Medical Marijuana

Another California Poll Finds Overwhelming Support for Open Medical Marijuana Sales

October 30th, 2009 17 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Last week, I posted the results of the MPP-commissioned poll showing that despite outrageous claims being made by local officials, there is wide support for medical marijuana among Los Angeles County voters. A new poll now shows that support for medical marijuana access isn’t confined to Los Angeles.

A poll released Wednesday in San Diego found super-majority support for medical marijuana in that city. The poll — commissioned by addiction recovery Web site — found 77% agreement that “officials must make sure that San Diego’s medical marijuana patients have convenient access to their medicine in the city.” 70% support regulating the city’s medical marijuana collectives in some way, while only 9.5% support banning them (3% said they didn’t need any regulations). The poll also collected other interesting information about how San Diegans view medical marijuana sales. Read more about it here.

This poll should send a firm message to San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who just last month ordered a series of shocking raids on local medical marijuana patients and suppliers.

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A Bit More on That Vaporizer Study

October 30th, 2009 11 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday I posted a brief summary of a new study of vaporization of marijuana as an alternative to smoking. Since that original post, I’ve spoken to a couple of researchers about this study, and they raised a few points that seem worth sharing:

First, for reasons that aren’t clear, before performing the tests of smoking and vaporization, the researchers put the marijuana through a drying procedure that ordinary marijuana consumers don’t do. This might have eliminated some plant compounds, such as terpenoids, that are actually of interest.

A second possible flaw is that the researchers considered all “byproducts” – defined as substances other than cannabinoids —  together. They didn’t analyze precisely what they were, lumping bad stuff like the toxic combustion products contained in smoke with potentially beneficial plant compounds like those terpenoids mentioned above. That puts the finding that fewer byproducts were produced at 230 degrees Celsius than were produced at lower temperatures in a somewhat different perspective: We don’t know if the same byproducts were produced at 230 degrees as were produced at lower temperatures – and what’s in that mixture could be just as important as how much of it there is.

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Prohibition, Research

UK Drug Adviser Fired After Marijuana Comments

October 30th, 2009 21 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Professor David Nutt, chairman of Great Britain’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs, was forced to resign today after he criticized the British government’s decision to toughen penalties for marijuana possession. Read the rest of this entry »

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Another Milestone in the Golden State

October 29th, 2009 34 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a first-of-its kind hearing on the “legalization and regulation of marijuana,” held in the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety. The three-hour hearing included testimony from experts who told the legislature that arresting adults for marijuana is a gross waste of police resources and that the only way to control marijuana is to end prohibition and institute regulations for its sale.

Witnesses advocating for reform included retired superior court judge James P. Gray and former San Francisco district attorney Terence Hallinan – both of whom have seen the futility of marijuana prohibition firsthand from inside the criminal justice system. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Prohibitionist Argument in Under a Minute

October 29th, 2009 59 Comments Kate Zawidzki

This video is being distributed by a group opposing legislation to tax and regulate marijuana in California. Seriously. We are not making this up.

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MPP’s Aaron Smith Promotes AB390 on KTVU 10/28/2009

October 29th, 2009 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP’s Aaron Smith speaks in support of California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s bill to tax and regulate marijuana after a hearing to discuss the effects of the law when it passes. This was the first time that a legislative body has held hearings on the possibility of ending marijuana prohibition in California. 10/28/2009

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More Evidence That Vaporization Works

October 29th, 2009 34 Comments Kate Zawidzki


Opponents of medical marijuana love to condemn smoking, but a new study adds more data to the growing pile of research confirming that vaporization provides the benefits of inhalation without the unwanted combustion products in smoke.  In a study comparing vaporization to smoking in the journal Inhalation Toxicology, researchers from Leiden University report, “Based on the results, we can conclude that with the use of the vaporizer a much ‘cleaner’ and therefore a more healthy cannabis vapor can be produced for the medicinal use of C. sativa, in comparison to the administration of THC via cigarettes.”

The article also provides some new practical information on vaporization, suggesting that a temperature of 230 degrees Celsius is ideal, and that using smaller amounts of marijuana in the vaporizer produces more vapor, but does not extract THC more efficiently, so there is no apparent gain in using an amount less than about half a gram at a time.

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

New Hampshire Comes Within Two Votes of Passing Medical Marijuana Law

October 28th, 2009 17 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Today, the New Hampshire General Court narrowly failed to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of HB 648, which would have made the Granite State the 14th in the nation to have an effective medical marijuana law.

Two-thirds majorities were needed in both the state House and Senate to override Lynch’s veto. The override passed in the House by a vote of 240-115, but came two votes shy in the Senate, which voted 14-10. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tax and Regulate

California Considers Ending Marijuana Prohibition as the Prohibitionists Run Out of Arguments

October 28th, 2009 31 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Today the California state Assembly will hold a historic hearing looking at whether marijuana prohibition should be replaced with a system of regulation and taxation. The growing push for change in California – which also includes a handful of ballot initiatives in circulation — was covered by this morning’s New York Times in an article that perhaps unintentionally reveals the feebleness of opponents’ arguments.

The story quotes John Lovell, lobbyist for several California police groups and the major voice for maintaining prohibition: “We get revenue from alcohol,” he said. “But there’s way more in social costs than we retain in revenues.”

If that’s the best they can do, the debate is over. The main social cost of alcohol comes from its tendency to promote violent and aggressive behavior, something marijuana simply doesn’t do, as explained in this article from the journal Addictive Behaviors. Not long ago, an independent panel of experts rated alcohol as significantly more dangerous than marijuana, in an article published in the prestigious journal The Lancet (unfortunately, the summary of the article you can read online for free doesn’t include the chart ranking various drugs).

If we want to reduce the social costs associated with booze, evidence suggests giving adults a safer, legal alternative makes sense. Mr. Lovell, meet reality.

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Medical Marijuana

Congressman Farr introduces medical marijuana legislation

October 27th, 2009 11 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.) introduced the Truth In Trials Act of 2009 today (H.R. 3939), a bill that would give medical marijuana patients and providers the ability to argue in federal court that their actions were legal under state law.

Currently, a federal judge cannot consider state-level legality during a medical marijuana case. For example, Charles Lynch, a California resident who was on trial for operating a medical marijuana clinic that by all accounts operated in compliance with state law, was unable to defend himself by citing California’s medical marijuana law. And consequently, Lynch received a year-long jail sentence. He’s just one of more than 100 people who were prosecuted under federal law during the Bush administration while being denied the right to defend themselves adequately in court.

The Truth In Trials Act would provide an affirmative defense for medical marijuana patients operating within the bounds of state law. If passed, it will protect patients and providers from disgraceful prosecutions in federal court.

While the Truth In Trials Act represents only a small step in the fight for substantive, national medical marijuana reforms, it will bring a fundamental fairness to federal medical marijuana trials. Please write your member of Congress and ask him or her to co-sponsor this bill. At MPP’s online action center, writing Congress is quick and easy.

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