Posts Tagged ‘washington dc’

Tobacco Company Sues Over Rolling Papers Ban in D.C.

KY Tobacco Company Sues Over Rolling Papers Ban in D.C.

What’s good homies, this story is coming from my favorite, and maybe your favorite maker of rolling papers. The company that produces Zig Zag rolling papers are sueing D.C. over they’re unconstitutional ban over rolling papers in D.C. Full story here.

Now, they aren’t exactly fighting for our right to party. Although most of the consumers that purchase rolling papers only use them to smoke weed (which is why they are banned) The National Tobacco Company is fighting for just what they stand for, tobacco. They say that this ban has caused “direct injury” to the company.

When the city’s lawmakers passed this ban, which wasn’t enforced, they said the only purpose of these products where for illegal drug use. Lawmakers said they were concerned teens were using these to smoke marijuana. Damn straight they are.

Since National Tobacco only wants papers to be legal so people can smoke tobacco and get cancer, it’s hard to root for them to be victorious. But just because many companies are motivated by greed doesn’t make D.C.’s paper ban right.

“Since National Tobacco only wants papers to be legal so people can smoke tobacco and get cancer, it’s hard to root for them to be victorious. But just because many companies are motivated by greed doesn’t make D.C.’s paper ban right.”

To be honest with you all, I believe it is total bullshit that they “attempted” to ban papers in that area. Even further I think its stupid that other cities are following this. Hopefully soon this ban can be lifted, amongst other laws, and we can all puff in peace. Until then, stay up greenies.

No One is Outside of Federal Marijuana Laws, U.S. Says

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette / 2010 photo by WILLIAM ARCHIE/Detroit Free Press

Large-scale pot operators must be stopped, and even smaller-scale users and distributors are not shielded from prosecution, the U.S. says.

Large-scale pot operators must be stopped, and even smaller-scale users and distributors are not shielded from prosecution, the U.S. says. / 2010 photo by WILLIAM ARCHIE/Detroit Free Press

A memo from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington says state laws allowing medical marijuana opened the door to abuses and calls for legally targeting “large-scale, privately operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers” as well as distribution operations known as dispensaries.

The memo — which arrived June 29 in the e-mail inboxes of U.S. attorneys nationwide, including the Detroit office — says that no patient or other user is shielded from federal prosecution by state laws. The memo comes after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette unleashed a salvo last week, saying there was widespread lawbreaking linked to medical marijuana in Michigan.

The federal memo has medical marijuana advocates feeling betrayed by the Obama administration, which had been linked with hopes for leniency in the war on drugs.

“The $64,000 question is, are the U.S. district attorneys in offices across the country really going to go after these dispensaries and grow operations? We’ll have to see,” said Art Cotter, chairman of the medical marijuana committee for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

On Thursday, about two dozen operators of compassion centers — where patients use the drug — met near Flint to discuss the new threats to access.

“We now we have a double threat because of this (federal memo) and our own attorney general,” Rick Thompson, editor of Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said from the meeting.

U.S. pushes for strict pot law enforcement

Just when medical marijuana users are protesting plans for tighter restrictions on the drug in Michigan, a memo from federal authorities in Washington is asking for tougher enforcement.

The memo, sent from the U.S. Department of Justice to U.S. attorneys and being circulated this week among Michigan’s county prosecutors and sheriffs, is exactly what many in Michigan law enforcement said they were waiting for — a green light to stamp out what they say is proliferating drug abuse and lawbreaking under the cover of medical marijuana.

According to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the memo shows that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act — passed by 63% of voters in 2008 — is entirely pre-empted by federal drug law.

“We are making that case as we defend Livonia’s commonsense zoning ordinance in court,” Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout said.

The Livonia ordinance amounts to a total ban on medical marijuana cultivation and use in the city, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union have said in the case.

Defense attorneys, operators of medical marijuana facilities, such as compassion clubs, and medical marijuana users decried the memo as a step backward.

“This is an attack on the patient community,” said Kristen Ford, field director for the nonprofit Americans for Safe Access, based in Washington, D.C.

Rick Thompson, editor of the Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said Thursday: “All of us are more concerned now with federal intrusion.”

State law no shield

The Justice Department memo says, without naming specific states, that “planned facilities have revenue projections of millions of dollars, based on the cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants.”

