Activism

Michigan: Crowd Gathers in Lansing on First Day to Apply for Legal Use

By Charlie Cain, Detroit News Lansing Bureau

There is a truth that must be heard! Lansing -- They laughed and hugged, posed for group photos and celebrated that they were finally going to be allowed to legally use marijuana to treat their medical problems.

No one wore a bigger smile when dropping off an application Monday to join the Michigan Medical Marijuana Registry than Renee Wolfe, a 48-year-old mother of four sons who has been illegally using pot for 30 years.

"Marijuana allows me to eat, allows me to live a fairly normal life," said Wolfe, an Ann Arbor resident who used a wheelchair to roll into the Michigan Department of Community Health building to apply. She has battled multiple sclerosis since 1979.

"I'm able to walk better when I smoke," she said.

Monday was the first day the state accepted applications for the program to allow people with "debilitating" medical conditions to use marijuana.

A group of 55 people chartered a bus to take them from a Lansing café to a nearby state office building to pay $100 and file paperwork, including a certificate from a Michigan-licensed physician that they have a medical condition that could be helped through the use of marijuana. Under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program, the state will issue picture ID registration cards to those who qualify. The cards should be in the hands of patients by the end of the month.

Michigan: Medical Marijuana Program - WZZM 13

State regulators will begin accepting applications on Saturday from patients who want state authorization to acquire, grow, transport or possess marijuana for therapeutic use.

"If a patient has a qualifying condition, then our doctors will help them get a permit," said chief executive Paul Stanford, adding the clinic pre-screens patients to ensure they've already been diagnosed with an illness approved for treatment with medical marijuana. The clinic doesn't sell or dispense marijuana, because that's against the law.

The Portland, Ore.-based organization is taking roots in what could soon become a budding niche industry in Michigan.

"You're looking at a $10 million annual industry that physicians aren't going to turn their backs on for too long," said Brad Forrester, a communications director for the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, which began organizing last year and is applying for nonprofit status with the state.

Michigan: Medical Marijuana WWMT Video

State leaders in Michigan are preparing to hand out cards allowing people to legally smoke marijuana for medical purposes.

By Michigan Newschannel 3

There is a truth that must be heard! Michigan is the 13th state to legalize marijuana for medical use, but you will need written consent from your doctor and you'll have to apply through the state.

Jon Dunbar says it's about time Michigan legalized medical marijuana. He says he's just about always in pain, he has spinal problems and has been looking for a way to live a semi-normal life for years.

Dunbar's been using pot to relieve his pain illegally for a while and has been behind the campaign to legalize the drug for people like him from the beginning.

Dunbar says his doctor has recommended dozens of options to relieve his pain, but so far nothing seems to work.

Minnesota: Industrial Hemp Still Alive in Legislature

By Andy Birkey, Minnesota Independent

There is a truth that must be heard! State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, passed out chocolate truffles topped with industrial hemp seeds at the House Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday. The nutritious seeds are legal to buy in Minnesota as food, but once they sprout, they are considered marijuana and subject to harsh legal penalties. A bill Kahn sponsored that would allow for the agricultural production of hemp passed the committee on Wednesday.

“It’s the one product that we can buy here, but we can’t grow it here,” said Thom Peterson of the Minnesota Farmers Union. Peterson hopes that one day farmers will have an alternative crop in industrial hemp.

The chief supporter of industrial hemp in the United States is an unlikely figure: David Monson, the Republican Speaker of the North Dakota House. He’s a farmer near the Canadian border whose neighbors were growing hemp while his barley crop was failing because of a blight. His efforts helped Minnesota’s neighbors to the west move forward with industrial hemp and its production.

Kahn said concerns that hemp farmers would clandestinely grow the similar-looking marijuana plant among fields of hemp were unfounded. “They would both cross-pollinate and ruin each other,” Kahn said, and the marijuana plants would be rendered useless as a drug, she said. “I understand you’d have to smoke an eighth before [feeling any effects].”

Washington State: Kitsap Medical Marijuana Defendant Acquitted

By CHARLIE BERMANT, Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer

There is a truth that must be heard! A medical marijuana patient being prosecuted in Kitsap County Superior Court for drug trafficking was found not guilty on Tuesday morning, after a jury ruled that his use of the drug was within the law.

The jury deliberated for approximately two hours prior to its ruling.

After the verdict, the prosecution maintained that the case had nothing to do with the treatment itself. Instead, it had to do whether defendant Bruce Wayne Olson was selling the homegrown drug for profit.

