Archive for the ‘Medical Marijuana’ Category

Most Americans Want To Legalize Marijuana: New Poll

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Graphic: Misplaced In The Midwest

​Just give me the ganja. A new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found that a majority of Americans continue to believe that marijuana should be legalized, but don’t support the legalization of other drugs.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 1,003 American adults, 55 percent of respondents support the legalization of cannabis, while 40 percent oppose it.
Democrats are the group most supportive of legalizing cannabis in the United States, with 63 percent in favor of ending the war on marijuana. Almost as many Independents, at 61 percent, also support the move.
Republicans were out of step with the majority on the legalization issue, with just 41 percent supporting marijuana legalization and 56 percent opposed.
Marijuana legalization enjoyed big majorities among men (57 percent) and respondents aged 35 to 54 (also 57 percent).

However, when it comes to other drugs, the numbers shrink rapidly.
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Graphic: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Clear majorities of Democrats and Independents support marijuana legalization, while a clear majority of Republicans opposes it.
Only 10 percent of Americans support legalizing MDMA, or “ecstasy.” Smaller proportions of respondents said they would approve of legalizing powder cocaine (9 percent), heroin (8 percent), methamphetamine (7 percent) and crack cocaine (7 percent).
Across the country, 64 percent of respondents said they believe America has a “serious drug abuse problem” which affects the entire United States. One in five (20 percent) believe the drug abuse problem is confined to specific areas and people (this would include the racist contingent who are blithely ignoring the facts).
Only one in twenty Americans — 5 percent — think America does not have a serious drug abuse problem.
The War On Drugs has a serious public relations problem, according to the poll.
Only nine percent of respondents believe the Drug War — the efforts of the U.S. government to stymie the illegal drug trade — has been a success. Two-thirds, 67 percent, say the Drug War has been a failure.
“The survey shows a country that is concerned about the effects of drugs, and at the same time deeply disappointed with the efforts of the U.S. government to deal with the drug trade,” Angus Reid Public Opinion offers in the “Analysis” section of their press release.
This is the third year in a row that Angus Reid Public Opinion surveys have shown majority support for marijuana legalization in the United States. The 2009 (53 percent) and 2010 surveys (52 percent) also found a majority of Americans calling for pot legalization.
“Cannabis is definitely not seen as a substance that is as harmful as other illegal drugs, as evidenced in the minuscule level of support for the legalization of cocaine or heroin,” Angus Reid Public Opinion noted.
The margin of error on the poll is plus or minus 3.1 percent, according to Angus Reid Public Opinion.
To see the full report, detailed tables and methodology of the survey, click here [PDF].
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Graphic: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Marijuana legalization enjoys majority support across the board when it comes to genders and age groups.

Ten Years After Decriminalization, Drug Abuse Down by Half in Portugal

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half:

Health experts in Portugal said Friday that Portugal’s decision 10 years ago to decriminalise drug use and treat addicts rather than punishing them is an experiment that has worked.

“There is no doubt that the phenomenon of addiction is in decline in Portugal,” said Joao Goulao, President of the Institute of Drugs and Drugs Addiction, a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the law.

The number of addicts considered “problematic” — those who repeatedly use “hard” drugs and intravenous users — had fallen by half since the early 1990s, when the figure was estimated at around 100,000 people, Goulao said.

Other factors had also played their part however, Goulao, a medical doctor added.

“This development can not only be attributed to decriminalisation but to a confluence of treatment and risk reduction policies.”

Many of these innovative treatment procedures would not have emerged if addicts had continued to be arrested and locked up rather than treated by medical experts and psychologists. Currently 40,000 people in Portugal are being treated for drug abuse. This is a far cheaper, far more humane way to tackle the problem. Rather than locking up 100,000 criminals, the Portuguese are working to cure 40,000 patients and fine-tuning a whole new canon of drug treatment knowledge at the same time.

None of this is possible when waging a war.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

Picture of the Day: Peace Cross Joint

SO DOPE!

Michigan Attorney General Goes After Medical Marijuana Law

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Photo: Voice of Detroit
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette hates medical marijuana,
and he thinks you’re faking to get it.

​Michigan’s attorney general has been busily trying to dismantle the state’s medical marijuana law ever since it was passed by voters. Attorney General Bill Schuette announced legislative proposals on Wednesday targeting patients he claims are “exploiting” the law.

Schuette is not a fan of the law, passed by an overwhelming 63 percent of Michigan voters in 2008. In the sort of political gymnastics also favored by Republican attorneys  general in other states (examples: Rob McKenna of Washington state and Tom Horne of Arizona), Schuette claims to be a “states’ rights conservative” — unless the “state’s right” we’re talking about is a medical marijuana law.
In that case, the rules are different, and in Schuette’s mind, it’s open season on medical marijuana patients, because, in a brief he filed back in June in support of the City of Livonia — which is trying to ban medical marijuana use and sales — the attorney general claims the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act is preempted by federal law.

