Friday, August 29, 2008


Sensible Fayetteville will submit its second round of signatures
today in hopes of giving local voters the choice on election day to
make adult marijuana possession the lowest priority for police.

"We needed about 300 additional signatures, and so far, we've
collected upwards of 900,"Ryan Denham, campaign director, said."We've
almost tripled what we needed, and we're still going. We'll turn them
in at the end of [today ]."

Sensible Fayetteville is a local coalition made up of the OMNI Center
for Peace, Justice & Ecology, the Green Party of Washington County,
the University of Arkansas student branch of the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Alliance for
Reform of Drug Policy in Arkansas Inc.

Initiative sponsors turned in a total of 5, 522 signatures Aug. 6. On
Aug. 19, City Clerk Sondra Smith and staff verified 3, 385 valid
signatures. Based on the number of votes cast in the city's last
mayoral election, a total of 3, 686 signatures are required to
qualify the petition.

"We compared the signatures on the petition to a list of registered
voters,"Smith said."Several people that signed the petition didn't
live in the city limits of Fayetteville, and since this is a city
issue, they have to reside in the city. Some people also signed more
than once."

In a last-minute effort to gather the remaining signatures, Denham
and fellow coalition members launched various public campaigns in the
Fayetteville Square and at Wilson Park. Additionally, all registered
voters who signed the petition dur ing the campaign will be entered
in a drawing. The winner will receive a Water Buddy Travel Filter.
This product retails for $ 59. 95.

"We've been working on this since last November,"Denham said."We've
been at the post office, the [University of Arkansas ] and we've been
going door-todoor. This is a local campaign, but it's a national
issue and we hope people understand that."

If approved, the amendment would be similar to the one approved in
Eureka Springs and would make"investigations, citations, arrests,
property seizures and prosecutions for adult marijuana and marijuana
parapher nalia offenses, where the marijuana was intended for adult
personal use, the city of Fayetteville's lowest law enforcement and
prosecutorial priority."

Denham said the focus is on adults who would fall under misdemeanor
offenses, which is possession of 1 ounce or less. He said enforcement
of the law, as written, only serves to increase law enforcement
expenditures and overcrowd jails.

Similar laws have been passed by communities in Missouri, Montana,
Washington, California and Colorado.

"A number of cities are starting to recognize what a waste the
current policy is,"he said."Marijuana arrests are clogging the system
and wasting our resources. We'd rather not have an adult arrested for
possessing 1 ounce of marijuana. We'd rather see them cited."

In addition to making marijuana possession the lowest priority for
police, the measure requires the city clerk to submit letters to
state and federal legislators, the governor and the president
stating"The citizens of Fayetteville have passed an initiative to
deprioritize adult marijuana offenses where the marijuana is intended
for personal use and request that the federal and Arkansas state
governments take immediate steps to enact similar laws."The letter
would be submitted annually until state and federal laws are changed

"This affects everyone in the United States,"Denham said."We've had a
record number of marijuana arrests. This year alone, about 829, 000
people were arrested on marijuana charges."

Smith said she doesn't know how long it will take to determine the
final sum of petition signatures.

"It depends on how legible the signatures are,"she said."Last time,
we had a lot that weren't legible. I had three people working on it
for almost 10 days. It was very time consuming. We hope to have them
counted up in about three days. Then we have to compare them to the
signatures we've already received to make sure there are no
duplications and make sure they're registered."

In Arkansas, Denham said, citizens have the right to petition local,
county and state government for changes in law.

Residents have until today to sign the petition by visiting Ozark
Glassworks on Huntsville Road or Sidney's Emporium on Dickson Street.

To view the full text of the proposed ordinance, visit

Newshawk: Citizen Efforts
Pubdate: Fri, 29 Aug 2008
Source: Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville, AR)
Copyright: 2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Author: Kate Ward, Northwest Arkansas Times
Cited: Sensible Fayetteville
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


California Attorney General Jerry Brown issued restrictive guidelines
this week for medical-marijuana sellers, bolstering his
tough-on-crime credentials as he looks ahead to a possible
gubernatorial bid in 2010.

Mr. Brown's guidelines say medical-marijuana dispensaries -- which
operate in a legal gray area -- should operate as small nonprofits.
The guidelines instruct state law-enforcement officials that
"excessive amounts of marijuana" and "excessive amounts of cash" may
indicate a dispensary is operating unlawfully. "There's no blank
check to sell marijuana in California," Mr. Brown said in an
interview, adding that he believes many marijuana sellers are
"shadowy enterprises."

Medical marijuana has been a sticky law-enforcement issue in
California since voters passed an initiative in 1996 saying doctors
could recommend marijuana to patients. The state legislature passed
measures in 2003 to clarify the law. But store-front marijuana clubs
have sprung up that law-enforcement officials say serve a much
broader clientele than the law intended. And marijuana remains
illegal under federal law, so federal authorities in California
continue to crack down on marijuana sales.

Mr. Brown's guidelines help solidify the legal status of smaller,
nonprofit operations. They also align him with law-enforcement
officials in counties like San Diego, which has shut down storefront
operations over the past few years, accusing them of being illegal
drug cartels. "It kind of validates what we've been saying, that
these storefronts that are for profit, that really have no
relationship with medical-marijuana users, are really not within the
law," said Damon Mosler, the narcotics chief for the San Diego
District Attorney's office.