Such large-scale operators must be stopped, and even smaller-scale users and distributors are not shielded from federal prosecution, “even where those activities purport to comply with state law,” says the memo signed by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Some say the memo makes clear that the Obama administration, contrary to the sense of a 2009 memo, opposes giving leniency to medical marijuana users.

“There was this feeling that the local police and prosecutors were on their own” for enforcing drug laws against people claiming a medical need for pot, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said Thursday.

“Now, I think we’re all going to see that the abuses have to stop at all levels. When this law passed in Michigan, every person who voted for it had good intentions. But what we’ve seen is that for every one person who uses medical marijuana responsibly, someone else is abusing it and profiting from it,” Smith said.

Federal authorities are not changing their policy but instead are trying to correct a misreading of their stance, Berrien County Prosecutor Art Cotter said. Law enforcers and marijuana users alike misinterpreted an October 2009 memo from the Justice Department that “seemed to suggest, ‘Don’t go after medical marijuana patients,’ ” Cotter said. He chairs the medical marijuana committee for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.

“People read into that the idea that, as long as something complied with state law, the feds would not get involved. Now, this new memo is saying, no, dispensaries and large grow operations are not immune from our prosecution,” he said.

Federal prosecutors sued the Michigan Department of Community Health last year to obtain records of seven patients who are part of a criminal drug investigation. The government won its demand in early June, in spite of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act’s promise of confidentiality to anyone who receives state approval. Last week, a Traverse City attorney representing the Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs asked for a stay in the case until an appeal can be heard.

Focus not on patients

Although precise statistics were unavailable this week, it appears that federal authorities have continued to prosecute alleged violations of federal marijuana laws on a regular basis since passage of the state’s medical marijuana law.

Some of the cases have been brought against growers who initially claimed to be operating in accordance with the state statute. But federal law enforcement officials said such a defense is irrelevant in a federal prosecution.

“We’re going to enforce federal law,” Rich Isaacson, a special agent in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Detroit office, said Thursday. Nevertheless, the focus of federal law enforcement is on “large-scale growers,” not on medicinal users and caregivers operating within state law, Isaacson said.

In one federal prosecution begun in December, a pair of Ingham County men were each charged with the manufacture of more than 100 marijuana plants, a federal felony punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million. Both pleaded guilty in May in an agreement with prosecutors expected to minimize potential prison time.

The agreement makes no mention of medical marijuana.

Contact Bill Laitner: 586-826-7264 or blaitner@freepress.com

Administration Medical Marijuana Memo Causes Dismay, Anger

The medical marijuana movement is reeling after the Obama Justice Department released a memo last week declaring that it might prosecute large-scale medical marijuana cultivation operations and dispensaries even in states where they are operating in compliance with state laws. Advocates reacted with dismay and disappointment, even as they plotted strategies about what to do next.

President Obama is losing friends in the medical marijuana community. (image from whitehouse.gov)
The memo, written by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole, “clarifies” the October 2009 memo from then-Deputy Attorney General David Ogden that told federal prosecutors not to focus their resources on patients and providers in compliance with state laws. The earlier memo gave some substance to President Obama’s campaign promise not to persecute medical marijuana patients and providers in states where it is legal.

But after the 2009 memo, federal officials watched aghast as a veritable medical marijuana cultivation and dispensary boom took off in places such as Colorado and Montana, where dispensaries went from near zero to hundreds of operations, and as localities in California began considering huge commercial grows. The Justice Department responded with increased federal raids — now at twice the rate of the Bush administration, according to Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s largest medical marijuana advocacy organization — and earlier this year, sent threatening letters from US Attorneys to governors and legislators in states considering or implementing medical marijuana distribution programs.

Those letters “are entirely consistent with the October 2009 memorandum,” Cole argued in last week’s memo. “The Department of Justice is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all states. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels,” Cole continued.

Noting that “some of these jurisdictions have considered approving the cultivation of large quantities of marijuana, or broadening the regulation and taxation of the substance,” Cole reiterated the Ogden memo’s message that “it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers.”

He then took care to narrowly define the term “caregiver,” which is commonly applied to people growing medical marijuana for authorized patients. “The term ‘caregiver’ as used in the memorandum meant just that: individuals providing care to individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses, not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana.”

