Showing posts with label Pot Prohibition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pot Prohibition. Show all posts

May 27, 2015

The Only Man Serving Life for Pot offense Can Now Be Released on Parole




 Already served 20 yrs

JEFFERSON CITY, A Missouri man sentenced to life without parole for marijuana-related offenses is suddenly eligible for parole immediately after Gov. Jay Nixon commuted his sentence Friday.
Sixty-two-year-old Jeff Mizanskey has served more than two decades in prison after being convicted and sentenced as a persistent drug offender under a Missouri law that's since been changed.
His son, 37-year-old Chris Mizanskey, said he was in awe at the news and planned to go see his father in the morning. 
"It's amazing," Mizanskey said. "To be able to talk to him, to be able to sit here and have a conversation with him. To have my son sit on his lap, for him to be a part of his grandkid's life, our lives, my whole family. I mean really words can't even describe it."
Jeff Mizanskey had two previous felony convictions for marijuana-related offenses when he was sentenced in 1996 to life without parole for a third felony offense. At the time, the law allowed a sentence of life without parole for people with three felony drug convictions. 
Police said Mizanskey conspired to sell 6 pounds of pot to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels. Gov. Nixon, a Democrat, said in a statement that none of the offenses were violent or involved selling to children.
"My action provides Jeff Mizanskey with the opportunity to demonstrate that he deserves parole," Nixon said.
Mizanskey's previous felonies were for possession and sale of marijuana in 1984 and possession in 1991. Family members, lawmakers and advocates for marijuana legalization have campaigned for the Missouri man's freedom. Mizanskey was the only person in Missouri serving a life sentence without any possibility for parole for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.
Nixon also on Friday pardoned five nonviolent offenders he said had completed their sentences and demonstrated an ability to turn their lives around.
Nixon pardoned Michael Derrington, a substance abuse counselor who had a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction; Nicole Lowe, a loan officer who was convicted of misdemeanor stealing; Bill Holt, a former school bus driver convicted of misdemeanor non-support; Doris Atchison, who was convicted of misdemeanor stealing; and Earl Wolf, who was convicted of misdemeanor burglary and larceny.

May 4, 2015

Annual Pot Day in NYC




The annual NYC Cannabis Day Parade drew several hundred activists and smokers yesterday to Union Square for an afternoon of speeches, music, camaraderie, and lots and lots of weed.
The festivities began in Herald Square, where a small but passionate group began their march down the bike lane on Broadway, closely controlled (but not overtly harassed) by a contingent of NYPD officers on foot and scooters. There were no arrests.

The marchers were a diverse group, with some seeking to legalize medical marijuana, others demanding broader reforms that would allow recreational use, and still more demanding the complete repeal of all pot laws, thus taking the drug out of the government's hands. As the parade made its way downtown, there were ample opportunities for tourists and locals to cheer the marchers on or shake their heads in disgust, depending. The spectators were thickest around the Flatiron, especially now that Madison Square Eats is open, and it was a bit of a surprise that none of the marchers ducked into the open air food market for a snack.


At one point before the parade began, a gentleman threw dozens of bags of weed into the air, much to the delight of the crowd, though everyone of course already seemed to have plenty of their own supply.

The NYPD ignored this and every other overt display, usage, and enjoyment of cannabis throughout the day. In Union Square, officers stayed a respectful distance away from the action, in stark contrast to the aggressive policing that seemed to be strategy last Wednesday evening at this same location.
People rolled splits and passed them around; NYC Council Member Rafael L Espinal gave a speech, among others; educators educated, advocates advocated; performance artist Matthew Silver had a particularly large crew of fellow dancers getting silly with him; and weather-wise it was an exceptionally pleasant afternoon to hang in the park and get high.

gothamist.com

September 16, 2014

FL’s GOP Spending lots of $ to Stop Medical Pot but They Might be digging Their own Pot-graves

                                                                       
       

