In the Trenches
*DRUG TRUTH NETWORK PROGRAMS, Mar 13 to Mar 20, 2011*
*Cultural Baggage*, 03/13/11, 29:00, Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon - Racial Profiling Exposed" + Terry Nelson of LEAP and Drug War Facts with Mary Jane Borden
*Century of Lies* 03/13/11, 29:00, Kevin Zeese of Voters For Peace, Prosperity Agenda, and Common Sense for Drug Policy re America's "Replacing the Rule of Force with the Rule of Law"
Transcript: Monday Late
*4:20 Drug War NEWS*, 03/14 to 03/20/11, 3:00 each, available at http://www.drugtruth.net on right margin
Sun - Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon" 2/2 Sat - Joseph Collum, author "The Black Dragon" re racial profiling 1/2 Fri - Kevin Zeese re US = Largest Empire in World History Thu - Kevin Zeese, Pres of Common Sense for Drug Policy re America's "mutual absolution society"
Wed - Kevin Zeese of Voters for Peace re American elites failure to submit to rule of law Tue - Terry Nelson of LEAP re DEA embrace of single minded policy Mon - Mary Jane Borden of Drug War Facts, re: "Loss of Voting Rights"
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Marijuana Reform Advocates Call for a Safer Alternative to Alcohol for St. Patrick's Day (Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2011
CONTACTS: Rev. Jay Goldstein - Executive Director - Empire State NORML at (212) 473-2486 or email@example.com; Doug Greene - Legislative Director - Empire State NORML at (516) 242-4666 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MARIJUANA REFORM ADVOCATES CALL FOR A SAFER ALTERNATIVE TO ALCOHOL FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY
WHEN: St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17th, 2011 at high noon
WHERE: City Hall Park - Broadway between Park Place and Barclay (east side)
WHO: Empire State NORML and numerous speakers (see list below):
WHAT: Rally and Press Conference
On March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) at high noon, Empire State NORML (the New York State chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)) will remind New Yorkers that marijuana is a safer alternative to alcohol for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
“While scores of New Yorkers are out getting hammered, we want to remind the Big Apple that there is a safer, greener and cleaner choice for adults: marijuana,” said Doug Greene, Legislative Director of Empire State NORML, who organized the event for the first time in 2010.
“In an era of budget cuts and worsening public health, why is the Bloomberg administration driving New Yorkers to drink while spending tens of millions of dollars per year arresting peaceful, healthy cannabis consumers? New York City made over 50,000 marijuana possession arrests last year alone, and over 500,000 since 1996,” said Greene.
Marijuana arrests are 15% of all arrests in New York City. The NYPD is now jailing people for marijuana possession at the rate of nearly 1,000 arrests a week. With 2.7% of the U.S. population, New York City represents 6% of nationwide marijuana arrests.
Greene was first inspired to organize “Marijuana is SAFER” events after reading the book of the same name (subtitled “So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?), co-authored by Paul Armentano, the Deputy Director of NORML, by Mason Tvert, Executive Director of SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) and by Steve Fox, Director of State Campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project.
· Dr. Julie Holland, a nationally recognized authority on drugs and drug safety, who has appeared multiple times on Today. She is the author of “Weekends at Bellevue” (which may be coming to TV on Fox this fall ) and editor of “The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis” and “Ecstasy: The Complete Guide.”
· Dr. Harry Levine, Professor of Sociology at CUNY Queens College, the co–author of the NYCLU report “Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City, 1997-2007.” He is also the co–author of a new report on the costs of New York City’s marijuana arrests, which will be released on March 15 by the Drug Policy Alliance.
· Tony Newman, Director of Media Relations for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation’s leading organization calling for alternatives to the drug war and policies based on science, compassion, health, and human rights.
· Daniel Jabbour, New York State Coordinator for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society.
· Chris Goldstein, Board Member, NORML-NJ/Coalition for Medical Marijuana-NJ (CMM-NJ). Chris is a radio broadcaster and marijuana advocate. Chris is considered an expert on the topic of marijuana and can comment on New Jersey and national issues regarding cannabis.