“Each county is struggling to understand what is an appropriate amount of marijuana for medical use,” said Defense Attorney Thomas Balerud. “The prosecutors should look to the will of the public to determine this. In this case, the jury spoke its mind and determined that no lawyers should be able to overrule a doctor’s judgement.”

Prosecutor Alexis Foster said this was not a precedent-setting case and would not affect how such violations are prosecuted in the future.

“This was never about medical marijuana,” she said. “We believed it was an illegal manufacturing case, and that the defendant was breaking the law. We will continue to prosecute anything we believe to be a distribution site.”

Washington State: Jury Acquits South Kitsap Man in Medical Marijuana Case

By Josh Farley, Kitsap Sun

There is a truth that must be heard! PORT ORCHARD — A jury has acquitted 54-year-old Bruce Olson on one count of manufacturing marijuana and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Olson, who had a card from the state allowing him to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, was arrested in May 2007 by detectives with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team, who contended that he had marijuana than state law allowed.

The jury deliberated between two and three hours between Monday and Tuesday before returning the verdict.

Olson said he had to sell his home to fund his defense. He and his wife, Pamela, live in a travel trailer.

"But it's worth it for the cause: Quit arresting medical marijuana patients," he said after the verdict.

Kitsapsun.com will update this story later today.

Source: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/mar/24/jury-acquits-south-kitsap-man-...

United States: Washington State Marijuana Trial on National Stage

Thousands are anxiously watching the case against a retired stone mason as they move into closing arguments.

By Bonnie King, Salem-News.com

(PORT ORCHARD, Wash.) - Thirty or so miles outside Tacoma, Washington, in Kitsap County there has been a storm brewing. It's been coming for almost two years, and for the last two weeks, the force of the impact has been hitting the courtroom, but hard.

Kitsap County may not be a place that every one is acquainted with, and after you read this story, it may indeed be one of the last places you ever want to visit.

Though we generally accept that people are hard working, honest and congenial throughout the Pacific NorthWest, it so happens that the very core of the Kitsap County government has displayed none of those considerable attributes.

The majority of Washingtonians voted together in 1998 for the health and safety of its ill residents. Supporting the medical use of marijuana was not a hard choice for most, and the state has adjusted very well overall to bringing these sick patients into the fold.

Contrary to these ideals seems to be one particular man: Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge (pronounced howgy). His opinion of the thousands of legal medicinal use patients seems to be nothing less than disapproval.

The story goes like this:

United States: Dr. Ron Paul and Stephen Baldwin Debate Marijuana Legalization on Larry King

By Ms Sylence Dogood, Hemp News Staff

There is a truth that must be heard! This editorial is in regards to the video (posted above) of the debate about the Legalization of Marijuana between Congressman Ron Paul (R) and Actor Stephen Baldwin.

When can we find someone who will debate against medical marijuana and/or legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults who actually has actually read any research, studies, and statistics which back up their arguments? This time the chosen spokesperson is the actor, Stephen Baldwin. Wait, what? Stephen Baldwin? Is he an expert in anything other than sophomoric comedy?

Iowa: Heartland Hemp Farming Needs Lawmakers’ Help

By DI Editorial Board

There is a truth that must be heard! A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers is putting forth legislation to legalize the growth of cannabis, or hemp. The Industrial Hemp Development Act (HF 608) would provide licenses to qualified farmers for the cultivation of hemp, after passing background checks, of course. Iowa lawmakers must pay close attention to the progress of Minnesota’s hemp act; its success or failure may signal how a similar act would fair here. Regardless of the reaction of our neighbors to the north, hemp production will dramatically change the face of agriculture in America, and Iowans need to be out ahead of this increasingly popular trend.

Seven states — Hawaii, West Virginia, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Kentucky, and North Dakota — have legalized hemp production; however, not one is producing the crop because of resistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Hemp farmers in North Dakota are granted licenses by the state, but they are required to obtain separate permits from the DEA. The agency has continually refused to accept applications, leading farmers in North Dakota to file a lawsuit against the federal government.

A common complaint among law-enforcement agencies at all levels of government is that monitoring acres of hemp for hidden pockets of marijuana would be next to impossible. This idea is, in fact, very reasonable, because hemp and marijuana are members of the same species, cannabis.

United States: Marijuana Activist Gets Her Supply From Unusual Source - Uncle Sam

By Nat Levy, The Register-Guard

There is a truth that must be heard! Elvy Musikka is one of only a few people on a government program created in the late ’80s that supplies people with medical marijuana.

