Political

California: A Letter From Eddy Lepp

Brethren

The dark angels of Babylon are among us and are trying to take one of our own.

The Reverend Eddy Lepp is to be sentenced February 23, 2009 to two life sentences for growing the sacred herb.

He was denied a religious defense even after the judge ruled he met all the standards necessary to allow this.

Eddy Lepp had notified the Governor, the Attorney General, the Board Of Supervisors of Lake County, the Lake County District Attorney, and the local Sheriff; all by certified mail that he was growing the sacred herb for medicinal and spiritual use – by the members of the Multi-Denominational Ministry of Cannabis and Rastafari.

Jah Rastafari.

Reverend Lepp protected all members of his church, and was the only one charged.

After four years of litigation, his trial was reduced to two very short days of testimony due to restrictions placed by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel. The whole trial was over in less than one week.

We ask that you contact Judge Marilyn Hall Patel and ask that she be lenient in sentencing Reverend Lepp for this victimless act. Court Information: Eddy is scheduled to appear in front of the court February 23, 2009 to face possibly two life sentences.

We hope you will take the time to write the judge and ask for leniency in Eddy's sentencing.
Here is a sample letter that we ask all concerned to please sign and send to Judge Patel. You are welcome to change the wording in any way you want, but be respectful so the Judge pays attention to your message!

Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State and Zip

Honorable Judge Patel

North Dakota: Industrial Hemp Production Licenses Accepted By N D AG Department

By Staff Writer, Jamestown Sun

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for 2009 industrial hemp production licenses. "The applications are due Jan. 1," said Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson. "Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration continues to prevent holders of state licenses from growing industrial hemp, NDDA remains committed to fully implementing state laws authorizing the production, processing and sale of this crop in North Dakota."

Source: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n1106/a04.html

[MAP - Hemp]

United States: Year in Review - 2008 a Huge Year for Marijuana Reform

In this annual season of year-end reviews, marijuana policy reformers are counting 2008 as one of their most successful years ever. 2008 saw major progress on legal reforms plus a raft of new data that validated reformers' critiques of current marijuana laws.

Among the changes are marijuana decriminalization Massachusetts, the addition of Michigan as the nation's 13th medical marijuana state, and new research verifying that marijuana helps with pain relief.

Source: http://salem-news.com/articles/december162008/marijuana_success_12-16-08...

[Salem-News.com Medical Marijuana]

Michigan: State’s First Medical Marijuana Clinic Opens in Southfield

By Jennie Miller, C & G Staff Writer

SOUTHFIELD — The first medical marijuana clinic in the state of Michigan opened Dec. 4 in Southfield, following the controversial proposal voters approved last month making the drug legal in the state for medical purposes.

Run by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Portland, Ore., the clinic currently has two licensed physicians on staff.

The Southfield clinic joins 17 others in the country run by THCF: four in Oregon, four in Washington state, three in Colorado, three in Hawaii, one in Nevada, one in California and one in Montana. Thirteen states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

“We’ve helped over 45,000 patients in eight states now, including Michigan since we opened up there last Thursday,” said Paul Stanford, president, founder and CEO of THCF. “We plan on expanding to other cities in Michigan.”

Prospective patients are advised to contact the clinic by phone and have their primary care physician provide medical records.

“We require they have medical records from another doctor and be under another doctor’s treatment,” Stanford explained. “All of our patients have to have another current relationship with either an M.D. or a D.O. to meet their medical needs.”

After the medical records have been reviewed, the patient meets with a nurse or doctor at the clinic for a non-invasive physical examination.

Michigan: State, marijuana advocates prepare to work together - State to license use for patients who receive doctor approval

By Eartha Jane Melzer

For the first time ever, the state Department of Community Health is working out a process to permit some seriously ill people and their caregivers to possess and grow marijuana. The move is required by the medical marijuana initiative that Michigan voters approved last month.

The law, which won a majority of voters in every county of the state, takes effect on Thursday. The state has until April 4 to establish the rules for the program. The Department of Community Health will issue draft rules this month, and a public hearing is expected in January.

Both the Department of Community Health and the newly formed nonprofit Michigan Medical Marijuana Association are planning education drives to help smooth the transition into state licensing of medicinal marijuana users.

