Mey Akashah, an environmental health instructor, admitted to bringing the marijuana on the trip and claimed it was prescribed by a doctor for medical reasons. Aksash could provide no documentation but said it had been prescribed for post-operative pain and nausea.
The Senior Magistrate said he found it "strange" she could provide no proof, but discharged her with no fine. A spokeswoman from Harvard would not discuss if there would be any disciplinary action.
Though weed is technically illegal in the Netherlands, it has been sold openly for decades under the country's famed "Tolerance Policy." This over sight has made the Netherlands, more specifically Amsterdam, famous for its pot pedalling coffee shops.
The new ban is focused mainly on the city of Maastricht and the southern three provinces. The city sees a constant flow of traffic from more than a million non-Dutch drivers traveling to the city to buy as much marijuana as possible and drive home. Also several coffee shops have been warned in the area for violating the ban against tourists.
Only holders of a "weed pass" are allowed to buy marijuana now. Non-residents aren't eligible for the pass, meaning tourists are effectively banned. This move by the Dutch could have a serious impact on tourism should the ban be applied to the famous coffee shops of Amsterdam. The ban isnt suppose to effect Amsterdam until next year, and may never truely be inforced.
More than tomatos are being grown in the gardens of New Jersey today. The Garden state has officially issed its first permit to legally grow medical marijuana. The license was issued to Greenleaf Compassion Center, one of six centers chosen by the state last year to grow and sell medical marijuana.
The garden state is about to get a whole lot greener. New Jersey has issued its first permit to grow medical marijuana legally. The permit was issued to nonprofit Montclair-based Greenleaf Compassion Center on Monday.
A second permit would still need to be granted before the center can begin selling medical pot to patients. A crop is expected to take three to four months to grow, and the state says a permit to sell would come once the first crop is ready. Greenleaf is one of six centers chosen last year by the state to grow and sell cannabis. But it's one of just two that have announced locations with local approvals. The Montclair group says it has a cultivation site but has not disclosed the location.
Currently there are 16 states plus Washington D.C. that have medical marijuana laws on the books, CBS News reported. Laws vary throughout each state, but in New Jersey patients will be allowed to be dispensed two ounces of marijuana every 30 days with a doctor's note.
According to ProCon.org, in New Jersey medical marijuana is approved for treating seizure disorder, including epilepsy, intractable skeletal muscular spasticity, glaucoma; severe or chronic pain, severe nausea or vomiting, cachexia, or wasting syndrome resulting from HIV/AIDS or cancer; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease), multiple sclerosis, terminal cancer, muscular dystrophy, or inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease; and terminal illness.
- Article originally from Health Pop.
The press conference (held on April 18, 2012) was organized by Stop the Violence BC, an activist group founded by Dr. Evan Wood that has had major success in acquiring high-profile endorsements for legalization.
"Mexican drug cartels, dangerous gangs operating both in the United States and Canada, are all profiting from the black market that's created by our failed policy," McKay told reporters. "What do we do about the violence that's being spawned here? The pits with headless bodies that are thrown in? It's because they are servicing the demand for drugs, beginning with marijuana, moving all the way through to cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroine."
"I think it's always a great moment when we have more people joining the call to end prohibition in order to save lives, save money, and get rid of the criminal control of this industry," Jodie Emery said. "When we get people who are on the frontlines, who saw the damage done, admit the policy needs to be changed, I think that's always a wonderful thing."
The speakers panel also featured Geoff Plant, the former attorney general of British Columbia, who recently added his voice to the chorus of former Canadian politicians and lawmakers calling for an end to marijuana prohibition.
Though he now thinks marijuana laws are harmful, McKay said he was not sorry for helping put Marc Emery behind bars because the activist broke the law.
"Mr. Emery chose to change marijuana policies by breaking them rather than advocating for change. I think that was a tremendous mistake," he said.
"I know that he was just doing his job," Emery said of McKay. "There are many harmless people who are put in prison and I don't believe my husband should be in prison, I still miss him terribly. But I understand that this law, the prohibition of marijuana, forces police to continue to arrest people and put them in prison.
"My husband, although he did violate the law by selling seeds, nobody was harmed in that exchange and the money used was sent to activists and organizations throughout the United States to try and push towards this change. ... Civil disobedience, when it is done peacefully and non-violently is an important step in changing any unjust law."
