Activism

Criminal Justice, the War on Drugs, and the Pursuit of Civil Liberty

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Born and raised in Cook County, Illinois, the friends I had and the life I enjoyed would earn me the label of long-haired, jean jacket wearing Deadhead, by some. Being lumped into a stereotype often has disadvantages, and I was an indignant witness to many atrocious casualties of the failed War on Drugs, specifically regarding marijuana. The shakedown always feels imminent, even today.

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News

In the United States, marijuana arrests, prosecutions, and convictions have wrought havoc on both individuals and communities, causing direct harm and resulting in dire collateral consequences including affecting eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody determinations, and immigration status.

Marijuana convictions can also subject people to more severe charges and sentences if they should ever be arrested for or convicted of another crime. In addition, the targeted enforcement of marijuana laws disproportionately against people of color, and the unsettling, humiliating experience such enforcement entails, creates community mistrust of the police, reduces police-community cooperation, and compromises public safety.

Hemp, Cannabis and Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

D. Paul Stanford

Cannabis & hemp were renamed marijuana in the early part of the 20th Century in a misinformation campaign designed by and to benefit the petrochemical pharmaceutical military industrial transnational crony corporate elite ruling class

By D. Paul Stanford, Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp

Cannabis, hemp or marijuana is our oldest crop, sown for over 12,000 years (1), and may have been domesticated over 30,000 years ago. It produces more fuel, fiber, food and medicine than any other plant (2). The seeds of cannabis produce the most productive and nutritious vegetable oil and protein (3). Hemp produces more fiber, from its stems and stalks, than any other plant (4), and hemp fiber can be used to make paper, canvas, rope, lace, linen, building materials and more. Cannabis flowers and leaves also produce over 100 unique compounds known as cannabinoids that have many physical and psychological effects. (5)

Global: 'No More Drug War' Caravan Departs From Central America To The UN

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Caravan to Hold Events in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States Culminating at UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in New York on April 19-21

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs, which will be taking place in New York City from April 19 to April 21, the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice will be starting its journey in Honduras on Monday, March 28 (see Caravan schedule).

The Caravan is a far-reaching initiative brought together by civic organizations, social movements, and victims of human rights violations from multiple countries demanding an end to the Drug War to create alternatives to prohibitionist policies that fuel violence and illicit drug trafficking.

The Caravan will visit some of the places most affected by militarization, organized crime and mass incarceration, bringing to public attention the voices of victims, migrants, indigenous and farming communities, women, youths and human rights defenders.

The goal is to promote an honest and diverse discussion of drug policy with a focus on the social costs of prohibition and the Drug War, as well as alternatives based on human rights, public health and reducing violence.

U.S.: Emergency National Mobilization April 2 To Reschedule Cannabis

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Citizens, Activists and Leaders Rally and Roll Up to the White House with 51 foot “Joint” on Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.

Mass Consumption of Cannabis to Occur at 4:20 p.m.

On Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m., DCMJ — the organization that played a critical role in passing Ballot Initiative 71, which legalized marijuana in our nation’s capital — along with leaders, activists, advocacy groups and citizens will gather along Pennsylvania Avenue directly north of the White House to demand that President Obama use his authority to reschedule cannabis now.

Why on April 2? According to the organizers, the Obama Administration has been a big ZERO on cannabis reform, so DCMJ is rescheduling and actively removing the “ZERO” from “4/20.”

DCMJ has officially requested that President Obama reclassify cannabis as a less harmful substance multiple times since he has taken office in January 2009. However, no action has been taken to reschedule cannabis to date.

Meanwhile, the placement of cannabis in the same category as drugs like heroin — which kills thousands of Americans each each year — remains not only irresponsible, unjust and unfitting, but also makes a continued mockery of the Controlled Substances Act.

