California Medical Association Officially Endorses Marijuana Initiative


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On Monday, the California Medical Associationcma-logo announced that it was officially supporting the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), which would make marijuana legal for adults in California and regulate it similarly to alcohol.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

CMA officials, in a statement released by the legalization campaign, which is funded by billionaire venture capitalist Sean Parker and supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said their rationale was twofold: Under a legal market, cannabis could be monitored, researched, regulated and mitigated to protect the public health; and improper diversion by healthy patients into the medical marijuana system could reduced. They stressed they do not encourage marijuana use and discourage smoking.

“The California Medical Association believes the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is a comprehensive and thoughtfully constructed measure that will allow state officials to better protect public health by clarifying the role of physicians, controlling and regulating marijuana use by responsible adults and keeping it out of the hands of children,” Dr. Steven Larson, CMA’s president, said in prepared remarks.

“Medical marijuana should be strictly regulated like medicine to ensure safe and appropriate use by patients with legitimate health conditions and adult-use marijuana should be regulated like alcohol. This measure – along with the recently-passed medical marijuana bills – will ensure the State of California does both – while keeping the public health and public interest as paramount concerns,” Larson added.

This is the second big statewide organization to endorse the AUMA in as many months. The California State NAACP announced its support for the measure back in January.
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California NAACP Endorses “Adult Use of Marijuana Act”


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NAACP_Logo_With_Cal_TagThe California State Conference of the NAACP formally endorsed the initiative to end marijuana prohibition in California known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). It is part of a growing coalition in support of the proposal, which would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol in the state if approved by voters this November.

Alice Huffman, longtime president of the California NAACP, provided the following statement in a press release:

“Creating a legal, responsible and regulated framework for marijuana is a predominant civil rights issue and it’s long overdue. The current system is counterproductive, financially wasteful and racially biased, and the people of California have repeatedly called for it to be fixed.  This measure will ensure that California is not unjustly criminalizing responsible adults while also ensuring that our children are protected while the State receives hundreds of millions of new dollars for vital government and community-based programs.”

MPP announced its backing of the AUMA late last year, and it has established a committee to support the campaign.

 

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MPP to Support Newly Filed CA Legalization Initiative


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California voters are ready to end marijuana prohibition in 2016 and replace it with a more sensible system. That is exactly what the Adult Use of Marijuana Act will do, and that is why MPP is proud to support it.california-160550_640 We look forward to working with the initiative proponents and doing whatever we can to help pass this measure and make history in California next year.

Under the proposed initiative, marijuana will be regulated, taxed, and treated similarly to alcohol. Adults will no longer be punished simply for possessing it, and law enforcement officials will be able to spend more time addressing serious crimes. It will take marijuana sales out of the underground market and marijuana cultivation out of our national forests. The fact that it will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year is a huge bonus that will benefit all Californians.

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Ohio Issue 3 Defeat Will Not Impact 2016 Initiatives


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Last night, a controversial Ohio ballot initiative that would have regulated marijuana for adults was voted down by a relatively wide margin, marking the first time that a major state referendum to make marijuana legal for adults has failed since 2010.2000px-Seal_of_Ohio.svg However, the defeat of a marijuana-related ballot initiative in the Buckeye State will have no bearing on the outcomes of several marijuana-related initiatives expected to appear on state ballots next year.

A proposal to make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it like alcohol has already qualified for the November 2016 ballot in Nevada, and similar measures are expected to qualify for the ballots in Arizona, California, Maine, and Massachusetts. The measures do not include the widely unpopular “monopoly” language included in the 2015 Ohio initiative that limited the commercial cultivation of marijuana to only 10 predetermined producers. The 2016 initiatives are also expected to benefit significantly from heightened voter turnout during a presidential election.

MPP is supporting several of the 2016 initiative efforts. We neither supported nor opposed the Ohio initiative this year.

“It’s pretty obvious that the outcome in Ohio does not reflect where the nation stands or the direction in which it is heading when it comes to marijuana policy,” said MPP’s Mason Tvert. “It only reflects where Ohio voters stand on a specific and rather unique proposal in an off-year election. It will not have any bearing on the outcomes of the initiatives that we expect to appear on other states’ ballots in 2016. Read the rest of this entry »

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Historic California Medical Marijuana Regulation Bills Await Governor’s Signature


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In September, California lawmakers approved a series of bill that would establish a statewide regulatory framework for California businesses that produce and distribute medical marijuana in the state. AB 243AB 266, and SB 643 create standards for licensing businesses as well as testing, packaging, labeling, and tracking marijuana products, among other things.

Gov. Jerry Brown

The bills establish a new agency within the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, which will oversee the system and work with other agencies that will be involved in licensing key areas of activity, such as cultivation and testing. The bureau will develop detailed rules by January 2017, and businesses will begin to apply for state licenses in January 2018, at which point the current system of collectives and cooperatives will be phased out. Medical marijuana businesses will need to obtain local approval to continue operating.