In This Issue:
ASA Holds Virtual Conference, Schedules Another
Maryland Medical Cannabis Bill Debated
Montana Lawmakers Working to Repeal Initiative
Research Update: Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis
ACTION ALERT: Sign up for bootcamp
On The Web:
1322 Webster St., Ste. 402
Oakland, CA 94612
Americans for Safe Access
Monthly Activist Newsletter
Volume 6, Issue 3
ASA Holds Virtual Conference,
Next Nationwide “Activist Bootcamp” to be March 19-20
Medical cannabis activists from coast to coast gathered for ASA’s first virtual conference February 19-20. From Riverside, California to Northampton, Massachusetts, groups ranging from two to more than two dozen came together for what was billed as an “Activist Boot Camp,” a two-day series of trainings that combined a more than 300-page workbook of materials with informational DVDs.
“ASA members and affiliates across the county have been asking us to help them gain the skills they need to bring about change at the local and federal level,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “Virtual conferences let us reach activists everywhere with trainings and materials they can use to build a stronger grassroots medical cannabis movement.”
IASA is building on the success of the February events in San Diego, Detroit, Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, Sacramento and elsewhere with another training scheduled for March 19-20. Future trainings are planned for Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, and St. Louis, as well as Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri; Eugene and Medford, Oregon; and cities across Colorado, including Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, Salida and Telluride.
“I think it’s really important for people to understand that they are the power,” said U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) in a promotional video for ASA’s conference. “If you want to change things, all you have to do is get involved.”
In creating the virtual conference, ASA draws on its nine-year experience to bring together the best training materials to empower activists. Conference participants learn about outreach and recruitment, coalition building, leadership development, lobbying public officials, organizing protests and rallies, and working with the media.
These trainings give patient advocates the skills to develop strategies for protecting and expanding patients’ rights, whether their state has a medical cannabis program yet or not. More than a dozen state governments are considering new statewide laws for medical cannabis. And within the 15 states with legal protections for medical cannabis patients and caregivers, hundreds of local governments are developing land use laws that dictate how patients can cultivate and obtain their medicine.
“The challenges in each community are unique, but we can build on the experience of the past decade so no one has to reinvent the wheel,” said Sherer. “We’re giving patient advocates a road map to these political challenges and the skill set to deal with them.”
For more information on hosting or participating in the next virtual training on March 19-20, contact kristen@AmericansForSafeAccess.org.
Maryland Medical Cannabis Bill Debated,
Patient Cultivation Proposed
State lawmakers in Maryland are currently working on bills in each house of their legislature that would remove criminal penalties for qualified patients who use cannabis on the advice of their physicians. The state law currently allows an affirmative medical defense that, if successful, reduces the conviction to the lowest level misdemeanor with a maximum $100 fine.
House Bill 291, sponsored by Del. Dan Morhaim, and Senate Bill 308, sponsored by Sen. David Brinkley, would protect patients from arrest and prosecution and establish a state-run production and distribution system.
The House bill was debated in committee on the last day of February, where it was opposed by the head of the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a former federal Food and Drug Administration official. The Senate bill went before committee at the beginning of March.
House Delegates are also considering an amendment offered by House Deputy Majority Whip Del. Cheryl Glenn, which would allow registered patients to cultivate their own medicine.
"I've had two loved ones succumb to the ravages of cancer. Both of them got to the point where they couldn't eat and their doctors wished they could recommend medical marijuana to stimulate their appetite," said Del. Glenn. "I also know what it's like to live in poverty and to not be able to afford desperately needed medicine. People should not be denied access to medical marijuana because they cannot afford it or because they cannot travel to locations where it's dispensed."
As Barry Considine, a polio survivor from Halethorpe, Maryland, who uses medical cannabis says, "I know which strain of marijuana works best for my particular medical condition, so why would I be denied the right to grow that medicine myself, especially at a price I can afford?"
In preparation for the hearing, ASA provided Maryland lawmakers with a brief report on the importance and benefits of allowing patient cultivation. The report notes that, particularly for rural and low-income patients, personal cultivation can offer better affordability, reliability, consistency, and quality than centralized distribution facilities. Such facilities are also more vulnerable to federal interference and closures.
New Jersey is the only state that has passed a medical cannabis law that denies all patients the right to cultivate. More than a year since the bill passed, not a single New Jersey patient has access to legal medical cannabis.
Delegate Glenn's amendment on patient cultivation
Text of HB 291
ASA Report on Need for Patient Cultivation
Montana Lawmakers Working to Repeal Voter Initiative
Voters in Montana established legal protections for medical cannabis patients and caregivers seven years ago by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, but some of the state’s lawmakers are now trying to repeal the initiative.
Montana’s lower chamber has passed House Bill 161, which would repeal the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law on July 1. But state Senate leaders say they lack the votes to do the same.
