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   Compliant MCRC Under Attack; learn more Compliant MCRC Under Attack; learn more

   Oregon Kills MMJ Deduction; learn more Oregon Kills MMJ Deduction; learn more

   About OCTA; learn more About OCTA; learn more

   Why Can't You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs; Sad Truths On Really Why We Still Put Hundreds Of Thousands Of People In Steel Cages For Pot-Related Offenses. Why Can't You Smoke Pot?; Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs: Sad Truths On Really Why We Still Put Hundreds Of Thousands Of People In Steel Cages For Pot-Related Offenses.

   Indictment Against Julian Heicklen - Jury Nullification Advocate - is Dismissed; Jury Statute Not Violated by Protester, Judge Rules Jury Nullification Advocate Freed; Indictment Against Julian Heicklen is Dismissed - Jury Statute Not Violated by Protester, Judge Rules

   Marihuana and the Law; Brass Tacks - By Andrew T. Weil Marihuana and the Law; Brass Tacks - By Andrew T. Weil

   Out-Of-Staters Find Comfort; Non-Residents Register With OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program) Out-Of-Staters Find Comfort; Non-Residents Register With OMMP (Oregon Medical Marijuana Program)

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Welcome to MERCYs 2012 News Info index page, the Medical Cannabis Resource Center 2012 News index. 

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This is our page for News Items for 2012.   It's part of our strategy to get the people involved in these and all issues.   The objective is the empowerment of the people through their News, Media and general activism. Got News Item or Idea? - Let Us know!  

  News updates for 2012  

Oregon Kills Medical Marijuana Deduction for Food Stamp Applicants

Oregon and two other states will no longer allow certain food stamp applicants to deduct medical marijuana expenses from their incomes after federal officials threatened the states with penalties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a nationwide memo to regional directors of the food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, after The Oregonian contacted the agency about the practice last week. The newspaper surveyed 17 states that permit marijuana for medicinal use and found three - Oregon, New Mexico and Maine - allowed certain applicants to deduct the cost of the drug from their income when applying for the benefit.   Read more ... <<<

There's Been a Tectonic Shift on Marijuana Across the US, Except in Washington -- Why Can't We Pop the Beltway Bubble? By Paul Armentano, AlterNet; Posted on July 10, 2012

America is at a tipping point when it comes to the politics of pot. Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending this nation’s nearly century-long experiment with cannabis prohibition and replacing it with a system legalization and regulation. Moreover, state and local politicians beyond the ‘Beltway bubble’ for the first time in many decades are responding to this sea change in public opinion, even if their colleagues in Washington are not. From Rhode Island to Texas, from New York City to Chicago, lawmakers are finally acknowledging that being pro-pot reform equals votes. The question is: Why isn’t Washington getting the message? It certainly isn’t due to a lack of public polling on the issue. Just the opposite: recent, high profile national polls affirm that voters are now solidly in favor of ending the war on weed. For example, a fall 2011 nationwide Gallup poll reported that for the first time more Americans support legalizing the adult use of cannabis than support maintaining prohibition. How far have we come? Consider this. In 1969, when Gallup pollsters first surveyed American’s attitudes on the topic, only 12 percent of voters said that they backed legalizing pot. Even in the late 1970s – at a time during which a dozen state legislatures decriminalized minor marijuana possession offenses (largely replacing criminal penalties with a fine only civil citation) and most others reduced cannabis-related felonies to misdemeanors – public support for marijuana legalization never topped 30 percent. Not anymore. Over the past 10 years, there has been a seismic shift in public opinion, with every single demographic polled by Gallup steadily showing year-to-year increased support for cannabis liberalization.   Read more ... <<<

3 Accounting Tricks the Obama Administration Uses to Hide the Cost of the Drug War; From ditchweed to rehab, the Obama administration finds clever ways to cook the drug war books. by Mike Riggs | July 8, 2012

"Since day one, President Obama has led the way in reforming our Nation's drug policies by, among other things, addressing drug use and its consequences as a public health problem,” reads a statement posted on We the People, the petition site started by the, er, Obama administration. If you've been the victim of a federal raid—one in which, say, your two-year-old was yanked out if his crib—or worked at one of the 500 California medical pot dispensaries the DEA and the IRS have shut down in the last year, you're probably rolling your eyes right now. No way, no how, has Obama ended the war on drugs. So why does the drug czar insist that he has? Magical thinking helps, but so does magical accounting. Washington's drug warriors have relied for decades on wacky stats and context-free claims to justify banning some drugs while rubber-stamping the sale of others. Fuzzy campaign promises aside, the Obama administration is no different. Here are three accounting tricks federal agencies under Obama continue to use to justify the war on drugs and hide its true costs.

3.) Anti-drug agencies obscure alcohol abuse numbers in order to exagerrate the dangers of illegal drugs. When veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan asked the Obama administration for legal cover to treat their PTSD with medical marijuana instead of heavy duty prescription narcotics, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske told them, "We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms." How significant? Click the link in Kerlikowske's letter about emergency room visits and you get a report put together by DAWN, the Drug Abuse Warning Network, which documents emergency room visits by substance: With 376,467 visits a year, marijuana seems like a big offender. But there are two problems with that figure. The first is that the data, which comes from the annual National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), doesn't distinguish between people who sought emergency care because of marijuana, and people who were high on marijuana when they sought care. Hence the careful wording at the top of DAWN's chart: "drugs most commonly involved in emergency department visits."

But let's say marijuana was actually responsible for all those marijuana-related ER visits. How does that compare to, say, alcohol? If you read the fine print, you'll notice that NIDA accounts for alcohol only when used in conjunction with other drugs or when used by minors. A footnote at the end of the report tells us why: "Underage use of alcohol only is considered to be drug misuse or abuse." Put another way, the National Institute for Drug Abuse doesn't consider adults who go to the emergency room solely as a result of alcohol to be misusing or abusing a drug. But wouldn't alcohol, a ubiquitous and legal drug, provide a great benchmark for measuring the overall ER impact of other drugs?

Yes, but it would also undermine the drug czar's claims about the dangers of pot.

Here are the facts: Alcohol, when used alone, is "involved" in far more emergency department visits than every illegal drugcombined. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "In the single year 2005, there were more than 1.6 million hospitalizations and more than 4 million emergency room visits for alcohol-related conditions." A study published this year in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, meanwhile, suggests that as many as 50 percent of emergency room visits could be alcohol-related. And that number is only going up. In New York City, for instance, "nearly 74,000 people wound up in hospitals in 2009 for alcohol-related reasons, compared with just 22,000 in 2003." While NIDA has acknowledged that "ED [emergency department] visits involving alcohol among the general population is thought to be significantly higher than what is reported in DAWN," there's no need to say "thought to be." It's clear from the data that alcohol alone sends more people to the emergency room than marijuana and every other drug. Furthermore, more people also seek addiction treatment for alcohol than for pot. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly half of all substance abuse treatment center admissions "involving college or other post secondary school students ages 18 to 24 were primarily related to alcohol disorders." In fact, alcohol leads the pack in addiction treatment admissions across every age group.

There's enough data to put illicit drugs in context. Why does NIDA--"the world's largest source of drug abuse research," according to Kerilikowske--obscures them? Because NIDA's job isn't just documenting the effects of drugs that are illegal, but also providing the "scientific" justification for keeping them that way. The next accounting trick: hiding the cost of burning ditchweed.   Read more ... <<<

Fox News Caught Faking Again: Drivers On Cannabis - by Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Legislation, Medical, News - Friday, December 7, 2012

Fox News, for whatever reason, just can't be trusted to report accurately on marijuana issues. | In the latest example of this truism, Fox News in Colorado was caught cheating by a participant in a driving simulator test for medical marijuana patients. This participant went in undercover with a camera to expose the truth about "driving high" and the fact that Fox News designed the test to fail. The footage was edited -- and the tests themselves were manipulated, to make it seem as if driving under the influence of marijuana, even for experienced medicinal patients, invariably means impairment. Max Montrosee said that he isn't condoning driving under the influence of anything; he is "proving a point that cannabis stays in your system way longer than the effect." Fox said no one aced their test. According to Montrosee, that's because no one was allowed to! ( Learn More >> )

Medical Marijuana for a Child with Leukemia - published: Saturday, November 24, 2012 - by Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian
Mykayla Comstock's family says marijuana helps her fight an especially aggressive form of leukemia, keeps infection at bay and lifts her weary spirit. Twice a day she swallows a potent capsule form of the drug. Some days, when she can't sleep or eat, she snacks on a gingersnap or brownie baked with marijuana-laced butter.
Mykayla is one of 2,201 cancer patients authorized by the state of Oregon to use medical marijuana.

