Medical Marijuana

National Cannabis Industry Association, Rep. Jared Polis Lobby Congress On Behalf of Medical Marijuana Industry

March 30th, 2011 19 Comments Morgan Fox

From today’s press release:

The National Cannabis Industry Association, the first national organization dedicated to advancing the interests of cannabis-related businesses, today discussed the federal legislative needs of the industry at an event at National Press Club. Prominent leaders in the industry joined Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), as well as the manager of See Change Strategy, an independent firm that, on March 23, released the first-ever financial analysis of the legal medical cannabis industry in the U.S. This report, based on interviews with more than 300 individuals involved in the industry, projected the total legal medical cannabis market at $1.7 billion in 2011.

“Coloradans have known the positive economic benefit of the cannabis industry for quite some time,” said Congressman Polis. “Thanks to the voters of Colorado and the regulations established by the General Assembly, we have a vibrant new legal industry. Colorado’s entrepreneurial spirit is strong and our local and state governments are enjoying both the increased revenues from the taxation of the sale and production of medical marijuana as well as the reduced human and financial cost of fighting crime. This report should serve as an important signal to all states considering reforming marijuana laws as well as to the federal government that in a comprehensive regulatory environment, the cannabis industry — like any other industry — can provide jobs, revenue for government and most importantly keep this substance out of the hands of children and vulnerable populations.”

“This is not an industry looking for special treatment but an industry looking to be treated on par with other small businesses,” said Polis. “We in Congress need to ensure that this industry can access banking, be treated like any other business under the tax code and has regulations to ensure the safety and efficiency of the market.”

Industry leaders highlighted the unique problems they confront as businesspeople. In particular, they described the looming challenge presented by Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, which, according to the IRS, prevents them from deducting legitimate business expenses.

“We do not believe 280E, which was intended to apply to individuals who were clearly engaged in illegal behavior, should be applied to legal, licensed organizations like Harborside Health Center,” offered Steve DeAngelo, the executive director of the dispensary by that name in Oakland, California. “Harborside is not a drug trafficking organization, we are a community service organization. Standards that were intended for street dealers of harmful drugs should not be applied to those easing the suffering of seriously ill patients.”

Another member shared the ongoing ordeal many organizations face as they attempt to secure and maintain accounts at financial institutions fearful of violating federal law.

“To say that it is frustrating having one bank account after another shut down is an understatement,” said Jill Lamoureux, managing member of Colorado Dispensary Services. “Access to banking is crucial for this emerging alternative healthcare industry. The capital-intensive nature of start-ups calls for traditional banking services, including credit facilities and equipment leasing options. And as the State of Colorado implements the first statewide regulatory system for medical marijuana, electronic banking and recordkeeping is essential for audit and tracking purposes.”

Meanwhile, Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, touted the economic benefits of the industry and conveyed the mission of the organization.

“The nation’s legal medical cannabis market is now worth nearly $2 billion annually and supports hundreds of small businesses and thousands of jobs,” said Smith. “All indications point to significant expansion of this sector of the U.S. economy in the years to come and the National Cannabis Industry Association was formed to provide the industry with a voice on the national stage along side other legitimate business interests.”

Other members of the National Cannabis Industry Association present at the event were Brian Cook, founder and president of Altitude Organic Corporation; Tripp Keber, managing director and sole owner of Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, LLC in Colorado; and Michael Backes, a member of the board of directors of Cornerstone Research Collective in Los Angeles, California.

The mission of the National Cannabis Industry Association is to defend, promote, and advance the interests of the cannabis industry and its members. NCIA publicly advocates for the unique needs of the emerging cannabis industry and defends against those aiming to eliminate the legal market for cannabis and cannabis-related products. For more information, please visit


Read more

Medical Marijuana

Attention Delaware Residents: Medical Marijuana Patients Needed!

March 30th, 2011 3 Comments Morgan Fox

Are you a patient with a serious medical condition who might benefit from medical marijuana, a loved one of such a patient, a medical professional, or a member of law enforcement or the clergy who might be interested in speaking out? If so, please contact Noah Mamber, the Marijuana Policy Project’s legislative analyst for Delaware, at (202) 905-2025 or to learn how you can help pass medical marijuana legislation in Delaware this year. Please also search your personal contacts and if you know someone who falls into one of those categories and might be interested in helping, please also urge them to reach out to us.

Whether or not you are a patient, you can ask your legislators to support this sensible bill, S.B. 17, by visiting this page.