DCH has added a medical marijuana FAQ to its Web site. According to spokesman James McCurtis, the department plans to launch a new site dedicated to solely medical marijuana early this month. McCurtis said the department has been working on guidelines with officials from Oregon and Montana, which passed similar laws in 1998 and 2004, respectively.

Statistics maintained by the state of Oregon give some sense of the results of such a law. More than 3,000 Oregon doctors have recommended marijuana to patients there; more than 20,000 patients hold cards authorizing marijuana use.

Advocates of the law say coordination is needed to meet expected public demand for medical marijuana.

Michigan: Voters Approve Medical Marijuana Measure

By The Associated Press

Voters in Michigan overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana ballot measure -- making it one of a quarter of states to allow severely ill patients to use the illegal drug.

With 87 percent of the precincts reporting, 63 percent, or 2,557,410 people, voted "yes" on Proposal 1, which removes state penalties for registered patients to buy, grow and use small amounts of marijuana. Thirty-seven percent, or 1,519,273 voters, were opposed.

Opponents again were unable to derail the measure. In fact, only one state, South Dakota, has failed to OK a ballot attempt.

Of the 12 other states with medical marijuana laws, eight stemmed from ballot initiatives; four were enacted by state legislatures.

"I think it's a real victory for the patients and their families," said Dianne Byrum, spokeswoman for the support group Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care. "I just had a feeling from the very beginning this was going to pass, and it was going to resonate with the voters. ... "Voters knew right from the beginning the medical value of marijuana."

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Bill Schuette, chairman of the opposition group Citizens Protecting Michigan's Kids, said he was disappointed with the outcome but not the effort.

"It appears we came up short," he said. "We waged a good campaign, a hard-fought campaign. But we were severely underfunded, and that's always a challenge."

United States: Hedge fund manager Andrew Lahde calls it quits - and backs hemp production

by Darrell Proctor, Business Examiner

Andrew Lahde's hedge fund at Lahde Capital Management earned an 866 percent return in the past year. He bet against the subprime mortgage market, and won as that market decimated the financial sector.

Ladhe closed the fund last month. And today he called its quits, and announced his "retirement" in a letter ripping his profession and many of those who run it. An excerpt:

"These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America."

Lahde also called for the production of hemp as an alternative energy source - and noted how the criminalization of marijuana ("It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover") is likely due to a governmental and corporate conspriracy designed to aid drug companies.

He also tells his contemporaries to "throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life."

More fascinating fallout from the market collapse.
Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-288-Business-Examiner~y2008m10d17-Hedge-fund-m...

Michigan: Two days, two newspaper endorsements of Proposal 1

By Richard Owl Mirror

Following hot on the heels of yesterday's Detroit Free Press endorsement of the medical marijuana initiative, the Detroit News followed suit this morning. Together, the Free Press and the News boast the overwhelming majority of Detroit's readership, so these endorsements carry substantial weight in Michigan's largest metropolitan area.

Today's endorsement not only rightly emphasizes that medical marijuana is an issue of compassion and common sense, but also stresses the safeguards written into the initiative. The editors conclude:

"Proposal 1 seems to have been written to anticipate and address concerns that it is a backdoor route to full-blown legalization. The standard for obtaining a registry card is high and the penalty for misuse is steep.

"Proposal 1 won't make pot any more publicly visible or available than it already is; all it will do is allow doctors, primary caregivers, and most importantly patients another option in managing serious and painful illnesses. Vote yes on Proposal 1."

http://www.stoparrestingpatients.org/

The Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care (MCCC) is a grassroots organization devoted to passing Proposal 1, the medical marijuana initiative on the November 2008 ballot. Proposal 1 will protect seriously ill Michiganders suffering from illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis from the threat of arrest and jail for simply trying to alleviate their pain.

California: Santa Cruz council candidate Craig Canada seeks to improve services for homeless, medical marijuana patients

By Genevieve Bookwalter, Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ -- J. Craig Canada said he is running for the Santa Cruz City Council because, while living on the streets for three years, he had difficulty finding help and shelter as a medical marijuana patient.

With firsthand knowledge of two of the city's most visible issues, Canada, 53, said he can bring experience and insight the council currently lacks.