New York: Victims of the War On Drugs Call For Abolishing The DEA

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Decades of violence, corruption, support for authoritarian governments, and illegal spying on Americans leave DEA unfit for service

Ahead of major United Nations meeting on global drug policy, activists call for new approach focused on public health and safety

What: Banner drop & protest at the NYC Drug Enforcement Administration Office.
When: This Friday (3/18) @ 11 AM
Where: Drug Enforcement Administration, New York City office, 99 10th Ave, NYC 10011

Details: People with a history of drug use, the formerly incarcerated and people living with AIDS, all identifying as “victims of the Drug War,” will protest the Drug Enforcement Administration for its role in perpetuating the worst of drug war policies, including mass incarceration of people of color, fueling violence abroad, and fighting scientific evidence and public health needs in order to wage the Drug War at all costs.

Protesters will do a banner drop off the High Line Park reading "Just Say NO to the DEA", followed by blocking traffic in front of the office.

For more background on DEA abuses, click here to read the fact sheet.

Music: Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real’s New Album “Something Real” Melds Variety of Styles, Eras and Emotions

Promise of the Real

By Angie Bachara
Hemp News

When Lukas Nelson talks music, it’s not just about sound. “Music is like color,” says Nelson. “When I listen to the musicians who affected me when I was growing you, I take from the primary colors to find my foundation. Then I apply secondary colors and the music becomes more and more complex.”

The intricacy of the music that has been created by Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real on their new album, Something Real, is an amazing combination of sound, color and a wealth of their lifetime influences. With only their own footsteps left to follow in, Promise of the Real is taking their music further than ever before.

D.C.: April 2 White House Rally Will Call For Rescheduling of Cannabis Now

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On Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m. in Washington, DC at Lafayette Square, located directly north of the White House, leaders, activists, advocacy groups and citizens will gather to demand that President Obama use his authority to reschedule cannabis—now.

Why on 4/2? "The Obama Administration has been a big zero on cannabis reform, so we are "rescheduling" from 420 to 4/2," according to organizers.

Who: Speakers from DCMJ, Drug Policy Alliance and other cannabis advocacy groups, along with industry activists, civil leaders and citizens.

What: Emergency Mobilization to Reschedule Cannabis Rally

When: Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m.
**Note: At 4:20 p.m. there will be a mass public consumption of cannabis.

Where: Lafayette Square located directly north of the White House on H Street between 15th and 17th Streets, Washington, DC.

What you can do:
• Click "Going" and invite your friends on DCMJ Facebook event page
• Tweet with the hashtag #Reschedule420
• Call national cannabis advocacy organizations to endorse #Reschedule420
• Volunteer with DCMJ on 4/2 to help things run smoothly

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The White House March 8, 2016
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC

Dear President Obama,

California: Anti-Marijuana Activist Is Determined To Stop Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Anti-marijuana activist Roger Morgan is determined to stop marijuana legalization in California -- and because of failure of Prop 19 in 2010, he feels he has a good chance.

Morgan is leading the Stop Pot 2016 campaign, the primary political opposition to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), the cannabis legalization initiative backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Napster founder Sean Parker, reports Zach Weissmuller at Reason.com.

Morgan's "Safe and Drug-Free Community Act" aims to keep commercial cannabis illegal, and to more heavily regulate medical marijuana in California.

In an often-contentious interview with Weissmuller, the two discuss what science does and doesn't say about the effects of cannabis on the brain; the unintended consequences of prohibition; and what lessons California voters can draw from legalization in places in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, and Alaska.

California: Vouchers For 2,000 Grams Of Weed To Be Given Away Friday At San Jose City Hall

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A California activist today announced he will be giving away vouchers for free weed at San Jose City Hall, Friday, February, 19, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Dave Hodges, founder of Weed4Votes, and the All American Cannabis Club, will give away vouchers for 2,000 grams of weed to California residents today, Friday, February 19, in San Jose, California, at San Jose City Hall.

This is part of Weed4Votes project called Weed4Voters, according to Hodges. The Weed4Voters program promotes awareness of the Marijuana Legalization efforts in the state for 2016.

During the Weed4Voters event, a voucher for 1 free gram of weed will be given to any California resident who provides their contact information to Weed4Votes.com.

What:
Weed4Voters will be passing out 2,000 vouchers for free grams of marijuana today, Friday.

When:
TODAY
February 19, 2016
2pm - 8pm

Where:
Across the street from San Jose City Hall
200 E Santa Clara St.
San Jose, CA 95112

Recreational marijuana users can redeem their vouchers for free pot after legalization passes. Medical marijuana patients may not have to wait for legalization to redeem their vouchers. "Patients are encouraged to ask their favorite cannabis collectives and delivery services if they are participating in the Weed4Voters voucher program," Hodges said.