Cole then went on to write that it is not the Obama administration’s position that has changed, but facts on the ground. “There has, however, been an increase in the scope of commercial cultivation, sale, distribution and use of marijuana for purported medical purposes. For example, within the past 12 months, several jurisdictions have considered or enacted legislation to authorize multiple large-scale, privately-operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers. Some of these planned facilities have revenue projections of millions of dollars based on the planned cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants,” he wrote.

The 2009 memo “was never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law,” Cole continued. “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law… Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financial laws.”

It didn’t take long for the medical marijuana and drug reform movements to fire back. While some took small solace in the fact that patients are still protected from federal persecution, the dominant reaction was dismay and disgust.

Dispensaries operators might want to get rid of the neon signage and get on the down low. (image via wikimedia.org)

“It is disingenuous of the Obama Administration to say it is not attacking patients while obstructing the implementation of local and state medical marijuana laws,” said ASA executive director Steph Sherer. “The president is using intimidation tactics to stop elected officials from serving their constituents, thereby pushing patients into the illicit market.”

“Well, this is disappointing,” said Dale Gieringer, long-time head of California NORML. “It certainly conflicts with Obama’s original implication that he would let the states take care of medical marijuana. Now, it’s the same as Bush’s policy. Even before this memo came out, people have been saying for a long time that with a raid here and a raid there, it seemed like no real change in federal policy, and now — bingo — it’s confirmed.”

The Cole memo “raises more questions than it answers,” said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “The department’s 2009 Ogden memorandum established guidance that federal resources should not be employed to target medical marijuana patients and providers who are in ‘clear and unambiguous compliance’ with state-based medical marijuana laws. Last week’s so-called clarification is in fact open to many interpretations and falls far short of the explanation of policy that state lawmakers, members of Congress and advocates sought.”

While the Cole memo clearly states that large-scale commercial grows are now targeted, even if they are in compliance with state laws, Piper noted, it “does not provide guidance on what the federal government considers to be the line between small and large-scale production.”

Piper pointed out that regardless of federal policy, states can still legalize marijuana for medicinal use. He also called out politicians who hide behind fears of the feds to stall or thwart medical marijuana programs and scoffed at the notion that state employees could be prosecuted for setting up registries or collecting medical marijuana taxes.

“State officials who await blanket federal endorsement of medical marijuana or blame the federal government for their own failure to act are compromising the health and well being of their citizens while failing to implement in good faith the laws of their state,” he said. “With regard to concerns about prosecution of state employees, which some state policymakers have expressed, the federal government has never sought to prosecute any state employee for licensing or otherwise regulating medical marijuana providers. In fact, we know of no instance in recent times in which state officials were personally prosecuted for implementing any state law. It is something that is just not done.”

For Gieringer and other medical marijuana advocates, the Obama administration’s behavior on the issue has dried up any reservoirs of good will generated by his campaign promise and the Ogden memo. Now, the administration is in the movement’s cross hairs.

“They want to put a stop to any large scale distribution of medical marijuana, but all they’re doing is prolonging the conflict between federal law and reality,” Gieringer said. “We have to put pressure on Obama. He’s up for reelection; he owes us an explanation of his waffling on this issue, and certainly his failure to address rescheduling. The reform movement needs to press him on this and inject it into the campaign. Why has he ignored all the studies, why has he ignored the rescheduling petition, why does he persist in sending people to prison for medical marijuana crimes? If we can put him on the defensive during the campaign, we might get a concession.”

“The Obama Administration missed a huge opportunity to ease the state/federal conflict over medical marijuana and pave the way for responsible regulation in 16 states and the District of Columbia, home to 90 million Americans,” agreed Piper. “By issuing vague guidance, the Obama Administration is sowing confusion and doing voters, state policymakers, and medical marijuana patients a disservice. The administration needs to be clear in its support of responsible state and local regulations designed to make marijuana legally available to patients while enhancing public safety and health. If the federal government is unable to provide leadership in this area, then the very least it can do is get out of the way and allow citizens to determine the policies that best serve local interests.”

But the administration has given no indication it is likely to do that. Relations between the medical marijuana movement and the Obama administration are starting to feel like the Cold War.

