcement experts, the need for a standard is debated. Many support tried-and-true policing methods that can ferret out stoned drivers.

“Everybody wants a magic number, because that makes it easy,” said Sarah Kerrigan, a toxicologist at Sam Houston State University in Texas and an expert witness in numerous trials. “To have a law that says above a certain level you are impaired is not scientifically supportable. I don’t think police need the tool, but my opinion may be in the minority.”

But federal officials and local prosecutors argue that the lack of a standard makes convictions harder to obtain.

In October, a San Diego jury acquitted Terry Barraclough, a 60-year-old technical writer and medical marijuana user, on manslaughter charges in a fatal crash that occurred shortly after he had smoked marijuana.

A blood test showed he had high levels of active marijuana ingredients in his blood, but the jury heard conflicting expert testimony from toxicologists about the possible effects.

Martin Doyle, the deputy district attorney who prosecuted Barraclough, said the acquittal showed that the lack of a formal legal limit on marijuana intoxication makes such prosecutions tough.

“We don’t have a limit in California and that made my prosecution very difficult,” Doyle said. “We have a lapse in the law.”

But defense attorney Michael Cindrich said the failed prosecution shows that the San Diego district attorney was targeting medical marijuana users and that any legal limit would be unfair to the people who rely on the drug to treat their problems.

Indeed, Anthony Cardoza, an attorney who represented Flores in the Chico accident, said his client was not impaired and that allegations about his green tongue were ridiculous. Flores’ guilty plea was prompted by other legal issues, including a prior conviction for a drunk driving accident that caused an injury.

Marilyn Huestis, a toxicologist and one of the nation’s top experts on marijuana at the National Institute on Drug Abuse who is directing several research programs, said she believed there is no amount of marijuana that a person can consume and drive safely immediately afterward.

Supporters of marijuana legalization agree that the drug can impair a driver, but argue that the effects wear off in a few hours. Huestis, however, said research was showing that the effects of marijuana can linger.

Marijuana’s main ingredient — delta-9 THC — stays in the blood for an hour or more and then breaks down into metabolites that are both psychoactive and inert. But the impairing effects can linger, even after the THC is no longer in the blood, Huestis said. Because it can be absorbed into body tissue and slowly released for days, Huestis believes that heavy chronic daily users may be impaired in ways that are not yet understood.

A complicating factor is the tendency of many marijuana users to also use alcohol, which can sharply amplify impairment. Very little research has been conducted to determine whether it is possible to set limits on a combination of such substances.

Paul Armentano, deputy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said some states had laws that can punish users even when they are not high, pointing to a tough Arizona statute that allows conviction for impaired driving when an inert metabolite is detected in the blood.

Arizona officials said they wrote the law because there was no scientific agreement on how long marijuana impairs a driver. But proponents see something more sinister: an effort to put marijuana users in constant legal jeopardy.

“We are not setting a standard based on impairment, but one similar to saying that if you have one sip of alcohol you are too drunk to drive for the next week,” Armentano said.

ralph.vartabedian@latimes.com

You can read more on this article here: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-pot-drivers-20110703,0,3288424.story?page=2&utm_medium=feed&track=rss&utm_campaign=Feed%3A%20MostEmailed%20%28L.A.%20Times%20-%20Most%20E-mailed%20Stories%29&utm_source=feedburner

Fight Anti Medical Marijuana Legislation in California

Marijuana & Fist

TODAY we need your help to fight two alarming bills before the California state legislature that jeopardize collectives and dispensaries from being able to stay open and operate. These bills, SB847 and AB1300 affect all of California’s cities and counties, further restricting zoning and allowing those cities and counties to ban safe access entirely.  The votes on these bills are coming up quick. Time is of the essence and we need your help TODAY!

Right now we are asking that you call one or more of the Assembly members on the list below and utilizing the script below ask them to support an amendment to SB 847 that would exclude small collectives from the requirements of this bill.

We also ask that you email this information to your contact lists, social media accounts and reach out to other patients and caregivers – We ALL need to contact our Assembly Members today. Using the script below, call one or more Assembly members from the list below. When your call is answered, simply read the script (feel free to embellish it in any you wish) and thank them for providing your information to the Assembly member. Then call another assembly member on the list until you have called as many as you can.

Will you contact your Assembly members on this bill TODAY?

Thank you again so much for your time. If you have any questions you can contact Lanny at 760-799-2055 for more information. Please help pass this information along!

Here’s the script:

Hello, My name is ____________________ and I am calling ____(name of Assembly member)________ about SB 847 that will make illegal the small collectives patients form to cultivate at someone’s home. This will force patients to obtain their medicinal marijuana from illegal sources. Would you please ask ________(name of assemblymember)________ to add and support an amendment to SB 847 saying that this bill does not apply to small collectives with 10 or fewer members. Thank you.

