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MPP.org
Will Foster, victim of the war on medical marijuana patients

​Medical marijuana patient Will Foster, who once faced 93 years in prison for growing pot in his closet, is now a free man, according to the Drug War Chronicle.

Foster was released on parole from an Oklahoma prison today, adding a happy note to a saga that stretches back to his bust in the 1990s.
Foster was in the unfortunate position of being a public example of the mindless cruelties of the war on marijuana. The 36-year-old father of two, a computer programmer, had his life changed forever when Tulsa, Okla., officers showed up at his door with a “John Doe” warrant to search for methamphetamines. No meth was found — even after officers tore apart his 5-year-old daughter’s teddy bear.
But behind a locked steel door in his basement, the cops found a 25-square-foot marijuana garden. Foster said he grew the plants to treat the chronic pain of acute rheumatoid arthritis.

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Photo: Laurie Avocado, Wikimedia Commons

​A San Diego task force has released its recommendations for the city council regarding medical marijuana dispensaries.

The task force said, among other things, that dispensaries should go through a permitting process, limit hours of operation, abide by zoning restrictions, and should be more than 1,000 feet from schools, libraries, or playgrounds. Dispensaries would also be restricted from bring less than 500 feet away from each other.
Some local marijuana supporters are on board with the proposed regulations. “I think it’s balanced and pretty fair,” Craig Beresh told the local NBC affiliate. “I think it’s going to work for both the medical marijuana community and the city of San Diego.”

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Courtesy Mason Tvert
Marijuana’s momentum in Colorado is giving Mason Tvert plenty to smile about.

​If Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente — along all the marijuana users in Colorado — get their way, weed could become legal in the Rocky Mountain state in 2012.

Tvert and Vicente unveiled their plan Monday for a statewide initiative that will legalize pot for all Coloradans over 21.
If California’s 2010 ballot initiative to legalize fails, Colorado could become the national leader in the marijuana legalization movement. 
It’s going to be a challenge. Just three years ago, 60 percent of Colorado voters rejected a much less ambitious initiative that would have decriminalized an ounce or less of weed. But the political winds are shifting so rapidly, the legalization initiative’s chances are looking less like a long shot and more like a dogfight.

In a bitter disappointment to supporters of regulated sales of medical marijuana, California Attorney General Jerry Brown has said in a radio interview that all sales of marijuana are illegal, “no matter what.”

Brown told KFI News that he supports the efforts of Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley (who’s grabbed a lot of headlines recently with his hardline anti-dispensary stance, infamously saying “approximately zero” of the dispensaries were legal) and L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich (ditto) in going after marijuana dispensaries selling pot to patients.

Photo: Scott Clarkson
AG Jerry Brown: “The dope business”

​”Unfortunately in some communities, Los Angeles in particular, there’s a lot of exploitation and just getting into the, er, drug business, the dope business,” Brown told KFI.
The L.A. City Council, which has seemed disinclined to take the advice of Cooley and Trutanich (much to Cooley’s public chagrin) spent about five hours today hammering out guidelines for their long-awaited, much-amended medical marijuana ordinance.

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Photo: Michael W. deBenutzer, Wikimedia Commons
Hitting all the high notes?

​A New Zealand woman who played classical musical to her 20 cannabis plants “to encourage them to grow” has been sentenced to community work, according to Kiwi website TVNZ.

Zarah Murphy of New Plymouth, N.Z. cultivated the plants in a room with photos on the wall of healthy palnts as “role models” and played them “nice classical music,” her lawyer told New Plymouth District Court on Monday.
The lawyer, Pamela Jensen, said Murphy was growing the plants for her own medical use, to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder, the Taranaki Daily News reported.
She was undergoing psychotherapy for her condition and could possibly attend drug counseling in the future, according to Jensen.
Judge Allan Roberts, while granting the elaborate grow room was a “pretty good effort,” still sentenced music lover Murphy to 250 hours of community work and $1,235 in unpaid fines.

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Gary M. Stolz, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Let’s get really basted.

