Author Steve Elliott ~alapoet~

O’Dea/Wiki Commons

Americans for Safe Access will hold its first compulsory training course on February 1st
The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) was awarded a permit by the D.C. Department of Health last week to implement its compulsory training for cultivators and distributors licensed by the District. ASA Foundation was selected to be the Medical Marijuana Certification Provider based on its longstanding experience providing such trainings across the country.

ReLegalize Indiana

Survey also finds 62 percent would support decriminalizing marijuana and a majority would support regulating it similarly to alcohol
More than two-thirds (68 percent) of New Hampshire voters think the state should enact a law allowing seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it, according to a survey conducted this week by Public Policy Polling (PPP). Just 26 percent said they were opposed.
The poll, which is being released just as state lawmakers prepare to consider a medical marijuana bill in this year’s legislative session, also found that 52 percent of voters would be more likely to vote for a state legislator if he or she voted for such legislation. Just 27 percent said they’d be less likely.

Patrick Kennedy announced on Wednesday the formation of a new group, “Smart Approaches to Marijuana,” or SAM, which simply uses a new narrative to make the same arguments used by cannabis opponents for years

National conference in February will better equip Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, others to develop public health policy based on science
In response to public comments made against U.S. marijuana reform on Wednesday by former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, patient advocates wrote to Kennedy inviting him to attend a national conference on medical marijuana scheduled for February 22-25 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Kennedy announced today the formation of a new group, “Smart Approaches to Marijuana,” or SAM, which claims to take a different approach to marijuana use than legalization advocates or government drug warriors. However, advocates argue that SAM’s apparent pro-public health approach ignores the therapeutic benefits of the marijuana plant and is simply using a new narrative to make the same arguments used by marijuana opponents for years.

Deseret News
Barbara Mahaffey in an undated photograph

A Utah man said police interrupted a private moment of mourning with his just-deceased wife of 58 years when they searched his house for her prescription medication without a warrant, within 10 minutes of her death.

Ben D. Mahaffey, 80, said he was distraught and trying to make sure the body of his wife, Barbara Alice Mahaffey, would be taken to the funeral home with dignity, reports Dennis Romboy at Deseret News. Instead, police officers insisted that he help them “look for the drugs.”
“I was holding her hand saying goodbye when all the intrusion happened,” Mahaffey said.
Barbara died at 12:35 a.m., with Mahaffey, a Korean War veteran, and his friend, an EMT, at her side. Police, a mortician and a hospice worker arrived at the home about 12:45 a.m., Mahaffey said; he didn’t know how police came to be there.


The United States Supreme Court is considering whether police must get a warrant before ordering a blood test on an unwilling DUI suspect. The case has potentially major ramifications in Washington state, where voters in November approved a marijuana legalization scheme which institutes a strict five nanograms per milliliter (5 ng/ml) blood level for THC, above which drivers are automatically considered impaired.

The justices on Wednesday heard arguments in a case involving a disputed blood test from Missouri, reports The Associated Press. After stopping a speeding, erratically driving car, the driver — who had two previous drunken-driving convictions — refused to submit to a breath test to measure the alcohol in his body.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: “It’s not fair, it’s not right. it must end, and it must end now.”

Cuomo: Marijuana Arrests That “Stigmatize and Criminalize… Must End Now” 
Proposal Would Standardize Penalties, End Tens of Thousands of Annual Unlawful, Biased Marijuana Possession Arrests
In his State of the State address on Wednesday, New York Governor Cuomo made a passionate call for reforming New York’s marijuana possession laws in order to reduce unlawful, biased, and costly arrests. The governor noted the discrepancy in the law between public and private possession of small amounts of marijuana, and proposed standardizing penalties for possession.

Gene Walsh/Times Herald
State Senator Daylin Leach: “It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in jettisoning this modern-day prohibition” 

A state senator in Pennsylvania on Wednesday announced plans to introduce legislation that would legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) is currently looking for cosponsors for the bill.

“This past November, the people of Washington state and Colorado voted to fully legalize marijuana,” Sen. Leach said, reports The Sentinel. “Other places, including California, have had de facto legalization for some time.”
“This week, I will introduce legislation which would have Pennsylvania join these other states in ending this modern-day prohibition,” Leach said. “My bill will legalize the consumption of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, without regard to the purpose of that consumption.”

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske: “Calling it medicine sends a terrible message”

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske — required by law to lie about the medical efficacy of cannabis — has, unsurprisingly, attacked the herb again in a speech in San Francisco.

“Calling it medicine sends a terrible message” to American youth, according to the Czar, reports Chris Roberts at NBC Bay Area. Gil seems unfamiliar with or indifferent to the fact that the U.S. federal government itself has been providing free medical marijuana to a handful of patients for 30 years under the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program.
Gil could also use a refresher course on the thousands of scientific studies which show marijuana’s medical effectiveness. Oh well; I guess Science “sends a terrible message” to youth, as well.

Eliza Wiley/Helena Independent Record
Chris Williams: :”[T]he extraordinary circumstances of this case do warrant my taking additional legal advice and possible new legal counsel”

The conviction of Montana medical marijuana provider Chris Williams, convicted of violating federal law, took another twist on Tuesday when his defense attorney, Michael Donohoe, filed a motion to withdraw from the case.

Donahoe said he believes that when Williams heard about an Ohio State law professor and legal blogger criticizing aspects of the case, his client lose confidence in Donahoe’s ability to present the best defense possible, with sentencing coming up on February 1, reports Eve Byron at the Helena Independent Record.

The Raw Story
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is the wrong place to go for the truth about marijuana

The Obama Administration has just released a new response to three petitions on marijuana legalization. Perhaps significantly, for the first time Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is now saying “it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.”

“I guess it makes a difference when marijuana legalization gets more votes than your boss does in an important swing state, as happened in Colorado this last election,” Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told Toke of the Town Tuesday night. “From ‘legalization is not in my vocabulary and it’s not in the president’s,’ as Gil Kerlikowske often used to say, to ‘it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana’ is a pretty stark shift.
“Of course, what really matters is to what extent the administration actually shifts enforcement priorities and budgets, but I sure do like hearing the U.S. drug czar acknowledge the fact that marijuana legalization is a mainstream discussion that is happening whether he likes it or not,” Angell told us.
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