She is 7. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program serves 52 children who have a qualifying medical condition, parental consent and a doctor's approval. Like adults, most cite pain as a qualifying condition, though many list multiple health problems, including seizures, nausea and cancer. ( Learn More >> )

Oregonians Miss Their Chance to Say NO to Pot War Propaganda - and subsequent Tax Dollars at Waste - as M80 Fails In Oregon

Facebook Protest Results In Removal Of Anti-Marijuana Billboard Facebook Protest Results In Removal Of Anti-Marijuana Billboard | A series of anti-legalization billboard depicting a haggard, stereotypical "drug addict" which reads "What is good about marijuana? Nothing," decorating Oregon came down after protesters organized on Facebook and vented their unhappiness to both the anti-drug group responsible for the message and the billboard company renting them the space for their reefer madness propaganda.
The billboards in question, which were in opposition to Measure 80, the voter initiative which will be on November's general election ballot and would legalize cannabis in Oregon, features what has been discovered to be NOT a "marijuana addict" or even "drug, re: 'meth', user" but a model made up and posed to create the effect. Even more telling - (IE- how is it the War keeps going? Who wants it and why?) - is the money trail that leads to a pile of public money that is the basis of the funding for the group. ( Learn More >> )

Register, Vote and Get Everybody You Know to Do So Also! States to Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November

And Then There Were Three: Oregon to Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November Read more << The Oregon secretary of state’s office completed the legalization trifecta earlier this year when they announced the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act of 2012 (OCTA) officially qualified for the November ballot. Oregon joined Washington and Colorado on the list of states whose voters will have the opportunity to end cannabis prohibition this fall.   Learn more >>> < here and Go > here < to Register, Check/Change Your Party Affiliation or see an On-Line Voters Guide.

Hemp Action Items | Support Hemp in Oregon! Act Today! | This is the chance we have been waiting for and there is a very limited time to act. Please share this alert widely by forwarding this email, sharing this link, and calling your friends. Let's make hemp history this week! Write and call your U.S. Senators today, and Spread the Word!

It's past time we brought hemp back to our nation's farms. U.S. farmers want to join the thriving market for healthy and sustainable hemp. This election cycle, we're spreading the message that we need to change federal policy on industrial hemp to reflect today's reality and ensure a better tomorrow for America's families and farmers, the economy, and our planet. Join natural products pioneers, leading retail stores, health and wellness advocates, and citizens across the country in celebrating Hemp for a Healthy Future. >> Learn more >>, Support Hempsters like New Seasons Market and Spread the Word!

Also, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act is In The House! Help make Hemp happen in Oregon and beyond.

Let us not lose momentum gained from the AG Race in OR! Research, Query and Poll every candidate for every office - from Dog-Catcher on up, at federal and all local levels - how they would vote on Medical Cannabis (Marijuana), or Hemp, or both! - then Vote Accordingly ... and GOTV (Get Out The Vote!) ... by Networking the info, joining Forums and e-Mail Lists, sharing points and counter-points, as well as LTEs (Letters-to-the-Editor) and the like to let folks know the issue is active and what people and groups - like you - are doing about it. It's important for your current and potential representative to hear from you - and yours! - and it only takes one minute of your time.

  Thanx!   See you at the Victory Party!   Learn more >>

--- Important Dates for 2013 Elections ---

* Tuesday, October 15th -- (21 days before election) * until 5pm * Voter Registration Deadline in Oregon. Call the toll-free voter information line at 1-866-ORE-VOTE (1-866-673-8683). The voter information line is available Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm, se habla Espanol. TTY services for the hearing impaired are available at 1-866-350-0596.

Then * (first, full) Tuesday in November, which is 5th in 2013, from when they open til the Polls close * Vote! in Oregon General Election. Read the Voting in Oregon Guide > here. Get to the link and others by visiting: > here

Pot compound seen as tool against cancer

Can Cannabidiol (CBD) Fight Metastic Cancer? According to the latest research the answer is yes. Marijuana, already shown to reduce pain and nausea in cancer patients, may be promising as a cancer-fighting agent against some of the most aggressive forms of the disease.

A growing body of early research shows a compound found in marijuana - one that does not produce the plant's psychotropic high - seems to have the ability to "turn off" the activity of a gene responsible for metastasis in breast and other types of cancers. Two scientists at San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute first released data five years ago that showed how this compound - called cannabidiol - reduced the aggressiveness of human breast cancer cells in the lab.

Last year, they published a small study that showed it had a similar effect on mice. Now, the researchers are on the cusp of releasing data, also on animals, that expands upon these results, and hope to move forward as soon as possible with human clinical trials. "The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there's no toxicity. There's really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited," said Sean McAllister, who along with scientist Pierre Desprez, has been studying the active molecules in marijuana - called cannabinoids - as potent inhibitors of metastatic disease for the past decade.   Read more >>>

Some Oregon schools start drug testing in middle school BY CHRIS FRISELLA , The Register-Guard * Published:* September 23, 2012 12:00AM,Today

Ore­gon's Scio and Central Linn school districts are among a growing number of districts nationwide using random drug tests in middle school. A story in today's New York Times, which also appears on The Register-Guard's front page today, says it's difficult to gauge how many middle schools conduct drug tests on students. The Times identified Florida, Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio, New Jersey and Texas as states with middle schools that conduct drug testing. At least two Willamette Valley school districts also appear to test middle-schoolers for drugs.

Under a policy adopted in 2010, the Scio district requires random drug and alcohol testing for seventh- through 12th-graders who participate in sports or potentially hazardous extra­curricular activities, such as driver's education, forestry club and Future Farmers of America, Super­intendent Gary Tempel said. The Scio district conducts about 200 tests each year, with about 60 of those conducted at the 160-student Scio Middle School, Tempel said. The rest are at Scio High School.

Tempel said the district decided to extend drug testing as far down as seventh grade because of surveys that showed children were starting to use drugs early, some in fifth grade. "The hope is, if you know you're going to be tested, you just don't start using," he said. "We're trying to break the cycle before it starts."

Under the testing program, randomly chosen students take a Breathalyzer test and submit a urine sample. Bio-Med Testing Services Inc. of Salem screens the urine samples for a range of common illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, LSD and opiates, as well as prescription drugs such as the painkiller Oxycontin. Samples that test positive are auto­matically retested, Tempel said.

"If you test positive, you lose playing time, and you have to do drug and alcohol counseling," he said. However, students deal only with their principal. "All the coach knows is that the kid is ineligible," Tempel said. "And there are lots of reasons for ineligibility."

Students who have tested positive must submit to further retesting and eventually can work back into participating in their activity. While testing positive comes with consequences for the students, the program's purpose is not to punish or shame children, Tempel said.

"It's not to catch kids," he said. "It's to give kids a tool to say no. "If someone lights up a joint, a player can say, 'I could be tested tomorrow. Count me out.' "

When contacted at home on Saturday, Tempel did not have statistics for the program available, but he said last year's survey data suggested the drug testing was helping. "The information we got last year was that we had significantly cut drug use," he said. In the Central Linn district, the junior high and high school's 2012/13 Athletic/Activities Handbook says students who participate in sports or extra­curricular activities must consent to drug testing. The Albany Democrat-Herald has reported that the district's policy applies to students in grades seven through 12. SOURCE = BY CHRIS FRISELLA , The Register-Guard * Published:* September 23, 2012 -   Read more >>>

A Response

Dear Sirs,

According to the article:

Tempel said the district decided to extend drug testing as far down as seventh grade because of surveys that showed children were starting to use drugs early, some in fifth grade. "The hope is, if you know you're going to be tested, you just don't start using," he said. "We're trying to break the cycle before it starts."

My middle school started to do drug testing for sports when I was in 6-7 grade. At the time I was playing Volleyball and running Track. I never smoked a joint until I was 18, and I didn't drink until I was 6th grade, I was 12 (I did smoke cigarettes then, but nothing else)...but I quit doing extracurricular activities because of the testing. I felt completely violated by the idea of having to pee to play, and the extracurricular activities just weren't worth it to me.

My point is that I wasn't the only one who simply stopped participating in extracurricular sports and activities...and NONE of my friends used drugs or alcohol back then either. After school activities themselves are supposed to have some impact on reducing drug use by providing other things to do - yet these sorts of policies simply discourage kids from participating in them...even if they aren't using drugs. A Citizen

Drug traffickers exploit Oregon medical marijuana program's lax oversight and loose rules By Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012,

Elizabeth Saul shipped high-grade Oregon marijuana to the East Coast to pay the bills. In five months, the southern Oregon woman pulled in $125,000. She was busy, but grateful. "Thank you so much for the safe and secure delivery of my packages to NYC," she wrote in her diary. "I love you God! You are the best. Love, Liz." God wasn't the only higher power Saul had to thank for her success. The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program deserved credit too. The law allowed Saul and her associates to grow a surplus of pot, which police say she sold on the nationwide black market for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Read more >>


Home > Health & Fitness News >> Recruiting medical marijuana patients for profit - By Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian; Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012 | Federal agents searching Robert Hisamoto's Lincoln Navigator last year found handwritten pages detailing how productive -- and profitable -- Oregon medical marijuana can be, authorities say. According to an affidavit supporting Hisamoto's arrest, one page showed drawings of plants, each producing from 1.5 to six pounds of processed marijuana. The other listed what looked like drug transactions: 13.5 pounds of pot multiplied by $2,200 equals $29,700; 10.4 pounds times $2,300 a pound equals $23,920; 8.25 pounds times $2,300 equals $18,975. Read more >>

Oregon Labor Commissioner Defends Medical Marijuana Patients by Sam Chapman • September 21, 2012 • Blog

It is a well known fact that medical marijuana patients are under attack now more than ever. From state agencies to the DEA, it would seem that no patient can truly say they have safe access. Although some politicians have started to come out in favor of medical and recreational marijuana reform, there are far too many patients living in fear of being kicked out of their homes, or losing their jobs because they use medical marijuana. Luckily, here in Oregon we have elected Brad Avakian as Labor Commissioner. Mr. Avakian has been fighting for the rights of medical marijuana patients since the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) was passed in 1998.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Avakian at a fundraiser last week and was very impressed with what he had to say about defending the rights of patients here in Oregon. Below is a flier Oregonians for Law Reform created to support Avakian's campaign. The quotes are from a copy of the statement he gave out that highlights his stance and history on defending patients from being discriminated against by landlords and employers. After all, that's his job! ( ) Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian believes in protecting medical marijuana patients from unfair employment and housing discrimination.