In 1996, California became the first state to adopt a law that allows seriously ill patients to legally access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The law did not include a regulatory structure, resulting in a patchwork system in which some communities allowed medical marijuana providers to operate under local regulations while others opted to prohibit such operations entirely.

Gov. Jerry Brown has until Sunday to sign the bills.

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California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom Releases Marijuana Regulation Report


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As several coalitions are busy crafting language for a ballot initiative to make marijuana legal for adults in California, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has been studying the issue, and today released a report that he hopes will help inform the debate:

In a report released Wednesday, the group lays out 58 recommendations and goals for implementing general legalization — an issue expected to go before voters next year.

The document offers broad principles –“protecting California’s youth” — as well as nitty-gritty suggestions for collecting data and limiting advertising.

Gavin Newsom
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

Newsom said in an interview that he hopes the report offers guidance to proponents of a legalization initiative aimed at the November 2016 ballot, as well as to help lawmakers and officials who would have to implement it if it passed.

The report does not explicity endorse or oppose legalization of recreational marijuana, although Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018, has been outspoken in support of legalization and is the highest-ranking California official to take that position.

MPP is currently working with a broad coalition of advocate groups to draft an initiative that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol, which should be completed in the near future.

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California Organ Transplant Bill Becomes Law


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Medical marijuana patients in California won a victory Monday when the Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would prevent patients from being denied organ transplants.

The Associated Press reports:

The Democratic governor

Gov. Jerry Brown

announced Monday that he signed AB258 by Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine of San Rafael.

Supporters say some patients who use medical marijuana have been denied life-saving organ transplants because they are treated by doctors as drug abusers. Marijuana is often prescribed to cancer and other patients to help with pain and side effects of treatment.

Levine’s legislation ensures that medical marijuana users have the same right to access organ transplants as other patients by prohibiting a hospital or doctor from disqualifying a person solely because of medical marijuana use.

One such patient was Norman Smith, a Los Angeles resident who succumbed to liver cancer after being denied a transplant. You can learn about his story here.

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California Organ Transplant Non-Discrimination Bill for Medical Marijuana Patients Moves Forward


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AB 258 passed both the California Assembly and the Senate by overwhelming margins, sending the bill to Gov. Brown

for his signature. This compassionate bill would prohibit hospitals from denying medical marijuana patients organ transplants simply because of their choice of medicine. Hospitals, clinics, and members of the medical community who do not support medical marijuana should not be able to kick people who are already down by denying them lifesaving treatment.

The California Assembly passed AB 258 with a 62-12 vote, and earlier this week the Senate passed the bill with only one vote in opposition. Clearly, both Californians and their legislators believe in protecting patients from discrimination based on their choice of medical treatment. The bill now needs only Gov. Brown’s signature to become law.

If you are a California resident, please take a moment to ask Gov. Brown to sign AB 258 when it reaches his desk.

 

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Vote on California Medical Marijuana Anti-Discrimination Bill Approaching


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Norman Smith (Photo: Reason)

In 2012, Norman Smith of Playa del Rey, California, died after being denied a liver transplant because he had used medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. A bill to prevent similar tragedies — AB 258 — could get an Assembly floor vote any time — possibly today.

If you are a California resident, please take a moment to ask your Assembly member right now to vote yes on AB 258. Hospitals and medical professionals who do not support medical marijuana should not be able to kick people who are already down by denying them lifesaving treatment.

The bill emerged from committee earlier this month on a strong 13-3 vote. Help keep up the momentum and be sure your Assembly member hears from you!

The California Legislature is also considering several bills that would impose a regulatory system on the state’s medical marijuana program. One of the bills, AB 643, emerged from committee on another strong vote of 7-0 earlier this week. While the bill contains some positive provisions, it is flawed and is in need of improvement before it is allowed to become law. With several competing bills this year, it is likely the debate over whether and how to best regulate California’s medical marijuana program will continue.

For more information about Norman Smith’s story, please watch this video from ReasonTV.

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Tips on Providing Court Support in Marijuana Cases


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Northern California defense attorney Joseph Tully has posted some useful tips on how to show support in the courtroomCourtroom when someone is facing marijuana-related charges.
According to Tully, whose website highlights his experience defending medical marijuana cooperatives, collectives, cultivators, and caregivers:
Being tried in court for any crime, especially a victimless crime, is a trying process. Not just for the defendants, but for their friends, family, and supporters as well.  When the crime involves medical marijuana in California, it is often the defendant who is victimized.  Community support is important to help a friend get through this difficult time and to support the larger cause. …
What are the best ways to support both the cause and our friends at the courthouse? I have lots of experience as a criminal defense attorney in the courtroom.  My courthouse advice for my clients can apply to their friends and supporters as well.  Here are six ways you can show support during a medical marijuana case.
 
You can read Tully’s full post, “Weed on Trial: 6 Ways to Show Support in Court,” after the jump.

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