Patient advocates are organizing to defend their rights, with support from Americans for Safe Access. ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer will be traveling throughout the state this month, holding stakeholder meetings to build an effective grassroots strategy.
“The medical cannabis program in Montana has proven to be a solace to patients and an economic boon to communities,” said Sherer. “You don’t have to be a Montanan or even a medical cannabis advocate to be deeply concerned by this cynical attempt to overturn the will of the people.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the House repeal bill on March 11. ASA’s first stakeholder meeting follows a vigil to be held at the capitol in Helena after the hearing.
The Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Terry Murphy, has said a bill to better regulate the industry is more likely to pass the Senate. He intends to appoint a sub-committee to develop such a bill this month.
As of Feb. 28, Montana had 28,739 people authorized to use medical cannabis. A year ago, there were 12,081 authorized patients; and two years ago, 2,074.
ASA’s Sherer will be participating in advocate stakeholder meetings in Helena, Kalispell, Missoula and Billings. Times and locations are:
Friday, 3/11, 3-6pm -- Lewis and Clark Library, 120 S Last Chance Gulch, Helena; Saturday 3/12, 3-6pm -- Red Lion Inn, 20 N Main St, Kalispell; Sunday 3/13, 1-4pm -- Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park, 200 S Pattee St., Missoula; Monday 3/14, 6-9pm -- Best Western Clock Tower Inn, 2511 First Ave. North, Billings.
For more information on attending one or more of the meetings, contact action@AmericansForSafeAccess.org
RESEARCH UPDATE: Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis
Cancer Research Shows How Cannabinoids Fight Tumors
Brain Cancer.The effectiveness of cannabinoids in fighting glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a form of brain cancer that is highly resistant to current treatments, has been demonstrated in numerous preclinical studies. New research shows that a combination of THC, CBD, and temozolomide (TMZ) “remarkably reduces the growth of glioma.” The study revealed tumor growth is inhibited in part through “the stimulation of autophagy-mediated apoptosis,” the biologic degradation of cells that leads to them dying off. The Spanish researchers conclude that “the combined administration of TMZ and cannabinoids could be therapeutically exploited for the management of GBM.”
Torres S, et al. 2011. A combined preclinical therapy of cannabinoids and temozolomide against glioma. Mol Cancer Ther. 2011 Jan;10(1):90-103.
Oral Cancer. Medical researchers at the University of California report cannabinoids alleviate oral cancer pain and slow the spread of the disease both in vitro and in vivo. They also identified CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in human oral cancer cells. They suggest the endocannabinoid system may play “a direct role” in pain and proliferation. Noting proliferation of cancer cells was “significantly attenuated in a dose-dependent manner” by cannabinoids, they conclude “the systemic administration” of cannabinoids “may reduce morbidity and mortality of oral cancer.”
Saghafi N, et al. 2011. Cannabinoids attenuate cancer pain and proliferation in a mouse model. Neurosci Lett. 488(3):247-51.
Gastric Cancer. Previous studies have shown cannabinoids significantly decrease the spread of gastric cancer tumors and kill off malignant cells. South Korean researchers have recently discovered some of the biologic mechanisms for those tumor-fighting properties. The new research on cellular mediators indicates cannabinoids play a role in halting cell cycles that cause the cancer to spread.
Park JM, et al. 2011. Antiproliferative mechanism of a cannabinoid agonist by cell cycle arrest in human gastric cancer cells. J Cell Biochem. Feb 10.
Cannbinoids Help MS Symptoms and Disease Progression
Italian researchers used an animal model of multiple sclerosis to investigate the efficacy of cannabis extracts on motor symptoms. They found that treating with a THC-rich extract over time “resulted in a significant reduction of neurological deficits,” that treatment with CBD affected only the relapse phase, and that combined THC-CBD treatment was ineffective. They suggest further investigation on each cannabinoid’s action but conclude that cannabis extracts have potential for managing MS.
Another Italian research team reviewed studies on cannabinoid receptors in the lower urinary tract and their role in controlling urinary tract function, including the treatment of bladder dysfunction resulting from MS, finding that systemic cannabinoids may be clinically useful.
British scientists reviewing the clinical data on treating MS with cannabinoids note patient reports of symptomatic relief are confirmed by data showing cannabinoids improve muscle stiffness and spasms, neuropathic pain, and sleep and bladder disturbance. They note new evidence suggests that cannabinoids may affect “fundamental processes” in the progression of MS. They suggest “cannabinoids may have a longer term role in reducing disability and progression in MS.”
