Floridas Medical marijuana bill faces long odds

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, March, 10th 2011 by THCFinder
TALLAHASSEE - A state lawmakers is working on legalizing medical marijuana in Florida.
Rep. Jeff Clemens has filed legislation that would allow Floridians to vote on a constitutional amendment about medicinal marijuana.
It's the first-ever bill that tries to legalize the medical use of marijuana in Florida.
Clemens believes it makes no sense to allow people to use powerful prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Methadone and Percocet, but ban them from using a natural herb to treat an illness.
He says seven people are dying every day in Florida from those prescription drugs, but no one has died from cannabis.
Under his bill, medicinal cannabis could only be prescribed to people suffering debilitating medical conditions. It would also give protections to people who grow marijuana for medical purposes.
Cathy Jordan, who has lived with A.L.S for nearly 25 years, says she uses marijuana to treat her illness. She says she's been able to survive Lou Gehrig's Disease because of medicinal marijuana.
"Cannabis is a neuro-protector, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. I know this because the federal government has the patent," Jordan said.
Other advocates say there is much research supporting the safety of cannabis.
---EXTRA SOT--- Mary Lynn Mathre/ "Patients Out of Time" (:15) (Mathre is a registered nurse with 35 years of experience who says there is much research supporting the safety of cannabis)
"The plant can provide much pain relief from suffering, and greatly improves the quality of lives of any patients," said Mary Lynn Mathre, with Patients Out of Time, a medical marijuana advocacy group. "Patients are in desperate need of this medicine. We don't need more research. We welcome more research but the patients need this medicine now."
Clemens argues medical marijuana is a much safer alternative to prescription narcotics.
"We have a lot of people suffering here in the state of Florida and I don't think we need to be telling them that prescription narcotics are the way to go when we have other more natural avenues for them," he said.
The bill also says insurance companies would not be required to cover medicinal cannabis and employers would not be required to accommodate its use in the workplace.
Clemens says 15 other states have passed similar legislation. The bill has not been assigned to a committee for a hearing, and faces long odds in the conservative legislature. 


Massachusetts bill to legalize marijuana

Category: Legalization | Posted on Thu, February, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
A bill calling for the legalization, regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana has been introduced into the Massachusetts Legislature.
According to The 420 Times, "The Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act", which was drafted by attorney Richard M. Evans and introduced by Rep. Ellen Story (D-Amherst), would legalize the possession, consumption and sale of marijuana. An age limit of 21 and multiple fee-requiring licenses would also be established.
The bill includes specific regulations and limits, such as processors of marijuana only being able to process the cannabis into one ounce packages, a $5000 fine for driving while high and specific indoor locations to sell the product.
As noted in The Daily Collegian, the bill would also erect a Cannabis Control Authority. Made up of seven part-time directors serving seven-year terms and collecting salaries 20% that of the governor's, the group would oversee the Massachusetts cannabis industry, create regulations and rules, revoke licenses in the case of transgressing any laws pertaining to marijuana and its distribution, approve licenses for cannabis and collect $10 excise taxes per one percent of THC per one ounce of marijuana.
While many are glad to see such a bill in the legislature, they still maintain a cautious outlook on the likelihood of the bill actually passing.
Although he created it, Evans believes that the bill won't pull through because the legislature "won’t touch the legalization bill with a 10-foot pole.” He further states that supporters of the bill are reluctant to voice their approval because of fear that they will be labeled drug addicts.
A ballot initiative, Evans claims, would be a more effective first step towards the legalization of cannabis.
However, such an initiative would have to wait until 2014 to be introduced because under the law, highly similar proposals cannot be filed within four years of each other.
Nevertheless, Massachusetts is still a focal point in the crusade to legalize marijuana. According to The MetroWest Daily News, since 2000, voters in the state have had a positive reaction to every question pertaining to the easing of restrictions on weed.



How the Marijuana Legalization Debate Might Spread to Hawaii

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, February, 15th 2011 by THCFinder

BY RONALD FRASER – For the time being, Hawaiians can consider last November’s defeat of Proposition 19, a California ballot initiative to legalize and regulate the personal use of marijuana, as none of their business.  But as this debate spreads outward from California it will, sooner or later, reach Hawaii.

Having started the war on marijuana, the federal government is the enforcer of the status quo — even as opinion polls show the public’s desire for change.  So, it is up to the states, one-by-one, to replace failed drug war policies with something that makes sense.  To see how the future marijuana legalization debate might spread, let’s consider the work of professor Everett M. Rogers.

Based on hundreds of case studies, Rogers says the launch of a new idea requires an adventuresome idea champion willing to deal with a lot of uncertainty.  A handful of “early adopters” will follow suit.  Then, after waiting and carefully watching what happens, the majority of the potential “late adopters” are likely to give the new idea a try.  A few “laggards,” might never adopt it.

Proposition 19 nearly passed in 2010 with 46% of the vote.  Let’s assume in 2012 a similar initiative wins 51% and California becomes the first state to legalize marijuana.

Shortly thereafter, if Rogers is right, states already familiar with marijuana policy issues — including Hawaii — will take a fresh look at marijuana legalization.