Although we need supporters from all over Delaware, we especially need people in the following areas:

* Western Newcastle county, northeast of Newark, Stanton, Marshallton, Dunlinden Acres, Hyde Park, Arundel, Sherwood II, Greenwood, Northpointe, Mendenhall Village, North Star, Meadowbrook, Milford Crossroads, Chanterelle, Paper Mill Park, Deacon’s Walk, Linden Way

* Southeastern Newcastle county, Newport, Dunleith, Wilmington Manor, Castle Hills, Collins Park, Penn Acres, Jefferson Farms, Newcastle, near Newcastle Airport, Bear

* Southwestern Newcastle county including Middletown, Wiggins Mill, Townsend, Blackbird, Delaney Corner, Clayton

* Dover and areas east, west, and southwest, including Rodney Village, Wyoming, Camden, Chaplecroft, Little Creek

* Northern Sussex county coast: Milford, Slaughter Beach, Argo Corners, Sandy Hill, Harbeson, Cave Colony, Zoar, Mt. Joy, Morris Mill, Long Neck, Hollymount, Fairmount, Angola, Marshtown, Jimtown, Belltown, Nassau, Carpenters Corner, Lewes, Lewes Beach, Green Hill, Broadkill Beach

Delaware’s carefully crafted medical marijuana legislation, S.B. 17, is expected to receive a Senate floor vote on March 31. S.B. 17 would allow the compassionate use of medical marijuana for chronically ill Delaware patients with their doctors’ recommendations. It would include tightly regulated, extremely limited distribution of medical marijuana by licensing three not-for-profit compassion centers, one in each of the Delaware counties.

We have a real chance at passing medical marijuana legislation in Delaware this year, but we can’t do it without your help. Delaware is a very small state where folks know each other. The best way to pass this legislation is to get more Delawareans involved! Delaware legislators need to hear from those whom this compassionate legislation would affect. Please share your stories, experiences, and support today!


Read more


More Evidence Suggests Marijuana Helpful in Cancer Treatment

March 24th, 2011 28 Comments Morgan Fox

One of the most oft-discussed benefits of marijuana is its use in the treatment of cancer and cancer symptoms or side effects. While most of the reports are anecdotal, more and more research is coming out showing that Cannabis sativa may be the most exciting compound in cancer medicine today. Certainly more study is needed, but the results so far are very promising.

This week, for example, NORML’s Paul Armentano wrote about a study that will be released shortly that showed marijuana inhalation could play a role in tumor regression in brain cancer patients. Armentano writes:

Investigators at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital in Vancouver documented the mitigation of residual tumors in two adolescent subjects who regularly inhaled cannabis. Authors determined that both subjects experienced a “clear regression” of their residual brain tumors over a three-year-period.

“Neither patient received any conventional adjuvant treatment” during this time period, investigators wrote. “The tumors regressed over the same period of time that cannabis was consumed via inhalation, raising the possibility that cannabis played a role in tumor regression.”

Researchers concluded, “Further research may be appropriate to elucidate the increasingly recognized effect of cannabis/cannabinoids on gliomas (brain cancers).”

Further research is indeed necessary if we want to find the true medical potential of this plant. Unfortunately, such study is highly discouraged by government organizations, unless the focus of that study is on the potential harms of marijuana. The scientific community, however, is very eager to explore the possibilities of cannabinoid medicine.

Interestingly, the National Cancer Institute recently added a section to their website called “Cannabis and Cannabinoids” to provide patients and researchers with information on marijuana and cancer treatment options. I’ll take that as a good sign.

(Special thanks to Paul Armentano and Sanho Tree)

Read more


You’re Invited to the Marijuana Policy Project’s Party at the Playboy Mansion!

March 23rd, 2011 5 Comments Kate Zawidzki


Did you see the announcement last week about our upcoming summertime fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion? The Marijuana Policy Project will be returning to host another event at the famed venue in Los Angeles on July 7, from 8:00 pm to midnight, and we hope you’ll attend.

The ticket price will increase approximately once a month as the event nears, so buy early, before the next price increase on April 1.  Please visit for more details.

Part of the price of each ticket is tax-deductible, and 100% of the proceeds will go toward our efforts to end marijuana prohibition in the U.S.

In other words, this is a win/win/win situation: You attend an unforgettable party, you receive a tax deduction, and you help change our nation’s absurd marijuana laws, which are more harmful than marijuana itself.

In addition to the Mansion’s famous attractions — the monkeys, the Game House, and the grotto — there will also be a music act, comedians, fire-dancing, and a few surprises.

The work that MPP does around the nation to pass medical marijuana laws, improve existing medical marijuana laws, and decriminalize marijuana (just to name some of what we do), costs money. We do a variety of things to raise that money, and one of them is holding fundraisers at intriguing venues we know our supporters will want to check out.

These tickets almost sell themselves, so please consider forwarding this message to your friends, family, and colleagues to let them know that they should purchase a few tickets today, before the price goes up at the end of this month.

I hope to see you on July 7.

