Just this week, DEA agents raided two medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego. The raid came one day after the owner of one of the facilities testified at a city council hearing on regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Ironically, it also comes as the Obama administration announces their new drug control strategy, which they call a “21st century approach to drug policy.” To hear them tell it, we’re now focused on treatment and prevention rather than arrests and prosecutions. Of course, that’s not true, and no one knows that better than medical marijuana providers in California and elsewhere. Fortunately, there is a way to change all that.
Ask your elected officials in Congress to support H.R. 689.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced the States’ Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act. If passed, his bill would reschedule marijuana, recognizing its medical value, and prevent the DEA from going after patients, doctors, or dispensaries.
It’s vital that your representatives in Congress know that you support medical marijuana and that people who provide doctor-recommended medicine to sick people are not criminals. Please write your elected officials today, and when you’re done, forward this to friends so they can do the same.
On Thursday, a Colorado Court of Appeals panel ruled that a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient fired for off-the-job marijuana use had no expectation of job security, creating a disquieting legal situation in the state.
Despite lacking evidence that he was impaired on the job, the Dish Network fired telephone operator Brandon Coats after he tested positive for marijuana. Coats took his employers to court, arguing that his termination violated Colorado’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute, which states employees cannot be fired for engaging in legal activities when off-the-clock.
Unfortunately for Coats and the thousands of patients like him, a trial court ruled against him, citing a previous case that declared Colorado’s medical marijuana law only exempts patients from prosecution.
The decision makes it clear: Colorado’s Lawful Off-Duty Activities Statute does not cover legal state activities that conflict with federal law. Meaning, employees may smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, and risk developing a myriad of ailments, but if those employees opt to use a safer substance by following a doctor-recommended course of treatment, they must do so with the knowledge that their voter-approved choice could mean losing their source of income.
Employers are prevented from discriminating against employees based on medical conditions or treatments. Medical marijuana patients should be treated equally, not worse than people who use dangerous narcotics at the direction of their physicians.
Rep. Jeff Irwin
Michigan Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
Currently, possession of any amount of marijuana in Michigan could result in a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 . House Bill 4623 would re-label the offense as a civil infraction punishable by a fine based on whether it was a repeat offense.
Rep. Mike Shirkey
“We know, and the people here in Michigan know, that marijuana prohibition is not working,” Rep. Irwin said today during a press conference at the state Capitol, where he was joined by the bill’s Republican co-sponsors, Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville).
“This is the right time to have this debate in Michigan,” said Rep. Shirkey. “We’re using a lot of money, energy and resources in Michigan and across the nation to accomplish something we’ve failed at.”
If you live in Michigan, please ask your legislators to support marijuana decriminalization!
In a 7-2 vote on Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that deportation is not mandatory if a legal immigrant is convicted of possessing a small amount of marijuana.
The ruling was in response to Moncrieffe v. Holder. Immigration officials automatically deported Adrian Moncrieffe, a Jamaican citizen who has lived in the United States since he was three years old, after he was convicted under Georgia law for possession and intent to distribute 1.3 grams of marijuana.
“Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote on behalf of the majority that a conviction for marijuana possession does not rise to the level of an aggravated felony if it is a small amount and the defendant was not being paid for it,” reported Reuters.
Moncrieffe could still face deportation, but Tuesday’s ruling means that he and others like him can contest the decision in further immigration proceedings.
Rep. Steve Cohen
More and more states, in conflict with federal policy, are permitting the use of medical marijuana and decriminalizing its recreational use. In order to examine this unnecessary conflict as well as the current federal policy’s broad impacts, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced legislation last week to create a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy.
“[I]t’s important that we understand the impact of current federal policy and address the conflict with those state laws that allow for medicinal or personal use of marijuana,” said Congressman Cohen. “This conflict is only going to continue to grow…we must provide certainty to the millions of individuals and businesses that remain caught in a web of incompatible laws. “
Congressman Cohen is optimistic that a national commission would provide the government with the tools necessary to create sensible policy.
A similar commission was created in 1971. Released two years later, the “National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse,” which was led by former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer, called for the decriminalization of marijuana.
The Shafer Commission’s recommendations were disregarded and the War on Drugs nonsensically expanded. As a result, countless responsible marijuana users have been saddled with criminal records, nonviolent offenders have been crammed into our overcrowded prisons, and taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources continue to be wasted in the attempt to impose failed marijuana policies.
The majority of Americans believe marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol. Forty years of ignorance is enough; it’s time to re-evaluate federal policy.