The guidelines are part of a broader effort by Mr. Brown to focus
attention on his opposition to illegal marijuana sales. Earlier this
month, his office issued a press release, headlined "Attorney General
Brown Shuts Down Illegal Marijuana Operation," announcing a raid on a
dispensary in Los Angeles by the state's Bureau of Narcotic
Enforcement. A California Justice Department spokeswoman said that
when it comes to medical marijuana, Mr. Brown has taken a different
approach than his predecessor, Bill Lockyer.

"I think it's part of an overall strategy to run for governor in
2010," said Jaime Regalado, director of California State University's
Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs (which is named after Mr.
Brown's father, a former California governor). Mr. Regalado said Mr.
Brown has spent the past few years trying to shed the "Governor
Moonbeam" moniker he earned as governor from 1975 to 1983. That
included Mr. Brown's taking aggressive policing stances in Oakland,
Calif., while he was mayor there through 2006.

Mr. Brown has said he is considering another gubernatorial run. But
he said the new medical-marijuana guidelines are a response to pleas
from state law-enforcement officials, not a bid to win support. "This
has nothing to do with politics," he said. "I am just doing my job."

While medical-marijuana advocates don't like the prospect of
tightened restrictions, some said the new guidelines should help them
to comply with the law. "It reduces the subjectivity of law
enforcement," said Joe Elford, who is chief counsel with the
marijuana-advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. He said the
majority of marijuana clubs in the state are small operations that
already comply with the guidelines.

Kevin Reed, the owner of a medical-marijuana provider named Green
Cross, said the guidelines are "a really positive thing" because they
clarify state policy. Mr. Reed, who has a permit from the City of San
Francisco, said income that's not used for expenses and staff salary
goes into lowering the cost of marijuana for clients. But, he added,
there are some dispensary owners in Northern California who "feel
like they should operate like any other business."

Mr. Brown said that by eliminating larger, cartel-type operations,
the guidelines should reduce the attention that federal authorities
pay to legitimate distributors. San Francisco U.S. Attorney Joseph
Russoniello said he supports that notion: "The people that the
attorney general identifies as legitimate medical-marijuana operators
are the people we view as flying below our radar."

Mr. Russoniello said the guidelines don't change the fact that
marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And he disagreed with
suggestions that most sellers comply with California law. He
estimated that 95% of medical-marijuana distributors are for-profit operations.

Allison Margolin, a criminal defense attorney who represents
marijuana dispensaries, said the new guidelines don't explain the
difference between for-profit and non-profit organizations. "Law
enforcement will use this vagueness to continue to prosecute people," she said.

Newshawk: Americans for Safe Access
Pubdate: Fri, 29 Aug 2008
Source: Wall Street Journal (US)
Page: A4
Copyright: 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Authors: Justin Scheck and Rhonda L. Rundle
Referenced: The guidelines
Cited: Americans for Safe Access
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)


I'm writing to you from Denver where I'm attending the Democratic
> >National Convention (look for an email from me next week about the
> >Republican National Convention). I thought you might be wondering
> >how my colleagues and I feel about Sen. Barack Obama's selection of
> >Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate. Sen. Biden is unquestionably one
> >of the chief architects of the modern war on drugs but also an
> >unlikely ally in some of our most important fights. He has been at
> >the center of many of our national campaigns -- perhaps more so than
> >any other senator.
> >
> >In the 1980s, Sen. Biden played a major role in enacting the
> >draconian mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that have filled
> >our prisons with nonviolent drug law violators. And he sponsored the
> >law creating the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) --
> >he actually coined the term "drug czar," giving Bill Bennett and
> >other drug war extremists a national stage and increased funding and
> >power. In 2003, he passed the RAVE Act, which makes it easier for
> >the government to prosecute bar and nightclub owners for the drug
> >law offenses of their customers.
> >
> >On the other hand, Sen. Biden has been a strong supporter of
> >treatment and prevention. For instance, he was one of only five
> >senators to vote against confirming President Bush's drug czar, John
> >Walters, who has a history of short-changing treatment. And he
> >helped write the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, which makes it easier
> >for family doctors to prescribe buprenorphine and other replacement
> >therapy medications from their offices, taking the pressure off
> >special treatment clinics.
> >
> >Earlier this year, Sen. Biden surprised many by introducing
> >legislation to completely eliminate the 100-to-1 crack/powder
> >cocaine sentencing disparity, leapfrogging more modest reforms put
> >forth by Sens. Kennedy, Hatch, Sessions and others. Like many senior
> >members of Congress, Biden had voted for the legislation in the
> >1980s that created the disparity. Unlike most though, he has the
> >guts and humility to admit he was wrong.
> >
> >Sen. Biden's groundbreaking bill has seven co-sponsors, including
> >Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. It is a sign of how
> >politically popular drug policy reform has become among voters that
> >a major presidential candidate not only co-sponsors a reform bill
> >but nominates the bill's sponsor as his running mate. That Sen.
> >Biden is willing to be on the same ticket with Sen. Obama, who has
> >indicated he understands the war on drugs isn't working and called
> >for a new paradigm, may be evidence that his own views on drug
> >policy are shifting.
> >
> >The Drug Policy Alliance and Drug Policy Alliance Network's
> >relationship with Sen. Biden has certainly been rocky. We strongly
> >opposed the RAVE Act, dubbing him the "Footloose senator" and
> >leading a national grassroots campaign that forced him to change key
> >elements of his bill. Now we're working with him to eliminate the
> >crack/powder disparity.
> >
> >No matter who wins the White House in November or what positions
> >they take, we'll keep fighting for drug policies that are grounded
> >in science, compassion, health and human rights. We'll thank
> >policymakers when they're right and criticize them when they're
> >wrong. We're glad you're with us.
> >
> >Sincerely,
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >Executive Director
> >Drug Policy Alliance Network

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Media Fails to Grasp Significance of California’s New Attorney General Guidelines

August 26th, 2008
Posted by Kris Hermes

When news came out about the medical marijuana guidelines issued yesterday by California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the headlines largely read, “AG: Some medi-pot dispensers may be illegal.” Specifically, the Associated Press painted a bleak picture pointing to a misperceived likelihood of local law enforcement joining the feds in raiding for-profit dispensaries.

