So Far Prosecutors in MA not Campaigning Against Medical Marijuana
In November voters in Massachusetts will be voting on, among other things, whether or not to legalize medical marijuana. So far, law enforcement officials who came out against a marijuana decriminalization measure in 2008 are taking a softer view on this issue, at least as far as campaigning against it.
“I don’t intend, right now, to do any campaigning on this issue. I’ve let people know where I stand,” said Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, who is president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association.
Early said he personally opposes the initiative because it’s too broad and could allow marijuana prescriptions for too many ailments. “I see the headaches that California had . . . You want to make sure you get this right and you have to learn from other people’s mistakes,” he said.
But Early says he sees merit in medical marijuana itself. “My take is this: I have compassion and no problem helping someone who is dying from a cancer that could benefit by helping them keep food down through the use of medical marijuana,” he said. “I’ve also had friends who’ve died from cancer who may have benefited from medical marijuana but did not try marijuana because it is illegal to do so.”
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone addressed the issue in a statement: "I remain open to considering the legal use of medical marijuana, if there is clear and convincing evidence to a reasonable degree of medical and scientific certainty that the medical benefits of marijuana cannot be obtained in any other way or form, and provided that proper regulatory measures are in place to ensure that there is systemic accountability that prevents abuse in distributing, obtaining and using medical marijuana.”
In 2008 the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association came out against decriminalization, but they have yet to take a position on medical marijuana. Will the silence of law enforcement help medical marijuana pass in MA this fall?
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Michigan Legislator says Medical Marijuana should be left to Communities
A state legislator in Michigan is sponsoring a bill that he says would make it easier for patients to get their medication.
State Rep. Mike Callton’s bill would allow towns and cities to decide whether or not to have medical marijuana “provisioning centers.” State Attorney General Bill Schutte recently declared dispensaries illegal, and Callton hopes his bill will allow for more access for patients.
Rep. Callton talked about his bill at a meeting Tuesday night at Birmingham's Baldwin Public Library in Oakland County, Michigan, where many run-ins with law enforcement have patients skittish.
"How many of you have been arrested?" Callton asked the crowd. Ten people raised hands.
"How many have had your property seized?" he asked next. Six hands went up.
"And how many of you live in fear of being arrested?" Just about every hand went up.
While in states like California allowing cities and towns to decide on dispensaries can lead to discrimination and a step back for patients, in a state like Michigan it is better than state authorities saying there can be no dispensaries at all.
Callton’s bill - House Bill 5580 - would guide municipalities on how to regulate marijuana distribution centers, he says.
Callton is one of a handful of Republican lawmakers who think patients in Michigan should have fewer obstacles to obtaining medical marijuana. That’s a big change of heart for the chiropractor, who said he voted against allowing medical marijuana in Michigan when the statewide vote was held in 2008, but then began seeing patients who benefited from medical marijuana.
He says one was "a sweet 75-year-old lady, definitely not a hippie," who was able with medical-marijuana candies to control her tremors from Parkinson's disease "enough to get a good night's sleep again.”
Once you see how medical marijuana helps people, it’s impossible for most to see it the same way ever again.
Medical Marijuana Activists Welcome President Obama to Oakland, CA
Sunday night medical marijuana advocates in gathered in front of President Obama’s Oakland, California campaign headquarters to film the video below and welcome the President to town.
This was the night before the Obama fundraiser and the medical marijuana rally in Oakland that happened Monday. Activists used a projector to project the famous medical marijuana quote from then-Presidential candidate Obama about using Justice Department resources to circumvent state laws. The quote then burns away, leaving the word “liar” and the website campwakeupobama.com.
Many are wondering what has changed for Obama. Why did he sound so progressive as a candidate and has become so tyrannical as President? Did he have a change of heart on now sees medical marijuana as a dangerous thing? Does he agree with federal policy that says cannabis has no medical value at all?
Or is it a matter of money? Does he need millions of dollars from Big Pharma in order to fight the cash machine of Mitt Romney? Can he get that money from nowhere else?
In other words, will medical marijuana patients have to pay for Obama to get reelected? Will he reward them in his second term for their suffering now?
Medical Marijuana Patients are Voters Too
Steph Shearer is the Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access and she recently wrote an op-ed in The Huffington Post about her disappointment with President Obama and his medical marijuana policy. She describes the high hopes she, and many others, started with when it came to Barack Obama.
“As Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA),” she writes, “I was ecstatic to be shedding the dark days of the Bush Administration's war on medical cannabis patients. As a patient myself, I felt counted and part of the Change that would be coming to Washington, and I was proud to support and volunteer for Barack Obama's victorious campaign.
“For his 2008 campaign, I donated money, I went to rallies to show support, I knocked on doors in VA, and on election night I joined thousands in D.C. who descended on the White House to celebrate and sing ‘Na, Na, Na, Na, Good bye’ to President Bush. I went to sleep that night excited about a new direction for this country that would include me as a recognized medical cannabis patient.”
Things even looked promising as Obama’s Administration began. Then things turned in a bad direction.
“In fewer than four years of President Obama,” she says, “we have seen more raids on dispensaries than during the Bush Administration's entire eight-year tenure. The Obama Administration has taken property from landlords, threatened local officials, forced the release of patient records, used the Internal Revenue Service to bankrupt legitimate dispensaries, told banks to purge medical cannabis clients, evicted patients from low-income housing and denied a petition to recognize the well-established medical value of cannabis.”
So where does that leave medical marijuana patients? Does a second Obama term hold any hope for them? Will Obama come back to the progressive stance he started with?
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