Legal marijuana is spreading like a weed across the land but it has yet to take root in the place where people might benefit most from inhaling: the U.S. Capitol.
The Maryland General Assembly finished work Monday on a marijuana decriminalization bill, joining two dozen other states and the District in some form of legalization. Colorado and Washington allow recreational pot, while most others have legalized only medical marijuana, but the combined campaign has redefined the meaning of a grass-roots movement.
Still, federal law hasn’t budged, and a bill sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) that would recognize the medical value of marijuana has languished for a year; it has only 23 co-sponsors and no chance of passing. On Monday, when members of the pro-legalization Americans for Safe Access held their annual “lobby day” on Capitol Hill, not a single member of Congress granted them a personal audience.
From the article:
On Oct. 7, 2003, the US government issued Patent No. 6,630,507.
Actor Michael J. Fox and many millions of other Americans — my dear late wife, Tricia, included — could have gotten very excited about this development back then.
But it was, apparently, not the sort of thing Washington wanted advertised.
Patent No. 6,630,507, you see, is for cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Most people would simply refer to this as medical marijuana.
Who got that patent? The US government gave this patent to itself.
Just so you understand me, this is the same US government that has been fighting the use of marijuana as a drug. Yet its own scientists were claiming a decade ago that marijuana had been effective against a number of diseases.
There is a lot more. I personally am on the fence for the legalization of weed. That probably has to do with me being a recovering alcoholic, a label I wear on my sleeve. I feel it is part of my recovery. I couldn’t handle pot, and I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone. However (slowly I turn, inch by inch!) legalization would open up more money for treatment with taxation and less money going to the drug cartels. When I read or watch stories about prohibition, I see startling similarities with our current war on drugs.
Please read the entire article. John Crudele generally post about business stuff, but this kinda hit home for me.
I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.
Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”
They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works. Take the case of Charlotte Figi, who I met in Colorado. She started having seizures soon after birth. By age 3, she was having 300 a week, despite being on seven different medications. Medical marijuana has calmed her brain, limiting her seizures to 2 or 3 per month.
Not because of sound science, but because of its absence, marijuana was classified as a schedule 1 substance. Again, the year was 1970. Egeberg mentions studies that are underway, but many were never completed. As my investigation continued, however, I realized Egeberg did in fact have important research already available to him, some of it from more than 25 years earlier.
Thanks to a decades-old law targeting drug runners, entrepreneurs in the nascent medical marijuana industry face a unique burden: an effective federal income tax rate that can soar as high as 75%.
The hefty levy is the result of a 1982 provision to the tax code, known as 280E, that stemmed from a successful attempt by a convicted drug trafficker to claim his yacht, weapons and bribes as businesses expenses, according to 280E Reform, a group working to overturn the statute.
Enacted in the wake of that PR debacle, the rule bars those selling illegal substances from deducting related expenses on their federal income taxes.
It may have been effective against cocaine dealers and smugglers of other hard drugs, but the law now means purveyors of medical marijuana in the 18 states that have legalized the drug can’t can’t take typical things like rent or payroll as a business expense. That’s taking a heavy toll on this new field.
California’s annual medical marijuana harvest is just about done, but this year brings a new revelation sweeping the nascent industry: The feel-good herb may not, in fact, be so good for the environment.
From golden Sierra foothills to forested coastal mountains, an explosion of pseudo-legal medical marijuana farms has dramatically changed the state’s landscape over the past two years.
A rush to profit from patient demand for pot has resulted in irresponsible forest clearing, illegal stream diversions, and careless pesticide and fertilizer use that has polluted waterways and killed wildlife, state and local government officials said.
The problem has become so big and so unregulated that the California Department of Fish and Game has resorted to aerial surveys to assess its scale. It has a new high-resolution, computer-controlled camera mounted in the belly of an aircraft to help pinpoint problem marijuana areas.
In a recent flight over Nevada County, game warden Jerry Karnow was “astounded” at the increase in obvious marijuana grows visible from the air. They pop out as tightly clustered patches of vivid green plants in an otherwise sunbaked landscape, usually surrounded by tall fences.
A stocky onetime mortgage broker is speeding through Costa Mesa in an old pickup with two pounds of weed in a paper bag. He wears gray cargo shorts and flip-flops and a faded cap with the image of a marijuana leaf stitched on the front. He just smoked a joint thick as a knuckle.
Cypress Hill thumps through the cab.
I’ll hit that bong and break ya off somethin’ soon
I got ta get my props,
Cops, come and try to snatch my crops
These pigs wanna blow my house down
For a man whose apartment was raided recently and now faces felony drug possession and cultivation charges, he doesn’t seem particularly worried about the mission at hand. Ricky rants about a federal and local crackdown on medical marijuana that closed various dispensaries that he ran and forced him back to the streets, where he began as a teenager in the 1970s. (Except then, he was a dealer. Now he is a “mobile dispensary.”)
“It’s too late!” he bellows. “The genie is out of the bottle. A huge demand has been created. It’s back to the underground. Anyone who is smart is just going to take it back to the streets.”