Maine: Considering Legislation Increasing Drug Penalties, Escalating Drug War

EndTheDrugWarNow[TheFreeThoughtProject]

Advocates Say Increasing Penalties Will Frighten People Away from Seeking Treatment, Increase Incarceration, and Exacerbate Racial Disparities and the “New Jim Crow”

The Maine Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on legislation backed by the Attorney General that could roll back groundbreaking reforms passed last session that reduced drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The proposed legislation (LD 1554) would make possession of 30 milligrams (often less than one single pill) or more of prescription opioids and any amount of certain other drugs into felony offenses, continuing the criminalization of drug users and wasting scarce resources on incarceration instead of treatment and prevention.

Under this proposed bill, users not engaged in any other type of illegal conduct would face mandatory felony prosecution for possessing even minuscule amounts of certain substances.

“Addiction should be treated by healthcare professionals rather than the criminal justice system and, as a taxpayer and citizen of Maine, I would prefer our tax dollars go to prevention, treatment, and recovery, rather than mounting costly felony prosecutions against the users actively facing addiction,” said Chris Poulos, a person in long term recovery who overcame addiction and federal incarceration to attend law school and work on criminal justice policy reform at the local, state, and federal levels.

United States: Oregon Senator Ron Wyden - Hemp is the future! (And also the past.)

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Hemp is a fascinating fiber.

For millennia, hemp has been used to make everything from paper to rope to soap. George Washington even cultivated it at Mount Vernon for industrial use. But a heavy-handed law is standing in the way of American farmers.

Hemp is legal to buy but illegal to grow. That means producers of hemp-based products spend millions importing this cash crop from Canada instead of buying it from Oregon farmers. And that’s got to change. Hemp may be in our past, but it’s also our future.

I had a wonderful time yesterday at the Industrial Hemp Expo on Capitol Hill. The hemp industry is growing by leaps and bounds and there are so many exciting developments. Hemp is an environmentally friendly alternative to everything from cotton to wood.

Industrial hemp has the potential to revolutionize our rural economies in Oregon while saving precious natural resources. I’m going to keep fighting to end its prohibition.

Thank you for standing with me!

Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon)

Oregon: Cannabis Lobby Day at the Capitol, February 8th

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By CRRH Staff

Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), along with several other cannabis organizations, will be participating in Cannabis Lobby Day at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, February 8, 2016. The free speech event, will feature speakers, music and vendors, will be held from 12pm to 5pm.

* Protect the OMMP and continue the fight for patient rights and access to medicine.

* Prevent over-regulation of marijuana under M91 by the OHA, OLCC, OAC and ONI that could hinder, rather than aid, the creation, regulation and stabilization of legal marijuana related businesses.

* No Federal Scheduling - Support the effort to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. It is time for the federal government to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.

* Show support for social cannabis clubs. Clubs are an essential aspect of our culture and there should be allowance for these types of clubs.

* Network with Other Local Groups – CRRH, The Human Solution International, Oregon Chapter of Parents 4 Pot, Portland NORML, Cannabis Liberation Front and more!

All are encouraged to attend. We suggest to those who cannot attend to call or write to your representative and fill their inbox and voice mail with your input! Make your voice heard!

Press conference to be held at 12pm.
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Before arriving at the Oregon Capitol, you will want to know your State Senator and State Representative’s name & Salem office address. It is helpful to know what they look like.

RIP Paul Kantner: Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship Guitarist, Cannabis Activist

Paul Kantner & Jerry Garcia Share a Joint

By Paul Stanford, Hemp News

Today, Paul Kantner, a guitarist for the Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, passed away. Paul Kantner was, among many things, a cannabis activist who inspired me. We quoted Kantner's landmark Hawaii Supreme Court case in our preamble to Oregon's 2012 Measure 80 initiative, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act legislation. In Nov. 2012, OCTA obtained 47 percent of the vote with comparatively no funding but my own.