Below is the full statement the labor commissioner handed out at the fundraiser last week explaining in detail his involvement in fights for the rights of medical marijuana patients here in Oregon. *Commissioner Avakian has always been a proud supporter of Oregon's voter enacted* *Medical Marijuana Program. His record on the issue is demonstrates his commitment* *and support for the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program:*

*In 2005, then-Representative Avakian voted in support of SB 1085, which modestly* *increased the amount of cannabis authorized patients could possess and authorized* *growers could produce.* *As State Labor Commissioner, he stood up to protect cardholders' rights on the job and* *workplace accommodations. Commissioner Avakian defended his agency's ruling in* *BOLI vs. Emerald Steel all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court and, although the case* *was ultimately overturned, did not shy away from taking a stand to protect cardholders* *and disability accommodations. The Oregon Court of Appeals had previously upheld* *BOLI's determination that Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. of Eugene violated Oregon * *disability law by firing an employee without engaging in the "interactive process" to* *determine a reasonable accommodation for that employee's disability.*

*The day the Supreme Court ruling was announced, Commissioner Avakian issued this* *statement:* *"As Oregonians, we have always believed strongly in our ability to determine the* *right public policy within our own borders," said Commissioner Brad Avakian, chief* *of Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries which enforces disability law and other* *employment protections. "That makes today's decision all the more troubling, because* *it so seriously undercuts the law that Oregonians put in place, by initiative petition, in* *1998."*

It is unfortunate to have so many politicians fall between the cracks when it comes to enforcing laws that the voters of Oregon have enacted. When an elected representative stands up for the medical marijuana community, the community will stand up for them in the face of any negative rebuttal surrounding their endorsement of medical marijuana. If Brad Avakian ever gets any flack from his opposition regarding medical marijuana, you can bet dollars to donuts that the medical cannabis community will be there to defend him. Try telling someone dying from AIDS or HIV that they don't deserve safe access to a medicine that works and see what happens.

Please visit Brad Avakian's various social media outlets to keep up with his campaign. See - -or- -or-   Read more >>> Follow Sam on Twitter @SeriouslySamuel

City Club of Portland debate between Paul and Josh Marquis

For those who couldn't make it to the City Club of Portland debate between Paul and Josh Marquis, below is the link to the full debate video along with Russ Belvilles analysis of the debate. I hope the Measure 80 campaign will utilize this video to prepare for the debate in Salem next Saturday. Or maybe even put Russ on the stage? Probably a pipe dream... visit -

Rallies Support Medical Marijuana

lead story on our NBC affiliate, KMTR, was "Rallies Support Medical Marijuana": * Thanks to Cheryl Smith, Dank, Rev Will, and everyone who else participated in the protests today.

Medical Marijuana Patients Rally Nationwide Thursday Against Obama's Aggressive Enforcement Policy Advocates argue DOJ attacks unnecessarily harm over 1 million patients and may endanger Obama's re-election effort

*Washington, D.C.* -- Hundreds of patients will hold rallies Thursday at 5pm at local "Obama for America" campaign offices and other key locations in at least 15 cities in 8 states across the country in an effort to draw attention to the Obama Administration's aggressive efforts to shut down legal medical marijuana grow sites and dispensaries, obstructing the passage of laws that would regulate such activity. In addition to a lively rally in the nation's capitol, demonstrations organized by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) are planned in the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. *What:* Coordinated rallies across the country to protest the Obama Administration's attacks in medical states* When:* *Thursday, September 20th 12:00 noon Where:* Local Morse Federal Courthouse, 405 E. 8th Ave,. Eugene. Nationally: "Obama for America" campaign offices and other key locations in cities like Denver (CO), Oakland (CA), Phoenix (AZ), San Diego (CA), Seattle (WA), Tucson (AZ), and Washington, D.C. (see below for a list of addresses)

In Seattle, medical marijuana advocates are holding a press conference at City Hall on Thursday at 10:30am local time, featuring Mayor Mike McGinn, City Council member Nick Lacata, State Rep. Roger Goodman, State Senator Jeanna Kohl-Welles and Congressman Jim McDermott. The press conference, which will be a united call for the suspension of Justice Department enforcement actions in medical marijuana states, will be followed by a 2pm rally at the federal building at 700 Stewart St. Times and locations for other rallies can be found below. The national coordinated day of actions against the Obama Administration's medical marijuana policies is part of ASA's campaign "Camp WakeUpObama," which was launched this summer in an effort to draw attention to the Justice Department (DOJ) attacks and the disconnect between public statements made by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, and the actions of U.S. Attorneys in medical marijuana states. Another motivation for the rallies being held Thursday is to stand in solidarity with the over one million medical marijuana patients across the country who have been negatively affected by the Obama Administration's policies

Over the past three years, the DOJ has conducted more than 200 SWAT-style federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raids on legitimate medical marijuana businesses in at least 6 states -- at twice the rate under the Bush Administration -- and indicted more than 70 related to medical marijuana. In addition, U.S. Attorneys have threatened public officials who attempt to pass laws regulating local distribution and, at the same time, have threatened hundreds of landlords with seizure of their property if they didn't promptly evict the medical marijuana businesses renting from them. "President Obama must tell the more than one million patients in this country how he intends to move this issue forward in his next administration," said Steph Sherer, ASA's Executive Director. "We are sick and tired of being told to vote against our health," continued Sherer. "Thursday's rallies are aimed at conveying that patients and their families are voters who may be influenced this November by the president's broken promises on this issue." As a campaigning senator and after taking office, Obama said he was "not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state [medical marijuana] laws."

Patient advocates are also awaiting oral arguments before the federal D.C. Circuit on October 16th in *Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration*, a case that is expected to see vigorous debate over the science of medical marijuana and its therapeutic efficacy. *Sample times and locations for planned nationwide rallies (local times apply):* *Medford, Oregon* James A Redden U.S. Courthouse 310 W. 6th Street - *2pm rally* *Pendleton, Oregon* John F. Kilkenny United States Post Office and Courthouse 104 S.W. Dorion - *noon rally* *Washington, D.C.* 430 South Capitol Street, SE - *5pm rally Denver, CO *3100 Downing St. - *5pm rally* * **Oakland, CA* Frank Ogawa Plaza - *5pm rally* *Phoenix, AZ* 103 West Highland - *5pm rally* *San Diego, CA* 4660 El Cajon Boulevard - *5pm rally* *Seattle, WA* City Hall - *10:30am press conference* 700 Stewart St. - *2pm rally* *Tucson, AZ* 4639 East 1st St. - *5pm rally*

SOURCE =   Read more >>> * Further information: Local Media Contact; Lori Duckworth, (541) 779-1448, or visit - * ASA's September 20th Rally Facebook page:, ASA's September 20th Rally page:, or ASA's Camp WakeUpObama page:

Americans For Safe Access, Medical Marijuana Group, Plans Nationwide Protests Against Obama Medical marijuana policy reform advocates will gather across the country on Thursday to protest President Barack Obama's aggressive crackdown on the substance.

Americans for Safe Access, a national group promoting the advancement of cannabis for therapeutic use and research,announced in a release Wednesday that the demonstrations will take place at select Obama campaign offices and other locations in at least 15 cities in eight states, as well as Washington D.C. These states -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington -- have all legalized marijuana for medical use, but the substance continues to be classified as an illegal drug at the federal level, causing widespread confusion and frequent legal repercussions for patients and purveyors. ASA says the events are part of its "Camp WakeUpObama" campaign, an effort to highlight what the organization sees as dishonest or unfulfilled promises made by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the prioritization of marijuana enforcement.

In 2008, then-candidate Obama claimed he wouldn't use the Justice Department to circumvent state laws on medical marijuana. In 2010, however, Holder said that federal authorities would continue to prosecute individuals for marijuana possession, regardless of its legalized status on the state level. And in 2011, the Justice Department issued another memo promising to crack down on pot shops in medical marijuana states. And crack down they have. According to ASA's latest calculations, the Drug Enforcement Administration has conducted upwards of 200 SWAT-style raids on medical marijuana facilities that are ostensibly legitimate businesses, according to state law.