Tallahassee’s conservative political establishment is about to embark on a multi-million ad campaign to kill a popular, proposed constitutional amendment for medical marijuana.
Paradoxically, more money and more message could mean more problems for the opponents.
That’s because one of the best ways to motivate older and conservative just-say-no voters is to frame the amendment as a “smokescreen” for outright legalization. But that message (questionable though it is) can motivate younger and more liberal voters.
And those younger voters, typically less likely to show in mid-term elections, are probably more enthused about outright marijuana legalization rather than medical cannabis.
Not only could these less-likely voters show, polling and demographic trends indicate that they’d be less likely to vote for Gov. Rick Scott, the standard bearer of the Tallahassee political establishment.
So conservatives could unwittingly fund their own demise by unwittingly ginning up young voters.
“Medical marijuana will probably drive up turnout among lower-propensity voters by a point or two,” said Daniel Smith, a University of Florida political science professor who has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles on ballot initiatives and voter performance.
“It’s not going to be a lot, but in a close election like this, a little is a lot,” Smith said. “Now who medical marijuana helps politically is much less clear.”
The conventional wisdom, therefore, about Democrat Charlie Crist getting a major boost from medical marijuana could be dead wrong. Crist, Democrats and the campaign led by People United for Medical Marijuana face their own conflicts when it comes to cannabis.
Welcome to the tricky politics, paradoxes and polling of pot.
People United is led by trial lawyer John Morgan, who employs Crist. But the two campaigns have avoided coordinating events and messaging with each other because the medical-marijuana initiative will likely be doomed if it looks like a Democrat-turnout scheme.
Crist, though a medical marijuana backer who eagerly embraces populist plans, has refrained from embracing it too much on the campaign trail, perhaps out of respect for his employer, Morgan.
Only Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is making pot — outright legalization — a major campaign issue. And he appears to be pulling just a few more voters from Crist than from Scott in a few polls.
Those less-likely voters who do show up for medical marijuana, therefore, could disproportionately vote Wyllie. That indirectly aids Scott by taking away votes that Democrats hope would go to Crist.
The anti-pot voters who show are largely Scott voters. And he’s saying next to nothing about medical-marijuana, which offends his base.
Scott unexpectedly signed a law this spring legalizing a rare low-THC strain of medical marijuana for a small, select few. Following years of blocking any medical-marijuana vote, the GOP Legislature coincidentally passed the bill once Morgan’s medical-marijuana amendment was polling well as it headed for the ballot.
Medical marijuana is polling at 64 percent approval right now, according to a survey from the conservative-leaning business group Associated Industries of Florida, which uses Democratic-leaning pollster Steve Vancore to help produce some of the state’s best polls.
That 64 percent support has been essentially unchanged in three AIF polls taken in February, May and September.
But the number is deceiving. Constitutional amendments need to pass with 60 percent of the vote. So it’s only a few points away from failing in AIF’s poll (the margin is less in some and more in other surveys).
The 60-percent threshold to pass an amendment is a legacy of Tallahassee’s political establishment, which persuaded voters in 2006 to amend the constitution to make it tougher to amend the constitution. Ironically, it passed with less than 60 percent support. The supermajority rule strengthens the hand of the Legislature (which hates having its power diminished by plebiscite) and therefore bolsters the influence of the GOP, which controls the Legislature, governor’s mansion and Florida Cabinet.
Only 52 percent of likely Republican voters support the medical-marijuana amendment in AIF’s last poll and just 45 percent of them supported it in liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling’s survey released last week.
The polls, along with an internal survey from People United for Medical Marijuana, show the same phenomenon: If GOP support dips to 42 percent, the amendment will fail even if Democrats and independents continue supporting it by roughly 70 percent or more.
As a result, the Drug Free Florida opposition committee is essentially using the same messaging and tactics against the amendment that operatives would use in a closed Republican primary, highlighting drug-addiction paranoia and canards about media bias.
Drug Free Florida is run, led and funded by Republicans: GOP donor Mel Sembler, appointed to ambassadorships by both Bush presidents and Republican financier and Las Vegas gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave Drug Free $2.5 million. Adelson’s opposition in Florida is somewhat mysterious, considering he has funded medical-marijuana research in Israel and his home state of Nevada has a far more-liberal medical-marijuana law that explicitly allows people to grow pot (unlike Florida).
Supporters fear that Morgan appears to be backing away from funding his own TV ads now that he and his firm have contributed and loaned the campaign $4 million. But Morgan said it’s not true.
“I have a few tricks up my sleeve,” he said.
Drug Free is placing a $1.6 million statewide TV ad buy to coincide with the first week of voting by mail, which is dominated by conservative Republicans. While the message of the ad is unclear, the ad buy sends a message about the tactics because of its heavy emphasis on conservative North Florida.
“Our biggest challenge is that the pro-legalization campaign seems to play to a sympathetic press,” said Drug Free’s spokeswoman, Sarah Bascom, a top Republican-tied political consultant, who went on to criticize Morgan.
“Now that the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Chamber, seven former Supreme Court Justices have come out against Amendment 2 and the curtain has been lifted to expose the recent profanity-laced rant from John Morgan, it’s becoming clear to voters that Amendment 2 is not what it seems ― it is really just about the legalization of pot.”
But the amendment doesn’t say that. It says medical marijuana is reserved for people with “debilitating” medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician who must conduct a medical exam. The Florida Supreme Court, in allowing the amendment to go forward, said it’s not for minor aches and pains.
“It's no surprise Drug Free Florida Committee is making such a large buy so far out from Election Day. When your basic position runs completely counter to public opinion, millions in misleading advertising is the only strategy available. But no amount of advertising can overwhelm the basic facts,” said Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager at United for Care.
“Drug Free Florida is led by tobacco lobbyists and a former drug czar fired for saying marijuana leads to homosexuality,” said Pollara. “It is primarily funded by a man whose rehabilitation centers were closed due to rampant physical and mental abuse, and a billionaire looking to bring large-scale, casino gambling to our state. When it comes to any messages from Drug Free Florida, it’s important to consider the source and follow the money.”
Easier said than done.
Following the politics of pot is tough enough.