He says he knows lots of people scurrying to the shadows as the state has struggled and failed to regulate the medical cannabis industry and local law enforcement agencies and the federal government have tried to curtail it.
It’s an easy journey to the underground, as the line between the legal and illegal markets in California has always been sketchy. The medical cannabis trade did not rise from a boardroom meeting when voters passed the medical marijuana initiative Proposition 215 in 1996. It sprouted out of the marijuana networks that already existed, with largely the same growers, middlemen and customers.
I have this fantasy where I meet with my physician. “Doctor, doctor, give me the news,” I say, “I’ve got a bad case of lovin’ you.”
She brushes her hair back. “No pill’s gonna cure your ill,” she tells me, pulling out a pen. My eyes light up. I walk out with a prescription — actually, a registration card — for marijuana.
If Question 3 on the Massachusetts ballot passes as expected this November, that may soon be the scene in doctors’ offices across the state. While cannabis may not cure heartsickness, its adherents tout it as a remedy for a vast array of maladies, a modern-day version of those old-tyme tonics. Feeling poorly could prove to be a lot of fun.
The proposed law — “for the humanitarian medical use of marijuana” — is similar to measures that have passed in 17 states and Washington, D.C. It makes legal the consumption of weed by folks who suffer from a “debilitating medical condition.” Those conditions include truly awful afflictions, such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, and Lou Gehrig’s disease, but also a big loophole: “other conditions as determined in writing by a qualifying patient’s physician.”
Last year I was in Los Angeles walking the Venice Beach boardwalk with my wife and daughter. Interspersed among the tattoo and T-shirt shops were the kush doctors (“kush”— originally a kind of marijuana and increasingly a synonym). Hawkers stood outside with placards detailing the wondrous benefits of weed, including “back pain” (who doesn’t have that?), “constipation” (oatmeal’s not enough), “headaches” (aspirin never seems to work), “impotence” (maybe it wasn’t just that six-pack of beer), “insomnia” (and I thought the pillow was just too hard), and “obesity” (that’s 26 percent of us, right?).
Medical marijuana advocates on Tuesday vowed to overturn Los Angeles City Council’s decision to close down all of the city’s more than 850 medical marijuana dispensaries.
“This is an outrage that the city council would think a reasonable solution to the distribution of medical marijuana would be to simply outlaw it altogether,” said Don Duncan, California Director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “The tens of thousands of patients harmed by this vote will not take it sitting down. We will campaign forcefully to overturn this poor decision by the council.”
The council on Tuesday voted 13-1 to ban the sale of medical marijuana in the city, but patients and caregivers will still be allowed to grow limited amounts of the drug. A spokesperson told the Huffington Post that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa planned to sign the ban into law next week.
Proponents of the ban said that it was necessary because the city had failed to regulate the dispensaries. The city had required dispensaries to be at least 1000 feet away from schools and parks, but many pot shops flaunted those regulations.
“We need to start with a clean slate,” Councilman Mitchell Englander said. “Los Angeles has experimented with marijuana and has failed.”
The council also voted 9-5 to draft a new ordinance that would allow about 180 marijuana dispensaries to continue operating under new regulations.
Mr. Mackey - South Park Elementary
Michele Leonhart is a holdover from the Bush administration who was then deputy administrator for the DEA.
Also see: Top DEA agent won’t admit heroin more harmful than marijuana
By Eric W. Dolan - Raw Story
June 20, 2012
“Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis, who has called for an end to marijuana prohibition, asked.
“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart responded.
“Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?” Polis continued. “Is heroin worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”
“Again, all drugs,” Leonhart began to say, only to be cut off by Polis.
“Yes, no, or I don’t know?” Polis said. “If you don’t know this, you can look this up. You should know this, as the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency. I’m asking a very straightforward question.”
In the first raid, Orange County sheriff’s detectives hit a Dana Point marijuana storefront, the San Clemente home of its director and a “stash house” he allegedly maintained nearby.
In the two homes, they found cash stuffed everywhere: in buckets in the garage and attic, in an Igloo cooler in a bedroom, under a mattress, on an ironing board, in a dresser. According to a search warrant affidavit filed in November, they recovered more than $700,000.
At the shop, investigators found spreadsheets showing sales over 10 months totaled $3.17 million, according to the affidavit, with $2.47 million “cash on hand.” Paperwork indicated that a silent partner, a convicted drug dealer named John M. Walker, controlled the shop and six others in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
A subsequent raid of one of Walker’s properties recovered a Beretta handgun, a shotgun, a Chinese AK-47 with a bayonet and grocery bags filled with four dozen rubber-banded bundles of cash; one of the bags contained a note with calculations totaling $99,324.
The discoveries and many others like them across California are starkly at odds with the image presented by medical marijuana providers, who label themselves as “compassionate caregivers” and say they work on slim margins, give away cannabis to the poor and comply with the law.
Many medical marijuana dispensaries have been making huge sums of money even as they claim to be nonprofit, according to court and law enforcement records, industry insiders, police and federal agents. The Times found a cash-infused retail world unlike the one pitched to voters who passed the Compassionate Use Act for “seriously ill Californians” in 1996.