Oddly, Michigan law somehow trumps federal law with Schuette if it’s affirmative action we’re talking about. Apparently different rules apply when it comes to protecting the privileges of white people (after all, he is a Republican), as pointed out by Christine at Blogging for Michigan.
Schuette, of course, claims his proposed crackdown on, and evisceration of, Michigan’s medical marijuana law is to target “criminals who take advantage of the law.”
The attorney general announced his nefarious plans at an 11 a.m. news conference Wednesday in Lansing.
“The law has been hijacked by pot profiteers who threaten public safety on the roads and in our communities,” Schuette said, giving a free, handy demonstration of “how to ignore a majority of the voters.”
At the announcement to unveil the legislative proposals targeting patients, Schuette was joined by an assemblage of assholes including Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Lodge), Representative John Walsh (R-Livonia), Dr. Steven E. Newman of the Michigan State Medical Society, Lt. Col. Gary Gorski of the Michigan State Police, Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz, Saginaw County Prosecutor Michael Thomas, Eaton County Sheriff Mike Raines, Clinton County Sheriff Wayne Kangas, and Berrien Springs Oronoko Township Police Chief Milton Agay.
Toke of the Town was unable to confirm a breaking rumor at press time that the group had decided to call itself the “Low-IQ All-Stars.”
Schuette tried to paint marijuana as causing a vast number of highway traffic accidents in Michigan, citing some bogus statistics from (surprise!) the Michigan State Police (obviously protecting their job security, not the public) which supposedly show the “marijuana-related fatalities remain the most common drug-related automobile fatality, and that such fatalities are on the rise in Michigan.”
“Driving with marijuana in your system is unsafe and jeopardizes the safety of our roadways,” Schuette said. “If you take drugs, don’t take the wheel.”
Schuette also proposed “legislative reforms” (read: gutting the law) to give prosecutors and law enforcement “the tools they need to crack down on criminals who exploit the loopholes of the MMMA.” (Translation: “Please make it easier for us to bust and harass legitimate patients and providers.”)
The pot-crazed attorney general proposed the creation of new crimes to crack down on the medical marijuana certification system:
• Make it a felony for physicians to knowingly falsely certify a debilitating medical condition for patients seeking to use medical marijuana
• Make it a felony to knowingly submit false information on an application for a patient or caregiver card
• Make it a felony to knowingly alter a patient or caregiver card
• Make it a felony to knowingly possess another person’s card or to transfer or allow a person to use another person’s card
• Prohibit felons from being caregivers (currently only those convicted of drug-related felonies are prohibited); and
• Make it a misdemeanor for a patient or caregiver to fail to report a lost or stolen card within seven days.
In addition, Schuette proposed legislation to address what he claimed were “several loopholes” in the law, including measures to “strengthen the hand of law enforcement” (WTF?) “limit criminal access to medical marijuana,” and empower local communities to regulate (translate: ban) medical marijuana facilities.
Schuette said he expects the bills to be introduced and considered by the Legislature this fall.

County Tax Official Caught Growing Marijuana In North Carolina

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Photo: Asheville Citizen-Times
Chris Maney, 46, was charged with possession and felony “manufacturing” of marijuana after officers claimed they found eight plants during a raid

​A tax administrator in Madison County, North Carolina was arrested after police raided his property and accused him of growing marijuana.

Chris Maney, 46, was charged with felony possession and manufacturing of marijuana after the raid by State Bureau of Investigation agents and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, reports Melissa Dean at the Asheville Citizen-Times.

Law enforcement had gotten a tip that Maney was growing pot next to his home, according to Sheriff Buddy Harwood. Detectives claimed they seized about 5.5 pounds of marijuana.
Eight marijuana plants in separate buckets were found in a field near the home, according to State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) spokeswoman Noelle Talley, reports North Carolina News Network. Cannabis seeds and “drug paraphernalia, including a scale,” were found inside the home, according to the cops.
“He faces charges of maintaining a dwelling for the possession and manufacture of marijuana as well as felony possession of marijuana and felony manufacturing of marijuana,” Talley said.
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Graphic: ABC News 13
​Maney was placed under a $15,000 unsecured bond.
Interestingly, Maney’s wife, Susan Maney, is the chief probation officer in Madison County. She was not charged.
Chris Maney had worked for the county for 23 years, since 1988. He was suspended with pay until further notice, according to County Manager Steve Garrison.
Garrison said Maney will remain on suspension until he is either acquitted or convicted.
“It is certainly unfortunate,” Garrison said. “He was a stand-up employee. There have been no previous incidents.”
So why are you even bothering this guy? He was doing his job. What’s the problem? Other than that stupid marijuana law, I mean.
Maney previously worked for the county’s Department of Social Services and served as director of community services from 2000 to 2008.
Although Madison County drug screens all new county employees, Maney had been with the county for more than two decades, so no drug screening was required for him to move into other positions.
“Unless an incident occurs that warrants (another drug screening), there is no process to screen existing employees transferring to another department,” Garrison said.
For WLOS ABC News 13 news video on the incident, click here.