Scientists who examined brain samples of deceased MS patients for CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as an enzyme related to the synthesis of endocannabinoids, found differences in receptor concentration that correlated to MS damage. Their findings support animal studies that suggest the endocannabinoid system has a role in MS progression and cellular response to injuries from the disease.
Buccellato E, et al. 2011. Acute and chronic cannabinoid extracts administration affects motor function in a CREAE model of multiple sclerosis. J Ethnopharmacol. 133(3):1033-8.
Zajicek JP, Apostu VI. 2011. Role of cannabinoids in multiple sclerosis. CNS Drugs. 1;25(3):187-201.
Zhang H,et al. 2011. Cannabinoid Receptor and N-acyl Phosphatidylethanolamine Phospholipase D-Evidence for Altered Expression in Multiple Sclerosis. Brain Pathol.
Ruggieri MR Sr. 2011. Cannabinoids: potential targets for bladder dysfunction. Handb Exp Pharmacol. (202):425-51.
Name our campaign to end the war on drugs – and win a free DPA t‑shirt, mug and calendar.
Forty years ago, Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs. After decades of disastrous policies, it couldn't be more clear: It's time to put an end to the drug war.
That's why the Drug Policy Alliance is pulling out all the stops this spring. We’re launching a massive campaign to spotlight the many failures of the war on drugs and to push for policies that work.
To get the campaign off the ground ASAP, we need a campaign name – will you help? Send us your ideas to name the campaign to end the war on drugs! If we pick yours we'll send you free DPA gear, including a t‑shirt, coffee mug and calendar!
Momentum is building quickly and now is the time to take our efforts to a new level.
My recent Huffington Post article explains our strategy for 2011 and the future. Please read it. It will give you a better idea of our basic themes and objectives – and hopefully inspire you to come up with a great name for our campaign!
In the next few months, DPA will release a hard-hitting report, team up with organizations to plan local events across the country and engage high-profile people to speak out against the war on drugs. With public opinion in our favor, we are approaching critical mass.
That's why we want you to participate in our campaign naming contest. Submit your idea for a campaign name now!
A good campaign name will be attention-grabbing, four words or less, and get across the core of our message: that the drug war is a failure and needs national attention now. A great campaign name will be unforgettable. Submit your idea today!
Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Policy Alliance
For Immediate Release: March 9, 2011
Contact: Emily Kaltenbach at 505-920-5256 or Tony Newman at 646-335-5384
House Bill Threatening to End New Mexico’s Medical Marijuana Program will Not Advance
Bill’s Sponsor Pulls Legislation in Lieu of a Memorial to Study Program’s Effectiveness
Santa Fe - Today, freshman Representative Jim Smith confirmed he will be pulling his legislation to end New Mexico’s Medical Marijuana Program. House Bill 593 was scheduled for debate in the House of Representative’s Consumer and Public Affairs Committee this Saturday. Instead, he has introduced a memorial to study the effectiveness of the program.
“Seriously ill and vulnerable New Mexicans can breathe a sigh of relief today,” said Emily Kaltenbach, State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico. “We will continue to fight to protect thousands of sick New Mexican’s legal right to the most appropriate medication to relieve their symptoms and suffering.”
The Drug Policy Alliance mobilized over 500 supporters who contacted House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee members asking them to vote no on House Bill 593.
New Mexico’s vital Medical Marijuana Program is serving close to 4,000 patients diagnosed with serious illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and epilepsy.
Representative Smith has stated that he believes there are alternative medications to medical marijuana. However, Marinol, an alternative medication, is not a viable solution for many patients. Research has shown that Marinol is often poorly absorbed and the dosage is hard to monitor and control. For most patients, medical marijuana has fewer side effects than other heavy pain and nausea medications. Thousands of studies have proven that medical marijuana is safe and effective.
New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is one of the most tightly run programs in the country and has helped thousands. Repealing the New Mexico Medical Cannabis legislation would have had a devastating impact on New Mexico’s patients, economy and state budget. If passed, House Bill 593 would have negatively impacted New Mexico by eliminating access to appropriate medication by 3,779 patients, eliminating approximately 100 jobs in the small business/non-profit producing sector, and decreasing Department of Health’s budget by $300,000 as a result of decreased revenue collected from renewal fees of licensed producers.
