Why Won’t MTV Allow “The Real World” Cast to Use Marijuana?

February 26th, 2010 42 Comments Kate Zawidzki

Since 1992, MTV has aired the true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house, have their lives taped after drinking massive of amounts of alcohol while we find out over and over again that drinking alcohol often leads to reckless, violent, and oftentimes illegal behavior. Last night’s episode was no different. Extremely drunken cast member Ty got a little too real after a night of drinking and shoved his roommate Andrew over a tall concrete staircase, resulting in Andrew being carried off on a backboard by the paramedics.

I don’t think “The Real World” could survive on TV without alcohol. There wouldn’t be enough drama. But, why is that we have never seen any of these real worlders making the safer choice by using marijuana instead of alcohol? MPP does not encourage anyone to use any substance (legal or otherwise), but we certainly know which substance is safer: Marijuana.

Is it MTV policy to never show marijuana use? If that is the case, I feel duped, because in the real world people use marijuana all the time. In fact, more than 100 million Americans have used marijuana, and more than 15 million use it at least monthly.

The organization SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation) is asking the public to sign their petition calling on MTV to stop driving its cast members to drink and “start getting real.” We encourage you to do the same.

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Medical Marijuana

New York State Takes Crucial Step Towards Passing Medical Marijuana Law

February 24th, 2010 34 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The race to become the 15th state to pass an effective medical marijuana law got a little tighter yesterday when the New York State Senate Health Committee passed S. 4041-B, the Senate’s medical marijuana bill. The bill got out of the Health Committee on a bipartisan 12 to 6 vote and now heads to the Senate Codes Committee.

The New York State Assembly passed medical marijuana legislation in 2007 and 2008, but the issue has never gotten a Senate floor vote. For the first time last year, a Senate medical marijuana bill passed the Senate Health Committee, but progress stalled because of the Senate leadership struggle, which lasted until just before the legislature recessed. Will 2010 be the year New York lawmakers listen to the will of the people and finally pass a law to protect its states sick and dying patients from arrest or jail?

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Ohio Man Commits Suicide After Marijuana Charge

February 24th, 2010 41 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The latest tragic victim of marijuana prohibition is Robert W. Batsch, a 55-year-old husband and father.

Hours after he and his wife were charged with felony child endangerment yesterday for allegedly growing marijuana in their family’s home, Batsch shot himself in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle.

If found guilty, Batsch—and his wife—each faced one to five years in prison.

To find out how you can help MPP put a stop to horrific stories like these, please click here.

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Medical Marijuana

VA Policy Does Disservice to Veterans Who Need Medical Marijuana

February 23rd, 2010 41 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A story out of New Mexico yesterday sheds light on the dilemma facing many veterans who could benefit from medical marijuana and rely solely on the Department of Veterans Affairs for their health care.

Taking guidance from the DEA, the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend medical marijuana. Those who do will face civil and criminal penalties, in addition to the loss of their license. (Veterans can still try to obtain a recommendation from an outside physician.)

This policy is unchanged in states where medical marijuana is legal, such as New Mexico, where the most common affliction of those enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program is post-traumatic stress disorder—something experienced by one in five returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a 2008 study. Read the rest of this entry »

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Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate

Baby Boomers Embrace Marijuana (again)

February 22nd, 2010 38 Comments Kate Zawidzki

It’s no secret that younger people are typically more in favor of changing our country’s failed marijuana laws than older people, but marijuana use among seniors is on the rise.

According to surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration use among people 50 and older who report using marijuana in the prior year went up from 1.9 percent in 2002 to 2.9 percent in 2008. Marijuana use among 55- to 59-year-olds has more than tripled during that same time period (1.6 percent in 2002 to 5.1 percent in 2008).

