white house

U.S.: Gary Johnson Promises Not To Get High In The White House If Elected President

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson on Monday promised he won't use marijuana if he's elected president in November.

Johnson, who won the Libertarian nomination for the second time on May 29, picked former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld as his running mate, reports Guy Bentley at The Daily Caller.

The candidate freely admitted in a Monday interview with Jonathan Easley at The Hill that he'd used cannabis as "recently as a month ago," but for some reason promised he wouldn't use it if he is sworn into the Oval Office in 2017.

"The notion of getting that call at midnight or two o'clock -- people need to know there's a firm voice on the other side," he said.

Johnson said he hasn't touched alcohol for 30 years. Before launching his current presidential bid, he was CEO of the marijuana company Cannabis Sativa Inc.

He added that legalizing cannabis would lead to less substance abuse overall, because people would find it to be a "safer alternative than everything else out there, starting with alcohol."

Washington, DC: Marijuana Crusaders To Demonstrate At White House Again

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Marijuana activists say they will smoke pot outside the White House again this Friday, following an April protest that resulted in lots of media coverage but only two citations.

DCMJ, the group behind Initiative 71, say it's organizing a demonstration outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. on May 20 at 5:20 PM. May 20th is the 124th anniversary of Harry Anslinger's birth. Anslinger was the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and drafted the "Marihuana Tax Act" in 1937 that effectively criminalized weed.

The group will not be bringing back the infamous 51-foot inflatable joint that was present at April's rally "due to the serious nature of this demonstration."

"We want the Obama administration to take cannabis reform seriously, so we are dressing seriously," the group writes in a newsletter. "If you are a military veteran, we urge you to wear your service uniform tomorrow. If you are a civilian, please wear a suit and tie or a button-up shirt. Dress up for your mugshot! Too often there is a stereotype of cannabis reform advocates as not serious, but you can help change that perception by simply dressing up to get down."

D.C.: Hour-Long TV Show Examines Confusing State of Weed In Our Nation's Capital

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You can own it, but you can’t buy it. You can grow it, but you can’t sell it. You can smoke it in your home, but not on federal land.

FUSION’s Chief Cannabis Correspondent Ryan Nerz rolls into our nation's capital to investigate the controversial world of weed in Washington with “The Naked Truth: District of Cannabis.”

Washington, D.C. is home to some of the most liberal and confusing laws surrounding marijuana, making it a compelling window to the many cannabis contradictions across the country. Nerz, who has traveled to every state that has some form of legalization in the U.S., follows one man's cannabis crusade all the way to the White House, examines some of the weirdest pot laws in the country, and explores some of the special interests involved in the battles over legalization.

“The Naked Truth: District of Cannabis” premieres Sunday, May 22 at 8 PM on FUSION (channel listings). Additional reporting from “District of Cannabis” will be available across FUSION’s digital, social, and OTT channels. Watch a preview here.

D.C.: DCMJ Says White House Meeting Was Good First Step

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Legalization Group Seeks Higher Level Sit Down

DCMJ, the cannabis legalization group that successfully worked to pass the Initiative 71 ballot measure legalizing marijuana in the District of Columbia, called their meeting with the White House “a move in the right direction” toward removing marijuana from Schedule One of the Controlled Substance Act.

“This is a good first step, but we hope to continue the dialogue with the White House,” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ. “We thanked the White House for extending the invitation, but it is clear that our work is far from finished.

"This is only the start," Eidinger said. "What we are requesting is a higher level meeting with senior administration officials, ultimately moving toward a cannabis policy reform summit with President Obama and key stakeholders such as patients, patient advocates, business owners, grassroots advocates, the disabled community, scientists, the medical community, veterans and others.”

District Of Columbia: Obama Administration Invites DCMJ To White House For Meeting On Marijuana Scheduling Issue

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The White House extended an invitation to the leadership of DCMJ, the marijuana legalization that successfully worked to pass Initiative 71, the ballot measure that legalized marijuana in the District of Columbia.

The invitation is for a meeting on Monday, April 25, to discuss marijuana law and the Controlled Substances Act. DCMJ recently held a peaceful “Reschedule 420” demonstration and non-violent civil disobedience on Pennsylvania Avenue, that featured a 51-foot inflatable joint and drew thousands of activists and supporters, some of whom lit up weed in defiance of the federal government listing marijuana as a Schedule One drug.

