I'm fixated on the Trayvon Martin murder trial. I've been watching it on HLN while I work around the apartment. But today something came up that forced me to blog about, impairment and nanograms of THC in your system.

The State tried to keep out the evidence that Trayvon had THC in his system because they said that it would be impossible to tell what effect that THC would have had.  The question is:

    Marijuana Impairment Survey

Judge Debra Nelson has ruled to allow Trayvon Martin's toxicology report into evidence in the murder trial of George Zimmerman.

The report showed he had 1.5 nanograms per milliliter of THC -- the active ingredient in marijuana -- in his blood. He also had 7.3 nanograms of another type, THC-COOH, and traces in his urine.


Read more

It was interesting for me to watch the state argue that it would be impossible to tell how #Trayvon would react to smoking pot. How would they be able to determine if it would make him more or less aggressive? My experience in court was pretty much the opposite. 

I had my doctor on the stand testifying that the strains that I was growing were selected because of the proper effect on my pain management. We conferred quite frequently about the different methods of ingestion, extracting the proper compounds of the cannabis I was growing, and which strains relieved which symptoms. At one point, the DA said "and I'm just going to call it #DOPE because that's what it it!" The court let the DA determine my medical needs over my doctor's opinion!! 

#Cannabration #TrayvonMartinMurderTrial #TrayvonTHC #Legalizeit2014 #CannabisLegalization #Dope
 
 
Colorado's task force has come out with their recommendations and they are not anywhere close to what I thought they might be. 

The recommendations include:
  • Marijuana retailers must have both state and local approval.
  • For the first year, retail licenses are restricted to operators of existing licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.
  • For the first three years, retailers must grow 70% of the marijuana they sell, similar to existing medical marijuana regulations.
  • Enact two taxes — a 15 percent excise tax paid by shops where cannabis is sold, and an additional sales tax for customers.
  • Restrict access to the marijuana by minors.
  • Provide law enforcement officers with new training to catch impaired drivers.
  • Update the state’s Clean Air Act to include the effect of marijuana smoke.
  • Allow employers to prohibit off the job marijuana use by employees.
  • Allow marijuana to be sold to out-of-state visitors who are 21 or older.
  • Limit the amount of marijuana sold to a customer in a single purchase, perhaps to an eighth at a time. Colorado’s law only allows possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by individuals.
  • Limit marijuana advertising, similar to existing alcohol and tobacco advertising regulations.
  • Require marijuana to have child-proof packaging.
  • Emphasize that it’s illegal for marijuana to be given away in exchange for a donation.
  • Make marijuana part of bar and restaurant smoking bans, possibly making so-called “cannabis clubs” or “smoking clubs” illegal.
  • Prohibit growing marijuana outdoors.
  • Create a regulatory system similar to that in medical marijuana dispensaries that follows recreational marijuana from seed to sale.
  • Require that marijuana products have potency labeling, but there should be no restrictions on THC content.

The sales taxes were expected but 15% is a bit high especially when you are double dipping by asking the establishment AND the customer to pay it. Also, limiting the amount sold to a customer in a single purchase is one of those laws set up to fail. There are so many ways around it and no real way to enforce it. STUPID! I have no clue what they mean by "Emphasize that it’s illegal for marijuana to be given away in exchange for a donation." Huh? But two of the recommendations are so bad, it's hard to imagine how they even got from pen to paper. #1 By allowing employers to prohibit off the job marijuana use by employees, you are letting them invade your personal life. What I do on the weekend should be no business of my employer! And last but not least, making it illegal to grow marijuana outdoors is irresponsible. One of the big problems with the prohibition of marijuana was the huge carbon footprint that it made because of the need to hide your grow. Free sunlight is a good thing for everyone. Why do they want it to stay indoors? Is the sight of it so tempting that people would be helpless to resist it's powers? Ridiculous! It's time for regulators to grow up and let us grow out...side. If you think about it for two seconds, it's the only thing that makes sense. What do you think?

