Oakland city attorney won't advise on pot plan

Category: Politics | Posted on Sat, February, 5th 2011 by THCFinder

OAKLAND, Calif.—Oakland City Attorney John Russo says he will no longer advise the City Council about its plans to license large-scale marijuana farms.

In a letter to Mayor Jean Quan and each council member dated Thursday, Russo is not specific about what prompted him to make the move.

He cites state professional conduct rules and the council's efforts this week to redraft its proposed pot-farm ordinance to address state and federal law enforcement officials' concerns about its legality.

In July, Oakland became the first city in the country to authorize the licensing of marijuana cultivation operations.

Russo's office declined to comment on the letter to the Oakland Tribune.

Councilwoman Jane Brunner told the newspaper Russo has an obligation to advise the council. Brunner said any money to hire outside counsel should come from Russo's budget.



Obama: Drugs Should be Treated as a Public Health Problem

Category: Politics | Posted on Thu, January, 27th 2011 by THCFinder

Responding to a deluge of questions regarding marijuana and drug policy that came from YouTube, President Obama today said he is not in favor of drug legalization.


However, acknowledging that the "war on drugs" has not been effective, Mr. Obama said he thinks of drugs as "more of a public health problem."


More than 140,000 questions were submitted to the president on the video website for his virtual question-and-answer session today. YouTube visitors cast more than 1 million votes, rating the questions positively or negatively. According to the Huffington Post, 198 of the 200 highest-rated questions related to drug policy.


While drug policy is hardly a top priority in Washington, Mr. Obama said it is an "entirely legitimate topic for debate."


In the top-rated YouTube video question, retired deputy sheriff MacKenzie Allen said, "The so-called war on drugs has been waged for 40 years at a cost of a trillion dollars and thousands of lives, with nothing to show for it but increased supplies of cheaper drugs and a dramatic increase in violence associated with the underworld drug market."


"Do you think there will or should come a time to discuss the possibility of legalization, regulation and control of all drugs, thereby doing away with the violent criminal market as well as a major source of funding for international terrorism?" continued the retired officer, a member of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.


The president said the United States has to "go after drug cartels that are not only selling drugs but also creating havoc" at places like the U.S.-Mexico border.

Read more:  cbsnews


Ask Obama....Marijuana topics take over as most popular questions!

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

Will President Obama dodge the most popular questions asked to him like last year? The first 5 pages of the most popular questions are nearly all cannabis related. It looks like Obama needs to step up and answer some questions openly and honestly regarding our failed drug laws. With so much attention to Marijuana and the medical marijuana industry we can only hope our president will step up and at least answer some of our important questions that have been ignored for far too long. The people want some answers and it's about time we get something done about this problem.


There is minimal time left to ask your questions so get in quick and ask away. The more cannabis related questions that keep popping up the better chance we have to finally get some real answers...hopefully.


Check out the page on youtube here http://www.youtube.com/worldview


And take a look at this screen shot provided by a fellow ent from /r/trees/ 




Sen. Kohl-Welles introduces medical marijuana reform legislation

Category: Politics | Posted on Wed, January, 12th 2011 by THCFinder

On Tuesday 36th District Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, along with Rep. Jim Moeller of Vancouver and bi-partisan support, introduced new legislation to clarify and provide a strong legal framework for Washington’s existing medical marijuana laws.

The bill, according to Kohl-Welles, reflects the tenth iteration since she first released it last February, incorporating input from patients, providers, advocates, health professionals, government officials, legislators, and law enforcement representatives.

The resulting legislation, Senate Bill 5073 (.pdf) and House Bill 1100 (.pdf), if made into law, would establish a regulatory system for the sale and purchase of medical marijuana to qualified patients.

“There is much ambiguity around our state’s current medical marijuana laws that is resulting in inconsistent enforcement throughout the state,” Kohl-Welles said in a statement Tuesday. “Creating a statutory and regulatory structure for licensing growers and dispensaries will allow us to provide for an adequate, safe, consistent, and secure source of the medicine for qualifying patients, address public safety concerns and establish statewide uniformity in the implementation of the law.”

Under the new legislation legally compliant patients and growers would be protected from arrest, search, and prosecution for the use of medical cannabis. The bill would also require law enforcement to consult a voluntary registry of patients before conducting warrantless searches or arrests, and registered patients would be protected against search and seizure, unless existing evidence indicated criminal activity was taking place.



N.J. Sen. Scutari to schedule hearing to void proposed medical marijuana rules

Category: Politics | Posted on Wed, January, 12th 2011 by THCFinder

TRENTON — A state senator said he's taking the next step toward voiding Gov. Chris Christie's proposed strict medical marijuana regulations after the Christie administration missed today's deadline to submit a new version of them.

A hearing on the issue has been scheduled for Jan. 20 before the state Senate's health committee.

That's the next step in a little-used legislative process to force an administration to redo regulations — the nuts-and-bolts of how a law is to be carried out. After the hearing, lawmakers could vote to require the Republican governor's administration to write new rules, said state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a Democrat from Linden.

The issue is simple: Legislators believe the Christie administration's plan on how to disburse marijuana to patients is so restrictive that it undermines the intent of the law adopted last year to do so.

The proposed regulations are the only ones in the nation to limit the potency and variety of pot that's made available to patients. They also require doctors who recommend marijuana to undergo more training.

