I-502 in Washington State gets $1.25 Million in New Donations

Category: News | Posted on Mon, July, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder

Initiative 502, the marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot in Washington State this fall will be able to buy a major TV ad campaign for the measure thanks to some $1.25 million in new donations, including a $450,000 donation from Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis.


The donations will buy a $1 million TV-ad blitz in August, before other campaigns saturate the airwaves, according to I-502 campaign manager Alison Holcomb.


I-502 would legalize possession and sale of up to 1 ounce of marijuana. It would impose up to a 75 percent excise tax on marijuana and cannabis-infused products at new state-licensed marijuana stores, and would allow state-regulated grow farms to operate.


Some oppose I-502 because of the excise tax.


The excise taxes imposed by I-502 would dramatically increase costs on patients, says Philip Dawdy, who is organizing opposition to the measure, but is someone who has previously fought for marijuana law reform in the state.


"I-502 made a serious miscalculation," said Dawdy. "They calculated that getting the votes of soccer moms were more important than medical-marijuana patients."


While legalization and regulation are sure to bring down the inflated prohibition-era price of marijuana, some states surrounding Washington will still have the marijuana black market in place and thriving, and those markets will get some supply from legal Washington cannabis, keeping prices artificially high. A 75% increase on top of this for taxes could indeed make marijuana even more expensive than it is now.


In which case, the black market will survive in Washington as well, as drug dealers will be able to sell marijuana cheaper, without the tax.


Others donating to the I-502 campaign include travel guru Rick Steves, who gave $250,000 and who had previously donated $100,000; and the ACLU of Washington, who gave $100,000.




Portugals Overwhelming Success with Drug Decriminalization

Category: News | Posted on Fri, July, 20th 2012 by THCFinder

In 2001 the country of Portugal decriminalized the possession and use of drugs, meaning there is not a legal market for selling drugs, but that law enforcement officials stopped wasting time on arresting drug users.


It’s basically a half way step toward legalization, since the government still doesn’t have regulatory control over the drug market. Drug dealers stay in business, they are just no longer selling to criminals.


When Portugal adopted this position toward drugs 11 years ago, all kinds of doomsday experts came out of the woodwork to say what a disaster it was going to be. As many of you know, it was the opposite of a disaster, with drug addiction rates plummeting and Portugal having one of the lowest rates of drug use in the European Union.


This is because people don’t base their drug use decisions on laws, but on personal preference. If the U.S. Congress, The President and all the states agreed tomorrow to make drugs decriminalized, how many of you would run out and try some crack or heroin? Are you not hitting a crack pipe right now because it’s illegal, or because you don’t want to smoke crack?




White House: No marijuana for PTSD

Category: News | Posted on Wed, July, 18th 2012 by THCFinder
WASHINGTON – An effort to persuade the Obama administration to legalize marijuana for sufferers of post-traumatic stress was met with rejection from the White House.
Responding to a petition signed by 8,258 people on the White House website, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske wrote last month that marijuana is not a "benign drug" and does not meet standards of safe or effective medicine.
"When the President took office, he directed all his policymakers to develop policies on science and research, not ideology or politics," Kerlikowske wrote.
The White House usually requires 25,000 signatures before it will respond to such petitions.
The "Allow United States Disabled Military Veterans Access To Medical Marijuana To Treat Their PTSD" petition was launched last year by former Air Force sergeant Mike Krawitz, executive director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.
Krawitz said he launched the drive partially out of concern that veterans sometimes risk losing their Veterans Affairs Department medical coverage if they are found to smoke pot.
"For many, cannabis not only treats PTSD, it's a lifesaver," Krawitz told Military Times in October.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes, but it remains illegal under federal law.
The Obama administration has held steadfast in enforcing federal laws applicable to medical marijuana production, sales and distribution. Kerlikowske said the administration maintains that marijuana use is associated with cognitive impairment, respiratory illnesses and addiction.
"We know from an array of treatment admission information and federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms," he wrote.
He added that the administration supports research on the phytochemicals in marijuana that might have medicinal value.


Marijuana Kills Again

Category: News | Posted on Tue, July, 17th 2012 by THCFinder

A mother in Washington State is searching for answers; answers to why her 22 year-old son is dead after turning himself in for a probation violation stemming from the possession of a small amount of marijuana.


Rose Saffioti says her son suffered from extreme allergies – which the police were aware of since they had a note from his doctor detailing his needs.


“I feel I owe it to Michael to learn what went wrong,” she says. “It was only going to be a couple of days.”


Rose has hired a lawyer and is hoping that other inmates saw what happened and might shed light on what led to her son’s death on July 3rd.


Michael Saffioti worried his entire, short life about his allergies. One day in jail and he is dead. All because he was caught with a small amount of marijuana about a year ago. He then missed a court date, leading to his turning himself into the authorities.


Imagine a world where people who have a small amount of marijuana are treated like the human beings they are. They don’t have to fear what might happen to them in jail because it’s silly to put people in jail for having plant matter on their person.


Imagine that.



Pro-Medical Marijuana Judge in NY Dies of Cancer

Category: News | Posted on Mon, July, 16th 2012 by THCFinder

Brooklyn judge Gustin Reichbach passed away this weekend due to stage 3 pancreatic cancer. A couple months ago he wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times expressing his support for medical marijuana, which he used illegally to alleviate his suffering.


"My survival has demanded an enormous price, including months of chemotherapy, radiation hell and brutal surgery... Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep," Reichback wrote. “Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue. But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight. It is another heartbreaking aporia in the world of cancer that the one drug that gives relief without deleterious side effects remains classified as a narcotic with no medicinal value.


“Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease. I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year. Medical science has not yet found a cure, but it is barbaric to deny us access to one substance that has proved to ameliorate our suffering.”


Under federal and NY state law, Judge Reichbach was a criminal. But what is criminal about sick people choosing what they ingest in their body? Fortunately he was never disciplined for his marijuana use, but that’s a right that belongs to every adult. Cannabis users aren’t hurting anyone, and neither was Judge Reichbach.




Oakland protests U.S. attorney's crackdown on large medical marijuana dispensary

Category: News | Posted on Fri, July, 13th 2012 by THCFinder
OAKLAND — A day after federal prosecutors moved to shutter the country's largest medical marijuana dispensary, city leaders and other officials came to the defense of Harborside Health Center, warning of dire economic and social consequences if Oakland's carefully regulated industry is quashed.
"We cannot afford the money, we cannot afford the waste of law enforcement resources, and we cannot afford the loss of jobs that this would entail," City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said Thursday at a news conference as dozens of Harborside Health Center patients stood by.
Co-founded in 2006 by Executive Director Steve DeAngelo, Harborside has in many ways set standards for the medical marijuana industry.
The sleek operation — which has a smaller sister dispensary in San Jose — lab tests its cannabis to assess quality and measure key chemical components; offers acupuncture, pain management and other free wellness services to its thousands of members; and employs more than 125 people.
DeAngelo worked closely with Oakland officials as they crafted one of the nation's strictest regulatory schemes to monitor and tax the industry, and officials say he complies with all local and state laws.
But Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for California's Northern District, is now seeking to seize the properties where Harborside operates, alleging its marijuana sales violate federal law and that its size as a "superstore" increases the likelihood that it is in violation of state law. A civil forfeiture action was served Wednesday against Harborside's two landlords.
If the move drives Harborside out of business, a chunk of its $30 million in annual sales would no doubt return to the streets, benefiting dealers who don't lab test their products or work with patients to customize medications, DeAngelo and other advocates said Thursday.



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