“DCMJ appreciates greatly the invitation by the Obama administration to begin an educated and passionate dialogue into the need to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule One drugs,” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ. “Thanks to Schedule One of the Controlled Substances Act, Americans, especially people of color, are needlessly incarcerated, and critical medical research into the healing properties of cannabis is placed on hold for no good reason.”

D.C.: Citizens, Activists Rally And Roll Up To The White House With 51-Foot 'Joint'

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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 gathered along Pennsylvania Avenue directly north of the White House to demand that President Obama use his authority to reschedule cannabis now.

Why on April 2nd? "The Obama Administration has been a big ZERO on cannabis reform," according to DCMJ, so the organization 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 brutally 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.

On Saturday, April 2 at 4:20 p.m. in response to the Obama Administration’s lack of action on descheduling cannabis, Americans gathered at The White House to demand immediate action is taken. Event participants also helped to carry a 51 foot “joint” at what is being called the “EmergencyNational Mobilization to Reschedule Cannabis.”

Washington, DC: Marijuana Advocates Plan To Get Arrested Smoking Pot Outside The White House

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

This Saturday, organizers of the ballot measure that legalized marijuana in the District plan to host the first large-scale display of pot smoking in the nation's capital. Their plans are to get arrested just outside the White House.

Artists Chris Ridler and Cesar Maxit are constructing an inflatable, 51-foot joint for protestors to carry onto Pennsylvania Ave. They are trying to devise a way to place a fan inside to disperse marijuana smoke into the crowd. If that doesn't work, thay may zip people up in the balloon that want to get high, they said.

Chief organizer of the event Adam Eidinger predicts " dozens, if not hundreds, engaged in civil disobedience" smoking pot this Saturday outside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

"Obama — he smokes, maybe not now, but he did smoke,” Eidinger said. “So for him to oversee an enforcement regime that has arrested 5 million people for marijuana? I’m very motivated because I think it’s a discriminatory practice.”

Eidinger supports Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential contest; Sanders wants recreational use of marijuana legalized. But Eidinger wants Obama to begin the process of rescheduling marijuana before he leaves office because he thinks it would provide political cover for the probable Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, to finish the job should she win the presidency in November.

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.

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,

U.S.: Ex-White House Drug Spokesman Claims Legalization To Blame For Violent Crime Spike

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

You might think that the uptick in violent crimes in major cities in the U.S. is related to the "Ferguson Effect," as asserted by FBI Director James Comey. But a former White House national drug policy spokesman is now claiming that the violent crime spike is due to marijuana legalization, of all things.

Robert Weiner, who used to be a national drug policy spokesman for the White House, and senior policy analyst Ben Lasky claim the "Fergson Effect" argument consists of "convenient rationalizations by law enforcement,' in a new op-ed for The Washington Times.

"Violent crime has spiked in many U.S. cities over the last year, including a 54 percent increase in homicides in Washington, D.C., in 2015 -- as well as 63 percent in Baltimore and 13 percent in Chicago," Weiner and Lasky write. "It is no coincidence that this uptick comes at a time when drug laws are being loosened throughout the country. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, either for medical purposes or overall."

D.C.: Veterans To Rally At The White House Wednesday For Medical Marijuana

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This Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, veterans and activists will gather to walk from the Veteran’s Affairs Headquarters down Pennsylvania Avenue to the gates of the White House where they will be disposing of thousands empty prescription pill bottles collected from their brothers and sisters across the country in memory of those whose sacrifices did not end on the battlefield.

With the current veteran suicide rate at 22 per day, it is time for the VA to recognize alternate forms of war trauma treatment for our veterans.

"Join us tomorrow at the White House gates to witness firsthand the cause that veterans, their families, and advocate associations alike are fighting for," said event organizer, world-renowned cannabis expert and veterans' rights activist Garyn Angel.

Angel will lead thousands of United States veterans and several national veterans’ organizations during the march.

Where: The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

When: Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11
Walk to begin at 12 pm (noon)

U.S.: President Obama Grants Clemency To 46; Will Push For Criminal Justice Reform

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Obama to Address Mass Incarceration at NAACP Convention Tuesday and Become First President to Visit a Prison on Thursday

"I believe at its heart, America is a land of second chances." ~ President Barack Obama

Drug Policy Alliance: We Can’t End Mass Incarceration Until We End Drug War

President Barack Obama on Monday commuted the sentences of 46 people incarcerated in federal prison. This follows the commutation of eight people incarcerated in federal prison for drug offenses in December of 2014, and 22 in March 2015. Fourteen of the people who received commutations on Monday were serving life in prison for nonviolent drug offenses.