While the clampdown on dispensaries, particularly in states like California and Colorado, has come at tremendous legal and financial costs to shop owners and employees, ASA says the point of their protests is to give medical marijuana patients a voice. "President Obama must tell the more than one million patients in this country how he intends to move this issue forward in his next administration," said Steph Sherer, ASA's executive director. "We are sick and tired of being told to vote against our health. ... Thursday's rallies are aimed at conveying that patients and their families are voters who may be influenced this November by the president's broken promises on this issue."   Read more >>>

Bigger is not always better; Large-scale medical marijuana farms attract unwanted attention from the feds

It's no secret that federal drug agents are not fans of Oregon's medical marijuana law. And it's clear they have a special interest in particularly large growing operations. Growers of medical marijuana should take a lesson from what has happened to their colleagues and keep a low profile.

Growers are safe from prosecution by state authorities as long as they do not exceed strict limits on the number of patients they can grow for, the number of plants they can raise per patient, and the amount of usable marijuana they produce. But the state law makes it clear it does not protect growers from federal prosecution. Federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, on a par with heroin and LSD, and federal authorities have made it clear they will go after people they believe are selling Oregon-grown marijuana illegally under the cover of the medical marijuana system.

The latest farming venture to run afoul of the feds is High Hopes Farm in Ruch, which was among several locations Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided on Tuesday. Agents, assisted by Oregon State Police and Jackson County sheriff's deputies, hauled away dump-truck loads of marijuana plants. The raids, which come just as the fall harvest season approaches, follow a pattern that has become familiar in Southern Oregon. Agents are focusing on large-scale operations they allege are producing more marijuana than is allowed under state law and some of it is finding its way out of the state, where it can bring top dollar on the black market.

James Bowman, who operates High Hopes Farm, has made no secret of his support for complete legalization of marijuana, and told The Associated Press this spring he planned to plant 400 plants for 200 patients. He may well have been operating within the limits of the state law, but now that the DEA is involved that's a moot point. Medical marijuana advocates told the Mail Tribune they believe Bowman was too vocal and attracted federal attention with his public statements and the size of his operation. Growers operating legally who want to continue should be watching carefully and keeping a low profile.   Read more >>>

Happenings at High Hopes Farm in Applegate

It has been reported by Lori Duckworth that It appears that Jackson County Sherriff's office ... Noelle Crombie did an article on it already:

Southern Oregon medical marijuana farmer James Bowman gambles on a crop, loses Noelle Crombie, | September 18, 2012

RUCH, OREGON - James Bowman runs The High Hopes Farm, a Southern Oregon farm that grows marijuana for medical marijuana patients. Surrounding him is a crop of some of the marijuana he grew on the farm. The plant is hung upside down to dry inside large semi trucks that are parked on the land. Staff photo by Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian *Marijuana grower is largest in Oregon* gallery (13 photos) *James Bowman* thought twice about planting a marijuana crop this year after federal agents** shut down a handful of large-scale *medical marijuana* operations last fall. But Bowman said he kept hearing from medical marijuana patients who asked him to grow pot for them. Instead of backing off, Bowman, 52, decided to take on twice as many patients as the year before, doubling the number of marijuana plants he could cultivate.

None of those plants will make it to harvest. Federal agents and local and state police Tuesday morning descended on seven sites associated with Bowman's High Hopes Farms, a medical marijuana enterprise in rural Jackson County serving more patients than any in the state. Authorities said the raids are part of a federal investigation into drug manufacturing and distribution.

Though medical marijuana is legal in Oregon**, pot remains illegal under federal law. Bowman, a longtime and outspoken fixture in Southern Oregon**'s marijuana community, faces the prospect of federal drug charges but was not taken into custody. The government ordered earth-moving equipment onto the properties to remove his marijuana plants.

Martin Hensley, a medical marijuana patient of Bowman's who lives in Portland, was stunned. "Are you serious?" said Hensley. "Lord, have mercy. I can't believe it. What am I going to do?"

Bowman could not be reached for comment. Federal authorities declined to comment on the investigation. But *U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall* told The Oregonian in an interview last week that recent federal prosecutions have targeted growers flouting the medical marijuana program by cultivating more pot than patients need.

"We always would have prosecuted people who have large-scale drug trafficking operations that are trafficking marijuana," she said. "It just so happens," Marshall said, that these people are using the Oregon's medical marijuana law as a defense, "and we are defeating that defense." Medical marijuana advocates say Tuesday's raids hurt patients who rely on Bowman for their pot.

"The result of an action like this is the patients who previously relied on obtaining their medicine from this farm are forced into the underground market," said Leland Berger, a Portland lawyer and medical marijuana advocate. ** *Medical marijuana grower James Bowman tours his Southern Oregon farm* James Bowman grows for more medical marijuana patients than any grower in Oregon. His farm, located in Jackson County, this year will produce pot for 200 medical marijuana patients. Lori Duckworth, a medical marijuana activist in southern Oregon, said she drove to Bowman's farm Tuesday.

"I am here to protest if they seize any of the patients' medicine," she said. "These patients are now losing their medicine." Duckworth said she was not surprised by the crackdown on High Hopes.

"He was so large and so frank and so open about his operation that at some point he would be a target," she said. Last spring, Bowman, who once did a 3-year stint in federal prison for his role in a marijuana growing ring in southern Oregon, *allowed a reporter and a photographer from The Oregonian* to spend time on his farm. He answered wide-ranging questions about his operation and explained what he does with the excess marijuana he produces.

"We are showing the process so we can show how it can be done correctly," he said at the time. "It's a gamble on our part." Last year, he said, he gave 250 pounds of pot to farmhands and workers who helped keep the year-round enterprise going. He gave 400 pounds to patients. He had about 260 pounds extra.

Patients who wanted some of that overage had a choice. They could pay $40 an ounce -- Bowman called it a "mandatory" reimbursement -- to cover his utilities and supplies. Or they could pay $150 an ounce, an amount Bowman said covered the true cost of the plant's production and included Bowman's biggest expense, labor. Oregon law allows growers only to be reimbursed for supplies and utilities involved in cultivating marijuana.

"We believe we deserve to be paid for what we do and right now there is this gray area, but we feel if we keep doing a good job that no one is really going to begrudge us a living," Bowman told The Oregonian. This year, Bowman said he intended to plant 400 plants for 200 medical marijuana patients -- about a third of what he's allowed under Oregon's medical marijuana law.

Those plants, he estimated, would produce about three pounds of pot a piece. That translates into an estimated 1,200 pounds with a black market value of more than $1 million. Bowman said at the time he understood what he was doing was illegal under federal law.

"This is serious civil disobedience with the federal government," he said. "Don't get into this if you don't understand that. Bowman said police helicopters occasionally conducted surveillance over his farm.

He worried about a federal raid. "You're thinking, 'They're here. This is the day,'" he said. "Every day I have that fear. Every night I think, 'Well, tomorrow might be the day.'" SOURCE -- Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian.   Read more >>>

As I am typing this I am once again watching many patients medicine be excavated from the ground. It is with great sadness that I am watching this happen once again here in Southern Oregon. No matter if you agree with the high hopes Farm model that James Bowman has set in place or not. ....... The fact still remains that there are now 200 patients in one garden here in Southern Oregon that will be losing their medicine to the failed war on drugs. I am encouraging every patient and their family members to phone and write letters to their elected officials and to Atty. Gen. Ellen Rosenblum demanding that their medicine be returned and demanding cease-and-desist actions be taken against these Federal raids. This raid is one more example of why our collective efforts as activists & cannabis consumers & people who love people who are cannabis consumers should be so strong right now. This is also why we must form a coalition and we must put our efforts into educating people and we must put our efforts into M 80!

Lori D
Read more >>>

After High Hopes Farm was raided yesterday, two others were raided that afternoon. One seemingly because the feds were looking for someone from High Hopes and another which was clearly visible from and right next to busy Hwy 238 thru the Applegate. (One interesting reason the plants were visible was that they were planted in a former commerical egg production building with the roof removed and they went totally crazy from the years of chicken poop in the soil.) Apparently, no one was arrested though their cell phones were taken.

Help Requested for Kannabosm

talked to the owner today and Kannabosm was raided in a coordinated effort by the State Or Oregon. Along with Kannabosm's Eugene location, they executed search warrants on four of his other properties. The state took all of his medical cannabis, every last plant and nugget, whether it was his or not. He was always careful to stay under state limit. They seized all of his funds, credit and bank accounts, computers, and even took money and property assosiated with his seperate Kombucha business. INET played a big role.

Basically, they arrested the owner and his nephew (state police pulled them over seperately and impounded thier vehicles) and held them for 26 hours while they exucted the search warrants (took all thier property) and released them without pressing any charges.... yet. This attack leaves 1800 patients in Oregon without safe access to medicine. Even though the ownership was left without a dollar to thier name or any medicine, they plan to open up on Tues at 11am to press on and see what they can do.

The owner's name is Curtis Shimmin and he can be reached on his cell at 503-810-5464 if you have any question of can help. He is also looking for a good lawyer if anyone has any recommendations. 1800 patients is the total number of patients signed up since they opened in May of 2011.