A New Mexico Drug Policy Reform study found 81% of New Mexico voters support making medical marijuana available to seriously or terminally ill patients in order to reduce their pain and suffering.
New Mexico was the first state to establish a state-licensed medical marijuana distribution system. New Mexico passed its medical cannabis bill in early 2007 with overwhelming bi-partisan legislative support, including a Senate vote of 32 – 3. The program is a model for the rest of the country.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation's leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. DPA fights for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MARCH 9, 2011
Medical Marijuana Bill Passes House Committee in 14-3 Vote
CONTACT: Kirk McNeil, NH Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy …(603) 845-6279
CONCORD – The House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee brought seriously ill Granite Staters closer to relief today with a 14-3 “ought to pass” vote on a bill to allow the medical use of marijuana. H.B. 442, which creates a narrow exception in New Hampshire law for people with certain qualifying conditions to use marijuana to treat their conditions with a doctor’s recommendation, will now move on to the full House for a vote.
Introduced by Rep. Evalyn Merrick (D-), herself a cancer survivor, the bill has 5 Republican cosponsors, including the chair of the Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee, Rep. John Reagan (R-Deerfield). HB 442 also enjoys strong support among voters; a 2008 Mason-Dixon poll showed that 71% of New Hampshire voters are in favor of allowing the use of medical marijuana, with only 21% opposed.
“Today’s vote once again shows that when legislators learn the facts about medical marijuana, they are motivated to allow its use by seriously ill patients,” explained Kirk McNeil, executive director for the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.
The bill would create a tightly regulated ID system for all patients, as well as establish state-licensed alternative treatment centers to provide safe access to medical marijuana. It also includes strict rules regarding public use, impairment, and driving under the influence.
The General Court approved a medical marijuana bill in 2009, but it was vetoed by Gov. John Lynch. The House voted by more than two-thirds to override the veto, but the effort in the Senate fell two votes short. Washington, D.C. and fifteen other states, including Vermont and Maine, have enacted laws protecting patients whose doctors recommend medical marijuana.
Leading Hemp Advocacy Groups Applaud Introduction of California Hemp Farming Bill SB 676 (Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2011
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671 or email@example.com
California Businesses and Farmers Await Passage of New Bill to Allow Commercial Farming of Industrial Hemp
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The leading hemp advocacy organizations Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association are applauding the introduction two weeks ago of SB 676 in support of hemp farming in the state of California. The bill clarifies that industrial hemp is separate and distinct from forms of Cannabis used to produce marijuana and if passed will allow commercial farming of industrial hemp, which occurred in the state up until shortly after World War II. Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fiber varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp has absolutely no value as a recreational drug.
SB 676 was introduced on Friday, February 18th by state Senator Mark Leno. Senator Leno believes that hemp farming will help revitalize California's economy, "The time is long over due for California farmers to be allowed to grow this sustainable and profitable crop once again. The passage of SB 676 will create new jobs and economic opportunities for many farmers and manufacturers throughout the state."
A variety of products made from industrial hemp, including healthy food and natural body care products as well as eco-friendly clothing, are made in California. "There are over 50 member businesses of the Hemp Industries Association
(HIA) that make or sell hemp products in the state of California alone that could benefit from an in-state source of hemp seed, fiber and oil," says Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. "Because of an outdated federal policy these businesses are forced to import millions of dollars of industrial hemp from Canada, China and Europe."
"Dr. Bronner's currently purchases twenty tons of hemp oil each year from Canada. We look forward to the day that we can meet our supply needs from hemp produced right here in our home state," says David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps of Escondido.
To date, 17 states have passed pro-hemp laws or resolutions, including the California Assembly in 1999, when it passed a resolution declaring that "the Legislature should consider action to revise the legal status of industrial hemp to allow for its growth in California as an agricultural and industrial crop."
SB 676 would only allow farmers to produce and enter into the marketplace the parts of the industrial hemp plant already legal to import under state and federal law: its seed, oil, fiber and woody core. "SB 676 would not conflict with federal law or interfere with the enforcement of marijuana laws," explains Patrick Goggin, California Legal Counsel for Vote Hemp.
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) represents the interests of the hemp industry and encourages the research and development of new hemp products. Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com and www.TheHIA.org.
Thanks to the overwhelming response Congress received from supporters like you, huge drug war spending cuts have been approved by the House! Hundreds of millions of dollars used by state and local law enforcement agencies for ineffective drug war policies will be cut, and the ridiculous and ineffective national anti-marijuana ad campaign has been cut completely. Now we need to do the same for the Senate!