Read the full story here:
http://www.thedailychronic.net/2013/15882/colorados-amendment-64-task-force-finishes-recommendations/

 
 
Picture
ELSPETH REEVE
11:39 AM ET
Marijuana could be the next gay marriage -- a contentious social issue that suddenly picks up broad, bipartisan support for change. On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came out in favor of legalizing hemp, joining Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and fellow Kentucky Republican Rand Paul to cosponsor a bill that would allow Americans to grow it, NBC News' Kasie Hunt reports. Of course, hemp is not the same as regular marijuana. Industrial hemp has much less THC, the chemical that gets people high. But right now, hemp is classified in the same category as drugs like heroin and LSD. On Thursday, the Kentucky state senate voted to legalize hemp if the federal government legalizes it too. Oregon has legalized hemp cultivation, but farmers risk federal prosecution. 

Again, hemp is not the same thing as marijuana, "but some law enforcement groups say it is a step that could lead to the legalization of marijuana," Hunt writes. Other lawmakers -- yes, even conservative Republicans! -- have addressed legalizing the drug itself. The most fascinating example was last week, when Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said twice he was "evolving" on the issue of marijuana legalization when political science students at the University of Virginia asked him about voters legalizing weed in Colorado and Washington last fall. "I’m not sure about Virginia’s future [in terms of marijuana legalization]," Cuccinelli said. "But I and a lot of people are watching Colorado and Washington to see how it plays out." He explained it as a federalism thing: "I don't have a problem with states experimenting with this sort of thing. I think that's the role of states."

Cuccinelli is expected to be the next Republican nominee for Virginia governor. He's a very conservative dude. He led the states' rebellion against Obamacare. He's said conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia isn't conservative enough. In the same UVA appearance, he said he didn't support public pools because they distort the free market.

More remarkable is that Cuccinelli later clarified his comments -- but not in the traditional political definition of the word, which is "retract all previous statements." Instead, he questioned the war on drugs:

"What I expressed to [the students] was an openness to observe how things work there, both in terms of the drug side and the economics. One issue that is often discussed is how the war on drugs itself has played out. Have we done this the right way? It's been phenomenally expensive...

[If the government] going to put people in jail and spend $25,000 [to] $30,000 a year for a prison bed, do we want it to be for someone who's pushing marijuana or pushing meth? I'll tell you what, that $30,000 for the meth pusher is well worth the deal."

Rand Paul has gone further in talking about marijuana legalization than his pro-him pal McConnell. In November, like Cuccinelli, Paul said, "States should be allowed to make a lot of these decisions... I think, for example, we should tell young people, 'I'm not in favor of you smoking pot, but if you get caught smoking pot, I don't want to put you in jail for 20 years...'"

It's important to explain what's radical and what isn't in this position. Few people who get caught with marijuana go to jail for 20 years, so opposing that isn't a big deal. It's the boring part of Paul's comment -- let states make the call on weed -- that actually is radical. As Reason's Jacob Sullumexplained, a Republican senator supporting "devolving drug policy decisions to the states is pretty bold in the current political context." He writes:

It is the policy embodied in the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Paul's father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). How many of their fellow congressmen joined them? Nineteen, all but one (Dana Rohrabacher of California) a Democrat.

So, how are the states doing? On Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced people arrested on minor pot possession charges won't be booked and held for arraignment anymore, The Wall Street Journal reports. Instead, they'll be released with appearance tickets, which means the person is free until his or her court date. But the issue is being addressed outside liberalism's East Coast capital. In state legislatures like Rhode IslandMaine, and Pennsylvania, the push for legalization in 2013 has, so far, been dominated by Democrats. But there are signs Republicans might ease their opposition, too. This week, Pennsylvania state Sen. Daylin Leach toldRaw Story that if her marijuana legalization bill was voted on by "secret ballot," it would pass. Privately, Leach said, some of the "most conservative" lawmakers agree on legalization, because it's "just another government program" that doesn't work.

