Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Lab Raided by DEA

January 29th, 2010 48 Comments Kate Zawidzki

On Wednesday, DEA agents raided Full Spectrum Laboratories, a lab in Denver, Colorado, that tests medical marijuana for dispensaries. Bob Winnicki, president of the lab, said the DEA issued a subpoena requesting that it turn over customer and patient records from the past six months. Winnicki said he wasn’t charged with a crime, but agents seized about $10,000 worth of marijuana, some of which was going to be made into capsules for people with multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Winnicki said his operation isn’t a dispensary, but rather a lab that tests marijuana for mold, fungus and pesticides, and tests the effectiveness of different strains of marijuana for treating various ailments for dispensaries and patients. He said he applied for a DEA license back in October to use standards needed to test the marijuana, but didn’t hear from them until Wednesday.

Though the circumstances involved are still unclear, there is no doubt that federal law enforcement agents have bigger fish to fry. While this company was trying to ensure that medical marijuana—the use of which has been sanctioned by the Obama administration—is safe for patients, Mexican drug cartels are operating in 230 cities across the country. If the DEA truly cares about public safety, this is the last place they should be spending their time—and a single dollar spent on any kind of prosecution of these individuals would be one of the most egregious misuses of government resources imaginable.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

California Advocates Turn in Signatures for 2010 Marijuana Reform Initiative

January 28th, 2010 29 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Big news!california-sm

California’s Tax Cannabis 2010 campaign announced today that they have submitted nearly 700,000 signatures to qualify their initiative for the November 2010 ballot. The initiative seeks to make personal possession (up to 1 oz.) and cultivation (up to 25 square feet) legal for adults 21 and up. The proposal also gives cities and counties the option to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana sales.

Supporters only needed to collect 433,971 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Submitting such large raw numbers makes the chances very good that this bold measure will be placed before California voters in November.

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Tax and Regulate

A Chance to Demonstrate Our Movement’s Strength

January 28th, 2010 17 Comments Kate Zawidzki

President Obama has created a YouTube channel where anyone with an Internet connection and an idea can hold an “exclusive interview with the president.” The project is called CitizenTube, and it is very similar to the Open For Questions forum the Obama team unveiled one year ago. And just like last year, marijuana reform questions are by far the most popular.

Here is MPP’s entry:

You can visit the site to vote and help our question be one of the few chosen by Obama for a live YouTube event next week. Click here to help us demonstrate the importance and popularity of this issue.

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Medical Marijuana

Bush Appointee Nominated by Obama to Head DEA

January 27th, 2010 46 Comments Kate Zawidzki

President Obama has nominated the acting head of the DEA, Michele Leonhart, to take on the post permanently. We have been generally happy with the Justice Department during Obama’s freshman year, but it would be nice to see a new face at the DEA. Here’s why.

Early in Leonhart’s career, she was the Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division, where she oversaw President George W. Bush’s brutal tactic of raiding and arresting medical marijuana patients. Most readers will remember the raids on dispensaries that were part of the former president’s war on drugs until 2009, but during the early years of the Bush administration, these raids were directed at individual patients, not just distributors. This show of force was a political message meant to undermine state medical marijuana laws. Bush was so smitten with Leonhart’s work fighting innocent cancer patients that he promoted her to deputy director in 2003.

In that role, Leonhart rejected the application of Professor Lyle Craker of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst to research marijuana’s medical value. Professor Craker was proposing the kind of project considered essential if marijuana is ever to be licensed by the FDA as a prescription medicine, and a DEA administrative law judge ruled in Craker’s favor. Leonhart, however, ignored the judge’s ruling and denied the application. Her reasons were transparently phony: an ideological opposition to medical marijuana dressed up in pseudoscientific language. This is precisely the sort of nonsense Obama has pledged to end.

At a news conference in April, Michele Leonhart said that legalizing drugs “would be a failed law enforcement strategy for both the U.S. and Mexico.” That’s certainly not change I can believe in.