Kantner's Hawaii state Supreme Court case, along with John Sinclair's Michigan Supreme Court cases, were influential in the drafting of the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.

The Hawaii Supreme Court flirted with the idea of striking down marijuana laws with the 1972 decision in which it upheld the statutes and affirmed the conviction of Paul Kantner for marijuana possession during a visit on October 18, 1969. But the vote was 3-2.

Two justices said they believed an implicit right of privacy established in the state constitution permits one to smoke marijuana.

Thank you Paul Kantner for your incredible music and for standing for liberty and justice for cannabis. Blessings and prayers for you, your journey and your work.

U.S.: Oregon Delegation Legislative Action - Removal of Cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act

United States

Oregon Officials,

We are in a time of great change in our country with respect to the attitudes toward and understanding about cannabis, and as citizens, we will continue to fight for the liberation of the cannabis plant. Thousands of scientific studies have shown that cannabis has therapeutic, medicinal properties, yet cannabis remains listed federally as a Schedule I drug.

In the 1980’s, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L Young stated, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

Compassionate Investigational New Drug program is a US Government-run program that allows a limited number of patients to use medical cannabis grown at the University of Mississippi. It is administered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) but no longer allows new patients. Oregon resident, Elvy Musikka, entered the program in 1988 and relies on the program's cannabis supply to alleviate her symptoms of glaucoma.

In 1999, the United States Department of Health and Human Services filed Patent 6630507 for cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.

In June 2010, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy reclassified cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug.

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather In Amarillo, Lubbock For Training

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Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform advocates will gather Saturday (in Amarillo) and Sunday (in Lubbock) for advocacy training events.

The Amarillo event, on Saturday, January 9, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Amarillo Southwest Library, 6801 SW 44th Ave. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-amarillo/.

The Lubbock event, on Sunday, January 10, will be held at 12:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites South, 6506 I-27 South. Details of the event are available at http://texasmarijuanapolicy.org/marijuana-law-advocacy-training-lubbock/.

The events, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, are the sixth and seventh in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races.

“Marijuana prohibition has been a miserable failure, and we want to give concerned Texans the tools to help enact sensible marijuana policy reform,” said Heather Fazio, a spokesperson for Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy. “Our communities should not be using their limited law enforcement resources to criminalize adults for using a substance that is safer than alcohol.

Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life. (Honoring John Trudell)

John Trudell

Celebrate Love, Celebrate Life. (Honoring John Trudell)

On December 8, 2015, the earth lost a dedicated freedom fighter, friend and poet, John Trudell.

This Friday, January 8, from 7pm to 9pm at Portland Community Media (2766 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, Portland OR), the cable access programs "A Growing Concern" and "Cannabis Common Sense" will be combined and co-hosted by Jim Lockhart and Paul Stanford for a two-hour tribute to the late, great Santee Sioux artist, John Trudell.

John's long-time Bad Dog bandmates, Mark Shark (guitar/vocals) and Milton Sahme aka Quiltman (vocals), will perform and join the panel to reminisce and celebrate the life of a dear friend.

The tribute will feature video clips of historic performances from John Trudell and Bad Dog and memorable spoken word from lectures John gave in Portland throughout the years.

If you would like to be a part of the live studio audience, please arrive before 6:45pm to ensure your spot. If you would like to participate in the tribute but do not live in Portland, we will be streaming the event globally at: http://ustream.tv/channel/cannabis-common-sense

What: A Growing Concern/Cannabis Common Sense - Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life. (Honoring John Trudell)

When: Friday, January 8, 2015 7pm-9pm

Where: Portland Community Media - 2766 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, Portland OR 97212 - Studio A

Online: http://ustream.tv/channel/cannabis-common-sense

Oregon: Cannabis Legalization Legend, John Walsh, Passes Away

John Walsh, Oregon Capitol, July 6, 2012

Although his home was in Eugene, Oregon, John Walsh traveled the state collecting signatures and registering Oregonians to vote like Johnny Appleseed planted trees.

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Today, January 3, the cannabis community lost a colorful and dedicated freedom fighter, John Walsh. Walsh collected signatures for the hemp and cannabis movement for the past thirty years and if asked, he could tell you exactly how many signatures he collected for each and every initiative and ballot measure that relates to hemp or cannabis throughout that period.

