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Medical Marijuana Defense Bill Passes Maryland House Judiciary Committee (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 April 8, 2011

Medical Marijuana Defense Bill Passes Maryland House Judiciary Committee

Floor Vote Likely for Bill to Remove Criminal Penalties for Medical Marijuana

CONTACT: Morgan Fox, communications manager………………………….202-905-2031 or mfox@mpp.org

ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland House of Delegates Judiciary Committee approved a bill yesterday, SB 308, which would allow patients who use marijuana to treat a medical condition to use a medical necessity defense in court. The bill would also create a panel to advise the legislature on best practices for creating a medical marijuana program in 2012. The Senate passed the bill by a 41-6 vote on March 24, and will need to approve the bill again because of amendments made by the Judiciary Committee. Yesterday’s committee vote was the biggest obstacle advocates faced in their quest to remove criminal penalties from medical marijuana users.

Sponsors of the measure had originally hoped to pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation that would have established dispensaries throughout the state and protected patients from arrest, but that plan was derailed when the Secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene voiced concerns over cost of implementation. In its current form, SB 308 allows patients with certain qualifying medical conditions to use an affirmative defense when charged with marijuana possession if they used marijuana due to a medical necessity. The defense would not apply if the person possessed more than one ounce of marijuana or used marijuana in a public place. While the compromise bill is not as robust as the original legislation, it is the first time since 2003 that a bill to add protections for medical marijuana patients will receive a floor vote in the House of Delegates.

"While we had hoped to see a full medical marijuana law on par with those in 15 other states, it’s encouraging that the legislature is moving toward the goal of protecting patients from arrest and providing legal access to doctor-recommended medicine,” said Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “I congratulate the sponsors and committee leaders for their ability to compromise swiftly and shepherd this bill to the House floor. This vote is a major victory and paves a clear path to the Governor’s desk."

Medical marijuana is permitted in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and many more are currently considering legislation to allow its use under tightly controlled conditions, including Delaware and Connecticut. Such laws already exist in Rhode Island and New Jersey, where medical marijuana distribution centers were recently awarded licenses and should be up and running later this year.

With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.

####

Location: 
MD
United States

DC: Mayor to Implement Medical Marijuana

 

DC: Mayor to implement medical marijuana

Thanks to everyone who took action on our alert and contacted the mayor’s office!

Dear friends:

We did it! Mayor Vince Gray announced today that the District will be implementing its medical marijuana program. The calls you made and the emails you sent in response to last week’s alert no doubt played a role in today’s announcement and helped illustrate the power of getting involved with local government.

The final regulations are scheduled to be included in the April 15 issue of the DC Register. Shortly thereafter, those interested in opening one of the five dispensaries and 10 cultivation centers in the District will be able to submit applications to the Department of Health. Seriously ill patients whose doctors recommend marijuana will also be able to send in their applications to become registered patients, although they will not be able to legally possess marijuana unless it was purchased from a licensed dispensary.

MPP, with your support, has been fighting for years to see this law take effect. Thanks to the District of Columbia Patients’ Cooperative, and to everyone who took the time to reach out to the mayor’s office, and congratulations to the patients who have waited all too long for this day. It’s been a pleasure working by your sides to make sure patients will finally be protected in the District.

Sincerely,

[object Object]

Dan Riffle
Legislative Analyst
Marijuana Policy Project

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Drug Truth Network 04/03/11

*DRUG TRUTH NETWORK PROGRAMS, Apr 3 to Apr 10, 2011*

*Cultural Baggage*, 04/03/11, 29:00,   Margaret Dooley-Sammuli of the

28 Raids in 24 Hours!? Tell Attorney General Holder to Stop Federal Raids of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (Action Alert)

Tell Attorney General Holder:
Stop federal raids
of medical marijuana dispensaries

» Sign the petition

Friends,

28 raids in 24 hours.That's the unfortunate reality for medical marijuana patients in Montana and California.

Federal agents shutdown 26 dispensaries across Montana and 2 in the medical marijuana sanctuary city of West Hollywood, California this month in their latest attack on patients and legitimate businesses.

The DEA isn't even supposed to be conducting these raids in the first place. In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo ordering an end to federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet, despite his memo, federal agents have continued these operations sporadically for years, without regard for patients', states' or business' rights.

Attorney General Eric Holder clearly doesn't have control of his own cavalry. This assault on patients rights has to stop now.

Sign our letter telling Attorney General Holder to enforce his memo and prohibit federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Click here to sign the letter: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/fedraids

But is Holder being dishonest and hypocritical? Or does he simply lack strong leadership among US Attorneys General?

A memo issued on February 1st by US Attorney Melinda Haag (who, ironically, represents Northern California) directly contradicts Holder’s edict. She declares that ANYONE engaging in the buying or selling of marijuana, regardless of their protection under state laws, will be punished by the federal government.

