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Just more than 1,000 valid signatures are needed for November’s ballot, but organizers plan to turn in 2,000 to make sure

Advocates Begin Circulating Petitions To Overturn City’s Ban On Safe Access To Medicinal Cannabis

A team of community activists on Friday converged in Imperial Beach, California, and began circulating a petition and gathering signatures to place the Safe Access Ordinance of Imperial Beach on the November general election ballot.
If passed, the measure would overturn Imperial Beach’s current ban on safe access to medical marijuana and replace it with reasonable zoning regulations and operational requirements for medical cannabis dispensing collectives and cooperatives wishing to operate in the city.
The Imperial Beach City Council began working on this issue two years ago when Marcus Boyd, vice chair of San Diego Americans for Safe Access and local business owner in Imperial Beach, brought the issue to them at a council meeting.
At that time, the city denied Boyd’s request for a business license and adopted a temporary moratorium, promising to conduct research and return a reasonable ordinance in just a few months.


By Bob Starrett
In a year where it would be hard to deny that medical marijuana is a big issue in many states, there is bound to be press coverage and there are bound to be legislators who are influenced by it — whatever it says.
This from the The Baltimore Sun on March 7, 2012: 
In Colorado, it is estimated that only 2 percent of registered medical marijuana users suffer from cancer or AIDS. Medicinal marijuana is often prescribed for psychiatric conditions such as insomnia, anxiety and mood disorders — and often by prescribers who have no specialized training in psychiatric disorders.
What’s wrong with this paragraph, other than that fact that Colorado does not accept insomnia, anxiety and mood disorders as listed conditions for medical marijuana? In fact, petitions to add severe anxiety and clinical depression have been denied by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Joe Koshollek/Oregon Live
Gary Storck of Madison, Wisconsin, has twice come to Oregon to get a medical marijuana card. He’s one of about 600 out-of-states who have gotten the Oregon card.

​You don’t have to be a resident of Oregon to get an Oregon medical marijuana card.

Hundreds of out-of-staters make an annual trip to the Beaver State to fill out an application, see a doctor and get a state-issued medicinal cannabis ID. Oregon is the only remaining state in the U.S. to issue medical marijuana cards to non-residents, according to Noelle Crombie of The Oregonian.

“It’s not a bad place to visit,” said Gary Storck, 56, who takes a 40-hour, $1,000 Amtrak ride out west from Wisconsin every year to renew his medical marijuana card. “It lifts my spirits to be in a place where medical cannabis is legal and life goes on.”

OMCA 2012

​Ohio’s second proposed medical marijuana ballot issue took a step forward Friday when it was certified by Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment to the Ohio Constitution contains a “fair and truthful” summary and has the necessary 1,000 signatures of Ohio registered voters, DeWine decided, reports alan Johnson of The Columbus Dispatch.
Next up for the ballot issue is the Ohio Ballot Board, which will determine whether it should appear on the November 6 general election ballot as a single issue or as multiple issues. Secretary of State Jan Husted set a board meeting for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 25.

The Weed Blog
U.S. federal government joints come ready-rolled in tins of 300, as pictured above.

Despite the continued denials from the U.S. federal government — and its absurdly erroneous classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance, meaning it by definition has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical uses — the feds themselves have been giving out free marijuana to a limited group of patients for 30 years.
The program had grown to close to 30 patients at its height, but in 1992 stopped accepting any new participants, during the George H.W. Bush Administration.
Activists speculated that happened because of the advent of the HIV/AIDS crisis; with the widespread need of such patients for medicinal cannabis, pot’s medical usefulness could have become uncomfortably obvious to the public at large once hundreds or thousands of people had permission to use it.
Despite the program not having accepted any new patients for more than 20 years, the four surviving federal medical marijuana patients still get their 300 (stale, low-quality) joints a month, and will until they die. Never mind that it’s only 3.5 percent THC (maybe that’s why the federal government recommends its patients use 10 “marijuana cigarettes” a day!) plus being 10 years old and stale as shit by the time the patients receive it.

