The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative (OCTA) is here again in 2012 with more support than ever. According to gallup.com, half, yes, HALF of all Americans they polled last year are in favor of the legalization of marijuana. Proponents of OCTA, Initiative 9, are busy gathering the 82,213 signatures needed to place the decision in the hands of Oregon voters this November and set a precedent for the legalization of marijuana for states across the country. With enough signatures, citizens of Oregon will once again have their chance to reap the potential statewide benefits of legal cannabis and hemp this November.
The flowers or buds of the female plants have properties that are very well known to most and valued highly by others. But what about its other properties? There was a time before prohibition when presidents grew hemp for fiber and food on the White House property. There was a time when hemp clothing was very popular amongst the upper class because of its strength and longevity. In the recent past, we have also discovered that hemp can be grown for the production of nutritious foods and biodiesel.
By Michael Bachara, OCTA 2012, Sensible Oregon and OMPI Supporter
Portland, OR – This weekend, Portland experienced solidarity from multiple cannabis legalization groups as hundreds assembled from across the region to have their voices heard in the 13th Annual Global Cannabis March through the streets of downtown. Complete with a police escort, marchers began and ended in Portland's living room, Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Members of Oregon National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Oregon NORML), The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, Oregon Green Free, National Green Friends and many others participated in the annual event, which is held every year on the first Saturday in May.
As Oregon hemp and cannabis activists move forward with multiple initiatives for November and beyond, it is time for a common bond to unite us all. The legalization of cannabis has an optimistic chance this year to make the Oregon ballot as the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA) and Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative (OMPI) both bear down for the final stretch in signature gathering efforts.
Both OCTA and OMPI have until July 6, 2012 to turn in the required number of signatures, and each campaign is confident they can make it, but will need active participation from Oregon voters.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent/Oregon NORML
Photo by LK, Hemp News Correspondent/Oregon NORML
Over two hundred cities world wide join Portland for the Global Cannabis March on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Proponents will assemble in Pioneer Courthouse Square to march at "High Noon" through downtown Portland (Map Below), accompanied by a police escort.
Scott Gordon, Hemp Director for Oregon NORML reports, "We are looking for at least 3,000 people to show up and flex their rights. Anything less than that is unacceptable."
"Polls show that fifty percent of Americans agree that it is time to end cannabis prohibition. We need your support; come and be a part of the Global Cannabis March," is the call to action from Madeline Martinez, Executive Director of Oregon NORML.
Speakers for the rally immediately following the march include Martinez, Paul Loney and Anna Diaz who are members of the board of Oregon NORML along with attorney Leland Berger and Scott Gordon from NORML Rocks.
Those who continue to debate the issue of marijuana legalization in support of its prohibition by using false propaganda created in the 1930's to manipulate voters by fear, only succeed in talking themselves deeper into a hole, because research has shown that propaganda to be mostly lies. By educating yourself on the merits of the cannabis plant for its medicinal and industrial properties, you will learn that all of the wasted money thrown into the war on drugs must stop, and as a global community we should be harnessing the benefits to our community and our economy by openly allowing the growth, use and sale of industrial hemp and medical and recreational cannabis.
According to Paul Stanford, Chief Petitioner of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 in the attached video from KATU Channel 2 News "Your Voice, Your Vote" debate, "We want to take the stigma out of marijuana and allow it to be a real medicine that doctors can prescribe through pharmacies." Taking the stigma from marijuana is a matter of education about cannabis and telling the truth rather than spouting propagandist lies.
Country music legend has long been a supporter of ending cannabis prohibition.
By Bonnie King, Salem-News.com
(SALEM, Ore.) - The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act (OCTA 2012) has been gaining momentum as the time grows closer to the deadline for signatures to be submitted to the State, but nothing compares to the recent endorsement by the legendary country music star Willie Nelson.
MIAMI, FL - A South Florida man is setting out to promote the use of medical marijuana.
Billboards are popping up along Sample Road in Broward County that are targeting senior citizens.
The more ornate billboard says, 'Legalize Medical Marijuana. I'm a patient not a criminal' and another depicts an elderly person in a wheelchair.
Down the road, another billboard reads 'Reschedule Medical Marijuana, one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." CBS4's Cynthia Demos spoke with folks who drove by the billboard.
"For my family I don't like it," said Roseanne Alves.
"Marijuana is a gateway drug," said Zed Castro.
The billboards are the work of 69-year-old Robert Platshorn.
Platshorm said he spent 30 years in prison for smuggling marijuana, a substance he says can help people and shouldn't be illegal. He doesn't want others sent to prison for what he calls, 'not committing a crime', so he is trying to make it legal.
"The billboard is a way to bring attention to the cause," Platshorn said. In the four years he's been out of prison he started his cause, "The Silver Tour" to promote the legalization of marijuana for seniors.
"They have the time, the inclination and the need," he said.
Irvin Rosenfels, 59, is one of Platshorn's biggest supporters.
Randy Warburton is working to decriminalize marijuana for those age 21 and older, and he’s doing it for his grandkids.