MCAPUTO@MIAMIHERALD.COM


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/09/14/4348193/marc-caputo-the-politics-paradoxes.html#storylink=cpy

August 10, 2014

Russian go after Illegal Pot sting then Bees attack Russians with their own ‘Sting'

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Police in Russia ran up against a problem when they tried to clear an illegal marijuana plantation, close to the city of Kostroma. As they were attempting to remove all the plants, a swarm of angry bees attacked them.
It looked like the owner had been clever, and had strategically placed bee hives within the plot of marijuana as a security measure. However, according to him, the plants were wild, and he merely cared for the bee hives.
When clearing the plants in the small plot, near Kostroma around 350km northwest of Moscow, the officers were attacked and stung repeatedly. Luckily none suffered any allergic reactions and no one was in a serious way from the incident.
According to a law enforcement officer, Valery Vekhov:
“As part of an operation, the police arrived at the scene to see whether rumors that a large amount of cannabis was growing were true.” Marijuana cultivation is illegal in Russia and should the owner be found to have willingly grown the plants, he could face up to eight years behind bars. That would definitely sting. 
http://www.digitaljournal.com/ 

July 31, 2014

Gay Marriage Have Surpassed Marijuana laws in being Approved. Why?


                                                                               

Nearly two decades ago, Americans’ support for both marijuana legalization andsame-sex marriage was virtually equal. About one-quarter of US citizens was in favor of each, according to Pew Research Center polling at the time.

But that year, 1996, the two movements seemed to be at very different crossroads. In September, US president Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Two months later, California passed Proposition 215 and became the first state in the US to legalize medical marijuana.

It turned out the two movements were at crossroads, but not the ones it seemed at the time. Today a majority of Americans support marijuana legalization for recreational use and same-sex marriage. But only Colorado and Washington State have legalized marijuana, while same-sex marriage is now legal in 19 US states and in the District of Columbia.

How did gay-marriage advocates accomplish the broad success that marijuana supporters can only dream of?

One popular view is that, over the last decade, attitudes toward both gay marriage and marijuana legalization have dramatically shifted as a more-tolerant millennial generation has come into its own and begun to shape American public opinion. However, the story behind the success of the gay-marriage movement offers different lessons about the levers of change in the American political system.

Follow the money 

The US gay-marriage movement began decades ago to little fanfare, but today counts a majority of America’s richest and most politically influential people and corporations among its backers. It is now well understood in Washington that Democratic Party candidates cannot win funding from prominent party fundraisers without stating their support for marriage equality, say top party strategists. The movement has moved from the fringes of American society to comfortably within the American political and cultural mainstream.

 
In addition to president Barack Obama’s now-explicit support for gay marriage, there are seven openly gay members of Congress, a tiny fraction of the 535 members but the highest in history. Out gay men and lesbians are more visible and increasingly in positions of power. There’s Annise Parker, the mayor of Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city and home to the Bush family dynasty; Ellen DeGeneres is host of one of the most-watched daytime TV programs in America.

Five years ago, support for gay marriage was at just 37%, while today 54% of Americans are in favor of marriage equality. Though the gay community still faces discrimination and homophobia, this is a massive shift in US public consciousness. It is probably due to a myriad of factors, but chief among them, critics say, is that the gay-marriage movement learned to play the game for influence in American politics: raising money for political candidates.

Gay-rights groups, political-action committees and individuals sympathetic to LGBT issues gave over $6 million in contributions to political campaigns in 2012, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That’s not to say that this funding drowned out opposition voices or that there wasn’t a genuine increase in support among Americans for same-sex marriage in recent years. But it helped build political support more quickly than decades of grassroots activism could have, says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates marijuana legalization.

“As a movement, what we’re trying to learn about more from the gay-rights movement is how they were able to mobilize wealthy gay individuals or those sympathetic to their causes to further engage in the political process,” said Nadelmann, who Rolling Stone calls America’s “real drug czar.” “Money is king in American politics,” he told Quartz. “In order to reach the mainstream, you need people within your movement who have influence, who are politically connected, who have the chance to put the message in the ears of those in elected office.”

In 2012, in two of three states that considered ballots to legally recognize gay marriage, supporters raised millions more than their opponents. In Washington state, voters passed referendum 74, a measure that was backed by $13.7 million in donations. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie gave $2.5 million. In Maine, supporters of a measure to repeal Maine’s ban on same-sex marriage raised nearly $9 million, with a large majority of that money coming from out-of-state gay rights groups, versus roughly $2.6 million for opponents.