However, it would not be an understatement to claim the guidelines as a huge victory. It is not only a victory for dispensaries, a medical marijuana distribution system that has flourished and benefited hundreds of thousands of patients over the last 10 years. But it is also a victory for patients who are still in danger of defiant and recalcitrant police.

The truth of the matter is that never before has the California Attorney General (AG) directed law enforcement in a clearer way to avoid unnecessary harassment of patients and providers. Even though Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has been working with the AG for several years and urging both Bill Lockyer and Jerry Brown to issue an official position, it was a case being litigated by ASA that finally compelled that office to act. The appellate court decision in Garden Grove v. Superior Court (Kha), a case that is now binding law for the entire state, made clear that state law was not preempted by federal law and that local police have an obligation to abide by the state’s medical marijuana law.

In the Kha case, the court ruled that if medical marijuana is wrongfully confiscated, police are required to return it to the patient or caregiver from whom it was seized. The AG took this decision and crafted a “road map” for police to establish sensible policies that take into account this new legal terrain. Although certain localities have followed in the footsteps of the California Highway Patrol policy, established as a result of ASA’s litigation, many jurisdictions continue to ignore state law. In addition to reviewing the guileines, cities and counties across the state would do well to review the CHP policy as well as more recent policies such as those established by the County of Merced.

When the AG was finally quoted by the Los Angeles Times, it was to say he hopes “the feds will back off.” Ever since the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich, the federal DEA has been determined to undermine California’s medical marijuana laws by raiding dispensaries and threatening dispensary landlords with asset forfeiture and criminal prosecution. The AG guidelines send a clear message to the federal government that we are staying our course in California and that dispensaries, at least most of them, are law-abiding entities and should be protected by state law. Whether or not that results in less enforcement against these facilities remains to be seen. ASA flatly opposes raids on dispensaries whether by federal agents or local police, but if raids are going to occur, prosecuting cases in state court is infinitely better than prosecuting them in federal court where medical evidence is prohibited.

We at ASA believe that, after the dust settles, these guidelines will represent the final chapter in the implementation of California’s medical marijuana laws. Sure, there will be further court battles and renegade cops running afoul of the law, but finally we have official word from the top law enforcement officer in California directing local police on how to better enforce the law. That should be something to celebrate!

Dispensary guidelines applauded

By Brandon Lowrey, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 08/25/2008 10:21:21 PM PDT

NORTHRIDGE - As California Attorney General Jerry Brown rolled out
medical-marijuana guidelines Monday, state agents wrapped up a rare
dispensary bust in which the owner of a Northridge pot shop and an associate
were arrested.

The guidelines say marijuana dispensaries shouldn't operate for profit and
ought to keep detailed and accurate records on patients.

The news was hailed by medical-marijuana advocates, who saw it as an
acknowledgment that dispensaries can be legal under California's vaguely
worded pot laws and hoped for fewer federal raids, as long as they're not
operating for profit.

"The top law enforcement officer in the state is saying these entities are
legal in state law, and that sends a message to the federal government that
they ought to back off," said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for
Safe Access. "Really, this is like the final chapter of California's
implementation of its medical-marijuana law."

The guidelines aimed to clarify the state's medical-marijuana laws, which
have caused varied and confused responses from local law enforcement, but
have led to an aggressive federal crackdown on the dispensaries.

Federal law makes marijuana illegal in all circumstances. The U.S. Supreme
Court ruled in 2005 that the state law doesn't shield California users,
sellers and growers from federal prosecution.

Brown's announcement came just days after state drug agents raided Today's
Health Care in Northridge and shut down five related "grow houses" in Los
Angeles neighborhoods over the weekend.

On Friday, agents arrested Nathan Holtz, 37, and Today's Health Care owner
Louis Godman, 40. Officials believe Holtz is a middleman between Northern
California growers and Godman's dispensary.

At the time of the arrest, the two had six pounds of marijuana and $9,000 in
cash on them. Each has been charged with two felony counts of possessing and
selling marijuana, said Christine Gasparac, a spokeswoman for the Attorney
General's Office.

In the grow houses, agents seized 1,100 high-grade marijuana plants with a
street value of $6.6 million.

The store was not the target of the investigation, said Sarah Simpson, an
agent with the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. Rather, it was
sparked by a tip from a confidential source, who said Holtz was making a lot
of money through his dealings with growers.

Today's Health Care, which sits in a strip mall near Lindley Avenue and
Parthenia Street, was closed Monday. A sign stuck on the door said it
wouldn't reopen until Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 818-713-3699
News Release
August 25, 2008
Contact: Christine Gasparac (916) 324-5500

Enforcement and Patients

Atty. General Brown Issues Medical Marijuana Guidelines for Law
Enforcement and Patients

SACRAMENTO--California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today
released guidelines that, for the first time since California's
Proposition 215 was passed in 1996, clarify the state's laws
governing medical marijuana and provide clear guidelines for patients
and law enforcement to ensure that medical marijuana is not diverted
to illicit markets.