The mood was somber at the press conference called to announce the reorganization of Oaksterdam University yesterday. The school will reorganize under a new umbrella company, Wise Education Technology, and have no association with any dispensary business. They are moving to smaller offices, but will be able to use the classroom in their existing building for now.
Dale Sky Jones, chancellor of OU, has taken the reigns of the school, which will keep its classes going despite the loss of its computers with curriculums. They will also try to save the Oaksterdam Museum space, and the Oaksterdam Gift Shop will also remain open.
Jones pointed out that OU's building had been the former home of the Lighthouse Charter school, which was supported by Richard Lee, and moved to a bigger campus. Also ironically, as the feds closed Lee's Blue Sky dispensary, Oakland approved permits for four new dispensaries in Oakland.
Jones opened the press conference saying they hoped to broaden the subject beyond Oaksterdam, since the April 2 raid at the school was illustrative among several violations of the federal government against the intent of California voters. "We can have safer communities if we control, tax and regulate medical marijuana," she said.
Former California Senator John Vasconcellos, the author of SB420, which codified collectives, spoke against the "federal reign of terror." He said we must face these facts: 1. Marijuana is not a narcotic; 2. It is not addictive; 3. It is not a Gateway drug; and 4. It is a medicine. He pointed out that California spent $9 million on a research program at UC San Diego that unanimously proved marijuana's medical value.
Vasconcellos said that SB420 was the result of 18 months' work on a task force that included everyone from Dennis Peron to narcotics officers, and that the resulting bill had the support of the California District Attorneys, doctors, nurses, the legislature and the governor. The "vehemence and zealotry" of the federal prosecutors made Vasconcellos say they ought to be in therapy. He mentioned that he was himself a medical marijuana patient, and had his recommendation in his car.
Bob Swanson from Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley's office, who serves on the Democratic party central committee, opened his comments saying to the Obama administration, "This is not change we can believe in." He praised Oaksterdam U's now-former president Richard Lee for his contributions to the community. As a Vietnam veteran, Swanson said he knows that a lot of veterans can benefit from medical marijuana. He added that he and his wife cared for a cancer patient for two years, someone marijuana took "from the jaws of death" and vastly improved their quality of life. "Reign in theses prosecutors, the DEA and the IRS, and fulfill your promises," he said to Obama. "I want to campaign for you, but I need a new motto."
Jason Overman, from Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan's office, said the feds didn't let Oakland know they were coming the day they raided Oaksterdam. He said to the feds, "if you have extra law enforcement resources here in Oakland, help us combat gun violence," including the illegal sale of guns. He thanked Richard Lee for his invaluable contributions to making Oakland more vibrant, and safe. "We know his contributions don't stop here," he said.
Dale Gieringer of California NORML, one of the authors of Prop. 215, opened his remarks saying, "If you had told me in 1996 that the federal government had not taken a single step to legitimize medical marijuana in 15 years, I wouldn't have believed it." Now, he said, we have a president who promised not to use DOJ resources against states, who has moved not only against Oaksterdam, but in a multi-agency assault across the state, all the while declining to reschedule marijuana after delaying NORML's application for nine years. He called on all to contact the White House and the DOJ. "It's time to call off the federal war on medical cannabis," he said.
Ethan Sommer of the Medical Cannabis Association pointed out that the federal actions in Oakland put 45 people out of work, many of them breadwinners who must now turn to food stamps and unemployment. The federal crackdown, he said, has cost the state of California thousands of jobs. Dan Rush of the United Food and Commercial Workers said the UFCW was working to help find jobs for those who lost them, and on an emergency fund for workers' immediate needs.
Richard Lee spoke, saying he was honored by all the support he's received, and that "I can only hope our story will help end this war sooner." With 80% support for medical marijuana, "If we all stood up, we'd win," he said. Jones called for a national day of action on Friday, 4/20, and enjoined all to take five minutes out of their day to protest.
Find your local Obama re-election headquarters, she said, and tell them why they should support us. She hit a personal note when she said that her 15-month old son will have no health insurance at the end of the month, and said at least four other workers were in a similar situation with young children. At present, all OU employees are working as volunteers.