Nirvana Wellness Center
“…[T]he assumption that this approach reduces cannabis potency, increases price or meaningfully reduces cannabis availability and use is inconsistent with virtually all available data”

​Throwing more and more money at anti-marijuana law enforcement does not meaningfully reduce the potency, or availability of cannabis and creates lucrative profit opportunities for organized crime, according to a new report by a group of marijuana policy advocates.

The report, “How Not To Protect Community Health and Safety: What the Government’s Own Data say about the Effects of Cannabis Production” [PDF] was released on last week, reports Tara Carman at the Vancouver Sun. It argues that marijuana should be regulated, taxed and sold under government oversight.
The paper, by Stop The Violence BC, a group of law enforcement and public health officials, politicians and academics which includes former Vancouver mayors Larry Campbell, Philip Owen and Sam Sullivan, as well as Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and other prominent drug policy experts.
The report takes a new look at 20 years of data collected by the Canadian and United States governments and highlights what the authors say is the failure of marijuana prohibition to eliminate or even meaningfully reduce access to cannabis.

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano: “This is a crisis, and it’s putting patients at risk”

​We’re two months into a confusing crackdown by the federal Department of Justice on medical marijuana dispensaries, and California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is expected to meet soon with the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The private meeting is expected to take place next week between Ammiano (D-S.F.) and federal prosecutor Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, reports Dan Aiello at The Bar Area Reporter.
The decision by Haag to meet with Ammiano comes just a week after U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong ruled against three Bay Area medical marijuana dispensaries, one of the dispensary’s patients, and another’s landlord.
“U.S. Attorney Haag’s office has responded to our request and Assemblyman Ammiano will be meeting her sometime next week,” said Quintin Mecke, Ammiano’s communications director.
Participants at the meeting have not been confirmed; “no other elected official[s]” will be there, according to Mecke. “This meeting is on behalf of our office,” he said.
Federal prosecutors have threatened dispensaries with eviction, landlords with property seizures, and both with imprisonment. Scattered raids have been reported, with patient records being seized at one dispensary in Sacramento.

THC Finder

​There’s an initiative afoot in Arkansas to put medical marijuana legalization on the ballot in November 2012.

Arkansans for Compassionate Care is circulating a petition to allow the sick and dying to legally use cannabis medicinally with a doctor’s authorization for 16 different serious or chronic diseases and disorders such as cancer, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS.
The program would allow for 30 nonprofit dispensaries across the state. Those who live more than five miles from the nearest dispensary would be allowed to get a marijuana-growing permit.
“If we collect 62,500 signatures, the initiative will appear on the 2012 Presidential ballot in Arkansas,” Shannon Steece of Arkansans for Compassionate Care told Toke of the Town. “Currently we have less than 20,000 unvalidated signatures.”

Reform Conference

​Will California, Washington State or Colorado vote to legalize marijuana in 2012?

Why do blacks go to jail for drugs at 13 times the rate of whites even though they use and sell drugs at similar rates?
What are the results of Portugal decriminalizing all drugs 10 years ago?
What can be done about the 50,000 prohibition-related deaths in Mexico since President Calderon ramped up the Mexican Drug War five years ago?
People will gather to answer these questions and many more at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Los Angeles, November 2-5.

Julian Abram Wainwright/Vinaland
Recovering drug users share buckets of water for a communal bath at a drug rehabilitation center in Vietnam

​Vietnam subjects patients at so-called “drug rehabilitation centers” to abuse and forced labor, according to an international human rights group which called for the facilities to be shut down.

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, on Wednesday called on international donors to check the programs they fund inside the drug rehab centers for possible human rights violations, reports Mike Ives at
The United States and Australian governments, the United Nations, the World Bank and other international donors may “indirectly facilitate human rights abuses” by paying for drug dependency and HIV treatments for addicts inside the centers, according to the group.