Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

January 25th, 2010 19 Comments Kate Zawidzki

“Can an employer punish someone for doing something that is constitutionally protected?”

That’s the question raised by a pair of articles in Colorado today that lay out the precarious work situation many medical marijuana patients find themselves in.

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Prince Frederic von Anhalt to End Marijuana Prohibition in California?

January 22nd, 2010 44 Comments Kate Zawidzki

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s second term ends at the end of the year and because of his state’s term limits he will not be back, so the big question is who will replace Gov. Arnold? How about Zsa Zsa Gabor’s ninth husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt?  Yes, the 80 year old, German-born socialite turned prince (after being adopted by a Prussian princess in 1980), will reportedly announce his intention to run for governor on Monday, and that his campaign platform will likely be titled “Return the Good Life to California.” One of Prince Frederic’s plans to return California to the good life is to tax and regulate marijuana—an idea MPP certainly endorses. Whether we’ll endorse Prince Frederic for governor, well that’s a different story.

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Medical Marijuana

California Supreme Court Further Clarifies Medical Marijuana Laws

January 21st, 2010 21 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The California Supreme Court affirmed today that the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law (Proposition 215) does not prevent qualified patients and caregivers from possessing more marijuana than is set forth in the personal guidelines established by the legislature in 2004. While the outcome of this case, People v. Kelly, hasn’t fundamentally changed California law — not in our view, at least — the decision provided necessary direction for law enforcement.

Although his status as a legal patient was not in question, the defendant in this case was prosecuted for possessing more marijuana than was allowed by the “limits” (8 ounces and 6 mature plants) established in companion state legislation to Prop. 215. The court affirmed that in fact there are no limits on the amount of marijuana a patient can possess or cultivate so long as it’s in accordance with their personal needs. The thresholds set by the legislature are in fact only guidelines for law enforcement to follow when determining whether or not to arrest someone who possesses of one of the state’s voluntary medical marijuana ID cards.

So, what does this all mean for California patients and caregivers? Read the rest of this entry »

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Dave Schwartz on ‘Face to Face’ Part 2

January 20th, 2010 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP Nevada spokesman Dave Schwartz debates the merits of the ballot initiative proposed for 2012 that would allow Nevadans over the age of 21 to legally purchase and possess marijuana in small quantities. This is part two of an appearance on Jon Ralston’s “Face to Face”. 01/15/2010

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Dave Schwartz on ‘Face to Face’ Part 1

January 20th, 2010 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

MPP Nevada spokesman Dave Schwartz debates the merits of the ballot initiative proposed for 2012 that would allow Nevadans over the age of 21 to legally purchase and possess marijuana in small quantities. This appearance is on Jon Ralston’s “Face to Face”. 01/15/2010

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition

Why didn’t the Democrats embrace marijuana reform in Massachusetts?

January 20th, 2010 38 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Last night, Scott Brown (R-Mass.) beat Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy, becoming the first Republican to hold a Senate seat in Massachusetts since the 1970s. So what happened up there?

To state it simply, the Democrats chose a bad candidate. They backed one of the most vocal and public opponents of the MPP-funded ballot initiative, Question 2, which decriminalized marijuana possession in Massachusetts in 2008. Question 2 was more popular than President Obama on Election Day, garnering 65% of the vote compared with the president’s 62%. All but three towns in the state supported the initiative.

There is a lesson here for Democrats and Republicans alike: Support for marijuana reform will help, not hurt, a candidate in elections. Public support is surging forward. Polls on legalization are moving quickly toward majority approval nationwide — in the west, it’s already passed the 50% mark — and medical marijuana enjoys 81% support. Politicians on both sides of the aisle must recognize that it’s time to use this populist platform as a tool for winning elections.

Scott Brown is not a card-carrying member of the marijuana reform movement by any stretch of the imagination. As a state senator, he proposed that possession of marijuana in a vehicle remain a criminal offense, attempting to pull back parts of Question 2. But Brown was not a leading opponent of the measure nor was he publicly associated with the issue, as Coakley was. The lesson here, however, is of the could have should have variety: Democrats could have backed a candidate that supported Question 2, and they should have used marijuana reform as a tool in the campaign. Had they, today’s election results may have looked a lot different.

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Aaron Smith on CNBC

January 19th, 2010 1 Comment Kate Zawidzki

MPP California Policy Director Aaron Smith appears on CNBC to discuss AB390. He debates with other guests about the benefits of a system that allows the taxation and regulated distribution of marijuana to adults 21 and over. 01/13/2010

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Medical Marijuana, Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

New National Poll Shows Dramatic Increase in Support of Marijuana Reform

January 19th, 2010 25 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll reveals that more than eight in 10 Americans (81%) support efforts to make marijuana legal for medical use, up from 69 percent in 1997. Fifty-six percent say that if it’s allowed, “doctors should be able to prescribe medical marijuana to anyone they think it can help.” Last week the New Jersey state legislature passed a medical marijuana bill and yesterday Gov. Corzine signed the bill into law, making New Jersey the 14th state to provide its sick and dying patients with safe access to marijuana.

Additionally, the ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 46 percent support for making the possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for personal use, up from 22 percent in 1997.

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Medical Marijuana

New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law Signed, But No Pardon For Convicted MS Patient

January 19th, 2010 24 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Last night, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed a medical marijuana bill into law, officially making New Jersey the 14th state in the nation to allow qualified patients to use medical marijuana with their doctor’s recommendation. The law allows the establishment of dispensaries around the state, but it does not make it legal for patients to grow their own marijuana.

This law means that New Jersey will no longer prosecute sick and dying patients who try to ease their symptoms with marijuana, but it apparently does not apply retroactively. On the same day Gov. Corzine signed such compassionate legislation, he also refused to pardon one of the most glaring victims of New Jersey’s old marijuana laws—John Wilson, a 37-year-old multiple sclerosis patient who faces 10 years in prison for growing marijuana plants to ease his condition.

When asked for comment, Wilson’s lawyer said he was “deeply disappointed” that the governor did not grant Wilson clemency before leaving office.

Me too.

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Seattle’s New City Attorney Will Dismiss All Marijuana Possession Cases

January 18th, 2010 22 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Pete Holmes, the newly elected Seattle city attorney, is already making good on his campaign promise to dismiss any marijuana possession charges that come through his office, the Seattle Times reported last week. Holmes dismissed two marijuana-related cases on his first day on the job, and several others are about to be dismissed, including cases taken up by the previous city attorney.

According to the Times, Holmes’ predecessor, Tom Carr, had continued to prosecute low-level marijuana arrests even after city voters passed a referendum in 2003 making marijuana the lowest law-enforcement priority for local officials.

This is just the latest in a whole string of good news coming out of Washington state in recent weeks.

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