Canada is one of 10 people running for four seats on the Santa Cruz City Council on Nov. 4.

"I use cannabis for a mood disorder and I would have qualified for the mental-health housing," Canada said, "except they consider cannabis an illegal drug and they wouldn't have it there."

According to county elections records, Canada is a registered Democrat but has never voted in a Santa Cruz County election. He lives downtown and is running in his first election.

Canada said he has not voted because he thinks many races are a choice between evils. In addition, he said, he does not trust electronic voting machines.

Santa Cruz Superior Court records show Canada has been cited for possessing marijuana on Pacific Avenue, and is the defendant in an ongoing trial after he allegedly spit in the face of someone who he said was knocking on the door of a restroom he occupied in a downtown restaurant. After that, Canada allegedly lay on the floor and yelled that he was being assaulted.

Canada said he did those things because he thought he was being assaulted,

Michigan: Yes on Prop 1: Allow seriously ill people the relief marijuana may offer

Editorial Staff, Detroit Free Press

If people who are seriously or chronically ill can convince their doctors that using marijuana will make them feel better, the State of Michigan should not stand in the way. Proposal 1 on the statewide ballot Nov. 4 would allow Michigan residents to cultivate and possess small amounts of marijuana for medical reasons with a doctor's approval. Voters should say yes to this proposal, which was placed on the ballot by a petition campaign that collected almost 378,000 signatures.

This is not about drug use. It's about compassion. The initiative would amend Michigan law to allow seriously ill people to seek authorization from a doctor to grow up to a dozen marijuana plants and possess up to 2.5 ounces of the weed, strictly for personal use. The continuing, regulated sale of alcoholic beverages poses more of a problem for society than will passage of this law.

Voters in five Michigan cities -- Detroit, Ann Arbor, Flint, Ferndale and Traverse City -- and a dozen other states have already approved similar statutes without the dire consequences forecast by federal drug-control authorities who fear the start of a slippery slope toward broad drug legalization.

Washington: State sets limit on 60-day medical marijuana supply

By The Associated Press

SEATTLE- The state Health Department has set a final rule defining a 60-day supply of medical marijuana at 24 ounces and up to 15 plants.

The rule approved Thursday takes effect Nov. 2.

Previously, Washington’s medical marijuana law allowed qualifying patients to have up to a 60-day supply, but didn’t say how much that was. The result was a lot of confusion, with patients unsure how much they were allowed to have and police officers arresting people who they thought had too much.

State officials say the 24-ounce limit is the same as Oregon’s, and more than allowed in some other states with medical marijuana laws, but less than allowed in several California counties.

Patient advocates argued for a higher limit.

Source: http://www.tdn.com/articles/2008/10/02/breaking_news/doc48e52dcd557fd536...

Europe: Report urges regulated market for cannabis to replace prohibition

By Duncan Campbell, The Guardian

UK: A report on cannabis prepared for next year's UN drug policy review will suggest that a "regulated market" would cause less harm than the current international prohibition. The report, which is likely to reopen the debate about cannabis laws, suggests that controls such as taxation, minimum age requirements and labelling could be explored.

The Global Cannabis Commission report, which will be launched today at a conference in the House of Lords, has reached conclusions which its authors suggest "challenge the received wisdom concerning cannabis". It was carried out for the Beckley foundation, a UN-accredited NGO, for the 2009 UN strategic drug policy review.

There are, according to the report, now more than 160 million users of the drug worldwide. "Although cannabis can have a negative impact on health, including mental health, in terms of relative harms it is considerably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco," according to the report. "Historically, there have only been two deaths worldwide attributed to cannabis, whereas alcohol and tobacco together are responsible for an estimated 150,000 deaths per annum in the UK alone."

The report, compiled by a group of scientists, academics and drug policy experts, suggests that much of the harm associated with cannabis use is "the result of prohibition itself, particularly the social harms arising from arrest and imprisonment." Policies that control cannabis, whether draconian or liberal, appear to have little impact on the prevalence of consumption, it concluded.

United States: Want To Know Why Pot Is Still Illegal? Ask Your Governor

By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

Marijuana law reformers, myself included, have spilled volumes of ink commenting on the numerous reasons and vested interests responsible for the continued prohibition of cannabis. But while these lengthy writings may be worthwhile intellectual exercises, I fear that they overlook the obvious.