In New Hampshire, some Republican lawmakers are willing to go on the record. "Marijuana can let them die in peace, and if this helps them, so be it," Republican state Rep. Will Infantine said after hearing testimony from people with debilitating illnesses, The Dartmouth reports Friday. A bill to legalize medical marijuana is expected to pass by mid-March and make New Hampshire the last New England state to allow it. Last year, the Democratic governor vetoed two medical marijuana bills, but current Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she won't veto the current bill.

One of the most fascinating marijuana moments this year was when conservative former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo announced he would smoke pot to make good on his bet with Adam Hartle, a stand-up comic, over whether Colorado would legalize weed. "Look, I made a bet with the producer of the film that if Amendment 64 passed ( I did not think it would) that I would smoke pot," Tancredo said. "I will therefore smoke pot under circumstances we both agree are legal under Colorado law." His family eventually peer pressured him out of it.




 
 
Picture
Please forward this to everyone you know and send a letter to the judge:
Honorable Judge McGlynn
Tehama Superior Court
Juvenile Justice Division
Dependency Court
445 Pine Street
Red Bluff, CA 96080

To the Honorable Judge McGlynn January 29, 2013 Tehama County, CA

RE: Daisy Bram

As a mother of a young child, I appreciate and share the concern the court would have for a child in a bad environment, unable to care for themselves. I would hope the court can also recognize when the only evidence of abuse appears now by the Butte County deputy district attorney Jeff Greeson, by tormenting this family repeatedly. Keeping a family with young children together must have more weight than the personal vendetta of a person of authority, who disagrees with personal choices that are allowed by law.

In the case of Drake M. (case # B236769), Division Three of the Second Appellate District, California Court of Appeal ruled on December 5, 2012 that while parents who abuse drugs can lose custody of their children, a parent who uses marijuana for medical reasons, with a doctor's approval, isn't necessarily a drug abuser. This ruling illustrates a growing recognition of the legitimate use of medical marijuana in this state and other states. The kids must be safe; however parents should be able to use legally prescribed medications when children appear not to be at demonstrated risk of harm.

DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young, after reviewing all the available evidence on marijuana, declared, “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” When compared to the dangers of children consuming prescription drugs and alcohol, or the ramifications of a drunk or drugged parent, any home is actually safer if responsible parents utilize marijuana as a harm reduction technique from these other drugs.

The appellate court found that the record did not support the finding that the children would be at substantial risk of detriment if returned to that mother based on her use of marijuana. (Jennifer A. v. Superior Court, supra, 117 Cal.App.4th at p. 1346.) Medical marijuana use alone is not sufficient to take a child away. I truly hope that this ‘de facto’ policy of DCFS is changed, and that no more parents and children have to suffer needlessly. Please limit how authority figures can manipulate laws to separate children from their parents that use marijuana for medical reasons with your ruling.

As a nursing mom, I would also like to remind the court that for little humans, and the mothers who breastfeed their young, have a sacred right to be together, and these young families are now dependent on the court to keep mothers and her young together for nourishment, physical and emotional protection. Can you imagine how you might feel with the center of your universe disappeared for weeks without explanation, without connection, without trust that is so vital to the young years? Babies need constant attention from trusted caregivers to thrive. This situation would be enormously taxing for any adult, perfectly capable of expressing themselves, but a baby who is otherwise being cared for? The stress and emotional toll this has on a mother and child is damaging to say the least, and worst case scenario would produce life-long developmental problems.

I pray this letter will prevent some of the harm I have seen to these children in foster care, when they should have been with their loving parents. Daisy Bram is a loving and caring mother. Please return her children as soon as humanly possible.

Yours Truly,

Dale Sky Jones Executive Chancellor Oaksterdam University Oakland, CA 94612

 



 
 
For Immediate Release: January 17th, 2013

CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT DENIES REVIEW OF LANDMARK MEDICAL MARIJUANA CASE, AFFIRMS LEGALITY OF STOREFRONT DISPENSARIES

High Court also denied depublication of People v. Jackson despite request from League of California Cities
San Diego, CA -- The California Supreme Court denied review yesterday of a landmark medical marijuana dispensary case, which drew widespread attention from prosecutors and policymakers across the state. The Fourth District Court of Appeal for California issued a unanimous published ruling on October 24th in the case ofPeople v. Jackson, reversing the conviction of former San Diego dispensary operator Jovan Jackson and establishing a clear defense for Jackson and other medical marijuana providers similarly prosecuted in state court.