In 2007, more than 775,000 people were arrested in the United States for possession of marijuana. In that same year, four people received their supply of the very same drug from the U.S. government.

Elvy Musikka was one of them.

Musikka, a 66-year-old Eugene resident by way of Florida, each year receives several tins, each containing 300 marijuana cigarettes grown by the federal government at the University of Mississippi.

She was the third person, and the first woman, to qualify to receive the government-grown product.

She did so following an arrest for growing marijuana, and a subsequent court case where her doctors testified that, unless Musikka was allowed access to marijuana, she would go blind.

“I wanted to go to court because I really don’t believe there is any government that has the right to demand blindness and suffering from their patients,” Musikka said. “That’s who they’re supposed to protect.”

Since moving to Oregon in 2005, Musikka has participated in the public debate over Oregon’s medical marijuana law. In this year’s legislative session, 14 bills are up for consideration in the House and Senate.

Washington State: Report Finds Marijuana Prohibition Is Not Achieving Goals

By Alison Holcomb, Drug Policy Director WA ACLU

There is a truth that must be heard! A report issued by two University of Washington researchers finds that laws criminalizing marijuana are not achieving their goals. The report concludes that arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating, and seizing the property of people who commit marijuana-related offenses doesn't reduce use. And lessening or removing penalties doesn't increase it.

"The report finds that the 'war on marijuana' is quite costly in both financial and human terms, and the prohibition of marijuana has not measurably reduced its use. This is a clear call for us to reconsider our laws and policies on marijuana," says Alison Holcomb, ACLU of Washington drug policy director.

The report, "The Consequences and Costs of Marijuana Prohibition," was produced by Katherine Beckett and Steve Herbert, associate professors in the University of Washington's Law, Societies, and Justice Program. Beckett and Herbert analyzed data and conducted in-depth interviews in order to compare the fiscal, public safety, and human costs of current marijuana policy against marijuana's price, potency, availability and use. The report was commissioned by the ACLU of Washington.

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Advocates Cropping Up On Western Slope

By Pete Fowler, postindependent.com

There is a truth that must be heard! GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — Medical marijuana seems to be growing on the Western Slope.

A Grand Junction man plans to set up a storefront for a medical marijuana dispensary soon, and the THC Foundation of Denver has said it sees enough demand on the Western Slope that it wants to establish a permanent facility in Glenwood Springs or somewhere nearby in the future to help people obtain medical marijuana permits.

Gregg Davis, of Grand Junction, plans to establish a full-service medical marijuana dispensary in Grand Junction in June. William Hewitt, of Montrose, also reportedly has plans to open a dispensary instead of operating out of his home.

“What we’re wanting to offer is something so THC patients know they have a place to come and they’re safe,” Davis said.

Davis said he’s meeting with the city attorney and is still working on getting a location.

“It might be downtown. It may even be next to the police department,” he said.

The dispensary would be called “The Therapuetic Herbal Cure.” Davis is considering having the dispensary offer a variety of services such as massage. He said many people who have medical marijuana permits are over 60 and suffer from chronic pain.

“When you talk to some of these people it almost makes you want to cry,” he said.

Oregon: Activists Say Medical Marijuana Act is Under Attack

A number of activists will be at the state capitol Wednesday.

By Tim King, Salem-news.com

There is a truth that must be heard! (SALEM, Ore.) - Medical marijuana activists in Oregon are at the state capitol this week opposing SB 388 that would increase police scrutiny of sick people and create more obstacles for those who legally use cannabis for healthcare.

Michael Bachara from The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, says advocates are talking about the Human Services and Rural Health Policy.

Bachara says it is a critical time to push for the rights of sick people who use medical marijuana.

"We need to let our representatives know that we oppose this bill. It would allow law enforcement to inspect our gardens at any time and create even more hoops to jump through and more paperwork that would be a burden not only to the state but also to medical marijuana patients, caregivers and growers throughout the state," said Anna Diaz of Oregon NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws).

Another matter currently at hand is supported by over 1200 Oregon NORML members. That is Senate Bill 388-1, or the "Dash-1" amendment to this bill.

This amendment would allow patients to reimburse a registered cardholder for production costs of medicine, not just their caregiver/grower of record.

California: DEA To Yield Marijuana Jurisdiction To States

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is sending strong signals that President Obama - who as a candidate said states should be allowed to make their own rules on medical marijuana - will end raids on pot dispensaries in California.

Asked at a Washington news conference Wednesday about Drug Enforcement Administration raids in California since Obama took office last month, Holder said the administration has changed its policy.