"California voters approved an initiative legalizing medical
marijuana, not street drugs. Marijuana intended for medicinal use
should not be sold to non-patients or on illicit markets," Attorney
General Brown said. "These guidelines will help law enforcement
agencies perform their duties in accordance with California law and
help patients understand their rights under Proposition 215."

This landmark document marks the first attempt by a state agency to
define the types of organizations that are legally permitted to
dispense marijuana. Brown's guidelines affirm the legality of medical
marijuana collectives and cooperatives, but make clear that such
entities cannot be operated for profit, may not purchase marijuana
from unlawful sources and must have a defined organizational
structure that includes detailed records proving that users are
legitimate patients.

"We welcome the Attorney General's leadership and expect that
compliance with these guidelines will result in fewer unnecessary
arrests, citations and seizures of medicine from qualified patients
and their primary caregivers," said Americans for Safe Access
Attorney Joe Elford. "No one benefits from confusion over the law.
These guidelines will help patients and law enforcement better
understand California's medical marijuana laws."

In 1996, California voters approved Proposition 215, an initiative
that exempted patients and their primary caregivers from criminal
liability under state law for the possession and cultivation of
marijuana. In addition, The Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMA),
enacted by the Legislature in 2004, intended to further clarify
lawful medical marijuana practices by establishing a voluntary
statewide identification card system, specific limits on the amount
of medical marijuana each cardholder could possess, and rules for the
cultivation of medical marijuana by collectives and cooperatives.
According to Americans for Safe Access, California has more than
200,000 doctor-qualified medial cannabis users.

Several law enforcement agencies have requested that the Attorney
General issue guidelines regarding the lawful possession, sale and
cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes. These law
enforcement agencies believe that individuals and cartels, under the
cover of Proposition 215, have expanded illegal cultivation and sales
of marijuana, which has led to an increase in drug-related violent
crime. Most researchers agree that the U.S. marijuana crop has seen a
sharp increase in the past decade. A report, "Marijuana Production in
the United States" by drug-policy researcher Jon Gettman, estimated
that in 2006, more than 21 million pot plants were grown in
California at a street value of up to $14 billion.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, President of the California Police
Chiefs Association, praised Brown for establishing these guidelines.
"Since Proposition 215 was passed, the laws surrounding the use,
possession and distribution of medical marijuana became confusing at
best. These newly established guidelines are an essential tool for
law enforcement and provide the parameters needed for consistent
statewide regulation and enforcement."

The guidelines encourage patients to participate in the California
Department of Public Health's registration program to obtain a
medical marijuana identification card. The identification card
protects the holder from arrest for marijuana possession and is one
of the best ways to ensure the non-diversion of medical marijuana.
Collectives and cooperatives are advised to keep files on their
patients with documented verification of their qualified status.

A copy of the Guidelines is attached.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blast Magazine: MJ & ADD - The New Stoner

Sitting up against a mound of pillows legs
stretched over a deep blue comforter Mike and his
girlfriend are like any other couple studying on
a Sunday afternoon. She is frustrated that she
hasn't mastered her Italian flash cards and keeps
repeating verb conjugations. Their feet are
flirtatiously entangled while Mike stares
intently into a large history notebook.

With a slam of a flash card she gives Mike a
frustrated look and he intuitively reaches for a
blue box that's sitting on the nightstand. He
pulls out a blue and green swirled pipe followed
by a bag of marijuana. A smile crosses Mike's
face as he fills the pipe and passes it to his
girlfriend. She lights it, breaths in deeply and
the room fills with a thin fog of smoke.

Mike then lights the pipe, breaths in, chuckles
and said, "I smoke every day and I make dean's
list. Smoking quiets everything in my mind so I
can concentrate."

The days of the "stoners" lying on the grass in
hippie attire, munching on snacks and going
nowhere with their lives has disappeared. The
typical "stoner" has been replaced with a
well-dressed, put-together college student who
does well in school and blends in seamlessly with
the rest of the student body. The magical
marijuana that allowed the cast of the movie "How
High" to ace their Harvard entrance exam may be
closer to the reality then once believed.
Students are smoking cannabis while studying,
writing papers and taking tests and doing
extremely well while they're at school.

Scientist and doctors have been searching for
data to back up this phenomenon, but have only
come to a few contradicting theories. There is
evidence to back up the hypothesis that marijuana
has no negative long-term memory effects on a
smoker, even a long-term user. Yet, there is
little tangible evidence to the short-term
effects of cannabis smoking.

"I have seen this claim made," said Dr. Lester
Grinspoon author of several books on the subject
including Marihuana Reconsidered and retired
faculty member at Harvard Medical School. "I have
come across it in anecdotal literature but there
is little hard science."

The stereotype that intellectual cannabis smokers
are diverging from can be seen in Kevin Smith's
infamous stoner characters Jay and Silent Bob,
who hang out in front of a convenient store all
day only moving to smoke a joint around back.

The "stoner" label can also be seen in the movie
"Dazed and Confused" as the main character
decides to throw away his chances with the
football team, joint in hand.

"I think there is a stereotype that people who
smoke pot are stoners, and I don't consider
myself a stoner," said Mike. "With the whole
stoner connotation comes the idea that you are
not able to do well in school when you're high
and I do very well in school."


Acclaimed as a gateway drug marijuana is the most
common used illegal drug in the United States
according to the National Institute of Drug
Abuse. Marijuana, which attracted 2.6 million new
users in 2002 alone, has no long-term effects or

"There is no physical dependency so you can stop
smoking whenever," said James Scorzelli a
psychology professor at Northeastern University
who specializes in drug addiction.