Washington, DC

United States
- stopthedrugwar.org

Medical Marijuana Program Goes Forward In D.C.; Feds Watching

medical_marijuana.jpeg
Photo: Medicinal DC

​The District of Columbia passed its first milestone in selecting who gets the much-coveted licenses for the city’s medical marijuana program, even as the federal government is taking a second look at its hands-off approach to those who legally grow and sell cannabis under laws allowing its medicinal use.

More than 80 individuals or businesses applied to cultivate or sell medical marijuana through letters of intent submitted to the Department of Health, reports Tom Howell Jr. at The Washington Times. The applicants range from entrepreneurial lawyers and gardeners in D.C., to medical marijuana professionals based in states like Colorado and Montana.

The city is expected to soon kick off its long-awaited program — put on hold by Congress 11 years ago — in earnest, joining 16 states in legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana for qualified patients.
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Photo: The Georgetowner
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has approved final regulations for medical marijuana in the District of Columbia.
Democratic Mayor Vincent S. Gray and other D.C. officials were particularly worried about federal interference in their medical marijuana plans, because the District’s laws are subject to Congressional approval and marijuana is still illegal for any purpose under federal law.
A 2009 memo, issued by U.S. Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, reminded federal prosecutors that “no state can authorize violations of federal law” while at the same time advising U.S. Attorneys not to target patients and caregivers acting in compliance “with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.”
Federal prosecutors for the first two years of the Obama Administration mostly looked the other way in states that had legalized medical marijuana, but a letter from the Department of Justice to U.S. Attorneys across the country last week seemed to signal that law enforcement still plans to go after those who cultivate or sell cannabis, according to a D.C. government source.
The U.S. Attorney for D.C. has not issued any such threatening letters so far, and is “studying the issue to see what input we can provide on the subject,” said Bill Miller, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Ron Machen.
A Congressional rider known as the Barr Amendment had banned D.C. from implementing a medical marijuana program since 1998, when an overwhelming 69 percent of District voters approved legalizing medicinal cannabis there.
The Barr Amendment was finally lifted in 2009, clearing the way for medical marijuana in D.C.
The mayor issued rules in April requiring persons who want to cultivate or sell medical marijuana in the District to send notification by June 17 to the Health Regulation and Licensing Administration, a branch of the city’s health department, ahead of a more formal application.
A host of applicants is vying for the permits for 10 cultivation centers and five dispensaries.
A Freedom Of Information Act request response showed 82 separate applicants for the program, many of them asking for permits to both grow and sell marijuana.
A majority of them — 47 — listed mailing addresses in D.C. in their letters to the health department. Other applicants were from Maryland (18), Virginia (7), New York (3), New Jersey (2), and one each from California, Colorado and Montana.
A few of the out-of-state applicants boasted experience in medical marijuana in states where it is already legal. The health department could not be reached for comment on whether experienced growers and sellers from medical marijuana states would gain preference over applicants originating in D.C.
A panel of five members — one each from the Department of Health, Metropolitan Police Department, Office of the Attorney General, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, and a consumer or patient advocate — will score each of the eventual applications based on a 250-point scale examining criteria such as security and staffing at facilities, overall business plans and the opinions of local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
Beyond community approval, marijuana cultivation centers will be tightly regulated on size, a strict 95-plant limit, staffing, lighting and buffer zones between growing centers and schools.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old and may not have been convicted of any felonies or misdemeanor drug crimes.

How To: Get A Medical Marijuana Card In Washington D.C.

marijuana

Amendment Act B18-622 was approved in a unanimous vote by the Council of the District of Columbia on May 4,2010; the act, which went into effect on July 27, 2010, removed state-level criminal penalties on the use and possession of medical marijuana by qualifying patients. Eligible patients are required to register with the medical marijuana program to obtain a medical marijuana card. The DC law prohibits home cultivation of cannabis and patients are required to obtain their supplies from DC-monitored dispensaries.

However, there has to date been little progress in the establishment of a medical marijuana program in the District of Columbia and it is unlikely that medical marijuana will be available to eligible patients before 2012. We will, of course, keep you updated.

In the meantime, we summarise the important points below.

