Poll: For the first time majority of Californian’s support marijuana legalization

April 5, 2009

A field poll commissioned by Oaksterdam University between March 16th and March 21st shows for the first time a majority of California voters are in favor of taxing and regulating adult cannabis consumption similar to alcohol. 54% of those polled believed cannabis should be legal for adults while 39% are opposed and 7% are undecided.

A majority of voters indicated they would vote for a measure to allow cities and counties the option to tax and regulate cannabis and make adult cannabis consumption legal (53% Support/41% Do Not Support/7% Undecided) The economic benefits of taxing cannabis persuaded many voters to support the proposed ballot initiative.

58% of California voters believe regulations for cannabis should be the same or less strict than those for alcohol.

Poll Results:

The Same as Alcohol - 50%
More Strict Than Alcohol - 40%
Less Strict Than Alcohol - 8%
Undecided - 2%

Polls were conducted from 600 California voters by EMC research.


LA Police Chief: why not regulate marijuana?

April 5, 2009

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton is no stranger to the law. Before being appointed LA’s top cop, he served as military police during Vietnam and later served as the New York City Police Commissioner and Boston Police Commissioner. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement from the University of Massachusetts and was a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In a press conference held this week, Chief Bratton commented on California’s current medical marijuana laws and the recent federal government position of not interfering with states’ rights. In California, a patient must obtain a doctor’s recommendation from a state-approved doctor in order to obtain marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary. While he contends that it’s too easy to obtain a doctor’s recommendation, he recognizes marijuana’s medicinal qualities and questions why it’s not regulated like other drugs are.

“I think that the policy of the federal government at this time is unfortunate. I think the policy of this state is Looney Tunes,” Bratton said Wednesday at a Parker Center news conference.

“While I fully support its use for medicinal purposes, why don’t we regulate it like we do Lipitor or Viagra,” Bratton said. “You can’t buy those two without getting it through a legitimate pharmacy. If this drug is so important and so helpful, why is it not regulated like every other drug?”

While Chief Bratton clearly doesn’t approve of the current system, he brings up a valid point - why are we not regulating marijuana as medicine like we do other drugs?

News | Videos

Carlos Santana tells Obama to legalize marijuana now

April 4, 2009

“Legalize marijuana and take all that money and invest it in teachers and in education. You will see a transformation in America … now we can afford not to be paranoid.”

Hailed as one of the greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, Grammy Award-winning musician Carlos Santana made headlines this week when he sent a message to President Obama to legalize marijuana. In an interview with the Associated Press, Santana said now we can afford to not be paranoid. Check out the clip below:

News | Videos

20/20’s John Stossel on the case of Charlie Lynch vs the DEA

April 4, 2009

We couldn’t say “medical marijuana” [in court] - Charlie Lynch’s lawyers

20/20’s John Stossel recently reported on the case of Charlie Lynch. Mr. Lynch is the former owner and managing Caregiver for Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers in Morro Bay, California. Last year, he was convicted on five counts of distributing drugs and sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison. This comes despite the fact that Mr. Lynch never once broke state laws by providing medicinal marijuana to patients that need it. In fact, when he opened his dispensary in 2006, many prominent city council members and local business people attended - even the Mayor of Morro Bay was there for the ribbon cutting ceremony. So why was he convicted of a crime if he never broke state laws? Just ask the renegade sheriff who, after the state refused to go after Mr. Lynch, turned to the DEA for assistance. Check out the intriguing video with John Stossel below:

News | Videos

CNBC panel: marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed

April 4, 2009

“It was a bad year for wine, but a great year for marijuana”

Marijuana is America’s largest cash crop. More money is made via illegal marijuana sales than all vegetables and corn crops combined. Some 25 million Americans use marijuana illegally - meaning no tax revenue is generated. This poses an interesting question: how much money could be made if we legalized, regulated and taxed marijuana? President Obama shrugged off the idea that marijuana legalization and taxation could help boost the economy. Many leading economists (including Nobel Laureates, and economists from top-tier universities across the country), however, believe that taxing marijuana could help save our economy. Continue reading to check out the eight-person round table discussion on whether or not legalization is the path to go down.

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California Judge says most harmful thing about marijuana is jail

April 3, 2009

Judge James P. Gray is a trial Judge in Orange County, CA, former attorney in the Navy JAG corps, federal prosecutor in Los Angeles and has been a civil litigation attorney for a private law firm. He has never consumed cannabis in his life, nor does he have any desire to do so. Despite this, Judge Gray recognizes that the prohibition of marijuana is significantly worse than legalizing and regulating. In the following video interview, Judge Gray offers five compelling reasons to decriminalize marijuana.

Many prohibitionists argue that the laws currently in place help protect children from acquiring and trying marijuana, but Judge Gray explains why exactly the opposite is true. Backed up by facts, experience and flat out common sense, he makes the case that marijuana is much easier to obtain by teenagers than alcohol and cigarettes are. This was also noted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in a report released last year.

Continue reading for the insightful two-part interview with Judge Gray.

News | Studies

Madrid study shows THC coaxes cancerous brain cells to self-digest

April 3, 2009

A new study conducted at Complutense University in Madrid and published in the April edition of US-published Journal of Clinical Investigation shows that THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, helps to defeat brain cancer by coaxing cancerous brain cells to self-digest.


