Browsing: Legislation

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Photo: stopthedrugwar.org
San Diegans protest Operation Green Rx, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’ dispensary crackdown

​The San Diego City Council is considering adopting dispensary regulations that were developed recently by the city’s Medical Marijuana Task Force, with substantial public input.

The task force held public meetings, studied ordinances from other cities and counties around the state, and considered comments from San Diego residents over a period of five weeks before making the recommendations.
“The San Diego City Council is doing a difficult and brave thing,” said Margaret Dooley-Sammuli, deputy state director in Southern California for the Drug Policy Alliance Network. “It’s putting safe access for medical marijuana patients and the needs of San Diegans above the political opposition of the County Board of Supervisors and the District Attorney.”

Photo: www.freedomsphoenix.com
Calm down, Chief. It’s just pot.

​Port Orchard, Wash., Police Chief Al Townsend is against legalizing pot, and he’s called a new bill to legalize marijuana in the state “ludicrous.”

“If the goal of the bill is to legalize marijuana for the purpose of generating tax revenue, that’s ridiculous,” Townsend wrote in an email to Kitsap Sun crime reporter Josh Farley.
Chief Townsend calls into question the judgment of his fellow Kitsap Countian, Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo), one of the co-sponsors of HB 2401, which would legalize marijuana for persons 21 and older.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Despite a moratorium on the opening of any new dispensaries, beautiful Richmond, California still has safe access for medical marijuana patients — for now.

​East Bay city Richmond, Calif., will hold off on an outright ban of medical marijuana dispensaries, Katherine Tam reports in The Oakland Tribune.

City leaders in Richmond, an residential inner suburb of San Francisco, say they are still looking for a way to regulate dispensaries without exhausting police resources, “which should be focused on homicides and more serious violent crimes.”
Richmond officials plan to study other cities’ tactics as they weigh their options.
“See if there is a way to try to accomplish the goal of getting a convenient way for people to have access to medical marijuana in a way that doesn’t lead to constant drains of police resources,” said Councilman Jim Rogers.

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Reality Catcher
Marijuana’s going mainstream.

​Six House Democrats have filed a bill in the Washington State Legislature to legalize marijuana.

The bill, which would make pot legal for those 21 or older, would use nearly all the money raised through sales at state liquor/marijuana stores for substance abuse treatment and prevention.
Marijuana revenues will probably be comparable to those for alcohol, according to Dickerson. Alcohol revenues run about $330 million yearly in Washington.
The six Democratic legislators sponsoring the bill are Mary Lou Dickerson and Scott White of Seattle, Roger Goodman of Kirkland, David Upthegrove of Des Moines, Sherry Appleton of Poulsbo and Mary Helen Roberts of Lynwood.
Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican, is already on record as opposing the bill. “Like most of my colleagues in law enforcement, like my father who was in law enforcement, I’m not a big fan of making marijuana available without a prescription,” McKenna said.

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MediLeaf
The little dispensary that could: MediLeaf is still open in Gilroy, Calif.

​Gilroy, Calif., Councilman Perry Woodward has called for a “full refund” of legal fees from the city’s contracted law firm after learning that Gilroy’s assistant city attorney advised the neighboring City of Los Altos to take a “diametrically opposed” stance on banning marijuana dispensaries, reports Jonathan Partridge at the Gilroy Dispatch.

Woodward urged the council to demand restitution for all legal fees paid to hired attorney Linda Callon of San Jose-based law firm Berliner-Cohen in connection with regulating medical marijuana dispensaries. According to the Dispatch, the councilman has sent emails to fellow council members, city administrators and Callon herself.

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Photo: CMMNJ
MS patient John Ray Wilson, left, and a supporter

​In a move that could be huge for the medical marijuana movement, a New Jersey judge reversed course today, allowing a multiple sclerosis patient on trial for growing 17 marijuana plants to testify about his medical condition, Brian Thompson of NBC New York reports.

Although Judge Robert Reed had earlier ruled defendant John Ray Wilson couldn’t present a defense based on medical necessity, Wilson was allowed to mention his MS after multiple conferences among lawyers and the judge.
“I told them [the arresting officers]I was not a drug dealer and I was using the marijuana for my MS,” Wilson was allowed to tell the jury.
“I think it carried weight, even though it was one sentence,” said Chris Goldstein of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey.
No follow up on Wilson’s MS was allowed.
He faces up to 20 years in prison on the “drug manufacturing” charge.

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Office of the WA Attorney General
Atty. Gen. Rob McKenna: “Not a big fan of making marijuana available”

​Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna said Tuesday he opposes attempts to legalize marijuana in Washington, Chris Grygiel reports at the Seattle P.I.

McKenna was reacting to a a bill introduced by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle) to legalize pot for those 21 and older in the state.
“Like most of my colleagues in law enforcement, like my father who was in law enforcement, I’m not a big fan of making marijuana available without a prescription,” McKenna said.
“It is legal today if you have a prescription. That’s fine; the voters approved that law and people who are really sick with cancer, for example, or glaucoma seem to derive real benefit from the medical or medicinal use of marijuana. But making it available generally without a prescription I don’t support,” he said.
McKenna’s opposition to legalizing cannabis comes as no surprise. McKenna is definitely not cool. The only surprise in his statement was his downright reasonable-sounding words on medical marijuana — since up until now, he’s had a tin ear when it comes to hearing the concerns of patients.

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Photo: Laurie Avocado

​The Los Angeles City Council’s proposed restrictions on where medical marijuana dispensaries can locate in the city would eliminate most sites, according to maps drawn by city planners, John Hoeffel of the L.A. Times reports.

City Councilman Ed Reyes said Tuesday that the current proposal — a 1,000-foot buffer between dispensaries and residences or other “sensitive” areas, including schools and parks — “will go out the window right away” when the council returns to the issue today.

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Photo: www.legis.state.wi.us
Dope of the Day Leah Vukmir: Just take your pharmaceuticals, and forget about that silly marijuana.

​A Republican legislator’s accusation that medical marijuana supporters have a secret agenda of legalizing pot for everyone drew boos from many in a room packed with sick people in wheelchairs or walking with canes, AP reports.

Rep. Leah Vukmir claimed there are no medical reasons to use marijuana and that suffering patients should do things that “do not require individuals to light a joint.”
For her complete lack of empathy for her fellow human beings, along with an obnoxious dose of hubristic arrogance combined with insufferable ignorance, Toke of the Town enthusiastically awards Rep. Vukmir our ignoble Dope Of The Day award.

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Photo: normstamper.com
Norm Stamper of LEAP: “Legalizing pot but not other drugs will leave huge social harms unresolved”

​With marijuana legalization apparently headed for the California ballot in 2010, Seattle’s former police chief is asking, “Why stop there?”, reports Matt Coker in the OC Weekly.

Police veteran Norm Stamper wore the blue for 34 years, and was the top cop in Seattle from 1994 until 2000. He’s also the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing and one of the most prominent members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
Norm breaks it down in an AlterNet post, “Let’s Not Stop At Legalizing Marijuana,” citing polls that show a majority of Americans realize legalizing pot will produce a host of benefits, including, of course, the fact that 800,000 people a year will no longer be arrested for the herb. Taxation and regulation further bolster the pro-legalization arguments.
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