"It makes me terribly sad to say that John Walsh, one of the biggest cannabis activists in the country, and dear friend of mine has passed away. It was John that originally introduced me to SSDP during my Freshman year in college. Thank you for everything you have done to make this world a better place," said former University of Oregon President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Sam Chapman.

Chapman worked with Walsh for several years and called him a “poster child” for medical marijuana, on which Walsh relied for his chronic pain. Though he could not walk down stairs and had to do most everything sitting down, Walsh worked tirelessly for the legalization movement. Chapman noted that it was Walsh who inspired him to become involved with the SSDP.

Another SSDP Member, Attorney Bradley Steinman stated, "RIP, John Walsh. Thank you for all your selfless work and hustle to end the war on drugs."

Missouri: Two Marijuana Proposals Competing For 2016 Ballot

MissouriLeafMap[HeraldTribune]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two competing marijuana proposals are vying for the November 2016 ballot in Missouri, with advocates and some lawmakers pointing to the growing bipartisan support for medical marijuana.

The two proposals for constitutional amendments in Missouri are counting on the high level of support for medicinal cannabis, repors Jack Howland at the Missourian/. Rather than repeat the so-far unsuccessful attempts to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in Missouri, a push for medical marijuana is see as a more achievable goal.

The Missouri Legislature passed a CBD-only "medical marijuana law" in 2014, but it is restricted to cannabidiol and only for intractable epilepsy.

Under state law, a ballot initiative must gather at least 157,000 signatures by May from six of Missouri's eight Congressional districts.

New Approach Missouri

One of the efforts comes from a coalition called New Approach Missouri, which has the support of Show-Me Cannabis. The organization has filed two initiatives with the Missouri Secretary of State, both to allow state-licensed physicians to authorize marijuana for patients with serious illnesses. Revenue from the 4 percent pot tax, above state and local taxes, would go to veterans' services.

Texas: Local Marijuana Reform Advocates To Gather Saturday For Advocacy Training

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is mobilizing activists throughout Texas in an effort to inject marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races

Local marijuana policy reform advocates -- including an active-duty Dallas police officer -- will gather Saturday for an advocacy training event at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce in Tyler.

The event, hosted by Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, is the fourth in a series of events being held around the state as part of an effort to inject the marijuana policy debate into 2016 state legislative races. Regional events are also scheduled for Houston on December 12, Amarillo on January 9, and Lubbock on January 10.

The featured speaker at Saturday’s event will be Nick Novello, an officer with the Dallas Police Department and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Members of the media are invited to listen to his presentation at 3:30 p.m. CT, and he will be available for interviews immediately after.

“I work toward marijuana legalization because, as an active police officer, I have an obligation to improve public safety and protect my community,” Officer Novello said. “Regulation and education will focus police resources on more important crimes and make the drug more difficult for children to get. By every measure, marijuana prohibition has failed. Safer communities are within reach.”

Washington: Bills Gathering Support To Allow Home Grow Of Cannabis

THCC-TrainWreck

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News

Last week, Seattle Hempfest announced support for the upcoming legislation regarding Washington House Bill 2196 and Senate Bill 6083, both of which would allow adult residents of the state of Washington to cultivate up to six cannabis/marijuana plants per domicile. The bills, if passed, will also allow the giving away of up to one ounce of pot between adults and allow citizens cultivating cannabis to possess up to eight ounces. It is currently a felony to give away cannabis in Washington.

After reading the full text of the bills, individuals are encouraged to Comment on HB 2196 & SB 6083.

The people of Washington have voiced their opinion on cannabis prohibition, stating a clear desire for citizens of be able to purchase, possess, and imbibe cannabis, free from prosecution. The implementation of I-502 has resulted in retail outlets for adult purchase of cannabis in many communities, generating jobs and tax revenue.

Unfortunately, it remains illegal for a citizen who is not a medical patient to cultivate any amount of cannabis in Washington. "Spending state resources on prosecuting and incarcerating Washingtonians who grow cannabis is not a prudent or effective use of our resources," stated Vivian McPeak, Seattle Hempfest's Executive Director in a release to Hemp News.

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