That’s why, right now, I’d like to give you seven specific reasons why the use of cannabis by adults — including seriously ill patients — remains a crime in America. Ready? Here they are:

Governor Donald Carcieri (R-Rhode Island)

Governor James Douglas (R-Vermont)

Governor Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii)

Governor John Lynch (D-New Hampshire)

Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota)

Governor Jodi Rell (R-Connecticut)

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California)

Each of these Governors have single-handedly opted to kill marijuana law reform legislation in their states — either by the stroke of a pen (Carcieri, Lingle, Rell, Schwarzenegger) or by applying enough legislative pressure to abruptly halt ‘pro-pot’ proposals from ever reaching their desk. (In fairness to Gov. Douglas, he has allowed both medical marijuana and hemp law reform bills to become law without his signature.) Governors Carcieri and Schwarzenegger are multiple offenders — having combined to veto half a dozen marijuana-law reform bills in recent years.

Want to know why pot remains illegal in America? You can start by asking your Governor.

Source: http://blog.norml.org/2008/10/01/want-to-know-why-pot-is-still-illegal-a...

Wisconsin: LEGALIZING, TAXING POT URGED TO RAISE CASH

By Chris Rickert, Madison NORML

Wisconsin - President Bush and the two leading presidential contenders were urging lawmakers to take one for the good of the country Tuesday and pass a highly unpopular Wall Street bailout package.

Some drug-reform advocates, meanwhile, were suggesting that a better way out of the current financial mess would be to toke one for the country.

"Society could get a great deal of funding by bringing cannabis into our society," said Gary Storck, co-founder of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

More specifically, legalizing and taxing marijuana and industrial hemp could open up a lucrative revenue stream and help offset a $700 billion taxpayer outlay to save the country's financial system.

"Why not look at it?" said Storck, who likens the idea to President Roosevelt's support for ending prohibition during the Depression. "We need the money. How else are we going to get it?"

The possible fiscal boon of legalizing marijuana has long been an argument put forth by NORML and like-minded groups, who point to studies showing that the government could be billions of dollars to the good if it taxed the plant and ended its marijuana-related law enforcement efforts.

Bruce Mirken, director of communications with the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, said legalization and regulation could mean between $10 billion and $40 billion a year to state and federal budgets.

Oregon: Enforcement Vs Regulation

By Hannah Guzik, Tidings correspondent

By the 1930s, using marijuana was illegal in Oregon and it has remained that way -- except for medicinal use -- ever since. A group of local residents is aiming to reverse history.

The Legalize Ashland organization hopes to make adult marijuana use the lowest law enforcement priority and legalize the production of industrial hemp by May 2009.

Eventually the activists want to make legal recreational use of pot, giving it a similar status as alcohol, according to their Web site and MySpace page.

"It is time for Ashland's laws to reflect the priorities of its citizens. The majority of the citizens of Ashland believe that spending money on the enforcement of misdemeanor possession of marijuana is a waste of budget resources, and that public policy should reflect this," the group's Web site states.

Group members did not respond to e-mail messages sent to the address listed on the Web site.

The site states that the group held a meeting Sept. 13 at the Ashland Public Library to discuss putting an initiative on the city ballot next year.

A handful of cities across the country, including Seattle and Oakland, have passed similar laws.

Dan Rubenson, an economics professor at Southern Oregon University, said he would like to see a serious discussion about the implications of legalizing pot.

"I see us spending huge amounts of money for prosecuting and especially for incarcerating people for what I see as victimless crimes and so, from that perspective, I say, 'Let's talk about this,'" he said.

United States: 20 Million Arrests, and Counting

By Paul Armentano

This November, moments before millions of voters flock to the polls to elect America’s 44th president, law enforcement officials will make their 20 millionth marijuana arrest.

Yet in the days leading up to this appalling milestone, it’s unlikely either candidate will call foror even so much as entertain any change in U.S. pot policies. It’s even less likely the mainstream media will care.

Since the early ’90s, the total number of Americans busted annually for pot has nearly tripled. In 1991, police arrested a modern low of 288,000 people for minor marijuana violations in the United States, according to the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report. By 2006 (the last year for which data is available), a record 830,000 people were arrested. (Of those arrested, an estimated 90 percent are charged with minor possession not trafficking, cultivation or sale.)