Warburton said at least two of them will probably use marijuana, and he’d like them to be able to access it safely.
Warburton is one of six coordinators across the state working to get an initiative on the November ballot that would create a constitutional amendment allowing adults 21 and older to use the substance. Wednesday, he and volunteers stood outside the Community Food Co-op, soliciting signatures from shoppers.
More than 48,000 signatures need to be gathered statewide, and they must represent 10 percent of Montana’s qualified voters — including 10 percent of the voters in each of the 40 legislative house districts. The signatures must be collected by June 22.
Warburton and volunteers only recently started collecting signatures in the area, and in their first week doing so, collected 339. In Warburton's first half hour sitting outside the Co-op, he and a helper collected about 10. And last week at a Pinky and the Floyd concert, 35 signatures were gathered in only 30 minutes.
Kate Koenig signed her name to the petition Wednesday, and she said there are “a million reasons” why marijuana should be legal.
"You can't die from it, it helps people, it stimulates the economy," she said. "Just think how many people in Bozeman don’t have a job that could."
RICHMOND, Va. - Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol because the government's war on drugs has failed.
The outspoken evangelical Christian and host of "The 700 Club" on the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network he founded said the war on drugs is costing taxpayers billions of dollars. He said people should not be sent to prison for marijuana possession.
The 81-year-old first became a self-proclaimed "hero of the hippie culture" in 2010 when called for ending mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession convictions.
"I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance," Robertson said on his show March 1. "The whole thing is crazy. We've said, `Well, we're conservatives, we're tough on crime.' That's baloney."
Robertson's support for legalizing pot appeared in a New York Times story published Thursday. His spokesman confirmed to AP that Robertson supports legalization with regulation. Robertson was not made available for an interview.
Twice in the past two years, Gary Storck has boarded Amtrak's Empire Builder outside his hometown of Madison, Wis., and headed west to Oregon. The trip takes about 40 hours and costs more then $1,000 – all for something that makes the illegal legal.
He pays a visit to one of the state's 15 or so medical marijuana clinics, fills out an application and sees a doctor. Storck walks out an hour later, the proud holder of an Oregon-issued medical marijuana card. It's a process he'll have to go through each year to keep the card.
Storck, 56, is one of hundreds of out-of-staters who each year make an unusual pilgrimage to Oregon – the only state in the country to issue medical marijuana cards to non-residents.
"It's not a bad place to visit," said Storck, who has used marijuana for four decades to treat glaucoma and other chronic ailments. "It lifts my spirits to be in a place where medical cannabis is legal and life goes on."
Some users of medical marijuana go through the effort to acquire an Oregon card because it allows them to use the drug legally when they're in the state. Others hope it provides some legal protection if they're arrested in a state where medical marijuana is outlawed. Many out-of-staters see an Oregon card as important recognition that their use of the drug is legally recognized somewhere in the United States.
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – A petition is circulating statewide to allow the sick and dying access to medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
The Arkansans for Compassionate Care, or ACC, are encouraging others to support the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, which would decriminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
"It's common sense," said Ryan Denhem, campaign director. "It's time to have a policy like this in Arkansas."
Denham spoke to Region 8 News by phone Wednesday from Fayetteville, where the ACC is located. He says a growing number of volunteers has helped the group collect more than 20,000 signatures since May 2011, but that's a third of what's needed to get the issue on the ballot in November.
"If that passes, it will allow patients a safe environment, a tightly regulated, controlled environment, to purchase medical marijuana with a doctor's supervision," Denhem said.
(Reuters) - Colorado voters will be asked to decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in a November ballot measure, setting up a potential showdown with the federal government over America's most commonly used illicit drug.
The measure, which would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults, is one of two that will go to voters in November after a Washington state initiative to legalize pot earned enough signatures last month to qualify for the ballot there.
"This could be a watershed year in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," Art Way, Colorado manager of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. The Alliance supports the initiative.
"Marijuana prohibition is counterproductive to the health and public safety of our communities. It fuels a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wastes billions of dollars in scarce law enforcement resources, and makes criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens."
Colorado is one of 16 states and the nation's capital that already allow marijuana use for medical purposes even as cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law - and public opinion is sharply divided on the merits of full legalization.
In his "State of the City" address, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn made an impassioned plea today for the legalization of marijuana saying in the illegal trade in drugs was fueling crime in the city.
"It is time we were honest about the problems we face with the drug trade. Drugs are a source of criminal profit, and that has led to shootings and even murders. Just like we learned in the 1920s with the prohibition of alcohol, prohibition of marijuana is fueling violent activity," the mayor said in the written version of his speech.
He added that the war on drugs "fuels a biased incarceration policy. The drug war's victims are predominantly young men of color."
In a speech that covered the decline and recovery from the recession and the pressure funding cuts have put on city services and workers, the mayor’s focus on crime in the streets brought out the most reaction, according to the Seattle Times.
"Every generation must re-win its own freedoms." Gatewood Galbraith
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
On January 31st, legislation that would make cannabis a schedule II drug, thus legal for doctors to prescribe, was introduced in the Kentucky State Senate. Senate Bill 129, sponsored by Senator Perry B. Clark, D-Louisville, is being titled the "Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act".