​Few things in life are as natural a fit as THC and Thanksgiving. I mean, come on – a holiday which heralds hoggishness, and an herb which makes you hella hungry? We’re talking a hook-up made in hemp heaven.
But wait! That’s not the only way marijuana can improve your Thanksgiving experience this year. I feel a list coming on.
1) Make the most of the best pig-out chance of the year. Any self-respecting stoner is going to augment his or her capacity for Thanksgiving largesse by generously applying nature’s favorite appetite stimulant.
To be sure you’ve got your bases properly covered, Toke of the Town suggests you consider a new round of smoking between each course of the meal. At the very least, toke up again before dessert.
If you’re in a situation where smoking ain’t cool, don’t trip. Just prepare and consume some marijuana edibles ahead of time – and if the gathering’s going to last awhile, bring along some extras in your pocket. (Toke of the Town recommends sativa strains; a heavy indica, especially combined with all that tryptophan from the turkey, could make you drowsy.)

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Image by Cooljuno411, Wikimedia Commons
Will California be the first state to legalize?

​Richard Lee, founder of an effort to qualify a marijuana legalization initiative for the November 2010 election in California, says the campaign is on track to make the ballot.

Lee, who runs cannabis training institute Oaksterdam University in Oakland, said more than half a million signatures have already been collected. According to Lee, the target of 650,000 signatures will be met by early December.
Ken Masterson, partner in a petition management firm in San Francisco, confirmed Monday that the original plan to complete signature-gathering for “Tax Cannabis 2010” by Christmas is ahead of schedule, according to the Ventura County Star.
To qualify for the ballot, 433,971 valid signatures will be required. Masterson said he checked a random sample of 50,000 signatures and discovered a validity rate of more than 70 percent. At that rate, the goal of 650,000 total signatures would be enough to qualify.

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Image: russiatoday.com
Israel is one of the first countries to permit the use of medical marijuana.

​Twenty patients in an Israeli hospital have been treated with medical marijuana in the first program of its kind in the Mideast nation.

Head Nurse Ora Shamai of the pain management program at Sheba Medical Center in the town of Tel Hashomer recently drafted a formal protocol for administering cannabis to patients. The document has already been approved by the Health Ministry’s Dr. Yehuda Baruch, and is expected to soon win final approval from the hospital.
According to the protocol, if a patient needs marijuana, the doctor in charge of treatment will help secure the necessary permit from the Health Ministry. Patients who are able to walk will smoke their joints in the hospital’s smoking room, while bedridden patients will be allowed to smoke in private rooms, near an open window.
“We make it clear to the staff that smoking medical marijuana doesn’t endanger the medical staff on the wards,” Shamai said. “It does not harm those in the area via passive smoking.”

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Photo by Laurie Avocado, Wikimedia Commons
We got a thousand of ’em! Medical marijuana dispensary on Ventura Boulevard in L.A.

​How many medical marijuana dispensaries are needed in a city with 4 million people?

That’s the question the Los Angeles City Council will be grappling with Tuesday as they decide how to deal with an explosion of the pot shops. Two years ago, when the number reached 186 registered dispensaries, a moratorium was put in place, but a boilerplate “hardship” exemption was included that proved to be a big enough loophole for hundreds more to slip through.
Current dispensary estimates run between 800 and 1,000, and the truism that “L.A. has more marijuana shops than Starbucks” has already captured the public imagination.
Councilman Jose Huizar has suggested a cap of 70 dispensaries; “I’d rather start with a low number,” he told the Los Angeles Times, calling 70 “a reasonable number” since that would be two for each of L.A.’s designated communities. Huizar’s proposal is one of more than three dozen changes the council will consider as it resumes debate on L.A.’s proposed medical marijuana ordinance.

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Illustration: Mladifilozof, Wikimedia Commons
Yes we cannabis.

​The good thing about a free marketplace of ideas is, despite the best efforts of prohibitionists and their fear-mongering propaganda, the truth eventually prevails.
That’s what we’re witnessing right now, with the tidal change in public perception of marijuana — both as a medicine and palliative, and as a recreational drug.
Within the past months, more and more of the once seemingly insurmountable barriers to widespread acceptance of cannabis have been looking mighty shaky. Nationwide polls show that more and more Americans support legalization across the board.
The latest Gallup poll on the subject found 44 percent approve full legalization of pot, representing a 13-point rise in the past nine years. According to Gallup, if public support continues growing at the present rate of 1 or 2 percent per year, “the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years.”
Toke of the Town tends to think majority support could happen even more quickly than that, as more “closet” supporters are emboldened by an increasingly public shift in opinion.
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