"What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement," he said. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."

Bill Piper, national affairs director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group, said the statement is encouraging.

"I think it definitely signals that Obama is moving in a new direction, that it means what he said on the campaign trail that marijuana should be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue," he said.

Piper said Obama has also indicated he will drop the federal government's long-standing opposition to health officials' needle-exchange programs for drug users.

United States: Beginning of the End - US Attorney General Says Ending DEA Raids

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Speaking at a press conference on Feb. 25 with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters that ending federal medical marijuana raids "is now American policy."

"What the President said during the campaign...is consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement" - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

Don Duncan, California Director of Americans for Safe Access, says the Attorney General’s comments are the latest sign of a sea change in federal policy prompted by a groundswell of grassroots pressure by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and our allies.

"They came as a response to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids carried out by Bush Administration holdovers in California in January and February," Duncan said.

President Obama indicated he would end the DEA raids during his presidential campaign, a position reiterated by the White House following DEA raids in raids which took placeon February 4.

Illinois: Toying with History - Items From Past Set for Display

By Denise Moran, The Courier-News

GENOA -- Longtime resident Roger Watson is adding local interest to the Genoa City Hall front lobby with a display of his wooden trucks and tractors.

"Mayor Todd Walker wanted to put something in the lobby," Watson said. "Some of the trucks and tractors are homemade, while others were made during World War II. Some of them are very rare."

Watson is a farm toy collector. He buys, sells, trades, customizes and repairs farm toys, and builds wooden models. He has a collection of around 300 1/16-scale farm tractors. He was one of the founders, with Merle Roberts and Warren Brown, of Genoa's annual Pioneer Day at the Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society museum along Park Avenue.

"I like John Deere and Minneapolis-Moline tractors the best," Watson said. His display will be at city hall this week. "It's a good hobby."

Some of Roger's model farm equipment was displayed in shop windows during Genoa's Harvest Moon Festival.

Watson, who moved to Genoa in 1964, grew up on a farm as one of the oldest children in a family of five boys and two girls.

"My mom asked me to fix some of our toys," Watson said. "I've always repaired things, even as a kid."

The skills he learned while growing up on a farm have provided him with both hobbies and an interest in pioneer life.

"My grandfather was a wheelwright," Watson said. "He got me interested in wood carving. I've been making wooden spoons since I was 9 years old."

Minnesota: Medical Marijuana Backers Push Bill

By KSTP.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Supporters of medical marijuana are enlisting family members of those who have died in slow agony as they push to get a bill to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's desk this session, even though he remains opposed.

Opponents include a former drug dealer who said authorizing seriously ill patients to obtain and use marijuana would just open the door to mischief.

The bill took its first step on Wednesday, passing the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee on a divided voice vote after an emotional hearing.

"If medicinal marijuana or medical marijuana will alleviate someone's pain in their dying days, who in the hell are we to say no to that?" said Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, who said he became a supporter after watching his mother die of cancer.

Joni Whiting - who lost her 26-year-old daughter, Stephanie, to cancer in 2003 - broke down crying after reading a statement about the ordeal and the relief marijuana brought Stephanie. Whiting said she was anti-drug but came around when she saw how it helped her daughter. She said someone left a package of marijuana on her doorstep after she asked friends how to buy it.

"I have never known who to thank for it but I remain grateful beyond belief," Whiting said.

She added: "I would have no problem going to jail for acquiring medical marijuana for my suffering child."

But others raised doubts.

Oregon: ACLU Stands Up for Medical Marijuana Patients - Join Them

By ACLU-Oregon

In 2009, the Oregon legislature will consider legislation that allows employers to fire an employee who is never impaired in the workplace simply because the employee lawfully uses medical marijuana during non-work hours to treat a medical condition. Yet the law would not penalize workers who take physician-prescribed medications and are actually impaired at the workplace. This is fundamentally unfair and discriminates against medical marijuana patients.

No worker should be removed from a job simply because he or she suffers from a debilitating medical condition that can be controlled by the lawful use of medical marijuana. Actual impairment, not which medication is used, should be the focus of any law giving employers the power to fire employees (indeed legislation is unnecessary because employers already have the ability to terminate impaired employees).

Under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voters in 1998, Oregonians have the right to use medical marijuana when recommended by a physician to treat a medical condition. Employment laws should not single out medical marijuana patients for harsher treatment than patients using other medications, such as codeine, amphetamines, morphine or other lawfully prescribed controlled substances.

This legislation does not make the workplace safer.

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