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In this issue:

ACTIONS TO TAKE on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment ACTIONS TO TAKE on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment .
OMMA Under Attack OMMA Under Attack

-NEWS - Articles and Stories

L.A. DEA Threatens Landlords of Medical Cannabis Coops With Forfeiture L.A. DEA Threatens Landlords of Medical Cannabis Coops With Forfeiture
POT GROUP SUES TO MAKE FEDS EAT WORDS POT GROUP SUES TO MAKE FEDS EAT WORDS

Medical Cannabis Needs You 
Act Today!  Don’t Delay! 

Urge U.S. Congress to Support Medical Marijuana Patients' Rights

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This is a reminder that the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote shortly on the 2007 Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment, and some sick and dying people need your help to send a clear and overwhelming message to Congress to stop prosecuting medicinal cannabis patients.

 

Last year, despite a Republican-controlled Congress, 163 US representatives voted in favor of Hinchey-Rohrabacher -- 55 votes shy of the votes we, the people, need to stop Washington’s war on patients. This year, with a new Democrat-controlled Congress, we can expect to achieve more support than ever before. However, we still need you to please contact your US Representative today and tell him/her to support this amendment.

 

If passed, the 2007 Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment would prevent the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from federally prosecuting state-authorized medical cannabis patients and their care-givers. MERCY is asking you to take two actions to help shelter these seriously ill patients from the government’s war on cannabis consumers.

 

ACTIONS TO TAKE on the

Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment

 

1) E-mail or call your Representative, visit: www.house.gov/Welcome.shtml For your convenience, a pre-written letter is available here:

 

capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=9998376

 

2) Forward this alert to your friends and family.

 

Eighty percent of the American public supports the physician-supervised use of cannabis as a medicine, and they do not wish to see their tax dollars wasted by those in Congress who would target the sick and dying in their overzealous war on drugs. It is time for Congress to stop the war on patients. An example letter -

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Dear Rep. XXX

 

I'm asking you to support the health and welfare of patients who use medicinal cannabis under a doctor's supervision in compliance with state law.

 

Specifically, I'm asking you to support a forthcoming amendment to the Science, State, and Justice appropriations bill that would bar the US Department of Justice and DEA from prosecuting qualified patients in states that allow for the physician-supervised use of medical cannabis. This amendment, to be introduced by Representatives Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), would prohibit the Justice Department from spending public funds to interfere with state laws in the twelve states that allow for the limited use of cannabis by state-authorized patients.

 

The Hinchey/Rohrabacher amendment would not change the status of medical marijuana under federal law. Rather, it will simply protect those medical marijuana patients who live in states that explicitly permit the use of medicinal cannabis when sanctioned by a physician.

 

When the Science, State, and Justice appropriations bill is debated in the coming weeks, I urge you to support the Hinchey/Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment and stop Washington's war on patients.

 

Sincerely,

Your Name

News of the the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program

OMMA Under Attack OMMA Under Attack

 

Prohibitionists have filed an initiative that would repeal our states Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) and replace it with an synthetic-marijuana system.

 

This is a very serious threat to OMMA. If it passes all patients would be forced at gunpoint to switch to marinol or other pharmaceutical synthetics whether or not they work or even kill the patient.

 

We will have to rise to the occasion, work together, and crush this attempt to return Oregon medical cannabis to the dark ages.

 

Please help protect Oregon’s patients

 

This initiative would abolish Oregon's Medical Marijuana Program, instantly making criminals of over 16,000 sick Oregon patients. Prohibitionists even plan a tax-payer-funded-gift to the pharmaceutical industry by requiring the state of Oregon to purchase less-effective prescription drugs, like Marinol, for Oregon's medical marijuana patients, who they intend to treat like criminals. This terrible initiative has national implications because if the right-wing Republicans, insurance companies, and Big Pharma manage to dismantle the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, they will be emboldened to kill the programs of all of the other medical marijuana states. This is an important time for our movement and all of us, especially sick patients, need us to move forward, not back to a time where grandmothers stricken with glaucoma and cancer are treated as drug dealers. The Act can be read at:

 

http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/irr/2008/104text.pdf

 

Talking Points To what "abuse of the MMA do they refer? This would be, it seems to us, a soft place in logic and would require some major evidence to prove.

