Fred Gardner

United States: Marijuana: An Avoidable Loss in Oregon

by FRED GARDNER, CounterPunch

There is a truth that must be heard! Paul Stanford, 52, is the author and prime mover behind Oregon’s marijuana legalization initiative, Measure 80, which had gotten 46.5 percent of the vote as of Sunday morning when I called to offer condolences.

“We came close,” he said. “We won Portland by over 60 percent and they’ve still got about 100,000 Portland votes to count. I think it’ll go above 47 percent when all those votes are counted.” Stanford did not sound downhearted. “Here’s an amazing thing,” he went on. “The day after the election the Oregonian, which had opposed us and called us all kinds of names, ran an editorial arguing that the legislature should now legalize and regulate marijuana!”

The billionaires Back East who put about $5 million into successful initiatives in Colorado and Washington state did not contribute to the Oregon legalization effort. Stanford had implored them for help, to no avail. “If we’d had a half million dollars of outside support for advertising, we’d have won,” he says matter-of-factly.

California: 15 Years After Prop 215 Have the Feds Overreached on Medical Marijuana?

By Fred Gardner, Counter Punch/O’Shaughnessy’s

There is a truth that must be heard! Occasionally the iron heel comes down on people who are widely respected and/or have the resources and will to fight back effectively. "The feds have overreached," says Steve DeAngelo, who runs Harborside Health Center in Oakland and has been presented by the IRS with a $2.4 million bill for back taxes. He was referring to the DEA raid on Northstone Organics Oct. 13; the threatening letters to growers, dispensaries, and their landlords sent by California’s U.S. Attorneys Oct. 7; the denial of gun permits to registered medical cannabis users ordered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in September; and other recent measures directed against the industry.

Overreach by law enforcement was a big factor in the passage of Prop 215 back in November, 1996. The No-on-215 forces, led by Attorney General Dan Lungren, arranged a highly publicized raid on the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club three months before Election Day. Their intention was to turn the vote into a referendum on Dennis Peron's right to operate.

United States: Lawyer and Doctor Both Sentenced to Five Years for Following California Law

In 1996, the voters of California passed Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana at the state level, so why is the Federal Government continuing the persecution of law-abiding citizens?

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Fry, Schafer and family at August 2007 demonstration (courtesy indybay.org) Sacramento, California - In a hearing set before Federal Judge Damrell, Doctor Mollie Fry, MD and her husband, Attorney Dale Schafer were ordered to surrender themselves to United States Federal Marshals on May 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM to begin their five-year minimum mandatory sentence in federal prison.

The married couple's draconian tribulations began in September of 2001, when the police raided their Sacramento home and found 34 plants. The couple thought they were on safe legal ground as they were well below the 90-plant limit established by the local city ordinance for cardholders such as themselves.

After a ten-day trial in 2007, it took a federal jury in Sacramento less than three hours to find them guilty of conspiracy to grow and distribute marijuana. In this landmark case, the prosecution was allowed to add three years of cumulative plants together, totaling approximately 109 plants, thus forcing mandatory federal penalties.

California: Obama's Mixed Messages on Marijuana

By Fred Gardner, O’Shaughnessy’s Editor

Two days after Barack Obama became President, DEA agents led a raid on a South Lake Tahoe dispensary run by a wheelchair-bound entrepreneur named Ken Estes. They seized about five pounds of cannabis and a few thousands dollars. They arrested no one. “It was a typical rip-and-run" said a friend who had spoken with Estes.

In years past, when dispensaries run by Estes had been closed by law enforcement, activists would tsk-tsk about the looseness of his management style, as if Estes had drawn the heat on himself. This time Ol’ Ken was seen as a brave, tax-paying victim and scorn was directed at the DEA for ignoring Obama’s alleged promise to end such raids. A few verbal militants blamed the new President himself for not seeing to it that his “promise” was kept from the day he took office.

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