The financial support has persuaded politicians to back similar measures in other states, said Nadelmann, who acknowledges that the disparity between funding for marijuana-legalization and gay-marriage initiatives is vast. The gay-marriage movement, he explains, sought out financial resources and won in states where its grassroots activism was historically minimal. He cites Washington state specifically as an example: despite the fact that only a slight majority of Washingtonians supported same-sex marriage, the well-funded referendum overwhelmingly passed.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for those in the gay-rights movement,” Nadelmann said. “What they did in 2012 and really what they’ve done over the last decade has been nothing short of remarkable.”

The pursuit of funding and friends in politics

Last October, a Gallup poll showed that 58% of Americans supported marijuana legalization for recreational use. That was the first time in the poll’s history that a majority of Americans supported legalization.


+The question now for Nadelmann and other leaders in the US marijuana-legalization movement is how to convert that into wins in more states.
With the gay-marriage movement, success in the courtroom has clearly been a factor: last June, the US Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied same-sex couples married in states that allowed it to federal benefits afforded to heterosexual couples. The decision emboldened the gay-marriage movement to unprecedented successes in the courts in conservative states from Utah to Indiana.

The marijuana legalization movement could follow the same route, challenging state marijuana prohibitions across the country. But, without the Supreme Court weighing in on the issue nationally, that could potentially take many years.

Then there’s the funding issue, which may mean an existential crisis for backers of marijuana legalization. Can it maintain its image as an established grassroots movement while also cozying up to the nation’s wealthy and political elites like supporters of gay marriage have? Welcoming support from people in power will grant them a greater role in dictating the movement’s agenda, an issue that Nadelmann admits could be troubling.

Major political actors who could help the legalization cause with organization and funding are civil-rights groups. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has said that the criminalization of marijuana disproportionately affects African-Americans and other communities of color, which makes it a civil-rights issue. An estimated 750,000 people, disproportionally individuals of color, are jailed each year for marijuana-related offenses, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In this respect, like their counterparts in the gay-marriage movement who used marriage equality as a structural answer to homophobia, the civil-rights leaders see marijuana legalization as a response to entrenched, institutional racism.

It’s still unclear whether an alliance of civil-rights groups and marijuana-legalization advocates could align enough to become a machine for getting new marijuana laws passed across the US. But if the supporters of legalization want to achieve the success enjoyed by gay-marriage advocates, they’ll need to tap into political networks and funding of that sort.

July 28, 2014

NYTimes: ‘Legalize Marijuana or face the Chaos of the Prohibition'


                                                                             

Legalize marijuana now, or face the kind of chaos of the prohibition era in the US, says none other than The New York Times. The newspaper lays out concrete reasons why all-out legalization is the best move.
“There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use,” the NYT wrote in a very straightforward website editorial.
“But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization.”
The newspaper lashed out at the 40-year-old law, which criminalized the plant, and which the Times believes to be “racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, running their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.”
The Times believes that a relaxation in penalties and increased research into the beneficial effects of the plant, as has been happening in nearly three-quarters of states, could have been a precursor for Washington to do something as it waited for the results to come in. However, the board decided that this would leave the federal law in the hands of whoever is in government at the time.
And since, according to FBI statistics, over 650,000 arrests for marijuana alone took place since 2012 – and this was just for possession without intent to distribute - it was clear that the drug’s rather gentle effects were costing the tax payer a lot more than dangerous cocaine and heroin and their derivatives, for which there were only 256,000 combined arrests.
According to the Times, the statistic also tell a story of racial discrimination, which segments society and only leads to rising crime levels as whole populations are cut off from other means of existing within American society.
“There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults,” the Times continues.
And although there are noticeable and proven effects on the psyche and health of younger adults, the paper writes, it should not arouse the kind of dismissal that leaves society open to ludicrous claims linking the plant with rape, murder and other violence. However, prohibiting sales to adults under 21 would be a smart move, according to the editors.
But overall, the effects of the regulation, manufacture, sale and distribution of the drug by the state are viewed as highly beneficial.
“We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition,” the Times believes. 

July 10, 2014

Would you like Ketchup with that pot? You are Taking Chemo and Can’t eat? Enema anyone?


                                                                           

The governor of New York is the last state executive to sign a medical Marijuana law up to date. While it is better than having no law particularly since 88% of arrestees for pot are black and latino (according to Fox) youth at least you can canned this injustice of making kids criminals before they finish High school. Still the restrictions placed on the new NYS Marijuana law makes it clear that there was a huge political compromise with the religious right and older voters who are not sick nor have family members sick with cancer or other debilitating diseases. It seems that is the only certain way people learn to be humane and tolerant of things they don’t agree with for themselves; But others ask for it as a matter of right. We have seen this unique fenomena with the ‘same sex marriage' debate on prominent politicians and religious people being godly opposed until someone came out close to them and then there is an immediate change. 

With this law you are not allowed to smoke it only to ingest it. Imagine someone that can’t eat because the nausea from chemo, now they are making this patient swallow this thing to get relief. You can see that the sponsors of the law as it is, were not thinking clearly of patients but of their political arzes trying to make everyone happy for election day. 