Gatewood Galbraith was a prominent lawyer from Kentucky and an avid supporter of cannabis legalization. He dedicated over forty years to the restoration of the cannabis plant. Galbraith passed away last month from complications of pneumonia.
"Marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients dealing with illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS, to name a few," Senator Clark said. "I want to allow this as another treatment option for those individuals."
Senate Bill 129 would limit patients who are prescribed the drug from possessing more than five ounces per month. The patient could choose to fill their prescription at a board-certified pharmacy or to grow their own plants. Patients deciding to cultivate plants would be prohibited to no more than five at one time.
With a group of respected and caring citizens, I have co-sponsored Initiative 502 in Washington State (www.newapproachwa.org), which will legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of marijuana for adults. We worked very hard last year to gather more than 350,000 signatures. Last month, we turned them in, and last week, our state government certified that we had gathered enough good signatures. This means that (unless our legislature simply accepts the initiative outright), I-502 will be on the ballot in November of 2012.
I’m working with a wonderful group of activists who (like their counterparts did in the 1930s to end the prohibition against alcohol) endeavor to end the US government’s war on marijuana. We believe that it's not a question of if the USA will stop sending pot smokers to jail...it’s a matter of when. While there are many good reasons to be waging this battle, for me this is a matter of civil liberties and pragmatic harm reduction.
Virgin boss will recommend decriminalising drug use when he appears before MPs' committee
By Alan Travis, guardian.co.uk
Photograph by Startraks/Rex Features
The Virgin group head, Sir Richard Branson, is to appear in person to argue the case for decriminalising drug use at the start of a Commons home affairs committee inquiry.
Branson is to give evidence to MPs next Tuesday alongside Ruth Dreifuss, the former president of Switzerland, who served with him on the Global Commission on Drugs Policy. The commission's report, published last year, declared that the war on drugs had failed and recommended introducing a regulated legal supply of cannabis and possibly other drugs.
MPs will also take evidence from the UK Drug Policy Commission, a thinktank headed by Dame Ruth Runciman. They are expected to visit South America, including Colombia, during the course of their inquiry.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said he was looking forward to hearing from Branson and Dreifuss about the global commission's view that the war on drugs had failed and it was time to decriminalise drugs.
"Drugs can be a hugely controversial issue but we hope that this will be the start of a balanced, well-reasoned inquiry," said Vaz.
It may be a lot of smoke in the air, but an effort is in the works to try to make it legal for Michigan residents over age 21 to smoke marijuana.
A petition drive is expected to launch this week aimed at asking voters in November amend the state constitution and legalize marijuana.
If enough signatures are collected and the measure were to pass, Michigan would become one of the first states in the nation to abolish criminal penalties for anyone using, growing, selling and delivering what has been a federally controlled substance for decades.
The move also would put Michigan in the forefront of a national movement to end the prohibition on marijuana.
Legalizing marijuana is Michigan's next frontier, activists say, since the state's 2008 medical marijuana law is vague and has lead to chaos among patients and medical authorities and police and court officials in the implementation and enforcement of the law.
Proponents for a change contend that many judicial officials have used their authority to limit the law for those who need it. Meanwhile, they add, the state Legislature has not responded to the confusion.
"The medical law is not working," said Matthew Abel, an attorney who is coordinating the petition campaign. "Rather than try to rebuild that and have more of the same type of problems, we needed to go something broader than that.
Kentucky's House of Representatives and Senate fell silent last Wednesday for a moment to honor Gatewood Galbraith, remembering his life and service in his beloved home State. Gatewood, an accomplished criminal defense attorney was not one to back down from a fight. His career was focused on civil liberties. He embodied truth and remained dedicated to public service throughout his life and career.
Whether he was debating industrial hemp issues in Kentucky's political realms or leading marches to end the prohibition of the cannabis plant, Gatewood was unwavering in his resolve to inspire people to stand up for truth and preserve civil liberties. Gatewood spent his life watching his State and Country move from an agricultural agrarian society to an industrial synthetic society. Knowing these changes were politically charged for commercial purposes, he spent his time bridging the divide between these two Worlds, proclaiming himself an 'explorer for the truth in a jungle of political overgrowth.'
Gatewood is a true American hero and inspiration for us all.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
Kentucky Freedom Fighter Gatewood Galbraith has died at 64 years old. Galbraith spent his lifetime learning and working within the political and legal system. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1974 and from the University Of Kentucky College Of Law in 1977 and became "The People's Champion".
In the early 1990's, Galbraith and Willie Nelson took an historic trip across Kentucky in Galbraith’s red Mercedes Benz Station Wagon that they ran with hemp bio-diesel in order to make a positive impact on and spread the word about the potential of the United States’ bio-diesel industry. The trip inspired Nelson's own bio-diesel company. "He's smart and funny and he speaks the truth. He's a champion for the farmers and the working men and women of the world," Nelson once said of Galbraith.