Marijuana is an unusual drug because there is no
withdrawal associated with quitting smoking
marijuana. It also is an abnormal drug because
there are no long-term effects other than the
respiratory ramifications that go along with
smoking anything.

"Marijuana does not have any permanent toxicity
to the brain. It returns to the same as someone's
who does not smoke," said Harrison Pope, a
professor of psychiatry at Harvard University,
who has studied the residual effects, the effects
of marijuana after you stop smoking, at McLean

The general effects of marijuana can be harmful,
but not everyone experiences the same negative or
positive effects when smoking.

"In terms of the effects of marijuana there is an
increase in blood pressure and heart rate, loss
of precision skills, short term memory loss,
paranoia, relaxation, calmness, a heightening of
emotion," said Scorzelli. "If your happy then you
become more happy if you are stressed then you
become more stressed. Other effects are
sleepiness, poor coordination, and increase in


There is no explanation for the increased
concentration some associate with smoking

Scientist have come across little consistency in
their findings because the drug effects people in
different ways. Some believe that marijuana works
like Ritalin or Adderall and allows students who
have attention deficit disorder to clear their
minds and concentrate on their work. Others
connect the ability to study while under the
influence and then recall the information during
an exam to a psychological learning theory called
state dependent learning.

"State dependent learning is that if a person
studies under a condition and takes a test some
suggest that they would be able to remember that
information while in that state," said Dr. Ethan
Russo founder of Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics.

State dependent learning is a psychological
theory that can be applied to studying
information in any state whether under a chemical
influence such as marijuana or an emotional state
for example depression. The theory also states
that if you learn information while under the
influence of a drug then you might not be able to
recall it again until you are under the influence

Some believe that this theory can be incorporated
with the Q theory, another psychology term, in
order to explain the effects of marijuana on

"States of drug intake can be Q's and the Q's
guide certain behavior," said James Stellar, dean
of Northeastern University's college of arts and
sciences and psychology professor.

"If you do a certain drug with someone you begin
to associate the drug with the person. Almost to
the level that if person X always gives you a
drug when you smell their cologne you can revert
to the behavior of the drug."

Therefore it can be inferred that the state of
mind you achieve through smoking along with the
smell and feelings that relate to the experience
could work as a Q to remembering the information

"For some people it is useful, for example a
student who has hyperactive ADD syndrome," said
Grinspoon. "I have several patients who suffer
from the syndrome who have trouble organizing
their thoughts."

Dr. Grinspoon has worked with many patients who
suffer from this syndrome. The problem that
people who have ADD face while studying is the
inability to concentrate or focus on the task at

"There is one case with a student who used
marijuana and then was willing to not use
marijuana for a few weeks. It is true, we took it
away and it did impact his success in a negative

The science behind the intellectually beneficial
effects of smoking marijuana may remain a mystery
simply because the areas of the brain it is
associated with, one being the endocrine system
are newly discovered and are not fully understood.

"There are lots of very bright people who use
marijuana and they have the impression this is
useful to them," said Grinspoon."I find it
difficult to say yah or nay on the whole, it can
be less than useful for many youthÅ  there is
certainly not a dispute that some people have
used it in a constructive way with their school


The main evidence behind the idea that students
are able to study, take tests and write papers
high on marijuana is based in the anecdotal
testimony given by people who regularly follow
this practice.

"When I was in college I started interning at
high times, I went to classes high and took a lot
of tests high and I did very well," said Bobby
Black writer for High Times, a magazine based on
marijuana culture. "One class I took was logic,
mathematical and philosophical, and the teacher
loved my input."

Black contributes some of his success in the
class, scoring A's on both his midterm and final,
with the increase in concentration and efficiency
he gained when smoking marijuana.

"Being high can help you even more because when
your brain gets an idea, on an idea, it really
runs with it, it can help you focus like you
forget about everything else," said Black. He
also point out that this practice does not work
for everyone, "If your not used to smoking all
the time then you can't function, but if you do
it everyday its your regular phase, it's like a

While some students study, take tests and write
papers purposely under the influence of marijuana
others have experienced the intellectual effects
purely because of circumstance.

"It's not something that I do on purpose. I know
it helps some people focus, for me it's I have to
study and I am high," said Sarah, a junior
political science major.

Sarah is an example of someone who is able to
learn and recall information while under the
influence of marijuana. This ability can be
accredited to the state dependent learning
theory. Smoking is not an essential factor in her
studying, which can be the case for someone who
suffers from ADD who uses marijuana to clear the

"Sometime I can relate to the material more,
sometimes I have been procrastinating for a while
and I just happen to be high. It's sort of
something I can do, not something I have to do to
concentrate," said Sarah. "It is easier for me to
write papers, the thoughts flow better."

Sean, a sophomore political science major, who
does not directly attribute his academic success
to smoking marijuana, has seen a decline in his
grades since he was forced to quit for his
co-op's drug test.

"Its been six weeks since I quite smoking and my
grades are lower, I don't know if it is because I
quit or my classes just got harder," said Sean.
"My personal opinion is that it has no bearing on
how well you do or how well you study. I don't
think it has an effect, negative or positive."

Though there is some ambiguity on their reliance
of smoking marijuana while doing school work, all
agree that smoking does help them clear their
minds, focus on their work, and organize their

"Don't let anyone tell you that people who smoke
all the time aren't logical," said Black. "I work
high all the time and I get everything done."


