Medical Marijuana

Obama’s New Tactic Against Medical Marijuana Patients: Suspend Free Speech

In the latest move of the Obama Administration’s incomprehensible attack on medical marijuana, U.S. attorneys announced today that they will begin to prosecute media outlets that publish advertisements for medical marijuana! It seems that when it comes to medical marijuana users, or the states in which they live for that matter, the Bill of Rights means practically nothing.

First, there was the memo released by the ATF this month warning firearms dealers that it was against the law to sell guns or ammunition to medical marijuana patients, effectively eliminating the Second Amendment rights of hundreds of thousands of patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. Then on Friday, when the U.S. attorneys from California unveiled their intent to shut down the medical marijuana industry and drive patients into the hands of gangs and other illicit dealers, they said that one of their core tactics was to intimidate landlords and property owners who rent to dispensaries by threatening them with seizure of their assets. While this may not be a direct violation of the law (unfortunately), it certainly treads on the spirit of the Fourth Amendment’s protections of life, liberty, and property. Now, those same attorneys are stomping on the First Amendment as well.

The actions of the Department of Justice are simply baffling.

In its vain and misguided attempt to stymie medical marijuana and stop the reform movement from making any further policy gains, the DOJ is basically trying to shut down two industries that make money, employ many people throughout California, and earn tax revenue for a state in a disastrous economic situation. Neither of these moves makes any sense. Shutting down the medical marijuana industry is not going to stop marijuana production. Denying them the ability to advertise by prosecuting those who publish the ads will not stop marijuana distributors from making a profit. It will, however, be disastrous for the publishing industry. Both the medical marijuana and publishing industries provide much-needed jobs and revenue to California. These methods are quite simply poor tools to accomplish an illegitimate goal. The fact that the media, which has the ability to sway public opinion against the administration, is being targeted seems particularly stupid.

Now, there are of course justifiable reasons for not allowing advertisement for some illegal activity. It is interesting to note, however, that pharmaceutical companies that sell drugs for billions in profits (the very reason the DOJ claims the marijuana industry is so evil) are allowed to advertise freely in all mediums.

Constitutional and federal law aside, it is morbidly fascinating from a philosophical standpoint that the administration is subverting the right to use marijuana to treat one’s illness by attacking two other, more deeply-held rights. After all, it certainly seems that more Americans care about free speech and property rights than they do about bodily autonomy. Will this policy end up being counterproductive to the stated goals of the administration?

Probably. Just like every facet of prohibition, it is pretty much doomed to failure in the long run.

If you’d like to tell the president how you feel about this, please go here or call (202) 456-1111.

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Medical Marijuana

MPP Launches Radio Ads for Illinois Medical Marijuana Law

Dec 21, 2010 Kate Zawidzki

Chicago, Illinois, Julie Falco, radio

Supporters of a medical marijuana law in Illinois, headed by MPP, have announced the release of radio ads calling on Illinois residents to urge their state representatives to support Senate bill 1381, which would allow doctors to recommend marijuana, also known as cannabis, to qualified patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating illnesses.

The ad – which will be broadcast in the Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities, and Rockford media markets – features Chicago resident and multiple sclerosis patient Julie Falco, who has used medical cannabis to help ease the pain and muscle spasms associated with her condition.

“I’ve tried many prescription drugs to control the extreme pain I’ve lived with every day,” Falco says in the ad. “However, most of them caused terrible side effects that left me flattened and nonfunctional. I’ve found that cannabis works best for me. It allows better control of my symptoms so I can lead a fulfilling, healthier quality of life. In Illinois, though, it’s a crime for me to use my medicine – even though my doctor recommends it. Thankfully the legislature can change that in early January.”

Falco then encourages the 68 percent of Illinois voters who support medical marijuana, according to a 2008 Mason-Dixon poll, to visit protectpatients.org and ask their state representative to support SB 1381. “People living with chronic illness should not be criminalized for following doctor’s orders,” Falco says.

To hear the ad, visit www.mpp.org/julie.

The state House of Representatives voted on SB 1381 on Nov. 30, but when neither side reached a majority, the bill’s sponsor asked for “postponed consideration,” meaning the bill could be raised again in early January before the new legislature is sworn in. Under the bill, qualified patients could obtain medical marijuana from state-licensed organizations regulated by the state health department, which would also issue medical marijuana ID cards to patients who receive a recommendation from their doctor.

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