That doesn’t just mean dispensaries and the patients who rely on them, but goes as far as to include landlords, financiers and property owners as well. It’s a full-court press designed to intimidate supporters of reform and ostracize patients seeking their prescribed medications.

This attitude puts lives in jeopardy and undermines our democratic institutions by foiling state attempts to provide solutions for their own people. We need to put an end to the federal harassment of medical marijuana patients now.

Tell Attorney General Holder to enforce his own memo banning federal raids of medical marijuana dispensaries and take a stand for patients rights.

Click here to add your name: http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/fedraids

This kind of official hypocrisy at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens is a disgrace to the notion of basic human rights everywhere. Thank you for standing up for a patients’ basic rights to treatment.

Thanks for all you do.

Brian Sonenstein
Just Say Now.com

 

Contribute to Just Say Now to support marijuana legalization. Click here:

Medical Marijuana Study Bill Passes Maryland House (Press Release)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 March 28, 2011

Medical Marijuana Study Bill Passes Maryland House

Panel of Experts to Advise Legislature on State Medical Marijuana Policy

CONTACT: Morgan Fox, communications manager………………………….202-905-2031 or mfox@mpp.org

ANNAPOLIS – By a vote of 105-29, the Maryland House of Delegates passed HB 291 today, a bill that would create an 18-member panel to advise the legislature on the best way to create a medical marijuana program in 2012. HB 291was amended from an earlier version of the bill, which would have set up a comprehensive medical marijuana program, protecting state-registered patients from arrest and allowing pharmacies and state-regulated dispensing centers to provide patients with medical marijuana. The bill, sponsored by the only physician in the General Assembly, Del. Dan Morhaim, was amended after Health Secretary Josh Sharfstein advocated a “yellow light” approach to medical marijuana.

The panel would be comprised of doctors, patients, law enforcement officials, and experts on medical marijuana policy. They will make recommendations to the legislature on how to safely and effectively implement a well-regulated medical marijuana program. Last Thursday, the Maryland Senate passed SB 308, which included the study language, as well as immediate protections for patients. SB 308 would allow patients who use marijuana to treat medical conditions to use a medical necessity defense in court. The Senate approved the bill by a 41-6 vote, which included a majority of both Democrat and Republican senators.

"While we had hoped to see a comprehensive medical marijuana law on par with those in 15 other states, it’s encouraging that the legislature will at least make measured but real progress toward the goal of protecting patients from arrest and providing legal access to doctor-recommended medicine,” said Dan Riffle, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We're also relieved to see that the Senate has decided to remove criminal penalties from patients who are currently using medical marijuana while they wait for a comprehensive program to be put in place. It’s imperative that the House do the same."

Medical marijuana is permitted in 15 states and the District of Columbia, and many more are currently considering legislation to allow its use under tightly controlled conditions, including Delaware and Connecticut. Such laws already exist in Rhode Island and New Jersey, where medical marijuana distribution centers were recently licensed by the states and should be up and running later this year.

With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.

####

Location: 
MD
United States

D.C. Medical Marijuana: Ask Mayor Gray: What's the Hold Up? (Action Alert)

State Alert Header Logo

State Alert Header Title
March 25, 2011

 

Ask Mayor Gray: What’s the hold up?

Dear Friends:

It’s been over a decade since Initiative 59 was passed and almost a year now since the D.C. Council passed legislation to implement D.C.’s medical marijuana program, but you’d be forgiven if you haven’t noticed. That’s because the mayor still hasn’t signed off on the regulations that were issued last November and approved by the Council in January.

Ask the mayor when we can expect to see the District’s medical marijuana program up and running.

We’re willing to give the mayor some slack here. I’m sure he had a steep learning curve and a lot of very important issues to grapple with in his first couple months on the job. But now that he’s settled in and had time to review the proposed rules, there’s no reason District residents should have to wait any longer – they’ve already been waiting over 12 years. It’ll take less than a minute of your time to send an email to the Mayor's office asking when patients in the District will finally have access to medical marijuana.

In the mean time, I’ll let you know if we hear any announcements from the mayor. Thanks everyone!

Sincerely,

Dan Riffle signature (master)

Dan Riffle
Legislative Analyst
Marijuana Policy Project

 

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

What Can You Do to Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont? (Action Alert)

Dear Friends of Compassion and Common Sense:

The bill relating to decriminalize marijuana (H-427) is in the VT House Judiciary Committee NOW.

The bill relating to medical marijuana dispensaries (S-17) is in the VT Senate Health and Welfare Committee NOW.

This is the time to show your support and compassion to Fellow Vermonters who use marijuana for personal or medical reasons. Marijuana is known to be one of the safest “active substances known to man.” We all know nothing is really harmless. Nevertheless, nothing can compare to the kind of harm the criminal justice system can visit on you.