Those are the things that burn people from politicians because even in NY where you have a good governor by past standards and a popular one, yet the political issues are taking a front seat above the medical reasons. I am waiting for someone to say the reason is not allowed to be smoked is so the people on chemo wont get cancer.

No drug has gone through more scrutiny for as long as marijuana has. It was grouped together, first in NY with all the other drugs such as  heroine and coke.  With very stiff penalties. There are still people doing time in jails in this country on pot charges. We got same sex marriage in NY before we got a very restrictive marijuana law.  I am happy for gay marriage, and the sense of change is bringing to the nation; For one hope that senseless laws and believes from last century would melt away as the light clears with precise information, illuminating all those old wives tales. 
But this proves so hard that in many cases the Supreme Court has to be involved. 

I see this marijuana law being challenged in court unless common sense changes are made. If you have one of the diseases that might help you qualify for it, you will find yourself in a maze of legalities of finding the right certified Doctor who doesn’t know you but would have to get to know your Doctor I guess.   Afterwords you will have to go to one of the dispensing centers that will be approved to dispense it. Also, I would like to know who pays for it? I think Obama Care might make the health insurance carriers pay for it but at this point is just pot luck.

 Advocates seeking more lenient marijuana laws have no intention of stopping with Colorado and Washington. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have allowed marijuana for medicinal purposes, and more could follow. Here's a look at five of the states that may be welcoming more permissive marijuana laws in the near future:
ALASKA (legalization)
Alaska may seem like an unlikely place to follow the lead of liberals in Colorado and Washington, but the state's libertarian electorate may provide a good look at how a different breed of voters will respond to marijuana legalization.
It's early, but proponents have a big head start on fundraising and organization, led by the Marijuana Policy Project based in Washington, D.C.
Marijuana legalization failed in Alaska in 2000 and 2004, but advocates say the landscape has changed markedly since then.
If the measure is approved, adults could use marijuana legally and purchase it at state-licensed stores, but use in public would still be illegal.
OREGON (legalization)
Oregonians rejected legalization just two years ago but are all but certain to have a chance to reconsider this November.
State elections officials haven't yet validated the signatures turned in last week, but advocates submitted far more than they needed.
Oregon has long been on the leading edge of the decades-long push to loosen marijuana laws. It was the first state to decriminalize small-scale marijuana possession in 1973 -- a step that's been taken in more than a dozen other states. Marijuana use remains illegal, but possession of a small amount of the drug is punished with a citation and fine rather than a criminal charge. Oregon was also among the first states to approve medical marijuana.
Unlike Oregon's 2012 effort, the team behind the current initiative has strong backing from many of the groups and individuals who helped bankroll the successful campaigns in Colorado and Washington.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (legalization)
The D.C. Cannabis Campaign says the group submitted 55,000 signatures for a legalization initiative on Monday -- twice the number required to put the issue before voters.
The measure would allow possession of up to two ounces of marijuana in the nation's capital.
But the effort could be frustrated by Congress, which reviews all new laws in the District and has moved to block its other recent efforts to ease up on marijuana laws. Last month, the Republican-controlled House took a big step toward blocking a decriminalization bill passed by city lawmakers. That measure would make marijuana possession a civil offense subject to a $25 fine, one of the lowest in the nation.
Congress used a similar amendment to block the District from implementing its medical marijuana program for 10 years.
FLORIDA (medical)
The push for more liberal marijuana laws is not limited to full legalization of the drug. Florida voters will be deciding whether to allow the drug for medicinal use.
A poll by Quinnipiac University in May found overwhelming support for medical marijuana in Florida, where it will require support from 60 percent of voters to pass in November. Nearly 9 out of 10 voters said they support allowing adults to use the drug for medical purposes. Support was over 80 percent for all age groups.
State lawmakers voted this year to legalize a strain of low-potency marijuana to treat epilepsy and cancer patients.
NEW YORK (medical)
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill over the weekend making his state the 23rd to allow medical marijuana, though his state will have one of the most restrictive programs in the country.
The drug isn't expected to be available for at least 19 months while the state works out regulations.
Patients with one of 10 diseases will be allowed to use the drug, but it must be ingested or vaporized; smoking it will remain illegal. Some advocates argued it is too restrictive but called it an important step.
Sources: AP and Fox news

July 8, 2014

NY State ok’s Med Marijuana but you better be Dying



When politicians make decisions in which it could be life and death for some, it all depends what azzsucker is nearest to him or her knowing how they feel about a specific subject and then feeding them the information to reinforce he or hers decision to make a call that does not make them feel guilty or will make a particular set of voters unhappy. Wether it will satisfy science or even the will of most of the people is not as important as making the right POLITICAL decision. As we know Mr. Cuoma is a great politician and one of the best governors we ever had still it seems he still follows  "The guide to make a one term governor reelected.”

