San Francisco Supervisors, Oaksterdam official speak

San Francisco Supervisors, Oaksterdam official speak at medical marijuana rally at City Hall

By: Bay City News | 04/03/12 4:55 PM

An enthusiastic crowd of more than 200 medical marijuana patients and supporters rallied at San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday to hear six city supervisors and an Oaksterdam University official decry a recent federal crackdown on cannabis dispensaries.

The midday protest was planned five weeks ago, according to Americans for Safe Access Executive Director Steph Sherer, but coincidentally came the day after Monday’s federal searches of Oaksterdam University, a cannabis industry trade school in Oakland.

Oaksterdam Executive Chancellor Dale Jones, speaking from the steps of City Hall, evoked both the raids and the unrelated mass shooting that also occurred in Oakland on Monday and resulted in the deaths of seven people at Oikos University.

“Two universities were struck yesterday,” said Jones, who said police resources should be used to prevent violence and not to stop patients from obtaining medical marijuana.

“Why are law enforcement officers guarding a plant that hasn’t killed a person in human history?” she asked.

Jones told the crowd, “This raid was meant to demoralize us, but it did not cripple us, it merely galvanized us.”

Federal agents searched Oaksterdam’s headquarters and four other Oakland sites associated with Oaksterdam President Richard Lee on Monday. The school teaches courses on marijuana horticulture and dispensary management.

Joshua Eaton, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, said he could not comment on possible next steps in the investigation or on when the search warrants used in the raids will be unsealed.

Tuesday’s San Francisco rally was aimed at protesting a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries announced in October by the four regional U.S. attorneys in California, including Haag, who is the chief federal prosecutor for Northern California.

The prosecutors said they planned to target large-scale commercial enterprises that operate under the guise of providing medical marijuana. Haag said her office would begin by concentrating on dispensaries near schools and parks.

California’s Compassionate Use Act, approved by state voters in 1996, allows seriously ill patients to use marijuana with a doctor’s permission, but federal laws criminalizing the drug make no exception for state medical marijuana laws.

Eaton said Haag had no comment onTuesday’s protest.

Six supervisors — a majority of the 11-member Board of Supervisors — told the crowd they opposed the crackdown, as audience members cheered and waved signs saying “Cannabis is medicine, let states regulate.”

They were Board President David Chiu and Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim, Christina Olague and Scott Wiener.

“What people are asking for is something simple: they need access to their medicine,” Olague said.

“I hope that in a few short years, everyone in the United States will understand what we are fighting for,” Chiu said.

Several other legislators and officials, including San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma, and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, did not attend the rally in person, but sent representatives with messages of support.

Charley Pappas, a patient and the former operator of the now-closed Divinity Tree Patients Wellness Cooperative in the city, said, “We’re not a profit-making criminal organization. We are supplying medicine for those who need it.”

The dispensary on Geary Street at the edge of the Tenderloin District, which was near a small public playground, was forced to shut down after Haag’s office threatened Pappas’s landlord with forfeiture of his property.

After the speeches, the crowd marched two blocks to the Federal Building, which houses Haag’s office, and chanted “Shame, shame, shame” and “We’re patients, not criminals” at the building before dispersing.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2012/04/san-francisco-supervisors-oaksterdam-official-speak-medical-marijuana-rally-city-hall#ixzz1r21zFQll

Oaksterdam University Raided

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbqYRSFy-R4]

 

 

Uploaded by on Apr 3, 2012

Students diligently studying for finals at Oaksterdam University, California?s unaccredited cannabis industry training school, are getting a lesson in Federal Law 101 this week, after agents raided the institution. The raid comes as DEA officials are increasing pressure on medical marijuana dispensaries, which they claim violate national restrictions.

University head Richard Lee, a prominent Oakland citizen and marijuana activist who was instrumental in pushing California legalization effort Proposition 19, was not arrested during the raid and his lawyers appear confident his school and coffee shops will reopen.