Interview w/ Curtis, an article at   Read more >>> Also, Curtis was a member of this support group for a while, visit -

Ruch pot farm raided |

Armed Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided a large medical marijuana garden Tuesday in Ruch, removing dump-truck loads of mature marijuana plants.   Read more >>>

Feds raid medical marijuana farm used by hundreds for medicine

If this is a federal raid, the folks you need to contact are your federal Rep & both Senators and then your local Rep and Senator and contact the Obama relection campaign and let them know that you won't vote for a President with these policies. And don't forget Amanda Hutchins office either. The point of this raid was to have press for pressure for a bill in the Spring: make sure that every article about this raid has dozens of patients calling for Safe Access and for the feds to keep out of our medicine. We can pressure our reps into protecting us.   Read more >>>

Help the 45th Parallel

To help The 45th Parallel, if you want to come and help or just donate to the Legal Fund - the address is 1369 sw 30th street ontario oregon 97914 -or- visit >

DEA's Senior Citizens at It Again With Their Scare Tactics: Go Play Golf Already

In the summer of 2010, just a few months before the November election, the odds of California's Proposition 19 passing seemed favorable. Officially known as the Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act, the measure would have regulated marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol in The Golden State. Public support for the measure was polling around 56 percent at the time, and drug reform advocates were cautiously optimistic that marijuana legalization might finally become a reality in the U.S.'s most populous state. Unfortunately, that high wouldn't last forever, and support for the ballot initiative took a nosedive in the month leading up to the election. One major factor that played a role in changing the mindsets of Californians in October was the U.S. attorney general's vow to continue enforcing federal laws against marijuana producers, sellers and consumers no matter the outcome of the November 2nd vote.

In an August 24th letter to the attorney general, nine former DEA Administrators urged Eric Holder to come out vocally against California's legalization measure. Holder regrettably heeded their advice, and in mid-October the DOJ boss responded to the retired DEA chiefs by stating that the Department of Justice was opposed to Proposition 19. In the aftermath of Holder's statements, public support for the initiative dwindled and many soon-to-be voters became apprehensive about the legalization measure. Hence, when Californians woke up on November 3rd, Prop. 19's opposition prevailed, and the production, sale and consumption of marijuana remained criminal violations under state law. Now, two years later, the DEA's same nine elders are up to their old tricks again, though they're a little tardy this year as Holder only recently received their letter, on September 7th. It's important to note -- as we sit back and wait for the attorney general's response -- that the cards are stacked substantially differently this time around. There's obviously strength in numbers, and with three states (Colorado, Washington and Oregon) now set to vote on regulating cannabis on November 6, the DOJ's posturing and intimidation is being called into question more than ever.   Read more >>>

The case for coherent policy on marijuana in Uruguay

In Uruguay, the consumption of drugs, including marijuana, is not punishable with prison time. Paradoxically, the cultivation of marijuana for personal consumption is a crime, as is the purchase of marijuana ... The latest news, publications and events from International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) Fifth floor, 124-128 City Road London, England EC1V 2NJ United Kingdom

Oregon Health Authority's Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) Meeting Report Todd Dalotto

On September 13, the Oregon Health Authority's Rules Advisory Committee (RAC) met to advise on the drafting of proposed Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) changes to overhaul the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program's process for reviewing petitions to add qualifying medical conditions.

The RAC members are: Todd Dalotto - Chair, Oregon Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana (ACMM) Dr. Alan Cohn - ACMM member, psychiatrist Dr. Donald Austin - OHSU clinical researcher, oncologist, epidemiologist Grant Higginson - Former OMMP Administrator, former State Health Officer, and author of the current OARs for this process Barry Kast - Former Interim OMMP Administrator, multiple administrative roles in Oregon Health Authority / DHS

Also participating were Tawana Nichols (OMMP Program Manager), Gail Shibley (OMMP Administrator), Shannon O'Fallon (OHA legal counsel), and Aaron Cossel (OMMP staff). The main goals for the OAR changes include: - Adding protections against bias, prejudice, and conflict of interest - Ensuring decision to approve/deny petition is based upon scientific findings and patient testimony - Making process more fair and efficient

The RAC began with a first draft of proposed OAR language, which all RAC members expressed are very much inadequate for meeting the above-stated goals. In my opinion, all RAC members were generally agreeable about the first draft's shortcomings as well as providing advice for drafting language that meets the RAC's goals. The OMMP staff & administrator appeared generally agreeable to most of the RAC's recommendations. The OMMP is now busy writing a second draft, incorporating our advice. If the RAC is pleased with the 2nd draft (expected in the next week or two), then the OMMP will begin the rule-making process, which may include a public hearing. If draft 2 needs work, the RAC will work on it further either by email or a second RAC meeting.

I'm confident that IF the OMMP writes the rules consistent with the RAC recommendations, the result will be a more fair, accountable, and science-based process for adding new qualifying medical conditions to the OMMP. If they ignore all or part of our recommendations, then a statutory change will be necessary to reform the process. Such a change will be difficult in the current state legislature. I'll keep you updated on the process!

Todd Dalotto
Chair, Oregon Health Authority's Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana (ACMM)
Chair, ACMM's Horticulture, Research & Safety Committee

The Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana is responsible for advising the Director of the Oregon Health Authority on the administrative aspects of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, reviewing current and proposed administrative rules, and providing annual input on the fee structure of the program. All state agencies are directed to assist the ACMM in the performance of our duties and to furnish information and advice that the members of the committee consider necessary to perform their duties. ORS 475.303

Show Me The Money - Dr. David Bearman

The bipartisan support for the "Drug War" is beginning to ebb. The early 1980s began to see public officials stand up for changing marijuana laws. One of the first was Joe Allen. In 1983, when District Attorney of Mendocino County, he spoke out on "60 Minutes," saying that cannabis should be legal. In 1984, 72 House members co-sponsored a bill to legalize marijuana. This included representative Newt Gingrich. Bob Barr, an arch conservative was, for many years an ardent drug warrior, however by 2007 he was sick of the post 9/11 federal abuse of power and became a spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). In 2008 he was the presidential candidate of the Libertarian party. The Libertarian party opposes drug prohibition laws.

This year the Libertarians have a strong ticket of former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray. Gray is author of "Why the Drug War Failed and What To Do About It." Johnson and Gray recognize the folly of our drug laws, their perversion of the Constitution and their adverse effect on the economy. Renowned conservative economist Milton Friedman (who died at age 94 in 2007), said that the federal government should abandon its disastrous war on marijuana. He said, "There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana. It's absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes."

Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), is quoted in Friedman's obituary, "Dr. Friedman was a lifetime dues-paying member of MPP and a strong advocate for ending marijuana prohibition. He understood that the government's war on marijuana users is an assault on basic conservative values of freedom and small government. We will miss him greatly." In a June 2005 letter signed by Friedman and 530 other economists they encouraged "an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition." Their letter said, "We believe such a debate will favor a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods."

These over 500 economists cited the economic study by Harvard's Jeffrey R. Miron. 25 Miron calculated that ending marijuana prohibition would save federal taxpayers $13.9 billion annually and would generate $6.2 billion in new tax receipts. Many experts believe this estimate is low since it does not include state and local criminal justice costs, costs of incarceration, costs of testing programs, and the cost of broken lives, priceless. In his February 28, 2005 Business Week article, "How Is The Return On That Investment?", Christopher Farrel asks what has our return on our investment in drug policy been. His answer, "Abysmal," pointing out that the demand for such illegal drugs as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin remains strong.

Farrel notes that drug lords and their cartels made billions and not only gain money and power but terrorize nations and local communities. Crime and corruption derived from the illegal drug trade flourish. U.S. prisons are crowded with drug-law offenders - more than 54% of federal prisoners sentenced in 2004 were sent away for breaking drug laws.

Health Priorities | As we enter the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign it is all about the money - campaign money, corporate money, tax money, personal wealth, the federal budget; you name it. There is much money to be saved by drug policy reform. Not only would legalizing cannabis and hemp save billions in criminal justice system expenditures but it would stimulate the agricultural and industrial economy. As a physician with a public health background (e.g., lecturer SDSU School of Public Health, Director and Health Officer Sutter County) I have some suggestions of where to spend a portion of the tens of billions that we are pouring into this failed "War on Drugs."

"A shift in focus would free up scarce government resources at a time when the twin demands of an aging population and the war on terror are putting stress on the fiscal purse." - Christopher Farrel There are lots of man-made public health disasters where a prudent nation would be wise to invest funds that are currently being wasted on a failed drug policy. U.S. drug policy purports as one goal to be protecting the public's health. There are other much larger more important health priorities for humankind.

Here are a set of high priority items worthy of getting more funds which could be forthcoming if we altered our failed drug policy and reallocated criminal justice dollars to education and health. According to the 2006 President of the American Public Health Association (APHA), man-made public health disasters include worldwide chemical pollution, misuse of non-renewable resources and the widening gap between the rich and poor.

Other human-related issues deserving of public health attention are escalating species extinction, collapsing ocean fisheries, increasing conflicts and changing global climates.