Michigan Anti-Pot Group Launches Attack Ad

October 29, 2008

Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Kids, the major anti-Pot group opposing Michigan’s medical marijuana proposal, launched its first television ad this week.

In a grim voice, the ad states: “After California passed a law just like Proposal 1, hundreds of pot smoking clubs opened in strip clubs all over the state. They grow pot. They smoke it there. In every neighborhood - just blocks from schools. Vote no on Proposal 1.”

We’ve dissected the group’s arguments in the past (here), but you really have to watch the video to see fear mongering in full effect:


Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Kids Make Their Case Against Medical Marijuana

October 2, 2008

Yesterday, a new anti-Proposal 1 group emerged under the name Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Kids. The group was organized in an attempt to convince Michigan voters to vote NO on the proposal that would allow medical marijuana to help alleviate pain for seriously ill patients across the state. Today, the coalition, led by former republican Senator and current 4th district Appeals Court Judge Bill Schuette, announced a series of events in Southfield, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and Saginaw. Their position on Proposal 1: it could “undermine efforts to limit smoking in public places, allow marijuana use as a defense in court and make pot shops a staple in every community.” With acquisitions like these, the people should demand concrete facts to back up their viewpoint.

In a press release today, the “Citizens” claimed that Proposal 1, if passed, would:

CPMK: Allow use of marijuana without a doctor’s prescription
Proposal 1: Permit physician approved use of marijuana by registered patients with debilitating medical conditions including cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, MS and other conditions as may be approved by the Department of Community Health.

(f) “Physician” means an individual licensed as a physician under Part 170 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17001 to 333.17084, or an osteopathic physician under Part 175 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17501 to 333.17556.

(h) “Qualifying patient” means a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.

CPMK: Allow a person arrested on any offense to use marijuana use as a “medical” defense in court
Proposal 1: Except as provided in section 7, a patient and a patient’s primary caregiver, if any, may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana as a defense to any prosecution involving marihuana, and this defense shall be presumed valid where the evidence shows that: A physician has stated that, in the physician’s professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition.

7. Scope of Act.

Sec. 7. (a) The medical use of marihuana is allowed under state law to the extent that it is carried out in accordance with the provisions of this act.

(b) This act shall not permit any person to do any of the following:

(1) Undertake any task under the influence of marihuana, when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.

(2) Possess marihuana, or otherwise engage in the medical use of marihuana:

(A) in a school bus;

(B) on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school; or

(C) in any correctional facility.

(3) Smoke marihuana:

(A) on any form of public transportation; or

(B) in any public place.

(4) Operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana.

(5) Use marihuana if that person does not have a serious or debilitating medical condition.

CPMK: Allow a flood of lawsuits over things such as whether doctors and hospitals must allow patients to smoke marijuana in a doctor’s office or hospital room, despite every other law banning smoking
Proposal 1: This is purely unsubstantiated speculation and has not been the case in the 12 states that have already legalized medical marijuana.

CPMK: Allow the opening of pot shops and smoking clubs in neighborhood strip malls, like has happened in –California under a similar proposal
Proposal 1: There is nothing in the proposal that approves this. Of the 12 states that have approved medical marijuana, only California allows for medical marijuana dispensaries, which patients need a state registry card to enter.

CPMK: Cost taxpayers by requiring the funding of a new Lansing bureaucracy to license marijuana users along with the regulatory expenses that follow.
Proposal 1: The department shall issue registry identification cards to qualifying patients who submit an application or renewal fee.

The fact of the matter is it’s currently easier for teens to obtain marijuana than it is alcohol - the illegality of the drug has done nothing to curb easy access. Regulation works. Teen use of marijuana is actually down more in states where it has been legalized for medicinal use than those where it remains completely illegal.

If the “Citizens” are concerned about marijuana dispensaries than they mustn’t be concerned about the cost to taxpayers; annual tax revenue brings in an estimated $100 million in California on the sales tax of medical marijuana alone. It’s clear that citizens who are truly concerned about protecting our children won’t hide behind an advocacy group that uses fear-mongering to suggest that regulated control of a substance is less safe or practical than no regulation at all, failed policies that have empowered drug dealers and cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars on enforcement that does nothing to curb use among teens. But legalizing marijuana is not what Proposal 1 is about - it’s about providing a proven-effective drug to those who need it most.


Schwarzenegger Vetoes Medical Marijuana Employment Protection

October 1, 2008

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday vetoed California Assembly Bill 2279 which would have declared it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against qualified medical marijuana users. Under a recent California Supreme Court ruling, state-authorized medical marijuana patients may be fired for their off-the-job marijuana use. The bill would have left intact state laws against on the job marijuana use and protected employers for liability. The Governor cited the following reasons:

This bill attempts to shield qualified medical marijuana patients employed in non safety-sensitive positions from employment discrimination. However, I am concerned with interference in employment decisions as they relate to marijuana use. Employment protection was not a goal of the initiative as passed by voters in 1996.

Medical cannabis has been proven to provide relief for dozens of ailments, from chronic pain to debilitating and even fatal diseases. In an effort to promote public awareness, our mission is to report on credible research and expert opinion on the most therapeutic plant known to man.

Irv Rosenfeld - Medical Marijuana Patient Irv Rosenfeld's Testimony
One of the seven remaining patients receiving cannabis on a regular basis from the federal government provides testimony to a Michigan court as the state debates decriminalization of cannabis for medicinal use.
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