In taking this step, the President has now issued nearly 90 commutations, the vast majority of them to non-violent offenders sentenced for drug law violations under draconian sentencing laws. President Obama has been under significant public pressure from advocacy groups and family members of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses who are serving long, mandatory minimum sentences.

"We can’t end mass incarceration until we end the drug war. The President's actions today are welcome, but we need much more action," said Michael Collins, policy manager at DPA's office of national affairs. "The public overwhelmingly supports ending the drug war and letting states decide their own drug policies. It's long past time to rectify the US's embarrassing record on mass incarceration."

Global: New UN Report Exposes Failure Of War On Drugs But Ignores Causes, Solution

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Activists in 150 Cities Call for End to Drug War, Including D.C. March from State Department to White House

UN Will Review International Drug Control Policies in 2016

The United Nations 2015 World Drug Report, released Friday, details the failure of and harms caused by the war on drugs, but doesn't grapple with the fact that problems such as alarmingly high overdose rates, control of the trade by organized crime networks and illegal sales funding terrorism are caused by the very prohibition policies the international body still supports.

Also on Friday, activists in more than 150 cities around the world called attention to the failure of the war on drugs, including with a march from the U.S. State Department to the White House to demand that the Obama Administration do more to bring about an end to international prohibition policies and the human rights violations they cause.

The day of action, called "Support, Don't Punish," coincides with the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -- which some governments use to focus on prevention and awareness, but which others have used to highlight large drug busts and seizures, or even to carry out executions. U.S.-based activists are particularly concerned that the Obama administration isn't doing enough to ensure that international aid isn't used to support the death penalty for nonviolent drug offenses.

D.C.: Activists To March Friday From State Dept. To White House To End War On Drugs

Support.DontPunish.(logo)

U.N. Preparing to Reconsider International Drug Control Policies

Activists will march from the U.S. State Department to the White House on Friday morning, demanding that the Obama Administration do more to end the failed War On Drugs and the human rights violations it causes. The advocates especially want the U.S. to ensure that international aid it provides is not used to support the death penalty for nonviolent drug offenses.

The march is part of a global day of action called "Support, Don't Punish," with events taking place in 150 cities around the world, including New York. It coincides with the annual United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which some governments use to focus on prevention and awareness, but which others have used to highlight large drug busts and seizures, or even to carry out executions.

WHO: Organizations that oppose the War On Drugs and support human rights

WHAT: March -- part of an international day of action in 150 cities -- featuring signs with slogans like "Prohibition => Crime + Violence," "No Drug Executions With Our Dollars" and “Drug Execution Agency"

WHEN: Friday, June 26 at 9:30 AM ET

WHERE: From the State Department (2201 C St NW) to the White House (1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW)

U.S.: Obama Administration Removes Crucial Barrier To Marijuana Research

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Big Win for Marijuana Reform Advocates but More Has to Be Done

Senate Hearing on Medical Marijuana Scheduled for Wednesday

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a long-sought move anticipated by many marijuana reform advocates, the White House on Monday announced that it was removing a major obstacle to marijuana research – the Public Health Service (PHS) Review.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) welcomed the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to eliminate its Public Health Service (PHS) Review Committee for non-federally funded medical marijuana research – an additional review process not applied to other Schedule I substances. Last year, Rep. Blumenauer led a letter, signed by 29 other members of Congress, to the Secretary of HHS Sylvia Mathews Burwell requesting that this PHS process be eliminated.

“Today’s decision by HHS is a significant step toward improving an antiquated system that unfairly targets marijuana above and beyond other substances in research," Congressman Bluemanuer said. "I applaud the Administration in heeding our request and the request of many to eliminate this barrier.

"I hope this action will facilitate easier access to marijuana for medical researchers,” Rep. Blumenauer said. “Considering the widespread use of medical marijuana, it is absolutely essential that we allow doctors and scientists to research the therapeutic benefits and risks of its use.

U.S.: Ex Drug Czar Bennett's New Book 'Going To Pot' Rails Against Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a sadly predictable development, the mortally wounded but still dangerous War On Cannabis has produced a new book from former drug czar William Bennett. Bennett's new nonsense-filled tome is called Going To Pot, and anyone who enjoys right wing moralizing, pseudo-scientific scare-mongering, and patent nonsense can certainly have a hell of a time with this piece of trash.