Washington DC Medical Marijuana – Eligible medical conditions

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Chronic renal failure

Any other condition, as determined by rulemaking, that is:

  • Chronic or long-lasting
  • Debilitating
  • Interferes with basic functions of life
  • Is a serious medical condition for which the use of medical marijuana is beneficial
  • Cannot be effectively treated by any ordinary medical or surgical measure
  • For which there is scientific evidence that the use of medical marijuana is likely to be significantly less addictive than the ordinary medical treatment for that condition

You may also qualify as a medical marijuana patient if you undergo any of the following treatments:

  • Chemotherapy
  • The use of azidothymidine or protease inhibitors
  • Radiotherapy
  • Any other treatment, as determined by rulemaking, whose side effects require treatment through the administration of medical marijuana in the same manner as a qualifying medical condition

Washington DC Medical Marijuana – How to Become a Medical Marijuana Patient (Eventually)

  • To qualify as a medical marijuana patient in Washington DC, you must:
  • Be a resident of Washington DC
  • Have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, or
  • Be currently undergoing a qualifying medical treatment
  • Obtain legitimate medical records or documentation from your primary care physician describing their diagnosis
  • Obtain an authenticated written documentation from a Washington DC licensed physician stating that you might benefit from the use of medical marijuana
  • Must have a bona fide relationship with the physician
  • Register with the Washington DC medical marijuana program
  • Obtain a Medical Marijuana card

Washington DC Medical Marijuana – Access to Marijuana and Allowed Amounts

When the program is finally up and running and you have obtained your card you will be required to purchase your cannabis from a District of Columbia registered dispensary. You will be allowed to possess up to two ounces of dried medical grade marijuana.

Goodman Runs For Congress On Cannabis Legalization Platform

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Photo: KOMO News
Congressional candidate Roger Goodman, left,
advocates the legalization of marijuana and protecting the planet.

​What if we could elect a real, live drug policy reformerto Congress? A candidate who has that background — and unabashedly advocates the legalization of cannabis nationwide — is running for the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington state, and he has an excellent chance to win.

Washington state Rep. Roger Goodman had in February initially announced he would run in the 8th District against Rep. Dave Reichert, a right-wing Republican, but now that Rep. Jay Inslee is vacating his seat in the House to run for Governor, Goodman will be running for that open seat in the reliably liberal 1st District where he lives, the candidate told Toke of the Town in an exclusive interview Friday afternoon.
“My number one priority is planetary health,” Goodman told me. “We need to pay attention to that, and we need to foster justice in our society.
“Cannabis policy reform is actually a part of both of those major issues, and my training as a lawyer, an environmentalist, a former Congressional chief of staff, a state agency director, and now as a legislator and reformer for years, qualifies me not just on cannabis reform but on qualify of life issues and on true progressive leadership,” he said.

“Drug policy so strategically connects to other policies, and people don’t realize it,” Goodman said. “Safe streets, good education, reasonable taxes…
Roger Goodman forest flip.jpg
Photo: Roger Goodman For Congress
Roger Goodman: “We need to pay attention to planetary health”

“Nationwide, about 7 or 8 billion dollars is spent just on marijuana enforcement,” he told me. “That money could certainly be better used. But I don’t stress the savings; I’m really more concerned about public safety, children and families.
“Our marijuana policies allow illegal markets to deliver an unregulated product, and that’s just not safe, for patients or for anyone else who might want to use it,” Goodman said. “My primary concern is public safety, health care, and wellness.
“And yes, let’s make some money from this,” Goodman said. “Let’s tax it and use some of that money for health care.”
Roger’s Got A Killer Resumé
Rep. Goodman isn’t just frontin’ when he talks about drug policy reform. The man served as the executive director of the Washington State Sentencing Guidelines Commission in the late 1990s and was elected to the National Association of Sentencing Commissions. While with the state commission, he published reports on prison capacity and sentencing policy, helped increased the availability of drug treatment in prisons, and guided 14 other sentencing-related bills through the Washington Legislature.

Reformer Roger Goodman shows his stash.jpeg
Photo: Pete Kuhns/Seattle Weekly
Rep. Roger Goodman shows off a stash of his drug of choice: chocolate.