CONCLUSION | You may have other ideas on what to do with the financial windfall that would come from just legalizing hemp and cannabis. Drug policy reform could free up funds for lowering the national debt, saving Social Security, repairing our infrastructure, and myriad other important governmental priorities which would help the middle class. The point is that the United States current drug policy is pouring billions down a rat hole, gaining little or nothing positive for our society. We are turning our collective backs on a golden economic opportunity at a time of wide spread financial hardship.

The United States' existing drug policy has not served America and her citizens well. It is well past time to say NO to the greed which motivated the Marijuana Tax Act, NO to the avarice of petrochemical giants, NO to the Prison/Industrial Complex and YES to agriculture, YES to economic stimulus, YES to families, YES to positive parenting, YES to common sense and YES to the American people.

Nathaniel C. | I lived in the middle-eastern US in 1996 when California's Prop. 215 passed. The mindset was (and still is I think) of the nature that marijuana is just an illegal recreational drug and is looked down upon. Even I thought it was ridiculous that these "sick" people needed all seemed to be a ploy for stoners to legalize this bad, evil substance. Then, I got "sick".

I am a patient suffering from multiple sclerosis, and have found amazing amounts of relief from marijuana. I was diagnosed about 6 months ago.

My neurologist put me on a steroid treatment, involving 10 grams of methylprednisolone through an IV for 5 days, and then a tapering dose of oral prednisone for the next 19 days after that. I ate everything I saw for those whole 24 days, got acne all over my chest, and gained 15 pounds. My level of disability improved soon after the treatment began. About five days after the treatment was over, I was back to almost the same level of disability again. I have nothing to show for all the toxic steroids I put into my body, and who knows what other medical problems will come up as a long-term side effect to this treatment.

Next, my neurologist put me on Rebif, a MS disease-modifying drug. This consisted of giving myself a shot Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of every week. Hey, at least I got the weekends off, right? The biggest side effect I had with the Rebif was "flu-like" symptoms, so after about a month and a half of feeling like crap all the time, always being tired, and not feeling like the Rebif was doing me any good, I stopped taking it.

I felt a lot better within 3 days after discontinuing the Rebif, so I decided that feeling better now (I'm 21, let me enjoy what I can while I'm young.) was much better than feeling horrible for what basically is supposed to result in my MS progressing 30 percent slower than without treatment. I have been through Amantadine, Baclofen, Ultram, Provigil, Soma, and Prednisone, plus some that I probably have forgotten. All of these medications either provided little or no relief, and/or had very undesirable side effects for me.

Before learning that I had a disease that was probably MS, I had used marijuana maybe 10 times in my whole life. I started using it more regularly, and noticed that I was feeling much better all around when smoking marijuana. I could get around better, I felt better, I was in a better mood, and I ate (something that is often very difficult for me). Being a California resident, I obtained a doctor's recommendation, and am now legal to use medical cannabis in California, and would like to see it made legal everywhere.

Marijuana is now the only medication I am using to treat my condition, and I would be so much less functional without it that I don't know what I would do (or COULD do for that matter).

Medical Cannabis - Healing with an herbal medicine | We have begun a campaign to raise funds for a project that will produce educational videos about how marijuana is used in the treatment of various medical conditions. We need to raise at least $20,000 to get this project started. We will produce professional quality videos with medical cannabis experts and patients describing how they use marijuana to treat their condition. * Click here > to donate! * SOURCE = AAMC - September 2012 Newsletter * Visit the AAMC blog for more information about Cannabis medicine. Please consider supporting their work; Join the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, click > here

Election 2012 - 50 days until legalization

November 6 is rapidly approaching, when Oregon – along with Washington and Colorado – will be voting on marijuana legalization. Each state has a slightly different strategy to win the election, and while Washington and Colorado are getting a lot of media attention, Oregon is being overlooked. Therefore, every day for the next 50 days, I will be focusing on a relevant topic for Oregonians to be aware of as we approach Election Day 2012. Upcoming topics will include the various uses for hemp, the controversy surrounding medical marijuana and how the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012 will impact Oregonians. I will also focus on the conflicts with federal laws as well as the election process itself, including who can vote and how to register to vote.

Oregonians will be voting on Measure 80, the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2012. This measure will allow adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana from state-licensed stores or to grow their own for personal use. It will also legalize The first article is here: - and you can subscribe at the top of the page.

The War on Drugs: Because Prohibition Worked So Well by John Stossel

Forty years ago, the United States locked up fewer than 200 of every 100,000 Americans. Then President Nixon declared war on drugs. Now we lock up more of our people than any other country -- more even than the authoritarian regimes in Russia and China. A war on drugs -- on people, that is -- is unworthy of a country that claims to be free.

Unfortunately, this outrage probably won't be discussed in Tampa or Charlotte. The media (including Fox News) run frightening stories about Mexican cocaine cartels and marijuana gangs. Few of my colleagues stop to think that this is a consequence of the war, that decriminalization would end the violence. There are no wine "cartels" or beer "gangs." No one "smuggles" liquor. Liquor dealers are called "businesses," not gangs, and they "ship" products instead of "smuggling" them. They settle disputes with lawyers rather than guns.

Everything can be abused, but that doesn't mean government can stop it. Government runs amok when it tries to protect us from ourselves.   Read more >>>

Pot Legalization is Coming By Julian Brookes, POSTED: July 26, 2012

At least some able-bodied Americans may soon be able to score a bag of weed legally without having to fake a knee injury. In November, voters in three states could approve ballot measures to legalize marijuana, and not just for medical purposes – for getting-high purposes. Then again, they might chicken out, like California voters did in 2010. But sooner or later, and probably sooner, a state will go green. About half of America will be fine with that. Support for legalization is (no other way to put it) higher than ever, and rising. That's partly demographics – the young are more into pot than their elders, who aren't sticking around. But it's something else, too: The status quo, people are starting to notice, is a total disaster.

The prohibition on marijuana – a relatively benign drug when used responsibly by adults, and a teddy bear compared to alcohol and tobacco – has done an impressive job of racking up racially-biased arrests; throwing people in jail; burning up police time and money; propping up a $30 billion illegal market; and enriching psychotic Mexican drug lords. But it hasn't stopped Americans from smoking a ton of weed. We're up to 20-30 million users, 6 billion joints a year – and rising. And teenagers, who ideally shouldn't be toking up on a regular basis, say pot is easier to get than beer. "There's that Talmudic principle that a law that's not obeyed is a bad law," says Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at UCLA and co-author of the new book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. "And I think we're pretty much at that point."

So, let's try another approach, right? Legalization could come in many forms, but all would involve tradeoffs. And no doubt there are all sorts of ways to screw it up. But more power to the first state to give it a shot. When that happens, expect one of two things – either: the federal government, in deference to democratic principles, will decline to enforce its ban on marijuana, creating space for the state to be a "laboratory of democracy," working out its new policy by trial and error, learning as it goes, creating a trove of hard-earned lessons to guide the states that (inevitably) will follow; or: the federal government will bide its time and then come down hard, busting growers and retailers, seizing land and property (or, just as effective, threatening to), going after banks that serve pot businesses, and doing whatever else it takes to shut down the state's legalization push.

True, the feds would be within their rights to crack down. A state can legalize all it wants, but – incredibly – happy-go-lucky marijuana will still be a Schedule I drug, right up there on the federal shit list with certified brain melters and organ fryers like Heroin, Ecstacy, and PCP. And, no, this isn't some quaint, disregarded artifact from olden times: A personal stash can get you a year in federal prison, a single plant up to five. And don't be surprised if Washington does crack down. As a candidate, "Choom Gang" alumnus Barack Obama talked a good game about bringing some sanity and proportion to drug enforcement. But during his term, federal prosecutors (who, in another complication, have wide discretion to pursue their own agendas) have cracked down hard on medical pot providers in states like California where it’s legal. The administration says it's surgically targeting front operations supplying recreational use, but it sure doesn't look like that on the ground. "Obama has been a terrible disappointment," says Keith Stroup, founder of the drug law reform group NORML.

But maybe the federal government will do the right thing and lay off. "There's a strong argument for trying it at the state level and for the feds getting out of the way," says Kleiman. "That seems unlikely, but I'd love to be proven wrong." (If the president in January 2013 is zero-tolerance drug warrior Mitt Romney, run for the hills.) We might not have long to wait to find out. Of the three states where legalization is up for a vote in November – Colorado, Washington, and Oregon – Colorado "is definitely the best shot so far," says Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national lobby group that's kicking in about $1 million to support the measure. Under Amendment 64,the state would treat pot like alcohol – licenses for producers and sellers, 21-plus age restriction for buyers, and tax revenue government. Should it pass – and one poll has support up by 61-27 – "We're hoping the federal government will not impose its will," says Fox, "and that there'll be an adult conversation about what Colorado has decided to do."