The legalization of marijuana is a debate across
the country, drawing opinions from regular
smokers, government officials, medical experts
and the general public. Many organizations have
formed for the sole purpose of legalizing

"We support the decriminalization of marijuana
for consenting adults," said Jessica Goshor,
director or member service for The National
Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws called
NORML. "We participate in lobbying on a state
national and local level."

The future of marijuana, the people who use it
and the ability to obtain it is unknown. Some
people believe that the legalization of marijuana
is imminent based on the lack of dependency and
its popularity. Others believe the day when you
can buy a joint at the corner store will never

"I think that it has the potential to help a lot
of people," said Megan, a junior criminal justice
major. "I also understand that there are a lot of
other drugs that have been proved to be the same
if not less harmful as marijuana that are still
illegal. Like some of the studies that proved
ecstasy is harmful have been disproved, so if you
legalize marijuana you would have to legalize
that too."

The decriminalization of marijuana means that
first-time offenders found with a small amount of
marijuana intended for personal use will not
receive fines, prison time or a record. In
Massachusetts where possession of marijuana is
considered a misdemeanor the same offender can
receive six months in jail and a fine of $500.

"12 states in the U.S. including states as close
as Maine have already decriminalized 1 ounce or
less of marijuana," said Bill Downing Director of
the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition Inc.
"They comprise almost half of the population of
America, so half of the people in the US live in
states that have decriminalized marijuana."

Downing explains that many first- time offenders
in Massachusetts do not receive the maximum
punishment. "Most people's cases have been
continued without finding for a period of time,
usually 6 months, then it is usually dropped and
the person will only have to pay court fees which
is from $60- $100."

Where a person lives can determine the charges
they will be faced with. Those in who live in a
city are at a greater risk because of the close
proximity to schools, elderly housing and public
housing. This puts students in an urban school
setting, like Northeastern at a greater risk for
being charged with the crime of possession with
intent to distribute.

"I think legalizing it is a good idea for a
number of reasons," said Sarah. "It could be
better regulated and taxed, so it could benefit
the government; in some ways it's like alcohol,
lifting the prohibition helped. I think it will
never happen because of the federal government
and the Christian Evangelists who are running the

The new college "stoner" that has broken the mold
could soon be able to smoke legally. The
potential national legalization of marijuana may
not be imminent, but there are many states that
are working toward or have successfully
decriminalized possession of marijuana.

"I think that it adds to my quality of life and
my educational experience," said Megan, who
regularly does her school work while under the
influence of marijuana. "There are a lot of
people who feel the same way and I think that
will lead to the legalization."

Samantha Porter is a Blast Magazine staff writer

new stonerÅ you
By Samantha Porter

Editor's note: The names of some interview
subjects have been changed for their comfort and

This is a Blast Magazine Enterprise piece.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Should State or Federal Law Prevail on Medical Marijuana?

Just because a majority of Californians voted to make marijuana
available for medical purposes does not mean it is legal. Charles
Lynch, the owner of a Morro Bay medical marijuana dispensary, learned
this lesson the hard way on Aug. 5 when he was convicted of violating
the federal Controlled Substances Act. His lawyers defended him in
part by saying his business had the blessing of elected officials in
Morro County. But the jury convicted him under federal drug laws; in
October, he will be sentenced to a period of five to 85 years in
prison, though he has vowed to appeal.

Federal and state laws with respect to medical marijuana have been in
tension for years. Under the federal Controlled Substances Act of
1970, the distribution or possession of marijuana is a crime, with no
exceptions for medical use. Under California's Compassionate Use Act
of 1996, however, individuals who meet certain criteria may
distribute or use marijuana for medical purposes without running
afoul of state law. In 2003, the Legislature further bolstered the
medical marijuana movement with a law requiring counties to provide
patients with an identification card that protects them from state prosecution.

This places dispensers of medical marijuana, such as Lynch, in an
untenable position. From the perspective of the federal government,
they are no different from common drug dealers, susceptible to Drug
Enforcement Administration busts and substantial prison sentences.
From the perspective of the state government, they are running
legitimate businesses that pay taxes and otherwise comply with California law.

The courts have yet to resolve this controversy. Under the supremacy
clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal law supersedes state law
when the two conflict. But it is not as obvious as it might seem that
they do. Language in the federal Controlled Substances Act specifies
that it only preempts state laws that create a "positive conflict"
with it. A court could find that because California law does not
expressly prevent the federal government from enforcing its own drug
law, the two sets of laws are consistent.

Indeed, on July 31, the state's 4th District Court of Appeal took a
step in that direction. It held that the Controlled Substances Act
does not preempt California's requirement that counties give medical
marijuana users identification cards. The court expressly declined to
go any further, but proponents of medical marijuana rightly viewed
the ruling to be a significant win. If the decision withstands
appeals, it will ensure that federal law will not completely wash out
the state program.

But it seems unlikely that courtrooms are where this legal dissonance
will be resolved. This is especially true since 2005, when the U.S.
Supreme Court heard a federal constitutional challenge to the
Controlled Substances Act. In that case, Californians sought to
protect the use of medical marijuana by stating that it is a purely
intrastate matter, and thus beyond Congress' reach. The high court
rejected that argument, ruling that, as a whole, the drug law was a
proper exercise of Congress' power to regulate interstate commerce.

After that decision, the legislative and executive branches of
government are best equipped to make federal and state law
consistent. The remaining question is which side -- federal or state
-- should give way in this standoff.