Bennett served as director of national drug control policy (drug czar) under President George H.W. Bush, and he's long been known for his obnoxious pronouncements and conservative backwardness, as well as tiresomely moralizing and practically unreadable volumes such as The Book of Virtues.

In Going To Pot, Bennett and coauthor Robert White, managing partner in an international law firm and former assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, examine current efforts to legalize pot. "Marijuana, once considered worthy of condemnation, has in recent years become a 'medicine' legalized fully in four states, with others expected to follow," they write.

Here's a handy rule of thumb, folks, and so far, it's reliably worked 100 percent of the time for me. Whenever you're reading something and they put "medicine" in quotes when speaking of cannabis, you're wasting your time; read something else, preferably something where the author isn't suffering from advanced cranial-rectal inversion.

U.S.: President Obama Commutes Drug Sentences For 22 People

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentences of 22 federal inmates convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. This follows the commutation of eight federal inmates convicted of drug offenses by President Obama in December of 2014.

According to White House counsel Neil Eggleston, “Had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime."

"While today’s announcement represents important progress, there’s more work ahead," Eggleston said. "The Administration will continue to work to review thoroughly all petitions for clemency."

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder made a number of forceful public statements against mass incarceration in the U.S., promising significant rollback of mandatory minimum and harsh sentencing guidelines. The Obama Administration also promised improvements in the commutation process.

Yet, despite his Administration's declared support of substantive criminal justice reform, until now Obama has used his power to grant clemency less frequently than nearly all other U.S. Presidents.

U.S.: Recovering Alcoholic Confirmed As Drug Czar, Takes Top Spot At ONDCP

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President Obama’s nominee for director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), acting director Michael Botticelli, was confirmed by the Senate 92-0 on Monday, granting him one of the nation’s highest drug-control offices.

A recovering alcoholic with extensive career experience in public health, the new “drug czar,” as he is informally known, has potential to take more of a public health approach than did his predecessors, including former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, the most recent officeholder, who was confirmed as Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection last March.

Botticelli has recently stated that Congress shouldn’t interfere with the will of D.C. voters to legalize marijuana, despite the ONDCP’s official stance on legalization. Last week, he was quoted in a conference call saying that the ONDCP will bar federal funding from drug courts that prevent access to medication-assisted treatment for opiate addiction.

U.S.: Senate Confirms Michael Botticelli As White House Drug Czar

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Advocates Praise Botticelli for Taking Steps Toward Health-Based Approach to Drug Policy

The U.S. Senate on Monday evening confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Michael Botticelli to become the next Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a position informally known as “drug czar.”

Botticelli has served as acting director of the ONDCP since March 2014, following the resignation of former drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske. Botticelli previously served as ONDCP’s Deputy Director. Before joining ONDCP, Botticelli spent nearly two decades overseeing substance misuse programs at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“Michael Botticelli represents, in many ways, a significant improvement on all his predecessors as drug czar,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “It’s not just that he comes from a public health background but that he seems truly committed to advancing more science-based and compassionate drug policies where the politics allow.

"What he most needs to do now is shed the political blinders that impel him both to defend marijuana prohibition and close his eyes to highly successful harm reduction measures abroad,” Nadelmann said.

U.S.: Federal Govt. To Block Funds For Drug Courts That Refuse Medication-Assisted Treatment

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New Policy Indicates Better Understanding of Addiction, Public Health Crisis

The acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, this week said the federal government will deny federal funding to drug courts across the country that refuse medication-assisted treatment for those suffering from opiate addictions.

The ONDCP will now withhold federal funding from drug courts that prevent people suffering from opiate addictions from having access to drugs such as methadone and Suboxone that can allow them to lead normal lives despite their addiction, reports Jason Cherkis at The Huffington Post.

“I rarely get a chance to applaud the ONDCP, so I’m enjoying this,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “People with addictions deserve access to treatment that works, and any policy that stands in the way of the recovery process is an affront to human rights.”

Because heroin is physically addictive, with users experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms such as depression, nausea and vomiting, those who abstain have a high rate of relapse. However after a period of abstinence, their tolerance drops and doses they could handle while a regular user become lethal. This is often when overdoses occur.

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