Now  New York has become the 23rd state in the U.S. to authorize medical marijuana – though the state’s program is one of the nation’s most restrictive.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law Saturday and held a formal signing ceremony in New York City on Monday to highlight the new law.
When the program gets up and running in about 18 months, patients with diseases including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy will be able to obtain non smokeable versions of the drug.
Instead, the drug must be ingested or administered through a vaporizer or oil base.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said prohibiting smokeable marijuana will help keep the drug out of the wrong hands.
“It was almost oxymoronic that a health department would operate a program allowing smoking – which they spend a very significant amount of their time trying to stop people from smoking,” Cuomo told WCBS 880′s Ginny Kosola. “Second, you don’t need the smoking to get the benefits of the drugs.”
The compromise was one of the final measures passed by lawmakers in Albany before they adjourned last month.
“We have the medical benefits of marijuana,” Cuomo said. “We also have public safety and public health concerns that are addressed.”
Nine-year-old Amanda Houser, of Suffern, spoke at Monday’s signing ceremony. She has a form of epilepsy and suffers dozens of seizures every day.
For her, medical marijuana could be a life-changer.
“I want to be a normal girl, and I want my seizures to stop,” she said.
Larchmont resident Polly Vanderwouce, whose 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Olivia, has a rare and debilitating form of epilepsy, told CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer the medical marijuana bill signed into law provides a ray of hope that her daughter can live a more normal life.
“She’s never gone more than two days without having a seizure,” Vanderwounce said. “Having a child with severe epilepsy means that you’re always on alert and every seizure can turn into an emergency and a life-threatening situation, so anything that helps reduce that sense of fear would be huge.”
Under the law, the state will approve and regulate up to five businesses authorized to grow and distribute the drug. The operators could each have up to four dispensaries statewide.
“From this day forward New Yorkers will now have access to the same life-changing treatment that other patients across the country have had,” state Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, who sponsored the legislation, said in a news release. “This is an historic victory for the countless health care professionals, physicians, advocates, families and patients who know that the safe and reliable use of medical marijuana is a sensible, compassionate course of treatment for debilitating illness and disease. I stand with the thousands of New Yorkers who now will no longer have to suffer needlessly through their courageous medical battles.”
Patients would get prescriptions from physicians approved by the state to participate in the program.
Patients who sell their prescribed marijuana could face a misdemeanor. Patients would be required to carry registration cards showing they are authorized to possess the drug and can be prescribed a maximum 30-day supply.
The governor could shut down the program if it does not work out.
“If it goes bad, these’s an escape,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo insisted the program is not an indication that the state will soon legalize marijuana for recreational use.
“I am against legalizing marijuana, and that’s not what this is,” Cuomo said. “This is medical marijuana.”
source:CBS

July 2, 2014

Don’t just Decriminalize Pot, Legalize so the Money doesn’t go in smoke


                                                                     


“I’M GONNA smoke’a de ganja until I go blind,” sang Bob Marley. “You know I smoke’a de ganja all a de time.” Jamaicans who share his devotion to cannabis have long risked arrest. But this month the government said it intended to decriminalise possession of small amounts of the drug. Several countries in Europe and Latin America have already taken this step. On the day that Jamaica announced its plans, a report commissioned by the Kofi Annan Foundation argued that minor drug offences should be decriminalised in West Africa to reduce violence and corruption.
After decades of failure it is hardly surprising that people are seeking alternatives to the ruinously expensive, bloody “war on drugs”. Prohibiting narcotics has failed to prevent an increase in their use, mainly in the rich world but increasingly in emerging markets (Brazil is now the world’s biggest customer of crack cocaine). At the same time it has enriched the criminal mafias which spread corruption and murder from London’s East End to Tijuana’s barrios, and which threaten to make failed states of countries in Africa and Latin America. Even Britain’s official advisory panel on drugs opposed the government’s move this week to criminalize khat, a mild and little-known stimulant whose users may now turn to more harmful alternatives (see article).
So reform is needed, but is decriminalisation the right approach? Jamaica has proposed that people caught with up to two ounces (57 grams) of cannabis should be fined but not arrested or taken to court. Similarly, drug users in Portugal can be forced to attend classes to get them back on the straight and narrow. Italy confiscates pot-smokers’ driving licences. These lenient penalties save thousands of young people from being branded with criminal records, and spare taxpayers the expense of arresting, trying and jailing them. Jamaica’s police, battling one of the world’s highest murder rates, have better things to do than fill the country’s jails with people whose crime is to have consumed something less potent than their island’s rum. It is madder still that Sierra Leone or Guinea should devote their meagre resources to stopping adults getting high.
But decriminalisation is only half the answer. As long as supplying drugs remains illegal, the business will remain a criminal monopoly. Jamaica’s gangsters will continue to enjoy total control over the ganja market. They will go on corrupting police, murdering their rivals and pushing their products to children. People who buy cocaine in Portugal face no criminal consequences, but their euros still end up paying the wages of the thugs who saw off heads in Latin America. For the producer countries, going easy on drug-users while insisting that the product remain illegal is the worst of all worlds.
Stir it up
That is why decriminalisation makes sense only as a step towards legalisation. Jamaica and other countries frustrated with the current regime should adopt the policy pioneered by brave Uruguay, Colorado and Washington state, the only places in the world to put criminals out of business. By legalising cannabis from cultivation to retail, these places have snatched the industry away from crooks and given it to law-abiding entrepreneurs. Unlike the mafia, they pay tax and obey rules on where, when and to whom they can sell their products. Money saved on policing weed can be spent on chasing real criminals, or on treatment for addicts.
Steps away from prohibition are to be welcomed. But half-measures could be as dangerous as overdoses.
source: Economist.com
This is the opinion of many and certainly from the Economist Magazine. What do you think?