 

Also, there is report after report, study after study that attests that its definitely more efficacious when ingested by smoking or vaporizing as opposed to Marinol. Folks we know have tried Marinol and it was completely ineffective, and had uncomfortable and intractable diarrhea as one side-effect.

 

SO, WHAT’S NEXT? the Prohibitionists have filed this initiative for the November 2008 ballot. It has a preliminary ballot title that fails to mention the repeal of the OMMA. It has been challenged. If I-104 survives any challenges and become a petition, they must collect the required signatures by July 3, 2008 for the measure to appear on the ballot. If they collect sufficient signatures then the measure would be voted on at the November 2008 general election.

 

There are several possible desirable outcomes. Soundly defeating the measure at the 2008 election would be one. Convincing the Prohibitionists to refile their initiative without the repeal OMMA portion would be another. Them failing to get enough signatures would mean that there would be no vote and nothing would happen.

 

MERCY intends to resist these Prohibitionist assaults on OMMA. We will be gathering more information and will report back on a regular basis. PLEASE let us know if you or your group find out anything, get any feedback, etc.

 

We REALLY need to Watchdog, Lobby and Network on this Folks!  Dealing with the Prohibitionists - and this method of getting rid of OMMA - is not a one shot deal. If they get this idea on the ballot what we will need to do is engage in a campaign to defeat the measure. This will mean writing letters, registering voters, raising money etc. If it does not get on the ballot, then we’ll likely see this or something like it later by some other path. We must be ever vigilant. Its not something any of us can do once and think that is enough.

 

We have flyers on this issue on our website. Print these off, then Post, Hand Out and otherwise distribute all over the place. visit:

 

http://www.mercycenters.org/action/alert.html

 

 

L.A. DEA Threatens Landlords of Medical Cannabis Coops With Forfeiture

In an attack on access to medical marijuana in the nation's second largest city, the LA DEA office has mailed notices to landlords of Prop 215 coops warning them that they are liable to forfeiture and criminal penalties for allowing medical marijuana facilities on their property. So far, some 20 letters have been reported by dispensaries in the LA area, but the DEA is said to have sent out some 100 letters. Included are numerous well regarded, established facilities with no known complaints. The action is aimed at coercing landlords to evict medical cannabis coops despite state law allowing them.

California NORML regards this as a serious attack on patients' access to medical marijuana under Prop. 215.

 

"The DEA has no business interfering in California's medical marijuana law," says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, "This action will only serve to drive patients to the illegal market and aggravate marijuana crime." In addition to serving over 100,000 patients, medical cannabis coops currently generate thousands of legal jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues in the LA area.

 

So far, all of the DEA's letters have been targeted to the LA area. No letters have been reported in surrounding counties. The operation appears timed to co-opt a pending LA dispensary ordinance that is expected to regulate and cap the number of dispensaries. At this point, Cal NORML sees no basis for expecting a larger state-wide sweep.

 

Cal NORML attorneys warn that there is no legal defense to federal forfeiture charges. Once landlords have received notice from the DEA, they can no longer claim to be "innocent owners." Forfeiture attorneys typically advise landlords who have received such notices to promptly insist their tenants desist from illegal activity and/or evict them. The validity of federal forfeiture has been repeatedly upheld by the federal courts, most notably in the case of the LA Cannabis Resource Center, where the government successfully forfeited $300K from the city of West Hollywood for leasing a building to the LACRC.

 

It is unclear to what extent the DEA is prepared to follow through on their threat of arresting landlords. Any forfeiture sweep would have to be conducted in cooperation with the LA US Attorney's office. It's unknown whether this has been arranged. The most likely scenario is that there will be widespread evictions and shutdowns, followed by a few selected forfeiture prosecutions to scare remaining landlords.

 

Those landlords most vulnerable are those with the most equity in their property, since the government likes to make as much money as possible on forfeitures.

 

The DEA's attack on medical marijuana comes just as Congress is about to vote on a measure to deny federal funding for federal medical marijuana raids, namely the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment. NOW is the time to tell Congress members to oppose the federal government's attack on medical marijuana. Visit NORML's action alert at: http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=9998376.

 

Cannabis cooperatives who are moving or suspending operations are urged to change their listings at Cal NORML's website http://www.canorml.org/prop/cbcllist.htm.