Tennessee Representative proposes medical marijuana bill

By Kym Clark – bio | email

A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

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MEMPHIS, TN –

(WMC-TV) – A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.
A companion bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Government Operations Committee.  The House Health Subcommittee approved the measure on a voice vote Tuesday.
A previous proposal to legalize medical marijuana made it through Tennessee House committees two years ago, but did not fare well in the Senate.  The sponsor of the latest bill, 89th District Representative Jeanne Richardson, thinks her bill might just pass.
"Medical cannabis is becoming more generally accepted in our society," said Richardson.
The democrat, representing part of midtown Memphis, points to Gallup Poll results for support.
"Over 80 percent of the American population feels that medical cannabis should be legalized," said Richardson.
Richardson said she believes her bill has a better chance of becoming law due to an increase in medical marijuana use around the country, legally or not, to treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
"It’s making people understand, mo matter which side of the political spectrum it’s on, that it is a compassionate way to treat certain illnesses," said Richardson.
Richardson claimed the proposed bill would create some of the toughest access standards among states that have already enacted medical cannabis laws.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have already passed bills legalizing medical marijuana.
Richardson said most legislators she has talked with in Nashville support the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee but believe it would be political suicide back home in the ballot box to vote in favor of the measure.  She said she believes that would be the only reason a medical marijuana bill does not pass this time.

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Action Alert: Legalize Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

 

 

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SENATE BILL 129

The Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act

Legalize Medical Marijuana in Kentucky

· Changes Marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II

· Allows qualified patients to possess 5 ounces and to grow 5 plants

· Requires State Pharmacy board to set up rules for distribution

· Allows Physicians to prescribe without penalty

 

What to do

1) Find and Email your State Senator at www.lrc.ky.gov

Example: Dear Senator _______, I’m writing you today to ask you to support Senate Bill 129, The Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act. Marijuana is clearly not a dangerous drug and it definitely has Medical value. Kentucky doctors and patients should decide appropriate medical care, not Washington Bureaucrats . Sixteen other states have passed similar legislation and I believe that Kentucky should join those states and protect citizens with illnesses from legal sanctions. Our veterans returning from war especially deserve access to marijuana for the physical and emotional trauma they’ve suffered. It’s the Christian thing to do! Note: Personalize your email and include examples of people who are in need.

2) Follow up with a call to the Legislature Message line @ 1 (800) 372-7181

You can also call your State Senator directly. Their contact Information is available on their webpage on the lrc website. You can use the above example, but be sure to personalize your call and include examples of people you know who have a medical need. Ask them to co-sponsor the legislation.

3) Repeat the above two steps with your State Representative

You have both a State Senator and a State Representative. This is a Senate bill. Ask your representative to write and sponsor a companion bill for the House of Representatives.

4) Make an appointment to meet them in Frankfort to discuss the bill

They are your voice in government. They can’t refuse to meet with you. If you have the courage to speak to them in person, be sure to dress and conduct yourself professionally. You will probably only get 15 minutes with them, so be prepared and bring this flyer or some other document that supports your position. You will enjoy the trip to Frankfort, it’s a beautiful place.

5) Copy this Flyer and share/post it everywhere!!!

Send a quick email to legalsmile2012@gmail.com so that I can get information to you rapidly. We will have to act quickly when the bill goes before committee. Please let me know your story and if you wish to testify before the committee (anyone can). It’s your government!!!

LINKS:

SB129 Ky Legislature

The Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Act of 2012

Kentucky Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Act

The White House – Resources

A medical marijuana primer Writer searches high and low for best weed.

New Jersey will open its first medical marijuana dispensary in the fall—nearly three years after a medical marijuana bill was signed into law—but according to writer Mark Haskell Smith, whose new book is a personal tour of the cannabis industry, the East Coast has a lot of catching up to do.

“The University of California put out an agricultural guide to California, and far and away, marijuana is the state’s biggest cash crop,” said the author of Heart of Dankness, which Broadway Books will publish next week. (The official pub date is April 20, also known as Weed Day.) “It’s [worth] $2 billion to $3 billion in L.A. County alone.”

Mr. Smith’s search for the perfect weed—which is described as “dank”—took him to Amsterdam and to dispensaries in the U.S. and Canada. Though liberal drug laws gave the Dutch a head start on cultivation, he believes American growers are now on the cutting edge.

“Colorado is going to be the [No. 1] place,” he said. “They’re more progressive with their medical laws. People who used to have shops in Amsterdam have moved there.”