Contributions to the school can be made at: Oaksterdam.com.
At an Oakland press conference Wednesday, Oaksterdam University announced that it would attempt to stay open in the wake of the April 2 federal raid on its campus and associated businesses, but that its founder, Richard Lee, would no longer be involved with the business. Lee, Oaksterdam representatives, and others also used the press conference to call for a national day of action Friday (4/20) and for people to barrage the Obama White House with phone calls demanding it end its policy of repression aimed at medical marijuana providers.
"My future is very uncertain," Lee said. "I'm waiting for a possible legal case. But I hope to be free to support marijuana legalization campaigns like in Colorado and Washington and medical marijuana campaigns like in Ohio. This is a big issue and getting bigger. If I can use my notoriety to help, I will do what I can."
Lee will be replaced at Oaksterdam University by Dale Sky Jones, who was the school's executive chancellor and who worked closely with Lee in 2010's Proposition 19 campaign. Jones and Oaksterdam will face some tough challenges. The federal raiders stripped the campus of all its equipment and computers, and the school has been unable to hold classes or pay staff. Instead, some 45 people are working on a volunteer basis to get it up and running again.
"The raid knocked the wind out of us," said Jones. "We will need help to get back on our feet in the short term, but in the long term, we will come back."
The school will have to move to a smaller, more affordable, space, Jones said.
"It's not sustainable in the current building," she explained. "We'll keep leasing the auditorium where we teach classes until further notice, and that will allow us to continue to enroll new students, which will allow us to buy new computers. But our office will move to a new location. We're staying in the heart of Oaksterdam, but with a much smaller office space. We've created a new parent company that will have the Oaksterdam trademark. Oaksterdam University will survive, just with a new parent company."
Some 15,000 people have taken courses at Oaksterdam, with a curriculum covering all aspects of the medical marijuana industry, from the basics of growing to how to run a business to how to navigate the maze of state, federal, and local laws and regulations. The school has been at the heart of the revitalization of Broadway in downtown Oakland, as well as at the heart of the East Bay medical marijuana community.
"In terms of public safety, I've been to downtown Oakland on numerous occasions, and if you think this will make it a safer community, it will do just the opposite," said Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore police commander in the city's Bureau of Drug and Criminal Enforcement, and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "Effective public safety is the result of healthy communities, not police action. When people come together, as they did in Oaksterdam, that's when crime is reduced. Now, we'll have patients forced back into the criminal market, funding organized crime. The public is trying to send a message to Washington, DC, that it's time to move away from these destructive prohibition policies."
"This cost the jobs of 100 union members, and those were good jobs with a decent wage," said Ron Lind, president of the UFCW's Local 5, which represents Bay area dispensary workers. "This misguided policy doesn't only impact patients; it also impacts workers. We will continue to support Oaksterdam and its reemergence. There is a huge potential for good middle-class jobs throughout this industry, and it's time for the federal government to stop undermining it."
"This administration is out of touch not only with the public, but with its own campaign pledges," said Franklin. "Obama won last time after forcefully pledging to back off from the federal attacks. Anyone who thinks this is a good electoral strategy needs to look at the polling," in which support for medical marijuana typically runs at 70% or higher.
"Our focus has been on providing quality education to the cannabis community, but we need to start focusing on creating safer communities by controlling, taxing, and regulating cannabis," she said. "These days, it's more accessible than any other drugs. You're not getting it at the store, but behind the store. You don't see legal wine grape growers wielding machine guns."
"We want to thank Richard Lee and Oaksterdam for all you do," said Laura Thomas, interim state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, "both to increase access to medical cannabis and for Proposition 19. We join in calling on people to let the president know what you think of this raid and his drug policies in general. Obama has for the first time acknowledged that there needs to be debate on this topic. We need to let him know that legalization is something that should be talked about."
Oaksterdam supporters will gather at the campus Friday for a demonstration and march to the Oakland federal building. They are also urging sympathizers to sign a petition to President Obama urging him to stop the raids. It has more than 23,000 signatures so far.
"This is a big political issue," said Lee. "We're getting a lot of support right now, and the most recent polls show legalization with about a 5% lead across the country. The opponents of ending cannabis prohibition are fighting back. This issue is at the tipping point."
- Article originally from Stop the Drug War.