Assembly members to call:

Cameron Smyth – Chair

Rep-38 (Santa Clarita)

(916) 319-2038

Assemblymember.Smyth@assembly.ca.gov

Luis A. Alejo – Vice Chair

Dem-28 (Salinas)

(916) 319-2028

Assemblymember.Alejo@assembly.ca.gov

Steven Bradford

Dem-51 (Inglewood)

(916) 319-2051

Assemblymember.Bradford@assembly.ca.gov

Nora Campos

Dem-23 (San Jose)

(916) 319-2023

Assemblymember.Campos@assembly.ca.gov

Mike Davis

Dem-48 (East LA)

(916) 319-2048

Assemblymember.Davis@assembly.ca.gov

Richard S. Gordon

Dem-21 (Los Altos)

(916) 319-2021

Assemblymember.Gordon@assembly.ca.gov

Ben Hueso

Dem-79 (Chula Vista)

(916) 319-2079

Assemblymember.Hueso@assembly.ca.gov

– Courtney Sheats
Community Liaison, Sacramento

Americans for Safe Access
Courtney@SafeAccessNow.org

C: (916) 588.8672
O: (510) 251.1856 x322

http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org

Medical Marijuana Industry Should Have Same Rules As Other Businesses

Weed and Cash
Don’t Undermine the Medical Marijuana Industry

It’s hard for legal dispensaries to get bank loans, and they can’t deduct expenses from their taxes. Let’s back legislation to fix that

By Scott Shane

Consider two small business owners: One sells a product that medical researchers have shown is a major cause of health problems, from cancer to heart disease. The other provides a medical treatment that doctors prescribe for glaucoma, pain, and the side effects of chemotherapy. Which owner can borrow from a bank and deduct expenses on income tax returns? The answer is the first, who sells cigarettes; the second, who sells medical marijuana, cannot. (To be clear, dispensary owners aren’t prohibited from applying for bank credit. The trouble is anti-money laundering statutes intended to stop illegal drug dealers make banks reluctant to do business with legal dealers.)

In late May, two Democratic congressmen, Jared Polis of Colorado and Pete Stark of California, introduced bills to remedy the federal government’s bias against the owners of medical marijuana dispensaries. Representative Polis’s bill would permit medical marijuana sellers to borrow money from banks, while Congressman Stark’s bill would allow them to deduct business expenses from their taxes. Passage of these bills makes sense for four reasons.

The first is fairness. No small business owners should be denied access to financing or be subject to unfair tax rules simply because they run a business that some in government don’t like. The government should create a level playing field for all business owners. As Polis explained when introducing his bill, “It is simply wrong for the federal government to intrude and threaten banks that are involved in legal transactions.” Using a law designed to root out illegal drug dealers, terrorists, fraudsters, and money launderers as a back-door way to make life difficult for the operators of medical marijuana dispensaries is simply unfair. If Congress doesn’t like state medical marijuana laws, it needs to challenge the legality of these laws directly rather than stack the rules against them.

FAVORING TOBACCO OVER MARIJUANA

But fairness isn’t the only reason I support these bills. I also find it perverse that the government favors the tobacco business over the medical marijuana industry when the former is responsible for several costly medical problems and the latter provides a medically prescribed treatment. Not only does the government’s approach makes it difficult for people who need physician-prescribed marijuana to get the treatments they need, imposing pain and hardship, but the approach is also backwards. The government supports the sale of cigarettes, which cause cancer, but discourages the sale of medical marijuana, which is used to manage the side effects of the chemotherapy that these cancer patients must endure. As for healthy individuals who abuse the system to get high, isn’t that why we spend large sums of money to stop the illegal drug trade?

By blocking the growth of the medical marijuana industry, federal policy makers are missing a golden opportunity to encourage entrepreneurship. Government officials often speak of finding new, high-growth industries, which are rare. Consultancy See Change Strategy in Olney, Md., forecasts that medical marijuana, currently a $2 billion industry, will reach nearly $9 billion in five years. That’s about the same size as the dry cleaning and laundry service industry.

Finally, by opposing the medical marijuana industry, the federal government is missing the chance to cut government expenditures and raise taxes in one of the few areas where such actions would face little opposition by business owners. Unlike virtually every other industry, where higher taxes are vehemently opposed, the medical marijuana industry welcomes higher taxes. In Oakland, for example, the industry drove the effort to impose a 1.8 percent tax on gross sales from medical marijuana sellers.

The potential economic gains from the legalization of marijuana are far from trivial. A 2005 study by Jeffrey Miron, then a visiting economics professor at Harvard, found that government spending could be cut by $7.7 billion and tax revenue increased by $6.2 billion if marijuana sales were legal and taxed at the same rate as alcohol and tobacco. A $14 billion improvement in the government budget isn’t something to ignore, especially in the current environment of paralysis over how to reduce high deficits.

Allowing owners of medical marijuana dispensaries to borrow money and deduct their business expenses from their taxes seems like a way to make policy fairer, encourage a high-growth industry, and reduce government expenditures and raise tax revenues without much opposition. Those seem to me like the kinds of objectives our elected officials should be striving for when introducing bills into Congress.

Scott Shane is the A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University.

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