Among the group of seniors who now use marijuana is 67 year old Perry Parks, a retired Army pilot who suffers from crippling pain from degenerative disc disease and arthritis. He has tried all sorts of prescription drugs, but found little success. However, he found relief two years ago after using something he tried in college, marijuana. He says by using marijuana he realized he “could get by without the narcotics,” referring to prescription painkillers. Parks says he is now “essentially pain free.”

Will the nation’s 78 million baby boomers stand up against the status quo one last time and lead the effort to end this country’s failed war on marijuana? We sure hope so.

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Medical Marijuana

Protestors to Obama: “Stop Rogue DEA Raids”

February 19th, 2010 37 Comments Kate Zawidzki

President Obama campaigned yesterday for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet at the Fillmore Theater in Denver, but the real excitement occurred outside the theater, where dozens of medical marijuana patients and supporters gathered to express their frustration with the recent DEA activity in their state. Many held signs that read “Stop Arresting Patients” and “Stop Rogue DEA Raids,” referring to the DEA blatantly ignoring the change in policy made by the Obama administration this past October.

Over the past few weeks the DEA has entered and confiscated thousands of dollars worth of medical marijuana from two Colorado medical marijuana labs (Denver’s Full Spectrum Laboratories and Colorado Springs’ Genovations). Most recently the DEA arrested licensed medical marijuana grower Chris Bartkowicz, who was conducting a medical marijuana growing operation in the basement of his suburban Denver home. Bartkowicz now sits in jail facing five to forty years in prison and fines of up to $2 million.

Yesterday’s protest was organized and led by Sensible Colorado’s executive director Brian Vicente, who aptly points out that “at the most fundamental level, it’s just a blatant and ridiculous waste of resources to go after an individual who was absolutely growing for medical purposes.” Vicente went on to say that the “U.S. Attorney needs to get out of the dark ages,” and that “his comments are representative of decades past.” They sure are. Right on, Mr. Vicente.

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The MPP Insider, Episode #002

February 19th, 2010 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

The second episode of MPP Insider, funneling all the latest developments in the marijuana policy reform movement, straight to you from across the Internet.

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The MPP Insider, Episode #001

February 19th, 2010 No Comments Kate Zawidzki

The first episode of the new MPP Insider bi-weekly news blog!

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Prohibition, Tax and Regulate

Tax and Regulate Bill Reintroduced in California

February 19th, 2010 13 Comments Kate Zawidzki

A landmark bill to tax and regulate marijuana, authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), was reintroduced in the California legislature today. The proposal would make personal possession and cultivation of marijuana legal for adults over 21 and would institute a regulatory system for marijuana sales modeled after the one that already exists for alcoholic beverages.

Asm. Ammiano’s 2009 marijuana reform bill, A.B. 390, was approved in the Assembly Public Safety Committee last month but did not advance further due to legislative calendar constraints. This year’s bill, A.B. 2254, is expected to receive hearings in the next couple of months.

Stay tuned as this bill progresses. We’ll definitely have our plates full out here in California, as we work on this legislation and build public support for reform in a year when the state’s electorate will be voting on the Tax Cannabis 2010 initiative.

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Medical Marijuana, Research

More Proof That Marijuana is Medicine

February 17th, 2010 51 Comments Kate Zawidzki

The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), based at the University of California, San Diego, published a report today summarizing the results of clinical trials studying medical marijuana’s efficacy in treating pain. The studies, funded by CMCR under the mandate of a 1999 legislative action, found that marijuana is particularly helpful in relieving pain associated with nerve damage and in treating the muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis.

The summary CMCR presented to the California legislature today brings together data from 15 clinical studies – six of which have been published in respectedthc-skeletal medical journals.

In 2002, then-drug czar and rabid medical marijuana opponent, John Walters said, “The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research is currently conducting scientific studies to determine the efficacy of marijuana in treating various ailments. Until that research is concluded, however, most of what the public hears from marijuana activists is little more than a compilation of anecdotes.”

Well, the proof is in. Now it’s time for Congress to bring federal medical marijuana policy into line with the science.

The full CMCR publication can be downloaded, here.

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