Decriminalization and medical marijuana dispensaries are steps of harm reduction to help keep adults free from the unwarranted horrors of arrest, prosecution and worse.

WHAT YOU CAN DO AT: www.marijuanaresolve.org

~Read entire text of H-427 bill to decriminalize marijuana (12 pages)
~Read entire text of S-17 bill for medical marijuana dispensaries (33 pages)
~Contact your legislators in the House and Senate to support these bills
~Thank the sponsors of H-427 and S-17
~ Call or Write Judiciary Chair Rep. William J. Lippert (D-VT Chittenden-1-1 District)

Vidda Crochetta

State Coordinator for Marijuana Resolve, Inc.

"When I was a kid I inhaled frequently. That was the point." – Barack Obama

Location: 
VT
United States

Make Nonviolent Marijuana Offenses the Lowest Police Priority (Action Alert)

Dear Friends,

On March 15, a new report was released on the steps of New York City Hall documenting the crushing costs of the 50,383 marijuana possession arrests that occurred in 2010 in that city alone, costing New York City $75 million. Released by the Drug Policy Alliance and co-authored by Queens College sociology professor Dr. Harry Levine, the report reveals the police, judicial, and human costs of New York City’s marijuana arrest crusade.

Every single day, 140 people are arrested for marijuana offenses in New York City, making it the leading cause of arrest. A full 87% of those arrested are Black or Latino, a particularly outrageous number since people of color do not use marijuana at higher rates than the rest of the population. Incredibly, the NYPD has quietly made marijuana infractions their top law enforcement priority without even a pretense of public input or debate.

Although New York decriminalized possession of under 25 grams of marijuana, possession that is "open to public view" remains a crime.  Police officers have learned to ask vulnerable people they believe to be in possession to empty their pockets so they can then make an arrest.

The “suspects” do not have to be using, buying, or selling marijuana, nor do they have to be acting out in any way at all. They simply have to be “suspects.”

This flagrant abuse of state power is a tightly held secret. Please help us expose it. Stand with LEAP in supporting a more rational plan for drug policy. Our speakers are law enforcement professionals who know firsthand that the “war on drugs” is a waste of police resources. They speak out against our current drug policy in order to put police priorities back where they belong. 

Help us send the message to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that using already strained police and judicial resources in this way is not acceptable and that the overwhelming racial disparity of these arrests is appalling. Please sign our petition, and please make a contribution today to support LEAP as the voice of law enforcement in drug policy reform.

Thank you,

Major Neill Franklin (Ret.)
Executive Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition


Your donation puts LEAP speakers in front of audiences. To support LEAP's work by making a contribution, please click here.

           

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Medford, MA 02155
(781) 393-6985 info@leap.cc

We need help growing our all-encompassing movement of citizens who want to end the failed "war on drugs," so please invite your family and friends to learn about LEAP.
 

 

 
Location: 
NY
United States

Marijuana Reform Hearings at Rhode Island State House Tomorrow (Press Release)

MEDIA ADVISORY: March 15, 2011

Marijuana Reform Hearings at State House Tomorrow

Bills Would Remove Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession and Save Money for Rhode Island

CONTACT: Robert Capecchi, MPP legislative analyst……………………202-905-2007 or rcapecchi@mpp.org

PROVIDENCE – Hearings are taking place at the State House tomorrow on bills that would reform the state’s marijuana laws. H 5031 would remove criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and replace them with a civil penalty of $150. The bill is sponsored by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Tiverton) and others, and would make marijuana possession similar to a traffic violation, allowing people who are convicted of simple, non-violent marijuana possession charges to avoid the life-long stigma of a criminal record. This measure would also save the state millions of dollars on police and court time.

            What:    Hearing on RI H 5031, Decriminalization of Marijuana Possession

            When:  “Rise of the House” (~4:30 p.m.), Wednesday, March 16

            Where:  Room 313, Rhode Island State House

Marijuana Policy Project legislative analyst Robert Capecchi will be present and available for comment. Mr. Capecchi will also be presenting testimony to the House Finance Committee at an earlier hearing to discuss the benefits of H5591, which would remove criminal penalties for adults who use marijuana and establish a taxed and regulated system for its distribution. This is the second year in a row that Rep. Edith Ajello (D-Providence) has introduced this bill. This hearing will take place in the Trainor Hearing Room (Room 35) at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16.

The bill would create a system for the regulation and distribution of marijuana to responsible adults in Rhode Island. It would remove the lucrative marijuana market from criminal organizations and allow the state to regulate the sale of marijuana. Taxing and regulating marijuana sales would take away profits from the criminal market, while creating jobs and producing tens of millions of dollars in savings and revenue, according to a report by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron.

With more than 124,000 members and supporters nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. For more information, please visit www.mpp.org.

                                                             ####

Location: 
82 Smith Street Rhode Island State House, Room 313
Providence, RI 02903
United States

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