A lot depends on how things play out on the ground, which is hard to predict. A few things we can assume: the price of pot will plummet, since marijuana is incredibly inexpensive to produce if you don’t have to dodge the cops or schlep it up from Mexico. Consumption will surge, though by how much is hard to say (the consensus guesstimate predicts a doubling or tripling). Beyond that, nothing is clear. Amendment 64 leaves a lot of the policy details to the state legislature, and one of its first tasks will be to figure out how big of a tax to slap on. It has to be large enough to generate revenue – Amendment 64 wisely stipulates that the first $40 million generated will go to public school construction! – but not so large that buyers prefer to take their chances on the (untaxed) black market. Another challenge: How do you do a better job than current policy of reducing teen use? Or combating abuse and dependency – a problem for only 2-3 percent of users, but not something you can ignore. And how do you prevent neighboring states, if not the entire country, from getting buried under mountains of cheap Colorado weed? If the state looks like becoming the nation's grow house, the feds will probably land hard.

Looking beyond this year, bear in mind that there’s more than one way to "legalize" pot. Colorado is going with the alcohol model, but there are other approaches, some more plausible than others. At one end of the spectrum there's full commercial legalization, where anyone can freely produce, distribute, market, sell, or buy pot, just like any other commodity (think: tomatoes) subject to certain regulations. Hard to see that flying politically. At the other end, there's "decriminalization," where you eliminate or reduce penalties for possession (say, to the level of a minor traffic violation), especially for first-time offenders, but retain the ban on production, distribution, and sale; fourteen states, including California and Massachusetts, have already gone this route, and some major politicians, like Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York, have lately come around to the idea. Other options include, on the production side, restricting the industry to nonprofits, or membership-based "clubs," or allowing profit-making but limiting or banning marketing and advertising. There are tradeoffs: Legalize commercially, whether fully or on the alcohol model, and you add to the sum of freedom and pleasure in the world, wrestle an industry away from violent criminals, generate useful tax revenue, and spare a lot of people jail time and criminal records. But brace yourself for a huge upsurge in use and, possibly, a marketing blitz aimed at teens (see tobacco) and the "heavy" users who consume most of the product and therefore supply most of the profits (see alcohol); and say hello to a well-funded pot lobby bent on blocking regulations it doesn't like (see tobacco and alcohol). Decriminalize, and you save a lot of cop time and money and, again, human misery. But you’re leaving a lot of tax revenue on the table and, incoherently, nudging people to buy what's illegal to produce and sell.

Voters will have to weigh these and other factors and decide whether the (not-fully-knowable) benefits of legalization outstrip the (hard-to-anticipate) costs. No plausible scenario is all upside; but it's hard to see how we could make things worse. "We don't say there are no negative consequences to marijuana use, but there are much more effective ways of dealing with those," says Jill Harris of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for more liberal drug laws. "It's just that the consequences of marijuana prohibition are just so much more severe that we feel it's worth the tradeoff." Beau Kilmer, a researcher at RAND and co-author of Marijuana Legalization, says whatever a given state decides to do, lawmakers should make sure to give themselves an "escape clause," like a sunset provision that makes the laws go back to what they were after a certain number of years unless the voters or legislature decide to extend them. "There's no reason to believe they'll get it right on the first or even second try," he told me. But once the pot industry develops some lobbying muscle, the policy will be much harder to tweak. With an escape clause, he says, legislatures will be able to overcome the lobby "just by sitting still."

Of course, the federal government might decide not to tolerate legal marijuana under any circumstances, and all this will be moot. The only way to take the feds out of the mix is to change federal law, and only congress can do that. But don't expect too much there. Last year, Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced the first-ever federal legalization bill. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon; another Frank bill, the Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, which would leave enforcement of medical pot to the states, has been kicking around the Hill since 1997, but has never made it to a vote. "Congress is several years behind the general public on this," says Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and a co-sponsor of both bills. But even congress is starting to come around. When he first came to Washington, in 2009, there were only "a handful" of lawmakers prepared to stand up for more liberal drug laws, says Polis. Today, most Democrats are on board.

The GOP, not so much. "I've been very disappointed with my fellow Republicans on this issue," says Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a co-author of the Frank-Paul bill and a rare pro-pot conservative. "I know that if this was a secret ballot, a majority of them would be voting on my side." Rohrabacher says a lot of his states-rights-and-small-government-minded colleagues agree that marijuana enforcement is a huge waste of tax dollars, but they're not willing to go there. "They’re are just terrified that in an election next time around there’ll be ads run against them about how they’re doing the bidding of the drug dealers." So don’t look to Washington D.C. for action on this any time soon. Legalization, when it comes, will come at the state level. There's no guarantee it will happen this year, but there’ll be more initiatives on state ballots in 2014, and 2016, and beyond. Most pot activists and policy analysts I spoke to put the timeframe for legalization at 5-7 years, tops. "We’re guaranteed to win in the end because we’re winning the hearts and minds of the American public," says NORML’s Keith Stroup.

And then? "If we get state-level legalization and it doesn't turn into a total clusterfuck, we'll see more acceptance," Kleiman told me. In any event, he says, something's got to give. "Prohibition is falling apart, about the way alcohol prohibition fell apart. Legalization is eventually going to be a recognition of the facts on the ground."   Read more >>>

Why Democrats Support the Drug War Status Quo - Because there's so little to be gained politically from not doing so. Paul Waldman, May 29, 2012

Later today, I'll have a post up at MSNBC's Lean Forward blog explaining why the "Choom Gang" revelations from David Maraniss' new biography of Barack Obama didn't seem to make anybody mad (with the exception of libertarians who took the opportunity to make the entirely accurate point that Obama's Justice Department is vigorously prosecuting people for doing pretty much the same thing Obama did as a teenager, and if he had been caught he might have gone to jail and certainly wouldn't have grown up to be president). Briefly, it comes down to a couple of things: Obama had already admitted he smoked pot "frequently," so it wasn't much of a revelation; and around half of American adults have too, meaning they weren't going to be outraged. Furthermore, most of the reporters who would write about the story are probably in the pot-smoking half, making them less likely to treat it as something scandalous. But this raises a question, one posed by Jonathan Bernstein: Why do Democratic politicians overwhelmingly support the status quo on drug policy? Do they actually think it's good policy, or is it just politics?

I have a hard time believing that anyone in either party thinks it's good policy to be locking up hundreds of thousands of people for drug possession, which incurs staggering financial and human cost and has almost no effect on rates of drug use or abuse. You can tell because when they get asked about it, politicians almost never talk in concrete terms about what these policies achieve. Instead, draconian drug laws are justified in terms of "sending the right message," which is what you say when you have no practical evidence to support your position.   Read more >>>

Marijuana Legalization Hits 56% Support in Rasmussen Poll

A Rasmussen poll of likely voters released Tuesday found support for legalizing and regulating marijuana at 56% nationwide, a significant increase over a March Rasmussen poll and in line with other recent polls that show legalizing gaining majority support and trending upward. The poll comes ahead of elections in November that will see votes in at least two states, Colorado and Washington, vote on marijuana legalization initiatives. Efforts are still underway to get on the ballot in four other states -- Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, and Oregon. The poll did not break down support by state.

Legalization garnered majority support among both sexes and across age groups, although with some significant differences. While 61% of men supported "legalizing marijuana and treating it like alcohol or cigarettes," only 52% of women did, reflecting a gender gap apparent in other polls. And while even seniors came in with 50% support, only 49% of respondents with minor children supported legalization. Support in that demographic jumped, however, when pollsters asked if they would favor legalization "if no one under 18 could buy it, it was banned in public, and there were strict penalties for driving under the influence." Under those conditions, support among parents jumped to 58% and support among Republicans increased to 52%, bumping up overall support for legalization one point to 57%.   Read more >>>

A Sitting NY Supreme Court Judge With Cancer Makes A Plea For Medical Marijuana

By: TheCallUp Wednesday May 16, 2012 | After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, New York Supreme Court Justice Gustin L. Reichbach found himself immersed in a world of pain and misery, brought on by months of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He’s spent 40 years in the law — over two decades as a judge — and thus never could have imagined that he would one day find himself turning to marijuana to quell his unbearable suffering, as he explains in his NY Times Op Ed: "Nausea and pain are constant companions. One struggles to eat enough to stave off the dramatic weight loss that is part of this disease. Eating, one of the great pleasures of life, has now become a daily battle, with each forkful a small victory. Every drug prescribed to treat one problem leads to one or two more drugs to offset its side effects. Pain medication leads to loss of appetite and constipation. Anti-nausea medication raises glucose levels, a serious problem for me with my pancreas so compromised. Sleep, which might bring respite from the miseries of the day, becomes increasingly elusive.

Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep. The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless. Rather than watch the agony of my suffering, friends have chosen, at some personal risk, to provide the substance. I find a few puffs of marijuana before dinner gives me ammunition in the battle to eat. A few more puffs at bedtime permits desperately needed sleep. This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue. Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care. But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients. When palliative care is understood as a fundamental human and medical right, marijuana for medical use should be beyond controversy."