June 7, 2014

Medical Marijuana Backers turn on the heat on lawmakers who voted it down





Medical marijuana advocates are turning up the heat on House lawmakers who last week voted against an amendment to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from cracking down on state-legal medical marijuana shops and patients.
The appropriations measure prohibiting the DEA from spending funds to arrest state-licensed medical marijuana patients and providers, which was sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), still passed 219-189. But reform group Americans for Safe Access is targeting ads against some lawmakers who voted no, beginning with Reps. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).
"The reason for these two particular members of Congress has to do with their especially outspoken opposition to medical marijuana, despite its popular support in their districts," said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access. "Although the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment was passed with a solid majority, the influence of these two elected officials is significant, and their efforts to derail a measure supported by the vast majority of Americans is troubling and must be confronted."
The Harris and Wasserman Schultz spots (watch them below) will appear on MSNBC in Maryland and Florida over the next several days.
A total of 17 Democrats joined 172 Republicans in voting against the amendment.
Harris spoke on the House floor last week in opposition to the amendment. He insisted that there are no medical benefits to marijuana (despite much evidence to the contrary) and that medical marijuana laws are a step toward legalizing recreational pot.

June 4, 2014

GOP in the House Reading Pot Leaves


                                                                              



Perhaps validating what public opinion surveys have been showing for some time, the House voted in Friday's wee hours to prohibit the federal government from interfering with medical marijuana laws passed by 32 states and the District of Columbia.

Yes — that's the Republican-led House that did the voting. And it include 49 actual Republicans among the 218 yes votes. Lead among them: California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who once upon a time worked for Ronald Reagan, the president who made the "War on Drugs" a national priority.

Times, Rohrabacher acknowledged, had changed – and said those strict federal policies, in the case of medical marijuana, were doing more harm than good.

"Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels that he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way," Rohrabacher said. "The state governments have recognized that a doctor has a right to treat his patient any way he sees fit, and so did our Founding Fathers."

Of course, not all Republicans saw it that way. Not even a majority of them.

Virginia's Frank Wolf, who chairs the House committee that wrote the $50 billion appropriations bill on which the marijuana language was tacked, questioned just how "medical" medical marijuana actually is.

He pointed out that the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, American Glaucoma Society, Glaucoma Research Foundation and a long list of other groups opposed medicinal marijuana.

And that was before he turned to a pair of doctors who also happened to be members of Congress. Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming warned that marijuana use, particularly in young people, harmed brain development. And Maryland GOP Rep. Andy Harris argued that real medicine was a little more precise than prescribing "two joints a day," or "a brownie here, a biscuit there."

"This is not medicine," Harris said. "This would be like me as a physician saying, 'you know, I think you need some penicillin. Go chew on some mold.' Of course I wouldn't do that. I write for 250 mg of penicillin, [every] 6 hours, times 10 days. I don't write, 'chew on a mold a couple of times a day.'"

But Rohrabacher had his own doctor on stand-by: Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun. He countered that the components in marijuana are, in fact, useful for some conditions. "It's actually less dangerous than some narcotics that doctors prescribe all over this country," Broun said.

The vote result surprised even those who had been lobbying for it over the past decade. Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said the most votes the proposal had received previously in the House was 165 in 2007.

"We expected that we'd get close to passing it, and then pass it next year," Tvert said. "But clearly things are moving forward very quickly at the federal level just as they are at the state level. People are fed up with the current state of marijuana laws."

Of course, so far the proposal has only cleared the House, and Rohrabacher and his Democratic co-sponsors allowed that they didn't have Senate supporters lined up yet to move the language in that chamber.

Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, whose state of Colorado is actually allowing non­-medicinal marijuana, said fixating on what happens next in the congressional process misses the larger point.

"The will of the House is important on this issue," Polis said. "Congress is far from leading the country in this regard. Rather, we’re catching up with where the country already is."

Eric Risberg/AP

May 26, 2014

Younger Voters Split From GOP on GM&M (gay marriage&marijuana)


                                                                              


 
 At a recent meeting, the Tampa Bay Young Republicans recited the Pledge of Allegiance, prayed and then tackled the night’s topic: marijuana.