Hawaii citizens became familiar with marijuana issues during the debate leading up to approving the use of marijuana for medical purposes state wide, and prior to Hawaii County officially setting a low law enforcement priority on the possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal use.

Other potential early adopters include Alaska and Nevada, where past attempts to legalize marijuana failed but medical marijuana laws have been adopted, and those states that have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes: Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State and the District of Columbia.   Legislatures in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Minnesota passed medical marijuana bills only to have them vetoed by the governors.


(Full story HERE)


Marijuana Legalization Coming To Washington State?

Category: Legalization | Posted on Wed, January, 26th 2011 by THCFinder

Today an initiative will be filed by the group Sensible Washingtonthat would remove all state criminal and civil penalties for the possession use and sale of marijuana in any quantity.” Last year the group tried to get a similar measure on the ballot but came about 50,000 signatures short of their goal.

Last year’s measure was criticized by some for its lack of “regulations” concerning the legal marijuana industry, but this initiative would direct the state legislature to create regulations, including possible taxation.

The group needs 241,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Sensible Washington tried to get a similar initiative on the ballot last year, but fell about 50,000 signatures short. That proposal was criticized for not including a state regulatory system overseeing the marijuana industry; advocates insisted that the state's single-subject rule for initiatives barred them from removing legal penalties and regulating the drug in the same measure.

This time, the initiative includes language directing the Legislature to develop such regulations, including possibly taxing marijuana sales.

"It clears up any issue about whether we believe in regulations and would support them," said Sensible Washington attorney Douglas Hiatt.

He also said the group has received support from farmers around the state who are interested in growing hemp, cannabis plants cultivated for their fibers to make clothes, rope and myriad other items.



Montel Williams Seeks Medical Marijuana Bill

Category: Legalization | Posted on Tue, January, 25th 2011 by THCFinder

The famous talk show host Montel Williams is urging state lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana in Maryland, saying it has a role helping those with painful ailments such as his own. The Baltimore native spoke on Monday at a news conference with Maryland lawmakers who support legalized medical marijuana




Williams, 54, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990. He says he has been living with pain in his lower extremities, face and side for years and adds marijuana provides the only relief he can find. When questioned by The Associated Press, he declined to comment about just where he obtains the drug. The Maryland Senate passed a bill last year to allow physician-approved use of marijuana. The House didn't pass the measure but lawmakers say they'll try again this year.


Boulder Democrat Polis plans to push decriminalizing marijuana at federal level

Category: Legalization | Posted on Sun, January, 2nd 2011 by THCFinder

If Colorado was allowed to treat marijuana like alcohol — or any other medicine, for that matter — pot dispensaries could freely set up business bank accounts without fear of federal prosecution and marijuana could, like corn and wheat, be grown openly in national forests.


This is according to U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat, who said he plans to push a law in the new Congress that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level so that states with medicinal laws on the books, like Colorado, could treat it as they wish.


Under Polis' structure, marijuana laws would be extremely local — similar to states that have so-called dry, alcohol- free counties.


"It's not in the federal government's realm," Polis said. "I'm proud of Colorado being a pioneer in this regard and setting up a regulatory structure. We've benefited in tax revenues and I think it's dealt a big blow to criminalize it."


The Obama administration has urged federal prosecutors' tolerance in prosecuting pot possession in the more than a dozen states that have medical-marijuana laws on the books.


But Polis continues to push full decriminalization in case future administrations — and federal Drug Enforcement Agency chiefs — may not be so friendly.


He also believes that a law protecting states means banks would be more comfortable setting up interstate accounts with pot dispensaries.


In August, Wells Fargo & Co. said it was going to stop handling marijuana-dispensary accounts because of federal laws.


Though other banks will take the accounts, Polis wants dispensaries to have a choice.


Polis has supporters in the libertarian movement, who believe that legalizing marijuana would be kind to already- clogged courts and, perhaps, cause less havoc because people "are a lot less danger to themselves and society when they are smoking marijuana than when they drink too much alcohol," said David Kopel, an adjunct law professor at the University of Denver.


"Marijuana was legal from the time when the pilgrims showed up through the 1930s, and the country grew from humble beginnings to a world superpower with legal marijuana," Kopel said. "I think it's a waste of criminal justice resources," to prosecute pot cases.


But former U.S. Attorney Troy Eid has a different opinion. He is not in favor of full decriminiliazation but respects voters' approval of a medical-marijuana laws. He wants to see it put through a clinical trial like other drugs.


"With all due respect, we just don't know the pros and cons of marijuana as medicine from a scientific perspective," said Eid, now a private attorney. "It's very important we have a dispassionate conversation about this. Voters have said they want medicine. We should treat it like medicine."

Polis plans to push his proposed law in Washington early this year, though its prospects in a Republican-controlled House appear to be dim.


Plans are underway to get a pot legalization ballot measure on Colorado's 2012 ballot (a similar measure failed in 2006).


"Every state should be able to take this issue on its own," said Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, which is working on fundraising for the ballot measure.


Tvert said the rumored help from Democratic billionaire George Soros was not true, but "if whoever is saying that wants to put us in touch, that would be wonderful."




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