Notably, however, the State Supreme Court took decisive action yesterday in the way that it did, despite requests to depublish the appellate court decision from the League of California Cities and an amicus brief supporting the High Court's review of the case from district attorneys in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Sonoma Counties, as well as the Los Angeles City Attorney.

"Not only has the California Supreme Court rejected attempts to have it review theJackson case, thereby affirming the legality of medical marijuana sales and distribution in the state, it also chose not to depublish this landmark ruling benefiting thousands of patients," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, who represented Jackson in his appeal. "Even though the appellate court decision garnered significant opposition, patients have prevailed in their struggle to protect safe access to medical marijuana."

Jackson was convicted in September 2010 after being denied a defense in San Diego Superior Court. However, yesterday's decision not to review his case now entitles Jackson -- and, by extension, other California dispensary operators -- to a defense in state court. By rejecting the Attorney General's argument that patients who utilize dispensaries must collaborate, or 'come together' in 'some way' to cultivate the marijuana they purchase, the appellate court ruling provided the elements for a defense in future jury trials across the state.

Specifically, the appellate ruling held that in mounting a defense at trial, "Jackson was only required to produce evidence which would create a reasonable doubt as to whether the defense provided by the [Medical Marijuana Program Act] had been established." The court further held that, "the collective or cooperative association required by the act need not include active participation by all members in the cultivation process but may be limited to financial support by way of marijuana purchases from the organization. Thus, contrary to the trial court's ruling, the large membership of Jackson's collective, very few of whom participated in the actual cultivation process, did not, as a matter of law, prevent Jackson from presenting an MMPA defense."

ASA appealed Jackson's conviction in late 2011, and his case quickly became a symbol of the effort by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and other prosecutors across the state to criminalize storefront medical marijuana collectives. However, today's decision by the High Court not to review the case deals a significant blow to that effort.

Jackson operated his storefront collective without incident until he was raided by law enforcement in 2008. Jackson was tried for marijuana possession and sales in 2009, but was acquitted by a jury. Dissatisfied with that result, District Attorney Dumanis tried Jackson again on the same charges stemming from a September 2009 law enforcement raid. It was at his second trial that Jackson was denied a defense and ultimately convicted. San Diego Superior Court Judge Howard Shore, who referred to medical marijuana as "dope," and called California's medical marijuana laws "a scam," gave Jackson 180 days in jail, a sentence that was later vacated.

Further information:
Docket sheet for People v. Jacksonhttp://bit.ly/U4Gr7G
Landmark appellate court ruling in People v. Jackson:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Jackson_Appeal_Ruling.pdf
Jackson appeal brief filed by ASA:http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/Jackson_Appeal.pdf



# # #
 
 
Picture
By: Betty Aldworth



Phoenix, AZ – In a poll conducted January 9 and 10, Public Policy Polling found that 59% of Arizonans support the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, and 59% would vote “yes” on a future initiative to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. The poll of 600 Arizona voters was commissioned by the National Cannabis Industry Association. View the results at http://thecannabisindustry.org/AZ-survey-011113.pdf.

Despite multiple delays caused by governmental inaction and meritless lawsuits, the strictly controlled non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries mandated by 2010’s Proposition 203 are beginning to operate. Aaron Smith, Executive Director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, stated "Allowing seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana demonstrates compassion, but supporting a well-regulated medical marijuana system also benefits the broader community by allowing patients to obtain their medicine through safe and legal dispensaries rather than the criminal market. State officials should see this survey as a mandate to fully implement the law rather than continuing to waste taxpayer money on futile obstructionism.”

Smith highlighted the benefits of regulated marijuana sales, which include redirecting law enforcement efforts toward violent and serious crimes, creating sustainable jobs, generating tax revenues, and better restricting youth access to marijuana, noting that “It's no surprise that nearly six out of ten voters support regulating the state's entire marijuana market in order to keep marijuana behind the counter at licensed, tax-paying facilities rather than on the streets and under the control of violent drug cartels.”