Their guest? Personal injury lawyer John Morgan, a huge Democratic Party donor campaigning to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. Months earlier, the same group supported a Supreme Court opinion that was a victory for gay marriage advocates even as Republican leaders insisted marriage should be between only a man and a woman.
 
FILE- In this Aug. 24, 2013 file photo, Stephanie Petelos, chairman of the College Republican Federation of Alabama, talks with a supporter during a meeting of the Alabama GOP Executive Committee in Montgomery, Ala. Petelos and other young Republicans are increasingly at odds with party leadership when it comes to social issues like gay marriage and legalizing marijuana. That is why a group like the Tampa Bay Young Republicans recently invited huge Democratic Party donor John Morgan to talk to the group about his effort to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. (AP Photo/Phillip Rawls, File)In this March 25, 2014, photo provided by Lauren Matthews, Tampa Bay Young Republicans executive director Lacey Wickline interviews personal injury lawyer John Morgan about his campaign to legalize medical marijuana during the group’s monthly meeting in Tampa, Fla. Young Republicans are increasingly at odds with party leadership when it comes to social issues like gay marriage and legalizing marijuana. (AP Photo/Lauren Matthews)
 
The group illustrates a growing generational divide in the GOP as younger Republicans increasingly break rank from the establishment on social issues. In Alabama, a college Republican group leader was nearly kicked out of the party for supporting gay marriage. The successful push to legalize gay marriage in Minnesota was backed by several prominent younger Republicans. And in Colorado, the spokesman for a group that pushed to legalize marijuana was a Republican activist. Perhaps only in opposing abortion are most young Republicans nationally as conservative socially as older members.

"We’ve grown up in a time where everything’s much more open. We want to talk about more things," Tampa Bay Young Republicans president Anibal Cabrera said. "We’re willing to listen to the other point of view. We’re willing to have an opposite opinion."

Whether the split on social issues forces the GOP to change its platform or risk alienating younger voters probably won’t be answered until after the 2016 presidential election, said Matthew Corrigan, a University of North Florida political science professor. He said one thing to watch is support for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the son of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is mixing a libertarian message with a more moderate outreach to Republicans.

"It’s unsettled," Corrigan said. "If the nominee of the Republican Party signals less of an emphasis on social issues than in years past, that leaves an opening for these young Republicans who may have more libertarian leanings, but there’s a lot of seniors within the party that I don’t think are ready to give up on those positions."

While Republicans nationally have struggled to recruit younger voters, women and minorities, the Tampa group says welcoming socially liberal as well as conservative members has helped swell its ranks from seven to 200 members in less than a year. Executive director Lacey Wickline said the party establishment could learn from the approach, but instead has largely ignored the group.

"We’re doing something right. We’ve got the energy, we’re trying to do what’s right by our party, and where’s the support?" Wickline said. "If you’re really trying to target the under 40 demographic, there’s only one place to turn — that’s us."

Part of the shift among younger Republicans is growing up in an era where gay rights, pot smoking and other issues are more acceptable, even among conservatives.

"We grew up on ‘Will and Grace’ and our parents grew up on ‘All in the Family,’" said Stephanie Petelos, the chairman of the College Republican Federation of Alabama who was almost banished from her party for supporting gay marriage.
 
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said there may be some differing opinions among younger Republicans, but he still feels most support the party platform. Those interviewed noted even young Republicans tend to be anti-abortion. And Armistead pointed out that the man elected to replace Petelos after she graduated firmly supports traditional marriage.

"It was very disruptive for the previous college chairman to advocate a position that’s contradictory to our state position and our national platform," Armistead said. "It did not represent the majority of college Republicans, yet she used her position to advocate her personal opinions, which is unfortunate."

Beyond being a generational issue, young Republicans say their positions stem from the party’s belief that government shouldn’t intrude on people’s lives. Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign got most of its following from younger Republicans attracted by his libertarian message that allowed for gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana.

"When it comes to issues like gay marriage or marijuana legalization, younger Republicans often find themselves asking, ‘Why is government involved in this at all?’" said Alex Holzbach, a Tallahassee-based Republican political consultant who served as president of the Florida State University College Republicans before graduating this year. "It’s really just a realization that the party’s current status quo against some of these issues is in direct conflict with our belief in smaller, less intrusive government. "

He and Petelos said they are Republicans because they believe the party is stronger on economic issues, and both said the GOP’s position on social issues made it harder to recruit college students.

"It’s just a little bit harder to get into what the Fed did last week than it is for equality for one of your best friends from high school," Petelos said.

The economy is especially relevant when recruiting students staring down college loan debt and a tough job market, said Young Republican National Federation Chairman Jason Weingartner.

"It’s often the Democrats that are trying to shake the narrative so that we go back to discussing predominantly social issues so it will distract from the current economic climate," he said.

———


By BRENDAN FARRINGTON | The Associated Press
First Published May 25 2014 11:42 am • Last Updated May 25 2014 04:39 pm
Tampa, Fla. •

Follow Brendan Farrington on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bsfarrington

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