Isn’t it about time politicians began to ask themselves, “would I allow my own family member to suffer needlessly like this?”   Read more >>>

The Kinder, Gentler Drug Czar Still Wants to Lock You Up for Pot

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has a new article on The Huffington Post where he once again attempts to fulfill his statutory duty to scare the bejeezus out of Americans who might be considering the legalization of marijuana in three states and the medicalization of marijuana in a dozen others. This time he cites stats from something called ADAM, warning that over half of arrestees in ten surveyed metro areas tested positive for drugs! You need to be afraid, very afraid, of the crime-seeking drug junkies! He opens by setting the "Kinder Gentler Drug Warrior" frame established by his former adviser, Kevin Sabet, Ph.D. -- the idea that both legalization and prohibition are ideological extremes. Gateway Gil has even begun using our terminology ("we can't arrest our way out of this problem") to pretend that the Obama Administration presents a rational, compassionate third approach:

"One month ago today, we released the Obama Administration's 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, a drug policy grounded in sound research from the world's preeminent drug abuse researchers. This policy marks a departure from the debate I've seen develop during the past few years, which has lurched between two extreme views. On one side are those who suggest that drug legalization is the "silver bullet" solution to our nation's drug problem. On the other are those who still believe that the "War on Drugs," law-enforcement-only strategy is the way forward. Our policies reject both these extremes in favor of a "third way" to approach drug control." How does that "third way" work? Well, instead of busting you for smoking pot and putting you in a cage, the kinder gentler drug warrior will bust you for smoking pot and put you before a judge in a drug court who lets you "choose" between rehab and a cage. Then in rehab, they'll force you to swallow and regurgitate lies about your "problem" marijuana use, require you to pee in a cup and, should that turn up positive, put you in a cage for smoking pot for a longer time than if you'd just chosen the cage in the first place. See, in the old "War on Drugs" paradigm, we only created jobs and revenue for cops, judges, lawyers, and prison guards. With the "Kinder Gentler War on Drugs," we add jobs for rehabs, pee testers, and probation officers, too.   Read more >>>

Cannabis Resource Business Opens in Downtown Corvallis

Although he understands that not everyone agrees, Todd Dalotto thinks cannabis is the most interesting of all plants. So much so that the Oregon State University graduate has devoted about 14 years of his career as a horticulture researcher to studying the plant’s medicinal properties. “No matter how seriously you study cannabis, it’s hard to get out of the pot jokes,” Dalotto said.

Dalotto, 41, of Philomath opened his new business in downtown Corvallis, CAN! Research, Education & Consulting, last week. The business at 551 S.W. Fourth St.(call 541-752-9053 or visit - ) serves as a resource for patients, growers, businesses and government for all issues relating to cannabis. “There’s a lot of excitement with cannabis research. It could very well be a cure for cancer,” Dalotto said. For example, some recent medical studies are finding that a certain strain of cannabis reduces the number of breast cancer cells.   Read more >>>

Study: Suicide Rates Fall When States Legalize Medical Marijuana - By Scot Kersgaard,

Friday, February 24, 2012 | A University of Colorado economics professor has co-authored a study, just released by the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, that concludes that suicide rates among young males decline markedly after states legalize medical marijuana. Professors at Montana State University and San Diego State University were also involved in the study. The study is titled “High on Life: Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide.” CU Denver professor Daniel Rees and his coauthors don’t say conclusively why suicide rates fall. They offer evidence that marijuana acts as an antidepressant when used moderately, but also note that using marijuana in larger amounts can actually lead to depression.

They also note that the sale of alcohol to young males declines in states that legalize medical marijuana and note that alcohol is a known depressant the use of which can lead to suicidal thoughts. Rees did not return a phone call seeking comment. From the study: "Using state-level data for the period 1990 through 2007, we estimate the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on suicide rates. Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males."   Learn more >>>

Meet Obama's Proposed 2013 Federal Drug Budget [FEATURE] by Phillip Smith,

February 15, 2012 | The Obama administration this week released its Fiscal Year 2013 National Drug Control Budget, and it wants to spend nearly $26 billion on federal anti-drug programs. Despite all the talk about the staggering federal debt problem and current budget deficits, the administration found nothing to cut here. Instead, the proposed budget increases federal anti-drug funding by 1.6% over fiscal year 2012. The proposed budget is remarkable for how closely it hews to previous years, especially in regard to the allocation of resources for demand reduction (treatment and prevention) versus those for supply reduction (domestic and international law enforcement and interdiction). The roughly 40:60 ratio that has been in place for years has shifted, but only incrementally. The 2013 budget allocates 41.2% for treatment and prevention and 58.2% for law enforcement.

"This is very much the same drug budget we've been seeing for years," said Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "The Obama drug budget is the Bush drug budget, which was the Clinton drug budget. Little has changed." "It's really just more of the same," said Sean Dunagan, a former DEA intelligence analyst whose last assignment in northeastern Mexico between 2008 and 2010, a when prohibition-related violence there was soaring, helped change his perspective. Dunagan quit the DEA and is now a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).

"There are very minor adjustments in how the drug spending is allocated and bit more money for treatment, but there's a significant increase in interdiction, as well as a $61 million increase for domestic law enforcement," Dunagan noted. "They're trying to argue that they're abandoning the drug war and shifting the focus, but the numbers don't really back that up." The proposed budget also demonstrates the breadth of the federal drug spending largesse among the bureaucratic fiefdoms in Washington. Departments that catch a ride on the drug war gravy train include Agriculture, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Veterans' Affairs, as well as the federal judiciary, District of Columbia courts, the Small Business Administration, and, of course, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office).   Learn more >>>

Obama's War on Pot [Rolling Stone]; In a shocking about-face, the administration has launched a government-wide crackdown on medical marijuana

Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration's high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia. But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multi­agency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst."

The federal crackdown imperils the medical care of the estimated 730,000 patients nationwide â€" many of them seriously ill or dying â€" who rely on state-sanctioned marijuana recommended by their doctors. In addition, drug experts warn, the White House's war on law-abiding providers of medical marijuana will only drum up business for real criminals. "The administration is going after legal dispensaries and state and local authorities in ways that are going to push this stuff back underground again," says Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a former Republican senator who has urged the DEA to legalize medical marijuana, pulls no punches in describing the state of affairs produced by Obama's efforts to circumvent state law: "Utter chaos." In its first two years, the Obama administration took a refreshingly sane approach to medical marijuana. Shortly after Obama took office, a senior drug-enforcement official pledged to Rolling Stone that the question of whether marijuana is medicine would now be determined by science, "not ideology." In March 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder emphasized that the Justice Department would only target medical-marijuana providers "who violate both federal and state law." The next morning, a headline in The New York Times read OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO STOP RAIDS ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSERS. While all forms of marijuana would remain strictly illegal under federal law â€" the DEA ranks cannabis as a Schedule I drug, on par with heroin â€" the feds would respect state protections for providers of medical pot. Framing the Obama administration's new approach, drug czar Gil Kerlikowske famously declared, "We're not at war with people in this country."

That original hands-off policy was codified in a Justice Department memo written in October 2009 by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden. The so-called "Ogden memo" advised federal law-enforcement officials that the "rational use of its limited investigative and prosecutorial resources" meant that medical-marijuana patients and their "caregivers" who operate in "clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law" could be left alone. At the same time, Ogden was concerned that the feds not "be made a fool of" by illegal drug traffickers. In that vein, his memo advised U.S. attorneys to focus on going after pot dispensaries that posed as medicinal but were actively engaged in criminal acts, such as selling to minors, possession of illegal firearms or money-laundering. The idea, as Holder put it, was to raid only those hardcore traffickers who "use medical-marijuana laws as a shield." The Ogden memo sent a clear message to the states: The feds will only intervene if you allow pot dispensaries to operate as a front for criminal activity. States from New Mexico to Maine moved quickly to license and regulate dispensaries through their state health departments â€" giving medical marijuana unprecedented legitimacy. In California, which had allowed "caregivers" to operate dispensaries, medical pot blossomed into a $1.3 billion enterprise â€" shielded from federal blowback by the Ogden memo.

The administration's recognition of medical cannabis reached its high-water mark in July 2010, when the Department of Veterans Affairs validated it as a legitimate course of treatment for soldiers returning from the front lines. But it didn't take long for the fragile federal detente to begin to collapse. The reversal began at the Drug Enforcement Agency with Michele Leonhart, a holdover from the Bush administration who was renominated by Obama to head the DEA. An anti-medical-marijuana hard-liner, Leonhart had been rebuked in 2008 by House Judiciary chairman John Conyers for targeting dispensaries with tactics "typically reserved for the worst drug traffickers and kingpins." Her views on the larger drug war are so perverse, in fact, that last year she cited the slaughter of nearly 1,000 Mexican children by the drug cartels as a counterintuitive "sign of success in the fight against drugs." In January 2011, weeks after Leonhart was confirmed, her agency updated a paper called "The DEA Position on Marijuana." With subject headings like THE FALLACY OF MARIJUANA FOR MEDICINAL USE and SMOKED MARIJUANA IS NOT MEDICINE, the paper simply regurgitated the Bush administration's ideological stance, in an attempt to walk back the Ogden memo. Sounding like Glenn Beck, the DEA even blamed "George Soros" and "a few billionaires, not broad grassroots support" for sustaining the medical-marijuana movement â€" even though polls show that 70 percent of Americans approve of medical pot.   Learn more >>>

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