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Graphic: TalkLeft
The United Nations wants us to stop questioning the almighty Drug War

​A fast growing movement in Latin America to relax the laws against marijuana and other illegal drugs may — horrors! — undermine the global Drug War, according to a United Nations group.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said in its annual report, released Wednesday, that is is “concerned” that Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico have decriminalized possession of drugs, particularly marijuana, for personal use reports Lucia Baldomir at Bloomberg Business Week.
The decrim movement “poses a threat” to the “coherence and effectiveness” (as if it ever had any of either) of the international Drug War if not “resolutely countered,” according to the report, and besides that, it sends “the wrong message to the general public.”
Hey, INCB, I guess you think the “general public” doesn’t have any say in policy matters? Maybe you’re the one with the same old “wrong message,” there in your ivory tower in Vienna. Have you considered that maybe people are beginning to see the folly of locking people up for growing and using an herb?

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Photo: The New York City Independent Media Center
Sick and dying New Yorkers who can benefit from using medical marijuana may soon be able to stop worrying about jail.

​The New York State Senate Health Committee passed a medical marijuana bill Tuesday afternoon.

The passage of S. 4041-B marks the second consecutive year that the bill has gotten out of the Senate Health Committee. The Assembly’s medical marijuana bill, A. 9016, passed the Health Committee in January and is now sitting in the Assembly Codes Committee.
“We applaud the New York Senate Health Committee members for doing the right thing and taking this important step toward protecting sick and dying New Yorkers from arrest or jail,” said Noah Mamber, legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
“Let’s hope New York legislators will follow the lead of New Jersey, the state next door, which is about to become the 14th state to implement an effective medical marijuana law,” Mamber said.
The New York State Assembly passed medical marijuana legislation in 2007 and 2008, but the issue has never gotten a Senate floor vote.

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Graphic: Oregon NORML
Medical marijuana has never lost the popular vote in a statewide election — except in South Dakota.

​South Dakotans will probably get to vote (again) on legalizing medical marijuana this November.

Cannabis advocates on Monday filed petition signatures seeking a statewide vote on a proposal to legalize marijuana in South Dakota for medical use in treating pain, nausea and other health problems, reports KELO.
Nearly 32,000 signatures — almost double the 16,776 valid signatures needed to make the November ballot — were turned in to the secretary of state’s office in Pierre, according to one of the organizers, Emmett Reistroffer of Sioux Falls.

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Photo: julianabrint
I heart marijuana in D.C.

​As the District of Columbia Council meets Tuesday afternoon to hear testimony on the legalization of medical marijuana, they’ll be hearing different opinions from people on the same side of the argument, reports Martin Austermuhle at DCist.

Some advocates believe the legislation introduced in late January is too restrictive and unnecessarily limits access to marijuana for qualifying patients in D.C.
The bill would set up five dispensaries where patients with approved conditions and a note from their primary care physician could buy a 30-day supply of marijuana.
The dispensaries would be required to be at least 1,000 feet from any school or youth center. Patients would be required to pay registration fees.
The proposal does not live up to the spirit of the 1998 voter initiative that approved medical marijuana in D.C., according to some advocates.

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Photo: Shay Sowden/LAist

​Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) responded Tuesday to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s latest effort to shut down registered dispensaries by threatening to intervene in the lawsuits the city filed recently against raided collectives Organica and Holistic Caregivers.

According to ASA, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has taken preemptive enforcement action before dispensaries have a chance to comply with the recently adopted regulatory ordinance, which took more than two years to write and pass.
“It’s clear that the City Attorney is attempting to intimidate and close dispensaries before the Los Angeles ordinance even goes into effect,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford.

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Photo: The Fresh Scent

​An Ohio man called police Monday afternoon to report that someone had robbed him at gunpoint — and stolen his bag of marijuana.

According to police, 35-year-old Jason Owens told them he’d been robbed by a gunman around 4 p.m. in Over-The-Rhine, Cincinnati, reports Travis Gettys at WLWT.com.
When officers asked Owens what the gunman stole, he told them the robber took at $80 bag of pot.

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Graphic: salem-news.com

​Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients are the largest group enrolled in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program. But the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Albuquerque — the only source of health care for many veterans — doesn’t allow its physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients, despite the fact that it’s legal in the state.

There are 1,249 patients enrolled in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program, reports Marjorie Childress of the New Mexico Independent. PTSD patients hold 291 of those spots. The next two largest groups are cancer patients, at 198, and HIV/AIDS patients, at 130.
The VA policy that forbids doctors to recommend medical marijuana is due to the influence of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), according to Sonja Brown, chief of Voluntary Service & Public Affairs Operations of the New Mexico VA Health Care System.

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Artwork: Jimmy Wheeler
The late Jimmy Wheeler, a medical marijuana patient in Washington, created this artwork. Now a proposed patient protection bill will be named in his honor.

​As most medical marijuana patients in the state already know, the current medical marijuana law in Washington doesn’t protect patients from search, arrest or prosecution.

The recent Washington Supreme Court ruling in State v. Fry further highlighted how little protection — as in almost none! — the current law gives “legal” patients.
Medical marijuana activists Ken Martin and Steve Sarich of patient advocacy group CannaCare contacted every Senator and Representative in Washington at the beginning of the current 2010 legislative session, attempting to find a sponsor for their new bill that would finally offer legal patients protection from arrest and prosecution.
“We could not find a single sponsor for this bill,” Sarich told Toke of the Town. “Those I actually spoke with told me they were ‘too busy’ this session.”
“This made us curious about what, exactly, these legislators were so busy working on (besides new taxes on just about everything),” Sarich said. “What we found amazed us.”

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Photo: Andreas Fuhrmann/Record Searchlight
Veteran Sean Merritt has spoken out against gun store owners who won’t sell firearms to medical marijuana patients.

​Morphine? Klonopin? No problem. But if you use medical marijuana, no gun for you!

Redding, California gun dealer Patrick Jones — who happens to also be mayor of the town — refuses to do business with known medical marijuana patients.

That refusal has drawn lots of criticism from patients such as Army Spc. Sean Merritt, an honorably discharged and disabled veteran. The patients, who have twice gone to Redding City Council chambers to denounce Jones, say he is violating patients’ rights, reports Scott Mobley at the Redding Record Searchlight.
“There is nothing in state law that says I cannot own or possess a firearm,” Merritt said at a recent city council meeting. And to be told as such is branding me as a severe mental patient or a felon. I am neither.”
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