Busted: Florida Woman Calls Deputy, Tries To Sell Him Weed

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Photo: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Jennifer Knopp tried to expand her customer base on Thursday.

​A Florida Keys woman was arrested on Thursday for trying to sell marijuana to a sheriff’s deputy after she called him on the phone.

On Thursday evening at 9:15, Jennifer Knopp, 39, called the SWAT-issued cellphone of Deputy Chris Galls; she told the deputy she “had the stuff he was looking for,” reports Matthew Handley at the Broward Palm Beach New Times.
The woman then offered to sell Deputy Galls “crippie” marijuana, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department press release, and the two agreed to meet behind a local movie theater.
She asked much he wanted, and Deputy Galls said a quarter-ounce.
Galls brought along narcotics officer Deputy Paul Bean for the meeting at Marathon Movie Theater, about a mile from the sheriff’s office, reports KeysNet.com.
When the officers approached, Galls and her male passenger drove off “over two plastic parking rails” in her 1999 Chrysler Concord.
The deputies got back in their patrol car, pulled Galls over, and asked her why, exactly, she would call a deputy and try to sell him weed.
Knopp claimed she called Deputy Galls so that he “would help her get away from the man who was in the car with her,” according to the press release. She said she had the deputy’s phone number stored from a previous case that she was helping Deputy Galls with. The arrest report doesn’t go into details.
Offering to sell the deputy weed certainly got his attention — Jennifer went to jail, and the man in the car, Christopher Flingos, 42, refused to be searched and was released with no charges.
After Knopp told Galls she had pot, the deputies discovered 24.5 grams of it in her purse and took the $309 cash she had for “possible forfeiture” in case it came from pot sales, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Becky Herrin.
To confirm she had made the earlier call, Galls dialed her phone number and an iPhone in her purse rang. The cop’s name and number showed on the screen.
Knopp faces charges of possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, and selling “narcotics.”

Here’s Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense

Guest editorial: Here’s why legalizing marijuana makes sense
By Alex Newhouse

For the Yakima Herald-Republic

The call to legalize cannabis continues to grow louder despite all of the other problems our country is currently facing. Mainstream polls indicate almost 50 percent of Americans favor full-out legalization, and nearly 80 percent believe that marijuana should be available for medicinal purposes.

No one has ever died from simply using marijuana. In 1972, then-President Richard Nixon appointed the Shafer Commission to study the nation’s rising drug problem. It reported the following: “Neither the marihuana [sic] user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.” The commission’s findings have withstood the test of time.

The more we learn about marijuana, the more benign it becomes. Marijuana does not cause cancer. Sound scientific studies, such as those done by UCLA’s Dr. Donald Tashkin, have clearly demonstrated this. We also know that marijuana is legitimate medicine. If marijuana has no medicinal benefit, why are so many terminally ill patients turning to it to improve their quality of life? Why, after countless legislative hearings and initiatives, have 16 states and our nation’s capital legalized marijuana for medicinal use? And why does an expensive prescription drug called Marinol, which is a synthetic form of the active ingredient in marijuana, exist? Even the federal government owns a patent for the medicinal use of marijuana. (The patent number is 6630507.)

Marijuana is medicine to many people. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, held that “marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.” Studies done by the California Center for Medical Cannabis Research and the recent breakthroughs highlighting the antibacterial properties of cannabis extracts also clearly demonstrate marijuana’s potential as a natural and inexpensive medicine.

Unlike most medicines, it is quite safe for marijuana to be used recreationally by responsible and healthy adults. According to the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, over 100 million Americans have tried or use marijuana. If this market were taxed and regulated, crime rates would go down and agriculturally based communities would profit. We easily forget how much disrespect for the law vanished when alcohol prohibition was repealed, or that well over 30,000 Mexican citizens have died since 2006 as a direct result of a drug war fueled in large part by demand for marijuana, or that the U.S. has spent approximately a trillion dollars and 100,000 lives on a drug war that could be reined in considerably with marijuana legalization.

Regulating marijuana would also protect our children. It is easier for kids today to get marijuana than it is for them to get alcohol or tobacco, which is a fact supported by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Drug dealers simply do not ask for ID. Regulation would also lessen the burden on the criminal justice system, making it easier to keep violent criminals behind bars. Washington currently has mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana possession, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports more people are being court-ordered into treatment for marijuana than ever before under threat of incarceration. This is a huge waste of resources.

The legalization movement is not about persuading people to use marijuana, but for giving the sick and responsible the liberty to consume a relatively benign product. Proposed policies within the spirit of the movement are worthy of our consideration.

 

* Alex Newhouse is a lawyer who lives in the Sunnyside area.

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