“In Washington state, we put about 8,000 people in cages every year who either should just be left alone, or should be receiving mental health or substance abuse treatment,” Goodman said. “We have a lot of progress that needs to be made.”
Goodman is very acquainted with our drug policies, and the fact that they need fixing. He next led the King County Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project, which coordinated a groundbreaking initiative to critically look at drug laws and promote cheaper, more effective, and more humane policies. In doing so, Goodman helped create a coalition of more than 20 professional and civic organizations that has spurred the Legislature to reduce sentences for drug offenders and shift funding away from incarceration and into drug treatment.
Medical Marijuana In Crisis
A state representative since 2008, Goodman cosponsored a marijuana legalization bill in the just-completed session of the Legislature, and also supported a bill which would have explicitly legalized dispensaries in Washington state. That bill, SB 5073, passed both houses of the Legislature, but in a stunning failure of leadership, hen-hearted Gov. Christine Gregoire used her line-item veto to eviscerate the measure.

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Photo: The Stranger
Rep. Roger Goodman:
“We’ve driven patients back to the streets.
Do we want the drug dealer model, or do we want the safe access point model?”
​”Our medical marijuana program is in crisis right now,” Goodman told Toke of the Town. “It’s worse than it was before the Governor partially vetoed the bill. What was left over made it worse.”
“We’ve now driven patients back to the streets,” Goodman said. “Do we want the drug dealer model, or do we want the safe access point model?
“There’s a lot of politics going on behind the scenes, and extraneous political interests,” Goodman acknowledged. “It’s not a pure thing.”
Calling state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, sponsor of SB 5073, “the undisputed champion on this issue,” Goodman said safe access for medical marijuana patients “a very important thing we have to get done.”
“I do fear that patients will have problems getting access safely, because dispensaries as we now understand them will be actually prohibited, and the limit of one provider to one patient and the 15-day waiting period are going to hamper access,” he said.
At the same time, Goodman is holding out hope that patients in the Seattle area, at least, can preserve some sort of safe access. “King County is going to look at various zoning ordinances that came out of this bill,” he told me.
Goodman is backing a new bill, HB 2118, which he says is “from the patient’s perspective.” According to the legislator, it allows for dispensaries to get business licenses and allows localities to zone to specifically allow for the shops.
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Graphic: Roger Goodman For Congress
“It’s a starting point,” he told me, “but it’s what the patients would like. There’s no registry, and there’s no need for a registry. If you have the authentic documentation, that’s all you need.
“This is about health care, not crime,” Goodman said. “I actually have a very good relationship with law enforcement. I legislated against domestic violence and helped get drunk drivers off the road.”
Speaking of impaired driving, Roger Goodman is one of the few politicians I have ever heard admit he was wrong. He incurred the wrath of many marijuana activists when he sponsored a DUI marijuana bill in the Legislature; his bill would have set a THC blood limit of 8 ng/ml as the definition of being impaired by cannabis.
But after hearing from a lot of constituents and checking out the available information, Goodman realized there are no definitive answers showing that 8 ng/ml or any other particular cut-off level for blood THC is necessarily indicative of impairment.
“When I learned there was no good science on the subject, I actually withdrew that proposal, and I helped Colorado defeat that same marijuana DUI proposal,” Goodman told me.
‘Some Concerns’ With New Approach Washington
Which brings us to New Approach Washington, a legalization initiative announced just this week which is backed by some major names including former U.S. Attorney John McKay, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and travel writer Rick Steves.
The language of that measure specifies the low limit of 5 ng/ml as the cutoff point for defining cannabis impairment while driving. That level would effectively outlaw any driving, ever, for many medical marijuana patients who must use large amounts of cannabis every day, because they’d show up over the limit even when completely unimpaired.

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Photo: Roger Goodman For Congress

Another big concern for marijuana activists in the New Approach Washington measure’s language is the fact that while it would allow adults to buy pot at state-run stores, it still wouldn’t allow home cultivation of recreational cannabis.
“I’ve heard quite a number of concerns from people who’ve called me about the nanogram limit for driving, and about the fact there’s nothing about home growing,” he told me.
“I will be ready to receive it enthusiastically in the Legislature, anticipating the ability to amend it,” Goodman said. “The problem is if the Legislature does not amend it, the way it is drafted today, it would appear on the ballot in November 2012. There are some concerns, and we need to tweak it or re-draft the language quite soon.
“The other thing is this home growing,” Goodman said. “People need to be able to produce and consume, and have non-commercial gift exchanges perhaps of small amounts.”
But even in its imperfect form, the New Approach Washington initiative represents enormous progress, according to Goodman. “I have to say this is a huge step where we have a bipartisan group of prominent people putting it forward,” he told me. “I’ll do what I can to move it through the Legislature.”
Tipping The Balance, $4.20 At A Time
At any pivotal point in our nation’s history — and look around you, man, we’re in one of those — one well-informed politician can help tip the balance back towards sanity when it comes to drug policy, environmental policy, public safety, and health care, and Goodman said he wants to be a part of that.