Source 

 
 
Picture
CONOR FRIEDERSDORF - Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

JAN 14 2013, 7:00 AM ET

A single prosecution can easily run more than $1 million -- all to send an empty message about federal drug laws and hand the market share over to a less savory purveyor.

When Matthew R. Davies was growing and selling medical marijuana in California, the 34-year-old father of two "hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm. He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits," the New York Times reports. Unfortunately for him, federal agents raided his business, and "the United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner, a 2009 Obama appointee, wants Mr. Davies to agree to a plea that includes a mandatory minimum of five years in prison." Let's set the legal questions aside and think through the costs of this course:
  • The opportunity cost of focusing on other crimes
  • $235,000 in incarceration costs
  • Two young girls with an absent father
  • Substantial lost tax revenue from his operation
  • Other marijuana sellers going underground
  • Less savory drug dealers, including violent cartels, getting more business
  • More of a hassle for sick medical marijuana patients to get their prescription filled
Doesn't that seem awfully "expensive" when the only real benefit is sending the message that you can't get away with openly flouting federal drug laws? If that's the biggest benefit you can plausibly claim, isn't that a sign that the law should change? After all, it isn't as if anyone believes that sending Davies to jail is going to make victory in the drug war any more plausible. Or appreciably decrease the number of people smoking marijuana. Or even significantly diminish the supply, since there's always another person growing on the black market.

All casualties are purposeless when you're fighting an unwinnable war. 

Later in the article, we learn that "two of Mr. Davies's co-defendants are pleading guilty, agreeing to five-year minimum terms, to avoid stiffer sentences." Wow. So the federal government thinks it's worth investing more than a million dollars to shut down this particular operation. Maybe you're sympathetic to marijuana legalization, or maybe you're against it. Regardless, could you spend that $1 million-plus better? Could you spend it in a way that saved more lives or created more happiness or resulted in more justice meted out than jailing these three?

I could. 

One of Davies's employees, who met him after seeking marijuana to help her through ovarian and cervical cancer, gave this quote to the reporter: "I totally trusted them. We're not criminals. I've never been arrested my whole life. I need that medication, and so do a whole lot of people."

How many people, on hearing a story like hers, are going to react in a way that weakens rather than strengthens regard for the rule of law? The Times also quotes a former federal drug prosecutor who says, "It's mind-boggling that there were hundreds of attorneys advising their clients that it was O.K. to do this, only to be bushwhacked by a federal system that most people in California are not even paying attention to." But ignorance of the law or getting bad attorney's advice only keeps you out of jail in America if you're apolice officer or elected official.



 
 
Picture
~The Los Angeles City Council has been struggling to regulate medical marijuana for more years than I can remember. Under the "leadership" of Carmen Trutanich the city has spent countless time and money and has yet to come up with a solution while it bleeds $42,000.00 an hour more than it takes in. In utter frustration, two groups collected enough signatures to force the issue by putting initiatives on the ballot in May. 

The  Committee to Protect Patients and Neighborhoods is the group that sponsored the first qualifying initiative. The initiative would permit only the medical marijuana dispensaries that existed before the city’s 2007 moratorium – or about 100 pot shops. Many in the organized medical marijuana community, including the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance and Americans for Safe Access, back this measure. Significantly, this measure also has the support of the powerful United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which wants to organize pot shop workers.

The second proposed initiative is called "Regulation of Medical Marijuana for Safe Neighborhoods and Safe Access." It seeks to impose some order where there is none following a recent referendum that essentially overturned the city's pot shop ban. The initiative would bring back rules seeking to ensure that pot is not sold near schools (shops would have to be at least 1,000 feet away) and other areas frequented by children. Shops would have to cease operation from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. Organizers hope to create "a fair and reasonable registration process" for shops and "provide priority to those registrants who have acted and which continue to act in a responsible and law-abiding manner ... " 

On Friday, a motion was introduced at the Los Angeles City Council to put the limited immunity medical marijuana ordinance which was passed by Planning in November on the May ballot as a voter initiative. The motion is below and attached, along with the recommendation on the agenda item.   