In this instance, the federal government should cede. Under our
federal system, the states are supposed to serve as laboratories of
experimentation (to paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis)
that permit a variety of policy approaches that suit local mores.
Moreover, the areas implicated by medical marijuana -- crime and
health -- have traditionally been areas of state sovereignty. This
perhaps explains why -- flying in the face of the Controlled
Substances Act -- 13 states have passed some form of medical marijuana law.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is grouped with heroin
and mescaline in the set of drugs subject to the most stringent
regulation. Congress or the U.S. attorney general has the power to
reclassify marijuana so it can be dispensed by a physician.
Alternatively, the U.S. Department of Justice could use its
discretion and stop prosecuting medical dispensation and use in
states that have legalized it. California's Legislature has supported
both alternatives, and Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic
presidential nominee, has expressed support for the latter. John
McCain was equivocal early in the Republican primaries, but the
candidate has since said he would not end the federal raids on
medical marijuana dispensaries.

State medical marijuana laws should not be seen as an attempt to
flout the authority of the federal government. These laws are a
proper exercise of a state prerogative to which the federal
government should defer.

Pubdate: Sun, 17 Aug 2008
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times
Author: Kenji Yoshino

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jack Herer explains why hemp is the #1 Natural resource



KOMO Television Takes Pot Activists' Cash, Refuses to Air Pot Activists' Infomercial

A local television station claims an infomercial hosted by travel writer Rick Steves promotes the use of marijuana and is consequently refusing to air it. But Fisher Communications, which owns KOMO television, collected thousands of dollars without airing the show.

"It supported that people smoke marijuana," says Jim Clayton, KOMO's vice president and general manager, about the drug-policy-reform infomercial. "Smoking marijuana is illegal and we don't promote things that are illegal on our television station," he says. "We don't tell people to go rob banks, either."

Clayton went on to claim that he rejected the program, Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation, because the station is "federally licensed, and we have to protect the license at all costs." Under Federal Communications Commission ( FCC ) rules, he says, the station can't air shows that advise breaking the law. But when repeatedly pressed for an example of how the show advocated marijuana use, Clayton said, "I don't know. I watched it a few weeks ago, and I don't remember anything specific." ( You can watch it online at )

Rick Steves, well-known PBS travel guide and the host of the talk-show-formatted program, says, "There is no way anybody can watch that show and think it advocates smoking marijuana. Nobody on the panel even hinted that they enjoyed marijuana." The script does not advise viewers to smoke marijuana, nor does the screen ever flash an image of pot. "They were talking about the legal, social, economic, and civil rights ramifications of a misguided law," says Steves.

In addition to KOMO ( the local ABC affiliate ), KIRO ( CBS ) rejected the 30-minute show outright and refused to explain its decision to the show's producers. KING ( along with its sister station KONG, both with NBC ) would only allow the program to air after 1:00 a.m.

KOMO's decision not to air the program came as a shock to the ACLU of Washington, which spent more than $100,000 producing the program, including thousands of dollars that went to KOMO to use its staff and studios at Fisher Plaza.

"We're trying to provide information that's not tainted by either the hysteria of reefer madness, nor by the giggle factor of Cheech and Chong," says Alison Holcomb, director of the ACLU of Washington's Marijuana Education Project, who adds that she provided advance copies of the script to KOMO executives before the program was shot. The script was provided to KOMO in advance, Holcomb says, because she wanted to be sure that the program would air before spending thousands of dollars to rent KOMO's studios and pay KOMO's crews.

"We never heard any objection," says Holcomb. "But once we filmed it and handed it to them, they wouldn't sell us any time slots."

Clayton says he had initially supported airing the program on KOMO because he thought it was about medical marijuana. But he changed his mind after viewing the tape and meeting with ACLU of Washington director Kathleen Taylor on August 4.

The distinction KOMO is trying to make between recreational and medical marijuana use--again, the program advocates for neither--is without merit. If KOMO were actually afraid of losing its federal license because "smoking marijuana is illegal," it would be irrelevant if the show focused on medical marijuana; the federal government doesn't distinguish between recreational and medical pot. All marijuana use is equally illegal in the eyes of the federal government.

"If it is constitutionally protected speech then they can put it on the air," says FCC spokesman Clyde Ensslin, indicating the program's content--even as submitted--was permissible by federal standards.

Nonetheless, Clayton suggests that if the ACLU wants his station to discuss marijuana laws, the group should run a ballot initiative, which would spark a public debate. But KOMO and the other local stations already run commercials that take one side of the public debate on marijuana use: hysterical antidrug campaigns run by the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy.

And KOMO runs programs that depict--even celebrate--recreational pot use.

For example, YouTube clips show that ABC's nationally syndicated Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which broadcasts locally via KOMO, has aired segments about a stoned cop, a stoned firefighter, and a dramatization of an entire office's staff smoking pot, laughing, and having a good time at work.

"The two shows aren't comparable in the least," Clayton said, when I called back to ask about the double standard. There have been no complaints from KOMO viewers about Jimmy Kimmel Live!, but Clayton points out that he doesn't control what the network airs.

"I have to make determinations based on what is best for KOMO," he says. "For 35 years I have run TV stations across the country. I consider myself an enormously experienced broadcast executive and I can make the best decisions for television stations."

Rick Steves would disagree. "We have a law on the books that is as stupid as the prohibition of alcohol, and we can't even talk about it on television because people are afraid," he says. "It is symptomatic of a very serious problem." recommended

Newshawk: Citizen Advocacy
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Stranger, The (Seattle, WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Stranger
Author: Dominic Holden
Cited: KOMO Television
Cited: ACLU of Washington Marijuana Education Project
Referenced: Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


An overwhelming number of Bay Staters replying to a Suffolk University/WHDH Ch. 7 poll say the state's marijuana laws should go up in smoke.