That’s one American arrested for pot every 38 seconds.

Yet despite this massive increase in arrests by contrast, federal statistics indicate that adult marijuana use has remained fairly stable over the past decade the mass media and Congress continue to ignore the story.

CA: Attorney general's medical marijuana guidelines change little

By LORA HINES, The Press-Enterprise

Guidelines recently issued by the state attorney general have had little effect on the Inland's regulation of medical marijuana.

Last month, Attorney General Jerry Brown said licensed state cooperatives or less formal collectives are legal under California law. Operators of for-profit storefront dispensaries may be arrested and prosecuted, he said. Brown's opinion is nonbinding.

He issued the guidelines as the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors decided it would continue efforts to overturn the state's 2003 Medical Marijuana Program Act, also known as Prop. 215. The state has issued a little more than 23,500 medical marijuana cards since 2004, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Attorney General Jerry Brown's office says the guidelines clarify legal selling of marijuana.

Earlier this summer, the state's 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego rejected claims by San Diego and San Bernardino counties that federal statutes outlawing marijuana pre-empt state law. The court also rejected San Bernardino County's argument that issuing medical marijuana identification cards violated the state's constitution.

San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said Brown's opinion probably would not affect the county's decision to appeal.

"We're asking for clarification on the law," he said. "We're doing this on behalf of the sheriff's department. The county is prepared to abide by any law on the books. The Board of Supervisors has never taken a stance on medical marijuana or even on the cards."

United States: 872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007, up 5.2% from 2006

By Russ Belville, NORML Stash

Record Number Of Americans Arrested For Marijuana

The FBI has released its annual report on Crime in the United States 2007. Once again, the number of people in the United States arrested for marijuana has gone up. 872,721 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2007, and of those arrests, 89% or 775,138 were arrests for simple possession - not buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture (growing).

This represents an increase in marijuana arrests of 5.2% from the previous year and the fifth straight year marijuana arrests have increased from the previous year. Now a marijuana smoker is arrested at the rate of 1 every 37 seconds and almost 100 marijuana arrests per hour.

Marijuana possession is increasingly the bulk of the “War on Drugs”

More arrests for marijuana are for simple possession than for any other drug. While only 11% of marijuana arrests involve buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture, that rate for heroin and cocaine is 27% and that rate for synthetic drugs is 31%.

While arrests for marijuana sales/manufacturing increased by 7.6% over 2006, heroin and cocaine sale/manufacturing arrests dropped by 3.8% and synthetic drugs sales/manufacturing arrests dropped 2.6%.

While arrests for marijuana possession rose by 4.9%, heroin and cocaine possession arrests fell by 8.1% and synthetic drugs possession arrests fell by 5.4%.

Washington: US Court Rebukes DEA’s Attempt to Crack Medical Marijuana Records

by Dominic Holden

Ads appearing each week on the back of the Stranger and Seattle Weekly – and similar papers on the West Coast and in Hawaii – are pretty much picking a fight with the feds: “Medical marijuana. Our doctors can help.” The ads then provide a phone number for The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation clinic, which connects patients with doctors who specialize in writing medical marijuana authorizations for the sick and dying. To the the Drug Enforcement Administration, however, THCF is flagrantly running a multi-state business that permits people to violate federal law.

On May 24th, the feds had had enough—federal prosecutor James Hagerty, at the behest of the DEA, filed a subpoena for the records of 17 individuals, 14 of whom were patients with marijuana permits from doctors at the clinic. But the subpoena had broader implications, too. 11 of those named were registered patients with Oregon’s Department of Human Services medical-marijuana program, and the subpoena also demanded that the State of Oregon turn over those patients’ private medical records to the feds.

But in a formal rebuke yesterday afternoon, a federal Judge sided with the state and the clinic, granting a motion to quash both subpoenas. “Absent a further showing of necessity and relevance, compliance with the subpoena would impact significant State and medical privacy interests and is unreasonable,” wrote Judge Robert H. Whaley of the U.S. Court Eastern District of Washington. The ruling represents a major defeat for the DEA and a victory for states with dissenting drug policies.

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