The matter has been scheduled for next Wednesday's City Council Agenda, it is Item 34 on the agenda.  Please try to attend and voice your concerns. Please dress professionally and don't be this guy------------->


The recommendation on the agenda item is
REQUEST the City Attorney to prepare the necessary election ordinance and ballot resolutions to place an ordinance proposition on the May 21, 2013 ballot that would include provisions substantially similar to those of the draft ordinance attached to City Attorney Report No. R12-0364 (Nov. 19, 2012), with additional and/or modified provisions as deemed appropriate, in consultation with the Council President, and including if appropriate an increase in the existing tax on medical marijuana collectives to $60 per each $1,000 of gross receipts.

Here is the actual motion: 

la_motion_for_voter_initative_.jpg
File Size: 388 kb
File Type: jpg
Download File

 
 
Picture
I saw this idea of anti marijuana addiction re education at work about a year ago when I was attending court ordered Deferred Entry of Judgement classes in Redondo Beach. Every Wednesday night for 18 weeks I met with a health department leader and other unfortunate drug war casualties. I could see that they were setting up a whole new industry, probably backed by big insurance companies. The class would start off with roll call and paying your weekly fee. Then we would watch a video or the teacher would read some course work to us. Then he would give us some questions that we were required to answer. Most of them were things like "how does your addiction affect your daily life".... At first I quietly just didn't answer most of them or I just wrote in, "I'm not addicted. I use cannabis as a medicine. It helps me control my migraines." Then the teacher started calling me out thinking that I would buckle from public shame. You have to realize that the folks there were given a free pass from the court and they are afraid to blow it. A DEJ means that after you complete the program, you can say that you were never arrested. It's a way to run a LOT of drug related cases quickly through the judicial system. But I didn't buckle. I stood up for myself. And soon I had a lot of people in the class talk to me after and admit that it was a BS program but you do what you have to do. In the end, the instructor graduated me early to get rid of me and didn't even pee test me because he knew it would come up dirty and I had court documents stating that I could not only smoke cannabis but grow it. What they were doing was working on creating statistics that would support a HUGE money grab and create a story of crisis that doesn't really exist!~ss
*****************************************************************************************
Meet SAM, the New Group Hell-Bent on Halting Marijuana Legalization


(SAM) has among its "leadership team" admitted addict Patrick Kennedy and conservative commentator David Frum.
January 10, 2013  |  
 
The passage of marijuana legalization measures by voters in Colorado and Washington in November has sparked interest in marijuana policy like never before, and now it has sparked the formation of a new group dedicated to fighting a rearguard action to stop legalization from spreading further.

The group,  Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM or Project SAM) has among its " leadership team" liberal former Rhode Island Democratic congressman and self-admitted oxycodone and alcohol addict Patrick Kennedy and conservative commentator David Frum. It also includes professional neo-prohibitionist Dr. Kevin Sabet and a handful of medical researchers. It describes itself as a project of the Policy Solutions Lab, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, a drug policy consulting firm headed by Sabet.

SAM emphasizes a public health approach to marijuana, but when it comes to marijuana and the law, its prescriptions are a mix of the near-reasonable and the around-the-bend. Rational marijuana policy, SAM says, precludes relying "only on the criminal justice system to address people whose only crime is smoking or possessing a small amount of marijuana" and the group calls for small-time possession to be decriminalized, but "subject to a mandatory health screening an marijuana-education program." The SAM version of decrim also includes referrals to treatment "if needed" and probation for up to a year "to prevent further drug use."

But it also calls for an end to NYPD-style "stop and frisk" busts and the expungement of arrest records for marijuana possession. SAM calls for an end to mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana cultivation or distribution, but wants those offenses to remain "misdemeanors or felonies based on the amount possessed."

For now, SAM advocates a zero-tolerance approach to marijuana and driving, saying "driving with any amount of marijuana in one's system should be at least a misdemeanor" and should result in a "mandatory health assessment, marijuana education program, and referral to treatment or social services." If a scientifically-based impairment level is established, SAM calls for driving at or above that level to be at least a misdemeanor.