The poll regarding questions set to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot shows that 72 percent of Greater Boston residents favor snuffing out criminal penalties for suspects carrying less than an ounce of pot, and replacing them with civil fines. Under the measure, a person stopped with marijuana would be given a $100 ticket and forced to forfeit the drug

"The public may be signaling that pursuing small-time marijuana users is a waste of taxpayer resources," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Bureau at Suffolk University. "This issue suggests there is a libertarian streak in the thinking of the Massachusetts voter."

The poll also found lingering resentment toward former Gov. Mitt Romney. State residents would reject likely Republican presidential nominee John McCain more heartily if he chose his former rival Romney as his running mate. The poll shows that 41 percent would be less likely to vote for a McCain/Romney ticket, while 24 percent were unswayed.

Bay Staters were also icy toward a ballot measure aimed at abolishing the income tax, with 50 percent opposed to eliminating income tax, and 15 percent undecided.

The pollsters gathered the data from 400 state residents who were contacted between July 31 and Aug. 3.

Newshawk: Please Support Question 2
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2008
Source: Boston Herald (MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Boston Herald, Inc
Author: O'ryan Johnson
Referenced: The poll
Bookmark: (Marijuana)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Maryland - The violent raid on the home of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo last week prompted an investigation into whether police were justified in breaking down his door and fatally shooting the family's two dogs.

But civil liberties advocates in Maryland insist that the raid was merely a high-profile example of a common concern.

Police targeted Calvo after he unknowingly received a package of marijuana from a mail-delivery drug operation.

They did not have a "no-knock" warrant, but forcefully entered the premises when they heard Calvo's mother-in-law scream - a possible sign that evidence was being destroyed, police officials said.

Several defense attorneys in Maryland said they often hear about similar questionable police searches, but the cases rarely make it to court because it is difficult to quantify damages when only your privacy has been violated.

"You can make some noise, but unless you're the mayor of some town, the newspapers don't pay attention," said Marc Peitersen, a lawyer in Catonsville, Md.

State's attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff said "no-knock" warrants are often issued when the suspect has history of violence or has committed a violent crime. He added that even with regular warrants, "if there is a threat of violence that requires [police] to use force, then certainly that is an option they may pursue."

David Rocah, a staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said people often send them letters about police smashing doors and forcefully entering property, but the damages are too low to make it worthwhile to spend the time in court.

"The truth is that we don't even discuss it in our legal meetings anymore because we know that these aren't cases that can be litigated," Rocah said. He added that a 2006 Supreme Court decision made it easier for police to enter evidence into trial despite overstepping the bounds of their warrant.

On his blog, Silver Spring lawyer Jon Katz said police often leave "searched homes looking like tornadoes hit them, with drawers and trash cans removed and dumped out."

"Since the vast majority of criminal defendants plead guilty, the issue of a search warrant never sees the light of day," Katz said.

The Prince George's County Sheriff's Office and Police Department declined to comment for this story.

Newshawk: Educate to Liberate:
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Sun, 10 Aug 2008
Source: Baltimore Examiner (MD)
Copyright: 2008 Baltimore Examiner
Author: Eric Roper
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)
Bookmark: (Cheye Calvo)


The California Department of Justice spent at least $347,000 in its
role in the weeklong drug raid dubbed Operation Southern Sweep in June.

The operation brought about 450 federal, state and local law
enforcement personnel together to bust an alleged commercial
marijuana grow operation connected to a single group in Humboldt
County between June 24 and 28.

According to a public records request by The Eureka Reporter for the
costs incurred in Operation Southern Sweep, the DOJ allocated
$347,202 toward the operation.

Of that, an estimated $131,574 was spent on personnel, $183,894 on
overtime, $26,283 in expenses, such as travel and lodging, and $5,451
on equipment, the request response stated.

Salary costs are based on the total hours worked by sworn officers at
the Special Agent top pay grade ($7,341 a month) and the middle pay
grade for non-sworn personnel.

The salary costs do not include any incurred by management personnel
because the time spent on specific projects is not maintained for
these employees, though the costs are estimated to be nominal, the
request response stated.

The Eureka Reporter also sent out Freedom of Information Act requests
to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Service, Drug
Enforcement Agency and Internal Revenue Service -- all agencies
involved in the operation.

The IRS denied the request, as the records could not be found.

Even if found, the IRS stated in a response letter that the
information would be exempt from public disclosure on a number of
grounds, including a claim that disclosure would "reveal law
enforcement techniques, procedures and guidelines protected" by the
Freedom of Information Act.

The Eureka Reporter plans to appeal the decision as allowed under the
Freedom of Information Act.

The FBI denied an initial request for information, stating that any
request of this nature should be directed to a field office.

Another request sent to the FBI San Francisco Field Office has
garnered no response.

The FBI couldn't be reached for comment.

Requests to the U.S. Postal Service and DEA are still pending.

Agents raided 23 locations across the county during the sweep,
including two large chunks of property.

The raids mainly occurred in Southern Humboldt, in areas including
Redway, Whitethorn and Garberville.

Agents also raided one alleged grow house in Arcata.

The operation was the result of a two-year investigation by the DOJ,
and netted about 16,000 marijuana plants, $200,000 in cash and 53
firearms, which included assault rifles.

No arrests have been made as of yet, but officials said in past
interviews that it could take months before anyone behind the
commercial grows is brought before a judge.

Pubdate: Wed, 13 Aug 2008
Source: Eureka Reporter, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Eureka Reporter
Author: John C. Osborn
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)