New Jersey became the 14th state to adopt a law allowing patients with some medical conditions to use pot to ease their symptoms. People with glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and other conditions say the drug can help relieve pain and nausea.

Signing the bill was one of the last acts as governor for Democrat Jon Corzine. A day later, Christie, who upset Corzine in an election the previous year, was sworn in.

Christie said he supported the concept of medical marijuana — but not the law that Corzine signed.

His critics on the issue say he tried to use the regulations to rewrite the law.

Christie says he's just using his authority to fill in blanks left in the law.

Last month, Christie struck a deal with Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Democrat from Princeton who pushed for legal cannabis for patients, to make changes to his regulations. Among them: allowing six establishments to both grow and distribute the drug — as the law called for. Previously, Christie had wanted only two places to be allowed to grow it and four to distribute it.

But Scutari, the Legislature's other chief advocate of medical pot, didn't agree to the deal. And 10 days after it was struck, the Senate sided with him and voted to tell the administration that the regulations didn't meet the Legislature's intent.

The vote gave the Christie administration 30 days to draft new regulations. Scutari said Christie hasn't complied with that resolution — or even formally introduced the reworked regulations from the deal he struck with Gusciora.

"He hasn't even done what he said he would do," Scutari said.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Senior Services didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Chris Goldstein, a spokesman for the Coalition for Medical Marijuana-New Jersey, founded in 2003 to support legalization efforts, said it's frustrating for patients that legal pot isn't available yet to patients who would qualify for it.

"A year later, we thought we would have the program running, and we don't," he said. "There's not a cannabis plant growing yet."



Marijuana statements show AG John Suthers needs to get a life, says advocate Brian Vicente

Category: Politics | Posted on Mon, January, 10th 2011 by THCFinder

‚ÄčIn touting the break-up of an alleged drug ring said to be using medical marijuana as cover, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers suggested a link between the MMJ biz and illegal dealing.


Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente sees this statement and others as evidence Suthers is wasting taxpayers' money on an anti-pot campaign.

"I certainly don't feel like the arrest of a small group of citizens should serve as an indictment of the medical marijuana program and the many people who find benefit from our constitutional amendment," Vicente says.

"Certainly, people should not be using it as a front for recreational sales -- but what we have are simply allegations. We don't really know if that happened or not," he points out, adding, "The really surprising thing to me about this incident was the politically charged nature of attorney general Suthers's comments."

In a press release about the arrests, which included Laura Vanwormer, co-owner of Colorado CHRONIX, a meet-up group, Suthers said:

"This case, while disturbing, should come as no surprise to Coloradans who have been concerned that there is a nexus between Colorado's booming medical marijuana industry and illegal distribution of the drug. This case counters the contention among marijuana advocates and some public officials that a regulated medical marijuana system will undercut the illicit market for marijuana."

These remarks smack of "a political stunt," Vicente maintains. When Suthers "arrests people and the same day issues various proclamations about how all medical marijuana is a farce and people are using the law as a front and all this garbage -- which is, by and large, untrue -- it begs the question of what role the attorney general is playing. Are there no other crimes or more pressing issues than people selling medical marijuana? It's sort of shocking that he doesn't have anything better to do, and fundamentally, I think he's wasting taxpayer dollars on these probably fruitless prosecutions."

Not that Vicente denies the possibility of individuals legally selling medical marijuana to patients at the same time they're dealing pot for recreational use in violation of federal law.


"There was a gray area for many years," he says, "when it was arguably legal to have dispensaries, but people were trying to figure out what the laws were. But more and more, those laws have become clearer, and there's a transition from the gray market to the mainstream market. And by and large, the vast majority of providers are simply medical providers. They're not dealing in any recreational fashion."

As such, he describes the allegations in last week's bust, if proven true in court, as isolated incidents, despite his belief that "John Suthers and his cronies are attempting to paint them as commonplace occurrences."

Could this tack be an attempt to undermine a campaign to legalize marijuana for adult use in 2012?

"There is a back story here," Vicente allows. "The reason we have an illicit market is because marijuana is not yet legal for all adults. We don't see large scale alcohol distribution rings being busted by the state, and once marijuana is legal for adult use, hopefully at the end of 2012, I think we're going to see that illicit market absolutely fade away. And these law enforcement officials will be forced to focus on real crime -- on the problems that are actually nagging at our society. They'll be forced to use taxpayer dollars more effectively."

In the meantime, Vicente points to "Not So Fast, Mr. Suthers," a Sunday column by theDenver Post's Vince Carroll, as a way of portraying Suthers as a zealot on the issue of medical marijuana. Carroll -- a conservative on many issues, but a supporter of medical marijuana -- actually needles Vicente in the piece, scoffing at his suggestion that young people may turn away from trying pot because many of the patients using it medically are elderly. But he saves his heaviest ammunition for the AG, writing, "The more implacable opponents of dispensaries and decriminalization, Suthers included, rarely acknowledge the social costs of the war on pot or its toll on personal freedom and civil liberties -- or even that some dispensary patients actually are seeking pain relief as opposed to a recreational high."

Vicente expresses his thoughts about Suthers's "crusade" more bluntly.

"I really think attorney general Suthers needs to get a life," he says. "There are more important priorities, more important things to use our state's resources for, than targeting adults for allegedly selling a drug less harmful than alcohol. This political posturing is getting absurd."




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