The new budget is still not set. The Senate has generally been unsupportive of scaling back the drug war in years past, so they need to hear from you! Now is the time to let your Senators know we cannot afford to wait any longer to end the drug war!
Director, Office of National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance
Polls Show Voters in Michigan and Montana Still Overwhelmingly Support Medical Marijuana (Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 23, 2011
Polls Show Voters in Michigan and Montana Still Overwhelmingly Support Medical Marijuana
Montana voters reject legislative push for repeal, favor regulation
CONTACT: Morgan Fox, communications manager ………………………. (202) 905-2031 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Amid a push in Montana to repeal the state’s medical marijuana law and litigation related to some aspects of Michigan’s law, new polls show that voters in both states still overwhelmingly support allowing patients to use medical marijuana with doctors’ recommendations. In Montana on Monday, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the state’s voter-enacted law. Meanwhile, the state’s Senate is considering legislation to add regulations to the distribution and cultivation of marijuana in the state. These poll results show that voters want to work with their state legislatures to ensure that access to medical marijuana is protected and any problems that arise are addressed in a rational manner through regulation.
A recent poll conducted by Marketing Resource Group, Inc. revealed that a strong majority of Michigan voters still support the medical marijuana law they approved in November 2008. When asked if they would vote for the law again today, 61% responded that they would. This level of support is nearly identical to the percentage by which the initiative was voted into law, and shows that Michiganders recognize the benefits their medical marijuana program has for sick and dying people in their state.
A statewide poll conducted by Public Policy Polling last weekend found that a sizeable majority of adult Montanans -- 63% -- still supports allowing medical marijuana, and most would support strict new regulations. But, in stark contrast, only 20% support the legislature repealing medical marijuana. An overwhelming 76% believe the Legislature should either adopt new regulations or leave the law unchanged entirely. In 2004, 62% of Montana voters enacted their state’s medical marijuana law.
“These polls show that voters stand firmly behind the compassionate policies they enacted at the ballot box,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, “Since Montana and Michigan’s laws were enacted, federal policy has improved and states have found better ways to provide patients access and address community concerns. Montana and Michigan should follow the lead of six states and D.C., by providing for well regulated dispensary systems.”
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FEBRUARY 23, 2011
STATEWIDE POLL SHOWS 72% OF MARYLAND VOTERS SUPPORT MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Big numbers bolster case for General Assembly to finally pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation
CONTACT: Morgan Fox, MPP communications manager……………..202-905-2031 or email@example.com
A new poll shows broad, overwhelming support for a bill that would make Maryland the 16th state to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The survey informed voters of a bill pending in the legislature that would allow patients with multiple sclerosis, cancer, debilitating pain, and other serious conditions to use marijuana with their doctors’ approval. When asked if they supported the bill, 72% said yes, with just 21% opposed and 7% undecided.
“I’m certainly pleased by the poll, but frankly, these numbers don’t surprise me,” said the bill’s sponsor, Del. Dan Morhaim, the only licensed physician in the General Assembly. “There’s a strong consensus among medical and scientific professionals that marijuana can relieve the suffering of those with certain serious illnesses, and there’s nothing controversial about relieving suffering. That’s what this bill is about.”
Details of the poll showed strong support for medical marijuana across all age, partisan, and geographic lines. Older voters were very supportive of the proposal: 77% among 50-64 year olds and 69% among those 65 and older. Democrats were more likely to support the bill, but Republican support was still very strong at more than 2:1. And voters favored the legislation throughout the state, with even 62% of those in conservative, western Maryland in support.
A similar bill was passed in the Senate last year, 35-12, but stalled in the House. A key question this year is whether House Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Vallario will allow committee members to vote on the proposal. The bill would need to be approved by his committee before it could head to the House floor where it would almost certainly be approved.
“I asked my doctor about this and she said marijuana can help me, so I certainly hope he supports the bill,” said Chris Idol, a Cumberland resident with a rare movement disorder. “But regardless, all I really ask is that he give patients the fair up-or-down vote we deserve.”
The Judiciary Committee, along with the Health and Government Operations Committee, has scheduled a hearing for Monday, February 28 at 1:00 p.m. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear the bill on Thursday, March 3.
The poll, conducted February 18-20 by Public Policy Polling, surveyed 1,076 registered voters and is available for download at http://www.mpp.org/states/maryland/2011-poll.html
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.