Less controversially, SAM advocates for increased emphasis on education and prevention. It also calls for early screening for marijuana use and limited intervention "for those who not progressed to full marijuana addiction." ~Where is the proof that marijuana is addicting?? What about alcohol addiction or oxycodone addiction? ss

For a taste of SAM's kinder, gentler, neo-prohibitionist rhetoric, David Frum's Monday CNN column is instructive. "We don't want to lock people up for casual marijuana use -- or even stigmatize them with an arrest record," he writes. "But what we do want to do is send a clear message: Marijuana use is a bad choice."

Marijuana use may be okay for some "less vulnerable" people, Frum writes, but we're not all as good at handling modern life as he is.

"But we need to recognize that modern life is becoming steadily more dangerous for people prone to make bad choices," he argues. "At a time when they need more help than ever to climb the ladder, marijuana legalization kicks them back down the ladder. The goal of public policy should not be to punish vulnerable kids for making life-wrecking mistakes. The goal of public policy should be to protect (to the extent we can) the vulnerable from making life-wrecking mistakes in the first place."

Marijuana legalization advocates are having none of it. And they level the charge of hypocrisy in particular at Kennedy, whose family made its fortune selling alcohol. The  Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has called on Kennedy to explain why he wants to keep "an objectively less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal" and has created an  online petition calling on him to offer an explanation or resign as chairman of SAM.

"Former Congressman Kennedy's proposal is the definition of hypocrisy," said MPP communications director Mason Tvert. "He is living in part off of the fortune his family made by selling alcohol while leading a campaign that makes it seem like marijuana -- an objectively less harmful product -- is the greatest threat to public health. He personally should know better."

Nor did Tvert think much of SAM's insistence that marijuana users need treatment.

"The proposal is on par with forcing every alcohol user into treatment at their own cost or at a cost to the state. In fact, it would be less logical because the science is clear that marijuana is far less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to be associated with acts of violence," Tvert said.

"If this group truly cares about public health, it should be providing the public with facts regarding the relative harms of marijuana and discouraging the use of the more harmful product," Tvert said. "Why on earth would they want keep a less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal? Former Congressman Kennedy and his organization should answer this question before calling on our government to start forcing people into treatment programs and throwing them into marijuana re-education camps."



 
 
DENVER – The nation's largest marijuana policy organization, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), slammed former Congressman Patrick Kennedy's plan to force marijuana consumers into treatment and marijuana "education" classes, which his new organization, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), is scheduled to unveil in Denver on Wednesday. 

 "The proposal is on par with forcing every alcohol user into treatment at their own cost or at a cost to the state," said MPP communications director Mason Tvert. "In fact, it would be less logical because the science is clear that marijuana is far less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to be associated with acts of violence."

MPP is calling on Kennedy, whose family made a fortune selling alcohol, to explain why he wants to keep an objectively less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal. Specifically, MPP is asking Kennedy to address the question on SAM's website and provide facts regarding the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol. MPP also launched an online petition this morning asking Kennedy to provide an explanation or resign as chairman of SAM, which received more than 1,500 signatures within the first hour of being posted – http://chn.ge/13e9Qjl

"Former Congressman Kennedy's proposal is the definition of hypocrisy," Tvert said. "He is living in part off of the fortune his family made by selling alcohol while leading a campaign that makes it seem like marijuana – an objectively less harmful product – is the greatest threat to public health.”


"If this group truly cares about public health, it should be providing the public with facts regarding the relative harms of marijuana and discouraging the use of the more harmful product," Tvert continued. "Why on earth would they want keep a less harmful alternative to alcohol illegal? Former Congressman Kennedy and his organization should answer this question before calling on our government to start forcing people into treatment programs and throwing them into marijuana ‘education’ camps."


Also read http://blog.mpp.org/prohibition/mpp-slams-former-congressmans-plan-to-force-marijuana-consumers-into-treatment-and-marijuana-education-classes/01082013/