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Graphic: CTI

The presence of a man like Roger Goodman in Congress could make a major difference going forward as our nation discovers the way to a saner approach on marijuana.
“We’re so close to the tipping point,” Goodman told me. “I want to offer some experienced leadership in drug policy reform; to join Jared Polis, Barney Frank and others who are making a difference on the Hill.
“Getting me there will get us all one step closer to loosening the federal Controlled Substances Act, for the health, welfare and safety of the people,” Goodman said.
“The number one thing I need at the moment is for people to go to goodmanforcongress.com and help elect me,” Goodman said.
“I know that people are mostly, including myself here, of very modest means,” he said. “I’m not asking for a lot of money. But I do need $4.20 from as many people as possible by next week. We’re doing well; we’ve reached our target for the first quarter and we are being taken very seriously.”
Summing It Up
I have to tell you, it’s a blast to speak with a politician who seems to be more concerned about the people and the environment than about the corporations. Goodman is definitely that guy.
“We need to pay attention to planetary health,” Goodman told me. “We need to foster justice in our society.
“When I was a Congressional staffer, I had to be quote-unquote ‘professional,’ ” Goodman said. “Now I can speak the truth, and it’s just so refreshing — and people can sense that.
“That’s given me the inner strength to lead,” Goodman said. “Simply to lead.”
To learn more about the Roger Goodman for Congress campaign, or to contribute, visit http://goodmanforcongress.com/. You can also “Like” the Roger Goodman For Congress Facebook page

Cops Hand Deliver Marijuana Legalization Report To US Drug Czar

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Obama’s Drug Czar Says He Ended “War on Drugs” Two Years Ago

Cops Hand-Deliver Report to Drug Czar’s Office While Czar Refuses to Meet

By Tom Angell

In conjunction with this week’s 40th anniversary of President Nixon declaring “war on drugs,” a group of police, judges and jailers who support legalization released a report today showing how the Obama administration is ramping up a war it disingenuously claims that it ended two years ago.

Following the report’s release at a press conference this morning, the pro-legalization law enforcers attempted to hand-deliver a copy to Obama administration drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who is a former Seattle chief of police. Instead of making time to listen to the concerns of fellow law enforcers who have dedicated their careers to protecting public safety, he simply sent a staffer to the lobby to receive a copy of the cops’ report.

Norm Stamper, also a former chief of police in Seattle and a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said, “It wasn’t hard to put together a report showing how the Obama administration continues to wage the failed ‘war on drugs’ even while pretending to end it. Although President Obama has talked about respecting states’ rights to enact medical marijuana laws, his DEA has raided state-legal medical marijuana providers at a higher rate than under the Bush administration. Similarly, this president has continued a Bush-era budget ratio that heavily favors spending on punishment over providing resources for treatment, even though he has said drug addiction should be handled as a health issue.”

The full text of the pro-legalization cops’ report is available online at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com/40years

In the past four days alone, 2,500 people have used LEAP’s website to send letters to President Obama asking him to transform his administration’s good rhetoric on ending the “war on drugs” into policy reality. That action alert is also online at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com/40years

Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore narcotics cop and LEAP’s executive director, said, “Over the past few weeks, us cops who have been on the front lines of the ‘war on drugs’ have made numerous attempts to schedule a meeting with the drug czar to share our concerns about the harms these drug laws are causing. The fact that he refused to sit down with us and discuss these issues – even when we went directly to his doorstep – speaks volumes about how much the Obama administration would rather ignore the failed ‘war on drugs’ than do anything to actually address it.”

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the “war on drugs” and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Visit LEAP’s *NEW* website: http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com

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