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Mike Meno on ABC2 WMAR Baltimore

January 27th, 2010 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP assistant director of communications Mike Meno talks about marijuana prohibition and the announcement of a bill to allow medical marijuana in the state of Maryland. In this interview, he explains that the current affirmative defense for medical marijuana patients does not go far enough to protect their safety. 01/26/2010

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Medical Marijuana

Maryland Lawmakers Prepare to Introduce Medical Marijuana Legislation

January 27th, 2010 16 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yesterday, a team of bipartisan Maryland legislators announced the details of two bills that would make medical marijuana legal and accessible for qualified patients in the state.

The bill’s main sponsor in the House is Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), who, as an internist and emergency medical physician, has been very effective at explaining why patients and doctors need access to a range of treatment options, including marijuana.

As proposed, the bill would allow patients with a “debilitating medical condition” to obtain marijuana from state-run distribution centers with the recommendation of a doctor with whom they have a long-standing relationship.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana

Los Angeles approves long-awaited medical marijuana ordinance… But is it right for patients?

January 26th, 2010 12 Comments Kate Zawidzki

After more than two years of deliberation — and just plain foot-dragging — on the issue, the Los Angeles City Council voted 9-3 today to enact an ordinance regulating the operation of medical marijuana facilities in the city. It’s certainly a significant milestone that the second largest city in the nation (eighth in the world) has a law on the books allowing marijuana to be sold through locally regulated storefronts. However, upon digging into the details of the ordinance, it doesn’t seem to be a great boon for the seriously ill and injured Angelenos who rely on medical marijuana.

The ordinance will restrict the number of medical marijuana facilities in the city to 70, but it does grandfather in about 150 collectives which were registered with the city prior to a moratorium which went into effect in 2007. The law will also require all marijuana products to be tested for contaminants and pesticides by an “independent and certified laboratory.” Testing of this nature is a great idea and indeed some in California’s medical marijuana community are working on developing such practices and standards, but finding a lab equipped for this type of testing overnight will be no small chore.

What’s probably the most troublesome detail is that the new ordinance institutes 1,000-foot zones around “sensitive uses” where medical marijuana collectives cannot operate legally. These include schools, public parks, libraries, and even churches. This huge 1,000-foot radius and another requirement that facilities may not be located adjacent to residential zones — which is not required of alcohol vendors — will force nearly all to move.

Meanwhile, patients looking for a safe and open place to acquire their medicine in Los Angeles may just be finding life that much more difficult.

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Study Debunks Marijuana-Suicide Myth

January 26th, 2010 13 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Yet another myth about marijuana takes a beating thanks to some splendid research out of Scandinavia. Although it’s no surprise to MPP’s fans, marijuana use has no link to suicide. A thorough study of Swedish military men confirms that those who use marijuana are no more likely to take their own lives than those who don’t. Prohibitionists often grab results like these and squeal “the sample is too small to mean much,” but this research focused on more than 50,000 people. If you can’t get marijuana to link to suicide in 50,000 people, you can’t get marijuana to link to suicide.

Prohibitionists also often shout “Well, you didn’t follow them up long enough. They would have killed themselves eventually.” This study followed the participants for 33 years. If you can’t link marijuana to suicide after 33 years, you can’t link marijuana to suicide.  If there’s no smoke, there’s no fire. This study also showed markedly smaller links between marijuana and depression than folks thought.

Clearly, the biggest bummer about marijuana doesn’t stem from its use; it’s from arrests. At 800,000 per year, our current rate,  we’d have 26,400,000 more arrests for the next 33-year follow-up. Let’s not let that happen. It’s just too depressing.

Dr. Mitch Earleywine is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where he teaches drugs and human behavior, substance abuse treatment and clinical research methods. He is the author of more than 100 publications on drug use and abuse, including “Understanding Marijuana” and “The Parents’ Guide to Marijuana.” He is the only person to publish with both Oxford University and High Times.

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2010 Nevada Gammick Ad

January 25th, 2010 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

Ad from Nevadans for Sensible Marijuana Laws asking about the actions of Washoe county’s DA Gammick, a staunch opponent of the taxation and regulation of marijuana.

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Kurt A. Gardinier on Broadband Network 3

January 25th, 2010 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP Director of Communications Kurt A. Gardinier appears on Broadband Network 3 to discuss marijuana prohibition and the impending law allowing Washington DC residents to use medical marijuana for serious conditions. Also featured is Wayne Turner, one of the persons responsible for the original ballot initiative to allow medical marijuana in the District of Columbia. 01/20/2010

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