 

 

POT GROUP SUES TO MAKE FEDS EAT WORDS
If Group Can Overcome Standing Challenge, Other Would-Be Litigants Might Mimic Strategy to Oppose Variety of Federal Policies

 

Medical marijuana advocates and federal prosecutors have never agreed on whether the drug has medical value. Now, an Oakland, Calif.-based advocacy group wants a court order that would force the feds to see it their way.

 

Americans for Safe Access is trying to use a little-known Clinton-era law to make federal agencies take back statements about marijuana -- for example, that pot has "no currently accepted medical use." The group says this "misinformation" costs it time and money to refute. But before the nonprofit can put any experts on the witness stand, it has to overcome a challenge to its standing to sue. The government's motion to dismiss the case is scheduled to be heard today before U.S. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California.

 

ASA sued in February under the Information Quality Act. That law calls on federal agencies to maximize the "quality, objectivity, utility and integrity" of information they send out to the public, and it includes an administrative process for people who seek to correct inaccuracies.

 

In 2001 the Drug Enforcement Administration published a statement in the Federal Register saying marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in the United States.

 

ASA, claiming that the government's position on medical marijuana is "patently false," petitioned the Department of Health and Human Services, so far unsuccessfully, to correct the statements in its analysis. "Of course courts are going to be leery to jump into the politics of applying science" to public policy, said Davis Wright Tremaine partner Thomas Burke, a San Francisco lawyer who is not working on the case. The First Amendment lawyer notes that if the ASA's challenge survives the dismissal motion, activists of all stripes who oppose government policies may want to give the strategy a try. In the past Burke has helped sue to force the federal government to release records about "no fly" lists.

 

"The use of the statute would be very important to watch, given all of the headline-grabbing claims that the Bush administration has essentially used politics to trump science," he noted. To get any satisfaction out of the courts, though, ASA first has to overcome the government's standing argument.

 

In court papers, Department of Justice attorney Steven Bressler argues that Alsup should dismiss ASA v. Department of Health and Human Services, 07-01049, because ASA hadn't identified any members who suffered any harm due to the "allegedly incorrect statement," and because the group lacks standing to sue on its own behalf.

 

To sue for itself, and not its members, Bressler said the issue in the suit has to be "germane to the plaintiff's organizational purpose." He points the court to ASA's Web site, noting that its mission there was described as "ensur[ing] safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research." Suing over alleged "misinformation," he argues, won't further that goal.

 

"It would not make marijuana use any more (or less) safe. Nor would a correction change the fact that DEA continues to list marijuana as a schedule I [illegal] drug," he wrote. In an e-mail, Bressler said he wasn't authorized to discuss the case further outside of court. ASA has countered in its own court papers that its stated purpose is broader, and includes providing medical information to patients, attorneys, health and medical professionals and policymakers throughout the United States.

 

In a brief by its lawyer, Stanford law professor Alan Morrison, ASA argues that it can satisfy the standing requirements by alleging that the government's statements increased the resources ASA had to spend on its work.

 

According to Morrison, the group has spent more than $100,000 and hundreds of hours of staff time combating the government's position. A favorable decision in court would reduce the need to spend that money, he added. Even though a favorable ruling wouldn't legalize marijuana, he said it could encourage people to lobby Congress to reform the drug laws.

 

"There's lots of perfectly lawful uses of that information," he said.

 

Source: Recorder, The (CA) -. * Website: http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/index.jsp * Cited: www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org

Prohibition was introduced as a fraud; it has been nursed as a fraud. It is wrapped in the livery of Heaven, but it comes to serve the devil. It comes to regulate by law our appetites and our daily lives. It comes to tear down liberty and build up fanaticism, hypocrisy, and intolerance. It comes to confiscate by legislative decree the property of many of our fellow citizens. It comes to send spies, detectives, and informers into our homes; to have us arrested and carried before courts and condemned to fines and imprisonments. It comes to dissipate the sunlight of happiness, peace, and prosperity in which we are now living and to fill our land with alienations, estrangements, and bitterness.

(From an 1887 speech by Roger Q. Mills of Texas; quoted more than once during the alcohol prohibition debates in Congress. He proved to be a prophet, as the years 1918-1933 taught us. We're learning the truth of this prophecy again in the so-called "war on drugs".)


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