Read more

Prohibition, Video

DEA is On the Warpath

March 17th, 2011 29 Comments Morgan Fox

This week has seen a sudden explosion in DEA raids of medical marijuana businesses, leaving patients, caregivers, and activists reeling.

On Monday, 26 medical marijuana businesses throughout Montana were raided by task forces comprised of federal and local law enforcement. As usual, some arrests were made and anything of value seized as evidence under sealed warrants. Interestingly, these raids began within minutes of a vote that stalled the bill to repeal Montana’s voter-approved medical marijuana law. Patients and employees of medical marijuana businesses have been mobilizing with the help of Americans for Safe Access to respond to these strong-arm tactics.

This travesty was repeated Tuesday when the DEA and local law enforcement raided two West Hollywood dispensaries. This occurred shortly after a measure to tax medical marijuana businesses in Los Angeles passed, adding even more legitimacy to the industry there. (A video about the raids is at the bottom of this post, courtesy of ReasonTV.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Read more

Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Making Progress in Illinois Again

March 10th, 2011 25 Comments Morgan Fox

Another bill that would allow seriously ill Illinois residents to use medical marijuana has been introduced, after a similar bill was narrowly defeated last year. According to The Illinois Observer, the House Human Services Committee voted yesterday to send the bill to the full House for a vote.

The new bill, H.B. 30, will have a much better chance at passing this year. New restrictions have been added to ease concerns from some lawmakers, and Governor Quinn has stated that he would consider signing it if the bill makes it through the legislature.

MPP has been pushing one form of medical marijuana bill or another in Illinois since 2004. It looks like this may finally be the year we can get through to lawmakers and get it passed. With 16 effective medical marijuana laws on the books around the country, and 12 other states considering medical marijuana bills this year, Illinois legislators will have to think twice before voting “nay” again. Aside from the overwhelming evidence that medical marijuana provides great relief for a wide variety of patients, public opinion is solidly behind allowing sick people to use it. Hopefully politicians get the message.

Read more

Tax and Regulate

Rhode Island – A “Laboratory of Democracy?”

March 4th, 2011 21 Comments Kate Zawidzki

“It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1932

On Thursday, March 3, Rhode Island State Representatives Edith Ajello, Christopher Blazejewski, Peter Martin, Larry Valencia, and Donna Walsh introduced HB 5591, a bill that would tax and regulate the sale and distribution of marijuana within Rhode Island. This marks the second session in a row that Rep. Ajello has championed a sensible approach to marijuana in the Ocean State.

Introduction of this bill also serves to remind us that there are numerous courageous champions of marijuana policy living the eloquent words of Justice Brandeis above. The push to bring to an end to the unjust and destructive marijuana prohibition is, for the most part, coming not from our leadership in Washington, D.C., but from our elected state legislators.

State-level politicians are standing up and making the bold and rational choice to advocate for a “novel social and economic experiment” — ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a system of taxed and regulated marijuana distribution similar to the current legal system regulating alcohol, a much more damaging substance than marijuana. Assemblymember Tom Ammiano in California, Representative Mary Lou Dickerson in Washington, Representative Ellen Story in Massachusetts, and many of their colleagues have taken on the failed status quo and are leading the charge for sensible change.

Hear this, change will come. It may be via the ballot or by legislative proposal, but it will come. Support for legalizing marijuana is, and continues to be, on the rise. Sometime soon, some state (Colorado? Washington? California? Rhode Island?) will stand up and say enough is enough. How the federal government will respond is anyone’s guess. But one thing is clear: Several states led the way to repealing alcohol prohibition by refusing to participate in it, and states taking a sensible approach to marijuana will also lead the way to ending marijuana prohibition.

Read more

Prohibition, Research

Public Support for Marijuana Legalization Highest Ever

March 3rd, 2011 25 Comments Morgan Fox

In a poll released today, the Pew Research Center reports that more people support marijuana legalization than ever before. Supporters are not yet the majority, but the numbers have been trending our way slowly but surely every year:

The public is divided over whether the use of marijuana should be legal or not; half (50%) oppose legalization while nearly as many (45%) favor legalizing marijuana. Support for legalizing marijuana is up slightly since March, 2010; and over the past 40 years – drawing on trends from Gallup and the General Social Survey – support for legalizing marijuana has never been higher.

Young people under the age of 30 favor legalizing the use of marijuana by a 54%-42% margin. Opinion is divided among those in middle age groups. Those 65 and older are broadly opposed to legalization (66% illegal, 30% legal).

Given that the number of people who agree with legalization has been rising by about 1% per year, the message here is clear:

We need to keep talking about this issue with everyone we know. If we continue to educate our fellow citizens, many of whom still buy into the Reefer Madness propaganda of yesteryear, support for ending marijuana prohibition will be the majority opinion sooner than we think.

Read more