He argues that medical marijuana is not a cover for overall legalization, which he supports. “There are hundreds of things it can treat,” he said.
—matthew flamm

Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120325/SUB/120329922#ixzz1qBYmplQF

U.S. attorney breaks silence on medical-marijuana battle

U.S. attorney breaks silence on medical-marijuana battle

Details from last week’s Benjamin Wagner chat with press and pot advocates

By David Downs
Read 10 reader submitted comments

This article was published on 03.08.12.

Medical-cannabis patients and providers should expect ongoing persecution in California. However, media backlash due to the nearly half-year-old federal crackdown is affecting at least one prominent drug warrior: United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin Wagner.

Wagner broke the Department of Justice’s near silence with regard to the crackdown during a candid, hour-long talk and question-and-answer session last Tuesday at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon. The $30-a-plate affair took place on the 15th floor of 1201 K Street, and inside, Wagner admitted that the cannabis cleanup was the idea of the four U.S. Attorneys in California, not Washington, D.C.

The four were upset because of what Wagner called “flagrant” marijuana sales in the state. So they declared war on medical marijuana last October, sending out hundreds of forfeiture-warning letters to dispensaries across California. His office is in the process of seizing at least one dispensary in Sacramento, while officials have closed more or less every dispensary in Sacramento County.

He reiterated that they’re not going after patients and caregivers, rather interstate transporters, huge pot farmers and illicit dispensaries grossing tens of thousands of dollars per day in cash.

But the media critique of the war is wearing on Wagner, it seems. He said he counts on good press to create a “deterrent effect” in regard to cases of mortgage fraud, child exploitation, human trafficking and major gang violence. But he’s not getting any of that.

“I think that the members of the press would be forgiven for thinking that marijuana enforcement is all that we do,” he said. “It is far from the most important thing that we do. I have many other higher priorities that have a much bigger impact on public safety. I did not seek the position of U.S. attorney in order to launch a campaign against medical marijuana.”

Wagner was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 and has been with the DOJ since 1992, primarily in the Eastern District. When he and the other three U.S. attorneys took office at the end of 2009, “We found that we were in the middle of an explosion of marijuana cultivation and sales,” he said.

Federal policy didn’t change, rather “what we saw … was an unregulated free-for-all in California in which huge amounts of money was being made selling marijuana … to virtually anybody who wanted to get stoned.”

Wagner said that’s not what California voters approved. Stores marking up pot 200 percent is “not about sick people. That’s about money.”

His reaction has been “quite measured,” he said. Most dispensaries just got warning letters.

“In a few instances, after ample warnings, we’ve brought civil-enforcement actions while reserving criminal prosecution for the most flagrant violators of not only federal law but state law,” he said.

He referred to cases such as one where seven Roseville and Fresno suspects were indicted in February for growing pot with doctor’s recommendations and running a dispensary as a front to traffic it to seven states in the Midwest and South.

Wagner also warned that a season of raids in the Central Valley is coming in 2012, and that mega pot farmers are on notice that if they plant again this year, their land could be seized.

He tried to make the case that pot is just a fraction of what his office does, referring to 61 indictments on mortgage fraud last fiscal year.

During audience questions, activists asked why the federal government says marijuana has “no medical use,” yet the United States has patented its ingredient, cannabidiol, for treating strokes.

“What I know about marijuana as medicine you can probably put in a thimble,” he said.

But health policy is not his job, he said. “My advice to you is to write your congressman.”

Sacramento lawyer Alan Donato asked for guidelines for local dispensaries to avoid federal attention.

“I’m not in a position to be of much comfort,” Wagner said. “You don’t ask the CHP, ‘How many miles over the speed limit can I go before you pull me over?’”

Stephen Downing, a retired Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, asked if the failed drug war would ever make Wagner say “Enough is enough” to his boss, Attorney General Eric Holder.

“That’s hard to say,” Wagner said. “I totally understand the debate over legalization as opposed to criminalizing narcotics.

“It really depends on what the cost-benefits are. Marijuana is obviously not nearly as destructive as [methamphetamine]. The risks in legalizing marijuana may be significantly less that meth.”

But prescription drugs “are the biggest, worst drug problem in terms of trends … [and] that’s a legal drug.”

SN&R news intern Matthew W. Urner got the biggest attention of the lunch, asking Wagner if he ever tried the second-most-commonly used mind-altering substance in America, and if so, what he thought.

“Uh,” said Wagner, “I’ll say that I went to college.”

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